Saturday, February 5, 2011

HMI & SCADA distributor in Singapore

InduSoft adds a new distributor to its list of InduSoft Web Studio HMI and SCADA software distributors in the Middle East and Asia. Among the hundreds of international distributors for InduSoft Web Studio, AKOE TECH in Singapore will offer an additional foundation in a region where InduSoft Web Studio is expecting rapid expansion in the near future.

AKOE TECH is a HMI/SCADA software distributor located in Singapore, and serving the Asian market. Mr. Edward Chan of AKOE TECH had the following to say in regard to becoming a new IWS distributor. "Our focus now is to secure new projects with our existing customers so that there is a project reference for Indusoft Web Studio. We want to provide excellent support through familiarity and knowledge of InduSoft Web Studio products."

InduSoft is continuously adding to its range of distributors, certified system integrators, and original equipment manufacturers. (OEMs).

Two-wire GWR

Released in 1998, The Magnetrol International NV Eclipse® Model 705 was the first two wire guided wave radar (GWR) on the market. Thirteen years later, this high quality GWR device is still fluently finding its way to highly critical applications.

The Eclipse® 705 is type approved for steam drums, EN 12952-11 (water tube boilers) and EN 12953-9 (shell type boilers) as “primary safety” and “secondary safety”. Combined with a 7MS probe the device can be used in saturated steam applications at a pressure of 155 bar at an equivalent temperature of 345°C.

Additional diagnostic tools allow the user to integrate this transmitter into highly demanding safety instrument loops. With a Safe Failure Fraction (SFF) of 91% the device scores amongst the highest – if not the highest – safety levels.

It is possible to install two or even three Eclipse® devices on one external cage for specific applications. Even when installing only two devices in one cage a SIL3 safety level can be obtained. Adding a third device to the same cage assures continuity to the production process. The three obtained individual level signals increase the overall reliability.

A typical example for such an extreme safety application can be found in the power generation sector where accurate monitoring of water levels in steam drum and boilers is a must. It is a challenge maintaining constant liquid level in the upper part of the drum in order to provide the proper quality of steam. Instrumentation must withstand high temperatures and pressures.

Network-based control system enhanced

Yokogawa enhances network-based control system by releasing new modules for power and upstream oil and gas applications

 Yokogawa Electric Corporation has released a number of new modules for the STARDOM™ network-based control system. The new modules include control modules with the high speed and reliability required for small- to medium-size turbomachinery, a frequency input module that can accurately measure the speed of even slowly rotating wind turbine blades, and an upgraded CPU module for oil and gas upstream processes that features improved reliability and greater memory capacity.

Development background
Recently, energy markets have been booming in developing countries. One of the reasons for this is the rising demand for electricity spurred by economic growth. As a result, there is a need for power generation facilities that can be constructed within a short timeframe. Demand for the steam turbines, hydro turbines, compressors, and other small- to medium-size turbomachinery installed in these facilities is also rising. This type of machinery is also used in renewable energy facilities such as biomass and micro-hydro plants, and in conventional oil and gas fired power plants. At the same time, the number of wind power generation installations is also increasing in emerging countries.

To satisfy these needs, Yokogawa has augmented its module lineup for STARDOM field control node (FCN) autonomous controllers by developing new modules for small- to medium-size turbomachinery and wind power generation applications. For the conventional energy market, Yokogawa also has improved the reliability and functionality of the FCN-RTU low-power autonomous controller that was developed for the control of oil and gas wellheads distributed over a wide area.

Capitalising on the enhanced functionality available with these modules, Yokogawa will expand its business in the energy industry.

Product features
1. Optimised for power industry applications
The newly developed control modules include a servo module that controls the rotational speed of small- to medium-size turbomachinery and a high-speed protection module that protects machines by detecting anomalies such as excessive rotation speeds.

The frequency input module measures rotational speeds with high accuracy (±0.1% of reading). This is true even at speeds as low as 0.1 Hz, ensuring that wind turbines can operate smoothly in all conditions, from strong winds to gentle breezes.

2. Enhanced functionality for oil and gas upstream processes
Customers in the oil and gas industries are working hard to improve maintenance efficiency for remote wells. To support them, Yokogawa has enhanced the CPU module for the FCN-RTU controller to ensure best-in-class reliability. Specifically, the module now has the same error check and correct (ECC) memory found in high-end PCs and the memory capacity has been doubled to facilitate the long-term storage of gas volume data and other on-site information.

Yokogawa has also enhanced its DNP3 software to comply with the latest DNP specifications and cover a wider range of SCADA applications.

3. Support for Windows®7
The VDS monitoring and controlling software (SCADA software) and other software for the STARDOM platform now support Windows®7, thus ensuring that engineering, operation, and monitoring can all be performed under the latest operating system.

Touch panel computers based on Intel® Atom™ processor

Engineers can program HMIs with NI LabVIEW for flexible, simplified application deployment 

National Instruments has announced a line of touch panel computers with an extended operating temperature range based on the 1.33 GHz Intel Atom processor. With Intel Atom processors, engineers can build high-performance human machine interfaces (HMIs) with a low-power, fanless device.

