Friday, January 29, 2010

Toshiba Electronics Europe has launched a 16-channel light-emitting-diode (LED) driver that combines brightness control with a built-in pulse-width-modulation (PWM) greyscale capability. The TB62721 is suitable for traffic signs, information boards and other large-panel displays requiring the accurate and reliable control of multiple-colour LEDs.

The new driver can deliver output voltages of up to 38V and provide constant currents of between 2mA and 80mA per channel using a single resistor. All of the functionality needed to deliver 256-step output brightness control is integrated into the device, while the onboard PWM capability provides 65,536-step greyscale control per channel. Both the output-to-output accuracy and IC-to-IC accuracy of the TB62721 are 1.5 per cent.

This allows large displays based on multiple LED chains and drivers to maintain consistent brightness levels within very tight tolerances. Designed for secure, reliable operation, the TB62721 features onboard protection, including thermal-shutdown, output-open and short-circuit protection, and a power-on-reset function.

The TB62721 is supplied in an SSOP24 package and can operate with input voltages ranging from 3.3V to 5.0V. Interfaces are fully BiCMOS compatible and the device can handle serial input data rates to 30MHz.

Yamaichi Electronics has introduced the PJS008U-3000-0 manual micro SD card reader for vertical insertion and extraction, such as in the 90-degree angle to the printed circuit board (PCB). The PJS008U-3000-0 is a manual micro SD card reader for all micro SD cards in compliance with the specification of the micro SD card standard. The positioning pins and the DIP connection to the PCB ensure the secure fixing of the card reader on the PCB.

As a result, the PJS008U-3000-0 is as stable as the horizontal micro SD card readers and has all the same attributes as the 180-degree version. An advantage of the vertical assembly is the small space requirement of only 4.97mm in width and 12mm in length. According to the company, 10,000 mating cycles are assured thanks to gold-plated contacts.

The insulation body is out of LCP and completely encloses the micro SD card, thus giving additional protection against external impacts. The PJS008U-3000-0 provides the full functionality of an all-purpose micro SD card reader together with the advantages of a vertical PCB assembly. The card reader is supplied in trays for fully automated pick-and-place assembly.

This Flash memory-card component supports applications such as wireless communications, portable computers and end consumers. Yamaichi also offers a range of card connectors for all available Flash and SIM card standards, such as mini SD, MMC micro, Compactflash and XD card. Several multi-card versions are also available.

Microchip has added a new member to its eight- and 14-pin PIC16F61X 8-bit PIC microcontroller (MCU) range, targeting cost-effective general-purpose applications. The PIC12F617 MCU features 3.5Kbyte of self-programmable Flash program memory (with a self-read-write capability) and peripherals such as a 10-bit analogue-to-digital converter (ADC), a comparator, a pulse-width modulator (PWM) and a VREF for closed-loop-control applications - all in a miniature 3 x 3mm DFN package.

The Flash programmable memory with a self-read-write capability serves as a low-cost alternative to data EEPROM and is useful when an application requires remote updates or the ability to store system data or look-up tables. The MCU features an 8MHz internal oscillator, an on-chip four-channel 10-bit ADC, a comparator with hysteresis and a PWM with complementary outputs that provide a framework for applications such as light-emitting-diode control, motor control, capacitive touch keys and system monitors.

Microchip has also announced a price reduction on the rest of the PIC16F61X members, including the PIC12F609, PIC12F615, PIC16F610 and PIC16F616 MCUs and their corresponding high-voltage variants. Microchip's complete suite of standard development tools can be used with the PIC12F617 MCU, including the free MPLAB IDE, along with the Hi-Tech C compiler for PIC12 MCUs.

The Hi-Tech Lite edition is a free, fully functional compiler with no time limitations. The MPLAB ICD eight- and 14-pin debugging header (part number AC162083, priced at USD35 or GBP22) is required for debugging the PIC16F616 and PIC12F617 devices.

California Micro Devices has introduced the latest products in the Luxguard range of turnkey solutions. These solutions are suitable for the electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection and thermal management of high-power, high-brightness light-emitting-diode (HBLED) lighting applications. The new Luxguard CM1753 and CM1754 products feature a 50V breakdown voltage specification and deliver an 8kV human-body model (HBM) of ESD protection with low input capacitance for high-power HBLED lighting applications.

Designed as silicon-based side-mount ESD protectors, the CM1753 is designed for P-up common cathode configurations and the CM1754 provides identical protection for N-up common anode configurations. A tiny form factor enables the devices to be used in existing HBLED lamp modules, with the number of LEDs in the string ranging from one to 15. Luxguard products for HBLEDs include silicon submounts and side-mount TVS diodes.

Luxguard submounts provide integrated ESD protection at levels exceeding 15kV HBM. The submount also helps to cushion the LED from stress as a result of thermal expansion coefficient differences between the LED and the lead frame, while the option of an aluminium top coat provides improved reflectivity. CMD also offers TVS diodes mounted next to the LED die within the LED fixture.

ESD ratings vary based on die size and are typically between 8kV and 30kV HBM. The Luxguard CM1753 and CM1754 devices are offered in a die form and can be integrated into existing or new HBLED lamp modules. Samples are available now for the CM1753 and theCM1754, with full production in the second quarter of 2010.

AE Techron has developed the 7224 precision amplifier for the EMC compliance testing market. The precision amplifier can be used in a range of susceptibility test standards, including Ford EMC-CS-2009, DO-160, MIL STD 461 and T1.315-2001. Depending on the configuration, the 7224 can produce up to 1,500W and has an operating bandwidth of DC to 200kHz and a 70V/ms slew rate.

The precision amplifier can produce up to 30A of 13.5VDC with 2Vs peak to peak of line disturbances from DC to 150kHz. It can also produce up to 160Vp and 50Ap. The 7224 features a small chassis size (2U rack space, 45lb) for bench-top or rack-mounted operation. The amplifier will be available from 1 March 2010.

Ophir-Spiricon has launched the PD300-R line of circular photodiode sensors. Identical in performance to the company's PD300 laser detectors, the PD300-R sensors feature a round geometry to facilitate mounting and centring on collinear optical bench systems. SM-1 mounting threads on all components ensure a fit with most optics. The sensors are designed to detect a range of light levels, from 500pW to 3W.

Each device has a built-in filter that reduces the light level on the detector and allows measurements of up to 30mW without saturation. A second, removable filter allows measurement up to 3W.

Four models are available: the PD300-R measures from 500pW to 30mW filter-out, 200uW to 300mW filter-in and wavelengths from 200nm to 1,800nm; the PD300-R-3W measures from 5nW to 100mW filter-out, 200uW to 3W filter-in and wavelengths from 200nm to 1,800nm; the PD300-R-UV measures from 20pW to 3mW filter-out, 2uW to 300mW filter-in and wavelengths from 200nm to 1,100nm; and the PD300-R-IR measures from 5nW to 30mW filter-out, 200uW to 300mW filter-in and wavelengths from 700nm to 1,800nm.

The PD300-R circular photodiode sensors work with all Ophir smart meters and PC interfaces, including the Orion PE, Nova, Nova II, Vega and Laserstar meters and the Juno and Pulsar PC interfaces. Each display features a 'smart connector' interface that automatically configures and calibrates the display when plugged into one of the company's measurement heads. The PD300-R circular photodiode sensors are available now. OEM pricing is available on request.

EMKA's 1022 programme quarter-turn locks or 'mini-locks' have the same capabilities as the larger versions but in a miniature package. The mini-locks are suitable for small cabinets, wall-mount enclosures, access panels or other housings. They are useful where space and design limitations demand easy operation as well as a good level of rugged serviceability, according to the company.

The 1022 programme locks are also available with additional sealing rings for applications where protection to IP65 is important; for heavy dust environments, a special dust cap can further improve the sealing capability. The mini-locks are quick to fit and feature either a standard 14mm square hole for nut fixing or a 15 x 18mm double-D hole suitable for spring fix lock bodies, thus enabling quick installation in production situations (not to IP65).

In order to cover a range of operational needs, the 1022 programme can be supplied with cylinder locks/inserts to take square or triangular keys or slotted for screwdriver opening. The wing-knob design is often preferred as it enables a greater turning/closure force for improved gasket pull-down and enhanced sealing. EMKA claims that the wing-knob style also offers easier operation, such as for gloved hands.

