Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gap gauges!

Brennan Industries introduces gap gauges to ensure proper make-up and tightening of instrumentation fittings

Brennan Industries has introduced a new line of Gap Gauges. The gauges are designed to assure that instrumentation tube fittings have been sufficiently pulled up.

The gauges are especially useful for tightening fittings in hard-to-reach locations. They are also ideal for systems where insufficient make-up could result in dangerous or expensive consequences.

After installation of an instrumentation tube fitting and prior to pressurization of the system, the Gap Gauge is inserted between the fitting nut and the body hex. If the gauge will not fit in at any point of the gap, the nut has been properly made up and no additional tightening is necessary. If the gauge can be placed in between the fitting nut and body hex, the assembly procedure must be repeated.
Brennan Gap Gauges have both “Go” and “No Go” ends and should only be used in initial make-up situations. They are not intended for use in remake assemblies.

The new NGG Series carbon steel gauges are available from stock in 5/8-inch through 2-inch sizes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fibre-optic cabling system offers flexibility and future-proofing for data-centre applications

The new MPOptimate system from the AMP NETCONNECT Business Unit of Tyco Electronics is a high-performance pre-terminated fibre-optic cabling system that offers a high degree of flexibility for today's data centres as well as a future-proofed migration path to the 40 Gbit/s and 100 Gbit/s applications of the future.

The MPOptimate fibre-optic cabling system is aimed at data-centre owners who are considering the implementation of a structured cabling in accordance with ISO/IEC, EN or TIA standards, and who are looking for the most flexible pre-terminated MPO solution. With significantly improved optical parameters, the system allows for trends such as virtualisation and switch consolidation by super-switches as well as the higher speeds of future systems.

To achieve these requirements, Tyco Electronics has improved the overall production process of this class of fibre-optic system. As a result, key performance parameters are an insertion loss of 0.35 dB maximum per cassette and a return loss of more than 35 dB for the LC connector and 28 dB for the MPO connector. Both values are key issues that allow more components in a channel: something which is necessary in new data-centre designs as well as future 40 and 100 Gbit/s systems.

MPOptimate assemblies are pre-terminated and factory tested, and the design allows different data-centre designs for channels with two to six re-usable modular cassettes. The system fully supports all optical fibre applications within the Ethernet family.

The combination of lower loss and higher return loss allows for multiple connections between transmission equipment, resulting in the joint benefits of a lower space requirement and a much better scalability. The high-density cabling saves pathway space with improved airflow compared to traditional cable bundles, while the latest MPO technology provides lower power consumption than common fibre systems.

The fibre-optic cabling system is fully compliant with TIA/EI942, ISO/IEC 24764 and EN 50173-5, which are specific data centre standards. As a result, the MPOptimate system offers a complete end-to-end standard compliant passive infrastructure.

Battery-powered Wi-Fi for sensor networking

RF Monolithics (RFM),tells us that RF module applications expert Ryan Anderson will present a session entitled “Battery-Powered Wi-Fi for Sensor Networking – A Hands-On Session” at the Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference (RTECC) in Framingham, (MA US - Sheraton Framingham Hotel) on May 25, 2010 at 2:30 p.m. Also at the conference, RFM will exhibit its RF modules products that provide wireless connectivity for sensor data collection in a wide variety of wireless sensor networking applications.

As a senior technical support engineer for RFM, Mr. Anderson understands the challenges design engineers face when incorporating RF modules into applications. Session attendees will learn how they can get years of battery life and take advantage of existing Wi-Fi access points to deliver low-cost, reliable and secure wireless sensor network products. They will receive hands-on experience with:
  • RFM’s battery-powered 802.11 Wi-Fi RF Module – the WSN802G (pictured)
  • Getting a Wi-Fi network up and running in minutes using the RFM WSN802GDK developer kit
  • A live wireless sensor networking demonstration for a temperature monitoring application

    Attendees who bring a WSN802GDK developer kit with them to the RTECC show will be afforded one-on-one time with Ryan Anderson during the exhibit. WSN802GDK developer kits can be purchased from RFM distributors that include Avnet Memec, Digi-Key, Mouser, and Nu Horizons.
  • Best place to work for five years!

    NI achieves Laureate status, named in Top 5 Best Workplaces for Generation Y and Top 5 Most Fun and Friendly Workplaces in BritainNational Instruments has achieved prestigious Laureate status in the Britain's Best Workplaces Programme, after being named one of the the 50 Best Workplaces for a fifth consecutive year. NI is now among only 20 companies there, from hundreds that have been recognised by the Great Place to Work® Institute, to have achieved the accolade of Laureate status.

    How the list is compiled
    The Great Place to Work® Institute compiles the list of best workplaces each year, surveying employees from participating companies. Two-thirds of the score is based on how these employees respond to the independent survey, measuring the quality of their workplace culture. The remaining third of the score is based on an evaluation of company responses to a Culture Audit©.
    The 2010 Great Place to Work® UK’s Best Workplaces Special Report is published this week in the Financial Times and The Guardian. The ranking is based primarily on employees' responses to the annual survey conducted by the Great Place to Work® Institute (the Trust Index©), and supplemented by companies' responses to a Culture Audit©.

    “It is an honour to be recognised again in the UK’s Best Workplaces top 50, and to be ranked in the list for the fifth year running, particularly following one of the most challenging periods in the economic and employment climate in decades”, said Robert Morton, NI UK & Ireland Managing Director. “These results demonstrate that NI remains a company built-to-last, one which truly values its people, even in challenging times when it can be difficult for some companies to keep commitments. This also illustrates the rock-solid success of our 100-year plan for being a stable company that empowers employees and customers to change the world. Being a great place to work and long-term business success go hand-in-hand, and NI UK is full of talented people, committed to the company's success, who have fun helping to build one of the UK's leading providers of measurement and automation technologies and one of its best workplaces.”

