Saturday, December 12, 2009

Software integration

New version software facilitates secure integration

Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the process and manufacturing industries, today unveiled version 3.5 of its Wonderware® Enterprise Integrator software solution, enabling secure integration of Wonderware manufacturing execution software (MES) applications, such as Operations, InBatch™, Intelligence and other shop-floor applications, with enterprise resource planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, laboratory information management and other enterprise systems. This solution allows a consistent approach in operations-to-enterprise integration, eliminating high maintenance point-to-point integration scenarios.

It represents the latest evolution of Invensys Operations Management's enterprise integration capabilities. The software offers out-of-the-box, site-to-enterprise integration services for Wonderware MES, with complete message history, secured delivery and store forward. Technology support for industry standards such as S95 and B2MML, as well as for service-oriented architectures, helps further reduce the total cost of ownership of integration and IT landscapes.


"Our Wonderware Enterprise Integrator software leverages the benefits of off-the-shelf software with the ability to extend to address specific data management capabilities, which are always required in integration projects,"
said Michael Schwarz, MES and EMI marketing programs manager, Invensys Operations Management. "The software is designed to manage additional connectivity and data transformations as reusable add-ons, which enable effective multi-site integration rollouts and support company standards."

Easy-to-use configuration, administration and status views offer fast, maintainable and more cost-effective enterprise integration compared to non-standard or custom, one-off software-based integration solutions. The product also allows customers to achieve business continuity in the case of ERP or business system unavailability and the ability to maintain data consistency by a menu-driven, web-based user interface.

Trinidad power

Control system for combined cycle power plant

Yokogawa Deutschland GmbH, has received an order from MAN Ferrostaal Industrial Projects GmbH to supply an automation and control system for the La Brea Combined Cycle Power Plant that is being built by MAN Ferrostaal and Eisenbau Essen GmbH for Trinidad Generation Unlimited (TGU).

This power plant is being built near La Brea, a town on the south side of Trinidad Island. With a capacity of 720 MW, this will be the largest power plant in Trinidad and Tobago, a country with a vibrant economy that is rich in oil and natural gas resources. Scheduled to be completed in July 2011, the plant will meet the country's rising demand for electricity.

This new power plant will have six gas turbines, six exhaust gas heat recovery steam generators, two steam turbines, and auxiliary facilities. Yokogawa will provide a range of systems and products including a CENTUM® series integrated production control system to control all of these facilities, the ProSafe®-RS Safety Instrumented System for detecting abnormal conditions and safely initiating emergency shutdowns, the Exaquantum™ Plant Information Management System for recording and retrieving historical data, and the PRMT integrated device management software package, as well as engineering and commissioning services.

The PRM™ software remotely monitors the status of various types of plant measurement and control devices and executes diagnostic routines that detect potential faults before a malfunction can occur. PRM gives the plant operators a comprehensive overview of the measuring devices used throughout the plant. PRM supports the FOUNDATION™ fieldbus, HART®, and PROFIBUS digital communication protocols. HART is used in the La Brea project.

Yokogawa was able to win this large project because it demonstrated the following strengths:
1. An extensive track record with combined cycle power plants, including MAN Ferrostaal's control system order in 2005 for the Termozulia Combined Cycle Power Plant (total capacity 500 MW) in Venezuela

2. A project approach that utilises the combined strengths of the Yokogawa Group to provide optimal solutions to customers

While the global market for power plant control systems is growing at a decreased rate following the economic downturn that began last year, robust growth is expected over the long term due to the increasing demand for electricity in newly industrialised countries. In recent years, Yokogawa has received a large number of orders for electricity projects around the world. Encouraged by the success in winning this order, Yokogawa aims in fiscal year 2010 to achieve sales of 30 billion yen (230 million euros) in the global power plant control system market.

Vortex flow


Flowmeter under test

Today, natural gas is one of the most important energy carriers in many factory processes with constantly increasing sales. In many companies and plants it is an easy to handle fuel, without which operation is virtually unimaginable. Although the current price tag of around 40 cents per cubic metre seems very low in and of itself, there are considerable costs that come to bear in practice: For example, at this gas price in a DN 100 natural gas pipe at 25 bars of pressure, 35 million euros flow through the pipe per year. In this case, it is worth investing in precise measuring equipment, especially if internal balancing of energy consumption is a goal.

In this application, a vortex flowmeter such as the Krohne OPTISWIRL 4070 C provides high accuracy at minimal investment cost. In order to check the characteristics of the OPTISWIRL when measuring natural gas, they had a production model tested under practical conditions at the pigsar testing facility in Dorsten (D).

The high pressure gas meter testing facility operated by EON Ruhrgas is the national standard for Germany and as such is responsible for maintaining the reference value for unit of volume for high pressure natural gas and passing on this reference value to other laboratories. In association with and under the control of the Federal Institute of Physics and Metrology (PTB), pigsar conducts calibrations and verifications as an independent laboratory.

An OPTISWIRL 4070 C DN150 PN40 featuring integrated pressure and temperature compensation was used as a test device. The purpose of the test was the volumetric measurement (standard cubic metres) of natural gas routed directly to the calibration rig from the EON Ruhrgas operating network. Results were then compared to those of the turbine-type meters used as reference devices. Two series of tests at 16 and 41 bars of pressure were run as these are representative of the prevailing pressure range of 16-40 bar in practice. The result did not only confirm the specific measuring accuracy - it exceeded it considerably: at 16 bar of pressure, the measuring accuracy of the OPTISWIRL only deviates an average of ±0.24% from the turbine, while measuring uncertainty is at ±0.15%. At the higher pressure, the values were even somewhat better with the same measuring uncertainty, measuring inaccuracy was only ±0.135%. This puts the device clearly above the standard specified accuracy of 1% for gases in both tests.

For the user, improved measuring accuracy means more precise monitoring and, in the case of internal balancing that means more accurate billing: In the first example cited, 0.1% measuring accuracy corresponds to a sum of €35000.00. The price of an OPTISWIRL (size DN150) does not even amount to a fifth of this.

Chilled mirror

Drift-free precision is now portable

When a leading manufacturer of desiccant dryers decided that they needed a transportable chilled-mirror dew-point instrument to certify the functionality of their dehumidification systems, they turned to Michell Instruments for a solution.

The result is the Optidew Transportable, which combines the drift-free performance of the chilled mirror principle with the convenience of a transportable instrument. Housed in a specially-designed case, the instrument is both fully self-contained as well as small and light. For the client, having an instrument that was easily transportable was vital because of the range of situations where their dryers are installed.

