Thursday 31 January 2019

Guide to selecting the right moisture sensing technology.

Moisture is a critical contaminant for both natural gas storage and processing as well as petrochemical refining applications. There are many analysers and technologies – but not all options are appropriate in all situations.

Michell offers three technologies for moisture measurements suitable for refineries and natural gas:

"This means we can offer unbiased, factual advice on the pros and cons for each technology for a given application." said a spokesman.

Sampling and conditioning are just as critical to the success of an installation as the specific analyser or technology chosen. They have been creating sampling systems and analyser houses for our customers to meet the challenges of some of the most extreme conditions on the planet - from the heat of the sub-Sahara to the extreme cold of Siberia.

This is a guide which gives a short overview of each technology, its strengths for each application, and when to choose it.

Copy may be downloaded here:
Refineries and Natural Gas Processing – Pick the right moisture sensing technology (pdf)
It doesn’t replace expert advice and their r sales engineers are happy to help with questions and advise on  specific applications.

• Michell products are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology.

@Michell_Inst #PAuto @Instrum_Tech

Training in analysers for China.

As part of the company’s commitment to quality and reliability, Signal Group regularly runs service and technical training courses for its international distributors. The most recent to benefit from this were four visitors from Signal’s Chinese distributor, Beijing Leshi Alliance Tech.

The training covered Signal’s most popular products including portable and fixed FIDs, as well as chemiluminescence and infra-red analysers. This included an introduction to Signal’s latest, most advanced analysers, the Series IV, which employ leading edge technology to deliver outstanding levels of performance. A key feature of the new analysers is remote connectivity, which enables Signal’s service team, upon request, to assist overseas customers and distributors by logging directly into installed instruments. This capability also allows users to connect with their analysers at any time from anywhere.

Signal's new Managing Director James Clements said: “It was pleasing to see the high level of technical knowledge displayed by our Chinese partners and I think they were impressed with the new products and the breadth of the Signal range. We are looking forward to working closely with them to grow our business in China and I am grateful to them for investing their time in the training course.”

#China @GasAnalysers #PAuto #Training

New president in electronics body.

The International Distribution of Electronics Association (IDEA), an international federation of the local country electronic components industry associations has announced the appointment of Georg Steinberger as its new President, effective immediately. Silvio Baronchelli, who served as President of IDEA for 35 years has accepted the role of Honorary President. Steinberger will work in an honorary capacity and share responsibilities with Adam Fletcher, Chairman of IDEA, and Laura Baronchelli, secretary of IDEA and responsible for its administration matters.

Georg Steinberger
“It is a great honour to work with IDEA on the global promotion of the electronics components industry”, said Georg Steinberger on his appointment. “Distribution and its services and solutions are key to the global supply chain and product life cycle of all customers, and it is necessary to underscore our performance for the industry. While the local country associations do an excellent job on collecting market data and collaborating on political, legal, commercial and environmental industry topics, IDEA is the ideal vehicle to surface trends and developments for an international audience.”

Steinberger, who is working as vice-president marketing & communications at Avnet EMEA and heads the German Distribution Association FBDi e.V. as well as DMASS Ltd., is an established leader in the electronic components industry. He started his career as technology editor at German trade magazines in 1987 and joined EBV Elektronik in 1998. When Avnet acquired the EBV Group in 2000, Avnet promoted him to his current position. Since 2003, he is also responsible for environmental compliance within Avnet EMEA and since 2015, he is co-chairing Avnet’s global Corporate Social Responsibility Council.

Silvio Baronchelli
Silvio Baronchelli, past president of IDEA, said: “Georg has created a lot of visibility for distribution in Europe over the last 20 years. We are happy to be able to bring his experience to IDEA to take us to the next level, which is a more intensive sharing of trends, market information and insights into legal and political topics between the members, but ultimately with components manufacturers, authorised distributors and their wider customer base.”

“I’m delighted to welcome Georg to the IDEA Leadership Team, his knowledge and expertise will help guide the association and the global electronic components industry through the next stage of development” said Fletcher, Chairman IDEA, “I’m very grateful to Silvio Baronchelli for the huge and selfless contribution that has made to benefit the global electronic components industry throughout his career, he’s going to be a tough act to follow but I know Georg will rise to the challenge…”

“I wish all in the electronics industry and the IDEA Leadership team continued success, it has been my great pleasure to serve them…” concluded Baronchelli.

#IDEA #Electronics

Scanner for laser micromachining.

Aerotech is introducing a new high-performance Galvo Scanner. The AGV-SPO offers a larger field of view than conventional 2D scanners, reduces laser spot distortion, and is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of laser wavelengths thanks to a large variety of mirror surfaces. As a result, the laser scanner is suitable for a wide range of applications, from additive manufacturing to medical devices.

With just one pivot point for X and Y deflection, Aerotech's AGV-SPO Galvo Scanner significantly increases the field of view, reducing laser spot distortion in critical laser micromachining applications. Due to the special optical design, the entrance pupil of the laser beam coincides with the X and Y deflecting mirrors, increasing the effective numerical aperture of the scanner system. The design immediately increases the field of view for a given focal length and reduces laser spot distortion throughout the working area. With the new Galvo Scanner, even larger parts can now be processed faster and with improved uniformity.

The AGV SPO scanner provides a range of mirror coatings and focusing optics to support a variety of commonly used laser wavelengths and focal lengths. Also, customer-specific optics and optical mounting options can be adapted as a special solution. Optional air-cooled mirrors and/or water-cooled motors ensure constant temperature conditions and continuously good work results even with high laser power or highly dynamic motion profiles.

The laser scanner benefits from the high performance of the Aerotech’s controllers with their advanced motion control and position synchronised output (PSO). In addition, path control functions such as acceleration limitation offer the ability to automatically reduce scanning speed in tight bends or small radii to minimise overshoot. In addition, the laser can also be triggered based on the position feedback of the mirrors via the PSO. This ensures a consistent laser spot overlap when the scanner changes speed. Aerotech's Infinite Field of View (IFOV) feature seamlessly combines servo drive and scanner motion to extend laser marking across the entire servo axis travel range. This avoids stitching errors that can occur during the move expose repeat process.

 @aerotechmotion #Manufacturing

Wednesday 30 January 2019

Maintaining food standards!

In light of a growing number of food recalls in recent years, the food industry is in a precarious situation where consumers are trusting manufacturers less than ever before. Here, Dominique Stucki, head of operations for manufacturing execution systems with ABB’s Control Technology business unit explains how plant managers can manage compliance effectively to rebuild consumer trust.

