Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ESAB has introduced two new models in its Powercut line of manual cutting packages. The lightweight portable Powercut 900 and 1600 packages are designed to make cutting easier and more economical due to design features that simplify operation, reduce setup time and enhance consumable life. The Powercut models are said to offer the highest speeds and thickness capabilities in their class, as well as high duty cycles. Through a combination of long parts life, high speeds and simple torch design, they give the lowest cost per metre of cut of any machine in their price class, claims ESAB.

The power source is contained within a durable, damage-resistant external housing that is also corrosion and weather resistant. The sensitive internal electronics are suspended from the aluminium frame and insulated from shock and vibration. Silicone-sealed switches are also immune to corrosion and dust/dirt infiltration. A quick-disconnect torch disconnects from the machine simply, allowing easy dismantling for storage, repairs or replacement by a mechanised torch. A digital readout shows the exact pressure or amperage, as well as help codes to assist in troubleshooting and reduce downtime.

Blowback technology eliminates high-frequency start ups that can disrupt CNC controls and nearby computer systems. An automatic function senses which cutting mode is in operation - normal cutting, gouging or grate cutting - and adapts machine operation accordingly. Additional features include a side-mounted automatic fan control that allows the fan to run only when necessary to conserve energy and reduce ingested dust and dirt.

A built-in power-line conditioner protects against damage from power-line noise and spikes, even with poor-quality power. The torch wrap and spare-parts kit holder allows convenient storage of the torch and spare parts in the consumables box. The Powercut 900 cuts 22mm thicknesses and the 1600 cuts 38mm thicknesses. A 'plug n play' mechanised option transforms the manual cutting system into a powerful mechanised system for a gantry machine.

Elesa's BJT series of M6 to M14 glass-reinforced technopolymer spherical rod ends are suitable for rotary, oscillating and linear movements, even in particularly aggressive environments. They can also be used where water or humidity, fine dusts, dirt, fabrics and machining residues are present. The shaft rotary movement can take place directly on the inner diameter of the spherical cap, made of self-lubricating materials - they are designed to require zero maintenance with low wear and to absorb vibration and stress while minimising noise.

They have high mechanical strength and low weight, while being corrosion resistant, even in aggressive industrial environments. The BJT series is maintenance free and especially good at compensating misaligned linkages and absorbing vibrations and transverse stresses with low noise. Applications are likely to include sensor mechanisms, gas struts, rod-control linkages, motion control - low-power movement transmission and pneumatic actuator systems.

These may be found in print machines, light mobile equipment, HVAC flap and valve controls, and machine guards. This operation of oscillating levers and conversion of rotary to linear motion is particularly useful for remote operation of long rod systems - for example pick-and-place assembly machines.

Facom has released a range of roller cabinets and top-chests featuring design features that are designed to challenge traditional and restrictive workshop storage facilities. The Jet+ roller cabinets are available in three widths with up to 11 drawer combinations and with built-in features to increase efficiency for workshop owners and mechanics.

Innovations include retractable edges to accommodate large objects, wheels that only require a 7kg force to move the unit, handles designed to counter slippery hands, fast tool access and soft bumpers to absorb shock and protect vehicles. Each unit can be custom configured with flexible numbers of drawers per cabinet and modular tool storage for each drawer. All of the work surfaces are made from 2mm-thick ribbed, pressed aluminium that is also reinforced with a 15mm wooden board for strength and durability.

The Como Datacenter Type 2829B is a proprietary software designed for use with the Kistler Como Injection system, helping to support zero-defect plastics injection-moulding manufacturing objectives. It is designed to streamline and simplify the data-collection operations of the Como Injection data-acquisition system, by allowing it to automate information flow during plastics injection-moulding production. The Como Datacenter features an intuitive interface and its own 4GB storage database, allowing the user to view, analyse and store product-manufacturing data.

It also offers real-time statistical analysis capabilities and the ability to output a clear and comprehensive status overview within a hectic production environment. If the database is required to be used without size restriction, software may also be installed and run with a full version of Microsoft SQL Server. Kistler Como Datacenter provides plastics injection-moulding manufacturing personnel, such as operations managers, shift supervisors and quality management, with accurate and rapid insight into production status.

The system uses multiple variables associated with the production order, with easily and cost-effectively exported data for additional analysis or incorporation into ERP systems. Subsets of collected data, such as good/bad, maximum/minimum, integral or other variables produced by Como Injection may also be identified and analysed. Software is compatible with most global industry versions of Microsoft Windows 7, with multiple Como Datacenter user licences available upon request.

Recently, print-mail automation specialist Capstone designed its large-scale Autoviri mail sorting and packing system, which included a PBC Linear actuator, to perform a critical transfer task. After working through some initial design challenges, Capstone, with PBC Linear's support, was able to produce an efficiently automated system that processed 1,000,000 pieces of mail per shift without shutdown or manual intervention. The complete Autoviri packing system performed 99 per cent complete packing automation from beginning to end.

PBC Linear was contacted to provide a linear motion solution to transfer the mailing trays into the package-sleever. Capstone required a system that was robust, could operate at high speeds and could run 24/7 with virtually no maintenance upkeep. The linear motion system also had to fit into the already specified profile Ellison had specified. Based on the initial loading and motion-profile requirements, Ellison chose PBC Linear's MT series linear actuators for the critical transfer function - specifically the compact MTB042 as it fit into the narrow envelope of the transfer area.

Initial prototype testing showed that unplanned impact forces and higher-than-expected moment loads were being place on the MTB042 actuators due to variations in the reused mail trays and sleevers, which would sometimes cause interferences and jams. This resulted in damage to the actuator's carriage. The stock MTB042 actuator did not have enough load capacity for the unexpected loading that was occurring and a larger actuator would not fit. Ellison requested PBC Linear's assistance.

After evaluating the application with an onsite investigation, PBC Linear used FEA (Finite Element Analysis) to model the loading and then designed and supplied special MTB042 actuators that were able to handle the impact loads and higher moments. PBC Linear installed an external Mini-Rail linear guide support on the side of the actuator for more pitch moment capacity and robustness against impact load. A reinforced carriage was designed.

PBC Linear outfitted the MTB042 with ports so that the actuator body could be supplied with pressurised air for creating positive body pressure and preventing the ingress of paper dust. Internal bearing blocks with extra seals were installed for further robustness against dust. The design still fit into the compact working envelope and provided the reliable mail-tray transfer that Capstone required. The packaging system Ellison provided was able to continually run 24/7 without unplanned shutdowns, cycling up to one billion pieces of mail per year automatically.

A leisure centre in Sittingbourne, Kent, is set to save GBP4,000 a year on the costs of air handling for its swimming pool following a trial with an ABB low-voltage AC drive. The Swallows Leisure Centre is operated on behalf of the local authority by Serco Leisure, which was concerned by the energy use of the air-handling unit (AHU) in the upper pool area. To deal with a condensation problem in the pool hall, this AHU was being run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no control over its output.

To improve this situation, Serco asked ABB Drives Alliance member Mid Kent Electrical (MKE) to investigate the application and determine any savings that could be made. To assess the application, MKE monitored the power being consumed by the existing 22kW supply fan in the AHU over a period of one week, revealing that the average power consumption of the fan during the period was slightly more than 19.5kW. The second stage of the trial involved replacing the star/delta starting system with a 22kW ABB standard drive for HVAC. Running at full speed during the day, this was set to run at 30Hz between 10.20pm and 6.20am. This was monitored over the same period as the direct-online system, giving an average power consumption of 14.84kW. With an electricity cost to the leisure centre of GBP0.10/kWhr, running the AHU fan unregulated would cost slightly more than GBP17,000 per year and be responsible for around 92 tonnes of CO2 a year.

By contrast, operating it with the ABB drive would cost GBP13,000 a year, a saving of slightly more than GBP4,000 per annum. It would also cut equivalent CO2 production to 70 tonnes a year. This would give a payback period of less than one year. As well as the upper pool hall AHU, there is another AHU in the lower pool hall and one in the gymnasium that could also potentially benefit from ABB drives.

Sensirion has introduced the LG01 micro flow switch for ultra-low liquid flow rates and bubble detection in bio-medical and process control applications. The sensor is said to make fluidic systems more reliable by enabling the detection of liquid flow within the range of a few millilitres per minute and less. For such measurements, the sensor offers a response time of less than 100ms. Its output signal of either 0V or 5V indicates whether the current flow rate is above or below the specified flow switch level.

At continuous flow rates above this limit, the identification of air bubbles within the flow channel is equally consistent. Maximum flow rates are accepted up to 220ml/min. Fluidic connections can be made via 1/4-28 standard fittings, suitable for connecting plastic tubing with outer diameters of 1/8in (3.2mm) or 1/6in (1.6mm). Barb connector adapters are available as an alternative.

