Thursday, December 23, 2010

25 years in the CAN!

February 1986, the CAN protocol was presented the first time to the public at the SAE conference in Detroit. Bosch presented its serial bus system dedicated for embedded networking in passenger cars. One year later, Intel introduced the first CAN stand-alone controller followed by Philips Semiconductors in 1988. In the meantime, the CAN protocol has become one of the mainstream communication technologies. The success as in-vehicle networks is unique in the automotive history.

All early competitors are gone. And more: CAN has penetrated many markets, what was not intended by the fathers of the CAN protocol.

Holger Zeltwanger
According to the CAN in Automation (CiA) nonprofit users and manufacturers group, there have been sold in the 25 years more than two and a half billion CAN modules. And the automotive industry is still hungry on CAN chips. Even low-end vehicles are going to use CAN technology – this includes also light electrical vehicles (LEV) such as Pedelecs and E-bikes.

Also in many other industries CAN networks are in use. This includes industrial automation, machine control, medical devices, public transportation, maritime electronics, laboratory automation and even extreme applications such as sub-sea instrumentation, mining machines, and satellites. “In any system, in which more than three micro-controllers need to communicate, CAN is an opportunity,” said Holger Zeltwanger, CiA Managing Director

Even if the CAN protocol is 25 years old, there are still some developments on the physical layer and the implementation. Recently, CAN transceiver with integrated galvanic isolation have been introduced, and a CAN transceiver with selective wake-up capability has been submitted for international standardization. CiA has also received requests for an acoustic CAN transmission to be used in underwater applications. But the CAN protocol is still the same. It has not been changed. “This is one of the reasons of the success,” explained Holger Zeltwanger. “In particular, for mission-critical applications and systems with long life-times a stable communication protocol is essential.”

More than 50 companies offer CAN protocol implementations. Nowadays, nearly all micro-controller families include members with CAN module on chip. The broad variety of CAN implementations satisfies very different requirements: High-end dashboards with gateway functionality and high-performed industrial controllers on the one side, and low-end sensors and other simple cost-sensitive devices on the other end.

The future for CAN looks quite good. New application fields are just emerging: For example communication between battery and charger for e-mobility, battery-powered service robots, and very small motors with integrated controller for diverse applications including domestic appliances and laboratory automation. Especially for safety-critical systems, CAN is due its robustness and reliability the only choice. And the chips are available for outdoor conditions. It is not necessary to stress the reasonable prices for the CAN chips.

“On behalf of the CiA community I like to thank the inventers of the CAN protocol and the developers of the CAN implementations,” said Holger Zeltwanger. “You have done a great job, even if it was not intended in the beginning to satisfy so many different applications.”

Trend the process on your mobile device

ExperTune’s PlantTriage now provides real-time trending of process variables on your mobile phone.  Live data from a control system is relayed to your cell phone’s browser.  This feature allows users to have immediate access to control-room data, even when working remotely out in the plant.
Proven in hundreds of plants worldwide, the PlantTriage control performance monitoring system automatically diagnoses and prioritizes process, control, and instrumentation problems, 24 hours a day.  Integrated analysis and tuning tools improve plant results by focusing effort on the most critical issues. 
“Once you detect a physical problem with an instrument or a valve, you may have to walk 15 minutes to repair it.  Once it is repaired, you need to see if you truly fixed the problem.  Rather than walk back to the control room, now you can simply check your phone.” says George Buckbee, ExperTune’s Vice President of Product Development.
The trending tools provide immediate trends of process variables, setpoints, and controller outputs.  Users can zoom, span and scale the trends to see details. Other features of the PlantTriage Control Performance Monitor are also available directly via a cell phone browser.  For example, users can browse through reports and dashboards that pinpoint instrument issues, valve issues, and tuning problems. 
John Gerry, President of ExperTune, adds, “These mobile tools add a new level of efficiency for plant engineers and technicians.  By eliminating wasted time, plants can focus more effort in the right place.”
The new tools are included in the version 10 release of ExperTune’s PlantTriage software. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Free tool simplifies planning, validation and documentation of fieldbus technology

The Fieldbus Foundation has released DesignMATE a complete software tool for planning, validation and documentation of Foundation fieldbus H1 segments. User-friendly DesignMATE automatically audits segment layouts for conformance with the Foundation physical layer specification, which is based on the international IEC 61158-2 (Type 1) standard. This assures end users their fieldbus infrastructure will work with desired parameters such as cable length, number and type of installed devices, and selected power supplies.
“With the DesignMATE software, end users can simplify the implementation of Foundation technology,” said Fieldbus Foundation manager – fieldbus products, Stephen Mitschke. “This tool verifies that a fieldbus physical layer conforms to accepted industry standards and is designed for optimal performance and reliability. It is ideally suited for engineering firms or system integrators designing new or expanded process plants, as well as plant control engineers or technicians adding new devices to existing fieldbus segments.”

Mitschke added, “DesignMATE helps in foreseeing any issues with the configuration of a fieldbus system prior to implementation. It allows users to perform rapid calculations, eliminate human error, improve efficiency, and minimize the amount of paperwork required during the segment design phase.”

Available for free download on the End User Resources page on the FF website, the DesignMATE software provides an intuitive graphical user interface and mouse support, enabling fieldbus segment design “on the fly” with drag & drop capabilities. The tool displays fieldbus segments in the form of an exportable image of a stylised topology. A printable report in Rich Text Format (.rtf) is also available. Users can analyze and check key physical layer parameters, such as supply voltage, load conditions at all terminals of power supply, fieldbus couplers and field instruments. An error log indicates deviations from the Foundation specification in clear text visuals for immediate remedy by the user.

DesignMATE also has the unique capability to consider ambient temperature and cable parameters, which can be easily set in the respective dialog windows. Default values for spur length or device load current only need to be established once.

Additionally, the DesignMATE tool is equipped with libraries for all components in the typical Foundation fieldbus infrastructure, including power supplies, fieldbus couplers for both safe and hazardous plant areas, and field instruments. Fieldbus devices from a wide range of automation equipment manufacturers are available in the software. An easy-to-use device editor is included for creation of custom instrument libraries.

Technical support for DesignMATE is available on Fieldbus Forums.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Transducers ideally suited to tests involving shock and vibration

Linear variable displacement transducers (LVDTs) from RDP Electronics are inherently robust and durable enough to meet the rigours of testing in situations generating vibration or shock.