    Whilst National Instruments is best known for pioneering virtual instrumentation with its LabVIEW graphical system design platform, internal programmes support the company’s belief that well-rounded employees foster the NI community spirit and inspire excellence. NI UK employees are actively supported in their efforts to give back to the community through a wide range of activities, including LEGO® MINDSTORMS® events in schools, the Newbury Crafty Craft Race and a variety of fundraising efforts. Subsidised local gym membership encourages a healthy lifestyle, and activities such as Employee Appreciation Week, staff parties and company-wide meetings foster camaraderie and a sense of community within the corporate environment.

    “We are proud that NI and our employees successfully weathered this economic storm together,” said Saminder Gill, NI UK & Ireland HR & Operations Manager. “Our leadership made concerted efforts during this time to increase open communication with employees through quarterly business discussions and company meetings, all the while maintaining the work-hard, play-hard culture that keeps our company unique. Many efforts like these helped earn the trust and commitment of our employees, reflected in both the continued success of our business and our status as a Laureate in the Best Workplaces programme. All these achievements are made possible by our ‘people advantage’ – hiring the best and brightest, creating a great work environment and offering superior employee development – which remains central to the long-term success of all NI stakeholders, creating and sustaining competitive advantage for us.”

    In addition to the British honours, the Great Place to Work® Institute has also named National Instruments one of the best places to work in France, Germany, Italy and Mexico during the last year, and for eleven consecutive years in the USA.

    Important strategic marketing decision to increase presence in Korean market

    GreenPeak teams up with ProGate in Korea

    GreenPeak Technologies, a leading fabless semiconductor company in the wireless sensor and controller networking space, announced that it will further increase the company’s presence in the Korean market by teaming up with ProGate Technology.

    “ProGate has a deep understanding of the consumer electronics sector in Korea and is ideally positioned to further expand our sales and support presence.” said Frans Frielink, VP Business Development of GreenPeak Technologies. “We selected ProGate because of their technology leadership, top-notch support and excellent reputation in the consumer electronics market space. We will be able to work more efficiently with our customers to help them design and market new and competitive RF products.”

    By further expanding GreenPeak’s operations in South Korea, the company has the unique opportunity to establish itself in one of its most important and strategic geographical markets, where the demand for RF applications in consumer electronics has grown significantly and hence holds exciting future potential. With uniquely differentiating technical features at competitive prices appealing to the consumer electronics market, GreenPeak is becoming especially attractive to the major Korean electronics design companies.

    Soo Chul Kim, President & CEO at ProGate said, “We are very pleased to partner with GreenPeak. Consumer electronics firms have long desired RF in their remote control designs, but that has been too expensive in the past. We believe that GreenPeak’s ZigBee RF4CE communication controllers can overcome this objection and will allow a swift lift-off in the consumer electronics industry. We are looking forward to a long and prosperous partnership.”

    Oscilloscope and data recorder

    Yokogawa launches DL850 ScopeCorder: the third generation of their best-selling combined oscilloscope and data recorder family

    The new Yokogawa DL850 is the next generation of the company's highly successful family of ScopeCorders: versatile instruments that combine the benefits of a high-speed oscilloscope and those of a traditional data acquisition recorder in a single, portable instrument.

    The DL850 ScopeCorder is an ideal tool for measuring physical and electrical parameters in application sectors such as the automotive industry, mechatronics, transport, power electronics and alternative energy. A dedicated version for the automotive industry - the DL850V Vehicle Edition - includes a module for monitoring the CAN in-vehicle serial bus.

    "Since the launch of the DL750 in 2002, the ScopeCorder has become one of our most successful stand-alone instruments in Europe - to the extent that the word 'ScopeCorder' has become a generic term in the industry for the class of product", comments Terry Marrinan, Sales & Marketing Director for Europe & Africa with Yokogawa's Test & Measurement Business Unit: "Now, with the launch of the DL850, we are not only offering greatly enhanced performance but also, because of the product's unique features, expanding its potential market sector to include advanced electrical measurements for today's energy-saving architectures."

    Compared to earlier ScopeCorder units, this features higher-speed acquisition over a larger number of channels, the ability to carry out real-time recording, a powerful user interface, and a comprehensive range of PC interfacing capabilities for wider functionality and ease of use. With acquisition speeds up to 100 megasamples per second (MS/s), it achieves ten times the sample rate, display, and memory handling speeds as its predecessor.

    A key feature for electrical measurements is the isoPRO(R) 1 kV isolated input module which, when combined with the 100 MS/s acquisition speed and the 12-bit resolution, makes the DL850 ideally suited to measurements on high-speed switching invertors: a core technology in today's alternative energy sector.

    The DL850 ScopeCorder can accommodate up to 128 channels of assorted types including isolated, simultaneously sampled modules. For users who do not require the highest sample rates, a new 16-channel multiplexed module or a choice of three universal voltage input modules allow speed to be traded off against higher 16-bit voltage resolution, better accuracy and wider input ranges.

    With its modular architecture, it will handle nearly every type of electrical or physical signal. Users can arbitrarily combine eight different modules out of a range of 15 unique module types, supporting direct input of popular sensors like thermocouples, accelerometers, strain gauges, tachometers and more. For electrical measurements, an RMS coupled mode makes it possible to monitor and trigger off changes in RMS levels.

    The DL850 incorporates a large (10.4-inch) LCD display, an internal hard disk drive, and a thermal printer. Three USB ports, an Ethernet port, an e-SATA port, a video port, a GPIB port, and a SD-card slot populate the unit's left side panel. On the right side, the DL850 has room for eight input modules.

    As a diagnostic tool, the DL850 ScopeCorder offers all the measurement and analysis tools of a modern digital oscilloscope, including cursors, waveform parameter calculations, mathematics and DSP channels, fast Fourier transforms and more. In most cases, users will be able to analyse data immediately and get results with no need for offline post-processing.

