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High Speed Paper Processing Application

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An Australian paper manufacturer needed to upgrade its paper scanning equipment to increase production speed and quality. The existing computer solution that managed the scanning processes was near the end of its product life and under-powered. Additionally, the company wanted to increase the amount of data collection points for better quality control.

Critical to the system upgrade program was that the new computing solution fit into the same small space as the current system, interface with the existing I/O connections, plus support the expanded analog I/O requirements. The solution needed to be rugged, able to operate reliably in a factory floor environment, and preferably housed in its own small enclosure.

The current implementation already utilized a Diamond Systems Diamond-MM-32DX-AT PC/104 analog I/O module with 32 16-bit analog inputs mounted on another vendor’s PC/104 SBC. However the new system requirements called for a total of 48 analog inputs. After evaluating several alternatives from multiple vendors, the customer selected a complete Diamond Systems implementation, consisting of the Athena III SBC with the existing DMM-32DX-AT analog I/O module, all housed in the compact Pandora enclosure.

The Athena III single board computer uses a 1GHz Intel Atom E640T CPU with soldered memory and a wealth of on-board I/O that met the connectivity needs of the control unit. The combination of Athena III’s on-board analog I/O plus the 32 analog inputs from the DMM-32DX-AT met the customer’s 48-channel requirement. Housed in the compact, DIN-rail mountable Pandora enclosure, the control system installed easily in the machine’s equipment cabinet.

The Pandora enclosure system offered a ready-made, convenient solution for the Athena III SBC due to its use of a panel I/O board, which plugs directly on top of the SBC and provides all the I/O connectors in industry-standard form. An added advantage of Pandora was that the front panel already included a built-in expansion connector, enabling the additional I/O features to be accessed without requiring any customizations.

The entire re-engineering and upgrade process was fast and easy, because no customizations were required. The application transitioned to the Athena III SBC smoothly, and the connectivity upgrades were made quickly. The Diamond Systems solution made for an easy system upgrade that added more functionality to the system, enabling the customer to improve production volume and quality.

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