Friday, November 27, 2009

FDT

FDT 2.0: Advantages, Benefits, Implementation

The FDT-Technology is ready to switch from ActiveX and COM to .NET and WPF. Andreas Börngen, Director Sales and Product Marketing at M&M Software illustrated the advantages and implementation of the new standard FDT 2.0 at a press conference on this year’s SPS/IPC/DRIVES fair in Nuremberg.

Comprehensive and economically successful device integration is based on technology standards, such as FDT, OPC, EDD, FDI o TCI. M&M is the technology partner in all matters related to device integration in industrial automation and is an active member in all organisations, which develop and manage their respective standards, and participates diligently in the further development of these standards. This gives M&M fundamental know-how and makes the company an informed advisor and consultant regarding the advantages and possibilities that open up with the use of state-of-the-art technologies and standards in industrial automation. Naturally, this acquired know-how will also be applied directly and at a very early stage in the product- and custom-made developments of M&M Software.

FDT is undoubtedly the most important standard for the device integration at this point in time. Besides customized software development, M&M offers a total of nine other products on the basis of FDT, which makes this company the sole provider of a complete range of products, tools and services for this technology. This portfolio is topped by an FDT-Hotline, an FDT-Portal and test- and certification laboratories in Germany and China.

This new standard is relevant for device vendors and process control system providers alike.

The rule states: DTM follows frame, which means the FDT 2.0-Frames must be on the market first for the new DTMs to be able to run. This is also one reason why M&M starts the process by offering upgraded frame-products in the market first.

M&M advises DTM developers to plan the switch to FDT 2.0 in a timely manner as new projects are still being developed for FDT 1.2.1, but already makes use of .NET technology. Therefore, it is imperative that special attention is given to the DTM architecture during the design and specification phase, so that migrating to FDT 2.0 involves only a marginal amount of cost and effort.

In the ideal case, existing DTMs can then be adjusted to the new standard, if a general "overhaul" of the DTM is required anyhow. The new standard promises to be backward compatible and therefore, "old" DTMs should be able to run also in FDT 2.0-systems. The basicDTM customers of M&M Software can be quite relaxed about the introduction of the new standard. A basicDTM is a DTM, which is generated automatically with a generator, namely the dtmGENERATOR, based on a device description file or DD. As soon as the new standard is available and the generator has been adjusted to FDT 2.0, all it takes is a new generator run to ensure FDT 2.0-compatibility of the DTM.

It is also interesting to learn who will benefit from FDT 2.0. The simple answer is: Everybody, but first and foremost the end user with his process- or factory automation system. He will notice and experience an improved quality, stability and interoperability. He will also benefit from an enhanced performance, as well as from the possibility of distributed installations on remote machines and systems. Furthermore, he will enjoy several other improvements, such as standardised, non-proprietary operating concepts.

All these improvements are made possible mainly through the change of technology from COM and Active-X to the .NET and WPF technology. This includes new architectures and a different data model. The developers of DTM- and Frame-Applications can look forward to the technical improvements, especially the use of .NET technology throughout the entire development process. This creates a developer-oriented environment and reduces the time and efforts associated with the actual implementation.

M&M shows its commitment as a technological leader with the ambitious project of developing a Product Roadmap for FDT 2.0. The Software company plans to release the first updates for the M&M Product portfolio only a few months after the release of the new version 2.0 of the FDT-standard next year (scheduled release: Middle of next year). The Frame-Application fdtCONTAINER will be the first product that is FDT 2.0 compatible in the first half of 2011. All other products will then follow suit in quick succession. For the DTM-products, an intermediate step via .NET is planned. The DTM development kit dtmMANAGER and the option for programming in .NET will be upgraded and ready to use in early 2010. In this way, all M&M customers with support- and service contracts will benefit from free-of-charge technology updates.

BP Dalmeny (GB)

Emerson’s Smart Wireless Technology Validates Crude Oil Temperature Monitoring in Storage Tank Protection Systems at BP Dalmeny Terminal, GB

Wireless technology reduces installation cost for floating roof temperature measurement application and establishes communications network for future expansion

Emerson Process Management’s wireless temperature transmitters have been installed at BP Exploration’s Dalmeny onshore terminal. Once in place the new wireless network confirmed that the existing tank protection system is capable of providing the necessary protection.

Dalmeny, located near Edinburgh, has the capacity to store about four million barrels of stabilised crude oil from the Forties oil field. Eight interconnected storage tanks, 40-50m in diameter, are used to regulate the flow of oil between production wells and the tankers or pipeline that will transport it to the refinery.

BP was already measuring oil temperature at the side of the tanks. But, because of the size of the tanks there was a concern that there could be a significant difference between temperatures at the edge of the tank and at the centre. A number of measurements were therefore required to confirm any differences in temperature. This presented a challenge because the tanks needed to remain in use, making installation of temperature probes impossible.

An out of service tank with no existing temperature measurement in place presented the perfect opportunity to install the necessary instrumentation. However, there was no cabling infrastructure in place for this specific tank so if BP had installed wired transmitters they would have also had to install a cable recoil system to cope with the floating roof. This would have cost over £15,000.

Wireless presented a cost effective alternative, and having successfully applied Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology to monitor wellhead annular pressure at its Wytch Farm site, BP was confident that it would be suitable for this application.

“We were keen to install a wireless infrastructure that would enable us to expand and add additional devices beyond this application without the need for additional cabling infrastructure and the cost associated with it, “
said Robin Hamill, electrical instrumentation engineer, BP Exploration Operating Company. “Having reviewed the wireless technologies on the market, we felt Emerson’s Smart Wireless was the best solution.”

