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latest product and technology information from electronics companies in India
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KYOCERA AVX antenna simulation models are now available in Ansys HFSS 3D Electromagnetic Simulation Software

Wed, 03/29/2023 - 14:53

KYOCERA AVX, a leading global manufacturer of advanced electronic components engineered to accelerate technological innovation and build a better future, announce that direct links to simulation models for its most popular embedded antennas are available in the latest release of the globally renowned Ansys HFSS 3D electromagnetic simulation software, Ansys 2023 R1.

Engineers use Ansys HFSS software to design high-frequency, high-speed electronics optimized for use in applications including communications systems, ADAS, satellites, and IoT devices. The latest release, Ansys 2023 R1, empowers users to run large jobs and overcome hardware capacity limitations with new high-performance computing and cloud capabilities, enhanced solver algorithms, and powerful graphical processing units. It also supports new collaborative, model-based systems engineering workflow capabilities and integrated more AI and machine learning capabilities to further improve engineering efficiency and accelerate innovation.

Ansys 2023 R1 features direct links to simulation models for 13 of the most popular KYOCERA AVX antennas, including embedded FR4 and ceramic GNSS, ISM, BLE, Wi-Fi, LPWA, 5G/LTE antennas widely employed in IoT, medical, and automotive applications. When users click on the 13 KYOCERA AVX antenna components featured in the Ansys 2023 R1 software, they will be transported to the KYOCERA AVX website to download the simulation files.

These 13 embedded antenna models are also available on the KYOCERA AVX website for Ansys HFSS versions 2019 R3 to 2022 R2. In addition, a complete range of KYOCERA AVX embedded antenna models designed for use with all of these versions will be available in Q2 2023.

“Many of our customers utilize Ansys HFSS software, and they used to have to contact us for compatible antenna simulation files. So, we’re very proud that our 13 most popular embedded antennas are featured in Ansys 2023 R1 and available for direct download on our website,” said Carmen Redondo, Director of Global Marketing Antennas, KYOCERA AVX. “We’re committed to providing our customers with a comprehensive suite of tools and resources engineered to make antenna integration as easy as possible and ensure optimal performance. So, we’re also proud to offer an increasing array of electromagnetic simulation model downloads compatible with Ansys versions 2023 R1 and 2019 R3 through 2022 R2 on our product pages.”

“We’re pleased to offer a selection of KYOCERA AVX’s embedded antennas in our new Ansys 2023 R1 software,” said Matt Commens, Senior Manager – Electronics Product Management, at Ansys. “The new products, technologies, and tools available in 2023 R1 enable engineering teams to simulate and rigorously examine products and systems under varying conditions, gain precise insights, and optimize designs at every stage of the product development process, regardless of application.”

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High efficiency drive solutions for the packaging industry from Nord Drivesystems

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 15:41

NORD-NORDAC-ON-versions.jpg: One inverter, two versions: NORDAC ON for use with asynchronous motors (foreground) and NORDAC ON+ for combination with synchronous motors

Whether primary, secondary or end-of-line packaging: For all stages in the packaging process, NORD DRIVESYSTEMS implements economical, sustainable and tailor-made drive solutions that optimally meet the relevant application-specific requirements and, at the same time, can contribute to a considerable reduction of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

NORDAC ON/ON+: Decentralised frequency inverter with integrated Ethernet interface

The decentralised frequency inverter NORDAC ON/ON+ is characterised by an integrated Ethernet interface (Profinet, EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT can be set via parameters), full plug-in capability and a very compact design. The smart inverters are ideally suited for integration into packaging machinery, saving space as well the extensive motor cable wiring required for centralised frequency inverters.

There are two versions available: NORDAC ON has been designed for use with asynchronous motors whereas NORDAC ON+ is intended for the combination with high-efficiency IE5+ synchronous motors.

NORD-IE5plus-motor.jpg: Efficiency at a new level: NORD’s IE5+ motor generation Image

IE5+ motor generation: Efficiency at a new level

With the IE5+ synchronous motor, NORD is setting new energy efficiency standards. Thanks to permanent magnet synchronous motor technology (PMSM), it achieves an efficiency of up to 95 percent – and this is relatively constant over a wide speed and torque range. The IE5+ motor thus provides an optimal energy consumption performance in partial load and partial speed ranges and even tops the highest defined energy efficiency class IE5.

NORD-DuoDrive.jpg: By integrating the motor and gear unit into one housing, the DuoDrive is very lightweight and compact, coupled with very high power density Image

DuoDrive: Seamless integration of gear unit and motor

The patented DuoDrive is a revolutionary integrated gear unit/motor concept that covers power ranges of up to 3 kW. It combines the high-efficiency IE5+ motor and a single-stage helical gear unit in one housing. The constant motor torque over a wide speed range allows for consistent variant reduction and reduction of operating costs. Together with the simple plug-and-play commissioning, this results in a significant reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) in comparison with existing drive systems. The unventilated washdown design with smooth surfaces meets the most stringent hygiene requirements and ensures optimum cleaning.

NORD-surface-treatment-nsd-tupH.jpg: The nsd tupH surface treatment offered by NORD is an

2/4 outstanding corrosion protection for gear units, smooth surface motors, frequency inverters and motor starters in wash-down optimised cast aluminium housings Image

 nsd tupH surface treatment: An alternative to stainless steel

The nsd tupH surface treatment is available for NORDAC ON/ON+ as well as the IE5+ synchronous motor and the DuoDrive geared motor. Thanks to a special method, the surface is made corrosion-resistant and harder and makes aluminium behave like stainless steel with regard to corrosion protection. This is not a coating, but a surface treatment that creates a protective layer which is permanently bonded to the substrate material. So, nothing can detach or flake off. The drives are easy to clean and largely resistant to acids and alkalis.

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ASMPT’s expert system provides relief for quality assurance staff – now also open to third-party equipment

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 14:51

Greater yields, less routine work for the operators on the shop floor: WORKS Process Expert from ASMPT, the world’s first self-learning in line expert system for electronics production, reduces scrap and operator assists along the entire SMT line. The latest version of the process-optimizing software now also includes the placement process in addition to solder paste printing and even works with SPI and AOI systems from other manufacturers.

SMT lines learn and optimize themselves: Together with the DEK printing platform, the high-speed Process Lens SPI system and the SIPLACE placement machines from ASMPT, the WORKS Process Expert software forms a self-learning inline expert system that lets electronics manufacturers produce faster, more cost-effectively, and with significantly higher yield. While autonomous process control was previously limited to solder paste printing, the new version of WORKS Process Expert in combination with end-of-line AOI systems now also supports the optimization of the placement process by driving the operators to the tasks with the highest positive impact on the process. With its connection to SPI and AOI systems, it supports process and quality engineers in identifying the defect root-cause across the complete SMT line, thus ensuring its elimination and higher yield.

