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ODVA Announces Formation of Vertical Market Special Interest Group for Rail Transport

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ODVA announced that it will form a new special interest group to evolve ODVA technologies for rail transport. Aimed at enhancing ODVA’s specifications with services and device profiles to meet the needs of rail transport, the resulting standards are expected to provide a comprehensive solution for rail transport, encompassing on-board train controls, monitoring, signaling and demand-response. The formation of this special interest group (SIG) reflects increased interest in ODVA technologies by OEMs in the rail transport industry.

The strong business outlook for rail transport is driving increased investment by OEMs in information and communication technologies (ICT) such as the ODVA technology portfolio. ICT will be critical to the realization of improvements in safety and service in combination with market demands for increased rail capacity and higher performance equipment. The intimate connection of rail transport with key sectors of the economic ecosystem – industrial, retail, commercial, residential and government – mandates that future ICT implementations in rail transport adapt automation technologies that are open, interoperable and, whenever possible, embrace the use of commercial-off-the-shelf and standard, unmodified Internet and Ethernet technologies. All of these attributes are exemplified by ODVA and its cornerstone technologies, the Common Industrial Protocol and EtherNet/IP.

Pascal Cléré, vice president, Alstom Transport Information Solutions, and ODVA member, stated, “Broad-based deployment of Ethernet technologies is a key element of the product plans for Alstom’s Carborne range of systems, devices and services for the railway sector. Alstom is leading the market in the application of Ethernet for rail transport and was first to market in 2008 with an ATC control/command application in Beijing.

Now Alstom seeks to lead in the application of open Ethernet standards to this sector and believes that ODVA – with its core values of vendor-neutrality, open participation and open technologies – and EtherNet/IP – as the world’s leading industrial Ethernet network – together provide the ideal platform for building consensus within the railway transport industry around its next generation of global network standards based on Ethernet.”

“This is a new market sector for ODVA technologies, which ODVA is entering due to the interest of members,” added Katherine Voss, executive director of ODVA. “As one of ODVA’s vertical market SIGs, the Rail Transport SIG will provide a unique opportunity for leaders in the rail industry and information technology to collaborate for best-in-class, open and interoperable communication standards for the next generation in railway transport.”

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New Technologies Pair the Physical with the Digital

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mouser

Digital twinning is one part of the technology road map for Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. A gamut of new technologies must be integrated to work seamlessly together to pair the physical domain with the digital information domain.

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Digital twinning seeks to improve the design and maintenance of physical systems by offering datadriven ways to discretely map these physical systems into digital and computerized replicas of themselves. With the arrival of automation and data exchange, digital twinning could be useful in a myriad of industrial applications.

This new industrial context, where the physical and the digital worlds meet, is known as the fourth industrial revolution—or Industry 4.0. Brought on by the intersection of a host of high-technology electronic and computer systems, the “new way” of Industry 4.0 promises increasing gains, efficiencies, and flexibility. A gamut of new technologies must be integrated to work seamlessly together to pair the physical domain with the digital information domain. Digital twinning is only one part of the technology roadmap for Industry 4.0, as these additional technologies are helping to enable digital twinning for Industry 4.0 to manifest its potential:

• Pairing technologies
• Cyber-physical systems
• Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality
• Artificial intelligence
• Additive manufacturing
• 3D printing
• Digital thread

Pairing Technologies
Pairing technologies are critical to digital twinning and the world of Industry 4.0, as these technologies empower a device or system to find, connect, and communicate with other devices and systems. For example, sensors and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) products require the ability to find and connect with other devices successfully. Technologies such as Bluetooth®, among others, are employed to make these connections. To accomplish this, connected devices must be able to interrogate other potentially connectable devices successfully. When inquiring other devices, units must be able to ascertain whether they are communicating with a unit that they should be corresponding and exchanging data with. When properly enabled and successful, this accomplishment is called pairing.

Security issues are paramount. Every device should pair only after proper identification has been confirmed to avoid crosstalk or misinformation. Shortcuts may be achieved through programming algorithms that allow the devices to quickly and easily identify other units that they should pair with. Pairing gets accomplished through authentication keys employing cryptography. Pairing works to ensure that the connections stay bonded in a data exchanging relationship between devices and works to prevent an external source from prying into their data exchanges.

