Page 1 November 2015


MOTION CONTROL: How to handle imbalances from light loads on VFDs PAGE 62

SENSORS: The evolution of liquid level sensing PAGE 88

Users call the shots in CAD APR15-A&C Snipe_Snipe 3/13/15 2:39 PM Page 1

ELECTRONICS: Your next circuit design could be fabricated on a printer PAGE 94

Cover_DW_November 2015_FINAL.indd 1

enhancements 44

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Insights The robots are free! One of the trends that’s been apparent at the last few industrial trade shows I’ve attended is that industrial robots are being unleashed from their metal prisons. It wasn’t long ago that the only examples of robots that you’d see—whether on the show floor or on an actual manufacturing plant floor—were those disembodied arms working safely behind steel cages, moving boxes from one conveyor to the next, safely out of the way of humans. At last month’s PackExpo Show in Las Vegas, it was interesting to see how robots were being displayed at the Yaskawa booth. Areas surrounding robots weren’t simply caged off, but had many embedded sensors to detect when an employee approached the workspace. Tripping a sensor meant, in some cases, that a particular robot might stop (depending on its function). But more often, different robots would merely slow down to 20 or 50 or 80% of their normal speed. So, are the robots safer? Well, yes, but more accurately, they’re simply smarter. Software is figuring out what safety protocols are needed. This fresh approach to how humans and robots interact is really being driven by productivity demands. It’s sensors, vision and software all working in harmony to boost output on the factory floor while not compromising on the safety aspect. The RoboBusiness Conference in San Jose also showed another side as to why robots are being freed up to collaborate more. Soft robotics is in—these can be robots with compressed air fil ed limbs or even squishy, gel- or flu d-fil ed end effectors that won’t injure a human, should they make contact with a worker. (Think of Baymax in the recent film ig Hero 6.) Soft robots are more pliable (providing the safety aspect), but they can be more inexpensive, too. Their drawback is that they won’t provide a high level of accuracy anytime soon, but as sensing continues to advance, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this become one of the fastest growing areas in robotics in the coming years. The 2015 World Robot Statistics report, issued by the International Federation of Robotics, indicates that by 2018, global sales of industrial robots will on average grow year on year by 15%—the numbers of units sold will double to around 400,000 units. Five major markets represent 70% of the total sales volume: China, Japan, the U.S., South Korea and Germany. Last year in the U.S., the number of installed robots increased by 11% to about 26,000 units—ranking it third in the world. Production industries here deploy a mere 164 industrial robots per 10,000 employees. But the country is automating its economy at high speed. So expect to see more robot coworkers in the very near future—but don’t expect to see them behind a metal screen. DW

Are industrial robots making your manufacturing facility more effici t?

Pa ul J. Heney - Edi tor i al D i re ctor pheney@wtwhme di

Comment on Paul’s blog on Pneumatic Tips,


Insights 11-15_Vs4.LL.PH.MD.indd 4


November 2015

On Twitter @ DW—Editor

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Te s c h l e r o n To p i c

Cross-dysfunctional teams

In the 1990s, I was a judge for an award competition among companies that practiced something called “concurrent engineering.” For younger readers who weren’t around back then, the concurrent engineering movement got started as a way of ensuring new designs would be easy to manufacture. The basic idea was to form teams composed of design and manufacturing engineers, purchasing personnel, and anybody else who had a dog in the fight, as designs passed from the drawing board to production. The team was supposed to head off u pleasant surprises as assembly eff rts began to roll.

The overriding memory I have of those times was the obsession with teams. The collective “wisdom of the crowd” was supposed to make American manufacturing competitive. But evidence since then is that teams are overrated. They can discourage and suppress individuals who might otherwise make valuable contributions, and they introduce problems that never would have arisen had there been no “teamwork.” For insights on the down-side of teams, it is useful to review the work of David H. Freedman, a science and business journalist who has made a study of why advice and pronouncements from experts, and groups of experts, often turn out to be wrong. Freedman points out that pooling the judgment of individuals doesn’t really enhance their ability to make decisions, it merely locks in whatever proclivity there is among those involved. If individuals are even slightly more likely to come up with wrong answers than right ones, that tendency becomes far more likely in a group. And if you are looking for insightful observations, don’t form a team. Freedman points to research in the 1990s that documented social loafi g among team members: People in groups tend not to try as hard as when working alone, apparently because people in groups tend to spend more time listening to others rather than noodling things out by themselves. Moreover, the larger the group, the less productive individuals become.

The fascination with teams as a competitive advantage ignores how interactions among team members can have negative effects. Freedman points out that groups are frequently dominated not by people who are most likely to be right, but by those who are belligerent, persuasive, persistent, manipulative or forceful. Groups amplify bias, squash minority points of view, and can even overcome the correct point of view when it’s not the majority view, Freedman reports. All in all, truth doesn’t win out in groups or teams. Worse, people in teams may be inclined to just go along even if they sense things are heading to an erroneous conclusion; researchers have found group members tend to drop their guard against errors and bad judgment because whatever else groups do, they also distribute responsibility for being wrong. If you fi d yourself stewing away on an unproductive work team, perhaps you can take solace in the idea that such shenanigans are annoying but typically not fatal when they happen in manufacturing plants. That’s not the case when they happen in airplane cockpits. Freedman reports that a review of cockpit black boxes has revealed that six of the ten deadliest plane crashes in history happened with at least one crew member being aware of the mistake that would ultimately destroy the plane but who stayed quiet because the rest of the crew thought differently. DW

Le la n d Te sc h le r - Exec u t i ve Edi to r ltesc h ler@wtwh m edi a .co m

On Twitter @ DW—LeeTeschler 6


Lee Teschler Column 11-15_Vs3.LT.MD.indd 6

November 2015

10/28/15 10:18 AM


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l Contributors Spotlight


The evolution of liquid level sensing

Drives Application Engineer Yaskawa

MATT BURNS Technical Marketing Director Avnet


Matt develops go-to-market strategies and training programs for differentiated sensor technologies. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University. In his spare time Matt enjoys traveling, biking, reading and spending time with his family and friends.


How to handle imbalances from light loads on VFDs

Daniel has more than 21 years of experience in applying VFDs to a variety of commercial and industrial applications. He was responsible for the design, manufacture, contract compliance and testing to produce and install new ac propulsion systems on all four monorail trains used at Disneyland in Anaheim. For the last nine years, Daniel has been focused on water pump specific applications for VFD’s using custom application software. Q: What trend or new technology would you like to see emerge within your industry over the next 5 years? A: Drives with built-in data logging oscilloscopes or bigger budgets for field test equipment. Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever had to do as part of a job? A: Jump a fence to get out of the way of a herd of dairy cattle.

fun fact

most frustrating? A: Software and programming. I get how things work when I can “see” them physically, but the programming skillset continues to elude me. I have such respect for software engineers because they do things I can’t understand. Q:

What technology do you find the


What first attracted you to engineering and/or technology as a child?

If Daniel could have dinner with any historical figure, he’d like it to be Nicola Tesla. “I cannot imagine that conversation would ever end. Without his known inventions our modern world would not be the same and I want to offer my sincere thanks for the sacrifices he made to put them into useful existence.”

Networking for industrial machine tool building


A: Math and science always came very easily for me. Additionally, I was and I still am perpetually curious about how things work. I was always tearing something apart as a kid: blender, toaster, radio or whatever I could get my hands on.

my Be patient. Any good thing in life takes time. advice We live in such a hyperactive world that instant

Senior Group Manager National Instruments


Todd graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. In addition to his work with NI, Todd serves on the AVnu Alliance Board of Directors as the Secretary and Industrial Segment Chair.

gratification is the accepted standard. That rarely happens in reality.

Anant joined Portescap nearly a decade ago as a strategic marketing specialist. For the past five years he has been in his current position for Portescap India in Mumbai. Anant has also published several technical articles on a variety of motion solution issues.

Can stack: Can do

ANANT BHALERAO Product Line Manager Stepper Motors Portescap


Q: When you’ve had a stressful workweek, what’s your favorite way to unwind? A: If I am not at work, then mostly I am experimenting in my kitchen. Cooking is my passion and one of those things that just comes naturally to me from my mother. But the main reason I love to cook is because it keeps me stress free. Cooking is challenging my mind and taking my mind off the stress of everyday life. Q: If you had not followed your current career path, what else would you have done? A: I would have joined some culinary school and started my own restaurant. This what now I plan to do after my retirement.   

Contributor Page 11-15_Vs2.MD.indd 11


November 2015


July 2015




11/2/15 10:12 AM

Te c h n o lo gy Fo r wa rd

For the IoT, connection is not enough

One of the goals driving the Internet of Things (IoT) is the belief that the gathered data will deliver information you can use to develop new products. A recent survey, though, indicates that designers should not just simply make already existing products remotely controlled. That level of development seems to have come and gone.

The survey was conducted by Autodesk during its Accelerate 2015 conference to a random sample of consumer and industrial users. Specific views examined were on product recyclability, privacy and Internet connectivity. The results were delivered with a positive spin in the press release. Skeptical examination, though, reveals that the IoT is not as accepted by potential consumer buyers as it is by manufacturers. Recyclability was an exception. Almost 60% of consumer respondents said they would be willing to pay a 10% premium for a product, such as a home appliance, that can be recycled at the end of its useful life. 61% of industrial users said such a feature was essential in their product development process. When it comes to buying home devices that connect to the Internet, though, only 29% of consumer respondents would pay a little extra for them. Further, more than 60% would not care to have a product they can turn on and off r motely. (Goodbye IoT light bulbs.) Not many (21%) seem to care if manufacturers can use the Internet to update products’ software functions or fix bugs remotely. Less than 10% are interested in companies’ ability to use gathered data to improve products. And nearly 80% are not interested in having the ability to monitor their personal data.

For industrial users, about 42% see the top benefit of the IoT being the ability to monitor product and user data over time. Interestingly, less than one-quarter (24%) say that more data will help improve future products. Industrial users are not excited about remote on-off eatures either, with only 4% seeing this feature as an advantage. The IoT is being sold, in part, as a way to do more with less, not just turn devices into Internet-enabled remote control products. But current product offerings are not meeting that expectation. Of course, the other development path is using the IoT for services, such as remote diagnostics or monitoring. For consumers, GreenPeak Technologies suggests services as well. Focused on the smart home, the idea is to develop products that would provide the services performed by a butler. Smart devices would be truly smart, and not just connected to the Internet, and would recognize what is happening in a home. The devices would then either alert the owner or take proactive action (defi ed by the owner through easily programmed choices). As with so many innovations (such as 3D printing), it’s not about automating what you already do. It’s more about thinking “outside the box,” inventing the next level. What can the new technology help you do that you could not do before? DW

Le sli e La n gn a u - M a n ag i n g Edi to r lla n g n a u r@wtwh m edi a .co m

On Twitter @ DW—3Dprinting



Leslie's Column 11-15 Vs3.LL.MD.indd 12

November 2015

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Co nten t s |

November 2015 • vol 10 no 11


F E AT U R E S CONTROL 62 MOTION How to handle imbalances


from light loads on VFDs

MECHANICAL Taking the simple O-ring to new levels LSR (Liquid silicone rubber) O-rings are growing in use in a variety of high-volume production applications, especially in life sciences.

Input current imbalances happen when a variable frequency drive (VFD) with a full-bridge rectifier operates under lightly loaded conditions. Here we explain what to do about it.


68 Can stack: Can do LINEAR MOTION

SENSORS The evolution of liquid level sensing There are multiple ways for engineers to measure and keep track of liquids in a container, and one will fit your application.

Can stack linear actuators are a good go-to solution for many linear motion systems, including modern stage lighting systems.

94 ELECTRONICS Your next circuit design could

ETHERNET 75 INDUSTRIAL Networking for industrial

be fabricated on a printer

Manufacturers are making 3D-printed electronics a reality even for designs involving sophisticated multi-layer circuit boards.

machine tool building

If the Industrial Internet of Things takes off, machines will depend on free flowing data within and between other machines. IIoT needs the participation of all devices on a converged network, which will require a different set of communication technologies. Updates to standard Ethernet will support these needs.

ON THE COVER SolidWorks 2016 is the latest release of Dassault Systèmes’ portfolio of 3D design and engineering applications. User wanted capabilities make it easier to innovate, design, validate, collaborate and build. Photo courtesy of SolidWorks​



CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2015_first page_Vs2.LL.indd 14



2015 O N LIN E

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11. 20 1 5 D E PA R T M E N T S 4 Insights 6 11 12 18

Teschler on Topic Contributors


Technology Forward Green Engineering

22 Engineering Exchange 24 Design For Industry 34 Design Notes

Linear Slides and Cam Roller Linear Guide Rail System Components

44 CAE Solutions 54 Internet of Things 106 Product World 1 1 2 Ad Index

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Contents NOVEMBER_second page_Vs2.indd 16





November 2015

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» Gree n E n g i n e e ri n g n Paul J. Heney • Editorial Director

Can this sustainable substance from the ocean floor help plastics?

Some things are more sustainable than others. Crude oil can take millions of years to form under the Earth’s natural processes, while limestone has a shorter turnaround time of about 10,000 years. But in a society that burns through materials quickly, 10,000 years can hardly be considered a reasonable time to replenish something we’re using in, say, the production of plastics. A solution has come from a most unexpected place—the crystal blue waters off he Bahamas. Calcean has begun to produce a substance, calcium carbonate (CaCO3), that can replace a portion of 18


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November 2015

plastic resin—providing strength, cost savings and an environmental advantage. Calcium carbonate is a colorless or white crystalline compound found throughout the world. Its most common natural forms are chalk, limestone, and marble—produced by the sedimentation of the shells of small fossilized snails, shellfish a d coral over millions of years. It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement, as well as a popular additive in a variety of manufactured products, including commercial chalk, cement, paper and plastics.

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Oolitic aragonite sand (biogenic CaCO3) is one of the world’s purest forms of the ocean’s naturally precipitated calcium carbonate. It has a crystalline morphology of orthorhombic, bipyramidal characteristically needle-shaped crystals. The acicular needle-shape has a high aspect ratio, giving aragonite its strong practical advantages. But instead of having to wait thousands or millions of years for this substance to be created, a much faster process is involved. The phenomenon through which oolitic aragonite is formed is described as “Whitings.” Thought to be schools of fish di turbing the sandy bottom of the Bahama banks, Whitings are actually epicellular precipitation of calcium carbonate induced by photosynthesis in blooms of picoplankton, predominantly cyanobacteria, that seasonally enter the shallow waters throughout the Bahamas. This photosynthesis and calcification process sequesters tens of thousands of tons of CO2 from our environment. Oolitic aragonite not only makes a cleaner environment in its generative process, but also has the potential to help clean up the environment through its use in various industries. This biogeochemical cycling of carbon in microbial precipitations of aragonite (biogenic CaCO3) replenishes at a rate of more than four billion pounds per year. Using the company’s BioCal product in place of traditional resin (as much as 50% can be substituted) increases density and stiff ess of a plastic, increases heat deflection, and increases down-gauge potential. Some of the uses include extrusion, thermoforming, injection molding, cast film a d even blow molding. DW



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with Design World DIGITAL ISSUE Visit for our latest issue!

