Saturday, October 9, 2010

Location & dates announced for #isawk 2011

Major automation event invades deep south!

ISA Automation Week 2011 will be held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, (AL US), on 17-20 October, 2011.

“The City of Mobile has welcomed us with open arms. From top to bottom, Mobile is a perfect match for ISA Automation Week 2011. The convention center is a state-of-the-art facility that will accommodate our expected growth and expansion and enable us to continue providing a quality experience for attendees,” said 2010 ISA President Nelson Ninin in Houston during this year's event.

Winner of numerous architectural awards, the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center offers the event a flexible floor plan that will accommodate a planned expansion from 2010 in response to increased demand from industry.

“ISA Automation Week will continue to raise the bar for the technical conference. With an exhibitor waiting list of almost 50% of our total 2010 capacity, we’re expanding in response to the positive feedback and interest industry has shown this premier event. ISA’s unbiased technical content is, and has been for decades, unmatched by most other automation conferences in the US and perhaps the world,” said ISA Executive Director and CEO Pat Gouhin. “With early interest and demand, we are very excited about our 2011 annual event-"

Conveniently connected to the convention center via a skywalk, the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel will serve as ISA’s official host hotel. Historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa will provide additional meeting space for auxiliary events held during the week.

Mobile, along with most cities on the Gulf of Mexico, provides a great market base for ISA Automation Week exhibitors, with several key industries represented, including petrochemical, aerospace, automotive, steel, energy and general manufacturing. Its attractive coastal location offers attendees traveling from around the globe a welcome, relaxing venue as they pursue their professional development goals.

"The Mobile Section of ISA is looking forward to welcoming ISA Automation Week 2011 to the city of Mobile. We're thrilled to contribute to ISA Automation Week and are looking forward to making it a huge success,” concluded ISA Mobile Section President Ryan McKee.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New accelerometer

Endevco® Low Mass Piezoresistive Accelerometers for cost-effective general purpose shock testing

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the global market introduction of the Endevco® model 7287, a small footprint, very low mass piezoresistive accelerometer weighing less than one gram, designed for the cost-effective measurement of long duration transient shocks, such as those found in product and packaging drop testing, shipping container shock testing, jack hammer testing and high-g destructive testing applications.

With a measurement range of 2,000 g, 200 mV full scale output and a high resonance frequency of more than 20,000 Hz, the Endevco® model 7287 utilizes a MEMS sensing element incorporating integral mechanical stops and features a small, lightweight, easy-to-mount package for minimal mass loading of the test structure. This monolithic sensor design offers ruggedness, stability and reliability with broad frequency response from DC to 4,000 Hz at ±5%, with non-linearity of <1% and ruggedness to 10,000 g shock. The Endevco® model 7287 has also minimum damping, thereby producing no phase shift over the useful frequency range.

The design of the Endevco® model 7287 has drawn upon decades of proven experience in manufacturing these types of sensors for the automotive crash test market, with successful technology that has now been carried over into the general test and measurement realm. As a result, the high-reliability of the model 7287 ensures that critical data are recorded upon demand at very low cost. Units are available with adhesive mounting or integral bracket for screw mounting and are supplied with a strong PVC jacketed cable in standard lengths. Recommended accessories for the Endevco® model 7287 include the model 136 three-channel DC signal conditioner, model 4430A bridge transducer signal conditioner or 4990A (Oasis) multi-channel signal conditioner.

New member for wireless body

R3 Sensors joins ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute

R3 Sensors has recently joined the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) as a supplier member. R3 recognizes the reliability, flexibility and, scalability of the ISA100 industrial wireless communications protocol and has selected it as the foundation technology for their new line of sensors. ISA100 helps streamline and optimize the integration of industrial process automation applications and make it easier for equipment and systems to work together.

"We are pleased to be counted as a member of the WCI and to help promote the the advantages of the ISA100 family of standards," said Robert Gooch, founder and president of R3 Sensors. R3 Sensors relies on the ISA100 family of standards to ensure its customer base stays abreast of equipment health and can be notified before failures occur.