Desiccant de-humidifiers create dry air which can be used in a variety of applications such as the leisure industry for swimming pools and sports halls, various utilities such as power stations and water treatment works, desiccant cooling for air conditioning systems or within the chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries. The Optidew Transportable allows engineers to check the reliability of their installations over time, and give their customers peace of mind in their choice of dryer – whatever the application.

The Optidew dew-point hygrometer works on the proven, fundamental optical dew-point measurement principle, giving unmatched drift-free performance in the long term. It offers a wide measurement range from the equivalent of less than 0.5% up to 100% RH and measures dew points as dry as -40°Cdp at ambient temperatures. The portable version features a high definition alphanumeric display which shows the measured humidity, dew point, water activity, grams per kilogram and a number of other hygrometric units. The whole hygrometer is self-contained in a custom-built case for optimal protection and ease of use.

Software

New version of software supports advanced PC technologies
LabWindows™/CVI 2009 increases developer productivity & application reliability

National Instruments has announced the release of LabWindows/CVI 2009, the latest version of the ANSI C development environment for building reliable test and measurement solutions. The software delivers support for new PC technologies including the C Interface to LabVIEW FPGA, which makes it possible for LabWindows/CVI host applications to communicate with field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based hardware, Microsoft Windows 7 and 64-bit operating systems for simplified development and deployment. Engineers and scientists can further increase reliability and productivity by using the software’s new Execution Profiler Toolkit to analyse and optimise run-time performance of application source code with a graphical representation of the time required to run every stage of the application. In addition, LabWindows/CVI 2009 increases productivity with a new attribute browser that facilitates quick design of custom user interfaces and debugging improvements.

LabWindows/CVI 2009 provides an environment to increase developer productivity for designing software-defined automated test systems and delivers reliable test and measurement solutions while ensuring backward compatibility for an ANSI C developer. The new Execution Profiler Toolkit includes a viewer that displays run-time function execution of LabWindows/CVI applications. The graphical representation of the function execution provides engineers and scientists with a visual profile, making it easy to identify inefficiencies and obstacles within applications.

LabWindows/CVI 2009 also offers complete support for the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system to simplify migration from existing LabWindows/CVI applications. Engineers and scientists can now build 64-bit applications on a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system and run or install 64-bit applications on Windows 7. Using 64-bit operating systems improves application performance with larger memory capacity and the ability to load more data directly into memory.

The new C Interface to LabVIEW FPGA makes it possible for LabWindows/CVI developers to create host applications to communicate with reconfigurable hardware programmed by NI LabVIEW FPGA. The LabVIEW FPGA Module allows domain experts to define custom hardware personalities without having digital design or hardware description language expertise. Engineers and scientists can use this custom hardware to create applications that require high-speed hardware reliability and tight determinism. Also included in the new software is a new attribute browser that provides a way to quickly design custom user interfaces by simultaneously selecting and editing common attributes of multiple controls. LabWindows/CVI 2009 also features more informative debugging capabilities with Extended Debug Data which provide a more complete understanding of source code execution.

In addition, the LabWindows/CVI 2009 Real-Time Module includes improvements to help engineers and scientists design more reliable and deterministic applications. The LabWindows/CVI 2009 Real-Time Module provides the ability to design applications that direct User Datagram Protocol (UDP) network traffic to a self-selected group of subscribers and ensures data delivery with no additional work required by the sender.

Readers can learn more about the new features by watching the LabWindows/CVI webcast series located in the NI Developer Zone.

Actuator

New linear actuator powers heavy loads at continuous duty in tough environments

Thomson has introduced the T130 ballscrew driven precision linear actuator now with a 50mm diameter screw for powerful actuation of static loads up to 80kN over stroke lengths of up to 2m. Together with the T90 Precision Linear Actuator (PLA) this new version of a T130 provides reliable industrial or outdoor positioning in a broad range of linear applications and the power and stroke to replace hydraulic systems with more precisely controlled electrical actuation.

By re-engineering its popular T130 actuator with a 50mm diameter screw, Thomson has increased its dynamic load capacity to 60kN and its static load capacity to a formidable 80kN for powerful pulling, pushing and positioning of high loads. When such large load capacity is not required, the newly engineered model offers a 350% increase in service life to 47,000km when operating at reduced load. The new T130 offers speeds of up to 2 m/s and extends the stroke of the standard model to an impressive 2m while maintaining good rigidity.

The smaller T90 is suitable for axial loads of up to 20,000 N with a large stroke of up to 1.5m, providing precision positioning at speeds of up to 2 m/s.

Like other actuators in the PLA range, the T130 and T90 are designed for long life operating at continuous 100% duty cycles with a repeatability of 0.05mm. Positioning accuracy of 0.05mm is achievable for many applications, with a maximum backlash of 0.1 or 0.2 for heavier loads. Fully preloaded systems are available on demand for higher precision.

PLA linear actuators are IP65 protected for use in industrial environments. Both the T90 and the T130 precision linear actuators are ideally suited to applications such as those in thermoforming, packaging machines, solar tracking and for replacing hydraulic and pneumatic components with more controllable mechanical actuation. Higher IP rating options and stainless steel versions are also available for harsher environments.

Determining the motor torque, speed and power based on application data has never been more straightforward with web configuration tools or by contacting a local Thomson representative. A comprehensive range of Thomson gearheads, and Kollmorgen drives and servomotors can be ordered with the PLA series actuators, with mountings for other mainstream servomotors also available.

Both the T130 and T90 are available from Thomson's worldwide sales network with a short lead time of 2-3 weeks.

Battery fault

Battery stack fault monitor provides independent supervision of high voltage Li-Ion Strings


Linear Technology has announced the LTC®6801, a high voltage battery stack fault monitor that operates without a microprocessor, and without the need for optocouplers or isolators. An LTC6801 can monitor up to 12 series-connected battery cells for overvoltage and undervoltage conditions. Multiple LTC6801 devices can be daisy chained, providing a method to monitor each individual cell in very long battery strings. When connected in a daisy-chain, a single differential clock output confirms that all cells in the stack are within the defined operating range. This clock interface provides high noise immunity and ensures that fault conditions are not hidden by frozen bits or short circuit conditions. The result is a reliable and simple design that can serve as a complete monitoring or redundant circuit. The LTC6801 is a low cost companion to the LTC6802 precision battery measurement and cell balancing IC, providing a backup circuit for hybrid electric battery packs, battery backup systems, and other high powered Li-Ion battery systems.

