Electronics Journal | 02 - November 2020

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02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020

electronics journal









IN THIS ISSUE… 4  The Smart Factory: An Overview 10  Technology Report 12  Ewon DataMailbox – remote access to machine data just got a lot easier! 13  IDS extends Ensenso N 3D camera series 14  How can a radio controlled fire door system help your flat or residential building comply with the Fire Safety Bill 2020?

16  ViewSonic Smart LED Projectors are the Go-To solution for Big-Screen Home Entertainment

18  Graphene – then, now and in the future 20  ViewSonic Launches New, All-in-One Direct View LED Displays with Sizes of Up to 216”

22  ViewSonic’s ViewBoard IFP70 Series Receives Microsoft Windows Collaboration Displays Certification

24  Electronic assemblies without PCBs 27  Cognex Introduces Next Generation of High-Performance Handheld Barcode Readers

28  Cognex image-based barcode readers in Flensburger brewery’s logistics center 30  Technology report 33  Softing enhances edgeConnector Siemens 34  Delta Controls, a Delta Group Company, Wins the 2020 Global Building Automation Systems Company of the Year Award by Frost & Sullivan

35  Innodisk and DFI Combine Expertise for the Best in IoT Device Management 36  Automate image-based inspection with artificial intelligence 40  How data analytics can increase manufacturing efficiency 42  Moving to the Edge 44  IDS to offer 20.35 MP IMX541 sensor from the Pregius S series from September 45  FLIR Systems Releases Occupancy Management Solution for Brickstream 3D Gen2 People Counting System

46  New research highlights resilience risk among European data centres 48  FLIR Announces the TG165-X Thermal Camera with Added Patented MSX Image Enhancement

49  Sharp images even with varying object distances 50  FLIR thermal sensors help Hamburg to enhance city traffic flow 52  Galician coast guard uses FLIR thermal cameras to fight illegal fishing 55  5 Reasons why Lithium Ion Batteries are best for Data Centres 56  Dafo Vehicle introducing Li-IonFire™ increasing the safety of electric and hybrid electric vehicle operations

58  Ease of use lowers entry barrier for users without prior knowledge 60  New Intesis gateway makes communication between PROFINET and BACnet easy 62  Updated product series with new wireless approval

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Send your press releases to: editor@ipmediaonline.com Electronics Journal is a leading engineering media. It features technology trends articles as well as news about the latest innovation in Electronics: IoT, telecommunications, connectors, electronic components, semiconductors and manufacturing. Electronics Journal edits its articles with the greatest of care, however we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information presented in them. Our teams disclaim all responsibility concerning the content of this media or how it might be used. To receive the Electronics Journal newsletter, subscribe online: https://electronics-journal.com






THE SMART FACTORY: AN OVERVIEW The smart factory is still a work in progress, but the building blocks are already in place. A report.

5G plays a central role in the Bosch vision for the factory of the future. Picture: Bosch


couple of years ago, a technocrat from a leading automation vendor, chatting on the side-lines of an industry event made an interesting observation. “A factory manufactures products, but that is not the purpose of the factory,” he said. “The purpose of a factory is to make profits.” Implicit in this assertion is the role technology plays in making those profits. It started with the very first Industrial Revolution in the mid-18th century powered by steam,

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and continues with the Industry 4.0, the fourth version – unleashed by the Internet and facilitated by cyber physical systems in the new millennium. Each of these revolutions brought in tremendous advantages in terms of transportation, telecommunications, access to raw materials, exploration of resources, etc., and led to large scale manufacturing of industrial and consumer goods, gadgets and appliances

for everyday use. However, by now, most of these advantages have been exploited to the hilt, and production efficiency in some sectors has reached in the higher 90s in terms of percentage. Yet today, more than at any other time in human history, manufacturers are under constant pressure to produce higher quality products in lesser time at lower prices, and to suit individual requirements as well. With margins shrinking, the only way to squeeze profits is to further increase efficiencies, reduce errors, anticipate failure of equipment and eliminate breakdown altogether. Welcome to the Smart Factory era, made possible by the bouquet of emerging technologies now available to the industry in quest of still higher efficiencies. What exactly is a Smart Factory? In simple terms it is a place for smart manufacturing where machines, already automated to a great extent – and increasingly intelligent robots – are linked together by smart devices through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This in turn facilitates self-learning and adaption, improving the processes through advanced automation and self-optimisation, with seamless endto-end connectivity and data analytics. The resultant benefits are not just in terms of efficient production, but also the streamlining of all related functions like supply chain logistics and pre- and post-production processes, to make it sustainable. The secret to unlocking this potential is hidden in the data generated by these processes. According to an IBM report, an average factory generates 1TB of production data each day, of which over 99% is not analysed. The information hidden in this data, the analysis of which is beyond human capabilities and needs technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, holds the key to greater operational efficiencies. The smart factory does not necessarily have to be built from scratch. Existing facilities can be transformed into smart factories, provided there are investments made to put a few things in place. These include a proper network infrastructure, smart controllers, analytics software with integrated information systems including

ABB’s smart factory module demonstrated at Hannover Messe 2019. Picture: Hannover Messe

IoT, cloud computing, Big Data and technology using artificial intelligence. Above all, this needs skilled manpower and the preparedness to adapt to new technologies.

one umbrella. The ABB Ability platform today offers more than 220 digital solutions, which enable enterprises to increase productivity and improve safety at lower costs.

The smart factory is still a work in progress, but the building blocks are already in place. However, there are gaps to be filled – while Artificial Intelligence plays a key role in data analytics, 5G is the go to technology for connectivity – and a lot remains to be done in both these areas.

The ABB factory at Heidelberg in Germany is a classic example of a smart factory, a showcase of ABB’s cutting-edge technology as well as manufacturing prowess. One of the oldest plants of the ABB group, it manufactures miniature circuit breakers (MCBs), a common but critical safety device used in electrical installations, available in many different variants. The MCB effectively breaks the circuit in case of overload and other faults, protecting the installation from fire and damage. The Heidelberg plant is a demonstrator for smart manufacturing – of how the factory of tomorrow looks like. It is equipped with seven types of ABB robots, all interconnected on the ABB Ability platform, the digitalisation increasing their productivity. The transformation has increased the plant efficiency to handle 3 times as many product variants as before, adding to a whopping 6000 variants now, also improving quality of the products. Predictive maintenance practices have led to accurate delivery schedules and better in-plant material handling.

So what is the status of the smart factory and its implementation from the perspective of the leading vendors of technologies for the smart factory? Presented here is a snapshot of 5 leading vendors and their technologies. ABB and its Ability A custom-made wristwatch assembled within three minutes. That is what ABB demonstrated at Hannover Messe 2019 at the smart factory module on display at its booth, using three of its key technologies – the YuMi collaborative robot performing precision assembly operations; the SuperTrak flexible transport system ensuring timely movement of parts; and the ABB Ability Connected Services monitoring health and performance. ABB launched the Ability™ technology platform in 2017, bringing together a number of its digital products, solutions and services under

The Ability platform leverages intelligence gathered from ABB’s vast global installed base of over 70 million connected devices and 70,000 control systems. This not only helps customers optimise operations, but 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020




Bosch smart factory working on the Nexeed platform. Picture: Bosch

ABB also uses the insights to develop network and plants at multiple locations. new business models. But Bosch also offers solutions to SMEs in smaller packages, introducing to them the benefits of Industry 4.0, especially Bosch goes beyond Mobility when they do not have in-house digital Bosch, the renowned provider of vehicle expertise. technologies and mobility solutions, now offers Industry 4.0 technologies Bosch’s Blaichach plant in Germany, for smart factories. With the focus on specialised in manufacturing ABS and automation, digitalisation, AI and IoT, the ESP systems for automobiles, is a idea is to boost productivity, quality and smart factory working on the Nexeed safety. As a leading user and provider of platform. This brings all the benefits of Industry 4.0 solutions, Bosch follows the the connected plant for both new and “3S” strategy – using sensors, software existing machinery, as Nexeed is an open and services. These are channelised system, where it is easy to retrofit IoT through its software platform Nexeed, devices on legacy production lines. The on which reside a variety of “Source- Blaichach plant employs 3000 associates Make-Deliver” solutions for continuous as Bosch calls them, and produce optimisation – from procurement 6.7 million ABS/ESP safety systems. The (source) through production (make) to the transformation has made it possible for end customer (deliver). Nexeed includes Bosch to increase productivity at its ABS/ tools like predictive maintenance, cockpit ESP manufacturing facilities worldwide charts, traceability and tracking solutions, by almost 24 per cent. manufacturing execution, maintenance support, autonomous transport systems, For Bosch, these initiatives of integrating intralogistics – all connected. Nexeed Industry 4.0 technologies in the smart is ideal for larger enterprises that factory is paying off with the company have deployed Industry 4.0 solutions, having earned more than Euro 1.5 billion companies that have global production with Industry 4.0 applications in the last 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020


5 years. By 2022, Bosch has ambitious plans to generate annual sales of over a billion euros with Industry 4.0. Rockwell Automation and The Connected Enterprise Rockwell Automation believes the world needs to become a smarter place and offers solutions to that end through The Connected Enterprise, where products become smarter, people become smarter, and their decisions become smarter. The 117-year-old company is a major provider of industrial automation and information technology products with global sales of USD 6.69 bn for 2019. The company conducts signature events like the annual Automation Fair in the US and the region specific TechED events at other global locations to connect with and educate customers about the latest developments in the field. The hardware offering of Rockwell Automation comprises thousands of Allen-Bradley's products, the software comprises numerous software suites

under the FactoryTalk banner. The Connected Enterprise is a platform that brings these smart solutions together for the benefit of discrete manufacturing as well as process industries, bringing them tangible benefits like faster time to market for manufactured products, improved asset utilisation, lower total cost of ownership, and more effective enterprise risk management. That these are all tried and tested solutions is borne out by the fact that Rockwell Automation uses them in its own manufacturing facilities as part of its digitalisation transformation journey. The Connected Enterprise, according to the company, is a five-step journey: identify a desired business outcome; get an outside perspective; assemble the team; implement a pilot program; and scale for expansion. For companies who adopt the platform for their digital transformation, the outcome, based on use cases, leads to: productivity increases of 4-5% per year; waste reductions that result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings; faster time to market, which

includes plants that become operational in weeks instead of months; quality improvements that result in defects being cut in half; and up to 98% on-time delivery. In 2017, Rockwell Automation opened its EMEA Customer Center for The Connected Enterprise in Karlsruhe, Germany, offering customers and visitors the opportunity to receive tailored advice on smart factory subjects combined with a 360-degree view of The Connected Enterprise. Schneider Electric builds the EcoStruxure Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, traces its origins to 1836. It is a European multinational company with operations in over 100 countries and 2019 revenue of Euro 27 billion. Since 1980, the company has grown phenomenally through a series of acquisitions, shedding its traditional steel business in favour of electricity and related technologies. Having reinvented itself for the digital era in the new millennium, the company launched its IoT enabled EcoStruxure platform for digital transformation, with sector specific suites covering not just industries, but also homes, buildings, data centres, energy and infrastructure. EcoStruxure for Industry is the Schneider Electric IIoT platform that is open, interoperable, and ready for smart manufacturing, at every level from Connected Products to Edge Control and Apps, Analytics and Services. It is the digital backbone connecting bestin-class operational technology (OT) solutions with the latest in IT technology to unlock trapped value in operations and leverage the true potential of the Internet of Things. With integrated software, it improves productivity, efficiency, sustainability, and cybersecurity for plants and machine builders. Benefits include up to 80% reduction in engineering costs and time; up to 75% savings in maintenance cost; and up to 50% reduction in carbon footprint.

The Rockwell Automation EMEA Customer Center at Karlsruhe, Germany. Picture: Rockwell Automation

Schneider Electric executives often say “we eat our own food”, which means 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



MARKET OVERVIEW the smart technologies the company offers to the industry are implemented in its own plants first. The company has launched several Smart Factories around the globe in countries like France, USA, Mexico, China, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. These are central to its Tailored Sustainable Connected 4.0 supply chain digital transformation where it leverages digitisation across its supply chain operations to deliver end-to-end integration and visibility to enhance its performance. The World Economic Forum has designated the Schneider Electric facilities in Le Vaudreuil in France, and Batam in Indonesia, as Advanced 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) Lighthouses. The company has set for itself a target of 100 smart factories for 2020, and the same technologies are available for any company looking for similar transformation. Siemens and its MindSphere Established in 1847, Siemens is the German multinational corporation and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe with a global footprint, with 2019 revenue of around Euro 87 billion. With its main business verticals of Industry, Energy, Healthcare and Infrastructure, Siemens today has the domain expertise and digital knowhow to generate performance improvements across the entire value chain through digital transformation. This is achieved with its two main solutions: MindSphere – a cloud-based, open IoT operating system; and Digital Twin – the virtual representation of products and production. Launched in 2016, MindSphere today connects an estimated 1.3 million devices and more than 1,000 customers. Global automobile giant Volkswagen uses MindSphere in its cloud network, connecting machinery and equipment at more than 120 of its plants. This data is used to improve productivity and efficiency across plants and production lines. What MindSphere does essentially are 4 things: connect assets and upload data to the cloud; collect, monitor, and analyse data in real-time; gain insights that improve efficiency and profitability; and take advantage of apps and solutions that solve real problems.