The small and light sensor is designed for integration into bio-medical applications and general process control solutions. Good chemical resistance and biocompatibility are ensured by its non-invasive measurement through the wall of the straight, internal glass capillary (diameter 1.8mm) and fluidic connectors made of PEEK high-end plastics. The product is based on a digital MEMS chip.

Key Technology has introduced a three-way sorting capability on its Manta automated sorter for the food industry. Featuring two ejector systems, three-way sorting allows food processors to automatically eject product that can be reworked and recovered separately from material sent to waste, typically foreign material (FM). Good product continues through the camera/laser sorter unaffected as usual. Key Technology said this capability allows processors to produce a high-quality finished product without losing recoverable off-grade product to the waste stream or requiring additional sorting expense to separately rework product.

Manta with three-way sorting is suitable for processors that want to remove foreign material as well as valuable off-grade product from their primary product. For these processors, traditional two-way sorters require the reject stream be re-sorted using manual inspection or a second automated sorting system to recover valuable off-grade product. Depending on the application, moving to three-way sorting can increase yields, reduce the risk of FM in finished product, reduce labour costs, and/or minimise capital equipment.

Bret Larreau, optical product manager at Key Technology, said: 'Green bean processors are using the three-way sort to remove FM with the first ejector and remove beans with remaining stems, which are subsequently re-snipped with the second ejector. 'Potato processors are using the three-way sort to control for length. 'The second reject stream, for product that can be reworked and recovered, improves the quality of the pass stream, accepting only good product that matches product specifications,' he added. Manta is Key's highest-capacity, high-performance sorter, which features a 2m-wide scan area that maximises throughput in a space-saving footprint.

Handling up to 24 metric tons (60,000lb) of product an hour, Manta performs high-resolution imaging of each object to detect and remove the smallest defects and foreign material via both colour sorting and laser sorting. Using Key's proprietary colour cameras, Manta recognises each object's size and shape as well as millions of colour differences to remove defects based on user-defined accept/reject standards. Integrating the company's Raptor laser technology into Manta allows the sorter to inspect objects' structural properties, which is often the most effective method for detecting and removing foreign material.

As a high-speed belt sorter, product discharges Manta sorters with a consistent trajectory that enables the software to accurately pinpoint foreign material and defective products to eject. Featuring two ejector systems and two reject chutes, Manta equipped for three-way sorting is very versatile. It can be changed over within seconds via the touchscreen to achieve traditional two-way sorting of off-grade products with no recoverable value. Manta is based on Key's G6 electro-optical platform. Featuring a modular design and high-performance connectivity standards such as Camera Link, Firewire, and Ethernet, Manta ensures forward compatibility to maximise a food processor's long-term return on investment.

Comsol, the maker of Comsol Multiphysics simulation software, has introduced the Microfluidics Module, offering easy-to-use tools for the study of microfluidic devices and rarefied gas flows. The Microfluidics Module is designed for researchers, engineers and experimentalists in the fields of microfluidics and vacuum science. Application areas include lab-on-chip devices, digital microfluidics, biosensors, electrokinetic and magnetokinetic devices, inkjet technology, and vacuum system design.

The module is accompanied by a suite of tutorial and industrially relevant models that serve as both instructional examples and as a foundation for future work. The Microfluidics Module includes interfaces for single-phase flow. With these interfaces, users can simulate applications such as compressible gas flows at low pressures, non-Newtonian flows (for example, blood flow), and laminar and creeping flows that typically occur in lab-on-chip systems. A particular strength in this module is it modelling interfaces for executing two-phase flow simulations using the level set, phase field, and moving mesh methods.

A variety of fluid-interface effects is included, such as surface tension forces, capillary forces and Marangoni effects. These flow simulation tools and the multiphysics capabilities of Comsol make it easy to set up coupled electrokinetic and magnetohydrodynamic models for the simulation of electrophoresis, magnetophoresis, dielectrophoresis, electro-osmosis, and electrowetting effects that are used alone or in combinations in both existing and emerging passive electronic display technologies for their basic function. Chemical diffusion for multiple dilute species is also included in the module, enabling the simulation of processes occurring in lab-on-chip devices and biosensors.

The Microfluidics Module comes with a free molecular flow interface that uses the fast angular co-efficient method and allows for simulations where the molecular mean free path is much longer than the geometric dimensions. Combined with Comsol's Livelink interfaces for industry-standard CAD packages, the tool is suitable for vacuum system design because it enables users to run quick parametric studies of chamber geometries and pump configurations. The Microfluidics Module is supplied with a set of fully documented industrially relevant and tutorial models, including: capillary rise; jet instability; drug delivery system; electrokinetic valve; electro-osmotic mixer; electrowetting lens; lamella mixer; star chip; viscous catenary; vacuum capillary; and ion implanter.

The annual Subcon Show taking place on 7-9 June 2011 at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, is focused on the arena of subcontract manufacturing. The show features 250 suppliers of subcontracting services across all areas of manufacturing and visitors include 3,500 key specifiers and buyers from the manufacturing arena.

Highlights of the show include a Manufacturing Technology Zone, a Tooling Show and a free seminar programme featuring expert speakers, including presentations from Richard Noble OBE of the Bloodhound SSC team and Don Wales, holder of the world-speed record for a steam-powered car. Visitors can gain free admission with advance registration. Opening times are: Tuesday 7 June 2011, 0930-1630; Wednesday 8 June, 0930-1630; and Thursday 9 June 0930-1600. The show is organised by Centaur Exhibitions, part of Centaur Media.

Heico Fasteners UK is to showcase its Heico-Lock anti-vibration bolt securing system at the Subcon 2011 event. The high-quality wedge-locking washer is suitable for demanding bolt-fastening applications and meets the requirements of the DIN 25201-4 standard and DIN 65151 'Junker' vibration test. Heico-Lock wedge-locking washers positively lock fasteners using tension instead of friction.

The pre-assembled pair of washers have inclined clams on the inside and radial 'teeth' on the opposite sides. Tightening of the bolt leads to a gripping action of the teeth, thus seating the surfaces. Once in place, movement is only possible across the face of the cams. Working together, both sides of the locking washers combine into a fastening system that prevents loosening of joints by shock and vibration.

LVD has introduced a compact material storage and retrieval tower (CT-P) for Strippit turret punch presses, including Strippit V, VT, M and VX series models. The space-saving CT-P system is said to provide increased productivity by facilitating optimal material flow and unattended operation for uninterrupted punching.

The system provides full capabilities for loading, unloading and storage of raw material and finished parts, enabling automated production from stored raw material to stacked finished parts, as well as providing increased storage capacity. The CT-P unit facilitates unmanned, 'lights out' production in a compact cell environment. The tower is offered in two configurations: six-pallet and 10-pallet units. The system can handle workpieces as large as 2,500 x 1,225mm and sheet weights up to 90kg with a maximum load/unload pallet storage capacity of 2,500kg.

SKF has introduced its separable high-capacity cylindrical roller bearings to support high-speed shafts in wind turbine gearboxes. Equipment manufacturers can add advanced technology and increase system reliability by incorporating these bearings within gearboxes and turbine units, the company said. For wind farm owners and operators, the ability to reduce gearbox failures and turbine downtime can minimise operating and maintenance costs, helping to lower cost per kWh and increase profitability.

The separable high-capacity cylindrical roller bearings from SKF combine the advantages of conventional cylindrical roller bearings and SKF high-capacity cylindrical roller bearings. They are sized to match standard original bearings, yet feature extra rollers for increased load-carrying capacity. In addition, they offer the ability to separate the inner ring from the rest of the bearing components without the risk of the rollers becoming disengaged. Conventional bearings used to handle minimal load conditions and quick acceleration and deceleration can suffer smearing due to high levels of wear, potentially leading to bearing failure.

To minimise this risk, the design of the SKF separable high-capacity cylindrical roller bearings has been optimised, with an inner-ring cage guidance mechanism and a lower-weight brass cage for low inertia of the roller set. In addition, the use of black-oxidised rollers is said to improve running-in behaviour and prevents oil film build-up to ensure more stable running conditions. The separable bearing design also enables easy mounting and dismounting, according to SKF. This helps to reduce replacement and maintenance times during top-of-turbine repairs.

The Trupunch 3000 electric punching machine from Trumpf offers efficient, skeleton-free punching made possible by powerful nesting software combined with the option to rotate parts and scrap. The result increases reliability in several areas, according to the company. For example, parts are cleanly separated from the skeleton, the operator no longer needs to remove leftover material from the table, and the machine automatically separates finished parts from the scrap. Production costs are also reduced in the region of 10 per cent because less material is required.

