2008 New Product Compendium: Machine and Embedded Control

The following products were introduced in 2008, and participated in the Control Engineering Engineers' Choice Awards competition.

By Control Engineering Staff February 9, 2009

Descriptions were provided by vendor companies. For more information, visit the Website listed. To learn which products won the competition, and which received honorable mentions, visit www.controleng.com/awards .

  • Discrete sensors
  • Machine vision
  • PLCs/PACs
  • Power products
  • Safety products

Discrete Sensors

R-Gage QT50R Sensor

Banner Engineering Corp.

The QT50R Sensor employs radar technology to detect close and long-range presence of moving or stationary objects.

Technological Advancements: Banner Engineering’s R-Gage QT50R sensor was originally designed with radar technology to track freight traffic within the Betuwe Route—an underground tunnel connecting Holland and Germany. While harsh environmental conditions, including electrical interference, strong winds as well as dirt and dust, made alternative sensing technologies ineffective, the QT50R was specifically designed to withstand this difficult application. Now, the QT50R solves a broad range of challenging indoor or outdoor applications, reliably detecting moving or stationary targets, such as cars, trains, trucks and cargo. The QT50R utilizes Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar, enduring extreme weather conditions, including rain, wind, humidity and temperature extremes to accurately deliver presence, absence or change information about an observed target.
Additional features:
• Sensing range of up to 15 m;
• Compact, rugged IP67 housing withstands harsh environments; and
• Bright LED indicators provide easy status monitoring.

Market Impact & Service to the Industry: It delivers reliable sensing, maintaining safety and allowing easy tracking in harsh-environment applications.


Multi-Code Reader

ifm efector inc.

Small Multi-Code Reader from ifm efector inc. reads 2D data matrix codes and 1D bar codes in high-speed industrial automation applications at about half the price of competing systems.

Multi-Code Reader from ifm efector inc. reads 2D data matrix codes (DMC) and 1D bar codes in high-speed industrial automation applications. It can identify, verify, and qualify most marking methods including dot-peened, laser-etched, and printed DMC codes as well as printed barcodes. The $850 list price is about half the price of competing systems, ifm says. Solid-state, robust metal housing measures 80 x 42 x 53 mm and is designed to withstand harsh environments and perform in fast-moving applications, up to 7 m/sec target speed.



ifm efector inc.

Position detection in industrial applications: high optical performance in a compact metal housing with robust metal housing for harsh conditions.

The OG-Cube photoelectric sensor from ifm efector inc. provides high optical performance in a compact metal housing. The sensor offers position detection in industrial applications, such as conveying, packaging, material handling and automotive manufacturing. Its robust metal housing withstands harsh industrial conditions and is reportedly more durable than traditional plastic housings. The sensor features metal M18 mounting threads that will not strip during mounting—a common challenge with plastic threads. The sensor’s standard M12 connector resists high torquing and provides quick wiring, according to the company. The sensor features bright LEDs to indicate operating status (power and output) and a powerful, visible red light source with a large spot diameter that enables easy alignment for quick setup. The sensors are designed to provide long sensing ranges that increase the distance between the sensor and the target and prevent physical damage from fast-moving targets.


Machine Vision

In-Sight Micro


The In-Sight Micro is a full vision system the size of a remote-head camera, ideal for mounting in very tight spaces on robots, production lines and machinery.

The In-Sight Micro was the first full vision system to be incorporated into a package the size of a remote-head camera at 30 mm x 30 mm x 60 mm. As space is often a premium in production environments, the small size makes the In-Sight Micro ideal for mounting in on robots, production lines and machinery. Together with the new, intuitive Cognex EasyBuilder configuration software, and smart Cognex VisionView operator interface display, In-Sight Micro has changed the way people think about and use vision.

The In-Sight Micro has transformed machine vision into a much more affordable and accessible solution for so many people. Now, users who are unfamiliar with machine vision systems will find it easy to set up and deploy machine vision applications. With a simple point and click approach, EasyBuilder walks users through the process of setting up a vision application, step by step. EasyBuilder eliminates the need for programming, yet provides the flexibility to customize complex applications when needed. The In-Sight Micro includes the proven Cognex vision tool library to handle the broadest range of vision applications for the widest array of industries.

The “Make it small. Make it smart. Make it easy.” approach in developing this product has opened the machine vision industry to customers that would not have explored the option of machine vision because of the perceived complexity.


IPD GigE VA61 Vision Appliance


Dalsa’s IPD GigE VA61 Vision Appliance is an easy-to-use, embedded machine vision solution that is both powerful and quick-to-deploy for automated quality inspection applications.

Dalsa Corp. continues its integration of its machine vision technologies with a Gigabit Ethernet (GigE)-ready Vision Appliance, the IPD GigE VA61. DALSA is committed to helping manufacturers improve product quality, lower costs and increase production yields by providing automated machine vision solutions that meet the diverse needs of industry and end user alike. Designed specifically for factory floor deployment, Dalsa’s innovative Vision Appliances offer scaleable solutions that satisfy a wide range of application needs, from positioning robotic handlers to complete assembly verification. With two expandable GigE camera ports, industrial I/O and a high performance processor, the VA61 can tackle a range of applications involving multiple monochrome or color GigE cameras, and is well-suited for quality inspection in the automotive industry.

