Design News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Sitemap


Articles from 2006 In June


MWF Looking for PLM Expert

Having been away from the singles scene for the last few decades or so, I was a tad nervous about the blind date that was set up for me last week in London.

Although the guy turned out to be tall, dark, and handsome in a generic sort of way, those weren’t the personal attributes on his bio that interested me. And I had no idea if he is in touch with his feelings, enjoys riding horses bareback on the beach at sunset, or raises pet gerbils as a hobby. Likewise, he didn’t know whether I have a good personality or if my weight is proportional to my height.

Actually, the entry on his bio that compelled me the most was the fact that he is responsible for the implementation of PLM (product lifecycle management) in my organization. The other thing that convinced me that we were practically destined to be soul mates was the fact that one of his key business challenges is coming up with an ROI for software expenditures. It’s a topic I’m pretty keen about, given that it’s a pet peeve for so many Design News readers.

This so-called date was actually set up as a “speed dating for business” session, which is a major selling point of the PLM European Summit. Held this week in London, it’s a conference that’s promoted as “providing networking opportunities and practical advice for people charged with implementing PLM.”

Though events of this sort have always been networking venues, organizers of the PLM Summit don’t want to leave those interactions to mere chance—serving in the capacity of a kind of professional matchmaker. Three weeks beforehand, attendees are sent the bios of other attendees as well as vendor company reps (vendors pay more for getting on the dance card). Each attendee is then invited to pick out those people they’d like to set up short, 20-minute “dates” during a special three-hour speed-dating session.

 
  “Speed dating” is the newest craze to hit the conference circuit.
 

Does this kind of scheduled networking work?

Apparently so. This is the second year of the conference, and Lisa Wulf, a marketing manager with Access Events, says that attendance (approximately 200) was up from last year. And from what I could observe, attendees who were paired off at café tables during the speed dating sessions seemed to be in animated discussions. But just like in the real world of dating, not everyone was a happy customer.

Mahmoud Mansour, European Manager, PLM, for the giant auto supplier Lear Corp., told me that the $2,500 conference fee was a bit steep for the contacts he made.

As conference organizers look for more ways to generate revenue by bringing together buyers and sellers, it’s likely we’ll see more of this kind of structured networking. What’s your preference—leave-it-to-chance or professional matchmaking? Drop me a line and I’ll share letters online and in an upcoming letters section at [email protected].

New process changes leaded to lead-free, lead-free to leaded

New process changes leaded to lead-free, lead-free to leaded

A new company in Bloomington, Ind. has been launched to help manufacturers through the transition to RoHS-compliant electronic components. E-Certa (Environmentally Certified Electronic Trade Alliance), a consortium of five companies, was founded to bring technologies together to convert leaded components to RoHS compliant. This service is designed to help manufacturers that have an overstock of non-compliant parts.

E-Certa also provides the service of converting non-leaded components to leaded for the exempt defense, aerospace and medical equipment industries that require the high-reliability of leaded parts. “E-Certa was founded to address the serious component supply chain disruptions that we believe will occur as companies adjust their inventory during these transition months before and after the RoHS deadlines,” says Joel Deutsche, president of E-Certa. The company also offers a number of services related to RoHS compliance.

E-Cert offers the following services related to environmental compliance:

Component lead conversion

Material declaration

Material content searchable database

Reclaim/reuse conversion

XRF testing for compliance

Marking services

Lead scan and condition

Bake and dry pack

Tape and reel

Consignment

Donations to C3501

WEEE recycling

40% of material declarations have errors

According to Agile Software Corp. of San Jose, a product lifecycle management (PLM) firm that helps companies grapple with RoHS compliance, as many as 40 percent of the materials declarations presented by component suppliers contains errors. That could mean that companies that think they have compliant products may be in jeopardy of non-compliance as the RoHS deadline hits July 1. “On paper these manufacturers are ready, but they don’t know if they’re really ready given high amount of errors in material declarations,” says Dries D’Hooghe, director of product strategy marketing at Agile. “When push comes to shove, manufacturers don’t know if they’re ready.”

One of Agile’s services is helping its customers sort through compliance documentation to make sure it’s valid. “We have a module to our PLM services that gathers information and materials content from suppliers,” says D’Hooghe. “We manage and validate the data, and we also challenge the compliance information from suppliers.”

