Friday, April 29, 2011

Ondrives had introduced a slimline version of its spur offset gearboxes for spring 2011. 'These units have been designed for those applications where a smaller space envelope means a slimmer unit must be used,' said Ben Hinchliffe, the company's managing director. The smaller gear reducer units are, on average, 15 per cent slimmer than their standard counterparts, offering exactly the same torques, efficiencies and speeds as the bulkier versions, making them suitable for applications that need optimum output in a smaller unit.

This has been achieved by the smaller units having a flush bore output and the larger sizes being bore input instead of shaft input. All are made in house by Ondrives using the latest CNC technology in a purpose-built environment, according to sales manager Barbara Fisher. Specials can be quoted for where required and modifications can be incorporated into standard designs.

Newport has enhanced its calibrated integrating sphere detectors, which are designed to measure the output light power of high-power light sources. These spheres optimise the measurement geometry for laser beams and other light sources, whether collimated or divergent. The new series includes the Model 819C (collimated) and Model 819D (divergent) instruments. Both are claimed to deliver excellent NIST-traceable calibration uncertainties of less than three per cent for most measurement ranges specified.

The calibrated integrating sphere models with a silicon detector operate from 400Nm to 1,100Nm, while those with an indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) detector cover the spectral range from approximately 800Nm to 1,650Nm. To accommodate various power-range requirements, the calibrated integrating spheres are available in 2in, 3.3in and 5.3in diameters. The new design includes a robust port frame, as well as a variety of attachments and accessories to provide greater configuration flexibility.

Spheres of all sizes include an SMA fibre-optic connector on the north pole as a standard feature, allowing a small amount of light pick-off for wavelength measurement or any further analysis, without affecting the overall system calibration.

The AGT GSM temperature monitor is a remote-controlled device that can monitor temperature and report back by SMS text message or by email. It will respond with the current temperature when sent a text message and will automatically send warnings when preset temperature limits are exceeded. In addition, it has a 'ring out' mode, where it will dial up to 10 telephone numbers to 'ring the phone'.

The incoming caller ID tells the receiver that the AGT is calling with a temperature issue. The temperature sensor is digital and operates via a built-in RS232 port. The unit is powered from a 5-15VDC supply via a supplied mains adaptor, incorporates a global GSM/GPRS engine and needs only a SIM card and a GSM signal to operate. The operating temperature range is -30C to +75C.

The AGT can be programmed to log the temperature data at preset intervals and then to email the data log as a .CSV file once an hour. Applications include building management and automation and monitoring the temperatures of cold storage, air-conditioned rooms, hospital wards, food preparation areas, greenhouses, laboratories, quality test facilities, museums, archives, galleries, stately homes and factories.

Parker's Electromechanical Automation Division, a supplier of motion control technology, has released a catalogue featuring its IPS brand of structural framing products and systems. The 264-page guide features extrusion profiles, fasteners, brackets, handles, doors, panels, hinges, gussets and linear applications. The revised publication combines IPS's two previous catalogues, which covered metric and inch measurements.

Corey Raub, IPS product value stream manager, said: 'The release of the smart products, which allow mounting to inch or metric extrusions, creates a more universal offering. 'The flexibility of these newly designed products results in much simpler application, allowing our partners to utilise either series of high-strength aluminium profiles with a more common set of components,' he added.

The full-colour catalogue complements the selection of motion control products that are presently being offered by the Parker Automation Group. From this core range of products, Parker's Electromechanical Automation Division can design a variety of plug-and-play bundled solutions to meet customer needs. Printed on recycled paper, the IPS product catalogue is part of Parker's green initiative. Other projects in this effort include special products for applications in the energy industries, such as solar scribing and hybrid vehicles.

JSP has announced that customers in Africa have begun using its Arpro material to carry out component modelling for in-series automotive applications such as impact protection and interior components. The local manufacture of vehicles in Africa is stimulating demand for lightweight engineering solutions, while challenging transportation conditions require reusable packaging. Arpro customers such as Isowall in South Africa have been able to take advantage of Arpro 1000 - a new grade specifically designed for on-site expansion that negates geographic logistic penalties by reducing transport costs and emissions.

Steve Betchev, Isowall's production director, said: 'From one starting density, it's possible to mould an enormous density range, enabling us to mould product for all our applications. 'Logistics are reduced, storage is simplified, we are more cost effective and we've reduced our carbon footprint,' he added. South African moulder Automa, meanwhile, is using Arpro Porous to gain new business. Arpro Porous allows OEMs to reduce weight as well as noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), with tests showing noise reduction levels of up to 10 times that of alternative materials.

Guy Jaucot, Automa's manager, said: 'Noise reduction and other quality aspects have to be addressed without adding extra weight or harming environmental performance. 'There are always noise channels from under the floor and the engine compartment that need to be closed. 'Other materials weigh more and are not as flexible in design as Arpro Porous,' he added. Arpro material is designed for automotive, packaging and consumer product applications.

Nematron's Smart Series embedded IPCs feature rugged, compact structures and are suitable for industrial automation, telecommunications and mobile applications. The IPCs incorporate a fanless design that reduces power consumption and noise through the absence of forced cooling. The compact structure is designed to meet space-challenging applications and can be adapted to different installation requirements.

A high-vibration specification further increases suitability for harsh operating environments and the 9001 Core 2 Duo Model will operate in ambient temperatures of up to 60C. According to the company, the Smart Series is representative of second-generation fanless industrial processing platforms with the capacity to handle the chassis cooling requirements for a range of processors. The Smart 9002 supports the Intel Atom N270, while the 9001 model with a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo central processing unit delivers higher processing capacity for more demanding applications.

Both models offer a variety of I/O configurations including up to six USB 2.0 ports, two RS-232 ports, VGA and DVI video outputs, up to two 1Gbit Ethernet ports and a PCI expansion slot. The Smart Series can be equipped with a SATA hard disk drive and/or solid-state storage media or it can be accessed via Compact Flash from the front panel. The compact chassis design measures just 264 x 96 x 225mm. Nematron claims that the Smart Series offers excellent performance, scalability and network interoperability.

The MMT range of handles from Elesa is particularly suitable for applications where high-temperature equipment requires manual operation. The MMT, which features internal aeration channels and technopolymer insulation, provides a significant thermal break and a relatively cool handle, according to the company. The handles are suitable for use on ovens and other machinery running at high temperatures.

Laboratory tests on the MMT show a thermal gradient of 110C reduction from the mounting surface to the thermoplastic handle, enabling otherwise scalding hot material to be manipulated at comfortable hand temperatures.

NXP Semiconductors has launched CGVxpress as an extension to its high-speed data-converter technology portfolio, and the next generation of the CGV high-speed serial interface announced in 2009. The CGVxpress will be used in future NXP ADC and DAC product ranges. The first demonstration of CGVxpress will occur at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium, held on 7-9 June 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. NXP will showcase a 4.5Gbps CGVxpress transmitter interworking with an industry-standard FPGA over a 20cm differential data lane.

CGVxpress (Convertisseur Grande Vitesse or High Speed Converter) interface technology is suited for: wireless infrastructure, industrial, scientific, medical, and aerospace and defence applications, where high bandwidth, sample accurate lane synchronisation and deterministic latency are critically technical requirements. The CGVxpress feature set also includes support for Multi-Device Synchronisation. MDS solves tough system synchronisation and latency challenges in many digital communications-system applications, including LTE and LTE-Advanced MIMO radio base-stations. The CGV interface currently appears on several products in NXP's high-speed ADC and DAC product line - including the ADC1413D and DA1408D product ranges.

Features: reduces the number of interconnect signals between the data converters and logic devices; solves a major base-station system design challenge by synchronously bonding multiple data lanes with sample-level accuracy; CGVxpress facilitates significantly reduced PCB design and manufacturing complexity, impacting both NRE costs and marginal production costs; systems can often be implemented using fewer PCB layers as compared to traditional parallel interfaces.

The small coaxially aligned LC-LMD-650-12 laser modules are available as part of Laser Components' LMD low-cost laser module series. While the housing and the beam axis of standard products often differ by several degrees, the maximum angular error of the LC-LMD-650-12 modules is +/-0.05deg. This property speeds up assembly time. In light curtains, for example, each module no longer has to be aligned to match the photocell on the opposite side.

It is usually enough to position the module mount once. The laser modules then only have to be placed into the mount and soldered. The lasers also feature small dimensions. They have a length of 15.50 +/-0.05mm; the diameter is 10.00 +/-0.05mm. This type of module is available with an output power of less than 1mW and less than 5mW. The wavelength is 650nm and the operating voltage is 3V DC.

