Two-Way Valves

The Mini-Mizer two- and three-way valves from Humphrey Products Company, Kalamazoo, MI, operate over a -40 deg F/C to +150 deg F (+66 deg C) range. They are available in a wide range of coil voltages, with power consumption as low as 0.5 watts. The valves’ captured sealed construction allows for easy design of custom manifolds, and the one-piece construction and metal frame improves durability.

Posted in: Products

Fluid Sensor

Optek Technology, Carrollton, TX, has expanded its family of fluid sensors to include automatic calibration and a preset trip level feature. Designated the OCB350 Series, the fluid sensor requires only an optical device and power supply for operation. It uses an LED/phototransistor to sense the change in refractive properties between full and empty tubing as it passes through the sensor housing, creating multiple output states.

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Intelligent Actuator

Tolomatic, Hamel, MN, has introduced the ICR Basic rodstyle actuator, an all-in-one linear actuator integrating servomotor, drive, controller, and actuator. Requiring only a DC power source and motion inputs from the host PLC, the actuator can directly replace pneumatic and hydraulic cylinders in packaging, material handling, machine tool, and general industrial automation applications. Force and speed control are adjustable via potentiometer.

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Linear Motor Stage

The NanoTranslation ANT95-L linear motor stage from Aerotech, Pittsburgh, PA, provides 5G acceleration, 500mm/s velocity, 5nm resolution, and an accuracy of 250nm. The stage uses non-cogging, noncontact, direct-drive technology. The stage is available in x, xy, xyz, and other combinations.

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Linear Stage

The PMT320 precision linear stage from Steinmeyer Inc., Burlington, MA, provides a repeatability of +/1 micron and travel distances of 600 to 1,500nm. It has a 320mm wide die-cast base profile, a 1,000mm stroke, and weighs 70kg.

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Inductive Encoder

The MILE inductive encoder from Maxon Motor USA Inc., Fall River, MA, delivers up to 64 pulses at up to 120,000 rpm. Measuring 6mm in diameter, it is said to be the smallest inductive encoder available.

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Beyond the Box: A Software-Defined Approach to RF Testing

The traditional engineering response to testing a new wireless standard often involves selecting a box instrument with the closest specifications. For automated test systems with multiple test requirements, this approach usually results in a different box for each measurement requirement in the system. When the test requirements are uniform and non-changing, this method may be sufficient, but it becomes cumbersome, slow, and ultimately more expensive for testing today’s complex radio frequency (RF) devices, which often use multiple wireless standards. A software-defined approach is ideal for automating RF verification, validation, and production tests, while traditional RF box instruments continue to play an important role on the design bench.

Posted in: Articles, RF & Microwave Electronics, Software, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Wireless communication systems, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Wireless communication systems, Automation, Test procedures

The Opportunity of Economic Uncertainty

By Susan Orr
Senior Director
Strategic Marketing
New York, NY

There’s no question that the economic slowdown has taken an enormous toll on the industrial and manufacturing sectors. But despite the downturn, the glass, in my view, remains half full for industrial businesses, including the many firms that we talk with every day. Companies are telling us they’ve been able to keep sales level with last year’s — or even increase them — by diversifying into new markets, and attracting more overseas clients. They’re making better use of the Internet to extend their reach, and it’s working.

How can your company, too, stay “recession-resistant” during the downturn, and position itself for new growth? As a first step, take stock of your unique selling proposition (USP), and how that translates into a unique value proposition (UVP) that will appeal to new buyers. Then, make sure that your Web site reflects these differentiators. Research shows that 50 percent of industrial buyers choose suppliers based on what they see on their sites.

What Sets You Apart?
To identify your USP, ask yourself:

What are our core competencies as they relate to meeting customers’ needs?
What do we offer that is integral to our customers’ ability to do business?
How can we deliver added value and turn our customers’ ideas into reality? In answering questions like these, you will identify new ways that you can differentiate your company’s products or services. And along with differentiation comes discovery of your UVP. Think about repositioning your core competencies as UVPs in terms of solving problems for your customers. These may include:
Delivering cost efficiencies.
Delivering products faster.
Offering customized products for unique applications.
Enhancing customer service benefits.

Taking Your UVP to the Web
When you understand your company’s UVP, you are in a position to more effectively communicate it over the Web.

Industrial Specialties Manufacturing of Englewood, CO — which supplies miniature pneumatic, vacuum, and fluid circuitry components to OEMs and distributors all over the world — has successfully followed this strategy. The company offers 150,000 individual products for a broad range of markets — from medical, laboratory and research to automotive. Its UVPs include an exceptional focus on the customer, as evidenced by its ability to fill large and small orders, including those with highly customized requirements, on time and with tremendous accuracy. By enhancing its site with a comprehensive online catalog, complete with parametric search, item comparison, and RFQ capabilities, ISM increased sales 15 percent from March 2008 to March 2009, and improved penetration in key markets.

Use VSET to Maximize Site Impact
In addition to reinforcing their UVP, Industrial Specialties Manufacturing used a ThomasNet strategy called VSET to improve the effectiveness of its site. VSET involves four “steps”:

Verify – Ensure that your site makes it easy for prospects to immediately determine that you have what they are searching for. Research demonstrates that companies only have 5 to 8 seconds to do this before prospects hit the “back” button.
Search – Give buyers the flexibility to look for your products in multiple ways.
Evaluate – Provide enough detailed information for prospects to make buying decisions, such as side-by-side comparison capabilities and downloadable CAD drawings.
Take Action – Offer multiple ways for buyers to request additional information or make a purchase, from a phone number on every page to shopping cart technology.

UVP + VSET = Momentum
As history has demonstrated, companies who take leadership positions and create high profiles in their respective markets during times of economic uncertainty are the ones who ultimately move up in a downturn. Let your UVP help build your momentum over the Web.

For more information, contact Susan Orr at SOrr@ThomasNet.com or visit http://info.hotims.com/22922-122.

Posted in: Articles

Introduction to Linear Actuators

Students trained in classic mechanical engineering are taught to construct a system using conventional mechanical components to convert rotary into linear motion. Converting rotary to linear motion can be accomplished by several mechanical means using a rotary motor, rack and pinion, belt and pulley, and other mechanical linkages, which require many components to couple and align. Although these methods can be effective, they each carry certain limitations.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Design processes, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Systems engineering

Fluid Handling Products Gain in Performance, Efficiency

Today’s pumps, valves, and flow meters are being designed with greater accuracy and flexibility to handle a wide range of fluids, chemicals, and other materials. Demands for more reliable operation and lower energy usage dictate these parts be made of materials lighter than previously available, yet robust enough for high pressure, high duty cycle applications.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Lightweight materials, Pumps, Valves, Test equipment and instrumentation

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