Friday, June 3, 2011

Waste flow!

Ed Keating, MD Uisce Technology with Siemens Magmeters!
A 20 year DBO project by EPS Pumping & Treatment Systems & SIAC Construction Joint Venture has just received delivery of three large Mag meters. The Client is Offaly County Council and their representatives are T.J. O’Connor & Associates Consulting Engineers. (Readers may remember Moneygall, made famous by the recent visit of American President Barak Obama, is located in this county!)

The Meters themselves are Siemens Sitrans FM Electromagnetic Flow Sensors Model: Mag5100W , Sizes include DN1000mm , DN700mm , DN600mm.

The new wastewater treatment works and will cater for a load of 45,000 PE together with an anaerobic digestion based sludge treatment works to treat and dry loads up to 80,000 PE including imported sludges.

The design dry weather hydraulic load on the new wastewater treatment plant is 11,100m3/day (DWF). However, the plant is designed to preliminary treat (i.e. screening, grease and grit removal) an hydraulic load of 4,320 m3/hr during storm flows and fully treat an ultimate design hydraulic capacity of 1,138 m3/hr (peak flow or FFT) during this phase 1 contract.

The Flow meters were manufactured at Siemens new Flow Centre in Haguenau (F), close to Karlsruhe (D) , Siemens Instrumentation Headquarters for Europe.

Picture shows three meters outside the Kilkenny headquarters of Uisce Technology with Uisce MD Ed Keating  prior to delivery to site.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More reliable thermowells

Compliance with the new ASME PTC 19.3 TW-2010 standard provides more reliable thermowells
Emerson Process Management’s Thermowell Calculation Service is now based on the new standard created by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) that establishes the practical design considerations for thermowell installations. 

With the help of Emerson and other users, ASME updated its standard on thermowells from the previous standard created in 1974, to create the ASME PTC 19.3TW – 2010. The new standard is designed to help overall reliability of temperature measurement.  

Using this new standard, a specially trained Emerson team provides recommendations on thermowell design and installation best practices. Calculations done by Emerson, following the ASME PTC 19.3TW - 2010, provide the most up to date, accurate and complete thermowell recommendations.

Rosemount® thermowells are built with industry-standard ASME materials to provide users with safer, more reliable sensors for applications where a thermowell is needed. All Rosemount thermowells are manufactured with these properties to ensure consistency between the thermowell calculation and the thermowell that is installed in the application.

By using outdated standards to calculate thermowell size, there is an increased risk of failures due to increasing line sizes and pipe velocities. Emerson provides engineering assistance to avoid these failures by using the new ASME standard.

“The PTC 19.3 Committee collected feedback from end-users and manufacturers and considered experimental results from the last 30 years to bring the standard into the 21st century. The result is a comprehensive set of calculations that offer the designer a complete evaluation of the thermowell design for a set of process and installation conditions. Combine this with our world-class Thermowell Calculation Service and you have a calculation report you can rely on,” said Dirk Bauschke, engineering manager for Rosemount temperature sensors and thermowells, who represented Emerson on creating the new ASME standard.

Eliminating external switches

New Anybus CompactCom Modbus TCP 2-port module eliminates external switches

The new 2-port version of Anybus CompactCom for Modbus TCP is not only a fast and easy way for industrial device manufacturers to achieve connectivity to Modbus TCP. It is also a way to reduce the need for expensive external switches and cut down on factory wiring since the module comes with a built-in switch of its own.

With this new member of the Anybus CompactCom family, HMS strengthens its embedded offering for Modbus TCP – one of the major industrial Ethernet networks on the market with a large installed base. Many manufacturers of machines, robots, drives etc. have already equipped their devices with the single-port version of the communication module providing them with instant connectivity to Modbus TCP (and the possibility to connect to 19 other industrial networks by simply switching Anybus module).

Built-in switch saves money and facilitates network design
The new 2-port Modbus TCP module includes an integrated switch that makes it possible to build networks in normal fieldbus style (daisy chain) rather than connecting all devices through an external switch. This saves money since it reduces the need for expensive external switches. It also reduces wiring and makes network maintenance easier.

“There is great need for communication solutions with integrated switches on the Industrial Ethernet market today,” comments Leif Malmberg, HMS Product Line Manager, Embedded Solutions. “The market is definitely moving in this direction and we are certain that this technology will provide great value to device manufacturers and system integrators working with Modbus TCP.”