The new Han 70A crimp module is the latest addition to the Harting Han-Modular Series of heavy-duty connectors. Designed for use in applications presenting the toughest mechanical demands, the module is plug-compatible with the existing Han 70A axial screw module and allows the transmission of high power levels within a compact space. In a typical application, up to 12 power contacts rated at 70A and 1,000V can be implemented in a pluggable version in a Han 24 B connector configuration.

The unit can incorporate two power contacts per module and up to six modules per connector. It has a working voltage of 1,000V, combined with a conductor cross-section of 10 to 25mm. The use of crimp termination technology means that crimping tools already on hand can be used, although contacts can also be removed without tools. As an open connector system, the Han-Modular series is especially flexible and allows adaptation to users' individual requirements, so that users can put together their own combinations of connectors to satisfy the required configuration. The range currently includes 36 modules for electrical, optical and gaseous signals, with new modules continually being added.

International Rectifier has introduced the IRS2548D Switched Mode Power Supply (SMPS) control IC for energy-efficient applications for high-power Light Emitting Diode (LED) illumination. This includes LED street lighting, stadium lighting and theatrical lighting. The IRS2548D, which combines Power Factor Correction (PFC) and half-bridge driver in a single IC offers greater than 88 per cent efficiency for a 40V/1.3A HBLED load to deliver a higher efficiency solution compared with alternative flyback converter solutions at power levels above 60W.

By incorporating both control stages into a single IC, the IRS2548D provides an integrated solution for LED power supplies that simplifies design and helps reduce overall system cost, while providing significant energy savings. The device achieves PWM dimming down to less than two per cent light output and offers protection features that include programmable PFC and half-bridge over-current protection, latch immunity and ESD protection. The IRS2548D also includes variable frequency oscillator, fixed internal 1.6us deadtime, internal bootstrap MOSFET, internal 15.6V zener clamp diode on Vcc and micropower startup (250uA).

Elliptic has launched its HDCP 2.0 (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) Software Development Kit, a key security technology that addresses content protection for high-valued digital content. The specification has been endorsed by Sony, Panasonic, Intel and high-definition content owners Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment and others. The HDCP 2.0 Software Development Kit (SDK) is a fully portable architecture that can be used on all popular platforms and Operating Systems, including Android based devices.

The HDCP 2.0 SDK from Elliptic is a complete, robust and cost-effective content-protection solution for digital audio/video entertainment content in the wireless and wireline home-network environment. The solution is targeted at OEMs and embedded-system and device manufacturers, and can be seamlessly integrated into embedded components for use in tablets, media centres, DVDs, HDTVs, set-top boxes, game consoles, streaming controllers, laptops and other consumer electronic products.

Elliptic's HDCP 2.0 solution is based on the latest specification HDCP IIA Revision 2.0 and it supports all mandatory elements of copy protection: authentication and key exchange, content encryption and system renewability.

At the SMT exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany, on 3-5 May, Teknoflex will showcase its flexible and flex-rigid circuit technologies, and associated assembly capabilities. Teknoflex offers AS9100-accredited flexible and flex-rigid circuit design, manufacture and component/connector assembly capability, plus its novel and differentiated Surface Mount Interconnects (SMIs) and Regal Flex technologies.

Semikron has launched its newest MINISKIIP IGBT power semiconductor module, which is now also available in three-level topology. The module features a rated current of 4.9A/cm and one phase leg per module, enabling the development of compact inverters with output power of up to 85kVA. The MINISKIIP is characterised by the fast and easy single-screw assembly and therefore optimised for the efficient manufacture of three-level solar inverters and UPS systems. The rated current per unit of area is up to twice that of other three-level modules, according to the company.

Since no solid busbars are needed between the three phases/modules, more compact inverters can be made. The reverse voltage of the IGBTs and diodes used has been increased to 650V to enable DC link voltages of 900V for 480V three-phase power applications typical in commercial or industrial settings in the US. Each module has a three-level phase leg with sufficient space for 10 power semiconductors each.

Thermal and electrical connection between the module, the heat sink and the driver board is established with a single screw or two screws for rated module currents of up to 150 or 200A, respectively. This means that solder equipment and time-consuming soldering processes are done away with in the assembly stage. For solar-inverter output power of 60kVA and above, modules with screw connections were previously used for the busbars.

With MINISKIIP 200A three-level modules, the busbars can be replaced with cheaper PCBs in inverters with outputs of up to 85kVA. Former complex eight-screw connections have been reduced to simple two-screw-assembly solutions. The three-level product range from Semikron covers rated currents of 20 to 600A: featuring SEMITOP solder modules for up to 150A, MINISKIIP spring contact modules for up to 200A and SKIM screw connection modules for up to 600A.

Inertial Aerosystems has introduced what it claims is the smallest commercial integrated magnetic sensor chip currently available, for applications such as compassing and magnetometry. Designated the HMC 5883L, it is manufactured by Honeywell Aerospace and is designed for low field magnetic sensing with a digital interface. Included are improved high-resolution magnetoresistive sensors with automatic degaussing (demagnetising) strap drivers, offset cancellation and a 12-bit ADC for high-resolution Earth fields sensing.

By using established anisotropic magnetoresistive (AWR) technology, this product features advanced precision in axis sensitivity and linearity while measuring both the direction and the magnitude of the Earth's magnetic fields. It is designed for low-voltage operations (2.16V to 3.6V) and low power consumption (100uA), and is compatible with battery-powered operations. The built-in strap-drive circuits provide demagnetisation of the sensor for each measurement, as well as offset compensation for consistent measurements of 1/2deg and a reduced need for calibration.

Optional extras include: a built self test, which is built into the internal ASIC that can be used to quickly verify sensors' full functionability without needing test equipment; sensitivity matching from different axes/sensors; and the ability to adjust sensitivity drift owing to temperature. It is designed for high-volume, cost-sensitive OEM designs and is compatible with high-speed SMT assembly.

It is available in tape-and-reel packaging and complies with current environmental standards. Demonstration and pin-out boards for product evaluation and development are available. Applications include auto-navigation systems, personal navigation devices, magnetometers and consumer electronics such as mobile phones. It measures 3 x 3 x 0.9mm.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Schaeffler has announced that it is now offering its RUS and PR linear recirculating roller guidance systems to UK customers on fast lead times. John Loonam, linear product specialist at Schaeffler, said: 'Although the RUS and PR linear recirculating roller guidance systems have been part of our range for many years, many UK customers, particularly machine builders and machine tool retrofitters, still have a requirement for these types of linear guides.

'Fortunately, Schaeffler UK holds a good stock of these units available on fast lead times - typically one to two months,' he added. Linear recirculating roller guidance systems comprise INA linear recirculating roller bearings, with guideways and adapters. The units can be used as locating/locating or locating/non-locating bearings. In a closed arrangement, the bearings can support loads from all directions and moments about all axes. The RUS and PR versions within the range are said to be popular with machine tool retrofitters and machine builders as these units offer very high load carrying capacities while requiring little installation space.

Loonam continued: 'The units also provide extremely high rigidity under preload. 'The RUS and PR units come with adjusting gibs, which facilitate mounting and provide uniform distribution of the preload over the entire length of the linear recirculating roller bearing, enabling the preload to be set very easily,' he said. The RUS..KS version offers smooth, low-noise operation thanks to the seals on the end faces. This unit can be lubricated through the end piece and can operate in temperatures from -30C to +90C. The PR model is a full-complement cylindrical roller set and is suitable for use in high operating temperatures and at high speeds and high accelerations. Of all-metal construction, the PR can operate in temperatures from - 40C to +120C.

TE Connectivity (TE) has released the FullAXS connector system, which provides the SFP connection between the remote radio and basestation for telecommunications applications. This offering meets the requirements of next-generation Wimax and Long Term Evolution (LTE) Fiber To The Antenna (FTTA) connectivity designs for rugged outdoor use. It is also said to accommodate a broad range of SFP transceivers, allowing end users to select the transceivers that meet their specific system requirements.

Rugged cable assemblies used in Wimax and LTE FTTA applications establish their direct connection by plugging directly into optical transceivers through a bulkhead. Such connections require a connector that can accommodate a large tolerance in the Z direction. The TE FullAXS connector system meets this requirement by allowing for a large Z-direction tolerance while also offering the benefit of one-hand installation of the connector shell. With this new product offering, users can also remove and replace transceivers through a cutout in the bulkhead that completely eliminates the need to open the entire remote radio box and expose its contents to hazardous weather conditions.

