Friday, April 2, 2010

Solid state accelerometers

Sherborne Sensors has introduced the A640 series, a range of fully customizable, single-axis solid state accelerometers, offering precision measurement capabilities within a variety of applications.

Available in ranges from ±1g to ±20g with ±5Vdc output, these A640 series features an advanced solid-state MEMS sensor, incorporating integral air damping. Unlike fluid-damped devices, air damping is essentially independent of temperature, which enables the accelerometer to reliably perform over a very wide temperature range (-40° to +100°C), with essentially zero temperature coefficient of damping ratio. Units are compensated for effects of temperature on both sensitivity and zero, and incorporate positive mechanical stops, conferring excellent shock resistance.

The Sherborne Sensors A640 series range is designed to operate from an unregulated DC power source and offers a high useable frequency response. An unfiltered output offering a usable frequency response up to 600 Hz and an additional 5Hz low pass filtered output is standard on all units. . Signal ground is isolated from power ground. Electrical termination is via a military-style, Bayonet lock connector. Units may be supplied with the output biased at 1 g, to offset the effect of gravity. Other model variations are available upon request.

Typical applications include data acquisition systems, crash recorders, fatigue life monitoring and prediction, road bed analysis, mass transit system monitoring and deceleration control, high-speed railway fault detection equipment monitoring, military and civil flight simulators, autopilots and low-frequency vibration monitoring.

All Sherborne Sensors A640 series accelerometers are 100% tested and calibrated at the factory prior to shipment, and are accompanied by a two-year comprehensive warranty.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Carcass temperature logger

MadgeTech has released the CTL2000, a Carcass Temperature Logger.

The CTL2000 measures and records data from up to 8 thermocouple channels allowing the user to verify and validate post-production meat sterilization cycles. It aids in reducing pathogens, and helps to ensure post-slaughter sterilization process parameters are met.

The CTL2000 has a black anodized aluminum enclosure with a stainless steel hook allowing the device to be hung directly from a carcass. This durable logger is splashproof and can be used through the entire sterilization process. The eight thermocouples can be inserted into different sections of the meat to provide an overall temperature profile. This logger features a push button or programmable start and status LEDs for process optimization. In addition, if a thermocouple is removed or severed during logging, the software automatically annotates the data.

The unit can help to reduce and prevent food safety problems, improve quality and ensure that the chances of a recall are minimized.

The CTL2000 comes with 8 thermocouples and clips to help hold them in place.

Unique portable gas trans-fill system

Dominion choose Michell

The Cermet II I.S hygrometer from Michell Instruments is an integral part of a new portable gas filling plant, developed by Dominion Gas. The Portable Gas Trans-fill System (PGTS) operates both on- and off-shore in the harshest of environments. It is thought to be the first of system of its kind.

Dominion has a long history of using the Cermet II I.S, which made it a natural choice for the PGTS. The company has used the instrument in a variety of applications over a number of years, such as the monitoring of welding mixes, CNG and natural gas in both process and storage applications.

Designed for the measurement of the moisture content of flammable and non-flammable gases within hazardous areas, the unit comprises an intrinsically safe transmitter, Transmet I.S., and a safe area Control Unit. Housed in a stainless steel case, the Transmet I.S. transmitter offers ingress protection to IP66 (NEMA 4X).

The Control Unit is a 19" sub rack unit containing display, transmitter power supply and isolation barriers suitable for location in a designated safe area. It provides all necessary user interfacing, including multi-unit display, alarms, analogue and digital outputs. Control unit and transmitter are connected by up to 500m of cable via galvanic isolation barriers.

The Cermet II I.S is one of a wide range of dew-point and moisture measurement instruments and analysers manufactured by Michell Instruments. It is easy to install and self-contained, making it ideal for use in applications like the PGTS.

New EMC emission field probes

TESEQ has introduced two new USB/RS232 electric field probes. The PMM EP-600 and EP-601 active broadband field probes benefit from a true spherical symmetrical dipole configuration.

Sampling at a rate of 22S/s to 0.03S/s depending on filter settings, the probes six monopole sensors sample data simultaneously on an X-Y-Z axis. The digital filter can be preset from 2.3 to 28Hz or low pass as required by the specific application requirements.

