Saturday, May 8, 2010

Offshore predictive emissions monitoring

GE Energy introduces PEMS solution for offshore platforms at one-third the cost of similar-accuracy CEMS

Emerging legislation will soon require European offshore operators to monitor and report gas turbine emissions, with numerous other countries expected to follow suit. In the past, offshore platforms relied primarily on tem porary instrumentation to perform as-needed emissions estimates. However, this approach lacks the necessary models to extend results to other operating regimes and ambient conditions. As such, there are today only two viable options for compliance with regulations requiring higher accuracy: a Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS) or a Predictive Emissions Monitoring System (PEMS).

While a CEMS affords many advantages, including continuous and direct measurement of emissions, its capabilities may exceed the requirements of offshore operators.

A PEMS approach, in contrast, can approach the accuracy of a CEMS for as little as one-third the cost while adequately meeting the specific needs of offshore operators. Fortunately, such a PEMS solution is now available for the large installed base of GE LM2500 SAC aeroderivative gas turbines used in offshore service, and is easily extensible to LM6000 SAC units.

GE's PEMS solution (GE Energy) is implemented in System 1™ software and requires the following:
  • System 1 software, version 5.x or later
  • Bently PERFORMANCE™ System Extender module
  • PEMS configuration, tuning, and installation services
For users with existing System 1 and Bently PERFORMANCE software installations, the PEMS option is a simple add-on module. In most cases, it can even be installed remotely from an onshore location.

The PEMS module employs a GE-developed "first principles" emissions model for the LM2500 SAC gas turbine. This physics-based model uses fundamental engine parameters and conditions known to correlate to emissions output, drawing on extensive test results from the large installed base of LM2500 SAC units. It uses ambient conditions, various turbine operating param eters, and fuel properties as inputs and is valid for both gas and diesel fuels. The model computes emissions estimates for NOX, CO, and unburned hydrocarbons, while providing calculated values for CO2 and SO2. A calibration feature allows customization to a specific

Friday, May 7, 2010

Controling injection moulding

The CoMo Injection system from Kistler Instruments, widely used by the injection moulding industry to achieve maximum productivity by minimising rejects, uses cavity pressure to monitor and control the injection process. This system has now been extended with the addition of the MultiFlow option to provide automatic hot runner balancing.

Cycle by cycle, CoMo Injection with MultiFlow monitors the pressure profile of each cavity of a hot-runner mould from injection, through compression and holding, to the cooling phase.

During the injection and holding pressure phases, the MultiFlow software analyses the pressures curves in all cavities. The synchronous rise in pressure in all cavities is achieved by the system automatically calculating the optimal set-point temperature for each hot runner tip, which is then transferred via an interface to the hot runner controller.

The mould is automatically balanced during process start-up, and continuous optimisation keeps it stable during production. The balanced mould always exhibits congruent cavity pressure curves during the injection and holding pressure phases. At the same time, CoMo Injection continuously monitors the quality of all of the parts produced and signals any need for automatic separation of rejects.

Hot-runner balancing with MultiFlow completely eliminates the need for time-consuming manual optimisation and adjustment of the hot-runner temperatures during set-up and production.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Co-opeartion in chemical show

CPI show teams up with Houston ISA Section

ChemInnovations, the only major CPI show in North America in 2010, announced today that the International Society of Automation (ISA) Houston Section, will be hosting its annual exhibition in conjunction with the ChemInnovations Conference & Exposition, presented by Chemical Engineering, on October 19-21, 2010 at Reliant Park in Houston (TX US). In addition, ChemInnovations also announced that Tracey Berrett Noble, who worked for ISA for nearly 14 years, and served as ISA EXPO event manager since 2004, will be joining the team as a consultant.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with the largest ISA section in the world, and to be adding Tracey’s substantial knowledge, marketing and operations experience with the ISA EXPO to the ChemInnovations team,” said Laura Couvillon, ChemInnovations Show Director. “We look forward to providing a world class educational experience for all ISA members in the region.”

“The ISA Houston Section is continuously looking for new ways to provide more value to our members. We are confident our new partnership with ChemInnovations will fulfill the needs of both the market and industry professionals locally and globally,” said Mike Huereca, Chairman, ISA Houston 2010 and incoming President of the ISA Houston Section. “We encourage all member companies who want to stay on the leading-edge to participate in ChemInnovations. The ISA Houston Section will also be working with other sections to promote a great attendance for the exhibitors at ChemInnovations. We are very excited to be working with Tracey again to promote this exhibition.”

In addition to the ISA Houston Section endorsement and participation, HART Communication Foundation is anchoring a pavilion that focuses on industrial communication including HART 7 and WirelessHARTTM. On October 21st the HART Communication Foundation in cooperation with ChemInnovations 2010 will host a complimentary WirelessHARTTM seminar for chemical processing industry users. "ChemInnovations 2010 provides the platform to access the chemical processing market in Houston," said Ed Ladd, Director Technology Programs, HART Communication Foundation, "that is why we chose this venue to showcase the many benefits of HART Communication Technology and WirelessHARTTM, the first interoperable wireless communication standard for process measurement and control applications."