The Trupunch 3000 introduces Trumpf's electric punching head, which is said to bring several benefits. It is quieter in operation and uses little power in standby mode. When it is punching it is more energy efficient, using 2kW of power per hour less than its predecessor. The punching head is also more productive, according to Trumpf. Tools are rotated at higher speed giving more benefits - threads are formed quicker, for example. The absence of the hydraulic head allows the Trupunch 3000 to occupy a footprint that is smaller than the previous-generation machine by 5m2 (about 13 per cent). With the quality of processed surfaces becoming increasingly important, Trupunch 3000 has been designed to handle material as gently as possible. A key feature in this regard is the machine's parts chute, which ejects cut components horizontally into a collection bin, stacking them evenly.

Workpieces measuring up to 500 x 500mm are discharged, scratch-free, via the parts flap. The Trupunch 3000 can be operated with standard containers so material logistics can be uniform throughout the production process. It is also compatible with the Trumpf Sheetmaster, which includes part picking and can automatically remove individual parts and stack them in a predetermined layout. Further automated options include Sortmaster Box Linear, a sorting unit for small finished parts, and Disposemaster, which separates all process waste according to material type.

Linear Technology has introduced the LTC3833, a high-frequency controlled on-time synchronous step-down DC/DC controller with differential output voltage sensing and clock synchronisation. The controlled on-time, valley current-mode architecture forces a very fast transient response by increasing its operating frequency during a transient event, allowing the LTC3833 to recover from a large load step in only a few cycles. Its 4.5 to 38V input range encompasses a variety of applications, including most intermediate bus voltages.

Strong onboard N-channel MOSFET gate drivers allow the use of high-power external MOSFETs for high load current, up to 25A in applications with output voltages ranging from 0.6 to 5.5V, making it suitable for point-of-load requirements. The LTC3833's differential amplifier provides true remote output voltage sensing of both the positive and negative terminals, enabling high-accuracy regulation independent of IR losses (up to +/-500mV) in trace runs, vias and interconnects.

A 20 nanosecond minimum on time allows for a high step-down ratio power supply at high-frequency operation. The operating frequency is selectable from 200kHz to 2MHz or can be synchronised to an external clock. The output current is monitored by sensing the voltage drop across the output inductor (DCR) for highest efficiency or by using a sense resistor. Additional features include an onboard bias voltage LDO, soft-start or tracking, adjustable current limit, overvoltage protection, current limit foldback and external VCC control.

The LTC3833 offers high total differential regulation accuracy and is specified to account for all error sources, including line, load and differential sensing. The LTC3833 total differential output voltage accuracy is +/-0.25 per cent at 25C, +/-0.67 per cent from 0 to 85C and +/-1 per cent over the full -40 to 125C operating junction temperature range. The LTC3833 is available in thermally enhanced 3 x 4mm QFN-20 or TSSOP-20E packages.

Program 1056 hinges, now available from EMKA, provide 180deg opening with screw-on and lift-off features. This makes cabinet production much easier where frames and door panels are produced in different facilities - in addition fixing with EMKA 2D nuts greatly aids rapid door alignment. 1056 hinges feature stainless-steel hinge pins, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor equipment, and are stocked in a range of sizes from 40 x 40 up to 60 x 60mm.

The 1056 lift-off configuration matches the existing 1056 range, but is able to either complement existing installations or refit in order to confer the benefits of quick door removal for equipment access or refitting. 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.

New IP cores for image scaling, video deinterlacing and graphics acceleration are now available in Cast's Video and Image IP core product line. Cast offers a range of video and image compression IP, with cores for H.264, JPEG 2000 and five JPEG variations. The new processing cores handle functions typically required before or after compression or decompression, enabling Cast to offer a more complete video/image IP package to system-on-chip (SoC) designers.

The products just launched and now available for ASICs or FPGAs are: Polynomial, Frequency Domain and Anisotropic Image Scalers, to convert the original resolution of an image or video to that of the system's display. These image-scaler core choices help designers to optimise systems for applications ranging from very small mobile displays to ultra-high-resolution large screens. The Motion Adaptive Video Deinterlacer converts analogue television or 1,080i signals to non-interlaced, high-quality format for subsequent processing or display.

The deinterlacer can perform fast and accurate Film Mode detection - also called Inverse Telecine or 3:2 Pulldown - for reconstructing original 24fps material. A 2D Graphics Accelerator speeds up high-quality, high-resolution image rendering by implementing common graphic functions such as block transfers and vector drawing in fast hardware. These cores are sourced from video and image IP company Trilinear Technologies.

GPEG's custom design service is suited to manufacturing segmented displays with icons, such as energy metering, marine electronics, industrial instrumentation, consumer products and readout displays. Using vertically aligned LCD technology produces a display with a good contrast ratio and wide viewing angles. Typically, the contrast ratio is more than 800:1 with viewing angles of 80/-50deg up/down and -80/80deg left/right.

The manufacturing process does not require a traditional black mask, thus reducing the complexity of the display. Using a white LED backlight ensures a bright, sharp image with an extended operating temperature range of -20 to 80C. The displays also work well in direct sunlight. The standard display features a black and white image, however alternate colours can be produced using colour films or a different coloured LED backlight.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A series of thermal imaging cameras rugged enough for heavy industrial applications and compact enough for use in research and development and automation has been introduced by Land Instruments. The new Arc cameras have high-resolution radiometric imagers and field-of-view options that can view targets at any distance with high clarity. They operate over a wide temperature range (-20 to 1,000C).

Applications for the Arc Camera include: automation, process control, automotive, machine vision, waste management, coal hotspot detection, critical vessel monitoring, product testing, petrochemical, metals, plastics, packaging, paper, food, minerals and medical. Because temperature processing is performed by onboard software, the cameras do not need to be connected to a PC. Connection to a range of I/O modules by standard industrial Ethernet allows simple standalone operation.

The high-resolution thermal imager uses advanced focal plane array detector technology to produce high-accuracy temperature measurements. Available options include two temperature ranges, four lenses, two frame rates and three software variants. Standard Arc Viewer software enables visualisation of thermal data; Viewer+ offers configuration of smart camera features; and LIPS allows complete analysis, recording and playback of thermal data. A choice of enclosures allows dependable operation in harsh environments.

Kistler, a supplier of instrumentation for the dynamic measurement of pressure, force, torque and acceleration, has introduced the Type 9887A2 Control Room Electronics System 2000 to the US market. The Type 9887A2 is expressly designed for the processing of non-spinning signal outputs from Kistler Roadyn Type S625, S635, S650 and S6HT six-component wheel force systems within six-degree of freedom, test rig, spindle-coupled road simulator and other high-accuracy vehicle-durability testing applications.

The Kistler Type 9887A2 Control Room Electronics System 2000 is designed to meet the needs of analogue and digital vehicle test rigs and stands. The system offers clear, intuitive user menus, touch-screen operation, a sampling rate of 5kHz and 16-bit resolution for full vehicle testing and diagnostics. Individually measured analogue signals of the Kistler Type 9887A2 are instantly digitised, coded and passed onto control-system electronics via a connecting cable, transmitted with minimal signal delay of less than 1msec.

The digital output of the Kistler Type 9887A2 also offers a fully scalable range, from small cars to light trucks, which further allows for the automatic identification of wheel-measuring components, along with the separate calibration of system-load cells and the fine tuning of individual measurements. The unit's 19in case accommodates plug-in cards for one- or two-wheel transducers. The system is also offered with digital interface variations for specific test stand electronics, allowing for improved uptime with reduced wiring connections, as well as digital connection capabilities to MTS Flextest.

Specific vehicle test-stand capability enhancements supported by the Kistler Type 9887A2 include a web interface for live-view control-room access, signal offset and calibration data import and export, as well as archiving capabilities per ISO9001. Recommended accessories include an IDSP Card with Ethernet port and embedded web server, as well as use of Type 5277A remote system electronics.

Wind-turbine manufacturer Nordex has purchased FiberSIM software from Vistagy to streamline its entire design-to-manufacturing process for composite wind-turbine blades. Nordex is using FiberSIM to develop detailed ply designs, accurate flat patterns and manufacturing output, and complete documentation for the engineering release.

FiberSIM will enable Nordex to enhance the automation of its product-development process and optimise assembly glue gaps. Nordex also noted that FiberSIM is a 'powerful tool' for composite design and manufacturing when used within its Creo Elements/Pro (previously Pro/Engineer) CAD system. FiberSIM is fully integrated into the PTC Creo Elements/Pro, Dassault Systemes Catia and Siemens NX CAD systems.

