Features

Avnet Abacus receives European Distributor of the Year 2021 award from Harwin

Avnet Abacus, one of Europe’s leading interconnect, passive, electro-mechanical and power distributors and a regional business unit of Avnet, has received the “European Distributor of the Year 2021” award from Harwin, a globally recognised leader in high reliability interconnect solutions.

Michael Clarner, Head of Distribution Sales EMEA at Harwin, said: “Our partnership with Avnet Abacus is exceptionally strong across Europe at all levels of our business. During 2021, revenue grew beyond the market average, and the number and value of new design-wins pave the way for a bright future.”

This latest award follows on from Avnet Abacus’ recent success in Harwin’s 5 Star Awards, which recognised two individuals from Avnet Abacus for their highly creditable efforts in supporting Harwin’s business. Jose Ramon Blazquez played a key role in securing Harwin design wins in a variety of markets, and Dieter Kuhn contributed invaluable technical support to a series of high-profile customer projects.

Hagen Götze, Senior Director Marketing at Avnet Abacus, said: “By having a strong focus on customer service, excellent technical support and a great collaboration with Harwin we were able to once again strengthen our position as the number 1 distributor in Harwin´s network in EMEA during 2021. I´d like to thank the entire Harwin team for the great support.”

Avnet Abacus distributes a broad portfolio of Harwin high reliability interconnect products for use in industries including industrial IoT and aerospace & defence, and for EMC shielding.

Anritsu launches Interference Waveform Pattern software for 5G and LTE UE/Module Rx tests

Anritsu Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of its new Interference Waveform Pattern for 5G NR Receiver Test MX371055A and Interference Waveform Pattern for LTE Receiver Test MX371054A software. These tools generate 3GPP interference waveform patterns for testing the receiver sensitivity and throughput of both 5G and LTE user equipment (UE) and modules using the Vector Signal Generator MG3710E. Installing these tools in the MG3710E used in combination with the Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A and Radio Communication Analyzer MT8821C facilitates easy interference evaluation tests required by the 3GPP RF Compliance Test.

The tools are designed to support both in-house pre-testing for confirming compliance of Sub-6 GHz 5G and LTE UE and modules before the official 3GPP Compliance Test as well as for R&D to improve receiver sensitivity and throughput performance.

Development Background

In parallel with increasing 5G smartphone shipments, annual shipments of 5G Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) are increasing based on mobile operator Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services. In addition, manufacturers of automotive electronic equipment are developing 5G communications modules, such as the Telematics Control Unit (TCU). Moreover, alongside this growing market for 5G UE and modules, the same manufacturers are still developing LTE UE and modules for mobile operators who have not started 5G services yet.

To sell 5G and LTE UE and modules, these equipment manufacturers must ensure that their products pass the 3GPP RF Compliance Test administered by a certified test organisation.

The Compliance Test is the final product evaluation before commercial release, and failure to pass possibly requires redesign and retesting. Consequently, pre-testing during development is essential to avoid this risk.

A vector signal generator is required to generate interference waveforms at pre-testing. Evaluation using interference waveforms is important in suppressing degraded receiver sensitivity and helps assure development of competitive UE and modules.

Anritsu developed these two 3GPP-compliant interference waveform pattern tools to help engineers without specialist skills generate interference waveforms for easy interference tests.

Product Outline

The Vector Signal Generator MG3710E supports receiver sensitivity and interference tests by outputting modulation waveforms up to 6 GHz and these new interference waveform pattern software tools facilitate output of different signal types.

The MG3710E with Anritsu’s RF Conformance Test System ME7873 series supporting for 5G and LTE systems can perform the RF Compliance Test by certification organisations, such as test houses.

Powelectrics IIoT technology helps United Utilities improve efficiency and drive performance

The Task

United Utilities deliver 1.8 billion litres of water a day in North West England. Combined Heat & Power (CHP) engines on wastewater treatment plants run on biogas from the wastewater process, creating heat and electrical power, both valuable outputs. The heat is returned to the digestion process and the power is primarily used onsite, with any excess sold to the National Grid. The team wanted to monitor engines to improve efficiency and drive performance, but connecting the engines to SCADA couldn’t be justified financially or within acceptable timeframes.

The Solution

Powelectrics telemetry devices were installed on the whole estate of  United Utilities CHP engines and a custom portal developed to show engine status- Running, stopped but available, tripped and … stopped for maintenance. This data allows UU to accurately see the Mean Time to Repair, Mean Time to Breakdown and availability of the fleet and therefore, help to drive better performance.

