Analog ICs Meet Industrial System Needs

Jeff Lead Image Analog Inustrial

Connectivity, Control and IIoT

Whether it’s connecting with analog sensors or driving actuators, analog ICs play many critical roles in industrial applications. Networked systems add new wrinkles to the industrial analog landscape.

By Jeff Child

While analog ICs are important in a variety of application areas, their place in the industrial market stands out. Industrial applications depend heavily on all kinds of interfacing between real-world analog signals and the digital realm of processing and control. Today’s factory environments are filled with motors to control, sensors to link with and measurements to automate. And as net-connected systems become the norm, analog chip vendors are making advances to serve the new requirements of the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) and Smart Factories.

It’s noteworthy, for example, that Analog Devices‘ third quarter fiscal year 2017 report this summer cited the “highly diverse and profitable industrial market” as the lead engine of its broad-based year-over-year growth. Taken together, these factors all make industrial applications a significant market for analog IC vendors, and those vendors are keeping pace by rolling out diverse solutions to meet those needs.

Figure 1

Figure 1 This diagram from Texas Instruments illustrates the diverse kinds of analog sub-systems that are common in industrial systems—an industrial drive/control system in this case.

While it’s impossible to generalize about industrial systems, Figure 1 illustrates the diverse kinds of analog sub-systems that are common in industrial systems—industrial drive/control in that case. All throughout 2017, manufacturers of analog ICs have released a rich variety of chips and development solutions to meet a wide range of industrial application needs.

SOLUTIONS FOR PLCs

Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) remain a staple in many industrial systems. As communications demands increase and power management gets more difficult, transceiver technologies have evolved to keep up. PLC and IO-Link gateway systems must dissipate large amounts of power depending. That amount of power is often tied to I/O configuration—IO-Link, digital I/O and/or analog I/O. As these PLCs evolve into new Industrial 4.0 smart factories, special attention must be considered to achieve smarter, faster, and lower power solutions. Exemplifying those trends, this summer Maxim Integrated announced the MAX14819, a dual-channel, IO-Link master transceiver.

The architecture of the MAX14819 dissipates 50% less heat compared to other IO-Link Master solutions and is fully compatible in all modes for IO-Link and SIO compliance. It provides robust L+ supply controllers with settable current limiting and reverse voltage/current protection to help ensure robust communications with the lowest power consumption. With just one microcontroller, the integrated framer/UART enables a scalable and cost-effective architecture while enabling very fast cycle times (up to
400 µs) and reducing latency. The MAX14819 is available in a 48-pin (7 mm x 7 mm) TQFN package and operates over a -40°C to +125°C temperature range.  …

Read the full article in the November 328 issue of Circuit Cellar

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Telit and Wind River Team up for IIoT Effort

Telit has announced it is collaborating with Wind River, an Intel company, to accelerate Industrial IoT (IIoT) adoption. Through this relationship, Telit and Wind River are reducing the complexities of IoT device management, helping companies quickly and securely realize the full solution benefits of IIoT.

Wind River is using Telit’s IoT platform technology for its device management platform. The latest release of Wind River Helix Device Cloud is making it easier for companies to Wind-River-Helix-Device-Cloud-Image-1_small1capture data on-premise or in the cloud, providing enhanced system analytics and remote device management. By allowing users to aggregate and perform computing tasks, Device Cloud helps perform informed business intelligence to protect investments, utilize infrastructure, improve processes and generate new revenue streams.

Telit’s deviceWISE platform offers a set of connectivity management, device management, data management, edge, cloud and enterprise ready-to-use connectors and services that reduce the risk and time-to-market of connecting ‘things to apps,’ by collecting, managing,and analyzing critical device data.

Telit | www.telit.com

November Circuit Cellar: A Sneak Preview

The November issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is coming soon. Want a sneak peak? We’ve got a great section of excellent embedded electronics articles for you.

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TECHNOLOGY IN A CONNECTED WORLD

IoT Gateway Advances Take Diverse Paths: Flexible Networked Solutions
The Internet-of-Things (IoT) phenomenon offers huge opportunities. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores how IoT gateways play a vital role in those systems by providing Nov 328 coverbidirectional communication between the devices in the field and the cloud.

Power Analysis Attack on RSA: Asymmetric Adventures
Colin O’Flynn has done a number of great columns about cryptography—in particular symmetric cryptography. This time he’s tackling an asymmetric algorithm: a RSA implementation. Colin describes what’s unique about an RSA cryptosystem and takes us through a power analysis attack.

FOCUS ON ANALOG

Analog Solutions Fuel Industrial System Needs: Connectivity, Control and IIoT
Whether it’s connecting with analog sensors or driving actuators, analog ICs play many critical roles in industrial applications. Here, Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines the latest analog technologies and products serving the needs of today’s industrial systems.

Using Power Audio Amplifiers in Untypical Ways (Part 2): More Alternative Uses
In Part 1 Petre Petrov described many interesting ways to use power audio amplifiers (PAAs) as universal building blocks similar to the op amps and comparators. Here, he discusses several more things that can be built from PAAs including wave generators and transformer drivers.