    Yokogawa perfected deep memory, and the ScopeCorder has its share of it: up to two billion points of data can be recorded continuously at 100 MS/s on each channel. Regardless of memory size, the ScopeCorder's GIGAZoom2? engine allows the user to smoothly zoom in and out of a signal, even while acquisition is in progress.

    The unique architecture of the DL850 ScopeCorder automatically allocates its memory to best accommodate the user's test strategy. Once the desired sample rate is set, Yokogawa's exclusive 'history' feature intelligently utilises the remainder of the available memory - allowing the user to view and save previously captured acquisitions.

    Another unique function is the 'dual capture' feature, which allows both high-speed and low-speed rates to be configured. In this mode, the DL850 continuously logs data at the slow speed until a trigger condition is met. At the higher sample rate, the ScopeCorder acquires a transient waveform, with multiple waveforms for multiple triggers, all while continuously logging at the low speed rate.

    Electro-mechanical systems demand a different set of measurement techniques than pure electrical systems, and the DL850 delivers higher vertical resolution, channel count, isolation, filtering, and abundant acquisition memory compared to general-purpose oscilloscopes. This makes it ideal for viewing small changes, even across large dynamic ranges, and monitor more signals simultaneously. It also means that there is no need for external signal conditioning components, and that high sample rates can be maintained for longer observation periods.

    The DL850 ScopeCorder uses familiar oscilloscope controls, triggers, and analysis functions, so that the higher performance is achieved without additional complexity.

    Yokogawa's designers originally conceived the ScopeCorder as an oscilloscope that also has the powerful advantages of a recorder including unattended operation, enabled in the DL850 by functions such as 'action on trigger' or 'action on stop'. The DL850 ScopeCorder can also automatically send an e-mail, print captured data, sound an alarm, and save data to a file when it detects a fault condition. Whether observation times are microseconds or months, the ScopeCorder will remain operational and save data until the user is ready for it.

    Increased efficiency of SCADA systems for better, more accurate information

    GE Intelligent Platforms has a new upgrade feature for its PACSystems controller platform. The new modules feature DNP 3.0 Unsolicited Reporting to address speed and efficiency in SCADA applications that employ numerous remote terminal units (RTUs). DNP 3.0 was originally developed for the Power Utility industry and is now widely used in Water/Wastewater and Oil & Gas.

    “When a SCADA system is required to poll every RTU it can take a long time which results in lagging data for the updates,” said Bill Black, Controllers Product Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “With Unsolicited Reporting, slave devices can send updates automatically as the values change without having to wait for a poll from the SCADA.”

    As applications become larger, they require more distributed I/O and more information flowing through them. Obtaining insight through information means that they need the most up to date information possible, and Unsolicited Reporting will allow them to get that information immediately, as opposed to waiting for the request for information from the SCADA system.

    With DNP3.0 Unsolicited Reporting, the RX3i can be configured as an Unsolicited Master or Unsolicited Slave per port. This enables the RX3i to collect data from DNP 3.0 slave devices more efficiently.

    “This new feature adds to the PACSystems promise of an open, scalable platform for control,” comments Black.

    New online video for interchangeable mercury analyser

    A video demonstration illustrating the rapid conversion of the unique Hydra mercury analyser, from liquid samples to direct analysis of solid samples has been published by Quantitech, a leading supplier of environmental monitoring instrumentation.

    The Hydra II and the Hydra C, from Teledyne Leeman Labs, are interchangeable and designed to suit all mercury analysis requirements. As a result, this allows for both Atomic Absorption and Atomic Fluorescence detection in liquid samples (Hydra II by Cold Vapour), and solids (Hydra C by Thermal Decomposition).

    Uniquely the Hydra platform remains in place allowing the user to interchange sample introduction and/or the detector. This versatility reduces the need for two separate analysers; saving considerable costs in the process.

    The switch-over takes just a few minutes and can be viewed online their website by clicking on ‘Teledyne Leeman Atomic Absorbance Mercury Analyser’ on the Product List.

    Dr Gareth Pearson, Quantitech’s Technical Sales Specialist, said: “The conversion process, as the video demonstrates, is extremely simple and very quick. The ability to undertake this conversion truly makes the Hydra range unlike any other mercury analyzer in the world.”
    Additionally, all of the Hydra mercury analysers are equipped with the same powerful yet easy to use Windows-based software, permitting custom report generation and data manipulation.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Blue tits set up family nest in company ashtray!

    An enterprising blue tit has surprised staff at an environmental monitoring company in Letchworth (GB) by using an external cigarette ashtray to raise its brood of chicks.

    The blue tit caused a flap by setting up home in the wall-mounted metal box at YSI Hydrodata’s new premises, after staff noticed cigarette butts appearing on the floor.

    Signs were put up asking smokers not to use the box, which has been filled with moss and twigs by the bird for her eggs to hatch inside.

    Andrew Burton’s
    YSI’s Service Manager said: “Since we manufacture environmental monitoring equipment, the blue tits must have thought this would be a safe place to start a nest! “We were confused by all of the cigarette butts that suddenly appeared on the floor a few metres from the ashtray and it seems these were removed by the blue tits prior to setting up their nest. “There are now around seven or eight chicks inside the ashtray and we hope they have an enjoyable stay in their unconventional home.”

    Sensor manufacturer sold

    Albert Ellison, owner of Ellison Sensors and ESI Technology has sold his companies to the Germany company SUCO.

    "As part of my retirement plan and succession of the business I am pleased to inform you SUCO Robert Scheuffele GmbH & Co KG of Bietingheim-Bissingen (D) have acquired ESI Technology Ltd its brands Ellison Sensors International – TSM – Sigtel and Ellison Sensors Inc Florida. SUCO are a privately owned 70 year old pressure switch manufacturer in Germany with the same philosophy for customer support and business growth as ESI."