Operations and plant engineers stay in constant contact with vital systems with R3’s field proven eGuard monitoring system. Multiple sensor types can be easily "plugged" into the R3 universal wireless transmitters through its patented V-Bus "plug-and-play" sensor technology. R3 continues to strive for excellence and has announced an early 2011 release date for its ISA100.11a based sensor line-up.

"The addition of R3 Sensors expands coverage of industry verticals represented by member companies in WCI and demonstrates the expansion of solutions to real customer problems addressed by products using the ISA100.11a technology," said Andre Ristaino, ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute managing director. "R3’s depth of expertise in wireless technology, equipment condition monitoring and, creative application of technology is impressive. We look forward to working with the R3 team here at WCI."

The ISA100.11a Industrial Wireless Networking Standard, approved in September 2009, is the first in the ISA100 Family of Standards. This mesh standard protocol helps companies build interoperable communications equipment. As a result, manufacturing and processing plants can create, modify, and optimize beginning-to-end operations fast, cost-effectively and seamlessly.

Future ISA100 standards will include support for backhaul functionality, factory automation and other key use cases.

An arresting performance for German police

The CiA 447 CANopen application profile is dedicated for open networks in passenger cars.

In September, CiA organized an information event for the German police presenting the CANopen profile and its possible applications in police cars and other cars for organizations with security tasks (e.g. ambulances and firefighters).

Some carmakers (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Opel, and Volkswagen) presented first gateways compliant to CiA 447 and HMI (human machine interface) concepts. More than 60 participants discussed with OEM experts the future trends of police cars, e.g. fleet management. The exhibited cars were equipped with CiA 447 compliant roof-bars and radio devices. The carmakers presented future trends and migration paths to the CiA 447 open network. All of the shown police cars used the in-vehicle display and steering wheel switches as users interfaces for the add-on devices.

The CiA 447 profile specification has been released as version 1.0 intended for prototype implementation. It is in a review process and after updating the specification it will be released as version 2.0 end of this year or beginning of next year. The first roof bar and digital radio equipment manufacturers have implemented CiA 447 in their devices.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Scholorships announced

ASCO Numatics has announced at the ISA Automation Week's Yapfest event the recipients of the 2010/2011 ASCO Numatics Industrial Automation Engineering Scholarships. Nicole Legenski of Blandon, Pennsylvania and Karl Kirsch of West Lafayette, Indiana will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. Additionally, ASCO Numatics will make $1,000 grants to the engineering departments of Pennsylvania State University and Purdue University, the schools which Legenski and Kirsch, respectively attend.

“This is the third year that ASCO Numatics has offered this scholarship program and we continue to be impressed by the caliber of applicants,” said Robert W. Kemple, Jr., executive vice president, sales and marketing - Americas, ASCO Numatics. “Through their academic and personal achievements Nicole and Karl have demonstrated potential for leadership and innovation in the industrial automation industry and we are very proud to support them.”

Legenski is a junior at Pennsylvania State University studying for a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Kirsch is working toward a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 2009.

The scholarship awards were presented at the annual ISA Young Automation Professionals Festival (YAPFEST). YAPFEST is part of the 2010 ISA Automation Week: Technology and Solutions event held at the Westin Galleria Complex in Houston. ISA hosts YAPFEST for automation professionals between ages 18 and 30.

The scholarships are awarded annually based on the candidate’s potential for leadership and for making a significant contribution to the engineering, instrumentation, systems, electrical, mechanical, and automation professions, particularly as they relate to the application of fluid control and fluid power technology. A panel of ASCO Numatics and independent judges selected the finalists.

Dual electromagnetic/piezoelectric structural excitation system

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the new market introduction of the Wilcoxon Research model F4/F7, a dual piezoelectric and electromagnetic vibration system, or “shaker”, designed to provide wide frequency range structural excitation; simulate external forces; determine structural resonance frequencies; and provide structural characterizations under excitation within aerospace, automotive and general research and testing applications.

