Industrial automation

At NOW we work with industrial automation in two ways: with complete systems, and with components. NOW has core competense and solid know-how of development of complete vision systems including sensors and control algorithms. Applications often include analysis of both images and sound to automate production and quality processes. We also develop components - electronics, software and mechanics - to companies who wants to enhance their level of automation.

Referensprojekt

  • 2019-10-22 17:07 Elektronik, Industriell automation, Försvar & Säkerhet

    Interface board for a ship system

    An interface board for a ship system has been designed. The card has interfaces to other units – Ethernet, USB, isolated RS422 and NMEA channels with high isolation demands. A Microchip PIC32MZEF microcontroller handles the communicationen between the different units.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:16 Elektronik, Test & Stimuli, Industriell automation

    CE certification

    A CE certification study was made on a resistance meter used for quality measurements in production. Applicable directives and standards were investigated. Part of the project was to review the current design against CE, and to propose improvements on the design.

    EMC measurements in a pre-compliance lab were performed and the units were patched until they passed the CE directive.

    This gave the client valuable insight for the next generation of the boards.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:18 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli

    Chemical industry

    NOW was contacted by a firm who had problems with one or their products, a measuring device in the chemical industry. NOW went through the designs of the different curcuit boards in the unit, and introduced changes to a number of them. New PCBs were produced, and the serial production could continue. NOW also took over, and made changes in, both the microcontroller code and the PC software in the unit.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:18 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation

    Small interface-board for noisy environments

    A small interface-board for noisy environments has been developed. It has an RS485 interface where you can control termination and bias resistors. It also has a mode for BPS (Bits-Per-Second) signalling for a very low signalling rate of critical messages in a noisy environment.

    The RS485 wires may be used for for supplying power to external devices, and the board can vary the voltage and sense the power used. Thanks to these options the board can also interface a wide range of (analogue) sensors.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:19 Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    Wireless sensor unit

    Development of hardware and software for a wireless sensor unit in a calibration tool. The project included Bluetooth Low Energy, laser, image sensor, USB and Lithium-ion battery.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:20 Mjukvara, Mekanik, Test & Stimuli, Industriell automation, Vision

    Inspection of automatic lathing

    In lathing defects may occur caused by a worn or damaged lathe steel. NOW has developed a vision system for automatic inspection of automatic lathing with high precision. Data is stored in a data base for traceability. The system can be built-in in the lathe, or mounted in a separate inspection cell.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:21 Industriell automation, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    RFID communication board

    NOW has developed an RFID communication board, together with antennas. The board reads both half and full duplex RFID tags. A carrier wave from a TX antenna activates the RFID tag who answers with an ID, and this answer is received by an RX antenna. Analogue filters filter the signal from the tag, and the filtered data is A/D converted in an ARM processor with digital filters. The decoded ID is then sent to the host computer. The advanced analogue and digital filters givs a reading range of 1-1.5 feet, to compare with the more normal a 2-3 inches for commercial systems.



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  • 2019-10-22 17:21 Industriell automation, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    Circuit board for communication

    A circuit board for communication between different interfaces has been designed. The board has an ARM processor in the STM32F series, with an SPI Flash, and the interfaces are isolated CAN, Ethernet, USB Full-Speed, RS485, general analogue I/O:s, and relay outputs.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:22 Industriell automation, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    General I/O board

    A small and compact general I/O board with outputs for power, analogue I/O:s for 0-20 mA or 0-28 V, digital I/O:s that withstand 28 V, CAN and IO-Link, halfbridges with up to 2.6 A current drive capacity, general serial I/O:s, and differential inputs. The board is powered with 9-28 V, and an ARM based microcontroller handles the data. The board is manufactured in large quantities, so one of the challenges was to reduce the manufacturing cost.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:23 Mekanik, Vision, Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara

    Test of safety critical software

    NOW’s vision platform AVT is used for recursive tests of safety critical software.

    During the development of the software, new functions are added, and bugs are corrected. At every new release, all parts of the software must be retested to see that the functions haven’t been altered in a unwanted fashion. This is a time consuming work if a tester must watch a display to check the functions visually. NOW has developed functions to make this automatically with use of a vision system, which has resulted in lower costs, higher quality, and a more content personnel.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:25 Industriell automation, Vision, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara

    Inspection of edges on metal details

    A tool has been developed for inspection of edges on metal details in a production line. The tool inspects measurements and form, and looks for notches and excess material, as small as some ten microns.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:26 Industriell automation, Vision, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara

    Optical Character Verification (OCV)

    NOW has developed a vision system for Optical Character Verification (OCV) . The system is used in industries where product names and text/symbols must be clearly printed on each product. This system ensures that every product that leaves the production line meets the quality requirements applicable in their respective industry.

