Thursday, March 31, 2011

At this year's Hannover exhibition, WEG is launching the W22X range of ATEX/IECEx certified, high-efficiency flameproof electric motors, designed to cope with aggressive and explosive atmospheres. The new range is set to provide petrochemical, oil and gas markets with high levels of motor energy efficiency, as well as protection from hazardous environments, even though regulations do not yet require it.

Within the W22X range, WEG is offering both IE2 high efficiency and IE3 premium efficiency motors for hazardous areas. Also new are the CFW700 and CFW701 drive ranges, which visitors will be able to see on display for the first time on the WEG Germany stand in hall 15. The inverters are designed to provide optimum variable-speed drive solutions for three-phase induction motors in the HVAC market, but without a price premium.

Delivering accuracy and reliability in both speed and torque control, the new CFW700 inverter range features simple start-up, multi-speed, self-adjustment, PID control, overload and over-temperature protection as standard. The new drives combine energy saving and accurate speed control with ease of use. Commissioning is based on the plug-and-play principle, with auto-configuration routines used when connected, making the whole process quicker and simpler.

WEG's WQuattro range of IE4 super-premium efficiency motors will also be at the show. The WQuattro employs a hybrid design to achieve high efficiency, exceeding the requirements of the impending IE4 Super Premium Efficiency classification across its entire output range. According to WEG, the WQuattro is an environmentally friendly range of motors that is also technically advanced, with no energy losses from its rotor.

For the user, this means a lower total cost of ownership, a reduction in CO2 emissions and a faster return on investment. WEG is also showing a full range of its W22 high and premium IE3 efficiency motors available from 0.12kW to 375kW, which the company believes is the largest range of IE3 efficiency standard motors available. WEG Germany can be found on stand F11 in hall 15 at Hannover Messe 2011.

An advanced self-calibrating total organic carbon (TOC) analyser from Hach Lange is helping Manchester airport to effectively monitor runoff while reducing instrument maintenance requirements. The Biotector B7000 analyser is helping to protect the environmental performance of the airport. As a result of very low temperatures over Christmas, the airport used more than 600,000 litres of de-icing liquid, such as glycol on aircraft and acetates on runways, paths and standing areas, which created a challenge for Mark Steward, water services engineer at Manchester airport.

He said: 'The liquid can be washed away by rain and snow into the airport's main drainage system so it is paramount that we have the necessary analysis on-site to monitor the situation. 'This is because high volumes of different contaminants, such as glycol, will have a significant effect on the subsequent wastewater treatment process. 'The B7000 was selected following excellent performance in independent trials and has now been permanently installed to measure the TOC of run-off prior to the treatment process.

'Previously installed instrumentation required much higher levels of service and calibration so the B7000 represents a more cost-effective solution. 'Very high levels of organic material, such as glycol, can have an adverse effect on water quality monitoring equipment but we have found the B7000 to be extremely resilient in this respect, and overall it has proved very reliable,' he added. Contaminated water is passed to a local wastewater treatment facility before being discharged into the Manchester Ship Canal.

Ian Smith from Hach Lange said: 'This analyser is robust and flexible - it can measure TOC, COD, BOD, TC, TIC or VOC in water and waste water (even when oil and grease are present) and can operate with up to 30 per cent chloride and 12 per cent calcium sludge. 'Consequently, it is suitable for use across many industries where inlet and outlet monitoring of wastewater conditioning is required, for organic and inorganic carbon measurement in process waters and for monitoring cooling water, boiler water or surface water.

'It is self-cleaning, performs complete oxidation through its two-stage advanced oxidation technology and has a low maintenance requirement - no further calibration is necessary between six-monthly services.

Nova Biologicals has implemented an integrated Thermo Scientific laboratory information management system (LIMS) and Nextdocs document management system (DMS) solution. The solution automates time-consuming, paper-based laboratory data management processes, ensures compliance with industry regulations and enables the company to deliver excellent customer service, according to Thermo Fisher Scientific.

In the wake of more stringent regulations for environmental testing introduced by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recent years, Nova required stronger compliance through record keeping, demonstration of capability (DOC), document control, reagent and standard traceability and reporting. As its manual, paper-based system could no longer support this, Nova selected the Thermo Scientific Samplemanager LIMS integrated with the Nextdocs DMS.

Nova offers diagnostic testing for the presence of infectious disease organisms, processing around 10,000 water samples each month to ensure compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition to helping the company to comply with regulatory requirements, the Samplemanager LIMS has also improved laboratory efficiencies and sample throughput, delivering significant cost and time savings in Nova's laboratory by automating previously lengthy, manual document management processes.

Dr Pearce, chief executive officer and founder of Nova, said: 'Since its introduction into our laboratory, the Samplemanager and Nextdocs DMS solution has been instrumental in helping Nova to maintain its NELAC accreditation in the state of Texas. 'The solution has also refined work processes and improved reporting to customers in terms of both quality and speed,' added Pearce.

The Thermo Scientific Samplemanager LIMS is offered in combination with the Nextdocs DMS, creating a fully integrated and highly configurable solution. Thermo Fisher Scientific, via Thermo Scientific Connects, offer comprehensive informatics solutions for laboratories, consisting of a combination of Thermo Scientific instruments, LIMS solutions and chromatography data management (CDS) software and services.

The DF-745SG trace moisture analyser from Delta F brings the capabilities of the 700 series to applications requiring the accurate measurement of trace moisture levels in gas mixtures. The analyser is also suitable for applications within the specialty gas industry. Manufactured by Delta F, a division of Servomex, the DF-745SG is a process analyser optimised for measuring moisture in a specialty gas stream.

By utilising the latest tuneable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDL) technology, the DF-745SG delivers accurate moisture level readings with a performance enhanced by drift-free operation, low maintenance and low calibration advantages. This combination of high-sensitivity 100ppb low detection limit with a range of 0.1ppm-100ppm means that specialty gas plant owners and operators can utilise the DF-745SG to improve efficiency, increase plant throughput and improve yields. At the centre of the DF-745SG is application software specifically designed for blending specialty gases involving single gases and mixtures with up to eight components.

With a database of 13 standard background gases, the user can pre-define gas mixture templates for routine blends or define a custom mixture using the front control panel. Users can also add custom gases to the database using a simple data collection procedure. The DF-745SG stores detailed data that identifies the components and volumes in a mixture as well as the date, time and moisture content of the blend. This data can be displayed on the analyser's built-in data screen or downloaded via a USB drive as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet report.

The DF-745SG is available in a 19in rack mount suitable for a fixed system and is light enough for cart or other mobile applications. The analyser can be quickly moved from port to port thanks to isolation hardware and software routines that virtually eliminate long dry down times often associated with these applications. The application firmware allows the user to easily configure the system to meet the particular needs of the plant using pre-defined blend templates.

The hardware design allows the user to start the unit up quickly and easily. The DF-745SG is suitable for a range of specialty gas production applications including monitoring specialty blends for quality control.

Spiroflow has revealed that its Rise and Fall bulk bag filler is being used by a Middle East-based supplier of a mixed fruit and nut product to load 300kg batches into bulk bags with no damage. The supplier's product contains whole walnuts, which are particularly fragile. To avoid fruit and nuts having to fall the full height of an empty bulk bag, the bottom of the empty bag is raised up to just below the outlet of the filling tube.

The gap between the end of the tube and the bottom of the bag is just enough to allow the nuts to gently flow into the bag without damage. The bag is then lowered slowly to allow filling to continue. The lowering of the bag controls the flow of the fruit and nuts down the filling tube due to the self-choking action caused by the natural angle of repose of the product as it exits the tube and spreads out. Accordingly, the bottom of the bag is incrementally lowered until it is filled to the desired weight.

Following gentle vibration, the bag is ready to be removed on a pallet by a forklift truck. For this particular application, a total of six Rise and Fall fillers were supplied by Spiroflow: four with load-cell weighing to OIML standards and gentle vibration to consolidate the bag contents; and two with vibration but no weighing. Spiroflow said vibration makes the bags aesthetically pleasing and safe to handle, transport and store.

The four fillers with the weighing capability were supplied with printers that generate labels indicating weight, date, time, and batch number. The Rise and Fall model can incorporate all of the standard Spiroflow bulk bag filler options, including pallet dispensers, pallet delivery conveyors, bag inflation, weighing, displaced air filtration, vibration and automatic removal of filled bags.

Rockwell Automation has released Factorytalk Historian Machine Edition v2.2 software, which is designed to help manufacturers gain enhanced visibility into production operations. Factorytalk Historian Machine Edition (ME) v2.2 offers native connectivity to the OSIsoft PI system. With this new release, PI system users who employ Allen-Bradley Controllogix controllers from Rockwell Automation now have an off-the-shelf, machine-level historian application that can easily transfer historical data to their on-site or enterprise-wide PI system.

This native connectivity means Factorytalk Historian ME can automatically communicate with the PI system, allowing users to easily integrate their PI system with Rockwell Automation products to access a new level of visibility into production operations. Such scalable historian applications allow manufacturers to rapidly tap into manufacturing intelligence and make process improvements by leveraging granular, real-time and historical production data to improve product quality, speed time-to-market and support regulatory compliance.

Factorytalk Historian applications build on technology licensed from OSIsoft and include additional capabilities in the Factorytalk software suite to provide premier integration with the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture. Rockwell Automation designed the Factorytalk Historian ME application to work as a standalone, rack-mounted historian or to roll up into a larger plant or enterprise historian system. Data is accessible from different locations where users can view and analyse role-appropriate historical information.

