Thursday, December 29, 2011

Datalogger is available in two probe sizes

MadgeTech’s RFOT is a two way wireless meat temperature data logger. It measures, records and wirelessly transmits data for real time monitoring. The RFOT is now available in two probe sizes, 4” long with a transitional diameter from 0.13” to 0.11”, and 2.5” long with a 0.065” diameter. The new probe lengths allow the device to be used for monitoring meat products of various sizes.

The standard RFOT comes with a 4” rigid, piercing probe. It is designed for monitoring and recording the internal temperature of hams, turkeys, beef sides, and other mid to large sized meat products.

The RFOT-SMP is equipped with a 2.5” piercing probe, which is ideal for smaller meat products, such as hot dogs and sausages. The device can be used with MadgeTech’s RFOT-HDA, an attachment that guides the meat into place, ensuring that the probe is inserted into the center of the product.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New partner

Avid Solutions has joined Yokogawa's new VigilantPlant® Solutions Partner Program (VPS Partner Program).

The VPS Partners program creates a collaborative partnership with select System Integrator's (SI's) to deliver Yokogawa’s best in class industrial automation solutions to the process industry. As a trained integrator, Avid will deliver Yokogawa's VigilantPlant Solutions portfolio including the industry's most reliable portfolio of DCS, PLC, RTU products, as well as, advanced application software solutions. Support comes from some of the leading industry experts, both domestic and from our group companies around the globe, which have executed and supplied over 20,000 control systems worldwide.

“We are excited to have Avid Solutions participate as one of our VPS Partners," says Roger Van Nuis, GM Indirect Channels. "Avid has a great reputation as a quality company with high degree of repeat clients in the life sciences, food & beverage, chemical, pulp & paper, energy, general manufacturing, and commercial vehicle industries”.

Avid’s team systematically identifies and manages all project risks from the outset, to ensure that control system is delivered on time and within budget and performs to their specifications.

Extended hardware and software functions

Siemens Industry Automation Division has equipped Version 8 of its Simatic PCS 7 process control system with a host of new functions. The new features range from improved data exchange and an easier engineering workflow, more powerful communication, redundancy-related and fault-tolerant functions to new controllers and extended functionalities for the software tools.

In Version 8 of Simatic PCS 7 the data exchange between the Cosmos plant management software and the PCS 7 engineering tools has been improved and the engineering workflow simplified. This now offers the user enhanced planning quality and an easier way to document the tracking of changes. In the new PCS 7 version the integrated, scalable long-term archiving system, Process Historian, is now suitable for the central archiving of process data from multiple projects in real time. Users can now access the archive data and reports quickly for the purpose of optimizing production and assets. They can now create and modify reports easily using the standard Microsoft Reporting Service tool. In addition to Windows XP, Simatic PCS 7 Version 8 has also been released for Windows 7 (64-bit and 32-bit).

PCS 7 has also been improved as regards Profibus and Profinet communication, in the areas of fault tolerance and redundancy, as well as for the controllers. The fault-tolerant, high-performance Simatic S7-400H controllers have been upgraded to feature greater performance and new functions. They have an increased range of I/Os and an integrated 2-port switch Profinet interface. This enables fault-tolerant, redundant ring structures to be set up and I/O devices to be connected on a system-redundant basis. In addition, the range of controllers has been extended to include the new CPU 416-5H. In terms of performance, the CPU 416-5H with 16 MB RAM is positioned between the 412-5H CPU with 1 MB, the 414-5H with 4 MB and the 417-5H with 32 MB RAM.

The functionality of the software tools has also been extended in Version 8. For example, the Simatic PDM (Process Device Manager) – the tool for operating, setting, maintaining and diagnosing field devices – has been supplemented in Version 8 by adding new export/import functions. In this respect, users benefit from extended plant documentation, integrated statistics, simpler operation and more convenient replacement of devices. The Advanced Process Library (APL) now has new blocks for motor management, starters and compact drives, while the AdvES advanced engineering system has a new type concept compliant with ISA 88 (Control Module Types) and a user interface with a progress indicator. The industry library has been enlarged with technological blocks, e.g. for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) applications. In addition, package units for Simatic S7-300 as well as on-site operator panels can now be integrated into the industry library using the APL appearance. The PCS 7 Telecontrol add-on now permits the setup of hierarchical system configurations, while route control allows graphic offline path-searching and power control facilitates the integration of electrical switchgear in accordance with the IEC 61850 protocol.

The extended functions of Simatic PCS 7 V8 are rounded off by a new automation device: AS mEC RTX is equipped with central IO modules and optimized for small-scale applications and for use in the OEM environment.

System integration excellence recognised!

Must be the time of year but we have received a fair few notifications of awards and details of certifications in the past few weeks and here is another.

All three of the integrators named Integrator of the Year by Control Engineering magazine are Certified members of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

The awards recognize excellence in technical expertise, business skills and customer satisfaction. The winners, representing three annual revenue categories, are:

The Winners: Click picture for more info!
Superior Controls, Seabrook, N.H.,
Matrix Technologies, Maumee, Ohio
Mangan, Inc., Long Beach, Cal.

This is the second time Matrix Technologies has received the prestigious award. The previous award was received in 2008. The award winners will be recognized at a banquet during the CSIA 2012 Executive Conference, April 25 – 28, in Scottsdale (AZ US).

To become a CSIA Certified member, a member company must pass an intensive audit process with stringent performance standards categories in nine categories: general management, financial management, project management, quality management, technical management, human resources management and marketing, business development and sales management.

Certified members are re-audited every three years and recertified if they meet current performance standards. The certification criteria is spelled out in CSIA’s Best Practices and Benchmarks, the accepted roadmap for system integrators committed to delivering the level of quality, performance and long-term support their customers expect.

• Control's Hall of Fame Inductee's have also been announced and promulgated on the Sound Off Blog: Class of 2012 Inductees to the Process Automation Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Connections win award!

Greg Davies, presenter; Peter Hannon, MD of 
HARTING Ltd.; David Sheath, General Manager 
of Caltest Instruments;  and Richard Wilson 
editor of Electronics Weekly.
Harting's Han-Yellock® industrial connector system has won the 2011 Elektra European Electronics Industry Award for Passive & Electromechanical Product of the Year. The award, sponsored by Caltest Instruments, was presented by comedian Greg Davies at a ceremony at London's Park Plaza Hotel in December 2011.

Commenting on the award, Peter Hannon, Managing Director of Harting Ltd. in Britain, said: "We are delighted to have won this prestigious award for what has become for us a flagship product range. Harting has a long and successful history in the industrial connector sector, and the latest award serves to further emphasis our leadership in this field."

This major European honour joins a number of other awards, including the iF Design Award presented by the iF International Forum Design GmbH and the "Product of the Month" Award from the German magazine "Elektronik Journal".  

Han-Yellock® is a new industrial connector concept which retains the core functionality of Harting's existing Han® product range but differs significantly in terms of size, shape and new features. Key features of the Han-Yellock® range include an internal, latched locking mechanism on the connector hood, a wide range of Han-Yellock® modules to offer a large number of potential configurations, an adaptor frame for use with modules in Harting's Han-Modular® series, insulators that can snap into the front or back walls of the housing, and a protected earth (PE) contact in crimp or Quick Lock termination.