The unique design of the Wilcoxon Research model F4/F7 combines a high-frequency piezoelectric vibration exciter (model F7) encircled by a low-frequency electromagnetic vibration exciter (model F4). Units incorporate a transducer base, containing a force gauge for test structure force monitoring; and an accelerometer, for measuring resultant motion. Transducer signals can be fed into either read-out equipment or signal conditioners. The model F4 electromagnetic vibration generator provides low frequency excitation from 10 Hz to 7,500 Hz, whereas the model F7 piezoelectric vibration generator produces vibrational forces over a high frequency range of 500 Hz to more than 20 kHz, resulting in the net capability to provide high force-to-weight output and a continuous sweep from low to high frequencies of 10 Hz to more than 20k Hz, with excitation capabilities across the entire audio range.

The model F7 contains a stack of piezoelectric plates which requires a voltage step-up (impedance matching via matching network) for high force output levels. The model F4 includes an air-cooling feature, allowing it to be run at higher output levels for extended periods without overheating. Its lightweight coil and bobbin are rigidly attached to the F7 generator, and incorporate use of heavy cylindrical magnets, which are suspended by two rubber diaphragms. The added dynamic weight is relatively low, since the rubber suspended weight does not affect axial or rotational inertia of the vibration generator core above its 30 Hz system resonance frequency. In addition, the compact, lightweight model F4/F7 shaker can easily be attached directly to a test structure in any position without external supports. Two power amplifiers are required to provide a continuous sweep. Input and output cables are provided.

Green building automation

MatrikonOPC™ has released its KNX OPC Server for Green Building Automation and Data Centers. The software enables facility managers to run their building control systems more efficiently by tightly integrating systems such as lighting, security and energy management. It gives building automation professionals and data center operators fast access to all KNX data, enabling them to save energy by more quickly responding to building events.

The KNX OPC Server integrates devices that communicate via the KNX protocol with HMI, ERP software and many OPC-enabled reporting tools. It also supports KNX communications over Ethernet (EIBnet/IP or KNXnet/IP) – making it easy to integrate KNX-enabled systems such as lighting and shutter controls, security, alarms and energy management, with other systems. Its high-performance framework provides data in real time from KNX devices.

For maximum security, the KNX OPC Server allows administrators to manage access to tags based on users’ login information, maximizing control over the building management system and making it an instrumental component to green data centers and building integrity.

The KNX OPC Server also features several enhancements that simplify software configuration. For example, the server features automatic device discovery and binding, as well as easy integration between the ETS Network Management tool and its database. Additionally, the server runs on Microsoft Windows 2008, Windows 7, Windows 2003 and Windows XP, and does not require KNX Foundation’s Falcon API.

Smallest solid state relays

Carlo Gavazzi is reasserting its lead in the solid-state relay market by introducing the first UL-certified solid-state relay and contactor combination in a compact 17.5mm width. The new RG series includes RGS panel mounted models rated up to 600V AC and 90A AC plus RGC versions with integrated heat sink attaining 20A AC in 17.5mm, 30A AC in 22.5mm widths.

With reduced space per unit, nominal ratings at 40°C and (5KA) 100kA short circuit capability, this new range provides silent switching of heaters and motors, with applications in plastic and rubber industries, HVAC, food and beverage, car services, electronics, printing and glass.

All solid state relays and contactors in the series are VDE approved and designed in accordance with the latest EN/IEC62314 norms. Also, unlike most such devices on the market, RG products are UL listed to facilitate machine approvals and inspections. They are robust and reliable, resisting up to 5g of vibration and featuring integrated over-voltage protection across the output. Dependable operation is confirmed by control status LED indication on the front of the device.

The new RG relays can be controlled with a DC voltage range of 4-32VDC, whilst AC controlled types have a voltage range 20-275VAC as well as 24-190VDC, thus covering standard control regimes such as 24VAC/DC or 110VDC. There is a choice of either Zero Cross or instant ON (Random) main voltage switching versions.

RGS relays can be mounted on any heat sinking surface and are designed so that the distance between the heat-sink mounting holes is identical to standard hockey puck solid state relays. They incorporate special stress-relief mechanisms to cater for excess forces during the mounting process.