US Swedish alliance aids HMI offering

Beijer Electronics has entered a strategic alliance with QSI Corporation, a US based company, who develops and sells rugged operator interfaces and mobile data terminals for industrial OEMs and commercial vehicle systems integrators. This strategic alliance will increase Beijer Electronics presence in the US.

QSI will build its product offering around Beijer Electronics' new software platform iX and sell it through its channels in the US. By including the iX platform in their offering QSI can address the entire market for industrial automation. They will also include Beijer Electronics iX panels in their current product offering.

Beijer Electronics' President and CEO, Fredrik Jönsson, comments on the cooperation:
"The cooperation with QSI increases our footprint on the US market. Together we will be able to offer our US customers a strong product range in which our software platform iX is a key component."

QSI designs and sells robust HMI panels and mobile data terminals for use in industrial applications and transport vehicles. Their products, sold under both their own name and as customer specific solutions, are robust and able to withstand extreme environments like vibration, large temperature differences and other environmental parameters. The company operates in the US and is headquartered in Salt Lake City.

The iX platform is by far Beijer Electronics´ largest investment in product development and this new software technology provides a scalable and flexible solution that brings simpler programming and facilitates integration with other systems. Five models of the iX panels were launched last fall, and the software is available on a standalone basis for use in existing operator systems.

Semi-submersible vehicles angle sensors

ASV Ltd is a leading designer and constructor of unmanned marine vehicle systems for commercial and military applications, providing cost effective solutions for time consuming or dangerous maritime tasks such as hydrographic surveys, surface surveillance, gunnery training and mine-hunting. When optimising the design of its new ASV 6000 coastal class semi-submersible vehicle, ASV selected Novotechnik GL series hollow shaft potentiometric angle sensors from Variohm EuroSensor to provide rotary position feedback as an intrinsic part of in-house designed actuators used for the steering and ride stabilisation control system

The ASV 6000 was developed for hydrographic survey and surveillance work in shallow coastal waters and is operated remotely via a continuous GPS communications link. With an overall length of six metres, the semi submersible operates just below the water surface and carries a payload capacity of 300 kg for sonars, computers, sensors, winches and camera equipment. Its diesel propulsion systems allows a range of 400 miles at 4 knots.

The relatively shallow submersion requirement for the vehicle meant that actuators specifically for sub-sea use, operational at much greater depths, were massively over-engineered and consequently very expensive. Other commercially available actuators either did not provide angle position feedback or were not waterproof.

As well as drive the costs down for this important component, the decision to build the actuators in-house also allowed ASV to manage the design within a considerably space-restricted area on the vessel, freeing up valuable real estate that could be used for payload equipment. The hollow shaft GL series angle sensor is fitted directly on the actuator motor shaft, significantly reducing the overall assembly length compared to rear shaft mounted variants with couplings.

ASV chose commercially available brushless servo motor technology for the steering and ride control actuators and fitted a sealed waterproof casing around each complete assembly, encasing the motor and angle sensor, and including connectors for motor power, commutation and sensor feedback.

The GL series angle sensors' high resolution potentiometric output presents the steering and pitch angular positions as a proportional voltage output through a zero to 340º electrical range to the ASV designed control system. With independent linearity to ±0.25%, the steering and ride stabilisation capability for the vehicle is more than sufficient.

The robust and durable shaft mounted GL sensor has a long pedigree of challenging angle position feedback applications such as autosports, construction equipment and agricultural machinery. The range is supplied in four nominal sizes, suitable for shaft diameters from 6 mm to 30 mm. The compact one-piece assembly is designed for easy installation and fully housed in an anodised aluminium casing with a slotted ball bearing for maximum support. The conductive plastic resistance element and precious metal multi-finger wiper assembly combine for an extremely long life of over 10 million movements.

Level using frequency sweep technology

With the FlexLevel Switch 4101 Baumer presents a new sensor which is based on frequency sweep technology. The device detects the level of liquids, viscous fluids and dry media. Due to the smooth, very small sensor head even adhesive media don’t stick whereby the adhesion error is very low. The level switch is suitable for overfill protection, low level detection, dry running protection and phase separation. It can be installed in any position and even at points difficult to access. The FlexLevel Switch 4101 can be easily configured on PC via the FlexProgrammer 9701.

A frequency is swept by the transmitter and becomes subject to a phase shift depending on the media. When in contact with the media having a different dielectric constant (DC) outside the selected DC range, an electronic switch is triggered. The high sensitivity over a large sensing range from DC 1.5 up to more than 100 allows the level detection of all kinds of powders, granulates and liquids. Even difficult substances like polyamide granulate or paper can be detected reliably. Thanks to the teach-in function, the switching point is adjustable even for sticky media.

Compared to other measuring methods, this technology has important advantages: It has no vibrating parts, is soundless and not sensitive to changes based on conductivity. Even with the formation of foam, the level switch only reacts after the actual DC-value has been reached. Hence, the FlexLevel Switch 4101 is a cost-efficient and reliable alternative for applications which previously used vibration forks, conductive ultrasonic or optical sensors.

The FlexLevel Switch 4101 is mounted in a stainless steel housing making it extremely robust and corrosion-resistant. It can be mounted and sealed easily by use of a Teflon tape. The device can be used for the limit level detection in filling, storage and buffer tanks, for dry running protection of pumps, and for phase separation with oil-water mixtures in wastewater plants. The level switch is suitable for all water treatment applications as well as for all other non-food industries. Due to its fast response time of just 0.1 seconds, the sensor offers reliable level detection even with fast filling processes. In its standard version, the level sensor is available with G½”, G3/4” and G1” process connections with M12 plug or solid cable electrical connection. Other process connections are available on request as well as different housing materials.

