Thursday, September 3, 2009

Radar level

Overspill protection
Helping customers to go environmentally friendly.

Apollo Adhesives is at the forefront of advanced adhesive technology in Britain. Its bonding solutions extend across vastly different market sectors from abrasive pads and hi-tech aerospace components through to lingerie. Its core products are a range of solvent-based adhesives, the main constituents of which are synthetic rubbers and resins.

The company was encountering problems in the measurement of the very low dielectric range of mixed and chlorinated solvents that are stored underground in vessels. The existing manual method of measurement was time-consuming and not precise enough. They required an accurate and reliable automated measurement system that would provide ‘real time’ data and give high level alerts to avoid overspill as well as low level alerts to avoid running out of stock. The low level alarms were particularly important as Apollo wanted to ensure that raw materials were always readily available to meet customer demand and that multi-compartment delivery drops from suppliers were facilitated in order to reduce delivery costs by ordering in bulk. High level alarms were necessary to eliminate the risk of overspill, which would help protected the environment and employees from the associated dangers. Last but not least, the equipment was to be installed in an explosive area, so it had to be electrically suitable for zoned areas.

By working in close cooperation, Apollo Adhesives and Endress+Hauser engineered a complete measurement and inventory monitoring solution that was fit for purpose and completely satisfied all requirements. Endress+Hauser supplied Apollo Adhesives with eight Levelflex M FMP40 coaxial guided radar devices that accurately measured low dielectric materials and also complied with the electrical requirements for hazardous areas. Additionally, they installed eight RIA261 loop-powered field displays in the hazardous area to be used by the tanker drivers during the filling process. A separate panel was also designed and built to be installed next to the hazardous area and incorporated all the hardware that would generate the high and low level alarms as well as an audible and visual siren once the high level was reached. The signals from this panel were then redirected to an additional one, situated inside the main office building, which uses a Fieldgate web browser as a gateway to view the contents of the solvent vessels at any time.

This entire system provided Apollo Adhesives with direct access to ‘real time’ data about the level of raw materials and enabled the company to ensure that when low levels were reached, there was enough time to replenish stocks.

As a result, the company now saves on transportation costs by avoiding repeatable delivery drops by their suppliers. They also saved in terms of labour costs by abandoning their previous method of manual measurement. More importantly, they reduced the risk of running low on stock or running out of stock completely, which would mean manufacturing downtime incurring great costs.

In short, they not only installed a ‘real time’ stock monitoring system, but also a system that would protect the environment from a potential solvent overspill. Apollo Adhesives has invested a great deal of time and money in protecting the environment and even went as far as to install a vapour recovery system to ensure that vapours from the solvents were never released to the atmosphere during the tanks’ filling process.

Business jet

Testing time for business jet

Development and qualification testing of three flap system actuators for the eagerly awaited new Falcon 7X business jet is being performed on a test rig designed and built by Comar Engineering in Wolverhampton (GB)and incorporating an innovative non-contact torque transducer.

The whole project is packed with innovation, from the virtual design techniques used in the early stages that compressed the development time to a level totally unexpected in the aviation industry, through to the choice of electric actuators rather than hydraulic for driving the flight control surfaces. It will be the world’s first fly-by-wire business jet, offering the pilots benefits previously only enjoyed in fighter jets such as precise flight path control and automatic trim adjustments during configuration changes. Carrying up to 19 passengers it is a long range aircraft that can operate from modest airfield; as such it could help to change the face of business travel in the coming decades.

Comar built a test rig incorporating 22Nm and 200Nm TorqSense transducers from Sensor Technology for the development and qualification testing of three flap system actuators, including Production Acceptance Tests, Performance, Endurance, Mechanical Fatigue and Mechanical Strength tests.

One of the key reasons for selecting TorqSense transducers for the test rig was that they do not need to be physically connected to the test piece via a complicated set of slip rings which would be time consuming to assemble and dismantle between each test sequence.

In effect a TorqSense transducer is a frequency dependent strain gauge operating at ultrasound frequencies and consists of a piezoelectric comb mounted on the test shaft to monitors variations in its resonance frequency as the torsional load varies. An RF (radio frequency) link is used for wireless transmission of signals to an adjacent pick up so that rotation is unhindered.

Each flap system consists of a power drive unit (PDU) and four actuators all of which are linked together via transmission shafts and gearboxes, these units are operated via the slat/flap airbrake control unit. The flap actuators are ballscrews and are configured so that the screw translates through a jackhead into a linear motion.

When the flap system is commanded the PDU applies a torque to the actuator input via the transmission shafting, the rotational input is converted into a lateral movement of the screw and thus the flap surface. The actuator can be commanded to extend and retract to 4 different positions: zero, 7 degrees, 20 degrees and 40 degrees. As the actuator extends a compressive load is applied as a result of the aerodynamic load on the flap surface increasing, this translates into varying torque levels.

Comar’s test rig is designed to apply simulated conditions of load profiles via the computer operated system. Each actuator is tested with a servo hydraulic motor input drive in closed loop control of position against torque which is monitored using the smaller 22Nm TorqSense; the load to the ballscrew lateral motion is applied via a servo cylinder again in closed loop control of position against load.

