Friday, November 19, 2010

Analog and Digital Servo Inclinometer

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the North American market introduction of the Sensorex SX41100 series, a high-performance servo inclinometer family featuring analog and digital outputs and a maximum linearity error of less than ±0.02% FS. The series is designed to provide high-precision angular measurements within extreme testing environments, such as those typically found within civil structural alignment, crane and offshore platform safety systems, roadway and rail track leveling applications.

The highly robust Sensorex SX41100 series is designed to provide an output signal, proportional to the angle being measured, over a range of ±1° to ±70°. The series is also part of the company’s best-selling Rugged Enhanced Digital Sensor (REDS) family, incorporating Meggitt’s own proprietary Sensorex digital hybrid compensation circuit design (HCN module), resulting in high-performance inclinometers with ±5V analog, 4-20 mA or RS232 and RS485 ASCII digital outputs and built-in active digital temperature compensation, reliably operating over a temperature range of -40° to +85°C (-40° to +185°F).  Incorporation of an inertial mass with servo feedback, optical position pick-up and friction free mounting allow the Sensorex SX41100 series to provide high accuracy with excellent long term stability and high reliability. Because the inertial mechanism is immersed in oil, units have high shock and vibration resistance with a good damping factor.  Units also operate from a 9-30V unipolar power supply and feature IP65 environmental sealing.  Digital versions are delivered with software and digital data transmitted in ASCII format, allowing for direct communication with a standard PC, along with user-selectable parameters of data acquisition and display.

All Sensorex SX41100 series servo inclinometers are accompanied by a two-year comprehensive product warranty and are available thru Meggitt’s San Juan Capistrano, California, USA and Archamps, France-based facilities.

Water certificate

YSI Inc. tells us that following extensive trials conducted by the Environment Agency of England and Wales (EA), the company's Professional Series portable water quality monitors were awarded an MCERTS certificate at WWEM 2010.

MCERTS is the EA's Monitoring Certification Scheme which is designed to assure the quality and reliability of environmental measurements. MCERTS is comprised of a number of different schemes, one of which applies to instruments that are employed in the continuous monitoring of water, which includes samplers, flow meters and online water quality monitors.

YSI was presented with an MCERTS certificate for the 6 series sondes in 2008 and the new certificate significantly expands the range of MCERTified equipment now available from YSI.

Summarising the company's reaction to the MCERTS award, YSI executive vice president Gayle Rominger, said, "Our customers rely on YSI instruments to perform accurate reliable environmental monitoring so we are naturally delighted to receive such authoritative third party recognition.

"The fact that we were the first company to receive an MCERTS certificate for a multiparameter instrument demonstrates our intention to remain a leader in this field and we are naturally delighted to now have certificates for both online and portable water quality monitors."

Tools improve engineering efficiency and process analysis!

Enhanced software solution from GE simplifies programming and speeds time to solution

GE Intelligent Platforms has released Proficy® Machine Edition 6.5, a universal development environment for HMI, motion, and control applications that all share a single workspace and tool set.  Coupled with an efficient, user-friendly structure and standardized user interface, Proficy Machine Edition is designed for ease-of-use and quick time-to-solution for the entire project lifecycle.  From configuring and developing to commissioning and maintaining, it improves the overall engineering efficiency of application development and provides users with a sustainable advantage for their business.
Proficy Machine Edition 6.5

Included in the new release is the ability to import and export control logic in XML. This allows users to maintain control strategies in standardized XML format and selectively import logic blocks to create a complete automation project. In addition, this capability allows Machine Edition to interface with external programming and design tools that are capable of generating control codes in XML. Users can choose to design their system using a third-party development tool and import the generated XML logic into Machine Edition.
“Proficy Machine Edition 6.5 continues to enhance program re-usability, simplify application development and reduce solution time-to-market,” said Kam Yuen, GE Intelligent Platforms’ Product Manager for Proficy Machine Edition. “This is particularly beneficial for OEM customers that produce similar machines or skids in high quantity. It provides the tools that they need to complete their projects and realize revenue from their applications more quickly.”
Other new features of Machine Edition 6.5 include:
  • Local historical trending tool facility on the QuickPanel for quick diagnostics and trouble shooting
  • Enhanced web publishing capabilities and remote connectivity
  • User friendly tool for updating project files on remote QuickPanels
  • Data Logger window tool on the PC platform for quick trending analysis and troubleshooting
  • Optimization of controller communications to improve the overall performance
“Proficy Machine Edition 6.5 will enable operator interface applications with better equipped diagnostics and troubleshooting tools, which will reduce downtime and improve production efficiency," said Hanuman Gadepalli, GE Intelligent Platforms’ Product Manager for Operator Interfaces.
Proficy Machine Edition 6.5 is the latest example of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year software and solutions services businesses are helping customers improve productivity.

Precise force

DLRx Load Cells for precise force measurement

With the high-precision load cells of the DLRx series, Baumer offers sensors with passive temperature compensation for direct force measurement which boast a very low temperature effect of only < 0.005 %/K. Their high precision and positioning accuracy is supported by their very small amount of distortion. Complying with protection class IP67, they are suitable for use in the packaging industry, mechanical engineering, and many other industrial applications. The sensors cover measuring ranges from 0…+/- 500 kN with a combined error of only < 0.1 % F.S. and repeat accuracy of < 0.03 % F.S.

DLRx load cells are designed for use with an extended ambient temperature range of -30 °C to +100 °C. Their compensated temperature range is -10 °C to +55 °C. Due to their compact and cost-saving design, DLRx load cells provide a high price/performance ratio and simple, cost-efficient installation. 4…20 mA, +/- 10 V, and mv/V (passive) output signals can be selected. The sensors can quickly installed thanks to their small amounts of mechanical settling and warm-up drift. All sensors of the DLRx series come ready calibrated, saving users the trouble of adjusting the installation, which in turn makes shorter cycle times possible. A low-noise passive bridge amplifier with an analogue signal path and a high limit frequency of 1 kHz is surface-mounted to every DLRx sensor.

With their reliability and long-term stability, the sensors of the DLRx series are suitable for static and dynamic force measurement. Their large range of applications includes all-electric injection moulding machines in the plastics industry and engine test stands as well as applications in vehicle construction and cranes.

Special interest for robots

CANopen SIG service robots established

CAN in Automation (CiA) has established the CANopen SIG (Special Interest Group) for service robots. Several Japanese research institutes and companies have participated in the inaugural meeting, which took place in Tokyo. It was agreed to standardize the mapping of the RTC (Robot Technology Component) specification to CANopen network technology. This would allow service robot manufacturers to make easy use of off-the-shelf CANopen devices such as motion controllers and sensors. The robot application software will call RTC functions (middleware). The CANopen details are hidden to the software engineer. This would simplify software development and would allow reuse of already existing RTC programs. The RTC specification has been developed by the nonprofit OMG (Object Management Group).

