Monday, February 28, 2011

Mykal Industries has announced that the Desolvit Electrical and Cable Cleaner (DSI 5000ECC) has been awarded NATO number 7930-99-494-1799 for use within the armed forces. The company said the product was chosen due to its good degreasing performance and good safety profile. The fact that it is a citrus-based degreaser and not chlorinated or paraffin-based was in its favour, Mykal added.

Electrical and Cable Cleaner (DSI 5000ECC) is described as a powerful liquid cleaner for use on electrical cables, switchgear, PCBs and overhead power lines. It is formulated to a high dielectric strength of 50,000v and designed specifically to remove greases, cable jelly, bitumen, sealants and oils without affecting insulation or cable cores.

The product has a flashpoint of 67C. Desolvit Electrical and Cable Cleaner (DSI 5000ECC) is also available as a pre-impregnated low lint wet wipe under the name of Electrical and Cable Cleaner Wipes (DSI 5000ECW). Electrical and Cable Cleaner (DSI 5000ECC) is part of the Desolvit range of citrus degreasers that combines performance with user and environmental safety.

Two compact Lenze SMV frequency inverters are being used to provide smooth-start optimisation and motion control on the Whizzard Pro alpine ski simulator. The Whizzard Pro is designed both as a trainer for competitive downhillers and as an improvement aid for recreational skiers. The simulator, developed in Poland, is designed to take up minimum space, while providing the original experience of real skiing in the gym. Suitable for both skiers and snowboarders, the Whizzard Pro adjusts the slope angle while running and can provide experience of extreme conditions, even moguls, at speeds of up to 30km/hr.

Key to the realistic operation of the Whizzard Pro are two Lenze SMV inverters. The first of these, a 5.5kW unit, drives two motors that control the main track of the simulator. Controlled via a human-machine interface, this inverter was chosen for its low-speed operation, ease of use and compact dimensions, which enabled it to be integrated into the optimised envelope of the Whizzard Pro without modifications to the simulator structure. Low-speed operation is equally important on the second Lenze SMV inverter - a 2.2kW unit that controls the motor used to generate vertical movement on the Whizzard Pro, effectively simulating the irregularities experienced in downhill skiing.

The combination of the Lenze inverters is said to simplify the adaptation of vertical and horizontal speed on the Whizzard Pro, taking into account the skill level of the skier. The precise control provided also allows the simulator to be used for the rehabilitation of skiers following accidents and is claimed to offer a realistic element to complement existing ski training programmes. The SMV is suitable for simulation tasks, thanks to its simple control and setup procedures, which can be completed in seconds, and its programmable EPM chip.

The EPM allows users to copy across, in a matter of seconds, an entire operating set of parameters to another SMV drive. This same functionality can be used to change a set of simulation parameters in an existing drive, delivering a new experience to the simulator user. The EPM can often be used to return a machine to service without having to call out a support engineer or commit skilled programming time to re-commission an individual drive. The SMV range of inverter drives is available for single-phase operation from 0.37kW to 2.2kW and three-phase operation from 0.37kW to 22.0kW.

The SMV range removes the cost and complexity from vector-based motor control, offering fast dynamic torque response, sophisticated auto-tuning and excellent low-speed operation from a compact, low-cost package, according to Lenze. In addition, the SMV drive offers ingress protection to IP65, enabling its use outdoors, in environments with atmospheric moisture, and providing protection from low-pressure water jets. The SMV range is designed for use in motor applications where dynamic speed and torque control are required, such as conveyors, food production, packaging lines and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.

Lenze is to hold a series of free seminars on drive and automation, aimed at designers of machinery with a focus on reducing costs while maintaining and increasing machine performance. The seminars, which are due be held at three locations across the UK in early March, will introduce an overview of the latest product developments that can simplify control systems, reduce energy consumption and speed up engineering projects.

For each location, three short seminar sessions are scheduled throughout the afternoon and early evening. These product briefings are supported by product demonstrations, displays and drive specialists who will be available to answer questions. Subjects include a new compact high-speed machine controller, new programmable logic controller (PLC) and Codesys3 software and low-cost options for positioning and winding. Registration for free tickets is via the Lenze homepage.

Lee Products has launched a high-density solenoid valve that is said to offer the features of a large valve in an ultra-compact design weighing 4.5g. The Lee (HDI) valve is a Lo-Lohm model that delivers increased flow capacity while helping engineers and OEM designers to meet the familiar objectives of a smaller size, a lighter weight and greater efficiency. Available in either plug-in or face-mount versions, and with a choice of configurations - two-way normally closed and two-way normally open - the valves offer a flow capacity of up to 800Lohms (19SLPM at 50psid; CV=0.022).

The valves have an operating pressure range of VAC - 50psig (0-50psid) and an operating temperature range of 40F up to 120F (4C to 48C approximately). Wetted materials include PPA, PBT, 316SS, 430F SS, FKM and epoxy. In addition, Lee Products offers a range of standard manifolds for testing as well as custom-designed manifold configurations for production. Performance parameters can be optimised for a specific application.

Concept Laser has developed the Mlab cusing machine, a compact laser melting machine for the generative production of jewellery, bracelets and watch elements. The company said that the Mlab cusing machine represents an opportunity to introduce additive manufacturing into these industries. Unique products and small batches can be manufactured overnight from original stainless steel or precious metal powders. In contrast to the traditional casting process, the metal laser melting method allows denser surfaces and the creation of geometries not previously feasible.

In general terms, the small Mlab cusing machine represents the entry-level model to the flyweight class of laser melting with metals. It allows the market segment for small, intricate components to be tapped into in an economically viable way, with the benefit that the additive method can also help to enhance the quality of the product. Issues that can arise with the casting method, including cavity formation, rejects and extensive reworking, are said to be vastly reduced by employing laser additive manufacturing. The Mlab cusing machine combines a high degree of freedom of geometry with high-quality standards.

Metal laser melting is also a contemporary method from the point of view of time. In contrast to the traditional casting method, it offers the advantage that the fully automatic production process can be allowed to run at all times, including through the night. This means that an order can be processed and delivered to the customer the next day. Spontaneous requests, which are quite common from customers in these sectors, can be processed promptly. Metal laser melting means going directly from the idea to the piece of jewellery.

The concept behind the Mlab cusing machine is suited to the production of components with delicate and intricate structures. Collaboration with customers from the jewellery and dental sectors in designing the machine means that the product works well in application. The Mlab cusing has compact dimensions, measuring 705 x 1,833 x 955mm. One special feature is its user-friendly, pull-out drawer system. This includes both the construction and dosing chambers and the storage container. The drawer system is available with three different build envelope versions: 50 x 50mm; 70 x 70mm; and 90 x 90mm.

The height of the build envelope is always 80mm. The user can easily exchange the drawers, ensuring flexibility with the dimensions of the components. In addition, it is easy to remove the drawers for the purpose of storing materials. This means that high-quality gold powders can remain in the storage container following production and can be placed with the drawer into the safe of the goldsmith. The precious metal is therefore kept safe and secure at all times and is quickly available for use in the next process. Concept Laser is launching the new Mlab range with certified materials: cobalt-chromium alloy (remanium star CL), stainless steel alloy CL 20ES (1.4404) and 18-carat yellow gold.

The company has already announced that silver and other precious metal alloys will be available in 2012. The laser at the heart of the system operates with a focus diameter of less than 25um in order to reproduce good surface qualities and intricate and delicate component structures. An example of the use of Concept Laser's metal laser melting technology is watch clasps made from stainless steel CL20ES (1.4404), and manufactured by Concept Laser's customer Eichenberger Casting in Switzerland. As well as the savings on time and costs, there was also a reduction in the number of production steps required. The two-part watch clasp is then fused using the laser.

The density of the stainless steel allows the desired spring effect to be achieved. Juan Franco, operations manager at Eichenberger Casting, said: 'The parts display the necessary tension and therefore snap into place very well. 'Using conventional means, this effect can only be achieved with elaborate punching and forging,' he added. A second example is a link bracelet produced in one working step. Generative laser melting makes it possible to produce jewellery with integrated functions in a single process. Link bracelets have already been made at Eichenberger Casting that have links connected to lugs.

Thanks to a design that is adapted to the laser-melting process, the flexible link bracelets can be produced in one piece. The previous working steps, such as welding and fitting together, are now no longer required. Generative jewellery making allows a spontaneous response to meet the specific needs of individual customers, allowing the manufacture of unique items in a short space of time. As it is no longer necessary to produce originals and wax models for a project, there are considerable time and cost savings compared with conventional methods of production.