Their small size and excellent RF characteristics make the PMM field probes ideal for all EMC/EMI applications (chambers and TEM/GTEM cells), biology, materials research and wherever fast and accurate measurements with negligible or minimum interference of the probe to the field under measure are essential.

Extremely lightweight and compact, the EP-600 and EP-601 weigh only 25 grams and are just 50mm wide. The miniaturised, optically-coupled broadband electric field probes also feature a high performance, high reliability 3V, 5mAh Li-Mn battery that can last up to 80 hours before recharging. A full recharge takes only 48 hours.

With a wide frequency range of 10 kHz to 9.25 GHz, Teseq’s new electric field probes are a high performance solution for GTEM systems and EMC radiated immunity testing. The EP-600 has a vast dynamic range of less than 1 V/m to 140 V/m, while the EP-601 ranges from less than 1 V/m to 500 V/m. The field probes also profit from excellent isotropy, typically 0.3 dB at 50 MHz with values to 0.5 dB.

Operating in a temperature range of -10ºC to +50ºC, the PMM field probes can show a temperature reading accurate to 0.1ºC. Probes are connected fibre optically via an optical RS232 converter followed by a USB RS232 converter to the PC.

The supplied PC software provides a display of field, temperature and battery voltage measurements that are accurate to 10 mV. Filters, sampling rate and frequency can also be set with the PC software. The internal data memory stores the serial number, calibration date, calibration factors and firmware version.

In addition, each probe is supplied with a 10 m fibre optic cable; optical RS232 adapter and USB RS232 adapter; PC Utility Win-EP600 to display total field and setup; and a battery charger. Optional accessories include a 20 m fibre optic cable, 40 m fibre optic cable and a programmable switching box with 10 inputs for increased functionality.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nanopositioning mechanics and motion controls

Laser technology solutions specialist Altechna Co. (LT) is basing its Alt-SCA femtosecond laser micromachining system around Aerotech's ANT130 series linear motor driven nanopositioning stages in a customised 3-axis XYZ configuration that includes a granite bridge support structure and a unique pneumatically counterbalanced vertical axis. The synchronisation between the one nanometre resolution positioning system and the laser's firing pattern is precisely and crucially controlled with the advanced PSO (Position Synchronised Output) command from their software based A3200 motion controller which is built into Altechna's SCA (System Control Application) front end software using .NET class libraries. (What is a femtosecond? - Wikipedia!)


Altechna has developed its SCA software with C++ and C# to provide a flexible yet powerful control platform for laser micromachining that is capable of 3-levels of simple-to-complex micro-fabrication where, at the basic level, a WYSIWYG equipped GUI is able to convert complex positioning information from BMP or PLT files without the need for G-code programming. Moreover, SCA can be used to program multiplex trajectories using mathematical functions (Fig. 1). At the highest level, programmers may write micro-fabrication code directly in C++ and C#. Altechna's software has been applied to ultrafast-laser materials processing research at the University of Southamptons' Optical Research Centre (Fig 2.).


The AltSCA femtosecond laser machining system integrates the complete Aerotech motion sub-system including rack mounted linear servo-amplifiers with a 10W Yb:KGW (1030 nm) femtosecond laser source, machine vision, beam shaping optics and a galvo scanning head with resulting fabrication speeds up to 350000 pixels per second with 25400 DPI resolution (Fig. 3). Combining such high processing speed and large area positioning capability with nanoscale resolution and sub- micron accuracy, the AltSCA is aimed at both research and industrial users alike for development and/or high throughput manufacture of surface or 3D micro-nano structures for anything from MEMS sensors and optical micro-elements fabrication to microchip repairs and waveguide production.

Altechna is based in Vilnius, (LT) and works closely with the Laser Nanophotonics Group at Vilnius University where the Aerotech equipment is being used for research involving the fabrication of fully functioning microlenses in the order of 100 μm. These three dimensional structures are paving the way for integrated 3D optical micro-circuits.

They are also working on fully integrating Galvo-scanners with the ANT130 positioning system by using Aerotech's Nmark SSaM (Synchronized Scanner and Motion module). This will allow wide-format bitmaps to be processed continuously by enabling laser micromachining of structures and patterns that exceed the normal field of view for the Galvo scanner.

