By DE Editors
Measurement Computing (Middleboro, MA; website) has built an affordable DA device to add analog and digital I/O to any PC’s USB port. Called the PMD-1208LS, the device is a PC-based analog and digital I/O interface for a variety of data acquisition applications. It is compatible with the USB 1.1 or 2.0 port on your notebook, desktop, or rack-mount PC.
Its pricing means every PC-based workstation can be equipped with its DA module, eliminating costly inefficiencies associated with sharing a single unit. It has eight analog input channels, 12-bit resolution, and sample rates to 1.2Ksps (8Ksps for 4000 samples). It measures only 2.8 x 3 3.2 x 3 0.5 inches. The PMD-1208LS includes ready-to-run software applications including a Strip Chart recorder and Data Logger (which directly writes to Excel). The supplied Universal Library software driver for use with Windows-based programming languages includes LabVIEW and SoftWIRE instrument drivers.
A PMD-1024LS (24-bit digital I/O) is also available, as are OEM and custom versions. Price: $99 each for 5-9; $89 each for 10-24; $79 each for 25-99; and $75 each for 100 or more.
The PMD-1208LS USB-based DA card from Measurement Computing received the most Reader Service responses in our March 2004 issue. Vote for your favorite product from this issue.
Gridgen Update Expands Native CAD Readers, Adds CAD Model Fault Checking
Pointwise (Fort Worth, TX; website) has released Gridgen Version 15.02, an update of the company’s CFD meshing software. Two new capabilities in the software add a native CAD reader for Unigraphics and a visual tool for identifying gaps and overlaps.
Gridgen’s native CAD readers avoid translation errors that can occur when using open standard file formats. Because native access is integrated into Gridgen, there’s no plug-in that an engineer must execute from within the CAD system. In fact, use of the CAD system and its license are completely unnecessaryGridgen reads the file directly. Native CAD readers are available for CATIA V4, Pro/Engineer, STEP, and now Unigraphics.
Instead of forcing engineers to repair gaps and overlaps in the geometry to construct a watertight solid, Gridgen applies a suite of automated, global, and local tools to merge the mesh over gaps in the CAD geometry. The latest release includes a new interactive visual mode for merging in which problem areas are highlighted for quick selection and automatic repair. For more information, visit pointwise.com.
Xycom Automation, Inc. (Saline, MI; website) has released two new families of flat-panel industrial computers. The 3615 and 3715 are compact, high-performance, all-in-one computers designed for factory automation and process applications in demanding settings. Operator input options include touchscreen, keypad, and integrated industrial mouse, or a combination of all three.
The 3615 and 3715 have 15-in. XGA flat-panel LCDs, Celeron 850MHz CPUs, 256MB RAM, 20GB hard drives, and standard CD-ROM and floppy drives. They are available with a choice of Intel Pentium III 1.0 and 1.26GHz processors, and DRAM options up to 512MB. With onboard 10/100 Base-T Ethernet, USB port, parallel port, two serial ports, and PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, the units can be used with virtually any standard PC device.
The 3615 provides expansion capabilities up to three 3/4-length and one 1/2-length PCI and ISA cards, while the 3715 provides capabilities for up to three full-length and one 1/2-length PCI and ISA cards. An externally accessible Type I or II CompactFlash site or remote drive bay option is also available. Units are 7.4 in. deep (6.4 in. mounting depth).
This new line is approved for Class I and Class II, Division 2 hazardous locations. The keypad units have front-access USB and PS/2 ports (nonincendive circuits) for safe connections in locations that are considered hazardous. They can operate in temperatures ranging from 0°C up to 50°C without additional cooling, and can be purchased with MS-DOS, Windows 98/NT/2000 (multi-language), or Windows XP preloaded and configured.