Safety testing software

Fluke has introduced new software packages to support the Fluke 1653 and 1653B Installation Testers and the Fluke 6500 Portable Appliance Tester (PAT).

For installation testing, the DMS 0100/INST software offers easy-to-use administration and reporting in compliance with EN 60364, BS7671 17th Edition Wiring regulations, providing printing of test reports compatible with a range of standard certificate requirements including NICEIC and IET. For PAT testing, the DMS 0702/PAT software allows test results to be printed quickly and easily by UUT or as a listing, with an export function for listings in text or Excel format. The new Fluke DMS safety testing software is also available as professional ‘PROF’ versions for larger organisations: this adds advanced data manipulation and is ideal for facility management or service provider usage. The installation tester software and PAT testing software can be purchased separately, or combined together as a cost saving package.

With a recently reduced price, the rugged Fluke 1653B multifunction Installation Tester is the complete tester for virtually all electrical wiring installations, for domestic, commercial and industrial use to ensure that fixed wiring is safe and correctly installed to meet the BS7671 17th Edition wiring regulations. It is equipped with a built-in memory to store test results fast and easily on site, allowing the data to be uploaded later to a computer for the preparation of professional reports. It shows PEFC/PSC and loop impedance results in parallel, negating the requirement to run the tests separately, more than halving the test time of other loop testers: it features a high-current loop test which gives extremely fast measurements when testing in circuits where no RCDs are being used: it offers both non trip and the high current test so the user can select depending on the application. In addition there is fast voltage measurement between L-N, L-PE and N-PE using the mains cord, with no need to change measurement connections.

The rugged, easy-to-use, all-in-one Fluke 6500 PAT tester features all the required tests necessary to comply with the IET Code of Practice and conforms to safety standard EN61010. Designed for very high throughput, the Fluke 6500 is a fully automatic PAT tester with pre-set and user-programmable test sequences and professional test modes. It features an integral QWERTY keyboard for rapid data entry plus a large backlit graphics display for showing informative Help screens and detailed data formats. A Compact Flash memory facility is used for backing up the internal memory and speeding up the transfer of measurement data to a PC for storing and reporting. It offers 25A and 200mA earth bond tests, insulation test, touch current test, substitute current test, load/leakage test, PELV test, IEC lead test and extension lead testing.

Programmable temp controller

Aimed at simplifying temperature control in thermal treatment furnaces, climatic chambers and autoclave driers applications

Gefran’s new GF_PROMER (Gefran Programmer) combines a time variable 4-loop setpoint temperature controller with a graphic trend and bargraph display in a single touchscreen programmable device with on board memory. Designed to simplify temperature control for applications such as thermal treatment furnaces, climatic chambers and autoclave driers, the GF_PROMER suits a wide range of voltage and current sensor input types when used with GEFLEX series controllers, connected to GF_VEDO panels with high-speed Modbus RTU communication, or by installing GILOGIK II series analog and digital I/O modules directly on the backplane. A comprehensive and multiple selection of setpoint profile functions include on/off, PD, PID and Heat/Cool with double independent PID.

The unit is available in 3.5" and 5.7" high resolution touch screen versions with an ¼ VGA IP65 sealed display. Programming is fully menu driven and designed for guided 'no manual' use with screens that include bargraph and trends in addition to copy/paste and delete functions for fast program building. With 100 programs, each with up to 300 steps and infinite program repetition, the possibilities are endless for complex temperature control.

It also has a complement of programmable enable inputs and 16 programmable event outputs and may be used either as a standalone centralised controller or as a part of a distributed control process using fieldbus options that include Modbus RTU, Modbus TCP, Profibus DP slave or CANopen slave. Programs can be integrated in supervision networks using these fieldbus options. Programming and status information can also be transferred through built-in RS485, Ethernet or USB ports.

Graphics functions include immediate display of programming and monitor pages that allow process control by checking trends of variables, setpoints, numerical values, event output states and clearance inputs on a single screen. Individual channel pages also display bargraph, numerical data and current control status. GF_PROMER also provides complete alarms control with password levels and saving of historical data via USB.

Low-cost OPC Server

Acromag has released a very affordable Modbus/TCP Master OPC DA Server to help engineers quickly integrate their Ethernet I/O modules into a control system communicating over Ethernet. The Model ACMBTCP-OPC software package is exclusively for use with Acromag I/O and delivers high-speed connectivity to their BusWorks® and EtherStax® Modbus TCP/IP slave devices via Ethernet for just $199. A free 30-day evaluation version is available.

This OPC software can be used as a data server to any HMI or SCADA package that is OPC compliant or to custom-built Visual Basic/C++ applications. It is compatible with National Instruments LabView®, Wonderware InTouch®, Rockwell RSView®, CitectSCADA®, and many other popular process control software packages. Acromag’s OPC server offers the most reliable, cost effective and comprehensive features list available in the OPC/HMI market today. Unique read/write tag optimization algorithms provide unmatched data transfer speeds between OPC server and hardware devices.

