Features

Upgraded Network Master Pro MT1000A Synchronous Measurement Function for 5G Mobile Network I&M

Anritsu Corporation has announced an upgraded synchronous measurement function for the company’s Network Master Pro MT1000A, the industry’s smallest- in-class tester supporting mobile networks up to 100 Gbps. Fifth generation (5G) networks are expected to support increasing future numbers of applications and services, such as hi-definition video streaming, autonomous driving, IoT sensing, smart factories, etc. By upgrading this MT1000A test function, Anritsu hopes to facilitate construction of time-synchronous infrastructure, a key technology supporting 5G networks.

New Product Outline

The MU100090B is a GNSS disciplined oscillator supporting GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, Beidou and QZSS. It receives signals from each of these GNSS to output a UTC-traceable reference time signal as well as 10-MHz signals as a time-synchronous, high-accuracy reference timing supplied to the portable MT1000A, supporting SyncE Wander and PTP tests up to 25 Gbps for measuring network time synchronization.

Furthermore, multiple MT1000A testers at various remote sites can be operated and monitored from the central office using the Site Over Remote Access MX109020A (SORA) software to help quickly pinpoint synchronization problems.

Development Background

Deployment of 5G communications networks is spreading due to the advantages of ultra-high speeds, high reliability, low latency, and multiple simultaneous connections in various scenarios. The millimeter-wave (mmWave) band used by 5G technology employs the TDD time-division duplexing technology for managing timing of uplink and downlink signals.

This technology requires that the time at all base stations is precisely synchronized, otherwise interference will cause degraded communications quality. Moreover, achieving a “smart” IoT-based society will require cooperation between devices exchanging position information acquired using OTDOA positioning technology, which is ideal for IoT applications, but high-accuracy position measurement is impossible without high-accuracy time synchronization between base stations.

Base stations can be synchronized using wired-network technologies called SyncE and PTP, which require both measurement of the network time-synchronization performance when installing and maintaining a cell site, along with guaranteed network performance by the network operator.

Moreover, the O-RAN Alliance, which is a mainstream promoter of base-station multivendor, increasingly requires tests of overall mobile network time-synchronization performance to assure interconnectivity.

Time-synchronization quality is indicated by drift from coordinated universal time (UTC), so precise time-synchronization measurement requires expensive infrastructure to acquire UTC with high accuracy. This can be a challenge at installation and maintenance of many cell sites.

Anritsu has developed many test instruments for measuring the jitter and wander of transport networks since the SDH/SONET era. Adding this new High Performance GNSS Disciplined Oscillator MU100090B to the line of modules for the portable, battery-operated MT1000A will help simplify on-site I&M time-synchronization tests.

 

Pioneer in solid state gas sensors launches new website

Gas Sensing Solutions, a pioneer in solid state gas sensor technology is delighted to announce the launch of its new website www.gassensing.co.uk. The website places a strong focus on the user experience and includes an easy-to-use parametric search function making it easy for engineers to select the right GSS sensor.

The website has been given a complete overhaul with an emphasis on making it easy to access all the important sensor information in one place. Customers are presented with a product landing page, showcasing each sensor and its key attributes. The product landing page also gives customers the option to filter the sensor choice based on their own parametric requirements including measurement range, sample method and operating temperature range.

Each individual sensor landing page brings together a complete set of technical data. All sensor documentation and other user information including data sheets, application notes, evaluation board user guides, software and other helpful information have been brought together in one place.

When asked about the new website, Julian Hayes, CEO of Gas Sensing Solutions said “In a time when events and customer visits have been put on hold, it is fundamental that our website is able to facilitate our customers in their search for information on our sensors. Our site structure has been streamlined to help customers to find what they need, and the content revamped to ensure our customers understand what our sensors can do in real-world applications.”

 

TE Connectivity finds early success in first year of 2030 sustainability plan

One year into the company’s 2030 One Connected World strategy, TE Connectivity, a world leader in connectivity and sensors, has continued to improve how it designs, manufactures and ships its products in its first steps toward meeting sustainability goals announced last year.

Over the past year, TE’s efforts have put the company on-track to meet several 2030 sustainability goals by beginning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and water withdrawal. TE also has impacted more than 650,000 people through STEM grants from TE and the TE Connectivity Foundation to inspire the next generation of sustainable engineers, well toward its goal of 3 million people by 2030.