For the optical connection, the connector system includes an industry-standard duplex LC interface for fast mating with all LC duplex SFP transceivers. The FullAXS connector can be designed for single- or multi-mode optical transmission applications. Designed to offer a versatile platform, the product has the capacity to expand to RJ45 and power connectors and is available in a field-installable version with splice to suit any cable. Features include: positive mechanical feedback to inform the operator when the connector is fully mated; no cable buckling during or after installation; robust bayonet locking for easy, fast and secure mating; a water-proof, dust-proof and corrosion-resistant design that utilises a metal die-cast bulkhead; and cost savings through the elimination of fibre management in the radio unit.

EMKA's 1130 concept flush slam lock is suited to doors or covers on equipment housings such as generator sets, HVAC cabinets or other freestanding equipment where frequent access is required. With particular attention to simple fitting and simple operation, and its easy-to-use paddle handle, the 1130 features an injected foam gasket with four-point fixing to achieve IP54 sealing compatible with these applications. It offers keylocking with all the standard EMKA key variants and permits slam locking with the mechanism in the locked position.

Construction is in polyamide with a depth of 53mm to accommodate deep insulated doors. Other compatible items from the EMKA programme include a full electronic locking system for remote installations, as well as various stainless steel locks and hinges. Many extruded rubber door sealing profiles are also available in EPDM, neoprene and PVC so that specialist panel builders may match door sealing requirements. 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.

Yaskawa has launched the EcoIPM series of low-energy motors, suitable for energy-efficient equipment and machinery in demanding working environments. When combined with a Yaskawa V1000 inverter, the EcoIPM permanent magnet motors form an efficient drive package that can help to reduce lifecycle costs. Under the EuP legislation, certain types of new equipment, such as pumps, fans and compressors, will have to meet efficiency requirements that can only be fulfilled by combining an IE3 motor with an inverter drive.

EcoIPM motors are claimed to offer better energy efficiency than standard motors. The permanent magnet motors are designed to optimise cost effectiveness and to help reduce carbon emissions through lower energy consumption when combined with a Yaskawa V1000 frequency inverter. With the EcoIPM motors, the company complies with the new EU directive (640/2009), which mandates that motors of the previous EFF2 efficiency class may not be sold from 2011 onwards. With energy prices going up steadily, inefficient types of equipment and machinery are becoming an increasing cost factor.

That is why, in the long run, companies can realise economical advantages by converting to EcoIPM motors in combination with frequency inverter-based speed control, according to Yaskawa. The resulting energy savings will cut down operating costs and the saving potential will increase as energy prices go up, added the company. In terms of lifecycle costs, the package combining EcoIPM and V1000 also delivers a range of benefits. The EcoIPM motor and the inverter both feature a compact design. The new motor is two sizes smaller than a level IE2 asynchronous motor.

The smallest member of the product range features a 56A frame size and the largest comes in a 90B frame size. The motors are available in B3 design and in flange-mount versions - both in 200V and 400V voltage classes. The V1000 inverter can control the EcoIPM without motor feedback, making the package suitable for demanding working environments. The inverters and motors are available for the European market and comply with European CE regulations. Yaskawa will present the new motor on Stand 320 in Hall B2 at Automatica.

Precision Microdrives has increased the vibration output of its 310-101 10mm coin vibrator motor, which is suitable for handheld applications such as mobile phones. The 310-101 vibrating motor features a compact size, a straightforward self-adhesive mounting method and an enclosed, shaftless design. The newly updated 310-101 is claimed to offer a very high vibration output amplitude. It remains a 10mm shaftless vibrating motor with a brushed commutation mechanism, and its typical output has been increased to 1.2g (11.72m/s).

A brushless 10mm motor, known as the 310-109, is also in production. The brushed commutator offers a standard runtime (before a 30 per cent change in performance) of 100,000 cycles (one second on, one second off), whereas the brushless version is rated at 700,000 cycles (seven times longer). According to the company, using vibrating motors in handheld devices is an excellent way to signal alarms and other events to users and operators. A vibration alarm mechanism is non-intrusive and is localised solely to the operator.

This is useful for tools that are utilised in environments where there is a lot of noise and where visual indicators such as displays and lamps might be hard to see. The 310-101 motor measures 10mm in diameter, has a height of 3.4mm and weighs in at 1.2g. Like all shaftless coin motors, the nominal voltage rating is 3V, and there is a 2.3V start voltage that the user must observe to ensure the motor will start in every orientation. When running at 3V, the motor produces a vibration frequency of 11,000rev/min (183Hz) and an increased amplitude of 1.2g (11.72m/s) of vibration under the Pico Haptic range inertial test load of 100g.

The current draw is typically around 65mA and the motor efficiency is rated at 6.3g/W. Audible noise is typically less than 40dBA, and the motors have an operating temperature of -20C to +65C, which can be extended by request. The motor comes as standard with AWG 32 flying leads, which can be modified in several ways upon request. The motor can be mounted in a recess in the product enclosure or simply stuck to a flat surface or printed circuit board (PCB) via its self-adhesive pad. This is based on long-life 3M high-strength adhesive tape.

The company's Pico Haptic range of micro vibration and pager motors is built around designers' requirements for vibrating motors that can be used in a variety of implementations. The range contains PCB-mounted vibration motors, leaded vibration motors with customisable connection options and a variety of mounting and encapsulation options.

Flir Motion Control Systems (MCS) is currently showcasing the E-Series inertial stabilisation module and a range of high-performance pan-tilts at the SPIE Defense and Security show in Orlando.

The company is offering QPT-20 users an easy way to move up to the PTU-D48 E-Series model pan-tilt as well as improved durability and performance. Flir is offering customers who have recently purchased a Quickset QPT-20 a PTU-D48 E-Series model at a discounted price. The Flir PTU-D48 E-Series model is designed for demanding real-time control applications.

Wago's new J1939 interface function block increases large engine efficiency by tracking, and reacting to, engine performance parameters via the Wago-I/O-System. The J1939 interface is compatible with SAE's J1939 protocol, which is favoured by engine manufacturers. This enables Wago-I/O-System programmable controllers and IPCs to cost effectively monitor and optimise engine operation on large vessels, generator sets or within plants. Monitoring multiple engines on one controller area network (CAN), the J1939 interface directs Wago-I/O-System components to run auxiliary devices such as cooling fans or to execute alarm, start/stop and speed control functions.

Engine data may also be transferred to a local human-machine interface (HMI) or to a SCADA system via fieldbus. The majority of Wago-I/O-System controllers, couplers and modules carry approvals including UL, ABS, DNV, GL, CE and ATEX. These make the J1939 interface and the Wago-I/O-System suitable for diverse engine monitoring applications, from those in oil fields to those aboard workboats and cargo vessels.

To simplify J1939 engine monitoring integration, Wago's Custom Product Division has developed a J1939 enclosure. The pre-wired NEMA 4X enclosure is equipped with Wago-I/O, such as the Ethernet 2.0 media redundancy controller for redundant networks. The J1939 interface will be displayed within Booth 6125 at the Offshore Technology Conference, which is due to be held on 2-5 May in Houston.

Giga-tronics has released the Series 8800, a range of Ascor common-core-based signal switching products designed to meet test requirements in defence and aerospace applications, for example. This new range of products provides a modular RF/LF/DC switching platform that is scalable and reconfigurable to meet existing and emerging test requirements covering the DC to 50GHz frequency range. The standard Series 8800 incorporates 12 switch modules that can be equipped with various relay configurations, including multiple SPDT through SPnT (n=3-6) relays in both terminated and non-terminated versions.

Other relay configurations are also available. Modules can be added or replaced when test requirements change. Should other signal conditioning components be required, there is a place to add components such as programmable attenuators, amplifiers, filters, circulators/isolators and power dividers/combiners. Front and rear panels can be tailored to a specific application - with custom labels for radio-frequency interconnection, if needed. Relays can also be mounted directly to the panel to maximise relay performance (relative to internally integrated relays that will have additional cable loss and increased path VSWR).

In addition, when test requirements change, the panels can be replaced with ones that are more specific to the new application. This enables the reuse of the common core of relays and other components for other projects. The Series 8800 integrates the Giga-tronics Ascor GT-8300A model. This mainframe accepts a variety of Series 3000 modules. With nearly 200 existing designs available, users can supplement the radio-frequency switching capability with DC and low-frequency switching as well as digital I/O and DMM functionality.

Walt Strickler, vice-president of business development for switching solutions, said: 'In the aerospace and defence test community, many projects and programs build their own test systems because they believe that their test requirements are unique and/or because of the sensitive nature of the project. 'Building unique test systems is much more expensive than leveraging a common-core platform and often does not take advantage of the collective learning over a wide variety of applications. 'Activities have been undertaken to make common-core testers available. 'The Giga-tronics Ascor Series 8800 embraces this concept and provides a common core available at the switching/radio-frequency interface unit level,' he added.

