Friday, March 19, 2010

Dedicated sensors exhibition announced


In response to industry demand, Datateam Business Media, publishers of the Connecting Industry portfolio of publications, including the market leading Instrumentation magazine, is to launch a dedicated sensors exhibition. ‘Sensing Technology 2010’ will be held at the NEC, Birmingham, on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th September.

The event will include a variety of exhibitors showcasing the very latest sensor technologies, and informative seminars which will be presented in conjunction the Electronics, Sensors & Photonics KTN in the two Knowledge Transfer Suites. In addition, a networking lounge will be situated at the centre of the show for use by both exhibitors and visitors and is designed to aid business discussion and interaction.

This dedicated event will not only provide industry with access to what is new and available now, helping to resolve current needs and application challenges, but also a real insight into the exciting developments and technical innovations that are currently being undertaken - a look into the future so to speak! This approach will have tremendous benefit to visitors and delegates alike, who can use the information gained to consider, prepare and develop their own product or manufacturing innovations, helping to keep UK industry at the forefront of engineering excellence.

Electronic clinometer

Sherborne Sensors has announced the AccuStar® electronic clinometer, designed to provide precision angular measurements within applications where a high degree of accuracy is required.

The unique design of the AccuStar® incorporates a capacitance-based sensor without moving parts. When rotated about its sensitive axis, this sensor provides a fundamentally linear variation in capacitance, which is electronically converted into high-precision angular data.

Available in choice of analog, ratiometric, digital or serial models, this clinometer offers a ±60° measurement range, outputting a signal that corresponds to the direction and magnitude of angular displacement. The highly compact AccuStar® measures just two inches (50 mm) in diameter and weighs just two ounces (60 grams) for easy installation, with units designed to reliably operate in temperatures of -30 to +65°C. The sensor and its associated low-power CMOS electronics are encased in a rugged plastic housing.

With its durable, high-performance design, it is ideal for a multitude of applications, including off-highway vehicles, wheel alignment, construction equipment, antenna positioning and robotics applications, as well as other portable or mobile applications where space constraints or environmental concerns preclude the use of other types of precision angle measurement devices.

All AccuStar® Electronic Clinometers are 100% tested and calibrated at the factory prior to shipment, and are accompanied by a two-year comprehensive warranty. The product is also included under the new Sherborne Sensors Guaranteed On-Time Delivery program.

Melt pressure measuring chain for North America!

Kistler Instrument Corporation has announced the North American market introduction of Type 4021A, a melt pressure measuring chain with ½”-20 UNF thread, designed to simultaneously measure short duration pressure peaks and temperatures.

The robust design of the Type 4021A incorporates a melt pressure sensor, constructed of a very stable, high-temperature piezoresistive silicon sensing element, with an abrasion-resistant stainless steel diaphragm, and an integral amplifier, which is designed to match the sensor. The sensor is offered in multiple lengths and angular configurations, in pressure measurement ranges of 0 to 29000 psi (0 to 3000 bar) and temperature ranges of 32 to +662°F (0 to +350°C), with choice of cable lengths.

The unique performance characteristics allow for mounting of the sensor directly in the flow of material. This eliminates the time lag typically associated with indirect measurement systems, and enables direct real-time measurement of the process parameters determining product quality. Integration of measurement signals into machinery control systems, as a means of recording or controlling production processes, offers a practical means of enhancing production efficiencies.

It is ideal for use in demanding short-cycle process monitoring environments, such as those typically found within metal injection molding (MIM), ceramic injection molding or hot-runner systems. As the sensor does not contain any transmission medium, it is ideal for use in medical applications. Units may also be used for static pressure measurements within polymer pumps or other demanding environments. An optional service kit for forming and cleaning the sensor hole (Type 4193) is recommended for use with this sensor.

Advancement in the field of metabolomics

Thermo Fisher Scientific is providing the Scottish Metabolomics Facility (ScotMet) with cutting-edge technology to advance the field of metabolomics. ScotMet is funded by the Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance (SULSA) and is a state-of-the-art facility run jointly by the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde. The facility combines mass spectrometry, separations technology and bioinformatics. ScotMet, which already used Thermo Fisher instruments, will now install four Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers, including an LTQ Orbitrap™ Velos with ETD and FAIMS source, a DSQ-II GC/MS and two Exactive™ LC/MS benchtop instruments.


So what is metabolomics?
According to WIKI, Metabolomics is the "systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind" - specifically, the study of their small-molecule metabolite profiles.[1] The metabolome represents the collection of all metabolites in a biological cell, tissue, organ or organism, which are the end products of cellular processes[2]. Thus, while mRNA gene expression data and proteomic analyses do not tell the whole story of what might be happening in a cell, metabolic profiling can give an instantaneous snapshot of the physiology of that cell. One of the challenges of systems biology and functional genomics is to integrate proteomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic information to give a more complete picture of living organisms.

The superior mass accuracy and sensitivity of the LTQ Orbitrap Velos, equipped with the multiple fragmentation modes available (CID, HCD, ETD and PQD), will allow researchers to rapidly accelerate their research. In addition, for high throughput metabolite screening experiments, the fast polarity switching of the Exactive allows effective data collection in positive and negative modes.

ScotMet is run by Dr Karl Burgess at the University of Glasgow. According to Dr Burgess, "Metabolomics allows us to understand relationships between the small molecules that drive biological systems, giving us insights into cancer and other serious illnesses. ScotMet had already implemented a Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap and following the success of this instrument, we looked to Thermo Fisher Scientific to provide additional instrumentation.”

Dr. Dave Watson at the University of Strathclyde stated: “We’ve had excellent results over the past three years of undertaking metabolomics experiments with the Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap, and the addition of the LTQ OT Velos, Exactives and GC/MS capability will expedite existing projects and extend the range of important biological and medical problems with which we can work.”

