Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Equipment investment strategies put to the test!

Electro Rent outlines how companies can combat the impacts of the current economic challenges and mitigate risks set out in several recent reports from prominent industry commentators

In light of current economic conditions predicted by numerous recent reports, electronic test equipment specialist Electro Rent has advice for any companies looking to mitigate this financial pressure when sourcing the equipment they need. The argument in favour of test equipment rental is already compelling and growing in favour across the industry spectrum, but in uncertain economic times, there arises even more need to replace legacy-based purchasing strategies with a smarter way forward.

With economic headwinds driven by factors such as higher costs, inflation and geopolitical uncertainty, the EU’s recent forecast report outlines the potential impact on new investment: “Heightened uncertainty around the unfolding of the geopolitical situation and its impact on the demand outlook are set to weigh on companies’ investment decisions and delay the realisation of investment plans.”

A May 2022 report by Deloitte Insights already warned that “the negative effect is particularly pronounced for companies’ operating margins, which are under pressure from a higher cost base due to rising energy and commodity prices”. In June 2022, the OECD’s Economic Outlook said that growth is set to be markedly weaker than expected in almost all economies. Many of the hardest-hit countries are in Europe, which is highly exposed to current market challenges, including the impacts of the energy crisis and inflation. All of this could impact on accessing the electronic test equipment that companies require, on time and on budget.

More and more companies are therefore turning to rental test equipment as a cost-effective yet reliable means of meeting the requirements of budget-conscious, lead-time restricted projects. Renting not only provides immediate access to the latest test equipment technologies from all major brands, but it also keeps projects on track and avoids the typical risks associated with capital expenditure, such as a large hit to balance sheet liquidity, asset depreciation and slow return-on-investment. Renting also allows companies to easily ramp up and down in line with demand. Moreover, those renting can change their test equipment whenever necessary, providing the flexibility to support an ever-evolving industrial and economic landscape.

Electro Rent has extensive experience in advising customers on solutions that help them navigate different financial situations in a safe and effective way. Based on over half a century of managing test equipment investments - amid a broad spread of economic trading conditions - the company knows how to supply this equipment in a flexible manner, minimising the potential consequences of an economic downturn and keeping test schedules going without the need for capital investment.

“The key is maintaining business agility and ensuring sufficient flexibility to deal with fluctuating economic conditions,” explains George Acris, Vice President Marketing EMEA at Electro Rent. “High-end electronic test equipment is available that many are not even aware can be procured on a rental basis. For example, by using Electro Rent, customers can deploy the latest spectrum or network analyser for a high-frequency test just for the period required. No more, no less.”

Companies can achieve this ambition simply by paying as they go from their operating budget. As a point of note, it is possible to rent equipment of this type for periods as short as one week. Moreover, the equipment is available immediately, which is a huge advantage in the current climate of long lead times, avoiding any frustrating project delays that can derail product launch dates.

“Many companies in defence and electronic goods development, as well as those in telecom installation and maintenance, for example, are already using this concept effectively and saving an average of 25% on their equipment costs while being able to deploy as needed,” says Acris. “This strategy is a proven way of keeping pace with the latest test equipment technologies, retaining total flexibility to adapt and react in line with economic uncertainty.”

Evidence is building from expert commentators that economic challenges continue to lay ahead for some time to come, so now has never been a better time for companies to look again at how they procure equipment. Electro Rent has some very effective options available to help mitigate any challenges that the economy may present moving forward.

@ElectroRentEMEA @mepaxIntPR #Automation #Rental

Sensing element series for humidity and temperature.

E+E Elektronik is expanding its digital sensing element portfolio to include two new product variants. The HTE301 humidity and temperature sensing element and the TEE301 temperature sensing element offer excellent measurement accuracy and a wide application temperature range from -40 °C to 125 °C (-40 °F to 257 °F). The small 8-pin DFN package with its I2C interface and four individually configurable I2C addresses is ideal for state-of-the-art, demanding designs.

The HTE and TEE301 sensing elements are part of the new sensing element generation by E+E Elektronik. Offering the same accuracy values, they are cost-optimised variants of the HTE and TEE501 sensing elements introduced earlier this year. With a different data format (16-bit unsigned integer) and pin assignment compared to the 501 series, the 301 series allows easy upgrade of existing applications with minimal integration effort.

The HTE301 sensing element impresses with a measurement accuracy of up to ±1.8% RH (incl. hysteresis) and ±0.2 °C. It features an integrated constant current heater which keeps the element at approx. 2-3 °C over-temperature and prevents condensation forming on the sensing element. This results in excellent measurement performance and fast response time even in conditions with high humidity. On top of this, the proprietary E+E sensor coating protects the active sensor surface of the HTE301 against contamination and corrosive deposits.

