Saturday, January 9, 2010

Multilingual wireless!

Brochure on wireless standard now available in multiple languages

The HART® Communication Foundation brochure on the new WirelessHART™ technology standard is now available in multiple languages. The brochure provides an easy-to-read overview of the benefits to users of WirelessHART technology. The brochure includes diagrams of wired-to-wireless applications and a WirelessHART mesh network and user-friendly information on the simple, reliable and secure aspects of this powerful new global standard.

The 10-page informational brochure can be downloaded from the HART website in PDF format. The brochure is currently available in:

Vertical take off

Fast track to altitude!

Development of a vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicle is nearing completion, thanks in part to a non-contact digital torque sensor, TorqSense, from Sensor Technology, which proved the only viable option for use on the test rig.

The low-cost, flexible search and surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is intended for military, homeland security, policing and environmental monitoring. It is rugged, immediately deployable and can be launched from the ground, ship or even moving vehicles. The vectored-thrust UAV platform is suitable for any situation requiring safe aerial viewing or sensor measurement.

It is being developed by SELEX Galileo (formerly S&AS), a Finmeccanica company.

“The TorqSense technology has been one of the key enablers for the development and implementation of the novel propulsion system on the Damselfy UAV” said Mark Agnew, Selex’s Chief Engineer for UAV Systems.

Leading the project is Ashley Bryant, who started out wanting to build a flyable scale-model replica of the vertical take off Harrier jump jet, but quickly saw the potential for a professional UAV. Using a jet engine was out of the question, a ‘cold fan’ solution the only practical option.

“A jet engine combusts fuel to turn its turbine and create thrust,” he explains. “Our cold fan is driven, via a drive shaft, by a miniscule but powerful two-stroke engine. Developing this technology required us to build a unique test rig, with an in-line torque sensor so that there were no out of balance forces coming into play.”

A thorough review of available sensors showed that only the TorqSense system from Sensor Technology met all his needs. Other requirements included ease of mounting, so that the drive system could be taken on and off the rig frequently, and a need to interface with a PC so that real time performance data could be logged and analysed.

TorqSense met the requirements. Its digital measurement system uses two tiny ceramic piezoelectric quartz combs, resonating at fixed frequencies and fixed to its shaft. As the shaft rotates and torque is applied the combs distort and the resonant frequencies change proportionally to the applied torque. The frequency changes are digitally monitored by the TorqSense electronics in a non-contact manner using a RF couple and a variety of outputs are available.

“Our development programme was speeded up because of the ease with which we could lift the drive on and off the test rig, and the fact that we could automate the data capture and analysis,” says Ashley. “If it weren’t for TorqSense we could not have kept to our development schedule, and would have suffered consequential budget stresses too.”

In fact Ashley has been so impressed with TorqSense that he is considering adapting it to become a permanent feature of the UAV.
“We would use the quartz combs in the usual way, but would integrate the electronic functions with the existing on-board controllers, so the weight gain would be tiny. We would then be able to monitor the drive conditions in flight through our existing remote control system, improving reliability and controllability.”

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pressure Transmitter

The compact allrounder!
Cerabar M from Endress & Hauser, is a new instrument of their M-Platform. The compact allrounder is used for absolute and overpressure measurement in gases, steams or liquids in all areas of process engineering and process instrumentation. Furthermore, it can be employed in hydrostatic level, volume or mass measurement in liquids. The latest version is equipped with improved software for these measuring tasks which supports users intuitively. Despite its compact design, Cerabar M features a modular system as is the case for all M-Platform instruments. All devices work with identical software and the same onsite display.

The following versions are available:
  • PMC51 – with a capacitance measuring cell and ultrapure, ceramic process diaphragm (Ceraphire)
  • PMP51 – with piezoresistive measuring cell and metallic, welded process diaphragm
  • PMP55 – with numerous different diaphragm seals
The modular instrument design safeguards optimum adaptation of Cerabar M to different market requirements. The modular system also comprises different electronics and communication protocols like FOUNDATION Fieldbus and PROFIBUS PA. The units can be supplied with all common and also small, flush-mounted process connections especially for food and pharmaceutical applications.

Commissioning is easily and quickly accomplished via a DIP switch on the electronic insert - entirely without any additional tool. An onsite four-line display is also available as an option. The modern Cerabar M can naturally be integrated into any common process automation control system.

