News

Water velocity measurements – whatever the weather

The OTT SVR 100 non-contact surface water velocity radar sensor has been designed to overcome the challenges presented by monitoring water resources that can quickly change from languid flow to a raging torrent.

“If you need to monitor the velocity of a river, it is often better to do so from above, so that your sensor is not affected by high water or debris,” explains OTT MD Nigel Grimsley. “The OTT SVR 100 was therefore designed to be mounted at a fixed point on a bridge for example, away from potential flooding. However, uncertainties can also arise from vibration caused by wind or traffic, so the SVR also has integrated vibration and tilt sensors to ensure that these effects do not harm the quality of the monitoring data.”

The sensor is compact, simple to install, and with a power-down feature operates from a long lasting battery, that can be charged by a solar panel.

Velocity measurements and sensor status information from the vibration and tilt sensors are available via SDI-12, RS-232, RS-485, and Modbus protocol.

Summarising, Nigel says: “We have designed this sensor for long-lasting remote operation with almost no requirement for service or calibration. As the threat of flooding increases, the value of real-time data grows, but with the SVR 100 the cost of ownership is minimal.”

Permark Pumps delivers Powelectrics’ IIoT solution to Ireland’s BD Flood to keep their fleet on the road

Powelectrics has been proud to work with Permark Pumps for several years. Permark supplies fuel management systems, pump units, fuel storage and dispensing technology and offer maintenance, refurbishment and installation services to the Irish market. More on Permark here.

Established over 80 years, BD Flood is a major supplier of readymix concrete, stone and aggregate to the Irish construction and agricultural sectors. More on BD Flood here.

BD Flood distributes from a network of plants using its own fleet of specialist vehicles, which use diesel and AdBlue.

The company’s enormous fuel tanks had local level gauges, which required regular checking by local operatives. Prior to installing telemetry, sometimes staff were too busy to take a manual reading.

Without the manual readings, tanks could run low, meaning sediment from the bottom of the tanks could be drawn into vehicles, potentially causing damage and taking vehicles off the road for repair… a double expense!

Worse still, if these huge tanks ran out, dozens of delivery vehicles could be immobilised awaiting expensive emergency diesel supplies. Customers would be let down, incurring penalties themselves and paying for labour on site with no supplies for them to work with.

Permark has delivered kit, installation and maintenance services to BD Flood for 20 years. Permark recommended Powelectrics’ IoT hardware and software as a solution to avoid running low and running out of fuel.

Powelectrics’ Metron telemetry devices are now installed, taking hourly readings from SPS hydrostatic pressure sensors in the tank. There is no longer any need for staff to take manual readings, leaving them free for other tasks.

Low level alarms alert management when levels fall below a user-defined level, so that supplies can be ordered in good time.

Tommy Bardon, Stores Manager, commented: “We’ve worked with Permark for decades and trust them as a highly knowledgeable and dependable supplier. They recommended the Powelectrics kit, installed it and maintain it. I can’t fault it! It does exactly what we wanted.

“Since the first installation around five years ago, the kit has reported reliably and we haven’t had a run-out. We started with diesel tanks and rolled out to AdBlue tanks. We will be fitting more in the coming year and that’s really the biggest recommendation.”

Peadar Markey, Permark MD, added: “We have offered Powelectrics telemetry into a range of sectors now, from mining and filtration to fuel distribution and public transport. The kit is reliable and affordable and the technical support is great. Our customers keep coming back for more!”

Metron4 can use external power or be battery/ solar powered for use in remote and rural locations. Metron m2m devices can measure up to four tanks and represent particularly good value where multiple tanks are located close together. Metron4 telemetry hardware supports 2G & 4G, offers operational temperatures – 25 to +65°C for global deployment and comes in an IP67 enclosure. More on Metron4.

MetronView is a secure, scalable, intuitive and customisable cloud delivering sensor data & alerts on any web-enabled device. More on MetronView.

Powelectrics offers 30 years’ experience in sensing and remote monitoring.

