Saturday, November 13, 2010

Secure certification

exida is first certification lab to achieve ANSI/ACLASS accreditation for ISASecure EDSA Certification program

The ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI) announced that exida has earned provisional accreditation for providing ISASecure EDSA Certification services under ISCI’s globally recognised cybersecurity conformance scheme.
About ISASecure EDSA Certification

The ISASecure program has been developed by the ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI) with a goal to accelerate industry-wide improvement of cybersecurity for Industrial Automation and Control Systems (IACS). It achieves this goal by offering a common industry-recognized set of device and process requirements that drive device security, simplifying procurement for asset owners and device assurance for equipment vendors.

ISASecure Embedded Device Security Assurance Certification (ISASecure EDSA), the first ISASecure certification, focuses on security of embedded devices and addresses device characteristics and supplier development practices for those devices. Through this certification, an embedded device that meets the requirements of the ISASecure specifications receives the ISASecure EDSA certification—a trademarked designation that provides instant recognition of product security characteristics and capabilities. ISASecure EDSA offers three certification levels for a device based on increasing levels of device security assurance: ISASecure Level 1 for Devices, ISASecure Level 2 for Devices, and ISASecure Level 3 for Devices.

The ISASecure EDSA certification is an ISO/IEC Guide 65 conformance scheme supporting ISCI’s goal to operate a globally recognized industrial automation controls cybersecurity certification program. This third-party accreditation by ANSI/ACLASS enhances the credibility and value of the ISASecure certification by attesting to the competence and qualification of ISCI certification bodies and laboratories.

During the month of October, ANSI/ACLASS assessors evaluated exida’s operational conformance to requirements in ISO/IEC Guide 65 (EN45011), ISO/IEC 17011 and ISO/IEC 17025 guidelines, and the ISASecure EDSA Certification program definition. Having satisfactorily demonstrated conformance to all elements in these rigorous requirements for quality and technical competency, exida is the first certification lab to achieve this designation in the ISASecure EDSA Certification program.

”exida is a highly respected organization staffed with some of the industry’s most talented engineers in the fields of safety and security,” stated Andre Ristaino, ISCI managing director. "With operating sites located strategically around the globe, exida establishes the operational foundation for ISCI’s internationally recognized cybersecurity certification program.”
Suppliers seeking to certify embedded devices are directed to contact exida, who will conduct certifications on behalf of ISCI. exida is uniquely qualified to provide both the device testing and organizational assessments required in the ISASecure EDSA Certification. The certification consists of three elements: a device Functional Security Assessment (FSA), a device Communication Robustness Test (CRT), and an organizational Software Development Security Assessment (SDSA).

Dr. William Goble, managing director of exida, stated, “The ISCI cybersecurity certification program fits well with our functional safety certification program. Recent events have shown that a strong control system cybersecurity defense is an essential part of control system safety and availability. That defense starts with industrial control devices such as PLC, DCS, SIS, and SCADA controllers that are resilient to rogue communications and unauthorized access and developed with a security mindset.”

About the ISA Security Compliance Institute
Founded in 2007, the ISA Security Compliance Institute’s mission is to provide the highest level of assurance possible for the cyber security of industrial automation control systems.

The Institute was established by thought leaders from major organizations in the industrial automation controls community seeking to improve the cyber security posture of Critical Infrastructure for generations to come. Founding Members include Chevron, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, Honeywell, Invensys, Siemens, and Yokogawa. Key Technical Members include Exida, Mu Dynamics, and Rockwell Automation.

The Institute’s goals are realized through industry standards compliance programs, education, technical support, and improvements in suppliers’ development processes and users’ life cycle management practices. The Institute’s ISASecure™ designation ensures that industrial automation control products conform to industry consensus cyber security standards, providing confidence to users of ISASecure™ products and systems and creating product differentiation for suppliers conforming to the ISASecure™ specification.

High efficiency UPS solution for data & IT application

250KVA standalone UPS with AEG PS building block capability up to 1000KVA

To ensure the continuity of IT services and reduce risk of downtime caused by power outages, AEG Power Solutions has announced PROTECT Blue, its next-generation 3-phase UPS family. Designed and built for maximum flexibility, efficiency and availability, PROTECT Blue is also part of AEG’s Combination Architecture: The new UPS is compatible with renewable and alternative energy storage and sources as well as tomorrow’s SMART Grid and Micro Grid technology
Engineered around AEG Power Solutions building block concept, up to four 250KVA PROTECT Blue UPS can be connected together to support data center loads up to 1MW. PROTECT Blue provides an Eco-friendly UPS solution with low total cost of ownership (TCO) and low carbon impact. PROTECT Blue offers a high performance, compact footprint, competitively priced power protection solution.

“PROTECT Blue has been developed to fulfil the need for high efficiency, high reliability power protection devices for today’s data center and computer room requirements;” Comments Michael Adams, VP Data & IT at AEG Power Solutions. “As a component of our growing Combination Architecture portfolio, its flexible design is optimised for future integration into Micro Grids and other sustainable and renewable systems such as SuperCaps, solar and wind energy.”

PROTECT Blue employs a VFI topology, transformerless design providing high efficiency, greater than 95% under all load conditions, and very low THDI at less than 3%. This class leading performance is obtained by using state of the art IGBT switching and custom designed microprocessors to seamlessly offer N+1 redundant operation. Designed and developed to AEG Power Solutions own requirements these dedicated microprocessors control the UPS rectifier, inverter and static-bypass concurrently.