    The staff at Wrexham (GB) and Boca Raton (FL US) will all remain with Jochen Kuehner becoming General Manager.

    "I will be retiring at the end of the year and will be using the remainder of the year for support and handover to SUCO. "I thank you for your business and support over the years , I am confident of the ongoing support you will receive from ESI in developing business with your company"

    Reliable position sensors!

    RDP meet challenge for high reliability position transducers

    When position measurement is called for in difficult to maintain situations, such as nuclear facilities or deep beneath the sea, then high reliability is demanded of the transducers. Measurement specialists RDP Electronics Ltd has developed rigorous testing processes to meet these challenges.

    Thanks to several decades experience of design, development and manufacture to international standards, they have devised a testing regime that helps to expose possible faults before shipping and installation. RDP transducers are subjected to temperature cycling as well as electrical supply cycling, plus shock and vibration testing where application circumstances demand. So when these transducers are installed it is with a reassurance and confidence that they will deliver highly accurate measurements with high reliability.

    Load cells for centre of gravity weighing

    Constructed entirely of stainless steel, the CPA Series of Compression load cells, from LCM Systems, are not only suitable for general applications but have been designed for use in both laboratories and in permanent outdoor installations; particularly suitable for Centre of Gravity weighing or heavy lifting applications.

    All standard cells are available with a rated load range from 2tonne to 1000tonne and as well as their stainless steel construction are environmentally sealed to IP67. Due to the wide range of applications in which these load cells are used, LCM Systems can supply many special options including a domed top, with or without a loading cap, integral carrying handles, mounting bases, integral connectors and internal analogue/digital signal amplifiers.

    Versions of these innovative and versatile load cells are available for use as calibration standards and they can be supplied either as stand-alone components or together with instrumentation such as LCM Systems’ strain gauge amplifiers, portable and panel mounted load cell indicators and controllers for a complete load monitoring system.

    Low power solenoid pilot valves

    Low power version reduces the power consumption on ASCO Numatics Series 327 solenoid valves to 1.8 watt

    ASCO Numatics has introduced a low power version of its popular Series 327 Ex d solenoid valve. The new valve addresses the demand for lower power consumption solenoids which reduce running and installation costs. In addition, because losses are minimised, the heat generated is reduced, thereby extending operational life and enhancing safety.

    ASCO Numatics is the only manufacturer of Low Power (<2 watt) true direct acting pilot valves in this flow size segment which do not feature booster electronics. Valves that use booster electronics have an increased risk of failure and a response time delay which could have serious implications when used in critical applications.

    The new valve, which is suitable for applications up to 127V 50/60Hz and 125V DC, features a highly efficient solenoid with an optimised magnetic performance. The improved operation of the enhanced design has reduced the power consumption of the valves to just 1.8 watt (cold) and 1.5 watt DC (hot).

    Based on the principle of a balanced poppet type construction, Series 327 valves are ideal for demanding applications in the chemical, petrochemical and oil and gas industries. The valves are exida and TÜV certified to IEC 61508 Functional Safety and can be used in safety applications up to SIL-4 (redundant) with the highest achievable Probability of Failure on Demand (PFD) factor.

    Series 327 valves are 3/2 direct operated solenoid valves requiring no minimum operating pressure. The flameproof IP67 Ex d aluminium or 316 stainless steel enclosure is rated to II 2G/D Ex d IIC T6 Ex tD according to the latest ATEX and global IECEx standards.

    2 Wire mag meter

    Two-wire magnetic flowmeter offers high performance using dual-frequency

    The new Yokogawa ADMAG AXR is a two-wire magnetic flowmeter that achieves high performance by using dual-frequency excitation technology.

    To date, most magnetic flowmeters have been of the four-wire type, where high accuracy and performance are achieved by using a dedicated power-supply cable that is separate from the signal cable used for the measurement current output. The two-wire type, on the other hand, uses just one pair of wires for current output and power supply, offering significantly lower
    installation costs by requiring neither a dedicated power supply cable nor a power-supply unit.

    Despite these benefits, conventional two-wire magnetic flowmeters do have limitations in terms of measurement accuracy and stability, and as a result have not been well accepted in the process automation sector.

    Now, however, they has developed the dual-frequency excitation technique for minimising electric noise in two-wire models to a level comparable to that of four-wire magnetic flowmeters, thereby achieving the high measurement accuracy and stability needed for use in control loops.

    The dual-frequency excitation method uses high-speed digital processing to execute the complex algorithms required to enhance stability and performance while at the same time minimising power consumption.

    A further performance enhancement is provided by a new coil configuration. Because a two-wire magnetic flowmeter has a limited power-supply capability, the current supplied to the excitation coil is normally too weak for signals to be differentiated from electrical noise. To resolve this problem, Yokogawa has adopted a new high-density coil construction method that enables a stronger magnetic field to be generated with a low current.

    They have also found ways to minimise the noise level by smoothing the inner surface of the measuring tube and developing an electrode that generates very little noise. As a result, the Admag AXR makes it easy to differentiate signals from electrical noise, thereby achieving a measurement accuracy comparable to that of a four-wire magnetic flowmeter.

    User friendliness in the new Admag AXR has been enhanced through the addition of a full dot-matrix LCD display capable of displaying messages in six different languages, enabling magnet switches to be operated without opening the cover, the addition of an electrode adhesion diagnosis function, and a design change that allows the orientation of the converter to be changed on site.

    The elimination of the need for a dedicated power-supply unit and power-supply cable has allowed a sharp reduction in instrumentation cost. The lower power consumption of the two-wire instrument also reduces running costs.

    The Admag AXR is ideally suited to fluid flow measurement in a variety of industries including chemicals, iron & steel, and food & beverages.

    After Darwin!

    Festo’s flying penguins, jellyfish and rays to perform during Royal Society’s 350th anniversary celebrationsThis year the Royal Society, Britain's academy of science, marks its 350th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Southbank Centre and the Royal Society are coming together to explore science and our human impulse to understand the world we live in.

