Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wireless mesh to new markets

Dust Networks expands WSN product line with 6lowpan offering

Dust Networks® has announced the availability of their new SmartMesh® IP wireless sensor network (WSN) evaluation kits. SmartMesh IP combines the reliability and ultra-low power of Dust Networks’ industrial products with native Internet Protocol (IP) for a robust, standards-based offering perfect for a broad range of applications.

Kris Pister, the founder and Chief Technologist at Dust Networks introduces the new SmartMesh IP product line.
“Dust Networks’ TSMP technology was the foundational building block of the IEC62591 wireless standard that enabled explosive growth in the industrial wireless sensing market,” said Harry Forbes, Senior Analyst with ARC Advisory Group. “With their new IP-based product, enterprise customers

SmartMesh IP provides robust wire-free connectivity for applications where low power, reliability, and ease of deployment matter. With Dust Networks’ new Eterna™ 802.15.4e SoC technology, every node in a SmartMesh IP network will run on batteries for 10 years, or forever with an energy harvesting power source. Even a simple solar calculator cell can power a SmartMesh IP router in a busy network. The ability to put a sensor anywhere, without wiring, allows network deployments that do not disrupt a building’s operations or occupants. With built-in intelligence that enables the mesh network to self-form and self-maintain, SmartMesh systems are easily deployed by field technicians with no wireless technology expertise.

“SmartMesh IP sets several new benchmarks for low power wireless sensor networking,” said Joy Weiss, President and CEO of Dust Networks. “We have worked hard to incorporate sophisticated features that will enable diverse customers to get their wireless sensing solutions to market quickly, and make the wire-free deployment and maintenance of those networks simple and trouble-free.”
SmartMesh IP is the first Dust Networks product to feature optional Location Awareness capabilities, allowing customers to not only transport sensor data but also to determine, on demand, the location of any node in the network. For example, in a multi-story office building with location-aware SmartMesh IP network nodes, service personnel could be immediately alerted to an issue and its location, accelerating problem resolution and reducing maintenance costs

The SmartMesh IP architecture is very versatile. Developers can select from a variety of network topologies, from full mesh to star, tailoring the network configuration to their application requirements. The SmartMesh IP Network Manager provides comprehensive security and network management, and dynamically optimizes network throughput. With simple APIs and extensive network and security management features, SmartMesh IP lets customers integrate sensing solutions quickly, and deploy rapidly.

The standard SmartMesh IP Evaluation Kit provides everything needed to demonstrate mesh network performance, data monitoring, digital actuation, and event notification.

Mobile app for technical calculations

Thomson now provides a new app on its website. The "EngineersCALC" application contains four different, frequently used calculation programs that support machine and positioning system designers and engineers in their daily work. The app allows users to quickly convert figures from one unit of measurement to another, determine the inertia of bodies with simple shapes, calculate the density of various materials and look up commonly used trigonometry and calculation functions. The app impresses with its powerful and thereby fast calculation speed, as well as its highly intuitive and user-friendly interface. It allows users of smartphones to carry a valuable planning tool with them wherever they go - not just in the office, but also in the field, for example in a test lab or a model workshop. EngineersCALC also allows users to save their calculations or forward them to colleagues quickly and easily using the integrated e-mail and message module.

EngineersCALC is currently available for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iTouch, as well as for Android and Blackberry smartphones. Thomson also offers a free-of-charge desktop version of the application. This practical "Motion Engineer's Toolbar" can be integrated in the Windows taskbar, allowing it to be displayed whenever needed and then easily hidden again. It is compatible with the Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.0 operating systems.

Over the air programming with 802.15.4 and ZigBee

New OTA technology from Libelium allows an entire network to be re-programmed in a couple of minutes by using multihop routing

Libelium is launching Libelium OTA, a solution that lays the foundation for over the air programming (OTAP) for wireless sensor networks and the Internet of Things. This brings OTA capabilities for the first time to unlicensed frequency bands (2.4GHz, 868MHz, 900MHz) and to low power communication using protocols such as 802.15.4 and ZigBee.

Over the last decade wireless programming or over the air provisioning (OTA) has been widely used by the mobile phone industry. This capability has allowed software updates to be delivered to mobile phone users and to enable the deployment of new services as they become available. So far, such capabilities have not been available to wireless sensor networks or to the Internet of Things. Such networks, usually consisting of hundreds or thousands of nodes (“motes”), would benefit from an OTA capability.

