Friday 12 April 2024

Simulating MIMO connections.

Anritsu Corporation has introduced a newly developed Butler Matrix 4x4 (0.6 GHz to 7.125 GHz) MA8114A to expand its Butler Matrix module lineup of simulating MIMO connections.

The MA8114A is a Butler Matrix transmission path with 4 input and 4 output ports and supports the 6 GHz band (5.925 GHz to 7.125 GHz), which is not supported by the existing Azimuth STACSIM-WB-(Static Channel Simulator) (ACC-339) used for evaluating 4x4 MIMO throughput of LTE/5G base stations and Wi-Fi devices. The MA8114A helps users to build a stable 5G/W-Fi evaluation environment, and efficiently test throughput.

Development Background.
LTE/5G Base station and Wi-Fi device vendors use the Over The Air test environment to evaluate the maximum throughput with 4x4 MIMO for their products. This entails measuring the Tx/Rx radio performance of wireless devices using an anechoic or OTA chamber which is designed to block external radio waves. Because the transmission environment varies depending on the distance to the User Equipment (UE), a drawback of this approach is its low reproducibility of measurement results. While reproducibility can be improved by connecting the two devices using an RF cable, a simple coupler cannot simulate the MIMO transmission environment. The MA8114A solves this issue, ensuring highly reproducible measurements.

The upper-limit frequency for NR FR1 has been extended beginning with 3GPP Release 17, and the 6 GHz band has been added to Wi-Fi 6E/7. The MA8114A supports a frequency range up to 7.125 GHz in preparation for countries launching services on new frequency bands.

The product lineup of the Butler Matrix module also includes the Butler Matrix 8x8 (0.6 GHz to 7.125 GHz) MA8118A with 8 input and 8 output ports, which supports a frequency range up to 7.125 GHz as well. The MA8118A can be used not only for 8x8 MIMO throughput evaluation but also to enable efficient testing of devices having multiple RF ports.

@Anritsu @AnritsuEMEA @NapierPR #Power #PAuto

Industrial PCs with powerful performance and reliability.

Compact Industrial Computer Equipped with AI Acceleration Module

Compact and fan-less industrial PCs have been announced by DFI. Their EC70A-ADP is designed with rich I/O and wide temperature support, enabling diverse deployment for AMRs and AGVs. EC700-ADN, equipped with the Hailo-8 module, offers advanced AI computing capabilities for industrial automation applications.

According to a recent market research report by Emergen Research, the global embedded systems market size is expected to reach USD 169.4 billion by 2032. This growth is primarily driven by the increasing adoption of AIoT devices and automation technologies across various sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, and logistics.

As businesses continue to prioritize efficiency and data-driven decision-making, DFI's Box PCs arrive amidst this burgeoning trend in embedded computing.

The DFI EC70A-ADP stands out as an ultra-compact, fan-less industrial computer powered by the 12th Gen Intel® Core™ Alder Lake-P Processor. It boasts a sleek and silent design suitable for space-constrained or noise-sensitive environments. With 8GB of onboard memory and an additional SO-DIMM DDR4 slot, the EC70A-ADP offers flexible memory options. Its dual display support allows for enhanced visualization, while compatibility with 5G-NR modules ensures future-proof connectivity. The EC70A-ADP also delivers unparalleled robustness and reliability with a wide operating temperature of –20°C to 60°C, making it ideal for deployment in AGVs, AMRs, or material logistics systems.

DFI’s EC700-ADN is also tailored for space and noise sensitive environments by combining robust performance with a slim form factor. However, what sets the EC700-ADN apart is its compatibility with the Hailo-8 module, offering unparalleled AI computing capabilities. Its advanced analytics algorithms are capable of processing high-resolution and high-frame rate videos, resulting in superior accuracy in detecting small and fast-moving objects. Moreover, it significantly reduces false alerts and generates comprehensive metadata, thereby enhancing operational efficiency.

Its built-in OOB functionality facilitates remote diagnostics and system reboots for malfunctioning systems, even when the device is turned-off or the OS has crashed. This enables remote troubleshooting and streamlines issue resolution for optimized operations optimization. Featuring LPDDR5 & eMMC support, and up to Quad Display Support via VGA/HDMI/USB-C, the EC700-ADN emerges as the top choice for AIoT, factory automation, and robotics applications.