The Result

Multiple United Utilities stakeholders can see status of all CHP engine types on a single portal, with data used to monitor performance and identify general maintenance issues and those related to specific assets. Improved efficiency increases the cost savings from heat production and income from energy sales.

Summary

  • Simple retrofit
  • Fast, inexpensive solution
  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved profitability

“I was recommended to Powelectrics by colleagues. We’re delighted with the reliability of the hardware, the speed of development of the custom portal and the overall effectiveness of this IIoT solution. Powelectrics have been customer-focused throughout. Our Systems Thinking approach depends on accurate data management and visibility in real time. We are now able to see all the data in one place, helping us improve renewable energy performance, reduce our carbon footprint, and ultimately deliver better service and lower costs to our customers,” comments Andy Parker, Energy Generation Operations & Maintenance Manager.

Learn more about: Powelectrics Remote Monitoring IIoT Solutions for Pumping & Utilities

Learn more about: Powelectrics IIoT Solutions for Water &_Wastewater.pdf (powelectrics.co.uk)

Powelectrics offers over 30 years of expertise and practical experience in instrumentation and digitalisation, delivering IIoT solutions globally.

Powelectrics’ versatile suite of IIoT technologies allows data from a broad range of sensors, machines and IIoT devices to be reported to a single, customisable platform, generating bespoke reports and alerts to ensure that construction projects are delivered effectively.

What can Powelectrics do for you?

Please browse the Powelectrics website and get in touch with any queries you have or applications you would like to discuss. Call +44 1827 310 666, email sales@powelectrics.co.uk or use this contact form.

Specialist biomedical test technology ensures critical performance of AEDs

Advanced biomedical test technology is helping to ensure that essential lifesaving equipment is maintained in full working order so that it performs reliably during those vital emergency situations in which it is needed.

The specialist biomed engineering team at the busy Deaconess Midtown Hospital in Evansville, Indiana is using a Rigel UniPulse 400 defibrillator analyser for the planned maintenance and troubleshooting testing of the 55 defibrillators located around its facilities.

The UniPulse 400 is specifically designed to comprehensively test all defibrillators accurately and efficiently. The lightweight, battery powered and portable unit is capable of analysing all monophasic, biphasic, standard, and pulsating waveforms and is also equipped with a special pacer function for comprehensive testing of defibrillator functionality.

In previous years both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK have highlighted the importance of the life saving treatment provided by automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and the need to ensure against unexpected component failure or other technical problems that might affect their reliability.

Brian Pierce, Midtown Hospital Biomed Team Lead, recognises the essential role that AEDs play and the critical need for them to perform efficiently and accurately when needed.

He said: “We never know how often or when a defibrillator will be needed, so it is very important that when they are required, they function properly.

“In this respect, the UniPulse 400 has all the common features needed to perform full preventative maintenance on a defibrillator. As well as being lightweight and easily carried around the hospital by our technicians, the crisp colour display and simplicity of use means new staff members can quickly learn how to use it.

“An analyser is no good to us if we cannot rely on its proper operation and accuracy. I feel the UniPulse 400 is very durable and enables us to carry out important testing with confidence.”

The Rigel UniPulse 400 incorporates advanced measurement technology, including dedicated fast keys and automatic programs to enable biomed test engineers to select the relevant test function in seconds.

The large internal memory and on-board results storage also helps to reduce test time and helps hospital teams work towards automated database record keeping systems.

The UniPulse 400 forms part of the comprehensive Rigel Medical range of world class biomedical testing solutions for healthcare environments.

As well as the UniPulse400, other Rigel equipment used by the biomed team at the Deaconess Midtown Hospital includes a Uni-Therm electrosurgical analyser and SafeTest 50 and 288 electromedical equipment safety analysers.

Pickering Interfaces joins OpenTAP open source, test automation software partner program

Pickering Interfaces, the leading supplier of modular signal switching and simulation solutions for electronic test and verification, is now an OpenTAP partner. Pickering joins other notable test companies in the open source, shared software workshop that enables users to contribute, collaborate and create automated test solutions.

OpenTAP focuses on simplicity, scalability and speed using test automation to create a more efficient world. The goal of OpenTAP is to make test automation easier and accessible for all, and it encourages shared experimentation and innovation, aiming to inspire and teach partners better ways to automate.

