• Sensors for Valve Position Monitoring in Harsh Environments

    The sensors monitor quarter-turn valves and three-way valves, provide continuous 360-degree contactless position measurement and deliver analog or discrete outputs. One includes a stainless steel Minifast connector and the other, using a terminal chamber, provides customers with ATEX and IECEx approvals. Using the inductive resonant circuit measuring principle and introducing an open face sensor design for rotary valve sensing, the units open the door for new potential in valve monitoring on rotary actuators, quarter turn valves and three-way valves, while also detecting the valve position during cleaning cycles. Additionally, the sensors can detecting seal wear, saving downtime from seals that are worn from switching cycles. Featuring a protection rating of IP67 and a compact housing design, the sensors provide a wear-free sensing solution in harsh applications. They operate in temperatures from -25° to +75 °C (EXI version limited to +70 °C), making them suitable for a wide range of applications, including valve automation, steering position feedback and dancer arm control.

    >>For more information on this product, click here

    From automationworld Wednesday, September 14, 2016
  • Airbus Group Enhances Their 3D Design Capabilities With Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

    logo_3DS_dassault3D design software manufacturer Dassault Systèmes has long been known for their SOLIDWORKS software, a platform so big and far-reaching it has its own three-day conference dedicated to it. Their 3DEXPERIENCE platform, however, is no small potatoes. As companies integrate 3D printing more and more into their day-to-day business, 3DEXPERIENCE promises to help them every step of the way, from marketing to engineering.

    Dassault Systèmes made a big impact with 3DEXPERIENCE at CES 2016 in January, and several major organizations have adopted the platform for a wide range of applications from consumer electronics to defense. The latest company to leverage 3DEXPERIENCE is the Airbus Group, who has been all over the headlines lately, what with their official unveiling of their 3D printed UAV this week and their recent patent application that could theoretically lead to the 3D printing of entire airplanes.

    A350XWB flying display at Dubai Airshow 2015.2015-11-09-11-57-30

    After a two-year benchmarking process, the Airbus Group is extending their use of 3DEXPERIENCE to their additive manufacturing program as part of Dassault’s Co-Design to Target industry solution experience, which is geared towards manufacturers in the aerospace and defense industries. While Airbus clearly isn’t struggling in the additive manufacturing area, their use of Dassault’s comprehensive platform will help them to optimize the development of both prototypes and end-use components.

    “Numerous projects across Airbus are accelerating the use of additive manufacturing to produce prototypes as well as production components potentially delivering lighter and less expensive parts that meet technological, performance, safety and cost standards,” said Robert Nardini, Senior Vice President Engineering Airframe, Airbus. “Airbus has long used Dassault Systèmes’ simulation applications to accelerate the structural analysis and virtual testing of aircraft and now we can define a new way of designing parts by leveraging simulation-based design to better answer aviation market needs.”

    airbus groupWhile a growing number of aerospace companies are turning to additive manufacturing, perhaps no one is more serious about it than Airbus, who has already created airplanes with over a thousand 3D printed parts. It may seem completely unfeasible to 3D print an entire passenger aircraft, but if anyone can do it, it’s likely to be Airbus. They certainly have the drive and the technical resources, especially now with their expanded use of Dassault’s virtual design and simulation platforms.

     “Additive manufacturing creates new opportunities in many different areas such as remote fabrication for support and maintenance, rapid prototyping for realising new concepts and experiences and, perhaps most importantly, developing designs that were heretofore impossible to fabricate,” said Dominique Florack, Senior Executive Vice President of Research and Development for Dassault Systèmes.


    “With this approach, Airbus Group will be able to take advantage of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform’s next generation automated design assistant for parts, whether they are 3D printed or not, thus accelerating a new wave of transformation in the aerospace industry. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform we are delivering an end to end solution including all engineering parameters for the additive manufacturing of parts inclusive of material science, functional specification, generative design, 3D printing optimisation, production and certification.”


    From 3dprint Thursday, June 9, 2016
  • Reinventing the Light Bulb… With a Miniature 3D Printed Version of Yourself Inside?

    lightbulbsfeaturedThe light bulb. It is one of mankind’s greatest inventions. Inventor Thomas Edison was the first to bring the electric light bulb into reality, and since then not really all that much as changed. Sure, we have advanced to LED bulbs, which save electricity and last much longer, but some of the trendiest bulbs today are the newly popular ‘Edison bulbs.’

    lightbulbs1When it comes to 3D printing, the technology gives designers a means both to prototype ideas and to create unique objects which typically would not have seen the light of day, prior to the birth of these desktop manufacturing machines. For one man, named Richard (Rich) Vinten, and his brother Lance, 3D printing allowed them to reinvent the light bulb, in a way which even Thomas Edison surely never would have thought of.

    “I’m a CAD designer for a jewelry manufacturer in the UK, and in 2012 I was asked to create the CAD work for a brooch to be presented to the Queen for her diamond jubilee,” Rich tells “Since then, my brother and sisters have nicknamed me the ‘golden child.’”

    lightbulbs3Rich’s brother Lance is a goldsmith and he has a hobby of creating various art pieces in his spare time. He has made a few lamps with objects inside of the bulbs, such as bird skulls and other unique things. He makes these as gifts for friends and family members, but as Rich explained to us, most the bulbs he has created are “quite morbid looking”…and thus their mother isn’t all that big of a fan. Rich had another idea though, one that his mother would certainly approve of.

