Friday, April 30, 2010

Acoustic sensors & instruments

New line of precision acoustic sensors and instrumentation


Meggitt Sensing Systems has introduced a new line of Endevco® acoustic sensors and instrumentation, designed expressly for use in automotive NVH, cabin noise, vibro-acoustic testing, appliance noise evaluation, wind tunnel testing and other critical sound and noise measurement applications.

Endevco® prepolarized condenser measurement microphones, available in 1/8”, ¼”, and ½” diameters, are offered in free-field, pressure, low-cost array and random incidence types and can be used to meet IEC and ANSI standards. Array microphones offer a lower overall per channel measurement cost and are directly compatible with ISOTRON® (IEPE-type) signal conditioning. They can be used as drop-in replacements within existing accelerometer test system set-ups for as-needed precision noise measurements. Models may be purchased as stand-alone units, or in a microphone and low-noise preamplifier combination with iTEDS on-board memory storage capabilities, facilitating their use within larger channel count applications. All microphones are constructed with a stainless steel protective grid case and housing, as well as a special stainless steel alloy diaphragm, for high reliability in a variety of application environments.

Available for use with these precision measurement microphones are a full range of low-noise ISOTRON® preamplifiers, handheld calibrators, and accessories. In addition, all acoustic sensors and instrumentation are covered by a five-year comprehensive product warranty.

Industrial cyber security advances!

-Triconex / Tofino OPC firewall addresses historical security challenges, improves interoperability of critical safety systems-

Invensys Operations Management has teamed with Byres Security Inc. and MTL Instruments to deliver a ground-breaking cyber security solution. The new Triconex® / TofinoTM OPC firewall will harden industrial safety systems against network accidents and attacks. It is the first firewall that protects integrated applications based on OPC Classic, the world's most widely used industrial integration protocol.

To enable greater interoperability of its Triconex safety systems, Invensys pioneered embedding OPC servers within its Tricon™ communications module (TCM). To ensure that these modules were cyber secure, Invensys teamed with Byres Security, which had recently introduced the world's first content inspection firewall for the MODBUS TCP protocol as part of Byres Security's Tofino product line, in order to create a firewall specifically for Triconex systems. The two companies then enlisted the services of MTL Instruments to build the security hardware. The result is the Triconex / Tofino OPC firewall, which is now available for Invensys customers using the Triconex TCM with the embedded OPC solution.

"Processors and manufacturers are continuously threatened by new and increasingly dangerous cyber attacks, which requires greater vigilance and security," said Joe Scalia, portfolio architect, Invensys Operations Management. "The Triconex / Tofino OPC firewall mitigates those risks by managing the traffic to and from the Triconex TCM, providing further assurance that a cyber incursion will not compromise integrated communications between the safety and critical control systems and supervisory HMI or distributed control systems. By tapping into the Invensys Operations Management ecosystem of partners and collaborating with the renowned experts from Byres Security and MTL, we co-innovated to resolve a crucial client challenge and help them achieve safety excellence."

The Triconex / Tofino OPC firewall provides security features developed specifically for Triconex and its embedded OPC Classic server to protect against malicious attacks and other threats to network operations. Users deploy the new firewall in front of the Triconex OPC server, thwarting attacks and traffic storms before they reach the safety and critical control system. It automatically mitigates risks related to previously published DCOM vulnerabilities, while providing packet management and rate limiting to prevent network traffic problems that could have an adverse effect on the stability of the safety system.

For many companies, good network reliability, like that provided by the Triconex / Tofino OPC firewall, is just as important as good security, and with its unique features and capabilities, the Triconex / Tofino OPC firewall can help avoid multi-million dollar accidents and untold environmental damage.

"Past plant shutdowns, for example, haven't been caused by hackers. Instead they were the result of badly configured software causing traffic storms that impacted critical controllers and other systems," said Eric Byres (pic right), security expert and technical officer at Byres Security. "The Triconex / Tofino OPC firewall does much more than block hackers and viruses from accessing the safety system. Its dynamic port management and built-in traffic-rate controls prevent many basic network problems from spreading throughout a plant."

