Saturday, October 24, 2009

Air speed & temp

Industrial air velocity/temperature transmitter/indicator

The FMA1000 Series industrial air velocity and temperature transmitter/indicator is designed and manufactured by Omega. It displays air velocity as well as air temperature.

Applications include research and development labs, HVAC applications, and other manufacturing processes. The sensor design is based on three RTD elements, one measures air temperature and the other two measure air velocity by measuring the heat loss from the RTD sensor as it cools down by the air flow.

This series offers many standard features such as back-lit LCD display of air velocity and temperature (can be displayed in different Engineering Units), two analogue outputs corresponding to air velocity and temperature, high and low velocity voltage alarm outputs, USB serial interface, and a Windows based PC interface software.

The sensor probe is available in fixed top, right angle mount, and remote probe configurations.

USB Oscilloscope

USB-DSOs: Compact and Sophisticated
A new breed of USB controlled instruments use PCs for the information screen and operation panel.

The days are now over when oscilloscopes heated up labs all around the world due to there high power consumption. With the availability now of USB on virtually every PC and laptop, the space needed for a digital oscilloscope has shrunk to just the size of a match box. Computers are now standard tools for every employee so why should you spend extra money duplicating displays, power supplies and buying boxes with expensive knobs and buttons on?

The Taiwanese-based supplier Acute (distributed in Europe by StanTronic Instruments) offers the DS-1000 Series family of PC-based digital oscilloscopes, which provide the majority of functions and features required by design, test and process engineers.

Graded Performance
The three family members all offer two channels and a vertical resolution of 9 bits/Ch. All units can be cascaded to give up to 6 channels and all channels in use are shown on one display.

The 3 units differ from each other in bandwidth, sampling rate and triggering capabilities. The basic model, called the DS-1002, provides an analogue bandwidth of 100 MHz, a real-time sampling rate of 100 MS/sec in single channel mode and 50 MS/sec in dual channel mode. The equivalent sampling rate for capturing repetitive signals is 2.5 GS/sec with a memory length of 64k points. The second member of the family, the DS-1102, offers an analogue bandwidth of 200 MHz, a real-time sampling rate of 200 MS/sec in single channel mode and 100 MS/sec in dual channel mode. The equivalent sampling rate for capturing repetitive signal is 5 GS/sec with a memory length of 64k points. For users with needs for more memory, the third member of the family called the DS-1202 may be the right choice. It has the same features as the DS-1102 but with an extended memory depth of 512k points.

Whereas the DS-1002 features the classic trigger capabilities like rising/falling edge and delay, the DS-1102 & DS-1202 offer an additional TV trigger and the DS-1202 a TV line trigger as well. In Roll Mode, all units can show signals continuously up to a setting of 200 ms/div and store the signals to hard disk up to the capacity of the disk.

Display Signals
All Acute digital oscilloscopes are operated by the same software, which displays waveforms and all related parameters on the PC´s screen to look like a conventional oscilloscope. Cursors are available for precise measurements of voltage and time parameters. The input coupling can be set to AC, DC or GND for each individual channel. A 20 MHz low pass filter is standard.

Sums, Differences and higher Maths
The power of the PC can be utilised to perform all kinds of maths functions like add, division etc. as well as the famous Lissajous curves. To perform an FFT on a signal, the units offer anti aliasing filters like triangle, cosine, Lanczos and gaussian.

The Acute DSO family (USB 1.1 compatible, USB 2.0 preferred) are shipped with two probes, USB cable, manual and software, all packaged into a quality pouch.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Peracetic acid monitor for effective control of disinfection systems

Specialist electrochemical sensor manufacturer Analytical Technology Inc (ATi) has launched the Q45/85 Peracetic Acid Monitor. Peracetic acid (PAA) is an extremely strong oxidiser that is employed in a wide range of industries for the disinfection of systems and equipment. This new Peracetic Acid Monitor enables on-line measurement of residuals of PAA in disinfection systems.

