Saturday, September 18, 2010

New wireless std improvements

New updates improve test performance, tool usability and technician productivity

The HART® Communication Foundation has announced new improvements to the WirelessHART® Test System--Wireless Test System v1.4 and Wi-Analys Software v1.3. Key enhancements in these new versions provide significant improvements in test performance, tool usability and technician productivity while compliance testing WirelessHART devices to HART Protocol requirements.

Wireless Test System v1.4 provides improvements to automated test scripts, enhanced message logging, improved Response Code, Burst Mode, Routing and Timer testing, and testing of DUT buffers, Packet Precedence and Priority. Wi-Analys Software v1.3 provides test analysis productivity enhancements for “go to” button, packet type display, automatic Network ID translation, large file capture and playback.

“The WirelessHART Test System plays a key role in ensuring the compliance and interoperability of WirelessHART devices,” says Ed Ladd, HART Communication Foundation Director of Technology Programs. “The WirelessHART test system is critical to the development of WirelessHART devices. Product developers and manufacturers use it to test their WirelessHART device implementations prior to submitting the product to the Foundation for Validation and Registration.”

The WirelessHART Test System is a key component of the HART Device Registration Program in which the Foundation independently tests and validates products to HART Protocol requirements.

Safetytrack at #ISAwk

The International Society of Automation (ISA) announced today the offerings of its Safety Track at ISA Automation Week 2010: Technology and Solutions Event, Tuesday, 4-7 October 2010 in Houston, Texas, USA.

The Safety Track offers in-depth sessions focused on alarm management, safety instrumented systems, fire and gas detection, maintenance, test and measurement, boiler safety, and management of safety-related projects.

Safety Track session titles include:
  • Identification of Required Shutdowns—Procedures and Legal Implications
  • Safety Field Bus for the Process Industry
  • Field Instrumentation—Proof Testing and Validation of Your Reliability Data
  • Alarm Management and the Functional Safety Lifecycle
  • Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) Panel Discussion
  • SIS Fundamentals Tutorial
  • Fire & Gas (F&G) System Design—Performance Based Modeling for your Mitigation Layer
  • Safety Application Workshop—Guidance on Identifying Safety Instrument Functions (SIF) on Your Burner Management System (BMS)
Complete details of each Safety session are now available online

“A fundamental event including workshops, open Q&A panels, and expert participants from ISA’s Standards Committees and industry’s top companies that delve into the most critical topics every safety engineer needs to know, makes the Safety Track a fine learning tool for professionals following any career path,” said ISA Automation Week Program Committee co-chair and 2009 ISA President Gerald Cockrell of Indiana State University.

Tempearture data logger

MadgeTech has released the HiTemp150-PT, a submersible temperature data logger with a 24”, flexible stainless steel probe. What makes this probe unique is its extreme durability. It can be spiraled, bent or angled in any direction, making it easy to log temperatures within bottles, vials and other hard to reach locations.

It can measure and record temperatures between -40 and 150°C and users can select reading rate options from 1 reading every second to one every 12 hours. The device is calibrated prior to shipping, and a N.I.S.T. traceable certificate can be purchased.

The unit can be started and stopped directly from a computer using the MadgeTech software, which is a free download from the website. Users can view the data in graphical, tabular and summary views as well as print professional reports.

The HiTemp150-PT is priced at ca €400.00 ($499.00).

Touch-screen oxygen analyser

Michell Instruments has updated and improved its XZR400 range of oxygen analysers, which now include an easy-to-use touch-screen interface, to improve operation.

Other highlights of the range now include:
  • Atmospheric pressure compensation as standard
  • Digital flow meter for improved readability
  • User-defined range
  • Two 4-20 mA outputs and RS485 Modbus as standard

    The XZR400TS measures trace oxygen in gases to concentrations as low as 0.01 parts per million, and is ideal for detecting leaks and controlling the purity of gases in applications such as heat treating, environmental control or bottled gas manufacture.

    Based on the MSRS (Metallic Sealed Reference Sensor) technology, the instrument detects trace amounts of oxygen very rapidly – within seconds for 90% of a step change. The metallic sealed reference makes the sensor resistant to pollution and virtually drift-free, reducing the need for calibration and maintenance.

