Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three-Phase Stepper Motor Offers Low Vibration

Astrosyn International has launched the MY4304-01 three-phase stepper motor, which is said to be suitable for the pan-and-tilt control of stage and other entertainment lighting. The company said the three-phase design is capable of exceptionally quiet operation with a low level of vibration, making it ideal for this type of application.

A further advantage is said to be its higher precision, with a full step angle of 1.2 deg compared with the more usual 1.8 deg. The high torque, Nema size 24 hybrid motor also features special bearings for high-temperature operation and its modified shaft has a KK2 keyway. The MY4304-01 can be supplied with Astrosyn's P306 three-phase driver, which delivers an output current of 3.0-5.8A per phase from a direct current input of 18-45V.

In addition, eight microstepping resolutions can be selected. Other possible applications where the motor's smooth running and low vibration are crucial include mirror control in laser-beam scanning and electro-optical assemblies for medical instruments.
Orion Launches Challenger Sealed Sleeve Fans

Orion Fans has developed the Challenger series of sealed sleeve-bearing DC fans. The fans feature a sealed sleeve-bearing system that is said to have a long life expectancy of more than 50,000 hours at 25C (L10). Mean time between failures is in excess of 200,000 hours, according to Orion.

The sealed sleeve fan technology retains lubricant by using metal foils that serve as a guard to redirect and recycle the lubricant. The fans were developed in response to demand for fans with a wider temperature range and longer life than sleeve-bearing fans, but at a lower cost in comparison to traditional ball bearing fans.

The Challenger series sealed sleeve fans are offered in seven sizes, ranging from 40 x 10mm to 120 x 38mm, and are available in 12VDC and 24VDC versions. Airflow ranges from 6.7 to 105 CFM. The fans feature a brushless DC, auto restart, polarity-protected motor with a UL94V-0 plastic frame and impeller. The sealed sleeve fans are RoHS compliant. The sealed sleeve Challenger series fans are available from stock at Allied Electronics in North America and RS Components in Europe.
Multi-Tone Sounder Has Wide Operating Voltage

The SA5 safe area multi-tone sounder from RTK Instruments is said to be a high-specification, cost-effective alarm sounder with a maximum sound output of 112dBA. Ideally suited to areas of high ambient noise, the sounder has an operating voltage of 9-28VDC and low current consumption, making it flexible in operation.

The SA5 sounder offers a choice of 32 tones, which are user-selectable using a DIL switch during installation. A second tone is available, which can be switched in by the connection of a third wire to the sounder. The IP65-rated casing provides a high level of durability and resistance to environmental conditions.

All connections are made to the base and the sounder head twists and locks into position on commissioning, avoiding wiring and connection problems.
HFSS 12.0 Software Features Domain Decomposition

Ansys has announced the release of HFSS 12.0 software for 3D full-wave electromagnetic field simulation. The product, part of the Ansoft suite, is said to help engineers design, simulate and validate the behaviour of complex high-performance radio frequency (RF), microwave and millimetre-wave devices in next-generation wireless communication and defence systems.

A high-performance computing (HPC) enhancement, domain decomposition, is said to allow engineers to simulate and design on a wide scale at high speed. Users of the latest version of HFSS software can achieve a reduction in development time and costs while at the same time realising increased reliability and design optimisation, Ansys said.

HFSS 12.0 includes updates in mesh generation, solver technologies, and enhancements to the user interface and the modeller. A faster and more robust meshing algorithm generates higher-quality, more efficient tetrahedral meshes. The most significant solver technology enhancement is domain decomposition, a technique that allows HFSS to exploit HPC capabilities to solve electromagnetic field problems.

Other important enhancements include mixed element orders, curvilinear elements, and adjoint derivative computation. The company said ease-of-use and automation in the user interface have been improved and include additional modeller capabilities such as sheet wrapping and imprinting. These advances in HFSS 12.0 enable electrical engineers to expand their solution capability, exploit HPC hardware and fully integrate electromagnetics analysis into their simulation-driven product development processes.

The domain decomposition technology in HFSS 12.0 software allows efficient and highly scalable parallelised simulations across multiple computer cores, including networked cores. In running a 15GB benchmark on an HP 7880 workstation, domain decomposition using eight cores exhibited an 8.8-times speedup with a 33 per cent memory saving compared with a single-core direct solve. Curvilinear elements and mixed element orders allow for higher accuracy and more efficient distribution of computational resources.