As peracetic acid produces no harmful breakdown products, it is widely used in the food industry for the disinfection of piping systems and processing equipment. It is also used for spray washing of food products and disinfection of water systems. With any disinfection system, maintaining proper residual levels is essential to pathogen control. The company has developed the Q45/85 Peracetic Acid Monitor in order to facilitate reliable chemical control and provide real-time measurement of low levels of PAA in solution.

Their Q45 monitoring systems use a membrane-covered polarographic sensor that does not require the addition of chemical reagents. The Q45/85 Monitor does not contain any moving parts, pumps or motors that can burn out, or tubing breaks that require constant maintenance. Analytical Technology’s Peracetic Acid Monitor sensors are available in two configurations, flowcell or submersion. The constant-head flowcell sensor is used to maintain a constant flow rate and pressure at the face of the sensor for flow rates of at least seven gallons per hour. Alternatively a low volume flowcell can be supplied for clean water applications with flow rates of between one and three gallons per hour. The submersion sensor requires flow velocities of at least 0.4ft per second for effective operation.

The new monitor is available as an AC-powered analyser, loop-powered transmitter or battery-operated portable version, ensuring that the monitor is well-suited for almost any peracetic acid measurement. A portable data-logging version is also available for temporary installations or process studies. The Q45/85 monitor is offered with an optional pH sensor input, which allows a single unit to provide both peracetic acid and pH analogue outputs.

Proximity switches

Versatile new proximity switches

Gems Sensors and Controls has announced the launch of a new range of magnetically actuated proximity switches for a wide range of customer applications. Versatile, low cost and compact, these new switches are hermetically sealed for long lasting performance and easy installation.

The PRX-100 Series of high performance, moisture resistant proximity switches is designed for use as a safety switch. Made from tough Noryl® material, the PRX-100 Series is UL 508 Listed, corrosion resistant, and has no standby power requirements or moving parts delivering a truly high performance switch. The PRX-100 is designed for long life and easy installation in a variety of applications including: industrial washers, equipment automation, medical instruments, and safety interlocks.

The Gems PRX-300 Series offers cost effective, high performance, reed switch stress relief technology for use as safety switches. Made with a robust glass filled Nylon® housing, the proximity switches are naturally corrosion resistant and are UL pending with no standby power requirements or moving parts. The PRX-300 switches are designed for long lasting performance and are easy to install for a variety of applications including: security systems, door interlocks, safety interlocks, position indication, and equipment automation.

The PRX-XX Series of versatile, low-cost proximity switches is designed for dry applications. Constructed with robust housings made from ABS material, the PRX-XX Series has no standby power requirements and no moving parts. The switches are designed for long lasting performance and are easy to install for a variety of general purpose applications including: security systems, household appliances, and door interlocks.

“The innovative new range of proximity switches from Gems Sensors offers customers a wide variety of affordable choices that can be used across any type of customer application. Gems is proud to continue to expand our product line with new solutions for our customers” says Kevin Castonguay, Product Marketing Manager for Gems Sensors & Controls.

"No matter the application, Gems Sensors & Controls has a proximity switch solution to meet any customer price or performance target."

New VP

New Vice President and General Manager of Californian facility

Brennan Industries has appointed William Kozman as vice president and general manager of its Irvine (CAUS). facility, where he is responsible for sales and profitability growth of Brennan in the southern California, southern Nevada and Arizona markets. He will also be responsible for the warehouse facility management.

Kozman recently joined Brennan bringing over 35 years of experience in the fluid power connector industry with him. Prior to joining Brennan, Kozman held the position of manager, sales, marketing and product development for Tylok International in Ohio (US). He held the position of manager of sales and marketing for Tomco Products, a division of Circor, in Spartanburg, (SC US). before Tylok International. Prior to Tomco Products, Kozman worked for Tuthill Coupling Group as regional vice president.

Kozman earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville in marketing and finance. He has been a committee member of NGV-1 Alternative Fuel Technology Industry Task Force and a member of Instrumentation Society of America (ISA).


American show attracts thousands
Features Dozens of Special Events

ISA EXPO 2009, held at the Reliant Center in Houston (TX US), on 6-8 October, attracted 8,500 attendees and included a 61,500 square foot exhibition showcasing 364 companies. The ISA Fall Training Institute ran 13 courses and trained 113 students at the event.

