The FP-25: Fast, Accurate, Reliable

by Shaina Shay

Alicat is proud to be part of the Halma family. Halma companies work to create a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day. Alicat’s air monitoring products contribute to the environmental and public health component of this mission.

Saving the world, one calibration at a time

Our low-pressure drop Whisper mass flow meters are used by municipalities, cities, states, and countries to calibrate ambient air quality monitoring devices. Our mass flow meters are used to calibrate particulate monitoring (PM) machines, air sampling canisters, pesticide monitoring machines, and other analyzers. Calibration is important to ensure good data. Bad data can have political, legislative, and/or societal impacts. Because calibration takes time and skill, we worked with air quality technicians to specially design a product that is both compliant with the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and meet the demands of air quality technicians.

The FP-25: Fast, Accurate, Reliable

The FP-25 is a highly precise, NIST-traceable device that can measure mass flow to an accuracy of +/-1% of reading. To make calibration faster and safer, there is a Bluetooth function which allows technicians to complete calibration from a distance. The device itself is built to be used in the field and can withstand being dropped from rooftops.

Learning from our Future Leaders

Alicat has been engaged in the air monitoring market for years, but we had the opportunity to view the FP-25 from a fresh perspective when Halma’s Future Leader Program came to visit. The Future Leaders program is comprised of intelligent, driven, and enthusiastic recent graduates. To encourage well-rounded growth, participants are exposed to a range of business related trainings through the program.

On May 17th 2019, 15 future leaders came to Tucson, Arizona to participate in a marketing training day at Alicat.

In just one day, future leaders paired off to develop a marketing content. The young leaders learned about Alicat’s history, products, and culture in the morning, and then had the afternoon to come-up with a plan.

We were astonished

Two teams took on the environmental market and focused on developing content tailored for the FP-25 product. The results were one full blown campaign plan and this video about why customers love the FP-25.

The proof is in the pudding

At the end of this day we were so impressed with the results. We never expected that there would be time to develop useable content, but we were wrong. This experience validated the how Halma is making their mission come true, by investing in people and companies that make things happen.

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

WIEGAND WIRE ENERGY HARVESTING COMPONENTS

posital_wiegand_sensoren_590

POSITAL’s Wiegand assemblies offer a compact and efficient way of harvesting power for electronic circuits in electromechanical devices, eliminating the need for backup batteries. 

The operating principle of POSITAL’s Wiegand modules is simple. A “Wiegand wire” is a short length of specially prepared Vicalloy (vanadium-iron-cobalt) wire. When exposed to a changing external magnetic field (e.g. a nearby permanent magnet mounted on a rotating shaft) the Wiegand wire will initially retain its original magnetic polarity, and then abruptly ‘flip’ its polarity when the change to the external magnetic field reaches a certain threshold. This sudden change in the magnetic state of the core induces a current pulse in a copper coil wound around the Vicalloy core. This current pulse is very short-lived, but the energy harvested from the mechanical movement of the magnet can be captured and used to activate a low-power electronic circuit. An important feature of the Wiegand effect is that the amount of electric power generated with each reversal of the magnetic polarization is constant and completely independent of the rate of change of the external magnetic field, even if this happens very slowly. POSITAL Wiegand modules have been used to reliably power rotation counters in tens of millions of devices, including multi-turn rotary encoders, gas and water meters.

  • Production Since 1974 – Started by John R. Wiegand
  • Proven In Encoders & Water Meters Since > 10 Years
  • Used In Access Cards For > 30 Years
  • Power Supply For Future IoT Applications
  • High Energy Output of ~170 nJ

“The process for making Wiegand wire from raw Vicalloy wire was invented by John Wiegand in the 1970’s” comments Christian Fell, Chief of Technology Development for POSITAL-FRABA. “It involves a complex set of steps, including cold-working the wire through a combination of stretching and twisting, then heat-treating the product to lock in the desired characteristics.” POSITAL acquired the original wire-conditioning machinery and intellectual property from the Wiegand estate in 2013. Fell continues: “This acquisition has meant that we have reliable supply of Wiegand wire. It also gave us an opportunity to refine the manufacturing process for improved product quality. Thanks to our research, we can now produce wires that reliably generate 190 nanojoules of energy at 7 volts with each polarity flip”.