Stampingsimulation has announced that it is now offering Ansys structural simulations on demand. The company uses Ansys to analyse structural loading problems - any force applied to any object - to check for deflection and high stress areas that may fail.

Autoform simulates the forming of sheet metal, whereas Ansys simulations analyse structures, such as tool design or the strength of a sheet metal part loaded by a mass or external force.

Zwick Roell has introduced the hydraulic composites compression fixture (HCCF), which improves specimen handling, enables different specimen geometries to be tested and produces reproducible results. Found to deliver good results following tests carried out by a major European aircraft manufacturer in 2010, the HCCF was developed and patented by IMA Materialforschung und Anwendungstechnik in Dresden, Germany. It is produced and marketed by Zwick.

According to Zwick, the compression test is one of the most important tests performed on carbon-fibre composite materials. However, it can be a challenging test to perform accurately because introducing the load to the specimen is problematic and flexure and stress peaks can easily lead to erroneous test results. The new HCCF from Zwick is designed to eliminate these problems and give better control during tests. It enables shorter testing times, avoids errors and is very flexible, allowing different shapes of specimens to be tested. Compliant with the Airbus AITM 1-0008 industry standard, the HCCF can also be used for notch compression tests (OHC, FHC) to AITM 1-0008.

Versions that can be used at temperatures between -60C and +150C are also available. Zwick has also updated its Testxpert II software to include an expanded range of standard test programs for the composites industry. As well as producing suitable testing machines and fixtures, the company can now supply more than 40 standard test programmes for composites. Test programmes are available for all established types of test, such as tensile, compression, interlaminar shear strength, flexure, shear and so on, and all standards, such as ISO, EN, ASTM, Airbus AITM and Boeing BSS.

Harvard Apparatus has introduced a line of OEM syringe pumps designed for specialised solutions for a variety of fluid-handling applications to meet customers' fluidics-research requirements. OEM pump modules are capable of operating over a wide flow rate range, from picolitres/min to hundreds of millilitres/min.

Harvard Apparatus' High Pressure Models can easily handle viscous solutions with a linear pumping force in excess of 400lb. In addition to standard products, Harvard Apparatus can develop a pump and electronics for customised applications, including drug-deposition systems for medical devices and lab-on-a-chip systems.

Rittal's new LCP Extend is a liquid cooling package unit based on an air/water heat exchanger that solves the problem of high heat losses caused by Blade and 1U servers of up to 12kW per rack. Without having to modify the existing series of enclosures, this product can be attached as an independent cooling unit to the rear doors of practically any rack while the rack is in operation.

This means the system can be easily retrofitted in the event of any problems from thermal issue. Hot air, dissipated towards the rear by the servers, is forced through the air/water heat exchanger by fan units and then expelled. Maximising long-term energy costs is also essential, therefore the LCP extend can be connected to a free-cooling chiller circuit, which provides continuous cooling at minimal costs.

JW Winco now offers cylindrical-type GN 351 vibration isolation mounts, which are suitable for the elastic mounting of machine units such as motors, compressors and pumps, in metric sizes. Designed to be simple and economical construction elements, the RoHS-compliant components are also known as vibration mounts, anti-vibration mounts, vibration bobbins or rubber bumpers. Their resilience and broad range of different sizes and dimensions allow these mounts to be used in many applications that require vibration isolation.

These mounts are available in three types: with two tapped holes; with one tapped hole and one threaded stud; or with two threaded studs. The mount body is made of natural rubber (NR), vulcanised, 55 durometer with a shore hardness of +/-5 degrees. The cover plate is made of steel, zinc plated, blue passivated and moulded in, as are the tapped inserts or threaded studs. Tapped and stud versions in inch sizes are available upon request. Specials, with certain minimum quantities, are also available. 40 and 70 durometer natural rubber material is available upon request.

JW Winco offers a selection of inch- and metric-size adjustable levers; cabinet U-handles; plastic and steel hinges and locking mechanisms; revolving and retractable handles; hand wheels, cranks and knobs; tube connection and conveyor components; levelling mounts; spring, ball and indexing plungers; jig, fixture and fastening components; retaining magnet assemblies; toggle clamps; metric casters and wheels; universal joints; oil-sight glasses; and metric tools for the industrial and commercial equipment industries.

Warner Instruments has introduced the Biostat, a software-driven, multi-mode potentiostat for measuring pH, reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide. This system allows precise amperometric, voltammetric and temperature measurements to be made independently on up to four channels. According to Warner, total electrical isolation of each channel ensures independent recording with ultra-low noise. The Biostat system can handle signals of either polarity, employing either two-electrode or three-electrode sensor configurations.

The compact, rugged case and shielding is designed to be stable and durable, while providing immunity from external interference. Biostat can be used with Warner's line of Microminiature electrodes and sensors, or for any multi-channel, isolated data acquisition, such as multi-electrode electrophysiological recordings. Warner Instruments is a designer and manufacturer of biomedical devices for the electrophysiological, cellular and neurological sciences.

Maple Systems has released a Graphic HMI video capability that facilitates the control and monitoring processes of automation. From the general surveillance of a plant to capturing important process imagery when alarms or triggers occur, users can now integrate both live and recorded video into their HMI application. This imagery can then be stored on a removable device (SD card, USB Drive) and later reviewed for analysis.

Customers can connect a camera to their Maple HMI to view or record live video of their process in NTSC or PAL formats. For more coverage, users can connect two different cameras to the HMI and import video on two different channels. As an example, you could aim one camera on an entire bottling machine while another camera records closeups when a bottle is incorrectly filled. Users can also capture video when the viewing windows are closed - freeing users up to utilise another screen of their HMI application - even though video is being recorded. Maple's Video Feature works hand in hand with the Maple Media Player for functional image review.

It's easy to integrate the Media Player into the HMI application and take advantage of numerous audio/visual capabilities. With the Media Player, users can incorporate video tutorials for operational procedures, show important messages, exhibit crucial warnings, display advertising, utilise as an analysis tool for quality control or customise the feature to work for each control challenge. The media player has several functions for reviewing footage, including: forward, reverse, play, pause, zoom, next, previous, and a volume adjustment. Beyond functionality, the Maple Media Player can be customised to match the look, feel and design of the application. Supported file formats include: mov, mpg, mp3, wmv, flv, avi and wav.

The Guidelock Slimline F can be installed horizontally and vertically, and is designed to prevent cables swinging with the movement of the machine and becoming damaged. The Energy Chain is guided through a lightweight aluminium trough containing the Igus Guidelock system. This comprises a spring-loaded roller support bracket that moves away on contact and springs back afterwards to support the upper Energy Chain run. Up to 80 per cent less trough is required overall and the Energy Chain is still protected from extremes of movement, reducing costs.

The Guidelock Slimline F is also a fast and easy solution requiring less installation time and allows easy access for servicing. Debris is less likely to settle between the sliding surfaces with the Guidelock system, meaning that there is less chance of damage to the cables. A Guidelock Slimline F system is suitable for use in most lifting equipment, but the greatest benefits have been seen on lifts, elevators, storage and retrieval units, cranes and hoists.

A large construction and mining company has purchased couplings from Renold to provide a long-term solution to eliminate the constant failure of couplings on its underground mine trucks. For many years, the company was fitting V-type rubber-in-shear couplings between the engine and the gearbox. However, when the coupling failed, the truck was coming to a complete stop, often blocking an important access point. Renold recommended the HTB 4500 rubber-in-compression coupling.

Its intrinsically failsafe, maintenance-free and severe shock load protection properties, coupled with its high temperature capability of up to 200C, made it a suitable choice. A rubber-in-compression coupling was also favoured by the company as it can drive metal to metal to move the truck out of the way and continue mining if the rubber blocks disintegrate. This was illustrated when a problem with the oil circulation in the gearbox resulted in the gearbox overheating and destroying the rubber blocks in the coupling - the truck, however, could still be moved.

Mettler-Toledo, a supplier of precision instruments, offers the Newclassic MS as a durable, high-performance balance that helps grain operators acheive both accuracy and speed. This benefits not only buyers but also farmers, who are paid based on crop quality. Harvest is a busy time at grain-receiving sites and testers must work quickly, often in extreme conditions, to expedite offloading and reduce related operating costs. But in addition to speed, assuring grain quality is paramount to ensure the integrity of the international food supply chain.