A wide range of overvoltage and undervoltage thresholds can be set via pin connections and the LTC6801 offers selectable threshold hysteresis and adjustable update rates. The LTC6801 is fully specified for operation from -40°C to 85°C and two temperature sensor inputs are monitored for over-temperature faults.
“The LTC6801 incorporates a number of important reliability features, including a comprehensive self-test to guarantee accuracy,” stated Mike Kultgen, design manager for Linear Technology. “These features will prove invaluable for high reliability battery management systems.”

Samples, demonstration boards and the data sheet for the LTC6801 are now available. Prices start at $US 4.48 each in 1,000-piece quantities. The product will be available in production quantities in the first calendar quarter 2010.

Spectrum Anylsr

Optical spectrum analyser for measurements on LEDs and laser light sources

The new Yokogawa AQ6373 is an optical spectrum analyser designed to carry
out measurements over the wavelength range from 350 to 1200 nm, including
the visible light spectrum from 380 to 780 nm.

In addition to its world-class optical performance in areas such as
resolution, accuracy, sensitivity, measurement speed and dynamic range, the
AQ6373 features a colour analysis function which makes it ideally suited to
measurements on LEDs and laser light sources.

Key performance parameters include a wavelength accuracy of ±0.05 nm, a
wavelength resolution down to 0.01 nm, and a sensitivity of –80 dBm,
switchable to a choice of high dynamic-range modes.

High-speed measurements result from a standard sweep time down to one second
(0.5 sec in automatic mode), while the free-space optical input makes the
instrument applicable to use with single-mode, multimode, and
large-diameter-core fibres. A built-in light source is also provided to aid
optical alignment.

The AQ6373 offers excellent functionality and operability, with ease of
operation and data handling. The large (10.4-inch) bright display features
an intuitive graphical user interface, and operation can be controlled via
USB mouse and keyboard as well as panel keys.

A large (128 Mbyte) internal memory is backed up by USB memory support, and
a variety of built-in functions including filtering, automatic measurements
and pass/fail testing provide easy data analysis. Fast remote operation is
available via GP-IB, RS-232 and Ethernet.

Key application sectors for the AQ6373 are in the R&D evaluation and
production testing of high-performance short-wavelength lasers filters and
LEDs: devices that are used in a wide variety of sectors including medical
analysis and treatment, biological microscopy, industrial machining,
telecommunications, optical rangefinding and interferometry, and consumer
electronics.

SIS study

New digital interactive whitepaper

This year, Moore Industries successfully released the STA Safety Trip Alarm to respond to customers needing a highly reliable alarm used in Functional Safety applications. In conjunction with the alarm, Moore Industries sales force has seen a great increase in demand for Functional Safety education concerning IEC 61508 applications and Safety Instrumented Systems.

Now they have released “Safety Instrumented Systems: The ‘Logic’ of Single Loop Logic Solvers,” a new digital interactive whitepaper.

The whitepaper examines what the "new generation" of safety-certified Single Loop Logic Solvers can achieve, especially regarding IEC 61508, the standard for “Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-Related Systems” developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). With a brief tutorial of Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) and their related Safety Instrumented Functions (SIF), the whitepaper provides valuable background before delving into more complex topics including:

• IEC 61508 Provision Guidelines,
• FMEDA Reports,
• Logic Solvers as Safety Trip Alarms and
• Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Variations and Requirements.

The digital interactive whitepaper includes pop-up “Selection Hints,” linking to data sheets and to helpful areas on Moore Industries’ web site.
“Safety Instrumented Systems: The ‘Logic’ of Single Loop Logic Solvers,” can be downloaded as a PDF free through their corporate website.

Friday, December 11, 2009

No glare!

Sun-readable display technology

Based on extensive collaboration with customers, the new Exter Sun-Readable display technology from Beijer Electronics is a result of a completely optimized overhaul which combines a solution targeted to clients´ needs with a comprehensively efficient tool. Thanks to this new range of product, Beijer Electronics intends to further position itself as a leader in sun-readable technology for process industries.

As more and more processes are controlled by HMI, market demands for outdoor LCD applications are increasing. The main applications are used in the petrochemical and waste treatment fields.

There are different ways to develop a sunlight readable/outdoor readable LCD. Sunlight visibility of a display depends on the differences between the "lumination" and "illumination" of the display. The lumination of the display is its brightness. This is the amount of light energy emanating from the display (expressed in Cd/m2). Illumination is the amount of ambient light shining onto a display. The readability of a display is dependent on the amount of light that is being reflected off of the display.

The simplest way to enhance visibility is to increase the brightness. A standard screen emits 350 Cd/m2. Some offers on the market feature 8000 Cd/m2. The result is good, but because of the added lamps, high bright LCDs have major disadvantages including high power consumption, excessive heat generation, increased dimensions, electrical circuit reliability problems and shortened LCD lifetime.

A second option is transflective technology. Some TFT LCDs are provided with a reflective mode of illumination without compromising the transmissive illumination. With the imposed reflective function, the modified LCD can reflect the ambient light passing the LCD cell and utilize the reflected light beams as its illumination. The stronger the ambient light is, the brighter the LCD will appear. As a result, the modified LCD is viewable under all lighting conditions including direct sunlight regardless the LCD's original brightness. However, a regular transmissive LCD is very difficult to read under strong ambient light without direct sunlight. Problems noticed in transflective LCDs include a narrow viewing angle, discoloration, low brightness and loss of contrast.

The high bright LCD and the transflective LCD are the solutions generally utilized for outdoor applications.

However, both solutions are not really suited for industrial use. It is thus necessary to take another route in trying to control reflected lights. As light transfers from one material to another, such as air to glass, the differences in the index of refraction will cause reflection. On a LCD screen, the cumulative reflection of the different surfaces is nearly 15% of the ambient light. If the total reflection is close to the display´s brightness, the contrast of the display will be reduced to the point where the display's readability is diminished to unacceptable levels.

To solve this problem, bond technology is a third option. It enables the coupling of the front glass and the internal glass, but the cost of this technology is still high compared to what it brings in terms of quality.

