Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The new A4 servo is the next generation of Panasonic's MINAS product line. It sports a fast frequency response of 1KHz, improved real time auto gain tuning, new vibration control features, and 2Mpps command input. The size has also been reduced up to 30% compared to Matsushita Panasonic Electric Work's older A-Series, and along with the UL and CE certifications, the A4 Series servo drive & motor is also in compliance with SEMI F47 Standard.
Key Features:
  • Motor types: Super low, low, middle and high inertia
  • Speed response frequency 1kHz
  • Incremental encoder (2500p/r)
  • Absolute Encoder (17bit) available
  • Vibration control
  • Real-time auto tuning
  • Pulse and analog command input
  • Fast response and positioning
  • Position, velocity and torque control

NXP Semiconductors has unveiled intelligent switches supporting the HDMI 1.4 specification. The NXP TDA19997 and TDA19998 smart switches support the Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature, an option introduced in the HDMI 1.4 release, which reduces the number of cables required to deliver audio upstream for processing and playback.

Building on the success of previous HDMI smart switches from NXP, the TDA19997 and TDA19998 include support for all mandatory 3D over HDMI features. NXP is the one of the first semiconductor companies to deliver silicon supporting HDMI 1.4. The Audio Return Channel specified in HDMI 1.4 enables HDTVs directly receiving audio and video content to send the audio stream to an amplification system over the HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an extra cable.

The NXP TDA19997 and TDA19998 smart switches also include built-in auto-adaptive equalisers that can handle up to four HDMI 1.4 inputs, automatically maintaining audiovisual quality over HDMI cables up to 30m in length. Their highly integrated design eliminates the need for external components, reducing the overall Bill of Materials for TV manufacturers, while delivering an enhanced viewing experience. The TDA19997 and TDA19998 are embedded with five EDID extensions for HDMI and VGA, as well as high levels of ESD protection.

The TDA19998 smart switches take advantage of NXP's F3 architecture, which guarantees fast port switching between HDMI devices while keeping a secured HDCP-protected HDMI stream at the output. The F3 architecture also enables best-in-class power efficiency of all systems in active and standby modes.

The NXP TDA19997 and TDA19998 comprise the second generation of NXP's HDMI smart switches, and are part of a portfolio of scalable solutions for the digital home, enabling TV makers to target a broad audience. The TDA19997 and TDA19998 are pin-to-pin compatible with previous generation smart switches from NXP and provide TV makers with flexibility in adapting to end-user demand. Engineering samples of the TDA19997 are available immediately from NXP.

EASIC has announced the availability of two ASIC-in-a-Box design kits that enable ASIC design to be widely accessible. Through simplifying the design flow, the design kits allow engineers who are unfamiliar with ASIC design to quickly complete designs. Nextreme ASICs are constructed to help simplify design, verification and silicon processing steps within the overall flow.

The ASIC-in-a-Box design kits provide software and documentation for completing and implementing Nextreme chip designs, and also deliver board design and debug guidelines for designing systems that incorporate Nextreme devices.

The kits contain: EASIC's eTools software suite that includes utilities for configuring PLLs/clocks, assigning pins/pads, generating memories and post-placement configuration; and DRC Magma DA's Blast RTL software for performing synthesis and placement; documentation and design tutorials to accelerate design implementation; JTAG programming cable for configuration and debug; and technical support website access. Designers can choose from one of two design kits.


Ophir-Spiricon has announced the 10kW Power/Energy Sensor, said to be the first detector to directly measure very high powers and power densities. Designed for material processing applications such as welding and metal cutting, the 10kW measures YAG and fibre lasers in the 1040-1100nm range, and CO2 lasers at 10.6um. An aperture of 45mm allows for measurement of broad beams.

The maximum power for concentrated beams is up to 10kW/cm2 and the maximum energy density for a 10ms pulse is up to 150J/cm2. Ephraim Greenfield, chief technical officer, Laser Measurement Group, Ophir-Spiricon, said: 'The 10kW power/energy sensor uses a reflective cone to deflect the laser beam over the peripheral circumference of the sensor.

