Friday, February 12, 2010

Award for HMI software

InduSoft has won Control Engineering's Engineers' Choice Award in the HMI software category. Control Engineering changed its award process in 2006 and let its readers (instead of its editors) vote on the awards. Indusoft was chosen for the 2006 award, and it now receives the award for a second time in 2010.

Control Engineering 2010 Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products introduced in 2009 as chosen by Control Engineering's print and online subscribers. Survey respondents were asked to select products based on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact.
David Greenfield, Control Engineering's Editorial Director, said, "With more than 600 votes cast in the Engineers' Choice Awards this year, all entries across the 29 product categories were exposed to an array of voting engineers' scrutiny. As a result, InduSoft's win of the HMI Software category award indicates a high level of end-user respect for their product. We congratulate Indusoft for its success in bringing to market a product of such high interest and value to the automation & controls engineering community."

"We are extremely proud to win this award," said Marcia Gadbois, Vice President of Business Development at InduSoft. "Engineers are continuing to put their trust in us. Customers are choosing InduSoft for HMI and SCADA projects based on our complete feature set, flexibility, and ability to support them."

Cornerstones of their Web Studio product include scalability across all Windows® platforms (including mobile, desktop, and server operating systems), service and support, open architecture, painless connectivity to external databases, and remote/Web features that allow personnel and processes to be more efficient.

See also
  • Engineers choice for connectivity! (Kepware)
  • First among signal conditioners (Moore Industries).
  • Versatile pressure transmitter

    The PBSN product from Baumer is a new general purpose pressure transmitter series. Thanks to their modularity, the devices offer a high level of flexibility to suit customers’ exact application needs. The sensor, which is based on Transbar technology with a thick film ceramic measuring cell, is also suitable for applications with aggressive media. The Baumer FlexProgrammer enables the transmitter’s easy configuration.

    Modularly constructed, this pressure transmitter series offers a flexible design to suit different customer needs, ensuring that their pressure measurement applications are solved with an accurate, reliable and cost-effective product. The Transbar technology-based measuring cells are suitable for gauge as well as for absolute pressure and cover a measuring range from 0…1 bar up to 0…600 bar. The standard accuracy is at 0.7%, or optionally 0.5%, of the full scale.

    The thick film technology is based on a ceramic support material for the pressure measuring cell. This material is chemically neutral and compatible with most media, including very aggressive ones. These measuring cells are also characterised by excellent long-term stability and outstanding measuring performance in terms of linearity and hysteresis.

    A 4…20mA output signal or voltage output signals are available and all common electrical connections and cable types are offered. They are delivered programmed according to exact customer requirements, or they can easily be re-configured using the Baumer FlexProgrammer 9701 hand-held communicator tool. The PBSN can be delivered with different process connections made of stainless steel. Moreover, a wide range of gasket ring types (NBR, EPDM, FKM, FFKM, CR and more) are available.

    The PBSN is constructed using a fully-welded stainless steel housing with a standard IP65 rating, with IP67 available, depending on the type of electrical connection. It is abrasive and chemically resistant which makes it suitable for numerous general purpose industrial applications in the sectors of pneumatic, chemical and petrochemical, energy production, HVAC and automobile industry.

    Worldwide alliance in automation

    Yokogawa Electric Corporation has been selected by Shell as a main automation contractor (MAC) for integrated production control and safety instrumented systems, and that the two companies have signed a Global Framework Agreement (GFA).

    Starting in 2009, Shell has worked to reduce the number of equipment and systems suppliers for its plants, and has assessed and narrowed down the list of contractors that it works with in the control systems field. Thanks to its outstanding delivery record to Shell, highly reputed technologies, and strong health, safety, security, and environment (HSSE) policy, Yokogawa
    was chosen to be one of Shell's main suppliers. The contract includes ongoing maintenance of systems and the supply of new systems for both brownfield and greenfield projects. The agreement brings advantages to both companies by improving the efficiency of the activities undertaken by buyer and supplier. The move is part of Shell's initiative to achieve top quartile performance across categories in support of its "More Upstream, Profitable Downstream" strategy.

    Nick Curley, Shell's Upstream Automation Portfolio Manager, says, "This GFA marks a completely new approach within Shell: this is a long term, competitive, collaborative, and performance based relationship that will facilitate the delivery of value to both parties."

    With this agreement, Yokogawa has successfully strengthened its partnership with the Shell Group and its business with the Group will increase. Encouraged by this contract, Yokogawa will expand its control business worldwide.

    Papers sought for Water/Wastwater symposium

    The International Society of Automation (ISA) has issued a Call for Papers for the 5th ISA Water/Wastewater Automatic Controls Division Symposium (WWAC) to be held 3-5 August 2010 in in Orlando, (FL US). Interested professionals may submit abstracts for presentation consideration based on the following topics:
    • Water and Wastewater Treatment Process Solutions
    • Automatic Controls Affecting the Processes
    • Water Collection and Treatment
    • Water Instrumentation
    • Instrumentation and Aeration
    • Vermicomposting
    • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition
    • Fiber Optic Network
    • Distributed Control Systems
    • PC Based Control Systems
    • Programmable I/O
    • Generator Control Systems
    • Primary Treatment Technology
    • In-plant Distributed Technology
    The deadline for abstract submittals is 16 April 2010. Abstracts may be sent to Symposium Chairman Joe Provenzano.

    The WWAC symposium is sponsored by two ISA Divisions: the Water and Wastewater Industries Division and the Automatic Control Systems Division. It is designed to help professionals in the water and wastewater industries gain a greater understanding of how automatic control applications affect water and wastewater processing, collection, treatment, and distribution.

    The symposium will feature a technology-focused, one-day training seminar and two days of technical sessions on the latest applications, networking, communications, and instrumentation technology used in the water and wastewater treatment industry. The event also includes working luncheons, vendor exhibits, and an evening reception.

    Viewing hundreds of process variables

    Curvaceous Software's Visual Explorer 2.5 (CVE 2.5) is the only programme that lets you view hundreds of process variables and their alarm limits in a single graph and its new features in Alarm Management have got the process industry talking.