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The Schneider Electric smart factory at Le Vaudreuil in France. Picture: Schneider Electric

The Siemens Smart Factory at Amberg, Bavaria. Picture: Siemens

Like other major vendors, Siemens too has an excellent example of the Smart Factory in its Amberg plant in Bavaria, which has deployed the MindSphere system as well as executed the digital twin. Spread over 100,000 sq.ft, the Amberg plant manufactures a mix of 1200 products, which means on an average there are 350 production changeovers per day! The plant produces 17 million Simatic components per year, and about 50 million items of process and product data is evaluated and used for optimisation! In the process of the smooth running of the plant, Siemens uses other ground breaking technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and Industrial Edge computing. The results of the transformation are evident in the figures – a 13-fold rise in production since the plant started operations in 1989, without any additional manpower or expansion. Summing up According to a market research report on global smart factory industry posted by Reportlinker recently, the global market for Smart Factory is estimated at US$136.4 billion in the year 2020. This is projected to reach a revised size of US$218.4 billion by 2027. The expected additional value for manufacturing industry due to productivity gains in smart factories by 2023 is expected to be between US$1.5 to 2.2 trillion, according to the Capgemini Research Institute’s estimates, published in its report, “Smart factories @ scale”. This indicates the potential gains of smart factory for the manufacturing world. An important question that rises from these developments is the human role in the factory of the future with the spectre of massive unemployment caused by digitalisation. But Prof Martin Ruskowski, Chairman of the Executive Board at SmartFactory-KL, the manufacturerindependent demonstrator and research platform based in Germany, does not agree. According to him, “Humans will and must be able to change every decision made by a machine. We will retain responsibility for what happens in the production processes. Machines and artificial intelligence cannot and should not take this away!” 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



WEARABLE CONNECTIVITY SOLUTIONS NOW EASIER TO INTEGRATE INTO FLEXIBLE STRUCTURES Fischer Connectors is enhancing the integration capability of its versatile plug & use Fischer Freedom™ Series. The product line has been extended with new products and accessories allowing design engineers to further optimise cable management in line with their SWaP (size, weight and power) requirements, and integrate low-profile connectors, cable assemblies and active devices easily into all sorts of materials, even the most flexible of fabrics.


he ruggedsewing junction of the new Fischer Freedom Quick Detach System allows to easily convert flexible material into a potential panel, e.g., heavy duty tarp cover/tent, sail, vehicle tire blankets, smart backpacks. The system’s adapter and retaining ring facilitate the quick fit and interchange of receptacles. The new Fischer Freedom cabled receptacle in size 08 is a smaller version of the receptacle introduced to the market last year. With a metal housing, four signal and power contact tracks, IP68 sealing and EMI shielding, this new cabled receptacle is ready to use under any conditions, easy to integrate into garments or mount on panels, and quick to fit and remove.

Easy integration: two recent applications The multiple award-winning Fischer Freedom technology platform enables design engineers to integrate more technology and functionality into fixed, portable or wearable devices and ecosystems in markets such as: defense & security, medical, instrumentation, industrial and civil engineering, robotics, wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT). The two following applications recently introduced to the defenseand industrial markets show how the unique features of Fischer Freedom – easy 360° mating, easy cleaning, easy integration thanks to low-profile design and ergonomics – benefit OEM integrators. Wearin’s connected vest (Platinum 2020 Technology Innovators Award) is a centralised, integrated connectivity system featuring six Fischer Freedom 7-contact receptacles fitted using the new Quick Detach System. VRaktion’s design engineers have integrated a Fischer Freedom 4-contact receptacle in plastic into a smart work shoe using an obstacle warning system with laser sensors. More info: • Fischer FreedomTM: www.fischerconnectors.com • Wearin’: www.wearin.tech • VRaktion’s smart shoe: https://www.fischerconnectors.com/ g l o b a l /e n /c a s e _ s t u d i e s /ro b u s tconnectivity-smart-shoes

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TECHNOLOGY REPORT Efficient material flow with complete safety.


he increasing automation of processes places growing demands on safety concepts. Classic concepts such as muting, for example, are often pushed to their limits. The intelligent safety solutions from Leuze enable complete safety, efficient material flow, and high system availability. Individually tailored system solutions The innovative safety concepts are at the heart of every Leuze safety solution. They primarily address safeguarding tasks where safety-related processes are part of the solution. The safety concepts are individually adapted to the respective system layout, or even expanded or newly designed where needed. During each project, certified Leuze safety consultants assess the customer’s requirements and subsequently accompany them through to the on-site safety acceptance. In addition to providing the necessary hardware and software components, Leuze safety solutions include the configuration and parameterization of the system as well as start-up support. Leuze can draw from an extensive range

The advantage of this solution is that the presence of people or their entry is continuously monitored

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of in-house safety products for the implementation of safety solutions.

and blanks out the AGV footprint from the monitored area.

Dynamic safeguarding of AGV/robot transfer stations In flexible production processes, AGVs are often loaded and unloaded by robots. This means that the safety concepts for the AGV/robot transfer stations must be designed for automated movements. Leuze’s safety solution dynamically safeguards the area of the transfer station. The area is monitored by two safety laser scanners. When the vehicle enters the monitored area, the monitoring dynamically adapts to the vehicle position

The advantage of this solution is that the presence of people or their entry is continuously monitored. The vehicle can move through the monitored area during the loading cycle while the surroundings of the vehicle are fully guarded at all times. This means that it is possible to reliably detect whether a person is walking next to the vehicle. The safety solution also allows vehicle loads with different widths and the transport of parts that protrude at the front. The system works autonomously and can be


Gapless safeguarding of a AGV/robot transfer station

easily integrated into the safety circuit of the system via the 2-channel safety output. Access guarding on multi-track transport systems Multi-track transport systems often require a safety concept that ensures smooth processes and complete safety at the same time. The suitable Leuze safety solution is shown at the example of a pallet discharge via gravity conveyors, which is fed by a cross conveyor. Access guarding takes place via two vertically oriented safety laser scanners. These monitor the entire transfer area of

the cross conveyor. By switching the protective fields, the protective function is only released for the conveyor on which a pallet is discharged. The safety system receives information about which conveyor is used from system control. Complete access Also Guarding during pallet discharge The advantage of this solution is that the entire access area is completely monitored at all times. It is also easy to set up and install, as it takes only two safety laser scanners to safeguard the entire transfer area. No additional trigger sensors are required. With conveyors in

close proximity, only this solution enables a conveyor-specific safety concept. Summary The safety solutions from Leuze are based on innovative safety concepts that are individually tailored to the customer’s system layout as part of the project. They ensure smooth-running processes with gapless safety and high system availability. www.leuze.com

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EWON DATAMAILBOX – REMOTE ACCESS TO MACHINE DATA JUST GOT A LOT EASIER! HMS Networks now launches Ewon® DataMailbox, a secure freemium cloud-based solution allowing machine builders and factory owners to easily access data from their machines anywhere in the world.

What is Ewon DataMailbox? DataMailbox is an online data buffer that enables easy retrieval of data from machines. It is a part of the Ewon Talk2M cloud service. How it works The Ewon routers Cosy and Flexy connect to a remote machine and send data via Ethernet or cellular connection to the Talk2M cloud. The DataMailbox is a part of Talk2M allowing application developers to easily retrieve historical data from multiple Ewon gateways using a simple API call. The results Customers can collect data from multiple machines anywhere in the world in a highly secure process in order to analyse this data at their convenience. This allows for big data analytics and dashboards for predictive maintenance and operational intelligence.

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A fast and secure way to enable access to machine data It is possible to set up a data connection in a couple of hours, no matter how complex the IT environment is, and also scale up when necessary. Users can add machines to the process in a couple of clicks. With the DataMailbox as a data buffer, users will avoid losing data, no matter how many sites they are collecting from as data is automatically stored and forwarded if the Internet connection is down. Users also always have access to a clean historical dataset for analytics applications. Freemium The DataMailbox is a freemium service within the Ewon Talk2M cloud, meaning that customers can utilize it for free for an unlimited time. By moving to the Pro version, customers get covered by a unique Service Level Agreement and can process even more data. The Freemium approach and ease of access in no way compromises

the security as Ewon solutions are trendsetters in cybersecurity. By adding this innovative service to its range of hardware, Ewon proposes an easy and scalable integrated solution to collect and process data from an unlimited number of sites, allowing customers to increase their efficiency. “In a time when it is risky and expensive to allow people into factories, it is our duty to provide customers with an easy, secure and scalable solution to collect data from several sites, allowing users to improve their efficiency,” says Francis Vander Ghinst, General Manager of HMS’s Business Unit Ewon. Available now via a network of partners To help customers maximize the power of their data, Ewon has established a robust ecosystem of 2000 experienced partners, ready to quickly create efficient and integrated solutions based upon customer needs. www.ewon.biz


IDS EXTENDS ENSENSO N 3D CAMERA SERIES New design and improved electronics: Ensenso N40/N45 3D cameras are compact, lightweight and collaborative.


he Ensenso N-Series is a compact and robust 3D camera system designed specifically for 3D applications in robotics and automated series production. Thanks to IP65/67 protection, it is also well suited for use in harsher environments. The camera family is now being expanded by the new N40 and N45 models. They feature a novel design both inside and outside. Lightweight and with rounded edges, they open up new application possibilities, for example in collaborative robotics.

The housing of the new Ensenso N40/N45 3D cameras is made of fibre-reinforced plastic – resulting in the lightest stereo vision cameras with Gigabit Ethernet in the IDS product range. When mounted on a robot arm, for example, this means less stress on the robot mechanics. The cameras also minimise the risk of injury thanks to their rounded edges. As a result, they also excel in collaborative use with human colleagues. Furthermore, the housing meets the requirements of protection class IP65/67 and is effectively protected against dirt, dust and water spray.

Electronics have also been revised for the new 3D cameras: The improved infrared projector enables higher light output and has an optimised heat management. These results, among other things, in better data quality or higher clock rates. The projector is optionally available with blue illumination in the visible range (465 nm) or with infrared illumination (850 nm).

algorithm. These benefits, for example, applications in which large volumes are to be captured in the shortest possible time. https://en.ids-imaging.com/ensenso3d-camera-n-series.html

The new models each include two monochrome CMOS sensors (global shutter, 1280 x 1024 pixels) and are equipped with screwable GPIO connectors for the trigger and flash. Power-overEthernet allows data transfer and power supply to be realised even over long cable distances. The Ensenso selector on the IDS website helps customers to choose the right camera model. A new stereo matching process, which is available as standard for all models when using the Ensenso SDK 3.0, also ensures particularly detailed point clouds. “PatchMatch” works extremely effectively with a large distance range at different object distances and without significant effects on the execution speed of the 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



HOW CAN A RADIO CONTROLLED FIRE DOOR SYSTEM HELP YOUR FLAT OR RESIDENTIAL BUILDING COMPLY WITH THE FIRE SAFETY BILL 2020? Currently progressing its way through Parliament, the Fire Safety Bill 2020 proposes fundamental changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.


he changes will action the recommendations identified by the Grenfell Tower public inquiry and the Dame Judith Hackett review which found current building and fire safety regulations needed a “major reform” in order to prioritise and protect residents’ safety. In conjunction with the Building Safety Bill, which overhauls legislation around building construction methods and materials, the Fire Safety Reform represents a landmark change to current fire safety legislation. Lord Greenhalgh, Building Safety and Fire Minister, said: “These are the biggest changes to building safety legislation for nearly 40 years, and they will raise standards across the industry and ensure building owners have The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class. nowhere to hide if they break the rules.” The reform will provide clearer accountability to those responsible for high-rise buildings, increase sanctions to deter non-compliance and amplify the voices of residents raising concerns. Read the Draft Building Safety Bill: www. gov.uk/government/publications/draftbuilding-safety-bill What does the Fire Safety Bill 2020 mean for fire door safety? The bill will impact any managed residential blocks in England, Wales and Northern Ireland where the main use of the building is sleeping, such as; blocks of flats, student accommodation, hotels and hostels. Buildings will be required to identify an “accountable person” in each premise who will be responsible for the implementation of fire safety measures. These measures are likely to include carrying out risk assessments, ensuring fire-fighting and fire-detection equipment is supplied and establishing fire safety drills and emergency routes. In additional 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020


to this, the “accountable person” will also be responsible for carrying out and keeping records of regular inspections of flat entrance fire doors, as well any doors adjacent to common areas or escape routes from multi-occupied residential buildings.

Why are fire doors important? Fire doors are an essential measure in preventing the spread of flames, smoke and toxic fumes should a fire occur. A fire door allows the fire to be compartmentalised, delaying the time it takes to spread from one area to another.

Previously the responsibility of noncommunal fire doors was not a legal obligation of building owners or managers, who were able to satisfy legal requirements by asking residents to carry out their own inspection and reporting back any problems. The lack of clarity around responsibility for flat entrance fire doors often resulted in essential maintenance and repairs not being carried out.

A standard fire door should meet the FD30s standard, which provides up to 30 minutes of protection and should be fitted with a self-closing device. This not only protects the other areas within the building or block, but provides essential time for evacuation. How can a radio controlled fire door system help? Building regulations dictate that fire doors must be fitted with a BS EN 1154:


entrance fire doors will also be required to use Category A devices. Which radio-controlled systems comply with Category A of BS7273 -4? Salamander offers the only wire-free system of radio controlled fire door holders and closers which complies with Category A of BS7273-4. Each Salamander device connects wirelessly to a mains-powered controller unit, which is connected to the building’s existing fire alarm system. One controller unit can manage up to 99 fire door closers or fire door holders. All products in the Salamander range are batterypowered, wire-free and offer two-way communication between controller and device, allowing the “accountable person” to easily manage and oversee any faults within the building.

1997 standard self-closing device in order to ensure fire doors “swing-shut” after use. These devices can make heavy fire doors cumbersome, presenting significant obstacles to the young, elderly or disabled. In residential settings, such as student accommodation or care homes where isolation, access or ventilation can be a problem, residents often risk fire door integrity by using wedges to prop open bedroom and flat entrance doors. Wedging open of a fire door prevents it from functioning effectively; risking lives, prosecutions, significant fines and voided insurance policies.

fire doors feel lightweight, easy to move and can be held open at any angle whilst closing in the event of a fire.

A BS EN1155 standard hold-open, free-swing door closer removes many of the risks associated with standard self-closing devices ensuring that heavy

Category A devices are required when holding open any fire door which forms part of the stair enclosure in a residential building. From November 2020, flat

The BS 7273-4:2015 code of practice specifically relates to the operation of fire protection measures and the actuation of release mechanisms for doors. There are three actuation types for door devices in different settings; critical, standard and indirect. Critical actuation (Category A) is the highest level of protection available, ensuring that self-closing devices are failsafe to any potential fault and can actuate within two minutes of power failure.

The Salamander door closer is suitable for most fire doors, holding them open at any desired position, while the Salamander door holder is designed for doors where standard closers are already in place. The system uses innovative, wire-free, magnetic technology to safely hold open fire doors and release them upon activation of the fire alarm. Currently, there is nothing to protect leaseholders and building owners from the cost of bringing existing buildings up to standard when the Fire Safety Bill 2020 is passed. As the wireless Salamander system can be retrofitted to existing buildings, it offers the same benefits as a hard-wired system whilst saving time, installation costs and disruption to a building’s fabric or occupants. www.geofire.co.uk/salamander-radiocontrolled-fire-door-system/

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iewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solutions, announced today its LED projector sales grew 30% in the first half 2020 (Note 1), which is a new milestone for ViewSonic in LED projection. ViewSonic entered the LED projector segment in 2017 and became one of the world’s top three LED projector brands within three years. It boasted the fastest growth amongst the top five brands in the overall projector market in 2019 and continued its strong sales performance in the first half of 2020 with year over year growth of 30%.

