Saturday, January 22, 2011

Global launch of accelerometer!

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the global market introduction of the Endevco® model 2228C, a rugged low-mass triaxial piezoelectric accelerometer, designed to suit a variety of general vibration testing requirements. The versatility and performance characteristics of the model 2228C allow it to be used in R&D, metrology, lighting systems, wireless equipment, space shuttle and solid rocket booster electronics assemblies, helicopter engines, combustion turbines and vacuum pump applications, among others.

With a sensitivity of 2.8 pC/g, the Endevco® model 2228C is designed to provide high-reliability vibration measurements on three orthogonal axes with 10-32 receptacles to allow data collection from three separate output connections. These connections also offer a visual reference for the orthogonal axes being measured. With a total package weighing just 15 grams, the accelerometer effectively minimizes mass loading on small structures and objects. Units are designed to reliably operate over a temperature range of -55˚C to +177˚C (-67˚F to +350˚F), with mounting via two-hole screw or adhesive. The accelerometer is a self-generating device that requires no external power source for operation. Signal ground is isolated from the mounting surface of the unit. Low-noise, flexible coaxial cables are supplied for error-free operation. In addition, the Endevco® model 2228C is available at specially discounted rates as part of the –R replacement sensor program.

Recommended accessories for use with the Endevco® model 2228C include the model 133 three-channel piezoelectric signal conditioner; the model 2771C remote charge converter; the model 2775B signal conditioner; model 6634C vibration amplifier; or the model 4990A multi-channel signal conditioner.

Change of venue!

MCERTS 2011  will now take place at the Telford International Centre (GB), on 30th - 31st March.
Previous MCERTS events have taken place near Burton, Staffs, but the new, larger venue will provide improved facilities for exhibitors and visitors and is serviced by excellent transport links.

Event organiser Marcus Pattison explained: “We are delighted to be able to bring the MCERTS event to Telford. The International Centre will provide greater room for the conference, exhibition and workshops, enabling everything to take place in a single hall and providing room for further growth in the future.”

MCERTS 2011 is the latest in a series of events that began in 2003, and will focus on regulations, techniques, standards and technologies that relate to emissions monitoring.

The main conference will focus on recent and 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 over 100 walk-in/walk-out workshops will cover a broad spectrum of subjects, providing practical guidance on the measurement of almost all measurands of interest.

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.

Illuminated encoders and translucent knobs

New range of illuminated rotary encoders and matching translucent control knobs

CLIFF Electronics has announced the introduction of a new range of LED illuminated rotary encoders with a matching range of translucent control knobs.

Rotary encoders are widely replacing conventional analogue potentiometers for audio, instrumentation and industrial control functions as they offer more accurate, repeatable setting. Cliff’s rotary encoder range features LED illuminated spindles to provide visible indication of panel position or function. Standard LED colours available are blue, green and red.

Cliff Electronics is now manufacturing a wide range of customisable translucent control knobs plus 8 solid colours. The new range of translucent control knobs is available to fit standard pot and encoder shafts. Custom designed translucent knobs are also available on request.

John Hall, General Manager of Cliff Electronics comments; "Cliff Electronics has been providing switching solutions for many years and manufacture a wide range of standard and custom rotary and slide switch control knobs in our UK factory. Our new rotary encoder product range meets growing demands for reliable, accurate signal control. The provision of an LED illuminated shaft provides integrated indication to simplify and reduce the cost of control panels by eliminating the need to fit a separate LED indicator. Our experience of manufacturing control knobs in-house puts us in a unique position to provide a range of matching translucent control knobs for our own and other suppliers illuminated rotary encoders.”

The Cliff Electronics rotary encoder range provides an output of 24 pulse/24 clicks and features a 24mm shaft with “flats” of 15/17.5/20/25/30mm available. Switch contacts are rated at 5VDC/0.5mA and the operating temperature range is -40 to +85ºC making them ideal for industrial control applications.

Typical applications for the new Cliff Electronics range of rotary encoders includes audio, broadcast, industrial control, medical and telecoms equipment and many types of portable devices.

Acquisition cleared

ABB and Baldor Electric Company have announced that the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice has cleared ABB’s proposed acquisition of Baldor pursuant to a cash tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Baldor at a price of $63.50 per share net to the holder in cash, without interest and less any required withholding taxes.

This antitrust clearance satisfies the last remaining regulatory condition to the tender offer (originally reported by us in November, "Motor, drives and power transmission company acquired!" ). As announced on January 20, 2011, the tender offer will expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on January 25, 2011.

The closing of the tender offer remains subject to other customary terms and conditions, including the condition that there shall have been validly tendered and not validly withdrawn a number of shares that represents more than 66-2/3% of the sum of the number of Baldor shares issued and outstanding on the expiration date of the offer and the number of Baldor shares issuable under stock options, stock units and other derivative securities then exercisable.

Subject to the satisfaction of these other conditions, ABB expects to close the acquisition of Baldor soon after the expiration of the tender offer.

Approved process safety system

Emerson Process Management’s DeltaV SIS™ process safety system has proven compliance with three burner management system (BMS) standards. TÜV has certified the DeltaV SIS system as meeting the requirements for the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 85: Boiler and Combustion Systems Hazards Code, the European Standard EN 298: Automatic gas burner control systems for gas burners and gas burning appliances with or without fans, and the European Standard EN 50156: Electrical equipment for furnaces and ancillary equipment. All of these standards cover the design and installation of fuel burning equipment and their associated systems.

Fire-heated equipment plays a critical role in the production process, so safety, reliability, and availability are paramount. The DeltaV SIS system has the flexibility to meet BMS needs (large or small), gives operators increased visibility for BMS operations, and reduces engineering and complexity for BMS applications. DeltaV SIS simplex and redundant logic solvers are certified for use in SIL 3 applications in accordance with IEC 61508.

Emerson's Mike Boudreaux
addresses last Years ISA
Marketing & Sales Summit
“With many existing DeltaV SIS installations already being used in burner management applications, the NFPA 85, EN 298 and EN 50156 product certifications give users additional assurance that the DeltaV SIS system is well-suited for use with fired equipment,” says Emerson’s Mike Boudreaux, Brand Manager for the DeltaV SIS system.

The DeltaV SIS process safety system is part of Emerson's Smart SIS solution, which is an extension of the PlantWeb™ digital plant architecture, providing an integrated approach to complete safety loops – from sensor to logic solver to final control element. The Emerson SIS solution enables customers to implement safer facilities, improve availability, lower life-cycle costs, and ease regulatory compliance. The Smart SIS system components include Rosemount® and Micro Motion® certified and proven-in-use devices, the DeltaV SIS system, SIL-PAC final control solution with Fisher® FIELDVUE™ DVC6000 SIS controller, and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software.