There was widespread panic across Europe in mid-2017 when millions of eggs were recalled due to being contaminated with Fipronil — a highly toxic insecticide that is banned in the EU. Eggs were found to contain high levels of the toxin, which led to products being removed from shelves in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

This of course only addressed part of the problem. Since eggs are a staple ingredient in many delicacies and dishes prepared and sold through supermarkets, the extent of the contamination is still unknown. Sadly, this is only the latest in a long line of blows to consumer trust of food manufacturers in the twenty-first century.

While the use of banned insecticides is indefensible, particularly in this incident, the recall does highlight a persistent issue in the international food chain. Fipronil, while outlawed in the EU, is legal for sale and use in the US agricultural sector. There are similar inconsistencies in product and practice legality in the food industry, which underlines the importance of best practice when managing compliance.

If we consider best practice as being the most effective means of businesses achieving compliance, it is important that food plant managers also effectively manage the requirements of the regulations their products are subject to.

For smaller businesses that source, manufacture and sell products entirely within one country, this is not too challenging. The difficulty arises in exported products, which require businesses to produce several recipes for products that meet the specific needs of each territory being exported to.

An example of this is alcohol manufacturer Sazerac, which had its Fireball whiskey temporarily removed from sale in Finland, Norway and Sweden in 2014. This was because the product contained amounts of propylene glycol in excess of EU limits of one gram per kilogram of product — yet in an amount that met US market requirements. In a statement, Sazerac regarded this as a “small recipe-related compliance issue”.

Fortunately, plant managers can effectively manage compliance alongside things such as traceability by using suitable food manufacturing operations management (MOM) systems or manufacturing execution software (MES). MOM and MES systems unite the disparate equipment and systems in a plant and collate process data into one central location in a clearly presented way.

This means that plant managers can use these systems to create a strong digital footprint for every product, which can validate raw materials, trace ingredient origins and provide a clear overview of production recipes — including ratios of ingredients against regulatory limits.

Management of processes is an area of food production where many plant managers often fail to realize best practice, yet it will become increasingly critical to operations. Recent years have seen a significant rise in the uptake of internet of things (IoT) technologies in the food sector, as well as a growing number of initiatives prompting businesses to invest in it. This will make effective data management and food manufacturing IT a necessity.

For example, the EU has been funding the Internet of Food and Farm 2020 (IoF2020) since the start of 2017. The initiative aims to increase the large-scale uptake of IoT systems in the agricultural, farming and food processing sectors by the end of 2020. If successful, this will make the modern food plant highly connected featuring hundreds of points of data collection.

This data is only worthwhile if it is managed effectively. Plant managers using MES systems can not only collect and review this performance data quickly, but also set quality parameters for those systems to ensure that all products meet quality standards.

This is the key to not only delivering peace of mind to consumers but also to ensuring long-lasting regulatory compliance. Society is becoming increasingly data-driven and there is a rising expectancy for information pertaining to the history of products, whether for hygienic or ethical reasons.

For example, it’s realistic that conscientious consumers will soon be able to use smartphones in stores to view data on product history and ingredients. Plant managers can already use that same data in a MES to ensure that, before any product leaves the plant, it is safe for consumption and regulatory compliant.

Regulations change frequently, so managing compliance is about more than understanding multiple market standards. It’s about having the ability to flexibly react to changes in regulation without downtime or reduced output. Plant managers using MES have the organizational agility to respond to these adjustments quickly and effectively, without risking releasing an unsuitable product to market.

The growing number of food recalls has undoubtedly shaken consumer trust in the food industry. In fact, a food consumer trust survey conducted shortly after 2013’s horsemeat scandal showed that 69 per cent of people consider it important to know where their food is produced.

The onus is now on food plant managers to restore consumer trust and safeguard the future of the food industry. This can only be achieved by going beyond compliance as a box-ticking exercise and investing in best practice to ensure long-term safety and success.

 @ABBMeasurement  @IoF2020 #Food #PAuto #MES @ABBUKInst 

Secure automation for cloud-based well head monitoring and control.

Temblor Petroleum is implementing Bedrock® Open Secure Automation (OSA®) for a unique cloud-based well head control and data-sharing application. The application enables Temblor to monitor and operate well heads remotely, providing secure real-time production data while minimizing the requirements for onsite operators.

“We really wanted to optimize technology to impact our operations, field surveillance and have real-time data. This system has allowed us to achieve that from any location, office or field with access to the internet,” said Temblor President Mike Thorsen.

Bedrock Open Secure Automation provides the control infrastructure that is now automating operation of two well heads but will also scale to operate more wells in the future. It controls tank levels, pumps, compressors, separators, duct valves and other devices, and is cyber hardened by the Bedrock Cybershield security designed into to its electronics.

In addition to Bedrock OSA technology, the project involves communications technology and system design services from Bakersfield, California-based Tyrion Integration. Tyrion is providing the cloud connectivity that enables sharing of the data collected from the Bedrock controls across Tyrion’s Nucleus communication gateway. This enables operators to monitor trending, alarming and analysis in the cloud. It receives operating data from a Bedrock OPC UA server via Ethernet and communicates it to a cloud-based infrastructure via cellular and message queuing telemetry transport (MQTT).

“We browse field operating data through OPC UA and then expose it to the cloud. The Bedrock secure IEC 61131-compliant IDE enables us to take advantage of the advanced encryption and authentication options of OPC UA. We use the Bedrock IDE to set data tags to control access with encryption and authentication handshakes so seamlessly that users don’t even realize that they are engaging in such deep cyber security protection,” said Mark Goehring, owner of Tyrion Integration.

Goerhing estimates that implementing the system using Bedrock Open Secure Automation saved 50% over any alternative approach, while also setting Temblor up for continued life cycle cost savings, operational effectiveness, and improved service to clients.

• Read the case study: Simple, Scalable and Secure, Well-Head Monitoring and Control (pdf)

 @BedrockAuto #PAuto 

Mobile access to critical data for better decision support.

New alert customisation and expanded OPC support in DeltaV™ Mobile bring improved notification and third-party system monitoring

Emerson has enhanced its DeltaV™ Mobile app to ensure plant personnel have faster access to process information and to help organisations tailor the notifications personnel receive.
This mobile app provides read-only access to a plant’s distributed control system and operation data. It now offers improved customisation and access to third-party systems in one app. DeltaV Mobile users will be able to more quickly respond to important process information and changes, including held batches, production bottlenecks and potential safety issues.

Custom notifications provide personnel across the organisation with fast access to essential information, including batch status, safety instrumented systems bypasses, key performance indicators, or any other process parameter they want to monitor. These notifications are customised to individuals, ensuring personnel such as process engineers and supervisors are notified on-demand of information relevant to their job, but do not create additional control system nuisance alarms or notifications that add unnecessary distractions for control room operators and other personnel.

