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Story 7: Development of the AD-1688 Weighing Data Logger

  • AD-1688
July 12, 2010
Development of the AD-1688 Weighing Data Logger
(Weighing data logger: AD-1688)
Naoto Izumo
R&D Division 5, A&D Company, Limited

On a visit to a user who makes weighing instruments a few years ago, I was asked if there wasn’t an easy way to record the weight value displayed on balances.

At this site, they were using balances for measurement work. They wrote down the weight data and then manually entered it into a computer. The manager told me he had 3 problems: the work was too labor-intensive, errors sometimes occurred during the handwriting and manual data entry process, and it was a pain to carry the computer to the weighing location. Thinking about the user’s requests, I could see that simple paper-based records were not enough to get the job done. Many people enter large amounts of weight data into a computer, save it as files, and then make reports and presentations. I also realized that it was important that the PC input method be as easy as using a USB memory device.

USB memory can be used to pass data between computers as a batch without need for special software. Consequently, the AD-1688 weighing data logger we planned for development used dedicated cables to send weight data from the communication port of a weighing device (balance or scale) to its stereo jack and then to directly transfer this data to a computer via a USB port. All of this was done without any special software.

This idea was commercialized and resulted in the ability to batch connect weighing devices and computers just like using a USB memory device. The weight data imported into the computer could be directly entered into any open program, such as an Excel sheet or notepad application. Again, this did not require any special pre-installed software, making it a very convenient recording media.

For portability, AD-1688 was made about the size of a business card and the weight of a large egg (60 g). The unit also included a protective cap for the connector. When used, the unit met IP65 specifications (dustproof and rainproof), making it easily pocketable.

Mr. Dodate of the R&D division 5 was responsible for the mechanical design. He used 3 cases, including the cap to protect the communication ports, to achieve this dustproof and rainproof construction. The assembly does not require a single screw. When people see the finished product, the case structure seems ordinary, but completing the proposed new assembly and insertion case was a lot of hard work.

There has never been a product like the AD-1688 on the market. All manufacturing, from PCB wiring to assembly and outgoing inspection, has been entrusted to a high-quality factory in Mr. Dodate’s home prefecture of Akita.

The reason that domestic production was chosen was to speed up the product development cycle. In other words, it was decided it was best to increase focus on fundamental development work by cutting out the extra time and quality control issues that come with overseas production. Even industrial equipment, which is limited run unlike commercial-off-the-shelf products, naturally requires cost cutting. However, as a Japanese manufacturer, we prioritize guaranteed product quality over mass production efficiency and decided it was best to concentrate resources such as time on planning and development of new products.

We expect the conveniently handy AD-1688 weighing data logger to be recognized as a high-value product for wide use in the management of research and production lines and solve problems you might not even know you have.
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