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Cable-less machine now a reality

03 January 2008

IDC is making the cable-less machine a reality with the launch of its new range of ZigBee wireless products. The products enable machine builders and original equipment manufacturers to integrate wireless networking into their products, achieving considerable reductions in cabling and installation costs. These savings are possible because ZigBee is a full blown telemetry system, and so eliminates the requirement for physical data buses such as USB and Ethernet cables.

IDC’s family of ZigBee products is designed around the company’s ZB108 OEM module, which features a complete system-on-chip (SoC). This comprises a high performance microprocessor with digital, analogue and serial connectivity.

Also included in the family of modules are Ethernet and serial gateways, routers, logic and serial controllers, hand-held keypads, key fobs with touch-screen, and analogue general purpose modules, which are to be introduced shortly. All the devices offer the benefit of being designed to operate in electrically noisy environments. They feature embedded intelligence, unique 16- digit identifiers, extremely low power consumption, and integrate internal position tracking algorithms based on received signal strength.

The wireless network used by the ZigBee products is based on the licence-free international standard IEEE 802.15.4, which provides 2.4GHz, two-way communications and is capable of connecting hundreds of devices together in a mesh network using gateways, router and end devices (usually battery powered). The product range features the ZigBee stack which leverages the advantages of continued main stream development and future compatibility with other manufacturers’ equipment and products.

IDC is supporting its ZigBee range of products with complementary software applications including "over-the-air" programming, data logging, remote control and position tracking.

A function block logic configuration tool, based on IEC61499 distributed multiprocessor networking, is also in development and due for release in 2008.

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