Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fluke provides a basic glossary of vibration terms for those involved in equipment maintenance and vibration diagnosis. Vibration is said to be one of the earliest indicators of a machine's health. Understanding why vibration occurs and how it manifests itself is a key first step towards preventing vibration from causing trouble in the production environment, according to the company. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity often depicted as 'g' or in 'mm/s2' in the metric system and 'in/sec2' in the English system.

Acceleration is not constant but will vary through the vibration cycle, reaching maximum levels as velocity reaches its minimum. This is typically when a particular mass has decelerated to a stop and is about to begin accelerating again. Next, an accelerometer is described as a transducer whose electrical output responds directly to acceleration. Accelerometers typically cover a much wider frequency range, along them to pick up signals not present with other types of transducers. Owing to the frequency range, accelerometers are suitable for most types of rotating equipment, making them the most used transducer for vibration measurements.

Alignment is a condition where components within a drive train are parallel or perpendicular, according to design requirements. A tester such as the Fluke 810 vibration tester can diagnose misalignment conditions where these components are no longer aligned according to design requirements, causing excessive bearing wear and power consumption in the machine. A bronze or stainless-steel attachment pad can be placed at appropriate measuring locations on machines using an industrial adhesive. The triaxial accelerometer is attached to these pads for measurement collection.

The pad may include an alignment notch to ensure the consistent orientation of the accelerometer to the three vibration axes (radial, tangential and axial). The pad ensures a good transfer of vibration data to the transducer by providing a strong and consistent mounting location. Axial is described as one of the three vibration axes; the axial plane is parallel to the centreline of a shaft or the turning axis of a rotating part. Next, balancing (mechanical) is described as adjusting the distribution of mass in a rotating element to reduce vibratory forces generated by rotation.

Meanwhile, condition monitoring (CM) relates to the measurement, recording and analysis of machinery parameters (such as acceleration) to determine machine health. Current condition is compared with when the machine was new. CM is also known as machinery health monitoring. Displacement is the word used when measuring machinery vibration; displacement represents the actual distance the vibration causes the part in question to move. It is measured in thousandths of an inch (mils) in the English system and in millimetres (mm) in the metric system. Failure is the event, or inoperable state, in which any item or part of an item does not, or would not, perform as specified.

Next, failure mechanism is the mechanical or physical parts that result in failure. Forced vibration is described as the vibration of a machine caused by some mechanical excitation. If the excitation is periodic and continuous, the response motion eventually becomes steady state. Frequency, the number of events that occur within a fixed time period, is also calculated as the reciprocal of time (that is, one divided by the time interval). Frequency is typically expressed in terms of Hertz (Hz) but can also be expressed as cycles per minute (cpm) or revolutions per minute (rev/min) when multiplying Hz times 60. It can also be represented as multiples of turning speed, or 'orders', where frequency in rev/min is divided by the turning speed of the machine.

The term 'frequency domain' is used when a vibration signal is represented as a time waveform if viewed on an oscilloscope, since vibration exists within the time domain. If plotted, the time waveform would represent a plot of amplitude versus time. If the waveform were transformed to the frequency domain, the result would be a spectrum representing a plot of amplitude versus frequency. Harmonic refers to a sinusoidal quantity having a frequency that is an integral multiple of a fundamental frequency. Harmonic distortion is described as distortion caused by the presence of frequencies not present in the input signal, in the output signal of a device.

Hertz is a unit of frequency. Imbalance is a condition on rotating equipment where the centre of mass does not lie on the centre of rotation. Imbalance can severely reduce bearing life as well as cause undue machine vibration. Isolation refers to a reduction in motion severity, usually by a resilient support. A shock mount or an isolator attenuates shock. A vibration mount or an isolator attenuates steady-state vibration. The meantime between failure (MTBF) is a measurement of reliability for repairable items - the mean number of life units during which all parts of the item perform within their specified limits, during a particular measurement interval under stated conditions.

The meantime to failure (MTF) is a basic measure of reliability for non-repairable items - the total number of life units of an item divided by the total number of failures within that population, during a particular measurement interval under stated conditions. In rotating machines, orders are multiples or harmonics of the running speed (or associated reference component). The term 'pitch' relates to rotation in the plane of forward motion, about the left-right axis. Radial is one of the three vibration axes; the radial plane represents the direction from the transducer to the centre of the shaft on rotating equipment.

For typical horizontal machines, radial equals the vertical axis. For horizontal machines, radial refers the horizontal axis to which the accelerometer is attached. Repeatability is described as the maximum deviation from the mean of corresponding data points taken under identical conditions. It is the maximum difference in output for identically repeated stimuli when there is no change in other test conditions. Replication relates to testing that reproduces a specified desired history. Resolution is described as the smallest input change that produces a detectable change in an instrument's output.

Root-cause analysis is determining what actually caused a failure. The running speed is the speed - usually expressed in rev/min - at which a rotating machine runs. It may also be expressed in Hz by dividing the rev/min by 60. Sensitivity describes the ratio between electrical signal (output) and mechanical quantity (input). Next, a solid-state sensor is a sensor with no moving parts. Tangential is one of the three vibration axes; the tangential plane is positioned 90deg to the radial plane, running tangent to the driveshaft. For typical horizontal machines, tangential equals the horizontal axis.

For typical vertical machines, tangential equals the second horizontal axis perpendicular to the mounting of the accelerometer. Unbalance refers to unequal mass distribution on a rotor. The mass centreline does not coincide with the rotation or the geometric centreline. This term can also be known as 'imbalance'. Velocity is the rate of change in position, measured in distance per unit of time. When measuring vibration signals, velocity also represents the rate of change in displacement and is expressed in inches (in) or millimetres (mm) per second. Finally, the term 'vibration' itself describes mechanical motion around an equilibrium reference point.

Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has selected a specially developed stainless steel Pure-Screen duplex filter system and frame from Axium Process to ensure a consistently filtered product. The Pure-Screen duplex filter system and frame is completely jacketed to ensure the product temperature will be maintained to close limits. The duplex filter system, which utilises a combination of stainless steel wedge-wire and mesh filter screens, is designed to offer high product security as well as a consistently filtered product.

Axium's range of 316L stainless steel Pure-Screen wedge-wire filters is being used throughout the confectionery, food, beverage, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. It is ideally suited for liquid viscous products such as chocolate, yoghurt, butter, soft cheese, creams and sauces as the wedge-wire filter elements remove unwanted particles and blend and mix any non-dissolved materials in suspension, resulting in a consistently smooth product throughout every batch. The Pure-Screen filter, which is available with a range of interchangeable filter elements from 25-6,000 micron, is manufactured in accordance with ASME-BPE principles and has material traceability to BS EN 10204 (3.1).

For companies requiring full traceability, Axium Process also provides certification for weld logging, weld mark up, internal and external surface roughness, pressure test, passivation and ferroxyl testing. Axium Process's range of filters include a shorter, more compact version of the Pure-Screen wedge-wire standard filter designed specifically for low flow applications or installation in confined spaces; the Fine-Screen mesh filter range, which is designed for finer particulate applications requiring filtration levels below 75 micron; and the Econ-Screen perforated sheet filter range, which is designed for coarse filtration or as a 'last chance' filter.

Shepherd's High Torque Output (HTO) axial diesel engine, designed using Solidworks 3D CAD/CAM software, quadruples the torque of a traditional crankshaft engine while consuming half the fuel. Said to be more powerful and environmentally friendly, as well as cheaper to build and run, it has fewer parts than a traditional diesel engine, no intricate castings or complicated machining and can be assembled by hand. Its low operational rev range also means fewer combustion events occur when the engine is idling or running under a normal load.

Solidworks has saved Shepherd costs by allowing the company to quickly and accurately design the parts required for the engine. In the coming months the company hopes to use Solidworks' simulation functionality to determine whether the parts it are using will be able to withstand the forces of the torque produced from the engine. The HTO engine can be used in all types of cars, trucks, heavy earthmoving equipment and, if it is scaled up, in the aerospace and marine industries. It also has applications in power generation as its high torque means it can cope with increased demands on the power supply.

Carlo Gavazzi has extended its modular control and management solution for solar-power installations by introducing Eos-Array Lite. The module offers increased modularity for cost-sensitive applications from 10kWp upwards and provides localised diagnostics supporting rapid repair of power faults. Building on the principles of the Eos-Array modular control system, Carlo Gavazzi's new Eos-Array Lite comprises the dedicated VMU-ML master unit featuring focused control capabilities and up to 15 modules providing string-control, measurement and I/O functions.