The server has passed the OPC Foundation’s OPC Data Access 3.00 compliance test. This server includes comprehensive, context-sensitive help systems, a Visual Basic OPC client example application with Visual Basic source code, and a pre-built client executable. The software runs on many versions of Microsoft Windows® including XP, Vista, 7, 2003 Server, and 2008 Server. It also supports an unlimited number of OPC clients, devices, or items.

Other key features make this OPC server very easy to use. It has a very user-friendly CSV import/export capability. CSV files for all Acromag Ethernet I/O devices are included with the OPC Server. Further, the software can run as a stand-alone executable or unattended with no login required. A device status dialog provides for convenient diagnostics.

Procedural automation for continuous process operations

The International Society of Automation (ISA) Standards and Practices Board has approved the formation of a new committee, ISA106, to develop standards, recommended practices, and technical reports on the design and implementation of procedures for automating continuous process operations.

The ISA106 committee work products will apply to continuous processing applications and will address topics including:
    Models and terminology
    Modularization of procedural steps to foster re-use and lower total cost of ownership (TCO)
    Exception handling for abnormal situations
    State models for procedural logic
    Process unit orientation with operational perspective
    Recommended best practices
    Implementation of start-up, shutdown, abnormal situations, hold states, and transition logic
    Recommended target platform (i.e. control system vs. safety system) for different types of procedures
    Lifecycle management best practices
    Training and certification best practices
Board member Dr. Maurice J. Wilkins of Yokogawa, will serve as managing director of the new ISA106 committee. Dr. Wilkins has appointed Mr. Marty King of Chevron and Dr. Yahya Nazer of The Dow Chemical Company as co-chairs, and Mr. David Emerson of Yokogawa as vice chair and editor.

“The ultimate goal of ISA106 is to provide generic, cross-industry standards for procedural automation in continuous industries, in much the same way that ISA88 has done for the batch industries,” explained Dr. Wilkins. “In fact, I am hoping that some of the ISA88 work will apply to ISA106 and thus help speed up the process. It is also possible that ISA106 could develop joint recommended practices for various industries and work with standards committees that already exist, such as the ISA67 (nuclear) and ISA77 (fossil) power plant standards committees—as well as for industries that do not have separate ISA standards committees, such as petrochemical, refining, and upstream oil and gas.”
Much of the work of the ISA106 committee will be carried out electronically via web meetings and email; however, a kickoff, face-to-face meeting is planned for 9–10 June 2010 in the Houston (TX US), area.

More about ISA Standards.

NIR food analyser

NDC Infrared Engineering has launched a new InfraLab e-Series Multi-component At-Line Food Analyser. Suitable for snack foods, biscuits & cookies, chocolate, meat, breakfast cereals, cheese, coffee, dairy powders, wheat, grain & seeds, tea and food ingredient powders, and more. The analyser uses non-contacting multi-wavelength NIR technology to measure moisture or oil/fat and protein. Calibrated to the process plant’s primary reference methods, the InfraLab provides measurements right beside the production line - to laboratory accuracy.

With a measurement period of less than 10 seconds, minimum sample preparation and no special user skills requirement, the InfraLab e-Series helps to improve process insight to reduce variation and control the process average closer to the specification limits. InfraLab’s consistent and accurate measurements are completely independent of product and ambient changes in the process area such as: temperature, relative humidity and factory lighting. Key benefits offered by the InfraLab include reduced operator dependency, improved batch consistency and improved traceability.

Recognising that food processing companies use many different primary reference methods, either in-house or externally, the InfraLab’s linear factory calibrations are easily adjusted to provide equivalent measurements, saving on analysis costs and laboratory overhead and delivering considerable time advantages. Each measurement is pre-loaded into the InfraLab and can be selected from the drop-down menu within the intuitive touchscreen user interface.

Connectivity via Ethernet to Management Information Systems, LIMS laboratory networks or to a PC, as well as extensive integral memory capacity, enable the display or storage of vital quality data wherever it is needed – both locally and centrally.

An integrated approach to Automation IT

Fast Track Switching is an innovative new switching technology developed by Harting that allows manufacturing organisations to integrate their office and automation networks into a single Ethernet-based communications platform: the Automation IT concept.

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

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

This technology can also be used in diverse automation environments, so that a switch can be equally effective in PROFINET and EtherNet/IP environments, for example.

The key components in Fast Track Switching are Fast Ethernet switches in Harting's Ha-VIS FTS 3000 product family, which can detect and identify automation profiles (PROFINET, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP and customised profiles), accelerate their data-transmission speeds and prioritise them. The product family includes the Harting Ha-VIS FTS 3100s-A, which allows the connection of up to ten network devices over shielded twisted-pair cable. It supports Ethernet (10 Mbit/s) and Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit/s).

The detection, acceleration and prioritisation mechanisms guarantee the necessary determinism and performance that automation technology demands. As Fast Track Switching is also protocol-neutral, it can be used with all market relevant Ethernet systems. In addition, vendor neutral, flexible and cost-optimised installations are possible due to the fact that the switch, as a network component, solves the performance and determinism problems according to the Fast Track Switching concept.