Two Rosemount® wireless temperature transmitters were installed, one in the centre and one two thirds across to determine if there was a difference in temperatures throughout the tank. A further transmitter was installed on the main inlet feed. The transmitters are located roughly 300m from a Smart Wireless Gateway positioned on the outside wall of the control room. Using a serial connection, data is fed from the gateway into the existing SCADA system.

Using the data from the Smart Wireless transmitters, BP discovered that there was not a significant difference in temperature at different points in the tank.

“Using Smart Wireless we were able to quickly and cost effectively install the temperature measurement equipment required.” said Hamill “The results we have obtained mean that we have not needed to add additional devices to the other tanks.”

BP continues to measure crude oil temperatures in the tank using the Smart Wireless devices. The wireless transmitters are part of a network that uses self-organising technology. As part of the network, two additional wireless transmitters were placed at strategic positions within the facility to act as repeaters. Despite the long distance, all of the devices communicate directly with the gateway rather than via the repeaters. The extra transmitters increase the reliability of the network by offering additional paths for the data to travel to the gateway should a path become obstructed. The self-organising wireless network adjusts automatically to re-route signals around any obstructions, resulting in greater than 99% communications reliability. The resulting wireless infrastructure enables additional wireless instruments to be added quickly and easily.

“We have been very impressed with the Smart Wireless technology and regard the installation to be a great success,”
said Hamill. “This site experiences extreme weather conditions, but this has not affected reliability at all.”

Installing the Smart Wireless devices was very easy. It took only a day to complete the entire project including configuring the serial link to the SCADA system. Emerson’s AMS™ Suite predictive maintenance software is used to manage the wireless network. Since the wireless network was installed it has been extremely reliable with no data lost.

SmartWireless is an extension of PlantWeb® digital architecture that offers solutions for field instrumentation and plant operations. In addition to the products installed at the Dalmeny terminal other wireless products include Fisher® position monitors, Rosemount Analytical devices and Machinery Health™ Management transmitters, and native wireless interfaces to Ovation® digital automation systems, and SmartStart® services.

Chematur (S)

Emerson’s PlantWeb® architecture provides flexible automation solution for pilot ethanol processing plant in Sweden

PlantWeb® architecture, incorporating WirelessHART®, Wi-Fi™ and FOUNDATION™ fieldbus communications technology, used to automate fully functioning pilot plant

Emerson Process Management’s PlantWeb® digital plant architecture incorporating WirelessHART®, Wi-Fi™ and FOUNDATION™ fieldbus technology is being used to automate a pilot ethanol processing plant built by Chematur Engineering AB. The plant, located at Karlskoga (250km from Stockholm) in Sweden, is used to demonstrate the company’s unique ‘Biostil®’ production process, and enable its customers to trial the latest process automation technologies for their specific raw materials.

The Biostil process enables ethanol to be produced from almost any raw material including wheat, sugar-beets, rice etc. The pilot plant, consisting of a raw material mill, liquefaction department, fermentation section and distillation column, is a smaller version of the real ethanol processing plants designed and installed by Chematur Engineering worldwide. Because the layout and function of the pilot plant will be modified over time, as improvements in the Biostil process take place, it was essential that the network architecture be very flexible.

“We aimed to show that Chematur Engineering is at the forefront of process plant design by implementing the most advanced process automation technology available,” explained Johan Selinder, Manager, Electrical & Control Design, Chematur Engineering AB. “At the same time we needed a very flexible network architecture that is easy to modify, develop and expand."

The pilot plant, which covers an area of roughly 50m2, features the very latest automation technology from Emerson including its DeltaV™ digital automation system, open standard WirelessHART products as part of Smart Wireless solutions for field instrumentation, Smart Wireless solutions for plant-wide operations based on Wi-Fi networking, and a broad range of FOUNDATION fieldbus intelligent devices. The DeltaV system enables the entire plant to be controlled from a single operator station using advanced networking functions to place process data in the hands of the operator.

Chematur wanted to prove to its customers that FOUNDATION fieldbus and wireless technologies are easy to use, are stable, reliable and a good investment.

“We have successfully implemented the DeltaV system with FOUNDATION fieldbus on a couple of large scale projects in the past,” continued Selinder. “The system has a broad range of functions and is very easy to use. Another key strength is how simple it is to make changes during both the commissioning phase and as the plant develops.”

Chematur Engineering was keen to widen this experience on their pilot plant by establishing a plant-wide network incorporating Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology. Wireless offers further levels of flexibility by enabling temporary installations, and changes of transmitter location without the need for re-engineering.

“Hands-on experience helped us get an understanding of where wireless technology can be successfully applied,” said Selinder. “Currently we see the benefits in monitoring applications accessing data from remote or difficult to reach parts of the plant. Installing cabling in these places can be cost prohibitive, especially if there are just one or two instruments to be connected.”

The wireless field network based on Emerson’s WirelessHART devices enables process monitoring of various sections of the plant. Nine Rosemount® wireless pressure transmitters and seven Rosemount wireless temperature transmitters have been installed, delivering measurements of water, slurry (water, yeast and starch/sugar mixture) and the final product ethanol. A further 30 instruments communicate process control and asset management information using FOUNDATION fieldbus.

In addition a Wireless Plant Network has been established to provide Smart Wireless mobile worker solutions. This consists of a rugged wireless access point, installed in the process area, providing high bandwidth connectivity to a touch tablet PC to wirelessly access process data. The touch tablet PC incorporates DeltaV and AMS™ Suite predictive maintenance applications and is used as an operator station in the field as well as a replacement for local indicators on the field instruments.

“A plant wide wireless network offers enormous benefits by bringing the control room out into the plant. Placing this kind of power in the hands of operators produces much greater worker efficiency. Of course you still need a central control room, but for maintenance and especially during commissioning and start-up phases it becomes an excellent tool,”
said Selinder.