The lock types are complemented by standard cams, which allow installers to adapt to varying door/frame depths and gasket thicknesses ranging from 7.55mm up to 19.5mm in depth. The company offers the 1022 programme in zinc die with a black powder coat or a chrome finish, as well as in stainless steel or in reinforced polyamide.

ON Semiconductor has expanded its range of clock drivers with the release of the NB7L585, NB7L585R, NB7V585M and NB7V586M differential 2:1 mux input to 1:6 devices. It has also introduced the NB6HQ14M and NB7HQ14M 1:4 fan-out clock/data drivers with equalisation. The NB6HQ14M and the NB7HQ14M integrate a selectable equaliser receiver into a differential 1:4 CML clock driver.

When placed in series with a data path operating at up to 6.5Gbit per second (Gbps) or 10Gbps, the inputs will compensate the degraded signal and output four identical CML copies of the original input signal. The serial data rate is thereby increased by reducing the inter-symbol interference (ISI) caused by losses in the copper interconnect or long cables. The NB7L585, the NB7L585R, the NB7V585M and the NB7V586M are the newest members of the Gigacomm range, representing a new 2:1:6 function integrating a 2:1 mux with a 1:6 fan-out buffer.

The NB7L585 and the NB7L585R are 2.5V/3.3V devices with either low-voltage positive emitter coupled logic (LVPECL) output or reduced swing emitter coupled logic (RSECL) output of 400mV peak to peak, respectively. The NB7L585 operates up to 5GHz or 8Gbps and the NB7L585R operates up to 7GHz or 10Gbps. The NB7V585M is an ultra-low-voltage device operating from a 1.8V/2.5V power supply. The NB7V586M operates from an ultra-low 1.8V supply and offers the six outputs configured as three banks of two differential pairs.

Each bank of outputs has the flexibility to be powered by any combination of either 1.8V or 1.2V supplies. Both devices operate up to clock/data rates of 6GHz/10Gbps. These clock drivers are suitable for use in Sonet, Gigabit Ethernet, fibre-channel, backplane and other clock/data distribution applications. The ambient operating temperature of each of these devices covers -40C to +85C. Prices for the NB7L585, the NB7L585R, the NB7V585M, the NB7V586M, the NB6HQ14M and the NB7HQ14M start from USD5.25 (GBP3.24) in 1,000-unit quantities. They are all offered in low-profile 3 x 3mm 16-pin or 5 x 5mm 32-pin lead-free QFN packages. Samples are available now.

Elma Electronic is now offering advanced mezzanine card (AMC) injector/ejector handles. AMCs are the main boards for MicroTCA designs and are also implemented in some AdvancedTCA applications. The company's AMC handles feature precision milling, allowing tough tolerances to be achieved. Compliant with the latest AMC/MicroTCA specifications, the handles have a die-cast construction.

The ergonomic design features grooves to facilitate handling and positive detents at three positions. The Elma handles have an optional micro switch that fits all of the locations listed in the MicroTCA.0 specification. An optional light-emitting-diode indicator light guide is available with a die-cast zinc bright chromate faceplate.

The clear polycarbonate light guide snaps into the faceplate. Custom handle designs and colours are available and the customer's logo can be optionally integrated into the handle die-cast. Elma offers a range of other services, including silk screening, overlays and custom cut-outs.

Precision Devices has introduced the OC8037 miniature clock oscillator, which is targeted at extreme-temperature and harsh-environment applications. Extreme conditions are supported by the new oscillator, which provides a range of operating temperatures, including -40C to +85C and -55C to +125C; additional options are available to support even higher operating temperatures.

The OC8037 also offers a high shock resistance of 5,000G (at 0.3ms, 1/2 sine) and a high vibration resistance of 10Hz to 2,000Hz at 10G. The oscillator offers an operating frequency range of up to 160MHz with a square wave HC-CMOS/AC-CMOS output, a frequency stability of +/-50ppm output and two supply voltage options (3.3V and 5V).

Typical applications for the new oscillator include avionics and aerospace systems, such as airborne computers, cockpit instrumentation and displays, automotive systems and medical equipment. The new miniature clock oscillator is available in an RoHS-compliant four-pin SMD ceramic package with compact dimensions of 8.0mm in length, 3.7mm in width and 2mm in depth.

The OC8037 oscillator can be supplied in 1,000 units on tape and reel and is available immediately from Precision Devices and through its distribution and representative partners across Europe.

Marktech Optoelectronics has introduced the MTPS4088MC surface-mount point-source light-emitting diode (LED). The MTPS4088MC is designed to deliver consistent performance in demanding environments where space constraints are an issue. The 880nm point-source LED features a 3.5 x 0.94 x 2.2mm package with a flat epoxy lens and a typical power output of 2.0mW.

Developed primarily for optical-encoder, optical-switch, scanning and precision-edge sensing applications, this +/-10 point-source LED utilises an LED die configuration, which provides an unobstructed, radiated-beam pattern by masking the die and relocating the topside electrode. By eliminating the 'dark spot' typically associated with the centre of conventional LEDs, the point-source LED yields good results when used with application-specific optics to obtain the desired radiation pattern characteristics, according to the company.

The device also offers a low thermal coefficient. In addition to its newest surface-mount package, Marktech offers point-source LEDs in TO-18, TO-46 and Mini Pill packages, with other configurations available. Marktech's point-source LEDs come with or without optics to provide the designer with optimum flexibility in sophisticated design efforts, according to the company.

Point-source LEDs supplied with factory optics provide a narrow, near-parallel radiation pattern. The optical-grade, parabolic glass lens is specifically designed to optimise the effects of the point-source chip. Devices without optics are supplied with a glass window, allowing the designer to utilise proprietary collimating or other application-specific optics to take full advantage of the undistorted beam. Pricing for the MTPS4088MC starts at USD8.99 (GBP5.55) for one to 100 pieces.

Wolfson Microelectronics has launched the WM8912, an ultra-low-power DAC designed to extended playback time, reduce system cost and enhance audio performance in portable applications. These applications include media players, headsets, multimedia phones and navigation devices. The WM8912 features Wolfson's SmartDAC technology, a low-power DAC capacitor switching architecture, which enables DAC-to-headphone power consumption of less than 4mW.

Also incorporated into the WM8912 is Wolfson's Class W amplifier technology, an evolution of Class G, which includes an adaptive dual-drive charge pump and DC servo circuit architecture. The Class W ground-referenced amplifier technology uses an adaptive dual-drive charge pump to optimise power dissipation and eliminate the need for large DC blocking capacitors on both headphone and line outputs, resulting in savings in PCB space and the audio subsystem bill of materials.

The WM8912 also features a control write sequencer to ensure ease of system design by enabling and disabling the DAC with a single register write. Flexible clocking options are provided by a low-power frequency locked loop (FLL). A programmable dynamic range controller compresses the output signal ensuring maximum volume is achieved when desired. Used in conjunction with the Retune Mobile parametric equaliser, the WM8912 offers features to optimise the performance of an output transducer, such as a headphone or speaker.

The total package is said to allow consumer electronics designers to develop highly differentiated end products at a reduced cost. The WM8912 is available for sampling in a 32-pin 4x4mm QFN package. WM8912 customer evaluation boards with the Wolfson Interactive Setup and Configuration Environment (WISCE) are available to aid device evaluation and development. WISCE connects to the evaluation board over USB and offers an interactive register map interface. This interface provides good control and overview of the device settings.

Cypress Semiconductor has demonstrated a tablet-sized capacitive touchscreen technology with unlimited finger-tracking capability. Cypress has released a video, available on its website, that features a demonstration of a user simultaneously manipulating multiple pictures on the screen. The technology, based on Cypress's Truetouch touchscreen solution for smaller-size portable electronics, will power touchscreens from 7-17in, with full multi-touch support.

The inclusion of multi-touch support in the Windows 7 operating system has opened up the large laptop, netbook and tablet PC market to touchscreen interfaces. Multi-touch capability is a key requirement for enabling designers to develop innovative applications and ways for the user to interact with his or her PC. Cypress's Truetouch devices enable designers to create new usage models for products such as tablet PCs, notebooks, netbooks, mobile handsets, portable media players (PMPs), GPS systems and other products.

Truetouch technology provides the most flexible touchscreen architecture, allowing designers to implement differentiated features with Cypress's legendary noise immunity, based on patented capacitive sensing technology for flawless operation in noisy RF and LCD environments.

