News

Bordeaux INP’s ENSEIRB-MATMECA tests space communications with Tektronix spectrum analyser

The National School of Electronics, Computer Science, Telecommunications, Mathematics and Mechanics (ENSEIRB-MATMECA) at Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux (Bordeaux INP) has used a Tektronix RSA5000B spectrum analyser to prove its base station can communicate with orbiting nanosatellites.

ENSEIRB-MATMECA prides itself on being a public engineering school and trains engineers with strong scientific and technical skills and readies them to face major challenges in the digital world. The school conducted a series of experiments that used the LoRa Internet of Things (IoT) protocol to send and receive signals to and from a stratospheric balloon.

The project leaders are Anthony Ghiotto and Guillaume Ferré, both associate professors at Bordeaux INP ENSEIRB-MATMECA, and pursuing their research at the IMS Research Center. They comment, “The balloon project was designed to prove that our base station and protocol could communicate with the nanosatellites properly and that the signals were being received. This was important as we may need to reconfigure the satellite and bring data back down to Earth”.

The Tektronix RSA5000 spectrum analyser was chosen for its ability to provide signals in real-time, allowing both associate professors and their students to discover the location of any issues and which flight direction would be affected.

“Short time duration signals couldn’t be measured with conventional spectrums,” says Ghiotto. “Conventional equipment could not be used to analyse such non-periodic signals. Tektronix equipment analyses the strengths of signals, which helps analyse the distance and check the flight path of the balloon, which could then be correlated with GPS data – other equipment could not offer this.”

The project team also used the analyser to ensure the chosen frequency was free and there would be no interference from other signals that could compromise the project.

The first balloon experiment achieved signals over 200km, while, in theory, the signals can reach over 700km. An updated system is planned that will receive images in real-time. The project team also plans to share information with schools to show pupils what they are doing and help with their studies of metrology.

The first nanosatellite that the school will communicate with was launched in early May 2021. “We are currently finishing our base station in readiness to communicate with it,” says A. Ghiotto, “and the Tektronix analyser will continue to be of great help in this.”

Maria Heriz, Vice President EMEA at Tektronix, comments, “At Tektronix, we pride ourselves on supporting innovation in engineering. We’re delighted that our RSA5000B Real Time Spectrum Analyser was considered first choice by L’ENSEIRB-MATMECA and has helped in the real-world training of future engineers“.

Fluke renews ‘Buy a Fluke, get a free Fluke’ offer this Autumn

Fluke has today launched the Autumn seasonal promotion encouraging customers to claim a free product when they purchase a Fluke tool between 1 September and 15 December 2021. A broad range of industrial and electrical tools, network testers and calibration equipment for residential and commercial use is available, enabling installation, maintenance, troubleshooting and repair engineers to work efficiently and safely.

Customers who purchase Fluke tools through authorised Fluke distributors can use their original invoice to claim their free product through Fluke’s website.

New choices for free Fluke products

The ‘Buy a Fluke, get a free Fluke’ offer is divided into six levels depending on the value of the qualifying purchase. The minimum purchase for customers to claim a free product is £100. A qualifying purchase includes Fluke’s electrical and industrial test tools, Fluke Networks and Fluke Calibration products. Customers can then choose a second product from a selection of free tools available, including clamp meters, digital multimeters, advanced testers, and accessories such as equipment cases.

For more information on how to claim a free product, view the range of tools available, and for full terms and conditions, go to:  www.fluke.co.uk/freefluke

How does it work?

For each of the six qualifying purchase levels, there is a fixed range of products to claim, based on the value of the original purchase through an authorised Fluke distributor. For example, after spending between £100 and £549.99 on a qualifying purchase, a customer can claim a free product from Level One such as a unique Fluke TPAK™ Magnetic Hangclip, a soft carrying case to protect the newly purchased instrument, a Fluke 2AC VoltAlert™ Non-contact Voltage Detector or a Fluke Networks Protool kit IS40.

