Intrinsically Safe Circuit Design Device Needs Across Industries


As mobility in harsh and volatile industrial and manufacturing environments has become a necessity for productivity, safety, monitoring, and management, intrinsically safe circuit design has had to meet stringent regulatory device needs. Making matters more challenging for device manufactures are the varied environments, product features, and complex requirements of meeting regulatory compliance for intrinsic safety. The definition of intrinsically safe lies at the heart of this challenge. Intrinsic safety requirements apply to any device operated in areas where flammable gases, fuels or dust are present. The device must provide preventive protection in its electronic circuit design and physical structure when...

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Using CPLDs to Tackle Unforeseen Design Requirements/Enhancements Late in the Electronic Design Cycle


Complex programmable logic devices, commonly known as CPLDs, have become a staple for modern digital electronic design. Although CPLDs have their limitations (they are primarily used for relatively small amounts of digital logic and low-power architectures), they are hard to beat their combination of low power consumption, on-the-fly design flexibility, and robust operation within a single component. InHand engineers have used CPLDs for purposes ranging from very sophisticated (screen rotation, display timing, and video translation) to simple (GPIO manipulation and voltage level translation). This blog describes their use for resolving unforeseen issues and design enhancements. One recent example involves a...

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Why a Rugged Tablet Must Have An IP67 Rating


Today, the rugged tablet is commonly used across sectors like manufacturing, oil and gas, healthcare, defense, energy/utilities and more. One key performance parameter in these environments is ingress protection (IP) rating – resistance to ingress of dust and water into the device. For business-critical operations, the best rule of thumb is to always err on the side of caution and choose a rugged tablet with at least an IP67 rating. Most companies will ask why this is the case, and the answer lies in an understanding of the IP rating system and what protection an IP67 rated device will bring....

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The Role of the Custom Medical Device in Interoperability


While the pursuit of true interoperability in healthcare continues to accelerate, data security concerns still loom large. Data standards, security and privacy requirements, and advanced health IT systems are critical to achieve full healthcare interoperability, according to a report from the Hospital Agenda for Interoperability. In truth, full and unfettered interoperability is not always the goal if it comes at the expense of data security or patient safety. That’s one reason why a custom medical device can be both the nexus point for interoperability and a model showing how limited interoperability may be the answer to some safety and security...

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Intrinsically Safe Product Design Part 4: Role of the Nationally Recognized Test Laboratory (NRTL)


Part 1 of this series introduced the concept of intrinsically safe design for explosive environments. Part 2 described considerations for the definition of explosive environments and how geographic regions for device use can impact both explosive atmosphere characterization and product implementation. Part 3 describes regulatory and quality requirements for ongoing production and sale of an intrinsically safe electronic device. This blog, the last in this series, describes the role of the Nationally Recognized Test Laboratory (NRTL) in the successful completion and certification of an intrinsically safe electronic product. Integral to intrinsically safe design is review by a competent NRTL for compliance and identification...

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Intrinsically Safe Product Design Part 3: Production Quality Requirements


Part 1 of this series introduced the concept of intrinsically safe design for explosive environments. Part 2 described considerations for the definition of explosive environments and how geographic regions for device use can impact both explosive atmosphere characterization and product implementation. This blog describes regulatory and quality requirements for ongoing production and sale of an intrinsically safe electronic device. An intrinsically safe device is designed and certified to accommodate specifically defined explosive atmospheres as defined by the governing standards in the geographic locations where the resulting product is to be sold and used. Given the risk of injury, death, and...

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Intrinsically Safe Product Design, Part 2: Defining the Hazardous Location Environment


Part 1 of this blog series introduced the concept of intrinsic safety. Part 2 describes the characterization of hazardous environments with respect to intrinsically safe electronic devices. Internationally, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is considered to be a benchmark in the definition of explosive atmospheres and certification of electrical equipment for explosive atmospheres via its IECEx standards. Additionally, various countries impose their own standards and requirements in defining explosive atmospheres. The ATEX (ATmosphere EXplosibles) standard is applicable to thirteen countries within the European Union. In the US, regulatory bodies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Electrical...

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Intrinsically Safe Product Design, Part 1: Introduction to Intrinsic Safety


InHand Electronics designs and manufactures portable and handheld electronic devices that must have inherently low-power operation and high computational performance. One application area for which InHand designs and delivers electronic devices is intrinsic safety. Intrinsically safe (IS) product is designed to operate in hazardous areas, such as explosive environments, by limiting the energy available for ignition. An intrinsically safe product simplifies deployment and reduces installation costs for devices used in explosive atmospheres as compared with other protection methods. Since intrinsically safe devices are certified to be used in areas with dangerous concentrations of flammable gases or dust (such as petrochemical...

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Embedded Board Designs, Rugged Tablets, and Human Machine Interface Possibilities


In many ways, today’s embedded board designs are driven by the need for agile, portable, and powerful access to human machine interface (HMI) information in the age of Industry 4.0 and IIoT. This is primarily because advances in single board computers have made it possible to move beyond the narrow and fixed information scope of HMI/SCADA tools. The growth of IIoT is on the verge of defining the modern manufacturing environment across all sectors. That growth can be seen in the recent Forbes prediction that the IIoT market will be worth $123B by 2021, which translates to a CAGR of...

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How Custom Tablets Will Drive Industry 4.0 and IIoT


The convergence of automation, big data, data exchange, next generation human machine interfaces (HMI) and a host of other technologies like augmented reality (AR) and digital twins are just a few technology forces propelling Industry 4.0 and the industrial internet of things (IIoT). But companies need a means of putting agile, powerful, and mobile control of those converged forces into the hands of operations managers, which is where custom tablets come in. In the new IIoT world, networks of sensor-equipped smart devices and machines can collect data for analysis and interpretation to reduce costs and waste while increasing efficiency and...

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