Friday, April 16, 2010

Thermal mass flowmeter measures greenhouse gas

Magnetrol International's Thermatel Model TA2 Thermal Mass Flow Meter measures greenhouse gases in accordance with the new US Environmental Protection Agency rule (EPA 40 CFR part 98). This new mandate requires companies emitting more than 25.000 tons/year of CO2 equivalent to report greenhouse gas emissions and was effective from January 1, 2010.

The Magnetrol Model TA2’s thermal dispersion technology provides an accurate and economical method to measure the amount of emitted methane or natural gas, and assesses emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), meeting the EPA requirements.

It is a direct mass flow measuring instrument and requires only a simple, single insertion point into a pipe or stack to install. The accuracy is better than ±1% of reading +0,5% of calibrated full scale and exceeds the stated acceptable accuracy within this new EPA rule. Instruments are available for installation in line sizes from 15 mm up to more than 3000 mm. It operates over a wide flow range from 0,13 to 200 Nm/s with an exceptionally wide turndown ratio up to 100:1.
The flow sensing element of the Model TA2 is manufactured with all-welded construction and available in 316/316L or Hastelloy C. There is virtually no pressure drop when using a thermal mass flow meter and it has no moving parts and is, therefore, less sensitive for clogging and fouling. The instrument measures and displays mass flow rate, totalized flow and temperature with electronic output of passive and active 4-20mA signal including HART® protocol. Actual gas calibration will be performed on each TA2, matched to the customer application and installation conditions.

There are several flow measurement technologies that can be used for the measurement of greenhouse gases. However, thermal dispersion mass flow meters provide certain advantages in terms of mass flow measurement, turndown, (low) flow sensitivity, low pressure drop, and ease in installation. In fact, the TA2 thermal mass flow meter will provide the lowest cost of ownership for facilities that are required to measure the greenhouse gas emissions from their processes to comply with this new EPA requirement.

Cost-effective wireless solution lowers the cost of adding additional measurements

We reported on Emerson's THUM last November and now we are reporting on MACTek's Bullet. We wait with baited breath for the next wireless device acronym or title!

Key Features;
  • Cost saving Multidrop support for up to 8 devices
  • Patented loop powered option – no battery or other power source required
  • Connects directly to HART® field device or anywhere on the 4-20 mA loop
  • Patent pending StepVolt™ technology sets insertion voltage in steps from 1 to 2.5 volts to optimize trade off between available loop power and wireless communication bandwidth
  • Patent pending Direct Power option when local DC power or battery/solar system is available:
    - Internal 250 ohm loop current sense resistor provided, configurable by WirelessHART® command
    - In Direct Power mode, Bullet™ can switch field device on/off to take periodic readings to save power
  • 300+ meters open air range
  • Certifications for GP model:
    - HART® 7.1 Registered with the HART® Communication Foundation - fully compliant for communication reliability when the WirelessHART® test suite is available
    - FCC Part 15, IC, CE
  • IS and XP models available in early Q3 2010 with Intrinsically Safe, Explosion - Flame Proof approvals suitable for use in hazardous areas
  • MACTek® Corporation has released its WirelessHART® adapter, a universal communication device for use with both analog and HART-enabled devices. As the newest member to the family of MACTek® HART®-enabled products, the Bullet™ provides a cost-effective means to access process measurements and communicate process variables and other valuable information to the control room without wires. The Bullet™ WirelessHART® Adapter is now available for sale in a general purpose model for use in non-hazardous areas with deliveries starting in May. The IS and Ex-proof models will be available early in the 3rd quarter of 2010.

    The Bullet™ enables existing wired HART® field devices from any supplier to communicate with host applications by means of WirelessHART® technology. It is installed permanently by wiring it directly to a standard HART® field device, or connecting it anywhere on the 4-20mA current loop with a junction box. A wired HART® field device retrofitted with the device communicates its analog process variable over the existing wiring to the existing DCS with no wiring changes. The Bullet™ simultaneously communicates the digital PV and device diagnostic information over the WirelessHART® network.

    The Bullet™ can also be installed on a non-smart (analog only) device and will transmit a digital representation of the analog 4-20mA PV to the control room over the WirelessHART® network which can save labor cost by eliminating manual recording of data.
    “I am pleased to announce the release of this exciting and innovative product.” said Thomas Holmes, President of MACTek. “The fact that this device connects to existing installed HART-enabled and analog devices provides a huge benefit to users in plants as they continue to lower their operating cost by providing access to valuable information stranded in their measurement and control assets, and by making new measurements cost effective. MACTek’s demonstrated high quality and reliability is built into the Bullet™ so that users can have confidence when installing and using this exciting product. We are currently submitting the Bullet™ to all required agencies and the HART Communication Foundation for testing, certification and registration.”

    One of the many unique features of the Bullet™ is its ability to multi-drop up to 8 measurement devices using a single Bullet™. The digital multi-drop feature drives the cost of adding devices to an existing WirelessHART® network down to well below that of other digital busses that require a linking device, special wire, power conditioners and segment terminators, as well as training for personnel. This cost-effective feature is useful for many SCADA applications including the monitoring of tank farms and pipelines.

