Application Briefs

Delta Motion Controller Helps ADI Improve Automotive Chassis Testing

There’s a science to testing metal structures for rigidity and performance under stress. The development of new testing methodologies is continuing at a fast pace, aided by innovations in supporting technologies. For example, motion controllers have evolved to support special capabilities for exerting real-world forces on structures that can deliver, in a matter of hours or days, the loads and movement that assemblies would otherwise encounter in a whole lifetime of use. And motion control electronics connected to hydraulic or electromechanical actuators can submit assemblies to stresses and measure responses in a “clean” environment that would be difficult or expensive to accomplish in the field.

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Heidenhain Encoders Help TRW Machine Ford SUV Parts

TRW has been making parts for the automotive industry for many years, but when Ford Automotive considered giving them the contract to manufacture the rear toe-links for their Navigator and Expedition SUVs, their traditional lathes were considered inadequate for the task. The solution was to upgrade the lathes with Heidenhain linear encoders.

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Shortwave Infrared - The Latest Weapon in the War on Terror

Keeping one step ahead of our adversaries is top priority for security forces with terrorist threats growing daily around the world. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance are the core situational awareness tools for the global war on terrorism (GWOT). Just as night vision equipment has denied terrorists the cover of darkness for more than a couple of decades, emerging shortwave infrared imaging technology is now removing weather and environmental limitations from the ISR equation. Shortwave infrared exploits the third and final atmospheric window in the infrared spectrum. SWIR, long the domain of the high altitude U-2 spy plane with its cryogenically-cooled focal plane array (FPA) technology, has powerful capabilities not widely known outside the intelligence community until recently. SWIR makes long slant range imaging possible under practically any conditions. A revolution in imaging has recently been developed via breakthrough, indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) FPA technology, resulting in lighter weight, more compact cameras. These new uncooled InGaAs imagers offer the advantages of the short-wave infrared spectrum to see beyond the visible, and because of their ultra-compact design, they can be implemented on the smallest UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and man-portable platforms. Powerful Capability in a Small Package Figure 1 shows the SU640KTSX InGaAs SWIR imager from Sensors Unlimited, Inc. (Princeton, NJ) in its OEM configuration. This compact imaging sensor weighs less than 90g and is capable of full motion video at a 640 x 512 pixel resolution from daylight to starlight while operating uncooled at room temperature. The SWIR camera features extremely high-quantum-efficiency InGaAs technology with excellent spectral response from 0.9 to 1.7 microns and extending down to 0.7 microns in the NIR/SWIR version, a broad spectral range encompassing all the key battlefield laser wavelengths. Requiring as little as 2.5 watts of electrical power, the SU640KTSX is attracting a lot of interest for small UAV and man-portable applications. Until recently, only visible, and to some extent long-wave, infrared (LWIR, 8 to 12 microns) imaging payloads had been flown on the smaller UAVs. The visible imagers could not be used at night, while uncooled LWIR microbolometers had limited sensitivity or resolution at long-range and were especially disadvantaged during dawn and dusk thermal crossovers. SWIR brings a lot to the table, not only bridging the capability gaps of the other technologies, but also offering the most comprehensive all weather, all environmental, and around-the-clock operability in a single uncooled sensor package. All Weather, All Environment Capability The ability to see clearly over long distances seems to be diminishing, globally, whether due to the rising pollution levels of growing urban development or more natural causes. Haze, once only an urban challenge, now even compromises the view in remote locations like Death Valley, California. In probably one of the best examples of imaging in the SWIR wavelength, Figure 2 shows how scene detail, lost to the visible eye for ranges a little greater than 5 km, is rendered in crisp detail for ranges well beyond 20 km. Up to a point, as Figure 3 illustrates, there are also clear benefits of SWIR imagery over visible imagery when it comes to dust. The smaller, lighter wind-borne dust particles that hang in the air the longest are transparent to the SWIR, yet continue to obscure normal visibility. In perhaps the most dramatic example of the SWIR advantage, Figure 4 shows how the typical San Francisco Bay morning maritime fog and mist is no impediment. Finally, almost as striking is the ability of the SWIR to see through the smoke of a forest fire as shown in Figure 5. Similar examples can be found with photochemical smog and other atmospheric obscurants prevalent in many urban environments. The longer wavelength SWIR provides a distinct advantage over visible light while retaining its most intuitive reflected light quality. Even though thermal imagers operate at even longer wavelengths than SWIR, other factors compromise their low atmospheric scattering advantage. In the end, thermal imagers may be good for detection of potential threats, but it takes SWIR to make a positive identification at the longest ranges in all weathers and all environments. Impact on Military ConOps From barren deserts to tropical, humid maritime environments, SWIR extends the range at which threats can be positively identified, greatly increasing a warfighter’s options. SWIR provides crisper, clearer situational awareness than possible with visible imagery, and enables positive identification out to far greater ranges and under broader sets of weather and environmental conditions, day or night. Intelligence can be gathered by going more deeply into denied territory with SWIR imagers. Sensor-to-shooter timelines are compressed and targeting is now possible with greater confidence to the full range of more weapons systems. Battle damage assessment can be conducted swiftly in the SWIR with its superior ability to see through the smoke, allowing the warfighter to rapidly assess weapon effectiveness post strike. Compact, uncooled InGaAs imagers are opening up the pos- sibilities for deploying powerful new capabilities on next gener- ation military platforms. Network-centric operations in-theater channel digital data from distributed sensors. Thanks to the revolutionary all weather, all environmental SWIR capability and its small footprint, these compact sensors can be deployed on demand, practically anywhere and anytime the warfighter needs. The revolution may only be just beginning, but it is already hard at work denying terrorists their safe haven. This article was written by David G. Dawes, Manager of Business Development for DoD Applications, Sensors Unlimited (Princeton, NJ). For more information, contact Mr. Dawes at sui_info@goodrich.com, or visit http://info.hotims.com/22914-201.

