Friday, 14 May 2021

Digitalisation in process temperature control.

Remote monitoring, support and digital process-optimisation in the temperature control of food processes

Lockdowns and pandemic-related employee absences are making it difficult for many food producers to maintain their usual production capacity. A machine or plant operator is not sent to work from home lightly. Production of dairy products, pasta, pastries, confectionery, food additives, even new types of foods such as plant-based meat replacements must continue, even when everything around is at a standstill.

The food industry therefore made advances in digitalisation last year which would otherwise have taken many years. And this development has had a major impact on temperature control. Systems which operate for 24 hours per day must record the core parameters over the entire production process to comply with the regulations of hygiene and traceability e.g.: the temperature of grinders for chocolate production, the bath or screw temperatures of extrusion plants for pasta or confectionery, temperatures in double-walled vessels (often with agitators) for tempering fluids, temperatures in pipe lines for transporting various semi-finished or finished products, and increasingly also large reactors which can be used for everything from sugar production to the production of natural flavourings for foodstuffs.

Any deviations from the standard, temperature deviations, alarms etc. must trigger the necessary remedial actions immediately, especially at those times when there is no-one standing by the system. There are also the needs for remote support by the plant manufacturers' service technicians and the ongoing optimisation of the whole production plant.

To provide even better support to its customers during this development, Regloplas AG offers a range of solutions for its temperature control units and cooling systems (-20°C to 350°C and 3 to 80 kW heating capacity) which drive forward the digitalisation of temperature control in the food industry.

Regloplas AG's new RT200 control system with integrated OPC UA server now offers maximum flexibility for digitalisation within the production process. The central concept of digitalisation is data exchange of all the process and machine data across the network and to higher-level IT systems such as MES, ERP and PPS.

All peripheral machines, devices and systems involved in the production process communicate with one another. This enables real-time process optimisations leading to higher productivity, reduced downtime, optimised machine capacity and improved product quality. (fig1)

The use of temperature control units from Regloplas AG's modular toolbox offers a series of additional advantages:

- Cost reductions compared to plant manufacturer's own solutions (produced in small quantities)
- Problem-free continued use of the temperature control unit in a new or upgraded system
- Technical improvement and increased reliability due to the use of a temperature control unit by a manufacturer specialising in temperature control

With less outlay on the integration of high performance and flexible temperature control solutions, is equally attractive to plant manufacturers and to processing operations. Regloplas AG is continuously developing its offers and technical expertise for these users. The motivation, in addition to economic considerations is being able to contribute to a healthier, tastier and sustainable food supply.

@regloplas @mepaxIntPR #Food #PAuto #digitalisation

Measuring temperature!

There is more than one way to measure temperature in an application. 

The easiest option is certainly the cable probe. But the higher the demands on the probe, the faster the simple cable probe reaches its limits. Operating temperature, installation situation, flexibility and reproducibility are just some of the influencing factors. Therefore, the cable probe and the mineral insulated resistance thermometer (also called resistance thermometers or mineral insulated probe) are compared and areas of application are shown. 

The classic cable probe
Simply constructed cable temperature probes without bringing potting compund and heat-conductive paste as well as certain insulation elements in, are quite simple to manufacture. They consist of a cable, at whose end a sensor element (e.g. platinum sensor) is connected. The entire measuring insert (this is the name given to the sensor incl. insulation and possible shrink tubing installed on the cable) is inserted into a protective sleeve that protects it against environmental influences. With the help of the already mentioned casting compounds, a high IP protection class (up to IP68) can also be achieved with these probes. The use of heat-conductive paste also ensures that quick response times are achieved. The fixation by means of pinching or rolling ensures a secure connection between the sleeve and the cable. Depending on the raw material prices and the structure of the measuring insert, the classic cable probe can be a very cost effective way of measuring temperature. A small number of parts and work steps also ensures a low price in production.

