Friday, July 1, 2011

"It's an ill wind..." Storm chaser to blow in!

National Instruments has announced that Tim Samaras, severe-storms researcher and star of the Discovery TV Channel show “Storm Chasers,” will deliver the closing keynote address at NIWeek 2011 scheduled for Aug. 2-4 in Austin, Texas. Samaras uses NI LabVIEW, NI CompactDAQ and NI DIAdem to successfully acquire and analyze data from tornadoes across the United States.

“Tim Samaras and his impressive body of work demonstrate how graphical system design can enable scientific discovery that makes a difference, and we are very excited to welcome him to NIWeek as this year’s guest keynote speaker,” said Ray Almgren, vice president of software and education at National Instruments. “His passion for his work, dedication to innovation and willingness to push boundaries in his research will inspire the thousands of NIWeek attendees who are working on their own projects to improve our world.”

Samaras has actively chased storms for almost 30 years and currently spends May and June of each year in a truck tracking tornadoes. He and his team predict where a tornado will occur and then drop several probes in the tornado’s path to measure humidity, static pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction. The information gathered by these probes not only contributes to the knowledge of how and why tornadoes form, but also can be used to save lives by predicting a tornado’s future path. Samaras holds the Guinness World Record for measuring the lowest pressure within a tornado and is the only person to successfully collect video from inside a tornado. In addition, he co-authored the book “Tornado Hunter,” which details some of his most harrowing experiences chasing storms.

Samaras is also the field coordinator for TWISTEX (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in/near Tornadoes EXperiment), a team of engineers and scientists whose goal is to gain a better understanding of the near-surface internal tornado environment. He collaborates with various universities attempting to model weather patterns, and the National Geographic Society awarded him the honor of Emerging Explorer in 2005 for his research.

Flexible data cables for 10 Gigabit Ethernet applications

Harting has developed a new generation of flexible data cables which guarantee transmission in accordance with the IEEE 802.3an 10 GBase-D Ethernet standard.

The new cables are designed to meet the demand for improved network components, which is rising rapidly with the constantly growing need for ever higher bandwidths. This trend fundamentally affects the development of the associated cabling, which traditionally precedes the introduction of the active network components by a significant period.

The new Harting cables satisfy the requirements of Category 6A according to IEC 6156-6 and are enclosed in proven industrial-grade cable sheaths. Both PVC and PUR sheaths are available. There are also two types with UL approval for the US and Canadian markets, plus a special outdoor version for use in external environments.

The new flexible data cables feature a highly shielded PiMF (pairs in metal foil) design with optimum EMC characteristics for reliable data transmission. As a result, these cabling products are ideally suited for use in automation, machinery and control systems applications. They can also be used for higher-level building infrastructures whenever there is a call for special features, such as robustness and chemical resistance.

Affordable non-contact torque transducer avoids need for slip-rings

For applications where measurements are to be taken from a rotating shaft without resorting to the use of slip rings, then the new Model 1700 Series transducers from RDP Electronics provide a cost effective solution.

The Model 1700 is a comparatively low cost, non-contact, amplified, torque transducer that uses a combination of optical and inductive technologies to take data off or on a rotating shaft. Although slip rings are today more reliable than in the past, the Model 1700 is also ideal for applications where slip rings are not appropriate.

The output is proportional to the torque applied to the shafts of the transducer either whilst the shaft is static or rotating. The compact Model 1700 can have speed or angle sensing and has integral signal conditioning and amplification electronics with a ±10V dc output that can optionally be connected to a digital display indicator. A range of models is available up to 10,000 rpm in speed sensing versions and 3,000 rpm for the angle sensing option.

Control & instrumentation for South Africa power facility

Yokogawa South Africa has received a contract from Eskom, a South African public power utility, to supply control systems and instrumentation for the outside plant and water treatment plant at Tutuka Power Station. While Eskom has purchased more than 3000 pressure/differential-pressure transmitters from Yokogawa to date, this is their first control systems order with the company.

Tutuka Power Station
This power station is located approximately 200 km south-east of Johannesburg, near the town of Standerton, and began commercial operation in 1985. With six 609 MW units that have a combined generating capacity of 3654 MW, it is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in South Africa. This contract is for a large-scale project to replace aging transmitters and other field instruments as well as the aforementioned supply of control systems for the auxiliary facilities that are used by all the generating units. Project completion is scheduled for June 2013.

