Friday, November 6, 2009

HMI software

Fourth-generation HMI software

iX, from Beijer Electronics, is a software-based HMI concept that fills the gap between proprietary HMI terminals and costly SCADA licence solutions. It consists of a development environment and a runtime environment and is available in several versions, including a complete Lauer HMI concept that can run on a panel PC or desktop PC platform as well as a runtime version for PCs from other suppliers. Thanks to support for the Microsoft .Net framework, iX enables a multitude of customer-specific adaptation options. With the ability to integrate externally available .Net controls (DLLs), there are practically no limits to your creative imagination in the generation of user-defined objects.

In combination with Microsoft´s Windows Presentation Foundation(WPF) standard, users have unprecedented options for developing user interfaces. The use of vector-based graphics ensures that user interface environments are always rendered precisely, regardless of the scale factor. A large number of predefined graphic objects, such as switches, indicator instruments and technical pictograms, give even novice users rapid access and enable fast results. Additionally, iX supports the well-known Microsoft multifunction bars and thus frees designers and users from the shackles of nested menus. This means that suitable commands can be anchored to the desired locations. iX constitutes an open platform solution and supports the OPC standard. Users have the choice of using protocols from an extensive pool of drivers or a connection via a third-party OPC server. All data is stored in compliance with the SQL standard, which facilitates fast, easy data administration.

As a special feature, iX is fully script programmable in C#. This allows users to use an object-oriented programming language to modify existing and yet to be defined objects as desired. There are no limits to individualisation. A large number of professional suggestions, and even open-source code examples, are available on the Internet.

Temp calibration

25 Years and another breakthrough in temperature calibration technology

Featuring a new, unique ‘Dynamic Load Compensation’ (DLC) capability to ensure perfect temperature uniformity in the test sensor insert region, the new lightweight JOFRA Reference Temperature Calibrator (RTC) Series of dry block temperature calibrators from AMETEK Calibration Instruments is the best performing dry-block calibrator on the market, when being calibrated and tested according to the globally accepted EURAMET/cg-13/v.01 guideline.

With outstanding specifications including accuracy to ±0.04°C using the external reference sensor (4-wire True-Ohm-Measurement technology is used) and stability of 0.005 ̊C, the new RTC-156 also has a host of new features, including shorter heating and cooling times and an extended temperature calibration range.

Portable temperature calibrators were first made available to industry in 1984 when JOFRA Instruments announced the world’s first temperature dry-block calibrator. Twenty-five years later, they continue to lead the way with the new DLC system (patent pending).

The DLC system features a special sensor linked into the well-established JOFRA active dual-zone heating technology for improving temperature homogeneity. The DLC sensor provides feedback to the active dual-zone system to allow the homogeneity to be controlled in the insert in which the sensors-under-test are placed during calibration, in addition to the normal temperature control and stabilization in the sensor test well. This enhanced level of control makes the homogeneity completely independent of sensor load, even when calibrating big sensors or many sensors at a time.

Heating and cooling speed on the Reference Temperature Calibrator Series has been increased by up to 20% compared to all other calibrators, giving savings in both production down-time and general calibration costs. The RTC-156 can perform calibration from -30°C up to 155°C (-22 to 311°F), making it possible to perform calibration jobs over a very wide temperature range of 185°C (333°F) with only one calibrator. A new 5.7” full color VGA display provides continuous display of the main temperatures such as SET, READ, TRUE and SUT (Sensor under test) at all stages of the programming or calibration procedure.

The STS-200 intelligent reference sensors and the new DLC sensor for the RTC-156 each contain their individual calibration data (coefficients) to provide a failsafe plug’n’play calibration system. This eliminates the need for time-consuming coefficient downloading with the associated risk of errors and allows immediate operation even if the reference sensor is replaced. Both the STS-200 and DLC sensors have been specially angled at 90˚ for easy calibration of threaded sensors and sensors with connection heads.

In keeping with the overall weight-saving design philosophy of the Reference Temperature Calibrator Series, special lightweight metric and imperial size multi-hole insert kits have been developed to cover calibration of virtually any size of sensor. The metric insert kit consists of just four inserts covering all diameters from 3 to 13mm. The imperial insert kit consists of three inserts covering six different sizes from 1⁄8” to 1⁄2”. All inserts have holes for both STS reference sensors and DLC sensors.

Soil monitor

New disposable residual soil monitor for hospital washer/disinfectors

Isopharm Sentry has added the SteriTec Wash-Check disposable cleaning monitor to its range of residual soil detection products. The Wash-Check is designed for easy monitoring of cleaning efficiency during the wash phase in hospital washer/disinfectors.

Wash-Check disposable monitor strips feature a simple-to-read red test soil, which can reveal poor, intermediate and acceptable cleaning. The strip also has a location recorder which allows the user to mark on it the strip’s position within the washer basket. The Wash-Check can easily be used in different positions and shelves in the washer/disinfector to check cleaning efficiency. It is also suitable for use in pre-soak or in an ultrasonic cleaner so that it can follow the same cleaning path as the instruments.