Being that flexibility is paramount, units must be able to make and break their pairing quickly and without external, human involvement. Successful pairing may require ongoing communication to keep the pairing active. If one of the units determines that the pairing bond is no longer relevant to its successful operational objectives, it will remove its pairing relationship and present itself available for a different pairing opportunity.

(photo. Mouser Electronics)

Cyber-Physical Systems
The National Science Foundation (NSF) defines cyber-physical systems (CPS) as, “The tight conjoining of and coordination between computational and physical resources.” The critical element in this definition is that it focuses on a system approach— where a set of connected things or parts form a complex whole.

A current example of a CPS is the automated airline flight-control systems. Industry 4.0 requires traffic control, not for airplanes, but for the machines, computers, robots, sensors, and processes that comprehensively work together for its realization. It represents a system of higher order than IIoT, because it sits one level higher in the complexity chain. Where IIoT is concerned with collecting, handling, and sharing of large amounts of data, CPS is focused on ensuring that this large amount of data, collected from multiple systems, gets properly utilized across multiple disciplines that are relevant to the industry involved. The unique dilemmas of any given industry will require engineering expertise to address these specific challenges.

Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality
New technologies are augmenting our reality. They are providing us with the ability to overlay digital content in front of us physically, merging the real with the virtual, creating a mixed reality that should be considered augmented. This gain is allowing engineers to view things in new ways. For example, rather than viewing a DT on a computer monitor, we could view a DT using an augmented reality (AR) headset that enables the users to engage with digital content or interact with holograms.

The use of such AR empowers viewers to have an immersive experience whereby they engage their bodily senses.

Reality-enhancing headsets can create real-time experiences of actual conditions happening in the physical world, by way of experiencing them through a digitized environment. AR could lead to new insights and understandings. Additionally, a DT display could appear in the user’s field of view, making real-time feedback that much more accessible and easy to use.

Artificial Intelligence Technologies
IIoT offers the promise to provide connected data; therefore, useful data must be stored and analyzed. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a solution to how to analyze and successfully handle large amounts of digital data. It helps in allowing digital twinning to become more realized because it promotes value by enabling rapid integration, hybrid integration, investment leverage, and system management and compliance.

Through machine learning, it offers the opportunity to use digital data to model, analyze, train, apply, and infer how best to make decisions. AI is helping to change the traditional perspective of computing, moving it beyond what primarily has been an automating- and scaling-process perspective towards a knowledgebased perspective, via actionable insights. Soon, it will help engineers gather new insights and ways to create value. By using a data-science approach, rapidly powered decisions will enable the generation of further opportunities.

Additive Manufacturing
Additive manufacturing (AM) is a method of production in which 3D objects are built by adding layer-upon-layer of material. AM holds promise because it leads to industries that can address variable demand and produce products that are distributable and flexible. Two areas of AM – 3D printing and digital thread – are advancing to make digital twinning possible.

(photo. Mouser Electronics)

 

3D Printing
3D printing is perhaps the most well-known example of AM. In 3D printing, a printer is programmed to print an object using plastics, metals, or other custom materials with virtually zero lead-time. 3D printing is extremely flexible and eliminates the issues involved in producing objects with large economies of scale. What this means for the future is that you will be able to get what you want quickly—as if walking up to the fast food counter.

Digital Thread
With complex systems, however, AM has been confined primarily to the laboratory because all the systems involved do not operate under a unified system and, thus, are hard to scale. Digital thread promises to change that.

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A digital thread is a single, seamless strand of data that acts as the constant behind a data-driven digital system. It activates the potential of AM by allowing a unification of disparate applications by way of their adherence to the thread, which is their source of shared information. A digital thread creates an easier process for collecting, managing, and analyzing information from every location involved in the redesigned Industry 4.0. It enables better and more efficient design, production, and utilization throughout the entire process.