Wiegand assemblies are a core component in POSITAL’s IXARC multiturn absolute rotary encoders, providing a maintenance-free method for powering the counter that records the number of complete rotations that the device experiences. POSITAL also offers Wigand assemblies to other manufacturers. These consist of a 15mm length of Wiegand wire surrounded by a copper coil, all contained in an SMD-mountable plastic structure. Wiegand wire production is carried out at locations in the U.S. and Europe, ensuring a stable, reliable supply chain. These assemblies can be used wherever low-cost, zero-maintenance, battery-free energy harvesting systems are needed to energize electronic counters and other low-power electronic devices.

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

Accurate simplified testing for small volumes and differing configurations

 by Mic Chaudoir

Accurate simplified testing for small volumes and differing configurations 

A revolution in bioprocessing is underway in the form of single-use technologies.  Single-use offers the promise of lower costs, improved flexibility and shorter cycle times.  But what happens when a single-use bag or component fails ? It’s obvious that system integrity is critical for any bioprocess, but how can you know that your system is free of leaks before use ? Integrity testing can now be accomplished easily and quickly with an Alicat Scientific Whisper series mass flow meter or controller.

Fast and accurate leak checking can be a complicated process requiring a rather complex setup. When the Device Under Test (DUT) is subjected to a constant pressure within a closed system, any resulting flow is a direct measure of the leak rate. This test requires both stable pressure control at the DUT and accurate flow measurement to test for leakage. Leakages are most easily revealed and measured when the meter generates minimal pressure drop, the frictional resistance that the device introduces into the gas line.

For years, Alicat Scientific has provided a two-unit leak checking systems using a PC3-Series remote sensing pressure controller to maintain the required test pressure at the DUT and an M-Series mass flow meter to measure the leak rate.

More recently, Alicat has pioneered the simplified testing for leaks using a single Whisper series mass flow controller. This simplified process makes testing the myriad bags and containers used in single-use bioprocessing easier and more flexible. With full-scale pressure drops as low as 3.6 mbar (0.052 psid) and turned-down pressure drops as low as 0.018 mbar, the Whisper allows precise and responsive control with minimal frictional resistance.

For leak checking smaller test volumes, such as valves or sensors, a single MCW-Series mass flow controller that is set to control for pressure will maintain a constant pressure at the DUT while providing accurate mass and volumetric flow readings in real time. Configured this way, the Whisper serves the functions of both a pressure controller and a mass flow meter in one device. Alicat’s Whisper now makes leak checking for the small volumes needed for single-use technologies even faster…and simpler. This configuration also makes changing the configuration to test different devices, or testing infrequently, very achievable. From Alicat: The fastest flow controller company in the world.

Fast Leak Testing for Single-Use Bioprocessing

A revolution in bioprocessing is underway in the form of single-use technologies. But what happens when a single-use bag or component fails? How do you know that your bioprocessing is free from costly leaks or integrity failures? Leak testing of single use systems can now be accomplished easily and quickly with an Alicat Scientific Whisper series mass flow meter.

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

LOW-COST KIT ENCODERS FOR STEPPER MOTORS

stepper_kits_update

POSITAL has expanded its line of kit-style encoders for feedback for servo and stepper motors with new models that utilize the same mounting form factor as incremental kit encoders from US Digital, Broadcom and other manufacturers.

  • Mechanical Drop In Replacement for Easy Upgrade to Absolute Position Control
  • Same Footprints as US Digital’s E5 Models and Broadcom’s (Avago) HEDS-5500 Models
  • Now Available with SSI and BiSS C Communication Interfaces
  • Identical Assembly Procedure – No Training Required
  • Various Hub Diameters from 4 mm to 10 mm (and 1/4 to 3/8 inch)
  • Magnetic Technology Which Is Generally More Robust Than Optical
  • Improved Connectivity via M12 Connector Additionally Available

See our Cross Reference Guide

POSITAL kit encoders provide absolute position feedback so that the control system always has complete information on the physical position of the mechanical components that it is directing. “Absolute position feedback is a natural way of providing accurate position control” comments Jim Stevens, market specialist for robotics at POSITAL. “Almost any position feedback application could be absolute-based. Many current systems were designed around incremental encoders because incremental feedback devices were historically much less expensive than their absolute counterparts.” However, with the introduction of POSITAL’s absolute kit encoders at prices much more in line with incremental devices, system designers no longer have to work around the shortcomings of incremental feedback in an absolute position world.

prq_exp

Multiturn Absolute Kit Encoders Provide Robust Solution

Multiturn Absolute Kit Encoders from POSITAL are based on magnetic sensing technology which provides a very robust encoder solution. The multiturn counting system is powered by Wiegand wire energy harvesting technology, which enables the absolute encoder to maintain true absolute position over power cycles and rotation of the encoder during power off conditions.