However, the metal laser melting method should also be viewed in terms of the improvements in surface quality (no cavity formation) and freedom of geometry. The freedom of geometry provides the jewellery designer with new and unusual ideas for pieces of jewellery. Pearls or precious stones can be positioned creatively, producing an innovative and appealing 'look'. This means that there are almost no limits on the freedom of design.

Beko Technologies offers a range of Bekomat condensate drains as well as a number of special models to suit applications that are not adequately covered by the other products in the market. Bekomat explosion-proof models with Atex approval are designed for use in explosive, hazardous locations such as offshore, chemical plants and power plants. The vacuum version of Beko's Bekomat condensate drains has been designed specifically for the discharge of condensate or other fluids from vacuum systems.

Additionally, these condensate drains can also be used for technical processes under standard atmospheric conditions. They extend the scope of application of Bekomat devices to include pressures from 0.1 to 1.8 bar (abs). In the case of multistage rotary compressors, the condensate from intercoolers must be reliably removed otherwise it will get into the next compressor stage. The consequence of this is a slug of liquid hitting the impeller.

With the Bekomat LA/LALP range damage to the later compressor stages can be prevented. The Bekomat 8 and 9 condensate drains are for large-volume compressors. They are particularly used in crude oil installations and refineries, the petrochemical industry and the chemical engineering sector. High-pressure Bekomats up to 63 bar can also be supplied by Beko to suit applications in many industries using high-pressure compressed air.

Weldability-Sif has launched a miniature on-torch flashback arrestor for use on oxy-acetylene torches, which is designed to provide maximum protection for the operator. When used with long hose sets, the on-torch flashback arrestor reduces any compromise in safety by providing maximum protection for the operator and associated workforce. The safe and correct use of oxygen and acetylene gases provides a good mobile welding, cutting and heating source that is difficult to replace in most industrial facilities.

While oxygen and acetylene combined provides the hottest deliverable heat source at 3,150C, it is the incorrect assembly and use of equipment and gases that can lead to a hazardous situation resulting in the potential of an explosion and fired within the workplace. A correctly certified and regularly inspected flashback arrestor can provide high levels of automated protection when fitted to the regulator output, by preventing flames reaching the gas cylinder by automatically shutting off the gas supply.

The traditional flashback arrestor, with its connection to the gas cylinder pressure regulator, leaves all the equipment prior to the regulator exposed. The Weldability-Sif on-torch flashback arrestor weighs only 79g and is threaded to fit most standard UK gas welding, cutting and heating torches. Each unit is simply fitted between the torch and the hose and while conforming to EN 730 is additionally certified by BAM, the German explosives testing laboratory. Each unit is tested five times before packing and distribution to achieve this BAM status.

Elma Electronic has introduced a new digital printing method for painting front panels, which allows the kind of images, colours and possibilities that you would get from a paper digital printer. The technology allows the aluminium or sheet-metal panels to accept very specific colours and images that were previously not possible. Further, the cost for printing highly illustrative designs with multiple colours is the same as for just one colour. In previous screening processes for front panels, each colour is a separate labour step and an additional cost.

Elma's digital printing enables customers to use more colours within their existing budgets and price points. Another benefit of the Elma digital printing process is the detail and quality it provides. Fine images, logos or text can be faded or lost with traditional silk-screening. The digital process from Elma provides such precision that even very small text and fine detail of a logo comes through clearly.

Further, customers can now apply special gradients, shadows and other effects that were not feasible until now. As just one process is required for digital printing, even the most elaborate designs save time and reduce costs. In addition, the simplified process helps to improve quality and reliability, while reducing mistakes.

Elma Electronic has introduced a new digital printing method for painting front panels, which allows the kind of images, colours and possibilities that you would get from a paper digital printer. The technology allows the aluminium or sheet-metal panels to accept very specific colours and images that were previously not possible. Further, the cost for printing highly illustrative designs with multiple colours is the same as for just one colour.

In previous screening processes for front panels, each colour is a separate labour step and an additional cost. Elma's digital printing enables customers to use more colours within their existing budgets and price points. Another benefit of the Elma digital printing process is the detail and quality it provides. Fine images, logos or text can be faded or lost with traditional silk-screening. The digital process from Elma provides such precision that even very small text and fine detail of a logo comes through clearly.

Further, customers can now apply special gradients, shadows and other effects that were not feasible until now. As just one process is required for digital printing, even the most elaborate designs save time and reduce costs. In addition, the simplified process helps to improve quality and reliability, while reducing mistakes.

Samtec has introduced a high-density socket featuring a bi-level mating design comprising two levels of contacts on a staggered 1mm centreline, which creates a card-effective 0.5mm pitch. The Edge Rate High Density Edge Card Socket (BEC5 Series) is available with up to 140 I/Os in a 1 x 1.27mm-grid PCB pad layout, with four rows of contacts. This system is suitable for high-speed applications benefiting from its rugged Edge Rate contacts, which are designed for superior impedance control and reduced broadside coupling with increased durability and cycle life.

The 0.5mm pitch high-density socket accepts standard 1.60mm' and 2.40mm-thick cards. Additional features include weld tabs, alignment pins and lead-free solder charge terminations for easy board processing. Tin-lead solder charges, as well as alternative platings and pin counts, are also available. In addition to the new BEC5 Series 0.5mm pitch high-density system, Samtec's full line of High Speed Edge Rate Edge Card Sockets includes 0.8mm (HSEC8 Series) pitch in surface-mount and edge-mount designs for parallel, perpendicular and planar-board mating as well as a right-angle dual-stacking design (DSEC Series).

Stamped contact design sockets are also available in 0.635mm (MEC6 Series), 1mm (MEC1 Series), 1,27mm (MECF Series) and 2mm (MEC2 Series) pitches for edge-mount, right-angle and vertical applications. Pricing on the BEC5 is approximately $0.10 per mated line.

Intersil has introduced a range of power controllers designed to meet the power supply requirements of industry-standard USB devices, which offer high-current capability in a small package. The ISL6185 and ISL6186 provide port power for products based on the USB 2.0 and 3.0 interface standards, offering designers several current-limit-level options, all with an accuracy 3x better than competitive solutions. This results in more precise protection and increased design flexibility for today's USB power designs.

In addition, the ISL6185 and ISL6186 come in industry standard packages for easy, drop-in replacement as well as a new, smaller packages for saving more board space. The ISL6185 independently controls two power channels and features a pair of 71 milliohm P-channel power switches. Providing added design flexibility, each power channel is capable of protecting multiple USB ports. The ISL6185 provides continuous current at 0.6, 1.1, 1.5 and 1.8A levels. Its high current-limit capability supports USB 3.0 as well as USB 2.0.

In addition, both devices feature automatic restart/retry after an over-current or transient event, ensuring continued operation without requiring additional monitoring. No user or system intervention is required to reset the devices, with automatic recovery when the load fault is cleared. The ISL6186 USB power controller provides single channel over-current (OC) fault protection totaling up to 3.6A, allowing a single device to protect multiple USB ports. The device features a 45 milliohm P-channel MOSFET power switch for power control and continuous current options for 1.5, 3 and 3.6A.

It also includes a Power Good output capability that provides supply status with no need for external components. The range consists of eight individual functional product variants and three package options. It is rated for a nominal 2.5 to 5V range and specified over full commercial and industrial temperature ranges. Each device also features internal current monitoring, accurate current limiting, reverse bias protection and current limited delay to turn-off for system supply protection, along with control and communication I/O.

Off-state supply current is 1mA. The ISL6185/6 range is provided with enable polarity options in an industry standard eight-pin SOIC pinout along with two versions in the 70 percent smaller 3x3 DFN. The eight-pin DFN package offers the same performance as the eight-pin SOIC; the 10-pin DFN offers higher current capability in a very small package because of lower electrical and thermal resistance. Prices start at $0.75 each in 1,000-piece units.

Schroff now offers a range of NEMA Type 9 enclosures, which are designed for housing electronic or electrical equipment in locations that are hazardous due to the presence of combustible dusts. Manufactured by Hoffman, one of Schroff's sister companies within the Pentair Technical Products group, these robust enclosures are constructed from 5mm, 6mm and 10mm steel plate, with an ANSI grey polyester powder-coat finish. Fibre gaskets, attached to the covers using mechanical retainers, ensure that the enclosures provide a dust-tight seal and prevent the ingress of combustible particulates.

Available in a choice of 14 different sizes with internal dimensions ranging from 203 x 152 x 102mm to 1,219 x 914 x 305mm, the NEMA Type 9 enclosures incorporate mounting brackets and either weldnuts or collar studs to support the optional internal panels. The larger models are equipped with heavy-duty cover hinges. In addition to the panels and panel support kits, other accessories include terminal block kits and industrial corrosion inhibitors.