Cerabar M has all relevant international approvals (e.g. ATEX, FM, CSA, IECEx) for applications in hazardous areas. The improved design now also offers a pressure surge resistant enclosure (Exd, XP).

Collaborative Process Automation Systems

This book conveys what control systems are really about, and lets you tap into the wealth of further functions presented by modern process control systems, that allow the safe, secure, and efficient operation of an automated plant.

Discussing topics such as engineering, security, enterprise connectivity, advanced process control, plant asset management, and operator efficiency, Collaborative Process Automation Systems discloses the significant benefits that can be realized by plant owners and operators when understanding the latest developments in industrial control systems.

The contributors who have written or reviewed chapters for this book come from many different countries. The compiler, Martin Hollender says, "I have always enjoyed this kind of international cooperation throughout my career. I'm very grateful to all colleagues who directly or indirectly contributed to this book and am especially honored that Dave Woll from ARC, one of the creators of the CPAS concept, has contributed a section defining the ARC CPAS vision."

In a preface to the book Professor Alexander Fay, of Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg (D) says, "It not only conveys the overall picture of modern process control systems, but provides a thorough understanding of the functions that turned the “classical” distributed control system (DCS) into the so-called “Collaborative Process Automation System (CPAS).” It does not propose to deal with all the details but to stimulate further reading, for which it provides appropriate hints. Thus, this book is unique in focus and structure. I wish for this book the numerous interested readers that it deserves.

Collaborative Process Automation Systems
Martin Hollender; Publisher: ISA; ISBN 978-1-936007-10-3

Compact PCI commitment

High performance single board computer features Intel’s latest processor for optimum performance/watt

GE Intelligent Platforms demonstrates its commitment to, and leadership in, CompactPCI®platforms with the announcement of the CT12 6U CompactPCI high performance single board computer. Based on the latest 2.53 GHz Intel Core i7 (Arrandale) processor technology and featuring up to 8 GBytes of DDR3 memory, it is designed to bring high throughput computing and leading edge performance/watt to a broad range of applications including telecommunications, industrial control, test equipment, server blades, supervisor and monitoring systems, security and surveillance.

“As well as being attractive to new customers,” said Wayne McGee, Commercial Operations Director, Embedded Systems at GE Intelligent Platforms, “the CT12 also provides an ideal upgrade path for users of the CT9 and CT11 single board computers. It has a more highly integrated processor with a faster clock speed; more performance per watt; more, faster memory; and more Ethernet ports than its predecessors while maintaining form, fit and function compatibility and providing optimum lifetime cost of ownership.”

At the heart of the CT12 is Intel’s latest Core i7 mobile processor technology, designed to deliver high performance with low power consumption and low heat dissipation. It is highly integrated, incorporating Northbridge components – memory controller, PCI Express™ for external graphics, integrated graphics and the DMI connector – which make it both faster and more compact. Its clock speed, dual core architecture and new performance features allow applications to be executed more quickly – or allow more tasks to be executed concurrently. Using TurboBoost technology, the CT12 can operate in single core mode – for applications where dual core operation is not necessary – at clock speeds of 3.33GHz, allowing some applications to execute even faster. The CT12 is designed to allow upgrade to faster Intel Core processors as these become available.

“The Core i7 is our response to the fact that our customers don’t just want improvements in raw performance – although, of course, that’s still vital to them,” said an Intel spokesperson, Intel]. “They also need solutions that consume less power and generate less heat so that platforms can be deployed in constrained spaces, in environments that are difficult to cool and where mobility or portability may be key concerns. The Core i7 rises to all those challenges, and can make a significant contribution to the success of products like the CT12.”

The CT12’s high performance processor is complemented by up to 8 GBytes of soldered, DDR3 SDRAM. Compared to SO-DIMM solutions, soldered memory offers higher levels of mechanical shock and vibration immunity as well as a higher MTBF figure for the overall assembly, contributing to the high reliability of the CT12. Also provided is up to 16 GBytes of soldered non-volatile Flash memory which is able to hold complete operating systems or application code, substantially increasing overall system speed.

Four Gigabit Ethernet ports (two front, two rear) are provided by the CT12 to support intensive networking without the need to add mezzanine modules, reducing cost. Also provided are two PMC/XMC sockets, five USB 2.0 ports, two VGA and DVI ports, three COM ports, and three SATA interfaces, giving maximum connectivity and configuration flexibility.