Local control is via a large, user friendly touch-screen which also displays available battery autonomy and runtime. 3 front panel LEDs are provided to indicate UPS status and an audible alarm sounds if a fault condition occurs. Remote signalling is available from up to 2 stackable cards with user selected configuration. Connection may be via internal modem, RS485, Profibus, Ethernet, SCADA interface or SNMP adapter and PROTECT Blue is supplied with the CompuWatch software suite for remote status control and monitoring.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chassis mounting kit for DC/DC converters

Calex has launched the MS22 Mounting Kit for half-brick DC/DC converters.

The MS22 provides an off-the-shelf solution for prototyping or mounting a DC/DC converter in an enclosure. It is a cost-effective solution that eliminates the need for a printed circuit board for the converter.

It accommodates Calex half-brick DC/DC converters including the 150 watt HEW Series, which offers a 9 to 36 V DC input range, making the units suitable for battery powered 12 V sytems, 24 V industrial and 28 V military applications. It is available on a stand-alone basis or with a customer-specified half-brick DC/DC converter mounted on the board.

This mounting kit includes an input fuse for protection, as well as input capacitors for lower input impedance to the DC/DC converter. It also includes on-board barrier strips allowing screw terminal connections for all the converter's input and output functions. The converter is mounted on the opposite side of the barrier strips to facilitate heatsinking.

The dimensions of the MS22 are 129.5 mm (5.1") L x 76.2 mm (3") W. The total height of the board, with a half-brick converter mounted, is 34.8 mm (1.37").

Wake up video surveilence in remote areas

Video system for pipelines, well sites, pumping stations and other remote applications hibernates until it’s needed, then wakes up instantly to record video.

Originally developed for a major oil and gas company to monitor remote wells in North America, the Longwatch XLP Low Power Video Surveillance System is powered by solar cells and batteries. The system hibernates in a low-power standby mode until an external sensor, such as a motion detector or intrusion alarm, or a command from the central control room sends it a signal to wake up. The system immediately records a short “video alarm clip,” transmits it to a remote operator at a central HMI/SCADA system, and continues to record video on its disk until commanded to return to hibernation.

The XLP system is ideal for the tens of thousands of well sites currently operating worldwide with traditional instrumentation network communications. These well sites typically use low-bandwidth line-of-sight VHF radios with industrial protocols such as Modbus. The XLP system can transmit its video clip to the control room using an RF data link, where it can be viewed using the Longwatch Viewer or integrated into the HMI/SCADA system. The Longwatch software makes minimal use of the available bandwidth, so it does not interfere with control and instrumentation data. The XLP can also use Ethernet, wireless, cellphone or satellite communications when power consumption or bandwidth is not a concern.

Once the operator sees the alarm video clip and message on the HMI screen, he or she can then command the Longwatch system to transmit live video, and remotely pan, tilt and zoom the site cameras to further investigate process or intrusion alarms. This allows the operator to see exactly what is happening at the remote location and determine the next course of action, such as dispatching a maintenance crew to repair a leak or summoning the local police to deal with intruders. Video enables the operator to quickly decide the best action to take to provide safety and reduce downtime or environmental impact.

Sleeping on the Job
The low-power video surveillance system is designed to operate on a minimal power budget. At many remote well sites, the instrumentation, controls, RF communications and the video system are all powered by a solar system and batteries. Each component has to conform to a rigid power budget. For that reason, the Longwatch XLP system goes into “hibernation mode” to conserve power.

In hibernation mode, the Longwatch XLP system’s processor, solid-state disk and most peripherals are inactive, so that it consumes very little power while waiting for a wakeup signal. The wakeup signal can be an intrusion alarm, process alarm, or a request from a remote system, such as the central HMI/SCADA system. The Longwatch system can be configured to return to hibernation mode either automatically or on command after a period of activity.

For such an application, where the video surveillance system must respond instantly, digital cameras can’t be used. Not designed for hibernation, digital cameras take a minute or longer to “boot up,” and can miss valuable video coverage. For that reason, Longwatch recommends using traditional analog video cameras, which turn on almost instantly. With analog video cameras, the low power Longwatch XLP video surveillance system can begin capturing live video within 6-7 seconds of an intrusion or process alarm – up to ten times faster than a digital camera.

Advantech Puts the System to Sleep
The Longwatch XLP Video Surveillance System was developed with the help of Advantech’s Design To Order Service (DTOS), which solved the problem of how to monitor sensors and wake up the video system.

The XLP uses an Advantech UNO 2173 Atom-based computer. The UNO 2173 has a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB of memory, Windows XP/E operating system, and battery-backed SRAM. When operating, the fanless UNO requires only 12W of power.

Based on Longwatch’s requirements, Advantech’s DTOS group created a custom digital I/O board for this application so that it could monitor digital inputs even in hibernation mode. It takes inputs from gate sensors, motion detectors and intrusion alarms—or digital inputs from the site’s RTU, such as leak detectors, pressure switches, etc. When it detects one of the digital inputs, it wakes up the XLP video system. When the XLP’s computer and UNO I/O board are in hibernation mode, the entire system consumes less than 2.5W.

No-nonsence manufacturing exhibition for Britain

Introducing Midlands Design and Manufacturing 2011...

Based in the heart of British manufacturing, Midlands Design and Manufacturing, taking placefor the first time on 6-7 April 2011 in Birmingham's NEC. Midlands Design and Manufacturing sets out to provide you a specialist no-nonsense event for lead generation with the next generation of British Manufacturing Industry.

It is to help business meet with thousands of design engineers, production managers, R&D specialists, specifiers and corporate management, all looking to accelerate their future business, projects with their products and manufacturing technologies.

