Thursday, July 22, 2010

Master Bond has developed the EP31 two-part polymer system, which provides adhesion to a variety of substrates, including many metals, plastics, rubbers, ceramics and glass. The system offers good adhesion with a lap shear strength exceeding 4,600psi, a peel strength surpassing 40pli, a tensile modulus of more than 410,000psi and a flexural strength of more than 13,000psi. Resistant to many chemicals, including water, oil and fuels, the EP31 is also an excellent electrical insulator, according to the company.

The EP31 has a versatile cure schedule and can cure at room temperature or more quickly at elevated temperatures. Other characteristics include a Shore D hardness of greater than 75 and low shrinkage upon cure. It is processed with a 3:1 mix ratio by weight and has a service temperature range of -60F to +250F. Available in both black and optically clear, the EP31 is sold in half-pint, pint, quart, one-gallon and five-gallon containers. It is also available as a non-drip version called EP31ND.

The WM33 and WM261 relative humidity sensors from Michell Instruments can be used to keep swimming pools dry. The high levels of humidity caused by the water vapour and heat in indoor swimming pools can create a nightmare for facilities managers. Without effective dehumidification and ventilation systems to keep the air dry, indoor pools face attack from a host of humidity-related problems such as mould and corrosion - as well as complaints from visitors that it is uncomfortable.

Failure to keep control over levels of humidity may eventually cause structural damage as the warm air carries the moisture into the walls and ceiling. When combined with chlorine from the pool chemicals, the humid air becomes highly corrosive, attacking both metal and concrete. When controlling the humidity levels of the air in a pool room, the surface of the pool itself acts as a giant humidifier each time the dew point of the air falls below the temperature of the water. Without effective dehumidification systems, the air 'sucks' vapour from the surface of the pool to create just the humid atmosphere you want to avoid.

The WM33 and WM261 from Michell work as an integral part of a dehumidification system to help ensure that the surface temperature of the water remains lower than the air temperature and the relative humidity is kept at a constant 50 to 60 per cent. Both instruments work effectively with long-term exposure to the aggressive atmosphere created by the pool chemicals. Michell adds that the sensors are easy to recalibrate and maintain long-term accuracy and reliability.

A range of heavy-duty canned motor pumps suitable for applications in the petroleum, chemical, gas and oil refinery sectors is now available from Michael Smith Engineers. The Nikkiso-KSB API 685 canned motor centrifugal pump is designed to be compliant with the American Petroleum Industry specification API 685 for seal-less centrifugal pumps. The pumps can be used for transferring hydrocarbons, liquids with a low boiling point, liquefied gases, heat transfer media and also liquids containing solids.

The pumps, which provide flow rates up to 360m3/h and heads up to 220m, are designed for system pressures up to 40 bar and can withstand nozzle moments and forces four times higher than required by API 685. The pumps have centreline supported casings and include wear rings located on the casing as well as the casing cover, helping to minimising maintenance costs. The pumps incorporate an automatic thrust balancing system that allows the bearing/thrust washer to function at minimised thrust loads over the entire usable capacity range to ensure optimum pumping performance.

The Nikkiso-KSB canned motor pumps come with an 'E' monitor with an LED display (local or remote), which indicates the axial and radial rotor position during pump operation alerting users to possible bearing wear, helping to prevent motor stator damage or failure that can cause unscheduled downtime. The Nikkiso-KSB API 685 canned motor centrifugal pump range is designed for mounting horizontally. A vertical configuration with in-line suction and discharge ports is also available. All the pumps offer secondary containment as standard.

Boulder Imaging has released Version 4.1 of its Quazar high-performance digital video recording (HPDVR) platform, designed to meet a variety of recording and analysis needs. This latest version features eight new capabilities to provide an even more optimised user experience than its 4.0 predecessor, according to the company. According to Carlos Jorquera of Boulder Imaging, the company will demonstrate Quazar 4.1 at the Full Motion Video Conference, which is scheduled to be held in Washington DC on 9-10 September.

Quazar 4.1 features: advanced de-interlacing; per-input and global timestamp offset and overlays; secure export for the sharing of recording data; complete recording destination customisation with built-in metadata to automatically create custom file names, directory structures and recording destination options to define the directory structure and file name; global settings to enable the customisation of Quazar options and the ability to have them populated across all of the system's users; and post-processing enhancements including the ability to display high-speed video frame numbers so that the operator can catch the action in the right spot.

There are also quick keys for marking in and out points in the timeline for accurate post-processing editing. Intel Nehalem architecture support allows for simultaneous multi-threading for excellent processing power, while expanded video output support is provided for up to eight independent monitor outputs.

Exor's new low-cost HMI display series, suitable for use in industrial applications, is available from Servo2go. The Effectiview (eV) Series comprises high-performance, high-quality TFT touch screens that are said to be simple to mount. Features include: offline simulation; onboard Ethernet; IP65 sealing; free software for first-time buyers; new LED backlight designs; and single programming software for all eV touch TFT screen models. Display sizes range from 3.5in to 12.1in (8.9cm to 31cm).

Igus has developed a compact energy chain system that is suitable for applications in the field of robots as well as in special machine construction, medical apparatus and rides at amusement parks. Staying close to the axis, the Twisterband TB30 is a cost-effective system that can guide energy, data and other media safely through 3,000deg at high rotating speeds with little wear. Rotating movements in confined spaces also occur with handling, lifting and assembly equipment, as well as in test and trial jigs.

A further possible area of application is in wind power systems, where the turbine blades have to be controlled through the main support, which must also be free to turn. Previously, where demanding rotary movements were required at very high loads, energy chains with reverse bending radii (RBR) were commonly used. Justin Leonard of Igus UK said: 'With RBR systems, circular movements of up to 540deg are possible. 'Unfortunately, the installation space required is usually quite large in terms of depth and width. 'A medium-sized alternative, which we developed a few years ago, is the Twisterchain energy chain system. 'Also designed for one-and-a-half complete rotations coupled with high dynamics, this system's diameter is not as wide but much taller and comes nearer to the axis of rotation,' he added.

Where installation space is extremely limited, however, a more compact solution was required. Following months of development work, Igus launched the Twisterband TB30, which achieves rapid circular movements of up to 3,000deg. It depends only on the chain length or the design height in the axis of rotation and, because of the much smaller centrifugal forces owing to the smaller masses involved, rotary speeds of up to 720deg/sec are possible. Thanks to the small installation size and compact design, the energy chain system can be used safely in all installation positions (horizontal or vertical).

As with all E-Chains from Igus, the plastic energy chain is said to be very light and simple to use. The single-component injection-moulded belt has chambers attached that are filled in a similar way to the company's patented Easy principle. Without the chain links needing to be opened and closed, users can press the lines into the chain from the outside edge. To complement the Igus Twisterband TB30 system, a range of 950 Chainflex cables is available, either as separate parts or pre-fitted.

PI Ceramic has released a white paper on the development and test of reliable multilayer piezo actuators, which are suitable for use in challenging motion control applications. Piezoelectric multilayer actuators have been used in fields as diverse as injection valves for combustion engines (speed) and atomic force microscopy (precision). These types of actuators have been in use for about two decades and reached maturity several years ago, according to the company.

Continuous improvements are based on long-term tests and the exact knowledge of the environmental operating conditions and failure modes allows users to push the limits of this technology even further. The paper describes the development and lifetime tests of ceramic encapsulated actuators under different operating conditions (DC and AC). The actuators are comparable to polymer-coated piezo ceramic actuators in long-term tests. The white paper also discusses equations and graphs for lifetime calculations under different operational and environmental conditions and special internal electrode designs.

Vydas has released an ultrasonic sensor for applications such as liquid-level control, mechanical positioning, roll-diameter measurement, asset tracking and remote monitoring. The new Massasonic M-320 series RoHS-compliant ultrasonic sensor, which is also suitable for web loop/break monitoring, automatic filling, packaging, bulk-level control, paper and plastic-film processing applications, complements the established M-300 series.

Manufactured by Massa Products, the M-300/320 ultrasonic sensor design incorporates ultrasonic and microprocessor technology to provide low-cost, precision, non-contact distance measurement for factory automation or industrial process control. Massa produces ultrasonic transducers that operate in air for industrial applications and has designed different types of transducers offering a variety of electro-acoustic characteristics for use in a number of applications. The new, lower-cost MassasonicT series M-300/150, M-320/150 (range 2.5M) and M-300/95, M-320/95 (range 4.5M) RoHS-compliant smart ultrasonic sensors are now available from Vydas stock in the UK.

The M300/M320 series ultrasonic sensors are said to be simple to operate and come with user-friendly software; they can be set up without using a target. The sensor transmits narrow-beam sound pulses at a user-selected rate (or it can be software triggered), processes return echoes and produces several outputs dependent on the position of the target. Operating from 12VDC to 24VDC, the M-300/M-320 range includes several sensor models that operate at different ultrasonic frequencies with different ranges, as close as 4in (100mm) to 15ft (4.5m). A linear output of 0-10VDC or 4-20mA is provided, which is proportional to the measured distance to the target from the minimum detection distance to the nominal maximum target distance specified for the particular M-300 series model.

This output voltage range, however, can be reprogrammed to start and end anywhere between o/p 0-10VDC or 4-20mA. The corresponding target distance span can also be set to start and stop at any two target ranges. This output voltage can also be programmed to operate as a digital switch at a specified target set-point distance. The system parameters and outputs are programmable via an RS-485 data link, thereby eliminating the problems associated with adjustment potentiometers or pushbuttons.