At the highest level, Fluke customers have the option to claim a free advanced measurement tool such as the Troubleshooting kit DMM (containing an 87V TRMS Industrial Multimeter, a 325 True RMS Clamp Meter, a T6-1000 Voltage Tester, and a T150 Two-pole Tester), a 1-year Gold Support Services for DSX-5000, an 8845A Digital Precision Multimeter or select telephoto or wide-angle lenses for thermal cameras.

Nicolas Bravo de Medina, Marketing Director EMEA at Fluke said: “We received an excellent response to our ‘Buy a Fluke, get a free Fluke’ promotion in the Spring and have decided to renew the scheme for our European customers. Thousands of Fluke customers have already claimed their free products and we hope many more will register to claim a free Fluke tool. Our industrial and electrical tools, calibration equipment and network testers are designed for reliability and ease of use to ensure our customers are safe in their work and achieve great results.”

For more information about Fluke’s full product range and services, go to: http://www.fluke.co.uk

AVEVA launches comprehensive Operations Control software through game-changing user-centric flexible model

AVEVA has announced that it will be making its Operations Control solutions available as a single subscription for the first time. This redefines the industrial software experience, going beyond HMI and SCADA, enabling industrial organisations of all sizes to develop collaborative workforces, scale effectively, and optimise operations for agility and efficiency.

From IIoT architectures and cloud-driven remote edge management to multi-site supervisory control, AVEVA™ Operations Control software will be available via a flexible user-centric model, through the AVEVA™ Flex Subscription programme in three core packages: Edge, Supervisory and Enterprise. These core solutions provide all the necessary tools for plant, field, control room, and enterprise teams to drive actionable information, collaborate effectively, and accelerate operational excellence. The programme also offers access to add-on functionality with AVEVA Manufacturing Execution, and AVEVA Insight for advanced AI and workflow management. AVEVA’s new Operations Control software subscriptions now allow end customers to use all of its products, the way they want to use them.

AVEVA Operations Control offers an infinite range of possibilities for companies to connect operations and workers via the cloud, web and mobile to drive efficiency through collaboration and standardisation. It delivers supervisory, visualisation, collaboration, and analytics software in a single combined subscription providing unlimited access to actionable information.  Every team, whether on the plant floor, in the control room, or operating across the enterprise, is empowered to do more, in collaborative alignment. Customers can build a reliable foundation towards operational excellence with AVEVA Operations Control.

AVEVA offers the first single subscription programme on that market that spans edge-to-cloud solutions for plant operations. The AVEVA Flex subscription programme is designed to provide access to the entire AVEVA portfolio – enabling customers to flexibly drive sustainable growth. It allows companies to achieve a faster return-on-investment, removing traditional barriers to software adoption and revolutionising the purchase and consumption of industrial software. The subscription model enables simplicity in license purchasing, usage and management – aiding organisational digital transformation.

In the FY21 fiscal year, AVEVA recorded strong subscriptions growth as businesses sought access to transformational technology on a flexible, agile basis. According to ARC Advisory Group, subscription-based models are predicted to grow at a pace nearly four times that of traditional software over the next five years in the industrial automation markets.

Craig Resnick, Vice President at ARC Advisory Group commented: “ARC anticipates that the subscription model growth rate will be significantly higher than the traditional licensing model growth rate for purchasing HMI/SCADA solutions going forward. This shift towards the subscription model is driven by a number of factors, including the market seeking single converged solutions, such as HMI/SCADA and asset performance management, that deliver great flexibility together with edge-to-cloud integration, a capability that AVEVA can deliver today as part of its AVEVA Flex subscription program.”

Rashesh Mody, SVP Monitoring and Control, AVEVA said: “Our solution is enabling teams in different physical locations to organise their operations, collaborate, and leverage vast internal knowledge. Most importantly, customers can now accelerate their digital transformation journey through one simple, agnostic subscription package.”

“Industrial organisations are increasingly aiming to utilise technology environments that will provide them with a comprehensive view of their field, control room and enterprise operational facilities. With AVEVA Operations Control they can now view end-to-end processes with an unlimited offering through the edge, enterprise and supervisory core functions,” Mody added.