Midlands Design and Manufacturing Offers:

• Co-location with Mtec, 3c and MEDTEC. Mtec has been the British event for instrumentation, sensors and measurement for many years. Visitors to these two events will be encouraged to visit MDM free of charge.  3C is the sole dedicated exhibition and conference for contamination control and cleanrooms. MEDTEC is a showcase of medical manufacturing already attracting the key design and manufacturing engineers from Britain’s medical device industry.

• Formatted and priced in such a way that it can often be paid for from sales rather than corporate marketing or exhibitions budgets, Midlands Design and Manufacturing is an event intended to accelerate lead generation process

• A face to face encounter with key prospects with built in time for them to sit and discuss their design and manufacturing challenges

Thursday, November 11, 2010

T & M forum instituted

Applications forum to encourage idea exchange, discussions among users of advanced electrical test instruments and systems from DC to RF.

Keithley Instruments is hosting a forum designed to offer customers and users of Keithley instrumentation a central location for finding product support and exchanging applications insights via the web. The forum is moderated by Keithley instrumentation and applications experts, who are on hand to answer questions and direct forum visitors to sources of additional information, including Keithley application notes and white papers, web seminars, etc.

Peter Griffiths, Keithley's director of applications engineering, explains, "Many of our customers raise many of the same product and applications questions. The user forum provides instant, round-the-clock access to many of the answers they need to do their jobs. If something hasn't already been addressed in the forum, a user can post a question and get an answer quickly, either from a Keithley expert or from another user who has solved a similar problem. For users, that means help when they need it - not just during normal support hours."

The forum is logically organised by standard product descriptions and application types to help visitors quickly find the most up-to-date information available on specific topics. The product support section includes boards devoted to Source Measurement Units (SMUs), semiconductor test products, digital multimeters (DMM s), specialized power supplies, switch systems, low level measurement and sourcing, other instrument products, data acquisition products, accessories, software, drivers, and hardware service and support. The application support section covers topics such as low current, low voltage, Hall Effect, organic device, nanotechnology , solar cell and resistivity measurements, as well as emerging technologies such as graphene , high voltage discretes for power switching, high brightness LEDs, hybrid automotive electronics, memory (including flash, phase change, NVM, resistive), and display technologies.

The user forum is the latest addition to Keithley's expanding list of customer support programs. In addition, the company has developed a growing list of "how-to" videos designed to help customers make the most productive use of their instrumentation. These videos can be viewed on Keithley Instruments YouTube channel.

Slip sliding away -

OEMs and machine builders are now spoilt for choice – Festo launches two new series of precision mini-slides – one pneumatic, the other electric

Festo's new EGSL electric precision mini-slide is ideal
for applications demanding short and precise moves,
and has a repetition accuracy of ±15 microns.
Festo has launched two new series of mechanically compatible precision mini-slides – one pneumatic, the other electric – enabling OEMs and machine builders to mix and match different drive technologies with impunity. Both series of slides feature hardened steel guide rails, which are precision-ground together with the body after assembly, and use caged re-circulating ball bearings between the rails and the hardened steel slide. The overall effect is that the body and the slide jointly form the guidance system, conveying an exceptional level of rigidity to the design.

Both series of slides provide exceptionally fast and accurate positioning capabilities; all DGSL series pneumatic slides have a repetition accuracy of ±10 microns, while all EGSL series electric slides have a repetition accuracy of ±15 microns. The slides are ideal for applications demanding short and precise moves, and their low profile and mounting flexibility – they can be ‘piggybacked’ and oriented in any aspect, including vertically – makes them especially suitable for use where space is limited. Principally intended for use in handling and assembly automation, both types of slides are likely to prove popular in the food processing and packaging industries, as well as in semiconductor and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Festo’s DGSL series pneumatic slides are available with a choice of eight different sizes, from 4 to 25, and nine different stroke lengths – from 10 mm to 200 mm – depending on the model. The slides are double-acting, with the larger models capable of advancing and retracting at speeds as high as 0.8 m/s. The size 25 slide can produce up to 483 N of force when fed from a nominal 6 bar compressed air supply.

All DGSL series slides use an innovative piston technology that incorporates the guide tape and sealing element, together with an embedded magnet for position sensing purposes, in a single compact component. This results in less friction and air leakage, leading to steady and smooth movement, better speed constancy, and a long working life. The slides also all offer a choice of three types of end-position cushioning – hydraulic, elastomer and adjustable elastomer – which can be set up very easily from one side of the unit’s body.

The new EGSL series electric slides offer users a choice of four different sizes, from 35 to 75, and five different stroke lengths, from 50 mm to 300 mm, depending on the model. The slides’ exceptional rigidity means that they can easily tolerate bending moments; two slides can simply be bolted together to form a cantilever axis, and all their surfaces feature centring rings to remove shear loads from the mounting bolts. The size 75 slide – which is large by any standard – can accommodate a horizontal load of up to 14 kg, and can generate up to 450 N of feed force.

All EGSL slides are capable of accelerating at up to 25 m/s2, and can achieve speeds as high as 1.3 m/s. To help put these figures in context, this typically means that a 200 mm EGSL-45 slide with a 6 kg payload can accomplish a complete positioning sequence in under 250 ms! The slides’ ball screw spindle is completely enclosed, rendering it impervious to contamination, and three of the four models offer a choice of spindle pitches to further simplify applications matching. The ball screw features an integral magnet, enabling inductive sensors or reed switches mounted on the outside of the slide’s body to be used, and easily adjusted, for position sensing purposes. 