Beijer Electronics has thus developed the EXTER Sun-Readable HMI range. It is an optimal combination of technologies:
    - A standard display.
    - An enhancement film applied on the internal screen improving brightness and contrast.
    - A polarizing film applied on both sides of the touch screen to reduce light reflection. The EXTER Sun-Readable design includes a gap of 1.5 mm, between the two screens. This distance has the effect of reducing Newton rings - a circular ´rainbow´ effect (actually, an interference pattern) which may be caused by non-uniform cell thickness - and other defects resulting in a flat surface in contact with a slightly curved one.
    - Brightness is better than a standard screen (550 Cd/m2 instead of 350 Cd/m2 for a standard Beijer Electronics screen). The touch screen features anti-glare and reflexion surface treatments. Anti-reflective coated protection glass (chemically etched glass that has a slightly textured finish) minimizes mirror image and maximizes transmittance. Anti-glare coated protection glass (microscopically rough surface) scatters light directed on the surface and softens the image of direct light sources visible in the reflection of the viewing area.

EXTER Sun-Readable displays are manufactured in a clean-room in order to eradicate dust problems. All these technologies combined together reduce the reflections by a good percentage.

"We also feature a 100% dimmable screen, so our customers can use it in any light conditions, 24 hours a day" explains Pelle Johnsson, Global Product & Marketing Coordinator for marine products. Normal screens change the color of the display when you decrease brightness. A 100% dimmable screen offers a real brightness decrease without compromise to the quality. Beijer Electronics has developed an in-house inverter to do this. All LCD backlights powered by cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) require inverters. An inverter is an electronic circuit that transforms a DC voltage to an AC voltage, which drives the cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL). Dimming capabilities are beneficial because lowering the backlight luminance will result in a lengthening of the backlight life.

It also lowers the power consumption and the related thermal management issues.
"This solution is the best combination of technologies. We have developed it and evaluated it with our marine partners in order to offer the most optimal solution" concludes Johnsson.

Magazine

Motor, drive and power transmission publication focuses on answers

A new edition of Baldor Electric's magazine for motor, drive and power transmission engineers and users - Solutions - is available for download on their website. It contains numerous technical articles illustrating how electric motor, drive, power transmission and motion control technologies are being used to advantage.

Among the major articles in this issue is a review of the development work behind the launch of an innovative direct drive solution for commercial building water cooling tower fans. A case study of the new fan drive in use then provides a practical look at the technology's contribution to higher reliability and energy efficiency.

Other application-focused features include a look at a power-saving upgrade of drives that control a town's water tower pumps, a case study of an energy efficient motor upgrade at a foundry, and details of how adapter-mounted bearings and gear reducers are improving conveyor reliability at a quarry.

Solutions magazine may be downloaded from: http://www.baldor.com

Robotic colloboration

Collaboration to address new applications in industrial robotics
New LabVIEW Library Facilitates Single Programming Environment for Robot Control, Machine Vision, Measurements and HMI

National Instruments and DENSO Robotics, have announced their collaboration to integrate NI measurement and vision technology with DENSO robotic arms. The collaboration increases productivity and performance in automated test, research and flexible manufacturing applications. In today’s trend toward high-mix, low-volume manufacturing, there is pressure to reduce cost and shorten development time. A new LabVIEW library of graphical functions makes it possible for engineers and scientists to address both concerns by integrating all aspects of a robotics system within a single NI LabVIEW application without the need for complex robotics programming expertise.

“LabVIEW is a preferred application development environment for many of the world’s engineers and scientists,” said Toyohiko Ito, Director at DENSO WAVE, a DENSO group company that develops and manufactures industrial robots. “Encouraging customers to use LabVIEW to control DENSO robots will help increase their efficiency and reduce their time to market.”

The new ImagingLab Robotics Library for DENSO, from NI Alliance Partner ImagingLab, communicates directly with DENSO controllers to command and control DENSO robotic arms through LabVIEW software. The new library is an easy-to-use collection of graphical functions that provide the ability to use a single software environment to control and integrate every aspect of a machine, ranging from part handling and robot control to advanced measurements and machine vision. Due to the ease of use of LabVIEW, engineers who normally would not use industrial robotics can now integrate them into their applications to automate laboratories, precisely assemble components and test complex parts.

“We used LabVIEW to integrate a DENSO VS-6577 robot with spectral analysers into a fully automated analytical test station without the need to learn another robotics programming language,” said Dylan Jones, Principal Scientist at Genzyme. “The ImagingLab Robotics Library for DENSO was an off-the-shelf solution for integrating the robotic arm. Conservatively, we estimate that with this test station we will achieve a tenfold increase in analytical throughput.” ‬



The ImagingLab Robotics Library for DENSO works with LabVIEW Real-Time systems, which combines LabVIEW graphical programming with the power of a real-time operating system, allowing engineers and scientists to build real-time applications. The library also works with NI Smart Cameras for integrated vision-guided robotics and NI data acquisition hardware for the measurement of both simple and highly sophisticated applications.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Harvesting power

Micromachined piezoelectric harvester with record power output drives fully autonomous wireless sensor

Fully autonomous wireless temperature sensor powered by a vibrational energy harvester For the first time, a piezoelectric harvesting device fabricated by MEMS technology generates a record of 85μW electrical power from vibrations. A wafer level packaging method was developed for robustness. The packaged MEMS-based harvester is used to power a wireless sensor node. Within the Holst Centre program on Micropower Generation and Storage, imec researchers developed a temperature sensor that can wirelessly transmit data in a fully autonomous way.

Micromachined vibrational energy harvesters operating in the frequency domain between 150 and 1000Hz are ideal devices to convert vibrations from machines, engines and other industrial appliances into electricity. Thanks to their smaller dimensions, the micromachined devices are the prefered candidates for powering miniaturized autonomous sensor nodes.

Record and novel material
By using cost-effective, CMOS compatible MEMS processes on 6’ silicon wafers, imec developed piezoelectric energy harvesters capable of generating up to 85μW of power.
The harvester consists of a Si mass that is suspended on a beam with Aluminum Nitride (AlN) as piezoelectric material. By changing the dimensions of the beam and mass, the resonance frequency of the harvester can be designed for any value in the 150-1200Hz domain.

Not only the record power output, but also the use of AlN as piezoelectric layer, is a notable achievement. AlN has several advantages in terms of materials parameters and ease of processing compared to the commonly used PZT (Lead zirconate titanate). Just to name two: AlN can be deposited up to three times faster while composition control is not an issue, thanks to the stoichiometric nature of the material.