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  • 2019-10-22 17:32 Mekanik, Vision, Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara

    Inspection of tinned cables

    A vision system for inspection of tinned cables has been developed. The system looks for holes in the tinning. The cable is inspected in real time, when it passes four cameras, with the help of proprietary algorithms. The system includes a standard PC, four Firewire cameras with a 1024×768 resolution, optics and lighting.




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  • 2019-10-22 17:32 Mekanik, Industriell automation, Vision, Mjukvara

    Inspection of production

    A system has been developed for inspection of production of coaxial cables. The system continously inspects the quality of the wowen copper shield to see if there are to large openings in the braid. The system is a development of an earlier system, and comprises a standard PC, four Firewire cameras, 1024×768 pixels, lighting and optics.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:33 Vision, Mekanik, Test & Stimuli, Industriell automation, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    Quality control in 2D and 3D (TQC)

    Vision system (Tile Quality Control, TQC) for difficult environments with Firewire cameras and audio analysis. The system is used for inspection/quality control in roof tile production, both in 2D and 3D. The size of the tiles is checked, and defects in the surface and edges are detected by cameras, where micrometre-thin cracks are revealed. Additionally noise analysis is used for detecting hidden cracks inside the tile.

    The software is written in C++ using DirectShow and Microsoft Visual Studio.

    The hardware consists of a PC with I/O-cards and external PLC and photoelectric sensors, and is built with Bosch Rexroth strut profiles around the conveyor belt.

    The system is fully parameter-controlled and stores the statistics. The user can choose to save images and sound recordings for a follow-up. The system has a variety of custom variants delivered to the Swedish and Danish tileworks for different kinds of clay and concrete tiles.

    Read more

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  • 2019-10-22 17:33 Mjukvara, Industriell automation, Elektronik, Test & Stimuli, Mekanik

    Test system

    NOW has developed a test system with a bed of needles for final test and calibration of a circuit board. Supply voltage and measuring instruments are connected via the needles. A LabViewprogram perform calibration and functional tests. Test results are logged for the traceability of test data to the circuit boards.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:35 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli, Universitet & Forskning

    Analysis of signals from RFID “tags” with Matlab

    A tool in Matlab to filter and analyze RFID data has been used to optimize the hardware where the signals are decoded.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:37 Mjukvara, Test & Stimuli, Mekanik, Vision, Industriell automation

    Inspection of bending

    Within a very short time frame, NOW developed a vision system for inspection of bending. The system with two Firewire cameras, lighting, control electronics and PC software, automatically inspected the bending of an tinned component pin. If copper was visible, the component was not to be used. The system looked for the colour of copper, which was very effective. The customer could easily change parameters via the PC user interface, to change for example how much copper that was allowed. Statistics were saved in a database tool.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:38 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Medicinteknik, Industriell automation

    Controller board

    Controller board with multiple interfaces for DC motors, stepper motors, encoders, and position and photo sensors. The board is controlled by a PC-104 module via an ISA-bus, and includes an Altera Cyclone III FPGA. The board also supports automatic electronic monitoring of the motor current, board voltages and temperature, in order to allow emergency shutdown without the help of software (handled by the FPGA).


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  • 2019-10-22 17:40 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation

    Data communication

    NOW has developed two circuit boards for the evaluation of data communication over a two-wire, superimposed on the supply voltage. The data transmitting uses different speeds and methods, in very noisy environments.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:47 Elektronik, Industriell automation

    Motor Driver PCB

    One older relay armed motor driver PCB is replaced by a semiconductor one. Requirements from the customer was full compatibility regarding physical size, hole pattern and interface to the system in general. The design includes modern MOS FETs and readily available components to ensure a long-term perspective in the manufacturing process.


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  • 2019-10-22 17:48 Mjukvara, Test & Stimuli, Vision, Industriell automation

    Vision application in a production line

    A vision application to inspect a mechanical detail in a production line has been designed. The application looks for defects, where for example an edge may have been damaged.



