As industrial environments become more advanced and connected, automation technology is developing at a rapid pace
To deliver the communication features and intelligence required at the plant floor and beyond, developers need solutions that can provide: High performance together with power efficiency, rugged environmental design to resist water, dust, moisture, and extreme temperatures, advanced, yet cost effective Human Machine Interface (HMI) features, support for high-speed wired and wireless communication and dedicated features for functional safety implementation.
Systems connected by WLAN or Bluetooth have also become established for monitoring and control in the field of factory automation
This functionality was previously performed exclusively over wired connections. Wireless communication connections of this type have the great advantage that no cables need to be laid. There is a real benefit in areas where there is a risk of explosion, because cables are always accompanied by a risk of sparks. In addition, data transmission by an RF link always has massive advantages over cable connection in the case of an enclosed space in which, for example, dangerous gases are present, since the sealing of the cable passage is always very expensive and remains a high-maintenance problem area.
Test and Measurement
Process instruments include the electronics required to measure process variables, such as temperature, pressure, level and flow, using a variety of sensors and methods
In order not to distort the measurement result, the signal processing in the measurement devices must always be significantly faster than the signals to be measured, so metrology applications often use components which must be specified for very high frequencies. In addition to the most vital LNAs signal generators, spectrum analysers and other metrological devices require phased lock loop (PLL) ICs to perform sweep-based measurements over the widest possible frequency range. The display and analysis of data, and also to some extent the control of the measurement device itself, are performed on a PC, laptop or tablet computer, which is connected to the actual measurement electronics via WLAN or Bluetooth. For example, there are flue gas measuring probes for chimney sweepers, which detect the soot content and the concentration of gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, etc., in the flue gas. The probes provide and send the corresponding measurement values via Bluetooth or WLAN to a laptop or tablet computer, where the actual evaluation and processing of the data takes place. When chimney sweeps sit at their desks in the evening after the completion of numerous measurements in various houses, they transfer this data from their portable laptops or tablet computers to their PCs, where they carry out client-related analyses and filing, print the measurement reports, write invoices, etc.
Welding and Cutting
The introduction of RF welding processes opened up entirely new possibilities in the field of (thermal) jointing methods that were previously impossible
The core elements of an RF welding device are always the RF power transistors, and the corresponding driver stages, that also operate in the RF area. Depending on how much power is applied to the work piece and what the physical circumstances are, the material can then be welded, cut or burnt out. Such welding or cutting machines often contain a high-performance CO2 laser, which is realised using various RF semiconductors. The applications of such RF welding devices go well beyond the industrial area. A good example of this is blood bottles, the plastic bags that must be fully sealed by RF welding processes after blood donation, so as to prevent contamination of the blood.