Friday, April 30, 2010

The Amp Netconnect business unit of Tyco Electronics has launched a range of fire survival fibre-optic cable. Designed for use in installations such as tunnels, subways and other mission-critical areas where signal continuity during a fire is required, the cable combines rodent resistant glass yarns with an inner universal low-smoke zero-halogen (ULSZH) jacket, corrugated steel tape armour (CST) and an outer ULSZH jacket.

The cable is tested in accordance with IEC60331-25: circuit integrity, and is able to maintain a signal while being subjected to flame temperatures of 750C for 90min. The Amp Netconnect fire survival cable is compliant with the following standards: IEC 60794 - optical fibre cable; IEC 60331-25 - circuit integrity: optical fibre cables; IEC 60332 parts 1 and 3C - tests on optical fibre cables under fire conditions; IEC 61034 - smoke density; IEC 60754 - halogen acid gas emissions; ISO 11801 - generic cabling for customer premises.

Z-Communications has launched the CRO3450B-LF, a new RoHS-compliant voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) in S-band. The CRO3450B-LF operates at 3,449-3,451MHz with a tuning voltage range of 0.5-4.5VDC. This VCO features a typical phase noise of -112dBc/Hz at 10KHz offset and a typical tuning sensitivity of 8MHz/V. The CRO3450B-LF is designed to deliver a typical output power of 4.5dBm at 5VDC supply while drawing 20mA (typical) over the temperature range of -40C to +85C.

This VCO features typical second harmonic suppression of -20dBc and comes in Z-Communications' standard Mini-16-SM package measuring 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.22in. It is available in tape and reel packaging for production requirements. The CRO3450B-LF is also ideal for automated surface-mount assembly and reflow. CRO3450B-LF is well suited for fixed wireless applications that require ultra-low phase noise performance.

Low Power Radio Solutions (LPRS) has provided ITV Technical Services with Easy-Radio wireless modules to connect remote television cameras used to film wild leopards in Namibia, Africa. ITV Technical Services has previously used LPRS Easy-Radio modules to control an unattended camera on a farm in Scotland for a documentary studying the psychology of cats. As with this new application, the 'cat cam' camera had to be set up and left unattended for many hours and a system was required to maximise usage of the camera's onboard video storage.

This original system was triggered by an infrared beam detector and used the LPRS wireless link to remove the problems of running connecting cables in such a difficult environment. The designers at ITV Technical Services decided to increase the capability of the wireless communication system to control multiple cameras. Having additional cameras would allow filmmakers to cover more angles in the field and allow them to make cutaway shots and cross-fades between cameras.

The end result is a new system comprised of a base unit fitted with the infrared trigger beam and four slave units, each with a day/night camera connected and a 50W infrared flood lamp to light the night scenes. The system uses the LPRS ER400TRS-02 module for communication between the master and slave units. Jeff Bird, designer at ITV Technical Services, said: 'The LPRS wireless modules have proved to be transparent in use, making the additional wireless connectivity simple to implement.

'All the hard work is already done in the LPRS modules, leaving me with a small amount of software required to control the VTRs and simple interfacing of the Easy-Radio module to the microcontroller. 'One of the best things about Easy-Radio is that all data received is good data or there is just no data at all, and then you know to send the message again. 'I designed the system to be polled every 20mS to ensure good responsiveness. 'The most recent modification to the ITV wireless camera control system has been to include a GSM modem in the base unit.

'This makes it possible to leave the system unattended for days on end and send it a text message from a mobile phone to discover how many times the system has been activated and collect system data such as the state of the batteries, and so on. 'When a text message is received by the base unit, each slave is contacted via the Easy-Radio link to establish the battery state. 'A reply is sent back via the radio link - the information is collated, formed into a text and automatically sent back to the mobile phone user.

Ophir-Spiricon has brought out the PD10-IR-pJ Photodiode Energy Sensors, which measure very low energy, down to 30pJ. Part of the PD10 range of high-sensitivity silicon-laser sensors, the new devices extend the low-measurement capability to the NIR range, covering 800 to 1800nm. The PD10-IR-pJ sensors are designed for very low energy commercial and military applications, such as telecommunications and remote sensing.

The PD10-IR-pJ range can measure very low energies, either single shot or repetitive, up to 10kHz. The devices use a 5mm aperture germanium photodiode to measure pulse energies in the 200pJ to 20nJ range, with the lowest possible energy measurement as small as 30pJ.

United Electronic Industries (UEI) has introduced the PD-AO-AMP-115, a 16-channel 115V analogue output buffer amplifier for use with the company's Cube and Racktangle I/O systems. Designed for applications where the standard +/-10V of most analogue output cards is insufficient, the PD-AO-AMP-115 is a 16-channel DIN-mountable accessory that connects directly to UEI's DNR-AO-308 and DNA-AO-308 cards.

By setting the gain on the card and the external panel with the appropriate values, the output level of any channel can be set independently to levels as high as +/-110V. Software provided with the system includes support for all popular operating systems, including Windows, Linux, QNX, VxWorks and more. Windows/Vista software for the DNA/DNR-AO-308 is provided in the UEIDAQ framework. The framework provides a comprehensive, easy to use API that supports all popular programming languages and DAQ applications, including Labview, Matlab/Simulink, Dasylab or any application supporting ActiveX, OPC or Modbus TCP control.

Laird Technologies has introduced its HDDA5W HD series high-performance dish antenna. Offering antenna-system engineers one of the best performing point-to-point backhaul antennas available, the HDDA5W dish antenna operates in the 4.9 to 5.875GHz band and is available in four different models with two different gains and two different polarities: HDDA5W-29 29 dBi single polarity (horizontal or vertical); HDDA5W-29-DP 29 dBi dual polarity (horizontal or vertical); HDDA5W-32 32 dBi single polarity (horizontal or vertical); and HDDA5W-32-DP 32 dBi dual polarity (horizontal or vertical).

'With wideband operation, and available in a number of configurations, the HDDA5W HD Series high-performance dish antenna provides excellent performance in point-to-point links operating over greater distances. 'They incorporate a rugged design contributing to a long operating service life in extreme environments and comply with ETSI standards,' said Quaid Rasheed, BWA antenna product manager at Laird. The antennas meet ETSI EN 302.326-3 DN1-DN5 and EN 300 833 Class 1 specifications, the most stringent specifications for point-to-point backhaul antennas.

The unique feed system is available in a single polarisation version that can be mounted for either vertical or horizontal polarisation. There is also a dual-polarised version available for those systems, which can utilise dual polarisation to increase bandwidth or implement diversity. An optional fibreglass radome is available for added environmental protection. The HDDA5W dish antenna is designed for 802.11 applications, OFDM systems, cellular backhaul systems, point-to-point backhaul systems and public-safety communications systems.

Imagination Technologies has added the PowerVR VXD391 to its video-decode IP core range. An ultra low-power, high performance 1080p HD hardware video decoder IP core with multi-standard multi-stream capabilities, VXD391 now features the most extensive range of standards supported by a single video decoder, essential for accelerating all forms of video content found on the internet today, including Real Video 8/9, On2 VP6 and Sorenson Spark.

VXD391 supports MPEG-4 and H.264 profiles to enable customers to create a DivX-format compliant solution. VXD391 is capable of decoding full high-definition H.264 L4.2 (1080P60) and can simultaneously decode multiple streams to fully meet Blu-Ray and other multi-stream decode requirements. The highly parallel architecture of all VXD cores enables a typical H.264 high-profile HD stream to be decoded with a clock rate of just 70MHz.

Imagination's HD video decoder range is already shipping in a range of markets, including: netbooks, personal and in-car navigation, mobile phones and media players. PowerVR video cores are targeted at a wide range of applications, including mobile devices, 3DTV, HDTV, IDTV, set top box (STB), Blu-Ray and media players, and are supported by an extensive set of hardware drivers and a growing group of partners to provide support for the PowerVR video decode and encode range of IP cores. PowerVR VXD 391 is available for licensing now.

Xilinx has released architecture for an extensible processing platform that it claims will deliver unrivalled levels of performance, flexibility and integration to developers of embedded systems. The ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor-based platform enables system architects and embedded-software developers to apply a combination of serial and parallel processing to address the challenging system requirements presented by the global demand for embedded systems to perform complex functions.

The Xilinx Extensible Processing Platform offers embedded-systems designers a processor-centric design and development approach for achieving the compute and processing horsepower required to drive tasks involving high-speed access to real-time inputs, high-performance processing and complex digital-signal processing - or any combination thereof - needed to meet their application-specific requirements, including lower cost and power. A software-centric development flow is enabled by a processor-centric approach that presents a full processor system - including caches, memory controllers and commonly used connectivity and I/O peripherals - that boots and can run a variety of operating systems (OS) at power-up, such as Linux, Wind River's Vxworks and Micrium's UC-OSII.