“With AVEVA Operations Control available via the AVEVA Flex subscription program, channel partners can now offer outcome-based solutions and services to their customers. AVEVA’s offering is unique because it enables simple and flexible pricing – allowing our channel partners to differentiate themselves in the market and stay ahead of the competition,” said Kerry Grimes, Head of Global Partners at AVEVA.

Titan explains the factors that determine flow meter performance

Titan Enterprises has published a new technical article focusing on flow meter performance. The article discusses the factors involved in determining the overall performance of pulse output turbine flow meters and how each factor influences the accuracy of flow measurement.

Flowmeters have become essential measuring devices used in a vast array of different industries. From commercial applications measuring the fuel feeding industrial boilers, for flow monitoring of lubricant supply lines for wind turbines, to dosing chemicals for agricultural sprays.  Domestically, flow meters are installed to manage the dispensing of beer or coffee and built into washing machines and dishwashers to meter efficient water usage.

Turbine flow meters are invaluable measurement tools, and their repeatability and linearity are the key elements that determine the flowmeter’s performance and overall accuracy. Both the mechanical properties of the flow meter and the physical properties of the fluid combine to influence the general performance of the flow measurement device.

Terms synonymous with calibrating flow meters – the K-Factor, calibration uncertainty, repeatability, accuracy and linearity – are explained. The technical article discusses the relationship between all these flow factors and how they each influence the overall performance of a flow meter.

Whereas turbine flow meters, such as Titan’s Beverage flow meter and 800 series, offer the high level of repeatability and reliability required for accurate batch delivery systems, Titan’s Atrato® and Metraflow® ultrasonic flow sensors and the larger oval gear flow meters, are highly accurate over wider flow ranges, especially with viscous liquids such as oils.

Neil Hannay, Senior R&D Engineer with Titan Enterprises, suggests: “When customers are deciding on appropriate flow meters to suit their application, they need to be aware of the difference between FSD linearity and ‘of reading’ linearity accuracy, as often suppliers do not specify which accuracy is being quoted for.” The technical article from Titan illustrates how the linearity reading has a significant impact on the performance of the flowmeter, particularly at the low end of its flow range.

To read the technical article in full please visit https://www.flowmeters.co.uk/—.

For further information on flow measurement devices to suit specific applications, please contact Titan Enterprises on +44 (0)1935 812790 or sales@flowmeters.co.uk.

 

Metrology that’s out of this world

In September 1999, the Mars Climate Orbiter broke into pieces and burnt up because one person on the project failed to use the metric system. This one measurement mistake caused the failure of a 327.6 million dollar project for NASA and emphasised the importance of accuracy in the sector. Here Mike G John, head of engineering at The Sempre Group, explores the role of metrology in the growing commercialised satellite manufacturing sector.

The space satellite industry has traditionally consisted of large-scale research projects completed by large businesses alongside academic research teams. However, in recent years there has been a growing market for small, commercialised, lower cost satellites for data collection and communication projects.

While this industry shift has created new opportunities for manufacturers to upscale the production of satellite components, it also introduces unique challenges. Once deployed, there is little opportunity to adapt, maintain or repair a spacecraft, so manufacturers must make the most of its time on the ground to focus on quality.

Harsh conditions

During design and production, space satellite manufacturers will consider how the harsh conditions of a launch will impact components. From excessive temperatures and speed during launch, to the ever-changing temperatures and radiation once in orbit, there is no tougher environment.

These conditions amplify any minor faults with the satellite’s quality, such as components that are not fastened properly or are not manufactured to exact specifications. Carrying out extensive product testing in thermal chambers to replicate the space environment enables engineers to understand how temperature can impact operations so that they can adapt production accordingly.

Accuracy

Satellites consist of multiple intricate parts that must be correctly fastened, connected or aligned, such as the transponder and panels. Any minor faults will distort the alignment of the equipment and therefore its performance once deployed. For example, one of the most significant challenges that engineers must overcome when developing satellites is weight — developers must consider the high per kilogram cost required to break free of the earth’s gravitational pull.

By tightening tolerances, engineers can ensure that every part meets the set specifications, increasing the probability that the satellite will operate efficiently once deployed. For example, improving accuracy will remove any unnecessary material on each component, reducing the overall mass of the satellite.