For this project, Yokogawa will supply CENTUM(R) VP series integrated production control systems,  the PRM(R) integrated device management package for monitoring and diagnosis of plant equipment, Exaquantum(R) plant information management systems, and DPharp(TM) series pressure/differential-pressure transmitters. Yokogawa South Africa will undertake this project wholly, including delivery, engineering, installation, commissioning and handing over to Eskom the fully functional plant.
Yokogawa was able to win this order as a result of high acclaim for the Yokogawa pressure/DP transmitters already delivered to Eskom and Yokogawa South Africa's excellent engineering and process knowledge capability and customer-centric services. At the contract signing ceremony, Ryno Lacock, Tutuka Power Station Manager, said: "We are looking forward to improved plant operational efficiency with the latest control technology and technical support from Yokogawa." 

In South Africa, the continuous development of the industrial sector is quickening the pace of foreign trade and industrial activity, and the increase in demand for electricity is outstripping supply.

Construction and renewal of power facilities to overcome the electricity shortage are in progress under a plan to increase the nation's electricity capacity to 90 GW, which is double today's capacity, by 2030.
Encouraged by winning this order, Yokogawa aims to expand its power business in South Africa and to contribute to a stable supply of electricity for Africa.

Reducing costs, improving quality & reducing waste in paper mill

Cartiere del Garda is using a Micro Motion® density meter from Emerson Process Management to accurately measure the concentration of kaolin and other additives in the coating process at its paper mill on the banks of Lake Garda in Italy. The Micro Motion 7845 Density and Concentration Meter provides highly accurate density measurements under entrained gas conditions.
 
"The highly accurate measurement of the coating mixture concentration provided by Emerson's Micro Motion density meter means we have been able to discontinue the use of expensive additives,” said Fulvio Prati, instrument manager at Cartiere del Garda. “This has enabled significant annual savings and paper quality is improved."

Cartiere del Garda operates one of the most modern paper mills in Italy, specialising in high quality coated papers. For many years, a Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeter was used to monitor the concentration of the paper coating mixture and this provided reliable and accurate results. However, because the recirculation system on the feeding tank generated entrained air, it was necessary to add expensive additives to the coating mixture to prevent quality problems.

Removing the additives would reduce production costs but would cause up to 20 percent air to be entrained in the coating mixture. The existing Coriolis flowmeter was not designed to provide the same degree of density measurement accuracy under these conditions, so Cartiere del Garda sought an alternative solution. The company needed an on-line, solids concentration measurement of the coating solution, made directly at the film coater machine feed. A minimum accuracy of +/-1 percent of solids was required to guarantee the high quality of the paper being produced and avoid waste caused by out-of-specification batches. 

Cartiere del Garda chose a Micro Motion 7845 Density and Concentration Meter for this challenging application. The company specified the advanced electronics, entrained gas version, which is designed to accurately measure density in aerated liquids − providing a final accuracy of better than +/- 0.5 percent with very high stability and repeatability. The 7845 provides a 4-20 mA signal to the control system, related to line density. Density is converted into percentage solids using a formula embedded into the control system.

The Micro Motion 7845 is a straight tube, liquid density meter that uses a vibrating tube to measure density. As the liquid density changes, it affects the vibrating mass of the density meter. The change in vibrating mass then affects the resonant frequency, which is inversely proportional to the density of the process fluid. By monitoring the resonant frequency and applying well-known conversions, the 7845 provides highly accurate in-line density data.

The Micro Motion 7845 Density and Concentration Meter is rugged, reliable, and requires minimum maintenance.  The meter is calibrated in an ISO17025-accredited laboratory, traceable to international standards, and requires no field calibration.

Global demand for humidity and gas analysers boosts growth

Michell Instruments doubles manufacturing space in Britain!

Michell Instruments has begun work to expand its head office and British manufacturing site. The increased capacity – from 20,000 sq ft to 40,000 sq ft – will include new production and development facilities, as well as increased office space.

The decision to expand the site is due to rapid growth during the last four years, and will ensure the company continues to meet the growing global demand for their products. Michell’s expansion is creating a number of job opportunities in their local area (East Cambridgeshire!) – ranging from experienced engineers and skilled production staff to clerical staff.