The AltSCA femtosecond laser machining system uses an integrated ANT130 XY series low profile X-Y stage that supports the object workpiece and a separate vertically mounted Z-axis stage for laser head manipulation. The Z-axis is fixed to the granite bridge structure and its pneumatic counterbalance is based upon a tried and tested design that Aerotech has developed over previous generations of micro-positioning stages. The large granite base provides high stability for the positioning system and the complete assembly includes all cabling and provision for air supply.

The ANT130 series has a nominal width of 130 mm and is available in travel ranges from 35 mm to 160 mm, in a choice of two accuracy grades up to +/-250 nanometres to suit high or ultra-high precision requirements. The performance characteristics (pitch, yaw and roll etc) ensure that the combined flatness, straightness, perpenicularity, abbe error, and all other critical geometric specifications do not compromise the nanometre level machining requirements for this application. The compact design includes anti-creep cross roller bearings and a centre driven brushless/non-cogging linear servomotor with 1 nanometre resolution encoders. Maximum speeds are up to 350 mm per second with acceleration to 1g. The non-contact linear servomotor and encoder system helps to ensure a very long working life with minimal maintenance..

The three-axis ANT130 is a part of Aerotech's nano Motion Technology (nMT) positioning range that brings together linear, rotary and goniometric stages to provide exceptional precision, rapid acceleration, high speed and ultra-fine resolution for nanometre resolution positioning. With zero-backlash and hysteresis in combination with high speed encoder feedback processing and real-time axis calibration, the nMT range is providing the enabling technology for many demanding applications where large area/high throughput positioning involves nanometre level structuring – a perfect solution for ultrafast-laser micromachining.

Aerotech’s PC-based A3200 Automation Platform is a software-only multi axis motion controller for up to 32 axes based on the IEEE-1394 Firewire® protocol network delivering fully deterministic, distributed and tightly synchronised motion and I/O control in combination with Aerotech’s Ndrive digital servo amplifiers. Further software expansion modules are available for additional machine control functions such as HMI, Vision and PLC. The flexibility and powerful advanced features of the A3200 include sophisticated commands such as the PSO along with diagnostics, commissioning and programming options that include AeroBASICTM, Visual Basic® C, C++, with higher levels including Windows® based ActiveX components with C++, VB and .NET class libraries.

For such high precision and high resolution applications Aerotech recommends its DSP based linear stage servo amplifiers rather than PWM drive stage alternatives to guarantee extremely low noise and jitter free stability. Its smooth current control also ensures ultra-smooth motion which is essential for sub nanometre applications.

21CFR part 11 complience data acquisition and display

The latest version of Yokogawa's DXAdvanced DAQSTATION range of data acquisition and display stations - the DXAdvanced R4 - features a number of new enhancements including an advanced security option that provides 21CFR Part 11 compliance, multi-batch capabilities, a ProfiBus interface and the new DAQManager data management software.

The advanced security option (/AS1) incorporates all the features required to provide secure electronic records to comply with the US Food & Drug Administration's 21CFR Part 11 standard (pdf), including controlled system access, active directory password management, electronic signatures, and an audit trail.

The DXAdvanced R4 has evolved from Yokogawa's paperless recorder technology to become a complete data-acquisition station with built-in panel, and offers integrated display, recording and communication functions. Two models are available:
the DX1000 with a 5.5-inch LCD panel and up to 12 input
channels, and
the DX2000 with a 10.4-inch LCD panel and up to 48 input channels.
The new models also feature high-capacity internal storage, with 400 Mbyte of secure non-volatile flash memory to support uninterrupted recording of more data over longer time periods.

The multi-batch function allows the user to record pre-defined channel groups to separate data files with independent start and stop control. Up to six batches can be created on the DX1000 and up to 12 on the DX2000.

DXAdvanced R4 offers custom display screens that allow the user to freely arrange field displays along with trend curves, bar graphs and other visuals. DAQStudio builder software can be used to create and edit custom display screens on a PC.

The new DAQManager software allows the user to manage measured data from the DXAdvanced DAQSTATION and Yokogawa's MVAdvanced family of paperless recorders on a PC. Data loaded onto DAQManager can be quickly and easily searched by data/time, tag name, batch name and other criteria.