The company’s ‘connected sensor’ solutions are employed in many industries including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, Adblue, fuels, oils, LPG, lubricants, food and beverage, waste & recycling, landfill & leachate, agriculture, utilities, pumping and environment, rail and security.

For further information or to discuss your application, please call Powelectrics on +44 (0)1827 310 666, use this contact form or email – sales@powelectrics.co.uk

Benefits of blind mate connectors

Electrical connectors must often be mated in situations where they are hard to see or difficult to reach. Combined with the fact that they are challenging to use in harsh environment applications, installation and maintenance times are longer, leading to increased costs. Here Shaun Findley, European Director of Product and Purchasing at connector specialist PEI-Genesis, discusses how blind mate connectors can help engineers address these challenges.

Blind mate connectors achieve a connection through a sliding or snapping action or by using guide pins, without the use of special tools. Unlike other connector types, many blind mate connectors have self-aligning features that correct small misalignments when mating and help guide the connectors into the correct mating position. This feature is quite different from the more rigid coupling mechanisms found on threaded or bayonet couplings, reducing the chance of connector damage and preventing problematic errors caused by incorrect mating.

Since users might not be able to see if the connectors are correctly mated, blind mate connectors can provide auditory confirmation to give the user confidence that the connection is properly achieved. Again, this is a significant improvement from merely hoping that a reliable connection was made, especially when the application depends heavily on a stable connection.

There are various connector types available with blind mating options, including power and/or signal connectors with either cable or board mount options, connectors with multi-pin arrangement between racks and panels, optical connectors, and RF connectors. Blind mate connectors are also available in various orientations, including wire-to-board, board-to-board and wire-to-wire.

When are blind mate connectors best for the job?

Blind mate connectors are a popular choice in a variety of mission-critical applications. From medical equipment to electric power transmission systems and military radar equipment, they excel in any situation where the receptacle is hidden or recessed so that it is difficult to see or reach. This includes the back of an interface card plugged into a chassis and other “black box” installations.

Using blind mate connectors provides several key benefits, including reduced production, installation and maintenance costs, shorter assembly times and a minimal impact on the size and weight of designs. Furthermore, using blind mate connectors typically results in fewer mismated connections. This is invaluable in mission-critical applications where any unplanned downtime is disastrous.

It’s important to remember that blind mate connectors are also designed to be extremely durable. If mistreatment occurs, they remain reliable and continue to perform as expected.

PEI-Genesis understands the frustrations of trying to mate connectors in hard to reach, hidden situations. It also knows that the ability to achieve a stable, reliable and correct connection is crucial to any design, whether you are engineering downhole test equipment for the oil and gas industry or power and data connections essential to an autonomous vehicle’s safety. Let our design team help you find the right blind mate interconnect solution for your unique application.

Anritsu and Tektronix introduce PCI Express 5.0 Test System

Anritsu and Tektronix have announced the new automated PCI Express 5.0 (PCIe Gen5) test solution combining Anritsu’s Signal Quality Analyzer-R MP1900A BERT series with Tektronix’s DPO70000SX series 70 GHz Real-time Oscilloscope and automation software. The all-in-one solution supports tests of PCIe 5.0 electrical characteristics, physical-layer protocol analysis, and transmitter/receiver and Link Equalization Training (LEQ) tests to facilitate efficient development of high-speed ICs, devices, and networks used in emerging environments, including 5G.

Anritsu and Tektronix end-to-end solution can be quickly configured to support required PCIe 5.0 specifications and supports automated transmitter test, receiver jitter tolerance test, and Tx/Rx LEQ compliance test items. It incorporates waveform-calibration automation software with analysis function using event trigger and high-speed calibration between the MP1900A BERT and DPO70000SX oscilloscope to reduce test times. Cost-of-test is lowered as the solution supports PCIe 1.0-5.0 without a hardware upgrade and can upgrade to PCIe 6.0 test capability with a minimum hardware investment.