The NI TPC-2206 and TPC-2212 feature a -20 to 60° C operating temperature range for harsh industrial applications, 4 GB solid state drives for reliable operation in extended vibration environments and Windows Embedded OS for long-term deployment and support. They also feature 1 GB of RAM, two gigabit Ethernet ports and LED backlight technology to maintain screen brightness across the range of temperatures.

“The touch panel computers releasing today, combined with NI LabVIEW software, provide a rugged high-performance interface for monitoring and control applications,” said Eric Starkloff, NI Vice President of Marketing for Test and Embedded.

The use of Intel Atom processors as the basis for these new touch panel computers facilitates not only their extended temperature range, but also their improved application performance.

“The new Intel Atom processors bring more intelligence than ever before to embedded connected devices such as touch panel HMI computers,” said Staci Palmer, Senior Director of Marketing for the Intel Low Power Embedded Processor Division. “Devices that integrate smart, connected services to monitor, sense, serve and control applications intelligently and interactively help our world operate more efficiently.”

The new industrial touch panel computers work with a variety of hardware including CompactRIO, PXI, NI Smart Cameras, NI Embedded Vision Systems and other third-party industrial devices. Engineers can develop advanced and intuitive HMI applications with the LabVIEW graphical development environment, which they use to communicate with their hardware through standard communication methods such as TCP, OPC, USB, Modbus, Ethernet/IP and many more. LabVIEW provides easy network deployment, prebuilt template applications and navigation controls for building complex multiscreen interfaces. Engineers also gain programmatic control of advanced OS features such as Enhanced Write Filters and Hibernate Once/Resume Many (HORM).

Friday, February 4, 2011

New materials tester

LS1 from Lloyd Instruments features linear guide technology and advanced control software

A new single-column materials testing machine from Lloyd Instruments provides enhanced speed, accuracy and flexibility for all materials testing applications under 1kN force. High precision displacement measurement is assured by the Model LS1 instrument's linear guide technology, pre-loaded ball screws and advanced software compensation systems.

Industry applications include plastics, packaging, medical devices, automotive, electronics, textiles, rubber and pharmaceuticals. It can be used for tensile and compression testing, friction, tearing, peeling, insertion/extraction, creep/relaxation and many other measurements in manufacturing, product development and research.

Available in standard (500mm) and extended (800mm) travel versions, the LS1 universal testing machine has an extended crosshead speed range from 0.01 ñ 2032 mm/min. Load accuracy of +/- 0.5 down to 1% of load cell value provides high dynamic range, reducing the number of load cells required to cover the force range. The wide throat depth (180 mm) provides a large working area for sample placement. A more compact physical orientation takes up less side-to-side bench space than previous models.

A new version of Lloyd Instruments' NEXYGENPlus materials testing software allows flexible, intuitive setup and control by a standard PC or laptop with USB interface. Handheld controllers and integrated control consoles also are available. Trend reports can be created for statistical quality control.

Workshop programme announced

The organisers of MCERTS 2011 (Telford, 30th and 31st March) have announced the workshop programme to run alongside the event's main conference and exhibition.

The workshops will offer a selection of over sixty subjects and will take place in six dedicated rooms located within the exhibition area. It is not necessary to book places at the workshops; registered visitors will simply come and go as they please.

The workshops will provide practical guidance on the measurement of almost all measurands of interest, including flow, particulates, odour, VOCs, mercury, dioxins and furans. A range of measurement technologies will be discussed and case studies will be provided to help visitors find new ways to address their monitoring needs.

The workshop titles cover specialist subjects such as: sampling techniques; CEMS maintenance and service; calibration; data logging; management software and reporting. In addition, the implications of relevant standards will be addressed including EN 14181, EN 15267 and EN 15259.

Award for Hungarian plant

HART Communication Foundation Executive Director Ron Helson (2nd from left) presents the 2010 HART Plant of the Year Award to MOL Danube Refinery, Százhalombatta, Hungary, (l-r) László Galambos, Refining Director; Gábor Bereznai, Head of Instrumentation and Electrical Department; Gergely Nádasy, Head of Maintenance Management; and József Bartók, Automation Engineer.
The HART® Communication Foundation  has selected the MOL Plc Danube Refinery located in Százhalombatta, Hungary, as recipient of the 2010 HART Plant of the Year Award. The award showcases end users who have demonstrated creativity in the application of HART Communication.

Beginning in 2002, MOL engineers made the strategic decision to install HART-enabled devices throughout their operation and to utilize all the benefits of HART Communication, both wired and wireless, in the broadest possible scope. This decision was part of a plant-wide refining maintenance strategy with an objective to increase operational reliability.

“We made the decision going forward to purchase intelligent field instruments that support the HART Protocol and then to develop and use the in-depth and sophisticated communication options embedded in those HART instruments,” says Gábor Bereznai, MOL Instrumentation and Electrical Department head. “Our directive became ‘let’s get connected—off-line and on-line—and put these HART instruments to work’.”

Connecting HART-enabled devices into an on-line diagnostics system has changed the way the MOL maintenance department runs its operation. On-line device diagnostics — instrument signals going directly to the plant maintenance and control systems—makes it possible to prevent unplanned shutdowns and plant slow-downs by allowing engineers to detect and resolve automation asset problems before they become critical.