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Shortwave Infrared - The Latest Weapon in the War on Terror

Keeping one step ahead of our adversaries is top priority for security forces with terrorist threats growing daily around the world. Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance are the core situational awareness tools for the global war on terrorism (GWOT). Just as night vision equipment has denied terrorists the cover of darkness for more than a couple of decades, emerging shortwave infrared imaging technology is now removing weather and environmental limitations from the ISR equation.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Handheld Labeler is Key to International Space Station’s Organizational System

PT-1880 handheld electronic labeler Brother International Bridgewater, NJ 908-704-1700 www.brother-usa.com In October 2007, the crew of NASA’s International Space Station (ISS) was having difficulty clarifying the often complex layout of the ISS panels and systems. The crew contacted Mission Control and had a NASA worker purchase Brother Ptouch ® 1880 electronic labelers, which were then sent up to the ISS on the next shuttle mission. The PT-1880, an easy-touse handheld labeler, is now an important component of the ISS’s organizational system. Used by an estimated one million people, the PT-1880 is a mid-sized handheld/desktop labeler, featuring a 15-characterper- line LCD display for easy viewing. The labeler will print up to two lines on 3/4" wide laminated indoor/outdoor tape that is resistant to fading and extreme temperatures. Two fonts, six type sizes, nine type styles, and over 70 different symbols are available. The 6.6 × 8.5 × 2.2" handheld labeler offers a print resolution of 180 dpi and a print speed of 10 mm/sec. A preview key allows users to check over text to reduce mistakes and wasted tape. The Brother PT-1880 operates on six AA alkaline batteries or an AC adapter. Toggle buttons and raised, angled keys allow for easy navigation, and built-in memory saves up to five of the most commonly used labels. P-touch labelers have applications in wiring and telecom, building design and engineering, asset management, retail, medical, and manufacturing. Like many other everyday, earthbound products, the P-touch 1880 has found its way into space. For Free Info Click Here.

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Communications Systems Support NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft

Communications systems and support equipment L-3 Communications Corp. Communications Systems West Salt Lake City, UT 801-594-2000 www.l-3com.com/csw/ NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA has chosen L-3 Communications Systems West to provide engineering, technical, and product support services for the center’s operation of two Global Hawk unmanned aircraft. The contract supports Dryden’s planned operation of the two aircraft, their associated ground control station, and related systems. L-3 will be responsible for providing specialized analysis, engineering, functional tests, hardware or software development, or testing that requires specific L-3 proprietary data. The contract includes re-manufacturing components or equipment and specific operational support related to preflight preparation, mission, flight, and post-flight support. L-3 also will be responsible for supporting deployments of the aircraft to other NASA or customer facilities, and domestic or foreign operational deployment locations. The autonomously operated Global Hawk aircraft are for use in high-altitude, long-duration Earth science missions. The ability of the Global Hawk to autonomously fly long distances, remain aloft for extended periods of time, and carry large payloads brings a new capability to the science community for measuring, monitoring, and observing remote locations of Earth not feasible or practical with piloted aircraft, most other robotic or remotely operated aircraft, or space satellites. The aircraft’s 11,000-nautical-mile range and 30-hour endurance, together with satellite and line-of-site communication links to the ground control station, allow for eventual worldwide operation. Dedicated satellite communication links will provide researchers with direct access to their onboard instrument packages during missions. Researchers will have the ability to monitor instrument function from the ground control station and evaluate selected data in real time. Dryden will use the autonomously operated unmanned aircraft for missions supporting NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and the Earth science community that need high-altitude, long-endurance, long-distance airborne capability. For Free Info Click Here.

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Real-Time Data Distribution for Industrial Automation Systems

The quest to bring lockstep efficiency to labor intensive factory production at first relied on mechanical ingenuity. Over time, as reliable and cost-effective microprocessor technology became available, assembly lines were retooled to use the new electronics to achieve greater automation and productivity. Today, pervasive network technology, including the Internet, is bringing about another evolutionary change in industrial automation. No longer is it sufficient for individual machines to perform their specific tasks independently. Instead, individual parts of a larger process must be aware of each other; they must exchange data in realtime, and adapt to changes in the process or environment. Additionally, it is increasingly necessary to exchange data outside of the traditional industrial network and beyond the factory floor, and to include enterprise LANs and the Internet. Up-tothe- minute information on manufacturing processes needs to be available to analysts, inventory managers, and others within the office environment.

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