‘We are expecting to continue our growth at healthy double digits rates in the years to come,’
said CEO, Mike Bannister. ‘The expansion will enable us to drive forward with many interesting projects, such as further collaboration with Cambridge and Oxford Universities to research new sensing technologies.’ The expansion includes a new world-class calibration laboratory and research facilities to enable these joint research projects with academic institutions around the world.

Michell Instruments was established in Cambridge and has since developed extensive expertise in the field of moisture measurement and calibration spanning almost 40 years. More recently, the company has built on this knowledge to expand into new markets with a range of relative humidity instruments as well as oxygen analyzers. A key part of the extension will be to include a specialised production area for the oxygen instruments.

Another key area of growth for Michell has been in the process and energy sectors. The company’s analyzer systems perform key functions in these industries, making processes cleaner, safer and more energy efficient. The new factory will increase the production area for these systems, improving facilities for design, building and testing.

‘No matter where you look at our business, we feel good about it,’
said Mr Bannister. ‘The diversification into other areas of gas analysis helped us to maintain a strong market position. Having a broad base allows us to be able to move into any area of gas measurement and be able to understand it quickly.’

Temp compensated liquid dispenser

The Deeter Group has introduced their new Liquid Volume Dispenser. Typical applications include dosing of chemicals, colours, flavourings or control of any liquid being dispensed in a manufacturing process or laboratory.

The new liquid volume dispenser will repeatedly deliver a precise, operator selected, measured volume of liquid at the press of a button. The unit features automatic calibration and is temperature compensated to ensure accurate dosing across the wide temperature range of possible fluids being delivered. A USB data-link and control software suite is provided to allow users to externally control the Liquid Volume Dispenser and collect data for logging and archiving.

The liquid volume required is simple to select and the setting is retained in non-volatile memory for repeat operation. Volumes between 0.10 litres and 100.00 litres can be selected in increments of 0.01 litres. The dispenser will accurately measure volumes over a flow rate range of between 0.6 litres/minute and 5 litres/minute.

Peter Whiteaker
, Managing Director of Deeter Group comments; "We designed our first fluid dispenser over twenty years ago. We now see a growing market in many manufacturing and laboratory applications and our new design offers customers temperature controlled accuracy and the convenience of control or data-logging via an external computer.”

The Deter Liquid Volume Dispenser has two Speedfit® push-fit connectors for fluid in and out. These can accommodate a tube with an outside diameter of 8mm. Wetted surfaces are nylon, PTFE, Buna and acetal, making the Liquid Volume Dispenser suitable for a wide range of fluids.

Operator controls consist of a three-button keypad and a liquid crystal display. The display shows the selected volume and progress during dispensing. A number of additional features are available through the keypad, including pause and restart during dispensing, cancelling dispensing, and manual ‘top-up’ control.

An audible ‘beep’ option is provided to indicate when dispensing has stopped and a further option will produce continuous ‘beeps’ if the flow rate is outside of  the limits for accurate volume measurement. These audio options can be enabled or disabled through a display menu and are also saved to non-volatile memory and are restored to the operator’s preference after power-up.

The Liquid Volume Dispenser is powered by a low-voltage supply, making it safe to use if liquid is spilt and a 12VDC mains socket adapter is supplied with each dispenser. Fluid temperature range is +1 to +65ºC and the unit is housed in a 175x125x78mm enclosure. It offers a flow rate range of 0.6 to 5.0 litres per minute with a dispensing volume accuracy of -3%+0% over the flow rate range. Fluid connections are via 8mm outside diameter tube which may be polyethylene, polyurethane, nylon, brass, copper or stainless steel.

Wireless network wins!

Dust Networks was awarded the "Best Technology Development of RTLS/WSN" award at the IDTechEx Wireless Sensor Network & RTLS Summit. in Munich (D) last week.

They demonstrated a SmartMesh IP network running entirely on energy harvesting power supplies as was reported on our story "Self powered wireless network debut!" (22/6/2011).
In this video Kris Pister, the founder and Chief Technologist at Dust Networks introduces the new SmartMesh IP product line.

Power quality

Outram Research's PM7000 now offers additional features to help identify and resolve power quality problems caused by the increasing use of energy-efficient appliances and renewable power sources. Harmonic distortion can become a significant problem, as more and more mains-connected devices use high-efficiency switching power supplies or inverter-type power sources and power is increasingly supplied from renewable sources that require a DC to AC conversion.