Additional programmable adjustments include: analogue output slope; sampling rate; the averaging of multiple distance measurements; loss-of-echo time-out; set-point hysteresis when operating in the digital switch mode; and a software sensor transmit trigger. The M-300/320 ultrasonic sensors come with user-friendly software that operates with Windows operating systems using an RS-232/RS-485 or USB/RS-485 converter. This data link allows up to 32 sensors to be on the same multi-drop communications network using the supplied protocol. This network also allows users to remotely program their sensors and read ranges for quick integration into their process control applications.

For users that prefer not to use a PC, the sensors can be programmed at the factory to the customer's specifications for true plug-and-play operation. Other features of the M300/320 ultrasonic sensor series include: a totally sealed PVC housing containing an industry-standard 1in NPT fitting for mounting; operation from -20C to +65C with built-in temperature compensation; diagnostic and monitoring outputs; and protection from over-voltage, short circuits and reverse polarity.

An agrochemical producer has improved pH data reliability, decreased downtime and boosted production by migrating its existing pH analysers to Endress and Hauser's Memosens and Liquiline platforms. Maintenance labour was reduced by 50 per cent and consumable usage was cut by 60 per cent, resulting in savings of more than USD450,000 (GBP295,000) per year. The agricultural chemical manufacturer produces and supplies agrochemicals for worldwide markets. The manufacturing plant uses pH measurements to monitor and control reactions at more than 30 locations in utilities, incinerators, scrubber effluents, pH quench tanks and wastewater final effluents.

Additional pH measurement and control locations are used in chemical synthesis reactors on recirculation lines to confirm and/or control pH for chemical synthesis. Depending on the criticality of processes, some pH measurements required closer attention and more maintenance than others. For example, the 80 units installed in the phosphatisation and sulfonation processes required calibrations twice a week. Typically, these calibrations took about 45 minutes to perform, resulting in approximately 120 hours per week or 6,240 hours each year to maintain calibration.

The agrochemical producer made immediate improvements by replacing existing pH electrodes with Endress and Hauser Memosens pH electrodes with Teflon reference junctions. Included with the new electrode was a new electrode holder and cabling technologies that eliminated previous reliability problems, such as poor connections and resulting electrical faults. The Liquiline platform that supports electrode laboratory calibration away from the field was also installed.

With this platform, the customer was able to rotate electrodes every two weeks with pre-calibrated electrodes. These electrodes also lasted longer - several months as opposed to a few weeks. The Liquiline platform extends to the laboratory, so calibration no longer needs to be performed in the field. Electrodes can be continually cleaned, calibrated and even regenerated under controlled conditions in the laboratory. As a result, technicians can replace installed electrodes with calibrated ones in a fraction of the time. Endress and Hauser's Memosens technology increased the plant's average usage per electrode from 748 hours to more than 2,500 hours.

With these changes in place, yearly maintenance hours decreased from 6,240 to 3,200 for a net saving of 3,040 hours. Through proper electrode, holder and cabling selection and the use of Memosens and Liquiline technologies, the customer saved more than USD450,000 per year in labour and materials to maintain its pH systems. Various opportunities for saving time, cost and materials in other processes were identified throughout the plant and were implemented by replacing outdated analogue pH loops with Endress and Hauser's inductively coupled Memosens and Liquiline technology platforms.

Bluecielo ECM Solutions has released Meridian Enterprise 2010, its latest engineering content management (ECM) solution for owner and operators primarily within the process and power industries. Bluecielo Meridian Enterprise provides powerful asset information management functionality to companies mainly within the process and power industries looking to optimise plant safety, economic efficiency and regulatory compliance. The company's solutions are intended to optimise business processes in which engineering data is crucial, with a focus on the entire management-of-change process, collaboration with contractors and suppliers and providing as-built technical documentation to operations and maintenance.

The Bluecielo Meridian Enterprise 2010 release provides enhanced functionality in practically every aspect of its asset information management capabilities. Features include a new user interface and improved usability. Access to the Meridian Enterprise environment through Microsoft Sharepoint is now possible, alongside the traditional access method (through the Microsoft Windows client or the web client).

The 2010 release of Bluecielo Meridian Enterprise supports the latest versions of authoring applications, such as Microsoft Office, AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Microstation and Solidworks. Further improvements in Bluecielo Meridian Enterprise 2010 include Explorer scopes, where the user has a specific scope to the vault content and only specific data and menu options applicable for that scope are available, depending on the access rights of the user. Scopes can be created for the archive, project environment or master data.

Other enhancements include: a search related to Explorer scopes, supporting look-up lists and filtering; support for Autovue 20, including the support of hotspots (hyperlinks with additional functionality); a new read-only web client; and enhanced reporting functionality. The following modules, which can be added to expand specific functionality in Bluecielo Meridian Enterprise, are available with this release: Bluecielo Email Management Module 2010; Bluecielo Asset Management Module 2009a SP1; Bluecielo Transmittal Management Module 2010; Bluecielo Advanced Project Workflow Module 2010; and Bluecielo Publisher Module 2009a SP1.

Micromech has introduced the Turbo PMAC Clipper, a cost-effective multi-axis controller from Delta Tau, a provider of multi-axis programmable motion control solutions. Based on the Turbo PMAC2 CPU, the Turbo PMAC Clipper provides a single board with four-axis servomotor or stepper-motor control with 32 digital input/output (I/O) points and a choice of Ethernet or RS232 communication ports. It is expandable to eight axes with a small daughter board. By combining multiple functions such as motion control, high-speed communication and I/O management on a low-cost single board, the Clipper controller improves performance and reduces the overall cost per application, according to the company.

On a single board, features include: four axes of simultaneous control (with as little as 0.1ms update time), expandable to eight axes; axes that are independent or co-ordinated in any combination; the multitasking of up to 16 motion programs and 64 asynchronous PLC programs; a high-level programming language; linear, circular, rapid, B-spline and Hermite-spline interpolation modes; true S-curve acceleration/deceleration for jerk-limited profiles; dynamic multi-move look-ahead for acceleration control; co-ordinate system translation and rotation (2D and 3D); embedded forward and inverse kinematics routines for non-Cartesian geometries; tool-radius compensation; and hardware position capture and compare circuits for high precision. Micromech is the authorised systems integrator for Delta Tau's multi-axis control products.

CP Cases has increased the resilience and portability of its lightweight, 19in (48cm) Satrack rack solution for portable satellite equipment. Enhancements include new elastomeric mounts for increased resistance to shock and vibration damage in transit and a new internal chassis made from high-performance aluminium alloy, increasing resilience in the field. The same internal chassis is used across the entire range of CP Cases' racks, reducing the waiting time between order and fulfilment.

Suitable for use by flyaway news gathering teams that need electronic equipment to arrive at their destinations when they do, the Satrack was originally developed in consultation with Vislink in 2008 to meet project requirements for a protective rack solution to house portable satellite equipment while conforming to IATA constraints for commercial-airline checked-in baggage. The Satrack, with the frequently used 4U x 480mm internal chassis, weighs 8kg, allowing an additional 24kg of equipment to be fitted.

The IATA weight restriction is 32kg. As carry-friendly, checked-in baggage, the Satrack saves both time and additional baggage charges. The Satrack is designed to achieve a maximum strength-versus-weight ratio; a super-lightweight aluminium chassis floats on elastomeric mounts within a honeycomb polypropylene shell. The body shell is cushioned by a foam jacket for additional insulation, which also makes the Satrack more carry friendly.

The outer cover in heavyweight texturised nylon is weatherproof and abrasion resistant. A long side handle facilitates level carrying for unevenly balanced loads. The Satrack is currently deployed by electronic news gathering organisations and the military, including the BBC, Sky, ABC, CBC News, Vislink and Qinetiq. It is available in full 19in rack and half-rack sizes, with a range of options to suit individual requirements.

Inmoco has launched a compact, high-power, PCB-mounted DC servo drive to provide high-performance motion control for sinusoidal, trapezoidal and DC motors. Measuring 110 x 75 x 30mm, the Trombone, from the Elmo Simpliq Line of servo drives, operates directly from a mains power source of up to 400VDC or 750VDC and delivers up to 7kW of continuous qualitative power. The Simpliq Trombone is ideal for integration into any motion system, either single- or multi-axis.

The Trombone offers high power density and integrates vector-control sinusoidal commutation, advanced filtering and velocity-gain scheduling for enhanced dynamic performance. These features, plus programming flexibility, Canopen networking and a range of feedback options, make the Trombone ideal for reducing the size, weight and the overall installed envelope of servo systems. Combining advanced motion control with real-time networking capabilities and delivering a range of feedback and I/O options and programming capabilities, Simpliq enables the Trombone to bring increased precision to a range of automated applications, including robotics, machine tools, packaging, semiconductor production, materials handling, sorting, printing and textiles.

Integrating the Trombone into automated applications is accomplished quickly and easily using Elmo's third-generation Composer software. A universal programming language, Composer provides flexible and intuitive programming and smooth operation for single- or multi-axis setups, the manual and automatic tuning of current, velocity and position loops, a motion monitor and scope for testing, network monitoring and debugging tools, and facilitates communication via serial RS-232 and Canopen.