SPOTLIGHT ON MONITORING AND TESTING

Gas Monitoring and Sensing (Part 2): Putting the Sensor to Work
Columnist Jeff Bachiochi continues his exploration of gas monitoring and sensing. This time he discusses some of the inexpensive sensors available that can be applied to this application. Jeff then tackles the factors to consider when calibrating these sensors and how to use them effectively.

Logger Device Tracks Amp Hours (Part 2): Alternative Energy Sources
n this follow on to Part 1 of his story, William Wachsmann describes putting to use the amp-hour logger he built using a microcontroller and a clamp-on ammeter. This time he discusses modifying the amp-hour software so it can be used as an analog input logger to measure solar and wind power.

Negative Feedback in Electronics: A Look at the Opposite Side
Complementing his discussion last month on positive feedback, columnist George Novacek now takes a look at negative feedback. Just like positive feedback, negative feedback can significantly change or modify a circuit’s performance.

LF Quartz Resonator Tester: A Stimulating Discussion
Ed Nisley returns to the rich topic of low-frequency quartz resonators. This time he describes a tester built with an ordinary Arduino Nano and an assortment of inexpensive RF modules.

INTERESTING EMBEDDED PROJECTS

Simulating a Hammond Tonewheel Organ (Part 1) Mimicking a Mechanical Marvel
Hammond tonewheel organs were based upon additive sine-wave synthesis. Because of that, it’s possible to simulate the organ using a microcontroller program that feeds its output waveform to a DAC. Brian Millier takes on this project, making use of an ARM-based Teensy module to do the heavy lifting.

Machine Auto-Sorts Resistors: MCUs, Measurement and Motor Control
Typical electronics lab benches become littered with resistors from past projects. These three Cornell University graduates tackled this problem by building a resistor sorting system. It enables users to input multiple resistors, measure their resistance and sort them. The project integrates motor controllers, resistance measurement and a graphical user interface.

Bluetooth SIG Adds Mesh Networking to BLE Ecosystem

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced that the wireless connectivity global standard now supports mesh networking. This enables many-to-many (m:m) device communications and is optimized for creating large-scale device networks, ideally suited for building automation, sensor networks and smart home solutions where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to reliably and securely communicate with one another.

According to the Bluetooth SIG, Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) enables short-burst wireless connections and supports multiple network topologies, now including a mesh topology for establishing many-to-many (m:m) device communications. This is an important evolution for Bluetooth technology, and one of the most anticipated features envisaged by the Bluetooth SIG promoters, anticipating Bluetooth 5 practical implementations.

With this update the typical point-to-point, star-based network topology evolves directly to a true mesh networking topology, paving the way for a wide range of applications that span from personal area network solutions all the way to an expanded range of connected devices, theoretically without physical limits.

One of the main benefits will be precisely in the area where until now only standard 802.11 Wi-Fi solutions were available, which is the smart home and smart buildings. With the combination of Bluetooth 5 and mesh networking technology, manufacturers will be able to surpass worries about coverage range, without compromising on the low-power requirements that are mandatory in battery operated devices. This enables the creation of “blanket” Bluetooth networking coverage, with devices connecting between themselves without the need for a central router. This allows effectively the creation of autonomous Bluetooth Wireless Local Area Networks, allowing devices to communicate locally. For example, sensors will be able to send messages to main devices, allowing the music to start playing in the living room, as soon as the user moves out of the room.

As the Bluetooth SIG highlights, mesh networking doesn’t require any special controllers or hub equipment, there is no single point of failure, and any Bluetooth control device will be able to remote control any point of the network. All this, with assured interoperability and without complexity, allowing users to acquire and add devices from any vendor that adopted the standard.

The potential of mesh networking also allows more complex commercial and industrial scenarios. Bluetooth mesh is optimized for creating large-scale device networks and is ideally suited for building automation, sensor network, asset tracking solutions. New control and automation systems, from lighting to heating/cooling to security, wireless sensor networks (WSN) for industrial applications, are some obvious candidates for  Bluetooth mesh networking technology.

Capable of supporting broadcast topology, Bluetooth LE became an attractive alternative for asset tracking over active RFID. The addition of mesh networking lifs Bluetooth LE range limitations and establishes the adoption of Bluetooth asset tracking solutions for use in larger and more complex building environments.

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A unique full-stack approach that defines the low-level radio up to the high-level application layer, ensuring all aspects of the technology are fully specified for the updated specification. Comprehensive, multi-vendor interoperability testing is conducted during the specification development process, not after specification release, and Bluetooth SIG members can benefit of all the qualification tools and processes needed to ensure global, multi-vendor interoperability.

The Bluetooth mesh specification is now available to all members, allowing manufacturers to start prototyping products. The Bluetooth mesh networking specifications, as well as the tools required to qualify Bluetooth products with mesh networking support, are now available at the Bluetooth website. Bluetooth mesh networking operates on Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) and is compatible with core specification version 4.0 and higher.

Bluetooth SIG | www.bluetooth.com