Friday, December 18, 2009

Tilt sensors

New brochure for sealed tilt sensors

Penny + Giles, has announced a new STT Sealed Tilt Sensors brochure.

Complete with technical information, including a selection guide for ordering the various models and features, the free 12 page brochure is available in print and online. It is user-friendly and offers information about the two models in the range - the compact 28mm diameter model STT280, and the rugged 87.5mm diameter model STT500 supplied in a marine grade cast aluminium housing sealed to IP69K. The brochure also includes a 3 page guide on installation and application of the
products.

Included are detailed ordering codes that allow a wide range of factory fitted options for these contactless tilt sensors that use the latest 3D-MEMS (Micro-Electro- Mechanical Systems) sensing technology.

The brochure is an essential resource for designers specifying safety systems for applications in road construction machinery, cranes and booms, scissor lifts, agricultural machinery, container handling and hydraulic lifting systems.

High performance comms

Network cabling system provides high-performance communications at new data centre



An advanced network cabling system from the AMP NETCONNECT forms the heart of the internal communications system at a new data centre for Fidessa group plc, a major international supplier of financial markets trading solutions.

The system, designed and installed by Maxima, an approved Amp Netconnect partner, includes both Category 6 UTP (unshielded twisted pair) copper and OM3 multimode 50/125 fibre-optic cabling, and is housed in a new purpose-built facility known as Sentrum IV on the outskirts of Woking, Surrey (GB).

Fidessa is a leading supplier of multi-asset trading, portfolio analysis, decision support, compliance, market data and connectivity solutions for firms involved in trading the world’s financial markets. Headquartered in London and with regional operations across Europe, North
America, Asia and the Middle East, Fidessa supports over 24,000 users across 730 clients, serving a broad spectrum of customers from major investment banks and asset managers through to specialist niche brokers and hedge funds.

The nature of the company’s business means that its data-centre capabilities and the associated communications infrastructure are of vital importance, and the Sentrum IV facility is the latest and most advanced of these centres. In selecting the main contractor for the new centre, it was natural that Fidessa should turn to Maxima, who have worked with Fidessa over a number of years – most recently on the company’s GS2 data centre in London.

“The Maxima team has detailed knowledge of our requirements and the design and installation practices that we expect from our suppliers”, comments Mark Brewer, Production Services Manager at Fidessa: “Not only do they ensure that project installations always run smoothly: they are also willing and able to offer innovative solutions that relate specifically to the needs of our industry.”

One of the specific requirements for the Sentrum IV data centre relates to the fact that Fidessa will use it as a showcase facility for existing and potential clients. This meant that the ‘public’ areas needed to be as clean and tidy as possible, with any cabling hidden away beneath floors or in purpose-designed cabinets. Maxima designed the sub-floor cable support system to ensure that cable capacity was not compromised.

The installation proposed and implemented by Maxima includes a total of 125 APC server, communications and switch cabinets incorporating 250 intelligent power units, along with sixteen AMP NETCONNECT cross-connect central patch frames. The fully ISO/IEC 11801 compliant Category 6 copper and OM3 fibre cabling system includes over 9500 Category 6 AMP SL connections and over 6300 OM3 LC AMP connections.

The system carries Tyco Electronics’ 25-year warranty, which will allow Fidessa to accommodate the growing bandwidth needs of IP convergence, reduce expenses associated with download, upload and backup time, and reduce costs associated with future upgrades.

An important feature of the installation is the use of the recently introduced AMP NETCONNECT Hi-D (high-density) network cabling system to provide a centralised high-density cross-connect patching system. The Hi-D network cabling system is positioned at the heart of the data-centre facility to allow for all the server, communications and switch cabinets to connect with the copper and fibre cabling through a centrally located cross-connect facility.

The Class E/Category 6 UTP copper cabling system uses low-smoke zero-halogen sheathing, along with 24-port Hi-D angled patch panels with SL jacks to provide full RJ45 connectivity. To provide a degree of resilience, copper cabling is routed from each panel in groups of 12 cables and follows diverse cable routes. The copper cabling is housed in a containment system under a
false floor. The use of pre-manufactured Tyco Electronics harness assemblies between the network switch cabinets and the Hi-D angled patch panels is an important factor in ensuring warranty compliance.

The OM3 fibre cabling system also uses low-smoke zero-halogen sheathing, and takes the form of individual 12- or 24-core cables linking 24- or 12-way duplex panels. As with the copper cabling, the fibre cables are diversely routed between cabinets.

Commenting on the successful completion of the Fidessa project, Barry Silverman, Maxima’s Cabling Business Unit Manager within Support & Enablement Services, said: “At Maxima, we pride ourselves on being an approved, experienced and responsive network integrator, and we are always seeking to achieve the most resilient and cost-effective solutions for our clients. By partnering with the AMP NETCONNECT business unit of Tyco Electronics, we have been able to offer Fidessa the optimum combination of a high-quality infrastructure backed by Tyco Electronics’ powerful warranty and our own high level of support.”

Transient capture

Transient capture and time-stamp module

VTI Instruments Corporation has introduced the EX1200-7416, a transient capture and time-stamp module that extends the capabilities of the EX1200 Series of configurable LXI Class A instruments. The new module supports a broad range of applications that require level comparison, event detection, and time stamping.

The EX1200-7416 can be combined with other EX1200 plug-in modules to create a versatile, multifunction instrument that can be used in a variety of data acquisition and test applications. The module is ideal for applications such as power-supply monitoring, where it can detect critical out-of-tolerance conditions that require immediate intervention.

The new unit has 16 input channels and can continuously monitor a variety of high-level analogue and discrete signals up to 100 V. Each channel has an 8-bit digital-analogue convertor that can be independently programmed to set the trip level.