Validating each part using traditional measurement equipment can be time-consuming at a time when manufacturers want to increase production speeds to help them meet rising demand. Instead, engineers should invest in high-speed, high-accuracy equipment based on each component. For example, by using the Micro-Vu optical coordinate measurement machine (CMM), manufacturers can measure within a micrometre accuracy, rather than to the millimetre, increasing precision.

Manufacturers can also use optical measurement equipment to rapidly inspect complex parts made with delicate materials without touching the surface. For example, by inspecting solar panels with optical measurement systems offers high throughput inspection of parts that must be inspected with high accuracy, while ensuring that the equipment will not negatively impact the surface finish of the panel.

Sharing data

In tiered supply chains involving multiple manufacturers, documenting and proving accuracy is particularly important. Every company must produce parts that meet the original, shared drawing so that the components fit seamlessly during assembly. Electronic quality management software (EQMS) can provide a reliable and secure way of sharing data across organisations in near real-time.

The journey to accurate quality testing includes automated data collection to improve reporting, storing and handling of information regarding product quality. By using automated quality management software, plant managers can easily improve efficiency, productivity and quality. For example, High QA Inspection Manager can automatically identify geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) from models or PDFs, identify critical dimensions, automate results and produce statistical process control (SPC) data to auto-populate reports.

Automated QMS tools offer manufacturers an all-in-one solution for quality management, collecting and storing data at every point, from drawing to final product. They eradicate the need for time consuming paperwork and filing, which means satellite manufacturers can easily communicate important quality information across the supply chain and remove the headache of manual compliance reporting. The system can check for errors in digital documents, ensuring that they are always filled out right first time.

The Mars Climate Orbiter demonstrated how one small error can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful satellite project. By tightening tolerances, investing in the best metrology equipment for the application and digitising data management, engineers can improve part quality and effectively meet rising demands.

At The Sempre Group, we work closely with your team to understand the metrology challenges you face and build the best solution of measurement systems and software. To find out more visit www.TheSempreGroup.com/space-satellite/.

Analog Devices completes acquisition of Maxim Integrated

Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) today announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of Maxim Integrated Products. The combination further strengthens ADI’s position as a high-performance analogue semiconductor company with trailing twelve-month revenue of over $9 billion, industry leading margins, and free cash flow of over $3 billion on a pro forma basis.

“Today is a tremendous milestone for ADI and I’m delighted to welcome the Maxim team, who share our passion for solving our customers’ most complex technology problems,” said Vincent Roche, President and CEO. “With more than 10,000 engineers and the increased breadth and depth of our best-in-class technologies, we are well-positioned to develop even more complete, cutting-edge solutions for our customers. Together, we will drive the next waves of analogue semiconductor innovation, while engineering a healthier, safer and more sustainable future for all.”

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Maxim stockholders received 0.63 of a share of ADI common stock for each share of Maxim common stock. Maxim common stock will no longer be listed for trading on the NASDAQ stock market.

Combined Board of Directors

In connection with the closing of the transaction, Tunç Doluca, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Maxim, and Mercedes Johnson, former Founding Executive of Avago Technologies, will join the ADI Board of Directors. Mr. Doluca and Ms. Johnson served on Maxim’s Board of Directors until the closing of the transaction.

Farnell releases brand new episode in ‘The Innovation Experts’ podcast series

Farnell, an Avnet Company and global distributor of electronic components, products and solutions, has today released the second episode in its new global podcast series, The Innovation Experts, featuring test and measurement giants Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. The podcast series investigates how test and measurement equipment supports innovation and new product development across a wide variety of real-world applications. Each episode in the series will provide valuable insights for buyers, engineers, and other industry professionals wanting to stay up to date with the latest trends, challenges, products, tools and applications.

As Tektronix and Keithley celebrate their 75th anniversary, the brand new podcast episode explores how both companies have helped drive innovation in some of the world’s leading industries. Brad Odhner, Technical Marketing Manager at Keithley Instruments, joins Farnell’s Global Head of Technical Marketing and electrical engineer Cliff Ortmeyer to discuss emerging trends and cutting-edge techniques in test and measurement. Brad explains how engineers can use a broad range of test equipment to overcome present and future challenges to fast-track new product development.