@DFI_Embedded @mepaxIntPR #PAuto #IIoT

General manager in autonomous mobile solutions.

Johan Lundblad has been appointed as General Manager at Kollmorgen, Autonomous Mobile Solutions division.

Johan Lundblad
Johan has over 25 years of experience in various executive leadership roles. Since 2018, he has served as Global Sales and Marketing Director, leading the growth journey of the Autonomous Mobile Solutions division with a customer-centric and collaborative approach. We are confident that Johan is a trusted leader with a passion for our products and business model, that will serve him well in his new role.

“I am excited to take on the role of General Manager of the Kollmorgen Autonomous Mobile Solutions division. Having worked close to our partners in all regions of the world I am confident I will offer the continuity needed to ensure strong relationships for continued success. I am proud of our company, our skilled teams and our industry leading NDC Solutions offering,” says Johan Lundblad.

The management team extended its sincerest gratitude to Tobias Byfeldt for his leadership, passion, and dedication over the past 13 years.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished as a company over the past 13 years I have had with the company. With Johan taking over the leadership we ensure that we will continue to execute our strategy. Our strive to lead and develop the market will remain untouched and as always with customer focus and dedication to provide the best Autonomous Mobile Solutions there is,” says Tobias Byfeldt.

@AboutKollmorgen @mepaxIntPR #AGV #Pauto

25th anniversary in test and measurement.

Partnership celebrated with an award ceremony.

Fluke Corporation recently hosted an award ceremony celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Premium partnership with CalPlus GmbH.

Flavio Romano, Senior Director of EMEA Sales, Fluke Corporation said: “The success of our partnership is owed to CalPlus’ unwavering commitment to customer-centricity and excellence in customer service, innovation and technical expertise. CalPlus’ profound product understanding enables them to provide comprehensive training and unmatched support, expediting the discovery of optimal solutions. Their proactive innovation ensures they lead in meeting evolving customer needs. Together, our shared vision for growth in the German market has forged a strategic alliance marked by mutual trust and a relentless pursuit of excellence.”

Upgrade and save 20% for a limited time.
Fluke Calibration is offering European customers the opportunity to upgrade and save 20% on the 55X0A Series of High-Performance Multi-Product Calibrators. For a limited time, customers can trade in their existing precision calibrator regardless of the manufacturer and upgrade to the latest technology. Featuring three advanced models, the 5560A, 5550A and 5540A provide the most compre-hensive electrical workload coverage with the highest accuracy, an intuitive designed front panel, MET/CAL com patibility and much more. 
This limited time offer ends on 28 June 2024.

A leading German specialist distributor for test and measurement equipment and the leading supplier of calibrators for electrical quantities and temperature, CalPlus was formed in 1999 by former employees of Fluke. Today, the company serves customers in all areas of the German economy, including colleges, universities, research institutes and authorities, and is headquartered in Berlin.

The success of the longstanding, historical partnership between the two companies is down to the extensive technical knowledge that the CalPlus sales team has of Fluke Corporation’s products. CalPlus is also the exclusive German distributor for Fluke Calibration’s electrical and temperature calibration portfolio.

In 2022, this expertise enabled CalPlus to secure the largest single order for Fluke Calibration of $6.7 million – $4.5 million on hardware and $2.2 million on Premium Care plans – with a semiconductor and component test systems manufacturer. The accuracy, reliability and stability of Fluke Calibrations’ products are of critical importance to calibration and primary laboratories in Germany.

Jürgen Mau, Managing Director of CalPlus says long-term customer and supplier partnerships are at the heart of CalPlus’ corporate philosophy. “Having Fluke as a Premium partner for 25 years has enabled us to make substantial inroads into the electrical and temperature calibration market in Germany. Over the years, we have also expanded our in-stock range of Fluke’s industrial and networking portfolios to reflect the considerable growth in the renewable energy sector, including solar and wind power as well as electric vehicles. These rapidly evolving markets demand reliable testing and calibration solutions of the highest quality. Fluke is a true innovator in these sectors and enables us to deliver complete solutions to our customers.”

@FlukeCorp @NapierPR #TandM #PAuto #Germany

Thursday 11 April 2024

Miniature CO2 sensor.