Best-in-Class BERT 

The Signal Quality Analyzer-R MP1900A series is a multi-channel BERT for designing and testing next-generation network interfaces, such as 200G/400G/800G Ethernet, as well as high-speed bus interfaces, including PCI Express 4.0/5.0, USB3.2, USB4, and Thunderbolt. It has a built-in pulse pattern generator (PPG) that produces best-in-class high-quality waveforms (115 fs low intrinsic jitter), as well as a high-sensitivity (15 mV) error detector (ED). A jitter (SJ, RJ, SSC, BUJ) generation source and CM-I/DM-I/white-noise generation source are also integrated into the instrument. Link Training and Link Training Status State Machine (LTSSM) analysis functions support various applications, including compliance tests, margin tests, and troubleshooting.

With functions for evaluating PAM4 of optical modules, SERDES and other technologies used by datacentre 200G/400G/800G Ethernet systems, the MP1900A BERT also evaluates PCIe 6.0 (PAM4 32 Gbaud) devices under development to ensure compliance with the latest PCI-SIG standard. This expanded analysis capability controls test infrastructure costs.

DPO70000SX Series 70 GHz Real-time Oscilloscope

The Tektronix DPO70000SX series 70 GHz Real-time Oscilloscope is linked with the Anritsu Signal Quality Analyzer-R MP1900A BERT as an automated PCIe Gen5 (32 GT/s) Base & CEM transceiver solution. The new Tektronix receiver test automation software uses an optimisation algorithm to correct 32 GT/s and 16 GT/s stressed-eye waveforms to shorten test times using the leading SigTest Phoenix test tool and fast parallel processing. Moreover, support for multiple form factors (M.2 and U.2) and clocking architectures (CC, SRNS, SRIS) supports A/D range optimisation and low-noise PCIe Gen5 Base specification 32 GT/s uncorrelated jitter and pulse-width jitter measurements.

Construction begins on world-leading, multi million-pound centre for robotics research

Construction has started on a world-leading research facility for robotics and artificial intelligence, which will be the largest and most advanced of its type in the UK.

Based at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh campus, the National Robotarium is supported by £21 million from the UK Government, and £1.4 million from the Scottish Government as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

The National Robotarium will be a centre of excellence for pioneering research and is expected to open in Spring 2022.  It will create innovative solutions to global challenges using cutting-edge research, product design and industry collaboration. Bringing together academics and global companies, the facility will provide a catalyst for entrepreneurship and is expected to deliver sustainable economic benefit to Edinburgh, the UK and beyond.

Although research projects led by the National Robotarium have already begun, the new building will provide extensive world-class facilities for researchers and knowledge exchange. Key areas of research application will include hazardous environments, offshore energy, manufacturing, healthcare, human-robot interaction, assisted living and agritech.

Professor Helen Hastie and Professor Yvan Petillot are joint academic leads of the National Robotarium. Describing the vision for the new facility, Professor Hastie said: “As a world-leading facility that will promote entrepreneurship and drive forward early-stage product development, the National Robotarium will play a significant role in supporting the UK’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By drawing upon the world-class talent of the staff at Heriot-Watt and our collaborative partner, the University of Edinburgh, alongside students at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, the National Robotarium will form a centre of excellence for fundamental research and knowledge exchange to address real-world challenges and industry needs.

“The new building will facilitate a collaborative approach that is at the heart of the National Robotarium’s ethos, helping to accelerate research from laboratory to market and paving the way for the UK to take a leadership role in AI and robotics technology.”

Professor Yvan Petillot added: “The cutting-edge resources provided by the new facility combined with the expertise of our researchers will put us in a highly competitive position to elevate the UK onto the global stage in robotics and AI technologies. Our existing and new students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge by working on real-world problems through internships and industry-led group projects facilitated by the Robotarium, accelerating their skills as they actively shape the future of the field.

“We hope to inspire subsequent generations about the positive impact of robotics and artificial intelligence, building trust, ethics and understanding into our research outputs and engaging the public regularly through school visits and open days.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “The creation of the UK’s first National Robotarium in Edinburgh will place Scotland at the forefront of a technological revolution that is changing the way we work.