    The Bullet™ is typically loop-powered, requiring no batteries or other power sources. Featuring MACTek’s patent-pending StepVolt technology that sets insertion voltage in steps from 1 volt to 2.5 volts the Bullet™ will optimize the trade-off between available loop power and wireless communication bandwidth.

    Optionally the Bullet™ may be connected to external power such as line power, battery or solar to add new measurement points in locations where powering new loops from the DCS would be too costly or difficult. For example, installing measurement points on rotating and mobile machinery is a particular challenge for which the Bullet™ can be an easy and cost effective solution.

    It offers a unique power cycling feature that cycles power to attached devices reducing power consumption, an advantageous feature for battery or solar powered applications. When powered externally the Bullet™ provides the load resistor required by the HART® protocol, saving users the time and cost of installing and wiring an external resistor in the field wiring.

    The Bullet™ maintains the high standards of reliability, quality, and ease of use demonstrated by our VIATOR® Bluetooth, USB and RS232 HART PC modems. Their entire product family is fully compliant with the HART® communication specifications and both our wireless and wired solutions have proven to be easy to use and compatible with HART-enabled devices from any vendor.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Watlow at Advanced Manufacturing

    Watlow designs and manufactures industrial heaters, temperature sensors, controllers, system assemblies and software – a complete thermal system. The company has 12 manufacturing facilities in the US, Mexico, Europe and Asia and sales offices in 17 countries worldwide.

    They are introducing the EZ-ZONE® RM – a configurable multi-loop temperature/process controller. The EZ-ZONE RM is the first industrial controller to integrate an entire assembly of control loop functionality in one space-saving, DIN-rail mounted package.

    EZ-ZONE RM can be used as a PID temperature/process controller, an over/under limit controller or these functions can be combined into an integrated controller. Other control functions can be integrated as well, such as high amperage power controller output, creating a complete and integrated thermal loop controller all in one package.

    EZ-ZONE RM can be configured with between 1 to 16 modules controlling from 1 to 64 loops. Because the controller is single-loop scalable, customers pay only for what they need – exact loop count.

    Utilizing an integrated controller solution reduces wiring time and termination complexity, improves overall system reliability, reduces termination and installation costs and eliminates compatibility issues encountered when using many different components and brands. In addition, integrated controllers reduce troubleshooting time and downtime costs since the system can specifically identify to the operator if there are any problems with a sensor, controller, solid state relay (SSR) power output or heater load.

    EZ-ZONE RM allows for many optional integrated controller functions to be combined together or ordered in different quantities, including:
    • PID temperature/process controller;
    • Over/under temperature limit control loops;
    • 10 or 15 ampere power output/heater driver options;
    • On-board data logging;
    • Current measurement input;
    • Sequencer start up and control function;
    • Programmable timer and counter functions;
    • Programmable math and logic options;
    • Multiple communication protocol options;
    • Mobile configuration with removable secure digital flash card
    • SPLIT-RAIL™ configuration to isolate low voltage input modules from high voltage output modules.
    EZ-ZONE RM offers current monitoring for the entire system, on-board data logging, sensor back-up capability and TRU-TUNE®+ adaptive control, which provides tighter control for demanding applications. Its communications capabilities feature a range of protocol choices including USB (Universal Serial Bus) device port, EtherNet/IP™, Modbus® RTU, Modbus® TCP, DeviceNet™ and PROFIBUS making integration to a larger PLC based system architecture seamless.

    As part of the EZ-ZONE family of integrated PID controllers there is no need to learn a new menu flow or wiring and connection scheme because the EZ-ZONE RM shares a common user interface, menu structure, wiring and connector labeling and user manual support documentation with its other family members (EZ-ZONE PM and EZ-ZONE ST).

    This new rail mount integrated multi-loop controller is ideal for semiconductor processing, photovoltaic, packaging, plastics processing and a variety of other applications that require multi-loop control.

    ISA at Advanced Manufacturing

    This year ISA-England will once again be participating at the MTEC, Sensors, Measurement & Instrumentation component of the Advanced Manufacturing UK Exhibition at NEC Birmingham GB). Stand 1264

    They will also be providing the Key Note speaker for the Lecture Theatre, ISA-England President Russell Hobbs.

    Once again the theme for this year will be on the subject of Wireless Technology with Russell providing the latest updates on the ISA100 standard.

    Last years event was a great success with a packed out auditorium for each of the presentations given throughout the day. This years event promises to equal that of last year as interest in the use of wireless technology grows.

    They also welcomed numerous visitors onto their stand.

    Several current members took the time out to call whilst at the exhibition and several enquiries were taken with regard to membership and training opportunities.

    Once again, literature and brochures on Training and Benefits, plus the ever popular InTech Journal will be available for visitors to take away.

    Gas well production optimisation

    Distributed intelligence and extensive data analysis are at the heart of new gas well production optimisation

    Control Microsystems Inc. (CMI) has just announced the release of SCADAPack ProductionPLUS, a pad-wide optimization solution combining EFM and plunger lift for 30+ wells per pad. SCADAPack ProductionPLUS leverages the functionality and flexibility of Control Microsystems’ product suite to provide gas operators with an efficient wireless or wired Sensor to Enterprise application.