Together, these features combine to offer a connector range with improved functionality in the form of increased versatility, multiplied potential for different configurations, simplified handling, a reduced incidence of errors and maximum safety.

Potential user benefits of Han-Yellock® include fewer part numbers and lower inventory requirements, less wiring work during installation, fewer steps in the workflow and quicker assembly, and reduced downtime because of the latched locking mechanism and maintenance-friendly design.

Two-wire Hall-effect latch

The A1244 from Allegro Microsystems,  is a two-wire Hall-effect latch featuring on-chip transient protection and a zener clamp to protect against overvoltage conditions on the supply line.


The new device, which is programmed at the factory to optimise the magnetic switch point accuracy, uses the same patented high-frequency, 4-phase, chopper-stabilisation technique that is used on the company's complementary family of unipolar switches. This results in lower noise on the output, less switch-point variation over temperature, and faster settling times.

The improvement in noise and switch-point drift allows the device to realise much better switching accuracy, which means better switching repeatability. Moreover, the improved high-voltage transient protection allows the A1244 to survive the conditions specified in ISO 7637-2 and 40 V load dump.
Allegro's advanced BiCMOS wafer fabrication process is used to achieve magnetic stability over temperature and to eliminate the offset inherent in single-element devices when exposed to harsh application environments.


Two-wire latches are particularly advantageous in cost-sensitive applications, such as automotive transmission position sensing and motor commutations applications, because they require one less wire for operation compared with the more traditional open-collector output latches. In addition, the user inherently gains diagnostic capabilities, because there is always current flowing at one of two specified levels. Any output current outside these two narrow ranges is a fault condition.

The A1244 is available in two package styles: the "LH" is a SOT-23W style, miniature low-profile package for surface-mount applications, and the "UA" is a TO-92 style, three-lead ultra-miniature single inline package (SIP) for through-hole mounting. The A1244 is also offered with two supply-current options: -I1 from 5.0 to 6.9 mA, and  -I2 from 2.0 to 5.0 mA.

Measurement House!

We've known about this move some weeks ago and tweeted about it but here is the official release and picture!
The NI gang waiting for Irish and British calls in their BREAM-rated new premises!


National Instruments UK & Ireland, part of a global company that develops and manufactures software and hardware products for engineers and scientists to use for test, control and embedded design applications,  has invested in a new, multi-million pound development to house sales, marketing and support staff for the region. Still based in Newbury, Berkshire, the new state-of-the-art office, named Measurement House, has been designed and built to the company’s specifications.

The move comes as a result of the continued growth and success of National Instruments in Britain & Ireland.  Its new larger headquarters double the space available and are the fourth operational office in NI UK & Ireland’s 23 year history, providing room for future expansion and recruitment as the company continues to grow.

Designed to reflect National Instruments reputation as an innovative and ground breaking technology company, the impressive building boasts contemporary design, BREEAM-rated environmentally efficient credentials, improved and enlarged customer facilities, as well as significantly improved employee facilities.

Robert Morton, 17-year NI veteran and National Instruments UK & Ireland Managing Director (Extreme left in above pic!) , said: “I’m delighted that we are able to build on our reputation as a great place to work with our awesome new building, and provide such outstanding facilities for our customers and employees”

Measurement House will be officially opened in the New Year so expect more on that in 2012!

High temperature pressure logger!

MadgeTech is releasing a high temperature, pressure data logger designed for use in autoclave validation and mapping. This rugged device can withstand temperatures up to 140°C and is completely submersible (IP68). It will begin shipping in February 2012.


The PR140 is built with a precision stainless steel pressure gauge. The device has an accuracy of ±0.03 Bar (±0.435 PSI), which can be achieved over a wide temperature range, from -20°C to +140°C(-4°F to 284°F). The PR140 can be programmed to take readings as often as once per second (1Hz), and has non-volatile memory that can store up to 32,700 measurements.

The instrument is easy to use. Simply place it in the IFC400 docking station, connect to a computer, and the device can be started, stopped or downloaded using the MadgeTech software. Graphical, tabular and summary data is provided for analysis and can be viewed in PSIA, mmHg, bar, Torr and kPa. The data can also be automatically exported to Excel® for further calculations.

Technology agreement

Rigorous simulation and optimisation to help achieve real-time operational excellence!

Invensys Operations Management has signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to deliver comprehensive software solutions and services for Shell.

Under a new Corporate Enterprise License, Invensys will provide a suite of its SimSci-Esscor® simulation solutions to improve Shell’s global upstream, downstream and petrochemicals production, helping it to achieve operational excellence. A critical part of the agreement will be Invensys’ ROMeo® solution, an integrated software platform for simulation, data reconciliation, optimisation and operations decision support. Invensys will also supply its PRO/II®, PIPEPHASE® and DYNSIM® software, along with several other software solutions, training and support services. The Corporate Enterprise agreement allows Shell access to Invensys software packages on a global basis within Shell’s IT infrastructure, enabling enhanced use of simulation software across all Shell business units.

“Shell needed cost-effective, flexible access to our open simulation and optimisation software across its global organisation without any restrictions,” said Tobias Scheele, vice president, advanced applications, Invensys Operations Management. “We have been working with Shell and providing them service and solutions for more than 30 years. This Corporate Enterprise License strengthens our long-standing relationship with Shell. Shell will use our SimSci-Esscor ROMeo optimisation software and our other family of simulation and modeling solutions to deliver increased value around the globe, helping them to achieve operational excellence in real time.”  

Invensys Operations Management’s ROMeo software provides a leading unified modeling environment for off-line and on-line optimisation. In use at dozens of upstream facilities, refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants worldwide, the software supplies a scalable environment for optimising all major units, as well as other aspects of plant profitability, such as utilities and instrument/equipment performance. Additional benefits are derived from leveraging the rigorous predictive models to enhance planning and scheduling decisions, leading to increased margins.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New marketing VP appointed

Roy Kok has joined ARC Advisory's management team as Vice President of Marketing.  He brings more than 30 years of automation industry and marketing experience to ARC. 

Roy Kok
Prior to joining ARC, Roy served in roles at GE, Intellution, VenturCom, and Kepware in marketing, sales, and product management roles.   Roy has also offered strategic consulting services to over a dozen companies and has been involved in startup opportunities.  This broad background brings significant marketing experience and resources to both ARC and its clients. 

In his new role as VP of Marketing for ARC, Roy will be responsible for all corporate marketing including positioning, messaging and outreach.  “ARC is the recognized leader in industrial business intelligence with products including market studies; custom services for product marketing, channel management, and marketing positioning; ARC Forum networking and thought leadership events; plus technology consulting services for industrial automation end users.  I am very excited to be joining the team to be able to help ARC drive additional value for the industry,” he explained.

Commented Andy Chatha, ARC President and Founder, “We are very fortunate to have Roy join the ARC team.  His market knowledge and broad set of connections will be valuable assets to ARC and our global clients.”