Curvilinear elements model the fields exactly on curved surfaces and in these cases provide higher accuracy even with a coarser mesh discretisation. Mixed element orders allows for an automated and judicious localised application of element order. Smaller features are solved more efficiently by lower-order elements while large homogenous regions benefit from higher-order elements, all element orders being automatically and appropriately 'mixed' in one mesh.
Securityprobe Combines Sensor And Camera Alerting

AKCP has announced the launch of the fifth-generation Securityprobe 5E, an upgraded version of its Securityprobe intelligent monitoring device. The Securityprobe 5E combines sensor and camera alerting for intruders, security breaches, high temperature, smoke, water leaks, power outages and more.

It features a faster processor, 2 Gigs of SD flash, and the ability to support up to 600 sensors, contacts or combinations of both using low-cost expansion units. These expansion units are the E-opto16 with 16 opto-isolated dry contact inputs and the E-sensor8 with eight intelligent sensor ports per unit. There is also a new contact sensor that can support 8 DC inputs or outputs per port, allowing up to 64 contacts per unit or 164 in a 1u space.

Friday, September 18, 2009

NI Toolkit Helps Expand Test-System Documentation

National Instruments has announced the NI Teststand ATML Toolkit to help engineers expand test-system component interoperability and increase test-system documentation. The Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML) is an IEEE standard, consisting of XML document formats that describe different aspects of a test system. The toolkit adds support for the ATML Testdescription standard and improves support for the ATML Testresults standard in NI Teststand.

It can be downloaded from the National Instruments Services Resource Center and is available for free to customers who have the current Standard Service Program. With the toolkit, developers can reduce development and maintenance time by automating tasks such as generating code templates based on ATML Testdescription documents, applying changes in ATML Testdescription documents to existing test sequences and increasing the amount of useful information included in reports.

The toolkit can translate ATML Testdescription documents into NI Teststand sequences, NI Labview VIs and NI Labwindows/CVI functions that developers can use as starting points to develop their test software. This feature reduces development time by automating the previously manual process of translating an ATML Testdescription document to an executable application.

Engineers can also use the toolkit to apply changes from an updated ATML Testdescription document to a previously translated NI Teststand sequence file, reducing maintenance time and effort. In addition, it increases the amount of information in the ATML Testresults report compared to the current version of NI Teststand. The NI Teststand ATML Toolkit 1.0 supports version 1.0.1 of the ATML Testdescription standard and version 2.0.2 of the ATML Testresults standard.
ESAB Offers Protective Clothing For Welders

ESAB, a manufacturer of welding and cutting equipment, has introduced items of protective clothing specifically designed for welders. In line with evolving health-and-safety standards, the new additions include ESAB-branded Proban leather jackets and trousers, both designed for maximum comfort. The Proban jacket is made from flame-retardant material and, to withstand the exposure to welding spatter, the sleeves and shoulders have been made with durable grade A leather.

The trousers have been reinforced with leather to withstand the spatter and welding sparks. The company has also introduced black flame-resistant jackets and trousers to its range. These are said to be extremely lightweight while being highly durable. They are made from an inherent flame-resistant fabric, which allows the garments to be washed an unlimited amount of times without loosing the flame resistance.

Both the welding jackets and trousers are available in sizes from small up to extra-extra large. Another item in the range is the ESAB coverall. The black and yellow coverall has been designed to give the welder maximum protection and comfort. It is made from an Indura ultra-soft material that is inherently flame retardant.

With many features including an elasticated waist for better comfort and fit, the coverall is available in a range of sizes. Additional items in the ESAB personal protection equipment clothing range include leather gaiters to protect footwear during welding, welding sleeves and aprons. All of the company's products conform to relevant European Union legislation and standards.
C And L Supplies Boge Compressors To NCLA

The National Centre For Laser Applications (NCLA) has installed two Boge S15 screw compressors and a trinity controller. The NCLA develops laser systems which are available to the manufacturing industry and used in the development of products and processes. After reviewing NCLA's air requirements, C and L Industrial recommended the company replaced its Boge CD7 with two Boge S15 screw compressors, alongside a trinity controller.

The S15 forms part of the Boge S-series screw-compressor product range. The Boge trinity is a modern transducer operated changeover switch designed to control up to three compressors. The system automatically sets itself to optimise pressure cascading - only the maximum pressure (Pmax) and the minimum pressure (Pmin) need to be entered into the controller.