Throughout the series, installation is simplified by having output terminals designed for easier looping of power cables up to 6mm², with a removable IP20 cover that allows power terminals to accept ferrule, ring and fork type terminations. On the control side, terminals allow for double cables having a cross-sectional area up to 2.5 mm². Good-grip screw terminals are a further innovation to make cabling procedures faster.

As well as -40°C to 80°C operation, the RG series can operate in relative humidity up to 95 percent non-condensing, making them suitable for safe operation of equipment such as small coffee machines and ovens.

CE Approved solenoid valves

Gems Sensors & Controls has a complete line of CE approved 2- and 3- way miniature solenoid valves to OEMs in Europe. The Gems line of solenoid valves includes general-purpose, isolation and cryogenic valves for a broad range of applications and industries.

Gems specialises in adapting each solenoid valve to help customer’s gain performance improvements and optimisation in their products — starting with a comprehensive base of options for each valve including: a multitude of voltage and power ratings, orifice sizes, seal and body materials, port configurations, coil constructions, and other manufacturing choices such as vacuum or oxygen clean. Gems engineers work with OEMs to overcome the limitations of traditional catalogue offerings to create a valve that is customised to their specific applications. Each custom made coil and valve is assured of exacting standards, unsurpassed quality and 100 percent tested reliability.

“More and more of our OEM customers are asking for custom pre-assembled solutions that integrate sensors and other components of a fluidic system such as valves and manifolds assemblies,” said David Allen, VP Worldwide Marketing, Gems Sensors & Controls. “Frequently customers have to go through numerous vendors, quality inspections, testing, and even design changes, which put sensitive lead times and cost control at risk. The combination of Gems broad portfolio of CE approved level, flow, pressure sensors and miniature solenoid valves allows us to fulfil our customers’ needs with complete pre-assembled and tested fluidic systems, designed specifically to their application requirements.”
OEMs are now able to select one company with extensive design and manufacturing capabilities to build complete custom gas and liquid handling systems. Gems solenoid valves are sold worldwide through a direct sales team that provides local support, personal attention, product expertise, and years of application experience.

How to relax on the beach!

Full-scale vibration condition monitoring on a smartphone

Have you ever been lying on the beach and begun to wonder about the state of your LP turbines? Or maybe you’ve been out on business and anxious to know if that troublesome exciter bearing has settled down? Many people will be familiar with using their phone as a camera, music player, web browser, email client, calculator or even a navigation device, but not many will have anticipated using it for full scale vibration condition monitoring.

One of the many advantages of Prosig’s PROTOR Vibration Condition Monitoring System is it’s adherence to open standards and protocols. This means that it can easily take advantage of new technologies as they appear. Recently, Prosig undertook a study to examine the feasibility of using an Android based smartphone to remotely access one of its PROTOR systems monitoring a power station.

All PROTOR servers are configured to support VNC (Virtual Network Computing) access so connections can be made via any VNC client. By installing one of the free client apps available for Android it was a simple task to connect to the PROTOR server. This allows an engineer to access the full range of PROTOR diagnostic screens and access runup & rundown plots, mimic diagrams, trend plots, waterfall plots and all the other realtime and historic information available from the PROTOR system. Although an Android-based phone was used for this evaluation, similar VNC apps exist for the iPhone and other smartphones.

The monitoring and diagnosis of rotating equipment based on vibration analysis measurement is at the core of predictive maintenance systems. This type of system allows the condition and health of machines to be assessed. The PROTOR Vibration Monitoring System, designed and manufactured by PROSIG, provides reliable on-line monitoring of turbine generators, main boiler feed pumps and other auxiliary plant equipment. It provides both real-time and long-term historical access to the important vibration factors together with various plant process parameters which indicate the machine state.

New member for automation body announced

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) joins the Automation Federation

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has joined the Automation Federation (AF) as its newest member . The two organizations signed a formal agreement to collaborate on efforts to advance and grow the automation profession. This agreement was signed at ISA Automation Week 2010 Houston, (Tx, USA)

Through its agreement with and membership in the Automation Federation, the IET will join AF and the other AF member organizations—the International Society of Automation (ISA), the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC), and the Wireless Industrial Network Alliance (WINA)—in joint activities devoted to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); promoting the Automation Competency Model; and advancing the general public’s awareness of automation and technology.