EMC receiver testing range increases to 18 GHz

TESEQ now offers a high-performance digital EMC/EMI receiver module that extends the frequency range of the PMM 9010 receiver system from 6 GHz to 18 GHz.  Ideal for use in commercial test labs and by in-house manufacturers’ test facilities, the upgraded PMM system can now be used for a wider range of EMC testing.

The innovative PMM 9180 offers high performance, convenience and cost savings by cutting turnaround times and eliminating the need for expensive coax cables and periodic calibration checks.  It provides better radiated emissions system sensitivity than other units on the market.

The uniquely designed, battery-powered unit is the only fully-compliant EMI receiver module on the market directly connected to an antenna located inside the testing chamber and has the ability to transmit data outside the testing chamber via fibre-optic cable, eliminating signal losses that can exceed 20 dB.

It is fully compliant with CISPR 16-1-1 and MIL-STD.  It features a plug-in Li-Ion rechargeable battery that lasts for a minimum of four hours.

The FCC requires that EMC emissions testing be performed at 10 times the highest clock frequency in a product.  By using this instrument, FCC testing can be performed on products with clock speeds to 1.8 GHz as well as MIL 461 RE 102 testing, which has an upper frequency limit of 18 GHz.  The PMM 9180 can also be used for CE marking.

It is fully compatible with the PMM Emissions Suite software.  This unique software offers full control of all auto and manual receiver functions, real-time display, editing of standard limits, creation of correction factors tables and warning messages for incorrect settings.

In addition, the software includes one-click operation for selecting measuring mode: swept, spectrum analyser or tuned.  All measurements taken by the receiver can be retrieved, saved, recalled and compared when using PMM’s PC Emissions Suite software.

The TESEQ PMM 9180 features a high speed optical interface, an operating temperature of -5°C to 45°C, a measurement accuracy of +2.0 dB and a maximum input level of 137 dBuV without damage.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Water level monitoring system lowers operating costs

OTT Hydrometry has launched a new remote water level monitor, the OTT ecoLog 500, which is a completely integrated monitoring and data transmission unit that uses the latest technologies to lower the cost of monitoring surface water or groundwater level and temperature.

The ecoLog 500 is a self-contained system for monitoring, logging and data transmission with advanced capabilities for remote applications. "The system is extremely robust and simple to set up and run," says OTT MD Simon Wills"It also fits discretely inside a 2 inch well and operates with very low levels of power consumption despite the fact that it can transmit data to the internet, client PC’s or mobile phones."

Dubbed an 'economical logger', the new monitor was named the 'ecoLog 500' because it has been designed to lower the cost of monitoring remote water resources.  This has been achieved in a number of ways:
  • Flexible data collection – data can be transferred via SMS, GPRS, HTTP, FTP and E-mail so that data can be viewed remotely 24/7 and the need for frequent site visits is avoided.
  • Robust construction and low power – the need for site visits is further reduced by a design which minimises maintenance. For example, the level measurement is obtained with a high precision ceramic sensor that has already been field-proven in hundreds of systems worldwide in the OTT Orpheus Mini.
  • Logging flexibility – in order to save memory and power, the system can be set up to issue alarms and if necessary to change logging frequency when specific conditions arise. In addition, the system can issue status reports and alarms to avoid downtime.
Commenting on the market for water level loggers, Simon Wills says "Our customers are looking for accurate, reliable instruments that deliver data without the need for a heavy investment in labour. So, as a low-cost, low-power, complete system with a powerful array of features, the ecoLog 500 is ideal for a wide variety of users including regulatory bodies, water companies and authorities, researchers, consultants and consulting engineers."

High performance RF switch solution

Teseq is extending its ITS 6006 immunity test system by offering more RF switching capability.

The SW 6012 adds two SPDT switches to the built-in switching network of the ITS 6006. It is fully powered and controlled by the ITS 6006. Interlock connections are provided for switching the amplifier gain on/off. Additionally the SW 6012 is supplied with a second user port socket for various applications.

For stand-alone operation the alternative SW 6012-MAN offers an independent RF switching system with manual operation and its own power supply unit. Interlock connections are provided for switching the amplifier gain on/off.

Connector enables flexible equipment configurations

Harting's har-flex® series, the recently introduced PCB connector family designed for a wide range of board-to-board and board-to-cable applications, has been extended with the introduction of an angled version.

The new angled connector, which augments the straight models and ribbon-cable connectors previously available, expands the range of application possibilities by making highly flexible and modular equipment configurations possible.

Harting is extending its har-flex® family in response to the continuing market demands for more compact equipment designs, coupled with the fact that circuit boards are no longer constrained by having to conform to a rigid layout.

har-flex® connectors make a wide range of equipment circuit-board layouts possible. All versions can be freely combined, and are adaptable to the housing. The range also meets all the latest requirements of transmission protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet and PCI Express, with data rates up to 3.125 Gbit/s being easily achievable.

The compact, robust design of har-flex® also ensures reliable operation, even in adverse conditions, by combining the performance of a modern computer with the robustness of an industrial device, so that har-flex® connectors can be used in both control cabinets and mobile devices.

The complete har-flex® product family from Harting delivers versatile solutions for all circuit-board applications requiring a space-saving connection, and consistently combines easy, automatic and efficient handling with high quality.

Network management

ABB has successfully deployed its Network Manager™ Market Management System (MMS) software to administer the Enhanced Day Ahead Commitment (EDAC) system at the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in Ontario, Canada. The new system, which is an extension to an earlier version of the MMS solution for market and energy management, deployed by ABB more than 10 years ago, includes multi-interval optimization, an enhanced real-time market system and a dayahead commitment feature.

IESO Control Room!
Network ™ MMS is a complete management system for modern electricity markets. It provides the necessary flexibility, in terms of both function and scale, to adapt to changing electricity market requirements without extensive rework or costly system downtime. The various configurations of hardware and operating systems used ensures the lowest possible cost of ownership for end users.

“IESO has relied on the Network ManagerTM solution for a decade,” said Bill Limbrick, IESO CIO. “MMS-based EDAC enables market participants to plan better and operate more effectively, bringing substantial savings for operators and consumers. We are very pleased with the quality and timeliness of the system which enabled a smooth transition to production operation.” 

“This solution will help improve scheduling and optimize resource commitment,” said Jens Birgersson, head of the Network Management business, a part of ABB’s Power Systems division. “It is a great example of a well-thought-out market system that improves efficiency and makes the best use of available resources.”

As a system integrator and solution provider for electricity markets, Ventyx has completed nine MMS installations since 1998, and a 10th will go live in 2013. The systems manage markets in the United States, Canada, Europe, China and other parts of the world. The new system for IESO was developed at Ventyx’s center of excellence in Santa Clara, California. The MMS product is part of the company’s Network Manager suite.

Pay as you sense!

Equipment rentals are increasingly helping companies overcome the hurdle of finding investment capital to fund development and verification projects.

The current phase of the economic cycle, recovery from a slowdown, is always difficult and frustrating, as Mark Ingham of Sensor Technology identifies: “Companies are seeing their markets improve, but don’t have the reserves to finance all the activities that will kickstart their sales. What money there is has to be used carefully, which usually means funding some projects but not others. As a result opportunities have to be missed.”
Typically projects may include verification or reverification of a product range to an international standard, development of a new sized unit within a product range to address an emerging market requirement, modification of a design or a whole new development.

