Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Dealing with a bett noir!

An innovative torque sensor is helping to reduce engine emissions and improve economy as part of a project to develop an intelligent lubrication system. With engine efficiency under the spotlight like never before, automotive companies are exploring all avenues for improving performance. And because engines have a rotating power output, torque is the key measurement.

Car engines are the bett noir of the environmental lobby. There is no doubt that they are major contributors to carbon build up. But equally they are fundamental to modern life. A true replacement is decades away, so we have to make them as efficient as possible.

Engine lubrication systems are essentially dumb. They have a simple mechanical pump which has been sized to ensure an adequate supply of oil in the worst operating condition. This is typically a hot engine at idle. The pump is thus hugely oversized for most of the rest of the speed range and, as a consequence, nearly 60% of its output is dumped straight back into the sump via the relief valve. It will also deliver the same amount of oil to every part of the engine regardless of what that system might actually need. The pump is also insensitive to engine load and thus the bearings will receive the same oil supply at a given speed regardless of the load. This is a very inefficient system.

In addition the pump forces nearly a ton of oil per hour through the filter, and when the oil is cold this takes a huge amount of energy.

With this in mind a major British company asked Powertrain Technologies to design an intelligent lubrication system and to analyse its effects on engine friction and parasitic losses. They built a highly specialised test rig for the project and since accuracy in measuring small changes in drive torque reliably and repeatably was a critical requirement a key part of the rig is a TorqSense transducer from Sensor Technology in Banbury.

The engine being tested was a current production Diesel and the test bed was configured for motored friction tests with a 6,000rpm 32kW electric motor driving the engine.

Andrew Barnes, a director at Powertrain explains: “We completely re-designed the engine lubrication system and installed a bank of five computer controlled oil pumps (to our own design). Each is capable of supplying individual parts of the engine with oil under conditions unique to that part of the engine and sensitive to the engine operating conditions (for example we can supply the head with oil at pressures different to the block and supply the bearings with more oil when the engine is under high load).”

The idea is to completely profile the performance of the engine under various lubrication conditions and to derive optimum configurations of the intelligent systems for best performance.

“Both petrol and Diesel engines run far cleaner than they did 20 or 30 years ago,” says Andrew. “However the need to operate efficiently under a wide range speeds and loads and environmental conditions from -40 degrees C to + 40 degrees C remains the Achilles Heel. Intelligent lubrication has the potential to improve performance no end, although quantifying the best configuration is painstaking work.”

He goes on to explain that the torque sensor is critical to the project since the object of the exercise is to measure the effect on friction of a range of different oil supply strategies and oil types. Thus the changes in friction are represented by a change in the motored drive torque of the engine.

TorqSense sensors are particularly appropriate for development work because they are wireless. “It’s a fit-and-forget, non-contact, digital sensor,” says Tony Ingham of Sensor Technology, “meaning you don’t have to fiddle around wiring up slip rings for each new measurement and together with digital outputs good accuracies can be obtained. The adjacent RF pickup emits radio waves towards the SAW’s as well as collecting the reflected resonant changes and it this change in frequency of the reflected waves that identifies the applied torqueed.”

TorqSense effectively senses and measures the radio frequency, RF, waves generated by two Surface Acoustic Wave devices or SAW’s fixed onto a rotating shaft and converts them to a torque measurement using two tiny SAW’s made of ceramic piezoelectric material with frequency resonating combs laid down on their surface. The SAW’s are fixed onto the drive shaft at 90degrees to one another. As the torque increases the combs expand or contract proportionally to the torque being applied. In effect the combs act similarly to strain gauges but instead measure changes in resonant frequency. The adjacent RF pickup emits radio waves towards the SAW’s as well as collecting the reflected resonant changes and its this change in frequency of the reflected waves that identifies the applied torque.

Powertrain's research has now progressed to the next stage in which the test rig is forsaken and the engine installed in a car to quantify the effect on fuel economy. “It’s now a matter of driving it under all sorts of conditions on a mixture of test tracks and rolling roads to build up profiles of fuel consumption,” says Andrew.

Low differential pressure.

E+E Elektronik has a new sensor for low differential pressure up to ±100 Pa with an accuracy of ±0.5 Pa. Due to selectable measuring ranges and versatile configuration options, the EE610 is suitable for a variety of applications in air as well as in non-flammable and non-aggressive gases.

The EE610 is dedicated for medical, pharmaceutical and clean room applications. For instance, the sensor can measure the differential pressure between clean rooms, surgery rooms or isolation chambers. The non-flow through design excludes cross-contamination.

It enables unidirectional or bidirectional differential pressure measurement within a selectable measuring range of 0...100 Pa or ±25, ±50 and ±100 Pa. The long-term stable, piezo-resistive pressure sensing element provides a high accuracy of ±0.5 Pa

The measured data is simultaneously available as current and voltage signals at the spring loaded terminals. The illuminated graphic display shows the reading in Pa, mbar, inch water column or mm H2O.