Switching power supplies, which are used in products such as variable frequency motor drives (VFDs), IT equipment, home entertainment systems and LED lighting tend to draw power through current spikes at the peak of the mains cycle. Low-energy compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) also exhibit the same behaviour. Drawing current at the peaks causes harmonic distortion which results in power being wasted in motors and transformers. It can also cause increased noise and wear on bearings and in extreme circumstances the equipment can fail due to overheating.

Renewable energy sources such as solar cells may require conversion of DC power to AC. If the output AC waveform is an imperfect sine wave, this harmonic distortion can have a similar effect.

The Outram Ranger PM7000 is the first power quality analyser to offer analysis of the phase difference between the harmonic voltage and current, giving additional detailed information about the source of distortion of the mains waveform. Modern switching power supplies often exhibit problems at high frequencies, and so the PM7000 offers one of the industry’s highest sampling rates, recording up to the 50th or 120th harmonic.


“Visibility is critical to help engineers solve the increasing problem of harmonic distortion of the mains waveform,” said John Outram, Managing Director of Outram Research. “By providing information on the phase difference between current and voltage up to the 120th harmonic we help engineers to identify and resolve problems more quickly and efficiently.”

The new harmonic distortion analysis features are now provided as standard across the family of Outram Ranger PM7000 power analysers. New firmware to upgrade existing analysers is available on request.

Fibre adaptor improves optical input of spectrum analysers

A new adaptor for use with the Yokogawa AQ6370 Series of optical spectrum analysers (OSAs) is designed to enhance the sensitivity, dynamic range and level stability by reducing the divergence of light emitted from the input fibre and increasing the input signal to the OSA by 5 dB.

The light that is emitted from an optical fibre is divergent, and under normal conditions the limited size of the optics inside the OSA monochromator results in divergent light being blocked, and hence unable to contribute to a strong optical signal.

Using the new fibre NA adaptor on a GI50/125 multi-mode fibre results in the fibre's numerical aperture (NA) value being divided by two. The reduction in divergence of the optical input increases the monochromator optical throughput, producing a 5 dB (factor 3) increase in signal strength.

The result of this enhancement in performance is better dynamic range in passive component testing and better level stability in active device testing.

The Yokogawa AQ6370 Series of optical spectrum analysers offer the world's 'best in class' optical performance combined with excellent functionality and operability for applications including R&D and production testing of optical devices and transmission systems.

Covering the wavelength range from 350 to 2400 nm and applicable to both single-mode and multimode fibres, the AQ6370 Series provides unprecedented optical performance, including high wavelength accuracy of ±0.01 nm, high wavelength resolution of 0.02 nm, ultra-high dynamic range of 78 dB (typical), wide level range of -90 dBm, and fast sweep speed of 0.2 sec/100 nm.

Automation career day speaker!

Calum Pearson served as Company Manager for KÀ (one of Cirque du Soleil’s events), and was responsible for managing operations of Cirque du Soleil’s fourth permanent show in Las Vegas. He brings over 17 years of operations and management experience in the entertainment industry to Cirque du Soleil. Prior to joining Cirque du Soleil, Pearson spent 16 years touring with music productions, including Bon Jovi and Van Halen, and family acts such as Disney on Ice. His responsibilities progressed over the years from lead rigger to technical director and company manager.
The International Society of Automation (ISA) and the Automation Federation (AF) announce that the Vice President of Technical and Show Support for the Resident Show Division of Cirque du Soleil, Calum Pearson, will deliver the keynote address at Automation Career Day on Wednesday, 19 October 2011. This is one of the Automation Career Connections events held in conjunction with ISA Automation Week 2011: Technology and Solutions Event (17-20 October 2011 Mobile AL USA).

Automation Career Day will provide high school students the opportunity to learn more about careers in automation through a mini career fair. Students will be able to participate in a variety of informational and interactive displays and connect with industry representatives to learn more about automation and related careers. The goal of this event is to teach students about the many career paths available to them in automation and about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to their future endeavors.

During this year’s Automation Career Day event, Pearson will speak with students from the Mobile, Alabama, area about the science and technology behind the interworking of Cirque du Soleil’s shows and about the individuals who work with this technology to produce these entertainment events.

“As Cirque, or any industry looks to the future, it is impossible to do so without getting excited about the next generation of innovators. Automation Career Day is an amazing opportunity to meet with the kids who will shape tomorrow and see how we embark on that journey together,” said Pearson.