    With three configurations to choose from, XZR400TS is highly flexible. The rack or wall-mounted versions are suited to fixed applications either as part of a process or in a laboratory setting, while the portable version allows spot-checks in the field.
  • Friday, September 17, 2010

    Industrial Automation North America

    Deutsche Messe has announced the launch of Industrial Automation North America, which will debut September 10-15, 2012, alongside International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) 2012 at McCormick Place in Chicago (IL US). Industrial Automation North America marks Deutsche Messe's first manufacturing event in the North American market and stems from a strategic alliance with AMT - The Association for Manufacturing Technology, the organizer of IMTS.

    Industrial Automation North America is to showcase products and solutions for production automation, complementing IMTS' focus on machine tools, metalworking and precision manufacturing. Industrial Automation North America will take place every two years parallel to IMTS.

    Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Board at Deutsche Messe AG, said, "IMTS is a well-established and highly successful event. As the organizer of HANNOVER MESSE, the world's largest industrial technology trade fair, we bring to this partnership a strong background in automation. We are confident that these collocated events will attract more exhibiting companies and visitors and bolster recognition of both, IMTS and Industrial Automation North America, as the continent's leading destination for manufacturing technology."

    Wolfgang Lenarz, Senior Vice President at Deutsche Messe AG, added, "Industrial Automation North America is a continuation of our international expansion strategy. In 2009 we produced a total of 31 events outside of Germany that collectively hosted 12,131 exhibiting companies and 1.14 million visitors. With the signing of this agreement, we will have events in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Russia, Turkey, the UAE, and the U.S."

    Douglas K. Woods, President of The Association For Manufacturing Technology, said, "We are thrilled to reinforce the international nature of IMTS by having one of manufacturing's premier trade show organizers join with us for our important North American event. We are taking a major step forward by bringing Industrial Automation North America to the IMTS campus so that we can expand and strengthen the range of solutions available to our common visitors."

    A&I solutions in power plants

    Moore Industries-International has released, “Automation and Instrumentation Solutions for Power Plant Applications,” a new digital interactive line card.

    The interactive line card includes pop-up “Selection Hints” that link to technical product information on Moore Industries’ web site. It also includes links to areas on the web site where users can get answers to instrumentation questions fast from the company’s application experts.

    In a concise “bullet item” format, the line card provides instrumentation solutions and applications for today’s mature power plants. Such power plants present unique challenges when performing maintenance, repairs, replacement and upgrades. Often, companies that provided in-place instruments are long gone. Monitoring and control requirements may have changed. More, and better, process instrumentation is needed to improve operations and decrease costs.

    Topics include:
    • Installing Distributed I/O to circumvent extensive new wire installation, monitor boiler tube, burner tip, and cooling pump temperatures, track tank levels, and data archiving,
    • Replacing and installing new Signal Transmitters, Isolators and Converters to convert legacy signals to standard 4-20mA signals, and low-level RTD and thermocouple signals for current signals that can better withstand transmission through a noisy plant,
    • Using Process Controllers, Monitors and Backup stations as hot PID backups for critical drum level measurements, and as remote manual stations or field controls,
    • Evaluating new Alarm Trips and Switches for on/off control or emergency shutdown applications and for Safety Instrumented Systems,
    • Using HART technologies for smart instrumentation to break out additional analog and discrete signals, possibly to monitor and provide continuous status data for critical high-pressure steam lines,
    • Fieldbus Technologies, AC Power Transducers and Monitors, and I/P and P/I Converters are also presented.
    “Automation and Instrumentation Solutions for Power Plant Applications,” can be downloaded as a PDF free through the Moore Industries corporate website

    New microphone sets concept

    G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration (G.R.A.S.) has announced the release of a new microphone sets concept where focus is on simplicity, reliability and robustness.

    Uniquely designed based on customer feedback, G.R.A.S. Type 46 Microphone Sets offer a new approach to acoustic measurement data integrity, by reducing user setup and handling errors and improving overall reliability. Sets are available in ¼” and ½” diameters and in free-field, pressure and random incidence types, with specifications developed to support the most common acoustic measurement parameters. They are assembled in a dust-free environment to avoid contamination of the microphone and preamplifier interface; are calibrated together as a single unit; and are sealed with a removable label, for seamless integration into both single- and multi-channel applications. By using these combined sets, mix-ups of microphones, preamplifiers and system calibration data are alleviated.