Safety Consulting

The Schmersal Group broadens its service offer with respect to machinery safety. The new Safety Consulting service aims at providing the company´s customers with comprehensive consultancy regarding issues such as the implementation of directives and standards in actual constructional practice.

In recent months, experienced engineers from German plants as well as from multiple European subsidiaries have been qualified as machinery safety experts. They are already on duty in the new Application Center, where they closely collaborate with the local sales engineers and the product management. In other nations, e.g. China and the U.S.A., the consultants will be qualified in September 2010.

The key task of the Safety Consultants will consist in providing the customers with qualified answers to their questions, e.g. which type of safety system must be used, how the safety system must be integrated in the control system and the functionalities of the machine and how the programmable electronic safety system can be configured to optimally meet both the safety requirements and the productivity specifications of the machine.

The assessment of the required Performance Level to EN ISO 13849-1 and the calculation of the actual Performance Level for the selected safety system are two other tasks that the Safety Consultants accomplish for the customers.

The first reactions of the customers onto the new service offer are throughout positive. Uwe Wiemer, Application Center Manager: "Many of our customers want to delegate the configuration of regulation-compliant safety systems to experts, who accept the full responsibility for this assignment. As one of the world market leaders in the safety switchgear business, we have acquired a comprehensive and highly practice-related knowhow in this field. As a result of our collaboration and affiliation to different standardisation bodies, we also have the necessary theoretical ´background´, which is required for configuring standard-compliant safety guards."

Other services will be added to the Safety Consulting, which will be offered worldwide by the Schmersal Group. The objective is to come to a manufacturer- and technology-neutral way of thinking and to develop or to configure complex safety-technical solutions beyond the own product spectrum.

Simultaneously, the usual services rendered by Schmersal will be integrated in the Application Center as well. "We have always undertaken additional tasks such as the parameter setting of safety controllers or making customer-specific modifications to our safety switchgear. That´s our reputation on the market. These tasks are now transferred to our Application Center. As a result of the centralization of our service offer, we can work in a more concentrated manner, thus creating the necessary freedom for development, product management and sales to raise the tone of our ´one-stop shop for safety´ claim on the market."

Faster dew-point measurements at Air Tech

Michell Instruments will be showing their smallest and fastest portable dew-point hygrometer at Air Tech 2010. At just 21cm by 17cm, weighing 1.5kg, and with a battery life of up to 48 hours typical usage, it enables the user to take field moisture measurements with the minimum of fuss. Also for viewing on the stand will be Michell’s newest addition to their portable range: the MDM300 I.S, designed for use in hazardous areas.

The MDM300 has an innovative ergonomic design, with all the buttons easily accessible while the instrument is held comfortably in both hands. All measurement parameters are available at the touch of a button and the password-protected set-up menu is simple to navigate and intuitive to use. Both instrument set-up and downloading of logged data are easy with a Bluetooth connection that comes as standard.

New developments in Michell’s ceramic sensor technology have dramatically reduced the response time for low dew points, allowing for many more measurements to be taken each day.

To maximize flexibility, external sensors can be easily connected and used to measure and display pressure and temperature. These parameters can also be used to provide pressure and temperature compensated measurements improving accuracy and allowing users to choose from a range of measurement parameters.

You can see Michell at Air Tech on stand A3131 for a demonstration of the MDM300, or for advice on dew point measurement and control in compressed air system.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Explore Technologies for Gaining Competitive Advantages

Attendees at NI Week 2010 "will learn how to use NI and industry technologies to accelerate time to market.

National Instruments has announced plans for NIWeek, which attracts over 3,300 engineers, scientists and members of the academic community. NIWeek 2010, the company’s 16th annual technology conference, opens Aug. 3 at the Austin Convention Centre in Austin, Texas (US), for three days filled with targeted summits and tracks, technical sessions, interactive demonstrations and keynotes. Attendees will gain advanced technical knowledge, explore graphical system design to test, measure and fix inefficient products and processes and network with peers and NI developers.

“NIWeek is the ultimate venue for engineers to meet, exchange information and ideas and learn about innovative advances in technology and NI products,” said Dr. James Truchard, NI CEO, President and Cofounder. “At NIWeek 2010, we address the continuing need for more efficient user-defined solutions, explore the benefits of graphical system design to gain a competitive advantage and learn how technological advances are accelerating the speed of time to market.”

NIWeek 2010 highlights include the following:
  • Five technical summits focused on RF and wireless, robotics, military and aerospace, vision and energy technology
  • Four tracks focused on automated test, embedded design, industrial automation and control and software development and technology
  • More than 200 technical sessions and 45 hands-on technical workshops
  • Intermediate- and advanced-level NI LabVIEW and NI hardware and software content
  • More than 150 demonstrations on the exhibit floor by companies such as Averna, Hitachi, Honeywell, LEGO® and Texas Instruments
  • Daily keynotes with NI executives and industry leaders
New to NIWeek in 2010 is the Energy Technology Summit, which features sessions on developing sustainable practices in the energy industry. NI will also host a Big Physics Symposium where engineers and scientists can collaborate and learn how NI technologies can solve instrumentation and control challenges in physics. On Aug. 2, NI will host the Academic Forum and Alliance Day. NIWeek attendees have the opportunity to interact with the NI R&D, provide product feedback and attend networking opportunities including nightly events and daily lunchtime peer-to-peer roundtables.

