Friday, June 24, 2011

Advanced programme published for technology and solutions Event

The International Society of Automation (ISA),  holding its mid year Leaders' meeting in St Louis (MO US), has just announced the release of the Advance Programme for ISA Automation Week: Technology and Solutions Event.

Click to download programme
This annual, international conference is scheduled for 17-20 October 2011 in Mobile, (AL US).

The Advance Programme provides the technical conference overview, as well as:
  • information on keynote speeches by control systems legends Charlie Cutler and Béla Lipták, and the general session featuring a panel of experts who will speak on the future of automation
  • previews of the eight conference tracks: Advanced Process Control Techniques; Analyzers; Automation and Control System Design; Energy; Human Asset Optimization; Installation, Operations and Maintenance; Safety and Security; and Wireless Technology and Applications
  • information on poster sessions and Technology Solutions Theaters
  • a listing of participating suppliers
  • a preview of Technician Day
  • the ISA Fall Training Institute schedule
  • registration options and more
Click on image on right to download and view the ISA Automation Week 2011 Advance Programme. It is also available in the May/June 2011 issue of InTech.

ISA Automation Week is a technical conference that features three full days of technical sessions; poster sessions; a dedicated Technician Day; an expansive Supplier Showcase; Technology Solutions Theaters on the Supplier Showcase floor offering standards briefings, author briefings and supplier presentations; and networking and social events.

ISA Automation Week Partners include ARC Advisory Group, ExperTune, Georg Fischer Piping Systems, Kepware Technologies, Mitsubishi Electric Automation, and Schneider Electric. ISA Strategic Partner, Test and Measurement is Fluke Corporation. GE Energy, Honeywell Process Solutions and OSIsoft, LLC are ISA Corporate Partners.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Protecting art and antiquities

LPRS wireless modules used to protect art and museum collections from environmental damage

LPRS has established itself as a major supplier of wireless modules used in environmental monitoring systems manufactured by Meaco Measurement and Control.
They supply Meaco with the very reliable Circuit Design CDP-TX05M-R transmitter and CDP-RX03BS-R receiver modules which are designed-in to a range of wireless linked environmental monitoring systems. These devices monitor temperature and humidity as well as lux and UV and are used in a variety of applications. The main customer base is the heritage sector, including museums, art galleries, castles, libraries and stately homes etc. Meaco installations include Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Edinburgh Castle.

Environmental monitoring is important in the care of art and museum collections as extremes and fluctuations in light, temperature and humidity can have a serious detrimental effect on the items on display, causing wood to crack, metal to rust and fabrics fade.

Meaco decided on wireless monitoring as, especially in listed buildings, no major installation work has to be carried out and the transmitters can simply be located on a suitable shelf or cabinet. Museums also like wireless monitoring systems as exhibition spaces and cases can be monitored remotely and environmental data is viewable anywhere on a PC.

The LPRS supplied CDP-TX-05M-R and CDP-RX-03BS are low power narrow band FSK transmitter and receiver modules designed for industrial applications operating in the 433-434MHz ISM band. The very compact modules contain most of the components necessary for radio transmission. The RF channel on the 05 range, which consists of CDP-TX05M-R and CDP-RX05M-R is fixed but selectable within 4 pre-programmed channels. Meaco have chosen to use the CDP-RX03BS receiver which is fully compatible when operating at 434.075MHz. The CDP-RX03BS receiver is double-superhetrodyne and equipped with a SAW filter, ensuring high sensitivity and very good selectivity for stable and long range communication.

Samantha Greatbatch, Managing Director of Meaco Measurement and Control, comments; "We continue to use wireless solutions from LPRS as I believe in building working relationships where customers and suppliers have mutual respect and understanding. The RF modules do what we need them to do and I know that LPRS would always do whatever they could to deliver what we need when we need them. They have helped us with suggestions for new products and have provided us with excellent advice on a range of subjects related to wireless technology. They are great people to work with!”

Ms Greatbatch continues; "I am always happy to hear from LPRS, we have an excellent relationship. LPRS have helped with advice and support as well as being a key supplier. I feel that they are approachable and have been very patient explaining product specifications when we have been looking for something new. They are easy to deal with and that helps make my life that bit easier too - I'm always up for an easy life.”

PLCs and PLC-based PACs: The market

With the manufacturing economy back on track with increasing spending in most regions of the world, the global Programmable Logic Controller & PLC-based Programmable Automation Controller market is expected to grow due to robust investments in manufacturing and infrastructure. So says a study by ARC Advisory Group.