Vacuum package
Final achievement in the research is the development of a wafer-scale process to protect the piezoelectric devices by a package. It was shown that the power output significantly increases by the use of the vacuum package compared to packaging in atmospheric pressure. In a three step process, glass covers are coated with an adhesive, vacuum bonded on top and bottom of the processed wafer and diced.

Fully autonomous
The piezoelectric harvester was connected to a wireless temperature sensor, built op from of-the-shelf components. After power optimization, the consumption of the sensor was reduced from 1.5mW to ±10μW, which is an improvement by three orders of magnitude. When subjected to vibrations at 353Hz at 0.64g (indicating a realistic amplitude of the vibrations), the system generated sufficient power to measure the environmental temperature and transmit it to a base station with an interval of fifteen seconds. The result proves the feasibility of building fully autonomous harvesters for industrial applications.

Once fully mature, the technology can be used to power sensors in industrial applications such as tire-pressure monitoring and predictive maintenance of moving or rotating machine parts. Imec and Holst Centre do not go to market themselves, but perform the research together with industrial players interested in commercializing the technology.

The result was obtained within the Micropower Program at Holst Centre, an open-innovation initiative by imec and TNO. All details of the research were presented during the 2009 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in Baltimore (MD US)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Integrator recognised

One of America's top system integrators

ESE has been recognized by Control Engineering as a 2010 Integrator of the Year Finalist.

Control Engineering's 4th annual System Integrator of the Year competition recognises the best integrators in the automation business and features them in the Automation Integrator Guide - December 2009 edition.

Award recipients are evaluated on three criteria including business skills, technical competence, and customer satisfaction. One of the key areas Control Engineering strongly considered when awarding ESE this honor was their certification in CSIA - Control System Integrators Association. ESE successfully documented the company's level of attainment in each of these
areas and customer references underscored ESE's achievements.


"We are honored to receive this nomination from Control Engineering," stated Tom Walther, President of ESE, Inc. "Being a CSIA certified integrator since 2005, we consider our certification an important part of our business and in how we service our customers. ESE is only one of two companies in the state of Wisconsin and one of 96 in the world that holds the CSIA certification. Becoming a finalist for the Integrator of the Year award highlights ESE's unwavering commitment to ensuring our customers' automation projects are successful. May the best integrator win."

Motion control

Multi-axis Motion Controller Executes G-code Applications

TMC-3D, the Technosoft multi-axis motion controller, is now adapted to execute G-code commands. Today, a lot of industrial applications are defined with these types of motion. G-code is a language, used in numerical control programming, that executes various movements as: piece cutting, profile shaping or drawing, etc. In order to achieve these particular kinds of movement, the numerical control uses basic blocks which carry one or more words, each word consisting of a letter—detailing the function to be performed—followed by a number that assigns value to the function (e.g., N0001 G90 G00 Y125 X2 A23 B-1).

The G-code information is translated into TML commands through the G-code to TML converter integrated in the EasyMotion Studio software. The G-code files are imported into EasyMotion Studio and translated to TML commands. After the conversion process, TMC-3D will send the motion sequences to the drives / motors which execute the movements. The TML converter allows you to set the basic movement parameters specific to the G-code: linear axes, cycle start button, choose the measure units, set the Traverse and Feed rates. Technosoft's G-code–to–TML converter supports various G-code words, letters and parameters together with unary and binary operands.

TMC-3D is able to control two other Technosoft intelligent drives and also includes a 640 W servo drive that may be used to command one of the application axes. The motion programming can be done using PC or PLC motion libraries, or directly at controller level in TML language. EasyMotion Studio automatically generates all the TML instructions, so you don’t need to learn or write any TML code. Powerful TML instructions as: motion commands, program flow control, I/O handling, arithmetic and logic operations are executed / controlled by TMC-3D. Its role is primarily a managerial one, with responsibilities that include network or slave management. It can perform predefined actions as: stopping the motion on all slaves in case of a node failure, or commanding different homing procedures and other motion profiles on each slave.

For further details (on how to set up a multi-axis project, how to import a G-code file or execute a G-code application), see the ‘Executing G-code commands with TMC-3D Motion Controller’ application note.

Flow simulation

Latest software release improves fluid flow networks for regulatory compliance

Invensys Operations Management has announced the newest release of the SimSci-Esscor® VISUAL FLOW fluid simulation software for the design and rating of flares and relief networks.

The VISUAL FLOW™ 5.3 software release enhances the overall robustness of the software and brings usability to the next level by integrating the solution with the SimSci-Esscor SIM4ME® Portal, and providing a Microsoft Excel® user interface for simulation. Linking with the SIM4ME Portal provides an added layer that enhances the return on investment in any model by extending its use to anyone who can use Excel spreadsheet software. The enhanced software not only improves the existing solver, it also adds four new solvers that the user can adapt to accurately model virtually any configuration in a plant. Regulatory compliance is enhanced by supporting Design Institute for Emergency Relief System (DIERS) guidelines.

"SimSci-Esscor VISUAL FLOW 5.3 enhances our existing offering, making it easier for our customers to achieve and utilize accurate information from their simulation models," said Joseph McMullen, product manager, Invensys Operations Management. "Enhancements to the solution algorithm and DIERS compliance bring VISUAL FLOW to the forefront of fluid flow simulation. Coupling the rigor of the VISUAL FLOW solution with the SIM4ME Portal provides tremendous value to our customers by extending the use of simulation without requiring any training - they simply use Microsoft Excel."

Sun (IL US)

Sun Chemical uses wireless to improve product quality and meet air permit requirements

Robust network of Rosemount® DP wireless transmitters allows world's largest producer of printing inks and pigments to reduce product rejects and easily comply with environmental regulations


Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology is helping Sun Chemical improve ink quality and collect additional data in compliance with its air permit classification at its Kankakee, (IL US), facility. This, the world’s largest producer of printing inks and pigments is using Emerson’s Rosemount® wireless DP transmitters and a Smart Wireless Gateway to deliver reliable, continuous process data from two applications to its PLC.

In the first application, the devices measure differential pressure on filter housings used in ink production. The pressure changes as the filters become clogged with particles. Alarms sent to operators signal when filters should be changed. Periodic staff rounds to check gauges on the filter housing and record the data manually are no longer necessary.

“Now we can ensure that we don’t over-pressurise the filter housing, and that we provide better quality ink to our customers,” said John Dwyer, Sun Chemical process engineer. “We have saved thousands of dollars in eliminating material rejects.”