    The new package runs in all SCADAPack 4203 gas flow computers (GFC) and 300-Series controllers. Each is ideally suited to support Electronic Flow Measurement (EFM) and production optimization applications while performing control and monitoring tasks. When the 4203 is used at each well head, it provides a distributed intelligence architecture that addresses the downside of having a single point of failure in traditional pad-wide optimization. In addition, the powerful, built-in PLC allows the 4203 to generate and store over 4000 data records per meter run. The internal digital output can be used to control the sales valve.

    The SCADAPack ProductionPLUS Manager is an intuitive, windows-based PC environment that allows operators to easily configure each well head, reducing the human error associated with traditional or legacy plunger lift systems. ProductionPLUS Manager has three operating modes to serve the life cycle of each well: manual mode, auto intermitter mode, and complete plunger lift control.
    “As gas operators face downward pressure on margins and increasing environmental regulations, SCADAPack ProductionPLUS was designed to directly tackle these issues,” says Dale Symington, VP Product Strategy. “Integration with our Accutech wireless instruments significantly reduces deployment costs while the product’s environmental-centric features, including tank level monitoring and pad-wide shutdown, improve environmental compliance.”
    SCADAPack ProductionPLUS also improves safety in the field. Wireless sensors eliminate manual data gathering and reduce injuries, specifically with wellhead pressure during the flow-back period.

    Software solution continues to facilitate good manufacturing practices

    Advanced functionality enables lower cost of ownership, regulatory compliance and faster development

    GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of an upgrade to its industry standard Proficy software CIMPLICITY, version 8.1, a visualization and control solution used in variety of industries including Oil & Gas, Discrete Manufacturing, Power Generation, Marine and Energy industries. The new solution features programming enhancements, regulatory compliance tools and an innovative alarm association feature, in addition to full compatibility with GE’s CIMPLICITY GlobalView allowing web access to this powerful HMI/SCADA solution.

    “With more than 25 years in the field, CIMPLICITY customers are always pushing for lower costs of implementation,” said Gimmi Filice, Product Manager for GE’s Proficy CIMPLICITY product. “This new version delivers key new additions to CIMPLICITY’s objects and classes, enabling programmers and engineers to develop faster and maintain complex systems easier achieving a sustainable competitive advantage and ultimately a lower cost of ownership.”

    CIMPLICITY 8.1 introduces enhancements that enable more flexible classes to speed new product development and lower the total cost of maintaining large-scale systems. “Classes are powerful components when developing,” Filice continued. “They are basically the blueprints programmers use when creating templates for CIMPLICITY, and the enhancements we are introducing today further extends the ability to use templates in applications so they can be deployed more quickly. Classes also enable users to accomplish mass updates across an entire system, driving down maintenance costs.”

    Standards compliance, regulatory penalty avoidance and good manufacturing practices are supported as CIMPLICITY 8.1 introduces a new change approval feature that enables an electronic signature before allowing setpoint changes, recording results to an audit trail, with commenting capability. A change approval system, or e-signature, enables it to be used in a wider variety of applications and is commonly used for helping meet 21 CFR part 11, NERC and FERC regulations. In addition, the package brings a new ability to perform root cause analysis enabling instant alarm analytics for quick operator resolution.

    CIMPLICITY 8.1 also delivers full compatibility with GlobalView enabling a full-featured client within a browser providing expanded application usage and mobilization of workforce enabling support for hundreds of simultaneous users and expanding the application within the plant or across the globe. In addition, the new product offers compatibility with the legacy Microsoft platforms and applicable Proficy products.

    “Proficy CIMPLICITY 8.1 is another example of GE’s ongoing commitment to the CIMPLICITY HMI/SCADA platform,” said Claire Cerrato, General Manager Automation Software for GE Intelligent Platforms. “We are consistently bringing this solution forward to address the ongoing needs of the current and future user communities.”

    More informative, better organised, more attractive and simpler

    Drive technology specialist mayr® Power Transmission has overhauled its Internet presence with an entirely new website. It will display extensive information on safety clutches, shaft couplings and safety brakes. In addition, catalogues in PDF format, technical documentation and CAD files for all products are available for download.

    Thanks to the modern design and lucid structure of the pages, which were generated using TYPO3, the website offers a high level of user friendliness. Along with the refined technology and clear menu structure, the new website makes a good impression with supplementary features such as the ´quick start´ function for insiders and a selection assistant for the reliable selection and dimensioning of shaft couplings.

    The quick start function guides visitors with specific ideas directly to the desired information. The ´Products´ menu leads visitors and interested parties clearly and simply through the entire product range of mayr® Power Transmission to a suitable product. Searching for specific products or information is supported by a full-text search engine that is accessible on every page of the site.

    Another highlight of the new Internet presence is the broad selection of download items. Detailed documentation in PDF format and 2D or 3D CAD files are available on the website for every product. This enables interested parties and potential customers to quickly find the catalogues, operating instructions and other technical information they need while saving paper and the expense of postal delivery.