The EE610 can be easily configured on site. Pressure range, time constant, output signal, display units and backlight can be set via DIP switches on the electronics board. The zero and span point adjustment can be performed with push buttons.

The functional IP65 / NEMA 4 enclosure facilitates mounting the sensor with closed cover. This saves time and also protects the electronics from construction site pollution and mechanical damage during installation. For wiring the unit features both a cable gland and a knockout opening for a ½”conduit adapter.

• E+E products are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology.

#EplusE #PAuto @Instrum_Tech

Improved chilling!

Cooling technology for machines and enclosures has significantly improved with Rittal's new “Blue e” chillers in the 11 to 25 kW output class range. Using 40 percent less refrigerant, the devices are making an important contribution to sustainable environmental protection. At the same time, users are benefiting from precise temperature control, simplified operation and installation, as well as from new safety functions.

Pre-configured option packages that are quickly available from stock can meet almost any need: for precision control systems, with higher pressure requirements or for robust outdoor applications in cold zones.

The recooling of liquids by means of chillers is one of the basic requirements for smooth operation in many industrial manufacturing processes. For example, enclosures and especially machine tools must have an exact temperature control feature for the precise machining of metal. Besides that, solutions are called for that are easy to operate and install and which offer maximum safety. Users are also no longer willing and ready to accept long delivery times. Customised technical solutions must be quickly available off the shelf and as standard. And finally, customers increasing focus on sustainability and environmental friendliness.

With the development of its new Blue e chiller, Rittal can offer a mature solution package that meets all these needs. As well as the Blue e+ chillers with 1.5 to 6 kW, the chillers are now available in the robust industrial standard (IP 44, electrical) in four output classes ranging from 11 to 25 kW and in the two enclosure sizes of 660 x 1265 x 1315 mm and 760 x 1265 x 1515 mm (Wx Hx D) – in addition to Blue e+ chillers from 1,5 to 6 kW. Thanks to the use of micro-channel technology and the resulting very high fin efficiency of the heat exchangers (extruded aluminium profile with small channels and with a diameter of around 1 mm), the devices require 40 percent less refrigerant than before. Since the heat exchangers are 100 percent made of aluminium, galvanic corrosion cannot occur.

The fan and compressor are regulated centrally via a digital controller. This way, the temperature of the cooling medium can be precisely regulated: By default, the hysteresis is ± 2 K; however, a precision control (hot gas bypass) of ± 0.25 K is also possible as an option. This prevents temperature fluctuations that cause inaccuracies on the machined workpiece, and also ensures consistent quality.

The multilingual and industrial-grade touch display on the front of the chiller and the intelligent communication interfaces make both operation and analysis easy. Consequently, the parameterisation of the devices, as well as the read-out of the data and system messages are performed clearly and quickly and shown in plain text. Error messages are prioritised and displayed in three escalation levels (note, error and maintenance).

Blue e Chillers are wired ready for connection and can be quickly put into operation via plug-and-play. Lifting eyebolts make transport easy, as does the base/plinth, which is suitable for transport by forklift truck. Uniform water connections, an adjustable overflow valve (bypass valve) and ideal accessibility to all the components make it easier for fitters and service staff to work on the units.

Integrated overflow valves ensure a constant circulation of cooling water when the consumer is closed and the pump is running. This protects the coolant pump from overload. The valve is pre-set for the pump being used and for 50-Hz operation but it can also be set for 60-Hz operation. A filling level monitoring system ensures maximum reliability and improved availability. Besides this, optional flow monitors emit an alarm if the flow rate is too low and they can detect hydraulic errors such as contamination and blockages in the system at an early stage.

As an extra service, Rittal also offers pre-configured option packages that are available quickly from stock and which offer a suitable solution for almost any demand. For example, performance enhanced pumps (4 and 6 bar) are available for multi-circuit systems. If necessary, a precision control system (hot gas bypass) can be used to improve control accuracy from ± 2 K to ± 0.25 K. In addition, the Blue e chillers can be prepared for cold zones of down to -20°C, as well as for laser applications, and they can also be fitted with a water-cooled condenser or with heating, and customised with special paint.

@Rittal #PAuto

Pressure measurement for safety critical applications.

The SMO3100 series pressure sensors are now available with SIL 2/ PLd functional safety from Variohm EuroSensor. Aimed at safety-critical pressure measurement tasks for gas and liquids compatible with stainless steel or titanium wetted parts, the new SMO3100 PLd will allow user’s the ability to meet SIL2 functional safety levels on machines and systems. The robust and durable sensor series is available in twenty pressure range versions from 0.5 to 5000 bar and with best accuracy to 0.5% F.S.