DeltaV Mobile also enables teams to customise how they handle notification escalation and response. Notification escalation paths now include user-specific time delays, reminders, and limits for each stakeholder in the organisation. Users can claim ownership of notifications to clearly communicate to plant personnel who is investigating the problem and sparing others, particularly supervisory personnel, from the distraction of notifications for problems that are already being investigated.

New Open Platform Communication (OPC) browsing makes it easier to create watch lists and custom alerts from any OPC Classic data source including from historians such as the OSIsoft PI System, third-party control systems, and PLCs. In addition, a new bulk editing tool allows users to bulk-create lists (with or without notification preferences) in spreadsheet applications, making it easier to create personalised watch lists and alarm lists.

DeltaV Mobile can send notifications for any process parameter, including OPC values, without the need to configure an alarm in DeltaV.

@EMR_Automation  #PAuto @Emerson_News @HHC_Lewis 

Digital future increases consultancy demand.

Zenith Technologies has seen a 150% rise in demand for its consultancy arm services. Their Consultancy team offers guidance and support to businesses with the implementation of new digital technologies and has seen an increasing appetite for digitised manufacturing and using data to improve GMP manufacturing over the past 12 months

The growth of the service in 2018 was driven by a need to aid customers in collecting, contextualising and finding insights in their stored data. These insights can then be used to make informed decisions on production processes and the supply chain.

Jaqueline Hora, Global Digital and Data Analytics Lead at Zenith Technologies said: “The life science industry has seen a remarkable trend towards innovation utilising data and technology effectively. Digital strategies as well as manufacturing execution systems (MES) and automation are in great demand as a result.
“For customers implementing these digital strategies, project decision support as well as process, technology and project execution knowledge, are essential to ensure success.
“Our Consultancy team supports customers that are considering new technology projects and assists in developing strategies, governance and standards to provide a framework for success.
“Whether it be justifying ROI, validating a customer’s strategy, process and methodology implementation expertise or help with technology selection, Zenith has been there to support its customer base.
“Zenith’s intimate understanding of manufacturing systems, extensive process knowledge and significant experience serving the life science sector has ensured that our customers have the insight needed to make the best decision.”

The increase is in part a direct result of the emergence of Industry 4.0 with data integrity, data analytics, the internet of things, and cloud strategies becoming a reality throughout the life science industry.

The team’s growth is projected to continue into 2019 as the life science industry increases its focus on digitisation and using data to improve GMP manufacturing practices.

In a recent survey of the industry, Zenith found nearly 60% of participants believe that Industry 4.0 will drive the most change in life science over the next 5 years, with 75% of those aiming to invest in people to take advantage of emerging technologies.

 @ZT_Global #PAuto #LifeSciences

Tuesday 29 January 2019

High speed laser scanners for precision linear measurement.

With eight measurement ranges from 10 to 250 mm, a choice of red, blue or IR source versions and linearity to better than 0.05% FS, Riftek’s new 2D laser scanner combines with a comprehensive software development kit and service protocol to facilitate integration into high precision linear measurement tasks that include surface profile, displacement, dimensions, object recognition, flatness, volume, 3D model construction and more.

This is available with full support from  Ixthus Instrumentation, the smart RF627 series ARM-based laser scanner offers selectable sampling rates up to 6800 profiles/sec with fast inputs and outputs for event and multiple scanner synchronisation.

The RF627 series employs the optical triangulation principle to provide a base distance and a generous measurement range with a wide field of view. The new design has allowed a marked increase of twice the accuracy and four times the speed over previous Riftek 2D scanners for improved measurement precision and throughput. Optional red, blue and IR laser sources allow measurement on reflective materials, high temperature objects, organic materials and more. Multiple scanners with different wavelengths can also be supplied, offering the possibility to combine various materials in one measurement system.

The new laser scanner is designed for use in harsh environments. A durable aluminium housing and a novel high resolution glass lens system offers IP67 protection with shock and vibration resistance suitable for the most demanding tasks. Two compact housing styles cover the scanner geometry requirements for the smaller and the other measurement range models. Volume dimensions for the 250 mm maximum measurement range housing is 44 x 63 x 93 mm (w x d x h). Both have separate power/signal and Ethernet circular connectors rated for IP67. Working temperature is 0 to +40 °С as standard whilst an integrated heater option is available for -20 to +40 °С. A built-in heater and water/air cooled housing option offers a -30 to +120 °С ambient range. Supply voltage is 9 to 30 VDC

Ethernet connection and a web-browser interface facilitates set-up and programming whilst an integral reset button and LED status on the housing makes installation and troubleshooting straightforward. Synchronisation over RS422 covers three inputs and one output with a single hardware input for laser on/off. The laser scanner is supported with a comprehensive user manual and along with the free-of-charge software development kit, including examples for Windows, Linux, .NET, MatLab, and LabView®, is available from Ixthus Instrumentation.

The RF627 series has been designed as a new modular platform for rapid application development and updating of 2D scanners and 3D snapshot scanners. Over the coming months variants will be offered with longer working ranges, higher scan rates and video camera/encoder integration. Furthermore, customised models for weld seam inspection, 3D model measurement, tunnel scanning and more will be offered with compatible ready-to-run software for fast integration in the customer’s application.

Industrial camera manufacturer's results.

The sales growth of IDS Imaging Development Systems remained above average at around 20 per cent even in 2018. Sales rose particularly strongly with approx. 50 per cent in Asia, but we also recorded growth of about 20 per cent in the USA and Europe. The company is planning numerous investments for 2019, including at the headquarters in Obersulm (D). It also has branches in the USA, Japan, South Korea and Britain as well as offices on continental Europe.

IDS Corporate Management Daniel Seiler
and Juergen Hartmann
"The investments in new branches are paying off," explains Jürgen Hartmann, company founder and owner. "We now generate more than 50 per cent of our sales abroad."

IDS cameras with USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 interfaces are among the bestsellers. The strong increase in incoming orders (24%) as well as the great interest in our announced product innovations continue to cause optimism. Particularly notable: innovations around artificial intelligence as an app for industrial cameras and novelties for 3D applications and robot vision.

In order to prepare for further growth the Obersulm site is planning to invest in a system for automatic storage and order picking. There will also be a strong increase in the number of personnel: Approximately 60 new jobs will be created in 2019. The official ground-breaking ceremony for the new innovation and tech centre will take place in the second quarter. This building will have an area of 4500 square metres and 200 additional office work stations. After all: "In addition to classic development, we would like to shift focus more towards new innovative technology topics,” explains Managing Director Jürgen Hartmann.