    The clearly organised menu provides easy, clear navigation. All significant information about mayr® Power Transmission is available under the ´Company´ menu, including the company history, the corporate philosophy, and the very latest news on products and the company itself.

    The products are clearly divided into six areas. Three areas in which mayr® plays a major role or is a world leader - safety clutches, safety brakes and shaft couplings - are displayed prominently on the home page, where they lead the majority of the visitors directly to the desired product segment. The industry overview is very interesting, even for non-specialists. It portrays the diverse applications for mayr® products. The extended Service area of the website provides users additional options for getting in touch with mayr® Power Transmission and simplifies the process of searching for product information.

    Miniature cable extension position sensor for wet and severe environments

    Variohm EuroSensor has added a new cable extension linear position sensor from its distribution partner, the USA 'string pot' sensor specialist Celesco Inc. The MT3A is particularly suited to precision distance measurement up to 750 mm in potentially wet and severe application environments. The rugged sensor features an O-ring sealed and IP67 rated anodised aluminium enclosure with a polycarbonate cover and a nylon-coated stainless steel measurement cable. With a choice of three cable tension options to suit linear position measurement in acceleration conditions of 17g, 50g or 90g, it is well matched for demanding automotive/autosports and aerospace test applications such as crash testing, structural component evaluation and off-road suspension testing .

    Furthermore, an extended temperature range of -40 to +125 ºC allows use in all-weather outdoor environments and as the MT3A can withstand temporary immersion in water and washdown situations, its use across harsh industrial applications is also possible. For extreme high impact applications, an optional anodised aluminium cover is available.

    The conductive plastic-hybrid potentiometer sensor provides a voltage divider output from an input voltage up to 30 VDC, with effectively infinite positioning resolution and full stroke accuracy up to +/- 0.25% , and repeatability to +/- 0.02%.

    For mounting flexibility the MT3A features an integral 2-axis, 360° freely rotating mounting bracket, and measuring within a volume of under 62 mm x 41 mm x 45 mm (LxDxH), it is easily installed in space restricted areas.

    The sensor is available in four measurement ranges of 0 .. 75 mm, 0 .. 225 mm, 0 .. 375 mm and 0 .. 750 mm. Electrical connection is via strain relief cable (4.5 m or 9 m length) in a choice of end, top or side mounting. Customers can also specify a plain cover option to provide their own cabling arrangements.

    Comprehensive inverter options do not compromise space

    Flexible and configurable cabinet inverters remain compact

    SK 500E series cabinet inverters from NORD are available in six modular sizes with performance ratings to 22 kW and a wide selection of interfacing options and expansion modules that allow industrial automation applications from simple speed control to complex servo positioning. For complete flexibility these options and modules can be applied throughout the SK 500E range and within each power rating the cabinet's external dimensions are unaffected ensuring that retrofitting, system scalability, and functional upgrades may be carried out with minimum inconvenience and maximum efficiency. All models provide sensorless current vector control and feature brake management, a brake chopper, and Class A line filtering as well as a PID controller for process control, configurable parameter sets, and automatic flux optimization which can save up to 30 % energy. Even the basic model which is equipped with five digital inputs, two analog inputs, one analog output, and two relay outputs, provides a wide range of connection options.

    Advanced models can include such extras as “Safe Stop” in compliance with EN 954-1 and EN 13849-1 (up to safety category 4, stop category 0 and 1), an on-board CANopen interface, a TTL incremental encoder input, additional digital input and output channels, or the POSICON positioning control. Expansion modules called Technology Units include Profibus, CANopen, DeviceNet, and INTERBUS modules for direct fieldbus control as well as an AS-interface with provision for 2 sensors and 4 actuators.

    Furthermore, models are available with a separate 24 V power supply for the control card, allowing access to parameter data and the bus interface even if the mains power is switched off. This enables specific applications such as elevator evacuation and increases online availability. Many SK 500E models are optionally available as cold plate versions or with heat sinks for installation outside the control cabinet (through-hole installation).

    US-Indian co-operation to serve petro and chemical sectors

    Applied Analytics and Vortex proudly announce the formation of Applied Analytics (India) Private Limited. With Vortex's prominent engineering and distribution capabilities and Applied Analytics, Inc. advanced technologies and manufacturing know-how, Applied Analytics (India) Private Limited will provide top notch sales, service and support for its ever-growing international clientele base.

    "We are delighted to expand our team into India and the surrounding regions", states Dr. Yoav Barshad, President of Applied Analytics, Inc. "Such an expansion will allow us to provide exceptional products and services for those petro and chemical industries requiring technologically advanced process instrumentation in a more quick and efficient manner".

    "Applied Analytics (India) Private Limited offers a team of individuals that have been serving the Indian Industry for over two decades in such fields as Gas and Water Analysis, Moisture and Flow Measurements, and Vacuum Instrumentation for field testing", says Kashyap Mehta, Managing Director of Vortex- India. "Using our unique capabilities to build tailor made quality sampling systems to suit most demanding needs for advance automation and analysis, while maintaining our core values of high ethical standards and ultimate customer satisfaction, will certainly create a recipe for success".