“LED technology has now progressed to a point where it is an ideal audiovisual solution for all the activities consumers partake in at home. ViewSonic’s mission is to deliver a feast for the senses at home,” said Dean Tsai, Head of Projector BU at ViewSonic. “As an innovator and leader in LED projector technology, ViewSonic is combining its advantages in LED know-how, and consumer insights to bring smart new LED projectors to market. We are focused on redefining lifestyle-oriented, all-inclusive solutions, from mobile, outdoor, to home. We want to light the way for more people to enjoy a new flexible big-screen audio-visual experience in their daily lives.” ViewSonic LED projectors’ achievements can be attributed to the continued innovation of product development. ViewSonic began to focus on LED projector development three years ago when the technology had advanced to an ideal level, aiming to offer consumers a more versatile option. By combining great visuals and audio into a single, portable projector the M1 was born. Today ViewSonic provides a full line-up of smart LED projectors for a wide range of applications, including the flagship X series for premium home entertainment with enhanced smart functionality and 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020


the portable M series for an exciting on-the-move lifestyle, such as the featherlight, 300-gram M1 mini Plus smart pocket cinema projector. More than just a device, ViewSonic smart LED projectors are an audiovisual solution. ViewSonic smart LED projectors combine the latest audio-visual technologies with smart integrated functionality and can connect with mobile devices, home networks, and content services for a seamless viewing experience. Through four main features – audio-visual excellence, smart capabilities, user-centric design, and eco-friendliness, ViewSonic smart LED

projectors are differentiated to deliver a new enhanced audio-visual experience for home entertainment. Audiovisual Excellence ViewSonic smart LED projectors deliver true-to-life colours by proprietary Cinema SuperColor+ Technology with 125% Rec.709, and a new level of brightness with industry-leading second-generation LED technology. To complement their stunning visuals, all ViewSonic smart LED projectors i n co r p o r a t e p ro fe s s i o n a l a u d i o customised by Harman Kardon or JBL. From hardware design to rounds of


audio tuning, each projector has its own customisation to best fit each scenario.

on streaming for direct projection from phones, tablets, or gaming consoles.

Smart Capabilities The smart features include wireless content casting from users’ smart devices via 5 GHz Wi-Fi, and intuitive touch control via their mobile devices as an alternative remote control. Bluetooth connectivity allows users to broadcast audio from mobile devices with the projectors’ Harman Kardon speakers, or connect to external Bluetooth headphones to immerse yourself in bigscreen fun. Convenient voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and USB Type-C connectivity offer a fun twist

User-Centric Design ViewSonic places emphasis on usercentric designs to offer consumers the perfect balance of form and functionality. By creating humanised, lifestyle-oriented products, ViewSonic has won iF Design Awards for three consecutive years from 2018 to 2020. Eco-Friendliness ViewSonic smart LED projectors are more eco-friendly alternatives to other projector types, free from the toxic mercury found in traditional projector

lamps and consume significantly less power for improved efficiency. LEDs are also a more durable light source than traditional lamps, offering a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours. As a result, it reduces the total cost of ownership. www.viewsonicglobal.com Note 1: Source: Futuresource Q2’ 20 World Projector Market Track. The market share is assessed by the sales volume.

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GRAPHENE – THEN, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE Disruptive technology doesn’t come along every day, so it’s not surprising that when twodimensional materials started to emerge, they made quite an impact. The most impactful was probably graphene, the story of which crossed over to the popular media like few discoveries. Meeting the expectations of the hype this generated was always going to be difficult, but if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.


his carbon-based material, which is only one atom thick (hence the name, two-dimensional material) has many amazing properties but in the world of integrated electronics, the most significant are probably its high electrical and thermal conductivity. These two, largely interrelated properties play a big role in the performance of semiconductor components. With the continued drive for higher efficiency, it’s not surprising that graphene was expected to revolutionise the industry. It has been a long road, but with the introduction of Paragraf’s first commercial product, a Hall effect sensor that outperforms all round any other comparable sensor available today, the momentum is building. Part of the reason for the long gap between researchers isolating graphene in 2004 and being able to use it in production relates to the way it is made. The first examples were isolated by pulling the atoms off a graphite block using sticky tape; clearly this is not very scalable or reliable. Many methods have been explored since then, including taking blocks of carbon and pulverising them into nanoparticles. Another technique, called liquid phase epitaxy, involves using evaporating or reacting liquids to form a film or platelet on a surface and then removing it. Sublimation is a method that involves thermally reducing a solid that contains carbon until only the carbon is left.

Exposing gases that contain carbon to high temperatures will cause the gas to deposit its carbon on a surface. This process, called chemical vapor deposition, is similar to the process used to deposit materials in semiconductor manufacturing processes. When the high temperatures needed for this process are generated using a plasma source, it is called plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, or PE-CVD. Today, graphene is available in various forms, based on the method used to create or separate it. This makes it much more usable, such as an additive to other

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materials to increase their robustness or strength. As an example, paint with added graphene is now used on ships to reduce water friction. Carbon composite materials are now also used in aircraft wings. In semiconductor electronic fabrication the methods used are almost exclusively based on CVD; mastering this process is fundamental to the future of graphene in the semiconductor industry. However, there are still challenges to overcome. As anyone who has ever seen inside a semiconductor wafer processing plant knows, the need for purity and cleanliness is paramount to achieving high yields.


Graphene Hall Sensor (GHS) is as much as 30 times more sensitive than a Hall effect sensor manufactured using conventional semiconductor technology

Paragraf, which is based on Metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition, or MOCVD, is its flexibility. This means Paragraf can tune it for various applications, as well as create stacked monolayers to make it useful in other types of semiconductor devices. The production of the GHS is now underway at Paragraf’s manufacturing site, with the Magnetics Lab at CERN as one of the early collaborators. Because the basic equipment and base wafers are sourced directly from the semiconductor manufacturing supply chain, Paragraf will face no challenges in scaling up production in the future. Longer term, the option to partner with larger semiconductor device manufacturers is also viable. In all the ways that can be measured today, graphene is a wonder material. Paragraf has made a significant breakthrough in its scalable manufacturing. When applied to semiconductor manufacturing it means graphene can once again be holding great promise. www.paragraf.com The process used by most graphene companies targeting the semiconductor industry uses CVD to deposit a carbonbased material on a catalyst, typically copper or nickel, rather than directly onto the semiconductor wafer. This then means the catalyst material needs to be etched away to leave the graphene and the graphene transferred to a second substrate. It is a complex process that is prone to contamination, which is counterproductive to the semiconductor process. The proprietary technique developed by Paragraf addresses this challenge, as it allows the graphene to be deposited and

formed directly onto the semiconductor substrate. This results in a one-atom thick layer that is completely free from contaminants. It is this technique that Paragraf has used to manufacture its first product, the Hall effect sensor. Because graphene has a very low sheet carrier concentration, this results in a sensor that is extremely sensitive to magnetic fields; as a result, the Graphene Hall Sensor (GHS) is as much as 30 times more sensitive than a Hall effect sensor manufactured using conventional semiconductor technology. A n ot h e r m a j o r b e n e f i t o f t h e manufacturing process perfected by 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



VIEWSONIC LAUNCHES NEW, ALL-IN-ONE DIRECT VIEW LED DISPLAYS WITH SIZES OF UP TO 216” Elegant design, user-friendly, and seamless viewing experience.


iewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual solutions, is introducing its latest All-in-One Direct View LED Displays, a brand-new addition to the large-size presentation display sector. Different from traditional LED displays, these new displays integrate display, image stitching, power supply, and control systems into one device that offers easy installation, operation, and maintenance. The elegant design of the All-in-One Direct View LED Display elevates the seamless viewing experience and easily merges with the surrounding environment in spaces such as lobbies, auditoriums, boardrooms, and conference rooms.

“As a leading visual solution provider, we are pioneering new trends in the LED projector and presentation display markets and moving the development of LED technology forward by achieving this new milestone in LED displays,” said Dean Tsai, the Head of the Projector & LED Display Business Unit of ViewSonic. “We created a whole new product category, and market sector with All-in-One Direct View LED Displays, which come in sizes of up to 216.” The complete product line-up delivers large-sized presentation displays for a wide array of usage scenarios and proves that we remain at the cutting edge of innovative applications in the display world.” Traditional large-size display solutions still have many limitations. LCD video walls have many LCD panels that are difficult to install, calibrate, and maintain.

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VIEW SONIC The panels are heavy with thick bezels, which can result in problematic image grids. Also, the size of a single LCD panel has a limitation of 98.” Although traditional LED displays constitute a significant improvement over LCD solutions and do not come with image grid issues, they still use separated systems for display, power supply, image stitching, and control, making them too large and difficult to maintain and operate. The brand-new ViewSonic All-in-One Direct View LED Display resolves all the pain points of traditional large-sized displays by providing innovative LED technology and integrating different systems into one device. Moreover, it supports wireless presentation and can operate as a large interactive display through being coupled with ViewSonic’s ViewBoard or touch monitor. Overall, ViewSonic’s All-in-One Direct View LED Display delivers a fantastic visual experience, and harmoniously blends in with its surroundings due to its elegant design. Because of its all-inone design, it features easy installation, operation, and maintenance with a low total cost of ownership in the long run. Fantastic Visuals For the magnificent viewing experience, the All-in-One Direct View LED display is available in four different sizes—108,” 135”, 163”, and 216”. It has a stunning and vivid 120% Rec.709 wide color gamut and up to 600 nits of brightness with eight levels of adjustment. Therefore, users can fine tune the brightness based on the environment. Elegant Design Achieving a natural and perfect merger with the surrounding environment, the ultra-thin and lightweight display features a thickness of only 35 mm. It’s as thin as a mural on a wall and blends in harmoniously with almost any interior design style. The super-slim bezel of only 10 mm provides an even more immersive viewing experience. User-Friendly For easy installation, operation, and maintenance, multiple pre-assembled and pre-calibrated panels eliminate the need for a complicated setup process. The pioneering modular design with wall mount or optional aluminum alloy floor

stand allows for easy installation that is time and labor efficient: the installation can be completed by two people in just two hours. One power button provides easy operation, and there is a wide selection of instantly accessible I/O ports. The system supports swappable modules, control systems, and 100% full front-maintenance using an electric vacuum suction tool. www.viewsonicglobal.com

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VIEWSONIC’S VIEWBOARD IFP70 SERIES RECEIVES MICROSOFT WINDOWS COLLABORATION DISPLAYS CERTIFICATION A leading global provider of visual solutions, today announces that its ViewBoard IFP70 Interactive Display series has been certified by Microsoft as Windows Collaboration Displays (WCD).


mong displays certified by WCD, the IFP70 series is the only one with a display size up to 86 inches. The ViewBoard IFP70 series is certified as an ideal USB-C one-cable solution, offering a superior touch and writing experience, delivering high-quality video for conferencing, and is Microsoft Azure IoT-certified to make workspaces smarter. “The ViewBoard IFP70 series is ViewSonic’s line of collaboration solutions, which are specially designed to provide enterprises with easy-touse, next-generation conferencing capabilities,” says Monica Sun, Director of the Large Format Display Business Unit at ViewSonic. “We are happy it was recognized by Microsoft as a certified Windows Collaboration Display

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and believe it will allow for advanced collaboration, and better work efficiency and productivity.” Certified WCD solution for better efficiency and productivity The ViewBoard IFP70 series makes use of a single USB-C cable that supports A/V, data, Ethernet, and power delivery, ensuring that every meeting or presentation gets started quickly and without a hitch. Meanwhile, it offers Windows Ink functionality in Microsoft 365 to let users take better notes during meetings. Adjust the line thickness by varying pressure on the screen with the included all-in-one smart pen that works for not only annotation but also presentation.


The ViewBoard IFP70 series is embedded with comprehensive conferencing features, including a wide-angle camera lens, a six-array mic, and 2.1 stereo speakers. In addition, the ViewBoard has the ability to automatically switch between the functionality of an external PC and the IFP70 while running Microsoft Windows and video conferencing. Microsoft Azure IoT certification means the ViewBoard IFP70 series helps make the workspaces smarter through a myriad of capabilities including built-in sensors that detect and measure the attendees, room temperature, humidity, and ambient light. These insights provide office managers with the data they need to optimise workspaces for employees and to improve upon energy efficiency by detailing energy consumption and cost breakdowns. Beyond WCD - advanced Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) experience ViewSonic provides advanced wireless presentation display (WPD) tools to make presentations, meetings, and workshops more interactive and collaborative to unleash the power of BYOD. With myViewBoard Display even a first-time user can share content from his or her device wirelessly without the need for dongles. In addition, the content-sharing app ViewBoard Cast provides complete sharing and collaboration functions to meet a variety of different meeting scenarios. In addition, myViewBoard Manager allows for efficient remote management of multiple displays in the same or in different offices. With Manager, IT administrators can power on/off, restart, and adjust the volume of their ViewSonic devices. Administrators now have the ability to control devices remotely and even display content and emergency broadcasts, all from a single dashboard. An added value to the WPD solution is

that these can be grouped and remotely updated, making it even easier to install software on several groups of devices simultaneously. www.viewsonicglobal.com

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ELECTRONIC ASSEMBLIES WITHOUT PCBS Laser direct structuring (LDS) is a special success story. For almost 20 years, it has been possible to apply electronic conductor paths directly onto plastic parts during series production.

L The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class.

DS enables the production of electronic assemblies with flexible geometric shapes. This process enables electronic products (such as smart phones, sensors or medical devices) to become even smaller and more powerful. Automated manufacturing processes also make this process more economically attractive. There is less and less space available for electronic assemblies, so solutions are needed which replace conventional printed circuit boards. LDS enables further miniaturisation and makes increasingly complex geometric designs possible. This is a stable and reliable process that has established itself in quality-critical sectors such as medical technology or safety-relevant components for the automotive industry.

Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) - The structure of the conductor path is applied using the LDS process. LDS enables electronic assemblies to be made in flexible geometric shapes. Smart phones, hearing aids and smart watches are becoming smaller and more powerful thanks to this process. 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020


The LDS process enables threedimensional assemblies Direct laser structuring enables 3D-MID (Mechatronic Integrated Devices) assemblies to be produced. When using 3D-MID, electronic components can be fitted directly onto a three-dimensional base body, without circuit boards or connecting cables. The base body is manufactured using an injection moulding process, whereby the thermoplastic material has a non-conductive, inorganic additive.

HARTING Dimensioning and positioning Minimum distances between the conductor paths (a): 50 – 150 μm. Minimum width of the conductor paths (b): 50 – 150 μm. Radius (r): 0.2 mm

The additives in the material are “activated” by direct laser structuring so that the plastic material can accommodate the electrical conductor paths. The laser beam writes the areas intended for the conductor paths and creates a micro-rough structure. The released metal particles form the nuclei for the subsequent chemical metallisation. In this way, the electrical conductor paths are applied to the areas marked by the laser. The other areas of the three-dimensional base body remain unchanged. The plastic component can then be assembled in standard SMD processes similar to a conventional PCB. It is also suitable for soldering in a reflow oven. Versatile application of laser technology HARTING 3D-MID AG is the largest supplier of 3D-MID components outside of Asia. HARTING uses high-performance laser systems for the LDS process, with three lasers working in parallel, each offset by 45 degrees. Thanks to an additional axis of rotation, components can be processed by the laser simultaneously from all sides (360 degrees). This technology enables flexible geometric shapes, such as reflector shells or LED lights, to be made. Despite the minimal conductor path thickness of 16 to 20 μm, the conductor paths are still suitable for

demanding automotive components or for applications with currents up to 10 A – for example for heating coils in cameras which are used to prevent the optics from fogging up. Frequent changes during the electronics development phase or new components with modified dimensions can lead to costly adjustments during conventional PCB production. The laser layout, in contrast, can be adapted very flexibly by using the parameters of the laser’s control software. No changes in the injection moulding are required for this. The production of prototypes using LDS is also easier compared to conventional processes. HARTING can produce the plastic base body using LDScompatible material and 3D printing. Injection moulding can also be used with inexpensive prototype tools. New trends in the LDS process Several aspects of LDS technology have been improved and further developed over the past few years. The working area of the laser has been enlarged from 160 x 160 x 80 mm to 200 mm x 200 mm x 80 mm, thus enabling a higher packing density and the processing of even larger components. The working speed of the laser can be doubled to 4 m/s by optimising the servo

units and mirrors which guide the laser beam, thereby significantly reducing the processing time. The improvement of the optics enables the use of a laser with a diameter of 100 μm and a laser with a fine focus of 50 μm for processing even smaller structures. H ARTIN G i s t h e o n l y 3 D - M I D manufacturer in the world that has a laser system with three fine focus optics of 50 μm. Even smaller conductor path gaps can be achieved thanks to this fine focus laser. Thus, many conductor paths can be created on the same component and a higher packing density can be implemented. This is used for safety technology, among other things, because the closely spaced and intertwined conductors are capable of triggering safety alarms from even the smallest physical interference. Advances in materials and economics Only specially selected thermoplastics are certified for the LDS process; these are available from stock. The process can be further improved with customer-specific adjustments to the plastic material: • HARTING uses a process which adds LDS additives to non-certified materials to make them MID-compatible. • Specific RAL or Pantone colours can be achieved with MID plastics by 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



using colour pigments and special LDS additives. • B y selecting suitable additives, special RF characteristics can also be implemented, depending on the frequency range.

Component carrier - Electronic components – such as LEDs, ICs, photodiodes and sensors – can be attached directly onto the component carrier. The assembled component carriers can then be processed as standard SMD components.

To further improve the cost-effectiveness of the manufacturing process, HARTING relies on automated robotic systems. The LDS laser system is equipped with a rotary indexing table so that a component can be inserted or removed while another component is still being processed. The in-feed and unloading procedures are automated by HARTING using robotics. This increases throughput and autonomy, while also enabling integration into automated production processes. An additional automation step is provided during the injection moulding process. Here, too, a robot takes over the removal of the injection moulded parts. The use of robotics also improves the precise reproducibility of the processes and, thus, overall product quality. More growth for 3D-MID HARTING reports increased demand for MID projects and has further expanded the 3D-MID division by investing in machinery and by acquiring a competitor’s business. Innovative in-house products are also contributing to further growth. HARTING has developed a solution based on 3D-MID technology which replaces flexible PCBs with a component carrier. Instead of using a flex-PCB, the component carrier can be fitted directly with electronic components, thus saving up to two thirds of the cost. About HARTING 3D-MID www.harting.com

Security caps for payment terminals - The 3D-MID caps protect the electronics from unauthorized access both mechanically and electronically. A highly precise meandering structure detects every access, no matter how small, and consequently prevents theft. 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020





ognex Corporation announces the launch of its DataMan® 8700 Series of handheld barcode readers. Built on a completely redesigned platform, this next generation of handheld readers delivers cutting-edge performance and ease of use with no tuning or operator training required. “Cognex specializes in reading the most difficult barcodes at the highest speed and accuracy,” said Carl Gerst, Cognex Senior Vice President and Business Unit Manager of Identification Products. “With the 8700 series, we’ve developed the world’s fastest line of industrial handheld readers, offering unprecedented response times and durability right out of the box.” Featuring advanced image formation and quick processing, the 8700 Series can instantly read challenging direct part mark (DPM) and label-based codes, even when vital elements of the code are missing or damaged. Designed with oil-resistant and waterproof plastics, the readers are built to last in the harshest manufacturing environments. The new readers include built-in OLED display screens to enable quick setup and operator feedback, such as wireless signal strength, read string data, and remaining battery life. They also support a broad range of industrial protocols and wireless communication options to connect seamlessly and operate efficiently in any facility. The 8700 Series is ideal for improving factory efficiency, productivity, and component traceability across a range of industries, including automotive, medical devices, electronics, and aerospace. www.cognex.com

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Each Linde forklift truck mast has two DataMan 360 Series barcode readers installed on it and the readers reliably read the 1D barcodes on the pallets to be loaded.


ging handheld laser scanners are considered outdated technology: When the forklift drivers load trucks at the Flensburger brewery with filled kegs or beer crates, a Cognex barcode reader mounted on the mast recognizes the pallet label and scans the barcode. This not only saves time, but enhances safety in congested forklift and truck traffic, and has proven its worth since the technology was installed.

Piotr Kaczmarek and Christian Ludwig, Business Solutions specialists at Jetschke, used their great knowledge and skills to meet the challenge.

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In beverage logistics, operations centers require large amounts of goods to be handled at high speed. This is particularly true for the Flensburger brewery, as the company has achieved growth in a virtually stagnant market and sold a record of 628,000 hectoliters of beer in 2018. In other words: 172,000 liters of beverages were brewed and bottled per day, and divided into 17 kinds. The bulk of the beer brewed continues to be the legendary Flensburger Pilsener with the distinctive swing top. The non-alcoholic beverage segment is also seeing strong

The readers can read all codes without a problem, even in poor ambient light, as they are equipped with high-performance lighting accessories.

growth, which has facilitated a business decision to build a new, larger logistics center. A new code-reading solution for pallet identification For the present, the logistics managers are working closely with Jetschke GmbH & Co. KG to optimise the flow of goods and information in the existing building. Jetschke is the licensed dealer for Linde forklift trucks in the far north. The company with over 270 employees provides and services the fleet of robust and high-performance multi-pallet forklift trucks that convey the “Flens” to the trucks. In addition, Jetschke is responsible for incorporating mobile scanning solutions into the information flow, i.e. into Flensburger brewery’s merchandise management system. Historically, the forklift drivers were equipped with a handheld scanner, with which they recorded the pallets to be loaded. A terminal in the forklift truck


In beverage logistics, the technical equipment must withstand a lot. Thanks to their robust design, the DataMan readers from Cognex consistently achieve extremely high read rates over time.

Even creased, torn or reflective codes can be read with the image processing-based devices’ robust decoding algorithms.

The splash guard protects the readers from everyday damage.

cabin displayed which lorry was to be loaded with the respective pallet and once the pallet was scanned and put on the lorry, the system registered the item as “loaded”. This is a common practice in many companies. However, Jetschke’s experts aimed for an even faster solution that was comfortable for the operators. The idea: An image processing system is mounted on the forklift truck’s mast, which automatically recognizes the palette’s EAN code. The driver simply activates the scan at the touch of a button, and is otherwise able to fully concentrate on driving and lifting the pallets; eliminating the need to handle the scanner. This saves time and enhances safety with the high volume of forklift trucks and trucks in the goods issue area. Wanted: Robust identification technology While the idea of installing fixed mount barcode readers to the forklift truck masts seems good in concept: It can

only be carried out if the barcode reader is robust enough to be able to withstand the constant vibrations and impact loads that act on the mast during the journey. The tough environmental requirements disqualified some common types of devices, such as laser scanners. They contain moving parts that would not survive long under the arduous conditions of beverage logistics. Fortunately, the logistics operations team evaluated Cognex DataMan 360 Series image-based barcode readers. They are ideally suited for robust industrial barcode reading applications — as they have no moving parts and are designed from the ground up to withstand tough environments. Image-based barcode readers prove themselves Christian Ludwig, a Business Solutions specialist at Jetschke, chose to use the DataMan 360: “Because the software is already integrated into the reader,

the devices are robust, easy to install, and are easy to adapt to the individual requirements of the application. The large depth of focus of the optics and the very high read rates, even under unfavorable conditions, are also advantageous.” The labels with the codes on them are often creased or partially torn due to the harsh environmental conditions. Nonetheless, the barcode readers at Flensburger brewery achieve continuously high read rates thanks to Cognex’s robust decoding algorithms. Flensburger brewery uses additional numeric coding on their pallet markings next to the barcode, so minor adjustments were required and were quickly completed. Christian Ludwig: “We also equipped the readers with a splash guard as they are used outdoors.” The forklift drivers no longer need to read the codes with handheld scanners, but only need to push a button to trigger the scanning process. This new solution brought huge time and cost savings, both through the modified scanning process, as well as eliminating the additional expenses associated with fixing damaged, unread codes. The masts of six Linde forklift trucks in the logistics center have been fitted with Cognex’s DataMan readers and the solution is proving a success. www.cognex.com

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TECHNOLOGY REPORT One for everything - DRT 25C dynamic reference diffuse sensor with innovative CAT technology.


ith the DRT 25C dynamic reference diffuse sensor, Leuze has brought a new operating principle to the market in the area of optical sensors. At the heart of the invention is the innovative CAT technology, which transforms a simple diffuse sensor into a highly intelligent device. This can be seen in the DRT 25C’s clever mode of operation: it is taught in on a reference surface at the press of a button which allows it to reliably detect nearly every object – independent of shape, color and surface structure. The reference surface can be a machine wall, a piece of sheet metal, or even a vibrating, moving conveyor belt. This makes the sensor particularly well suited for use in packaging systems, especially in the area of confectionery and baked goods. No readjustment is necessary when changing objects. The DRT 25C reliably detects the front edges of the objects, ensuring smooth processes and no machine downtime. The wide scanning range detects all types of products, even those with complex geometries.

Leuze’s detection expert – the DRT 25C – reliably meets the high requirements of packaging machines for confectionery and baked goods with innovative reference technology.

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From transparent to high-gloss: The reference technology enables the detection of packaging with a wide range of colors and transparency as a “deviation” from the conveyor belt surface.


The DRT 25C works with the conveyor belt surface as a dynamic reference for the detection of objects. This is how the sensor reliably detects all objects that do not correspond to the belt surface, even in the case of contamination and vibration of the conveyor belt.

Leuze developed its first optical sensor almost 60 years ago. Numerous technological milestones and innovations have followed since then. The more than 1,200 Sensor People worldwide view themselves as forerunners for their customers. Leuze has registered more than 200 patents in the last 10 years alone. All this with the goal of ensuring the lasting success of their customers in an industry that is ever evolving. Not only do the Sensor People have decades of experience but also indepth application know-how in their specific focus industries. One of these is the packaging industry, which, with throughput of several hundred thousand products per day and finely tuned process steps, places extremely high demands on the optical sensors. Clear-glass retroreflective photoelectric sensors require less maintenance through smart tracking. Thanks to line-shaped light spots, laser diffuse sensors detect objects – no matter how complex – on their front edge. Extremely powerful throughbeam photoelectric sensors detect the chocolate bar in its outer packaging with completely harmless infrared light. The

intelligent CAT technology, which the new DRT 25C dynamic reference diffuse sensor uses, continues the idea of the clever sensor. Our goal: detection on a running conveyor belt Packaging and the objects to be packaged vary widely in color, shape and surface structure: flat, glossy, transparent, with gaps or holes – the entire spectrum. As a result, they are not so easy to detect. However, that is the task of optical sensors in packaging systems. The challenge in object detection is in detecting as quickly and reliably as possible and ideally directly from above. At the same time, the working environment poses a challenge as well: the objects that are to be detected are usually on conveyor belts that move and vibrate and which may become soiled or wet. The sensor solutions currently on the market have so far only been able to perform this task to a limited extent. Thus, there was a need for precisely such an intelligent model. >>>

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CAT technology: Contrast Adaptive Teach This market requirement led to the development of the CAT technology at Leuze. CAT stands for Contrast Adaptive Teach. The underlying idea is simple: if the object can change at any time, use its environment instead as a constant reference surface. In packaging systems, this is the conveyor belt. This serves as a teachable reference. Once the sensor has been taught the contrast information of the conveyor belt, it only needs to be intelligent enough to adapt this knowledge to a possible change of environment. This is precisely what CAT technology does. Operating principle of dynamic reference diffuse sensors The new DRT 25C dynamic reference diffuse sensor uses the CAT technology in a new operating principle: it learns the signal parameters of the conveyor belt at the press of a button and stores them as the “standard zero”. Every object that is transported on the conveyor belt now generates a signal. If this deviates from the zero state, the DRT 25C reliably detects the object as a “deviation from the reference”. The performance of the device is optimised through the choice of teaching level. There is, for example, a teach routine for conveyor belts that become heavily soiled over time. Another teach level exists especially for the detection of very flat or even transparent objects. Once the sensor has been “taught”, no additional settings or readjustments are necessary. Not even if the object is changed, as the sensor operates together with the conveyor belt as a reference.

