Saturday, August 7, 2010

"In search of the Holy Grail: Integrating Marketing and Sales"

To help marketing and sales execs in the automation markets meet the strategic and tactical challenges of the 21st century

Exchange concepts, strategies, and ideas for meeting today's marketing and sales challenges that will generate growth and profitability as measured in market share, revenue, relationship management, and more.

Experience the collaboration between the best of automation's marketing and sales professionals.

Enjoy several "best-practices" sessions you can adapt to meet your needs.

Take advantage of great networking opportunities for in-depth information exchanges that can transform your marketing and sales outlook for 2010 and beyond.

HAVE FUN! Join participants for dinner followed by an exciting ballgame when the Braves take on the Mets.
Have you registered for the ISA Marketing and Sales Summit yet?

Register early for the Pre-Summit workshops. Space is limited. Choose from Inbound Marketing, Selling More in a Turbulent Economy and PR 101.

There are some great presentations and great speakers lined up, as well as networking events, such as the welcome reception and the Braves game outing.

Among the contributers will Editor in Chief of Control Magazine, Walt Boyes explaining PR101 sometimes referred to as "the inside scoop on public relations, marketing and social media!" Bob Lobos of Wolfcreek Business Growth Institute will discuss "Selling in a turbulent Economy" and Jon DiPietro (DomesticatingIT) on Inbound Marketing.

Keynotes will include "Automation from a Wall St Perspective" from Mark Douglas of Longborough Research, and Jim Cahill, Chief Blogger with Emerson, one of the pioneers of Social Media in Automation, and indeed in any business and award winner for his Emerson Process Experts blog. Also from Emerson, Mike Boudreaux's presentation has a fascination title "Economics for Product Managers, It's not just for Professors and bankers."

There's lots more but why not download the programme for yourself here and find out for yourself! We have only mentioned the ones that leaped out at us from a very full schedule.

Hurry - Register Here, the discounted hotel rate expires on Tuesday, August 10. Visit the website - for details.

The Read-out Instrumentation Signpost are proud sponsors of this important event. Remember the dates are 1st to 3rd September, in the great city of Atlanta, in the US state of Georgia.

PLC support expanded

Allen-Bradley & Siemens plc support expanded

Maple Systems has just expanded their PLC support to more fully integrate their HMIs with controllers from Allen Bradley and Siemens. This important expansion in capabilities comes with their newest release of EZware.

Among the enhancements of this upgrade is the ability to utilize tags with Allen-Bradley Controllers in such a way that they can be named with descriptive text the programmer chooses rather than having tag names based on PLC memory addresses.

This is important on two levels. First, it means that your Maple HMI can work with an Allen-Bradley controller without changing the coding of the controller itself. That allows you to place a Maple HMI into an established Allen-Bradley process without disrupting the existing controller program.

Secondly and from a practical standpoint, cryptic names for variable tags can be replaced with more appropriate nomenclature. That allows you to create descriptive tags which are more meaningful to your unique automation process -- like "pumphouse7" for example.

Also added into the new software are 26 new communication drivers. Included is a protocol for the new Siemens S7-1200 PLC. And with a total of 170 different protocols supported, the Maple HMI grants you flexibility with the brands you want to deal with. This upgrade also includes 67 other operational enhancements that expand the capabilities of the HMI.

In addition, the company has announced that four of its HMI products have just been UL listed for the US and Canada. They include the 5.6 inch HMI5056N, the 4.3 inch widescreen HMI5043N, the 7 inch widescreen HMI5070TH, and the 10.2 inch widescreen HMI5100T. In addition these products are CE certified and RoHS compliant.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New venture to improve CNC manufacturing productivity

Combining a shared vision and drawing on their extensive experience and knowledge, sefaré controls co-founders and managing partners Bob Tain and Gayle Vollmer have launched a new venture in PC control and networking technology to significantly impact CNC manufacturing productivity and the customer’s bottom line.

With nearly 40 years of industrial controls conception, design, and implementation experience, Bob Tain has been instrumental in driving productivity enhancing architectures into real world environments. Combining networking technology with off-the-shelf hardware and software, sefaré controls provides a robust industrial PC that can be added to virtually any machine tool regardless of CNC manufacturer, including earlier generation machines.

“sefaré finally achieves the vision of a true fluid platform that grows with PC and network technology to improve productivity with a meaningful return on investment for any size anufacturing business,” said Tain. “We are reaching forward into the undiscovered country, building a bridge between computer technology and the machine floor.”

Sharing in the vision, Gayle Vollmer has been working with CNC machines and controls since 1975 and is widely recognized as a leader in the development and implementation of demanding applications for CNC machine tools. Vollmer’s experience has given him a unique insight into the limitations and strengths of the modern machine tool.

“We want to use the software and technology that is available to make the controls of the machine more user-friendly and to get rid of the useless and redundant features of most CNC controls,” said Vollmer. “Using a powerful, self-contained, extendable PC, integrated with the machines current controls, customers can now bridge next generation technology with CNC machine tools of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

The name sefaré is pronounced like “safari” and is an acronym for smart extensible fluid adaptable retrofitable engine.

Using a powerful, self-contained, extensible PC, integrated with the machines current controls, customers can now bridge next generation technology with virtually any CNC machine tool of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

sefaré controls can build any size PC with customized hardware and software solutions to maintain any budget. Running Microsoft Windows 7 Pro or XP Pro, the all-in-one base PC includes a 15-inch LCD touch screen and integrated wireless.

Available on the base machine is production enhancing software including adaptive controls, conversational programming, and 3D simulation with crash detection. Standard input/output devices are RS232, USB 2.0, and Ethernet. Also available are software data collection packages that provide gauging information, SPC, and auto-tool off-set function, automated part inspection and statistics with automated tool offsets.