Guidance for EDDL Users

The ISA Standards & Practices Board has approved a new technical report, ISA-TR104.00.03, "EDDL: Meeting the requirements for integrating Fieldbus devices in engineering tools for field devices." This technical report is intended as a guideline in the use of the existing IEC 61804-3 international standard, "Function blocks (FB) for process control - Part 3: Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL)."

Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) is a device integration technology. EDDL is the key to interoperability between intelligent field devices and control systems.
"While the IEC 61804-3 standard provides specifications for device and system developers, this new ISA technical report provides guidance for device and system users,” stated ISA104 standards committee member and editor, Jonas Berge.

"We have passed a major milestone with this publication," said Terry Blevins, chair of the ISA104 standards committee, which developed the technical report. "Once the technical report receives approval by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), expected in early February 2011, end users around the world will be able to rely on an ANSI/ISA technical report developed in an open, consensus forum."

The ISA104 standards committee brings together device integration experts representing diverse industrial and technical interests from around the world. The committee was established by the International Society of Automation (ISA) to address device integration in control systems over the lifecycle of devices and systems. The committee's focus has been to improve the understanding of the EDDL approach and to provide criteria for procuring and implementing device integration technology in the control systems environment.

ISA-TR104.00.03 is intended to provide factual guidance in using EDDL for device integration. The technical report reviews how end user requirements for device integration are met by the EDDL standard. Although prior evaluations have already demonstrated that EDDL meets users’ lifecycle needs as defined in NAMUR NE 105, ISA-TR104.00.03 explains in greater detail these requirements and how EDDL meets them.

Those end user requirements for device integration include:
  • Integration is provided for simple as well as complex devices, with a hand-held field communicator or a full-fledged distributed control system (DCS) with intelligent device management software
  • Workstation operating systems are not made obsolete by files for newly released device versions
  • New device files do not impact system robustness by overwriting others, software components, or registry
  • New device files do not present difficult software installation questions
  • Device files are not affected by workstation operating system version, service packs, or patches
  • Help, wizards, illustrations, and conditionals are supported
  • Steps are the same for devices of all protocols, manufacturers, and types
  • There will not be a multitude of license keys causing administration overhead and extra cost
  • Graphics, persistent data storage, and wizards are supported
  • The EDD files are interoperability tested with the field device by independent third-parties

You may also be interested in our Fieldbus Page!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Parametric test systems

Keithley Instruments Enhances Throughput and Accuracy of S530 Parametric Test Systems

Keithley Instruments has introduced several enhancements to its line of S530 Parametric Test Systems, the most cost-effective fully automatic production parametric test solutions available to the semiconductor industry. These enhancements include the addition of Keithley’s new high throughput switch mainframe for high integrity signal switching, full Kelvin measurements at the probe card for greater low-ohms accuracy, new hardware protection modules that safeguard sensitive system instruments from high voltages, and a complete range of “probes up” system specifications and diagnostic tools. To learn more, view Keithley’s online product tour at

S530 systems are optimized for use in production parametric test environments that must accommodate a broad mix of products or wherever wide application flexibility and fast test plan development are critical. The proven source-measure technology and high fidelity signal pathways on which S530 testers are based ensure industry-leading measurement accuracy and repeatability.

A Choice of Two Powerful Parametric Test Configurations

Two different S530 systems are available: a low current version developed for measuring characteristics such as sub-threshold leakage, gate leakage, etc., and a high voltage version for the difficult breakdown and leakage tests that GaN, SiC, and Si LDMOS power devices demand. The S530 Low Current System (from two to eight SMU channels) provides sub-picoamp measurement resolution and low current guarding all the way to the probe pin. The S530 High Voltage System (from three to seven SMU channels) incorporates a source-measure   unit (SMU ) capable of sourcing up to 1000V at 20mA (20W max.). When appropriately configured, S530 systems can address all the DC and C‑V   measurement applications required in process control monitoring, process reliability monitoring, and device characterization.

Optimized for Cost-Effective Operation in High-Mix Test Environments

S530 parametric test systems are designed to speed and simplify wafer and test plan setup by providing immediate feedback to the engineer throughout test project development. For example, the Automated Characterization Suite (ACS) software that controls S530 systems streamlines test project development by allowing new test scripts to be tested interactively without compromising throughput in full automatic mode. ACS also provides for off-line test project development and test results analysis.

Powerful ACS Software

S530 systems employ Version 4.3 of the powerful ACS software on which several other proven Keithley test systems operate, which improves lab-to-fab correlation and speeds system learning. ACS maximizes the efficiency and flexibility of S530 systems, combining all the elements necessary for automated parametric testing in a single integrated package.

Industry’s Most Powerful High Voltage Parametric Test System
All S530 systems are equipped with high power SMUs, which provide up to 20W of source or sink capability on both the 200V and 20V ranges, for complete characterization of the high power devices and circuits prevalent in today’s mobile devices. Whether the application is testing LDMOS Si or GaN BJTs, this higher power capability provides enhanced visibility into device performance. It also ensures S530 systems can test high power devices without compromising the low current sub-picoamp sensitivity needed to monitor mainstream device processes. The S530 High Voltage System is the only available parametric tester that offers 1kV to any probe card pin on up to 32 pins. This permits high voltage and low current sensitive measurements in a single pass, enabling the accurate characterization of high power devices. The system’s high voltage SMU can source up to 1000V at 20mA (20W max.).

High Fidelity Signal Pathways Ensure Higher Measurement Integrity
Each S530 test system employs a high performance switch matrix and high fidelity signal pathways to direct signals between instruments and test pins. The performance of these pathways directly influences the performance of the test system as a whole by setting upper current and voltage ranges, and limiting low-level measurements due to current offsets. The S530 has eight high fidelity pathways that can be used to route instruments to pins dynamically. For example, up to eight SMUs can be routed to any pin (or number of pins) at one time. The Low Current System delivers uniform performance across all eight pathways; the High Voltage System provides two high voltage/low leakage pathways, four general-purpose pathways, and two C-V pathways. Both systems support C-V measurements up to 2MHz.

Based on Proven SMU Technology

All source-measure units (SMUs) built into S530 Parametric Test Systems are based on Keithley’s production-qualified instrument technology to ensure high measurement accuracy and repeatability and extended hardware life. The SMUs are four-quadrant sources, so they can source or sink current or voltage. In addition to precision sourcing circuits, they include programmable limits (compliance) across all ranges, which helps protect both devices and probe tips from damage due to device breakdown. Each SMU also measures both voltage and current while sourcing, which ensures that parameter calculations reflect actual conditions rather than simply the programmed conditions.