The executive director of SULSA, Dr. Jennifer Bell, explained, “Metabolomics is important to systems biology and systems medicine. ScotMet aims to provide a world-class facility staffed by experts in metabolomics who work closely with leaders in the fields of genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics to offer training, sample analysis and collaboration on experimental design and data handling. This advances the growing field of metabolomics and to support systems initiatives across Scotland.”


Costs cut for kits

An innovative solution, from Parker Hannifin looks set to help struggling British manufacturers cut the cost of production while at the same time improving both productivity and profitability.

The company has launched an extensive range of modular automation and robotics kits, ranging from simple twin axis assemblies through to integrated multiple axis gantry and palletising robots. In addition, Parker is offering a custom design and engineering facility for applications where standard systems are unsuitable.

UK Platform Marketing Manager, Andy Parker-Bates, explains that, “This new approach has the potential to revolutionise the way in which many automation systems are developed and used. Perhaps as importantly, our new range of modular automation kits will enable customers to cost-justify the automation of existing low-volume manual or semi-automated processes, enabling labour to be redeployed elsewhere.

"Unlike traditional methods of building modular systems our new modular automation kits are generally available on a relatively short lead-time and are designed for self-assembly on-site either by the customer or, if required, our engineering team.”

A typical modular automation kit incorporates all the components, including framework, motors, gearboxes, drives, sensors and cables to construct a simple linear handling system. This can easily be extended through the addition of extra modules, while increasingly complex multiple axis gantry, assembly or packaging systems with a sophisticated control infrastructure, can be constructed quickly and cost-effectively, either on-site or at one of Parker’s factories for delivery as a pre-configured and fully tested system.

Andy Parker-Bates adds, “For customers, the advantage of using our modular automation kits include the ability to build complete systems or sub-systems quickly and at relatively low cost, without the need for specialised engineering or the associated downtime while production lines are being modified. Additionally, for customised systems, we are able to provide a full design facility as part of the overall package, giving customers access to our resources and expertise at sites around the world”.

Based on standard Parker electromechanical, pneumatic, drive and control technologies, the latest range of modular automation kits are capable of delivering exceptionally high levels of performance, accuracy and reliability. For example, speeds of up to 5m/sec are possible over extended stroke lengths, with precision and repeatability typically to within plus or minus 0.05mm, with load handling up to 1,600kg.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free calibration!

Nice touch from IPP!

All visitors to the Irish Power & Process Stand at the RDS next week for Facilities Ireland show 23rd and 24th March at Stand C15 can register their Thermal Imager or Thermometer with them and have it calibrated free of charge - then just ship to them and they will return it calibrated to you.

Advanced control reduces hydrogen venting and increases fuel supply to onsite boilers

Emerson’s PlantWeb™ architecture enables INEOS Chlor to reduce fuel costs by £3 million a year at British chlorine plant

Emerson Process Management’s PlantWeb™ digital architecture is helping the INEOS Chlor plant at Runcorn (GB) reduce annual fuel costs by approximately £3 million (ca €3.4m). Using PlantWeb’s advanced control and predictive maintenance technologies, INEOS Chlor has been able to reduce venting of hydrogen gas and instead use it as a fuel to heat onsite boilers for power generation.

INEOS Chlor is one of the major chlor-alkali producers in Europe and a global leader in chlorine derivatives. Its Runcorn operation uses two methods of chlorine production: mercury cell electrolysis, and a newer Membrane Chlorine Plant (MCP) process. Hydrogen is a by-product of both methods.

Their automation team reduced purchased-fuel costs by developing a control strategy that directs more of the excess hydrogen to the plant's boilers while preventing wide variations in hydrogen gas pressure that could lead to boiler trips or equipment damage.

To implement this strategy, they took advantage of the flexibility and superior control capabilities of Emerson's PlantWeb architecture, including the DeltaV™ digital automation system.

“The great thing about the DeltaV system is the wide range of programming function blocks available and the ability to write customised code when that would help us reach our goals,” explained Philip Masding, Process Control Manager, INEOS Chlor. “The DeltaV system itself is extremely flexible and powerful and allows you to do pretty much whatever you want so long as you have the imagination to take advantage of its capabilities.”

Instrumentation that is also part of the PlantWeb architecture provides accurate measurement and control essential to the new control strategy's success. Emerson's Rosemount® pressure and flow devices and Fisher® intelligent valves are used throughout the compressor, boiler and chlorine processing plants. These devices are networked using Foundation fieldbus, and Emerson’s AMS™ Suite predictive maintenance software and AMS ValveLink® software tool are used to monitor instrument status and verify the valves are working properly, without stiction that could adversely affect control.

The INEOS Chlor team also implemented a new monitoring system to automatically calculate venting totals and costs based on actual gas prices. Hydrogen venting has been reduced by 90%, with the resulting increase in hydrogen available as fuel saving approximately £3 million a year in natural gas costs. The improved control has also prevented 10 or more boiler trips and dozens of events that would have exposed manufacturing equipment to potentially damaging high pressures.

Initial element of strategic alliance!

In an effort to enhance customer's choices and options when designing PXI systems, Geotest- Marvin Test Systems, a global producer of PXI and PC-Based test equipment and test solutions, and Pickering Interfaces, have announced that they are embarking on a Strategic Alliance program.

An initial element of this program has been the creation of a joint web site, www.PXI4test.com, designed to educate ATE users about the broad range of test products offered by both companies and to help users choose the best products for their application. The Alliance combines Geotest's expertise in Digital test, system integration and ATE software with the unmatched breadth of Pickering's catalog of PXI Switching and Signal Conditioning products.

Loofie Gutterman
, President of Geotest-Marvin Test Systems said that "the Alliance will help customers achieve their goal of developing high-performance, cost-effective PXI systems by offering a complete range of industry-leading products from multiple vendors using a single web site" .