According to MOL maintenance engineers, since the introduction of HART diagnostics at the petrol refinery, the number of valves selected for repair during a planned shutdown has dropped from 60% to about 5%. The system works so well and has proved to be so beneficial, that the company has set up a separate unit of three people to operate the applications and systems. Using HART diagnostics has resulted in MOL saving an estimated $2 million USD in reduced maintenance costs and avoided unscheduled shutdowns.

“On-line diagnostics provided by the HART instruments does something more than preventive maintenance,”
says József Bartók, automation engineer at MOL Danube Refinery. “It ensures the stable operation of the system and increases the precision of control. This is an aspect of the technology that comes directly to the bottom line, increasing the profit generating capability of the unit.”

More than 30,000 of the plant’s 50,000 instruments are HART-enabled with 3,700 of these HART devices—mostly control valves and instruments used in critical control loops—connected directly into computerized maintenance management systems.

ARC Advisory Group Research Director Wil Chin says, “ARC congratulates the MOL Danube refinery for taking HART Communication to the performance levels inherent in the technology. With only a minority of installed HART field devices connected to automation or asset management systems, organizations should apply lessons learned and deploy initiatives to unlock valuable information embedded in their smart devices.”  

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Inductive sensor

Eaton’s Electrical Sector is launching a new iProx inductive sensor series that embodies both power and versatility. Thanks to an integrated microprocessor and the unique Smart SenseTM technology, each iProx sensor has a large detection range and intelligence that can be adapted to each application. Cylindrical devices with switching distances of up to 29 millimeters are available, twice the switching distance of other inductive sensors of the same size.

Greater versatility connectors

Harting has extended the versatility of its innovative Han-Yellock® connector family by introducing a new version - Han-Yellock® 60 - with a larger housing that enables up to six connector modules to be incorporated.

The new Han-Yellock® 60 retains all the key features of the initial Han-Yellock® concept, including the 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

The new housing size 60 has been designed to offer an optimum balance between size and functionality. The installation dimensions give a compact profile in machines and switch cabinets, while a choice of function-oriented cable outlet angles ensures ease of handling and assembly in densely packed connector panels. The Han-Yellock® housings also protect the interface against unintentional or unauthorised opening. Mating and locking are carried out in a single step.

Covers protect the connector against moisture and dirt when it is not inserted, and contribute to the longevity of the connection. A further key design feature is the way in which the protective covers can be snapped in place on both sides of the housing. Customers can choose the direction of the cover swivel area, allowing adaptation to the individual application during the planning or retro-fitting stage.

Inserts from the established Harting Han-Modular® Series can be snapped into place in all Han-Yellock® housings without tools by using an adaptor frame. This process can be carried out on the insertion or termination side, which simplifies work sequences during commissioning and cabling work. The adaptor frame allows a broad spectrum of signal and power transmission modules to be integrated into the connector, including devices for electrical, electronic, fibre-optic and pneumatic interfacing.

New rental scheme cuts cost of instrument hire

Ashtead Technology has launched a new Perpetual Rental Program (PRP) that offers significant cost savings on both long-term and frequent rentals.

GE XL Go Videoprobe
Borescope Inspection
System, 3m and 6m available
on rental from Astead!
The PRP comes at a fraction of the standard rental rate and includes full technical support, making it an ideal option for longer-term rentals or for customers who rent the same instruments frequently. It combines the convenience of ownership with all the benefits of renting – for example, Ashtead Technology remains responsible for maintenance, annual calibration and repairs.

The new scheme is applicable to a selection of the very latest instrumentation, including advanced videoprobes and environmental monitoring instruments, such as the Horiba PG250 Gas Analyser and the advanced MultiRAE PID Gas Monitor from RAE Systems.

Summarising the benefits of the PRP scheme, Ashtead Technology’s General Manager Alan Hasson said: “Our aim is to put the right instruments into the hands of those that need them; which means that we need a large fleet of the latest technologies, a high level of technical support and financial packages that meet customers’ differing needs.

“With the launch of new schemes such as the PRP and the ‘Rent To Own’ plan, we are increasing our rental options and lowering costs to the customer, whilst simultaneously improving access to our unrivalled range of rental instrumentation.”

Video surveillance pioneer acquired

Two companies, focused on leading-edge video solutions for industrial and automation applications, join forces to expand the market

Industrial Video and Control (IVC), a leading supplier of cameras and video systems for industrial, military, and commercial applications, announced the acquisition of Longwatch. IVC, based in Newton (MA US), is known for its industrial camera systems that incorporate ruggedized cameras and state-of the-art video management software.

Operator Console Recorder
headline in Read-out (2009)
Longwatch’s Video Surveillance system, first introduced in 2005 to water treatment and power plants, is able to transmit video over existing instrumentation networks at speeds as low as 9600 baud. Longwatch has since established itself as the leader in integrating video with industrial SCADA applications. Its Video Historian automatically links video with various user databases (including data historians). Its most recent innovation is the Longwatch Console Recorder, which records industrial control console displays and enables easy playback for troubleshooting, operator training and regulatory compliance.

