Control Matters
SPLat Controls' aperiodic newsletter

28 Sep 2009
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The right add-on for the job 

It might sound a little strange to combine non-contact temperature sensing and ultrasonic distance measurement in one add-on board, but that's what we have done with the SX10501. The reason is that we were asked by a customer who makes infrared paint curing systems for automotive panel shops. These units need to be positioned the correct distance from the car and maintain the proper curing temperature on the surface of the car. Getting a peripheral made that exactly suited their needs has given this customer a huge competitive advantage.

The SX10501 is an Xwire peripheral. It has an ultrasonic transducer mounted on the board. The non-contact temperature sensor is an option with flying leads that plug into the board. Get the full details here.

Do you have a control application that requires something a little unusual? Something that could give you an unfair competitive edge? Don't be afraid to ask us. We can make specials on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis. If you can get some decent sales out of it then so can we, so it's a win-win situation.

David Stonier-Gibson


In control - Stuff about or related to control systems

When not to trust the electronics

Modern electronics are extremely reliable, especially if well designed and used correctly. Nevertheless, silicon chips contain features smaller than the wavelength of light, and control programs contain many thousands of lines of program code. Electronics can (and do!) fail, be it due to electrical failure or imperfect programming.
 
Would you bet your life on the electronics not failing? I wouldn't, and I make the stuff!
 
Any industrial machine that can hurt people should be fitted with safety cutouts and interlocks. The most common safety measure is the emergency stop, sometimes called E-stop or mushroom switch. On conveyors it would be a rope switch. It could also be a fence or physical guard barrier with a safety switch. These are wired so that if activated they immediately remove power from the machine or otherwise inhibit it from making a dangerous move.
 
Do not ever even think of wiring the safety switch to the controller and having the controller stop the machine. Always wire the safety switch directly into the machine in accordance with safety design rules in your location. If the safety switch has an auxiliary contact, by all means wire that into the controller so it can know what has happened and not get upset, but do not expect the controller to make safe.

Do not treat this as expert advice. If you are in the least bit of doubt, consult an expert.


Out of control - Nothing much to do with controls, (but interesting)

Uncle Sam funds Australian battery technology

The US department of Energy has awarded $US32.5M to US manufacturer East Penn to produce the Australian developed UltraBattery. The grant is under the Obama administration's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The UltraBattery is a hybrid of a lead acid battery and a super capacitor designed specifically for hybrid motor vehicles.

The UltraBattery was developed by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's government scientific research organization. CSIRO has been responsible for many significant developments including the internationally adopted microwave landing system for aircraft Interscan, the technology behind WiFi, the world-first influenza drug Relenza, and the 4th digital computer in the world, CSIRAC

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The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny' ...
Isaac Asimov
 

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Copyright 2009 SPLat Controls Pty Ltd. This communication does not constitute professional advice