Following its Open Automation principle, the SMT specialist has also opened up the trend-setting software to third-party equipment, allowing WORKS Process Expert to process data from SPI and AOI systems made by other manufacturers. Seamless connectivity of the inspection solutions in the SMT line is ensured by the open IIoT and communication standard IPC-CFX.  The smart software thus becomes a powerful solution for higher yields and better quality while simultaneously reducing operator assists along the entire SMT line, making it a significant contributor to the realization of the integrated smart factory.

“Hardware and software for industrial inspection solutions are available from many manufacturers,” says Jérôme Rousval, Product Manager Process Solutions at ASMPT, “but hardly anyone has such a wealth of experience and comprehensive process knowledge as ASMPT. Since we cover the entire electronics manufacturing process chain with our hardware and software as well as with our automation solutions, we are also one step ahead when it comes to process automation. And this is especially beneficial for our customers’ employees.”

Online show: Facts on Open Automation

Providing the best possible support for operators with intelligent software and smart process optimization is also the subject of the next installment of the ‘Facts on Open Automation’ show on Wednesday April 26, 2023. “Where in the past several operators used to be responsible for a single SMT line, today often only one operator remains,” explains host Laszlo Sereny. “He or she must keep the entire line running, replace stencils in the solder paste printer according to customer specifications, and ensure timely material replenishments at the placement machines – all while keeping an eye on the key performance indicators at all times. Multitasking and process know-how are in demand, and emergency operations are not uncommon.” Sereny and his studio guests will discuss how software supports operators during assists based on their qualifications and the respective task priorities, and how autonomous process control solutions help with quality assurance. Axel Lindloff, Senior Process Specialist at Koh Young, will join them remotely.

Based on ASMPT’s Open Automation concept, WORKS Process Expert is retrofittable, vendor independent, and covers the entire SMT line.

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Rs 180-crore electronics manufacturing cluster approved at Dharwad in Karnataka

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 10:29

In yet another effort to make India an electronics manufacturing hub, the government has sanctioned a new greenfield for Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) at Dharwad in Karnataka. Rs 180-crore worth of electronics manufacturing cluster is expected to create over 18,000 jobs. New EMC has a strategic locational advantage and well connected with NH-48, Hubli Domestic Airport (33 Km), which will reduce the logistics/ transportation cost of the industry in the EMC.

According to the ministry of Electronics and IT, the project, which is being set up at Kotur-Balur Industrial Area in the Dharwad District of Karnataka under EMC 2.0 scheme, is expected to catalyse investments to the tune of over Rs 1,500 crore soon. Nine companies, including start-ups, have already committed to making investments of Rs 340 crore with an employment potential of 2,500 people.

The Centre has already approved a common facility centre (CFC) for the development of an advanced testing facility in Mysore, Karnataka that will meet the various testing requirement of the industry.

“Karnataka is emerging as a global electronics manufacturing hub for the world, just as it is already a telecom hub with Apple plants in Kolar (Wistron) and Devanahalli (Foxconn). These new investments are creating jobs and development. The Narendra Modi government is committed to build India as a manufacturing hub as part of its ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ policies,” said Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar while announcing the approval of cluster in Bengaluru.

The Modified Electronics Manufacturing Cluster (EMC 2.0) scheme was introduced on 1st April 2020 with an objective to create world class infrastructure along with common testing facilities, including ready built factory sheds/plug and play infrastructure for attracting anchor unit along with their supply chain to set up their manufacturing/production facility in the country. Under the Scheme, three electronics manufacturing clusters over an area of 1,337 acres with the project cost of Rs 1,903 crore, including Central financial assistance of Rs 889 crore have been approved with a projected investment target of Rs 20,910 crore.

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Bentley Systems Announces Infrastructure Projects Achieve Measurable Results with LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse, Powered by iTwin

Fri, 03/24/2023 - 17:50

Creation of Immersive 3D/4D Experiences Enhances Visualization and Simulation of Infrastructure Digital Twins for Improvements in Communication and Collaboration

Bentley Systems, the  infrastructure engineering software company, announced how infrastructure organizations across industries and around the globe are leveraging the power of LumenRT for NVIDIA  Omniverse, powered by iTwin, a solution enabling infrastructure organizations to create compelling visualizations and project deliverables with unprecedented speed and quality, make better-informed decisions, and win more projects.

LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse is the first engineering software application in the market built on Omniverse, a platform for creating and operating industrial metaverse applications. The integration of NVIDIA Omniverse and Bentley iTwin enables real-time, immersive 3D/4D experiences to enhance the visualization and simulation of infrastructure digital twins. The combined capabilities are delivering new possibilities and incredible results for some of the world’s largest and most complex infrastructure projects.

An early adopter of LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse is Brigantium Engineering, an engineering and consulting services contractor working on the ITER project in southern France, where 35 nations are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak and the first fusion device to produce net positive energy output across the plasma. Although the official language on the ITER project is English, there are more than 45 native languages spoken in the head office. Further complicating coordination, not all participants are accustomed to interpreting 2D drawings and Gantt charts.

To overcome these language and communication barriers, Brigantium is leveraging LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse to provide an interactive 4D model that is intuitively understood by everyone, vastly improving and streamlining communication. Brigantium expects that this increase in user engagement and improved feedback will result in profoundly improved cross-departmental communications, quicker execution times, reduced errors, and less lost time, amounting to overall team efficiency gains of up to 80%.

“The power of LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse, combined with the iTwin Platform, will allow our project teams to effortlessly combine models from multiple design tools and instantly create high-fidelity, engineering-accurate visualizations that communicate the design intent of the project. These kinds of visualizations are critical to project communications,” said Lynton Sutton, Managing Director, Brigantium Engineering. “In the past we relied on specialists devoting valuable time and effort toward creating these essential project deliverables. It was inefficient, but necessary. Now, with LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse, everyone on the project can create compelling visualizations in less time and of higher quality than previously possible.”

LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse is also bringing innovation to the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (TWRP) being built by PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency. A giant step toward closing the water loop for Singapore, the TWRP is a one-of-a-kind, multidiscipline mega project to build a treatment facility for industrial and household wastewater. A project of this scope and complexity presents major challenges in coordination and communication across 16 different contractors on designs and construction representing 3,500 separate BIM models. “Preparing for monthly stakeholder review sessions with our client used to be quite time consuming – to assemble and align all the model data and to create renderings and videos to share with the client. With the BIM model management of ProjectWise powered by iTwin, assembling the data is effortless,” said OhSung Kwan, TWRP BIM Manager, with Jacobs. “With LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse, preparing renderings and videos takes much less time and we can explore more options with immersive VR. With these solutions together, we have reduced our preparation time for model review sessions, saving project costs and allowing more time to focus on collaboration with our client.”

By leveraging the iTwin federated model for visualization, LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse enables rapid change propagation that simplifies visualization workflows by linking directly to a single federated infrastructure digital twin so when changes occur, they are synchronized automatically, which allows the project stakeholders to review safety, quality, and design changes. Project teams can also create immersive virtual-reality and augmented-reality design experiences for stakeholders, a capability that has become increasingly sought after for visualizing industrial-scale projects. As projects become larger and more complex, such virtual-reality and augmented-reality design experiences offer a more compelling way to engage customers in order to win new work, and then to sustain the win by keeping stakeholders informed and engaged.