Based on a piezo resistive sensing element and latest ASIC circuitry and providing high precision linearity and repeatability, the SMO3100 PLd features a 4…20 mA output from a 10 to 32 VDC supply. Its high strength 304 stainless steel housing offers excellent durability in demanding industrial machinery applications. Standard environmental protection meets IP67, and IP69K is optionally available. With the standard version’s well proven use in demanding environments such as motorsports, off-road vehicles, construction equipment and agricultural machinery, the sensor boasts a high shock and vibration resistance together with a generous over-range and burst pressure specification of 2x and 5x respectively. Rated life is 10 million pressure cycles and an impressive 100 year MTTFd factor demonstrates its excellent endurance. The SMO3100 PLd includes a measuring medium temperature range of -40 to +125 °C with a compensated range from -20 to +85 °C.

The SMO3100 PLd version brings DIN EN ISO 13849-1 Performance Level d (PLd), enabling ECU and other safety controlled systems to meet IEC 61508, 61511 and 62061 standards for Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 2 functional safety on machines and system. The sensor detects internal failures within a predefined diagnostic range for its output signal. Internal failures include broken bond wires, internal EEPROM errors and internal watchdog errors.

As with the standard SMO3100, the PLd version is available for absolute, gauge and vacuum pressure measurement. Port configuration options include most commonly required types in NPT, UNF and metric thread sizes with the electrical interfacing covering cable and connectors for DIN EN175301-803, M12 and Packard Metripac.

@Variohm #PAuto #safety

Vibration alarm switch for machine monitoring.

The Metrix ST5484E-SW series configurable seismic vibration switch has been launched recently. It is now available with full support  in Britain from its distribution partner Ixthus Instrumentation. The compact 24 V DC loop-powered electronic switch will setpoint two programmable and independent alarms through solid state contacts with time-adjustable delays, as well as monitor continuous vibration through a control system.

The new configurable vibration switch is based on the well proven ST5484ST vibration transmitter which is used across a wide range of seismic vibration measurement applications on rotating and reciprocating machinery. Aimed at demanding machine monitoring tasks where built-in alarm protection is additionally required, the ST5484E-SW integrates a piezoelectric accelerometer, signal integrator and amplifier, RMS or peak detector, a 4-20 mA signal conditioner and a digital microcontroller into a single package. Two indepen¬dently configurable alarm setpoints with time delays and corresponding discrete outputs allow implementation of ALERT (pre-shutdown) and DANGER (shutdown) levels by a machine control system. Additionally the units’ 4-20 mA proportional velocity output enables interfacing with PLCs, DCSs, strip chart recorders, or other process monitoring systems where real-time vibration levels can be monitored.

Model variants include an 8-pin sealed connectorised version as a 10 m submersible/water resistant model. The connector version is also available with an optional non-incendive rating (Class1/Div2) that may be used with barriers for special installations. An alternative version with flying leads, wired directly to conduit fittings, is available for hazardous area installations and includes Metrix’s 8200 explosion-proof elbow. The corrosion and water resistant switch is housed in 316 stainless steel with a nominal diameter and length around 38 x 62 mm for the connector version, and overall length of 136 mm for the explosion-proof model.

A wide choice of scale-range options and mounting studs provide application and installation flexibility. The setpoints are set at the factory at one half (1/2) and two thirds (2/3) of the full scale range, but may be adjusted through Metrix software with the delay time programmable up to 300 seconds. Users can choose twelve standard full-scale peak or true RMS range models from 25.4 mm/s to 76.2 mm/sec. Stud interfacing covers all common metric and imperial dimensions through NPT, UNF, UNC and M8/M10. Hazardous area certification includes CSA, INMETRO, and ATEX/IECx and KOSHA -conforming to explosion proof and non-incendive option variants. The ST5484E-SW is also available with a wide choice of low- and high-pass filters or can be customised to exactly suit the user filter requirements.

@IxthusInst  #PAuto @MetrixVibration

Monday, June 24, 2019

Industrial thermal imager baseline!

"'Give the customer more than they expect!' is the philosophy that John Fluke built his company on - and that still drives it today." 

In that spirit, Fluke's Ti400 PRO and TiX500 series Thermal Cameras bring accessible 640 x 480 resolution, establishing the new baseline for today’s professional industrial imagers. The cameras are optimally engineered to enable industrial professionals to safely, quickly, and easily find, assess, and solve mission-critical problems before they result in downtime, become costly, or even disastrous.

The new 640 x 480 resolution models include the Fluke Ti401 PRO Thermal Camera, which offers the ruggedness and ease of use professionals expect from Fluke, plus sharper, crisper images and the highest resolution in its price range, and the Fluke TiX501 Thermal Camera, which is a high-definition camera for exacting reliability inspections, industrial maintenance, building diagnostics, and troubleshooting, with 240 degree articulation for tight or difficult to reach spaces.