Noman Hussain, Vice President, software and strategic business development, at Pickering Interfaces comments: “OpenTAP fits with Pickering’s ethos of enabling test engineers to develop the best possible solutions for their specific automated test requirements. We don’t want to limit anyone developing the next test platform by constraining them to choose a standard form factor from a limited catalog of test hardware; that is why we have over 2,000 modular switching and simulation products. Having an open source solution delivers a similar approach for test software, enabling test engineers to create, modify and customise their test applications without paying thousands in licensing fees and getting boxed into proprietary solutions.”

The Pickering card plugin for OpenTAP supports Pickering’s entire product portfolio through a single interface. The plugin is supplied with open source software, distributed under the MIT open source license. It enables thousands of like-minded applications engineers to leverage industry-leading switching hardware. They can customise the plugin, fix bugs, make feature requests and contribute changes and suggestions to the OpenTAP ecosystem.

Hussain concludes: “Test engineers can use OpenTAP to help solve new test automation and system design challenges while preserving their closely-held IP.”

How to be smart with Contrinex’s SMART Inductive Sensors

Contrinex reputation for high-performance inductive sensors with many unique benefits has been further enhanced by its innovative SMART sensors, which combine a microcontroller with the sensor’s sophisticated ASIC to add on-board processing to “Measure, Monitor, Configure and Predict” – They offer machine builders the ability to program a customised sensor for their application, without the cost and time delay associated with ordering low-volume custom parts.

The product brochure uses application examples to explain how the sensors can be used to provide Multi-mode High-Resolution Measurement; Embedded Predictive-Maintenance Features; User-Defined Memory; User-Configurable Outputs; Direct Device-to-Device Communication; Dual-Channel Outputs; Switching delay, stretch and one-shot; Temperature; BITE; and Counters.

Contrinex offers designers the freedom to implement multiple sensing modes in a single sensor, offering exceptional versatility and simplified integration. These SMART sensors can supercharge your IoT strategy and enjoy all the advantages of the industry-standard IO-Link interface, plus the option of high-speed sensor-based decision-making using SIO (Standard IO mode).

Download the 18-page brochure at www.SMART-brochure.PLUSAx.co.uk to read about technology, the advantages and example applications and unlock your sensing potential.

Designing your sensor with IO-Link connectivity and multiple user-configurable outputs offers a cost-effective, yet highly capable solution with multi-mode high-resolution measurement of either routine process data or critical-event data. A single device is capable of either direct or indirect measurement of multiple parameters, including distance, linear and angular position, velocity, vibration and force. Additionally, Contrinex’s proven ASIC technology enables operating-cycle counting and temperature monitoring.

Contrinex’s metal-bodied SMART sensors are available with a plastic sensing front-face for typical applications or in their uniquely robust 700 Series technology. These sensors feature the housing and front-face machined from a single piece of stainless steel (V2A /AISI 303), plus unique technology that provides robustness to survive extreme environments, such as being demonstrated by being used to hammer 50mm nails into wood.

Emerson’s new edge solutions simplify creation of advanced IIoT applications

Emerson has announced PACSystems Edge Solutions, a new portfolio of turnkey industrial edge hardware and software solutions. Edge Solutions simplify selection and deployment, helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), systems integrators, and end users significantly reduce the time spent integrating, developing and validating digital transformation projects. From low footprint connectivity and computing to plantwide analytics and supervision, the portfolio delivers a scalable range of edge capabilities in fit-for-purpose packages. The solutions allow personnel in food and beverage, industrial machinery, renewable energy and other industries to easily collect and visualise critical data and analytics locally, right where they work, enabling them to optimise and proactively maintain operations for maximum uptime and efficiency.

Manufacturers are faced with many options for edge hardware and software, making it challenging to piece together effective IIoT solutions that can collect and process data at the edge for deep analysis to improve productivity, energy use, machinery health and more. PACSystems Edge Solutions are fully licensed and optimised combinations of Emerson’s edge and IIoT software and computing hardware, which significantly reduce the time and complexity of selecting, configuring and supporting edge solutions. End users gain faster access to insights from disparate and stranded data sources across the operation, minimising the time to achieve results. OEMs can securely and proactively monitor machine health, improve actionability and visibility into performance, and notify operators of potential issues before they become downtime events.

“Accessing critical data and analytics right at the point of generation empowers plant personnel to take fast, informed action to improve production,” said Sabee Mitra, Emerson’s group president for Systems and Software. “With PACSystems Edge Solutions, any industry application using PLCs can deliver immediate insights when and where operators need them most while maintaining easy scalability.”