RS Components has introduced Ecowire, Alpha Wire's new environmentally friendly hook-up wire. Ecowire achieves expanded functionality over standard PVC-based hook-up wire with insulation that is fully recyclable. Using a modified polyphenylene ether (mPPE) thermoplastic that is inherently lighter, tougher and more durable than PVC, Ecowire is non-halogenic and does not contain any heavy metal pigments. The result is UL-approved AWM wire that helps manufacturers meet Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) requirements.

While PVC insulation is currently a mainstay of the wire and cable industry because of its mechanical and electrical properties and low cost, it presents environmental concerns. PVC is a halogen-containing material that emits toxic gases, toxic smoke and toxic acids when burned that are hazardous to health and equipment. Newer materials, principally low-smoke, zero-halogen (LSZH) plastics, emit no dangerous gases or smoke when burned.

The drawback to LSZH is that it cannot be conveniently recycled and reused. Like PVC, it will sit in a landfill for centuries. Alpha Wire's new Ecowire hook-up wires use flexible Noryl insulation to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to PVC. Noryl is an mPPE thermoplastic that is inherently lighter, tougher and more flame resistant than PVC. As a replacement for PVC, mPPE contains no halogens, phthalates or heavy metals and it meets RoHS and WEEE requirements.

It also offers a reduced wall thickness while maintaining the same electrical properties as PVC. The diameter of equivalent wires can be 25 per cent smaller with mPPE. The 1.03 specific gravity of mPPE is 25 per cent to 40 per cent lower than other insulation materials, such as PVC, polyethylene and cross-linked polyethylene. Along with the reduced wall thickness, the low specific gravity yields weight savings of around 25 per cent. Even with the thinner walls, mPPE offers 10 times better abrasion and pinch resistance than PVC, according to RS.

In terms of flame resistance, mPPE offers the same high flammability rating as PVC, meeting UL VW-1. Wires and cable with mPPE insulation meet UL 1581 requirements for operation at 80C and 105C. With a higher temperature range than PVC, mPPE does not require such secondary processing operations as those required with cross-linked polyethylene. The mPPE thermoplastic is more easily recycled because it does not contain hazardous materials. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has approved mPPE as a suitable insulation for more than 50 AWM cable styles, so it can be applied when a tough, compact and non-halogenated wire or cable is required. The initial Ecowire offering available from RS is a UL AWM 11028 hook-up wire in sizes from 28AWG (0.07mm) to 10AWG (5.37mm) in a variety of colours.

ITT Interconnect Solutions has developed a low-cost 19-way commercial Pogo pin connector and cable assembly. These meet the stringent electrical and mechanical specifications required in demanding environments, including medical test and diagnostic equipment such as diagnostic imaging systems.

Rated to IP 55, this new interconnect also suits other harsh-environment applications, including commercial-aircraft electronics, instrumentation and industrial equipment. ITT ICS's 19-way Pogo pin interconnect features the company's Pogo pin technology, which achieves low contact resistance of less than 10mohm and ensures reliable and robust performance of more than 5,000 mating cycles.

The commercial Pogo cable assembly (including bulkhead, front mount, receptacle cable assembly, plug with RJ45 and in-line plug-to-jack assembly) also provides exceptional EMI shielding, with 100 per cent effectiveness through the entire assembly. This harsh environment 19-way commercial Pogo pin connector features stainless-steel shells, snap-on breakaway coupling and an interfacial seal. The interconnect's mating system is both tactile and audible, with an ergonomic grip to provide easier handling.

New left- and right-hand plugs have been added to Tyco's line of wire-to-board, Eurostyle terminal blocks. This product extension provides additional configurations of wire-access angles to the standard 3.5 and 3.81mm vertical and right-angle headers.

Specific applications of this product include control, input/output and field wiring. A key feature of the plugs is their multiple-wire access angles, which mate with 90 and 270deg header interfaces. Their rising, screw-clamp orientation mates to industry-standard open and closed-end headers on the same centreline spacing.

In addition, they are end-to-end stackable without loss of centreline spacing. The plugs are UL recognised and serve the industrial-control, communication-equipment and HVAC-control markets. Other product options include custom marking, printing and colour selection.

Mistral Solutions has brought out Curtiss Wright's VPX3-129, a new and rugged power architecture-based 3U VPX (VITA 46) single-board computer (SBC). The VPX3-129 is a powerful, small form-factor SBC that enhances performance and advanced I/O capabilities of Freescale's QorIQ P4080 eight-core communications processor with an extensive I/O complement to provide a highly capable 3U VPX SBC.

This makes it ideal for a wide range of embedded harsh-environment applications, including tactical aircraft, armoured vehicles or rugged naval systems. The VPX3-129 has multi-gigabytes per second data flows from board-to-board via the backplane, and from the backplane to its XMC site to support the acquisition, processing and distribution of high-bandwidth sensor input such as video, radar and sonar data. The board has been designed to optimise functionality, reduce power dissipation and maximise system flexibility.

The board's I/O complement includes two Gbit Ethernet ports, four serial channels, up to 8-bits of discrete digital I/O, USB 2.0 ports and an XMC mezzanine site with 64-bits of I/O mapped to the backplane. It accommodates either dual SRIO high-speed fabric ports to the backplane or up to three PCIe ports to provide plenty of high-speed connectivity for the most demanding applications. The VPX3-129 comes equipped with a VxWorks 6.x BSP; a driver suite supporting Workbench 3.x IDE and Wind River Linux; plus a firmware set providing a comprehensive suite of system debug, exerciser and update functions, built-in self test and a non-volatile memory-sanitisation function.

Both air and conduction-cooled versions of the VPX3-129 are available. An optional companion board called the VPX3-215 is also available that provides two PMC sites and an XMC/PMC site.

Linear Technology has brought out the LT3758, a high-input voltage DC/DC controller for boost, flyback, Sepic and inverting power-supply applications. It is capable of generating either positive or negative regulated output voltages. The LT3758 has two voltage feedback error amplifiers and reference voltages.

One set is for positive-output voltages, the other is for negative output voltages, both off a single feedback pin, making the LT3758 a versatile DC/DC controller for many types of power-supply designs. The LT3758 operates from a wide input voltage range from 5.5 to 100V, which is ideal for surviving high-input voltage transients. This device can achieve efficiencies up to 96 per cent and is suited for harsh industrial, automotive, medical and telecom applications.

With a programmable fixed or synchronisable operating frequency from 100kHz to 1MHz, designers can choose a wide range of inductors and capacitors to optimise size, performance and cost. The fixed frequency, current-mode control results in stable operation over a wide range of supply and output voltages, along with all ceramic capacitor designs, enabling a smaller solution size. The LT3758 drives an external N-channel MOSFET from an internally regulated 7.2V supply.

Programmable soft-start enables control of the output voltage turn-on time. In addition, the LT3758 features a programmable input undervoltage lockout with hysteresis, along with output overvoltage and overcurrent protection. The LT3758 is offered in thermally enhanced MSOP-10 and 3 x 3mm DFN-10 packages, both with extended and industrial temperature ranges from -40C to +125C. The 1000-piece price starts at USD2.35 (GBP1.45) each.

The Harting Ha-VIS Pcon 2000 range of power-supply modules offers high performance and reliability in industrial-automation applications. The new units, which are mechanically and electrically compatible with Harting's range of Ethernet switches and other active network components, combine ease of installation with the use of redundancy modules to ensure high system availability and hence reliability in areas such as control and switch cabinets.

The new modules incorporate pluggable connections to ensure reliable and rapid assembly without the need for special tools. The range includes versions for voltages of 24 and 48V and power outputs of 35, 60 and 120W. Key performance features include high efficiency, extended input ranges, overload capability of up to 150 per cent for up to three seconds and low losses.

The range includes the Pcon 2010-DRM redundancy module, which incorporates dual 12-48V supplies to ensure redundancy in the power supply for components in control and switch cabinets. Losses in this unit are very low, with a maximum voltage drop of 300mV.

Harwin's EZ Boardware range comprises surface-mount products that improve manufacturing flexibility, reduce manufacturing costs and improve in-field maintenance. With EMC, shielding cans are usually soldered to the board as a secondary operation after the main automated-assembly process.