    A key element of the celebration is the ten-day, See Further Festival of Science + Arts at London's Southbank Centre, which runs from June 25 to July 4 of this year. Festo’s air penguins will be flying above the exhibition, and will also be joined by jellyfish and rays for performances in the amazing auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall.

    The air penguins, jellyfish and rays are all creations of the company's Bionic Learning Network, which is an alliance of educational establishments and specialist companies tasked with exploring bionic solutions for automation applications of the future. These bionic concepts have been developed to learn from nature; exploring biological principles in the form of beautiful and mesmerising creatures. Using helium-filled balloons, fibre control rods and rigid geometrical structures, the creatures demonstrate some of the latest concepts – they are not saleable products, but are proof of research ideas and demonstrations of design concepts, intended to stimulate dialogue with customers, suppliers and partners. (see also "Elephant in the room" - what Festo did at Hannover Fair.)

    If you are keen to see these bionic creations in action, one of the best opportunities will be at the free-of-charge display on Sunday July 4, when there will also be a Q & A session and the chance to get up close in the Royal Festival Hall.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Customer value enhancement award

    Frost & Sullivan recognizes Byres Security
    Solution addresses challenge of cyber security and prevents network accidents

    Based on its recent analysis of the industrial network security solutions market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Byres Security Inc. with the 2010 World Customer Value Enhancement Award in Industrial Network Security Solutions.
    The industrial network security market has been growing significantly to combat rising malware attacks and industrial network intrusions in the industrial environment. End users are well aware that such security accidents can shut down the plant operations in a few seconds, create environmental and safety risks and significantly damage the company’s reputation, which induces them to protect their network infrastructure. The need for adopting such security solutions is also driven by stringent government regulations and industry standards being imposed upon the diverse end-user verticals to mitigate the risks associated with security incidents, as well as improve overall system reliability and prevention of network-related accidents.

    Traditional IT network security infrastructures comprised of firewall appliances, virtual private networks (VPN) and other demilitarized zone (DMZ) approaches have been designed to tackle this problem. However, with the increased integration between the plant floor and enterprise systems, control systems and other related equipment are now exposed to such intrusion threats. Industrial network security system vendors are often faced with varying plant network policy requirements, and the key challenge for them is to develop and deploy a robust, flexible security solution that keeps the network simple, threat-proof, highly scalable and easily managed.

    Frost and Sullivan’s detailed investigation indicated that Byres Security’s flagship product, the Tofino™ Industrial Security Solution addresses these industry challenges. The company’s ability to offer a complete industrial network security solution that can be customized not only for various plant network infrastructures but also across diverse end-user vertical requirements has ensured it consistent market growth. Leading control system vendors such as Honeywell, Hirschmann, Invensys and MTL Instruments continue to partner with Byres Security to develop customized industrial network security solutions.

    Byres Security’s solutions help end users meet changing government security regulations and industry standards. Working in tandem with the leading control system vendors to develop customized robust security solutions illustrates the company’s commitment to innovate and develop advanced security products and services on an ongoing basis. For instance, Honeywell has introduced the Modbus TCP Firewall product based on the Tofino security technology and Invensys has introduced the Triconex Tofino Firewall to secure OPC Classic communications.

    The integration of industrial safety and security policies across different critical end-user verticals has attracted many leading companies such as Exxon-Mobil, Shell and Boeing to implement the Tofino™ Industrial Security Solution, and a similar trend is anticipated among the other end-user verticals as well.

    “The industrial network security market is becoming increasingly fragmented, with several players introducing products that give customers visibility into the plant assets interconnectivity, control of the flow of information within the plant enterprise, and the ability to halt inadvertent information leaks to outside of the enterprise,” explains Jebin Thomas Varghese, Senior Research Analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “The challenge for industrial control systems security vendors is to offer a robust and reliable security solution that offers these features while still addressing diverse network infrastructure security requirements.”

    The Tofino™ Industrial Security Solution products are rugged, effective security solutions that have been well-received in the security market. These high mean time between failure (MTBF) solutions, specifically designed for industrial control system environments that operate seven days a week with no down time, have gained wide acceptance in the manufacturing space. The fact that the Tofino solutions protect the industrial environment from outside threats as well as accidental internal threats has been proven in the market, as leading control system vendors have been incorporating these solutions in their systems.

    “The persistent focus of the organization to make network security simple and to offer a complete security system package has and will continue to aid Byres Security to grow in this market,” adds Varghese.

    “Winning the 2010 Customer Value Enhancement Award for Industrial Network Security is an honor and a testament to the approach we have taken with the Tofino Industrial Security Solution. We designed it from the ground up to meet the needs of industry,”
    remarked Eric Byres, security expert and CTO of Byres Security. “Controls technicians find it simple to configure, it is implemented without plant downtime, all hardware is industrially hardened, and it secures industry specific protocols like Modbus TCP and OPC Classic.”

    “This award represents a significant tribute for our company and I want to recognize and thank the partners that helped shape our products and make them available across the markets we serve: MTL Instruments, Honeywell, Hirschmann, Invensys and our Tofino Certified VARs.“
    said Joann Byres, CEO of Byres Security. “I also want to recognize our hard working employees without whom this would not be possible. Finally I would like to especially acknowledge Boeing, Exxon-Mobil, Shell and other companies who have adopted and supported our Tofino products”.

    The Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Value Enhancement is presented each year to the company that has demonstrated excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers with a focus on improving the return on the investment that customers make in its services or products. This award recognizes the company's inordinate focus on enhancing the value that its customers receive, beyond simply good customer service, leading to improved customer retention and ultimately customer base expansion.

    Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

    Honors for the Frost & Sullivan’s World Customer Value Enhancement Award will be presented by the firm as part of its 2010 Excellence in Best Practices Banquet taking place June 8th in Anaheim,(CA US).

