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SMC, IO-Link Master and IO-Link Devices

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Proportional regulator with IO-Link from the ITV series

With two new IO-Link Devices and a new IO-Link Master, SMC has three current products heading in the direction of I4.0. In the case of the proportional pressure regulator in the ITV series, the focus is on dynamic parametrisation and rapid adjustments to changing conditions. Thanks to the integrated cycle count for the controlled valves, the new field bus system of the EX260 series offers ideal conditions for predictive maintenance. An IO-Link Master (V1.1) has also been integrated into the modular EX600 communication platform. All three devices support the fastest possible transfer speed, COM 3 (230 kBit/s).

> Upgraded: EX260 Device

The connection of valve manifolds using IO-Link is one of the main features of the EX260 serial transmission system. It is possible to control up to 32 coils, as required, with one unit. Compared with parallel wiring, this reduces the number of necessary components and the wiring costs. The COM3 transfer speed (230 kBit/s) enables very precise switching procedures with highly replicable switching times, carried out by the SMC valve manifolds, SV, VQC, S0700 and New SY. This means, for example, that rapid filling procedures can be controlled very precisely. These figures are valid in case of new SY. VQC Series in contrast has a service life of 100 million cycles. Using an integrated cycle counter, it is also possible to plan maintenance intervals predictively. A typical feature of the EX260 series is their compact dimensions: With a maximum width of only 28 mm, they can be quickly and easily installed even in confined conditions. The field bus systems are dustproof and will even withstand temporary immersion in liquids (IP67). Their robust construction thus permits them to be positioned close to machinery and offers additional scope in the design process.

> Upgraded: EX600 Communication Platform

SMC has added an IO-Link Master (V1.1) to the communication platform of the EX600 series. Thanks to the modular design, up to 4 masters can be quickly and easily blocked in an EX600 platform with Profinet interface. This means that a total of up to 16 IO-Link Devices can be connected to a platform. A connected IO-Link Device can be parameterised remotely while in operation, and remote diagnosis is also possible.

Proportional regulator with IO-Link from the ITV series

> Bored out: ITV-Series Proportional Controller

The new, electropneumatic regulator in the ITV-series has also been equipped with an IO-Link interface, offering infinitely variable pressure regulation from 0 to 1 MPa with a supply pressure of 1.2 MPa. As an IO-Link Device, the regulator also supports COM3, the highest data transfer standard (230 kBit/s). The control function and the output pressure of the new ITV proportional regulator can be adjusted dynamically while in operation. So particularly with regard to developments in the direction of Industry 4.0, which demands maximum flexibility down to a batch size of 1, it is well up to the job. In spite of its small dimensions and minimal weight of only 750 grams, the newly launched ITV proportional regulator enables flow rates of up to 4,000 l/min. The compact dimensions and low weight are a particular advantage in highly confined environments, or in dynamic applications such as when fitted to a robotic arm.

The main applications of the ITV-series electropneumatic regulators include, for example:

* Mechanical engineering and machine tools
* Controlling the contact pressure of printing presses
* Applications in the automotive sector
* Packaging industry

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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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