Since its foundation in 1997 as a two-man company, IDS has developed into an independent, ISO-certified family business with more than 280 employees. The headquarters in Obersulm, Baden-Württemberg, is both a development and production site.

@IDS_Imaging #PAuto 

FPGA or ASIC? New online tool.

HardwareBee has a new tool that helps engineers make quicker and more accurate decisions on whether to choose FPGA or ASIC technology in their electronic product.

This online tool, FPGA vs ASIC Calculator,  enables analysing and comparing the costs of each of the technologies based on the target application and making more informed decisions.

In today's market, where FPGAs increasingly provide wider and broader capabilities and ASICs are becoming more accessible in lower production volumes, developers are often unsure which technology to select for their product. The new tool helps engineers to clearly evaluate the overall costs of each technology, starting from the design phase and all the way to volume production.

• See also FPGA vs ASIC – What is the Difference?

@HardwareBee #FPGA #ASIC

Biogas process optimiszation.

Vaisala has introduced the world’s first in situ 3-in-1 biogas measurement instrument, Vaisala MGP261 for measuring methane, carbon dioxide and humidity in demanding environments. This compact measurement instrument is Ex certified up to zone 0, which enables in-line installation also in explosive atmospheres. It is scheduled to be available second quarter of 2019.
The launch marks a new market entry for Vaisala and expands the company’s expertise into the field of biogas measurements. The unique Vaisala MGP261 multigas measurement instrument gives continuous readings of methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor directly in the biogas process pipeline.

It is optimized for biogas production processes, such as anaerobic digestion of waste from agriculture, industries and municipalities, and the utilization of landfill gas.
The newly launched MGP261 is based on Vaisala’s patented CARBOCAP® technology, which boasts Vaisala’s successful 20-year track record in infrared gas measurement.

The Vaisala biogas measurement instrument, MGP261, offers real-time gas composition without sample extraction or treatment. Thanks to its accurate and stable methane measurement, this compact and reliable instrument helps biogas plant operators gain comprehensive control over their process and optimize their combined heat and power (CHP) engine performance. The instrument also enables operators to control humidity in order to reduce wear in the CHP engines and process components.

“Investing in biogas measurement is a logical step for Vaisala as we are fighting for a better world. Global population growth and associated waste management issues, combined with the need to lower greenhouse gas emissions, represent a major challenge. The biogas industry is an important part of the solution, but it has unused potential in terms of profitability. Our new MGP261 will help the industry to derive greater value from waste,” says Sampsa Lahtinen, Executive Vice President of Industrial Measurements, Vaisala.

“Reliable and accurate in-line monitoring enables optimization of the production process by reducing operating costs and improving the efficiency of a biogas plant. Biogas production is an organic process, affected by many variables. The better you can monitor your entire process and react to changes in the gas composition and humidity, the more efficient the plant becomes,” adds Product Manager Antti Heikkilä of Vaisala’s Industrial Measurements.

The novel MGP261 is easy to use and install, and it can be fitted to any existing system. The in situ installation of the instrument makes sample treatment unnecessary, enabling measurements without any sampling lines, pumps, or moisture removal traps. It is Ex certified up to Zone 0 inside pipes and Zone 1 outside, which means it can be installed in explosive atmospheres.

The instrument design is resistant to chemicals, and the robust metal body is IP66-rated. Furthermore, the operating principles of the instrument mean that no calibration gases are needed in routine operation and Vaisala’s proven background auto-calibration function significantly reduces expensive calibration work. With standard analog and digital outputs the new MGP261 is ideal for integration into any plant process control system.

@VaisalaGroup #PAuto 

Integration provides superior data collection and quality.

Aegis’ FactoryLogix MES platform* is integrated with Omron Inspection Systems’ complete suite of award-winning SPI (Solder Paste Inspection) and AOI (Automated Optical Inspection) systems. This integration will provide Omron’s customers with improved quality control and an enhanced, automated method for identifying and collecting manufacturing defect data during inspections.

When used in conjunction with the rich CAD (Computer Aided Design) environment, enabled by FactoryLogix, the robust output data from Omron’s AOI and SPI machines facilitates a digital view of the collected defect data that extends down to the pin level. Traditional methods of identifying defects, such as manual, paper-based reports, are no longer necessary.

Data collected from Omron is recorded automatically into the FactoryLogix database providing a single source device history of the product for instantaneous reporting without the need to manually export the raw data to an external source. Based on the collected pass and fail data, FactoryLogix can intelligently reroute the product to the appropriate reroute path. This increased efficiency and adaptability in production saves both time and money for manufacturers.

“This new integration capability will give our customers the benefit of advanced defect collection, resulting in enhanced quality control. Omron is excited to partner with Aegis on this integration as our customers require holistic and synchronized solutions that further promote quality outcomes, increased productivity, and risk mitigation,” stated Tim Anderson, Key Accounts Manager, Omron.

* FactoryLogix is a holistic and modular platform which delivers leading-edge technology with easily configurable modules to support and execute a discrete manufacturer’s strategy towards Industry 4.0. FactoryLogix manages the entire manufacturing lifecycle: from product launch to material logistics, through manufacturing execution and quality management, to powerful analytics and real-time dashboards. This end-to-end platform is helping companies accelerate product introductions, streamline processes, improve quality and traceability, reduce costs and gain greater visibility for competitive advantage and profitability.

FactoryLogix solution areas include: Digital Manufacturing Engineering (DME); Manufacturing Process Execution; Returns, Repairs, Rework, Overhaul (RMA/MRO); Lean Materials Management; Adaptive Planning; Quality Management Solution (QMS); Regulatory & Customer Compliance; Manufacturing Intelligence; Active Rules Engine; Connectivity (IIoT & Business Systems).

@FactoryLogix #PAuto @OmronAutomation

Consistant Global Innovator!

TE Connectivity has again been named a Derwent Top 100 Global Innovator 2018-19 by Clarivate Analytics.

The innovators on the annual list are celebrated for successfully bringing patents to market that have strong commercial potential based on originality, market reach and opportunities for spin-off inventions. TE is among the organizations that have been included in this annual report in each of the eight years it has been released.

"As our world becomes more connected, the demands we put on our connectivity solutions and sensors are continuously increasing," said CEO Terrence Curtin. "Our annual ranking among the world's most innovative organizations shows that we're successfully staying ahead of the needs of our customers as we work together to develop products to create a safer, sustainable, productive and connected future."

TE helps customers in approximately 140 countries create the technology of tomorrow in industries including transportation, industrial applications, medical technology, energy, data communications and home appliances. The company has more than 8,000 global engineers and more than 14,000 patents.

The Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators methodology is based on four principle criteria: overall patent volume, patent application-to-grant success rate, global reach of the portfolio and patent influence as evidenced by citations. The peer-reviewed methodology was executed using Clarivate solutions including Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) and Derwent Patent Citations Index (DPCI). The index provides editorially enhanced, authoritative and accurate patent data, and is trusted by more than 40 patent offices worldwide.

@TEConnectivity #Innovation @clarivate

High temp connectors.

The applications and uses for thermosetting plastics have grown substantially over recent years*. The benefits of this type of plastic are largely due to its favourable plastic properties. Thermoset plastic polymers cross-link together when being cured and so form an irreversible chemical bond. Along with thermoplastic, this is one of only two organic, polymer-based plastic materials.

Closed-meshed, cross-linked thermoset molecules require a completely different temperature profile to thermoplastics. The compound is injected from a cold cylinder module into a hot mould.

Further heating and melting of the compound in the mould causes a decrease in viscosity that is only reversed when cross-linking increases. The finished component is then irreversibly cross-linked, which makes it extremely hard.

The temperature reached within a thermoset injection mould tool is significantly higher than a thermoplastic version. As such, the electrical connectors that are surface mounted to the tools, and carry the temperature monitoring thermocouple contacts, will experience temperatures of 30 to 40 degrees C higher than the typical standard connector working temperature of 125-degree C. As a result, there is a tendency that these connectors will have a reduced operating life.

These potential connectivity component failures can occur during the plastic component assembly process, which means critical mould temperatures will cease to be controlled. Consequently, in some high volume production conditions, parts may come off the line which do not meet quality standards, resulting in increased and costly waste materials.

Harting has recently launched a new high temperature version of its Han series multipole connectors that addresses these issues through its extended maximum working temperature capability. This significantly extends the operational lifetime of the thermoset plastic injection mould tools, reducing potential tooling maintenance and service periods, line downtime and ultimately, operating costs.

The company has used its considerable technical expertise to develop special connectors which provide reliable solutions for these high-temperature environments.

For example, bulkhead connector seals must not melt or adhere to other integrated component parts over the full operating temperature range. Consequently, Harting has opted for a non-stick coated high-temperature-resistant rubber version, which avoids bonding between the hood and housing even if they are left mated for several years.

Many of the hoods and housing coatings and lacquers available on the market are not suitable for long-term use at high temperatures as they can cause melting, which can lead to mated parts sticking together. Thanks to the application of a special surface treatment to the aluminium die-cast hoods and housings, the company has been able to dispense with any additional, separately applied, detrimental protective coating finish.

The connector insert and contacts must withstand the high ambient conditions of the location and the additional heat generated inside the housing when under mated load. Harting has selected high-temperature-resistant copper alloy contacts that maintain constant electrical properties when heated. In addition the high-temperature LCP plastic inserts ensure a longer service life.

As a result of these features, Harting’s Han® High Temp connectors can permanently withstand operating ambient conditions of +200°C, providing extended operating lifetimes and ensuring reduced line downtime, compared to competitor solutions.

* See also Uses & applications of thermosetting plastics (Osborne, 18/6/2018).

@HARTING_Group #PAuto

Leader in IC for digital imaging recognised.

Dr. Katsu Nakamura of Analog Devices has been named an IEEE Fellow. He is being recognized as a leader in the development of integrated circuits for digital imaging.

Katsu Nakamura
IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of IEEE membership and is recognized by the technical community as a prestigious honour and an important career achievement. The total number selected in any one year cannot exceed one-tenth of one- percent of the total voting membership.

Dr. Nakamura’s career at Analog Devices spans nearly 25 years. In 1994, he joined Analog Devices as a senior staff design engineer in the High-Speed Converter Group developing ADI’s early technologies in CMOS data converters for embedded applications. Dr. Nakamura subsequently led ADI’s technology development for digital imaging until 2011 when he assumed the role of product line director for ADI’s Consumer Product Group. Since 2018, Dr. Nakamura has been leading the technology strategy for ADI’s Healthcare and Consumer Business Unit. In 2005, he was named an ADI Fellow for his contributions that drove ADI’s technical and commercial breakthroughs in the consumer imaging market.

Dr. Nakamura was a co-recipient of the SRC Inventor’s Recognition Award in 1992 and holds more than 20 US patents with several patents pending. He was selected as a finalist of the 2006 EE Times ACE Innovator of the Year Award. Dr. Nakamura holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

@ADI_News #Recognition @IEEEorg

Monday 28 January 2019

But for electronics...

Marking 25 years in existance JTAG Technologies has just launched a new Corporate video.
Peter van den Eijnden, their Managing Director comments "We’re hardly aware, but the world would almost stop turning if it weren’t for electronics. Healthcare, mobility, scientific research and much, much more all rely on Printed Circuit Boards. Electronics can save our lives and therefore must be reliable and operate exactly as intended. Zero-error probability is the goal and our solutions based on boundary-scan minimize the risk of defective electronics in any industry.

"25 years in business, we are still first in line with new developments. We are boundary-scan, and with our help and dedication, your customers get the most reliable products”.

@JTAGdotcom #Electronics

New enclosures give harsh environment protection.

The launch of new Type 4X certified GRP-based enclosures and cabinets from Intertec provide harsh environmental protection for hundreds of outdoor applications.

 Type 4X enclosures tested using
powerful water jets
The new range adds many more standard enclosure and cabinet sizes to the Type 4X rated choices available - all of which offer the exceptional anti-corrosion and insulation properties of Intertec's composite-GRP (glassfibre reinforced polyester) construction. Moreover, the choices now extend to custom GRP enclosure shapes and sizes; this service allows engineers to optimise size and shape to precisely suit equipment content and layout, and minimise surface area - thereby securing optimum thermal performance.

Intertec specialises in enclosures for outdoor applications, which are all fabricated using advanced GRP materials. GRP-based Type 4X enclosures are ideal for protecting field-based electrical and instrumentation equipment sited in marine and coastal areas, where the presence of salt in the atmosphere can severely damage traditional metal enclosures and shorten their service life significantly. Intertec’s GRP is highly stable and virtually immune to the affects of salt and most common petrochemicals and airborne pollutants. GRP has a similar strength to stainless steel but is about 75 percent lighter, which helps lower transport costs and simplifies many installations. Intertec's Type 4X enclosures also include uniquely efficient insulation thanks to a proprietary triple-layer composite construction that 'sandwiches' advanced insulation material between sheets of GRP.

Compared to metal enclosures and cabinets, which users sometimes need to insulate themselves using ad-hoc techniques, Intertec's enclosures come with embedded insulation providing near-perfect thermal performance - avoiding 'thermal short cuts' between interior and exterior that can lead to cold-spots and problems from condensation. This aspect makes Type 4X GRP enclosures and cabinets ideal for applications in the harshest of environments such as the Arctic, Alaska, and any other region or application environment that must deal with difficult conditions involving ultra-cold or -hot temperatures.