Technical highlights
The Anybus CompactCom module acts as a slave on the Modbus TCP network. It is available with and without housing and is about the size of a compact flash card. The core of the module is composed of HMS’s NP30 microprocessor with its integrated fast Ethernet controller along with RAM and Flash memories for the Modbus TCP device software stack.

Thanks to the integrated web functions (such as dynamic web pages, email and FTP) it is possible to get online statistics, notification emails and other information about the performance of the device. For example, it is possible to get an email whenever the machine is in need of service.
The onboard 2-port switch provides two 100 Mbit/s full duplex Ethernet interfaces with RJ45 connectors.

What is Anybus CompactCom?
Anybus is the world’s most widely used technology for industrial network connectivity. Anybus CompactCom is a range of embedded communication modules allowing communication with a specific industrial network. The modules are interchangeable which means that users can easily connect to any desired network. Anybus CompactCom works with all major fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet networks such as Profibus, DeviceNet, CC-Link, CANopen, Profinet, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT and Modbus TCP.

Anybus CompactCom modules are used as communication interfaces in intelligent automation devices such as drives, HMIs, robots, inverters, instruments, and scales. By embedding Anybus CompactCom into a device, manufacturers get quicker time to market, decreased development costs by as much as 70%, and also the possibility to easily connect to another industrial network by simply switching Anybus module.

Fuel level in helicopter!

Custom angled fuel level sensor designed for autonomous helicopter

Gill Sensors has developed a custom fuel level sensor for an autonomous helicopter, featuring a unique angled probe to address the installation constraints of the fuel tank and surrounding components.

The sensor utilises the same proven electronic platform and capacitive measurement technique as other Gill custom level sensors, with an innovative mounting arrangement to allow the sensor to be mounted through the side wall of the fuel tank. With the sensing probe mounted at 60º to the mounting flange, the sensor monitors the full depth of the tank below the mounting point, giving flight engineers accurate, repeatable fuel level information in real time.

As with most airborne applications, achieving a minimal sensor mass was critical to ensure the payload capability of the aircraft was not compromised. The final design and construction is compact and lightweight, with the full sensor weighing just 80g.

The sensor features fully integrated electronics and will operate from a supply voltage of 12-32V. A configurable analogue 0-5V output is provided accurate to 0.25%. With a high level of accuracy and repeatability, the sensor output can be used with a data look-up table to monitor the volume of irregular shaped tanks accurately – typically not possible with other types of level sensing technology.

The completed sensors were designed, manufactured and delivered in just six weeks. This angled sensor is one of many unmanned systems fuel and oil level sensors developed by Gill recently, and is an excellent example of the wide ranging design options that can be used to address the unique installation requirements of manned and unmanned aircraft.

Strategic partnership for comprehensive substation automation

Process software and engineering services provider PAS has partnered with NovaTech. NovaTech will offer PAS’ automation and operations effectiveness solutions to increase the safety, productivity, and reliability of their client’s facilities.

“Our clients routinely request alarm management, high performing operator interfaces, and comprehensive configuration management solutions to operate their facilities safely and profitably. We recognized PAS’ leadership and expertise in these areas and decided to introduce them into our portfolio. This will strengthen our competitive advantage and give our clients a more comprehensive automation solution,” said NovaTech President, Aubrey “Buz” Zey

“We are very excited to have NovaTech as an alliance partner. Through this partnership, NovaTech will take PAS solutions to industries and clients that we would not typically have exposure to, creating new opportunities for both companies,”
noted PAS President, Chris Lyden.

PAS’ operations effectiveness solutions include alarm management software, control loop performance software, and high performance Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs). PAS’ PlantState Suite™ is a comprehensive alarm management and operations support software suite, providing event analysis, documentation and rationalization, auditing and enforcement, and dynamic alarm management. PAS also designs and implements high performance HMIs that improve situational awareness, enabling console operators to make quick and accurate decisions.

NovaTech will also resell PAS’ automation effectiveness solution, Integrity™ software, which maps the configuration of automation systems, including Distributed Control Systems, Programmable Logic Controllers, Historians, and Safety Instrumented Systems. Integrity software provides comprehensive configuration management and management of change within and among disparate vendor’s automation systems, which facilitates compliance with industry standards such as NERC CIP.