Density, moisture content and protein quality must fall within certain tolerances to be accepted. Accurate grading produces more uniform flour and in the end, more satisfying bread and other cereal grain products. ISO 7971 specifies a multi-step routine for determining the bulk density or mass per hectolitre of grain samples. If any variable is off, an entire truckload may be deemed poor quality, resulting in expensive delays or even product refusal. This demonstrates how important it is to employ a well-designed and intuitive balance at pivotal supply-chain entry points.

Mettler Toledo claims its Newclassic MS delivers the accuracy, ease-of-use and durability it takes to perform under pressure every day. Density is calculated in kilograms per hectolitre (kg/hL), so receiving begins with the straightforward weighing of a half-litre of grain. Because harvested grain usually contains extraneous matter, the sample is screened and the balance switched to percentage mode. The screened sample and separated non-grain material are weighed separately for their respective percentages. Finally, the balance is returned to gram mode and 100 kernels are weighed and multiplied by 10.

If results are within accepted tolerances, workers begin unloading. Consider that this complex, multi-step process happens dozens or even hundreds of times per day and it becomes clear that the right balance can create big efficiency gains for grain operators. Mettler Toledo claims the Newclassic MS delivers not only the precision measurements required but also easy operation, to continue driving down testing time. It is designed to have a fast settling time that allows operators obtain almost instantaneous results. The Newclassic MS's High Contrast Display (HCD) adjusts for use in a wide range of ambient lighting to reduce operator eyestrain.

In addition, with the Newclassic MS's relative, as well as absolute, weighing modes and built-in arithmetical functions, various key ISO 7971 figures can be read directly or sent with a date and time stamp to a GLP/GMP-compliant printer for easy tracking. All mode switches are performed with quick presses of pre-programmed Newclassic MS Smartkeys. Audible keypress feedback and intuitive menus, available in a broad range of language options, also enhance operator confidence with the weighing process. The Newclassic MS's precision Monobloc weighing cell is protected by overload and shock protection. Precision features offer adaptive sensitivity as well, allowing the Newclassic MS to deliver accurate readings in the presence of external vibrations.

Mettler-Toledo's proprietary Fully Automatic Calibration Technology (FACT) is aimed to assure operators that the balance will continue displaying solid, repeatable results even with dramatic temperature swings at the test site. IP54-rated to protect against dust and water, the Newclassic MS is encased in a tough metal housing, reinforced with a chemical-resistant outer finish to increase durability. It stands rock-solid on a pair of Level Lock feet that have been added to the standard levelling system. An extra-large weighing pan is another helpful heavy-duty feature.

Euromark, a supplier of continuous inkjet (CIJ) printers and barcode systems, has received a number of orders from Irish beverage producers, such as Diageo, Antrim Hills and Cooley Distilleries. Equipment supplied by Euromark includes a range of Hitachi CIJ printers, barcode systems and portable print systems, which are all supported by the company's technical support. One of Euromark's earliest Irish customers, which is already seeing a return on its investment, is Dublin-based premium drinks business Diageo, who purchased three Hitachi coders following a successful trial of the equipment.

Diageo's continuous improvement engineering trainer, Chris Grehan, said the company had been impressed by Euromark's level of service, knowledge and assistance. The three Hitachi printers that Diageo has on site are being used to track and trace information on beer kegs and achieving more than 1,000 impressions per hour. Diageo has reported the Hitachis to be extremely reliable and economical in terms of consumables, which it also orders directly through Euromark.

Cooley Distillery, which is claimed to be the only independent Irish-owned whiskey distillery, also turned to Euromark for its Hitachi printers. Euromark supplied two Hitachi coders, which are being used to batch code up to 10,000 various sized and shaped whiskey bottles a day. Representatives from the distillery said they found the equipment to be low maintenance and reliable. Other services from Euromark include waste disposal and ink recovery applications, training courses, bespoke marking applications and customised software.

Air Science has introduced the Purair Eco line of energy-saving ductless fume hoods, designed to provide chemical and particulate protection over a range of laboratory and industrial applications. According to Air Science, Purair Eco is a safe, cost-effective and energy-efficient ductless containment cabinet that minimises stress on facility HVAC systems without compromising protection for personnel and the environment.

It is available with a choice of controllers, including the company's Ecoair touchpad control with colour-display interface. An optional BACnet network interface connects all cabinet control, monitoring and alarm functions to an open-source facility-monitoring system. The system is based on an industry-wide, non-proprietary ASHRAE-compliant protocol for green building management. The Purair Eco is available in five standard sizes from 30 to 69in wide. Complete details and specifications of the Eco energy-saving ductless fume hoods can be accessed via the company's website.

Tsubaki offers a wide range of small pitch conveyor chains and flexible attachment options, as well as the ability to customise standard products to meet specific application requirements. Tsubaki's small pitch attachment chain product range includes single-pitch, starting from as small as RS25 (6.35mm), and double-pitch chain. Double-pitch chains with flat-link plates are designed for applications where the conveying distance is relatively long or the speed is low.

Other available options include lube-free chain; corrosion-protected and resistant chain; lightweight options that utilise plastic rollers; and high-precision chain for critical indexing and conveying tasks. Some material options, such as stainless steel, allow use in high- or low-temperature environments. Small pitch attachment chain offers specific advantages for conveying smaller products, where accuracy and smoothness of motion are important. The small pitch allows for a more compact design and, being generally lightweight, the chain inertia is reduced, helping keep motor size and energy costs down.

There are a number of chains designed for higher-speed conveyors. For reduced maintenance and increased productivity, lube-free conveyor chain employs oil-impregnated bushes to deliver long life with no additional lubrication. Another option is corrosion-protected coatings for carbon-steel chain, or corrosion-resistant conveyor chain manufactured in a number of grades of stainless steel or engineering plastic. For applications in which high precision is required, Tsubaki offers chains employing needle bearings between the pins and bushes, which it claims suffers virtually no chain-wear elongation after the initial bedding in.

To address the requirements of advanced accumulating conveyors, Tsubaki has a free-flow series where the speed of the conveyed objects can be freely controlled or stopped at any time and at any position, for either accumulation or performing a task at a station without stopping the conveyor. This series is headed by the Double Plus chain, which is constructed with small and large rollers to allow high-speed transfer at 2.5 times the speed of the base chain itself, allowing accumulation with low-noise characteristics. The design of the chain and enclosed nature of the guide rail, along with the optional snap-fit covers, minimise chain exposure and improve safety.

Small pitch attachment chains are based on roller chains with attachments added, making them suitable for conveying use, with some chains also having a flat-link plate form. Available for direct or indirect product contact, the range of standard attachments covers a broad spread of application requirements, including many specialist conveying tasks. Tsubaki UK offers a build to order service that opens up a vast array of variations. Small pitch chains held in stock are ready to accept a range of attachments, tailoring them to a much wider range of applications.

Where there is a need for non-standard attachments, Tsubaki UK has in-house capability to offer a made to order service. Complete specified designs can be manufactured in the UK with short turn-around times for smaller production runs, or from Tsubaki's purpose-built custom chain division in Japan for more complex and larger-volume requirements.

Ashcroft Instruments has introduced the Heise DXD, a pressure transducer designed to be accurate, stable and suitable for use in a wide range of critical processes, test panels and laboratories. Up to 99 addressable Heise DXD digital pressure transducers connect directly to a serial port on a PC using standard telephone wiring. According to Ashcroft, the Heise DXD is accurate up to 0.02 per cent FS.

It is available in RS232 or RS485 communication protocol, with pressure ranges from vacuum through to 10,000psi. The pressure transducer delivers serial port speeds up to 115Kbps and update rates of up to 15mS. It connects to a PC with a standard RJ-11 telephone or RJ-45 Ethernet cabling. A Labview driver and utility software is available. Ashcroft Instruments will be at booth 2157 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, 2-5 May.

Investing in hospital bed mover machines from Mastermover has enabled Sodexo to improve porter productivity and reduce the risk of manual handling injuries at University Hospital of South Manchester. Now only one porter is needed to move a patient bed, meaning the productivity of the hospital's portering staff has improved dramatically. The Bed Mover caters for any bed type, so there are no issues with connecting to the three types of bed at University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM).

UHSM is an acute teaching hospital trust that provides services for adults and children at Wythenshawe Hospital and Withington Community Hospital. It is recognised as a centre of clinical excellence and provides district general hospital services and specialist tertiary services to the local community. Sodexo provides on-site service solutions to the NHS and other healthcare clients. It manages non-clinical services such as food, cleaning, laundry, waste management, switchboard, car parking, interior and exterior building services.

At UHSM there are three types of bed with a total bed count of 1,045. More than 100 porters, which are responsible for moving beds, are employed at the hospital. The three Bed Movers are used for both general patient movement and within the AandE department and Acute Theatres. Four months ago there were no machines for moving patient beds around the hospital. Two porters would have to move a bed manually, which is not ideal in terms of productivity, and there was also a risk of injury to porters. These factors encouraged Sodexo to find an alternative solution.