Emerson’s new edge solutions leverage Movicon.NExT, WebHMI, Connext OPC UA server and the PACEdge platform in optimised software packages to provide powerful and flexible connectivity, visualisation, and a cloud-enabled toolset. Users can connect openly to any field device or control system to create advanced edge computing, plant and energy analytics and supervisory systems, then present that information on a single, common human machine interface (HMI) from machine to enterprise level.

Individual fit-for-purpose PACSystems Edge Solutions seamlessly interconnect, unlocking easy scalability across the entire platform. Organisations can start with one application and build as future needs grow, easily expanding the value of solutions already in place. They include:

  • RXi HMI: Improves visibility into machine operation and performance and empowers operators with quick access to critical information.
  • RXi Edge Computing: Harnesses data from any source to deliver real-time insights and machine learning that is immediately accessible to operators to improve decision-making.
  • RX3i Edge Controller: Unlocks real-time process optimisation through high-speed, deterministic control and machine intelligence in a single device.
  • RXi Edge Analytics: Simplifies access and visibility to plant productivity, performance and energy usage with intuitive, pre-configured analytics.
  • RXi Supervisor: Connects plant assets and production data into a comprehensive, real-time view of production operations with anywhere-access visualisation.

End users, systems integrators and OEMs alike will benefit from accelerated application development and secure, open connectivity from device to cloud, helping meet the IIoT needs of engineers and operators, along with the necessary flexibility to support future OT and IT integrations.

Allegro announces first-to-market high-resolution GMR wheel speed and distance sensor for ADAS applications

Allegro MicroSystems has announced its new A19360 wheel speed and distance sensor for use in emerging applications in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The cutting-edge giant magnetoresistance (GMR) sensor provides automakers with the signal resolution and reliability required for advanced levels of automation in passenger vehicles and mobility-as-a-service applications.

According to a recent report by consulting firm strategy, the first passenger vehicles with level 3 (conditional automation) capabilities should be generally available by the end of 2022, and level 4 (high automation) capabilities available in people-mover applications by 2025. By 2030, vehicles incorporating levels 3, 4 and 5 (full automation) capabilities are expected to make up 20% of the total market in Europe, 12% in the US, and 11% in China. While progress has been delayed by COVID-19 and regulatory hurdles, automakers are actively developing software and hardware systems and need components—such as the A19360—that can enable those systems.

“Our new A19360 sensor is a game changer for automakers working on autonomous vehicles,” says Peter Wells, Business Line Director for Speed and Sensor Interfaces at Allegro. “It’s designed for SAE J3016 levels of automation 3, 4 and 5, and helps to safely enable features such as park assist, fully autonomous valet parking and traffic jam assistance with 4x better positional measurement where the tires hit the road. It can even improve autopilot functionality and low-speed control in dense environments.”

Automated and autonomous vehicles require superior wheel rotation information for accurate low-speed control. The A19360 provides high-resolution information to automotive systems by generating extra output events per magnetic cycle with a special protocol that’s compatible with electronic control units (ECUs). It includes an 8-event-per-magnetic-cycle mode targeted at ADAS applications, providing an increment for every ~5 mm of tire roll. It also includes a 4-event-per-magnetic-cycle mode that doubles the number of outputs per magnetic cycle (compared to a normal wheel speed sensor). This allows designers to halve the number of poles on in-wheel ring magnets to save costs, or increase the air gap and still obtain the same number of increments per revolution.

The A19360 was developed for ISO 26262 ASIL B(D), and is built on Allegro’s monolithic GMR technology with ultra-low jitter and large air gap capabilities. The company’s SolidSpeed Digital Architecture™ provides the widest dynamic range of operating air gap and highly adaptive performance that eliminates flatlining due to thermal drift and system dynamics.

DLM custom multi-purpose data logger for subsea equipment testing

Dynamic Load Monitoring (DLM), of Southampton, UK, has provided a custom data logger and subsea measuring technology for use in a new tank where cable protection systems are tested.

Darlington, UK-based Subsea Innovation Limited, a designer of innovative subsea and offshore equipment, will primarily use the equipment for testing and verifying their in-house designed subsea equipment such as pipeline repair systems (clamps and connectors), hang-off systems, and other bespoke subsea and offshore equipment.

It will also be used for internal testing for Subsea Innovation’s purpose-designed and built submerged wear test rig. The company also maintains and manufactures deck equipment for cable lay vessels.

This is the second major order that DLM has delivered to the company recently, having provided two bespoke monitoring systems that were installed on subsea bend stiffeners at an offshore wind farm. However, DLM is increasingly responding to demand for bespoke and standard solutions from similar maritime technology and marine electronics companies.