"The next generation of the OPC Foundation interoperability specifications, the OPC Unified Architecture, incorporates similar cyber security protection, based on the excellent work of founding companies like Byres Security, MTL Instruments and Invensys," said Thomas J. Burke, president, OPC Foundation. "Launching the unique Invensys solution is the important milestone in demonstrating that users can secure the interoperability of OPC Classic within other applications without worrying about cyber security. As the use of OPC Unified Architecture expands, we look forward to collaborating with these market leaders to develop additional innovative, readily deployable solutions for the benefit of the entire OPC user community."

"We were pleased to join Invensys in developing a firewall for their industry-leading Triconex safety solutions," Byres said. "Together with MTL, we have delivered a solution that will improve plant safety and security, as well as enable manufacturers to deploy OPC to achieve new levels of interoperability for all of their operations, enabling, for example, tighter integration of safety and asset management systems to share data and help prevent trips."

See also Security beyond Plant Walls (29/7/2009)

Free drive configuration software enhanced with new features

Parker Hannifin, has released a new version of its cross-platform drive configuration package Drive System Explorer (DSE) Lite. Available as a free download, DSELite version 2.11 incorporates several new features and added support for the company’s newly introduced AC650S series compact sensorless AC drive for permanent magnet motor applications.

DSELite is an easy to use, block programming tool, with an intuitive user interface, for the configuration and commissioning of the company’s full range of AC and DC drives. In addition to supporting user defined configurations, it offers real time monitoring and charting. An online help function is available for the various drive function blocks.

In addition to support for the AC650S, new features in version 2.11 include the ability to perform online updates from within DSELite itself. The software includes an installation of the latest AC890 firmware, enabling users to take advantage of updated options boards and communications functions. Version 2.11 also offers improved download speeds for AC890 firmware.

DSELite 2.11 works under Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems. It can be used with all current Parker SSD Drives products, as well as several legacy products.

Company makes History channel!

A revolutionary gas analyser from leading environmental instrumentation company Quantitech appeared in an episode of a major new History Channel series this week.

The Gasmet DX-4030 gas analyser, along with the company’s Dr Andrew Hobson, appeared in an instalment of the popular History Channel documentary series Ancient Discoveries that aired on Wednesday (28th April) evening.

The company was originally contacted by producers Wild Dream Films last year who were looking for instrumentation to measure toxic gases in air. Gas analysis on emissions from smouldering materials was featured in an episode that recreated the Roman siege of Ambracia in 189BC.

According to Wild Dream Films: “In Roman times there was a siege technique called sapping which involved the excavation of tunnels under fortresses walls in an attempt to destroy them. A method to prevent this was blowing toxic smoke from smouldering chicken feathers and charcoal into the tunnels. The Gasmet DX-4030 from Quantitech allowed us to measure the toxic gases this produced.

“By using the DX-4030 we found that the concentration of toxic gases was extremely high and potentially poisonous. The analyser was very easy to use and enabled us to shed new light on these siege prevention techniques.”

The DX-4030 is a new analyser based on tried and tested Gasmet technology providing both field-usability and high levels of analytical performance. The DX-4030 employs FTIR (Fourier Transform InfraRed Spectroscopy) analysis producing almost instantaneous readings for multiple compounds across a wide measurement range that extends to sub-ppm levels.

It is more commonly used for the analysis of workplace and process gases in applications as diverse as contaminated land, industrial hygiene and chemical spill response. For example, a number of the units were recently acquired by the Environment Agency for deployment in a multi-agency air quality cell that has been created to respond to major incidents affecting air quality.

Remote control causes revolution!

Remote control of Maple HMIs revolutionises automation processes
In a move that revolutionizes industrial automation and process control, Maple Systems has announced a new capability in their HMIs that allows them to be remotely controlled and monitored with laptops, desktop PCs, touch pads, and cell phones like the iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry.

HMIs are the human machine interfaces used to direct the controllers that run the automation processes of business and industry. When you can access your HMI remotely, you can command your control and automation process remotely.