Emerson’s AMS Suite provides a common user interface for easy access to predictive diagnostic information from the FOUNDATION fieldbus and WirelessHART devices. The real-time device information provided allows operators to respond faster and make informed decisions. It also helps to achieve a faster start-up and when the plant is running it can increase its availability through more cost-effective maintenance and improved device performance.

AMS Wireless SNAP-ON™ is used to maintain the wireless network. This application graphically displays the communication paths, diagnostic and performance parameters to prevent potential problems with the field instruments.

ESW (PL)

Emerson’s Smart Wireless network monitors biomass gasification pre-combustion chamber at Polish power plant

WirelessHART™ network with Rosemount® wireless temperature transmitters ensures chamber walls are not damaged

Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless network with Rosemount® wireless transmitters is being used to enable thermal monitoring of biomass gasification pre-combustion chambers at the Elektrownia Stalowa Wola S.A. power plant located in the city of Stalowa Wola, Poland. New temperature data is being transmitted over a WirelessHART™ network to operators to ensure that the ceramic walls of the chamber are not damaged by stress fractures through overheating.

Biomass gasification (a method for extracting energy from many different types of organic materials) is a process where biomass materials are processed to create a carbonised solid and gas, both of which are used as fuel for electricity generation.

Both power and heat is produced by the Elektrownia Stalowa Wola gasification system using forest waste wood (including chips and dust) and other biomass material from agriculture. The organic waste passes through a 9m long by 3.5m diameter rotating pre-combustion chamber where it is heated using natural gas to a temperature between
280 – 360°C. The carbonised particles that are produced are burnt in a fluidised bed which releases energy for steam generation. The pre-combustion chamber is made from a ceramic material which is protected from damage by a layer of insulation.

Elektrownia Stalowa Wola S.A. (part of Tauron Energy) wanted to further safeguard the equipment by measuring the temperature of the chamber walls so that they could be alerted to any potential problems. Should temperatures go beyond 350°C, an alarm is triggered and the operator can adjust the amount of air going into the chamber or reduce the heating of the biomass. If required, the fuel for the chamber can be shut down completely. Should the operator not react in time, the system can shut down automatically.

Two sensors have been installed within the insulation material to provide the temperature measurements of the chamber walls. Because the pre-combustion chamber rotates, a slip ring assembly would be required to connect the sensors. However, dirt, carbon dust, and other forms of contamination build up in this area which can lead to flash over (arcing between the rings or to ground) and damage the connections between the lead and the rings.

“With every day usage creating the potential for high contamination we were concerned about the long term reliability of a slip ring solution. Wireless was the natural alternative and Emerson’s WirelessHART devices also meet the EX requirements,”
said Miroslaw Lysikowski, Instrumentation & Control Manager, Elektrownia Stalowa Wola S.A.

Two Rosemount WirelessHART temperature transmitters have been installed on the rotating chamber delivering measurements from the sensors every 30 seconds. This provides the operator with the information needed to protect the chamber from overheating. A further transmitter has been installed nearby and acts as a router, strengthening the self-organising wireless network by providing an extra route for signals to pass through. The device also measures the ambient temperatures.

The sensors and transmitters were installed by Elektrownia Stalowa Wola during a routine shut down period, taking just two days to complete. Emerson’s AMS™ Wireless SNAP-ON™ application was used to validate the network and is now used to manage the wireless network and identify any potential trouble spots.

Measurement data from the sensors is sent via a Smart Wireless gateway to the existing Emerson Ovation® expert control system that controls the biomass gasification process. Start-up of the wireless network took only a matter of hours including installing the Modbus TCP/IP cabling that connects the gateway to the control system.

“We are extremely happy with the final solution, which has proven to be very reliable,”
continued Lysikowski. “Looking to the future, we expect to use these new measurements for process monitoring and will also be working with Emerson to further expand the use of wireless technology.”

Elektrownia Stalowa Wola S.A. is currently considering increasing the number of measurements on the rotating chamber to increase its knowledge of the process. The wireless temperature measurements will then be used as part of the control of the burning process.

Nynas (S)

Emerson’s Smart Wireless Transmitters Monitor Storage Tanks at Nynas Refinery in Sweden

Self-organising wireless network reduces installation costs and enables online monitoring of vapour pressure and levels in tanks

Emerson Process Management announces that its Smart Wireless technology has been installed by Nynas AB to upgrade an underground storage tank monitoring system, creating an online integrated solution and reducing installation costs by €10,000 compared to a wired alternative.

Nynas is an international group that refines heavy crude oil to produce bitumen and naphthenic speciality oil products. The company owns four refineries, one of which is located at Nynäshamn in Sweden. The underground storage tanks at Nynäshamn are monitored for unequal vapour pressures which can indicate potential blockages in the pipes that connect the tanks. The existing pressure switches are ageing and due to be replaced. They were not continuous, only indicating when set levels had been exceeded.

“When a signal cable on one of the switches failed we decided to upgrade to an online solution that would bring storage tank measurement data directly into the plant’s control system and help identify blockages much earlier,” said Morten Hansen, Senior Instrument Engineer, Nynas. “We were also interested in trialling wireless technology and this application presented the perfect opportunity.”

The underground storage tanks are located a considerable distance from the control room and if Nynas had installed conventional instrumentation, new cabling would have been required to connect to the remote devices. The cost of this was prohibitive so Nynas looked at the benefits of using wireless.

With no line of sight between the location of the pressure transmitters and the ideal position for the gateway, Nynas selected Emerson’s Smart Wireless products, which use self-organising technology, to connect the devices. With this technology, each wireless device can act as a router for other nearby devices, passing messages along until they reach their destination. If there is an obstruction, transmissions are simply re-routed along the network until a clear path to the Smart Wireless Gateway is found. The technology also offers redundant communication via two or three routes ensuring greater than 99 percent communication reliability.

