Responding to the needs of the environment and society
The development of new controllers is a question not just of technology, but also of responding to the needs of the environment and society. The next generation of (end) users expects a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that is in line with the interface to which they are used to for the personal mobile devices in their private lives. The recognition of 2D or 3D gestures offers a great many possibilities. The underlying electronic controller must be geared towards this, which is the speciality of E.D.&A.
Choice of user interface for operation is decisive
A range of technologies is available for user interfaces: from pushbuttons (membrane switches) and touch panels to smartphones (apps) and tablets. Touch panels currently seem to have the upper hand, but in certain applications such a panel is rather over the top. Think, for example, of a device in the cellar. Here, a simple display on the device itself is enough, while monitoring takes place through an attractive app on a smartphone. Some applications require more advanced technologies since the machine is frequently used in a heavily visited location. For this, the necessary presence is of great importance with regard to the end user. E.D.&A. advises the customer on specifications, budget, future expansions, etc.
Machine maintenance and monitoring can be simplified
Independent of the choice of user interface, the new controllers allow the machines and devices to be monitored, configured and updated quickly and easily. For example, preventive maintenance can be carried out and the machines provided with new updates (software or otherwise) more easily via e.g. a Wi-Fi connection.
We’ve been doing remote monitoring and configuring for many years now. While in the past this was called machine-to-machine, today it’s known as IoT. Using the Wi-Fi network, machines and devices can also be connected to the cloud.
How do you choose the correct user interface for your application? Would you like to receive the free User Interfaces presentation? Click here.Blok titel:Operation via gesture recognition or...?Introductie tekst:Various different technologies can be used to operate devices and machines, one of which is gesture recognition. A range of technologies is available for user interfaces. Touch panels seem to have the upper hand, but are they necessary for every application?
CE+T, EASI, E.D.&A., LVD, Protime, Vanbreda Risk & Benefits and Vandersanden Group are the privately owned and controlled Belgian companies that are being recognised for their clear strategy, strong competencies, commitment to the company and sustainable growth.
Gert D’Handschotter, Managing Director E.D.&A.:
"We are particularly pleased that we are eligible to carry the quality label of Belgium's Best Managed Company as one of the first in Belgium. This is a recognition of the many years of effort by the whole team. Collaboration, innovation, commitment to quality, customer focus and respect are our core values that we accentuate every day. As the jury pointed out in his report, we are in a very competitive market, especially in Eastern Europe and Asia. By putting the emphasis on "knowledge" we can differentiate us and we managed to grow significantly. That is also the reason why we have decided some years ago – against the trend – to produce our electronics in-house. This allows us to apply the principles of "Design for Manufacturing" even better. In this way we can be very competitive with an almost fully automated production."
Nikolaas Tahon, Managing Partner Deloitte Private:
“Deloitte Private is proud to support and recognise the strengths of these seven privately owned and managed companies. They have demonstrated that they have the strategic capabilities to innovate systematically, implement high performing processes to manage opportunities and overcome risks, and focus on talent and leadership development. They also have a proven track record of sustainable growth, which is why they are now part of a community of Best Managed Companies that is well established around the world and will grow in Belgium in the years to come. With the prestigious Best Managed Company designation, the recognised private companies will gain brand exposure, increase talent attraction and take their leadership team to the highest level of maturity and excellence.”Blok titel:E.D.&A. receives label Best Managed CompanyIntroductie tekst:We are particularly pleased that we are eligible to carry the quality label of Belgium's Best Managed Company as one of the first in Belgium. This is a recognition of the many years of effort by the whole team.
It is not so difficult to obtain different voltages, with a mutually fixed ratio, from one power supply. With a dimmable LED power supply or a motor controller, we also need a variable voltage besides the constant voltage for the control circuit. This therefore means that all other voltages vary too, which is not always desired.
Unique, innovative solution results in a patent
A traditional solution is to create two switched mode power supplies next to each other: one constant and one variable with two separate transformers. Or you need an additional converter to regulate the voltages. This had to be made more compact and flexible, because we wanted to integrate this into one single coherent and cost-effective design. After a great deal of research, we found an innovative solution. That solution turned out to be so unique that we patented it.
This first patent fits in perfectly with our innovation strategy, because 35 R&D engineers are now at work on tomorrow’s applications. So it’s by no means out of the question that even more patents will follow in coming years.Blok titel:Patent fits in with our innovation strategy.Introductie tekst:E.D.&A. patents the mechanism for obtaining two independently regulated voltages from one single supply circuit. The innovative solution turns out to be unique. Working on tomorrow’s applications.
New SMD machine already up to speed
The new SMD machine installs and inspects 24 components at a time. This nearly doubles our production capacity. In the months to come, we will be purchasing even more machines.
Roll-out of inline process control
Aside from that we bought an additional AOI (Automated Optical Inspection) machine which was integrated in the through-hole assembly line. This unit was installed for the selective soldering machine.