    Optical fibre monitoring software detects occasional faults

    A new software package allows the Yokogawa AQ7275 optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) to be used in unattended mode for detecting and monitoring faults occurring occasionally or at regular or irregular intervals in fibre-optic networks.

    The new AQ7940 software is designed to meet the needs of operators or users of fibre-optic networks in locations that may be prone to occasional faults caused by temperature variations, moisture ingress, insects or rodent attacks. Traditional remote monitoring systems, normally used on larger-scale networks, are complex to set up, expensive and require highly trained operators, whereas the AQ7940 offers a solution that is both easy to operate and inexpensive.

    In a typical application, the unattended OTDR is controlled by a PC via a USB or Ethernet interface. Using the Yokogawa AQ7940 monitoring software, the instrument can then continuously monitor optical lines, without the need for an engineer to be present.

    With this setup, all line interruptions down to 100 ms are detected, and the corresponding measurement results (including OTDR traces) are logged by the PC software to produce a fault data log. The operator then simply checks the logged data to see what has happened during the period of unattended operation.

    The AQ7275 OTDR offers a 100 ms response time at wavelengths of 850, 1300, 1310, 1550 and 1625 nm. A filter provides active line monitoring at the 1625 nm wavelength

    New pressure guage production line

    Manufacturing of pressure gauges, pressure switches and pressure transmitters moves.

    Brooks Instrument opened a new production line for the recently acquired pressure gauge product family at its headquarters. Brooks acquired the pressure gauge products through its
    acquisition of certain assets of Celerity’s Instrumentation division in June 2009.

    The pressure gauge product family not only includes pressure gauges, but also pressure switches and pressure transmitters:

    S122 / C122 / F122 2-inch Pressure Gauges
    The Brooks S122/C122/F122 series 2-inch stainless steel gauges were designed and developed for the demanding high-purity applications. With an accuracy of 1 percent of full scale, the gauges offer a reliable and efficient way to monitor pressure locally. This durable measuring device comes in a variety of process connections, pressure ranges and socket orientations.

    IPS122 2-inch Indicating Pressure Switches
    The Brooks IPS122 series 2-inch stainless steel indicating pressure switches provide a high- purity, precision pressure gauge and electronic switch with an adjustable pressure switch setpoint. This compact unit has the ability to operate lights or relays up to a maximum of 12 watts. Available in a variety of pressure ranges and process connections, this device provides solid-state switching for cleanroom and hazardous applications.
    IPT122 2-inch Indicating Pressure Transmitters
    With a variety of available outputs, the Brooks IPT122 series 2-inch stainless steel indicating
    pressure transmitters (IPT) are very versatile devices. Accurate within 1 percent of full scale, the IPT122 can provide 0 to 5 VDC, 1 to 5 VDC or 4 to 20 mA outputs with pressure ranges up to
    4,000 psi.

    All of these products are cleaned for oxygen service to ANSI B40.1 level IV specifications.

    “This is a great product line for Brooks Instrument, as it compliments our flow business very well. The fact that we offer pressure switches and transmitters in addition to the pressure gauges provides our customers with some great options,” said Steve Kannengieszer, Director of Marketing, Mass Flow Products at Brooks Instrument. “Relocating the production line to our global headquarters allows us to monitor customer orders more efficiently and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.”

    Manufacturing of the pressure gauge products will be supported in Allen, (TX US), as well as the new Hatfield location, for a brief period to ensure there are no customer interruptions as the new production line ramps up.

    Wireless on mobile wellhead test system

    Self-organising wireless network minimises set up and commissioning time and enables greater flexibility and reliability

    Emerson Process Management tells us that Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. (NAM) has successfully applied their Smart Wireless technology to mobile wellhead test equipment. NAM’s Well Test Department monitors wellhead performance to ensure that output is maintained at the highest possible level. They have recently started using the wireless sensors on their test systems because they are universally deployable, easy to set up, and have greater flexibility, higher reliability, and reduced commissioning and dismantling times.

    NAM is the largest gas producer in the Netherlands, with annual production of around 50 billion m³. Gas produced by NAM covers around 75% of Dutch demand. NAM also produces around 0.4 million m³ of oil a year, which accounts for a quarter of all the oil produced in the Netherlands.

    For a safe and profitable exploitation of gas and oil fields, it is crucial that all the production sites function at maximum efficiency. If a well’s capacity drops, or if the well is regularly closed for maintenance or servicing, it is the job of NAM’s Well Test Department to investigate. Containers housing mobile test equipment are taken to the site and connected to the wellhead in order to identify the root cause of the problem, and bring the well’s production capacity back up to the highest attainable level as quickly as possible.
    “Before we made the decision to move to Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology for our mobile test rigs we carried out extensive testing,” said André Lahuis, NAM Assistant Operation Supervisor. “We really tried everything to affect the signal between the sensor in the field and the base station. Using special equipment, we generated every possible type of signal (radiation, EMC, radio signals, magnetism, etc.) but the wireless signal was not affected. In addition, Emerson’s heavy encryption and other security features mean that the wireless system is completely secure from outside interference.”