James McGregor, Global Head of Test & Tools at Farnell, said: “Our second podcast episode features two well-loved, market-leading brands in test and measurement. By exploring Tektronix and Keithley’s legacy of excellence, we learn how new developments in instrumentation are driving product innovation for customers around the globe.”

With new episodes released every few weeks, The Innovation Experts podcast will cover topics including how test and measurement equipment enables innovation at tiny start-ups right through to large blue-chip organisations and how cutting-edge test tools support innovative battery design for electric vehicles. The first episode of the series looked at how Pico Technology’s PC-based oscilloscopes and RF testing products have enabled hybrid working and new ways of remote learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It showcases the capabilities and impact of using low-cost PC-based scopes through to high-performance products for a range of innovative – and unexpected – applications, from tattoo removal to monitoring the temperature of penguin eggs. If you missed it, the first episode of the series can be found here and is also available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Tektronix and Keithley Instruments offer innovative, precise and easy-to-operate test, measurement and monitoring solutions to solve problems, unlock insights and drive new discoveries. Keithley, a Tektronix company since 2010, designs and manufactures advanced electrical test instruments and systems to meet the needs of electronics manufacturers specialising in high performance production testing, process monitoring, product development and research. Both companies lead the way in supporting the worldwide electronics industry in every phase of new product design, manufacture and test.

Farnell offers a full range of market-leading test, tools and production supplies from stock to support electronic design and test, with no minimum order value and an educational discount programme. Customers have free access to online resources, data sheets, applications notes, videos and webinars with excellent customer and technical support available 24/5 in local language.

The Innovation Experts podcast is freely available from major podcast providers including Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

This second podcast episode, featuring Tektronix and Keithley Instruments, is available now on Farnell’s new Technical Resources Hub.

New materials testing solution helps organisations meet requirements of FDA 21 CFR Part 11

Finding a materials testing software that truly contains features to support an organisation’s compliance to the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 regulation has long been a problem in the medical industry where data integrity is key to safe, traceable materials testing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Lloyd Instruments, a brand under AMETEK STC, now offers advanced technical controls that enable its users to ensure data integrity.

Full-Service Solution Ensures Adherence

With the launch of the NexygenPlus 4.1 materials testing software and its new, advanced security module, Lloyd Instruments offers a complete materials testing solution integrated into an organisation’s Active Directory (AD) including IQ/OQ and test result verification. Developed under ISO9001 procedures, Lloyd Instruments partners with users to review the technical controls within NexygenPlus 4.1 and how they can assist an organisation to be FDA 21 CFR Part 11 compliant.

NexygenPlus 4.1 – As Easy as it Gets

Like its predecessor, the powerful Windows-based NexygenPlus 4.1 software holds a vast library of pre-defined test setups for a wide range of applications, such as syringe testing, needle bend, break loose force, and glide force, which makes the software quick and easy to operate. The user can also choose to create custom multi-stage tests for more complex or unique test demands.

However, the primary new feature that makes NexygenPlus 4.1 the ideal solution for organisations in need of adherence to FDA 21 CFR Part 11, is the powerful security and data audit tracking module specially developed with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in mind.

Electronic Signatures and Audit Trail Provides Maximum Traceability

NexygenPlus 4.1 integrates with Active Directory (AD) to utilise an organisation’s user management system and thereby complying with an organisation’s existing user management policies. Electronic signatures are required and logged for test method approval, test run approval, and 2nd reviewer approval. With the new NexygenPlus 4.1, audit trail and event log metadata is stored in a secure SQL database including old and new values, user management info, timestamp, and time zone. An optional IQ/OQ package is available to include test result calculation verification and a certificate is issued on completion.

A Flexible Software

NexygenPlus 4.1 interacts with Excel and Word and offers its user the possibility of automatically transferring test results directly to the organisations’ own templates without user intervention. Live graphs are available during testing, SPC data is continuously monitored, and built-in export utilities assist direct connection to LIMS systems.