“This exciting new facility, supported by £21 million from the UK Government, will create opportunities for Scotland’s entrepreneurs and innovators, and bring jobs and prosperity to the entire region.

“The UK Government has now committed more than £1.5 billion to City Region and Growth Deals which will help communities to build back better from the pandemic.”

Funded as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, the National Robotarium is a collaboration between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh. The 40,000ft ² building will house three distinct research and development areas, providing bespoke facilities for Robotics & Autonomous Systems (RAS), Human & Robotics Interaction (HRI) and High Precision Manufacturing. Amongst the specialist equipment will be dedicated laser labs, an autonomous systems laboratory, and a living lab for trialling technology in a realistic home setting.

In keeping with the National Robotarium’s commitment to foster a responsible and collaborative approach, the building will include a ‘partner suite’ dedicated to industry, academic and government collaboration.

Innovative design means the cutting-edge resources will be matched by the building itself, with a focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. In winter, the intelligent façade will provide solar heat and recycle warm air. An ecological zone will integrate sustainable urban drainage systems, while a solar PV array will be installed on the roof. EV charging spaces will also be available. To support the facility’s commitment to public engagement activities, linear grazing luminaire technology and an exterior projector will project graphics onto the façade.

The National Robotarium will be home to numerous research projects aimed at addressing a wide range of global challenges. Examples of projects include SPRING (Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare), developing the world’s first multi-user conversational robot for healthcare, intended to support the care of elderly patients and the EPSRC ORCA Hub (Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets), a national hub of five universities led by Heriot-Watt that is advancing technologies to remove humans from hazardous work environments. The building’s assisted living lab will utilise technology to help individuals live independently for longer, with research ranging from robotics and conversational assistants to IoT devices and wireless monitoring techniques.

As part of the UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) programme, in November 2020 it was announced that the National Robotarium will spearhead research into ways to manage trust between humans and autonomous systems to support adoption in scenarios that require human interaction, such as in self-driving cars or autonomous wheelchairs.

Robertson Construction, the project’s main contractor, has been working in partnership with the University to safely start work on the building despite lockdown restrictions. David Cairns, managing director, Robertson Construction Central East said: “The National Robotarium building is designed to be as innovative as the research taking place within its walls. The commitment to sustainability and the wellbeing of its staff and students mean the facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology for energy efficiency and production and will boast considerable green space.

“The building will be certified to ‘Fitwel’ standards, meaning its design meets strict criteria for supporting occupants’ health, wellbeing and productivity.  The start on site marks a significant moment in the delivery of a facility which will be a centre of excellence to pioneering research, we are proud to be the University’s delivery partner of choice.”

The National Robotarium forms part of the City Deal’s Data Driven Innovation (DDI) theme which aims to establish the region as the data capital of Europe.

Teledyne DALSA’s Linea HS 32K TDI camera wins SPIE Prism Award

Teledyne DALSA‘s charge-domain CMOS TDI camera, the Linea HS 32K TDI is the winner of the SPIE Prism Award under the Quality Control category.

“We are delighted that the Linea HS 32K TDI camera has been recognised with an award that acknowledges the best optics and photonics products on the market. At Teledyne we strive to provide solutions that make a difference and improve quality in industrial applications,” said Xing-Fei He, Senior Product Manager for Teledyne DALSA’s line scan portfolio.

The Linea HS 32k TDI camera can capture 32,768-pixel data using patent-pending super-resolution technology with unique pixel offset designs. This enables users to significantly improve detectability for subpixel defects while using existing optical lenses and lighting. The new technology significantly reduces system level costs.

Yokogawa and ICQ Consultants enter into partnership agreement for biopharmaceutical business

Yokogawa’s Advanced Control Bioreactor System BR1000

Yokogawa and ICQ Consultants have entered into a partnership agreement under which ICQ Consultants will provide consulting and engineering services for the installation, maintenance, qualification, and support of Yokogawa’s bioreactor systems and related products in the United States.