Keith Moore, Managing Director of Pickering Interfaces added "Our Alliance is all about simplifying our customer's research and providing a 'one-stop shopping experience'. PXI4test.com provides access to products, PXI-related web sites, and other tools to educate customers to the broad range of applications supported by PXI".

In addition to the website, Geotest and Pickering share common sales channels in much of the US, Asia, and Europe, simplifying the user's selection and procurement process for PXI products. Educational programs will also be available on the web and via regional seminars.

New Intrinsically Safe sensor gives absolute measurement

A new MTS magnetostrictive sensor marketed by RDP Electronics offers the opportunity to capture highly accurate positioning measurement data in hazardous areas.

The new ‘IS Series’ is an absolute position sensor, which can be used in conjunction with corresponding certified safety barriers in hazardous areas classified as ATEX Zone 0 or Zone 1 (subject to correct installation). Based on the magnetostrictive contactless measurement principle they are rugged, durable and wear-free. Standard analogue DC voltage or current outputs are available. The IS Series provides displacement measurement range from 50 to 2,500 mm and is available in two standard formats with the option of in-cylinder or profile.

Standard and customised load measuring pins


LCM Systems designs, manufactures and supplies a comprehensive range of Load Measuring Pins (LMP) for a wide range of applications including crane overload protection, winch force monitoring and mooring tension measurement. Alongside standard ranges constructed in high tensile stainless steel, in-house design engineers can also provide customised solutions depending on particular application requirements.

The standard LMPs cover ranges between 500kg and 1500tonne and are proof loaded to 150% of the normal rated load. Environmentally sealed to IP67, they are ideally suited for use in harsh, exposed situations and can be supplied to withstand immersion in seawater. If required, an anti-rotation plate can be supplied as standard along with an integral connector.

LCM Systems has seen a noticeable increase in the number of companies specifying the load pins with internal signal conditioning. Providing 0-10v, 0-5v, 4-20mA, RS485 outputs, this adds further versatility to the products and means that design engineers don’t have to worry about specifying additional instrumentation.

With a 100% focus on the design and manufacture of load cells, LCM Systems also offers a rapid, like-for-like retrofit service for competitors’ systems, providing customers with identical load measuring pins at very competitive prices.
“Our business model includes engineering costs as an overhead and as we don’t run a field sales force we are able to price our products competitively.” says Steve Sargeant, Managing Director. “Our in-house expertise means that we can produce products quickly and efficiently, thereby reducing delivery lead-time.”

So, when time and money is a major consideration for many companies looking for a load pin supplier, choosing LCM Systems can guarantee fast delivery and lower costs.

IR imaging and thermography portfolio for scientific, industrial and security applications

Xenics is extending its range of products to the very promising high-volume security and high end thermography markets. At this year's SPIE DSS (5/9 Apl 2010 Orlando FL US) the company will highlight its substantial innovations by showing high quality products such as the Onca, Xlin and Meerkat families.

"We are broadening our product portfolio as well as our strategic presence in new markets, changing from a mainly technology-driven to a fully market-driven approach," says Xenics founder and CEO Bob Grietens. "In addition to our fast growing business in advanced InGaAs SWIR imagers we are now serving the markets for uncooled bolometer and cooled InSb / MCT / QWIP detector solutions, building on our strong scientific-based but application-oriented R&D portfolio."

At the show, Xenics will demonstrate its continuing innovation in advanced IR solutions, especially its latest developments in thermography and for security applications, which are rounding out the product portfolio by adding value to cover new applications. This product strategy is an answer to the impending changes in the markets and it will ensure the company further expansion and growth.

In the framework of its latest innovative developments, Xenics will give an overview of its proven capabilities in science-based design and production of IR imaging and thermography solutions. On view will be a number of commercially successful and pioneering products: Meerkat, Xlin, Onca, Bobcat, Gobi, and Cheetah - underlining the growing market demand for technically advanced but affordable IR solutions.

One of the timely consequences of Xenics' new strategic direction is to extend its advanced camera program to various demanding security applications. Usually, the equipment geared to these markets conforms rigidly to military specifications. However, to adapt to and take advantage of the budgetary restraints of many institutional customers, Xenics is pursuing a different path, as Grietens explains: "We are offering high-quality, multi-spec commercial systems – almost military-level – to an important and growing subset of the security market - at an affordable price point and easy maintainability."

Featured prominently will be Xenics' line-scan detector Xlin-1.7-1024 sporting a unique combination of features for high-speed imaging applications. At a full high-speed line rate of 40 kHz and a resolution of 1024 pixels in combination with a 12.5 µm pitch, Xlin enables much more accurate inspection and smaller particle detection at shorter wavelengths than other cameras.

This very competitive combination of product features positions Xenics in the upper echelons of line-scan camera providers on the world market.

Likewise, Xenics' Onca family, a high-end IR and thermal imaging platform with cooled detector offering high detectivity, good stability, increased dynamic range via super framing, TrueThermal calibration and a filter wheel for spectral or high temperature measurements, is claiming top position in competitive rankings. The Onca camera is suited for scientific applications as well as industrial process monitoring, high-speed imaging, target signature radiometric data collection, tracking and IR spectroscopy. At more than 100 images per second, image acquisition and control are compatible with GigE Vision and CameraLink for easy system integration.

Since its successful launch in 2000, Xenics has grown into a world-leading vendor of IR components and systems delivering a wide range of flexible product configurations and camera settings, besides customized solutions according to agreed specifications. As a sole-source Europe-based supplier of InGaAs detector solutions, Xenics draws on leading local talent and knowledge bases to export its products to worldwide markets.