The Eos-Array Lite string-control module, VMU-S0, provides a cost-optimised feature set, monitoring voltage and current to pinpoint the location of any power faults. This can help maintenance teams identify the causes of faults quickly to minimise the cost of repairs and increase uptime, thereby maximising return on investment for solar-generating capacity. The VMU-S0 unit is capable of direct DC measurements up to 16A and 1,000V. Complementing these modules, the VMU-P environmental measuring unit provides one temperature input and one irradiation input for monitoring the status of the photovoltaic (PV) cell array.

The VMU-O local output unit provides one relay output allowing the VMU-ML controller to manage a device such as a local alarm. When assembled to create a local control system for PV plant, the Eos-Array Lite modules provide timely and accurate alerts to system faults such as defective PV modules, incorrect connections, or failure of the inverter. This contrasts with competing systems, which are typically only able to monitor the inverter. Operators also benefit from simplified installation, since there is no need for power supply or bus wiring among modules.

In addition, industry-standard RS-485 Modbus communications simplify integration into the customer's PV management system. The Eos-Array Lite modular control system enables a space-optimised solution for any PV installation and can comprise two to 16 single-DIN modules, up to a maximum width of 280mm. The system is supported by Eos-Array Soft software, which is designed specifically for use with Eos-Array Lite to facilitate configuration of modules during plant commissioning, as well as read-back of data in normal operation.

GE has launched the the Proficy Accelerator for Centerlining, enabling continuous improvement and resolution of problems due to variability, in a move to full process reliability and stability. The goal of the solution is to reduce costs due to material losses and other waste from process and product variability, as well as increase throughput and yield. It focuses on rapidly identifying process and product inconsistencies, performing statistical analysis to improve control, and managing and improving operations in real-time.

Proficy Accelerator consists of out-of-the-box solutions that can rapidly demonstrate business value from the Proficy Software platform in as little as 30 days, with minimal risk. GE has also introduced Proficy Accelerator for Production Efficiency, which allows manufacturers to maximise the utilisation of their plant assets. It provides visibility into factors such as equipment downtime, changeover effectiveness, waste and operating efficiency.

It supports root-cause analysis by automatically linking downtime events to a specific cause in real time. Proficy Accelerator for Change Management drives increased efficiency of personnel and productivity. This solution helps organisations assess, monitor, manage, control and lower project and maintenance costs associated with software and device management. Proficy Accelerator for Manufacturing Energy Management correlates energy costs with manufacturing production, rapidly enabling sustainable operation and energy-cost savings.

Proficy Accelerator for Packaging Performance utilises an operator-centric performance management paradigm to improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), production rate, availability and order fulfillment, while reducing waste and labour costs. This solution provides critical insight into high-speed packaging-line operations. When fully implemented, customers have seen OEE increases of between five and 12 per cent on packaging lines over time.

The F-206.S Hexalign system can be used in complex, high-accuracy positioning and alignment tasks where independent, high-precision motion in six degrees of freedom is required. The six-axis alignment system from PI provides 6D motion with 33nm resolution and advanced alignment software for optics and photonics components. It includes an advanced parallel kinematics controller/driver featuring vectorised motion with arbitrary pivot-point capability, as well as an extensive software package.

The parallel-kinematics design with a virtual pivot point and vector-based 6D motion-controller means that the F-206.S system differs from conventional stacked multiaxis positioners. Due to the reduced moving mass - only one common lightweight platform for all six actuators - the system can respond and settle much faster. It is also said to be considerably more compact and accurate than conventional multi-axis stage stacks. Its parallel-kinematics design and advanced, digital 6D controller minimises unwanted crosstalk motion.

The F-206.S Hexalign system is based on the virtual-pivot-point capability built into the controller. Since Hexapod motion is not determined by fixed bearings but real-time, six-space control algorithms, this point can be chosen freely with a single software command - a prerequisite for fast and accurate alignment tasks. Software for automatic optical alignment: the Hexapod comes with powerful control and alignment software, Labview drivers, DLLs and several programming examples.

When equipped with an optional high-speed photometer card, the Hexapod is said to align arrays, waveguides and collimators up to 10 times faster than conventional multiaxis positioning stages. Application examples: precision positioning, alignment and testing of optics, photonics and MEMS components in nanolithography, micromanipulation and microsurgery.

To complete its design of a system to bag-up meat and cheese and apply appropriate label information, packaging machine manufacturer Greydon used the Huco Dynatork piston air motor. The Greydon Bagaire Taped Bag Loader utilised the motor for efficient bag opening and filling, and also for code dating with inkjet or contact printers. The machine presents the bags by winding up a leader tape and pulling the bags up from the table. Shop air is used via an air amplifier to blow open the bag for manual filling by the operator, who simultaneously breaks the bag away from the tape.

The Huco Dynatork motor advances the bags quickly and stops them precisely in exactly the same location for opening and printing. As it is available with an acetyl housing, this motor is able to withstand the most caustic acids and chlorinated sanitisers used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. In operation, air up to 100lb/in2 is supplied to each of three pistons in turn via an integral rotary valve. The free-floating pistons transmit torque on start-up that can be adjusted via a pressure regulator, resulting in high torque at variable low speed and low noise.

As the air motor traps the compressed air within the piston/cylinder, maximum energy conversion is assured. The motor is said to be much easier to seal than its vane counterpart and, as a result, consumes up to 80 per cent less air than a vane motor, providing cost savings even at maximum torque. Huco Dynatork air motors are available with maximum torque rates of up to 16Nm or up to 550Nm with a gearbox.

Powerstax has introduced its 1,800W single-output high-efficiency power supply, the R1801. The 1U, 19in rack-mounted high-power-density power supply offers 6.2W/in at 80-85 per cent efficiency, depending on the load. The Powerstax R1801 features a universal 85-264V AC input and standard output voltages of 48, 54.5 or 56.2V DC. It is protected from over voltage, over-current and over-temperature condition, and provides power-fail warning and fault alarm signals.

Remote on/off control is a standard feature and the unit is power-factor corrected to EN1000-3-2, CE marked and RoHS compliant. The R1801 rack-mount power supply employs three UL-recognised Powerstax A0600 converters, which may be used to provide either the full 1,800W output or 1,200W with N+1 redundancy. Power input is via three standard IEC connectors and DC output is available from rear-mounted screw terminals.

XP Power has added to its range of ultra-compact low-power DC/DC converters with the 15W JCM15, available in a 1 x 1in metal package, and the 30W JCK30, available in a 2 x 1in metal case. These encapsulated PCB-mounted converters accommodate a 2:1 input voltage range, accepting either 9-18, 18-36 or 36-75V DC and covering the nominal inputs of +12, +24 or +48V DC. Single-output models provide +3.3, +5, +12 or +15V DC, while the duals offer +/-5, +/-12 or +/-15V DC.

All outputs are fully regulated to within +/-0.5 per cent over all input and load conditions for the single-output models and less than +/-1 per cent for the dual outputs. The JCK30 can operate at full output power from -40 to 50C and the JCM15 up to 65C, without derating. With a maximum case temperature of 105C, no additional heat sinking or forced airflow is required making the converters suitable for most operating environments. The convertors feature an input to output and input/output to case isolation of 1,600V DC for up to 1min. Both models feature a remote on/off control line that can be used to control the output rails or to sequence start-up procedures. All units feature overvoltage and continuous short-circuit protection.

By providing a single tool chain for more than 5,000 different microcontroller devices across 10 product families, IAR Systems said it supports more than 80 per cent of Renesas Electronics MCUs. IAR Systems believes that this makes IAR Embedded Workbench the standard tool chain for software development on Renesas Electronics' microcontrollers. The merger betweens NEC Electronics and Renesas Technology has created a broad microcontroller portfolio, ranging from small low-power four-bit devices to high-performance 32-bit devices.

Nearly all of these devices are supported in IAR Embedded Workbench. Customers can benefit from the flexibility in microcontroller choice and convenience by using the same familiar tools for different projects. Increased code portability between targets and less time learning new tools shortens project start-up time and reduces project risks.

The Compact Cooling Package (CCP) from Rittal is designed for use in MicroTCA applications where significant amounts of heat are being generated to provide targeted cooling. Each CCP is capable of removing up to 1,200W of heat in an efficient, controlled manner and multiple systems may be distributed within the rack if required. The 482.6mm (19in) rack-mountable CCP comprises a controller managed air/water heat exchanger, 300mm deep, and a 482.6mm fan tray, which can be supplied as a fully wired and piped re-cooling system.

Both major components of the CCP are 1U in height and may be separated by the electronics they are cooling. Supporting all leading IPMI and Rittal CMC-TC (Computer-Multi-Control Top-Concept) protocols, the CCP can be controlled via a CPU. If a fan breaks down or in the event of extreme air temperatures (96h at 55C), the system still remains operational. The use of robust controllers and sensors ensures secure cooling and allows the system to be reliably controlled automatically.