The Bed Mover is a compact machine specifically designed to manoeuvre patient beds quickly and easily, with little effort required from its single operator. It attaches easily to all bed types, using a coupling mechanism that connects the machine to the castors on the bed. British-designed and manufactured, the Bed Mover has standard ergonomic controls and safety features that make it suitable for healthcare environments. The machine is small enough to fit easily into hospital lifts and to manoeuvre into tight spaces.

Rather than coupling to the headboard or framework of the bed, the Bed Mover uses a novel trapdoor mechanism where the operator simply pulls the castors of the bed onto a multi-positional wheel lock, located on each side of the machine. As the wheel raises up, the bed castors drop into the trapdoor where they are effectively held in place. The porter then simply pushes a button on the machine that raises the castors off the ground, which provides more control over the bed during movement. Easy to clean or wipe down, the machine is finished in a white, anti-microbial paint and the coupling wheel lock has a polymer coat for durability.

The machine attaches to the top or bottom of the bed and can be manoeuvred and controlled from the opposite end of the bed using a joystick. The Bed Mover benefits from a range of safety features, including power steering, auto-braking, emergency stop and variable speed control. The AC motors on the machine also ensure quiet operation and improved control. Having used Bed Movers for three months, Sodexo is already beginning to see payback in terms of improved productivity of porters and in reducing accident and injury claims.

54 porters are now trained to use the Bed Movers and their feedback has been positive. Sodexo intends to buy another six Bed Movers in the near future. The Bed Mover is backed up by support from Mastermover's network of regional service engineers, who are on-hand to visit customer sites if a problem should occur on a machine, or if the customer requires extra training.

Integra has launched a new version of its popular Dose It peristaltic pump with enhanced functionality, enabling laboratories to undertake even challenging liquid-handling tasks. The new Dose It Customize software mode allows users to create their own personalised liquid-handling protocols. Up to 20 consecutive dispensing and aspirating steps can be defined. A range of settable parameters, such as volume, flow rate and repetitions, can be assigned to each step.

In addition, the flow rate can be set to ramp up or down to the target speed, avoiding foaming, splashing or unwanted turbulences during dispensing. Applications that have benefited from the new Dose It Customize mode include gentle filling of density gradient tubes by slowly increasing the flow rate, coating Petri dishes by adding and removing coating solution, and preparing serial dilutions by having an air gap between sample and the diluent.

Simple to set-up and implement, the scope for optimised liquid-handling protocols using the Dose It is said to be almost limitless. Dose It is an intuitive programmable peristaltic pump that simplifies the dispensing of cell-culture media, buffers and other solutions for volumes ranging from 0.1 to 2,500ml. Dose It features a very small footprint and weighs 3.5kg, making it suitable for bench-top or in-hood dispensing applications. Programming the Dose It is fast and easy through a multilingual user interface (English, Spanish, German, French and Italian).

The instrument's pump head accommodates the use of different tubing diameters (1-8mm), allowing a range of volumes to be dispensed with optimal speed and precision. A built-in print capability supports the capture of program details for record keeping and quality control. Many accessories are available to support a variety of dispensing applications.

Porvair Filtration Group has developed Universal Pig Traps for inserting pipeline inspection gauges (pigs) into a gas pipeline then launching, receiving and removing them without flow interruption. Porvair Universal Pig Traps, designed and manufactured to meet the strict safety requirements of T/SP/E/56, are provided fully painted and complete with monitors to confirm the launch or receipt of the pipeline pig.

The pigs are utilised for the purposes of pipeline cleaning and telemetry based inspection of pipelines. The equipment is designed and constructed to suit either fixed installation or mobile operations. Porvair Filtration Group (Gas Division) provides a total filtration service to natural gas, offshore oil and gas industries, from single elements to complete skid-mounted systems.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Physik Instrumente (PI) has introduced the E-725 three-channel motion controller, which is suitable for applications such as tracking or atomic force microscopy. According to the company, the performance of precision positioning systems equally depends on their mechanical systems and on the way they are controlled. Thanks to digital technology, users have access via software to numerous parameters that optimise the settling time and linearity or compensate for system inertia during fast scans.

Among other performance features, the E-725 is said to optimise the dynamic positioning of specimen in the X, Y and Z directions for applications such as tracking or atomic force microscopy. The E-725 uses modern interfaces such as USB and Ethernet. There are a number of software drivers available to support its integration as a subsystem in existing structures. The E-725 is described as a powerful 32-bit processor that ensures a servo rate of 20kHz.

The position signal has a 24-bit resolution. Digital inputs and outputs offer direct trigger signals from and to the devices in the system environment. Optionally, the individual axes can be controlled via analogue inputs. In addition, the ID chip feature makes it possible to directly operate the nanopositioning system without prior adjustment at the factory.

DGH has introduced the D6000 series of seven-channel analogue-input smart data acquisition modules that communicate using the Modbus RTU protocol with RS-485 output. The D6000 series allows sensors to be interfaced to any computer or processor-based equipment that contains a serial port. It consists of modules that measure voltage (+/-25mV, +/-50mV, +/-100mV, +/-1V, +/-5V and +/-10V), current (+/-20mA), thermocouples (J, K, T, E, R, S, B and C) and a universal module that accepts all of the above.

Up to 247 modules or 1,729 channels can be strung on a pair wire to a serial port on a host computer. The measurement resolution is 16 bits. Accuracy is a maximum of +/-0.05 per cent of full scale, while the conversion rate is 8/s to 25/s. Input-to-output isolation is 500Vrms and input burnout protection is 250VAC. Transient suppression on all RS-485 lines is provided. The modules contain a customer-programmable digital filter. All scaling, linearisation and calibration and communications values are stored in EEPROM, eliminating the need for pots or switches. Communication features include channel address, baud rate (9,600 to 115K) parity and checksum.

The series also includes a two-channel analogue-output module with 12-bit DAC resolution, programmable voltage or current outputs at 250 conversions per second. Modules with 15-bit digital input and digital output are also available. The modules are packaged in a 6 x 4 x 1.5in ABS case with plug-in screw terminal connectors. Each module requires +10VDC to +30VDC unregulated supply. Rated performance is specified from -25C to +70C.

Cognex has released the latest version of In-Sight Explorer, expanding the capabilities of In-Sight vision systems and giving In-Sight a range of advanced inspection tools. In-Sight Explorer 4.5 inspection tools now include an all-in-one edge and surface inspection tool, an all-in-one bead width and position tool and an ID tool that reads multiple codes at one time, allowing In-Sight cameras to read barcodes and provide inspections simultaneously.

The new Flexible Flaw Detection (FFD) edge and surface inspection tool works for both colour and greyscale applications and is used to inspect for boundary defects, such as conformity of shape, and surface defects including stains and scratches. FFD can also be used for print inspections, such as inspecting screened logos for defects. The tool also gives users the flexibility to select accuracy-versus-speed requirements and the ability to ignore defects during system runtime.

Bhaskar Banerjee, business unit manager for Cognex Vision Systems, said: 'Normal process variation causes false rejects without flex tools. 'Our new FFD tool provides a more accurate inspection that overcomes errors from lens and perspective distortion, scale changes, print registration errors and stretch from linescan images in one easy tool,' added Banerjee. In-Sight Explorer 4.5 also includes two new Easybuilder user interface tools: Bead Finder and Bead Tracker. Bead Finder and Bead Tracker are described as easy-to-use tools that find positional defects and width-based defects and gaps.

They also provide all the bead data needed for process control. ReadIDMax, also added to In-Sight Explorer 4.5, is based on the field-proven ID algorithms 1DMax and 2DMax for 1D barcode and 2D matrix code reading. ReadIDMax adds the ability to read up to 128 codes at one time, regardless of the position of the code in the field of view. Now, end users can read multiple codes and inspect parts simultaneously. In-Sight Explorer 4.5 also includes communication enhancements that include support for CIP-Sync, a precision clock synchronisation protocol and UDP communication.

The latest release supports sending camera control commands from Mitsubishi PLC using MC Protocol. Available in a range of models, In-Sight smart cameras are designed for automated inspection across a range of industries. In-Sight vision systems can be integrated with any factory network or automation control system and feature an optional operator display panel for monitoring the runtime operation of any In-Sight vision system on the network.

Air Control Industries has launched a new website and published a range of product brochures with a separate publication dedicated to each of the company's individual air-movement product ranges.