While Brigantium and PUB are benefiting from improved communication and collaboration, engineering professional services firm WSP finds LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse and the iTwin Platform instrumental for winning new projects and maintaining stakeholder engagement. WSP is utilizing LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse to produce compelling visualizations for the multibillion-dollar I-5 Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) Project between Oregon and Washington in the United States. The existing Interstate Bridge serves as a vital trade route for regional, national, and international economies, but the aging infrastructure is inadequate for modern traffic and is also at risk of collapse in the event of a major earthquake.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) are supporting the use of a digital twin developed on the iTwin Platform throughout the full program cycle, from public outreach with conceptual design, through detailed design, into construction, and eventually for continuous operations and asset management. One of the many advantages to this approach is that it enables WSP to sync change sets and seamlessly and rapidly generate updated visualizations without time-consuming imports and exports.

“WSP has committed to using infrastructure digital twins for all the benefits they provide, not the least of which is being able to create compelling visualizations quickly and easily, first to win the work and then sustain the win by keeping stakeholders informed and engaged throughout the project,” said Tom Coleman, Vice President, WSP USA. “Bentley’s workflows in the conceptual phase allowed us to engage stakeholders sooner and more effectively. We were able to produce many times more conceptual designs than we ever could in traditional methods. The team produced well over 30 conceptual designs for the client to evaluate.”

These are only the first of many success stories likely to come from the now public availability of LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse.

“The results being achieved by the early adopter users of LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse demonstrate a unique advantage for project teams working with infrastructure digital twins by providing powerful new digital twin-native workflows that make visualization advantageous to apply on projects of every scale,” said Lori Hufford, Vice President, engineering collaboration, with Bentley.

The combination of iTwin and NVIDIA Omniverse provides an unmatched, high-performance user experience for infrastructure organizations at a scale that has previously not been possible. ProjectWise, powered by iTwin, leverages Bentley’s infrastructure schemas to semantically align design file data across multiple disciplines, mapping the information to a common schema that is open and extensible. The result is that all data is retained and not lost along the way as an asset moves from one phase to the next.

“Creating project visualizations during work-in-progress can be extremely time consuming, particularly as we need to combine or isolate different disciplines, assemblies, or specific parts of the model, which has meant a lot of juggling of files and separate, manual partitioning of models and one-off visualizations,” said Jarred Myburg, Development Manager – design tools & visualization, Hatch Ltd, another early adopter. “The alignment of model data by iTwin made it easy to employ LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse to streamline creation of visualizations of various parts of the model at different stages and tell a compelling story much more quickly, making visualizations much more effective to employ throughout projects.”

“The scale and complexity of the infrastructure projects described here demonstrate the need for AI-enhanced real-time visualizations to support the successful execution and delivery of these projects through improved communication across multiple stakeholders — iTwin and NVIDIA Omniverse help to solve these problems,” said Richard Kerris, Vice President of the Omniverse developer ecosystem, with NVIDIA.

NVIDIA Omniverse provides a graphics pipeline for AI-enhanced, real-time visualization, and simulation of infrastructure digital twins, allowing engineering-grade, millimeter-accurate digital content to be visualized with photorealistic lighting and environmental effects on multiple devices, including web browsers, workstations, tablets, and virtual-reality and augmented-reality headsets, from anywhere in the world.

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Veira Group to manufacture India’s first 75″ Mini LED Google TV with Nano cell technology

Fri, 03/24/2023 - 17:26

Veira Group, India’s largest ODM for Smart TVs, has obtained the Mini LED TV Nano-cell technology to manufacture large Size 75″ Google TV screens for the Indian market and internal. The move marks yet another step forward in Veira’s journey to incorporate cutting-edge features and technologies into all its products, achieving numerous firsts in the Indian market. The innovation aims to create an intuitive TV experience that caters to the new Indian customer. The Smart TVs will be manufactured in its new expansive manufacturing facility in Phase 2, Noida, which will include a specialised assembly line for this technology.

Veira proposes manufacturing over 10,000 Mini LED Google TVs in India using Nanocell technology. The Mini LED TVs have a 4K nanocell resolution and a brightness of more than 700 Nits. Furthermore, the Nanocell TVs include the most recent Dolby solutions like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The smart TV will deliver multidimensional immersive sound at 40W. Overall, a powerful combination that provides a more realistic movie-watching experience.

The first 75″ Mini LED Google TV in India raises the bar for Smart TVs. Sharan Maini, Director of Operations at Veira Group, said, “As one of the largest & oldest ODMs for manufacturing smart TVs, we at Veira understand the pulse and needs of the evolving Indian audience. The Indian market is shifting towards premium content paired with a premium viewing experience on a larger screen, with digital content and OTT becoming increasingly appealing to Indian consumers. Recognising this, we are pleased to be the first ODM to obtain Mini LED TV Nano-cell technology to the Indian Consumer.

“Veira is preparing its infrastructure and R&D facilities to fulfil the requirement apart from making Indian manufacturers at par with the international ones to compete at the global stage.” he further adds.

Veira recently announced that it had begun producing and manufacturing Web OS Hub 2.0 Smart TVs for the Indian Smart TV market, as well as Linux-based Coolita 2.0 solutions.

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Videotex to exhibit its Smart TV Solutions at the Convergence India Expo, Delhi

Fri, 03/24/2023 - 17:10

Over four decades old, Videotex International, India’s leading ODM/OEM for manufacturing Smart TVs and the first licensed webOS Hub Smart TVs manufacturer in India, to participate and exhibit in India’s largest Tech & Infra expo to be held from 27th March to 29th March 2023, Pragati Maidan, Delhi. Shri. Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Govt of India to grace the occasion with his presence as the Chief Guest.

Videotex has consistently worked to bring cutting-edge solutions to the Indian smart TV industry, and will showcase the entire range of 32 to 75-inch smart TVs available in HD, Full HD, and 4K. The company will focus on the webOS TV solutions, which already has more than 15 leading TV brands onboarded for manufacturing. Videotex booth will bring an experiential experience to the visitors.

“We are thrilled to participate in the 30th edition of the Convergence India expo. It is the perfect place to discover, connect and explore. We are looking forward to network with the industry players and give them a first-hand experience of Videotex technologies and offerings.” says Arjun Bajaj, Director, Videotex International.

The Convergence India 2023 expo expects 1,000 participants from 40 countries, over 200 start-ups from across India, 100 senior speakers from government and industry, and 50,000 visitors over a period of three days. The expo will also be graced by the presence of Ministers and senior dignitaries from the Government of India, along with industry leaders, Smart City CEOs, city planners, Mayors, Ambassadors and stakeholders from India and around the globe.

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Rohde & Schwarz launches new EMI test receiver for emission measurements up to 30 MHz at the EMV 2023 in Stuttgart

Fri, 03/24/2023 - 17:00

The R&S EPL1000 is a compact, complete and CISPR 16-1-1 compliant test receiver for quick and precise EMI measurements up to 30 MHz. The additional spectrum analyzer and signal and tracking generator make the R&S EPL1000 ideal for various lab applications. The new EMI test receiver will be shown at EMV 2023 Stuttgart for the first time.

