News

Even in deep tanks, ifm senses levels precisely

With the new LW2720 radar level sensor from ifm electronic, accurately measuring the level of liquid media in large tanks and vessels is no longer a problem; this innovative sensor has a measuring accuracy of ± 2 mm at ranges up to 10 m. In addition, it is fully certified for use in hygienic areas, making it an ideal choice for food and pharmaceutical applications, including those that involve CIP and SIP operations.

The ground-breaking LW2720 measures levels using an FMCW radar-based system operating at a frequency of 80 GHz. This provides stable and accurate non-contact measurements that are unaffected by changing pressure, temperature and the presence of steam or condensates. In addition, the 80GHz operating frequency of the sensors provides a very narrow beam angle that gives a reliable level measurement even in applications where agitators, stirrers and scrapers are present.

Compact and very easy to install and commission, LW2720 radar level sensors are readily parameterised via their integral IO Link interface, which can also be used to check settings and to monitor measurements. As well as the IO Link interface, the sensors can be configured to provide either one analogue output and one switching output or two switching outputs. This wide range of output options facilitates integration with almost any type of control system.

All stainless construction and IP rating up to IP69K ensure that LW2720 sensors will provide long reliable service even in demanding environments and applications. They can be used with media over the temperature range -40 to +150 ºC, and a pressure rating of -1 to 8 bar. To complement these sensors, ifm offers an extensive range of accessories, including hygienic mounting adaptors, and pre-terminated M12 connecting cables

Innovation at SENSOR+TEST 2022

Almost two months before the opening, preparations for SENSOR+TEST from May 10-12, 2022 in Nuremberg are in full swing. More than 300 exhibitors will present their latest achievements and technologies from sensor and measurement technology on site. Visitors can already discover a whole series of these innovations now.

“We have turned into the home straight and are very pleased to finally be able to return to the Innovation Dialog with exhibitors and participants in Nuremberg and resume it with all its facets. The more than 300 expected exhibitors are looking forward to the presence event, which was sorely missed in the last two years, to present their innovations to the interested public in person again,” says organiser Holger Bödeker.

However, numerous innovations can already be marvelled at today. For example, many product highlights are already available for visitors on the SENSOR+TEST website – and there are more every day.

“So it’s worth taking a closer look before, during and even after the three days of the event,” recommends Holger Bödeker. This year, the exhibitors will once again show the diversity of their innovative developments not only in text and images, but also in a large number of video presentations.

Save exhibition ticket now

Visitors can now save their exhibition ticket online. Registration is at https://www.sensor-test.com/voucher. “We cordially invite all interested visitors to SENSOR+TEST 2022 in Nuremberg. Register and enter into the innovation dialog with experts. Follow the activities of exhibitors and speakers on our internet portal, via newsletter as well as in the social media channels and network with them. This year, interested parties will finally be able to grasp cutting-edge technology with all their senses on site again. Each participant will be able to obtain the information that is important to him first-hand and make new valuable contacts,” says Bödeker.

Teledyne FLIR releases free expanded starter thermal dataset for ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing

Teledyne FLIR has announced the release of an expanded free thermal dataset for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and self-driving vehicle researchers and developers. The expanded starter dataset nearly doubles the original, industry-first free dataset and features more than 26,000 annotated images from the US, England, and France in day and nighttime conditions. It also triples the number of categories and now includes person, bike, car, motorcycle, bus, train, truck, traffic light, fire hydrant, street sign, dog, skateboard, stroller scooter, and other vehicle labels. The expanded free starter thermal imaging dataset allows the automotive and academic community to quickly evaluate the vehicle safety algorithm performance, neural network testing, and thermal sensors, such as the FLIR ADK.

“The industry-first free thermal dataset has been used by developers and as a tool in academic research to explore safety of automated driving technology with thermal imaging,” said Chris Posch, director of automotive engineering at Teledyne FLIR. “The expanded dataset, with more images and categories, will further enhance detection and classifications models, especially focused on automatic braking capabilities as part of a multispectral, sensor-fused system.

“When combined with visible light cameras, LIDAR, and radar, thermal sensors help create a comprehensive and redundant system to identify and classify roadway objects using sensor fusion data. Testing has demonstrated that thermal sensors are uniquely capable of seeing pedestrians, large animals, and other vulnerable road users in conditions where current automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems are challenged, including win total darkness, most fog, smoke, shadows, inclement weather, and sun or headlight glare.”