EGSL electric slides are fully compatible with Festo's range of stepper and servo motors and controllers, and can also be used with third-party motors; Festo also produces a comprehensive range of motor mounting flanges and couplings, as well as slide mounting plates, axial mounting kits, optional cover kits and steel sensor flags for these slides.

Festo has also developed a powerful PC-based software tool, backed by native CAD models, to help machine designers and other potential users make best use of electric drive technology such as the EGSL slides.

Protect equipment and personnel

IMI Sensors has breakaway safety cables designed to protect technicians and their equipment from being pulled into rotating machinery during route-based vibration monitoring. These safety cables quickly disconnect in the event that a sensor or analyzer cable becomes accidentally entangled when collecting data.
During route-based vibration monitoring, the protection of personnel and valuable equipment is paramount. Designed to interface directly with handheld data collectors and to withstand the harshest industrial environments, safety cables from IMI Sensors help prevent accidents involving portable data collector cables.

Rugged and reliable, the breakaway safety cables have EMI/RFI shielding and multiple connector configurations including 2-pin MIL style, BNC plugs or jacks that are compatible with most major data collector manufacturers. Safeguard your personnel and valuable equipment with breakaway safety cables from IMI Sensors that minimize the chances of being pulled into dangerous rotating machinery.

Fieldbus training week!

ProfiBusUK’s Competence Centre at MMU will be presenting a Certified ProfiBus Training week from 6 - 10th December. Following a new modular format designed to help candidates reach their fullest potential in just a week, the schedule covers the Certified ProfiBus Installer course, the Commissioning & Maintenance module and finally the Certified ProfiBus Engineer Course. Day 3 focuses on system design, for which the Installer module is prerequisite. Each course can be taken individually or as part of the full set, depending on the candidates' existing qualifications and ability.

This will be the last opportunity to take a scheduled Certified ProfiBus Engineer course at MMU before next March.  To register, contact Ann in Admin or tel: +44 207 193 8018

More about the courses
Certified PROFIBUS Installer Course
An essential course for electrical engineers and technicians needing to upgrade their skills to include fieldbus installation. This one-day, hands-on course teaches the design, installation and testing of complete PROFIBUS networks including DP, PA and optical fibre technology. Covering bus layout and termination, grounding rules and practices, the course will teach delegates how to avoid common, but potentially expensive, installation problems.

PROFIBUS Commissioning & Maintenance Course
A one-day course designed as an add-on to the Certified PROFIBUS Installer Course. Covering the practical techniques of faultfinding on “operational” PROFIBUS networks. Techniques taught on the course include the use of a modern PROFIBUS analyser and Class-II master (engineering tool) to diagnose network faults, device faults and I/O problems. Students also learn how to use a soft digital storage oscilloscope in conjunction with these tools to diagnose and accurately locate cable, connection and device faults.

Certified PROFIBUS Engineer
Engineers wishing to build their careers around PROFIBUS in either industrial or process automation, companies wanting to benchmark their technical staff or consultants seeking a recognised professional qualification in industrial and process networking can now train for an internationally-recognised qualification as a Certified PROFIBUS Engineer. The Certified PROFIBUS Installer Course is a pre-requisite for attending this course.

MMU has also published its 2011 Training Schedule covering Certified PROFIBUS and PROFINET Engineer and Installer, Commissioning and Maintenance, System Design, Product Development, Wireless, CoDeSys, Basic and Certified OpenPLC and Certified AS-Interface courses throughout the year. Details of accredited ProfiBus and ProfiNet training courses are listed on the site.

Programmable automation controller to launch at #SPSIPCDRIVES

Aerotech launches new MotionPAC Programmable Automation Controller at SPS/IPC/DRIVES Exhibition

Aerotech will launch its new MotionPAC Integrated Motion and Machine Controller at this year's SPS/IPC/DRIVES Exhibition in Nuremberg on 23rd – 25th November.

The PC-based MotionPAC is a single development environment machine controller that combines an industry standard  PLC engine with IEC61131-3 programming capabilities such as sequential function block and structured text programming for I/O event handling and Aerotech’s sophisticated multi-axis motion engine to provide best possible control of moving axes. The system is very flexible and highly customisable and includes programming options such as adding custom function blocks using Microsoft’s .NET Framework, or running AeroBASIC programs directly on the controller and interfacing with other interface software such as LabVIEW. Other useful features include the ability to position axes whilst acquiring high speed digital and analogue data from the controllers inputs, recorded against encoder feedback and ultra-precise output triggering based on encoder position.
For example, MotionPAC will allow users to tightly control multi-axis motion trajectories to within microns using their direct-drive positioning mechanics, and with real-time/real position data acquisition from its nanometre level encoder technologies, output position synchronised pulses to control external events such as the firing pattern of a laser or precisely timed 'electronic gearbox' functions. All of this is possible using a combination of IEC61131-3 and  .NET Framework based programming.

The new controller is equipped with a number of sophisticated control algorithms and hardware options that the compoany developed across its range of advanced motion controls that substantially boost machine speeds and accelerations, deliver much improved  performance and increase production throughput. These include simple-to-use tools that reduce unwanted harmonic and periodic disturbances, minimise dynamic following errors, increase dynamic accuracy and significantly improve in-position stability. For the first time, these advanced functions have been combined with IEC61131-3 programming to deliver the reliability of a PLC and the flexibility of the PC in one single control solution.

The single development environment also allows machine builders and OEMs the benefit of considerably reduced machine integration and build timescales with the machine tags defined only once and available across all applications regardless of the programming language selected. And, with its PC-based architecture, the MotionPAC power will increase in-line with processor development to enable advanced motion and machine control solutions for tomorrows applications.