Enhancements to single board computer

Latest Intel® Xeon® processor 5600 series delivers exceptional throughput and low power dissipation

GE Intelligent Platforms's recently-released A10200 AdvancedTCA® single board computer will now be offered with the option of the latest Intel® Xeon® processor 5600 series, formerly codenamed Westmere-EP and launched today by Intel. This innovative technology provides the dual processor A10200 with up to six cores and 12 Mbytes of L3 cache for each CPU, enabling a processing performance improvement of up to 50% compared with the dual Intel Xeon processor 5500-based version of the A10200, which continues to be available.

“From a performance perspective, telecom applications are among the most demanding in the world, and the A10200 offers the compelling price/performance advantage that meets that need,” said Juergen Eder, Director, Product Management, IPC & SBCs at GE Intelligent Platforms. “This newest version of the A10200 is an example of GE’s focus on early implementation of the latest advances in processors: bringing the newest, most innovative technologies to market as quickly as possible helps us be the trusted partner our customers are looking for to enable them to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.”

A complement to GE’s extensive and growing family of AdvancedTCA products, the A10200 is designed for telecommunications networks where it will enable significantly faster network performance than that offered by the current generation of ATCA boards. Typical applications include Control Plane functions for WiMAX, and LTE (Long Term Evolution) and NGN (Next Generation Networks) networks.

“Moving the Intel Xeon processor to 32nm process technology gives the industry the ability to deliver more performance in the same power envelope,” said Frank Schapfel, Product Line Marketing Manager, Intel Performance Products Division. “Since the Intel Xeon processor 5600 series is socket compatible with the previous generation 5500 series, customers can easily upgrade to deliver more application performance, without a system redesign. And for sophisticated network and telecommunications applications, customers can cost-effectively implement application, control and packet processing on a single architecture.”

The A10200 is an ideal complement to the AT2-5800 packet processor blade. Together, these two products provide a complete Control Plane and Data Plane processing solution, ideal for applications such as Session Border Controllers (SBC). Within the ATCA chassis, both blades can communicate via high speed, redundant dual 10GbE and dual 1GbE networks, each of them handling the processing functions for which they are best suited and optimizing the performance of the complete system.

Key to the high performance of the A10200 is the size of its memory. The provision of 64 GBytes of memory allows storing larger routing tables in main memory: it reduces the number of time-consuming routing table swaps between main memory and the database because needed routing information is missing, and contributes to much increased system productivity.

Also contributing to the A10200’s leading edge performance is its support for multiple Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, making it easy and cost-effective to integrate within a network. A Gigabit Ethernet maintenance port is also provided for fast, reliable, cost-effective remote management and trouble-shooting. The A10200 benefits from its use of the new Intel 82599 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller, which includes a new 40 Gigabits/second PCI Express™ interface and the ability to deliver up to a 250% improvement in network throughput. Furthermore, this Intel Ethernet controller has sophisticated load sharing features allowing it to direct incoming Ethernet packets to a specific core within a specific processor based on hashed packet header values, optimizing system performance. This feature enables much higher data throughput due to parallel processing and is very valuable for systems using virtualization.

Further connectivity is provided by four USB 2.0 ports, a COM port and an IPMC console port, making the A10200 exceptionally flexible and easy to configure. An accompanying TMS102 rear transitional module (RTM) provides rear access two 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet interfaces, two USB 2.0 interfaces, eight general purpose I/O ports and two on-board SAS hard disk drives. The SAS controller implements RAID features, further offloading the processor cores from mundane processing and making an important contribution to overall system throughput.

The A10200 is defined for deployment in NEBS office environments. It is PICMG® 3.1 and PICMG 3.0 compliant.

The software package provided with the A10200 includes standard BIOS, device driver, and the hardware initialization resources required to support Linux® environments. An optional run-time BIT (Built-In Test) application package will also be available.

Test & Measurement shortform catalogue

Yokogawa Europe has produced a new shortform catalogue containing a comprehensive overview of the company's ranges of test & measurement instruments and solutions.

Products covered in the shortform include digital storage oscilloscopes, ScopeCorders, power analysers and meters, optical spectrum analysers, optical and multimedia testers, optical field testers, signal sources and generators, electrical test tools, data acquisition and logging systems, and recorders.

Major new products featured include the DLM6000 Series of high-performance mixed-signal oscilloscopes, the WT3000 family of digital power analysers enhanced with software to carry out tests according to the latest IEC standards on power consumption and quality, and optical spectrum analysers for precision analytical measurements in a variety of industries.

A key element of the Yokogawa Test & Measurement offering, as detailed in the shortform, is the fact that the company strives to carry out all its activities in an environmentally friendly manner as well as providing environmentally friendly products to customers.

"Yokogawa focuses on solving the measurement challenges related to energy conservation, efficiency and sustainability, while providing high quality, highly reliable test and measurement solutions", comments Terry Marrinan, Sales & Marketing Director for Europe & Africa with Yokogawa's Test & Measurement Business Unit: "By doing this, we enable our customers to design, build and deploy next-generation products that increase the quality of life, productivity and the efficient use of the world's resources."

Kistler at Advanced Manufacturing

Kistler Instruments will be showing a new low cost, contactless torque sensors plus its wide range of acceleration, force, pressure and torque sensors and associated electronics and software at this years mtec.

From acceleration to torque via pressure and force, Kistler is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high quality, high reliability sensors for research and development applications.

Now, Kistler is moving into the manufacturing sector with a new range of contactless, low maintenance torque sensors costing no more than slip-ring types, typically around £1,500 (ca €1700).

Using non-contact signal transmission eliminates wear making the new sensor exceptionally robust and maintenance free, even in continuous use.

The Type 4520A is available with rated torque from 1 to 1,000 Nm with accuracy class of 0.5 at speeds up to 10,000 rpm. Output is the standard ±10 V plus a speed signal of 60 pulses/rev and remotely switchable 100% test function.