Maple HMIs have a VNC (virtual network computing) server that makes that remote access possible. That means you can communicate with your Ethernet connected Maple HMI via any device that has internet access and a VNC client capability.

This capability provides an affordable option for operations of all sizes to access, monitor and control their automation process from afar. The bottom line is that you are no longer tethered to your machine or your process. You can access it from almost any location.

The guy who used to travel to six different pump stations can now monitor all of them via his cell phone. The custom glass manufacturer can monitor his furnaces when he's not on site. The vineyard operator can control his grape press while harvesting away in the field. This greatly expands the freedom of the operator while providing a new universe of logistical possibilities.
Maple Systems offers several sizes of HMIs with this remote operational capability including 7", 10.2", 10.4", 12", and 15" units. These award-winning HMIs come with bright high-resolution displays with 65 thousand colors (standard and widescreen), analog touchscreens with infinite touch points; USB, Serial and Ethernet ports; and an option to configure in either portrait or landscape mode.

Stemmer Imaging at Advanced Manufacturing UK

Contact image sensor technology for web inspection

Contact Image Sensors (CIS) offer an interesting alternative approach to conventional linescan cameras for industrial web applications such as the inspection of paper, textiles, glass or plastics. The technology offers significant advantages in terms of space requirements, ease of alignment, and resolution. With line rates up to 100 kHz, scanning widths up to 4 metres, very high resolutions and integral light sources, the CIS can be a very cost-effective choice in certain applications.

The CIS head consists of a lens array using graded rod lenses, with each individual lens capturing an image of a very small section of the target object. There are a wide range of resolution options available, from 25 dpi up to 3600 dpi with pixels sizes of 1mm down to 7µm. A clear, sharp image is produced along the narrow line of the sensor ‘head’, which is made up of silicon photodiodes using either CCD or CMOS technology.

Contact Image Sensors benefit from a flat construction, so that they fit into narrow spaces. They come as a system complete with optics, illumination and encoder logic and can be joined together to suit the resolution and width of the web with no reduction of line rate as the width increases. This provides a consistent viewing angle, sharpness and brightness across the width.

Integral LED line lights are pulsed to offer long operating lifetimes and maximise image quality. Built-in timer control includes encoder inputs for triggering and light control and is configured via RS232 or Ethernet. Signal processing allows for high data rates independent of the scanning width. Interface to the image processing system is via industry standard CameraLink or Gigabit Ethernet.

Contact Image Sensors operate with a fixed working distance (typically around 10 mm) and a depth of field of around 2-3 mm so are best suited for inspecting very flat objects where there is no vertical movement of the object at the point of inspection. Conventional linescan cameras, however, remain the preferred option for many applications, so it is important to get independent advice to make the best choice. STEMMER IMAGING is Europe’s largest independent supplier of vision technology and services to industrial and scientific OEMs, system integrators and reseller markets. In addition to a range of Contact Image Sensors, the company also offers cameras from the world leader in linescan technology and so can provide clear, independent advice as to what is the best solution for any particular web inspection application.

Displacement measurement near corrosive fluids

Measurements in many industrial processes, paper mills and marine locations call for transducers immune to the proximity of various chemicals and corrosive fluids. Measurement specialists RDP Electronics Ltd has developed a range of LVDTs that are at home in such corrosive environments.

RDP can manufacture LVDTs of stainless steel construction and typically fully welded. Where the operating environment is expected to be particularly corrosive then 316 ‘marine grade’ stainless steel can be used.

UL approval for signal conditioner

UL 508, the safety standard for industrial control equipment, covers requirements for:
• Devices rated 1500 volts or less;
• Products intended for use in an ambient temperature of 0-40°C (32-104°F).
UL has long-standing expertise in product safety testing and certification for industrial equipment products in accordance with the North American and IEC/EN standards.
Moore Industries has certified the award-winning line of miniMOORE Multi-Channel Signal Conditioners through Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL®). The 2-channel MIT and the 2- and 4-channel MIX miniMOORE™ products now meet UL 508 criteria—the UL safety standard for industrial control equipment. miniMOORE Signal Conditioners have received UL approval under NMTR.E159337 for [Industrial Control Equipment] Power-circuit and motor-mounted apparatuses.

miniMOORE products are now approved to be mounted in UL 508 cabinets for use in ordinary locations in accordance with the National Electrical Code, NFPA 70.

