Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Carbon fibre inspection.

The quality of aerospace-grade carbon fibre is still largely assessed manually, a process often rife with human errors. Automated monitoring solutions are necessary to ensure high-quality standards during production continuously.

Building off the success of the AirCarbon II automatic inspection system introduced in 2016, Fraunhofer IGCV, Europe's largest application-oriented research organization, partnered with SGL Carbon GmbH and Chromasens GmbH to develop the next generation AirCarbon III for monitoring carbon fiber production and adjacent processes. The AirCarbon III system relies on the Chromasens allPIXA wave line scan camera and a Chromasens Corona II LED line scan light to achieve seamless and continuous surface monitoring.

AirCarbon III detects protruding filaments, lint, and similar foreign bodies and distinguishes the types of defects in carbon fiber. Combined with data management and a user-centered interface, the AirCarbon III system enables carbon fiber production processes to be continuously and automatically monitored from precursor production through the various intermediate steps to the final sized fiber.

Compared to conventional CCD sensors, the significantly higher resolution of the Chromasens allPIXA wave camera's CMOS color line sensor makes the detection of the protruding filaments, which range from 7-12 µm in diameter, possible. To expand the sensor's measurement width, a novel and patented optical concept was designed and implemented that triples the Chromasens camera's field of view while keeping the data volume the same. The system was designed primarily for large-format line sensors up to 85 mm. However, it is transferable to smaller sensors or area sensors. To integrate the system quickly and easily into the process, it also provides autofocus, which also allows process-related fluctuations in the object plane to be compensated for.

Chromasens allPIXA wave camera
Since deep black materials such as carbon fibers absorb an extremely large amount of light, they are difficult to make visible in image processing. The particularly dark surface of the fibers therefore requires special industrial lighting to ensures that a high-contrast image is generated on the sensor. With the Chromasens Corona II illumination system capable of up to 3,500,000 lux, high-contrast images are provided that enable excellent fiber monitoring. The high resolution of the camera sensor allows defects to be made visible down to almost the filament level (up to 10 µm). In this way, even the smallest anomalies can be detected.

An image processing algorithm developed for fiber production was ported to a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). This is because high-volume image data is captured at up to one gigabyte per second. Thanks to FGPA, data can be processed in real-time. Downstream data processing was implemented in software developed in-house by Fraunhofer IGCV, which reliably handles defect detection. With a machine learning approach and selected training data, the reliable differentiation of the detected defects is successful. Thus, not only defects on the fiber material can be reliably detected, but also a separation according to defect types can be performed automatically. This eliminates the need for manual analysis while increasing the information content.

Fraunhofer equipped its own vision PC for AirCarbon III with all the necessary interfaces for CameraLink cameras, lighting control, Gig1000 Ethernet, and an enclosure to protect against flying fibers. After filtering and preprocessing, the image data is stored in a database on the PC. Data is analyzed using INFIMO (Inline Fiber Monitoring) software, which provides both roving-specific viewing of defects and a deeper understanding of the data.

The partners and scientific participants are already in the final phase of the project. Here, tests are being carried out at the pilot plant of the SGL Carbon, and data is being evaluated. The developed systems are being tested and improved both in the laboratory and in the pilot plant.

@chromasens @FraunhoferIGCV @sglcarbon @OConnellPR #Manufacturing #PAuto 

Fire! Fire!

Fire spreads quickly, destroying buildings, assets and lives. However, thermal imaging cameras from Teledyne FLIR can help prevent fires by detecting hot spots before they ignite. These automated, non-contact temperature measuring devices are prolific in potential fire detection, ensuring their increasing popularity in a host of industrial safety applications.

Fuel storage applications are a case in point. With this flammable commodity, corrosion, leaks and human error can lead to explosive, sometimes catastrophic consequences. Automatically monitoring temperature changes in fuel storage depots with FLIR thermal imaging cameras can avert disaster, satisfy insurer oversight and improve safety for workers and the public. Solutions such as FLIR A50 and A70 smart sensor cameras are ideal for fuel depots requiring built-in, on-camera analytics and alarm capabilities for early fire detection - regardless of light conditions.

Warehouses present another well-established fire risk, despite most being equipped with fire alarms and firefighting systems. FLIR thermal imaging cameras can identify hot spots and provide an early warning response to avoid full-on conflagration before fire ignites. Solutions such as the compact and cost-effective FLIR AX8 thermal imaging camera, with its streaming video output, can provide broadcasts to a control room monitor that directs personnel to the exact location of a hot spot. Users can adjust preconfigured temperature alarms to compensate for temporary changes such as the presence of a forklift or worker.

In a further application example, the storage of certain material, such as coal, wood chips and fertilisers, invites the risk of spontaneous combustion. Here, a thermal imaging camera can provide continuous, remote, 24-7 temperature monitoring of these materials when stored in piles or travelling on conveyor belts. A rugged solution such as the FLIR FH-Series R multispectral fixed camera is ideal. The 4K visible imaging of this product provides rapid verification hot spots, sending images to an operator through a connected video management system (VMS) for instantaneous assessment and deployment of response tactics. The VMS can be part of a Teledyne FLIR end-to-end solution or combine with preferred third-party solutions.