The VA61 supports the full range of DALSA’s compact Genie cameras and highly responsive Spyder3 line scan cameras. Flexible GigE camera ports allow mixing of camera resolutions and easy expansion to support cost-effective, multi-camera applications. Such systems are often deployed to perform multiple point inspections on assembled product. GigE technology allows cameras to be positioned up to 100 meters away from the controller box, enabling easier installation and better protection of costly control components in harsh environments.


NI Smart Camera Family

National Instruments

New NI Smart Cameras deliver faster processing and higher resolution to engineers requiring an easy-to-use, real-time machine vision solution.

National Instruments Smart Cameras are industrial image sensors combined with powerful processors to create rugged, all-in-one solutions for machine vision applications. Engineers can use these cameras for applications including quality control, assembly verification, robot guidance, optical character recognition and 2D code reading. NI Smart Cameras integrate easily with Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs), PLCs, and industrial HMIs. They also work with the entire suite of vision algorithms available in the NI vision software platform. Engineers can either configure their applications with the included NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection software or program it with NI LabVIEW for increased flexibility. The new NI 1744, NI 1762 and NI 1764 Smart Cameras extend the product line and deliver faster processing speed and higher image resolution to offer more powerful options for engineers requiring various advanced machine vision solutions.

NI Smart Cameras feature:
• VGA (640 x 480 pixels) or SXGA (1280 x 1024 pixels) resolution;
• Sony CCD image sensors;
• PowerPC processors;
• DSP coprocessors (select models);
• Lighting control, industrial I/O and dual gigabit Ethernet;
• Vision Builder AI included; and
• Program with LabVIEW Real-Time Module or configure with Vision Builder AI.



The Click PLC


Starting at $69, Click is an easy-to-use, expandable micro brick PLC with eleven option modules allowing up to 142 I/O and free programming software.

AutomationDirect, in conjunction with Koyo Electronics, has released a ground breaking new PLC to the industry. This product will have an immediate impact on the market with its $69 list price. This is for a stand alone CPU/PLC with 8 digital inputs, 6 digital outputs and two communication ports that is easily expandable up to 142 I/O. This sets a new low entry price point for this class of controller. The free programming software represents the truly advanced technology that went into the design of this product line. The 21 programming instructions offer a combination of simplicity and power wrapped in a very intuitive, full-featured GUI software interface. The PLC retains all documentation within the downloaded project in the CPU. The Web-based Help file and software manual, both of which are incorporated into the free Click programming software, are like having an award-winning technical support staff right in the PC. More information instantly available means faster development with less time spent searching or calling for answers to common questions. The Click PLC makes it easy for even the first-time user to get up and running quickly with their application.


CX1030 Embedded PC

Beckhoff Automation

Embedded PC can be PLC: For applications requiring powerful PC-based controllers, this DIN rail mounted computer has a 1.8 GHz Intel Pentium M processor.

To provide automation and control applications with the most powerful PC-based controllers possible, Beckhoff Automation announced its new CX1030 Embedded PC. The DIN rail mounted computer is equipped with a 1.8 GHz Intel Pentium M processor and is the most powerful device in the Beckhoff Embedded PC family at present.


Simatic ET 200S IM151-8 PN/DP

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc.

Distributed controller has Profinet communication interface built in: I/O module CPU is similar in power and performance to Siemens’ S7-300 line of controllers.

The Simatic ET 200S IM151-8 PN/DP CPU module from Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. adds another CPU to the company’s ET 200S I/O family of distributed I/O devices. Communicating via Profinet, the new CPU is similar in power and performance to Siemens’ S7-300 line of controllers. The built-in Profinet communication interface includes three ports for linear bus topologies and programming device functions. Communications can also be expanded with a Profibus DP master module. As a Profinet I/O controller, the interface module also supports the real-time properties known as RT (Real Time) and IRT (Isochronous Real Time), and can control up to 128 I/O devices.



CR6300 series

CR Magnetics

Power factor transducers senses the phase angle difference between ac current and voltage signals to save energy.

CR Magnetics Inc. has introduced a new series of power factor transducers designed to sense the phase angle difference between ac current and voltage signals. This allows the correcting of power factors to save on utility energy costs. The CR6300 series of power factor transducers will perform in a wide variety of applications, including motor loading, measure timing, and correcting power factor. The new transducers are available in three basic model styles: CR6310-500 has 0-5 V dc output; CR6311-500 has 0-10 V dc output; and CR6320-500 has 4-20 mA dc output. Custom styles can be provided. Features include the ability to measure -90 to +90 phase differences. Bandwidth is 5 kHz and input ranges can be extended using current transducers (CTs) and power transducers (PTs).




Eurotherm’s E-Power Controller includes the innovative Predictive Load Management function which allows reductions in energy cost, improved quality of main electrical supply and the associated reduced CO 2 emissions.