However, EZ-Shield Clips can be surface mounted, allowing a shielding can to be simply pushed into place during final assembly. EZ-RFI Fingers, also part of the EZ Boardware range, allow for a sliding or wiping contact and simply facilitate electrical contact between PCB and metal cases, yet saving manufacturing costs when compared with using grounding finger strips. When it comes to cable management, EZ-Cable Clips are much smaller and lower profile than equivalent plastic devices.

They are placed directly onto solder pads, thus negating the need to drill retaining holes in the PCB, offering further space and cost savings. EZ-Jumper Links enable designers to eliminate through-hole vias and multi-layer construction. Surface-mount assembly reduces costs and quality is improved through using proven and controlled manufacturing processing.

Lastly, EZ-Test Points provide technicians with easy-to-see test points and minimise the risk of PCB damage by incorrect test methods. Surface-mount assembly also cuts costs.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sherborne Sensors has introduced the A545 range of single, biaxial and triaxial solid-state linear accelerometers, designed to measure acceleration and deceleration in harsh environments. Available in ranges from +/-2G to +/-500G, A545 series accelerometers feature an advanced MEMS sensor, incorporating air damping.

Unlike fluid-damped devices, air damping is essentially independent of temperature, which enables the transducer to perform over a wide temperature range. Sensors are fully compensated for temperature effects on both sensitivity and zero, and incorporate positive mechanical stops. Housed within a lightweight (less than 40g), durable light alloy package with solder pin connectors, the A545 series provides shock resistance and over-ranging protection.

The A545 series is designed to operate from an unregulated DC power source and have useable frequency responses from DC to several kHz. Typical applications for the A545 series include data acquisition systems, crash testing, fatigue life monitoring and prediction, low-frequency vibration analysis and structural surveying. Custom designed units can also be manufactured and tested to conform to specific requirements.

All A545 series accelerometers are 100 per cent tested and calibrated at the factory prior to shipment, and are accompanied by a two-year warranty. A545 accelerometers are also part of the Sherborne Sensors 'guaranteed on-time delivery' programme. The A545 series accelerometers are ISO9001: 2000 certified and are backed by applications engineering support, global technical sales presence, repair, refurbishment and calibration services.

NEI Software has announced that it will unveil the next generation of its NEI Works finite element analysis software at Solidworks World 2010 in California. NEI Works 2.1 includes enhancements and additional features that address a segment of the Solidworks community that requires Nastran for finite element analysis (FEA) solutions.

NEI Software's chief executive, David Weinberg, will be available to answer questions as the company demonstrates the enhancements and new features of NEI Works, including new post-processing features, usability enhancements and optimisation, as well as new types of analysis, elements and loads.

A full list of enhancements can be obtained on booth 633 or during the company's presentation at the Solidworks World 2010 Certified Partner theatre on 1 February. NEI Works 2.1 is embedded in Solidworks and has Gold Product status, a designation awarded by Solidworks Corporation for products that pass its tests for quality and compatible integration. NEI Works relies on NEI Nastran solvers and incorporates a number of advanced simulation technologies.

PTC has announced that Raytheon has placed an order to standardise on PTC's Windchill PLM software across the company as the cornerstone of its global product development management strategy. Raytheon, an aerospace and defence company, selected Windchill to replace its enterprise product data management system. Windchill enables Raytheon to create a common global collaborative environment for product design, development and production in support of its design anywhere, build anywhere, support anywhere business initiative.

The use of a single enterprise-wide PLM interface will enable the company to quickly deliver new products to market. Windchill can help standardise common product development processes including change and configuration management, streamline product data and workflows, and provide immediate access to product information across the organisation. The software provides advanced search capabilities to support data reuse that can drive a more streamlined product development process.

Atlas Copco Compressors has launched a scrappage scheme for compressed air systems, offering GBP2,000 towards the cost of new equipment. With the Atlas Copco Compressors Scrappage Scheme, any compressor that is five years old or more, regardless of model or manufacturer, could be worth up to GBP2,000 against the purchase of new Atlas Copco compressed air equipment.

Those interested in participating in the scheme are invited to contact the company for an estimate of the trade-in value of existing equipment, with the reminder that the larger the capacity of the traded-in compressor, the better its scrap value. The scrappage scheme offer closes on 30 June 2010.

Alrad has announced that it is offering Streampix 4 digital video recording software, which can be used to view, control and acquire from multiple cameras simultaneously using just one interface. Streampix 4's user interface provides a complete management console for cameras, which can simplify the setup, control and acquisition from any number and type of cameras, both locally and remotely connected.

Streampix 4 can support an infinite number of cameras. The number of cameras supported is limited by a condition where the combined data rate of the cameras exceeds the PCI bus bandwidth or processor capabilities of the computer.

Features of Streampix 4 include: compatibility with Windows XP and Vista (32 and 64 bit); support for 100+ camera lines; works with any camera that has a WDM driver; record data from up to 16 cameras on a single computer; record directly to RAM for ultra-high-speed capture; and record to sequence file on disk (raw or compressed).

Gibbs and Associates has announced that it is now shipping GibbsCAM 2010, which includes a variety of new features, additions, enhancements and productivity tools. Bill Gibbs, founder and president of the company, said: 'We added many capabilities to make programming and machining easier and more efficient, especially with new features in five-axis and solids machining.

'We also implemented 64-bit operation to enable the faster processing of long programs and complex parts, added support for new tools and tool holders, extended functionality within various modules and extended and updated interoperability with various CAD [computer-aided-design] systems. 'All this is in addition to the recent integration of Volumill and making GibbsCAM compatible with the Windows 7 operating system,' he added.

GibbsCAM 2010 includes more spiral machining options, gouge check projection options, a lead-in/lead-out 'flip' option, an axial shift damp option for trimming applications and support for countersink and keyway cutters. A Surface Tools plug-in has been added to create surfaces for repairing or improving the machining of surfaces from solids. An Adaptive Cuts option enables the user to regulate the distance between paths based upon the angle of the surface to be machined to provide a consistent surface finish, regardless of surface angle.

The Impeller Roughing option has been enhanced with functionality that covers more contingencies, which is useful when roughing near and around splitter blades. A new option, called the Retract Through Tube Center, enables the user to retract cutting tools from angled pockets while avoiding walls, which is useful for machining cylinder head ports and similar geometry. A more capable Plunge Roughing option is no longer a plug-in but a tile in the computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) palette, with the ability to calculate material removal strategies that accommodate carbide-inserted drills, which require special motion for no-drag retractions, while avoiding collision in tight or narrow areas.

Enhancements to advanced 3D machining include the addition of Hit Flats with specified tools for pocketing, the ability to specify flatness tolerance in Flats Cut to ensure that all desired 'flat' areas are machined, a locking high feed rate for the Shortest Route and Minimal Vertical retract styles, the addition of Trim to Ramp Advance as a Contour option for waterline cuts, specifying surface finish with step-over distance or scallop height parameters and the use of the Stock Bounding Box as an additional machining boundary. Facet bodies, generated from a previous machining process, or brought in through a data file, can now be used as initial stock in solid pocketing.

The 64-bit implementation allows the user to take advantage of the more powerful multi-processor PCs equipped with 4Gb or more of RAM. This provides tighter interoperability with 64-bit CAD systems that are co-resident with GibbsCAM on a PC. Also, 64-bit operation reduces computation time when processing long programs or working with complex geometry. It will also enable users to take advantage of system enhancements when running under the Windows 7 operating system.

GibbsCAM 2010 includes features to extend functionality, including enhancements to the user interface and for the milling, multi-task machining and wire EDM modules, as well as new add-ins for data exchange to support Inventor 2010 and Solidworks 2010 and additional CAD file import and translation. The Macros menu has been enhanced with changes to facilitate access, to allow for uninterrupted operation and to support five-axis and advanced 3D processes and calls to plug-ins.

Precision subcontractor Barker Collins Engineering has installed five Doosan DB 130C/CX horizontal boring machines, supplied by Mills CNC, to exploit the potential of renewable offshore energy. Barker Collins manufactures large, complex oil/gas, marine and other subsea components and has won a range of offshore wind-turbine manufacturing contracts. An example of the type of work undertaken in the sector is the production of clevis joints.

Manufactured from cast steel and supplied in sets (one male and one female part per set) and weighing between two and two-and-a-half tonnes each, these clevises are machined on Barker Collins' Doosan horizontal boring machines in a single setup. Manufacturing times vary but are typically around 11-13 hours per part. Prior to Barker Collins being awarded the contract to manufacture and supply 106 sets (eight sets per week), the clevises were being turned and milled. Cycle times were long and transferring the clevises between different machines created delays and affected part accuracies.