The second application enabled Sun Chemical to be compliant with a modified air permit classification by quickly establishing a cost-effective monitoring network to measure vapour stream from solvent vent condensers at multiple locations on roofs across the facility. Running conduit for a wired network would have been physically difficult and more expensive.

“With these points spanning the entire site, the multiple roof elevations, and special electrical classifications, a wired solution would have been a challenge,” Dwyer said. “Emerson’s ‘peer to peer’ communication between the wireless instruments gave us a robust solution. In fact, as we add instruments, the network becomes more secure and reliable.”

Sun Chemical easily installed the Smart Wireless technology and Emerson helped to integrate the network with the company’s PLC. The self-organising network has been operating without problem since commissioning.

“Now that the network is established and more monitoring points are available, the plant can fulfil its desire to pick up more process monitoring data and do it fairly easily,” Dwyer said.
In addition to the Smart Wireless solutions already installed at Sun Chemical, Emerson offers a wide range of wireless field instrumentation and plant operations equipment, including Fisher® position monitors, Rosemount Analytical and Machinery Health™ Management devices, and native wireless interfaces to AMS™ Suite predictive maintenance software, DeltaV™ or Ovation® digital automation systems, and SmartStart™ services.

Subrack

Allowing a multitude of housing options

Rittal’s wide range of subracks, all branded under the Ripac banner, provide users with multiple options for housing printed circuit boards or plug-in modules in a 19” rack environment.

Ranging from the Ripac EASY with simple, non-EMC construction and ultra-quick assembly, to the highly competitive Ripac Vario EMC for more sophisticated applications, the whole range shares common accessories, such as guide rails and divider kits for use where different sized PCBs are to be accommodated.

Other parts of the range provide support for heavy loads (Ripac Solid), or are designed for simple mounting on DIN rails for a few boards (Ripac Compact). The backbone of the range, Ripac Vario, may be upgraded to an EMC solution following assembly if it is found necessary.

In addition to catalogues and an internet based configurator, Rittal offer personal assistance with subrack and case design and backplane selection, through their team of 20 area managers and market specialists.

Embedded controller

Complete, all-in-one solution for automation solutions
CANopen master/slave configuration capability facilitates tight integration of pneumatics, electric drives and I/O functions
Obviates need for a master PLC in many small to medium sized automation systems

About CoDeSys
CoDeSys is an acronym for Controller Development System. Developed by the German software company 3S-Smart Software Solutions GmbH back in 1994, it is now the leading hardware-independent IEC 61131-3 programming system for automation controllers, and can be downloaded free of charge from the company’s website. The system offers a variety of programming languages, including two textual editors and three graphical editors, enabling programmers to use the tool of their choice. There are now over 250 hardware manufacturers producing automation devices with CoDeSys compatible interfaces. The system is supported by the CoDeSys Automation Alliance – a group of independent manufacturers formed specifically to provide users with compatible hardware components – which has grown to include 100 members.

Festo has launched a powerful CoDeSys embedded controller for use with its renowned CPX series of multifunctional control terminals. The new CPX-CEC module provides machine builders with a technically elegant means of overseeing all the units in a CPX terminal – regardless of whether they are for pneumatic or electric drives, or I/O functions – using a fast, easy-to-program controller. Suitable for single and multi-axis applications, it can operate autonomously or in conjunction with a host controller such as a master PLC, and can also be used as an intelligent slave in fieldbus-based systems, to provide localised signal pre-processing.

The CPX-CEC embedded controller is essentially a PLC in its own right, but with additional functionality. Based on a high performance 400 MHz low power consumption 32-bit processor, backed by 64 MB of memory, it features an Ethernet 10/100 Base-T interface for programming and host controller communications, and uses a backplane bus system to communicate with other modules in the CPX terminal. The controller has a cycle time of just 1 ms – making it one of the fastest on the market – and can be supplied configured as a fieldbus slave or as a CAN master for controlling other CANopen devices, such as electric drives. It supports all popular fieldbus protocols, including PROFIBUS, PROFINET, Ethernet/IP, DeviceNet, Modbus TCP, CANopen, CC-Link and EtherCAT.

Motion control programs can be created very quickly and easily on a standard PC, using any of the textual or graphical editors available in the CoDeSys hardware manufacturer-independent IEC 61131-3 programming system, and then downloaded to the CPX-CEC controller’s non-volatile memory. The controller is equipped with the latest V.2.3 version of the full CoDeSys RTS (runtime system). Program creation is further simplified by the fact that Festo supplies a comprehensive CoDeSys function library with the controller, which contains control routines for all of the company’s electric drives, as well as diagnostic and condition monitoring routines for its pneumatic drives.

Whereas most CoDeSys controllers are panel-mount or rack-mount designs, the CPX-CEC is a true embedded solution – all component parts are completely enclosed within the module, which carries an IP65/67 rating against dust and water ingress. The ability to deploy the CPX terminal and its constituent modules in the same environment as the machine itself – even on the machine if required – provides system designers with a very flexible solution for decentralised control.

Placing this level of networkable intelligence locally at the CPX terminal offers numerous advantages, including a significant reduction in system wiring, faster I/O capabilities and much more convenient monitoring, diagnostics and maintenance. The built-in Ethernet interface provides a very convenient means of handling remote maintenance and diagnostics via TCP/IP or OPC server technology. Simply by using Festo’s CPX Web Monitor software, for example, users can monitor static and dynamic statistical data from any of the constituent modules in the CPX terminal, over the internet. The CPX-CEC also features a service interface for a Festo CPX-MMI handheld terminal, and is equipped with front panel LEDs to indicate program status and to provide local diagnostic feedback.

Another major benefit to machine builders is that the control code developed for the CPX-CEC is reusable; this means that if, as is often the case, a customer orders several machines but with different host controllers or PLCs, the underlying CoDeSys routines remain the same – which reduces development time and costs, and helps accelerate machine delivery.

The CPX-CEC module can either be used as a front-end controller or signal pre-processor, under control of a host computer, or it can function completely autonomously, executing motion control sequences stored in its internal memory. For many applications, especially small to medium sized automation systems such as pick-and-place, palletising, loading/unloading and labelling machines, the CPX-CEC can completely obviate the need for a master PLC. When the module’s fieldbus interface is configured as a CANopen master it can accommodate up to 31 electric drive axes, while the CPX terminal itself can be equipped to handle up to 512 I/O functions.