The Chairman of the Automation Federation Energy Committee, Leo Staples, said, “The Automation Federation proudly welcomes the IET as our newest member organization. AF and the IET share the same commitment to advancing and building the automation profession around the world. By combining our unique expertise and resources with our common interest in automation, our organizations are poised to make a significant impact on behalf of the profession.”
The Chairman for the Americas Regional Board of the IET, Steve Mustard, added, “The IET is pleased to be an active part of the Automation Federation. AF has accomplished so much of value in such a short amount of time, and we welcome the opportunity to be an integral part of their efforts. We are confident that by working with the Automation Federation, we will successfully enhance and accelerate public recognition of the automation profession worldwide.”

Dr. Gerald Cockrell, CAP, 2010 Automation Federation chair, stated, “Leo Staples and Steve Mustard were instrumental in the formalization of the agreement between AF and the IET. I commend them for their dedication to the profession. Their efforts have strengthened our efforts, AF’s and the IET’s, to promote and advance the automation profession. AF and the IET have already begun activities for the remainder of 2010 and for 2011.”

Picture shows Mr Leo Staples at the official announcement of the membership of IET in AF.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Class C lighting equipment tests

The TTi HA1600A mains and harmonics analyser has been updated to include a full implementation of the two alternative special assessments for Class C Discharge Lighting equipment below 25 W, as specified in EN61000-3-2.

The requirements of this standard include the measurement and display of the phase angles where current conduction starts and stops, and the phase angle of the last peak of the current waveform in each half-cycle. It also provides for a 'no limits below' threshold in Class C (standard lighting equipment) measurements, with a default value of 25 W.

In addition to the standards changes, TTi has also improved the way in which the phase angle is reported for the phase of the peak current. This gives a more useful value with real-world distorted mains waveforms (when the actual peak is often beyond 105°). Phase is now relative to the mid-point of the two zero crossings of the voltage waveform rather than the actual peak of the voltage waveform. If the mains voltage is an undistorted sine wave, the result will be the same.

Printed reports produced either directly from the instrument or through the new release of the HA-PC Link software are enhanced to include the extra information and assessments.

The new firmware for the HA1600A is shipped with all new units. The update is available to existing users as a free download on the product support pages.

The HA1600A is a fast, easy-to-use mains and harmonics analyser with a large high-resolution graphical display. Intended primarily as a dedicated harmonics and flicker analyser for compliance quality measurements, it can also be used as a general-purpose mains analyser. The HA1600A is capable of continuous real-time analysis of both voltage and current. As a general purpose mains analyser it can measure watts, VA, Vrms, Vpk, Arms, Apk, crest factors, THD, power factor, frequency and inrush current with a rating of 16 A RMS continuous.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Software for packaging line!

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of the latest in its line of Proficy® Accelerator software solutions, Proficy Accelerator for Packaging Line OEE. The new solution combines their out-of-the-box software and services offering with pre-packaged proprietary algorithms from SlimSoft Solutions of Canada, to enable line-level analytics and views driving OEE for improved productivity, efficiency, and profitability. This solution leverages preconfigured templates, delivering fast time to solution.

“As manufacturing businesses strive for operational excellence, maximizing asset utilization in the packaging operation is a way to make a significant contribution,” said Coleman Easterly, Product Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms’ Proficy Software. “Systems that provide KPIs such as OEE can be valuable in improvement initiatives when they provide subtle insights such as the impacts of individual machines on the overall performance of the line, with minimal clerical burden on production personnel in collecting the data.”

Proficy Accelerator for Packaging Line OEE includes a portfolio of specialized reports and web parts providing a comprehensive view of the performance of packaging lines, with a wide range of KPIs—allowing in-depth analysis into the details behind those KPIs. In addition, a web-based packaging line operator console provides line staff with easy access to view and modify collected information, providing additional context for later analysis as it happens (such as downtime, waste, etc). And, a real-time scoreboard display communicates machine status for the line, as well as KPIs such as OEE, capacity utilization, and net utilization, to drive operator responsiveness.