    G.R.A.S. Type 46 Microphone Sets are delivered with individual calibration charts, including sensitivity values and frequency response curves, allowing the sensitivity values to be used directly within system setups. For frequent verification of the measurement chain, a 114 dB sound calibrator is supplied as a sound source. The sets can be connected directly to all pro­fessional measurement systems and are available to support both constant current power (CCP) and 7-pin LEMO inputs. For larger channel count applications, G.R.A.S. Type 46 Microphone Sets also incorporate IEEE 1451.1 (TEDS), allowing for a plug-and-play solution and the ability to identify individual unit properties, types and calibration data, with the added benefits of TEDS onboard memory storage capabilities. In addition, all G.R.A.S. Type 46 Microphone Sets are offered with a 5-year comprehensive product warranty.

    Tune cascade loops from a web browser

    ExperTune, now has the capability to tune cascade control loops directly from the web browser interface of the PlantTriage Loop Performance Monitor. This greatly streamlines the tuning process, according to ExperTune's Founder John Gerry.

    The PlantTriage system monitors control system performance continuously, 24 hours a day. It automatically diagnoses and prioritizes process, control, and instrumentation problems. Integrated analysis and tuning tools improve plant results by focusing effort on the most critical issues.

    Typical cascade control loops involve two instruments, two controllers, and a single control valve or variable-speed drive. Cascade controls are designed to reduce variation, by offering faster response to process upsets. The outer loop provides a setpoint to the inner loop. Unfortunately, says Gerry, "Most cascade loops in plants are poorly tuned, resulting in constant oscillations and interactions between the inner and outer cascade loop."

    The new tools allow users to tune both loops, with a single bump test, directly from a web browser interface. Oscillations are eliminated because the PlantTriage tools select tuning constants that are outside the range of interaction. The new tools are also fully integrated with PlantTriage's "Active Model Capture Technology", so dynamic models and controller tuning can be developed based on normally-occurring events, such as operator setpoint changes.

    Mr. Gerry, a member of the Process Automation Hall of Fame, who will be acclaimed an ISA Fellow at this years Automation Week (4th October in Houston), says "Cascade control, especially cascade tuning, is often mis-understood. These tools make it simple to tune loops the right way, which will help to stabilize plant operations, improving quality and energy efficiency."

    Single board computer targets very low power consumption applications

    ACR301 takes advantage of E6XX (‘Tunnel Creek’) Atom™ processor from Intel® to deliver leadership performance/watt

    GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the ACR301 rugged 3U CompactPCI® single board computer. Based on Intel®’s latest Atom™ E6XX processor (codenamed ‘Tunnel Creek’) which integrates both 3D graphics and memory controller, the ACR301 responds to the growing requirement for embedded computing solutions that consume minimal power and dissipate minimal heat. It delivers optimum performance/watt, and can operate in harsh environments such as those found in military/aerospace applications and growing numbers of industrial applications.

    “While the very highest performance is still a requirement for many demanding embedded applications, this is increasingly being tempered by the need to deliver that performance in applications such as unmanned vehicles, where space, weight, power availability and the ability to dissipate heat are often highly constrained,” said Rob McKeel, General Manager, Military & Aerospace Embedded Computing at GE Intelligent Platforms. “The ACR301 is among the very first solutions to use Intel’s latest Atom processor to specifically address those requirements, and can make a vital contribution to our customers’ ability to attain sustainable competitive advantage.”

    Not only does the ACR301 offer exceptional performance/watt characteristics (sub-10 watts), it also offers outstanding flexibility. It is offered with four alternative versions of the Intel Atom processor (0.6GHz, 1.0GHz, 1.3GHz, 1.6GHz) and in five ruggedization levels. Flexibility is further enhanced by the provision of a mezzanine (PMC) site that enables it to be precisely configured for specific application profiles. Comprehensive input/output and communications capabilities – including two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, two USB 2.0 ports, two full duplex asynchronous serial ports, two Gen 2 SATA ports, keyboard/mouse and DVI video – are provided. The ACR301 also features support for CAN-bus, the communications standard designed specifically to facilitate the exchange of electronic information within a vehicle. 1 GByte of DDR2 SDRAM is soldered to the board for optimum reliability.