The TEE301 sensing element measures the temperature with an accuracy of up to ±0.2 °C. Thanks to its wide temperature range, the sensing element is versatile, providing a reliable and cost-effective solution for demanding temperature measurement tasks.

Both sensing elements are available as an 8-pin DFN package with dimensions of just 2.5 x 2.5 x 0.9 mm3 to support easy integration into existing applications. The I2C interface enables robust data communication, supporting communication speeds up to 1,000 kHz. The sensing elements offer four selectable I2C addresses as well as alert and reset functions.

• E+E Elektronik products are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology

 #EplusE #Calibration #Pauto

Security knowledge transfer agreement for Spain and EU markets.

IKERLAN, a knowledge transfer technology center based in the Basque Country (ES), has signed an agreement with the ISASecure program to conduct ISASecure certification assessments of off-the-shelf industrial automation and control (IAC) devices.

Ion Etxeberria, Managing Director of IKERLAN, says, “This strategic collaboration leverages IKERLAN's capabilities in evaluating cybersecurity of industrial control systems and brings our ecosystem a step forward as to be the reference in Spain and Southern Europe in this field.”

The ISASecure certification program assures that products conform to the ISA/IEC 62443 series of internationally adopted industrial cybersecurity standards. It assesses IAC products and systems to ensure they are robust against network attacks, free from known vulnerabilities, and meet the security capabilities defined in the ISA/IEC 62443 standards.

All ISASecure certification testing is conducted by accredited, independent assessment organizations. Once IKERLAN has completed its ISASecure accreditation process, it will be able to accept product submissions for certification to the ISASecure ISA/IEC 62443 conformity assessment scheme.

The addition of IKERLAN expands the ISASecure program’s global reach into the local Spain and EU markets. The International Society of Automation’s (ISA) Security Compliance Institute (ISCI) has ISASecure-accredited certification bodies in the USA, Japan, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Italy, and Taiwan, as well as several other certification bodies actively seeking accreditation in other countries.

Andre Ristaino, Managing Director of the ISASecure Program, says, “IKERLAN has a stellar reputation in its field of research on security of automation and control systems. We are pleased to add a great company like IKERLAN to the ISASecure ecosystem.”

@ISA_Interchange @IKERLANofficial #Pauto #Security #Spain

Appointments to developer of open architecture software solutions.

Lynx Software Technologies has appointed experienced industry executives Michel Genard and Ed Dolanski to its Board of Directors.

Michel Genard
Genard brings over three decades of experience working with embedded software companies, most recently serving as Vice President of Product Management at Wind River, an established provider of embedded safety and security solutions. As a member of Wind River's executive leadership team, Genard oversaw product strategy under Intel’s ownership and following the sale of the company to TPG in 2018. Earlier in his tenure at Wind River he held leadership positions, including Vice President and General Manager of the Industrial IoT and Aerospace and Defense business unit and management of the company’s first European research and development center. Genard has also held leadership roles at Virtutech, a provider of simulation software tools, which was acquired by Intel in 2010, at TimeSys, a provider of Linux-based security solutions for the embedded market, and at Integrated Systems, a provider of embedded and computer-aided engineering software, which was acquired by Wind River in 2000.

“Lynx’s success with the selection of its LYNX MOSA.ic™ software framework to support the upgrade of the mission system avionics for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program represents an exciting and critical turning point in the Company’s trajectory and in how the industry deploys mission critical edge applications. Customers are increasingly looking for collaborative partners who can help them more efficiently design, deploy, and maintain mission-critical systems, and I look forward to working with the Lynx team to evolve the Company’s product strategy to further align with these evolving requirements and to accelerate the Company’s growth,” said Genard.

Ed Dolanski
Dolanski brings over thirty years of experience within the aerospace and defense end markets, recently serving as President of Boeing’s U.S. Government Services business. In this role, Dolanski oversaw all aspects of the business, including growth, operations, and technology strategy. Previously, Dolanski held leadership positions across multiple Boeing business units, including President of the $10 billion Global Services & Support unit within Boeing Defense, Space & Security and President and CEO of Aviall, and he also served as the Vice President of Raytheon’s Mission Support & Cyber Engagement and Services business units. Dolanski serves on the Board of Directors of VSE Corporation and as the Chairman of the Board of MD Helicopters.

“Technology evolution has not only expanded the capabilities of customers but also increased the risks tied to the interoperability of related systems and cybersecurity. My time with Raytheon and Boeing helped me understand the evolving needs of both commercial and government customers, and I believe Lynx’s differentiated products and strategy can help to address these important challenges. I’m thrilled to work with the Lynx and OceanSound teams to support the Company's growth,” stated Dolanski.