The EX1200-7416 can detect transients that cannot normally be captured by a typical DMM or scanning measurement system. As part of the EX1200 LXI Class A instrument series, this module can also record events with IEEE 1588 time codes to provide a precise correlation of event/time data.

Input channels can be internally routed to the optional EX1200 series DMM to measure the analogue level of the signals. The reference DACs can also be routed to the internal DMM to facilitate self-verification, which can be executed under program control.

VTI is represented in the Britain by TTi Test & Measurement distribution.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Simulation technology

Viability of Clean-Coal Power in South Korea

Korea Electric Power Research Institute uses operator training and dynamic simulation solutions to develop Taean-based IGCC power plant

Invensys Operations Management has delivered comprehensive simulation and training solutions to the Korea Electric Power Research Institute (KEPRI), South Korea's leading electric power research institute and part of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).

Under the terms of the agreement, Invensys provided an operator training simulator (OTS), including its Dynsim® high-fidelity simulation for operator training and process engineering design studies and Wonderware InTouch® human machine interface (HMI) for graphic visualization of processes. Invensys also supplied engineering and technical services to develop the dynamic simulation models and to configure the HMI for operator training and engineering.

The solutions will be implemented at KEPRI's proposed generic-model integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant to be built in Taean, South Korea. Viewed as a state-of-the-art facility and testing ground, the plant will be used to prove the viability of clean-coal power plants worldwide. KEPRI process, mechanical and control engineers will use the dynamic simulators to understand new IGCC technology, make design decisions, prepare operating procedures and train plant operators.

"We needed a robust solution that was scalable, customizable and flexible enough to meet the special needs of our engineers during the design phase and to give our operators a jump start on learning this new technology," said Yong-Jin Joo, Ph.D., project manager, KEPRI/KEPCO. "I am extremely pleased with the dynamic model Invensys delivered. As the first OTS of the first IGCC plant in this country, the Invensys simulator will provide operational insight into applying IGCC technology, helping to lower the barriers to developing clean-coal power in South Korea and the world."

"Invensys has deep experience in dynamic modeling of coal gasification and providing operator training simulators in both the power and process industries," said Tobias Scheele, Ph.D., vice president, advanced applications, Invensys Operations Management. "Combining our IGCC industry knowledge with the flexibility and power of our Dynsim simulation program, we were able to provide KEPRI with a scalable OTS that will meet their growing needs."

Remote Monitoring

More than 1,100 units in turbine fleet monitored
Real-time data on impending failures and performance diagnostics

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced that GE Energy’s Performance & Reliability Centre (PRC) in Atlanta (GA US) has standardised on a remote monitoring and diagnostic platform that utilizes the company’s Proficy® Historian, Proficy SOA, Proficy Workflow and Proficy CIMPLICITY software.

This system monitors more than 1,100 units in GE Energy’s turbine fleet and provides customers with real-time data on impending failures and performance diagnostics. The legacy system utilized an Oracle based relational database architecture that consumed more than 50 terabytes of storage across four database instances. Over time, the legacy solution has become costly to maintain and support and was not sufficiently extensible to sustain future growth.

“GE Intelligent Platforms delivers a solution that is flexible and scalable while lowering ongoing maintenance costs through simplified IT infrastructure and reduced storage demands. Improving availability and access to fleet data while leveraging diagnostic workflow capabilities will drive improved productivity of subject matter experts,” said Justin Eggart, Performance and Reliability Center leader for GE Energy Services. “The new system will enhance our focus on delivering customer value, applying advanced Monitoring and Diagnostics solutions, while proactively managing the performance and reliability of turbines and other assets in the GE fleet.”

GE Intelligent Platforms’ Next Generation M&D platform (Gen X), is based on proven, Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) software products such as Proficy Historian, a best in class platform for data acquisition and storage designed to handle time sequence data at speeds significantly faster than traditional relational databases algorithms that simply aren’t available in relational models, while also supporting a range of data compression. The result is better performance with lower disk utilization without any loss of data resolution.

“This architecture sets the standard inside GE for remote monitoring and diagnostics platforms and the PRC stands as a shining example of how GE can leverage its domain expertise into Knowledge Service offerings,” said Erik Udstuen, Vice President Software and Services for GE Intelligent Platforms. “The solution allows GE Energy to further expand its robust state-of-the art services allowing customers to tap into GE’s deep domain expertise in an efficient and effective way.”

Also key to the solution is GE’s breakthrough work process management backbone for application development, Proficy Workflow, a highly scalable software solution due to its efficient storage model; Proficy CIMPLICITY -client/server based visualization and control solution that helps you visualize your operations, perform supervisory automation and deliver reliable information to higher-level analytic applications resulting in faster responsiveness, reduced costs and increased profitability.

“We proved that our Proficy Software’s integrated capability to collect, organize, analyze, and drive work processes around massive volumes of real-time data could meet the needs of GE Energy now and into the future,” Udstuen concluded.

High speed data

Software adds new functionality to high-speed data-acquisition system

New software for the Yokogawa SL1000 high-speed data-acquisition system provides additional functionality including X-Y display and waveform accumulation capabilities.

In addition to the real-time X-Y display feature, which plots the relationship between two different input signals, the new acquisition software provides a 'mark' function which allows the user to attach an information label during measurement as well as an 'auto play' function for
zoom or history waveforms. In addition to the new accumulation display, a 'snapshot' function is also available that can be used to visually compare a reference signal with a new measurement.

Also included are improved file utility capabilities. It is now possible to save part of the captured data and convert files to binary or ASCII formats (with support for MATLAB).

The Yokogawa SL1000 is a modular PC-based data-acquisition unit designed to provide high-speed data logging and fast data transfer in electro-mechanical and power measurement applications. It can directly connect to popular sensors like thermocouples, accelerometers, strain gauges and tachometers. Featuring 100 MS/s sampling on 16 channels and isolated inputs for high-voltage measurements, the SL1000 is also equipped as standard with intuitive, easy-to-use logging and control software for quick start and set-up.