After use the monitor can be stapled to the Wash-Check Record Sheet to allow a permanent record to be made. Wash-Checks, together with other residual soil products, can be ordered from Isopharm Sentry’s on-line store.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Instrumentation website launched
Bringing the World of Instrumentation together

About NDO Consultants Ltd
Established in 2007 to provide a quality, highly experienced consultancy service to the instrumentation, engineering and PLM (product lifecycle management) marketplace, NDO Consultants Ltd have already proven themselves highly adept at recruitment, business development, marketing and overall business review in a variety of SME’s.

Filling a genuine need for highly technical sales and business professionals with a proven commercial acumen, NDO Consultants are able to deliver in all areas of company development and structuring. Offering everything from telesales and database generation, through to marketing planning and full company business reviews, the service provided by NDO Consultants is highly flexible.
Building on a proven format NDO Consultants Ltd have launched a new online web portal, that brings together all types of instrumentation suppliers in addition to technical information and the latest product news. With a global target audience it provides a unique platform for users and suppliers to introduce and source instrumentation products from all over the world.

The benefits and flexibility offered by overseas sourcing can include lower costs, greater technical capability, alternative materials and potentially faster delivery, however it has not always been easy to find a suitable supplier through traditional routes. offers an easy interface with clear product pages to make finding new suppliers a simple and quick process.

Launched on the 1 November 2009 the site has already attracted a large number of companies to showcase their products to a worldwide audience, extensive growth of listings will continue over the next few months and into 2010.

Neill Ovenden, Managing Director of NDO Consultants Ltd said ‘We have had such a success with our site we felt a site targeted at a Global audience for Instrumentation was long overdue. Our market research was extensive and gained 97% support for the site with everyone agreeing that the time was right to open up the industry.’

As with the other marketing portals offered by NDO Consultants will be much more than just an online directory. It is run by engineers for engineers, so it will include technical information, exhibition news and the latest instrumentation technology product information. It will also provide a monthly newsletter that will be sent out to anyone who registers and this will include a summary of all the latest changes on the site and the latest news items of interest. With a distribution of over 7000 at launch, the site gets a great start.

He continues ‘We have minimised the listing options and kept costs low with sufficient flexibility to appeal to suppliers large and small. All industry sectors are catered for and the site offers a great opportunity to access international markets that are continuing to grow, our proactive newsletter puts products and technology in front of the right people every month.’


Exclusive e-sample program launched

Farnell has launched an exclusive e-sample program with TT electronics Welwyn Components. The program means that customers visiting Welwyn’s website seeking samples will be taken directly to the appropriate product page on the relevant Farnell country website. Here they can use fast and easy ‘buy now’ functionality to order sample quantites for next day delivery across Europe.

The new agreement will save time for design engineers working to ever-shorter timeframes, helping them to get their new products to market more quickly. Farnell currently stocks over 4,000 TT electronics Welwyn Components products and has worked closely with the leading designer and manufacturer of fixed resistors and microelectronic assemblies for over 10 years.

The new e-sample program further strengthens Farnell’s online proposition. Customers now have a choice of over 480,000 stocked products from more than 3000 of the electronics industry’s leading names, plus innovative new technologies from suppliers of niche products.

An extensive and diverse product range along with initiatives such as the i-Buy e-Procurement tool, eQuotes and TechCast online product training has helped Farnell reach a point where it is now completing over 50% of its transactions through e-commerce channels. Easy access to online datasheets and technical assistance in multiple languages provides design engineers with the support they need wherever they are located.

“Partnering with industry-leading companies such as TT electronics Welwyn Components on programs such as this sampling initiative is of great value to our design engineering customer base,” said Mike Buffam, Director of Supplier & Product Management, Farnell. “With increasing pressure to deliver new products to market as quickly as possible and with a competitive edge, initiatives that support more efficient use of time and give faster access to sample quantities are very welcome.”

Ian Ford, TT electronics Components Sales Director for UK & Nordic, commented: “The e-sample program that we have established represents a significant step forward for our business. It will allow us to fully utilise the considerable supply chain, logistical know-how and systems of Farnell to speed the design process for users of our market-leading resistor products.”

Further information regarding TT electronics Welwyn Components products can also be found at element14 – Farnell’s technology portal and e-community.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Soft start

Smallest 15kW soft-starter for compressors plays by the toughest rules

Carlo-Gavazzi has introduced the industry’s smallest 15kW soft-starter, extending the company’s range of compact modules for compressor applications such as geothermal heat pumps. The new RSBT type complements existing single-phase solutions by offering three-phase control and enhanced inrush current handling, whilst meeting residential Class B EMC requirements without the need for external filters.