FACEBOOK November 2015


INSIDE: MOTION CONTROL: How to handle imbalances from light loads on VFDs PAGE 62

SENSORS: The evolution of liquid level sensing PAGE 88

By Carl Dyke, CD Industrial Group Mobile hydraulic component and system designers have quite a challenge. Market competition compels them to keep up with a lot of change and innovation over time.


r ol fo tr ed Con Alli & k n in atio om


Aut Cover_DW_November 2015_FINAL.indd 1

Modern mobile hydraulics: Not your grandfather's loader

Users call the shots in CAD enhancements APR15-A&C Snipe_Snipe 3/13/15 2:39 PM Page 1

ELECTRONICS: Your next circuit design could be fabricated on a printer PAGE 94

Opto 22 - Designing Groov with Autodesk CFD Opto 22 used Autodesk CFD to design their new product, Groov. By implementing 3D digital prototyping and up front simulation they were able to eliminate the need for fans and provide a significantly smaller and more reliable product.

10/28/15 11:32 AM


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Pneumatic cylinders are a popular way to clamp, position and transfer parts in automated equipment. Following these design rules will ensure a successful machine automation application.

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Using Tantalum to protect critical electrical components Radiation shielding is an important aspect of aluminum aerospace structures, such as satellites. Graded Z shielding has been used in satellites for years. It involves laminating several different metals together that each have a different atomic number. The variation in Z number creates an effective fi ter along a broad spectrum of radiation. Graded Z shielding can protect sensitive electronic components and reduce background noise for signal analysis. Generally, a graded Z approach will also be lighter and thinner than traditional shielding. Satellites have used combinations of aluminum, titanium and tantalum to create a graded Z structure. Tantalum has a high resistance to corrosion, and thus can be used to coat components that will operate in a corrosive environment. One company, Fabrisonic, incorporates tantalum into aluminum aerospace structures for radiation shielding using an ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) process. UAM can easily weld dissimilar metals. Thus, Fabrisonic can 3D print structural panels with several different Z number materials in a single component. The benefits are reduced part count and no need for complex brazing operations. In addition to graded Z applications, tantalum is a good absorber of neutrons; there are several terrestrial applications for neutron shielding. Fabrisonic is currently working with embedding tantalum for neutron shielding applications for nuclear medicine. The UAM solid-state 3D printing process uses sound waves to merge layers of metal 24


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Here is a feasibility plate where Fabrisonic 3D printed layers of 6061 aluminum and a 0.008-in. thick foil of tantalum (lower photo). Tantalum can be integrated into 3D printed aluminum structures such as satellite structural components. Thus, the structure and the radiation shield can be combined into one monolithic panel (upper photo). foil for true metallurgical bonds with full density. Metals that can be used for this process include tantalum, europium, titanium and aluminum. Metal 3D printing technologies have the promise of creating parts with complex layered structures not possible with conventional manufacturing approaches. With Fabrisonic’s metal 3D printing technology, you can 3D print parts using multiple different metals layered in the same part, and with CNC precision. DW


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» Design for Industry

LVDT sensor for use on subsea trees

Back in 2010, Deepwater Horizon suffered a major blowout of its oil-drilling platform. Analysis revealed that part of the cause was a failure of the blind shear ram to properly cut the drill pipe and seal the wellbore. But the failure of other components to operate as designed also poses environmental risks. For example, failure to completely close valves on subsea trees (also known as Christmas trees) can risk oil spilling out uncontrollably at an offs ore drilling site. Valves on a Christmas tree are used to open and close oil pipes as they bring oil from the sea bed. (Christmas trees typically consist of an assembly of valves, sensors 26


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and controllers and other equipment placed over a wellhead, which, in formation, resemble a decorated tree. Its function is to prevent oil or gas release from an oil well, while controlling flow rates to maintain steady production levels.) The SSI Series of Subsea LVDT linear position sensors includes the CiA 443 CANopen communication interface for use on subsea trees. These submersible LVDTs give feedback on valves by monitoring and controlling their status as part of a subsea control module. Located on the ocean floor in depths up to several hundred meters, the LVDT sensor and other prescribed “Level 2” components

installed on the subsea tree are connected to offs ore platforms through CAN networks. In the past, sensors and other equipment were connected by EIA 485 serial links that proved unreliable. To improve operability and standardize communications between devices among different manufacturers on these subsea trees, the SIIS (Subsea Instrument Interface Standardization group) and CiA (CAN in Automation) Association jointly developed a new communication interface—CiA 443 CANopen profi e. According to CiA, the CANopen network links SIIS Level-2 devices to a subsea control system, which communicates through CiA 443. In addition to complying with the new CiA 443 CANopen regulation, SSI Series of Subsea LVDTs are encased in Inconel 625 to withstand deep sea environments with pressures up to 5,000 psi. Due to a higher content of nickel, chromium and molybdenum, the Inconel offers protection against corrosion and enhances the reliability of the LVDT assembly, ensuring that it can meet service life requirements of at least 20 years, even if fully exposed to seawater. Reliability is critically important due to the cost of replacing subsea hardware. DW

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» Design for Industry

Vision inspection ensures accurate fil The faster a packaging line goes, the more risk for portion inaccuracy. The DS1000 series of 3D displacement sensors addresses applications that demand high resolution and greater measurement range, such as measuring height, volume and tilt of parts. A robot-mounted DS1300 with VC5 Vision Controller will scan trays to calculate the volume of dispensed food, and confir that the volume in individual food trays meets users’ defi ed tolerance. The contrastindependent controller works on all tray colors.



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DS1101 sensors offer flexible calibration. One application for these sensors is to detect broken vacuum seals, open air channels, and food debris in a seal, thereby reducing risks of spoiled food product reaching consumers. DW

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Six-axis control improves robot performance

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Sensors can help improve robotic productivity. The Capacitive F/T Sensor, for example, measures the six components of force and torque (Fx, Fy, Fz, Tx, Ty, Tz) often needed in robotic applications. The sensor is IP65-rated for protection against dust and water spray, and hard mechanical stops provide overload protection. Output options include computer connection through optional USB and Ethernet conversion cables. The force range (Fx, Fy, Fz) is 45 lbĆ’ (200 N) and torque range (Tx, Ty, Tz) is 35 in.-lb (4 Nm). Output options include an Ethernet conversion box that allows connection to Ethernet networks and USB conversion cables that allow connection to a personal computer or other devices powered by the USB output, and RS-422 serial connection, which provides un-terminated wires for data signals and user 5 Vdc power input. The sensors come in a range of custom and standard silicon strain gage-based models from 17 to 330 mm and include environmental protection (IP) on most. All versions measure six components of force and torque (Fx, Fy, Fz, Tx, Ty, Tz) and feature a compact design, hardened stainless steel construction, highspeed output, overload protection, span temperature compensation options, and high signal-to-noise ratio. DW

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» Design for Industry s a f e t y

Safety PLC ensures safe crane operation Congestion is a problem at major construction sites as builders exploit the available building space and work to complete projects faster. The workhorse tower crane is critical to the efficiency of such sites, and crane operators often have to work in complex 3D space envelopes with many potential collision zones. But safety PLCs are helping to increase crane safety. The PLC is part of the crane control system. It continuously monitors load torque, as well as working and collision areas, in real time to SIL3 (IEC 61508 and 62061) PLe (ISO 13849-1) functional safety level. It provides instant and comprehensive visibility for the operator of all key crane status indicators. The crane’s maximum movement speed is also controlled by a fully dynamic calculation of load moment. This enhances crane productivity by providing an infin tely adjustable hoisting performance envelope—rather than using more restrictive gradated maximum speed bands. The AC500-S safety PLC supports trigonometric mathematical functions, greatly speeding static and dynamic crane load safety calculations. The position of the trolley, radius of the crane, plus load and wind conditions are all displayed on the graphical touch-screen user interface. “The safety PLC performs complex safety arithmetic functions to monitor key parameters. Among other things, it ensures that maximum permissible load moments are never exceeded to prevent an overload tipping the crane,” said Ralf Tensing, a founder of NTK Ingenieurbüro. “Status is shown in real time. At a glance, the operator can see where the trolley or hoist is and what the load is. When you are working on congested sites or at high altitudes, this is a huge advantage.” The NTK crane control system consists of a dual-PLC architecture with the math-capable AC500-S safety PLC. Instead of programming using specialized safety PLC function blocks, the AC500-S offers a safety-certified structured text programming language. This high level language, which includes constructs such as IF statements, provides flexibility to develop crane safety monitoring and user interface ideas. Included with the safety PLC is the safety code analyzer (SCA). This 30


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» Design for Industry s a f e t y tool verifies that the user is following safety programming rules or guidelines according to IEC 61508-3. The AC500-S’s math capabilities include a suite of functions for trigonometric calculations, including COS, SIN, TAN, ASIN, ACOS and LOG. These functions help ensure safe control of movement in any application involving complex kinematics—such as cranes, hoists, manipulators and mobile platforms (automated guided vehicles). The AC500-S safety CPU is programmed using standard editors such as Structured Text (ST), Ladder (LD) or Function Block Diagram (FBD). This PLC has a separate safety processor. The Safety CPU can be configured to work even if the non-safety processor is in STOP or maintenance mode, or during an online change. DW


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» D e s i g n N o te s

Edited by: Mike Santora • Associate Editor

PLC controls vertical wind tunnel, simulating freefall

Over 5 million


have flown in a SkyVenture win d tunnel. The com pany’s flight chambers are m ade from some of the largest cu rved, tempered laminated glas s ever cast.

Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is foolhardy to some, but for others it’s the thrill of a lifetime. SkyVenture of Austin, Texas, re-creates the experience without ever boarding a plane. But providing a safe and realistic freefall simulation on the ground comes with challenges. SkyVenture built the fir t vertical wind tunnel with wall-towall even flow in 1999. Until then, skydiving wind tunnels were uninsurable, inefficient fans that simply suspended people on a



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bubble of unstable air. Move too far to the side of the bubble and you simply fell off—wi d tunnels were little more than high-risk novelties. These new, more efficient versions are known as recirculating tunnels. They use four 600-hp, direct driven, 2.8-m vent-axial fans (rated at 400 hp for continuous use). The fans, each weighing in at 17,000 lb, are mounted on the top of the building to draw air up through the fl ght chamber at maximum speeds greater than 170 mph—equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.

10/28/15 12:44 PM

After the fir t tunnel was built, the company needed a control system that enabled easier operator control as well as simpler on-site installation. In 2005, the SkyVenture design team chose CC-Link communications to improve the operator interface, control operation and installation process. The company upgraded this original system from a Modbus communication scheme. In this redesign, SkyVenture switched to a Mitsubishi

Q Series PLC. The PLC used a CC-Link Master card within the Q Series PLC rack to control communications. CCLink was then used to communicate with the four F740 VFDs using the Mitsubishi Electric FR-A7NC CC-Link interface cards. On the one communication line, the operator monitors volts, amps, kW, set frequency and alarms, as well as setting the operating frequency. With the previous system, the wind tunnel operator had to


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10/28/15 12:44 PM

Toggle clamps » De sign Note s MTC

In the control system redesign,

• Stable – the lever is controlled during clamping to prevent impact due to side thrust. • Secure – for applications with strong vibration stresses.

SkyVenture switched to a Mitsubishi Q Series PLC. The PLC used a CC-Link Master card within the Q Series PLC rack to control communications.


• Heavy Series for applications requiring high clamping load capacity. • Durable – Long Life series tested to over one million cycles. • Versatile – ability to build your own tool by welding. • Functional – suitable for applications at high temperatures, on molds for plastic materials and in rotational molding.

Elesa. Always more... Operating elements

Indexing and positioning elements

Clamping knobs

Lift & Pull handles

Leveling elements and supports

Control elements

Hinges and connections

control all of these different functions over ten or more different communication cables. Retrofitting the four VFDs with the cards and the CC-Link cabling only took a few hours. A few ferrules later and communication within the tunnel and the entire facility was ready for operation. In addition, a CC-Link network was also controlling the air temperature in the fl ght chamber by opening and closing 20-x10-ft

doors. These doors were connected to linear actuators driven by more Mitsubishi VFDs. The information on the status of the doors was then displayed on the HMI used by the operator. Additional I/O, like air speed in the chamber, is monitored and displayed on the operator interface. This interface also provides predefi ed fl ght time options that the operator selects, which are then used to determine the

Rotary controls

e shows This imag tion of one the installa -hp, direct of the 600 ventdriven, 2.8-m

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Design Notes 11-15_Vs3.LL.MD.indd 36


November 2015

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Elesa The Original handwheel

» D e s ig n N o te s

VD. Original Design

 The informati o

n on th

remaining fl ght time (also displayed). SkyVenture’s Seattle facility has their most powerful vertical wind tunnel, capable of generating wind speeds approaching 250 mph. To maintain control of such powerful airflow, the system also monitors fan motor vibrations, temperature and safety shut down triggers that all have to operate in less than the blink of the eye. This information must be communicated with a user friendly HMI that personnel can use while the tunnels are in operation. Obviously, when all this takes place in a simulated Category 5 hurricane, speed is essential; the wind tunnel’s new network communicates instructions and information in milliseconds. But constructing the tunnels was one of the SkyVenture design team’s biggest challenges. The team was tasked with designing and building a complex piece of machinery in locations all over the world using local labor. The key to success was in the simple implementation and install design. Primarily off- he-shelf components created a package that could be shipped anywhere and assembled by a crew that had likely never seen this type of machine before. In particular, SkyVenture relies on the new control system components to simplify the  

Design Notes 11-15_Vs3.LL.MD.indd 37

e status of the doors is di splayed on the HMI used by the oper ator. Additiona l I/O, like air speed in the chamber, is m onitored and displa yed on the oper ator interface. This in terface also prov ides predefined ight time options th at the operator select s, which are then us ed to determine th e remaining fligh t time (also displayed) .

1963 The new innovative machine handwheel VD. made in Italy by Elesa, an original design in Duroplast, was introduced for the first time on the market.


The first successful exhibition at the Chicago Design Show.