Two additional Rosemount® wireless pressure transmitters provide measurements from the very large underground storage rooms (bunkers) containing crude oil. Measurements are taken to identify unequal vapour pressures in the different sections of the bunker. Data is transmitted every 60 seconds to a Smart Wireless Gateway located 650 metres from the pressure transmitters. The Gateway is connected to Emerson’s DeltaV™ digital automation system using Modbus communications.

A further two Rosemount wireless transmitters installed on large vessels within the facility act as repeaters providing additional routes for the data and ensuring reliability of connection. Additional wireless measurement devices can be easily added as required and, by increasing the number of routes available to send data back to the gateway, they make the network even more reliable.

“Using Emerson’s wireless solution we have been able to significantly reduce the cost of upgrading the pressure measurement to an online system. Installing new cabling would have cost €10,000 more than the wireless solution,” said Hansen

”Installing the Emerson devices onsite was relatively easy and it took less than a day to complete the configuration and start-up procedure.” he continued. “We have also found the technology easy to use with the ability to manage the devices using Emerson’s AMS™ Suite predictive maintenance software.”

Having successfully trialled the Smart Wireless technology, Nynas has expanded the wireless network at the site. Rosemount® Rex radar level gauges, equipped with Smart Wireless THUM™ adapters have been installed, replacing two existing mechanical servo gauges. A technology change of this type would normally require the replacement of the signal cables, but by using a THUM adapter wireless communication is added to the instrument, thereby avoiding the need for expensive cable installation.

The THUM adapter is a WirelessHART™ device that can retrofit on almost any two or four wire HART device, without special power requirements, to enable wireless transmission of measurement and diagnostic information. Devices with the THUM adapter operate as components of Emerson’s Smart Wireless self-organising field network.

Smart Wireless is an extension of PlantWeb® digital architecture that offers solutions for field instrumentation and plant operations. In addition to the products installed at Nynas, other Smart Wireless products available include Fisher® position monitors, Rosemount Analytical devices and Machinery Health™ Management transmitters, and native wireless interfaces to Ovation® digital automation systems, and SmartStart® services.

Novartis (F)

Emerson's Smart Wireless technology improves operator efficiency and plant flexibility for Novartis in France

DeltaV™ digital automation system and integrated wireless network enables easier maintenance, and increases control and flexibility at biotech production facility

Emerson Process Management’s plant-wide wireless network is helping to improve maintenance and operator efficiency, and increase plant flexibility within the Novartis biotech production centre at Huningue, in the north east of France. Emerson’s DeltaV™ digital automation system with a fully integrated Wi-Fi® network and mobile operator stations are providing process and plant information to operators and maintenance staff throughout the facility. The new wireless network is also improving the flexibility of the control system when there is a need to adjust a product recipe.

Novartis, one of the largest and most widely respected pharmaceutical companies in the world, employs over 300 people at Huningue where they produce the active ingredient for Xolair® , a drug used to treat moderate to severe persistent asthma, as well as several monoclonal antibodies and an immunosuppressant. Xolair is derived from genetically modified mammalian cells that are cultivated in a laboratory before being fermented in various bioreactors.

Localised control is essential to the efficient management of the process which is spread over three production levels, as well as being geographically dispersed. Novartis implemented a distributed architecture, based on Emerson’s DeltaV system. This has enabled operator stations to be located near the main areas of the process such as the bioreactors and tanks. To further maximise operator efficiency, Novartis recognised that they needed a control architecture that enabled their operators to be fully mobile.

Novartis is a pioneer in implementing new technology and has been using wireless since the year 2000. In 2008, when migrating to version 9 of Emerson’s DeltaV system, the company benefited from developments including integrated Wi-Fi and wireless security. In 2009, Novartis expanded the wireless architecture with additional Wi-Fi access points, implementing a complete mobile wireless solution with the DeltaV system.

"In 2000 we introduced wireless technology and recognised that it was well suited to our needs. The most recent developments to Emerson’s DeltaV system have enabled us to implement a plant wide wireless solution,”
said Philippe Heitz, Head of Engineering, Novartis.

Novartis has installed a wireless network with coverage obtained on all three production levels using 10 Wi-Fi access points. The network includes 17 mobile operator stations and 100 DeltaV controllers, spread over two systems. The first system controls the upstream process of cell cultivation and harvesting. The second controls the downstream phase of purification and freezing. Both systems will soon be interconnected using Emerson’s DeltaV ZONE, a software and hardware solution for connecting two systems.

The mobile operator stations provide Novartis with complete flexibility to control its manufacturing processes. To meet the standards required for sterile zones C & D, the mobile operator stations have a stainless steel enclosure that houses the central processing unit (CPU). The devices are equipped with a USB connection to the usual keyboard, monitor and trackball for this type of environment and connect to the network of Wi-Fi access points.

Operators can move from one level to another with their mobile station and still maintain an overview of the process. This has not only significantly improved operator efficiency but it has also made it possible to reduce the number of workstations required by 50%. There have also been efficiency improvements in the area of plant maintenance. For example, by using a mobile workstation, it is now possible for just one person to calibrate the instruments when previously it would have required two. Should any workstation have a fault there is no longer a need to shut down a process whilst the station is fixed or replaced. The flexibility offered by the wireless network and mobile workstations provides a perfect back-up system. A further benefit is that when a new product is being launched or a recipe changed, the mobile stations can be moved throughout the plant as required, removing the need to install new operator stations.

"Because of the wireless network, we do not need to systematically invest in new control stations, even if the production of new products requires a change to the plant equipment or layout,"
explained Heitz.