Chris Carter, managing director at Barker Collins, said: 'There's a common misconception among some that accuracies and surface finish become less important when machining large components. 'But with our Doosan boring machines and our knowledge of how to get the best and the most from them, combined with specialised tooling [such as contouring heads and boring bars for deep-hole drilling and internal profiling] and our custom-built workholding and fixtures, we're able to achieve extremely tight tolerances [0.001mm] and superior surface finishes [Ra 1.6 micron],' added Carter.

Doosan DB 130C/CX's are travelling-column machines with large X-, Y- and Z-axis travels (4,000 x 2,000 x 2,000mm), equipped with linear scales to optimise accuracy. They each have a high-torque spindle (25kW 2,500rev/min) with a three-range gearbox for heavy-duty machining and fast/high removal rates, a 130mm boring spindle, a 700mm W axis (for extra reach across the table), a continuous B-axis rotary table that can be indexed every 0.001 degrees and a fixed-address 60-position tool changer.

Mott will display filtration products, flow control solutions and porous-metal technology at the MDandM West tradeshow, which is due to take place in Anaheim, California, on 9-11 February 2010. According to the company, which will be found on Booth 3,185 at the event, products using porous metal offer good performance, a long life and accuracy.

Some products currently utilising porous metal include various implantable devices, filters to prevent the plugging of catheters, drug-delivery devices, medical instrumentation, sparging devices for cell-culture processing and gas-flow-restrictor devices for gas delivery in life-critical systems. Mott's products are made using a variety of metal alloys to meet the requirements of several demanding applications.

The primary alloys used for medical devices are titanium and 316L stainless steels. Porous metal also offers a number of environmental benefits, according to the company; for example, mott-sintered porous-metal media can be completely recycled.

A range of workplace systems from Bott has been used to provide an ergonomic storage solution to meet lighting specialist Urbis's lean manufacturing criteria during the design of a new assembly line. When Urbis introduced a new street light, it needed to make significant changes to its assembly lines as the current setup was unable to cope with the weight of the product.

To ensure that the new production facilities fulfilled the company's criteria, Urbis turned to Production Design and Supply (PD and S), a specialist in designing and installing assembly lines, which proposed a solution using Bott's APS range of workstation systems. The problem facing Urbis was that the assembly jigs for its new Evolo lights weighed 11.5kg, which is 80 per cent heavier than those previously used on the production lines.

With an anticipated output of around 300 units per day, this posed health-and-safety concerns, so Urbis decided to install a completely new line capable of operating on lean techniques and specifically suited to the new products. In designing the line to meet lean manufacturing techniques, which involved implementing efficient processes and optimising the available space, the main issue to be resolved was the ergonomic problems associated with the repetitive lifting of the heavy pallet. Various parameters were drawn up, including the use of jig boards rather than carriages and the elimination of manual lifting; the new line also had to be easy to clean.

The assembly had to have good storage capacity for boards and stock and needed to provide simple access to components. Lastly, it could not take up more space than the one it was replacing. PD and S based its solution on Bott's APS modular conveyor and workstation equipment, designing some bespoke elements using its in-house 3D computer-aided-design software. This helped everyone involved at Urbis to understand how all the concepts worked and fitted in around existing installations on the factory floor.

Bott's APS range consists of assembly workbenches, workstations, roller tracks and trolleys. Roller tracks and ball transfer tables are a key part of the APS system and allow for a quick and efficient setup of lines designed to maximise productivity and minimise manual handling, according to Bott. A manual roller track system was chosen for the Urbis assembly line. The lighting specialist also decided to install two new lines, instead of just one, with a view to replacing two further lines in the future.

Nilfisk has claimed that it has the greatest amount of water-efficient scrubber driers approved on the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme's Water Technology List (WTL). A total of 49 Nilfisk models are now certified and listed on the ECA WTL. Models range from the 450mm BA451 through to the 860mm ride-on scrubber dryer the BR855.

Models are approved with the benefit of the automated chemical dosing system EDS - Eco Dosage Solution. The government is encouraging the use of green technology by setting up tax incentive schemes for companies that purchase qualifying equipment. The initiative encourages the use of environmentally friendly cleaning machines, and in particular water-efficient scrubber dryers.

Nilfisk has been working with ICCMA and Defra to define the scheme. The ECA scheme allows businesses to claim the whole cost of the qualifying equipment against corporation tax in the first year.

For larger companies, this allows them to save 28 per cent in the form of a tax allowance. Qualifying machines are listed, by model, on the WTL and the manufacturers entitled to use the WTL logo where appropriate. All companies, irrespective of size or industry segment, can claim. Claims can only be made on investments in new and unused plant and machinery.

Paragon Electronic Components' kitting solution is intended to eliminate hidden costs from manufacturers' procurement processes. Known as Total Component Management (TCM), the Paragon approach to kitting manages the series of complex logistical tasks required to create and deliver a bill of materials (BOM) ready to enter production without the need for further inspection or preparation.

The company introduced TCM in 1991, having recognised the cost impact of inefficiencies and delays in supply chains, along with the value of a complete BOM ready to use on the factory floor. Today, the service delivers resources to companies while reducing their total cost of acquisition by eliminating the hidden expenses involved at every stage of component purchase, from vendor management through to obsolescence, lead-time issues and payment processes.

With TCM activities including pre-production kitting, components arrive on the factory floor simultaneously and are ready to use, since preparation such as lead pre-forming and device programming is already complete. Equipped to manage complex BOMs, TCM saves time and money and increases flexibility through its Kanban setup, according to Paragon. A quality control system is designed to ensure the effective management of supply-chain issues such as counterfeit components and RoHS requirements.

Essemtec has launched the CLM979 radial component feeder that enables the assembly of through-hole LEDs on a standard pick-and-place machine. The feeder releases LEDs from the tape, cuts the wire ends and prepares the component for pickup. Typically two different machines have been required for mixed placements: an SMD pick-and-place and a placement machine for conventional components. However, with the CLM979 radial feeder, a pick-and-place can accomplish both through-hole LED assembly and SMD placement.

Essemtec said this saves space, time and money. The LEDs are supplied in radial tapes. The CLM979 feeder transports the components, releases them from the tape, cuts the wire ends to the desired length and aligns them parallel. So-prepared LEDs can now be handled by the SMD pick-and-place with a vacuum pickup tool.

In order to guarantee smooth insertion of the LEDs into the soldering holes, the wire ends are inspected using optical systems (laser and vision). If the wires are bent out of tolerance, because of a bent terminal, for example, the component is rejected. The CLM979 feeder can be mounted in parallel to standard SMD component feeders - therefore, mixed placement is possible in one run.

Depending on the application, through-hole LEDs can be soldered using the solder wave or reflow soldering system (pin-in-paste technology). The radial feeder CLM979 is said to expand the application range of a standard SMD placement machine and increases flexibility. The feeder is compatible with most of Essemtec's automatic pick-and-place machines. It also can be retrofitted on machines of other brands.

Ophir-Spiricon has introduced the PE25BF-DIF and the PE100BF-DIF, the latest members of the company's line of pyroelectric detectors for repetitive pulses. These energy sensors provide a high damage threshold, high pulse energies and a wide spectral range, according to the company. The PE25BF-DIF has a fast broadband absorber that accurately measures from 193nm to 2.2um at pulse rates to 150Hz; pulse energies are measured up to 10J. The PE100BF-DIF measures from 193nm to 2.0um at pulse rates to 40Hz; pulse energies are measured to 40J.

While most high-damage-threshold detectors require multiple diffusers to cover the spectral range, the PE25BF-DIF and the PE100BF-DIF use a single, removable diffuser to cover ultraviolet (UV), visible and mid-infrared wavelengths. The sensors work with most types of pulsed lasers, from short to long pulse and from low to high energy. The PE25BF-DIF pyroelectric detector is designed for medium-size pulsed lasers with high energy densities - including YAG, Holmium and Erbium lasers - that require high damage thresholds.

It features a 25mm aperture and a metallic coating that measures repetition rates to 150Hz. The sensor measures pulse widths of up to 5ms. The detector's BF coating provides a high damage threshold for UV wavelengths and ranges from 2J/cm2 at less than 100ns to 40J/cm2 at 2ms. For lower energy densities, the PE25BF sensor is available without a diffuser. The PE100BF-DIF pyroelectric detector is designed for very large pulsed lasers with high energy densities that require high damage thresholds.

