Updated: 8/6/08; 7:12:03 AM.
Gary Mintchell's Feed Forward
Manufacturing and Leadership.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The text of our brand new way to report on products. Introducing the Automation Gear Blog. Add this to your RSS feed or your favorites. Kicking off the blog is a new product line from Opto 22.

For anyone who has had to wire control panels, you know that it can be tedious, time-consuming and open to error. Companies have been developing wiring aids for some time. Opto 22 has entered the fray and developed and introduced a family of mounting and wiring accessory for its control and input/output systems. Snap Tex includes a wide variety of terminal extender cables, breakout boards, wiring harnesses, DIN-rail kits, jumper straps, rack adapters, and other mounting and wiring components.

The first products in the new line are Snap Tex cables, six feet (1.8 m) long jacketed, pre-wired cables that provide neat, bundled connections from analog and digital I/O modules to field devices, terminal strips, and breakout boards. Snap Tex cables snap neatly into the tops of Snap I/O modules and terminate with color-coded flying leads, pre-stripped and tipped, ready for wiring.

Three versions of Snap Tex cables are available, varying based on the internal bus connections required by the application. Customers have a choice of cables with even-numbered terminals commoned (Snap-Tex-CBE6), odd-numbered terminals commoned (SNAP-TEX-CBO6), or with wiring straight through (Snap-Tex-CBS6).

Next in the Snap Tex product family are several new breakout boards. The Snap-Tex-32 is a simple 32-channel breakout board with straight-through connections, designed primarily for use with the aforementioned Snap Tex cables and Snap analog or digital I/O modules.

The Snap-Tex-FB16-H and Snap-Tex-FB16-L breakout boards offer 16-channel terminations and provide a fuse and a fuse-blown indicator for each channel. With the use of an external power supply, these breakout boards also bus power to loads. The Snap-Tex-F16-H facilitates 120-240 volts, and the Snap-Tex-F16-L works with 12-24 volts. These breakout boards are used for digital inputs and outputs.

The Snap-Tex-MR10-16 and Snap-Tex-MR10-4 breakout boards are designed for high-current output switching. These boards feature mechanical relays that switch up to 10 amps per channel, expanding the switching ability of standard Snap I/O modules by 13 times. These boards include on/off indicators for each channel, and each can be wired as normally closed or normally open.

Rounding out the new Snap Tex line is an assortment of wiring harnesses (used for connecting field devices to high-density Snap I/O modules), jumper connection straps (used with digital I/O modules), DIN-rail mounting kits, module removal tools, and other accessories. Moving these previously available accessories under the Snap Tex line will help customers find the right parts for all of their wiring and installation needs.

"Our new Snap Tex product line serves as yet another example of our product research and development division responding to the stated needs of our customers," says Mark Engman, Opto 22 President and CEO.  "Many of our customers have expressed a desire for quicker, easier ways to mount and wire their I/O. Ultimately, Snap Tex, like all of our other product lines, is meant to provide the components, tools, and methods customers need to get their projects done faster, simpler, and in the manner theyâo[dot accent]re most comfortable with."

5:29:57 PM    comment []

Just heard about this from National Instruments. Lego Education, The Lego Group's educational division, announced Lego Education WeDo, a new product that redefines classroom robotics making it possible for primary school students (ages 7-11) to build and program their own robotics projects. The product was unveiled last week at  the National Educational Computing Conference in San Antonio, TX and will be available in the United States and Brazil January 1, 2009. They call it "hands-on, minds-on" educational experience. The product combines Lego products and NI's LabView programming product.

Lego Education WeDo encourages teachers to issue curriculum-based challenges for students to solve. Working in teams, children invent their own solution by building a LEGO model and programming it to perform a certain task. Cause and effect learning is enhanced by the models remaining tethered to a computer; similar to scientists in working labs, children can test and adjust their programming in real time. After reflecting on what did and did not work, students can consult with peers, adapt programming, adjust models or begin again. Newly-designed software developed by National Instruments, makes programming easy and intuitive and students quickly learn that they can solve real-world challenges by tinkering with building and programming.

Developed to cover a broad range of curriculum areas, WeDo sample topics include Language and Literacy: narrative and journalistic writing, storytelling, interviewing and interpreting; Mathematics: measuring time and distance, adding, multiplying, estimating, using variables; Science: transmission of motion, working with simple machines, gears, levers and pulleys; Technology: programming, using software media and creating a working model.

"The Lego Group and National Instruments share a vision of inspiring design and creativity in children through hands-on, interactive learning," said Ray Almgren, vice president of academic relations at National Instruments. "Through our joint development of Lego Mindstorms NXT and now Lego Education WeDo, we are helping build an educational robotics platform, Powered by NI LabVIEW, that enhances science and engineering education for students in all age groups."

7:56:36 AM    comment []

© Copyright 2008 Gary Mintchell.
July 2008
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Jun   Aug

Check out my magazine here:
Some favorite links:
Some automation company links:

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.

Subscribe to "Gary Mintchell's Feed Forward" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.