Monday, November 13, 2006

Unique Sensor Solution for Use in Vehicles

originally posted by littlec

HELSINKI, FINLAND — (MARKET WIRE) — October 12, 2006 — VTI Technologies, the major manufacturer of high-performance motion and pressure sensors for automotive and consumer related applications, is launching a best-in-class accelerometer and inclinometer platform for vehicle stability control and related systems worldwide.

The new VTI automotive digital accelerometer platform is intended for single and multiple axis acceleration and inclination measurement. It has been developed to meet the most demanding needs of vehicle electronic systems using digital signal processing, introducing several important safety features such as continuous self-test. The components form a complete set of low-g accelerometers with the same mechanical design and SPI-interface. They are small in size, high in performance and require only one PCB design for all versions. They cover acceleration and inclination measurements in applications like Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill Start Assistant (HSA), Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), Roll Stability, Roll Over and Electrically Controlled Suspension. The multiple options for each car platform can be covered with one ECU or sensor cluster design by selecting the appropriate sensor version from VTI’s new accelerometer Series.

“This new digital concept offers acceleration and inclination sensing as a complete platform, which has in all directions the same pin-out in one-, two- and three-axis accelerometers. This means major savings to our customers in broad range of automotive applications”, explains Hannu Laatikainen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for automotive products at VTI. “The new generation of 3D-MEMS sensing elements for multiple axis are very small (2.6 x 2.0 x 1.6 mm), allowing same package size for all designs from one to three axis. These products also support the trend in automotive electronics towards smart integration and better reliability with intelligent self-test features — more intelligence and functions included into the same sensor packages.”

A major application area for the new accelerometers is in the sensor cluster needed for ESC. ESC is an active safety system that recognizes unstable driving conditions at the very outset and applies corrective action automatically. ESC works by monitoring the actual car motion with several sensors and compares this information to the driver’s input. In an unstable condition, the ESC intervenes via the engine electronics and the brake system to help stabilize the vehicle. An accelerometer is needed as part of ESC to measure lateral acceleration. In more advanced vehicles and systems, longitudinal acceleration/inclination is measured if the car is 4-wheel driven or has an automatic Hill Start Assistant function or Electronic Parking Brake. Vertical acceleration measurement is needed for suspension and roll over detection.

Monday, November 06, 2006

MIL-STD (Military Standard) or MIL-SPEC (Military Specification)

The MIL-STD specification is a series of guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Defense in order to define specific performance and manufacturing requirements for all types of equipment.

In most cases, products must be designed in accordance with the MIL-STD to be considered acceptable for use by the U.S. Department of Defense. A product's MIL-STD compliance is also a consideration for many state and local governments when purchasing mobile computers for use in public safety, emergency services, maintenance, etc.

The MIL-STD 810F standard was released on January 1, 2000 (superseded MIL-STD 810E). MIL STD 810F includes testing protocols to simulate environmental stresses from rain, humidity, salt fog, sand/dust, vibration, shock, temperature, etc. A copy of MIL-STD 810F can be downloaded from the United States Army Developmental Test Command.

The MIL-STD 810F standard is an all-encompassing standard that is frequently used for ruggedization testing by mobile computer manufacturers. Many manufacturers and laboratories will design their ruggedization testing in accordance to the MIL-STD 810F guidelines. However, it is important to note that when the MIL-STD 810(x) specification is listed on a product's data sheet, this usually only applies to the vibration and shock component of the standard, and does not mean that protection is included from salt fog, corrosion, rain, humidity, temperature, etc. Therefore, IP or NEMA Ratings are frequently used to signify protection from liquids and solids, and the MIL-STD is used to specify protection from shock and vibration.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back Lit Boom Angle Indicator - Meets NFPA 1901 Standards for Automotive Fire Apparatus

This upgraded 4120 boom angle inclinometer provides the end-user the best functioning unit available.

First and foremost, the new revision addresses durability. Made of 100% Polycarbonate material with a unique and patent pending technology, it is extremely durable, shock and vibration resistant. Our main objective was to help avoid accidental breakage during installation or the rough environment off road forklifts are typically used. As an added benefit of the new durability we will ship more product in smaller containers with less packing material. This will decrease the cost of shipping.

The second feature to our new product is the option for backlighting. This is the reason the color has changed to white with black markings. This subtle change has allowed us to provide a weatherproof lighting feature making it highly visible at night. Backlighting is available in either AC or DC for the following voltages; 24V, and 12V (rated for 20,000 hours).

Meets NFPA 1901 Standards for Automotive Fire Apparatus

First of its kind design allowing the angle to be read from below, above and the side. Oversize markings for easy read up to 30 ft away. These instruments are made tough and will not rust, freeze, or otherwise "hang up" like old-fashioned pendulum styles - not effected by outdoor elements. Like all of our manual instruments, each indicator is properly dampened for smooth reliable readings. The 4120 model is designed for easy mounting with two screws, which allows for quick and efficient retrofitting in the field. The newest addition is the 4120-12v, a highly visible backlit model for increased safety - especially at night!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Environmental Protection Part 2: NEMA Ratings

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturer Association)

NEMA ratings are standards that are useful in defining the types of environments in which an electrical enclosure can be used. The NEMA rating system is defined by the National Electrical Manufacturer Association, and frequently signifies a fixed enclosure's ability to withstand certain environmental conditions. Please refer to the table below for specific NEMA type designations.

NEMA ratings are rarely applied to mobile devices, and are mainly applied to fixed enclosures. For example, a NEMA rating would be applied to a fixed electrical box mounted outside, or a fixed enclosure used to house a wireless access point. Most enclosures rated for use in an outside environment include a NEMA 4 rating. NEMA ratings have more stringent testing requirements to verify protection from external ice, corrosive materials, oil immersion, dust, water, etc. These stringent testing requirements can rarely be applied to mobile devices, but there is a correlation between NEMA ratings and IP ratings. However, this correlation is limited to dust and water. The "Comparison Table" below provides a comparison between NEMA ratings and IP ratings. It is important to realize that this comparison is only related to the protection provided against dust and moisture. For this reason, this table can only be used to convert NEMA ratings to IP ratings, but not vice versa. A few manufacturers of mobile computers will include NEMA ratings in their specifications, and it is important to understand how the NEMA specification correlates to a product's IP Rating.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Environmental Protection: IP Ratings and Rugged Inclinometers

Environmental Protection When Considering an Inclinometer for Your Application.

A truly rugged industrial device is engineered, from the ground up, to operate in the most extreme hostile environments. The industrial engineering design is not only limited to the external housing, but includes internal components, special coatings, sealants, and other design features allowing computers to be exposed to extreme humidity, dust, temperatures, vibration and shock. Included in the mix is a class of products manufactured explicitly for use in hazardous or explosive environments.

IP Ratings
IP (Ingress Protection) ratings are standards for electrical enclosures. The rating refers to the equipment's ability to permit solids and liquids to penetrate the computer's enclosure. The protection standards are defined by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). A mobile computer's IP Rating is expressed as a two-digit number (Example: IP-66). The first number designates protection from solids, while the second number designates protection from liquids. Please refer to the table for specific IP rating information.