Such test situations are numerous, but typical applications include vehicle testing, recoil testing, switchgear testing, and use on rolling mills and steel production machines, which often involve high levels of shock and vibration. Thanks to the rugged LVDT technology they have a high cycle life, excellent accuracy and repeatability with the added advantage of being an absolute device with infinite resolution. Because the sliding core of an LVDT does not touch the inside of the tube in which it is housed, it can move without friction, making the LVDT a highly reliable device, while the absence of any sliding or rotating contacts allows the device to be totally sealed. Typically the housing is of stainless steel providing high levels of protection against the operational environment. RDP offers comprehensive ranges of LVDTs for many types of accurate displacement measurement.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Online-tool for system integrators

Thomson's website offers new online tools that users and system integrators can use to find the right product in exactly the right size.
Thomson has enhanced its customer support with the addition of innovative product selection, configuration and sizing tools to its website. These tools can be found online at http://thomsonlinear.com/website/com/eng/design_tools.php. Depending on their requirements, users can select one of the following tools for products across Thomson's comprehensive range, which includes linear bearings and guides, planetary gearheads, ball screws, brakes and clutches, linear actuators, motors, linear motion systems and controllers:
    - Thomson Product Selectors – with one selector for each product segment, simply specify the desired product features and generate a list of products in an easy-to-read comparison table
    - Linear MOTIONEERING® – sizing, selection and quotation tool for linear systems
    - Micron MOTIONEERING® – sizing, selection and pricing application tool for Thomson’s wide variety of transmission products
The Product Selector tool has a special input screen to help you choose the appropriate model(s) for you. Each product category has its own product selector or “advisor”: ball screws and splines, lead screws, linear bearings, linear race shafting, profile rail linear guides, linear guide: round rail, linear actuators, precision balls, precision linear actuators and clutches and brakes. In the example shown in illustration 1 (“Linear Bearings” selector), you can first select the product family (e.g., Super Smart, Miniature Instrument, XR Extra Rigid, etc.) and then enter the shaft size in inches or millimetres. Under bearing options, enter the desired bearing type (open, closed, adjustable) and specify if additional features, such as wipers, seals, etc., are required. There is also help available with many of the options to guide you in choosing the appropriate features. With each option or feature clicked, the list of matching linear bearings on the right hand side of the window will update until only a few suitable models are displayed. You can also generate a special comparison table to see all the characteristics differentiating the products listed at a glance, providing additional help in making your choice.

The innovative Linear MOTIONEERING and Micron MOTIONEERING tools are web-based sizing, selection and calculation tools for linear positioning slide systems and for Thomson transmission products. The user simply enters application parameters in a few simple steps and application needs are filtered through a comprehensive set of calculations, such as linear bearing load/life, ballscrew critical speed, specific movement profiles and radial/axial forces. The tool then produces a set of product solutions tailored precisely to your application requirements. Once a product solution is selected, you can choose from a wide assortment of accessories, motors and motor mounts. In addition to this, the program offers interactive 3D models, list prices, delivery times and ordering information.

Also available on the website are interactive 3D models offering a three-dimensional representation of every Thomson product, which you can observe from all angles, using your mouse to zoom in and out. The dimensions and all other essential data are also displayed. Graphics can be downloaded in all common image and CAD formats, and you can even send an order request directly to Thomson from the illustration.

Website upgrade

Iconics has launched an upgrade of its website www.ICONICS.com. Virtual visitors to the new site are advised that they will experience a vibrant and innovative Website. Features included the latest technology for website design such as Silverlight, Content Management System (CMS), Tag Clouds and other advanced Web 2.0 features.
The new site offers the following benefits to the visitor:
    Intuitive access to information through simplified navigation.  Integrated Bing Maps and YouTube Video.  A beautiful, modern visual interface.  Content tailored to unique solutions, industries & job roles.

With the launch of the new Website, they welcome customers with SupportWorX Agreements to the Iconics Customer Connection , a Web portal devoted to customer support. On this portal, Hot Fixes, Complete Products, Services Packs, and Documentation are available for customer download.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Displacement measurement in pressure test vessels

Accurately measuring displacement in pressure test vessels demands robust, miniature transducers that are designed to withstand tough conditions. RDP Electronics offers several ranges of linear variable displacement transducers (LVDTs) that can withstand not only the pressures involved but where required submersion in water and oils – even combinations of pressure with high temperatures in some extreme cases.

Testing typically involves soil, rock and core samples and according to the precise requirement, LVDTs from RDP’s D5, PY and LIN ranges can provide the appropriate solution. Designed for use while submerged in fresh water, most corrosive liquids and gases, RDP’s D5 transducer series offers micron accuracy, can be sealed to withstand pressures up to 34 bar and is well suited to soil testing. Options include unguided and spring operated versions and a choice of end (axial) or side (radial) connections.

For component testing, the compact PY range is ideal for use where access or mounting space is limited, as it uses the variable reluctance principle to measure the distance of a metallic target over ranges of 1.5mm to 6mm from the transducer's body without any direct contact. Finally, the LIN transducer is suitable for submersion and capable of working at temperatures up to 450°C or pressures of 200 bar. The standard range of LIN transducers are available for measurement ranges from ±5 mm up to ±25 mm and as well as withstanding extreme high and low temperatures are also suitable for environments subject to exposure to radiation.

Connector hoods

A new range of hoods for Hartings's Han-Compact® family of industrial connectors offer a choice of straight or angled cable entry, and are based on a two-piece structure for convenient handling.

The compact metal hoods are suitable for all contact inserts in the Han-Compact® range, and include variants with surfaces for standard and EMC applications. The outer threads are moulded onto the hood. The range also includes cost-effective half-cable glands for a range of cable diameters and an IRIS spring for shield termination.

Thanks to the two-piece design of the hood, users can slip the hood element including the cable gland onto the cable during assembly. This facilitates speedy installation and rapid wiring of the contacts. The operation is completed by closing the hood element and fastening it with the screws.

A separate earth conductor terminal on the hood enables the use of connectors with higher rated voltages and currents. Connectors suited to use with the new hoods include the Han® Q 4/2 with crimp and axial screw termination, the Han® Q 8/0 with crimp and Han-Quick Lock® termination, the Han® Q 17/0 with crimp termination and the Han® Q Data RJ 45.

Convert analog signals into IO-Link signals

Until now it has been costly to connect and incorporate analog input/output signals, even though they generally only make up less than 10% of the signals used in a system. The reasons include the use of shielded cable on the installation side and expensive multi-channel input modules on the controller side. The new IO-Link Analog Plugs from Balluff with their high resolution of 14 bits provide the solution. They are the ideal choice for systems with limited instances of analog signals.

With an IP 67 enclosure rating, the plugs feature a space-saving housing, are connected directly to the sensor and convert the analog signals into IO-Link signals before transmission. In this way they provide significant savings potential.

In place of expensive shielded cables, simple unshielded, 3-conductor cable is used. The signal neutrality of the IO-Link ports on the IO-Link Master module in combination with the IO-Link plugs ensures maximum signal variance. Mixing of different input, output, current and voltage signals can be mixed on one module.

Versions are available with a current input of 4-20 mA, voltage from 0-10 V or PT 100, a current output of 4-20 mA and a voltage output of 0-10 V.

Innovation achievement award

HART Innovative Achievement Award presented to We Energies for exceptional ingenuity in using HART technology
Ron Helson, HART® Communication Foundation Executive Director, (left) presents the HART Innovative Achievement Award to We Energies, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, represented by Todd Gordon (right), We Energies Valley Power Plant Computer Instrument Technician Leader, and Bob Vigansky, We Energies Pleasant Prairie Power Plant Computer/Instrument Technician.
The HART® Communication Foundation has selectded We Energies, (WI US), for the HART Innovative Achievement Award. The award recognizes exceptional achievement, ingenuity and innovation in using the power of HART Communication in real-time applications to improve operations and maintenance and to realize greater benefits from intelligent instrumentation and automation system investments.

We Energies, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Corporation, is using the power of HART Communication technology in all life-cycle phases of operation including design, construction, device configuration, loop check, operations, maintenance, troubleshooting and insurance compliance testing in all ten of its power plants.