Hybrid circuit protection technology

Tyco Electronics has introduced a Metal Hybrid PPTC (MHP) technology useful for high-rate-discharge battery applications at ratings above 30VDC/30A such as cordless power tools, e-bikes and back-up power supplies. MHP technology uses a new hybrid circuit protection approach that combines a bimetal protector in parallel with a polymeric positive temperature coefficient (PPTC) device. This integrated solution provides resettable overcurrent protection and utilizes the low resistance of the PPTC device to help prevent arcing in the bimetal protector at higher currents, while also heating the bimetal to keep it open and in a latched position.

Due to advances in lithium ion (Li-ion) technology, smaller, lighter weight, and higher power Li-ion batteries can now replace nickel cadmium or lead acid batteries previously used in high-rate-discharge battery applications. This trend has resulted in a rapidly expanding market for high-rate-discharge Li-ion battery applications, which, in turn, has created the need for cost-effective, robust circuit protection devices that help ensure battery safety in end-products.

However, few protection solutions address high-rate-discharge battery applications and traditional circuit protection techniques tend to be large, complex and/or expensive.  In response, MHP technology provides a cost-effective, space-saving device that conventional circuit protection approaches are unable to deliver.

The initial product in a planned family of MHP devices, the MHP30-36 device, has a 36VDC/100A maximum rating and a time-to-trip of under five seconds at 100A (at 25 degrees C). The device’s hold current is 30A and the initial resistance is under two mOhms.

The MHP30-36 device offers excellent arc suppression characteristics compared to standard breaker devices that must limit the number of switching cycles since arcing between contacts may damage them. The MHP30-36 device can also help reduce the number of discharge FETs and accompanying heat sinks in applications that typically use IC-plus-FET battery protection designs.

Available in a convenient small form factor, the MHP30-36 device provides a rugged, resettable circuit protection solution that offers battery pack designers and manufacturers a method to optimize space, reduce cost, enhance safety and help meet future battery safety requirements,” said Ty Bowman, Global Battery Market Manager.

The MHP device technology can be configured for various applications, and higher voltage (up to 400VDC) and hold current (60A) devices are currently in development. Future design considerations include battery protection in Li-ion battery packs used in e-scooters and light electric vehicles (LEVs), as well as standby-power applications and non-battery applications such as electric motor protection.

Connectivity for distributed inverters

NORD Drivesystems provides a technology box for integrating motor-mounted SK 200E inverters into EtherCAT networks and the Beckhoff control technology environment. The Ethernet-based fieldbus offers significant benefits particularly for distributed networks such as conveyor systems. EtherCAT provides a high data throughput rate but eliminates the need for short lines associated with standard bus systems. Harnessing this high data throughput, the new EtherCAT box from NORD cost-efficiently connects a large number of inverters to a single bus line, since there is no need for repeaters or additional bus master interfaces.

The bus module can be mounted either directly on the SK 200E’s interface unit or separately from the inverter by means of an optional wall mounting kit. The EtherCAT bus line is connected to the box via an M12 plug connector. Additionally, the box features eight integrated 24V inputs and two 24V outputs. A single technology box can address up to four inverters via EtherCAT. An integrated RS232/RS485 interface allows for on-the-spot access to the parameters of the bus module and connected inverters by means of the SK PAR manual control unit or via NORDCON PC software. The EtherCAT technology box has a standard protection rating of IP55, and can be supplied for IP66 on request.
The EtherCAT technology box (right) for motor-mounted SK 200E frequency inverters from NORD (left) addresses up to four inverters
All SK 200E inverter models provide sensorless current vector control, a brake chopper, and a control module for an electromagnetic brake. Even the basic model allows for speed control (incremental encoder input HTL signal) and positioning control by means of the integrated POSICON function. The extended range of features includes the integrated safety function “Safe Stop” and an onboard interface for the AS-Interface bus system. A dedicated website at presents the full range of models, their features, and application areas in detail.

Future Professionals Day at Electronica

Electronic engineering students will have the chance to get up-close and personal with Digi-Key Corporation during Superstudium – Future Professionals Day, Friday, Nov. 12 at the electronica 2010 trade show in Munich, Germany.

Students will learn that Digi-Key stocks more board level components for immediate shipment than any other distributor in the world from more than 440 of the world's leading suppliers of semiconductor, interconnect, passive, and electromechanical products. Digi-Key also provides product information, design support services, technical services, online resources, and more to aid engineering students in their projects.

"We realize the importance of providing products and information to the next generation of electronic engineers," said Mark Larson, Digi-Key's president and COO. "They will be responsible for the innovations of the future, and we want to pave the way for them by having the product they need, when they need it and giving them the information they need to successfully complete their designs."

Starting at 10 a.m., electronic engineering students will have the opportunity to view several presentations and demonstrations at Digi-Key's booth. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to register to win one of two Vespa LX 50 2T motor scooters with custom Timbuk2 messenger bags; one of 10 HP 210-150NR Netbooks; and one of five Digi-Key PulseProject kits.
Please see the schedule below for information regarding presentations and demonstrations during Superstudium - Future Professionals Day:
  • 10-10:15 a.m. – Introduction
  • 10:15-11 a.m. – Presentation about engineering careers
  • 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Experiment stations and Digi-Key booth tours
  • 2-3 p.m. – Closing presentations and raffle drawing for prizes

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Showcase automation solutions to a global audience

The International Society of Automation (ISA) have formed a partnership with Hannover Fairs USA (HFUSA) and to organize an Industrial Automation Pavilion at Hannover Meße 2011, which will take place 4–8 April 2011 in Hannover, Germany.