“The acquisition of Longwatch is a great opportunity for IVC,” said Norman Fast, CEO of Industrial Video and Control. “It establishes us as the clear leader in industrial video applications. Longwatch’s leading edge software in SCADA video and remote monitoring will be a major addition to our product line and will bring extraordinary value to manufacturers and commercial users,” he added.

Stephen Rubin, CEO of Longwatch, stated, “IVC makes cameras and enclosures specifically for rugged applications as demanded in process and manufacturing industries. Together, IVC and Longwatch can now deliver leading-edge solutions that deliver value that standard camera integrators cannot touch. The know-how and service capability of IVC combined with their cameras and our software brings a totally integrated, reliable solution to customers.”

Moving Forward
IVC will maintain the Longwatch brand and operate the company as a division of IVC. According to Norman Fast, the plan is to make both companies’ product lines interactive while building on the Longwatch brand, leveraging its reputation for innovation in remote monitoring and process control. IVC’s Relay Server, which interfaces with a multitude of cameras, will interface with Longwatch’s Video Control Center – the software that drives the Longwatch Viewer, ActiveX controls for video integration, as well as the Video Historian. Longwatch’s Video Engine, which provides “at the edge” recording of events and video, will also provide video streams to the IVC Relay Server.

IVC also plans to add support of its extensive camera offering to the Longwatch environment. IVC manufactures and sells pan-tilt zoom, fixed, auto-zoom, and manual zoom cameras that incorporate the latest in imaging technology. Their industrial cameras are suitable for the harshest weather and environmental conditions; some models have been certified for use in Class I Division 1, Class I Division 2, and ATEX (inherently dangerous) environments.

See also our blog The Next HMI revolution (November 2009)

Fourier transform IR analyser

California Analytical Instruments has a new 600/6000 Series FTIR, which provides fast, continuous and stable analysis of virtually any gas which has an infrared absorption spectrum. Unlike other FTIR Analyzers, the 600 Series FTIR does not require liquid nitrogen thus eliminating the need to constantly fill LN2 dewars with associated safety and cost issues.

The standard 600 series FTIR offers high sensitivity with a long path multi-reflection gas cell (effective path length of 4.3 meters) and has the versatility to be heated to either 50oC or 191oC depending on the application.

The 600-SC FTIR offers a low volume/low flow system that is heated to 50oC. Flows can be as low as 50 sccm. Options include a fuel cell O2 sensor and an internal sample pump.

Low Cost of Acquisition and Operation
Proven, Rugged Interferometer with Gold Mirrors
Multi-Gas Capability
No Liquid Nitrogen Required
Resolution of 0.9 cm-1 to 128 cm-1
Heated Electro-polished 316 SS Sample Cell
19 Year Laser Life
User-Replaceable Source Lasts 5 Years
Laptop Controlled with Opus Spectroscopy Software
Compact Size
Light Weight

Process Control
Stack Gases (CEM / MACT)
VOC Abatement / Scrubber Efficiency
Fermentation Monitoring
Vehicle Emissions
Ammonia Slip / SCR
Gas Purity
Agricultural Emissions

Fail-safe force measurement

DABU/I AD2T Bridge Amplifier for Exact Force Measuring Chains
With the bridge amplifier DABU/I AD2T, Baumer offers a fail-safe force measuring amplifier for use in challenging industrial environments. The bridge amplifier has an analogue signal path and converts mV/V signals from bridge circuits with strain gauges into a voltage or current (version DABU/DABI) signal. Depending on the type of product, a 2x¼ bridge or a full bridge can be connected to the input of the amplifier. The DABU/I AD2T boasts a bandwidth of 1000 Hz and an excellent signal-to-noise ratio. Its wide tare level of ± 6 mV/V allows for safe and easy implementation of the measuring chain even under difficult assembly conditions. The tare function can be triggered by a control pulse and only takes 5 ms to complete its operation. The amplifier has an input signal range from 0.25…2 mv/V.

The small, rugged aluminium housing of the unit complies with protection class IP65. As the amplifier does not contain any mechanical parts, it is highly resistant to vibration, which makes it particularly suitable for use in industrial applications. Electromagnetic compatibility has been tested according to the European norm EN 61000.

The DABU/I is suitable for static and cyclical measurements. It was designed to complement measuring chains with any force and strain sensors by Baumer, including the DLRx load cell, DSRC strain ring, and DLRP strain sensor. Thus, the DABU/I AD2T supports Baumer’s patented STRAIN-MATE principle, which makes it possible to measure clamping forces with strain rings, but without the time-consuming procedure of bonding strain gauges onto the surface.

Depending on the respective configurations, the DABU/I is available with different levels of amplification. For full bridges, available versions include 0.25 mV/V, 0.50 mV/V, 1.00 mV/V, and 2.00 mV/V. For 2x¼ bridges, options include 250 με, 350 με , 500 με, and 1000 με

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Loop splitter/retransmitter

QLS Quad Loop Splitter splits one 4-20 mA loop into four independent loops 

Laurel Electronics' Model QLS is a quad output 4-20 mA loop splitter and retransmitter with ±10V common mode isolation between inputs and outputs.