With 17 bits (131072 positions) of single turn resolution and 16 bits (65536 turns) of multiturn range, KCD Absolute kit encoders from POSITAL are ideal for position control applications.

FAQ Kit Encoders

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

Using technology to reduce health and safety risks

 by Shaina Shay

Technological advancements have improved humans’ ability to monitor, assess, and protect societies from environmental health and safety hazards. When it comes to the air that we breathe, particulate matter (PM) monitoring machines are one piece of technology used to keep society safe by measuring the presence of potentially harmful particulates. The smaller the particulate in the air, the more likely that it can be absorbed into the body via the lungs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates industry and enforces compliance based on the readings of PM monitors (epa.gov). Air standards have been established to minimize human exposure to particulate matter that may have adverse health effects.

To understand exposure over space and time, a national network of PM monitors has been established. These PM monitors are located in a variety of places, ranging from national parks, to suburban parks, to the skyscrapers in city centers.

The accuracy of data acquired through this network is critical because it could have legal, political or social impacts. To ensure good data, the flow, pressure, and temperature of PM monitors are calibrated on a regular basis.

Air quality technicians climb roofs, visit remote locations, and endure inclement weather to complete calibrations and document data.

Climb ladders 50% less with Bluetooth connectivity

Alicat believes that technology should reduce health and safety risks as well as increasing efficiency. That’s why we worked with air quality technicians to develop the FP-25 Flow Meter. Our FP-25BT with Bluetooth features reduce the number of trips technicians to on ladders by 50%.

Bluetooth connectivity also reduces your exposure to severe weather conditions. Even when ambient temperatures drop or humidity increases, these instruments provide fast and accurate measurements. Rain or shine the FP-25 has you covered.

If you’re in an industry that has you measuring flow in adverse environmental conditions, let us know. We strive to help the people who are helping our communities breathe clean air.

Ready to find out how we can help ?

Contact one of our applications engineers at 1.888.290.6060 or info@alicat.com to discuss your application.

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

FRABA GROUP GROWS WORLDWIDE BY 12.4%

Fresh ideas and innovative products continue to pay off for the international FRABA Group. With a 12.4% increase in sales for Fiscal 2018 (year-end: Dec 31), the corporation, which includes the POSITAL (position and motion control sensors) and VITECTOR (safety technology for industrial doors) brands, posted another year of double-digit growth. Global sales reached € 35 million (US$ 39 million), while the number of employees in Europe, Asia and the USA rose by 4.5%, to 230.

New ideas and innovation lead to strong numbers

Key factors for the increase in personnel were the opening of a new sales office in Shanghai, in response to strong demand from China, and a further increase in the size of the development team at the group’s central R&D center. This research unit, located in Aachen, Germany, works closely with its neighbor, the highly regarded North-Rhein Westphalia Technical University, and other national and international partners in the fields of engineering and applied electronics. Currently there are 40 researchers and developers on board – from 28 countries. Physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. “Our R&D staff work closely with our sales engineers in the field to drive the innovation that is at the core of our brand,” says Christian Leeser, CEO of the FRABA Group. “This is why we are committed to invest around 10% of our global sales in R&D –– year after year.”

Over the past 15 years, FRABA has established itself as a trendsetter, leading the transition from complex optical encoders to robust and less expensive precision magnetic encoders. These products are offered in both stand-alone versions and as integrated motor feedback kits. Throughout 2018, several significant milestones were achieved. To meet the growing demand in the ‘energy harvesting’ market, the global production capacity for SMD Wiegand sensors was doubled to one million units per annum. Following the successful rollout of magnetic kit encoders for servomotors, last fall saw the addition of magnetic kits specially tailored for stepper motors. This US-driven initiative has added absolute position feedback to low-cost stepper motors, significantly improving their performance levels. The latest breakthrough is the world’s first battery-free, Wiegand-based multiturn hollow shaft kit encoder . Pre-launched at the global SPS show In Nuremberg last November, sales of this innovative device – geared at robot manufacturers and the motor sector – started this month. “With all these initiatives lined up, we are confident to achieve further growth in 2019,” says Leeser.

