New version of WinWedge

Version 4 of the convenient serial data acquisition software extends flexibility in porting serial data direct to any Windows application

TAL Technologies, Inc (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), a leading provider of data acquisition software for a wide variety of industries, has announced through its UK distributor Adept Scientific (Letchworth, Herts) the release of WinWedge® Pro 4.0. WinWedge allows real-time data from any serial lab instrument and other serial devices to be collected and sent to any Windows application, as well as Citrix and DOS, thus eliminating slow, error prone manual data entry..

The new version of this simple yet extremely useful data acquisition utility extends WinWedge’s flexibility with an improved installation routine, system tray compatibility and the ability to send keystrokes to DOS applications and Citrix Windows as well as Microsoft Windows programs. The user’s manual and Help files have been rewritten and new examples demonstrate how to use WinWedge with the latest Windows applications such as the newest versions of Excel.

WinWedge inputs serial data directly into any PC application. It can be used to collect real-time serial (and TCP/IP) data from any RS232 instrument or device – scales and balances, gauges, pH/electrochemistry meters, laboratory instruments, analysers, micrometers, sensors, densitometers, GPS receivers, barcode scanners, magnetic stripe readers, ID tag readers, telephone systems and more – and feed it directly into Excel, databases, LIMS systems, MMIs, statistical and SPC software, to any other Windows application.

Simple to set up and operate, WinWedge lets you perform real-time analysis, charting and graphing of your device data in your preferred PC applications. Multiple instruments can simultaneously send data to different applications or to different fields within the same application if needed. Programming is not required to configure the software to collect data from and control most serial devices.

WinWedgeTM (originally SoftwareWedge) was first released in 1989 and is a tried and tested solution for serial data collection.

WinWedge serial data acquisition software, available in both Standard and Pro versions, is supplied and supported by Adept Scientific in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

New York Times ensures a quality read with WinWedge

To meet the needs of readers and advertisers, the New York Times ensures not only quality editorial, but also quality production by enforcing high levels of quality control throughout all stages of production. This control extends right down to the inks used, as these are rigorously tested and evaluated in their own laboratories.

A densitometer is used to measure the density of ink printed on a newspaper as part of the meticulous quality assurance testing performed at the New York Times. The densitometer measures the reflection of light off sample black ink areas and these readings are input via WinWedge directly into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The data readings are automatically graphed in Excel to show the highs and lows. Statistical analysis is performed using Excel to determine if the measured ink densities fall within an acceptable range. Ink “rub-off” quality control tests are also performed with densitometer readings taken before and after the ink has been rubbed with a weighted tissue. WinWedge eliminates the need for slow, error-prone manual data entry of densitometer readings into Excel, greatly increasing the speed, accuracy and efficiency of the process. Hence WinWedge assists the quality control technicians to assure that the inks used are fit to print “All the News That’s Fit to Print”.

Benefits of using WinWedge include: 100% accurate and cost effective data collection, ease of set up and use, significant time reduction in data collection, and the ability to perform statistical analysis in Excel.

WinWedge is supplied and supported in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the USA by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site at http://www. adeptscience.co.uk. adeptscience.co.uk/.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Harvard scientists automate data collection with WinWedge to monitor the Ozone Layer

Harvard University’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science has developed a method of analysing the ozone layer by measuring the air speed in the atmosphere and why ozone exists where it is. The research specifically involves tracking carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which offers insight into how air pollution travels and what might be effecting our ozone layer.

To tackle the challenge of collecting data from the atmosphere, the Department developed a system that utilises a carbon dioxide metre whose data is captured by a data logger. Both instruments are attached to a balloon. The data from the balloon is telemetered to a receiving unit on the ground where it is transferred through to the serial port of a personal computer running Windows 95 and WinWedge. WinWedge parses and filters the data and transfers it via dynamic data exchange (DDE) to Microsoft Excel. The data is automatically graphed and analysed by Excel.

Additionally, the Department is using S-Plus for statistical analysis of large amounts of data and Origin for graphics.