Conclusion
Digital twinning will be a hallmark of Industry 4.0, helping to increase gains, efficiencies, and flexibility for existing products and processes. But digital twinning is just one part of the Industry 4.0 road map. Pairing technologies, CPS, AI, and AM are key to seamlessly bringing together the physical realm and the realm of its DT information and insights. While these technologies are bringing their complexities into the digital twinning equation, ultimately, they promise to enable Industry 4.0 to manifest its potential.

by Paul Golata for Mouser Electronics

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Nanusens now live on Crowdcube for Pre-Series A fund raising

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Nanusens motion sensor

Investment in high technology start up from as little as £10

Nano-technology Company, Nanusens, has taken an innovative step of crowd funding for a round of investment. Investment starts from as little as £10 on www.crowdcube.com/nanusens

Nanusens CEO, Dr Josep Montanyà i Silvestre, explained: “We have venture capital firms already investing in this round that have been supporting us for a number of years as they believe in our novel technology. I think we are one of the first high technology companies to also offer the opportunity for people to easily invest using the simple process of Crowdcube. We already have 135 investors and raised £131,500 on Crowdcube, which is a 32% of the way to our target.”

Nanusens motion sensor

Investing via Crowdcube can be done via a credit card payment or PayPal and only becomes effective once 90% of the target figure of £400,000 has been reached at the end of the crowd funding campaign.

Until now, sensors had to come off the standard CMOS production line to have the MEMS created on them using different processes. Nanusens multi-patent pending technology enables it to create nano-sensors using a standard CMOS processes within the same production flow as the rest of the chip production. This innovative approach dramatically reduces the size and cost of the sensors along with up to 85% reduction in the time to market.

Nanusens CEO, Dr Josep Montanyà i Silvestre”Our first silicon nano-sensor samples from GLOBALFOUNDRIES exceeded our expectations,” explained Dr Montanyà, “with a sensitivity that is an order of magnitude above what is needed for a motion sensor in most applications. The mechanical operation of the nano-sensor design was the tricky part to get right, as that is where the innovation happens. That works perfectly and the design is fixed. Everything from now onwards just involves standard CMOS processes. Partnering with GLOBALFOUNDRIES will ensure good yields and that we will be able to rapidly ramp up production as sales take off. We have a disruptive technology solution that will revolutionise the sensor market and meet the ever-increasing demand for low cost sensors in smartphones, wearable technology and IoT devices that has already made sensors a multi-billion dollar industry.”

Nanusens has the supply chain fully defined, having partnered with trusted providers, like JCAP, member of JCET, the largest assembly group in China. The first product is planned to be ready by September. Upon finishing the electronic part and doing final qualification, sales will start. Nanusens is already in conversations with potential customers in China with whom the final specifications have been defined.

How the sensors are made using standard CMOS processes
The Inter Metal Dielectric (IMD) is etched away through the pad openings in the passivation layer using vapour HF (vHF) to create the nano-sensor structures. The holes are then sealed and the chip packaged as necessary. As only a standard CMOS process with minimal post-processing is used, and the sensors can be directly integrated with active circuitry as required, the sensors can potentially have high yields similar to CMOS devices. Further details can be seen at https://vimeo.com/258745205

more information at www.nanusens.com

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VORAGO Technologies VA10820 Extends Flight Heritage

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VA10820 microcontroller chip (image. VORAGO)

VORAGO Technologies, a leading provider of radiation-hardened and extreme temperature embedded systems technology, is delighted to have recently extended the flight heritage of the company’s microcontroller products.

VA10820 microcontroller chip (image. VORAGO)

The VA10820 microcontroller is currently operating on the Astranis demonstrator satellite DemoSat-2, which was launched on the PSLV-C40 polar satellite launch vehicle in January. The spacecraft was designed to demonstrate Astranis’ software-defined radio technology and is currently successfully operating in low Earth orbit.

Astranis is working towards bringing broadband to the four billion people on Earth who do not currently have internet access.

The rad-hard VA10820 was selected by Astranis on account of its impressive radiation performance specifications. Many SmallSat and CubeSat developers are taking a similar approach to the electronics radiation protection strategy in their spacecraft, by implementing the VA10820 microcontroller as the rad-hard mission critical mainstay component.

“We are delighted to support Astranis and be part of the impressive platform”, said Bernd Lienhard, Chief Executive Officer of VORAGO Technologies. “This technology is perfect for spacecraft that bring connectivity to the most remote places on Earth and we are proud to contribute to the Astranis solution.”

VORAGO Technologies is a privately held, high technology company based in Austin, TX with patented and proven solutions that enable electronics systems for extreme temperature and radiation environments. more information at www.voragotech.com

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