Friday, January 4, 2013

Frequency counter

Low-cost Frequency Counter extends to 6GHz

Aim-TTi has added a 6GHz version of their best selling TF900 series of bench/portable frequency counters. The TF960 has a TCXO timebase, can measure and count between 0.001Hz and 6000MHz, and incorporates a USB control interface.

The TF960 can measure frequency, period, pulse width, duty cycle and frequency ratio, as well as event counting (totalise). For frequency, period and ratio functions the instrument uses a reciprocal counting technique to provide high resolution at all frequencies. Eight significant digits of answer are produced in a 1 second measurement time, nine digits in 10s and ten digits in 100s with a granularity of less than 2 counts in the least significant digit.

The new counter has a frequency range from 0.001Hz to over 6000MHz with high sensitivity across the range. The high quality TCXO timebase is stable to within ±1ppm over the full temperature range and provides a low ageing rate. Its short warm-up time allows accurate measurements to be made even under portable battery powered conditions.

For frequencies up to 125MHz the input is configurable as 1M Ohm or 50 Ohm impedance, AC or DC coupling, and 1:1 or 5:1 attenuation. The threshold is fully variable and the active edge can be positive or negative. Two high frequency inputs cover a range of 80MHz to >3GHz and 2GHz to >6GHz, the latter input being via an N connector.

The counter incorporates a USB interface which allows it to be remotely controlled via a computer’s USB port as well as providing readback.

The TF960 operates from internal rechargeable NiMH batteries which give typically 24 hours operating life. The universal AC charger supplied will recharge the batteries in less than 4 hours and can be used for continuous AC operation. The instrument can also be powered from a standard USB port.

Industry’s First PXI Express® HDMI Video and Audio Capture Card

Highly integrated full Analog/Digital uncompressed video & digital audio capture for device testing

ADLINK Technology has released the industry’s first PXI Express® HDMI video and audio capture card, the PXIe-HDV62A, enabling integration of full single-card analog/digital video and digital audio input. With over ten year’s experience in PXI/PXIe solutions, ADLINK has leveraged its expertise to provide video and audio testing systems readily satisfying the gamut of automated measurement requirements, with the most recent, the PXIe-HDV62A, ideally suited for multimedia device testing.

Not only does the PXIe-HDV62A deliver superior quality high-definition video data from DVI or HDMI sources, but also analog video decoding, comprehensively supporting RGB, NTSC/PAL, S-video and YPbPr formats, with an integrated audio decoder for HDMI and S/PDIF capture. ADLINK’s PXIe-HDV62A further supports uncompressed full HD up to 1080p at 60 fps, 10-bit high-resolution ADC, and HDCP. High integration allows the PXIe-HDV62A to easily manage a multitude of video and audio inputs, reducing total cost of ownership and installation.

“To ensure consistent quality in validation and manufacturing of multimedia devices such as set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, and gaming consoles, the market demand for automated test with PXI system has increased.” said Neil Chen, ADLINK’s Product Manager for Digital Imaging. “ADLINK, as a leader in PXI products for testing and measurement, and a sponsor member of the PXI System Alliance, has utilized extensive field experience in the machine vision industry to meet the specific needs of automated measurement applications, such as multimedia device testing. ADLINK offers both PXI Express and PCI Express form factors to fulfill all user requirements.”

ADLINK’s PXIe-HDV62A supports LabVIEWTM and Microsoft® DirectShow, reducing engineering effort and accelerating time to market. As well, ADLINK’s PXIe-HDV62A is equipped with ADLINK’s ViewCreatorPro® utility, enabling system testing and debugging with no software programming required. Full driver support is provided for Windows® 7/XP.

A recommended PXI Express platform includes the PXES-2590 all-hybrid 9-slot PXIe chassis and the PXIe-3975, a 3U PXIe controller with Intel® Core™ i5-520E 2.4 GHz processor.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Irish automation author recognised

The ISA Publications Department anually remembers Mr. Keith Otto, a member who served the Society for many years, particularly as the Chair of the InTech Editorial Advisory Board.

David Twohig & ISA VP Pubs Eoin Ó Riain
The Keith Otto Award recognizes the authors of the best article in their periodical InTech magazine.

The winner was David Twohig for the best article in the September/October 2011 issue of InTech magazine titled, Utility Optimization – Driving economic performance through the utilization of automation technologies”

David Twohig is working as a Senior Engineering Specialist for Gilead Sciences, responsible for Automation System on their Cork manufacturing site in Ireland. He has a degree in Applied Physics and is presently working on a research Masters with the Chemical Engineering Dept. at Newcastle University (GB). He is a full member of the Institute of Engineering & Technology and is presently serving as an executive committee member for the Control and Automation Community.

This award is usually presented at the annual ISA Automation Week however this year as the then ISA VP Publications, Eoin Ó Riain, is also Irish, the presentation was made at the Ireland ISA Section's Honours & Awards event in University College, Cork last December.

Finnish company acquires US software tools leader

ExperTune  has been acquired by the Finnish company Metso. ExperTune’s products are widely used as software tools to analyse and monitor the performance of industrial processes and to identify the associated maintenance and improvement opportunities.

ExperTune’s acquisition is in line with Metso's strategy to deliver customer value solutions and grow the scope of the services business globally. The acquisition expands and strengthens Metso's ability to globally provide business-enhancing services to customers. ExperTune’s products will be sold as stand-alone solutions that can be used in any automation system environment and as part of Metso's performance business solutions, targeted to optimize plant performance.