“HART Communication provides the ability to look inside a device to determine if it is healthy or not,” says Todd Gordon, computer instrument technician leader at We Energies Valley Power Plant. “You don’t know what you don’t know. We learned that using HART technology for full-time communication with our instrumentation helps us to better manage our key measurements and control valves – saving us both time and money.”

“We were impressed with how extensively We Energies is using HART Communication throughout their plant operations. They are requiring all new devices and control systems to be HART-capable taking full advantage of the communication and intelligent capabilities of their instrumentation systems,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director.

HART smart valve positioners have been in use at We Energies since 1999 providing valuable diagnostic capabilities that have allowed engineers to detect and troubleshoot problems while the valves are in operation. “HART Communication helps to pinpoint problems before mechanics start taking valves apart,” says Gordon. “A leaking valve diaphragm which has been identified with diagnostics can be replaced without removing the valve. We have found numerous problems before they affected plant operations.”

HART Communication has allowed We Energies to move to predictive maintenance for measurement, control and safety instruments in key applications. “We have realized substantial cost savings by monitoring valve condition remotely and identifying valves that are leaking steam or losing instrument air,” says Gordon.  

Gordon suggests a straightforward approach on how to get started using HART technology. “Identify a specific system or operational plant problem, speak to the field techs that have worked on this problem, designate a HART champion, then concentrate on one aspect of the problem at a time,” he says.  “It also helps to prioritize problem devices that could shut down the plant and focus on the highest priority devices.”

Partnership secures OPC connectivity solutions.

CNL Software Inc. is the newest member to join  MatrikonOPC's Global Partner Network. CNL Software Inc. will be integrating MatrikonOPC’s full range of OPC Servers into its IPSecurityCenter – a software-based integration and management platform. IPSecurityCenter connects and manages disparate building and security technology such as video surveillance, life critical systems, radar, analytics, HVAC, PIDS, GPS tracking and GIS mapping. With MatrikonOPC’s secure and reliable OPC Servers, CNL customers will be able to easily integrate their automation systems into a single operator workstation for all visualization dashboards.
As a Vendor Partner member of the MatrikonOPC Global Partner Network, CNL will standardize on MatrikonOPC for its OPC data connectivity solutions. The MatrikonOPC Vendor Partner Program enables software and hardware vendors to provide their customers with world class connectivity software and support, while keeping the vendors’ resources focused on their core areas of expertise.

CNL is a world leader in Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) software and provides complete Integrated Situation Management. CNL’s technology is deployed to secure major cities, critical infrastructure and global commerce and to address key issues such as asset protection, energy reduction, process compliance and business advantage in converged physical environments.

“While CNL has a generic OPC driver, in many cases the amount of data—particularly from legacy BMS and oil and gas systems—is best collected by a specialist provider with exceptional reliability. MatrikonOPC is a leader in this field, so a technology partnership with them is a logical step,”
said Jon Lunnerfeldt, Technology Alliance Program Manager at CNL Software.

“Delivering exceptional value to our customers is one of the cornerstones of our strategy for long term growth. MatrikonOPC will work closely with CNL to help provide its customers with the right products and on-going live support to ensure their OPC architectures are secure and reliable,” said Drew Brydon, Vendor Partner Program Manager MatrikonOPC.

DD development & tools added to comms protocol

The HART®Communication Foundation  has released Version 4.0 of the HART Device Description Integrated Development Environment (DD-IDE). The new DD-IDE Version 4.0 supports the HART enhanced Device Description Language (DDL) Specification, HART 7 and the development of Device Descriptions (DDs) for WirelessHARTÒ devices. The HART DD-IDE tool suite is a comprehensive set of integrated software tools for efficient development, testing and maintenance of enhanced HART DDs.
 
“The release of the DD-IDE Version 4.0 is part of the Foundation’s continuous improvement process and effort to enhance the development and testing of HART DDs for new or upgraded field devices,”
says Ed Ladd, Foundation Director of Technology Programs. “As the HART standard for DD development and testing, the new DD-IDE tool set is receiving widespread support from device developers and system suppliers worldwide.”

Key components of the new DD-IDE Version 4.0 are:  new HART 7 standard DDs; an updated reference host SDC-625 Smart Device Configurator including support for UTF-8 Unicode; an updated XMTR-DD device simulator; an improved DDL Tokenizer that verifies and encodes the DD source code into its advanced format; and new and improved Wizards for DD development. The DD-IDE Version 4.0 increases developer productivity by simplifying DD development.

Device Description Language (IEC 61804-2, EDDL) has been a key element of the HART technology since 1990 and is the HART standard and the only technology endorsed by the HCF for configuration of HART devices. The enhanced Device Description Language simplifies and standardizes the presentation of intelligent device information for both automation suppliers and users worldwide.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

#ISAwk Call for papers issued

The Program Committee of ISA Automation Week 2011: Technology and Solutions Event has issued a Call for Papers inviting authors, experts, innovators, thought leaders and automation professionals to submit abstracts for presentation consideration at the conference to be held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile (AL US) 17-20 October 2011.

The Call for Papers for the event solicits abstracts that cover topics for the following tracks, as they relate to automation:

Greg McMillan
The ISA Automation Week 2011 Program Committee represents ISA members, industry experts, academia, and published authors, across industry:
General Chair
Ken Baker, former ISA president
Program Chair
Greg McMillan, CDI Process & Industrial
Vice Program Chair
Dean Ford, MAVERICK Technologies
Program Committee Members

Jeff Arbogast, Air Liquide
Gerald Cockrell, Indiana State University
John Kuenzler, ARC Advisory Group
Greg Lehmann, URS Corporation
Dale Merriman, MerTech, Inc.
Russell Rhinehart, Oklahoma State University
Rick Zabel, Automation.com
Advanced Process Control Techniques
Analyzers
Automation and Control System Design
Energy and Environmental
Human Asset Optimization
Installation, Operations, & Maintenance
Networks and Use of Data
Safety and Security
Wireless Technology and Applications

"This is your chance to participate in the most pertinent and comprehensive technical conference for the automation profession. Essentially every aspect of process asset and human asset optimization is included. The scope of topics should help maximize loop and process performance and optimize the use of technology and resources,” said Greg McMillan with CDI Process & Industrial and ISA Automation Week 2011 program committee chair.

The ISA Automation Week 2011 technical program is building upon its initial success and will continue to be a knowledge-focused event that will bring top professionals in automation and control together for an intensive technical conference and networking opportunity with key industry suppliers. Sessions will be educational and applications-based, rich in content, and delivered by subject-matter experts in each field. Among new program features in 2011 is a dedicated Technician Day, that offers content relevant to this profession that ranges from basic to advanced topics.


“The range of topics starts with the development and justification of automation projects and continues to the use of the latest in measurement, valve, control system, and safety system technology. Other proposed topics cover selection of the best control strategy, enhancement of the power of the PID, addition of advanced control, installation and maintenance of the system, integration with the business and maintenance systems, use of data including data analytics, advances from the human design center for operator excellence, automation of loop tuning and metrics, education of automation professionals, operator training, improving operations and lowering total lifecycle costs,” McMillan continued. 

An integrated supplier showcase floor and increased supplier program participation will complement the technical program. Two 400-square-foot solutions swap theaters will be placed on the showcase floor and will integrate technical content via standards briefings, supplier solutions presentations, and more.