    The ACR301 represents a technology insertion opportunity for existing users of GE’s CR4 and CR5 single board computers, and benefits from the extensive range of long term support programs available from GE Intelligent Platforms.

    Supported operating systems include VxWorks®, Linux® and Windows®. Deployed Test Software (BIT and BCS) is also provided.

    300 discounted products to US govt customers!

    Silicon Designs, Inc. (SDI) has announced the availability of more than 300 product models at discounted rates to U.S. government customers under a recently awarded U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) schedule contract. GSA Schedules, also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules and Federal Supply Schedules, establish long-term U.S. government wide contracts with commercial firms, providing employees with fast, flexible, cost-effective access to more than 11 million commercial products and services at volume discount pricing.

    Based outside of Seattle, SDI specializes in the design, development and manufacture of high-reliability accelerometers with integrated amplification for zero-to-medium frequency applications. On-board voltage regulation and an internal voltage reference minimize temperature and voltage changes while eliminating additional external power regulation. Carefully regulated manufacturing processes ensure that each sensor is made to be virtually identical, allowing users to swap out parts in the same g range with few to no testing modifications, saving time and resources. This also provides test engineers with a quick plug-and-play solution for almost any application, with total trust in sensor accuracy when used within published specifications.

    Notes SDI’s Director of Sales & Marketing, Kati Cole, “Silicon Designs started with a single government contract award, leading to many others in critical applications such as space, transportation, military and defense. We owe much of our success to the U.S. government, and products built for those agencies have led to further commercial product development, which in turn earned us the Tibbett’s Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration and an induction into NASA’s Space Technology Hall of Fame.”

    Circuit card electro-pneumatic servo pressure regulators for OEMs

    The Precision Controls Division (PCD) of Marsh Bellofram Corporation, a member of the Marsh Bellofram Group of Companies, has announced the global market introduction of Type 3110 and Type 3120, a series of single- (3110) and double-loop (3120) electro-pneumatic analog circuit-card servo pressure transducers, designed to provide compact, high-performance, economical air pressure monitoring capabilities within a variety of OEM applications.

    Occupying an overall footprint of just 2 inches x 2.8 inches (50.8 mm x 71.12 mm) and with available analog monitor output ranges from 29” Hg to 600 psig, Marsh Bellofram Types 3110 and 3120 offer user selectable, configurable (zero and span) industry standard 0-10 VDC or 4-20 mA control signals, with custom signal outputs available upon request. Industry-standard analog monitor output signals (0-10 V or 4-20 mA optional) are available for user monitoring of actual output pressure. Industry-standard logic output signals (high or low) are also available for user monitoring of set point status – either ‘at set point’ or ‘still searching’.

    Two manifold block configurations are available, one with front ports, to facilitate direct panel mounting or seamless insertion into a DIN-rail adapter tray; and the second with bottom ports, facilitating use within multi-unit manifold system applications. An onboard pressure transducer within the manifold block permits ±0.5% full scale accuracy. Custom multi-unit manifolds are also available upon request. Marsh Bellofram Types 3110 and 3120 are perfect for size-conscious OEMs looking for air pressure monitoring without sacrificing any of the high-end capabilities normally associated with full-size I/Ps.

    Typical applications include damper control; gas chromatography; process control; and medical equipment, such as ventilators and blood analyzers

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    IMU launched in US

    Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the North American market debut of the Sensorex model SX43040, a rugged, high-performance MEMS triaxial inertial measurement unit (IMU) with integral digital hybrid compensation, designed to provide current rate of acceleration, gravitational force and degree of freedom (DOF) measurements, including changes in roll, pitch and yaw, across three orthogonal axes.