The benefits of the DeltaV system coupled with the wireless architecture has helped Novartis to diversify production, changing from a single-chain product, such as Xolair, to being able to produce multi-chain products such as monoclonal antibodies and immunosuppressives. This is helping Novartis meet the needs of patients.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Distance

New laser distance meter talks you through measurements with extended 100-meter range

Stores 20 measurements for quick distance recall

Laser technology: far ahead for measuring distance
Laser distance meters emit light pulses with a defined wavelength and frequency. The laser beam is reflected off the target and back to the distance meter at the speed of light. The returning wavelengths and light pulses change in relationship to the ones sent out by the meter. The difference between the two signals is proportional to the distance to the target.

Unlike ultrasonic meters, the laser distance meter’s narrow laser beam prevents reflection off objects that are not targeted, avoiding false readings. Laser distance meters are much more accurate and reliable, and measure much longer distances than ultrasonic meters. It comes with an instruction book, carrying pouch to secure on a tool belt, batteries and a two year warranty.
Fluke has introduced its most advanced and capable distance measurement device, the Fluke 421D Laser Distance Meter. Its advanced features include audible feedback for taking room angle and incremental measurements, a +/- 45° tilt sensor for taking indirect measurements in hard-to-reach areas and enhanced Pythagoras calculation for indirectly determining distance. The Fluke 421D automatically stores the last 20 measurements for quick recall of previous measurements.

The 421D measures distances up to 100m with one push of a button. Laser distance measurement technology makes the Fluke 421D Laser Distance Meter far more accurate and dependable than devices using ultrasonic technology. It is IP54 rated for resistance to water spray and dust.

Like their other distance meters, the Fluke 421D helps electricians, facilities managers and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) contractors save time and labour. Instead of walking back and forth across a space with a tape or a wheel, the user can simply place the meter at the starting point, point the laser at the target, press one button and instantly read the distance, all without the help of a second person to hold the other end of a tape measure.

The Fluke 421D has a bright laser for easy targeting and a large liquid crystal display. Buttons are positioned for one-hand operation. The simple user interface allows the user to easily add or subtract measurements and quickly calculate area and volume. An automatic shut-off feature improves battery life, providing up to 5000 readings from a pair of AAA batteries.

These Meters boost productivity and save money by helping speed the measurement process and eliminate costly estimation errors. They are built to withstand a four-foot drop, featuring the ruggedness and reliability professionals expect from Fluke.

microWave Level

New non-contact microwave barrier switch

The microwave barrier VEGA‘MIP’ (Microwave Impulse Point-level) is especially designed for the needs of the bulk handling industries. It can be applied to bulk solids or liquid level detection, in plastic vessels for example, or object detection - such as vehicle positioning/warning and oversize/height alarms on conveyors etc. As this is a non-contact measurement, VEGAMIP 61 has no direct contact with the medium, providing reliability for abrasive, aggressive or high temperature applications. In the case of metallic or conductive vessels, VEGAMIP can measure from the outside through a non conductive microwave permeable window, e.g. in ceramic, glass or plastic materials.

The instrument consists of a transmitter VEGAMIP T61and one or several R61 receivers for wider areas. The adjustable sensitivity receiver measures the attenuation of the microwave signal and outputs a relay switch. It has a very wide dynamic range, borne from the pedigree of over 250,000 microwave level devices sold world wide. The wide sensitivity range adds to reliability, especially when operating conditions are difficult, which means it still operates consistently with dirt, dust or build up. Operating ranges are up to 100m.

It can be used as a maximum or minimum sensor, switching delays can be set between 0.1 and 20 s. VEGAMIP is fully integrated into VEGA's plics® modular system. This means there are a range of plastic, aluminium or stainless steel housings, as well as different antenna systems and process fittings available, allowing configuration of the sensor precisely to specific user requirements.

LVDTs

LVDTs ideally suited to high duty cycle applications

Applications that call for continuous or repetitive measurement can place considerable demands on transducers. Demands that RDP Electronics Ltd’s range of LVDTs are well suited to meet.

Process industries, production environments and destructive testing applications need reliable, repeatable results often involving continual feedback with very high cycle lives. RDP has an extensive selection of LVDTs embracing a range of displacements, as well as miniature versions and types developed for special applications. Used in environments subject to vibration LVDTs are not subject to the problems associated with potentiometers for example. With vibration present it is not uncommon for small sections of potentiometer wipers to fail prematurely. But no such problems for LVDTs. The spring return versions can be subject to hundreds of thousands of cycles. Captive LVDT versions are good for millions of cycles and correctly installed, unguided LVDTs will perform indefinitely.


See our Acronyms Page to decypher jargon and acronyms!

Remote device management

Control from afar!

The online management portal for M2M and remote device management, Netbiter from Intellicom, has got several new features.

The solution now includes new and improved features to monitor, control and manage remote units in an easy, reliable and cost efficient way.

For example:
    - New improved support for the EasyConnect concept that provides true plug’n’play installation of wireless devices, including secure access of firewall protected equipment.
    - Improved report manager for various reports (energy, tank level, temperature etc)
    - New alarm manager with scheduler
    - Improved browsing of remote devices
    - Improved fleet management to monitor geographical position using GPS enabled devices
“Hundreds of our customers are today minimizing service operational costs and improving equipment efficiency. The trick is no longer a fancy web site but rather provide a solution that takes a few minutes to install without being an IT or mobile phone networks expert," says Henrik Ebeklint, managing Director at IntelliCom Innovation. "True plug’n’play is the key."

Battery monitor

Portfolio of comprehensive battery monitoring components

@SPS/IDC/Drives 2009


Key points:
• Advanced Battery Monitoring solution combines state-of-the art monitoring featuring impedance measurement with ease of use and fast installation
• Remote system monitoring via secure internet connection
• DIN rail mounting and external temperature patch reduces time required for installation
•Components solution allows flexible configuration for OEMs, VARs and System Integrators
LEM S.A. announced Sentinel III; an advanced, set of components for a battery monitoring solution that addresses the needs of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) and battery providers, as well as Value-Added Resellers (VARs) and Systems Integrators. Sentinel III components are used to create a simple to install and intuitive solution for continuous battery monitoring within mission critical installations such as hospitals, airports and data centres.