David Gascón, Libelium’s CTO, says “Motes are often located in places that are either remote or difficult to access. Libelium OTA will enable firmware upgrades to be made over a wireless network without the need of physical access. The new OTAP feature, together with battery recharging via a solar panel, will keep the maintenance costs of wireless sensor networks to a minimum allowing the deployment of networks with thousands of nodes”.

Firmware upgrades can be made within minutes and it is possible to choose between updating single nodes (unicast), multiple nodes (multicast) or an entire network (broadcast). OTA can also be used for the recovery of stuck nodes. Furthermore it is possible to find nodes in a particular area by broadcasting a discovery query.

Libelium OTA can work with both direct- and multihop-access. In the case of 802.15.4 networks, the nodes to be upgraded can be accessed directly by the gateway. With ZigBee, it is usual that a series of nodes must forward packets sent by the gateway to the chosen destination. When performing OTA with direct access the frequency channel used in the 2.4GHz band is changed so no interferences are caused to the rest of the nodes.

The Libelium OTA provides two levels of security: - firstly the data transmitted is encrypted using the AES-128 algorithm; secondly a pass key must be authenticated in each node before the OTA process starts.

For wireless sensor networks implemented with Waspmote, programs sent are stored in a 2GB SD card enabling thousands of different software versions to be stored and managed on a single mote. The management OTA application runs in Windows, MacOS and Linux and it is freely available for clients of the Waspmote platform.

Libelium is launching a special training course at their headquarters in Zaragoza, Spain, in June for those interested in learning the OTA capabilities quickly.

A cost effective dP transmitter

The new design of Deltabar M from Endress + Hauser, unites flexibility, modularity and compactness.

Some of the benefits in switching to the Deltabar M PMD55 are:
• Easily integrated in any installation conditions.
• Can change from the high-pressure to the low-pressure side by merely moving a small switch on the main electronics.
• Compact design
• Flexibility in adaptation and installation
• Modular electronics and display
• User-friendly software with application-specific parameter selection

This differential pressure transmitter can be used for flow measurement of gases, vapors and liquids. Typical applications also include level, volume and mass measurement of liquids. It works over measuring ranges of 0.15 to 600 psi with a maximum recommended turndown of 100:1. Reference accuracy is up to 0.075% of full scale.

"The Deltabar M is a direct replacement for the Rosemount 1151 analog transmitter, so that a Rosemount user can upgrade directly to the Deltabar M digital HART-based flow transmitter without having to change piping or add a coplanar adapters," according to the company's Irish office.

Flow measurements are available in five modes: volume flow, norm volume flow, mass flow and percent. The transmitter has two totalisers. One totaliser can be reset to zero, and the totalising units can be individually set for each totaliser. This allows daily and annual quantity totalising.

The Deltabar M transmitter has aluminum housing with protective powder coating and 316L stainless steel process connections. Customers have a choice of Viton, PTFE, NBR or EPDM seals. Operational temperature ranges from -40 to 185 ◦F. The transmitter is suitable for use in oxygen and ultra pure gas applications.

Remote load monitoring

Telemetry system enables remote data collection for the construction industry

Mantracourt has announced that its radio telemetry acquisition system for strain gauge and load cell data is at the heart of Groundforce’s new remote load monitoring technology.

British company Groundforce, a division of Vp plc, provides shoring, formwork and piling equipment and services to the construction industry. By incorporating Mantracourt’s wireless telemetry technology into pre-calibrated load pins, Groundforce now offer its clients an accurate means of remotely measuring the actual loads in heavy duty hydraulic struts used in construction pits, thereby providing their customers a cost effective early warning measurement service.

“Being able to use wireless telemetry technology for strain and load measurement is enabling many new applications" said Kelly Voysey of Mantracourt. “It’s proving ideal for applications within the construction and civil engineering industries, where access and cabling is limited or indeed, impossible.”

The T24-SA strain acquisition module provides high performance wireless measurement of strain gauge, pressure, load cell, linear displacement and other 4 wire bridge sensors. Providing direct mV/V input and 5V bridge excitation for up to 4 load cells. The miniature size allows for the option of embedding within the sensor housing and its low power modes provides ‘power down’ between transmissions or remote controlled power ‘on’ and ‘off’ giving exceptionally long battery life.

