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INDUSTRY INDUSTRIAL MARKET MAGAZINE

USA

BALLUFF COMPACT BIDIRECTIONAL DATA MEMORY MODULE IO-LINK MEMORY MODULE

9 IXXAT INPACT PCIE MINI CARD ENABLES PCS TO COMMUNICATE ON PROFINET IRT FIBER OPTIC

10 SOFTING

CV-X200 : stabilité, CAR ASYST APP 1.3: ACTUATOR DIAGNOSTICS, précision et vitesse TABLET MODE, AUDI A5 AND Q7 E-TRON, uniques VAS 5054 SUPPORT

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SONOS: DIGITAL MICROSCOPE LISTENING TO QUALITY

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INDUSTRIAL MARKET MAGAZINE

LEMO

BAUMER

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ARC INFORMATIQUE

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STEUTE

BALLUFF

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HMS INDUSTRIAL NETWORKS

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ESPRIT

NORD

HENGSTLER

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SOFTING AUTOMOTIVE ELECTRONICS GMBH

KEYENCE AMERICA

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ADVERTISERS: MEPAX 4

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INDUSTRY

USA

Contact: Evans ROSS Editor in Chief: editor@magazine-industry-usa.com Send your press releases to: editor@magazine-industry-usa.com

To receive Industry USA magazine free of charge, please subscribe online at www.magazine-industry-usa.com Industry USA is the US-language magazine for engineers, published by IPM (Industrial Portal Media) It contains the latest product and company news for industrial markets. Industry USA 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.

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NEWS

ANGLISSIMO

LEMO connectors launches a new elbow plug connector called Anglissimo. This patent pending connector offers the system integrator and manufacturer the possibility to orientate the connector in one of the eight possible positions during its assembly.

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he solution is ideal in designs where many cables need to be positioned in a precise way to prevent cable clutter or a jungle of cables. This new connector model is called Anglissimo from the Italian “issimo” superlative such as “belissimo”. The product is available in 3 sizes 0B, 1B and 2B series . It 2 to 32 electrical contacts.

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LEMO's high quality Push-Pull connectors are found in a variety of challenging application environments including medical, industrial control, test and measurement, audiovideo and telecommunications. LEMO has been designing precision connectors for seven decades. Offering more than 75,000 combinations of product that continue to grow through custom specific designs, LEMO and its affiliated sister companies REDEL, NORTHWIRE and COELVER currently serve more than 100,000 customers in over 80 countries around the world. www.lemo.com

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NEWS

NEW CLEVERLEVEL LBFS MODELS WITH MORE INTERFACES FOR OPTIMIZED COMMUNICATIONS

Thanks to their flexible integration properties and ease of use, the CleverLevel LBFH and LBFI are the ideal solution from planning to maintenance for all systems.

Baumer has expanded the successful CleverLevel series with two new variants – the LBFH and LBFI. They are available with two switching outputs, qTeach and a 360° output status indicator. In the same way as their predecessors the level switches are based on frequency deviation technology and are suitable for both hygiene and industrial applications.

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he level switches offer various programming options to suit different requirements. The convenient qTeach procedure is of great advantage especially for small installations with simple control systems. The sensors can be easily adjusted with any ferromagnetic tool, thus making it possible to quickly adapt to changing process requirements on site.

The multicolored switching status indicator provides reliable feedback on all parameterization steps to support effective process control.

The two switching outputs make it possible to set two trigger thresholds. This means two different process steps, such as production and cleaning, or two media groups, such as water and oil, can be monitored with one sensor. This saves on storage and costs. The two switching outputs facilitate a plausibility check of the sensor. Complementary trigger point setting ensures sensor faults and wire breaks are reliably detected, thus guaranteeing effective monitoring of all processes.

www.baumer.com/CleverLevel

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Both variants are suitable for use in temperatures up to 135°C while the variant for hygiene applications has SIP capabilities.


NEWS

PCVUE 11.2 INTEGRATES SMART BUILDINGS AND DISTRIBUTED ENERGY RESOURCES

PcVue 11.2 has been released, a premier platform for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Building Management Systems (BMS) and Human-Machine Interface (HMI) solutions.

Consolidation of Building Automation, Energy Management and Industrial Equipment with Enhanced Cybersecurity Features.