    “I had been scanned a few months ago, so I printed myself on an Envisiontec P4 3D printer, and then gave my brother some silver and bronze casts of myself. He then made a few things out of them; a toothpick, figurines, key rings and had one gold plated and put inside a lamp to give to our mom.”

    The two brothers created a light bulb featuring none other than Rich himself inside and ready to be gifted to Mom. Rich, ‘the golden child,’ appears in gold within the newly invented light bulb. As for the bulb itself, we are told that it currently does not light up, but Rich and Lance will be looking to add LED lights to their next iteration.


    The Thomas Edisons of the 21st Century? Perhaps not, but these brothers may just be on to something with their unique creation. Is this the future of lighting? Bulbs featuring our own figures within? It very well may be. What do you think? Discuss in the 3D Printed Custom Light Bulb forum thread on




    From 3dprint Tuesday, March 17, 2015
  • Gas Detection – An Introduction to Electrochemical Sensor Technology

    Table of Content

    Detcon’s Electrochemical Toxic Gas Sensors
    DM-100 2-Wire Loop-Powered
    DM-700 Environmentally Bulletproof
    DM-500/DM-600 MicroSafe
    SmartWireless CX-DM/CXT-DM
    About Detcon Inc.


    The electrochemical sensor has been a vital device in ensuring workplace safety, and protecting lives, for over five decades. The electrochemical sensor was used for oxygen monitoring for the first time in the 1950s. Over the years, the expansion of the technology made the sensor a key component in the determination and monitoring of toxic gases.

    In the 1980s, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a proposal for a new safety standard, which would demand toxic gas monitoring in permit-required confined spaces. This announcement triggered the development of more compact and powerful electrochemical sensors with improved sensitivity and selectivity for a broad range of toxic gases.

    The proposed OSHA safety standard came into effect in 1993 as 29 CFR 1910.146, mandating rigorous worker safety and further widening the scope of application of the electrochemical sensor.

    Detcon’s Electrochemical Toxic Gas Sensors

    The simplest form of all electrochemical gas detection sensors consists of a porous membrane and at least two electrodes, namely a sensing electrode and a counter electrode. During operation, the gas permeable sensor membrane allows the target gas to diffuse through it onto the surface of the sensor electrode. This generates an electrical current proportional to the quantity of target gas reacted at the electrode.

    Electrochemical toxic gas sensors offered by Detcon include three electrodes embedded in an electrolyte solution and placed in a diffusion membrane (Figure 1). Sensitivity to a specific target gas is achievable by changing the composition of any combination of the sensor components. These sensors have long service life of three or more years because the cells are diffusion limited by tiny capillary barriers.

    Figure 1. Detcon’s electrochemical toxic gas sensor

    Detcon’s electrochemical sensors are rugged, perform well at elevated temperatures and in challenging environments, and can determine toxic gases ranging from 0-1 ppm up to 0-10,000 ppm. Detcon produces six sensor assemblies for toxic gas monitoring using this electrochemical cell technology.

    MicroSafe® Models DM-500/600, Model DM-100, SmartWireless® Models CX/CXT-DM, and Model DM-700 are user-friendly field replaceable plug-in sensors with smart electronics and a non-intrusive operator interface that uses a hand-held magnet. These intuitive sensors feature comprehensive fault diagnostics and automatic calibration.

    DM-100 2-Wire Loop-Powered

    The Model DM-100 (Figure 2) features two-wire 4-20 mA loop-powered sensors packaged in an electro-polished 316 stainless steel vault. This versatile, low power gas detector has a safe design with fully encapsulated electronics. An explosion-proof junction box, with or without loop powered LED display, is available as one of options. The DM-100 is rated Class I, Division I, Groups A, B, C, D and ATEX approved as II1G Ex ia IIC T4 Ga and as II26 Ex mb [ib] ib IIC T4 Gb.

    Figure 2. The Model DM-100

    DM-700 Environmentally Bulletproof

    The Model DM-700 (Figure 3) comes as standard with 4-20 mA and Modbus RS-485 outputs. Designed for harsh environments, this new generation of intelligent sensor module is packaged in an intrinsically safe electro-polished 316 stainless steel vault with dual layer surge protection and fully encapsulated electronics. An integrated alphanumeric LED display shows the sensor status.

    Related StoriesIndustry Leading Flame Detection with Ultraviolet and Infrared Technology – MultiFlame DF-TV7-VDirect Detection of Combustible Gases with Infrared and Catalytic Bead Sensor Technology – Freedom Transmitter High Performance Fire Detection – Triple IR Technology – FlameVision FV400

    Figure 3. The Model DM-700

    The DM-700 contains an explosion-proof junction box, and is Class I, Division I, Groups A, B, C, D and ATEX approved as II 2G Ex d ib IIC T4 Gb. The sensor module has a SIL2 rating assessed by Exida. Integration options are a wireless interface module, HART, and Remote Alarm Module (RAM).