The company is exhibiting at IMTS 2010 - 13-18 September 2010

New USB devices

Eight new USB devices offer enhanced digital functionality and simultaneous sampling options

National Instruments has announced NI X Series multifunction data acquisition (DAQ) devices for USB. USB X Series devices integrate high-performance analogue measurement and control channels, digital I/O and counter/timers onto a single plug-and-play device, which engineers and scientists can use for a wide variety of portable test, measurement and data-logging applications. USB X Series DAQ devices include up to 32 analogue inputs, four analogue outputs, 48 digital I/O lines and four counters. The eight new devices range from 500 kS/s multiplexed AI to 2 MS/s/channel simultaneous sampling AI.

LabVIEW graphical programming makes it easy for engineers and scientists to develop completely custom test and measurement applications for USB X Series using intuitive graphical icons and wires that resemble a flowchart. LabVIEW 2010 simplifies data logging and analysis with a new technical data management streaming option within the NI DAQ Assistant and the ability to export data from a waveform graph to Microsoft Excel or NI DIAdem for post processing. USB X Series devices use the same multithreaded NI-DAQmx driver software as other National Instruments DAQ devices, making it easy to port LabVIEW or text-based code from previous applications for use with X Series.

USB X Series devices include two key technologies that make them as powerful as they are easy to use: NI-STC3 technology for advanced timing and triggering and NI Signal Streaming for high-speed, bi-directional data streaming.

At the core of all USB, PCI Express and PXI Express X Series devices is NI-STC3 timing and synchronisation technology, which coordinates the timing and triggering of the analogue, digital and counter subsystems. NI-STC3 technology provides X Series devices with independent timing engines for the onboard analogue and digital I/O subsystems, making it possible for analogue and digital I/O to execute independently at different rates or together with synchronisation. X Series devices include four enhanced 32-bit counters for frequency, pulse-width modulation (PWM) and encoder operations, as well as a new 100 MHz timebase that can generate analogue and digital sampling rates with five times better resolution than previous devices.

USB X Series devices include NI Signal Streaming, a patented technology that uses message-based transfers and device-side intelligence to deliver high-speed, bidirectional data transfer over USB, making it possible to perform analogue, digital and counter operations concurrently. With this technology, simultaneous sampling now is available on two new devices, which can sample at 1.25 MS/s and 2 MS/s on each of their eight analogue inputs. These devices are available with 32 or 64 MS onboard memory to guarantee finite acquisitions even with heavy USB traffic. The high sampling rates on all channels make these devices well suited for portable ultrasonic test and transient recording applications.

Each USB X Series device features a redesigned, extruded aluminum enclosure. The new enclosure offers an easy-access lid to keep signal wiring secure and shielded, and device-specific pinout labels on the lid make it possible to quickly determine the corresponding screw terminals for a given channel. The enclosure also includes a lockable USB port to prevent accidental removal during operation.

Alaska utility privatisation project

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced that Doyon Utilities, of Fairbanks, Alaska, has embarked on a major multi-year project involving GE’s Proficy® Process Systems for a major utility privatization project. Doyon, a Native regional organization, has been awarded a privatisation contract for United States Army Forts Wainwright, Richardson and Greelyin Fairbanks, Anchorage and Delta Junction, Alaska. The 50-year contract calls for Doyon to assume ownership, operation and maintenance of the electric, natural gas, steam and potable water distribution systems, as well as the wastewater collection system.

Upon taking over the utilities, Doyon was faced with an aging infrastructure that needed to be upgraded quickly and had to be replicated from plant to plant. Their goal was to improve the facilities through repair, rehabilitation, and replacement and therefore improve the quality and efficiency of the systems over time. After careful planning it was determined that the solution involved a complete system that could be integrated easily as existing plants were retrofitted, was scalable, and provided accurate control and information management.

Key to winning this project was the desire on Doyon’s part for a “turnkey” solution that could be trusted from inception through to the last implementation. According to Doyon Project Manager Robert Maxfield, the company wanted stable, optimized boiler control and power generation without having to buy power off the grid due to outages caused by antiquated control systems.

GE Intelligent Platforms was chosen to design, implement and integrate the new system that includes an end-to-end DCS solution based on the company’s breakthrough Proficy Process Systems facilitating operational excellence with continuous uptime, high availability, direct and supervisory control. In addition, Proficy Historian, coupled with GE’s Proficy Troubleshooter software, provide an enterprise-wide solution to enable accurate control and information management.

“This project falls right into the sweet spot for GE Intelligent Platforms,” said Maryrose Sylvester, President and CEO. “To gain insight and manage operations, companies like Doyon Utilities must be able to visualize, analyze and optimize every aspect of their processes, equipment and resources. By adding intelligence to their production environment, our innovative Proficy Process Systems and Proficy Historian solutions provide lower total cost of ownership, greater productivity, efficiency and profitability for a sustainable competitive advantage.”

The project commenced with the Fort Greely boiler controls and followed immediately by similar work at Fort Wainwright. The project at Wainwright will be executed in a phased approach starting with the boiler controls and moving on to coal handling and finally a retrofit of the ACC. The current work plans will span a minimum of three years, which will provide the locations with modernized controls, updated documentation and optimized generation of steam and power.

When completed, the company will have an end-to-end solution that offers freedom and flexibility at a lower cost of implementation and ownership. Proficy Historian will gather historical data to perform analytics that will allow them to extract knowledge from existing historical process and plant data. This information will be used to identify causes for production problems and the opportunity for preventing these problems in the future. In addition, they will be able to leverage increased process visibility for better and faster decisions and increased productivity.
“The privatization is expected to increase reliability and profitability of the utility services,” said Dan Gavora, CEO of Doyon Utilities, LLC. “By modernizing the aging infrastructure, we will also have the opportunity to track the use of electricity, water, wastewater and steam which could lead to further gains through conservation.”

Transport security and safety!

Quantitech will be demonstrating the latest technologies available for banned substance and fumigants detection in containers at this year’s Transport Security Expo and Conference in London (GB) on September 14th-15th.