Proof loading is applied manually to the input drive using a gearbox and the larger 200Nm torque transducer in open loop.

Typical tests performed include: no load input torque, compressive loads, tensile loads, running in, backlash, efficiency, performance and endurance (one endurance life being 20,000 operating cycles).

Like all aircraft components, the Falcon 7X flap systems were subjected to rigorous and repeating test regimes during their development, and similar tests will be rerun throughout their operating life. The use of a non-contact transducer therefore saves considerable time over the lifecycle of the Falcon 7X.

pH Monitor

pH Monitor Achieves Prestigious MCERTS Certification

Specialist electrochemical sensor manufacturer Analytical Technology announces that it has been awarded an MCERTS product conformity certificate for its versatile Q45P pH monitor. MCERTS is the British Environment Agency‘s monitoring certification scheme established to deliver quality environmental measurements. The certification of the Q45P is a significant achievement for the company as it provides customers with confidence in the system’s emission monitoring capabilities for the protection of the environment and human health.

Businesses in Britain that release emissions to air, land and water are required to comply with strict regulations and obtain permission to operate from the their Environment Agency. This permission requires businesses to either monitor their emissions on a continuous basis or at times defined in their permit, known as spot tests or periodic monitoring. In both cases, they must meet the MCERTS quality requirements. These are based on international standards and provides for the product certification of instruments, the competency certification of personnel and the accreditation of laboratories. The scheme is designed to give customers a range of tested equipment to choose from for certain key wastewater quality parameters.

Analytical Technology has achieved this certification for its Q45P Auto-Clean pH monitor, which is designed for use in all industrial and municipal applications. The differential pH sensors utilize a sealed glass reference system providing protection from chemical poisons that destroy traditional pH sensors. A large electrolyte volume, dual junction saltbridge is used to maximize the in-service time of the sensors and minimize contamination of the reference solution. The replaceable saltbridge also allows for easy and inexpensive sensor regeneration.

Dr Michael Strahand, General Manager (Europe) at Analytical Technology, comments: “We are delighted to have been granted the prestigious MCERTS certification for our Q45P monitor. This achievement comes as a result of hard work by our staff members and reinforces our commitment to investing in the development of effective and compliant analytical sensing systems. With the MCERTS-certified Q45P monitor, customers in the environmental and water industries can rely on a highly dependable system that offers maximum up-time and facilitates regulatory compliance.”

The integrated Auto-Clean System of the Q45P extends sensor cleaning intervals on pH sensors that are mounted in applications containing high levels of solids contamination. Generating high pressure air blasts, the Auto-Clean System automatically removes contaminants from the face of the sensors. Each cleaning cycle lasts approximately two minutes, during which the monitor outputs are placed in a ‘hold’ condition to prevent false readings or alarms. The concentration of solids in the process determines the cleaning frequency of the system, which can vary from as often as once every two hours to as little as once a day on an application basis.

Displacer Tx

First configurable displacer transmitter on the market

The modernized, digital E3 Modulevel® from Magnetrol is an advanced, intrinsically safe two-wire instrument utilizing simple buoyancy principle to detect and convert liquid level changes into a stable output signal. The new E3 Modulevel has modernized packaging, increased functionality, diagnostics, and the capability to configure rather than calibrate the transmitter. The E3 Modulevel supports FOUNDATION fieldbus™, HART®, AMS, FDT/PACTware™ communication protocols.

While the cast iron enclosure used on the previous electronic Modulevel design was large and unwieldy, the adapted dual-compartment Eclipse® enclosure used on the unit is modern, light-weight and ergonomic. This enclosure contains the wiring, analog and digital boards. The LVDT (Linear Variable Differential Transformer) is housed separately adjacent to the enclosure and the two are joined by our flame path adaptor. The complete, explosion proof housing assembly is offered in both cast aluminum and stainless steel.

It is the only displacer transmitter on the market with a SFF of 92.3% making it suitable for SIL2 safety loops. The additional diagnostic tools allow the user to integrate this transmitter into highly demanding safety instrument loops (Exida endorsed).

The E3 withstands process temperatures and pressures up to +315 °C / 355 bar, handles liquids with an S.G. as low as 0.23 and up to 2.2, and liquid/liquid interfaces with a minimum density difference of 0.10 kg/dm³. By simply entering 2 process variables (temperature and S.G.) the E3 Modulevel is ready for service.

Unlike the traditional torque tube design, the E3 Modulevel uses a precision range spring. The spring reduces the friction of moving parts (only one linear motion) and provides natural damping. The result is a more reliable and stable output even when the liquid surface is turbulent. Because an LVDT offers twice the travel of a typical RVDT (Rotatable Variable Differential Transformer), the accuracy/linearity of a spring-operated displacer transmitter is superior to traditional torque tube designs.