The STCC4 from Sensirion, enables mass-market CO2 monitoring in a wide range of applications with unmatched form factor, cost efficiency and low current consumption. They have now launched the latest addition to their CO2 sensor portfolio in the last quarter of 2024. 

The STCC4 is one of the world's smallest sensors for direct CO2 measurement, unlocks vast new applications for monitoring CO2 previously limited by size and cost constraints. Designed for seamless integration into compact electronic devices, the sensor is a groundbreaking newcomer in the CO2 sensor market.

Utilizing the latest technological advancements in thermal conductivity sensing, the STCC4 provides the accuracy needed for indoor air quality applications at a low current consumption. Both accurate signal compensation and monitoring of relevant indoor environmental parameters are achieved when STCC4 is combined with Sensirion’s industry-leading temperature and humidity sensors. Engineered and manufactured in Switzerland, it has been optimized for easy integration into high volume applications through its SMD design and tape & reel packaging. The STCC4 is suitable for a wide range of applications, including indoor air quality monitors, smart thermostats, air conditioners and much more.

“CO2 monitoring is essential to ensuring comfortable indoor environments. We believe that the size and cost efficiency of STCC4 will empower healthy air wherever people work or live,” says Dr. Kaitlin Howell, Product Manager for CO2 sensors at Sensirion.

@sensirion #PAuto #Electronics

Is fibre right for your industrial network?

Henry Martel*, Field Application Engineer with Antaira Technologies, discusses fibre cable types and costs

In the rapidly evolving landscape of industrial IoT networks, understanding the intricacies of fibre optic cables is essential for IT technicians and plant management alike.

Although fibre has been deployed for more than four decades, several misconceptions remain. At the top of the list is that installing fibre optics is more expensive than copper due to its networking devices, terminations, and cables. Another is that fibre is harder to install and terminate than copper. Last, there’s the fallacy that fibre cables are fragile since they're “made of glass”. We’ll dispel those lingering myths here.

Fibre optic cables are now the fastest-growing transmission medium for both new network builds and expansions, especially in applications that require high bandwidth, long distances, and immunity to electrical interference. Network backbones transmitting huge amounts of bandwidth-consuming data files almost exclusively rely on fibre.

So, is fibre right for your industrial network? Let’s find out.

Fibre Optic cable construction.
As the name implies, fibre optic cables carry optical signals using fast-traveling pulses of light instead of electricity over long distances. At the cable’s core are extremely pure glass fibres the same width as human hair that transmit light photons down the length of cable.

10-Port Industrial PoE+ Light Layer 
3 Gigabit managed Ethernet switch.
A 125µm layer of glass cladding surrounds the core to guarantee that light is reflected, rather than leaking out at the edges, therefore enabling the signal to travel longer distances without attenuation. Over the cladding is a buffer that keeps the cable's internal glass structure safe from damage and discourages excessive bending. An additional layer of reinforcing fibres shields the core, followed by a rugged plastic jacket.

Durability of fibre cables.
fibre is far from fragile. The strength members of fibre cables provide protection against crushing blows, bending forces and, of course, the pulling tension encountered during installation. Reinforcing around the core keeps the cable stiff to maintain the allowable cable-bend radius and prevent kinking when pulling around corners. Once installed, fibre optic cables are sturdier than copper with fewer parts. In fact, a fibre optic cable can last up to 50 years, withstanding extreme temperatures, high shock, moisture and vibration without degrading.

All this doesn’t mean careless installation won’t damage fibre optic cables. Exceeding bending radius limits or kinking the cable will lead to micro-cracks that increase the potential for degradation. Poorly spliced cable will give rise to fibre movement if splice materials have different characteristics than the cable, such as different thermal expansion coefficients. Malfunctions in fibre optic networks are virtually always due to poor installation, misaligned fusions, or accidental cuts.

Despite the built-in mechanical protection in modern fiber optic cables, some industrial or outdoor plant installations require more protection. In these instances, armored cables are recommended.

Armored fibre optic cables are manufactured to handle abrasion, impact, UV damage and are designed for underground direct burial out of the box. Armored cables can be a cost-effective alternative to running the cable through protective conduit. Conduit installation costs are incurred twice: first, when installing the conduit and second, when installing the cables, hence doubling labor and material costs. Armored cables cost more than standard fibre cables, but the labor to install them is considerably less.

Single-mode fibre.
Fibre optic cables are broken down into two main product categories — single-mode (SM) and multimode (MM).