Hylec-APL has been working with OEMs, installers and distributers in a number of industries to deliver weatherproof connection solutions to a range of high-profile applications. The Tee Family range of connectors, plugs and junction boxes allows installers to make quick connections, which are ingress protected to IP68. With a number of sizes and entry options, the range is proving suitable for many applications where connections need to be protected from harsh and wet environments.

The fully approved all-weather Teetube, Teebox and Teeplug are being promoted exclusively by Hylec-APL. The range offers IP68 protection with up to eight pole connection options (depending on product) and includes cable connectors, plug-and-socket connectors and junction boxes. The Tee products use dome-topped cable glands to provide very quick and secure connections without the need for specialised tools.

The Tee Family is suitable for many applications in a number of outdoor and industrial environments. Past applications have included fans, pumps, air conditioning, refrigeration equipment and LV power distribution for commercial and domestic premises.

Inmoco has extended its Exlar range of SLM brushless servomotors with a new 180mm frame size that offers users high levels of peak torque (69Nm) from the smallest package available. This performance is the result of T-LAM stator technology, which is employed across the SLM range, providing 35 to 70 per cent more torque and higher efficiency than conventional high-speed brushless servomotors with equivalent frame sizes.

The SLM servomotors are a range of motion products designed to offer the OEM good performance, quality and customisation possibilities. The torque performance and efficiency provided by the motors is the result of a design harnessing a combination of high-density Neodymium iron boron magnets and the limited heat-generation qualities inherent in the T-LAM segmented stator design. In particular, the elimination of end turns in the stator and the use of thermally conductive potting removes the parts most susceptible to failure in a traditional stator.

The design also benefits from interface insulation against the high voltage and currents of today's servo drives, and from Class 180 -H insulation that complies with UL requirements. The SLM range covers five frame sizes; 60, 90, 115, 142 and 180mm; these units providing maximum continuous torque in the range from 1.69 to 69.10Nm at base speeds from 5,000 to 2,400rpm. The servomotors are of a rugged brushless construction, enabling them to withstand the rigours of the factory floor with minimum levels of maintenance. They also benefit from high levels of sealing, including epoxy-coated housings and IP65 ingress protection, for use in demanding environments.

The suitability of the SLM servomotors for OEM use is further enhanced by the connection options available: MS connectors with embedded leads, or embedded leads with cable plugs and by the feedback options, which enable the servomotors to be used with almost any commercially available servo amplifier. A range of options, including special shafts, mountings, stators and housing materials, are available to customise the SLM servomotors to meet specific OEM requirements. In addition, the servomotors can be supplied with an integral power-off brake.

With power removed, this locks the actuator shaft, securing the external load. The size and performance capabilities of the SLM units mean that they are ideally suited to challenging motion applications across a range of industries. A typical list of these includes: machine tools, printing, process control, materials handling, automatic assembly, web processing, robotics packaging machinery, coating, testing and aerospace.

Leading the development of a distribution network of natural gas for vehicles (NGV) in Switzerland, Apex is providing consulting services, NGV refuelling equipment and maintenance services. For the planned verification and calibration of a refuelling station, Apex founder and general manager Ueli Oester relies on Mettler Toledo rugged high-accuracy instruments. One important service provided by Apex is the verification and calibration of dispensing systems to bring them in conformity with national weights and measures legislation.

The flow of gas dispensed to a car is measured using the Coriolis principle. Bringing the measurements of a mass flow meter in compliance with national and international standards requires a high-accuracy scale and a set of approved calibration weights. The Apex service trailer contains three gas bottles made of composite material, a KB60 scale and a Mettler Toledo IND429 display unit. Beginning with the verification process, the weights and measures officer verifies the KB60 using his own set of OIML/NTEP weights. He verifies the scale regularly according to a procedure responding to the GWP guideline recently introduced by Mettler Toledo.

The verification of the NGV dispensing system consists of two complete and one partial bottle filling. Once filled, the value displayed at the dispenser is noted. The bottle is placed on a small hand cart and transported to the scale that Ueli Oester installed nearby. Moving the filled bottle (60kg) from the cart to the scale causes mechanical constraints that the scale is able to withstand. However, particularly when an instrument is submitted to varying conditions of usage or mechanical constraints, it is important to verify it on a regular basis.

Douglas Electrical Components (DECo) has developed customised wire feed throughs for a line of MALDI TOF mass spectrometers used in protein biomarker research. The wire feed throughs have been specially designed to supply power, controls and monitoring into the high-vacuum, high-voltage environment of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight (MALDI TOF) mass spectrometers.

Each unit requires six wire feed throughs supplying 30,000VDC, six additional wire feed throughs supplying 15,000VDC and 12 additional wire and coaxial feed throughs providing control of active elements and signal monitoring.

The OPC Training Institute has released OPC Rescue, a diagnostic tool designed for anyone in the automation industry who wants to effortlessly eliminate their communication issues. OPC Rescue enables end users to not only diagnose communication and security problems with their systems, but to also repair them instantly with the push of a button. DCOM configuration is taken care of by the program, allowing end users to focus entirely on their systems.

With no installation required, OPC Rescue may be used with any brand of OPC applications. According to the OPC Training Institute, the wizard-based interface makes it easy to diagnose and repair communications, configurations and security issues. The diagnostic tool also handles more advanced settings, such as OPC communication on specific TCP/IP ports, DCOM settings, Windows firewall configuration and so on. OPC Rescue's Snapshot function instantaneously provides an organised and comprehensive report of all settings affecting OPC communication. Its Security Audit function generates a report that outlines potential security risks that could compromise the integrity of a user's industrial information.

Wago's new 2706 series PCB terminal strips are designed to bring lever-operated terminations to compact electrical applications, such as inverters, power supplies and other field-wired applications. The tool-free operation of the 2706 series eliminates the speciality tools and torque specs required by traditional screw terminations. It has a UL/CSA 30A/300V rating and accommodation of conductors AWG 24-10.

Ranging from 2-12 poles, the 2706 series provides a lever for each pole. Lifting each opens a cage clamp spring pressure unit, which remains open for conveniently terminating multi-conductor cables into the terminal strip. Lowering the levers creates an audible click, signalling that the units are secured. The 2706 series resists the thermal-, vibration- and current-induced loosening common to screw-style terminations, thus eliminating preventive maintenance.

Pin spacing ranges from 7.5 to 12.5mm, with the 12.5mm variant achieving UL 600V certification. The 2706 series is available with jumper slots for potential commoning via optional comb-style jumper bars, and additional accessories include test plugs and marker strips.

AMOT's new brochure details how the Model G three-way temperature control valve combines fast response and low pressure drop, for tighter temperature control, with a small envelope and pipe size. The temperature control valve's improved compactness is targeted to reduce installation times and lower installation costs.

AMOT claims its latest valve models offer a lighter and more compact port-configurable design that can be installed in any orientation, providing a direct replacement to the GEF- and GPD-type valves without any extra parts. The new electric actuator is designed to improve system robustness, safety and compatibility, while simplifying calibration.

Intertronics recently launched the Bluewave LED prime UVA high-intensity spot-curing system and a line of compatible adhesives from technology partners Dymax. The unit is claimed to offer many advantages over conventional spot-curing systems, including no consumable bulbs to change, no warm up, cool cures and constant intensity up to 50,000 hours. The Bluewave LED Prime UVA generates curing energy using high-intensity LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) and is believed to produce the highest power of any LED spot-curing lamp on the market.

This system delivers maximum curing energy output through a 5mm-diameter lightguide, with an adjustable output up to more than 15W/cm2. The relatively narrow frequency band produced by LEDs generates cooler curing temperatures for temperature-sensitive substrates and results in reduced power consumption. All of these features make the Bluewave LED Prime UVA suitable for manufacturers looking to embrace quality and throughput while complementing other 'green' initiatives.

Specially formulated LED-curable adhesives have been developed for use with the new Bluewave LED Prime UVA. These adhesives range from ultra fast (less than 2sec) to fast cure and accommodate industrial and medical device bonding, potting and coating assembly needs. They bond in seconds to a variety of substrates, including glass, metal, ABS, PC and PVC.

In partnership with Invertek, Sontay has introduced two new inverter ranges designed to provide effective electrical energy savings in HVAC fan and pump applications. The two ID inverter drives can also be used to enhance efficiency in a variety of process operations. The ID-CT (standard inverters) and ID-VT (variable speed) drives are designed to be compact, robust, reliable and easy to use. Within pump applications, these drives can help ensure an evenly distributed workload for maximum productivity.