The ARM architecture and its connected community ecosystem further maximise productivity for developers of embedded systems, while unrivalled performance is achieved by Xilinx architecting the subsystem around ARM's dual-core Cortex-A9 MPCore processors, each running at up to 800MHz, combined with the parallel-processing capabilities of Xilinx's high-performance, low-power 28nm programmable logic. The programmable logic is tightly coupled with the processor system through the high-bandwidth AMBA-AXI interconnects to accelerate key system functions by up to 100x, using off-the-shelf and/or custom IP.

This architectural approach addresses common performance bottlenecks between these parallel and serial computing environments, memory and I/O. It also gives the processor system configuration control of the programmable logic, including dynamic reconfiguration. Software developers can leverage their existing system code based on ARM technology and utilise vast off-the-shelf open-source and commercially available software-component libraries. Because the system boots an OS at reset, software development can get under way quickly within familiar development and debug environments, using tools such as ARM's Realview development suite and related third-party tools, Eclipse-based IDEs, GNU, the Xilinx Software Development Kit and others.

Demand for higher levels of embedded-system performance is being driven by end-market applications that require multi-functionality and real-time responsiveness, such as automotive driver assistance, intelligent video surveillance, industrial automation, aerospace and defence, and next-generation wireless. In the automotive sector alone, with more than 50 million cars produced each year and an estimated 600 million motor vehicles on the road, today's USD1.3bn (GBP850m) driver-assistance market is expected to grow to USD5.8bn by 2017 as manufacturers deploy more embedded systems in their vehicles to make them safer.

Research has indicated that 60 per cent of front-end collisions could have been avoided with an extra 0.5-second response time and that driver fatigue accounts for an estimated 30 per cent of all driver fatalities. As developers of driver-assistance systems pack more computer power into their applications, radar and infrared sensors, cameras and other system components must be installed into confined spaces within the automobile. The new Xilinx Extensible Processing Platform offers a single-chip solution for optimising application-specific hardware/software partitioning and accelerating functions in hardware to drive complex algorithms.

In a market expected to reach USD46bn by 2013, developers of new intelligent-video technologies need processing platforms for building applications that can automatically monitor video patterns and body language, combined with audio, to make intelligent decisions and send alerts, thus reducing the chance for errors. The technology is already moving to full high-definition video and frame rates up to 60 frames per second. The dual Cortex-A9 MPCore-based processor system, coupled with the massive parallel-processing capabilities of the programmable logic, enables this capability.

Developers also gain an opportunity for innovative algorithm design, scalability and field upgradability, within a familiar ARM-based design environment. Wireless telecommunication is being driven by the need for lower power, smaller physical form factors and reduced development costs, to support an ever-increasing number of users and data-hungry applications. New technologies such as 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) can address bandwidth requirements, but smaller, more efficient base stations are essential to meet overall market requirements.

The Xilinx Extensible Processing Platform will help developers of next-generation wireless base stations to meet these needs by providing high-bandwidth parallel processing of 4G signals in combination with multiuser data management on Cortex A9 processors - all in a small, power-efficient and cost-effective integrated solution. Because the platform is extensible, developers have the flexibility to implement future equipment updates and performance upgrades of both hardware and software.

Adlink Technology has brought out the Readyboard 740, a rugged EPIC single board computer (SBC). The Readyboard 740 integrates an Intel Atom Processor D510 (dual-core) or Intel Atom Processor D410 (single-core) with ICH8M chipset, on board SSD, H.264 hardware video decoder, networking and robust I/O in a small-form factor. It is suitable for applications in harsh environments that require high-end video performance, such as vehicle-computing platforms, self-service kiosks, digital signage and video surveillance.

Adlink's Readyboard 740 provides multi-core computing power with integrated graphics and hardware HD video decoder. Featured are a 1.66GHz dual-core Intel Atom processor D510 or single-core Atom processor D410, one SO-DIMM for up to 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, and a Broadcom Crystal HD H.264 video decoder. Graphics capabilities of the Readyboard 740 include VGA, LVDS, DVI output and efficient high-definition playback (1920 x 1080). Conducted transient emissions and immunity are well known critical phenomena for power supply in vehicular applications and other severe environments.

Adlink has designed the Minimodule PWR, an optional power-protection module to allow the Readyboard 740 to meet the specific demands of in-vehicle power environments. With the Minimodule PWR, the Readyboard 740 supports a wide input voltage range, reverse battery protection, overvoltage protection (OVP) and DC/DC converter, making the Readyboard 740 an ideal solution for in-vehicle devices. The Readyboard 740 is a PCI-104 SBC developed with the Ampro rugged-design methodology. To satisfy the most extreme conditions, the Readyboard 740 has an operating temperature range of -20C to +70C, meets MIL-STD-202 vibration up to 11.95Grms and shock up to 50Grms, and is ISO 7637-1, -2, -3 certified (road vehicles - electrical disturbances from conduction and coupling).

For applications that require ultra high performance, Adlink also presents the Readyboard 850, which is based on the Intel Core2 Duo processor and GM45 Express chipset. It provides high computing performance with rich I/O expansion, including the SUMIT interface. The Readyboard 740 features a PCI-104 bus for easy expansion. Additional I/O connectivity includes four serial ports, two SATA ports, six USB 2.0 ports, four COM ports, parallel port, GbE port and PS/2 keyboard/mouse. The Readyboard 740 supports with a full range of popular embedded and desktop operating systems, including Linux (Ubuntu), Vxwork 6.6, QNX 6.3, Windows Embedded CE 6.0 and Windows XP Embedded.

Polar Instruments has brought out a standalone automatic generator for impedance control and lossy line PCB test coupons. CGen 2010 builds on the proven technology of Polar's Speedstack coupon generator but adds the flexibility to directly import coupon data from manually created or scripted XML files, as well as from industry-standard layer stack-up tools and Polar Instruments' impedence control and lossy-line field solvers.

CGen is the first coupon generator to automate the creation of lossy-line coupons for the emerging class of PCB trace-attenuation test methods. 'CGen 2010 coupon generator provides a fast and cost-effective alternative to in-house manual, scripted or automated coupon-creation processes, allowing any PCB fabricator or OEM engineer to create accurate coupons in minutes,' said Martyn Gaudion, chief-executive officer of Polar Instruments.

A number of new features allow CGen 2010 to speed and simplify the coupon-generation process: real-time editing of the coupon, complete with error-flagging and automatic change tracking, allows users to add, remove and replace an unlimited number of layers to trial different criteria before selecting the optimum build.

CGen 2010 provides control over copper pours and fills and over dynamic adjustment of copper thieving. It automatically engineers the interconnects for test probes chosen from a range of industry-standard footprints. CGen 2010 automatically generates Gerber RS274X and NC drill files for the coupon and can export them to industry-standard CAD/CAM software used for the panelisation process. CGen 2010 is available now from Polar Instruments.

Synopsys' Designware Universal DDR Protocol and Memory Controllers both support the DDR2, DDR3, Mobile DDR and LPDDR2 SDRAM standards. The Designware Universal Memory Controller helps reduce both the latency and silicon area by up to 50 per cent compared with Synopsys' previous generations of DDR memory controllers, thus improving the DRAM interface performance and reducing overall chip costs. The Designware Universal Protocol Controller provides efficient DDR control and protocol translation for applications without the need for a multi-ported memory controller.

Both controllers deliver memory-system performance of up to 2133Mbps, the maximum data rate of the DDR3 standard, and offer a broadly utilised DFI 2.1-compliant interface to the DDR PHY. Furthermore, the Universal DDR Memory and Protocol Controllers enable designers to easily integrate multiple DDR interfaces into one design, servicing a range of products spanning applications such as consumer electronics, mobile, network computing and automotive, with lower risk and improved time to market.

The multi-port Designware Universal DDR Memory Controller accepts memory-access requests from up to 32 application-side host ports, each of which can be configured independently to be synchronous or asynchronous to the controller clock. In addition, the Designware Universal DDR Memory Controller provides high-memory bandwidth utilisation through transaction reordering, bandwidth allocation per port, and quality-of-service (QoS) based arbitration for latency-sensitive and/or high-bandwidth traffic.

Complementing the Designware DDR Universal Memory Controller, the single-port Designware Universal DDR Protocol Controller is designed to optimise memory-channel bandwidth utilisation with reduced latency, allowing designers to implement a custom memory scheduler that is optimised for specific DRAM traffic patterns. The Designware Universal DDR Protocol Controller supports 1:1 or 1:2 clock-frequency ratios between the controller and memory channel, enabling low latency in high speed, general-purpose process technologies and ease of timing closure in low-power process technologies.