Tyco Electronics (TE), a provider of engineered electronic components, has launched the Type LS solder-less LED socket, designed specifically for use with the new Philips Lumileds Luxeon S LED. Debuting at Strategies in Light 2011 in Santa Clara, California, the product offers a solder-less termination that complements this newly released lighting-class LED by Philips Lumileds. The Type LS socket complies with UL-1977 specifications and is designed with insulation displacement technology to simplify the termination of 24 AWG wires to the socket.

An integral stainless steel spring within the socket ensures that uniform and adequate normal force is applied to the LED for optimum thermal performance. In addition, the product simplifies the positioning of the Luxeon S LED on a heat sink by utilising a locator - a plastic frame that is first placed on the heat sink to correctly orient the LED in its position prior to socket attachment. Once positioned, only three commercially available #4 or M3 screws are needed to rapidly secure the socket to the heat sink.

Designed to maximise optical efficiency in un-lensed applications, the shape of the Type LS socket ensures that 98 per cent of the light emitted from the LED is unobstructed. Offered both with and without optics snap features, it provides flexibility for fixture designers by providing features for a secondary optic attachment. For optical flexibility, the matching Venla series of reflectors is offered by Ledil Oy in a variety of beam angles and provides a simple snap-fit to the socket.

Visitors to Booth 400 at Strategies in Light 2011 can learn more about the new solder-less LED socket, as well as TE's SSL range of products. Customer drawings, 3D-model files and application specifications are available via the company's website. Production will begin in late March 2011. The TE Type LS socket, Luxeon S LED and Ledil reflectors and associated driver solutions will also be stocked and available through Future Lighting Solutions.

At Mobile World Congress 2011, Maxim Integrated Products is demonstrating Max11855 and Max11871, projected capacitive touch-screen controllers offering four-point and 10-point touch detection. Building on the company's reputation for differentiated analogue and mixed-signal performance, Maxim's Tactouch family of capacitive touch-screen controllers addresses the various performance and price points demanded by OEMs. The latest Tactouch products offer superior sensitivity and noise immunity, making them the only devices capable of touch detection from a ballpoint/stylus and gloved hands.

These capabilities will enable a range of new user-interface experiences on handsets, tablets and other end equipment. The Max11871 is a mutual capacitance touch-screen controller capable of detecting and tracking up to 10-finger simultaneous touch. All processing is included on-chip to output up to 10 X,Y touch location coordinates, with a Z pressure metric associated to each touch point, via a standard I2C interface to a host microcontroller. The part's analogue front-end provides near 60dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) performance, equivalent to a 1000:1 ratio between touch and no-touch.

This is an order of magnitude 10x higher than other solutions on the market today. The SNR enables detection of very weak (in the femto-farad range) touch variations, such as from a hand waving near the screen (proximity detection), touch from a fine-tip stylus or ballpoint pen, or a hand covered by a glove. Also, it means that the touch point can be farther away from the sensor, enabling touch screens to have thicker cover glass or plastic for improved ruggedness. The Max11871 also includes a proprietary architecture to reject noise (by over 40dB) from external sources such as AC USB chargers, LCDs, or CFL lights with no additional external components.

This selectivity enables the part to be used in high LCD noise environments such as next-generation on-cell and in-cell touch screens. For applications only requiring four-point touch detection, the Max11855 and Max11856 implement a four-finger simultaneous mutual capacitive multi-touch solution, which eliminates any ghosting effect. As part of Maxim's Tactouch product line of haptics and touch-screen controllers, the Max11871 and Max11855/Max11856 can directly interface to the previously introduced Max11835/Max11836 haptic controllers/drivers for piezo actuators and electro-active polymers.

These high-voltage actuators mimic the feeling of a button click on a touch screen. The Max11871 comes in a 6 x 6mm 48-pin TQFN package with 32 cap-sense channels. A wafer-level package (WLP) option is planned for designs requiring an ultra-small footprint. The Max11855 comes in a 5 x 5mm 40-pin TQFN package with 25 cap-sense channels, typically sufficient for panels up to 4in.

The Max11856 provides 31 cap-sense channels in a 6 x 6mm 48-pin TQFN package, making it suitable for panels up to 7in depending on required touch accuracy. With on-chip clock oscillator and voltage references, all parts only require a few passives as external BOM. All parts are sampling now for qualified opportunities and mass production is scheduled to begin before the end of 2011's first quarter.

At Mobile World Congress 2011, Maxim Integrated Products is introducing the Max44007/Max44009, digital ambient-light sensor (ALS) ICs with an adaptive-gain block, suitable for smartphones and TVs. Designed using the company's proprietary BiCMOS technology, these ICs integrate two optical sensors, an ADC and digital functionality into a tiny 2x 2 x 0.6mm package. This integration saves valuable board space while delivering the industry's highest performance.

The Max44007/Max44009 are suitable for applications such as tablet and notebook PCs, smartphones, TVs, digital lighting-management systems and light-intensity monitoring applications. According to Maxim, the ICs consume 100x less power than the nearest competitive product, significantly extending battery life. They offer a unique interrupt function that constantly measures the amount of light and reports to the microcontroller when the measurement passes the threshold. This functionality extends power savings by reducing the frequency of I2C communications.

In addition to providing precise light measurement, the digital communication of Maxim's light sensors is immune to parasitics on the communication interface. Maxim's BiCMOS technology enables the integration of two photodiodes along with an optical filter to reject ultraviolet and infrared light. This allows the Max44007/Max44009 to replicate the optical response of the human eye and accurately measure visible light in a variety of environmental settings. Advanced algorithms correct for any spectra variations between light sources, ensuring an accurate lux response.

Moreover, the ADC integration time of the sensors can be adjusted from 6.25ms to 800ms. A default integration time of 100ms ensures excellent 50Hz/60Hz rejection. Hand-held devices frequently employ tinted or black glass on top of the sensor, which creates challenges for the light sensor, since black glass shifts the response to various light sources. The Max44007 provides access to two different optical sensors: a visible-plus-infrared photodiode and an infrared photodiode. Once the designer knows the response of the black glass, it can be factored into the light sensor's measurement for superior accuracy and sensitivity (down to 0.025 lux).

Ambient-light sensors require the widest dynamic range possible to support a broad spectrum of light conditions, from direct sunlight to complete darkness with every variation in between. Even in digital light sensors, the gain has to be set to a certain value to address different modes of operation in multiple light scenarios. This added configuration requirement increases both design complexity and time to market. The Max44007/Max44009 feature an integrated adaptive-gain block that automatically selects the optimum gain range.

This capability relieves designers of having to manually programme the device and also offloads work from the application processor or microcontroller. Additionally, it provides a wide dynamic range. The Max44009 can measure light levels from 0.045 lux to 188,000 lux, yielding a dynamic range of more than 4,000,000 to one. Designed to meet tight power budgets, the ICs boast an operating current of 0.65uA, which is lower than the power-down current of many competitive products. Furthermore, they operate from an industry-low 1.7V to 3.6V supply voltage.

Consuming as little as 1.1uW of operating power, Maxim's solutions use 100x less power than the nearest competitor. As an added benefit, the devices' low supply voltage allows them to use the same 1.8V supply for both the supply voltage and the I2C interface. This reduces power consumption and design complexity by only requiring a single voltage rail for the part. An address pin allows the use of two sensors on the same I2C bus. Designed for the tight space requirements of portable systems, the Max44007/Max44009 are offered in a lead-free, 2 x 2 x 0.6mm, six-pin UTDFN-Opto-EP package. Prices start at $1.20 (?0.74) for quantities of 1,000-up, FOB USA.

The Mill-Max 0850, 0851, 0852 and 0853 spring pins are capable of carrying 9A continuous current at a 10C temperature rise and suitable for use in circuits operating at currents above signal level. Applications include board stacking, docking stations, cable assemblies, quick connects and anywhere there is a blind-mate situation. These large-scale spring pins feature a gold-plated stainless-steel spring, .050in diameter solid plunger and thick wall construction to withstand the rigours of demanding applications.

The 085X series is characterised by a greater mass and surface area which provides a lower resistance electrical path than miniature spring pins. Because they are designed and built with the same precision of our miniature spring pins they exhibit excellent signal integrity in shock and vibration environments. Designed for through-hole mounting, each pin has a large diameter post and flange providing for a perpendicular and secure PCB attachment.

The 085X series provides a generous .045in mid-stroke and .090in maximum stroke allowing for use in applications where stack-up tolerances are great. Rated at 1,000,000 cycles minimum, the Mill-Max 085X series spring pins are the best choice for higher-current, high-reliability spring pin requirements.