Data from the load pins within the struts can either be collected using a wireless hand held display onsite with range up to 200 metres or by using Mantracourt’s GPRS sampling device; a unit that automatically gathers on-site data from sensors at pre-set intervals and transfers this via the GPRS network to emails, mobile phones or remote servers. This provides users world wide access to data recording and monitoring.

“The Mantracourt system is proving to be a valuable addition to our product range, offering a progressive means of information gathering for construction companies,” said Tony Gould, Technical Director of Groundforce.

“We’ve found the Mantracourt equipment to be very robust and effective and the engineering team behind it very helpful and supportive.”

The Groundforce system has been deployed at sites for the Olympic Games for London 2012 and the high profile Tyne Tunnel 2 Crossing project in Newcastle (GB). It has also found its way as far a field as sites in Stockholm, Sweden and Trondheim in Norway.

First 78 GHz radar level TX for solids level

Siemens Industry Automation Division has launched Sitrans LR560, the first radar level transmitter operating at 78 GHz frequency. This 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.

The unit 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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Platform extended for higher volume deployments

New low-cost NI cRIO-9075/9076 systems offer a smaller form factor and Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGAs for advanced control and monitoring applications

National Instruments has released the new NI cRIO-9075 and cRIO-9076 integrated chassis and controllers, which lower the cost of the NI CompactRIO platform for embedded control and monitoring applications. CompactRIO is powered by reconfigurable I/O (RIO) and NI LabVIEW FPGA technologies and combines an open embedded architecture with a small footprint, extreme ruggedness and a wide breadth of analog, digital, motion and communication I/O modules.

The new integrated systems combine an industrial 400 MHz Freescale real-time processor and four-slot chassis with an embedded, reconfigurable Xilinx Spartan-6 field-programmable gate array (FPGA) for custom timing, control and signal processing capabilities. These NI RIO systems are programmable with LabVIEW graphical system design tools and combine the ease of use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems with the performance of custom hardware. By combining these new low-cost CompactRIO systems with the power and productivity of LabVIEW, engineers and researchers can prototype and deploy custom embedded control and monitoring systems faster and at a lower cost without the need for large engineering design teams. The cRIO-9075 and cRIO-9076 are ideal for embedded control and monitoring applications within industries such as energy, medical and robotics that require a short time to market, advanced control algorithms and high-speed analog and digital I/O.

The new systems extend the NI RIO technology platform offering, which includes CompactRIO, PXI and PC hardware and features a shared standard embedded hardware architecture. By combining the platform’s powerful floating-point processors, reconfigurable FPGA and I/O modules, NI RIO systems help improve time to market and lower development costs of machines and embedded devices. The combination of the NI RIO hardware platform with LabVIEW graphical system design software provides design teams with an easily reconfigurable embedded system, eliminating the need to design custom hardware for higher volume deployments and OEM applications. Additionally, engineers and researchers can further reduce time to market and improve system reliability by reusing the same LabVIEW code in between prototyping and deployment phases. Offering a lower cost to the RIO platform, these new cRIO-9075 and cRIO-9076 systems help design teams not only get to market faster but also deploy at higher volumes more cost effectively.

New technology for water monitoring in Russia

A new distribution partnership in Russia for the Intellitect Water's flagship Intellisonde™ in-pipe water quality monitor has been announced

The Intellisonde™ is designed to provide water organisations with more efficient access to drinking water quality data and will now be distributed across municipal sectors in Russia by Ekaterinburg based company Aquatech.

Developed to continuously monitor in-pipe water within drinking water distribution networks, the Intellisonde™ is a small water quality monitor that can be inserted into pressurised pipes to monitor up to 12 parameters.

Liza Lozhnikova, from Aquatech’s Water Quality Monitoring Department, believes that the Intellitect technology can help improve the way drinking water is monitored in Russia. “In-pipe water quality monitoring is a massive challenge across the country, mainly due to the vast water supply network, which consists of over 500,000km of piping,” she said.

“We are very excited about this new technology because the Intellisonde™ will reveal the quality of drinking water between treatment plants and the consumer for the first time.”