The Trombone operates with two DC bus options: 80-400VDC and 200-750VDC, with a built-in smart supply for controlling back-up capabilities. It can also operate with a 24VDC auxiliary power supply for back-up features. The servo drive offers a range of feedback options, including encoders, resolvers, tachometers and potentiometers, to facilitate integration into any motion system.

Henkel, a supplier of technologies for cosmetics, transportation and packaging applications, has produced a selector chart to enable users to choose the best structural adhesives for their tasks. The circular device allows users to select which substrates need to be bonded and then provides a list of Loctite, Teroson and Macroplast brand adhesive products that are most suitable for the job. The company has also launched a dedicated website (www.360bonding.com) for those seeking additional information about structural bonding applications using epoxies, acrylics, polyurethanes, modified silane and silicone technologies.

Huco Dynatork's Multi-Beam coupling can be used as a method of accommodating any combination of axial motion and angular and parallel misalignment. The company is able to manufacture this coupling from a broad variety of materials. Although aluminium and stainless steel are the standard materials of manufacture for its ex-stock range, Huco Dynatork also supplies the Multi-Beam in nylon and acetyl for the food and chemical industries. For a lightweight coupling with high fatigue life and strength, the product is available in titanium.

This is suitable for the aerospace, instrumentation and medical equipment sectors as it provides manufacturers with a standard solution for demanding applications. Another development has been the introduction of the Multi-Beam in Victrex Peek. Initially designed for use in high-voltage capacitors, this product is now available to any manufacturer that needs to prevent voltage leakage across the drive.

This special polymer is characterised by excellent mechanical properties maintained to high temperatures. 'We are often asked to develop application-specific couplings and can now recommend the correct material for the task,' said David Lockett, Huco Dynatork's managing director. The Huco Dynatork Multi-Beam combines the benefits of a compact, one-piece construction and zero backlash with low wind-up.

Three- or six-beam types may be specified with either clamp or set-screw fixings for quick connection to, or removal from, shafts. As the design is intrinsically balanced, the Multi-Beam coupling can be adapted to high speeds without the need for balancing. It also has a comparatively long service life as it contains no parts or elastomeric wearing elements. All Huco Dynatork Multi-Beam couplings are manufactured to ISO 9002 quality standards. Enquiries for special sizes and non-standard bore combinations are welcomed.

A multifunctional control system, such as Burkert's MXControl 8620 multi-parameter controller, automates the control of process variables in RO water treatment systems. In some cases, the controller is able to reduce control and measuring instrumentation costs to almost half. Simple monitoring and control functions, as well as the gathering of data, are integrated into one compact and easily configurable control unit, with its integrated display and five soft-touch keys for the setting and display of all important variables and parameters.

Through parameterisation of a number of control values, via an SD card slot and a USB or Ethernet port, the 8620 is especially adapted for process monitoring and chemical control systems. A configurable PC software helps adapt the controller to many types of process requirements and applications. Data such as flow rate, pressure, pH/ORP, conductivity, O2, Cl2, water level and temperature can be displayed, controlled, recorded and transmitted. The multi-parameter controller can be connected to up to six analogue and eight digital inputs - four of which can be flow - such as conductivity, pH/ORP, temperature and pressure.

It features up to four analogue and nine digital outputs for a multitude of conditions, from simply retransmitting a process value to pulse or frequency dosing a metering pump. In addition, the controller can transmit analogue outputs from one of the eight PID control blocks. An example of using the MXControl to determine a key parameter in RO system health is a brackish water system with a typical recovery of between 75 and 85 per cent. If this value decreases during the course of the process, the control unit monitors and data logs every single parameter that is necessary for fault analysis.

The initial focus is on pH, then on conductivity, temperature and pressure. If all parameters are within the control range but the performance of the membranes is still falling short of the nominal value, this may be a result of a scaling or fouling event. This can also be quickly differentiated by appropriate monitoring points. If a higher pressure drop occurs at the first stage, the reason is most often a result of colloidal or bio-fouling. A pressure drop increase at the second stage generally indicates that an elevated mineral level or scaling has occurred.

It is this ability to precisely track and log multiple process points simultaneously that enables the MXControl to reduce costs and improve efficiency in reverse osmosis systems. The MXControl process makes sense for more complex RO systems, but a chemical pump combined with a compact pipe-mounted dynamic pH transmitter/controller such as Burkert's 8205 is sufficient for simpler RO systems where only the feed-water pH needs to be lowered. In these applications, the combination of Element transmitters that can transmit process values and temperature can also perform simple on/off control or alarm functions to reduce overall system costs.

The Element units are field-mounted devices that enable the quick refitting and upgrading of simple RO processes. Apart from measuring the conductivity, pH and ORP, Element transmitters also have options that enable the transmission and on/off control of temperature. The transmitters are programmed via a removable module that could be left with the unit if local display is required. If values deviate from the originally programmed set value, the transmitter triggers a transistor switch that opens or closes a valve or starts a pump, allowing the influx of fresh water or chemicals to regulate the pH, conductivity, temperature or ORP.

Resolve Optics is offering a custom OEM design and manufacture service for nuclear camera and sensor manufacturers requiring non-browning fixed-focus or zoom lenses optimised to their applications. Owing to the difficulty in finding off-the-shelf radiation-resistant lenses that meet the need for specific focal lengths, larger image formats, high resolution, ruggedness, a wide zoom range or greater compactness, more manufacturers are considering a lens custom-designed to fit their required applications.

Resolve Optics designs and manufactures production quantities of radiation-resistant lenses and optical products to strict quality and target price guidelines. All optical elements within the company's radiation-tolerant fixed-focus designs are made using cerium-oxide-doped glass or synthetic silica, enabling them to withstand radiation doses of up to 100 million rads without the degradation of performance. All Resolve Optics non-browning lenses provide high image resolution and minimum geometric distortion from 400nm to 750nm.

Microchip's Microstick development board provides a complete solution for designing with its 16-bit PIC24H microcontrollers and dsPIC33F Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs), in a 20 x 76mm footprint. The Microstick offers an integrated USB programmer/debugger and can be used standalone or plugged into a prototyping board. It is populated with a socketed microcontroller that can be easily swapped out. The Microstick works with the PIC24HJ64GP502 16-bit MCU and the dsPIC33FJ64MC802 DSC, which seamlessly blends DSP and MCU resources into a single architecture.

Software support includes the same free MPLAB IDE and software libraries that work with all of Microchip's 8/16/32-bit PIC microcontrollers and DSCs. Additionally, the dsPIC33F DSCs are supported by the free demo version of Microchip's Device Blocksets for the Matlab language and Simulink environment, which work seamlessly within the MPLAB IDE. This combination of tools and free software provides a platform for experimentation and development of smart sensors and a range of other embedded-control applications.

CUI's power line, V-Infinity, has added 10 and 15W models to its VOF series of low-cost open-frame AC/DC power supplies for use in ITE, industrial and consumer-electronics applications. The VOF series has a low no-load power consumption of less than 0.5W and efficiencies up to 83 per cent. The VOF-10 and VOF-15 provide continuous output power and universal input (85-264V AC), and are offered in 3.3, 5, 12, 15, 24 and 48V DC output voltages. The VOF-10 measures 2.6 x 1.8 x 0.9in, while the VOF-15 measures 2.8 x 1.9 x 0.9in. Protections for over-voltage and over-current conditions are included.

The WM8321 offers a flexible single-chip power-management solution for low-power portable consumer applications such as smartphones, e-book readers, netbooks and portable media players. The subsystem features four programmable DC-DC synchronous buck converters - which deliver high performance and efficiency across a range of operating conditions - and 11 LDO regulators - four of which are low noise for supplying sensitive analogue subsystems. The integrated one-time programmable (OTP) memory controls the converter and regulator start-up sequencing and voltages, as well as the sequencing of GPIOs and system blocks.

In addition to the OTP memory, the WM8321 features an Instant Config Interface, which allows multiple start-up sequences to be tested via an external EEPROM. Once the optimised start-up has been verified, it can be submitted for writing to the OTP, ensuring that the system will power up first time. Another advantage of the WM8321 is the QFN package, which is customised to provide optimal thermal performance - suitable for single-side component placement on low-cost PCBs.

The QFN package enables inexpensive four-layer printed circuit boards and allows the use of large PCB tracks for the DC-DC convertors, reducing parasitic components and improving transient performance and efficiency. Offering a standby power consumption of less than 7uA, the WM8321 also features a 12-bit auxiliary ADC, which supports a range of applications for internal and external sampling, such as voltage detection and temperate measurement. A secure real-time clock (S-RTC) and alarm function is also included, which is capable of waking up the system from low-power modes, while a watchdog function is provided to ensure system integrity.

A 10.4in version of Zytronic's Zybrid customisable touch sensor is being employed by gaming machine manufacturer Shuffle Master to enhance the user interfaces of i-Table electronic card table. Utilising six networked touch-enabled player displays and an additional dealer station, all embedded in a full size gaming table, the i-Table combines an efficient and intuitive electronic betting interface with the human interaction of a live dealer.

It can quickly switch between a selection of different card games, with Blackjack, Baccarat, Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold'em all being supported. Automation of the betting process via the touch interface permits improvements in game security, accuracy and speed. This results in an estimated 30 per cent increase in the number of rounds played per hour.

It also means that less dealer training and fewer staff are required, as well as removing the possibility of dealing errors, chip theft, dealer/player collusion, or card manipulation. The PCT sensing structure that forms the basis of Zybrid is made up of a matrix of capacitor elements that are 10um thick. These are embedded inside a laminated substrate then placed behind a protective overlay.