Problems occur when the same 4-20 mA signal from a transmitter needs to be sent to multiple devices, such as meters, recorders and PLCs. If the devices are in series in the same loop, they cannot share a common ground, but must be electrically floating. This is often not possible. When any device in the loop is removed, fails or if a wiring fault occurs, all other devices in the loop also loose their 4-20 mA signal. The transmitter voltage compliance limit may be exceeded, since the voltage drops across loads in series are additive. Also, the 4-20 mA signal to each device cannot be individually adjusted for calibration purposes.

Model QLS solves these problems by sourcing up to four (4) independently adjustable 4-20 mA outputs from a single input. The outputs can share a common ground. The input and outputs are mutually isolated to ±10V by means of active circuitry to accommodate differences in local grounds with normal industrial grounding practices. If any device in an output loop is removed from a loop or fails, or if a wiring fault occurs, the other loops continue to operate properly. Each loop only drives a single load, avoiding compliance problems. The input to the quad loop splitter can be 4-20 mA, 1-5V, 0-5V or 0-10V, as selected by jumpers. An excitation output is provided on the signal input side to a drive a 2- or 3-wire transmitter at 24 Vdc and up to 30 mA.

Each output loop has two potentiometers for ±10% fine adjustment of zero and span, a yellow LED lamp to indicate loop continuity, and a test point across a 10-ohm series resistor, where 200 mV corresponds to 20 mA. This allows a multimeter to be used to measure the loop current without breaking the loop.

Control performance monitoring

PlantTriage Diagnostics automatically initiate work orders

ExperTunes PlantTriage can now share information with maintenance planning and other enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. PlantTriages diagnostics can be used to initiate work requests for instrument repairs, control tuning, and valve replacements.

Proven in hundreds of plants worldwide, the PlantTriage control performance monitoring system automatically diagnoses and prioritizes process, control, and instrumentation problems, 24 hours a day.  Integrated analysis and tuning tools improve plant results by focusing effort on the most critical issues.

PlantTriage contains tremendous knowledge of the process and the equipment.  Now, users can fully integrate that knowledge into their ERP system workflow. says George Buckbee, ExperTunes Vice President of Product Development.

The new integration tools can be applied to any of the 20 Problem-Solver reports that come with PlantTriage.  Beyond that, users can design custom reports to pass any set of PlantTriage information, directly from a web browser interface.  A flexible XML intermediary language enables users to further customize the information being passed.  This new approach complements the existing capability to share data via OPC, e-mail, and export to Microsoft Excel and Word.

John Gerry, President of ExperTune, adds, One key to delivering bottom-line results is to use control performance data in the daily workflow at each plant.  These tools streamline the workflow process, accelerating the pace of improvement.

The new tools are included in the version 10 release of ExperTunes PlantTriage software.

Increased Security Infrastructure for the Smart Grid

Advanced security and compliance tools enable utility deployment of integrated metering, communications and distribution automation solutions with confidence

Elster  and Industrial Defender has announced a technology partnership for cyber security and compliance with Elster's EnergyAxis® advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) Smart Grid solution. This announcement was made in San Diego at the DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition, a leading annual Smart Grid and transmission-and-distribution event.

Industrial Defender's capabilities add to the robust security already embedded in EnergyAxis 7.5. Enhancements include advanced security intrusion detection and prevention at the end-point, server, perimeter and network levels, and high-availability centralized applications for monitoring, analysis, records management and compliance reporting.

The integration comprises the entire EnergyAxis solution. It also includes meters, networking devices, meter data management (MDM) servers, distribution automation (DA) servers, workstations and other devices. While EnergyAxis 7.5 already has secure technologies, including individual key management, the added Industrial Defender capabilities now support comprehensive situational awareness and security process automation across an entire AMI and DA infrastructure.

The partnership integrates security technologies into EnergyAxis, and creates a focused sales and service solution offering from Elster. This combination offers utilities a complete and accountable single source for reliable and compliant intelligent metering and distribution automation requirements.

"Cyber security is complex and multifaceted. By building individual key management and other security features into EnergyAxis 7.5, and integrating the enhanced applications offered by Industrial Defender, Elster continues to lead the way in creating secure, reliable infrastructure and proven Smart Grid solutions," said David Hart, Ph.D., senior vice president of systems and products at Elster Solutions.

"With Industrial Defender, we have found a partner that brings an extremely broad armament of security tools together on an integrated, utility-centric and utility-friendly basis,"
Hart added.

"The level of understanding and concern regarding threats to critical infrastructure and intelligent utility systems has increased among utility planners, suppliers, standards groups and regulators,"
said Brian Ahern, CEO of Industrial Defender. "By stepping up to create an integrated solution that incorporates comprehensive security and compliance capabilities, Elster is helping utilities get past the complexity and challenges of technology integration and move forward to take advantage of new business opportunities presented by the Smart Grid."

Tree safety

Technology transfer tests tree safety

Highway engineers and horticulturalists have adapted the latest in helicopter technology to solve a critical safety problem in their own industries, tree viability.