Capacitance-Voltage (C-V) Unit Option
All S530 systems can be equipped with a high speed capacitance meter  for C-V measurements up to 2MHz to any pin. This C-V unit can measure a 10pF capacitor at 1MHz with 3% accuracy.

Production Qualified
S530 Parametric Test Systems include a rich set of production qualifications, including built-in diagnostics, system specifications to the probe card, and compliance with industry standards such as CE, SemiS2, and S8. A “command line” control interface in ACS simplifies adapting to custom user interfaces or a factory automation host controller.

Both system configurations are available now.

Turbomachinery controls upgrade in UAR

First phase commissioning completed during short outage

The Bu Hasa NGL Extraction Plant, operated by Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd. (GASCO), produces 7200 tons per day of NGL that is pumped to the Ruwais Plant. As part of the Bu Hasa Upgrading Project (HUP) to improve processing capacity while maintaining a high NGL recovery, GASCO is upgrading the turbine and compressor controls of its existing Woodward NetCon® control systems on six Rolls-Royce Avon gas turbines. The upgrade is replacing the obsolete control systems for NGL Trains 1 and 2 and is improving plant operations through advanced integrated turbine and compressor control using GE's Mark™ VIe platform and OptiComp™ Integrated Compressor Control Suite software.

Following careful technical and commercial evaluation, GASCO and the EPC determined that GE Energy's Control Solutions offering was the best platform to meet the challenges of the Rolls-Royce Avon turbine control. GE met GASCO's specifications, primarily integrated turbine compressor control and fast application execution speed requirements, with the most cost-effective solution.

OptiComp™ is GE Energy's integrated turbine and compressor control solution that delivers advanced compressor surge control, process performance control, load sharing/balancing, auto sequencing and other auxiliary control functions. It offers superior control software running in GE's fast and reliable Mark™ VI and Mark™ VIe control platforms.

Six Mark™ VIe control panels were supplied for the Rolls-Royce turbines and process compressors, along with redundant network and communications interfaces to third party equipment and plant DCS. To help recover lost time, GE was tasked with shipping three of the control panels for Train 2 within 12 weeks. The Train 2 units were commissioned during an extremely tight 9 day outage. A successful, smooth start-up was achieved the week of November 12, 2010.

The control platform provides tight integration of turbine and compressor controls utilizing GE's proven application experience in the control of Rolls-Royce units as well as advanced patented compressor surge and process control algorithms. The seamless integration of turbine and compressor controls provides ease of operation, decoupling of control loops, and improved coordinate response to process disturbances. It also brings life cycle benefits for both operations and maintenance by providing a single focal point for support and parts management.

This is the latest of several GASCO controls upgrade projects awarded to GE Energy's Control Solutions business and is the second upgrade order for Rolls-Royce turbine controls following the successful GASCO Ruwais upgrade 3 years ago. The first phase of the Bu Hasa Project (Train 2) was completed the week of November 12, 2010; the units are online and have been running in stable operation since commissioning. The second phase (Train 1) will be implemented in Q2, 2011.

Supporting client virtualisation

Update for Simatic WinCC Version 7 supports client virtualisation

With the comprehensive Service Pack 2, the Siemens Industry Automation Division is expanding the functionalities of its Simatic WinCC Scada system Version 7. The software update allows, among other things, client virtualisation via Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi 4.0, and it contains a driver for the communication with Mitsubishi controllers via Ethernet. Windows 7 and Windows 2008 Server are also supported. The Service Pack 2 can be downloaded free from It is also available on request as a DVD.
With Service Pack 2, the Siemens Industry Automation Division is expanding the
functionalities of its Simatic WinCC Scada system Version 7. The Software Update allows,
among other things, Client virtualization via Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi 4.0.
The virtualization of clients is one of the central innovations of the Service Pack 2 offered by the Siemens Industry Automation Division for Simatic WinCC Version 7. Virtualization allows several systems that would otherwise require separate hardware to be operated in parallel on one PC. The virtual WinCC clients can be connected with thin clients via an Ethernet network using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). Thin clients are rugged hardware terminals with a display. Thanks to their reduced equipment, they are significantly smaller, more cost-effective and less fault-prone in especially harsh environments than full industrial PCs. In production plants, thin clients provide users with visualization and data input facilities for the virtual WinCC clients installed on a server located away from the field level.

Virtualization technology has three central advantages: On one hand, existing hardware resources are optimally utilized, reducing procurement and operating costs. Companies can significantly reduce their hardware costs in the production environment, particularly in combination with rugged thin clients. On the other hand, virtual clients can be easily and quickly backed up to increase availability. The third advantage is the simple migration of existing, completely configured systems to new hardware, making lengthy installations on the PC unnecessary. After installing Service Pack 2, several WinCC clients can be installed and operated on one hardware platform via the two virtualization applications Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware ESXi 4.0, depending on the hardware equipment of the server. With VMware ESXi 4.0, the user can operate up to eight virtual clients with one PC in a configuration with 16GB RAM, depending on the scope of the project.

Another new feature of the Service Pack 2 is the "Mitsubishi Ethernet" driver with two additional channel units for integrating controllers of the FX3U series and the Q series of Mitsubishi via Ethernet networks. Communication with the controllers takes place via the MELSEC communication protocol (MC protocol). WinCC V7 can also be operated under Windows 7 and Windows 2008 Server following the installation of Service Pack 2. Further innovations such as the addition of more graphics cards to the Split Screen Manager (Multi-VGA), or access to the User Account Control (UAC) safety concept on Windows7, complete the comprehensive Service Pack 2.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Executive dashboard application

GE Intelligent Platforms today announced the availability of the latest version of Proficy® Real-Time Information Portal, a web based solution for the visualization of key performance indicators that drive business decisions. Proficy Portal allows interactive, data rich web pages to be created in a configurable, self-service environment. This allows executives to easily and interactively visualize, report and analyze data in a secure environment, from virtually any location.
Proficy Portal supports decision making in real-time allowing for pertinent data to be visualized and analyzed driving increased quality and continuous improvement initiatives. Its unique web-based approach allows for development in script without the use of HTML, giving users the freedom to browse and configure the connections between advanced charting and analysis components with little or no programmatic knowledge.

“Proficy Portal meets customer’s needs and delivers value by visualizing and analyzing facility data to support operational improvements, corporate accountability and business process improvement,” said Sheila Kester, General Manager Operations Management Software. “As a web-based client for the GE Intelligent Platforms Proficy Software platform, Proficy Portal provides advanced analysis, reporting and visualization capabilities where and when you need it.”