For systems integrators and panel shops, the miniMOORE approvals team acquired the UL 508 certification to make multi-channel signal conditioners more appealing for UL 508 cabinet installations.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Electrical T & M

A CD guide to understanding electrical test and measurement

Keithley Instruments has released a tutorial CD that offers practical and helpful techniques for obtaining the most accurate and precise measurements possible.

Keithley's A Guide to Understanding Electrical Test and Measurement CD is the most in-depth knowledge center that Keithley has ever created, and covers all aspects of measurement performance, including how to troubleshoot, how to connect, how to select instruments and much more. It is downloadable from their site.

The CD contains a large number of application notes, white papers and webcasts on a wide variety of test and measurement topics. Instrument options cover digital multimeters, source and measure instruments, and function/pulse/arbitrary/pattern generators. Application examples range from accelerated stress testing to wireless device testing, with many topics covered by multiple articles.

This CD will be useful to those looking for specific information on instrument selection and setup or on applications in multiple areas and in multiple industries, and to anyone who wants a ready reference on the use of instrumentation in a multitude of areas.

New lab conference

The organisers of WWEM 2010, (10/11 November 2010, Telford, England), the world’s largest environmental monitoring event, have announced that this year's event will include a dedicated Conference for the laboratory sector.

Focusing on efficiency, sustainability and accreditation, the Conference will address the key issues facing commercial laboratories in the new low-carbon, post-recession era and will be most relevant to analytical staff within the water, food/beverage, manufacturing, processing and environmental sectors.

Laboratory efficiency
With pressure on the costs of analytical services and demand from customers for faster results, efficiency has long been the key to success for laboratories. However, during 2009 improved efficiency provided a path to survival for commercial laboratories around the world and as countries emerge from recession the most efficient will be in the best position to prosper. The Lab Conference at WWEM 2010 will therefore examine ways to improve efficiency, particularly within the context of laboratory upgrade and new lab design.

Accreditation
Myriad standards, regulations and guidelines apply to analytical laboratories and the Lab Conference will examine the ways in which these can contribute to the overall success of a laboratory.

Sustainability
The UK government has pledged that emissions of greenhouse gases will be cut by 80% CO2 equivalent (measured against 1990 levels) by 2050. However, over the same period Britain’s population is expected to grow between 15% to 30% and it is likely that most industries will be required to meet higher quality and environmental standards – all driving up energy consumption. It follows, therefore, that all industries and their supply chains will be under pressure to reduce energy costs and contribute to the Government's target.

Analytical laboratories have an important role to play in the achievement of sustainability objectives. Firstly, by reducing the carbon footprint of their own activities, including the delivery of samples and results, and secondly through the provision of test data to inform operational decisions.

Comprehensive data centre solution

A comprehensive data centre solution from a single source

Rittal has a new approach to data centre design providing comprehensive solutions from a single source. “Rittal - The System” is a package that includes planning and consulting, the supply of infrastructure components and monitoring software to ensure the safe and secure operation of the data centre, all backed by a worldwide service.

Rising energy prices are resulting in increased costs in the running of data centres and this can be mitigated if all the layers of the data centre i.e. applications, IT hardware and infrastructure are perfectly coordinated. “Rittal - The System” is based on their TS 8 enclosure and IT rack system platform, with its comprehensive range of accessories, providing numerous advantages which include flexibility, quick and simple assembly, minimal warehousing, fast availability and high quality.

With the growing convergence between IT and automation, they go beyond simple mechanical solutions and provide coordinated power and cooling technology which include the UPS systems, type-tested switchgear, aisle containment and high density cooling systems.

EMBEDDED DEVICE SECURITY ASSESMENT SPECS

ISA Security Compliance Institute Publishes Embedded Device Security Assessment Specifications

The ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI) announced that it has posted two of three key elements of the ISASecure™ Embedded Device Security Assessment (EDSA) certification specification on its website. ISASecure certification is intended to be used as a requirement in procurement documents. The ISASecure EDSA certification provides asset owners with security assurances to a defined level for embedded devices that meet the ISASecure EDSA certification requirements.