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ACnet Testing Laboratories awarded PcVue 11.2 its highest level listing, BACnet Advanced Work Station (B-AWS). It offers full integration to BACnet equipment with enhancements for developer efficiency and ease of use. Advancements in building equipment communications also include native KNX and COMMEND SA ICX driver (for Intercom monitoring and control) along with the established LonWorks and Modbus drivers. New BMS libraries include GEZE objects for door, window and safety technology. PcVue 11.2 offers the consolidation and integration to support convergence of SMART Buildings, Distributed Energy Resources (DER), Infrastructure, Transportation, and Industrial Automation. The release includes built-in drivers for Energy Management and SMART Grid interoperability including IEC 61850, 61400-25, 60870-5-104 & DNP3.

PcVue mobility solutions are expanded with HTML5 scalable clients augmenting WebVue and TouchVue, a mobile app for alarm and event notification with trending and browsing of variables that requires no mobile device configuration. PcVue continues its strategic policy of maintaining backward compatibility while enhancing and expanding features. PcVue technology is proven “future proof” ensuring the sustainability of customers’ investments for more than 30 years. PcVue 11.2 is qualified for Microsoft Windows® Server 2008-2014 and Microsoft Windows® 7 - 10 operating systems with continued support for virtualization with Hyper-V and VM-Ware. MORE INFORMATION

Deployment, IT & Cybersecurity Cybersecurity is a primary design goal with additional protection of server components including PcVue as a service with clients deployed as desktop applications. There are comprehensive tools for configuration and diagnostics applicable to both local and remote sessions. PcVue is securely delivered with installation signature and binary

file signature. It is fully integrated with Microsoft Windows® Active Directory and supports secure HTTP (HTTPS).

For more information visit www.pcvuesolutions.com

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NEWS

FOR TEMPERATURES DOWN TO -60OC Explosion-protected, robust and resistant to cold: new series of Ex position switches.

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ffshore industry knows no fewer than four factors which make extreme demands on switchgear. There is a risk of explosions; switches are exposed to high levels of mechanical wear and tear; the environment is corrosive; and it can be very cold. The steute business unit “Extreme” has developed the position switches in its Ex 97 series for precisely this requirement profile – and will be presenting them at the SPS IPC Drives.

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These position switches, with dimensions to DIN EN 50047, have been tested and approved according to ATEX and IECEx for use in gas Ex zones 1 and 2, as well as dust Ex zones 21 and 22. They can be used in temperatures as low as -60°C, which is very demanding on housing construction and sealing. For example, it must be guaranteed that the switchgear's high protection class (IP 66) will be maintained in these subzero conditions at all times, even after a 7-Joule impact test. For this reason, the stable housing is manufactured from high-quality fibreglass-reinforced plastic. The sealing of the housing cover is completely vulcanised, while the sealing of the plunger features a redundant sealing system, comprising an external sealing cuff able to withstand low temperatures and an internal Teflon sealing ring. 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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The sealing materials have been cleared by their manufacturers for temperatures down to -95°C, and the lubricants down to -75°C. There is therefore a sufficient “tolerance” to the steute-approved temperature of -60°C. This gives users the certainty that the new position switches will work reliably even in truly extreme ambient conditions. Due to a comprehensive range of actuators (plunger, roller plunger, roller lever, parallel lever, turning lever, adjustable turning lever, push button…) and their compact dimensions, the Ex norm switches are very versatile and easy to integrate in a surrounding construction. They are available with slowaction or snap-action and, as an added bonus, earthing and potential equalisation are superfluous because of the protection-insulated plastic. This set of features in the Ex 97 series makes it a good example of the “Extreme” switchgear developed by steute. It is suited not only to applications in the chemicals industry and energy technology, but also e.g. for position monitoring of flaps and valves in plants of the oil and gas industry (offshore and onshore), as well as on ships travelling through the Arctic. www.steute.co.uk


NEWS

COMPACT BIDIRECTIONAL DATA MEMORY MODULE IO-LINK MEMORY MODULE

Balluff offers a compact, bidirectional data memory module for tight mounting spaces. The compact memory module with IP 67 protection is just 34 x 16 x 8 mm in size and can be used as a memory storage device on interchangeable units such as milling heads on gantry type machining centers.

