20-in. automotive touchscreens enabled by new controllers
With cars like the Tesla Model S featuring 17-in. touchscreens, the trend in automotive displays is to go bigger and bigger. But unlike handheld mobile devices, screens in automobiles need to meet stringent head impact and vibration tests, so they have thicker cover lenses that potentially affect the touch interface performance. As screens get larger, they are also more likely to interfere with other frequencies and car access systems. These factors pose a major challenge in the design of modern automotive capacitive touch systems, but a new family of single-chip maXTouch touchscreen controllers from Microchip Technology was designed to address these issues.
Electric high-force linear actuator choices: Ball vs. roller screw
Many applications require high-force linear actuators -- from moving equipment in a foundry to powering a press in metal forming to guiding heavy logs in a sawmill. Whatever the application, a machine designer is faced with a choice: whether to specify a ball or roller screw in the electric high-force linear actuator. Learn how to make the best decision for your application.
Read the Tolomatic blog.
Big additions to miniature LED product line
Thanks to the recent acquisition of Display Products, Inc. (DPP), VCC is offering LEDs that drive energy-saving solutions for a range of applications. In mid-October, VCC announced the first wave of available replacement LED products, including the bi-pin model of the T-2 Slide Based LED Lamp. Now, the innovative company is making additional models available to provide several benefits for manufacturers, designers, and even end users seeking ways to improve efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. This next wave of rollouts includes T-2 Slide Based LED lamps in voltages ranging from 12V to 120VAC, as well as the new and noteworthy T-3 1/4 Miniature LEDs.
Flexible circuit design guide
Tech-Etch uses advanced techniques to manufacture flex and rigid-flex circuits to exacting customer specifications. Special processes include selective plating a single circuit with two different finishes, contoured circuits with variable metal thickness, semi-additive and subtractive techniques, open window or cantilevered contact leads, plus SMT for component assembly. Tech-Etch specializes in flexible circuits for medical device, medical implant, diagnostic ultrasound, and patient monitoring applications, in addition to telecommunications, aerospace, semiconductor, and other high-reliability electronic applications.
Learn about flex circuits and download the guide (no registration required).
Power supply for servos with power factor correction
ADVANCED Motion Controls has introduced the PFC2400W375, a regulated DC power supply designed to feed 400-V series servo drives with a low-noise 375-VDC bus. Universal single-phase AC input 100-240 VAC/50-60 Hz with power factor correction and low harmonic distortion along with soft starting circuitry guarantees global high-performance, reliable operation. This new power supply is designed to achieve power factor improvement, improve performance, and ensure consistent operation regardless of the local power company's voltage levels and quality.
World's smallest safety laser scanner
A laser scanner is a safety device that uses the reflection of laser beams to detect the presence of objects or people. The SE2L Safety Laser Scanner from IDEC is the world's smallest unit of its kind -- and the world's first with master/slave functionality and dual protection zones. This scanner is certified for use in safety applications including AGVs, forklifts, robots, and other items of moving equipment found in industrial facilities.
See further at higher sensitivity: Advanced, lightweight infrared camera core for imaging gimbals
Sierra-Olympic Technologies, a supplier of infrared (IR) and thermal imaging components, cameras, and systems solutions, has just introduced the Ventus 275, a midwave-infrared imaging engine with a continuous zoom (CZ) optic. Advanced image enhancements include electronic image stabilization, automatic/manual gain control, adaptive contrast control, and optional target tracking/detection. This compact, lightweight MWIR thermal camera core is specially designed for OEM integrators of surveillance system enclosures and other imaging gimbals.
1000Base-T1 automotive Ethernet common mode choke
Pulse Electronics' Networking Business Unit has introduced the 1000Base-T1 Ethernet Common Mode Choke for automotive applications. Designed to deliver high reliability and performance, the AE5002 1000Base-T1 series is ideal for applications such as Infotainment, Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) Body Control, Camera/Radar, Gateways, and Backbone Diagnostics.
Cool Tools: Minimally invasive video borescope
Extech Instruments has launched the BR250-4, an affordable and versatile wireless inspection borescope designed to get into openings as small as 4.5 mm while providing bright clear images on its detachable, wireless 3.5-in. color display. When you need to get into walls, ducts, furnaces, boiler tubes, air handlers, exchangers, coils, plenums, and other concealed or hard-to-access areas, this is your hero. And when there's no existing opening and drilling is required, making a much smaller hole leaves minimal damage.
Drop-in solution makes your machine ready for Industry 4.0
Bosch Rexroth's IoT Gateway Rack is an IP65-rated enclosure containing Rexroth's award-winning IoT Gateway. It includes all the necessary wiring and connections to connect PLCs, I/O, and other data sources for collection, processing, and forwarding of plant floor data to upper-level data systems, making it ideal for retrofitting older machines with Industry 4.0 data-transfer capabilities. The plug-and-play design allows OEMs to use the IoT Gateway Rack as an optional addition to their existing machines. Uses standard 110-V plug.