Featuring an exhibition, conferences and workshops, Transport Security is the only event in Britain to bring together the full spectrum of key stakeholders and industry leaders from the areas of Aviation, Maritime and the supply chain all under one roof.

Quantitech, who have recently concluded a collaboration agreement with TeknoScan Systems of Canada, will be exhibiting their highly advanced TeknoScan Analyser at stand F10 for the very first time in the Britain.

TeknoScan has developed the highly sensitive and selective portable system for detecting banned substances that has major advantages over existing techniques, not least of which is the ability to detect target substances from a library containing up to 50 separate compounds all at once, providing complete analysis of a sample in 3 minutes or less.

TeknoScan has demonstrated detection and identification of threat substances from samples with the analyser as small as 0.1 nanograms in a polluted environment.

Also on show at their stand will be the Gasmet Dx-4030, which can be deployed for the testing of fumigants and toxic industrial chemicals in cargo containers at ports and airports. Employing FTIR technology, the analyser is already helping professional investigations in a wide variety of applications including those for which it is not possible to determine, in advance, the gases that are likely to be encountered.

The instrument is the World’s first truly portable FTIR multicomponent gas analyser, enabling operators to measure multiple components simultaneously, including Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs), Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs) and almost anything else.

Keith Golding, Quantitech Managing Director, said, "We are looking forward to demonstrating the advanced technology we have on offer to help combat the threat of terrorism and organised crime and simultaneously enhance transport security and safety.”

Temperature profiling

DATAPAQ, a Fluke company will present three new products for photovoltaic cell and module manufacturers at the 25th EU PVSEC in Valencia, Spain, 6th – 9th of September 2010. The new Datapaq products will also be displayed at Solarpeq/Glasstec exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany, 28th of September – 1st of October 2010.

Datapaq designed the innovative SolarPaq systems to provide temperature-profiling solutions for the contact firing, anti-reflective coating and lamination processes. These operations are all key to the quality and performance of the photovoltaic cell and hence, module. The SolarPaq system travels through the furnace or thermal process, measuring a time temperature profile directly from the product.

The SolarPaq Anti-reflective Coating System provides temperature profiles from the solar cells as they pass through the silver nitride coating process. This is typically conducted using a plasma sputtering process and users can now for the first time monitor the cell temperature profile even with the plasma energized. This system has been designed so that it simply takes the place of one of the cells in the carrier, thus no modification is required to the expensive carrier.

Incorporating feedback from process engineers using this profiling system in contact firing furnaces, the SolarPaq Contact Firing Cell Clamp is paired with custom-designed thermocouple probes to ensure accurate and repeatable measurements—the foundation for any process optimization.

The SolarPaq Vacuum Lamination System is used to profile the final assembly stage of the solar modules. An all-new thermal barrier ensures that the data logger is protected from not only the heat of the lamination process, but also the external pressure that is applied. A unique external barrier frame eliminates the risk of any stress points being created on the vacuum membrane.

Routine temperature profiling gives you reliable data to optimize your process, prove process control and make corrections when required. By analyzing the profile you are able to verify products are of the highest quality, increase throughput, and solve production problems.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

World’s first Achilles certified DCS operator workstations

Foxboro I/A Series DCS workstations meet stringent cyber security certification

Invensys Operations Management has announced that its Foxboro I/A Series® distributed control system (DCS) operator workstations have passed the Achilles Cyber Security Certification test, performed by Wurldtech Security Technologies, a leading industrial cyber security testing and certification agency. The testing was conducted on the Foxboro I/A Series Model P92 Workstation for Windows hardware and I/A Series AW70 human machine interface (HMI) software for the Microsoft® Windows® XP operating system, including I/A Series FoxView™, FoxAlert™, Alarm Manager and System Manager applications.

The I/A Series Model P92 workstations are the first host-based devices (HBD) to achieve this globally recognized benchmark for communications security and robustness and join a long list of other certified controller products that have achieved the Achilles Certified™ designation, among the most recognized and respected for process automation, control and safety system robustness. As proposed by the ISA99 security standard, an HBD is a general-purpose device running a general-purpose operating system capable of hosting one or more applications or data stores. Examples include HMIs, engineering workstations, historian servers and domain controllers.

“End-users continually ask us how to evaluate a vendor’s claims about product security,” said Tyler Williams, president of Wurldtech. “Here is a prime example of a vendor doing all the right things to ensure safe, secure and reliable industrial operations. Congratulations again to the Invensys Operations Management team.”

“Our customers demand the utmost in secure process control systems,”
said Ernie Rakaczky, Invensys Operations Management security program manager. “The testing conducted using the Achilles Test Suite covers the most common cyber security threats. Invensys Operations Management has also embraced the underlying requirement of a well-established software development lifecycle that incorporates security fundamentally, and has also adopted Achilles Certification as an integral part of our QA strategy. We see the certification of the Foxboro I/A Series Operator Workstations as another step toward helping our clients achieve safety and control excellence, and look forward to driving more of our products, applications and practice though a defined Achilles Certification.”

Invensys Operations Management also recommends that customers assess their overall cyber security capabilities as part of an ongoing security and robustness program for their computerized industrial systems. Invensys can assist customers with security related services.

Enhanced resolution vision system

Enhanced resolution version of BOA vision system announced
DALSA’s BOA range of highly integrated optical inspection tools continues to grow with the introduction of enhanced resolution models. Available from Stemmer Imaging in monochrome and colour versions, the BOA M1280 smart camera has a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels.

The BOA range has increased steadily since its launch in 2009 and the new M1280 offers 4 times the resolution of the entry-level M640 model. BOA offers scalable vision solutions to satisfy a wide range of application needs from positioning of robotic handlers to complete assembly verifications. All BOA cameras feature a full suite of vision tools, a web-browser based user interface and application development interface as well as inputs and outputs, illumination control and factory communications.