“We are thrilled to welcome Michel and Ed as members of our Board of Directors as they each bring decades of relevant experience and leadership to Lynx,” commented Tim Reed, Chief Executive Office of Lynx. “Their track records overseeing growth and operational excellence and their vast network of industry relationships make them ideally suited to join our Board to support the company as we enact our value creation strategy.”

“Michel and Ed bring a deep, complementary understanding of Lynx’s core markets, and specifically the evolution of the software architectures needed to optimize functionality, scalability, security, speed, and costs to better serve and grow customer relationships. Their insights, experiences, and networks will be invaluable to the Company, its customers, and partners. We look forward to working with each of them, Tim, and the Lynx management team to execute on our shared vision,” said Joe Benavides, Managing Partner of OceanSound.

@LynxSoftware @NeeshamPR #Embeddedsystems

Straightforward CW/CCW throttle position sensing.

Variohm EuroSensor’s VTP11 series rotary position sensor continues to impress for affordable throttle position sensing throughout motorsports. Its thoroughly proven resistive element technology, based on a conductive plastic track and multiple fingered wiper assembly, enables the durability to maintain full sensing contact even in the most arduous shock and vibration conditions as well as providing an operational life of 5 million cycles.

VTP11 installed as a throttle position sensor.
(pic courtesy of EFI Hardware - Australia)

The VTP11’s IP66 rated, fully sealed and encapsulated glass-filled PBT housing features simple 32.5 mm PCD flange mounting and combines with its 8 mm through-hole D-shaft drive to allow front- or rear-side installation for convenient CW/CCW measurement set-up.

Variohm’s VTP11 installed as a throttle position sensor - courtesy of EFI Hardware - Australia

Firmly aimed at throttle position sensing although suitable for other motorsports position measurement tasks such as steering angle, suspension, and gear selection, the VTP11 has a wide, 97⁰, measurement range and a generous 112⁰ mechanical rotation. Linearity is specified at +/- 1% and resistance value is 5 kΩ +/- 20% with a 5 … 24V DC supply voltage. Electrical connection is via 208 mm long insulated leadwires as standard with optional connectors on request. To withstand the arduous engine conditions in motorsports, the position sensor has a temperature rating of -25 to +125⁰ C with short term peaks to 150⁰ C for 15 mins.

@Variohm @mepaxIntPR  #PAuto #Position

Camera in six different housing variants.

Anyone who needs quickly available industrial cameras for image processing projects is not faced with an easy task due to the worldwide chip shortage. IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH has therefore been pushing the development of alternative USB3 hardware generations with available, advanced semiconductor technology in recent months and has consistently acquired components for this purpose. Series production of new industrial cameras with USB3 interface and Vision Standard compatibility has recently started. In the CP and LE camera series of the uEye+ product line, customers can choose the right model for their applications from a total of six housing variants and numerous CMOS sensors.

The models of the uEye CP family are particularly suitable for space-critical applications thanks to their distinctive, compact magnesium housing with dimensions of only 29 x 29 x 29 millimetres and a weight of around 50 grams. Customers can choose from global and rolling shutter sensors from 0.5 to 20 MP in this product line. Those who prefer a board-level camera instead should take a look at the versatile uEye LE series. These cameras are available with coated plastic housings and C-/CS-mount lens flanges as well as board versions with or without C-/CS-mount or S-mount lens connections. They are therefore particularly suitable for projects in small device construction and integration in embedded vision systems. IDS initially offers the global shutter Sony sensors IMX273 (1.6 MP) and IMX265 (3.2 MP) as well as the rolling shutter sensors IMX290 (2.1 MP) and IMX178 (6.4 MP). Other sensors will follow.

The USB3 cameras are perfectly suited for use with IDS peak thanks to the vision standard transport protocol USB3 Vision®. The Software Development Kit includes programming interfaces in C, C++, C# with .NET and Python as well as tools that simplify the programming and operation of IDS cameras while optimising factors such as compatibility, reproducible behaviour and stable data transmission. Special convenience features reduce application code and provide an intuitive programming experience, enabling quick and easy commissioning of the cameras.

@IDS_Imaging @mepaxIntPR #PAuto #Manufacturing

Four ways to make your vacuum system more efficient.

Martina Höller, Electrical technology product manager CEE, SMC Austria, here outlines four simple ways that can reduce the energy consumption of the vacuum system, based on decades of experience and know-how. Using less energy per lift/transfer provides a direct contribution to bottom-line profitability while simultaneously supporting industry’s drive to net-zero carbon emissions.

With energy prices surging across Europe, efficiency has become a high priority for all manufacturing and process plants using vacuum handling systems.

The latest energy-saving technology and process engineering can make a genuine difference to vacuum handling applications, whether the sector is packaging, metalworking, automotive, healthcare or any other. Simply follow these four steps to see a notable improvement in your system’s efficiency.