Market Rebounds Strongly After Severe Downturn
This study provides an in-depth analysis of the worldwide Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and PLC-based Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) business.  In addition to market analysis and forecasts, the study also covers key strategic issues that both influence and drive the direction in the global market.

While investments in industrial automation slowed down during the global recession, this effect was only temporary, as there are crucial factors that will continue to drive the use of automation, fueling PLC and PLC-based PAC market growth.  The onward march of globalization continues as industries have recognized that automation is key in the global economy.

With global financial stability being restored, the PLC and PLC-based PAC market is expected to grow with robust investments in the manufacturing and infrastructure industries worldwide.  The report also addresses many other dynamics that will drive the market size and growth for the next five-year forecast period.

The need for modernization of the industrial infrastructure, strength in the hydrocarbons sector, rapid growth for energy efficiency applications, and resuming demand in many industries, will drive the overall market growth positive in 2011 and beyond.

Strategic Issues
Automation is increasingly more vital as manufacturers continue to face challenges for competing in the global economy.  While automation remains one of the best investments a manufacturer can make, the market dynamics for suppliers also remains extremely competitive.  This leads to issues for the PLC and PLC-based PAC suppliers to address, such as offering solution platforms that provide comprehensive value to end users, creating advanced system diagnostics via the web, and providing high availability solutions.  To this end the report suggests various strategies for PLC and PLC-based PAC suppliers to increase their value propositions to the market and subsequently grow their business.

PXI frame grabber

New module ideal for end-of-line test and industrial inspections requiring high data throughput

National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-1435 high-performance Camera Link frame grabber. Engineers can use the new module to integrate high-speed and high-resolution imaging into their PXI systems, the industry standard for automated test with more than 1,500 measurement modules available from more than 70 vendors. By combining high-throughput imaging with the benefits of off-the-shelf PXI measurement hardware, NI now offers full software-defined solutions for demanding automated test applications in industries such as consumer electronics, automotive and semiconductor.

The NI PXIe-1435 is the industry’s highest throughput PXI frame grabber and acquires from all Camera Link camera configurations, including 10-tap extended-full, with up to 850 MB/s of throughput. Engineers can power cameras through Power over Camera Link (PoCL)-enabled cables, eliminating the need for additional wires in deployment environments. The frame grabber also offers 512 MB of DDR2 onboard acquisition memory for added reliability in transferring large images without fear of data overflow. Onboard digital I/O includes four bidirectional transistor-transistor logic (TTL), two opto-isolated inputs and one quadrature encoder for triggering and communicating inspection results with automation devices.

The frame grabber incorporates the synchronization, timing, data streaming and processing capabilities of the PXI Express specification, and supports image processing on complementary field-programmable gate array (FPGA) boards to further boost system performance.

“The NI PXIe-1435 frame grabber further complements our capabilities in the PXI platform,”
said Matt Friedman, National Instruments senior product manager for the PXI platform and PXISA board member. “The addition of high-performance imaging to our PXI offerings enhances our mixed-signal capabilities for high-end test systems.”
The high throughput and low latency of the Camera Link standard make the frame grabber ideal for line-scan image sensors, which engineers can use for surface inspection of large areas, including finding esthetic and functional defects in solar panels and dead pixels in flat panel displays. The NI PXIe-1435 frame grabber also works well in many industrial applications, such as fault analysis using a stop trigger to record images before and after an event on the factory floor, and medical device applications such as analyzing intricacies in movement and recording stimulus response in objects from heart valves to eye corneas.

Engineers can program the new module using NI LabVIEW graphical development software and the NI Vision Development Module, a comprehensive library of imaging functions. They also can configure it using NI Vision Builder for Automated Inspection software, an easy-to-use, stand-alone package for fast development and simple maintenance. NI vision software helps engineers take advantage of hundreds of imaging processing algorithms, make decisions based on multiple inspection results, customize user interfaces and communicate results using I/O and industrial communication protocols.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Support all OPC comms

MatrikonOPC releases OPC Tunneller with support for alarms and events

MatrikonOPC™ has released the newest version of OPC Tunneller - now with support for OPC Alarms and Events. With OPC Tunneller, users can now easily transfer data from remote OPC Servers into a centralized A&E Historian without DCOM communication issues. This allows users to establish and maintain secure, reliable communications between systems spanning large geographical distances and systems on complex networks.
OPC Tunneller’s Features:
• Easy cross-domain and workgroup connectivity
• Direct connectivity to A&E Historians
• Works well in low bandwidth environments
… and many more
OPC Tunneller’s lossless data compression uses less than 10 percent of the bandwidth normally needed by regular OPC traffic based on DCOM. Such low data overhead is optimal for use in limited data bandwidth applications that involve the use of satellites, modems, radios, and other bandwidth-limited communications. In addition, OPC Tunneller keeps OPC data confidential by encrypting it. This approach provides users with an additional layer in the defense-in-depth cyber security model.