The Designware Universal DDR controllers are part of Synopsys' Designware DDR IP offering, which consists of digital controllers and PHY IP supporting DDR, DDR2, DDR3, Mobile DDR and LPDDR2. The Designware DDR IP supports leading 130, 90, 65, 55 and 45/40nm technologies. Synopsys helps lower integration risk by providing high-quality DDR IP solutions that have been implemented in hundreds of applications and are shipping in volume production.

Linear Technology has introduced the LTM4619, a complete dual step-down DC/DC Umodule regulator system, including inductors and Mosfets in a tiny surface-mount package. The LTM4619 regulates two output voltages ranging from 0.8 to 5V at up to 4A each, from an input supply of 4.5 to 26.5V (28V ABS max). The outputs are regulated with 180 out-of-phase operation to minimise input ripple current, thus requiring fewer input capacitors.

This complete dual DC/DC system includes all the necessary components for two point-of-load regulator circuits: inductors, bypass capacitors, DC/DC controllers, compensation circuitry and power switches. All components are encapsulated and protected within a plastic surface-mount LGA (land grid array) package. Package dimensions are 15 x 15mm with only 2.8mm of thickness, providing a low-profile point-of-load regulator for more efficient air cooling in densely populated circuit boards.

The LTM4619 is a simple single-part dual DC/DC solution in an IC form factor, designed for systems requiring localised multi-rail regulation from input supplies such as 5, 12 or 24V. Applications range from avionics and medical systems to datacom and enterprise equipment. The LTM4619 has guaranteed total DC output error of only +/- 1.5 per cent, which encompasses errors from the reference voltage as well as line and load regulation.

As a current mode device with high switching frequency, the LTM4619 has very fast transient response to line and load changes, while operating with excellent stability with a variety of external output capacitors. The efficiency is nominally 89 per cent for 12V IN to 3.3V OUT at 4A. The device supports output-voltage tracking and safety features, including overvoltage and overcurrent protection. The LTM4619 is guaranteed for operation from -40C to +125C (internal temperature). The device is RoHS compliant with the ability to be soldered with Pb-free (lead-free) and Pb-based solder during board assembly. The LTM4619 is now available, priced at USD16.75 (GBP11) each in 1,000-piece quantities.

Texas Instruments has introduced the CC430F513x microcontrollers (MCUs), which are supported by a rich developer ecosystem, offering complete and scalable hardware and software. The CC430F513x MCUs combine the ultra-low power MSP430 MCU with the high-performance, sub-1GHz CC1101 RF transceiver. The CC430F513x devices offer up to 20 MIPS performance in a small package (7 x 7mm) and support security options such as an integrated AES hardware module.

TI is also expanding its LCD product offering with the CC430F61xx series of devices, providing developers with more options to meet varying design needs. With the capability to support multiple protocols and a broad frequency range, the CC430 MCUs, along with the extensive third-party ecosystem, spur innovation in applications such as home and building automation, smart metering, energy harvesting, asset tracking and portable medical applications. Developers can also immediately jumpstart CC430 MCU-based designs with the EM430F6137RF900 and EZ430-Chronos wireless-development tools, which include all the hardware design information required to develop a complete wireless project.

Eight devices offer non-LCD (CC430F513x) and LCD (CC430F61xx) options, as well as a range of pin count, memory and high-performance analogue integration to meet varying design needs. For LCD-based applications, the CC430F61xx MCU with integrated LCD capabilities reduces system cost and size. Ultra-low power MSP430 MCU core and sub-1GHz CC1101 RF transceiver are combined on one chip to reduce system complexity and shrink package and printed circuit board (PCB) size by up to 50 per cent compared with two-chip solutions. Devices draw low enough current to enable battery-operated wireless networking applications that operate without servicing for several years, reducing maintenance costs and overall BOM.

EZ430-Chronos and EM430F6137RF900 are complete wireless-development kits that provide all the hardware and software support necessary to instantly develop and deploy projects. A third-party ecosystem of hardware and software developers includes Amber Wireless, BM innovations, the DASH7 Alliance, Digikey, IAR Systems, LS Research, Sensinode, Steinbeis Transfer Center Embedded Design and Networking, and Virtual Extension. Software stacks and protocols are an important factor in reducing time to market for developers. TI is working closely with industry-leading third-party developers to bring various industry-accepted software stacks to customers.

Examples include 6LoWPAN (building control, lighting control and smart grid); Wireless MBUS (smart metering); Opentag, an open-source firmware library for Dash7 (building automation, smart grid and asset tracking); VEmesh (wireless-mesh smart meter and sensor networking); and Bluerobin (personal health and fitness) solutions. More information on the CC430 ecosystem can be found at the company's website. Production quantities of the CC430F513x MCUs are immediately available to order, starting at USD4.15 (GBP2.72) (1K units). Sampling in May, the CC430F61xx range with integrated LCD is also immediately available to order and pricing starts at USD4.35 (1K units).

Ant Industries has cut inspection times on complex parts by up to 83 per cent using Renishaw's Revo five-axis measurement system fitted to a Metris co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM). In 2008, when aerospace subcontractor Ant Industries carried out a study on its production processes with the aim of making improvements, it was clear that inspection was a major bottleneck. Shaun Rowley, Ant's manufacturing and sales director, said: 'There were thousands of non-productive hours a year where parts were either in inspection or waiting to be inspected.

'These are expensive parts without any value being added,' he added. To solve the problem, the company purchased a CMM equipped with a Renishaw Revo five-axis scanning system. Ant produces more than 1,000 different machined parts, approximately 85 per cent of which are supplied to the aerospace industry, requiring a high proportion of final part inspection. The company has to offer the CMM inspection of finished parts to its customers as part of the manufacturing process.

Some parts need 100 per cent inspection, while others must have at least one in 10 inspected. According to Alan Naylor, Ant's technical director, the new CMM reduces inspection time and measures complex features, such as the leading edges of blades. With an efficient machining operation, the company also uses Renishaw's spindle-mounted touch probes and tool monitoring systems for process control on its multi-axis machining centres and CNC lathes. However, Ant needed an improvement in post-process inspection. Rowley said: 'Our inspection method now uses a completely different approach.

'We have taken a big jump in a very short time from slowly taking multiple touch-trigger points with the old Tesa CMM to rapid five-axis scanning. 'The old CMM really struggled to maintain the accuracy needed; there were small but frustrating inconsistencies all over the measuring volume, which we had to correct to keep an acceptable standard,' he added. According to Rowley, the Revo system measures one type of turbine blade with a very complex form. 'Each of these blades used to take two hours to measure; now it can be done in 20 minutes,' he said.

Prior to the new Revo-equipped CMM, Ant had to analyse the form using a projector technique to measure the shape - a long and laborious task, according to the company. Now, the Revo system does the same job with a rapid profile scan, overlaying measured data onto the computer-aided-design (CAD) model and applying variable tolerances in different areas. The system has also helped to improve the calibration of the probe. Previously, it took around two hours to calibrate all the different probe angles needed for a measurement routine, whereas the Revo system calibrates in 20 minutes.

Ant needed the new CMM to be supplied quickly to satisfy the measurement needs of a large blade contract. The company decided to purchase a ceramic CMM frame from Metris (now Nikon Metrology), without a probe system or controller, with axis travel of 2m in Y, 1.2m in X and 1m in Z to enable the measurement of large engine rings. Renishaw then fitted the frame with its Revo five-axis measuring head and probe system, together with its UCC2 universal CMM controller. The work was done at Renishaw's Gloucestershire assembly plant prior to installation at Ant.

The system uses Renishaw's new Modus metrology software. 'The customer gives us some part designs as 3D CAD models, but most parts are defined with 2D drawings, which our CAD department turns into 3D models to enable the calculation of machining paths in a CAM [computer-aided-manufacturing] system,' said Rowley. The plan now is to train one of Ant's CAD/CAM team to also program the Revo inspection routines so that they have an overview of the whole production process.

'He or she will then be able to consider all the implications for machining and inspection when creating the CAD model,' added Rowley. Ant's machine shop includes 14 machining centres, most of which are fitted with Renishaw spindle-mounted touch probes or tool-setting systems. Simple load-bearing clamps are now used to provide approximate positioning, with the Renishaw probe systems and software automatically measuring the position of key features in seconds and adjusting the co-ordinate system to prepare for machining.

Keithley Instruments has released a tutorial CD that offers practical techniques for obtaining the most accurate and precise measurements possible. The company's 'A guide to understanding electrical test and measurement' CD is said to cover all aspects of measurement performance, including how to troubleshoot, how to connect and how to select instruments.