    Optical DO2 sensor and analyser

    Emerson Process Management has introduced the Rosemount Analytical RDO® optical dissolved oxygen sensor and analyser for use in wastewater aeration basins and ponds. The sensor is more resistant to fouling than polarographic sensors, an important advantage in wastewater where coating is a common problem. Less sensitivity to fouling means reduced operating costs as there is less need for cleaning.

    The sensor is available with either an integral or quick-disconnect cable. A 1-¼” FPT fitting at the rear of the sensor allows a threaded pipe to be screwed into the sensor so it can be submerged in the basin. One advantage of the sensor’s design is that it does not need a flowing sample, so it works well in a low flow basin or pond.

    Maintenance is fast and easy and consists primarily of replacing the sensing cap once a year. The analyser accepts one or two sensors. It has a two-line display, which can be customised to show mg/L (ppm) oxygen, percent saturation, oxygen partial pressure, or temperature for either sensor. The display can also be configured to show the current barometric pressure. The analyser has two loop-powered 4-20 mA analogue outputs assignable to either sensor and to any measurement (concentration, temperature, or partial pressure). Modbus/RS485 communication is also available as a standard feature. Calibration is simple and can be done either against a referee instrument or in water-saturated air. Air calibration is completely automatic.

    “The addition of the optical dissolved oxygen analyser and sensor to our product line is significant and enables Emerson to continue to be the single-source provider of the most advanced and easy-to-use analysis technologies for wastewater applications,” said John Wright, vice president, Emerson Process Management, Rosemount Analytical. “Our focus has always been to meet real-world customer demands for accuracy, advanced technology, ease-of-use, lowered cost of ownership and reduced maintenance requirements. The optical sensor fulfils that commitment.”

    Digital pressure switch with 3A-approval

    Baumer’s digital pressure switch series TED is now available with several 3A-approved process connections. Therefore, the hygienic measuring instrument is especially suitable for applications in the food and beverage and pharmaceutical industries.

    All wetted parts are made of acid-proof stainless steel and comply with the FDA and EHEDG requirements regarding design, material and finishing. The digital pressure switch is suitable for vacuum and absolute or gauge pressure measurements up to 400 bar. The accuracy is 0.5 % of F.S.

    The TED range is designed for pressure control in industrial process engineering, such as level management or control of cylinders. Based on microprocessor technology, the device can be programmed completely on-site using code protected keys without any additional tool. The pressure switch has a digital LED display and two threshold outputs (PNP transistors or galvanic isolation). The output signal can be analogue (4…20 mA) or digital (RS485 Modbus). The TED is available with many different pressure connections and in a 300° swivelling version. For applications in hazardous areas, Baumer offers its pressure switch in the intrinsically safe YTED version with ATEX-approval for zones 0, 1, and 2.

    New case for customer flexibility

    Rittal have extended their desk-top series of instrument cases, the Ripac Vario-Module, with the addition of a basic, non-EMC, cost effective range. The complete range has also been re-packaged to increase customer options, provide greater flexibility and increase adaptability in application.

    Housings for the Vario-Module are now supplied as either basic or EMC frames for standard and double Euroboards, to which a choice of plain or ventilated top and bottom covers can be added in a “pick and mix” fashion according to the application. A mounting plate is also now available to avoid perforating the bottom cover when mounting heavy or awkward components.

    These cases may be completed as desk top, rack-mount or tower units with the dimensions conforming to IEC 60 297-3-101, the subrack standard. Internal fittings are standard parts from the Ripac subrack range and may be configured to hold VME, CompactPCI or other backplane systems. The cases are available in 42, 63 and 84HP and 2U through to 7U heights, and are finished in RAL 7035 paint.

    For portability and instrumentation applications, various accessories may be fitted, including handles, feet and acrylic doors. Rittal Vario-Module cases are available in a variety of widths, heights and depths.

    DCS system in Malaysia

    Distributed control technology increases system reliability and availability, helps achieve productivity and safety excellence

    Invensys Operations Management has signed, US $12.4 million contract to upgrade and modernize a distributed control system (DCS) for Malaysia Liquefied Natural Gas Sdn. Bhd. (MLNG). The major upgrade will provide a continuously current DCS, sustain the productivity and safety of MLNG's liquid natural gas operations in Bintulu, Sarawak, (MY). The project is expected to be completed by 2014.

    "We are proud to be selected for this large-scale complex DCS migration with superior technology, proven migration methodologies and deep project expertise," said Terence Chan, vice president and managing director, Invensys Operations Management, ASEAN, Japan and Taiwan. "This upgrade is key to help MLNG meet growing demand and its vision for world-class safety and productivity excellence."

    MLNG has used Invensys Operations Management's Foxboro I/A Series DCS throughout its operations for many years and the current contract calls for upgrading all of MLNG's existing distributed control systems to newer Foxboro I/A Series CP270 models. The CP270 DCS provides twice the capacity and three times the performance of older controllers, improving cost effectiveness in demanding environments. This newer Foxboro series are fault tolerant and perform regulatory, logic, timing and sequential control, as well as data acquisition, alarm detection and notification. Providing the highest availability of any critical control system in the process industry, the I/A Series solution is engineered for non-stop operation, with fault tolerance residing at all levels of the system, from process controllers to redundant field networks and fieldbus modules.

    "LNG trading volume is projected to significantly increase during the next 10 years as countries worldwide aggressively adopt it as a more environmentally friendly energy resource and as industrialising nations continue to demand reliable access to it," said Medan Abdullah, managing director, MLNG. "We need a scalable, new-generation DCS to help us to sustain our role as a major LNG player, as well as reduce costs and help us maintain the safety and integrity of our operations. This upgrade will extend the life of our plant control system, equip us with the necessary gateway for future technology enhancements and enable us to achieve safety and productivity excellence."