B+B Thermo-Technik GmbH has provided innovative measurement technology for the past 35 years. They are partners for the measurement and automation technology. The company is a specialist for all areas in the temperature, humidity and pressure measurement.
However, depending on the requirements, this simple execution of temperature measurement also reaches its limits. Although the cable probes can be cast waterproof up to a maximum permanent temperature of approx. 350 °C, there is still the possibility that water vapor could get inside the probe. Particularly when using glass fiber lines, which are used at high ambient temperatures (>260 °C), moisture can penetrate the measuring insert and impair its function.

Reproducibility is also only possible to a limited extent. The location of the sensor varies minimally from probe to probe, which can lead to slight deviations in the measured values.

Last but not least, the installation situation often requires a structural adjustment of the temperature probe. The protective sleeve of cable probes is rigid and therefore offers only a few options for flexibility. More space is required, especially for probes with a thread, so-called screw-in probes. But this is, depending on the installation space. not available

In such cases, a sheath resistance thermometer can be used.

The mineral insulated resistance thermometer
Similar to the structure of a mineral insulated thermocouple, the mineral insulated resistance thermometer consists of two conducters, but not made of thermocouple material but made out of copper. These are enclosed by magnesium oxide and a stainless steel sleeve (e.g. Inconel 600). In the measuring technology industry, this is known as a sheathed slotted line. It is shortened to the required length and the sensor element (e.g. Pt1000) is welded to the exposed copper wires.

Using this process, it is possible to always put the sensor elements in the same position, even if 2 sensor elements are installed in a probe, which must be at the same height and radial position. Deviations when changing a probe are therefore also excluded.

Another stainless steel sleeve encloses the sensor elements and is welded to the end of the sheathed slotted line. Now the sensor elements are embedded in tightly compressed magnesium oxide. At the end the probe is closed with a pastille.

Thanks to the magnesium oxide, the sensors are cast vapor-tight and, thanks to their structure, can withstand high pressures and temperatures of up to 600 °C without any problems. Due to the robust construction, the probes are shockproof and durable. Another big benefit: The sheathed slotted line can be bent and can therefore be individually adapted to the application and construction.

All these advantages and properties mean that significantly more and higher quality basic materials are required for a mineral insulated resistance thermometer. The manufacturing processes are also more complex, which means that the price is higher than that of a simple cable probe. In comparison to a high-quality cable probe (with R glass fibre cable), there is almost no difference in price.

@bb_sensors @PresseBox #PAuto

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Enhanced Greenhouse Gas monitoring.

Increasing political action on Climate Change is prompting a new requirement for process operators to improve the accuracy and reliability of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions monitoring. To meet this requirement, Stephane Canadas of the Signal Group is urging the operators of combustion equipment, such as boilers and incinerators, to employ reference method analysers in either the measurement of GHGs or for the calibration of installed continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) for carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

GHGs absorb and emit some of the energy radiated from Earth's surface. This absorption of energy results in global warming; so, increases in the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere enhance this process. CO2 is the best known GHG but others include methane (CH4), nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases such as CFCs. GHGs differ in both their ability to absorb energy and how long they stay in the atmosphere. As a consequence, methane has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 28–36 times larger than CO2, N2O has a GWP 265–298 times that of CO2, and many fluorinated compounds have GWPs that can be in the thousands or tens of thousands.

The term ‘carbon emissions’, is generally employed as a term that covers all GHG emissions. This is because different gases have different Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 ton of CO2.

Building on the Kyoto protocol of 1997, the Paris Agreement in 2015 was the first legally binding global climate change commitment. It aimed to limit global warming increases to well below 2 degrees, and included a requirement to submit GHG reduction plans every five years.

Amid increasing concern about the effects of Climate Change, governments around the world have been implementing further commitments to reduce GHG emissions. In Britain for example, the government announced a plan to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035 (against 1990 levels), and President Biden has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. These pledges come in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) which is scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November 2021.

In the EU, Directive 2003/87/EC establishes a scheme for GHG emission allowance trading within the Community. Under this scheme operators will be required to monitor CO2 emissions from all types of combustion processes, including: boilers, burners, turbines, heaters, furnaces, incinerators, calciners, kilns, ovens, dryers, engines, fuel cells, chemical looping combustion units, flares, thermal or catalytic post-combustion units, and scrubbers (process emissions) and any other equipment or machinery that uses fuel, except that which is used for transportation purposes.