ISCI developed the ISASecure EDSA certification within the framework of the ISA99 Industrial Automation and Control Systems security standards. ISASecure EDSA comprises three elements: the Functional Security Assessment (FSA), the Software Development Security Assessment (SDSA), and the device Communication Robustness Testing (CRT). Details on each element are available on the ISCI website.

The two elements that ISCI published to its website are the FSA and SDSA certification specifications. They are available for download in PDF format. Upon final approval, all of the ISASecure EDSA certification specifications will be available to the public on the ISCI website.

ISCI Members, seeking to benefit the larger industrial automation controls security community, donated the ISASecure specifications to the ISA99 Standards Committee for consideration in their standards development process. ISCI invites individuals and organizations who desire to provide feedback on the specifications to communicate directly with the ISA99 standards Committee. This will enable their input to be vetted via an open-consensus ANSI Standards process.

The ISASecure program is being established as a globally recognized IEC Guide 65 conformance scheme, with processes and requirements for accrediting organizations to provide certification services on behalf of ISCI and for recognizing tools authorized for use in CRT certification. Service organizations and test tool suppliers are encouraged to visit the website on 1 June 2010, when participation requirements will be posted.

Wireless developments

New benchmark for ultra-low power wireless sensor network performance

Dust Networks®,has announced that its new IEEE 802.15.4 products will include the powerful, low power ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor. Dust Networks' new family of system-on-chips (SoCs) will be the basis for a variety of upcoming standards-based WSN products, including IEC 62591 (WirelessHART™), 6LOWPAN (IP), and Zigbee® PRO products that will provide unprecedented low power consumption while delivering a compelling set of energy saving, high performance features including:

A 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 processor and rich interfaces enable a powerful computing platform while conserving power.

The world’s lowest power IEEE 802.15.4 radio: a new benchmark is set, with a mere 3 mA transmit at 0 dBm and 3 mA receive current, delivering 5-10 times the battery life of competing technologies, and further expanding the applicability of energy harvesting power sources.
Extended range capabilities, with up to 8 dBm output power on-chip PA and an optional external power amplifier.

The industry’s first IEEE 802.15.4E-ready product, incorporating the emerging standard for time synchronization and channel hopping, while providing legacy support for 802.15.4-2006.
“Our new SoCs are geared to deliver the highest performance while running at a fraction of the power of competing silicon,” said Dr. Kris Pister, Chief Technologist at Dust Networks. “In selecting the ARM Cortex-M3 processor for our SoC, we did not have to trade-off performance for power. Dust Networks new IEEE 802.15.4 SoCs will require less than one-tenth of the energy per operation of comparable SoCs.”
The level of systems integration in the SoCs is very high, including on-chip power amplifier, DC-to-DC converter, 10 bit ADC and a built in temperature sensor. With configurations up to 512kB of flash and 72kB of RAM, these SoCs will have both the highest computational horsepower of any 802.15.4 chip on the market, and the lowest power consumption. In doze mode, with full processor state and RAM retention, current consumption is under 1uA.
“Dust Networks’ adoption of the ARM Cortex architecture is a clear demonstration of the growing support for ARM Cortex-M3 processor-based for low-power applications” said Eric Schorn, VP marketing, Processor Division, ARM. “The ARM Cortex-M3 CPU is ideal for battery operated or energy harvesting designs where performance really matters and the feature-filled Dust SoC is a powerful example of what can be done with a 'green' approach to SoC design, in applications where every nanoamp counts.”

"Low power radios such as IEEE 802.15.4 and wireless mesh networking, epitomized by Dust Networks’ TSMP protocol and its “Smart Dust” roots, have transformed the industrial wireless sensor network landscape” said Mareca Hatler, ON World research director. “With the introduction of ultra low power versions of SmartMesh IP (6LoWPAN) systems and ZigBee products, Dust Networks will expand the growing number of “Smart World” applications that span Smart Buildings, Cities, Government and Homes.”