The new acquisition software and firmware for the SL1000 is now being shipped with all new products. For SL1000 units delivered before the 1st July 2009, a free update is now available from the Yokogawa Test & Measurement website.

Test probe

Small threaded switching test probe

The new P221/G from Peak Test Services is a miniature threaded switching test probe with an extremely short mounting length of 24.5 mm, allowing it to be used with devices with pin spacings of 2.54 mm.

The P221/G exerts a relatively low pressure, making it ideally suited to the detection or presence sensing of closing surfaces, components or connectors. This is especially designed for use in horizontal mounting applications where the installation space is limited.

It is also available with an easy replacement design, enabling the test probe to be replaced without de-soldering the wire with a resultant reduction in maintenance requirements.

Ind Ethernet

Low cost starter kits

Harting has introduced low cost entry-level industrial Ethernet switch starter kits and patch cables. The Basic and Basic+ Ethernet kits and the new Cat 6 patch cables will be available at substantial discounts until 26th March 2010.

The Harting Basic Ethernet switch kit contains everything needed for a simple industrial Ethernet implementation, including a five-port unmanaged switch, ten “tool-less assembly” RJ45 connectors and 20 metres of Cat 5 Type B Ethernet cable. In addition, the Basic+ kit contains a 24VDC/1.4A power supply and a HARTING cable stripping tool.

The RJ45 connectors and the new range of Cat 6 patch cables are part of their Automation IT generic cabling system. The RJ45 has a unique two-part boot design that offers robust handling and bending protection. They are designed to be robust enough for industrial environments and are heat and flame retardant.

The Cat 6 patch cables offer Ethernet speeds of up to 1000 Mbit/s and are both flame retardant and halogen free. They operate at temperatures from -20°C to +80°C, have dual boot design with robust locking lever protection and unlocking latch and are perfect for multi-port applications.

Their Basic and Basic+ Ethernet kits are perfect for simple but robust industrial applications.

Shows held over

Industrial tradeshows in Dubai now for 2011

Deutsche Messe, who organise the Hannver Fair among others, is postponing the industrial trade fairs CeMAT MIDDLE EAST, Industrial Automation (IA) MIDDLE EAST and Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) MIDDLE EAST - all originally schedu­led to take place in February 2010 - until 2011.

Due to scheduling changes and a resulting overlap of topics, the Dubai World Trade Center is no longer able to accommodate the trade fairs at the originally planned time and location.

"In the eyes of Deutsche Messe, the United Arab Emirates, and particularly Dubai, continue to represent a key exhibition location in the medium and long term. After careful analysis, we have decided to postpone the debut of these tradeshows until 2011. There are topic overlaps at the exhibition venue which now make it impossible to stage our exhibitions within the original framework. We require the premium exhibition facility for our events in order to fulfill the needs of our customers and our preferred venue to hold this trade show would be The Dubai World Trade Centre," explained Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe.

Visual Studio

Decrease development time for T&M visual studio developers
New version of software introduces technical advancements for 64-Bit .NET application development and Windows 7 systems



National Instruments has announced Measurement Studio 2009, which decreases development time for engineers using Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio .NET 2003 to create test and measurement applications. Measurement Studio 2009 simplifies data acquisition, analysis and visualisation by providing integrated I/O support, native libraries and user interface updates. The software introduces support for the latest advancements in PC technologies, including increased memory in 64-bit .NET application development and MS Windows 7 operating systems. Measurement Studio 2009 also provides increased I/O capabilities with integrated support for new NI data acquisition (DAQ) hardware on PC buses such as USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, PCI Express and PXI.

It supports the latest enhancements in PC technologies, such as Windows 7 operating systems, and improves performance of memory-intensive applications with support for 64-bit .NET development and deployment and integration with 64-bit drivers. Visual Studio developers who have adopted a 64-bit operating system, such as Windows 7, can start taking full advantage of increased processing power and memory capabilities with Measurement Studio 2009.

The software integrates I/O support for new DAQ hardware from NI, such as NI CompactDAQ, Wi-Fi DAQ and X Series DAQ devices. Measurement Studio seamlessly integrates with NI-DAQmx driver software to take advantage of the sophisticated capabilities of NI hardware including faster stream-to-disk rates of up to 1.2 gigabytes per second, multiple timing engines and advanced counter/timer functionality. The new I/O capabilities and provided measurement analysis class libraries also help engineers more efficiently obtain measurements from physical sensors.

Additionally, Measurement Studio 2009 simplifies the setup of streaming high-speed data to disk for .NET developers using Technical Data Management Streaming (TDMS) . With the TDMS file format and NI-DAQmx driver, engineers can stream directly to disk up to 12 times faster than with previous versions of Measurement Studio. The TDMS integration removes the burden of designing and maintaining custom file formats to achieve sustained data streaming in high-speed measurement applications. Measurement Studio 2009 also provides developers with faster file access and improved compatibility between TDMS applications.

The system also includes incremental user interface improvements to graphically display data. With a new and easy way to set a configuration property to the waveform and complex graphs, Measurement Studio can automatically generate different colours for each plot, eliminating the need to explicitly assign colours to plots. The software also features updates to the Network Variable Class Library, which helps engineers perform cross-platform communication among several Windows applications. This library now provides engineers with the ability to immediately publish an update to network variables and configure descriptions and types for explicitly created network variables.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WiMax

Reducing test time by up to 300 % New suite delivers high-performance tools


National Instruments has introduced the their Measurement Suite for Mobile WiMAX (IEEE 802.16e-2005), a software suite that engineers can use with modular RF instrumentation for automated testing of Mobile WiMAX devices. With this software suite, engineers can perform Mobile WiMAX component and device testing faster than with traditional instruments, and with better accuracy and greater flexibility.