Supported operating systems for the CT12 include Linux® and Microsoft Windows®.
“The CT12 reaffirms our commitment not only to the CompactPCI architecture, but to leadership in CompactPCI products,” McGee said. “It is a proven platform in which countless customers have invested, and we believe it has a very bright future.”

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New VP

Appointment announced in major power solution provider

AEG Power Solutions, has announced the appointment of Michael Adams as Global VP for Data & IT. This is a new role for the company and signifies its intention to increase its penetration into this important sector. In addition to its existing product line-up, the company is developing new standby power solutions to meet modern requirements for higher efficiency and lower carbon footprint infrastructure.

Adams was chosen for the role because of his technical background as well as his long-term experience in the UPS industry and knowledge of the IT business. Under his guidance, AEG will focus on strengthening channels to market for its stand-alone UPS systems for computer networks and servers, as well as developing specific product and service solutions for computer rooms and data centres.

Born and educated in South Africa, Michael Adams began his career as a design engineer before starting his own standby power business. Following a move to Britain he took on the role of Great Britain and Ireland Country Manager for American Power Conversion (now APC by Schneider Electric), becoming Managing Director in the summer of 2004 and subsequently filling the post of EMEA Director of Professional Services.

Adams left APC in 2007 to lead a start-up business and prior to joining AEG Power Solutions, was providing business consultancy to a range of blue chip organisations linked by their dependence upon IT services and an ongoing need to reliably process large volumes of data. A well-known figure in the data centre market, Adams has successfully advised customers experiencing rising facility operating costs and power and cooling challenges.

Michael Adams says “The Data & IT sector has come under scrutiny for its high energy use and carbon footprint. IT is a key facilitator of business growth and therefore it is unlikely that in the immediate future there will be a reversal of the upward trend of server and storage equipment requirements. It is therefore incumbent on manufacturers to provide energy efficient products together with dependable guidance to ensure they are operated to gain the maximum benefit. AEG is investing in the future of the standby power industry to supply solutions which are renewable-ready; to reduce environmental impact while still meeting the ongoing need for IT service availability.”

US Transmitter

Ultra-Smart! Ultra-Friendly!
Two-wire non-contact ultrasonic transmitter

The new Echotel® 355 two-wire, loop-powered, non-contact ultrasonic transmitter of Magnetrol International measures liquid level, volume and open channel flow with unsurpassed performance and ease of operation. This new low-cost, integral mount unit features a powerful 60 kHz ultrasonic transducer and advanced digital signal processing to reliably measure out to a 6m maximum range.

It can be configured locally, with the menu-driven four-pushbutton LCD display, or remotely, with HART® digital communications or PACTware™, with the extra capability of capturing echo wave forms, viewing trend data, diagnostic conditions and all transmitter configuration parameters.

The integral mount electronics are housed in either a cast aluminum housing or Lexan® thermoplastic housing. The intelligent electronics analyze the ultrasonic echo profile, apply temperature compensation, reject echoes from false targets, and then processes the true echo from the liquid surface. This results in an extremely reliable measurement even when applications difficulties like turbulence and false echoes exist.

Volume and open channel flow configuration has never been easier than with the Echotel Model 355 Transmitter. Volume applications are easily configured by selecting the tank shape and inputting 1 – 3 tank dimensions. Open channel flow configurations are accomplished by merely selecting one of the 35 flume and weir curves stored in the transmitter, and setting multipliers for the resettable and non-resettable 7-digit flow totalisers.

"Never has our user interface been friendlier, configuration more convenient and signal processing more accurate and intelligent."

Rotary encoders

New options for pro-audio and industrial control

Foremost Electronics have announced the availability of the MERP12 range of rotary encoders. This new series of encoders has been designed to replace traditional rotary potentiometers in a wide range of applications and have the added benefit of being illuminated. The new range will interest designers currently working on broadcast and professional audio equipment in addition to next generation building automation systems and test and measurement instruments. Rotary encoders offer significant operational benefits when controlling “soft” menu functions.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics comments, “This new family of illuminated rotary encoders is particularly suited to broadcast and professional audio applications where ambient lighting may be low and different coloured illumination can add to ease of use and reduce costly operational errors. This can also be a great benefit in industrial applications. Rotary encoders are rapidly replacing conventional analogue potentiometers as demand increases for additional functionality in digital control of signals and menus.”