    Along with the Foxboro I/A Series DCS, MLNG also uses Invensys' field instruments and advanced applications, such as the company's SimSci-Esscor® operator training simulator and Triconex® safety systems.

    The Bintulu LNG Complex houses the MLNG, MLNG Dua and MLNG Tiga plants. It has a combined capacity of about 23 million tonnes per year, and together with ancillary facilities which include six LNG storage tanks and two loading jetties, and it is currently one of the world's largest LNG production facilities from a single location.

    Auto-Flushed with Success

    Residual chlorine monitors and indeed, ozone monitors, pH meters and chlorine dioxide analysers have all been around a long time and it would seem unlikely that they could be improved upon greatly ……. but for some applications they have!

    In 2007 a paper mill approached Process Instruments (UK) Ltd (Pi) with a problem. They had a de-inked stock that they measured pH in to control a chemical addition. The problem was that their pH sensor was coating with ink that set hard on the glass. The pH sensors were unreliable a short time after replacement and the cost of replacing the sensors monthly was prohibitive. Following a detailed survey and discussion with the customer Pi proposed an auto-flushing device that would flush the pH sensor with warm, soapy water regularly enough to prevent rather than remove build up of ink.

    Two years after installation the same pH sensor continues to give reliable results with the CRIUS® 100 analyser not only controlling the pH sensor, but providing the PID control for the chemical addition.

    The CRIUS® Autoflush is controlled by the analyser where user variables adjust the flush time, frequency and signal hold time.

    Fortunately not all cleaning requirements are so tough and via a ‘customer consultation’ exercise (we asked them!) Pi discovered that the need to keep sensors clean is far greater than previously imagined. Since 2006 Pi has shipped approximately 50 autoflush units all using potable water to keep various sensors clean under varying conditions. Some of the applications that have benefitted from a CRIUS® Autoflush are:
    • pH sensor in a de-inking plant
    • free chlorine sensor in white water in a paper plant
    • chlorine dioxide sensor in a food plant
    • pH sensor in an industrial chemical plant
    Video below (31 secs) shows the unit in action.

    Pi has been providing instrument solutions since 1998 and supplies through Distributors, under Private Label/OEM agreements and to End Users within the Water, Waste, Chemical, Paper, Pool and Leisure industries. With offices, a laboratory and new manufacturing facilities in Burnley, Lancashire, Pi operates globally with customers in Europe, America and the Middle East. More recently Pi has received awards for innovation and has quadrupled its turnover in three years.

    Double processing power

    Embedded Controller Offers Double the Processing Power and Data Throughput Compared to Previous Models
    National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-8133 high-performance embedded controller, which features the quad-core Intel® Core™ i7-820QM processor. The new controller is the first PXI Express quad-core controller in the industry. By combining the latest technology from Intel and advancements in the PCI Express bus, the new controller helps engineers greatly reduce test time with double the processing performance and data throughput compared to previous NI controllers.

    The Intel Core i7-820QM processor offers a 1.73 GHz base clock frequency and uses Intel® Turbo Boost Technology to automatically increase the clock frequency based on the application type. For example, when running applications that generate only a single processing thread, the CPU places the three unused cores into an idle state and increases the active core’s clock frequency from 1.73 GHz to 3.06 GHz. This feature removes the requirement that software applications need to be multithreaded to use the latest CPU developments. As a result, engineers and scientists can use the new NI controller to significantly reduce test times for applications that require intensive data processing such as RF protocol testing and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulations.

    This embedded controller uses the advancements of PCI Express technology to offer four x4 Gen 2 PCI Express links for interfacing to the PXI chassis backplane. Using the NI PXIe-8133 embedded controller with a PXI Express chassis, such as the NI PXIe-1082, doubles the total system data throughput from 4 GB/s to 8 GB/s. With this feature, engineers can simultaneously stream a larger set of I/O channels, giving them the ability to create larger and more complex data record-and-playback applications.

    The NI PXIe-8133 embedded controller comes standard with 2 GB of DDR3-1333 MHz RAM and the option of Windows XP or Windows 7 32-bit OSs. For memory-intensive applications, engineers can upgrade to 8 GB of system RAM and the Windows 7 64-bit OS. The NI PXIe-8133 controller is also available with an extended temperature option and solid-state hard drives for harsh environments.

    The controller provides industry-leading support for the LabVIEW graphical development environment and their LabVIEW Real-Time Module. With the new controller, engineers can use LabVIEW to allocate multiple CPU cores for running time-critical test sections while delegating noncritical services to the remaining cores. By doing so, they can build sophisticated real-time and deterministic systems that take advantage of the increased performance and throughput of the new controller. The NI PXIe-8133 controller also supports the use of NI LabWindows™/CVI software, C/C++, and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET for test, measurement, and control applications.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Test tools catalogue

    Fluke has announced availability of its new 124-page full-colour 2010/2011 Test Tools Catalogue which can be obtained free - either by requesting a copy to be sent in the post, or by immediate download as a pdf version.

    An introductory section of the catalogue covers all the new tools introduced recently, such as the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester, the Fluke 233 Remote Display Multimeter, Fluke Ti32/Ti9 Industrial Thermal Imagers and TiR32/TiRx Thermal Imagers for Buildings, the Fluke 27 II/28 II Rugged Industrial Multimeters for operating in especially harsh conditions, and the Fluke 1750 Power Recorder.

    The new catalogue contains classified sections on all its handheld test tools under categories which include Digital Multimeters, Clamp Meters and Electrical Testers, Insulation Testers and Earth Ground Testers, Installation Testers and PAT Testers, Digital Thermometers, Thermal Imagers, Laser Distance Meters, Indoor Air Quality Tools, ScopeMeters, Power Quality Tools, Field Calibrators, the Vibration Tester, ATEX-certified Test Tools and general accessories.