Quality certification awarded

Sherborne Sensors has announced that its quality assurance system has been awarded the prestigious SAE AS9100B certification for the design, development, manufacture, repair and calibration of transducers.

Quality and reliability are critical values for the aerospace industry. In an environment where failure of products or services can be fatal, the effective operation of a quality management system plays an essential role in helping to reduce risks and provides a reliable framework for organizations to supply the highest quality products and services. Prime aerospace contractors consider AS9100 a major step in the history of quality management in the aerospace field; AS9100B is the ISO9001 derivative for suppliers to the aerospace industry. AS9100B certification now provides added customer assurance that Sherborne Sensors products and business processes meet or exceed the aerospace industry’s highest standards of quality, reliability and performance. To achieve this accreditation, the Sherborne Sensors Quality Assurance team has successfully completed an extensive audit of in-house practices, conducted over a period of several weeks at our corporate headquarters, as well as active participation in a series of ongoing quality review meetings.

Notes Mike Baker, Managing Director, “The team at Sherborne Sensors is proud to announce the addition of AS9100B to our existing ISO9001 quality certification. We believe that these prestigious accreditations simply reaffirm our team’s unwavering commitment to our customers, and to manufacturing some of the industry’s highest performance transducers, a philosophy that carries over into all facets of our daily business operations. We thank all of our valued customers for your continued support of Sherborne Sensors and our expanding lines of precision measurement instrumentation.”

I/O module launched

Diamond Systems Corporation has launched the industry’s first digital I/O module compatible with the recently-introduced FeaturePak embedded I/O expansion standard. The FP-GPIO96 integrates 96 buffered, programmable digital I/O lines, eight 32-bit counter/timers, four 24-bit pulse-width modulation circuits, and a watchdog timer. It interfaces to host systems via the FeaturePak host interface’s high-speed PCI Express bus interface.

In addition, Diamond have an adapter board that allows the use of FeaturePak I/O expansion modules in systems that provide SUMIT-ISM expansion stack locations. The SUMIT/FP Adapter provides a pair of 50-pin I/O header connectors for convenient access to all FeaturePak I/O and consumes a single PCI Express x1 lane from the SUMIT-A bus connector. In addition, it includes pass-through connectors for the SUMIT-ISM stack’s SUMIT-B bus and PC/104 (ISA) bus. An extended operation temperature range of -40oC to +85oC is supported.

Avoid software crashes before they happen...

Though strictly speaking this could hardly be described as instrumentation nevertheless it does have possible applications that could be useful to the automation professional.

GrammaTech
has announced the next version of CodeSonar. The release includes a radically improved graphical user interface to streamline developer interaction and boost productivity.

Critical industries need better software assurance, but growth in program complexity has made creating defect-free software more challenging than ever. Traditional approaches to testing can no longer provide adequate path coverage. CodeSonar’s program path analysis identifies major issues at compile time so they don’t crash an application in the field.

Over the last few years, many new static checkers have been added to CodeSonar that target emerging threats to reliability. Some of the new checkers find serious software quality problems. Others enforce safety-critical coding practices. Still others look for major security vulnerabilities.

Paul Anderson, GrammaTech’s vice president of Engineering, commented, “GrammaTech has always focused on providing high-value information, such as highlighting program-crashing defects and serious security vulnerabilities. A big strength of CodeSonar is that it identifies far more of these critical issues than competing static-analysis tools. With the interface redesign, we wanted to ensure that CodeSonar would still present all the information, but do it a way that would minimize the amount of time and effort a developer spends on reviewing results. We tasked an engineering team, headed by one of our user-interface experts, to develop a new approach to displaying results. After a lot of research and work, we came up with a fresh design that will enable developers to quickly digest key information, understand and identify the most important issues, and prioritize their fixes.”

Titan at Advanced Manufacturing UK

Breakthrough technology launched at mtec 2010
We saw a new high-accuracy and low-cost ultrasonic flowmeter launched at this year’s mtec Exhibition (part of Advanced Manufacturing UK 2010).