The CD contains a range of application notes, white papers and webcasts on a variety of test and measurement topics. Instrument options cover digital multimeters, source and measure instruments, and function/pulse/arbitrary/pattern generators. Application examples range from accelerated stress testing to wireless device testing. This CD is suitable for those looking for specific information on instrument selection and setup, or on applications in multiple areas and industries.

Laser Lines offers the complete range of Synrad lasers, including the FH Flyer Marking head and Winmark Pro laser marking software. For this application, a black painted stainless-steel water bottle was marked with a complex company logo. The marking setup consisted of a Synrad FH Flyer marking head and a 25W laser controlled by Synrad's Winmark Pro laser marking software.

The Flyer head was equipped with a 125mm focal length lens that provided a 180um (0.007in) spot size. This small spot size was required to mark the fine detail in the company logo. The resulting mark exposed the stainless steel underneath to create a high-contrast, shiny mark that was completed in a cycle time of 7.56sec per bottle.

ABB has launched the SVC Light (Static Var Compensator) with energy storage as its latest development within the Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) range. The technology combines SVC light with a scalable battery-storage technology - up to 50MW of power for 60min and more. ABB's SVC Light enables dynamic control of active as well as reactive power in a power system, independent of each other. Fast reactive power control means that grid voltage and stability can be controlled quickly.

Active power control is enabled with dynamic energy storage by levelling out power fluctuations from intermittent generation sources such as wind and solar energy. This technology also facilitates load support and ancillary grid services, such as area frequency regulation. SVC Light is connected to the grid at transmission, as well as sub-transmission and distribution levels, using power semiconductors. The energy-storage system is based on Li-ion batteries combined with SVC Light and enables an increase in the existing transmission capacity of a power network, while maintaining or improving the operating margins necessary for grid stability. SVC Light provides fast-acting reactive power compensation in high-voltage electricity networks.

Aaxeon has released the APC-100 1,000mW high-powered wireless 802.11b/g AP Client USB adapter. The adapter allows users to launch their IEEE 802.11g wireless network at 54Mbps in the 2.4GHz frequency. The APC-100 is also compatible with IEEE 802.11b wireless devices at 11Mbps. With its 1W radio, users are able to connect to networks up to 1,000m away. Users can configure the adapter in ad-hoc mode to connect to other 2.4GHz wireless computers or in infrastructure mode to connect to a wireless AP or router for accessing the internet.

The APC-100 adapter includes a utility for scanning available networks and saving preferred networks that users are normally connected with. Security encryption can also be configured using this utility. Features: up to eight times faster than a USB 1.1 adapter ; high gain upgradeable; compact size for greater flexibility; compatible with USB 1.1 desktop and notebook computers; plug-and-play compatible with Windows 98SE, 2000, Millennium, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Linux; 64/128/256bit WEP Encryption, TKIP, WPA, 802.11.

At 16mm wide, Wago's 713 Series MCS Mini-HD Double Row Connector System is said to trim front-panel space by up to 40 per cent. The 713 Series is a low-voltage (150V/10 A (UL) and 160V/10 A (IEC)) wire-to-board connector for control circuits. A high-density design features rear-side Cage Clamp terminals, permitting factory or in-field wiring. For handling, the 713 Series offers exclusive locking, disconnection and marking features, with Select models carrying a dual-purpose lever that doubles as a lock and disconnection aid.

An optional centered, strain-relief plate anchors conductors while acting as a disconnection handle. Wago also provides a standard catalogue suffix for direct pole marking. Cage Clamp provides hands-free wiring for conductors 28-16 AWG. Mating halves are protected against mis-mating, with additional coding available. Separated pin slots prevent damage and make the headers touch proof when unplugged (IP20). The 713 Series accommodates six to 36 poles in three variants: standard connector, lever-equipped and screw-interlock for vibration-prone applications. A header with a 3.5mm pin spacing is moulded from THR-compatible material for wave or reflow (THR) solder.

Maple Systems has announced a capability in its HMIs that allows them to be remotely controlled and monitored with laptops, desktop PCs, touch pads and mobile phones like the iPhone. Maple HMIs have a VNC (virtual network computing) server that makes remote access possible. This means that users can communicate with their Ethernet-connected Maple HMI via any device that has internet access and a VNC client capability.

Maple Systems offers several sizes of HMIs with remote operational capability, including 7, 10.2, 10.4, 12 and 15in units. These HMIs come with bright high-resolution displays with 65 thousand colours (standard and widescreen), analogue touchscreens with infinite touch points; USB, Serial and Ethernet ports; and an option to configure in portrait or landscape mode.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bridgelux and Molex have introduced the first LED lighting solution designed and priced to drive rapid and mass-market adoption of LED lighting technology. Bridgelux's Helieon Sustainable Light Module solid-state lighting features interconnect technology from Molex. It delivers to interior and exterior luminaire manufacturers effortless installation, interchangeability and upgradeability. At a volume price point at less than USD20 (GBP13.16) per unit and a lifespan of more than 10 years, Helieon is one of the industry's highest quality, most cost-effective solid-state lighting solutions and will change the way LED lighting solutions are used.

Helieon also helps lighting manufacturers reduce energy costs and environmental waste for a sustainably designed lighting environment. Bridgelux and Molex, both leaders in their respective industries, joined forces to create a best-in-class and price-disruptive solid-state light module comprised of completely recyclable components. Helieon combines LED array products from Bridgelux with Molex interconnect technology to create a socketed plug-and-play solution that can be easily integrated into a wide variety of luminaires. The separable source-and-socket system emulates a traditional bulb and socket, allowing manufacturers to deliver a variety of lighting effects from a single luminaire design.

Initial product offerings include between 500 and 1,500 lumens in 3000K warm white or 4100K neutral white, combined with precision optics to deliver narrow, medium or wide flood-beam angles. The Bridgelux arrays used in the Helieon Sustainable Light Module deliver between 500 and 1,500 operational lumens (performance comparable to or greater than 40 to 75W incandescent bulbs) in a compact high-flux density light source. These integrated solutions deliver high-quality light without pixilation, closely replicating the beam quality of traditional light sources. Bridgelux technology enables exceptional thermal resistance, brightness and colour uniformity. Helieon combines the Bridgelux LED array with a precision beam-control optic to further simplify the design process for the luminaire manufacturer and enable high-quality lighting.

The Molex interconnect technology provides a remarkably easy and familiar installation experience, simplifying the design effort and allowing luminaire designers, commercial end-users and consumers to upgrade, interchange and replace modules, altering and controlling their environment as desired. The Molex design can adapt to a range of fixture configurations. Helieon will be available for production shipments in May. The product carries a three-year warranty and provides the efficacy to enable luminaires to meet Energy Star, Title 24, Part L and other global regulatory standards. Helieon is RoHS compliant and the companies are in the process of securing UL recognition to further simplify the design and customer-acceptance process.

GPEG has announced that its latest TFT display is an ideal replacement for traditional 'dial type' needle instruments. The TFT uses the latest wide-viewing-angle technologies together with an anti-glare film to ensure that the unit is easily read from all viewing directions. The active area of the display is equivalent to the popular dial diameter of 58mm and is contained within overall compact dimensions of 75.0 x 75.0 x 7.6mm.

With a surface brightness of 1,000cd/m2 and a high contrast ratio of 400:1 the display is said to be easily read in the majority of lighting conditions, including bright sunlight. The resolution of 240 x 240 dots and pixel pitch of 0.24mm ensures that the on-screen graphics are of high quality. The module is designed to operate from -40C to +85C and will easily interface to popular 16-bit microprocessors. The TFT display is said to be ideal for applications in instrumentation, automotive and industrial equipment.

Multi-Contact has launched the BTP-HE range of bipolar plugs and sockets designed to ensure safe operation in harsh rail environments. Back-up devices such as batteries and battery chargers are required to operate in the harsh environments encountered in the rail industry. They can now be connected and disconnected in safety with Multi-Contact's touch-protected connectors. The BTP-HE range of bipolar plugs and sockets provide IP2X protection when unmated, giving protection against electrical shock during connection and disconnection.

When mated, the assembly offers IP67 environmental protection. With a compact design rated at 1,000V and 200A, the connectors provide reliable operation for more than 500 mating cycles. The aluminium-housed connectors can accept 70mm2 or 95mm2 cables and are available in a variety of configurations. The socket section can be supplied in a DIN housing for panel mounting, or in versions for bracket mounting or for connection to an extension cable. Three options can be specified for the two 10mm contacts, namely with mating status indication, auxiliary contacts or grounding contacts.

Quicklogic has announced the verification of its Visual Enhancement Engine (VEE) and Display Power Optimiser (DPO) technology with OLED displays. VEE technology greatly enhances the viewability of OLED displays under challenging conditions such as low-brightness modes or bright ambient light by dynamically optimising video characteristics to provide a better user experience. Working in concert with VEE, Quicklogic's DPO technology allows for display brightness to be lowered, consuming less power and extending battery life. OLED display technology represents a growing share of the smartphone market.

