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Compliance & Precision News Round-Up - Issue 22
13th August 2013

This issue covers:

EPSRC boost for UK power electronics

The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is investing £18million to support the establishment of the EPSRC National Centre of Excellence for Power Electronics.

The investment in a six year research initiative is part of EPSRC's response to the Government's Strategy for Power Electronics in the UK. It will involve an initial tranche of £12m, with a further £6m being released subject to a future review of progress.

The investment in the EPSRC Centre will be spread as a series of grants, each involving a number of universities. A central coordinating hub will be led by Professor Mark Johnson at the University of Nottingham, with involvement from the universities of Manchester, Newcastle, Greenwich, Bristol, Warwick, Nottingham and Imperial College London.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: "We have a leading power electronics industry in the UK, but we need to keep investing in research to ensure it remains globally competitive. This National Centre will bring together our excellent universities and businesses to ensure the industry has access to the latest science and technology, as well as helping to maintain a supply of skilled people."

As well as the main hub, there will also be four supporting programmes: devices, led by the University of Warwick; components, led by the University of Bristol; converters, led by the University of Manchester; and drives, led by the University of Newcastle.

More at www.newelectronics.co.uk.

 

Electrocution danger from counterfeit phone chargers

Apple has unveiled a worldwide programme to replace third-party and counterfeit USB power adaptors at a cheaper price. The decision comes after a Chinese woman was reportedly electrocuted while answering her phone as it was being charged with a non-Apple device.

In a statement, Apple said: “Recent reports have suggested that some counterfeit and third-party adaptors may not be designed properly and could result in safety issues.

“While not all third-party adaptors have an issue, we are announcing a USB Power Adaptor Takeback Programme to enable customers to acquire properly designed adaptors. Customer safety is a top priority at Apple.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) which has previously issued warnings about the dangers of cheap USB chargers.

ESC Director General, Phil Buckle, said: “Whilst everyone loves a bargain, if a cheap electrical product turns out to be fake then it is, at best, a waste of money. At worst, it could result in the death of a loved one.

'This is worrying as faulty electrical goods are a leading cause of severe electric shock in the UK and cause thousands of house fires each year.'

The Apple initiative will take place at stores and participating authorised service providers from August 16 to October 18.

 

Gambica backs support for electronics sector

Gambica, the UK trade association for Automation, Instrumentation, Control and Laboratory Technology, has joined the UK Government and a number of leading trade bodies and associations in a drive to create a 55 percent boost to the UK electronic systems sector.

The objective is to build a £120 billion industry within seven years, with the creation of an additional 150,000 skilled jobs across the UK if the plan is released. Based on the Electronic Systems Challenges and Opportunities (ESCO) committee report, the strategy document reveals how the sector can grow to contribute 7.1 percent of GDP by 2020, placing it among the top five UK industries. Electronics would then support over one million skilled jobs, making it a top five UK employer.

“Industrial electronics, notably instrumentation and automation, has a key part to play in the expansion of the UK’s high value manufacturing base,” explained Graeme Philp, CEO of GAMBICA.

“It generates wealth not only in automation and manufacturing but also in other sectors. The report makes several key recommendations, including measures to improve supply chains and strategic procurement, the skills pipeline and the formation of a think tank to identify future growth sectors.

“According to the Office of National Statistics, over 5,300 companies in the UK classify themselves as electronics systems manufacturers by their standard industrial classification (SIC) codes. Those companies together employ more than 220,000 people in the UK.” The UK is already renowned as a leading innovator in the electronic systems sector, and 14 of the world’s top 20 semiconductor companies have established design and/or manufacturing operations in the UK. However, compared to South Korea, which has a similar size, GDP and population, the UK has previously failed to create strong international electronics brands.

The report calls for a long-term strategic approach between Government and industry to ensure that the right ecosystem is in place to encourage the investment and entrepreneurship. It is believed that this will trigger the rise of these high-growth enterprises.

More at www.gambica.org.uk.

 

Cropico D05000 has multiple resistance value measurement covered

The Cropico D05000 series of microhmmeters from Seaward provides accurate measurement of resistance values for a variety of electrical manufacturing applications.

The versatile D05000 has programmable current settings in 100 steps from 10µA to 10A and measures from 3mΩ to 30kΩ with a resolution of 0.1µΩ and ±0.03% accuracy.

Variable measurement speed settings of 50, 25 or 2.5 per second allows the selection of high speed testing for production line applications, a medium mode where the device under test needs more time to settle or a slow speed for manual operation where display clarity is a priority.

True four-wire resistance measurement eliminates lead resistance errors, while auto averaging and automatic temperature compensation with 20°C referencing or other user-defined settings increases true measurement accuracy.

All these options are included in the basic D05000 unit as well as a data logging function which stores up to 4000 readings with date and time stamp. Statistical analysis of these values allows the display of max/min/average values as well as peak to peak and standard deviation.

Interfaces can be added for remote control and integration into automated test systems.

 

EU standards for household dishwashers

The Commission of the European Union (EU) has published an updated list of standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity with its Regulation regarding the ecodesign of household dishwashers.

The ecodesign Regulation for household dishwashers, originally published in November 2010 in the Official Journal of the European Union, is considered an implementation measure under the EU’s Eco-Design Directive, 2009/125/EC.

The requirements are based on the unit’s Energy Efficiency Index, its Cleaning Efficiency Index, and its Drying Efficiency Index, which are calculated following the methods described in Annex II of the regulation.

For full details click here

 

...and new energy labels for on tumble dryers

Improvements in tumble dryer efficiency have led the EU to introduce new energy labels as technology has out-performed the old energy ratings. Dryers with new energy labels are now in production with their new classification ratings A+, A++ and A+++ added to the original categories. A+++ is now best and D is now the worst classification in terms of energy efficiency.

These labels have three slightly different designs, for the three types of dryers that are on the market: two for electric and one for gas appliances, which will be labelled for the first time, marking a shift from the usual emphasis on electricity.

The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) has produced a handy guide on the Time to Change website to explain the new labels.

Full details at www.t2c.org.uk.

 

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