Festo’s CPX multifunctional terminals provide machine builders with a very flexible, modular approach to control, condition monitoring and diagnostics. The terminals can form part of centralised, decentralised and hybrid control schemes, and individual constituent modules can be changed at will, enabling systems to be reconfigured or expanded without altering the wiring.

Festo produces a wide range of CPX-compatible modules, including intelligent analogue I/O modules for temperature sensing and signal detection, PNP and NPN digital input units, M12 and M8 connection blocks, and two types of position transducers for use with pneumatic actuators.

Monday, December 7, 2009

OPC Partners

Partners for communications

Acromag selects Kepware as an OPC Server partner, delivering drivers to support their products.

Kepware Technologies has been selected as a communications supplier for Acromag. Kepware will validate KEPServer for use with Acromag products, and will deliver these drivers to Kepware’s long list of OEMs and resellers.

As a “Connected with Kepware” company, Acromag will work with Kepware to ensure Kepware will develop and deliver the best communication support for Acromag products. Kepware will deliver drivers for use on desktop (Workstation and Server) operating systems as well as Windows CE Embedded operating system environments used in many OEM HMI Panel products. Kepware will deliver Acromag connectivity with the vast range of automation industry software products through vendor defined native interfaces as well as latest OPC Foundation interoperability standards.

“Acromag has been recommending Kepware communications for their BusWorks Modbus RTU, BusWorks Ethernet Modbus TCP/IP, and EtherStax Modbus TCP/IP Network I/O products for several years,”
explained Roy Kok, VP of Sales and Marketing of Kepware Technologies. “This enhancement to our relationship ensures that Kepware is kept up-to-date with the latest Acromag developments and that both companies will cooperate to support our joint customers as effectively as possible.”

“Kepware enables Acromag to offer proven connectivity to most software products on the market,”
stated Don Lupo, Director of Sales and Marketing for Acromag. “Their broad OEM and System Integrator customer base, combined with their variety of client interfaces and client toolkits is among the best in the industry. Their products and reputation for support and quality will be a great benefit to Acromag customers.”

Digital audio

Digital audio test capabilities enhanced
NI AudioMASTER 6.1 Adds Support for SPDIF Digital Audio Generation

National Instruments has announced new high-performance software and hardware additions to the NI AudioMASTER suite. The comprehensive set of analogue and digital audio validation and production test software and hardware deliver an exhaustive automated test solution with a performance level previously found only in high-end audio analysers. The latest software addition, AudioMASTER 6.1, combined with an NI 7813R reconfigurable I/O device and the new NI CB-2181 digital audio I/O accessory, gives users an easy-to-use, software-defined test solution to generate and analyse SPDIF digital audio for testing consumer and professional audio devices.

“NI AudioMASTER 6.1 showcases the continued investment by National Instruments to create high-performance, flexible test solutions for audio devices including media players, headphones, microphones and loudspeakers,” said Kurt Veggeberg, Business Development Manager for Audio Test Products at National Instruments. “AudioMASTER integrates with the NI test platform, including NI LabVIEW, NI TestStand and PXI and PCI modular instruments, so engineers can build a complete software-defined test system.”

The software features an expansive set of audio measurements using single and multiple tones, amplitude and frequency sweeps and step response analysis. The software directly integrates into NI TestStand test management software, which simplifies the development of automated audio tests and measurements by providing an interactive, configuration-based setup for audio measurements, limits evaluation and system calibration.

For analogue audio tests, AudioMASTER 6.1 can use either PCI- or PXI-based dynamic signal acquisition (DSA) devices including an NI 4461 with two inputs and two outputs or an NI 4462 with four inputs. The DSA devices provide 24 bits of resolution at up to 204.8 kS/s sample rates. For digital audio tests, AudioMASTER 6.1 combines the NI 7813R reconfigurable I/O device with the NI CB-2181, which features one input and one output, to support XLR, BNC or optical connections. The user can connect up to four CB-2181 digital audio accessories to a single NI 7813R device to provide a total of four inputs and four outputs for digital audio measurements, which greatly simplifies the test fixture required for multidevice testing.

Tube auditor

Tube auditor with unique vision technology

RTS Life Science has launched its innovative Tube Auditor instrument. With units already on order from 3 of the top 10 pharma and a major US Biobank, the Tube Auditor features unique vision technology, allowing for fast and accurate volume measurement of samples, and is targeted at the Compound Management, High Throughput Screening and Bio-banking marketplace. RTS Life Science will unveil this new instrument on booth #644 at LabAutomation 2010 (Palm Springs, CA US from Jan 23-27, 2010 @ Booth 644).

The RTS Tube Auditor is a bench-top instrument suitable for manual operation or integration into automated systems. It enables fast and accurate measurement of sample volumes and, uniquely, the detection of precipitate in sample tubes. Its high speed vision technology allows a full 96-way SBS tube rack to be audited in less than 2 minutes. Unlike other automated solutions, the RTS Tube Auditor ensures complete sample safety and avoids the potential for sample degradation as there is no need to de-cap tubes during the auditing process.

During the show, RTS Life Science will be hosting a workshop in collaboration with Microsonics Systems. The workshop, entitled "See and Hear how Vision and Acoustic Technology Could save $$$ in Your Screening and Library Collection," will highlight how two complementary technologies can minimise poor quality screening and improve results by finding and then correcting solubility issues within compound libraries. With a focus on the new Tube Auditor and its innovative vision technology, and how Microsonics use ultrasonic energy to re-solubilise compounds, this workshop is sure to be of great interest.

In addition, RTS Life Science will present two new posters at the show. One of these posters, entitled "Improving Screening Results Using Vision Technology", will demonstrate the many benefits of using RTS vision technology to routinely and accurately audit sample tubes. These benefits include minimising costs from wasted screening of empty plate wells, and avoiding screening samples at the wrong concentration by early detection of precipitated samples. A competition will also take place on the booth where visitors will be able to estimate the volume of sample in a tube with the closest standing the chance to win an iPod touch.

With 25 years of experience delivering automation solutions, RTS Life Science is a major supplier of large scale sample storage and testing within the laboratory environment.

Robots on TV

Wireless modules bring robotic TV presenter to life
“Sir Kitt” robot interviews the stars at the 2009 Brit Awards

LPRS has been selected by robot designer Peter Reynolds to provide wireless communication to a robot that could interact with celebrities backstage at the 2009 Brit Awards, Europe's premier music show. The show’s production company gave Peter a brief that offered open access to the entire back-stage area, allowing the robot to roam around at will, interviewing the stars featured in the show as they got ready to perform. The producer envisioned a humanoid robot that could approach artists backstage and engage them in conversation, recording the video and audio for future broadcast.