Monitoring requirements
Monitoring is of course an essential component of GHG emission allowance trading schemes. From a pollution control perspective, in the past, it has not been necessary for the operators of most regulated industrial processes to monitor GHG emissions. However, if governments are to be able to measure and improve GHG emissions, it is clear that monitoring will be necessary. Evidence of moves in this direction is provided by communications from the Environment Agency in England urging the operators of Energy from Waste (EfW) plants to calibrate their CEMS for flow rate, CO2 and N2O. This will involve meeting the requirements of EN 14181, which includes carrying out a QAL 2 exercise, implementing QAL 3 measures and carrying out Annual Surveillance Tests (ASTs) thereafter. Calibration of the CEMS will require the monitoring contractor to assume a virtual Emission Limit Value (ELV) for each pollutant. For CO2 a virtual ELV of 10% will be suitable with a 95% confidence interval of 10%. For N2O this will be a virtual ELV of 20 mg/m3 and a 95% confidence internal of 20%.

For some operators, their installed CEMS will already have GHG monitoring capability – analysers employing FTIR, for example, are able to monitor CH4, CO2 and N2O. FTIR is stated to be the second preference according to EN TS 17405 for CO2 and EN ISO 21258 for N2O. For the measurement of CO2 and N2O, Non Dispersive Infra-Red (NDIR) is the standard reference method (SRM).

CEMS can be calibrated with standard gases, but the best way to reduce uncertainty in GHG measurements is to run an NDIR analyser in the measurement of the actual sample gas. Alternatively, an NDIR analyser could be installed to provide continuous GHG measurements; thereby employing the SRM.

NDIR analysers utilise a spectrophotometer with specificity for individual gases. Signal Group for example, manufactures NDIR analysers with a dual parameter capability for CO2 and N2O in one enclosure. This analyser has individual gas sample cells that have a measuring range (cell length) designed specifically for the measured gas and range. NDIR analysers with Gas Filter Correlation, such as the Signal ‘Pulsar’ range, provide extremely high levels of specificity to the gas being measured, because they use the target gas as an optical filter. Consequently, all of the wavelength in the IR spectrum that this gas absorbs will be removed from the spectrum, leaving a perfect reference with which to compare the sample absorption. As a result, there can be no cross-interference from other gases in the sample – such as H2O for example.

Obviously condensation inside any analyser is to be avoided, but freedom from H2O interference in the measurement method, is of particular importance, and means that the Signal Pulsar can operate with any non-condensing sample.

Conveniently, the latest development in the Pulsar analyser range is a built-in IP address, which means that users can connect with their analysers at any time from anywhere. Alternatively, if the data needs to be available to on-site personnel, the Signal analysers now have a detachable tablet which can connect with the analyser using its built-in WiFi. This means that whilst the analyser may be located in an inconvenient location, the user can connect with it from the comfort and safety of somewhere nearby.

In summary, as the world increasingly seeks to implement measures to fight climate change, the requirement for accurate GHG emissions monitoring will increase as organisations seek to lower their carbon footprint and comply with the inevitable regulatory requirements.

@GasAnalysers @COP26 @_Enviro_News #AirQuality #Environment #Climate

Inspecting vials.

Combating the Covid-19 pandemic is at the top of the global agenda. Around the world, efforts are being made to supply the population with vaccine as quickly as possible. But providing around 8 billion doses - at least one for every person in the world - is no easy task. 

Vaccine bottles production is subject to
particularly strict quality requirements.
Glass vials are a crucial factor in the delivery of the billions of doses of vaccine. About 50 billion of them are produced worldwide every year. Currently the producers of the vials are massively ramping up their production so as not to become the proverbial bottleneck in the supply chain. However, medical-grade vaccine vials are not standard glass tubes. Whether rolled-rim bottles, threaded bottles or ampoules, they are all made of the special glass borosilicate and require customized production lines. Any interaction between the container and the liquid inside must be prevented, as any chemical interference could affect the vaccine. Even the smallest scratch, crack or fissure can render an entire batch unusable, contaminate the line during the filling process or even lead to a machine standstill.