Based on PXI Express instrumentation powered by multicore technology, the suite can perform error vector magnitude (EVM), power and spectral measurements three to five times faster than traditional instruments. PXI WiMAX test systems from National Instruments also provide a low-cost, R&D-grade instrumentation alternative to traditional instruments. With a typical residual EVM accuracy of -46 dB at 3.5 GHz (-10 dBm), this test system can perform significantly more accurate measurements than alternative production test-grade instruments. Additionally, the suite provides engineers enhanced flexibility with the same equipment used for testing Mobile WiMAX devices to test hardware that complies with other standards such as Fixed WiMAX, wireless local area network (WLAN), GPS, and GSM/EDGE/WCDMA cellular standards.
“The NI Measurement Suite for Mobile WiMAX reflects the continued investment from National Instruments to provide test solutions for engineers developing next-generation wireless technology devices,” said Eric Starkloff, Vice President of Test Marketing at National Instruments. “With this new solution, we now can provide engineers the ability to significantly reduce their test cost by providing R&D-grade instrumentation that performs measurements three to five times faster than traditional solutions.”
The Measurement Suite for Mobile WiMAX supports channel bandwidths from 1.25 to 28 MHz and fast Fourier transform (FFT) sizes 128, 256, 1024 and 2048, as well as all Mobile WiMAX modulation types with both convolution coding and turbo convolution coding. The Measurement Suite for Mobile WiMAX can also generate or analyse signals with up to eight zones and 16 bursts. Combined with the NI PXIe-5663E RF vector signal analyser and NI PXIe-5673 RF vector signal generator, the measurement suite also provides continuous frequency coverage from 85 MHz to 6.6 GHz.

By including the NI Signal Analysis Toolkit for Mobile WiMAX and the NI Signal Generation Toolkit for Mobile WiMAX, the suite offers programming APIs and virtual instrument panels for signal generation and analysis in programming environments including the LabVIEW graphical system design platform. In addition to a LabVIEW API, the toolkits install with an equivalent C-style API for engineers using C, C++, .NET, or similar programming language.

The Measurement Suite for Mobile WiMAX supports multiple PXI hardware configurations to meet different application needs. A standard NI test bundle for Mobile WiMAX includes an NI PXIe-5663 6.6 GHz vector signal analyser, NI PXIe-5673 6.6 GHz vector signal generator, NI PXIe-1075 18-slot high-bandwidth chassis and a NI PXIe-8108 dual-core controller to provide high-performance flexibility to a variety of automated test systems.

Mobile workforce @ Shell

Improving in-the-field decision making for operations workforce

Royal Dutch Shell’s Downstream Manufacturing Division has entered into a multi-year partnership with Invensys Operations Management. Shell will utilise Wonderware’s Mobile Collaboration Solutions mobile workforce and decision-support solution as one tool in the Ensure Safe Production (ESP) initiative at 29 of its global manufacturing facilities. The Mobile Collaboration Solutions system will provide downstream operations with configurable software and rugged, intrinsically-safe mobile hardware to more effectively manage the equipment-surveillance process and regulatory compliance tasks. By implementing this module, field operators will be able to optimise work processes, resulting in improved asset reliability and availability and reduced overall maintenance costs.

Invensys will provide this mobile workforce solution to help Shell operators, field engineers and supervisors create, define and routinely execute equipment surveillance and regulatory procedures following best practices, corporate policies and regulatory mandates. When executing these in-the-field procedures using the Wonderware Mobile Collaboration Solutions solution on their mobile computers, operators are made aware of potential equipment issues in real time so that they can take corrective action immediately, as well as maintain regulatory compliance.

Proficy as standard

Solution to provide significant quality improvements, and scrap and waste reduction
United Solar Ovonic standardises on Proficy® Software to strengthen photovoltaic module manufacturing capabilities

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced that United Solar Ovonic (United Solar), a world leader in the manufacturing of flexible solar modules located in Rochester Hills, Michigan (US), has standardized on GE’s Proficy® software platform to reduce scrap, increase throughput and lower the cost of manufacturing thin-film photovoltaic laminates. The Proficy software, which includes Operations Management, HMI/SCADA and Reporting modules, will allow the company to improve the quality of its product while taking cost out of its operations.

The project is expected to cover operational manufacturing sites in Michigan, and the company’s Mexico assembly plant. United Solar expects the project to produce significant benefits over three years time with more than 80% of the benefit associated with quality improvements and scrap and waste reduction.

“The constraints posed by the worldwide dependence on oil has led the charge toward more renewable energy solutions and thin-film photovoltaic solar modules are state-of-the art in this industry,” said Erik Udstuen, Vice President of Software and Services for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Investing in manufacturing processes to increase their ability to meet those needs and taking costs out of operations, will propel United Solar in renewable energy, and help them to produce more sustainable products for the global marketplace. ”

United Solar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices builds integrated rooftop photovoltaics that are flexible, light weight, easy to install, durable, and provide excellent real-world energy production. Keeping up with one of the fastest growing segments of the solar power industry led the company to realize the need to implement a system that could address quality, throughput and sustainability issues in their manufacturing process.

United Solar began a very competitive evaluation process including multiple vendors, more than a year ago. Important to the company’s decision-making process was GE Intelligent Platforms’ expertise in solar photovoltaic manufacturing and the company’s adherence to the Microsoft technology stack of which United Solar is a big supporter, as well as GE Intelligent Platforms’ proven track record in both the Continuous and Discrete industries.