Titan Enterprises' "The Atrato" is set to create a breakthrough change in small bore flow metering, it uses patented technology which enables the direct through meter to handle flows from laminar to turbulent and Titan founder Trevor Forster was there each day of the show to discuss and extol the virtues of his "new baby," which he told us was eight years in gestation!

With accurate and cost effective flow measurement becoming increasingly important to many industries, Titan Enterprises have developed this exclusive product with one of the foremost fluid engineering establishments, perhaps in the world, Cranfield University. The Atrato is capable of monitoring flow over a range of 200:1 and has an accuracy better than +1.5% but equally impressive, its simple design and USB interface, makes it extremely easy to install and use.

Well known to the industry with clients such as Coca Cola and BP, Titan’s new device uses the favoured ‘time of flight’ measurement system where a signal is passed along the pipe with the flow and back up the pipe against the flow, the difference in these signals produces the flow rate. Until now, this technology has been deemed expensive and sometimes inaccurate; however Trevor Forster believes the Atrato’s fully symmetrical, concentric signals coupled with the ability to achieve desired timing accuracies makes it a new market leader. It being largely immune to viscosity makes The Atrato even more appealing to customers.

It is aimed at the wide customer base and should satisfy critics in Industrial engineering, plant operators, medical equipment supply, drink dispensing, and Laboratory technicians. According to Trevor, one of the unique aspects of the Atrato is the computer interface.

He commented: “The USB connection permits the user to monitor the rate and total on their laptop in addition to operating parameters such as the pulse resolution units. At a later date, data logging and operation statistics will also be possible.”

Having championed the technology Trevor said: “Fundamentally, my position is that the future of flow measurement is going to be ultrasonic or coriolis. They’re the only two long-term viable technologies because they’re not intrusive.
“I am delighted after designing flowmeters for around 40 years, to launch The Atrato which I believe is a true contender in challenging conventional flow meter thinking, the world over! We have a successful business selling well over 250,000 flowmeters and I have an experienced team of staff and family behind me, I think it is our integrity and problem solving approach which has led us to a 95% repeat business rate and customers in over 40 countries.”

Professor Mike Sanderson, Emeritus Professor of Fluid Instrumentation at Cranfield agreed saying: “The Atrato’s unique clean bore construction makes it ideal for hygienic applications. The use of low frequency ultrasound and advanced signal processing to interrogate the flow ensures that the flowmeter provides high accuracy over a wide turndown range. In addition the technology developed for the Atrato has the flexibility to provide the basis of a family of flowmeters suitable for an even wider range of flows and applications.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New backpanes for embedded test & control OEMs

National Instruments Introduces PXI/CompactPCI Backplanes for Embedded Test and Control OEMs Backplanes Ideal for Custom Instrumentation, Aerospace/Defence and Industrial Embedded Control OEMs

National Instruments is now offering board-level backplanes from all of its industry-leading PXI/CompactPCI and PXI Express chassis for OEMs to use in applications ranging from aerospace/defence to industrial embedded control. Engineers and scientists can use the PXI/CompactPCI backplanes to create custom, rugged applications that meet their unique form factor needs or environmental specifications.

The more than 10 new 3U and 6U PXI/CompactPCI backplanes offer from 4 to 18 slots and work with PXI, PXI Express, CompactPCI and CompactPCI Express modules. Engineers can design custom installations and enclosures around the backplanes while integrating more than 1,500 existing PXI modules – from data acquisition to FPGA-based I/O modules, to high-end instruments such as signal generators and RF signal analysers, as well as a variety of bus interface modules including serial, MIL-STD-1553, IEEE 1588, PROFIBUS and DeviceNet. They can also use the NI LabVIEW graphical system design platform to design, prototype and deploy all aspects of their system, increasing productivity and reducing time to market.

“As an OEM, we've used the new NI PXI/CompactPCI board-level backplanes to create a family of custom, portable, high-performance military-grade computer platforms that give integrators the power to deliver instrumentation test systems using NI modules and controllers,” said Don McCook, Vice President of Business Development for Logic Instrument USA, Inc. “NI has a solid reputation for creating high-quality hardware, and now, OEMs can leverage that reliability in our own products.

