Thursday 30 July 2009

magnetostrictive transducers

Magnetostriction; Principle, Technology, and How it Works!

Triple redundancy tranducers offer extreme accuracy and reliability

Transducer specialists RDP Electronics' MTS Temposonic range of magnetostrictive transducers now extends to versions for double or triple redundancy for astonishing accuracy and exceptional levels of reliability.

The Temposonics series of transducers very accurately measure the position of the ring magnet along the metal tube. They are frequently used inside hydraulic cylinders to measure the position of the cylinder. The GT2 and GT3 series retain the same dimensions as the standard G series magnetostrictive MTS transducers making installation in hydraulic cylinders equally straightforward, or indeed for use in general measurement of displacement in automation and control applications. At the heart of the magnetostrictive contactless technology is the wave guide which is duplicated in the GT2 version to provide two independent measuring systems within a single housing. The GT3 takes this a stage further with three systems within the same 10 mm diameter rod which is pressure rated to 350 bar (700 bar peak). Both the GT2 and GT3 Series are available with analogue outputs that include standard 0~10V, ±10V, and 4~20mA and 0~20mA ranges. Thanks to the built in duplicate or triplicate redundancy of the independent measuring systems within a single standard size housing, applications calling for high levels of accuracy with an extraordinary level of reliability can now count on the GT2 and GT3 to deliver the solution.

MTS Temposonic magnetostrictive transducers are available from RDP Electronics Ltd in Britain and Ireland

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Vector imager

Gefran expands ADV200 vector inverter range to 1.2 MW

Gefran has expanded its ADV200 line of high performance, FOC (field oriented control), vector inverters adding three larger frame sizes with heavy duty overload power now available up to 1.2 MW.

Three new larger frame sizes added to advanced 32-bit modular inverter range

Comprehensive choice hardware and software options that simplify installation and reduce development timescales

IEC61131 programming included as standard

The modular range now includes four panel mount and three cabinet-housed drives for continuous service, constant torque power output applications from 0.75 kW to 355 kW at 400 – 480 VAC. With heavy duty and light duty overload management and with a choice of open loop, closed loop with speed feedback, or V/F control, the advanced ADV200 range provides maximum application flexibility with up to three front mounted option card slots for a mixed combination of encoder and fieldbus interfaces or I/O expansion cards.

The ADV200 is aimed at system builders and OEMs requiring an inverter drive platform that is able to meet the needs of the widest possible range of speed control applications. Based on a high performance 32-bit microcontroller providing a closed loop speed regulation up to 0.01% and a speed range of 1:1000, the ADV200 includes three levels of programming and control options as standard.

A built-in alphanumeric keypad with a backlit 4-line text display can provide a means for direct parameter programming or for simple control.

For applications requiring an intermediate level of control, Gefran’s GF-eXpress configuration tool features an integrated oscilloscope and tools for fast set-up and application commissioning plus a simple integrated PLC for straightforward I/O control.
For the most demanding machine control and application integration, an IEC61131-3 sequential PLC is included with Gefran’s MDPLC advanced development software.

To allow integration with factory automation systems, standard fieldbus options include CANopen, DeviceNet, Profibus-DP as well as Gefran’s own GD-Net real-time fast Ethernet for high speed synchronisation between ADV200’s or servo controlled axes from Gefran’s XVy-EV range. As standard, each drive is fitted with 2 analogue inputs and outputs, 6 +2 digital inputs and outputs and 2 relay outputs. Separate machine control expansion cards are available in a various digital and analogue I/O combinations. An RS485 serial input is also available that may be optionally modified for Modbus RTU, to provide peer-to-peer or mutltidrop connection for multi-axis systems.

The advanced ADV200 also includes state-of-the-art safety features such as OMEGA clamp for 360º EMC cable shielding, an external 24 VDC power supply for keep-alive on mains input loss, and an optional safety card allowing the motor to be disabled without the use of a safety contactor on the drive output – in compliance with EN954-1 category 3. Features for fast installation include removable easy-access screw terminal connectors and front facing option card slots, plus the keypad is removable. For maximum reliability the ADV200 also features integrated DC line chokes and input filters for full EMC compliance EN61800-3.