In addition to smartphones, OLED displays are being increasingly adopted for other handheld mobile devices such as notebooks, smartbooks and tablets that were formerly the domain of LCD displays. Quicklogic's VEE technology enhances this trend by providing a better user experience for mobile devices using OLED displays. The VEE technology enhances image and video quality by optimising the dynamic range, contrast and colour saturation of content on the display on a pixel-by-pixel basis. This is said to provide a superior viewing experience for the user under any ambient light condition.

Sharp is supplementing its LED lighting portfolio with three Doubledome white, high-colour-rendering (HCR), high-performance LEDs. The Doubledome LEDs already provide suitable light for energy efficient lighting without secondary optics. The light conversion layer of the Doubledome LEDs is based on a two-phase development procedure especially developed by Sharp for this purpose. A layer of phosphorous for the conversion of white light is applied in a first step. The installation of the globe top made from transparent silicone in a second step makes light extraction possible without spreading loss.

A high-quality ceramic plate serves as the LED carrier material instead of the plastic materials that are traditionally used. Sharp said this allows efficient heat dissipation and helps to keep the required cooling element small. The HCR LEDs reach the high colour rending index (CRI) value of 85 through the combination of blue LEDs with a blend of green and red phosphorous. The SMD LEDs from the GM2BBxxBM0C series ensure high colour fastness and attention to detail, which are vital everywhere where light must distort the depiction of objects.

Typical applications for HCR LEDs include photography, shop windows, shop lighting and merchandise presentation, as well as in medical technology. As different applications also require different lighting concepts, the Doubledome series is available in three different shades of white: 'Warm White' with 3,000K, 'Natural White' with 4,000K and 'Pure White' with 5,000K. In combination with the high CRI values, the HCR LEDs from Sharp are approximately equivalent to conventional fluorescent tubes with regard to their efficiency, colour temperature and CRI. The HCR LEDs therefore already correspond to the requirements of the Energy Star programme.

Sharp's Doubledome LEDs, which are solderable according to the reflow method, are scarcely bigger than the head of a match. Due to its low space requirements of 2.8 x 2.8 x 1.9mm, the LED series GM2BBxxBM0C is suitable for a range of applications that require a high degree of brightness in combination with compact design. The 'Double Dome' series is already tried and tested and used in large volumes in the LED backlighting of LCD televisions and is particularly predestined for applications in surface lighting such as the ceiling lighting of office rooms and factories. Other typical application areas include sales area lighting, street lighting, architectural lighting and display lighting.

EMKA has introduced padlock versions of its 1107 and 1125 Swinghandles and slim-line 2100 programme. These are suitable for situations where a padlocking facility is required in corrosive environments and make life easier for specifiers/designers, fabricators and operators of specialist enclosures. Stainless-steel padlockable through-pillars, with reinforced polyamide bodies, provide a simple-to-fit solution as part of the structured EMKA system.

These items complement the stainless steel EMKA L-handle with padlock capability and the quarter-turn key lock, which all accept standard UK hasps of 3/16 to 3/8in (4.76 to 9.53mm). European padlock sizes of 4.5 to 10mm are accommodated with appropriate variants. The ability to padlock cabinets with one or more locks for safety and security is important where high voltages or otherwise dangerous or sensitive equipment is housed.

Burkert Fluid Control Systems has launched the type 8690, 8691 and 8695 valve control heads, which provide a decentralised method of opening and closing process valves. The cost-down pressures inherent in all process industries mean that plant operators are constantly required to improve efficiency at the same time as ensuring repeatable product quality. In pursuit of efficiency, companies are prepared to invest heavily in new plant and equipment. However, in many cases, real savings and efficiency improvements can be achieved simply and at low cost by focusing on cutting energy use.

With valves, pumps and fans used widely in food and beverage production, the possibilities for energy savings are considerable. Generation of compressed air, for example, is equivalent to about 10 per cent of industry's total electricity usage, rising to 30 per cent in some sectors. This highlights why companies have compelling reasons to pursue energy saving initiatives in this area. However, one area of pneumatic energy saving potential is still largely unexploited: improved process valve control techniques.

These can lead to reduced compressed air use through the adoption of on-actuator or in-actuator pneumatic solenoid valves. At present, the majority of pneumatically piloted valves on production and process lines centralise pneumatic control around valve islands in a control cabinet or enclosure. This arrangement means that the pipework carrying the pilot pressure to the actual valve from the valve island can travel for many metres before it reaches the valve head. As a result, the venting cycle of the valve's operation will exhaust proportionately more air than is necessary.

Burkert's type 8690, 8691 and 8695 valve control heads have been developed for use in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries and provide a decentralised method of opening and closing process valves automatically, eliminating the need for the wasteful venting of control air normally associated with pneumatic tubing between the process valve and its related control solenoid valve. The control heads integrate electrical and pneumatic control components as well as position feedback units and, optionally, fieldbus interfaces for AS-Interface or Devicenet.

They are mounted directly above the valve body and, because there is little or no distance between the actuator and the valve that it is piloting, there is no air bleed: it is sealed. With this system the pressure feed goes directly into the valve head and the control signal is supplied either from a local closed-loop control sensor or switch, or from a PLC/machine controller via a control bus - AS-Interface or Devicenet - or multi-pole (parallel) directly into the valve. Similarly, adopting digital positioners with integral solenoid valve control heads for regulating modulating process control valves will automatically lead to air savings, as these will normally ensure zero air-use in their stable state.

The traditional technique of process valve positioners incorporating pneumatic flapper-nozzle systems means that air is being bled constantly, even when the valve is at rest. This can average the equivalent of a 0.75kW (or 1hp) in compressed air for every 20 valves in operation; a large process site can therefore be using a vast amount of energy unnecessarily. Choosing the option of an embedded PID process controller, working in conjunction with the positioner, provides a fast-acting, decentralised control loop in combination with the associated process sensor. This arrangement also reduces complexity and saves unnecessary components and wiring, according to Burkert.

Hi-Tec Spray is a UK distributor for Graco's range of sanitary pumps, sanitary drum and bin unloaders and pressure washers. Where there is a material to dispense - from low-viscosity gravies to high-viscosity syrups and creams - HSL has the right pump for the application, whether it requires a simple double-diaphragm pump, a higher-pressure piston pump, shovel or check valve ram-mounted pump module.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliant specifications can be met across the product range whether they are related to flow rates, fluid pressures, material viscosity or material container size or style. All equipment is designed as 'knockdown' without the need for tools to facilitate quick and efficient cleaning providing dwell-free pumping solutions. Hi-Tec Spray also develops a partnership with its clients to design and develop turnkey systems.

The Recycling and Waste Management Exhibition (RWM 10) will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 14 to 16 September. The three-day show features an indoor and outdoor exhibition of more than 500 companies and organisations exhibiting and demonstrating the latest technologies and recycling solutions. Entry is free and gives visitors access to over 40 seminar sessions, offering legislative and financial advice and first-hand case studies of successful public and private-sector projects.

The programme in the Local Authority Seminar Theatre (sponsored by SCA Recycling and Bywaters) will cover food-waste collection and recycling solutions for flats, and will reveal how councils are tackling commercial and industrial waste. In the Business Seminar Theatre, a full day will be dedicated to carbon and cost reduction through minimising construction waste, and retailers can find out how packaging design and procurement can help them to achieve zero waste without sacrificing profits. Energy from waste, wastewater reuse and carbon efficiency will be tackled in the Energy and Water Theatre (sponsored by Motherwell Bridge).

Speakers have been confirmed from the London Waste and Recycling Board, WRAP, Glenigan, Arup and the BREW Centre for Local Authorities, among others. New features for 2010 include the Envirolink Pavilion, which will showcase a range of companies from the region's recycling and waste sector. Visitors can register online now for free fast track entry to RWM 10 and take advantage of the MyRWM Show Planner, an online tool that creates a personalised floorplan of relevant exhibitors.

GE Intelligent Platforms has launched its Quad PAC redundant controller technology, offering a 'quad' redundancy-control solution said to virtually eliminate downtime risk. A quad redundancy-control system has four redundant controllers - a master controller and three synchronised backup controllers. It leverages Ethernet-based I/O that can arbitrate its I/O control from one of the four controllers. If the master controller or any of the system components fail, the system identifies the best backup controller to take over and provide the system with the most capability to withstand the next sequence of multiple or cascaded system failures.

The Quad PAC application consists of two redundant pairs of GE Intelligent Platforms' PACSystems RX7i controllers working in unison, for a total of four RX7i controllers and their associated items (racks, power supplies, etc.). The controllers are connected via redundant high-speed fibre-optic modules, which provide synchronised logic solving and data transfer between the controllers. Similar technology is used via network hubs to tie all four controllers into a cohesive quad-redundant solution. The Quad PAC I/O system involves GE Intelligent Platforms' PACSystems RX3i Remote I/O and redundant Ethernet LANs.

Each remote I/O rack supports redundant network interfaces and provides all four controllers with the system inputs and outputs in a fully arbitrated format. The remote I/O racks may be grouped into either a single (one I/O rack), redundant (two I/O racks), or triple redundant (three I/O racks) rack configuration, in which each I/O rack communicates independently with all four controllers, and each controller shares the same input and output point addresses from each I/O rack.

The Quad PAC solution features smart redundancy, an algorithm that continually calculates the relative system availability in real time and delivers predictive analysis on key process input variables to clearly identify the next master controller most capable of surviving a system failure, while maintaining maximum system availability.

Igus has developed Chainfix saddle clamps for securely fixing cables within energy chains. The tensile strength of the Chainfix clamps is said to be around three times higher than that of standard clamps (3,500N instead of 1,000N). The narrow width and low height make the best use of limited space when mounted directly in the energy chain mounting bracket or through a separate C-profile rail outside the mounting bracket. Ribbed plastic saddles ensure a positive connection with the cables and thus secure strain relief.

The cables remain clamped, even under very large pull, so that they cannot slip out. The company claims that it has also developed and optimised accessories for the quicker and more versatile installation of the strain relief clamps. The part number and correct direction of installation are marked on the top and the side of the Chainfix saddle clamps. This facilitates the identification of parts for ordering, whether the clamp is installed or not. The double saddles have been optimised with new locating lugs that make installation simpler and more secure, thus saving on installation time, according to Igus. The saddles are made of optimised Igumid G plastic.

The abrasion-free saddles work well with a range of sheathing materials (including PVC, PUR and TPE). The clamps are available in black varnished steel or in stainless steel and as a single-, double- or triple-layer version. A range of strain relief possibilities can be achieved with the new Chainfix multi-clamps.

Four different double-saddle geometries are offered, allowing the fitter to install different cable diameters quickly and compactly inside a single space-saving modular clamp. These multi-row multi-clamps can also securely fix cables with small outer diameters. The double saddles are available individually to combine with existing systems or as ready-to-install multi-assemblies. Alternatively, they can be freely configured according to requirements. The company claims that Chainfix saddle clamps currently represent standard strain relief for energy chains of all kinds with plastic mounting brackets.

Igus is also offering a variety of special solutions. Chainfix Nuggets for example, can be used for fixing cables and hoses with diameters of up to 20mm. This space-saving and low-cost strain relief element slides into the C-profile rail with no tools needed. A further solution comes in the form of strain-relief separators, which combine energy chain interior division components with strain relief. The separators are suitable for enclosed-style energy tubes.

NV Energy has installed GE Energy's Bently Nevada Essential Insight.mesh wireless condition monitoring system to increase power plant reliability. No matter where an asset sits in the plant, the need to understand its health has become increasingly vital. While most facilities continuously monitor their critical machinery, their less-critical assets - often called 'essential assets' - cannot typically justify the expense of a traditional continuous monitoring system due to the installation costs of running wires and installing sensors. As such, these assets tend to be addressed with portable data collection programmes, where operators make rounds at monthly or quarterly intervals, manually collecting data.

However, these data collection intervals are rarely satisfactory for essential assets and problems can progress from 'okay' to 'serious' from one data collection interval to the next. Or, in some cases, manual data collection is simply not practical or possible due to the nature of the asset, jeopardising the safety of the employee tasked with collecting data. To address such challenges and elevate plant reliability, industrial facilities are increasingly turning to wireless. NV Energy has highlighted this trend with its recent installation of GE Energy's Bently Nevada Essential Insight.mesh wireless condition monitoring system.

The system was installed at the company's Ft Churchill operating station in Yerington, Nevada, with the goal of reducing operating expenses and increasing reliability. Before the installation of Essential Insight.mesh, these assets were only infrequently monitored by a walk-around programme. The wireless condition monitoring systems help to improve overall plant reliability and efficiency by extending condition monitoring to a broader array of essential assets that were previously underserved and classified as mid- to low-criticality. Over the course of two days, the entire wireless system was deployed and configured on a range of rotating machines including boiler feed pumps, condensate pumps, AC lube oil pumps, service water pumps, circulation water pumps, and an FD fan.

The system consisted of 21 vibration sensors, seven wSIM nodes, three repeaters and System 1 software. The system began returning useful information almost immediately as anomalies were detected on cooling water pumps and confirmed the need to plan and schedule repairs. Because the data from these assets is transmitted wirelessly to the plant's electronics room where a System 1 display computer is located, it is now within easy reach of plant operators and is integrated with all of the data from other monitored assets, such as the plant's critical turbine-generator sets.

This provides operators with plant-wide analysis and insight capabilities on the mechanical condition of their assets, allowing data-driven decisions and therefore reducing costs of plant operations and maintenance. Armed with these benefits, and the lower cost of installation and deployment that wireless technology affords, customers can more confidently and easily justify expansion of online condition monitoring to a broader spectrum of assets in their plants, such as remote deep-well pumps, cooling towers and more.

Vega Controls has detailed an application that looks at the pressure monitoring of a rupture disc, the detection of leaks and how to prevent fissuring of the rupture disc. In the chemical and petrochemical industries, in particular on classified Seveso II plants, safety is the highest priority for engineers. The vessels, tanks and reactors are normally equipped with protection devices consisting of safety valves with rupture discs to avoid damage due to high- and low-pressure shocks. The condition of the rupture disc is often monitored with glycerin manometers installed between the safety valve and the disc.

However, there are issues that this device is not able to transmit its measuring information and they are often not SIL qualified. They often have limited resolution in low-pressure ranges, which does not allow for a very precise set point. The implementation of a Smart pressure sensor with a ceramic cell allows it to measure very small pressure variations and so detect the slightest leak and prevent fissuring of the rupture disc. It is rugged enough to cope with any over-pressure, should it occur. The pressure applied minutely deflects a sensitive diaphragm (this can be as little as 10 microns) yet this also has to be highly stable with pressure and temperature shocks.

This small deflection is measured by a special electronic circuit and then converted to an output signal. Vega Controls said there are several benefits of using microwave barriers in this type of application, including: sensor with a dry ceramic cell offering a high resolution for very low measuring ranges; high measurement stability; local display and electrical measuring signal in analogical or digital standard (FF/Profi); Atex G and D approval; and SIL 2 qualified according to IEC 61508.

Panton McLeod has performed an underwater clean at The Deep aquarium in Hull , in order to remove sand and fine gravel from two inlet pipes leading to the facility's main water tank. The company used pumping equipment and knowledge from its work in the drinking-water sector to remove the blockages, including water-hammer techniques to dislodge some of the hard-to-reach debris.

The work follows an inspection of the facility earlier this year, when the firm used its underwater camera equipment to inspect pipework leading into the tank for damage.

Sandvik Coromant and Precorp have reached a cooperation agreement with the aim of being a joint solution provider for composite machining. As partners, Sandvik Coromant and Precorp will provide products using PCD vein technology and carbide solutions, as well as application know how for the composite industry.

The PCD vein technology incorporates a precision-sintered slot of PCD onto the cutting edge, improving the quality and efficiency of the tool.

HBM has developed its latest GEN2i data recorder for the demands of maintaining, servicing and commissioning industrial devices by ensuring it has compact dimensions and is simple to operate. The GEN2i is available with four, eight or 16 input channels to give maximum flexibility for demanding measurement tasks. The palette of input amplifiers ranges from insulated types with 200kS/s per channel via bridge and IEPE modules up to fast racks with 100MS/s that are suitable for fault tracing in electric systems or transient data acquisition during ballistic tests.

The measurement data can be written directly onto the integrated semi-conductor hard drive at up to 20MB/s or temporarily stored at higher rates in the RAM of the measuring cards. The modular measurement data and transient data-acquisition software is based on Windows 7. The GEN2i comes with the standard version of HBM's Perception software to provide a dual operating concept. In mobile applications, the GEN2i can be operated solely by using the integrated high-resolution 17in touchscreen.

Simple menus enable device settings directly via buttons on the screen, allowing access to important functions such as measurement start/stop, sampling rate or channel settings. Using this interface, conventional measuring instruments can be operated by less skilled users. In stationary applications, the user interface can utilise all aspects of the Perception software, and a mouse and keyboard can be connected. This mode makes all software features available to the user and allows, where needed, optional software modules such as channel mathematic or FFT analysis to be installed and used.