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his means the assemblies can carry their actual operating data along with them. With the following advantage: When a machine is changed, all the data such as the number of use cycles, shock and vibration values or lubrication and oil change intervals are directly loaded. The work required to install and parameterize the module is minimal. Only a single standard cable is required for stable, fault-free, bidirectional data transmission between the milling head and controller. The cable is connected to the milling head interface in the system ring. Data transmission is noise-immune as well as resistant to EMC effects. The module can hold a total of 14 segments of 64 bytes each.

Machine operators will profit from the fact that when a milling head is switched from one machine to another, all the identifying and usage data will be automatically copied and loaded from the milling head memory into the NC controller through a cable. When maintenance or repair work is needed, the service personnel can read out all the data from the memory chip on a PC or laptop and update it as needed. This gives the plant operator continual and transparent information about the current status of the milling head. Once again IO-Link proves to be a key technology for highperformance, space-saving Industry 4.0 concepts. www.balluff.co.uk MORE INFORMATION 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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NEWS

IXXAT INPACT PCIE MINI CARD ENABLES PCS TO COMMUNICATE ON PROFINET IRT FIBER OPTIC

HMS Industrial Networks expands the IXXAT INpact multi-protocol card series with a PCIe mini variant for PROFINET IRT Fiber Optic. Designed for secure data transmission in harsh environments The IXXAT INpact enables easy implementation of a PROFINET IRT Fiber Optic Slave interface and can be used in compact industrial PCs as well as in mobile devices. Typical use cases are coupling of subsystems with superordinate networks, visualization of process data on human machine interfaces (HMIs) as well as data acquisition in PC-based process devices. IXXAT INpact is fully compliant with the requirements of the AIDA (Automation initiative of German automobile manufacturers) for a PROFINET interface.

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PROFINET IRT via fiber optic meets the highest requirements for interference immunity and data transmission. It is often used in critical areas in the automotive field, e.g. in robotic cells for car body construction, in automated welding systems and other areas with high electromagnetic interferences.

Hardware concept of the IXXAT INpact multi-protocol card series The new PROFINET IRT Fiber Optic card is the newest member of the IXXAT INpact series which supports a variety of Industrial Ethernet and fieldbus protocols, such as PROFINET, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Powerlink, ModbusTCP and PROFIBUS. The multi-network capability of INpact is based on the proven Anybus CompactCom technology from HMS – used within millions of devices globally. The FPGA-based Anybus NP40 network processor includes all functions required to handle the communication between the Industrial Ethernet or fieldbus network and the PC-based customer application. The FPGA has a low latency and a deterministic real-time behavior, making it ideal for demanding industrial applications. The PROFINET IRT FO connection is made via SC-RJ connectors. Other network standards are supported by corresponding Sub-D9 or RJ45 Ethernet interfaces. The IXXAT INpact is offered as a dedicated version for each network with pre-installed network protocol. Furthermore, INpact is also available as a Common Ethernet version, a highly flexible and open version in which the desired industrial Ethernet protocol can be flashed by the user.

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NEWS

Connection to the customer application The IXXAT INpact is supplied with a comprehensive driver package for Windows and Linux, which allows a fast and easy development of customer-specific applications, regardless of the used card type or protocol. Thanks to a universal programming interface, users can change between INpact cards and protocols without changing the customer software, which leads to increased flexibility and a significant reduction of the development costs. Support for real-time operating systems such as RTX, Intime, VxWorks and QNX is available on request. Further information on the IXXAT INpact can be found at www.ixxat.com/inpact

MORE INFORMATION 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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NEWS

CYCLE TIME REDUCED FROM 41 SECONDS TO 27 SECONDS ProfitTurning™ - The cutting edge of tomorrow’s CAD/CAM software.