Modular and easy to install, the system can be matched to specific cooling needs due to its flexibility, Rittal said. Applications with ambient temperatures of up to 55C and at 1,800m above sea level are therefore possible. With the increasing compactness of electronic systems, and MicroTCA systems, power losses of 600W and more can be expected per shelf. One Rittal CCP unit will effectively cool two MicroTCA shelves, providing efficient dispersal of heat, and keeping the electronic systems at constant low temperatures by monitoring the internal temperature. Any vertically cooled rack-mount electronic systems can benefit from this development, which has the added advantage that systems placed nearer the top of the rack can receive cooling air at the same temperature as those lower down.

Lattice Semiconductor has partnered with Affarii Technologies to demonstrate a low-cost, low-power remote radio head solution at 1,300mW per antenna for wireless infrastructure manufacturers. The integration of all remote radio head (RRH) processing has been achieved on a single Lattice ECP3-150 device, part of the LatticeECP3 FPGA family. The single-chip solution supports 2x2 Mimo configurations for WCDMA, LTE and Wimax applications and is part of an overall RRH hardware evaluation platform jointly developed by Lattice and Affarii.

The platform is comprised of the RF front-end, high-speed data conversion devices and the digital signal processing portion. The functionality of the full signal path package includes DDC/DUC, DPD, CFR and CPRI IP cores, supports multi-carrier waveforms up to 20MHz bandwidth and is compatible with Class AB and Doherty amplifiers using LDMOS and GaN transistors. All features of this RRH solution, both hardware and soft IP, are fully integrated and supported by Lattice's latest generation of design tools.

The RRH solution is built using Affarii's digitalTRX technology that includes Digital Up/Down Converter (DUC/DDC), Crest Factor Reduction (CFR) and Digital Pre-Distortion (DPD) functionality. When used with industry standard Doherty amplifiers the DPD solution provides up to 30dB of ACLR correction with PA output efficiencies exceeding 40 per cent, allowing flexible and efficient RRH designs. The solution is fully customisable, with end applications including WCDMA, LTE, Wimax, and DVB-T/S/H.

The RRH solution is supported by a development and test environment that includes GUI-based design simulation, performance analysis and a production test API with design examples. The LatticeECP3 family provides five logic density points between 17K and 150K LUTs. Embedded memory capacity ranges from 0.7 to 6.8 Megabits of dual-port block RAM with general-purpose I/O ranging from 133 to 586 I/O. Each device features both analogue PLLs and digital DLLs for optimum clock flexibility.

Yokogawa has revealed that the G4 power measurement option on its digital and mixed-signal oscilloscopes can be used to carry out high-frequency power measurements in switched-mode power supplies. These measurements can now be carried out with greater accuracy using a de-skew correction signal source, along with voltage and current probes, in conjunction with the G4 option. Although power management using an oscilloscope is fundamentally less accurate than using a digital power meter, it offers much higher bandwidth.

It is particularly suitable for measuring high-frequency switching losses in switched-mode power supplies. It also provides a power management capability using a general-purpose product that has other uses - an option that may be more acceptable to users who are not ready to invest in a true power meter or have limited budgets for test equipment. The de-skew correction signal source is an accessory that is specifically designed to maximise the measurement accuracy of oscilloscopes when they are used for power measurements involving fast switching devices and high-frequency waveforms.

To correctly measure power-supply parameters such as power, impedance, power factor, watt-hours and ampere-hours from the voltage and current under analysis, the voltage and current signals must be applied to the signal input terminals of the oscilloscope with no difference in the transfer time. The signal source corrects the potential delays between voltage and current channels in combination with the auto de-skewing function provided as part of the G4 option.

The unit produces an output voltage from 0-5V and an output current of 0-100mA (for low-current measurements) or 0-1A (for high-current measurements). It has a fall time of approximately 25ns (low current) or 250ns (high current). The fixed time difference between voltage and current is 2.3 +./- 0.5ns (low current) or 14.5 +/- 1.0ns (high current). Its power supply of 5VDC/100mA is taken from the oscilloscope via a USB cable. The de-skew correction signal source supports through-type current transformers and a variety of clamp-on current probes.

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX11102 family of low-power ADCs for portable/battery-powered electronics, automotive designs, solar-powered systems and system monitoring applications. The family is composed of nine devices available in different resolutions (12-/10-/8-bit), channel-count (2/1), and conversion-rate (3/2Msps) configurations. Designed to extend battery life in portable electronics, the devices offer a maximum power consumption of 9.9mW.

Additionally, they are able to operate from a supply rail down to 2.2V. Fast wake-up and shutdown times enable the ADCs to operate in burst mode, which minimises the amount of time spent in active power mode. These ADCs are said to be ideal for portable/battery-powered electronics, automotive designs, solar-powered systems, and system monitoring applications. The ADCs yield a worst-case SNR of 70.5dB and Sinad of 70dB.

The digital interface operates from 1.5V to 3.6V, allowing direct connection to a range of SPI-based host devices without a level shifter. Pin-for-pin compatibility between devices allows designers to change resolution without redesigning their board or control software. All devices are fully specified for operation over the -40C to +125C automotive temperature range.

Amphenol Industrial is offering a connector series designed to eliminate bulky and space-consuming cable glands on motors, AC/DC inverters and converters and other high-amperage equipment. The IP67-rated E-Power 400A connectors are rated to 1,000VDC and feature integrated EMI shielding. The E-Power family of connectors is specifically designed to meet the needs of modern electrification programmes in high-voltage and high-amperage applications, such as power converters, hybrid electric vehicles, heavy equipment electrification, two- and three-phase motors and starter generators in the military, aerospace and industrial markets.

The connector series incorporates Amphenol's Radsok contact system to achieve higher current ratings, as well as to lower temperature rise and contact resistance, as compared with other contact methods, in a compact, lightweight package. Radsok technology, an electrical terminal based on a hyperbolic grid configuration, enables lower insertion forces than standard contacts for easier mating. Because it delivers more power in less space, the Radsok contact system eliminates having to run wires through bulky cable glands in traditional three-phase motor assemblies and similar equipment to deliver power.

The result is a more reliable, user-friendly connection with a 40 per cent smaller footprint to reduce the overall enclosure size, while simplifying maintenance issues. Amphenol said one E-power connector can replace three conventional connectors, saving space and cost. Amphenol's E-Power connectors come in two- and three-pin power configurations ranging from 100A through 500A per contact and have the capacity for two small-gauge signal contacts for high-voltage interlock loop (HVIL) purposes. The IP2X style sockets are available in crimp, lug or bus bar termination.

Cable plugs have IP2X style crimp pins and can accommodate shielded wires. Multiple wire sizes from 50mm to 95mm can be used with the new connectors, which feature an all-aluminium shell, strain relief for the jacketed cable incorporated into the shell and good vibration resistance. Radsok utilises the tensile strength properties of the flat, high conductivity alloy grid for the high normal forces required for conductivity, while providing a large conductive surface area. This results in a correspondingly low voltage drop and low temperature rise while maintaining low insertion forces.

Aries offers a CSP test socket with a window that exposes 100 per cent of the top of the device under test (DUT) for failure analysis testing in emission microscopy or optical sensor applications. Traditionally, a hole in the socket lid only exposes a maximum of 85 per cent of the top of the DUT surface. Available with or without filters for ultraviolet (UV), infrared and full spectrum applications, the new optical failure analysis test socket can be used for laser failure analysis microscopy testing using emission microscopy and laser signal injection microscopy (LSIM) techniques.

These failure analysis techniques are efficient, non-invasive optical analysis tools used to detect and localise certain IC failures with maximum clarity and contrast. The techniques can be performed from either the front or back of the device. The optical test socket line can accommodate many different optical window and lens materials, including quartz crystal, sapphire and clear plastic, depending on operational requirements. The window on the standard socket uses a high-quality optical quartz V077 glass with a 98 per cent transmission rate from less than 260nm in the near UV through to more than 2,000nm in the infrared.

The new test socket can be matched to any existing socket footprint (from Aries or any other manufacturer), allowing an existing printed circuit board to be used for failure analysis testing or for combined testing requirements. The socket can accommodate IC device sizes from 0.75mm and up and with an IC pitch from 0.30mm and higher. Customers should consult Aries for device sizes greater than 40mm and for custom footprint layouts. The standard contact system uses the patented Aries two-piece spring probes with an estimated contact life of 500,000 cycles and an operating temperature of -55C to +150C (-67F to +302F).

High-speed spring probes and conductive elastomeric Kapton interposers are available for radio-frequency applications from 1GHz to more than 40GHz. As with all Aries sockets, the new CSP optical test socket is available in custom materials, platings, sizes and configurations to suit specific customer applications. Pricing is dependent on the number of device leads and the type of device pitch. Typical pricing for an optical test socket with 70 leads starts at USD815 (GBP541). Delivery is 20 working days.

