Sylvac SA, a Swiss based manufacturer of measuring tools, has incorporated BLE modules from Insight SIP, the specialist in ultra-miniature RF modules, to enable enhanced connectivity features within its range class leading digital measuring instruments.
Sylvac SA is a family-owned Swiss company based in Yverdon-les-Bains, 30 minutes from Lausanne. Over 50 years, it has developed into a leading manufacturer of professional measuring tools. This includes hand-held and portable/benchtop instruments with digital readouts such as callipers, micrometres and depth gauges.
Sylvac’s digital readouts on its instruments offer clear and precise readings. However, within any industrial or research process, there remained the issue of logging the data from the instruments, with the inevitable possibility of human error.
The connectivity feature in the digital measuring instruments allows wireless transfer of the data reading via a simple button press to a data logging system, eliminating the possibility of transcription error.
It also offers a much more efficient method of taking multiple readings, thereby increasing productivity.
Bluetooth Low Energy was a natural choice for the wireless communication protocol, as it offers low power consumption – vital in battery powered handheld tools – and versatility in connectivity through standardisation.
In addition to transmission of readings, the connectivity service offers the option to remotely configure the instruments. Particularly for the more sophisticated models, there can be many configuration options. Allowing this to be programmed remotely can ensure repeatability, accuracy and improve efficiency.
Standard and Custom Bluetooth Features
The Sylvac solution builds on the extensive interoperability that comes out of the box with Bluetooth. So the Sylvac devices can be easily paired and set up to communicate with other systems. It also allows over the air updates of the module for the seamless addition of new connectivity features.
However, in order to enhance services for its measurement applications Sylvac has developed a custom “Metrology” profile, adapted for the measurement use-case. Different instruments can then communicate in a clear and structured manner to data logging systems.
Miniature Module Solution
The connectivity solution was first introduced into a dial gauge product, but now the connectivity solution has been deployed across the entire Sylvac’s product range. A module solution for Bluetooth was therefore the natural choice, as the pre-certified integrated component from Insight SIP enormously simplifies what would be a laborious certification process for each new product.
Sylvac’s instruments are noted for their compact and ergonomic design. Insight SIP’s miniature module design enabled the new functionality to be integrated without change to the external dimensions of the product casing. This had the benefit of limiting the effort of the design change and not compromising the useability of the proven existing design.
Sylvac has been rolling out the Bluetooth connectivity feature across its products for many years, and originally choose one of Insight SIP’s older products. More recently, it has chosen to transition to the 1907-HT, offering the advantages of Bluetooth Long Range communications, so that data exchange can be carried out within even large factory settings. This new generation of modules also offer improved battery life due to reduced current consumption.
Eric Schnyder, CEO said: “We chose the Insight SIP module because it offered the high quality performance synonymous with our brand, and within a miniature form factor that allowed easy integration into our products.”
Nick Wood, Sales and Marketing Director at Insight SIP: “We are delighted that our products were selected by a renowned high-quality manufacturer such as Sylvac. We see that the Internet of Things (IOT) is leading to a wave of change across all kinds of industries, and our products can play a key role in this process.”
Like many buzzwords or catch-phrases describing broad macro trends, it is hard to assign a precise meaning to “Industry 4.0”, although the overall concept is clearly about greater automation and intelligence within industrial processes. In practice, innovations such as Sylvac’s connected instruments form a vital foundation of Industry 4.0 initiatives, by allowing data to flow rapidly and accurately through the manufacturing systems, improving efficiency and quality outcomes.