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rofitTurning™, releases in the latest version of the ESPRIT CAM software, represents years of ground-breaking research. A lathe roughing strategy that significantly reduces machine cycle time, ProfitTurning™ has hurdled a grueling series of tests, delivering a performance that promises to take machinists, engineers and industrialists to greater levels of precision, quality control and productivity. ProfitTurning™ is a high-speed lathe roughing strategy developed by DP Technology Corp. for OD/ID/face cutting and other tasks. Fast, secure and efficient, it also extends tool life by significantly minimizing wear. Compared to conventional ramping methods, ProfitTurning™ reduces machine cycle time as well as the frequency tooling inserts need to be replaced. DP Technology’s R&D Director of Product and Engineering Ivan Kristic reveals the science behind ProfitTurning™’s performance:

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“ESPRIT 2016’s ProfitTurning™ toolpath maintains consistent cutting forces and chip loads, allowing cutting speeds to be significantly increased. By employing trochoidal turning and controlled engagement techniques, the ProfitTurning™ toolpath also reduces vibration and residual stresses, which in turn makes it particularly well-suited to thin walls or hard materials, especially super alloys. The net result is significantly reduced cycle times and maximized productivity.” 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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Physics-Based Cutting Engine ESPRIT 2016 uses a physics-based cutting engine which provides the foundation for the technologies such as ProfitTurning™. While traditional cutting strategies consider only the geometry of materials, ESPRIT 2016 taps deeper into the science of how different industrial materials can be cut in the most efficient ways possible. Its new toolpath technology uses the principles of physics to formulate unique strategies for each cutting challenge. To do that, ESPRIT 2016 inputs all relevant factors in the toolpath algorithm such as tool material, tool shape, workpiece material, tool speed, feed rate, chip deforming, chip load, machine tool power, acceleration and deceleration. This helps establish complete control of the cutting environment, allowing for optimal cutting everywhere along the toolpath. For more details about this new technology, please read the ESPRIT 2016 ProfitTurning™ White Paper available at www.espritcam.com/products/profit-turning


NEWS

SMART DRIVE ASSUMES LOCAL CONTROL

In case of an intentional or accidental disconnection of the central control system, the inverter PLC can execute preprogrammed procedures to keep the application running or bring it to a defined standstill.

Enabling centralized as well as autonomous operation.

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requency inverters from NORD DRIVESYSTEMS can react flexibly in case of disrupted communication with a central control system.

The on-board, pre-programmed PLC can take control, initiate a defined state for halting operations, or keep the application running. In process plants this can help avoid costs, for instance by preventing spoiled batches. In manufacturing facilities, material flow can be maintained. As NORD intelligent drives feature various interfaces and are able to evaluate sensor and actuator data, optimal integration in the application is ensured. Autonomous control capability obviously has other uses beyond fallback

scenarios. In some instances, users may wish to deliberately switch the smart drive over to local control. For set-up, testing, or maintenance, the distributed frequency inverter can additionally be equipped with switches for manual drive direction and speed control. The integrated PLC functions are programmed using IEC 61131-3 “Structured Text” or “Instruction List” text-based languages. For straightforward, user-friendly application development, NORD CON software is provided without any charge or license fees. www.nord.com

MORE INFORMATION 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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NEWS

SINGLE-CABLE SOLUTIONS – NEW POSSIBILITIES OPENED UP BY HIGH-QUALITY COMPONENTS AND AN OPEN PROTOCOL

Hengstler AD37S Encoder, designed for a real single cable solution. The Helukabel Topserv Hybrid has become established as the standard for the two-wire solution.

Single-cable solutions are increasingly gaining traction in the field of servo drive technology. In addition to the growing number of drive manufacturers offering single-cable solutions, this trend is fuelled by the increasing number of manufacturers of rotary encoders that allow the implementation of such solutions in the first place. They differ not only in the protocol used, but also in technical details such as resolution and stability.

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elukabel GmbH and Hengstler GmbH are two wellestablished companies that tackle this topic from different vantages. However, they are united in their common mission of providing customers with high-quality components that are innovative, effective and safe and that harness the tremendous potential offered by the singlecable technology.

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In single-cable solutions, the cores for the encoder’s signal transmission are integrated into the servo cable, which means that two cables are thereby combined to form a hybrid cable. This solution’s success is down to the benefits of space and weight optimisation, and in particular to the reasonable price and reduced connection technology. In areas with limited space, this translates into additional advantages for machinery, control cabinets and drag chains, for example.