1977 The Industrial Design Award

from the

IF-Hannover (Germany)

VDN. Original Design

 wind tunnel control system installation—down to connecting a handful of wires in the field rather than having to wire up and ring out hundreds of connections. Day after day and year after year the control systems operate at a rate of over 98 %. DW CC-Link Americas

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The new up-to-date and restyled machine handwheel VDN. Elesa Original Design always with the traditional, unmistakable feature:

the matte Aluminum ring contrasting with the high glossy black Duroplast surface


The design that many Civil Courts (IPR sections) and Courts of Appeal in Europe over many years have declared “a unique and distinctive design”

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November 2015



10/28/15 12:45 PM

» De sign Note s

Edited by: Mike Santora • Associate Editor

Manufacturers of Power Transmission and Motion Control Components

Old-fashioned collaboration helps spring prototype process to life Even though you may have the latest technology and capabilities, sometimes a design requires “old-fashioned” methods. A major automobile company needed a variety of springs, stampings and wire forms for use in multiple assemblies. The issue was how to initiate an immediate and efficient collaboration. The auto engineers turned to the Newcomb Spring engineering team. The team needed to fi d a way to streamline a process for fast production and quick modification of a series of prototypes. To expedite the development of the prototypes, Newcomb Spring did things the old fashioned way—they invited their customer on-site. For the fir t facet of the process, three Newcomb Spring team members

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selected dedicated equipment for the project: a CNC spring bender, spring design software, torsional load testing equipment, CNC forming equipment, inline ovens, 3D cad modeling for a set of drawings, and lastly, a work area to test the parts on the production floor for rapid adjustments of springs. The designers worked directly with their customer’s engineers to develop parts for dashboard and center console units for a new vehicle design. “This was an efficient way to produce a variety of prototypes,” said Donald Jacobson III, technical salesperson at Newcomb Spring. “It resulted in a quicker, smoother process. All parties were there at the same time, working together, and everyone could apply their

One of the prot otypes produced was a torsion spring for the as sembly which opens th e vehicle’s center console storage compartment.                      

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Design Notes 11-15_Vs3.LL.MD.indd 38



November 2015

10/28/15 12:51 PM

In addition to various spring an d metal forming equipment, incl uding a precision CNC sp ring coiler, New comb provided the clie nt with equipm ent operators as wel l as design pers onnel.

experience. For example, we were adjusting the number of coils in the double torsion spring, the free angle and ultimately the wire diameter,” said Jacobson. “We changed spring configurations while keeping the parts working in the assembly. In the double torsion spring noted above, once we understood the issue, we changed tooling on the machine to adjust the wire diameter and we had the right part almost perfect off he machine. The team also adjusted the free angle 10°, creating a part that passed the needed criteria. That part was then given to a team member who made a drawing and had the customer sign off n the drawing before they left. Being on-site and all together, we were able to quickly make a spring that had the right amount of resistance.” Working in Newcomb’s facility throughout the process offered an array of resources, which expedited the production of the prototypes. The same customer, in a separate but similar project, had the Newcomb Spring team blindly build samples for more than eight weeks while parts were sent, built, tested, and changed. The result? Six extra weeks and four sets of samples before a finis ed solution. DW

knowledge to ensure that the parts fulfil ed all requirements,”                      The project required multiple prototypes, and small adjustments to each part affected the overall design of the assembly. There was no equipment set-up time needed. No need to ship parts or wait for testing, and confusion was reduced as all parties were addressing the same task at the same time. Additionally, parts could be more easily tracked, as they were produced individually—as opposed to large batches of prototypes, all of which were slightly different. This process not only allowed the customer’s assemblies to be designed more quickly, but also reduced time for the total vehicle design process. With the dashboard and console complete, other aspects of the vehicle development could proceed. One of the prototypes produced was a torsion spring for the assembly that opens the Newcomb Spring vehicle’s center console storage compartment. While the spring needed to conform to dimensional requirements, there was also WHAT DO a qualitative interpretation of the spring’s YOU THINK? performance to consider—a need for the pushbutton trigger to feel “just right.”                             “We worked with the supplier and did Connect and discuss this and other design engineering issues with some small adjustments to get the best user thousands of professionals online  

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November 2015


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10/28/15 12:53 PM

» D e s i g n N o tes

Edited by: Mike Santora • Associate Editor

LVIT advances fit in-cylinder applications Variable inductance position sensors, known as LVITs (Linear Variable Inductance Transducers), have been around for decades. Recent advances in electronics and package designs have made LVITs cost effective for mainstream in-cylinder applications. This contactless technology offers many advantages for product life and long-term reliability. Equally important is the fact that LVITs can typically withstand greater shocks and vibration, such as those commonly found in heavy industrial and mobile equipment applications for cylinders. LVITs operate by measuring the resonant frequency of an oscillator that uses a simple inductive probe. Its inductance is varied by the position of a conductive tube or gun-drilled rod that surrounds it. LVITs are typically offered in full-scale ranges from 4

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11/2/15 11:59 AM

DesignWrld_5_12x8_37_Layout 1 1/8/15 5:19 PM Page 1

Stock & Custom Springs

The MHP-7 series linear sensor uses inductive technology and offers magnetostrictive performance and is still non-contact (no magnet required). The MHP-7 fits in o cylinders, actuators, and pumps too small for large magnetostrictive sensors.

to 36 in. (100 to 900 mm). These sensors produce an analog dc voltage or current output, with a digital output available for OEM applications. Remote field calibration is a standard feature offered on LVITs. This feature lets a user scale the analog output of the sensor after it has been installed in the cylinder. By merely grounding a wire to set the zero and full-scale output points, the sensor will give the desired full-scale output over its newly set range, making it unnecessary to scale the unit in an actual control system. LVITs in cylinders offer a contactless position sensing solution that does not require machining a cavity in the cylinder piston for a ring magnet or wiper contact. In fact, if an LVIT was installed to replace an existing magnetostrictive sensor, the magnet could be left in place in the cylinder rod end without interfering with the inductive sensor’s basic operation. In the past few years, requirements for instrumented cylinders in subsea applications have dramatically increased. LVITs can be offered in a pressure-sealed version that allows a user to November 2015

Design Notes 11-15_Vs3.LL.MD.indd 41


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In this image we see a cutaway highlighting the in-cylinder position sensor’s contactless confi uration. This LVIT setup does not require machining a cavity in the cylinder piston for a ring magnet or wiper contact.

install the sensor and cylinder in a subsea environment in depths of 12,000 ft (3,650 m) with 3,000 psig of internal hydraulic pressure. Another application for LVITs that is similar to cylinder position sensing is spool position feedback for two-stage hydraulic valves. Inserting a short range (<1-in.) port-mounted LVIT into a blind hole in one end of the main

spool is often an easier and lower cost installation than a pressure-sealed LVDT. A pressure-sealed LVDT requires an isolation tube to seal off ts windings from the valve’s pilot pressure, and needs relatively expensive electronics to operate it. An LVIT has many advantages when used in a cylinder. Whether inserted into an O-ring

» Desi gn Notes

port or embedded in the cylinder endcap, an LVIT features simplicity, needing just a deep hole in the piston rod. It offers excellent operating characteristics such as linearity, repeatability, stability and temperature coefficient. In addition, an LVIT is remarkably rugged and resistant to shock and vibration-induced failure. Furthermore, it has a long service life because it works without any physical contact between the sensor probe and the bore of the deep hole, or without using an electrical contact that can wear out. Altogether, these features make an LVIT a good choice for a broad range of flu d power position sensing applications, particularly for in-cylinder position sensing. DW Alliance Sensors Group

Encoder solutions that just make sense. Contact us today and find out how EPC’s advanced optics, sensors, and robust housing designs are the sensible solution for your motion control feedback challenge.


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10/29/15 1:51 PM


» CA E Solu t i o n s

Users call the shots in CAD enhancements SolidWorks 2016 is the latest release of Dassault Systèmes’ portfolio of 3D design and engineering applications. New capabilities of this software suite will make it easier to innovate, design, validate, collaborate and build, from initial concept to fi al product. User-requested enhancements include the ability to flatten any surface, visualize and validate design performance, more efficiently communicate with manufacturing, quickly create marketing-quality images, and easily access commands. The following are some of the top user-requested features, new products and enhancements included in the SolidWorks 2016 portfolio: • Curvature Continuous Edge Fillets let you create super smooth blends or “curvature continuous” fil ets faster for all fil et types, including asymmetric and variable sizes. • Sweep command helps you create complex swept shapes with better results, and automatically create swept circular profi es in sections, with bi-directional sweeps in either or both directions. • Thread Wizard lets you accurately model standard and custom-defi ed threads with one command. • Breadcrumbs let you quickly and easily access any model without viewing the Feature Tree, and reduce mouse travel with the Breadcrumb in the cursor. • Innovative design simulation tools deliver more control and insight over operation sequencing, loads, part movements, forces needed and mesh quality. SOLIDWORKS Visualize • Flatten Everything makes it easier (Bunkspeed) example. to quickly and easily flatten complex geometry for manufacturing, easily identify strains induced when forming shapes back onto 3D surfaces, and introduce relief cuts for the flat pattern to alleviate excessive stretch/ compression.



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10/28/15 3:33 PM

Enhancements to the user interface and workflows focus you on design (not the design tool) to increase productivity.

Flatten surface includes flattening of curves.

• Mate Controller helps you intuitively create and animate complicated assembly motion with calculation, control and visualization features. • eDrawings facilitates collaboration and communication of designs throughout product development by consistently measuring designs, navigating between documents and more accurately visualizing models. • SolidWorks Model Based Defin tion enhancements help you quickly and accurately defi e, organize and publish manufacturing specifications directly in 3D to avoid 2D drawing ambiguity and downstream discrepancies. • SolidWorks Visualize (formerly Bunkspeed) helps generate high-quality graphics. DW Dassault Systèmes


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10/28/15 3:34 PM


» CA E »Solu CA Et iSo onlut s ions

Comsol update: Multiphysics for more than analysts Jean Thilmany • Contributing Editor

Comsol multiphysics software 5.2 lets

Neither Comsol multiphysics software itself nor its application builder will see extensive changes this year, Svante Littmarck, Comsol’s president and CEO, told attendees at the company’s 2015 user conference. Instead, the multiphysics simulation company has been focused on making the graphical user interface of the soon-to-be-released Comsol version 5.2 easier to use, and on adding many new already developed apps to the application library. Analysts can choose from those existing apps for use at their companies or can use an existing app to launch development of their own Comsol applications, Littmarck said. Beyond application building, the Comsol software’s multiphysics capabilities allow analysts and experts to simulate and solve for two or more physical phenomena that act on a model at the same time. With application builder, on the other hand,

analysts and experts create applications that other users (within their companies or supply chain) can run without needing to understand the multiple physics forces acting on a model. Here, the software is solving for the optimal fin ed pipe for use in a specific application.



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Comsol users—often specialized, high-level experts and analysts—can convert versions of their simulation models into simplified applications that run on Comsol server software in either a corporate network or in the cloud. These applications can also be accessed through mobile devices. Through use of the simplified application, employees from other departments, clients, or customers can specify their own parameters when simulating and solving, Littmarck said. The software developer introduced application builder last year and upgraded it in 2015 with the intention of helping companies communicate across departments while the simulation expert who created the application maintains control, enforces quality standards, and ensures results can be trusted, according to Comsol.

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» CA E S o lutions

Introducing OMEGA’s Examples of the applications that can be built are as far ranging as the multiple physical effects the software can jointly simulate and solve for, said Bernt Nilsson, SVP of marketing at Comsol. For example, engineers and technicians at Peab Asfalt AB, of Sweden, which produces and lays asphalt, use simulation apps to test a piece of asphalt’s material properties to determine if road repairs are needed. Conventional methods for determining stiff ess and other material properties require lengthy and expensive physical testing, said Anders Gudmarsson, Peab research and development manager. But the application, created by the Peab research and development department, can be run using samples of any size, and results are available within hours, he added. The simulation calculates the asphalt’s stiff ess to determine if it has the ideal stiff ess for continued use. “We wanted to make this technique available on a wider scale in a way that would allow laboratory technicians to make decisions based on the results,” Gudmarsson said. Another example came from Cypress Semiconductor Corp. of Framingham, Mass., which develops smartphone touchscreens. Cypress research and development engineers have created simplified applications from their own, advanced simulations. The advanced simulations include those for touchscreen patterns, which can be customized for a range of products by updating model parameters, said Peter Vavaroutsos, a member of the Cypress touchscreen modeling group. The Cypress support team can call up a simplified touchscreenpattern application and update model parameters to show to customers various touchscreen possibilities, Vavaroutsos said. The application builder tool cuts costs for Comsol users, like Cypress and Peab Asphalt, because a license for the former is much less expensive than a Comsol license, Littmarck told conference attendees. The specially built applications save time for the simulation and analysis team, as they no longer need to stop their work to run models for customers and other departments, he added. DW Comsol

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» CAE S olut i ons

Before optimization: Design space exploration Bruce Jenkins • President • Ora Research

Design optimization is a powerful technology you can use to automate the search for solutions to engineering problems. But before optimizing a chosen design, it can be useful to employ design space exploration—a family of quantitative methods that help you gain a better, more complete understanding of a new product’s potential “design space” by discovering which design variables will have the greatest impact on product performance. The numerical methods that underpin design space exploration have been long known—and sometimes applied, when the attendant costs in expertise, time and labor could be justified. What’s changing now is the rapidly maturing generation of software tools transforming these powerful but formerly difficult-to-use methods into practical everyday engineering aids. Before diving into how design space exploration works, how does it relate to design optimization in a product development project? Chris Mattson, director of BYU’s Design Exploration Research Lab, offered this perspective: “Design optimization depends on a well-posed optimization problem formulation, which generally includes (i) a welldefi ed objective function, (ii) inequality and equality constraints, and (iii) the expression of stakeholder preference, all of which are likely to be multidisciplinary in nature. In an arguably real way, such a problem formulation predefi es the optimum

solution, thereby allowing the mathematical rigor of the optimization to lead to the optimum design by an iterative, computational search.” “Design exploration, on the other hand, assumes that the optimal design is initially unknown and initially uncharacterizable,” Mattson continued. “The process of design exploration discovers design conditions and little by little (often through some form of experimentation) characterizes what an optimal design looks like. Once this is known, the fi al solution can then be found through a convergent design optimization algorithm.” The essential quantitative method for design space exploration is design-of-experiment (DOE) studies. In a DOE study, an analysis model is automatically evaluated multiple times, with the design variables set to different values in each iteration. The results identify which variable(s) affect the design the most, and which the least. This information allows variables that are not important to be ignored in subsequent phases of the design process, or set to values that are most convenient or least costly. Concretely, a designed experiment is a structured set of tests of a system or process. Integral to a designed experiment are response(s), factor(s) and a model. A response is a measurable result—fuel mileage (automotive), deposition rate (semiconductor), reaction yield (chemical process).  

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Examples of (a) random

sampling, (b) full factorial sampling and (c) Latin hypercube sampling, for a simple case of 10 samples (samples for τ2 ~ U [6,10] and λ ~ N [0.4, 0.1] are shown). In random sampling, there are regions of the parameter space that are not sampled, and other regions that are heavily sampled. In full factorial sampling, a random value is chosen in each interval for each parameter, and every possible combination of parameter values is chosen. In Latin hypercube sampling, a value is chosen once and only once from every interval of every parameter; it is efficient, and adequately samples the entire parameter space. Source: Hoare et al., Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, 2008



10/28/15 3:39 PM


» CA E Solu t i o n s

Software for exploring design space Here are some of the leading design space exploration software solutions available today:

Response surface model. Source: Noesis Solutions

• Altair HyperStudy • ANSYS DesignXplorer • CD-adapco STAR-CCM+ /Enabling Optimate A factor is any variable that the experimenter judges may affect a response of interest. Common factor types include continuous (may take any value on an interval, for example, octane rating), categorical (having a discrete number of levels, such as a specific company or brand) and blocking (categorical, but not generally reproducible; an example is automobile driver-to-driver variability). A model is a mathematical surrogate for the system or process. The experiment consists of exercising the model across some range of values assigned to the defi ed factors. In deciding what values to use—more precisely, in deciding on a statistical strategy for selecting values—the goal is to achieve coverage of the design space that will yield maximum information about its characteristics with least experimental (computational) eff rt, and with confidence that the set of points sampled gives a representative picture of the entire design space. Numerous statistical sampling methods exist. Which method to use depends on the nature of the problem being studied, and on the resources available—time, computational capacity, and how much is already known about the problem. The results of a DOE sampling process are then used to generate an approximate model of the system being studied, called a response surface model (RSM). The RSM is generated by interpolating between the discrete DOE results to create a continuous 50


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• DATADVANCE pSeven • DecisionVis ExplorerDV • Dynamic Design Solutions FEMtools Optimization • Dynardo optiSLang surface map or model. The RSM is a convenient and efficient tool for visualizing the design space, examining relationships among design variables and their effects on key responses, and rapidly evaluating design alternatives—all without the need to perform additional expensive CAE evaluations or experiments. DW

• ESTECO modeFRONTIER • Exa PowerFLOW Optimization Solution • FRIENDSHIP SYSTEMS CAESES/ FRIENDSHIP Framework • FunctionBay RecurDyn/AutoDesign • iChrome Nexus

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• eArtius Pareto Explorer

• InModelia Neuro Pex • MSC Nastran Multi-run & Design Space Exploration • Noesis Solutions Optimus • OptiY GmbH OptiY

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• Phoenix Integration ModelCenter • PIDOTECH PIAnO • PTC Creo BMX (Behavioral Modeling Extension) • Red Cedar Technology HEEDS MDO • Sigma Tech IOSO • SIMULIA Isight • Vanderplaats Research & Development VisualDOC

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» CA E Solu t i o n s

Software eases PCB manufacturing Version 8.1 of the ODB++ intelligent product model is a single and open data structure that handles transferring printed circuit board (PCB) designs into data for fabrication, assembly and test. It provides virtual documentation capability that seamlessly translates all data fi es, drawings and documents from PCB design through the manufacturing flow. This open product model format eliminates the need to create and validate disparate documentation content, supporting all electronic design automation (EDA) tool flows. Users will be able to share all the necessary manufacturing instructions as electronic data, making new product introduction more efficient for all partners in the supply chain.

The idea behind virtual documentation content is to replace a disparate set of drawings, documents and instructions with data elements that allow the recipient tool to automate the planning and execution of the manufacturing process preparation actions. An example would be to defi e the soldermask finish olor within the ODB++ product model so that a PCB fabricator can automatically generate the process, material and routing instructions for that individual factory. The ODB++ product model also includes support for EDAbased design net connectivity shorts. In many designs, one or more nets are intentionally shorted into a single net; the ODB++

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» CAE S olut i ons

product model carries that net attribute so that all downstream processes can be streamlined and automated. The lack of such net characterization has been a limitation of existing data formats, resulting in wasted eff rts between design and manufacturing. Additionally, content for rigid-flex buildup zones to defi e regions within the basic stack-up (either unique or within the same region) on the board can be carried forward into analysis and in the actual material-based stack-up defin tion. This feature delivers accurate impedance calculations, using tools such as the Frontline InStack for this capability. By accurately identifying the physical boundary of different stack-up areas for a

rigid-flex circuit, the correct DFM rules can be applied automatically and rigid-flex circuit manufacturers can easily and accurately calculate the impedance values for the circuit using their choice of materials. DW Mentor Graphics

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» I nternet of Things

3 key lessons from IoT implementations According to GE CEO Jeff Immel , if you “woke up as an industrial company today, you will wake up as a software and analytics company tomorrow.” As the Internet of Things (IoT) develops, software will be an important part of whatever you’re making. GE has spent fi e years and a billion dollars learning how to become a software and analytics company. They have learned a few things along the way:

1: It’s not enough to connect machines. You have to make your machines smarter. You need to figure out the best ways for embedding intelligence into machines and devices. Then you need to develop the best techniques for collecting the data generated by those machines and devices, analyzing that data and generating usable insights that will enable you to run equipment more efficiently and optimize operations and supply chains. 54

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2: You cannot use yesterday’s technology to achieve your goals in the era of the Industrial Internet. In fact, you cannot use today’s technology. You will need new technology and new ways of thinking about that technology. Throughout the history of humankind, every significant leap forward was driven by new technology. This time around will be the same—we’ll need to invent, develop and deploy new technology to move forward.

3: Don’t think of the Industrial Internet as an IT project. Think of it as a business project. Its goal is generating positive outcomes for your business. Industrial Internet initiatives


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should be led by business people, not just technologists. If your leaders don’t embrace the ideas and concepts of the Industrial Internet, it’s unlikely that your eff rts will succeed. For example, if there is intelligence built into the jet engines of airplanes, maintenance will know when those engines are likely to develop problems and schedule service before those problems occur. Such information can reduce fl ght rescheduling, saving millions of dollars every year, and giving the airline an advantage over competitors. Another example: On a wind farm, intelligence information can help operators know exactly how and when to adjust the individual blades on each wind turbine to improve the overall efficiency of the wind farm. With a number of wind farms, this knowledge can increase power output without building a single new turbine. GE management and design engineers are taking the idea of becoming a software and analytics company seriously because they believe that every product can be improved and optimized by making it smarter and more connected. DW GE

This article was adapted from the GE blog post “Waking Up as a Software and Analytics Company: Building Intelligence into Machines and Systems.”


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11/3/15 8:37 AM

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Dashboard displays machine tool data Dashboards let users create a one-screen

view of machine tool performance data pertinent to job function. The program builds on the data capturing capability of the Freedom eLOG software suite, and combines multiple graphics, called dashlets, into a single view based on job function, such as maintenance, production, cell supervision and so on. Available dashlets include Banner, Summary View, Machine Status, Events List, Alerts Top 25, Events Top 25, Custom Column Chart, Embedded Page, Custom Stacked Bar, Custom State and Custom Data. Each can be set up for a single machine, a cell or a mix of various machines on the shop floor. The customizable software lets users create their dashboard size and design, establish the machine scope, and determine the data criteria and refresh rate. Each dashboard can be saved by a unique name for ongoing monitoring, and dashboards can be edited, deleted or printed out for long-term record keeping.

The Banner dashlet creates areas of customizable text on the dashboard for report titles or descriptions. Summary View is an enhanced view of the eLOG Daily View report that includes a configurable set of data elements to be rendered over time. The Machine Status dashlet displays the current state of a machine or machine grouping based on the current Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) span time category, while the Events List dashlet displays details on number of occurrences, duration and percentage in regard to total time values. The Alert Top 25 and Events Top 25 show the top occurring alert or event instances for a machine or machine list over a selected time period. Users can host an external web page on their Dashboard through the Embedded Page dashlet, providing access to business systems or links to external reports. DW


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............. ... Ethernet switch for high-security needs The NETernity GBX411 Fully Managed 3U VPX Layer 2/3 Ethernet switch offers a rugged design that can be use in air, ground and sea platforms in applications such as surveillance, reconnaissance, radar, sonar and imaging It supports precision time protocol (1588) and can be used with the GE OpenWare switch management software. Features include Layer 2/3 switching and routing. A range of networking protocols and management features is supported, together with capabilities for multicast, quality of service, VLANs and differentiated services. OpenWare can also be customized to meet a range of customer requirements. Supported access methods include Telnet, SSH, serial console, SNMP and a Web interface. The switch responds to the growing demand for high security with its access control, authorization and declassification features. Compliance with the U.S. Army’s VICTORY initiative and specifications for an Ethernet switch are built into the GBX411’s capabilities. DW GE’s Intelligent Platforms


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» I n te rn e t of Th i n gs

...................................... .................................... ........................ ................... .............. ........... ........ ...... .... .. Gateway increases motion system fl xibility The EnDat interface lets motion designers include almost any encoder into their design. Now, designers can also include a number of communication protocols. The PROFINET Gateway is the latest addition to the protocol compatibility. The Interface also supports CanOPEN and DeviceNet. The EnDat encoder interface allows a variety of absolute encoders suitable for high temperatures and harsh environmental conditions to easily connect to industrial networks. The use of a Gateway allows for exchanging encoders without interrupting bus communication to other nodes in the network, thereby reducing downtime when disaster strikes.

The PROFINET Gateway is suited for data exchange with bus cycle times of a few milliseconds, and allows any EnDat 2.1 or 2.2 encoder to connect to a PROFINET bus system. The PROFINET Gateway supports encoder profi e PNO 3.162 v.4.1 and is supplied with a GSDML configuration fi e and user manual providing detailed information for programming and application. The gateways are available in two mechanical variants. Both variants have three M12 connectors for the PROFINET connection, but for the encoder input, either an M23 or M12 connector is available. DW Leine & Linde

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Sensors eliminate information gaps The SensoNODE Blue and SCOUT Mobile help eliminate massive information gaps by catching and reporting performance fl ctuations that could damage assets over time. By monitoring assets and tracking data, users can employ predictive maintenance routines to address even the smallest issue before it snowballs into a serious problem. The wireless SensoNODE sensors are for portable and diagnostic applications with mobile devices, including phones and tablets. Small and simple to operate, the sensors monitor assets for changes in pressure, temperature and humidity. Users can then receive that data through SCOUT Mobile, which converts it to useful analytics that can be used to track real-time and historic trends with an easy-to-use interface. SCOUT Mobile can also alert users to unexpected condition changes that may damage assets. DW


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10/28/15 2:52 PM

Smarter Embedded Designs, Faster Deployment

The combination of NI LabVIEW system design software and reconfigurable I/O (RIO) hardware helps small design teams with varied expertise develop demanding embedded applications in less time. Using this graphical system design approach, you can take advantage of the same integrated platform to program embedded processors and FPGAs for faster application development in industries ranging from energy to transportation, manufacturing, and life sciences.

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Âť I n te r n e t o f Th i n gs

.......................................... ................................ ........................ ................... .............. ........... ........ System delivers views ...... .... .. of operations Exaquantum R3.01 delivers a six-fold increase in data acquisition performance and can handle fi e times as many data points (tags). This latest version delivers a quantum increase in the data acquisition speed and the number of tags that can be handled by a server, giving operators a more detailed understanding of plant processes. Including closing processing time, the system achieves an event-driven data acquisition and processing speed of 600,000 tag updates per minute. It enables a server to handle up to 500,000 tags, increasing the amount of information customers have. Data are accessible from a browser on a desktop or laptop PC, and with any Windows or iOS tablet. Applications include those in the oil and gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, electric power, pulp and paper, foods, pharmaceuticals, and water treatment markets. DW


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How to handle imbalances fro

light loads on VFDs Input current imbalances happen when a variable frequency drive (VFD) with a full-bridge rectifier operates under lightly loaded conditions. Here we explain what to do about it.

Daniel Peters â&#x20AC;˘ Drives Application Engineer â&#x20AC;˘ Yaskawa America



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Here is Yaskawa’s A1000 drive family.

One phenomenon that electricians often see after installing a VFD is measurable current imbalance on the input to the VFD when that VFD operates under light load. In acrossthe-line (ACL) starters in which a three-phase induction motor runs at full speed and voltage, imbalances are problematic and need further diagnosis. However, when a VFD provides variable speed in response to variable loads, the two systems are really as comparable as apples and oranges.

In fact, imbalance at the inverter input under lightly loaded conditions is a normal

phenomenon of the electrical circuit. Imbalance arises from the connection of the electrical supply to the VFD, not to the motor itself. More specifically, the issue is the VFD’s full-bridge rectifier.


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background image:

First some background: A common VFD rectifier section is composed of six diodes. These semiconductors conduct current in one direction to act like a check valve in water-supply systems. (Check valves only let fluid flow when the pressure on the supply side is greater than the pressure on the discharge side.) Diodes work in roughly the same way, but the pressure equivalent is the electromotive force or voltage. Diodes perform myriad functions in electronic circuits; in the case of a bridge rectifier, diodes convert ac current to dc current. The dc current then connects to a circuit of specialized transistors called insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) with the motor coil between them. A transistor is simply a semiconductor switch that can turn on and off at high speeds, typically 2 to 15 kHz. It is the IGBTs that directly control voltage and frequency sent to the motor coil.



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Common VFD circuit on a three-phase supply Factory jumper PWM output

Input (ac)

Diode Bridge IGBTs

When engineers measure

So, current imbalance on a lightly loaded VFD is normal in the presence of any voltage imbalance phase to phase. In addition: • The dc bus voltage of the VFD is unregulated and varies depending on linesupply voltage levels and motor load. • As long as current draw on all the input legs is at or below the drive input current rating and the voltage imbalance of the three-phase supply is within NEMA recommendations, there should be no excessive wear to VFD input components. The VFD separates the connection of the line supply to the motor, so the VFD protects the motor from unbalanced line voltage. • Input line reactors and dc bus chokes are simple, cost-effective devices that add impedance to the VFD input and mitigate voltage imbalance. Another benefit to their addition is a reduction of reflected harmonics from non-linear current draw.

the ac line-supply voltage with common multimeters at a fi ed value, actually displayed on the meter is a voltage expressed in units of root mean squared (RMS) voltage.

More specifics on VFD ine For what follows, refer to the figure showing a common VFD circuit on a three-phase supply. As mentioned, the way the bridge rectifier comes between the line and the 64


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motor makes comparisons of VFD and ACL setups invalid. Current imbalance on ACL motors commonly arises from voltage imbalance phase-to-phase on the line supply and should be maintained to NEMA limits of 1% (NEMA MG1, 12.45). If not, motor performance suffers and motor-coil damage can occur. Because the VFD severs the direct connection of the line supply to the motor, it acts as a buffer and actually protects the motor from phase-to-phase voltage imbalance. A VFD can even operate a threephase motor on a single-phase line. This phase conversion is a common application for VFDs where only single-phase current is available. Sizing VFDs for actual singlephase input should follow VFD manufacturer guidelines to ensure that the VFD can supply rated power to the motor without excessive loading to VFD components. A caveat: Our discussion here concerns lightly loaded VFDs on three-phase power with small voltage imbalances of 1 to 3%. Voltage imbalances on the electrical grid are common in most areas, but plant engineers should find ways to correct them if they’re outside NEMA specifications.

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Notice here the classic rabbit-ear waveform for current draw on diode pulse. Note that voltage here is measured line-to-line and not line-to-neutral. That makes for a 30° shift in the current peaks from the voltage peaks. Also called a six-pulse bridge, this setup draws power in a non-linear manner (so the current waveform doesn’t match the voltage waveform).

Troubleshooting tip: To verify whether the current imbalance arises from the supply or upstream components, rotate the three input phases to the VFD and compare the current measurements before and after. If the current imbalance tracks the rotated phases, the supply or upstream components are likely responsible. If the imbalance stays with the drive input phases, the VFD may be responsible. To be clear, any presence of impedanceproducing devices is known and their introduction isn’t a troubleshooting technique. The purpose of rotating the lines is to isolate where the imbalance begins in the supply line and to isolate the device responsible for the imbalance. In other words, tests on the line side of each device isolate the imbalance. Light loading is a likely operational condition where VFDs vary the speed of fans and pumps (which follow the laws of affinity). This is a common VFD application because speed control is an efficient way to regulate flow and reduce power consumption. In this condition, even voltage imbalances within NEMA specifications can cause unbalanced current draw phase-to-phase with the highest line voltage supplying most of the current. This is due to the design of a rectifier that passes current like a check valve and the fact that the supply power is alternating from positive to negative (ac) voltage.

Current imbalance on the input of the VFD is normal with any level of voltage imbalance, but is greater under light load.



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Because voltage is a measure of electromotive force, the diode only conducts when line-supply voltage is greater than the dc bus voltage on the diode’s other side. This means that diodes only conduct current at the peaks (positive or negative) of the voltage waveform. This means that the dc bus voltage will measure at the peak of the ac sine wave. When engineers measure the ac linesupply voltage with common multimeters at a fixed value, actually displayed on the meter is a voltage expressed in units of root mean squared (RMS) voltage. Voltage measured is alternating from positive to negative, so the average value is zero. The RMS value is the area contained in the sine wave between zero and peak. This measure represents the amount of electromotive force supplied by the ac line. So, the peak of the voltage waveform is the RMS value times √2 (or 1.41). For example, 460 volts RMS x 1.41 equals 648.6 volts peak. If an engineer measures the dc bus voltage of a VFD supplied with 460 Vac, he or she will measure 648 Vdc. As the motor is loaded down, the dc bus voltage naturally drops. A diode in which supply voltage exceeds the reduced dc bus voltage will turn on and replenish the dc bus. Because the three phases of the line supply are offset by 120 electrical degrees, only one pair of diodes (one positive, one negative) out of the six conduct at any time. Once the line voltage


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drops below the dc bus voltage, diodes turn off to let a pulse of current through to the dc bus circuit. This is why this type of bridge is also called a six-pulse bridge and why it draws power in a non-linear manner (so the current waveform doesn’t match the voltage waveform). Current only conducts to the dc bus when there’s a voltage difference between the dc bus and line supply. So when the VFD is lightly loaded and one of the supply lines has a higher line voltage, it will resupply the dc bus first, and conduct longer than the other phases. Once the dc bus is pulled down further by the motor load, the other diodes begin to turn on. But imbalance in current remains, depending on the level of phase-to-phase voltage imbalance. In short, current imbalance on the input of the VFD is normal with any level of voltage imbalance but is greatest under light load. It is not an excessive load to VFD input components on a three-phase supply. DW













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................................. ................................ .................... ............... .......... ....... ...... L












Can stack:

Can do

Can stack linear actuators are a good go-to solution for many linear motion systems, including modern stage lighting systems.

Anant Bhalerao Product Line Manager, Stepper Motors Portescap



November 2015

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........ ........ ........ ........ ...... ......

Can stack motor technology is not new. In fact, it’s a compact and easy option for converting rotary to linear motion. Can stack motors may not have the ability for extremely small incremental steps (such as other stepper motor based linear actuators with 1.8 or 0.9° steps), but for the right application, they just might be the best option.

Can stack linear actuators are steppermotor based actuators used in an increasing range of applications. One interesting application where they’ve made a difference recently is in the entertainment world; specifically, stage lighting. Contemporary stage lighting systems have automated mechanisms and capabilities beyond the scope of the more traditional stationary illumination systems, and play an important role in performing arts like opera, theater and dance, but also in architectural exhibitions. Also, new light emitting diode (LED) technology has seen significant improvement over the past several years, bringing stage lighting equipment to a new level. Based largely on the venue and application, an intelligent stage lighting

The 42L048D can stack stepper motor from Portescap is the basis for the can stack linear actuator. Its large rotor and neodymium magnets provide up to 18.5 oz-in. (131 mNm) of holding torque, making it a good fit or high torque applications.


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system can be a more versatile and economical option than traditional lights because, with proper programming, they can swiftly alter many aspects of their optics, therefore changing the mood and effect. Intelligent lights are typically preprogrammed and played back using simple commands. Intelligent fixtures using LEDs have gained widespread acceptance in the concert industry due to these advantages, as well as having high light output and lower power consumption. Another feature of intelligent stage lighting is the ability to remotely control the movement of the output light beam. This is done by either moving a mirror that reflects the beam, or by moving the entire fixture, which can pan and tilt. Typically, they also contain other controls to shape, texture and color the light, such as a gobo or dichroic wheels. This ability to precisely and repeatedly set the position of the fixture allows one light to perform many functions, lighting multiple different areas in various ways.






Mechanically, rotary stepper motors connected to various internal optical devices (such as gobos and color wheels) manipulate the light before it escapes the fixtureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s front lens. Smart can stack linear actuators are typically used for zoom or focus functions. Conventional LED fixtures use a fixed focal length, whereas advanced fixtures launched in recent years use a two-element zoom system. In two-element zoom systems, the first element is a fixed lens, while the second lens elements are formed by a single plastic plate, which has several concave/convex lenses molded across its surface. This lens plate is attached to the shafts of three to four small steppermotor-driven linear actuators. All the linear actuators move in sync, extending and retracting an internal leadscrew. The lens plate attached to the shaft of the actuator then moves away or closer to the LEDs providing varied

zoom angles. The fixture will have the widest zoom spread when the lens plate is positioned closest to the emitters.

Can stack linear actuator basics A stepper linear actuator consists of a can stack stepper motor with a threaded rotor and an integrated leadscrew that provides direct linear motion in a compact package. Unlike a dc motor, the can stack linear actuator leadscrew retracts and extends in discrete step increments when electrical pulses are applied. One of the

This exploded view of a can stack linear actuator shows the various parts of the device and how they fit together, including the multi-pole permanent magnet rotor with an internal nut and a directly coupled leadscrew.



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important advantages of using a can stack linear actuator is its ability to be accurately controlled in an open-loop system, which means no expensive feedback device or braking system is required for positioning. Depending on the level of integration required, the actuator can be captive or non captive: Non-captive linear actuator—The resultant motion is linear but the screw also rotates. Captive linear actuator—The shaft is made of two pieces: the rear section is a leadscrew and rotates through the nut, and the front section is a grooved shaft. It engages with a “butterfly” plastic end cap and acts as an anti-rotation device. The resultant motion is a pure linear motion. Because the step error is noncumulative, high accuracies are possible across long or short travel distances, eliminating the need for position feedback devices such as encoders. Motors can be operated in single step, half step or micro stepping modes leading to improved resolution and quieter operation.

The drawing shows the layout of the stage lighting fi ture and the placement of the can stack linear actuators, which move the lens plate back and forth.

Select the right linear actuator Several design considerations are required for choosing the right linear actuator for this lighting application. Some of the critical parameters are: Force: The force requirement for each type of fixture varies with the weight of the lens plate and how quickly the zoom angle change is required during its operation. Modern stage lights use high-speed  

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zoom control and typically actuators are required to deliver required force operating at greater than 500 pulses/sec. It is recommended to keep at least a 50% safety factor above the theoretical force requirement to achieve a smooth jumpstart. Stroke length: Linear actuators with a variety of stroke lengths are available. Suitable stroke length can be selected based on

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the required displacement of the lens plate. It’s recommended to keep some safety factor in mind and not drive the motor lead screw at the extreme end because in some cases this can jam the motor. Repeatability: As one of the requirements of this application is the need for multiple motors to work in sync and under digital control, repeatability is a must to achieve consistent performance. Repeatability of the motors is affected mainly by step angle error. Typically stepper motors will have a step angle accuracy of 3 to 5% of one step. This error is also non-cumulative from step to step. The accuracy of the stepper motor is mainly a function of the mechanical precision of its parts and assembly. The maximum positive or negative position error is caused when the motor has rotated one step from the previous holding position. The performance of a stepper motor system (driver and motor) is also highly dependent on the mechanical parameters of the load. Increasing a frictional load lowers the top speed, lowers the acceleration and increases the positional error.

Radial play or wobbling: Radial play or wobbling in the motor shaft can seriously affect the quality of the light beam. A linear actuator with tighter tolerances and radial play of less than 200 µm can be a good choice for such applications. DW

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Speed and resonance: Linear actuators can exhibit resonance when operated at extremely low or high speeds. This can be seen as a sudden loss or drop in torque at certain speeds or loss of synchronism. It occurs when the input step pulse rate coincides with the natural oscillation frequency of the rotor. Often there is a resonance area around the extreme pulse rate region. The resonance phenomenon of a stepper motor comes from its basic construction; therefore, it is not possible to eliminate completely. It can be reduced by driving the motor in half or micro stepping modes.


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I n d u s t r i a l

E t h e r n e t


for industrial machine tool building

If the Industrial Internet

Todd Walter • National Instruments

of Things (IIoT) takes off, machines will depend on free flowing data within and between other machines. Updates to standard Ethernet will support these needs.

In the U.S. alone, industrial machines are an over $200-billion market. This competitive market has undergone an evolution in the last 30 years, shifting from primarily mechanical designs to mechatronic software driven designs. Today intelligent systems control multiple independent motion axes providing flexibility and minimizing mechanical maintenance. A modern industrial machine is a networked, coordinated system consisting of many axes of motion, multiple specialized sensors, cameras, and power contactors, all controlled by multiple high-performance CPUs.


But a number of business pressures face developers of industrial machines. • Customization: The final customer often expects the machine builder to customize the machine operation to meet their specific needs. This may be integration of  

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I nd ust r ia l E t h e r n e t

Machines perform a number of tasks during manufacturing. The next stage in improving productivity, speed and accuracy will require knowing more about all machine and component interactions. Thus, the IIoT is seen as a key component of this evolution.

the machine into the other equipment in their facility, changes to physical dimensions, modifications to the HMI, or integration of additional hardware or software capabilities. The challenge is to respond to these customers’ requests while minimizing engineering expenses and avoiding service challenges down the road. • Competition: Machines create the products a company sells, so increased throughput means more product

revenue. In some industries these machines are also major cost contri- butors through energy usage. To remain competitive, machine design must constantly focus on increasing throughput, reducing scrap and improving efficiency. • New approaches: Beyond continuous improvement, there are also oppor- tunities for radical changes in approach. New business models are emerging that are based on consumables or on service.

Even though every manufacturing facility uses multiple buses to transmit specific types of data, typically, they all have Ethernet in common. 76


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In these models, the builder uses secure two-way communication with the machine for just-in-time consumable supply and machine productivity based billing. • Availability: End users are managing operational costs by reducing their maintenance staffs. Thus, machine design requires an infrastructure for fault logging, remote debugging, remote reporting and remote management. Remote management can eliminate the time and cost incurred from a technician travelling to the customer site and the remote reporting provides advanced warning of failures and can reduce unplanned downtime. An example: semiconductor machinery For reference, consider equipment used for semiconductor production. Semiconductor production machines perform multiple chemical and photo-lithographic steps where electronic circuits are created on a wafer of silicon. This wafer is then tested, cut into individual chips, and then the chips are packaged to provide electrical contact points and to allow for thermal management. The cost of producing and processing a silicon wafer is high. To minimize the cost per chip, designers optimize the size of chips and the


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distance between the chips on the wafer. This design, coupled with smaller, 22- and 14-nm semiconductor processes, allows designers to pack many chips onto a single wafer. The step where the wafer is cut to produce multiple chips is called wafer dicing. To handle the tightly packed chips, the wafer-dicing machine makes precise cuts with precision measured in 1 ⁄1000 of a mm.

“A system design with multiple bus layers has led to a situation where Ethernet is common in control applications, but where a typical machine supports multiple versions of Ethernet, each optimized to meet the requirement of a specific task. To achieve the required dicing accuracy, a typical implementation uses precise dicing blades or lasers to etch and cut the wafer. This cutting is controlled with high-performance motion control axes often using fast responding mechanisms like voice coil motors or multi-axes galvanometers for laser control. These axes get inputs from high-resolution absolute position feedback mechanisms. Machine vision is now sometimes also used in the main control loop to assure proper position. These performance axes November 2015

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Updated standard Ethernet should improve data collection and machine tool to component interaction.

are sometimes augmented with vibration feedback to adjust for small movements of the system. The sensors are read by the controller. These data become inputs into sophisticated control algorithms, and the cutting motion adjusted many thousands of times per second. This control loop must be deterministic and precisely timed. Around this core function of the machine there are additional tasks, such as coordinated multi-axes motion, to load the wafer and unload the cut chips. Many machines use vibration or power quality measurements as part of predictive maintenance. The system normally has a local user interface where an operator can interact with the machine and has connections to the manufacturing logistics and enterprise systems. The design of this machine involved multiple processing, actuation and input nodes. To minimize point-to-point wiring, these nodes pass control data, configuration information and process statistics across a set of communication busses. In most modern machines, there is a hierarchy of busses, each optimized for their specific function. Since the heart of the machine is the motion axes, examine these needs first. To meet the stability and reliability requirements of high-speed, closed-loop motion control, a motion bus needs to consistently deliver the control packets between the drives/sensors and the controller with a latency of less than 7788


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100 µsec. The motion axes also need to be coordinated so time synchronization between the nodes of less than 1 µsec is needed. Standard shared Ethernet cannot guarantee this performance as the potential queuing time in the switches will be too high. These fast control loops typically run on an infrastructure connected using Ethernet physical layer and CAT5 cabling with modified hardware in the nodes and bridges to eliminate queuing and provide latency bounding. Other discrete sensors and actuators are often also serviced by this motion bus. Cameras require high bandwidth and can cause congestion problems on a shared media. Typically, cameras will run on a dedicated standard Ethernet link, a USB 3.0 connection, or may use a vision specialized serial bus. The controllers and HMI are connected using standard Ethernet; this same bus may be used to integrate the machine into the larger manufacturing process where it directly communicates with neighboring machines. This connection also provides integration into the overall plant MES system and mechanisms for remote connection to the original machine builder’s maintenance and service systems. Technical challenges A system design with multiple bus layers has led to a situation where Ethernet is

common in control applications, but where a typical machine supports multiple versions of Ethernet, each optimized to meet the requirements of a specific task. This technical approach leads to a set of challenges for the machine designer: • Bandwidth limitations. Because many

of the busses optimized latency by modifying the hardware layers, these busses do not directly benefit from the increased performance of standard Ethernet. Industrial adoption of 1 to 10 GB/sec bandwidth allows control applications to share more data and incorporate more complex sensing such as high fidelity vision, 3D part or area scans, and vibration measurement.

• Limited data within the machine. The multiple non-interoperable busses

in a high-performance machine cannot directly pass data between them. Instead software services run on controllers or gateway devices to provide proxy and tunneling capabilities. Unfortunately, these software services impose performance limitations and the lack of standard- ization makes configuration of data transfer difficult. Eliminating these barriers would increase performance and usability.

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malfunctioning at a customer facility, machine builders now need the ability to easily probe all aspects of the machine to diagnose and repair the problem. To accomplish this they need to integrate cleanly into the end customer IT infrastructure and support a secure remote connection. This remote connection is most useful if it extends to the lowest levels of the device to get diagnostic data, real-time views, and to support reconfiguration tasks. But multi- bus designs restrict the machine designer’s access, potentially complicating and extending repair. Beyond the benefits of simpler system integration, validation and maintenance, there is increased value and urgency to eliminate the layers and barriers of traditional machine design. IoT concepts promise to increase productivity, increase up-time and improve other key performance indicators. Techniques such as remote system management, centralized data collection for big data analytics, and built-in, self-organizing, machine-to-machine coordination, could radically advance next generation industrial control and monitoring systems. To support these capabilities, industrial designers need reliable, converged, remote, secure access to all the components and devices in their designs. This goal requires fundamental improvements to standard Ethernet so that it will concurrently support both industrial control needs and IoT connectivity and data access. Updates to standard Ethernet Ethernet is defined in a family of standards referred to as IEEE 802. IEEE 802 is an open standards group with active participation from individuals around the globe. The IEEE 802 standards specify requirements for the different layers and functions of Ethernet and assure interoperability between different vendors. 802.11 is a set of standards defining WiFi. Other relevant standards include 802.3, which specifies the physical and MAC capabilities for Ethernet, and 802.1, which specifies the functions of Ethernet switches. Industrial suppliers, IT vendors and silicon providers are collaborating in IEEE 802 to create updates to standard Ethernet that will serve the needs of industrial machine designers by providing bounded low latency data transfer for control, shared synchronized time and high bandwidth. With these 80


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updates, standard Ethernet will offer the industrial market: • Convergence—One standard Ethernet backbone that will support both low-latency, high-reliability control data, as well as concurrently support other Ethernet traffic. Because the high reliability class of traffic is managed and protected, additions of other traffic cannot interfere with the control data and do not create the need for revalidation. This eliminates the data barriers and enables both in-machine data sharing and IoT capabilities for remote access. It also simplifies the engineering development process by allowing designers to focus on the same core infrastructure.

This does not mean they can coexist on the same network. Coexistence requires cooperation and this cooperation can occur at the end device, be forced within the network, or a combination of both. For the network to enforce coexistence, all network devices must be compatible. This level of compatibility requires interoperability specifications and certification testing much as the WiFi alliance has done for 802.11 and all its variants. An organization such as AVnu can provide the labeling to give end users confidence and the specifications required to pull together the family of standards that will assure that networks can meet the demands of the various applications. DW

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• Performance—Standard Ethernet is

constantly improved through large investment every year by both major silicon and IT companies and specialty protocol organizations. This investment has led to increased bandwidth, increased interoperability and decreased commissioning time. The improvements to standard Ethernet to support control traffic will become part of this on-going technology investment. The control traffic class will support deterministic transfer measured in 10 sec of µsec, time synchronization between nodes measured in 10 sec of nsec, and automatic configurations for high reliability redundant data paths.

• Cost—The commercial use of Ethernet

drives very high volumes and lowers the price of the components. By using standard Ethernet components, the cost of the end devices and the IT infra- structure is lower compared to using specialty Ethernet variants based on lower volume ASIC or FPGA based implementations. Many industrial application protocols have already been adapted to standard Ethernet.

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O-rings are the most commonly used seal, featured in applications from aircraft engines to chemical processing lines, the hydraulics in tractors to subsea down-hole tools. They account for a significant amount of the global market for gaskets and seals, which according to Global Industry Analysts* will reach 45.8 billion USD by 2020. Specifiers and users prefer O-rings because their round profile allows for almost universal use in either axial or radial sealing arrangements, under static as well as moderately dynamic load conditions. Their basic geometry lends itself to relatively straightforward manufacture in either an injection molding or compression molding process in a number of materials. The O-ring’s simple form, however, belies the materials and production technology behind this modest circle of rubber. To ensure long-life and integrity, the O-ring must be perfectly matched to system requirements. This may involve withstanding extreme temperatures, high pressures and aggressive contact media. They may also need to provide low-friction properties for automated assembly and in dynamic environments. “Specifying the optimum O-ring for an application needs a precise understanding of system requirements along with specific and proven knowledge of material properties,” said Ursula Nollenberger, product line director for Trelleborg’s LSR components. “Working with an O-ring supplier that has expertise in these areas and that can give test results for their materials is vital in ensuring the performance of equipment or manufacturing processes.” Life sciences spur growth

Experience with LSR is particularly important in some of the more demanding fields, such as life sciences. Global Industry Analysts stated that complex applications in some sectors, including the medical sector, will throw up manufacturing and design challenges.† “We have seen this trend and one of the ways we have responded is by redefining precision when it comes to production of the simple O-ring; taking it to new levels for the most difficult of applications, especially in medical devices,” said Nollenberger.


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M e c h a n i c a l

Liquid-silicone rubber allows delicate parts to be formed reliably each time and can be produced down to 0.004 in. thick or less.

As with any O-ring application, one must consider the expected function of the product, mating components, assembly considerations, operating conditions and expected service life to name a few. However, in life sciences, unwanted bacterial growth due to dead space in medical devices that cannot be reached by the typical means of sterilization can present huge problems, said Nollenberger. “The challenge and the opportunity for us as a designer and manufacturer of an LSR

part, whether O-ring or other geometry, is to not just supply a standard O-ring, but develop a solution with the client, which might still be an O-ring when we look at its basic shape and section, but is really a custom engineered solution in the end,” she said. “Here, depending on application, the focus beyond the choice of material will then also be on aspects of the surface finish of our O-ring versus mating components, surface friction behavior and surface energy. More

and more we are seeing a trend toward a fully integrated solution away from the concept of using simply an O-ring, but more so for us to supply a two-component solution that gives the absolute guarantee that there is no dead space by design or from possible inconsistent placement of an O-ring inside an assembly.” How it works

To meet these challenges, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions now has four sites that specialize

New capabilities in LSR technology allow over-molded plastic components for uses such as an electrical connector.



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THE ORIGINAL PUSH-PULL CONNECTOR in LSR injection molding for users in the medical, automotive and various industrial fields. LSR is seeing an increase in demand in highvolume applications, particularly where complex part geometries and high consistent precision are needed, said Nollenberger. And, she added, the advantage of LSR is that it is an extremely pure material, making it well suited for life sciences. According to Jarno Burkhardt, general manager of the Stein am Rhein, Switzerland, facility, “Conventional elastomer O-ring production is either by injection or compression molding and typically requires deflashing either mechanically, by cutting or punching, or through a cryogenic process. These secondary process steps introduce process variability and manufacturing risks, along with extra direct as well as potentially indirect costs. “In the LSR liquid injection molding process for O-rings, parts are molded without flash, with sprue or overflow easily separable from the functional component, so no secondary finishing operations are required,” concluded Burkhardt. Most O-rings are manufactured from NBR (nitrile butadiene rubber) and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene methylene). However, the biggest advantage of LSR is that due to the low viscosity of the raw material, it can be injection molded into much more complex shapes than these materials—and much more easily than with any other elastomer. Key benefit

The key advantages of injection molding LSR O-rings in a flash-less, waste-less tool design concept are: • reduction of waste material • no need for secondary process steps to remove flash and waste • eliminates all quality risks that can be associated with secondary processes as well as related process and inspection costs • continuously high dimensional stability and precision of the O-ring straight out of the mold • full traceability of product not just by batch but also by cavity

LEMO, a global leader in custom design and manufacturing of precision connectors and cable solutions! • High-Quality connectors (metal & plastic)

In addition, LSR covers a broad temperature spectrum from –40 to 250° C (–40 to 480° F) and offers good chemical resistance to a range of fluids and chemicals. As with any elastomer, it has limited pressure capabilities, but this is principally down to the specific design and application conditions, said Nollenberger.

• Custom design for any application • Custom Wire & Cable Assembly Services

High-volume production

• Reliability where quality, safety and ruggedness are essential

Critical to LSR production is that the raw material demands the use of high-end tooling as compared to more conventional rubber molding, Nollenberger said. Therefore, the tooling is more expensive. However, because of these high-end designs, the LSR tooling lasts longer and is typically guaranteed to last one million shots. This is why high-volume production is required for LSR, as it is not worth the tooling changes for small batches. Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has used this process for a microcomponent just 1.4 x 1.1 mm that is produced in millions of pieces annually for a medical device. These parts are manufactured by  

November 2015

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• Now ISO13485:2003 Certified!


LEMO USA, Inc. 800-444-5366

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11/3/15 12:17 PM

M e c h a n i c a l

Flashless production is possible using Trelleborg’s needlepoint injection technology.

directly injecting LSR material into each cavity of a multi-cavity tool. The O-rings are then removed from the cavities by a specially designed robotic gripper arm. As the parts are too small to engrave, for traceability, the O-rings are loaded into containers by cavity. The development of the process to produce tiny O-rings has many challenges. One of these was to develop a robotic gripper arm that could handle parts weighing less than 0.0093 g each; a component so small and light that no human hand could handle it easily. Another challenge was the electronic charge of the minute O-rings. This caused them to fly all over the place when released from the gripper.Their feather-like weight made it impossible to get them placed in designated containers post-production. To resolve this, engineers developed a so-called “Ionicator” that unloads the parts on their way from the mold into the container. Implementing this process reduced material consumption by over 30%, plus zero defect quality levels are achieved straight out of production. These micro O-rings are currently produced on tools with up to 32-cavity. 86


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“The next goal for the LSR technical team is to double the number of cavities to 64, not just for O-rings, but for other custom micro parts for innovative medical devices,” said Burkhardt.

things: first, produce ever smaller parts, down to micro and soon nano-gram weights, and second, produce ever more complex two- and more component parts with LSR as one of the components.” DW

The future of LSR

References: *Global Industry Analysts, †RubberWorld, RWmarket_report.asp?id=746

LSR technology is seeing extensive growth, with high-tech life sciences applications leading the way—for self-medication of chronic conditions such as autoimmune disorders, blood conditions and hormone deficiencies. Similarly, where health and safety scrutiny is high—such as in food processing and potable water— LSR can see future use. In automotive, as more electronic features are incorporated, the demand for super-clean and integrated LSR components also grows. “In addition, the rising demand for LSR is also related to urbanization, demographic and social changes as a growing, affluent population has greater buying power for electronics and other lifestyle products and consumables,” Nollenberger said. “For us at Trelleborg, it means that we will continue to push forward with tools, processes and automation technologies to let us do two

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10/29/15 11:13 AM

The evolution of

liquid level sensing There are multiple ways for engineers to measure and keep track of liquids in a container, and one will fit your application.

Matt Burns

Technical Marketing Director Sensors â&#x20AC;˘ Avnet



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10/30/15 2:38 PM









nyone who lives near a river or creek knows the anxiety that can

happen during a thunderstorm, when rising water levels can cause high stress levels. A common sight in flood-prone areas are high water marks. Used since at least the time of the Egyptians, high water marks help residents take action for their safety. They are also used by planners to place new developments above the flood plain. Whether man-made or the physical impression left from a flood, high water marks were among the first “sensing” solutions for monitoring the level of liquid. Another common technique is visual, passive water level gages. Placed at known locations where the water depth is known, it visually tells people the level of water in that particular lake or river. But what solutions are available for liquids in a container? Typical industries requiring liquid level sensing in a container range from automotive and oil and gas to food processing and pharmaceutical. Given the various types of liquids that need measured, we’ll review basic liquid level sensing techniques to help engineers pick the best solution for their application, along with a quick overview of some of the latest products to hit the market.

Floats Floats work exactly how they sound. A device buoyant in the liquid level under test will float on top of the liquid. As the liquid goes up and down, the float interacts with electronics—typically a series of resistors or reed switches embedded in the float stem—to provide liquid levels changes in discrete steps. Floats can be a single-point application, like a switch, or a multi-point system, providing many liquid levels. While floats are easily implemented and fairly common, they cannot discriminate level values between steps. Additionally, floats have mechanical limitations when the shape of the tank is irregular (something other than a cylinder or rectangle), so they are not suitable for all container shapes.

Capacitive fluid level sensors

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S e ns o r s

Load cells A load cell can be used to measure changes in liquid level by measuring the change in force applied by the liquid on the container. To measure level, the load cell must be incorporated into a container’s overall structure. As the liquid fills the container, the force on the load cell increases. Combining the container’s cross-sectional area with the liquid’s specific gravity provides a calculated liquid level based on the load cell’s output. One challenge to using load cells are the mechanical system design considerations. The mechanical support structure of the container must be designed to fit the specifications of the load cell. The container and its support structure must also be weighed by the load cell while empty and full for proper calibration. If these steps are feasible, load cells are an attractive option for sensing levels of many liquids—especially corrosive liquid found in industrial and process control applications—because they require no direct liquid contact.

y? Is this really the only wa

“One option for capacitive liquid level sensing is Molex’s capacitive fluid level sensors, which mount

Capacitive Another approach to sensing liquids leverages the conductive property of liquids to mimic a variable capacitor. Customized electrodes are embedded either inside of or on the side of a container. Typically,

to the outside of a container and measure capacitance through almost any non-metallic material.” TI’s TDC1011 ultrasonic sensing AFE for liquid level sensing 90


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they are placed parallel to each other. One electrode is tied to electrical ground. The other electrode—the level electrode— forms the second plate of the capacitor. The electrodes are excited by external circuitry. They are then calibrated to detect the minimum liquid level height which corresponds to a minimum capacitance between the electrodes. As the liquid level rises (or falls), the changing capacitance can be measured and conditioned to produce the appropriate output for the system. One option for capacitive liquid level sensing is Molex’s capacitive fluid level sensors, which mount to the outside of a container and measure capacitance through almost any nonmetallic material. They can be customized and optimized for a range of applications. A design can use a traditional printed circuit board for a flat surface, or a thin, flexible circuit to accommodate curved surfaces or space-constrained applications. The sensors include customized embedded software which can be configured for auto-calibration for easy installation, or manual calibration to maximize accuracy.