More on Advanced Manufacturing UK

Quick connection technology for ProfiNet

The new RJ 45 plug connectors with Quickon fast connection technology for Profinet from Phoenix Contact allow four AWG22 wires to be quickly and reliably connected. The PNO Guideline specifies AWG22 wires to configure Profinet topologies.

Assembly using the insulation displacement technique requires no tools. The wires are simply inserted into the flap, cut off, and then contacted by pressing down the flap.

The new generation of plug connectors is already pre-assembled; this means that local assembly is no longer required and there are no small parts to get lost. Assembly is therefore easy to do on site – even under difficult conditions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Newport Spectra-Physics at Advanced Manufacturing

Leveraging decades of experience in motion control technology, Newport, exhibiting at Machine Building & Automation(MB&A) co-exhibition, has developed its high performance Hexapod 6-axis micropositioning system. Driven by six industry-proven, high performance DC servo motor driven LTA actuators that have been enhanced to specifically match requirements, the Hexapod features an innovative design of anti-friction coated spherical joints to provide more than five-times higher rigidity and twice the load capacity of other hexapods of a similar size.

The Hexapod’s electronic controller is a special version of the Newport XPS advanced multi-axis controller which accurately masters the synchronised transformations from cartesian input co-ordinates to the motion of the Hexapod legs. In addition, the XPS also provides advanced features including instrument grade I/Os, hardware-based input triggers, event triggers, high-speed on-the-fly data acquisition, fast TCP/IP communication, and integrated TCL programming language for on-board processes. All these features improve accuracy and throughput, making the programmer’s life much easier.

The powerful controller also provides a freely definable virtual pivot point as a standard feature and offers much more in relocating not only the pivot point, but the entire co-ordinate system. In addition, two user-definable co-ordinate systems are provided, called tool (moves with the Hexapod) and work (stationary co-ordinate systems). Incremental displacements are possible in either one of these systems in user-friendly cartesian co-ordinates, and positions can be easily calculated from one system to the other by a function call. Such functionality provides a new way of mastering Hexapod motions without the need for complex external co-ordinate transformations.

More exhibits at Advanced Manufacturing UK.

Innovative motorised torque arm improves reliability and compactness in speed reduction applications

A brand new motorised version of the Dodge torque-arm shaft-mounted speed reducer from Baldor Electric Company will make its European debut at Hillhead 2010. (22/24 June 2010 GB) The product provides a breakthrough in compact and robust speed reduction, and complements Dodge's renowned belt-driven speed reducers.

The Dodge Motorized Torque-Arm II shaft mounted speed reducer is a right-angle gearbox with an IEC flanged motor interface, specified for use with two-pole or four-pole motors. A choice of 12 helical gear reduction ratios and three case sizes allows the unit to deliver a wide range of speed reductions from 18:1 to 75:1 for class 2 applications from 1.5 to 55 kW, with very high efficiencies up to around 95%.

The new Motorized Torque-Arm II (MTA) has been optimised for robustness, offering considerable advantages over comparable gearboxes designed in accordance with European design practices. The reducer is rated to meet the 6010 AGMA (American Gear Manufacturers Association) standard. This specifies a 5000 hour bearing life, approximately twice as long as comparable DIN design specifications.

Numerous other reliability-enhancing features include the use of heavy-duty tapered roller bearings instead of ball bearings, and a novel input pinion shaft with straddle-mounted bearings on both the motor and gearing sides. This latter construction combats any overhang stress resulting from a poorly mounted motor, and additionally allows the gearbox to be offered in a sealed form that protects the gears against any contaminants during any installation or maintenance operations at the motor input.

Premium HNBR (hydrogenated butadene nitrile rubber) seals are fitted as standard for extra protection, and the MTA is designed to be used with Dodge twin tapered bushings - a patented design that provides a sturdy, concentric grip of the driven shaft on both sides of the reducer. This eliminates the wobble and fretting corrosion normally associated with single-bushed shaft mounted reducers.

"This is the first AGMA rated right-angle motorised torque arm reducer on the market we believe, and it provides an interesting alternative to conventional gearboxes wherever space is at a premium, and robustness is critical," says Charles Gubser of Baldor Electric Company. "We expect it to be of considerable interest to OEMs in machinery sectors including conveyors, and mixing and milling equipment dealing with harsh materials and in heavy-duty bulk handling applications."

Making even more sense for machine protection

Monitran has launched six new ranges of general purpose sensors.

All sensors in the new ranges are available as top- or side-entry and with integral cables or connectors. Submersible and intrinsically safe versions are also available.

Devices in a new 2200 range are ideal for vibration analysis. As standard they operate between ±80g, have a rapid response to shock loading and can withstand forces in excess of 10,000g. They have isolated AC outputs with sensitivities of 100mV/g – though alternative sensitivities are available upon request. In addition, they have good bias voltage stability with typical drift no more than 3mV/ºC with a bias voltage of 11.6V.

A second new range, the 2300 series, comprises dual output devices. Here, sensors replicate those in the 2200 range in terms of the AC output for vibration analysis; but also have an output proportional to temperature (at 10mV/ºC – a de facto sensitivity for many data loggers).

For monitoring velocity, Monitran’s third new range, the 2285 series, features devices with DC outputs (4-20mA) proportional to RMS velocity; though outputs proportional to peak velocity are available upon request. These are ideal for providing machine/plant protection; by allowing monitored velocity (i.e. speed of vibration) levels to be included within a condition-based predictive maintenance strategy. The maximum sensitivity is typically 0 to 100mm/s; though customers would select sensitivities most suited to their intended applications.

Also, the incorporation of full internal screening within the 2285 range of sensors eliminates potential earth loop problems, and simplifies installation.

The fourth new range of sensors from Monitran is the 2287 series, which is as per the 2285 series but with the DC output proportional to acceleration (RMS as standard but with peak available upon request) as opposed to velocity.