“We are very excited to have Calum Pearson from Cirque du Soleil as our keynote speaker for Automation Career Day. We are confident he will open the eyes of the students in attendance to the many possibilities that await them in the world of automation,” said Mike Marlowe, MD at the Automation Federation.

Pinch valve for low volume, clean and sterile liquids

Emerson Process Management has introduced its Baumann™ 85000 sanitary pinch valve for low flow rate, low pressure control of sterile liquids within both the biotechnical and pharmaceutical industries. Providing fully automatic operation, the 85000 eliminates the inefficiencies and poor control given by the manually-operated pinch valves typically used in these high value applications.

Compact and lightweight in design, the valve features three major components: a tube shell body that accommodates 19mm (¾”) pharmaceutical grade tubing; a linear spring-and-diaphragm actuator that responds accurately to controller input; and a Fisher® FIELDVUE™ digital valve controller that yields a high level of operating performance as it maintains valve reliability.

The 85000 pinch valve with the FIELDVUE controller provides an installed equal percentage flow characteristic for control accuracy. The digital controller also enables valve diagnostics that monitor the operating health of the valve assembly, providing immediate feedback to a plant host system should maintenance be required. When incorporated within the PlantWeb™ digital plant architecture or other process control systems, the FIELDVUE controller-equipped 85000 facilitates and enhances per-batch and overall process record keeping.

The tube shell design of the 85000 allows easy replacement of the process tubing. The valve plunger does not contact the process fluid and gives a shutoff rating equal to ASME/FCI 70-2, Class VI. The epoxy-coated actuator with its stainless steel fasteners offers maximum corrosion resistance. 

Sponsorship announced!

Fluke has announced its sponsorship of WorldSkills London 2011 scheduled for four days at the ExCeL London exhibition and conference centre in London's docklands (GB) from 5-8 October 2011.

As a Global Industry Partner (GIP) of WorldSkills International since 2004, and a sponsor since 1999, Fluke Corporation uses WorldSkills as part of its international education programme. Working collectively with other GIPs, Fluke aims to develop best practices and standards globally across industries, while producing a mobile workforce with portable skills.

WorldSkills London 2011 will be the world's largest, international skills competition with young people from across the globe competing to be the ‘best of the best’ in their chosen skill. 150,000 visitors are expected and they will see 1,000 competitors from over 50 countries/regions competing in 45 skill areas over four exciting days of competition. The WorldSkills Competition takes place in a different country every two years and brings together skills 'olympians' from across the globe to compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. As well as a fabulous spectacle, WorldSkills offers the opportunity for visitors to ‘Have a Go’ at new skills, get involved and be inspired. Hundreds of colleges from across the UK will be showcasing their skills and talents at the event. Experts will also be on hand to share their knowledge and careers advice. The event will be a great chance for young people from 11-19 to try out new skills and find out about career opportunities.

Aidan Jones, CEO of WorldSkills London 2011, added: “We are delighted to receive Fluke sponsorship which includes the provision of some of the company’s rugged electrical and electronic test equipment for use by participants in a wide range of skills in ‘Construction and Building Technology’, ‘Manufacturing and Engineering Technology’ and ‘Transportation and Logistics’. Coming from the world leader in the manufacture, distribution and service of electronic test tools and software, we are assured that participants will be using the latest products offering high productivity and user safety.”

The first WorldSkills Competition was developed in Spain in 1950, as a way to convince young people, parents, teachers and prospective employers that their future depended on an effective vocational training system. The simple, but brilliant idea of watching skilled people at their workstations proved to be a great success and WorldSkills has come to symbolise excellence in skills development and delivery.

Today, being selected to compete in a WorldSkills Competition is a source of great pride and honour. In spite of language barriers, the experience has a lasting personal and professional impact on all of the participants. The competitions rank Member nations and award medals, and also aim to enhance and promote vocational training systems worldwide.

• Another story on this event: Northern Ireland duo progress in mechatronics

More data, more manufacturers, more functions!

Developed over two years ago, the EPLAN Data Portal integrates around 120,000 pieces of component and device data from numerous component manufacturers. The number of manufacturers and components is permanently increasing and the portal itself is continually being updated. Following the launch of the EPLAN Platform 2.0, the new EPLAN Data Portal 2.0 has now gone live. Users are enjoying new time-saving functions in the web-based portal that make it easier to select and use device data and components.