The show featured seven co-locating organizations, including ARC Advisory Group, Industry2Grid (I2G), MCAA, OpenO&M, Microsoft and the Microsoft Manufacturing User Group (MSMUG), Houston SmartPlant Instrumentation (LTUF), and WBF.

See our take on this event with links to commentaries and releases from other sources in The Last Picture Show!

More about Automation Week<

The co-location of these organizations’ events with the ISA Fall Training Institute, Industry Standards Forum, six technical conferences, and the exhibition brought an abundance of technical content, professional development, and networking opportunities to attendees. New technologies were a focus of both conference sessions and presentations on the exhibit floor, with attendees anxious to see the latest trends in the field. “I’m always looking for new technology. That’s what I’m here to see. I’m a control systems engineer, and anything that can make our processes work better, whether that’s software, wireless, or fieldbus, I want to have a look,” said James Pitts of Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Beaumont, Texas.

The technical conference featured six Exchange Conference Tracks centered on key issues facing instrumentation, automation, and control professionals, including safety, security, process automation and control, energy and environment, wireless and networking, and enterprise integration. The conference program also included several events open to all attendees, including keynote addresses from key leaders. John Hofmeister, CEO and Founder of Citizens for Affordable Energy, and retired President of Shell Oil Company presented the opening keynote address on Tuesday, 6 October. Hofmeister’s presentation, entitled "Energy Security and Affordability in the 21st Century," tackled these two critical concerns for industrial operations.

Wednesday’s keynote address, “Securing the Nation's Industrial Control Systems Infrastructure,” was delivered by Marty Edwards, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Program Manager of the Control Systems Security Program (CSSP). Edward’s address discussed the current threat landscape, common vulnerabilities and security issues facing critical infrastructure control systems, and mitigation strategies being developed to address these challenges.

Lisa Long, Safety Engineer with the U.S. Department of Labor-OSHA (U.S. DOL-OSHA), presented the final keynote address on 8 October, titled, “Overview and Findings from OSHA's Refinery and Chemical National Emphasis Programs." Long’s address described the Petroleum Refinery National Emphasis Program’s inspection protocol and procedures, and reviewed preliminary findings from the program, including data on the most frequently cited paragraphs of the process safety management standards and example citation language.

The event also featured activities for young automation professionals and students. YAPFEST, in its fourth year, attracted 200 automation professionals in the under-30 category to interact with sponsoring companies, learn more about careers in automation, and discuss how they might make a difference in the automation world. Students from several local colleges attended the event to learn about real-world applications of the automation and engineering concepts they’re learning about in school, and young professionals already working in the field attended to network and build their knowledge of the industry. Tamara Freasier, a graduate of LIT, works as a commissioning admin for Chicago Bridge and Iron. “We’re building a liquid natural gas plant in Sabine Pass, Texas,” she said. “I came to EXPO to get exposed to instruments and what they do.”

The second annual iAU2M8 event, designed for middle and high school students, attracted over 600 students from the Houston area. Students had a chance to walk through the ISA EXPO exhibit, see automation technology in action through an interactive demonstration area, and learn about career opportunities from real-world automation professionals. Sponsored by Shell, the event attracted several participating organizations and schools, including Citizens for Affordable Energy, FIRST Robotics, Houston Community College, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Lee College, the Offshore Energy Center, Texas State Technical College, and the University of Houston.

The students attended a keynote address entitled “Deadliest Innovation,” given by Greg Crouch, Embedded Systems Business Development Director at National Instruments. Crouch is active in National Instrument’s academic STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) program efforts, helping to expand excitement of engineering among youth.

During the show, ISA announced its plans for a new event in 2010. ISA Automation Week 2010 will be held 4-7 October 2010 at the Westin Galleria Complex in Houston, Texas, USA. ISA Automation Week is a new, knowledge-focused event that will feature educational and applications-based technical conference sessions delivered by subject matter experts. Discrete and process automation professionals will have a chance to learn techniques and solutions for creating more efficient, productive, and economical manufacturing processes. ISA training courses and standards meetings will also be held concurrently, making ISA Automation Week a one-stop shop for automation and control knowledge and networking opportunities.