Intertec has offered a selection of Type 4X enclosures for many years for smaller-scale panel/wall-mounting or freestanding (pipestand-mounting) outdoor equipment protection applications. The company has now added more enclosures and larger rectangular cabinets to the offering. The new range can be broken down into two main categories.

The first is two-part enclosures. One Type 4X style offers two part enclosures with a diagonal opening - for simple and ergonomic access to housed equipment. There are five standard choices offering volumes from 87 to 277 litres. A second style in this category is rectangular two-part panel-mounting enclosures with one part acting as a door and the other housing the installed equipment. There are 11 choices of this style offering volumes from 20 to 250 litres. In addition to these standard products, Intertec can now provide Type 4X enclosures in custom shapes and sizes, up to maximum volumes of 980 liters for diagonal opening styles, and 500 litres for rectangular box styles.

The second category is rectangular floor- or wall-mounting cabinets, with single doors. These can now be provided in Type 4X variants in a wide range of standard sizes up to maximum heights of 214 cm, widths to 110 cm, and depths to 110 cm - a maximum volume of 2590 litres. Further specification choices include two styles of construction for applications involving lighter or heavier equipment loads.

The independent testing to NEMA's Type 4X specification was performed by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). To comply with the CSA 22.2 94.2-07, UL50/50E and NEMA 250 standards, Intertec's Type 4X enclosures must prevent the ingress of dust and be watertight against rain, sleet, snow, water splashes and hose-directed water. They must also be undamaged by the formation of ice on external surfaces, and provide additional protection against corrosion. The protection level is broadly equivalent to the international IP65 rating, but tests ingress protection using much more powerful water jets - at approximately 20 times the flow rate required by IP65 (and over twice that of the higher standard IP66). All of Intertec's new Type 4X enclosures are also certified to the IP65 standard.

#Intertec #PAuto @Wordsun_Ltd 

Friday 25 January 2019

Publication examines IoT connection.

A new eBook centered on industrial automation as part of All Things IoT, is the latest series in Mouser's award-winning Empowering Innovation Together™ program. In the third and final eBook in the series, industry experts explore the innovative technologies and trends that cities are applying to emerging smart infrastructure projects.

The book includes articles on LEDs and light fidelity (Li-Fi) lighting systems, threat modeling, and Internet of Things (IoT)-based pollution control. The new release also includes an exclusive video of celebrity engineer and Mouser spokesperson Grant Imahara in Porto, (PT), to learn more about a local company that is transforming the city into a Wi-Fi mesh network comprised of mobile hot spots. The All Things IoT series is sponsored by Mouser's  suppliers Digi International, Maxim Integrated, Murata and TE Connectivity.

“So far in the All Things IoT series, we’ve seen how connected technologies are improving our lives at home and in the workplace,” said Kevin Hess, Senior Vice President, Marketing at Mouser Electronics. “In this new eBook, our experts investigate the sometimes-unnoticed parts of our world where IoT can make a major difference, such as lighting, traffic, and green energy.”

Mouser launched the All Things IoT series with a video that followed Imahara as he visited the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) IoT Innovation Lab to examine how IoT is impacting our workplaces and cities as a whole. Following the video, Mouser released All Things IoT eBooks focused on home automation and industrial automation.

Since 2015, the company's Empowering Innovation Together program has been one of the most visible and recognized programs in the electronic component industry, featuring topics such as the future of human-machine interaction in Generation Robot and the amazing benefits of technologies that are Shaping Smarter Cities.

@MouserElecEU #PAuto #IoT

Snap-On Markers.

TE Connectivity (TE) is offering its STD Snap-On Markers as a reliable way to identify wires and small cables.

Manufactured with a zero halogen polyoxymethylene compound, these expanding profile markers are side-entry installed using an applicator wand, allowing identification after termination and/or installation.

“With its excellent resistance to burning and no halogen, TE snap-on markers are the perfect way to permanently and rapidly mark cables and wires, both before and after termination and installation in harsh environments,” said Thomas Bartlett, TE product manager. “Also, the STD markers are made from polyoxymethylene which guarantees strength, dimensional stability, low moisture absorption, and good resistance to chemicals.”

Markers are side-entry installed using an applicator wand, allowing identification after termination and/ or installation. These markers have an expanding profile which enable markers to accommodate a wide range of wire and small cable sizes. Markers are supplied with a “chevron” cut to ensure the legend remains aligned. TE’s STD snap-on wire markers are designed to stand the test of time, preventing costly re-work before the life of the equipment ends.

“With its UL94 rating and durability in operating temperatures from -40°C to 106°C (-40ׄ°F – 223°F), the STD marker is ideal for field operations including power stations, oil refineries and offshore platforms,” said Bartlett.

 @TEConnectivity #PAuto

Enabling middleware-free IIoT Manufacturing via the IPC CFX Standard.

Aegis Software is now the first MES solution to natively leverage the power of the IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) standard.

The FactoryLogix platform leverages CFX from data acquisition to analytics and process control automation. As a result, any manufacturer on the FactoryLogix platform that purchases a CFX-compliant device, machine or system will instantly consume, interpret, and leverage the mission-critical information from those devices without the need for any middleware or custom integration. The emergence of CFX combined with an MES that natively understands the data streams ushers in the era of true IIoT, which is an enterprise that is free of the need for custom middleware to get data from the factory floor. Now manufacturers of all sizes will be able to fast-track the actual realization and transformative benefits of Industry 4.0.

“Until now, for manufacturers to truly capitalize on the promise of IIoT and Industry 4.0, middleware was required to reside between the device layer and the upper system layer. The use of middleware always meant additional costs and complexity. Additionally, as soon as a factory introduced a new machine or upgraded existing machines, more development resources and time would be needed to update existing adapters to leverage the machine information,” stated Jason Spera, CEO of Aegis Software. “By updating the entire architecture of the FactoryLogix platform to fundamentally ‘understand’ IPC CFX data from acquisition up to analytics and process control automation, we have enabled FactoryLogix to natively support any CFX-enabled machine, device or system instantly and without the need for middleware or custom programming. What makes this FactoryLogix design unique is its ability to not just consume the data but rather to immediately interpret, analyze and act on that information in real-time to transform manufacturing into a truly adaptive environment capable of automatically controlling material flow, eliminating downtime, increasing yield, operating at the lowest inventory levels, and ultimately enabling new business models and revenue sources. We are the only total MES/MOM solution provider that can deliver this revolutionary capability today.”