    Ian Nimmo, Founder and President of UCDS Inc and a member of the ITE (CEI) in the UK said: “At a recent conference I saw some outstanding alarm work by Dr Robin Brooks of Curvaceous Software Ltd. This was the first alarm management paper in the last ten years that got me excited as he explained how alarms can achieve management objectives, how to understand alarm settings in a new light and how to change them correctly.”

    Alarm Rationalisation & Management has been wholly revolutionised in CVE 2.5 with new Consistent HiLo Alarm Limits & Alerts, which work from process history data rather than alarm log data. CVE 2.5 provides instant feedback on Annunciation Rates and Standing Alarm Counts and delivers minimum time savings of 20% to perform Alarm Review meetings as well as delivering ongoing reductions. Curvaceous won the EPSC Award for the invention of Consistent Alarms in 2003.

    Dr Robin Brooks, Managing Director of Curvaceous Software said: “We’ve won awards for our work in Alarm Management and are delighted at the overwhelming response our improved Alarm Management features in CVE 2.5 have received from the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.”

    Curvaceous’ GPC technology mathematically unites for the first time the three key plant applications of process control, alarm management and quality control to achieve business objectives. It enables a user to see, understand and reduce variability in their processes and delivers significant cost savings and business efficiencies.

    Ian Nimmo will be giving a keynote speech at Curvaceous Software Limited’s TAP Forum Customer Event, 24 – 26th March 2010.

    Steel production managment made efficient

    GE Intelligent Platforms has been selected by Qatar Steel to provide a complete production management solution designed to improve operating efficiency through a reliable and optimum production process. The overall contract, worth $2 million, features GE’s suite of Proficy® software including Plant Applications, Historian, iFIX and Portal rolled out in a phased format led by a significant pilot project.

    The Proficy software solution covers design and implementation for data collection from multiple systems including material storage, handling and control, direct reduction furnaces, electric arc furnaces, ladle furnaces, continuous casting machines, bar rolling mills, the plant’s Quality Control Centre and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

    “This new solution will enable Qatar Steel to better monitor and control material flow, production processes, equipment performance, operator activities, and other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at various levels of the organization,” said Erik Udstuen, Vice President of Software & Services for GE Intelligent Platforms, “It will also be able to aggregate data for top management reporting and decision-making.”

    The Middle East is expected to produce more than 60 million tons of raw steel by 2010 and Qatar Steel will be a forerunner in this production. The company is regarded as an innovator and has been instrumental in the development of the region since 1978 when production began.
    “The GE team engaged us well and has taken the time to understand our requirements and made every effort to demonstrate the capabilities of their technology to meet our demands in Qatar,” said Sheikh Nasser Al Tani, Managing Director of Qatar Steel.

    “The decision was made after an exhaustive evaluation process including current and future requirements analysis, return on investment scenarios and implementation methodology,” said Malek Hamdieh, Manager IT for Qatar Steel.

    The extensive pilot project tackled the plant’s biggest problem area –- tracking and optimizing the raw material input to the plant. The previous system was based on large quantities of hand written material that was difficult to control and use making information analysis slow and prone to error.

    The planned implementation will include Proficy iFIX providing the tools for monitoring the process from the control room, and Proficy Portal providing web access to the analysis tools. The PACSystems RX3i will be used to automatically collect and bring plant process data to the Proficy software where no such systems existed in the older sections of the plant.

    “The Proficy Software enables us to deliver on work simplification, elimination of errors and delays in providing real time information with the context for better and faster decisions,” said Yousef Al Emadi, Qatar Steel Production Manager.

    The pilot project took two months to develop and install. The implementation of the Proficy Software solution is expected to be complete in 14 months.

    Measuring optical loss

    The new Yokogawa AQ1100 Series is a family of multi-field testers for carrying out optical loss measurements in the installation, commissioning and maintenance of fibre-optic infrastructure including FTTx systems.

    Designed to complement Yokogawa's existing range of portable optical time-domain reflectometry (OTDR) instruments, the AQ1100 Series consists of three models, each incorporating a light source and an optical power meter in a single compact package.

    The three models are differentiated by the wavelength of the light source used: the AQ1100A is single-mode 1310/1550 nm; the AQ1100B is single-mode 1310/1550/1625 nm; and the AQ1100D is multimode 850/1300 nm or single-mode 1310/1550 nm. All models feature a choice of built-in optical power-meter options: standard (+10 to -70 dBm), high power (+27 to -50 dBm) or PON (1490/1550 nm parallel measurement).

    The AQ1100A and AQ1100C are available now; the AQ1100B is scheduled to be available next month (March 2010).

    The AQ1100 features a large, easy-to-read 5.7-inch (640 x 480) colour LCD display. It also allows simplified end-to-end measurements to be carried out on multi-core fibre with a communication function. A USB port is included as standard for data storage.

    Options include an additional built-in visible light source, which can be used to locate the position of faults in fibres, and an Ethernet 'ping' test function.

    The AQ1100 measures 217.5 mm (W) x 157mm(H) x 74mm(D) and weighs approximately 1 kg (including battery). Operation is from 100-120 V or 200-240 V AC mains at 50/60 Hz or from the internal lithium-ion battery which provides up to six hours' operation with a charging time of five hours.

    The instrument carries a 3-year warranty.

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Industrial wireless survey results

    The Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance (WINA) has announced results of its first End-Users survey on the application of wireless technology in the automation industry at the ARC Forum in Orlando, Florida.

    “Given today’s economic outlook we wanted to go directly to the end users of various industries to establish a benchmark,” said WINA president, Steven Toteda. (Shown at left discussing ISA 100 Wireless Standard at ISAExpo'09) “We posed questions to our large member base about what, in their view, the major issues and contributing factors in wireless implementation are and what the future may hold for wireless at their sites.”

    According to WINA, survey results showed that the process automation industry overwhelmingly agrees there is a clear shift toward preference for wireless field devices, with only 5% believing industry will not embrace wireless. Illustrating this point, nearly 40% of respondents expect wireless devices to make up 20% or more of their field devices by 2015 and of this group, over 50% believed wireless devices would account for 30% or more in the same time frame.