Martin Halford, managing director at DLM, said: “We’re putting together systems like this with increasing regularity—incorporating load cells with other instrumentation and sensors. However, no two such jobs are the same. We start with the client’s problem, review what off-the-shelf instrumentation and sensors are available, and then customise the final package accordingly based on the environment—subsea or otherwise—and demands of the application.”

In this instance, a custom data logger takes inputs from several sensors, initially feeding back information on load, rotation, and temperature. More sensors can be added to an expandable system should the need arise in the future. A stainless steel enclosure is mounted in Subsea Innovation’s workshop next to the test tank, which remains in construction. Within the enclosure, the logged data is collated and logged again as a package in a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) on a memory card.

An Ethernet port, meanwhile, enables the user to plug in a PC to download the data periodically. Halford explained: “You can get a remote view on a web browser of the HMI [human-machine interface] screen to see both live values from the sensors and also download the data logs.”

Integral to the system will be an S-cell load cell from DLM’s standard range, which will be submerged in the tank at a depth of approx. 1m. The load cell is 250kg capacity and will measure in tension and compression. This is the lowest available capacity of a standard range than reaches up to 20t capacity and boasts welded covers, stainless steel construction, sealing to IP68, and high accuracy. It is suitable for use on test stands, to take measurements during certification, and in vessel and tank weighing applications, in addition to retrofit in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) technologies and machinery.

Other standard equipment in this order includes proximity and other sensors, and thermocouples, used for measuring temperature.

A decade of the S-cell

Dynamic Load Monitoring’s (DLM) S-cell load cell was an integral component of a custom data logging and subsea measuring system recently installed in a tank where cable protection systems are tested (see main story). However, the company frequently modifies and upgrades the product for use in a range of industrial applications.

The S-cell load cell, which was first put to market 10 years ago, is named after its S-shape. It is suited for use in any lifting or renewable energy application where there is a need to measure both tension and compression. Wind industry professionals especially note the product’s accuracy and ability to measure both forces.

DLM recently adapted a model for Vestas to fit a wireless transmitter so it could be paired with a TW-3.0-T display. This load cell and handheld display were used for weighing wind turbine blades. Accuracy is critical as once the blades are weighed, they are classified as light, medium, and heavy for use on each turbine. Once the total weight of the blade is determined, the manufacturer can calculate how much ballast is applied to each blade to create the sets of three to make up a turbine. One rotation of a turbine (three blades) can power a typical home for up to 29 hours. DLM has also made a subsea version with integral 4-20mA Amplifier and subsea connectors.

DLM’s renewables portfolio stretches beyond the S-cell load cell and TW-3.0-T display, with it is now being the manufacturer’s biggest marketplace. Its telemetry shackle load cells, for example, measure the tension on cable pull-ins when connecting power cables to the turbines after they have been installed. Saddleback monitors on the deck of the cable lay vessel, meanwhile, measure the line tension of the cable being laid.

Martin Halford, managing director at DLM, said: “We are busier than we have ever been. It’s interesting that even though we don’t manufacture the S-cell load cell, but we have become renowned for completing modifications and upgrades to enhance safety and productivity in force measurement at the point of use, especially in renewables applications. Often, custom projects incorporate a modified S-cell as part of the package.”

New year, new knowledge with HBK’s spring webinars

HBK has launched its webinar training calendar for 2022, offering a range of topics – from general acoustic, environmental and occupational noise to more specialised product training.

The first session in February, provides an introduction to Sound Intensity theory and covers the type of equipment required – it also explains the practical setup of the equipment for measurements.

During the same month owners of HBK’s BK CONNECT software can join its webinar to gain an overview of the system. Delegates will learn how to build their own analyzer chain and link these into a working process.

For acousticians seeking guidance on sound and impact insulation measurements that meet current standards, HBK will run a Building Acoustics webinars, to cover this topic in March.

Users of HBK’s B&K 2245 sound level meter can benefit from a series of webinars dedicated to helping them get the most from this tool. The sessions include Environmental Measurements with 2245 and Noise at Work Measurements with 2245.

The B&K 2245 is a class 1 sound level meter which can be tailored for specific jobs across a wide range of industries and users, from simple noise complaint investigations by local authorities, to more specialised tasks such as exhaust noise testing.

HBK’s full sound and vibration webinar calendar is available on the company’s website: https://www.bksv.com/en/knowledge/training/webinars