“TE collaborates closely with our customers to create sustainable technology like electric vehicles and more efficient data centers, as well as solutions to ensure renewable energy sources like wind turbines and solar panels get connected to the grid,” said CEO Terrence Curtin. “Since our products empower technologies that reduce humanity’s impact on the planet, it is important to TE that they are created in a sustainable way. I’m pleased that our employees, customers and owners have responded to our One Connected World strategy with an incredible show of support and excitement and I’m confident in our ability to deliver on our commitments.”

In order to meet the 2030 goals, sustainability is a part of every TE initiative, large and small. In TE’s facilities, two manufacturing sites in Germany achieved a net zero carbon footprint in 2020 by generating their own solar energy and supporting climate protecting projects. On the product side, TE innovated upon one of its core manufacturing processes–plating–to save energy with a new surface technology for automotive parts that consumes a fraction of the water and reduces energy consumption by 35%. Working to improve upon shipping practices, TE piloted the use of a more sustainable way to package products for shipment that requires 30% less wrapping material and is 100% recyclable.

Xsens extends industrial motion tracking products with new rugged modules for harsh environments

Xsens, the manufacturer of motion tracking modules, has announced two new products in its technologically advanced MTi 600-series, extending the customer’s choice of rugged products with and without an integrated satellite positioning receiver.

Xsens is adding a new GNSS/Inertial Navigation System (INS) module, the MTi-670G, and a rugged Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS), the MTi-630R to the MTi 600-series. The complete MTi 600-series line-up now offers a flexible and diverse choice of products which is capable of meeting a broad range of application requirements at competitive prices. The rugged products added to MTi 600-series are particularly well suited to use in harsh environments in maritime, mining, agricultural and many other applications.

Boele de Bie, Xsens’ CEO, said: ‘The latest members of the MTi 600-series are the fruit of Xsens’ continued investment in product development and new technology, ensuring that we provide the combination of performance, features and value that our customers demand across the range of markets we serve, from high-volume mainstream electronics to highly specialised product designs including RTK.’

Rugged enclosure withstands harsh environments

The MTi-670G and MTi630R are housed in an IP68-rated aluminium enclosure which measures 40.9mm x 56.5mm x 36.8mm, and which is highly vibration- and shock-proof. Both modules feature standard CAN and RS232 interfaces and an output data rate of up to 400Hz.

The new MTi-670G GNSS/INS module includes a high-performance u-blox ZED F9 GNSS receiver. Sophisticated sensor fusion firmware in the module combines the receiver’s inputs with integrated 3D attitude (tilt, inclination) and heading measurements to provide absolute positioning accuracy of better than ±1m. The sensor is easy to integrate into system designs thanks to its support for Xbus and standard NMEA and CAN protocols, and the provision of Xsens’ popular MT Software Suite for developers. The suite includes the MT Manager GUI for Windows or Linux operating systems and a useful Magnetic Field Mapper function.

The MTi-630R AHRS is a ruggedised version of the successful MTi-630 AHRS. It offers the same high performance, including roll/pitch measurement accuracy of ±0.2°, and heading accuracy of ±1°. Like the MTi-670G, the MTi-630R is easy to integrate into end product designs thanks to the MT Software Suite, which also includes drivers for the LabVIEW, ROS and GO development languages.

Like all MTi 600-series products, the new modules also offer numerous differentiating features:

  • Precise factory calibration of MTI
  • High immunity to magnetic interference
  • Adaptive firmware operation to optimise performance in various types of applications
  • Out-of-the-box operation with Xsens’ popular MTi development (DK) or starter kits (SK)

The MTi-670G and MTi-630R are available for sampling now. Ruggedised versions of the MTi-610 Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and MTi-620 Vertical Reference Unit (VRU), the MTi-610R and MTi-620R, are available on request.

HENSOLDT awards “Argus” prize to students

The sensor manufacturer HENSOLDT has awarded its “Argus” research prize to outstanding theses by university graduates in high-frequency and communications engineering, digital signal processing, optronics and cybertechnology as part of its cooperation with research institutions and universities. New findings in these specialist areas are important for the further development of the technology group’s product portfolio.