The EDC-3000C color and EDC-3000D monochrome cameras from Electrim Corp. (Princeton, NJ; website) for scientific and general machine-vision applications use a 1.3Mpixel sensor in a 1/2 in. optical format and offer 1280 x 1024 resolution. The CMOS sensors feature 5.2µ square pixels and operate at a quantum efficiency of 56 percent peak (monochrome) and 52 percent peak (color), with optical response extending into the near IR. The sensors use a rolling shutter and operate in progressive scan mode. The readout noise is 10 electrons (rms) yielding an image signal-to-noise ratio of 61dB, and the fixed pattern noise, at less than 0.03 percent, reduces the need for postprocessing. Dark current is 20 electrons/pixel/sec. at 25°C, making these cameras suited for applications with very low light levels. The cameras feature exposure times as long as 10 seconds.
A/D conversion is selectable at 8 or 10 bits per pixel, netting 24 or 30 bits per color element in the color model. At full resolution, the cameras can deliver up to 30 frames per second over the USB 2.0 bus. With VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) the frame rate is greater than 100 per second. With region of interest (subarray) scanning, smaller images can be recorded at rates greater than 3000 frames per second. The standard package is a rugged 40 x 40 x 65mm rectangular aluminum enclosure. An optional cylindrical housing is available. Both enclosures offer a standard 1/4 in. tripod mount and accept industry standard C or CS mount lenses. Price: $950.
AlazarTech (Montreal, QUE, Canada; website) has launched a family of 12-bit PCI waveform digitizers for ultrasonic imaging and inspection, shock and vibration testing, and scientific research and development. The ATS1250 is a two-channel, 12-bit, 50Msps PCI digitizer, and the ATS1220 is a two-channel, 12-bit, 20Msps PCI digitizer.
According to Muneeb Khalid, company president, “Our OEM customers were asking for more dynamic range to tackle ultrasonic, radar, imaging, and shock and vibration signals ]without] premium prices.” Designers of the new digitizers used the latest ADC technology and the company’s ASoPC (acquisition system on programmable chip) technology to provide a 40 percent price reduction and a 60dB signal-to-noise ratio. The digitizers provide independently programmable input ranges from +/- 20 mV to +/-20V, AC/DC coupling, and 50W/1MW impedance on each of their channels. The sampling rate is also programmable from 50Msps down to 10Ksps. You can capture signals from rapidly occurring triggers and a 40-bit time stamp allows recording each trigger event relative to all other triggers in a given session.
The standard model comes with 128K points of acquisition memory per channel. A high memory model with 8M points per channel will be available in July.
Prices: ATS1220-128K $1,295; ATS1220-8M (in July) $2,995; ATS1250-128K $1,795; ATS1250-8M $3,995.
Applied Stats workstation: Users can customize any workstation view with as many or as few windows as desired. Fonts can be resized, windows resized and relocated, or windows can be locked into position.
Applied Stats v6.0 from ASI DataMyte (Plymouth, MN; website) includes enhanced functions, including integration with the ASI DataMyte PACT Suite 5.5.
The new version of the electronic data acquisition and SPC analysis software offers significant enhancements in the areas of net weight analysis with the addition of T1 and T2 requirements and other international standards analysis; precision measurement with the addition of MSA 3rd ed GRandR compliance; and the ability to view CAD drawings of the part with hot spots updating as data is acquired.
PACT Suite 5.5 also includes ISO procedure enforcement with the ability to launch controlled documents in response to a specific cause or corrective action assignment, 21 CFR Part 11 security with the ability to electronically sign records in response to numerous added events, and reporting with the ability to customize statistics sets and paste all views into any MS Windows applications.
Reduce Physical Tests in Automobile Electromagnetic Compatibility
ESI Group (Bloomfield Hills, MI; website) has released PAM-CEM Solutions 2004, the latest version of its computational electromagnetic simulation software to help engineers predict real-world conditions involving complex electromagnetic phenomena in the early design stage of vehicles. PAM-CEM Solutions 2004 analyzes electromagnetic compatibility and interference problems in a wide frequency range, including CRIPTE, for induced phenomena on cable networks, and SYSMAGNA, for low-frequency analysis.