ISA Automation Week will attract management, engineering, production, IT, and R&D professionals responsible for automation, control systems, plant-wide communications/networks, plant operations and maintenance, and systems integration in continuous and batch manufacturing environments.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Torque Sensors

Torque sensors are compact, sensitive and robust

Kistler piezoelectric torque sensors have an extremely wide measuring range and are adaptable to match most configurations making them especially suited to manufacturing process monitoring. The sensors are available with measuring ranges ±1, ±10, ±25, ±200 and ±1,000Nm and all are suitable for torques from approx. 0.001 Nm.The torque sensors are supplied calibrated for 100 % and 10 % of the measuring range with additional calibration ranges available as an option.

Installation is very flexible as each sensor has an end flange with four or six threaded mounting holes and a centering seat for precise coaxial installation. A central hole allows a shaft to pass through the sensor. The high sensitivity, extremely rigid construction and compact dimensions of the sensors make them particularly suited to monitoring applications in assembly processes and product testing where rotary movements are involved. Typically, screw, bolt or nut tightening to specific torque, rotary potentiometer and switch testing and screw cap fitting.

As piezoelectric sensors are immune from fatigue and wear when properly used, their service life is virtually unlimited making them especially suitable for use as calibration sensors as well as for general torque measurement in both manufacturing and R&D applications.
Ultra low-noise remote charge converter
Rugged two-wire design allows for broadband noise down to 5 μ Vrms, radiation up to 1.0 MRads

Endevco Corporation (Endevco®) has announced the launch of new model 2771C-XX, an ultra-low noise remote charge converter (RCC), designed for use with charge output piezoelectric sensors within mechanical system health monitoring, nuclear power plant/regenerative energy and environmental testing applications.

Model 2771C-XX offers a rugged two-wire (IEPE), single ended design that operates from constant current power (4-20 mA). Both RCC signal output and current to the RCC are carried along the same wire. Housed in a rugged, small package, the charge converter offers broadband noise range down to 5µ Vrms, with a frequency response of 0.4 to 50 kHz. Units are designed to withstand shock loads of up to 100g peak, and are radiation tested to 1.0 Mrads. With availability in three different fixed gains of 0.1 mV/pC, 1.0 mV/pC and 10 mV/pC, model 2771C-XX can also support TEDS (per IEEE P1451.4) for smart sensor and larger channel count applications, and also includes an available M1 Version with male BNC, to facilitate easy panel mounting.

Because of its low impedance voltage, signal output from model 2771C-XX is less susceptible to noise pick-up. Also, shunt capacitance of the cable connecting model 2771C-XX to the main signal conditioner does not significantly affect system noise or sensitivity. Because model 2771C-XX has the same envelope size as the industry-best selling Endevco model 2771B remote charge converter, it may also be used as a drop-in replacement, for legacy applications where lower noise is required.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Display enhancement

New line of custom-bonded filters and optical enhancement layers
Enabling manufacturers to choose the right display enhancement for their unique needs.

Anders Electronics, market leader in innovative electronic device display experience optimisation, has announced the launching of its new line of TFT display enhancements.

Adding further value to the company’s UMR range of intelligent embedded display platforms, the new line includes the option of display enhancement solutions in addition to a choice of resistive or capacitive transparent touch input sensors. The display enhancement options include EMI filters (low ohm conductive coating or fine wire mesh layer) for EMI/EMC suppression, optical filters for controlling light emissions in the visible and infrared spectrums, and a variety of front-of-display finishes such as special polarisers for improved sunlight readability, retarders, EMI Windows, anti-reflective, and light control filters for privacy.

These enhancements are ideal for touchscreen displays, and are offered separately or in a custom-created stack configuration and either optically or air-gap bonded to the Anders TFT displays.

They are ideal for numerous commercial applications, such as security or point of sale (POS) devices requiring privacy filters, vending machines requiring heavy vandal-proof glass and sunlight readability, or noise sensitive medical devices that require enhanced readability and durability under frequent cleaning.