“Our products represent the state of the art,” said HENSOLDT Chief Human Resources Officer Peter Fieser at the welcoming ceremony. “Their development and production requires experts who enjoy challenging tasks and want to contribute their skills to complex projects.”

The prize, each worth 1,500 euros, has been awarded for 18 years. The award ceremony took place during the annual Professor’s Day, due to the pandemic as an online event with over 500 participants. Professors from technically oriented universities and colleges as well as experts from the company regularly use this platform to exchange knowledge. “All the award-winning papers deal with the field of sensor technologies – a key technology for the security and defence capability of the Federal Republic of Germany. As such, they make contributions to the technological sovereignty of Germany and Europe,” emphasised Dr Jürgen Bestle, Chief Technology Officer of HENSOLDT.

A jury of university professors and company experts selected outstanding bachelor’s and master’s theses by graduates of the Ulm University of Technology, one from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics (FKIE), two from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, two from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and one from the Rhenish-Westphalian Technical University Aachen from numerous submissions.

First prize in the “Bachelor” category went to David Brunner from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) with his work on mutual interference influence in automotive radars, supervised by Professor Thomas Zwick. Another prize was awarded to Veronika Keilwerth from the Ulm University of Technology with her Bachelor’s thesis, supervised by Professor Thorsten Hasbargen, on the reliability of testing apps in aerospace or medical technology. Steffen Jung from the Fraunhofer Institute FKIE and the University of Bonn also received an award for his work. Supervised by Professors Peter Martini and Wolfgang Koch, he dealt with the use of artificial intelligence to increase the safety of autonomous vehicles.

In the “Master” category, Patrick Fenske from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Professor Martin Vossiek) was awarded with a thesis on the identification of transmitters for tracking deliveries of goods in the context of Industry 4.0. Also supervised by Professor Martin Vossiek at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg was André Scheder, who was awarded for his Master’s thesis on efficiency-enhancing communication technologies. Jonas Pfaff from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology dealt with multi-antenna systems of the next generation of mobile communications and received a prize for his work, which was supervised by Professor Thomas Zwick and Professor Cagri Ulusoy. The jury also found the Master’s thesis by Thindlu Rudrappa Manjunath from the Fraunhofer Institute FHR and the Rhenish-Westphalian Technical University Aachen worthy of a prize. Supervised by Professors Dirk Heberling and Peter Knott, he investigated the non-contact measurement of circulation parameters using a new type of radar technology.

In his laudatory speech, HENSOLDT technology coordinator Dr Guy Kouemou, who moderated the event, emphasised the special role of close cooperation between industry and research: “New innovative products based on networked sensor technology, digitalisation and artificial intelligence, for example, require a great deal of detailed research. The outstanding graduates of our partner colleges, universities and research institutes make an important contribution to this”.

At HENSOLDT’s Ulm site, around 2,500 employees are involved in the development and production of complex safety electronics, including radars, electronic protection systems and high-frequency electronic components. Most of the employees are engineers and technicians, and about 120 young people are in training.

Vaisala listed highly in Financial Times’ Climate Leaders 2021

The Financial Times has listed 300 European Climate Leaders 2021. The list includes European companies that achieved the greatest reduction in their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2014 and 2019. Vaisala is proud to be near the top of the list.

Kai Öistämö, President and CEO, Vaisala

Vaisala, a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements, is ranked 14th on the Financial Times list of 300 European climate leaders. Climate change is turning into an ever more crucial challenge for our planet, and with this study the Financial Times underlines great achievements but also encourages companies to do more.

“It is a great honour to be included on the top of Financial Times’s Climate Leaders list, and it is a result of consistent and excellent work on reducing our own carbon footprint. We can see that the climate situation is getting more urgent, creating a chain of environmental, societal, and economic impacts on our planet. This calls also for actions from the private sector to step up and be a key driver of change in the transition to a low-carbon economy,” says Kai Öistämö, President and CEO, Vaisala.

Vaisala achieves this excellent position, whether ranked by GHG emission reduction aligned with revenue growth during the years 2014–2019 or total reduction of GHG emissions in the same timeframe. Vaisala’s figures on these scales are 37.3% (average per year) and 86.9% (total) respectively. The great reduction is largely due to the fact that Vaisala has worked towards using 100% renewable electricity and achieved this target in 2020.