US sensor

Washdown-immune sensor meets IP68/69k requirements

The new UMC3000 from Pepperl+Fuchs, raises ultrasonic sensor performance in harsh environments to a whole new level. The unit’s seamless, 100 % stainless steel housing and chemically resistant cable system enable ultrasonic monitoring and control in areas previously considered impossible to solve. Two housing concepts solve a variety of applications. A smooth-barrel, food-grade design meets the stringent standards of the Food and Beverage industry, while a 30mm diameter threaded model is ideally suited for agricultural machinery and other outdoor installations. LED indication of target presence and power is standard on all models.

Main features at a glance
• Completely sealed design meets IP 68/69K standards
• Stainless steel sensing face and barrel (Grade: 1.4404 (V4A, AISI 316L)
• Fully adjustable 200 to 3000mm sensing range
• Configurable analog and set-point output models
• Meets EHEDG* „Hygienic Design“ guidelines

Final paper call! (Ireland & Britain!)

Successful paper earns trip, flight & accomodation to NI Week in United States! 

Engineers and scientists from industry or academia are invited to submit their case study to the Graphical System Design Case Study Contest, organised by National Instruments UK & Ireland.  This annual technical paper contest, now in its 6th year, showcases the most innovative solutions for measurement and automation, using NI products and technologies. 

Winners of the Graphical System Design Case Study Contest will be announced the night before NIDays conference and exhibition, at a prestigious Awards dinner to be held on 8th November at One Birdcage Walk in Westminster, London (GB), home of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  The Awards will be hosted by NI UK leadership with presentations given by Dave Wilson, NI Corporate and Academic Marketing Director.

The author of the winning paper will receive a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT 2.0  and one ticket, including flights and accommodation, to NIWeek, "the industry's premier worldwide graphical system design conference and exhibition", taking place in Austin, Texas, in August 2012. 

Runners-up will each be recognised for their achievement with the prize of a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT 2.0  together with some of the latest NI measurement hardware or software.

Dr. David Keeling and Ali Alazmani from the University of Leeds and Leeds General Infirmary won last year’s Graphical System Design Paper Contest with their case study detailing how NI LabVIEW and NI CompactRIO were used in the development of an intelligent, mechanical heart simulator, known as the Ventricular Assist Device.

To enter the Graphical System Design Case Study Contest, download the Author Packet (PDF) from the NI Site and send submissions by email to The deadline for abstracts is 1st July, with final papers due no later than 22nd July, 2011.

Contest entries are published online ( and and in the NIDays 2011 Case Study booklet, given to every delegate attending the conference and exhibition.  Winning authors from the Graphical System Design Case Study Contest will also be recognised on the main stage at NIDays.

Registration is now open for NIDays 2011, the annual professional development conference for engineers, scientists and educators, this year held at a new location, The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, London, on Wednesday 9th November.  This free one-day, multi-track conference and exhibition offers hands-on training; in-depth technical sessions covering the latest NI technologies in test, control and design; and demonstrations of innovative uses of graphical system design.

Systems documentation

An important facet, sometimes perhaps underestimated, in process and plant design is the documentation associated with the instrumentation and control side of the planning process. A study in this area is always welcome.

The second edition of of ISA's Instrumentation and Control Systems Documentation, by Fred A. Meier and Clifford A. Meier, incorporates improvements suggested by readers and those that reflect subsequent changes in industry practice. According to the authors, control system groups are unique in that they must coordinate with all the other work groups in a plant, mill, or factory during design, construction, commissioning, and operation. This edition explains their varied, all-encompassing language.

This easy-to-read book also provides the knowledge needed to understand and develop the documents and symbols that define a modern industrial measurement and control system. It uses industry standards, especially ANSI/ISA-5.1-2009 - Instrumentation Symbols and Identification, to define and describe the symbol-based “language” that identifies measurement and control devices.

The control systems documentation addressed within the book includes process flow diagrams, piping and instrumentation diagrams, instrument indexes and data bases, specification forms, logic diagrams, loop diagrams, installation details and location plans. The purpose and content of these documents, as well as options with regard to the information presented, are discussed in detail. Information is presented in the timeline of a typical design and engineering project. The sequence serves to show how the documents evolve and how they are interrelated. The real-world obligation of control systems documentation to support interdisciplinary coordination during design, to provide sufficient detail to bid and purchase components and services and to support all construction work is addressed. The critical requirement that these drawings and data present critical information for on-going maintenance work is integral to this presentation.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Power protection

A complete solution for control, protection and monitoring of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.