“Anders has always leveraged its in-house expertise in display optics, glass lamination and front of display surface treatments, in conjunction with display integration, to work with manufacturers consultatively,” said Rob Anders, CEO of Anders Electronics. “Now, we bring a whole new range of customisation options to the table, enabling us to offer a more complete user interface solution - saving our customers the time and effort of looking elsewhere for display enhancements or protective windows,” he continued.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tough tools

Fluke introduces its toughest tools yet!

Fluke has introduced its toughest tools yet for industrial electricians, plant engineers and technicians who work in the toughest environments. The new Fluke 27 II and 28 II Digital Multimeters (DMMs) define a new standard for operating in harsh conditions that would destroy other tools, while delivering the features and accuracy to troubleshoot most electrical problems. Both meters are IP 67 rated for water and dust resistance and offer an extended operating temperature range of -15°C to +55°C. They will function in -40 °C temperatures for up to 20 minutes, will operate in 95% humidity, and are designed and tested to withstand a 3 metre drop.

These DMMs measure up to 1000V AC and DC and up to 10A (20A for 30 seconds). They feature a 10,000 microF capacitance range and measure frequencies to 200kHz. Both provide min/max and average readings to capture variations automatically, and provide auto and manual ranging for maximum flexibility. Both meters feature backlit keypad buttons, large display digits and two-level bright white display backlighting for easy visibility in low-lit areas.

The 28 II provides additional functionality. It is a true-rms meter that features a high-resolution 20,000-count display mode and includes a built-in thermometer that enables users to take temperature readings easily without carrying a separate instrument. It captures peak, min/max readings and features a high-pass filter to ensure accurate voltage and frequency measurements on adjustable speed drives and other electrically noisy equipment. The Fluke 27 II is an average responding meter with extended AC voltage bandwidth to 30kHz.

For safety, the 27 II and 28 II DMMs withstand hazardous 8,000V spikes caused by load switching and faults on industrial circuits and comply with second edition IEC and ANSI electrical safety standards. They are safety rated for use in CAT IV 600V/CAT III 1000V working environments.

The new Fluke 27 II and 28 II DMMs are built for anyone who wants the most durable DMM available. They are ideal for such job environments as:
    • Manufacturing plants, foundries
    • Food processing and bottling plants
    • Water and wastewater facilities
    • Marine service and repair
    • Mining, drilling and materials extraction
    • Outside testing in any weather
When enclosed in their protective yellow holsters, both meters will float in fresh or salt water. The holsters are reversible to provide added protection for the display and controls when the meter is not in use.

LED Drivers

Synchronous step-down LED driver delivers over 20A of continuous LED current

Linear Technology has just announced the LT3743, a synchronous step-down DC/DC converter designed to deliver constant current to drive high current LEDs. The device’s 5.5V to 36V input voltage range makes it ideal for a wide variety of applications, including industrial, DLP projection and architectural lighting.

Full-Featured LED Controller Delivers over 80 Watts of LED Power

The LT3743 provides up to 20A of continuous LED current from a nominal 12V input, delivering in excess of 80 Watts. In pulsed LED applications, it can deliver up to 40A of LED current or 160 Watts from a 12V input. Efficiencies as high as 95% eliminate any need for external heat sinking and significantly simplify the thermal design. A frequency adjust pin enables the user to program the frequency between 100kHz and 1MHz so designers can optimize efficiency while minimizing external component size. Combined with a 4mm x 5mm QFN or thermally enhanced TSSOP-28 package, the LT3743 offers a very compact high-power LED driver solution.

The LT3743 offers both PWM and CTRL_SELECT dimming, offering 3,000:1 dimming capability at three LED current levels, making it ideal for color mixing applications such as those required in DLP projectors. Similarly, the LT3743’s unique topology enables it to transition between two regulated LED current levels in less than 2µsec, enabling more accurate color mixing in RGB applications. LED current accuracy of ±6% is maintained in order to ensure the most accurate luminosity of light from the LED. Additional features include output voltage regulation, open-LED protection, overcurrent protection and a thermal derating circuit.