Lastly, the fifth and sixth ranges are the 2385 and 2387. These add secondary outputs for temperature (again output at 10mV/ºC) to the 2285 and 2287 ranges respectively.

Andy Anthony, Monitran’s Operations Director, comments: “Monitran is committed to bringing solutions to market that deliver considerable benefits to our customers, and the introduction of six new product ranges is one of our most ambitious launches to date. Greater accuracy, quicker recovery from shock loading, better immunity from electrical noise – these all make our new sensors fit-for-purpose in a variety of applications within several industrial sectors.”

The new general purpose sensors are suitable for the vast majority of industrial applications. However, for more bespoke applications, Monitran has many special purpose sensors; including those for modal analysis, tri-axial accelerometers and devices with charge outputs.

All sensors are available as made-to-order with lead times varying with quantity

Magnetostrictive transducers

Gefran's MK4-S and IK4-S magnetostrictive linear position transducers now feature increased performance and higher EMC noise immunity thanks to an improved electronic design. The RS422-SSI interfaced transducers, available in IP67 sealed profile (MK-4) and open rod (IK-4) versions, benefit from contactless technology for extremely long life and low maintenance and can offer from 50 mm to 4 metres stroke length with positioning resolution to 2 μm.

The new design includes an 'internal linearisation' feature that provides a 4-fold improvement in the standard linearity of 0.02% F.S. by introducing a linearity compensation factor. The new electronics is also more resistant to power surges and fully conforms to EMI CE compatibility standards with an overall noise reduction that improves communication reliability. Furthermore the maximum working temperature range has been raised to +90 °C for operation in more arduous conditions and the current input has been halved to just 50 mA.

The IK4-S rod version has also undergone some mechanical design improvements over the older IK-2 version that it replaces with a new cylindrical head design that offers straightforward integration for in-cylinder use. For both versions, connector and flying lead options are available for flexibility in interfacing the transducer into customer applications.

The SSI interface versions offer extremely high levels of convenience for control systems and the durability of the technology suits some of the most demanding applications in electric and hydraulics servo systems. Other interfacing versions available include analogue, digital, Profibus and CANopen.

All versions can be used with up to four measurement cursors on a single sensor for complete application flexibility. For MK- profile versions the cursor may be fixed or moving to aid installation and the IK- rod versions can include different magnet geometries to accommodate applications from in-cylinder use to level control.

Sensor for autosports

A new low-cost miniature laser displacement sensor that is particularly suited to autosports ride height adjustment and can also provide precision distance measurement in tough industrial environments is available from Variohm EuroSensor. The C-LAS-LT-65-ANA has a 0...+10V analogue output and is an ideal solution for the dynamic set-up of rally cars and some of the less well funded race series such as Formula 3000 where savings of up to 50% can be realised over other manufacturers laser sensors.

The visible red laser light (670 nm) Class 2 laser sensor has a typical working range from 35 mm to 120 mm in a compact IP67 rated polycarbonate housing measuring just 33 mm x 23 mm x 16 mm (L x H x W). With scratch resistant glass for maximum durability and an industrial grade 4-pin metal connector with optional mating cable assembly, the sensor may be supplied with a useful mounting plate which allows simple angular adjustment for completely straightforward installation. The operational temperature range is -20°C to +50°C and performance is guaranteed in ambient light conditions up to 5000 Lux..

The high dynamic range of the C-LAS-LT-65-ANA includes an analogue output that can resolve to a repeatable target of 0.01V under ideal 'white matt' reflective conditions with an update bandwidth rate of 1 kHz which will suit the majority of applications. The fully protected sensor requires a +10VDC to +32VDC supply and includes short circuit and reverse polarity protection.

Automation for American boy scouts

The Automation Federation (AF) has announced that the members of the Baltimore/Washington D.C. Section of the International Society of Automation (ISA) have offered to serve as exhibit volunteers in the Automation Federation’s Technology Quest Exhibit at the upcoming 2010 Boy Scout Jamboree 26 July – 4 August 2010 VA US).

The Automation Federation was selected by the Boy Scouts of America to be a Technology Partner to host an exhibit in the Technology Quest exhibit area at the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree. Technology Quest is intended to provide Scouts with opportunities to take part in various science-related activities throughout the duration of the Jamboree. The purpose of the Automation Federation exhibit is to challenge the imaginations of the Scouts and to allow them to explore the wide variety of careers that await them in the automation profession.

The Automation Federation exhibit volunteers will discuss what automation is and promote math and science and their importance to the automation profession. Rich Sommerfield, president of the ISA Baltimore/Washington D.C. Section, is leading the effort to recruit members of this ISA Section to serve as AF exhibit volunteers.

When asked about the reason behind his efforts, he said, “The Automation Federation Technology Quest Exhibit is an invaluable opportunity to reach out to thousands of Scouts who will be thinking about their education and career paths. With this exhibit, we will have the opportunity to make a lasting impression on these Scouts about pursuing careers in automation. I am proud to say that the ISA Baltimore/Washington D.C. Section will have some enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers on hand each day to help convey the message of the importance of math and science and to promote careers in automation.”

Co-Chair for the AF Technology Quest Exhibit, Leo Staples, said, “As Co-Chair for the planning of this Automation Federation Exhibit and as President-Elect for ISA, I am pleased to have the support of the Baltimore/Washington Section volunteers. I know their efforts will ensure our Exhibit is a success. I know these ISA Members will epitomize the finest example of what an automation professional is and can be to the Scouts.”