“We are encouraging engineers and technicians in plants and industry engineering centers, university professors and students, system integrators, architectural engineering firms, exhibitors, and suppliers to present how to improve project, system, operations, plant, and professional performance and advance our profession to the status it deserves," concluded McMillan.

The deadline for abstract submittals for consideration to present is 28 March 2011. More information about the Call for Papers, including a list of proposed topics, can be found on the Automation Week website.

Automation Week 2010 was held in Houston Texas. What did we and others think? See : Much done more to do! and Debacle or basis for development!

Environmental management system certified

GreenPeak Technologies has announced that its environmental management system received ISO 14001:2004 certification from Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance.

GreenPeak's green vision was established from day one of its founding, as its technology enables the reduction or elimination of battery usage and energy efficient applications for sensor networks like in homes and buildings. These sensor control networks will also help improve people and companies to increase the awareness of energy consumption and the capability to manage and reduce it.

“GreenPeak is committed to a long term strategy aimed at increased environmental accountability,” said Cees Links, CEO of GreenPeak Technologies. “GreenPeak’s development is focused on the core of what it takes to make our world carbon neutral. The implementation of an environmental management system is therefore a valuable lesson of environmental management for a fabless and green semiconductor company.”

GreenPeak Technologies, already ISO 9001:2008 certified, has integrated the ISO 14001:2004 standard’s requirements into the existing quality management system to provide a streamlined framework to build and manage an environmentally sustainable business.

To achieve ISO 14001:2004 certification, GreenPeak successfully passed a series of comprehensive audits by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, a leading global, independent certification body in this field.

Fully scalable tank gauging system

Emerson's Raptor system helps refineries and bulk liquid storage plants handle the ever-increasing demands on efficiency, accuracy and safety

Emerson Process Management’s new Raptor tank gauging system makes it easy to install the devices needed today and add or replace units in the future. This flexibility protects users’ investments so that refineries and tank farms can easily become and stay efficient. Additional benefits include lower installation costs, high accuracy and built-in safety features.

The unique 2-in-1 functionality
– with two independent radar
gauges in one single enclosure –
provides SIL 3 safety for overfill prevention
The Raptor system consists of a complete range of tank gauging instrumentation including high performance, non-contact radar level gauges, temperature and pressure transmitters, plus water interface sensors and inventory management software. Tank hubs are used to communicate with the measuring instruments and control room via standard communication protocols. The design is based on open technology and is fully scalable with functionality and scope that can be adapted to any application and performance class.    

The system includes new safety technologies to help protect plant assets, personnel and the environment. One example is the unique 2-in-1 functionality, with two independent radar gauges in one single enclosure, providing SIL 3 safety for overfill prevention. There are also a number of other dual redundant configurations available to suit individual tank safety requirements.

Raptor reduces installation costs substantially. Raptor’s unique, bus-powered 2-wire Tankbus communication, is based on self-configuring FoundationTM fieldbus technology, allowing easy start-up and integration of all system units. The tank units are intrinsically safe, which means no expensive cable conduits are required. Communication to the control room can be made using Modbus over most existing cabling, or using other fieldbus standards.

Further installation cost savings can be realised with Emerson’s Smart Wireless functionality, which eliminates the need for long distance signal wiring. This is especially valuable when no suitable cabling is available and it is necessary to cross roads, or when ground conditions make cabling expensive. Wireless communication can also be used as a redundant and independent communication path beside the traditional wired communication.

There are many tank farms with gauging based on older technology − even in fairly recent installations, leading to maintenance problems and low performance. Raptor can emulate gauges from other manufacturers. This means the customers can add Raptor units to their existing system using the same cabling and control room infrastructure.

Raptor is built around a new line of Rosemount® 0.5 mm (0.02 in.) precision radar level gauges, and ultra stable temperature transmitters with 3- or 4-wire multiple spot sensors. The result is the highest available precision in net volume calculations for custody transfer and inventory management. Having access to reliable and accurate tank content information in real time is key to high plant efficiency, as the operators can handle even more tanks, fill the tanks higher and better utilise the storage capacity.

Emerson’s Rosemount Tank Gauging is the world market leader in systems for high precision tank gauging used at refineries and bulk liquid storage plants. The systems are applied on all types of storage tanks, both fixed roof and floating roof tanks. The radar gauges use the drip-off antenna concept, proven in 100,000+ installations world-wide. They can be used in virtually any liquid ranging from light products such as liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, and gasoline, to heavier products such as crude oils, and asphalt.

Added value & Performance to automated test and control applications

National Instruments has two new PXI Express chassis that deliver added value and performance to automated test and control applications at the same price as similar PXI chassis. Engineers can use the NI PXIe-1078 nine-slot and NI PXIe-1071 four-slot chassis to take advantage of the latest PXI Express modules and controllers with the flexibility of backward compatibility with existing PXI modules.

“With the launch of the PXIe-1078 and PXIe-1071, NI now offers 20 different PXI and PXI Express chassis, delivering the most flexibility and value for engineers designing PXI systems,” said Eric Starkloff, vice president of product marketing for NI. “Whether you need to optimize your system for cost, size, streaming performance or legacy compatibility, NI brings the most complete offering to market.”

The NI PXIe-1078 nine-slot chassis features 1 GB/s total system bandwidth. It accepts up to a four-slot wide embedded controller in one slot and supports up to eight peripheral PXI Express slots with five slots compatible with both PXI Express and PXI modules. In addition to the benefits of a PXI Express chassis, the NI PXIe-1078 includes one more module slot than the same priced NI PXI-1042 standard eight-slot PXI chassis. With a shallow depth of 214.2 millimeters (8.43 inches), the NI PXIe-1078 also delivers higher slot-counts to applications with tight space requirements.

The NI PXIe-1071 four-slot chassis offers 3 GB/s total system bandwidth. It accepts up to a four-slot wide controller in one slot, with three slots available for either PXI Express or PXI modules. This chassis offers more than 20 times the bandwidth of the same priced NI PXI-1031 standard four-slot PXI chassis. Both chassis feature a compact form factor and temperature range of zero to 50 degrees Celsius.

The chassis is a fundamental part of a PXI system, and all NI chassis deliver optimal reliability, cooling, acoustical and electrical performance. The new chassis fully support specification-compliant PXI hardware from NI as well as third parties and include capabilities for both PXI and PXI Express modules to preserve existing module investments. Functioning as part of a software-defined measurement system, these chassis integrate with NI software, including the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment and NI TestStand test management software, to address next-generation test and control requirements.

Major design award

Han-Yellock®
Distinguished by the coveted
iF product design award:
At this year’s International Forum Design (iF) competition the international jury bestowed the iF product design award 2011 (in the "industry + skilled trades" category) on the Han-Yellock® by the Harting Technology Group. Since its inception in the year 1953, the iF award is an acknowledged hallmark distinguishing excellent design. “By participating in the iF competition companies document their commitment to innovation and the courage to measure up to competitors," as a spokesperson of the iF International Forum Design GmbH declared. With its Han-Yellock® the company has once again demonstrated innovative strengths and is playing a pioneering role throughout the sector.