Key features of this Accelerator solution are:

· Standard “pre-configured” templates for rapid deployment

· Eliminates the need for developing complex, multi-machine PLC Logic

· Intuitive web-based packaging line Operator Console for improved productivity

· Portfolio of pre-configured Reports and Web Parts to accelerate time to value

· Real-time KPI scoreboard display to drive plant visibility

· Out of the box KPIs for Line and solitaire OEE as well as Capacity, Asset and Net utilization

Proficy Accelerator for Packaging Line OEE also enables users to communicate key performance indicators (KPIs) and business drivers directly to the plant floor in near real time, quickly identify root causes for downtime, waste, and performance rate loss with proprietary algorithms for packaging lines, report and analyze OEE and its sub-components, grouped and filtered by product, shift, crew, etc. and reduce Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) through increased visibility into the causes of line disturbances.

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 Advanced Analytics

· 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 Packaging Line OEE is the latest example of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year software and solutions services businesses is helping customers improve productivity.

New website for a new decade

AAI (Applied Analytics) has now cut the ribbon on our fully redesigned website. The new interface accompanies our expanded product line as we venture onward into the future of online process analysis.

To streamline the customer experience, we have placed most of the site navigation within the dropdown menu at the top of the screen and enabled the user to select a product by industry, by compounds to be monitored, by known applications, or by model number. Users might also be interested in browsing the "concepts" section where we elucidate the key principles of AAI technology: UV absorbance, system integration, VCSEL laser spectroscopy, and more.

Data logger software

MadgeTech has released their MadgeTech Data Logger Software, Version 2.03.6. The new software can be used with MadgeTech's full product line, and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

Version 2.03.6 includes high speed graphing, up to 10 times faster than previous versions and features USB drivers that are compatible with Windows Vista and 7, 32 and 64 bit operating systems. The software also has new features such as time at temperature statistics and battery monitoring for some data loggers.

The software package is free, and can be downloaded here on their site. MadgeTech also offers a diverse product line of over 150 data loggers. The high level of quality and excellent customer service make MadgeTech loggers an ideal choice for any application.

Data logger software

MadgeTech has released their MadgeTech Data Logger Software, Version 2.03.6. The new software can be used with MadgeTech's full product line, and is compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

MadgeTech's software version 2.03.6 includes high speed graphing, up to 10 times faster than previous versions and features USB drivers that are compatible with Windows Vista and 7, 32 and 64 bit operating systems. The software also has new features such as time at temperature statistics and battery monitoring for some data loggers.

The software package is free, and can be downloaded from www.madgetech.com/software-download. MadgeTech also offers a diverse product line of over 150 data loggers, all designed and manufactured in the USA. The high level of quality and excellent customer service make MadgeTech loggers an ideal choice for any application. For additional information call (603) 456-2011 or e-mail info@madgetech.com.

Clamp meters, engineered for the most demanding conditions

New design increases flexibility, safety and performance

Fluke has introduced the industry’s most advanced, capable and reliable family of clamp meters, designed to meet the unique requirements of users testing and maintaining electrical systems, industrial equipment and controls, and commercial and industrial HVAC equipment.

This new family of rugged, easy-to-use clamp meters includes the Fluke 373/4/5/6 and 381, providing a range of state-of-the-art capabilities to meet users’ most demanding requirements for flexibility, safety and performance. New Fluke iFlex™ flexible current probes expand the measurement range of the Fluke 374, 375, 376 and 381 meters to 2500A AC while providing the ultimate measurement flexibility. Every clamp meter in the family is improved: they feature thinner, smaller jaws for easier use in crowded equipment cabinets, large backlit displays, true-rms standard, increased resistance range and overmoulding for easier handling and improved survival if dropped.
The new Fluke family of clamp meters
The new family enables electricians to perform all of the measurements needed, without having to reach for another tool. It includes:

Fluke 381 Remote Display True-rms AC/DC Clamp Meter with iFlex - the Fluke 381 is a full-featured clamp meter with an important extra: users can remove the detachable wireless display for even more flexibility, convenience and safety. Now one technician can do jobs that used to require two: clamp the Fluke 381 around a conductor, remove the display, then close the equipment cabinet or move across the room to operate controls, all while watching real-time readings. It includes the new iFlex flexible current probe (see below).