The scope of the SIG includes also the development and maintenance of recommended practices for existing CANopen profiles to be used in service robot applications (e.g. CiA 402 motion controllers, CiA 404 sensors, CiA 406 encoders, CiA 418/9 batteries and chargers). If necessary, the SIG will develop and maintain dedicated CANopen profiles for service robot sub-systems such as grippers or multi-axes controllers. Interested parties in this standardisation activity should contact the nonprofit CiA association

NDT specialist is sales manager

Leading instrumentation specialist Ashtead Technology is delighted to announce the appointment of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and Remote Visual Inspection (RVI) specialist Peter Myatt as its new Sales Manager.

Peter Myatt
Peter, who joins the company from a similar role at Olympus, brings a wealth of experience to his new role, as a former aircraft technician in the Royal Navy for over 25 years.

He will now head up Ashtead Technology’s focus on the company’s extensive range of NDT and RVI instrumentation, covering the most advanced thermal cameras, videoscopes, ultrasonic testing and phased array products available to hire, for a range of applications within the aerospace, manufacturing, automotive and engineering sectors.

Peter explained: “I am delighted to be Ashtead Technology’s new Sales Manager and look forward to working with our skilled team of instrumentation specialists. My experience within the NDT and RVI sectors will enable me to recommend the best instrument for the job, so that our hire customers can carry out accurate testing with the very latest equipment on the market.”

Alan Hasson, General Manager at Ashtead Technology, added: “I am very pleased to welcome an NDT specialist of Peter’s calibre to the team and I am confident that both new and existing customers will be able to able to benefit from his considerable knowledge and expertise.”

Leader under forty recognised

Control Station has announced that Dr. Robert C. Rice has been recognized in Control Engineering’s “Leaders Under 40” awards.

Dr R.C.Rice
The “Leaders Under 40” is a new program designed to identify and recognize young engineers who have made significant contributions to the automation industry and to the profession of control engineering.  Dr. Rice has made significant contributions in the field of process control, particularly in terms of innovations in the arena of PID controller monitoring and loop tuning technologies.  Under Dr. Rice’s direction, Control Station is widely recognized as the leading provider of PID diagnostic and optimization solutions.

“I feel privileged to be recognized by Control Engineering,” stated Dr. Rice, Control Station’s Vice President of Engineering.  “I love this industry and remain fascinated by the challenges and opportunities facing today’s process manufacturers.  Empowering them to improve their competitiveness through the use of innovative technologies is remarkably satisfying.”

“Control Engineering recognizes Bob Rice among other young thought leaders based on their strong contributions to the profession of industrial engineering,” said Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering content manager. “I have to believe that his achievements at Control Station and his engineering-minded hobbies will help inspire the next-generation of leaders and show the world what’s fun and worthwhile about engineering.”

“In addition to Dr. Rice we recognized 18 other remarkable engineering leaders in our inaugural ‘Leaders Under 40’ program.  We certainly commend all 29 entrants and encourage engineering enthusiasts of all ages to share their wisdom with Control Engineering in other ways. We expect nominations to open approximately mid-2011 for the next ‘Leaders Under 40’ program.”

Dr. Rice has led the transformation of Control Station from just another technology company, to the recognized leader in PID controller monitoring and tuning solutions.  He has held principal responsibility for all product development initiatives and engineering services since joining Control Station in 2004.  During that time Control Station’s software has been repeatedly recognized for innovation and ease-of-use, receiving two Engineers’ Choice Awards and two Vaaler Awards. 

Beyond technology innovation Dr. Rice has worked tirelessly to promote the use of industry best-practices throughout the process industries.  Over the years he has been invited to speak on process control best-practices at numerous industry conferences and sections of ISA.  Most recently Dr. Rice was recognized by the St Louis Section with their 2009 Speaker of the Year award.

Design user-configurable FPGA-based I/O

National Instruments has introduced four new adapter modules for its NI FlexRIO product family, which provides FPGA-based reconfigurable I/O (RIO) for PXI systems, using the LabVIEW FPGA Module software. The user-configurable NI FlexRIO product family takes advantage of industry-leading PXI hardware and software integration to give engineers a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution that is specifically designed to more easily implement field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology for advanced automated test and measurement systems. NI FlexRIO solutions combine two distinct hardware components, a programmable PXI or PXI Express-based FPGA module and an I/O adapter module. The four new NI FlexRIO adapter modules are ideal for real-time measurements, nondestructive test (NDT) and ultrasound applications, communications systems and scientific research.

“Using NI FlexRIO, we designed an advanced ultrasound instrument in less than three months,”
said Dave Lines, chief engineer at Diagnostic Sonar, a leading developer of ultrasonic systems for industrial and medical applications. “Because of the tight integration of NI FlexRIO hardware and LabVIEW FPGA software, our entire development process, including architecture specification, FPGA coding and real-time 3D display creation, was significantly shortened, and we were able to create an instrument that was much more customizable and scalable compared to existing systems.”
The new NI FlexRIO adapter modules reflect the continued investment of National Instruments in FPGA-based RIO and expand the company’s selection of PXI modular instrumentation with user-configurable FPGAs. Designed for test and measurement applications that require real-time performance and hardware signal processing, the new modules include the following unique capabilities:

-- NI 5761: four-channel, 14-bit, 250 MS/s broadband high-performance digitizer adapter module designed to meet a wide range of signal processing application needs including communications system design, intermediate frequency (IF) acquisition, multiple input, multiple output (MIMO), radar and scientific research
-- NI 5751: 16-channel, 50 MS/s, 14-bit digitizer adapter module for test and measurement in areas such as experimental physics, NDT and medical imaging
-- NI 5752: 32-channel, 50 MS/s, 12-bit digitizer adapter module optimized for NDT and ultrasound applications; includes AC-coupled differential inputs with integrated VGAs and time-varying gain curves, as well as 16 digital outputs for pulser stimulus
-- NI 6583: 32 single-ended and 16 LVDS/mLVDS channels, digital adapter module with data rates up to 300 Mbit/s for test and communication requiring mixed digital logic

Engineers can control and reconfigure the FPGA on the NI FlexRIO host module using the LabVIEW FPGA software. LabVIEW FPGA is distinctly suited for user-configurable FPGA programming because it clearly represents parallelism and dataflow programming, making it easier and more productive for engineers to target FPGAs without VHDL or Verilog knowledge.