With the proliferation of complex onboard electronic equipment throughout the transportation industry, controlling electromagnetic disturbance is now more critical than ever. The new release means time domain-radiated fields can either be calculated through finite difference algorithms for fast evaluation, or accurately computed using advanced modeling with 3D finite element formalism. Both options are automatically coupled with CRIPTE.
Antenna radiation simulation is one of the main areas where the software brings full understanding of the phenomena. Several levels of accuracy are available to the user. For example, an engineer can select a fast evaluation to optimize the performance of traditional antenna devices and their locations, or a more accurate simulation to analyze sophisticated rear or side window antennas.
Contex Scanning Technology (Ontario, CA; website) has announced two new 42-in. scanners. The Crystal XL is a fine-resolution monochrome scanner designed for the mechanical and GIS CAD markets. The second scanner, the Chroma XL, is the four-color version. Both include an automatic adjustment for originals up to 0.6 in. thick and have variable line resolution and adaptive error diffusion capability.
The scanners were developed with Contex architecture that allows for interoperability between all scanners and scanner clients in a local LAN environment and externally through the Internet at the touch of a button. Other features include 48-bit digital color capturing, 10 in./sec scanning speed in black and white, 0.6 in./sec. in color. (Color speed in the Chroma is 3 in./sec.) The scanners combine the FireWire IEEE1394a and USB2.0 interface, and are three-camera scanners using a new generation of low noise, four-linear 7500 pixel CCDs and offer an optical scanning resolution of 508dpi. The new CCDs allow for 16-bit graytone and 48-bit color data capture. This new capability adds compatibility to the newer inkjet printers that offer 1200dpi or higher printing resolutions. Instead of applying error diffusion and sending a 1-bit data stream to the printer at a typical resolution of 300dpi, the Crystal XL sends 8-bit data at 1200dpi to the printer, allowing the printer to retain a much higher print quality of the scanned image. Price: $13,900 (base); $22,900 (base for the Chroma XL). Both scanners are supported on Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, and XP.
A new maintenance release for Mastercam 9.1 from CNC Software, Inc. (Tolland, CT; website) is said to deliver two important tools to NC programmers interested in speed. Mastercam users will see a boost in speed while creating a specific set of toolpaths, and will be able to take advantage of a series of new high-speed machining tool motions.
A new approach to important Z-level machining will mean reduced generation times from 10 to 75 percent for multisurface pocket and contour roughing, multisurface leftover or “rest” milling, and multisurface contour finishing. The new Z-level cutting techniques will also deliver a better finish on STL files.
Two new high-speed machining techniques expand Mastercam’s HSM capabilities. When a small island of uncut material lies outside the constant stepover of multisurface pocket toolpaths, the tool makes a small diversion to clean out that area, then continues on with the cut. With the new technique, the user has a variable stepover option that automatically adjusts the stepover to reduce small, uncut areas to ensure that the cut remains uninterrupted. The update now creates true tangential motion between cuts, reducing tool movement and ensuring the tool stays engaged in the material.
Tailor Made Software Offers PDF Converter
Tailor Made Software Ltd. (Kent, WA; website), provider of CAD data conversion and visualization tools, has announced AcroXchange, which converts Adobe PDF and Illustrator (AI V9+) files into CAD, technical illustration, raster, and web-ready formats.
AcroXchange offers a method for rapidly converting PDF files into a variety of raster and vector output formats without the loss of detail. Features include Multiple File Conversion, Command Line Interface, and Raster output including JPEG and TIFF.
AcroXchange can process an entire directory tree in a single operation, converting all qualifying files into the designated output format. The translator offers one-step creation of high-quality images. For more information and to download an evaluation copy, visit the company’s website.
Price: $3,995.00 per copy, per server (available on Windows, Linux, and Solaris servers).