The purchase of the additional AOI machine is part of the full roll-out of our inline process control. It is important to be able to rectify any errors as quickly as possible in the process. A short feedback loop is essential in this respect as it makes adjustments possible. In this way the product can continue to be finished flawlessly.Blok titel:Doubling production capacity at E.D.&A.Introductie tekst:We started in-house electronics production four years ago. In the meantime we have placed an additional SMD-machine and an additional AOI machine.
Together with E.D.&A., DiBO has developed an innovative control panel with burglar-resistant and touch-sensitive glass (capacitive buttons) for their self-service carwash systems. Customers can make cashless and contactless payments. The system is unique in Belgium. The customer pays using an app, via an nfc (Near Field Communication) enabled payment card or with a pre-charged card.
Electronics provides also this time communication and control
As in the previous 30 years, the electronics supplied by E.D.&A. are responsible for providing the necessary communication and control of the carwash installation. The electronic controller behind the new glass panel lets the user interact with the system (using displays and capacitive buttons). This controller communicates with the cashless payment system behind the operating panel. All operating panels are then linked to the central carwash controls through a bus system, which is also supplied by E.D.&A.
Short lines of communication offer nothing but advantages
“Quality is DiBO’s top priority,” says Eric Spoormans (R&D Engineer at DiBO). He adds: “DiBO constantly endeavours to innovate and we expect our suppliers to do the same. Our products are near and dear to our customers and their end users, and to make this happen you need suppliers who actively cooperate and contribute ideas so that we can deliver that added value. We see nothing but advantages in working directly with a developer such as E.D.&A. Quick responses and immediate communication with people with the right technical knowledge save time and money, which is very important when working with these very high-tech materials.”
Custom-made products and compatibility strengthen the relationship
“From day one, E.D.&A. has provided us with custom-made electronics. The controller is perfectly tailored, just what you need. It is a real advantage when you deal with large quantities like we do. In addition, the systems have remained compatible over the years and are still to this day fully compatible. This gives you a great deal of freedom, continuity and flexibility as a machine constructor,” Eric Spoormans says.
Shared vision of the future
It is also rather striking that both companies place much importance on in-house and Belgium-based development and production. Better products can only become a reality thanks to cooperation among the different departments in a company. A focus on quality can only be guaranteed if you yourself have full control. Innovative ideas are moving faster and effective communication on site from production staff to developers - and vice versa - is an enormous added value.
“We have already been working with E.D.&A. for 30 years and we look forward to continuing to do so in the future.”
Eric Spoormans - R&D at DiBOBlok titel:DiBO opts resolutely for E.D.&A. since 1987.Introductie tekst:Together with E.D.&A., DiBO has developed an innovative control panel with burglar-resistant and touch-sensitive glass (capacitive buttons) for their self-service carwash systems. They have been working together now on a 4th generation of electronic controllers.
With relatively little effort, we succeeded in running the Android operating system on one of our previously-developed hardware platforms. A great deal of experimenting went into determining whether the available processing power and memory were sufficient for developing complex user interfaces. With very encouraging results! The advantage is that your Android app - developed for tablets or smartphones - can also run on your electronic controller.Blok titel:Android running on our electronic controllersIntroductie tekst:A first project for Android on our electronic controllers has been completed. The results are very promising!
Integrating safety into the electronic controller
In the past mechanical or electric/electronic switching circuits - separate from the central electronic controller - provided this safety. E.D.&A. has clearly taken notice of the current trend integrating key components of this into the electronic controller itself. In recent years, our approach and experience in the area of functional safety has already resulted in a significant number of successfully completed projects.
Knowledge of standards boosted by cooperation with inspection bodies
Simplification in different areas
The integration of this functional safety into the electronic controller leads to a reduction in the number of required components as well as the costs associated with them. And it doesn’t stop there: the wiring, supply chain and after-sales service also become much simpler. In very specific cases, this integration may actually be the only means of achieving the desired result in terms of safety.
The standards in force in this area include: EN/IEC 60335, EN/IEC 60730, EN/ISO 13849 and EN/IEC 62061, which may or may not be supplemented by specific national standards. The type of specific standard that must be applied is contingent on the field of application and the country in which the machine or device will be launched.
Focus on certification
From day one of a project, E.D.&A. is in cooperation with the certification body. Experience has taught us that this approach is a productive one. Step-by-step, we assess together requirements, design and implementation so that we can make timely adjustments where necessary. The outcome of this is that the final conformity assessment and accreditation runs more smoothly, without any unpleasant surprises.
Risk assessment to identify and reduce the dangers associated with a machine/device
Our R&D department’s development process complies perfectly with the requirements stipulated in the applicable standards. The quality of this is guaranteed by the ISO 9001:2015 quality system.
V-model, FMEA, SIL and/or PL
We use a V-model as the foundation for the various phases of design. In an initial phase, we work closely with the customer to set up and review the risk assessment. The targeted requirements serve as the basis for further development. During the execution of a design, FMEA, SIL and/or PL calculations are typical when functional safety is involved. These specific issues are supplemented by standard tasks such as reviews and validation tests.
Some designs need to satisfy several different standards. In this area too, E.D.&A. is able to build upon its experiences acquired in the past. We produced a VDE-certified electronic controller for example, which satisfies the following standards: EN 60335, EN 60730 with Class B software and EN 13849 (SIL2 - PLd).