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

Precise Mass Flow Enables Novel Pollution Sensing Technologies

Alicat Mass Flow provides accurate control of gasses under test

The growth of the IoT (Internet of Things) is driving the need for smaller and more ubiquitous sensors. Normally, one thinks of optical or electrical sensors in this context. This type of measurement has typically been in the province of automotive and process control industries and is largely unavailable at the consumer level. Presently, IoT is creating a need for low-power, low-cost gas sensors that can be utilized for consumer level applications. There are potential applications in the area of household air-quality monitoring, personalized healthcare, breath analysis and a multitude of other applications. However, existing sensors that could be used for these applications are generally not suitable due to large size, higher power demands and/or high cost. There are a number of competing technologies focused on providing sensors for this market; one of the most promising sensor types is the field-effect transistor (FET). In a recently published paper, Fahad et. al. describe a novel FET that promises to meet many of the requirements where existing sensors fall short. Many of the experiments described in the paper require highly accurate mass flow of measured gases – precisely provided by a set of Alicat mass flow controllers. 1

Fahad et. al. demonstrate a novel chemically-sensitive FET capable of detecting H2S as low as 10ppb. Sulfur Dioxide is an invisible gas that readily forms harmful compounds, including sulfuric acid and sulfate particles. Sulfur dioxide is a toxic air pollutant and is especially dangerous to asthma sufferers. The US, in particular, has made great strides in reducing sulfur emissions from powerplants. However, in excess of 500 million tons were still produced in 2011 from powerplants and other sources. 2 The same series of experiments showed detection of NO2 down to 1ppm levels.  Nitrogen Dioxide is another common air pollutant that can impact personal health.  NO2 reacts with other airborne substances to form particulate matter and ozone, both of which have significant negative effects on respiratory health.  The US EPA has recently tightened standards for NO2. These newer standards will require increased monitoring of ambient air levels to ensure compliance. Implementing these new standards will, in turn, require increased training and proper calibration of equipment used to ensure the required accuracy. Alicat makes a range of products specifically designed to help state and local environmental analysts and technicians ensure the needed levels of accuracy.3

These experiments demonstrate the efficacy of the novel low-power FET sensor. The experiments were conducted using known gasses from commercial suppliers; control of the gas input was critical to making accurate assessments of FET function. Alicat Scientific Mass Flow Controllers were used to ensure the accuracy of these measurements by precisely regulating the input flow of the gas mixture. The extremely high controllable range of Alicat’s mass flow meters allowed control of flow rates from 1-100 sccm. Our latest flow controllers boast an increased controllable range of up to 10,000:1, which can be helpful for any experiment where a range of flow rates is required.

As scientists and engineers continue to develop novel sensors to enable IoT technologies, precise, reliable mass flow will continue to be required. At Alicat, increasing the pace of scientific innovation is our greatest passion. All of our instruments are custom built to the needs of your science and ship in days, months.

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

NEW HOLLOW SHAFT MULTI-TURN KIT ENCODERS FOR POSITION CONTROL APPLICATIONS

Slim Form Factor for Motor and Machine Manufacturers

POSITAL is introducing a new family of absolute rotary encoders for servomotors, stepper motors, robot joints and anywhere else a hollow center design is needed to achieve an optimal mechanical layout. Both single and multi-turn variants are available; for multi-turn models, the rotation counter is self-powered, using POSITAL’s Wiegand energy-harvesting technology. This eliminates the need for backup batteries and lowers maintenance costs.

  • Hollow Center Design for Optimal Mechanical Layout on Robotic Joints and Drives Shafts
  • 30 mm or 50 mm Internal Diameter Sizes Available
  • Battery-less Rotation Counter Based on Energy-Harvesting Technology
  • Capacitive Measurement System Allows for High Accuracy Even in Harsh Environments
  • Non-Proprietary Interfaces of SSI and BiSS C Standards

Capacitive Measurement Technology

These new products make use of a capacitive measurement system. Each encoder has two principle components, a stator and rotor, both containing specially shaped conductive surfaces. These surfaces, which function as capacitor plates, are positioned in close proximity. As the rotor turns, the patterns of the conductive surfaces change their relative position, causing changes to capacitive coupling in the system. This in turn causes changes to the amplitude and phase angle of a high-frequency electrical signal generated by exciter circuits in the stator. Special ASIC devices capture and decode these signal variations to determine the rotor’s angular position to a high level of precision.