As the capacitor matrix is not in contact with the external environment, it remains impervious to the sources of damage that often affect alternative touchscreen technologies built on traditional front-facing sensor mechanisms. Impact, abrasion, dirt build up, harsh chemicals, exposure to the elements, liquid spillages, or various other types of wear and tear do not pose a threat to PCT. The custom touch sensor developed with Shuffle Master has a rear-printed border to help blend the screens into the table top, while the edge-to-edge glass design eliminates the unsightly bezels required by many other touch technologies.

International Rectifier (IR) has launched a series of high-current, ultra-low dropout (ULDO) RAD-Hard hybrid linear voltage regulators for space applications such as satellites and launch vehicles. IR has developed a control IC and bypass transistor for the ULDO range, which are suited for use in power-restricted applications requiring high density. The space-level screened devices, designed for point-of-load and post DC-DC power conversion, offer a dropout voltage of 0.4V at full 3A load.

The regulators feature a Silicon On Insulator (SOI) CMOS Regulator IC, latch-up and SEU immunity, as well as TID and ELDRS testing in excess of 100 Krad, with negligible effect on regulation tolerance. The devices provide fast transient response, timed latch-off over-current protection and internal thermal protection, and on/off control via shutdown pin. The ULDO devices' adjustable regulators provide output voltages as low as 0.8V, compatible with the newer FPGA used in space equipment.

Rittal is offering the Ripac Vario subrack for mounting multiple board electronic solutions in 19in (482.6mm) racks, as the range is easily upgraded from standard to EMC after it has been completed. This will provide over 40dB of shielding effectiveness at 1GHz for incoming and outgoing protection. For a simple upgrade, users can add top and bottom covers, a rear panel and gaskets to ensure good electrical and mechanical contact between adjacent surfaces. The Ripac Vario EMC subracks are also available on short lead times, along with EMC front and rear panels, and a range of accessories.

Branched photovoltaic (PV) cables from Multi-Contact enable the fast, easy connection of solar arrays, as well as decreased assembly times, reduced costs and increased reliability. The continuous main cable also allows fewer connections, reducing contact resistance. The high-quality cables are produced to order, with customers specifying cable and branch lengths, branch spacings and power ratings.

They are available with Multi-Contact's MC3 and MC4 connector types, and customers can specify different cable ratings for the main and branch cables. The cable used is Multi-Contact's chemically cross-linked Flex-Sol-XL solar cable, which has a usable lifetime of 25 years or more. The complete system offers IP67 environmental protection.

The cables are supplied rolled, bundled and/or sealed in plastic film, depending on their length, and need only to be unpacked and connected at the installation site. For relatively large installations with regularly spaced PV modules, the cables are also available as 'endless' leads that can be cut to length on site just before installation. Cable cross-sections available are 2.5, 4.0 and 6.0mm2, with a rated voltage of 1,000V DC and a temperature range of -40 to 90C.

Available from Marl, the 4.5W Citizen CL-L251 delivers 290 lumens of light output at a colour temperature of 3,000K, with colour rendering of Ra85 - equivalent to a standard 20W MR16 halogen. The range is available with colour temperatures up to 5,000K, delivering up to 425 lumens from 4.5W. The CL-L251 has a luminous efficiency of up to 106 lumens per watt, compared with 16 lumens per watt for a halogen light.

Since the drive voltage of the CL-L251 is 9-10V, the LED can be packaged as a drop-in replacement for a standard halogen light. In addition to the direct cost savings, the Citizen CL-L251 is designed to provide significant indirect energy and maintenance-cost reductions. The LED light is said to emit much less waste heat than halogen, reducing the load on air conditioning. It also provides a typical lifetime of 40,000 hours or 4.5 years continuous use, compared with 4,000 hours for a MR16 halogen light.

Roband Electronics has added the RO-MIL-2213 power supply to its compact military-specification DC-DC converter range. The RO-MIL-2213, which is supplied in 3.3V and 5V output versions, is capable of delivering a 20A output current from a 76.3 x 38.2 x 10.2mm package. The high-efficiency, high-power-density single-rail unit comprises an isolated, high-frequency, pulse-width-modulated push-pull converter. While it is specified to operate from a nominal 28V supply, this versatile power supply will accept an input-voltage range from 12-40V (5V output version) and 14.5-40V (3.3V output version).

Options include an 80V input-surge capability and a variant that will operate from an input as low as 9V. External synchronisation is also available as an option. The RO-MIL-2213 operates over the military temperature range without de-rating. It is unconditionally stable and does not require additional external components for correct operation. A remote-sense facility is provided to compensate for any voltage drop at the load due to the length of the power-supply leads. The converter is also equipped with a remote disable function. Both short-circuit and over-voltage protection is provided as standard.

The unit is housed in a machined aluminium enclosure, with a mounting flange configuration that has been designed to optimise thermal impedance and provide adequate vibration support. A PCB-mounting version is also available. Roband's converters are manufactured in accordance with the company's approved Quality Management System: BS EN ISO 9001:2000, BS EN 9100 and BS EN 9110. The RO-MIL-2213's wide input voltage range and surge capability ensure its suitability for MIL-STD-704 applications.

Toradex has launched the Colibri Tegra T20 processor, which is fully pin compatible with the current Colibri product range and allows existing customers to smoothly migrate designs. Based on the latest Nvidia Tegra T20 Cortex A9 MPCore (dual core) processor, the Colibri Tegra T20 offers increased CPU performance through dual cores operating up to 1.0GHz and supports 1080p HD video playback, with a range of display resolutions up to 1,920 x 1,080. The processor's ultra-low-power Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) also offers 3D rendering capabilities for advanced graphics applications. On-board memory will include 256MB DDR RAM and 1GB flash.

Fischer has supplied connectors for use in Maquet's Cardiohelp 9.4kg hybrid pump/oxygenator, to be used in intensive care, interventional cardiology and intra- and interhospital transfer. When designing this system, Maquet's engineering team required products that facilitated the creation of a heart-lung assist system that is so light and small that it can be carried by one person and used in a helicopter or vehicle. Fischer's connectors were selected due to their secure connections, durability and lightness, which were needed in order for Cardiohelp to provide an extracorporeal support for the patient's circulation and respiration, and guarantee adequate gas exchange to prevent heart and/or lung failure.

Teseq has upgraded its NSG 3060 with a simple waveform module that generates an open circuit voltage test pulse of 10/700us to test ports intended for connection to symmetrical communication lines. The telecom surge module - the TSM 3751 - is used in configuration with standard test modules, including EFT and combination wave, to provide testing configurations specifically suited to users' applications. The TSM 3751 enhances Teseq's NSG 3060 test system, which features a modular architecture to cost-effectively meet the needs of basic as well as sophisticated test laboratories.

The module is said to easily fit into the NSG 3060 to provide a fast and convenient test setting that allows users to select source impedance from either 15ohms or 40ohms by simply pressing a button on the generator's colour LCD touch screen. It can also be placed into an expansion housing controlled by the generator's touch screen or via the Win 6000 software. The surge module adheres to several industry standards, including IEC/EN 61000-4-5:2005 and IEC 60060-1, ITU-K series and ANSI/IEEE C62.41.

It meets the latest ISC short-circuit current pulse form requirement of 5/320us, easily satisfies IEC requirements up to 4kV and surpasses the UL 1950 safety test recommendation of 7kV. In addition, when tolerance is taken into account, the TSM 3751 is compliant with ANSI-TIA-968-B, covering the 9/720us pulse form. The TSM 3751 has a voltage range of 200V to 7,700V in 1V steps as well as positive, negative and alternating polarity with floating pulse outputs. Minimum repetition time for voltages up to 4,400V is 20sec and 30sec with a voltage range from 4,401V to 7,700V. Maximum repetition time is 600 seconds. The TSM 3751 has an asynchronous coupling mode.

Contech, a division of Calex, has launched the PC60 series of AC/DC switching power supplies suitable for ruggedised backplane applications. The PC60 series offers 60W of output power in an encapsulated case. The optional DIN-rail mount and easily accessible terminal blocks gives it the versatility to be used as a power solution in an assortment of applications. The PC60 series offers output voltages that range from 5.1VDC to 48VDC, with efficiencies up to 84 per cent. The series also has output over-voltage protection.

The units are encapsulated with a thermally conductive potting compound in a plastic resin and fibreglass case that meets UL94V-0. The enclosed case has external terminal blocks for ease of connection and is chassis mountable. Adding an optional accessory DIN-03 base plate easily converts the chassis mount case to a standard DIN-rail mount. The PC60 series is rated for 3000 VAC isolation, is UL approved, and is RoHS compliant.

Xilinx has launched a high-density, radiation-hardened reconfigurable FPGA for withstanding radiation environments encountered by applications such as low Earth-orbiting satellites. The FPGA is also said to be ideal for systems supporting interplanetary missions. The off-the-shelf Xilinx Virtex 5QV FPGA is claimed to offer the industry's highest-density performance and integration capabilities for complex systems that would otherwise require rad-hard ASIC devices with their high development costs and long lead times, or traditional one-time programmable (OTP) solutions.

The combination of rad-hard and re-configurability enables a reduction in risk to critical programs by allowing minimal-cost, last-minute design changes and even redesigns after launch. The FPGA is one of the ways Xilinx is addressing the programmable imperative that system developers face given the high-cost and risk of custom chip development and rigorous demands for higher-performance and integration.