    NAM’s traditional test equipment used wired instruments to measure pressure and temperature. This meant there were many cables running over the ground and, although these were secured wherever possible, they represented a safety hazard. Set up and commissioning were time consuming and, because each location required a different sensor configuration, there were often problems with the instrument connections caused by corrosion in the connectors, or a break in the cable resulting in erroneous readings.

    Following the successful trials, NAM now has three mobile test units which are equipped with Emerson’s wireless sensors for differential pressure and temperature. “The use of Emerson’s wireless technology on three of the test rigs has simplified set up and installation and reduced the time spent at each wellhead,” continued Lahuis. “When we get to a site we put the sensors on the apparatus, install the gateway receiver, switch the system on and get on with other tasks. Within a few minutes, all the sensors have automatically registered with the receiver and we only need to enter on the screen which sensor is in which position. We have to do very little to get these instruments working correctly.”

    The test rigs are continually being moved between wellheads and the technology is proving ideal for the demands of this challenging application. The wireless devices are both reliable and secure and are interchangeable. This makes the system highly flexible and easily configured to suit the individual well head. As the test rigs are moved, the team of operators may change and the uniformity and ease of operation of the Emerson systems and devices has proven to be a significant benefit.

    Following the successful introduction of wireless technology, NAM has identified a new opportunity to use Emerson’s recently introduced wireless pH transmitter to test the acidity of the oil being extracted. This is currently done using test strips but the wireless sensors will enable measurements to be continually made online. Klaas van Bruggen, NAM Operation Supervisor, said, “Measuring pH values online is something that we will be doing wirelessly just as soon as we can. Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology is enabling us to automate measurements that we could not previously, because it was either impossible or uneconomic to do so. If only this system was available years ago!”

    Private Indian materials testing accredited lab

    Lloyd Instruments has announced that Hemshell Services has been accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 for mechanical testing. Hemshell Services is the test and calibration division of Lloyd Instruments’ distributor in India, Hemetek Techno Instruments PVT. Ltd. The Indian Government’s National Accreditation Board For Testing and Calibration Laboratories made the award following an assessment. Accreditation is given to a laboratory on the basis of its capability to perform the required tests and provide accurate and reliable results.

    Viraj Devasthale, Quality Manager at Hemshell Services, said: “This award provides formal recognition of competent laboratories, and is excellent news for our customers who will now have even more confidence in the sample testing that we can perform for them. We are already accredited to ISO 17025-2005 for site force calibration of universal materials testing machines and now we are the first and only private laboratory in India who have achieved accreditation for testing within the defined scope. We are proud that our capabilities have been recognized to an international level of competence”.

    With a recently opened testing, training and customer support centre at its headquarters in Mumbai, Hemetek offers the entire range of Lloyd Instruments material testing machines, texture analysers, the Davenport range of polymer test equipment and Chatillon® force measurement products as well as other test equipment throughout India.

    Metals monitor improves influent understanding

    Sometimes you see a name which you know many people outside of the area might find strange and you yourself smugly know where it is. This is a story of such a place - Fazakerley.The United Utilities wastewater treatment plant at Fazakerley (It's near Liverpool in North West England, said he smugly!) has installed a continuous metals analyser from Cogent Environmental to help investigate variable heavy metal content arising in the plant's catchment.

    United Utilities staff are working with the British Environment Agency to gain a better understanding of the heavy metal sources in the catchment so that an appropriate solution can be identified. The monitor, an OVA5000, is providing continuous monitoring data at the plant's outfall for Copper, Nickel, Cadmium and Lead.

    The continuous, real-time heavy metal monitoring instrument was first installed on a 3 month trial in April 2009. Since that time the OVA5000 has performed very well with no failures or significant downtime and was therefore purchased so that continuous monitoring could be extended.

    The Fazakerley plant receives effluent from domestic sewage and industrial premises. The average flow is 54,000 m3/day with a maximum flow of 140,000 m3/day. This volume represents a high proportion of the flow in the receiving watercourse.

    Alison Summersfield, Lead Operational Scientist for Wastewater, has been involved with the trial since its inception. Commenting on the value of real-time continuous data, she says, "We realised from the beginning that sampling for laboratory analysis would not be feasible because the concentration of heavy metals in the influent is extremely variable and consequently spot measurements are unlikely to provide meaningful data. In addition, results from laboratory analysis can incur long delays by which time the situation will have either changed or disappeared. The suggestion to employ an OVA5000 came as a result of successful trials on another site at which continuous chromium monitoring was conducted.
    "Real-time data enables us to identify the frequency and timing of high concentrations and qualitative data may help us to identify the source of the metals content."

    Data from the OVA5000 is currently collected by laptop, but will shortly be connected to the plant's monitoring and control system. In addition, an auto sampler will be triggered by the monitor so that samples can be taken immediately if effluent concentrations exceed pre-determined levels at any time of day or night. This will enable a more detailed laboratory analysis of high sample results to facilitate a closer identification of the pollutants' source.