The Automation Federation hopes that the ISA Baltimore/Washington D.C. Section’s participation in and commitment to the AF Technology Quest Exhibit will encourage other ISA Sections and other automation professionals to lend their support and time to making the exhibit a success.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Harting at Drives & Controls 2010

At Drives & Controls 2010 (8/10 June 2010 Birmingham GB), Harting will present the first demonstration in Britain of Fast Track Switching: an innovative new switching technology that allows manufacturing organisations to integrate their office and automation networks into a single Ethernet-based communications platform: the Automation IT concept.

Unlike alternative proprietary Ethernet protocol approaches which use modified versions of the Ethernet standard compatible with automation technology applications, Fast Track Switching is totally based on standard Ethernet, but adds a new switching method to ensure that the specific
requirements that automation technology places on performance and determinism are fully met.

Using Fast Track Switching, a user can port an Ethernet-based system into the automation world with the full use of all of the degrees of freedom that standard Ethernet has to offer. This includes the integration of components and subsystems from outside the traditional automation
environment - such as vision or RFID systems - which may not support automation-specific protocols but which generally have an Ethernet interface.

The key components in Fast Track Switching are Fast Ethernet switches in Harting's Ha-VIS FTS 3000 product family, which can detect and identify automation profiles (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP and customised profiles), accelerate their data-transmission speeds and prioritise them.

The product family includes the Harting Ha-VIS FTS 3100s-A, which allows the connection of up to ten network devices over shielded twisted-pair cable. It supports Ethernet (10 Mbit/s) and Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit/s).

The detection, acceleration and prioritisation mechanisms guarantee the necessary determinism and performance that automation technology demands. As Fast Track Switching is also protocol-neutral, it can be used with all market relevant Ethernet systems.

They will also feature a broad range of interconnection solutions for industrial drives and controls applications, including The Harting RJ Industrial® 10G: the latest version of the world's first RJ45 connector requiring no tools for connection and featuring a future-proof design compatible with 10-Gigabit Ethernet applications.

The connection is made reliably and quickly using proven insulation displacement terminal technology. The insulation displacement terminals are designed for rigid and flexible conductors with an extremely broad range of wire cross-sections.

Cables with diameters from 4.5 to 9 mm are securely fixed in place in the connector with a newly developed cable gland, allowing users to connect all standard Ethernet cable types with a single RJ45 connector design. Thanks to its compact design, the rugged and industry-standard IP 20 model is also suitable for multiport RJ 45 jacks.

In addition to the IP 20 models, all HARTING's existing IP 65/67 PushPull types up to the Han® 3A version are now available with the new RJ Industrial® 10G insert.

Also new is the har-speed M12 range: the first M12 connectors to meet the demanding requirements for high-speed transmission in Cat.6A cabling systems. The new connectors are designed for applications in machine and plant engineering where the requirements for high-speed, secure data transmission require a higher level of performance than is available from Cat.5 cabling.

The design of the har-speed M12 connectors is based on the recently agreed PAS 61076-2-10x standard, which defines a uniform mating face for 8-pole M12 connectors. The new mating face performs two tasks: shielding in the connector area (using shielded wire pairs) and the coding of the mating face, which ensures fail-safe plugging with other 8-pole M12 connectors.

The new range includes overmoulded variants in different lengths and a crimp connector for on-site assembly.

Automatic transfer switch

Gresham Power Electronics has just released its new Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS), a state-of-the-art power switching and management module that monitors, selects, and transfers up to 600 W of AC power between two independent AC power sources in less than 10 mS.

This device was developed for an industry-leading broadcast TV OEM for an application in which AC power must be quickly transferred between a primary and a back-up source, typically within 7 mS, to prevent service downtime and loss of revenue for broadcast TV operators. The broadcast TV industry defines a maximum time limit for restoration of power upon a power outage and the new Gresham Power ATS allows broadcast operators to satisfy that requirement. This device also is suitable for a wide range of other applications in telecommunications, Internet infrastructure, security & surveillance, and similar areas that require a fast transfer to a back-up power source.

Jake Moir, Managing Director of Gresham Power comments, "Continuous, reliable supply of power is an essential requirement for television broacasters and many other industrial and IT applications. Our new automatic transfer switch provides a compact, reliable, cost effective solution to providing high integrity no-break power.”

The Gresham Power ATS features a universal AC input range of 85 to 264VAC at 47 to 63Hz (with capability up to 440 Hz) and fully supports electronic switch mode power supply (SMPS) load types that incorporate active power factor correction. An on-board microcontroller provides real-time DSP monitoring and analysis of incoming AC line voltage, regardless of wave shape. Most functions and features can easily be defined by users to meet the requirements of unique applications. For example users can designate either of the two AC inputs as the primary source of power, program input voltage threshold detection and transfer limits, adjust the time delays for transfers and set specific operations of LED visual indicators (function/intensity/blink rate).

In addition a serial I²C bus allows programmable serialisation and part numbering data to be stored. With a power transfer efficiency of 99% and a MTBF reliability of >1.5M hours per Bellcore 332 Issue 6 (30°C), this ATS can significantly enhance the value of an end user’s system

The Gresham Power ATS features a building block design that allows simple modification and adjustment to support any product that requires alternate switchable AC source to maintain services. It measures just 38x108x216mm (1.5x4.25x8.50 inches) and includes a printed circuit board with an edge-card connector for pluggable applications. The faceplate houses two panel-mounted AC power inlets (IEC-320 dual fused), one AC power outlet, and LED indicators for input power status. The AC model configuration allows up to a 6A or approximately 600VA power transfer capability into resistive, inductive or electronic loads. A metal faceplate with integrated locking hardware and an EMI gasket completes this pluggable device that can be put into a 1U, 2U, or 3U chassis.

The Gresham Power ATS can be configured quickly to meet customer-specific requirements for a best fit into unique applications. It supports customisations ranging from mechanical variations to faceplate silk-screening. DC input options are available. All models are CE marked, certified to EN60950 and UL60950, and support EN55022 class B emissions.