Metals analysis

New lab application for cost-efficient metals analysis

Cogent Environmental has developed a new test cell, the 'SV Labcell', for use with company's market leading portable metals analyser, the PDV 6000plus. The SV Labcell provides lower levels of detection and greater flexibility in analytical methodology, effectively turning the PDV 6000plus into a precise analytical laboratory instrument.

It is a portable metals analyser that provides fast, cost-effective analysis of solid or liquid samples for a range of metals including Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Copper, Zinc, Mercury, Chromium and Nickel. The SV Labcell adds molybdenum, uranium and other metals to this list and permits the use of bismuth film techniques removing the need for mercury film electrodes.

Many hundreds of these instruments are in use world-wide because operators have a need to be able to produce fast results without having to incur the cost and time delays of laboratory analysis. However, laboratory analysis is often required when lower levels of detection are required, for regulatory purposes, in research or in circumstances which demand a broader range of measurands.

Traditional laboratory equipment for the analysis of metals, such as ICP or GFAA, can be expensive to purchase and operate, requiring a high level of expertise. In contrast, the PDV 6000plus with an SV Labcell is relatively low cost, simple to operate and capable of producing high quality data.

Explaining the appeal of the new system, Cogent's Martin Butterfield says, "The development of the SV Labcell will enable our customers to produce data with much greater precision and resolution easily meeting the requirements of the majority of practical applications and turning the PDV6000plus into a powerful research tool - all at a much lower cost."

Security beyond plant walls

Remote SCADA communication
Easy to deploy modules provide reliable security over untrusted networks

"The Tofino VPN is the first solution for securely connecting industrial control facilities and people together over untrusted networks (such as the Internet) that does not need an IT expert to set up and administer"
Eric Byres

Byres Security Inc. and MTL Instruments have announced the introduction of the Tofino™ Virtual Private Network (VPN) product line as part of the Tofino™ Industrial Security Solution, extending cyber security beyond plant walls.

The Tofino VPN Server LSM(Loadable Security Modules), the Tofino VPN Client LSM, and the Tofino VPN Client License are designed specifically to be simple to use and to securely connect facilities and people together over untrusted networks, such as the Internet. The products will be available as of July 31, 2009.

Security for the Tofino VPN is provided by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) – a proven technology that is the foundation of all web ecommerce and is widely considered to be less complex to configure than other VPN technologies. Deployment is completed centrally using the Tofino Central Management Platform (CMP), and does not require any changes to existing control system network design or addressing. Handling of security components occurs behind the scenes, making setup a simple drag-n-drop process. Like other Tofino products, the Tofino VPN modules can also be operated in “test” mode before they are activated. All of these features make the setup of the Tofino VPN easy, ensuring that neither industrial security nor industrial reliability are compromised by complex configuration errors.

In addition to providing secure tunnels for communication, the Tofino VPN solution integrates seamlessly with the Tofino Firewall LSM and the Tofino Modbus TCP Enforcer LSM. This close integration makes certain that only “permitted” messages are distributed, and not potentially dangerous transmissions such as a virus originating from a remote PC, or a user sending inappropriate programming commands.

The Tofino VPN is unique, having an integrated SCADA-capable firewall that provides a high degree of granularity in setting access rules. For example, it allows the designation of specific computers (such as remote Human Machine Interface PCs) to have read-only access to PLCs for operational diagnostics, whereas a limited set of maintenance laptops can have remote programming access to PLCs.

Eric Byres, a leading global industrial security expert and the CTO of Byres Security points out, “Our approach with the Tofino Industrial Security Solution is to deliver a system that is designed with the rugged environment, staff skills and needs of industry in mind, and that can be installed without plant downtime. Unlike IT VPN solutions, the Tofino VPN products are readily configured and managed by controls engineers, they can be tested and implemented without risk to industrial processes, they are part of an industrially hardened system and they support legacy automation devices and protocols.”