    “Heavy industry moves slowly, but very methodically,” explained Toteda. “The growth of wireless devices from the current average of 5% to that of between 20-30% in five years represents a staggering advance for wireless especially when you consider the size of a refinery or water treatment plant that may have 50,000 sensor points over several square miles,” he added.

    Security concerns remain the number one barrier among those who had not yet implemented wireless, with 50% of survey participants believing that wireless solutions were less secure than wired. On the flip side however, within those industries surveyed that had more experience with wireless, Oil & Gas for example, respondents most frequently perceived wireless to be as secure or more secure than wired.

    Predictably, security and robust industrial design topped the list of qualities considered vital when users conducted side-by-side comparisons. Standards-based solutions were also rated as most or very important by 40% of respondents. Surprisingly, however, was that 55% of those surveyed believed a brand name product was of little or least importance.

    According to Toteda, there is still a lot for suppliers to do to educate end-users on the security benefits of wireless. “I look at these results and am impressed by two things,” he states. “First, that the industry as a whole has failed to adequately address the misconception that wireless security is not as effective as hard wired – the truth is, wireless is far more secure because of the use of strong encryption technology and network controls that eliminate unauthorized devices from being on the network. Second, the fact that according to our results, decisions are not being made based on brands that may be already installed. This may imply new market share gains for existing vendors moving aggressively, or an opportunity for new vendors to emerge.”

    The results were presented at a lunch at ARC’s Fourteenth Annual World Industry Forum at the Rosen Center Hotel and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida. Harry Forbes, ARC Advisory Group, introduced the industry expert panelists: Steven Toteda, President of WINA and VP GM, Cooper Wireless; Dr. Penny Chen, Principal Systems Architect at Yokogawa's Industrial Automation Global Strategic Technology Marketing Center, Yokogawa; Stephen Lambright, Vice President, Apprion; David Kaufman, Director of Business Development for Honeywell Process Solutions, Honeywell, and Hesh Kagan, Process Systems Director of Technology for New Business Development, Invensys.

    50 year connection!

    Brennan Industries' CEO David D. Carr is celebrating 50 years of leadership and dedication in the fluid connectors industry.

    Carr is the son-in-law of Brennan Industries founder, Michael Brennan, who founded the company in 1953. Brennan Industries is a third-generation, family-owned company with corporate headquarters in Solon, (OH US). Carr joined the company 50 years ago, and worked his way through the company holding various positions including president until 1983, when he was named chief executive officer.

    He has shown dedication and leadership in the fluid power industry that is reflected by his strong support of the (US) National Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution (NAHAD) since the organization’s inception more than 25 years ago. He is renowned for setting the standard for NAHAD’s hospitality evenings.

    In addition to the support and dedication Carr has shown the industry, he demonstrates the same spirit to his community. His philanthropic work on behalf of University Hospitals is tireless. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Carr showed great generosity and support in the relief efforts.

    “My father is an incredible role model, who demonstrates honor, grace and spirit,”
    said David M. Carr, president of Brennan Industries, representing the third generation of family involvement.

    Warehouse automated handling

    Holding and moving heavy metal tubes is not an easy task for automation engineers. Holding and moving heavy metal tubes... in narrow rows of automated warehouses... at high speed... is even... worse! Tecnorulli decided to go wireless for such types of applications.

    The wireless option faced issues due to the environment itself (everything is made of metal in the warehouse) and more over, the moving parts, the carriages which are navigating through the aisles for depositing and/or taking material from the shelves and rows, are themselves made of metal. In short, the RF environment is some of the worst you can imagine for robust, safe, and reliable wireless applications. Nevertheless, they wanted to overcome the challenge and decided to go wireless , with one objective: improve quality and response time to better serve their customers. ProSoft Technology's RadioLinx industrial radios were the key to resolving the communications difficulties Tecnorulli was facing in its automated warehouse.

    The Italian company Tecnorulli is a leading manufacturer of rollers and machinery for conveyors. Located in Verona, Tecnorulli has been producing rollers and machinery for conveyors for 35 years . Constant technological development and fast, timely response to its customers´ needs, and great production flexibility are the mainstays of Tecnorulli corporate strategy. To that end, an automated warehouse handling system was crucial for the global performance.

    Over time they have gradually acquired the experience and specific expertise that have brought it to the top in that trade sector. In fact, the company produces both machinery designed to withstand the harshest working conditions (quarries, mines, marble working industries, sugar factories, salt works, road-building machinery, foundries, cement factories, etc.) and also high technology products used in the most modern automated factories (mechanical conveyor lines, bottling plant, packaging, pallet loading, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, etc.). Tecnorulli also manufactures clutched and idle wheel rollers, which are specially designed to ensure reliable working even under extremely hostile conditions. Its offer is completed by its PVC and polyamide series of products which, for medium-light loads, combine great flexibility of application, complete non-toxicity, silence and absence of sparks, with the resistance to atmospheric agents typical of galvanised steel rollers.

    The importance of communications

    As the warehouse automation involved moving chariots, an industrial radio communication system was necessary. After an unsuccessful attempt with a previous option, Tecnorulli found a reliable solution with ProSoft Technology: "As you can imagine, production downtime is a big problem in our business," Tecnorulli plant Supervisors explain. "For a long time we have been struggling with a problem in our automated raw materials warehouse. We had to transport metal tubes in a perfectly safe way. We contacted ProSoft Technology to see if we could bring in industrial radios. Their partner in Italy, ATTI, based near Perugia in Ponte San Giovanni, installed the radios and the issue was very quickly solved."

    "Our problem was that we were unable to get the two machines in the warehouse to interface properly. We had problems connecting these two machines, but thanks to the use of ProSoft Technology RLX-FHS radios we were able to solve the issue and eliminate warehouse blockages. We haven´t had any more problems since we installed the ProSoft industrial radios and the workflow has undoubtedly benefited."