Frank Kulaszewicz, senior vice-president - architecture and software at Rockwell Automation, said: 'Integrating data from a machine-level historian with data from a plant-level historian allows operators to locate and correct sources of inefficiencies more quickly to improve manufacturing consistency, energy use and first-pass quality. 'Through its added connectivity to the PI system, Factorytalk Historian ME can now feed historical production information to more systems adding additional value for customers whether they are using Factorytalk Historian Site Edition or the PI system.

'A plug-and-play historian that automatically configures with existing equipment and feeds additional and more granular data into these systems is a cost-effective way to gather more actionable manufacturing data to improve operations,' Kulaszewicz added. With a modular historian, manufacturers can collect data in remote or hazardous locations and when speed and reliability is important, such as oil and gas, mining, pharmaceutical or water treatment applications. In addition, machine builders can apply Factorytalk Historian ME to pre-qualify the data collection of their machines, reducing the time required for on-site installation, configuration and validation efforts.

In highly regulated industries, the application is said to help machine builders provide continuous uptime and reliability. Because a machine-level historian is directly connected to the application controller, network connections are not necessary to data collection. As long as the system has a power supply, data gathering is assured. Ron Kolz, senior vice-president of sales and business development at OSIsoft, said: 'Factorytalk Historian ME v2.2 is a logical extension of the PI system infrastructure.

'This new release ensures smooth and flexible data collection for the PI system and is a solution that will ultimately provide users with better access to their operational data,' he added. Users also have more control over when data is transferred, which can save time and reduce costs. Transferring data can be expensive and every communications medium has usage limits. A machine-level historian can be programmed to transmit data to avoid peak-usage hours, or can remotely directed to halt and recommence transfer if vital information needs to be prioritised. Once communication is re-established, information from the period of isolation is immediately accessible.

Agilent Automation Solutions has released an online video that demonstrates its Bravo automated liquid handling platform together with a range of accessories. Applications for the Bravo platform include compound distribution, assay plate preparation, microplate replication, library reformatting, reagent addition, serial dilutions, DNA extraction as well as cell assays and screening.

Streamed from the Agilent website, the video demonstrates how the Bravo liquid handling platform delivers speed and versatility in a compact footprint. Its nine plate-position footprint has been designed to fit inside a standard laminar flow hood, enabling automated liquid handling for cell-based assays or hazardous reagent handling. The Bravo uses high-accuracy pipette heads for dispensing from 100nl to 200ul in 96-, 384-, and 1,536-well formats or to a single column or row of any of these plate types.

Pipette heads can be changed in minutes, and numerous plate-pad options are available to enable a range of assays. In addition, the open design of the Bravo platform permits access from all sides for simple integration with other devices and unencumbered standalone use. The Bravo is powered by Vworks Automation Control software with its event-driven scheduler, easy-to-use interface and error recovery technology, ensuring complete control is easy for all operators.

Intertek has signed an agreement with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority to provide conformity assessment services for the import of cosmetics products into Saudi Arabia. The agreement confirms Intertek as a provider of conformity assessment services for exports of cosmetics products to Saudi Arabia and authorised to issue the certificate of conformity. The certificate is a mandatory requirement for customs clearance.

Axion Polymers has revealed that its high-grade recycled polystyrene made from waste fridge plastic is being used to manufacture sustainable pencils. Stationery product manufacturer BIC is using Axpoly PS01, sourced from post-consumer fridge plastic in its Ecolution range of sustainable wood-free pencils. Made entirely from recycled polystyrene, the pencil's casing looks and behaves like conventional cedar wood. This means the pencil can be sharpened in a conventional pencil sharpener and does not splinter.

Although a wooden pencil is essentially 'renewable', using slow-growing trees to make a short-life, consumable product is not a sustainable solution. Furthermore, the traditional manufacturing process to produce a graphite-leaded, wooden pencil is slow and involves high levels of wood waste. BIC introduced the all-plastic pencil using a co-extrusion process for both the 'lead' and outer body 10 years ago. More recently, it replaced the virgin polymers with recycled plastics.

Axion worked with Ineos Styrenics, a manufacturer of polystyrene resins, to develop an approved specification for BIC that met various environmental and regulatory standards and fulfilled the manufacturer's requirement for a cost-effective 'green' product that would appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. By using Axion's Axpoly PS01, up to 640 pencils can be made from one typical UK recycled fridge. Axion calculates BIC saves 2,300 tonnes in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually by using recycled polystyrene in place of virgin to manufacture its Ecolution pencils.

Keith Freegard, director at Axion, said: 'The recycled plastic pencil is a good example of the closed-loop recycling of one widely used household product into another. 'Disposable plastic items, such as pens, pencils and razors made from virgin polymer, have been with us for some years. 'With general raised awareness of sustainability and recyclability issues, the next logical step was to make these plastics more sustainable - hence the use of a fully recycled polymer from fridges.

'As a technically demanding yet practical product, the pencil also highlights the versatility and innovation of current plastics processing technologies,' he added. Axion uses the pencils as promotional items. It is developing new applications for its Axpoly range of recycled materials in automotive, consumer electronics and household products.

Durable thin film optical coating manufacturer Deposition Sciences (DSI) offers test and measurement capabilities for an array of specialised optical coatings for military and aerospace applications. The company's special products group (SPG) participates at all levels of product development, from engineering and prototyping to full-scale production, based on customer specifications. DSI's quality testing capabilities include measurement of in-house produced materials as well as independent verification of external coated samples for vendor/supplier surveillance, process analysis and qualification testing.

SPG's spectral measurement capabilities include testing spectral ranges from 0.190 microns to 50 microns. Reflectance and transmittance tests range from near-normal to 45deg and cryogenic measurement can be characterised from ambient to <10K. Polarised measurements (SandP) are also available if needed, and hemispherical transmittance and reflectance tests measure from 0.190 microns to 2.5 microns.

Environmental testing is performed to MIL-C-48497 and MIL-F-48616 standards. DSI's SPG can perform tests for humidity, salt fog, abrasion, temperature cycle, adhesion, solubility and cleanability. Physical test and measurements available include flatness/reflected wavefront error, surface quality characterisation (for example, scratch/dig, scatter, and so on), surface resistivity, and dimensional verification.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For labelling applications, Weber's 4000 entry-level series label printer and dispenser can be used for a range of straightforward product and packaging applications. The tamp-blow method, whereby the label is accurately positioned onto the product without touching it, allows labels to be placed onto either stationary or moving product, guaranteeing safe and accurate labelling, especially for uneven or sensitive product surfaces. A thermo-transfer or thermal-direct printer ensures brilliant print quality at speeds of up to 30 labels a minute, depending on the size of the label, content and dispensing stroke.

For more demanding applications, Weber's range includes the 4020 series, 4050 series and 5300 series, which is equipped with a variety of applicators for the most varied of tasks, such as linear, rotation or corner applications, as well as double-sided labelling. This 5300 series provides high levels of flexibility for customers' current applications and also with a view to potential future requirements. Various label-application methods are possible, including the tamp-blow and blow-box method for no-contact high-speed labelling.

For label printing there is a choice of industry-proven printing modules from many manufacturers and RFID printing modules for programming of radio chips are also available within this part of the Weber range. The system requires only one step to begin printing labels in brilliant, high resolution with a positional accuracy of up to +/- 0.5mm, or to write to RFID tags, with the information changing as required. Printing instructions can be stored directly within the system memory, to be called up again as and when required by the operator, enabling operation without the need for a direct link to an offline PC.

For applications which require direct coding, Weber has an equally comprehensive range of systems starting with the Compactline 2.0. Not much larger than a mobile phone, this system can accomplish an impressive variety of coding tasks including: manufacturing and expiry dates, serial numbers, date, time, and much more besides, providing a maximum printing height of 4.5 mm. With a four-line, graphics-capable LC display and integrated membrane keypad, it is easy to enter text and data.

Only one hand is required to insert the ink cartridge into the printer and the system is ready to go. The Weber range of thermal ink-jet coding systems also includes the Compactline 2.5, Compactline 3.0, Cube and the Ijet, which is capable of printing resolutions of up to 600dpi. This system can also deliver 300dpi print resolution at speeds of up to 90m/min. With media, hardware and software covering all levels of label printing, application and product coding, Weber can provide the seamless integration required to enable identification and traceability from the product to the pallet.

Jonathan Newis' subcontract machining operation, PTP, which is focused on the production of plastic components, relies on Citizen CNC sliding-head turn-mill centres. A recent installation of a Citizen L20-IX to meet much needed additional capacity has demonstrated reductions in machining times to the order of 5sec on a typical 30sec cycle time. This is largely explained through Citizen's development of Streamline Machining Technology on the new machine, which has also helped in achieving quicker and easier setting through the Windows-based CNC program editing, especially on the more complex work.

As the result of the latest installation, Newis has been able to take on new business and has relieved the work loading on his existing Citizen L16, K16 and B20 machines. PTP produces a range of components out of a diverse array of different plastic materials, such as PTFE, Delrin, Nylon, PVC and Nylatron, plus special plastics such as PEEK, graphite-filled PTFE and other filled high-performance plastics including variants of glass-reinforced plastics. Customers cover most manufacturing sectors,including medical, fastener, product finishing, paint-spraying seals and nozzles largely destined for the automotive sector, various marine, food, bearing, motorsport and specialist cars, communications, sensor and a range of tips produced on a regular basis for the pole-fishing fraternity.