Read more on the technology here.

The new POSITAL hollow shaft kit encoders offer excellent accuracy (+/- 0.02°) and dynamic response (up to 6000 RPM), making them suitable for use in critical motion control systems. However, what makes them especially useful in many applications is their shape. Both stator and rotor elements are in the form of disks with large central openings. This makes them an ideal choice in space-limited situations, such as servomotors, stepper motors or the joints in robotic arms , where it is desirable to have an embedded position sensor fitting around a central shaft or axle.

POSITAL hollow shaft kit encoders will be available in two sizes, with 30 mm or 50 mm internal diameters. Non-proprietary SSI and BiSS C communications interfaces are supported.

Energy Harvesting – No Battery

battery_icon

The energy harvesting system is based on the Wiegand effect and eliminates the need for backup batteries or complex gear systems. 

Read More about the Wiegand Effect

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

Alicat Whisper Mass Flow Meters Lend Precision to Fiber Optic Process

by Ryan Barner

Fiber optic cables are highly desired for their speed of transmission and are growing as an industry. However, the industrial furnaces used for glass manufacturing require stable and repeatable control of gas for melt and annealing processes.

Preforms are the layered cylinders of glass, made on lathes using chemical deposition vapor flows, burners for heating and melting glass and pressure control to retain the shape while it is being formed. While the fiber drawing process means heating the end of a glass preform, and shaping the melting end into a cone that creates a continuous stream of molten glass which descends and cools into a fiber, which must then be guided in a way that will not break or alter it, while checking the thickness and adding layers to protect it.

Both require mass flow and pressure controllers that are fast, reliable and have high turndown ratios, all while functioning in potentially high temperature environments and compatibility with corrosive fuel gasses.

Industrial furnaces utilizing fuel gases for their burners exhibit low pressures.  Alicat Whisper series mass flow controllers offer a controllable range up to 1000 SLPM.  These flow rates can be achieved with a pressure drop across the Alicat MFC of as little as 1.65 PSI on our highest flow rate Whisper series controllers. This means even if the supply pressure is low, as fuel gases typically are, it is possible to control up to a full scale flow rate of 1000 SLPM.Alicat mass flow and pressure control instruments for glass and optical fiber manufacturing.

These low pressure instruments may also be deployed in annealing ovens and lehr ovens during the finishing process.  Using Alicat MFCs allow for control in each zone of the oven with repeatability and precision even if a low supply pressure is a requirement.  Ninety-eight gases and gas mixes are pre-programmed into an Alicat MFC providing options for variability in projects and processes.

Alicat MCW-series whisper mass flow controller, shown with optional backlit color display

In preform manufacturing, fiber drawing or ribbon forming processes – stable and fast mass flow and pressure control instruments not only ensure a better end product, but with Alicat devices, achieving these results is easier with our highly customized instruments and advice from Application Engineers.

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com

ThermX

Industries Served
Our diverse temperature sensor product capabilities support a broad range of industries and applications. Several of our products can be applied into a variety of products or processes. Others are uniquely designed for a specific application. 

We can engineer a suitable temperature sensor into the most complex thermal heating and measurement requirement. Our technical expertise and production technologies, provide our design team with the flexibility to devise the most advanced sensing solutions, in the most practical configuration, and at the best value.

In addition to manufacturing temperature sensors, ThermX Southwest also distributes pressure, humidity, CO2 and flow sensors along with process control and data logging instrumentation. We also supply a wide variety of portable calibration equipment traceable to NIST. 
Industries served
Aerospace Pharmaceutical 
Semiconductor
Glass & Ceramics 
Metallurgical
Analytical Sciences
Material Sciences
Telecommunication
Power Generation 
Packaging Food & Beverage
Commercial Heating Medical
General Industrial 
Temperature Sensors
General Purpose Probes
High Temperature Thermocouples
Validation Thermocouples
Industrial Thermocouples
Insulated Wire Thermocouples
Thermocouple Rakes
RTD Probes
Thermistor Probes
Specialized Products
Thermocouple Wire
Calibration Services

D&D Engineering – “W’ere YOUR Sensor Guys”
3835 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. Suite 464 Westlake Village, CA 91362  – Voice: (818) 772-8720 Fax: (818) 772-2477 Toll Free: (888) 333-6474
Email: sales@sensorguys.com Website: www.sensorguys.com