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In Brief

01 July, 2006

In Brief

Elmos Semiconductor is developing a family of devices for sensorless commutation of brushless DC motors, based on an exclusive licence for an innovative method of controlling these motors. The method can determine the rotor position without needing extra components and can calculate rpm from zero speed upwards. German-based Elmos is working on standard and customised product designs and hopes to deliver samples "very early".

• International Rectifier has launched a range of IGBTs (insulated gate bipolar transistors) that, it says, can cut power dissipation in drives applications up to 2.5kW by as much as 60%. The trench IGBTs, part of IR`s iMotion platform, can deliver up to 60% higher rms currents in the same package than previous devices, allowing heatsinks to be up to 50% smaller.

• BSI has revised its BS EN 60204-1 machine safety standard which provides requirements and recommendations relating to: the safety of people and property; consistency of control response; and ease of maintenance. The standard applies to electrical, electronic and programmable equipment operating at up to 1kV AC or 1.5kV DC.

• Infolytica, the Canadian specialist in electromagnetic FEA (finite element analysis) software, has developed a program, called MotorSolve, specifically for designing motors.

• Cooper Bussmann has developed a "green" fuselink which it claims is the world`s first to be cadmium- and lead-free and 100% recyclable, as well as having the lowest power loss. The company estimates that if all BS fuselinks in the UK were replaced with the new NH versions, the energy saved would be sufficient to power a small city. The fuses have easy-to-see dual activation indicators and can be fitted with a microswitch for remote indication of their operation.

The packaging workgroup of Omac - the Open Modular Architecture Controls Users` Group - has updated its guidelines for packaging automation. Version 3.1 includes the guidelines for PackAL, the application library of software elements used in packaging machinery applications.

• Rockwell Automation has developed a liquid-cooled drive that uses a proprietary heatsink technology that allows a single liquid input and output to all of its IGBTs. This increases the PowerFlex 700L`s power density, resulting in a drive that is up to 65% smaller than similarly rated air-cooled drives. The drive, which can feed excess power from the motor back into the mains, spans ratings from 150-860kW.

• National Instruments has adopted the new AIA (Automated Imaging Association) standard for Gigabit Ethernet Vision, allowing users to acquire images from thousands of different cameras at speeds above 100MB/s while using a fraction of a computer`s CPU. The standard, developed by more than a dozen machine vision suppliers, allows users to move seamlessly between vision buses including IEEE 1394 a and b, Camera Link and analogue signals.

The European Union is providing €7.5m of funding for a collaborative three-year global project to develop RFID (radio frequency identification), based on EPCglobal standards. The €13m Bridge (Building RFID solutions for the Global Environment) project brings together 31 organisations including suppliers, users and researchers. The initiative is being co-ordinated by the UK-based global standards body, GS1.

The CC-Link fieldbus technology, originally developed by Mitsubishi and now a de facto standard in Japan, has been approved by ISO as an international standard, ISO 15745-5. More than three million CC-Link nodes have been installed so far, and the CC-Link Partner Association believes that the new standard will help to increase its acceptance around the world.

• Wind River Systems has announced a software suite that can be used to monitor the health of equipment installed in the field and to fix some problems remotely. The Management Suite combines field and workbench diagnostics software and allows users to identify remotely the root causes of problems in running systems and thus to repair and optimise them.

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