One of PTP's most repetitive contracts is the micro machining of ear grommets for glue ear cases in babies. These are turned and drilled on the Citizen K16 out of 5mm-diameter PTFE material turned down to below 1mm diameter and supplied at a rate of 3,000 per month. Other micro-sized single-operation machined parts include a range of minute plastic screws for the spectacle industry. On the latest Citizen L20-IX, PTP has included turning, drilling and milling including slots and keyways, threadcutting, which is preferred to tapping, knurling, which requires special care in setting to achieve finish size, extensive grooving, slitting and slotting of screwheads, for instance.

Quite a few components are formed on the Citizen rather than being single-point turned as the swarf created from certain plastics is easier to control. Inspection equipment includes shadowgraph and a Vision Kestrel 200 two-axis non-contact optical measuring microscope. Newis describes how cycle times vary between 5sec for simple parts such as spacers and washers to 50sec or so for very complex multi-featured parts. Within PTP's machine portfolio are three fixed-head lathes giving a bar capacity of 65mm and a billet capacity of 250mm.

A vertical machining centre provides an additional milling capability. Tooling has to be very sharp - PTP tends to use tools destined for cutting aluminium, which have high top rake, but his two setters also make many of their own tools from high-speed steel to specifically suit the material and job. The latest Citizen, despite its 10,000rev/min spindle capability and depending on the material, is mainly run at a maximum speed of 3,000rev/min to avoid creating heat in the material.

However, PTP's setters have also made use of the high-pressure coolant manifolds that would normally feed pressurised coolant, to blow compressed air to help cool the material and clear the clingly plastic swarf from the tooling and working area. Whenever possible, PTP's setters try to remove all burrs during the single-hit machining cycle, but Newis maintains that with the closeness of Citizen Machinery in Watford, the application engineers have been particularly supportive in helping to develop cutting cycles when his people run into problems.

Contamination of the plastics is always a concern and here he maintains that the Citizen machine is very easy to keep clean. Due to the small sizes on components, PTP uses a conveyor to outfeed the parts following ejection from the subspindle, which makes monitoring of the quality of components very simple. The Citizen L20-IX can hold up to 32 tools, giving plenty of positions to continuously house common tooling, and has a maximum turning diameter of 20 by 200mm in a single clamping.

The main spindle is powered by a 3.6kW motor, giving 200-10,000rev/min, and the subspindle 1.5kW with 200-8,000rev/min. Up to seven turning tools and six driven tools with speeds of 5,000rev/min can be applied to the main spindle operations, while up to eight tools can be applied for front- and back-end machining and seven tools in the vertical tool holder for transverse operations. A recent job that was run on the Citizen L20-IX was a yellow PTFE sleeve made from 16mm bar, which was turned to an absolute polished finish, drilled and bored to 6.3mm diameter with an 8deg taper machined over a distance of 22.7mm within the front of the bore.

The part was then parted off and faced to 64mm overall length in the subspindle in a cycle time of 36sec. The machine spindles were run at 4,000rev/min with applied feed rates between 0.5 and 0.1mm/rev. Using the same program when the part was previously machined on the Citizen L16, the new Streamline Technology-controlled L20 machine was producing parts 5sec quicker.

MTS has extended its product portfolio of magnetostrictive position sensors for mobile hydraulics with the new Temposonics Model MB stainless-steel sensor. The unit has been developed specially for external attachment to a hydraulic cylinder and can be used in applications such as steer-by-wire. With its compact dimension and an M14 x 1.5 thread, the sensor is suitable for mounting on double-acting steering cylinders.

The magnet is integrated into the piston and transmits the position through a non-ferrous cylinder wall to the sensor. By using two externally mounted sensors, they can function in a redundant capacity to meet stringent safety requirements. Apart from easy external mounting on the double-rod cylinder, the MB sensor is also suitable for direct screw installation in a differential cylinder. In this type of installation, a ring magnet mounted on the piston slides over the sensor and marks the position.

Thus, the Model MB sensor offers the flexibility to either thread the sensor into the cylinder, or to attach it on the outside. Additional M-Series sensor models are available that allow the sensor to be embedded in the hydraulic cylinder, permitting complete cylinder integration. The Temposonics MB position sensor is available with 12V supply for a measuring range of 72-250mm and designed for large-scale integration in the mobile hydraulics industry.

Its compact size makes it easy to install and the sensor's absolute, non-contact position measurement ensures a long service life. By utilising a direct analogue voltage output, the sensor is able to provide a high-accuracy position feedback with a linearity of less than +/-0.25mm. Due to its good signal-to-noise ratio, the sensor also has a high-survivability rating with a 100 G single shock rating, as well as a vibration profile that meets the ISO 16750-3 specification. The protection type IP69K also ensures that the electrical connection is completely dust- and watertight.

Delcam has combined the functionality from its CopyCAD reverse-engineering package with the 2011 release of its Powershape Pro CAD system. This extended range of functionality is suited for the creation of CAD models from all types of digitised scan data and for the re-engineering of existing products into improved or customised designs. Powershape Pro offers Tribrid Modelling; the addition of triangle modelling to the combination of surface and solid modelling that is offered in many other CAD packages as hybrid modelling.

Having all the different modelling techniques in a single package reduces the need to transfer data between multiple programs and so streamlines the whole product-development process. The extended range of functionality, for example, the ability to undertake Boolean operations between triangle meshes and solids or surfaces, makes Powershape Pro suitable for the re-engineering of existing products into improved designs or for creating bespoke products, for example, for individual patients in the healthcare industry. With Tribrid Modelling, Powershape Pro offers a flexible and pragmatic approach that allows the design intent to be captured from the physical model rather than simply producing a duplicate digital representation.

This is particularly important when generating models from items that might be worn or damaged and in cases where the quality of the initial data is less than perfect. Three techniques can be used to convert the scan data into the CAD model, based on key points, surface patches or surface sketching. The first technique is most suitable when creating simple geometric entities. Powershape Pro can use the positions of key points to create arcs and lines, and then convert them into the full range of prismatic solids. This approach will usually be much quicker than methods based on a complete scan of the object.

To produce simpler geometry, for example surfaces that are perfectly flat or cylinders that are perfectly round, might otherwise require considerable editing of the triangle file to compensate for any defects in the physical part or any errors in the scan data collected. For more complex shapes, Powershape Pro now contains all the sculpting and model-repair tools previously available in CopyCAD to edit triangle files. These tools allow uneven surfaces to be smoothed out, gaps in the data to be filled and extra points to be added in areas where only sparse data has been collected.

The edited triangle data can then be converted into the component features. The user has total control over the way the complete data set is divided into the various elements. Each area can then be converted into CAD data by generating a network of curves and then projecting it onto the mesh of triangles. A single surface is generated within the complete set of curves, using Powershape's Smart Surfacing functionality to analyse the curves and determine automatically the most appropriate way to create the surface.

If the user is unhappy with the automatic selection, or is simply curious to see other options, he can scroll through the alternative solutions. The third approach allows the user to sketch onto the surface of the triangle file and use the resulting lines to create the geometry. This can be done by rotating or extruding a single line to create a surface, or by sketching two or more cross-sections and then flowing a surface between them. The solid model can then be completed with the range of filleting and blending options within Powershape Pro.

These allow the creation of consistent, smooth fillets and blends, rather than the sets of complex, free-form patches, often with inconsistent radii, that would be produced from the scan data in a conventional reverse-engineering system. At any stage in the process, analysis tools are available to display the differences between the triangle mesh and the model created in Powershape Pro. This will highlight any areas that are outside the required tolerance. In cases when the scan data only represents the external surfaces of the component, Powershape Pro's solid modelling tools can be used to produce a complete model.

First, the external surfaces can be offset by the material thickness to generate the internal surfaces. Extra geometric features, such as reinforcing ribs and bosses for fixing, can then be added to complete the design. The integrity of the final solid model can be checked with the Solid Doctor options within Powershape Pro. This can tackle automatically the most common problems that may occur when building CAD models, including gaps and overlaps between surfaces, and duplicated or missing surfaces. The completed model can then be used by Delcam's full range of software for downstream operations, including tooling design, machining and inspection.

The Univet laser-safety eyewear range, available within the UK from ES Technology, has been enhanced with the announcement of a new selection of frame styles and materials. Univet products cover both laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) applications, and the addition of these new products compliments the range of frame styles, colours and lens shades available.

Agiecharmilles has launched its next-generation range of wire EDM machine tools, which are suited for precision toolmakers and manufacturers of precision parts. There are three models in the new range - the Cut 200, Cut 300 and Cut 400. These new Swiss-designed and built machines replace Agiecharmilles' range of Cleancut wire EDM machines, first introduced in 2002/3. All machines have a top cutting speed up to 500mm2/min and are equipped with Agiecharmilles' Econotec technology, which allows manufacturers to reduce part cycle times by using large (and cheaper) 0.3mm-diameter wires for rough cutting.

Using larger-diameter wires not only results in faster cutting and a reduction in the number of passes required to produce a part, it also helps reduce consumable costs that have a direct impact on reducing the cost-per-part. The three machines are equipped with ICP (Integrated Collision Protection) on their X-, Y-, U- and V-axes, which allows users to achieve and maintain the machines' fast rapid rates of 3m/min knowing that should a collision or crash occur (due to programming or manual positioning error) - ICP will absorb the energy of the collision, eliminating potential damage to the machine and/or workpiece.