Power analyser

Special edition instrument for energy consumption studies, load analysis, power quality logging and more

Fluke has introduced their 434/PWR Power Analyser for easy energy analysis. The instrument can uncover energy waste in commercial and factory buildings as well as in equipment and machines. The unit is ideal for electricians, field service engineers and maintenance technicians. It can be used to conduct energy consumption studies and electrical load analysis, and to perform power quality logging and analysis according to EN 50160. The power analyser can also demonstrate the benefits of efficiency improvements by making energy consumption tests.

It measures harmonic distortion caused by electronic loads, and analyses reliability problems by capturing voltage dips and swells from load switching. A full colour display uses industry-standard colour-coding (user selectable) to correlate measurements with actual wiring. It can log incoming data, with a unique AutoTrend function highlighting changes of data over time, and comes with Fluke’s Power Log analysis software.

Load studies and energy assessments
The Fluke 434/PWR is a complete three-phase troubleshooting tool that measures virtually every power system parameter: voltage, current, frequency, power, energy consumption, cos φ or power factor, unbalance and harmonics and inter-harmonics. The instrument captures events like dips and swells, interruptions and rapid voltage changes based upon ½ cycle rms values. Two groups of four channels simultaneously measure voltage and current on all three phases and neutral. The 434/PWR meets the stringent 600V CAT IV, 1000V CAT III safety standard required for measurements at the service entrance.

A logging function allows users to customise measurement selections and provides analysis of user-selectable parameters to find intermittent problems or relate power quality issues to other phenomena/events. The logger provides detailed and user-configurable long-term recording. It gives MIN, MAX and AVG readings of up to 100 parameters on all four phases. Averaging time can be selected down to 0.5 seconds (or 1 minute for 1 day’s recording, 10 minutes for 1 week, 30 minutes for 1 month or more).

AutoTrend gives fast insight into changes over time. With a single push of a button, the System Monitor gives an overview of power system performance. It also checks that incoming power complies to EN50160 limits or to custom specifications. Trend analysis is made easier by automatic scaling of the vertical axis – so the waveforms can always be shown on a full display.

Extensive data analysis
This power analyser can perform extensive data analysis. Cursors and zoom can be used ‘live’ while taking the measurements, or ‘offline’ on stored measurement data. The stored measurements can also be transferred to Power Log software.

Designed to quickly view recorded data, the built-in Power Log software displays all recorded parameters on interactive trends. Users can generate a profes¬sional looking report with the ‘PRINT’ function or copy and paste images into report documents manually. The report generator can be customised to easily create tailored formats.

Ultra-fast jet valves

The operating boundaries of solenoid valves for switching compressed air are being pushed back aided by advanced CAE techniques. Festo has launched a new series of jet valves providing exceptionally rapid switching times of less than 1 ms – an order of magnitude faster than standard pneumatic solenoid valves. Based on a unique design featuring just one moving part, the new MHJ series jet valves also provide very high switching time repetition accuracies, and have an industry-leading service life of 10 billion switching cycles. The jet valves are ideal for diverse high-volume sorting applications, especially in the food processing and waste recycling industries.

These MHJ series jet valves are designed for use with standard 40 µm filtered compressed air supplies, and accommodate a wide range of operating pressures from 0.5 to 6 bar. They offer a choice of three 2/2-way fast-switching models, with nominal flow rates of 50, 100 and 150 litres per minute. The valves employ a special short-stroke solenoid and patented damping plate, developed using extensive CAE modelling of the magnetic, temperature and flow characteristics, to optimise switching characteristics. To switch at this speed and provide such a long life, the novel design completely dispenses with dynamic seals and lubrication. The design of the solenoid and damped flat plate also enables the valve to deliver the consistent switching repetition of less than 0.1ms required throughout the operating lifetime of specialist sorting machines.

The MHJ series jet valves have a trigger signal voltage range of 3 to 30 Vdc, enabling them to accommodate standard 5 V PLC-level signals without any need for voltage conversion. The valves have a power consumption of 7 W, which can be reduced to 2 W after the initial turn-on period by use of a holding current control feature, which can be supplied by Festo either integrated into the coil assemblies or incorporated into the application control board.

The valves are available as individual units with integrated push-in fittings, and can be supplied with sub-bases for manifold mounting. Festo also produces customised manifolds which enable a group of valves to share the same air supply, and these can be fitted with integrated jet nozzles, if required.

New AC speed controller

Rittal’s new SK3120.200 is an electronic speed control for 2-pole single-phase AC motors which replaces the older controllers SK3120.000 and SK3120.115. The new device has a supply range from 100v to 230v 50/60Hz in one unit and is a simple snap fit onto standard 35mm support rails, which makes it easier to position within the enclosure.

Supplied with a temperature sensor that can be positioned within the enclosure to monitor particular hot spots, the device controls the fan speed based on a manually adjusted set point P1 to ensure optimum cooling and noise reduction is given at all times. A minimum speed set point P2 allows full control over cooling within the enclosure.

A visual LED and an alarm relay will give indication of either over temperature, fan fail, sensor fail or short circuit and interruption to the supply cable or fan cable.

New management portal

The number of users at the online management portal netbiter.net for M2M and Remote Device Management is growing very fast. Due to increasing demands IntelliCom Innovation have introduced several new features to monitor, control and manage remote units in an easy, reliable and cost efficient way.

Some of the new features are;
Extended support for the award winning Netbiter EasyConnect concept that provides true plug’n’play installation of wireless devices, including secure access of firewall protected equipment.

There is now a software API basedon web services like SOAP ayt the site. It makes it possible to interface remote data to business applications, Intranets, web sites etc.

Modbus connectivity has been added on some GPRS and I/O based products.

Alarms are now supported via RSS feeds. The alarm scheduler has also been improved.

Last but not least the report engine has been updated to support more reports and customisation options.