    The Sensorex model SX43040 is both lightweight and compact and incorporates MEMS technology with no moving parts, ensuring high-reliability performance within extreme environments. With available measurement ranges from 2 g to 10 g and angular speed ranges from 50°/s to 1500°/s, the model SX43040’s integral digital hybrid compensation (DHC) module allows the IMU to achieve a very high accuracy of <±0.9% FS (gyro <±0.1% FS) after self-compensation of non-linearity, temperature drift, bias and misalignment errors. Bandwidth is fully user adjustable over a range of 0.1 to 100 Hz (-3 dB). Several outputs are simultaneously available, including digital RS485 Modbus RTU, ±5 V analog output and autotest pin, with setup parameters established via the digital interface. The Sensorex model 43040 is designed to reliably operate over a temperature range of -40°C to +75°C (-40°F to +167°F) with a built-in self-test feature on all three axes, ensuring added measurement reliability. In addition, all these IMU’s are accompanied by a two-year comprehensive product warranty and are available thru both Meggitt’s San Juan Capistrano, California, USA and France-based facilities.

    With its high-accuracy measurement capabilities, the Sensorex SX43040 is ideal for use a number of testing and on-board applications, such as flight test, road and rail vehicle behavioral studies, control and stabilization, flight control and navigational back-up on aircraft or watercraft, or in any application where rate of acceleration or gravitational force measurements may be required to a high degree of accuracy

    Asia Pacific wireless technology seminar

    The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) reported outstanding results for its first Asia Pacific wireless technology outreach event, with more than 100 supplier and end-user professionals in attendance.

    Yamatake hosted the event for the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute with support from Yokogawa, at the Queen’s Square in the historic port city of Yokohama, Japan.

    WCI members provided a series of presentations on the ISA-100.11a technology, the status of planned additions to the standard, and a live interoperability demonstration using wirelessly networked ISA-100.11a sensor devices contributed by WCI supplier members. Key topics included announcements of successful ISA-100.11a product certifications, the product certification process, and organizational information on the ISA100 WCI.

    The all-day seminar included English-language morning sessions for Asia Pacific supplier organizations, drawing over 80 attendees including Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) companies; and afternoon sessions presented in Japanese for Asia Pacific end-user organizations, with more than 100 people in attendance. Presentations are available in English and Japanese on the institute’s website at

    The ISA100.11a technology seminar followed three days of internal ISA100 WCI planning workshops to determine initiatives and goals for 2011 and beyond. One of the key items resulting from this year’s organizational planning was the establishment of divisions for regional support and outreach. The Asia Pacific Division is the first to be launched, with division leaders to be identified in upcoming weeks.

    “The results of the Yokohama event exceeded our expectations,” stated Andre Ristaino, managing director of WCI. “It sets the bar for future ISA100 WCI industry outreach events. I was impressed by the level of interest in the ISA100 industrial wireless standard and we are grateful to Yamatake and Yokogawa for their hard work, hospitality and marvelous outcome.”

    The ISA100.11a industrial wireless networking standard is the first in the ISA100 family of standards. This wireless mesh network standard protocol helps supplier companies build interoperable wireless automation control products. As a result, manufacturing sites are able to create, modify, optimize and scale a wireless network quickly, cost-effectively and seamlessly.

    The ISA100.11a certifications are a significant milestone for WCI, and the certification provides users with the assurance that registered ISA100.11a devices will interoperate and adhere to their requirements. Manufactures have made their own product announcements about these certifications and, with a planned maintenance review underway, the ISA100.11a standard is expected to be submitted to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for approval in early 2011. Certified products already deployed can maintain compliance with a simple over-the-air firmware upgrade provided by the vendors—a clear example of one of the future-proof benefits of this standard.

    Planned additions to the ISA100 family of standards include support for backhaul functionality, factory automation and other key-use cases.

    Monday, September 13, 2010

    Reliable and cost saving shutdown protection for underground gas storage project in China

    Self-contained emergency shutdown systems installed at wellhead where external power sources are not available.

    Emerson’s Bettis PressureGuard self-contained emergency shutdown systems are protecting the Dazhangtou natural gas storage reservoir project in Tianjing, ChinChina National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has selected Bettis™ PressureGuard™ self-contained hydraulic shutdown systems from Emerson Process Management for installation on the Dazhangtou natural gas storage reservoir project in Tianjing, China. Seven PressureGuard systems, which require no external power source, will protect the gas storage reservoir by closing gate valves when a high or low pressure threshold has been reached.