They feature an energy-saving sleep mode at low or zero flow conditions; an automatic dry-shutdown facility; and the capability to lower flow and maintain supply in the event of a burst pipe or leak. For air-handling equipment with valves, fans and dampers, these drives provide control through enabling easy frequency skipping, immediate broken-belt warning to reduce fan downtime and an alarm override mode, to keep the drive operating as long as possible if a fire breaks out in the building. Complying with the latest EU Directive for Mandatory Minimum Efficiency levels and the latest International Efficiency Standard IE2, ID inverters feature on the Government Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme's (ECA) Energy Technology list, which delivers tax rebates upon the installation of energy-saving equipment.

These inverters can also be used to claim subsidies from utility companies. Programming can be carried out through the keypad or via a PC, PDA or smartphone. To ensure there is no loss in connection, the Inverter Drives feature an integral RFI filter and use Modbus RTU serial communications. Sontay products are designed to help improve building management system performance reduce energy and maintenance costs and increase occupant comfort levels.

Porvair Polypropylene Gas Filter (PPGF) sleeves are made from proprietary binder-free, polypropylene fibre filter media, designed to provide a highly permeable matrix with low resistance to gas flow. According to Porvair Filtration Group, the filtration efficiency of the PPGF sleeves has been extensively tested and confirmed to be fully compliant with the requirements of T-SP-E-13. This standard requires a gas filter to achieve 95 per cent efficiency at the required particle size stated.

The PPGF material has a gravimetric efficiency of 99.95 per cent when tested over a size range of 0.75 to 10 micron. PPFG filter sleeves are manufactured in a seamless circular method using a mandrill former, upon which the needling is performed. This process enables a filter media with a high void fraction of approximately 75 per cent to be produced, which provides the benefit of a high relative dirt capacity. Porvair claims the material's compressive nature enhances filtration because, as it nears its end-of-life condition (determined through differential pressure), the material closes up and strengthens to prevent breakthrough of the retained solids.

According to the company, the use of polypropylene in its PPFG sleeves provides a material with an inherently high resistance to chemicals; a broad thermal operating range; and the ability to resist mechanical fatigue. Polypropylene has a relatively low surface energy of approximately 30mN/m and therefore has a tendency towards hydrophobicity. This enables it to repel water that may be present in droplet forms in gas flows. Because the material is regarded as recyclable, Porvair claims it poses a minimal environmental risk.

In a recent project to design a range of moulded-case circuit breakers, ABB SACE used Protomold, a Proto Labs service, to make various parts for the Formula and Tmax XT models. Protomold not only produces individual injection-moulded prototype parts, but can also supply relatively small batches of production injection-moulded parts faster than conventional suppliers. Proto Labs offers two services: Firstcut produces CNC precision-machined one-off and low-volume prototype components, while Protomold provides rapid injection-moulded parts in batches from 10 to 10,000 in number.

Both operations employ powerful computers and proprietary software to help designers optimise a part for production, meaning that even customers with absolutely no manufacturing experience can still use Protoquote, the company's online automated ordering system. The Protomold online ordering process is available in five European languages, including Italian, and is designed to be straightforward and easy to follow. Designers who upload a CAD model receive a Protoquote in a matter of hours, which gives an accurate price and details of areas where a design can be improved for manufacture.

ABB SACE was seeking to expedite the prototyping and development phase of new product development, so that new and improved products would reach customers more quickly. The ABB RandD department had tried almost all the conventional rapid prototyping technologies, including stereolithography, mechanical processing and so on, before discovering the Protomold process. It found that rapid prototyping can provide a model of the part, but the materials with which the parts are made do not permit satisfactory functional testing.

As well as testing mechanical characteristics, ABB also needed to test a new part at elevated temperatures. Once the tests had been conducted and the design had been finalised, the company also used Protomold to provide the first production parts. ABB SACE reported that the production solutions offered by Proto Labs were fast and reliable, and that the parts delivered were of the highest quality. Proto Labs provided parts at prices that met ABB SACE's budget and were able to guarantee tight tolerances on even small working parts.

Vaisala has introduced its Multiparameter Transmitter DPT145 for the online monitoring of SF6 insulation in high-voltage equipment. The DPT145 combines online dew point monitoring with pressure measurement, enabling assessment of the condition of SF6 insulation continuously and in real time. Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is used as an insulating gas in transmission and distribution equipment such as switchgears and circuit breakers to prevent arcing during switch offs and to protect equipment from failures.

The direct normalised pressure measurement of the Vaisala DPT145 detects leakages immediately, while online dew point measurement provides early warning on moisture issues, which affect the insulating properties of the gas and cause rapid deterioration. The Vaisala DPT145 is capable of providing online monitoring of seven different parameters at once. It measures dew point, pressure and temperature directly, and provides calculated values for density, normalised pressure, dew point in atmospheric pressure and ppm.

When one single instrument monitors seven different parameters, fewer mechanical connections are needed, which reduces the risk of leakages. Savings can be achieved across the board in the form of smaller investment and installation costs, and less need for onsite servicing, for example.

Beko Technologies discusses the evolution of compressed air and how it is generated and treated. 35 years ago, the salesperson selling compressed-air generation and treatment equipment had very few tools at his disposal. Many systems were oversized because there was no low-cost means of deciding the size of the system, so educated guesswork was used. The only scientific way to determine component sizes was to note all equipment consuming compressed air and then observe the cycles or take a usage factor - if using a drill it is unlikely that the drill would be in constant use as the hole would normally be drilled to insert a screw or bolt.

Even doing this usually led to a calculation that would oversize a system. Filter manufacturers were still focusing on sterile air and process filters rather than compressed air. Dryer manufacturers were making fridge dryers with no great attention to power consumption or pressure drop and desiccant dryers were selected on capital cost rather than running costs, resulting in more 'heatless' dryers purchased but wasting up to 20 per cent of compressed air through purge loss.

The rising costs of fossil fuels and the increasing awareness of ozone depletion by refrigerant gases and other contaminants drove all manufacturers to focus on reducing energy costs. As a result of this, the compressed-air industry came up with variable-speed drive options, zero-loss drains, zero purge and heat of compression dryers, and intelligent controllers. At the same time, the mind sets of plant engineering staff became more focused on tackling waste. Leakage became a big issue, notably when many sites discovered that their leakage rate was higher than 20 per cent and that a well-maintained site would be likely to be 10 per cent.

When the calculation of energy costs was made, this waste was significant, even when large sites were only paying GBP0.03/Kwh. Beko Technologies' initial contribution to this paradigm shift was the Bekomat level-sensing, zero-loss drain. Beko's decision was that all foreseeable developments in generation and treatment of compressed air would be tweaks unless a quantum change happened. Beko decided that its strategy for the 'next big thing' would be to diversify into measurement while not losing sight of the core business in compressed-air treatment.

The belief is that customers who have invested in some of the products mentioned would want to have more opportunity to manage and control their systems with the minimum operating costs. This meant in Beko's opinion that more companies would need to measure the flow, leakage, pressure dew point, pressure and oil, and particulate content of their compressed air. Beko Technologies offers a range of measurement devices that meet the needs of 2011 and beyond. One of the most interesting product developments is the Metpoint OCV, which measures remaining oil vapour content in compressed air down to 0.003mg/m3.

This device gives instant results in real time and has the levels of connectivity required in today's information-hungry world. In the past, to get close to this product's capability was either expensive or was via passing air across absorbent material and sending away for spectroscopic analysis. Beko Technologies has also produced a portable version that is only available as a service product, which means that Beko will send a technician with the portable Metpoint OCV and accessories, and measure multiple points on site.

This avoids expensive capital costs on a site where multiple readings would be required. The client has indicated that he will be purchasing several measuring devices as a result of the satisfaction with the site tests, connectivity and user friendliness. Until there is a significant change in how compressed air is generated and treated, Beko believes that customers will get the most value out of managing and controlling both the quantity and quality of their compressed-air systems.

Baldor has enhanced its fast-turnaround gearbox-assembly operation, which now has access to a large extensively equipped machine shop, to the point where it can provide same-day build service. Capable of building custom-configured power-transmission products within hours of order placement, the UK-based assembly line can produce high-efficiency gearboxes and gearmotors in a range of models and sizes from the Dodge Quantis range. The Quantis product line is also directly interchangeable with most other leading gearmotor products for ease of replacement.

Dodge Quantis gearboxes and gearmotors are based on a modular design concept to facilitate the implementation of custom configurations. Baldor stocks all the components needed to assemble Dodge Quantis in-line helical (ILH) and right-angle helical bevel (RHB) speed reducers and gearmotors, in any case size from 38 to 108. The range includes the Quantis Gold gearmotor, which is based on an IE3 Premium Efficiency motor. Quantis ILH series speed reducers offer a choice of foot or output flange mountings, are available in double or triple ratios and have an efficiency of up to 98.5 per cent per stage. The RHB series right-angle speed reducers offer shaft-mount, foot or output flange mounting, triple ratios and have an efficiency of 98.5 per cent per stage.

