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October News in Brief

01 October, 2008

♦  ABB’s ACH550 HVAC drive has become the first variable speed drive to receive the new European BACnet conformity certification. The drive was originally approved by BACnet Testing Laboratories in 2005, and since then 20,000 have been installed.

♦  The German wireless sensing specialist EnOcean has teamed up with the Austrian semiconductor manufacturer SensorDynamics to develop an energy-harvesting wireless sensor chip. The E3000I chip combines an eight-bit microcontroller, two A-D converters, bidirectional communications, wire-free actuation, and low-power energy management, and can be powered by vibration, rotation or differences in temperature. The only external components needed are an oscillator and antenna. The chip is aimed primarily at building automation applications.    

♦  The German semiconductor developer Elmos has demonstrated a technology (called VirtuHall) that enables sensorless detection of the rotor position in brushless, electronically commutated motors, and uses the same technique to detect rotors all the way from standstill to high speeds, eliminating transitional disturbances.

♦  The US industrial wireless specialist Apprion has announced a wireless security application that works with any wireless device, network, or application that is integrated with the its ION technology, to provide industrial plants with a layered architecture to secure wireless networks, and to detect and deter attacks that could lead to system downtime. The system has passed a security audit by the US Department of Energy`s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

♦  The UK`s Technology Strategy Board has announced details of a £10m competition aimed at putting 100 ultra-low-carbon demonstration vehicles on UK roads by the end of 2009. An allied £10m competition aims to promote the electrification of road transport.

♦  Agilent Technologies claims to have developed the world’s first digital multimeter (DMM) to use an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, which gives a high contrast ratio (2,000:1), a wide viewing angle (160 degrees), smooth fonts and a large display mode for clear indoor viewing. The U1253A DMM offers a 4.5-digit resolution with 50,000-count full-scale dual display and a basic accuracy of up to 0.025%. In addition to its basic functions, it can also perform data-logging and temperature measurements. The DMM is priced at $449 in the US.

♦  Fanuc Robotics has unveiled a monster six-axis robot which, it claims, is the world’s strongest and has the longest reach. One version of the machine can carry payloads up to 1,200kg using a fully articulated, IP67-protected wrist, and support the load with a 1.25m offset from the faceplate. Such loads, such as car bodies, have previously required dual robots, Fanuc says. Another version of the M2001A robot (shown above with a smaller sibling) can lift 900kg payloads through a height of 6.2m.

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