    There are also pages covering money-saving Combo Kits, Fluke After Sales Service, Fluke Web Portals which help with troubleshooting and the correct tool selection in industrial maintenance, electrical and process applications, and on safety issues and other application/background articles.

    Shock accererometer

    Endevco® Model 7268C miniature triaxial shock accelerometer

    Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the global market introduction of the Endevco® model 7268C, a miniature triaxial piezoresistive accelerometer designed for high-reliability measurement of short duration shock across three axes and in three orthogonal directions.

    Housed within a package size measuring just 12.7 x 10.7 x 13.7 mm (0.5 x 0.42 x 0.54 in.), the Endevco® model 7268C is offered in ranges of 500g, rugged to 5,000g shock with 17k Hz resonant frequency; and 2,000g, rugged to 10,000 g shock with 26k Hz resonant frequency. Sensor frequency response is 0 to 3000 Hz on the Z-axis and 0 to 1500 Hz on the X&Y axes. The combined non-linearity and hysteresis error of the model 7268C is less than 1% FSO, making it one of the most accurate sensors of its kind on the market today. The sensor also incorporates integral mechanical stops for added ruggedness and over-range protection, with two fixed resistors, enabling shunt calibration on each axis. Units are supplied with integral cable and customer capability to select both excitation voltage and cable length.

    The broad frequency response, high sensitivity and high output of the model 7268C make it ideal for use in vehicle crash testing, crash sled testing, general shock monitoring, or any other general short duration shock testing application within specified measurement ranges. In addition, the Endevco® model 7268C is covered by a five-year comprehensive product warranty.

    Finding the root cause of process upsets

    A new whitepaper from ExperTune, "Finding the Root Cause of Process Upsets", can be downloaded at no-charge from their website.

    The white paper explains new methods to identify and resolve the root cause of process upset conditions. Finding the root cause of upsets is critical to permanently solving process upsets. Solving the root cause issue saves time and increases efficiencies faster than other methods. For example, attempting to tune all affected control loops involved much effort compared to finding and fixing the one root cause of the upset.

    It shows how to identify and track down the two different primary categories of process upsets. One approach involves large-scale correlation analysis using existing real-time data from a process data historian. New graphical techniques are used to show correlation as patterns of color, simplifying the analysis.

    John Gerry, President and Founder of ExperTune, says "We are seeing people develop tremendous process knowledge in a very short time. When engineers graphically see the process interactions, they immediately zoom in to root causes. This approach has efficiently solved many long-standing problems at our customer's process plants."

    The tools and techniques have been proven in dozens of plants, including refining, chemicals, pulp & paper, and other process industries. The white paper includes an example case study showing how hydrogen swings were eliminated saving over 50,000 MMBtu annually.

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    Bench power supplies rise to 250 V DC

    The new PLH Series of laboratory bench DC power supplies from TTi are higher-voltage linear regulated units offering a maximum output voltage of either 120 or 250 V.

    Based around the format of TTi’s New PL Series of lower-voltage power-supply units, the PLH Series provides a maximum power of over 90 W from an ultra-compact casing which is only 107 mm wide (one quarter rack width). The linear regulation ensures low noise and fast transient response along with a benign response to complex load conditions.

    The maximum current output is 750 mA or 375 mA, depending on model, with a measuring resolution of 0.1 mA. A low-current range of 75 mA is also provided which increases the resolution to 0.01 mA and enables low currents to be very accurately set in constant-current operation.

    The PLH incorporates smart analogue controls. Voltage and current are set using conventional rotary knobs, but the settings can be locked at the touch of a button using the S-Lock function, which transfers control of voltage and current from the analogue controls to internal digital circuitry. This arrangement offers not just complete security but also exceptional stability, with each setting controlled by a high-resolution instrumentation-quality digital-analogue convertor.

    The V-Span function allows the user to redefine the end-stop values of the voltage control to create a specific voltage range. When working with any particular piece of equipment, engineers often require a voltage source variable over only a narrow range. V-Span enables a complete 300° rotation of the voltage control to cover whatever voltage range the user requires.

    Special safety binding post terminals, designed by TTi, are used. These are touch-proof to over 250 V, and can be used with fixed shroud 4 mm plugs for laboratories that make their use mandatory. However, they can also accept standard 4 mm plugs, spade connectors or bare wires for general-purpose use.

    How's oil doing?

    This past month (April/May 2010) when oil is mentioned, people naturally think of the tragic ecological disaster slowly unfolding on the Gulf of Mexico. However even as millions are being spent trying to save the beachs and wetlands of the Southern US shoreline we are continuing to use the stuff in our cars, homes and industrial processes. It is the very lifeblood of modern life.

    Dr Jesse Yoder
    of Flow Research has published a Worldflow Flash Report called “Crude Up and Down, but Mostly Holds above $80." The report looks at the price of crude oil over the past year, and especially over the past two months. The Flash Report, dated May 12, 2010, places the price of crude oil in the context of worldwide supply and demand. Flash Reports are part of their Worldflow Monitoring Service.

    The Flash Report on Oil Prices is provided as part of their Worldflow Monitoring Service, which was started in 2002. This service consists of two publications: the Market Barometer and the Energy Monitor. The Market Barometer keeps you up-to-date on developments in the flowmeter industry on a quarterly basis. In every issue, they review each flowmeter technology and interpret changes, giving you the information and ideas you need to implement winning product strategies and make more informed decisions.

    The Energy Monitor reports quarterly on the oil & gas, refining, power, and renewables industries. A section on New Projects in each issue provides details of new capital projects that instrumentation suppliers potentially can bid on. An “Issues and Perspectives” section provides market analysis of relevance to flowmeter suppliers and end-users. Flash Reports keep you aware of breaking news events in the industry. The Worldflow Monitoring Service provides vital information for anyone working in flow and instrumentation, and it is only available from Flow Research.

    They are offering free trial subscriptions on the website.

    They are working on quite a few new market studies, including a new edition of the very popular gas flowmeter study.