Fluke 376 True-rms AC/DC Clamp Meter with iFlex - with the new Fluke 376 Clamp Meter, users will be ready for any measurement challenge. Designed for the toughest industrial environments, it measures current up to 2500A AC and 1000A DC and can troubleshoot even the noisiest motors and drives. With true-rms AC voltage and current measurements, min/max/average and inrush recording, the Fluke 376 can read up to 1000V and 1000A in both AC and DC modes. The Fluke 376 includes the new iFlex flexible current probe. The Fluke 376 is the direct replacement for the Fluke 337.
Fluke 374 and 375 True-rms AC/DC Clamp Meters - the new Fluke 374 and 375 clamp meters offer improved performance, perfect for many current measurement situations. With true-rms AC voltage and current measurements, the Fluke 374 and 375 can read up to 600V and 600A in both AC and DC modes and handle min/max, average and inrush recording. Both are compatible with the new iFlex™ flexible current probe (sold separately). Ideal in an industrial environment, the Fluke 375 has an integrated low pass noise filter and measures frequency to 500Hz and mV DC for use with a wide range of accessories.

Fluke 373 True-rms AC Clamp Meter - the new Fluke 373 clamp meter offers improved performance and maximum value for users requiring AC only current measurement.. With true-rms AC voltage and current measurements, the Fluke 373 reads up to 600A AC and 600V AC or DC.

iFlex i2500-18 and i2500-10 Flexible Current Probes - the new Fluke iFlex flexible current probes expand the measurement range of the select Fluke meters to 2500A AC while providing the ultimate measurement flexibility. The iFlex probes connect directly to the meter, displaying current measurements without error prone scaling factors. The large coil allows users to reach around large or awkward-shaped conductors, while the small 7.5mm profile allows the coil to reach between tightly-packed cables and improves access in crowded spaces. A 2m lead makes it easier to see readings at a distance from the conductor. Available in 25cm and 45cm sizes. Included with the Fluke 381 and Fluke 376 Clamp Meters; compatible with Fluke 374 and Fluke 375 Clamp Meters.

Safety ratings too are improved. The Fluke 381, 376, 375, 374 and iFlex current probes are rated for safe use in hazard category IV (CAT IV) 600V environments (CAT IV 600V, CAT III 1000V) as defined by safety regulators in the US, Canada and Europe. The Fluke 373 is rated CAT IV 300V, CAT III 600V. A CAT IV safety rating is required for use in outdoor environments.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Alliance to promote automation in primary education

STEM Education

The Automation Federation (AF) announced that FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has formed a global strategic alliance with AF and the International Society of Automation (ISA) to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for students in kindergarten through high school (K-12).

AF has positioned itself as the catalyst for building the Next Generation of Automation Professionals through its workforce development initiative. One component of that initiative is K–12 education. The strategic alliance with FIRST will serve to enhance and accelerate that effort with a U.S.-based pilot program designed to encourage STEM education for K–12 students through increased after-school participation in FIRST robotics programs.

The goal of the FIRST-AF-ISA pilot program is to increase the number of young people, teams, and volunteers participating in all of FIRST’s robotics initiatives and programs. To bring about this increased participation, these organizations will combine their resources and collaborate on efforts to promote the importance of K–12 STEM education and the value of participating on a FIRST robotics team to students, teachers, parents, and automation professionals.

