September 10, 2019 Volume 15 Issue 34

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Intro to reed switches, magnets, magnetic fields

This brief introductory video on the DigiKey site offers tips for engineers designing with reed switches. Dr. Stephen Day, Ph.D. from Coto Technology gives a solid overview on reed switches -- complete with real-world application examples -- and a detailed explanation of how they react to magnetic fields.
View the video.


Bi-color LEDs to light up your designs

Created with engineers and OEMs in mind, SpectraBright Series SMD RGB and Bi-Color LEDs from Visual Communi-cations Company (VCC) deliver efficiency, design flexibility, and control for devices in a range of industries, including mil-aero, automated guided vehicles, EV charging stations, industrial, telecom, IoT/smart home, and medical. These 50,000-hr bi-color and RGB options save money and space on the HMI, communicating two or three operating modes in a single component.
Learn more.


All about slip rings: How they work and their uses

Rotary Systems has put together a really nice basic primer on slip rings -- electrical collectors that carry a current from a stationary wire into a rotating device. Common uses are for power, proximity switches, strain gauges, video, and Ethernet signal transmission. This introduction also covers how to specify, assembly types, and interface requirements. Rotary Systems also manufactures rotary unions for fluid applications.
Read the overview.


Seifert thermoelectric coolers from AutomationDirect

Automation-Direct has added new high-quality and efficient stainless steel Seifert 340 BTU/H thermoelectric coolers with 120-V and 230-V power options. Thermoelectric coolers from Seifert use the Peltier Effect to create a temperature difference between the internal and ambient heat sinks, making internal air cooler while dissipating heat into the external environment. Fans assist the convective heat transfer from the heat sinks, which are optimized for maximum flow.
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EMI shielding honeycomb air vent panel design

Learn from the engineering experts at Parker how honeycomb air vent panels are used to help cool electronics with airflow while maintaining electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding. Topics include: design features, cell size and thickness, platings and coatings, and a stacked design called OMNI CELL construction. These vents can be incorporated into enclosures where EMI radiation and susceptibility is a concern or where heat dissipation is necessary. Lots of good info.
Read the Parker blog.


What is 3D-MID? Molded parts with integrated electronics from HARTING

3D-MID (three-dimensional mechatronic integrated devices) technology combines electronic and mechanical functionalities into a single, 3D component. It replaces the traditional printed circuit board and opens up many new opportunities. It takes injection-molded parts and uses laser-direct structuring to etch areas of conductor structures, which are filled with a copper plating process to create very precise electronic circuits. HARTING, the technology's developer, says it's "Like a PCB, but 3D." Tons of possibilities.
View the video.


Loss-free conversion of 3D/CAD data

CT CoreTech-nologie has further developed its state-of-the-art CAD converter 3D_Evolution and is now introducing native interfaces for reading Solidedge and writing Nx and Solidworks files. It supports a wide range of formats such as Catia, Nx, Creo, Solidworks, Solidedge, Inventor, Step, and Jt, facilitating smooth interoperability between different systems and collaboration for engineers and designers in development environments with different CAD systems.
Learn more.


Top 5 reasons for solder joint failure

Solder joint reliability is often a pain point in the design of an electronic system. According to Tyler Ferris at ANSYS, a wide variety of factors affect joint reliability, and any one of them can drastically reduce joint lifetime. Properly identifying and mitigating potential causes during the design and manufacturing process can prevent costly and difficult-to-solve problems later in a product lifecycle.
Read this informative ANSYS blog.


Advanced overtemp detection for EV battery packs

Littelfuse has introduced TTape, a ground-breaking over-temperature detection platform designed to transform the management of Li-ion battery systems. TTape helps vehicle systems monitor and manage premature cell aging effectively while reducing the risks associated with thermal runaway incidents. This solution is ideally suited for a wide range of applications, including automotive EV/HEVs, commercial vehicles, and energy storage systems.
Learn more.


Benchtop ionizer for hands-free static elimination

EXAIR's Varistat Benchtop Ionizer is the latest solution for neutralizing static on charged surfaces in industrial settings. Using ionizing technology, the Varistat provides a hands-free solution that requires no compressed air. Easily mounted on benchtops or machines, it is manually adjustable and perfect for processes needing comprehensive coverage such as part assembly, web cleaning, printing, and more.
Learn more.


LED light bars from AutomationDirect

Automation-Direct adds CCEA TRACK-ALPHA-PRO series LED light bars to expand their offering of industrial LED fixtures. Their rugged industrial-grade anodized aluminum construction makes TRACKALPHA-PRO ideal for use with medium to large-size industrial machine tools and for use in wet environments. These 120 VAC-rated, high-power LED lights provide intense, uniform lighting, with up to a 4,600-lumen output (100 lumens per watt). They come with a standard bracket mount that allows for angle adjustments. Optional TACLIP mounts (sold separately) provide for extra sturdy, vibration-resistant installations.
Learn more.