MERP 12 encoders feature an LED illuminated actuator which can be single or multi-coloured and can be specified with or without a pushbutton action.

The encoder switch contacts are rated at 5VDC @ 10mA, have a typical lifetime of 30,000 operations, an operating temperature range of –40 to +85°C and may be single hole or PCB mounted.

Foremost Electronics is renowned for the supply of high quality Emech products for design into applications that demand reliable, trouble-free solutions.

Interconnection solutions for industry

At Southern Electronics 2010 (10/11 February 2010), the Harting Technology Group will be featuring its broad range of electrical and electronics interconnection solutions. Their electronics assembly operation - Harting Integrated Solutions (HIS) - will also be demonstrating its backplane and sub-assembly capabilities

Harting produces a range of high-quality electronic interconnection solutions, including D-Sub, 2 mm metric, DIN 41612 and IDC types as well as MicroTCA card edge connectors that are capable of handling the high-speed and ultra-high-speed data rates employed in mobile telecommunications networks.

In the field of industrial connectors, the company is showing its industry-leading Han® heavy-duty connector family, which sets a worldwide standard for electrical connectors in sectors ranging from factory automation and machine manufacturing to transportation and wind energy. The Han® industrial connectors are supplemented by RJ industrial connectors and a wide range of Industrial Ethernet devices. Their industrial networking portfolio includes interfaces between industrial automation equipment and sensors and monitoring systems, communications within machines and control systems, and links between the industrial and office computing environments.

HARTING Integrated Solutions is featuring its electronics assembly capabilities, along with its expertise in project development, prototyping, test and evaluation. The company is an ISO9001 supplier, and its Northampton based manufacturing facility designs, manufactures and tests high-speed multi-layer backplanes and integrates them into card frames and enclosures.

Cable assemblies from simple ribbon to advanced wiring looms are also offered.

Harvesting power

A wide range of low-power industrial sensors and controllers are turning to alternative sources of energy as the primary or supplemental means of supplying power. (see Cables no-longer Required earlier this month). Ideally, such “harvested” energy will eliminate the need for wired power or batteries altogether. Transducers that create electricity from readily available physical sources such as temperature differentials (thermoelectric generators or thermopiles), mechanical vibration (piezoelectric or electromechanical devices) and light (photovoltaic devices) are becoming viable sources of power for many applications. Numerous wireless sensors, remote monitors, and other low power applications are on track to become near “zero” power (or nanopower) devices using only harvested energy only.

The New Direction:
Linear Technology continues to grow its family of energy harvesting power ICs to specifically address the emerging requirements of green power. The LTC3588-1 is the latest device in this growing family which can harvest electrical power from mechanical vibration. Its combination of an internal low-loss full-wave rectifier, high efficiency synchronous buck converter and nanoamp quiescent current make it ideal for energy harvesting applications which have an energy source such as a piezoelectric transducer. While the input capacitor continually charges via its internal rectifier, the LTC3588-1 requires only 950nA of quiescent current to regulate an output (at no load). Then, it can wake up and deliver up to 100mA of output current at 1.8V, 2.5V, 3.3V or 3.6V to drive a wide array of low power microprocessors, sensors and wireless RF links eliminating any need for external batteries or other power sources. The combination of a few externals and a tiny 3mm x 3mm DFN (or MSOP) package offer a very compact solution footprint for energy harvesting applications.

Key features of the LTC3588-1 include:
  • 950nA Input Quiescent Current (Output in Regulation – No Load)
  • 450nA Input Quiescent Current in UVLO
  • 2.7V to 20V Input Operating Range
  • Integrated Low-Loss Full-Wave Bridge Rectifier
  • Up to 100mA of Output Current
  • Selectable Output Voltages of 1.8V, 2.5V, 3.3V, 3.6V
  • High Efficiency Integrated Hysteretic Buck DC/DC
  • Input Protective Shunt – Up to 25mA Pull-Down at VIN ≥ 20V
  • Wide Input Undervoltage Lockout (UVLO) Range
  • Available in 10-Lead MSE and 3mm × 3mm DFN Packages

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

High current co-operation

Collaboration to provide high-current power measurements

Yokogawa Europe has teamed up with Hitec Power Protection of Almelo, (NL) to develop a range of high-current power measurement solutions combining Yokogawa's family of precision power analysers with Hitec's Zero-flux™ range of DC current-transformer based sensors.