“The devil is in the details: enterprising companies can usually see new gaps in their markets and envision a product to suit. But these need to be tested and proven, and that often involves acquiring sensors and test equipment.”

Having survived more than one downturn and recovery, Sensor Technology already has a rental option in place for its TorqSense range of torque sensors. Potential users can choose to rent the equipment, rather than purchase it, thus circumventing the bottleneck of raising capital purchase approval. And to help companies along, if they decide that they want to hold onto their TorqSense for longer than they had anticipated, the company is happy to convert the rental to a sale, with a percentage of the hire fee already paid offset against the purchase price.

Interestingly, Mark says that rentals are a popular option at all times: “Many of our customers have a project where they need to measure torque, but know that when the project is concluded they will have no further need for a TorqSense. For them, renting is very attractive.”

This is particularly true in academia and the high tech industries. Brunel University  (GB) has used Sensor Technology’s rental service on a developmental project for a motor sports client, while Oxford University (GB) is a regular and canny user. Another is a West Country (GB) satellite technology developer which had a need to test ballscrews to the point where they could be confident that they would work once blasted into orbit.

“A regular comment we hear is that customers would like to rent equipment from other suppliers too. There is definitely a fundamental need in the market; it probably increases in the recovery phase of the economic cycle and tails off later on, but it is always there. I am aware that some other companies are following our lead in this. Others are finding other creative ways to seed their markets, for instance energy saving equipment can be paid in instalments at a rate related to the reduce power bills.”

Gas flow measurement

The GF40/80 Series Mass Flow Controllers & Flow Meters, just released by Brooks Instrument,  achieves unprecedented performance, reliability, and flexibility in many gas flow measurement and control applications. 

Product Highlights:
  • Flexible: Using the Brooks exclusive MultiFlo technology, one device can be quickly and easily reconfigured for a wide range of flows and virtually any gas without sacrificing performance
  • Suitable: The GF40/80 are available with elastomer or metal seals, a range of digital communications and have an all Hastelloy sensor for enhanced sensor life and long term stability 
  • Fast: The GF40/80 provides sub one second response times for virtually any step change 
  • Accurate: The GF40/80 coupled with MultiFlo technology provides actual process gas accuracy far superior to traditional single point conversion factors  

The GF40/80 Series is the perfect choice for customers who use thermal mass flow controllers or flow meters on a variety of gases, who need to change gas type frequently, or who need to re-range while preserving gas measurement and control accuracy. Some examples: 
  • OEMs will reduce the number of gas- and range-specific mass flow controllers that they inventory
  • Solar, biotech, CVD, plasma, glass, web coating, nanotechnology, vacuum processing and similar large users of mass flow meters and mass flow controllers will greatly reduce their gas- and range-specific spares inventory
  • R&D, research, and laboratory users can quickly change experiment conditions and achieve much better actual process gas accuracy vs traditional mass flow controllers and mass flow meters

Women in automation!

The Automation Federation (AF) announced that the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) signed a memorandum of membership in October. SWE is the newest member of the Automation Federation.

This cartoon appeared in an Aug'09 issue of
Automation Weekly!
The Society of Women Engineers is a nonprofit educational and service organization that encourages diversity and empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering. The goal of SWE is to establish engineering as a highly desirable career for women through training and development programs, scholarships and much more.

At the recent ISA Ireland Honours & Awards function, on which we will be reporting shortly, some of the most outstanding and innovative projects were by women automation engineers.

The Society of Women Engineers provides the Automation Federation and its members with a valuable advocacy resource for reaching out to a broader array of potential automation professionals—more specifically young women—around the world. Together, AF and SWE will work to spread the message to women and students about the many careers available to them in engineering, and more specifically in automation. In addition, AF and SWE will work to advance the diversity and inclusion of the automation profession through education improvement and the development and promotion of recommended or best practices.

“The Automation Federation welcomes the Society of Women Engineers, SWE, as our newest member organization! We look forward to working with SWE to inform young women—students and seasoned professionals—about the many careers available to them in automation,” said Automation Federation Managing Director, Mike Marlowe.

The Society of Women Engineers Executive Director and CEO, Betty Shanahan, stated, "By joining the Automation Federation, the Society of Women Engineers can support increasing the diversity of the automation profession through improving inclusion in the automation workplace and highlighting opportunities in the profession.”

Digital panel meters for processes

Yokogawa has released the ProPlus Digital Panel Meter series which was designed according to their well known and rigorous engineering and high quality standards. The ProPlus Digital Panel Meter series is available in the following 8 different models with up to 24 feature enhancing options.

• YPP6000 – Process Meter
• YPP6060 – Dual Input Process Meter
• YPP6100 – Strain Gauge Input Meter; Available Winter 2012
• YPP6200 – Analog Input Flow Rate/Totaliser
• YPP6210 – Input Batch Controller
• YPP6300 – Pulse Input Flow Rate/Totaliser
• YPP6310 – Pulse Input Batch Controller
• YPP7000 – Temperature Meter


Key features include:
• Dual-Line 6-Digit Display
• NEMA 4X, IP65 Front
• Universal 85-265 VAC or 12/24 VDC Input Power
• Sunlight Readable Display Models
• Programmable Displays & Function Keys
• 2 or 4-Relay plus Isolated 4-20 mA Output Options
• External 4-Relay & Digital I/O Expansion Modules
• USB, RS-232, and RS-422/485 Serial Communication Options
• Modbus® RTU Communication Protocol Standard
• Free ProPlus Software for Operation, Monitoring, and Programming
• CE and UL Certification
• 3 Year Warranty

Process application examples for the ProPlus Digital Panel Meter series include tank level, pump control, batch size plus many more. The ProPlus Digital Panel Meter series is available from Yokogawa distributors and representatives.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Power meter introduced!

Teseq has introduced the new model PMU 6003 to its power meter product range.

The PMU 6003 is designed for a large variety of applications over the frequency range of 9 kHz to 3 GHz. The main features of the PMU 6003 include a large dynamic range of more than 65 dB, a high measurement speed of less than 16ms in the entire dynamic range as well as a rugged design.

The PMU 6003 is intended for use in conjunction with a PC via USB port. Several power meters can be used simultaneously. Simple to use control software displays the measurement results of all connected power meters and provides a variety of additional functions, e.g. setting references, offset or delta measurement of different power meters.

Hot data on the Arctic Circle!

ABB has won an order worth about $11 million from Facebook's subsidiary Pinnacle Sweden, to power its first server facility outside the United States.

They will build two high- and medium-voltage air- and gas-insulated switchgear substations that will supply power to a datacenter being built in Luleå, a coastal town in northern Sweden. The data center will be the largest of its kind in Europe.

“The substations are designed to handle the high electricity demand of such facilities” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB's Power Systems division. “They will provide reliable and quality power supply to the server buildings.”

The construction of Facebook's datacenter will be carried out in three phases. The facility will consist of three server buildings with a total area of 84,000 square meters, equivalent to 11 full-sized soccer fields. The first building is scheduled to become operational in December 2012, and will have a substantial need for electrical energy to power and cool its servers.