The integration of more manufacturer and device data promises significant practical benefits. A new portal member is Leuze electronic, manufacturer of optoelectronic sensors who has integrated EPLAN macros of selected switchgears (MSI-SR4, MSI-RM2) as well as many safety-oriented sensors. Electrical designers can now integrate schematic templates for these devices directly in their design drawings, eliminating the time-consuming process of drawing them from scratch in EPLAN Electric P8. Macros also contain order data and the device's key characteristics. This makes it easier to select and integrate sensors in both the technical drawing and the order. In Version 2.0, Festo has also provided a selection of pneumatic components. These products, and the corresponding fluid symbols, which are now available for downloading from the Data Portal, greatly accelerate project planning in EPLAN Fluid.

Mitsubishi Electric has joined the list of new manufacturers with data for PLCs and inverters. Devices that are tailored to the system and require little space simplify planning. ABB has updated its data and Phoenix Contact has adjusted its already extensive range of products.

Maximum speed and easy searching and finding is the maxim of the new EPLAN Data Portal. Users benefit from access to the latest, up-to-date data which can be more quickly and easily integrated in engineering using the new EPLAN Platform 2.0. The requirements of the various engineering disciplines – from electrical engineering to fluid power engineering to enclosure layout and process engineering – are fulfilled in a practical manner.


Participating manufacturers are: ABB, B&R, Bachmann electronic, Eaton/Moeller, Harting, Helukabel, Igus, Jokab Safety, Lapp Kabel, Martens Elektronik, Michael Riedel Transformatoren, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Pilz, Rittal, Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley, Schneider Electric, SEW, Siemens, Unex, Vishay ESTA, WAGO, Weidmüller.
 

New head-mount thermocouple transmitter

An enhanced version of USB-configured thermocouple/millivolt input transmitters with an isolation barrier to protect from surges, reduce noise, and eliminate ground loop errors.

The latest release in Acromag’s new ST130 series of low-cost, temperature transmitters is the Model ST133, an isolated thermocouple/millivolt signal conditioner. This high-performance version of the economy-level ST132 also converts sensor input signals from eight thermocouple types or a ±100mV range and outputs a proportional 4-20mA process control signal. However, the addition of 1500V isolation between the input and output circuit shields equipment from high-voltage surges and transient signals. The isolation also breaks up ground loops and reduces signal noise that could interfere with measurement accuracy. Installing this output loop-powered two-wire transmitter is easy and a USB connection to your PC simplifies set up using free Windows configuration software. Units support mounting in DIN Form B sensor heads or on a DIN rail. They are CE compliant with pending UL/cUL Class 1


“With the new ST133 thermocouple transmitter we can now offer a choice of isolated or non-isolated units to better meet a customer’s price/performance requirements,” says Don Lupo, Acromag’s sales and marketing director. Many end-user and OEM applications still require high isolation to combat and reject the effects of large common mode voltages, electrical noise, surges, and system ground loops. The ST133 bridges the gap between economy units and more expensive high-performance isolated transmitters.

Other features include signal linearization and cold-junction compensation functions. Response times are as low as 30ms. The Windows software helps you quickly configure the transmitter using a USB cable connection to select input type with standard or reverse-acting output, scale I/O ranges, set filtering levels, and choose upscale or downscale operation for sensor faults. Digital calibration eliminates zero/span pots, DIP switches, and pushbuttons for more precise and stable measurements.

A rugged design helps these transmitters operate reliably in harsh industrial environments. Ambient temperature drift is less than 75ppm/°C for long-term stability. The ST133 is shock (50g) and vibration (5g) resistant and includes high-level electrical noise immunity (RFI, EMI, ESD, EFT, and surge protection). And to prevent incorrect wiring, the output/power connection is non-polarized.

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

Acromag has designed and manufactured measurement and control products for more than 50 years. They are an AS9100 and ISO 9001-certified international corporation with a world headquarters near Detroit, Michigan and a global network of sales representatives and distributors. Acromag offers a complete line of industrial I/O products including a variety of process instruments, signal conditioners, and distributed fieldbus I/O modules that are available with a 7-year warranty. Industries served include chemical processing, manufacturing, defense, energy, and water services.

Combination pressure & temperature trnsducers

New from RDP Electronics is a range of combined pressure and temperature sensors, the RST0170 Series, that will prove beneficial in a number of industrial and HVAC measurement applications.

