Saturday, December 4, 2010

Power factor correction

New Power Factor Correction Converters from Powerstax

Powerstax has launched its new FP Series, AC to DC, 1000W and 600W power factor correction (PFC) modules.

The Powerstax FP Series are “full brick” (116.8x61x12.7mm) sized modules providing high performance AC-DC Power Factor Correction offering end users a typical system power factor of 0.99. The converters have been developed to provide front-end power conditioning for systems using high input voltage DC-DC Modules. The Powerstax PFC Modules offer a cost effective alternative to designing power supplies with discrete components in many applications.

The Powerstax FP Series of PFC modules incorporate surface mount technology to achieve high power density and reliability. The converters are available with either a universal input voltage range, (85V - 264VAC), for worldwide applications or high-line (230VAC) only, both types provide an output voltage of 380VDC.

The FP PFC series offer system builders many control options and protection features. The ENABLE output can be used to control the load DC-DC converters. DCOK and VAUX outputs are available to provide monitoring of the system if required and early warning of mains failure. A SYNC input pin allows modules to be synchronized to an external system clock for particularly noise sensitive applications. The modules have inrush current limiting, thermal shut down, output over-voltage and input under-voltage protection.

The Powerstax FP series are in the industry standard “full brick” package (116.8 x 61 x 12.7mm), offer high efficiency of greater than 95% and conform to IEC-1000-3-2. The modules have an operating temperature range of -25°C to +100°C (base plate), thermal protection and carry a two year warranty.

Tim Worley, CEO of Powerstax comments; "Powerstax has established an excellent reputation for providing innovative high efficiency, high power full brick converters offering system builders very flexible solutions to power system design. Our new PFC converters give designers another option for controlling the power factor of their systems and reducing EMC problems while maintaining high efficiencies.”

HMI manufacturer acquired

"With the acquisition of QSI Corporation we get a strong presence in North America which is a strategically important market for Beijer Electronics. Among other positive things we see great potential with the extended product portfolio designed for demanding environments and for mobile applications", says Magnus Ekerot, Business Area Director of HMI Products.

QSI Corporation has established itself as one of the leading suppliers of rugged operator panels and mobile data terminals for the industrial and transportation sectors. QSI Corporation is mainly active in the North American market and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah (US) with a turnover of approximately $20m and  70 employees.

The acquisition of QSI Corporation means:
- substantially increased body in the North American market with established sales and support channels
- a wider portfolio of products and solutions by adding rugged operator panels and mobile data terminals for the industrial and transportation sectors
- wider competence and development resources

Mini high frequency low bandwidth accelerometer

Meggitt Sensing Systems Introduces Endevco® Miniature High-Frequency, Low Bandwidth Piezoelectric Accelerometer

Meggitt Sensing Systems has recently introduced the Endevco® model 7240C, a miniature piezoelectric accelerometer with low bandwidth flat to 30 kHz, expressly designed for general purpose high-frequency vibration measurements.

Featuring a lightweight sensor design which allows for high seismic resonance and ruggedness within the same package, the model 7240C offers low base strain sensitivity and excellent output stability over time, with a total package weight of just 4.8 grams, effectively eliminating mass loading concerns. The unit is hermetically sealed to prevent against environmental contamination and is a self-generating device which requires no external power source for operation.

Signal ground of the unit is connected to the outer case of the unit. When used with one of the supplied isolated mounting studs, the accelerometer is electrically isolated from ground. A specially designed low-noise coaxial cable is also supplied for error-free operation.  The sensor’s overall size, versatility and performance make it ideal for use within a variety of automotive, aerospace, commercial aviation, general laboratory testing and structural monitoring applications.

Recommended optional accessories for use with the Endevco® model 7240C include the model 133 three-channel signal conditioner; the new model 2771C–XX series in-line charge converter; and the model 3053VM1 HyperFlex cable assembly, all available from Meggitt Sensing Systems. In addition, all Endevco® sensors and instrumentation are accompanied by a comprehensive five-year product warranty.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wireless in control

Emerson’s Smart Wireless network helps Northstar Bluescope Steel boost production and reduce maintenance costs

Northstar Bluescope Steel is using Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology to monitor and control temperatures on an electric arc furnace at their facility in Delta, Ohio.
Replacing the traditional wired network with a wireless solution for control and monitoring has improved operations and worker safety in a harsh environment

Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology has helped Northstar Bluescope Steel improve furnace control at its mini-mill in Delta, Ohio, USA. As a result, the mill has been able to boost production by as much as one batch per day, cut maintenance costs by €145,000 annually, and improve worker safety.

Emerson's self-organising wireless network, based on the IEC 62591 (WirelessHART®) standard, collects data used to control the temperature of cooling panels and water-cooled burners on the mill’s electric arc furnace. This data is critical to safe furnace operation. Overheating cooling panels can lead to major furnace damage, with a blown-out panel costing as much as €14,500 to repair. Production time is also lost when the furnace must be shut down during maintenance or repairs.


“Better temperature control through wireless has allowed us to add up to one additional batch per day,” said Rob Kearney, maintenance supervisor for Northstar Bluescope Steel. "With each batch worth as much as €145,000 , that's a significant advantage."

Emerson’s wireless solution replaced a hard-wired monitoring network with hundreds of wiring junctions. The old network suffered frequent measurement failures in the mill's harsh environment, with its high electromagnetic field, flying slag, vibration, moisture, and temperatures as high as 1,650°C.