The latest version of LabVIEW FPGA incorporates enhancements that specifically address the increasing demands of advanced test systems. It includes improved integration with existing and off-the-shelf IP including direct compatibility with Xilinx IP blocks such as filters, fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), memories and first-in-first-out memory buffers (FIFOs). Better simulation capabilities make LabVIEW FPGA debugging and verification faster and more accurate with an IP behavioral simulation engine and tool integration with Mentor Graphics ModelSim. LabVIEW FPGA also draws on the support of LabVIEW FPGA IPNet, an online resource that helps engineers browse, download and share the latest IP for FPGA designs.

In addition to seamless integration with LabVIEW, the new adapter modules join a broad portfolio of more than 400 NI PXI software-defined hardware products for automated test. Engineers can combine all NI FlexRIO products with the more than 1,500 PXI instruments from NI and more than 50 other vendors to address the requirements of practically any test application.

Glass touch screen is IP65 protected

ETV 0552 with a Glass Touch Screen and IP65 Protected - Small but Powerful: Control Panels with EDGE Technology in 5.7" Format
The powerful, all-in-one ETV control panel series from SIGMATEK was expanded by two new panels with a 5.7" touch display. The ETV 0551 is equipped with an analog resistive TFT color touch screen (IP 54). The ETV 0552, which is equipped with a glass touch screen and frontal IP65 protection against dust and water, is even more robust. Because there is no offset edge between the glass touch screen and the frame, the panel can be easily cleaned. The ETV 0552 is therefore ideal for use in raw industrial environments as well as in food processing, packaging and medical technology.
The powerful 5.7" ETV control panel with EDGE-Technology from SIGMATEK

The fanless control panels are based on the innovative EDGE-Technology, which offers high performance with low power loss. Both ETVs are equipped with 1-Gbyte Flash and 64-Mbyte DDR RAM. For remnant data, 512 kbytes of memory is provided. A micro SD memory card is used as the storage medium for the operating system, the application and user-specific data. As an additional plus, eight digital in- and outputs are already "on board".

The numerous standard interfaces such as VARAN bus, CAN bus, Ethernet, USB and USB Type Mini, are located on the bottom and allow the simple integration of the ETV 0551 and 0552 into the machine structure. All interfaces can be freely programmed by the application. With LASAL, a universal and fully integrated engineering tool for programming and visualizing functions is provided. The integration idea from SIGMATEK has thereby once again paid off: PLC, HMI, Motion Control and Safety are unified in an integrated platform.

Bench top instruments range broadened

The new FCA3100 from Tektronix available from RS for next day delivery
RS Components is adding newly released bench top instruments from Tektronix to its Test & Measurement portfolio.   The addition of new frequency counters and timers from the world’s foremost supplier of oscilloscopes extends the extensive range of design support tools available from RS for next day delivery.

The FCA3000 and FCA3100 frequency counters and timers integrate the functionality of a frequency counter, frequency meter and timer into one feature-rich instrument.  These new instruments allow design engineers to make over 13 different frequency, period, time, pulse, or phase measurements with high resolution. Comprehensive analysis modes include measurement statistics, histograms, and trend plots.

“A significant number of our design engineering customers are already using oscilloscopes from Tektronix,” commented Fred Knowles, Head of Product Management, Electronics, at RS.  “By including these new frequency timers/counters in our test and measurement portfolio we are now able to offer them complementary bench top instruments with familiar interfaces from a trusted and reliable supplier.”

Trevor Smith, Tektronix technical marketing manager continued, “RS has always been a trusted source of information for engineers.  The market leading online design support tools that they now provide make them the ideal partner for the launch of our new bench top instruments.”

The new cost effective instruments offer a wide frequency range up to 300 MHz.  These instruments deliver 12-digit/sec frequency resolution and single-shot resolution of 50 ps (FCA3100) or 100 ps (FCA3000) for time.  Dedicated buttons and on-display menus provide fast access to frequently used functions, reducing set up time. USB and GPIB device ports support remote control and fast measurement transfer speeds.

Safeguards server rooms and basements from floods

Deeter Electronics have a new Leak Detector intended for raising the alarm in the event of a water leak in data-centres, server rooms and building basements.

This Leak Detector system comprises a Leak Detector Controller, mounted in a UL94-V0 flame retardant 35mm DIN-Rail housing, and IP65 Sensor Heads which can be connected in a daisy chain. The Leak Detector Controller is available with a 230VAC mains input or a 24V (AC or DC) power input.

The Leak Detector Controller is equipped with a bank of six DIP switches which are used to configure the Leak Detector outputs. Two output types are available; alarm on when a leak is detected with automatic reset when water is no longer present and alarm on when a leak is discovered, latching on until the Leak Detector Controller is reset by an operator. Connections to the Leak Detector Controller are made via two sets of 6 screw terminals.

The Leak Detector can detect and warn of system faults such as a break in any of the three Leak Sensor wires, no termination of the Leak Sensor wires and a blown output fuse. Status of the system is indicated by three LEDs, green indicates all clear, yellow indicates a fault has been detected and red that a leak has been detected.

The leak detector features an open collector transistor output, open during normal operation and current-limited to sink up to 50mA which can be pulled up to 40V. The Leak Detector Controller also includes two output relays. Relay 1 is always assigned to leak detection and can be programmed to follow or latch in response to a leak. If there is a system fault relay 2 and / or the transistor output can be used to indicate the fault. The relays have a current rating of 6A at 240VAC. In addition to indicating a leak the relays may also be configured to raise an alarm or shut down critical equipment in the event of a system failure.

The Leak Sensors supplied with the system are housed in IP65 ABS boxes with a pair of sensing probes protruding through the underside to detect water. The probes are stainless steel and M3 threaded, and may be extended using an M3 spacer. The Sensors can be bolted to the floor if required. Up to ten or more Leak Sensors can be linked using a 3-wire cable in a daisy-chain configuration.

Peter Whiteaker, Managing Director of Deeter Electronics, comments; "Deeter Electronics has a long history of designing and manufacturing sensors of all kinds and our new Leak Detector Sensor system has been developed in response to customer requests. It is estimated that there are more than 20,000 computer rooms in the UK alone. Flooding or any influx of water can cause serious damage to computer systems, industrial plant equipment and even paper archives etc. which are frequently stored in basements. Our new Leak Detector system provides a cost effective and simple to install way to protect valuable infrastructure from water damage.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#OpsManage Releases on Day two

These are the releases issued during the second day of OpsManage EURA in Paris (F).