New features of Proficy Portal v3.5 include:
    * Display Variables: use of variables within displays and data sources * Parameterized Data Sources: change data sources on the fly; facilitates faster development of screens for multiple sites * Configurable Pen Names: more intuitive Chart Legends * Expression Pen Names: work with meaningful names when developing expressions * 64 Bit OS Support * Performance Improvements - more responsive to larger data sets
Proficy Portal is an example of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year software and solutions services businesses are helping customers improve productivity.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Long range wireless

Manufactured and designed by Omega, the new UWXL industrial wireless transmitters offer unparalleled flexibility for process measurement applications.

These transmitters are designed for a variety of applications, including temperature, infrared, relative humidity, process transducers with standard voltage or current outputs, flow (pulsed frequency) and pH models are available.

The UWXL has an IP68 rated Industrial enclosure for outdoor use giving dust and watertight protection. It includes free software that converts your PC into a multi-channel chart recorder or data logger and is compatible with both of Omega’s UWTC-REC and UWXL-REC wireless receivers.

pH/ORP sensors meet a broad range of applications

Rugged Rosemount® Analytical Model 3900 sensor features a wide temperature operating range, versatile mounting options, and advanced diagnostics

Emerson’s Rosemount® Analytical Model 3900 general purpose pH/ORP sensor
Emerson Process Management has released the Rosemount® Analytical Model 3900 general purpose pH/ORP sensor, designed to meet the broadest range of applications in the industry. Offering the widest temperature operating range of any general purpose sensor, the Model 3900 is the first to function at sub-zero temperatures, providing accurate measurements in applications from -10°C to 100°C. Each sensor is equipped for both ¾ inch and 1 inch mounting, allowing it to fit in smaller pipes, giving optimum mounting versatility in insertion, submersion and flow-through applications.

The Model 3900 features the patented AccuGlass™ sensor glass formulation which has been field-proven in premium sensors designed for rugged environments. The AccuGlass formulation exceeds industry standards and resists cracking. In addition, a unique Teflon double-junction reference electrode protects the sensor from poisoning ions. The complete encapsulation of the sensor eliminates leakage or high humidity problems found in other pH/ORP sensors.

The Model 3900 gives the user access to a wider range of more advanced diagnostics. In addition to glass diagnostics, a stainless steel solution ground allows reference diagnostics, simplifying maintenance and scheduling. The solution ground also reduces noise, makes for a highly stable measurement, and makes internal temperature compensation respond more quickly than with previous generation solutions.

The Model 3900 is a combination sensor including pH, ORP and temperature within the sensor body. It is designed to measure aqueous solutions in pipelines, open tanks or ponds. The sensor is compatible with all Rosemount Analytical analysers as well as those from other manufacturers.

Communitcating natively with building automation

MatrikonOPC™ has released its Wonderware ArchestrA Universal Building Automation Server. The server enables Wonderware applications such as InTouch and InFusion to communicate natively with a wide range of building automation (BA) components—providing users with easy access to their building automation and facility system data.

A growing challenge in facility and building management projects is meeting the increasing demand for visibility into BA systems, regardless of the vendor. The Wonderware ArchestrA Universal Building Automation Server solves this challenge by providing support to Wonderware users with direct access to data from the most common BA protocols within the familiar Wonderware System Platform.

“As buildings’ and facilities’ operational efficiency become a necessity, the need for automation and systems integration is a requirement,” said Sean Leonard, Matrikon’s vice president of OPC products. “With the Wonderware ArchestrA Universal Building Automation Server, facility and building automation professionals can achieve their target goals and consistently deliver successful automation projects.”

The server offers several features including:
•     Native SuiteLink support for easy system platform communication
•     Direct integration with Wonderware ArchestrA Configuration Console for simplified configuration and maintenance
•      Enables WW ArchestrA to connect to third party OPC servers via its built-in OPC client plug-in

Advanced temperature measurement & control

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has announced the publication of Advanced Temperature Measurement and Control, Second Edition, by Gregory K. McMillan.

Written by industry expert, McMillan, this second edition provides a comprehensive view of what is needed to take advantage of the latest developments in smart and wireless temperature measurements and control strategies.

 A fundamental understanding of the capabilities of temperature sensors and the advances in wireless technology are provided

The effect of sensor types and installation on measurement accuracy and speed is detailed
Guidance is provided for making the commonly faced choice between thermocouples versus resistance temperature detectors

The temperature control requirements for various types of equipment are discussed and control systems to meet specific objectives are provided

The appendices provide solutions to the exercises, data important for heat transfer, a unification of controller tuning methods, and equations to estimate process dynamics
McMillan brings more than 30 years of industry experience, education and research together in this second edition.

See also Modeling and Control the blog on Dynamic World of Process Control contributed to by Greg McMillan, Terry Blevins and Mark Nixon.

Two-wire Hall-effect unipolar switches

The new A1152/3/5/6 from Allegro MicroSystems Europe are a range of two-wire unipolar Hall-effect switches designed for automotive sensing applications in seat-belt buckle, seat position, and steering lock applications.

The new devices are produced using the Allegro® advanced BiCMOS wafer fabrication process, and include improved high-voltage transient protection: a critical factor for automotive applications where external protection circuitry cannot be located close to the sensor.

These Hall-effect switches are factory trimmed to optimise the accuracy of the magnetic switch points, and employ a patented high-frequency four-phase chopper-stabilisation technique to achieve magnetic stability over temperature and to eliminate the offset inherent in single-element devices, when exposed to harsh automotive environments. The advanced chopping technique also provides significantly reduced jitter and shorter power-on times.

Two-wire unipolar switches require one less wire for operation than the more traditional open-collector output switches, and also offer diagnostic capability as there is always current present at one of two specified levels. Any output current outside these two narrow ranges is a fault condition.

In addition to the on-chip transient protection, a Zener clamp protects against overvoltage conditions on the supply line. The enhanced high-voltage transient protection allows these devices to survive ISO 7637-2 and 40 V load dump for up to 0.5 seconds with minimal, and sometimes no, protection from discrete components. Electrostatic discharge protection has also been enhanced to the extent that the devices are capable of handling a transient of 8.0 kV Human Body Model (HBM).

The A1152/3/5/6 devices are utilised in automotive applications to sense seat track position, seat-belt buckle presence, bonnet and boot latching, and steering-lock position, as well as in gear-shift selectors.

All family members will be offered in two package styles: the SOT-23W miniature low-profile package for surface-mount applications (suffix LH) and the TO-92 style three-lead "ultra-mini" single inline package (SIP) for through-hole mounting (suffix UA).

Interconnection solutions for industry

At Southern Electronics 2011 (16/17 Feb '11 Farnborough GB), the Harting Technology Group will be featuring its broad range of electrical and electronics interconnection solutions, including several major new products. The Harting Technology Group's electronics assembly operation -  Harting Integrated Solutions (HIS) - will also be demonstrating its backplane and sub-assembly capabilities.