'This increases the radiated area and reduces the power density to manageable levels.' The 10kW Power/Energy Sensor features Ophir Smart Connector technology that automatically configures and calibrates connected displays, including the company's Orion PE, Nova, Nova II, Vega, Laserstar, USBI, Pulsar, and Quasar.

Linear Technology has announced the H-grade version of the LTC3824, a 4V to 60V input range, low quiescent current step-down DC/DC controller in a small thermally enhanced MSOP-10 package. This H-grade device is guaranteed up to a 150C operating junction temperature range and is suitable for automotive and industrial applications subjected to high ambient temperatures, demanding a small solution size for output voltages ranging from 0.8V to Vin at up to 5A.

The device's 4V minimum input voltage supports automotive cold crank and the 60V maximum input voltage survives inductive load dumps without the need for external clamping circuits. The LTC3824H can be configured for Burst Mode operation, which reduces the controller's no-load current draw to only 40uA and safely powers pre-biased loads. The shutdown current is 7uA. With 100 per cent duty cycle capability, the LTC3824H has a very low dropout voltage, allowing Vout to approach Vin, a feature that extends the run time in battery-powered applications.

In addition, the LTC3824H can be programmed to a fixed frequency from 100kHz to 600kHz. For noise-sensitive applications, the device can be synchronised to an external clock over the same range. Its onboard Mosfet gate driver powers an external P-channel Mosfet to produce greater than 90 per cent conversion efficiency. The LTC3824H's current mode architecture provides fast line and load transient response as well as cycle-by-cycle over-current protection. Additional features include programmable current limit and soft-start, along with over-voltage protection. The LTC3824H operates and is guaranteed over an operating junction temperature range of -40C to 150C.

Yamaichi Electronics is now offering the FPS009-2910-0 push/push SD card connector with stand-off. The FPS009-2910-0 card reader has been developed on the basis of the established top-mount component FPS009-2901-0. It offers the same features as the top-mount component, but also has a stand-off of 1.2mm to allow for mounting of other components underneath/below the reader.

As a top-mount component, it is designed for the assembly on the top side of the PCB. A close metal cover together with four grounding tabs ensures good EMC behaviour. The reader is equipped with two card brakes that avoid the fling-off of the card. Further features include: smooth push-in/push-out card insertion and extraction mechanism with defined ejection; soft lock mechanism for the SD card; automatic card detection; and a write-protection switch.

The card reader FPS009-2910-0 is packaged and delivered on tape reel belts. This component for Flash memory card applications suits wireless communication, portable computing and end-consumer applications. Yamaichi Electronics offers this card reader with stand-off as well as a wide range of card connectors for all available Flash and SIM card types with different form factors such as micro SD, mini SD, SD, RS-MMC, MMCmicro, MMC, Compactflash, xD and so on, as well as multi-card versions.

Aaeon has released the EMB-9658T embedded motherboard, which adopts the Intel GME965 + ICH8M chipset. The EMB-9658T is an advanced embedded motherboard that features PCI-Express and IAMT2.5. It comes with an Intel Core 2 Duo/Celeron M (socket-P based) processor based on the Intel GME965 + ICH8M chipset (the ICH8ME is optional for RAID support) for a high-performance computing platform.

This model supports two 200-pin DDRII SODIMM modules with support for a total of 4GB maximum at a speed of 533/667. The EMB-9658T equips Intel 82566MM and Intel 82573L chipsets for two 10/100/1000Base-TX Ethernet RJ-45 connectors. For the expansion interfaces, one PCI, one Mini PCI and one PCI-Express x4 through a riser card are available. The EMB-9658T supports LCD/CRT, LCD/DVI, LCD/TV, CRT/DVI, TV/DVI, simultaneous/dual-view displays with LCD and CRT resolution support of up to 2,048 x 1,536 to meet abundant interface requirements.