Renowned for its outstanding price-performance ratio, the BOA series comprises a robust, fully integrated intelligent vision system designed for harsh environment factory floor deployment. The compact IP67 rated housing of just 44mm x 44mm x 44mm is suitable for washdown environments without a protective enclosure if a specified lens tube is used. A new lens cover is available in two lengths to suit the vast majority of common lenses. The camera base plate has also been adapted to provide mounting holes on all sides for maximum installation flexibility.

DALSA’s integrated iNspect Express software makes the installation of additional software and complex programming unnecessary. A simple, flexible application setup can be performed using any standard browser. Multiple on board processing engines optimize system performance with algorithm optimization via the DSP, application management via the CPU and sensor management via the FPGA.

Phased array NDT

As a result of Sonatest’s drive to bring desirable and innovative products to the NDT market, a new Phased Array instrument is now launched, the veo 16:64. The veo is a fully capable Phased Array instrument with multi-technique functionality, including TOFD; fast data recording, a simple to use interface and rugged housing design renders the veo a performance leader from the beginning. Combine this with their commitment to customer support and product service; the user experience may be described as a winning one. Typical applications include Pipeline Weld Inspection, Corrosion Mapping, Aerospace and Composite Testing.

Key design elements considered in the development of the veo series are user and performance focussed which include simple controls and a workflow driven Menu structure. The 3D Scanplan feature displays a full 3D view of the user’s test set up including probes, wedges, the weld and geometry, with phased array beams. There are also on-board probe and wedge databases for fast setups.

Power & Performance perfectly packaged.
This 16:64 Phased Array instrument has TCG and ACG, a superior encoding speed with fast A-scan recording and excellent reporting functionality. There are two separate conventional channels providing simultaneous Phased Array and TOFD scanning to speed inspection and ensure correct data referencing for improved defect characterisation. Real Time Focal Law calculations allow the user to change scanning parameters instantly, reducing the time spent on setup and defect investigation.

The veo enclosure has been designed to withstand the tough environments in which NDT inspections are carried out, achieving IP67 standard for water and dust ingress and employing internal shock mounts to withstand impacts. The market sectors largest sunlight readable screen, enables the technician to see and interpret results with ease and efficiency, especially when complex inspections need multiple probe configurations. The veo batteries give up to 6 hours use, and are hot swappable for continuous use.

Wayne Woodhead, Managing Director of Sonatest Ltd “Phased Array is an exciting technology that is becoming regarded as the future of Non Destructive Testing for critical inspections and productivity improvement. The new veo brings Sonatest’s design values of Simplicity, Capability and Reliability into this rapidly expanding market, giving users an effective, efficient tool to meet their demanding needs. The veo builds on Sonatest’s success in the ultrasonic flaw detector market, with a global sales network supporting our customers throughout the world. Launched at the European Conference for NDT (ECNDT) in Moscow June 2010, initial reaction has been very positive and we are looking forward to a very successful future.”

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ethernet data acquisition platform

National Instruments has announced the new Ethernet-based NI CompactDAQ modular data acquisition system, which combines the ease of use and low cost of a data logger with the performance and flexibility of modular instrumentation. The new NI cDAQ-9188 chassis is designed to hold eight I/O modules for measuring up to 256 channels of electrical, physical, mechanical or acoustic signals in a small (25 by 9 by 9 cm), rugged form factor. With more than 50 different I/O modules to choose from, engineers and scientists can build remote or distributed, high-speed measurement systems using standard Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure. In addition, NI CompactDAQ simplifies initial setup with zero configuration networking technology and a built-in, Web-based configuration and monitoring utility.

“We choose NI CompactDAQ because of the flexibility offered by a diverse set of I/O modules and the scalability of Ethernet infrastructure,” said Randy Recob, Senior Test Engineer at Sub-Zero, Inc. “The flexibility of Ethernet allows us to more easily standardise our test systems by eliminating many of the physical constraints required by more traditional PC interfaces. We have used National Instruments data acquisition hardware and software in our test applications for years because of the measurement accuracy, system stability, and ease of use available with their solution.”

NI CompactDAQ uses patented NI Signal Streaming technology to deliver high-bandwidth data over Ethernet to a host computer. NI Signal Streaming provides the ability to maintain bidirectional analogue and digital waveforms continuously over a TCP/IP connection. With NI-STC3 timing and synchronisation technology, each chassis can also manage up to seven separate hardware-timed I/O tasks at different sample rates, including analogue I/O, digital I/O and counter/timer operations. The chassis operate in a temperature range of -20 to 55 degrees Celsius and can withstand up to 30 g shock and 3 g vibration, making NI CompactDAQ ideal for demanding test applications on the benchtop, in the field or on the production line.

In addition to the Ethernet chassis, the platform includes a four- and an eight-slot USB chassis and NI C Series I/O modules. NI offers more than 50 C Series modules to use interchangeably in these systems, each of which is hot-swappable and auto-detectable for simplified setup. C Series modules offer integrated signal conditioning and multiple connectivity options to create custom, mixed-measurement systems specific to the needs of an application. A single analogue input module, for example, can acquire up to four channels of simultaneous 1 MS/s voltage inputs for measuring high-speed signals such as ballistic pressure or ultrasonic transducers.

NI-DAQmx driver software, which is included, goes beyond a basic device driver to deliver increased productivity and performance. With NI-DAQmx, engineers and scientists can log data for simple experiments or develop a complete test system in NI LabVIEW, NI LabWindows™/CVI, ANSI C/C++ or Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. Furthermore, a consistent API means that an application developed for an NI CompactDAQ USB chassis will work with an NI CompactDAQ Ethernet chassis without any changes to software.