Located near the Arctic Circle, Luleå’s cold climate is well suited for the natural cooling of server buildings. This, along with a stable supply of clean energy from renewable sources as well as reliable
communications and electricity networks, paved the way for the choice of Luleå as a location for its new center, making it a European node for Facebook’s data traffic.

ABB will also install substation automation systems compliant with the global IEC 61850 standard and equipped with the latest protection and control products. The installed capacity of the substations will exceed the city’s normal consumption on cold winter days.

• See article "The best cooling solutions," Frost & Sullivan on cooling Data Centres 15/12/2011

LVDTs for railway!

Special LVDTs meet the rigorous demands of monitoring railway tracks
          
Continuous welded railway tracks can variously be subjected to stress or compression as temperatures change, or to misalignment as movement takes place. In these situations RDP transducers can help play an important monitoring role.

Engineering companies conducting tests on rail track for expansion, movement and alignment frequently use LVDTs supplied by RDP Electronics Ltd. Special versions of LVDTs are designed to be installed in carriers making them more resistant to damage when bolted directly to the side of the rail. RDP LVDTs are the most suitable sensor for applications where they may be exposed to shock and vibration as well as having good resistance to climatic conditions such as temperature water and resistance to corrosive fluids.

Laser light sensor

Whether path correction, edge or gap measurement, volume measurement or tolerance verification, the tasks and requirements of modern vision solutions are varied. Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a powerful and reliable laser light sensor in the form of the LineRunner 300 (LR300) to overcome these challenges.

In the laser light process, a line projected onto an object is detected by a camera at a specific angle. Height and width information are determined using the triangulation principle. As a result, the LR300 is able to process even the most problematic color and contrast characteristics using a sophisticated exposure time control and due to its laser protection class 1 conformity, saves on costs that would otherwise be incurred through workplace safety measures for higher laser protection classes.

The LineRunner delivers width and height data in millimeters via an Ethernet interface, enabling direct connection to an evaluation system.

The LineRunner 300 by Pepperl+Fuchs is a reliable, robust laser light sensor with an impressive safe laser protection class and sophisticated exposure time control.

Main features at a glance

  • Laser protection class 1



  • Intelligent illumination control



  • Saves money at safeguarding work stations



  • No manual change of the parameterizing is needed with different surfaces



  • Dual Laser System



  • Infrared measuring reader



  • Red measuring point indication laser



  • Vision Configurator



  • Standard intuitive control software for all vision-sensors



  • Simple implementation thanks to measuring point



  • Invisible measuring without employee irritation



  • Simple to exchange sensors without new calibration



  • Relearning not necessary
  • USB connection for harsh conditions

    The Amphenol USBField range is a pioneer in the field of USB connections for harsh environments. 

    Amphenol has extended its range by proposing a plastic version USB called USBAP for industrial markets.

    Both robust and economical, this new range of products is specially adapted for applications for access points on telecoms equipment, video controls, robotics, and industrial process automation among others.

    The solution is complete and the range is available in encapsulated rugged USB wires, as well as receptacles integrating an automatic cap (which automatically protects the receptacle when the plug is unmated) and waterproof USB Memory key with a capacity of 2 to 8 GB.

    This new series offers optimal protection for use in severe environments. It is IP67 rated (1hr under 1m water). In mated condition, the plug is connected to the receptacle or in USB Memory Key versions. In the unmated mode, when the receptacle is fitted to its self closing cap, the protection is IP54 (dust and water). The temperature range is from - 40°C to + 85°C.

    Robots to create jobs!

    Who would have thought it - Robots being responsible for  job creation? It has been demonstrated repeatedly that automation and robotics increase productivity and efficiency and growth. The Automating Manufacturing Programme, funded by the British Government aims to increase the competitiveness of manufacturing there, which will create growth and in turn result in greater employment. 

    Robotics in the food industry!
    The latest study conducted by the market research firm, Metra MartechPositive Impact of Industrial Robots on Employment published recently by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) in Tokyo, demonstrates that 3 million jobs have been directly created in recent years by the use of robots and a further 1 million positions  estimated globally by 2016.

    Mike Wilson Chairman of the British Automation and Robots Association (BARA) said "This is great news for British manufacturing. The IFR study highlights the importance of robotics to the future growth of UK industry and the jobs it will create as a result. The recently launched government funded Automating Manufacturing Programme is providing assistance to companies looking to use automation to improve competitiveness and drive growth....Together we can make UK manufacturing the best in the world and create the jobs that our country needs."

    The report found that between 2000-2008, manufacturing employment increased in nearly every major industrialised country, even as the use of industrialised robotics increased sharply. This trend is now being seen in China, Brazil and other emerging markets as they rapidly increase their use of robotics. In Brazil, the number of robots almost quadrupled during the study period with both production and employment rising by over 20%.

    The report also highlighted 3 areas of importance with respect to growth in this market:
    • Robots carry out work that is unsafe for humans
    • Robots carry out work that is not viable in a high wage economy
    • Robots carry out work that would be impossible for humans
    One of the case studies cited was the company Odense Steel Shipyard (DK) - an excellent example of robots saving jobs in a high wage economy. Shipbuilding in Europe has been in decline in the last 2 - 4 decades but robots have been key to efficiency savings to Odense. The company has invested in an autonomous, robotic arc welding system that has yielded big dividends. Productivity increased six fold when compared with manual welding, speeded up production time and made quality improvements, whilst also protecting the jobs of the qualified welders.

    The British Government is providing, through the PPMA Group, up to £600,000 of funding to promote automation in manufacturing.  Chief Executive Officer of the PPMA group Chris Buxton commented "we are delighted that the Government has put its full weight behind a programme that recognises the importance of automation in UK industry and the positive effect this has for growth and employment."

    Contribution recognised

    The UKIVA (UK Industrial Vision Association) and EMVA (European Machine Vision Association) have jointly recognised the contribution made to the vision industry by the late Don Braggins. They chose the occasion of the recent VISION Show in Stuttgart (D) to present Don’s widow, Anne, with a gift for her garden. The timing was particularly appropriate as Don had attended every VISION show up to and including 2009 and had been a regular member of the jury for the VISION Award.

    Mark Williamson, Mrs Anne Braggins
    and Patrick Schwarzkopf
    UKIVA Chairman, Mark Williamson praised Don’s foresight in seeing the potential of industrial vision back in 1983 when he left Cambridge Instruments to set up his company, “Machine Vision Consultancy”. Mark said: “Don was absolutely passionate about the subject and resolute about promoting its capability and technologies throughout industry. It was no surprise that his company was one of the founder members of the UKIVA in 1992 and that he went on to champion the Association until 2009, before overseeing the transition to a special interest group of the PPMA. He probably did more for the vision industry than any other individual.”

    Patrick Schwarzkopf, General Secretary of the EMVA, said: "I met Don around the year 2000 when he gave an inspiring talk about machine vision. I was completely new in the industry and Don already an icon. It was inspiring to see how brilliant a networker he was. He knew virtually everybody. That made him the ideal person to get the European Machine Vision Association started, and he did. From the beginning he was driving the idea forward and getting people on board. For six years he was a member of the Executive Committee and making sure the fledgling organisation would grow and progress fast”.