They also offer two output options on the RHB units of the straight hollow bore, as well as patented twin-tapered bushings kits, which facilitate fast disassembly and reassembly by ensuring that the reducer will not seize onto the customer's driven shaft. Both the ILH and the RHB series are suitable for B5 flange-mounted separate reducers, which feature a universal clamp-collar design that enables users to employ the motor of their choice - when replacing a unit, they are not limited to any one manufacturer's products; they also offer integral gearmotors. The Quantis range employs spring-loaded nitrile rubber oil seals for better sealing.

Baldor's gearbox-assembly service covers a range of IEC metric and NEMA models, to accommodate customers serving both the European and US markets. The company also offers a choice of DC and AC motors for its gearmotors; for the three-phase AC models it is also offering its latest IEC IE3-rated (former CEMEP 'EFF1+') motors, which provide high energy efficiency. Baldor's new build-to-order gearbox service operates on a 24/7 basis. Customers can either collect their order direct from the UK assembly plant, or Baldor will arrange for shipment anywhere in Europe.

Saint-Gobain has launched the Coretech barrier membrane technology platform, which enables the engineering of versatile and lightweight chemical- and biological-protective composites. Coretech barrier membranes are designed to improve product performance and cost-effectiveness. The technology has been demonstrated in a range of applications, such as Onesuit Pro hazmat suits, which offer maximum protection against the permeation of chemical and biological substances in both liquid and vapour form.

Coretech barrier membranes are made by combining different polymers, elastomers and woven and non-woven substrates to achieve combinations of properties that will reliably deliver the required performance levels. Each Coretech barrier membrane has been engineered to deliver permeation resistance to more than 100 chemicals, including biological and chemical warfare agents. According to Saint-Gobain, other benefits include durability and robustness, non-combustibility and fire resistance, as well as flexible and lightweight structure for comfort and portability. They are suitable for use with a wide range of fabrication methods, such as welding or stitch and over-tape.

Fairchild Semiconductor's Generation II XS DrMOS (Integrated Driver and MOSFET) devices are designed to offer high efficiency and power density, to enable designers to meet specific design needs. Generation II XS DrMOS devices, available in a 6 x 6mm clip PQFN package, are claimed to feature higher system efficiency than comparable devices, with 91.5 per cent heavy-load efficiency at 12V in, 1V out and 25A, as well as 94 per cent peak efficiency.

Generation II XS DrMOS can be operated at a 2MHz switching frequency and have up to 50A of current-handling capability. These features make it suitable for applications such as blade servers, high-performance gaming motherboards, high-performance notebooks, graphics cards and high-current DC/DC point-of-load (POL) converters. Devices in the range offer a 5 and 3.3V Tristate level to match the Intel 4.0 DrMOS specification and are compatible with a variety of PWM controllers on the market. The Generation II XS DrMOS range is claimed to reduce ringing due to the Powertrench MOSFET Shielded Gate technology in both the control FET and synchronous FET.

The synchronous FET also integrates a Schottky diode that eliminates external snubber circuits, thus improving overall performance and power density while reducing space and cost. Generation II XS DrMOS devices also include a thermal warning feature, to help prevent over-temperature conditions occurring during fault situations.

Aimtec's AMLB-Z is its new line of step-up DC/DC LED drivers in a 2 x 1 package that is designed to incorporate all the functionality required by the most demanding luminary applications. With a wide (4:1) input range of 9-36VDC that steps down to an output voltage range of 14-48VDC, it produces constant output currents that range from 150 to 700mA. Ripple and noise as low 350mV p-p eliminates the need for additional components, which in turn supports product minimisation of the end application.

These modular solutions feature remote on/off function and continuous short-circuit protection, as well as adjustable PWM and analogue dimming functions to ensure the consistent and constant brightness of the LEDs they drive. RoHS-compliant, the AMLB-Z series of DC/DC LED drivers begins at prices of USD13.73, with samples available from stock. The drivers can be ordered through any of Aimtec's franchised distributors.

Campbell Collins, a supplier of power supplies, capacitors and hi-rel power semiconductors, has introduced a new range of hyperfast, soft recovery, nanospeed and nanosize rectifiers from SSDI. The 1A, 9-nanosecond SHF1100 and SHF1150 series offer voltage ratings of 100 and 150V respectively. With its void-free glass ceramic package, this series of rectifiers provides a more rugged construction than similar 1N6642 rectifiers.

In addition to its faster recovery time, the SHF1150 is also lighter than 1N5806 rectifiers. Both the SHF1100 and SHF1150 are offered either in an axial leaded package or a surface-mount square tab package for ease of manufacture, and utilise high-temperature metallurgical category 1 bonds and solid silver leads. Designed for high-efficiency applications, the devices offer forward voltages of 0.5-0.975V (dependant on load) and have an operating temperature range of -65 to +175C.

Together with the demonstrated radiation tolerance of these devices, tested up to 200kgy, this also makes them suitable for space applications. The devices will be made available in single-phase, three-phase and diode-array configurations. Screening is available to TX, TXV and S-Level requirements and samples are available on request from Campbell Collins for qualified opportunities.

Toshiba Electronics Europe (TEE) has expanded its SSM series of small-signal MOSFETS with the SSM3K333R, whose low loss characteristics make it suitable for power management in portable applications. Using Toshiba's latest, seventh generation n-channel process technology, the SSM3K333R MOSFET is optimised for standard voltage-switching requirements. It exhibits maximum ON resistance (RDS[ON]) values of only 42 and 28 ohms with switching voltages of 4.5 and 10V, respectively.

As well as having low resistance values that enable the low-loss operation essential for battery-operated equipment, the SSM3K333R is specified for a maximum drain-source voltage (VDSS) of 30V. As a result, the device is also compatible with many industrial power-management applications. Another improvement is the new SOT-23F package, which is claimed to offer lower thermal resistance against comparable package sizes. This improvement leads to a maximum DC current rating of 6A and a drain power dissipation capability of 1W from a package that has dimensions of only 2.9 x 2.4mm.

Power Sources Unlimited has introduced the Traco Power TEN 40N series of 40W DC/DC converters, with wide 4:1 and 2:1 input voltage ranges in a 1 x 2 x 0.4in package with industry-standard footprint. Input voltages of up to 75VDC, excellent EMC characteristics and EN 50155 approval make this product suitable for many demanding applications in railroad and transportation systems. Further standard features include Remote On/Off, over-voltage protection, under-voltage lockout and short-circuit protection.

Low-input current characteristics at minimal load make these converters suitable for battery-operated systems too. Typical applications are in wireless networks, telecom/datacom, industry control systems and measurement equipment. The operating temperature range is -40 to +71C. There is an additional standard option, TEN-HS4, which includes heat sink. Deliveries range from stock to 6-8 weeks and are targeted to be competitively priced.

C and K Components has developed the Illuminated Tactile Switch (ITS) series, which are available in both vertical and right-angle configurations and suitable for a wide range of applications. Possible applications include consumer electronics, server/storage, medical devices, test/measurement/instrumentation, audio/video, computers and peripherals, appliances, security and network infrastructure. The switches are available in many different single LED colours and bi-colour options that are independent from the switching function.

The ITS series features a dome contact that provides crisp tactile feedback to positively indicate circuit transfer and to assure high reliability and long life of up to 100,000 operations. The advanced ITS series design employs insert-moulded terminals to lock out flux, solvents and other contaminants used with automated soldering processes. In addition, the ITS series can be customised to meet application requirements, with custom caps and legends available upon request. Offered in thru-hole and SMT termination styles, the ITS series is pick-and-place compatible for SMT versions, as the tape-reel packaging allows for rapid automated placement of SMT devices.

Kontron has introduced the 3U OpenVPX PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid switch VX3905, which is designed to deliver extremely high transfer rates in centralised VPX and OpenVPX platforms. With up to 4 x 6 Gen1/Gen2 PCIe backplane ports for the data plane, it is claimed to provide ten times the I/O bandwidth found in systems deploying today and to pave the way for a new generation of high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) applications.

OEMs will benefit from flexible OpenVPX system designs, which enable application-specific configurations through centralised COTS backplanes. Owing to the open configurability of the Kontron VX3905, system developers can minimise development time and cost for specific system designs while enabling the reuse of these designs for other applications. The Kontron 3U OpenVPX PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid switch VX3905 is compliant with the OpenVPX VITA65 switch slot profile SLT3-SWH-6F6U-14.4. It provides up to 24 PCI Express Gen 1/Gen 2 ports for up to 32 lanes, which can be configured (x8, x4, x2 and x1) depending on the required bandwidth.