You can also get NIWeek updates and connect with other attendees by becoming an NIWeek fan on Facebook and following @NIWeek on Twitter.

Compliance with cyber security laws

New program allows plants to comply with mandatory cyber-security regulations

As a critical component of a control system, a Human Machine Interface (HMI) requires the best and most up-to-date security software protection to preserve the system’s functionality and the integrity of its data. GE Energy’s HMI Cyber Asset Protection (HMI CAP) program for all Windows-based HMIs keeps operator stations, maintenance stations, and communications operating at peak performance. It also helps plants comply with mandatory cyber-security regulations including the current North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) regulations, and emerging global cyber-security regulations.

The HMI CAP Program maintains all installed performance and security software at the most current GE standards. Protecting HMIs with up-to-date security software is essential for preserving system functionality and data integrity. Empowering operators with faster access to critical data and diagnostic alerts improves response time, which can result in reduced down time and increased availability.

The HMI CAP Program includes Catastrophic Data Loss protection and recovery tools to meet the commercial and regulatory needs of complete data recovery. Frequent back up of customized HMI configurations lessens the impact of viruses and helps you avoid unexpected disruptions in business. In addition, when customers enroll in the HMI CAP Program, they receive an extended warranty on all covered equipment. Under this warranty, GE will repair or replace equipment in the event of a catastrophic failure.

All security updates undergo validation and rigorous testing to ensure compatibility with your site or fleet-specific HMI environment.

Safety management compliance

New software facilitates process safety management compliance

PAS has released a new version of its comprehensive alarm management and control loop optimisation software with new features to improve plant safety and productivity.

PlantState Suite Version 6.5 provides new features to help improve process safety and to demonstrate good practice in accordance with process safety standards IEC 61511, ISA 84 and compliance with the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.119 rule for plants handling highly hazardous chemicals in the U.S.

To facilitate improved process and plant safety, PlantState Suite Version 6.5 now incorporates the ability to audit and enforce control system parameters when a pre-configured event occurs. This capability provides a mechanism for proving the proper execution of control-system and safety-instrumented-system shutdown routines. It acquires the necessary information automatically, thus precluding the need to manually prove the functionality at a subsequent time.

Change management is another important factor in safety lifecycle management. PlantState Suite Version 6.5 is now integrated with PAS' Integrity(tm) Software, which maps and tracks the configuration of the industry's major control and safety instrumented systems. With this capability, users can access control strategies and change management details in the context of any alarm or event with a single click, thus enabling faster and more accurate troubleshooting.

"Helping our customers to improve their safety and regulatory compliance, while simultaneously improving their bottom line, is PAS' mission. The new capabilities of PlantState Suite Version 6.5 are targeted specifically at these needs," says Chris Lyden, PAS President.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

System integrators

Simple to use intelligent gateway connects Schneider Electric, ABB or GE PLC´s with Siemens automation systems and networks

The Anybus X-gateway from HMS Industrial Networks enables system integrators to easily transfer I/O data between two different PLC systems and networks. The X-gateway is a configurable stand-alone gateway that allows plant-floor devices on a Profibus network to communicate with the devices on a Modbus-TCP network and vice versa. Typical applications are installations with mixed usage of Siemens and Schneider Electric, ABB or GE PLCs. One example is automobile manufacturing plants where Profibus based segments shall be integrated into industrial Ethernet based control applications with the popular Modbus-TCP protocol.

The X-gateway is a compact device for standard DIN rail mounting and 24 Volt industrial power supply. It functions as a server (slave) on the Modbus-TCP network and as a master on the Profibus side. The Profibus master functionality is configured with HMS´ Anybus NetTool for Profibus, a powerful but easy to use Windows-based configuration tool which comes free with the X-gateway. After the initial configuration has been downloaded into the X-gateway, it passes up to 512 byte of input and 512 byte of output data transparently between Modbus-TCP and Profibus. Up to 124 Profibus slaves can be connected to the gateway. In addition to its data transfer capabilities, the X-gateway incorporates a powerful embedded web server on the Modbus-TCP side which supports web based remote diagnostics and visualization. Even an OPC server is included in the scope of delivery of the X-gateway. The X-gateway contains Profibus and Modbus-TCP communication interfaces that have been certified for full compliance to the respective protocol standards.
The Anybus X-gateway family is a product line consisting of over 200 proven, robust and ready-to-use gateways aimed to connect almost every possible combination of two industrial networks. The product family supports 17 different fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks such as Profibus, DeviceNet, CANopen, CC-Link, EtherNet/IP, Profinet and many more. All versions work the same way and provide a flexible standard solution to connect two industrial networks.

Project from a technician's viewpoint

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has just published "Project Management: A Technician’s Guide," by Leo Staples.

Leo StaplesWith more than 30 years of power-generation experience, and with post-secondary studies in project management, Staples explores project management from a technician’s perspective. Subjects include documentation requirements, communication requirements, planning and resource coordination, monitoring and control, administration, and closeout. These subjects are covered in domains six (project organization) and seven (administration) of the ISA Certified Control Systems Technician® (CCST®) exam.

According to Leo Staples, automation projects are one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the job of a Control System Technician (CST). In order to meet these challenges, a CST must understand project management and the CST's role on the project management team. This book defines a CST's role on the project management team.

