December 26, 2012 Volume 08 Issue 48

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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What's a strain wave harmonic gearing torque sensor?

Strain wave harmonic gearing sensors from FUTEK are an alternative to six-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) sensors used in applications such as robotic arms that are used in surgery. For example, during some laparoscopic surgery procedures, surgeons must hold the position of the end effector (the instrument inside the abdominal cavity) while the robot arm is moving. This maneuver is difficult to perform with 6-DOF sensors only, because it requires torque measurement on each joint. Strain wave harmonic gearing sensors can handle it, and they are less expensive to implement because torque measurement can be obtained for selected joints only if necessary.
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Raspberry Pi: Pico microcontroller

The Raspberry Pi Pico is built around the brand-new Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, delivering a flexible, highly affordable development platform that can also be directly deployed into end products -- all for 4 bucks. At the heart of the Raspberry Pi Pico is RP2040, which features two ARM Cortex-M0+ cores clocked at 133 MHz; 264 kB of on-chip SRAM; 30 multifunction GPIO pins; dedicated hardware for commonly used peripherals alongside a programmable I/O subsystem for extended peripheral support; a four-channel ADC with internal temperature sensor; and built-in USB 1.1 with host and device support. Also look for the RP2040 chip to be sold as a standalone product very, very soon.
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New robust angle sensors for off-highway and more

Novotechnik, U.S. introduces the RFE 3200 Series of resilient, touchless Hall-Effect angle sensors. These sensors are specifically designed to operate in demanding environments like off-highway equipment and feature ingress protection to IP69K, EMC immunity, and a decoupled sensor/magnet. The RFE Series measures from 0 to 360 deg and can be ordered with one (partially redundant) or two (fully redundant) channels. High resolution with great dynamic response, large mechanical tolerances, and feasibility of customer-specific output options are added benefits of this wear-free technology.
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Automotive single-chip solution for ultra-wide touch displays

Microchip Technology has just announced its maXTouch MXT2912TD-UW touchscreen controller. This is the industry's first automotive-qualified, single-chip solution that addresses display sizes up to 45 in. with a very wide aspect ratio, supporting LCD and OLED display technologies. This controller reduces the need for multiple touch controllers within a vehicle's HMI display. It provides the highest report rate for wide displays and is independent of the display resolution.
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Automotive antenna-on-package mmWave sensors with Texas Instruments RFIC

D3 Engineering, a Texas Instruments platinum design partner, recently announced their DesignCore RS-1843AOP and RS-1843AOPU mini mmWave Radar Sensors. They feature a 1-in. cube form factor, heat-spreading metal body, and mounting tabs. They may be used with a PC or embedded platform to facilitate field testing, sensing evaluation, algorithm development, and application demonstrations. Automotive applications include parking assist and collision avoidance. Other applications include robotics, autonomous machines, industrial vehicle systems, and facility monitoring, as well as people counting and tracking.
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Pinpoint the leading cause of Industrial Ethernet failures

Fluke Networks introduces the LinkIQ-IE Cable+Network Industrial Ethernet Tester designed to troubleshoot network cabling, the leading cause of Industrial Ethernet failures. With Ethernet-based technologies increasingly the default for automation networks, the need for easy-to-use tools to troubleshoot these networks is growing rapidly. By combining Fluke Networks' state-of-the-art cable measurement technology and basic tests for Industrial Ethernet switches, LinkIQ-IE speeds and simplifies the discovery of network failures in a simple-to-use touchscreen interface akin to a smartphone.
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Premium Hi-Temp ETX Series thermoelectric coolers

Laird Thermal Systems has developed a thermoelectric module series that is rated for high temperature in emerging optoelectronic applications, including LiDAR and CMOS sensors for autonomous systems in vehicles and drones, digital light processors (DLP) used in 3D machine vision and advanced lighting systems, and optical transceivers. The HiTemp ETX Series thermoelectric cooler has a robust construction that allows it to survive in temperatures up to 150 C, exceeding most outdoor applications. These solid-state heat pumps are assembled with advanced materials that boost cooling capacity by up to 10% compared to traditional thermoelectric coolers.
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Compact power module with side flange mounting

SCHURTER's proven power entry module, series DD11, provides a high level of functional integration in the most minimal of package dimensions. The power module is ideally suited for equipment with low-profile panels. Consisting of an IEC appliance inlet (C14), which is compatible with cord retention, 1- or 2-pole fuse holder, and power ON/OFF switch, the DD11 is now available with side mounting flanges in addition to the existing model with top and bottom flanges. The new model is designed to minimize height when vertically mounted. Applications include medical, IT and telecom, office and household equipment, and automation systems.
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Automotive Ethernet cables