The Financial Times’ study takes into account Scope 1 and 2 emissions, meaning those emissions directly produced by a company itself and those produced in generating the energy used by the company. Other parts of the value chain, such as suppliers and product use, are left out.

Marjo Hietapuro, Sustainability Manager, Vaisala

“We have taken great measures to reduce our carbon footprint continuously, and if we look at our latest figures from last year, they surpass even the 86.9% in the Financial Times’ list. In 2020, our total reduction of core emissions from the 2014 baseline was actually 94%. Sustainability really is at the core, and it is visible not only in our own operations but throughout the value chain. We place expectations on our suppliers so that they act according to our sustainability standards. Also, the net impact of our solutions is demonstrably positive: the greatest impact of our products stems from our product use,” explains Marjo Hietapuro, Sustainability Manager, Vaisala.

“The fact that we are able to do good for our planet in every part of our value chain makes me very proud to work for Vaisala. Our handprint is positive: as our customers use our products, they can, for example, prepare for extreme weather events beforehand, make renewable energy production more efficient, or reduce the emissions from their industrial processes. We help them to build a better future for our planet. It is truly extraordinary to get to work for a company where everything we do is meaningful,” Öistämö concludes.

Contrinex inductives ensure safe automation of press-tool change-overs

An automated tool-change process reduces setup times and improves machine efficiency, but introduces the risk of damage if the tool-press is not completely closed before its moulding tools are changed.

Therefore a Contrinex inductive sensor is trusted to ensure that the tool-press is completely closed, so that the moulding tools can be changed safely and efficiently.

Customer application

Hydraulic presses that are used to mould automotive body parts have had their tool change automated.

The down-acting hydraulic presses which are common in many industries, feature rams that hold the upper tool half in position as they press down on the lower half.

To change tooling requires the detachment of the upper tool half from the ram, putting it into the lower half, and sliding both out of the press. Before the ram releases the top half for any tool change, the tool pair must be in the closed position. This ensures that both tool halves are perfectly aligned when the automatic tool-change process starts, avoiding damage to either tool or press and any consequent downtime.

Customer solution

The Contrinex DW-AS-603-M18-002 inductive sensor meets the requirements of this application, due to its robust industrial construction and the proven reliability of its sensing capabilities – There is also the benefit that it is from Contrinex’s lowest priced, ‘Basic’ ‘600’ series of inductive sensors.

A single sensor is mounted using an angle bracket on the lower tool housing. Directly above it, a matching bracket on the upper housing serves as the reference surface. Before enabling tool release, this sensor is checked. Since the target does not enter the switching range until the tool is fully closed, premature tool release is prevented.

The accuracy in switching distance of these sensors means that the upper tool half is only released when the tool is fully and correctly closed. The checking process is quick and reliable and prevents the press from proceeding to the tool-change process with incorrectly closed tools, to avoid downtime and damage to tools and the press.

Contrinex sensors are available from PLUS Automation.

Farnell to host free webinar on 2021 IoT Trends with findings from exclusive new global research

Farnell is hosting a free webinar on IoT Trends based on information gathered in Farnell’s third annual global IoT survey. More than 2,000 respondents provided first-hand insights into the world of IoT, including the most popular technologies and applications for IoT design, the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into IoT designs, the future of the IoT industry, and much more. In addition to the IoT Survey results webinar, attendees will also receive a 30 minute presentation from Nordic Semiconductor on Cellular IoT Development.

The Farnell webinar will focus on:

  • Most important aspects to consider when developing IoT solutions.
  • Key concerns regarding IoT implementation.
  • Top IoT industries in the next 5 years.
  • Adoption of AI within IoT Industry.
  • Hardware and connectivity preferences for IoT solutions.

The schedule for the webinar is:

Thursday 27th May, 2021

11.00am – 12.45pm BST

Location: ON24 webinar platform

Login details provided via email after registration

The webinar will be hosted by Farnell technical expert Carl Scargill. Carl is a Senior Technology Specialist for Embedded Technology, with in-depth knowledge and experience in the opto and analogue fields as well as in design and applications. He has been with Farnell for more than 25 years.

Following the 45-minute IoT Trends presentation, Martin Lesund, Technical Marketing Manager at Nordic Semiconductor, will deliver a 30 minute guest presentation on Cellular IoT Development and Nordic Semiconductor’s Thingy:91 prototyping platform.