The Virtex-5QV device joins the FPGAs, IP, ISE Design Suite development tools, kits and support that make up Xilinx's Targeted Design Platforms for delivering programmable solutions that help developers avoid the high cost of ASIC development and still meet the performance and integration requirements specific to their markets. Xilinx claimed that the Virtex-5QV is the world's largest rad-hard reconfigurable logic device and is well suited to offer high performance in next-generation space systems and capability in applications such as video display, communications, radar, encryption, packet processing and control.

The radiation-hardened version of the commercial Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA was developed under sponsorship by AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate. The rad-hard features in the Virtex-5QV devices are backed by high standards of in-beam testing by the Xilinx Radiation Test Consortium (XRTC) and equivalent to millions of device-years in space-radiation environments. Xilinx said this means Virtex-5QV FPGAs provide exceptional protection against single-event upset (SEU), total immunity to single-event latch-up (SEL), high tolerance to total ionising dose (TID), as well as data-path protection from single-event transients (SET).

For example, the Virtex-5QV FPGA configuration memory provides nearly 1,000 times the SEU hardness of the standard cell latches in the commercial device, while configuration control logic and the JTAG controller have been hardened with embedded triple-module redundancy. The devices are built on the second-generation ASMBL column-based architecture of the Virtex-5 family with support in Xlinix's ISE Design Suite. Virtex-5QV devices integrate many of the same hard-IP system level blocks, such as flexible 36-Kbit/18-Kbit block RAM/Fifos, second-generation 25x18 DSP slices, power-optimised high-speed serial transceiver blocks for enhanced serial connectivity, and PCI Express compliant integrated Endpoint blocks.

The Virtex-5QV device offers 130,000 logic cells, 320 DSP Slices supporting fixed- and floating-point operations, and 836 user I/Os programmable to more than 30 different standards for applications and ease of interfacing to a variety of system components. The Virtex-5QV family is also said to provide the industry's first integrated high-speed connectivity solution for space with 18 channels of 3Gbps multi-gigabit serial transceivers for chip-to-chip, board-to-board and box-to-box communication.

Advantech has introduced the AIMB-780, an industrial-grade ATX motherboard with an LGA 1156 socket supporting the latest Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Xeon/Pentium processors. Intel 32nm Core i7 and Core i5 7xx series processors are quad-core central processing units (CPUs) with integrated memory controllers. The 45nm Intel Core i5 6xx and Core i3 series processors are dual-core CPUs featuring integrated graphics and memory controllers and Intel HD graphics with DX10 support.

The AIMB-780 also supports Intel server-grade Xeon 34xx series processors with ECC DDR3 support and is capable of Sata Raid 0, 1, 5 and 10 to ensure reliable storage and system protection for network-intensive applications. The motherboard comes with high connectivity and expansion options, including one PCIe x16, one PCIe x4, one PCIe x1, four PCI expansion slots, four serial ports, 14 USB 2.0 ports and six Serial ATA II 300MB/s connectors.

One of the serial ports supports RS232/422/485 with hardware auto-flow control to fulfil the demands of industrial applications, while dual PCI Express-based Intel 82578DM and 82583V Gigabit Ethernet ports deliver up to 1,000Mbps of bandwidth for network-intensive applications. The AIMB-780 supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology with Core i7/i5 processors.

This feature improves performance by allowing processor cores to run at higher frequencies within the available thermal envelope. The Intel Turbo Boost Monitor application is a Microsoft Windows sidebar gadget that displays processor frequency when Intel Turbo Boost technology is active. Supported operating systems are both the 32- and 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows 7.

With the dual-core i5 6xx and i3 series, the graphics engine is integrated into the processor. These two-chip solutions are said to provide enhanced graphics performance compared with previous Intel platforms. The integrated graphics controller includes Intel Dynamic Video Memory Technology to support 1Gb of maximum shared memory when the total system memory is 2Gb and above.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Walltite spray foam insulation from BASF Polyurethanes UK has been used at the BRE's Victorian Terrace retrofit project in Watford. BASF in partnership with the BRE is helping to transform a disused Victorian stable block into a 21st century living and exhibition space. The Victorian Terrace demonstration project aims to bring about a step change in the housing agenda by highlighting the significant contribution refurbishment can play in reducing UK carbon emissions and encouraging industry to raise standards of practice.

Walltite was spray applied to one of the walls in the presentation room which when finished, will house a permanent exhibition of the products used on this project. The wall here was very unstable so a number of structural repairs had to take place before removing all the existing plaster. Walltite was then sprayed directly onto the rough, bare brick substrate without the need for primer or levelling coat to a thickness of 100mm. The strength of Walltite helped to consolidate this unsound surface.

To remove any concerns about potential thermal bridging via studwork or framing, the whole surface area of the wall was sprayed seamlessly and then finished with gypframe studs before applying plasterboard. Walltite is a closed cell foam, the structure of which helps control the movement of vapour and moisture throughout the building thus reducing the risk of mould and condensation. At a thickness of 100mm, Walltite achieved a U-value of 0.24W/mk.

Rockwell Automation and Cisco Systems have collaborated to develop Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architectures to support and accelerate network convergence. The companies have also teamed up to provide education, design guidance, recommendations and best practices. The new resources, comprising the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture and Cisco's Ethernet-to-the-Factory, provide users with the foundation to deploy the latest technology by addressing topics relevant to both engineering and information technology (IT) professionals.

They also address the cultural and technical challenges of Ethernet network convergence between IT and engineering. The two companies are publishing phased releases of deliverables to provide solutions (such as documentation, products, technology and services) to address convergence between industrial and enterprise networks. The release of Version 2.0 of the 'Design and Installation Guide', which is available for download from the web, includes improved performance data and increased granularity in the Manufacturing Zone, Resiliency testing for both Ring and Star topologies, Remote Access and Production Software integration. Future releases will deal with Resilient Ethernet Protocol (REP) and Wireless integration.

The new Servopro Plasma online analyser from Servomex is suitable for use in ASU production, argon purification plants, speciality gas laboratories, process control and chemical plants, for example. The new analyser, which is also ideal for use in gas management systems, welding gas control, helium liquefaction plants, truck loading and pure gas bottling, builds on the technology platform of its predecessor to offer new enhancements for the accurate measurement of trace nitrogen in argon or helium.

Using the company's plasma emission detector to provide accurate and stable measurement, the Servopro Plasma can continuously measure nitrogen in pure argon for argon production in cryogenic air separation plants and can also be configured to measure nitrogen impurities in pure helium and argon for gas bottling applications and speciality gas laboratories. The analyser offers users three standard ranges of 0-1ppm, 0-10ppm and 0-100ppm and an automatic ranging feature that changes the measurement parameters for optimal output resolution.

Other ranges are available from Servomex on request, with the sensitivity and accuracy of the Servopro Plasma's measurement capabilities illustrated by a low measurement range of 10ppb resolution/2ppb noise, according to the company. A new microprocessor platform offers new Ethernet and internet connectivity, which increases remote communication options when compared with the analyser's predecessor, the KA k2001. The Servopro Plasma can now be remotely controlled via a network or an internet browser, allowing operators to check all parameters or troubleshoot the unit offsite.

The unit can also be calibrated to be manually driven by a remote monitoring system for troubleshooting, with a standard 4-20mA output included to transmit process values to a remote system. Operational safety is also increased and potential downtime further minimised by new fault alarm and contact alarm systems. With no moving parts and programmable auto calibration, the Servopro Plasma's maintenance-free design is claimed to offer an excellent return on investment and a low cost of ownership for users.

Cenfra has carried out an in-depth analysis of a planned expansion project using bespoke discrete event simulation technology for the Vale of Mowbray, a manufacturer of pork pies. The Vale of Mowbray identified that it would need new equipment and a site extension to keep up with demand but was unsure how these changes would be integrated with existing production. The company approached Cenfra to carry out an assessment of its current factory processes and to look into its proposed plans to ascertain if it was making the most out of its investment.

Cenfra created an interactive 3D computer model of the proposed factory layout, which included technical details on the existing production equipment to evaluate and quantify the benefits and implications of integrating new equipment on a 'virtual scale' without creating any disruption to current manufacturing operations or the need for complex spreadsheets and speculative guesswork. From the numerous 'what-if' scenarios carried out, which included the level of throughput, the number of operators required and machine capabilities, Cenfra's team was able to determine that the intended plan would only be capable of handling a year's increase in production and advised that an alternative approach should be adopted.

With this in mind, the Vale of Mowbray presented new plans for Cenfra to evaluate and, using the same event simulation methods as well as additional analysis, which included setup, maintenance and break times, Cenfra confirmed that the revised plan would be capable of handling a substantial increase in capacity for the foreseeable future. Cenfra's discrete event simulation technology offered the Vale of Mowbray an alternative course of action, which resulted in a faster financial payback by preventing investment in unsuitable equipment.

Discrete event computer simulation produces virtual replicas of factory floor space and allows food and drink manufacturers to examine how the proposed integration of automation systems will work in reality. This capability is able to guarantee that the desired impact of any proposed installation can be achieved without physically disrupting current manufacture or any other areas of production.

This year's WWEM environmental monitoring conference and exhibition, primarily targeted at the water sector, is set to feature a new gas detection zone. Traditionally focusing on environmental monitoring, the event will now also highlight airborne industrial hazards and risk assessment across all industries, with the participation of the Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM). Hazards include accidental exposure to low oxygen levels in confined spaces and to toxic, flammable or explosive gases.