The ODU MINI-SNAP for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) enables Ethernet connections via copper cables with a single twisted wire pair, while allowing for the voltage supply of terminal devices via PoDL (Power over Data Line). The simpler design of the new generation of connectors and the associated weight and space reduction are good for designers and developers in various areas. SPE is currently being introduced in new automotive generations, replacing CAN and other bus systems. In the future, communication, controls, and security functions will be managed uniformly via Ethernet.
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Cool Tools: Complete 3D scan and reverse engineering suite for under 15 grand

Verisurf Software is offering special limited-time pricing on its 3D scanning and reverse engineering solution bundle. It has everything needed to quickly deploy the system, including: Verisurf Scan Data and Reverse Engineering Suite with Quick Surface, Verisurf online training, Peel 2 3D handheld scanner, 1-year hardware warranty, and Peel 2 and Verisurf installation and setup video. The Verisurf Scan Data Reverse Engineering Suite is part of the recently released Verisurf 2020, the only measurement, inspection, and reverse engineering software dedicated to Model-Based Definition (MBD) and built on a CAD/CAM platform.
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Asset tracking down to the centimeter

ON Semicon-ductor's Quuppa Intelligent Locating System enables real-time tracking of Bluetooth tags and devices -- with centimeter-level accuracy even in challenging environments. Quuppa technology allows positioning updates to be sent up to 50 times per second, providing a reliable and versatile Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) solution for all industries. Users can design ultra-low-power indoor asset-tracking applications with Direction Finding features and advanced Angle of Arrival (AoA) technology.
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Noncontact measurement of speed and length

With the SPEETEC, SICK has expanded its product range for speed and length measurement of objects moving in a linear path to include technology that measures directly on the material surface. The non-contact sensor is able to measure a wide range of web and continuous materials, as well as blanks, with incredible accuracy. This speed sensor closes the gap between tactile, indirect-measuring encoder solutions and laser velocimeters, which are often expensive to purchase and require considerable effort to integrate and operate.
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Displays: New HMI and drive faceplates

ABB's CP600 Gen 2 HMIs offer NEMA 4X rating, an expanded temperature range, 33% brighter screens, additional communications ports, and integral web server capability, allowing users to expand HMI usage into more applications. Available in 7-, 10-, and 15-in. sizes, the CP600 Gen2 HMI units join the CP600-eCo units and the CP600-Pro units to cover the full range of industrial display needs.
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Cool Tools: Hexagon RS6 high-speed laser scanner

The handheld or arm-mounted RS6 laser scanner available from Exact Metrology is designed for high-speed and high-accuracy scanning. When compared to other scanners, the RS6 has a 3x faster frame rate, a 30% wider laser stripe, and excellent scanning performance on difficult surfaces (including glossy black plastic automotive body parts or molded carbon fiber components). Its unique SHINE technology allows you to scan 99% of parts without touching the scanner exposure. It scans up to 1.2 million points/sec with a scan rate of 300 Hz.
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New Intellistat Ion Air Gun for static elimination

EXAIR's patented Intellistat Ion Air Gun is a handheld and lightweight solution for static elimination in clean processes or sensitive assembly work such as scientific and electronic test facilities, laboratories, and clean rooms. The Intellistat was designed to consume minimal compressed air while simultaneously delivering precise blow-off, and exceptional static decay rates capable of reducing 1000 V to less than 100 V in less than a second at up to 24 in. away.
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Army offers look inside its projectile-catching SCat test system

By Eric Kowal, The Picatinny Voice

An overhead view of the Soft Catch (SCat) Recovery System firing a projectile.

 

 

Why would the U.S. Army want to fire a 155-mm projectile into 540 ft of steel catch tubes (called the Soft Catch (SCat) Recovery System) and then recover the projectile at the other end?

The answer is actually quite simple: It saves time, money, and helps to develop better products.

First, the forces the projectile experiences from being fired from a cannon tube can be recorded using on-board-recorders, which help engineers design robust and reliable precision munition systems and components.

That information is then transferred to a computer, analyzed, and provides valuable feedback to engineers and warfighters to help in the future development of weapons and munitions systems.

Second, the SCat Gun System saves money. Engineers can either catch the round and easily recover it within minutes at Picatinny Arsenal or traipse through the desert in Arizona looking for the round they just fired.