Similar to combustible pile applications, bunker waste is potentially flammable when stored. Self-combustion, heat development due to pressure, spontaneous chemical reactions between disposals and the accumulation of methane gas are all potential fire hazards. Glassworks, foundries, cement plants and municipal waste incinerators can all therefore safeguard their assets and personnel using FLIR technology. Here, it is possible to network solutions such as FLIR A50 and A70 thermal image cameras, providing a scalable system with high spatial resolution and thermal sensitivity.

Remote firefighting provides yet another application where thermal imaging cameras can prove highly beneficial. After all, identifying a hot spot is only part one of a fire prevention solution. Part two is remediation, which can be challenging in remote monitoring scenarios. FLIR thermal imaging cameras and software not only pinpoint hot spots, they can initiate an automated firefighting response, such as turning on a sprinkler system, shutting down a system, or targeting the hot spot to be soaked in firefighting foam - all controlled remotely over the Internet. Here, FLIR offers its A310 ex ATEX-compliant thermal imaging camera mounted in a flame-proof enclosure and featuring an integrated controller with several digital I/O channels and sensors for temperature, humidity and pressure.

Fire can destroy multiple buildings or installations within an extremely short timeframe. The value of the goods that perish during a fire can be tremendous, while the cost of a lost life is impossible to calculate. FLIR thermal imaging cameras help prevent fires by detecting hot spots before they ignite, ensuring there is no longer any need to take that risk.

@flir @mepaxIntPR #Safety #PAuto

Friday, 12 August 2022

Excellence in Automation Winner.

EnQuest UK has won the 2021 ISA100 Wireless Excellence in Automation award, joining a list of distinguished end users which include Fuji Oil Company, Ltd.; ILBOC; BAPCO; Alcoa; Phillips 66; PETRONAS; and Nippon Steele & Sumikin Engineering.

Each year, the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) presents the ISA100 Wireless Excellence in Automation Award to a global end-user company that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and innovation with ISA100 Wireless technology. This award was presented to EnQuest UK for leadership and creativity in the design and implementation of ISA100 Wireless Applications for Safe Gas Detection.

Join ISA on August 17th, 2022, at 11 AM ET for a live webinar where we will be presenting this exciting case study, “A new approach to gas detection - Achieving a safe and secure system upgrade on a vast scale.” Register here.

Draeger have designed and implemented, in collaboration with EnQuest UK, the largest ISA100 Wireless gas detection system in Britain, one of the largest in the world, at the EnQuest UK-operated Sullom Voe (Shetland Islands, Scotland) Terminal. The system includes 122 Wireless gas detectors and employs dual redundancy, retaining complete safe gas detection coverage following any component failure.

The ISA100 Wireless system represents an estimated 70-80% cost saving, confirmed by the customer, compared with a hard-wired gas detection system due to removal of the cost of extensive civil ground works and above ground cable containment at a site covering 640 acres/2.6sq/kms. This is the first British site where Wireless gas detection is the dominant technology, present on an original late 1970’s processing plant, covering a large geographical area with limited field cabling availability. It represents a huge leap forward in terms of maintaining high safety standards with reduced costs. Wireless gas detection solves a problem SVT had been wrestling with, justifying a large capex spend project on an ageing limited life asset. The system was interfaced direct to the site’s distributed control system (DCS) for operator and emergency response alarm interface.


@ISA_Interchange @EnQuestplc @DraegerNews #PAuto #Wireless

IIoT gateways.

Remote industrial sites need to be monitored in real time using data from multiple sensors that measure parameters such as temperature, fluid levels, and gas concentrations. This data is then transferred to a cloud platform via IIoT gateways for monitoring. Because of the mission-critical role gateways play in the process, operators need to choose rugged models that ensure continuous connectivity from the edge to the cloud, and ones able to be remotely upgraded and managed for minimal system downtime.


Moxa AIG-300 Series IIoT gateways, with robust hardware design and rich software functions, are ideal for use in distributed and unmanned sites in harsh operating environments where they help in reducing unplanned downtime. The gateways come equipped with the powerful Arm® Cortex-A7 dual-core 1 GHz processor featuring 2GB DRAM, along with the flexibility of one CAN 2.0 port, four Digital Inputs, four Digital Outputs, two RJ45 Ethernet ports, two serial ports, and a USB 2.0 port, along with connectors for Wi-Fi, LTE Cellular and GPS.

Most IIoT gateways are installed in remote, unmanned sites where they are subjected to harsh environmental conditions and exposed to potentially flammable liquids and vapors. That is why Moxa AIG-300 Series IIoT gateways are housed in a rugged metal DIN-rail case that is IP30 rated and able to withstand operating temperatures from -20° to 70° C (-4° to 158° F). Upmost reliability is further ensured through the gateway's resistance to damaging shock, vibration, humidity, and EMC. The gateways are Class I Division 2 and ATEX certified for deployment in hazardous locations, such as remote oil and gas fields, petrochemical processing plants, and wastewater treatment centers.