Tony Halker Intellitect Water’s CEO, added: “We are very pleased to announce another new distribution partnership for the Intellisonde™. The Russian market represents enormous potential for the Intellisonde™ because a great deal of work is currently being undertaken to improve drinking water quality and this technology can help to ensure that such work is cost-effective. The visibility of water quality within the distribution network helps to reduce the cost of water treatment and network management is greatly enhanced because managers are able to identify potential problems much earlier than has ever been possible before. ”

OPC partners

Mobiform partners with MatrikonOPC for secure OPC connectivity solutions

MatrikonOPC™ has announced that Mobiform is the newest member to join its Global Partner Network. Mobiform will be integrating MatrikonOPC’s full range of OPC Servers into StatusVision – a powerful data visualization software package that serves as a sophisticated HMI (Human Machine Interface) and SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) designer for manufacturing and other process control industries. With MatrikonOPC’s secure and reliable OPC Servers, Mobiform will be able to provide web and Windows based connectivity to a wide range of devices regardless of their vendor.

As a member of the MatrikonOPC Global Partner Network, Mobiform will standardise on MatrikonOPC for its OPC data connectivity solutions. The MatrikonOPC Vendor Partner Program enables software and hardware vendors to provide their customers with world class connectivity software and support, while keeping the vendors’ resources focused on their core areas of expertise. Being able to integrate MatrikonOPC’s solutions with Mobiform’s solutions will provide Mobiform customers with a best of breed  solution that can be used with components from all major control system vendors..

"Since delivering exceptional value to our customers is one of the cornerstones of our strategy for long term growth and Mobiform offers world class HMI/SCADA products for the Web and Windows, this partnership is built for success,” said Drew Brydon, Vendor Partner Program Manager MatrikonOPC. “MatrikonOPC will work closely with Mobiform to help provide its customers with the right products and on-going live support to their OPC architectures.”

“Our customers already knew that using our Status Vision product line and Matrikon OPC servers, provides a reliable, compatible and effective combination for delivering real time data solutions. Making these products available together makes perfect sense, and will be even more convenient for our customers,” said Ron DeSerranno, CEO Mobiform Software Inc.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Precision temperature data logger

MadgeTech has released the RTDTemp101A a precision temperature data logger. This low-cost state-of-the-art device is perfect for use in applications such as calibration chamber monitoring, research and development, process validation and other application in which high accuracy is critical.

The RTDTemp101A has many advanced features including an accuracy of ±0.05°C, a 10 year battery life, a multiple start/stop function, ultra-high speed download capability, 670,000 reading storage capacity, optional memory wrap, precision RTD sensing element, battery life indicator, optional password protection, programmable high-low alarms and more. The RTDTemp101A is priced at $179 (€125) each and can be delivered from stock now. Their research has shown that the RTDTemp101A is second to no other data logger when it comes to price and performance.

Using the MadgeTech Software, starting, stopping and downloading from the RTDTemp101A 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.

MadgeTech continuously improves its products and develops solutions to meet ever-changing challenges. The RTDTemp101A was designed with our customers in mind. They offer 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.

Diaphragm gauge for hygenic applications

DP100 diaphragm pressure gauge with hygienic process connection
Baumer’s DP100 diaphragm pressure gauge is a pressure measuring device specially designed for hygienic processes encountered in fields such as the production of pharmaceuticals and foods. The pressure gauge complies with protection class IP65 and works on a strictly mechanical basis without using a transfer fluid. This prevents pollution of the measured medium even in case of damage to the diaphragm. The DP100 is available with a wide range of hygienic standard connections. All components in contact with the medium are made of stainless steel 1.4435 (316L). The membrane has a surface roughness of Ra < 0.5 µm.

The bayonet ring housing of the DP100 is made of stainless steel 1.4301 and welded to the process connection. Either laminated glass or a special flat glass for instruments can be chosen for the window. The pressure gauge can be operated at ambient temperatures of -20…60 °C. The instrument can endure a maximum media temperature of 80 °C during continuous operation and can even withstand short peaks of up to 150 °C. This makes the DP100 highly suitable for use in SIP (sterilisation in place) processes. A version of the instrument which can be completely sterilised in an autoclave is available upon request.