A major new product from Harting is Han-Yellock®: an industrial connector series which retains the core functionality of the company's existing Han® product range but differs significantly from 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 these 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.

Also new is Han®-Eco: a complete range of high-quality all-plastic industrial connector housings that combine ruggedness, light weight and reduced costs with versatility, safety and reliability. Han®-Eco is the ideal solution for users who require a cost-effective, lightweight product and who do not require the full range of product features offered by Harting's established Han® B series of connector housings. The product also offers a higher contact-density/housing-size ratio than the Han(R) B series. Like the Han® B standard series, the Han®-Eco series is available in sizes 6 B, 10 B, 16 B and 24 B. Depending on size, versions of the bulkhead mounting and hood with straight or angled cable exit can be supplied. The cable exits are available with metric threading.

Han®-Eco housings are made of high-performance plastic that is highly resistant to environmental stress and - in combination with the design - provides very good mechanical stability. When the connector is closed and locked, it provides IP 65 protection as defined in DIN EN 60 529. The material also meets the demanding flammability requirements of UL 94 Class V 0.

On the electronics side, Harting's new har-flex connector series is a space-saving, rugged and flexible PCB connector for the widest range of board-to-board and board-to-cable applications. The har-flex product family includes a number of straight connector models as well as compatible insulation displacement connectors and angled models. The new range is designed to offer PCB designers the greatest possible flexibility in the use of increasingly size-sensitive and cost-intensive PCB resources.

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

Harting Integrated Solutions is featuring its electronics assembly capabilities, along with its expertise in project development, prototyping, test and evaluation. The company is an ISO9001 supplier, and its Northampton based manufacturing facility designs, manufactures and tests high-speed multi-layer backplanes and integrates them into card frames and enclosures. Cable assemblies from simple ribbon to advanced wiring looms are also offered.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New RTD signal conditioners with USB configuration

The initial offering in Acromag’s new ST130 series of low-cost, temperature transmitters is an ASIC-driven RTD signal conditioner, Model ST131. Units combine the simplicity of a digital USB setup and calibration interface with the inherent performance advantages of analog signal conditioning. Selling for just $89 with free Windows configuration software, this DIN Form B head-mount instrument will convert the input signal from any 100 ohm Platinum RTD sensor to a highly accurate, loop-powered 4-20mA output. A ruggedized design features -40 to 80°C operation, electrical noise immunity, and surge protection. CE and UL/cUL Class 1 Division 2 Zone 2 approvals are pending.

“Our new ST131 RTD transmitter employs the best of analog and digital technologies at a very attractive price,” states Don Lupo, Acromag’s sales and marketing director. By maintaining a fully analog signal path (i.e. no digitization), the transmitter delivers optimal accuracy, noise resistance and response speed. Additionally, the unit supports digital calibration to eliminate zero/span pots, DIP switches, and pushbuttons for easy programming of ranges, over/under scale thresholds, and fail-safe settings.

Despite their tiny size and economical price tag, ST131 transmitters are full-featured. These transmitters provide sensor excitation and perform advanced signal linearization, lead-wire compensation, and sensor fault detection functions. Units can also support any 100 ohm Pt RTD sensor (alpha = 375-393) or 0-900 ohm input. Designed for harsh environments, the unit’s ASIC exhibits very low drift across wide ambient temperatures and is highly resistant to RFI, EMI, ESD, and EFT effects. Simultaneous differential sampling and auto-zero techniques yield further accuracy improvements. Another benefit, the output is non-polarized and reverse polarity protected. Factory calibration is also available.

A variety of options add greater flexibility. Programmable over/under range and fault/alarm levels enable identification of a “runaway” process or broken sensor. Selectable up/downscale failsafe modes ensure a safe, predictable shutdown with a NAMUR-compliant fault response.

For easy installation, Acromag sells a variety of mounting and wiring accessories. A USB-to-USB isolator protects equipment from ground loops, electrical noise, and surges during configuration. For convenience, a kit supplies the software, isolator, and USB interface cables. Numerous connection head enclosures are also available through Acromag. Select from stainless steel, aluminum, and cast iron housings with explosion-proof or general-purpose ratings. A DIN rail adapter adds more mounting options.

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

Valves improve throughput and reduce variability

Enhanced butterfly valves help plant avoid six unplanned shutdowns and save an estimated €450,000.

INEOS Chlor, a major European producer of chlor-alkali and chlorine derivatives, reduced process variability by 5 per cent at its plant in Runcorn (GB), by replacing traditional butterfly valves with Fisher® Control-Disk™ valves from Emerson Process Management. The reduced variability enabled the plant to increase throughput, avoid several unplanned shutdowns that could have cost as much as 450,000 Euros, and achieve a 96 per cent Overall Equipment Effectiveness rating for the unit where the valves were installed.

Emerson’s Fisher Control-Disk valves
improve throughput & reduce variability
at INEOS Chlor plan
“For a plant this size, even a modest reduction in variability can have a significant payback," said Barry Makepeace, INEOS Chlor control & instrumentation engineer. "The Control-Disk valve applications not only saved us money, but also enabled us to optimise process control without sacrificing flow capacity or needing to re-pipe.”

The Runcorn plant had previously used traditional butterfly valves to control the temperature and flow of cooling water to the primary condensers. Tight control is essential because if the condensers’ temperature is too low, there will be residual chlorine in the system, which has to be removed. If the temperature is too high, there is an increased risk of a safety trip or plant shutdown. Each trip and subsequent unplanned shutdown can cost INEOS Chlor up to 75,000 Euros.

Unfortunately, the traditional valves had a small control range and a large deadband, which reduced their ability to respond to temperature changes. In the previous 12 months, the plant had experienced 23 trips leading to a significant loss of production.

Working with Emerson valve experts, INEOS Chlor replaced four traditional butterfly valves with the new Fisher Control-Disk design. Its effective control range (between 15 per cent and 70 per cent of travel) approaches that of a segmented ball valve. Tighter, more reliable valve control enabled plant operators to optimise temperature set points and avoid at least six unplanned shutdowns.

Module for audio & vibration test

The PCI-9527 combines 24-bit signal acquisition and >100 dB range to provide
unparalleled price/performance ratio

Adlink Technology has released the PCI-9527, their first 24-bit high-resolution dynamic signal acquisition module specifically designed for audio testing, acoustic measurement, and vibration analysis applications. The PCI-9527 features two 24-bit simultaneous sampling analog input channels with a sampling rate up to 432 KS/s, two analog output channels with an update rate up to 216 KS/s, and one external digital trigger I/O connector.