The demands on manufacturers are enormous: it is not only a matter of producing large quantities quickly, but also of maintaining particularly high quality standards. At the same time, increasing production capacity is usually time and capital intensive. A cost-effective, quickly integrated, extremely reliable solution for inspecting vaccine vials comes from Bad Königshofen (D): Isotronic GmbH, has developed the automatic tubular glass inspection system "VialChecker". IDS industrial cameras from the uEye CP camera family are used as image processing components for dimensional and surface inspection.

Vaccine vials usually hold between 2 ml and 100 ml of liquid. They are on average 45 mm high and 11.5 mm wide. Manufacturers use borosilicate glass for this purpose to keep the vaccines in the required stable condition during storage and transport - even at extreme temperatures. The small containers for the precious contents are subject to high quality requirements. At the same time, large quantities currently have to be produced in the shortest possible time. What is needed is very fast quality control with high reliability in defect detection - how can that work?

Take high-performance cameras that have high-resolution sensors while enabling high frame rates and combine the GigE industrial cameras from the IDS uEye CP family with industrial-grade touchscreen monitors, control cabinet, connection to the respective production system and intelligent software. VialChecker is the name of the all-in-one inspection system for automatic dimensional and surface inspection of vaccine vials, available in two versions. Compliance with the dimensions is checked by the "VialChecker Geometry", while the "VialChecker Cosmetic" checks the surface of each individual bottle for flawlessness. The latter can optionally be used as part of the geometry inspection or take on more demanding tasks as a separate system.

The VialChecker Geometry contains more than 50 dimensional checks and performs tests for both standard and non-standard tubular glass products with a measurement accuracy of up to 0.01 millimetres. Defects such as cracks, scratches, chips, inclusions or stains, on the other hand, are detected with an accuracy of 0.1 square millimetres thanks to the powerful cameras. Intelligent software enables accurate fault description analysis and classification.

Testing takes place at various points in the manufacturing process, such as directly after the bottles have been formed or shortly before packaging. A system usually supports between three and eight cameras, so that different measuring stations can be integrated along the production line. "Depending on customer requirements, the system is specified or supplemented with appropriate sensors or cameras, for example to measure glass thickness," explains Valentin Mayer-Eichberger, Chief Operating Officer at Isotronic. "If more than eight cameras are needed, several computers are sent into action." For example, they observe the laterally rotating tube glass or the glass bottom and provide high-resolution images.

The cameras capture at least 20 images per rotation, allowing the VialChecker to check up to 120 vials per minute with a very high degree of accuracy. It is up to 0.01 millimetres for dimensional tests and 0.1 square millimetres for cosmetic tests. In addition to real-time, low-latency processing, there is detailed logging of system operation. The high reliability of the software ensures that the products are within the geometric product specification and are error-free, while meeting the quality requirements.

Depending on the requirements and the testing task, different camera models are needed for the measuring station. Currently, Isotronic mainly uses the IDS camera family GigE uEye CP. They offer maximum functionality with extensive pixel pre-processing and are perfect for multi-camera systems such as the VialChecker thanks to the internal 120 MB image memory for buffering image sequences. The cameras deliver data at full GigE speed and, thanks to PoE ("Power over Ethernet"), also allow single-cable operation up to 100 meters.

One of the preferred models is the UI-5250CP-M-GL with a 2 megapixel CMOS sensor, one of the most sensitive sensors in the IDS portfolio. It is available in two versions, mono and colour, and is characterised by outstanding light sensitivity. In addition, it offers various switchable shutter modes that enable the image-true capture of moving subjects or the particularly noise-free recording of high contrasts. "This is particularly important for the fast, reliable detection of defects on the glass surface," says Valentin Mayer-Eichberger, explaining the choice of the uEye+ camera from IDS. This allows either several characteristics to be checked simultaneously or the AOIs to be captured in an exposure series with different parameters.