Ideal for industrial or domestic applications such as three-phase scroll compressors, the new soft-starter features internal semiconductor by-pass technology and is available with nominal current up to 32A. The module comes in a compact 45mm-wide format for space-conscious panel or DIN rail mounting. Control of all three phases ensures optimum current reduction, along with balanced current on all phases. This is achieved without the need to make front-panel settings.

An innovative self-learning algorithm ensures that optimum starting current performance is achieved at every start. The auto-adaptive software is available as standard on all RSBT variants and works by measuring relevant parameters during ramp-up, storing these values and using them to set new current-limit values for the following start. The goal is to use the smallest inrush current value to start the motor, without exceeding the 600ms maximum ramp-up time.

Optimisation is achieved automatically by the software-starter, so users do not have to adjust external settings and there is no need to make initial settings in the factory. As well as saving time, this eliminates a possible source of operator error. The feature also compensates for higher starting currents that may be required as compressors age, reducing potential problems and start-up alarms. The result is lower down-time and fewer service calls.

This integrated current limit feedback reduces inrush current by up to 65 percent, allowing users to counter escalating energy costs and peak consumption regulations. Moreover, the resulting reduction in component stress extends compressor lifetime, further lowering the cost of ownership.

The soft starter can perform 12 starts per hour; providing significant headroom over the four to six starts typically carried out by heat pumps.

Built-in motor protection capabilities range from transient over- and under-voltage protection, through phase sequence and under-voltage monitoring, to locked rotor protection, over-temperature protection and over-current protection in by-pass mode. Full status indication is provided through an easy to read alarm LED flash sequence. Beyond these vital functions, further facilities are readily added via Carlo Gavazzi’s extensive range of rail-mounted motor control modules.

Designed to comply with the latest, IEC60947-4-2, international motor-starter standards, the RSBT soft-starter is also RoHS compliant, cUL listed and carries appropriate CE marks.


The Productivity Check
EPLAN Introduce EPF

EPLAN Software & Service has created the Engineering Performance Factor (EPF) which determines potential ways to reduce costs. An individual check determines the savings potential in an integrated process - companies receive positive tips of how to proceed - all in a cost-free first step.

Using a questionnaire, all phases in the engineering process such as electrical design, enclosure construction, mechanical design, production integration and data management, to name a few, are examined. Each of the 12 questions has four possible answers that represent a specific development level in each discipline. Based on the overall score, the deviation from the optimal process can be determined.
The user can determine the weighting himself. For example, if enclosure construction is of little or no interest to the company, then this question will be given a lower evaluation factor. The result or the overall score is also tailored to the company's individual requirements.

This engineering check determines the strengths/weaknesses in the integrated process and shows the status of product development with respect to state-of-the-art technology. Users receive an individual evaluation including a short analysis and tips for a positive course of action.

If the engineering check indicates that there are weaknesses in the process, then EPLAN Software & Service offers corresponding check-up days – tailored to the EPF concept. Special packages are bundled with appropriate services. For example, the design check-up. An on-site EPLAN consultant meticulously takes stock of the design process, analyzes weaknesses, outlines process objectives and puts together a catalogue of measures. This analysis contains an accurate cost/benefit estimate for efficient processes - including an ROI calculation.

Analysis for paper!

Analysis times cut by 75% at paper recycling plant

A high-speed, high-temperature HT200S laboratory digester from HACH LANGE has helped one of Europe’s largest recycled packaging companies to cut analysis times by 75%.

This process has also enabled Smurfit Kappa SSK, (Birmingham GB) to optimise the efficiency of the anaerobic digestion to generate quality biogas, which helps to recycle the effluent waste produced on site.

By deploying the advanced HT200S, along with a DR2800 VIS Spectrophotometer at its biogas plant, the analysis of nutrient levels ensure that the site’s anaerobic reactor is running effectively, reducing analysis times by 75% as a result.

Prior to analysis in a DR2800, samples are digested in the HT200S, with digestion times for Nitrogen, Phosphate and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), which previously took two hours, now taking just 30 minutes.

Ciarán Conroy, from Smurfit Kappa SSK, explained that the HT200S has radically altered nutrient analysis at the plant. He said: “The HT200S allows us to be more reactive to alterations in the process, as a result of the speed with which we are now able to take measurements. The speed of digestion is complimented by the fact that the HT200S cools the samples so that they can be transferred to the spectrophotometer immediately.”

“The easy identification of COD and Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA) in the biogas reactor is just one example of this, enabling us to react in a matter of minutes, resulting in less time spent on maintaining the biogas reactor.”

The HT200S can also digest samples prior to analysis for Chromium, Tin, Silver and Total Organic Carbon (TOC).

Emma Brown, Sales Consultant at HACH LANGE added: “The portable HT200S can provide numerous benefits for virtually every industry where COD, nitrogen, phosphate or metals analysis has to take place, saving significant maintenance time and costs in the process.”