The pressure gauge is available for the measuring ranges 0…6°bar, 0…10°bar, -1…5°bar, and -1…9°bar and can endure overpressures of up to 1.3 times the scale range. Its measuring accuracy complies with class 1.6 according to EN°837-3.

Due to the fact that the DP100 pressure gauge operates without a transfer fluid, it is especially popular as an alternative to instruments with pressure transmitters in processes where pollution of the medium must be prevented at all costs. This is the case wherever media of particularly high quality are processed or where pollution of the medium would cause substantial health hazards.

LIMS development

Eastman Chemical Company uses Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS to streamline business processes and deliver enhanced automation benefits

Eastman Chemical Company, a large global manufacturer of chemicals, fibers and plastics, has expanded its deployment of Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS (laboratory information management system), which it has used since 2000 in its manufacturing quality control laboratories, to its Corporate Technology Analytical Laboratories. For the implementation, Eastman Chemical Company also chose Thermo Scientific Connects, which enables the LIMS to be fully integrated with the laboratory's instruments and can be integrated with other proprietary databases and ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems enterprise-wide.

Eastman Chemical Company manufactures chemicals, fibers and plastics materials used by its customers to make common consumer products. The company is the first manufacturer in the U.S. to develop and commercialize technology that derives chemicals from coal rather than petroleum. With 2010 sales revenue of $5.8 billion, the company has 13 major manufacturing facilities around the world.

Eastman Chemical Company selected Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS for its ability to operate a certified interface with SAP, and the system has integrated seamlessly with it since implementation. Based on the successful deployment of SampleManager LIMS at its quality control laboratories across 13 sites in eight countries, Eastman Chemical extended the LIMS implementation to its Corporate Technology Analytical Laboratories, located at its Tennessee headquarters.

“The Technology division selected Thermo Scientific SampleManager because it was easy to use and could be easily configured and managed in-house at Eastman Chemical,” said James Watson, systems analyst at Eastman Chemical Company. “We have reduced costs by eliminating paper reports, working electronically and involving sample submitters in the process by giving them access to results in real-time. LIMS standardization is the solution required in today’s high throughput analytical laboratories.”

To achieve optimal quality control, Eastman Chemical needed a coherent strategy that would integrate data between the LIMS, ERP multiple instruments and ELNs (electronic laboratory notebooks) across the enterprise. “The overall integration of our connected informatics solutions provides a seamless and secure quality control environment at Eastman Chemical Company,” added James Watson.

“The world’s largest manufacturing and petrochemical organizations rely on our integrated LIMS solutions to help them maintain their quality and production standards,” said Dave Champagne, manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific Informatics. “We are excited to be working with Eastman Chemical, making it easier for them to work in a pressured environment with increasing requirements to conduct projects professionally, on-time and within budget. Thermo Scientific Connects assisted in the effort, integrating application-specific workflows and helping transform laboratory data into relevant business information that maximizes enterprise system investments and better supports critical management decisions in a resource-constrained environment.”

Money for click registrations!

The instrumentation company Air Monitors received a £500stg (€570) cheque at MCERTS 2011 (March '11) for attracting the highest number of visitor registrations via their website to this year’s event at the Telford International Centre.

Managing Director Jim Mills accepted the cheque on behalf of the firm after MCERTS 2011 organisers encouraged exhibitors to promote the air monitoring exhibition in the build-up to the event.

Following the presentation, exhibition organiser Marcus Pattison said: “There is no substitute for face to face meetings and hands-on experience, so we market the MCERTS events heavily to encourage maximum participation. However, it is very important for exhibitors to publicise themselves and to let prospective visitors know the benefits of attendance. I was therefore delighted to present Jim with a cheque in recognition of his company's success.”

Jim Mills added: “Naturally, we were very pleased to receive the cheque, but we were even more delighted with the number of visitors to our stand and to the Workshops that we ran on the latest technology in ambient air monitoring. For example, we launched the world's first handheld ambient air quality monitor, the DUVAS, and this was demonstrated 'live' at the event."

MCERTS 2011, which was comprised of a conference, workshops and an exhibition, provided the latest help and advice on regulations such as the recently published Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), and on monitoring techniques and standards such as EN 14181 and EN 15267. This year was the first time MCERTS has been held at the Telford International Centre.

This event is next scheduled for 2013.

