Industrial

Electronics underpins many industrial systems; with applications ranging from programmable logic controllers to sensors to communications. But the market has its particular requirements, including reliability and immunity to the often hostile environment. This means companies involved in the sector, as well as those looking to supply products to those building industrial applications, need to keep up to date.

New Electronics covers developments in the industrial electronics sector, bringing technology updates and opinion from the market.

The best way to generate a negative voltage for your system

Modern active components, such as A/D and D/A converters and operational amplifiers, typically don’t require a negative supply voltage. Op amps in particular are available with rail-to-rail inputs and outputs, and in most cases, input and output voltage can swing to close enough to GND.

Low cost sensors will help the IoT to be realised

The Internet of Things is developing from being a concept just a few years ago to something far more tangible. But the whole idea of the IoT is dependent upon collecting masses of data from billions of so called edge devices, analysing it and deciding on actions. That data needs to be collected by sensors of all description – and those sensors need to be low cost if the aims of those creating products for the IoT are to be realised.

Industrial digitalisation made real

Last month saw the publication of the Industrial Digitalisation Review which outlined a series of proposals to boost the UK’s economy through the deployment of advanced digital technologies including: robotics, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

Birmingham University is pioneering VR, AR, simulation and telerobotics systems

Established in 2003 by Professor Bob Stone, Birmingham University’s Human Interface Technologies (HIT) Team, based within the university’s School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering (EESE) has been a pioneer in the development of interactive media and telerobotic technologies in the UK, building on Stone’s long experience in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality, simulation and telerobotics.

RS-485 transceivers need protection against large over-voltages

Robustness and reliability have made RS-485 an industrial workhorse. A minimum differential signal swing of 1.5V and reliable operation over common-mode voltages ranging from -7V to +12V have catapulted its deployment. Initially used as a communication network in laboratory instrumentation, RS-485 can be found in applications ranging from building automation to traffic monitoring systems.

AI faces a power struggle if it is to be used more broadly

It is easy to see artificial intelligence (AI) as a naturally power-hungry technology; it demands racks of servers stuffed with a combination of multicore CPUs, GPUs and, increasingly, FPGAs that crunch through terabytes of data to form the connections between millions of virtual neurons.

The NPL is looking to prove that measurement matters

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) was established in 1900 with the aim of bringing ‘scientific knowledge to bear practically upon our everyday industrial and commercial life’ and, over the past 117 years, it has established itself as a world class centre of excellence in measurement science. Not only that it has maintained the nation’s primary standards of measurement while developing and contributing to a host of innovations and technologies, from radar to atomic clocks.

As security becomes an important part of the design process, what are the issues?

A report published earlier in 2017 by consumer body Which? reinforced the perception that companies designing products for the Internet of Things don’t take security seriously enough. In what it called a ‘snapshot’ investigation, it set up a network featuring such smart gadgets as wireless cameras, smart padlocks and children’s toys, then hired a team of ethical security researchers to hack it. While some of the devices proved harder to hack than others, eight of the 15 appliances on the network had at least one security flaw.

Research excellence

Set up in 1956 Roke Manor Research has over the past 60 years established itself as a world-class electronics engineering consultancy.

An in-house prototyping revolution

At a time when the capabilities of electronic products are breaking new ground, it could be true to say that their potential is being held back by design, development and production processes that haven’t kept pace with the speed of innovation.

The marine revolution

The global shipping industry has witnessed a series of revolutions over the past 150 years, including the transition from sail to steam and the advent of containerisation in the 1960s.

COM modules in the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud-based solutions and Big Data represent major challenges for future system designs. The Microsoft Azure cloud is providing a framework to encapsulate these paradigms in manageable chunks allowing them to be mastered in a straight-forward way. MSC Technologies, producer of embedded hardware, has now certified its most popular COM products for the Azure Cloud, and is offering the software suite ‘Easy IoT’ which is a ready-to-run application for Azure.

Developing all programmable logic using the SDSoC environment

The traditional development flow of an all programmable Zynq SoC segments the design between processor system and programmable logic. The Zynq is a complex heterogeneous system which combines advanced ARM dual core Cortex-A9 processing systems with programmable logic. This programmable logic provides not only the traditional Flip Flops and Look Up Tables but also block RAM and distributed RAM, DSP Slices, PCIe endpoints and multi-gigabit transceivers. Users need a development environment which enables them to exploit the capability provided by both the processor and the programmable logic.

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