Trees can transform a roadside verge, townscape or recreation space with their beauty and their ability to capture carbon dioxide.  But they also present a potential hazard: if they fall, they could block a vital highway or even kill someone.

As a result, professionals responsible for trees like to test the strength of their roots, usually by fixing a sling around the trunk and giving it a good tug with a tractor!

“This procedure lacks some finesse,” says Tony Ingham of Sensor Technology, who has been working on ways to improve the technique.

“The basic idea is to put a strain gauge in line with the sling, then convert the readout from Newtons to a wind speed equivalent. This is perfectly achievable, but the concept needs refining to make it attractive enough to become widely adopted.”

The tractor crews will not want to spend time setting up instruments, taking readings, recording them and then set about making complex calculations. If they can’t rope up a tree, give it a pull and move onto the next one in a matter of minutes, they won’t be interested.

Sensor Technology realised that they had the solution to this with their LoadSense range.  Tony Ingham continues: “This is actually an intelligent cargo hook for helicopter pilots who need to underslung carry loads. This may seem like a different world, but the concept is that the hook has on-board electronics for measuring the load and a wireless transmitter for sending the live data to a nearby ruggedised PC or custom built handheld readout.

We replaced the hook with one more suited to the tree work, recalibrated the strain gauge and wrote some software appropriate to the job in hand. The procedure with our equipment is to pull the tree until the first suggestions of movement, with the load force being automatically displayed as wind speed and a pass/fail signal.”

In the second stage of calculation, the software can use a look-up table to suggest how often such as wind is likely to be experienced. Tony says that for a future development Sensor Technology is talking to the Met Office about using their wind maps of the UK along with GPS (global positioning system) readings to produce results almost to the individual tree:

“All the data handling and calculations are transparent to the crew, they get simple pass/fail reading. But the data can be stored and further resolved into high level management information which will help with developing long-term maintenance programmes.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New pilot valve catalogue

ASCO Numatics new catalogue covers pilot valves and systems for the process industry
ASCO Numatics has announced a major new catalogue covering its comprehensive range of pilot valves and systems for the process industry. The binder style catalogue provides a wealth of information on valve solutions from high flow to low power, from direct mount Namur to safety shutdown systems.

The new catalogue gives information on international standards and approvals, along with technical specifications for a wide range of 3/2, 4/2, 5/2 and 5/3 solenoid valves. ASCO Numatics solenoid valves are noted for their highly reliable operation and its valve manifolds will interface with all major protocols including DeviceNet, Profibus DP, Ethernet/IP, Profinet, etc.

The 488 page binder is divided into 14 chapters with the introductory section covering the basics of solenoid pilot valve technology. Within the product pages, solenoid valves are broken down into easy-to-source sections each covering the features, material and electrical characteristics, ATEX / IECEX / SIL solenoid specifications, metric dimensions and ordering information.

People who wish to receive their own copy a may register here.

Skids for metering pumps

CHEM-FEED® Skid Systems are available for the ProSeries® M Series Metering Pumps from Blue-White.

Systems can be floor or wall mounted. Custom universal mounting blocks and pre-assembled component assemblies are easily stocked and field replaceable into pre-machined mounting slots. Each System is rigorously factory tested.

CHEM-FEED® Skid Systems include: Self-filling calibration cylinder; Exclusive flow indicator; single and dual pump systems available; Easy access to wiring components from rear of system; Removable drip containment trays; Dual side inlets enable connection of multiple skids to the same inlet; Stainless Steel mounting pads; Check valve protects operator from back flow during routine maintenance; Efficient, small footprint design; Heavy duty, chemical resistant powder coated 6061-T6 aluminum, welded joint construction. No forklift required.

M Series Metering Pump features include: 10,000:1 turndown ratio; five year warranty; NSF Standard 61; Patented Tube Failure Detection (TFD) system; and Brushless DC Motor.

Liquid analyser supports dual sensors

Yokogawa's FLXA21 measures ph/ORP, inductive and contacting conductivity, and dissolved oxygen

The new Yokogawa FLXA21 is the latest generation of the company's range of liquid analysers designed for continuous on-line measurements in industrial installations.

The new instrument is a modular 2-wire liquid analyser that supports the use of up to two sensors and can be flexibly configured to measure several different liquid properties including pH/ORP, contacting conductivity, inductive conductivity and dissolved oxygen.

It also incorporates a number of advanced features including a touch screen for ease of operation, sensor self-diagnostics, maintenance time estimation, 12 language display options, and a range of digital communications interfaces.

The ability of the unit to support up to two sensors of the same type helps to reduce installation and maintenance costs and save space, in addition to enabling the configuration of a highly reliable backup system with interruption-free measurement assured even during maintenance.

Its  modular design offers a high degree of 'scalability' and enables the construction of a variety of systems. System changeover can be accomplished quickly and easily by replacing and adding modules, and users can select the case material (plastic or stainless steel).

The interactive touch display provides on-screen guidance messages to make setup quick and easy. In the event of an error, the screen displays an error code and indicates the corrective action to be taken. Several different display modes are available, and prompts and other messages eliminate the need to consult the instruction manual.