Toshiba Electronics Europe (TEE) has launched the TLP708, an ultra-compact, high-speed inverter-type photocoupler suitable for home appliances, induction heating equipment and factory automation. The photocoupler features extended temperature performance while complying with the reinforced isolation class requirements of international safety standards. Performance is guaranteed at temperatures from -40C to 125C.

Comprising a GaAlAs LED that is optically coupled to an integrated, high-gain, high-speed photodetector, the TLP708 is supplied in a six-pin SDIP (shrink DIP) package requiring just half the board mounting area of an equivalent eight-pin DIP device. Despite its small size, the photocoupler has a minimum isolation voltage rating of 5,000Vrms. Toshiba's new photocoupler operates with a maximum switching time of just 75ns, allowing it to support typical data-transfer rates of 15Mbit/s.

The integrated photodetector has an open-collector output stage and an internal Faraday shield that provides a guaranteed common-mode transient immunity of +/-15kV/us. The TLP708 has dimensions of just 9.7 x 4.6 x 4.0mm. Toshiba also offers a version with extended creepage and clearance distances, which has a board mounting footprint of 11.7 x 4.6mm.

Linear Technology has introduced the LT3651-4.2, a 4A monolithic synchronous buck battery charger for one-cell li-ion/polymer batteries used in industrial hand-held instruments and notebook computers. The LT3651-4.2 accepts inputs up to 32V with a 40V absolute maximum rating for added system margin. Charge current is programmable and dynamically adjustable up to 4A; fully integrated synchronous power devices minimise power dissipation and save board space.

User-selectable timer or C/10 termination requires no external microcontroller and simplifies the design. The LT3651-4.2 does not require external high-precision resistors to set the float voltage, further saving cost and space. Applications include industrial hand-held instruments, 12V to 24V automotive and heavy equipment applications, desktop cradle chargers and notebook or tablet computers. The programmable switching frequency (200kHz to 1MHz) of the LT3651-4.2 enables the designer to balance solution size, power loss and filtering needs.

Synchronous operation enables charging efficiencies as high as 90 per cent. Final float voltage accuracy is +0.5 per cent, charge current accuracy is +7.5 per cent and C/10 detection accuracy is +4 per cent. Once charging is terminated, the LT3651-4.2 automatically enters a low current standby mode, which reduces the input supply current to 80uA. In shutdown the input bias current is reduced to 15uA. The LT3651-4.2 maximises battery life during all non-charging periods by draining <1uA from the battery. For safety and autonomous charge control, the device includes: automatic restart and preconditioning; a thermistor input for temperature-qualified charging; programmable input current limit; bad battery detection; and binary-coded status-output pins.

The LT3651-4.2 is available in a low-profile (0.75mm) 36-pin 5 x 6mm QFN package, and is offered in both E and I grade versions, guaranteed from -40C to 125C. Pricing starts at $4.13 and $4.75 each, respectively, in 1,000-piece quantities. Two-cell 8.2V and 8.4V options and a one-cell 4.1V version are planned for release within the next few months.

Binder-USA, has improved its M8 over-moulded sensor connector by adding a knurled and hex locking nut, which allows the connector to be tightened with a torque wrench to ensure proper mating. The M8 overmolded connectors have three, four or six gold-plated contacts and are capable of handling up to 60V and up to 4A per contact.

When properly mated, the M8 over-moulded connectors are sealed to an IP67 rating. The male and female cord sets are available in two and five-meter lengths. Mating receptacles and field-attachable cable connectors are also offered, for a complete connecting system.

Sharp has introduced six 10W Mini Zeni LED components that are compact, lightweight, bright and suitable for a range of indoor and outdoor applications, such as spot lighting and LED retrofit lamps. The modules have a light output of up to 690 lumens, a luminous flux of up to 73 lm/W, a CRI value of 87 and a service life of 40,000 operating hours at an operating temperature of 80C. Sharp has left the dimensions and the carrier material unaltered.

Measuring 15 x 12 x 1.6mm and with an aluminium ceramic plate as carrier material, the 10W variant is suitable for a wide range of lighting applications. The 10W Mini Zeni models are operated using a forward voltage of 19.6V and a forward current of 480mA. The square LED matrix consists of a total of 60 LEDs that are arranged in ten parallel-switched series of sixes and achieve a luminous flux of between 610 and 690lm.

The serial and parallel array of the LED matrix ensures fail-proof operation while offering low thermal emission. The flat surface of the ceramic plate and the soldering points already in place make it possible to attach the modules to a suitable heat sink without too much effort or additional connecting material, thus guaranteeing good heat dissipation.

The colour temperature of the white-light LED lighting modules is in the range of 2,700 to 6,500 Kelvin with the shades 'Warm White', 'Natural White', 'Pure White' and 'Cold White'. All models of the 10W Mini Zeni series have CRI values of up to 87 and thus ensure colour fastness and are true to detail. With regard to the CRI values and the colour temperatures, the 10W LED Mini Zeni modules correspond to the requirements of the international Energy Star Programme, which specifies a CRI value of at least 80.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

EMX Industries' Colormax and Colormax View sensors come in an industry-standard M30 housing without any internal or external switches, facilitating easy integration into manufacturing lines. The high-resolution, high-speed operation characteristics make this sensor suitable for applications in the plastic, automotive, wood, paper, pharmaceutical, coating, film and numerous other industries.

The Colormax set-up functions are driven by software that can run on any windows programme. The operator has control over parameters of the sensor such as target illumination and up to 0.5 per cent resolution on each of the RGB channels. Colormax has up to 15 discrete, RGB analogue and RS232/USB outputs that can be integrated with PLC, HMI or a PC. Colormax sensors are used for opaque materials and Colormax View sensors are appropriate for translucent materials.

The first PEEK craniofacial test implants to be produced by the laser-sintering additive manufacturing process have been presented by EOS. They were unveiled at the co-located Pacific Design and Manufacturing/MD and M (Medical Design and Manufacturing) West shows at the Anaheim Convention Center, California, in February 2011. EOS' collaborative projects coordinator, Joerg Lenz, delivered a previously unpublished technical paper on results from an EU-funded project called Custom-IMD.

Core project activities include the development of new biomaterials and rapid manufacturing technologies that will allow customised implants to be delivered to surgeons within 48 hours. Entitled 'Laser sintering of PEEK', Lenz's paper described plastic test implants fabricated at EOS' headquarters in Germany using the Eosint P 800 system, the first laser-sintering system capable of operating at up to 385C for processing high-performance polymers. High-temperature, biocompatible PEEK (polyaryletherketone) is increasingly used as an alternative to titanium for craniofacial implants, which are produced from CT-scan geometry for patients with head injuries or congenital deformities.

The paper documented the first validated in vivo (animal) results for laser-sintered PEEK. Implants displayed on the EOS stand at the show included one filled with the polymer. Lenz serves on a number of international standardisation organisations, including ASTM Committee F42 on additive manufacturing technologies. PEEK-implant animal studies continue through the EU-funded project and human trials are planned for the future. Scott Killian of Royal Engineered Composites, the first American user of the P 800, was on the EOS stand to discuss his company's use of the machine and show sample geometries of PEEK medical and aerospace parts. There was a working Formiga P 100 laser-sintering system, as well as metal parts produced with direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS).

The new Pleora Iport SB-Pro IP engines enable customers to transform their Sony block cameras into GigE Vision-compliant cameras. Compact and simple to integrate, the Iport SB-Pro IP engine transmits high-definition video with low, predictable latency. Complete with feature control using the Genicam standard, these products are suitable for systems integrators looking to differentiate their offerings, increase interoperability and introduce networking capabilities.

SB-Pro IP engines abstract the Sony VISCA protocol into an industry-standard Genicam interface over Ethernet. With video and control signals existing on a single cable, system cost and complexity can be further decreased. Being able to transmit video at up to 1,080i resolution and up to 30 frames per second with low, consistent latency, SB Pro IP engines are available as compact, low-power OEM board sets designed for use in a variety of housings. Suitable applications include military and medical imaging systems, intelligent traffic systems and industrial inspection.

By separating the dynamic and static sealing functions, the Simrit T-ring as a piston seal optimises load-bearing capacities. The single-piece, symmetrical piston seal, which will be presented for the first time at the 2011 Hanover Trade Fair, has both a radial and an axial component. The dynamic sealing function is assumed by a sealing area with a large radius. The radial force required for this is built up by the geometric interference alone.

This eliminates the radial compression of the seal cross section, creating ideal preconditions for the minimisation of friction and wear and the elimination of stick-slip effects. Due to the much thinner area of the T-ring, a kind of diaphragm, the static sealing function is built up simultaneously and separately, and is optimised according to function. The static sealing force is generated by the pressure from the concentric sealing edges on the front face of the groove alone. In endurance tests, an NBR version of the Simrit T-ring showed only negligible wear.