Rohde & Schwarz demonstrates the new R&S EPL1000 EMI test receiver for reliable certification measurements with minimum test times at EMV 2023 Stuttgart. The R&S EPL 1000 is CISPR 16-1-1 compliant and suitable for certification measurements. The instrument also reduces uncertainty in pre-compliance measurement tasks. The very fast time domain scan lets the R&S EPL1000 check all frequencies in CISPR bands A or B in a single shot for quick and seamless measurements over extended periods of time whenever desired or necessary. A user friendly GUI helps EMC engineers quickly find infrequent emissions and gain a good overview. Reproducible and standard compliant test results enable ensure high product quality.

The R&S EPL1000 has a pulse protected input. An autoranging function prevents the overloading of the signal processing chain to ensure correct measurement results. Built-in preselection ensures a high dynamic range and enables the acquisition of short pulses. For detailed signal analysis, the R&S EPL1000 has spectrogram and IF analysis functions. Automation simplifies measurements and ensures exact reproducibility of test sequences. For example, all lines connected to a Rohde & Schwarz LISN can be checked for CISPR bands A and B at the push of a button. Results are automatically compared with configured limit values and the R&S EPL1000 displays the result for the entire measurement as PASS/FAIL. The integrated report generator allows the result and measurement details to be easily saved and printed.

The additional spectrum analyzer functions help with a detailed EMI analysis. An optional integrated continuous wave signal generator with a tracking generator function characterizes used accessories and cables without the need to use an external signal generator. In addition to the standard mains supply, the compact test receiver can be run on 12/24 V DC or battery, making it very flexible and portable.

The R&S EPL1000 is ideal for conducted voltage and current emission measurements. The frequency range to 30 MHz is ideal for testing commercial products against ISO, EN, CISPR and FCC standards. The R&S EPL1000 supports product certification, precertification, measurements during product development phases and market surveillance.

The R&S EPL1000 can be used with the R&S ELEKTRA EMC test software. R&S ELEKTRA helps minimize test times and simplifies configuring test systems and running test procedures in line with the EMC standards. The instrument speeds up test execution and provides comprehensive and customizable test reports.

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Renesas’ New RZ/T2L Industrial MPU Enables Fast and Accurate Real-Time Control with EtherCAT Communication

Fri, 03/24/2023 - 16:44

Software Compatibility with Other Renesas MPUs/MCUs Allows Developers to Seamlessly Implement Scalable Design

Renesas Electronics, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced a new industrial microprocessor (MPU) that supports the EtherCAT communication protocol, achieving high-speed, accurate real-time control for industrial systems. The RZ/T2L MPU inherits the hardware architecture of its higher-end product, the RZ/T2M, and provides optimized solutions for the fast-growing EtherCAT communication market. The new MPU delivers high-speed and accurate real-time processing performance required for AC servo drives, inverters, industrial robots, collaborative robots and others, while reducing the chip size by up to 50% compared to the RZ/T2M. The new device is ideal for factory automation (FA) and a broad range of applications such as medical equipment and building automation (BA), where EtherCAT is increasingly becoming adopted.

“Accurate real-time control is essential to improving productivity and product quality in industrial systems,” said Hitoshi Shirakabe, Vice President of Renesas’ Industrial Automation Business Division. “Our RZ/T2L can make this a reality, and with its support for the rapidly expanding EtherCAT market, it will elevate the performance to the next level and accelerate the automation of factories and buildings, as well as medical devices.”

“For decades we are committed to providing engineers with the best in class development tools for the latest Renesas MCUs and MPUs to enable their embedded innovations of tomorrow,” said Norbert Weiss, Managing Director of Lauterbach GmbH, leading supplier of debug and trace tools. “Thanks to our great partnership with Renesas, industrial customers of the RZ/T2L MPU will also get highly reliable tools and excellent support from the beginning.”

Single-Chip Solution for Accurate Real-time Control and EtherCAT Communication

The RZ/T2L is equipped with an Arm Cortex-R52 CPU with a maximum operating frequency of 800 MHz and a proven EtherCAT slave controller designed by Beckhoff Automation for Ethernet communication. All internal RAM of the RZ/T2L is equipped with the ECC (Error Correction Code) function as required by industrial applications. Additionally, the large (576 KB) memory directly connected to the CPU reduces unpredictability in execution time that can be caused by cache memory and enables reliable, deterministic processing. The RZ/T2L also offers peripheral functions such as multi-protocol encoder interfaces for angle sensors, Sigma-Delta interfaces, and A/D converters. These are arranged on a dedicated low-latency peripheral port (LLPP) bus directly connected to the CPU to achieve fast and accurate real-time control capabilities.

Scalable Product Deployment for a Wide Range of End Systems  

The RZ/T2L uses the same architecture including the CPU, peripheral functions, and internal bus, as Renesas’ most high-end motor control MPU, RZ/T2M to realize the same performance level. In addition, Renesas offers the Flexible Software Package (FSP) and software development environment that are compatible with other RZ Family MPUs and RA Family MCUs, allowing engineers to preserve their software assets. This reduces development efforts and costs and facilitates scalable development of a wide array of products.

Functional Safety and Security Function Support for Industrial Equipment

The RZ/T2L can be used as a functional safety MPU to meet the growing processing requirements to realize functional safety in industrial equipment. Renesas will provide self-diagnostic software and SIL3 system software kits in Q4/2023, which allow customers to reduce development efforts and costs to develop functional safety systems. In addition, the RZ/T2L supports various security functions such as secure boot, secure firmware update, JTAG authentication, unique ID, and cryptographic accelerator to reduce the risk of data breach and tampering of user programs. Renesas will offer the security software package as part of a security solution in May 2023.

RZ/T2L Winning Combinations

Renesas has showcased the capability and features of the RZ/T2L by combining with various Renesas devices such as power management ICs, photocouplers, Sigma-Delta modulators, and EEPROM to provide an optimized AC Servo Solution with integrated high-precision motor control and EtherCAT. This solution comes with reference circuits, Gerber files, and sample program code to accelerate product development for applications such as AC servos, industrial gateways, and remote I/O. Renesas’ Winning Combinations are built on technically vetted system architectures of mutually compatible devices that work together seamlessly to create an optimized, low-risk design for a faster time to market. Renesas offers more than 300 Winning Combinations with a wide range of products.

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Infineon AIROC CYW20829 Bluetooth LE SoC ready with latest Bluetooth 5.4 specification

Fri, 03/24/2023 - 16:39

Infineon Technologies announced its AIROC CYW20829 Bluetooth LE system on chip (SoC) is ready with the newly released Bluetooth 5.4 specification. With the right combination of low power and high performance, AIROC CYW20829 is designed to support the entire spectrum of Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) use cases including smart home, sensors, medical healthcare, lighting, Bluetooth Mesh networks, remote controls, human interface devices (mouse, keyboard, VR and gaming controllers), industrial automation, and automotive.