As with the previous two CFX demos at IPC APEX EXPO, metrics and analytic reports streamed live from machines across the entire show floor into a cloud server (provided as a courtesy to the industry by Aegis Software) and available to every visitor through their mobile devices by merely reading a QR code. In this year’s global live manufacturing demonstration, additional CFX data will be exchanged between many machine vendors on two live production lines as well as the show floor machines, showing how CFX data enables Industry 4.0 closed-loop feedback systems and critical decision-making. FactoryLogix, using CFX, will virtually bridge the IPC APEX EXPO show floor and the two demo lines into a set of ‘virtual factories’ that become visible and live through dashboards throughout the show. For visitors, this delivers a powerful experience at an assembly line level, illustrating how the IPC CFX standard is working and enabling Industry 4.0 and Smart Factory solutions. To date, there are more than 400 support members that are actively involved in the IPC Consortium and more than 50 companies already actively supporting the CFX standard.

@FactoryLogix #PAuto #MES #Industrie4

Handing over the reins!

Managing Director John Clements, who founded the Signal Group in 1977, has announced his retirement . John is succeeded by his son James Clements, who assumed the role at the beginning of the year.

John Clements
Looking back over 40 years, John says: “It’s been an exciting journey and I am immensely proud of what we have created. Around us we have seen the UK manufacturing industry decline in the face of global competition from low cost regions, but we have thrived and I attribute this success to three key factors.

“Firstly, the purchase of a Signal analyser represents an investment in quality; customers trust our analysers to deliver accurate reliable data, so we are focused, almost to obsession, on delivering instruments that meet or exceed their published performance characteristics.

“Secondly, we invest heavily in product development; responding to customer needs so that our products are continually improving.

“Thirdly, we employ high quality staff. If you want to develop the best instruments, you need the best people, and you need to keep them.”

Following the completion of a degree in Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Bath, James has undertaken a number of technical roles at Signal over the last 15 years, including responsibility for product development. He is therefore ideally placed to drive the next stage of the company’s growth.

James Clements
Looking forward James says: “It is an enormous honour to take over the reins at Signal Group and I am really excited about the future. We have just completed the development of the Series IV analysers, which now offer an enormous number of new features, so we are poised for significant growth.

“The new analysers have 3G, 4G, GPRS, Bluetooth and satellite compatibility, and each instrument is built with its own IP address, so users have simple and secure access to their analysers at any time, from anywhere.

“This level of investment in product development is unusual among gas analyser manufacturers, so Signal customers have the reassurance of knowing that they are buying the latest technology. Users can derive enormous benefits from these new advanced analysers and I look forward to helping them do so.”

@GasAnalysers #PAuto 

Thursday 24 January 2019

Progress in RoHS3 compliance as deadline approaches.

Anglia has continued to make big strides towards full RoHS 3* compliance over six months before the deadline for meeting the new provisions. The distributor is working closely with its suppliers and can confirm that the majority of the suppliers they work with are now confirmed as fully compliant with the new more rigorous regulations. Details of the status of each supplier is fully documented on Anglia Live.

Commenting, Claire Stevenson, Quality Manager of Anglia, said, “We are continuously updating our Anglia Live website as we receive confirmed compliance information. 58 of our suppliers have already confirmed their products are fully compliant with the requirements of RoHS 3, they represent over 70% of the product lines we are able to supply. Many of the remaining suppliers have provided compliance road maps showing that they will be able to fully comply by the deadline.

“Much of our current inventory is already compliant with the requirements of RoHS 3, and we have taken steps to ensure that all inventory will be RoHS 3 compliant by the deadline. Customers can continue to use RoHS 2 compliant products up until 22nd July 2019, after this date they will need to ensure products are RoHS 3 compliant. Certificates of RoHS compliance can be downloaded from Anglia Live allowing customers to complete their own compliance documentation.”

RoHS 3 was announced in 2016 and expands the list of prohibited substances from six to ten by adding four new types of phthalates.

Manufacturers have until the 22nd July 2019 to meet these provisions. Although it is an EU directive, it has been widely adopted in many other regions across the globe and will still apply to British industry even after Brexit.

Guide to RoHS 3

@angliaComponent #Environment  @EU_ENV  #Breatimeacht #Brexit

Global distribution partnership agreed!

The Harting Technology Group and US company Heilind Electronics have entered into a global distribution partnership. The agreement follows a successful partnership in North America and in other countries worldwide.

L-R: Robert Clapp jr., Corporate Operations at Heilind,
Jon DeSouza, President and CEO of Harting Americas,
Alan Clapp, Vice President at Heilind,
Edgar-Peter Düning, Managing Director of Harting Electric.
Heilind is one of the world's leading specialty distributors of connectors and electromechanical components. Featuring over 170 manufacturers, including most leading connector manufacturers, Heilind boasts an extensive product portfolio.

Commenting on the agreement, Edgar-Peter Düning, Managing Director of Harting Electric, said: “The new partnership will benefit customers: Heilind ensures rapid supply, technical support and an exceptional level of service." 

"With this broadened distribution alliance, we are strengthening our international distribution network from our own branches and distribution partners, in order to help us meet our global revenue goals for 2020 and beyond" said Jon DeSouza, President and CEO of Harting Americas.

"Our cooperation positions us even closer to customers and their requirements," noted Alan Clapp, Vice President at Heilind Electronics.

@harting @HARTING_Group @Heilind #Connectors

Proximity detection warning.

Nanotron Technologies GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sensera Limited, and industrial safety solutions provider Selectronic have announced their first joint product: the PDS2400 Collision Avoidance Solution (CAS) for open-pit mine safety

The PDS2400 is an RF-based proximity detection solution that supports collision awareness and proximity warning between fast moving vehicles, as well as between vehicles and people. Unlike competitor solutions, it provides a turnkey, ready-to-go system, which requires zero calibration before use.

The new solution helps mine operators ensure that they comply with all relevant safety legislation, such as Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) regulations in the USA. The PDS2400 CAS solution includes state-of-the-art vehicle systems with Controller Area Network (CAN) bus-based displays and personnel tags with wireless Qi chargers, and operates for up to 50 hours between charges.

The PDS2400 provides proximity alerts with two viewing options: quad sectors or hex sectors. The standard system provides an accuracy of 1m over long ranges of 100m or more, while an optional dual-mode tag can provide even higher accuracy down to 10cm at short ranges of 10m.

For high reliability, the system provides robust resistance against electromagnetic disturbances, whilst the personnel tag utilises a 'body pervasive' antenna design. There are three adjustable warning zones, and the vehicle system provides 'nuisance alarm suppression' for the driver.