    "To help our customer in their choice, we may in some case lent them the industrial radios for a month in order for them to see first-hand that our solution would perfectly fit with their needs," explains Giuseppe Vencesclai, CEO of ATTI.

    Ease of use and reliability
    In this case, three ProSoft Technology RLX-FHS radios were installed in Tecnorulli warehouse. These radios are designed to reduce the costs of engineering and installing serial (in this case, but could be Ethernet) networks for industrial automation in the most difficult environments, such as a warehouse for metal parts.

    "Our customers use to report that ProSoft Technology´s wireless solutions offer very high reliability and are very easy to implement," explains Aurélien Fabre, Business Development Manager for Italy at ProSoft Technology, "and these solutions largely contribute to great return on investment."

    This new generation of industrial radios is extremely easy to use and ProSoft Technology particularly worked on the sensitivity of the receivers and the filtering algorithms. End users can thus count on more effective operation in environments where the levels of interference are high and they can also set the radios a greater distance apart.

    With the ProSoft Technology Frequency Hopping radios (FHSS), data transfer rates between serial interface devices range from 19.2 Kbps to 230 Kbps (up to 3,000 Mbps for Ethernet version). These RadioLinx radios operate in the 2.4 GHz or 900 MHz frequency bandwidths (depending on country regulation). The frequency-hopping technology of these radios gives wireless networks a very high level of security, almost total immunity to interference and a very wide range (5-10 km in Europe, and up to 24 or 48 km in North America, according to authorized emitted power which depends on country regulation).

    ControlScape, an easy-to-use software application handling network configuration and advanced troubleshooting, is supplied free of charge by ProSoft Technology. This software monitors variables such as signal force, data transmitted, number of networks connected, etc., to help end users install and maintain their own network.

    Preserving priceless art!

    Michell Instruments has loaned two instruments to the National Needlework Archive (NNA) (GB) to help preserve an iconic mural. Designed by Constance Howard for the Festival of Britain in 1951 "The Country Wife" is considered to be one of the 20th Century’s most important textile works. However, after nearly 60 years, the mural is in urgent need of restoration work to ensure its survival.

    Part of the preservation process involves storing the work in an anoxia bubble where levels of oxygen are maintained at 1% with a relative humidity of less than 50% at 23°C. In order to monitor this environment, the NNA is using two of Michell’s instruments: an XTP600 Oxygen Transmitter and a DM509 RH handheld device.

    The XTP600 uses the highly stable thermo-paramagnetic sensing technology to measure levels of oxygen in gases. With its high reliability and low maintenance requirements it is ideal for applications such as this where an instrument is needed to monitor conditions over a long period of time.

    The DM509 is a versatile hand-held relative humidity and temperature transmitter. It is not only lightweight and portable, but also easy to operate. This is a vital feature for the NNA staff who want to focus on the restoration work rather than the instrumentation.

    The restoration project on this and other textiles is planned to take several years to complete, with the instruments on loan from Michell helping to maintain the environmental conditions throughout.

    Vision capabilities

    National Instruments has announced the addition of machine vision capabilities to their CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO hardware devices that provide engineers with an integrated measurement and control platform for industrial and embedded systems. With this integrated platform solution, CompactRIO becomes one of the only programmable automation controllers (PACs) on the market to perform vision tasks, providing a more efficient, all-in-one design with a smaller physical footprint and less system complexity.

    With the addition of machine vision, engineers can use CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO devices in a variety of advanced measurement and control applications. It is an ideal solution for autonomous and semi-autonomous robotics applications for obstacle avoidance, pattern recognition and simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM), where advanced control and vision functionality are required. Industrial surveillance applications served include both machine condition monitoring and critical vessel monitoring, when connectivity to infrared cameras is vital. Finally, the real-time OS and integrated field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) used with both CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO eases the process of FDA validation for embedded medical devices.

    Machine vision systems consist of two parts: image acquisition and image processing. To acquire images, NI vision acquisition software has expanded to support Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, including those from Basler Vision Technologies. In addition to native IP camera support, National Instruments Alliance Partner moviMED has released the AF-1501 analogue frame grabber for NI C Series products that can acquire monochrome images. To process images, engineers now can program and deploy image processing libraries to CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO deployment targets with LabVIEW 2009 graphical system design using the NI Vision Development Module 2009 software, which contains hundreds of image processing and machine vision functions.

    "At our Global Technology Development facility, we are always looking to optimise the size, speed and reliability of our manufacturing machines,”
    said Ben Engelen, Senior Project Eengineer for Vision and Measurement at Philips GTD Mechanization. “The CompactRIO platform provides the high-speed determinism we need for efficient and precise component placement. The new MoviMED AF-1501 frame grabber module helps us integrate video feedback into the same platform and fully automate the entire process.”

    Engineers can add vision capabilities to the following CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO controllers: NI cRIO-901x, NI cRIO-902x and the NI cRIO-907x and NI sbRIO-96xx systems.

    1st among signal conditioners

    We cover the "best-of" rankings of the excellent American publication "Control" as the recipiants tell us. Although this is an American publication it does like most publications (including Read-out) have a web presence called ControlGlobal.

    Moore Industries has been ranked first place in Signal Conditioners by Control Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards 2010. The top technology category rankings represent end-user sentiment, as the 2010 Control Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards were derived from the opinion of over 1,000 process automation professionals.

    The Control Magazine article stated, “Our collective hats are off to all the solution providers that made this year’s list. To be mentioned at all, each supplier has successfully demonstrated to a significant, loyal contingent of users that they provide the very best technology in their respective domains.”

    The company has consistently performed well in these awards, and especially in the Signal Conditioners category, with signature products like the CPT PC-Programmable Signal Isolator and Converter, and the rugged ECT-DIN Signal Conditioner. Recently, Moore Industries developed the award-winning miniMOORE family of multi-channel signal conditioners including the MIT and MIX with 2-channel, 4-channel and switch-selectable options.
    To view the industry’s number one line of signal conditioners according to Control Magazine readers, please visit Moore Industries Signal Conditioner Selection Index. In addition to the online product index, Signal Isolators, Converters and Interfaces: The “Ins” and “Outs”, a Moore Industries whitepaper, is available for download.