A Complete Solution

NexygenPlus 4.1 can be purchased as an upgrade to older NexygenPlus versions, or as part of a complete solution including IQ/OQ and result calculation verification. To learn more about the solutions offered, contact Lloyd Instruments or visit www.ametektest.com.

About Lloyd Instruments

Lloyd Instruments, a brand under AMETEK Sensors, Test & Calibration (STC), offers a comprehensive range of materials testing equipment for testing medical devices, pharmaceuticals, packaging, food, springs, plastic, rubber, and metal. AMETEK STC is a part of AMETEK, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices with annual sales of approximately $5 billion. To learn more visit www.ametektest.com.

Quick and easy shopping of hardness testing accessories

Newage Testing Instruments, an established manufacturer and worldwide supplier of hardness testers and accessories, announces the launch of its new webshop, www.store.ametekstc.com.

The webshop offers quick, reliable, and secure online shopping of hardness testing accessories such as shear pins, test blocks, indenters, anvils, and similar accessories, that can be used with both Newage’s products as well as other Rockwell, Brinell, Vickers, and Knoop hardness testing and microhardness testing systems. Additionally, Brinell optical scopes and scanning systems, portable Brinell testers, and Brinell accessories are available for delivery right to the customer’s doorstep.

The new webshop is a big step forward in the ease of purchasing accessories within the hardness testing industry, and as customers are getting more accustomed to online shopping and seeing the benefits, Lisbeth Høier Harpsøe, Global Marketing Manager at AMETEK STC, predicts online shopping as the new norm for stocking up on accessories within this industry.

“Shopping online is convenient, as you can place your order anytime that fits your schedule, without the constraints of your supplier’s business hours. During COVID-19, more people have relied on this flexible way of shopping in their personal life. We saw an advantage for our customers if we could bring that flexibility into their work-life as well. Additionally, when buying accessories, such as test blocks and indenters for hardness testing equipment, there is a lot of repeat ordering of the same consumable items, so we wanted to make it quick and simple for our customers to purchase the items they frequently buy so ordering is more efficient”, Lisbeth Høier Harpsøe explains.

To accommodate this, the webshop automatically stores previous orders, so the next time customers logs in to re-order they can quickly do this with an overview of their personal shopping history.

When searching for a product for the first time, a filtering feature dynamically updates the product listings to reflect which options are available based on the customer’s selections. Customers are also able to compare products to ensure they are meeting their requirements with the best options.

Though offering hardness testing products through online sales is new to Newage, selling products through a webshop is not new to AMETEK STC, the parent company of Newage.

“We’ve offered our line of U.S. Gauge pressure measurement products through our webshop since 2014. We have solid experience servicing our customers through secure online sales and understand the logistics required. As an international player in both the pressure gauge and hardness testing markets, we ship our products worldwide and have served customers based in USA, Europe, and Asia through this channel for many years. We look forward to continuing to service these markets and updating our offerings and the online user experiences to suit the needs of our customers”, Lisbeth Høier Harpsøe says.

Menagerie to IoT… Powelectrics welcomes Ryan Bourne!

Powelectrics has welcomed Ryan Bourne, another new member of the company’s growing Production Team!

Ryan is based in Tamworth, near Powelectrics HQ. He joins the company with experience in both the distribution and rail industries. His role will encompass a broad range of Powelectrics preparation, testing and assembly work.

He will be working on the company’s proven Metron4 telemetry hardware and bespoke IIoT solutions using a range of proprietary building blocks, which allow off-the-shelf and bespoke solutions for a far wider range of applications … effectively plumbing different communication technologies into Powelectrics MetronView cloud, including Sigfox, LoRa, RS232, RS485, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Can, MODBUS.

Outside work, Ryan enjoys travel and is looking forward to his Covid-postponed trips to Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin.

Ryan shares his home with his border terrier, family cat, chickens …. a rattlesnake … and most unusually … an axolotl …. also known as the Mexican walking fish, which for the expert is a neotenic salamander … so there!

From menagerie to IoT, the Powelectrics team wish Ryan the very best of luck in his new role!