Programming NI CompactDAQ with LabVIEW delivers the most performance for the least effort. LabVIEW graphical programming makes it possible for engineers and scientists to develop sophisticated measurement, test and control systems using intuitive graphical icons and wires that resemble a flowchart. The multiple timing engines featured on NI CompactDAQ chassis complement the multicore optimisations in LabVIEW to make programming multiple measurement tasks in parallel easy. LabVIEW also offers integration with thousands of other hardware devices and provides hundreds of built-in libraries for advanced analysis and data visualisation.

Out of the box improvements

Out-of-the-box solution can demonstrate process improvements in as little as 30 days

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of its latest Proficy® Accelerator solution, Proficy Accelerator for Advanced Analytics. The solution layers on top of existing systems, helping to identify process inefficiencies using historical data to create real-time models driving process improvements. Proficy Accelerator for Advanced Analytics is a completely scalable solution that allows customers to quickly see the value hidden in their data to improve their processes and reduce cost.

“In today’s world, companies are looking for ways to cut costs as they navigate through a brutal worldwide recession,” said John Leppiaho, Operations Management Infrastructure Solutions Leader, GE Intelligent Platforms. “Unfortunately, organizations are swimming in a sea of data created by the complexity of many operations, often across facilities. They can make improvements based on the most readily apparent relationships between data - but lack the ability to mine complex correlations and find the hidden opportunities for significant improvements."

The mining of the complexity of the data enables companies to realize significant benefits to their operation including: increased throughput, improved quality, decreased resource usage, increased efficiency and maximized uptime – all translating to bottom line benefits.”

Proficy Accelerator for Advanced Analytics combines Proficy’s full-featured analytics software, and a rapid engagement model that allows companies to quickly understand the sources of variability in a process in order to improve the process. This translates into higher throughput, reduced costs and improved quality for customer applications leading to increased profitability. Key Capabilities include:

· Quickly and easily model the current process based on historical data adding significant value to past data.

· Ability to determine and display the process inputs that have the greatest impact on key KPIs in real time to allow immediate process improvement.

· What If analysis tool allows users to make changes to inputs to determine what changes impact the KPIs

· Real Time Cause Detection to show personnel the largest impacts on the process.

· Increase understanding of process uncovering information captured from historical data not easily detected from charts or displays.

· Configuration Wizard for easy set up of process.

Proficy Accelerator Solutions leverage proven products and best practices to rapidly demonstrate the value of GE’s Proficy software. These solutions combine the right blend of software and services components for a specific industry application or process. These offerings serve to rapidly prove the value of the solution with faster results than traditional projects for quicker ROI. Other Proficy Accelerator Solutions include:

· Accelerator for Weighing Operations

· Accelerator for Centerlining

· Accelerator for Production Efficiency

· Accelerator for Change Management

· Accelerator for Manufacturing Energy Management Solution

· Accelerator for Packaging Performance Solution

Proficy Accelerator for Advanced Analytics is the latest example of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year (ca €3.1) software and solutions services businesses are helping customers improve productivity.

Smart drive upgrade

Baldor Motors & Drives has upgraded its range of smart drives with HMS. This range is now able to communicate with a PLC, it is much more open to communication standards and its communication interfaces are consistent throughout the entire range.

"We wanted to develop enhanced versions of our MotiFlex e100 three-phase drive ranges, able to communicate with any PLC and to comply more easily with industry Fieldbus systems. To do this, our strategy was to use a standardised solution rather than develop these interfaces in-house We decided to do this because time to market was critical and because it is not our core competence to do that. But, we found a higher added value than expected in the HMS solutions," explains David Greensmith, Product manager at Baldor Motors & Drives UK Ltd.

Baldor's e100 AC drives, suitable for use in standalone motion control systems or networked systems, are now compatible with the Ethernet/IP, Modbus TCP and Powerlink industrial standards. Offering economic and space-saving solutions for many common single-axis automation requirements, the drives also feature an Ethernet interface compatible with the deterministic Ethernet-compatible motion control standard, Powerlink. The versatile drives may be used to control rotary and linear servo motors, linear motors, closed-loop vector motors, and in V/Hz control modes.

"This system is one of the very first of its kind: it integrates CANopen, it offers Real time Ethernet and it is highly adaptable to communication standards. Now, our new range provides system builders with a universal drive platform that can be used in many different ways to suit different customers and applications, from standalone motion control systems to networked systems hosted by PLCs or other devices. This solution simplifies automation for food, labelling, packaging, electronics, printing wood/metalworking and more," he added.

The embedded Mint Lite capability is now being fitted without charge on all of Baldor's MicroFlex e100 and MotiFlex e100s. It supports a range of basic motion programming requirements including performing relative and absolute moves, S-ramp profiles, jog and homing movements, changing target positions on the fly, registration moves, and reacting to real-time trigger events. The programming facility allows standalone drives to provide solutions for many common automation and machinery tasks such as cutting or feeding to length, indexing axes, simple pick and place motion, and machine adjustments such as changing guides or backstops to reconfigure machinery for new batches. This capability is especially useful in Fieldbus interfacing, creating adaptability for the user to choose to use a standard drive control interface or optimise the process data and behaviour for the application.

Flexible, consistent and open communication modules
"The HMS Anybus advantage is that it provides a unified interface. The consistency of their range of product is unique. Thus, our engineering costs are reduced. We have the same kind of product for all different fieldbuses," explains David Greensmith.
"We have studied the offers of 2 or 3 vendors, but in the end, the HMS solution was more consistent and more standardized. The HMS solutions were also very compact. It was a key issue for the smallest sizes of our drive range. Anybus-CC, the solution we have implemented, is also very simple to install."

Anybus CompactCom (Anybus-CC) module is intended for OEM. It provides instant connectivity to all leading fieldbus, industrial Ethernet protocols, serial, USB and wireless networks without the need for any hardware and software changes to your automation device. Automation devices with an integrated Anybus-CC slot can use any Anybus-CC module. One module for a given network can simply be exchanged with another dedicated Anybus-CC module and be instantly connected to that network without the need for hardware and software changes in the automation device. Anybus-CC enables savings of up to 70% on development costs compared with in-house development. Standardized hardware and software interface independent of the network.