Sensor self-diagnostics capabilities are provided via continuous measurement of sensor impedance, asymmetric potential and slope, as well as continuous monitoring for electrode contamination, damage, burnout and decline in measurement liquid level. A display of sensor status includes the latest five calibration results along with an estimate of the future maintenance and calibration times.

The FLXA21 can be used with a wide variety of pH/ORP, contacting conductivity, inductive conductivity, and dissolved oxygen sensors.

Digital communications options include HART, FOUNDATION™ fieldbus and Profibus.

Crack movement

Monitoring movement of cracks in structures with LVDTs

Measuring the changes in the width of cracks that occur in civil structures and buildings can be accurately determined by the use of Linear Variable Displacement Transducers (LVDTs). This important diagnostic technique can provide data to help understand the cause and then action appropriate remedial work where needed.

Transducer solutions specialists RDP Electronics offer a comprehensive range of LVDTs including waterproof options for use in external applications and harsh environments. Using analogue versions with a 4-20mA facility permits the use of long cable runs which can prove a useful capability where location of monitoring equipment is remote from the crack location.

The first 78 GHz radar level transmitter for solids level measurement

Siemens Industry Automation Division has launched Sitrans LR560, the first radar level transmitter operating at 78 GHz frequency.
The Siemens Industry Automation Division launches the first radar level transmitter
with a frequency of 78 GHz. The device is equipped with a newly developed lens
antenna and uses the non-contacting FMCW technology.
Sitrans LR560 is a non-contacting 2-wire FMCW (Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave) radar level measurement transmitter with a measurement range of 100 meters (328 ft). The transmitter emits a narrow four degree beam which avoids silo wall obstructions and other installation interferences, allowing it to be installed practically anywhere on the top of the silo. As the first radar transmitter to operate at 78 GHz frequency, it emits a short wavelength to provide exceptional signal reflection even from solids with a steep angle of repose. The graphical Quick Start Wizard guides the user to get Sitrans LR560 operational in minutes for accurate and reliable level measurement readings without any additional fine-tuning.

Sitrans LR560 is available with HART®, PROFIBUS PA, or FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus protocol. Programming is supported locally with pushbuttons or with an infrared handheld programmer. The transmitter also supports remote configuration and diagnostics with Siemens Simatic PDM (Process Device Manager), Emerson AMS™, or PACTware™ using Siemens DTM. The local display interface features a backlit display and can be rotated to four positions for convenience. The unique lens antenna is highly resistant to material build-up and an integrated purge connection is included for cleaning exceptionally sticky solids material. The high frequency operation makes aiming unnecessary, but the optional aiming flange helps direct the beam to an area of specific interest, such as the discharge area of the silo cone.

A T/C based temperature Datalogger

The TC101A 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 TC101A offers a 10 year battery life, 1 second reading rate, a pushbutton start option with a multiple start/stop function, ultra-high speed download capability, 500,000 reading storage capacity, optional memory wrap, battery life indicator, optional password protection, programmable high-low alarms and more. The TC101A is priced at $149 each and can be delivered from stock now. Our research has shown that the TC101A is second to no other data logger when it comes to price and performance.

Using the MadgeTech Software, starting, stopping and downloading from the TC101A 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 TC101A 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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Low power industrial radio transceiver modem

LPRS introduce industrial-use DSSS true diversity radio transceiver modem for applications in the U.S.A.

LPRS has introduced the Circuit Design MU-D1-R 915 MHz, embedded low power radio transceiver modem for industrial use that complies with U.S. FCC Part 15.247.

The MU-D1-R operates in the U.S. ISM band frequencies (902 to 928MHz) and is designed to be embedded in wireless connected systems. This radio modem was developed for industrial applications that require stable and reliable operation. It features low power consumption and can achieve line of sight radio communication beyond 300m with battery operation.

In addition to using highly noise-resistant direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) modulation, the modem has a true diversity receiver function with two receiver circuits for preventing signal dropout due to multi-path fading. This ensures highly stable and reliable radio communication in the congested 902 to 928 MHz ISM band which is used by many types of wireless controlled equipment.

With 20 frequency channels available it can be used in many wireless systems. The modem operates at low power, 55mA/8mW when transmitting and 58mA when receiving and with its small size, 36 x 26 x 8mm it can be built into units that require battery operation.

John Sharples, Managing Director of LPRS comments: "The new MU-D1-R transceiver from Circuit Design is a highly reliable, industrial use modem. Using direct sequence spread spectrum for superior noise resistance instead of simple antenna switching type diversity, the modem uses a true diversity receiver circuit with two built-in receiver circuits.”

In addition to the CDP series transmitter and receiver modules and STD/LMD series transceiver modules which are highly regarded in the European and Japanese markets, Circuit Design offers the MU-D1-R series radio modem with a built-in wireless protocol to enable the input/output of data with simple commands. With its built-in CPU, the MU series performs wireless-specific high frequency control for UART communication with an external microcomputer. As a result system development times are significantly shortened and component numbers reduced. In addition, the built-in protocols make networking simple for applications that require reliability and real time control such as industrial remote control. The MU-D1-R is expected to be used in a wide range of low power industrial applications such as monitoring systems where battery operation is required.