Trinity takes control of a compressed-air system and ensures that only the compressed air required at any one time is produced. This reduces operating costs as each compressor used is optimised in the most energy efficient way (kW/m3/min). C and L Industrial is the exclusive distributor of Boge compressed-air equipment within the Republic of Ireland.
Fanuc Supplies Coded Welding Robot To WA Lewis

Precision engineer and sheet metal fabricator, William A Lewis Engineering of Shrewsbury, has illustrated how versatile a single robot can become once its full potential is realised. A subcontractor predominantly to the defence sector, WA Lewis is using the robot cell to weld, at coded level, the widest range of materials and also for plasma-cutting plate up to 2in thick.

The Fanuc Robotics System 100 welding cell comprises a six-axis Fanuc Robotics Arcmate 100iB robot within a self-contained enclosure. Components loaded into jigs on a manually operated table are loaded outside the cell while the robot welds components within the cell. The system is designed and manufactured by Fanuc Robotics as a self-contained unit that is delivered ready assembled and only requires services to be connected before operation on site. Up until two years ago, WA Lewis had no automation and all work was manually welded by its, largely coded, welders.

Chris Eardley, project engineer at WA Lewis, said: 'The company had no previous experience of robotics and its introduction was looked upon with trepidation by the existing team. 'I had experience from a previous employer and realised the positive impact a welding robot would have on the business. 'It was a major investment by the company and by keeping the team involved with progress and by loading the "less interesting mainly volume" jobs onto the robot, it became clear very quickly just how important it was to the business,' he added. More than 100 jobs are now programmed to run on the System 100 with volume products including aluminium window housings for armoured vehicles and spare wheel carriers for military off-road vehicles.

'Since we've had the Fanuc Robotics welding cell our business in this area has trebled,' said chief accountant, Liam O'Neill. Although the robot was ready for operation after delivery in a matter of hours, in reality it has taken 12 months to fully integrate it with operations. This process has included having the robot cell coded through Lloyds for welding various thicknesses of materials to military specifications. 'Time savings and consistency of quality are both significant benefits we have received from the implementation of the System 100,' said Eardley. 'One example is a component that took two operators three days to produce 10 components - we are now able to complete 27 components in three hours.

'In addition, it allows our skilled operators to concentrate on lower volume specialist welding while a semi-skilled operator manages the robot cell. 'We laser cut all our components in-house so together with the jigs, which we also design and manufacture, and the Fanuc robot's high degree of repeatability, we are assured of a high-quality weld every time,' he added. Now in operation for approaching two years the robot cell runs three shifts, five days a week and has not required any unscheduled maintenance attention.
GUI Software Programs Vert-X Angle Sensors

Variohm Eurosensor has launched a software application for communication and programming of Contelec Vert-X series contactless and non-contact angle sensors. As the UK distributor for the Swiss-manufactured range, Variohm has developed software with the ability to reconfigure and customise the sensor curve and output characteristics over its 0 to 360 measurement range. Vert-X Commander software is a PC-based application supplied with a special cable that connects Singleturn Vert-X sensors via an Aardvark USB host adapter.

With on-assembly sensor configuration, the software has the potential to simplify stock control and reduce build and design timescales by removing the need to purchase several different types of angle sensor across different machines. A GUI displays programmable and fixed information from the sensor's digital interface.

Programmable parameters include a selection of six different sensor types with varying gradient, deadband and curve characteristics. For each sensor type, the user can typically set specific voltage output and specify left and right angles with an adjustable deadband (or gap) angle. The information is displayed in a graph showing sensor angle vs voltage with a trace scaling function that allows closer examination of the output curve.

When the desired characteristics have been set on screen, a program key simply downloads the data to the sensor, overwriting the previously programmed information. Fixed displayed parameters include the sensor angle, output voltage level and as a primary quality control measure, the sensor serial number and a counter that records the number of times the sensor has been reprogrammed.

The compact and durable Vert-X range is aimed at precision, 0 to 360, angle measurement spanning applications from analytical instruments to extremely heavy-duty applications such as agricultural machinery, motorsports and automated industrial equipment where long life, high reliability and robust construction is required - often in space-restricted areas. Vert-X series sensors use hall-effect magnetic measuring technology, offering high-precision angle measurement in two design versions.

Singleturn contactless Vert-X sensors are characterised with bearing support for the rotating magnet and fixed sensor, whereas Singleturn non-contact Vert-X sensors are supplied in a two-part sensor and magnet design for free mounting. Both types may be used in normal ambient environments through to long life and zero-maintenance use in the most arduous and adverse conditions of high humidity, dampness, oil, dust and vibration.