ISA, and HFUSA recognize the significant increase in demand for efficient manufacturing processes through automation technologies and the importance that such technologies be adopted on a global scale.

Through this partnership, ISA and will organize a group exhibit that will allow members and customers to showcase automation solutions to a global audience. This Industrial Automation Pavilion will provide participating exhibitors with great visibility and traffic in an affordable and efficient exhibit setting.
The Automation Pavilion will be in the Industrial Process Sector
The Industrial Automation sector of the fair, which hosted 91,300 international visitors in 2010, is the ideal exhibiting platform for automation companies and will be home to the ISA/ Industrial Automation Pavilion. Comprising seven exhibit halls, the Industrial Automation sector enables companies to meet with existing and potential customers and to export their products and services worldwide.

Art Paredes, president and CEO of HFUSA, said, "It's an excellent time for companies to increase their exports and market shares by expanding into the foreign markets. And, HANNOVER MESSE, the world's largest industrial trade fair, is the ideal platform for companies to showcase their products and services."

Timothy Feldman, director for products and services of ISA, stated, "As an organization dedicated to setting the standard for automation and advancing the profession globally, ISA is enthusiastic to be participating in this partnership to bring exhibitors to Hannover Meße who otherwise might not be able to exhibit on their own."

Rick Zabel
, vice president and publisher of, said, "As global competition increases, it has become more important than ever for companies to expand their footprints and participate in international events like Hannover Meße. We are delighted to partner with ISA and Hannover Fairs USA to offer this pavilion as a low-cost entry point to the fair."

Smart energy harvesting at Electronica 2010

Linear Technology and Energy Micro have combined their expertise in energy harvesting power supplies and ultralow power 32-bit microcontrollers to produce a ground-breaking demonstration at Electronica 2010, showcasing the opportunities for smart energy harvesting applications.

Based on Energy Micro's low cost starter development kit, the demonstration relies on Linear Technology's LTC®3588 piezoelectric energy harvesting power supply and Energy Micro's ARM® Cortex™-M3 enabled EFM32 Gecko microcontroller to create a wireless sensor node acquiring data from a 3-axis accelerometer and transmitting it over a Zigbee RF transceiver.

The energy harvested from a piezoelectric transducer is stored on a capacitor bank for later consumption by the accelerometer and radio according to the MCU's optimized sequencing software.  The EFM32 Gecko spends the majority of its time in sleep mode until woken by the LTC3588's 'power good' signal.  The MCU monitors energy levels at all times to ensure total circuit consumption stays below harvested energy levels.

"Using sustainable kinetic, photovoltaic and thermal energy sources to power microcontrollers requires energy harvesting power supplies capable of both very high efficiency conversion and very low quiescent power loss," said Don Paulus, Vice President & General Manager of Power Products at Linear Technology.  "At the same time, microcontrollers have to play their part, offering very low power operating modes and the application software flexibility to make the best use of the harvested energy – the EFM32 Gecko MCU provides such attributes."
Øyvind Janbu, CTO, Energy Micro said, "Linear Technology's ultralow power energy harvesting power supplies match perfectly well with the needs of the EFM32's energy modes.  This demonstration illustrates the tremendous opportunities open to designers of smarter energy harvesting products.  There is no penalty for using 32-bit microcontrollers in such applications, the component technology already exists and it's available off-the-shelf."

European agreement completes global representation deal

RS Components has further strengthened its relationship with Vishay following the completion of a European distribution agreement.  The new agreement means that RS now formally represents Vishay around the globe through three regional agreements.  Vishay is one of the world's largest manufacturers of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components.

RS holds a stock profile of over 11,000 Vishay products, available online for next-day delivery.  The range features a vast selection of passive components, including tantalum, aluminium and film capacitors, variable, power and thin film resistors and magnetics, alongside a growing semiconductor portfolio featuring mosfets, power ICs and analogue signal routing switches.  Vishay products are being supported by RS through a Brand microsite in the Electronics Centre, which brings together product, market and application guides as well as data for the full range of Vishay components.  Full Vishay range and application details can be accessed.

Chris Page, Electronics General Manager, for RS commented, “This European distribution agreement enables us to bring Vishay’s market leading products to our global customer base.  The world class online engineering tools and support provided by RS together with our unrivalled customer reach is continuing to attract the world’s leading component manufacturers.”

Philippe Masson, Director Sales Distribution Europe from Vishay continued, "Vishay is delighted to be extending its relationship with RS throughout Europe.  RS provides design engineers with a proven online technical resource and has a reputation for outstanding customer support making them an ideal partner for Vishay’s unmatched portfolio of discrete semiconductors and passive components.”

RS Components is the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Submersible displacement transducers ideal for many monitoring tasks

Monitoring of many large structures may often call for displacement transducers to operate submersed, a need met by RDP ElectronicACW and DCW ranges.

The DCW series is particularly suited to monitoring large structures such as bridges, underwater structural monitoring and frequently inside pressure vessels such as triasxial testers. The DCW embodies fully sealed amplification electronics within its stainless steel body delivering a 4~20mA analogue output which has the advantage of permitting long cable runs from the structure to a more convenient monitoring location. Non-magnetic fluids can be allowed to flood the armature tube without affecting the operation of the transducer which is available in unguided, captive or spring return versions.

Both the DCW and ACW series use the LVDT principle of no electrical contact across the transducer position sensing element which ensures clean data, infinite resolution and a very long life. The ACW is designed to be used with external signal conditioning.