The PROFIBUS interface, along with support for PROFIBUS-DP and EtherNet/IP protocols, enables the DXAdvanced DAQSTATION R4 to be integrated into end-user applications to provide a much wider range of functions than data acquisition and recording. In particular, it can be used with Yokogawa's MW100 data-acquisition system and other vendor's I/O products to provide many additional input channels. Then, using the optional maths and events
functions of the DXAdvanced DAQSTATION, the unit can be used to initiate actions or alarms based on the acquired data.

Reliable powered wheelchairs

A TorqSense transducer from Sensor Technology, is helping ensure the reliability of powered wheelchairs, scooters, golf buggies and other electric vehicles, having been incorporated into a dynamometer rolling road built by PG Drives in Dorset (GB).

PG Drives manufacture black box electronic motor controllers for chair and vehicle builders around the world. Reliability and robustness are paramount as their duty cycle is so unpredictable. Even the least adventurous users are likely to ‘go off road’ occasionally, get caught in the rain, tackle a big hill up or down, or find themselves needing to carry a large load.

The rolling road was built earlier this year to measure the torque between the motor under test and the inertia network it is driving, which is simulated by selective use of both passive and active loads. The TorqSense transducer monitors the motor’s performance by constantly measuring the torque at its output shaft and feeding a data stream out to a computer for logging and analysis.

TorqSense is a non-contact transducer that uses Surface Acoustic Waves (SAWs) as frequency dependent strain gauges to measure changes in resonant frequency in the motor’s drive shaft as the test programme is run. A wireless radio frequency coupling is used to transfer the data signal to a pick-up head.

The same coupling is used to supply power to the strain gauges, possible because the gauges are based on piezo technology so need less than one milliwatt of power. This arrangement does away completely with the difficulties of fitting slip rings and maintaining their contact quality throughout an extended test run.

This transducer embraces all the advantages of SAW technology, including no load imparted to the drive mechanism under investigation, a broader signal bandwidth than other analogue based technologies and elimination of electromagnetic interference.

“We often run arduous test regimes for 10 hours or more until the battery is flat,” says Dr Richard Gears of PG Drives. “We always have the rig manned for safety. With large currents being generated and the motor regularly overloaded, we can’t risk lights-out overnight testing."

"The procedures can simulate on and off road, every type of surface, steep gradients, gentle gradients, all sorts of extreme weather, heavy loads, shock loads and every other anomalous behaviour you can imagine. Until last year the analysis regime was based on test driving around the town, but consistency and repeatability were, of course, impossible to achieve. The rolling road has been used constantly since we built it, so its reliability is a much as issue as that of our controllers in the field. Looking back, I don’t how we ever managed without it.”

Machine builders assembly time saved

Thomson RediMount saves design and assembly time for machine builders

Thomson has introduced an innovative system that enables its TRUE planetary gearheads to be connected to any manufacturer's drive motor in a fast, simple and reliable manner.

The RediMount system allows machine and component manufacturers to to select the optimum combination of gearheads and motors for each and every application. The modular system enables gearheads and the mounting system to be stocked separately, which considerably reduces the associated costs. All Thomson Micron gearheads use an identical RediMount system, which guarantees that components are always compatible.

In addition to the high degree of flexibility it brings, RediMount also helps machine designers by reducing motor installation time and avoiding installation errors such as misalignment. First, the system features a self-centering hub. This ensures absolute concentricity between the motor shaft and gearhead pinion shaft eliminating the possibility of excessive wear on components during operation. The reliable alignment of the motor, gearhead and shaft - shaft-to-shaft centering - described here is a truly unique innovation in the marketplace. Another integral feature of RediMount is the pre-assembled pinion which makes the time-consuming pinion positioning process that is required by conventional systems a thing of the past. This not only saves valuable time be saved during mounting, but also eliminates another frequent source of error resulting from motor mounting.

The mounting process is streamlined using the RediMount system. The motor and gearhead can be mounted in just a few simple steps: To start with, the supplied adapter sleeve is inserted into the terminal hub of the gearhead. The gearhead drive shaft's input gear (pinion) is then pushed onto the motor shaft with the clamping hub. The two screws from the terminal hub are then securely fastened through the mounting opening in the RediMount adapter flange. In the final step, the motor flange is tightly screwed to the gearhead housing with the supplied screws.