When used in conjunction with an instrument such as Yokogawa's WT3000 precision power analyser, the Hitec sensors allow currents of several hundreds or even thousands of amperes to be measured accurately. They also allow precision DC and AC measurements to be carried out simultaneously.

"There is an increasing demand for accurate high-current power measurements from areas such as the high-power transformer industry and high-voltage DC power transmission", comments Terry Marrinan, Sales & Marketing Director for Europe & Africa with Yokogawa's Test & Measurement Business Unit: "By combining our market-leading power meters with Hitec's advanced current sensing technology, we are able to offer customers in these sectors a total solution to all their measurement requirements."

Communication Demo

Petronas Instrument Forum sees wireless demonstration

The HART® Communication Foundation demonstrated WirelessHART™ technology, the first interoperable wireless communication standard for the process industries, during the recent Instrument Forum organized by Petronas, Malaysia’s national petroleum company. The Forum provides a platform for the Petronas Instrumentation & Control fraternity to share best practices, lessons learned and technology applications within the group.

Industry specialists from HART Communication Foundation member companies, ABB, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, Pepperl+Fuchs, and Siemens, participated in the HART booth at the Forum. These manufacturers provided the gateways and devices used in live demonstrations of the WirelessHART standard that included process monitoring, device configuration, calibration and diagnostics, and secure commissioning.

Visitors to the stand learned about WirelessHART application solutions and how the technology can help lower operating costs, reduce downtime and move to a predictive maintenance strategy. Visitors saw firsthand the WirelessHART features that provide reliable communications in challenging industrial environments including coexistence with other wireless networks, self-organizing and self-healing mesh network, and the ability to add devices point-by-point.

Demonstrations showed how process variables from different types of WirelessHART devices from a variety of vendors are integrated in the same system using the same standard commands as for wired HART devices. Visitors learned how this technology provides a simple, reliable, cost-effective and secure way to deploy new points of measurement and control enabling users to quickly and easily gain the benefits of wireless technology while maintaining compatibility with existing HART devices, tools and systems.

HART Communication is the leading technology for smart process instruments with more than 30 million devices installed worldwide. WirelessHART technology is backward compatible with currently installed HART devices, is supported by existing HART tools, training and personnel, providing additional capabilities and ways to access asset management information in both existing and new monitoring and control applications.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gas @ WWEM

New zone at Water, Wastewater & Environmental Monitoring show (WWEM 2010)

The organisers of WWEM, the world’s largest environmental monitoring event, have announced a new Gas Detection zone at the 2010 conference and exhibition, signalling coverage of the workplace environment for the first time.

Traditionally focusing on environmental monitoring within the water industry, the event will now also highlight airborne industrial hazards and risk assessment across all industries, with the participation of the Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM). Hazards include accidental exposure to low oxygen levels in confined spaces and to toxic or explosive gases.
Leigh Greenham, Director of CoGDEM, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the world’s largest environmental monitoring event. Gas detection is an important part of risk assessment to help provide protection for workers in all industries, particularly in the water sector. The seminars that we will run, in conjunction with informal discussions at the exhibition stands of our members, will provide WWEM visitors with the latest help and advice on modern gas detection technology as part of a risk reduction strategy. Many of our members are leaders in the field of gas detection and their technical staff will be available to provide training on how to operate, calibrate and maintain instruments cost-effectively.”

Following the same format as previous events, with free entry for exhibition visitors, WWEM 2010 will again take place over two days at the Telford International Centre. The main Conference will be repeated on both days (10th and 11th November) and a comprehensive programme of Workshops will run alongside an Exhibition featuring all of the world's major players in water regulation, testing and monitoring.

The WWEM 2010 organisers have reported that the majority of the stands at the exhibition have already been reserved and that the remainder are being allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

New president

Appointment presages significant growth

Kepware Technologies
has just announced the promotion of Tony Paine, former Executive VP/CTO of the company, to the position of President. Mr. Paine will have responsibility for all operations of the company.

Corson Ellis, former President and now Chairman, said, "Kepware is growing fast, and becoming the leading supplier of communications software to large companies, both software suppliers and large end users. Our customers and partners will need more products and support from us in the years ahead. Tony is the right person for the job. He is deeply knowledgeable about the industry standards from a technical and market perspective, he is a great manager of people, and a strong strategic thinker," Ellis said. "I am completely confident that he will successfully lead Kepware to consolidate our position as an important supplier and partner to manufacturing software and hardware automation companies."