The Department’s research is used in conjunction with information gathered from satellites and measuring instruments on the ground. The project is funded by NASA and others who want to build environment-friendly aircraft.

WinWedge is supplied and supported in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the USA by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site at http://www. adeptscience.co.uk. adeptscience.co.uk/.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Developing the perfect golf ball with WinWedge

Golfers around the world realise that it’s important to find the perfect ball that suits their game; not too soft, not too hard, enough spin but not too much…

And choosing that perfect golf ball is no easy task. Believe it or not, the United States Golf Association includes close to 1,900 balls on its ‘conforming’ list. There are two-piece balls, three-piece balls, balata and Surlyn balls, wound balls, liquid-centre balls, titanium-centre balls, ‘senior’ balls, ‘ladies’ balls, balls that offer extra distance or extra spin, and thanks to R&D in the golf ball industry, many hybrid balls that combine these characteristics.

One golf ball manufacturer, long regarded as the most prestigious brand name in the $1 billion-per-year golf-ball industry, offers an array of golf ball types to suit the games of every type of golfer. Indeed, the manufacturer makes so many different types of balls and so many compressions, it is confusing even to professional golfers. So, for the average hit and hope golfer, is there really a ball out there that will improve their game? And what’s new on the radical golf ball engineering frontier to help the golf game?

The manufacturer’s Research and Development Department takes on the challenge to continually improve the quality and composition of their golf balls and to expand their product lines. A scientist in the R&D Department says one of the critical elements of a golf ball is the core composition. The core is the golf ball’s source of energy. Differences in core construction affect spin rate (control), initial velocity (distance) and compression (feel).

The typical core construction, either wound or solid, offer significant differences in control and feel. Wound balls have three parts: centre, winding and cover. Wound balls offer more spin and control but typically less distance. Solid balls are comprised of two parts, a solid core and cover. Solid, or two-piece balls, offer more distance but less spin and control. In general, the core is generally a compound of natural and synthetic rubbers (polymers).

The R&D Department conducts core compression experiments to continually improve the interior design of their golf balls. The Department uses rheometers, an instrument for measuring the flow of viscous liquids, to measure different heating cycles of the polymers that comprise a golf ball’s centre. Measuring different heating cycles simulates part of the actual process of developing the ball’s core. By simulating the process with the rheometer, the Department can perfect the heating and compression process to improve the golf ball’s core, and hence, overall control and feel of the ball.

The Department had a need to overlay curves for different heating cycles. They discovered that by using WinWedge Pro to interface the rheometer to their personal computer running Windows 95, they could overlay the heating curves and analyse their results in Microsoft Excel. The R&D scientists preferred to use Excel since they are familiar with it, and Excel is easy to use and a powerful statistical analysis program.

At present the rheometer is connected via a serial cable to a PC running Microsoft Excel and WinWedge. WinWedge parses and filters the data from the rheometer and directs it to Excel. The data is then graphed in real time in Excel. The resulting graphs simulate the heating cycles.

This set-up proved to be very quick and easy to build and use; and resulted in cost effective and accurate data collection.

WinWedge is supplied and supported in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the USA by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site at http://www. adeptscience.co.uk. adeptscience.co.uk/.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Bio Med Sciences uses to WinWedge to Automate Quality Control Data Collection

When thinking of something you don’t want to break or tear when stretched – rubber bands, bungee cords, fishing lines, cables, your pants, maybe even muscles come to mind. But definitely not your skin. The elasticity and strength of our skin is something we all take for granted. But not Bio Med Sciences, Inc., Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who since 1987, has produced a patented “synthetic skin” formulation which combines the properties of silicone and polytetrafluoroethylene (commonly known as “teflon”) and is used for biomedical applications.