In an ongoing effort to make roads safer, twenty automakers committed to the U.S. Congress that all newly manufactured cars and trucks will be equipped with AEB systems by September 1,2022. Furthermore, high-profile testing and demonstrations from leading organisations including AAA, demonstrate the need for more effective and intelligent systems to improve vehicle safety, especially in challenging conditions where thermal cameras excel. With the potential for millions of thermal-enabled AEB on vehicles, Teledyne FLIR anticipates the cost of its thermal sensor to continue to decrease significantly, which will encourage wide-scale adoption and ultimately enable safer vehicles and roads.

Paragraf set to accelerate market adoption of graphene electronics following injection of new venture capital investment

Paragraf, the developer of graphene electronics technologies and products, has completed a $60m Series B funding round. This investment will enable Paragraf to expand its sales and engineering support team globally to complement its existing world-class capabilities in graphene science and in the development and manufacturing of graphene-based electronics products.

Supported by Paragraf’s expanded commercial operations, electronics manufacturers and developers worldwide will for the first time be able to take advantage of the unique low-power and high-performance characteristics of graphene-based electronics devices. Led by a larger, global sales and customer support operation, Paragraf will spearhead the drive to adopt graphene-based electronics in high-volume end product designs in the automotive, medical, aerospace, telecoms, computing and other markets.

Paragraf is the first company to develop scalable technology for the mass production of transfer-free graphene on semiconductor industry-compatible wafers. Paragraf uses this technology to produce graphene-based electronics devices such as Hall sensors. The ultra-low power, very high sensitivity, low noise and high accuracy of the devices, as well as their robust performance even in ultra-low temperature cryogenic systems, are an indication of the massive advantages which graphene offers over conventional silicon electronics products.

Driving proven technology into new applications

The new injection of venture capital finance, which was backed by existing and new investors, follows the validation of Paragraf’s graphene electronics technology by research institutes and companies around the world including CERN (Geneva, Switzerland) and Rolls Royce.

The Series B funding will enable Paragraf to scale up its sales and customer support teams in the Americas, Asia and across Europe. Commercial expansion supported by the Series B funding round means that Paragraf can collaborate with and educate organisations around the world about the advantages of Paragraf’s graphene products and technologies, and to accelerate their adoption.

Paragraf CEO Dr Simon Thomas said: ‘The injection of such substantial financing from long-standing investors, as well as new backers, is a mark of their confidence that Paragraf holds the key to the mass deployment of graphene. Graphene is the material which will move the microelectronics industry beyond conventional semiconductors. In the foreseeable future, high-volume manufacturers will be able to use Paragraf chips which offer far better performance at far lower power than any silicon-based device is physically capable of.”

The round included current investors Parkwalk, Amadeus Molten Ventures, IQ Capital as well as new investors New Science Ventures, British Patient Capital through its Future Fund: Breakthrough, and US based In-Q-Tel.

Seaward wins apprenticeship Employer of the Year award

An electrical test and measurement company has been named one of North East England’s best providers of adult apprenticeship training.

Seaward, based in Peterlee, has been crowned ‘Employer of the Year’ by MTC Training, which is a commercial unit of Sunderland University with responsibility for delivering a range of apprenticeship training courses to local companies.

The achievement follows Seaward’s decision to invest in adult apprentices in recent years to help upskill its workforce, improve its commercial operations and retain staff. The firm, which has seen its investment in training the next generation of workers rewarded, currently has two adult apprentices who work as a supervisor in the dispatch department and a team leader.

A third member of staff is expected to join the firm’s apprenticeship programme this April as part of their ongoing training and personal development.

The annual MTC Training awards recognise the best apprenticeship employers across the North East who are helping their employees to develop industry focused skills.

Sir David Bell, vice chancellor and chief executive of Sunderland University, said MTC Training works with some outstanding employees and added: “Seaward, which is relatively new to apprenticeships, has fully embraced them as a way of recruiting and training talent. So, congratulations and good luck in the future.”

With offices also in Tampa, Florida and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Seaward currently employs around 174 people and is a market leading manufacturer of electronic test and measurement instruments used in a wide variety of electrical, medical, industrial and energy sector applications.

Wendy Chaplin, HR officer at Seaward, said its important to invest in employees by providing them with training, qualifications and everything else needed to develop and fill existing skills gaps.

“It’s brilliant to win this award, which recognises our commitment to apprenticeships and investment in upskilling our workforce. Our apprenticeships are gaining important new skills and developing their careers in a move that will ultimately help Seaward to become a better company and continuously improve its service to customers.”