"Tony is well known in our industry, and has been the driving force behind our singular obsession with building quality into our products," he continued. "His views fit perfectly with Kepware's core values of integrity, open communications, and instilling quality in everything we do. He will do a great job."

"I am excited about the opportunity to lead the fabulous team we have brought together here at Kepware,"
Paine said. "Our technical expertise has grown tremendously over our 15 years in business and with the addition of Roy (Roy Kok, VP of Marketing and Sales) a couple years ago; we have increased market awareness and visibility across the globe. We will continue to press Kepware's mission to be the best supplier and partner of communications software in our industry."

6 Appointments

Six new appointments boost safety capability

Systems integration specialist Hima-Sella has appointed Neil Hibbert (right) as Key Account Manager for Safety and Control, Nathan George as Sales Applications Engineer, John Chadwick as Technical Support Group Supervisor and is currently recruiting three full-time Principal Engineers to boost its existing functional safety management team, based in Stockport (GB).

In his new key account role, Neil Hibbert will focus on safety-related projects in oil and gas and other industries and on safety-critical applications using HIMax such as emergency shutdown systems (ESD), fire & gas systems (F&G), tank overfill protection systems (TOPS), High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS), Burner Management(BMS) and Turbo Machinery Control (TMC).

HIMax complements the existing HIMA range of HIQuad, HIMatrix and Planar 4, is based on HIMA’s revolutionary NONSTOP XMR® technology utilising testing and diagnostics to achieve safety integrity level 3 (SIL 3) and is the only safety system designed to guarantee uninterrupted system operation.

Neil Hibbert worked previously in Hima-Sella’s Technical Support Group. His replacement is new recruit, John Chadwick. John joins Hima-Sella as Technical Support Group supervisor, bringing valuable experience of working offshore in oil and gas operations. For the last three years he’s been coordinating a team of engineers responsible for the overall running of an offshore oil platform.

Nathan George, as Sales Applications Engineer, joins Hima-Sella from AWS Electronics. He replaces John Lunt who retired at the end of the year after 20 years service.

Three, new, principal engineers will join Hima-Sella’s existing functional safety management team, which currently provides technical expertise and support for the HIMA product range. These three posts will enhance the specialist expertise of the current team and enable the company to develop its safety offering to a new level.

Managing Director at Hima-Sella, Ian Wright, commented, “These new appointments are part of our strategy for developing management talent within this business and will significantly boost our capability for delivering some of the most reliable safety-related system solutions in 2010 and beyond.”

Monday, January 4, 2010

Secure integration of MES applications

Wonderware Ireland, part of SolutionsPT has announced the availability of version 3.5 of the Wonderware® Enterprise Integrator software solution, enabling secure integration of Wonderware manufacturing execution software (MES) applications, such as Operations, InBatch™, Intelligence and other shop-floor applications, with enterprise resource planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, laboratory information management and other enterprise systems. The new version allows a consistent approach in operations-to-enterprise integration, eliminating high maintenance point-to-point integration scenarios.

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

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

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


New level probe for hydrostatic measurement

The new Waterpilot FMX21 of Endress+Hauser is a robust long-term stable pressure sensor for hydrostatic level measurement. It represents the highest degree of reliability and safety. The housing variants are aligned to application requirements in an optimum fashion and make Waterpilot well suited to potable water, waste water through to seawater applications.

The ceramic measuring cell is particularly robust, long-term stable and extremely exact which is predominantly reflected by its high resistance in overload conditions and aggressive media.

It is protected against climatic impairment by potted electronics and a 2-filter pressure compensation system. The communication of the level probe is effected via a 4-20 mA HART signal.

A Pt100 temperature sensor is available as an option and facilitates the simultaneous measurement of level and medium temperature. This enables the unit to correct measuring errors resulting from temperature-caused density fluctuations of the water. The automatic density compensation increases the accuracy of the level probe considerably.

Optimum cable marking saves time and costs during the installation of the level probe in applications requiring a defined immersion depth.

Waterpilot FMX21 has all relevant potable water approvals (KTW, NSF, ACS). Furthermore, all common approvals for applications in hazardous areas are available.