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Basic requirement for the set-up of a single-cable solution between a servo motor and a servo controller is a digital encoder that is specifically developed for this type of communication. The encoder is permanently connected to the servo motor. For this reason, the manufacturer of the servo motor needs to provide its customers with an end-to-end solution: Not only the servo motor needs to be equipped with a rotary encoder, the controller needs to be adapted to the concept of a single-cable solution as well as communication is always established between two units. Hengstler offers special rotary encoders in its new product range that use the ACURO®link interface, an open protocol, creating the ideal symbiosis to meet the high requirements of single-cable solutions. “The ACURO®link interface was specifically designed to support two- and four-wire applications,” explains Johann Bücher, Director of Encoder Strategy at Hengstler.


NEWS these tests provide adequate assurance that the cables can withstand even future challenges arising in increasingly complex applications. It is now possible to have highperformance multi-turn control thanks to the Hengstler AD37 rotary encoder. It sets new standards with a 10-Mbaud transfer speed and data exchange rates reaching 32 kHz, while combined with the transfer of entire positioning data providing an extremely high electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). In addition, the data protocol of the electrical interface fulfils the requirements of SIL3 in accordance with IEC 61508 and Cat. 3PLe, in compliance with EN ISO 13489, while the AD37 rotary encoder itself and the IP core in the control can meet all requirements from non-SIL, SIL1, SIL2 to SIL3, depending on the customer’s specific application.

Drag chain test systems at Helukabel’s research and development center.

Helukabel’s challenge as cable manufacturer consists in securing a sustainably stabile and fail-safe data transmission. The two-cable solution uses up to three shields to protect the signal pairs from the disruptive influences of the power cores in the traditional set-up. In addition, it is generally recommended that the maximum possible distance between the servo and encoder cables is considered when laying the cables. However, the feedback cores of a hybrid cable are routed into the servo cable directly. It reduces the physical distance almost entirely and the requirements for EMC shielding attain a new quality level.

The different performance requirements of the motors translate in different cross-sections for the supply cables. The larger the cross-section, the thicker the cable. It is necessary that the tests include different bending radii in order to draw conclusions for all other cross-sections, as it is not enough to test one cross-section and cable construction in a drag chain. The Helukabel Group tests cables on nine different testing systems that can differentiate between the lengths and the acceleration and speed parameters when testing. These tests are very intricate and require constant monitoring and supervision. However, they are also necessary in order to ensure the quality and stability of data transmission. Helukabel was the first cable manufacturer who confirmed the durability of its hybrid cables with a system test involving more than five million cycles. In the meantime, several hundreds of kilometres of these hybrid cables have been installed and are in use in different applications around the world. “We are the cable manufacturer with the greatest advantage in terms of experience. We invested a great deal of time in this solution from a very early stage and have gathered vast experience in the field to be able to develop working, reliable solutions for drive specialists. Our Topserv Hybrid has become established as the standard for the two-wire solution”, says Thomas Pikkemaat, Product Manager for Drive Technology at HELUKABEL® GmbH.

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Whether the motor rotates or not is based on the signal’s quality that arrives at the receiver. The fewer external disruptions that penetrate the signal element, the better the data quality is that arrives at the receiver. The shielding of the data cores accounts for the protection from EMC emissions. The longer the shielding remains intact while in use, the longer the protection will be maintained. The service life of the shielding can be nearly “infinite” if the hybrid cable is installed in a stationary application. The service life only starts to shorten when mechanical load is placed on the cable in a dynamic application, such as a drag chain. The reliability and fail-safe quality of data transmission is a product of the individual disruptions, which means that the longer a cable, the more critical the application. Hengstler’s research & development team tests two- and four-wire versions of their encoder using a 100-m cable in each case under load. Based on the acquired practical experience,

The loads that cables are subjected to in the field are growing as the market requirements of the manufacturers of machinery and plants increase. Machine designs are smaller than ever before, as the axes in the field of traditional machine tools become more dynamic and faster. These developments reduce the available space to a minimum, and the bending radii of the drag chains become tighter. Cables and wires need to be tailored to the specific application in order to provide with high stability in drag chain applications while maintaining competitive prices, which means that the design team at Helukabel GmbH selects different designs for specific requirements. They depend on parameters such as movement distance, minimum bending radius, speed, acceleration and minimum number of cycles. In addition to the design, the choice of materials also plays a decisive role. They primarily depend on external factors such as ambient temperatures and/or the required durability of the materials (aggressive coolants and lubricants, for example). In addition, there are other properties that need to be taken into consideration such as flame-resistance and halogenfree design.

www.hengstler.com 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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NEWS

CAR ASYST APP 1.3: ACTUATOR DIAGNOSTICS, TABLET MODE, AUDI A5 AND Q7 E-TRON, VAS 5054 SUPPORT

In its latest version 1.3, CAR ASYST APP for Audi after-sales service and repair shops now also supports actuator diagnostics, Landscape mode, tablets (ARM based), VAS 5054A VCIs for A3/S3/TT/Q2 analysis and Audi A5 and Q7 e-tron.