The LT3743EUFD is available in a 28-pin 4mm x 5mm QFN package, whereas the LT3743EFE is available in a thermally enhanced TSSOP-28. Pricing starts at $4.80 and $4.95 each, respectively in 1,000-piece quantities. Extended temperature versions, or “I” grades, namely the LT3743IUFD and LT3743IFE are also available. Pricing starts at $5.65 and $5.82 each respectively in 1,000-piece quantities.


Next-generation wireless ECG patch drives joint research activity
Terepac and IMEC join forces in low-cost flexible electronics packaging

Terepac Corporation and IMEC, the European research center in nanotechnology, have announced their collaboration on novel packaging technologies for flexible electronics. The initial driver for this synergistic shared research relationship is a next generation wireless ECG system, developed in the Human++ Program at Holst Centre, Eindhoven (NL).

As electronic systems become ubiquitous, the demand for innovative packaging technologies increases. For many applications, like on-the-body devices, thin and flexible form factors greatly improve the comfort of the wearer. In order to allow large-scale manufacturing and market penetration, low-cost yet high value solutions are key. Traditional electronics packaging and assembly with rigid printed circuit boards and pick-and-place machines are unable to cope with these demands.

The technology developed by Terepac holds great promise to give a unique answer to the challenges mentioned above. In its patented photochemical printing process, thinned silicon dies and passive components can be placed on flexible substrates at speeds of more than one chip per second and with accuracies down to a few microns.

The wireless ECG patch that is being developed in IMEC's Human++ program at Holst Centre, an open-innovation initiative by IMEC and TNO, will be used as a test vehicle for further development of Terepac's technology. For IMEC it is an opportunity to go from a lab-scale assembly on polyimide carrier to a more production-ready version of its wireless sensor nodes. First results are expected by mid 2010.

Ric Asselstine, CEO of Terepac: "Following five years of development by a team of world-class scientists and engineers and based on the patents of co-founder and CTO Dr Jayna Sheats, Terepac is ready to completely transform the landscape of small form factor electronic packaging. The company aims to become a total solutions provider able to collaborate with companies up- and downstream in the value chain. Apart from being on the forefront of technological innovation, being able to tap into the existing partner network of IMEC and Holst Centre is a great asset to our collaboration."

Julien Penders, Program Manager Body Area Networks at IMEC/Holst Centre: "Initial contacts with Terepac were laid a few months ago. It quickly became clear that their expertise would be a valuable addition to the existing competences that we and our partners have on board. We look forward to further developing our sensor technology and opening doors towards low-cost and large-scale manufacturing for our existing partners or companies interested in this technology."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Steam flow

Flow meters for steam flow
Vortex flow meters are ideal for high accuracy measurements of non-condensing and saturated steam flow.

Racine Vortex has released their RNS Series (Insertion) and RWS Series (Wafer) Vortex Steam Flow Meters. The meters are suitable for measuring non-condensing steam and saturated process steam at pressures up to 150 psi. Leading applications include boiler monitoring and other energy-related uses, as well as building and facilities management.

Both the RNS and RWS series meters have no moving parts and are virtually maintenance-free. All meters in both series are loop-powered devices with standard HART communication for ease of field programming and system integration.

Both meters work in operating temperatures of -20 to 366°F. An internal RTD and an optional external pressure sensor provide data to the internal flow meter software, which compensates for changes in temperature and pressure to achieve an accurate flow measurement. Accuracy of both meters is ±1% of reading, with repeatability of 0.5%. The RNS and RWS meters are pre-calibrated for specific uses, and can be rescaled in the field with the use of the provided PC-based software program.

The RNS Series insertion flow meter is available for pipe sizes from 6 to 72 inches (152 to 1829 mm), has a 35:1 turndown ratio, and can be configured for mass flow measurements.

The RWS Wafer meter has 316SS wetted parts, an extremely small bluff bar for little or no pressure drop, and NIST-traceable calibration. It is available in five sizes for flange mounting in pipes from 1/2 to 4 inches.

Options for both meters include ATEX certification, a two-line eight-digit rate/totaliser display, and remote electronics.