Both the design and the technical capabilities of the Han-Yellock® have impressed professionals, as reflected by the fact that two renowned trade magazines have selected the Han-Yellock® as the "Product of the Month" this year. The iF product design award 2011 also underlines the strength of the design in an international context: some 1,121 participants from 43 countries submitted products to this year’s award competition.


“The design of the Han-Yellock® perfectly embodies our claim of “New Thinking“ and aptly expresses the harmony of form and functionality. The iF product design award also rewards our courage to pursue new approaches. Fielding the Han-Yellock® we are proving that innovative connector technology not only embodies key functionalities, but is also capable of cutting a distinctive design profile," as Philip Harting, Vice President Connectivity & Networks of the Harting Technology Group commented.

Radar level transmitters certified IEC 61508

K-TEK, (we love the intro on their home page!), which is part of ABB,  has announced that the company's MT5000 Series of Guided Wave Radar Transmitters has been certified for use in SIL2/3 (Safety Integrity Levels 2 and 3) applications. The MT5000 Series is the only guided wave radar transmitter in the industry to be certified to the demanding, performance-based IEC 61508 safety standard. To obtain SIL certification, the products must be analyzed based on quantitative data and tests indicating the length of time between failures and expected performance in the field. This certification emphasizes quantitative measures for reducing risk at the process measurement level when implementing Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) in process plant environments.

"When it has to be safe and reliable, you want a device that has been thoroughly inspected and certified by a third party," said Charles Richard, Global Product Manager for Radar products at K-TEK. "K-TEK is the only guided wave radar transmitter manufacturer to provide a certified SIL2/3 product offering. The MT5000 Series provides reliable measurements even in the most complex situations. This makes it ideal for a variety of level applications, such as light hydrocarbons, low dielectric fluids, or fluids with foamy surfaces. Additionally, the MT5000 is self-monitoring, continually looking for any faults that could cause device failures or false indications."

The MT5000 devices feature an integrated graphic display for quick and easy viewing of waveform screens. The user-friendly setup menu supports a wide range of languages for fast setup in virtually any region of the world. A concentric waveguide directs the radar beam, alleviating divergence problems and echoes from tank walls and surrounding structures. In addition, the devices are unaffected by variations in specific gravity, and accurate level measurements are provided even with widely varying temperatures and pressures: up to 5000 psi (344 bar) or 800°F (427°C). The two-wire, loop powered design reduces wiring costs and provides a strong signal over distances.

Oil & gas power infrastructure contracts

Reliable power supply for several floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels to produce crude oil off the coast of Brazil

ABB has won several orders collectively worth $42 million to provide power supply infrastructure and equipment for several floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels. The vessels will produce crude oil off the coast of Brazil; they will be operated by several oil and gas producers, with Petrobras as the end customer. The orders were booked during the third quarter.

ABB’s comprehensive power equipment delivery for each vessel will ensure a reliable power supply onboard. Each delivery includes a containerized E-House (electrical house) for the complete power system, related power generation and distribution equipment, and engineering and installation services.

The contracts include:

  • Delivery of a complete Electrical Module ( E-House ) with complete power distribution systems to Brazilian oil and gas consortium QUIP, for installation on new PETROBRAS FPSO P-63 ( Papa-Terra field ). QUIP and BW Offshore will initially operate the vessel, which will later be operated by Petrobras.


  • Supply of an Electrical Module to control the heating system for Technip’s Risers on the Petrobras FPSO P-63 ( Papa-Terra field ). The “Integrated Production Bundles” IPB technological solution will be used in the heavy oil Papa-Terra field to increase the temperature of the fluid.


  • Electrical Module ( E-House ) with complete power distribution to SBM Offshore for the FPSO Cidade de Paraty. SBM Offshore has signed a contract with Petrobras for a twenty year charter and operation of an FPSO for the Tupi Nordeste development in the pre-salt area, offshore Brazil.




  • Power supply and distribution equipment to SBM Offshore for the FPSO Cidade de Anchieta. ABB’s deliverables are part of an upgrade for the vessel, which was previously stationed on the Espadarte field in Brazil. After modification, SBM Offshore will lease and operate the vessel on contract from Petrobras, on the developing Baleia Azul field off the coast of Brazil.

    “ABB’s overall oil and gas expertise, unique technology offerings for marine and offshore operations, and a broad range of electrical solutions help us to deliver reliable power infrastructure which these vessels will need to operate efficiently and safely,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division.
  • Panel PCs for hazardous areas

    POLARIS Touch Panel PCs with LED technology from Bartec are an innovative enhancement of the existing POLARIS Panel PCs. Available in the sizes 5.7", 10.4" and 12.1", these devices have been designed for the comfortable handling of simple machines such as mixers, dryers or filling stations and for the control and supervision of complex machines such as reactors, centrifuges or ball mills. All POLARIS devices have been designed for use in zone 1 + 2 as well as in zone 21 + 22. This guarantees the habitual PC comfort also in hazardous areas. The Panel PCs are especially suitable for use in the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industry.

    Advantages
    - LED technology
    - higher screen resolution
    - control via touch-screen
    - processor up to 1.6 GHz
    - user management
    - remote desktop solution
    - display of HTML pages
    - direct coupling in hazardous areas
    The high-resolution displays with LED background illumination and touch-screen allow an intuitive and comfortable handling. Even with large viewing angles or under unfavorable light conditions, the new LED display technology guarantees an optimal contrast. The well-proven LX800 processor offers sufficient processing power to display HTML pages or to serve as a remote client. This allows high-performance visualization and handling of processes on site. For a higher processing power, a high-performance Intel® Atom with 1.6 GHz together with Windows® 7 Embedded is optionally available.

    The latest visualization software for the POLARIS series BMS Graf pro Runtime 7 enables the user to work under Windows® XP Embedded, e.g. to transmit projects via Ethernet, to use graphic lists or to handle an integrated user management.

    An intrinsically safe USB interface for USB Ex i-memory sticks is also included. In addition to that, an intrinsically safe mouse, a trackball and a touchpad can be connected.

    POLARIS devices are available in standard versions or in customized versions. They can also be delivered in a stainless steel casing.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Handheld load cell indicator

    Battery powered, handheld load cell Iindicator – free calibration available

    The TR150 handheld load indicator from LCM Systems is a versatile and intuitive precision instrument, ideal for use by both OEMs and end users alike. The portable, environmentally sealed unit has been specifically designed for accuracy and versatility. It can be used with the full range of sensor technology from LCM Systems as part of portable load cell and calibration systems or as a shackle, link load or hire fleet load display. They also offers free calibration of the system if ordered with any sensor from the company’s extensive range.

    With only six keys to access, the operator can easily set up the unit and the configuration menu enables the setting of a tare value, display resolution, filter rate, auto power off and selection of low power mode – all through the front panel. This menu option also enables the user to tailor the instrument’s response to the application. The TR150 accepts an input range of up to 50mV/V and two separate ranges are available which means that the instrument can both read and display two separate parameters. In each range all the variables can be set, including zero and filtering.

    Engineers at LCM Systems are aware that power issues are important when designing portable instruments. TheTR150 incorporates a unique innovative power saving feature that means when enabled, connecting a 350 ohm bridge can offer up to 450 hours battery life. In normal power mode up to 35 hours battery life is achieved. The TR150 also incorporates an auto power off facility, which can be set during configuration in 1 minute increments up to 99 minutes.