Lattice Semiconductor has launched Version 1.0 of its Lattice Diamond field-programmable gate-array (FPGA) design software, enabling designers to target low-power, cost-sensitive FPGA applications. This new flagship design environment for Lattice FPGA products provides a complete set of tools, design flows and a modern user interface. 'We have used Lattice Diamond design software at Helion for the development of the Ionos line of video image processing pipeline IP and were very impressed by the level of integration of so many different and powerful software tools into one GUI [graphical user interface],' said Dr Arndt Bussman, chief technical officer of Helion.

Mike Kendrick, Lattice's manager of software product planning, added: 'Diamond software gives our customers an easy-to-use, intuitive design environment that specifically addresses the critical design issues of cost-sensitive, lower-power applications. 'As designs become larger and FPGAs are increasingly being used in more cost-sensitive, high-volume applications, designers need an easy-to-learn, flexible design environment for exploring different implementations to achieve their cost, power and performance targets. 'The Diamond software allows designers to efficiently manage these multiple implementations in one project,' he said.

Kendrick added that the software provides the same features found within the Isplever design environment that are specifically developed for low-cost and low-power applications. 'These include a very accurate power calculator, a simultaneous switching output noise calculator and the proven MAP and PAR FPGA implementation algorithms that take novel approaches to avoid congestion when targeting Lattice's industry-leading FPGA product line,' he said. Diamond software enables designers to move quickly to the task at hand because navigation is direct.

Designers can manage their design view windows through the attach/detach feature. This feature enables the activation of many alternate concurrent design views across the available screen space, while avoiding the clutter that could result without advanced window management. Combined with the extensive cross probing between Diamond views, designers can quickly investigate their design implementation's utilisation and critical timing. Diamond software supports multiple design 'implementations'. The design source can be shared among implementations, or each implementation can have its own unique design source.

This allows design exploration from within the Diamond software; different approaches can be tried to evaluate their effect on design size, cost, performance and power. Optimisation options for logic synthesis and place and route are captured as a 'strategy' that can be applied to any of the implementations. Diamond software comes with a library of predefined strategies and users can also create their own and add them to this library. A single strategy's settings can be updated, for example to an alternate PAR algorithm tuned for highly connected designs, and run against several unique implementations to determine if the results better meet the design goals for cost, power and performance.

Finally, the Run Manager can launch a user-selected set of implementations to be run through the flow, exploiting multi-core processors, if available, to improve the elapsed time to final results. The Diamond design environment includes many other design flow improvements that specifically improve designer productivity, particularly when targeting low-power, cost-sensitive applications. For example, built-in HDL visualisation and code checking saves time by quickly catching coding errors and improving design documentation. As another example, designers can quickly find, investigate and address timing issues using the new Timing Analysis View. The Timing Analysis View facilitates the navigation of the static timing results.

When timing constraints are revised, direct updates to timing analysis avoid the potentially significant time required to re-implement the design. Diamond software also includes extensive capabilities for scripting the design flow. Tcl command dictionaries specific to the Diamond design environment are available for projects, netlists, HDL code checking, power calculation and hardware debug insertion and analysis. The Diamond design environment is supported on Windows and Linux.

It includes support for Windows 7 and, under Windows 7 64 bit, Diamond software has access to a full 4G memory space. This gives designers targeting large LatticeECP3 devices excellent system performance and flexibility, according to the company. The Diamond design environment includes support for Windows XP, Windows Vista (32 bit) and Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), as well as Linux (Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE). Other Lattice design tools are available for download separately, including the Latticemico32 System and Isplever Classic, as well as the PAC Designer tools that target programmable mixed-signal design.

A Lattice Diamond licence will also enable any of those tools that are under licence control. Synopsys's Synplify Pro advanced FPGA synthesis is included for all operating systems supported, while Aldec's Active-HDL Lattice Edition II simulator is included for Windows. In addition to the tool support for Lattice devices provided by the OEM versions of Synplify Pro and Active-HDL, Lattice devices are also supported by the full versions of Synopsys Synplify Pro and Aldec Active-HDL. Mentor Graphics Modelsim SE and Precision RTL synthesis also support the latest Lattice devices, such as the LatticeECP3 FPGA range.

Lattice will continue to support its Isplever tool suite for FPGA design over the next 18 months, while transitioning its FPGA customer base to the Diamond design environment. There are no changes to the Isplever Classic product, which targets CPLD and legacy FPGA devices. The Lattice Diamond software is available now for download from the Lattice website for both Windows and Linux. Once downloaded and installed, it can be used with either the Diamond free licence or the Diamond subscription licence.

The Diamond free licence can be immediately generated upon request from the Lattice website and provides access to many Lattice devices, such as the MachXO PLD range, the LatticeXP2 FPGA range and the LatticeECP2 FPGA range at no cost. The Diamond free licence also enables Synopsys Synplify Pro for Lattice synthesis and Aldec Lattice Web Edition II simulation software. The Diamond subscription licence that can be purchased adds support for all Lattice FPGAs, including the latest LatticeECP3 devices.

It enables Synopsys Synplify Pro for Lattice synthesis and the Aldec Lattice Edition II mixed language simulator for increased capacity and performance. The Diamond subscription licence enables both the new Diamond software and the existing Isplever software from a single licence. The Diamond subscription licence is priced at USD895 (GBP594) per year. All Lattice Isplever software users under active maintenance agreements will receive a Diamond subscription licence at no charge that will expire one year from the Lattice Diamond 1.0 release date.

Texas Instruments has introduced the TUSB1310 Superspeed USB (USB 3.0) transceiver, which supports applications including surveillance cameras, smartphones, portable media players and more. The TUSB1310's Pipe3 and ULPI interfaces enable USB 3.0 functionality when used in conjunction with the integrated application processor digital cores. The 5Gbps USB 3.0 physical layer transceiver operates from a single crystal or external reference clock with selectable frequencies from 20, 25, 30 and 40MHz.

This allows the TUSB1310 to provide a cost-effective USB 3.0 solution with few external components and minimum implementation cost, according to Texas Instruments. The TUSB1310 supports many applications, including surveillance cameras, multimedia handsets, smartphones, digital still cameras, portable media players, personal navigation devices, audio docks, video IP phones, wireless IP phones and software-defined radios. Texas Instruments offers an expansive portfolio of Superspeed USB devices.

Devices include: the SN65LVPE502, a dual-channel USB 3.0 re-driver/equaliser; the TPD2EUSB30, a two-channel ESD solution for Superspeed USB 3.0 interface; and the TPS25xx series of USB power switches. Future offerings include peripherals, bridges, hubs and hosts. Receiver sensitivity of less than 50mV differential peak-to-peak for detecting weak signals is said to be twice as good as the specification requirement, allowing use of longer cables and easing board layout challenges. Flexible, integrated spread-spectrum clocking can reduce bill of materials cost by five per cent or more. Industry standard link layer interfaces (Pipe3 for USB 3.0 and ULPI for USB 2.0 compatibility) enable easy system integration to a variety of attached digital cores.

Foremost Electronics has been appointed as the UK distributor for the Marquardt 6425 range of keypad switches for telecoms, control and alarm panels, weighing scales and more. The 6425 switch range is also suitable for similar instrumentation and point-of-sale equipment. In addition, its low operating noise makes them suitable for pro-audio, broadcast and medical applications.

The low-profile Marquardt 6425 series has comfortable actuation characteristic with long travel, soft tactile 'feel' and secure switching functionality, which is ideal for assembling into keypads or keyboards. Caps are available for the switches in a range of shapes and colours for panel spacings of 16mm or 19mm to ensure simple integration into control panels. The 6425 switch caps feature ergonomic surfaces and may be over-printed in different colours with a variety of legends.

The switches have an operating temperature of -70C to +20C and the single-pole, normally open (SPNO) contacts are rated at 28V up to 100mA. The Marquardt guide mechanism for multiple keypad switches guarantees reliable functioning even when the actuation force is off-centre. The mechanism can accommodate one or two LEDs in yellow, green, blue or red.

American Industrial Systems (AIS) has introduced a 10.1in operator interface terminal PC designed for building, factory and industrial automation. The human-machine interface (HMI) panel PC features the Intel Atom processor, providing fan-less, reliable performance with minimal power consumption, according to the company. The latest Windows 7 operating systems are supported by the touch-screen operator interface PC.

A widescreen LED backlit LCD display and touch-screen HMI are integrated into the system allowing users to control, monitor and program directly from the information terminal. The touch-screen panel PC can be integrated directly into your PCA, PLC, DCS, factory Scada systems, operator terminals and automation applications. The AIS embedded PC features a compact rugged steel housing and the aluminium front bezel is sealed to IP54 standards for water/dustproof protection, enabling the systems to operate in adverse conditions. Built-in communication ports support RS232, RS485, and Ethernet for Modbus or Modbus/TCP protocols enabling it to connect to a variety of control systems.

