The latest from TI experts on our innovative industrial systems designs and solutions.
    • Apr 27, 2017

    Smart sensing with ultra-low-power MCUs – part 3: ultrasonic sensing in condition monitoring

    In the third installment of this six-part smart sensing series , I would like to discuss the use of ultrasonic technology in condition monitoring. Condition monitoring is a major component of predictive or proactive maintenance. It is the process of monitoring the operating conditions of a mechanical or electrical system by detecting important changes...
    • Apr 21, 2017

    Industrial Communications: CAN you do IEC 61131-3 PLC programming with BeagleBone?

    Factory automation and control applications used the Controller Area Network (CAN) and CANopen protocols as field buses long before the invention of industrial Ethernet. When used as a communication field bus, these protocols connect the programmable logic controller (PLC) to digital input/outputs (I/Os), motor drives, sensors and actuators. Bosch...
    • Apr 17, 2017

    Moving to the next level of factory automation

    My last post on robotics was all about which types of robots exist and how they are different. To quickly recap: Industrial robots are normally fixed to a position and designed to perform repetitive tasks quickly and with high accuracy. They are controlled by a robot controller placed in the base of, or next to, a robot arm. Collaborative robots...
    • Apr 11, 2017

    Smart sensing with ultra-low-power MCUs – part 2: smart fault indicators

    Now that we’ve discussed smart sensing in relation to glass break detector , in part two of this series, I’ll discuss another type of application: fault indicators. A fault indicator is a device widely used in electric power distribution networks on overhead lines and underground cables to detect and indicate fault conditions. At the bottom...
    • Apr 3, 2017

    Smart sensing with ultra-low-power MCUs – part 1: glass break detectors

    Modern day life demands smarter sensors which provide more accurate data about an event that we want to both detect and measure with ultra-low power consumption. In this series, I will discuss some smart sensing applications and how to use TI’s MSP430™ microcontroller (MCU) as a platform for implementing them. The first smart sensor I...
    • Mar 31, 2017

    EV range anxiety and addressing the need for more EV chargers

    One of the main concerns with electric vehicles (EVs) is their ability to travel long distances without running out of “gas” – in this case, charge. There are two main factors associated with this concern: battery capacity and where to charge the EV. You might be surprised to learn that this isn’t a new problem. EVs have been...
    • Mar 27, 2017

    The power to innovate industrial design

    Ten years ago, after years of constant urging from colleagues and customers alike, I realigned my calendar and headed to my first ever Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC). I will be on hand this week in Tampa, which I believe marks the event’s 32nd year. In reviewing my last decade of participation, I have two notable observations –...
    • Mar 22, 2017

    Cool down your industrial system design with integrated data and power isolation

    Winters are getting shorter and temperatures are on the rise, and I think you’ll agree with me that overheating is never a good thing. Whether it’s human beings, equipment or pizza, you never want anything to be too hot. As the demands on industrial applications – such as factory automation and grid infrastructure equipment –...
    • Mar 20, 2017

    Common challenges when choosing the auxiliary power supply for your Server PSU

    High-power converters used in server, telecom and industrial systems need auxiliary power supplies to support the housekeeping needs of the power-supply unit (PSU). Due to the ever-growing need for higher power density, these PSUs use an additional add-on card to support their auxiliary needs. An auxiliary power supply commonly powers the internal...
    • Mar 14, 2017

    Exploring high-voltage transmission – part 2, voltage-source converters

    The first installment in this two-part series covered line-commutated converters (LCCs). In this installment, I will discuss voltage-source converters (VSCs) and compare the two topologies. The VSC has become the preferred implementation for several reasons. VSCs have lower system costs because their stations are less complicated. VSCs enable a bidirectional...