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AR ASYST, the mobile system solution for fast initial diagnostics and error detection in Audi aftersales service and repair shops, supports actuator addressing in the current app version 1.3. This means service centers can run targeted actuator diagnostics on a stationary vehicle to validate the functional capability of components.

The presentation of vehicle reports was revised for the current release and now makes it possible to integrate images. Furthermore videos, graphics and measurement values are now displayed in Landscape mode. Release 1.3 can now be used not only on smartphones but also on ARM based tablets. CAR ASYST also runs on ServicePad VAS 601 301. The CAR ASYST data package now also contains the vehicle data of the new Audi A5 and the Audi Q7 e-tron.

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To extend the range of usable Audi models, owners of the VAS 5054A VCI can now also use these tried and tested devices for vehicle analysis with the CAR ASYST APP. This means that vehicles of the model ranges AU37X (Audi A3/ S3/TT/Q2) are also available for analysis. The current version 1.3 of CAR ASYST now supports the model ranges A4, Q7, A5, Q7 e-tron as well as A3/S3/TT/Q2.

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NEWS

The CAR ASYST APP is available here [https://play.google. com/store/apps/details?id=com.softingapp ] in the Google Play Store. All other information on the diverse uses of CAR ASYST and the supported vehicle range can be found on the info site www.car-asyst.com. The highlights of CAR ASYST Release 1.3 at a glance • Tablet support (ARM based) • AU37X support (Audi A3/S3/TT/Q2) via VAS 5054 adapter/ VCI • Landscape mode (video recording/showing, measurement values) • Extended vehicle reports (now also with pictures) • Actuator diagnostics/tests • New vehicles: A5 and Audi Q7 e-tron • IRC (infotainment) data on an SD card

CAR ASYST will mainly be used in the following areas of implementation Main areas of implementation for CAR ASYST • Mobile tool for service technicians and repair shops • Data logging and fast initial diagnostics • Error detection for stationary vehicles as well as vehicles on the road • Service & vehicle test on the forecourt • Breakdown service • Engineering and vehicle test For more details take a look at the website www.car-asyst.com

General company information on CAR ASYST CAR ASYST – the mobile system solution for vehicle communication on smartphones and tablets for repair shops, after-sales service and vehicle testing MORE INFORMATION

Softing has developed a mobile system solution for fast initial diagnostics and error detection on a smartphone basis and tablet. Target groups for this -mobile service app are Audi service partners in the repair shop field as well as engineers working in Audi's development and testing divisions. CAR ASYST is a tool officially approved by Audi. 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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NEWS

SONOS: DIGITAL MICROSCOPE LISTENING TO QUALITY

An exploded view of a SONOS Playbar.

Speaker manufacturer SONOS makes a good thing better with Keyence.

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udiophiles and casual listeners alike agree: it’s awesome equipment. The Sonos PLAY smart speaker system lets you listen to jazz in the kitchen, classical in the den, and heavy metal in the garage, each room by itself or all at the same time. So whether you want a whole-house Gojira jam or a little Don Henley with friends on the patio, Sonos brings music to places that were once silent.