As a result of the COVID pandemic, the global biopharmaceutical market has been growing at an unprecedented rate, with significant investments being made in diagnostics, vaccine development, and medical devices to test and treat the coronavirus. These investments have driven demand for infrastructure in developing and manufacturing monoclonal antibody drugs and products that require mammalian cell bioreactor technologies.

Since 2007, ICQ Consultants has played an important role in the commissioning and qualification of manufacturing plants in the major life sciences hubs in the United States, including some of the world’s largest biomanufacturing facilities. As part of this partnership agreement, Yokogawa will leverage ICQ Consultants’ engineering and laboratory expertise in the biopharmaceutical segment to deploy its new bioprocess technologies in the United States.  The first portfolio product, the Advanced Control Bioreactor System BR1000 was recently released on January 8, offering significant performance advantages over existing methods for biologics development.

Yokogawa’s Advanced Control Bioreactor System BR1000

The automation of manual processes is a rapidly advancing trend in the biopharmaceutical industry. For complete automation of the fed-batch mammalian cell culture process, the control of glucose — a key nutrient source — is critical. Through in-line sensing and model predictive control software, and automated feeding, a stable concentration of glucose in bioreactors can be achieved. The BR1000 automates lab-scale mammalian cell culture with highly accurate real-time monitoring and advanced process control.

Michael Bogan, president of ICQ Consultants, commented, “We are very excited to join Yokogawa in this strategic partnership agreement to help facilitate the support of their bioreactor systems and related products throughout the United States. As ICQ Consultants continues to expand operations across the country, we are poised to further develop lasting relationships, which has been a key factor in our ongoing success. I look forward to working with Yokogawa on this unique and collaborative opportunity.”

Hiroshi Nakao, a Yokogawa vice president and head of the company’s Life Innovation Business Headquarters, added, “Driven by a clear business vision and recent successes in the life sciences, food, and pharmaceutical sectors, Yokogawa Corporation of America is also turning its attention to biologics development and manufacturing. Alliances with industry experts like ICQ Consultants are vital to gain expertise and penetration in the high growth biopharmaceutical market. ICQ Consultants’ engineering and technical knowledge in drug manufacturing will support our innovative new bioreactor and bioprocess technologies and help position Yokogawa for rapid sales and market leadership in the emerging bio-industrial autonomy sector.”

TE Connectivity’s patent prowess earns Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovator ranking

TE Connectivity, a world leader in connectors and sensors, has been named a Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovator 2021, showcasing its long-standing dedication to creating a culture that fosters creativity and ingenuity.

The 10th edition of the annual report from Clarivate, a global leader in providing trusted information and insights to accelerate the pace of innovation, identifies companies at the pinnacle of the global innovation landscape by measuring the culture that produces patents. TE has been named a Top 100 Global Innovator in each of the award’s 10 years.

“I am constantly impressed by the innovation that emerges from our global engineering community that helps to make the world safer, sustainable, productive and connected,” said TE CEO Terrence Curtin. “Our ability to innovate is an essential part of our customers’ journeys as we co-create highly engineered technology that moves the world forward.”

TE engineers and inventors have earned or applied for more than 15,000 patents throughout the company’s history that have enabled electric and autonomous vehicles, faster data centres, cleaner energy and life-saving medical devices.

The Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators 2021 come from three continents and 14 countries/regions. The report and a full list of Top 100 organisations can be found at clarivate.com.