Features of the new website include easier navigation, more downloads (PDFs, DXFs and 3D images) and videos demonstrating products in use. Reinforcing ACI's international activities and regional support is the option to view the website in key languages.

Newport has introduced a terahertz (THz) pulse generation kit that uses a sub-35-fs Ti:sapphire amplifier system, designed for demanding applications by the research community. The kit can be integrated with a Ti:sapphire amplifier to generate terahertz pulses that can be further used for linear, non-linear and time-resolved spectroscopy applications. The THz pulse generation kit utilises standard Newport optics, opto-mechanics, manual stages and Conex-based motorised solutions to provide high performance and accuracy.

The 800nm Ti:sapphire laser pulse (1kHz ~ 300uJ per pulse) is focused into ambient air to generate the air plasma that produces THz pulses. With this design, the damage threshold is not a concern as the air replenishes itself from pulse to pulse. The generated THz pulse has the oscillation that spans about 1ps and has the estimated pulse energy of 0.1-0.3nJ per pulse. In addition, the ability to recover the phase and the amplitude information of the THz field through electro-optic sampling enables the kit to function as a THz spectrometer without further modification.

Keshav Kumar, product marketing manager for Optics and Technology and Applications Center (TAC) products at Newport, said: 'Our new air-plasma-based THz pulse generation kit is a preconfigured and versatile solution for researchers. 'It can be easily integrated with amplifier-based laser systems to generate high-energy terahertz pulses for several demanding applications. 'These include the characterisation of nanomaterials, detecting security-sensitive explosives, biomolecular spectroscopy and telecommunications applications,' added Kumar.

The Scout screw counter from Mountz is designed to help manufacturers to detect and eliminate costly screw-fastening errors during the assembly process. Screw counters verify that all fasteners have been installed and were seated to the tool's preset torque setting. These units take the control of the assembly process out of the operator's hands. The Scout screw counter is designed to detect cross threading, omissions, unfinished rundowns and cycle completes, ensuring that the assembly process is done correctly the first time.

The Scout operates jointly with Mountz electric screwdrivers and STC30 or STC40 power supplies. With four ports on the side of the Scout, a maximum of four screwdrivers can share one program with the unit. The Scout can 'learn' the characteristics of not only the power tool but also that of the application that it is being used on. This allows the screw counter to distinguish between a fastener that was properly seated and one that was either stripped or cross threaded. The intent of the screw-counting process is to ensure that all fasteners are accounted for during the assembly process.

The later an error is detected on the assembly line, the more it costs in rework time and expenses. If a fastening error is committed and detected during the assembly process, the operator can it fix by properly completing the process or prevent the faulty product from being moved down the line. The Scout screw counter improves production yields, manufacturing costs, product quality and product reliability by ensuring that every assembly has been subjected to a quality control review process right on the assembly area, according to the company.

Mountz has released a whitepaper designed to help users to understand, maintain and service their torque wrenches. According to the company, a torque wrench is a precision tool and should be treated and maintained like a measuring instrument. A torque wrench must be properly calibrated and maintained on a preventative maintenance and calibration schedule. Mountz can help users to learn valuable information regarding setting verification and calibration intervals, as well as preventive maintenance for torque wrenches.

Users can also gain a better understanding of different torque accuracies listed by suppliers as well as understanding the scale used on different torque wrenches. In the maintenance and manufacturing world, tightening, controlling or measuring the torque of fasteners is imperative for production efficiency and quality control. With inadequate torque, a fastener can vibrate or work loose. Conversely, if the torque is too high, the fastener can break or strip or adjoining parts may fail, causing premature malfunction, warranty or other liability.

Faced with these problems, manufacturers are realising that precise torque control can mean the difference between a safe, reliable and economical product and complete disaster, said Mountz. Anybody who must tighten a threaded fastener needs to control, monitor or measure torque with good-quality torque tools. If manufacturers and maintenance personnel wish to save money, make their workplace safer, enhance product quality or reduce their exposure to liability, only good-quality torque tools will get the job done properly.

Click-type wrenches are the most widely used torque product in the world. A recent IMPO survey indicated that more than 76 per cent of respondents used traditional, click-type torque wrenches. When the set torque is reached, a click torque tool typically emits a loud audible 'click' and a slight moment of release of up to 3deg, before going positive. At this point of click, a user should stop pulling as torque has been reached. As a torque wrench is considered a measuring tool, it must be properly calibrated and maintained on a preventative maintenance and calibration schedule.

Master Bond's EP30LTE-LO two-component epoxy is designed for bonding, sealing, casting and coating applications in the aerospace, electrical, electronic, chemical, optical and computer industries. Formulated with a special blend of polymeric and inorganic materials, the EP30LTE-LO is claimed to provide excellent dimensional stability. This epoxy combines excellent performance with a low thermal expansion coefficient.

Serviceable over a temperature range of -60F to 250F, the EP30LTE-LO cures at room temperature with 85 per cent of its maximum strength developed within 48 hours. Faster cures are possible at elevated temperatures. This 100 per cent reactive epoxy features a low coefficient of thermal expansion of 12x10-6in/in/C and a low shrinkage rate of less than 0.0002in/in. It bonds well to metals, glass, ceramics, wood, vulcanised rubbers and most plastics and produces bonds with a tensile strength over 5,000psi.

This electrically insulative system resists thermal cycling and chemicals including water, fuels and many acids, bases, salts and organic solvents. It has a long working life of up to 60 minutes for a 200g mass. The EP30LTE-LO has a 10:1 mix ratio by weight and can be easily applied with a spatula, a knife, a trowel, a brush or a paint roller. It can also be readily cast as thick as 1in without undue exotherm developing. The EP30LTE-LO is available in half-pint, pint, quart, gallon and five-gallon container kits. This low outgassing epoxy features a low thermal expansion coefficient with solid electrical insulation properties.

Gates' Fluid Power unit has launched hose monitoring, diagnostics and identification services designed to help OEMs, distributors and end users to maximise the productivity of their hose assemblies. Companies that depend on fluid power equipment at construction sites, mining operations, wind farms, marine facilities and offshore platforms, for instance, can use Sentry IQ and Sentry ID, the complementary components of Sentry Services, to track the condition and performance of hose assemblies and prevent hose failure.

This helps to eliminate equipment downtime, which can cost anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour for critical end-user applications. Sentry IQ monitors real-time diagnostic information about the operating condition and performance of hose assemblies, continuously measuring temperatures, pressures, impulse cycles and more to calculate remaining hose life and to identify hoses for replacement before failure occurs.

Sentry ID is a radio-frequency tagging system that allows field service personnel, mobile equipment operators and fleet managers to identify and track specific hose assemblies operating worldwide. It facilitates quick location, repair and replacement, according to the company.

Simulation software from Stampingsimulation has helped volunteer organisation Connecticut Corsair to restore a Corsair F4U fighter aircraft. The restoration of the Second World War aircraft is intended to provide a medium by which current and future students can be educated in the areas of maths, science and engineering.

The project is also designed to promote and develop the advanced manufacturing processes hosted by the local businesses in Connecticut. Stampingsimulation worked alongside the Corsair team to help form the parts right the first time.

Transmagic, a developer of 3D design data repair and conversion software, has released the Transmagic R8 service pack 5 (sp5). Transmagic grants clients access to the latest technology and product enhancements for seamless 3D data exchange. The software provides a universal 3D interoperability platform to preserve design data accuracy and reusability for years into the future, according to the company. The new release includes many enhancements designed to empower users of 3D data to get the most from any 3D design file.

The enhanced Assembly Browser in Transmagic now offers access to more metadata and information than ever before. These new features are optimised to help professionals quickly find and use the data they need. In addition to processing huge files, Transmagic R8 sp5 turns multi-gigabyte assemblies into a virtual design database, allowing parts and subassemblies to be exported and reused, on demand, for any purpose. 'By eliminating the barriers to access and reuse of your engineering data, Transmagic offers improved design efficiency throughout the product manufacturing cycle,' said Todd Reade, chief executive officer of Transmagic.

New features and enhancements in R8 sp5 include the updated Assembly Browser for added functionality and performance; greater access to engineering data and product manufacturing information (PMI); and enhanced PMI support for Catia V5 and Parasolid. Transmagic offers regular product updates so customers can stay current with all major CAD programs for maximum interoperability. New file version support includes Solidworks 2011, Siemens UG/NX 7.5, Siemens JT 9.4 and Parasolid v23.0.

The features listed above are available in specific configurations of Transmagic; localised or embedded versions may not include all features. Transmagic develops efficient and easy-to-use 3D data exchange software to seamlessly convert, translate, repair and view native 3D models in multi-CAD environments. Transmagic offers scalable solutions ranging from desktop applications to enterprise systems with PLM integration. The software supports all major CAD systems and is compatible with most CAD/CAM/CAE applications for analysis, manufacturing, simulation and visualisation.