The recently released Bluetooth Core Specification 5.4 adds several significant capabilities to the existing specification, including PAwR (Periodic Advertising with Response), Encrypted Advertisement Data (EAD) and LE GATT Security Levels Characteristic. PAwR enables energy-efficient, bi-directional communication in a large-scale one-to-many or star topology. EAD provides a standardized approach to the secure broadcasting of data in advertising packets.

With PAwR, thousands of Bluetooth 5.4-enabled Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) and sensors will have bidirectional communication with a single access point. Messages can contain commands, sensor data values, or other data, as defined by the application layer. EAD enables the encrypted data over-the-star network to be authenticated and decrypted only by devices that have shared the session key previously. Additionally, LE GATT Security Levels Characteristic enables devices to identify the security mode and level for all their GATT functionality. The combination of these features enable ultra-low power, efficient radio usage and secure star networks that can be deployed in large scale ESL and sensor applications.

“With Infineon’s AIROC CYW20829 Bluetooth LE SoC, our customers can achieve great RF performance, the latest Bluetooth features, built-in security, rich set of peripherals, and low power, all in one device,” said Shantanu Bhalerao, Vice President of the Bluetooth product line at Infineon. “This device will enable our customers to enjoy the full benefits of Bluetooth 5.4 and get products faster-to-market.”

Infineon’s AIROC CYW20829 device has best-in-class RF link budget with an integrated power amplifier providing 10 dBm of transmit output power and receive sensitivity of -98 dBm for LE 1Mbps and -106 dBm for LE Long Range 125 Kbps. CYW20829 is a dual-core Arm® M33 device where one M33 core is reserved as the Bluetooth controller, and the second Arm® Cortex-M33 is available for customer applications. The CPU subsystem provides 256 K RAM, XIP interface for external flash, and a rich set of peripherals including CAN to enable a diverse set of applications. Built-in security features include secure boot, secure execution environment, a TRNG, eFuse for custom keys and cryptography acceleration.

The AIROC CYW20829 is supported by the ModusToolbox development environment which enables developers to accelerate time-to-market for Bluetooth-enabled IoT solutions.

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Renesas to Acquire Panthronics to Extend Connectivity Portfolio with Near-Field Communication Technology

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 09:46

Enhanced Connectivity Portfolio to Capture Growing Market Opportunities for Fintech, IoT, Asset Tracking, and Wireless Charging 

Renesas Electronics, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, announced its wholly owned subsidiary has entered into a definitive agreement with the shareholders of Panthronics AG (“Panthronics”), a fabless semiconductor company specializing in high-performance wireless products, under which Renesas will acquire Panthronics in an all-cash transaction. The acquisition will enrich Renesas’ portfolio of connectivity technology, extending its reach into high-demand Near-Field Communication (NFC) applications in fintech, IoT, asset tracking, wireless charging, and automotive applications.

NFC has emerged as a de facto standard in the digital economy and touches many aspects of daily life. Fintech, such as mobile point-of-sale (mPoS) terminals and contactless payment, IoT, asset tracking, and wireless charging are highlights of NFC’s increasing presence. Headquartered in Graz, Austria, Panthronics has been offering advanced NFC chipsets and software that are easy to apply, innovative, small-in-size, and highly efficient for payment, IoT, and NFC wireless charging. Renesas and Panthronics have been addressing the rising demand of NFC as partners since 2018. Acquiring Panthronics’ competitive NFC technology will provide Renesas with in-house capability to instantly capture growing and emerging market opportunities for NFC.

Combining Panthronics’ NFC technology with Renesas’ broad product portfolio and security functions in microcontrollers (MCU) / microprocessors (MPU) will provide Renesas’ wide customer base with a multitude of options to create innovative, ready-to-market NFC system solutions. Renesas and Panthronics have already launched four joint designs of NFC system solutions to date. These include solutions catering for mPoS terminalswireless charging, and wall box smart metering platforms. The companies have also developed an NFC connectivity board that is fully integrated into the Renesas Quick-Connect Studio ecosystem, which allows customers to add features quickly and easily to MCU development boards. This enables a “plug and play” addition of full-featured, high-end NFC connectivity. Several more systems for PoS, IoT, wireless charging, and mobile are in development. Furthermore, the merits of Panthronics’ technology are also expected to be leveraged for Renesas’ automotive solutions, such as digital key management.

“Connectivity has been a priority area of ours, expanding and differentiating the realm of solutions we offer,” said Hidetoshi Shibata, President and CEO of Renesas. “We see tremendous opportunities for Panthronics’ NFC connectivity technology to benefit our customers in growing areas that span across fintech, IoT, and automotive spheres.”

The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of Renesas and is expected to close by the end of the calendar year 2023, subject to required regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

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Infineon and Delta Electronics to collaborate on electromobility; MoU extends long-term partnership from industrial to automotive applications

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 09:43

Infineon Technologies, global leader in automotive semiconductors, and Delta Electronics, Inc., the world-leading power and energy management company based in Taiwan, are expanding their long-term cooperation from industrial to automotive applications. Both companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will deepen their joint innovation activities to provide more efficient and higher-density solutions for the fast-growing market of electric vehicles (EV). The agreement covers a wide range of components such as high-voltage and low-voltage discretes and modules as well as microcontrollers to be used in EV drivetrain applications such as traction inverters, DC-DC converters and on-board chargers.

In addition, both parties agreed to set up a joint innovation lab for automotive applications. The Delta-Infineon Automotive Innovation Center will be co-managed by both companies. It is scheduled to be set up in Pingzhen, Taiwan in the second half of 2023.

“Infineon and Delta share the common goal of developing increasingly energy-efficient and CO2-saving solutions that support global decarbonization efforts,” said Peter Schiefer, President of Infineon’s Automotive division. “We want to further advance the energy efficiency of electromobility together by combining Infineon’s comprehensive automotive product portfolio and application know-how with Delta’s expertise in integration and system optimization. Ensuring the energy efficiency of automotive applications is of paramount importance in our time and we are committed to further improving it.”

“Infineon is a trusted partner of Delta. Over the past 25 years we have successfully collaborated in the area of industrial products. We are now looking forward to extending this partnership to electromobility,” said James Tang, Corporate Vice President of Delta Electronics. “We see a growing demand in the automotive industry for innovative, clean and energy-efficient solutions. Together with Infineon, we are committed to support the global transition to electromobility with our products and solutions and to bring electromobility to a whole new level.”

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Videotex to exhibit its Smart TV Solutions at Convergence India Expo, Delhi

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 09:38

Over four decades old, Videotex International, India’s leading ODM/OEM for manufacturing Smart TVs and the first licensed webOS Hub Smart TVs manufacturer in India, to participate and exhibit in India’s largest Tech and Infra expo to be held from 27th March to 29th March 2023, Pragati Maidan, Delhi. Shri. Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Govt of India to grace the occasion with his presence as the Chief Guest.

Videotex has consistently working to bring cutting-edge solutions to the Indian smart TV industry, and will showcase the entire range of 32 to 75-inch smart TVs available in HD, Full HD, and 4K. The company will focus on the webOS TV solutions, which already has more than 15 leading TV brands onboarded for manufacturing. Videotex booth will bring an experiential experience to the visitors.