Fluke celebrates engineering innovation on World Engineering Day

Fluke, a global technology leader in the manufacture of compact, professional electronic test and measurement tools and software, has today announced the launch of an exclusive video series to celebrate engineering innovation in recognition of World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development.

Listen to real engineers

The new online video series showcases the views of Fluke’s industrial and electrical test engineers on the role engineers play in ensuring sustainability, the importance and impact of engineering on the modern world and the future of the industry. Personal stories outlining what inspired each engineer to get into the industry are also featured in the series, with the goal to inspire future generations to consider a career in engineering.

Paul Feenstra, Vice President EMEA at Fluke said: “We are very proud to acknowledge the invaluable contribution engineers make in changing our world for the better. As part of World Engineering Day, we wanted to celebrate engineering innovation by sharing the voices of Fluke’s own dedicated team of engineers. Every day, engineers continue the great work of their predecessors, finding new solutions to overcome critical challenges and safeguard our future. Engineers deserve more credit than the single day that is dedicated to them.”

Building a sustainable future

Rick Rodriguez, Mechanical Hardware Engineer at Fluke recently comforted his young son after he expressed concerns about the future of the world, stating: “There are a lot of very creative and passionate people right now, out there addressing the issues – and the one that plays centre stage is the engineer.”

Han Tran, an Electrical Engineer and Industrial Application Specialist at Fluke, agreed with this sentiment. For Han, the goal of celebrating World Engineering Day is “to make sure that younger engineers see that it is possible for people who are not always seen in engineering to be part of engineering”.

A global celebration of engineers and engineering

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development presents an opportunity to highlight the achievements of engineers and engineering in the modern world and improve public understanding of how engineering and technology are central to sustainable development. March 4 is the founding day of the World Federation of Engineering Organisation (WFEO), an international association dedicated to representing the engineering society of the world.

Fluke offers special thanks to Marcella Bennet, David Gibson, Han Tran, Levi and Zoe Cline, Jennifer Bronson, Rick Rodriguez, Jessica Woods, Naveena Vemulapalli, Mark Bakker, Dileepa Prabhakar and Alexander Bardakov for dedicating their time and sharing their knowledge as part of World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development.

For more information and to watch the videos online, go to: https://www.fluke.com/en-us/learn/blog/electrical/world-engineering-day

Renesas and Fixstars to establish Automotive SW Platform Lab to develop software and operating environments for deep learning

Renesas and Fixstars Corporation have announced their intention to collaborate in the automotive deep learning field. In April 2022, the two companies will establish an Automotive SW Platform Lab tasked with the development of software and operating environments for Renesas automotive devices. The new Lab will support early development and ongoing operation of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) systems. The two companies will develop technologies aimed at software development for deep learning and building operating environments that have the ability to continuously update learned network models to maintain and enhance recognition accuracy and performance.

“Fixstars possesses both advanced software technology for deep learning and optimisation technology that allows more efficient utilisation of hardware,” said Takeshi Kataoka, Senior Vice President, General Manager of the Automotive Solution Business Unit at Renesas. “I am confident that our collaboration will enable us to provide strong support for software development optimised for automotive applications and allow our customers to fully leverage the superior performance of Renesas’ automotive devices.”

“After developing a deep learning application, it is not possible to maintain high recognition accuracy and performance without constantly updating it with the latest learning data,” said Satoshi Miki, CEO of Fixstars. “Fixstars plans to focus on these machine learning operations (MLOps) for the automotive field, as we work together with Renesas to develop a deep learning development platform optimised for Renesas devices.”

GENESIS for R-Car Cloud-Based Evaluation Environment

As part of their collaboration, today Renesas and Fixstars are launching GENESIS for R-Car, a cloud-based evaluation environment for R-Car that supports early development of ADAS and AD systems. The new environment facilitates instant initial evaluations when selecting devices. It utilises the GENESIS cloud-based device evaluation environment from Fixstars as its platform.

Poring over specifications is time consuming and inefficient. Evaluation based on actual use cases is essential when selecting devices. Users typically need to obtain an evaluation board and basic software to evaluate devices, and technical expertise is also required in order to build an evaluation environment. The new GENESIS for R-Car cloud-based evaluation environment does not require specialised technical expertise.