Attendees will then have the opportunity to take part in a 30-minute Live Q&A with Farnell representatives including technical expert Carl Scargill, Regional Technical Solutions Manager Ankur Tomar and regional sales leader Mathew Thorpe.

The webinar is free to attend and will take place in English language. To register for the event please visit https://uk.farnell.com/iot-trends-2021-webinar.

The first 40 registered attendees will also receive an exclusive webinar pack including notepads, pens and a thermal coffee mug.

Farnell provides a broad range of products and support materials to assist developers designing IoT solutions and integrating AI. Farnell also stocks a range of products from Nordic Semiconductor including award-winning Bluetooth LE solutions and more. Farnell’s IoT hub also provides access to the latest products for development as well as insights and white papers to support the design journey.

Vision Components marks 25th anniversary

The German embedded vision pioneer Vision Components celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021. The year was duly kicked off with a major product launch: VC picoSmart, currently the world’s smallest embedded vision system. The anniversary will also be marked by a webinar series and a hackathon under the motto, ‘There must be a better way to do this’ – a mindset that has always driven product development in the company.

Vision Components has been manufacturing embedded vision technology for 25 years, well ahead of current trends; pictured: founder and CEO Michael Engel

In 1995, CEO Michael Engel developed and presented the world’s first industrial-grade smart camera. Founding the company in the year after and taking up series production, he profoundly changed the machine vision market. The freely programmable cameras provided great flexibility for OEMs to design customised solutions for all conceivable vision applications. Many tasks could now be solved by highly compact systems that needed neither an image processing computer nor a control cabinet. After the first generation of smart cameras, Vision Components soon launched the next trailblazing innovations, including the first intelligent vision sensors and the first embedded 3D laser profilers.

Most recently, the manufacturer presented the VC picoSmart miniature embedded vision system, fully functional, with all components for frame grabbing and image processing, including FPGA and FPU, and as small as a conventional image sensor module. In addition, Vision Components is also a leader in the development and manufacture of MIPI camera modules for flexible embedded vision designs based on single-board computers; the company offers the widest range of sensors in this segment, along with drivers and powerful accessories for a speedy successful commissioning. Vision Components ensures long-term availability of all its products for commercial projects.

Rohde & Schwarz selected to deliver passenger security scanners for Heathrow Airport

Rohde & Schwarz today announced that it has been chosen to supply the R&S QPS201 Quick Personnel Security (QPS) scanners to Heathrow Airport, reducing wait times for passengers and enhancing security checkpoints.

R&S QPS201 security scanner from Rohde & Schwarz will be rolled out across Heathrow airport. (Photo: Rohde & Schwarz)

R&S QPS201 scanners will be rolled out across the airport, ensuring that all passengers, staff and contractors accessing airside locations are scanned on entry. The installation enables the airport to achieve its vision of a secure and safe environment whilst at the same time providing a positive passenger experience by making their journey through the airport as fast and efficient as possible.

“Heathrow Airport is the latest leading international airport to adopt the R&S QPS201, reinforcing our position as the go-to solution for airports around the world,” said Frank Mackel, Vice President Sales Europe, Rohde & Schwarz. “This scanner addresses the three key airport requirements: high accuracy of threat detection, low frequency of false alarms to minimise time consuming manual pat-downs, and fast throughput to reduce passenger wait times even at busy periods.”

Heathrow Airport sought a solution that fully addressed current security and throughput requirements but is also being continuously developed and improved to meet future security needs. It was impressed with Rohde & Schwarz commitment to upgrade its scanners with new algorithms after they have entered service. It allows an easy, hands-down posture for scanning, which is comfortable while at the same time ensuring effective screening for safety and security. A full body scan is completed in seconds, and any suspect objects are indicated on an image to preserve passenger privacy.

The R&S QPS201 security scanner from Rohde & Schwarz features technology which increases sensitivity to further boost threat detection, while reducing false alarms and processing time. In addition to strengthening security, these performance gains reduce post-alarm manual checks and so help avoid physical contact to ensure social distancing. The security scanner restores parity to baggage- and personnel-scanning times, helping security staff manage throughput at checkpoints and avoid excessive queueing. Leveraging Rohde & Schwarz expertise in technology, and utilizing machine-trained software algorithms, R&S QPS201 detects all types of potentially dangerous objects.