"The combination of ExperTune’s products and Metso's services portfolio extends our capability to offer solutions targeted to improving process and business performance," says Mikko Keto, President, Services, Metso Automation.

"With ExperTune we can provide more versatile and more cost effective customer value solutions to our customers so that they can meet their most pressing business challenges, such as reducing raw material consumption, energy usage, product variability and environmental impact. ExperTune’s products help our customers to find areas of improvement in their processes to which Metso has customer value solutions."

Metso's services business has developed strongly over the last decade. In 2011, the services share of the company's turnover was 45 per cent. ExperTune will be integrated into Metso’s Automation segment’s Services business.

MEMS pressure sensors

This is a quick heads-up on International Frequency Sensor Association's (IFSA) newly published book titled, "MEMS Pressure Sensors: Fabrication and Process Optimization," from the pen of Parvej Ahmad Alvi Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, School of Physical Sciences, Banasthali University, India.

So far, no book has described the step by step fabrication process sequence along with flow chart for fabrication of micro pressure sensors, and therefore, the book has been written taking into account various aspects of fabrication and designing of the pressure sensors as well as fabrication process optimization. A complete experimental detail before and after each step of fabrication of the sensor has also been discussed. Thus this may be said to be an unique book.

It will greatly benefit undergraduate and postgraduate students of MEMS and NEMS course, process engineers and technologists in the microelectronics industry as well as MEMS-based sensors manufacturers.

MEMS Pressure Sensors: Fabrication and Process Optimization, ISBN: 978-84-616-2207-8, 176 p., hardcover.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Voltage and continuity

Rugged family of two pole testers provides instant readings under any working condition

Fluke has introduced the Fluke® T90, T110, T130 and T150 Voltage and Continuity Testers. The new family of rugged two pole voltage/continuity testers offers a combination of light, sound, vibration and digital display to provide instant answers under any working condition.

The Fluke two-pole testers feature high-quality construction, including a heavy-duty moulded case, thicker wiring with WearGuard™ wear indicator, a sturdy battery case and durable probe protector. The Fluke T90, T110, T130 and T150 are Cat IV 600 V, Cat III 690 V (T110, T130 and T150 models), or Cat III 600 V, Cat II 690 V (T90 model) safety rated.

The two-pole testers offer four ways to indicate AC/DC voltage: a clear, instantly visible LED indicator, a bright digital display of the measurement value (T130 and T150 only), an audible continuity test, and vibration to provide tactile feedback so electricians know there is voltage present, which is especially helpful in noisy environments or when they cannot take their eyes off the probes.

The testers are ergonomically designed for comfort all day and are easily used even when wearing gloves. The bright backlit display on the T130 and T150 ensures that buttons and indicators are visible under any lighting condition and the audio on/off setting allows testing in quiet areas without disturbing others. The T150 also measures resistance.

The Fluke two-pole voltage and continuity testers offer electricians the features, functions and price/performance to fit any application or preference.

Connector adaptors

Rittal’s RiLine60 Component Adaptors
Riline60, with its shielded busbar system, is now well established within the automation and switchgear market. With easy design and speedy installation it offers a safe method of distributing power within cabinets. Busbar ratings of up to 1600A and an extensive range of adaptors offer the designer total flexibility.

To reduce installation time and costs Rittal have introduced a new range of moulded case circuit breaker adaptors with laminated copper connections pre-configured into the adaptor. The mccb is mounted to the adaptor by 2 fixing screws and the power connections simply secure onto the mccb terminals. Options are available for both top or bottom outgoing cable connection. Available mccb ratings are 250A, 400A and 630A.

Adaptors have been designed for leading circuit breaker manufactures: ABB, Allan Bradley, Eaton, GE, Mitsubishi, Siemens and Terasaki.

Dew point for dryers

Affordable dew-point transmitter designed for OEM dryer manufacturers

The SF52 dew-point transmitter from Michell Instruments provides a heavy-duty and cost-effective solution to monitor moisture content in industrial dryers. The instrument is easy to install and has an exceptionally low cost of ownership with no maintenance required during its lifetime use of typically five to seven years. Its robustness really gives a ‘fit and forget’ solution with benefits that make this a smart and appealing choice for use in industrial dryers.

The SF52 offers an affordable solution for dew point measurement for harsh environments. Water content within compressed air can cause significant problems to its users and protection against this, through over-specified dryers, adds to operational costs. Direct and accurate measurement of dew point helps to optimise dryer performance and operational efficiencies while protecting against moisture interfering with downstream processes.

This transmitter covers the key dew-point measurement range of -40 to +60°C for most common industrial drying applications, used in processes such as the manufacture of plastics. The products are heavy duty and have an internally recessed element, which protects the sensor element, ensuring reliability and performance in harsh process media conditions. They have enhanced resistance to chemicals which preserves reliable, long-term performance and accuracy over a wide temperature range. The transmitters are issued with a 3-point calibration certificate and are designed to improve dryer performance. A new, high capacity manufacturing system has been installed to meet the volume demands for the SF52 dew-point transmitter. These affordable instruments are available with short lead-times and come with the peace of mind of quality manufacturing and the support of a world leader in humidity and dew-point measurement.

Michell Instruments are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology