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  • TIA-1005 Industrial Ethernet Cabling Standard

    The Effect on the 10/100 Industrial Ethernet Switch Performance.

    The Anixter Infrastructure Solutions Lab wanted to determine what effect the new TIA-1005 industrial cabling infrastructure standard would have on the data throughput performance of real Ethernet data packets running between SmartBits test cards and various manufacturers' 10/100 Ethernet switches in a real-world simulation. The test included five (5) different IP20-rated switches and three (3) different enterprise rack-mounted switches using various cabling channels made from both Category 5e and Category 6 cabling components and connector pairs that are allowable under the standard. The premise also asserts that the effect of the cabling channel interference will also vary from port to port and switch to switch because of the variable transmitter and receiver functionality.

  • Membrane Potentiometers Simplify Position Sensing

    Ultra-flat design enables smart engineering and cost-saving applications.

    Membrane potentiometers have c hanged the way engineers think about sensing. With some measuring only 0.5mm [.05cm]thick, ultra-flat membrane potentiometers feature comparable product characteristics to conventional potentiometers, but are liberal with design freedom at significantly lower costs.

    Today's membrane potentiometers can be used in the same applications as conventional potentiometers, but can also fit into space-constrained areas. In this case, function can follow form an uncommon feature of mechanical potentiometers.

    Because most producers of membrane potentiometers offer customized products with only small tooling efforts, costs are very competitive, even for small prototype quantities. Three additional advantages are found in the basic construction of the membrane potentiometer: its ability to be fully sealed; the possibility of a hollow shaft design; and numerous wiper options, including operation by hand.

    Most membrane potentiometers, like the Sensofoil products, c an be sealed at up to an IP65 (NEMA4x) rating and beyond. Conventional potentiometers require a difficult assembly of the wiper, particularly in a hollow shaft assembly. The hollow shaft design of membrane potentiometers, as with Sensofoil , is more reliable and cost efficient. Because of the simple nature of the membrane potentiometer, such technical adjustments are not required. The wiper for the membrane potentiometer c an be as simple as a small plastic knob sliding across the surface; it requires no external electric al contact. Most membrane potentiometers c an also be operated by sliding a finger over its surface, and Sensofoil is even available in a contactless magnetic version.

    Guido Woska
  • New Touch Sensors

    Touch sensitive devices have become increasingly common – from cell phones to industrial touch panels to appliances. These devices typically use capacitive sensors to create the 'touch' surface. In reality capacitive does not require touch, but merely close proximity of an object capable of changing the capacitance of the system. Capacitive systems are typically limited to non-metallic materials, may not work well with gloves and can be susceptible to false activations caused by water. Even with these limitation capacitive works well for many consumer applications.
    For situations with more stringent requirements – requiring a definitive touch, wet/underwater applications or high vandalism potential – another technology is possible. Trapped Acoustic Resonance technology expands touch-sensitive capabilities into metallic substrates. The technology, referred to simply as ActiveTouch, was developed by ITW (Illinois Tools Works) over the past seven years, and can turn a solid steel plate up to 0.5" thick into a touch sensitive surface with multiple switch points. The technology even works with ballistic steel, creating the potential for putting a switch in a bullet proof steel plate with no seams.

    ITW ActiveTouch
  • Optimizing Sortation Throughput in High‐Volume Distribution Centers

    System Description: Dematic Flexsort distribution system uses an integreated sortation system based on a unified PC/PLC controls scheme.

    Optimizing Sortation Throughput in High‐Volume Distribution Centers From the pre‐merge through sortation, the FlexSort integrated sortation sub‐systemrecently released by Dematic is redefining efficiency in high‐speed DCs.

    Every distribution system can be divided into five basic functions which it needs to perform including receiving, product storage, picking for order fulfillment, sortation and shipping. Although each of these sectors have experienced improvements due to technical advances, sortation is where significant leaps in efficiency are now being made with Dematic's introduction of its FlexSort integrated sortation sub‐system.

    FlexSort is defined by its unique system integration and the efficiencies that the system provides to the high‐speed sortation environment. The logic on how the system is controlled is quite different. All sortation functions are controlled as if it is one unified machine. From the pre‐merge to the merge, to the transport conveyors feeding the gapping, to the gapping function itself, to the linear sortation and finally the take‐away conveyors, the entire process operates with single‐source control and full integration.

    Jim McMahon
  • Standards Increase Productivity as Well as Promote Safety

    Safety standards being written today not only provide guidance to help reduce the risk of injury or equipment damage, but also improve productivity in the workplace. The ANSI/ASSE Z244.1-2003 (R2008)1 and ANSI/PMMI B155.1-20062 standards are two examples of how standards promote safe work environments as well as making it possible for companies to increase productivity.

    The ANSI/ASSE Z244.1- 2003 (R2008) Control of Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tagout and Alternative Methods standard addresses the need of manufacturers to reduce the time involved in performing safety procedures, while increasing the degree of safety provided. In the past, a routine task of clearing a simple jam could require a worker to spend considerable time commuting to different locations on a machine to perform lockout on multiple energy sources.

    In the time-equals-money equation, this results in operators taking short cuts. These short cuts could include missing some lockout points and not locking out all the energy sources connected to the machine. Since lockout points are there to help prevent the equipment from being energized, neglecting one or more of the lockout tasks could very likely increase the risk of worker injury or equipment damage. The present ANSI/ASSE Z244.1-2003 (R2008) standard addresses this issue by allowing (in certain situations) for reducing the number of required lockout locations to one, which can be located near the operator.

    When properly implemented, such a single-point lockout can provide an excellent safety solution and while minimizing machine downtime occassioned by a lockout event. To accomplish these dual goals, the system must use a dedicated control system with a dual-channel, low-voltage lockable switch, dual control-reliable relays and control-reliable components.

    The term used for reducing the number of lockout locations to one is called Single-Point Lockout (SPLO). This alternative method may only be used for tasks that are part of the normal production and operation of the machine, and a risk assessment must be done for a given task to determine if the task qualifies for SPLO.

    Why is SPLO so popular? It reduces the chance that an operator may miss or skip locking out an energy source when he/she is rushed to lockout the machine. Providing better assurance that lockouts will be properly used increases the safety for the operator and equipment. In addition, SPLO reduces the time required to put the machine into a safe mode.

    Dan Henman, ROSS Controls Troy, MI
  • Video Analytics and Security

    Using video data to improve both safety and ROI.

    Most companies are gathering trillions of bytes of data, day after day, at no small cost, and then doing very little with it. Worse still, the data often is not serving its primary function very cost-effectively.

    The "culprit," so to speak, is video surveillance data, the information captured by the video cameras that are used throughout most modern facilities.

    But the situation is changing rapidly, thanks to an application called Video Analytics. This white paper looks at the new software technology, and how it can be used to leverage video data for better security and business performance.

    Schneider Electric
  • Growing a Green Corporation

    Meeting the next great disruptive challenge of the 21st century.

    Since the Industrial Revolution our society has been driven by an increasing pace of change in business and technology. Every decade or two we have faced a new and disruptive event that challenges business and creates opportunities-the locomotive, the electric light, the automobile, the airplane, the television and the computer, to name a few.

    But the greatest disruptive event of the next 20 years may come, not from a single invention, but from the world around us-that is, climate change.

    How your business responds to the climate challenge can either differentiate you from the competition and launch new and successful products, or make you the focus of consumer backlash and eroding margins.

    This paper will explore the environment as a disruptive force in business, examine the consequences of inaction, and propose the benefits of a proactive environmental policy. It will describe increasing levels of investment that a small company, an enterprise or an industry can make to address the challenge and develop a business case. The paper ends with a concrete roadmap to lead you from today's "business as usual" to a long-term sustainable approach to growing a Green corporation.

    After reading this paper, business leaders in every industry will have an understanding of how the environment will impact their business, how to make changes to mitigate the negative impacts and how to explore business opportunities in this new and exciting sustainable world.

    Schneider Electric
  • When Safety Matters Most, Monitors Redundant Valves Are the Solution

    A safe manufacturing environment must include a healthy respect for the sometimes dangerous interactions between human and machinery. This is reflected in the fact that once simple devices such as safety-related valves have evolved and advanced to an amazing level of sophistication.

    In pneumantic and hydraulic circuits where the primary concern is the removal of pneumatic or hydraulic energy from a device or system, additional dump or exhaust valves typically are incorporated specifically for this function. Just how critical this valve function is within the circuit, meaning the hazard level, is determined by a risk assessment of the machine.

    Eric Cummings, ROSS Controls
  • Six Sigma: What? Why? How?

    This whitepaper provides the history of the Six Sigma Symbol and explanations on the Six Sigma concept, the Six Sigma implementation, the Six Sigma calculation and more. Download this paper now.

    Product variation and defects undercut customer loyalty as well as company profits. Six Sigma is a rigorous, disciplined, data-driven methodology that was developed to enhance product quality and company profitability by improving manufacturing and business processes.

    Six Sigma uses statistical analysis to quantitatively measure how a process is performing. That process can involve manufacturing, business practices, products, or service. To be defined as Six Sigma means that the process does not produce more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities (DPMO) – which translates to 99.9997% efficiency.

    A Six Sigma defect is considered anything that can cause customer dissatisfaction, such as being outside of customer specifications. A Six Sigma opportunity is the total number of chances for a defect to occur.

    Six Sigma Concept

    The Six Sigma concept was developed by Motorola in 1986 with the stated goal of improving manufacturing processes and reducing product defects and variation. The underlying goal was to achieve near quality perfection with 99.9997% of variable values within specifications.

  • Stainless Steel Enclosures in Industrial Applications

    Stainless steel is a versatile material known primarily for its strength and corrosion resistant properties and utilized in the construction of enclosure solutions that satisfy applications across a broad spectrum of industries. While a wide assortment of different components are housed within these enclosures and placed in disparate environments, there are common criteria that must be considered to ensure that the proper stainless steel enclosure is chosen for a given application.

    This paper explores some of the technical details of stainless steel that are crucial to the selection of industrial enclosures including composition, distinguishing properties of different grades, chemical resistances, suitable applications and general benefits offered by stainless steel when compared to carbon steel enclosures.

    Nathan Xavier, Rittal
  • Precision Linear Motion Accomplished Easily and Economically Part 1

    Introduction to Linear Actuators:
    Discussing the basics of a stepper motor-based linear actuator, one of the most effective ways to convert rotary into linear motion for a wide range of applications

    When students are trained in classic mechanical engineering, they are taught to construct a system using conventional mechanical components to convert rotary into linear motion. Converting rotary to linear motion can be accomplished by several mechanical means using a rotary motor, rack and pinion, belt and pulley, and other mechanical linkages, which require many components to couple and align. Although these methods can be effective, they each carry certain limitations. Conversely, stepper motor-based linear actuators address all these factors and have fewer issues associated with their use. The reason? Rotary-to-linear motion is accomplished in the motor itself, which translates to fewer components, high force output, and increased accuracy.

    HaydonKerk Motion Solutions
  • Precision Linear Motion Accomplished Easily and Economically Part 2

    This paper shows how to accurately size a linear actuator.

    How Is a Linear Actuator Sized?
    Sizing a linear actuator is quite easy once you understand the basic needs of the application. The following is the minimum information needed to begin sizing the proper device.
    1. Linear force needed to move the load, expressed in Newtons (N)
    2. Linear distance the load needs to be moved, expressed in meters (M)
    3. Time required to move the load, expressed in seconds (s)
    4. Table 1 – illustrated below
    5. Performance curves illustrated in Haydon linear actuator catalogs

    HaydonKerk Motion Solutions
  • Safety Design of Machinery

    Are you a machine builder? Do you upgrade machinery? This is what you need to consider about machine safety in the future. ZVEI, the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Assn. produced this whitepaper to help understand why compliance with EN 954-1 no longer is sufficient. If you sell machines into Western Europe, you'll want to read more.

  • Test-Centric Assembly

    Test-Centric Assembly is best defined as the upfront consideration of real-world test requirements in test-intensive assembly operations that is proven to lower production line inefficiencies.

    Test-Centric Assembly is a best-practice approach for any test-intensive assembly operation. A common, but far less satisfactory approach to machine building of test-intensive assemblies is to consider testing as an afterthought to overall machine design. This often means that the real testing requirements of an assembly and test application are misunderstood. This less than optimal approach typically compromises Gauge R&R. In many cases, defective part problems are predominant and there is an inability to diagnose whether testing processes are lacking and creating erroneous defect readings or if real defects in the parts are at issue.

    Hallmarks of test-centric assemblies are expert fixture design and integration of both hardware and software at the system level. Test-centric assembly refers to the entirety of the applications engineering knowledgebase that enables testing experts with a singular focus on testing to improve production speed and yields in test-intensive operations.

    This white paper reviews the general principles of test-centric assembly for manufacturers and machine builders more accustomed to streamlining assembly operations where testing is absent or plays a minimal part.

    Jacques Hoffmann, President, InterTech Development Company
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