The PCI-9527 also features a high dynamic input range (>100 dB), flexible input range from ±40 V to ±0.316 V, and analog inputs that support software-configurable features for AC or DC coupling and integrated electronic piezoelectric (IEPE) sensors to interface with an accelerometer sensor and microphone. Combining it all, the PCI-9527 offers the flexibility  needed to create a wide variety of automated test systems.

“The PCI-9527 dynamic signal acquisition module offers an excellent price/performance ratio for system integrators involved with audio testing, vibration analysis, acoustic measurements, machine condition monitoring, signal semiconductor testing, dynamic balance testing, and vibration calibration,” noted Louis Hsu, product manager at AdLink.

“For example, the PCI-9527 can be utilized in production testing for TVs, MP3 players, or other multimedia devices where high-quality sound needs to be guaranteed. The audio digitizer PCI-9527 can also be implemented in monitoring systems for mission-critical machinery, such as turbines in a power plant. Defects in the metal components of such turbines would generate abnormal sounds and vibration under operation, which would require high-dynamic range audio equipment to detect.”

The PCI-9527 includes drivers and SDK support for mainstream Windows operating systems as well as third-party application including LabVIEW®. They also provides Dynamic Signal Assistant APP Utility, an easy-to-use application for system integrators to perform validation and reduce overall design cycle time.

Safety pressure gauge

MEP5 Safety Pressure Gauge with Stainless-Steel Connection

Baumer’s safety pressure gauge MEP5 is specially designed for use in corrosive atmospheres and fluids. The gauge has a diameter of 100 mm and can measure pressures from -1…0 to 0…1600 bar at gauge working temperatures of -20…70 °C. The MEP5 has a stainless-steel housing, sensing element, and fully welded process connection. It complies with protection class IP67. A baffle wall and a blow-out back prevent the operator from risk of injuries in case of failure of the sensing element. The MEP5 contains a special compensating diaphragm which maintains accuracy by equalising internal and external atmospheric pressures. Thanks to its robust design, the MEP5 is particularly suitable for applications in the chemical industry as well as use in heavy vehicles, energy production, and oil and gas plants such as the French TOTAL refinery. Special versions with connection sizes specified by the customer are available upon request. This prevents leakage and allows the correct positioning of the measuring instrument.

The thermal drift of the MEP5 is ± 0.4 per cent for a variation of ± 10 °C in relation to the reference temperature 20 °C. The gauge may be used on transient fluid temperatures of up to 200 °C providing that the temperature of the gauge itself does not exceed 70 °C.

The MEP5 boasts an accuracy class of 1 according to European norm EN 837-1 and is available with 22 mm square G1/2 or 1/2NPT process connections. Its window is made of safety laminated glass 4 mm thick. Optionally, the watertight gauge can be filled with a dampening fluid. The MEP5 conforms to S3 Safety as defined by European norm EN 837-1 as well as to Pressure Directive PED 97/23/CE and has a Lloyd’s Register Approval certificate.

Air purging

AAI (Applied Analytics Inc) has unveiled the ePurge X, a next-generation solution for air-purging electronic enclosures. Unlike conventional purge controllers, this new offering is entirely solid state and much more in line with the design of AAI's highly automated process analyzers. The ePurge X is slated to be available both to distributors and the general public in March 2011.

"When you glance through the brochure, you'll immediately notice the form factor," says Andy Burgess, senior mechanical engineer, AAI. "The ePurge X has an ultra-slim profile that barely protrudes from the surface of the enclosure. It also has half as many components to install as the purges that are currently available."

AAI is also introducing an entirely new concept with the utility-saving feedback feature. The ePurge X uses a digital mass flow sensor to monitor the flow rate of purge gas through the enclosure. Along with the differential pressure, this flow value allows the ePurge X to provide data on instrument air consumption by specifying the exact demand that will keep the enclosure safely pressurized without wasting any extra utilities. "In an industry of safety devices that have no inherent return on investment, we are offering a product that can pay for itself within five years in utility savings alone," says Yoav Barshad, President, AAI. "Writ large across all the air-purged enclosures in a typical industrial site, this is nothing less than a killer feature."

#Maintec Focus on FM

In the current economic climate the care and good husbandry of an organisation’s assets can pay rich rewards. In this often neglected area, MCP consultants can quickly show where savings could be made with good paybacks possibly seen in months and with a real ROI increasing to a typical 200% in 2 years!

Among the highlights on this year’s stand at Maintec (Stand 3 - 2-4 March 2011) will be a Focus on FM- a new 3 day Facilities Management Assessment. This facilities assessment is based on MCPs AMIS Audit (Maintenance Benchmarking Service) and has been used by countless organisations, world-wide to measure and improve their Maintenance and Asset Management Performance.

Now MCP’s AMIS FM is available for, Facilities Management service providers and organisations with Facilities Management services.

Visitors are invited to take the test on our stand and answer a number of questions to see how many ‘ticks’ you achieve. Our consultants will help you decide on the last ‘big’ question. “Perhaps I should consider the benchmarking exercise?”

Following on the theme MCP launches a new City and Guilds-Asset Management Tools Course. MCP’s Customised Asset Management Tools and Techniques Course explains why a Maintenance Strategy is critical for successful business performance. The City and Guilds Accredited course is designed to introduce best practice theory. There will be discounts available on the stand for early adopters!

For those visitors wanting to find out more about the new BSI, PAS55 programme, The Institute of Asset Management has appointed MCP , as one of only 10 endorsed training providers in the world for delivering courses which map clearly to the latest IAM Competences Framework (November 2008), and complement those of BSI PAS 55:2008.

RF connectors

Intelliconnect (Europe) Ltd continues to grow its range of standard Coaxial and Triaxial connectors. Intelliconnect are able to offer very attractive lead times, exceptional customer service and competitive pricing for high volume requirements.

The standard RF connector product range from Intelliconnect includes the general purpose design N Series medium size connector. The N Series features a gasket for weatherproof operations. They operate up to 12GHz and can withstand rugged environmental conditions. This series can accommodate various coaxial cables, PCB, flange and bulkhead configurations.

The SMA Series miniature connector family is designed to be compatible with the small semi-rigid cables that have very low VSWR at high frequencies. In addition, other connectors in the series can accommodate flexible coaxial cable, PCB, flange, surface, edge and bulkhead configurations.

The medium size TNC Series are lightweight connectors with a weatherproof screw locking mechanism and may be used with small and medium size cables. The TNC series also accommodates various PCB, flange and bulkhead configurations and are generally used in applications up to 12 GHz.

The BMA series miniature connector series is designed to be compatible with the small semi-rigid cables that have very low VSWR up to 22 GHz. In addition, other connectors in the series can accommodate flexible coaxial cable, PCB, flange, surface and bulkhead configurations. These connectors are ideal for use in rack and panel applications and MIL versions are available.