This pilot program will provide the automation professionals that comprise the Automation Federation member organizations, including members of ISA, across the US, with the resources and support they need to effectively build local collaboration for FIRST events in their geographic areas. These volunteers will be matched to FIRST affiliate and operational partners and provided with resources to assist their volunteer efforts, including instructional materials, guidelines for starting robotics teams, and marketing support. In addition, these volunteers will be recognized for their volunteer efforts through an Earned Recognition program.
“The importance of pairing our students with an engaged and accomplished group of engineering and automation professionals cannot be underestimated,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and CEO of DEKA Research & Development. “Our students will get the opportunity to work with professionals whose work reflects the typical challenges and creative rigor that is at the heart of our program. I applaud the efforts of the Automation Federation and ISA to tap the resources of our FIRST students as a means of raising awareness of STEM.”
(Dean Kamen is a Keaynote Speaker at this years Automation Week in Houston 4/7 October 2010)

"The Automation Federation takes great pride in forming a strategic alliance with FIRST,” said Jerry Cockrell, 2010 Automation Federation chair. “Our two organizations share the common goal of increasing awareness of the importance of automation and engineering among young people through the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and math education. Through this alliance, we hope to build the Next Generation of Automation Professionals."

"ISA is pleased to join the Automation Federation and FIRST in our combined effort to excite young people in grades K through 12 about the power they have to enrich their own lives and to make a difference in the future of our world through science, technology, engineering, and math,” added Nelson Ninin, 2010 ISA president. “Our members are stepping forward to play an important role in promoting the efforts of FIRST."
“This strategic alignment elevates our students for continuing their success in automation technology,” said Jon Dudas, president of FIRST. “There is a tremendous fit between our respective organizations. FIRST students and the automation professionals of AF/ISA speak a common language. This collective intelligence will no doubt play a key role in taking automation technology to the next level and improving our standard of living worldwide.”

USB isolator

New industrial-grade USB isolator shields host PC and connected devices from surges and noise

Acromag’s new compact USB-Isolator provides a protective barrier between connected USB devices to prevent equipment damage or errors from ground loops, high-voltage spikes, or conducted noise.

USB-IsolatorThis compact, industrial-rated isolator provides a high-voltage isolation barrier for USB 2.0 or 1.1 connections from computers to USB devices. It is useful to protect against over-voltage conditions caused by electrical surges and transient voltage spikes. Isolation also helps to eliminate ground loop errors and will minimize conducted noise from static discharge, magnetic fields, and radio frequency interference. Acromag’s isolator offers high noise immunity with low radiated emissions for reliable data transfer in sensitive applications. Industrial-grade features offer additional control for advanced users, and the unit is designed to meet UL/cUL and CE approval requirements. Typical applications involve process control devices, automation equipment, test and measurement systems, and medical instrumentation.

“Our new industrial-grade isolator combines high-voltage protection with special features like a manual reset button and selectable data transfer rates to add more value for demanding applications,” remarked Don Lupo, Acromag’s process sales and marketing director.

The isolator is inserted in-line with the USB connection and operates transparent to the devices with no software drivers required. It receives its power from USB and isolates that power to the connected device. A green power LED indicates that power is being received and will blink if the connected device is trying to draw more than 120mA. Default communication is USB Full Speed (12Mbps) but can alternately be set for Low Speed (1.5Mbps) via an internal jumper. The reset button enables re-initialization of a connected device without breaking the cable connection. High-retention USB A and USB B sockets increase connection integrity under shock and vibration. A 1 meter USB A-B cable is included for connection to the host computer.

Electrical isolation of up to 1500V AC / 2100V DC separates the USB host from the USB peripheral. Built-in surge/transient suppression up to 8kV protects all ports. Common mode filtering is also applied on all data lines. Output short circuit protection adds further safety and includes an auto-retry function.

Acromag is an international corporation that has been developing and manufacturing measurement and control products for more than 50 years. They offer a complete line of industrial I/O products including process instruments, signal conditioning equipment, data acquisition boards, distributed I/O modules, and network communication devices.

USB T/C input module

The new UTC-USB universal thermocouple connector from OMEGA is an easy way to convert thermocouple signals and display actual temperature readings on your PC through a standard USB port (Integral cable provided).

It features their patented universal input connection, so you can quickly attach both standard and miniature size thermocouple plugs.

This discrete device accepts 8 different thermocouple types and provides automatic cold junction compensation and linearisation. Free software is included that lets you select the thermocouple type and units. You can then use your PC to display, chart record and log the temperature data.