Econowatt is an energy-saving technology that means that the machines can be switched automatically to 'sleep mode' once machining operations have been completed. Power consumption as a consequence can be reduced from 8kW when running to 1kW when the machine is idle, for example. This is of particular interest to manufacturers who operate their EDM machines overnight or over the weekends. Operational speed and efficiency are optimised on the new machines by their automatic wire thread/re-thread capability.

This has resulted in threading cycle times being reduced significantly (now 15sec from spark-to-spark instead of 40 seconds plus on competitor machines), which is suitable for manufacturers machining parts with multi-cavities. Productivity and efficiency are also achieved via fast measuring cycles (three-point set-up); ultra-fast filling and/or emptying of the work tank (30sec) and the detection of 'missing' guide holes and automatic movement to the next guide hole which, prior to the availability of this smart function, would have caused the machine to stop.

Other new features on the machines include two additions to their technology 'software' databases. Taking their place alongside Agiecharmilles' Expert Systems (Taper-Expert; CT-Expert and Profil-Expert), are Power-Expert and Surface-Expert. Power-Expert optimises the power required for roughing operations, taking into account complex part features such as internal radii and steps. Surface-Expert ensures that homogenous surface finishes are produced during finishing operations, irrespective of a part's shape or features. The new machines have retained many of the technology features of the previous Cleancut models, including the Cut 200/300 and 400's digital CC generator, which delivers cutting speeds up to 500mm2/min and is suitable for machining a range of materials to exacting accuracy standards and surface finishes (Ra 0.1um).

LPRS has introduced the ARW-2400-2700-10 directional antenna for Wimax and Wi-Fi applications. Operating in the 2.4-2.7GHz frequency band, the ARW-2400-2700-10 antenna meets the existing requirements of wireless communications infrastructure and 3G communications operators, and is also designed to meet the needs of 4G systems as they become available from 2014. Major deployment of Wimax is set to roll out in the UK once Ofcom makes available the 2.6GHz spectrum.

Developments taking place in the Wimax 2.4-2.7GHz frequency band include systems intended to expand network capacity, lower operating costs, reduce energy consumption and increase connectivity by deploying a mesh of multi-frequency, multi-standard low-power communications devices that can be mounted on buildings, poles or wherever there is power and a broadband connection. The LPRS ARW-2400-2700-10 antenna has a frequency range of 2,400-2,700MHz, has an operating temperature range of -40 to 60C, measures 140 x 120 x 20mm and weighs 600g.

Hammond Electronics is offering two new ranges of desktop chassis for high-end hi-fi equipment, consumer-facing products where appearance is as important as function and retro-styled instrumentation. The HWCAS consists of a complete walnut frame fitted with aluminium top and optional base panels, available with either a black powder coat or natural finish. The 1444CWW and 1441CWW ranges are fabricated from aluminium or steel respectively, fitted with walnut end panels to the shorter sides.

The aluminium version has a natural finish; the steel has a black powder coat finish. The HWCAS is available in two sizes, either 330 x 254 x 76mm or 432 x 254 x 76mm. The chassis corners are of dovetailed construction, reinforced with corner posts fitted with brass inserts to take the panel fixings. The 2mm-thick top panel will support heavy components such as transformers without bowing. The 1444 and 1441CWW units come in six sizes ranging from 178 x 127 x 51mm to 432 x 254 x 102mm. The rigid chassis is spot welded for strength and rigidity, and is complete with an integral top panel, so there are no visible fixings to mar the sleek appearance.

Z-Communications has launched an RoHS-compliant VCO (Voltage-Controlled Oscillator) model CRO2211B-LF in S-band for fixed wireless applications that require ultra-low phase noise performance. The CRO2211B-LF operates at 2,184-2,238MHz with a tuning voltage range of 0.5-4.5V DC. This VCO features a typical phase noise of -110dBc/Hz at 10KHz offset and a typical tuning sensitivity of 22MHz/V.

The CRO2211B-LF is designed to deliver a typical output power of 3dBm at 5V DC supply while drawing 22mA (typical) over the temperature range of -40 to 85C. This VCO features typical second harmonic suppression of -16dBc and comes in Z-Comm's standard MINI-16-SM package measuring 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.22in. It is available in tape-and-reel packaging for production requirements. The CRO2211B-LF is also suited for automated surface-mount assembly and reflow.

PIC16LF190x MCUs enable the implementation of LCD into cost-sensitive designs, such as security tokens, smart cards, medical devices, home appliances, key fobs and other segmented LCD applications. Featuring Extreme Low Power (XLP) technology, with sleep currents down to 20nA and a typical active current of 35mA/MHz, the MCUs extend battery life, while maintaining accurate timing with a RTC and driving a segmented LCD. Incorporating Microchip's Enhanced Mid-range architecture, the PIC16LF190x range provides features and performance without incurring the cost of unused peripherals.

The optimised feature set integrates up to 14kB of Flash programme memory, up to 512 bytes of RAM and up to 14 10-bit Analogue-to-Digital Converter (ADC) channels, as well as serial communication and the capability to drive up to 116 LCD segments. The MCUs also feature XLP technology for extended battery life and capabilities such as an integrated temperature indicator to provide crystal-accuracy compensation, as well as support for low-power RTC and low-voltage detect using the internal ADC and voltage reference.

The PIC16LF1902, PIC16LF1903 and PIC16LF1906 MCUs are available in 28-pin SPDIP, SOIC, SSOP and 4 x 4mm UQFN and die packages, while the PIC16LF1904 and PIC16LF1907 MCUs feature 40-pin PDIP, 5 x 5mm UQFN and die packages, as well as a 44-pin TQFP.

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PXI battery simulators with the introduction of the 41-753, a single-channel model designed to support the testing of battery-operated devices. The 41-753 provides a very fast responding adjustable power supply capable of providing voltages up to 6V and output currents up to 2.8A. The 3U PXI module has a programmable output resistance function that allows it to replicate the effect of batteries with a finite output resistance.

The 41-753 features a remote-sense connection and a very fast correction loop that allows the module to emulate the battery even at the end of the cable runs required to connect to the device under test. The module is fully isolated from ground. The fast correction loop means that the 41-753 can be used without having to add bulky decoupling capacitors in the device under test. It is particularly useful for the testing of mobile phones and PDAs.

Impulse has announced the launch of the ARK-3440, a fanless i5/i7 embedded PC that is suited for environments that require a compact and robust embedded PC. Available with both Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, it is supported by the Intel QM57 graphics chipset and a built-in full HD HDMI decoder. The powerful ARK-3440 supports up to 4GB of DDR3 memory with a clock speed of 1,066/1,333MHz. In addition, the ARK-3440 has multi-display support with CRT, DVI, HDMI 1.3 and optional 24-bit LVDS interfaces.

Communication options include 2 x 10/100/1,000Mbit Ethernet (with Wake-on-LAN support), 3 x COMs, 4 x USB2.0 and optional support for parallel and digital I/O. The ARK-3440's expansion capabilities include 1 x PCI and PCIe slot, and 2 x Mini PCIe. The ARK-3440 also has 2 x 2.5in SATA bays, allowing space for solid-state or mechanical storage. It also features a wide input voltage range: 9 to 34V DC, and is available with six programmable function keys (ARK-3440A only).

EMKA's 1110-U5-NPH hinge featuring a twin stainless casting with slide-in door fit is suited for stainless-steel doors on in-line suite arrangements. This could include offshore applications, outdoor situations or food and pharmaceutical plants. The slide-in door fit accommodates a 20mm return with increased strength and 180deg opening of cabinet doors. The integral earth terminal accommodates door-to-panel bonding while simplifying door removal if necessary. Part of EMKA's Program 1110 range, this quick-fit AISI 316 hinge incorporates an integral earth terminal.

Other stainless-steel enclosure hardware components include compression locks, spanner locks, wing locks and many other stainless-steel hinges - these are supported by some 500 extruded gasket profiles in EPDM, neoprene and PVC. EMKA's range of enclosure hardware includes electronic locking systems, stainless-steel hinges, spanner locks, wing handle/locks, 19in cabinet locks, HVAC locks and profile sealing strips for enclosure sealing in natural rubber, EPDM, neoprene and PVC.

Anders Electronics has released a miniature system-on-module device for powering high-end feature phones, netbooks, digital TVs, printers and automotive infotainment systems, for example. The new Compulab CM-T3517 is based on the Texas Instruments (TI) Sitara AM3517/05 system-on-chip device and features the advanced Cortex-A8 ARM central processing unit (CPU). Suitable for high-visibility, space-constrained industrial and retail products such as shelf-edge advertising, kiosks, dispensing machines, ticketing machines or elevator controllers, the CM-T3517 provides a set of multimedia, connectivity and storage features on a credit-card-sized system-on-module device.

Leveraging the power and flexibility of the TI Sitara AM3517/05 system-on-chip device, which is based on the advanced Cortex-A8 ARM CPU, the CM-T3517 enables embedded systems to provide the usability and connectivity that users expect, while still being developer friendly. The CM-T3517 is offered with either a TI Sitara AM3517 or Sitara AM3505 with Cortex-A8 core (up to 600MHz), up to 256Mb DDR2, up to 512Mb flash disk including file system protection, a touch-screen controller supporting four-wire resistive panels and an onboard power management chip with a single 3.3V input or lithium-ion polymer battery.