Without the Soft Recovery System facility and the Soft Catch Gun capability, the costs associated with weaponizing advanced technology increase to the point where programs are managed at high risk to fit within allocated budgets.

The SCat facility is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and dovetails with the organization's mission.

Development programs such as the Excalibur precision ammunition and Precision Guidance Kits can use such a system for ongoing development, thus reducing development cycle time and cost.

"This is here to soft-catch projectiles so that we can tear them apart after we have fired them to determine what has or has not survived," says Robert Marchak, a mechanical engineer in the Fuze Division of the Munitions Engineering Technology Center.

"We are trying to increase the reliability of smart munitions when we give them to the Soldier," he says.

The system is comprised of a 155-mm Howitzer weapon with a M199 gun tube and 540 ft of catch tubes.

This is a hybrid system that uses both pressurized air and water to help slow down the projectile's momentum. It is the only system of its kind in the world.

The first part of the chain of catch tubes only contains atmospheric air. The next section, 320 ft of the tubes, contains pressurized air, followed by an 80-ft section filled with water.

A small burst diaphragm seals one end of the pressurized air, and a piston seals the other end.

The piston also separates the water and pressurized air sections. The burst diaphragm and piston are replaced after each test fire.

Once fired, the projectile achieves free flight for approximately 6 ft and travels down the catch tubes, generating shockwaves that interact with the atmospheric air section, the burst diaphragm, the pressurized air section, the piston, and the water section.

In a little over 1 sec, the projectile shockwaves break the burst diaphragm. The air section is compressed and pushed forward, shock and pressure shear the piston moving it against the water (momentum transfer), all while slowing the projectile to a stop.

The piston is ejected out of the end of the system, followed by the air and water, and finally the projectile comes to rest in a mechanized brake system.

On-board recorders inside the projectile measure the accelerations of the projectile from the gun-launch and the catch events.

[Image courtesy: U.S. Army RDECOM]

 

 

With a muzzle velocity of 888 m/sec, the entire test takes a little over 1 sec from the time the projectile is fired until it has completely stopped.

The speed of 888 m/sec is equal to 1,986 mph. If a commuter plane could travel at that speed, passengers could fly from Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey to Albuquerque, NM, in 1 hr.

The catch tubes are made of the same steel used to manufacture the 155-mm gun tube.

What makes this system attractive is the tight fit achieved just over the projectile bourlette diameter. This helps keep the projectile straight and makes for a smooth ride.

In addition, the system was designed to quickly remove and replace broken parts. Having the capability to quickly turn the system around after part failures is critical in maintaining an ongoing testing capability, which in turn helps weapons programs stay on schedule.

Since the system is entirely made of metal, temperature fluctuations cause the system to expand with heat and contract when cold.

The system was designed to remain straight, yet have the ability to move in the axial direction during these temperature changes; otherwise, if completely fixed, the stresses caused by contractions or expansions could break bolts or other critical parts on the system.

"This whole system during the winter to summer months can grow or shrink about two inches on any given day," Marchak says.

The speed and or velocity of the projectile can be controlled by the energetic operator using a pre-determined amount of propellant, but in doing so, the amount of pressurized air and mass of water needs to be accounted for, as well.

"This whole system is more or less based on the velocity of the projectile. The faster the projectile flies, the more pressurized air and water mass you need to try and slow it down," Marchak says.

Marchak says that in order to determine the amount of air pressure and water mass used in the system, many variables need to be considered, including the outside temperature, since the density of the pressurized air changes with temperature.

"We also have a lot of instrumentation, pressure gauges, accelerometers, temperature sensors, proximity sensors," Marchak says. "We are trying to measure and characterize how the projectile and the shockwave that comes off the projectile travel down the tube."

The data is dumped into an electronics data conex box alongside the catch system, then transferred to the safety bunker where a team of engineers save, process, and evaluate the information.

Some of the items tested in the SCat gun include electronic safe and arm devices, GPS electronics boards, infrared cameras, control actuation systems, guidance and navigation units, and many more mechanical and electrical components.

Current customers include the U.S. Army, Excalibur, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, BAE, and Goodrich.

The Goodrich use of the SCat Gun System has been increasing, with the team achieving a milestone of its 500th shot on May 22, 2012.

A typical test day includes four to five test shots at an average cost of $28,000, which Marchak describes as a small price for helping warfighters in the pursuit of battlefield dominance.

The first round fired from the 155-mm SCat Gun System came in April 2007. Now, with 559 shots completed to date, Marchak says the system is becoming the standard for precision munitions testing.

Published September 2012

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