The advance also extends to linear motion. Thomson's linear drive units will benefit from the fact that all solutions are supplied with the RediMount system as standard so that any servomotor can be specified without incurring any additional expense. Because the RediMount adapter flange is precisely tailored to the dimensions of the provided motor, the length of the drive block will always remain unmodified - meaning that engineers are not faced with any problems associated with the mounting position during subsequent motor replacements.

"With Thomson RediMount, conventional analyses, fitting problems and specifications of the connection sizes between the linear unit and the required motor are a thing of the past", explains Anders Trygg, Product Manager for linear units at Thomson. "All the customer needs to do is specify the part number of the Thomson linear unit as well as the manufacturer and part number of the motor, which the end user intends to use. We take care of the adjustment to the associated motor attachment without increasing the lead times or prices of the respective design."

Latest processors now on VME boards


Concurrent Technologies has released the VP 717/08x family of 6U VME boards featuring the Intel® Core™ i7 processor family. Depending on the application requirements a choice of processors are supported: the 2.53GHz Intel® Core™ i7-610E, 2.0GHz Intel® Core™ i7-620LE and the 1.06GHz Intel® Core™ i7-620UE. Based on 32nm process technology and the new Intel® integrated memory/graphics controller architecture, these processors are from the Intel® embedded roadmap which offers at least seven year availability. With up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3-1066 ECC SDRAM and dual PMC/XMC sites the boards also include extensive I/O functionality and can support VITA 31.1. The VP 717/08x family offers front and rear I/O interfaces that are pin-compatible with the popular VP 417/03x family providing a continuing upgrade path. Commercial and extended temperature versions are also available, and a compatible range of ruggedized, conduction-cooled or air-cooled versions will be available shortly. The boards are particularly suitable for CPU intensive processing applications within the defence, homeland security, industrial control, and transportation market sectors.

The VP 717/08x family is based on the combination of the Intel® Core i7 processor and an Intel® Platform Controller Hub (PCH), the Mobile Intel® QM57 Express chipset. This combination benefits from the integration of the graphics controller and the memory controller into the processor, resulting in reduced memory latency and improved performance-per-watt. The Intel Core i7 processors feature Intel® Direct Media Interface Technology and Intel® Flexible Display Interfaces to the PCH to provide simultaneous high-speed non-graphic traffic and video/graphic traffic. The processors also feature Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology to allow multiple simultaneous execution threads in each core, and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology which elevates performance for specific workloads by increasing processor core frequency on one core when the second core and/or graphics engine utilization level is low. The CPU and graphics engines have separate Turbo modes, and by using simple BIOS setup options, the user can disable either or both of the turbo modes, or pre-set a bias towards one or the other feature.

VITA 31.1 Gigabit Ethernet on a VME64x backplane enables a tried and tested method of implementing a LAN-based multiprocessor architecture by leveraging readily available Ethernet hardware, TCP/IP software, clustering and other network management tools. Using standard networking techniques offers an efficient method of remote booting boards within the chassis, and simplified intercommunication between boards. It can be used as a method of offloading tasks from the standard VME backplane, thereby improving overall application efficiency. VITA 31.1 is suitable for applications such as data acquisition, radar data processing or those requiring data synchronization across multiple system boards.

Supporting two 100MHz PCI-X PMC or two XMC x8 PCI Express® sites, with expansion for two more PMC sites via an optional expansion carrier the VP 717/08x maintains compatibility with the VP 417/03x and offers an array of rear I/O functions –
2048 x 1536 analog graphics, keyboard, mouse, 2x RS232/422/485, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, EIDE and SATA interfaces. The front panel supports dual PMC/XMC, 2048 x 1536 analog graphics, keyboard and mouse interfaces, including an additional USB 2.0 interface and an additional RS232 interface. To cater for embedded applications, there is 64Mbytes of Application Flash memory. For application and data storage there are EIDE and SATA300 rear I/O interfaces, an onboard site for a CompactFlash™ module and an onboard option for a SATA300 2.5-inch disk drive. As well as the industry standard PC interfaces, other features available include a watchdog timer, long duration timer, and LAN boot firmware.