The multimedia-ready system features a PowerVR SGX graphical processing unit (GPU) providing 2D/3D graphics acceleration with OpenGL-ES and OpenVG support, dual-output graphics (RGB and TV Out), a graphics controller supporting STN and TFT panels with 1,400 x 1,050 maximum resolution, a camera interface port and audio codec stereo line-out and microphone. For connectivity, the CM-T3517 features a 100Mbps Ethernet port, integral WiFi 802.11b/g, a Bluetooth interface, MMC/SD/SDIO support including SDHC up to 32Gb, four serial ports, I2C, SPI, GPIOs and a CAN bus. In addition to an on-the-go host/slave USB2 high-speed port, the CM-T3517 features an additional four USB2 host ports.

From a software point of view, the CM-T3517 was specially designed to serve as a building block in embedded applications and includes all the peripherals required to run operating systems such as Linux and Windows CE.

Available from Switchtec, Euroclamp's MVP35 high-power PCB terminal block is suitable for photovoltaic applications and for high-voltage or high-amperage applications with ratings of 1,000V at 125A. Aimed at OEMs, CEMs, electronic manufacturers, PCB manufacturers and assemblers, the photovoltaic industry and those in building and automation, the terminals are suitable for use in photovoltaic products, high-voltage and high-current applications and any application that needs or uses large cables.

With the general move towards fully integrated PCB assemblies, manufacturers are requiring larger PCB terminal blocks for applications such as photovoltaic, which, owing to their nature, require terminal blocks capable of handling high voltages and high currents. Euroclamp designed the MVP35 terminal block to fulfil this requirement. The MVP35 is designed to accept 35mm2 (2AWG) stranded or rigid (solid) cable, or 2 x 10mm2 (2x8AWG) cables. The device has two basic designs: the standard MVP35 PCB version (flangeless model) or the MVP35K model that has two flanges for surface mounting to the PCB with screws.

Owing to the large cable sizes being used, movement of or pressure from the cable could potentially weaken or damage the PCB connection. To allay this effect, the MVP35 has a four-pin PCB footprint to give maximum strength to the terminal/PCB junction. The MVP35K with its additional flanges adds even more mechanical strength to the assembly. Euroclamp has chosen to produce the MVP35 with a 15mm pitch size for two reasons. First, this larger size gives good PCB retention strength; and, second, the MVP35 (not the MVP35K) features a dovetailed design, allowing the terminals to be linked together in a modular style.

The MVP35 is a single-pole PCB terminal, but with its modular design it can create multiple-pole terminal blocks (such as two, three, four or six pole), thus adding greater flexibility. As a result of the terminals' high power ratings, a 15mm pitch is needed to give adequate clearance for cable entry. The MVP35 is available as standard in green, but as with all of Euroclamp's terminal blocks they are also available in red, yellow, blue, orange and black. Special colours are also available upon request.

The MVP35 series are CE marked and cUL approved and have IP20 touch-proof terminals. An operating temperature range of -30C to +130C is tolerated. The terminals are manufactured from PA -UL94V0 plastic. All terminals in the range are available ex-stock from Switchtec, which is also able to provide technical support in choosing the correct terminal for the application, as well as after-sales support.

Diodes Incorporated's new high-speed CMOS logic devices provide a drop-in replacement for industry-standard logic parts used in a range of consumer electronic products. Operating at 2 to 5.5V, the 74AHC1Gxx logic range is said to offer power-dissipation and switching-speed improvements over existing high-speed CMOS logic alternatives. The product range includes AND, NAND, OR, NOR, XOR, inversion and buffering functions, as well as Diodes' first unbuffered single inverter device.

All 10 logic functions are offered in SOT25 and SOT353 package options. As single-gate solutions, the devices provide the logic function at point-of-application, helping to simplify routing and optimising use of board space. Diodes' advanced high-speed CMOS logic range is a low-power alternative for system designs operating at between 3.3 and 5.5V. The devices' dynamic switching power has been reduced by optimising the output drive capability at +/-8mA, while still ensuring typical propagation delays of 6ns. The low-power 74AHC1Gxx logic range complements Diodes' existing faster-switching 74LVC1Gxx logic range.

Summit Microelectronics has introduced its fourth-generation programmable battery-charger integrated-circuit (IC) range for single-cell Li-Ion, Li-Polymer and Li-FePO4 battery packs. The SMB231, SMB232 and SMB233 integrate the largest feature set in the industry, including compatibility with all relevant industry standards: USB Battery Charging Revision 1.1, USB 2.0/USB3.0, JEITA Safety, IEEE1725 and Chinese USB Charging. All three products incorporate functionality that allows automatic matching between the AC/DC adaptor's current capability and the portable device's charging requirements.

Tiny packages and minimum external components allow for small board space and reduced solution cost. Like all Summit's solutions, digital, non-volatile programmability provides design and system flexibility at no additional cost. The SMB231/2/3 range of battery chargers is suited for a range of portable devices such as digital still cameras, mobile phones, digital camcorders, wireless headsets, DECT headsets, portable media/MP3 players (PMP), portable GPS navigation equipment and portable game consoles/controllers. The SMB231, SMB232 and SMB233 simplify system designs by integrating a robust set of system functions, thereby a number of external components and software requirements.

These products are designed to enable cost-effective and slim industrial designs without compromising performance and safety. The SMB231/2/3 products incorporate Summit's Currentpath functionality to allow independent output current paths for the system and battery, allowing the system to turn on with a missing or deeply discharged battery. This charging configuration reduces the charge and discharge cycles on the battery, thereby extending its operating life. Currentpath functionality also allows accurate charge termination, since the devices can detect the current flowing into the battery.

The devices also include input current limit, which allows USB500/100, USB900/150 or AC/DC operation (300-1,500mA). An additional option is also available for not limiting input current, thereby supporting high system current levels directly from the input power source, even when the battery is not present. Like all products in Summit's third-generation range, the SMB231/2/3 devices provide the means to accomplish true, universal USB charging and to meet the various USB industry standards without the need for additional hardware and software support. The products incorporate automatic power source detection, adhering to the latest USB Battery Charging Specification 1.1.

The SMB231/2/3 devices can also detect non-USB compliant wall adapters, maximising system reliability and performance. A patented automatic input current limit capability detects the maximum current capability of the AC/DC adapter and automatically programs the devices' input-current limit accordingly. This functionality addresses system issues associated with the fact that USB AC/DC adapters can vary in current rating, while eliminating the need for additional software support or external components. The resulting improved user experience translates into fewer service calls, fewer merchandise returns and increased subscriber revenue for wireless carriers.

The SMB231, SMB232 and SMB233 incorporate a range of safety features for the battery and system. All three devices adhere to the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Association (JEITA) safety guidelines, by preventing high charging voltage and/or current levels during certain low- and high-temperature ranges. Battery-pack temperature limits, charging voltage and current compensation levels are programmable, resulting in optimised operation for a given battery and system. In addition, the products support IEEE1725 by including dual-redundant protection for input/output current and voltage, chip and battery thermal protection, hardware safety timers, battery-missing detection and a variety of status and fault registers and indicators.

Programmable thermal regulation is also available for preventing system overheating. The SMB231/2/3 range of products also provides an integrated low-battery-voltage detector with programmable voltage thresholds. This function allows the system to receive real-time battery-voltage-level information and take appropriate actions. The SMB231, SMB232 and SMB233 operate with an input range from 3.7 to 6.2V input and safely withstand continuous input over-voltage up to 20V (non-operating), while protecting downstream circuitry. The SMB231 and SMB232 are offered in 2.16 x 1.61mm, 12- and 20-ball, lead-free chip-scale (CSP) packages, while the SMB233 is offered in a 4 x 4mm QFN package. All products have an operating temperature range of -30 to 85C.

Yamaichi Electronics has launched the LC series operator-friendly testing jig, a reliable contact system that enables the customers to perform their product functionality test. The LC series was designed to ensure the performance of even more complex FPC subassemblies within a system. The challenges were the ultra-fine pitches down to 0.3mm and simultaneously dealing in parallel with the FPC production tolerances.

The LC series comes with specially designed contacts carrying out a micro wiping action and therefore ensures a stable and low contact resistance. Another feature is the elevator stage, which prevents the FPC pads from being damaged or scratched and protects the contacts during the FPC load/unload operation. The clothes-pin mechanism guarantees good reliability and easy-to-use operation. As an output option the customer can choose between discrete wiring, MIL standard, or FPC connector.

The PCM-9343 ultra-low-power DM and P Vortex86DX 1GHz single-board computer is designed for regular and industrial environments. The PCM-9343 SBC is built with 100-per-cent solid capacitors, TG-150 PCB standard, soldered onboard memory and extended -40 to 85C temperature support. The PCM-9343 supports up to 512MB DDR2 memory and had a range of I/O capabilities including 2 x 10/100Base-T Ethernet, 4 x USB2.0, 4 COMs, 16 x GPIO, 1 x SATA, 2 x IDE and a PC/104 expansion socket.

The PCM-9343 is based on the x86 architecture yet consumes 4-6W of power. Compared with RISC-based platforms, the x86 architecture has extensive software-development support allowing for reduced development schedules and total cost. DM and P's Vortex86DX processor and SMI SM712 graphics chip platform with Floating Point Units (FPU) supports and runs most x86 designed applications. The PCM-9343 is designed in the 3.5in form factor and has a height of 24mm, including the heatsink, allowing for easy integration in slim 1U chassis. The PCM-9343 supports legacy PC/104 ISA and ISA DMA, which is essential for certain applications in the electrical-power and factory-automation industries.