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Support team recognised for excellence

    Invensys Operations Management's Wonderware technical support organization has been honoured with the 2009 STAR Award for service excellence from the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), the industry's largest services association. The Wonderware support organization received the STAR Award for Service Excellence in Mission Critical Support - Software - SMB.

    "At Invensys we recognize that superior support is an essential ingredient in all of our solutions, and providing world-class support requires an uncompromising commitment to excellence," said Phil Couling, global marketing manager for support and services at Invensys Operations Management. "This award is a significant acknowledgement of the service-oriented culture that Invensys and the Wonderware® brand have built to surpass our clients' expectations, even in the most demanding support environment. It also means that our customers can continue to look forward to new innovations as we introduce more support offerings and choices."

    The honour recognises Invensys Operations Management for providing technical support in mission-critical environments where system up-time is imperative, typically for enterprise customers. Technical support is an important part of minimising downtime in any business or industrial operation. Since its inception in 1990, the prestigious STAR Awards recognise technology companies that display exceptional leadership, innovation and commitment in service excellence.

    "The STAR Awards are recognised throughout the industry as one of the highest honours for service and support organisations," said Stephen Smith, chief financial officer and chief information officer at TSIA. "This award acknowledges that Invensys and its Wonderware support organization have been honoured by its peers for providing world-class support as one of the best in the business."

    Invensys Operations Management was presented with the STAR Award for service excellence at the Technology Services World (TSW) conference in Las Vegas last October. TSW is a source of education and peer networking in the services industry and is hosted by TSIA, recently formed by the merger of AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA, the three leading professional associations of the services and support industry.

    Gas analyser radically enhances safety & security

    Quantitech is to demonstrate a highly advanced portable gas analyser at Counter Terror Expo 2010 (14/15 April 2010) - the Gasmet Dx-4030.

    Employing FTIR technology, the analyser is already helping professional investigations in a wide variety of applications including those for which it is not possible to determine, in advance, the gases that are likely to be encountered.

    The instrument is the World’s first truly portable FTIR multicomponent gas analyser, enabling operators to measure multiple components simultaneously, including Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs), Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) and almost anything else.

    In the past, field-use instruments for the detection of toxic gases have sacrificed analytical performance for the sake of usability. As a result, many portable instruments have merely provided data that is indicative and non-specific, whereas analytical instruments have been difficult or impossible to operate in the field.

    The Dx-4030 is able to measure any organic or inorganic gas with the exception of diatomic gases (O2, N2, etc), noble or inert gases, and H2S.

    Quantitech’s Dr Andrew Hobson, said: “The unique Dx-4030 provides accurate real-time multi-gas analysis within seconds of powering up; it is ideal for emergency response to any situation that calls for rapid reliable gas analysis. The robust battery powered back-pack system can be operated without the need for specialist training and analysis of saved infrared sample spectra allows result validation and unknown gas identification."

    An example of the applications for which the Dx-4030 can be employed is the testing of cargo containers at ports and airports. Cargo containers, wooden packing materials and foodstuffs are fumigated by shipping companies to control the spread of pests and micro-organisms. Fumigant gases are toxic and containers are therefore monitored for health and safety purposes on arrival at each new port or destination. In addition, products shipped in containers can release VOCs from solvents and glues used in the manufacturing process, and their concentration may accumulate in the confined space of a container.

    Dr Hobson explains: "Existing portable instruments are limited in the range of parameters that they are able to measure, so it is often necessary to take grab samples for subsequent laboratory analysis. In contrast, the DX4030 portable analyser is uniquely able to measure almost anything, providing fast measurements for customs inspectors and shipping company staff."

    FTIR offers major advantages over other techniques because of its specificity and lower susceptibility to interference gases, however Dr Hobson says, “From an occupational safety perspective, it is extremely important to be able to detect hazardous gases as quickly as possible and by avoiding the cost of laboratory analysis, operational costs are reduced considerably.
    "From a security perspective, the ability to measure TICs and CWAs with a portable instrument offers enormous advantages over traditional techniques."

    Visitors to 'Counter Terror 2010' at Olympia, London on April 14-15, can view the DX4030 in action on the Quantitech stand (A40).

    Industrial networking for automation

    Silica is appearing at this year’s Embedded World fair in Nuremberg (March 2nd – 4th, 2010) entirely under the banner of “Networking for automation systems”.

    There will be a live demonstration of controlling a high-stack shelving system based on EtherCAT (Ethernet for Control Automation Technology) standards. The high-stack shelving system is used as an example to show how many things industrial Ethernet can do.

    The system was designed, built and programmed entirely by SILICA’s applications engineers. All the specialists involved in developing it will be on hand and available to visitors for first-hand information throughout the fair.

    The system is controlled via a process control system running as software under Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Standard on an Intel® Atom™ platform which serves both as EtherCAT master and industrial PC. The model’s sensors and actuators are interfaced via a slave module, demonstrating how the EtherCAT standard is realised with an FPGA core on a Xilinx FPGA.
    Galvanically separated interfaces linking the 3.3 V and 24 V domains use Infineon and STMicroelectronics modules.

    Both the high-stack shelving system’s input and output stations have RFID readers implemented with NFC chips by NXP and barcode readers which analyse camera signals using a Renesas microcontroller. Readout data is sent to the PLC in the industrial PC and processed there. A live image of the demo is sent from a CCTV camera using a Blackfin processor by Analog Devices.

    SILICA’s appearance at the fair reflects its total solutions and technical support strategy: its own application developed in-house enables specialists to deal with typical problems and the complex applications involved directly.

    SILICA is at Halle 12, Stand 241, and is also represented as co-exhibitor on Microsoft’s Stand 11-318.

    New controller

    The JetControl 940MC was introduced by Jetter at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES trade fair in Nuremberg. It has been mainly developed for applications comprising a great number of motion systems for quick cycles and high dynamics. These are, for example, path control and interpolation applications, as well as technological functions like screw-capping, electronic gearing, winding function, etc.