    A host of options is available including RS232 output, batteries and battery chargers and a leather carry case.

    Radar level transmitter conforms to German norms

    The Rosemount® 5300 Guided Wave Radar (GWR) and 5400 Non-Contacting Radar level transmitters from Emerson Process Management are now available with approvals to the German Federal Water Act (WHG) regulations for overfill protection. Companies in the oil & gas production, refining, petrochemical, chemical, power industries and water and waste, will now benefit from the superior performance of Rosemount radar technology, while ensuring compliance with WHG overfill and water protection requirements.

    The transmitters successfully passed the third-party test by TÜV (Technische Überwachungsverein), the German testing authority responsible for testing overfill protection equipment according to requirements of the German WHG regulations. Proven instrument accuracy and reliability are key factors in the overfill protection approval process and the Rosemount radar devices were required to pass the comprehensive test of 5000 overfill situations for each transmitter, over the whole temperature range.

    The Rosemount 5300 and 5400 Series are high performance 2-wire radar transmitters for challenging level and interface measurements on liquids, slurries and solids. The products take advantage of the company’s 30 years of proven radar expertise and are designed to improve plant profitability through superior reliability, state-of-the-art safety features, effortless handling and unlimited connectivity.

    In both the Rosemount 5300 and 5400 Series, the analogue output which provides a continuous level measurement, can also be used to trigger an overfill alarm. The analogue signal is read by the control system which activates an alarm when a predetermined level is exceeded. In addition, the transmitters have an alarm function that indicates if the device has failed.

    Innovations such as Direct Switch Technology (DST) for GWR and Dual Port Technology for non-contacting radar, make the Rosemount 5300 and 5400 Series the most reliable radar transmitters available. DST enhances the capabilities of the GWR to handle disturbances, longer measuring range and lower dielectrics, even with the single probe design. The Dual Port Technology built into the 5400 Series, enables a stronger signal than other 2-wire radar transmitters, providing better measurement reliability.

    The robust designs prevent leakage and ensure reliable performance even under extreme process conditions. Heavy-duty probes are available to meet the extreme temperatures and pressure challenges with multiple layers of protection and advanced echo logics for reliable overfill detection. The 2-wire technology means that installation is fast and inexpensive.

    The user-friendly graphical interfaces with wizards, measure-and-learn functionality, suggestions for application specific configuration and PlantWeb™ functionality, ensures that the transmitter integrates easily into new or existing control systems. Together with maintenance-free operation and advanced diagnostics, the result is a quicker return on investment with overall improved uptime and enhanced safety.

    Integrated mounting layout in 3D

    Integrated mounting layout in electrical and fluid engineering now in 3D
    CAE systems are usually designed for 2D. EPLAN now has a 3D module, EPLAN Pro Panel, for efficient layout planning in electrical engineering and fluid power. With EPLAN Pro Panel you can define a virtual 3D prototype of the mounting layout independently of the electrical or fluid schematic. Users benefit from associative views in the mounting layout and optimal utilisation of the space available in the enclosure.

    Mounting panels, housings or enclosures can be dimensioned optimally so that the costs are reduced. Consistent data for all the participating engineering disciplines ensure that the workflow towards the production is also efficient. Designing on the basis of the EPLAN platform is supported fully in both electrical and fluid engineering. This applies to mounting panels that are planned with EPLAN Electric P8 as well as for hydraulics units designed with EPLAN Fluid. Attrition losses through data conversion between the disciplines are a thing of the past.

    The optional Pro Panel module offers all the functions for equipping mounting panels or for defining power units and valve blocks on the basis of the systems of the EPLAN platform. Standard-compliant mounting layout and production drawings are easy to realise using associative model views and the many possibilities of the EPLAN platform. Changes in the 3D mounting layout are naturally taken into consideration in the corresponding model views and legends.

    In the course of mounting layout all the devices used in the schematic or in the parts pre-selection are displayed in a list or tree structure. When placing elements, the system checks whether the placement is on the correct mounting panel. This immediately indicates which items from the schematic have yet to be placed on the mounting panel. The 3D mounting layout can optionally be the leading factor or it can be equipped correctly from the schematic. Placing of the components using the new EPLAN eTouch technology is remarkably simple.

    Provision of powerful designing aids is important for the correct implementation of the mounting layout and a guarantee for higher planning reliability in the product engineering process. EPLAN Pro Panel is designed to operate within manufacturer specifications and facilitates an exact position check of devices, wire ducts and mounting rails.

    Video system upgrade


    Enhancements and upgrades in the Longwatch Video System Version 5.2 include a Value Edition of the Console Recorder, a low-power XLP version of the Video System that delivers surveillance in remote areas with limited power budgets, and improved database functions.

    Console Recorder Value Edition

    The Longwatch Console Recorder acts much like an airplane’s flight recorder, because it stores all the screens that operators saw before, during and after a critical event, and it records every action the operators took during that time. Playing back the operator’s display can help solve problems faster and more accurately, because the display correlates other plant data in an intuitive way.  The Value Edition of the Console Recorder allows users to install the terminal monitoring software at a low entry cost.

    The Value Edition of the Console Recorder monitors and records all activities at up to six operator consoles, including screen displays and operator actions via the keyboard and mouse, so that engineers and supervisors can replay an “event.” By replaying the event, engineers and supervisors can see what the operators saw and did, and determine if the operators were given the proper information and took the appropriate actions. The recorded data can be saved and used for training purposes, process improvement, justification to various regulatory bodies that the correct actions were taken, and detailed “post mortems” of events.

    When part of a complete Longwatch Video Surveillance system, the Enterprise Edition of the Console Recorder can also synchronize with video taken in the plant from multiple cameras, and with real-time and historical process data (including trends and alarms) from existing process automation systems, This allows engineers and supervisors to completely reconstruct an event, using video from the plant, data from the historian, and the operator displays and actions from the Console Recorder.

    The Value Edition of the Console Recorder captures data from six operator terminals, but it can be upgraded later to the Enterprise Edition Console recorder and Video Historian. 

    Low Power System
    Version 5.2 also includes an extreme low-power (XLP) option, where video cameras and the Longwatch Remote Video Engine can operate from solar power and batteries. The XLP system “hibernates” until a signal from an intrusion alarm or motion detector or operator wakes it up. The system then begins recording live video immediately, sends a short “alarm clip” to a remote operator at a central HMI/SCADA system, and continues to record data until commanded to return to hibernation.

    The XLP system is ideal for well sites, pumping stations, pipelines, offshore platforms or other remote areas where 120Vac line power is not available. Such sites typically have some form of RF data link, and use solar power for their instrumentation. The Longwatch XLP system uses very little power during hibernation, yet provides these remote sites with video monitoring capabilities.  Longwatch communicates from the remote station using virtually any network provided, ranging from low-speed radio modems to satellite and cellular links.

    Enhanced Database Functions
    The Longwatch Video system is designed to work with data historians and real-time databases from a variety of HMI/SCADA vendors, so that real-time and archived video can be synchronized with live and historical data. For example, if an operator sees a “Low Level Alarm” on an HMI screen, he or she can switch to live video to view the vessel. If the operator sees material flowing out of a crack in the vessel, he or she can call up archived video synchronized with data from historians to quickly determine when and why the vessel started leaking, thus enabling efficient trouble-shooting and corrective action.