Invensys Signs Strategic Alliance with NC DIT and TimeZYX Group
Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, today announced that it has entered a new partnership with Russia’s National Center for Development of Innovative Technologies (NC DIT), based in Moscow. Read More

Invensys and Eni Refining & Marketing Collaborate on New Virtual Reality Training System
Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, today announced that it has launched a novel 3D simulation solution in collaboration with Eni Refining and Marketing, Italy’s largest international refiner. Read More.

Communications enhancements to controllers

Controllers enhanced by Profibus, Profinet and telecommunication services

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has added new Profibus, Profinet and telecommunication services to the communication functions of the Simatic S7-1200 controllers. New CPU firmware enables communication with Profinet IO devices. With two new communication modules, the Simatic S7-1200 can be operated as a Profibus master or slave. Three new telecommunication components are available to users when they want to access the controller remotely from a PC or programming device.

The new firmware version 2.0 for the Simatic S7-1200 CPUs has Profinet IO controller functionality and thus implements communication with Profinet IO devices. Thanks to the integral Web server with user-defined Web pages, users can call up CPU information and process data using a standard Web browser. Data archiving is integrated, allowing data from the user program to also be archived during runtime.

There are two new communication modules for connecting the Simatic S7-1200 controllers to Profibus. The Profibus DP master module CM 1243-5 enables the connection of up to sixteen DP slaves, such as Simatic ET 200 distributed I/O modules. S7 and PG/OP communication with other controllers, as well as with HMI (human machine interface) devices and programming devices, is also supported. With the CM 1242-5, the Simatic S7-1200 can be operated as a Profibus DP slave and connected to any Profibus DP master. Both communication modules are simply connected via the S7-1200 backplane bus to the left of the CPU.

The new modules CP 1242-7, TeleService Adapter IE Basic and TeleService Module GSM allow plant operators remote access to Simatic S7-1200 controllers. Distributed stations equipped with Simatic S7-1200 can be monitored, diagnosed, maintained and controlled cost-effectively. The CP 1242-7 is simply connected via the backplane bus of the Simatic-S7-1200 as a GSM/GPRS interface and used for telecontrol. The TeleService Adapter IE Basic and the TeleService Module GSM are available for remote maintenance and diagnostics (teleservice). To use the new telecommunication services, users enter into a standard SIM card contract or a special M2M (machine-to-machine) contract. They then have remote access to the controller using a programming device or PC equipped with the Step V11 engineering software and Internet access. Thanks to wireless access, users are able to detect and correct local faults on-site in good time from a central location.

Partners for connectivity

InduSoft partners with MatrikonOPC for OPC connectivity

MatrikonOPC™ is partnering with InduSoft Inc. to include MatrikonOPC‘s full range of OPC Servers into the industrial software developer’s InduSoft Web Studio (IWS) v7.0 platform. The partnership will allow a wide range of industrial customers – including manufacturing plants, electric utilities and building automation professionals – to more easily integrate their automation systems with InduSoft Web Studio by using MatrikonOPC’s secure and reliable OPC Servers.

As a member of the MatrikonOPC Global Partner Network, InduSoft will utilize MatrikonOPC servers for third-party OPC data connectivity solutions. The MatrikonOPC Vendor Partner Program enables software and hardware vendors to provide their customers with world-class connectivity software and support while keeping their resources focused on core areas of expertise.

“As a MatrikonOPC Vendor Partner, InduSoft leverages MatrikonOPC technology and expertise to provide InduSoft customers with a superior integration experience,” said Drew Brydon, Program Manager - Vendor Partners at MatrikonOPC. “In addition, InduSoft solutions are now attractive to more customers thanks to its expanded connectivity capabilities.”

“The goal of control automation is to improve operational efficiency, so it only makes sense to combine our software expertise with MatrikonOPC’s server capabilities to achieve that goal. With this partnership, our customers will now reap the benefits of having secure and reliable data connectivity to their systems,” said Marcia Gadbois, vice president of Business Development for InduSoft, Inc.

InduSoft provides a powerful suite of industrial software products for developing applications in industrial automation, instrumentation and embedded systems for all Microsoft-supported operating systems. InduSoft’s technology uses the latest communication standards to access data that is stored on industrial devices and test and measurement equipment. In addition, InduSoft technology converts personal computers, web browsers and remote productivity devices such as cell phones, pagers and personal digital assistants (PDAs) into industrial automation and test and measurement systems.

By partnering with MatrikonOPC to bundle the OPC Servers with IWS, InduSoft increases its already expansive number of communication offerings. Over 240 built-in drivers continue to be included with IWS for communications with all major brands of PLCs, temperature controllers and motion control systems--the MatrikonOPC servers extend this range to DCS systems, electrical utility monitoring, flow computers and building automation systems.

Scanning the skys!

Motion sub-system is selected for ultra-precision plate scanner at the Royal Observatory of Belgium

The DAMIAN ultra-precision scanning system at the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) fulfils a significant part of a global programme for the digitisation of astrometric plates and aerial photographic images that span over a century and has shaped our understanding of the world, the solar system and the universe. With more than three million plate images estimated in the astronomical community alone, the programme was borne out of a need to provide a much needed centralised archive for the digital age, to enhance the accuracy of predictive ephemerides and not least to preserve the heritage of this important work where media deterioration is an increasing problem, particularly for older photographic processes. As part of an international network of institutions involved in similar work, the ROB has become a global centre of excellence particularly where extreme levels of accuracy are required such as astrometry plates.

One particular exacting project example at the ROB involves digitising thousands of photographic plates for the US Naval Observatory. Taken over a period of 30 years several decades ago, using a 26-inch refractor telescope, the photographs record the moons of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. By combining the process with highly sophisticated measurement and prediction software, DAMIAN can actually fill in many gaps that have hitherto been difficult to calculate. By improving this understanding of the interactive motions and internal structure models of these solar system bodies, the accuracy of calculation for their future positions over time is significantly improved. Other work carried out has similar significant implications for galactic kinematics, space surveillance and other areas of research in high precision aerial mapping.

The ROB began development of the DAMIAN (Digital Access to Metric Images Archives Network) digitiser with a study that produced design specifications for a 350 mm x 350 mm X-Y scanning motion system. To ensure the perfect reproducibility of the original analogue photographic images, the positional accuracy and repeatability targets needed to be an order above the inherent accuracy for the plates. This value was interpreted in the region of 0.5 microns over the whole scanning area with respect to a fixed telecentric objective of a sophisticated digital camera system. To ensure the fastest possible throughput, the motion system required a full move displacement of 10 mm in less than half a second including acceleration, deceleration and settling time and once in position, the stability (jitter) requirement was just 20 nanometres. These factors would ensure that the plates could be fully scanned and archived in a matter of minutes rather than older methods which were less accurate and required hours of processing. The machine specification also called for automatic loading of the glass photographic plates and film rolls, with a working duty cycle close to 24/7 continuous and unattended operation - so high reliability, low maintenance and long working life were also critical factors.