The Sentinel solution comprises transducers, data loggers and software components to create a comprehensive, yet simple and cost effective, Standby Battery Monitoring solution (SBM). In order to extend the functionality of the existing Sentinel, LEM has developed the S-BOX; an advanced data logger featuring an embedded webserver, which enables administrators to monitor installations remotely. The state-of-the art measurement and data logging features of the S-BOX include Bloc, String and Battery Voltage measurement, Bloc temperature and impedance measurement, discharge performance and discharge/charge current. The S-BOX also measures ambient temperature, a key factor affecting battery life.

The new Sentinel transducer is designed to reduce installation time, offering DIN-rail mounting and an external temperature patch. Users can set up an alarm for each of the parameters measured by the transducers connected to the S-BOX. As well as instant alarms the S-BOX can also provide a weekly report to the administrator, containing all daily measurements and critical system information.

The S-BOX is DIN rail mounted for easy installation and includes software for simple configuration and remote monitoring.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New valves

New isolation valves with inert body and diaphragm materials

Gems Sensors & Controls has announced its new K Series of inert isolation solenoid valves. Constructed from chemically inert materials such as: PTFE, ETFE, EPDM, FKM, FFKM, PEEK, PPS and PSU, the K Series of isolation valves is an excellent choice for any application requiring various levels of chemical resistance and/or sample purity. Typical applications include Liquid Chromatography, Gas Analyzers and Water Quality Testers.

Offered in multiple body sizes, port configurations, and a choice of wetted body and diaphragm materials, the K Series is a truly modular platform of direct acting round bodied solenoid valves, offering superb power, flow, durability and life optimisation. This range of inert valves is comprised of three groups: the KS Series features 2-way valves with a Maximum Operating Differential Pressure (MOPD) of 20 PSIG; KM/KL Series are available in 2-way and 3-Way Directional configurations, with MOPDs up to 30 PSIG; and the KV/KW Series offer 2-Way and 3-Way Directional configurations, with MOPDs as high as 20 PSIG.

“Progressive moulding and manufacturing techniques allow Gems to deliver precise, durable orifices and diaphragms in materials that our customers demand,” said Jessica Light, Medical Market Manager, at Gems Sensors & Controls. “Gems is very excited about how well this critical element of inert fluid control enhances our ability to deliver complete fluidic systems to our medical and life sciences customers.”

Gems specialises in providing complete fluid sensing and control solutions to meet exacting customer application requirements—from custom coil windings to highly specialised materials. Each custom made coil and valve is assured of exacting standards, unsurpassed quality and 100 percent tested reliability.


Gems products are marketed in Ireland by Manotherm

IS Pressure

Pressure transmitter now with SIL evaluation

WIKA has reacted immediately to the new safety standards within the process and machine-building industries: The Model IS-2X intrinsically safe pressure transmitter is now available with SIL 2 classification (Safety Integrity Level).

In order to enable the use of the IS-2X in SIL applications the most important safety-relevant data have been determined and summarised in an additional data sheet for safety-related data. These include the Average Probability of Failure on Demand (PFDa), the Hardware Fault Tolerance (HFT) and the Safe Failure Fraction (SFF). Process industry customers need this information for a SIL evaluation of the complete scope of application. For the requirements of machine building, MTTFd (Mean Time To Dangerous Failure) values are provided in order to be able to determine the Performance Level (PL).

The versatile pressure transmitters of the IS-2X family have been used for many years in the widest range of hazardous areas. Due to its approvals (ATEX, FM and CSA) the intrinsically safe instrument can be used worldwide.


WIKA products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology<

ESD protection

New electrostatic discharge (ESD) packaging on piezoresistive pressure sensors
Added Protection from Potential Handling Damage Ensures Greater Measurement Integrity

Endevco® has announced the addition of value added electrostatic discharge packaging (ESD) on all of its piezoresistive pressure sensor lines.

Within typical testing environments, ESD is a commonly identified cause of difficult-to-duplicate or unpredictable sensor and instrumentation malfunctions, false measurement readings and compromised data integrity. This can also result in large amounts of unplanned downtime, as the random effects of ESD may turn up inconclusive during a typical Failure Analysis (FA). Common sources of ESD can be direct contact with a charged source, or by electric fields emanating from charged objects, which induce a charge on sensitive non-grounded items. Thus, many companies have implemented formalized in-house ESD control programs and procedures, applied to all steps of the manufacturing and testing process, to reduce harmful effects of static electricity on critical components.

New Endevco® ESD packaging supports these types of programs, while further protecting highly sensitive pressure sensors from handling damage, prior to reaching their intended application environment. Packaging includes a static shielded bag with ESD sensitive marketing, labeled ESD foam inside of a hard plastic case, and inclusion of the calibration certificate within the case, to ensure that it travels with the sensor. With these enhancements, a customer’s shipping and receiving, QA, inventory and other personnel are able to quickly identify an item as ESD sensitive, and utilize appropriate precautions. In addition, the packaging provides a space-saving ESD bag for further storage protection.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weather timely!

Met Office launch the Self Referencing WindSonic

The discussion everywhere in Ireland and in Britain is of the extraordinary weather we have been having. Words like "not in living memory" are being applied to the events in Cumbria in England and Cork City in Ireland. Though the instrument described here cannot be said to have been launched for this weather it assumes special attention today.

The British Met Office designed ‘Self-Referencing WindSonic’ has been designed for those applications where relative and true wind speed & direction information is required.

The system aligns the Gill Instruments WindSonic wind sensor with a True North Technologies Revolution™ compass.