Aeropro Integrates Data Acquisition and Control to Streamline Testing
MTS Systems Corp. (Eden Praire, MN; website) released a new version of its data acquisition and control software for aerospace structural testing. AeroPro 4.0 features a new integrated user interface, the ability to support a large number of channels, live data visualization capabilities, and an array of advanced testing features.
This version of Aeropro was designed to streamline and simplify structural test definition and execution, effectively increasing users’ confidence in final test results, enhancing laboratory productivity, and reducing the manufacturer’s time-to-market.
The integrated user interface lets you perform both DA and control functions without the need to learn and support separate software applications for each task, and it provides access to synchronized control and data acquisition information in real time. The option to perform both data acquisition and control as stand-alone functions is still available.
A number of other enhancements include the accommodation of large channel counts; the support of several advanced test optimization techniques; and new data archiving features. A number of add-on modules has also been made available, including a Software Developer Kit for writing scripts, wizards, data displays, and add-ins; Trend Monitoring, which is used to predict structural failure and expedites evaluation processes; and a Redundant Load Checker that offers sophisticated testing sequence integrity.
Divelbiss Corporation (Fredericktown, OH; website) has created a single-chip programmable logic controller called PLC on a Chip. The company says it can be programmed by EZ LADDER PC-based software featuring ladder diagram and function block programming. It was designed to be embedded into OEM products like sensors, drives, and custom controls for custom programming.
The circuit-level programmable logic controller can be integrated with I/O and power supply, and has a complete development package available for OEMs to develop and demonstrate their requirements. For more information, visit divelbiss.com.
Bundled LabVIEW Value Paks Released
LTR Publishing, Inc. (Plano, TX; website) is now offering bundled LabVIEW Value Paks Series 10 and Value Pak Series 10 with back issues on CD-ROM. LTR Value Pak Series 10 contains one full year of the quarterly publication LabVIEW Technical Resource with accompanying resource CDs.
LTR Value Pak Series 10 with Back Issues CD-ROM contains the first 10 years of LabVIEW Technical Resource, including resource CDs. The Value Pak provides in-depth technical articles, tutorials, and tips to enhance user programming knowledge. Programmers should find the LTR custom download utility for accessing 36 LTR issues and more than 450 VIs to be a useful continuing-education tool.
SolidWorks Workbook Helps Intermediates
Conceptual Product Development, Inc. (West Caldwell, NJ; website) has released Doctor Walt’s SolidWorks Workbook by Walt Silva, the third book in a series on SolidWorks versions 2003 and 2004. This 392-page book designed for the intermediate part modeling and assemblies user covers using design tables to drive part configuration, simulations of assemblies, development of more complex injection molded parts, and sheet metal design. Each phase is described in discrete steps, with screen shots showing the progress. Price: $64.95.
Add Advanced CFD to NX Integrated Upfront and High-Level Solving
STAR-NX and Comet-NX from CD adapco Group (Melville, NY; website) bring advanced CFD (computational fluid dynamics) functionality to the NX software portfolio from UGS PLM Solutions (Maryland Heights, MO; website). Both enable rapid meshing, model setup, solving, and results evaluation to be integrated within the native NX environment.
STAR-NX is a plug-in for CD adapco Group’s core CFD product, STAR-CD, whereas Comet-NX is a complete product designed for assessing upfront what-if design changes quickly. With both applications, CFD integration within the NX environment enables easier parametric design studies with enhanced automation and bidirectional associativity between MCAD and CFD models.
Comet-NX enables modeling of simple flows, and its automatic polyhedral mesh generation provides quick model setup and fast solutions. STAR-NX is designed for engineers who need to extend their flow analyses to include highly complex physics. Completely compatible with STAR-CD, it allows modeling of complex physics directly within the NX environment. However, the STAR-NX user interface can be customized by a CFD expert to enable casual users to access advanced CFD features.