To realise such extreme precision and dynamic performance, the ROB chose Aerotech for a complete motion sub-system based upon its ABL3600 series open-frame air bearing table in a custom engineered system solution that included a lapped granite base plate, a granite bridge with a vertical focussing axis for the camera and optical assembly, plus a photographic plate holder, plate storage tower and fully automatic transport system.

Now delivered and fully commissioned, the DAMIAN digitiser is housed in a temperature and humidity controlled clean room, maintained to within 0.1ºC and 1%RH. Aerotech’s ABL3600 series X-Y stage includes a preloaded, high-stiffness air bearing system that has been perfected over many product generations featuring powerful dual brushless and slotless linear motors on each axis with glass scale linear encoder servo feedback. Two granite rails form a reference for the lower axis and both axes are referenced to a lapped granite surface plate with passive air isolation to maximise vibration stability.  In combination with this positioning system and fundamental to the machine's overall dynamic performance, Aerotech's linear technology servo amplifiers guarantee exceptionally smooth motion, high bandwidth and outstanding in-position stability with zero backlash or hysterisis. The friction free mechanics also provide the added benefit of very low maintenance and an essentially limitless working life. The large through aperture of the open frame design allows back illumination for the plates and images. The design of the ABL3600 has a pedigree of successful applications in semiconductor fabrication and test, and is a well matched solution for demanding scanning microscopy, imaging and step & repeat positioning applications.

For the ROB, Aerotech extended the ABL3600's normal working travel range from 250 mm to 350 mm in both axes. For such high precision applications, Aerotech's HALAR calibration firstly ensures optimal levels of accuracy, bi-directional repeatability, straightness and flatness for each axis then performs error mapping with laser based measurement systems at Aerotech's state-of-the-art metrology lab - with the calibration file pre-configured on the motion controller.  During tests at Aerotech and on-site at the ROB, object locations on a calibrated test plate were repeated to within 70 nanometres over a usable X-Y travel range of 335 mm – this far exceeded the original working specification.  Other impressive results included geometric test for accuracy and repeatability to better than +/- 0.1 micron and the displacement speed and  in-position stability performance were fully met.

The DAMIAN ultra-precision scanning system includes a full cable management system and was delivered complete with Aerotech's A3200 Automation Platform motion control system which controls the main X-Y axes as well as several other motion axes for film wind, plate stacking and tray height adjustment. The ROB took care of interfacing the A3200 to its own imaging software using a step and repeat procedure with alignment accuracy ensured using selected objects on the photographic media. Images are recorded at stand-still, thus the need for such high in-position stability.
The  PC based software-only motion and machine controller provides position, velocity and time information to  Firewire® interfaced linear technology servo drives.  A range of optional modules include HMI, soft PLC and vision control. The fully deterministic controller can be programmed using Aerotech’s own AEROBasic™, RS274 G-code and LabviewTM. Alternatively programmers can call upon the powerful Microsoft® .NET development environment to help reduce project development timescales with C, C++, VisualBasic® or Delphi based programming.

This application is fairly typical for Aerotech's engineered systems approach where customers provide their own very specialised expertise in combination with a fully tested and certified motion sub-system which fulfils a very intrinsic 'enabling technology' element for the entire system.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#OpsManage Releases on Day one

These are the official releases on the first day.

Invensys Operations Management Wins Contract with Bluewater
Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, today announced that it has entered a contract with Bluewater (Glas Dowr) NV, a company specializing in the design, development, lease and operation of tanker-based production and storage systems. Read More

O.N.G Automation one
of three European SIs
announced at OpsManage

Invensys Adds Endorsed SIs to Expanding Partner Ecosystem
Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the process and manufacturing industries, today announced the addition of three endorsed systems integrators (SIs) to its global ecosystem of partners. The endorsed SIs, all based in Europe, have demonstrated a commitment to providing superior solutions and service to Invensys’ Wonderware® software customer base and to building a strong Wonderware practice within their individual businesses. Read More

Invensys Operations Management Signals Expansion in Algeria
Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, signed an agreement today with Algiers-based North African Automation (NAA), a specialist supplier of control and control-related equipment. Read More

Measuring combustion instability prevents turbine damage and downtime

IMI Launches High Temperature Pressure Sensors for Gas Turbine Monitoring

IMI Sensors has launched the Series 176 high-temperature pressure sensors for gas turbine monitoring. When directly mounted to a gas turbine’s combustor, the Series 176 high-temperature pressure sensors provide 24/7, consistent, reliable combustion dynamics data monitoring.

These high-temperature pressure sensors detect and measure dynamic pressure phenomena and combustion instability in the extreme heat environments (+986 °F, +530 °C) generated by today’s gas turbines. These sensors are also ATEX and CSA certified for use in hazardous areas. The Series 176 high-temperature pressure sensors are ideally suited for gas turbine monitoring with sensitivities to 17 pC/psi (2.5 pC/kPa) and ranges from 20 psi (140 kPa) dynamic to 400 psi (2760 kPa) static.

By mounting the Series 176 high-temperature pressure sensors to the combustor, gas turbine operators can rely on critical diagnostics, part fatigue analysis, and the ability to continuously monitor and control emissions. Operators also save time during combustion inspections and overhauls due to the elimination of tubing and a purging system. In addition, the high frequency capability of the Series 176 sensors enables the use of auto-tuning and on-line diagnostic monitoring systems. These sensors also provide an output that can easily connect to legacy combustion dynamics monitoring systems.

Cleanroom & contamination control

3C 2011 - show for Britain & Ireland showcasing everything that's new in contamination control & cleanroom technology

For over 15 years 3C has been the Britains’s only dedicated exhibition & conference for contamination control and cleanroom technology. For companies in the business of supplying turnkey cleanroom solutions, maintenance, associated equipment or disposables to the British (or Irish) market, 3C has been the opportunity to stand out and connect with key specifiers & purchasers from as diverse industries as medical, pharmaceutical, electronics, manufacturing and renewable energy markets.

Since 2006 the 3C show has been co-located with MEDTEC UK, a major medical technology exhibition. This focused event delivers over 2,500 engineers, managers and decision-makers from the the region's booming medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors. With their heavy reliance on manufacturing in cleanroom conditions, the medical device industry may be said to be a perfect partner to 3C.

