Engineers’ Choice 2006 – Machine

By Control Engineering Staff February 27, 2007

Engineers Choice Competition
New Products for 2006: Machine Control, Embedded Control, and Discrete Sensor

Control Engineering — February 15, 2007
The annual Control Engineering Engineers Choice Awards highlight significant new products from the previous year as selected by readers of Control Engineering print publications and electronic newsletters. The following new products are nominees for that competition. To be eligible, a new product must have been introduced to the U.S. marketplace and available for purchase between December 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006. All descriptions have been provided by product vendors, and Control Engineering makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the claims.

The Control Engineering Engineers Choice Awards honor the products from this list that survey respondents chose as the most exceptional or noteworthy based on technological advancement (innovation), service to the industry (usefulness) and/or market impact (would buy it tomorrow if I could). Results are announced in the April 2006 issue of Control Engineering .


CX1020 Embedded PC
In order to deliver even greater performance, Beckhoff Automation in 2006 released a major enhancement to the company’s high-end embedded PC, the CX1020. Where the original CX1020 design had a 600 MHz Intel Celeron M CPU, all models now feature a 1 GHz Intelon DIN rail. The CX1020 also requires no rotating media through the use of Compact Flash as its boot and memory medium.While not a required fieldbus, the CX1020 was developed for peak performance with EtherCAT. When EtherCAT is used as the fieldbus, the CX1020 can achieve response times of less thanone millisecond. However, similar master and slave components from the popular CX1000 line can be used – including those for Profibus, DeviceNet, CANopen, Lightbus and SERCOS interface.

Blue Fusion: Model 5300 Programmable Automation Controller
CTC’s Blue Fusion 5300 series represents a significant breakthrough in the performance vs. size tradeoff for industrial automation controllers. By reducing the module size and making all connections via front surface pluggable connectors, a fully wired 5300 system has an I/O density of nearly 8 channels / sq. in — better than twice the industry average!
The miniaturization of the controller did not decrease its performance or functionality; on the contrary, both were significantly improved as well. The multi-bus, multi-tasking architecture seamlessly supports multiple CPUs and I/O module processors. This insures an optimally performing system even as the I/O or axis count grows.The 5300 hardware design has been very tightly integrated with CTC’s latest programming environment: QuickBuilder Automation Suite. QuickBuilder’s intuitive graphical desktop gives users a single environment to configure, program, and troubleshoot their 5300 applications.In addition to its impressive automation control features, the 5300 incorporates powerful information management features, such as a high speed data logging, built in web server, bi-directional email capability, Ethernet data exchange with corporate data servers, and a built in web based HMI. These features allow users to directly interface with plant-floor data without the need for external PC’s or third-party software applications.

EZPLC 32 I/O Modular PLC
First modular PLC at the price of fixed I/O PLCs offers 32 I/O for $267, expandable to 2,000 I/O.

FX3U Series PLC
The Mitsubishi Electric FX3U Series PLC is the cost effective solution for high speed, high precision positioning applications. Plug and Play fiber optic cabling reduces setup time and increases control distance for positioning operations in a wide range of applications. The easy to use setup software FX Configurator-FP can be used to quickly set up point table information and servo parameters. The software utility can also be utilized to test and monitor positioning operations during the machine setup phase. The loop update time for two axes of interpolated control is 1.77 msec. The FX3U has standard features such as the ability to read two quadrature encoders, floating point and trigonometric math instructions, advanced data processing operations, and a blazing fast 65 nanosecond per basic instruction processing time. Commands specific to positioning applications include Home Search Zero Return, Batch Data Table Positioning, Interrupt Positioning, and improved high speed comparison capabilities. The FX3U PLC is the perfect choice for machines requiring sequence and positioning control. • Dual Quadrature Encoder Inputs• Three Channel 100kHz Pulse Train Output on Transistor Units• 65 nanosecond Basic Instruction Processing Speed• 64K Step Programming Memory• High Speed Fiber Optic connection to MR-J3-B Servo amplifiers

Power Series RoHS-Compliant Solid State Relays with LEDs
Opto 22’s newest line of Power Series solid state relays (SSRs) are equipped with LED input status indicators. Additionally, in response to the European Union’s directive on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)—which went into effect July 1, 2006—the new Power Series 240Di10, 240Di25, 240Di45, and 575Di45-12 SSRs have been tested, certified, and stamped as RoHS-compliant.
The new relays—part of Opto 22’s Power Series family for DC control—feature 4,000 volts of optical isolation and include LED indicators that indicate when a control signal is applied, making it much easier for users to troubleshoot their control applications.