    Thomas Walter of the Messe Stuttgart remembers Don “as a loyal companion, a friend, a mentor. As an industry guru, Don was always on hand to provide me with advice and support. For me, as a trade fair organiser, his ideas and thoughts were groundbreaking in the further development of the VISION trade fair. Don helped to carve out the path which VISION took to become a leading world trade fair.”

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Car door testing!

    In the automotive industry, doors and bonnets of cars and trucks are routinely tested to confirm they will continue to perform for the designed life of the vehicle, or to determine when failure might occur. RDP can supply LVDTs and load cells for the purpose that offer the accuracy and longevity required making them ideally suited to such applications.

    A pneumatic or hydraulic actuator is typically used to open and close the door for a pre-determined time or series of test cycles, using LVDTs to accurately measure displacement and load cells to measure the forces applied. Data can then be captured for further analysis. Because of the LVDTs inductive principle of operation with no electrical connection across the sensing element, they are inherently suitable for delivering clean data when working in long term testing regimes.

    "All-in-one” concept to panel computing applications

    Adlink Technology has a new Smart Panel series of products designed to provide a new “all-in-one” concept to panel computing applications, such as factory automation equipment, transportation systems, multimedia navigation devices, advertising systems, interactive kiosks, and medical care systems. The Smart Panel series of products provide users an embedded human-machine (HMI) where cloud computing is used for the Things of the Internet in both public and private cloud services to enable access to information and services from any location as needed.

    Smart Panel products comprise highly-integrated, ultrathin, and flexible designs ready for development. Benefits of this series of products include a quicker time-to-market of your end products, reduced development risks and costs, and simplified material management. This is the first series of products on the marketplace to integrate the CPU, networking capability, and a display into a single panel device. The Smart Panel incorporates the main board and is designed at minimal size and thickness which gives greater flexibility to the case design of the target application. The Smart Panel completely integrates three key components of a system design: a high-brightness LCD panel, a touch screen, and a main board. This allows designers to focus on the I/O board design needed for their application. Use of the Smart Panel not only reduces design risks, but cuts system development time in at least half.

    The 8” model Smart Panel offers a screen brightness of up to 800 cd/m2 (compared to 250 – 300 cd/m2 in commonly found in the LCD panels available in the marketplace) to ensure a clear image both indoor and even outside under direct sunlight. The high-resolution full-color interface makes it much easier for users to use the device to gather data and display images, reports, and text for viewing through simple operations. The integrated touch screen feature is not only provided in response to recent market trends, but also eliminates the need for system integrators to worry about cleanliness requirements between the LCD panel and touch screen if they were to apply their own. The high-brightness Smart Panel provides resistive or capacitive touch-panel options for greatest flexibility with different system designs. All of these features are provided in a modular design of less than 2 cm to further extend the flexibility offered to designers for their industrial-grade panel computer.

    Most tablet computers already include the LCD and CPU panel in the case, for which physically larger designs are unavoidable. For some embedded systems, a new case design is necessary. For these applications, the ultrathin Smart Panel allows greater flexibility in system and case designs so that developers are able to easily provide customized solutions and platforms for high-quality devices with minimal resources. ADLINK also provides system customization services to enable our customers to provide a completely customized panel computing system quickly, through co-design and co-development opportunities. ADLINK can also provide standard cases based on application requirements to also provide another means for quicker assembly of the Smart Panel and I/O control module into the case.

    Current Smart Panel products are offered in x86 and ARM architectures with displays ranging from 5” to 21.5” for a variety of applications. The high-definition display (1920 x 1080) options include aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9. Optional Wi-Fi is offered to enable remote monitoring for effective control of factory production status, materials management, and troubleshooting. Enhanced data collection features can be realized through designing the HMI into automated MES and ERP systems. The information can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet where a user can directly view the content remotely. The market response has been enthusiastic and the interest has been extremely high. The industrial-grade high-brightness Smart Panel will be the key to revolutionizing the development of many applications across several industries.

    Multifunctional transmitter power supply with converter functions

    Universal Transmitter Power Supply
    KFU8-VCR-1
    Many process automation applications require versatile devices. The new signal conditioner KFU8-VCR-1 from Pepperl+Fuchs combines a universal power supply for 2- and 3-wire transmitters with signal converter functionality. Multiple outputs offer active and passive current sources and one voltage output, allowing a flexible adaptation of the field signal to the control system.

    Front-sided rotary switches feature fast and easy setup and configuration without the need for software. Switch settings can be easily duplicated in case of replacements or expansions.

    Finally, no 24VDC supply is needed due to the integrated wide range power supply. Ideal for small projects and world wide usage. The new transmitter power supply is THE flexible all-rounder for input conversion and output signals.

    New test kits!

    The first FOUNDATION™ fieldbus devices based on the Fieldbus Foundation's H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) Version 6.0.Emerson Process Management and Yokogawa supplied the registered H1 (31.25 kbit/s) devices have been registered. They have been tested for their functionality and conformity with the FOUNDATION function block and transducer block specifications.

    Fieldbus Foundation Registered Products
    Emerson’s registered devices include the TopWorx D2-FF Discrete Valve Controller, which combines analog/digital position sensing and monitoring with Foundation fieldbus communications and pilot valve output drivers for on/off applications; and the Rosemount Analytical 1066 pH Transmitter, which measures pH and ORP/Redox, and provides comprehensive sensor, transmitter, and calibration diagnostics to the bus via field diagnostics.


    Yokogawa's registered devices are enhanced pressure transmitters featuring innovations in multi-sensing technology that makes optimal use of the powerful characteristics of a single-crystal silicon resonant sensor. They also support AR, IS, SC, IT and PID function blocks; NE107 field diagnostics; and software download function.

    All H1 ITK 6.0 tested devices support the latest advancements in field diagnostics per the NAMUR NE107 recommendation, which build upon the existing, powerful diagnostic capabilities of Foundation fieldbus equipment, and at the same time, add a greater degree of organisation so field instruments can represent their diagnostics in a more consistent way.

    For example, employing NE 107 field diagnostics capabilities, non-critical diagnostics can be routed to a maintenance station for future work while critical diagnostics can be routed to operations with specific recommendations on how to resolve an instrumentation issue. This and other advanced ITK 6.0 features are fully configurable to provide utmost flexibility in user applications.

    Transmitting around obstacles!

    Mantracourt have released their Wireless Active Repeater, a module that allows wireless instrumentation transmission to span around obstacles such as buildings or walls as well as increasing range.

    The repeater acts as a transparent link between Mantracourt’s T24 Acquisition modules and a base station or a handheld display. The Active Repeater was originally developed to achieve greater coverage for wireless load cell technology in the construction sector.


    "The development of the Active Repeater helps us further build on the success of our T24 wireless telemetry range," said Kelly Voysey, Sales and Marketing Manager at Mantracourt. "The T24 range is proving a great success and is now being used in a broad range of industries worldwide."

