Where industrial processes used to be controlled with the more generic PLCs, they are now controlled with dedicated electronics. More efficient, more compact, more reliable and cheaper. By combining hardware and software, the dedicated solution remains flexible with the changing conditions of the processes or customized requirements. Essential in our designs is the extensive use of sensors to monitor the processes and therefore get a more accurate control. And just like 'the internet of things', everything must also be remotely readable and controllable. Locally to globally.
Suppose you measure an antenna and blindly trust the procedure and measurement results. It should go well but if you don't know what to expect the whole measurement might be wrong. Knowing in advance what the measurement results should be approximately keeps you sharp on the measurement setup and thus reliable measurement results. In fact, we see that it sometimes happens that the measurement results are bad, while the equipment is good. Having equipment does not guarantee a good test setup.
Pre-compliance: Avoid frustration
There are so many devices hanging on the Internet that you might think it's a peace-of-cake. But yes, every IoT device has a transmitter and so it must be CE-certified by a notified body according to the - quite tough - RED (Radio Equipment Directive) harmonized standard. And this RED standard often costs more than € 10,000. Frustration if it turns out that the device does not meet the standard. And a later time-to-market in a market that is changing rapidly.
The first tip is to take the design and placement of the antenna into account as soon as the device is designed. The influence of housing, circuit board and other components can be great. We once saw a device where the antenna had hardly any room to "breathe" and therefore a poorer radiation. This has a negative influence on the range, reliability and the batteries run out faster. And probably due to poor radiation distortions so it will probably not be certified.
And before certification, have a pre-compliance test done at Leap Development. We have an anechoic chamber in house, the equipment to measure and most importantly a lot of knowledge. You get all the measurement results and know what to expect upon certification. If we see that the device will not meet the standard, we will give you extensive advice on the adjustments that need to be made.
So avoid frustration and include the antenna in the very first design. Do a pre-compliance test for a fraction of the money and avoid a 'blind' and double-expensive certification.
Team building session: mattering!
Especially when you are growing as a company you need to work as a team from time to time. For a moment, out of the delusion of the day, we thought about themes such as change, preservation, future, trust. Led by Stefco Klaver, we went our separate ways in Zwolle to take pictures of what each of us saw as the themes. It was fun to do and it remains strong in your mind afterwards: you have an image to go with it. After discussing the photos, everyone came to the conclusion that you can make a difference with Leap Development. Everyone's contribution in this not-too-big company matters. Despite the hectic nature of the projects, there is still peace on the work floor and it is easy to talk to each other. We are a bit - too - stubborn and as techies ourselves we like to solve everything ourselves. So yes, that is a point to tackle now that there are more and more complex projects.
Waves of 6 meters high - Tracker
Floating Fish-farms, buoys somewhere in the ocean, in the middle of the sea cleaning up the plastic soup at sea, pontoons and barges of shipping companies. Then you need a robust tracker for the precise location of often expensive equipment. Our iridium tracker - the GTTS-5000B - was developed together with companies that have experience with equipment in deep sea and at the surface. It is precisely at the surface that the waves that can be 6 meters or more hit the tracker hardest.
The GTTS-5000B is solar powered and equipped with a custom flink LiIon battery pack. And that under an 8mm sealed housing of transparent polycarbonate. With many tests on the high seas and adjustments needed, we now have the most reliable and durable tracker in production. Resistant to the most extreme weather conditions.
Doy Lubbers - Hardware Engineer
Jan ten Thije
Writes articles on the integration of antenna, electronics and housing. For robust and reliable communication solutions in track-and-trace, industry and RF-ID/IoT.