Officially supported by Cleanroom Technology magazine, 3C is the must-attend event for visitors looking for the latest technologies and innovations to solve current production issues, aid in the delivery of new innovative products and accelerate their overall business.
These are comments from previous exhibitors

‘We have exhibited at every 3C show so far and we were very pleased to see so many visitors at this year’s show, many of them with genuine enquiries. On the strength of this year’s attendance we have booked again for 2011.’ Ray Wheeler, Group President, Guardline Group

'Connect 2 Cleanrooms had a great first year at 3C UK in 2010. As market leader in modular cleanrooms we made some great contacts and came away with some very beneficial enquiries especially after the launch of our smart green Eco-1 cleanroom.' Holly Dudman, Marketing Manager, Connect 2 Cleanrooms.

As well as MEdTec it also co-exhibits with mtec and Midlands Design & Manufacturing.

Visualiation and programming projects

ISaGRAF releases the ISaVIEW plug-in for ISaGRAF v6

The ISaVIEW plug-in from IsaGRAF, provides ISaGRAF 6 workbench users with a simple yet powerful integrated HMI. The ISaVIEW Pages are mapped to the automation project structure.

ISaVIEW is integrated into the workbench for simultaneous visualization and programming of process control. It provides predefined, fully customizable and ready-to-use set of objects. Animation can easily be modified graphically. Design and on-line modes are also available to eliminate the need to recompile. ISaVIEW also permit users to quickly create groups of basic objects.

ISaGRAF 6 leverages the powerful Microsoft® Visual Studio® Shell and offers an unprecedented environment for OEMs and automation vendors to create differentiated products for their markets. Based on an open plug-in technology designed specifically for industrial automation needs, the ISaGRAF 6 Workbench is a modular and flexible environment that allows users to add or remove components. Every component in the Workbench was developed with and interacts through ISaGRAF’s new Microsoft .NET® Framework-based technology called the Automation Collaborative Platform (ACP). The ISaGRAF ACP provides the ability to add or remove the various plug-ins to meet specific automation product requirements. ISaGRAF 6.0 now has several plug-ins including a Ladder Diagram editor, a Function Block Diagram editor, a Structured Text editor, a Tag Database editor (Dictionary), an integrated HMI plus several other auxiliary plug-ins.

ISaGRAF is to continue to release a new plug-in every other week over the next several months to complement the ISaGRAF 6 offering. The staged release of the different industrial automation components illustrates the modularity and flexibility of this new environment.

Monitoring wind power

PC VUE monitors US wind farms

Iberdrola Renewables, the second-largest energy provider in North America has chosen PC VUE SCADA system to monitor it’s US wind farms, producing 3,600 megawatts of wind power over 35 independent power plants. Each of the 2479 wind turbine supplies about 300 to 350 data points, which equates to approximately 700,000 to 850,000 I/O data points on nearly two dozen servers.
The latest operation for Iberdrola Renewables is its National Control Center. In a room that looks a like NASA Mission Control, systems analysts oversee every turbine at every wind farm throughout the
US. They monitor the performance and efficiency of every turbine, and they keep an eye on approaching storms to warn technicians of the danger in the field.

A vital element of this operation is the SCADA system. Each wind turbine has a control box containing a PLC, power converter, control boards and an I/O device at the top. Sensors for wind speed, wind direction, shaft rotation speed and numerous other factors collect and transfer data to the PLC. By detecting the wind’s direction, the control system can use a motorized yaw gear to turn the entire wind turbine in the proper direction for maximum power generation. All wind turbines are connected to a LAN, with each wind tower’s control box using Ethernet to link to the base of the tower where there is a fiber-based, redundant ring LAN connection. The LAN is connected to a remote control station running a control system that manages and collects data, adjusts turbine settings and provides intelligent alarm, troubleshooting and reporting capabilities via a central data center and control facility located in Portland, Ore. This central control station is equipped with a PcVue SCADA system that
acts as a nerve center for the wind farms. It connects the individual turbines, the substations,
the meteorological stations the bird/bat aviation radar and other wildlife preservation surveillance systems to this central control room. It provides visibility for the operator to supervise the behavior of all the wind farms as a whole. By keeping a record of the activity on a time interval basis, PC VUE allows the operator to determine what adjustments and corrective action, if any, need to be taken.

The organisation uses multiple turbine types and each turbine supplier provides their own control/
HMI system. The major advantages of using PcVue as the main SCADA system is that it is not tied to any one PLC vendor so that it operates irrespectively of turbine type. This was of particular importance to Iberdrola who have wind farm operators using multiple turbines and various PLCs.

During the implementation process, Iberdrola’s team liked how PcVue was easy to configure. Its ability to iconize animated mimics and use pop-up windows reduced the risk of overlaying crucial information helped simplify the view for Iberdrola’s team. Also, the creation of templates for contents and behavior, associated with each mimic and GUI (graphical user interface) animation, ensure consistency of the window display.
They are using OPC (and others) as the communications protocol to pull data from the various PLCs. Iberdrola uses PcVue’s OPC Data Access Client and OPC DA XML Client for exchange of real time data with communication servers, and OPC DA Server to facilitate data exchange with 3rd party applications. All of the data acquisition that occurs is routed back to the National Control Center.

“PcVue proved reliable, scalable and easy to configure. CORE had been kept up and running quite successfully. PcVue provides a single user view that allows an easy visual display and overall management of the myriad systems in place from PLC, HMI and the control system equipped on the turbines,” said Harm Toren, head of operations services - wind, Iberdrola Renewables. “As we monitor aviation migration and weather in addition to controlling and managing our turbines, we needed a system that would provide a simple, easy to read GUI so that we can react at a moment’s notice”. Furthermore, PcVue software had already proven to be user-friendly and highly functional in the Spanish operations.

Eve of #OpsManage EURA releases #PAuto

This week sees OpsManage EURA, the European, Russian and African leg of this world event from Invensys which is scheduled for Paris (F) on Thuesday and Wednesday 16th & 17th of November 2010. The first leg held in Orlando (FL US) and we have covered that event in our vicarious report, It was a good two days, earlier this month.
The Paris event report however will be different in that the Read-out Signpost expects to be on the ground so the reports ought to be a little more "experiential" and hopefully the details will be a little more interesting. Although the matter of the event should not differ too much from the Orlando event hopefully the physical attendance will add something to our visitors' experience.

We hope to provide our visitors with the Official Releases on this platform (Blogger) but we will hopefully give a general impression on our Wordpress platform later after the event.

Here are the releases issued by the organisers on the eve of OpsManage EURA.