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  • 2019-10-24 11:17 Flyg & Rymdteknik, Industriell automation, Försvar & Säkerhet, Mekanik, Medicinteknik, Startups & Prototyper, Automotive, Universitet & Forskning, Test & Stimuli, Elektronik

    EMC

    NOW helped with addressing electrical safety and EMC-related problems in a measuring instrument for industrial processes. The customer’s external PCB layout resource received directives from NOW.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:20 Startups & Prototyper, Industriell automation, Elektronik

    Inductive coupling to a power cable

    Feasibility study where the ability to drive electronics via the inductive coupling to a power cable were examined. The difficulty lay in that the power cable would run through the electronic unit, and therefore the “transformer” winding consisted of only one lap. NOW concluded that the project was feasible, and a prototype was displayed for the customer.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:23 Mekanik, Industriell automation, Universitet & Forskning, Vision, Mjukvara, Test & Stimuli, Elektronik

    Vision systems for quality control of paper paths

    NOW has developed a vision systems for quality control of paper paths in the paper industry. The system detects splicing, creases, cracks, holes, et cetera – everything that is needed to facilitate the production, make it more efficient, more profitable and ensure quality.

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  • 2019-10-24 11:24 Elektronik, Industriell automation, Startups & Prototyper

    Inverter for inductive heating

    NOW has developed a 6 kW inverter for inductive heating. In the mission included simulation and calculations, design, schematic and realization, as well as prototyping and test.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:24 Mjukvara, Vision, Industriell automation

    Distribution of MPEG4 video

    Distribution of MPEG4 video over the network for the monitoring of the process. Server/client modules converts DirectShow technology, and can easily be integrated in VisualStudio.net-environment.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:27 Mjukvara, Industriell automation

    Control and regulation programs

    NOW has developed control and regulation programs to hydraully controlled hand tools for crimping terminals. A PIC processor was programmed in assembler.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:28 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation

    Flow Meter

    Construction of a flow meter. The instrument measures the flow with the pressure-differential-method (linear plot). The user reads the flow on a CCD-display. The instrument is controlled by a PIC processor, 4-20mA output, as well as pulse and voltage outputs.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:32 Industriell automation, Försvar & Säkerhet, Medicinteknik, Mekanik, Automotive, Flyg & Rymdteknik, Vision, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    Vision system for inspecting dashboards

    NOW has developed a vision system for inspecting dashboards. The system is built using DirectShow and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003. Cameras deliver images that are handled in real time. Possible parameters to inspect are: colour, intensity, shape, symbols, segment displays, LCD displays, indicator positions and indicator needle movement. The application encapsulates a scripting language that is easily configured through a graphichal interface. Optional controls/commands are carried out in sequence. The system communicates with the client’s control system via TCP/IP.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:32 Universitet & Forskning, Mekanik, Vision, Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    Measurement of a pendulum

    A vision application for measurement of a pendulum. The pendulum is affected by swirls of molten steel which occur when draining the steel.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:33 Industriell automation, Vision, Mjukvara

    Vision system for plastic crates

    A vision system for plastic crates, where the position of the handles is checked in production. The crates can’t be stacked if the handle is in the wrong position. An analogue camera, lighting and image processing algorithms were part of the commission.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:34 Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    Temperature regulation

    Temperature regulation of heating jackets used for example in the semiconductor industry. Control boards with temperature measurement using thermocouples (K elements) and PID regulation of the temperature. The setpoint and control parameters are set via a two-wire interface with combined CAN-link and power supply. Continuous monitoring of the actual temperature and any error conditions. An circuit from NEC was used, programmed in C. The board is compliant with IEC60065 (EN60065).


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  • 2019-10-24 11:38 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation, Startups & Prototyper

    I/O board

    NOW has developed an I/O board with several interfaces to solenoids, rotary encoders, linear position transducers and more. The board is controlled by a PC104 bus (ISA), and contains an Altera Cyclon-FPGA with integrated soft NIOS processor. The board  also has a number of PWM-controlled H-bridges, serial interfaces with multiple long-distance nodes and a robust digital I/O with error handling.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:38 Elektronik, Industriell automation, Test & Stimuli, Mjukvara

    Production test of air-driven hand tools

    For production test of air-driven hand tools NOW has developed equipment for the measurement of torque and speed with engine braking, air flow and other parameters. Complete system deliveries have taken place at the customer. The project is based on PC based technologies, and the software is developed in Visual Basic with an Access database for control of measurement procedures and storage of read data.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:39 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Mekanik, Vision, Industriell automation