The PCM-9343 also supports a range of embedded operating systems including Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded, Window CE 5.0/6.0 and Windows DOS. Advantech also provides a software API to help customers integrate and configure their board applications easily. Advantech's software API includes such features as Watchdog, I2C, panel backlight and brightness control, and GPIO support. The PCM-9343 has been designed to support a range of industrial applications, including point of sale, factory automation, transportation, gaming, security and surveillance.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nexans is to manufacture the static and dynamic subsea umbilicals for the tieback system connecting the new Gygrid field development to the Njord A installation off the Norwegian continental shelf. The Gygrid field, discovered in November 2009, contains 23 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents (mostly crude). It will be tied back 20km south west to the Njord field. For the Gygrid development, Nexans will supply 19.5km of static umbilical that will serve hydraulic and power control functions.

Nexans is also supplying a 650m dynamic umbilical and a 700m gas lift/subsea isolation valve (GL/SSIV) dynamic umbilical to connect the static umbilical to the Njord A platform. Nexans will also supply a variety of accessories, including transition joints, termination work, connectors, repair joints and abandonment kit. The umbilicals will be designed and manufactured at Nexans' specialised umbilical facility in Halden, Norway. Delivery is scheduled for May 2012. The installation depth will range from 330m at Njord A to 265m in the Gygrid field.

Imatek, a UK-based manufacturer of materials testing equipment, has installed an IM10 impact tester for automotive applications at the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute (NMIRI) in Japan. The NMIRI is a research institute whose work is primarily focused on the automotive sector. The IM10T-20HV machine was supplied complete with Imatek's C3008 data acquisition system, second impact protection system (SIPS) and high-velocity and variable-mass system. The machine was also supplied with a removable temperature chamber for the pre-conditioning of specimens.

An electrical heating system and a liquid-nitrogen cooling system will enable specimens to be tested within the temperature range -70C to +180C. Imatek's IM10 range features laboratory-grade instrumentation, very rigid construction and high-quality software that provides detailed information, both graphical and tabular, for the specimen undergoing test. The IM10 range of impact testers is suitable for performing a range of automotive tests, including standard QC tests on polymers, the testing of composites and other alternative materials, characterising the energy absorption efficiency of polymeric foams, alloy foams and crush tubes for safety applications, the dynamic fatigue and resilience testing of automotive rubbers, the crush testing of structures and the high rate testing of sheet steels.

To improve the understanding of a material or structure's impact performance, Imatek's integrated high-speed video system combines the data captured by the IM10 during the impact test together with high-speed video imagery. This has proven particularly useful for automotive applications where complex failure modes can be encountered. Imatek's Impacqt software provides complete control over the impact system, the data capture, the camera and lights and the post test analysis and reporting. Since the camera and the data acquisition share the same trigger, the data and images can be precisely correlated.

A video sequence provides qualitative information about the impact event, and the software also allows quantitative information to be extracted. Integrated high-speed video is suitable for many application areas and is available as an option for any of the Imatek range of impact testers or in a standalone mode, making it a general-purpose tool that can be utilised by other parts of a customer's operation and on a range of test apparatus, including UTMs, pendulums, drop weights and crash walls.

Automotive industry customers currently using Imatek's products include Ford Motor Company, Renault, Peugeot Citroen Group, Faurecia, JSP International, Tokai Automotive and Estaca. Imatek's products are used to test the properties of materials, components and assemblies in industries such as aerospace, polymer processing, steel production, automotive and academic research.

Available from Adept Electronic Solutions, the Teledyne Dalsa Falcon fast colour cameras are suitable for electronic PCB inspection, print inspection, fruit inspection and traffic applications. The new range has been supplemented by the release of four new Falcon colour cameras in the XDR and HG series, optimised for high dynamic range (XDR models) and high sensitivity (HG models), with resolutions from VGA to 4 megapixels and frame rates up to 300fps.

The Falcon XDR and HG series feature 120fps one-megapixel models and 300fps VGA models. Other benefits of the new cameras include their compact size (44mm cube), low power and Power Over Cameralink (PoCL) capacity, which reduces cabling requirements to a single mini-Cameralink connector. High-speed, smear-free imaging is ensured with the Falcon cameras.

To meet the need for imaging fast-moving objects without smear or distortion, Teledyne Dalsa offers true global shutter CMOS and interline transfer charge-coupled devices (CCDs), both technologies being able to 'stop the action' through electronic shuttering. Providing very high frame rates at multiple resolutions (VGA to 1.4 megapixels), the cameras are suitable for applications that need colour with fast frame rates.

The colour Falcon series can also be used in industrial metrology (gauging) and other general machine vision applications where more than the standard 60fps is required. To date, the Falcon cameras have been deployed in applications such as bread/pastry inspection, eye-contact inspection, surface roughness and contour measurement, glass container inspection and container seal inspection.

Misumi USA has launched a Z-axis simplified adjustment unit, suitable for the less demanding positioning and adjustment of jig fixtures, cameras, sensors and spray nozzles. The new unit (part number ZKB20) is a long-stroke, scaled-post, vertical-travel positioning device commonly used in manufacturing and assembly plants to make up-and-down height adjustments as needed in positioning devices.

The units can also be used for slotted-hole adjustments and setup changes. The new Z-axis simplified adjustment units provide secure clamping to prevent shaft rotation and they feature an easy-to-read scaled post and a rack-and-pinion feed mechanism that allows for fast, easy adjustments with a simple rotation of the handle. The result is more accurate alignment during setup and improved stability in maintaining the proper position during operation. Available in various lengths to accommodate travel distances ranging from 70mm to 170mm, the Z-axis simplified adjustment units are ruggedly constructed to withstand repetitive long-term use.

The post material is 304 stainless steel. The block is made of 6063 aluminium alloy with a clear anodised finish and the handle is 5067 aluminium alloy. The rack-and-pinion gears are formed of 1045 carbon steel. Brackets for the ZKB20 units are sold separately so that users can select bracket types that fit each installation surface (such as tabletop mounts and wall mounts).

In addition to the new Z-axis unit, Misumi offers a range of simplified adjustment units designed for manual adjustment in less demanding positioning applications. The simplified units provide an economical alternative to building or purchasing the more complex and costly precision stages often required in automated positioning applications, according to the company. The Misumi line includes feed-screw, push-screw and rack-and-pinion feed mechanisms, and the products are offered in a variety of axis styles.

M and P has launched the latest version of its Vibcontrol Rev software, which is suitable for a range of vibration testing applications. Version 2.11 features a variety of improvements and additions, according to the company. For instance, in sine and random test modes, the user can now choose between online time data display and the normal frequency display for any input channel replacing external oscilloscope monitoring. Faster display updates also enhance this new feature.

In addition, the separate application architecture in Vibcontrol provides excellent user flexibility when wanting to multi-task between, for example, running a test while editing a new test or reporting on a previous run. For users who prefer an integrated single-task approach, the new auto-load and run toolbar button gives the option to directly execute the current test setup, further simplifying operation. Previously available in the Vibshockpulse utility, the user-defined pre- and post-compensation pulse selections are now integrated into the setup page within Vibedit.

Square and sine with/without decay options, together with the tolerance limit values, ensure optimum use of the shaker capability within velocity and displacement constraints. Other new features include: support for the Windows 7 operating system; enhanced multi-chart axis setup features for faster online chart setup; save and auto-load online display layouts for every different test, now available to optimise switching between tests; a TE display in SRS mode, which provides information about the effective shock duration to the latest MILSTD 810G requirements; and sweep rate (such as oct/min) entry for mixed-mode tone definition, simplifying setup.

Notching is now available in all mixed control modes (SoR/RoR/SoRoR). Notching now includes the RSS Vector and Summed force functions required for satellite testing, with notching data table import across many channels. The new software offers simplified data entry for crossover frequency calculations in sine sweep test.

Master Bond's new EP37-3FLF polymer system has been developed for demanding applications where flexible, impact-resistant bonds are required. This optically clear, two-component epoxy offers excellent resistance to cryogenic temperatures and severe thermal cycling, according to the company. Its low exotherm also makes it suitable for potting, encapsulating and casting, especially where wider cross-section thicknesses are specified. Its combination of properties allows it to cure without stressing delicate electronic components.

Serviceable over the wide range of 4K to 250F, the EP37-3FLF system cures at room temperature in two to three days or faster at elevated temperatures. This epoxy offers a non-critical 1:1 mix ratio by weight or volume and a low mixed viscosity of 1,400cps to 1,500cps. In addition, users can work with a 100g mass of the adhesive at room temperature for up to 90 minutes. The EP37-3FLF has a bond shear strength exceeding 2,000psi and a T-peel strength of 25pli.

This flexible epoxy has an elongation of 180 per cent and excellent electrical insulation properties with a volume resistivity of 1 x 1,014ohm-cm. It bonds well to a variety of substrates, including metals, glass, ceramics, rubbers and many plastics, and is widely used in the optical, electrical, electronic, computer and OEM industries. The EP37-3FLF is sold in pint-, quart-, gallon- and five-gallon-container kits and has a six-month shelf life if unopened and stored at room temperature.