“Between nine and 12 measurements per week would fail due to high temperatures or physical damage to sensors, cable or conduit," said Kearney. "And when a measurement point fails, the furnace must be shut down. The new wireless solution eliminated almost 100 per cent of the cable and conduit – which reduced maintenance costs by €145,000 annually. The new wireless solution has been up and running for four months without a single failure.”

The wireless network includes 32 of Emerson's Rosemount® wireless temperature transmitters; 28 are used for control and four for monitoring. The transmitters send their data to a Smart Wireless Gateway, which interfaces with the mill’s transformer-regulation and burner-control system.

“Safety has also been improved,” Kearney said. “The furnace’s cooling panels are operating consistently at a safe temperature, and there is less maintenance required around the hot furnace shell, where ambient temperatures can be 60°C.”

Due to its success with Emerson's Smart Wireless, Northstar Bluescope intends to implement a similar wireless solution for a second electric arc furnace.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

HART DTM for FDT

A completely new Generic HART® DTM for FDT frame applications

For many years a generic Device Type Manager (DTM) for HART® devices has been delivered with PACTware®, and many people have used this.

A significantly more advanced Generic HART DTM Rel. 5 is now available for free downloading from ICS. Users no longer require a test license but can commence immediately with their work. The DTM executes with all functions (except calibration) free of charge for 30 days following the installation and must then be licensed.

Release 5 offers the following new features for system commissioning, operation and maintenance:


  • All functions are described in detail to provide improved support for when the DTM is only used sporadically




  • 5 calibration functions are available, documented with detailed instructions (Professional license required)




  • The PACTware® Device State Manager provides condition monitoring of all HART devices (NAMUR status) in a system together with the Generic HART DTM




  • The device data record can be exported as a file and also reimported in order e.g. to distribute copies of device data to a range of field devices of the same type

    The Generic HART DTM offers the following extensions for FDT and HART specialists:


  • Many additional common practice commands are processed, e.g. the enhanced status and the EEPROM function

  • Audit Trail and all other FDT 1.2.1 functions can be used
  • Wireless shackle load cells

    Wireless shackle load cells allow versatility for a wide range of industrial applications

    Shackle load cells are used widely in lifting and weighing applications and LCM Systems has seen a recent surge in the demand for its recently launched TELSHACK range of wireless shackle cells. Designed specifically for use in harsh or rugged environments, these innovative load cells are already in use in applications such as under-hook hoist and crane weighing in factory environments, cable tension monitoring and crane load safety monitoring.

    This range uses integral wireless telemetry electronics operating on the 2.4GHz license-free frequency. Two ranges are offered: TELSHACK-D can be used from 12 tonne to 35 tonne, while the TELSHACK-B Bow Shackle Load cell can be used for applications up to 400 tonne. Both ranges can be supplied with either Crosby or Greenpin shackles and experienced design engineers at LCM Systems can provide expert advice on the correct shackle for each application. LCM Systems have also manufactured versions using GN Rope shackles, for specialised applications. These shackles are available for lifting working loads up to 2000tonne!

    These wireless shackle load cells are constructed from high tensile carbon steel, with the both the shackle and load pin fully certified. Specifically designed for simple operation and ease of use, they have a transmission range of up to 120 metres clear line of sight and are environmentally sealed to IP66.

    One of the main features of the ranges is that the housing is supplied with a built-in AAA size rechargeable battery. This means that they can be removed from the shackle for charging, while the shackle itself remains in place. In emergencies, standard AAA alkaline batteries can be used, for those odd occasions, when the user has forgotten to re-charge the batteries before a critical weighing. A handheld battery powered display is supplied as standard with the option of a single display that can monitor up to 12 shackles when the load cells are used in a multi-shackle configuration, either individually or for summation/balancing applications. The battery also has a continuous use life of 200 hours.

    An optional centralising bobbin can also be supplied to help improve the overall accuracy in critical cable tension applications.

    Industrial radio range

    A few months after the launch of its first industrial class IEEE 802.11n RadioLinx® modules, ProSoft Technology is enlarging its most recent family of industrial wireless solutions with a single-radio IP67 version.

    They now have an IP67 single-radio model (RLXIB-IHN-W) to increase its family of industrial class 802.11n RadioLinx Wireless solutions. The new radio comes in addition to the existing two »single-radio» versions (an Industrial HotspotTM, and an industrial client), and two »dual-radio» versions (one Industrial Hotspot with IP20 - standard - casing, and one with an IP67 - watertight - protection).

    This weatherproof radio has an IP67 protection rating. This protection makes it dust-tight (»6» = no ingress of any kind of solid, including dust) and water-tight (»7» = no ingress of water in harmful quantity when the enclosure is immersed in water up to 1 m of submersion). Compared to its existing »dual-radio» predecessor, this new »single-radio» industrial class 802.11n solution is a cost effective choice which allows users to benefit from ProSoft Technology´s solutions to address applications where IP67 protection is needed and the »dual-radio» option is not necessary.

    As a reminder, the new industrial class 802.11n family provides excellent performances to high-capacity networks. They offer high-reliability networking option to applications that are traditionally difficult to solve with wireless solutions.