SCR controllers firing in phase angle degrade the power factor while increasing detrimental harmonics and electrical noise. In addition, a poor power factor drives increased power generation resulting in more CO 2 emissions. Switching to zero-cross firing mode drastically improves these issues but unfortunately, until now, it created problems such as flicker and peaks of power which eventually outweighed the potential benefits. EPower SCRs with the PLM function allow advanced synchronization, at high speed, of up to 64 heating zones firing in zero-cross mode resulting in substantial cost savings. Improving the power factor from 0.7 to 0.9 on a small 1,000KW contract means an annual saving of $41,000 on the demand charge based on $12 per KW.

Additional benefits are no harmonic generation, lower line currents which decrease the electrical losses and constant voltage level which results in more effective motor performance without any of the drawbacks, such as flicker and peaks of power. Besides Load Management, E-Power also includes a Load Shedding strategy to save even more by shedding loads based on selectable proportional factors. It thereby prevents exceeding Demand Charge level and helps reduce consumption during ON peak periods.



Siemens Energy & Automation Inc.

Reduced footprint: Modular 3-phase 24 V dc / 20 A switched mode power supply is less than half the width (2.76 in.) of previous models.

Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. introduces its Sitop Modular 3-phase 24 V dc / 20 A power supply. Designed for applications demanding small footprints, it is less than half the width of previous models. Footprint size has become one of the most important purchasing criteria for automation and controls components, Siemens says, and by reducing the width from 6.3 in. to 2.76 in., the new switched mode unit is among the most compact power supplies available.



Contactron 4-in-1 Reversing Starter

Phoenix Contact

Designed for three-phase ac motors up to 4 kW/5 hp in size, the Contactron 4-in-1 from Phoenix Contact provides forward, reverse, adjustable overload protection and redundant emergency stop contactor functionality.

Technological advancement: The Contactron 4-in-1 is the first product of its type to combine forward, reverse, overload protection and safety-rated, redundant emergency stop contactor functionality in one 22.5 mm-wide package. Market impact: Designed for three-phase ac motors up to 4 kW/5 hp in size, the 4-in-1’s combination of functionality, size and affordability make it unique to the market. Conventional switching devices like mechanical contactors are no longer desirable in today’s market. Using a 22.5 mm safety-rated reversing starter adds value compared with products that are labor-intensive to install, take up more space and have a reduced life expectancy. Service to industry: The compact size reduces the necessary rail space by up to 75 percent, saving space and wiring costs compared with a contactor-based solution. The Contactron’s life expectancy is up to 10 times longer than traditional electromechanical contactors, resulting in reduced maintenance costs. Integrated input/output surge protection circuits reduce system downtime, and 16 separate motor overload settings reduce inventory requirements. Diagnostics, local LED and remote indication acknowledge motor status, further setting this product apart from traditional contactor-based solutions. The Contactron 4-in-1 is rated for safety category 3, SIL 3 and ATEX zone 2.

Datasheets and other information available at:



Pilz Automation Safety LP

The Pilz SafetyEye is the world’s first and only camera-based 3D monitoring system that safeguards people working in or around hazardous operations, company says.

SafetyEye creates harmony between human and machine. SafetyEye uses three dynamic digital cameras positioned above the work area to provide continuous monitoring. A control unit receives the images via fiber optics, analyzes the data and creates a virtual 3-D image of the work area. Then, using configuration software, three-dimensional zones are established to identify safe and hazardous areas. This enables SafetyEye to determine if a worker or foreign object has violated a zone. Once detected, SafetyEye controls or eliminates the hazard, protecting the worker from injury and the process from interruption. Current systems, on the other hand, can only monitor 2D planes, not 3D zones and had to be completely enclosed with safety fencing and gates. In case of danger, they shut the process down, creating downtime and reducing productivity. When a worker enters a pre-determined warning zone, SafetyEye controls and or stops the hazardous process. It is also able to adapt motion to reduce hazard rather than completely shutting down the machine. In addition, SafetyEye has the option of defining virtual zones for the actuation of any process. SafetyEye performs the jobs of multiple sensors, reducing installation and maintenance time and costs.


Simatic Safety Matrix V6.1

Siemens Energy & Automation

The Simatic Safety Matrix Siemens Energy & Automation is the comprehensive tool for the safety lifecycle engineering and management of the failsafe automation systems S7 F/FH Systems. It provides support during all phases of the safety lifecycle.

The Safety Matrix is a configuration tool for processes requiring safety responses to defined statuses. With the Safety Matrix, a CFC safety program for S7 F/FH Systems can be created according to the rules of a cause/effect matrix. The Safety Matrix is an integrated tool for all sequences, the maintenance, the error handling and the change management during the operation.

New Features include:
-Changes in the access protection Secure-write (2-operator scenario);
-Detailed messages in the event log and in the PCS 7 alarm management Internal references (usage of internal signals as input);
-Inclusion of drivers that, for example, were brought into the program by the import-export wizard of PCS 7;
-Comparison of two matrices on the basis of generated charts Parameterization of area boundaries only in the engineering tool; and
-Bilingual user interface (German or English) Revision/expansion of the user interface.


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