Another miniature connector series is the SMB, this miniature connector series is designed to be compatible with the small semi-rigid and flexible cables such as RG316, RG174 and RG196. In addition, other connectors in the series can accommodate PCB, surface, edge and bulkhead configurations. This series is designed with a snap on mechanism. They are mated and unmated by a straight pull which makes them useful in areas that are inaccessible to normal mating action. The plugs have female contacts while the jacks have male contacts.

For the cellular telephone, information systems and communications markets the micro miniature size MCX connector series is an excellent design where weight and space are at a premium. This connector series has a quick snap-on locking mechanism. The MCX series is used with small, semi-rigid and flexible cables. These connectors can also accommodate various PCB, bulkhead, surface, edge, and press fit mount configurations.

Another standard coaxial range is the C Series general purpose medium size connector range that has a weatherproof bayonet locking mechanism. The C Series compliments the N-Type series by offering the same size fitting for the same cable groups. They are generally used in applications up to 11GHz

The final two standard product ranges available from Intelliconnect are Triaxial connectors designed primarily to reduce noise levels in systems along with providing an isolated ground. Both products are non-constant impedance and feature a state of the art clamping construction and weatherproof sealing features which ensures excellent termination to various twinaxial and triaxial cables. The TRB Series has the appearance of a BNC connector but incorporates a third conductor. The TRT Series has a thread coupling mechanism as designed on the TNC Series and has the appearance of a TNC but incorporates a third conductor.

Roy Phillips, Managing Director of Intelliconnect Europe comments; "From the beginning Intelliconnect set out to offer high quality UK manufactured RF connectors which not only meet our customer’s technical requirements but also their manufacturing system’s requirements. Reliable component supply and on-time deliveries are more important now than ever, UK sourced components and manufacture mean we can support our customers with a full JIT and Kanban service."

Typical specifications for the Intelliconnect standard range of RF connectors include temperature range of -65°C to +165°C, vibration to MIL-STD-202, Method 204, shock to MIL-STD-202, Method 213, corrosion (Salt Spray) to MIL-STD-202, Method 101 and moisture Resistance: MIL-STD-202, Method 106. All Intelliconnect RF connectors are designed in accordance with US MIL-PRF-39012, MIL-STD-348, CECC: 22 110, IEC: 169-15 and BS9210N0006

High speed cameras

New High Speed GigE Cameras Announced

Two new high speed GigE cameras, available through Stemmer Imaging, offer outstanding combinations of frame rates and resolution for use in applications as diverse as measurement, process analysis in machine building and industrial production, material testing and broadcasting. The CR3000x2 and CR4000x2 cameras from Optronis are available in monochrome and colour versions and also feature the new user-friendly TimeBench software for intuitive camera control.

The CR3000x2 features a fast, progressive scan CMOS sensor that has a resolution of 1696 x 1710 pixels and a frame rates up to 100,000 fps depending on the resolution selected. The frame rate is 540 fps at maximum resolution, while at lower resolution frame rates are 1000 fps for 1200 x 1200 pixels, 5000 fps for 500 x 500 pixels, and 100,000 fps for 96 x 38 pixels.

The CR4000x2 camera features a 4 megapixel image sensor with excellent sensitivity to light, making it ideal for imaging sequences in low light conditions. In addition to the applications listed above, the CR4000x2 can be used in ballistics applications. This camera can record images at 500 fps at the full resolution of 2304 x 1720 pixels and an impressive 800 fps at full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Both cameras have a choice of 2, 4 or 8 GB internal memory. With 8 GB memory, the CR3000x2 has 5.5 seconds recording time at the full 8bit data rate, while the CR4000x2 has a recording time of 4 seconds. A rugged aluminium housing allows the cameras to be used in rough environments and they are supplied with a Nikon F-mount as standard or an optional C-mount.

Sequence recording can be triggered either using an intelligent image processing algorithm or by a conventional trigger signal. Pre- and post-trigger features ensure that events can be observed irrespective of when they occurred.

TimeBench software allows the complete setup of all camera parameters and features a simple-to use navigation slidebar. It shows images in realtime and is a powerful tool for the analysis and storage of high-speed sequences. It can be used with single camera applications or for synchronous multi-camera operation. TimeBench provides distance, velocity and frequency measurements and allows the export of AVI video files.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Modular climate control concept

Rittal’s modular climate control concept offers an easy way to add cooling to a Rittal enclosure or to upgrade an existing system. Individual climate control choices can be made, ready to use, without the need to make mounting cut outs, by simply replacing the door and choosing the appropriate climate control module in just a few steps.

Features include standard RTT plus version with integral condensate evaporation and RiNano coating; simple fast mounting; service friendly (front rack mounting filter and removable cover) and quick delivery.

Because of its modular design, for individual size choose either 1800 or 2000mm height doors in either 600, 800, or 1200mm wide (left or right hand mounting for the 1200mm version). For cooling power choose either a 1500W or 2000W module available in one of 3 different voltage options, 230v, 115v or 400v.

Field mike!

Meggitt Sensing Systems Launches New Endevco ½” Free-Field Microphone and Preamplifier Set with TEDS Capabilities
Meggitt Sensing Systems has introduced the Endevco® model EM46AE, a combined 1/2” free-field pressure microphone and iTEDS enabled preamplifier (per IEEE 1451.4) set, designed for general purpose and larger channel count precision acoustic measurements within a variety of applications, including vehicle pass-by noise testing; environmental noise analysis; building acoustics; and appliance and other consumer product noise evaluations.

The Endevco® model EM46AE comes in a preassembled kit, consisting of a high-precision condenser microphone and preamplifier, both constructed of stainless steel for high durability. Units are assembled in a clean room environment to avoid contamination of the contacts and are calibrated together to form a reliable acoustic measurement system. These combined units are fully repairable. With a frequency response from 3.15 Hz to 20 kHz and a wide dynamic range of 14 dBA to 135 dB, the Endevco® model EM46AE microphone set is designed according to guidelines set forth by the IEC 61094 Class 1 standard, fulfilling the highest industry standards for acoustic product reliability and precision. Incorporation of iTEDS technology allows for the microphone and preamplifier to be recognized by any smart-transducer compatible input module. When connected, the analyzer will derive information such as microphone type, serial number and sensitivity, which is able to be read by the application software for simplified test setups.

Recommended accessories for use with the Endevco® model EM46AE include the model EM42AA handheld pistonphone calibrator, which facilitates field checks of complete acoustic measurement systems, as well as the in-house calibration of measurement microphones; the model 4416B ISOTRON® power supply (2-20 mA); and the model 133 three-channel signal conditioner. All Endevco® acoustic sensors and instrumentation are also backed by a five-year comprehensive product warranty.