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The teach button is used to teachin the belt surface during the initial setup of the sensor. This means no additional setup time is required when changing products or packaging materials.

Reliable detection increases the throughput If, for example, a chocolate bar is not reliably detected, a failure quickly occurs in the subsequent, precisely cycled packaging, which must then first be removed and cleaned. The more reliably the sensor detects the product, the less frequent unplanned maintenance needs to be performed. Herein lies the strength of the DRT 25C dynamic reference diffuse sensor, which operates reliably even with difficult shapes and surfaces. This increases the machine throughput, the production quantity and avoids downtime. Because no adjustment work needs to be performed on the sensor when changing products or changing the packaging materials, setup time is also reduced, further increasing output quantities. Up to now, a format change – such as from the classic 100 g bar of chocolate to a mini chocolate cube – meant that sensors had to be readjusted. However, because the DRT 25C uses the conveyor belt as a reference, this is no longer necessary. Even if the color, height or contour of the

packaging changes, no settings need to be made at all on the dynamic reference diffuse sensor. The all-rounder based on CAT technology The DRT25C dynamic reference diffuse sensor represents a new operating principle that is based on the new intelligent CAT technology. It thereby sets new technological standards on the market and is another milestone in the innovation history of Leuze. Once again as forerunners, the Sensor People thereby precisely meet their customers’ requirements for reliable detection and make them successful in an industry that is ever evolving. After all, the success of their customers is their aspiration and goal. Reduced downtime, increased machine throughput as well as higher production quantities, all with maximum flexibility without readjustment when changing objects – that means increased cost effectiveness for their customers. www.leuze.com/drt25c


SOFTING ENHANCES EDGECONNECTOR SIEMENS Softing Industrial releases version v1.20 of edgeConnector Siemens. The software module is based on container technology and connects Siemens controllers with industrial IoT applications. In addition to SIMATIC S7-1200 and S7-1500, the new version also supports SIMATIC S7-300/400 controllers.


dgeConnector Siemens enables access to SIMATIC S7-1200 and S7-1500 data including optimised data blocks. Version v1.20 additionally s u p p o r t s SI M ATIC S 7 - 3 0 0 / 4 0 0 controllers. Client applications have access to data via the interoperability standard OPC UA. The product can be configured locally via a built-in Web interface, or remotely via a REST interface. It seamlessly integrates with Azure IoT Edge and AWS IoT Greengrass and is made available via online repositories such as Docker Hub.

Users benefit from flexible deployment and ease of use which comes with virtualization and container technology. Valuable process and machine data are made available for innovative IoT applications without any changes to the controller or automation network configuration. Advanced security features such as the management of access right for individual client applications increase the security of the entire solution. “edgeConnector Siemens is the first strategic expansion of our dataFEED product family to include virtualization and container technology,” says Wolfgang Wende, Senior VP Sales at Softing Industrial. It leverages Softing’s extensive experience with brownfield connectivity

and OPC UA technology and makes it available for new and highly efficient IoT solution architectures.” edgeConnector Siemens can be tested for free. It is currently evaluated by customers in the automotive, aerospace and food & beverage industry. Further information can be found on the product website. https://industrial.softing.com

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DELTA CONTROLS, A DELTA GROUP COMPANY, WINS THE 2020 GLOBAL BUILDING AUTOMATION SYSTEMS COMPANY OF THE YEAR AWARD BY FROST & SULLIVAN Delta, a global leader in power and thermal management solutions, today announced Delta Controls, Inc., a Delta Group company and provider of cutting-edge building automation systems, has won Frost & Sullivan’s 2020 Global Building Automation Systems Company of the Year Award. Frost & Sullivan called the IoT-enabled O3 Sensor Hub 2.0 “revolutionary”, before concluding, “it is beneficial not just for building owners, managers, and occupants, but also accepted by architects, installers, and consultant community as a highly cost-effective installation”. The hub utilizes sensor fusion technology for superior room control and to optimise occupant comfort. The ceiling-mounted device observes its environment and reports interior temperature, occupancy, humidity, lighting, heating and cooling – while serving as a connectivity platform for sensing air quality, ventilation, window contact and shade positions. It also supports multiple protocols that allow for integration with nearly any system, including native BACnet, MQTT and REST API for third-party integration and BLE API for custom app development.


he honor by the prestigious market research firm recognizes Delta Controls’ ability to provide superior value to worldwide customers with its industry-leading technologies that offer a full suite of smart features and functionality, as well as with its best-in-class technical support. Delta Controls’ signature O3 Sensor Hub 2.0, an innovative system integrating multiple sensors and IoT interfaces to enable nextgeneration smart and energy-efficient buildings, served as a key factor in receiving the Frost & Sullivan award.

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“Delta Controls exemplifies superior best practices in best-of-breed technology offerings and innovative solutions because it incorporates a convergence of technologies with a dedicated customer service partnership experience,” said Neha Tatikota, an industry analyst for energy and environment at Frost & Sullivan. Mr. Bill Lo, general manager of Delta’s Building Automation Business Group, said, “We are extremely proud of Delta Controls’ passion in always pushing the envelope. They are a tremendously valued part of Delta – enabling us to collectively create a more energy-efficient built environment for a smarter and greener future.”

“Winning this award is a testament to the hard work, spirit and dedication that shines across our organisation every day,” said John Nicholls, president of Delta Controls. “Our guiding philosophy is to ‘do it right,’ which fuels our ambition to develop only the most innovative solutions.” Surrey, Canada-based Delta Controls was acquired by Delta Electronics in 2016 to strengthen the company’s building automation capabilities and expand its portfolio of smart critical infrastructure solutions. www.deltacontrols.com


INNODISK AND DFI COMBINE EXPERTISE FOR THE BEST IN IOT DEVICE MANAGEMENT Combining DFI’s RemoGuard with Innodisk’s iCAP and InnoAGE provides a dual remote management solution for IoT devices that is even better than the sum of its parts.


he exponential growth of IoT devices brings a new challenge: how to effectively manage and monitor large numbers of connected devices that may be hard to access in widely-scattered remote locations? To answer this challenge, Innodisk, the leading industrial storage company, has combined its expertise with embedded technology specialists, DFI, to bring DFI’s RemoGuard remote management system to its customers. DFI joins Innodisk’s growing network of partners who incorporate Innodisk technology to provide a complete storage solution based around Innodisk’s IoT solutions.

Thanks to the integration of Innodisk’s i CA P a n d I n n o A G E d u a l - b a n d management technologies with DFI’s hardware design, RemoGuard can reduce maintenance staffing costs and response timesand prevent service downtime with features like real-time monitoringand one-button recovery. These advanced features add up to the world’s most comprehensive device management system. “Created in collaboration with Innodisk, a leader in the industrial Solid-state drive (SSD) market, DFI has launched RemoGuard to provide not only highperformance embedded solutions but also an advanced remote management solution. This add-on service helps customers to get through this difficult period and lets us look into a prospective future of cooperation,” said Steven Tsai, President of DFI.

iCAP Innodisk’s cloud management platform, iCAP, provides easy access to monitor and control local and remote devices. This management product detects and collects data, sends reports and alerts operators if the device crashes or experiences other problems. InnoAGE SSDs are increasingly dominant in responsive enterprise storage. Their unbeatable blend of speed, low power consumption, small size, and low maintenance lets us put SSDs almost anywhere. InnoAGE SSD is Innodisk’s out-of-band management-enabled flash storage solution, equipped with a Microsoft Azure Sphere. InnoAGE enables multifunctional management, smart data analysis and firmware updates, data security, and remote control through the cloud. www.innodisk.com 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020




High demands on products as well as high time and cost pressure are decisive competitive factors across all industries and sectors. Whether in the food or automotive industry quality, safety and speed are today more than ever before factors that determine the success of a company.


ero-defect production is the goal. But how can it be guaranteed that only flawless products leave the production line? In order to make quality inspection as efficient, simple, reliable and cost-effective as possible, the German company sentin GmbH develops solutions that use deep learning and industrial cameras from IDS to enable fast and robust error detection. A sentin VISION system uses AI-based recognition software and can be trained using a few sample images. Together with a GigE Vision CMOS industrial camera from IDS and an evaluation unit, it can be easily embedded in existing processes.

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High demands on products as well as high time and cost pressure are decisive competitive factors across all industries and sectors. Whether in the food or automotive industry - quality, safety and speed are today more than ever before factors that determine the success of a company. Zero-defect production is the goal. But how can it be guaranteed that only flawless products leave the production line? How can faulty quality decisions, which lead to high costs, be avoided? In order to test this reliably, a wide variety of methods are used in quality assurance.

dents visible on reflecting and mirroring surfaces), but also in the food industry (object and pattern recognition). Depending on the application, the AI is trained to detect errors or anomalies. With the latter, the system learns to distinguish good from bad parts. If, for example, a surface structure is inspected, see metal part in the automotive industry or ceramic part, errors are detected by Artificial Intelligence as deviations from a comparison with reference images. By using anomaly detection and pre-trained models the system can detect defects based on just a few sample images of good parts.

A visual inspection with the human eye is possible, but it is often error-prone and expensive: the eye tires and working time is costly. A mechanical test, on the other hand, is usually accompanied by a complex calibration, i.e. setting up and adjusting all parameters of both software and hardware in order to detect every error. In addition, product or material changes require recalibration. Furthermore, with the classic, rule-based approach, a programmer or image processor must program rules specifically for the system to explain to the system how to detect the errors. This is complex and with a very high variance of errors often a hardly solvable Herculean task. All this can cost disproportionately much time and money. In order to make quality inspection as efficient, simple, reliable and costeffective as possible, the German company sentin GmbH uses IDS industrial

cameras and deep learning to develop solutions that enable fast and robust error detection. This is because, in contrast to conventional image processing, a neural network learns to recognize the features on the basis of images themselves. This is exactly the approach of the intelligent sentin VISION system. It uses an AIbased recognition software and can be trained on the basis of a few sample images. Together with a GigE Vision CMOS industrial camera from IDS and an evaluation unit, it can be easily embedded in existing processes. Application The system is capable of segmenting objects, patterns and even defects. Even surfaces that are difficult to detect cannot stop the system. Classical applications can be found, for example, in the automotive industry (defect detection on metallic surfaces) or in the ceramics industry (defect detection by making

The hardware setup required for the training and evaluation consists of an IDS industrial camera and appropriate lighting. The recognition models used are trained using reference images. For example, a system and AI model was configured for the error-prone inspection of fabric Webs in the textile industry. A difficult task, as mistakes can be very subjective and very small. The system camera for optimum image material of textiles and Web materials was selected together with IDS on the basis of specific customer requirements. A GigE Vision CMOS camera (GV-5880CP) was selected, which provides high-resolution data, triggered with precise timing, for accurate image evaluation. The system learns what constitutes a “good� fabric structure and knows already from a few shots of the fabric what a clean and flawless product looks like. For quality inspection, the image captured by the IDS Vision CP camera is then forwarded via GigE interface to an evaluation computer and processed with the recognition model. This computer can then reliably distinguish good/bad parts and highlight deviations. It gives an output signal when an error is found. In this way, slippage and pseudo rejects can be reduced quickly and easily. Slippage is the proportion of products that do not meet the standard but are overlooked and therefore not sorted out, often leading to complaints. Pseudo 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



Anomaly extracted from a recording of a substance – sentin GmbH

The GigE Vision camera GV-5880CP from IDS ensures precise image acquisition and accurate image evaluation when inspecting fabric Webs – sentin GmbH

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rejects, on the other hand, are those products that meet the quality standard but are nevertheless incorrectly sorted out. Both hardware and software of the system are flexible: For multiple or wider Webs, additional cameras can easily be integrated into the setup. If necessary, the software also allows for re-training of the AI models. “Experience simply shows that a certain amount of night training is always necessary due to small individual circumstances. With pre-trained models from our portfolio, you need fewer reference images for individualization and post training,” explains Christian Els, CEO and co-founder of sentin. In this case, the images show the structured surface of a fabric and a small anomaly on it, which was filtered out in the image on the left. Camera Extremely accurate image acquisition and precise image evaluation are among the most important requirements for the camera used. Perfectly suitable: The GigE Vision CMOS camera GV-5880CP. The model has a 1/1.8" rolling shutter CMOS sensor Sony IMX178, which enables a very high resolution of 6.4 MP (3088 x 2076 px, aspect ratio 3:2). It delivers frame rates of up to 18 fps at full resolution and is therefore ideal for visualisation tasks in quality control. The sensor from the Sony STARVIS series features BSI technology (“back-sideillumination”) and is one of the most lightsensitive sensors with a low dark current close to the SCMOS range (Scientific CMOS). It ensures impressive results even under very low light conditions. Thanks to the sensor size of 1/1.8", a wide range of C-Mount lenses is available for the GigE Vision camera model GV-5880CP. “In addition to resolution and frame rate, the interface and the price were decisive factors in the decision for the camera. The direct exchange with the IDS development department has helped us to reduce the time needed for camera integration,” says Arkadius Gombos, Technical Manager at sentin. The integration into the sentin VISION system is done via GenTL and a Python interface.

Conclusion Automated, image-based quality control with Artificial Intelligence offers many advantages over human visual inspection or conventional machine vision applications. “In AI-based image interpretation, the aim is to create images on which humans can see the error, because then the AI model can do it too,” concludes Christian Els. The system learns to recognize the requirements of the product similar to a human being. But the human brain is beaten at any time by an artificial intelligence in terms of consistency and reliability. Even if the brain is capable of remarkable peak performance, an AI can recognize much more complex error patterns. The human eye, on the other hand, cannot stand up to any camera in terms of fatigue and vision. In combination with deeplearning recognition software, the image processing system therefore enables particularly fast and accurate inspection. Depending on the application, image acquisition and evaluation can take place in just a few milliseconds. The system can also be applied to other areas such as surface testing. Similar applications are e.g. the testing of matte metal/coatings surfaces (automotive interior), natural materials (stone, wood) or technical textiles such as leather. Scratches, cracks and other defects on consumer goods can thus be detected and the respective products sorted out. Exclude quality defects and produce only “good stuff” - an indispensable process within the framework of quality assurance. IDS cameras in combination with the deep learning supported software of sentin GmbH significantly optimise the detection of defects and objects in quality control. This allows the personnel and time expenditure for complaints and rework, as well as pseudo rejects, to be significantly reduced in a wide range of industries and areas. https://en.ids-imaging.com

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Within manufacturing, there is a desire to make efficiency and productivity improvements throughout every part of the production process. realise that increases in profitability can often only be achieved by optimising complex industrial processes at the source, many organisations are turning to programmable automation controls and optimisation software to accomplish this. While these tools are rapidly evolving to keep up with changing industry demands, complexities such as communications latency and network security can be a challenge.


hile Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), developed in the 1970s, offer much greater flexibility for programming compared to relay-based systems, they are still programmed using ladder-logic to mimic the appearance of wiring diagrams. Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs) provided progression by offering a single platform that operates in multiple domains such as motion, discrete and process control applications, offering an even higher level of flexibility and interoperability with enterprise systems. However, they are unable to dynamically adjust to changing business objectives and are viewed as static components, heavily constrained by the design specification at installation.