Harwin has expanded its range of EZ Boardware products with a single-piece surface-mountable coin cell holder that ensures coin cells are securely retained in place while cutting assembly time. EZ Coin Cell Holders can accommodate 12.5 x 2.5mm BR1225 and CR1225 coin cells, and are available in tape-and-reel packaging, making them suited to automatic placement systems. Low-profile EZ Coin Cell Holders are designed to provide a cost-effective solution to the problem of battery mounting.

Coin cells are securely held in place, yet they can be quickly and easily removed when they run down. Manufactured in phosphor bronze and tin plated, the clips employ a twin beam contact system, resulting in a mechanically strong product. The product will suit most markets, with typical applications including on-board power supplies and drive memory circuits.

Facom has introduced a trio of injector puller kits that are suited for use on diesel vehicles with compact engines and are designed to reduce the risk of damage due to a double-grip puller tool. The three kits are suited for a variety of engine types in diesel vehicles with compact engines, also known as monovolume vehicles. As monovolume vehicle engines are designed to be compact, they require special injector-puller tools to overcome access issues.

Standard single-grip pullers run the risk of damaging the injector body. Quick and easy to use in a portable storage kit, the DCR.IPPSAPB, DCR.IPRENPB and DCR.IPMPB kits can remove injectors from cars without the need to dismount the engine from the vehicle. The DCR.IPPSAPB removes blocked Bosch and Siemens' injectors on PSA 2.0 16V and 2.2 HDI engines from Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat and Lancia vehicles. The DCR.IPRENPB model can be used to remove blocked Bosch and Siemens' injectors on Renault, Nissan and Opel 2.2 and 2.5 DCI engines, while the DCR.IPMBPB will remove Bosch injectors on a CDI engine from Mercedes.

Sewtec Automation, a supplier of production and packaging systems, has increased machining output by adding five Haas machine tools with Renishaw touch probes and a new system of shift work. Bernard Meehan, Sewtec's managing director, said: 'At the end of 2009, we had six CNC machine tools and did 140 hours of machining a week. 'In July 2010, with 11 CNC machines, we have increased capacity to 1,180 hours per week,' he added. The new approach has included an investment in Haas vertical machining centres, which were supplied with the Haas wireless intuitive probe system (WIPS).

'All machines are fitted with spindle- and tool-setting probes, because we have to keep the machines running, and the resultant cost savings directly affect the cash flow,' said Meehan. With the knowledge that the parts they design will mainly be manufactured in house, Sewtec engineers can match the capabilities of their machines to how part features are specified. An important element of this is value engineering - a systematic method of maintaining the basic function of the part but reducing the costs by taking different approaches to manufacture.

Design reviews are critical to controlling this process, preventing the chance of being blinded by the project on which the engineers are working. The engineers are changing processes to reduce the number of machining operations, aiming to produce most parts using a one-hit machining process, while also addressing multiple parts at a time. Both of these require feedback from the spindle-mounted Renishaw touch probes, enabling the machine to use its datum shift function and relate machining to previously machined features after indexing.

An example is a 'rod-eye' component, redesigned so it could be made in three ops, all on the same machine and with one set of fixturing. The raw billets of material are loaded in minutes, after which the Renishaw spindle-mounted touch probe is used to find the position of the billet accurately and adjust the part offsets, to which the machining program refers. Once this op is finished, the operator moves the part onto the next fixture, rotating it to address the next face. The touch probe then finds the position of the previously machined features, again adjusting the offsets; if this was not done accurately, the part could easily be scrapped, but by using the probe it is done in a few seconds.

Jerry Elsy, production manager, said: 'Previously, it could take 1.5 hours to set a job that took 4.5 hours of machining; that was totally unacceptable. 'Now we can do the same setup in 10 minutes, immediately freeing up one hour and 20 minutes to cut more metal, which we make money on. 'This, along with the performance of the new Haas machines and increased hours, is how we have increased the productive hours by 850 per cent, but with only five more machines. 'We bought our first machine tools 15 years ago - two Bridgeport knee mills.

'Then we bought a Bridgeport VMC [vertical machining centre] with spindle and tool-setting probes. 'We then did a lot of research on other machines and Haas machines stood out,' he added. Sewtec now has 11 machine tools, of which nine are from Haas - a combination of VF2, VF3 and VF4 models, plus a VF9 for very large parts. Moving towards unmanned production, Sewtec has decided to invest time in refining the setup of its machines, with the intention of leaving them to run on their own as much as possible.

A skeleton night shift has been created, with four operators running between eight and 10 machines, depending on the production needs. The spindle probes and tool-setting probes are an important factor in enabling this. The machining workforce is multi-skilled, with nine skilled programmers working on the shop floor and about 75 per cent of programming being done on the machines. This can mean that, when there are multiple parts being made with automated processes, the machines are over-manned and over-skilled; however, retaining that skill is seen as very important.

Delphi Automotive is offering two new sound generators to help vehicle manufacturers to warn pedestrians of approaching hybrid and electric vehicles. Designed to comply with legislation expected to mandate minimum sound levels for both hybrid and electric vehicles, these environmentally friendly sounders are said to be robust, compact, lightweight and low cost. The single-box solutions are lead free, waterproof and temperature resistant.

Delphi developed the two environmentally friendly sound generators - called sounders - to enable pedestrians to detect nearby hybrid and electric vehicles, which, without the sound generators, are nearly silent. The first, the electronic sounder system, is approximately three times lighter than a conventional multi-box system and uses 90 per cent less power. Its single-box configuration helps to reduce design, test and manufacturing cost, and its size and weight simplify packaging.

The system provides a frequency range of 500Hz to 10kHz and can reproduce melodies that represent the identity of individual vehicle manufacturers. For applications requiring higher-quality sound, Delphi's high-fidelity sounder system uses a cone speaker activated by a lightweight magnet that extends the base range to 150Hz. The magnet-based system weighs 66 per cent less than a conventional speaker system. Both Delphi systems can be mounted in the harsh environment under the vehicle's hood and incorporate a 32-bit microprocessor with flash memory, a link to the vehicle's data bus and an audio class-D amplifier.

Diedrich von Behr, managing director of Electronic Controls Europe, said: 'Delphi's sound generators are specifically designed to warn pedestrians of oncoming hybrid and electric vehicles moving at low speed. 'Not only do these "green" systems enhance safety by helping to make pedestrians aware of approaching vehicles, they become more valuable when integrated with other vehicle systems,' he added. Delphi can increase the value of its sound generators by connecting them with other systems through the vehicle's data bus.

Instead of implementing several alert systems, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can benefit from one flexible system that offers multiple features. For instance, using unique sounds, the system can remind a driver that the battery needs to be charged, confirm that a charging sequence is in progress and notify the driver when the charge is complete. Delphi's first vehicle sound generator will be introduced by a European OEM in mid-2012.

Igus will exhibit maintenance-free polymer bearings, including Iglidur plain bearings, Igubal spherical bearings and Drylin linear bearings, at this year's Midlands Design and Manufacturing Show. The company, which will be found on Stand 1,641 in Hall 9 at the event, which is due to be held at the NEC in Birmingham on 6-7 April, will also present examples of E-Chain cable carriers and Chainflex continuous-flex cables. Also on display will be a new-generation hybrid linear bearing that both rolls and slides.

Called Drylin WJRM, the bearing system reduces driving force significantly and is particularly well suited to applications that combine sliding and rolling movements, such as manually adjustable doors, guards, partitions and locks, as well as for light handling tasks. The range now includes carriages to suit the 16mm- and 20mm-diameter systems. The Iglidur PRT slewing ring bearing system uses two self-lubricating, low-friction polymer sliding elements in place of conventional ball bearings. Suitable for original equipment manufacturers looking for a ready-to-fit solution, the range is available in a variety of sizes, with inside diameters of 20mm, 30mm, 60mm, 80mm, 100mm, 200mm and 300mm.

On show will be two new developments to the range: a toothed outer ring option and a low-cost slewing ring. Igus will also present a mechanism that enables the quick positional adjustment of the slide on a trapezoidal leadscrew drive. Called Drylin Fast Forward, the mechanism saves time when adjusting machine settings, particularly in applications that involve long leadscrews. The location of the linear slide can be positioned precisely on the trapezoidal thread using the conventional hand-wheel adjustment mechanism; the Fast Forward function on the other hand releases the slide from the thread to enable it to be slid quickly to a new 'approximate' position by hand first, followed by more precise positioning with the hand wheel.