    Operators already have the choice of using the Longwatch Viewer or integrating with existing HMI/SCADA databases, such as iFIX, InduSoft and Wonderware.  Version 5.2 now includes a new software tool, The Longwatch Video Window, that enables integration with additional HMIs such as ClearSCADA that do not support ActiveX. The Longwatch Video Window allows users to display video generated by Longwatch Video Engines from remote and/or in-plant cameras using their existing HMIs.

    Other advanced database tools include support for ODBC compliance database drivers, global toolbar filters in the Longwatch Viewer that allows user filters to be applied to multiple database queries at the same time, enhancements to support non-SQL Server databases, and improved paging support for extremely large databases. Version 5.2 also includes a user-friendly interface allowing for more rapid installation, easier configuration and reduced training requirements.

    See also Tuning the forgotten loop,(April'10) and  Console Recorder (Sept'09)

    Energy saving lighting

    LPRS transducers used in Energy Saving Lighting Solutions

    LPRS has established itself as a major supplier of transducers used in energy saving lighting systems manufactured by Ex-Or Ltd.

    Ex-Or manufactures lighting controls for all applications including, presence detection, lighting management systems, architectural dimming and scene setting and emergency lighting testing systems.  Ex-Or systems help customers achieve energy savings, reduce fuel bills, and create an optimum environment for staff or visitors.

    LPRS began supplying Ultrasonic transducers and 40KHz crystals to Ex-Or in 1986, when it was known as Inline Electronics. These devices were used in sensor operated lighting systems that would turn off lights when no movement was detected after a pre-determined period. As energy costs have increased and the need for “green” solutions has grown, so has the market for such lighting automation systems.

    John Sharples, Managing Director of LPRS comments; "The original Inline motion detector system was clearly ahead of its time. With the growth of this market our sales of transducers to Ex-Or has grown significantly, year on year.  We have maintained an excellent relationship with this customer for more than twenty years by offering great customer service, reliable products and excellent technical support.”

    Water & Waste event success

    November saw the most successful WWEM event since its inception in 2005 with visitor numbers continuing to grow and exhibitors jostling to reserve the best places for WWEM 2012.

    WWEM (Water Wastewater & Environmental Monitoring) took place at the Telford International Centre and welcomed a broad selection of visitors from every corner of the environmental monitoring community. As the largest event in the world to focus purely on environmental monitoring, WWEM 2010 attracted delegates from over 39 different countries including staff from regulators, water companies, industrial manufacturers, consultants, education, research organisations, process engineering companies and industrial companies.

    It  retained its focus on environmental monitoring, providing the latest information on regulations, methods and technologies. However, the event's growth was partially a result of new features such as a laboratory conference, new partners such as CoGDEM and many of the 120 exhibitors chose WWEM 2010 as the launch pad for a variety of exciting new technologies.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Alarm management - again!

    The International Society of Automation (ISA) has published Alarm Management: A Comprehensive Guide, Second Edition, by Bill Hollifield and Eddie Habibi.

    This is an intentionally different kind of book than one usually finds in engineering circles. It is based on hundreds of person-years of extensive experience working with industrial control and alarm systems in almost every industry. All manner of practices make up the background information used in producing this book—the good and the bad, the best and the worst.

    It contains actual examples of good practices and poor practices. The various problems of alarm systems are covered with precise guidance on how they come about and how to effectively correct them.

    It is a comprehensive guide which includes an additional 50 pages of information and many new figures. Questions and comments from readers of the original edition helped shape the new content.

    According to Jim Pinto, founder (and former president and CEO) of Action Instruments, this book is practical and instructive, and it's written from a vendor-neutral standpoint, which makes it valuable to suppliers, integrators and end-users. It is a book for managers, process engineers and operators—an essential textbook to keep around and refer to regularly.

    Making the vision a reality - wireless

    Emerson often have highly entertaining presentations. This one from their French offices is one of the most entertaining we've seen.


    "The technology director of an industrial process manufacturing company is under pressure from the plant manager and finance director to modernize and increase production capacity to gain a competitive advantage quickly and with very limited resources. Impossible? Not with Emerson's Smart Wireless."(French w/ English subtitles)

    See more PlantWeb videos on Emerson's PlantWeb Channel on You Tube.

    Migration solution

    HART-enabled solution allows Fisher PROVOX users to modernise to latest Foxboro I/A Series system and achieve control excellence

    Invensys Operations Management has introduced a new HART-enabled plug-in migration solution for Fisher PROVOX® Series 20 distributed control systems (DCS). Fisher PROVOX users can now easily upgrade to the advanced Foxboro® I/A Series® DCS, taking advantage of HART® field communications functionality, along with groundbreaking InFusion™ enterprise control system (ECS) technologies to achieve control excellence, without the need for rewiring.

    Foxboro IA Series
    Well-proven Invensys plug-in migration technology minimises cost, risk and process downtime because the upgrade can be accomplished without replacing field wiring, termination assemblies, system enclosures or power supplies. Invensys replaces the Fisher PROVOX input/output (I/O) modules with new Foxboro I/A Series I/O modules especially designed to plug directly into the existing PROVOX system nests. This unique approach is virtually risk-free, providing reversibility if needed. The actual system switchover can be accomplished in hours, with minimal—if any—costly process downtime.

    With more than 26 million devices installed worldwide, the HART communications protocol is the leading communication technology for intelligent process measurement, control instrumentation and control systems. The Foxboro I/A Series I/O modules for the Fisher PROVOX DCS are based on Invensys Operations Management’s latest I/A Series 200 Series fieldbus module technology, providing HART capability for better device diagnostics and overall asset management.

    “Invensys brings new meaning and value to the term ‘migration,’”
    said Betty Naylor-McDevitt, director, control & safety solutions, Invensys Operations Management. “We make migrating from a legacy control system to a modern control system easy, low-risk and cost-effective. In addition, the resulting new DCS provides the foundation and components for easily expanding into a powerful InFusion Enterprise Control System, with the ability to openly add additional hardware and software capabilities. This helps users leverage existing Invensys and third-party systems to achieve control and overall operational excellence.”

    The new Foxboro I/A Series I/O modules for Fisher PROVOX systems feature:

  • Rugged, optionally redundant/fault-tolerant 200 Series I/O for nonstop analog, discrete and HART digital field communications;

  • High-performance, optionally-redundant/fault-tolerant ZCP- and FCP-270 control processors, which provide the power, flexibility and reliability needed to implement today’s demanding unit- and plant-wide process control strategies;

  • The new I/A Series Field Device Manager, which takes advantage of both EDDL and FDT fieldbus technologies to reduce configuration, commissioning and ongoing support costs for intelligent field devices over the instruments’ entire life cycles;

  • Mesh Control Network, which takes full advantage of proven commercial networking technologies to help ensure unconstrained performance and nonstop communications over the process control network.


  • Invensys’ unique and proven plug-in migration solution has helped more than 1,000 customers worldwide modernise their operations. Invensys also provides plug-in solutions for legacy Honeywell® TDC2000 and TDC3000, Bailey® NET 90 and INFI 90, Fisher PROVOX S10 and S20, Westinghouse® WDPF, Siemens Moore APACS®, Taylor™ MOD 300 and Foxboro SPECTRUM™ and SPEC 200™ users.