    The OVA5000 is able to measure using both Anode Stripping Voltammetry (ASV) and Cathode Stripping Voltammetry (CSV) techniques delivering limits of detection down to as low as 0.5ppb, depending upon the metal being measured and the sample matrix.

    The maintenance requirements of the OVA5000 are minimal, requiring approximately 30 minutes per week by United Utilities staff (pump calibration verification, cleaning sample lines and analysis cells). A small quantity of reagents is consumed in the measurement process and these require top-up or replacement every 2 to 4 weeks. In addition a service contract has been put in place whereby Cogent Environmental staff make quarterly visits to carry out more extensive maintenance.

    The OVA5000 is factory configured to meet application requirements and is able to measure up to six sampling streams.
    Sample pre-treatment options include acid/ultraviolet light digestion for the removal of potential interferences.
    Typical metal applications include: Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Copper (Cu), Lead (Pb), Iron (Fe) Mercury (Hg), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), Zinc (Zn) (Cogent Environmental continuously works to expand this list)

    In addition to applications involving the monitoring of wastewater discharges, the OVA5000 is also employed in many countries including China, Korea and Taiwan to monitor river water for the identification of sources of heavy metal pollution and for intake protection for drinking water. It has also been deployed in process control applications.

    Summarising her experience with the OVA5000, Alison Summersfield says, "The overall objective is to ensure that effluent metal concentrations remain within the consent for the site and this would be more difficult if we did not have access to continuous data. The OVA5000 has run constantly since April 2009 and since that time it has proved to be very reliable. Data from the monitor compares favourably with lab analysed samples. "As we establish a more detailed picture of the heavy metal patterns at the plant we look forward to being able to work with the Environment Agency to ensure that the environmental performance of the plant is optimised."

    Protection from electrostatic charge

    Various solutions have been developed for protection from electrostatic charge and to combat it effectively. One major problem exists where a plug-in board has been tested immediately prior to insertion into a live system under hot-swap conditions. Rittal now have alternative solutions to combat the discharge under these circumstances.

    A new ESD discharge facility effectively removes all built-up charge from the front panel of the plug-in board and rapidly brings the panel to protective earth potential. Achieved via a heavy duty contact embedded in the guide rail, which is in permanent electrical contact with the chassis, the new system has been tested to IEEE1101.11 and UL1950 to 30 Ampere capacity. Initially designed as a rear I/O guide rail for 80mm assemblies, the high current discharge contact and associated guide may also be used for front mounted panels where excessive static build-up is likely.

    The new guides include the facility to safely discharge any remaining static or operational charge (such as that stored in capacitors) from boards being inserted into the system directly following a test under power. For this, an additional grounding clip is fastened to the guide rail in the direct path of the PCB which needs to be designed in accordance with IEEE guidelines.

    Additionally, the guides have chambers at the front for the insertion of coding keys to prevent incorrect board insertion when used in conjunction with IEEE type lever handles on the plug-in board / front panel. When used at both the top and bottom of a 6U board/front panel combination, these provide almost 4100 different coding variants.

    SCADA and enterprise info management symplified

    Invensys Operations Management has announced new customer-driven functionality with the release of its Wonderware® System Platform 4.0 software.

    As part of this new software platform release, Invensys continues to build out its open, industry standards based ArchestrA® technology framework. Wonderware System Platform 4.0 software delivers new information services and capabilities, including new device connectivity functions, tiered historian capabilities and dramatic web visualisation improvements, that enable plant operators to more effectively manage and control equipment and processes; information systems personnel to more easily integrate and make use of real-time manufacturing information; and for all personnel to be continuously up to date on their overall operations performance.

    Part of the company's strategy is to empower a wide range of production workers with easy-to-use visualisation, reporting and intelligence tools. The System Platform software offers new tiered historian capabilities, designed to greatly simplify data time-stamping, information aggregation, retrieval and reporting, along with improved information security and disaster recovery across distributed operations. The platform historian is also available as a standalone offering, Wonderware Historian 10.0. The Information Server 4.0 component of the platform now provides the rich experience and performance of real-time ArchestrA graphics for web visualisation, supporting a wide range of production workers with more functional and effective KPI reports and HMI graphics. Using the company's open platform, customer's graphical configuration efforts can be easily reused and managed across their manufacturing enterprises, as both Wonderware InTouch® HMI graphics and inside their web applications.

    "The Wonderware System Platform 4.0 software provides a single, scalable and open platform for SCADA, HMI, MES and EMI software, addressing the business and functional needs of industrial automation, operations and information personnel," said Steve Garbrecht, director, product marketing, Invensys Operations Management. "Its plant-model based, integrated configuration environment provides a logical representation of the physical processes being controlled and supervised, enabling rapid configuration and deployment of component object-based industrial applications. This software platform solution allows our engineering teams, along with our ecosystem partners and customers, to accelerate flexible innovations that are aimed at achieving operations excellence."

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Innovative vacuum generator module features energy-efficient air-saving function

    Festo has launched a highly innovative vacuum generator module equipped with a host of built-in energy-saving and condition monitoring functions. One of the key features of the new OVEM vacuum generator is an integrated vacuum sensor, which continuously monitors the output; the module will operate until a user-defined vacuum threshold has been reached, and then automatically switch off, resulting in significant energy savings. A built-in non-return valve ensures that in normal use, vacuum loss is limited to air leakage between the suction cup and the workpiece; the generator will automatically turn on again if the vacuum drops to a second user-defined vacuum threshold.