Invensys Expands InFusion Enterprise Control System Capabilities with New Product Announcements at OpsManage’10 Conference Invensys Operations Management will unveil a host of new and upgraded components of its InFusion™ Enterprise Control System (ECS) at its OpsManage’EURA being held this week in Paris (F) . In addition to enhancements and new releases to the company’s Wonderware® System Platform 4.0 software and flagship Foxboro® I/A Series® 8.6 distributed control system (DCS), OpsManage attendees will see a number of new InFusion ECS components, including a new Foxboro Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) System, a new Triconex® General Purpose Safety System, a preview of new software-based workflow capabilities, a new Eurotherm® nanodac™ data controller/recorder and a new Wonderware endorsed-partner application that provides a software as a service (SaaS) mobile reporting solution. Read More

Invensys Operations Management Introduces SmartGlance Mobile Reports
Invensys Operations Management announces the availability of SmartGlance™, a new Software as a Service (SaaS) partner offering that delivers industrial and manufacturing intelligence data, archived in plant automation systems and data stores, to smartphones. The SmartGlance solution will be offered as part of an endorsed partner agreement the company has signed with Sarla Analytics, an innovative supplier of smartphone applications focused on business intelligence. Read More

New Foxboro PAC System from Invensys Offers Integrated Hybrid Control and Data Acquisition at PLC Pricing
Invensys Operations Management introduces its new Foxboro® Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) System. A powerful, versatile programmable automation controller and I/O subsystem, integrated with Wonderware® software, the new Foxboro PAC System offers robust control and information capabilities for installations with fewer than 3,000 input/output (I/O) points, while providing a foundation for a larger and even more capable Enterprise Control System (ECS). Read More 

Invensys Introduces New Triconex General Purpose System
Invensys Operations Management introduces its new Triconex® General Purpose System. The new offering provides a lower-cost entry point into the market-leading Triconex safety system product line. The Triconex line allows clients to optimize their choice of safety system for their specific requirements, enabling them to meet new safety standards, counter global competition and address cost pressures by lowering investment and lifecycle costs. Read More

Breakthrough Alkylation Measurement Solution from Invensys Sets New Standard for HF Catalyst Analysis
Invensys Operations Management announces the availability of its ACA.HF Advanced Alkylation measurement solution, a non-spectroscopic acid catalyst measurement solution that simplifies and dramatically lowers the cost of online monitoring of hydrofluoric acid (HF). The new solution replaces conventional manual sampling and Fourier Transform Near Infrared (FTNIR) analysis, with a measurement system that monitors HF levels in real time by analyzing differential responses from online sensors. Read More

Invensys Operations Management Introduces Eurotherm nanodac
Invensys Operations Management, a global provider of technology systems, software solutions and consulting services to the manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries, today formally introduced its Eurotherm nanodac™ recorder/controller. At just 92 millimetres high and wide and 90 millimetres deep, the nanodac recorder/controller combines powerful graphical recording capabilities with versatile control, communications and reporting to help customers achieve control and productivity excellence. Read More

Subracks allows myriad options

Rittal’s wide range of subracks, all branded under the Ripac banner, provide users with multiple options for housing several printed circuit boards or plug-in modules in a 19” rack environment.

Ranging from the Ripac EASY with simple, non-EMC construction and ultra-quick assembly to the highly competitive Ripac Vario EMC for more sophisticated applications, the whole range shares common accessories, such as guide rails and divider kits for use where different sized PCBs are to be accommodated.

Other parts of the range provide support for heavy loads (Ripac Solid), or are designed for simple mounting on DIN rails for a few boards (Ripac Compact). The backbone of the range, Ripac Vario, may be upgraded to an EMC solution following assembly if it is found necessary.

In addition to catalogues and an internet based configurator, Rittal offer personal assistance with subrack and case design and backplane selection, through their team of 20 area managers and market specialists.

IO starter kit at SPS/IPC/Drives

Fujitsu’s IO-Link starter kit simplifies the development of automation solutions

Fujitsu Semiconductor Europe has launched an IO-Link starter kit, which is designed to provide developers of automation solutions with a quick and easy introduction to all aspects of IO-Link as well as support IO-Link communication in both master and slave mode. The board was developed in collaboration with Technology Management Group (TMG) and Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden AG (ZMDI).

IO-Link is an open communication protocol used in automation technology to connect sensors and actuators to a master system (PLC) in accordance with IEC 61131. The IO-Link standard addresses the growing need for greater functionality, such as identification, parameterisation and diagnostics, even for miniature sensors and actuators.  This highly flexible, field-bus-independent solution is extremely easy to install and can be quickly integrated in existing automation solutions.

The starter kit from Fujitsu comprises a microcontroller-based board, the IO-Link adapter board and an evaluation version of the IO-Link protocol stack developed by TMG.

Microcontroller baseboard
The SK-16FX-EUROSCOPE microcontroller baseboard is based on Fujitsu’s scalable 16-bit microcontroller platform 16FX and is used for evaluating the microcontroller properties. In addition to the MB96F348H-MCU, the board features a UART, USB and high-speed CAN interface, pin contact strips that make all the pins on the microcontroller easily accessible, segment displays and buttons. The complete development environment with the compiler, linker, flash programmer, GUI and the Euroscope Lite on-chip debugger are also included in the scope of delivery.

Adapter board
The ADA-16FX-IOLINK-ZDMI adapter board is a cost-effective solution providing an IO-Link interface for the microcontroller baseboard. The core of the adapter board is the ZIOL2401 IO-Link high-voltage transceiver developed by ZMDI, which is the only IO-Link IC on the market today that supports not only IO-Link master ports and IO-Link device ports but also standard I/O applications. This is possible thanks to the ZIOL2401 chip, which features an innovative two-channel IO-Link driver and a DC/DC converter for up to 15V. The IO-Link drivers can be fully programmed – including the slew rate – and feature comprehensive diagnostic functions as well as a temperature sensor. The board is also equipped with a 24V converter and jumpers for a wide range of configuration settings.

IO-Link stack and IODD interpreter
TMG Karlsruhe is responsible for the software package (IO-Link master, device protocol stacks and IO-Link device tool), which forms a central element of the overall solution. The protocol stacks, which are written entirely in ANSI-C, support all the IO-Link functions (in accordance with specifications 1.0 and 1.1) and, accordingly, are modular in structure. Particular importance has been attached to the strict separation of the protocol stack, application and hardware in order to ensure that the software can be easily adapted in line with the respective customer application. The IO-Link device tool enables IO-Link devices to be operated by means of the XML device description (IODD). The software is included with the starter kit as a demo version or as an evaluation library.

Thanks to Fujitsu’s collaboration with ZMDI and TMG, users can rely on the famously high standard of support offered by these companies.