Key features of the MU-D1-R include a wide operating temperature range of -20 to +65ºC, built in TCXO and all high frequency circuits are enclosed inside the shielded case. Operating voltage is 4 – 5.5 VDC with low power operation enabling systems to run for long periods from battery power. Compliant with FCC Part 15.247, frequency range 905.5 to 924.5 MHz, 20 channels, output switchable between 8 and 40mW, data rate 40 kbps (interface), 600 kbps (wireless 40 kbps x 15 chips), size 36 × 26 × 8 m and weight 13g

New website for enclosures

With access to the new RittalXpress website at it is possible to search for a suitable product and receive an outline quotation for a standard or modified Rittal enclosure within minutes.

RittalXpress was developed to identify which products are available via the seven day modification service and create a quick and easy to use interface for configuration on line.  Choose by application, size, IP rating, part number or material, which can be mild steel, plastic, aluminium or stainless steel. The RittalXpress website has a level of intelligence that only allows the selection of accessories to suit the chosen size or type of enclosure, along with the inclusion of any holes required. This removes any chance of the incorrect selection of accessories and saves time spent browsing through the catalogues.

Modification of the enclosure from simple holes, round or square including threads, through to more time consuming cut outs, such as large apertures for fans and filters, baying kits or special repeat patterns can also be requested using RittalXpress. Modification is possible on any face of the enclosure, the door, roof, side panels, gland plates or mounting panels, using the latest machinery to provide high tolerances of accuracy, improving overall quality and eliminating expensive mistakes, leaving all the risk with Rittal.

Once selection is complete access to the summary page will outline a quotation and summary of the chosen configuration, which can be saved, edited, deleted or submitted for a confirmed quotation before placing the order. Once the order has been received a configured enclosure will be delivered within seven working days.

High efficiency LED Power Supply Range

Excelsys Technologies have introduced the LXC60, LXC120 and LXC150 families of compact, high efficiency, high reliability, and waterproof power supplies for LED lighting solutions.

All of the new Excelsys LED power supplies have a constant current output, universal mains input (90-305VAC), efficiencies up to 92%, active power factor correction (PFC), over voltage and short circuit protection, are waterproof to IP67, have an operating temperature range of -35 to +70ºC, are compliant with EN61347-1, -2, -13 and are UL8750 recognised.

The three new power supply families have been designed to meet the needs of specific LED requirements. The LXC60 series provides from 350mA up to  5000mA of output current and 170V output voltage, the LXC120 series provides from 350mA up to 4900mA of output current and 343V output voltage and the LXC150 series provides from 350mA up to 5950mA of output current and 428V output voltage.

Dermot Flynn, Director of Sales for Excelsys Technologies, comments. “The introduction of our range of power supplies for architectural LED lighting systems has been very successful. The three new product families we are now introducing meet the specific requirements of commonly used LED lighting systems. LED lighting systems continue to grow in popularity, offering long-life, low-energy light sources especially suited to industrial and commercial buildings, signs and displays. Delivering up to 150W of output power in an extremely compact package size we are sure these new power supplies will be very popular with LED lighting manufacturers.”

Typical applications for the LXC series of LED power supplies include outdoor applications such as street lighting, tunnel lighting, sign applications and architectural lighting solutions as well as electrical “brown” and “white” goods such as refrigerator lighting.

Electronics magazine iPad app

RS Components launches industry first electronics magazine iPad app

RS Components has launched its magazine eTech for iPad. This iPad app provides a new way to display product and technology information, extending and enhancing the magazine content with additional detail, images, animation and video, making it a truly interactive customer experience. eTech for iPad is available free of charge for download worldwide from the Apple store here:

Commenting on the launch, Glenn Jarrett, Head of Electronics Marketing at RS said, "With more and more information sources available to design engineers, it is imperative that RS provides them with news and views in the format that they find both informative and engaging. eTech for iPad is an industry first and has been developed to go way beyond the basic page-turner digital magazine, taking full advantage of the device's off-line viewing capabilities."

Written specifically for design engineers, technical managers and technicians working in the field of Electronics, eTech ( is an online and printed publication distributed globally. RS works with electronics design engineers and experts to provide information on new technologies for a wide variety of applications. Using leading edge publishing technology, eTech for iPad provides readers with enhanced content complete with interactive features allowing them to stay up to date with industry news and developments online and offline. eTech for iPad is free to download and subscribers will receive a notification to download each subsequent issue published.

"We are developing the most innovative ways to engage our customers,"
said Martijn Duchatteau, Head of Online Innovation at RS. "By providing information in a dynamic and interactive way, we offer our customers choice; they can choose how much information to access and the format that it's delivered in. Innovation is key to our success and eTech for iPad is yet another example of how we are committed to staying at the forefront of technology."

According to, research carried out by UM and Time Inc. found that more than 90% of iPad owners who read magazines were likely to subscribe to those magazines on the device and those that do want their magazines to present them with striking interactive visuals. The eTech app engages subscribers allowing them to browse all of its content without needing an internet connection.

The print version of eTech was first produced in November 2009, followed by a page turner digital issue in July 2010.  eTech will continue to be available in all formats.