A manufacturer of extruded sections has invested in measuring systems from Ascona and deburring systems from RSA. The main target was an improved control of the dimensional accuracy of extrusions during regular extrusion-moulding process. The Ascona measuring system enables measurement directly in production at the press, since the system is encased for protection against vibration and dirt. Most complex shapes of extrusions can be measured within seconds, with an accuracy of +/-10um.

The immediate correction of the extrusion-moulding process secures the production process and reduces the risk of pieces outside of determined tolerance. The RSA Rasamat system was developed for the deburring of aluminium extrusions and, in this way, superseded band processing. The deburring system offers the additional automation of the preparation of specimen and works with a surface brush that is equipped with segmented wire or nylon trimming, with double rotary motion.

The segmented trimming prevents the wire tips from bending and, as a result, all areas of the extrusion are properly deburred. The brush is guided by a planetary gear and, independent of the geometry of the extrusion, all edges are properly rounded off, free from secondary burr. No manual re-working is necessary. Depending on their size, the specimens can be manually or automatically fed to the deburring system. In combination with the Ascona system, it is possible to determine precise correction values for the extrusion-moulding process - independent of the degree of skill of the operator.

From 7 to 11 June, Mach visitors will be able to view Technifor's marking and engraving solutions. Micro-percussion machines being demonstrated include the new-generation XF510p and the Propen P5000. Offering full integration, the XF510p is compact and offers fast marking on areas between 50 x 20mm up to 200 x 80mm. Designed to fit into the smallest possible volume, it is ideally integrated into production lines where space and accessibility are a concern. The P5000 uses micro-percussion technology to provide quality marking.

Up to five high-quality characters can be marked per second within a 100 x 120mm area and the character size can be adjusted from 0.5 to 80mm. Easy to install, the P5000 requires no specific training. Manually adapted to the size of the part being marked - up to 300 mm high - by an ergonomic handle, the P5000 can mark all types of materials up to a hardness of 62 HRc. Portable marking solutions will also feature with the M120 and XF520Cp. The self-contained, portable M120's independent nature makes it suitable for identifying fixed assets, preventing counterfeiting, tracing bulky parts or for the indelible registration of products on leasing contracts.

Capable of marking up to 10 characters per second in a marking area of 50 x 20mm, the XF520Cp uses the same technology as Technifor's integrated marking machines. Balanced for stability and comfort, the system is designed to mark accurately from any orientation. At 2.7kg, the XF520Cp is lightweight and, with dimensions of 133mm (l) x 179mm (w) x 94mm (h), can mark locations that were previously out of reach. The XF520Cp can mark a range of materials, including raw, machined and painted metals and alloys, and most plastics. Equipped with an interchangeable foot system, information can be marked on flat, angular, convex or concave surfaces.

The character size ranges from 0.5 to 49.5mm (h) and integrated, intuitive software allows the fast creation of marking files, with icons, pop-up help and an on-screen graphic preview. Over 1,000 marking files can be held in memory, with fixed text, variables, date and time, and counters, etc. The file can also be imported or exported via a USB drive. The XF530p has been designed for industry sectors that require deep marking of parts, such as oil and gas, mining, materials handling, ship building, construction and transport. It is also portable and has the concentrated power to mark material deep enough to clearly show through most surface finishing processes, including painting, zinc plating or shot blasting.

Offering a marking area of 200 x 50mm, the XF530p can mark flat, angular and radial material to a depth of up to 0.4mm. With adjustable ergonomically designed twin handles that can be orientated horizontally or vertically and featuring built-in start buttons, the XF530p is said to be easy to manoeuvre and marks accurately on all material types and surfaces. Scribe-marking technology is an almost silent process, making it suitable for industrial applications with sound constraints. The XF510 scribing solution offers speed and precision for traceability and identification of all part types, without any noise. Marking up to five characters per second, it can be used to mark all types of materials, including metals, alloys and plastics of any shape, with machined or cast-finishes.

Laser marking will be represented by the recently launched TF420. Using next-generation components developed for the telecommunications industry the TF420 has a marking power of up to 20W to provide consistent, high-contrast character quality on a range of materials and difficult surfaces, such as castings. Capable of marking at up to 2.5m/sec, the compact laser unit can be integrated in any orientation to mark metals, plastics, ceramics and other materials. Technifor's marking solutions can be integrated into continuous production lines generating serial numbers, logos and Datamatrix codes, or they can be used as portable marking systems.

Murex Welding Products' Vodex manual metal arc (MMA) welding electrode is a general-purpose electrode with improved metallurgical properties. Vodex is a high-quality rutile electrode designed for horizontal, vertical and overhead welding of mild steel (MS) plate and pipe. It maintains the essential characteristics for good downhand or flat-position welding.

It is suitable for mild and medium tensile steel plate and pipe and offers weld metal properties of 47J at -20C. The diameter range available is 2.0 to 6.0mm. The electrode holds EN 13479, CE approval for the structural steel users and a number of society approvals, including ABS, BV, GL and LR as standard. Product data sheets and electrode samples are available on request.

Cutwel's cutting tool/tool holder catalogue has been designed so that buyers, engineers and designers can select cutting tools and tool holders via a unique order code. Each of the seven sections lists the choice of tools available and contains a technical guidance section, showing recommended cutting data speeds and feeds, as well as areas of application. The catalogue has added link pages for ease of use and contains a number of additions, including a machine-tool-accessories section showing spindle tooling, VDI tooling, HSK, HSK ICTM and modular adaptors, as well as associated equipment such as ER collets, tap adapters, chucks and spares.

The drilling section features the highest performance drill in the Cutwel range, the i-Dream - a high-feed-rate penetration drill - and the MQL, which is particularly suitable for drilling hole depths of 20x diameter. Both can achieve reamed tolerance hole dimensions. New products include: PCD and carbide grades PC8110 and NC9025 for HRSAs (heat-resistant super alloys); auto tools for small-parts machining; Jet Power and V7 mill for the solid-carbide milling of stainless steels, Inconel, titanium, alloy steels, tool steels and cast irons.

The indexable milling section details the Rich Mill range of cutters, T-slot cutters and modular tooling with long-reach adaptors. Thread making covers all standard thread sizes and features solid-carbide thread mills with a range of metric and imperial taps.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

K-Tek has announced a lower price for the LM80 laser transmitter for non-contact level measurement and positioning. The LM80 measures position over very long ranges, at distances up to 500ft (150m). The device also accurately measures level at distances up to 100ft (30m). All prices for the LM80 and LM80 with built-in laser pointer have been reduced by 30 per cent, putting this advanced technology in line with more traditional ultrasonic and open-air radar non-contact measurement techniques.

With the LM80, virtually any surface can be accurately measured at any angle. No beam angle divergence means the transmitter can be narrowly focused over long distances without interference from its surroundings, such as internal structures. This technology is now available off the shelf and at commodity prices. The LM80 features an all-digital design that provides speed and accuracy in a compact unit. An advanced timing system and self-correcting signal-processing functions allow the device to make measurements in harsh conditions.

The system can select the true signal even in the presence of dust, as is commonly found in silos of coal, plastics or grain, as well as in underground mines or quarries. The advanced signal-processing software in the LM80 automatically compensates for colour differences in the materials being measured as well as dark and light surfaces. One unit can handle both long-distance positioning and level-measurement applications at one third of the price of competitive models, according to the company. The LM80 includes last pulse detection, which selects true signals from among the many that are reflected from dust clouds, agitator blades or other obstacles.

Variable gain allows the device to select the best return signal in quickly changing visibility conditions, such as dust, vapours and materials of different colours. The LM80 is a compact, standalone unit that is quick to set up and install. It requires no calibration or special configuration. The unit is programmed with a compact handheld device. An optional laser pointer provides precise alignment. The laser transmitter is housed in a powder-coated, IP66-rated aluminium enclosure. It is FM certified for Class I Div 2 Group A,B,C and D; and ATEX for Ex nA nC II T4.

Dual internal compartments isolate the optical components from the wiring terminations, eliminating the possibility of moisture build-up and errant readings. Stainless-steel dust tubes with built-in purge port prevent dust build-up and protect the optical lens from being coated.

Herma, which makes self-adhesive labels and label machinery, is using Leuze Electronic's sensors in its new warehouse and logistics centre to detect, identify and protect. When Herma built a modern coating plant for its adhesive materials it also needed an exceptional intra-logistics solution. To support the newly constructed production hall, it built a high-bay warehouse for storing material on rolls, along with conveyor connections to the cutting machines and the packaging systems.

The flow of materials starts at the goods-receiving area, where paper and foil rolls are unloaded from trucks and placed on the lifting table by a clamping truck. Precision positioning of the rolls is achieved using a BPS 34 barcode-positioning system that uses optical position determination, which avoids any mechanical wear and slippage issues and removes the need for reference points. A vertical conveyor then transports the roll to the interior of the goods-receiving hall where a fully automatic gripper gently places it on a transport-system pallet.