Space-saving PCB connectors are rugged and flexible

Harting's new har-flex connector series is a space-saving, rugged and flexible PCB connector for the widest range of board-to-board and board-to-cable applications.

The har-flex product family includes a number of straight connector models as well as compatible insulation displacement connectors and angled models.

It is designed to offer PCB designers the greatest possible flexibility in the use of increasingly size-sensitive and cost-intensive PCB resources. Based on a 1.27-mm grid, the har-flex product family offers customers all even-numbered models from 6 to 100 pins.

For mezzanine applications, the series has straight models in four different stack heights that allow parallel PCB distances between 8 and 13.8 mm to be bridged.

For surface-mount applications, the har-flex connector family is delivered in tape-and-reel packaging. All devices undergo 100% coplanarity testing, and are designed for standard fitting with 'pick & place' pads to guarantee a simple, fully automatic and reliable assembly process.

With the complete har-flex product family, they offering diverse solutions for all board-to-board applications that need a space-saving connection with the rigorous combination of simple, automatic and efficient fabrication and the highest quality requirements.

Level & flow in Russia

Magnetrol opens Representative Office in St Petersburg, Russia

Magnetrol has opened a new Representative Office in St Petersburg to support its Distributors in the CIS.

Magnetrol is a multinational producing level and flow instrumentation. Magnetrol’s European head-office in Belgium is responsible for the markets in Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle-East. Due to its continuous product innovation and ISO 9000 quality standards Magnetrol is market leader in the oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical and power industry.

For many years Magnetrol supplied the CIS markets and has therefore all required certifications. A dedicated website is currently under development. (

New modules connect optical and electrical Profibus networks

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has developed new optical link modules (OLM) for Profibus networks.

The OLM P22 and OLM G22 modules each have two optical Profibus interfaces using bayonet fibre optic connector (BFOC) technology and two electrical interfaces of the sub-D type. This enables two separate electronic Profibus segments to be integrated into one optical network structure, such as a redundant ring. Whereas the OLM P22 version supports plastic fiber-optic cable (FOC), the OLM G22 is designed for glass fiber-optic cable. Both have a signal contact as a measurement terminal with which the optical signal quality can be monitored.

The Siemens Profibus OLMs enable optical Profibus networks to be constructed using line, star and redundant ring structures. The transmission rate of a fiber-optic link of up to three kilometers in length is up to 12 Megabaud/second and does not depend on the distance.

Siemens offers a wide range of Profibus components for electrical and optical networks. OLM components safeguard the transition between the two types of network, thereby permitting the construction of hybrid structures.

Monday, November 8, 2010

CAN I/O expansion modules

New CANbus I/O modules suit Trio CANI/O or CANopen protocols for flexible machine control expansion

Trio Motion Technology has launched a new range of modular DIN-rail mounted CAN I/O expansion modules that feature switchable TrioCAN I/O and CANopen DS401 protocols to allow use across its Motion Coordinator motion and machine control families as well as providing as a competitively priced decentralised I/O extension system for third party CANopen devices.

The range includes separate and combined 16-point digital input and output modules, an 8-input + 4-output analogue module, and an 8-channel relay output module – all with standard industrial signal levels and fully certified EMC emission and immunity ratings. The new modules may be freely mixed to a maximum of 32 CAN addresses for the P317, P318, P319 and P327 all at 500kHz in Trio Mode or up to 1MHz in CANopen Mode.This allows generous and flexible I/O expansion capability with considerably reduced machine wiring for OEMs and systems integrators using Trio motion controllers or CANopen device users requiring standalone digital or analogue system expansion for signal processing, actuators, feedback signal and sensor monitoring etc.

Supplied in compact ABS enclosures, each measuring only 26 mm wide x 85 mm deep x 130 mm high, the new range is designed for efficient panel installation and convenient monitoring with all modules featuring individual channel status LEDs and removable front and top mounted screw terminal blocks for power supply and I/O interfacing. For straightforward set up, module address and CAN protocol selection is via front panel DIP switches conveniently located behind a small window with a card slot which is aligned with the status LEDs and may be marked as a visual channel reference. The range of CAN modules have been EMC tested against and passed the EN 61000-6-2 : 2005 for industrial noise immunity and EN61000-6-4 : 2007 for industrial noise emissions.

When used with Trio's flagship MC464 Motion Coordinator and across the full Trio Motion Coordinator range where a TrioCAN I/O communication card is fitted, the Motion Perfect 2 programming environment automatically configures all I/O channels over the complete CAN bus with plug and play simplicity. The integrated controller I/O and external CAN I/O is seamlessly programmed with a choice of Trio's TrioBASIC programming language, or G-code, or with IEC61131-3 on the advanced MC464 Motion Coordinator motion and machine control system. For those wishing to use the CANopen DS401 protocol, Trio provides comprehensive documentation and technical support to ensure trouble-free system integration.

The P319 is a combined 16 channel digital I/O module that replaces Trio's previous P316 CAN expansion module with a functionally identical I/O rating that allows drop in product replacement but in a much smaller footprint design, and at a single unit list price some 33% less than its predecessor. The 16 bidirectional I/O points are rated at 16 to 24V with 2500V isolation and output capacity at 250 mA per channel with full overcurrent and temperature protection. Power requirements are 24V at 1.5 W.

The P318 CAN 16 Input Module and P317 CAN 16 Output Module share identical specifications to the bidirectional module but offer 16 full input or output points. Up to 256 digital I/O points may be configured on the bus for digital modules.