Uses of the Tofino VPN include:
    • Monitoring and controlling remote sites from a central location
    • Providing secure access to control systems for remote personnel
    • Securing communications between critical controllers
    • Allowing legacy non-IP control traffic to travel over IP networks

The Tofino VPN LSMs create secure tunnels for communications between:
    • Tofino Security Appliances (Tofino SA’s)
    • Tofino SA’s and PC
    • Tofino SA’s and supported third-party devices

Monday 27 July 2009

Simulation and collision monitoring

Versatile new cutting head and CNC simulator will be highlighted at show

At EMO 2009, the CNC controls vendor NUM will launch a ready-integrated tool head for sophisticated plasma, laser and waterjet cutting machinery applications, and exhibit an advanced 3D simulation package combining workpiece simulation with collision monitoring for the first time.

The new head design brings many technical advantages to the cutting machinery sector. Novel mechanical design means that the head provides the versatility of movement and stiffness required to implement precision cutting motion, but with the unique advantages of very low mass, and the elimination of cabling runs that must flex with the tool head movement and can cause failures. Due to its unusually light weight, the new head can be assembled easily on existing CNC machines in the plasma- and waterjet-cutting market often without additional mechanical adaptation - providing a very simple means of extending the capability of machinery from 2D to 3D applications, with precise multi-axis interpolation.

They will also publicly exhibit a new 3D simulation package for the first time. It combines workpiece simulation with collision monitoring and other powerful features. The computer-aided engineering software allows machine builders to offer new generations of optimisation tools with their machines - to help users to maximise manufacturing throughput and productivity. Designated True 3D, the software tool is a general-purpose version of their well-known 3D simulator for multi-axis grinding applications.

NUM's True 3D is one of the first commercial CNC software simulation tools to combine both workpiece simulation and collision monitoring facilities. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the new software is not only emulating, but is simulating the actual CNC commands, hence the name True 3D, and subsequently provides an output as close as possible to the actual machined parts. It allows machinery users to virtually prototype and optimise the entire machine production process, to yield significant gains including improved machine productivity, reduced tool wear, and faster project completion.

Wireless interface for encoders

Real time wireless interfacing for incremental and absolute encoders is available from Variohm

SwiftComm™ from encoder specialists BEI, is a wireless transmitter and receiver system for incremental or SSI absolute encoders and sensors that allows cable-free, high speed communication using a secure 2.4 GHz RF protocol. Available exclusively in the Britain from Variohm EuroSensor, it is aimed at motion control and position measurement applications where it can replace hard wired cabling over long runs, or simplify installation for rotating equipment and complicated encoder to controller routing on all types of machinery.

To maintain high reliability in factory and industrial environments, the transmitter-receiver pair uses a highly secure 2.4 GHz Adaptive Frequency Hopping Protocol (AFHP) that sequentially and continually selects a suitable interference-free channel from several available. The high speed communications system boots up immediately and updates information every 600 microseconds for minimal signal latency. Transmission range is dependant upon environmental conditions but can be up to 300 metres.
Full protection is ensured with 40-bit data encryption and 5-byte range security coding with more than 500 billion unique codes available plus integrated data recovery and error checking included to counter data packet transmission loss.
For maximum environmental resilience, the transmitters and receivers are housed in sealed cast aluminium enclosures with full protection to NEMA 4 standards for water spray.

SwiftComm is available in two versions with flexible interfacing options allowing its use with many different industrial encoders, sensors and control systems.
For incremental linear and rotary encoders with A-B quadrature, and Z marker channels, a choice of 5, 12 or 24 VDC encoder input voltage is offered at the transmitter along with connectorised or flying lead versions - ensuring its use with almost all types of encoder from many different suppliers.

For wirelessly transmitted absolute encoder and sensor applications, a newly available SSI version provides transmitter input connections matched to the SSI industry standard and connector or flying lead options to suit the customers’ application. The interface suits any SSI position device including single or multi-turn encoders, linear scales or magnetostrictive devices.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Industrial security

The newly formed, non-profit Security Incidents Organization™ has announced it will provide public access to The Repository of Industrial Security Incidents (RISI).

RISI is an industry-wide repository for collecting, investigating, analysing and sharing critical information regarding cyber security incidents that directly affect SCADA, manufacturing and process control systems. With over 150 incidents, it is the largest known collection of industrial cyber security incidents.