Ultrasonic Ultrasonic sensors measure liquid levels using time of flight (ToF) principles. The ultrasonic transducer emits an ultrasound pulse— usually in the tens of kilohertz frequency ranges. The ultrasonic transducer then “listens” for the reflected pulse off of the liquid surface. Because the speed of sound in air at specific temperatures and gas mixtures is known, measuring the travel time of the ultrasound pulse from a transducer to the liquid surface and back provides calculated liquid level measurement. In this arrangement, the ultrasonic transducer would sit at the top of the container and use air as the transmitting medium. As an example, Murata makes a series of waterproof ultrasonic sensors featuring a hermetically sealed structure in which the piezoelectric ceramics are attached to the metal case and the case opening is filled with resin. This structure protects the sensor from water droplets in level sensing applications. A new approach to ultrasonic liquid level sensing has been released by Texas Instruments. Instead of using air as the medium, the TI solution uses the liquid as the transmitting medium by placing the ultrasonic transducer at the bottom of the container. This allows ultrasonic liquid level sensing to be used with many applications, especially with corrosive liquids that would harm a sensor inside the container. Another advantage is that the speed of sound in various liquids is readily available in the public domain. TI’s newly released TDC1011 ultrasonic analog front end (AFE) makes ToF measurements simple by exciting the transducer and receiving the echo. The TDC1011 creates a start and stop pulse which can be timed by the system microcontroller unit, or MCU. This acts like a stopwatch to measure ToF and achieve 1 mm height accuracy.

November 2015

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Sensors Lasers Laser liquid level measurement uses ToF principles similar to ultrasonic liquid level measurement previously mentioned. A laser mounted at the top of the container emits a laser beam toward the liquid. It then measures the remnants of the laser reflected off the liquid. The travel time of the laser is then measured. The liquid level in the container can be calculated as one-half of the measured ToF multiplied by the speed of the laser beam. Lasers are often used in non-transparent or opaque liquids that provide a clear reflection of the laser beam. Because lasers have a small beam pattern, they can be targeted in narrow spaces, such as down a metal tube of a chute in an irregular container. One challenge with lasers is that constant maintenance is required. Dust, dirt and other particles coating the laser transmitter or receiver can cause signal degradation. Foam build-up for certain liquids can also â&#x20AC;&#x153;foolâ&#x20AC;? the laser, so constant system maintenance is required. The future The types of liquid level sensors continue to proliferate. Continuous level sensing techniques (capacitive, ultrasonic, laser and so on) are becoming more popular. As support electronics increase in functionality and decrease in cost, active liquid level sensing is becoming more commonplace. DW Avnet

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10/28/15 3:58 PM

Your next circuit design

could be fabricated on a printer

Leland Teschler â&#x20AC;˘ Executive Editor



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E l e c t r o n i c s

Manufacturers are making 3D-printed electronics a reality even for designs involving sophisticated multi-layer circuit boards.

The sun is starting to set on the days of cobbling together prototype circuits with wires and perfboards. Increasingly, new ideas for electronics will take shape on substrates fabricated by desktop machines taking cues from ink-jet 3D printers. And 3D-printed electronics isn’t just for maker-movement hobbyists tinkering on home projects. There are machines on the market and on the drawing board able to produce sophisticated PCBs having multiple layers, complete with passive components fabbed with the same conductive inks and dielectrics used to make circuit traces. Manufacturers say even film-based transistors and diodes can be fabricated with some of the 3D-circuit printing equipment now on the market.

The Dragonfly 2020 from Nano Dimension will target multiple-layer circuit board work when it comes out next year.  

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E l e c t r o n i c s

The Squink uses two X-Y stages for positioning, one for the print head, the other for moving the PCB platform. A single tool head handles both circuit printing and SMD placement. The first h ad deposits the conductive ink on the PCB. The operator then swaps the conductive ink cartridge for a conductive glue dispenser. Once the glue is in place, a vacuum pick-up assembly gets swapped in to pick-and-place components.

“Interestingly, the big names in 3D printing don’t seem to be making any noise about printed electronics. None have announced products in the field.



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Nevertheless, the market for 3D printed electronics equipment is tiny. According to Jon Harrop, director of the IDTechEx market research firm, the 3D-printed electronics market is worth around $20 million today, slightly less than what the New York Yankees paid designated hitter Alex Rodriquez to play baseball in 2015. Harrop estimates that figure (the market size, not A-Rod’s salary) will grow to at least a billion dollars in ten years. “I say ‘at least’ because I have forecast what we know, but I expect things I do not yet know will make that number much bigger in practice,” he said. “For example, 3D-printed electronics is an ideal solution for many of the problems in huge emerging markets such as wearable technologies and structural electronics. But it is too early to tell how big a slice of those pies will end up being printed.” Interestingly, the big names in 3D printing don’t seem to be making any noise about printed electronics. None have announced products in the field. “Stratasys particularly is in a great position (for printed electronics) as it dominates the multimaterial 3D printing market. I have also heard that Stratasys has demand from its existing customers but

nobody knows of any work they are doing on it,” said Harrop. “As far as I know, 3D Systems is doing nothing in this regard. I believe Hewlett-Packard has demonstrated 3D printing of conductive and insulating materials together using its Multi Jet Fusion technology, but I expect HP will focus on the larger traditional mechanical markets, at least to begin with.” The companies making most of the headlines in printed electronics tend to get their start on Kickstarter. That is the case for companies that include AgIC, Voltera, Cartesian Co. and BotFactory. These firms are fielding technology that concentrates on printed circuit boards created either by hobbyists or by engineers interested in seeing a single prototype. In addition, Optomec and Nano Dimension have machines that can handle PCBs but also more sophisticated tasks such as printing electronics on three-dimensional surfaces, or on boards having a dozen layers or more. But many observers say the best is yet to come in printed electronics. “I think a hybrid CNC machine that combines the pick-andplace capabilities offered by BotFactory’s Squink with the high precision and multilayer capabilities offered by Nano Dimension

11/2/15 12:08 PM

The RSM2800 Magnetic Encoder counts turns, measures angles down to the last degree, and remembers shaft positions without power Don’t try this with other encoders: imagine your machine with the RSM2800 inside both lose power and are still turning without power; when power is restored, the RSM2800 reports the correct position including the counts that occurred with no power! RSM2800 magnetic encoders provide the level of reliability and accuracy sought in demanding applications like: • Material Handling

• Agricultural Machines

• Forklifts

• Cable Extension Transducers

• Overhead Doors

• Medical Equipment

The RSM2800 is based on Novotechnik’s proprietary non-contact, multi-turn technology for absolute 5,760° (16 turns) measurement. This new wear-free device combines advanced capabilities with mechanical simplicity in a very compact and sturdy housing to provide for longer life and lower cost than optical encoders.

Contact us for samples or for complete specs, visit

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E l e c t r o n i c s

Major 3D printed electronics platforms Manufacturer

Significant features



Special conductive ink cartridges work in home ink jet printers. Can also make traces with special conductive pen. Prints on special paper.

$349 for cartridge/ paper starter set


Squink prints 10-mil traces, picksand-places parts using swappable print and vacuum heads. Prints on paper, coated film. FR4 capability said to be coming soon.


Cartesian Co.,

Argentum printer does footprints as fine as 0.65-mm pitch on treated G10 substrate, 0.8-mm pitch on materials including polyimide, linen paper and stone paper.

From $1,599

Nano Dimension,

Dragonfly 2020 printer handles com- $50,000 range plex multilayer boards on FR4, prints when ships in 2016 ca. 80 to 100 µm traces, ca. 150 µm interconnections, minimum 3 µm layer thickness.


Aerosol Jet printer can deliver conductive and semiconductor materials on 3D surfaces, features down to 10 µm thicknesses of nanometers.

Open system print engines in $150,000 range, Available now.


V-One extrudes paste to print two-layer FR4 boards, 8-mil traces, reflow solders on the printer bed.

$2,199 in 2016


9.8-mil traces on PLA using pneumatic direct-write fabrication, kinematic coupled print-head bed.




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and the fully 3D capabilities offered by Voxel8 would be a killer solution and sell like hot cakes,” said Harrop. PCBs for nudniks The majority of Kickstarter machines that print PCBs have several elements in common. Most convert ordinary Gerber files for PCB layouts, or common graphic files, to a form compatible with ink jet printing. Most also use commercially available ink jet print heads. The print heads squirt out ink in the usual fashion, but the ink is engineered to have either conductive or electrical dielectric properties. The deposited inks typically undergo a curing step consisting of a heat treatment. This usually takes place on the bed of the printer. Many Kickstarter machines produce boards on what might be called flimsy substrates such as coated paper or thin plastic. So the heat during the curing process has to be kept relatively low, typically lower than the heat deflection point for common plastics. For the relatively small PCBs that these machines produce, it might take 15 to 20 minutes to print out traces, then another half hour to cure the board. For an example of a printer in this category, consider the Voltera V-One. Rather than using ink jets, it employs a paste deposition system to extrude paste through a nozzle. It can deposit 8-mil traces with a pin-to-pin pitch of 0.8 mm on a print area of 5.5 x 4 in. The typical board material is ordinary FR4, but Voltera co-founder Jesus Zozaya said the firm has successfully run boards on polyamide and PET. The V-One has a single print head. So the process of printing a board involves plugging in the cartridge containing conductive paste, laying down traces, swapping out the cartridge for one containing dielectric, then dispensing an insulating layer. The V-One accomplishes the printing of two-layer circuits by sandwiching an insulating layer between layers of conductive pastes. Software automatically converts vias in the PCB design into bridges so that one trace can jump over another. With the insulative jumpers in place, another pass with the conductive cartridge creates the bridges comprising the second layer. Then the board cures at an elevated temperature. Voltera also said it plans to scale the technique for higher layer counts later on. A third cartridge can be swapped in to dispense solder paste. The solder paste module can

11/2/15 9:56 AM

Custom Motor Drives work on boards made with traditional etching methods, and these boards can be reflow soldered on the print bed thanks to the 550-W heater it contains. Zozaya said boards from the printer have handled 16MHz clocks so far, though the upper limits on clock speed haven’t been tested. “Trace resistance is quite good,” he said. “We expect a small trace to be only one or two ohms.” To create wide traces for handling higher current, the printer makes multiple passes, building up a wide trace from multiple 8-mil-wide depositions. The V-One is in “pre order” status, so those interested in obtaining one of the $2,200 PCB printers will probably be able to get their hands on one in February or thereafter. Pick and place The approach taken by BotFactory with its Squink PCB printer is a combo PCB printer/pick-and-place machine for SMD circuits. After the Squink is finished putting down traces, it uses the solder mask file to place dots of conductive glue or solder paste in every connection point where a part will sit. Squink uses the “centroid and rotation” file created in a CAD tool to figure out where and how to place board components. With a vacuum tool, it picks components from a tray, corrects alignment and rotation, and uses onboard computer vision to place components in the correct spot. Each component is picked from a tray, not a rail, to keep the setup simple. The Squink uses two X-Y stages for positioning, one for the print head, the other for moving the PCB platform. A single tool head handles both circuit printing and SMD placement. The first head deposits the conductive ink on the PCB. The operator then swaps the conductive ink cartridge for a conductive glue dispenser. Once the glue is in place, a vacuum pick-up assembly gets swapped in to pick-and-place components. There’s an optional 15-minute heat-curing cycle to set the glue.  The Squink takes about a half-hour to fabricate printed circuits and place components on a board up to 5 x 5 in. PCB substrates can be photo paper or coated transparency film. BotFactory CTO Carlos Ospina said the firm is developing inks for glass, plastic and Kapton film, and FR4 board material. “Squink is a connected device, complete with an onboard computer that is updated at least twice a month. For users, this means Squink is constantly improving, optimizing its UX/UI, learning new components, footprints, and incorporating feedback from our existing community of users,” he said.  Ospina also said BotFactory developers have run boards made with Squink up to 400 MHz without seeing any signal degradation. But microwave-style waveguide PCB patterns are probably not feasible, he explained, because they involve traces with varying widths, something the Squink

November 2015

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E l e c t r o n i c s

Optomec’s Aerosol Jet printing creates

Aerosol Jet operation

a tightly focused beam of ink by first

Gas flo

atomizing the ink supply into a mist, then shooting the mist through the deposition

Aerosol mist path

head while simultaneously surrounding it with a flow of inert gas. This so-called

Atomizer Ink

Virtual impactor (for pneumatic atomizers)

head and the substrate and behaves as

either ultrasonics or pneumatics, depending on the kind of ink involved.

A ten-layer printed PCB Not all PCB printers cater to simple board designs. The Dragonfly 2020 from Nano Dimension in Israel will be optimized specifically to fabricate multiple-layer boards when it comes out sometime in 2016. “We wouldn’t launch the machine without the ability to print at least 12 layers,” said Nano Dimension Co-founder Simon Fried. “We expect it to be able to handle 20 layers and we wouldn’t be surprised if our first units could print 30 layers or more.” Nano Dimension is also aiming for a design able to do 3.5-mil trace widths and a similar pitch, finer than what’s available from single and two-layer PCB printers. The Dragonfly also has a bigger print bed, 20 × 20 cm., or almost 8 in. on a side. And precision

isn’t its only virtue. “Stuff that’s tough to do conventionally isn’t tough to do with our additive process,” said Fried. “If you want a via that leans at 45°, the Dragonfly is happy to print it. You can put geometries on the board that otherwise couldn’t be manufactured at all.” Though Dragonfly-printed boards may contain interesting geometries, Nano Dimension expects their frequency response to mimic that of boards manufactured with conventional etching, said Fried. “Academic research so far indicates they should deliver good high-frequency response because of the way materials are laid down. You don’t have the jaggedness of the edges that’s present with regular etching, for example. To conventionally plate copper on an FR4 board, the

One potential use for the Optomec Aerosol Jet printer is to create thin-film e ectronic components, including transistors. The University of Massachusetts-Lowell laboratory recently benchmarked an Aerosol Jet-printed carbon nanotube top-gated fie d effect transistor operating at 5 GHz. Visible in its schematic diagram are drain-source electrodes printed with either gold nanoparticle ink (from UT Dots, Inc.) or conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS (from H.C. Stark). Researchers there have used various semiconductors including P3HT (from Rieke Metals, Inc), PQT12, and F8T2(from American Dye Source, Inc.), SW CNTs (from Brewer Science, Inc.). The gate dielectric is printable ionic gel (from work conceived at the U. of Minnesota). The top gate is conductive polymer.