    This family of RadioLinx modules implements the latest 802.11 technology In short, while Industrial class 802.11a/b/g solutions are already suitable for a wide variety of manufacturing and production applications, industrial class 802.11n radios ease implementation of wireless network for critical cases (they offer the wireless option to a wider range of applications).

    The RadioLinx 802.11n family eases transport of demanding industrial protocols (supports the »reliable I/O message delivery» functionality). VLAN (Virtual Local-Area-Network) support allows network traffic segmentation (one connection for the automation control application and another connection for programming or maintenance, for example). The MIMO technology (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) is used with up to three antennas connected to each radio; it benefits from multipath due to reflections (typically on metal parts on the plant-floor) to enable high-speed data rates (up to 300 Mbps) and advanced performance in industrial environments. Quality of Service (QoS) for data prioritization is supported for background applications.

    Industrial class 802.11n RadioLinx operate within extended temperature range (-40 to +75 C) and offer hazardous location ratings (ATEX Zone 2 Category 3). Other industrial specifications include: high vibration/shock resistance, DIN-rail mounting, Power over Ethernet and simultaneous bridge / repeater / Industrial Hotspot mode. As other 802.11 RadioLinx solutions from ProSoft Technology, the new family of radios supports 802.11i and RADIUS security for centralized management of security policies.

    Compatible with existing 802.11 RadioLinx solutions, the industrial class 802.11n radios improve performance for high-bandwidth applications and high packet-rate control applications. All ProSoft Technology products come with a three year warranty and unlimited technical support for the life of the product.

    Controls for Brazilian cement company.

    GE Intelligent Platforms has received a $4.5 million order from Cimentos Liz, a leading cement company in Brazil, for the company’s breakthrough process solution Proficy® Process Systems. Cimentos Liz, a Soeicom S/A company, with plants in Vespasian in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, will use the solution for a plant upgrade to control raw mill, furnace, packing and crushing applications, among others.

    Cimentos Liz believes that producing quality products that meet the expectations and needs of their customers is essential to ensure their competitiveness in the market. Therefore, the company maintains strict quality control, from extraction of raw materials for cement until the last stage of production. The company is also committed to creating value in a sustainable manner by using natural resources efficiently to ensure their availability for future generations. 
    GE teamed with Cimentos Liz and pulled together a team from both organizations that consisted of a variety of developers, systems engineers, plant operators, and directors to develop the system requirements.  The result is a solution that will utilize GE’s Proficy Process Systems and the Proficy Software Platform to provide all aspects of process control, supervision, alarm management, release management, asset management and quality control across the plant.  Proficy Historian, part of Proficy Process Systems, bridges the gap between their process control system and their business system, capturing the critical information necessary to create a sustainable advantage for their operations.  
    “Proficy Process Systems will allow us to define, create and execute the control strategies we were looking for to meet the needs of our company and to satisfy our mission of operational excellence,” said Túlio Soares, Engineering Manager for Cimentos Liz. “It is a highly flexible and scalable system with user programmable features that provide the agility and security we need to monitor and control multiple devices in diverse areas to give us the quality and regularity that we strive for in our product offerings.”
    "The company needed a solution that could provide critical process control for their manufacturing operations while also providing the ability to vertically integrate to their business systems at the same time,” said Bernie Anger, General Manager of GE Intelligent Platforms’ Control & Communications Systems. “We needed to integrate the various areas of the plant in a single and flexible platform with low-cost engineering.
    “To gain insight and manage operations to provide the kind of sustainability and quality Cimentos Liz is requiring of its business they must be able to visualize, analyze and optimize every aspect of their processes, equipment and resources,” continued Anger. “By adding intelligence to their production environment, our innovative Proficy Process Systems provides lower total cost of ownership, greater productivity, efficiency and profitability for a sustainable competitive advantage.”

    New measurement and control resource

    Acromag  has created a new Technology Community Page focused on advanced measurement and control solutions. The community page contains white papers, tech briefs and articles to aid engineers, programmers and manufacturers research, analyze and integrate signal conditioning, industrial PCs, high speed networks and embedded I/O processing into their products.
    The page discusses advanced measurement and control solutions:


  • Signal conditioning




  • Remote distributed I/O




  • Industrial PCs and rugged I/O




  • Ethernet and fieldbus I/O networks




  • High-speed embedded I/O processing




  • FPGA computing technologies




  • The technology addresses engineers, technicians, programmers and manufacturers involved in automation and mission-critical applications in the industrial manufacturing, engineering design, research, aerospace, defense, energy and environmental industries.

    This technology community page is hosted by Acromag, an international corporation that combines more than 50 years of process monitoring and control experience with an expertise in high-performance embedded computer design. Acromag built its reputation designing critical measurement instrumentation equipment and is recognized internationally as a leading designer of analog and digital control products for the industrial I/O market.

    New installation testers

    Fluke has introduced two new models, the Fluke 1654B and the Fluke 1652C, to its highly successful range of rugged, easy-to-use Fluke 1650B Series of Installation Testers. The Fluke 1654B enhancements include RCD type B testing and increased data storage, while the Fluke 1652C includes a phase sequence indicator.  The Fluke 1650B Series of multifunction Installation Testers are designed for high productivity testing and verification of domestic, commercial and industrial electrical installations.