Aras has announced that a number of specialists in product lifecycle management (PLM) software will speak at the Aras Community Event (ACE) 2011 International on 26-28 April in Michigan, US. Speakers are as follows: Joe Barkai of IDC Manufacturing Insights; Peter Bilello of Cimdata; and Oleg Shilovitsky of Beyond PLM. The event, which is free to attend, will take place at the Henry (formerly the Ritz Carlton) in Dearborn, Michigan.

ACE 2011 International brings together business and IT professionals from around the world to network and collaborate with other members of the corporate community and gain insights to take their strategic PLM initiatives to the next level. Barkai, IDC's practice director of product lifecycle strategies, will discuss PLM for improved product lifecycle decisions; Cimdata president Bilello will outline the return on investment of PLM; and PLM blogger Shilovitsky will lead a panel discussion of what the future holds beyond PLM.

The three-day community event will also feature user presentations, breakout sessions, exhibits and the Community Solution Showcase, a rapid-fire session of demonstrations developed and enhanced by community members worldwide.

Sensirion, which produces humidity and temperature sensors, mass flow meters and controllers, gas and liquid flow sensors, as well as differential pressure sensors, has been certified to ISO 14001. This environmental standard certificate is a result of the sensor manufacturer's endeavours to improve the company's sustainability and to professionally manage all environmental aspects. The Swiss company states that reduction in energy consumption is an important goal.

For instance, a focal point in the construction of the new production building is minimisation of the energy demand. Emphasis is also given to the safe handling of chemicals, ensuring safety both for humans and for the environment. The replacement of hazardous substances by less harmful ones wherever possible is a standing goal. This includes, for example, the replacement of greenhouse gases with an environmentally friendly alternative in the sensors' calibration process.

Sensirion products are distinguished by their use of patented CMOSens technology. The manufacturer's quality management system was certified in March 2008 in accordance with the ISO/TS 16949 standard.

Edevice has introduced Cellgo, a low-current GSM/GPRS modem for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. Cellgo enables power-constrained devices to connect to wireless cellular networks through a single cable used for both data and power. GSM/GPRS network connectivity, which is suitable for M2M data exchange, requires the supply of enough energy to cope with high consumption peaks of external cellular modems. Many devices are not able to supply such power, requiring the modem to be plugged into a dedicated power supply.

This constraint increases the upfront investment and makes the on-site installation process more complex since it requires an additional cable and power plug. With its internal super capacitor, Cellgo is said to ease such installation processes by eliminating the need for a dedicated power supply. Cellgo is an external modem enabling serial devices to connect to the GSM/GPRS network through a single cable grouping both data and power signals. The internal super capacitor enables power-constrained products, such as those that are battery powered, to handle power bursts required during cellular data transmission. Cellgo's maximal consumption is less than 400mA under 5V.

It is driven through easy-to-use AT# commands that trigger TCP socket data transfers, e-mail sending, and FTP file reception for immediate transfer of data via the internet through the cellular network. Cellgo is equipped with an internal quad-band antenna and internal SIM card holder in a compact form that is suitable for snap-in installations. It can be used with different types of 'already-in-the-field' devices equipped with serial ports including remote patient monitors, telecardiology monitors, alarm and security systems, television set-top boxes, point-of-sales equipment, energy metering systems and more.

Product lifecycle management (PLM) software provider Aras has announced a webcast, entitled 'Transforming PLM for the Economic Recovery', to be held on 30 March 2011 at 11:00 Eastern US time. The webcast will focus on the new normal created by the global recession and slow recovery. Featured speakers include Jim Brown from Tech-Clarity and Chip Perry from Kalypso, who will discuss how organisations can transform their approach to PLM with smart, flexible solutions that anticipate changing needs and leverage the latest technologies.

Topics will include: Learn Best-In-Class PLM Industry Trends and What they Mean for Your Business; Discover the Advantages of Today's Practical Approaches to PLM Implementation; and Find Out How to Get Better PLM results Regardless of Your Implementation Status. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the report 'Transforming PLM for the Economic Recovery - Think Big, Start Small, Build Incrementally'.

Renold Chain's David Turner provides advice on when worn transmission chain sprockets need to be replaced. Sprockets that have worn beyond a certain point will cause rapid chain wear and should be replaced as soon as possible, according to Turner. He added that there are a number of visual checks that should be carried out to determine this. Looking at the faces of the sprocket's teeth will give an indication of the amount of wear that has occurred.

This will be seen as a polished worn strip, about the pitch circle diameter, on each of the teeth. If the depth of the wear, X, has reached a value equal to 10 per cent of dimension Y, then the sprocket has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced. Low-cost, poor-quality sprockets on most industrial applications are a false economy, said Turner. A good-quality sprocket should last through the life of several chains before there is significant wear. When changing sprockets, it is a good time to check the alignment of both the sprockets and the shafts to which they are fitted.

Misaligned sprockets are another factor in premature chain wear. The accurate alignment of shafts and sprocket tooth faces provides a uniform distribution of load across the entire chain width and contributes to achieving maximum drive life. Turner recommends using a straight edge across the machined faces of the sprockets in several different positions, if possible, as a check against wobble. Another tip is that a nylon, or similar line, is a good substitute for a straight edge, particularly for drive systems with long centre distances.

Should an end-wise float of shafts be present, the user should make due allowance so that sprocket alignment is correct at the mid position of float. When alignment is correct within the closest practical limits, the user can drive the keys home and take a final check on sprocket alignment. Those fitting a new chain at the same time should not forget to correctly lubricate it. The lubrication that is on the chain when it comes out of the box is only sufficient to prevent corrosion and aid initial bedding-in.

3Dconnexion has announced that Autodesk has added native 3D mouse support in Autodeskrevit Architecture 2012, Autodeskrevit Structure 2012 and Autodesk MEP 2012 software applications. The move is said to bring the full range of 3D mouse design benefits to Revit users. 3Dconnexion 3D mice are said to complement the intuitive interface and modelling and documentation tools in Revit software, helping to enhance every design workflow stage with increased productivity and comfort.

The company has also announced 3D mouse support in Autodesk Navisworks2012 software applications, bringing 3D mouse navigation benefits to model integration, review and analysis. 3D mice allow Revit and Navisworks users to pan, zoom and rotate simultaneously to deliver good navigation and intuitive control, helping to boost productivity and efficiency while enhancing user comfort. Revit offers a comprehensive level of support for 3Dconnexion's 3D mice, with an enhanced workflow at every step of the design process.

A two-handed workflow with a 3D mouse and traditional mouse results in intuitive and precise 3D navigation and a more fluid, productive design process. With 3D mice, architects are able to easily visualise a building or model at the beginning of a project for a more tangible connection to a design, as well as aid in the earlier detection of design flaws. 3D mice help clients visualise a project with cinematic-like motions and smooth transitions from one perspective to another, giving the viewer a sense of being in the actual space.

An intuitive navigation bar features options for controlling the view, including navigation modes, keeping the scene upright, centre tool and 3Dconnextion driver control panel. When working in 3D, users can quickly switch between object and walk/fly camera modes within the conceptual design, 3D model or client presentation. In 2D, designers can continue editing while working in detail sheets and section views with pan and zoom functionality. 3Dconnextion's Professional series products feature programmable function keys for instant access to commonly used application commands and Quickview navigation keys for one-touch access to specific views.

The entire 3Dconnexion product line is compatible with Revit and Navisworks 2012, including the Professional series with the Spacepilot Pro and Spaceexplorer, and the Standard series with the Spacenavigator and Spacenavigator for Notebooks.

VTI Technologies has announced that it has started volume production of the CMR3000, which is claimed to be the smallest and lowest-power-consuming digital output three-axis angular rate sensor. The CMR3000 is designed for user interface and game applications. The company's product manager, Pekka Kostiainen, explained that the sensor's low current consumption, sensitivity and small size make it suitable for consumer electronics manufacturers.

Kostiainen said: 'Due to gaming requirements, the measurement range is +/- 2,000dps with selectable measurement bandwidths. 'In the case of cell phones, the wafer-level package enables the smallest size of 3.1 x 4.2 x 0.8mm3 with digital SPI and I2C interfaces, which is a clear benefit,' Kostiainen added. The CMR3000's small device size and location of the I/Os enable designers to optionally accommodate another manufacturer's sensor on the same layout.

This is said to offer a solution to high-volume customers with second-source requirements. To support easy implementation of the CMR3000 VTI is providing HW and SW support to customers. As an example, an Android driver is available including the library, documentation and demo applications. Furthermore, VTI supports customers with optimising sensor signal processing for their application.

Field Precision has released a line of 3D finite-element programs aimed at small businesses and universities for applications such as electromagnetic fields, particle accelerators and X-ray imaging. The company's Basic packages run on 32- and 64-bit Windows computers. They include all the technical features of Field Precision's Professional packages with the exception of parallel processing.

Features of the Basic package include: low single-time purchase price; no continuing licence fees; free updates; a single-user licence includes activation on two computers with quick transfer when a computer is replaced; packages are easy to learn and run for a part-time user. Instruction manuals and ready-to-run application examples are included. Through efficient programming and the use of Fortran for critical mathematical routines, Field Precision programs achieve excellent speed, with solution times for practical applications ranging from a few minutes to less than an hour.

Field Precision packages include: finite-element techniques applied on conformal meshes of hexahedron elements; interactive environment for building 3D assemblies with an automatic mesh generator - import from Solidworks and other 3D CAD programs; versatile graphical postprocessors with 2D/3D plots, high-accuracy interpolations and automatic surface and volume integrals - in addition, users may define their own plot and analysis quantities; programs feature highly transparent input and output file formats with the option for command-line operation- this makes it easy to integrate the software into the users' own control loops; all packages are complete and self-contained.