Another key issue was to allow for much more flexible communication with PLCs. Thanks to HMS our drives could be controlled with a PLC, using industry standards. With HMS we can interface with all major fieldbuses. As well as their own local input/output (I/O) and Canopen expansion, our drives also have option-card slots, providing configurability for specific applications including using Anybus-CC.

"HMS is undoubtedly a partner for the future, because it offers flexibility to existing range and new generations of drives" concludes David Greensmith.

Independent chemical analysis

Currently celebrating its 90th anniversary Keighley Laboratories is putting the spotlight on its advanced Chemical Analysis facility, bringing it to the attention of an even wider spectrum of industry. Its team of analytical chemists has over 150 years’ combined experience, ensuring that samples are assessed by the most economical and efficient method, depending on the type of material, the size and form of specimen, and the degree of accuracy required. It is a level of service that has retained customers for 30 or 40 years and attracted business from across Britain and as far afield as Saudia Arabia.

Chemical analysis at the laboratory involves determining the elemental constituents of a wide range of materials, including cast iron, steel and stainless steel, aluminium, copper, nickel and titanium alloys, weld metals and non-metallic compounds like foundry sand. The laboratory employs state-of-the-art spectroscopy equipment, classical gravimetric and volumetric ‘wet’ methods, and qualitative depth profile analysis to check that submitted samples meet a required specification, for quality assurance purposes, as well as identifying any material coatings and metallurgical treatments.

In addition to analysing known samples from general engineering companies, foundries, the aerospace industry, galvanisers and platers, importers and the like, Keighley Laboratories also applies reverse engineering principles to unknown components. This enables parts of existing machinery to be identified and replicated where documentation is lost, for example, mixed stock to be reclassified when certification is missing, or corroded parts to be replaced with like-for-like material. Similar examinations also form part of the company’s Problem & Failure Investigation service, for forensic analysis of failed components, health & safety investigations and insurance claims.

“It is relatively unusual for an independent metallurgical services company to offer this level of experience and equipment,” says Chief Chemist, John Whittaker. “We offer a prompt turnaround and a highly personal service and, because we don’t manufacture anything ourselves, there are no confidentiality or conflict-of-interest issues.”

Specimens typically arrive by rail or carrier and range in size from a minute speck of material to a solid component or sample of virtually any size, with pricing dependent on the complexity of analysis and the quantity of material. When dealing with solid pieces of metal, the laboratory’s Glow Discharge Spectrometer is the instrument of choice, since it offers the quickest, most accurate bulk analysis of steel, stainless steel, nickel, aluminium and copper alloys, as well as quantitative depth profiling.

Where the sample size is limited or the format unsuitable, an Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometer is employed, which uses an argon plasma and enables low sample weights to be analysed down to parts per million detection limits. It is a very sensitive technique for identification and quantification of elements in a sample, although this ‘wet’ process does take a little longer.

For the precise measurement of residual and trace elements, the Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometer is the preferred analytical tool, measuring down to parts per million in a sample; this method is also useful where no certified reference materials are available. In addition, classical chemical analysis techniques are used to augment spectrometry instruments, to provide a ‘control’ check for results and determine gravimetric, volumetric and photometric characteristics.

Results usually take the form of material certification, positive material identification or trace element analysis and are typically emailed to the client. Work is carried out to UKAS Metallurgical Laboratory Service accredited standards and conforms with relevant BS EN ISO specifications.
“Basically, if a sample can be delivered or posted to Keighley, we can accept commissions from anywhere in the world and analyse virtually any metal or metal-related material,” adds John Whittaker. “With manufacturers and suppliers working to ever tighter technical specifications and quality control high on the agenda in the engineering industry, it’s an independent service that is in growing demand.”

High temp gas turbine vibration monitoring

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the availability of the Endevco® model 6222S series, a high-temperature piezoelectric accelerometer family, designed for high-reliability vibration monitoring in helicopter Health & Usage Monitoring Systems (HUMS); ground and onboard aircraft engine monitoring; and ground-based gas turbine engine monitoring applications.

Available in three models, with sensitivities of 20, 50 and 100 pC/g and choice of three ruggedized connector styles, the Endevco® model 6222S series offers high sensitivity and reliability in a low-profile package. Models feature the company's own proprietary Isoshear® construction, which significantly reduces transient temperature and base strain outputs, while maintaining a high mounted resonance and continuous operation in temperatures of up to +260°C (+500°F) with long Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF). The Endevco® model 6222S series comes with a standard ARINC three-point mounting configuration, three mounting bolts and is designed with a rugged two-pin 7/16-27 UNS-2A threaded receptacle with an available three-pin option. As a self-generating device, the sensors require no external power for operation.

The model 6222S series provides a balanced differential output, allowing them to be used with any industry differential charge amplifier. This unit is designed to be compatible with the Endevco® 6917B and 6917D series of shielded, softline cable assemblies.

This product family has proven industry pedigree, with more than 13,900 units shipped to date.

Security standard certification

Secure Embedded Device Security Assurance Certification accepted as ANSI Pilot Accreditation Program

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB)/ACLASS brand have launched a formal pilot accreditation program based on the requirements of the ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI) ISASecure™ Embedded Device Security Assurance (EDSA) certification program.

ISASecure recognizes and promotes cyber-secure products and practices for industrial automation suppliers and operational sites. A new agreement between ISCI, ANSI, and ACLASS establishes ANSI/ACLASS as the Accreditation Body for organizations that provide product certifications in accordance with the ISASecure EDSA conformance scheme as well as ISO/IEC Guide 65, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems.

"This announcement is a major milestone in the ISCI ISASecure EDSA certification program,” stated Andre Ristaino, ISCI managing director. "With our device certification requirements and lab accreditation requirements complete, we can now accredit labs to international standards to provide certification services. The ANSI/ACLASS accreditation requirement supports our goal to operate a credible, globally recognized certification program.”