“We are thrilled to participate in the 30th edition of the Convergence India expo. It is the perfect place to discover, connect and explore. We are looking forward to network with the industry players and give them a first-hand experience of Videotex technologies and offerings.” says Arjun Bajaj, Director, Videotex International.

The Convergence India 2023 expo expects 1,000 participants from 40 countries, over 200 start-ups from across India, 100 senior speakers from government and industry, and 50,000 visitors over a period of three days. The expo will also be graced by the presence of Ministers and senior dignitaries from the Government of India, along with industry leaders, Smart City CEOs, city planners, Mayors, Ambassadors and stakeholders from India and around the globe.

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Seco Tools 3D manufacturing creates new opportunities

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 11:28

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, allows Seco Tools to create products that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to manufacture. The advantages include shorter lead times, improved tool life and increased sustainability.

The development and manufacture of prototypes for metal-cutting machining by means of additive manufacturing (AM) is becoming increasingly commonplace in the operations of Seco Tools. One of the main strengths of this manufacturing method is the possibility of making specialized customer-specific tools and solutions that are difficult to achieve through conventional manufacturing. Above all, AM technology will come into its own when producing tools that must be designed in a special way. This may involve complex geometries or other customizations to customer-specific needs.

Examples of such customizations include making the tools lighter, which improves the vibration-dampening properties, or provide them with better cooling possibilities. “By directing the coolant to hit the cutting edge at just the right place, we can significantly extend the tool’s useful life. With AM technology, coolant can be guided to locations that would otherwise have been impossible,” explains Ingemar Bite, R&D Specialist at Seco Tools, who also believes that AM technology is helping to shorten lead times. “AM allows for us to produce geometries that require less manufacturing steps, which often results in shorter lead times and thereby, faster deliveries.”

Increased sustainability
AM technology will also open up the possibility of repairing broken tools in the future, by removing dysfunctional components and printing them anew. This could, for example, involve tool components or the reuse of different types of machine-side connections. This is particularly a good idea in terms of the environment and sustainability. Another advantage with AM technology, compared with traditional manufacturing in this context, is that there is less waste of materials. Overall, not as much material is used for AM manufacturing and any leftover powder can be reused.

Additive manufacturing could thus be a time-efficient and cost-efficient method for one-of-a-kind production and prototype development. However, it could also work excellent for large-scale manufacture of standard products. Seco Tools is already manufacturing cooling clamps for its Jetstream tools through 3D printing. “The cooling clamps have a complex form with curved cooling channels and are thus well-suited to this type of manufacture,” says Ingemar Bite.

Continuous improvements
The R&D department at Seco Tools works continuously to improve the use of AM technology for the development and manufacture of new and existing products. The company is constantly looking into ways to improve its products and how to best utilize AM technology. “We like to collaborate with our customers on these efforts and to conduct tests together with them,” says Ingemar Bite, who is of the opinion that even the materials can be

developed. “The materials that are currently used in AM are no different in nature than those being used in conventional manufacturing, and the technology works well with many different metals. In the future, we will add even more and superior materials, while regularly adapting our equipment and upgrading hardware and software as needed,” he concludes.

Different methods can be used for additive manufacturing; the one that Seco Tools uses is called SLM (Selective Laser Melting). Here, lasers and a bed of metal powder are used to construct the products. In an SLM machine, a roughly 20–60 µm layer of powder is spread, and then processed by a laser. This process is repeated, layer by layer. Once all the layers are in place, the excess powder is removed and the product goes into post-processing for its final form.

Finishing Hybrid AM Tool on HSK100

Coolant Clamp Mounted in Turning Tool

With its origins in Fagersta, Sweden and present in more than 75 countries, Seco Tools is a leading global solution provider of metal cutting solutions for indexable milling, solid milling, turning, holemaking, threading and tooling systems. With the hands-on application advice of Seco Tools, the company drives excellence for more than 80 years throughout the entire manufacturing process of manufacturers by ensuring high-precision machining and high-quality output.

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Rohde & Schwarz Oscilloscope Days 2023 deliver expertise for day-to-day testing challenges

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 11:21

Engineers across the globe will once again have the opportunity to attend online theoretical and practical sessions and interactive discussions during the two-day Oscilloscope Days event, hosted by Rohde & Schwarz in April 2023. Experts will present the latest challenges in the industry and dive into how next-generation oscilloscopes meet daily testing needs, as well as educational sessions about oscilloscope fundamentals.

Following increasing global interest from electronics engineers, the popular Rohde & Schwarz Oscilloscope Days event will continue in 2023. The two-day event is scheduled for April 18 and 19 and will present a series of webinars from Rohde & Schwarz oscilloscope experts and specialists along with others from event partners Würth Elektronik and PE-Systems. The sessions will address the real-world challenges engineers face in a range of measurement applications.

Besides practical demonstrations of oscilloscope fundamentals, webinar attendees can meet experts from Rohde & Schwarz and partners. The Oscilloscopes Days event is free of charge with live webcasts streamed in English, German, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.

Over the two days, attendees can learn about best practices for oscilloscope use as well as the latest on testing fundamentals. Each session lasts about 90 minutes with four sessions covering: Oscilloscope and probing fundamentals; Best practices on power electronics filter design and verification; How does power integrity affect signal integrity and which tools can be used for debugging; and Application based testing for power electronics and EMC debugging on flyback converters.

Andreas Grimm, Sales Director Global Oscilloscopes at Rohde & Schwarz, said, “Oscilloscopes are fundamental measurement tool for electronics engineers. As a manufacturer of state-of-the-art oscilloscopes, we aim to help engineers make the most of these universal instruments. Our popular Oscilloscope Days event offers interesting topics for everyone. Educational presentations look at the fundamentals for those new to the profession while other sessions examine the latest techniques and technologies. The event will give engineers the in-depth knowledge they need to meet an ever wider range of measurement challenges.”

For further information and to register for the Oscilloscopes Days event, please visit: https://www.rohde-schwarz.com/oscilloscope-days

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Quantum materials will power the electronics of the future

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 11:17

A research group has designed new quantum materials that can control the dynamics of electrons by curving the fabric of space in which they evolve.

The researchers, from the universities of Salerno, Utrecht and Delft, concluded that developing new information and communication technologies poses challenges in the industry. Designing these new quantum materials is the most promising way to meet these challenges.

These properties are of interest for next-generation electronic devices, including future optoelectronics.

How will these materials work in modern electronics?

Future telecommunications will require compelling electronic devices. They must be capable of processing electromagnetic signals in the picosecond range at unprecedented speeds, such as one-thousandth of a billionth of a second.

Current semiconductor materials, such as silicon – used in the electronic components of our telephones, computers, and game consoles – cannot produce these signals. Therefore, the scientists focused on a new set of quantum materials.