    The Dazhangtuo reservoir is the first gas storage facility in China. It strengthens the peak-gas adjustment capacity of the Shan-jing natural gas pipeline, which extends 585 miles from Yulin, Shanxi, to Beijing. Gas that is not needed immediately is diverted into underground storage facilities. This allows excess gas delivered during the summer to be made available to help meet the increased demand in the winter.

    The Bettis PressureGuard systems are being installed in the wellhead area of the gas storage facility, where there is no electrical power. This is an ideal application for the spring-based PressureGuard shutdown systems because no plant air, fuel gas, electricity, or expensive nitrogen back-up systems are required. A self-contained oil reservoir also removes the need for any external hydraulic piping. A Pressure Pilot with Hi-Hi, Low-Low options triggers the system when a pressure threshold is reached.

    The Bettis PressureGuard system offers built-in temperature compensation and pressure relief and has proven to be highly successful in years of field service under some of the most demanding operating and environmental conditions. The actuator can be used with either rotary or linear spring-return hydraulic operators to provide a fail-safe system adaptable to ball, plug, and other quarter-turn valves as well as reverse-acting gate and other linear operated valves.

    Expanded PXI line for Munich

    Expanded PXI digital product line with two new high performance digital instruments which will be shown at Electronica.

    Geotest has recently expanded its digital test product line with the introduction of the GX5295 and GX5960 PXI digital instruments.

    The GX5295 offers the highest performance and most features of any 3U PXI dynamic digital I/O board on the market and provides a cost-effective solution for semiconductor test applications. The GX5295 features a per-channel PMU and high-performance pin electronics supporting a
    programmable drive / sense voltage range from -2 V to +7 V - providing both analog and digital test capabilities in a single module. Each card offers 32 bi-directional, 100 MHz digital channels with up to 256 digital channels being supported in one timing domain.

    Geotest's GX5960 50 MHz digital subsystem represents a new level of capabilities and performance for PXI digital instrumentation. Based on the EADS T964 VXI module and offering equivalent functionality as well as additional capabilities, the GX5960 features programmable high-voltage pin electronics (-10 V to +15 V) and a high-performance timing generator/sequencer with 256 time sets and 1ns per pin timing resolution.

    The compact 6U PXI form factor offers a cost effective, compact form factor without sacrificing performance for system, board and component test applications. In addition, the GX5960 offers a per-channel parametric measurement unit (PMU) and analog bus access for each I/O channel -
    providing hybrid channel (digital or analog) measurement capabilities. Two module configurations are available - the 32 channel GX5964 or the 16 channel GX5961 which offers guided probe support and static high voltage I/O.

    Both the GX5295 and GX5960 are supplied with the DIOEasy software package, which provides vector editing / display & file import utilities, a virtual instrument panel, and 32-bit DLL driver libraries.

    The GX5295 is available October 15th and the GX5960 digital subsystem is available November 1 and will be presented for the first time in Europe at electronica 2010 (Munich DE 9/12 Nov 2010).

    New book simplifies cascade control

    “Mastering Cascade Control” is a new book released by PIDTutor. It is designed to help technicians and engineers to implement and troubleshoot split-range control applications.

    Cascade control uses two controllers with a single control valve to provide faster, more accurate control response to upsets.It can be used for many different applications, such as heat exchangers, tank levels, and distillation column control. Cascade control is widely used in the process industries, such as pulp and paper, oil and petrochemicals, and mining.

    George Buckbee, President of PIDTutor, and author of the book, says: "I have spent most of my career in manufacturing plants. This is a practical book for plant technicians and engineers, using straightforward rules and guidelines, without the complex math."
    “Mastering Cascade Control” covers all aspects of the use of cascade control. Starting with the basics, the book discusses when to use cascade and when to avoid it, costs and benefits of cascade, how to configure the control strategy, how to commission the system, tune the loops, and even how to train operators and troubleshoot problems. Color illustrations simplify the key concepts.