It features up to 24-bit dual-channel LVDS, one DVI-I and SDVO. Display memory is shared by the system memory for up to 384MB/DVMT 4.0. The Intel GME965 integrates TV-out function that supports NTSC/ PAL/ HDTV: 480p/720p/1080i/1080p. The EMB-9658T also deploys the high-definition 5.1CH audio interface in order to complete its multimedia capabilities. All of the integrated features of the EMB-9658T target the digital signage, automation, gaming and medical markets.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

United Biscuits has specified Vicote coatings from Victrex to reduce the downtime required for the recoating of a compression roller and doctor blade deployed in its cake manufacturing facility. The compression roller, which is 1,200mm long and 355mm in diameter, is used for pressing biscuit crumbs, an abrasive and sticky food compound. The doctor blade scrapes the excess compound off the roller.

Traditionally, both the roller and the blade were coated with a stainless-steel reinforced fluoropolymer-based coating. The Vicote F810Blk coating is based upon Victrex Peek polymer. Working with plant engineers at United Biscuits, the coater, Metalcraft Plastic Coatings, saw the potential for Vicote coatings to enhance the longevity of the roller and blade.

United Biscuits is now using the FDA-compliant Vicote F810Blk to coat the doctor blade and roller and is said to be benefiting from enhanced wear resistance combined with good release properties. A key benefit of Vicote F810Blk coating in this application was that it is aqueous-based and contains low levels of solvents, which is important for coaters looking to reduce VOC emissions.

Gary Hull, managing director of Metalcraft, said: 'The previous coating was problematic and in line with new product developments an improved surface was required. 'When Vicote F810Blk was applied, a re-coat was not required for six months.' The increased lifecycle and level of service has led to United Biscuits' engineers to consider Vicote coatings for other applications.

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division has added the miniature remote CMOS IK-HR1H camera head to its high-definition (HD) camera suite. It can be configured with either of two camera control units (CCUs): the IK-HR1CD and the IK-HR1CS. The ultra-small, lightweight remote camera head is approximately 1.18 x 1.37 x 1.41in and weighs 1.76oz (without lens).

Toshiba's 1/3in CMOS sensor is said to be ideal for imaging applications where space is critical and the remote head can be linked to the CCU via a standard, power-over- camera-link (PoCL) cable. Two output versions of the IK-HR1H are available to deliver added flexibility. The IK-HR1CD camera control unit offers a DVI-I with 720p/1080i/1080p and the IK-HR1CS CCU features an HD-SDI with 720p/1080i video signal outputs.

With the optional auto and manual white balance controls plus optional auto and manual electronic shuttering, the cameras are well-suited for scientific/life sciences, microscopy, and diagnostic imaging. Other applications that require a small, flexible, high-performance HD camera include specialty broadcasting, reality television and sports, microscopy, industrial video/inspection, and aviation.

The BNZ series oil-water cooler from JBJ Techniques features aluminium fins and a rigid tube stack. The company said advantages include an extended cooling surface, compact design, low pressure loss, integrated test ports, cooling capacity up to 500kW flow rate up to 850l/min.

The standard BNZ series offers four shells with available lengths of up to 2,200mm. Newcool also offers tailor-made solutions to the most arduous applications and according to customer specification. BNZ coolers are suitable for all industrial and marine environments.

A consortium led by Prodrive has developed an approach to the configuration of DC/DC converters that will reduce the cost, weight and package space associated with electric vehicle battery packs. The system is said to address the spiralling costs of energy storage by increasing the voltage available at the traction motors.

To improve efficiency, electric motors require ever wider speed ranges; as speed is proportional to voltage, electric vehicles and hybrids are progressing from 300V to 600V systems. This creates a challenge because battery chemistry dictates the voltage per cell, so doubling the voltage with the same battery chemistry means doubling the number of cells, incurring cost, weight, and packaging penalties.

More cells, or a switch to an alternative chemistry, may also exacerbate challenges such as thermal management, availability, environmental protection and end-of-life recycling. To address this challenge, the consortium (which also includes the University of Manchester, HILTech Developments, Sloan Electronics , International Transformers and Newcastle University) has developed a bi-directional DC/DC converter that gives a 600V output from a 380V source and maintains its output even when the source voltage drops to as little as 200V.