    The new Fluke 1652C is the ideal tester for all domestic applications, covering all the basic needs for testing to the 17th Edition wiring regulations / Part P of the building regulations. The Fluke 1653B is the ideal tester for professional trouble-shooters working in both domestic and commercial applications. The new Fluke 1654B is the complete tester for virtually all electrical wiring installations in domestic, commercial and industrial applications. The Fluke 1654B adds smooth DC-sensitive RCD type B testing for buildings equipped with solar panels and offers milliohm resolution for loop and line testing. Both the 1653B and 1654B offer internal memory which has now been increased for up to 1500 readings, provide extended data management capabilities and both come with Fluke DMS software which enables printing of professional documentation.

    All three models show two measurements at once on a dual display. This can show PEFC/PSC and loop impedance results in parallel negating the requirement to run the tests separately, more than halving the test time of some loop testers. They also feature a high-current loop test which gives extremely fast measurements when testing in circuits where no RCDs are being used. They offer both non trip and the high current test so the user can select depending on the application. In addition there is fast voltage measurement between L-N, L-PE and N-PE using the mains cord, with no need to change measurement connections.

    There is a PASS/FAIL indication for RCD test results, and a variable RCD current mode for customised settings. Requiring no separate batteries, a slim probe with test button supplied with the testers enables initiation of a test without the need to access or reference to the front panel when probing hard to reach points. An Earth Volt Touchpad detects earth voltages raised above 50V to indicate potentially dangerous situations.

    The Fluke Installation Testers are compact, lightweight (less than 1.2 kg) and have a padded neck-strap to free testers’ hands for testing. For ease of use, a rotary dial clearly indicates which function is selected, and provides access to all functions in one place to avoid complex multi-level menus, so that even after a long period of non-use the tester remains intuitive to use. A large display with backlight uses clear symbols and has an exceptionally wide viewing angle for easy and safe readings.

    All Fluke 1650B Series models have detachable standard 4-mm leads that can be replaced if damaged or lost, and require no customised special connectors. A Zero Adapter ensures easy, reliable and accurate test lead and mains cord compensation. The adapter can be used for all kinds of mains plugs and test accessories like probes and alligator clips.

    Exhibition almost full

    Organisers of major British environmental monitoring event MCERTS 2011, which takes place on 6th and 7th April in Bretby, near Burton on Trent, have warned that exhibition space is almost fully booked with only a few stands remaining.

    MCERTS 2011 is the latest in a series of events that began in 2003, and will focus on the latest regulations, techniques, standards and technologies that relate to emissions monitoring and gas detection and will be comprised of a conference, an exhibition and over 100 workshops.

    The main conference will focus on forthcoming regulations, including the new Industrial Emissions Directive, Operator Monitoring Assessments (OMA) and the MCERTS monitoring certification scheme.

    The conference presentations will be repeated on both days of the event, whilst the MCERTS workshops will cover a broad spectrum of subjects, providing practical guidance on the measurement of almost all measurands of interest.

    Exhibition organiser Marcus Pattison said: “MCERTS 2011 will be a truly unique event, providing visitors with an opportunity to meet with the entire emissions monitoring industry in one place – including the EA, the Source Testing Association (STA), SIRA, NPL, UKAS, test houses, consultants, equipment manufacturers, service providers, researchers and industrial process operators.


    “The event continues to grow and judging by the response we have had from exhibitors already, we are hopeful that next year’s event will be the biggest MCERTS exhibition we have hosted yet.”

    Entry to MCERTS 2011 will cost £55 for a one day pass or £100 for a two day pass. This will entitle visitors to attend the exhibition and all conference and workshop sessions. Onsite parking is also included and free lunches and refreshments are provided.

    Registration for MCERTS 2011 will open during the second week of January

    Remote wind turbine monitoring in China

    Guohua wind turbines choose for SKF remote monitoring

    When the fourth biggest wind farm operator in China increases his installed capacity by 50% within one year, that indicates a company that knows its business. And one of the business aspects that all wind farm operators need to take care of is “turbine reliability” – keeping the turbines turning as much as possible and keeping maintenance activities down to a minimum. Reduced or controlled maintenance is always a valuable contribution to bottom line profitability, but when you’ve got 2000 MW of installed capacity, the target by end 2010 for Guohua Energy Investment Company, based in Beijing (CN), then you are talking about huge amounts of money.

    That is why Mr. Zhou Weihua, Deputy General Manager of the Production Department, took a decision in 2008 to evaluate his maintenance strategy and the technology to be applied within that strategy. A critical decision was to look for the most reliable and experienced way to determine the health of his turbines in the fastest and most effective way.

    Investigating on-line monitoring
    With a few different turbine designs and sizes out in the field he needed the best possible way to get reliable and regular information about the general condition of selected turbines of these designs and types. At the same time he wanted identify any typical negative trends that might occur in the various, but differing, field operating conditions that the turbines would be deployed to. Not being satisfied with his previous assessment process of only using temperature readings of gearbox oil and generator bearing housings, he wanted to investigate on-line monitoring, where vibration signals from critical components are collected 24 hours a day and analysed to determine exactly if and where problems are developing, and how severe any problems were. This type of monitoring would also provide valuable knowledge that could allow critical maintenance to be planned and avoid unexpected and very costly breakdowns. He knew that this type of condition monitoring is widely used in USA, Europe, Australia etc.