The LED backlight provides crisp images while consuming only a fraction of the power compared with traditional backlights. The AIS industrial grade panel PC is designed to be reliable, long lifetime support and availability, high performance, easily programmable and accessed supporting a non-proprietary hardware-based solution. With touch-screen capability, ruggedised housing, and several I/O connections, the AIS's operator interface terminal is available commercially off-the-shelf and is easily deployable into build, factory, and industrial automation applications.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Ensolv cleaning solution from Enviro Tech is said to be a suitable alternative to trichloroethylene for vapour degreasing. It is an economical vapour degreaser that operates at 70C, which equates to less energy, easier handling, faster throughput and lower usage, according to the company. Safe for operators, Ensolv is a simple drop-in replacement; no special skills or equipment are required.

The solution is sold and serviced by a group of distributors fully trained to carry out inspections of the equipment and processes and advise and support the changeover, which can be done in hours. The visit to the customer's works by a member of the Trichloroethylene Substitution Team, the survey report and the processing of samples to validate cleaning and compatibility with soils, oils and metals of construction is said to be free and without obligation.

Visibility has announced plans to bring the full Visibility.net enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution - designed to meet the needs of complex manufacturers - to the Apple Ipad device. 'Executives and management can now access all transactional function and reports in their internal system from anywhere using the latest in hardware advances,' said Jack Saint, the company's president and chief operating officer.

The planned release will deploy all functions, transactions, reports and business intelligence analytical capabilities through browsers including Apple's Safari, which is available for the Ipad, as well as Google Chrome and continued support on Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Iwis is offering both Iwis-branded and Elite accumulation chains for feed and assembly applications. The Iwis-branded accumulation chains include versions with low-friction running rollers, side bow conveyor chains and maintenance-free conveyor chains as well as conventional accumulation chains. The Elite range includes accumulation roller chains, chains with parts and finger protection and double-pitch roller chains. Accumulation chains have an enlarged conveying roller every other segment, which transports the conveyed materials and allows the chain to pass underneath queued material without damaging it.

Used in feeding applications, automation engineering and to provide the gentle transportation of workpiece carriers, for example, accumulation chains are said to be very versatile. In conveying applications, they are used as links between stations of a production or assembly line within warehouses in a range of material flow systems - wherever workpieces, finished products, pallets, containers or crates need to be moved, stored, accelerated or separated along defined routes. Requiring a lower drive power, the Iwis accumulation chains with low-friction running rollers are energy efficient.

As the rollers are arranged in an offset pattern and each pin is load bearing, they combine an optimised load distribution with the gentler, more even transport of the conveyed goods. The bushings and low-friction running rollers of the maintenance-free Megalife range of accumulation chains are made from hardened sintered metal featuring a lubricant reservoir. Megalife chains do not have to be re-lubricated, allowing them to remain clean throughout their service life; there is no risk of product contamination. Side bow accumulation conveyor chains provide a modular solution for direction changes in conveying systems. They have a small minimum bend radius and fully contacting chain links even in the bend.

Elite accumulation chains are available in a standard and a low-maintenance design. For increased personnel safety and to protect the conveyed goods, Elite accumulation chains are also available with finger and parts protection. The gap between the conveying rollers of this type is covered to prevent fingers or small objects becoming trapped between the rollers during operation. In addition to accumulation chains, Iwis provides a full product range for all drive and conveying applications.

The company's portfolio comprises roller chains, conveyor chains, maintenance-free and corrosion-resistant chains, accumulation chains, special-purpose conveyor chains, chains for agricultural machinery, flat-top chains and modular belts for industrial applications and timing drives for the automotive industry. Iwis will exhibit at Motek, an international trade fair for assembly and handling technology and automation, which is scheduled to be held at the Exhibition Centre Stuttgart in Germany on 13-16 September 2010 (Stand 3,231, Hall 3).

Pump manufacturer Ritz and Co has chosen an enterprise resource planning (ERP) package from Abas to standardise the IT system environment, increase transparency and improve delivery reliability. The new software also needed to achieve the permanent optimisation of internal and external processes.

A suitable solution was found in Abas Business Software (ERP, PPC, MRP and e-business). Abas ERP is being customised to adapt to Ritz's requirements. According to Hans-Juergen Steeb, head of IT at Ritz Pumpen, the Abas solution has enabled the company to increase transparency and productivity.

Schaeffler has announced that 1,146 of its products for use in automotive and industrial applications can be found in the German Patent and Trademark Office's list of patent applicants. According to the company, 747 of these patents are for new INA and FAG products, with the remaining 399 patents being LuK clutch products. As such, the company now ranks fifth in the German Patent and Trademark Office's list of patent applicants, which is published annually.

Among these new applications from Schaeffler are some patent-protected, technological developments, including the Uniair electro-hydraulic valve control system, developed and manufactured by INA; FAG's wheel bearing concept with face spline; and LuK's dry double clutch. In addition, the dual mass flywheel with a centrifugal pendulum-type absorber is a further product development for drive-train vibration damping. All these elements are playing a key role in reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the latest passenger vehicles, according to the company.

When considering the automotive sector, a range of products for engines, transmissions and chassis is helping to bring about improvements in fuel consumption and in reducing harmful emissions. These products contribute towards improving the energy efficiency both actively (in the case of Uniair) or passively (in the case of the double clutch transmission). Components that make a passive contribution include the dual mass flywheel with a centrifugal pendulum-type absorber or torque converters with turbine dampers.

These components reduce the idling speeds of passenger vehicles without influencing driver comfort. The noticeable reduction in idling speeds has a significant effect on fuel consumption. Mechatronics is said to be becoming more important as a discipline. This is documented by the increasing number of products and patents that relate to hybrid passenger cars and the issue of electric mobility.

Durobor, a Belgian supplier of glasses for the drinks industry, is using MacDermid Autotype Capillex films for large, high-quality print runs. The screen-printing process enables eight colours to be applied, with dishwasher-proof quality. Durobor glasses are used by a variety of sectors, including retail, tourism and interior decoration. According to technical development manager Alain Thiebaut, the company is able to print up to eight colours on glass, with 20- to 150-micron-thick enamel deposits and to achieve runs reaching 30,000 units.

The challenge facing Durobor is maintaining quality while reducing the time required to design, manufacture and print. Materials and equipment play an important part in helping the company find a balance between the constraints of constant quality and high output rates. A new oven for manufacturing toughened safety glass is now being used to apply a specific treatment for heating glass and then cooling it rapidly to increase its shock resistance, making it ideal for intensive use in the catering and industrial sectors.

From the decoration point of view, Durobor has been using MacDermid Autotype Capillex films for making printing screens. MacDermid Autotype Capillex films have been formulated for fine mesh counts and line printing. Their controlled-profile technology ensures a low stencil profile and optimised Rz and reduces the area not covered by ink.

Thyssenkrupp Umformtechnik has received an order from a German automotive manufacturer to produce B-pillars for more than 100,000 cars annually by tailored tempering. Thyssenkrupp's tailored tempering process was developed on the basis of hot-forming technology. The safety-relevant components are to be used in compact cars. The use of hot forming in car manufacturing is currently on the increase, according to the company. The process permits weight savings of up to 30 per cent in car components.

Hot forming uses special manganese-boron steels. The sheet material is heated to 880-950C and is then formed into a component and cooled rapidly in the die. This produces components with strengths of up to 1,500MPa. These strengths are higher than those produced even with the strongest steels used for cold stamping. The components are lighter because the high strength of the material means that they can be designed with thinner walls and without additional reinforcements. While conventional hot forming only enables the production of components with the same strength throughout, tailored tempering produces parts that are not only very strong but also able to yield in specific areas.

These properties are needed in crash-relevant components, for instance, which have to protect vehicle occupants and absorb impact energy in a controlled way. The B-pillar, for example, is a component with a vertical structural member extending from the door sill to the roof frame. It has to be able to yield in the lower third to absorb crash energy. The upper part has to stabilise the passenger cell and protect the occupants in a side impact. With the process patented by Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, parts with differing local strength and elongation properties can be produced in a single step from a homogeneous steel sheet.

This is made possible by a newly developed die with flexible heating. The targeted heating of specific zones of the die gives the finished component elongation properties exactly where they are needed. As the heated blank cools more slowly in these zones, the steel hardens less. The technology is said to be cost efficient because it eliminates several process steps. Depending on sheet thickness, the area of transition between hard and soft zones is extremely narrow - 15-60mm - and this level of accuracy is reproducible. This means that the properties at every point of the finished component can be accurately predicted, according to the company.