Field Precision software covers a range of applications, including electrostatics and high-voltage, electromagnet and permanent-magnet assembly design, Monte Carlo simulations of X-ray sources and imaging devices, electron/ion accelerators and microwave devices.

Eaton has launched the 3S, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that is designed to protect home computers and office equipment against common power quality problems. These include power failure, sags and surges. It also covers peripherals, such as printers, using a transformer. The compact, offline UPS is available with eight IEC sockets. The power ratings of the Eaton 3S have been upgraded from those of the Eaton 3105, to 550VA and 700VA.

The 3S also features data line protection and USB connectivity. Eaton said the 3S is easy to implement as it automatically integrates with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, so no drivers need to be installed. This ensures that the 3S works seamlessly with these operating systems' power management. A replaceable battery also helps to extend UPS service life. For advanced users, the 3S can also be monitored by Eaton's power management software.

Electrical Manufactured Solutions (EMS) has selected control and automation components from Eaton's electrical sector for the control system on Mechline Developments' Waste2O food digester. The system's control system centres on a programmable relay from Eaton's easy range, which was selected, in part, for the 8A switching capacity of its outputs. This is complemented by an Eaton M-Max variable speed drive with a single-phase input and a three-phase output and an Eaton ESR4 safety relay that is used to monitor the machine's emergency stop circuits.

Resembling a top-loading washing machine, Mechline's Waste2O food digester is said to solve the problem faced by all restaurants and food-handling establishments of how to dispose of waste hygienically, inexpensively and with minimum environmental impact. Over the course of 24 hours, the digester converts up to 180kg of food waste into 'grey' water that can be easily and safely discharged into drain and sewer systems. The principle of operation is easy to understand. The waste food is put into the machine via a hatch, where it is mixed with a fluid containing bio-enzymatic bacteria.

These bacteria, which are harmless, literally digest the waste, turning it into grey water with no solid content. During the digestion process, the mixture of waste food and digestion fluid require intermittent agitation, and the mixture must also be kept at the correct temperature. Philip Clarke, general manager of EMS, said: 'Mechline wanted the operation of the machine to be fully automatic so that all the user has to do is tip in the food waste and press the start button. 'It was also important that the control system was small enough to fit within the body of the machine.

'To meet these requirements, we decided to base our design on an Eaton easy relay. 'These are very compact, straightforward to use and, because they are programmable, they allow changes to be made to the control system operation, either for fine tuning or for future upgrades, quickly and easily,' he added. The easy relay provides all of the interlocking and timing logic needed for the operation of the machine as well as controlling the water solenoid and dosing pump that regulates the flow of bio-enzymatic fluid into the digestion chamber. The relay also controls the heating element that maintains the chamber at the correct temperature.

Because it has outputs rated at 8A, the easy relay is able to switch the heating element directly, thereby eliminating the need to use an external interposing relay, which would have added to the cost, complexity and size of the control system. To control the machine's agitator motor, EMS chose a 0.25kW M-Max inverter drive. This operates with a single-phase input, allowing the waste digester to be powered from an ordinary 13A mains socket, but provides a three-phase output to the motor. This arrangement was selected because three-phase motors are, in general, less costly than single-phase types, and also because they are easier to reverse, which was an important requirement in this application.

The engineers at EMS were also able to make good use of the freely programmable outputs provided as standard in M-Max drives. In this case, they programmed one of the outputs to respond to a motor current that is higher than normal, but less than the current needed for an overload trip. This increased current indicates that too much waste food has been loaded, and the signal from the drive is used to stop the process and alert the operator. After the operator has removed the excess food, the machine restarts automatically when the access hatch is closed. This arrangement allows the machine to be restored to service quickly, without the investigation and checking that would be needed if the overload condition were allowed to reach the point where the drive tripped.

To provide the safety interlocking and emergency stop monitoring needed for the machine to meet the requirements for CE marking, the EMS engineers incorporated an ESR5 safety relay into the design. This is partnered with an RMQ-Titan emergency stop pushbutton and position sensors to confirm that the access hatch is closed. Other Eaton control components used in the Waste2O food digester control system include FAZ miniature circuit breakers, and a T-series switch disconnector functioning as the main isolator.

Autotech Controls is expanding its range of robotic simulation services, for application in the automotive, airports, manufacturing, logistics and food and drink sectors. According to Autotech, it is the only UK controls firm to offer robotic simulation and will soon be the largest supplier of virtual manufacturing services among the UK's system integrators.

The Luton-based company has 15 years' experience in control design, installation and support. It provides services to blue-chip clients worldwide including BAE Systems, Bentley, Cadbury, Ford, Gate Gourmet, Jaguar Land Rover, Kellogg's and Procter and Gamble.

Safety, health and sensor technology group Halma has acquired of the Water Technology Division of Wagtech International, on 1 March 2011, for a cash consideration of GBP3m. The acquisition, which is earnings enhancing, has been funded from Halma's existing cash and debt facilities. The acquired business will be merged with Palintest, based in Gateshead, UK, which is one of Halma's Water analysis businesses within our Health and Analysis sector.

Andrew Williams, Halma's chief executive, said: 'Wagtech Water Technology Division's range of water and environmental testing products fits closely with Palintest's existing activities and increases its presence within developing regions such as Africa and Asia where Wagtech has strong brand recognition.

Benchtop robots are capable of assembling modestly sized products and offer a cost-effective production tool for SMEs in manufacturing, says Peter Swanson, managing director at Intertronics. Small robots with footprints approximately A4 in size and working areas of 200 x 200mm have all the functionality of large machines. Bigger versions cover 800 x 600mm with a Z-axis of 200mm. They are robust, fit for shop-floor use and maintenance is relatively simple, often with internal computers and self-diagnostic protocols.

Typically, programming is via a simple teach pendant with prompted inputs and programmes are stored internally or kept on a computer. Software may be generic, allowing programmer control of functionality, or function specific, for a task such as dispensing. Customised software is more user friendly, with selectable point-to-point or continuous path motion. While two-axis machines are available, three-axis are the most popular, with full interpolation of lines, arcs and circles through all three axes. A fourth, rotational axis is used for more complex, non-planar jobs.

Positional repeatability is typically 0.01mm and movement speeds can reach one m/sec. Inputs and outputs allow interfacing with external devices, such as pick-and-place pneumatics. Sophisticated camera-based position-correction systems are now available. There are three major types of robot recognised in the benchtop format. First, the semi-automatic, cartesian robot, with which the work is placed on a moving plate on the bed of the machine, which provides x-axis movement. Overhead, a beam mounted traveller gives the y- and z-axis movement.

Second is the SCARA robot, which stands for Selectively-Compliant-Articulated-Robot-Arm, or sometimes Selective-Compliant-Assembly-Robot-Arm. With joints much like a human arm, with shoulder, elbow and wrist axes, it performs pick and place, palletising or dispensing functions. Third, with a Gantry robot, an overhead beam moves back and forth over the work on a fixed base. A Z-axis component slides on the gantry. All types are suitable for semi-automatic batch operation, where the work is manually loaded and unloaded.

The SCARA and Gantry types will also work with automatic feed by, for example, being placed next to or over a conveyor. They can find application in dispensing, soldering, brazing, welding, pick and place, screwdriving, engraving, cutting and testing/calibration. Dispensing Adhesives, sealants, encapsulants, potting compounds, coatings, inks, paints, greases, oils, solder pastes and so on may be accurately metered onto workpieces, dispensed from barrels or cartridges mounted on the machine z-axis, or remotely located and fed through a robot-mounted dispensing valve. Beads, coatings or micro-dots are common.

Metering and mixing equipment can be interfaced to dispense two-part systems. One popular application is the dispensing of form-in-place (FIP) gaskets onto a component, which then cures into a soft, sealing gasket. The bead must be the same diameter over its entire length, and so the dispense needle travel-speed must match the FIP gasket flow rate, even around corners in three dimensions. A robot can be programmed to do this, whereas a human would find it impossible. Typically a camera is sequentially positioned over a number of small parts.

The image is then examined by computer, to detect a pass or fail. Reject parts may be identified, marked or removed while on the robot. Probes can be accurately positioned to measure electrical or thermal characteristics. The engineers at Intertronics have noted the general qualities of benchtop robots falling into certain advantageous categories. First, the robots are more consistent and accurate as they do not get distracted or interrupted, enhancing product integrity. Second, reject rates tend to go down. Third, robots can work continuously and can be much faster than humans.

Fourth, there can be significant savings in material usage. Expensive materials are dispensed accurately and multi-part material mixing may require purging or nozzle changes unless dispensed continuously. Automotive, telecom and medical applications are popular, often in tier-two or three sub-assembly manufacturers, also for optoelectronics, fibre-optics, medical devices and simple tasks such as dome coating of small labels and badges. Consequently, with technology costs now lower than ever in real terms, it is clear that benchtop robots achieve a high level of functionality, are readily available, simple to implement and surprisingly inexpensive, with prices starting at about GBP4,000.

At this level, cost justification by higher throughput and yields, fewer rejects, better quality or reduced labour content is relatively straightforward. Payback times can be as little as a few weeks, which is vital to companies that would like to see domestic manufacturing stay in the UK and lead the economic recovery.