Tech Talk @ Scanning Devices, Inc.
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Tech Talk @ Scanning Devices, Inc.

Scanning Devices Introduces BB-2590 Charger

by Bob Bushnell on 03/29/13

We are pleased to be to introduce our new Battery Charger for the BB-2590 and equivalent batteries.  This multi-bay charger is specifically designed for indoor use in training environments, depots, barns, and anywhere indoors that a BB-2590 needs to be charged.  New commercial uses of the BB-2590 in robots are evolving and, more and more, robots that use these batteries are being purchased and deployed by Public Safety organizations.

This new charger is more cost effective for indoor use than chargers designed for outdoor military applications, and is easier to use than multiple single battery chargers.   This multi-bay charger will simultaneously charge 4 BB-2590 batteries in approximately 4 hours. 

Check it out at



Averaging Repeat Length Measurements - Why do it & How

by Bob Bushnell on 01/28/13

Print cylinders typically contain more than one impression, applying a number of web repeats per revolution of the cylinder.  When measuring repeat length, don’t be fooled by variations within a cylinder.  Instead average the measured length over the number of impressions on the cylinder to achieve a reliable result.


Here’s why…..Print cylinders come in specific diameters, dictated by the mechanics of a press, gear ratios and other variables.  An exact number of print repeat lengths often don’t fit evenly on the print cylinder.  One or more of the impressions is trimmed or extended to make up the difference.  If you are measuring repeat length to detect slippage, measuring less than one revolution of the print cylinder may detect variations within the cylinder.  The solution is to measure the average of a greater number of impressions.


Scanning Devices’ Model 755T-CS3 Repeat Length Measurement System allows you to perform this averaging with ease.  It does the math for you, measuring the number of repeat lengths that you select, and then reports the average individual repeat length.


During set-up, key # 2 allows you to enter the number of repeats that you want to average.  This value has a range of possible values:  minimum is 1, maximum is 255.  Enter the value you want to use.  The system will measure the length of N repeats and then divide by N and display the result. 

The system begins measuring when a web mark is detected, continues measuring until N marks have been detected, at which time it calculates, displays and transmits the average length of the N marks.  It begins the next measuring period when the next web mark is detected.  Data can be captured and delivered to a computer for export and analysis.




Remote Displays

by Bob Bushnell on 08/24/12

We started offering our Remote Displays today at Factory Direct Pricing.  They are available now thru our web store at

We offer a variety of “Smart” Remote LED Numeric Displays for use as output devices for weighing systems and other numerical data applications.  Compatible with data sources which transmit continuous RS-232 or 20mA current-loop signal with asynchronous ASCII data format.



Displays are available in .4”, 1”, 2” and 4” LED digit sizes, all displays are 6 digit displays.



The “Smart” learn function makes set-up and ongoing operations simple. The Learn function is activated by a single button press upon installation. The display then automatically learns serial data communications characteristics, stores the parameters and message formats and recalls them at each power-up. 

Tips on Spark Detection

by Bob Bushnell on 05/11/12

We get a lot of questions from people asking if our spark detection system will work for their unique application.  There are a wide range of situations where Arcs and or Sparks need to be sensed including, but not limited to:

  • Where an arc or a spark is an unwanted part of a process and needs to be detected in order to signal, shut down, or otherwise control the process
  • When sparks are expected as part of a process and that process needs to be tested, measured or controlled
  • When sparks are required as part of a process and the absence of a spark needs to be detected, reported, or some action needs to be taken.

These situations arise in all kinds of environments and determining if Scanning Devices’ Spark Detection solutions work can sometimes be more of an art than a science.  Still, there are some general principles for spark detection that should be considered when evaluating our products as a potential solution.  Here are just a few:

  1. Our spark detection systems work best when attempting to sense sparks or arcs in the near infrared region where electrically generated arcs radiate.   Flames or sparks generated by combustion radiate in the ultraviolet region and are not often good sensor targets.
  2. How much ambient light is in the area that you wish to inspect for a spark?  Because our sensors are looking for changes in light, the presence of ambient light can interfere with the detection process.  Our products work best if the areas you are viewing for sparks are protected from ambient light.   Enclosed areas like microwave oven wave guides, test chambers, motor enclosures, or other protected areas improve the likelihood that arcs and sparks can be detected.
  3. How close to the expected source of the spark can you position a sensor?  In a wave guide for a microwave oven, being close to the potential source is less important because you are sensing larger enclosed areas with little ambient light and reflective surfaces.  In these applications you can view larger areas with success.  If you are inspecting for a spark as part of a process where the spark is small in size (like the spark at the contact point of an electronic ignition system) then being close to the known location of the expected spark can be extremely helpful to successful spark detection.
  4. Cleaner environments work better.  Each sensor has a glass or plastic lens that looks into the areas being monitored.  If large amounts of dust or material are present it can make it challenging to detect a spark, and or, can demand routine cleaning of sensor lenses to assure accurate spark detection.
  5. How wide an area do you want to inspect?  Our sensors provide a 60 degree viewing area from the head of the sensor out into the location you are inspecting.  In some applications it is important to use multiple sensors to assure you have covered the full viewing area you want to inspect.  This is more likely if you don’t know exactly where to expect the spark or arc and the inspection area is large.
  6.  Food or non-food environments - Scanning Devices offers sensors with both Plastic and Glass lenses, typically, sensors used around food are required to be plastic not glass.  In addition, sensors with glass lenses can withstand higher temperatures.  Glass Sensors operate in ranges -65 degrees C to 125 degrees C, Plastic lenses are appropriate for temperatures from -20 degrees C to +70 Degrees C.
Our customers use our Spark Detection Systems for many different applications, from detecting arcs in industrial microwave ovens to testing explosives in test chambers, to detecting sparks in test equipment for electronic starters in the natural gas appliance industry.  An example of applications where they are not as effective would be attempting to sense sparks resulting from combustion, like sparks in sawdust or ashes.  If you have an application you wish to discuss please call (781-272-5135) or send us at

Label Counting - How it works

by Bob Bushnell on 05/09/12

We received an interesting call yesterday from a company that needed to count cloth labels that they receive in bulk.  They had tried weighing techniques but were not getting the accuracy they needed.  I explained the general principles of how our Label Counting Machines work.  Thought it might be helpful to post here.

There are a number of ways to count labels, but the most common method is to pass labels (on a roll) through a counting station that has both a light Emitter and Detector.  This method works well when the labels are in the form of a roll, the labels are attached to the web of the roll, and there is space between the labels.

As the roll is wound thru the counting station the labels pass between the Emitter and Detector. The Emitter is always ON and the Detector is always looking for light.   When a label passes through the station the light is blocked from reaching the detector, when the gap between the labels moves through the station, the light passes through the web material and is detected by the Detector.  It is this change in light detection that is used to register a count.

Scanning Devices Label Counting Machines are manufactured so that users can make minute adjustments to sensitivity and almost any combination of label and label backing material (the web) can be detected in this manner. Special sensors can also be used to count clear labels on clear label web/backing.

Sensing light changes on a roll of labels is only one way to count labels.  Labels that have bar codes can be counted using a bar code reader, and items that pass on a conveyor that are separated from one another can be counted using retroflective or proximity sensing depending on the material and size of the items to be counted.  In the case of our caller who needs to count cloth labels, this might be one approach to explore. 

To see a video demonstration of the process cut and paste this link into your browser.

If you have a specialized counting or sensing operation you need assistance with, please give us a call 781-272-5135, or email us at  We would be glad to help.

Bob Bushnell