For ease of integration the VP 717/08x supports many of today’s leading operating systems, including Linux®, Windows® Server 2008, Windows® Server 2003, Windows® XP Embedded, Windows® XP, Solaris™, LynxOS®, VxWorks® and QNX®.

Card fold test

Lloyd Instruments has added a new packaging test fixture to its range of specialised grips and accessories for the Plus range of materials testing machines. This new fixture is designed to allow a pre-scored section of cardboard to be bent through 90 degrees and the maximum force required to perform this bending to be measured. The fixture is supplied with NEXYGEN software to compensate for any residual forces with moving the mechanism before the card sample is fitted.

The new accessory consists of a lower fixture with a rotating assembly, an upper cord mounting block and specialised software. Since there is a residual force required to move the fixture when there is no card sample fitted, this value must be removed from the test measurement to obtain the actual force required to bend the card. This is automatically carried out using the software supplied.

To perform the test, the cord is attached to the pulley on the lower fixture and any slack is removed by moving the crosshead. The forces required to move the fixture are measured and stored in a reference file. The cardboard is then inserted into the fixture and the test repeated. The software automatically removes the residual force and displays a graph of "Test Load" against "Extension" or "Load" (total load including the load required to move the fixture) against "XHead". The software is configured to allow batch testing and to archive test results.

Tube fittings in tight awkward spaces

Brennan Industries has a new presetting tool used to preset ferrules on tubing prior to final assembly into a fitting. The presetting tool is ideal when an installation must be made in tight spaces or hard-to-work areas.

Manufactured from carbon steel, these presetting tools for instrumentation tube fittings are available in sizes 5/8 inches and up.

“The presetting tool lets major portions of installation work happen in a more favorable work setting because it allows for the presetting of the ferrules onto the tubing in a safe, open and ground level area,” said Bill Jarrell, vice president of marketing at Brennan. “Users that have installations in cramped areas or overhead will benefit from our preset tool.”

To use the preset tool, the user must secure the tool in a vise, remove the protective nut and assemble the fitting nut and ferrules loosely onto the tool then insert the tubing through the nut and ferrules until it bottoms in the preset tool.

After standard assembly procedures have been followed, the tubing with the nut and ferrules can be removed from the body of the preset tool and attached to the tube fitting body by following standard reassembly instructions.

Drives provide flexibility to advanced motion control

Simplifies automation for food, chemical, pharmaceutical, electronics, printing, wood/metalworking and other manufacturing sectors

Baldor Electric has just launched a new generation of smart drives. Offering economic and space-saving solutions for many common single-axis automation requirements, the drives also feature an Ethernet interface compatible with the deterministic Ethernet-compatible motion control standard, Powerlink.

The new programming capability - Mint Lite - is now being fitted without charge on all of Baldor's MicroFlex e100 and MotiFlex e100 single- and three-phase drive ranges. These drives are available in a broad choice of power ratings up to 33.5 A - with higher ratings coming soon. The versatile drives may be used to control rotary and linear servo motors, linear motors, closed-loop vector motors, and in V/Hz control modes.

The embedded Mint Lite capability supports a range of basic motion programming requirements including performing relative and absolute moves, S-ramp profiles, jog and homing movements, changing target positions on the fly, registration moves, and reacting to real-time trigger events. The programming facility allows standalone drives to provide solutions for many common automation and machinery tasks such as cutting or feeding to length, indexing axes, simple pick and place motion, and machine adjustments such as changing guides or backstops to reconfigure machinery for new batches. Such capabilities are widely required in a large number of manufacturing and processing sectors including food and beverage, packaging, pharmaceutical, electrical and electronics equipment, printing, and wood/metalworking.

More flexible PLC interfacing is another notable application for the new drives. Every drive manufacturer offers a defined process data exchange interface with PLCs, or a ‘drive profile’ utility. The ability to program Baldor's drives means that the standard drive profile may be adapted, perhaps to simplify the communications process or perhaps to optimise drive behaviour for a specific application. The drives' TCP/IP-compatible Ethernet interface also makes it simple to link into Ethernet factory networks for changing product recipes, reporting production metrics, etc.