Precision sheet metal and machining specialist Cube Manufacturing has extended its subcontract manufacturing capabilities with the installation of a Haas TL-25 turning centre at its Dunstable site. Incorporating C-axis/live-tooling and sub-spindle capabilities, the new machine is also equipped with a tool-setting arm and a dedicated bar feeder capable of handling stock measuring up to 76mm in diameter.

'The investment not only enables us to streamline the production of turned parts for our sister company Cube Lighting, but also to extend our cost-effective subcontract services and offer faster delivery times,' said Dean White, Cube Manufacturing's managing director. Enabling a variety of close-tolerance turned pasts to be produced in aluminium, brass, mild steel, stainless materials and engineering plastics, the new Haas turning centre allows Cube to extend its customer base beyond traditional sheet-metal-based industries to target users in the general engineering, rotating equipment, hydraulics, agricultural, process, material handling and automation sectors.

The machine is also complemented by a One CNC offline programming system and the company's existing Solidworks computer-aided-design (CAD) installation, enabling fast machine changeovers and program prove-out. 'We are therefore able to provide a responsive one-stop-shop service covering the design, prototyping and manufacture of both sheet-metal and machined products, as well as undertake regular build-to-print work - all with the option of the electronic data transfer of 3D component models,' added White.

According to Tony de Angelis, Cube's machine shop CNC section leader, the TL-25's accuracy, repeatability and throughput have helped the company to achieve competitive charge-out rates, which are already attracting customer interest. 'The facility to run "lights out" also offers us additional capacity, although, if demand continues to grow at its current rate, we may need to invest in a second machine sooner than we expect,' he said.

Haeussler, a manufacturer of wood-burning ovens, electric stone ovens, pizza ovens, dough-kneading machines, pasta machines and grain mills, has improved productivity with Abas Business Software. Previously, the company did not have a structured IT environment and many isolated solutions interfered with the flow of information. In 2006, Haeussler implemented Abas Business Software and increased liquidity, transparency and productivity.

All modification done within the software remain intact after a release upgrade. 'Our production is very complex, with extended workbench, procurements abroad, in-house production and purchased parts, as well as job lot and made-to-order production,' said Roland Mayer, technical director at Haeussler. In the service department, Abas ERP manages the spare-parts lists of the devices. Prices, conditions, costing schemata and customer- and vendor-related service information is available with the click of a button.

Haeussler is operating a separate warehouse in the distribution area. Using the connection of several cash registers, sales are posted in real time in this warehouse by the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and the reorder point for refilling the goods in the baking village is managed. The automatic sending of goods is also initiated. The e-business component contained in the ERP software is also being used.

Mayer added: 'With our integrated system - everything is connected to everything and the tools available in the software, such as info systems or selection bars - we are able to quickly and easily create all types of enumerations, costing schemata, statistics and business figures. 'Transparency and the ability to provide information have also increased. 'One click and the user knows the status of a sales order. 'Since we have been using the scheduling function of our ERP system, Excel lists in procurement are a thing of the past and we almost have no safety stock. 'Batch sizes and purchase-order quantities can now be purchased optimally.

'Warehouse quantities and capital tie-up could be decreased by 35 per cent, which, in turn, increased liquidity. 'All products and their current availability can be viewed 24/7 in the Abas eB webshop. 'Individual terms and conditions are recorded for all registered customers. 'All the necessary data are available in the ERP system and are displayed in the webshop in real time,' he said.

Prosoft Technology has announced the support of the Industrial Hotspot series of radios in conjunction with Sweet William Automation's new Scadamobile application for the Iphone/Ipod platform. The application is designed to provide engineers with access to live process control variables and the ability to modify this data remotely from their Iphones. Functionally, the application creates a secure wireless interface between an Iphone device and an existing 802.11 wireless network on the plant floor, effectively allowing an Iphone device to read Modbus TCP/IP and Ethernet/IP process control variables from programmable automation controllers/programmable logic controllers (PAC/PLCs) distributed throughout their plants.

These live values are displayed in stylised lists and include user-established variance allowances and alarms. Engineers are able to monitor these variables in real time and make adjustments on the fly from an Iphone device. Cumulative security features are offered by both the Iphone and the Industrial Hotspot radios to prevent unauthorised access to the network. The new 802.11n industrial hotspots feature WPA2-PSK and 802.11i Radius security, which prevent unauthorised access and modification to the network.

Scadamobile provides a feature upon configuration that requires the user to assign a matching security code as both a password for network access and as a security tag in the central processing unit (CPU). When Scadamobile launches, the security code must match that on the CPU in order to create a connection. By utilising the Scadamobile application in conjunction with Prosoft Technology's Industrial Hotspot series of radios, engineers can manage their industrial processes remotely.

The Industrial Hotspots are certified for hazardous environments and are optimised for plant-wide network integration, particularly the new 802.11n series, which is designed to meet the specific needs of industrial customers who require straightforward deployment, ruggedness and reliable industrial communication. For plant engineers, this solution enables: the live monitoring of process data to engineers and plant-floor operators; the secure remote monitoring and modification of live process data; and real-time alarm management. All Prosoft Technology wireless solutions come with a three-year warranty and unlimited technical support for the life of the product.

Schunk unveiled a dynamic solar cell gripper module, suitable for robot or gantry systems used in solar cell manufacturing, at the recent Automatica exhibition in Munich, Germany. The SZG reliably handles wafers and finished cells measuring 156 x 156mm or 125 x 125mm at extreme speed, according to the company. A transportation cycle of 550mm that includes inspection with a camera system on the return is carried out in a cycle time of less than one second. New and existing facilities can be equipped with this sensitive high-speed gripper, which is actuated with compressed air of 6bar.

The SZG is based on the Bernoulli principle; a low pressure at the gripping surface has the effect that wafers made of crystalline silicium with a thickness of 110 microns are gripped gently but with a high holding force. According to Schunk, special silencers at the gripper bottom side, a polyurethane friction lining and a large support face provide a stress-free and safe grip, where even occurring shearing forces can be absorbed reliably. Integrated micro valves shorten the movement of the compressed air to allow an extremely short response time where wafers can be blown out when they are deposited.

With the combination of this function, large cycle-time savings are achieved. Compared with conventional suction or edge grippers, the wafers are said to be gripped more gently with the Schunk solution. A large area of the cell surface can be mounted at a distance of approximately 7mm. The air flow automatically removes possible dust particles from the wafer.

The company claims that its SZG solar cell gripper achieves shorter cycle times than the conventional Bernoulli gripper thanks to the integrated micro valves. As the cell is located above the gripper, it is possible for a vision system to inspect the complete wafer edge, which increases process quality and reliability in solar cell manufacturing. In order to control the complete process reliably with a vision sensor, the 140 x 140mm base plate can be designed transparently. With a transmitted light, the wafer surface can also be inspected for cracks.

Expertune has announced that its Planttriage control system monitoring software now incorporates the tools necessary to diagnose the health of instruments, valves and controls. For years, the patented Control Loop Health approach has identified problem control loops based on technical and economic factors. Several new tools provide more specific performance metrics and diagnostics for each control loop component: the instrument, the valve and the controller.

The Valve Health measurement, for example, combines information about control valve sizing, application and mechanical performance to give an overall picture of the valve's health. Planttriage's 'context-sensitive drill-down' provides the next level of detail, including measures of each specific aspect of performance, such as the percentage valve stiction. In addition, Sensor Health uses real-time data to look at common symptoms of instrumentation problems.

The Controller Health tools focus on aspects of actual control performance, including variability, the inability to hold set point and dynamic response. 'This new approach provides a straightforward way to diagnose specific control loop issues - from high-level performance metrics straight down to root cause,' said John Gerry, president and founder of Expertune.

Parker Hannifin has launched a flexible compact spiral hose for use in both stationary and mobile industrial machinery in a range of applications, including construction, defence and oil and gas. Offering 5,000lb/in2 and 6,000lb/in2 hose performance in a compact design, the new Compact Spiral improves productivity for original equipment manufacturers and end users with greater routing, installation, durability, size and weight advantages over conventional SAE spiral hoses, saving on material, shipping and inventory costs, according to the company.

The new hose technology can achieve two million impulse cycles - two times the ISO 18752-DC standard and four times the SAE requirement. This translates to a longer service life in nearly all applications, particularly those where many repeat cycles occur within a short timeframe, such as in injection moulding machines. The new Compact Spiral is claimed to offer a number of other benefits, including greater flexibility, a smaller outside diameter and a tighter bend radius thanks to a high-performance inner tube that makes it possible to refine, redesign and reduce overall hose construction.

For example, the hose has half the bend radius and a 30 per cent smaller diameter than conventional SAE spiral hoses. It also requires one third less effort to bend, meaning that bends can begin sooner, reducing the total amount of hose needed by 20-55 per cent depending on the application. The Compact Spiral is easier to route and install and more hose can be routed into tight quarters where larger-diameter, less flexible hoses simply would not fit. Customers can also jump up to a larger hose size to achieve better flow characteristics for their hydraulic systems while maintaining an outside diameter similar to the smaller hose that was previously installed; for instance, the outside diameter of a -12-size Compact Spiral equates to the diameter of a -10-size comparable SAE hose.