Lattice expands mVision Solutions stack capabilities

Lattice Semiconductor Corporation has launched the latest version of its award-winning solutions stack for low power embedded vision systems, Lattice mVision 2.0. The new version features multiple updates that further accelerate the design of embedded vision applications for industrial, automotive, medical, and smart consumer systems. It includes support for popular new image sensors used in industrial and automotive systems and a new image signal processing IP core and reference design to help developers design smart vision applications at the Edge. The stack also includes support for the Lattice Propel design environment to simplify development of vision systems with an embedded RISC-V processor.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the drive to improve safety and efficiency is accelerating the need for industrial companies to incorporate smart embedded vision technology in their systems to support human presence detection, touchless HMI, and enhanced AR/VR capabilities, while simultaneously striving to improve manufacturing quality and throughput by leveraging intelligent machine vision technology. According to Allied Market Research, “the global machine vision system market size was valued at $29.7 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach $74.9 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 11.3% from 2020 to 2027.”

“Lattice CrossLink-NX devices with integrated hard MIPI support and low power consumption are ideal for camera applications operating at the Edge. Using CrossLink-NX with an embedded RISC-V processor enables a more compact and efficient ISP implementation,” said Arndt Bussman, CTO at Helion. “We applaud Lattice for its ongoing work to enhance their mVision solutions stack, and we’re pleased to partner with Lattice to provide optimised ISP solutions to the industry.”

“Lattice solutions stacks make it easier for customers to adopt emerging technologies by providing a comprehensive collection of ready-to-use software, IP, hardware demos, and reference designs that help them quickly deploy applications like embedded vision in current and future product designs,” said Mark Hoopes, Director of Industrial Segment Marketing, Lattice Semiconductor. “The updates announced today expand the potential use cases for mVision by broadening support for popular image sensors used in industrial and automotive markets, simplifying hardware and software design with our drag-and-drop Propel design environment, and adding development boards and reference designs powered by our flagship FPGA for embedded vision, CrossLink-NX.”

Key updates to the Lattice mVision solutions stack include:

  • Expanded support for automotive, industrial, and medical embedded vision applications – Lattice added new development boards supporting popular image sensors for industrial and medical applications to the mVision stack. Image sensors supported include the Sony IMX464 and IMX568 and the AR0344CS from ON Semiconductor.
  • Support for Lattice Propel Design Environment – Propel is a design environment for accelerating embedded processor-based development on low power, small form factor Lattice FPGAs. The tool includes a complete set of graphical and command-line tools to create, analyse, compile, and debug both the hardware design of an FPGA-based processor system, and the software design for that processor system.
  • New Lattice ISP reference design – Expands Lattice’s mVision solution options for customers, enabling increased adoption while demonstrating our commitment to our customers.

For more information about the Lattice products mentioned above, please visit:

Teledyne e2v and Yumain announce collaboration to create AI-based imaging solutions for machine vision

Teledyne e2v has announced a new technology and industrial collaboration with Yumain, a leading AI vision solution provider serving a broad range of industrial applications. Together, the companies will develop cutting-edge bio-inspired vision solutions that can enable innovation in industrial applications.

The recent emergence of AI for industry has rapidly demonstrated its benefits over traditional rule-based methods which have been proven to be unsuitable for applications with high variability e.g. the inspection of complex surfaces with irregularities (brushed aluminum, wood etc.). Yet to be harnessed to its full potential and for AI to be adopted globally, it must be easily setup and trained, optimised by users within minutes (without any AI expertise), provide reliable results, be flexible in application, secure, and low power. By joining forces, Teledyne e2v and Yumain plan to develop significant breakthrough innovations to address these challenges, make AI technology more accessible, and advance it to the next level.

Vincent Hector, Vice President of Market Development at Teledyne e2v, says, “We’re very excited to be collaborating with Yumain on this innovative project. Our image sensor capability coupled with their tailored AI expertise will allow us to develop AI-based vision solutions which will be easily accessible for industrial customers and bring real benefits to their applications.”

Marc Benoit, Managing Director of Yumain, commented, “Edge AI, as we know it today, consists of an optimization of machine learning models and computation inherited from the cloud. We have 10 years of experience in this field, which has shown us that alternative implementations of AI could be more suitable and scalable for the constraints of factory and production lines. Teledyne e2v’s image sensor design and production expertise are paramount to bringing these novel ideas to reality. This initiative is a key milestone for us and one that emphasizes our potential to investors.”