“Companies that participate in this fast growing solar industry, will differentiate themselves with high quality products at competitive pricing levels,” said Joe Conroy, Senior Vice President of Operations at United Solar. “Our goal in implementing this solution is to reduce scrap, increase throughput, gain greater visibility into material consumptions, reduce work-in-process and, ultimately, lower costs.“

“By better monitoring and controlling the production process,” Conroy continued, “we are improving quality and yield and therefore reducing the cost of modules produced.”

United Solar uses Proficy iFIX and Proficy Historian in all of the five current manufacturing sites today, and will be implementing the Proficy Operations Management suite including Proficy Plant Applications, Proficy DataMart, Proficy Workflow, and Proficy Scheduler. Proficy iFIX is used for process visualization and process alarm management providing the company a window into their process by displaying key process indicators along side animated process graphics. Proficy Historian records key process indicators for process optimization activities today. With the expansion of their use of additional software, Historian will be used to correlate relationships between KPIs and downtime events, OEE performance across manufacturing assets, waste /scrap and other process variables.

In addition, the Proficy Quality module will be used to insure all quality characteristics are checked during manufacturing as defined by product specifications, monitor how the plant floor processes are performing from a quality perspective and manage all quality data in a centralized manner. The Proficy Efficiency module will be used to monitor asset performance in relationship to availability, rate, alarms and waste. Accurate real-time and historical information will allow United Solar personnel to quickly pinpoint problem areas, report asset efficiencies, and automate analysis of root causes for production problems. The Proficy Production module will be used to automatically dispatch Production Orders to the plant floor providing real-time visibility of schedule attainment while also tracking the complete genealogy of each solar panel.

Their new Proficy Scheduler will be used to optimize production schedules based on real-time feedback from the plant floor regarding asset and material availability and other key performance indicators. Business rules can be used to model the effect of plant performance on schedule attainment and forecast production and material usage. The entire system will be tightly integrated with United Solar’s ERP system to truly close the loop between plant performance and the demands of the business.

“Reduction on manufacturing costs leads to profitability of the company overall,” said Udstuen. “With the Proficy software platform – work process management, MES, SCADA – United Solar has chosen an operational excellence platform that drives success now and into the future.”

Recorder & loggers

Print and/or video support guides published
for Chart Recorders and Data Loggers on Web

Dickson has announced web publication of online support guides—both in downloadable PDF formats and as videos on YouTube and the Dickson web site - to help its many thousands of worldwide customers to easily monitor temperature, humidity, pressure and other electronic signal “events” important to critical storage.

These video or print support guides can be accessed via the “SUPPORT” tab on each product page on the site.

These support guides cover information such as:
    • Product Applications and Useful Features
    • Product Specifications
    • Getting Started
    • DicksonWare Software Specifications
    • Product Accessories
    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Calibrations
    • Troubleshooting
    • Warranty / Factory Service & Returns
Dickson (which offers the world’s widest selection of data loggers and chart recorders to monitor temperature, humidity, pressure, or electronic signals) created this service to help organizations with needs to capture critical data get up and running with the least delay throughout the lifetime of the Dickson product.

On-chip debug

Quickly and efficiently debug hardware and software designs
For engineers building applications for ARM technology-based processors


Macraigor Systems has ported their proprietary On-Chip Debug Technology (OCDemon), GNU Tools Suite and Eclipse Ganymede/Galileo platform to the ARM Cortex-A8 processor. The Cortex-A8 is ARM’s first superscalar processor featuring technology for enhanced code density and performance, NEON technology for multimedia and signal processing, and Jazelle RCT (Runtime Compilation Target) technology for high performance, power-efficient mobile devices.

The Eclipse Ganymede/Galileo + GNU Tools Suite is an implementation and packaging of the Eclipse Ganymede/Galileo platform, CDT (C/C++ Development Tooling) 5.0.x, and DSDP (Device Software Development Platform) 1.0 plug-ins, and a program called OcdRemote that provides an interface between Eclipse, the GDB debugger and a Macraigor On-Chip Debug device. The free port of the GNU Tools Suite and Eclipse Ganymede/Galileo platform for ARM Cortex-A8 can be downloaded at www.macraigor.com.

In addition to supporting the Cortex-A8 (for example the Texas Instruments OMAP 35xx used on the Beagle Board), Macraigor’s JTAG interface devices are immediately available for use with other ARM family devices including Cortex M3, ARM 7, ARM 9, ARM 11, Freescale’s iMX series, XScale and others.

With the more complex processors, on-chip debug resources have been added to aid hardware and software designers. This means that debugging via classic methods, such as In-Circuit Emulators and ROM monitors, does not hold up to the rigors of real-time system test and debug.

The interface to these on-chip resources is where Macraigor Systems excels. Via a choice of communication channels, a host debugger communicates with a Macraigor Systems’ device and then to the target processor. Since there is no need for any resident code, this debug method is available for hardware initialization and debug as well as Flash EEPROM programming, kernel, driver, and application software debug. Macraigor Systems offers a host based application that allows programming of Flash EEPROM via the JTAG connection.

“Macraigor Systems is committed to providing hardware/software JTAG debug interface solutions for all current and future ARM technology-based processors,”
said managing partner James MacGregor.

Vision centre

New European logistics centre

The opening of a new logistics centre at its Puchheim, Germany headquarters during 2009 allowed STEMMER IMAGING to greatly expand its facilities and provide customers with an even better level of service.

The new enlarged warehouse facilities occupy about 700 m2 and provide a much improved infrastructure, serving as the new hub for deliveries to customers in Germany, Britain, France and Switzerland. The order administration and hardware integration departments have also moved into these new facilities. The space released by these moves has now been converted into a new customer service area where regular training sessions will be held on different aspects of imaging.