This offers OEMs a maximum data transfer rate of up to 3Gb/s per port for serial interboard communication; an extended lifecycle of OpenVPX applications; and enough headroom for future high-bandwidth designs. The switch can also be partitioned into multiple PCIe subsystems in order for the centralised backplane to host multiple root complexes, each being able to control their own peripherals. This enables densely packed system designs in a single housing, to reduce space, weight and total cost of ownership.

Up to nine Gigabit Ethernet ports are available on the Kontron VX3905 for the control plane, enabling dedicated system management for high availability. An optional SATA disk carrier, in accordance with the OpenVPX VITA65 SLT3-STO-2U-14.5.1 profile, facilitates central data storage for OpenVPX systems without valuable payload slots having to be used, further simplifying the system design. In addition, the Kontron VX3905 can also be deployed in 6U systems, as stipulated in the mechanical OpenVPX specifications.

In combination with the Kontron 6U VPX dual-processor board VX6060, OEMs can develop new computing platforms for data-intensive applications such as radar, sonar and imaging with an optimised design based on standard COTS components. For customers to capitalise on the Kontron VX3905's high bandwidth, while enjoying optimised time-to-market in centralised VPX/OpenVPX architectures, Kontron offers VXFabric, an efficient software solution for interboard communication.

With Kontron VXFabric on Kontron 3U and 6U VPX processor boards, OEMs can use common Linux and TCP or UDP sockets. It decouples the application software from the low-level hardware management to simplify and accelerate application development. An additional benefit includes longer application life cycles, as the software ensures migration to future standards such as 10G and 40G Ethernet on the backplane.

Complementing the Kontron 3U OpenVPX PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid switch VX3905 is a complete Kontron VPX ecosystem. With corresponding CPU boards, backplanes, XMC/PMC carrier boards and pre-configured evaluation systems, it provides OEMs with immediate access to begin developing and deploying VPX/OpenVPX boards and systems. The Kontron 3U OpenVPX PCI Express and Ethernet hybrid switch VX3905 is available now in an air-cooled (0C to +55C) and conduction-cooled version (-40C to +85C).

TME has introduced a range of pneumatic time relays from Crouzet, with time ranges of 0.1 to 30 seconds and NO or NC outputs, in which voltage is replaced with pneumatic pressure/technical air. Time value setting is done by an embedded potentiometer that ensures an accuracy of +/-5 per cent. Models available include the Crouzet 81503540, with positive NC output and the time of 0.4sec; Crouzet 81506540, with negative NO output and the time of 04sec; Crouzet 81503710, with positive NC output and the time of 0.1 to 15sec; Crouzet 81506710, with negative NO output and the time of 0.1 to 15s; Crouzet 81503720, with positive NC output and the time of 0.1-30sec; and Crouzet 81506720, with negative NO output and the time of 0.1 to 30s.

The two first models have fixed time ranges without the possibility of adjustment, while the other models allow adjustment of time delay within the given ranges. Each model features nominal working pressure of 2-8 bar; 170Nl/min flow at 6 bar pressure; minimum reset time of less than 0.1sec; nominal operation temperature of 5 to 50C; mechanical durability for around 10 million cycles; and M4 process connection. Small sizes, small weight and high mechanical durability make this equipment suitable for use in the majority of complex pneumatic systems and everywhere where pneumatic time delay is necessary.

TME has introduced the Crouzet 815 series of pneumatic modules, of which there are modules for performing basic logic functions of AND, OR, NOT and YES; modules for memory; and modules for mounting. The Crouzet 81521501 performs the OR function; the Crouzet 81522501 the AND function; the Crouzet 81501025 the YES function; the Crouzet 81503025 the YES function; the Crouzet 81504025 the NOT function; the Crouzet 81506025 the NOT function; the Crouzet 81523501 and Crouzet 81523601 act as memory; and the Crouzet 81532104 and Crouzet 81532102 are mounting bases.

All these elements have M4 process connections; a working pressure range of 2-8 bar; 170Nl/min flow at 6 bar pressure; operation temperature range of -5 to 50C; and mechanical durability for 10 million cycles. Every Crouzet module, depending on the performed function, has its own casing colour. This is useful for replacing a damaged module or designing a new pneumatic system.

Short switchover times of about 25-29ms and the presence of pressure indicators on some of the elements are beneficial in inspecting and servicing operations. Mounting bases enable several logic elements or time relays to be connected into one logic system constituting a logic island.

TME has introduced pneumatic microswitches from Crouzet, which, due to lack of electromagnetic contact, are claimed to be longer lasting and more dependable than standard electric microswitches. The Crouzet 81290501 has no configuration and is normally open. The Crouzet 81290001 with NC configuration and is normally closed. These pneumatic elements measure 30 x 16.5 x 10.7mm; have a nominal operating pressure of 2 bar; pressure force used for switching at 6 bar of less than 50g; operation temperature range from -10 to 60C; and 170Nl/min flow at the pressure of 4 bar.

Capable of working with both air and inert gases, the microswitches have mechanical durability at the pressure of 6 bar, lasting up to around 10 million cycles; a response time of less than 15ms; connections 2 x 2.7mm; and a weight of 8.5g. There are two types of actuators/levers available for the above microswitches. These are Crouzet79215741, a 25.4mm-long straight lever; and Crouzet70507529, the same equipped with a roll. According to TME, operation without the risk of an electric arc being produced during connection and disconnection makes pneumatic elements more resistant than their standard electric counterparts.

TME is offering the Wika PSD-30 series of electronic pressure switches, which are suitable for use in machine casings, pneumatic co-operating equipment, hydraulic appliances, pumps and compressors. There are six models of the PSD-30 available, with various signal-output configurations. PSD-30-10-N has a pressure range of 1-9 bar and two NPN transistor outputs. PSD-30-10-PA has a pressure range of 1-9 bar, one PNP transistor output and one 14-20mA analogue output. PSD-30-25-N has a pressure range of 1-24 bar and two NPN transistor outputs.

PSD-30-25-PA has a pressure range of 1-24 bar, one PNP transistor output and one 14-20mA analogue output. PSD-30-100-N has a pressure range of 0-100 bar and two NPN transistor outputs. PSD-30-100-PA has a pressure range 0-100 bar, one PNP transistor output and one 14-20mA analogue output. The PSD-30 switches are characterised by a number of features. These include a three-key keyboard; a navigation menu designed to be easy to use; flexible installation, with independent rotation between the M12 connection and a display; and a 14-segment LED display, which is electronically rotatable by 180deg.

Each model is supplied with DC voltage within the range of 15-36VDC. The following configurations are available as output signals: NPN or PNP switching transistor output, configurable as NO, NC or so called window function; 4-20mA three-wire; and 0-10VDC three-wire. Each PSD-30 switch model is equipped with a four-pin M12x1 signal connection. The switches' operating temperature range of -20 to +80C makes them robust components for signalling and switching on executive systems.

Now available from TME, the MCP2200 integrated circuit (IC) from Microchip is designed to be used as a converter between USB and UART communication protocols. This chip makes it easier to implement USB protocol support into existing platforms, without needing to redesign them. The MCP2200 IC co-operates with microcontrollers equipped in a UART interface. Microchip also offers an evaluation board, the MCP2200EV-VCP, free libraries and a configuration tool for PCs running Windows.

The MCP2200EV-VCP evaluation board can also be treated as a ready-made, out-of-the-box system that reduces the time needed for introducing USB support into existing platforms, as it does not require in-depth knowledge about the product's specifications. The MCP2200 IC is additionally equipped in 256B of EEPROM and in eight general-purpose input/output lines (GPIO) that can be freely configured by the user.

The converter is available in three types of cases. Possible applications for the MCP2200 circuit include data loggers, microprocessor card readers and medical equipment, such as pressure measuring instruments, glucose meters and pulse meters.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

During a speech at the Pump Centre Conference 2011, Stefan Abelin from Flygt urged end users to do more to understand true pump efficiency in actual field conditions. Extensive measurements in the field have shown that end users' actual energy costs are often increased by as much as 30 per cent for on-off pump operation in wastewater, compared to clean water pumping. The costs are even higher for pumps with long duty cycles or those in continuous duty operation. Little effort is being spent on measuring and understanding true pump efficiency.

There is a general lack of awareness of the key issues involved in efficient pump operations in the wastewater industry and an over reliance on minimum pump through-let size as a criterion for equipment selection. The pump industry has not yet taken on the task of developing test procedures for wastewater pumps that reflect 'real world' duty. Today the end user is left to assume that the same pump efficiency will be delivered in the actual application of the pump. While this may be true for clean water pumping, non-clog pumps have vastly varying applications that challenges pump performance.

