Digi-Key Electronics (DigiKey)

Canvas Category OEM : Retail

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Primary Location Thief River Falls, Minnesota, United States

Financial Status Private

Headquartered in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, USA, Digi-Key Electronics is recognized as both the leader and continuous innovator in the high service distribution of electronic components and automation products worldwide. Founded in 1972, Digi-Key was a pioneer in the mail-order catalog business and a key resource for design engineers. Today, Digi-Key offers the world’s largest selection of electronic components in stock and available for immediate shipment. Beyond the products that drive technology innovation, Digi-Key also supports design engineers and procurement professionals with a wealth of digital solutions and tools to make their jobs more efficient. From prototype to production, we are here to fuel innovation all over the world.

Assembly Line

Eliminate Conveyor Jam False Alarms to Boost Factory Automation Productivity

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Steven Keeping

🔖 Topics: Sensor Design, Conveyor System

🏢 Organizations: Digi-Key Electronics, Banner Engineering

Fast-moving conveyors are widely used in factory automation to accelerate production and enhance efficiency. But occasionally, things can go wrong. A frequent problem is jamming; one item gets stuck, and then others quickly pile up behind. This is not only bad for throughput and damaging to the conveyor system, but it can also be dangerous for nearby workers.

Recent laser sensor product introductions reduce the number of false alarms by leveraging more advanced optical technology and software algorithms. This article briefly describes the two types of light sensors used for jam detection: LED and lasers. It then focuses on the time-of-flight (ToF) laser and considers the key factors that determine how well the sensor performs. The article also introduces a real-world ToF laser sensor from Banner Engineering and illustrates how to set one up for a conveyor jam detection application.

Read more at Digi-Key Articles

Water Scarcity Problems Solved with Advanced Agricultural Irrigation

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Jody Muelaner, Lisa Eitel

🏢 Organizations: Digi-Key Electronics, Toro, Valumet Industries, KUNBUS

Over the last decade, agricultural irrigation controls have become increasingly sophisticated. Now, many growers have replaced traditional irrigation timers and hydraulic regulators with advanced control and connectivity components adapted from those for industrial applications — including systems employing programmable logic controllers (PLCs), industrial PCs, and increasingly economical automation components with the ability to connect with and leverage common industrial communication protocols. These controllers and components can accept inputs from sources including soil moisture sensors, weather stations, and freeze sensors to prompt adaptive digital-farming responses in real time.

Sophisticated irrigation solutions abound for today’s large industrial farmers. In fact, automation technologies have also rendered advanced irrigation methods affordable enough for smaller farmers as well as food producers that specialize in vegetables and delicate crops with tighter profit margins.

Read more at Digi-Key Articles

🗜️ How to Monitor Material Levels in Tanks to Improve Supply Chain Management

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jeff Shepard

🔖 Topics: Sensor Design

🏢 Organizations: Digi-Key Electronics

Sensing and measuring the amount of solid, fluid, or granulated materials stored in tanks has become increasingly important due to supply chain challenges and the need to monitor inventory levels and control manufacturing processes closely. Depending on the application, level sensors can be required to be food-safe, withstand high pressures, temperatures, or vibrations, be used in corrosive environments with high resistance to acids and bases, and have a high degree of electrical and thermal isolation to ensure safe operation.

While it’s possible to design level sensors, it’s a complex task fraught with risk. The process begins with matching the measurement technology, such as capacitive, magnetic, ultrasonic, or optical sensing, with the application. The next step is selecting the housing, components, and other materials to support the operating environment. It’s also often necessary to gain safety and regulatory approvals and ensure that the design achieves the required ingress protection (IP) rating. Instead, designers can turn to pre-engineered level sensing solutions that ensure accurate and reliable measurements and speed time to market.

Read more at Digi-Key

Enabling the Factory of the Future

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Robbie Paul

🏢 Organizations: Digi-Key Electronics

Automation is an equalizer and is spawning a rapidly growing trend that’s advancing the use of robots to smaller factories. Manufacturers using Robotics as a Service (RaaS) gain the benefits of robotic process automation by leasing robotic devices and accessing a cloud-based subscription service rather than purchasing the equipment. Digi-Key’s state-of-the-art distribution facility, the new Product Distribution Center Expansion (PDCe), is held up as a prime example of a factory of the future.

Read more at Machine Design

Application Layer Protocol Options for M2M and IoT Functionality

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jody Muelaner

🔖 Topics: IIoT, MQTT

🏢 Organizations: Digi-Key Electronics, ISO

With adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 functions, devices are increasingly connected via industrial protocols. What’s more, today’s machine to machine (M2M) communications are rapidly standardizing on these protocols. Complicating matters is that IoT protocols don’t describe a single application-layer protocol, as several standards are in operation. So while early IoT implementations used standard internet protocols, there are also dedicated IoT protocols now available.

Modeling communication structures and identifying the right protocol for a particular application can be daunting. This article outlines what various protocols do as well as the options available for these protocols — so design engineers can more easily select the most suitable to integrate.

Read more at Digi-Key Article Library