During the official opening, Managing Director and company founder, Wilhelm Stemmer, stated that he was looking forward to the greatly improved levels of service that these new facilities will provide for customers. He was also keen to emphasize his pride that, even in these difficult economic times, all Stemmer Imaging employees and therefore the extensive knowledge they represent, had been retained in order to serve their customers. From this base he believes the company is well prepared for the future.

Directive 2006/42/EC

The new machinery directive - how to play safe!

Festo has introduced a one-day orientation course for machine builders struggling to interpret the latest requirements of the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

Following the decision of the EC Machinery Working Group to extend the transition period of the existing EN 954-1 safety standard beyond its expected end-of-life deadline of December 2009, but for an unspecified amount of time, machine designers and builders now face the dilemma of which safety standard to use. Should they stick with EN 954-1, even though its time is running out, or embrace its successor, EN ISO 13849-1, despite its apparent complexity?

Steve Sands, Festo’s Product Manager, is unequivocal about the right course of action, “We all need to fully commit to the production world’s ideal of zero machine-related accidents. Although machine builders will continue to benefit from EN 954-1’s presumption of conformity for a while, a much better way of complying with both the intention and the spirit of Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC is to adopt the new EN ISO 13849-1 safety standard now, and move forward together. This does not need to be as onerous as it has been portrayed to be – Festo, along with other leading automation component companies, is placing significant resources at the disposal of its customers.”

Festo has identified ten functions where pneumatic safety measures can be implemented on machines, to help ensure compliance with the new EN ISO 13849-1 safety standard. The company is in the process of rolling out specific products and services to implement these measures, and has already launched a series of valve manifolds with built-in proximity sensors for position sensing/movement reversal, and a range of fail-safe brake units for pneumatic actuators.

The new one-day orientation course, ‘Understanding the new machine directive’ has been created by Festo Didactic, the training and consulting division of Festo, in direct response to issues highlighted by customers. It provides an overview of the key aspects and implications of Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, including risk assessment, analysis and evaluation as required by the new EN ISO 13849-1 safety standard – and will be of particular benefit to machine designers and builders, as well as maintenance personnel.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I/O on demand

Platform with “I/O on Demand” eliminates work, reduces project cost, and increases operational flexibility

New platform also unveils Electronic Marshalling, an industry breakthrough which streamlines 35-year old engineering practices


Emerson Process Management has announced the new S-series platform featuring “I/O on Demand” and Electronic Marshalling. Resulting from an intense focus on Human Centered Design, the S-series headlines the company’s wide ranging innovative technologies in the v11 release of the DeltaV™ digital automation system. The new DeltaV S-series platform sets the industry standard for usability and flexibility.

This new release includes major enhancements to all of the systems I/O processing, operator displays, asset management, batch capability and system security. These combined capabilities reduce customer project complexity, eliminate needless work, and speed system commissioning. They lift Emerson’s PlantWeb® digital architecture to new levels of project and operations performance.

Unique project and operations advantages stem from the S-series I/O on Demand flexibility which allows users to choose among traditional wired, wireless, bussed and Electronic Marshalling.

With I/O on Demand, users decide what type of I/O they want – Wireless, FOUNDATION™ fieldbus, HART®, AI, AO, DI, DO, DP, T/C, or RTD. They decide when they want the I/O, whether for late project changes, during start-up, during operation, or temporary installations; and where they want the I/O, whether in a rack room, remote locations, hazardous areas, safety systems, or harsh environments. The DeltaV S-series enables this freedom of I/O choice and ease of implementation.

Further advantages are realised with Electronic Marshalling, a powerful new technology that streamlines design and installation for users. This unique marshalling approach eliminates two-thirds of the wiring and connections needed by today’s conventional marshalling cabinets. A striking new technology invented with the S-series – new single channel CHARacterisation ModuleS (CHARMS) – make this possible. CHARMS relay I/O information to any DeltaV controller via an Ethernet backbone. This unique electronic communications method eliminates the need for users to wire I/O to specific controller I/O cards. This change can dramatically impact the users experience since it provides single channel integrity and flexibility down to the channel (not I/O card) level. These benefits improve plant uptime, and make projects simpler and easier to engineer and implement.

Beyond making the normal project tasks easier, another significant benefit from Electronic Marshalling is dealing with change. Whereas traditional project engineering requires major time and cost in changing rack-room I/O wiring and terminations, as process design is refined during project execution and construction, the DeltaV S-series hardware with Electronic Marshalling makes changes easy and eliminates re-wiring. Simply terminate the field wires, insert the CHARM and electronically marshal the signals. By adapting to change easily, Electronic Marshalling allows process manufacturers to shorten project schedules, accommodate late project changes, and dramatically simplify the I/O and marshalling design process. This late binding of process changes provides unparalleled adaptability and can help avoid costly, last minute change orders.

According to Larry O’Brien, research director at ARC Advisory Group, “There is a significant amount of cost associated with traditional marshalling methods, which can also limit the changes possible in the engineering and design of the system. The new I/O on Demand capability of Emerson’s DeltaV S-series allows users to add or change I/O types whenever project design changes are made, and they can do it no matter where the I/O is located. Even more important than reducing projects costs is the reduced time to start-up achieved by this kind of an approach.”

The DeltaV S-series makes a major enhancement for WirelessHART™ networks as well. In addition to the existing native wireless integration, the new DeltaV S-series now has fully redundant communications, which together with the mesh wireless networks, provide the highest uptime possible. With these capabilities, users can apply wireless technology to more monitoring and control applications than ever before.

FOUNDATION fieldbus remains the bus of choice for process manufacturers due to its continuous diagnostics, control-in-the-field capabilities, and wiring economies. The S-series furthers these advantages by including a new FOUNDATION fieldbus I/O card that includes an integrated power supply. Unique to Emerson, this new approach eliminates the cost and expense of purchasing, engineering, mounting and maintaining separate bulk power supplies and fieldbus power conditioning modules.