Embedded software tools

Ashling Microsystems has recently announced a new range of tools for NXPSmartCard SmartMX (P5) and SmartMX2 (P60) families. Developed in close co-operation with NXP, the tools include the Ashling SmartICE hardware emulator, Ashling PathFinder source-level debugger and Keil uVision4 plug-in driver.

Commenting on the product release, Hugh O'Keeffe, Engineering Director of Ashling Microsystems, Ltd. said "The new SmartICE platform advances the state-of-the-art for SmartCard development tools and allows effective real-time debugging, program-execution analysis, optimisation and validation of applications running on NXP SmartCard platforms at a very competitive price"

Reinhard Keil, Director of MCU Tools at ARM adds "The Ashling SmartICE extends Keil PK51 to a complete solution for target debugging on the SmartMX hardware. SmartICE is fully integrated into the µVision Debugger and gives PK51 users powerful capabilities for program test and verification."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Northern Ireland duo progress in mechatronics

Festo is supplying all the equipment for the Mechatronics and Mobile Robotics competitions.
Mechatronics duo Chris Downey (left) and Mark Maginty from Northern Regional College in Northern Ireland have set their sights on selection for Team UK to go forward and compete in the 41st WorldSkills Competition in London later this year. They have already been selected as members of Squad UK which consists of young people, aged 18 to 24, who are currently in training for a place in the team that will represent the UK at WorldSkills 2011. Festo, as founding global partner of WorldSkills and official sponsor of the Mechatronics and Mobile Robotics competitions, is supplying the equipment, as well as assisting in the competition organisation for both these skills categories.

Chris and Mark had their first taste of international competition at Euroskills in Lisbon (P) in December 2010 and since then they have been undergoing specialist training and performance coaching in preparation for the UK team selection in June. Training Manager and Senior Engineering Lecturer at NRC, David Russell said, “Both students have shown considerable enthusiasm and commitment to this competition and have continued to enhance and develop the skills necessary to perform on a world stage. If successful at the team selection stage, both Chris and Mark will undergo further training with Festo in Stuttgart, Germany in late June and a specialist training camp in Estonia, as final preparation for the competition. The support offered by UKSkills and Festo GB have allowed for the acquisition of specialist mechatronics training stations and equipment which should further enhance the training experience.”
To further develop their competition experience, they are currently attending competitions in Ireland, the Netherlands and Finland. NRC is delighted with their success to date and wish them both every success as they move forward in the competition.

The Mechatronics competition reflects reality on the shop floor – people working under pressure to design, implement solutions, maintain and constantly improve production and fix machines quickly when faults occur. Competitors enter as teams of two, reflecting the philosophy that only people working in a team – constantly learning from each other – can master the challenges of manufacturing excellence.

Promoting apprenticeships and generating enthusiasm for technology is important to Festo. “Education, innovation and technology are the key factors for further expanding our technological peak performance. Festo supports top performance in the areas of training and international educational standards by means of national and international projects such as WorldSkills Mechatronics”, explains Dr. Eberhard Veit, chairman of the Management board at Festo AG, “and we are very much looking forward to the WordSkills 2011 London events.”

Chris Downey and Mark Maginty are both in their second year of the BTEC HND Electrical/Electronic Engineering programme at the Farm Lodge Campus in Ballymena. Chris, who is employed by Michelin, is funded by UKSkills to allow him to attend further training to compete at the level required for this prestigious competition. Mark works for Russell Electrical Contractors and is also funded by UKSkills to support his progress in this competition.

Thermal power for India!

Yokogawa Electric Korea has won an order from Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction to supply the control systems for a supercritical pressure coal-fired power plant that is being built in Raipur (India), for GMR Chhattisgarh Energy, a major Indian electric power company. This control system order from a Korean plant construction company follows an order last year for the Marafiq thermal power plant in Saudi Arabia.

The Raipur supercritical pressure coal-fired power plant will have a total output of 1370 MW (two 685 MW units), and the first unit is scheduled to start operation in July 2013. The boilers in such thermal power plants require less thermal energy to evaporate water by bringing it above the critical pressure point (when gas starts to liquefy). In addition to using less coal, this reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Yokogawa will provide the CENTUM(R) VP series integrated production control system for the power plant's boilers, turbines, and auxiliary facilities; the ProSafe(R)-RS safety instrumented system for detecting abnormal conditions and safely initiating emergency shutdowns; the PRM(R) integrated device management software package for monitoring and online diagnosis of plant equipment; the Exaquantum(R) plant information management system; and engineering and installation services. In addition, Yokogawa will supply a plant operation training simulator that is being used in many plants, including the Yonghung power plant in South Korea.