Single-mode cable has a small diametral core of 9µm that permits only one mode of light to propagate. SM decreases the number of reflections created as light passes through its core, resulting in lowered attenuation and creating the ability for a signal to travel several miles before needing to be enhanced. SM is the preferred choice for long-haul networks, telcos, campus backbone and large enterprises spread over extended areas.

SM is available in two classifications:
• OS1: for use in indoor locations over shorter distances and where electrical interference may be greater.
• OS2: targeted at outdoor installations with a maximum range of 125 miles. OS2 cables support bandwidth speeds of up to 400 gigabits per second (Gbit/s) over distances up to 80km or further using off-the-shelf optical modules. OS2 is generally more tolerant to flexing and stretching than OS1. Not surprisingly, OS2 cables also tend to be more expensive than their OS1 counterparts.

Multimode fibre
Multimode (MM) fibre optic cables feature multiple strands, ranging in number from 2 to several hundred, resulting in a wider core (50µm to 62.5µm) that accommodates the transmission of numerous data streams over one cable. However, the larger core has its limitations. Due to higher signal attenuation, MM cables are unable to handle the same long distances as SM fibre cables, typically 2km or less, so they are used to connect in short range applications. MM developed with a plastic core may be used in place of glass for certain industries, such as mining or sensing applications, while bigger core diameter fibre (called MM200) is necessary in other applications.

Like SM, MM cables are split into several classifications:
• OM1: maximum bandwidth of 10 Gbit/s, 100 feet distance (obsolete in ISO/IEC 11801 and TIA 568 standards)
• OM2: maximum bandwidth of 10 Gbit/s, 260 feet distance (obsolete in ISO/IEC 11801 and TIA 568 standards)
• OM3 maximum bandwidth of 10 Gbit/s, 1000 feet distance
• OM4: capable of reaching 1300 ft at 10 Gbit/s and 40 Gbit/s up to 500 feet
• OM5: like OM4 but uses different colors of laser light to increase support for greater bandwidth up to 200 Gbit/s or even 400 Gbit/s.

MM should not be confused with “breakout” fibre optic cables. Breakout cables are essentially a group of SM or MM jacketed fibres bound together within an outer jacket. A single connector is shared at one end of the breakout cable with individual connectors on the other. Color-coded cables are "broken out” and therefore enable several connections between network devices with different speed ports, while fully utilizing port bandwidth. Consider, for instance, a switch with a 100G port connected to ten 10G ports. Ideal for patching, breakout cables simplify installation, reduce cable congestion, and improve overall cable management.

Single vs Multimode.
In the past, the general rule was MM for short indoor/same building applications while SM was for long distance links and just about everywhere else. That is changing. Recently, there’s been a big decrease in cost-per-foot for SM cables. Also, the price of SM transceivers has come down considerably, while their designs have become more resilient; in the past, an attenuator was required, or you’d risk burning out the receiver if the cable was too short for the laser used.

Both these factors have made SM more cost-efficient for indoor/ same building applications. With 40- and 100-Gbit/s connections becoming commonplace, SM increasingly makes business sense for new installations and network expansions. Single mode electronics are still about 30% more expensive than conventional electronics because they require more complex optical processors to create powerful light sources. However, when factoring in the lower costs of SM cables, the overall expense is similar — yet SM’s performance benefit is dramatically better. SM supports brighter, more powerful light sources with lower attenuation. Its bandwidth is unlimited, at least in theory. Although MM comes in five different cable grades, none of them can match SM’s limitless bandwidth over short or long distances.

Cost: Fibre vs Copper
In general, fibre remains more expensive than copper in the near term. However, fibre ends up costing less in the long run after factoring in copper’s overlooked costs, maintenance, interference, risk of tampering and replacement expense.

There is no question that installation prices for fibre are higher than those for copper due to the skill required for terminations. But as we said earlier, the cost of fibre cable, hardware, and components is declining. In addition, fibre usually requires less than half the networking hardware, has significantly less downtime, and is less expensive to scale and maintain.

Another big plus is that fibre optic cables are immune to electrical noise. Produced by motors, relays, welders, and other industrial equipment, electrical noise can seriously interfere with copper cabling. The more distance that copper cabling travels between two points, the more noise it absorbs and the more the signal deteriorates. Data is also more secure with fibre since it does not radiate signals and is nearly impossible to tap, thwarting a potentially expensive cyber-attack. Importantly, fibre makes upgrading unnecessary as network speeds and requirements escalate.