Dr Jens Albers, CEO of nanotron, said: "Selectronic is very well known for its innovative mining safety solutions, and the PDS2400 proximity solution leverages nanotron’s strength in location awareness to bring an entirely new level of accuracy and simplicity to the industry."

Jens Richter, Managing Director of Selectronic, said: "Nanotron’s market-leading expertise in location awareness has enabled us to quickly and economically develop a powerful, robust, industry-grade collision avoidance system."

The PDS2400 uses nanotron’s tag-ready swarm bee products, a family of smart RF modules with ready-made anchors. Swarm bee enables Selectronic to provide a modular solution, with a common pin-out and API, which simplifies development and hardware integration, and thereby greatly reduces time-to-market.

With a coverage range of up to 500m, swarm bee modules can track objects with an accuracy down to 10cm. They provide a power-efficient approach that extends battery life of mobile devices and smoothly scales up and down to meet specific customer requirements.

@nanotron_Berlin #selectronic-funk #Mining

In top 100 sustainable corporations.

Yokogawa has been included in the 2019 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World Index (Global 100). This is Yokogawa’s first time on the Global 100, one of the world's leading sustainability indices. Now in its 15th year, the 2019 Global 100 was disclosed in Davos on January 22nd by Corporate Knights, a Canadian media and research company focused on clean capitalism, to coincide with the World Economic Forum.

“As our three goals for sustainability, Yokogawa is working to achieve net-zero emissions, make the transition to a circular economy, and ensure well-being, and we have put in place key performance indicators for each goal for 2020 and 2030,” explained Yokogawa President and CEO, Takashi Nishijima. “Inclusion in the 2019 Global 100 Index is recognition that our core businesses are already making a solid contribution toward a sustainable society, and we will continue to accelerate our initiatives.”

To determine the 2019 ranking, Corporate Knights undertook a rigorous analysis of more than 7,500 companies with US$1B+ in revenues against global industry peers on a suite of up to 21 quantitative key performance indicators, weighted to reflect each industry’s impact profile. Yokogawa was ranked in the top 25% in both the clean revenues and innovation capacity categories. Clean revenue is known as the percentage of total revenue derived from products and services categorised as ‘clean’ according to the Corporate Knights open-source clean revenue taxonomy. This is informed by synthesis of; Green Goods and Services (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), Environmental and clean Technology Products Economic Account (Statistics Canada) and Climate Bonds Taxonomy (Climate Bonds Initiative), as well as other sources and best practices.

In its core industrial automation and control business, Yokogawa works with customers in the energy, chemical, iron and steel, water, and other industries to improve production efficiency and stability, reduce CO2 emissions and resource use, and ensure workplace safety. In 2018, the company established its life innovation business headquarters to deliver new solutions for the food and pharmaceutical industries and contribute toward a healthy and abundant society.

@Yokogawa  #Sustainability @corporateknight #Davos

Motion control out of this world!

For a small number of motion control applications, project success is only confirmed long after delivery so that no compromise whatsoever can be tolerated with design integrity, manufacturing quality and reliability. This is especially true for many projects undertaken by Phytron GmbH, the extreme environment motor, drive and motion systems designer and manufacturer, represented in the Britain by Mclennan.

InSight Mars (Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
Insight Mission
For example, Phytron’s development, design and supply of deep space-prepared stepper motors and gear units for NASA’s InSight Mars lander began in 2013, working with the Max Plank Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) on the levelling system for the SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) seismometer. With several European and American partners collaborating on the technological development of the SEIS project, the ultraprecise seismometer is capable of capturing sub-nanometre level ground motion from marsquakes, meteorite impacts, local events like dust storms or landslides, and even the tiny tidal deformation of Mars induced by its moon Phobos. Delivery to MPS took place well before Insight’s launch in May 2018 and in November last year the successful landing of the spacecraft was followed by confirmation that the seismometer was operational early in January 2019.

No strangers to such extended project success timescales, and with well-developed and highly proven manufacturing and test procedures that ensure the reliability required for such extreme environment applications, Phytron have supplied over 250 motors for space applications and many more for other equally demanding motion control tasks.

A cut-through view of the SEIS seismometer
(Pic: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
For the SEIS instrument, Phytron supplied three 19 mm diameter stepper motors complete with in-house designed planetary gear units with a 48:1 reduction ratio. The triangular levelling system uses the three motor gear units to precisely align the instrument via precision spur gears driving separate threaded spindles. The stepper motor, with its nominal current of 0.3 Amps and full step resolution at 200 steps/rev, and the integrated gear unit is relatively simple and traditional design. However, the manufacturing process and attention to detail in construction included separate engineering and qualification models each with intensive performance testing for electrical, dynamic, mechanical, and thermal specifications before final flight models were supplied for the actual mission. All processes and the necessarily stringent quality testing was completely documented and most components were manufactured in-house.

Space prepared motion components from Phytron are typically designed for use in ultra-high vacuum with intensive radiation hardening and for temperature extremes of 573 ⁰K for the motor winding down to 4 ⁰K ambient (300 ⁰C to – 270 ⁰C). Gear units include special lubrication and construction in materials including high quality stainless steel and titanium. Of course, cleanliness during and after manufacture is paramount for such components. Outgassing and vacuum conditioning includes particle removal assisted by UV light, aided by alpha wipes and ionised gaseous nitrogen before and during assembly in Phytron’s clean room. Testing and quality assurance is carried out in-house using Phytron’s extensive test facilities or with the customer, and can include environment duplication where possible. Packaging includes double bagging with the first bag purged with dry nitrogen before heat sealing with a desiccant pack and a humidity indicator placed in the second bag.

Many of these manufacturing procedures are also used for other extreme environment motion control applications found in cryogenics, particle accelerator research, nuclear engineering, medical equipment and other equally demanding industries. Phytron’s certifications include DIN EN ISO 9001 and DIN EN 9100 “Aircert”. The full product range covers standard and specialist grade stepper motors and complete actuator assemblies with compatible stepper motor drives, gear units and sophisticated multi-axis motion controllers with optional LABVIEW® programming.

Mclennan has worked closely with Phytron for several years as a customer as well as a full distribution and support partner since 2017, and can boast several years’ experience specifying and integrating the German specialist’s standard and extreme grade motion components. They have over 40 years’ experience working with long term, complicated technological projects such as this so the partnership with Phytron is ideal.

Through distribution partnerships with other leading motion component manufacturers and with its own comprehensive design and build service available, Mclennan provides stepper and servo motor based automation solutions from single components through to complete mechatronic assemblies.

Other cutting edge instruments deployed on the InSight lander that contribute to measuring Mars’ “vital signs” include precision temperature and tracking equipment.

#McLennan @phytronmotors @NASAInSight