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While most manufacturers still use PLCs and PACs, the industrial Internet era has created the opportunity for analytics tools to evolve. Data analytics tools are becoming more complex to address the increasing need for flexibility, and presenting more opportunities to achieve operational efficiency, cut costs and drive productivity. Device and equipment integration The IIoT involves many physical devices that produce a large amount of data. Integrating and organising this data is critical to gaining meaningful and actionable insights. Data and analytics can help tie equipment operation to business objectives and performance. When devices and equipment are successfully integrated within the plant as well as with business automation tools, it becomes easier to develop condition-based maintenance strategies and improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Condition-based maintenance is a strategy based on monitoring the actual condition of equipment and deciding what maintenance is required based on early warning signs of failures, as opposed to a calendar-based maintenance. This works on many types of equipment, especially if it performs a consistent task such as a pump, motor, compressor or fan. Technicians look at long-term trends of key process parameters for the equipment and learn to spot changes in behaviour indicating mechanical problems are forming, and advanced users may develop statistical models of the equipment and compare existing behaviour to the model in order to locate potential problems. High-performance Edge computing The latest advances in processor technology is rapidly increasing the performance of industrial devices, leading to an expanded and often multi-purpose role for edge controllers. One way to get


the most of out of the inherent multi-core processing power of the new generation of outcome-optimising edge devices is by virtualising programmable automation control systems. The ability of hardware virtualisation techniques to run multiple operating systems in tandem provides a new approach to the optimisation of control processes. with analytics and optimisation applications run at the machine level without directly impacting or hindering deterministic, real-time control. Real-time data By capturing and analysing data and using that data in real time to adapt to a wide range of variables, the latest generation of programmable automation control systems provide enhanced productivity, efficiency and security to any operation. Because every operation is different and every organisation will have different types and numbers of connected devices and processes, the more flexibility and connectivity an optimisation software offers when leveraging external data for analysing and optimising industrial operations, the better. Edge technology also plays an important in role in real-time data processing. While the cloud can do wonders in

allowing a centralised way to process and store massive amounts of data, there continues to be a problem with latency for some applications where even a splitsecond delay in sending and processing data can hinder an operation. For those applications, processing data at the edge instead of sending it to the cloud removes this delay and decisions can be made immediately, resulting in true real-time response. Local web-based HMIs Human-machine interfaces (HMI) can access data at the device using a Web browser. The Web-based HMI offers many benefits, one of the most significant being that it is accessible from anywhere. Web-based HMIs also can be accessed on any mobile device, which can reduce a facility’s device footprint and support the new generation of workers who prefer to use these tools while working physically in or away from the plant. A Web-based application can be developed once and then provided to any device supporting typical Web browsers, which can cut costs and save time during development and troubleshooting. Remote monitoring It can be challenging for OEMs to assess the health of their machines and systems, especially when they have large fleets or numerous remote assets to track. Without connectivity, the OEM service teams need to travel to each customer using their equipment either proactively or reactionary because something has already failed. The first scenario can potentially involve a lot of travel time to visit equipment that is running just fine.

The second isn’t much better, because the OEM is visiting a customer who is already impacted by equipment failures, which might create reputational harm and the potential loss of future sales. Therefore, the benefit of real-time information, especially when the information is by exception, is that the OEM service teams have insight into the health of their assets remotely. This way, OEMs can be proactive, servicing equipment during early warning signs of failure, rather than when the equipment has actually failed. When OEMs can remotely and securely collect and analyse data, they easily can provide actionable information for maintenance engineers and end users who have purchased the equipment. With access to detailed fault logs, hardware and firmware versions, and sweep time, operators can debug faults remotely, greatly reducing operational costs and unplanned downtime. Remote monitoring and diagnoses using cloud-based services also provides OEMs with insight into how customers are using their machines, and can optimise asset performance, processes, and profitability. www.emerson.com

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Industrial companies face an ever-changing landscape of operational challenges. A process plant or manufacturing facility deals with a complex set of variables that can affect machine or production performance. As one problem or bottleneck is solved, another seems to appear. For many years, plant operations teams have been using DCS, PLC, SCADA and MES technology as the tools to improve automation, alarms, analysis and reporting. However, as automation approaches the machine level gaps still remain, leaving islands of information that could support improved business decision-making still inaccessible.


he recent emergence of Industry 4.0 and advancements in electronic components have helped those traditional tool sets become a lot smarter by adding cloud connectivity, cybersecurity and distributed processing power, amongst other things. This new convergence of technology has created an opportunity when it comes to problemsolving functionality, operational insight and the implementation of new techniques, in an emerging industrial automation space called “the edgeâ€?.

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Edge computing Powerful computers have now merged with the CPU of a traditional industrial automation control system to provide 2-in-1 devices that are physically the size of a book. This means that the same device that controls your machine or process has an onboard, cloud-capable computer to provide new on-machine functionality. While control systems have historically been connected to computers, these were generally separate workstations or servers that were most likely located in an office far from the machine. This perpetuated the concept of an office IT network that is separate from the OT (operations technology) plant floor network. However, a combined computing and control device provides

companies with new opportunities for storage, analysis, processing power and cloud connectivity right at the machine, or edge. Smarter control Companies with a computer running at the edge can benefit by controlling their machine or process in a smarter way. Traditional PLC/DCS have some limitations in programming languages, but a computer provides more powerful computing and processing functionality. Advanced algorithms can be processed on the computer side of the edge controller box and passed back to the real-time control system to provide an extra smart control loop. This enables a new form of advanced processing power in a tiny form factor.


Emerson’s PACSystems RX3i CPL410 Edge Controller provides real-time deterministic control, analysis and visualisation of data at the machine level and connectivity to the IT and cloud level.

Simplified local data storage The computer side of the edge-enabled controller box enables a local data historian to be run for storage of the realtime data that is generated on the PLC side of the box. This provides the flexibility of local machine data that could be analysed right at the source or connected to a plant-wide historian server for centralised storage if that is preferred. Of course, local storage will help with better execution of machine learning and optimisation algorithms. Reduced complexity With a computer inside the edge-enabled controller box, companies don’t have to buy an external computer to see what’s going on in a machine. Peripherals can simply be connected to the ports available on the controller box. Connecting a

local display is as easy as plugging in a cable. This simplifies the computer requirements across the plant and gives users hardened industrial devices that provide maximum reliability. A single edge controller device can control a machine, connect to a cloud storage service, store data, run complex algorithms, get realtime visibility and provide a platform for real-time decision-making.

Edge controllers can help to enhance multi-organisation collaboration, such as manufacturers and raw material suppliers. The opportunity to connect to third parties’ systems such as off-site supply chain systems, as well the onsite MES or ERP, provides an easy means of digital collaboration between different organisations, ensuring transparency and greater efficiency.

Cloud connectivity Implementing a cloud strategy is no longer complex. Using an edge-enabled control system, the automation system on your machine can be easily connected to a cloud storage service in just a few minutes. This new generation of control products has taken away any mystery that existed in getting this done, so instead of thinking about how to connect, you can instead consider what to connect. The ability to connect a machine status to the outside world enables new business models through connectivity to remote fleet, corporate, expert or market data.

As well as data being sent to the cloud, it can also be received. A cloud-based algorithm can collect data from multiple sites and use powerful centralised processing to run the master algorithm of the company. The result can send data to a controller that can improve production or reduce costs. An example of this could be a cloud algorithm checking live energy tariffs and sending a message to the controller to run pumps or motors when the energy price is low.

Connecting machines and processes to the cloud offers companies a number of potential opportunities and benefits. For example, one of the easiest ways to identify an improvement opportunity is to compare similar assets from different locations and to benchmark their performance. An under-performing asset is easy to identify using basic KPIs, and raising its performance level can bring quick improvement. Collecting data from sensors on a machine provides a long-term picture of its performance against the original design theory. Determining real-world failure modes and thresholds can then help to improve future designs and brings competitive advantages for the OEM. Sensor data can also be used to build a digital history of performance and machine health. Algorithms can then be developed that use real-time sensor data to create alerts for domain experts located anywhere in the world should performance deviate from optimum levels or equipment health degrade.

By combining some of these functionalities, new business models emerge. OEMs can create new value for their customers by offering new types of service agreements. Raw material suppliers can differentiate themselves by accepting stricter contractual terms with their customers as a result of effective real-time business critical information. Automation system integrators can expand their businesses by offering new and differentiated cloud-based services. Industrial plant monitoring centres could become a new industry as more and more machines get connected. Learn more about edge technology at: www.emerson.com/en-us/automation/ control-and-safety-systems/ programmable-automation-controlsystems/edge-devices-software www.emerson.com/en-us/automation/ control-and-safety-systems/ programmable-automation-controlsystems/programmable-automationcontrollers

Having self-diagnosed machine health or status, edge controllers can connect to a cloud solution that uses GPS and geofencing to alert an appropriately skilled technician closest to site to repair the problem as quickly as possible. 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020




Setting standards: uEye SE cameras with fourth-generation Sony Pregius sensor.


DS integrates the high-performance, extremely high-resolution sensor IMX541 from the Pregius S series into the versatile uEye SE camera family. Thanks to its compact 1.1" format, the 20.35 MP CMOS sensor is compatible with C-mount lenses. The industrial cameras feature a practical USB3 Vision interface, deliver 20 fps and will be available from September either as board-level models or with a robust metal housing.

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Pregius S – the fourth generation of extremely powerful CMOS image sensors from Sony – makes BSI (“Back Side Illuminated”) technology available for the first time in global shutter sensors. The benefits are smaller pixels (only 2.74 µm, which allows a significantly higher pixel density), higher resolution and also improved quantum efficiency and sensitivity. The new camera models deliver outstanding image quality that leaves nothing to be desired even in demanding machine vision applications such as surface inspections, detailed image evaluation in medical technology or use in the traffic sector. Anyone who values high-resolution images – for example to detect even the smallest material defects – will hardly be able to overlook these sensors in the future.

The compact industrial cameras are therefore also a sensible alternative to cameras with similar high-resolution, but large-format sensors, for which F-mount lenses are usually required. With the uEye SE models, C-mount lenses can be used – which means considerable cost savings. Thanks to the USB3 Vision interface, the cameras are also uncompromisingly Vision Standards-compliant and can therefore be used comfortably with IDS peak, for example. The free SDK is characterized by an easy-to-use programming interface developed by IDS. Users no longer need to work directly with GenTL and GenAPI. Convenience classes help to reduce programming effort and thus minimise potential sources of error. https://en.ids-imaging.com/newsarticle/ueye-se-sony-imx541.html


FLIR SYSTEMS RELEASES OCCUPANCY MANAGEMENT SOLUTION FOR BRICKSTREAM 3D GEN2 PEOPLE COUNTING SYSTEM Organisations can Automate Capacity Counting for High FootTraffic Spaces to Maintain Social Distancing Compliance.


LIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced availability of the FLIR Occupancy Management Solution for FLIR Brickstream 3D Gen2 to automate occupancy counting within high-traffic and capacity-limited areas. To support social distancing guidelines during and following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Occupancy Management Solution provides organisations with an easy-to-use, real-time capacity counting and display tool for multiple entries and exits.

“Many organisations are manually measuring occupancy, but this process is often inaccurate, cumbersome and expensive,” said Paul Clayton, General Manager, Components Business at FLIR Systems. “FLIR addressed this challenge by introducing a cost-effective, scalable, self-contained, and automated monitoring solution suitable for a variety of locations from grocery stores, stadiums, theaters, transportation hubs, to manufacturing plants, and office spaces.” The Occupancy Management Solution is platform agnostic with an integrated IoT architecture, which can be implemented within existing Wi-Fi access points, offering a complete edge-based solution with the Brickstream 3D Gen2 hardware. It provides a simple display dashboard for capacity updates that can be viewed by staff or customers on devices with a Web

browser. It may be used as a stand-alone or integrated into existing perimeter systems, making it ideal for most environments where occupancy must be closely managed. Current Brickstream 3D Gen2 customers can purchase and add this feature with via a remote firmware upgrade. This solution is part of FLIR Systems’ COVID-19 response product portfolio, which includes the FLIR EST camera series, to help organisations improve safety in public places and other high traffic areas. The FLIR Occupancy Management Solution for Brickstream 3D Gen2 is available today from FLIR and its global Brickstream distribution partners. www.flir.com/occupancy

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he resilience of data centres across Europe is at risk as the industry looks towards a permanent renewable energy infrastructure, according to a major new report launched by global temporary power and temperature solutions company, Aggreko. The report - Mission Critical - provides unique insight of 700 data centre consultants across the Netherlands, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the UK and Ireland, following a survey conducted by independent agency Censuswide on behalf of Aggreko. The results found that more than half (55%) of those surveyed expressed at least some concern about the capabilities of the local grid and energy infrastructure’s ability to meet current demand. Among the least confident were respondents in the UK and the Netherlands. Grid limitations were also the cause of most power outages across the regions for 60% of respondents. This could be one of the reasons for the high take up of renewable technology, with solar (70.4%) and wind (65.4%) popular among Europe. However, while the move towards renewables appears to be gathering pace, a number of barriers to adopting the technology were also highlighted, including energy storage and changing technology. While the uptake in renewables is to be welcomed, it could leave the resilience of data centre facilities at risk, as Chris Rason, UK Managing Director of Aggreko, explains: “Renewable technology is a key driver for the data centre market, and our

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research shows that both solar and wind are popular technologies. “However, as the use of these technologies increases, the risk to resilience also rises, especially during periods of intermittent energy supply. Energy storage is clearly a concern here, but as the use of diesel generators drops, operators and contractors need to look for greener solutions to ensure backup power is available during periods of intermittence.” On-site generation is also considered in the report, after more than 60% claimed that power security was a key driver to

adopting a decentralised energy solution. Only one third (35.7%) admitted that onsite generation was in place as a revenue stream, while almost half (47%) cited rising energy costs as a key driver. The report also includes an opinion piece from Zahl Limbuwala, Executive Director of Strategy & Market Engagement for CBRE Data Centre Solutions Group. He comments: “The findings from Aggreko’s survey provide further evidence of the rising challenges facing data centre operators. As the industry continues to grow, these challenges will only become more prevalent and perhaps a barrier to continued progress. Understanding the


• 700 data centre consultants covering seven European countries surveyed • More than half expressing at least some concern about their local energy grid • 60% claim grid limitation are among main causes of power outages • 40.5% believe first generation infrastructure designs cannot meet temperature control demands • Solar (70.4%) and wind (65.4%) among renewable energy being adopted • 60% claim power security as key driver towards decentralised energy adoption

obstacles – and how to overcome them – is extremely important but we are confident our innovative industry can rise to the challenge.” The survey results also show cause for concern when considering a data centre’s ability to cope with temperature demand. Last year saw Europe experience record high temperatures. With over 40% of respondents believing that first generation data centres are not able to meet temperature challenges, the question of whether facilities are able to cope with a warming planet continue to be raised.