"The ability to access your data whenever and wherever you need is crucial in today’s automation solutions, especially when it comes to alarm data. Plant operators and engineers need ready access to such data to prevent down time, costly maintenance, or outright disasters. OPC Tunneller provides users the most stable and secure connectivity possible to their real-time, historical, and alarm and event OPC data sources,” said Darek Kominek Marketing Manager at MatrikonOPC products.

Urban environmental monitoring!

Libelium has completed its Smart Cities platform. A new sensor board measures noise pollution, dust quantities, structural health and garbage levels. This board may be combined in a network with previously available sensor boards - for gas monitoring, radiation detection and Smart Parking - thus offering a comprehensive range of sensors for urban use. System integrators can now create a comprehensive range of services based on the Smart Cities platform.

Today’s city councils face many challenges requiring effective monitoring. Noise pollution is a common environmental problem affecting both the quality of life and health. Atmospheric pollution - whether in the form of gases such as CO2 and NO2 or dust - is a threat to the health of urban dwellers by causing respiratory diseases. With many of the largest structures - including buildings, bridges and roads - located in cities, ensuring that such structures are sound is critical for public safety. Last, but not least, traffic management is a major challenge with the need to minimise emissions and avoid unnecessary journeys. Until now, some of these challenges have been addressed separately with separate vertical solutions; but city councils cannot afford to deploy one sensor network for each type of problem.

“Urban monitoring - whether relating to noise pollution, traffic management or structural health - can be addressed cost-effectively by wireless sensor networks”,
says Alicia Asín, Libelium’s CEO. She explains, “Libelium is now able to provide system integrators with a complete technology for deploying all the services a Smart City needs using the same modular platform”.

The new sensor board includes four new sensors:
• A noise sensor detected sound pressure level (dBSPL). This sensor can be used to detect noise from traffic and people. It is suitable for creating a real-time noise map of a city.
• A particulate matter (dust) sensor for measuring PM-10 concentrations. The sensor is capable of measuring concentrations down to 0.1 micrograms per cubic metre.
• A crack sensor for measuring cracks in public structures such as buildings and bridges. It can detect displacements as small as 10 micrometres as well as oscillations and dilations. This sensor is applicable to Structural Health Monitoring.
• An ultrasound sensor capable of measuring garbage levels in bins. This can enable waste management services to empty rubbish only from bins that are sufficiently full thus saving time and fuel.

The board also includes temperature, light and humidity sensors.

The Smart Cities platform enables system integrators to deploy a heterogeneous wireless sensor network with a combination of sensor boards for city councils. The platform is based on Libelium’s modular Waspmote wireless sensing technology.

System integrators can exploit Waspmote’s modularity and open source software to create custom solutions for a particular city. Motes or nodes in the network communicate with their gateway using ZigBee radio links. The over the air (OTA) programming capability ensures that sensors can be updated without requiring physical access. The platform’s outstanding low power performance ensures that Smart City networks have minimal battery requirements or can work from solar power.

Libelium recently won the Best of Sensors Expo award in the category of data acquisition at the 2011 Sensors Expo for their radiation sensor board.

Self powered wireless network debut!

Dust Networks will demonstrate a SmartMesh® IP 6LoWPAN wireless network running on harvested energy at the IDTechEx Wireless Sensor Network & RTLS Summit in Munich(D) this week. For the first time anywhere, all of the nodes in the network, including the IPv6 routing nodes, will run on energy harvested from a variety of devices including the Micropelt TE-Power thermogenerator and the Cymbet™ EnerChip™ CC rechargeable solid state battery trickle-charged by a small off-the-shelf daylight powered solar collector.

“The SmartMesh product family provides a unique convergence with energy harvesting because all of their mesh network nodes can run on harvested energy,” said Burkhard Habbe, Vice President of Business Development for Micropelt GmbH. “With the further decreased power requirements of Dust’s new SmartMesh IP technology we can now run even more applications on thermoharvesters at rather low gradients, eliminating both wires and battery maintenance.”

“By combining EnerChip solid state energy storage solutions with Dust Network’s Eterna™ technology, Cymbet’s customers are able to deploy completely self-powered wireless sensor networks,” said Steve Grady, Vice President of Marketing for Cymbet Corporation. “The overall power requirement is so much lower than with competing wireless products that this is a  maintenance-free, extremely compact, eco-friendly networking option.”