The Smart String Box bundles Carlo Gavazzi surge arrestors, power supply and EOS array master module, string controller, environmental module and I/0, together with a third-party isolator device, all packaged in an IP66 rated enclosure. It is ideally suited to installations ranging from 10kW-120kW and manages up to 250A of total string current.

Smart String Box systems can be fused on both the negative and positive side. Innovative new Carlo-Gavazzi DSF surge arrestors embody a special internal backup that ensures they remain safe at the end of varistor life, thus ensuring the safest transient overvoltage protection for combiner boxes.

Carlo Gavazzi’s recently-introduced Eos-Array controller is flexible, easily scalable and is composed of a series of modular elements to provide efficient local and remote control of a solar plant, targeting small to medium or high power installations.  With no auxiliary bus wiring, the system is simple to install and straightforward to expand.  Further cost saving is provided by the integrated string fuse protection and modularity also improves overall system reliability. String efficiency and inverter performance are monitored, enabling operators to rapidly isolate faults, failures and inefficiencies as soon as they occur.

Built-in independent monitoring provides basic or comprehensive plant control and monitoring on DC and AC sides. The expandable system gathers accurate and dependable data to help maintain an efficient revenue stream from PV installations.  Controllers promptly advise users of events such as blown fuses, PV module disconnection or inverter failure, to enable rapid maintenance measures to be carried out, significantly reducing service time and missed production costs.  There is no monthly charge for the data, which is stored locally to give users full control.

Monitoring systems also provide users with information including calculations of DC-to-AC conversion efficiencies and Balance of System. In addition, solar irradiation, wind speed and PV temperature are recorded and available for analysis. Data are displayed in graphical and analytical format and in real time.
Alarms can be set for reduced efficiency and interrupted production, with notifications sent via email or SMS according to the type of alarm. Anti-theft monitoring can also be added to the Smart String Box, notifying users as soon as a panel is removed.

Components and modules of the Smart String Box are fully compliant with UK and international photovoltaic electrical regulations.

Highest resolution FE-SEM!

Hitachi Launches World’s Highest Resolution FE-SEM

The new SU9000 Field Emission  (FE) Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) from Hitachi High-Technologies features novel electron optics which allow 0.4 nm resolution to be achieved at an accelerating voltage of 30 kV, with a usable magnification up to 3 Million times. This is believed to be the highest resolution-performance currently achievable on a commercially available instrument.

Featuring a new type of cold FE electron source with excellent stability and brightness and utilising Hitachi’s 25 year experience of in-lens detection technology, the SU9000 also provides outstanding ultra-low current and low voltage imaging of sensitive materials. This excellent all-round performance, combined with fast specimen exchange times and the optional scanning transmission (STEM) modes, makes the SU9000 the ideal choice for use in applications ranging from semiconductor devices, electronics, and advanced nanotechnology materials, to life sciences and medicine.

The new, cold FE electron source delivers probe current that is approximately double that of earlier models, giving high quality images with superior S/N and exceptional stability from the moment the electron beam is switched on. The high performance electron optics allow a resolution of 1.2 nm at an accelerating voltage of 1 kV to be achieved without the need for beam deceleration technology. This greatly simplifies low energy imaging and significantly increases sample throughput.

Hitachi’s unique dual through-the-lens detection system allows filtering of electrons of different energies, to give the capability for simultaneous multi-signal imaging. This provides extraordinary versatility for the imaging of structures and surface properties.

Using the scanning transmission (STEM) option, the SU9000 guarantees STEM resolution that can allow the lattice structure of graphite (C (002) d=0.34 nm) to be imaged at 30 kV accelerating voltage. The unique STEM detection system allows simultaneous bright field and dark field imaging and annular DF detection with selectable scattering angle. Up to 4 signals can be simultaneously displayed.
The SU9000 features side-entry sample insertion and can be ready for high resolution imaging in as little as 6 minutes or less; the fast exchange times benefiting from the high stability of the electron beam.

An order of magnitude better vacuum around the sample minimizes contamination, enhancing resolution and eliminating the need for an additional cold trap for cryo work on biological samples.

Ease of use is guaranteed through a new user interface, while a large 24.1-inch widescreen monitor offers a comfortable environment for both operating the instrument and viewing images.