The key is a new topology that delivers up to 97 per cent efficiency and is also low cost and compact. The power-handling capability is scalable, with development units rated at 50kW for full hybrid applications. The voltage of batteries (and fuel cells and supercapacitors) can fluctuate with changing load, but the Prodrive converter always presents the full voltage required by the motor. Vehicle architecture benefits from a reduced battery pack envelope and weight, and there is an overall cost saving.

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of Proficy Cimplicity Globalview. Proficy Cimplicity Globalview is a scalable application that is said to deliver the power of Cimplicity to remote clients, enabling real-time monitoring, data analysis and plant-floor control from within a web browser. Globalview provides a full-featured HMI/Scada client delivered over the web so operators, engineers and managers can view, react, and operate from wherever they are. This enables efficient response to situations avoiding downtime, lost batches or catastrophic events.

It also transforms the way teams work and collaborate because with Globalview, multiple users can connect to the same system to analyse the situation and make quick, fact-based decisions. The company added that ease of installation makes Globalview a quick add-on for existing and new systems.

Globalview also introduces Relay Server, which makes deploying HMI/Scada on a large scale possible. With a Relay Server deployed in the Globalview architecture and multiple Globalview servers underneath, customers have the ability to globalise their applications and support hundreds of simultaneous users with the only limitation being server hardware.

The software capability is said to open doors to web-only Cimplicity-based applications providing the ability to connect to previous versions of Cimplicity without any additional development. The product has been developed on top of Cimplicity, so it complies with GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms' open and layered strategy.

The Flir i7 infrared camera is designed to investigate faults in building fabric and operations, and check for electrical and mechanical faults. It can detect missing insulation, check the efficiency of heating and electrical systems or investigate energy waste.

The Flir i7 extends the specifications of the i5 compact range to include 120 x 120 pixels resolution with increased field of view and higher thermal sensitivity. It is designed for tough onsite use and has a double-moulded construction. Weighing 340g it meets IP43 dust/splashproof standards, has a shock rating of 25G and a vibration rating of 2G.

A rechargeable battery allows more than four hours of continuous operation. Images are viewed on the camera's 71mm high-resolution colour LCD and their transfer to a PC is accomplished via the microSD card or USB connection. Flir's radiometric JPEG format allows temperature data to be analysed directly from a common image format using Flir's Quickreport software that is standard with the camera package.

No complicated export routines need to be followed so that inspection findings can be shared. The radiometric JPEGs and MSWord reports can simply be emailed as attachments. Other features of the new Flir i7 are intuitive menu navigation, a thumbnail gallery and a focus-free lens that makes it even easier for a novice to take advantage of thermal imaging. Three measurement modes are available for extensive analysis: spot (centre), area (minimum/maximum) and isotherm (above/below).

Image controls include three palette options: iron, rainbow and black and white. The Flir i7 camera package includes a 512Mb microSD card, miniSD adaptor, Li-ion rechargeable battery with AC adaptor/charger, Quickreport software, USB cable, built-in lens protector, hand strap and hard case.

SRB bearings and housings may be mounted in a variety of Revolvo support units according to the application and loading constraints. A number of variants are available as standard types with other unit types available on request.

SRB can also offer a design and manufacturing facility to produce bespoke units to cover more specialised applications. SRB flange units also allow bearings to be mounted against horizontal or vertical faces. The use of Grade 250 cast iron ensures a durable unit.

Hanger units are a compact unit used for supporting screw conveyors or similar equipment. Take-up Units are sliding units that can be used to tension conveyor and elevator systems. Both pull and push types are available.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tyco Electronics has introduced a grounding connector that shortens the installation time of a ground wire to a solar panel frame. The threaded connector is inserted through a hole in the frame and uses two hex nuts to help provide a reliable connection.

The connector handles six and 8AWG (13.3 and 8.4mm2) solid uninsulated copper wire. In connecting to the frame, the connector body and the one-piece lock washer nut penetrate the surface of the aluminium frame, helping to create a reliable ground path.