CompactLogix 1768-L43
Market Impact: Controlling up to four axes of motion, the CompactLogix 1768-L43 programmable automation controller (PAC) is ideal for material handling, packaging, metal forming, and other applications requiring speed, motion synchronization, and information-sharing capabilities – all in a small, modular footprint.
Service to the Industry: Combined with the Rockwell Automation Kinetix Integrated Motion offering, the CompactLogix 1768-L43 PAC delivers the benefits of a truly integrated motion control solution providing both motion and discrete control into a single, integrated multitasking platform that helps users lower system costs, simplify installation and ease maintenance. CompactLogix leverages the same Logix control engine, motion, networking technology and communications services as the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix and SoftLogix controllers, making it part of a complete scalable control architecture, the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture.
Technological Advancement: The CompactLogix 1768-L43 system provides configuration and programming of the entire system, controller, drives and motors with a single software package, RSLogix5000, helping to reduce commissioning, installation, training and maintenance costs. A full range of networks are also available, including DeviceNet, ControlNet, and EtherNet/IP, enabling a seamless flow of information from the smallest device up through the enterprise business system.

Jazz Micro PLC+HMI
The Jazz Micro PLC+HMI: how to implement PLC control —for the price of a ‘smart relay’. When small machine builders, control engineers and maintenance supervisors make control choices, budget is often the limiting factor. However, their applications often require ‘real’ PLC capabilities.Unitronics developed Jazz specifically for this sector— a compact, low-cost PLC that comprises onboard I/Os, LCD display that supports over 15 languages, and an alpha-numeric keypad.Free Ladder programming software provides one development environment for both Ladder and HMI applications. Ladder provides flexibility that cannot be achieved using‘smart relay’ ‘block’ programming. Jazz’s command set includes math, store/load, compare, clock, ‘immediate read/write to I/Os’, ‘interrupt’, and ‘loop’ functions. The integrated HMI displays operating instructions, system/fault messages, and conditional data (up to 60 user-designed text screens per application). Data entry via the alpha-numeric keypad enables operators to modify run-time parameters.Communication options offer new levels of connectivity for the low-cost PLC sector— datacom with external devices via RS485 and MODBUS, SMS messaging, Remote Access utilities, and PC access via MODBUS or OPC/DDE servers. Jazz’s unique ‘Program Cloner’ enables copying applications from PLC to PLC.This combination of features makes Jazz perfect for any application- simple or complex.


The Kontron ETXexpress-CD fulfills the requirement of future-focused embedded applications that demand exceptionally high performance levels. The new Core Duo processors allow for up to 80 percent performance increase compare to single core technology. The Kontron ETXexpress-CD is equipped with the Intel Core Duo processor, Mobile Intel, and 1x Parallel ATA interfaces. CRT and LVDS outputs are available to drive high resolution for true color monitors and displays. Support for PCI Express based Graphics cards for video-intensive applications also is available. A family feature inherited from Kontron´s ETX computer-on-modules, ETXexpress modules and customizable carrier boards offer ‘plug and work’ LCD display support with readily available adapter cables based on Kontron´s JILI interface. These features have made it ideal for design into embedded control systems for various industrial automation applications ranging from production lines to precise measurement systems as well as data analysis and image processing in other market areas including medical applications and point of information/point of sale solutions.

dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs) for Switch-Mode Power Supplies (SMPSs)
Microchip’s dsPIC30F1010/2020/2023 Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs) for Switch-Mode Power Supplies (SMPSs) and digital power conversion offer the best combination of features, performance, package size and price in the industry.
The most important aspect of the SMPS dsPICl. These generic peripherals greatly limit power-supply designers’ choices with regard to topology and control methods, and make the task of programming the devices much more difficult. Conversely, the SMPS dsPIC DSCs free designers to implement the best power-conversion methods for their applications. The on-chip power-supply peripherals enable the addition of new, intelligent features in software by utilizing processor MIPS that would otherwise be needed for basic digital-loop control.
Equally important is that the SMPS dsPIC DSCs are available in small, low pin count packages (28-pin to 44-pin), with all of the internal Flash memory and support peripherals necessary for single-chip operation. They, therefore, provide not only the features and performance needed for digital power conversion, but also the value and size required for the competitive power-supply market.

fido 32-bit hard real-time microcontroller
The innovative fido architecture greatly eases the design and test of hard real-time control applications while providing benefits of higher reliability and lower power consumption

Discrete sensors and readers

AS5030/AS5130 Rotary Encoder
The rotary encoders offer a reliable, contactless alternative to mechanical rotary knobs in a variety of applications, including automotive, industrial and commercial markets. In addition to being zero-position programmable, the AS5030 and AS5130 provide an angle resolution of 1.4 degrees over a full 360° turn (8-bit), accessible via digital serial interface (SSI) or via pulse width modulated (PWM) outputs. Both devices offer push-button functionality with user defined magnet-to-device displacement thresholds. When used in applications with stringent power consumption requirements, both devices can operate in low-power mode. In addition, the AS5030 offers ultra low power sleep mode, which can be set by the user. Both devices can be configured to provide data either via serial interface, PWM or daisy chain. The daisy chain configuration enables users to read the position information of individual devices serially, via a single two-wire bus.
The AS5030 and AS5130 were specifically designed to offer a cost-efficient, highly reliable solution for human-machine-interfaces, such as rotary switches, dashboard and appliance knobs. The push-button feature with multi-turn functionality, plus the low power consumption of the AS5030 and AS5130 deliver significant advantages in product design flexibility and lifespan.