Industrial cameras

3-CCD RGB Colour Cameras Now Available With GigE Vision

The JAI AT-140GE and AT-200GE 3-CCD cameras are available from Stemmer Imaging. Bringing the connectivity benefits of GigE Vision to 3-CCD technology, these new cameras feature a newly developed prism-block assembly to support the three CCDs. The AT-140GE and AT-200GE are ideal for a wide range of applications where colour is critical, including: print  inspection, paint  matching, medical  diagnostics, flat panel quality verification, semiconductor  production and food  sorting and have the performance and features to support a wide variety of machine vision applications.

The new dichroic prism block splits the incoming light into three distinct colour channels for precise RGB values and provides higher resolution and better light gathering ability than earlier 3CCD camera models. With precise sensor alignment (less than 1/4-pixel tolerance), this 3-CCD configuration offers better colour and spatial precision than single-CCD cameras which use Bayer filters and interpolation algorithms that give uncertainty for both edge positions and colour values. The cameras also contain a sophisticated linear colour matrix circuit which enables accurate colour space calibration with monitors, printers, and other peripherals.

The AT-140GE offers 1.4 Megapixel resolution (1392 x 1040) with 1⁄2” CCDs, while the AT-200GE provides 2 Megapixel resolution (1628 x 1236) based on three 1/1.8 inch CCDs. The new cameras operate at 20 frames per second (AT-140GE ) and 15 frames per second (AT-200GE ) at full resolution, with partial scan and binning modes available for even higher frame rates. A wide range of pre-set and programmable shutter and exposure modes are provided to support diverse application requirements.  Exposure can be controlled individually for each colour channel to enable colour balancing without noisy gain adjustments. 

A fully-compliant GigE Vision/GenICam interface lets users choose between 8- or 10-bit output per channel and provides the ability to transmit images up to 100m over industry-standard Ethernet cables. Software support includes a GigE Vision software development kit and Control Tool package.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pressure range expanded

Siemens expands its portfolio with pressure transmitters for the highest requirements

The new Sitrans P500 unit, from the Siemens Industry Automation Division presents a pressure transmitter to meet the highest requirements. Thanks to its response speed (T63) of 88ms and its accuracy of 0.03%, this unit is able to respond quickly and precisely to changes in processes. An additional sensor for static pressure compensates for measuring inaccuracies and makes this measured value available as supplementary process information.

The Sitrans P500 transmitter (part of their Sitrans pressure range) offers a level of accuracy that guarantees stable, precise measurements to a turndown of 10:1. This allows versatile use and reduces the need to procure and stock different transmitters. With a long-term stability over 0.05% in five years (0.08% over ten years), the device offers consistently high measuring accuracy, allowing longer calibration intervals. With dimensions of 87x187x139 millimeters (3.4” W x 7.4” H x 5.5” D), the new transmitter is compact in design and, at 3.3 kilograms (7.3 pounds), low in weight, and it is especially suitable for applications in the chemicals/petrochemicals, oil & gas, and energy sectors.

Thanks to an optimized measuring cell design, the transmitter can also be used for process temperatures of up to 125 degrees Celsius (257 degrees Fahrenheit). The precise temperature compensation of the Sitrans P500 transmitter minimizes measuring inaccuracies resulting from temperature changes. With the new menu-driven setup, local configuration can be done quickly and easily via the magnetic push buttons on the unit. The High Resolution display supports a multilingual plain text menu as well as graphics capability. The transmitter can also be configured using Hart protocol with the help of a quick start wizard.

New Coriolis meter sensor

Siemens Industry Automation Division has developed a new coriolis flow meter sensor for compressed natural gas (CNG) applications.

Sitrans FCS200 has a compact design, which allows for example the use of small and efficient dispensers. The high capacity with a flow rate up to 500 kg/min ensures faster fuelling. Via the Siflow FC070 Ex transmitter the new flow meter sensor can easily be integrated into Simatic automation systems. This allows a broad range of control, measurement and automation solutions for CNG distribution, compression, storage and refueling.

Every SITRANS FC Coriolis flow meter provides precise information about liquids or gases flowing through a pipe. Typically, our Coriolis flow measurement capabilities are used for measuring, mixing products, accounting, as well as many other applications. We emphasize safety, reliability and quality, and our innovative technologies regularly set new standards in Coriolis flow measurement.