One of the problems that has pestered manufacturers – as they prepare their due diligence data to show European administrators they’ve taken all reasonable means to make sure their products are compliant – is the difficulty of managing hundreds, even thousands of material content declarations in multiple formats. The Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC) has released a standard, IPC-1752, for communicating materials data. While the standard has not been widely adopted yet, D’Hooghe expects the standard will eventually become widely used. “IPC-1752 is certainly the standard that is getting the most backing,” says D’Hooghe. “There are some standards in Europe, but they’re not getting much traction in the U.S.”

D’Hooghe sees another environmental compliance problem looming on the horizon for manufacturers: new regulations from China, Korea and California that come with 2007 deadlines. “The danger of multiple regulations is real. They are similar in that they ban the same substances, but there are differences in what exemptions they allow,” says D’Hooghe. “There are also differences in how you have to label you products.”

One of the questions facing manufacturers in a world of multiple regulations is how to build a global product. The idea of creating different products for different markets in untenable in a world where products are allocated to world markets based on demand. A slow-moving product in Europe gets shifted to North America or Asia. “The big manufacturers track legislation from all over the world and build products that comply with specifications that will work for every market,” says D’Hooghe. “If you don’t, than your product may not be compliant if it’s diverted to another market.”

iNEMI publishes guidelines for hi-rel subassemblies

iNEMI publishes guidelines for hi-rel subassemblies

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) High-Reliability RoHS Task Force has published guidelines regarding assembly processes and reliability requirements for RoHS subassembly modules. In a statement, iNEMI notes that with current RoHS exemptions for high-reliability electronics, it is possible for electronic assemblies to contain lead and still be RoHS-compliant. Manufacturers taking the lead exemption will continue to require tin-lead compatible component for their products and may also use subassemblies such as hard disk drives and power modules that may or may not be lead free.

The issue has become a big concern for those in the exempt industries of aerospace, defense, medical equipment and telecommunications, since many of their components are now lead-free. Thus, in many instances leaded components and lead-free components will exist in the same subassembly. “It is very likely that manufacturers will use subassemblies that contain both tin-lead and lead-free components, which causes reliability concerns due to the differences in processing temperatures and materials,” says Thilo Sack, principle engineer, corporate technology at Celestica Inc., and co-chair of the iNEMI High-Reliability Task Force.

The guidelines are intended to help manufacturers producing high-reliability products to work through these issues effectively.

iNEMI publishes guidelines for hi-rel subassemblies

iNEMI publishes guidelines for hi-rel subassemblies

The International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) High-Reliability RoHS Task Force has published guidelines regarding assembly processes and reliability requirements for RoHS subassembly modules. In a statement, iNEMI notes that with current RoHS exemptions for high-reliability electronics, it is possible for electronic assemblies to contain lead and still be RoHS-compliant. Manufacturers taking the lead exemption will continue to require tin-lead compatible component for their products and may also use subassemblies such as hard disk drives and power modules that may or may not be lead free.

The issue has become a big concern for those in the exempt industries of aerospace, defense, medical equipment and telecommunications, since many of their components are now lead-free. Thus, in many instances leaded components and lead-free components will exist in the same subassembly. “It is very likely that manufacturers will use subassemblies that contain both tin-lead and lead-free components, which causes reliability concerns due to the differences in processing temperatures and materials,” says Thilo Sack, principle engineer, corporate technology at Celestica Inc., and co-chair of the iNEMI High-Reliability Task Force.

The guidelines are intended to help manufacturers producing high-reliability products to work through these issues effectively.

Relays Coaxial Switch Line

Switches for commercial applications

The company offers single-pole double-throw devices like the CCR-33, and a number of multi-throw versions. Coaxial switches are available as latching and failsafe versions. Depending on the impedance (50 or 75) and power, SMA, SMB (75), N or TNC connectors can be specified, and terminated coaxial switches can be supplied as needed. The terminated switches have internal terminations that provide a 50 matched impedance to ground for all unselected ports, and double-pole triple-throw switches can be used when termination of resistors above 1W of power have to be used and therefore externally mounted. Coaxial switch matrices are also available, including power supply, microcontroller, software and required interface. Among other uses, the switches are used in wireless applications, electro-medical equipment, and test and measurement equipment.