    Compared to the already obtainable controllers of the JetControl series, the 940MC is expandable by even more peripheral and axis modules. It is programmed by means of the
    high-level language JetSym STX which is able to multitask. This is the main difference between the classical PLC controllers and the JetControl 940MC.

    Further, various interfaces (Ethernet, CAN, serial, USB) are available. The standard Ethernet TCP/IP is applied as communication network. This way, IT services, such as HTTP, FTP, and e-mailing, which the users have always known from JetWeb, can be implied.

    IS communication standards

    CAN in Automation (CiA) has released the CiA 102 and 103 CAN physical layer specifications for industrial automation respectively intrinsically safe capable communication as Draft Standards. The free downloadable CiA 102 specifies eight bit-rates for CAN high-speed networks (from 1 Mbit/s to 10 kbit/s) compliant with ISO 11898-2 or ISO 11898-5 (with low-power capability). The specification also includes some guidelines for the physical medium attachment (PMA) sub-layer, and the medium dependent interface (MDI) sub-layer. This covers device and system design hints. The updated specification is also the base for CANopen networks using high-speed transceiver chips.

    The CiA 103 specification describes a framework for CAN high-speed networks used in explosive environments. It has been developed in cooperation with CPAC (Center for Process Analytical Technology) at the University of Washington, Seattle (USA). The intrinsically safe CAN physical layer specification requires 3,3-V transceiver chips and micro-controllers with on-chip CAN modules. Sensor manufacturers supplying for gas chromatographs have implemented the framework firstly. Devices compliant to CiA 103 received already approvals for hazardous area class 1 by North American and other authorities.

    The specifications are downloadable from CiA’s website.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Stand alone oscilloscope

    From the point of view of innovation, Metrix has not just contented itself with launching the first portable, stand-alone oscilloscope with four 600 V / Cat. III isolated channels on the market. Indeed, everything about the OX 7000 models, including their ergonomics, versatility, safety and various communication features, has been designed to offer the best possible trade-off between safety, service and comfortable use.

    In performance terms, they are at the top of their category with their 12 bit / 1 GS/s converter, a sampling rate of 50 GS/s on periodic signals and capture of transients lasting 2 ns or more. Because modern means more efficient, these models can be controlled using either the "Windows-like" menus on the touch screen or 33 dedicated keys offering direct access to the most frequently-used functions. For even better performance in the field, the OX 7000 models offer a new patented system of “plug and play” accessories, individual insulation of each of the measurement channels, the extensive remote management possibilities offered by the Ethernet link with a WEB server and a variety of built-in instruments, including a 200 kHz multi-channel multimeter.

    In Ireland Metrix products are marketed through PEMA

    Next evolution of control system

    Invensys Operations Management has released the next evolution of its groundbreaking InFusion™ Enterprise Control System (ECS). The InFusion ECS 2.0 features new software platform updates; superior integration with the company's Foxboro I/A Series® distributed control system and SCADA hardware and software offerings; open integration with virtually any other automation or information system; and enhanced platform integration with the company's latest advanced applications, including its Wonderware® batch, manufacturing execution systems (MES), mobile workforce management, enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) and enterprise business system integration offerings.

    With its new capabilities and an integrated offering that can reduce the total cost of ownership, the InFusion ECS 2.0 helps customers consolidate information across their existing automation and information systems. By enabling real-time access to critical business intelligence, industry users are better able to balance competing strategic objectives related to safety, controls, assets, productivity and the environment to maximize their overall profitability.

    "Process manufacturing is facing what could be characterized as a perfect storm. Dave WollThe loss of experience as a result of the shifting demographics, the need to operate proactively rather than reactively, the ability to empower knowledge workers with actionable context and more are all new challenges that require changes in our processes and tools," said Dave Woll, vice president, consulting services, ARC Advisory Group (right). "Invensys Operations Management's ability to use an open technology platform to transcend disparate systems provides the unique opportunity to collaboratively apply Invensys and other best-of-breed solutions. With the InFusion 2.0 solution, it is significantly easier to provide, manage and contextualize information for a wide variety of operations users, allowing them to drive and deliver greater production value in real time."

    Introduced in 2006, the InFusion ECS utilizes open, industry standards-based ArchestrA® technology that easily and affordably unites process and production control with business operations control. The system provides functional object templates for a broad range of control and manufacturing operations applications that work within a single development and management environment. The InFusion ECS can help save significant time, effort and money by improving the ability to view and synchronize information from multiple systems and applications; improving collaboration, execution and operations management across a variety of functions within the enterprise; and improving the ability to create and replicate solutions across the enterprise.

    The company also has the world's largest industrial ecosystem partner network, with more than 3,000 systems integrator, hardware and software companies participating. Many of these partners have been working with Invensys for several years, building complementary expertise and specialized domain solutions utilizing ArchestrA technology. The combined knowledge and proven delivery capabilities of Invensys and its ecosystem partners that use ArchestrA technology can now be leveraged to expand and accelerate InFusion solutions for customers. The installed base of software licenses containing proven ArchestrA technology inside of multiple Invensys brands now exceeds 220,000.

    "Our customers tell us that they need to operate a real-time enterprise so they can react to business variables and balance environmental, productivity and control trade-offs without jeopardizing profitability or plant safety," said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive officer, Invensys Operations Management. "Most systems are isolated and only allow optimization within specific processes or plants. The InFusion ECS, however, allows manufacturers to optimize their operations across the entire enterprise. We are very excited to reach the next milestone in the evolution of the InFusion Enterprise Control System, and we are confident it will help our customers accelerate their move toward becoming a real-time enterprise."

    High volume peri metering pump

    The New FLEX-PRO® A4 is Blue-White’s Highest Volume Peristaltic Pump.