Each chapter includes a set of questions designed to stimulate the thought process involved for a successful application. As a bonus, the final chapter follows two CCSTs through a control system replacement project. This chapter provides an example, based on an actual project, of the duties and responsibilities that might be assigned to two technicians who are members of a project management team.

This guide is a must read for technicians preparing for the CCST exam and those who manage technicians during automation projects.

About the Author:
An ISA Fellow, Leo Staples has authored numerous papers, given technical presentations at Technical Conferences and ISA Division Symposia, and has served as a reviewer for technical papers and books.
From 1994 through 2008, he managed a large technical workgroup that supported OGE Energy Corp.’s power plants in the areas of automation, testing and reliability. He currently serves as the Compliance Management Leader for the Power Supply Division. He was elected in 2009 as President-Elect of the ISA and assumes office in 2011.

Stainless steel seals and adaptors

Brennan Industries has extended its stainless steel product offering by introducing new stainless steel O-ring face seal and flange adapters. Stainless steel offers a superior corrosion resistance and sealing for critical, harsh-duty applications.

“The new adapters are ideal in facilities alongside stainless steel instrumentation fittings and flareless bite-type fittings, as well as with other NPT and JIC products,” said Bill Jarrell, vice president of marketing and procurement at Brennan Industries. “The new O-ring face seal and flange adapters are an important addition to our stainless steel offerings.”

Machined from round stock, these flange adapters are hot-piercing bent for the desired angle and do not have braze and weld points. Swept configurations allow the flange adapters to perform in limited clearance application situations, while their construction enables them to endure extremely high working pressures and tensile strength. Brennan flange adapters range in connection sizes from 1/2 to 4 inches.

O-ring face seal fittings eliminate leaks in hydraulic systems, while permitting operating pressures as high as 6,000 psi. Developed for hydraulic systems on both industrial and commercial equipment, the product line is available in 23 different configurations, and in 35 different size combinations.

Brennan Industries’ O-ring face seal fittings are designed specifically for applications where elastomeric seals are acceptable to overcome leakage and variations in assembly procedures. The fittings can easily be connected to a range of tubing grades by silver brazing. In addition, the fittings can easily be disassembled and reassembled.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stainless operator panel for food and pharma

Beijer Electronics has added a new model to its EXTER series of operator panels. The EXTER T150-st delivers intuitive HMI solutions, combining compact efficient functionality with award winning design. The thing that sets the EXTER T150-st apart from the rest is its sleek, stainless steel construction.
EXTER is a series of advanced operator panels that combines cutting edge HMI technology with award-winning design. By providing built-in functionality to handle e.g. alarms, recipes, remote access and multiple languages, EXTER makes it easy for its customers to ensure full control of their machines and processes. The EXTER series includes keypad and touch screen panels with displays ranging from 3.5 to 15.0 inches.

Durability in tough conditions
“The stringent regulations that apply throughout the Food & Beverage and Pharmaceuticals industries often require the use of powerful cleaning agents to satisfy the high standards of hygiene” explains Marcus Jillgart, Global Product Manager for Premium Segment HMI at Beijer Electronics. “Some acid-based cleaning agents can pose problems for other operator panels, with long term use leading to corrosion,” he clarifies “the EXTER T150-st has an acid-resistant stainless steel construction, so it’s perfectly suited to these kinds of tough conditions.”

In addition, “this stainless steel operator panel has a recognizably streamlined appearance, with the surface and shape offering a number of advantages over other operator panels,” he continued. “The streamlined construction, and the fact that the panel has neither foil nor labels on the front, means that there are less minute cracks and lines in the surfaces where bacteria and other pathogens might otherwise hide, so it’s much easier to keep clean.” What’s more, the front of the EXTER T150-st is waterproof, making it easy to clean with high-power water jets without the risk of water leaking into the operator panel itself.

Robust and aesthetic design
The exclusive design offered by the operator panel’s brushed-steel finish makes it an elegant complement to any control area, affording a rugged and robust aesthetic feel to operations. The EXTER T150-st is perfect for utilization throughout the Food & Beverage, Pharmaceuticals and Oil & Gas industries, being robust, easy-to-clean, aesthetically pleasing and compliant with the rigorous hygiene demands and safety standards demanded.

It affords full interoperability with all major automation brands (more than 100 drivers are available) to satisfy all System Integrators specific needs. Less than 10 minutes is all you need to get the first application running and a wide selection of ready-made objects and functions enables to create applications by just pointing and placing on the screen – it is possible see exactly how the final result will appear. Projects are created in a visual environment which gives a complete overview in the project manager so it is possible to see what is happening in the process.

Wind sensors technology on show

Gill Instruments Ltd, will exhibit their extensive product range at Windpower in Dallas, Texas on 23-26 May 2010. The product range on display will include the new MetPak II combined weather station as well as the popular WindSonic wind sensor, Extreme Weather WindObserver and WindMaster Pro ultrasonic anemometers with a live demonstration of the low-cost WindSonic wind sensor.

