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Production Automation: Power Supplies

One of the fundamental automation needs is to have foolproof PSUs (or Power Supply Units) to drive the desired voltage or current very reliably. Since the PSU are essentially the root source of energy to drive or test any device, having a robust PSU driver becomes quite essential in production automation.


What is a power supply?

A power supply essentially powers the devices (esp. device under test or DUT) at the required voltage (V) and current limit (A).

Generally, most power supplies have the capability to measure the delivered voltage and current.

What can we interpret from PSUs?

The current drawn from the power supply can prove to us to some level if the device under test (DUT) is a good or bad one. You might have a device that should draw some X amount of current (say 100mA) when it's in normal operation, if you don't find that current threshold current not being drawn, then it can tell you that device is not in good condition.

What are device drivers?

A device driver is a software that can communicate our commands to the PSUs to set some voltage or measure some current.

A robust device driver would have various features of PSU thoroughly tested and have foolproof to use at any time whether it's in production or in a trial bench.

How do have robust production power supplies?

There are various ways to have robust PSUs in production lines. One way is to have the same PSU throughout the production line or the same family of power supplies across the line for simplicity and having a proven PSU

In case there is a different family of PSUs across the production lines then it's better to do a measurement abstraction layer (MAL) across the different power supplies to support the generic feature in all power supplies.

Very basic MAL would be to set the

  • power limits (voltage or current limit)

  • set voltage

  • measure back voltage and current

Some recommendations?

  • TTI Power Supply

  • Agilent Power Supply

  • National Instrument Power Supply

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