EFAB: A New Approach to MEMS Fabrication
Success in microsensor and microactuator applications depends on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of fabrication approaches. EFAB opens new application areas not well suited to silicon micromachining.
The Many Roles of Polyphenyl Ethers
Whether it's faced with high temperatures, ionizing radiation, or other harsh conditions, this rugged compound is useful in a wide range of applications, from lubrication to guiding light.
The Basics of Rotameters
You may have thought about using a rotameter to satisfy your flow measuring requirements. But do you really know enough about these simple, cost-effective devices to make the best decision?
Magnetostrictive Level Sensors
Used primarily by the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, specialty chemical, and liquid petroleum gas industriesd, magnetostrictive level sensors provide accurate and reliable process level measurement and inventory tank gauging control.
Thermal Considerations for Fiber-Optic Sensor Components, Part 5: Thermal Implications
Part 1 of this five-part series was an introduction to fiber-optic sensing. Part 2 addressed LED and laser diode light sources, and photodiode detectors. Part 3 examined the physics of thermally induced changes in component behavior. Part 4 investigated the optical filters required by fiber-optic sensors. Part 5 takes up solutions to the classic problem of thermal management.
The System on a Chip
The tug of war between the demand for custom chip development and the constraints of many low-volume designs makes it your business to know what innovative system-on-a-chip designers are doing and the options this technology offers.
Putting Sensors on Ethernet-A Good Fit or a Bad Idea?
Ethernet is finding its way into machine control, even though it was never intended for embedded applications. The desire to use widely supported hardware and TCP/IP software means vendors are adding Ethernet ports to smart devices. Here's a look at the issues that users and OEMs must consider when using Ethernet at the lowest level.
Putting Sensors to Work:
Position Monitoring with Hall Effect Sensors
Nearly every manufacturing operation today requires some form of automated position monitoring. While the particulars of each application differ from one another, most can be satisfied by a single technology-Hall effect sensors.
Controlling Your HVAC System
You can have the most advanced heating, cooling, and air conditioning equipment in town, but if your control system is not doing its work, occupants of the building or zone will either be panting or reaching for a sweater. Let's take a look at how to avoid those problems.
A Fiber-Optic Temperature Sensor
This fluorescence-decay temperature probe combines the advantages of optical fiber with a unique ratio measurement system that minimizes inaccuracies due to signal loss from the fiber and connector.
Driving in the Dark
The extra 15 s of response time provided by an automotive IR vision system can reduce the number of accidents involving pedestrians and other nocturnal surprises on the road.
These powerful A/D converters offer significant advantages over alternative devices, but some designers don't use s because they're unfamiliar with the technology. Here are a few reasons you should take a look.
Putting Sensors to Work:
MEMS Sensors in Virtual Reality Systems
Gaming enthusiasts are champing at the bit to enter the realm of virtual reality, but the technology may not be ready for prime time. Here's a look at what works and what doesn't.
Is Wireless Ethernet Safe to Use?
Recent security breaches have raised questions about the wisdom of using 802.11-based wireless LANs on the factory floor. But it's too soon to give up on this protocol.
Distributing Control with Ethernet and TCP/IP
It can't be simple, can it? Industrial networking's cast of characters is mind boggling. And it's hard to figure out how they all fit together. Well, consider some of the new industrial Ethernet protocols to see how they facilitate distributed control with intelligent devices.
Simplifying the Electronic Balance Load Cell
A new way to manufacture the load cell that forms the core of an electromagnetic force restoration balance reduces production costs, shortens time to market, and achieves a high level of product reliability.
Rapid Elemental Analysis
Advances in pulsed lasers and spectrometer array detectors have led to the development of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy instruments that provide rapid elemental analysis with no sample preparation, offering in situ and online analysis. The technology can quickly analyze multiple elements, even in complex matrices, from trace quantities to the major constituents.
Intelligent Wireless Condition-Based Maintenance
More than $1 trillion is spent each year to replace perfectly good equipment because no reliable and cost-effective method is available to predict the equipment's remaining life. Now through careful design and a balance of technologies, a wireless condition-monitoring system provides a dependable and economically viable solution.
A New Dimension in Encoder Technology
A new generation of encoders combines a single custom-designed opto-ASIC with a modular mechanical concept. The result is a nearly infinite variety of incremental and absolute encoders available off the shelf.
Characterizing Input Saturation in Low-g Accelerometers
When a low-level (<10 g) accelerometer experiences a large, high-frequency, input acceleration beyond its dynamic operating range, the control circuit's prefilter amplification can saturate and cause signal distortions. Here's a simple empirical method of determining the saturation level over a range of frequencies.
A Universal Translator?
The OPC Data eXchange specification offers a peer-to-peer gateway that provides interoperability and allows data exchange among devices connected to Ethernet networks using different fieldbus protocols. Could this make life on the factory floor easier?
A Certified-Emissivity Blackbody for Calibrating Infrared Thermometers
As a practical matter, most commercial infrared thermometers are calibrated with "homemade" blackbodies of unknown and uncertified emissivities. This design for a water-immersible certified-emissivity blackbody is intended to provide a simple and inexpensive, but accurate reference for emissivity, referenced to recognized standards and proven mathematical constructions.
Digital Correction of Capacitive Signals
With a new capacitance-to-voltage converter and a few external components, it is possible to assemble complex systems for various ranges of accuracy and a multitude of applications.
Brains and Brawn-The Power of Smart Batteries
Legions of wireless products and industrial appliances have built-in rechargeable batteries. Embedded intelligence can minimize user intervention, reduce charge time, and dramatically increase battery life by optimizing power management. Are you designing a battery-powered product? It's easier than ever to make it battery friendly and hassle free.
Rapid Prototyping for Control
A new design framework de-emphasizes the separation of design and production code and pulls together the design, simulation, and verification phases of the development cycle in a single hardware/software platform. Why should you care? Faster time to market.
Capacitive Density Sensors Help Detect Avalanche Conditions
A mountain snowpack can turn into an avalanche when the crystals in a layer of fallen snow become too rounded by the weight of subsequent storms for the pack to maintain its angle of repose. A new capacitive snow-sounding probe measures the density of the various snow strata and provides other relevant data that allow forecasters to accurately assess the likelihood of hazardous conditions.
MEMS Sensors Are Driving the Automotive Industry
The proliferation of inertial MEMS sensors in cars is making systems engineers rethink the stand-alone sensor architecture in favor of a sensing cluster. Once inertial information is available, added features will be limited only by the imagination of the designers.
How Secure Is Secure?
The advent of wireless networks has raised significant questions about security. The vulnerability to inside threats continues, and new concerns have become troublesome as well.
e-Manufacturing: The Shrinking World of Business
The Internet is integrating disparate elements of the enterprise, giving employees, customers, and suppliers a unified view of the entire business, from factory and resource management to customer service.
Demystifying Analog Filter Design
Armed with a little help-and a little math-you can hack your way fearlessly through the wild world of analog filter design and gain the confidence that comes with doing it yourself.
An Argument for Open Source Software
Open source software is an idea whose time has come. Once a tool used primarily by the same technical community that brought us the Internet and Web, this approach is now a contender in the commercial arena, and it's breaking all the rules.
Sensor Technology and Design:
The 1-Wire Thermocouple
A standard thermocouple can be combined with a lithium ion monitor chip to create a smart sensor that communicates with a PC or microcontroller over a single twisted-pair cable.