Although the S-series hardware and I/O on Demand are the headliners for the new DeltaV system, there are a number of other significant capabilities in this release. These new capabilities include an entirely new set of visually-focused operator displays that improve operator performance by clear and quick recognition of alerts, and rapid access to the information needed to understand the alert and act in a timely fashion. AMS™ Suite predictive maintenance software is now installed on every DeltaV system, which enables a smooth progression of integrated asset capabilities. Users can start with the AMS Device Configurator, and easily activate AMS Intelligent Device Manager at any time. New capabilities in the release also span batch, reliability, usability and security.

The DeltaV S-series with I/O on Demand, together with other components of the v11 software release, offers a wide-ranging new solution set for process automation users, and is backward compatible with existing DeltaV installations. New projects or expansions, greenfields or modernisations, can all realise advantages from these new capabilities.

Digital controllers

Entry-level models series of digital indicating controllers

Yokogawa Electric Corporation announces the release of the UT35A (quarter DIN size) and the UT32A (one-eighth DIN size), two entry-level models in the UTAdvanced™ series of digital indicating controllers.

These new low-cost models, which replace their UT300 range, have a sequence control function that is based on the general-purpose ladder logic programming language, and are targeted for use in the single-loop control of production equipment.

The UTAdvanced Series adopts an open system architecture with an Ethernet communications interface. They are compatible with MODBUS/TCP protocol and also (as an option) with the PROFIBUS DP protocol. In addition to eliminating the need for dedicated communication programs and converters for connecting to devices such as data-acquisition units and/or PLCs, this feature makes it easy to develop optimal multi-vendor systems for users.

Development background
Indicating controllers are embedded in industrial furnaces and other relatively small-scale production line equipment and installations, and are used to measure, display and control various types of data including temperature, pressure and flow rate. In April 2009, Yokogawa launched the UTAdvanced series of digital indicating controllers, featuring sequence control based on the widely used ladder logic programming language.

The first models in this series, the UT55A and UT52A, have gained a solid reputation for their contributions in raising efficiency and lowering costs by integrating peripheral devices such as relays. These high-end, high-performance digital indicating controllers have a wealth of control function modes, with the most capable units able to perform full cascade control for controlling relatively complex installations such as continuous furnaces.

However, there is also a need in the market for general-purpose indicating controllers that have only the functionality needed for controlling single-loop production equipment. To meet this need, Yokogawa is releasing the UT35A and UT32A entry-level models. These new products are expected to further enhance Yokogawa's digital indicating controller business.

Product features
The new controllers offer an optimum combination of functionality and price. They have a fixed control scan period of 200 ms and 300 steps for ladder programming, compared with the three control scan periods and 500 steps in the high-end UT55A and UT52A models. However, this is more than adequate for the single-loop control of production line installations.

The UT35A and UT32A also have capabilities that to date have been found in only high-end controllers, including a ladder language based sequence control function; support of the Ethernet or RS485 interfaces and MODBUS or PROFIBUS-DP communication protocols; a colour LCD display; and operation guidance functions including navigation keys.

Also included is a user default function. Not only is it possible via a simple function to reset the unit to factory default settings: it is also possible for the user to define his own 'default profile' to which it is possible to return. This means that an engineer can always quickly revert to a known working setup profile - without starting again from scratch or having to load a configuration file from a PC.

Target markets
Main target markets for the new controllers are machining facilities in a wide variety of industries including electrical equipment, machinery, chemicals, foods, semiconductors and automotive manufacturing.

FDI

Accelerated deployment of Field Device Integration accepted

Foundation joins other industry leaders in recent expansion of EDDL Cooperation Team into new FDI Cooperation

The HART® Communication Foundation announces its support of accelerating the deployment of the Field Device Integration (FDI) technology by enlarging the scope of the EDDL Cooperation Team into the new FDI Cooperation. The FDI Cooperation supports a uniform device integration solution for process industries across all control and host systems, devices and field device communication protocols as requested by end users around the world.

The new cooperation initially consists of major technology trade organizations, FDT Group, Fieldbus Foundation, HART Communication Foundation, OPC Foundation and PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation, and control equipment supplier companies, ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, Honeywell, Invensys, Siemens, and Yokogawa. The addition of these supplier companies, who have agreed to support FDI solutions in their systems and products, will provide valuable resources for the completion of this project.

“The Foundation fully supports the development of a unified device integration solution. Not only are we working towards fulfilling the requirements of our global users but we are also simplifying the development and support requirements for suppliers,” says HART Communication Foundation Executive Director Ron Helson. “Simplifying the integration of a variety of devices manufactured by different suppliers into multiple control and asset management systems is our common goal.”

In addition to the finalization of the FDI specification, which is scheduled for mid 2010, the scope of the enlarged FDI Cooperation is to cover common design and test tools, common binary format and interpreter across the protocols of HART, FF and PROFIBUS.

The FDI project was initially kicked-off at the 2007 Hanover Fair at which time ECT welcomed FDT Group with the primary objective of harmonizing EDDL and FDT/DTM technologies. Since then, the project has carefully shaped the technology direction for the converged FDI solution.

Remote system

Remote video monitoring system for utilities

WIPAT increases security and provides a virtual patrol for remote facilities

Satel-West
has announced its WIPAT Remote Patrol and Monitoring System for utilities such as electric power companies, oil and natural gas pipelines, and water & wastewater treatment plants. The system provides constant monitoring of remote utilities and public infrastructure without land-based vulnerabilities or reliance on telecommunications carriers.

WIPAT is a long-range, drop-in-place, wireless video monitoring system that provides video clips, still images, event logging, access control, multiple digital sensor inputs, output contacts for control of devices, and a suite of event logging tools. Advanced configuration allows for large networks, integration with common industrial control hardware and software, integration with common security hardware and software, satellite connection and redundancy.