Moxa ThingsPro Edge and Azure IoT Edge software comes preloaded on AIG-300 Series IIoT gateways, enabling reliable, yet secure sensor-to-cloud connectivity for data acquisition and device management using the Microsoft Azure Cloud solution. Since it is critical that IIoT gateways do not disconnect while a remote upgrade or patch application is in progress, AIG-300 Series IIoT gateways feature a robust software OTA function. During an unexpected disconnection, ThingsPro Edge will automatically switch between the transmission interfaces, Wi-Fi, LTE, and Ethernet, to ensure uninterrupted data transmission.

@MoxaInc @OConnell_PR #PAuto #IIoT

How to build a custom embedded stereo system for depth perception.

Depth perception can be achieved by a variety of 3D sensors ranging from stereo vision with cameras to lidar and ToF sensors, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. While several off-the-shelf options exist, a custom embedded solution can cater to specific application requirements better. Our embedded depth perception solution provides a high-resolution colour point cloud using custom stereo setup with cameras. Depending on factors such as accuracy, baseline, field-of-view, and resolution, such a solution can be built using relatively inexpensive components and open-source software.

In this article, machine vision engineers at Teledyne FLIR share an overview of stereo vision while taking you through all the necessary steps to design your own depth perception solution. The article also covers pros and cons of 2 design options depending on space and computational requirements: with detailed steps for building, calibration and real-time depth mapping using one of the options. The setup does this without a host computer and uses off-the-shelf hardware and open-source software options. Read along to learn more. 

The article covers:

  • A simplified overview of a stereo vision system
  • How machine vision cameras can be used to build a depth perception solution
  • Two design options depending on your space and computational requirements
  • Step-by-step guide with sample code for building one of the options
  • Off-the-shelf hardware and open-source software required to build the system
  • Steps for calibration and real time depth mapping
  • Unique features, ease of use and integration enabled by Spinnaker SDK.
@flir @mepaxIntPR #Automation

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Managing complex system architectures in OT/IT integration.

Softing offers a flexible, container-based solution for managing complex system architectures in OT/IT integration all the way to edge and cloud applications with their new edgeAggregator.

Data exchange plays a particularly important role in the integration of production and management levels up to edge and cloud applications. Already with a small number of servers and clients, the architecture becomes very complex. With the new edgeAggregator, Softing provides a central data integration layer that reduces complexity while addressing the large number of variables as well as managing access rights and special security requirements.

The edgeAggregator has three key functions:

  1. As an OPC UA aggregation server, it handles the aggregation of up to 100 OPC UA servers and supports up to 25 OPC UA server endpoints.
  2. As an IoT cloud gateway, it handles bidirectional data transmission with cloud applications via MQTT Publisher/Subscriber functionality.
  3. As Security Supervisor, it is responsible for the central management of the security parameters of the OPC UA and MQTT connections, such as users and certificates, and acts as an "OPC UA Firewall" for protection against attacks.

As a Docker container, edgeAggregator can be easily configured and deployed as an edge solution or with central cloud platforms. The interface abstraction of edgeAggregator allows continuous adaptation and scaling of IoT solutions based on OPC UA and MQTT throughout the entire lifecycle. Users thus gain a high degree of flexibility while significantly reducing integration and configuration costs.

@SoftingIA @mepaxIntPR #PAuto 

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Automation conference.

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has announced its 2022 Automation and Leadership Conference, to be held 7-9 November in Galveston, Texas, USA.

Carlos Mandolesi
“On behalf of ISA leadership, I am delighted to invite the automation community to this brand-new event,” said Carlos Mandolesi, ISA President. “The Automation and Leadership Conference combines ISA’s leadership conference with two days of technical presentations on trending industry topics including digital transformation, cybersecurity, IIoT, smart manufacturing, and process automation.”

Attendees may participate in person or virtually, and will have opportunities to interact and network with ISA leadership and subject-matter experts from the US, Canada, Middle East, Brazil, Malaysia, Spain, and India. In addition to conference sessions, attendees can visit exhibitor booths and attend the ISA Honors and Awards Gala.

Members of the 2022 ISA Executive Board* will attend the Automation and Leadership Conference.


*ISA Executive Board 2022:
President: Carlos Mandolesi, Trinity College Dublin
President-elect Secretary: Marty Bince, EECOL Electric
Past President: Steve Mustard, National Automation, Inc.
Treasurer: Scott Reynolds, Johns Manville
Executive Director: Claire Ramspeck, ISA
Ardis Bartle, Apex Measurement and Controls LLC
R. Donald Bartusiak, Collaborative Systems Integration
Ken Belteau, Belith Consulting Services
Paulina Chan, Global Mutual Innovation Consortium
Jim Garrison, aeSolutions
Vivek Gupta, DCM Shriram Ltd
Eddie Habibi, Hexagon PPM
Maxym Lachance, BBA Inc.
Claudio Makarovsky, Microsoft
J. Parsons, LONG Building Technologies
Rajesh Rathi, Control Infotech, Inc.
Debashis Sadhukhan, NASA Glenn Research Center
Jagdish Shukla, Servilink Systems Ltd.
Prabhu Soundarrajan, Republic Services

@ISA_Interchange #PAuto #Automation