“It appears that much of the WSN growth likely in 2011 will be due to market demand for solutions to overall network connectivity and battery-free operational constraints,” said Kirsten West, Principal Analyst with West Technology Research Solutions, an independent market research and consulting firm that follows emerging wireless technologies and the products and industries which will adopt those technologies.

“The practical impact of Dust’s focus on low power 802.15.4 SoCs and networking is evident in this multi-vendor demonstration of self-powered wireless sensing” said Brenda Glaze, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Dust Networks. “With no wires to install and no batteries to change, the initial and on-going costs of installation and maintenance are slashed.”

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

Management of change

Integrity iMOC detects inadvertent and unapproved automation configuration changes to fortify control system security and safety

PAS has released Integrity iMOC, the next evolution in electronic Management of Change (MOC) software. Integrity iMOC ensures that all changes made to a plant’s automation systems are detected and reconciled with specific management of change cases.

While most countries have regulations governing management of change for such things as process chemicals, equipment, documents, facilities, and procedures, few have specified requirements for management of change for automation systems. As a general rule, if an automation change affects other items that clearly require change management, then a rigorous MOC process is to be followed. However, critical changes are often made to automation systems with no record of whether they were approved or not, leaving the systems vulnerable as these undocumented changes carry the potential to be destructive. Only by ensuring that all configuration changes (except for the most fundamental changes required to operate the plant, such as setpoints, outputs, and control modes) are included in the MOC process and reconciled against outstanding MOC cases, can companies be certain their automation systems are secure.

“Undocumented and unapproved changes to automation systems have been identified as contributing factors in a number of process industry incidents and accidents.” said PAS President Chris Lyden. “With the advent of new viruses that affect the interaction of controls with the process, ensuring that all automation configuration changes are detected and reconciled with MOC cases is an essential element of control system security.”

Integrity iMOC provides a graphical environment for the definition of MOC workflows, which includes describing each state within the workflows, as well as the checklists and required transitions for the states. As an Integrity-enabled application, iMOC takes full advantage of the capabilities of PAS’ Integrity ™ software, which maps the configuration of more than 50 different automation systems and tracks all changes to them. Additionally, it reduces the time required for engineers to acquire design information, since it automatically identifies all links and interdependencies for any automation entity under change management.

As part of the installation services for Integrity iMOC, PAS can integrate it with a plant’s existing MOC system, configuring it to act as a subordinate to that system. PAS can also implement an S95-compliant plant asset hierarchy to link MOC cases to specific parts of the plant as is often done in general MOC systems.

Mobile flow pressure pressure & level

New Mobile Version of BrooksInstrument.com Launches



Brooks Instruments has launched a mobile version of its website, allowing users to more easily access company and product information with iPhones, Droids, Blackberrys and other small-screen mobile devices.

Manufacturers are increasingly using mobile devices to access the Internet, and Brooks' mobile website will enable users to quickly retrieve specific product information and documentation at any time and any place. The mobile website's content is organized into five categories: products, documentation, applications, contact us and career opportunities. Users will be able to download a variety of information direct to their phones.

The mobile version of the Brooks website automatically opens when visiting Brooks' regular website, , using a mobile device.

Monitoring gas mixtures!

Tiger Optics are increasingly sought to monitor gas mixtures. To meet demand, Tiger said it is deploying more gas analyzers from its HALO product line, one of the company’s most versatile product ranges.

The development signals yet another milestone for Tiger Optics, which holds exclusive rights to multiple, broad-based patents from Princeton University on Continuous Wave Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CW CRDS). Tiger analysers detect the presence of fugitive components down to the low parts-per-trillion level in a variety of gases. Over the past decade, CW CRDS has advanced the analysis of many packaged pure gases, including inert gases, reactive gases (toxic gases, corrosives, and hydrides), and rare gases.

Mixed gas products are commonly used in calibration of chemical instruments, medical and healthcare facilities, laser applications, electronic manufacturing and metal welding. Each application has unique demands of precision in terms of the amounts of blended gases, as well as tolerance for impurities in the mixture.

“Water vapor is a common contaminant that can shorten the useful lifetime of packaged gas mixtures. Our HALO product line is a perfect fit for trace moisture analysis in quality control,” said Lisa Bergson, founder and chief executive of Tiger Optics.

Among the features that distinguish the HALO analyzers: fast response, high accuracy, wide detection range, and capacity to evaluate many base gases. The first HALO, introduced in 2006, was designed to offer the speed, specificity and reliability of the original Tiger tools at approximately half the price and one-quarter the size. The device measures moisture in a range from 2 parts-per-billion to 20 parts-per- million.