All of Baldor's MicroFlex e100 and MotiFlex e100 drives come with built-in I/O as standard - including fast latch inputs for registration applications - plus CANopen manager capability to support distributed I/O expansion and HMI interfacing. MotiFlex e100 drives offer card slots for further local I/O expansion and fieldbus connectivity. The fieldbus modules extend connectivity options to external PLCs, supporting interfaces such as Ethernet/IP, Profinet-IO, Profibus and DeviceNet. This configuration versatility allows drives to be configured very cost effectively to provide single-box solutions for automation applications.

If used in a Powerlink system, the local intelligence adds versatile new system building capabilities. Critical events can be acted on directly, eliminating the impact of network and controller scan time latencies; the faster response of critical axes can be translated directly into higher throughput. Another fundamental difference a smart drive can make is by using the local intelligence to offload a centralised Powerlink network controller. For machine builders configuring systems with large numbers of motion axes, this can save hundreds of dollars as Baldor fits Mint Lite programming capability as standard.

Development and configuration tools for the drives are included in Baldor's development environment, Mint WorkBench, which is provided without charge to users.

The new smart drives complement Baldor's existing Powerlink network control possibilities: a traditional central controller available for varying numbers of motion axes - NextMove e100 - and a plug-in controller for drives called Mint Machine Module that can control either two or five axes. The plug-in control card provides access to the full capabilities of the rich Mint language, and is capable of being programmed to perform very sophisticated motion functions such as gearing and cams.

Here is more information on Baldor's Servo-Drive Solutions Overview

Easy to install, time saving delayed valve

Tyco Waterworks has a new EBCO Delayed Valve (EBV), developed and manufactured to provide full flow replenishment of storage tanks used in high rise buildings, buildings with multiple outlets fed from storage tanks or from pumped systems.

This new delayed valve is packed full of time, energy and cost saving features. After extensive field trials, engineers have found that ease of installation is its most outstanding attribute. The Delayed Valve has been designed as a simple mechanical device, comes fully assembled and can be fitted easily and efficiently straight from the box, with no need to dismantle the unit before installation. For added efficiency, the adjustable delay valve design means that the positioning of the floats to provide the required delay can be carried out away from the tank. This makes installation more convenient and reduces the possibility of spills and water damage during installation.

Technically, the design is based on the renowned and established EBCO equilibrium ball float valve and this new EBV incorporates the unique and patented ECOvalve fill control device. Allowing the valve to open fully and operate at full flow every fill cycle, means that trickling is eliminated, valve and pump wear is significantly reduced and running costs are kept to a minimum. Tyco Waterworks has shown that an energy saving of up to 81% can be achieved by installing the EBV. The robust and simple mechanical design can operate in tanks with walls sloping up to 5º and does not require precise vertical or horizontal levelling for the valve to function.

For added versatility, it is available in single float (fixed delay) or twin float (adjustable delay) versions. The adjustable twin float device is recommended for tank systems with a raised inlet or float valve housing, so the float can be adjusted to allow optimum main tank capacity.

Cost savings can also be made due to the fact that there is no need for ancillary equipment. In other products on the market, filters are often part of the design and not only do they add to the cost of the original job, but they need to be replaced regularly and require ongoing maintenance. The Tyco Waterworks delayed valves provide the perfect cost-effective ‘fit and forget’ solution.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Young Stress Analyst competition

The BSSM’s (British Society for Strain Measurement) annual Young Stress Analyst Competition, is scheduled to take place alongside the 7th BSSM International Conference on Advances in Experimental Mechanics, to be held in Liverpool (GB) from the 7-9 September 2010.

The competition is sponsored by Airbus, AWE and Imetrum Non-Contact Precision Measurement and will give four finalists the opportunity to present their work at a special session at the Conference.

The first prize winner will receive Imetrum Non-Contact Precision Strain Measurement software and a cash prize of £200; cash prizes will also be awarded to the other three finalists. All four finalists will receive free conference registration, a contribution towards B&B accommodation, lunches and refreshments over the three days of the conference and will be invited to attend the conference dinner free of charge on Wednesday 8 September to receive their prizes. Other entries of merit will be invited to produce a poster for display at the conference, which will also be entered into a competition.