In the six-second short-term current test, the connector handles 1,530A with a 6AWG ground wire. With an 8AWG ground wire, a four-second test concludes that the connector handles 1,180A. In UL 486A/B pull-out testing, the connector provides 100lb (45.3kg) with a 6AWG wire and 90lb (40.8kg) with an 8AWG wire.

Wolfram Research has introduced Webmathematica 3, a powerful new version of its technology for adding dynamic content to the web. Webmathematica 3 lets users quickly and cheaply build and deploy websites with interactive calculations and visualisations. Webmathematica 3 integrates the capabilities of Mathematica 6 and 7 with the latest web-server technology, making it suitable for creating websites where users can compute and visualise results directly in a web browser.

Webmathematica 3 is the chosen deployment technology for Wolfram|Alpha, a computational knowledge engine. Webmathematica 3 makes the calculations performed by Wolfram|Alpha possible by allowing users to tap into Mathematica's computational and graphic abilities without having Mathematica experience or installing it locally. Webmathematica 3 features expression language and custom tags. It comes with support for a more concise way to call to Mathematica from web pages.

It also contains a library with many useful tags, which provide valuable tools such as redirecting flow as web pages are generated. Webmathematica 3 allows long-running or asynchronous computation jobs to be executed by a new queuing system. Wolfram Workbench has many features that help to accelerate the development of Webmathematica content. Webmathematica 3 integrates with Wolfram Workbench so that Mathematica code can be debugged as it runs in the server.

Webmathematica 3 lets users write REST and SOAP web services that use Mathematica. A new, highly configurable logging system helps to track different types of errors and identify problems so they can be resolved easily. The kernel monitor has new code for monitoring memory usage, running time, concurrent requests and Java objects, which help to improve the reliability of the server. It allows starting and stopping of individual kernel pools, cancelling of individual computations and monitoring of queued jobs for progress and errors.

Webmathematica 3 launches kernels as soon as the server starts and launches all kernels in parallel, which helps to improve the start-up time for the server. It also has a number of new configuration tools, which limit the use of time and memory by the kernel; this helps to improve the reliability of the server. Kernels are automatically restarted in the background, so service remains uninterrupted. Webmathematica is based on Java Servlet technology, making installation simple and enabling seamless integration to standard server applications.

In addition to Wolfram|Alpha, Webmathematica is the deployment technology for web-based education tools and online calculators and serves as the publishing tool for interactive courseware and textbooks on the web.

Impress Sensors & Systems has introduced the XMD range of smart differential pressure transmitters for process-industry applications. The transmitters can be used for level measurement of closed, pressurised tanks; pump and filter control; or for closed-pipe flow measurement in conjunction with an orifice plate, Venturi or nozzle. The XMD range is ideal for flow applications due to the device's ability to switch the output from a standard linear output to a square-root extraction where flow rate can be output.

Target industries include chemicals, paper and pulp, petrochemicals, energy and power, food and dairy and pharmaceuticals. The XMD has a differential pressure range from 75mbar up to 2 bar and with a static over-pressure capable of 130 bar line pressures. The calibrated pressure range can also be turned down 10:1 times, which means that a 75mbar range can give a full-scale output at 7.5mbar, while still maintaining the 130 bar line pressure.

A 5:1 turn-down ratio maintains the accuracy of the transmitter, which is +/-0.1 per cent FSO. Outputs available are 4-20mA as standard with the option of having Hart communication. If this option is selected, the XMD is Atex-approved as standard. The device is safe for Zone 0/1 and an Ex d version is available with a flameproof enclosure for Zone 1 applications.

The XMD range is designed for harsh process manufacturing environments and so the electrical enclosure is a two-chamber aluminium die cast, powder coated with the option to include an integrated smart display. The optional display is an LCD with a visible range of 32.5 x 22.5mm. There is also a textual display and a 52-segment bar-graph that runs along the bottom of the display for easy interpretation of the output from the device. Even with this display option, the XMD is still rated to IP67.