    DM-500/DM-600 MicroSafe

    Detcon Models DM-500 and DM-600 MicroSafe gas detectors (Figure 4) are equipped standard with a linear 4-20 mA output. An additional RS-485 serial communications port and three alarm relays are featured in the DM-600. Both sensor types can be purchased with a remote sensor and remote transmitter option. They are rated Class I, Division I, Groups B, C, D and are housed in explosion-proof junction boxes with a glass lens cover.

    Figure 4. Detcon Models DM-500 and DM-600 MicroSafe gas detectors

    SmartWireless CX-DM/CXT-DM

    Detcon’s SmartWireless CX-DM and CXT-DM gas detectors (Figure 5) can be deployed easily in both temporary and permanent installations. They are advanced, low-power field devices with rating of Class I, Division I, Groups C, D.

    Figure 5. Detcon’s SmartWireless CX-DM and CXT-DM gas detectors

    The CXT model consists of a low power sensor and wireless transceiver housed in a single enclosure. Power is supplied by means of rechargeable or disposable battery options. The CX model comes with standard analog 4-20 mA and Modbus RTU RS-485 outputs. It is possible to use both CX-DM and CXT-DM as components of the transportable Site Sentinel gas detection system.

    About Detcon Inc.

    Detcon designs and manufactures a wide range of industrial grade gas detection sensors and electronic control systems. Detcon was established in 1983 and began commercial activity with its first products in early 1985.

    The company has continued to grow in product base and market share. Application experience includes virtually every conceivable type of industrial facility. Detcon’s wide range of sensor technology and electronic product designs establishes a competitive advantage in providing practical and affordable gas detection solutions in even the most difficult and challenging industrial environments.

    This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Detcon Inc.

    For more information on this source, please visit Detcon Inc.

    From azosensors Thursday, April 23, 2015
  • Liquid level sensor finds its niche

    Paul Fanning reports on a liquid level sensor with a variety of potential applications that has been adopted by a major supermarket.

    An innovative optical sensor capable of accurately measuring liquid levels regardless of dielectric constant, conductivity or temperature is being used by one of Britain’s largest supermarket group to monitor liquid levels in its refrigeration packs.
    The patented OLS (Optical Level Sensor), measures liquid level directly rather than calculating it from secondary effects as in capacitance and ultrasonic devices. Says Peter Frank, the inventor and chairman of consultancy Product Innovation: The company specified a sensor with 220mm of sensing range and a resolution of 4mm. The output from the sensor is 0 – 5V,” says Peter Frank, chairman, Product Innovation. “As the nature of the technology is modular it is possible to alter the range, resolution and output to suit customer requirements. 4 – 20mA and digital outputs are alternative options. For example a product with a range of 444mm is already in production and samples have been made of shorter units with increased resolution. If required, 2mm resolution can readily be achieved.”
    Product Innovation and UK distributor Frostechnic Limited, trialled the sensor with the supermarket group over an eight month period. The supermarket had also tested capacitance and ultrasonic-based products to measure refrigerant liquid levels, and chose the UK manufactured OLS because it is simple to install and requires no calibration or set-up time. One major advantage for the supermarket is that the refrigeration control system can continuously monitor the liquid levels inside the refrigeration packs. This is crucial to check for leaks which allow gases to escape that are harmful to both humans and the environment.
    The sensor uses the optical principle of Total Internal Reflection in a novel way that allows it to work in a continuous probe. A long, narrow PCB incorporating a ladder of IR LEDs and sensors is encapsulated into a smooth clear rod, typically made from epoxy resin. The Infra Red components are arranged so that they can be powered in pairs (one transmitter and one sensor). The electronics scan these pairs until the point at which the Total Internal Reflection does not occur. This point is then interpreted as the liquid level. This level is of course independent of the type of liquid being measured. Unlike capacitance methods, it does not depend on the dielectric of the liquid, nor does any conductivity affect the result.
    Frank believes that there are a range of potential applications for the technology. “It was invented for general purpose and then found a niche,” he says. Indeed, the product was originally trialled in the automotive sector as a means of measuring the level in fuel tanks. Product Innovation originally worked with Schrader Electronics’ development department and produced prototypes that, he says, “worked beautifully even in the deserts of New Mexico”. However, the expense of mounting the device in the tank proved excessive.
    “All level sensing is a niche market, but where we fit is where calibration is an issue because this doesn’t need calibration. It sees the level that it is, it’s as simple as that…it works in petrol, works in water – drinks industry is a possibility. It’s really dependent on the optical properties of the liquid. They need to be sufficiently different to the optical properties of the rod to be able to distinguish when it’s working.”
    Frank has still not given up hope for the product to find a place in the automotive market.
    The sensor is also well-suited to high pressure applications because the probe is fully encapsulated in a hard resin. And because the probe is smooth and solid it is of use where no moving parts or ease of cleaning are important factors.

    From eurekamagazine Thursday, May 13, 2010