Chris Rason adds: “Addressing the concerns of rising temperatures is already a priority for data centres and we have seen a trend towards free cooling being implemented in facilities. However, with temperatures on the increase, consultants are showing uncertainty as to whether facilities can indeed cope with the heat.

Aggreko is the world’s largest hire company, providing temporary power, battery storage, temperature control and testing solutions to data centres. Supporting a number of world’s leading data centre operators, Aggreko’s extensive experience covers all types of data centre, including hyperscales, edge and co-location.

“Data centre operators and managers should ask themselves, “can this facility cope with sustained periods of heat?” If the answer is no, then considering alternative or temporary cooling solutions during peak periods should be encouraged.”

The report – Mission Critical: Power resilience, competitiveness and sustainability in European Data Centres – can be downloaded on the Aggreko website. www.aggreko.com/missioncritical 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



FLIR ANNOUNCES THE TG165-X THERMAL CAMERA WITH ADDED PATENTED MSX IMAGE ENHANCEMENT The Newest FLIR Spot Thermal Camera Offers Improved Diagnosis for Electrical and Inspection Maintenance.


LIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) today announced the TG165-X MSX® Thermal Camera for electrical contractors, machine technicians, facilities maintenance engineers, home inspectors, and HVAC professionals. Engineered for tough work environments, this upgrade to the popular TG165 provides an all-in-one diagnostics tool with a spot temperature gun and thermal imager, enhanced by FLIR’s patented Multi-spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX).

Built around a true thermal 80 × 60 camera sensor with 4,800 pixels, FLIR MSX’s twocamera technology makes images easier to understand by adding visual details to full thermal images and making them sharper to recognize physical features. A new laser-projected bullseye target aids in pinpointing areas of concern, while the bright 2.4-inch LCD color display and wide 51 degrees × 66 degrees field-of-view provide a comprehensive view of the area of interest.

“With the addition of MSX, the TG165-X offers improved identification of hot spots that indicate electrical or mechanical failures, and the cold spots that indicate water or air leaks,” said Rickard Lindvall, General Manager, Solutions at FLIR Systems. “Further, the TG165-X visually guides professionals to the source of common system failures so they can diagnose the problem and begin repairs more quickly.”

The TG165-X includes an IP54 enclosure for protection against dust and water and a drop-rating of two meters (6.6 feet), making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor inspections. The camera can store up to 50,000 images and data to an embedded four-gigabyte flash memory which can be downloaded to FLIR Tools to create professional reports. The FLIR TG165-X is available globally today for $399 USD through FLIR and authorized FLIR distributors. www.flir.com/tg165-x

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SHARP IMAGES EVEN WITH VARYING OBJECT DISTANCES IDS extends selection of automatically focusable board-level cameras. Thanks to their practical autofocus function, uEye LE AF industrial cameras deliver perfectly focused images even with frequently changing object distances.

uEye LE AF camera models from IDS feature a practical autofocus function.


DS Imaging Development Systems GmbH now offers additional camera variants with 2.1 and 3.1 MP Sony sensors which provide more flexibility in terms of application design and camera integration. For the first time, the company also offers models with upright USB Type-C alignment in this product family.

In addition to the previously available uEye LE AF cameras with 6.4 MP (IMX178, 58 fps) and 18.1 MP (AR1820HS, 20 fps) sensors, customers can now also purchase models with 2.1 (IMX290, 120 fps) or 3.1 MP (IMX265, 80 fps). All cameras feature a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface, USB Power Delivery – which can be used, for example, to power an LED light source or a photoelectric sensor – and allow the use and control of liquid lenses.

The autofocus function ensures sharp images in the blink of an eye, even if the lens is not physically accessible or if the distance between the lens and the object changes frequently. The board-level cameras are therefore particularly well suited for applications in fields such as logistics (e.g. for parcel acceptance and sorting) or traffic monitoring. Due to their compact design with dimensions of only 36 x 36 x 20 mm they also prove their strengths in embedded vision systems. This means that they are also interesting for integration into small medical or industrial devices. https://en.ids-imaging.com/store/ products/cameras/ids-interface/ usb-3.1-gen.-1/ids-family/le/idscamoptions/autofocus.html

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H As one of the most ambitious smart city projects in Europe, Hamburg, Germany is determined to tackle its urban mobility and sustainability challenges head-on. To have better insights into its city dynamics, Hamburg strongly believes in digitizing traffic. Data collection and data analysis will allow the city’s traffic authorities to make smarter decisions. A new set of data will come from a vast network of FLIR thermal imaging cameras.

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amburg is Germany’s second largest city and a major port city in the North of the country. It is connected to the North Sea by the Elbe River. Hamburg is quickly building a reputation as Germany’s most innovative smart city. The city has launched no less than 60 smart city initiatives that address the city’s mobility and sustainability challenges. Hamburg feels a high sense of urgency to tackle its mobility problems. According to a 2018 survey of German cities by navigation technology company TomTom®, Hamburg has more congestion than any other city in Germany, even Berlin. The study revealed that in 2018, Hamburg commuters encountered jams on 33% of road journeys, which means motorists lost on average 113 hours a year to traffic jams. Collecting traffic data Hamburg city authorities are convinced that congestion can be mitigated by having a better picture of the traffic dynamics. Where in the city does traffic flow smoothly and where do traffic jams occur regularly? What traffic diversions make sense? And how are roadworks affecting traffic fluidity? Based on this type of traffic data, Hamburg traffic authorities

want to make better traffic forecasts and smarter real-time decisions. To meet its high need for traffic data, Hamburg Verkehrsanlagen GmbH (HHVA), the city’s public service provider for traffic control and infrastructure, ordered more than 2,000 FLIR thermal imaging sensors for vehicle and bike detection, to be installed on traffic lights and street lighting by 2021. The cameras are helping traffic controllers to adjust signals in (near) real-time depending on how busy the roads are. Furthermore, the huge volume of traffic data helps traffic managers to improve their long-term planning and reduce blockages. Data collected by the FLIR sensors is fed to the city’s Urban Data Platform, a cloudbased platform that enables its users to evaluate the data in real time. One of the users of the platform is the Hamburg traffic police, who is using the data to optimise traffic light control and solve traffic issues, like unusual congestion or roadworks, much faster. Vehicle data on intersections FLIR’s thermal imaging cameras will be used for two separate data collection projects, both of which will be managed on the Urban Data Platform. Most of the

More insight into the city’s traffic dynamics will help Hamburg to reduce congestion. 2,000 FLIR sensors for vehicle and bike detection will be installed on traffic lights and street lighting by 2021. FLIR thermal sensors can distinguish between passenger cars, trucks and cyclists. Hamburg can monitor intersections closely 24 hours a day in all weather conditions.

thermal cameras will collect data about the motorized traffic at approximately 420 intersections all over Hamburg. The plan is to install multiple thermal cameras per intersection to monitor traffic in every possible direction. The FLIR sensors are capable of collecting traffic data, including volume, speed, occupancy, headway, gap time and vehicle classification (including passenger car, truck and bicycles). The integrated traffic data can be provided for each lane and each vehicle class separately. All this information will enable traffic managers to forecast traffic more accurately, simulate developments, plan for more or fewer lanes, make smarter decisions about parking management, and much more. Bike counting FLIR cameras attached to 45 street lights will be used to collect data about bicycle traffic for the Hamburg-wide Bicycle Traffic Counting Network project. The cameras are installed on important bicycle routes in the inner city, on major entry routes, and on the Elbe river crossing, which has heavy traffic due to the few crossing points.

The location of the counting points in the city road network should enable the city to investigate influences such as weather, public holidays, major events, construction sites, as well as the effects of traffic diversions on the volume of bicycle traffic. According to city officials, counting bicycle traffic with FLIR thermal cameras is much more efficient and cost-effective. Whereas in the past, bicycles were counted via in-ground magnetic loops, optical sensors, or even manually, the FLIR sensors can be mounted on the existing lighting infrastructure and can monitor bicycle traffic 24/7. 24/7 thermal detection The city of Hamburg opted for FLIR’s ThermiCam 2, an integrated thermal sensor and detector for vehicle and bike detection. The FLIR ThermiCam 2 does not need light to operate. It uses the thermal energy (heat) emitted from vehicles and cyclists. This enables the sensor to detect vehicles and bikes over a long range, even in poor lighting conditions, in bad weather and at night. The thermal sensor also has no problem with shadows and intense sunlight; phenomena which are hard to deal with when using regular visiblelight cameras. Being able to rely on the

cameras in all conditions means Hamburg can monitor intersections closely 24 hours a day in all conditions. Another important benefit is that thermal cameras present no privacy issues, which are a major hurdle for visible-light cameras. Although thermal cameras provide enough detail to know the type of vehicle (FLIR ThermiCam 2 collects data about five different vehicle classes), they cannot see faces or license plates. Reducing traffic pollution The 2,000 thermal cameras installed across Hamburg will help traffic authorities to forecast traffic, reduce congestion, and make smarter decisions on roadworks or traffic diversions. But smoothening the traffic flows also has another benefit. Reducing congestion in the city will undoubtedly lead to less idling traffic, which in turn will improve the city’s air quality. The national German government has adopted the EU’s Clean Air initiative, which lays out stringent guidelines for improving air quality in German cities over the next decade. FLIR sensors will help Hamburg and Germany to reach that goal. www.flir.com/traffic 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020




The vastness of the Galician coastline and the multitude of fishing and farming activities call for a more automated surveillance approach.

FLIR PT Series cameras were used in a surveillance project to detect and monitor illegal fishing and poaching activities along the Spanish Galician coast. The FLIR thermal imaging cameras combined with maritime video analytics from Gradiant were ideal for spotting illegal vessels on a 24/7 basis and at a long range.


ishing, shellfish harvesting, and marine aquaculture – mainly mussel farming in inshore waters are important economic activities in Galicia (northwest of Spain). Local public authorities strictly control these activities to prevent exploitation, fish stock depletion and resulting economical losses. They are fighting a constant battle against this unfair and illegal competition that affects thousands of professionals who make a living from the fishing and seafood industry. Illegal fishing and poaching of seafood resources also has an enormous impact on the environment and food safety; especially during periods of toxic algal bloom (red tides), when fishing conditions are hazardous for public health.

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FLIR thermal cameras allowed the Galician Coast Guard to detect illegal activities over a long range on a 24/7 basis, even at night and in adverse weather conditions

Gradiant’s video analytics software allowed the coast guard to detect, track and geo-localize people and vessels, including small wooden and plastic boats.

Challenges of coastal monitoring The detection of unauthorized fishing and shellfish harvesting is of paramount importance for the Galician authorities. However, monitoring and protecting all of Galicia’s inshore and offshore fisheries, shellfish harvesting areas, and marine aquaculture farms is a challenging task. Galicia has 1,200 km of coastline. Its protection involves the surveillance of activity in 122 ports, including around 5,000 fishing boats, 400 beaches dedicated to shellfish harvesting, and 47 mussel aquaculture farms, with a total of more than 3,000 bateas (floating mussel farms). Moreover, most illegal activity takes place at night, making it extra difficult for law enforcers to detect any type of vessel. The Galician climate does not help either. With an average of 128 days per year of rain, visibility conditions are usually not ideal for surveillance operations. Manned surveillance patrols can only do so much; they are hindered by the climate and visibility conditions, making it impossible (from a practical and financial standpoint) for coast guards to cover the entire Galician coastline.