Most commonly available humanoid robots are not usually capable of walking far over the kind of uneven surfaces found at the event venue, so Reynolds decided to build an armchair style chariot that would take the humanoid from star to star. From that the robot could jump out and perform before climbing back onto the chariot and continuing to the next dressing room. The resulting robot was heavily customised and programmed with motions, dance routines, handshakes and gestures. A camera was mounted into its head to give a direct feed of the interview in progress.

The chariot uses a 4-wheel drive robot platform with a customised shell to make it resemble an armchair. Another camera is mounted on it so the chariot can back off from the humanoid and record interviews from a second viewpoint. The robotics elements were relatively straightforward and progress was swift and successful.

The biggest design issue was the audio interaction between the robot and the interviewee. A method was required to remotely play back over 200 words and phrases accurately and quickly to make the interviews run smoothly. Nothing existed off the shelf, so Reynolds undertook a custom design employing an MP3 playback unit, amplifier and speaker located in the chariot that would produce the humanoids voice. The unit was operated from an RS232 input stream and a method of accessing all the words and phrases using a remote control was required.

A USB keyboard was modified to output the required instruction data stream and a reliable method of transmitting the data over RF to the receiver in the chariot was required. Many days were spent testing a number of RF modules from various companies but they were all plagued with interference problems, poor range or complex data stream encoding issues. Short of time Reynolds turned to the LPRS easy-Radio modules for a solution.

Reynolds comments, “The LPRS easy-Radio modules were a breath of fresh air and could be put directly into the data stream, with no extra circuitry or software tweaks required. The modules worked flawlessly out of the box and as an added bonus, were slim enough to fit directly into the back of the keyboard unit. The robot could now speak to any guest directly and any phrase or saying could be accessed at the touch of a button. The modules worked quickly enough to allow multiple phrases and names to be strung together, such as “Hi - Bono - are you looking forward to performing here tonight?” or to Tom Jones “Do you think you deserved your award?”

On the day, the backstage area was heaving with global and local celebrities. The Sir Kitt robot had a great time cornering stars such as U2, Take That, Girls Aloud, Tom Jones, Coldplay and many, many more.

Reynolds continues, "I am not a professional special effects engineer, so it just goes to show what an enthusiastic amateur can do with some inspiration, hard work and access to great, affordable, electronics systems such as the LPRS easy-Radio range.”

Peter Cubbage, Sales Director of LPRS adds, "easy-Radio was conceived for just this kind of out of the box wireless solution. We have been very pleased to provide Peter with a simple and efficient wireless solution to his robot system.”

Typical applications for LPRS’ wireless modules include industrial monitoring and control systems, alarm and security systems and communications systems.

More about the construction of "Sir Kitt" on the Indestructables website!

Joyswitch

New switches provide joystick functionality
Soft-touch directional control and menu selection TACT switches


Foremost Electronics has introduced "the next step in control functionality." The Navimec™ switch concept from leading switch manufacturer MEC offers soft-touch joystick functionality making it possible to navigate up, down, left and right with the provision of a centre function that will typically be used as an enter key. Navimec™ switches are available with or without illumination and the non-illuminated versions may be over-printed with appropriate legends.

The NavimecTM switch series is designed for PCB mounting with and may be incorporated in control panels together with the existing illuminated IllumecTM switches 4A and 4F offering very bright illumination and excellent tactile feel. NavimecTM is available in SMD and through-hole mounting, is RoHS complaint and has a life expectancy of 10,000 operations and waterproof sealing exceeding IP67. The keycaps are specifically designed with a hi-tech look and a soft touch finish obtained by an elastomer coating.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics comments, “The MEC NavimecTM switches are a very useful addition to our range of man-machine interface solutions. In addition to their functionality our ability to print information on the button pad assists our customers with panel design and functionality. As they are waterproof to better than IP67 MEC NavimecTM switches may be used in industrial as well as pro-audio and instrumentation applications.”

These switches are ideal for performing directional functions such as navigating through menus in all types of test and measurement, medical, broadcast, pro-audio and other professional equipment.

Rugged panels

CANbus operator panels are rugged and stylish
Attractive CANbus operator panels offer new levels of value, versatility and style to designers of vehicle-mounted systems.

Available now from Sensor-Technik UK, the OPUS A3 series of rugged and stylish CANbus operator panels manufactured by Wachendorff Elektronik offers new levels of value, versatility and style to designers of vehicle-mounted systems. There are three different models in the series, offering cost-effective solutions to a range of application requirements.

All the OPUS A3 series operator interfaces are sealed to IP67 and IP65 with a wide -30 to +70C operating temperature range, enabling their use in any outdoor application such as agricultural machinery and other off-road vehicles. Each unit is based on a powerful 32bit processor, a 4.3in wide-screen TFT display and each has two CANbus interfaces, one serial port and a USB interface. A second USB port is available as an option. And each panel can be specified in landscape or portrait orientation both as a stand-alone unit or for dashboard mounting.

The three different models – the economy A3e, the standard A3s and the extended A3x – come with a range of different controls and interfaces. The basic A3e model, for example, has no keypad or encoder, but can be supplied with a resistive touchscreen interface, which is also optional on the other two models. The A3s comes with a rotary encoder, three fixed keys and eight softkeys, whereas the A3x incorporates an encoder, a 15-key fixed keypad and eight softkeys. All keypads can be supplied with custom colours, legends and lighting.

Further options include composite video inputs to enable monitoring of reversing cameras, a rear-mounted Ethernet interface, increased memory capacity, analogue and digital I/O and Bluetooth.

As with other Wachendorff interface panels, the OPUS A3 offers a choice of programming methods to suit systems designers of all levels of expertise. These include: the company's own Windows-based Projektor-Tool project development software; the popular CoDeSys IEC61131-3 compliant user interface programming language; and, because each A3 is based on an embedded Linux operating system, they can be programmed directly in C/C++.

Sensor-Technik UK offers full customisation, complete with programming and commissioning services for the OPUS A3 operator interface, and will use the units as part of complete CANbus systems.

Here's the second in the latest run of press releases from Sensor-Technik UK. The first was
All the way with CANbus!