News

Vision Engineering achieves ISO 13485:2016

Vision Engineering, a 63 year old British leading designer and manufacturer of high-quality visual measurement and inspection technologies, has attained ISO 13485:2016 and EN ISO 13485:2016 accreditation from the British Standards Institution (BSI) and is now a BSI accredited contract manufacturer of mechanical, electronic, electrical, and optical medical assemblies and components.

International Recognition

The ISO 13485:2016 standard is an internationally recognised standard of quality and safety for the medical device industry and provides stringent guidelines for medical device manufacture. The certification process recognises that Vision Engineering meets all the requirements to manufacture medical devices and components and builds on the ISO9001:2015 quality systems already in place at Vision Engineering.

Modern Manufacturing Facilities

Vision Engineering’s full service modern manufacturing facility includes design, machine shops, paint shop, clean room and assembly. It is replicated in the USA, with a wholly owned full service manufacturing facility in Connecticut.

In addition to its manufacturing services capability, Vision Engineering supplies non-contact and contact optical and digital microscopy and measuring systems to a wide range of global manufacturers, including medical device, aerospace, automotive, defence and their multi-tier supply chains.

Mark Curtis, Managing Director, Vision Engineering comments: “We are delighted to be awarded the ISO standard ISO 13485:2016 for our manufacturing facility. This ISO standards confirmation is a key statement of our ability to address the requirements of our manufacturing customers across the world and provide certainty of the quality of mechanical, electronic, electrical, and optical medical assemblies and components.

“It will help enormously in our worldwide business with medical device companies and also with Vision Engineering’s Manufacturing Services business line for wider sub contract manufacturing opportunities.”

New Pressure Scanner launches with World First Features

A new digital pressure scanner launched by US manufacturer, Scanivalve Corporation, is set to delight engineers with a number of staggering new features.

After two years in development, Scanivalve’s talented engineers have broken new ground with the DSA5000 as it delivers a number of world firsts.

Uniquely, the DSA5000 utilises an individual 24-bit A/D converter and RTD for each sensor allowing fully and truly synchronous data collection. Data can be delivered at rates of up to 5,000Hz per channel in a wide of engineering units.

Through revolutionary ‘ring-architecture’ capability, multiple DSA5000s can be connected together through miniature Ethernet connectors. This delivers the industry’s only integrated, multi-drop architecture, industrial network configuration for pressure scanning instrumentation. This creates an isolated, mini-network where the “master” unit serves as a single point of communications for all scanners in the mini-network. Scanners are automatically identified, easily configured, and accurately synchronized. Data from all scanners are merged together to provide a single output data file with pressure and temperature values from all of the connected Scanivalve 5000 series scanners.

Whilst smart, fast and highly accurate, the DSA5000 is designed withstand extreme environments too. Its IP67 rated aluminium case is rugged but lightweight, with an option to install a self-controlled internal heater which allows operation in ambient temperatures down to -50°C. The DSA5000 can also be fitted with an optional shock-mount kit, which has been tested to MIL-STG 810G Cat. 24, 514.6.

Operating a wide range of pressure ranges from 4”H2O (0.18psi) to 1,000psi (at launch) in several pneumatic configurations means a DSA5000 can be configured for low pressure aerodynamic tests, high pressure compressor tests, and everything in-between.

Paul Crowhurst, Managing Director at Evolution Measurement said, “This is a truly exciting product. Never before have we seen this level of capability in a pressure instrument. This is going to revolutionise aerodynamic development as our world embarks on more advanced airframe and gas turbine engine development.”

For more details on the DSA5000, full details are available at www.evolutionmeasurement.com or call +44 (0)1264 316470.

A new addition to the Advanced Military Connector range, the AMC Series T offers three locking variants in one connector

The ‘T’ stands for Three-in-One or ‘Triple’ as three locking variants of plug can fit the same receptacle:

  • Push-pull
  • Break-away
  • Screw locking

The built-in trapezoidal thread with serration ensures additional safety.

Now OEM’s have a free choice of appropriate locking mechanism at each connection point, whilst retaining the same bulkhead connector across the equipment.

The new ODU AMC Series T connector combines this increased flexibility and density together with proven durability and reliability – currently available in two shell sizes:

  • Shell size 9 with up to 10 contacts
  • Shell size 12 with up to 18 contacts

These contact densities are in shell-sizes that give space-envelope savings over comparable density MIL-DTL-38999M connectors, but with the same, or improved, technical performance.