It’s possible to generate vacuum centrally by means of a vacuum pump or de-centrally (directly on the machine) using vacuum ejectors. SMC’s extensive range of vacuum ejectors – from super compact inline ejectors up to ultra-high efficiency multi-stage ejectors with high-performance silencers – are suitable for vacuum flows up to 600 Nl/min, thus meeting the needs of almost any industrial application.

Every type of ejector has its specific parameters, which are dependent on one another. These include: standard supply pressure (the amount of compressed air you need to achieve the highest possible vacuum pressure); maximum suction flow rate (volume of air taken in by the ejector); maximum vacuum pressure (maximum value of the vacuum pressure generated by the ejector); and air consumption (the amount of air consumed by the ejector when operating with the standard supply pressure).

SMC´s Multistage Ejector – ZL Series
A light efficient push to your suction
4 bar: the optimal supply pressure (on average) for SMC ejectors.
Ask yourself, do you really need the maximum vacuum pressure to handle your workpiece? You need to pose this question because the level of vacuum pressure will relate directly to your air consumption and your costs. By way of example, if you use of 0.5 MPa (5 bar) main line supply pressure to operate our ZL112A ejector (with valves), your air consumption will total around 78 l/min (4680 l/hour) to achieve a maximum vacuum pressure of -84 kPa. However, by choosing to operate the ejector at a reduced 0.35 MPa (the standard supply pressure for this type of ejector), you can cut air consumption to 57 l/min (3420 l/hour) and still achieve the same maximum vacuum pressure (-84 kPa). A significant 27% energy saving.

As a point of note, while many manufacturers have yet to transition from 7 bar standard shop pressure, optimal vacuum operation takes place at an average of 4 bar, so reducing from 7 bar to 4 bar not only benefits your bottom line and the future of the planet, it will have no impact on the effectiveness of your operations.

Extract from ZL´s catalogue
Returning to the example, if you can safely handle the workpiece with a maximum vacuum pressure of -65 kPa, you can reduce the supply pressure even further, to 0.25 MPa (2.5 bar). This would cut your air consumption to 45 l/min (2700 l/hour), delivering an impressive 43% energy saving.

Use a bigger pad diameter, not higher supply pressure.
Some engineers make the mistake of increasing supply pressure to achieve a higher holding force, but this leads to more energy consumption and more cost. In fact, it’s directly proportional, so doubling the vacuum pressure will double your holding force and double your energy costs.

Instead, it may be possible to increase the diameter of your vacuum pads in certain applications. When doubling pad diameter, your holding force quadruples, while your energy costs remain the same as there is no increase in supply pressure. The price difference between a 20 mm and 40 mm diameter vacuum pad is typically less than €5.

Vacuum ejectors with energy-saving function.
Some vacuum ejectors feature a vacuum pressure switch with an energy-saving function that can reduce energy consumption by up to 93%. So how do they work? Well, you first define the pressure range within which you can securely hold the workpiece, for example from -65 to -55 kPa. The integration of pressure switch with energy-saving function serves to cut off the air supply upon reaching the desired vacuum level. Vacuum only generates again when the pressure falls below the lower range, in this case -55 kPa.

Take a vacuum handling application involving a conventional ejector that operates at 450 cycles per hour, 10 hours a day, for 250 days a year. Such a system will consume around 9350 m3 of compressed air every year. However, using a vacuum ejector with an energy-saving function will reduce air consumption to just 638 m3 per year, delivering the aforementioned 93% saving. The potential savings are higher in short-cycle applications.

Smart management.
To maximise the use of an energy-efficient vacuum handling system, SMC recommends that you adopt ‘smart’ ejector systems. A serial transmitted ejector manifold requires no separate input/output units to operate and avoids complex electrical wiring of the valves and sensors.

Field devices can connect directly to the PLC. Via the PLC, it is possible to set and monitor the pressure values, suction or release verification, the energy-saving function and the valve protection function. This concept leads to better control of your application, more valuable data, simple set-up and on-board product diagnostics, as well as easy monitoring.

If you’ve ever dealt with a vacuum-based system you’ll be aware that vacuum can be unpredictable as the interaction and the behaviour between workpiece and pad differs depending on the application. The only real way to be certain of the results is to take advantage of an expert technology supplier such as SMC, which can conduct tests at customer sites or at its laboratories located across Europe. Vacuum is frequently about trial and error regarding pressure, flow, pad size, number of pads and more, particularly if it involves special workpiece materials, so why not let the experts work it out.

With energy costs rising rapidly around the globe, few can afford to ignore the energy-saving possibilities that a correctly specified and configured vacuum handling system can bring. It’s time to get a grip on efficiency.

@SMCPneumaticsUK @SMCPneumatics @mepaxIntPR #PAuto #Energy