See also the Signpost Cyber Security Page

Modeled after similar safety incident databases, RISI provides subscribers with reliable information that allows them to learn from others' experiences, understand the risks associated with industrial cyber-threats and adapt their current security policies in step with changing industrial cyber-security dynamics. .

RISI has a history dating back to early 2001, when academic researchers developed a database called the Industrial Security Incidents Database (ISID). In 2008 several private cyber security experts, building on ISID, began collaboration on the RISI project with a goal of making the information available to the entire industrial automation community. .

The Security Incidents Organization was established in 2009 to fulfill this goal by operating the RISI database, researching incidents and making the results of that research publicly available.

Thursday 23 July 2009

Vibration sensors

Monitran announces its "Grip Tight" bodied vibration sensors and accelerometers

Monitran has made its general purpose vibration sensors and accelerometers available as "Grip Tight" (GT) versions. With Grip Tight (patent pending), the fitting or removal of a sensor to/from its GT stud takes mere seconds - yet the mechanical bond, essential for the transfer of energy, is assured.

Unlike a traditional threaded mounting option, there is no need to screw the sensor onto the stud. This is a major plus when using sensors with integral cables, which would otherwise have their cables twisted when tightening the sensor onto the stud. The Grip Tight method also removes, completely, the risk of sheering the stud-to-machine bond; be it screw or adhesive.

A GT-bodied sensor has no hexagonal base, as a spanner is not required for mounting the sensor to its stud. Instead, tightening a grub screw draws the base of the sensor down onto its GT-stud. James Holland, Monitran's
Engineering Coordinator, comments: "Grip Tight has all the ease-of-use of a magnetic mount but affords the permanency and mechanical stability of a screw mount."

Sensors available with the new GT body include Monitran's MTN/1100 family, which have isolated AC outputs and are ideal for vibration analysis, and the MTN/1185 family, which have DC outputs and are ideal for machine protection.

Grip Tight is ideally suited to applications where the vibration sensor is not necessarily going to be a permanent fixture. For example, the sensor might be taken from machine to machine as part of a regular vibration-based condition monitoring routine.

Holland continues: "A prototype of the Grip Tight stud was shown at MAINTEC, where customers expressed immediate interest in the concept. Specifically, they recognised how Grip Tight affords extended durability through greatly reducing the risk of damage during installation and removal."

As standard the GT studs are available as M6 or M8 male or female threads, but can be made-to-order with virtually any stud-to-machine mounting method.

Also as standard, the grub screw in the sensor body will be a 4mm thread and sensors will be supplied with Allan keys.

Online solar cell demo!

New Keithley Microsite Offers Access to Informative Photovoltaic Measurements Seminar, Online Solar Cell Demo

Keithley Instruments a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems, has created an application-specific microsite for those responsible for characterizing solar/photovoltaic devices. Simplify Your Solar Cell Testing with Keithley’s Precision Measurement Solutionsdescribes Keithley’s high accuracy solutions for solar cell I-V and C-V characterisation, which allow high speed testing without the hassles of integrating separate instruments or writing complicated programs. It also describes key solar cell parameters and measurement techniques.

The microsite offers access to a pre-recorded seminar titled “Photovoltaic Measurements: Testing the Electrical Properties of Today’s Solar Cells.” An online demonstration provides a high-level overview of how Keithley’s ACS Basic Edition systems can be applied to solar cell characterization. Other Keithley solutions profiled include the Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System, Model 2602A System SourceMeter® Instrument, and Model 2440 or Model 2425 SourceMeter Instruments. Visitors can also request their solar cell test information kit.

Small low-pressure sensor

Gems Introduces New Compact, Low Pressure Transducer

Gems® Sensors & Controls™ has launched the new 3300 series pressure transducer. The 3300 series transducer is designed for low pressure applications that demand small size and low cost along with high accuracy and stability. The 3300 Series pressure transducer is well suited to applications such as chemical sterilizers, autoclaves, pneumatics, HVAC&R, pumps & compressors.