The new hose weighs up to 26 per cent less than standard spiral hoses, according to Parker. This weight reduction leads to fuel savings for equipment with many hydraulic hoses, such as car carriers and refuse trucks. In addition, shipping and packaging costs are reduced. The new 787TC (5,000lb/in2) and 797TC (6,000lb/in2) Compact Spiral hoses are available in sizes -8, -10, -12 and -16 and are backed by the company's network of manufacturing, sales and customer support centres.

Exair's new Peek Super Air Nozzles, available from Good Hand UK, are suitable for part drying, machinery and parts cleaning, chip removal, part ejection, liquid blow-off and cooling hot parts. The nozzles are said to deliver strong blowing force while providing non-marring protection should the air nozzle come into contact with other surfaces. The engineered thermoplastic construction offers resistance to chemicals, fatigue and temperatures up to 160C.

The Peek Super Air Nozzles also provide high air amplification. At 80psig, the sound level is less than 76dBA, which meets recognised noise requirements. Safe operation is said to be guaranteed, since the airflow cannot be blocked. The Model 1110-Peek Nano Super Air Nozzle with an M6 x 0.75 inlet measures 20mm in length, has an air consumption of 8.3scfm and produces 8.1 ounces of blowing force. The Model 1102-Peek Super Air Nozzle has a 1/8 BSP inlet, measures 30mm in length, has an air consumption of 10scfm and produces nine ounces of blowing force. The Model 1100-Peek Super Air Nozzle has a 1/4 BSP inlet, measures 44mm in length, has an air consumption of 14scfm and produces 13 ounces of blowing force.

Ion Controls has introduced a complete Scada human-machine-interface (HMI) solution suitable for process engineers, building controls systems integrators and operators. Ion Vision, an integrated development and operation environment, features advanced graphics capabilities and zero-maintenance data logging, together with a high-performance communications engine to deliver a low-cost Scada HMI experience. Switching between designer mode and operator mode in screens is a matter of a single keystroke.

Definitions are always accessible and can be changed without restarting Ion Vision. Access to the design features can be hidden to prevent operators from making changes to the project. Projects in Ion Vision are said to be quick and simple to set up. All definitions, such as aliases, alarms or trend variables, are done in tables, allowing the user to export and import data, search and replace values, sort through the definitions or make global changes using the Express Edit feature. Ion Vision is designed to facilitate all tasks involved in creating and designing projects.

According to the company, Ion Vision always stays responsive, even while performing lengthy tasks such as fetching records or searching for data, and features a streamlined, clean interface. The scalable solution does not limit, either by licence or technology, any aspect of a project. It has been field tested in installations using tens of thousands of input/output (I/O) points, hundreds of reports and trends and thousands of alarms.

Numerous protocol drivers are available as standard, including Modbus and OPC. Each system includes all the required development tools. Customers can download Ion Vision online and use it for up to 30 days without any limitations. When the evaluation period has passed, the customer will be required to purchase a licence in order to continue using Ion Vision.

Non-contact torque sensors from Sensor Technology are playing a key role in the development of commercial-scale in-stream tidal turbines produced by technology company Openhydro. The Irish company is using these sensors, which are based on surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology, to measure rotational speed and frictional forces in a simulator for the turbine bearings. Openhydro designs and manufactures marine turbines to generate renewable energy from tidal streams.

The company aims to deploy farms of tidal turbines under the world's oceans, where they will generate electricity with no cost to the environment. This method of producing electricity is said to have many benefits. For instance, as the turbines are submerged, they are invisible and they produce no noise. In addition, since they are submerged at a considerable depth, they present no hazard to shipping. The tides are completely predictable, which means that the energy output of the turbines is equally as predictable.

There are no large seasonal variations and no dependence on the vagaries of the weather, as there are with many other renewable energy sources. Reliably and efficiently harvesting energy from the tides, however, requires the use of novel technology and, in the case of Openhydro, this takes the form of open-centre turbines that can be deployed directly on the seabed. Installation in such an inaccessible location makes reliability a prime consideration in the design and construction of the turbines.

For this reason, Openhydro evaluates the performance of all of the components used in its turbines. For the bearings, this evaluation involves the use of a simulator that allows the company's engineers to determine how frictional forces in the bearings vary with different loads and rotational speeds. Central to the operation of this simulator is the measurement of torque in a shaft from the motor that drives the bearing under test. With conventional sensors, it is hard to carry out this type of torque measurement accurately and reliably, but Openhydro found that Sensor Technology's Torqsense RWT320 series sensor was suitable. Like all Torqsense sensors, the RWT320 units depend on SAW transducers.

These transducers comprise two thin metal electrodes, in the form of interlocking 'fingers', on a piezoelectric substrate such as quartz. When a radio-frequency (RF) signal of the correct frequency is applied to the transducer, SAWs are set up and the transducer behaves as a resonant circuit. If the substrate is deformed, however, the resonant frequency changes. When the transducer is attached to a driveshaft, the deformation of the substrate and hence the change in resonant frequency will be related to the torque applied to the shaft. In other words, the transducer operates as a frequency-dependent strain gauge.

Since the transducers operate at RFs, it is simple to couple signals to them wirelessly, according to Sensor Technology. Torqsense sensors can be used on rotating shafts and can provide data continuously without the need for the inherently unreliable and inconvenient brushes and slip rings often found in traditional torque measurement systems. Kevin Harnett, mechanical engineer at Openhydro, said: 'We chose the RWT320 because of its convenient wireless operation and because it was easy for us to fix in line with an existing shaft in our experimental setup.

'In addition, this model of sensor has integral electronics and a serial output, which means that we can link it directly to a laptop computer in our test laboratory,' he added. Openhydro uses the RWT320 sensor in conjunction with Sensor Technology's Torqview software. This offers a choice of dial, digital-bar and chart-graph format display for torque, revolutions per minute, temperature and power.

It also provides facilities for real-time plotting and for data recording and can output stored results as files that are compatible with Matlab and Excel. 'The sensor has proved itself to be well able to withstand the tough operating conditions in our laboratory,' said Harnett. In late 2009, Openhydro successfully deployed the first commercial-scale in-stream tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, on behalf of Nova Scotia Power. This 1MW unit arrived on site on 11 November and was operational, rotating with the tides, collecting data and producing energy, by 17 November.

Rittal has expanded its AE Compact Enclosure range with rain canopies to combat potential weather-related problems. Although most of the company's AE Compact Enclosure range is rated to IP66, it was not designed for outdoor use. The introduction of stainless-steel models improved the protection against moisture and airborne contaminants. Following requests for a fully weatherproof version, Rittal introduced a series of rain canopies for the enclosures.

Made from 1.4301 stainless steel, the canopies provide water run-off to the rear. They cover the join between the door and the enclosure itself, preventing water build-up on the seal and the possible reduction in effectiveness following freezing during sub-zero temperature periods. To prevent wind-driven rain from collecting, the canopies also cover the sides and rear of the enclosure at the top. A secondary function of the canopies is to shield the top of the enclosure from direct sunlight, thus reducing the solar temperature gain inside and the need for cooling solutions.

The canopies can be retrofitted to the enclosure and are supplied with assembly parts. Alternative stainless-steel or aluminium canopies can be supplied for other enclosures if required.

The C Flex stainless-steel flexible hose from Metalflex Industrial Supplies can transfer a variety of media including corrosive liquids and gases. The hose is said to save space by reducing the bend radii that can be applied to it. This reduces the space envelope in which the hose is fitted. This convoluted hose core is manufactured from either 321 or 316 stainless steel.

The convolutions are of closer pitch than standard cores and therefore have more flexibility, according to the company. Bend radii can be reduced by up to 25 per cent, thus saving space for the installer. The hose core can be used at working pressures of up to 10bar, which can be increased by covering the core in either a single or double metal braid cover. A double-braided hose can operate at pressures up to 275bar.

The braiding, available in 304 or 316 stainless steel, also offers protection from external environmental conditions. For additional protection against corrosion, overbraids can also be supplied in Monel and Inconel materials. Thirteen bore sizes are available, ranging from 6mm to 300mm in diameter. Hoses, which can be manufactured to specific customer requirements, are provided with a variety of end connections.

These flexible hoses can operate in temperature applications from -200C to +700C. Hoses are also available for vacuum service. All hoses are pressure tested before despatch.