A compact energy chain system, called the Twisterband TB20, is able to turn lines eight times round its own axis. Staying close to the axis, this cost-effective system can guide energy, data and other media safely through 3,000deg at high rotating speeds with little wear, according to the company. Justin Leonard of Igus UK said: 'Typical applications for circular chain systems are mainly in the field of robots. 'They are equally well suited in special machine design, such as radar and telescope systems, as well as medical equipment and rides at amusement parks,' he added.

Igus also plans to showcase Guidelok, a horizontal guiding system for use in the machining industry, particularly where unsupported travels of up to 50m are required and metal chip debris makes a gliding system difficult. Guided in a lightweight aluminium trough, the energy chain radius passes through the Igus Guidelok system - a spring-loaded roller support bracket, which moves away from the moving radius, ensuring a smooth movement. The roller bracket then springs back out behind the radius to support the upper energy chain run.

Thanks to this design, no debris can settle between the sliding surfaces of the upper run and lower run of the energy chain and the open guide trough prevents a build-up of swarf or chips. For designers and specifiers looking for cables and cabling systems, Igus will be demonstrating its new Chainflex Cables Product Finder and Life Calculator, as well as the Quickpin programme for custom cabling. Throughout the exhibition, company specialists will be on hand to provide advice and guidance on selecting polymer bearings, energy chains and cabling assemblies for specific applications.

Concepts NREC, a manufacturer of turbomachinery, has made PD Solutions a concepts channel partner (CCP), with the latter company providing software, support and training in Southeast Asia. Original equipment manufacturers and engineering organisations in the region will benefit from PD Solutions' engineering expertise and local market knowledge combined with Concepts NREC's products and services. PD Solutions' specific territory in Southeast Asia includes Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

PD Solutions provides CAD/CAM/CAE and product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services to companies in the design and manufacturing industries. As a CCP, PD Solutions will help customers to capitalise on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) capabilities to facilitate design simulations and analyses that eliminate product design errors, reduce costs and optimise overall product quality. PD Solutions now sells Concepts NREC's entire products and services portfolio, including Turbomatch, Compal, Pumpal, Fanpal, Rital, Axial, Axcent, Pushbutton CFD, Stressprep and Axistress for CAE turbomachinery design and Max-Pac (Max-5, Max-AB and Max-SI).

Macro Sensors has introduced the GPA series of spring-loaded linear position sensors, packaged as a low-cost alternative for general-purpose gauging applications. The AC-operated linear variable differential transformers (LVDTs) are claimed to maintain the same quality and performance associated with Macro Sensors LVDTs but at a moderate cost. The GPA series of spring-loaded gauge heads are said to be ideal for use in non-harsh environments for general positioning and gauging applications in assembly operations, machine tool and production line inspection as well as quality control and testing laboratories.

Specific applications for the AC-LVDTs include position feedback for pinch and gap roller alignment in printing operations, gauging the thickness of sheet metal during metal forming and stamping operations and ensuring critical dimensions for brake-pad manufacturing machines. Designed specifically to meet the needs of the industrial gauging and OEM marketplace, the GPA series of spring-loaded sensors is available in a variety of ranges from +/-0.050in (+/-1.25mm) to +/-2.00in (+/-50.0mm), with a maximum linearity error of +/-0.25 per cent FRO.

Made of stainless steel, the front end of the spring-loaded LVDT has a 1/2-20 UNF 2A thread on the housing, allowing the user to install the device into a mating threaded part, or, alternatively, 'bulkhead' mounted using two furnished hex nuts. Connected to any standard (differential input) LVDT signal conditioner, these AC-operated spring-loaded sensors provide a variety of analogue or digital outputs.

Electrical interface is via a 3ft-long, 32AWG, six-conductor, Teflon-insulated/-shielded cable. The entire package meets IEC standard IP-61. Sensors work with programmable logic controllers, limit-switching relays or users' own conditioning electronics/systems. Packaging the GPA series spring-loaded LVDTs with Macro Sensors Eazy-Cal Mini-Module LVDT signal conditioner lowers the cost of an installed system, according to the company.

Ormec's Servowire Motion and Logic Controller (SMLC) system typically co-ordinates a network of Servowire (Firewire) drives for applications where co-ordinated multi-axis motion is needed. In cases where axes are required that do not need such tightly co-ordinated motion, the more cost-effective XD-Indexer drive can be integrated into the SMLC system via Modbus TCP communication. The total number of drives on an SMLC can be expanded beyond the Servowire limit of 16 to more than 100.

Overall project costs are reduced, with the ability to choose the optimal drive for the performance required on a per-axis basis. The SMLC features a high-performance computing capability and offers Codesys IEC 61131-3 programming, PLCopen motion function blocks, industrial Ethernet network solutions and Firewire-based drive networking for demanding multi-axis motion and input/output (I/O) control applications. Servowire drives from Ormec are offered in more than 14 models with onboard I/O and output currents ranging from 2.5A to 60A.

Both encoder and resolver feedbacks are available. The XD-Indexer drives are quickly and easily programmed with table-based software. They provide 32 independent motion profiles synchronising motion with machine I/O. This drive features fully functional indexing capabilities. The Codesys program in the SMLC uses a library of function blocks to command the indexing sequences.

Inmoco has launched the Exlar EXP-24 positioner for tasks such as valve control, shipboard fuel management systems, fuel skids, refineries, engine test stands, paint booths and printing presses. Conforming to both Atex (Directive 94/9/EC) and CSA regulations for explosion-proof applications, the EXP-24 complements Exlar's EL100 actuator, providing an integrated control/actuator package in hazardous process environments and can also be used to drive most three-phase linear actuators and rotary motors.

Housed in an IP66-rated enclosure, the EXP-24 positioner integrates a fully featured 24VDC motion controller and brushless servomotor amplifier, and is able to power most resolver feedback brushless motors. Ideal for process control applications, the EXP-24 provides the functionality to position a valve or damper by following an analogue input signal. Four additional motion modes are also available to accommodate a range of motion control applications.

Designed with an isolated RS485 Modbus serial interface to facilitate integration into factory-wide process systems, the EXP-24 employs the latest sinusoidal space vector commutation to ensure excellent actuator/motor performance and provides motion setup features such as move distance, jogging and homing, plus a range of diagnostic features including real-time monitoring, following error, position error and communications diagnostics. Setup of the EXP-24 is simplified with an operator control panel and via Windows-based software. The software provides users of the EXP-24 with the means to simply select all aspects of configuration and control required to operate the EXP-24 positioner.

Further setup help is delivered by tabbed pages that provide access to input all of the parameters necessary for configuration of valve control or general motion applications. The explosion-proof rating, high performance and environmental packaging of the EXP-24 mean that the positioner is suitable for a range of applications. Inmoco's products are used in robots, machine tools, automation, metal bending, handling, packing, textiles and paper. They are backed up by comprehensive application and service facilities.

Brevini's Dave Brown provides design guidance on selecting the right gearbox for a given speed reduction application. The fundamental purpose of a gear drive is to transmit uniform motion between two shafts at a constant ratio. Many factors affect gearbox selection in a given application; consideration must be given to the required ratio, speed, power and torque - not just the continuous torque but also the repetitive peak torque, acceleration torque and braking torque.

But there are many factors that will affect the most appropriate gearbox selection, including shaft alignment, duty cycle, backlash, efficiency, mounting arrangements, size, weight, noise, smoothness of transmission, operating lifespan and maintenance requirements. Brown assesses the various common gearbox arrangements and examines their features and benefits as well as their advantages and disadvantages. The simplest type of gear is the spur or straight-cut gear, which comprises a cylinder or disk with teeth projecting radially aligned parallel to the axis of rotation.

These gears can be meshed together correctly only if they are fitted to parallel axes. They can handle high gear ratios and offer efficiencies in the range of 94-98 per cent. A disadvantage of spur gears is that the teeth meet suddenly at a line contact across their entire width, causing stress and noise. This noise is said to be particularly troublesome at higher speeds. Therefore, spur gears tend to be used most often in low-speed applications or where noise control is not an issue. A refinement of the spur gear is the helical gear. Here, the leading edges of the teeth are not parallel to the axis of rotation but are set at an angle.

The gear is curved, with the tooth shape describing a segment of a helix. Helical gears can be meshed in parallel or crossed orientations (usually 90deg for skew gears) but the load capacity of crossed helical gears is much reduced. As the teeth are angled, they engage gradually. Each pair of teeth first make contact at a single point at one side of the gear wheel and then a moving curve of contact grows gradually across the tooth face to a maximum, before receding until the teeth break contact at a single point. The result is far smoother and quieter operation than with spur gearboxes. Owing to the geometry and load directions on the gears, they are also able to handle higher torques than equivalent-sized spur gears.