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It’s not all about music. Sonos offers a home theater system as well, one that’ll have you ducking for cover each time Luke Skywalker pulls out his lightsaber. The Sonos PLAYBAR produces crisp, clean dialogue and memorable sound effects, while the SUB generates bone-shaking bass. Add a pair of PLAY speakers to the back and you’ll have a surround sound system sure to make the neighbors jealous. Best of all, Sonos is wireless, making it easy to grow your system one room at a time. Plug a speaker into the nearest wall outlet, update the configuration on your smart phone or computer, and you’re ready to rock. Fill every home with music Sonos Inc. started in 2002 as a provider of custom home audio installations. Within a few years it began offering its ZP100 player and CR100 wireless controller, and has since 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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been on a growth curve steeper than the hills surrounding its Santa Barbara, CA headquarters. The company today employs over 1,200 people and boasts offices across the US, Europe, and China. With growth comes challenges, however, and Sonos recently began looking for an easier and more accurate way to validate speaker component quality levels, many of which are made of flexible materials that are difficult to measure. One of these is a damping mechanism known throughout the industry as a spider, a piece of fabric covered in a phenolic resin and then pressed over steel dies into a corrugated shape, giving it a complex geometry and part profile best described as a sine wave. Tony Ferraro, transducer mechanical engineering manager at Sonos’ Boston, MA facility says the spider is an important part of sound quality, and is analogous to an automobile suspension, in that it controls oscillation of the cone assembly. The spider also helps control the position of the cone and voice coil relative to the speaker frame and transducer motor assembly.


NEWS

A Sonos home theater contains a PLAYBAR, SUB, and rear PLAY:1 speakers.

local Keyence representative. They weren’t disappointed. She was able to show us the impressive capabilities of the VHX-5000 in a matter of minutes.” The VHX-5000 was used to capture an image of the spider surface, then draw a cross-section line across the radius. By taking multiple images and averaging the results, Sonos personnel are able to measure the spacing and radii of the corrugation rolls, ensuring that the parts are being made to specifications. This cross-section of a speaker shows the spider (the yellow piece in the middle) and its sine-wave geometry.

“The issue with inspecting a spider is that it’s relatively soft, so if you use a height gauge or some other type of contact method you’ll distort the part and end up with inaccurate results,” he says. “Because of that, we were largely relying on inspection data from our suppliers, who measure the spider with radius gages, calipers, and similar subjective methods. We needed a more reliable way to validate the product.” Scoping Out the Options Sonos management agreed. Although no quality problems had yet surfaced, they wanted better control of their own product destiny, and turned to metrology provider Keyence Corp. for help. A product demonstration of the company’s VHX-5000 Digital Microscope was quickly scheduled.

“Ferraro pulled in team members from other departments to help evaluate the equipment during the visit from the

It was also the first opportunity he’d had to use high-end metrology equipment as part of the product development cycle, something that aids greatly in the company’s push towards continuous improvement. “The status quo isn’t good enough, especially for a company that is growing by leaps and bounds,” Ferraro says. “You need good technology if you’re going to compete in today’s market. Keyence is part of that.” Process Improvement The results have been quite positive. Ferraro admits to being nervous at first that the VHX-5000 would sit idle, but his fears have proven unfounded. “We use it to measure the spiders and other soft parts like fabric tweeter domes and rubber surrounds, things we don’t want to touch with traditional contact measurement,” he says. “More and more, though, the other teams at Sonos are using it for various things. For example, the electrical team uses it for inspecting circuit board failures, and pick and place accuracy, and the research and development folks use it to validate processes, and do assembly checking, that kind of stuff. It gets a good workout.”

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The VHX-5000 is equipped with an 18-megapixel x 3CMOS camera that captures up to 50 images per second. These images are processed by an advanced graphics card, which analyzes each for the correct focus level, brightness, and depth-of-field, then combines the different images to provide a fully-focused, composite view of the subject matter. Together with advanced functions such as Easy Mode for simplified use, HDR (high dynamic range) resolution, and a high-speed, vibration resistant stage, the VHX-5000 is an ideal solution for a wide variety of imaging and measurement applications.

The equipment was installed shortly after the demonstration in early 2015. Ferraro had previous experience with traditional inspection equipment such as optical comparators, but this was the first time he’d used something “this advanced.” After a one-hour training session, however, he was showing coworkers how to use the equipment, although he admits the VHX-5000 has far more untapped potential. “Learning to use the basic functionality is pretty straightforward, but we’re probably only using 10-percent of the instrument’s actual capability.”

www.keyence.com/sonos 13 | Industry USA | January 2017

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Industry USA 13  

Industry USA is the English-language technical magazine for engineers.

Industry USA 13  

Industry USA is the English-language technical magazine for engineers.