Thanks to their unique properties – such as the collective reactions of the electrons that compose them – these quantum materials have been developed to capture, manipulate and transmit information-carrying signals within new electronic devices. Moreover, they can operate in electromagnetic frequency ranges that have not yet been explored, opening the way to high-speed communication systems. This is a huge advance for quantum technology.

“One of the most fascinating properties of quantum matter is that electrons can evolve in a curved space. Due to this distortion of the space inhabited by the electrons, the force fields generate dynamics totally absent in conventional materials. This is an outstanding application of the principle of quantum superposition,” explained Andrea Caviglia, a professor at the Department of Quantum Matter Physics in the Faculty of Science of the UNIGE.

Controlling the curvature of the space fabric

After an initial theoretical study, the team designed a set of quantum materials in which the curvature of the space fabric is controllable.

“We have designed an interface hosting an extremely thin layer of free electrons. It is sandwiched between strontium titanate and lanthanum aluminate, which are two insulating oxides,” said Carmine Ortix, professor at the University of Salerno and coordinator of the theoretical study. This combination allows us to obtain particular electronic geometrical configurations which can be controlled on demand.

The research team used an advanced system for fabricating materials on an atomic scale to achieve this. Using laser pulses, each layer of atoms was stacked one after another.

In their paper, the researchers stated: “This method allowed us to create special combinations of atoms in space that affect the behaviour of the material.”

While the prospect of using these quantum materials in technology is still far off, this new material opens up new avenues in the exploration of very high-speed electromagnetic signal manipulation. These results can also be used to develop new sensors. The next step for the research team will be to observe further how this material reacts to high electromagnetic frequencies to determine, more precisely, its potential applications.

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ArkX Labs Touchless Voice Solutions Expands Distribution with EDOM Technology in Asia and India

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 11:10

ArkX Laboratories, a leading provider of advanced far-field voice capture and speech recognition technology, has added EDOM Technology to its expanded global distribution and sales network. Headquarters located in Taipei, EDOM represents ArkX Labs’ portfolio of production-ready EveryWord touchless voice technologies in the greater China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and India regions.

“We are excited to welcome EDOM Technologies to the ArkX Network,” said Tom Huffman, VP of Channel Sales for ArkX Labs. “With EDOM’s deep technical expertise and experienced management team, they are an ideal partner for our advanced voice capture and control product line.”

“EDOM is pleased to introduce ArkX Labs’ EveryWord portfolio to our clients,” said Wayne Tseng, Chairman of EDOM Technology. “Their advanced far-field voice technology is a great addition to our offerings. We look forward to cooperating with ArkX and providing clients with advanced voice control solutions for smart home and industrial applications.”

Featuring Cirrus Logic’s SoundClear FlexArray and Sensory technologies, the EveryWord portfolio includes an Audio Front End (AFE) Module, a Voice Module (System-on-Module + AFE), Development Kit, and Sensory Voice Control.

ArkX’s production-ready voice capture solutions outperform existing solutions in far-field voice capture and deliver a far-superior voice experience to consumers by capturing voice commands from three times the standard distance, around corners, in noisy and reflective environments, and without lowering playback volume.

Additionally, EveryWord technology provides a unique ability to identify and suppress speech from T.V. or other single-point noise sources.

EveryWord voice solutions can be customized for a company’s eco-system and applied to various products, including speakers, soundbars, televisions, appliances, voice controllers, and gadgets. The modules can be installed in hubs, ceilings, and in-wall for smart home or office applications.

EveryWord technology does not require source-ducking for reliable interaction, provides linear, circular, square, triangular, or 3-D mic array geometries, and requires fewer microphones. The technology features ultra-low power battery operation for wake-on-word, and the flexibility for placement of microphones allows for in-wall, ceiling, or dashboard solutions. The 3D mic array (unlike others’ linear beam-forming approach) enables fewer blind spots and increased performance while incorporating fewer redundant microphone arrays for coverage.

All ArkX solutions are Alexa-compatible and meet or exceed all requirements for the Amazon Voice Services (AVS) qualifications. In addition to Alexa, EveryWord is compatible with other platforms such as Google, Siri, Cortana, AliGenie, Baidu/Kitt.ai, Tencent, and Sensory.

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Mouser Electronics Supports FIRST Robotics Competition, Nurtures Future Engineers and Innovators

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 11:06

Mouser Electronics is excited to announce its continued sponsorship of FIRST Robotics Competition, which inspires innovation and fosters well-rounded life capabilities in tens of thousands of young people every year. During the 2022-23 FIRST Robotics Competition season, nearly 100,000 high-school students on more than 3,400 teams from across the world are learning, discovering, and solving engineering challenges through a series of robotics events.

“Since our founding, education has been a main facet of Mouser’s mission,” said Kevin Hess, Mouser’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “We are very honored to once again be a sponsor of FIRST Robotics Competition, which we have proudly supported for a decade. The organization gives students around the world a platform for innovation, a chance to learn valuable engineering skills, and an opportunity to build character and self-esteem.”

Since 2014, Mouser has been a major supporter of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education through hands-on robotics programs. Mouser sponsors FIRST virtual and live competitions at the local, regional, state, and international levels. Joining Mouser in the sponsorship is valued manufacturer partner Analog Devices, Inc.

The global authorized distributor will be a major presenting co-sponsor of the FIRST® in Texas/UIL State Robotics Championships, planned for April 6-8 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. Mouser also supports FIRST teams in its community, providing grants for local high school teams.

Additionally, Mouser will continue its exclusive sponsorship of the Hall of Fame at the 2023 FIRST Championship, April 19-21 in Houston\. The Hall of Fame honors the winning FIRST Robotics Competition teams of the esteemed Impact Award, which rewards the teams who best exemplify the goals and values of FIRST.

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Mouser-Backed DS PENSKE Team Readies for First-Ever Formula E Race in Brazil

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 10:54

Mouser Electronics is excited to cheer on the DS PENSKE Formula E race team in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for round 6 of the 2022-23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The race, which will be on March 25, will mark the first time the series makes a stop in Brazil.

The track in Sao Paulo will consist of three long straights connected by tricky chicanes with a total of 14 turns and a total distance of 2.96 KM. Sharp breaking and exciting chances to pass will keep everyone on their toes. Team drivers for the Sao Paulo race are Season 8 Champion Stoffel Vandoorne and two-time Formula E Champion Jean-Éric Vergne, fresh off his second-place finish in Cape Town, South Africa.

Mouser is supporting the DS PENSKE team for the globe-trekking 2022–23 season, in collaboration with TTI, Inc. and valued manufacturers Molex and KYOCERA AVX. Mouser and Molex have been partnering to sponsor Formula E racing since 2015.

Formula E is an international, fully electric street racing series the aspires to accelerate change towards an electric future, one race and one city at a time. Using the spectacle of world-class sport, The Formula E series sends a powerful and meaningful message to help alter perceptions and speed up the switch to electric mobility. Using the very latest technology, the DS Performance Team has stretched the boundaries of efficiency and performance with the DS E-TENSE powertrain and software. Racing is all about speed and endurance, and racing sponsorships are an innovative way for Mouser to communicate its performance-driven business model and promote the newest technologies from its manufacturer partners.