The new Gill MetPak II combined weather station is a compact and lightweight multi-sensor instrument that measures a wide range of weather parameters. Gill ultrasonic technology, as used in the proven WindSonic instrument, measures wind speed and direction. Temperature and humidity are measured using industry standard probes housed in a naturally aspirated radiation shield. Barometric pressure is measured within a vented enclosure. A serial data output is provided to interface to industry standard data loggers. Gill Instruments technical sales engineers will be on-hand at the Windpower International show to discuss the new developments in more detail.

The Gill WindSonic anemometer has become the benchmark for low-cost ultrasonic wind measurement technology, offering all of the benefits of this advanced measurement technique at an affordable price. The new variant of the WindSonic is due to incorporate further enhancements to allow use in a broader range of applications and environments.

Gill Instruments is a world leader in ultrasonic wind measurement technology, with the largest range of ultrasonic anemometers available in the market today.

Mobile workforce and decision support

Invensys Operations Management has announced the availability of an updated version of its Wonderware IntelaTrac® mobile workforce management and decision-support system.

ControlThe IntelaTrac 4.0 system drives consistent execution of best practices in leading industrial companies worldwide, and its unique dynamic procedures, coupled with the company's open Wonderware® System Platform, help companies adapt their workflow based on actual plant conditions, improving performance and minimising costs. The solution features powerful new tools that extend and integrate it with important plant systems, allowing users to share data with the mobile workforce, providing better visibility into real-time plant operations and helping achieve asset and productivity excellence.

Industries such as upstream oil and gas will significantly benefit from the updated IntelaTrac system. Its new oil and gas module provides specialty calculations for tank volumes and pressure chart conversions, and it can deliver mobile data collection and calculation capabilities to hydrocarbon accounting systems, like Tieto Energy Components, enhancing the ability to reliably operate remote production facilities.

"Our IntelaTrac 4.0 system changes the impact a mobile workforce can have on the operations of an industrial plant or facility to drive operational, asset and productivity excellence in real time. Its extensibility enables our clients and ecosystem partners to integrate a number of systems throughout the plant with an IntelaTrac mobile device, delivering tasks directly to mobile operators and making them more effective and efficient," said Jim Frider, mobile solutions product marketing manager, Invensys Operations Management. "These capabilities help close the information gap that many mobile systems have and deliver useful information directly to the people that need it the most."
Used in hundreds of plants worldwide, the IntelaTrac system enables clients to execute predefined procedures and strategic responses under changing environmental or business conditions, resulting in a highly responsive, collaborative plant environment. The solution facilitates operational best practices by mobile workers, connecting them to enterprise asset management systems, equipment reliability systems and process historians to deliver integration and visibility into the performance of non-instrumented or stranded equipment and assets. Additionally, the IntelaTrac system helps streamline health, safety and environmental compliance and delivers rapid ROI, typically within four to six months.

The IntelaTrac 4.0 system also delivers unparalleled capabilities for operator-driven reliability, cost-effective regulatory compliance, energy management and asset responsiveness. It can also mitigate workforce turnover using its mobile on-the-job learning capabilities, all without the need for custom programming.

Safety in process

Overpressure protection for reactors, pipelines and pressure vessels.

The DIAMOND-SIS High Integrity Protective System, from SIS-Tech, is a low-cost standalone logic solver certified for use in applications up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3. It is used to provide overpressure protection for scenarios where the opening of the pressure relief valve poses unacceptable process safety risks.

API 521 and Code Case 2211 of ASME Section VIII, Division 1 and 2 allow the use of a High Integrity Protective System (HIPS), such as this one, in lieu of a pressure relief device as long as the instrumented system meets or exceeds the protection provided by the pressure relief device. To achieve this performance, the HIPS design and management must also follow IEC 61511 and the logic solver should be compliant with IEC 61508 SIL 3. The DIAMOND-SIS HIPS complies with these requirements.

It is an SIL 3 logic solver with 2oo3 voting, which provides the end user with a fault tolerant logic solver that it is physically and functionally independent from the process control and unit safety instrumented system. With the Diamond-SIS HIPS, each vessel or pipeline is independently protected against overpressure such that no single HIPS failure results in simultaneous overpressure of multiple vessels or pipelines. By using an independent logic solver for each HIPS, the potential for common cause failure impacting multiple process units is significantly reduced.

In a typical installation, it takes inputs from multiple sensors that can detect abnormal process operating conditions. The logic solver processes the inputs and sends the necessary outputs to final elements such as block valves or pumps.

The unit is rated for –30°C to +75°C and suitable for installation in Class I Div II environments, allowing it to be installed in the field near the process equipment. This reduces the implementation costs typically associated with systems using cabinet-mounted safety PLCs.

The DIAMOND-SIS HIPS is used in many overpressure protection system applications, such as wellhead piping protection, where electric submersible pumps (ESP) are installed for enhanced oil recovery. In these applications, the unintended block-in of the ESP initiates a scenario where the maximum discharge pressure from the pump exceeds the maximum allowable working pressure of the downstream piping, potentially rupturing the pipeline.

Traditional overpressure protection with a pressure relief valve results in a discharge that cannot be effectively managed. Instead, it is used to detect high pressure and to shutdown the ESP, preventing pipeline overpressure.

HIPS are now accepted for vessel protection with the latest release of API 521 and with the recent update to the ASME pressure vessel code. The Minerals Management Service has approved HIPS as a new technology application for off-shore installations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Papers describing various HIPS applications can be downloaded from