GENESIS for R-Car lets engineers confirm the processing execution time in frames per second (fps) and recognition accuracy percentage of R-Car V3H’s CNN accelerators on sample images using generic CNN models, such as ResNet or MobileNet. It also allows engineers to select the device and network they wish to evaluate and perform operations remotely on an actual board. Engineers can use the GENESIS environment to confirm evaluation results in tasks such as image classification and object detection, with the option to use their own images or video data. This greatly simplifies the initial evaluation to determine whether R-Car V3H is suitable for the customer’s system. Future plans include the rollout of a service that will allow customers to use their own CNN models for evaluations.

Availability

The GENESIS for R-Car is available now. For more information, please visit: https://www.renesas.com/software-tool/genesis-r-car-fixstars.

Keeping conditions stable for HIV research

Unfavourable laboratory conditions threaten the integrity of valuable research materials, which could be costly and time-consuming to fix. Therefore, when the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) needed a remote laboratory monitoring solution for controlling room temperatures, air conditioning, fridges, freezers, incubators, liquid nitrogen storage vessels and back-up generator status across three clinics, they enlisted help from Omniflex.

There are still 37 million people living with HIV globally. Furthermore, tuberculosis claims the lives of 1.5 million each year. CAPRISA’s mission is to undertake relevant and locally responsive research that contributes to understanding HIV and TB pathogenesis, prevention and epidemiology. Being world leaders for this research, a lot is at stake should research materials become compromised.

The clinics were relying on time-consuming, costly and inefficient manual inspections to monitor laboratory conditions. However, stricter FDA standard operating procedures state that 24/7 data logging of laboratory conditions is necessary to ensure the clinic’s compliance to Good Laboratory Practice (GLP).

The monitoring solution comprises of up to 80 Omniflex microLAN sensors located throughout the clinics, hardwired into Omniflex’s Teleterm Remote Terminal Units (RTUs). By networking all RTUs to the cloud-based Data2Desktop, the system can be configured to send out SMS or email alerts and reports in real-time.

A Teleterm Master Field unit panel is placed in a facility to receive data from the RTUs. This has a touch screen human machine interface (HMI) to give personnel an immediate overview of the entire facility. This means when a problem is detected, it can be easily located and dealt with quickly.

“CAPRISA has found the Omniflex package particularly valuable in its unmanned facility. When unfavourable conditions are detected, managers are informed immediately so they can take appropriate action to protect research assets,” explains Ian Loudon, international sales and marketing manager at Omniflex.

“In the event of a ruptured fridge or freezer seal, for example, the sensors will feedback to the cloud-based server and alerts will be sent out via SMS, GSM or email. Action can be taken quickly to avoid any spoilage that could have detrimental effects on the productivity of the research facility,” Loudon continues.

Because large areas of South Africa experience regular power outages, Omniflex’s system also monitors and controls back-up generator status. This ensures that conditions across CAPRISA’s clinics are kept stable even in the event of an outage. If the cloud service is down due to power issues, each master panel’s battery is backed up for at least 24 hours and can log data to an SD card.

The system will remain GLP compliant in any event, and managers have access to a repository of historical and real-time data for auditing or post-event analysis. This repository acts as assurance to health and research authorities that assets — such as blood samples, pharmaceuticals, trial treatments or cultures — are being stored, monitored and treated correctly.

Boneham & Turner increase complex part offering by improving inspection capability with Sylvac Scan F60L from Bowers Group

Nottinghamshire based Boneham & Turner has increased its ability to offer more complex parts within its tooling and precision-engineered component operations with the help of a Sylvac Scan F60L optical measurement machine, supplied by Bowers Group.

A fourth-generation, family-owned precision engineering solutions provider established in 1918, Boneham & Turner serve the aerospace, defence, motorsport, composite and yellow goods industries by manufacturing and supplying drill bushes, dowel pins, both simple and complex shims for the manufacture and assembly of jigs and fixtures, work holding, hydraulic systems and machine-building.

With previous processes in place, the company needed to decline work. This was not due to the complexity of manufacturing the parts, but to the limitations on inspection. The inspection of micro-pins had always proven to be a time-consuming challenge for the production and quality teams.

To improve its inspection capabilities, Boneham & Turner applied for funding through the Aerospace Unlocking Potential project, provided through the European Regional Development Fund Revenue Agreement, to help fund the purchase of the Sylvac Scan equipment.

Used by quality personnel, machine operatives completing first-off checks, as well as the engineering team for samples and R&D, the Sylvac Scan F60L is designed to measure even the most demanding of cylindrical parts.