Readers can visit www.ni.com/embedded and select ‘board-level PXI/Compact PCI’ to learn more about the NI approach to embedded design.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PCI board processor

Six-core Intel® Xeon® processor available on a 6U CompactPCI® board

Concurrent Technologies has released the PP 68x/m71 family of 6U CompactPCI® boards, one of the first embedded product ranges to feature the 2.00 GHz Six-Core Intel® Xeon® processor L5638 or the 1.87 GHz Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processor L5618; both processors are from the Intel® embedded roadmap which offers at least seven year availability. With up to 48 Gbytes of DDR3-1066 ECC SDRAM, two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and several SAS and SATA300 disk interfaces these boards are pin compatible with Concurrent Technologies’ popular PP 66x/m71 family. These latest Intel Xeon processors, based on 32nm process technology, now support four or six higher performance cores with faster AES encryption instructions and larger last level caches. Therefore, the PP 68x/m71 family have one of the highest performance specifications available to 6U CompactPCI users today and is particularly suitable for CPU intensive processing applications within the telecommunications, defence and homeland security market sectors.

The PP 68x/m71 family is based on the Intel® Xeon® 5600 Platform, consisting of the Intel® Xeon processor, the Intel® 5520 I/O Hub and the Intel® ICH10R I/O Controller Hub. The Intel Xeon 5600 platform provides impressive performance-per-watt and integrates the memory controller into the processor for reduced memory latency. The Intel Xeon processors feature Intel® QuickPath Technology and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology which, along with Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology, deliver top performance for bandwidth-intensive applications. Intel QuickPath Technology provides a high-speed, point-to-point connection between the microprocessor and the Intel® 5520 I/O Hub. Intel Turbo Boost Technology elevates performance for specific workloads by increasing processor core frequency.

Glen Fawcett, CEO for Concurrent Technologies, commented, “This product is a perfect upgrade from previous products and ensures that existing customers can protect their software investment and maximize their development efforts.”

The PP 68x/m71 products benefit from the Intel Xeon processor’s large last level on-die cache of 12 Mbytes and its ability to directly access (via a 1066 MHz memory bus) up to 48 Gbytes of DDR3-1066 ECC SDRAM in four DIMM sockets. The processor has a very fast I/O data path to the Intel 5520 I/O Hub via the 20 Gbytes/sec Intel Quick Path Interface.

For high performance I/O, control and data processing flexibility, the PP 68x/m71 supports, via the front panel, a PMC/XMC site (133 MHz PCI-X and up to x8 PCI Express® lanes) as well as optional I/O interconnections via two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports (copper or optical). The rear I/O configuration can provide an interface for either an optional PMC rear I/O board or an optional on-board 8 port hardware RAID Controller board supporting SAS and SATA300 drives. The PP 68x/m71 can operate as a system controller board (left slot or right slot), a peripheral board or as a satellite board (blade). Support is also provided for PICMG® 2.16 (Ethernet fabric), PICMG 2.9 (IPMI) and PICMG 2.1 (hot swap); the CompactPCI® backplane interface operates at 33/66MHz PCI signalling speeds.

The PP 68x/m71 includes three 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet interfaces (one front and two rear) and the front panel also provides USB 2.0, RS-232, digital (1600 x 1200) and dual analog graphics (2048 x 1536), keyboard and mouse interfaces. The rear connectors provide four further USB 2.0 ports, an RS-232 port, and four SATA300 interfaces, as well as the connections to the optional RAID controller. Other features included are a watchdog timer, long duration timer, LAN boot firmware and options for an onboard 2.5-inch SATA300 disk and CompactFlash™ storage. For applications requiring rear I/O connections, a single or dual slot transition module is available which can be optionally fitted with a USB Flash disk and up to two 2.5-inch SATA300 disks.

For ease of integration, the PP 68x/m71 family of boards support many of today’s leading operating systems, including Linux®, Windows® Server 2008, Windows® Server 2003, Windows® XP Embedded, Windows® XP, Solaris™, VxWorks® and QNX®. This includes, as applicable, support for 64-bit operating systems.