    Benefits include:
    Peristaltic Pump Design does not have valves that can clog;
    Outputs to 171 GPH/648 LPH; 2500:1 turndown ratio and continuous feed;
    Output Pressure ratings to 125 psi/8.6 Bar;
    Pump Tubes in Norprene or Tygothane meet FDA criteria for food;
    Meets 3A Sanitary Standards. Automated PPM Dosing; Operator friendly digital touch pad with menu driven software;
    No maintenance brushless variable speed motor;
    Patented Tube Failure Detection System;
    Heavy duty single piece rotor; LCD displays motor speed, input signal values, service and alarm status;
    Inputs include: 4-20mA, 0-10Vdc, and Pulse Signal inputs for external speed control, 30 VDC contact closure for remote start/stop, equipped with multiple analog and digital I/Os for SCADA system connections;
    Self priming even against maximum line pressure, Bypass valves are NOT required. Won’t vapour lock or lose prime.

    Tunneling and automation B2B solution

    Kepware Technologies, the leader in Communications for Automation has released KEPServerEX version 5.2. This release delivers significant new features including an OPC UA Client and Server, an Alarm and Event Condition option - expanding on the previously delivered OPC AE interface, and updated Mettler Toledo and IDEC Drivers.

    OPC UA is the most robust of OPC Foundation specifications. KEPServerEX now delivers an OPC UA Server, in addition to existing OPC DA and OPC AE interfaces. KEPServerEX also delivers an optional OPC UA Client Driver. The combination of OPC UA Client and Server interfaces, in addition to all other KEPServerEX interfaces enable it to be a “Standards Based” Tunneling solution. Tunneling solutions are a replacement for Microsoft DCOM communications in distributed OPC DA applications. More importantly for the automation industry, the security inherent to OPC UA, in terms of data encryption and authentication makes it an excellent choice for real-time data sharing in Automation related Real-time Business to Business (B2B) applications. B2B has typically been handled on a non-real-time transactional basis with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or with custom developments when real-time connectivity was required. Now, Kepware offers a standards based and cost effective off the shelf solution.

    This release also delivers a significant new Alarm and Event Condition option, the ability to monitor variables and configure conditions with which to trigger Alarm or Event messaging. The Alarm and Event Condition option works in conjunction with the KEPServerEX OPC AE interface.

    Further enhancements include additional CID (Custom Interface Driver – OPC Toolkit) sample code in C#, an updated Allen Bradley ControlLogix Driver – now supports 1024 Programs and multi-byte Strings, Mettler Toledo – scale controls, IDEC Driver – expanded ranges for MicroSmart and Open models, and Modbus Ethernet – Global settings changes at runtime.

    “KEPServerEX enhancements are released on a quarterly schedule,” explained Tony Paine, President of Kepware Technologies. “Each release is packed with major new technology and value for our customers. We are not just a driver company any more. Our goal is Interoperability – through Standards and with popular native interfaces.”

    “Kepware, through its OEM partnerships, channels and direct efforts, is a major driver of OPC adoption in the world,” says Thomas Burke, President of the OPC Foundation. “Their new support for OPC UA, and the positioning for Real-time B2B for Automation is very creative and exactly what we need at a time when all communications are moving toward standards. For example, the world has a focus on the SmartGrid. That is Real-time B2B for Automation. Data needs to be exchanged between customers and suppliers in real-time and securely, and OPC UA technology, through players like Kepware, will solve real world problems with off the shelf, cost effective solutions.”

    Website downloads will be available on February 11th 2010.

    Dirty service control valve solutions

    Emerson Process Management has expanded the line of Fisher® dirty service control valve solutions to include the NotchFlo™ DST valve and Fisher DST control valve trim.
    Emerson’s Fisher NotchFlo DST valve for severe service applications

    Emerson’s Fisher DST control valve trim is a multi-stage anti-cavitation trim frequently used in high pressure drop applications
    With the expanded line, Emerson is able to provide specific solutions that both increase process availability and reduce maintenance costs for a broad range of severe service applications. The line-up offers excellent cavitation control for applications known to contain entrained particulate that would damage standard trim components and can be used in the hydrocarbon, power, chemical, pulp and paper, and metals and mining industries.

    The NotchFlo DST valve is a multi-stage (3, 4, or 6 stage) anti-cavitation valve available in NPS 1 to 8, in Class 300 -1500 globe and Class 600 - 2500 angle (DN 25 -200, PN50 to PN260 Globe and PN110 to PN420 angle) that can be used in severe service applications.

    Their DST control valve trim is a multi-stage (2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 stage) anti-cavitation trim available in NPS 1 to 16, in Class 300 - 2500 (DN 25 - 400, PN50 to PN420). Both the NotchFlo and DST are frequently used in high pressure drop applications up to 290 bar (4200 psi) in the chemical, refining, oil and gas production, and power industries.

    In addition to the expanded line-up of Fisher dirty service control valves, the Fisher Cavitrol™ III Trim with improved sealing technologies is available. It is a multi-stage (2 or 3 stage) trim available in NPS 1 to 8x6, in Class 900 - 2500 (DN 25 - 200x150, PN150 to PN420) that can be used in severe service applications where plug tip erosion and seal wear are issues. The Fisher Cavitrol III Trim is frequently used in pump recirculation and start-up systems in the power, process, oil production, chemical refining, and other industries.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Insulation testers reduced

    Fluke, the global leader in handheld electronic test and measurement equipment, has reduced the prices of all its Fluke 1650B Series of multifunction Installation Testers, designed to test and verify domestic, commercial and industrial electrical installations. With more features than the earlier 1650 Series, the Fluke 1650B testers ensure that fixed wiring is safe and correctly installed to meet the BS7671 17th Edition wiring regulations as well as IEC 60364 and HD 384. The Fluke 1652B/PKit Electricians Kit is also reduced in price.

    The Fluke 1653B is the complete tester for virtually all electrical wiring installations, for domestic, commercial and industrial use. It is equipped with a built-in memory to store test results fast and easily on site: the data can be uploaded later to a computer for the preparation of professional reports. The 1652B is the ideal tester for the professional working in domestic and commercial installations. The Fluke 1651B is the everyday tester, ideal for domestic installations covering all the basic needs for testing the 17th Edition wiring regulations / Part P of the building regulations.