This pressure transducer is the newest addition to the highly successful 3100 and 3200 series transducers, bringing a versatile low pressure capability to the product line and opening up a host of new applications across a number of different industries. All stainless steel wetted parts and all welded construction make the unit compatible with harsh chemicals and environments. In addition, the unique temperature compensation at source technology delivers outstanding temperature stability.

The series is available in pressure ranges from 1 to 16 bar and is capable of operating over a temperature range of -40°C to 125°C. Available in voltage, current, and ratiometric outputs, with a wide selection of connectors, pressure fittings and mating connectors makes the 3300 suitable for many applications without modification.

“Key benefits of the 3300 series transducer for our OEM customers are its low pressure capabilities, compact size, low cost, stainless steel wetted parts and an all welded construction”, says Sitara Hultman, Product Marketing Manager for Gems Sensors and Controls.

Miniature power transmission

New ovoid gearbox design offers 4x output torque for miniature power transmission applications

In what could become a veritable landmark in the world of miniature power transmission, Rotalink has combined spur and planetary gear stages within the industry standard ovoid gearbox for a potential output torque increase of at least 400%. The new gearboxes, available in three model sizes, are the result of an intensive and ongoing design initiative carried out by manufacturer that takes its lead from advances in ultra polymer materials technology and production techniques, and offers further benefits of higher power-to-weight ratio, reduced installation volume and quieter operation.

All three new gearbox lines will enable higher torque or reduced gearbox size for existing customer applications and pave the way for next generation miniature powertrain systems across all industries

The new gearboxes are the 330 series - a form-fit mounting replacement for the conventional ‘standard’ industrial ovoid gearbox with a vastly improved 13 Nm peak holding torque; and the 360 series - a slightly larger model with a massive 28 Nm peak torque in gearbox case that measures just 95 mm x 60 mm x 31.5 mm deep. The third and completely new gearbox model, the 310, is Rotalink’s smallest ovoid design and mounts within a volume of just 45 mm x 29 mm x 20 mm deep but boasts a 2.6 Nm holding torque for a 10000 hour life.

A wide range of ratios are available, typically from 24:1 to 3200:1 depending upon the model size with maximum output speeds between 300 to 400 rpm. All include a zinc plated pressed steel gearbox case and cover with 4-point mounting for maximum durability. Spur gears run on fixed steel spindles leading to the final planetary output stage with precision ball bearings supporting the stainless steel output shaft which is available as a standard flatted design or can be customised for the application.

For the 310 series, they also offer all spur gear versions and different levels of advanced gear materials, with a choice of plain or ball bearings. These options de-rate the maximum torque and performance capability but maintain a flexibility through the range that allows keen pricing for less demanding applications. The new 330 and 360 series are also available with different levels of gear materials and a choice of bearings

All gearboxes are designed for fast and straightforward interfacing with their comprehensive range of DC, AC and stepping motors along with single and dual channel feedback encoders which are fitted directly between the motor/gearbox assemblies. This allows the use of “off the shelf” single output shaft motors and helps to reduce product costs and development timescales.

Rotalink’s holistic approach to miniature power transmission also includes current limiting boards which are useful in DC motor applications to limit torque, and complete motion controls such as Red Drive which allows straightforward drive and control with an easy-to-use graphical programming language that requires no previous programming or motion controls knowledge. Along with special output shafts and wiring/connector options, customised designs can include ancillary products such as output gears, leadscrew output shafts, pulleys, clutches and brakes.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Honour for industry veteran!

ISA’s Highest Honour Conferred Upon Moore Industries Founder
Leonard W. Moore Achieves Honorary Member Distinction

The highest honor bestowed by the International Society of Automation (ISA), Honorary Member, has been given to Moore Industries’ founder and President Leonard W. Moore.