In 2007, Tiger unveiled HALO+, designed to analyze moisture in gases down to ultra-low levels (0.4 ppb to 20 ppm) required in semiconductor fabrication plants.

The latest addition, the HALO-500-H2O, permits a facility’s quality control lab to evaluate moisture levels over a very wide 20 ppb - 500 ppm range, encompassing expected moisture values in most gas mixtures. Even under conditions where high moisture samples are followed by sub ppm level samples, the HALO-H2O and HALO-500-H2O can achieve 95 percent of a reading in less than 3 minutes, thereby assuring fast, highly accurate measurements and outstanding sample throughput in the lab.

Such accuracy is essential if gas mixtures are to be evaluated with certitude. Mixtures comprising multiple (two to 100-plus) components are used to set the reference point or scale of laboratory, research, and industrial instruments to accepted primary standards. Meticulous blending to exact specification for each gas component is essential for high sensitivity and accurate measurements from calibrated equipment, such as detectors of environmental pollutants, monitors for breathing gases, and emissions analyzers for industrial manufacturing like fuel and petrochemical production. With HALO analyzers, moisture measurements are accurate to within 4 percent of each reading, thereby providing a great degree of confidence in the shelf life and stability of calibration mixtures.

A standard HALO analyzer includes a family of six base gases (argon, helium, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and clean dry air). The HALO gas menu can be enhanced with other base gases, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, fluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride, as well as gas mixtures. Options are also available for gas mixture samples that require compatible cell material (such as corrosion-resistant alloys) or specific operation settings (such as such as high/low flow or custom pressure range).

Pump health

Low-cost, scalable, easy-to-integrate package enables real-time problem detection and prediction

Industry estimates suggest that approximately 5 per cent of production capacity is lost each year to unplanned downtime, much of it caused by equipment failure. Emerson Process Management’s new integrated Pump Health Monitoring solution enables users to detect and predict problems – greatly reducing the risk of unexpected pump failures that can cause lost production and expensive repairs, as well as safety and environmental incidents.

“It’s not unusual for plants to invest in expensive online monitoring systems for only their most critical or expensive pumps,” said Tim Olsen, refining consultant at Emerson Process Management. “The rest may be checked occasionally during equipment inspection rounds, but as many as two-thirds of essential pumps are ‘running blind’ most of the time – and at risk of problems that can lead to unexpected downtime, leaks, fires, or other situations that threaten safety and profitability.”

Emerson’s scalable Pump Health Monitoring solution can detect several conditions, including cavitation, excessive temperature, vibration, process leakage, seal pot level and differential pressure imbalance. These conditions can independently and jointly bring about pump damage, failure, and several otherwise avoidable consequences.

The integrated solution includes intelligent Rosemount® and CSI instruments that let users continuously monitor for the conditions they are most concerned about. A user-friendly asset management interface gives maintenance technicians, operators, and managers an at-a-glance view of all conditions, with alerts for situations requiring attention. In addition, Smart Wireless technology makes implementing the solution easy and affordable even on existing pumps, without expensive engineering, trenching, and cabling that discouraged more extensive monitoring in the past.

Emerson is currently offering a special Pump Health Monitoring Starter Kit that makes it even easier to take advantage of the solution’s flexible options, easy configuration, and seamless integration with existing control and asset management networks. Customers can use a simple online form to select the options most important to them and request a quote from an Emerson specialist.

“Detecting and predicting equipment problems while there’s still time to take corrective action can significantly reduce costs and help avoid unplanned slowdowns or shutdowns due to pump failure,” said Olsen. “That’s why the Pump Health Monitoring solution is only the first of several asset-monitoring packages we are developing to help users improve the safety, reliability, and profitability of their operations.”

Education software for schools

Latest industry-grade software turns high school lab computers into full-featured engineering stations

National Instruments has announced the latest edition of its NI LabVIEW for Education software for high school, which integrates with classroom data collection and control devices to help teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts to students. The software is a full-function version of the industrial LabVIEW graphical system design software that is “skinned” and scoped appropriately for students. It is optimized for classroom use through instructional videos, tutorials, open-ended challenges and teaching resources created specifically for high school students and teachers.


“LabVIEW gives me the freedom to creatively inspire my students with authentic, real-world projects while using traditional lab equipment,” said John Sperry, engineering teacher at Anderson High School in Austin, Texas. “The software’s visual environment is easy for beginning students to understand, but also offers a very high skill ceiling so students can reach their full potential with the same technology that professionals use.”