The Revolution™ is a magnetic compass, which must be mounted onto non-magnetic stainless steel. Any mild steel fabrications should be at least 2 metres away.

The self referencing systems compensates for the buoy rotation and provides both true and relative wind speed and direction

The Met Office selected the ultrasonic WindSonic for use on their MAWS (Marine Automatic Weather Station) Network to replace the problematic cup and vane anemometers. They are delighted with the ‘fit and forget’ properties of the WindSonic used on data buoys moored in open sea, and intend to role the WindSonic out to their Lightships and Island AWS’ (Automatic Weather Station’s).

Clever displays

Intelligent displays now available with CANBus

Anders Electronics has announced the integration of the Controller–Area Network (CAN) bus into all new UMR Intelligent Display products.

The CAN bus interface, now interfaced with Anders’ UMR products via SPI, supports the CAN 2.0B protocol, and allows transmission and reception of extended and standard CAN frames at up to 1MB/second. The CAN driver is available under WIN CE 5.0, enabling applications to configure the CAN controller and communicate using the CAN bus.

These CAN-enabled UMR modules are available for evaluation purposes as an accessory board with the UMR development kit. For large OEM customers, the CAN Bus interface is also available as a reference design.

The Anders’ line of UMR Intelligent Displays consists of small-sized colour touch screen displays, pre-integrated with a PXA270-based embedded system running WIN CE 5.0, ready to drop in to any device as the user interface platform. Together with Anders’ GUI development products and services, and a rich set of APIs available as a part of the Software Development Toolkit, UMR products instantly upgrade product user experience with a next generation display interface and cutting-edge functionality.

“Anders has always sought to offer our clients rapid access to emerging standards,” said Rob Anders, CEO of Anders Electronics. “With the CAN bus, our UMR Intelligent Display clients ultimately improve their products’ competitive edge by offering enhanced functionality and reliability at a lower cost,” he concluded.

Vision in dust and wet

Cameras for harsh industrial environments

The new uEye RE cameras from IDS combine the flexibility of the Gigabit Ethernet interface with the ability to reliably perform in dusty and wet environments. This new range of cameras, just introduced by Stemmer, is suitable for use in both outdoor and indoor vision applications, featuring a compact ruggedised IP65/67 industrial housing, as well as having excellent EMI tolerance capable of withstanding 4KV.

The camera series are available in 22 variants including high-quality monochrome and colour CCD and CMOS sensors with resolutions from VGA to 10 Megapixels for a wide range of applications. Frame rates range from 6 to 100 frames per seconds, but all cameras in the range feature horizontal and vertical binning, subsampling or AOI to offer higher frame rates from the full resolution frame rates.

Like all cameras of the uEye series, the GigE uEye RE is supplied with an extensive software bundle to allow easy integration into any application. A comprehensive SDK as well as 3rd Party drivers for most image processing software applications are included. IDS Imaging also offers DirectShow and Gen Cam support with all of the cameras to provide a common software interface to achieve camera interoperability.

Sensor plant

Production of silicon pressure sensors at Endress+Hauser in Stahnsdorf, Germany

New sensor plant in operation

Endress+Hauser begins production of silicon pressure sensors
in Stahnsdorf near Berlin


Production at Endress+Hauser’s new sensor plant in Stahnsdorf near Berlin (D) got off to a flying start. The competence center for silicon pressure sensors features the latest in production technology. Another focus of the plant is on the research and development of new sensor technologies.

The new plant, has over 3,000 square meters of floor space and was built in just over 16 months. Endress+Hauser invested over 8.5 million euros in the project The new plant has not only been designed to increase production capacity: “We aim for ultimate quality standards – and we can set these at the new site”, says Managing Director Matthias Altendorf. The competence center for silicon pressure sensors will also boost the research and development of new sensor technologies.

E+H has been manufacturing in the Berlin region since 1994. Until recently, the company developed and produced high-tech components in rented premises in Teltow, a few kilometers from Stahnsdorf. In late May 2009, the building was destroyed by a devastating fire. “The fire prompted us to speed up work at the new facilities, and we made gigantic efforts to get the new production plant going a lot earlier than scheduled”, says Dieter Stolze, manager of the new sensor plant. Michael Philipps, in charge of sensor technology at Endress+Hauser GmbH+Co. KG, is full of praise: “The fact that our plant is up and running at full throttle is due to the incredible commitment of everybody involved in the building work and the removal.”

Ideal location in greater Berlin
The silicon pressure sensors manufactured at Stahnsdorf are important components for high-quality pressure gauges, used in virtually all segments of modern industrial process engineering. With the new building, Endress+Hauser is set for further growth worldwide and at the same time safeguards its expertise built up in Germany over many years. Greater Berlin and the Stahnsdorf Techno Park are the perfect location, says Matthias Altendorf: “Here we have an excellent network in the field of micro systems engineering. Many colleges, institutions and companies engage in research and development of materials, methods and products. The region also has an immense pool of specialists and skilled people.”

65 people work at the Stahnsdorf sensor plant. There are also seven young people completing their training as industrial mechanics.

Seal fittings

Compression seal fittings are high performers

Techni Measure have introduced the Conax Technologies range of high quality compression seal fittings and temperature sensor assemblies into their range of products.

Compression seal fittings allow electrical signals from sensors and other electrical equipment to pass from the enclosed operational area to the outside world. They restrain the elements from moving as a result of pressure differentials, prohibit the leakage of gas/liquid media along the elements, and can electrically isolate the elements from the mounting device. Many different seals are available, and the Conax soft seal technology, allows for high pressure and high temperature applications.

Typical applications include pressure vessels, autoclaves, furnaces, holding tanks and pipelines. Typical systems include the PL series that are for multiple power leads and come supplied with 8 to 20 AWG Kapton insulated wire preinstalled. The TG series are supplied with or without wires and are for low voltage applications such as strain gauges and thermocouples. Split seals are also available.