Teledyne Relays

http://rbi.ims.ca/4927-584

How Not to Design Active Filters (Or Not Only Sharks Distract Divers)

Q. Why does my carefully designed active filter not meet its specifications?

A. Because much active filter software ignores "real life" amplifier behavior. I was recently on holiday diving in the Red Sea. I had left my cell phone and computer at home and forgotten all about work. But, foolishly, I carried my towel and camera to the dive boat in an Analog Devices rucksack. One of my fellow divers, Ekaterin from Russia, had just designed an active filter with ADI op amps, was having some problems, and recognized the logo. So much for a total break!

Her filter design was flawless. Spice analysis confirmed it, and the components were properly toleranced. Luckily, I did not need a computer to see why the filter did not worked as expected. The design had been done with an "ideal" op amp where all the parameters are either zero or infinity. Real life is rarely so accommodating.

Voltage feedback op amps typically have high open-loop gain and a single-pole frequency response. High precision types have gain >106 but their gain-bandwidth product is rarely more than a few MHz, so their open-loop gain starts to drop at a few Hz. By 20 kHz, the top of the audio spectrum, the open-loop gain of a precision op amp may be &50 — low enough to degrade an active filter design. Furthermore, at high signal levels, slew rate also limits an amplifier's frequency response.

High-speed op amps do not have these problems, but many fast op amps oscillate with capacitive feedback. Since many active filter topologies use capacitive feedback it is unwise to design active filters with current feedback op amps.

Designers often use high values resistors in order to use small, cheap precision capacitors. Bias currents flowing in high resistances will degrade the amplifier's offset voltage by the voltage drop in the resistance. The op amp's noise current will also make a greater contribution to system noise.

The resistor's (Johnson) noise can also exceed the op amp noise. Not all filter designers consider this, nor do they always remember to provide the proper high frequency supply decoupling, thus impairing the amplifier's high-frequency response.

Ekaterin's problem was due to the use of too slow an amplifier and, luckily, I was able to recommend a faster one. This, as I learned shortly after my return home, allowed her circuit to exceed its required performance comfortably. After solving the active filter problem, we both returned to the water, and the beautiful reef life, with no more distracting thoughts of work.

To learn more about active filters, Go to: http://rbi.ims.ca/4927-695

Have a question involving a perplexing or unusual analog problem? Submit your question to: [email protected]

Fully-Integrated Automation

PC-based control is making a quiet comeback, in part because of an eroding dividing line between PLCs, PCs and ‘soft’ control. At least, that’s the opinion of David Humphrey, an analyst for ARC Advisory Group (http://rbi.ims.ca/4927-535) who reports on automation trends. PC-based control today ranges from software such as a ‘soft’ PLC delivered on a CD-ROM that runs as a task on a Windows platform, to PLC-like controllers running small footprint or embedded versions of Windows.
The lines are blurring between PLCs and PC-based control, and the focus is on software integration. Humphrey uses a “Programmable Automation Controller”(PAC) to describe solutions that provide users with an integrated view of control tasks from a single tag database. New products are offering a variety of solutions, but ultimately the premium is providing users a unified environment for control.

COMMON PROGRAMMING AND TAG DATABASE
MICROBOX FOR PLC AND MOTION TASKS
SYNCHRONIZED CONTROL FOR UP TO 30 AXES
NEW FOUR-AXIS LOGIX CONTROLLER

Smart Power Module Devices

More reliable, less parts and smaller size

These devices are designed for full-switching power factor correction in motor drive applications in the 3-6kW power range. The FPDB20PH60 (600V/20A), FPDB30PH60 (600V/30A), and FPDB50PH60 (600V/50A) all integrate two fast-recovery diodes, two freewheeling diodes, two IGBTs, a gate-driver IC, a shunt resistor and a thermistor into one package measuring 44 x 26.8 mm. They are half the size of other devices, and use 40 kHz-switching operation for less power loss, typically providing 99 percent power factor. They have under-voltage and over-current protection through integrated gate-driving IC, and offer an isolation voltage rating of 2,500 Vrms/min.

Fairchild Semiconductor

http://rbi.ims.ca/4927-583

Inclinometer Systems

Digital readout does conversions

These new systems come with a temperature-compensated force balance inclinometer, plus a power module and digital display. There's no need to convert from the inclinometer sine output to degrees, since the readout module supplies linearization. It comes in 5, 10, 15, 30, and 45-degree ranges. The DIS-7001 runs on 115V ac power, and the DIS-7012 on 10-28 VDC.

Columbia Research Laboratories Inc.

http://rbi.ims.ca/4927-585

 
  .