Trio's new P326 CAN Analogue I/O module combines eight +/- 10 V inputs and four +/- 10 V outputs, both having 1kV isolation from the CAN bus. The 12-bit resolution will allow use in the vast majority of analogue I/O control applications and up to four modules in Trio Mode (32 input channels and 16 output channels) and 32 in CANopen Mode(256 input channels and 128 output channels) may be configured over a distance of up to 100 m in each CAN network.

The new P327 CAN Relay Module provides eight outputs configured as four switch over contacts and four normally open contacts rated for 0.5 A at 125 VAC and 1 A at 24 VDC. Up to 16 modules in Trio Mode and 32 in CANopen Mode provide a maximum relay output count of up to 256 channels.

Monitoring Ethernet

Software monitors topology, availability and performance of industrial Ethernet networks 

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has developed new network management software that continuously monitors and visualizes the topology, availability and performance of industrial Ethernet networks. The Sinema Server (Simatic Network Manager) software automatically recognizes changes in the network and helps to identify and clear malfunctions quickly and easily. In this way, downtime and maintenance costs can be reduced and the availability of the production process can be increased. In addition, Sinema Server documents the utilization and availability of a network over any chosen period.
Sinema Server software

Sinema Server has been specially designed for the continuous monitoring of industrial Ethernet and Profinet networks by plant operators and by the maintenance and service personnel. At regular specified intervals, the software recognises any change to the network, including all components within the network from whatever manufacturer (autodiscovery) and clearly displays the current topology and any changes. An extended, detailed diagnosis is available for Scalance network components. Its enables any network problems affecting production, as well as standstills or malfunctions within a plant, to be cleared promptly. The result: shorter downtimes and less damage to the manufactured goods or the production plant. Companies benefit from the savings and from a lower number of delivery problems and delays.

The second important function of Sinema Server is the documentation of network activities in the form of comprehensive reports. The report function informs the production management about the performance and capacities of the network and thereby creates the basis for the specific control and planning of the network infrastructure. If an external service provider has been commissioned to operate the network, the reports indicate whether the guaranteed availability has been delivered within the agreed timeframe. Furthermore, it is possible to analyze retrospectively any malfunctions in the network or plant that have remained unnoticed and thus to optimize production. The length of period covered by the documentation can be selected as required.

The "plug & play" installation and commissioning of Sinema Server is quick and self-explanatory. Siemens has designed the software for particularly easy and user-friendly operation. Several users can access the Sinema Server data simultaneously from any location using a web browser and the display can be personalized for each user. In addition, the content can be displayed on monitors in the production facility using HMI (Human Machine Interface) or Scada (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems. The software supports numerous protocols such as OPC, SNMP, LLDP, DCP and "Ping".

The Siemens network management software is suitable for companies in the production and processing industry as well as for users from the power generation sector. Sinema Server will be available through the sales outlets of the Siemens Industry Automation Division and through Scalance distributors. The licensing options are based on the number of supported devices, ranging from 50 to 250 devices.

Music for musings!

New engineering manufacturer’s glog offers chance to win an iTunes voucher

Steve Sargeant, Managing Director of LCM Systems, is giving away a free iTunes vouchers for the most amusing British export story submitted to his new blog A Manufacturers Musings.

The blog was started this summer and is a collection of opinions and thoughts on various issues affecting British manufacturers. The latest entry talks about the pitfalls of the export market and cites a number of examples of the frustrations that go hand in hand with selling to global industry. Steve is encouraging fellow manufacturers and buyers to add their stories and solutions for tackling some of these issues. The craziest export story posted on the blog will receive an iTunes voucher, courtesy of LCM Systems.

Other blog entries include pieces on whether we should use the term telemetry or wireless, whether engineers are open to marketing messages sent through to their mobile phones and a discussion on why there is a technology lag between load cells and pressure transducers.

IP65 transducer signal amplifiers designed for wet environments

With low output voltage from a transducer it is frequently essential to provide signal amplification close by to ensure good noise immunity. When this also happens to be in a wet environment then RDP Electronics Ltd's S7 amplifier series supplied in rugged die-cast aluminium housings with cable glands and seals rated to IP65 meet this environmental protection need and provides effective electrical screening.

The S7 amplifiers contain all the necessary circuitry for transducer excitation, zero and scale adjustment and amplification with a choice of voltage and current outputs. Designed for use with RDP’s extensive range of LVDT and Half Bridge displacement sensors, the S7AC dc powered version for example is easy to set up and calibrate, having a gain of 500 in 8 steps, with ‘fine’ control and a bandwidth of 500Hz. Also incorporated is an 'Over-Range' indicator which warns if the demodulator input exceeds the linear range. The output can be configured for Bipolar or Unipolar operation having a maximum of ±10V or 4-20mA, using a choice of DC or 230/115V AC power supply voltages.

Controlling spread of Stuxnet

New application note:  Preventing the spread of the Stuxnet worm in both Siemens and non-Siemens network environments.

One of the key things Byres Security have learned in their test lab (and confirmed by INL at the ICSJWG  - US Industrial Control Systems Joint Working Group - meeting last week) is that the Stuxnet worm is very aggressive once it accidentally gets into a control system. And once it is in, it is almost impossible to remove, since the worm just keeps popping up as it re-infects PCs.

We have a number of links to Stuxnet related articles at the bottom of our blog "Stuxnet – not from a bored schoolboy prankster!"
To counteract this they wanted to create a document to give specific guidance on how to prevent Stuxnet and Stuxnet-like worms from migrating between ANSI/ISA-99 security zones in a control system. Of course the configuration examples they use are based on their Tofino Industrial Security Solution, but the concepts are generally applicable to other firewalls.

The paper (pdf) is available on the Tofino Blog from Monday 7th September 2011.