Our drive for quality is also applied later during our in-house production of the developed electronic controllers.Blok titel:Avoiding external safety componentsIntroductie tekst:Functional safety of machines or devices: it’s not just a matter of integrating functions, but also concerns knowledge of standardisation and risk management.
SMPS simplifies integration of electronic controllers
The number of applications required to comply with the applicable EuP (Energy using Products) standards continues to rise. Standby consumption of a machine or device must fall below 0,5W. Switched mode power supply means an end of “heavy” transformers, which means that SMPS also makes electronic products lighter. PCB cracks as a result of vibrations are also avoided. The more compact and flexible structure results in optimised mechanical integration of the electronics into the customer’s machine or device.
Universal design reduces inspection costs
Thanks to the broader input range, often from 85 to 265V AC, it possible to create a universal design for both the European and US markets. A single design means lower inspection and logistics costs.
Lower consumption and less copper make electronics ‘greener’.
Last but not least, this SMPS leads to a considerable reduction of the impact on the environment. On the one hand this results from the reduced standby consumption, while on the other it is due to reduced use of copper: all in all it creates a ‘greener’ product.
Would you like to know whether integration of SMPS is also an option for your electronic controller? If so, please contact us!Blok titel:Switched Mode Power Supply on the increaseIntroductie tekst:The Switched Mode Power Supply (SMPS) makes electronics compacter, lighter and more flexible. Thanks to its lower standby consumption, it also complies with the EuP standards.
Creating an attractive interface
This platform will be used to modernise the user interface. It is intended to manage a variety of graphic colour displays, ranging from 3.5” to 7”.
This ultra high-performance platform is based on a Cortex A7-528 MHz processor in combination with DDR3L RAM and NAND flash memory. On-board communication is supported by CAN, RS485, Ethernet, IR interface, I²C and Wi-Fi. A USB host enables software updates via after-sales service at all times.
How about your machine or equipment?
A large number of custom-made versions of this new platform will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.
Are you are also looking for an attractive user interface for your machine or appliance? If so, get in touch with us!Blok titel:Custom-made version of a new platformIntroductie tekst:In 2015 E.D.&A. launched the “Ultimate Platform”, which can be used as a solid basis for the operation and control of machinery and appliances. Now E.D.&A. has developed the first custom-made version of this new electronics platform, at the request of a renowned machine manufacturer.
Integrating automated optical inspection
Our new 3D Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) machine provides fully automatic inspection. For each PCB, the AOI machine creates a 3D image that is subjected to an extensive set of tests - such as checking the solder joints, the overlay and the dimensions of all SMD components on the board. This enables full-coverage quality control of all components, from the smallest to the largest.
That yields significant benefits for efficiency as well as quality.
Looking through the components
The X-ray machine can see more than a camera or the naked eye. It produces X-ray images that let you see through the components. Considering the constantly increasing number of components with bottom-soldered contacts (QFN and BGA), inspection of these components is essential. Moreover, the quality of through-hole soldering can also be assessed. This machine can detect particles nearly 50 times smaller than a human hair.Blok titel:Production upgraded with 3D AOI and X-rayIntroductie tekst:E.D.&A. has bought a 3D AOI and X-ray inspection machine. E.D.&A. is firmly committed to extensive process control for the production of its electronic controllers. That makes product quality an inherent part of the process.
Along with thousands of soulmates pedaling against cancer! And that for four days! That's the 1000 km of ‘Kom op tegen Kanker’! Also this year the E.D.&A. bikers buckled up their bicycle helmet, clicked their shoes into the pedals, and cycled for the benefit of the fight against cancer.
The net proceeds from this action goes to vital cancer research.
Many thanks to all bikers, sponsors and sympathizers! Your help and donations made this a success story.Blok titel:Successful completion of the 1000 km rideIntroductie tekst:For the second time, the E.D.&A. cycling team participated in the 1000 km ride to benefit the anti-cancer campaign (Kom op Tegen Kanker).
E.D.&A. is one of the first companies in the world to have obtained the new ISO 9001:2015 standard. Achieving this new milestone has helped bring E.D.&A.’s development, manufacturing and testing activities to an even higher level. It is fully in keeping with their philosophy of “lean product development” and “lean manufacturing”.
E.D.&A. is Factory of the Future 2016
Recently, we also received the Factory of The Future Award 2016. Along with in-house knowledge and automation, efforts are focused on 'First Time Right', on efficiency, and on the environment. Cooperation between the departments is therefore essential in this regard. Right from the start of an electronics development project, the possibilities for manufacturing and testing at a later phase are taken into account. This yields significant benefits for efficiency and quality during manufacturing and testing. This makes E.D.&A., as a Belgian company, extremely competitive with low-wage countries.
DNV GL presents certificat ISO 9001:2015.Blok titel:E.D.&A. among the first to obtain ISO9001:2015Introductie tekst:E.D.&A. attaches great importance to customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, and process and product innovation - all of which are important prerequisites for the ISO 9001:2015 standard.