This transport system pallet uses 46B series retro-reflective photoelectric sensors to detect presence, exact position and to supply signals to the fire-door control. Solid-2E Safety Light Curtains are used to protect personnel. Transport carts, the position of which is determined by another BPS 34 barcode-positioning system, then transport the rolls to the storage hall, where they are accepted by one of the two high-bay storage cranes. Here, the DDLS 200 data-transmission photoelectric sensor continuously transmits the position data of the high-bay storage crane directly to the control-system PLC.

The position of these high-bay cranes is also ascertained using the BPS 34 barcode-positioning system. Another feature at the high-bay storage area is the use of Rotoscan RS4 safety laser scanners to protect maintenance staff. If during the course of maintenance, inspection or repair, they need to enter the 'storage aisle' danger area, an RS4 laser scanner mounted on the high-bay crane near to the floor level reliably safeguards the traversing area; if a person enters the danger area of a moving crane, the system is shutdown. The advantage is that, for example, if one high-bay crane is shut down for maintenance, then the other crane can continue to work, providing that the safety laser scanner does not detect it approaching the maintenance engineer's location, in which case it will also be shut down.

The raw materials required for an order are retrieved from the high-bay storage unit on a 'channel car' and delivered to the roll-out conveyor. Here, the roll is unpacked and then taken by the fully automatic transport portal, which was specially developed for Herma. This portal stores the roll in a buffer or transports it directly to the roll unwinding/winding machine via a distribution car. At the transport portal/distribution car interface, Leuze Electronic's Robust Multiple Light Beam Safety Devices are used to safeguard the access points to the danger areas.

Numerous PRK 96 retro-reflective photo-electric sensors control the start/stop function at the transfer station, with reflective foils posing no problems. The grippers for the rolls are also equipped with retro-reflective photoelectric sensors and BPS positioning systems.

Newport Corporation has launched a line of integrated XY stages built from industry-standard UMR linear stages and TRA actuators. The UMR-TRA XY stages are said to be compact, measuring 90mm in width and 38mm in height, including the base plate. The stages are designed for applications in confined spaces, making them suitable for a range of motion control tasks in research and industry.

Beda Espinoza, product manager for Newport's motion products, said: 'UMR-TRA stages are compact and inexpensive motorised XY stages assembled from two UMR5.16 linear stages and two TRA actuators. 'To minimise the footprint, the actuators are parallel and, by using a mechanical lever, the action of one actuator is converted to perpendicular motion. 'The small stage base plate also features accessible mounting holes that facilitate direct mounting on optical tables or integration into custom systems,' added Espinoza.

The UMR-TRA has 12.5mm travel and is available in English or metric versions, DC or stepper motor and a vacuum-compatible stepper-motor version that is compatible down to 10-6hPa. For research, the stage is suitable for use in vacuum applications and other space-restricted setups. For industrial applications, the stage is qualified for laser beam positioning and can withstand high machine accelerations. The UMR-TRA is compatible with all of Newport's motion controllers, from the handheld Newstep single-axis stepper-motor controller to the XPS universal controller.

PBC Linear's Simplicity plane bearings have been installed into an automated, needle-free injection gun for mass livestock vaccination. Acushot, a veterinary design company, created the injection gun, which required a linear bearing system to absorb recoil. Colpitt Designs, a third-party engineering company, recommended Simplicity plane bearings for the task. Typically, handheld needle injections were used for vaccinating the animals in the stockyards and barnyards; however, with thousands of animals coming through production at once, successfully and safely supervising the injections was becoming increasing difficult.

Acushot's new system eliminates needles, removing the possibility of an unsafe employee needle slip. The battery-powered injection unit also enhances sanitary conditions and can be used hundreds of times without risk of cross contamination to the animals. For a rapid prototype and possible added refinements to the design, Acushot turned to Colpitt, which worked to reduce components and assemble the triggering/injection system by using a varying-degree-of-strength gas cylinder to provide up to 600lb (272kg) of force.

The system also automatically saves each dose with a time stamp for accurate vaccination records. The cylinders are designed to inject the vaccines to the same recommended depth as a typical needle that would have been used on a range of animals. The injector can be set to inject from 0.2cc and deposit it just in the skin of the animal and up to 2.5cc can be injected to the recommended depth into the muscle of the animal. Using a simplified approach, Colpitt was able to reduce moving components and make the design more cost effective, while still adhering to Acushot's criteria.

The final product is a lightweight, compact and battery-powered needle-less injection unit that packs up to 28,000psi delivery pressures while concurrently documenting each injection. One obstacle to overcome was finding a linear bearing assembly to support the force of the injection delivery. Throughout a cycle, 650lb of force acts on the bearings, which would be under constant use in extreme temperatures and outdoor working conditions. To solve this, Colpitt used Simplicity plane bearings to withstand the system parameters and environment of the application.

Simplicity bearings glide using a proprietary Teflon liner; this provides an even disbursement of forces throughout the bearing and smooth, reliable travel. Bronze and linear ball bushings spall the shafting under the high forces and short stroke, which accumulate and contaminate the system, resulting in catastrophic failure. Simplicity bearings self lubricate to ensure smooth and quiet operation for constant or intermittent use. They also work in temperature extremes, from -400F to +400F.

No needle trauma recovery was necessary for the animals. The new injection unit also reduces the diameter of the injection mark to about one eighth the size. Claimed to be simple to use with no extra vaccine containers, the Acushot system is said to improve productivity, safety and health in stockyards and barnyards.

William Hughes is offering copper coils for use as part of trip fuse/circuit breaker mechanisms within domestic and commercial properties. When a current passes along the conductive copper, a magnetic force is created through the middle of the coil. In the event of a current surge or spike, the magnetic force increases so that a spring is pulled to trip the main switch. A small change to the copper coil can affect the magnetic force produced to suit different currents, making it a very efficient mechanism as there is no need to have different designs of any other standard parts.

The copper coils are manufactured on standard Japanese-built CNC machines that have been subjected to extensive modification by William Hughes' engineers (including the manufacture of special tooling) to suit the products. The automated machines are fed with 3mm diameter copper wire that is coated with enamel. The coating is stripped from each end to reveal the conductive copper before coiling operations take place.

Bends can then be created at either end to suit mating components before the part is trimmed to length. All operations are completed in a single set-up. The copper coils usually require high levels of dimensional accuracy from one end to the other, to ensure that assembly is as efficient as possible and to make it easy to change from one product to another.

Blue Diamond has expanded its range of high-quality components for the automotive aftermarket. Blue Diamond is now manufacturing bolts and fixings, nuts and locknuts, gaskets and static seals, springs, 'O' rings, circlips, oil seals, multi-component kits and many other aftermarket components. Items being supplied are reverse engineered from original equipment samples to ensure dimensional, material and performance specifications of matching quality.

To measure complex engineering components to a high accuracy, Blue Diamond has invested in the latest multi-sensor co-ordinate vision system. This system produces 2D engineering drawings used for manufacturing. A desktop spectrometer incorporating the latest multi-element CCD array detector is used to analyse the metal content of any part and replicate it - allowing a complete manufacturing specification to be originated. Kits of parts - for example seals, circlips and bolts - can be provided and are available boxed and packed complete, if desired, with the customer's branding and logo.

An added benefit is that Blue Diamond can arrange order scheduling, packaging/labelling and stockholding of products. By choosing appropriate companies from its quality-assessed suppliers, Blue Diamond can match the quantity requirements to the capacity available. So whether the need is for a small quantity, or larger production runs, Blue Diamond can respond by providing a highly competitive and flexible source. Quality is guaranteed by Blue Diamond's Quality Management System, which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008.

Tennant will showcase its new Orbio brand at the ISSA/Interclean trade fair for the cleaning industry, which will take place 26-29 April 2010 in Amsterdam. Following the success of Tennant's ec-H2O technology, a proprietary technology that converts plain tap water into a powerful cleaning agent, Tennant announced in February that it had established Orbio Technologies Group to expand this core technology platform into new categories, applications and market spaces.

One Orbio technology - ec-H2O - delivers great cleaning results on Tennant scrubber-dryers. In addition to ec-H2O technology, Orbio has licensed a second technology to Activeion Cleaning Solutions LLC, for use on the Activeion IonatorEXPTM and IonatorHOMTM hand-held spray devices. In tests, this technology has been shown to kill 99.9 per cent of common household bacteria (including E coli, listeria and salmonella) and inactivate the H1N1 virus. Orbio's ec-H2O technology begins as water and ends as water, allowing it to be handled and disposed of easily and safely.