A bus board harnessing the 188EB embedded processor, with PC development tools, has allowed CI Electronics to more than quadruple the speed of its tablet and capsule weight sorter.
The sorter is used by most pharmaceutical manufacturers to recover good tablets from batches that have failed weight testing by accurately testing. The machine redesign was a response to industry demand for greater speed and multiple weigh heads.
The board upgrades a previous single board Z8 controller programmed in assembler. 188EB was selected for several reasons. PCs were dismissed as too costly and fragile; and embedded PCs because of the turnover of chips, making support difficult.
Intel real time control was favoured; the 68K alternative is optimised for high performance and come on larger formats like VME (overkill here); and their costly development systems.
188EB is one of many Intel-based controllers, and Arcom’s single Eurocard with PC/104 and STEbus interfaces provides easy integration. Its tools, which provide source-level debug facilities for PC compilers, make for a low cost development platform.
CI designed a faster weigh head, using a Z8 with a serial interface on a Eurocard the rest of the board having the servomechanism interface to control current to the weigh pan, ADC measurement and logic to stop/start the vibrating bowl and actuate air jets. Four of these Eurocards link to the central 188EB controller via a serial expansion daughter board on PC/104.
The 188 polls each in turn, providing more than enough power for the four heads and future expansion. It also provides I/O for the MMI one serial port to a serial-controlled display, parallel I/O and a serial channel for a host.
Arcom Control Systems, Tel: 01223 411200; Fax: 410457.
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