HS35M Encoder
Technological Advancement:The Avtron HS35M is a unique crossover product: It offers the durability and accuracy of magnetoresistive sensing (instead of optical). Wide temperature swings, condensation, oil, and other liquids do not stop the HS35M. It offers this huge improvement in durability in an industry standard form factor. The HS35M has other key features that eliminate encoder failures and features pin-for-pin compatibility with all existing products.
The all-new line driver circuits offer an industry first: high power output for long cable runs, combined with full short-circuit protection.
Market Impact:Avtron’s HS35M brings the reliability of magnetic mill duty encoders to an unprecedented price point. It fits virtually all NEMA and IEC vector duty motors and most common machine shafts.
Service to the Industry:With the removable and replaceable shaft inserts (metric and imperial), end-users, distributors and OEMs have far fewer models to stock, and Avtron factory shipments are quicker.
The insulated housing ends motor shaft current issues that have plagued hollow-shaft encoder installations for many years.
The optional industrial EPIC connector eliminates connector pin soldering, another huge reliability and installation problem for existing encoders.

DataMan 7500 Series ID Readers
The DataManTM 7500 Series offers the only readers in industry that read everything from the most challenging codes in DPM (Direct Part Mark) applications to the easiest printed barcodes. DataMan readers incorporate IDMaxTM, a breakthrough in Data Matrix reading software based upon Cognex patented PatMaxrs to optimally illuminate marks of any type on any surface by incorporating four different software-controlled light settings. · Low-angle, dark field lighting provides the uniform illumination required for dot peen and laser marks. · Quadrant control optimized reading codes on machined surfaces.· The integrated diffuser provides soft off-axis illumination required to read electrochemical etched marks on shiny round or curved surfaces that are highly reflective. Diffuse bright field illumination provides uniform lighting throughout a wide working range, which is ideal for 1D barcode labels and marks located on recessed surfaces.The DataMan 7500 reader itself can be set up to automatically select the illumination scheme that will produce the best results in a given situation.

Checker 101E
When using the EL6601, standard Ethernet frames are tunneled through the EtherCAT protocol. The connected master acts like a layer 2 switch, redirecting the Ethernet frames to the respective devices according to IP address information. This means all Internet technologies can be successfully used in an EtherCAT environment including integrated Web servers, e-mail, FTP transfer etc.

N3/N4 Inclination Sensor
The VLThe drive consumes less energy than comparable drives while leveraging the motor’s full operating potential. Users will also benefit from up to 150% more torque for up to a full minute, eliminating the need for a bigger drive. An electronic thermal relay eliminates the need for external motor protection and a built-in RFI filter saves on cost and space.

HI 4050 Weight Controller
This three-inch deep weight controller only requires a drill to mount in panel, remote or blind DIN rail, and features EtheNet, EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet Communications

efector pmd Optical Distance
efector pmd optical distance measurement sensor is a relible solution for long range background suppression applications

efector dualis Object Sensor
The ROC827 offers simple fill-in-the-blanks configuration making it easy to use. It is pre-programmed with common flow calculations including AGA 3, 7, and 8, ISO 5167 and API 12, and is also API Chapter 21.1 compliant. Both PID and function sequence control are built-in. For complex applications, it is IEC 61131-3 programmable in any one of five languages: sequential function chart, function block diagram, ladder diagram, structured text, and instruction list.

VA15 Vision Appliance
Unlike other products in this class, the VA15 offers a superior 640×480 CCD imaging sensor, higher performance processing and a full suite of inspection tools for tackling a broad range of industrial applications. The VA15 offers flexible controls and direct connections to 3rd party interfaces, giving users all the ingredients of a mid-range vision solution at an entry level price.
Unlike traditional smart camera counteparts, the VA15 incorporates the ‘smarts’ inside the camera controller, as opposed to the camera head. This has the dual benefit of easier integration, since it can be positioned in a chassis alongside other automation controllers, and smaller camera size, thus making is suitable for tight-fit applications.

OPB725 Long Distance Reflective Switch
There are several technological advancements to the OPB725 reflective switch that help it have a significant impact on the market. The switch is capable of providing a sensing distance of up to 24” or more. Additionally, the emitter and sensor are protected by a window that is transparent to near-infrared wavelengths, allowing it to operate in dusty environments.
Furthermore, while an object is in the reflective path of a device, light from the LED will be reflected back to the housing, irradiating the surface of the PhotologicQ%%off,” minimizing the IC(ON) current and providing a “high” output.
The OPB725 long distance reflective switch is ideal for a variety of applications, including non-contact reflective object sensing, assembly line and machine automation, equipment security, door and end-of-travel sensing, and machine safety.