The cable can use a standard MIL-M85049 back-shell, or an ODU over-mould.

Crimp contacts can be standard MIL-AS39029, or ODU design.

Key strengths:

  • Protection to IP68 [testing to MIL-STD-810H]
  • High vibration resistance
  • Easy to assemble and install in the field
  • Operating temperature range from -65°C to +175°C
  • Available as a completely assembled system

As these connectors are impervious to water, dirt and dust and since the individual contacts can be replaced quickly and easily, the ODU AMC Series T is particularly suitable for use in military, security, and communication technology, as well as for civilian applications such as heavy construction machinery and agricultural vehicles.

Analog Devices announces 10Gbps iCoupler Digital Isolator

Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) has introduced the first in a new series of iCoupler digital isolators that offers a total bandwidth of 10 Gigabits per second. The ADN4624 digital isolator provides four channels at 2.5Gbps, allowing data to transfer seamlessly in the electrical domain and enabling new system architectures in digital health, instrumentation and smart industry. The new digital isolator streamlines design and easily integrates isolation for safety or data integrity. The ADN4624 is a compact solution that meets medical standards and reliably isolates high fidelity video and imaging links, precision analogue front ends and serial interconnects as an alternative to cumbersome and specialised fibre solutions.

The ADN4624 offers simplified connectivity, robust isolation and data integrity in harsh environments. The new iCoupler digital isolator provides up to 10Gbps total bandwidth in a single, small footprint device, allows for direct isolation of high-speed serial LVDS or CML at full speed and eliminates the complexity of deserialisation. The ADN4624 enables precision timing with ultra-low jitter to deliver full ADC performance and resolution including precision ADC sampling clocks.

ADN4624 Digital Isolator Key Features:

  • 4 channels of 2.5Gbps isolated LVDS
  • Precision timing:  <1 ps rms random jitter and <16 ps skew
  • 7 kV rms isolation and 100 kV/μs CMTI

element14 Presents celebrates its 500th Episode and announces Winners of the Build Inside the Box Challenge

element14, an Avnet community, today announced the winners of the recent Build Inside the Box Challenge, designed to celebrate the element14 Presents 500th episode.

‘Build Inside the Box’ contestants participated in a competition that looked similar to Food Network’s ‘Chopped,’ a cooking challenge in which chef contestants must create a palatable dish using the ingredients they are given. The 500th element14 Presents episode followed three contestants chosen from the element14 content creator team as they created technology with their mystery box of components for the chance to win electronics hardware prizes and a shopping cart for a local STEM organisation of their choice. element14 Community members were also invited to think outside the box with their own Mystery Boxes and test their skills and creativity against the element14 Presents team.

Components for this electronic challenge included: an Arduino MKR Zero; a Microchip Operational Amplifier; a Vishay Photo Interrupter; a Microchip Temperature Sensor; a Midas OLED graphic display; a Time of Flight Sensor; a WAGO pluggable terminal block; and a MULTICOMP PRO Power Bank.

The 500th episode was a battle of the makers with James, known widely as ‘The Bald Engineer’, coming up trumps with his Baldcoder creation. James was competing on behalf of DePaul University’s $1,000 Makerspace Program which pairs underserved high schools in Chicago and the metropolitan area with the tools, training, and curriculum for teachers to integrate maker-centred learning into the classroom. The winning bundle will be distributed in conjunction with curriculum for teachers to use in covering the basics for students to learn 3D printing, CNC routing, electronics, programming, and development for the Internet of Things.

The element14 presents team also judged the creations of element14 community members who competed from home. The winning designs from community members, who each won a shopping cart, include:

  • Ball on a Beam:  James O’Gorman utilised components from the Box to implement a PID algorithm, enabling a ball to balance on a beam.
  • Advanced Bike Computer: by cleverly using sensors included in the Box, Mate Varga created a 3D-printed box to mount on their bike and track their ride.
  • Sump Pump Alarm: houses with basements are in a constant fight with the underground water table – and if a homeowner’s sump pump isn’t working, they might just come home to an in-basement pool. The Sump Pump Alarm created by Mike Moore is a functional monitoring system that alerts homeowners when the pump isn’t working.

“Congratulations to all the winners of the Build Inside the Box challenge! We’ve been so happy to see a high level of participation and engagement from our element14 Community members as we continue to celebrate the 500th episode of element14 Presents,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community and Social Media for element14. “We’ve been blown away by the talent showcased in this challenge and the ways element14 content creators and community members thought outside of the box to create innovative, functional designs.”