    Visiting Germany for first hand experience

    His first step was to make a deep investigation of what technology was available and the quality and knowledge of the suppliers. These investigations covered all the key suppliers of such technology but contacts with other wind farm operators in China quickly brought him to consider SKF and their turbine monitoring system for further discussions. “Of course I knew of SKF” says Mr Zhou, “they are the number one bearing specialist in the world with expert knowledge in many industries over many years in many countries, also here in China. And I had heard of the SKF WindCon turbine monitoring system but had never used it before.

    After direct contact with SKF, I heard that they had recently been successful with remote on-line monitoring, where data from the monitored turbine in the wind farm were transmitted by Internet to their specialists for analysis.


    In order to get first hand experience of their remote on-line capability I visited their Intelligence Centre Wind (ICW), their major wind turbine diagnostic centre in Hamburg, Germany”.

    At the time of Mr Zhou’s visit the SKF ICW in Hamburg was receiving and processing data from more than 600 turbines from across Europe and also from USA.

    “In Hamburg I saw examples of almost all the capabilities of a SKF WinCon system, because there were so many systems deployed in so many wind farms. The level of detail that the system could give was clearly demonstrated, and the explanations by the people making the analysis clearly indicated that they knew all about wind turbines and the critical machinery. The Hamburg visit gave me the confidence to set up a field trial on some turbines in Guohua wind farms in 2009”.


    Field trials at 3 wind farms
    The field trial involved 11 SKF WindCon systems to be deployed across 3 wind farms; one in Jiangsu province, one in Shadong province and one in Inner Mongolia. Around the time SKF were installing their systems in the Guohua turbines SKF had opened a Remote Condition Monitoring Centre in Shanghai. Having SKF experts so close was an added benefit to Mr. Zhou and he was anxious to get the systems operating and see what the results would be. The data was collected on a local server at each wind farm and transmitted to an SKF server in Shanghai for analysis. Any immediate emergency situation would be reported at once but an ‘emergency situation’ was not detected at start up of the monitoring, and a report was issued once per month to the wind farm site managers and Mr Zhou. The reports contained the detailed vibration spectra for the key components being monitored, together with a brief statement that summarised the analysis of the data in terms of the condition of the component. But there was also a “report grid” that indicated the components being monitored and each one had one of 3 colours; green, yellow or red to give immediate indication of the condition, with green being OK, yellow being a slight to major deviation from the “acceptable levels or trends”, and red being something requiring immediate attention.

    The first results were good, because Mr Zhou could “see” for the first time what was really happening with his critical machinery. The SKF WindCon systems delivered the vibration spectra, similar to those he saw in Hamburg, and the SKF experts in Shanghai interpreted the data in terms of the condition of the bearings, potential misalignment, gear damage etc.

    During the six months to January 2010, the SKF WindCons provided good information on the turbines allowing Mr. Zhou to determine if and what maintenance would be required. In that period one of the installed SKF WindCons identified a severely damaged generator gearbox bearing at the Inner Mongolia wind farm.

    Success and further deployment of SKF WindCon

    “The SKF WindCons did their job," said Mr. Zhou, "they kept me informed and the early identification of the severity of the damaged bearing in Inner Mongolia was enough to allow us to plan for replacement at minimum cost and disturbance to the planned electricity supply from the turbine”.

    Since the tests Guohua have installed another 58 SKF WindCons and a further 280 have been ordered for new turbines going into service in 2010.

    This is the start of a mass application of remote monitoring and Mr. Zhou says “we have some knowledge regarding vibration analysis within our own maintenance teams, but I intend to build up more knowledge within the Guohua organization and set up our own remote monitoring centre in Beijing for our turbines. A lot of this knowledge and assistance will come from SKF as they provide us with their remote diagnostic monitoring during the coming years”.

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Monitor is good value!

    The new X-Y monitoring system from Kistler for manufacturing process monitoring and product testing offers high performance, flexibility and a colour touchscreen user interface all for a starting price of around £1,200 which is excellent value for money.

    Their maXYmo BL XY monitor provides maximum performance for minimum price in a wide range of manufacturing processes and quality assurance product testing. Available in panel mount and worktop versions, the maXYmo BL can evaluate a production step or product test on the basis of a curve of up to 8,000 pairs of X-Y values derived from piezoelectric or strain gage sensors on the Y-channel, and potentiometer sensors on the X-channel. The system monitors the process by the relationship between the X-Y curve and the evaluation objects that have been set by entering numerical values or by dragging and dropping on the touch screen user interface. . Up to four UNI-BOX, ENVELOPE CURVE, LINE or NO-PASS type evaluation objects can be allocated for each measurement program or curve to generate OK or NOK (not OK) results.
    The maXYmo BL provides a wide range of functions for standard X-Y monitoring tasks:
    • 1. Each evaluation object can be aligned relative to absolute or dynamic reference points.
    • 2. Two real-time outputs can be allocated to either the X- or the Y-channel and used for simple control functions.
    • 3. Current and historical warning messages and alarms, a diagnostic memory for recent curves and a bar chart for finding the sources of NOKs to facilitate traceability in the event of problems.
    • 4. Password access authorizations for different user groups protect against tampering.
    • 5. The maXYmo BL provides 16 measurement programs for 16 different types of parts.
    • 6. The maXYmo BL can exchange measurement data, process values and control signals and allow remote maintenance via Ethernet TCP/IP, Profibus DP and digital IO interfaces.
    • 7. Traceable measurement data and evaluation results can be exported for each part via Ethernet or USB.
    • 8. The maXYmo BL can provide the data of the record for a particular workpiece with a serial number from the PLC via bus or from the integral serial number generator.
    To support the flexibility of the maXYmo BL, Kistler supply a wide selection of compatible, piezoelectric, strain gauge and potentiometric force, torque, displacement and angle sensors.