    The Fluke 1652B/PKit Electricians Kit is a complete solution to testing and verifying domestic and commercial electrical installations. It comprises the Fluke 1652B; a Fluke T120 2-pole Tester, which features an LCD display and LED bargraph to indicate voltages from 12V to 690V AC/DC and a patented three-phase rotation detection system; and a Fluke SM200 Socket Tester, with 3 vivid bi-colour LEDs and an audible buzzer which indicate missing earth, live/earth reverse, live/neutral reverse, missing neutral or live faults.

    The Fluke 1650B Series show two measurements at once on a dual display. This can show PEFC/PSC and loop impedance results in parallel negating the requirement to run the tests separately, more than halving the test time of other loop testers. The 1650B Series also features a high-current loop test which gives extremely fast measurements when testing in circuits where no RCDs are being used. All models offer both non trip and the high current test so the user can select depending on the application. In addition there is fast voltage measurement between L-N, L-PE and N-PE using the mains cord, with no need to change measurement connections.

    For ease of use, a rotary dial clearly indicates which function is selected, and provides access to all functions in one place to avoid complex multi-level menus, so that even after a long period of non-use the Fluke 1650B remains intuitive to use. A large display with backlight uses clear symbols and has an exceptionally wide viewing angle for easy and safe readings. There is a PASS/FAIL indication for RCD test results, and a variable RCD current mode for customised settings. An Earth Volt Touchpad detects earth voltages raised above 50V to indicate potentially dangerous situations. A slim probe with test button supplied with the 1652B and 1653B enables initiation of a test without the need to access or reference to the front panel when probing hard to reach points.

    The Fluke 1650B is compact, lightweight (less than 1.2 kg) and has a padded neck-strap to free testers’ hands for testing. It is supplied as standard with high quality fused test leads to comply with HSE Guidance note GS38. A durable hard case protects the instrument in tough field conditions. A Zero Adapter ensures easy, reliable and accurate test lead and mains cord compensation. The adapter can be used for all kinds of mains plugs and test accessories like probes and alligator clips.

    Space saving dual concentric encoders

    Foremost Electronics has announced the Elma E37 range of dual concentric encoders. Offering two independent control functions in just one panel space these new encoders offer space savings and increased control panel functionality.

    The E37 encoders are available with a standard resolution of 16 or 32 detents and may be specified with an integrated push button for menu selection. They feature the Swiss Click Indexing System™ which ensures consistent torque over the life of the encoder and provide an Excellent indexing feel with 0.5, 1.5, 2.0 or 2.5 Ncm switching torque and have an operational life of up to 1,000,000 revolutions.

    Available for vertical or horizontal mounting with threaded or non-threaded bushing the E37 encoders have a robust 11.5 x 12.3 x 9.1 mm metal housing with a metal, shaft , gold plated contacts, have an operating temperature range of -40 to +85°C, are MIL-STD-202G compliant and have optional IP60 or IP68 front panel sealing. Various customisation options are available including shaft dimensions and shape, switching torque and push button actuation force, indexing resolution and PPR. A full range of matching control knobs of various heights and diameters are available for the E37 encoders to facilitate panel design and aesthetics.
    “Dual-concentric encoders fill a need in the market for alternative approaches to control concepts." Claims Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics. “The concentric design lends itself to all kinds of innovative applications. With its high versatility and compact size, these encoders are truly creating new avenues of man-machine interface concepts. These encoders are helping to transform the design and user experience for audio and multimedia.”

    Typical applications include cockpit controls, radios and navigation, desktop and mobile radios, professional, portable audio equipment and applications where user interface is space critical

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Heart activity signal processor

    At the International Solid State Circuit Conference (San Francisco CA US), imec and Holst Centre report an analog-signal processor ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) – in short ASP - that reduces the overall power consumption of an ambulatory heart activity signal monitoring systems by more than 5 times. This is a major step towards autonomous wireless sensor systems, which constantly monitor the patient’s health for diagnosis of chronic illness.

    In today’s biomedical wireless sensor systems, a lot of power consumption is wasted in the DSP (digital signal processor) or radio by continuously processing biopotential signals (e.g. ECG or electrocardiogram), or transmitting raw data over the wireless link. And, today’s ambulatory biomedical sensor systems also suffer from motion artifacts which affects the robustness of detection algorithms and demands even more processing power.

    The innovative ASP, developed within imec’s and Holst Centre’s HUMAN++ program, uses an adaptive sampling scheme based on activity detection. This reduces the amount of data which needs to be processed by the DSP or transmitted by the radio. By preprocessing the signal, a simplified DSP can be used for accurate R-peak detection resulting in lower power consumption of the DSP. Motion artifacts are detected by continuously monitoring the electrode-tissue impedance. The impedance monitoring can also be used for ensuring signal integrity by continuously checking the electrode connectivity.

    The ASP has a record low power consumption of only 30µW operating from 2V. It consists of an ECG readout channel, two quadrature readout channels for continuous-time monitoring of electrode-tissue impedance, and two quadrature readout channels for tracking signal fluctuations in a specific frequency band. The ASP also includes an activity detector that senses the frequency content of the ECG signal and adapts the sampling rate of the integrated ADC (analog to digital convertor) for the digitization of the ECG signal. The ASP stage reduces the power consumption of the DSP and wireless transmission by 11 and 6 times respectively. This results in an overall system power dissipation below 300µW for the complete wireless heart activity signal monitoring system which is more than 5 times more power efficient than its predecessors. This power budget also includes the additional functionality of continuous-time electrode-tissue contact impedance measurement.

    “Within the Human++ program, imec and Holst Centre develop solutions for an efficient and better healthcare. Self-powered intelligent body area networks with wireless sensors promise to be a solution for more comfortable healthcare systems. This breakthrough is a major step towards constant ambulatory monitoring of people using energy harvesting, which increases the comfort level of patients and is a cost- and time-efficient alternative for current monitoring systems;”
    said Bert Gyselinckx, general manager imec the Netherlands at Holst Centre.

    Industry can get access to this technology by joining the Human++ program as research partner or by licensing agreements for further product development.