    This company is a leading manufacturer of industrial measurement technologies and a world leader in the design and manufacture of electronics for measurement technologies, including strain gauge, temperature, pressure, voltage, current, potentiometer, rate, flow, LVDT and displacement in either analogue, digital or wireless form.

    The  T24 wireless telemetry range is a flexible low power radio system designed to enable the transmission of high accuracy measurement data from load cells, inclinometers, accelerometers, displacement and pressure sensors. With a combination of transmitter and receiver technologies, engineers are able to remotely monitor instrumentation readings.

    "As many engineers will be aware, a low power telemetry system can overcome a lot of logical problems when collecting instrumentation data in difficult to access locations. However, occasionally the range of this type of low power telemetry system can be a limitation, especially in a built up area. The Active Repeater enables engineers to overcome this, broadening the coverage of the system and ensuring the integrity of the data being monitored. For more remote monitoring, the T24 system can also be interfaced to a GSM system."

    The T24 system has a range of up to 200m (650ft) without the use of a repeater. Using the Active Repeater will allow messages to be repeated once, which can effectively double the radio range. It is powered by either a pair of alkaline ‘D’ Cells or an external power supply (5-18 Volts) and can be configured for extended battery life. The Repeater is also enclosed in an IP65 rated NEMA4 protected enclosure, to ensure protection in hostile environments.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Innovative battery-powered controller

    "First of its kind in the market!"

    Telemetry and Remote SCADA Solutions, a division of Schneider Electric, has launched the VC10 Valve Controller to its Accutech wireless sensor network product line. A battery-powered wireless field device, the VC10 is used to control pneumatic valves in hazardous locations with unique functionality that offers optimized natural gas wellhead automation solutions to operators.

    Using a patent pending technology called Progressive Pulse Control (PPC), the VC10 is ideal for operation of pneumatic valves in a wide range of upstream oil and gas applications.  Coupled with Accutech’s state-of-the-art power management technology, the VC10 is capable of operating in the field autonomously for over 50,000 cycles which equates to years of maintenance free operation.

    “The VC10 is the last link in what we call the wireless wellhead,”
    says Stephen Goodman, Senior Product Manager Accutech. “Together with other Accutech field devices the VC10 enables our customers to deploy entirely wireless battery-powered wellhead automation systems without the costs of wiring, trenching, maintenance and more, all with Class 1, Div 1 certification.”

    Included with the VC10 are two digital inputs, the first configured as a counter for use in plunger arrival systems and the second for use with any discreet signal.  An integrated pressure sensor is incorporated as a feedback mechanism in the PPC circuit and as a useful diagnostic for wellhead operators.  Magnetic switches and a LCD display allow for configuration settings in the field without compromising zone restrictions.

    Crop health information

    Though maybe not strictly automation we thought this an interesting application.

    Agricultural Data Collection aboard UAVs!
    Headwall Photonics' Micro-Hyperspec® imaging sensor is being successfully deployed aboard very small commercial UAVs to help agriculturalists and researchers monitor vegetation over wide areas. Accurate spectral scenes of farmlands and crop fields can now be quickly rendered using this technology. Detailed crop-health information can be gathered by placing these miniaturized hyperspectral imagers on long-duration commercial UAVs, which crisscross farmland to yield a mosaic of data-rich images.

    Headwall worked collaboratively with Pablo Zarco-Tejada, a Principal Investigator at the Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (IAS) in Spain. "This is a critically useful deployment of our technology by a leading researcher in the remote sensing community," said David Bannon, CEO of Headwall Photonics. "Hyperspectral imaging allows agricultural experts across the globe to make crop and vegetation decisions that will enrich the lives of everyone." He noted the need for precision hyperspectral imaging solutions that are small, light, and rugged. "Size, weight and power requirements are important concerns when deploying this technology aboard airborne vehicles, so we developed and engineered the aberration-corrected Micro-Hyperspec sensor with that in mind."

    With a small size and fully integrated payload weight of less than 1.5 lbs., the Micro-Hyperspec imaging sensor is an ideal sensor for very small UAV platforms. The Micro-Hyperspec is available in VNIR configurations (380-1000nm) and NIR configurations (900-1700nm). The Micro-Hyperspec is available as a complete airborne configuration consisting of a small, accurate GPS/INS unit, data processing engine with high capacity, solid state drive, and application software necessary to acquire and display hyperspectral datacubes with exceptional spectral and spatial resolution.

    Pablo Zarco-Tejada commented on the success of the collaborative effort between IAS and Headwall: "We've pioneered this technology aboard unmanned airborne platforms and the data we're able to collect about agriculture and croplands helps us make life-enriching decisions for everyone." A mosaic of the flight patterns yields a tremendous amount of useful data about the vegetation below. The use of long-duration UAVs means better stability aloft, and larger data volumes stored during each flight. "Headwall's Micro-Hyperspec technology and their applications support have allowed us to achieve what matters most in our field of work: outstanding spectral/spatial resolution and high dynamic range in a rugged, small-form-factor package."

    Memorandum of membership signed!

    The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has signed a Memorandum of Membership, becoming one of the newest members of the Automation Federation.

    The Automation Federation is an association of member organizations that provides awareness, programs and services that continually advance all facets of the automation profession. The Automation Federation serves as the “Voice of Automation” by providing advocacy and industry-wide strategic analysis and coordination through its member organizations.

    SME is the world's leading professional society that advances manufacturing knowledge and influences more than half a million manufacturing practitioners annually.

    The Automation Federation and SME will work together to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics education (STEM) and the Automation Competency Model to improve the general public’s awareness of automation and technology and to help small manufacturers around the country remain competitive.

    “The Automation Federation puts a great deal of effort into communicating the importance of STEM to the next generation of automation professionals,”
    says Mike Marlowe, Automation Federation managing director. “We recognize that the collaboration with SME empowers the Automation Federation with a larger pool of resources to help us reach our audience and enhances our programs." 

    Mark Tomlinson,
    SME executive director says, “As the world’s leading professional society for manufacturing professionals, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers recognizes the importance of automation in improving the productivity and economic viability of our industry. SME and the Automation Federation are dedicated to working together to promote and advance the automation profession through education, new technology development, sharing our best practices and improving the quantity and quality of the automation workforce for the benefit of the manufacturing industry. Between the two organizations, we reach over half a million manufacturing practitioners, and by partnering, we leverage each other’s respective strengths. We look forward to working with the Automation Federation and its partner organizations as long as possible.”

    Reduce operating costs and improve efficiency

    Optimising operational and environmental performance by integrating critical system data to manage energy use and requirements

    GE is demonstrating its commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth through its ecomagination® efforts. Today, there are 130 products and solutions in the ecomagination portfolio. Offerings in the ecomagination portfolio must demonstrate improvement to a customer’s operating performance or value proposition, while also improving environmental performance.