    Low-cost data logger

    MadgeTech has released the Pulse101A, a low-cost data logger which senses pulse inputs or contact closures from external sources such as transducers and/or pulse initiators. It can collect as many as 10,000 pulses per second (10KHz) and stores up to 500,000 readings (totalized pulse counts) in its non-volatile memory. The Pulse101A features a 10 year battery life, and a manual start/stop that can be executed multiple times without the need to download data in between studies.

    The Pulse101A is commonly used to interface with contact closures from flow meters, power meters, anemometer's and other dry contact closures. With programmable engineering units available, users have the ability to convert data into a variety of units, such as gallons per minute, Kilowatt hours, or wind speed. This unique option enables the user to easily linearize and scale most any transducer that provides a pulse or contact closure output into the required units.

    The MadgeTech software effortlessly shows statistical information based upon the type of unit stored within the device. If additional analysis is necessary, data can be easily exported to an MS Excel® spreadsheet for further review.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Acquisation completed

    Tyco Electronics Ltd. has completed the acquisition of ADC Telecommunications, Inc.

    The combination of Tyco Electronics (TE) and ADC positions the company as a world leader in broadband connectivity.

    Tom Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of TE, said, "With our expanded product offering and strong position in every major geographic region, TE will provide the broad range of products and solutions our customers need to keep pace with the rapidly increasing demand for video and data connectivity anytime and anywhere.”

    SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, Dec. 9, 2010 TE announced earlier today the successful completion of its tender offer to purchase the outstanding shares of common stock of ADC, which expired on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. TE then consummated the short-form merger, and ADC became an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of TE.

    Windows 7 complient

    Wonderware Ireland has released new System Platform 4.0 components that are fully Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 compliant. The Application Server 3.1 SP3, Historian Server 10.0 SP1 and InTouch 10.1 SP3 components of Wonderware System Platform each now support Windows 7 32 and 64 bit (Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate), Windows Server 2008 R2 64 bit (Standard and Enterprise) and Hyper–V.

    This important release will enable all users to utilise new generation hardware provided with the latest Microsoft OS to enhance the performance of their manufacturing information systems. The latest Microsoft platforms have rapidly been adopted by hardware vendors and users, with twice the usage being gained within the first five months than that experienced with Vista in the same period. Their functionality and stability now makes it appropriate to move away from XP and Windows 2000, for which Microsoft is phasing out support.

    At the same time core CPU technology has significantly shifted to 64 bit, its ability to utilise far more memory being advantageous in real-time computing applications such as Wonderware and support for this is also included in this release.  Additionally virtualisation technology is increasingly utilised in industrial architectures, Hyper-V support is included in the new platforms and is capable of being used for Wonderware applications.

    Sue Roche, Wonderware General Manager, “This is a really important release which will affect all stakeholders in the Wonderware ecosystem. Our industry places high demands on computer hardware and software. Now that Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are generally available our customers will be able to do more and obtain additional benefits from the extensive Wonderware range of products that now fully utilise these important Microsoft releases. Our support group in Cheadle is fully prepared for this release and can be contacted by our customers for detailed upgrade procedures”.

    Recognising engineering and science innovation

    Mechanical Heart Simulator by University of Leeds & Leeds General Infirmary wins NIDays 2010 Graphical System Design Case study contest

    Left to right Dave Wilson, Dr David Keeling, Ali Alazmani & Robert Morton
    National Instruments UK & Ireland recognised innovative applications developed by engineers, scientists and researchers in its NIDays 2010 Graphical System Design Case Study Contest. This annual technical paper contest, now in its 5th year, is intended to encourage and showcase the most innovative uses of virtual instrumentation and graphical system design in teaching or by engineers in industry. The winner and finalists, who used graphical system design to develop applications that meet complex engineering and science challenges, were congratulated by Dave Wilson, National Instruments Director of Academic and Corporate Marketing, in an award ceremony attended by over 500 engineers and scientists during NIDays 2010 at Savoy Place, London.

    Dr. David Keeling and Ali Alazmani from the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds accepted the award for the winning paper, on behalf of their colleagues at the University and Leeds General Infirmary, who developed an intelligent, mechanical heart simulator or Ventricular Assist Device. The simulator is an artificial muscle wrap that assists a failing heart by applying compressive force, synchronous to the native rhythm, around the external surface of the heart’s ventricles. This cyclic “squeezing” action augments heart muscle efforts, leading to an improved output for the diseased heart. The team created a unique hardware-in-the-loop heart simulator that combines a real-time software blood flow model with a physical 3D mechanical heart. They used NI LabVIEW graphical programming environment and NI CompactRIO to enhance the testing environment so the heart simulator could operate as a stand-alone system and run reliably for prolonged periods of time. Dr Keeling commented that “CompactRIO offered a rugged, reliable, stand-alone platform, enabling our team to conduct prolonged testing, which would not have been possible on a traditional computer."

    Wilson presented Dr Keeling with the first prize of a ticket, (including flights and accommodation), for NIWeek, the industry's premier global graphical system design conference and exhibition, taking place in Austin, Texas, in August 2011, together with a commemorative award plaque and a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT 2.0.

    “Today’s innovators are asked to solve increasingly challenging and critical problems,” said Robert Morton, Managing Director, National Instruments UK & Ireland. “These awards recognise the cutting-edge ways engineers and scientists in the UK & Ireland are using the NI graphical system design approach in both the development and deployment of ground-breaking solutions to address the grand challenges facing humanity and to improve everyday life.”

    Racing Green Endurance and Wavebob were also congratulated as the contest’s two finalists.

    The case study written by Alec de Zegher and Tobias Schulz from Racing Green Endurance details the design and implementation of a control system for an electric super-car using CompactRIO. In less than nine months, the Racing Green Endurance team built a 400bhp twin-motor battery electric vehicle, to traverse the Pan-American Highway, the longest road in the world. CompactRIO, with its onboard Real-Time controller and field-programmable gate array was used to implement a tough, advanced and safe vehicle control system in less than four months. CompactRIO controls the vehicle’s battery management system which ensures the constant well being of the Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries and also manages the motor controllers, driver interface and safety systems.

    Wavebob harnesses the immense power of the ocean to produce clean, renewable energy. Eugene Doogan’s paper describes the design of a prototype floating buoy device that automatically adjusts its response to suit the prevailing wave climate to maximise the amount of useful power delivered to the electricity grid on-shore. The control and data acquisition system of this prototype wave energy converter is powered by LabVIEW, Compact FieldPoint and CompactRIO. Wavebob’s goal is to develop a commercial wave energy converter that can produce significant electrical power for the onshore grid on coastlines with a suitable wave climate. (See also our article: Power from the Sea, April 2010)

    The standard of case studies in this year’s contest was so high that National Instruments UK & Ireland gave Honourable Mentions to Rodrigue Akkari from BPP-TECH, for his paper about creating a riser management system for deepwater drill ships and semi submersible; and to Stuart Watson and colleagues from the Universites of Glamorgan and Swansea, for developing a magnetic induction tomography system for the detection of intracerebral haemorrhage using very low-noise RF signals .

    To learn more about the NIDays 2010 Graphical System Design Case Study Contest and to read all of this year’s winning entries, visit ni.com/uk/papercontest