LabVIEW for Education integrates with the NI myDAQ portable data-logging device, Vernier sensors and LEGO® Education robotics platforms to provide a wide range of possibilities for teaching core science and math concepts through real-world applications.

“NI LabVIEW for Education is helping expand our Vernier classroom sensor platform into experiential studies of more advanced engineering applications,” said David Vernier, president of Vernier, a leading classroom technology company. “Now more than ever, we can help teachers easily incorporate exciting yet practical hands-on engineering education into their science classrooms.”

LabVIEW for Education includes the following primary benefits:
• Students gain experience with the same software used by professional engineers and scientists
• New vision module helps students use USB webcams for advanced image manipulation and motion tracking
• Ideal for integration with robotics classes and competitions

National Instruments collaborates with leading curriculum developers including UTeach Engineering, The Infinity Project and Ergopedia to provide complete solutions for implementing accredited courses based on LabVIEW. LabVIEW for Education was developed in conjunction with the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach.

Education software for schools

Latest Industry-Grade Software Turns High School Lab Computers Into Full-Featured Engineering Stations

National Instruments today announced the latest edition of its NI LabVIEW for Education software for high school, which integrates with classroom data collection and control devices to help teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts to students. The software is a full-function version of the industrial LabVIEW graphical system design software that is “skinned” and scoped appropriately for students. It is optimized for classroom use through instructional videos, tutorials, open-ended challenges and teaching resources created specifically for high school students and teachers.

“LabVIEW gives me the freedom to creatively inspire my students with authentic, real-world projects while using traditional lab equipment,”
said John Sperry, engineering teacher at Anderson High School in Austin (TX US). “The software’s visual environment is easy for beginning students to understand, but also offers a very high skill ceiling so students can reach their full potential with the same technology that professionals use.”

LabVIEW for Education integrates with the NI myDAQ portable data-logging device, Vernier sensors and LEGO® Education robotics platforms to provide a wide range of possibilities for teaching core science and math concepts through real-world applications.

“NI LabVIEW for Education is helping expand our Vernier classroom sensor platform into experiential studies of more advanced engineering applications,” said David Vernier, president of Vernier, a leading classroom technology company. “Now more than ever, we can help teachers easily incorporate exciting yet practical hands-on engineering education into their science classrooms.”

LabVIEW for Education includes the following primary benefits:

• Students gain experience with the same software used by professional engineers and scientists
• New vision module helps students use USB webcams for advanced image manipulation and motion tracking
• Ideal for integration with robotics classes and competitions


National Instruments collaborates with leading curriculum developers including UTeach Engineering, The Infinity Project and Ergopedia to provide complete solutions for implementing accredited courses based on LabVIEW. LabVIEW for Education was developed in conjunction with the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach.

Stuxnet breakthrough company expands

Symantec's is creating  60 jobs at its European Operations Centre in Dublin
'New authentication services mandate is a strong vote of confidence in Symantec's Irish Operation'

Richard Bruton TD
Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, has announced that Symantec, the global leader in security, storage and systems management, is to establish a new team within its European Operations Centre in Dublin, creating 60 high quality jobs. The investment is supported by the Irish Government with the aid of IDA Ireland.

This is the company discovered that Stuxnet actually modifies code on PLCs in a potential act of sabotage and publishers earlier this year of the W32 Stuxnet Dossier.

The new team will be focused on three specific areas relating to Symantec's Identity and Authentication offerings, part of Symantec's Authentication Services business. These areas are customer authentication and verification, technical support and client services. The team will form part of Symantec's "follow the sun" model, with services and support being provided to customers across the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific and Japan in over 20 languages on a 24/7 basis. Symantec's VeriSign Authentication Services provide organisations with strong proof that a user, device, or website is genuine and that information is protected. This new team is key in ensuring security through a stringent authentication and verification process and team members will speak a minimum of two European languages in order to provide services to Symantec customers across the markets they serve.

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Minister said: "A significant part of the real Irish economic miracle in the mid/late 1990s was our ability to tap into the global ICT boom that was going on at that time. If we are to get growth in employment and in the economy again, one part of that will involve relying on our traditional strengths, and today's announcement is a great vote of confidence in our policies. We must be far-reaching in our ambitions in this area, and I am determined to build on those traditional strengths to ensure that we can reap great rewards from the new global tech boom and get our country working again".

Commenting on the announcement, Enrique Salem, President and Chief Executive Officer of Symantec said, "Today's announcement is a major step forward for Symantec enabling us to better serve our customers by utilising local talents. Following Symantec's acquisition of VeriSign's authentication business in 2010, authentication is a key growth area for the company. The VeriSign check mark is the most recognised symbol of trust online with more than 650 million impressions every day on more than 100,000 websites in 160 countries.