Third-party accreditation by ANSI/ACLASS enhances the credibility and value of the ISASecure process by attesting to the competence and qualification of certification bodies and laboratories, offering them a significant distinction from their competitors in the marketplace.

Companies desiring to become an accredited ISASecure EDSA certification body and/or laboratory should visit the ANSI website, for a description of the ISASecure EDSA program and information on accreditation requirements, fees, and the application process. The 30-day open period to apply for accreditation under the pilot program begins on 2 August 2010, and ends on 1 September 2010.

“The industry’s vision to set up a globally recognized security assessment program for our automation control systems is being realized through ISCI,” explained Ivan Susanto, manager PCN & SCADA security of Chevron and ISCI board vice-chairman. “This program establishes a clearly articulated baseline level of security for automation controls bearing the ISASecure certification. It will simplify procurement processes for many companies because it provides clarity for control systems suppliers on security requirements and we, as asset owners, can build our security effort on top of the ISASecure certification baseline.”

“ANSI/ACLASS are proud to be selected by ISCI as accreditor for a program that contributes to the safety and security of systems controlling critical infrastructure,” stated Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI vice president for accreditation services.

The ANSI/ACLASS accreditation program will be implemented in accordance with all relevant international standards, including ISO/IEC 17011, Conformity Assessment – General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies. The ANSI/ACLASS program will assess the competence of Chartered Certification Bodies and Laboratories against the requirements of the international standards ISO/IEC Guide 65 and ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, as well as the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Mandatory Document for the Application of ISO/IEC Guide 65, and the additional requirements as specified by the ISASecure EDSA certification program.

Hydro system in Brazil

GE Energy Signs Contract for first Mark™ VIe Hydro Integrated Control System in Brazil at AES Caconde

GE Energy's Control Solutions business has signed a contract for the first Mark™ VIe Hydro Integrated Control System to be installed in Brazil. The equipment will be installed in the AES Caconde Hydro Plant to control two 50 MW hydro turbine-generators and all the plant auxiliaries. The total order for Energy Services is $11M for complete power plant refurbishment.

Turbine and generator rework will be performed by GEVISA, GE Motors operation in Brazil. The project scope includes updating Mark VIe cabinets for unit and station control. The installation includes new pump sets for the existing hydraulic pressure system, new FC5000 distributing valves to replace the existing actuators, EX2100 warm-backup static exciters with Power Potential Transformers, Generator Protection Panels, and a Surveillance System. Engineering, installation, commissioning, and training services are part of the scope as well, making this a full turn-key project.

The GE Energy Latin America team is to lead the execution of the project. Design, fabrication and testing will take place at the Campinas Facility, which is located inside the GEVISA Industrial Facility. This partnership between GEVISA and GE Energy creates an important reference in the marketplace and opens the doors for GE Energy Services to participate in the very active Brazilian hydro plant refurbishment market.

Benefits of GE's Mark™ VIe Hydro Integrated Control System:
  • Lower maintenance costs - Replacing mechanical components with digital controls simplifies the hydraulic control schematic and makes the system easier to maintain.
  • Fast turnaround - By drawing on vast hydropower experience, time-consuming and costly pitfalls such as onsite redesign and modifications are avoided during upgrades. As a result, units are back online sooner.
  • Increased revenues - Faster start-ups, with faster connection to the grid, increase revenue earning potential with higher profit margins.

IT management software

Rittal and Microsoft partnership shows that when "two giants of the data centre" start working together how real energy savings and business efficiency can be achieved. This is made possible by the interplay of RiZone, Rittal's new management software for the IT infrastructure and Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager (SCOM).

The RiZone software monitors and controls the cooling from chillers, computer room air-conditioning (CRAC) systems, liquid cooling packages and free cooling, power supply (UPS, power distribution, etc.), the energy consumption and other physical parameters such as temperature, access or security of a data centre. The Microsoft System Center Operations Manager monitors the performance of the server and also provides an event display and event evaluations. Rittal and Microsoft have created a management pack to facilitate the sharing of data between IT infrastructure and servers.

Together they represents the first commercial software which extends beyond the infrastructure components and allows the power consumption monitoring of all devices for real energy savings to be easily achieved. If demand within the application layer is higher, the software interacts with the physical layer to provide more power or more cooling. Conversely, if IT demand is low, the physical layer can effectively hibernate which can significantly reduce valuable power consumption. An added benefit is a holistic view of the overall network infrastructure is provided via the SCOM intuitive graphical user interface.

Integrating systems can improve long-term efficiency and energy savings. RiZone, in conjunction with SCOM, gives the IT Manager the tools to significantly drive down the PUE of their data centre.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Energy efficiency at energy show

Visitors to Carlo Gavazzi’s stand at the Energy Event (8/9 Sept 2010) will witness the debut of a newly enhanced power analyser together with demonstrations of the company’s full range of innovative energy-efficient products addressing the energy market.

Their new power analyser has been launched in response to demand for a higher performance power analyser that provides accurate and precise measurements and analysis, whilst remaining compact and simple to install. Further highlights on the stand include the newly announced Eos-Array Lite – a modular control and management solution to boost performance, efficiency and return on investment in small to large solar and photovoltaic installations; and the extensive family of innovative MID-certified energy meters.

The latest power analyser - WM40-96
The new WM40-96 compact modular power analyser with enhanced intelligence complements the company’s proven energy management range. The WM40-96 power analyser delivers high accuracy measurements including current, voltage, power, energy and harmonics – with precise parametric analysis, control, data stamping and retransmission. It is all packaged in a compact plug-and–play modular format that simplifies installation and streamlines inventory management.