    Monitoring power and air conditioning

    Systems integrator ETDE has chosen PcVue 9.0 from ARC Informatique to monitor the electricity distribution and air conditioning systems for the entire range of installations at TelecityGroup’s new Data Centre in the Paris region. The software’s openness and the simple hierarchy used for the communication architecture were determining factors in this choice. PcVue can, as part of its functions, generate reports on the electricity consumption by each of the servers operated by TelecityGroup’s customers.

    TelecityGroup, whose head office is in London, is the European leader in independent data centre operators. The company designs, develops and manages high-connectivity secure environments where technical, Web and IT infrastructures can be hosted in total security. TelecityGroup manages 23 data centres across the main European business hubs.

    Its new building, Condorcet, with 3400 m² of floor space available to customers, is the perfect solution for businesses looking to locate their critical infrastructure in a data centre. It won the trophy for “Best Data Centre in Europe” in the Data Centre Europe awards 2010. The new site has been designed in accordance with international standard ISO 27001:2005, which governs information security, and ISO 14001:2004, which ensures effective environmental management. Energy-efficient design principles have been implemented in the construction of the building, along with the use of sophisticated intelligent air conditioning and free cooling technology to reduce energy consumption. In addition, the multiple connectivity options available on site are enhanced by PANAP and SFINX connectivity, offering customers high-quality national and international peering and Internet connectivity options.

    The building includes a monitoring centre, an NOC (Network Operations Centre), with a video wall comprising twelve 52-inch screens, each dedicated to a different system: 6 screens for security and video surveillance, 1 screen for fire detection, 3 screens for systems operation applications, and two PcVue workstations. The first workstation is dedicated to the electrical distribution system, and the second manages the air conditioning. Each workstation has three screens: one screen showing a schematic diagram (air conditioning and electrical supply) on the video wall, and two further screens at the operator stations. One for a detailed systems display, and one remote screen for PC Security monitoring, and which includes the general schematic.

    “We chose PcVue for two main reasons. Firstly, so that we could provide our customer, TelecityGroup, with an open, multi-protocol system capable of keeping up with new standards in the market, and compatible with building management control systems and PLCs. The second reason was that with PcVue there are only two protocol conversion points. Direct LON or MODBUS communication gateways collect the reading data and then the PLCs are directly accessible via the IP network. This simple-hierarchy architecture is much more reliable and offers faster data processing. With the other solutions on the market, there can be up to 4 different conversion layers before reaching an SQL type database,” explains Hélène Gaury from ETDE.

    On the electrical supply side, PcVue monitors all of the systems, from the transformers to the uninterruptible power supplies, distribution boards and consumption meters for each of the server bays. On the air conditioning side, PcVue includes monitoring of the whole circuit from the cooler units to the pumps, root-top installations and cabinet air conditioners in the server areas.

    The DreamReport software – an integral part of ARC Informatique’s PcVue Solutions offer – allows TelecityGroup to generate complete dynamic reports about the systems, and particularly the amount of electricity used by each customer.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Data acquisition system with USB 2.0 connectivity


    The new DAQ interfacing unit brings the convenience of USB 2.0 connectivity to the widely used Kistler DynoWare data acquisition system.  The new unit has been designed specifically to provide a reliable and flexible interface between piezoelectric sensors and the Windows based DynoWare data acquisition and evaluation software.
    The compact DAQ unit supports up to two multi-channel charge amplifiers with a sampling rate of up to 1,000 kS/s, depending on the total number of channels.  The system integrates a 28 channel, 16-bit analogue to digital converter (ADC) for high resolution sampling, trigger functions and an RS-232 interface to control the charge amplifiers and signal conditioners.
    The new DAQ system provides a convenient and easy to install method of interfacing piezoelectric measuring chains and associated charge amplifiers and signal conditioners with the DynoWare software running on a PC under Windows® Vista or Windows® 7.  The excellent resolution and high sampling rate allows highly dynamic processes to be measured and evaluated.

    Motor, drives and power transmission company acquired

    ABB and Baldor Electric Company  have agreed that ABB will acquire Baldor in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.2 billion, including $1.1 billion of net debt.

     Under the terms of the definitive agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors, ABB will commence a tender offer to purchase all of Baldor’s outstanding shares for $63.50 per share in cash. The transaction represents a 41 percent premium to Baldor’s closing stock price on Nov. 29, 2010. The Board of Directors of Baldor will recommend that Baldor shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

     The transaction closes a gap in ABB’s automation portfolio in North America by adding Baldor’s strong NEMA motors product line and positions the company as a market leader for industrial motors, including high-efficiency motors. Baldor also adds a growing and profitable mechanical power transmission business to ABB’s portfolio.

     The transaction will substantially improve ABB’s access to the industrial customer base in North America, opening opportunities for ABB’s wider portfolio including energy efficient drives and complementary motors. This move comes at a time when regulatory changes in the US and other parts of the world will accelerate demand for energy efficient industrial motion products. The acquisition will strengthen ABB’s position as a leading supplier of industrial motion solutions, and will also enable ABB to tap the huge potential in North America for rail and wind investments, both of which are expected to grow rapidly in coming years.