Products will be displayed by Alphasense, BOC, BW Technologies, Clairair, Crowcon, Cryoservice, Draeger, Gas Data, GfG, GMI, GSS, Honeywell Analytics, Infratec, Ion Science, JMS, Linde, Quest Technologies, RAE Systems, Sensidyne, Shaw City, Sperian Instrumentation, STG and Trolex. WWEM organiser Marcus Pattison said: 'The main objective of the new gas detection zone is to provide visitors with access to all of the available technologies for both portable and fixed gas detection and monitoring. 'Experts will be available to demonstrate the equipment and to offer technical help and advice, and this will be supported by a comprehensive range of workshops covering subjects such as calibration, SIL [Safety Integrated Level] and safety and technologies such as electrochemical sensors, NDIR, PID, Ion Mobility and catalytic gas sensors,' he added.

Leigh Greenham, director of CoGDEM, said: 'Water industry workers who need to enter culverts, drains or sewers must follow the Confined Space Entry Regulations, which inevitably means checking the atmosphere using portable gas detectors. 'However, almost every manufacturing, processing or storage industry also has confined spaces that workers occasionally need to enter, so the display of suitable gas detectors at WWEM will give visitors the opportunity to see how best to protect their own staff and comply with the regulations,' added Greenham. Following the same format as previous events, WWEM 2010 will take place over two days at the Telford International Centre on 10-11 November.

Entry to the exhibition and workshops will be free (saving a daily admission fee of GBP20) to all pre-registered visitors, who will also be entitled to free onsite parking and free lunches and refreshments on both days of the event. In addition to the water sector, visitors to WWEM will include anyone with an interest in gas detection from almost any industry and particularly those with confined space, leak detection or poor ventilation issues.

Netherlocks has launched a new website and brochure providing details about its valve safety and interlocking systems, which are said to operate effectively even in extreme conditions. A new 'downloads' section helps visitors to find the new brochure, as well as product datasheets, official certificates and fill-in forms for correct specification when ordering certain safety products.

There are dedicated sections for core safety product ranges in Process Interlocking, Valve Control, Lock-Out/Tag-Out and Position Indication. These contain information about the products, various applications they are useful for, technical details, frequently asked questions and references from existing clients about past installations. The new brochure features advice, services and products from Netherlocks.

Malvern Instruments has announced that registration is now open for the Particle Summit, a forum enabling users of particle characterisation technology to learn more and to connect with others. Sponsored by Malvern Instruments, the Particle Summit will take place on 20-21 October 2010 at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, near Boston. It is suitable for anyone wishing to expand their knowledge in the fields of particle and molecular characterisation and will feature an informative and practical programme.

As well as two days of presentations and case studies, an optional pre-conference workshop on 19 October will cover the basic principles of particle characterisation. The 15 speakers will include Dr James Adair of Pennsylvania State University; Dr Danny Chou of Genzyme; Bill Kopesky of Particle Technology Labs (PTL); Dr Martin Muschol of South Florida University; Dr Kevin Powers of the Particle Engineering Research Center at Florida University; Dr Paul Sojka of Purdue University; and Dr Larry Weiss of Cleanwell.

Dr Neil Lewis, chief technology officer at Malvern Instruments, will give the keynote address, entitled 'New Particle Characterization Challenges - Physico-Chemical Measurement Needs for Emerging Industries'. The pre-conference workshop, which will provide instruction in the basic principles of particle characterisation, is recommended for anyone relatively new to the field or who would like a refresher on the core topics being addressed in the conference. In addition, there will be opportunities to network with fellow course attendees, presenters and Malvern personnel during the conference.

Flextraction has launched a range of suction and blast hoses for use in high-temperature applications involving aggressive solids or gases and in chemical, manufacturing de-dusting and suction plants. The hoses, depending on the type and size, vary in weight, flexibility and compressibility to meet a variety of requirements. The suction and blast hoses operate in temperatures from -200C up to +1,100C. The thermoplastic polymer hoses are suitable for use in applications where the maximum temperature is +125C.

The steel hoses, meanwhile, can be used in temperatures up to +400C and the stainless-steel hoses can operate in temperatures up to +600C. For better thermal insulation, multiply-constructed hoses using alternating special high-temperature webbing and special insulating materials are effective up to 1,100C over short periods. The new range includes the VA 471 Teflon, double-layer, ultra-lightweight, compressible hose, which is designed for use in applications where operating temperatures can range from approximately -150C to +250C and over a short period of time in applications up to 270C.

Typical applications for these new hoses include equipment involving aggressive solids such as dust particles, powder and fibres and aggressive gases such as vapours, fumes and smoke, as well as applications in the chemical industry, manufacturing de-dusting and suction plants as well as in bellows and compensators.
The new range also includes the Norres CP Hitex 483 multi-layer, high-temperature suction and blast hose, which designed for use in applications reaching up to 1,100C, such as dust, powder and fibre solids, gas, vapour and flue-gas extraction, blast furnace exhaust and welding fume extraction as well as exhaust extraction in engine construction, engine warming, aircraft and military equipment construction.

Aston Martin Racing ran Beru F1 Systems' Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) on its Nurburgring 24-hour race entries for the second year in a row. The system was used on Aston Martin's V12 Vantage race car and the new Rapide model. The TPMS provided Aston Martin's race engineers and drivers with accurate tyre pressure and temperature data throughout the race. James Shingleton, applications engineer at Beru F1 Systems, said: 'The TPMS is being increasingly used by motorsport teams to improve both performance and safety.

'The TPMS allows engineers to better understand tyre behaviour during usage. 'By closely monitoring tyre pressure and temperature, race engineers can optimise vehicle performance and tyre wear, while the system's puncture detection algorithms provide drivers with a warning of damaged or deflating tyres, giving them time to reduce speed or stop safely and preventing further damage to the tyre,' he added. The TPMS comprises one electronic sensor per wheel, with receiving antennas mounted on the vehicle.

The antennas are linked to an ECU, which sends data to the driver and pit garages. With data output on a high-speed CAN bus, the Aston Martin race cars' TPMS is linked to a bespoke display in order to inform the driver of any variance in temperature and pressure and to provide any necessary deflation warnings. In other motorsport applications, it is possible to integrate the system with the car's existing dashboard. Aston Martin first approached Beru F1 Systems in 2009 to supply its Digityre system. Beru identified its Lite system as the most appropriate option for the race cars. This system uses an OE-grade ECU, antennas and low-frequency (LF) triggers.

The company used race specification sensors as a precaution, although logged data later revealed that OE-specification sensors would perform to the same level. The system used on the 2010 cars utilised production-specification TPMS hardware, with only software modifications to make it suitable for race use. The LF arrangement is designed to automatically detect which wheel sensor is fitted to each corner of the car. This offers an advantage considering the high number of pit stops made per car during the Nurburgring 24-hour race. The automatic learning facility is common to the system now fitted to the road cars.

It avoids any manual positioning of wheel sensors and allows wheels to be fitted to any corner of the car. Using the Digityre system, both cars received early warnings of punctures and were able to pit without incurring major damage or losing unnecessary time. Beru's TPMS does not require any maintenance or intervention between events, while the sensor's software puts the electronics into sleep mode when the wheel is not moving, meaning a sensor will last at least one race season. Shingleton continued: 'Using the radio, the driver can inform the pits as to which tyre needs to be changed. 'This saves precious time as the team can prepare the right wheel prior to the driver's pit stop,' he said.

Parker Hannifin has launched a programmable hydraulics controller for use by original equipment manufacturers and system integrators for the development of mobile and off-highway equipment. Designated Iqan-MC3 and forming part of Parker's Iqan range of motion and control products, the new device enables both safety and operational functions to be controlled from a single module; this results in reduced system design and build times and improved machine performance, safety and productivity.

According to the company, manufacturers of mobile and off-highway equipment used in the production and development of safety systems are increasingly requiring components and software to be certified to accepted functional safety standards, such as EN ISO 13849-1 or IEC 61508. The new Iqan-MC3 module, used in conjunction with Parker's dedicated Iqan Studio Software Tools, allows both operational and safety functions to be programmed, controlled and monitored through a single controller. This helps machine builders to minimise the number of components required and to reduce overall system complexity and cost.

To make this possible, Iqan-MC3 is designed to IEC 61508 (certification pending) and effectively enables the operation and performance level of all safety functions to be proven as part of a Safety Integrity Level 2 (SIL2) methodology or to be used as part of a PLd subsystem within EN ISO 138489-1. Although the Iqan-MC3 can be used to manage both safety and operational functions, it is always the former that takes priority, according to Parker. The new module can be used as a standalone controller, with local input/output (I/O), or be integrated into larger systems using four CAN buses. Each module has 16 digital inputs and 16 analogue inputs, all of which can be set for safety-related signals.

In addition, there are four proportional current outputs designed to drive proportional hydraulic valves, with each output controlling one bidirectional valve section, as well as five digital outputs for driving on and off solenoids. Each MC3 unit is constructed to meet the rigours of mobile and off-highway applications, with a robust enclosure that withstands high levels of vibration and humidity. Each unit is sealed to IP66 and operates at temperatures from -40C to +85C. The Iqan-MC3 is designed to be used with Parker's suite of Iqan Studio Software Tools, which allows electronic systems to be developed, programmed, configured and remotely managed. In particular, tools such as Iqandesign and Iqanrun give design and production engineers a set of modular tools that can reduce development, construction and subsequent maintenance times.