Efficiency is similar, in the range of 94-98 per cent. A disadvantage of helical gears is the axial thrust inherent in the design; this requires appropriate thrust bearings to be incorporated, which has an impact on lubrication requirements. This disadvantage must either be accommodated or can be addressed by using gearboxes built around twin helical stages, with the helix angle of one being the negative of the other. Another solution to the problem of radial thrust is the double helical (or herringbone) gear, in which two sets of helical teeth are set in a V shape, with each cancelling out the axial thrust of the other.

Like the helical gear, double helical gears transmit power smoothly. However, they are very expensive to manufacture and are really only suitable for heavy machinery. Bevel gears provide another option: gears where the two shafts intersect and the tooth-bearing faces of the gears themselves are shaped like cones. The design offers a high level of flexibility in the angle between the shafts, although 90deg is most common. Considerations in specifying bevel gears are that the gears have to be precisely mounted and the axes capable of supporting significant forces. Noise is also an issue at higher speeds.

Efficiencies are a little lower than the gear designs discussed so far - typically 93-97 per cent. However, they do handle lower gear ratios with high efficiency - better than helical gear designs. These gears are generally only used at lower speeds. A variation on the bevel gear is the spiral bevel design, which offers similar advantages to helical gears in that the teeth engage more gradually, delivering smoother, quieter transmission. They also have very high efficiency, around 95-98 per cent. A further variation is the hypoid gear, which resembles spiral bevel gears. Hypoid gears are almost always designed to operate with the shafts at 90deg.

They are stronger and quieter than spiral bevel gears and offer high gear ratios in a single stage. However, mechanical efficiency is reduced - typically 80-85 per cent. In addition, these gears are paired and matched for life. Worm gear sets include the worm itself, which is meshed with an ordinary-looking gear wheel. The sets provide a simple and compact way to achieve a high-torque, low-speed gear ratio. However, the downside is lower efficiency, which can be as low as 50 per cent. The planetary gearbox consists of one or more outer gears (planets) revolving around a central (sun) gear.

A large outer ring gear (annulus) meshes with all the planets. The axes of all gears are parallel, so input and output shaft will always be in line. Planetary gearboxes are highly efficient (96-98 per cent per stage of reduction), even at low speeds. They offer high gear ratios per stage and are highly compact and able to transmit three times the torque of a similarly sized, conventional spur gearbox, because the load being transmitted is shared across multiple planets. Multi-stage planetary gearboxes can deliver extremely high ratios, and efficiency losses are as little as two per cent per stage.

Planetary gearboxes can also be combined with bevel and/or helical gears to offer the best of both worlds in terms of performance characteristics, while also allowing the input and output shafts to be turned through 90deg. An example of such a hybrid design can be found in Brevini's Posiplan gearbox. The Posiplan range uses a combination of planetary and helical gear technology to achieve an extremely compact and efficient solution in many applications. It is worth noting that, regardless of the gearbox technology chosen, efficiency is affected among other things by the load, the operating speed, the reduction ratio, the number of stages, the ambient conditions and the lubricant selection.

For optimum efficiency, the gearbox should be carefully matched to load requirements. Optimum gearbox efficiency is obtained at maximum load, but efficiency decreases at light loads. Other areas affecting gearbox selection include mounting arrangements. The customer needs to ask whether the gearbox should be flange mounted, shaft mounted or foot mounted. Not every technology will offer every option. He or she also needs to consider the materials of construction, which will affect factors such as weight, transmission capabilities and longevity in operation. Numerous alloys, cast irons and even plastics are used in the manufacture of gears to provide different performance characteristics and advantages.

Steels are the most commonly used because of their high strength-to-weight ratio, but where weight is a prime concern a properly designed plastic gear can replace steel in some applications, offering higher resistance to dirt and better low-speed meshing. Brevini sends out a sales engineer to assess each unique application and to offer advice and design assistance where required. The company can then advise and specify the correct gearbox for any task, meeting all the specific requirements for performance, size, mounting arrangements, reliability and longevity.

Edbro's lightweight CS Series of tipping hoists has been specified for SDC Trailers' latest fuel-efficient smooth-side tipper design. The Edbro CS Series provides increased payloads through a weight saving of up to 20 per cent. SDC Trailers' latest generation of smooth-siders are used for transporting less aggressive loads, such as sand, sugar beet, peas and grain. The added incline in the chassis and body floor makes them easier to tip and ensures that the entire load is emptied smoothly.

However, the main advantage with smooth-siders is reduced wind resistance. This saves a lot of money in fuel, so contractors will always prefer to use a smooth-sider if they can. SDC's new generation of smooth-siders employs Edbro's CS Series of tipping hoists as part of an optimised weight-saving design. The construction of the smooth-siders comprises a sloping chassis to aid load removal, plus a new wider design of lightweight aluminium extruded side panels.

These are used to construct the smooth sides of the panel tipper, making them easier to clean, providing a better mounting surface for decals, reducing drag and improving fuel efficiency. Key to the lightweight - yet maximum strength - design of the CS Series is Edbro's special one-piece tube construction. This is laser welded to ensure the required levels of tube concentricity and high-quality welds demanded by the compact design. The construction maximises cylinder strength at the top of each extended stage to resist side loads induced by the body during tipping.

It also provides maximum cylinder stiffness at full extension. As a result, the CS tipping cylinders are able to provide increased lift capacity, at the same time as providing increased payloads through a weight saving of up to 20 per cent. The benefit of this for fleet operators is that increased payloads mean increased profits, according to Edbro.

Kennametal is introducing the first Beyond inserts for its Fixperfect system, offering improved toughness and wear resistance, resulting in higher turning productivity and safety. The Fixperfect system features a proprietary shaped pocket that, together with a clamping stud, locking pin and tangentially mounted precision-ground insert, result in high clamping forces and very low cutting forces for excellent chip control and improved process stability.

The Fixperfect inserts are shaped to match the pocket, which protects unused cutting edges. Productivity improves as well because the Fixperfect pin simply needs to be loosened, not removed, to index the insert. The new Beyond inserts for Fixperfect share the performance characteristics of the entire Beyond line - micro-polished edges that improve edge toughness, proprietary post-coat treatment that reduces depth-of-cut notching and a fine-grained alumina layer that enhances coating integrity at higher cutting speeds.

Objectif Lune has announced the release of version 7.1 of Printshop Mail Suite, which was initially created to solve the production speed issues surrounding high-volume mail merge. Printshop Mail Suite 7.1 makes Printshop Mail Web a full-featured production server able to process variable data print jobs submitted by as many design stations as desired, from anywhere in the world for direct production or web ordering.

New functionalities include compatibility with PDF/VT output, an emerging standard for variable data printing (VDP) jobs and new web-ordering possibilities for Microsoft Word mail merge documents.

Exlar has announced the newest Ethernet-based communications protocol supported by the company's Tritex II linear and rotary actuators - Modbus TCP/IP. To maintain standard connectivity, the Ethernet connection is offered through an M12 connector. The Modbus TCP protocol pairs the robust Modbus RTU protocol already supported by the Tritex product line with the convenience of Ethernet connectivity. In addition to Modbus TCP support, Exlar Expert software now includes enhanced functionality for customers using Modbus commands through an HMI or PLC.

Rather than searching through manuals for individual parameter addresses while programming the PLC, a Modbus Mapping table allows users to map all parameters they wish to use in a contiguous register bank composed of up to 100 registers. This will allow a PLC program to perform a single read operation and a single write operation to all selected registers, rather than reading and writing one register at a time or being forced to read in blocks of data that may not all be used.

Tritex II actuators operate from 100-240V AC, allowing direct connection to factory power sources. Enhanced software features include 16 programmable indexes, linked moves and firmware flash upgrade capability via the actuator's Modbus port. This port - through the RS/485 protocol - allows complete control, programming and monitoring of all aspects of the Tritex II actuator as it performs an application. Other communications options include Ethernet IP, HART, CAN Open and CAN J1939 protocols.

With eight digital inputs and four digital outputs, plus one analogue input and output, the Tritex II actuator has ample I/O capability. Feedback choices include analogue hall effect (standard) and an incremental encoder for high positioning resolution. The Tritex II design offers connectivity with internal terminals accessible through the actuator's removable cover. Tritex II also offers provision for imperial or metric threaded ports for cable-sealing glands, optional M23/M16 connectors for power and I/O, and an M8 connector for the RS485 port.

Tritex II linear actuators provide the same form factor as hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, and allow simple and clean all-electric retrofits for former fluid power applications. They are available with many different mountings (metric or imperial), such as front flange, rear clevis mount, side mount, trunnion mount, extended tie rod and rear flange. Tritex II rotary actuators are available in standard IEC metric dimensions. Direct drive units as well as units with integral planetary gearing provide compact solutions for most rotary applications. Custom mounting and options for both rotary and linear actuators are available.