The decision to locate this investment in Dublin comes as a result of the success to date of Symantec in Ireland. I would like to thank staff and management here in Dublin for making this operation such a success, and the Irish Government and IDA Ireland for their support. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of Symantec in Ireland."


Barry O'Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland said, "Symantec first established an operation in Ireland in 1991 and its transformation involves new mandates, increasing the strategic importance of Symantec Ireland within its parent corporation. Transformation of this nature is in keeping with IDA's goals as outlined in our strategy, Horizon 2020. Ireland is benefiting from the overall growth in the technology sector and this investment from Symantec, a leading company in this sector, is very welcome news for the industry in Ireland. I would like to offer Symantec IDA Ireland's continued support as the company further embeds its operations here in Ireland."

Low-frequency vibration

High-sensitivity, single axis K-Beam® MEMS capacitive accelerometer

A new series of single axis MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) capacitive accelerometers has been launched by Kistler Instruments for use where high-precision, low-frequency measurements and compact, robust construction are absolute requirements. The new accelerometers use Kistler’s K-Beam technology to deliver precision, sensitivity and low noise characteristics for a range of automotive, aerospace, OEM, R&D and general laboratory test applications.

The Type 8315A series is made up of six models with measurement rages from ±2 g to ±200 g with a frequency response of zero to 1,000 Hz (5%) in a compact design having a footprint of only 25.4 mm. The MEMS variable capacitance sensing element consists of a small inertial mass located between two parallel plates. Deflection of the inertial mass under acceleration causes a proportional change in the capacitance of the sensing element. An integrated analogue signal conditioner converts this change to a proportional voltage output. The excellent thermal stability of the MEMS construction provides reliable performance within the wide operating temperature range of -55 to +125 degrees Celsius.

Three housings are available; one lightweight, environmentally sealed, hard anodized with integral ground isolation and two welded titanium housings with either an industry standard 4-pin connector or a Teflon® coated cable.

Typical applications include low-frequency aerospace ground vibration testing, wind tunnel vibration analysis, structural dynamics, automotive testing, vehicle road testing and ride assessments and human motion studies.

The brain cooler!

Eurolec Instrumentation, with the assistance of Enterprise Ireland in the areas of R&D and intellectual property protection, has recently developed an exciting new instrument, which has been designed to cool the brain at the earliest possible intervention.

In the event of heart attacks, strokes, brain trauma, birth difficulties and some other medical circumstances, the ability to cool the brain results in a significantly improved prognosis. This "Cool Head" device operates off it’s own rechargeable batteries, 12V paramedic vehicle (with adaptor) and mains power. It therefore provides cooling from the earliest opportunity all the way through to intensive care in hospital (patent applied for)

Eurolec also continues to have the support of French 3rd level students on work experience attachments to help with both engineering and sales/marketing projects. The picture shows two of these students, Axel Lorente & Marie Braux, both from the Burgundy(F) with the device and other products in their range.

The company is currently exploring different options to commercialise this exciting new product which has been designed to heat as well as cool and may also be adapted for medical applications to treat soft tissue injuries.
  
• EUROLEC Instrumentation Ltd invite enquiries/proposals from organisations/companies who have an interest in the future commercialisation of this exciting, versatile new instrument system. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Free library of power quality and energy monitoring resources!

Website expands free online resources, including extensive technical article database, case studies, webinars and more!

With the launch of its new company website Draenetz  has announced the availability of a greatly expanded offering of free online technical resources. Chief among these is a comprehensive Technical Documents Library of more than 55 downloadable technical white papers, articles and marketing documents covering a broad range of power quality and energy monitoring topics.

“As the gold standard for energy and power measurement,” said Ross Ignall, Dranetz Director of Product Management, “Dranetz is pleased to support its loyal customers and site visitors with this greatly expanded ‘constellation’ of free services to increase users’ understanding of the issues, while at the same time enhancing the depth and effectiveness of their power quality and energy management portfolios.”


Other free Dranetz educational resources include: 
Case Studies — 50 titles in 14 industry categories;
Tech Tips — excellent online resource with more than 25 topics to choose from;
Power Quality Seminars — free educational seminars around the U.S. with registration open to everyone;
Webinars — available on demand, HTML5-compliant browser or Adobe Flash Player required;
Power Quality FAQ — wide-ranging topics from basic to highly sophisticated.
A number of reasonably priced fee-based services are also available including product training and smart grid consulting for renewable energy plants; harmonic studies; power quality monitoring; PQ audits and more.