Aaxeon has released the LNP-1002G Lanolinx Industrial Unmanaged Gigabit Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Switch, which enables communication with wireless devices such as access points and IP phones. The LNP-1002G is an unmanaged 10-port Gigabit Industrial Ethernet switch with 8 10/100TX ports and 2 combo ports. The combo ports can either be 10/100/1000TX or Gigabit fibre using an Small Form Factor Pluggable (SFP) module.

This configuration provides the user with the flexibility to use fibre or copper ports for the uplink. Each of the eight 10/100TX ports supports the new 802.3af PoE standard and can provide up to 15W at 48V DC. An Extended Operating Temperature model (LNP-1002G-T) with a temperature range from -40 to 80C is also available for extreme temperature applications.

Tyco Electronics and Redwood Systems have announced a strategic collaboration to pioneer Redwood's new lighting platform in the commercial lighting market. The platform - a lighting system that fuses intelligent control, communications and power delivery into an integrated, networked system - is designed to make smart lighting simple and cost effective, and provide users with expanded ways to visualise and optimise their buildings.

The system, which operates on both LED technology and traditional fluorescent and halogen technology, estimates energy savings up to 75 per cent for standard building lighting. Tyco will collaborate with Redwood on a comprehensive solutions package for integration into the system. The package will provide the foundational infrastructure necessary to enable the lighting system.

such as commercial-premises structured cabling systems, circuit-protection devices and interconnect systems. The platform is composed of three discrete elements that work in concert to create a programmable 'building fabric'. The components include the Redwood engine, a central driver that provides and modulates power; the Redwood adapter, a group of sensors at each light fixture; and the Redwood wall switch. The system, connected with Tyco's low-voltage cabling, facilitates 'plug-and-play' behaviour to reduce installation time.

The World Expo Center's entrance pavilion includes a large structural membrane canopy made with AGY's Beta yarn, which provides flexibility and strength for large-scale architecture. The Beta yarn consists of very fine glass filaments (4um) that are twisted and plied into yarn bundles. 'We supply the raw, non-combustible Beta yarn to Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, who weaves it into a wide-width [120in] structural fabric and then coats it with a proprietary PTFE formula,' said John Mancinelli, North East sales manager at AGY.

'The finished membrane product, called Sheerfill Architectural Membrane, enables the construction of buildings with stunning architectural profiles,' he added. Saint-Gobain chose AGY's Beta yarn because it retains strength both during and after rigorous processing, and because it retains the flexibility to be bent or folded without losing strength. 'The secret is our very fine Beta glass filaments - they are the smallest diameter available and provide the membrane with maximum flexibility,' added Mancinelli. AGY's glass chemistry allows Saint-Gobain to coat the fabric in such a way that larger micron size filaments or different glass chemistry would reduce the fabric's effectiveness.

The finished PTFE-coated fibreglass fabric is considered a permanent architectural membrane material with a life of more than 25 years. Its translucent nature creates gently diffused glare-free natural lighting, allowing light to pass through the material. During daylight the membrane appears bright white, but is able to block UV light It will not degrade over time and, with the combination of PTFE, it reduces UV radiation within the facility while allowing light to enter. Using the membrane for structural elements also helps reduce overall costs, as architectural membranes weigh less than conventional roofing systems, resulting in reduced structural steel components. The Beta yarn is used for different grades of the Sheerfill architectural membrane.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Rewinds and J Windsor has used a spiral welder to repair a rotary diverter lock on a oil seed food-processing company's conveyor handling system. RJW fully cleaned and inspected the assembly, which was made of 316L stainless steel and measured 2.5m long and 500mm in diameter, and made detailed measurements. An ultrasonic test was completed to out to ensure the shaft was structurally sound, with no inherent flaws or cracks. The detailed inspection had found that the drive end bearing diameter was bent and worn, and the non-drive end also showed signs of wear.

RJW carried out the following work on the assembly: prepared failed non drive end diameter; machined true and prepared drive end diameter (full length); set up in spiral welding machine and welded using 316L welding wire and externally approved welding procedures; all stainless steel heat treatments covered during the process; set up shaft and proofed machine; carried out dye-penetrant inspection; finished machine and keyway DE and NDE shafts back to manufacturer's standard; carried out final dye-penetrant inspection.

Adept will be showcasing its Quattro s650H robot for high-speed automated packaging applications at the Propak China 2010 event in Shanghai on 14-16 July 2010. The technology will be demonstrated in a high-performance, flexible small-product handling system designed by the company's partner Austong Intelligent Robot Technology. Austong will be demonstrating a high-speed parts-handling and packaging system utilising the Adept Quattro s650H robot with integrated vision guidance and inspection.

The s650H parallel robot is designed for high-speed manufacturing, packaging, materials-handling and assembly applications, and is said to be the only robot in the world that features a four-arm rotational platform. The design is said to deliver maximum speed, maximum acceleration and exceptional performance across the entire work envelope. Powerful compact controls and embedded amplifiers also make installation easy, while reducing work cell and overall factory footprint requirements. The Quattro robot is USDA accepted and is ideal for applications such as raw-food handling, flexible packaging, material handling, kitting and assembly applications where performance is paramount.

Gast's Jun-Air range of high-purity, heatless desiccant air dryers for use with the company's cabinet compressors enable water-vapour removal in a range of industrial and commercial facilities. The devices feature a new system that combines the filter and desiccant in one easily exchanged, externally fitted cartridge, to simplify maintenance. The iQdryer's design incorporates new, patented technologies and modern materials to deliver pulse-free, high-quality compressed air with increased reliability, lower running costs and simplified maintenance procedures.

The dryer also meets high-purity standards and delivers air in accordance with ISO 8573:1-2001, Class 2 dirt (1um) and Class 2 water (-40C pressure dew point), and has a maximum working pressure of 12 barg (174 psig). Features include high-tensile extruded aluminium columns containing twin-dryer chambers anodised for corrosion protection; a pressure-maintaining device that ensures desiccant bed velocities are controlled to maintain dew-point performance; and two patented filter/desiccant cartridges (one per column) containing desiccant and inlet/outlet filtration.

The chamber design also ensures that replacement filter/desiccant cartridges can only be fitted in one direction, to eliminate installation errors in the field. 'By integrating inlet/outlet filtration into the desiccant cartridge, we have been able to eliminate three external filters and drains which, together with the design improvements, has allowed us to reduce pressure drop through the dryer by 60 per cent and reduce the power required by the compressor by 7.8 per cent,' said Adrian Lee, managing director, Gast.

Other features that ensure optimum reliability include the collection of condensate in a 'quiet zone' that is then vented frequently by timed solenoid valves to eliminate the risk of float-drain malfunction; and purge-adjustment screws located after fine dust filtration to eliminate contamination and loss of performance. An all-in-one service kit is also available with full instructions and replacement cartridges sealed in airtight foil bags to prolong shelf life. The iQdryer is available on all Jun-Air cabinet compressors with immediate effect and will be rolled out to the company's open compressor models - including the oil-less OF300 and OF1200 series - from September.

Synergy Engineering, representing Nash Mechanical Seal Services, can now offer refurbishment and maintenance repairs for mechanical seals and rotating equipment on a local level. The company also now supplies Nash's Fluiten mechanical seal range. Synergy Engineering manufactures mechanical seals for chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food and drink, energy, paper, marine and wastewater applications.

Mayr Power Transmissions has unveiled the Robaa-topstopa, a fully sealed drive-side-mounted safety brake suitable for any vertical- or gravity-loaded axis. Designed to meet the demands of EN ISO13849-1, the compact and lightweight Robaa-topstopa can be retrofitted to existing servo systems to prevent uncontrolled vertical movements in a power-off or emergency-stop situation.

The Robaa-topstopa is available as a single- or double-circuit brake with either a shaft output to connect to a gearbox or an integrated plug-in coupling to enable connection directly to a ballscrew. Available in three standard sizes ranging from 12Nm to 170Nm, the Robaa-topstopa is said to offer safe and reliable braking even with the motor removed. With a housing sealed to IP54 and flanges that can be adapted to any application, the Robaa-topstopa provides a simple, safe and economical vertical-axis braking solution, according to the company.

Flow Science is offering a computer-aided-engineering (CAE) package aimed at solving the complex problems surrounding the development and production of products using thermosetting resins. Thermosetting resins, with their high adhesive and structural strength and thermal and chemical durability, are used in semiconductor devices, generators, transformers and switches, coils and other components for electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles, printed circuit boards and MRIs.

The new Flow-3D Thermoset package is intended to help engineers overcome the challenging problems presented by materials in the production process. Working with Hitachi and Terrabyte of Japan, which collaborated on the development of this customised version of Flow-3D, Flow Science can now offer engineers seeking to tackle these difficult problems an advanced tool to produce accurate predictions of void formations, incomplete filling, overfilling and gold wire deformations.

Newport, a provider of laser and photonic solutions that make, manage and measure light, has launched precision rotation stages for applications that require bidirectional positioning. The URS50BCC and URS50BPP precision rotation stages feature 360deg continuous motion. The low-cost stages feature a small, 50mm footprint. The URS50BCC and the URS50BPP provide backlash-free, continuous rotation with a high meantime between failures of up to 20,000 and very low wobble. Both stages offer 6um eccentricity and simple integration, according to the company.