Reducing engine friction

An innovative torque sensor is helping to reduce engine emissions and improve economy as part of a project to develop an intelligent lubrication system.
With engine efficiency under the spotlight like never before, automotive companies are exploring all avenues for improving performance. And because engines have a rotating power output, torque is the key measurement.

Car engines are the bett noir of the environmental lobby. There is no doubt that they are major contributors to carbon build up. But equally they are fundamental to modern life. A true replacement is decades away, so we have to make them as efficient as possible.

Engine lubrication systems are essentially dumb. They have a simple mechanical pump which has been sized to ensure an adequate supply of oil in the worst operating condition.  This is typically a hot engine at idle. The pump is thus hugely oversized for most of the rest of the speed range and, as a consequence, nearly 60% of its output is dumped straight back into the sump via the relief valve. It will also deliver the same amount of oil to every part of the engine regardless of what that system might actually need. The pump is also insensitive to engine load and thus the bearings will receive the same oil supply at a given speed regardless of
the load. This is a very inefficient system.

In addition the pump forces nearly a ton of oil per hour through the filter, and when the oil is cold this takes a huge amount of energy.

With this in mind a major British company asked Powertrain Technologies Ltd in Norfolk, to design an intelligent lubrication system and to analyse its effects on engine friction and parasitic losses. They built a highly specialised test rig for the project and since accuracy in measuring small changes in drive torque reliably and repeatably was a critical requirement a key part of the rig is a TorqSense transducer from Sensor Technology in Banbury.

The engine being tested was a current production Diesel and the test bed was configured for motored friction tests with a 6,000rpm 32kW electric motor driving the engine.

Andrew Barnes, a director at Powertrain explains: “We completely re-designed the engine lubrication system and installed a bank of five computer controlled oil pumps (to our own design). Each is capable of supplying individual parts of the engine with oil under conditions unique to that part of the engine and sensitive to the engine operating conditions (for example we can supply the head with oil at pressures different to the block and supply the bearings with more oil when the engine is under high load).”

The idea is to completely profile the performance of the engine under various lubrication conditions and to derive optimum configurations of the intelligent systems for best performance.

“Both petrol and Diesel engines run far cleaner than they did 20 or 30 years ago,” says Andrew. “However the need to operate efficiently under a wide range speeds and loads and environmental conditions from -40 degrees C to + 40 degrees C remains the Achilles Heel. Intelligent lubrication has the potential to improve performance no end, although quantifying the best configuration is painstaking work.”

He goes on to explain that the torque sensor is critical to the project since the object of the exercise is to measure the effect on friction of a range of different oil supply strategies and oil types.  Thus the changes in friction are represented by a change in the motored drive torque of the engine.

TorqSense sensors are particularly appropriate for development work because they are wireless. “It’s a fit-and-forget, non-contact, digital sensor,” says Tony Ingham of Sensor Technology, “meaning you don’t have to fiddle around wiring up slip rings for each new measurement and together with digital outputs good accuracies can be obtained. The adjacent RF pickup emits radio waves towards the SAW’s as well as collecting the reflected resonant changes and it this change in frequency of the reflected waves that identifies the applied torqueed.”

TorqSense effectively senses and measures the radio frequency, RF, waves generated by two Surface Acoustic Wave devices or SAW’s fixed onto a rotating shaft and converts them to a torque measurement using two tiny SAW’s made of ceramic piezoelectric material with frequency resonating combs laid down on their surface. The SAW’s are fixed onto the drive shaft at 90degrees to one another.  As the torque increases the combs expand or contract proportionally to the torque being applied. In effect the combs act similarly to strain gauges but instead measure changes in resonant frequency.  The adjacent RF pickup emits radio waves towards the SAW’s as well as collecting the reflected resonant changes and its this change in frequency of the reflected waves that identifies the applied torque.

Powertrain's research has now progressed to the next stage in which the test rig is forsaken and the engine installed in a car to quantify the effect on fuel economy.

“It’s now a matter of driving it under all sorts of conditions on a mixture of test tracks and rolling roads to build up profiles of fuel consumption," says Andrew.

Large order for water instrumentation

Hach Lange has received an order from the British 4Delivery (4D) consortium for drinking water turbidity monitoring packages.

Drinking water is monitored continuously to ensure that it meets high quality standards and turbidity is one of the most important test parameters. Capable of continuously measuring low level turbidity, the 1720e online turbidimeter meets and exceeds USEPA Method 180.1 for drinking water compliance. Clive Murren, a water industry specialist at Hach Lange says, "The 1720 instruments are probably the most popular online turbidity meters in the world because they provide extremely accurate, reliable and low maintenance results, even at very low levels of measurement."

Once installed, the new systems, built and designed by themselves and Linton Electrical, will provide both single and triple validated measurements, further protecting water quality for hundreds of thousands of consumers across Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The 4D consortium comprising Veolia Water, Costain and MWH. Combining a wealth of experience and knowledge from within the utility and construction sectors, 4D was established to design and construct both water and wastewater improvement projects for Southern Water.

Commenting on the justification for this contract, 4D's Chris Hodgson said, "It is Southern Water's intention to establish the most robust monitoring system possible to further protect drinking water supplies, so the 1720e instruments will ensure that Southern Water customers drinking water is among the best in Europe and fully meets the requirements of the Water Quality Regulations.

"Much of this order represents the replacement of single monitors with triple validation systems. In total, more than 400 instruments will be deployed with up to ten units per treatment plant."

Temperature data logger

The Temp101A is one of MadgeTech’s newest data loggers. It is part of a new series of low cost, state-of-the-art data logging devices. MadgeTech has taken the lead in offering the most advanced, low cost, battery powered data loggers in the world today.

The Temp101A offers a 10 year battery life, a multiple start/stop function, ultra-high speed download capability, 1 million reading storage capacity, optional memory wrap, battery life indicator, optional password protection, programmable high-low alarms and more. The Temp101A is priced at $89.00 each and can be delivered from stock now. Our research has shown that the Temp101A is second to no other data logger when it comes to price and performance.

Using the MadgeTech Software, starting, stopping and downloading from the Temp101A is simple and easy. Graphical, tabular and summary data is provided for analysis and data can be viewed in °C, °F, K or °R. The data can also be automatically exported to Excel® for further calculations.

As the leader in low power data logger technology, MadgeTech continuously improves its products and develops solutions to meet ever-changing challenges. The Temp101A was designed with our customers in mind. MadgeTech offers free firmware upgrades for the life of the product so that data loggers already deployed in the field can grow with new technological developments. Units do not need to be returned to the factory for upgrades. The user can do this automatically from any PC.