    Their OVEM vacuum generators use the venturi principle to create a vacuum, employing a de Laval nozzle to accelerate airflow across the top of the evacuation tube. They are designed for use with standard 40 µm filtered compressed air supplies, with efficiency-optimised flow characteristics to reduce energy consumption. The generators are available in high vacuum and high suction rate versions, and offer a choice of 5, 7 and 10 mm de Laval nozzles to accommodate a variety of vacuum flow rate requirements and different porosities of workpiece materials.

    As well as helping to save compressed air, the OVEM generator’s vacuum sensor provides continuous system monitoring and diagnostic functions. Any gradual or sudden loss of vacuum, or any lengthening of vacuum evacuation time, is detected automatically and an electrical signal fed back to the system’s controller. This information can be used for preventive maintenance purposes, to minimise machine downtime and ensure process reliability.

    All user-defined operating parameters – including upper and lower vacuum thresholds, normal vacuum evacuation time and overall system cycle time – are set up using the pushbuttons and LCD screen on the front face of the vacuum generator module. The 4-character alphanumeric LCD is backlit and features analogue and numeric displays which enable the relative pressure, or vacuum, to be seen at a glance. Users can choose to display the vacuum level in inchHg, inchH2O or bar – whichever is most meaningful for their application.

    The OVEM vacuum generator module features two fully integrated solenoid control valves – one for switching its compressed air supply on and off to generate the vacuum, the other for activating an ejector pulse. The ejector pulse helps speed cycle time by quickly dissipating the vacuum when the generator is turned off, enabling the workpiece to be released using a quick ‘blip’, instead of having to let the suction cup and associated air pathway slowly come back up to full atmospheric pressure. A flow control screw is provided for adjustment of ejector pulse flow.

    Festo’s OVEM vacuum generators are very easy to install and maintain. All pneumatic connections employ push-in QS fittings, and all electrical connections are made via a single 5-pin M12 plug. The solenoid valve for vacuum on/off can be controlled by a normally-closed or normally-open switch, and there is a choice of six different configurations for the vacuum sensor’s electrical switching output, to further simplify system integration. The generators require very little in the way of maintenance; an open silencer and integrated air filter prevent internal contamination, and a built-in viewing window facilitates filter inspection without having to remove the module from the system.

    Venturi based vacuum generators can be extremely effective, speeding up cycle times and operating reliability. To ensure that they are energy efficient they need to be selected according to the demands of the application; the size, mass and porosity of the item to be picked, as well as the forces resulting from the planned movement, are all factors which influence this choice. Festo’s vacuum selection software is now available free of charge, to shorten the calculation time in selecting the right unit for each application.

    Linear actuator packs more power in less space

    Thomson has extended its range of ball screw linear actuators with the particularly compact, yet powerful T60 Precision Linear Actuator (PLA).

    The key feature of the new T60 is its compact dimensions, which enable installation even when the available space is extremely limited. The width and height of the linear unit measures a mere 75 x 60 mm so the unit can be easily installed in smaller machines and units - for example to activate valves, push or pull components or to precisely position ducts.

    Despite its compact installation dimensions, the T60 offers the same high performance characteristics as the larger units in the PLA range. The T60 drives static loads of up to 10 kN over a stroke length of 1.5 m and permits Y and Z axis loads up to 100 N. High travel speed of 2.5 m/s, combined with repeatability of ±0.05 mm and low 0.11 mm backlash are particularly suited to installation in pick and place systems.

    The T60 is also ideally suited to use in harsh environments such as food packaging with IP65 rated protection against dirt ingress. In addition, the standard unit can be subjected to extended rinsing processes without compromising the reliable operation that customers expect from Thomson products. Special lubricants are also available for hygienic applications. An operating temperature of -20 to +70 °C makes the T60 equally at home in a controlled environment food processing environment as it is in a thermoforming application.

    Like its two larger cousins, the T90 and T130, the new T60 is extremely rugged and reliable and caters for a broad range all industrial applications from process automation, to food production, electronics and pharmaceutical manufacturing through to the packaging industry. The high power and generous stroke length of these actuators also lends itself to use in place of pneumatic or hydraulic drive systems. Electric actuation offers a number of advantages over conventional fluid-based systems which are prone to high levels of noise and potential contamination as a consequence of hydraulic oil leakages. Furthermore, a more precise degree of control is achieved by using electrical drives. Electrical actuation is also more efficient because electrical drives only consume power on-demand and do not consume costly energy in "standby mode"like compressors.

    The T60 is designed to share the same long service life and maximum capacity enjoyed by the rest of the PLA range. A central lubrication service point contributes towards its easy maintenance. In addition to this, a comprehensive range of flanges makes it possible to use a wide range of available drive motors. A belt gear box is also available in place of a conventional gearhead if there is not sufficient machine space to install the motor on the end of the linear actuator.