It features an 85mm aperture and a metallic coating that measures repetition rates to 40Hz. The sensor measures pulse widths of up to 10ms. The detector's BF coating provides a high damage threshold for UV wavelengths - 3J/cm2 at less than 10ns. Ephraim Greenfield, vice-president of engineering for the Laser Measurement Group of Ophir-Spiricon, said: 'The PE line of energy sensors was created for repetitive pulse lasers with high energies and high energy densities. 'The patented design combines the highly accurate measurement of average power using a thermal head with measurements of relative pulse energy using a photodiode that provides energy per pulse.

'The combination allows the sensors to measure powers and energies only a thermal head would be able to measure but for repetitive pulses at repetition rates never before seen,' added Greenfield. Both the PE25BF-DIF and the PE100BF-DIF provide data about pulse energy, average power, frequency, minimum and maximum values, missing pulses, time jitter and standard deviation. Up to 50,000 points of data can be stored.

The display of pulse energies can be either numerical or graphical using one of Ophir's smart displays or PC interfaces, including the Orion PE, Nova, Nova II, Vega, Laserstar, USBI, Pulsar and Quasar. Each display features a 'smart connector' interface that automatically configures and calibrates the display when plugged into one of the company's measurement heads.

Advantech has again selected Zytronic's projected capacitive technology (PCT)-based touch sensors and is offering the option of a Zypos touch sensor in its latest rugged 17in (43cm) panel PC. The PPC-175T has a 17in colour TFT LCD with a 1,280 x 1,024 resolution and features a high-performance Intel microprocessor chip (Pentium or Celeron M), 2Gb of DDR RAM memory and a host of high-speed interconnects.

Designed for use in harsh industrial environments, the PPC-175T has an operating temperature that extends from 0C right through to +50C in humidity levels of up to 85 per cent and is capable of withstanding up to 10G of shock. It is also encased within an IP67-rated enclosure to fully protect it against water ingress. The 17.1in Zypos touch screen, which forms an integral part of the panel PC, is based on Zytronic's proprietary PCT.

The sensing element consists of an interlocking matrix of micro-fine capacitors, each one only 10um in diameter (a quarter of the thickness of a human hair), optically laminated behind a pure glass panel. The PCT sensor element is not located on the outer surface or edge of the screen, where it would be exposed to potential sources of harm, but instead embedded into a durable laminated glass substrate that can even be placed behind and operated through a thick layer of glass or polycarbonate for added protection.

With a pure glass front, the sensor can be completely sealed into its enclosure. PCT-based touch screens are suitable for a variety of heavy-duty industrial applications and can even be operated with a gloved hand. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, even in harsh climates, Zytronic's projected capacitive touch sensors enable a long and trouble-free operating lifespan and reduce the need for expensive maintenance call-outs, according to the company.

Crydom has added 36 new models to its 53 Series of panel-mounted AC-output 3Phase solid-state-relay (SSR) contactors. The expanded Crydom 53 Series now includes models featuring IP20 touch-safe covers with load current ratings of either 25A or 50A per channel at 530VAC. Designed for harsh environments and available with either AC or DC input control voltages, the new 3Phase models also feature IEC emissions compliance to CISPR 11 Class A and EMC immunity per IEC 61000-4-2 through -6, level three.

The 53 Series now also includes two new 3Phase solid-state motor-reversing relays rated at either 25A or 50A per channel. The reversing models include the same IP20 touch-safe design, Class A emissions and level-three noise immunity as the new three-phase SSR contactor models. Available with 3-32VDC input control, reversing models include a safety control interlock circuit, which prevents simultaneous forward and reversing commands.

All new Crydom 53 Series SSR contactors and motor-reversing SSRs are UL and cUL recognised, TUV approved and CE compliant to the Low Voltage Directive.

Axiomtek has released the DSA-146, its large-size advertising digital signage platform with 46-in full HD wide TFT LCD. The DSA-146 is designed to be installed in any public or commercial space to effectively convey digital content such as commercial, announcement, news and information, operating 24/7 as a non-stop service. The platform combines low-power Intel Celeron M 575 2.0 GHz or high-performance Intel Core2 Duo T9400 2.53GHz processor with Intel GM45 chipset to deliver good computing power and enhance graphic capability.

Its pluggable module architecture design is said to ease system configuration and maintenance. The DSA-146 is said to be ideal for a range of applications, including: shopping malls, corporate, education, hospitality, religious organisations, banks, transportation, retail stores, restaurants, theatres and more. For the DSA-146, Axiomtek has introduced pluggable module architecture design to advance system reliability and scalability.

Users can slot-in and out the pluggable module, therefore maintenance and upgrading CPU, DRAM and HDD is said to be easier and faster than before. For system stability, this fanless unit can self-diagnose LCD life and detect external temperature. The function of the LCD video alive detection can determine if communication between the LCD and system board is working normally. The built-in sensor is able to detect outdoor sunlight in order to adjust LCD colour/backlight automatically.

For green power concern, the optional motion detection sensor can switch LCD off or on based on human foot traffic. Furthermore, the DSA-146 adopts 46-in wide TFT LCD with full high-definition 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, which generates high-quality images. An optional touch screen is also available. For storage capacity, the digital signage unit is outfitted with built-in 1GB DDR3 DRAM plus 80GB SATA HDD. More features include VGA or DVI out, four USB 2.0 and audio (4W x 2 built-in side facing speaker).

Eurotech has introduced the Isis and Proteus industrial compact enclosures (ICEs), which are intended for industrial and light transportation applications. Isis is a CE-approved system offering fanless and diskless operation using the low-power, high-performance Intel Atom-based Isis single-board computer. Offering wireless communications, GPS options and flexible PC/104 input/output and communications expansion, the Isis ICE is suitable for asset monitoring and control, access control, communications gateway and in-vehicle control applications.

Proteus is an Intel Atom-based low-power, high-performance, fanless system in a CE-approved industrial enclosure, offering flexible wireless communications capabilities. It is suitable for infotainment, interactive kiosks and industrial and medical control. In addition to a range of standard peripheral interfaces, both systems offer wide input DC power supplies and options for the inclusion of wide- and local-area wireless communications and GPS receivers, allowing their use in wired and wireless net-centric applications, especially in situations where low power and high performance in space-constrained environments are required.

This makes them suitable for a range of applications in the infotainment, kiosk, access-control, human-machine-interface, medical, communication and industrial-control markets. They are both compatible with all major desktop operating systems and are available with pre-installed Windows XP, XP Embedded and Linux.

Energy Micro is to begin developing a companion range of low-power radio-frequency (RF) transceiver products. The company intends to produce RF devices consuming a quarter of the energy of existing products.

A complete range of RF products is planned for 2011, covering multiple frequency bands and supporting both standard and proprietary wireless protocols. Initial market sector targets will include energy metering, home and building automation and alarm and security industries.

Intersil has introduced a compact, scalable power module, which provides designers with a general-purpose power solution that satisfies a range of point-of-load (POL) power requirements. The ISL8200M is a 10A, integrated POL regulator in a surface-mount QFN package, which includes a pulse-width-modulation (PWM) controller, power Mosfets, a power inductor and associated discrete components. It is suitable for a range of applications in the computing, telecommunications and networking infrastructure, as well as in industrial markets.

The ISL8200M's highly integrated construction makes it simple to design a high-performance POL regulator, according to the company. Constructing a high-performance POL regulator with the ISL8200M is fast; all the user needs is input and output capacitors, a few support components and a single resistor to program the output voltage. The ISL8200M minimises the risk of product delays; the user just drops it on the board and it works.

Its compact 15 x 15mm package does not consume much area on the printed circuit board (PCB). With its thin 2.2mm profile, the ISL8200M can be mounted on the back side of the PCB, where space is typically free. Today, designers must use different power solutions depending on the output current demands. The ISL8200M enables a single solution covering less than 10-60A. This simplifies inventory by allowing a single part to satisfy a range of POL regulator applications.

The ISL8200M accepts input voltages from 3V to 20V and supports output voltages from 0.6V to 6V. A patented current-sharing architecture allows up to six modules to be paralleled for a total output current of 60A. Remote voltage sensing also assures precise regulation, even in low-voltage, high-current applications. Intersil claims that a programmable and synchronisable switching frequency allows designers to optimise efficiency and control switching noise in noise-sensitive systems.

