Articles

Using Ethernet for Process Automation

The use of Ethernet communications in industrial applications is growing because it enables the real-time exchange of information between processing equipment and companies' Ethernet-based management systems. Some of the factors encouraging the use of Ethernet technology include: the speed advantages over lower baud rate protocols the number of tools available for troubleshooting and optimizing a network, the broad base of competitive vendor support and solution options and the large pool of trained personnel who are familiar with the technology. In addition, the ability to bridge existing proprietary communications schemes makes it possible to phase in the use of Ethernet rather than having to replace everything at once.

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How PCI Express Is Changing Machine Vision

PCI Express is the peripheral bus now being adopted by next-generation PCs, servers, and industrial computers. It provides a scaleable, high-bandwidth, point-to-point pathway between peripheral cards and the computing core while retaining application software compatibility with previous generations. For machine-vision systems, the architecture and higher bandwidth of PCI Express yield major increases in achievable frame rate and image size as well as simplifying the implementation of multi-channel capability.

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LED-Equipped Spectrophotometers Find Their Way to the Factory Floor

Companies that manufacture products ultimately used by consumers — interior trim for cars, vinyl siding for homes, decorative stone for landscaping, interior wall paints, etc. — are often discovering that they need to use precise spectrophotometers to ensure first-time color quality and lotto-lot consistency.

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Using Motion Control to Guide Augmented Reality Manufacturing Systems

Assembly is a complicated, sometimes tedious process that often unfolds sequentially along a series of stations. In the manufacture of complex equipment such as jet engines and automobiles, technicians are guided through their work by referring to printed manuals, which document the various steps required. These processes usually demand the use of hand tools with little in the way of automation available either at the tool or verification level — in fact, all actions typically are performed manually. As a result, quality and performance times are dependent upon each technician’s technique and preferences, leaving room for individual differences and, at times, errors.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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Eye On Innovation

Creating a Culture of Innovation By Mike Santori National Instruments Business & Technology Fellow National Instruments Austin, TX High-tech companies live and die by their ability to innovate. Creating new products and technologies is essential to gaining new customers as well as keeping current customers. We often associate innovation with visionary individuals who have a great idea and make it successful. But is innovation to be done only by a few visionary figures? National Instruments has certainly benefited from the visionary leadership of our company founders. Under the tutelage of those leaders, we strive to create a culture of innovation, encouraging all employees to think creatively.

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National Nano Engineering Conference Preview

America’s Premier Nano Engineering Event The 2007 NASA Tech Briefs National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC), to be held November 14-15 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, is produced for design engineers who want to know what’s real, what’s close, and what might be coming in the world of nanotechnology. The NNEC will help you keep pace with the engineering and technology innovations behind the latest nanotech breakthroughs. Included will be technical presentations and exhibits from companies leading the nanotech industry in application areas such as biomedical, electronics, advanced materials, energy and the environment, and business. You’ll also find networking opportunities, and the expert insight you’ll need to stay ahead of the small-tech curve.

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Using RapidIO® Technology as a System-Level Fabric

Both Serial RapidIO and Ethernet are being used as a backplane interconnect technology in a wide range of embedded applications. Many suppliers support both standards and let designers choose to work with whichever interconnect they feel is best. This neutral position provides interesting insights into both of these technologies. From a high-level point of view, it seems as if these two technologies are in stiff competition with each other. While Ethernet is certainly the incumbent technology, Serial RapidIO has had a huge uptake in adoption over the past year, with more silicon vendors supporting the standard than was originally anticipated.

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