Silon Products

In producing their formulation, Bio Med developed a simple system that increases productivity and accuracy during the quality control testing of their formulation. The elasticity and strength of the formulation, named Silon-IPN, is critical, since Bio Med has developed it for a wide variety of commercial applications including the healing and treatment of wounds and burns. These commercial applications comprise the family of Silon-IPN products, which include (i) Silon-TSR Temporary Skin Replacement, a dressing substance for promoting moist wound healing and pain reduction for patients; (ii) Silon-SES Silicone Elastomer Sheeting , a soft and durable material used with pressure garments worn during the care of wounds to promote healing and patient comfort and reduce keloids (scar tissue) and hypertrophic scaring; (iii) Silon-STS Silicone Thermoplastic Splinting, a material which combines a therapeutic surface of silicone with a mouldable orthotic material to manage burn scars and scar treatment.

Automating Quality Control Measurements

Initially, Bio Med performed quality control strength and elasticity testing manually. The manual pendulum-type measuring system, which involved manually transcribing force load and elongation measurements on paper and then typing them into a Microsoft Access database, proved to be time consuming and error-prone. Mark Dillon, a materials engineer and the president of Bio Med, designed an automated quality control testing system to ensure quality and consistency in their manufacturing. In designing the system, Dillon sought measuring tools that would allow automation and a software program to serve as a communication interface between his measuring instruments and his Microsoft Access database. Dillon preferred to maintain his data in Access since he had already developed an Access-based reporting system.

To determine the strength characteristics of the manufactured Silon materials, the breaking point force and elongation of the materials are measured as samples are pulled on a tension tester. To accomplish this, the samples are placed on a tension and compression testing machine with a force gauge mounted on it. The samples are then stretched to the breaking point. The breaking point measurements, including the force applied and elongation, are then transmitted automatically to a PC running a Microsoft Access 7.0 database in Windows 95. These maximum tension strength values are then compared to quality control values in the Access database.

The automation of the quality control testing is possible since both the tension and compression testing machine and the force gauge have RS232 output. Both devices are connected directly to two different serial ports on the PC. The readings are filtered and sent to the Access database using the SoftwareWedge™ for Windows Standard version (WinWedge) data acquisition software. WinWedge serves as the communication interface between the two measuring devices and the Access database. The Wedge communicates with each device independently and directs the data to the appropriate fields in the Access database.

WinWedge Benefits

Dillon found that by automating the quality control strength testing, the process takes half as much time as the manual process. Dillon noted, “The data entry used to take as much time as the actual testing and analysis”. Dillon added, “WinWedge has saved us a lot of time and improved our accuracy to 100%.”

Additionally, Dillon recently began developing strength profiles by graphing the force load data continuously over time in Microsoft Excel. The elongation can also be calculated since the samples are pulled at a constant rate (distance = rate x time).

BENEFITS:

* 50% time reduction in data collection and analysis
* 100% data accuracy ensured
* Confident all manufactured material within quality guidelines
* Immediate access to quality control data
* Allows real time strength profile analysis
* Versatile, cost effective solution

WinWedge is supplied and supported in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and the USA by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site at http://www. adeptscience.co.uk. adeptscience.co.uk/.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Crest Industries automates quality data collection using WinWedge

Crest industries, Inc., has been in business since 1991 serving a wide variety of companies in the consumer electronics industries. They sell and service industrial automation equipment, both electronic and mechanical aspects. Their newest area is in the production of custom test equipment for the machines they service.

Multiple-Sensor Test Machine Interface

Crest Industries uses WinWedge Pro to interface to a test instrument used to measure the performance of mechanical-pneumatic devices used on surface mount chip placement machines. The tester is a stand alone unit which records the various parameters (such as speed and accuracy) to its own internal memory. The tester consists of multiple sensors, including displacement, load and pressure sensors, and it also includes a bar code wand for reading the bar code on each part as it is being tested. WinWedge is used as the communication link between the tester and application programs. It is able to take data readings from all the sensors and also the bar code scanner.

Before using WinWedge they experimented with various simple serial communications programs to receive the data. They also considered using a hardware (keyboard) wedge but this was too limited, or even writing their own custom software for the host PC.