Industry professionals will get several chances this year to simulate real welding experiences in virtual environments with Lincoln Electric's VRTEX 360 Virtual Reality Arc Welding training solution. The company will feature this realistic welder training system at seven global conferences and trade shows throughout the year to better acquaint welders with the benefits of virtual hands-on training. The VRTEX 360 is an educational training tool that is designed to accelerate welding training through the utilisation of virtual reality.

It can be used to simulate: SMAW (stick), GMAW (MIG) and FCAW (flux-cored) welding processes; multiple weld joint configurations and welding positions; a variety of welding environments, including construction sites and welding school booths. It offers a combination of realistic puddle simulation and arc-welding sound tied to a welder's movements. The system assists in training skilled welders faster with lower training costs and allows shops to easily integrate high-tech training tools into their in-house curriculum. It also provides a way to recruit new welders.

The VRTEX will be on display at the following conferences in 2011: Conexpo-Con/AGG, 22-26 March, Las Vegas; Offshore Technology Conference, 2-5 May, Houston; NASCC - The Steel Conference, 11-15 May, Pittsburgh; World Skills 2011, 5-8 October, London; SEMA, 1-4 November, Las Vegas; Fabtech, 14-17 November, Chicago; PRI - Performance Racing Industry, 1-4 December, Orlando; Power-GEN International, 13-15 December, Las Vegas. Beyond the obvious training benefits, the VRTEX 360 VRAW solution also gives welding shops the chance to easily turn their operations green.

GAO RFID's series of RFID readers can be used for animal identification and management, as well as logistics, field service, personnel tracking and event management. These portable low-frequency RFID readers, model 222014, feature fast and accurate scanning, and a large memory capacity for storing about 2,000 items.

The reader series includes two versions of RFID readers: one is used to read compatible RFID tags, display the tag ID on the screen and store the data to onboard memory; the other performs with additional capability to upload the data in real time via Bluetooth to computer or PDA. They work continuously for up to 12 hours on a single charge. Additionally, these RFID readers are shipped with demo software and SDK, and meet ISO11784/5 FDX-B and ID64 standards.

Prisym ID has launched Prisym Enterprise, a web-based label lifecycle-management solution that assists manufacturers to securely create, review, revise, approve and print labels in multiple locations. Providing a central solution for label design, it automatically maintains version information and enforces appropriate access controls.

Prisym Enterprise provides a secure environment for label design, data management, approval, automated gathering of variable data and printing. It controls underlying content and records all critical activities, electronically linking them to individual users along with time and date stamping. The Internet Explorer web-based solution is quick to deploy and can be used 'outside' the organisation for selected partners, customers or suppliers.

A proactive review and approval work engine increases the accuracy of layout, and data used on labels reduces the likelihood of product recalls and rejections due to label or documentation defects. Additionally, it gives the capability to apply version control and approval to any other electronic document within an organisation, irrespective of whether it's related to labels.

Kistler's S615 six-component measuring wheel measures load spectra for durability, vehicle dynamics and power-train investigations on the small, light vehicles that are currently under development. The measuring wheel weighs more than 800g less than the S625 four-sensor wheel - a reduction achieved by combining the three-sensor concept with extensive use of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP).

The Roadyn S615 is designed for a maximum vertical load of 15kN, which is more than needed for small, light vehicle applications. The CFRP/aluminum composite wheel consists of an aluminum rim and a CFRP wheel disk. The CFRP inner part of the wheel provides the connection with the hub and the three load cells connect the rim to the inner part. To minimise local stresses, all of the relevant components were optimised using finite element analysis.

The Roadyn S615, mounted on the vehicle as a complete wheel, measures the three forces Fx, Fy and Fz, and the three torques Mx, My and Mz on the rotating wheel. Electronics built into the wheel convert the output from the sensors into digital format for transmission to the on-vehicle system. The system provides an analogue or digital output, which is fully compatible with the rest of the Kistler Roadyn range of products.

Johnston Press has installed two Boge SLF 75 frequency-controlled screw compressors, along with a Boge S 75 screw compressor, at its expanded printing centre in County Armagh. As part of the expansion plans, the M and E contractor established that the existing compressed-air system would not be able to meet the new compressed-air requirements and recommended replacing the existing system with one Boge S 75 screw compressor, alongside two Boge SLF 75 series frequency-controlled screw compressors.

The Boge SLF series frequency-controlled screw compressors combine a direct coupled drive system with frequency control to provide pressure control under variable output requirements. The SLF is therefore a low-carbon technology that works strictly in accordance with the compressed-air demand by producing the exact volume of compressed air at the pressure required. Frequency control minimises idling time and evens out air-demand fluctuations.

The latest addition to the Kistler NC Electromechanical Joining Module range is a version specially designed for standard joining processes. The 400mm stroke allows deep end points to be easily reached while stroke speed of up to 150mm/s offers a quick return stroke and hence a short machine cycle, even for a long idle stroke. The use of the absolute encoder, which is part of the standard equipment on all Kistler NC joining modules, eliminates the need for reference-point determination, even during operation.

The piezoelectric force sensor integrated into the robust case offers a choice of two predefined measuring ranges, 50 and 25kN, for precision force measurement. The NC Compact Firmware, which is integrated into the servo controller, is suited for simple force-displacement evaluation and documentation of standard joining tasks. With only a three-phase electrical supply needed, infrastructure costs are extremely low, making the NCFB joining module easy to integrate into an existing production-control environment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stakrak has introduced its Kanban line-side storage racking system, which facilitates the storage of components at the point of use on the production line. The Kanban system is claimed to be robust yet lightweight and can be adapted and modified to fit most requirements. According to the company, it is ideal for smaller components, such as fasteners and fixings. For example, the system can have sloping shelves to facilitate access to containers.

They will also be at a suitable height for operatives. Options include all-metal shelves with plastic bins, or racks with particle board decks complete with plastic bins. This two-bin arrangement simplifies stock rotation and replacement.

Both bins can be loaded with stock; when the front bin is empty, it can simply be removed to allow the second bin to slide into place, while the other bin can be replenished with stock on the next visit. Bins can be colour coded to simplify the identification of different components, helping to speed up the assembly manufacturing process.

IFM Electronic has expanded its portfolio of safety products with safety light grids that only require a cable on one side. Each system consists of a transmitter/receiver unit housed on one side and a matching passive reflector on the other. So far, three versions have been launched by IFM, protecting an area 0-6m wide with two, three or four beams.

These units comply with the Type 4 (IEC 61496-1), SIL 3 (IEC 61508), SILcl 3 (IEC 62061) and PL e (EN ISO 13849-1) standards. With only one side requiring an electrical connection, the installation cost and time are minimised. No special configuration software is required.

FLSmidth has selected Intergraph's Smartplant Enterprise system to design cement and mineral processing facilities in order to improve process control and increase efficiency. This agreement comprises a suite of products including the Smartplant 3D Materials Handling Edition, Smartplant Foundation and Smartplant P and ID.

This will allow FLSmidth, a supplier of equipment and services to the cement and minerals industries, to better integrate work processes, as well as engineering disciplines, and to standardise project phases from proposal to handover to service more than 400 users globally.

Engineering software and services provider CCE has launched Configlink 2011, a design automation tool that reduces the time to generate custom designs for highly configurable product ranges. Configlink is integrated within several computer-aided-design (CAD) systems including Pro/Engineer Wildfire 5.0, Solidworks 2011, Autodesk Inventor 2011 and Solid Edge ST3 on both Windows 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Using Configlink, new design configurations can be created in a fraction of the time it would normally take for the engineering department to model the data, according to the company. The result is a 3D model of the new design variant and an associated 2D drawing, which is the key output of any configure-to-order or engineer-to-order process.

The ATC Diversified Electronics division of Marsh Bellofram has introduced the 405A series of industrial timers suitable for daily-use OEM and control package timing applications. The 405A series features an on-delay instantaneous relay function. It also incorporates six individual timing ranges within a single unit, packaged within a compact 48mm2 standard DIN housing.

The housing is watertight when panel mounted with an eight-pin round (octal) socket. A selectable on-delay/interval timing mode version is also available. The timer operates from industry-standard 24-240VAC or 24VDC power and features a large, easy-to-read display dial with decimal points. Output contacts are rated at 10A 120/240VAC and 30VDC.

Mode- and range-select switches are located on the side of the unit so that, when panel mounted, they are not operator accessible - a tamper-proof feature that prevents unauthorised or hazardous changes to the timing mode and range. A special LED indicator provides an effective method of cycle progress indication. Units are CE marked and UL pending, as well as CSA and FM approved, facilitating their use across a variety of industrial environments.