About Leonard W. Moore
Leonard W. Moore is Founder and President of Moore Industries. Moore founded the company in 1968 after recognizing a vital customer need that was going unnoticed. Working out of a friend’s garage/shop, Moore designed and built the first Moore Industries SCT signal converter, which soon evolved into a product line of six signal interfaces. In 1974, the company’s success brought them to build the current headquarters in North Hills, CA, which employs hundreds of people today.
Prior to being conferred an Honorary Member, he was elected an International Society of Automation (ISA) Fellow in 1996 for his contributions to the advancement of signal conditioning instrumentation and monitoring systems, including Radio Frequency Interference and EMI protection.
Moore continues to lead Moore Industries into emerging fields of technology. The company remains in the San Fernando Valley, most recently being named a top manufacturer again by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2009. To date, Moore Industries has nine global locations encompassing North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
In addition to his professional accomplishments and contributions to the automation industries, Moore has been a no-holds-barred individual on both a business and a personal front. An avid fun-seeker, Moore was a professional racecar driver and received his pilot’s license at 73. He continues to fly his restored Ercoupe model 415D airplane most every week.

Moore received the Honorary Member distinction, “for contributions in the advancement of the arts and sciences of automation over a 40-year career of innovation, product development and business leadership,” according to the ISA. Moore will be presented with a special plaque and pin to mark this achievement at the ISA Honors and Awards Gala on October 3, 2009 at the Westin Galleria in Houston, Texas.

“The list of previous winners is impressive to say the least. I am, of course, extremely honored to be part of this elite group,” said Moore.

Moore has lead many innovative business pursuits during Moore Industries’ 40-plus year history. He holds several patents related to electronic instrument packaging, signal conditioning and instrumentation and monitoring systems. In fact, Moore patented and introduced the Cable Concentrator System, which allows dozens of I/O to be transmitted on a single, twisted-wire digital pair in the late 1980s.

“While I have been involved with many exciting product and business development pursuits during our 40 year history, I think what I am most proud of is the culture we have created here at Moore Industries,” Moore said. “When I learned about this honor, and this might sound corny, the first thing that came to mind was all of the talented people that have come through our door to earn an honest living, and that we have supported them with a great place to work. We have an employee retention rate that is phenomenal in any industry, and during any economy. We have many employees that have been with us 10, 20, 30, and even over 35 years,” he continued.

About ISA Honorary Membership
ISA members are organized into particular grades: Honorary, Fellow, Senior Member, Member, and Student Member. According to the ISA’s website, “Honorary Membership is reserved for individuals whose support of, and/or contributions to, the advancement of the arts and sciences of instrumentation, systems, and automation are deserving of special recognition.”

Previous Honorees include Hewlett Packard’s William Hewlett and David Packard and the Fluke Corporation’s John Fluke. Here is a complete list of previous Honorees.

Plan adherence reporting

New Provideam OEE service pack adds Plan Adherence Reporting

Provideam OEE Monitoring Software is Ireland's leading solution for collecting and analysing yield and downtime data. To maintain it’s leading position Provideam is regularly updated with new features and enhancements. Service Pack 3.6 has just been released and includes many great new features, such as Manual Data Entry and Plan Adherence Reporting.

The new Provideam Manual OEE Module allows users to enter data collected manually from production machines and to analyse this data in an easy to use intranet application. The Provideam Manual OEE Module has many advantages over paper-based or Excel-based approaches including;

  • Multiple simultaneous users
  • Analysis of data over any period – shift, day, week, month etc.
  • Robust reliable database data storage

To get a preview of the module they provide a training video.

To celebrate the launch of our new Manual OEE Module they are offering 50 complimentary licences to use the Provideam OEE Monitoring System. These licences will entitle you to use Provideam to analyse data from 2 machines. To win a licence you simply need to be amongst the first 50 to register for the Provideam Newsletter here. Winners will be notified at the time of the release.

The new Provideam Plan Adherence Module allows companies to fill the information deficit between Planning Departments and Operations Departments. The module enables users to monitor production performance versus a planned schedule and also to predict the start and completion dates of future orders.

There are two aspects to the Planning Module, 1) Data Entry and 2) Reporting.

    1) The Data Entry section enables users to enter current and future Work Orders / Production Requests. These Work Orders can be entered manually or imported via CSV or script. (Support for ISA 95 Messaging will follow in due course)

    2) The Reporting section enables users to create Gantt Chart Style reports which indicated the actual, targeted and predicted start/end times of each of the Work Orders for specific period ranges.