    Checking of labels

    A system for reading and checking of labels. A line-scan camera scans the label as it passes by, and a computer with a frame grabber board, a control board and image processing software interprets the image. The printing quality is checked, and the serial number is read and stored.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:39 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Mekanik, Test & Stimuli, Industriell automation

    Testing of mobile phones batteries

    A system for testing of mobile phones batteries. A test-head with spring pins connect to the battery, and a Windows XP/2000/NT- based PC-system, with an I/O board developed by NOW, perform tests of batteries in the production line. The test data is stored in a database and a software tool developed by NOW is used to study failure types, failure rates, compare measured values to given limits, and to perform statistical analysis.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:40 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Vision, Industriell automation

    Line-scan Camera

    NOW has designed all the electronics to a line-scan camera, four circuit boards. The CCD has eight outputs to eight A/D converters, each of these has a 30 MHz data rate, which gives 160 Mpixel/sec. The electronics includes an Altera Cyclone II FPGA programmed in the Quartus environment, and analog drive electronics for the CCD, a 2k x 96 TDI CCD. In order to get the best quality of the data from the CCD it must be controlled with precise analogue signals, with special rise and fall times, and signals therefore has a resolution of nanoseconds.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:41 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation

    Control PCB for sputtering aggregates

    A control PCB for sputtering aggregates with monitoring of current, voltage, power and energy. The PCB contains a Spartan FPGA from Xilinx, a Rabbit microprocessor, and analog interfaces for accurate measurements and control in a very disturbed environment. A number of serial interfaces, such as Profibus. Control tables are downloaded for control of sputtering course and other selectable properties.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:42 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation

    Programming of FPGAs

    Programming of FPGAs in the Xilinx 4000 series at the customer premises. The FPGAs were used for motor control and signal processing, etc. The circuits were programmed in VHDL using the tools Modelsim and Xilinx ICE.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:47 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Mekanik, Vision, Industriell automation

    Measuring cooling channels

    NOW has developed vision functions for integration into the customer’s machine for measuring cooling channels etc. in tool steel. Angle and position were measured. The delivery included DLL files for integration into the customer’s application, lighting, optics, CCD-camera, camera casing, etc.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:48 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Mekanik, Vision, Industriell automation

    Frame grabber (Linux-based)

    NOW has developed a Linux-based frame grabber for a measurement application. The frame grabber has two camera inputs with flexible triggering, and it has Ethernet connection. A specially developed card controls the lighting. The board has been kept alive with component updates to new versions, and has now been produced in various forms for many years.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:49 Mjukvara, Vision, Industriell automation

    Measuring of reference marks

    NOW has developed algorithms for extremely accurate (30 nm) measuring of reference marks in laser drawing machines. The reference marks have several specially designed appearances. NOW started from scanned images and optimized the image analysis algorithms to 1/20 pixel accuracy. The algorithms were implemented in C++, and executed under Unix, integrated in the client’s machine.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:49 Elektronik, Mjukvara, Industriell automation

    Photodiode detectors in the NIR range

    For personal protection in an assembly machine NOW has developed electronics working in the NIR range. Ten parallel channels of transmitters/receivers, photodiode detectors with extreme dynamics, including optics, analogue and digital electronics.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:51 Mjukvara, Vision, Industriell automation

    Reference measurement

    NOW has developed a very cost effective vision function for integration into the customer’s plate bending machine. The vision algorithms are based upon NOW’s vision library, and they find and align to reference marks. Each machine has three CMOS USB cameras.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:51 Elektronik, Industriell automation, Vision, Mjukvara

    CD inspection system

    NOW has developed an CD inspection system, to be integrated in a machine for manufacturing CDs. NOW made a market research and selection of the fast CCD line scan camera which loads an image of the CD-writer when it spins one revolution. The image is sent to one of NOWs developed frame grabber boards, where some image processing is performed in hardware. Afterwards the image is processed with software vision algorithms, developed by NOW. After that the image is searched for surface defects, etc. Over 400 machines were manufactured using this equipment.


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  • 2019-10-24 11:52 Industriell automation, Mjukvara, Elektronik

    PCBs to mounting machine

    NOW has worked with a number of PCBs to an automatic mounting machine.

    The cooperation with the customer started in the eighties (before Windows, in a time when most electronic components still were hole mounted), and is still going on. The first board generated a 80×22 (characters x rows) monochrome/colour PC-screen, with video and graphics overlay. The board was also used as an interface between the old boards in the machine, and the new world of PC-based PCBs. After this first board other boards followed, for example for controlling stepper motors.

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