New pricing on 640 x 480 resolution cameras include the Fluke Ti480 PRO Thermal Camera, a leading edge visual infrared professional camera with intuitive touchscreen interface, and the Fluke TiX580 Thermal Camera, a high resolution camera with a 5.7inch responsive touch screen, 240 degree articulation, MultiSharp™ focus and LaserSharp™ focus.

The Fluke Ti400 PRO and TiX500 series of thermal cameras include many of the features needed for obtaining professional quality images:

  • MultiSharp Focus - captures a clear, accurate image focused throughout the field of view to easily inspect multiple complex targets or targets from varying distances by automatically processing a stack of images focused near and far (available in the Ti480 PRO and TiX580)
  • LaserSharp Auto Focus - enables in-focus images in a matter of seconds using a built-in laser distance meter that calculates and displays the distance from the designated target and immediately adjusts the focus
  • Interchangeable Smart Lenses - no calibration is required, offering the versatility and image quality needed to conduct inspections in almost any environment
  • Quality optics - to transmit energy and produce high-quality infrared images with 100 percent diamond-turned germanium lenses that have specialty coatings
  • Patented IR-Fusion™ technology – to see more details by adjusting the level of infrared and visible light
  • On-camera image editing and analysis – to enable the user to edit emissivity, enable colour alarms and markers, and adjust IR-Fusion®
  • Advanced thermal sensitivity - to find subtle temperature differences easily
  • Process monitoring - offers video recording, live video streaming, remote control, or auto capture
  • Fluke Connect™ software - helps manage data, capture multiple measurements (mechanical, electrical and thermal), and organise them by piece of equipment.

Fluke has revamped its entire line of industrial thermal cameras with more premium features packed into every model, providing higher value for the customer and allowing the company to reduce the number of cameras it offers to simplify the buying process.

@FlukeCorp #Pauto #TandM

Friday, June 21, 2019

Irish automation body reports progress.

The Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation held its AGM recently in Cork. The Section Secretary Billy Walsh report on the highlights of a very busy year during which eleven committee meetings were held.
Some of the delegates at the ISA Ireland AGM 2019
Technical Programme:
During the year several evening technical talks were held in Cork and occasionally in Dublin on topics such as Digital Transformation and Industrie 4.

Ed Cuffe, Section President 
congratulates Rory Moloney on 
his election as President-Elect.
Perhaps one of the most significant developments for the section was a series of training courses on Cybersecurity, based on the international ISA standards, jointly organised by the section and ISA Europe, the training arm of the Society based in the Netherlands. After the first set of courses the demand was found to be very robust and has led to nine courses to date in both Dublin and Cork. More courses are planned for the next year.

Honours & Awards:
The annual Honours and Awards ceremony was held in December and awards were presented to the following.

  • Craftsperson: Paul Meers, CETB & IT Carlow
  • Degree: Paul Casey, GMIT
  • Honours Degree: Emma Branigan, DCU
  • Postgraduate: Ciara O’Hara, CIT
  • Automation Champion: Dr Hassan Kaghazchi, UL
  • Pioneer: Malachy Hanley, Hanley Automation
  • Innovative Project: Alan Shefflin, BMS Biologics

An important outreach of the section (and indeed the ISA as a whole) is to students in the discipline. Members of the section visited the School of Physical Sciences in CIT on ivitation from the school head Dr Donagh O’Mahony and college lecturer Dr Natalia Rebrova. Presentations were made to staff and students within the school about the benefits of ISA membership. Two CIT students Tadgh Gilroy and Owen O’Brien made up half of the District 12 (EMEA) team at the ISA Student Games in Calgary (CDN) in March. The remaining two in the team were from the San Juan Bosco student section in Spain. Brian Curtis, a member of the Section, Global President of the Society, opened the student games.

The section is furthering co-operations with other organisations. A joint ISA/ISPE half day conference of presentations under the title: “Lifesciences 4.0 – Unfolding the Future of Manufacturing for Lifesciences” was held at Limerick in October 2018. The afternoon session allowed the attendees to visit a number of industrial sites (plants) within the radius of Limerick city.

An inaugural meeting that was held between personnel from the IChemE and ISA. They have started to share flyers about forthcoming technical talks within their respective areas of operations.
Billy Walsh, Rory Moloney, Ed Cuffe and Brian Curtis
Global participation.
Internationally the society continued its impressive participation in the governance of the Global Society. Brian Curtis, completed his term as Society President in December. Billy Walsh, who has served in several distinguished positions in the Society was recognised for the excellence of his service to the Society at the annual Honours & Awards function held in Montreál (CDN) in October.

The meeting gratefully acknowledged the support of eighteen key Corporate Sponsors whose generousity allows the Section to offer such an extensive programme to automation professionals in Ireland and beyond.