New family of EC fans for AC applications
Orion Fans has launched a family of electronically commutated (EC) fans that offer low-power, energy-saving cooling solutions for AC applications. The AC-input fans -- available in a range of sizes (60 mm, 120 mm, 172 mm, and 250 mm) -- utilize a brushless DC motor and incorporate voltage transformation within the motor for significantly lower power consumption. This equates to power savings of up to 50 percent, enabling customers to meet energy-consumption requirements from agencies like ENERGY STAR. These fans are ideal for a broad range of applications including appliances, commercial and process control, refrigeration, HVAC, and electronic enclosures and cabinets.
Industry's first 100-W and 200-W USB Type-C controllers
Texas Instruments has introduced two new USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery (PD) controllers, with fully integrated power paths to simplify designs, minimize solution size, and speed time to market. The TPS65987D and TPS65988 offer system designers the industry's highest level of integration to reduce design complexity and overall cost. The devices are the industry's first USB PD controllers to source 100 W and 200 W of power, respectively, to support computing applications and enable the benefits of USB Type-C in additional applications such as cordless power tools, gaming, and virtual reality headsets.
First explosion-proof stackable multi-turn encoder
Sensata Technologies has introduced the first explosion-proof stackable multi-turn encoder, an ideal position sensing solution for oil and gas applications such as drawworks, top drives, and pipe-handling equipment where working conditions are extreme. The new encoder, BEI Sensors' model MAAX, is ATEX and IECEx certified to operate in explosive environments and features a Profibus output in a unique, stackable package. CANopen and SSI outputs are also available. The MAAX provides up to 16 bits of resolution as well as up to 16 bits of turns by mechanical counting. This workhorse product operates directly in Zone 1 environments without the need for an accompanying Intrinsic Safety barrier.
DuPont announces newest in-mold electronics inks
DuPont Electronics and Imaging is launching its second generation of In-Mold Electronic (IME) materials with key advancements in its electrically conductive adhesive, protection encapsulant, and crossover dielectric. IME technology enables functions such as touch controls and lighting to be directly embedded inside plastic parts by printing circuits onto plastic sheets, which are then thermoformed and injection molded. This allows product engineers to reduce weight and cost while increasing design aesthetics and functionality in everything from car dashboards to home appliances, using fewer parts and manufacturing steps.
Learn more about the latest materials.
Go to the DuPont In-Mold Electronic Technology website.
Through-beam object-detecting fork sensors
Fork sensors (slot sensors) from Automation-Direct are U- or L-shaped through-beam object-detecting sensors that have the transmitter and receiver built into the opposing "fork" arms of the sensor housing. New PS series fork sensor additions include harsh-duty U-frame sensors for food applications, L-frame or angled fork sensors for unique mounting situations, and fork sensors for liquid detection. Depending on the model, PS series fork sensors are available in visible red, infrared, and laser lighting and in sensing ranges from 5 mm to 220 mm.
Check the back seat: Rear Door Alert technology to become standard on all four-door Nissan nameplates
Nissan is making Rear Door Alert* (RDA) technology standard on more models to remind customers to check the back seat and help reduce potential heatstroke incidents.
Originally developed by two mothers who are also engineers, Rear Door Alert reminds owners to check the rear seat upon exiting their vehicle by using a series of distinctive honks as the driver walks away from the vehicle. Nissan is the first automaker to use a honking horn as an alert for this type of feature.
"What started as a chat with my colleague, Elsa Foley, is now innovative technology being adopted in more Nissan models," said Marlene Mendoza, a mechanical engineer who helped create the technology.
After Mendoza and Foley presented the idea, the project moved into full development at Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA) in Farmington Hills, MI.
"The idea was inspired when I accidentally left a pan of lasagna in the back seat of my car overnight," said Mendoza, a mother of three, who was pregnant when the idea struck. "The worst thing was the car smelled for days, but it made me ask myself, 'What if I left something far more important back there?'"
The temperature inside a vehicle can increase to dangerous levels quickly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Even with moderate outside temperatures in the mid-60s, a vehicle's interior can quickly heat up to more than 110 F.
How Rear Door Alert works
RDA, which currently is standard equipment on the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder, monitors when the rear door is opened and closed before and after the vehicle is in motion. The system responds with a series of notifications if a rear door was used prior to a trip, but was not re-opened after the trip. Once the vehicle is in park and the ignition is turned off, the system will first display a notification in the instrument panel and progresses to subtle, distinctive chirps of the horn.
The RDA system is easy to configure and can be temporarily, or permanently, turned off through a menu in the cluster display.
"If you open a rear door and put something in the rear seat, Rear Door Alert will help you remember when you get to your destination that you may have forgotten it," Mendoza said. "By drawing attention back to the vehicle while the driver is walking away, the honking alerts you to recheck the back seat in addition to visual or interior audible alerts."
Mendoza (listed as Henry on the patent) and Foley are the inventors on U.S. Patent No. 9,734,695 for the "activity monitoring apparatus," otherwise known as Rear Door Alert. This is the first patent granted to either Mendoza or Foley.
* Rear Door Alert is only intended to remind people to check the rear seats of their vehicle under certain circumstances. It cannot prevent accidents caused by inattention or carelessness.
Published September 2018
Rate this article