Power consumption is becoming a critical part even for large, specialized systems like nondestructive ultrasonic testing instruments. Dapco Industries Inc. unveiled a tester and is shipping the first one to Union Pacific Railroad, which will use the equipment to peer inside railroad rails. The test system can also be used to examine high-pressure gas cylinders and many other critical metal products. Dapco picked Texas Instruments' TMS320C6472, a six-core DSP chip, in large part because of its low power consumption. That paves the way for a portable product that's currently moving toward production, while also reducing heat generation in existing systems.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.