More information can be found here. The 500th episode of element14 Presents, which also includes projects from element14 Presents content creators Clem, a maker and 3D printing enthusiast and electronic engineer and mother of two, Katie, can be viewed here.

You can also view more videos with the intrepid making trio in their latest videos:

Endress+Hauser expands partnership with Field Instruments and Controls

Endress+Hauser has announced an expansion of its partnership with sales representative Field Instruments and Controls in the Pacific Northwest region. Effective July 1, 2021, Field Instruments and Controls will be Endress+Hauser’s Authorized Service Provider for OR, WA and the ID panhandle.

“A team in sync resonates all the way down to the customer,” says Lory Stobart, National Service Operations Manager, Endress+Hauser. “Aligning both the sales and service offering under Field Instruments and Controls will bring value to our customers at a pace that cannot be matched.”

Field Instruments and Controls is based out of Woodland, WA and has been an Endress+Hauser sales representative in the Pacific Northwest for the past 12 years. The company was established in 1987 with the main goal of providing the finest instrumentation and controls technical sales and support to its customers.

“Exceeding our customers’ expectations is our primary goal,” says Nick Sullivan, Sales Manager, Field Instruments and Controls. “Over the years, it has become clear that our organisation needed to increase the level of support in our service areas, including calibration and start-up. We must focus and continue to provide exceptional and unique Field Instruments and Controls service to our customers.”

Yokogawa launches OpreX Data Model Broker, a plant data transformation platform

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announces the development and release of OpreX Data Model Broker, a plant data transformation platform in the OpreX Connected Intelligence lineup. OpreX Data Model Broker automatically verifies the consistency of data in different plant designs and instrumentation systems and enables their inter-utilisation by applying ontology, an AI technique, in database operation and management. Design Data Validation, the first component to be released by Yokogawa for this platform, assists in the complicated and time-consuming task of systematically identifying and confirming inconsistencies between piping and instrument diagrams (P&ID) and 3D piping diagrams.

By automatically identifying such inconsistencies in massive volumes of data, this component greatly enhances work efficiency and drastically reduces the number of man-hours required for such work.

Development Background

With the increases in plant size and sophistication in recent years, the facilities installed in these plants have grown ever more complex. When a plant is built or expanded, the departments responsible for each area of work use different design tools. The same is true with systems, for which there are not only design and specification documents but also diagrams from device and equipment vendors, and engineering data from different system suites. In many cases, vastly time-consuming manual checks must be performed to ensure there is complete consistency in all data. While 3D piping diagrams usually number in the few thousands, there can be 10,000 or more of these documents with a large-scale project, and all this data is currently checked manually. As such, there is a strong demand for a system that uses digital technology to increase data interoperability and ensure its reliability.

To meet this very pressing need, Yokogawa has developed OpreX Data Model Broker, a plant data transformation platform that promotes the interoperability and increased utilisation of data throughout the plant life cycle.

Features

The following consistencies are automatically verified by Design Data Validation in the OpreX Data Model Broker:

1.Piping attribute information

Cross-checks the piping attribute information in P&ID and 3D piping diagrams.

2. Piping component attribute information and sequences

Validates attribute information for each piping component as well as the sequences of them.

3.Flange specifications

If a change to a piping specification is designated for a valve end in a P&ID, it validates the piping specifications for the relevant valve and associated flange in the 3D piping diagram.

4.Flow direction for piping components

Checks that the flow direction for each piping component in the 3D piping diagram matches the process flow direction in the P&ID.

RS Components introduces extensive portfolio of sensing devices from Amphenol Advanced Sensors

RS Components (RS) has announced availability of an extensive selection of advanced sensors used by monitoring systems for many different applications in the industrial, healthcare and transportation sectors.

Designed and manufactured by Amphenol Advanced Sensors, the portfolio includes temperature, gas, moisture and pressure sensing devices such as a wide range of carbon dioxide sensing modules and humidity sensors.

The maker’s Thermometrics brand comprises a comprehensive selection of temperature measurement devices, ranging from chips to value-added assemblies, and for temperatures from –196 up to +1150ºC.

A second brand is Telaire, which has been at the forefront of CO2 sensor technology for more than 25 years and holds a fist of key patents in CO2 sensing, including the ABC Logic automatic calibration algorithm. The range has also expanded over the years to include air quality sensors such as dust (PM2.5 and PM10) and relative humidity (RH) devices. These products are widely deployed in commercial and residential building ventilation systems as well as controlling air quality in cars and other automobiles.