The IO-Link starter kit from Fujitsu will be showcased at SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2010 on the PNO joint stand (hall 6, stand 210). The boards can be ordered immediately (mid-November 2010). More IO-Link tools from Fujitsu, such as an IO-Link/CAN gateway, are currently under development and will be available in the near future.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mobile radio control

Monitoring and controlling plants and machines worldwide by mobile radio

The Siemens Industry Automation Division is expanding its TeleService (remote maintenance/diagnostics) and Telecontrol ranges with three new products for remote access by mobile radio. The CP 1242-7 module adds a GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service) networks interface to the Simatic S7-1200 controller. The Telecontrol Server Basic control center software can address up to 5,000 Simatic S7-1200 and Simatic S7-200 microcontrollers via the mobile radio network. The third innovation is the IE Basic TeleService Adapter with the TeleService GSM module for dial-up connections which facilitate the remote maintenance of a Simatic S7 by mobile radio. Remote access solutions from Siemens enable plants to be economically monitored, controlled and maintained from afar. The technology also facilitates communications from machine to machine (M2M).

The CP 1242-7 communications processor adds a GSM/GPRS interface to the Siemens S7-1200 controller. It enables plant operators to cost-effectively diagnose, maintain, monitor and control remote stations throughout the world via GPRS and Internet. All that is needed to run a CP 1242-7 is a mobile radio contract with a SIM card or a special M2M contract. In service, the system informs the personnel via SMS (short message service) of the status of the plant or of any faults that have occurred. The CP 1242-7 also opens up remote access via the Internet. Access is provided by a computer with Internet access and Step 7 V11 software. Another field of application is M2M communications, in which physically separated plants are directly connected with one another, and processes are coordinated.

The Telecontrol Server Basic control center software acts as an OPC server for the Simatic S7-200 and Simatic S7-1200 controllers linked via the radio network. This enables the data from up to 5,000 connected stations to be brought together and made available via an OPC interface to HMI systems (human machine interface) or SCADA systems (supervisory control and data acquisition). Application examples are the continuous data exchange and central monitoring of widely branched infrastructure facilities, such as water supply and waste water systems. One system integrator can operate an OPC server for several customers.

The third innovation from Siemens in the field of remote access is the IE Basic TeleService Adapter. It can be fitted, among other things, with a Teleservice GSM module, which enables wireless access via a GSM dial-up connection to a Simatic S7 or to another subscriber with an Ethernet interface.

Mobile radio communications are becoming ever more important for remote access applications because it is not only more flexible than cable-connected systems but also frequently less expensive. The worldwide GSM network provides the basis for various data transfer services in the field of industrial automation. With CSD (circuit switched data), the data is transferred by setting up a dial-up connection via the mobile radio network. With SMS, messages are sent to personnel in the form of short text messages. GPRS enables mobile Internet connections to be set up for data transfer. With the previously available products, such as quadband mobile radio modems, and the newly introduced components, Siemens offers industry a wide range of solutions for Teleservice und Telecontrol via the mobile radio network.

Rugged components expand the field of application for RFID technology

With new products, the Siemens Industry Automation Division is strengthening its RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) product portfolio in the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) frequency range. The newly introduced products include antennas, a mobile reader, and extremely heat-resistant, compact data carriers in the Smart Label format. RFID systems that operate in the UHF range are successfully used in logistics, material handling and more and more in production due to their range of several meters. Their use provides transparency and therefore allows many processes in a company to be optimized. With extremely rugged components, Siemens contributes to the further spread of RFID technology in both proven and new application areas.

Two compact UHF antennas complete the comprehensive RFID product portfolio. The Simatic RF640A antenna with dimensions of 185 x 185 x 45 mm operates using circular polarization, whereas the RF642A model with the same dimensions uses linear polarization. Depending on the reader that is used, the range of the antennas can be up to four meters. Both antennas meet the high requirements of degree of protection IP67 and are designed for operating temperatures ranging from -25 to +75 degrees Celsius. Thus they are suitable for indoor and outdoor applications.

Another innovation is the Simatic RF680M mobile RFID reader. The reader includes a color display with VGA resolution (640x480 pixels) and an ergonomic keypad. The user benefits from the improved readability and can operate the device with only one hand due to the modified arrangement of the keys. Furthermore, the transmit power of the RFID module has been increased to 500 mW ERP (milliwatt; Effective Radiated Power), the CPU performance has been increased to 624 MHz, and the memory has been expanded to 1 GB Flash and 256 MB RAM in comparison to the predecessor model. The pre-installed RF600 software provides service and test functions for reading and writing on data carriers and Smart Labels. Recorded data can be saved and clearly arranged in file structures. An API library (Application Programming Interface) is also included. With these programming interfaces, the customer can create his own RFID applications for the mobile reader. Since RF680M uses the standard Windows CE operating system, the device can easily be integrated into existing IT networks and process infrastructures. With the high degree of protection IP65, the new reader is suitable for use in particularly harsh industrial environments such as production logistics or warehouse management.

In the field of RFID data carriers, Siemens is introducing the heat-resistant Simatic RF680L Smart Label. It can tolerate one hour at temperatures of up to 220 degrees Celsius or six hours at temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius and is therefore suitable for demanding industrial applications such as painting lines and other high-temperature applications. With the new Smart Label, the products can be permanently identified and tracked throughout the entire value creation chain in material handling, production, and logistics. The high memory capacity expands the application area of RF680L even more. The data carrier provides a memory capacity of 240 bits for the EPC (Electronic Product Code) and a further 512 bits for user data.

Siemens has been developing RFID systems for production and logistics for the last 25 years and is the market leader in Europe with more than 300,000 RFID read/write devices installed. The company provides optimized wireless data carriers along with the required software for various sectors and a wide variety of purposes - from RFID middleware to application software.

Focus to diversify theme of British automation event.

"Mtec 2011 is your opportunity to stand out among key decision-makers from as diverse industries as the aerospace, defence, medical, automotive and green energy sectors." Thus goes the release for this show scheduled for 6th & 7th April next.  "These visitors will be seeking the latest technologies and innovations to solve current production issues, assist in the delivery of new cutting-edge products and accelerate and enhance their businesses overall."

Read-out has been a regular attendee of this event for the last ten years and our reports may be seen on the main website . Mtec visitors read like the who’s who of the industry. Over 6,500 design, process control and instrumentation engineers, as well as corporate management will attend these events at Birmingham's NEC. It will be co-located with other shows including the recently announced Midlands Design & Manufacturing show.

Mtec continues to be the Britain's sole focused event for companies showcasing the latest in control, instrumentation, sensor and measurement technology required in today’s zero- or limited-tolerance production processes and products.

"Officially supported by the Institute of Measurement & Control, and with high profile speakers already lined up for its co-located 2011 conference programme from the likes of Siemens, ABB and Honeywell, Mtec has cemented itself as the central forum for the Britain's control and instrumentation industry."