This small powerhouse with a frame rate of 52 fps is thus predestined for the various inspection tasks along the production line - at high speed: "The system enables high-speed processing, it manages up to 120 cycles per minute," Valentin Mayer-Eichberger underlines. Besides the convincing performance of the cameras, however, other factors play a role: "We appreciate the uniformity and durability of the IDS cameras. And the service," says Gregor Fabritius, Managing Director of Isotronic, explaining the historically grown, long-standing relationship with IDS.

The IDS cameras are directly connected to the system using C++. A software algorithm developed by Isotronic GmbH detects errors and outputs the error message via the monitor. "We not only have a measurement system that reports good/bad, but also records the quality of each product and displays statistics over time. The machine adjuster uses this to check that everything is still correct and that the bottle has been adjusted well."

The Isotronic software has an intuitive, user-friendly interface that has been developed to meet the needs of customers. In addition, the VialChecker is optimised for remote support with continuous updates and software improvements. Valentin Mayer Eichberger is convinced: "This is the basis for a dynamic, sustainable system. We use machine learning for demanding tasks such as error classification.” On-site or cloud-based solutions for handling large amounts of data, as well as detailed analytics and process optimisation are part of the scope of services. It is possible, for example, to analyse the frequency of faults over time as well as to monitor tool wear and raise alarms. The cloud service for production monitoring is extensive: "At the end of production, we calculate charts per quality measure. Certificates on the accuracy of the measurements can be issued for the acceptance of the measurement system."

Experts estimate that global demand for vaccine vials will further increase by one to two billion over the next two years. The head of AstraZeneca, one of the major vaccine producers, also warned early in the pandemic: "There are not enough vials in the world." Vaccine vial manufacturers worldwide are ramping up production of the glass that is supposed to protect the precious liquid. To ensure that this valuable liquid is protected accordingly, automatic, high-performance testing systems are more in demand than ever to guarantee the immense demand for quality. "In addition, there is a general growth in the industry and in demand from the Asian region - and that even before the pandemic," notes Valentin Mayer Eichberger. Good prospects for systems like the VialChecker: It helps producers avoid becoming a bottleneck in the vaccine supply chain.

@IDS_Imaging @isotronic_bv #PAuto #Medical #coróinvíreas #COVID19 #coronavirus

Interchangeable Humidity and Temperature sensor.

The EE212 humidity and temperature sensor by E+E Elektronik is suitable for challenging measurement tasks in climate technology, agriculture and the pharmaceuticals industry. Thanks to the modular probe design the sensing module can be easily replaced directly on site if needed. E+E sensor coating, the wide choice of filter caps, and the robust IP65 / NEMA 4 enclosure ensure accurate and reliable measurements even under challenging working conditions. High-Quality, Interchangeable Sensing Module

The EE212's sensing head accommodates a sensing module with a latest generation high-precision E+E humidity and temperature sensing element. The E+E proprietary sensor coating and the sealed solder pads improve measuring performance, and extend the sensing elements life in harsh environment. The electronics inside the module is encapsulated and therefore best protected against condensation. A wide choice of different filter caps is available for the sensing probe.

One major benefit of the EE212 for use in a heavily polluted and aggressive environment is the modular probe design. It enables easy replacement of the sensing module with just a few steps and completely without tools. This means that downtime and service costs can be minimised.

The EE212 can be flexibly adapted to the measurement task for versatile use. In addition to accurate measurement of the humidity and temperature, the sensor calculates various humidity-related parameters such as dew point temperature, absolute humidity and mixing ratio. The measured values are available on two configurable analogue outputs. Three other physical quantities can be displayed on the optional graphic display. Thanks to the free EE-PCS configuration software, the measurands assignments, output scaling and display can be adjusted.

A wall version and a duct version of the EE212 are available. The proven HVAC enclosure allows the sensor to be mounted with closed cover. This means that electronics are protected against construction site pollution. The enclosure screws with bayonet closures facilitate fast opening and closing of the cover to complete the electrical installation. For use in the US market, the enclosure features a knockout for a ½" conduit fitting.

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

#Eplulse #PAuto #Pharma #Agriculture

Contactless torque.