They decided on WinWedge due to its versatility and the great savings in time that it would bring. The typical end-user of their tester wanted to keep track of the machine parameters through time as part of a Statistical Quality Control program. A spreadsheet or database type approach is an ideal way for users to track the performance of the machine and to indicate when maintenance is needed. Catching failures before they occur on the factory floor saves both time and money.

To use this spreadsheet approach with their stand alone tester they would have needed to write their own spreadsheet and communications program for transferring this information from their tester to the host PC. The Wedge allows them to communicate with any spreadsheet, database or SPC package. This is particularly important when the customer already has software in place. WinWedge makes their tester product much more universal and attractive.

This is what Travis Perry, Applications Engineer, had to say about the performance of WinWedge:

WinWedge performed exactly as the ad said it would. It is transparent to the user, and yet allows us to communicate with any Windows program. We are very pleased with the software and its ease of use.”

“We are particularly pleased with the character translation abilities, both pre-input and pre-transfer, because it allows us to configure the Wedge to communicate with various databases without a change in our tester software. We have saved different config files for the types of software we come in contact with, so we can immediately adapt our product to the customer’s needs, whatever they may be. The input record structure was also very helpful in keeping the various data fields and types in order for transfer to the host program.”

“And finally, we would be happy to recommend WinWedge to anyone with a unique serial communications problem, or virtually any application using serial transfer into already existing programs. To sum it up, the best part about the Wedge was it allowed us to add serial communications to existing programs which had no such ability.”

Benefits:

* Simultaneous data collection from many different instruments
* Cost savings from preventative maintenance
* Transparent to the end user
* Easy to use
* Adds serial communication to existing programs with no such ability

WinWedge is supplied and supported in the UK and Ireland by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site at http://www. adeptscience.co.uk. adeptscience.co.uk/.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Using WinWedge and GPS to Search for natural resources under the ocean floor.

Austin Exploration Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, conducts GPS-based high-resolution land and marine gravity and magnetic surveys throughout the world. Their surveys and associated interpretations have proven to be invaluable to the oil and gas industries worldwide. Austin Exploration’s surveys are also beneficial to the mining industry in its search for gold, silver, iron, zinc, lead and diamonds.

Austin Exploration has conducted nonexclusive regional land studies in the United States, beginning in the Cordilleran Hingeline Thrust Belt in Utah. Other non-exclusive areas of study include the Appalachian area, the Ouachita Trend in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Non-exclusive marine projects include most of the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Alaska, east and west coasts of North America, Sulawesi, Indonesia, Timor Sea and several surveys off the coast of the United Kingdom.

Austin Exploration began their land survey operations in 1976, and in 1979 expanded their operations to include marine services. Shipboard systems have been employed in offshore South America, Africa, Pacific Rim countries, Europe, the coastal regions of North America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam and Burma.

Marine Surveys

To perform underwater gravity surveys and locate oil and gas beneath the floor of the ocean, Austin Exploration uses a ship equipped with advanced instrumentation to check below the ocean floor for minute differences in the earth’s gravitational field. These changes in the earth’s gravitational field indicate a change in density in the subsurface, and correspondingly, the presence of various structures including salt domes, anticlines (folds with layers of sedimentary rock sloping downward on both sides from a common crest), reefs, etc. By rigorously analysing these changes in gravitational field, structures are precisely located implying the existence of oil fields.

Austin Exploration makes use of the most advanced marine surveying instrumentation including Digital Marine Gravity Meters and GPS Receivers. Since both instruments offer RS232 output, they are easily connected directly to a PC with a serial cable. Connecting the instruments to a PC offers complete automation of the survey data.

PC Configuration

The gravity information is recorded along with the GPS-based navigational information to accurately map density changes in the substructure beneath the ocean floor. To accomplish this the gravity information is fed into the PC over the PCs serial port 2 while a GPS Receiver is hooked up to serial port 3. The GPS Receiver accurately tracks the ship’s location relative to satellites in orbit around the earth.