Operating on wireless public safety channels with options for satellite connection and solar power, WIPAT allows industry and public services to monitor critical areas without relying on vulnerable ground connections, such as phone lines, fiber optic cable or hardwired networks. WIPAT delivers a unique combination of Satel wireless and satellite technology integrated with Longwatch remote video hardware and software to deliver cost effective security and surveillance systems for remote locations and assets.

Longwatch components include a Video Engine at each remote site to acquire and archive live video from multiple cameras, and interface to Satel wireless components. The Satel system transmits video via wireless to a utility’s control room, where a Longwatch Video Control Center takes incoming video data from the remote sites, stores it on a local disk, and presents it on the utility’s HMI/SCADA system. The Satel/Longwatch system can interface with all leading SCADA and distributed control systems (DCSes), making it a drop-in-place monitoring system for all existing utility control systems.

This system not only provides live and archived video for security purposes, the video can also be used by operators to monitor and diagnose control or operational problems at remote sites. An operator at an HMI can select a live feed from any camera at any remote site to investigate problems at remote pumping stations, compressor stations, switching systems, substations or power generating plants. The operator can also “go back in time” to see archived video from 10 seconds to 10 days before an event occurred.

“Longwatch provides a robust and flexible complement to our long range products and we are very excited about our technologies and resources coming together to enhance public security,” said Sergio Tacci, President of Satel-West. “The ability to see, document, record, and respond to events anywhere was not enough. We wanted to have a product completely removed from land-based service providers, yet simple and affordable enough for small as well as large utilities.”

“Longwatch is pleased to provide the Longwatch Video Surveillance software and appliances for the new WIPAT system. When combined with SATEL-West radios, Longwatch surveillance systems provide utilities unique capabilities to view live video or video clips related to events and alarms. Delivering video to the central control center enables operators to make better and more timely decisions when responding to remote events,” stated Steve Rubin, President & CEO of Longwatch, Inc. “In addition, the distributed architecture of the Longwatch Video System provides operators with secure storage of high resolution video for use in investigations or prosecution.”

See also
25 Years of PC-Based Control for the inside story of Longwatch!

Remote controller

High-bandwidth, low-latency fibre-optic remote controller
New controller provides up to 838 MB/s data bandwidth at up to 100 metres between host PC and distributed PXI Express chassis


National Instruments has introduced a high-bandwidth fibre-optic remote controller for PXI Express-based automated test, measurement and control systems. The new PXIe-PCIe8375 MXI-Express remote controller for PXI Express incorporates a x4 PCI Express link to provide a low-latency interface with sustained bandwidth of up to 838 MB/s to and from an NI rack-mount, Dell or Hewlett-Packard host PC for advanced performance in a variety of applications. The fibre-optic cable and controller interface of the new controller offer increased distance between the host PC and chassis, improved electrical isolation and greater cabling flexibility compared to a copper remote controller cable and interface. The NI PXIe-PCIe8375 can deliver high-bandwidth performance at distances of up to 100 meters compared to the 7-meter distance afforded by using a passive copper cable and remote controller interface.

The NI PXIe-PCIe8375 remote controller is ideal for many engineers and scientists designing distributed test, measurement and control systems that require high-bandwidth, low-latency data transfers to and from the host PC and PXI Express instrumentation. Such applications include high-channel-count data acquisition systems used for harsh environmental testing and control I/O or measurements in particle accelerators and large test and research facilities. Other use cases include applications such as signal intelligence and mixed-signal testing, which require high-data bandwidth for streaming high-frequency measurements back to the host PC with minimal electrical noise in the system. The 10-, 30- and 100-meter fibre-optic cable lengths of the NI PXIe-PCIe8375 provide a variety of options for engineers and scientists who require this additional electrical isolation in their systems, including protection against electrical shorts and differing ground potentials between the host PC and distributed instrumentation systems.

Additionally, the NI PXIe-PCIe8375 remote controller’s PCI Express configuration ensures software transparency and compatibility with no additional programming when upgrading PCI- and PXI-based MXI-3 and MXI-4 systems. The software transparency and compatibility apply to software applications and drivers as well as industry-standard desktop computers, servers and workstations. The new fibre-optic PXI Express remote controller also works seamlessly with NI software including the LabVIEW graphical system design environment, NI TestStand test management software, the LabWindows™/CVI ANSI C development system, SignalExpress interactive measurement software and new VeriStand real-time test configuration software.
Software for high accuracy recognition and metrology

LMI Technologies Inc. (LMI) announces the release of Version 4.1 of their HexSight software for high accuracy recognition and metrology. The new V4.1 HexSight Software adds further support for colour image processing and hardware acceleration and now supports Sony Intelligent Cameras.

“HexSight 4.1 is a first class recognition and metrology library suitable for deployment on PCs and now embedded platforms like the Sony Intelligent Camera product line”, says Terry Arden, CEO of LMI Technologies.

HexSight’s geometric pattern recognition technology offers flexible and reliable contour-based identification of objects unaffected by scale, orientation, lighting, occlusion, clutter, contrast reversal, or even subtle colour variation. After finding objects, it delivers a flexible set of metrology tools to measure and confirm that the parts meet key tolerances.

To maximise capabilities of the software, HexSight 4.1 incorporates a wide range of third party camera and frame grabber support. The latest release adds support for fully compliant GigE Vision Cameras, adding to the current capability to work with any IEEE 1394(Firewire) and USB camera that uses a DirectShow driver.

HexSight 4.1 is ideal for a vast array of machine vision challenges including road sign detection, solar wafer inspection, shirt tag location and analyses, optical character recognition, brake pad inspection, part sorting and sizing plus many other applications.


"But don’t just take our word for it. Test your ideas today by downloading your free trial of the HexSight software" .