The competition is open to final year undergraduate (or equivalent) students, MSc students, PhD students who have not submitted their final thesis and industry based personnel. The closing date for receipt of entries is 29 June 2010. Full details about the competition and an application form can be found online.

Last year’s competition was a great success by all reports and they would like this year’s event to be even better. This is a great way of getting young, enthusiastic people interested in experimental mechanics and the BSSM.

ATEX certification for prizewinning gas detector

Senscient has received ATEX International Certification from FM Approvals Ltd for operation of their new Open Path Gas Detector (OPGD) ELDS 1000 Series for methane and ELDS 2000 Dual Gas Series for methane and hydrogen sulfide in potentially explosive atmospheres.

With features that include 3x better sensitivity for detecting flammable gases and lower ppm level toxic gases, Senscient ELDS open path gas detectors offer facility owners a substantial improvement in site safety and risk management over previous NDIR-based technology systems. Additionally, the ELDS 2000 Series OPGD is the first fixed gas detector able to monitor both methane and hydrogen sulfide in a single unit simultaneously with discreet output communication.

Senscient's patented Enhanced Laser Diode Spectroscopy (ELDS) solves major problems associated with traditional fixed gas detectors by eliminating routine re-calibration, sensor replacement, unreliable readings and false alarms that cost industries millions of dollars in lost revenue annually.

ELDS is designed to provide new levels of plant safety and risk reduction in offshore platforms, FPSO's, onshore petrochemical facilities and refineries. New ELDS units targeting other industries and gas hazards are being introduced throughout 2010.

The ATEX certification ensures Senscient ELDS Series 1000 and 2000 open path gas detectors are capable of detecting the target gas over an entire line of sight coverage of 5 to 40 meters. The certification also confirms the systems' ability to trigger isolated multi-channel analogue or digital output signals to a remote safety PLC.

"ATEX Directive 94/9/EC is the final Senscient ELDS certification required for us to meet our goal to become the first fixed gas detector manufacturer to meet all performance-based hazardous area compliant product and facility standards for USA, Canada, and Europe," according to Jean Berthold, Senscient CMSO and VP.

This company won the ISA Intech Gold Innovators Award for ELDS Gas Detector at ISAExpo'09

On-line verification for on-line flowmeters

Next-generation meter verification technology for Micro Motion® Coriolis meters is the only verification tool to test the complete meter, in minutes and without any process impact

Emerson Process Management has announced Smart Meter Verification technology for Micro Motion® Coriolis flow and density meters. Smart Meter Verification delivers complete, on-line verification of device performance, saving significant expense by reducing labour and outsourced calibration service costs while eliminating process interruption.

With no need to remove the meter from the line or stop the process flow, Smart Meter Verification – at the touch of a button or on a pre-determined schedule – delivers measurement integrity feedback in under two minutes. Smart Meter Verification technology is embedded in the transmitter functionality to verify calibration and the complete health of the sensor, drive, and electronics.

David Spitzer's Industrial Flow Measurement presents a rational procedure for flowmeter selection
that is based on factual information. Effective flowmeter selection requires a thorough
understanding of flowmeter technology in addition to a practical knowledge of the process and the
fluid. This book will help experienced engineers, technicians and others evaluate the appropriate
criteria rationally to arrive at the proper flowmeter selection.
With no complex interpretation and no interruption to process measurement, Smart Meter Verification delivers benefits to a range of applications and industries. These include a reduction in costs by minimising manpower and services to check or calibrate meters, increasing availability by allowing verification without process or measurement interruption and eliminating uncertainty by providing complete feedback whenever it is needed – with no process impact and no need for complex interpretation.

Smart Meter Verification also improves safety, health and environmental impacts by reducing trips to the field and the need to break process seals. The entire flow measurement meter is checked – sensor and electronics – for complete measurement certainty. Smart Meter Verification is easy to operate at the touch of a button, on a pre-determined verification schedule, or automatically based on process events.

Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters lead the industry in measurement performance and reliability, and are part of Emerson's broad range of intelligent, digital field devices that power thePlantWeb™ digital plant architecture. Further cost savings, increased plant availability, and enhanced safety and environmental compliance are achieved when the flowmeters are integrated into the PlantWeb digital plant architecture.