Just one example of many from the Telaire range is the new T3022 series, which has been designed specifically for low-cost CO2 sensing. It comes with protection to IP65, features the maker’s Non-Dispersive Infrared (NDIR) measuring technology, and enables easy installation with a 5V input and an I2C digital output.

Additionally, the NovaSensor line includes high-performance, yet highly cost-effective, pressure measurement devices that are highly regarded across the industry for accuracy, reliability and size. The line’s MEMS-based devices include surface mount, hybrid and media-isolated types, which are available in uncalibrated to fully calibrated versions as well as amplified analogue and digital-output types.

The Amphenol Advanced Sensor portfolio is shipping now from RS globally.

Industry 4.0 expected to be lead application for IoT within five years

Farnell, an Avnet Company and global distributor of electronic components, products and solutions, has published new research on the Internet of Things (IoT) which reveals the growing role of IoT for industrial automation and control applications essential to the delivery of Industry 4.0. The IoT Survey, which is run annually by Farnell, generates new insights on this key market, including opportunities and challenges for engineers working in IoT.

The top three industry segments leading the way in IoT applications are industrial automation and control (25%), home automation (18%) and artificial intelligence (12%). Despite industrial automation and control being deemed a key market for IoT, there is recognition that Industry 4.0 adoption remains slow, primarily due to concerns over security (32%) and lack of business strategy (30%) hindering the adoption and integration of smart manufacturing solutions. Security continues to be the most important aspect for developers to consider (29%) when developing their design, and it is also their primary concern (36%), followed by connectivity and interoperability.

The perceived value of data collected by IoT connected devices is a considerable factor in the adoption of IoT. The increasingly connected world of smart cities, factories, homes and vehicles now has devices and systems autonomously exchanging and storing data. This data offers organisations the ability to make improvements, increase profits or reduce costs across many business functions while delivering improved quality, increased efficiency, compliance and predictive maintenance benefits. In the survey, 48% of respondents cited productivity and manufacturing enhancements as their main reasons for designing-in IoT connectivity.

Not unexpectedly, respondents continue to adopt AI as part of their solutions. 39% said they are using AI in their designs already and a further 47% say they would be willing to implement AI within future projects. Environmental sensors are reported as the most common sensors used within IoT devices, used to measure temperature, humidity, pressure, gas and more. This has been a consistent trend in each of the three years that Farnell has run the survey. The survey also found that a large number of respondents are using SBCs as the core of IoT designs (48%).

Innovative solutions for smart home, industry, marketplace and government are paving the way to build the future of IoT. Research showed that the IoT continues to be important for future designs. Nevertheless, when asked whether their company is taking a leadership position in the future of IoT, half of respondents (49%) stated they have 0-25% confidence that their company will take a lead role in shaping IoT. Only 11% of respondents expected to be ahead of the IoT curve and have a clear vision about its future.

During 2020, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the IoT industry led to rapid growth in the development of new medical devices and systems, with the potential to fuel demand for improved connected medical equipment in the future. IoT is changing the way patients are diagnosed, treated and monitored and supporting vaccine tracking, inventory managements and more. A quarter of survey participants expect healthcare to be the next big industry likely to take advantage of innovation in IoT connectivity. The use of SBCs as the core of IoT design is also in line with anecdotal feedback that Farnell has received from customers that during the COVID-19 pandemic, design engineers have embraced development kits and single board computers as they design at home.

Cliff Ortmeyer, Global Head of Technical Marketing for Farnell says: “Industrial automation and the continued implementation of Industry 4.0 will provide the largest and fastest growing IoT market for at least the medium term. This is a key focus of the Farnell business and an area we are investing in significantly. Farnell is committed to supporting customers in their IoT journey and can offer a growing portfolio of IoT products and solutions, as well as access to market insights that better enable innovation and improve customer know-how. The IoT Survey, now in its third year, is becoming a yardstick for the IoT industry; what engineers value in IoT solutions, how they build their IoT design, and what challenges they face day-to-day. It enables us to improve our offering to customers based directly on their wants and needs and hopefully provides informative and educational insights into the IoT market as a whole.”

Farnell’s 2020 IoT survey also provide insights on decision regarding ‘wireless vs. wired’ connectivity in IoT design, preferred vendors, the most popular SBCs for new IoT designs, most commonly used programming languages and communications preferences. Farnell provides a broad range of products and support materials to assist developers designing IoT solutions and integrating AI.