This displacer transmitter offers high reliability and expanded features which are sure to enhance it already immense popularity on offshore platforms, in petrochemical facilities and in power stations worldwide.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Pizza box 1U rack enclosures to take away

Foremost Electronics, the Essex based specialist distributor of electromechanical components, announces the introduction of a range of 1U, 19” rack mountable “Pizza Box” enclosures.
240mm & 360mm depth options
Perforated tray and top cover for optimised thermal solutions
Integrated EMC shielding without additional gasket

The new Elma Slimkit 10 is a flexible enclosure solution for free standing or 19” rack mounted systems. The basic chassis can easily be transformed into a complete case by adding a rear panel and top cover to the basic mounting chassis. The elegant design allows numerous enclosure combinations to be assembled depending on the application. Fitted with a rugged and wear resistant aluminium front panel the chassis is available with or without perforations for optimised thermal solutions and is available in a number of attractive finishes for individual product tailoring

Typical applications for the Slimkit 10 include low profile test equipment, control and instrumentation systems, telecoms, networking, alarm, audio and wireless products and signal conversion equipment.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics comments, “The addition of these high quality Pizza Box 19” enclosures complements our existing range of Emech products and allows our customers to buy complete connectivity, switching and enclosure solutions from one source. Our goal is to provide a one-stop-shop for all the interface, connectivity and packaging needs of system and instrument manufacturers.”

Standard features include aluminium front panel, 0.75mm pre-galvanised sheet steel frame, vibration proof construction, fast assembly, easy access, removable front and rear panels for ease of machining and EMC shielding without additional gaskets. The 1U high chassis may be specified with a base tray of either 240mm or 360mm, with or without perforations for air flow. Accessories include handles, which may be specified in a range of colours, tilting or fixed feet for free-standing applications and an earthing kit to allow enclosures to meet the requirements of EN/VDE/SEV safety standards.

Good enough for space!

NASA approved BetaTHERM temperature sensors for extended space flight applications

As a major part of its exclusive distribution partnership with NTC temperature measurement specialists BetaTHERM (part of MEAS), Variohm-Eurosensor is supplying space flight approved high reliability thermistors used to monitor critical temperature for extended space flight applications.

The NASA approved and Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC 311) rated temperature sensor is supplied to ABSL Space Products based in England and the USA to perform the essential temperature measurement of lithium-ion battery packs that are used to power the life support system in astronauts’ space suits.

The advanced design of this battery pack includes a sophisticated control system with cooling fans and heaters together with the epoxy-encapsulated BetaTHERM thermistors that maintain the battery temperature within a strict range to provide an optimal operational life. The battery packs are used to power different types of space suit including the ‘Extravehicular Mobility Units’ or EMUs that astronauts typically use when space walking - so it is easy to appreciate the need for the absolute and total reliability from all components used.

Quality control for the NASA approved range includes re-qualifying products annually by screening visual and mechanical requirements, testing thermal shock, high-temperature storage and insulation resistance to ensure total reliability for space flight and other high-reliability applications.

The working accuracy tolerance for the space suit application is typically better than ±0.5% over a range of 0°C−70°C with an operational storage temperature range of −55°C to +70°C

These thermistors find applications in demanding temperature measurement, control and compensation applications in biomedical, automotive, aerospace, instrumentation, HVAC, consumer industries and instrumentation. The range enjoys the highest reputation for total reliability and uncompromising accuracy with product features that include interchangeability to +/- 0.05 ºC, miniaturised designs to < 0.35 mm diameter, and a high degree of engineering flexibility including rapid prototyping of customised designs.

BetaTHERM also designs and manufacture High Reliability temperature sensors for European Space Agency (ESA) specified and approved applications.

4 channel temp control

Ethernet/IP™ to compact four channel temperature control range

Din rail mounted four channel temperature controller has a wide range of fieldbus options and advanced features plastics, packaging, wrapping and welding applications
GFX4 family offers additional Etnernet/IP fieldbus option and four channel PID control only or fully integrated versions complete with relays, current transformers and fuses

Gefran has added Ethernet/IP communications to its GFX4 and GFXTERM04 multi-channel temperature controllers. The full featured GFX4 family adds Ethernet/IP to a choice of several fieldbus communication options and the four loop temperature controller is available in PID control only or fully integrated versions complete with relays, current transformers and fuses - offering control panel space-saving and reduced installation timescales.

The din-rail, panel mounted range measures just 25 mm x147 mm x 160mm and features configurable universal inputs, manual tuning or autotuning functions and advanced diagnostics with all interfacing via pluggable connectors. Aimed at demanding process automation applications such as plastic extrusion, injection moulding, thermoforming, wrapping and welding, the Ethernet/IP option allows expansion for up to 16 temperature zones by daisy chaining Ethernet for up to four GFX4 controllers. The GFX4 also supports a master/slave configuration, helping to reduce network wiring.

Ethernet/IP set-up is simplified with pre-configured GFX4 message blocks that are imported into the Rockwell RSLogix™ program. Multiple diagnostic functions include “loop break alarm” and “heater break alarm” where alarm conditions such as broken probes, lack of load voltage and even partial load failure may be monitored and immediately identified with relay alarms and LED indicators.

The GXF4 is also available with many other fieldbus communication options including RS485 Modbus, Profibus, DeviceNet, CanOpen and Ethernet (Modbus over TCP/IP or GDnet), with protocols for direct connection to PLCs, HMIs and Industrial PCs without further converters.