Long-range thermal imaging In 2017, the Galician Coast Guard started a project to test video surveillance of the coastline based on thermal imaging cameras. The pilot included the use of FLIR’s PT Series multi-sensor camera, combined with maritime video analytics software from Gradiant (Pontevedra, Spain). The multi-sensor installation was extensively tested on two different locations along the Galician coast. One set-up was used to monitor illegal vessels on coastal waters at short/medium range, while another set-up was used for long-range monitoring. The PT Series thermal cameras allowed the Galician Coast Guard to monitor the required area over a long range on a 24/7 basis, even at night and in adverse weather conditions. In addition, the FLIR thermal images were enhanced by Gradiant’s intelligent video analytics software for maritime applications. This software is specifically adapted for monitoring coastal environments and allowed the coast guard to detect, track and geo-localize people and vessels, including small wooden and plastic

boats. The software enabled the thermal cameras to detect objects and people despite adverse maritime conditions, such as high waves, low contrast due to low light, fog and rain, reflections on the sea surface, camera vibrations, and the presence of distractors, such as birds and vessel wakes. FLIR multi-sensor system The FLIR PT Series is a high-performance multi-sensor pan/tilt security camera, incorporating an uncooled thermal camera with sensitivity of <35mK and a visible-light camera with 36x optical zoom. While the thermal camera is used to detect threats over a long range based on their heat signatures, the visible-light camera can be used for verification and identification. “FLIR is the reference for long-range surveillance applications with thermal imaging,” says José Antonio Rodríguez, Head of Video Analytics at Gradiant. “The thermal performance of the camera and the fact that this technology is easy to set up makes it ideal for this type of application. In addition, FLIR supported 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



Thermal cameras can detect objects and people despite adverse maritime conditions, such as high waves, low contrast, or the presence of distractors, such as birds and vessel wakes.

us from the start for lens selection, calibration of the system and much more.” “The requirements for this long-range application were extremely challenging for any thermal camera,” says Nikitas Koutsourais, Product Marketing Manager at FLIR Systems. “Thanks to the FLIR PT Series’ unique thermal sensitivity of less than 35mK, we could provide the best image performance in the market.” Two different configurations were used in this application. The long-range surveillance station used a FLIR PT-606 camera, and was able to detect a rubber inflatable boat at 4,000m. Despite its narrow field of view, this camera allowed for wide coverage thanks to the highprecision pan/tilt unit. The camera was able to sweep a wide field of view span in a pre-programmed sequence of pan/tilt presets. The port surveillance station used a PT-625, offering a good compromise between detection range and field of view with a single pan/tilt preset. The integration of the video analytics software with the camera was easy thanks to IP video streaming and the camera’s ONVIF compliant interfaces for pan/tilt control. Long-range surveillance typically requires the use of lenses with a narrow field of view, which is a problem 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020


when you want to monitor wide areas. However, the video analytics from Gradiant was able to take advantage of the Preset Sequencing mode of the FLIR PT Series. This allowed the coastguard to cover a wide field of view with a single camera and to perform video analysis on each pan/tilt preset. Ideal for coastal protection applications The FLIR thermal cameras provided the Galician coastguard with increased situational awareness and allowed them to respond much quicker to illegal fishing activities. The pilot project was performed in a realistic surveillance environment along the Galician coast and generated very positive results. The combination of a multi-sensor system with Gradiant’s maritime video

analytics proved to be effective to deal with the intricate Galician coast lines and a lack of open view. In addition, this technology combination is a costeffective alternative, making automated surveillance applications accessible for fish farm companies worldwide. Finally, the PT-Series are extremely rugged systems, which makes them ideal for coastal surveillance, especially in an extremely humid environment such as the Atlantic coast of Spain. The system’s vital core is well protected against dust and water ingress, and complies with IP66 requirements. www.flir.com


5 REASONS WHY LITHIUM ION BATTERIES ARE BEST FOR DATA CENTRES Lithium ion is far superior to lead acid as a battery chemistry for data centre applications because it delivers higher performance and a more reliable power supply, says temporary power solutions specialist Aggreko.


ninterruptable power supply (UPS) batteries are useful means of ensuring power to a data centre is constant and unfluctuating, on top of providing a cost-effective bank of energy during times of higher grid demand. Power demand and the supply from its energy source must be at equal levels to ensure the data centre runs effectively, therefore, a battery can work in conjunction with the generators to provide consistent output and avoid downtime. While some organisations have recently suggested the more traditional lead acid battery chemistry is the best option for data centres, Aggreko believes that the benefits of lithium ion batteries make them much better suited to the growing market for five key reasons: 1. Superior capacity, depth of discharge, and efficiency Lithium ion technology tends to have a much higher energy density can achieve an 85% depth of discharge compared to lead acid’s 50%, and is usually 95% or more efficient, meaning almost all of the larger amounts of energy stored in the battery can be harnessed. For a data centre, this higher availability of power means that supply is readily available for longer and can keep up during periods of increased demand. 2. Longer Lifespan Lithium ion batteries can achieve up to eight times the amount of cycles than their lead acid counterparts, therefore they can be implemented into data centres for longer and don’t require costly replacement as often. 3. Better Software optimisation Lithium ion batteries can be optimised using dedicated software, which can ensure the battery is charged and delivers its output in the most efficient way while preserving the units’ lifespan. For a data centre, this means the power output can be monitored and the battery can be

operated within its most optimal charge range of 30-80%. 4. Electricity Savings To save on overall electricity costs, UPS batteries can be used as demand side response (DSR) units, when demand on the grid is exceeding supply. Additionally, they can be used as spinning reserve energy banks, using excess generator system energy. Lithium ion’s higher capacity, depth of discharge and efficiency make them ideal for this application, with more energy stored. This ultimately translates into better cost savings from using less grid or generator power in high demand periods. 5. Continued research and development Lithium ion technology is constantly undergoing development and being optimised, both in the static battery and automotive industries, and so using this battery chemistry means data centres will benefit from innovations at the forefront of the energy storage industry, on top of the cost reductions that come from added investment.

Often, data centres require generator systems and batteries for a limited time, for example when waiting for grid connection. To avoid unnecessary capital outlay, data centre providers can enlist companies such as Aggreko to provide modular rental solutions to be integrated into any size of facility, in many regions across the globe. “We know the importance of having a reliable UPS solution for data centre providers,” said Nick Osborne, Data Centre Specialist at Aggreko. “Our Y.Cube system, for instance, uses lithium ion technology to deliver the best performance for use as a modular UPS in data centre applications, meaning downtime and its ensuing costs are avoided. “As a global temporary solutions provider, our flexible and standardised rental solutions and expert consultancy are available to data centre providers and operators across the entire globe, meaning any facility in any region can benefit from expert guidance and reliable power supplies,” he adds. www.aggreko.com/en-gb/sectors-andservices/data-centres 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



DAFO VEHICLE INTRODUCING LI-IONFIRE™ INCREASING THE SAFETY OF ELECTRIC AND HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLE OPERATIONS As there is a global transition to renewable fuels, there is an increasing demand for electric or hybrid vehicles (EV and HEV). However, knowledge is limited about the new fire risks associated with vehicles having these new energy carriers.


onsequences connected to risks of Li-ion batteries, in case of a malfunction, can be serious, for example, they can result in toxic gas emissions or explosion. In collaboration with the coordinator, Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection, an EU initiative has built a fire protection system that addresses and mitigates these risks effectively and safely.

Fire suppression systems for vehicles have been on the market for decades, and are widely used and regulated across a wide variety of industries. However, these systems are tested to be effective on vehicles with combustion engines, and all test standards are designed with this in mind. The growth of the electric and hybrid electric vehicle industry has accelerated the demand for new fire suppression technologies. “With the rapid introduction of electric and hybrid electric vehicles in public transport, there are new challenges because they present totally different risk scenarios,” says Anders Gulliksson of Dafo Vehicle, coordinator of the EU-funded Li-IonFire (Automated e-vehicle Lithium Ion Battery Early Warning and Fire Suppression System) project. “When the commonly used Li-ion batteries fail through short circuiting, overcharging, high temperatures, mechanical damage and overheating, this might cause thermal runaway and the release of a flammable electrolyte, which makes fire extinguishing very difficult. In addition to the dramatic fire scenario with the rapid increase in heat, there are a lot of potentially toxic gases being emitted.” A comprehensive solution for fire mitigation The project partners, including Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, explored different techniques to detect potential battery failure, as early as possible, and take immediate action to stop, or delay, a potentially hazardous situation. The partners studied the various fire risks related to battery spaces, including

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specific risks when charging, and procedures for handling electric vehicles and batteries after a crash. They also investigated to what extent fixed and integrated fire suppression systems, which are widely used to protect engine compartments on heavy vehicles, can be applied to vehicles powered by Liion batteries, and how they should be designed. Through extensive testing, the LiIonFire team better understood how a breakdown occurs within the battery and how it can be detected. “If a system is activated at this early stage, the battery can be ‘brought back’ to a safe state, without the fire developing further,” explains Gulliksson. “The tests have also shown that even with a late deployment of the fire

suppression system, there’s a possibility of delaying the battery reaching a critical state, meaning that the chance of safe evacuation is very high.”

The system was officially unveiled at in 2019, and has generated tremendous interest from both end users and vehicle manufacturers.

With proper detection and system activation, the hazardous scenario can be reversed and potentially even stopped entirely.

“Li-IonFire delivers to the market a product that didn’t exist until now: a system that can offer real protection against battery fires, using a new suppression agent, Forrex EV, which is specifically developed for these applications,” concludes Gulliksson.

An integrated solution for early fire detection, system cooling and fire suppression The project team successfully validated and demonstrated a highly innovative fire protection system for electric and hybrid electric vehicles. The new system provides an early fire warning system, and spot cooling to prevent thermal runaway while localising and suppressing fire.

“Li-IonFire will significantly boost the safety of operators and the protection of valuable assets.” www.fireshieldsystemsltd.co.uk

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EASE OF USE LOWERS ENTRY BARRIER FOR USERS WITHOUT PRIOR KNOWLEDGE IDS NXT lighthouse: intuitive AI training software without the need for programming.

Camera hardware and training software are available via IDS NXT ocean Design-In Kit.

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n order to implement AI vision solutions, specialist knowledge, development effort and investment in computer hardware and storage technology are usually required. With cloud computing and specialised training services such as IDS NXT lighthouse, the process becomes much easier: neural networks can be trained individually and at the push of a button, without the need to set 978YIDS NXT ocean, the training software helps to make deep


IDS NXT lighthouse is an easy to use training software for creating neural networks

cameras that can solve completely new image processing tasks thanks to artificial intelligence. They have learned which image features are important and are able to apply this knowledge to new image data. This is an enormous advantage compared to classical programming, especially in applications with highly varying objects.

learning accessible to everyone. With the release of IDS NXT lighthouse version 1.1, additional functions are now available. The training of neural networks in the Web application requires three basic steps: to upload individual sample images, to label the images (e.g. “good” / “bad”) and then to start the fully automatic training. The generated network can be executed directly on IDS NXT industrial cameras. This turns them into powerful inference

All components – camera hardware with AI core and different sensors and protection classes, software, infrastructure, knowledge and support – are developed and provided by a single supplier. This holistic approach makes IDS NXT ocean a unique solution in the vision market. The IDS NXT lighthouse training software for neural networks is now available as version 1.1. The company has further improved both usability and the range of functions, for example by redesigning the detail view or extending filter functions. The next version is already in the works – then, in addition to classification tasks, object detection will also be feasible, for example. https://en.ids-imaging.com/ids-nxtlighthouse.html 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



NEW INTESIS GATEWAY MAKES COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PROFINET AND BACNET EASY HMS Networks announces a new Intesis™ protocol translator for communication between PROFINET PLCs on factory floors and Building Management Systems with BACnet IP/MSTP. With this, full data integration, monitoring, and control is enabled between factory floors and building facilities.

Key objectives can be achieved with factory-to-building communication In factories, it is essential that environmental dimensions such as temperature, humidity, and air quality are controlled and monitored automatically to ensure optimal conditions for manufacturing and working staff. And, by ensuring efficient control of facilities such as HVAC and lighting systems, factory owners can save a lot of energy and manage emergency situations in a safe way. 02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020



Communication enabled with certified Intesis PROFINET - BACnet gateway Focusing on this situation, the new Intesis PROFINET - BACnet IP/MSTP protocol translator from HMS Networks is a costeffective and easy-to-install gateway solution that offers bi-directional communication between PROFINET PLCs and BACnet controllers. Able to connect up to 1200 data points, the gateway is BACnet IP/MSTP server/slave on one side and PROFINET I/O device on the other, featuring independent Ethernet ports. The gateway has been BTL certified for BACnet and carries the UL mark in order to guarantee the highest communication and quality standards. Thanks to its strategic placement between the factory and building systems, the gateway becomes an enabler of very interesting applications such as energy metering of devices and machines in the factory from the BACnet-based BMS system, HVAC monitoring, and control from the PROFINET PLC, as well as easy alarm definition and management. Easy configuration and integration process using Intesis MAPS Intesis MAPS, the common configuration tool for all Intesis protocol translators, offers a very intuitive configuration process for system integrators covering both sides of the gateway. MAPS help integrators further in their projects by providing valuable EDE files for the BACnet integration, as well as GSD files and TIA portal TAG files for fast configuration of any connected PROFINET PLC controller.

However, when system integrators plan for factory-to-building integration, they normally face a heterogeneous and challenging communication situation. BACnet is typically the protocol used in the Building Management System (BMS) to control the facilities inside the building, and PROFINET is one of the most used factory networks for controlling production processes.

The result of HMS’ combined expertise in factory and building communications Extending the comprehensive range of existing Intesis BACnet protocol translators, the new PROFINET - BACnet version is the first product in a new line of Intesis gateways for factory to building integration that will be released step by step by HMS Networks. In these gateways, HMS combines its proven AnybusŽ and Intesis communication technologies for industrial and buildingoriented communication respectively, trusted by customers in millions of installations worldwide. www.intesis.com

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UPDATED PRODUCT SERIES WITH NEW WIRELESS APPROVAL Wireless position switches and sensors for explosive environments.

Wireless Ex” is a technology developed by the steute business unit Extreme which simplifies the assembly and operation of switchgear in explosive environments. Switching devices are no longer connected to the receivers in the control cabinet via Excompatible cables, but via a low-energy wireless protocol created especially for such applications. It is, of course, certified to ATEX and IECEx standards. Engineers constructing plants and machines for explosive environments can take Ex RF 96 electromechanical wireless position switches, for example, in their slim rectangular design to monitor the position of moving machine components or workpiece fixtures.

Alternatively, positions can also be monitored without any contact – using Ex RF IS wireless inductive sensors in a cylindrical design (M 12, M 18 and M 30). In this case, the Ex RF 96 ST Ex wireless universal transmitter takes care of both wireless transmission and decentralised power supply to the sensors. These wireless sensors guarantee high transmission availability even in tricky situations (e.g. coexistence with other wireless systems), as is often the case in an industrial environment. These product series have now been updated by steute, and their latest versions with new ATEX-/IECEx approval were presented at the SPS 2019. Both the electromechanical Ex position switches and the Ex sensors are approved to the latest ATEX-/IECEx standards for use in Ex zones 1 and 21. The wireless signals require so little energy that there is no danger of explosion, bringing additional flexibility to the design and construction of explosion-proof machines and plants. The two updated switchgear series are well suited to e.g. mounting on machines and plants in Ex zones which have moving parts or parts which are difficult to access. Because Ex-compatible cable connections are no longer needed, and because the switching devices “radio out” of the Ex zone, installation of the switching devices and gaining of Ex approvals are greatly simplified. www.steute.com

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02 - Electronics Journal - NOVEMBER 2020