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.

Silicon carbide technology reaches tipping point

While silicon currently remains the material of choice of power devices, there is little headroom available to improve figures of merit such as on resistance and gate charge. However, there appears to be more room for manoeuvre with alternative materials and two such materials which are focusing the attention of device developers are silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN).

Interconnector and cabling system to address design challenges

The growth in connectivity, with billions of devices now connected around the globe, means the pressure is growing exponentially on the infrastructure that supports the collection and dissemination of data. Whatever the technical pressures, customers expect a seamless level of service.

New lease of life for the SAR data converter

There is a tension that lies at the heart of the circuitry needed to support the many sensors that underpin the IoT: battery-powered devices need to be as efficient as possible, which tends to imply the use of highly optimised, dedicated circuitry; but costs push design in the opposite direction – towards programmability. This tension is not just being felt in the processing platforms needed to execute software, but also in the analogue front ends that pass sensor data into the digital domain.

Upcoming exhibition to spark an interest in electricity

It is not unreasonable to say that we take electricity for granted. We plug appliances into sockets and turn them on, but give little or no thought to where that electricity has come from. And even less thought is given to the history of discoveries and inventions that explains how electricity can be used at a flick of a switch.

How small diameter electrolytic capacitors in power supplies can impact reliability and cost

Recently a member of TDK-Lambda’s technical marketing team experienced first-hand just how much influence small diameter electrolytic capacitors can have on long-term power supply reliability. Unfortunately he picked February to have his central heating system upgraded and Britain’s unpredictable weather system delivered snow. The seven year old boiler system in the loft had been turned off for two days while the radiators were replaced. When the installation was complete, the boiler was switched on, but failed to start

Measuring RF power in the field

The output power of an RF or microwave system is a key determinant of its performance. For this reason, signal power is measured at every stage – from design and prototyping to maintenance in the field.

High level synthesis to make hardware design more enjoyable

In the past few years, a common complaint of hardware designers, especially those designing embedded integrated circuits, is that they are too entrenched to boost hardware implementations, with little time left to do any real design work. They don’t have the time to analyse and find the best implementation for their specific goals because they are so focused on getting their product out of the door. In 2017, an increasing numbers of designers will be returning to do real hardware design work, figuring out the best way to get some functionality onto hardware. The result: better hardware and more satisfied designers.

Issues involving convoluted neural networks

Since their invention more than 50 years ago, neural networks have enjoyed periods of popularity in the research community, then languished nearly forgotten in between. A massive increase in computing power and novel approaches to artificial-neuron training brought neural networks in from the cold 10 years ago and they have now reached the point where the algorithms are not only being deployed in servers, but are also beginning to move into embedded systems. But that shift calls for a massive improvement in their efficiency.

Bright future for fibre optical networks

In the last 30 years or so, the rate at which data can be sent down core fibre has increased by an amazing 10million times. And the UK has a long and enviable track record in this remarkable progress, with research groups and companies continuing to influence and drive the industry.

Advanced analytics for a data enabled economy

In the digital era, successful economies and businesses will be creative, innovative and economically diverse, driven by the generation and use of ‘Big Data’ created by computers, sensors and other digital devices, networked systems and improved analytics.

UK universities getting better at commercialising research

The relationship between universities and new technology start-ups is crucial and the UK has been relatively poor at the commercialisation of ideas, let alone commercial success. Should it be about the jobs that are created or should the financial returns from technological innovation be the sole driver of whether university research is worthwhile?

Will MRAM replace flash in leading edge processes?

As microcontrollers run at faster clock rates and the amount of software needed in embedded systems increases, developers are becoming more interested in embedding memory on chip, rather than transferring data to and from an external device.

Code injection: a common vulnerability

As the Internet of Things develops, embedded devices are being deployed in environments where attackers can take advantage of source code level security vulnerabilities. Embedded software developers should, therefore, understand the different kinds of security vulnerabilities – and code injection in particular.

What does 2017 hold for oscillator design?

Modern technology relies heavily on accurate timing as its fundamental basis, so that items of electronics all have coordinated functions. This applies across a wide range of industry sectors and, without the ability to implement precise timing, the highly connected systems upon which we all depend will inevitably fail.

Using FPGAs in embedded systems

While there’s nothing new about the use of FPGAs in electronics products, many engineers are only just beginning to explore how the devices could help to improve their designs.

Demand for automotive sensors is booming

According to a new report ‘Global Markets for Automotive Sensor Technologies’, the global market for automotive sensors could be worth more than $26billion this year, rising to in excess of $43bn by 2021.

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