    The company is working with outside companies to develop solutions that are based on innovative ecomagination products to expand and invest in research and development. Included in this effort is a solution from GE Intelligent Platforms and Trane, a brand of Ingersoll-Rand , a world-leader in creating safe, comfortable and efficient environments.
    They have combined expertise to offer a new solution called Tracer™ XT that combines Trane Tracer building automation systems and GE’s Proficy® ecomagination-qualified technology.
    Tracer XT offers a platform specifically designed to integrate, manage and optimize critical facility systems. It is the latest addition to the full portfolio of Tracer controls solutions by Trane. Tracer XT is the first controls offering qualified for inclusion in the Ingersoll Rand Green Portfolio of superior products that combine industry-leading performance with enhanced environmental benefits.
    The platform is based on Proficy, GE’s industry-leading software platform which is helping customers around the world reduce operating costs. It builds on the solid foundation of GE Intelligent Platforms Proficy’ s data management capabilities, analytical tools and communications to provide a powerful approach to integrating data from a variety of systems for HVAC, power, lighting, safety and more into a common interface to manage energy use and cooling requirements to optimize operational and environmental performance.
    The Proficy Software platform is ecomagination-qualified for improving overall process efficiency, reducing waste and defects, and reducing energy usage. GE and Trane are working together to bring customers a breadth of solutions to meet the sustainability needs of today’s business.
    Ecomagination is GE’s business strategy to help customers meet their environmental and operational challenges. It is based on GE’s belief that solving environmental problems is good business around the world. It represents a pledge by the company to continually improve operations and invest in research and development that will produce more innovative ecomagination products. Through ecomagination, GE is driving a global energy transformation with a focus on innovation and R&D investment to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology.

    Beamforming and multichannel waveform generation

    Pentek has released its highest-performing D/A converter module for RF and IF waveform playback, the Cobalt® Model 71670. The module delivers four independent analog outputs each through its own digital upconverter and 16-bit D/A with sampling rates to 1.25 GHz. An on-board Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA contains factory-installed IP that provides turnkey waveform playback functionality for output signal bandwidths up to 250 MHz. Users can also customize the module’s operation by implementing their own IP in the FPGA.

    “With four channels capable of independent translation from baseband to IF frequency,”
    said Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek, “the Model 71670 makes a perfect complement to our Cobalt Models 71660 and 71661 four-channel A/D boards. For the first time, this important new addition to our Cobalt product line provides four channels of digital up conversion in a single module instead of four. This helps engineers save costs and greatly simplifies the design of synchronous beamforming radar and multichannel transceiver systems.”

    Channel independence in the Model 71670 is achieved with two new DAC3484 D/A converters from Texas Instruments (TI), each providing two digital upconverters (DUC) and 16-bit D/A channels with up to 16x interpolation that can translate a quadrature (I+Q) signal to a user-selectable IF center frequency.

    “We began working with Pentek on their new D/A boards shortly after the DAC3484 became available,” said Chuck Sanna, marketing manager for Texas Instruments’ High Speed Products business. “With the DAC3484, Pentek was able to dramatically increase board density and performance thanks to the device’s small package size and the industry’s lowest power consumption.”
    Precision Timing Enables Large Synchronous Systems

    The Model 71670’s internal clock generator supports a wide range of timing modes and operates from an on-board programmable VCXO or an external clock. A front-panel connector accepts a 5 or 10 MHz reference clock to phase lock the internal programmable VCXO. The module also accepts a direct D/A sample clock input that can be as high as 1.25 GHz.

    To offer precision timing control in a multi-module design, Pentek has implemented its new µSync timing bus in the Model 71670. The bus uses CML (current model logic) signaling for highest precision and includes clock, sync/reset, and gate/trigger signals that keep the operations of multiple modules sample-synchronized. Two modules can use the bus in a master/slave relationship to achieve 8-channel synchronization. For higher channel counts, the Model 7192 Cobalt Synchronizer can drive numerous modules using a star configuration.

    High-Performance I/O

    The Model 71670 complies with the VITA 42.0 XMC interface specification, providing two gigabit serial connectors. The primary XMC connector supports x4 or x8 PCIe Gen 2 with multiple DMA controllers for efficient transfers to and from the module. The secondary connector supports two 4x or one 8x link with bit rates up to 3.125 GHz to support user-installed gigabit serial protocols such as Aurora, SRIO, or a secondary PCIe interface. An additional I/O option provides 20 LVDS differential pairs to the FPGA through the PMC P14 connector.

    Built-in and Customizable Operation
    Like all Cobalt family modules, the Model 71670 includes a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA to implement internal data flow. The FPGA’s factory-configured functions include a sophisticated Waveform Playback IP module that includes four linked list DMA controllers to support waveform generation from tables in either on-board or host memory. As many as 64 individual link entries are available for each channel and can be chained together to create complex waveforms with a minimum of programming.

    Pentek also provides users with its GateFlow software development tool for implementing their own IP in the FPGA. The tool includes source code for the factory-implemented configuration as well as other system IP, allowing users to customize the module’s default operation as well as incorporate their own proprietary IP. Customers can also choose the size of the FPGA on their module, ensuring they will have adequate capacity for implementing the functionality they desire.

    New radio standard with longer-range wireless connection

    RF 95 LR SW868 and RF 95 RS SW ULR SW868
    equipped with the new radio module
    The steute business field "Wireless" is continuing to expand the number of possible industrial applications for its innovative "energy harvesting" radio technology. steute is introducing a new radio standard which, has the advantage of a longer-range wireless connection. This makes it possible to operate wireless switchgear at ranges of up to 700m outdoors, without an energy supply. The radio protocol uses the 868 MHz waveband, or 915 MHz in the North American version. The 915 MHz version is certified in accordance with FCC and IC; CSA/UL certification is in preparation.

    Users have the choice between two variants. The self-sufficient devices contain a radio circuit board which transmits confirmation of a previously received signal when a radio signal is transmitted. This facilitates – albeit delayed – bidirectional communication. The second variant is contained in our battery-based wireless devices. It confirms an "acknowledge" signal immediately upon receipt, can transmit a repeat signal if required and is also able to "ask" the receiver unit whether or not a signal has arrived. This guarantees the transmission certainty required, even in sensitive applications.

    The position switches from their 95 series, available with two different ranges. With a stub antenna in "shark fin" design, long-range (LR) applications up to 500 m are possible. Alternatively, an ultra-long-range (ULR) antenna is also available, permitting ranges of up to 800m outdoors. The different variants (self-sufficient/battery-based and LR/ULR) can be combined at will. This means an expansion to the modular range of steute radio switchgear. And users can be sure that other types of wireless switchgear will also be available with the new radio standard in the future.

    A few months ago an electrodynamic energy generator with a considerably longer lifespan (over a million switching cycles) and a far higher switching frequency (up to 1,800 switching cycles per hour) than previously available components was also marketed.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Power acquisition completed!

    The acquisition strengthens control solution portfolio to manage the integration of renewable energy into micro grids

    ABB has completed its acquisition of Powercorp. Powercorp's portfolio includes automation and control technologies to manage the integration of renewable energy into isolated grids and keep generation in balance with consumption. The company also supplies systems that dynamically store and release energy in response to frequency and voltage deviations, to stabilize small or remote grids. These solutions help to maintain power stability and quality while minimizing environmental impact.

    The acquisition strengthens ABB’s portfolio of control technologies and brings expertise for the integration of renewable energy into conventional micro and remote island grids.