An enable pin and a power-good indicator can be used to sequence modules to meet FPGA and processor power sequencing requirements. The ISL8200M is assembled in a thermally enhanced surface-mount QFN package with leads around the perimeter. This provides for reliable soldering, solder quality inspection and easy access with oscilloscope probes. The ISL8200MIRZ is available now in a 23-lead QFN package, with prices starting at USD15.86 (GBP9.82) each in 1,000-piece quantities.

Linear Technology has introduced the LTC2978 power supply monitor and controller for digital management of up to eight 0-6V power supplies. Configuring multiple DC/DC converters in an already complex system can be a complicated design task when using passive components. Values defined by external trim resistors and capacitors such as start-up time, set point value or switching frequency make a system inflexible.

To alleviate these issues, digital control over analogue power suppliers has allowed for quick adjustment of output voltages and precise protection, monitoring and diagnostic mechanisms. The LTC2978's PMBus-compliant interface provides easy access to an on-board EEPROM, giving users supply configuration, fault response and logging capabilities.

In addition, an array of supervising, margining and sequencing functions make the LTC2978 an all-in-one digital power management solution, simplifying the design challenges and reducing the component count typical of traditional analogue control. Linear Technology said the LTC2978 provides numerous functions with on-the-fly adjustments that make it suitable for digital power control in a variety of automotive, medical and telecommunication applications. An integrated 15-bit ADC and 9:1 ADC MUX allows the IC to accurately monitor and servo eight output channels and one input channel.

The primary PMBus operations include sequencing the start-up of supplies, adjusting point-of-load voltages using voltage-buffered 10-bit current output digital-to-analogue converters (IDACs), margining voltages to programmed limits and supervising output voltages, as well as the LTC2978's die temperature, for overvalue or undervalue conditions. The configuration settings of these operations are user-programmable and can be stored in EEPROM, along with any faults, allowing for discontinuous system use.

A programmable watchdog timer is also provided to supervise an external microcontroller, FPGA or ASIC. For applications that monitor more than eight supplies, the LTC2978 can be cascaded using only two connections. This high level of mixed-signal integration ensures that the LTC2978 can reliably manage complicated power supply systems with ease, according to Linear Technology. The LTC2978 is available in a 64-lead 9 x 9mm QFN package that is RoHS compliant, and is specified over the commercial and industrial temperature ranges.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ormec Systems has announced the global launch of the XD-Series indexer servo drives to provide reliable motion control capabilities for challenging applications. The XD-Series allows programming of 32 individual motion profiles, which can be mapped to I/O points, one or two functions per point, initiated via Modbus/TCP and chained or looped together. The adaptable I/O, with 14 inputs and eight outputs, can be mapped to change from position, velocity or torque modes during program execution.

Motion can be synchronised with supported machine I/O, allowing for start, stop or trigger speed changes, with inputs at any point in the chain, and user-defined units for axis position speed and acceleration, further simplifying implementation. By employing an HMI or optional Fieldbus communication, the XD-Series allows motion parameter adjustments, remote commanded motion and real-time indexer status read capabilities. Communication setup may be accomplished via USB or Ethernet connections, with Modbus/TCP, Ethernet/IP, CANopen and Profibus-DP options.

The XD-Series is available in 115, 230 and 460V AC input power options, with 3A to 60A continuous current ratings. The drives feature a built-in Motor Wizard, which simplifies non-standard motor integration and enables users to quickly commission unproven motors. Once the program and motor data are loaded onto the indexer, configuration data is stored both in the indexer and on a removable memory card, simplifying software transfer, duplication requirements and hardware replacement needs. Software includes extensive support for monitoring and optimising an application, allowing the application program to be quickly honed to perfection.

Ormec's software tools can reduce conventional setup efforts, from what typically was days, to a matter of minutes, with the supplied pre-defined 'load and go' application templates. The XD-Series is said to be capable of handling a wide range of motion control applications, including intelligent conveyor control, pick and place, labelling, flying shear, rotary knives, scanning, high-speed printing, part storage and retrieval, plus many others. The built-in features of the XD-Series allow it to support otherwise difficult application requirements, such as tension control, dual-loop feedback, registration, gearing, among others.

Eight of Toshiba Imaging's ultra-compact IK-HR1S high-definition cameras were recently used to film a 60-second commercial of a living-room chair as it was carried into space by a helium balloon. The balloon flights were launched from a Nevada desert and ascended to 98,268ft (18.6miles) altitude before breaking apart and falling back to earth.

The IK-HR1S cameras' compact size (1.75in x 1.75in x 3in) and the HD-SDI video output capability with switchable 1080i/720p scanning options made them suitable for this project. The custom-built camera rigging had Toshiba's miniature HD cameras attached to the frame. The lightweight apparatus, with a full-sized model chair made from biodegradable balsa wood, was less than 4lb.

Also attached to the rigging frame were four GPS systems to record altitude (accuracy was within 4m), longitude and latitude, and to monitor, via a computer satellite system, the location of the camera rig once it had fallen back to earth. The high-definition footage captures the space chair from launch to upper atmosphere, where the space rig reached the low pressure/temperature at the edge of space, and the helium balloon expanded (from its original 8ft diameter to more than 24ft) before shattering.

A lightweight seat structure from JSP offering a 2.2kg reduction in weight and increased levels of 'perceived quality' has been launched in Citroen's new C3. Engineers replaced the heavy and costly steel structure with JSP's Arpro, a strong, light and recyclable material. Material properties such as deformation resilience and moulding accuracy enabled Citroen to achieve improved alignment with visual design features such as leather stitching.

Paul Compton, JSP's president and chief executive officer in Europe, said: 'The objective was to create a lighter seat that could achieve excellent crash-test results. 'In prototype form, Arpro reacts in the same way as mass-produced components. 'This allowed us to create applicable parts quickly and without tooling. 'For a very small investment and within a short timeframe, we were able to validate and prove the concept in a real crash test.

'This gave the programme engineers the confidence to back the project for mass production,' he added. Arpro is strong and resilient enough to replace the metal anti-submarining ramp, which is there to help retain rear-seat passengers in their seats in the event of a vehicle collision, contributing to a simpler and lighter vehicle structure. Compared to the previous-generation C3 rear seat, switching to Arpro provided Citroen with a metal weight reduction of 1.79kg.

The balance of the saving is achieved through lower polyurethane content and a simpler fastening system; the latter serves to lower the assembly cost. Perceived quality has also been improved with the new seat design. This latest project follows on from other seating projects with Volvo and Daimler and applications for other global original equipment manufacturers such as interior trim, sun visors and impact protection products.

JSP recently completed a study to highlight the environmental benefits of using lightweight seating cores. The results of calculating a comparative CO2 (global-warming potential) figure for the production of an Arpro seat core show that Arpro delivers an environmental benefit 12 times that of its impact. Assuming a vehicle lifetime of 100,000km, Arpro can enable a reduction in CO2 of 2.65g/km.

The Industrial Division of Parker Hannifin will exhibit its latest nitrogen-gas generator for the food sector at the Gulfood exhibition in Dubai, from 21-24 February 2010. Industrial nitrogen-gas generators are an alternative to traditional bottled or bulk storage nitrogen sources in applications such as modified atmosphere packaging, purging, blanketing and pressure transfer.

A fully operational Midigas nitrogen generator will be on display at the show and Parker will demonstrate how food-grade nitrogen can be produced from a standard compressed-air supply, safely and cost effectively. The Midigas range, in addition to the Maxigas nitrogen-gas generation models, have been developed as compact, stand-alone units that allow food processing and packaging companies to produce their own supply of nitrogen in-situ and on demand. The generators are said to be capable of producing an immediate supply of high-purity nitrogen safely and reliably.

The Midigas and Maxigas generators require power and compressed-air connections to install. They are modular in design so that each system can be extended as and when nitrogen requirements increase. The systems use pressure swing adsorption technology, with pairs of extruded aluminium modular columns filled with high-performance carbon molecular sieves to adsorb oxygen from a compressed-air supply. The larger nitrogen molecules pass through each sieve to a storage vessel, from where the nitrogen can be supplied at carefully controlled pressures as a carrier, make-up or purge gas.

The generators are part of a wide range of separation and filtration systems available from the Industrial Division of Parker Hannifin. They are backed by a worldwide network of manufacturing, sales and technical support centres.