Installed “first costs” have long been the driving force behind selecting a cabling medium. Frequently, these costs become the reason users choose to deploy copper instead of fibre. But with the price of industrial fibre networks rapidly dropping due to the factors described above, there are now both short- and long-term benefits that make fibre a more compelling choice. Fibre termination.
Many technicians fear that installing fibre connectors on bulk fibre requires a high level of skill to be done correctly. Several years ago, this was true, but today it is not always the case. The old school way involved solvent glue, lots of small pieces, and hand polishing the tip. Besides being difficult and time-consuming, the precision required by this method led to unacceptable levels of light loss and back reflection when performed by a less experienced technician.

Today there are better ways to terminate bulk fibre like using pre-polished connectors, fusion or mechanical splicing, and fibre optic pigtails allowing successful implementation even for beginners. Network technicians can choose the best termination option for their needs by weighing the benefits of each technique. Of course, they can also order factory pre-terminated fibre optic cables in the lengths needed that have already been tested for plug-and-play deployment. That said, field termination or “on-site” termination requires a trained technician adhering to industry standards and using specialized tools. The same goes for splicing broken or severed fibre cables to maintain network integrity.

Like any network technology, fibre terminations are not immune to problems even when performed by a professional. Once a termination is complete, the optical signal must be tested to ensure proper connectivity. Routine troubleshooting will help identify any underlying issues without interrupting network service. Contamination of connector end-faces by dust, dirt and oil is one of the primary causes for signal loss and failure. Poor polishing or incorrect alignment of fibres can also result in signal loss, as can exposure to excessive humidity or caustic chemicals.

* Henry Martel is a Field Application Engineer with Antaira Technologies. He has over 10 years of IT experience along with skills in system administration, network administration, telecommunications, and infrastructure management. He has also been a part of management teams that oversaw the installation of new technologies on public works projects, hospitals, and major retail chains.

@AntairaTech @OConnell_PR #PAuto #IIoT

Prototyping of End-to-end AI Accelerated Vision Applications.

BitFlow has successfully integrated the unprecedented computing power of the NVIDIA® Jetson AGX Orin module, which can perform 275 trillion operations per second (TOPS), with the lightning-fast data rates of its CoaXPress (CXP) frame grabbers.

When combined with the NVIDIA AGX Orin Developer Kit, this cost-effective platform empowers engineers to prototype complex machine vision and autonomous inspection applications, leveraging AI accelerated image processing while simultaneously supporting up to four CoaXPress (CXP) cameras and multiple concurrent AI application pipelines. Groundbreaking new applications are more easily developed that augment rule-based machine vision with image-based analysis, making it possible to move beyond “pass/fail” to tasks like image classification, image segmentation, and object detection.

Once proof-of-concept is established, a production model can move forward utilizing an Advantech AIR-030 AI Inference System Box featuring PCI Express x16 and based on the NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin. As a result of this innovation, Time to Market and associated development costs are significantly reduced.

50GB Data Transfer. BitFlow CXP frame grabbers connect directly to the Jetson AGX Orin via a built-in x16 PCIe slot. Image data may then be transferred at speeds up to 50GB per second from CXP cameras to the NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture — much faster than what NVIDIA Jetson users are typically limited to using USB3 or GigE Vision cameras. BitFlow CXP frame grabbers DMA directly into the embedded GPU memory for image capture, pre-processing, and machine learning inference, shifting the load from the host computer to avoid CPU overhead.

Besides faster transfer speeds, the CoaXPress interface allows a single cable to carry all data, control, triggering, and up to 13W of power to connected cameras at lengths as far as 100 meters. CoaXPress eliminates the need for multiple cables and a local power supply, therefore giving the system integrator far more flexibility for their prototype designs.

Seamless integration between the NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin and BitFlow frame grabbers is achieved through BitFlow’s Linux AArch64 SDK. With the SDK being universal, not only is BitFlow's full line of CXP frame grabbers (Cyton and Claxon families) supported, but additionally the BitFlow Axion Camera Link family is an option for customers.

@Advantech_IIoT @AdvantechIA #Bitflow #Manufacturing #PAuto