A new range of non-contact torque sensors has been launched by Sensor Technology. The range is based on a full four element strain gauge bridge design, complementing its existing non-contact sensors that use surface acoustic wave (SAW) detection. 
Designated the TorqSense SGR510/520 series, the new units have a 250% overrange reading capacity, allowing sudden spikes in torque to be measured and recorded accurately. The design also compensates for any extraneous forces, such as bending moments, inadvertently applied to the sensor, improves sensitivity and has a wide temperature tolerance.

The bridge is essentially four strain gauges glued onto the shaft that is to be monitored in a square formation set at 45deg to the axis of rotation. Thus, when torque is applied to the shaft two gauges are stretched into tension and two go into compression.

A rotor mounted ultra-miniature microcontroller, powered by an inductive coil, measures the differential values in each strain gauge and transmits them back to the stator digitally, via the same coil. The SGR510/520 series transducers then use state of the art strain gauge signal conditioning techniques to provide a high bandwidth, low cost torque measuring solution with high overrange and overload capabilities.

“This design gives the TorqSense SGR510/520 several significant advantages over conventional torque sensors,” says Mark Ingham of Sensor Technology. “Firstly, it eliminates the sort of noise pickup and signal corruption associated with slip ring and other analogue methods of transferring torque data from rotor to stator.”

Mark explains that external noise pickup into the wiring is virtually eliminated due to the short distance between the strain gauge elements and the rotor’s measuring circuits. Further, multipoint calibration reduces any linearity errors within the sensor.

He goes on to say that the large functional overrange capability allows the peaks of a torque signal to be captured faithfully without any clipping when operating the sensor close to its full-scale rating. This, combined with a mechanical overload capability of over 400%, make the SGR510/520 series torque sensor a very robust torque measuring solution.

The measuring range of the SGR series is 1Nm to 500Nm (with models up to 13000Nm available shortly), accurate to +/-0.1% and with a resolution to +/-0.01% of the transducer’s full scale The digital transmission between rotor and stator cuts out all cyclic fluctuation of the signal due to shaft rotation and generates a digital sample rate of 4000 samples per second.

Other features include an optional adjustable moving average filter, power supply range from 12VDC to 32VDC, user configurable analogue output voltages, a choice of RS232 communications, USB interface, CAN bus interface, external Ethernet gateway, and LabView virtual instruments.

“For ease of use there is a built-in test function,” says Mark, who summarises the new TorqSense SGR510/520 with: “Most torque sensors require the use of slip rings to transfer torque readings from the rotating shaft to the static readout. These are noisy in use, slow and fiddly to set up and, as wearing parts, are not always reliable.

“Our TorqSense ranges operate without slip rings, using non-contact signal transfer instead, so these problems are designed out at a fundamental level. The new SGR510/520 series will be suitable for torque measuring, testing, feedback control of drive mechanisms and process control applications."

@sensortech #PAuto #Wireless 

Retirement announced.

FDT Group™ has announced that its managing director, Glenn Schulz, is to retire at the end of 2021 after more than 12 years in his current role. The FDT Board of Directors is currently seeking a replacement to ensure a seamless transition in its leadership position.

Glen Schulz
Schulz joined the FDT Group as managing director in June 2009. Most recently, he was the managing director and vice president of engineering at Dorner. He previously served as an executive at Rockwell Automation with responsibility for its asset management software and security businesses.

Schulz was instrumental in establishing the legal, non-profit structure of the FDT Group, which culminated with incorporation in Belgium as an AISBL. His retirement marks the end of a 40-year career in the industrial automation business with roles spanning engineering management, product management, marketing, sales and executive level positions as well as patents awarded in the fields of asset management and cryptography.

“Glenn has been a tremendous leader for our global, standards-based organization for nearly 13 years,” said Lee Lane, chairman of the FDT Board of Directors. “He has led and evolved the organization, our standards and our technology solutions through the latest FDT 3.0 IIoT Server architecture and ecosystem. His leadership has positioned FDT to innovate manufacturing automation for both legacy Brownfield applications and new smart factory environments supporting IIoT and Industrie 4.0. We are appreciative of his dedication, strong leadership style and passion for open technology innovation in the industrial marketspace.”

@FDTGroup #PAuto #IIoT #Industry4