The base unit provides the display, touch-panel, power supply and measurement inputs, and users can then add up to three slim-line modules to the rear for alarms, pulse outputs, I/O and data communications interfaces. On the front panel is an optical communication port to enable easy programming and fast access to measurements and all necessary information is available at a glance on the customisable home page, readily configured by the user.

Greener energy sources
Also on the stand will be the newly announced Eos-Array Lite: a versatile controller enabling small to medium or high power solar photovoltaic (PV) plants to meet the growing demands for clean and green sources of energy. It offers increased modularity for cost-sensitive applications from 10kWp upwards to provide localised diagnostics, supporting rapid identification of faults. This minimises the cost of repairs and increases uptime, thereby maximising return on investment for solar generating capacity.

Operators benefit from simplified installation as there is no need for power supply or bus wiring among modules, and industry-standard RS-485 Modbus communications simplify integration into the customer’s PV management system. The Eos-Array Lite modular control system enables a space-optimised solution for any PV installation, and can comprise from two to 16 single-DIN modules, up to a maximum width of 280mm. It is supported by Eos-ArrayLSoft software, which is designed specifically for use with Eos-Array Lite to facilitate configuration of modules during plant commissioning as well as read-back of data in normal operation.

MID certified energy meters
Carlo Gavazzi’s extensive family of MID-certified energy meters ranges from the ultra-compact DIN-rail mounted single phase 32A energy meters, up to a three-phase 65A energy analysers offering built-in hot/cold water, gas and remote heating measurements and load monitoring, and will also be demonstrated on the stand.

Compiler optimised for faster code execution!

NI also includes LabVIEW add-on developer program to expand the platform with new functionality and to new applications

National Instruments has announced LabVIEW 2010, the latest version of the graphical programming environment for design, test, measurement and control applications. LabVIEW 2010 delivers time savings with new features such as off-the-shelf compiler technologies that execute code an average of 20 percent faster and a comprehensive marketplace for evaluating and purchasing add-on toolkits for easily integrating custom functionality into the platform. For field-programmable gate array (FPGA) users, it delivers a new IP Integration Node that makes it possible to integrate any third-party FPGA IP into LabVIEW applications and is compatible with the Xilinx CORE Generator. They have also implemented more than a dozen new features suggested by lead users through the LabVIEW Idea Exchange, an online feedback forum that marks a significant new level of collaboration between NI R&D and customers.

Introduced in 1986, LabVIEW abstracts the complexity of programming by giving users drag-and-drop, graphical function blocks and wires that resemble a flowchart to develop their sophisticated systems. LabVIEW offers integration with thousands of hardware devices, provides hundreds of built-in libraries for advanced analysis and data visualisation and is scalable across multiple OSs and targets such as x86 processors, real-time OSs (RTOSs) and FPGAs. From the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT robotics kit to the CERN Large Hadron Collider, a large spectrum of users worldwide has adopted LabVIEW.

“LabVIEW users are some of the most innovative people in the world, and their input helps us make LabVIEW an ever more effective and productive programming tool,” said Jeff Kodosky, National Instruments Business and Technology fellow, Cofounder and ‘Father of LabVIEW.’ “With LabVIEW 2010, we have taken their feedback and suggestions and opened up the platform to further customisation so that our customers and partners can expand LabVIEW to new applications that have not yet experienced the power and efficiency of graphical programming.”

Executing Code Faster
Key to the productivity delivered by LabVIEW is the compiler, which abstracts tasks such as memory allocation and thread management. The compiler hierarchy has evolved over the lifetime of LabVIEW to become smarter and more optimised. With LabVIEW 2010, the compiler data flow intermediate representation has been further optimised, and Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM), an open source compiler infrastructure, has been added to the software’s compiler flow to accelerate code execution. National Instruments has conducted benchmarks ranging from real-world customer applications to low-level functions, and the new compiler delivers an average improvement of 20 percent across these benchmarks.

Extending the LabVIEW Platform through Partnerships
With the release of LabVIEW 2010, National Instruments is introducing the LabVIEW Add-On Developer Program to give thousands of partners the opportunity to expand the platform and introduce custom functionality into LabVIEW. The program establishes an online marketplace as part of the updated LabVIEW Tools Network for developers to offer their free and paid toolkits and a comprehensive location for LabVIEW users to browse, download, evaluate and purchase the add-ons. More than 50 add-ons from NI and third-party developers are available, including code reuse libraries, templates, UI controls and connectors to other software packages. Additionally, LabVIEW users can use the VI Package Manager from JKI to connect directly to the LabVIEW Tools Network from their desktop and manage add-on installations and updates.

Additionally, National Instruments has partnered with leading technology providers such as Xilinx to further open up the LabVIEW environment. One example in LabVIEW 2010 is the new IP Integration Node, which makes it possible for users to integrate any third-party FPGA IP into the LabVIEW FPGA Module and offers direct compatibility with cores created with the Xilinx CORE Generator.

Delivering What Customers Want
During the development of LabVIEW 2010, NI R&D used the new LabVIEW Idea Exchange on to solicit feature ideas from customers. In addition to submitting new ideas, customers can use the exchange to collaborate on suggestions submitted by others and vote on their favorite features. Fourteen popular submissions from the LabVIEW Idea Exchange were implemented in LabVIEW 2010 including many that improve code documentation and organisation.

LabVIEW 2010 also uses customer feedback to deliver new features that make getting started easier. For example, LabVIEW now provides a new hardware configuration tool that makes it possible for users to access and configure their LabVIEW Real-Time targets remotely via a Web browser. Other features include a smart installer that automatically detects the software associated with a serial number for faster installation and an improved instrument driver finder that offers prebuilt project examples for specific instruments.

Adding Functionality for Large Application Development
For more advanced users and development groups, LabVIEW 2010 includes new features that improve interfaces to reusable code, group VIs and their hierarchy for faster build times and separate the VI source code from the compiled version to aid in source code management. These capabilities are ideal for large group development where code maintenance across many users, software versions and computer platforms is critical.