Single element seals consist of a body, cap, sealant and follower, whereas multiple element seals also include a seat, follower and an anti-rotation pin to prevent wires/conductors from twisting and shearing. The element to be sealed passes through the holes in the sealing assembly components and the cap is then torqued to the recommended value, thus translating an axial force on the follower. This force compresses the sealant contained within the body housing so that the sealant conforms to the element, creating a seal. The elastic nature of the sealant allows it to flow into any voids between the seal and the element.

Aerospace application
An interesting application involved several heater power feed-throughs for an autoclave in the Aerospace industry.

While it was intended to be an exact physical replacement of an existing product, Conax developed a "plug and play" solution offering several key advantages updates to the design, improved performance, longer life and ease of use. These units can be rebuilt in the field and spare parts are kept in stock at the customer site. Downtime is now limited to 3-4 hours to replace a few simple components, compared to 3-4 months for complete rebuilds of the previous design.

Performance and longevity are improved so that the heating elements can function at peak performance at all times rather than a continuous degradation in performance until failure as with the old design. This application typifies what is possible from the Conax range and by utilising their application experience.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New RF outlet

Sale of RF Product Line

Keithley Instruments has signed a definitive agreement with Agilent Technologies to sell substantially all of its RF product line to Agilent.

“Because we have placed a high emphasis on profitability in fiscal 2010 and beyond, we concluded that we could no longer continue to support our significant investment in RF measurement products, and should instead focus on growing our core business,” stated Joseph P. Keithley, the Company’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The impact of the economic downturn changed the expected timing of the returns we were anticipating from our RF product line, extending them beyond a time-frame that we were willing to continue to support. We are pleased that Agilent will be assuming this product line. Both Keithley and Agilent will work to provide high quality service and support through the transition for our customers using these products.”

Subject to the completion of customary closing conditions, it is anticipated that the transaction will close around November 30, 2009. Following the closing, it is anticipated that the majority of the RF team will become Agilent employees. Under the terms of the agreement, the Company will transfer substantially all of the assets associated with the RF product line and Agilent will assume certain related liabilities. Agilent will provide global sales, service and support for the existing RF product line.

The Company expects to receive cash proceeds of approximately $9 million and to realize a pre-tax gain in the range of $2.5 to $3.5 million during its first quarter ended December 31, 2009, as a result of the sale.

The Company’s sales and earnings guidance provided on November 17, 2009 remains unchanged as a result of this transaction. Based upon current expectations, the Company is estimating sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2010, which will end December 31, 2009, to range between $23 and $27 million and earnings before taxes to range from a loss to a profit, excluding the impact of the gain on the sale of the RF product line. The Company’s strategic focus is on managing the Company to ensure profitability in the short-term that will continue into the long-term. As a result of the significant cost reduction actions the Company has taken since September 2008, including the discontinuance of its S600 product line and the anticipated sale of its RF product line, the Company has lowered its annual break-even sales point to approximately $90 million, depending upon gross margins.

“Keithley remains committed to serving the challenging materials, device, and process measurement requirements that enable innovation within the electronics industry. As part of our initiative to improve our profitability in fiscal 2010, we made the decision to focus on growing our core business. We remain committed to supporting our customers in the semiconductor, wireless, precision electronics, and research and education industry segments, serving applications in research, development and production. The divestiture of our RF product line enables us to increase our focus on our core technologies and we intend to expand our efforts to leverage these strengths in support of new growth opportunities such as energy efficiency related devices and materials,” stated Keithley.

CANbus

All the way with CANbus

Sensor-Technik UK provides CANbus integration services unmatched in the market from conceptual design right through to prototyping and small-batch manufacture

With the recent addition of an in-house machine shop, Sensor-Technik can now boast the capability to create complete CANbus systems from start to finish. The company's engineering expertise spans the complete project, from conceptual design, through component and subassembly specification to prototyping and small-batch manufacture.
Sensor-Technik UK Ltd is a dedicated supplier of CANbus systems, sensors and instrumentation based in Sharnbrook, (Beds GB), and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sensor-Technik Wiedemann GmbH (STW). STW is one of the world’s major players in CANbus technology, and its CANbus controllers are widely used in mobile plant and machinery. The company also develops and manufactures pressure sensors for hydraulic, pneumatic and food industry applications. Sensor-Technik UK also supplies allied components and systems such as operator interfaces, instrumentation, motion sensors and load cells and from leading-edge manufacturers including Micronor, PR Electronics, Wachendorff, Graf-Syteco, Precision Transducers, Richmond Industries, London Electronics and Datum Electronics.
STW Technic LP is the US arm of this comany.

According to Sensor-Technik UK Managing Director Morten Moller, this capability is unique in the market. “I know of no other company that can boast this complete level of expertise”, he says. “While other companies may concentrate on certain aspects of CANbus systems, such as supplying nodes or components, this leaves the customer with the lion's share of the work, integrating the system and managing multiple suppliers”.

The company's CANbus expertise is built on countless projects based on its ESX series of controllers. But it doesn't end there. Sensor-Technik also distributes other system components such as operator interfaces from Wachendorff and complete CANbus control system and interface packages from Graf-Syteco.

Top-class CANbus hardware, though, is only one part of the picture. Their engineering staff have intimate knowledge of all the latest CAN protocols, and between them have written tens of thousands of lines of CANbus software. When you put this together with the company's systems integration expertise and in-house capabilities to create bespoke cabling and housings, then the company can rightly claim to have the market's most complete capabilities in CANbus systems.

But it doesn't end there. Sensor-Technik's CANbus engineers will see every project through to (and beyond) its end. This includes delivering systems and commissioning them on the customer's site to ensure they work exactly as envisaged and post-sales support provided over the phone, online and on-site using the company's fully equipped service van.