World's first metalens fisheye camera

2Pi Optics has begun commercial-ization of the first fisheye camera based on the company's proprietary metalens technology -- a breakthrough for electronics design engineers and product managers striving to miniaturize the tiny digital cameras used in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), AR/VR, UAVs, robotics, and other industrial applications. This camera can operate at different wavelengths -- from visible, to near IR, to longer IR -- and is claimed to "outperform conventional refractive, wide-FOV optics in all areas: size, weight, performance, and cost."
Learn more.


Orbex offers two fiber optic rotary joint solutions

Orbex Group announces its 700 Series of fiber optic rotary joint (FORJ) assemblies, supporting either single or multi-mode operation ideal for high-speed digital transmission over long distances. Wavelengths available are 1,310 or 1,550 nm. Applications include marine cable reels, wind turbines, robotics, and high-def video transmission. Both options feature an outer diameter of 7 mm for installation in tight spaces. Construction includes a stainless steel housing.
Learn more.


Mini tunnel magneto-resistance effect sensors

Littelfuse has released its highly anticipated 54100 and 54140 mini Tunnel Magneto-Resistance (TMR) effect sensors, offering unmatched sensitivity and power efficiency. The key differentiator is their remarkable sensitivity and 100x improvement in power efficiency compared to Hall Effect sensors. They are well suited for applications in position and limit sensing, RPM measurement, brushless DC motor commutation, and more in various markets including appliances, home and building automation, and the industrial sectors.
Learn more.


Panasonic solar and EV components available from Newark

Newark has added Panasonic Industry's solar inverters and EV charging system components to their power portfolio. These best-in-class products help designers meet the growing global demand for sustainable and renewable energy mobility systems. Offerings include film capacitors, power inductors, anti-surge thick film chip resistors, graphite thermal interface materials, power relays, capacitors, and wireless modules.
Learn more.


New way to make micro sensors and control MEMS may lead to better, cheaper microphones, gyroscopes, pressure sensors

Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have found a way to improve the performance of tiny sensors that could have wide-reaching implications for the electronic devices we use every day.

Their study found a more reliable way to use actuators that control MEMS (microelectromechanical systems), which are microscopic devices with moving parts that are often produced in the same way as electronics.

The Binghamton team found that combining two methods for electrostatic actuation -- parallel-plate and levitation actuators -- led to a predictable linearity that neither of those systems offered on its own.

Their investigation is funded by a $480,958 grant from the National Science Foundation, mainly conducted by PhD student Mark Pallay under the supervision of principal investigator Shahrzad (Sherry) Towfighian and co-principal investigator Ronald N. Miles, associate professor and distinguished professor of mechanical engineering.

The team's findings could be revolutionary for microphone manufacturing, because with this design the signal can be boosted high enough that the background noise from the electronics is no longer an issue. More than 2 billion microphones are made around the world each year, and that number is growing as more devices feature vocal interaction.

"The electronic noise is really hard to get rid of," Miles said. "You hear this hiss in the background. When you make really small microphones -- which is what we want to do -- the noise is a bigger and bigger issue. It's more and more of a challenge. This is one path toward avoiding that and getting the noise down."

Shahrzad Towfighian is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Binghamton University. [Credit: Binghamton University, State University of New York]

 

 

Towfighian, who has studied MEMS extensively, explained that actuators in the micro devices are normally just two plates with a gap between. Those plates close, and the device activates when it receives a certain voltage.

It is difficult to fine-tune that kind of actuator, but adding two electrodes on the sides of the plates creates a levitation effect that simultaneously pushes them apart and allows better control over the device.

"Combining the two systems, we can get rid of nonlinearity," she said. "If you give it some voltage, it stands at some distance and maintains that over a large range of motion."

Miles said that predictability is crucial when building actuators for microphones, which have been the focus of his recent research.

"In a sensor, life is much easier if it moves one unit and the output voltage increases in one unit, or something in proportion as you go," he said. "In an actuator, you're trying to push things, so if you're giving it twice as much voltage, you want it to go twice as far and not four times as far.

"It's like if you had a ruler where the inches varied in length as you moved up. With capacitive sensors, you have these strange variations with sensitivity and output as you move up the scale. That's a massive headache."

When the Binghamton researchers began their study, they didn't know that combining the two ideas would provide as desirable an outcome as it has.

"The magic -- the dumb luck -- is that the nonlinearities cancel each other out," Miles said. "They tend to be in opposite directions. We're able to show that over a significant range, they're linear.

"By having both of these electrode configurations, it gives you more knobs to turn and more adjustments you can make with applying voltages to different electrodes. With a simple parallel plate, you have one voltage across them and you don't have much design freedom. With this, there are more electrodes and you get much more control over the design."

In addition to the possibilities for microphone manufacture -- making them smaller, better, and cheaper -- Towfighian sees how the new actuator design can be used in her line of study, which includes gyroscopes, accelerometers, pressure sensors, and other kinds of switches.

"We showed this concept at a basic level, but it has wide applications," she said. "It can improve the function of many devices, so the impact could be huge."

The study, titled "Merging parallel-plate and levitation actuators to enable linearity and tunability in electrostatic MEMS," was published in The Journal of Applied Physics.

Source: Binghamton University, State University of New York

Published September 2019

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