An extensive program of accessories makes Waterpilot FMX21 the comprehensive measuring point solution.

Cables no longer required

Completely wireless switching devices for ATEX zones 1, 2, 21 and 22

The new 8074 F series position switches and 8040 F series command devices from Stahl, are truly, completely wire-less solutions for radio signal communication. Requiring neither signal lines nor external energy supply connections, the units can be freely installed in zone 1, 2, 21, or 22 hazardous areas. Users therefore need not worry about any wiring when e.g. retrofitting the command devices into difficult-to-access machines or plants.

Since there is no need to route cables around or over joints or bearings, the switches are particularly suitable for reporting positions from movable ma-chine parts. The switching signals are transmitted on the license-free SDR band at 868 MHz. Up to 300 m maximum radio range outdoors and a 30 m range within buildings ensure that receiving units can usually be placed within safe areas. They are also available with flameproof enclosures.

The Ex switching devices generate the energy required for sending data telegrams by means of an integrated induction generator: when the switching element is actuated, the kinetic energy of the switching process is electrodynamically har-vested, and immediately used to feed the radio module. In contrast to battery-supplied wireless switches, these self-supporting units do not need any regular servicing to remain fully functional.

With a maximum transmitting power of 10 mW and maximum energy quantities of 50 µJ, radio communication according to the EnOcean standard does not amount to a potential ignition source in hazardous areas. Both switching units are suitable for operation in a wide temperature range from -20 to +60 °C. The IP65-protected 8040 F command devices are fitted in a ruggedized metal hous-ing designed to withstand even extremely harsh environmental conditions.

These products are marketed in Ireland through Douglas Control & Automation.

PdM in China

Predictive Maintenance (PdM) benefits overall maintenance strategy at gas plants in China

The Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company operating in more than 100 countries. With such large and widespread successful operations it is no surprise that maintenance activities are well run and that the company is no stranger to advanced monitoring techniques and equipment. In USA and UK particularly, but also elsewhere in the world, on-line machine monitoring has been used for a number of years at Linde plants. And, at its Shanghai headquarters it has a large and impressive ‘remote operations centre’ where it monitors and tracks the process operations of all it’s major gas plants in China 24 hours a day !

But Henry Aung-Kyi, Linde Reliability Engineering Manager for Greater China also knows that the key to successful maintenance operations is the right balance of techniques, systems and methodologies. An experienced and knowledgeable engineer, he is convinced of the value of highly sophisticated on-line monitoring system – for critical machinery- but, for some of the plant equipment at his gas plants, this level of technology and cost is not needed for optimum management of his company’s resources. And he has, for a long time, believed in the value of predictive maintenance (PdM), even if there is a price to pay in terms of time to acquire the skills and train the workforce.

Many process and manufacturing plants operate preventive maintenance activities (PM). PM activities are usually time based, with machine adjustments and replacements parts being made on a routine basis without regard of the operational performance or condition of the major piece of equipment or its component parts. However, predictive maintenance (PdM) is a ‘condition’ based approach that builds a picture of the anticipated condition of a component or piece of equipment based on trend data taken while the equipment is in service. Such data is mostly vibration analysis data, but can include lubricant analysis, temperature measurements etc. Based on this trend data, and applying principles of statistical process control, an engineer can predict when is the best time to carry out maintenance activity. This allows him to plan work when it is most cost effective with a full understanding of the relative performance loss at risk. Since most PdM actions are made while equipment is in service there is minimal disruption to production and can result in substantial cost savings and higher equipment reliability.

Integrating into Linde’s High Performance Organisation
When Linde Group acquired the BOC gases company in 2006 it embarked on a programme of integration of it’s new assets in China into Linde’s “High Performance Organisation”. With Linde operations and maintenance being process driven, focusing on process optimisation and continuous improvement it was only natural for Aung-Kyi to assess the situation at each plant separately and develop a plan for improvement to the next level of technology. The long term goal is to bring all maintenance activities at all plants to the same advanced level, and share information and knowledge for optimal benefit. But, that will take time due to differences in the existing experience at each plant and the required level of learning needed by the workforce at each plant.