Yokogawa was able to win this order by demonstrating the excellent engineering capabilities of Yokogawa Electric Korea coupled with the company's extensive track record in providing control systems for large-scale power plants in India.

In recent years, Korean plant construction companies have been actively expanding their business in the electric power market, focusing on emerging countries. In 2008 Yokogawa set up an organisation within Yokogawa Electric Korea that has been promoting the marketing of Yokogawa's products and services to the power plant sector. By expanding its sales to South Korean plant construction companies, Yokogawa aims to boost its power plant control business in emerging countries.

Doosan Heavy Industries & Constructions Co., Ltd. is a major South Korean heavy electric machinery and plant construction company that was established in 1962.

Technology investment to be "Best of the best!"

The recently completed implementation of Aegis Manufacturing Operations Software allows Concept 2Market, Inc. (C2M) to improve efficiencies and quality by streamlining and controlling process planning and launch, process tracking and control, and quality and test management.

“Factory information visibility and process-wide control is core to competitiveness. We utilise technology to connect data to all of our factory processes”, said Todd Kirkeeng, President of C2M.

Aegis acts as the bridge from Engineering to Manufacturing by readying products for launch. They provide support for virtually every CAD type and simplifies programming of the machines that use the CAD data. Ensuring the documentation is revision controlled, is at the operator’s workstation, and provides the detail required to build quality product is now an automated process. And, it is achieved with the environment in mind through a paperless system, which is a step towards one of C2M’s corporate objectives.

Determining where all the work orders are located throughout the factory is now a matter of accessing real-time information. Customer service often depends on having the information they need when they need it. Aegis allows C2M to track WIP progress and provide predictive job completion times, which is important to C2M’s customers.

Quality has to be a “given” in any manufacturing process. The Aegis software provides C2M with the required information to build the product correctly and to verify the quality while the work is still in process so any corrections can be made

The Aegis software collects data and puts it into reports, visualizations, and real-time dashboards that are used by C2M to constantly improve quality and efficiency. Traceability of every product is also achieved and allows failures and rejections to be tracked down and eliminated before they become an issue for the customer.

C2M’s CEO and owner, Maria Kirkeeng, summed it up the best when she said, “We want to be the best of the best, which is why we’ve made this investment in technology. We’re taking the necessary steps to constantly improve our processes and efficiency so we can provide our customers with a superior product.”

Acquisition to broaden software portfolio!

Mincom to be acquired by ABB

ABB is acquiring the Australian company, Mincom, from Francisco Partners, a private equity group that invests in technology businesses, for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

Mincom brings expertise and experience in a range of industries, and a comprehensive set of solutions for applications such as EAM, mining operations and mobile workforce management. Mincom has nearly 1,000 employees and annual revenues of approximately $200 million. With a distribution network in 19 countries, the company is a leading software player in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions, with customers including 17 of the top 20 global mining groups, as well as businesses in the energy sector, defense and other asset-intensive industries.

“The acquisition of Mincom is part of our strategy to continuously broaden our software offering," said Joe Hogan, CEO of ABB. “Mincom helps us to increase the depth of our enterprise asset management offering, building our position as a leader in the key growth sectors of natural resources and energy. For our customers this means extending the life of their infrastructure, optimizing asset management and reducing the overall cost of ownership.”

To ensure continuity for customers, ABB will retain the Mincom management team and its operations will be added to Ventyx, ABB’s dedicated software business.

The Ventyx portfolio combines information and operational technologies (IT and OT) to optimize asset performance, integrate business processes and deliver insight into global business operations. Mincom’s strong presence in the natural resources sector is complementary to ABB’s expertise in mining control systems and its leading position in energy management technology.

“Joining forces with ABB is a logical next step in the development of our company and a strong validation of the business, our people and our products,” said Greg Clark, CEO of Mincom. “It will expand our global reach and service capabilities,