The type and amount of soft solids being transported immediately impacts the pumps performance and the measure of actual efficiency may vary widely from the factory-tested efficiency. Sustained efficiency is defined as a pump's ability to maintain its momentary efficiency over a long period of time, when operating in its intended application. Non-clog pumps that cannot deliver sustained efficiency will have substantially higher energy costs than a modern self-cleaning pump design, often by as much as 25-40 per cent. In particular, Abelin highlighted the problem of using non-clog pumps with variable speed drives to deliver a 'soft-stop' to the pump.

The general belief is that this is good practice, but this lack of pump cycling means the pump does not benefit from the back flush that occurs each time it is stopped. The downside is that a clogged pump will not benefit from the important flush generated by a hard pump stop and the pump is less likely to regain its original efficiency. Our advice to pump users is to ensure that they are using a self-cleaning pump, such as the N-pump from Flygt, which will enable them to retain pump efficiency in actual operational conditions.

The Meyn-Ishida alliance has won a contract for the delivery and installation of a complete wall-to-wall poultry processing plant adjacent to an existing factory for Wipasz in Poland. Wipasz, a Polish animal feed supplier, first diversified into poultry processing in 2010 with the acquisition of a 5,000-birds-per-hour facility. The first task of Meyn-Ishida will be to replace the existing live bird arrival system and to upgrade the current bulk pack operation with weighing and tray packing capabilities to enable it to produce a more sophisticated range of products.

The next step will be to deliver and install Meyn-Ishida equipment for a new to build processing plant. Both steps will be accomplished during 2011-2013. Meyn-Ishida combines the poultry processing expertise of Meyn with the weighing, packing and end-of-line knowledge of Ishida to offer a full range of integrated systems and equipment. The alliance has already been awarded several international contracts, including fully integrated plants in Russia (Valujki and Tambov) and Chile (Ariztia).

Genevac has launched the Flip-Flop system, designed to improve post-Accelerated Solvent Extraction (ASE) concentration and preparation of samples. Using the double-ended Flip-Flop tube, samples can be collected directly from a Dionex ASE system. A Samplegenie adaptor with GC vial is then fitted. The tube is flipped over and placed into the Puck sample holder in a Genevac Rocket Evaporator and the cap removed.

The samples are then concentrated directly into a GC autosampler vial. The Genevac Rocket Evaporator enables rapid concentration or evaporation of up to 18 Dionex ASE vials simultaneously. In addition, using Genevac's proprietary Samplegenie technology in conjunction with the Rocket Evaporator enables samples to be concentrated directly into an autosampler or storage vial, eliminating the need for manual sample transfer.

According to Genevac, addition of the new Flip-Flop system completes the automation of transfers from ASE vials. Using this procedure eliminates manual transfer steps and helps automate the ASE evaporation and concentration process, resulting in improved laboratory workflow, increased reproducibility of results and enhanced sample recovery.

Porvair Sciences offers a range of disposable reservoir trays designed for simple integration into any automated liquid handling system. Reservoirs are available in options for accommodating a single liquid or with partitioned space for several liquids. Moulded from high-purity polypropylene, each Porvair reservoir tray is claimed to offer high resistance to heat, as well as to most organic solvents, acids and bases.

When pipetting precious reagents it is advantageous to reduce the waste or dead volume in the reservoir. Incorporating a low plate profile and a novel 'pyramid bottom' design, Porvair reservoir trays provide easy access to all liquid contents, as well as ensuring a low reagent dead volume for 96- and 384-well filling applications.

The pyramid bottom design provides the facility for both low-volume and bulk transfer. With a wide choice of working configurations, as well as liquid volumes, an optimised reservoir plate is now available to suit liquid handling applications using eight or 12-channel pipettes right through to 96- and 384-tip automated pipetting systems.

Penny and Giles, a designer and manufacturer of position sensors, solenoids and joystick controllers, has introduced a heavy-duty, single-axis joystick controller to its JC6000 product range. It is designed to provide a higher-strength, return-to-centre joystick for use in arduous conditions or applications such as wheeled loaders and heavy plant machinery, where high across-axis loads can be an issue. The increased strength of the heavy-duty JC6000 has been achieved by redesigning the body casting, which the company claims has increased across-axis fatigue life by a factor of five.

This heavy-duty version will also use a new gaiter, designed specifically to accommodate the increased strength of the body casting. It is intended to be used as an alternative to existing single-axis, spring-return joystick controllers, as both versions share the same panel-mounting detail. The new JC6000 heavy-duty joystick controller is available with long-life potentiometer track sensors with auxiliary contacting directional switch tracks, single/dual non-contact Hall-effect sensors (or a combination of both), Can (J1939) and Can-Extended input interfaces. It is able to share all the standard JC6000 handles and grips.

Penny and Giles' other JC6000 joystick controllers include single-axis friction-hold versions for construction equipment requiring high manoeuvrability, as well as CAN-bus output options enabling OEMs to improve control systems in off-highway construction, municipal and agricultural vehicles. With a range of choices including Hall effect sensors; potentiometer tracks; handles and grips; single-, dual- and multiple-axes; and various IP ratings, Penny and Giles claims there are more than one million configurations available for its JC6000 joystick controller range.

Flir Systems has created a guide to thermal imaging, including a grounding in industrial and building science infrared, which is available for free as both a download and a hard copy 48-page book. The publication's content takes the reader through the design of a thermal imaging camera, how it works and why the technology is so important in a world focussed on thermal efficiency and minimising energy loss.

It offers an overview of typical applications and guidance on choosing the right camera supplier. Subsequent chapters explore the science behind thermography in industrial and building applications and how to identify the camera features that best suit the task. It also has a large section on thermal inspection and how to achieve the best results.

The T-Cam from Specialised Imaging is a scientific CCD camera designed to enable high-resolution imaging of transient events. It is able to capture images of transient events at up to an 11-megapixel resolution. The ability to operate at shutter speeds faster than 1us eliminates motion blur. This, together with high optical sensitivity across a 12-bit dynamic range, enables the T-Cam to provide high image quality.

The T-Cam is equipped with two trigger inputs that are capable of accepting trigger signals from almost any conceivable source. The SI Sure-shot velocity triggering system is also incorporated for use where this is appropriate. The Sure-shot system takes an input from two spatially separated detectors, allowing the camera to calculate the correct exposure timing, irrespective of the subject's velocity.

Two independent customer-programmable pulse outputs are also included in the T-Cam to allow control of external lighting or other instruments. Combining robust, compact design with intuitive software, the T-Cam enables even occasional users to capture quality images from transient events. Typical applications for the T-Cam include bio/chemiluminescence imaging, gas-flow imaging, photochemistry, photo physics, time-resolved spectroscopy, transient absorption, emission spectroscopy and shadowgraphy.

Mclennan Servo Supplies has launched a range of microstepping drives from Applied Motion Products. The flexible STAC5 series features advanced algorithms for extended dynamic performance and flexible motion-control options including a choice of step and direction, PC or PLC host control and full-featured multitasking programmable control. The compact panel-mount STAC5 series is designed for straightforward integration into motion-control systems with direct-online power at nominal voltages of 120 and 220V AC with a maximum of 5A per phase to suit 23- and 34-frame NEMA stepper motors.

A 100Mbit Ethernet communication port is included to configure the drive with self test and auto setup, as well as support streaming of individual commands or full program upload and download. An encoder feedback option is also available that provides position verification and combines with a stall-detection and stall-prevention feature that allows selectable levels of position maintenance. The STAC5 has a number of current control features that help deliver improved motor performance. The Anti Resonance algorithm improves midrange stability, allowing higher speeds, faster settling times and improved torque, while Torque Ripple Smoothing greatly improves low-speed dynamic performance.

The Command Signal Smoothing algorithm reduces jerk, which can help reduce wear on mechanical transmission components. In addition, the Microstep Emulation feature converts low-resolution step pulses from a controller into microsptep resolution pulses at the motor, vastly improving smoothness. The STAC5 series is available with a choice of two controller options. The S controller allows step and direction interfacing from any third-party controller and can also be software configured for run-stop operation where built-in analogue and digital I/O can toggle speeds or provide a joystick control interface. The S controller and the more powerful Q controller will both accept serial commands over Ethernet from a PC or a PLC for multi-axis control.

For full standalone programmable control, the Q controller uses Applied Motion Product's Q language with features that include multi-tasking, conditional programming and maths functions. The Q version is able to download, store and execute programs from a host or directly from the Q Programmer GUI, which allows straightforward motion and machine I/O programming from a PC. The S controller includes four digital inputs, two digital outputs and one analogue input. The Q controller has 12 digital inputs, six digital outputs and one analogue output.