The new Revguard speed switch from Chalwyn, an AMOT company, is suitable for vehicles working in refineries or gas plants. The new speed switch continuously monitors engine revolutions per minute (rev/min) and, should the engine rev/min exceed a preset limit, transmits a signal to close the air intake shut-off valve to stop an over-speeding diesel engine. Used on vehicles and stationary engines in the harsh Canadian climate, the compact and durable switches work with both 12V or 24V power and with a choice of speed input options.

Encapsulated against fuel, moisture and dirt, they have a -30C to +75C operating temperature range. Engine speed is monitored either via a magnetic pick-up mounted on the engine's flywheel housing or a pulse signal from the alternator. Having automatic reset, a local trip indicator, screw terminals to facilitate installation and an aluminium frame for ruggedness, they are compatible with Chalwyn energised-to-stop SVX valves or an air pressure system commonly found on larger trucks to activate a Chalwyn MPX or PVX intake shut-off valve.

Functionality also includes a simple test button that temporarily reduces the trip point to two thirds of the desired rev/min limit, enabling initial installation and system tests without over-speeding the engine. The trip point can be adjusted in the field, with a repeatability of less than one per cent deviation, and there is provision for a remote test switch enabling the demonstration of the system for a safety inspector. Also available for Chalwyn butterfly valves are actuation kits that include components to simplify installation.

Items in these kits include a manual override switch, a solenoid relay, a circuit breaker and fittings for pneumatic systems. A new Systems Guide booklet is available on request.

PTC's Mathcad 15.0 engineering calculation software, available from Adept Scientific, enables customers to improve the documentation of calculations throughout the product development process. Enhanced capabilities help customers to solve pressing engineering calculation needs. Mathcad 15.0 includes more than 25 new functions, new reference libraries and integration with third-party tools, including the latest version of Microsoft Excel.

The Mathcad 15.0 integration with existing engineering platforms such as Pro/Engineer, as well as with PTC's Windchill solutions, Windchill PDMLink and Windchill Productpoint, enables the better management of critical engineering content, making it easier to share and reuse information leading to standardisation and best practices. According to Philip Leitch of PRL Software, the Design of Experiment (DoE) fitting functions will help save time evaluating large sets of data. There are more than 25 new functions to reduce the time and expense of conducting experiments through DoE by understanding the variable interactions that will influence the experiment.

DoE helps identify critical factors and optimal settings for complex processes. It provides templates for a fewer number of experiments, which are said to be indispensable when having multiple variables and levels. Another enhancement is integration with Knovel Math content. Users can quickly access the full list of Knovel's fully documented Mathcad worksheets from Roark's and Hick's reference works, reducing the time it takes to solve complex maths problems. Mathcad 15.0 also offers integration with Kornucopia software.

Kornucopia by Bodie Technology is designed to reduce the time and effort spent on analysis by providing functions and templates using Mathcad-based documented workflows, improving interpretations and the value of experimental data and simulation results. Also featured in the latest release is integration with Truenumbers. Truenumbers by True Engineering Technology gives users the ability to communicate values across applications and the organisation without the loss of quantity or unit integrity. Results and values can be moved outside of Mathcad onto different document types, facilitating the sharing of data. Mathcad also includes support for the latest version of Microsoft Excel. Users can leverage the following functions and features with Excel: Readexcel, Writeexcel, Readfile, the data import wizard and the Excel Add-in.

Finally, the latest release provides Windows 7 support. 'Mathcad 15.0 with its new DoE functions and integration with Windchill Productpoint, as well as other tools, enables our customers to easily create complex engineering calculations and communicate those calculations across the organisation, thus helping them achieve a level of standardisation and collaboration within their product development process,' said Jake Simpson, general manager of the Mathcad Business Unit at PTC.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Megger's new MTO210 transformer ohmmeter is suitable for measuring the DC resistance of magnetic winding and for checking the operation of on-load tap changers. Incorporating patented Fast Test technology, the MTO210 is said to make it easy to measure the DC resistance of all types of magnetic winding rapidly, safely and accurately. The Fast Test technology has been specifically developed to stabilise the test current in the shortest possible time, thereby reducing test times.

Further time-saving features include dual-channel operation, which allows the resistances of transformer primary and secondary windings to be measured simultaneously, and bi-directional current output capabilities that allow users to take advantage of any existing magnetisation in the winding core to aid rapid current stabilisation. When used to check the contact resistance of make-before-break tap changes and voltage regulators, the MTO210 provides a fast indication of pitted or misaligned contacts. As a further aid to the testing of tap changers - one of the most common causes of transformer problems - a remote probe is available that allows the user to operate the tap changer while the tester is in operation.

To ensure safe operation, circuitry is included that automatically discharges the winding or windings under test when the test is completed, if a lead is accidentally disconnected or in the event of a power failure. Provision is also made for driving a warning beacon and for interlocking the operation of the instrument with a safety fence, for example. The MTO210 offers facilities for demagnetising winding cores before or after resistance testing is carried out and it can also be used as a standalone core demagnetiser. It offers a wide resistance range, which allows it to be used for the heat-run testing of many types of transformers.

Test results are shown on large liquid-crystal displays and can also be stored in the instrument's internal memory for later printing or downloading. The MTO210 is compatible with Megger's PowerDB software, which provides uniform test result analysis and reporting features for all types of power equipment tests. Weighing less than 13kg and built into a rugged case with a hinged lid and carrying handle, the MTO210 is suitable for use on site and in the workshop. It is supplied complete with a set of 10m test leads, while 20m accessory leads are available as an option. All leads feature Kelvin clamps, which eliminate the need for bushing adaptors.

The Iglidur PRT modules provide a ready-to-install solution for applications such as in semiconductor and cleanroom applications, assembly lines, wind turbines, production facilities and robots. The Igus slewing ring uses two self-lubricating, low-friction polymer sliding elements in place of the ball bearings - a cost-effective, low noise and highly wear resistant solution that is maintenance free.

All housing parts are made of aluminium and use stainless-steel screws. The polymer elements contain solid lubricant so it does not require additional lubrication. The polymer also makes it resistant to chemical aggressors and features moisture absorption and good vibration-dampening properties. The Iglidur PRT slewing ring bearing system is available in a range of sizes, with outside diameters of 20, 30, 60, 100, 200 and 300mm.

SKF has won a contract to supply ZF Sachs Italy with 140,000 oil and wiper seals each year, to be used on the forks of high-performance motorcycles. SKF developed a new material to meet the specific requirements of ZF Sachs, featuring a special formulation that allows the seals to provide long-lasting self lubrication during operation. The seals eliminate stick and slip effects to enable high oil retention and prevent contamination from dirt and dust.

Laboratory tests proved that the SKF seals could reduce friction by more than 20 per cent in comparison to competing products. As the rider is in direct connection with the front suspension system through the handlebar, the smoothness of the fork movement is said to be highly perceptible. In particular, pilots experienced an improved degree of smoothness that resulted in more accurate and comfortable riding during field tests with the SKF seals.

Procter's Angel modular machine guarding system is suitable for factories applying lean manufacturing principles where there is often a need to rearrange the production facility to eliminate waste. The Angel system is offered with a range of standard components, although customised components can also be specified for delivery in a matter of days. The system is designed to be attractive and to enhance the visual appearance of the working environment. The company claims that, unlike other perimeter guarding systems, Angel provides complete design freedom in that guarding can be configured to suit any machine or factory layout.

This is because the fencing panels can be manufactured to any size and the use of round posts means that panels can be fixed at any angle - not just straight or at right angles. Patented Universal Brackets enable multiple panels to be attached to a single post, which gives greater scope for creating the ideal guarding configuration or combination of guarding and partitioning for other areas such as stores or quarantines. Panel bracketry is concealed behind fascia plates that give a clean appearance, with no fasteners visible form the outside.

Panels can be removed quickly for access during maintenance operations; depending on the size of the panel and the infill material used, this can be done singlehandedly. As well as specifying the panel height and width, customers can choose the infill material (sheet steel, welded wire mesh, polycarbonate or a combination of these) and there is a choice or hinged, sliding (tracked or cantilevered) or rise-and-fall gates in any size and with the customer's choice of infill. Virtually any access control system can be used with the gates and these can be installed by Procter's fitters, a system integrator or the customer.

All Angel products are supplied in a durable polyester powder-coated finish, with the standard colours being yellow, satin black, gloss black and metallic charcoal grey. Alternatively, customers can specify colours to suit the corporate or factory colour scheme or to identify different production areas. Standard components are generally available for delivery within five working days and customised components can usually be delivered within the same timescale. An Angel system is said to be simple to specify; all that the advisors require is a dimensioned sketch plan of the machine footprint, with notes about the desired guard height or distance from the machine, the type of infill, the finish and other customer-specific requirements.

From this, the Angel advisors will prepare a computer-aided-design drawing of the layout, complete with a bill of materials, from which a fixed-price quotation can be prepared.