Thin-film transistor printed with an Aerosol Jet

Electronics 11-15_vs6.LT.MD.indd 100

atomized ink as it traverses between the

ink stream. The atomizing process can use Deposition head

can’t handle. And at really high frequencies, ripples and bumps in the traces become a problem. So for high-frequency applications, Ospina thinks Squink users will probably start with a standard bare board made by conventional means, then use the Squink to apply paste and populate components. The Squink is for single-layer designs and doesn’t handle through-holes. Its minimum trace width is 10 mil with 15 mil spacing, possibly too coarse for some high-density IC packages.  The Squink costs $3,000 but with almost immediate gratification; lead time is listed as one week.


sheath gas both speeds up the flow of the

a focusing mechanism for the atomized

Ink atomized to create small droplets with entrained particles


Sheath gas focuses aerosol mist into tight beam

November 2015

11/3/15 12:08 PM

board needs a certain amount of roughness so the copper adheres. You don’t get this roughness with a printed board,” he said. Unfortunately, many of the Dragonfly’s details are still under wraps. The print heads are high-resolution industrial units purchased from a vendor. The rest of the design, and particularly the formulation of the inks, all takes place in house. “The printer contains a lot of secret sauce as it integrates several high-end technologies. The resolution of the mechanics is in the low microns. The ink chemistry is complex and the ink, print-head management, and control all interrelate,” said Fried.


“Increasingly, new ideas for electronics will take shape on substrates fabricated by desktop machines taking cues from ink-jet 3D printers. And 3D-printed electronics isn’t just for maker-movement hobbyists tinkering on home projects.” For example, the dielectric material used is specially formulated to match the material properties of the FR4 substrates widely used in the PCB industry. “It is a type of epoxy like that created when a resin and hardener mix. We created a one-part epoxy liquid containing the resin and hardener fashioned so the resin and hardener can’t mix until they November 2015

Electronics 11-15_vs6.LT.MD.indd 101






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E l e c t r o n i c s

The sensor patterns and circuit traces visible on this plastic tank were printed with an Optomec Aerosol Jet system. The plastic tank, printed by Optomec OEM Neotech Services, is notable because the printing took place on three different surfaces.

print. We also add other materials to adjust properties such as the mechanical strength,” said Fried. Fried said the parameters of the printers are such that they can be adjusted to consider future requirements such as the ability to operate at higher frequencies or to dissipate heat. “For example, you can make the dielectric look more like Teflon if you want something that’s good at higher frequencies,” he said. He also said the company expects to be able to print flex circuits in the foreseeable future. “We wanted to make sure our boards can be reflow soldered. The dielectric material we use comfortably supports temperatures of 300° C without warping, twisting, melting or changing in any way. High-end reflow ovens operate at about 270° C, so our boards can handle reflow and hand soldering,” said Fried. Also on the development road map are super-thin traces and even passive components fabricated on or within the board along with the conductive traces. “In lab conditions 102


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November 2015

we are getting down to 60-µm-wide traces without changing print heads. If we change heads you might be capable of printing 15- or 20-µm lines,” said Fried. “The printing of passive components is on our road map. We are working with a university in Singapore to do this. It isn’t trivial, but it is doable. You can put down a minimum thickness of about 2 µm to make, say, noise-reducing capacitance built right on the board. But passive component capability won’t be part of the first printer because it requires a different print head.” The first Dragonfly printers are now in beta testing and will produce multilayer boards that “will mimic what you would get in a regular prototype multilayer PCB in terms of going through reflow and in trace conductivity. They should also work fine for one-off situations,” Fried said. Deliveries will start in the latter half of 2016 and the machines will be in the $50,000 range.

Mass production meets printed electronics Optomec takes an approach to printing electronics that is quite different than that of other firms. Most other printer makers buy print heads from vendors and engineer their inks and hardware around them. In contrast, Optomec designs its own print heads using a technology it dubs Aerosol Jet. But this approach lets the printer use a variety of commercial inks from various suppliers, so printer users aren’t tied into a single ink supplier. Additionally, the Optomec print heads are offered in the form of print engine assemblies. The assemblies can be built into conventional automation equipment such as CNC positioners or special-purpose motion control systems. Several print engines can be combined to print simultaneously as for mass production settings. Optomec uses an open systems approach for deploying the print heads, so automation suppliers can integrate Optomec gear into numerous kinds of

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E l e c t r o n i c s

production settings. Optomec said it has sold about 130 of the Aerosol Jet systems. The claim to fame of Aerosol Jet printing is super high resolution and control of the inks. The print engines can create features as small as 10 µm wide and make deposits with thicknesses measured in nanometers. Conversely, the same print head can make features that are several millimeters wide and several microns thick. And features at both extremes can be printed in the same pass.

“The majority of Kickstarter machines that print PCBs have several elements in common. Most convert ordinary Gerber files for PCB layouts, or common graphic files, to a form compatible with ink jet printing.” The Aerosol Jet system accomplishes this sort of precision because it is different from conventional ink jetting. Ordinary ink jets depend on gravity to bring ink drops to a substrate. The drops spread out or widen as they fly from the nozzle to the substrate. In contrast, Aerosol Jets created a more tightly focused beam of ink by first atomizing the ink supply into a mist, then shooting the mist through the deposition head while simultaneously surrounding it with a flow of inert gas. This so-called sheath gas both speeds up the flow of the atomized ink as it traverses between the head and the substrate 104


Electronics 11-15_vs6.LT.MD.indd 104

November 2015

and behaves as a focusing mechanism for the atomized ink stream. The result: From print nozzles having 100-µm diameters come 10-µm-diameter collimated streams of atomized ink. The atomizing process can use either ultrasonics or pneumatics, depending on the kind of ink involved. The resulting mist droplets are 2 to 5 µm in diameter and contain numerous nanoparticles of ink. (If pneumatic atomization is used, there is a densifying step that removes some of the gas from the atomized stream before the atomized ink gets to the print head.) The sheath gas accelerates the mist to a point where it is moving at 50 m/sec when it emerges from the print head. The relatively high exit velocity lets the mist stay collimated over at least a 5-mm distance between the print head and substrate. What’s interesting about this facet of performance is that the mist can remain focused while hitting nonuniform surfaces. This ability to navigate over uneven terrain lets the printers deposit features on three-dimensional parts. The ability to print high-resolution conductive and dielectric layers on 3D surfaces makes the Optomec printers candidates for a variety of applications. “Areas of focus for us right now are printed sensors and printed antennas,” said Optomec VP of Marketing Ken Vartanian. “We have printed 3D sensors on turbine blades that measure how the blade expands over its life. That is a particularly noteworthy application because the inks on the blades must withstand 1,800° F without deteriorating. We’ve also printed connections on integrated circuits that replace wire bonding and conventional die-stack attachment techniques.” Vartanian said the Aerosol Jet process has been built into production machines making 3D antennas and can be a more green manufacturing method than traditional alternatives that involve copper plating. In one case, Aerosol Jet printing is used to make conformal antennas that formerly required laser direct structuring on injection molded parts. Aerosol Jet printing is viewed as superior in that case because it eliminates nickel and copper plating processes.

Likewise, Aerosol Jet printers are now used to fix gaps in conductors on flat-panel glass displays and to perform similar functions on solar panels. Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Massachusetts are also employing the printers to deposit semiconductor material and more exotic conductors to realize thin-film transistors and diodes. The Aerosol Jet system is built to stand up in high-volume production settings. The cost of the print engine itself depends on the number of print heads and other attachments and is in the $150,000 ballpark. Though OEMs can get these print engines and build them into automation equipment, Optomec also offers the print heads in standalone benchtop systems that start at around $200,000 and as part of a five-axis machine for around $500,000 designed for more complex development work. DW

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November 2015

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Updated motion control system Siemens

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Arbitrary function generator Tektronix The Tektronix AFG1062 WE Series Linear Guideway Wide Series Ball Type.

features two equally capable channels, 60 MHz bandwidth with 1 mVpp to 10 Vpp output amplitude, 14-bit vertical resolution and 1 µHz frequency resolution. It provides a 300 MS/sec sample rate along with 1M points record length and USB memory expansion for user-defined waveforms. It also includes 50 built-in standard functions and arbitrary waveforms with continuous, modulation, sweep and burst modes to cover a broad range of applications. The instrument is easy to use with a 3.95-in. TFT color display, shortcut buttons and a rotary knob for quick setting adjustments.

PG Series Linear Guideway Integrated Magnetic Encoder.

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holes, the new ServoBelt rotary stages address the broad range of rotary motion and rotary table applications that don’t need to pass large bundles of utility connections through the center of the stage. Shrinking the through hole allowed engineers to simplify the design of the stage’s angular contact bearings without affecting accuracy, speed, load capacity or lifecycle expectations.

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Analog input modules for strain gauges B&R Automation

LM Linear Actuator / SAR Linear motor driven high acceleration and accuracy, unlimited travel.

The X20AIA744 with two fullbridge strain gauge inputs and the X20AIB744 with four fullbridge strain gauge inputs work with 4-wire strain gauge load KA Type Linear Actuator / SAR Ballscrew or belt driven, exible design.

cells. Up to four channels can now be housed in a module as thin as a single-channel unit. Compensation in the measurement system eliminates absolute uncertainty in the measurement circuit, such as component tolerances, effective bridge voltage or zero offset. The modules each have 24-bit converter resolution.

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High force density linear stage Dover Motion An ironless motor in the XMG Miniature Linear Stage delivers 100% cogging-free,

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the force ripple is also negligible. The high-power, direct-drive motor generates less heat for the same motion profile as compared to less powerful motors, resulting in more accurate motion. It also allows larger payloads and faster step and settle for improved throughput. Hiwin D1 and D2 Servo Drives for Servo Motors, Torque Motors and Linear Stages.

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Ad Index

Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (Requester Publications Only) 1. Publication Title

2. Publication Number

3. Filing Date

0 2 5 _- 1 4 6

Design World 4. Issue Frequency


All Motion . ................................................................................................4 Allied Electronics, Inc. . ................................................................... 3,103 Altech Corp .............................................................................................15 Ametek PMC ...........................................................................................17 Ametek Windjammer ............................................................................ 21 Anchor Fluid Power . ..............................................................................53 Anderson Metals Corp., Inc. . ..............................................................101 Applied Motion Products, Inc. ..............................................................25 Aurora Bearing Co. . ...............................................................................16 AutomationDirect ..................................................................................13 Balluff GmbH . ........................................................................................32 Baumer ...................................................................................................77 Bimba Manufacturing Co. ......................................................................9 Bishop-Wisecarver Corp. ......................................................................65 Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. . ........................................................IBC BOKER’s Inc. . .........................................................................................20 CADENAS PARTsolutions .................................................................... 108 CGI, Inc. ...................................................................................................48 Chieftek Precision Co., LTD ........................................................ 55,57,59 CS Hyde Co. ..............................................................................................8 Custom Machine & Tool Co., Inc. ..........................................................38 Del-Tron Precision, Inc. . ........................................................................67 Design2Parts . .....................................................................................110 DieQua Corp. . .........................................................................................52 Dunkermotor, part of AMETEK .............................................................19 Elesa U.S. A. Corp. ............................................................................36,37 Encoder Products Co. . ..........................................................................43 EXAIR Corp. ...............................................................................................5 ...................................................................................1 Fabco-Air, Inc. . .................................................................................... 105 FESTO ......................................................................................................56 Freudenberg & Co. . ...............................................................................74 Galil Motion Control ...............................................................................79 GAM .........................................................................................................33 Haydon Kerk-Catalyst Motion Group ...................................................23 Helical Products Co. ................................................................................7 HELUKABEL USA ....................................................................................54 Hitachi Cable America, Inc. ...................................................................73 HIWIN Corp. . .......................................................................... 107,109,111 igus, Inc. .................................................................................................31 J.W. Winco, Inc. ......................................................................................16 KB Electronics, Inc. ...............................................................................99 Keystone Electronics Corp. ..................................................................27 Lee Spring Co. ........................................................................................41 LEMO USA, INC. . .....................................................................................85 Master Bond, Inc. . .................................................................................45 maxon precision motor, inc. . ...............................................................72 MICROMO ................................................................................................58 Miki Pulley USA ......................................................................................39 National Instruments Corp. ..................................................................60 NB Corp. of America . .............................................................................87 Novotechnik . .........................................................................................97 OMEGA Engineering Inc. . .....................................................................47 PBC Linear ..............................................................................................92 PHD Inc. ..................................................................................................80 Proto Labs, Inc. ................................................................................40,51 Rittal GmbH & Co. ...........................................................................Insert Rotor Clip Co., Inc. . .......................................................................... 91,93 SEW Eurodrive .......................................................................................BC SIKO Products Inc. ................................................................................81 Smalley Steel Ring Co. ..........................................................................10 SUCO Technologies, Inc. . ......................................................................20 The Lee Co. ...........................................................................................107 THK America, Inc. ................................................................................. IFC Tompkins Industries, Inc. ............................................................... 42,61 Trim-Lok, Inc. .........................................................................................28 Whittet-Higgins Co. . ..............................................................................29 Zero-Max, Inc. . .........................................................................................2


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DESIGN WORLD does not endorse any products, programs or services of advertisers or editorial contributors. Copyright© 2015 by WTWH Media, LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or by recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. Subscription Rates: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified persons may subscribe at the following rates: U.S. and possessions: 1 year: $125; 2 years: $200; 3 years: $275; Canadian and foreign, 1 year: $195; only US funds are accepted. Single copies $15 each. Subscriptions are prepaid, and check or money orders only. Subscriber Services: To order a subscription or change your address, please email:, or visit our web site at DESIGN WORLD (ISSN 1941-7217) is published monthly by: WTWH Media, LLC; 6555 Carnegie Ave., Suite 300, Cleveland, OH 44103. Periodicals postage paid at Cleveland, OH & additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Design World, 6555 Carnegie Ave., Suite 300, Cleveland, OH 44103



Ad Index 11-15_Vs1.indd 112

November 2015

11/2/15 1:54 PM



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SEW Eurodrive 9-15.indd 1

10/30/15 9:50 AM

Design World November 2015  

Users call the shots in CAD enhancements. How to handle imbalances from light loads on VFDs. The evolution of liquid level sensing. Your nex...

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