Industrial Automation and Infrastructure

Trends in manufacturing systems include increasing automation and integration. More manufacturing system components are “intelligent” and must coordinate with other components to implement the overall process. For tighter integration and efficiency, the timing requirements for these systems are tighter than were required in the past.


Manufacturing systems must also integrate into wider requirements for quality, the supply chain, customer requirements and legal mandates. Time stamping is now common in many industries and while a second or tenth of a second may be adequate for granularity, the tenth of a second must be precise and relate to other time systems outside the manufacturing process. The only practical way to do this across industry is to use GNSS-based satellite timing.




Industries that maintain internal calibration labs or measure frequency and time in production may reduce cost and improve efficiency by using GPS-based timing receivers. Calibration cycles may be eliminated while maintaining traceability to national standards. The Thunderbolt Lab Kit is specifically tailored to this task, providing everything required in a single package including active GPS antenna, cables, power supply and connectors.




Time stamping or “external event capture”, is a feature that uses an external event to give an interrupt to the Trimble GPS timing receiver. The Trimble receiver will then output a special time stamp identifying when the event occurred in UTC or GPS time. Any control point or contact closure may be used to generate the external event. Trimble supports this feature in the Acutime 360 GNSS timing receiver and antenna.