United Biscuits (UB) recently specified a new coating to reduce the down time involved in re-coating a compression roller and a doctor blade used at its Halifax cake-manufacturing facility. The compression roller is used for pressing biscuit crumbs, an abrasive and sticky food compound. The doctor blade scrapes the excess compound off the roller. Traditionally, both the roller and the blade were coated with a stainless-steel reinforced fluoropolymer-based coating.

The new coating, Vicote F810Blk, is part of a new range of coatings from Victrex Polymer Solutions and is based upon Victrex Peek polymer. Working closely with plant engineers at UB, the coater, Metalcraft Plastic Coatings, saw the potential for Vicote Coatings to enhance the longevity of the roller and blade. Today UB is using FDA-compliant Vicote F810Blk to coat the doctor blade and roller and is benefiting from enhanced wear resistance combined with good release properties.

Gary Hull, managing director of Metalcraft, said: 'The roller, which is 1200mm long and 355mm in diameter, and the doctor blade, were both coated with Vicote F810Blk on the approval of UB engineers and the results achieved were impressive. 'The previous coating was problematic, and in line with new product developments, an improved surface was required. 'When Vicote F810Blk was applied a re-coat was not required for six months. 'The roller and doctor blade were recently re-coated by Metalcraft during a bank holiday weekend to reduce the effect of the down time.

'This increased lifecycle and level of service has led UB engineers to consider adopting Vicote Coatings for other applications.' The Vicote Coatings range of products consists of more than 30 different grades, ranging from electrostatic powder grades to the aqueous-based dispersion grades, many of which are enhanced by the addition of other additives to improve their wear resistance and release properties. A key benefit of Vicote F810Blk coating in this application is that it is aqueous based and contains low levels of solvents, important for coaters looking to reduce VOC emissions.

Airchannel is helping companies comply with legislation that phases out and removes the refrigerant R-22 from their compressed-air systems. Under EU Ozone Regulation EC2037/2000, the use of virgin R-22 refrigerant will be banned from the end of this year, as it contains ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). R-22 is used in a range of industries.

From January 2010 to January 2015, recycled HCFCs will be permitted but it is expected that supplies will be limited. For companies using R-22 within their compressed-air system, this could result in a significant operational headache. The likelihood of compressed-air systems using R-22 as a coolant increases significantly for equipment that is more than 10 years old. However, the legislation also represents an opportunity to help resolve two major issues facing industry - the rising cost of energy and environmental compliance.

Andrew Barraclough, national sales manager for Airchannel, said: 'R-22 will be totally phased out from the start of 2015 and relying on recycled HCFC is a risky strategy. 'To minimise the impact on their organisation, both operationally and financially, companies should address the issue as a priority. 'Essentially businesses have three choices. 'If it fits into the legislative timetable, they can run their chilling equipment to the end of its life and then install new technology.

'The alternatives are to remove the R-22 refrigerant and replace it with another compound that is suitable for their current systems and that complies with the legislation, or outright new equipment.' Airchannel has the expertise to make the required changes or advise if new equipment will be needed to comply with the legislation. It has worked with several customers in earlier gas-removal programmes and is now bringing its up-to-date knowledge of legislation and technical solutions to bear on the issue of R-22.

A number of new products have been put forward as potential replacements for R-22, although some require greater pressures that would have major implications for system components and current system designs. With higher-pressure gases there are several potential problems, such as whether the system can sustain the new pressure, requirements for all-new control switches and difficulty of oil changes inside the refrigerant. As a result this may not be a viable option on the grounds of cost.

However, Barraclough believes the phase-out of R-22 should be viewed as an opportunity that will ultimately offer operational efficiency and has the potential to reduce day-to-day energy costs. He added: 'Some companies are using the R-22 issue as an opportunity to review their entire systems, which has become even more important with the recent increases in energy prices.

'Airchannel has looked to improve efficiency and provide overall savings benefits through updating systems, advising of changes in operational practice or, as a last resort, replacement equipment. 'It is very easy for businesses to take their systems for granted. 'But this is an issue that has a deadline and needs addressing to ensure the appropriate action can be taken in time.' Any company in doubt as to the coolant used in its compressed-air system should contact an independent expert to arrange for an assessment as soon as possible.