    Joe Hogan “Baldor is a great company with an extremely strong brand in the world’s largest industrial market,”
    said Joe Hogan, ABB’s CEO. “Baldor’s product range and regional scope are highly complementary to ours and give both companies significant opportunities to deliver greater value to our customers.”

     John McFarland, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Baldor, commented: “Our Board of Directors believes this transaction is in the best interest of our shareholders, our employees and our customers. It demonstrates the value our employees have created and the strength of our brand and products in the global motors industry. We are excited about the opportunity to join ABB’s worldwide family as we have always respected ABB. We are very pleased that ABB will locate its motor and generator business headquarters for North America in Fort Smith and we are confident that the combined global platform will be well positioned to capitalize on meaningful growth opportunities in the future.” John McFarland will stay with the combined business to support a successful integration.

     “ABB is well known in the marketplace for premium, innovative and advanced products. We have respected them as both a market participant and a value-added supplier for many years,”
    said Ron Tucker, Baldor’s current President and COO, and CEO designate. Ron Tucker will run Baldor including the mechanical power transmission products business and ABB’s motor and generator business in North America after the transaction is completed.

     Baldor is based in Arkansas (US), and is a leading supplier in the large North American industrial motors industry. In addition, Baldor offers a broad range of mechanical power transmission products such as mounted bearings, enclosed gearing and couplings – used primarily in process industries – as well as drives and generators. The Baldor drives business will be combined with the larger ABB drives business to achieve even further penetration of this important product line.

     Baldor employs approximately 7,000 people and reported an operating profit of $184 million on revenue of $1.29 billion in first nine months of 2010. This represents an increase of 30% in operating profit and 11% in revenue over the comparable period in 2009.

     The US market for high-efficiency motors is expected to grow 10 to15 percent in 2011on the back of new regulations, effective in December this year. Similar regulations in Canada, Mexico and in the European Union are expected in 2011.

     “ABB and Baldor will be able to offer our North American and global customers an unparalleled range of high-efficiency industrial products and services to help them meet their new demands,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, Executive Committee member responsible for ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division, into which Baldor’s business will be integrated alongside the existing Motors and Generators business. "We expect to achieve over $200 million in annual synergies by 2015, consisting of more than $100 million annual cost synergies and at least the same global revenue synergies. We estimate two-thirds of these synergies will be realized by 2013. We intend to build on Baldor’s excellent North American position to sell energy efficient drives, larger motors and generators. Together, we will accelerate the expansion of Baldor’s mechanical power transmission product portfolio into the global process automation market using ABB’s strong channels in this sector.”

     “We are deeply impressed by the skill and passion of the Baldor team and their excellent customer relationships,”
    Spiesshofer said. “The strength of Baldor’s people and executive team, which will continue under the new ownership, will play a key role in our mutual success.”

     Under the terms of the merger agreement, the transaction is structured as a cash tender offer to be followed as soon as possible by a merger. The tender offer is expected to commence in December and is subject to customary terms and conditions, including the tender of at least two-thirds (2/3) of Baldor's shares on a fully diluted basis, and regulatory clearance.

    Smart grid security & privacy seminar

    In the Netherlands on 6th December 2010 Joe Weiss, of Applied Control Solutions, will be presenting on control system cyber security including his thoughts on the implications of Stuxnet.

    Smart grid security & privacy seminar 6th December 2010
    He held the first public discussions on Stuxnet with Roel Schouwenberg from Kaspersky, Ralph Langner, and Siemens at the ACS Control Systems Cyber Security Conference on 23rd September 2010. "I do not believe appropriate attention is being paid to the PLC issues," he says. "This is beyond Symatec and other IT researchers.  I also do not believe Stuxnet can be eradicated from the controller.  A Stuxnet-type attack is also not unique to Siemens or PLCs."

    Without recognizing Stuxnet, he has addressed this type of attack in my book, Protecting Industrial Control Systems from Electronic Threats (ISBN: 978-1-60650-197-9). There are approximately 20 actual control system case histories in the book. More continue to occur - there have been two this year in North America that have actually killed people

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Analyser company acquired

    Servomex has acquired the Delta F Corporation, a manufacturer of process analyser technologies, based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    The Delta F Corporation, a well known and highly respected global brand, develops, manufactures and distributes a range of trace and ultra trace oxygen and moisture analysers based on Coulometric and Tuneable Diode Laser (TDLAS) technology respectively.

    Chris Cottrell Servomex
    The acquisition combines Delta F’s products, technologies and expertise with those of Servomex to further enhance the company’s ability to deliver a complete range and choice of process gas analysis technologies and systems to industry worldwide.

    A pioneer in gas analysis for more than 50 years, Servomex and its HUMMINGBIRD Sensing Technology sub-brand are leading suppliers of process gas measurement solutions and leading edge transducer technologies worldwide. Servomex and HUMMINGBIRD supply to many of the world’s leading companies for use in industries that include hydrocarbon processing, industrial gas processing, electronics and healthcare.

