Remotes on review

7 September 2011

This month’s quarterly remote controls equipment review rounds up a selection of new and upcoming product releases looking at remotes, transceivers and safety equipment.

At the end of June, Cervis added two new products to its portfolio of remote control solutions, the SmaRT MCB-200 and the SmaRT BU-218XF transceiver.

The MCB-200 remote control features a compact design bundled into a lightweight 860g glass-filled polycarbonate injection-moulded package. It is powered by four AAA alkaline batteries.

Cervis says the remote offers ‘high-feature controllability’ for mobile hydraulic applications, which is delivered through the use of two small dual axis, multi-function, proportional control joysticks.

A selection of additional control components, including digital toggle switches and push buttons, is also featured on the remote.

Application-specific feedback and diagnostics tools can be managed through an optional LED display. The unit is capable of being configured to the 2.4GHz RF platform, used by Cervis transceivers such as the BU-218XF model base.

A new 2.4GHz wireless transceiver model, the BU-218XF is designed for use with applications requiring data logging, where semi-complex software algorithms can be programmed into the unit instead of using external ECU modules.

Featuring a complement of 16 PWM digital outputs, the BU-218XF uses current compensated command signals via eight outputs, with a typical input control voltage range between 7–32V of DC power.

A CANbus port is also available on the unit for expansion modules or connection to SmaRT wireless remotes compatible with the RF platform via a tether cable.

All digital outputs are configurable as low side inputs on the base unit, except for two analogue outputs also featured on the 2.4GHz transceiver.

The unit has 12 standard LEDs for basic information, such as ‘power ok’, ‘input true’, etc, however users have the option to include a further four LEDs for customer defined feedback.

Optional extras include data logging, internal battery backup and an internal temperature sensor.

Tyro Remotes
Tyro is currently working on a wireless emergency stop button designed to provide greater operator safety regardless of their position in relation to potential hazards.

Tyro’s new Indus Gemini wireless emergency stop button will be compatible with all existing remotes manufactured by the firm that already feature an emergency stop circuit.

It was developed to provide a solution to the problems presented by a hardwired, static, emergency stop button that, dependent on the circumstances of the emergency, may not always be accessible to the operator from all parts of a process line, for example.

Acknowledging the preference of many to have a hard-wired system, which provides for a far lower probability of failure of the emergency stop system when compared to wireless systems, Tyro has attempted to design the Indus Gemini to be as failsafe as possible.

Once the mushroom-shaped emergency stop button is pulled into its extended operational position, the transmitter sends a constant radio signal to the receiver.

When the operator presses the button in the event of an emergency, the receiver breaks signal contact with the transmitter through use of two redundant switching safety relays. This triggers the emergency status of the system.

Emergency status is also triggered any time the signal between the transmitter and receiver is interrupted, for added safety, whether a disturbance in the signal is caused by the transmitter moving out of receiver range or by a low battery.

When used with a compact hand-held transmitter, the Indus Gemini can be attached to a belt clip to provide easy operator access.

Tyro are planning to introduce the Indus Gemini into the European market by September this year, with commercial availability in America following once US certification has been approved.

Jay Electronique
French radio remote control manufacturer Jay Electronique has recently introduced the Pika bellybox remote control for mobile hydraulic applications.

Weighing in at a maximum of 1.4kg, the Pika uses a configurable, intelligent bi-directional radio link that changes between 64 frequencies on the 433- 434MHz bandwidth, or 12 frequencies on the 869MHz bandwidth, dependent on the level of radio interference.

Used indoors the remote can transmit up to 100m in an industrial environment, while in open outdoor environments this range extends to 300m.

A validation button is featured to support the start-up by infrared validation function, most recently introduced into Jay Electronique’s range in 2010 with their Omnicontrol joystick radio system. Available as an optional extra with the Pika, this feature requires the operator to be within visible range of the equipment to initiate operations, thereby improving on-site safety.

Another optional safety feature is the limitation of action area by infrared function, which detects the operator’s presence in the working zone and automatically shuts down operations.

The ergonomic design gives operators easy access to two navigational buttons and four function push buttons, while also providing the option of one or two joysticks. The one joystick model allows space for the inclusion of control toggle components, such as rotary selector switches.

Users can choose between standard joysticks or optional secure intentional-action joysticks, with an additional joystick cross-locking system also available.

The Pika features a backlit anti-reflection, scratch-resistant, shockproof digital display to provide feedback including battery status, radio link status, current frequency in use and language options.

It also displays settings for the standby function, which automatically puts the remote and receiver into power saving mode if the unit remains inactive for a user-defined period of time.

The display is also used during configuration of the Pika, after connection via the sealed USB interface on the remote, and for use with a diagnostic aid system that allows easy determination of any problems.

A SIL 3 rated emergency palm switch is featured on the side of the remote to comply with EN 61508 as well as EN 13849-1 and EN13849-2. The IP65 rated bellybox also has TUV certification.

The Pika comes with a high capacity 10 hour battery, and optional extras including an additional auxiliary button, a vibration alarm, deadman detection and isolated worker alarm system.

Jay Electronique is intending to make the Pika remote commercially available at the beginning of October this year.

US power and motion control systems manufacturer Magnetek has recently announced the release of what it claims is one of the lightest bellybox transmitters available on the market, the Enrange MLTX2.

Designed for use with the company’s MHR Radio Controller series of receivers, the MLTX2 features a NEMA 4 (IP66) rating and is suitable for both indoor or outdoor use with mobile hydraulic or industrial applications.

Magnetek says the MLTX2 is highly customisable, with 400MHz, 900MHz and 2.4GHz settings, two-way feedback functionality and an optional graphical display.

Each unit has a configurable layout with a choice between up to six levers or two joysticks. The levers and joysticks are available as proportional non-detent controls with up to five-speed settings.

Up to six toggles and a mushroom E-stop button are also featured, along with a side-mounted key switch and code plug.

Commenting on the features available with the new transmitter, Magnetek’s director of radio controls, Ben Stoller, said, “Our new MLTX2 transmitter offers users a number of feature-rich options that enhance productivity and safety.

“You are able to configure the new MLTX2 on a Windows PC with our Radio Control Programmer (RCP). Uploading new programming in the field is easy with a USB connection. An optional graphic display keeps the operator informed of system status at all times, and makes configuring system settings simple. Two-way feedback, another new option, provides information such as machine related parameters, engine diagnostic information, and Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI).”

Jay Electronique Jay Electronique
Magnetek Magnetek
Cervis Cervis