With a brand-new camera and optics offering superior image processing and fast inspection times, the optical measurement machine uses Reflex One-Click technology with part recognition and auto measure, allowing measurement with one click of a button. Quick-release tooling for making rapid part changeovers, combined with sophisticated software delivers immediate visual results, assisting in providing essential efficiencies in a busy working environment.

Boasting a small footprint that fits perfectly within the new inspection lab, the Sylvac scanner is used daily as part of the standard inspection procedure at Boneham & Turner. Primarily measuring a range of micro-pins that start at approximately 1mm diameter and 3mm long, the F60L has been praised for its ease of use and simple learning process amongst the team whilst proving to be an extremely precise piece of inspection kit for the company.

Stacy Denton-Beaumont, Operations Manager at Boneham & Turner said: “Quality is absolutely paramount to our customers – supporting industries such as aerospace, defence, military and F1, there is zero room for defects, in both time and cost. We have an outstanding record for perfect quality and investing in equipment such as the Sylvac demonstrates our commitment to continuous improvement in our metrology capabilities.”

“The Sylvac-SCAN F60L has vastly improved our scope of metrology. As an AS9100 Rev D certified manufacturer, we pride ourselves on offering outstanding quality to our valued customers and core markets. With its Swiss precision engineering, the Sylvac SCAN F60L offers an efficient, exact and effective inspection method, complimenting the current catalogue of equipment here at Boneham & Turner Ltd.”

Having worked with the University of Nottingham for many years in research and design, as well as Graduate Placements, whilst also, as a member of Midlands Aerospace Alliance, Boneham & Turner have attended various courses and networking events which have proved highly beneficial in terms of new business but also improved knowledge.

Stacy explained: “Having a Technology Manager designated to us from MAA, made the project run a great deal smoother and it was on their recommendation that we began looking at a Mark Forged Mark II 3D Printer. This was supplied by Additive X, who also did the training and over the past 6 months have been incredibly supportive with many of our projects.”

The project has enabled Boneham & Turner to innovate in both metrology and new products and services. It has established a new measurement process and has enabled new products to be made and inspected.

The team are currently looking to re-shore some parts, as they are now able to offer the full level of inspection required for mission-critical parts.

New brand showcases local company’s growth and global reach

Process Instruments, the leading process industry solution provider, has rebranded and is now known as Process Instruments Solutions.

Positioning itself firmly as industry leaders with a strong commitment to offering its clients a full-solutions service package, Process Instruments Solutions’ unique approach is underpinned by an understanding of a challenging modern market.

The rebrand will help facilitate the company’s growth in its key sectors which are Food & Beverage, Bio Energy, Chemical, Power and Pharmaceutical.

This regeneration is bolstered by the immense growth the company has seen over the last five years with an increase of 300% in its sales in that time. Furthermore, with the appointment of six people during the last 18 months and an impressive investment of £100,000 on state-of-the-art equipment for its site team, the rebrand has come at a pivotal time for the local company.

Launched on 1st March to staff, clients and the media, the new brand campaign includes a refreshed logo and updated website that reflects the company’s growing reputation as the leading process industry solutions business. With its main office in Woolpit, Suffolk, the business operates across the UK and Europe, working in partnership with global giants such as Siemens, Labom and Bürkert.

“Our motivating new brand runs deeper than the aesthetics of a new logo,” says managing director Jon Tayler: “To make sure we are meeting the needs of our clients we have continually adapted, expanded and evolved over time and this rebrand embodies this evolution.”

Jon continues: “Process Instruments Solutions has been providing high quality instrumentation and services for over 30 years and this tradition is celebrated in our rebrand as we believe our principled ways of working really make us stand out. Our mission remains to tailor instrumentation solutions for process applications, partnering with our valued clients to improve and optimise processes.”

Jon concludes: “We have stood the test of time. Now we’re ready to take our organisation into a new era which reflects our impressive team made up of ambitious and talented individuals who share a clear vision and devotion to offering extraordinary customer service and quality instrumentation.”

Amongst many local and high-worth projects, Process Instruments Solutions is providing effective solutions for the instrumentation requirements at Treatt PLC new £41million headquarters in Bury St Edmunds.

Recently the company was also announced as winners of Siemens Partner of the Year 2021/2, a huge accolade that recognises the hard work and dedication of all its team, providing our customers with the very best customer service & solutions.
For more information visit processinstrumentsolutions.co.uk