The URS50Bs feature a two-part bearing design with pre-tempered steel gears and bearings to ensure precision and long-life motion positioning. The URS50BCC, the DC-motor version with index pulse for precision homing, is suitable for demanding applications that require bidirectional positioning. The more economical URSBPP stepper-motor version is suitable for less demanding yet precision rotation applications. A cable is included with each URS50B for plug-and-play compatibility with SMC, ESP and XPS.

Endress and Hauser's M-class Deltabar M PMD55 transmitter and its Cerabar line of pressure transmitters have Atex, FM, CSA, NEPSI and IEC Ex certifications for use in hazardous areas. The Deltapilot M has Atex, FM, CSA, drinking-water (NSF, KTW and ACS) and NACE approvals. The new M-class range of transmitters, manufactured in the US, makes it easier for legacy plants to upgrade to digital communications systems such as Hart and Wirelesshart, according to the company. It can be difficult for a plant to upgrade all of its transmitters at one time, but the M class allows users to install instruments on an as-needed basis.

M-class transmitters incorporate 4-20mA two-wire analogue outputs with superimposed Hart 6.0 digital communications. Remote operation is available via a Hart Field Communicator handheld terminal or the wireless Field Xpert personal digital assistant (PDA) with an integrated 3.5in (8.9cm) touch screen. The transmitters can also be configured with Endress and Hauser's Fieldcare asset management tool, based on FDT technology. An optional four-line liquid-crystal display (LCD) can be used for local display and operation on the transmitters. The local display shows measured values and dialogue texts as well as fault and notice messages in plain text, thereby supporting the user at every stage of the operation.

The LCD of the device can be turned in 90deg stages. The transmitters can be mounted on a tank, wall or pipe - in either a vertical or a horizontal orientation. The turnable display facilitates the operation of the transmitter and reads the measured values with either orientation. The Deltabar M PMD55 differential-pressure transmitter can be used for the flow measurement of gases, vapours and liquids. Typical applications also include the level, volume and mass measurement of liquids. The Deltabar M transmitter works over measuring ranges of 0.15psi to 600psi, with a maximum recommended turndown of 100:1.

Reference accuracy is up to 0.075 per cent of full scale. The Deltabar M is a direct replacement for the Rosemount 1151 analogue transmitter; as such, a Rosemount user can upgrade directly to the Deltabar M digital Hart-based flow transmitter without having to change piping or add a coplanar adapters. Flow measurements are available in five modes: volume flow, norm volume flow (Europe), standard volume flow (US standard conditions), mass flow and per cent. The transmitter has two totalisers. One totaliser can be reset to zero and the totalising units can be individually set for each totaliser.

This enables daily and annual quantity totalising. The Deltabar M transmitter features an aluminium housing with protective powder coating and 316L stainless-steel process connections. Customers are offered a choice of Viton, PTFE, NBR or EPDM seals. The operational temperature ranges from -40F to +185F. The transmitter is suitable for use in oxygen and ultra-pure-gas applications. The Cerabar M line of transmitters can be used for measuring the absolute and gauge pressure of gases, steam or liquids in all process areas.

Typical applications also include the level, volume and mass measurement of liquids. The Cerabar M is available in three models: the PMC51, the PMP51 and the PMP55. The PMC51 features a capacitive measuring cell and ceramic isolating diaphragm; the PMP51 has a piezo-resistive measuring cell and a metal-welded process isolating diaphragm; and the PMP55 incorporates a diaphragm seal. The measuring range is from -15psi to 6,000psi, depending on the model, with reference accuracy up to 0.075 per cent and turndown of 100:1.

With diaphragm seals, the Cerabar M can be used in temperatures up to 752F. The Cerabar M transmitter features either a stainless-steel or an aluminium or housing with a protective powder coating. A stainless housing is available for hygienic applications. With appropriate seals, the Cerabar M can be used in oxygen, hydrogen, silicon-free and ultra-pure-gas applications. The Deltapilot M line of transmitters is used for measuring hydrostatic liquid level in vented tanks.

Deltapilot M transmitters indicate liquid level by measuring the force exerted on the diaphragm induced by the weight of the fluid. The Deltapilot M range of transmitters utilises Endress and Hauser's patented Contite measurement cell, which is said to offer excellent recovery times in processes where thermal shock is prevalent. Contite cells provide high performance in a variety of liquid-level applications. The Deltapilot M transmitters are available in four models: the FMB50, the FMB51, the FMB52 and the FMB53.

The transmitters can be mounted offline or can be submerged in a tank via a cable or a steel rod. The measuring range of the Deltapilot transmitter can be as large as 330ft (100m) and as small as 3ft, while maintaining an accuracy of 0.1 per cent at process temperatures up to +212F. The Deltapilot transmitters have a programmable characteristic curve that permits volume and mass measurements in any tank shape. The transmitters can also measure level in tanks with superimposed pressure, foam, agitators or liquefied gases.

The Siemens Industry Drive Technologies Division has launched a Flender vertical mill drive that can be used to crush raw material and cement in the building-materials or coal industries. The EMPP (electrical motor and two planetary gears) vertical mill drive prevents load surges arising from short-term power interruptions and optimises performance between drive and mill, enabling power ranges to be expanded to 15MW.

Reliability is also enhanced through a reduction in the number of components susceptible to faults. The EMPP vertical mill drive features a newly developed motor in which the gear housing is built in under the planetary gear. The power transmission features a permanent magnet synchronous motor with an efficient cooling system and the drive is controlled by a frequency converter. This ensures maximum running smoothness combined with optimum grinding results for varying operating conditions, according to the company.

Vertical mills are commonly used to crush raw material and cement in the building materials or coal industries and trends are towards larger production facilities. The new units are available in power ratings from 500kW to 15MW and, above a certain size, units can be delivered in two parts and assembled on site. The footprint of the new drive means that no laborious retrofitting is necessary. This new mill drive meets the requirements of the Atex Directive, which is of particular importance for coal mills with flammable coal dust.

For applications that require a range of cables to enter a junction box or enclosure, Hylec-APL has introduced a cable entry plate that can speed up the wiring process and cut costs. The plate can be built up using a range of pre-formed push-fit IP65 cable entry options, allowing custom combinations of cable entries in one enclosure. 'The idea is to avoid situations where many different-sized holes have to be drilled and a large number of odd cable glands fitted,' said Terry Spriggs, product marketing manager for Hylec-APL.

'Intended mainly for OEM customers and large-volume users, the plates fit into frames that can be screwed to bulkheads or larger enclosures, allowing very fast entry for a large number of cables,' he added. To help customers design the entry plate, Hylec-APL has added a free 3D online configurator to its website. This free application allows users to customise and visualise the Design-A-Flange, choosing various cable entry options and adding any necessary cable glands or grommets.

Using a drag-and-drop function, users choose which size base plate they want to start with and drag it to the 'working area'. Once the base plate has been selected, a number of different size inserts can be positioned in the plate, with cable glands and grommets added where required. When the user is satisfied with the set up of the plate, they are offered a number of options.

It is possible to name and save a number of different designs, allowing users to recreate popular set-ups; it is also possible to save the designs as a pdf or to print them straight from the page. 'The online Design-A-Flange application allows customers to specify their design and place an order,' said Spriggs. 'Once they have designed their product they can speak to one of our direct sales operatives with a list of part numbers that correspond to their needs. 'The application includes a walk-through video, product facts and CAD files,' he added.

This cable interface system allows the customer to choose from a wide selection of preconfigured solutions. The standard plates each have a pattern of sealed cable entries, which can be used by pushing the cable through the seal membrane. The plates lock into a frame that is then attached, using screws, to bulkheads or large enclosures. This design makes the whole interface very flexible as it can be uninstalled and new insert plates added if cable entry requirements change. Hylec-APL has conducted in-house trials on this product to demonstrate its flexibility.

Drilling several holes of differing sizes in order to fit separate dome-topped cable glands can take a while due to bit changes, it only takes a couple of minutes to fit an interface plate and then just seconds for each push-fit cable entry. In a situation where hundreds of enclosures or cabinets are being fitted, this flexibility leads to time and cost savings. As standard, all entry points use water- and dust-proof membrane push-fit seals; however, customers can also choose knock-out inserts that allow the use of cable glands, or the quick-entry Klikseal grommet, a high-speed entry option providing IP67 protection and cable retention.

Neither the membrane seals nor knock outs require tools, meaning that an accurate and secure cable entry can be executed in seconds. The plates are made from fibreglass-reinforced polypropylene, which provides an operational temperature range of between -20C to +125C. This ensures that the flange will not weaken the overall integrity of the application to which it is fixed.

ETL Inertial Aerosystems has introduced a high-temperature 12-bit analogue-to-digital converter from Honeywell for use in applications such as deep-drilling operations and jet engine control systems. The HTADC 12 is designed to enable reliable measurement and control in high-temperature environments. The technology is claimed to offer four times better resolution than competitive offerings.

This device is a monolithic, 12-bit, 100,000 samples per second converter. The product can sustain reliable 225C operation for up to five years and 300C for one year. The input of the HTADC 12 allows interfacing to sensors for data-conversion applications. The direct input supports 0V to 2.5V signals and includes an on-chip buffer to allow for full 5V input signals.

The outputs are 12-bit parallel, two 8-bit parallel and serial. The switched capacitor charge redistribution DAC architecture does not require a sample and hold input stage. It is applicable for both multiplexed systems that switch full-scale voltage levels in successive channels and for sampling single channel inputs at frequencies up to and beyond the Nquist rate.