    This announcement signals the latest development in the Servomex global expansion programme, which includes the recent opening of a brand new state-of-the-art UK Technical Centre, the addition in 2010 of Customer Business Centres in São Paulo, Mumbai and Dubai and new regional offices in Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore. New System Engineering Centres have also been announced to open in Mumbai and Europe in 2011.

    This expansion has been mirrored by growth in Servomex’s core technologies that, in addition to world-leading Zirconia Oxide, Infra Red and Paramagnetic devices, now include Laser (TDLAS), Gas Chromatography, Plasma, Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) and Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD) techniques.


    “The acquisition of Delta F is another major step forward for Servomex and we are delighted to welcome them to the Servomex team,” says Chris Cottrell, Managing Director, Servomex.

    “Delta F’s products and technologies are a perfect complement to Servomex’s extensive range of process gas analysis solutions and will further extend our measurement capabilities. This will enable us to provide our customers with an even more extensive choice of analytical solutions that will allow them to realize significant process improvements and improve the efficiency of their business”.

    21 Years old and still going strong...

    On November 21st 1989, Alan Cook struck out on his own to create a specialist distributor of electro-mechanical components. With a wealth of experience from his careers in both electronic engineering and broad-line distribution Alan wanted to create something different. And so Foremost Electronics was born. The goal was to provide design engineers in Britain with a reliable source of technologically advanced Emech components and offer a “service with a difference”.

    Foremost has now firmly established itself as not just a component distributor but a resource for designers who require high quality components – with a difference. Foremost offers a flexible approach to component supply and is happy to undertake in-house customisation of their product range to meet the exact requirements of the designer. From engraving the cap of a switch or adding illumination, through to custom assemblies Foremost can accommodate a wide range of special requirements.

    This customer focussed approach to distribution has lead to steadily increasing sales, long relationships with customers and high levels of support from their suppliers.

    Suppliers have grown to appreciate the extended product life that Foremost’s customisation offers and a relationship with a specialist distributor who really understands their market.


    Elma and knitter-switch, both suppliers of switches and rotary encoders have this to say about Foremost;


    “Elma UK is proud to consider Foremost Electronics as both prime business partners and friends. Their on-going policy of supporting, stocking and marketing our rotary switch products is key to our future success. Thanks to Foremost for everything they do for us and happy 21st birthday! “

    While Terry Moss, General Manager of knitter-switch UK says; "Knitter-switch have worked with Foremost Electronics for the past 15 years and we have always found them to be excellent at finding new design-in opportunities and retaining long term customers. Foremost have an unsurpassed knowledge of the UK Emech component market and we appreciate this singular focus which serves us very well.”


    Apem, market leading manufacturers of Joysticks commented; "Foremost has been a distributor of our joysticks for 9 years now and indeed distributes many other Apem group products. During that time we have enjoyed a strong working relationship and have been very positively impressed by the service driven culture of Foremost. Many customers have reported a desire to work with Foremost in light of the stocking and service packages offered, and the technical design support in the early days of their project. We also value Foremost’s marketing activities which include strengthening both the Foremost and Apem brand with continual advertising, exhibitions and trade publication entries. We congratulate Foremost on its 21st birthday and look forward to many more years of cooperation and success”.

    And last but by no means least Binder UK, suppliers of world class circular connectors said; "Proactive, responsive and customer focused; just what a manufacturer requires from a specialist distributor and exactly what we have experienced from our relationship with Foremost. Add to this a narrow and complimentary product portfolio along with excellent product, application and market knowledge; this makes Foremost Electronics the ideal partner for Binder UK.”

    Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics closes; "We have successfully managed to find our way through a number or recessions and have always come back stronger and this current one has been no exception. We have a dedicated team of experienced technical and sales specialists, headed up by Sales Director Alan Vincent, who can use their extensive knowledge to provide our customers with the best solution to their component requirements and the long term support that is really appreciated in this rapidly changing market.”

    Pressure transmitter uses different sensors

    BMN pressure transmitter uses piezo-resistive and thin-film technology

    Baumer’s industrial pressure transmitter PBMN achieves maximum precision in measuring both low and high pressures by using different sensors. For pressures below 60 bar, a piezo-resistive silicon sensor is used. A metal thin-film sensor ideally suited for higher pressures is available for pressures over 60 bar. The robust PBMN pressure transmitter covers measuring ranges from -100…100 mbar to 0…1600 bar. It is available in three classes of accuracy: 0.1 % F.S., 0.25 % F.S., and 0.5 % F.S. Boasting a combined error of only < 0.4 % F.S., the sensor provides 0.1 % F.S. of long-term stability. The choice of output signals includes 4…20 mA as well as several types of voltage. With its wide measuring range and high overpressure resistance, the PBMN is qualified for a very broad spectrum of applications. The PMBN is easy to configure using Baumer’s programming device FlexProgrammer 9701.

    Both the housing and all wetted parts of the fully welded PBMN pressure transmitter are made of stainless steel. Suited for media temperatures of -40…+120 °C, the transmitter offers active temperature compensation within a range of -40…+85 °C. The PBMN is highly resistant to vibration, shocks, and bumps, and complies with protection class IP65 or IP67, depending on the type of connection.

    The PBMN pressure transmitter proves its particular strengths in applications requiring precision over a wide temperature range. Typical fields of application include process engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, refrigeration, the automotive and heavy vehicle industries, shipbuilding, healthcare, biotechnology, the chemical industry, and energy supply, as well as test benches, pumps, and compressors.