Hence exact location and gravity information, from com 3 and com 2, must be simultaneously plotted into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. This is achieved using the WinWedge for Windows Pro v3.0 (or WinWedge Pro). This software interfaces both the gravity meter and the GPS Receiver simultaneously and parses and filters the data and sends it to the correct locations in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet then automatically graphs the information.

At present both these instruments are connected to a Pentium 100 with 16 megabytes of RAM running Windows 95. The researchers are considering moving to Windows NT in the future. They are using an add-in 4 channel serial port board to allow for connection to additional serial ports.

Before they discovered WinWedge, researchers at Austin Exploration were using ProComm to simply dump the incoming serial data from the navigation equipment to a disk file. WinWedge allowed them more control over parsing, filtering and formatting their serial data and sending it in real time to their Excel spreadsheet. WinWedge also allowed them to collect data simultaneously from different instruments on different serial ports.

The digital marine gravity meters output binary serial data that is converted to decimal in the WinWedge before it is transferred to Excel. The GPS Receiver transmits serial ASCII data. As this is already decimal form, it can be easily transferred by WinWedge into Excel.

Benefits

  • Simultaneous data collection from two different instruments (GPS Receiver and Gravity Meter).
  • Ability to plot real-time location versus gravity data in Excel to locate natural resources below the ocean floor.
  • Cost effective
  • Very easy to set up and use
  • Ensures complete data accuracy

Conclusion

The results, which are collected in Excel in real time, help define subsurface structures believed to be prospective hydrocarbon accumulations (i.e. oil). Automating the collection of the survey data provides 100% accuracy and quality control of the data while at sea.

WinWedge is supplied and supported in the UK by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site at http://www. adeptscience.co.uk. adeptscience.co.uk/.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

Ultralife uses WinWedge for optical gauge data collection

WinWedge inputs serial data from any instrument directly into Excel, Access, MMI’s, LIMS, Statistical Software, etc… any Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT or DOS application. This case study looks at how Ultralife Batteries are using this software in their manufacturing process.

Ultralife Batteries are among the pioneers of the lithium battery industry. Their primary manufacturing facilities are in Newark and New York. They also maintain production in England. They are known primarily for the development and distribution of advanced battery technology. Ultralife targets several industrial and consumer markets. The company’s special feature is the line of disposable lithium batteries. In fact, Ultralife is the first battery manufacturer in the world to achieve solid polymer rechargeable batteries. Ultralifes objective is to become the leading provider of advanced lithium batteries for applications requiring battery sources.

Ultralife uses WinWedge Pro software to collect data from an Optical Gauge called a Smart Scope. The Smart Scope is located in the Incoming Inspections area. Several different routines are written for the scope using a Windows based program called “Measure Mind”. Measure Mind controls the scope and what data is collected from it.

The data is sent from the scope directly to a second Windows PC that is running the WinWedge Pro software. WinWedge Pro collects the incoming serial data from the optical gauge, parses, filters and formats it as needed and instantly transfers it to a Windows Statistical Process Control (SPC) System. The data collected from the Smart Scope optical gauge is used to help determine if the raw materials coming into the plant are within the specifications required by Ultralife as part of its strict quality control system.

Overview of the System

SmartScope optical gauge monitors raw materials coming into the plant.
The data from the optical gauge is sent to a Windows PC via an RS232 connection
WinWedge Pro inputs the gauge data real-time into a statistical (SPC) software package. The data is monitored in the SPC software for real-time quality control purposes.

WinWedge is supplied and supported in the UK by Adept Scientific plc, Amor Way, Letchworth, Herts. SG6 1ZA; telephone +44 (0) 203 695 7810, fax +44 (0) 203 695 7819, email info@alfasoft.com; or see Adept’s World Wide Web site at http://www. adeptscience.co.uk. adeptscience.co.uk/.

With offices in the UK, USA, Germany and throughout the Nordic region, Adept Scientific is one of the world’s leading suppliers of software and hardware products for research, scientific, engineering and technical applications on desktop computers.

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