The Provideam Plan Adherence Module is an excellent low cost alternative to MES for Production Plan Adherence.

Provideam is a fully automatic (and now manual) OEE Monitoring Solution. Both automatic and manual Machines can be analysed in a wide variety of reports and views. Provideam can be used to monitor from 1 to 100s of Machines.

Module Targets Harsh Environments

ETX 3.0 CPU Module Targets Harsh Environments
Intel® Atom processor powers rugged, I/O-rich ETX module

Diamond Systems has launched an ETX 3.0 compliant computer-on-module (COM) based on Intel’s low-power, high-performance Atom N270 processor. Rated for operation over an enhanced, -20° to +70°C temperature, the ETX-N270 is aimed at defense, transportation, energy management, industrial automation, and medical applications.

Within a compact 4.5 x 3.7-inch (114 x 95mm) footprint, the ETX-N270 integrates a high- performance, low-power 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, up to 2GB of high-speed DDR2 system DRAM, and a complete set of PC- compatible system controllers and interfaces. The module’s advanced high-resolution display controller supports analog and LVDS-interfaced CRTs and LCDs and also provides a TV output option.

The ETX-N270 COM’s extensive set of I/O
interfaces also includes:
1 10/100Mbps Ethernet port
1 IDE interface (supports 2 drives)
2 SATA interfaces (support 1 drive each)
4 USB 2.0 ports
2 serial ports
AC’97 audio (mic in, line in/out)
PS/2 keyboard/mouse support (USB keyboard mouse also supported)
1 parallel port (shared with floppy interface)

It is intended to be used as a macrocomponent, plugged into system baseboards
containing application-specific circuitry, interface buffering, I/O connectors, and other required functions and components. The module’s inclusion of both 32-bit PCI and 16-bit ISA expansion buses on its ETX 3.0-compliant interface maximizes the ease and flexibility of system development.

Supported operating systems currently include Windows XP and Linux 2.6, with support for additional OSes and RTOSes (real-time OSes) available on request.

Pricing and Availability
The ETX-N270 CPU module is immediately available, priced at $325 (quantity 1).
Also available are several pre-integrated “Pluto” (ETX form-factor) and “Neptune” (EPIC form-factor) development kits, which include generic or application-oriented ETX baseboards, complete sets of interface cables, OS driver software, and comprehensive documentation.

Low-cost ultra low power wireless mesh networks

Strategic Collaboration to Benefit Utilities and Industries Needing Energy Efficient IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee Networks with Out-of-the Box Configuration Capabilities

Comit Systems
has announced a strategic cooperative relationship with GreenPeak Technologies to deliver customized low-cost, ultra low power wireless mesh network solutions utilising GreenPeak’s technology. Comit Systems will deliver turnkey engineering services for fast and reliable integration of GreenPeak’s technology, working with end users to identify the system architecture that will deliver the best results with the lowest total cost of ownership.

With the growing importance of ZigBee as a standard for The Smart Grid and energy-efficient networks, this partnership allows utilities and other industries to quickly and cost-effectively install wireless sensor networks to improve their energy demand response and consumption tracking. A contributing member of the ZigBee Alliance, GreenPeak’s revolutionary technology utilizes energy harvesting to facilitate battery-free operation in a totally wireless environment, without the need for either communications or power connectivity. Comit has the systems design expertise to deliver a network solution utilizing GreenPeak’s technology that co-exists with legacy networks.

Cees Link, CEO for GreenPeak Technologies stated, “By partnering with Comit, we recognize the advantage of working with an experienced and reputed full-service contract engineering company to quickly develop new solutions and expand into new vertical markets and geographic regions. We are very impressed with Comit’s engineering expertise and the company’s commitment to providing customers with the best solution.”

“We are very pleased that this partnership with GreenPeak gives us the opportunity to expand our traditional ASIC and semiconductor contract engineering model to providing customized solutions based on industry-leading third party technology,” stated Venkat Iyer, CEO for Comit Systems, Inc. “We look forward to working together with GreenPeak to provide solutions for a wide range of wireless applications.”