Newport has introduced a coherent anti-stokes raman scattering (CARS) optimised supercontinuum generation fibre device. Designed for use with 800nm femtosecond lasers, the SCG-800-CARS contains 12cm, highly nonlinear photonic crystal fibre with zero-dispersion points at 775nm and 945nm.

Two closely spaced, zero-dispersion wavelengths enable a stable, low-noise supercontinuum generation that also allows control of the spectral shape by tuning the pump wavelength. The fibre ends are sealed and mounted in quartz ferrules, with the polarisation axis aligned to a line on the end of the device. The nonlinear supercontinuum fibre is mounted in a robust, 25mm diameter, 120mm-long aluminum housing that can be mounted on a translation stage.

The pre-assembled product features a sealed end facet with beam expansion for easy coupling, making it suitable for spectroscopy and microscopy applications. The SCG-800-CARS will be exhibited at Newport's booth during SPIE Photonics West, from 26-28 January at the Moscone Center, San Francisco. It will be demonstrated as part of a Newport 'Wavelength Extension Unit for Ultrafast Oscillators' kit.

Amplicon has partnered with the Stonewood Group, a UK source of encrypted HDDs, to deliver PCs that are suitable for use in government and military applications. Used by government and defence organisations worldwide, Stonewood's hardware-encrypted range of Eclypt drives has been approved by HMG to secure all data classifications up to and including Top Secret.

This includes Eclypt Freedom, a USB hardware-encrypted solution suitable for protecting classified Top Secret data. Amplicon industrial PC systems can be specified for numerous commercial off-the-shelf projects. A catalyst for the partnership is a project that will see Amplicon industrial computers equipped with encrypted drives for a UK military integrator.

ITW Plexus has developed fast-curing, 1:1 methacrylate structural adhesives for turbine blades. These advanced methacrylate adhesives chemically fuse FRP/GRP, composite stiffener spars and perimeter flange joints. They also give increased peel resistance and cycle fatigue resistance while reducing damage encountered during transportation. Room temperature snap cure properties have helped to increase production rates and eliminate the high capital expenses and energy costs associated with post-bake ovens that are required to cure some epoxies.

No abrasion or surface preparation is required. The company's MA560 and MA590 adhesives are also claimed to increase blade performance and reduce processing time. Effective resistance to bending and fatigue is a major consideration in blade design as the outer composite shell cannot perform this function without the assistance of internal stiffening. Box and C-shaped structures are often used to provide the required bending strength and stiffness; these stiffening structures are bonded to the interior of the turbine blade.

As the blade parts are generally bonded together, strength and durability of the adhesive bonds are another design consideration. This can become a limiting performance factor in conjunction with the performance of the composite itself. According to blade qualification procedures, the bending strength and fatigue strength must be sufficient for a 20-year life, and part of the procedure requires full-scale test on prototype blades. Adhesives must withstand the centrifugal forces applied to each blade and display high resistance to stress, fatigue and ageing. To ensure long-lasting joints, the adhesive must withstand outdoor exposure, significant temperature ranges and lap shear strengths in the range of 4,000psi (27MPa).

As adhesives are used to bond two halves of a blade and the spar while filling substantial gaps on structures up to 60m long, they must maintain the bond strength for the blade's lifetime. Bonds must endure lifetime ambient conditions with daily cycling. Improved cure profiles and reduced peak temperatures. The adhesives developed by ITW Plexus for the wind sector are able to chemically fuse composites to give strong bonds. Superior bonding strength is achieved and little or no surface preparation is required. They give high resistance to stress, fatigue and outdoor exposure, and utilise a room-temperature curing mechanism.

As a result of using these products, ITW said that the manufacturer can expect to experience: reduced production costs; shortened assembly times; increased throughput; reduced component weight; improved blade quality and manufacturing process; plus excellent resistance to water and UV. Terom Wind Energy, Bologna, Italy, has used the adhesives in a a recent application. The company designed and manufactured a small-size wind turbine - the ATBV26 - suitable for low wind speed sites, using a wide diameter rotor and a very efficient technology involving a multi-pole direct-drive permanent-magnet generator, variable pitch, active pitch and yaw control system.

Nominal power is reached at a wind speed of less than 8m/s and energy yield is particularly high: 3,000 equivalent hour production in a site with average wind speed of 5m/s. Glass fibre-reinforced polymer blades have been internally designed and produced using a vacuum-infusion process. This system allows complete saturation of glass reinforcements with resin and offers a very good fibre-to-resin ratio as the vacuum minimises air pockets forming between fibres and the permeability of the fibreglass. Blade components, made using special moulds, are then finished and bonded together using a Plexus structural adhesive.

The total result is a strong but light product with very good mechanical resistance properties. ITW Plexus has also developed some adhesives/fillers that the company said are becoming a standard for servicing wind blades in the field. Plexus MA530 and MA425 adhesives can fill gaps up to 18mm in depth and are now being used to fill cavities. Because of their good adhesion they are less dependent on the condition of the surface. MA530 and MA425 do not require heat for curing, which allows a service engineer to carry out work in the field.

Castell has developed the BEMF unit to provide fast, safe access to rotating machinery. This unit monitors the motor and will only allow access to the machinery once the motor has stopped rotating. This is said to be more efficient than a timed system as it enables entry at the moment the motor stops rather than a defined safe period, which has to be set in excess of the maximum period the motor could be rotating for.

While the motor is running a key remains trapped, this is only released when the machinery is safe. This key is then used to gain access to the dangerous area through use of a Salus or an AI access lock.

Turck has announced a D-Size (1-3/8in) Powerfast Modular Wiring System designed to handle high-current applications for machine power distribution and motor control. The complete D-Size power distribution system includes three- and four-pin cordsets, receptacles and tees that provide up to 600V and 30A. Additional powerfast components include field wireables, closure caps and a tee with an integrated cable drop, which eliminates the need for two separate connectors.

Through the use of standard and reducer tees, it is possible to use a quick disconnect system to distribute power to multiple field devices along one main trunk cable, reducing labour and equipment costs. The D-Size powerfast system may be used in place of traditional conduit installations and is compliant with NFPA 79 (National Fire Protection Association Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery) standards. The scalable, modular wiring system is easy to change, modify and maintain, and it may eliminate the need for conduit and raceways. Cordsets are available with exposed-run PVC flexlife cable - guaranteed to endure 20 million cycles of continuous flexing, twisting and bending - in 10, 12 or 14 AWG wires.

All powerfast connectors carry IEC IP67, 68 and 69K environmental protection ratings, along with Nema 1, 3, 4 and 6P protection. The D-Size powerfast system offers male and female, straight and right-angle connectors, standard and custom lengths, and pigtails or extensions. Additional options include nickel-plated brass, stainless steel or clear anodised aluminium coupling nuts and encapsulated mating receptacles, in both 1/2in-14 NPT and 3/4in-14 NPT mounting threads.

Stealth Computer has launched the model SR-2625F, a fanless, noise-free rack server available in single or dual system designs. The space-saving 3.5in high (2U) rack-mountable steel chassis is said to be easily deployed into any standard 19in EIA rack cabinet. The Stealth SR-2625F noise-free rack-mount server/PC is engineered with Intel's Penryn family of Core 2 Duo Mobile processor technology. The fanless systems have been designed without cooling fans to prevent dirt and dust from each being drawn in that could potentially cause failures.

Each system features a rugged aluminium chassis that acts as a passive heat sink that dissipates internal heat build-up while providing noise-free, reliable operation. The dual system design option is said to provide cost savings in rack space with the option of having two systems deployed in the space of one. The SR-2625F fanless rack server features a multitude of I/O connectivity, such as: Gigabit LAN, 8-USB 2.0, 1-Serial, 1-eSATA 1-DVI, 1-HDMI and Audio 7.1 ports with optional Wi-Fi 802.11g.

Each system supports up to 4GB of memory and has a built-in 2.5in high-shock hard drive with up to 500GBs of storage space for archived data. For applications that require extra-high shock, vibration and wide temperature ranges, optional SSD (solid state hard drives) are available. Systems are compatible with Microsoft Windows 7/Vista/XP, Linux, and so on, and can be custom configured to meet the needs of the customer. The SR-2625F fanless rack PC is said to be ideal for numerous applications, including: audio/video recording; embedded control; digital signs; interactive kiosks; thin-clients; and human/machine interface applications.