Flow mnitoring system

Blue-White Industries’ BW DIGI-METER ® F-2000 Series electronic insertion style flowmeters, are well suited for monitoring flow in municipal water and wastewater applications.

The clamp on saddle fitting and insertion sensor is quickly installed on IPS (ASTM-D-1785) pipe sizes from 1-1/2” through 12” and metric (DIN 8062) pipe sizes from 50mm through 315mm. The electronic display and communication enclosure can be mounted directly to the sensor, or remotely mounted to a pipe or panel.

Standard F-2000 models display flow rate and accumulated total flow, and include an NPN open collector output for communication with data loggers, SCADA systems, and other external devices. Optional 4-20 mA / 0-10 VDC plug-in circuitry can be added for additional communication requirements. The optional batch processing plug-in circuitry includes an 8-amp relay board that adds manual or automatic batch processing capability, or a high/low flow rate alarm output. The electronics can be battery operated using four standard AA size batteries or, AC powered using a 15-24V DC plug-in transformer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

European fibre optic test market

 FTTH deployments lend positive momentum for European fibre optic test equipment markets
Integrated test Equipment poised to take market forward


With the expansion of the installed base and the need for higher bandwidth speed, the European fibre optic test equipment (FOTE) markets are gaining strong traction. Fibre optics are poised to play a major role in most parts of Europe. New strategies unleashed to enhance passive optical network (PON) across Europe in the near future will bolster fibre to the home (FTTH) deployments.

Opportunities abound in the integrated test equipment market segment, and companies are vying with each other to provide value-added services. With operational expenditure being high on the agenda for end users, demand for combinational testers will witness an upsurge.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan , European Fibre Optic Test Equipment Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of over $140.4 million in 2010 and estimates this to reach $165.4 million in 2015.


“The United Kingdom is showcasing its broadband initiative, and FTTH deployment in most of England is triggering growth in the FOTE market,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sujan Sami. “Besides FTTH, other segments stoking growth in this domain are 3G, cell backhaul, and dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM).”

FTTH and 40 gb/s are driving market growth in Germany. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Scandinavia are showing promise. Russia may see significant growth with reinvestments in the fibre optic space.

Spirited R&D efforts are underway to enable the roll out of better technology. Agilent Technologies exited the installation and maintenance (I&M) application segment and is significantly focused on R&D.

Although the prospects for the market look upbeat, there are some aspects clouding its landscape. Currently, vendors find it difficult to replace existing underground cables with fibre optic cables in certain parts of Europe, especially in Germany. Despite great demand for FTTH, vendors face a huge challenge in laying cables as right-of-way access is restricted with existing laws. This has hindered the growth of the market, and this trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.

Apart from this, the ripple effects of the global economic downturn were felt in the European FOTE market. France and Germany are yet to recover, and growth in these regions is expected to be lacklustre. Competition is intense among test vendors in this space, making price pressure significant in the region and hindering vendors’ growth. Increasing the price-to-performance ratio of their products is critical for vendors to prosper in this region.

In this scenario, vendors must contribute to lowering the cost of testing, as well as optimise customer workflow and end-user requirements, in order to establish their market presence. With new and emerging technologies such as reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM), 40gb/s and 100 gb/s, standardisation is key for getting consensus among test vendors while developing new products.


“In the future, the uptrend in demand will continue for higher bandwidth speed, installation of FTTH capacity, and more wavelength,” concludes Sami. “This, in turn, will spike demand for sophisticated equipment in the core network.”

Papers for anniversary conference!

In February this year it was 25 years since the CAN protocol was presented for the first time to the public at the SAE conference in Detroit.

On March 5, 2012 the CAN in Automation (CiA) international users’ and manufacturers’ group is to celebrate its 20th anniversary with an evening reception at the Hambach castle in Germany, where also the 13th international CAN Conference (iCC) will take place.

They are calling for papers for the 13th international CAN Conference (iCC), which will take place at the Hambach castle in Neustadt an der Weinstraße (D) on March 5 and 6, 2012.

Experts from all over the world and from most diversified application areas have met for years at this international event. The conference is unique in its target group and offers visitors the possibility to become acquainted with the latest developments in Controller Area Network (CAN). It offers also the occasion for lecturing on CAN-based research and for exchanging experience with international experts from related work fields.

All papers are presented in English language. CAN in Automation invites all interested persons to submit an abstract for the conference before September 23, 2011.

A tabletop exhibition will accompany the conference. Experts and exhibitors meet here in a relaxed environment.

The 13th international CAN Conference is sponsored by ESD Electronic System Design, Ixxat Automation, and Janz Automationssysteme.