So the Nanjing plant (joint venture with Sinopec SPC) was the first plant selected for a pilot application of a predicitive maintenance programme (PdM). Before running the pilot application Linde invited specialist companies, including local Chinese suppliers, to do some PdM service work at the Nanjing plant and propose a long term programme along with details of the services provided and the costs and anticipated benefits to Linde. After one year of trials and discussions with the competing vendors Linde selected SKF to start up the PdM activity for their operations in China. When asked about the reasons for their choice Aung-Kyi said “a number of key points separated SKF from the other vendors. As well as providing excellent services in the actual monitoring of the plant they showed their experience by identifying what equipment to monitor and went on to produce work recommendations that were far broader than the other vendors. Naturally, the local Chinese vendors had a price advantage, even though the SKF people are from the local SKF China organization, but from SKF we got more than just a ‘condition report’. We got constructive feedback of a depth that local suppliers could not match and a feeling that they really knew the machinery under investigation and had as much desire as Linde to manage that equipment efficiently. And that transmitted a huge amount of confidence to the local Linde engineers, which is really needed to get PdM understood and implemented properly. It wasn’t enough that I was satisfied with a particular vendor. What was really important was that the plant engineers in Nanjing wanted the vendor, and effectively it was joint decision by myself and the actual Linde people receiving the service, to select SKF. In addition I knew we were embarking on a period of growth and that we would need an experienced and stable supplier that could support us as we grew, so I was very happy to select SKF who are also a global vendor with a large and also growing presence in China ”

Consolidating and widening PdM in the China region
There are now 9 Linde plants in China running PdM programmes. The SKF engineers make a 3 monthly visit to the plants to take measurements and follow up with in-depth discussions and recommendations as necessary. All data is uploaded to a central Linde database where all plants can access, and benefit from, the historical trending data for the particular equipment being monitored, many of which are applied in more than one plant. Simon Chen is Linde’s condition based monitoring specialist for Greater China and he has many years experience in condition monitoring applications on many kinds of rotational machinery eg; compressors, motors, gearboxes, fans, pumps, etc. He oversees the internal coordination of knowledge transfer between the 9 Linde plants to ensure the company extracts the maximum benefits in the shortest time. During the process of delivering the service to these 9 plants, Chen’s experience has assisted greatly to enable SKF reliability engineers to make effective condition based maintenance monitoring to Linde and this is enhancing the overall quality of SKF service.

The main equipment being monitored are the high speed compressors and ancillary equipment such as pumps and expansion machines. Readings are taken at positions on the compressor that indicate the ‘condition’ of each of the compressor stages, and this is important to the overall efficiency of the compressor. Using SKF’s portable data collector Microlog CMVA60 or CMXA70, measurements are routinely and easily collected without any disturbance to operations. Relevant data is also compared with that collected by the integrated distributed control system (DCS) in the compressor. The DCS data is needed to control and protect the production process and it measures flows, pressures, shaft vibrations etc, so that very fast automatic decisions can be made depending on what is measured. Any strong deviations between the SKF data and the DCS data are then discussed to the point of deciding what corrective action is to be taken.

Success and a growing cooperation
Commenting on the situation now Aung-Kyi said “at the time that the pilot application was started Linde had a lot of projects running, so the success of the pilot was very much in the ‘own hands’ of the vendor company. They had to really work hard to inform, educate and train the local Linde engineers how to handle and assess their machine data in order to get the most understanding how to go further. The standards set by SKF were very high, also with respect to understanding the necessary safety standards, which was, and still is, a growing priority throughout Chinese process and manufacturing industries. Today the confidence in PdM routines and associated technology is beyond question in Linde. We have seen a gradual understanding that PdM is a very vital part of a maintenance strategy, especially because processes like our gas production are particularly suited to PdM. Machines and equipment normally run well for a very long time. Problems come later when the first signs of deteriorating performance are caused by wear, unbalance, misalignment, overheating etc. By detecting these conditions early enough we can monitor and run the machinery at optimal acceptable performance without risking catastrophic breakdown that would disrupt production and have huge downtime and cost consequences. We also got to benefit from the SKF global experience of doing maintenance assessments on many process plants including those that use many of the different makes of compressors, motors, pumps, gearboxes etc used in our plants. Their global asset performance and maintenance database is accessible to their China colleagues and is a ‘living’ repository of valuable information, being added to every day, that is almost impossible to acquire by client companies such as ours. We can look at SKF best practices for machinery operation and use that as a guide to what to expect from our existing and new machinery as we expand our business. We see SKF as a valuable strategic partner in China and have come to rely on first class engineering support from them, which we always get !!"