A/D Board Acquires 8GB of Continuous Data
Ultraview Corp. (Orinda, CA; website) says that its PCI bus-based AD8-650x2DMA DA (data acquisition) board is suitable for high-speed, low-jitter operation in defense, intelligence, scientific, industrial, and medical applications. The AD8-650x2DMA is capable of continuously acquiring two simultaneous channels, each at up to 800Msps and storing up to 4Gs of uninterrupted data on each. As it acquires streams of data, its 64-bit 66MHz PCI DMA engine can concurrently transfer data from this onboard memory to the PCI host at more than 300MBps. The company says that when tested in 64-bit Sun systemsSunBlade2500/2000/1000 and Ultra 80, E250, and E420/450the AD8-650x2DMA board acquired analog waveforms continuously at an aggregate rate of 1.6Gsps while simultaneously performing a sustained DMA transfer to host system memory at approximately 320 MBps, allowing uninterrupted acquisition and analysis of gigabytes of wideband analog data.
The AD8-650x2DMA has a simple software interface that allows users to write software for all PCI bus SPARC platforms running Solaris 8 or 9 Unix. In addition, a Linux software package will be available in the third quarter of 2004.
Single unit price is $13,995 for the AD8-650x2DMA, and includes drivers and sample C programs for Solaris 8 and 9 Unix. Pricing for optional Dual-Board bridging package is $995.
LabVIEW 7.1 Extends Instrumentation and Real-Time Applications
National Instruments (Austin, TX; website) has announced LabVIEW 7.1, a major upgrade of its family of graphical application development tools. Key new features include Express VIs (virtual instruments) to simplify automated instrumentation configuration and real-time application development, advanced debugging capabilities, and low-level execution timing.
LabVIEW 7.1’s five new Express VIs offer engineers minimal-click configuration of NI’s digitizers, signal generators, and high-speed digital I/O. Available for real-time applications for the first time, the company’s measurement services software, known as NI-DAQmx, is said to increase the performance of single-loop PID applications by 30 percent and simplifies hardware-timed loop implementations. Additionally, the new LabVIEW 7.1 PDA module delivers improved data acquisition functionality, such as faster multichannel acquisition and analog/digital triggering, enabling engineers to create custom DMM (digital multimeter) applications and communicate with Bluetooth devices.
New execution timing and graphical debugging for low-level control and visibility of real-time system execution is introduced in LabVIEW 7.1 Real-Time. Its new timed loop lets engineers create multirate applications using its functionality to specify precise timing of code segments, coordinate multiple time-critical activities, and define priority-based loops.
Using the new Execution Trace Toolkit with the LabVIEW Real-Time module provides a means to identify sources of jitter, such as memory allocation and race conditions. The Real-Time module has been extended to certified PCs, giving engineers the ability to create real-time systems by integrating PCI I/O hardware with desktop computers.
The LabVIEW 7.1 FPGA module offers single-cycle while loops that execute multiple functions with a single 25ns tick of a 40MHz clock. Thus, engineers can use LabVIEW to develop FPGA code that executes as efficiently as hand-coded VHDL. Existing VHDL code is now reusable in LabVIEW FPGA applications through a new HDL interface node. For complete details on the LabVIEW 7.1 family, visit the company’s website.
Think3 to Release Product Suite
think3 (Cincinnati, OH; website) has announced release 9.0 of its industrial and machine design applications suite. Tailored for mid-size manufacturers and design engineers, the think3 product suite offers three integrated applications: thinkdesign, thinkteam, and thinkID. According to think3, its product suite and complementary services offer mid-size firms the technologies and best practices to compete with larger competitors and globally without premium price overhead.
The thinkdesign and thinkteam components are tools for mid-size industrial machinery manfacturers. The combination offers 2D/3D MCAD and PDM in an integrated system. Release 9.0 has new functionality for ease of use, information sharing, and process integration. It features the company’s unique Global Shape Modeling (GSM) advanced modification tool technology; thinkID combines fre