Huntsman is developing resins and adhesives as part of the Trans-IND project, which is dedicated to the industrialisation of fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) components for transport infrastructure. The European Commission-funded project's consortium is composed 21 partners, including large constructors, machinery manufacturers, material providers, engineering societies and high-technology universities and research centres from nine European Union countries.

The primary objective of the Trans-IND project is to develop a flexible, cost-effective industrialisation system of FRP components for transport infrastructures through the complete integration of the whole construction process. This system involves the development of a conceptual model and modular designs using FRP-based materials for all types of transport components, including off-site manufacturing, logistics and transport and on-site assembly, together with the ICT tools needed to manage the whole process.

FRP-based manufactured components for construction applications have the potential to achieve a high level of targeted performance, delivering a technically viable and economically feasible solution, while producing a favourable outcome in terms of sustainability, safety and quality of life. Owing to the high levels of complexity in bridge components manufacturing and assembly, when compared with other applications, the first pilot case is focused on composite bridge components. This initiative seeks to introduce a fresh approach to transform bridge components manufacturing from a supply-driven, resources-based sector into a sustainable, demand-driven one.

Concentrating on the efficiency of resources alongside performance- and knowledge-based criteria, the pilot also aims to ensure that cost-effective practices can be achieved in the process and lifecycle of bridge infrastructures. Klaus Ritter, marketing manager in charge of transportation at Huntsman, said: 'FRP-based materials have become the material of choice for many transport infrastructure applications, but further integration of the entire supply and value chain is required, as is the development of high technologies for designing and manufacturing FRP components, to transform on-site construction and off-site manufacturing.

'Trans-IND is making a substantial contribution to the standardisation and development of new processes and technologies that will have a significant impact on components manufacturing and the transport manufacturing industry as a whole,' added Ritter. Huntsman has a lead role within this project to define, develop and supply the resin systems for the composite parts and the adhesives for parts assembly. These materials will need to fulfil the stringent criteria set by the defined industrial processing conditions and targeted, structural performance requirements.

Stemmer Imaging now offers a range of GigE cameras from IDS, including the GigE Ueye CP that is designed to reduce costs and simplify installation in applications where space is severely limited. The GigE Ueye CP has a compact housing of 29 x 29 x 41mm, yet offers all the benefits of Gigabit Ethernet technology such as a bandwidth of more than 100MByte/sec over cable lengths of up to 100m, as well as featuring Power over Ethernet (PoE) connectivity.

The combination of the small dimensions and PoE capability allows both power and data to be sent over a single Ethernet cable. A lockable connector for an external 12-24V power supply is also provided for non-PoE configurations, as well as trigger and strobe connections. Available in colour or monochrome versions and a choice of WVGA, 1.3-megapixel and 5-megapixel resolution, the GigE Ueye CP range features CMOS sensors with global and rolling shutters to give excellent image quality. All cameras have a C-mount lens connector and offer a host of optical filters, such as IR, daylight-cut filter or glass.

The new range, like all other Ueye camera models, comes complete with tried-and-tested software tools such as Camera Manager and Ueye Demo to facilitate rapid camera integration. Camera Manager ensures fast plug-and-play configuration on both Windows and Linux systems. For added versatility, the cameras are supplied complete with interfaces for various image processing packages, including Common Vision Blox from Stemmer Imaging; standard drivers such as Directshow (WDM); a Genicam interface; and a software development kit.

Lincoln Electric has added a Kohler 9.5HP Model CH395 overhead cam (OHC) gasoline engine to its Outback 145 welder, which is suitable for jobsites and outdoor welding applications. The welder is designed for applications that require a rugged and easily portable machine that includes a reliable generator. This unit is specifically designed for contractors, maintenance crews, farmers and ranchers, as well as for use on service trucks where portable DC stick welding and AC generator power is needed.

The new Outback 145's Kohler engine features a cast-iron cylinder liner for long engine life as well as automatic shutdown for low oil level and a three-year engine warranty. The unit delivers 145A of smooth DC output welding for use with up to 1/8in stick electrodes on steel, stainless steel, cast iron and hard-facing projects. Its single, full-range, calibrated welding output dial makes it straightforward to set the best current for any maintenance, fabrication or repair project. The Outback 145 high-capacity AC generator provides 4,750W peak power and 4,250W of continuous power for accessories such as grinders, work lights and pumps.

It can also provide emergency backup power if needed. A low-cost Lincoln Electric Power MIG 140C or Power MIG 180C compact MIG wire welders can also be plugged into the 240V receptacle without an adapter for high-productivity wire welding. Weighing 234lb, the Outback 145 features Lincoln's Low-Lift grab bars, providing increased leverage for lifting the unit on and off truck beds and extra protection against damage. The rugged 1-1/4in-diameter tube frame provides sturdy all-around protection. The 6.8-gallon fuel tank offers extended run times and less frequent refuelling than comparable welder/generators, according to the company. The tank also includes a large fill opening.

After its festoon systems began to fail as a result of corrosion, a manufacturer of lifting equipment mainly used in paper mills decided to use Igus Energy Chain cable carriers on its gantry cranes. An Energy Chain system is mounted horizontally on each machine, where it guides and protects more than 75m of power cables. The cable carriers deliver a longer service life than the festoons in the dusty, humid environment found in paper mills.

As well as accommodating high ambient temperatures, which can peak at 50C, these are accompanied by up to 100 per cent humidity levels. Igus Energy Chains feature crossbars to facilitate access to the cables and can be opened using a screwdriver or by hand. In contrast to a festoon system, which allows the cables to move around in an uncontrolled way, the Energy Chain system offers excellent protection and stops the cables from moving around and catching onto other equipment or structures. This results in a reduction in downtime and also eliminates the corrosion problems associated with festoon rollers and trolleys.

Igus delivered the cable carriers as Readychains - pre-assembled, out-of-the-box systems complete with Energy Chain cable carriers, Igus Chainflex continuous-flex cables, connectors and other accessories. The Readychains saved the customer time and eliminated storage costs. Plastic Energy Chain cable carriers are said to be capable of long and short travel distances at high speeds in all orientations. They can be used in a variety of applications, ranging from machine tools and construction equipment to packaging machines, medical devices and clean-room applications.

Trumpf's new Trutool TSC100 slat cleaner is designed to remove accumulated slag resulting from stainless steel, mild steel or aluminium laser processing. It is said to be quick, clean, time saving and highly effective. Not only are the slats cleaned on the sides but also in the hard-to-reach spaces in between. The result is a clean flatbed laser machine. The Trutool TSC100 automatically adapts to different slag thicknesses and the operator can move the tool up to the pallet frame.

It is said to be easy to handle and can be comfortably operated by one person. On flatbed laser machines with a pallet changer, cleaning can be in parallel to production. According to the company, clean slats are important to the process stability of the laser cutting machine. If slag is allowed to build up, not only is the quality of the process compromised but so too is the quality of the finished part. As the Trutool TSC100 makes the job straightforward, there is no need to let this happen.

The slat cleaner can be used on practically all conventional flatbed laser machines with laser power up to 7kW, enabling slats to be cleaned several times before replacement becomes necessary. This can yield substantial cost savings when compared with manual slag removal. Until the end of June 2011, the Trutool TSC100 is available at a special introductory price of GBP2,200.

Tooling company Walter claims that users of the Tiger.tec Silver inserts are realising tool life increases of 100 per cent. For example, machining a variety of workpieces at similar cutting data (feeds and speeds), the Walter Tiger.tec Silver insert achieved a 100 per cent increase in tool life when machining St52-2 guide tracks (using a Xtra.tec octagon cutter) and a 75 per cent increase in tool life on the face milling of GGG50 brake callipers using a Xtra.tec shoulder mill.

Tiger.tec Silver features a surface treatment that significantly reduces the in-cycle machining stresses of both wet and dry applications, thanks to its balanced combination of a high level of toughness and maximised hardness. The result is an insert that will compensate for any brittleness that may develop as a result of the CVD coating process. The CVD-Al2O3-grade coating counters any influence from thermal shock that can lead to thermal cracking at the cutting edge and minimise tribochemical wear on the flank face.

These are key areas that can lead to premature insert failure. The Tiger.tec Silver designation reflects the insert's two-tone finish of glossy silver on its flank face and black on the rake angle face. Not only is this colour combination distinctive, but it also provides a practical indication of wear. Within a year of its launch, Walter has expanded its range of indexable inserts to embrace all its milling tools for steel and cast-iron machining.