Products are available from leading manufacturers such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino, as well as Schneider Electric, Molex and Omega for IAC applications and many 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. Customers can read the full results of Farnell’s Third Global IoT Survey at Farnell in EMEA, Newark in North America and element14 in APAC.

National Robotarium to develop made-to-measure 3D laser beams

Researchers at the National Robotarium, hosted by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, have secured £586,000 to develop 3D laser beams whose shape can be changed.

The innovation is set to transform the manufacturing and healthcare technology industries, making it easier and cheaper to produce products that require highly-precise manufacturing, such as medical equipment and mobile devices.

The funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, will support the research and development of the lasers for industry application, accelerating the commercialisation of the technology for the benefit of businesses and the wider UK economy.

Lasers are a crucial component of modern manufacturing, with the global laser processing market projected to grow from $4 billion (£2.8 billion) in 2020 to $5.8 billion (£4.1 billion) by 2025. They are used widely by industry to produce precise incisions and mould materials into specific shapes.

However, this approach to laser-based manufacturing depends on melting or vaporising the material, which means the laser’s energy must be focussed on the right points. The standard laser beam shape makes it difficult to tailor this for specific manufacturing processes, decreasing efficiency and limiting what can be made.

The research to be undertaken at the National Robotarium will develop laser beams which have been specifically designed to meet the exact manufacturing requirements of products, improving efficiency and precision. The National Robotarium is supported by £21 million from the UK Government and £1.4 million from the Scottish Government as part of the £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal – a 15 year investment programme jointly funded by both governments and regional partners.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “This is cutting-edge technology in every sense of the phrase. These 3D lasers are set to unlock previously unheard of levels of precision and so transform our manufacturing and medical technology industries, boosting the UK’s global reputation for innovation and attracting jobs and further investment.

“This exciting research is being supported both by a £586,000 UK Research and Innovation grant, and our £21 million investment in the National Robotarium through the Edinburgh City Region Deal.”

The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes said: “I’m very pleased to hear this cutting-edge research will be carried out at the National Robotarium, which is funded through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, and that it will have a direct impact on our world leading manufacturing industries.

“This is a crucial time for business, trade and investment in Scotland. City Region and Growth Deals have a key role to play in our economic recovery from the pandemic as we work towards a fairer and more inclusive Scotland. Our £300 million commitment to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal will enable much needed investment in transport, housing, culture, and innovation, as well as skills development for local people, to help build a future economy that benefits everyone.”

The new technique could be harnessed to improve how holes for sensors and cameras on smartphone screens are drilled and to increase the density of information on semiconductor chips, helping to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for more memory in devices.

Medical applications could include cancer surgery, where it is hoped more precise medical instruments could allow the resection of tumours without removing healthy surrounding tissue. In an academic partnership, the project’s research into this kind of medical application will be supported by Professor David Jayne at the University of Leeds.

Other examples include fabricating waveguide devices to support telecommunications and the internet, microscopy and even astronomic telescopes.

The National Robotarium is a world-leading research facility for robotics and artificial intelligence that will create innovative solutions to global challenges using cutting-edge research, product design and industry collaboration.

In keeping with the National Robotarium’s focus on industry collaboration to solve global challenges, researchers will be working with three industrial partners throughout the project to optimise the approach and final product for commercial application. Industrial partners PowerPhotonic, Oxford Lasers and the G&H Group will also support testing in real-life industrial settings.

Dr Richard Carter, Assistant Professor of Applied Optics and Photonics at Heriot-Watt University and the project’s lead, said: “Manufacturing is of key strategic importance to the UK, with a particular focus on high-tech and high-value manufacturing. This research will address the priority area of digital manufacturing, enabling a bespoke, rapid response capability for the first time. The new methods we are developing represent a paradigm shift in the capabilities of laser-based manufacturing, making it possible to move between 3D beam shapes with zero down-time, low cost and minimal technical know-how.

“Through collaboration with our industry partners, we’ll be able to develop the lasers in line with what industry needs, providing solutions to manufacturing challenges across a wide range of sectors. However, this technology could also support research in quantum technology, waveguide physics and the bio-sciences – anywhere where light must be controlled and manipulated.”

Bringing together academics and global companies, the National Robotarium will provide a catalyst for entrepreneurship and is expected to deliver sustainable economic benefit to Edinburgh, the UK and beyond. The new building under construction at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh campus is expected to open in Spring 2022.

For more information: https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/research/the-national-robotarium.htm