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Why Expanding the Potential of MCUs Needs a New Way of Thinking

Tue, 03/21/2023 - 21:20
Brendon Slade, Director General Purpose MCU Ecosystem, NXP

Microcontrollers (MCUs) have undergone numerous technological advances, from hardware cryptography to sophisticated graphics capabilities, and yet, in all of this time, software development has struggled to keep up. In this blog, learn about the challenges engineers face when it comes to software development on MCU platforms, how NXP plans to solve these challenges and why the power of choice is an essential part of the future for MCUs.

New Hardware Capabilities, Old Software Development

As with all electronics, microcontrollers have undergone massive changes since the first MCUs were introduced in the 1970s. The first truly commercially viable MCUs, such as the ubiquitous 8051, were based on 8-bit technologies and incorporated a few timers, a UART port, ADC, and if lucky, a DAC. These devices were incredibly simple, easy to understand, had a minimal instruction set and could be used easily with low-level languages, such as assembler.

Fast forward to 2023 and MCUs have undergone massive changes, with significantly larger memories, faster CPUs and countless peripherals ranging from advanced motor control to machine learning (ML) accelerators. However, one of the most significant changes that MCUs have seen is the increase in complexity in their internal architecture, and this has made modern MCUs very challenging to code from scratch without the help of drivers to provide abstraction from the underlying hardware.

To help engineers coding modern MCUs, software solutions and tools are widely available to eliminate the need for register-level programming, including drivers and advanced configuration tools. While these tools are essential for getting projects to work, the software infrastructure used to code MCUs has not advanced to the same degree as the hardware, resulting in a significant technological gap between software and hardware.

What software challenges exist for MCUs?

No matter the platform, software development on MCUs faces a multitude of challenges, including locked platforms, limited portability, fragmentation, lack of open-source support, restrictions to developer freedom and a lack of standardization.

To start, most MCU platforms typically lock engineers to that platform because of the effort involved to port code elsewhere, making it very time consuming to move to another architecture or vendor, even if the processor core (such as Arm® Cortex-M®) used by these platforms is the same. While this may not be problematic for simpler projects that don’t utilize the full capabilities of the MCU or its peripherals, it can be devastating for projects that need to switch to a different manufacturer due to changing hardware requirements. Where OEMs have a broad range of products ranging across price and power needs, using a range of diverse MCUs may be unavoidable so the cost of maintaining what are, essentially, multiple code bases can be very high.

Another software challenge that can affect engineers is the stark differences in IDEs. It is common for engineers to work with numerous devices across various manufacturers as each device will be particularly well suited for specific applications. But with each platform, an engineer must learn how that IDE works, where tools are located and how to get projects running. Thus, it can be immensely time consuming for an engineer to keep up with new changes in each development environment.

Furthermore, it is rare for an MCU vendor to support more than one free IDE platform, and most of these are based around Eclipse, which is recognized as an industry workhorse for software development. Eclipse is a highly popular IDE and has been customized very effectively for ease of use by some vendors, but it can impose extensive CPU and memory resource requirements due to its Java-based core. By comparison, Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is extremely lightweight and fast, explaining why many engineers are choosing it over other development environments.

IAR, and Arm Keil, long-established experts in the premium development tools space, offer IDEs that provide their own spin on specialist debugging capabilities, as well as high-performance optimizing compilers and safety certification. These Platinum-level NXP partners work closely with us to enable support for their tools out of the box with MCUXpresso SDK software packages. Even these development tool powerhouses have acknowledged the popularity and flexibility of Visual Studio Code by introducing support for their compilers such that a hybrid approach to editing and building with this tool can be combined with their specialized debug experiences.

Introducing MCUXpresso for Visual Studio Code

Recognizing the importance of Visual Studio Code to modern developers, NXP has now introduced MCUXpresso for VS Code, an extension that provides full support for our MCUXpresso software drivers and middleware, enabling developers to use the highly popular IDE for fast and responsive coding. In addition to more traditional MCUXpresso SDK flows, this new extension provides full support for developers working with the open-source Zephyr RTOS, providing a much-improved experience over existing solutions.

MCUXpresso for Visual Studio Code Block Diagram

MCUXpresso Hardware Abstraction Layer

To help engineers with code portability among different MCU platforms, NXP is introducing a new Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) to provide developers with a set of APIs that are identical among i.MX RT, LPC5500 and MCX MCUs. With the introduction of this new HAL, NXP MCU code can be fully portable across this broad portfolio of devices, opening up a huge range of choices power/performance points without the barrier of code porting.

While the introduction of a HAL in itself is not new, the fact that it is based on open-source API definitions already in use with other platforms illustrates NXP’s commitment to providing power of choice. With this approach, engineers not only have the freedom to move across different NXP devices, but can even transport their code to other silicon vendors. This flexibility provides the ultimate freedom for designers who can write MCU code that is no longer locked to a single hardware platform, bringing firmware design closer to a device-agnostic future.

NXP and Open-CMSIS-Packs

The use of middleware in MCU solutions is becoming increasingly important. Because of the growing complexity of MCU design and application requirements, engineers are turning to software libraries that can provide advanced features such as graphics processing, network stacks, USB device enumeration, audio capabilities, and even ML/AI. In these cases, trying to incorporate third-party middleware sourced from another company into a project can be extremely challenging as software from one provider may differ in format and style from another. Consequently, several manual steps may be necessary to restructure the external software into the required folders as well as integrating the compilation commands, and these problems may reoccur each time a new library is delivered by the supplier.

To help engineers incorporate middleware into their projects, all the IDEs in the MCUXpresso ecosystem now offer Open-CMSIS-Pack support. These complete software products are packaged using a specific standard and format so that IDEs can automatically identify the contents, add the needed files to a project, configure build tools, and provide access to APIs. As dependencies are incorporated into Open-CMSIS-Packs, engineers do not have to spend hours downloading separate files from different locations, nor do they need to check if the versions downloaded are compatible.

Why Power of Choice Is the Future of MCU Design

Just as the computer industry evolved toward unification and open standards, MCU ecosystems can benefit greatly by following suit, creating a new environment where firmware engineers can write code that will be hardware agnostic. This doesn’t mean that hardware will become less important; if anything, hardware will continue to play a critical role in product design. What will change is that those creating firmware will be able to do so without worrying about code portability, what device is executing their software and how that software interfaces with hardware.

The use of unification and industry standards in MCUs will also enable rapid increases in the adoption of open-source software. If MCU software becomes highly portable, it becomes much easier to share MCU code as it is able to target more platforms. This will help accelerate open-source projects as engineers across different silicon vendors can all jointly develop software solutions for mutual benefit while using their own native platforms.

Introducing open standards for HALs among MCUs will also help encourage new manufacturers to adopt these standards, as their devices will be compatible with most (if not all) existing software solutions. Therefore, new MCUs can be rapidly adopted, thereby increasing the speed at which engineers can use cutting-edge solutions without requiring major new investments in software resources.

This power of choice ultimately will ease fragmentation in the MCU industry, and isn’t that what today’s developers want?

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