The advantage of being able to make both temperature and pressure measurements in fluids or gases via a single orifice provides a convenient facility for use in engine management, pump, boiler and furnace control, as well as HVAC applications such as chillers and compressors.

The RST0170 is compactly housed in a welded stainless steel casing and provides accurate measurement in ranges to 15,000 PSI and standard operating temperatures from -50ºC to +148ºC, with options to extend the range from -195ºC to +232ºC. Transducers are available in absolute, sealed gauge or true gauge zero pressure reference with a choice of RTD or thermocouple for temperature measurement. There is a selection of measurement probes ranging from 9.5mm to 101.6mm. These combination pressure and temperature transducers are designed for long term stability, low sensitivity to shock and vibration, wide compensated temperature range, excellent response to transient pressures and infinite resolution.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Surge protection devices preserve solar PV investment

Transient overvoltage protection without backup fuses safeguards quality and lifespan of vital solar energy components whilst maintaining continuity of production

Carlo Gavazzi has extended its solar energy portfolio with new surge protection devices that provide backup protection without internal fuses. The innovative 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 in photovoltaic systems.

DSF surge arrestors comply with new and emerging standards for DC-side surge protection in PV systems, in particular the new French UTE C 61-740-51 and future EN 50539-11As norms.

In addition, they extend the Carlo Gavazzi product family, with three DSF models taking the maximum nominal voltage up to 1200V DC. Available in two- or three-pole configurations, the devices provide both differential and common-mode protection.

Innovative built-in technologies cater for both long-duration temporary overvoltage and instantaneous surges lasting microseconds. The former is addressed by a path combining a current limiter with varistor, whilst faster events are routed to a path with varistor and gas tube surge arrester.

Their innovative technology protects internal varistors from the leakage current that could damage and age them when the nominal DC voltage of the plant is temporary exceeded -  for example in  mornings when the solar panels are cold or in the case of wrong connections. When the varistor nears its end of life, DSF technology ensures the arrester is intrinsically safe with regard to short-circuit behaviour.

DSF arrestors are based on removable cartridges, which can be replaced without leaving the installation unprotected. Exhausted cartridges are indicated by a red optical window on the front panel and a voltage-free contact is provided for remote function monitoring.  Internal wiring and labelled terminals contribute further to quicker, simpler installation and maintenance.

The devices are provided ready-assembled for DIN-rail mounting and come with CE marks as well as UL1449 3rd Edition approval.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New digital-based DP level technology

The Rosemount® 3051S ERS™ System improves performance, simplifies installation and maintenance routines, and reduces costs on tall vessels and distillation towers.

Emerson Process Management has released the industry’s first digital DP Level architecture, the Rosemount 3051S Electronic Remote Sensor system. With over ten patents, the 3051S ERS System is a breakthrough technology that replaces mechanical impulse piping with two 3051S pressure sensors linked together electronically. Differential pressure is calculated in one of the two sensors and is transmitted using a standard two-wire 4-20 mA HART® signal.   

Ideal applications for the 3051S ERS System include tall vessels, distillation towers, and other installations that traditionally have required excessive lengths of impulse piping or capillary. When used in these types of applications, the 3051S ERS System can deliver improved performance, simplified installation and maintenance, and additional process insight and diagnostics. 

The 3051S ERS System replaces mechanical components with a digital architecture, resulting in faster response time and a more stable and repeatable measurement even in applications with wide varying temperatures.

Cold weather installations often require heat tracing or insulation and impulse lines need to be checked for leaks, condensation, evaporation, and plugging. The digital architecture of the 3051S ERS System eliminates these practices, resulting in cleaner installations with less maintenance and upkeep.

The 3051S ERS System is a MultiVariable™ solution that provides additional process information for optimised control. In addition to the DP calculation, the 3051S ERS provides real-time access to the readings from each pressure sensor and a scaled output for tank level or volume measurement. 

The Electronic Remote Sensor system is built on the scalable 3051S architecture and is part of a broader portfolio of Rosemount DP level and process level technologies that include Tuned-System™ Assemblies, radar, ultrasonic and switches. 

Terminal automation agreement

Yokogawa has signed a global frame agreement with Royal Vopak (Vopak) for terminal automation. Vopak is based in the Netherlands and is the world's largest independent tank storage service provider, specialising in the storage and handling of bulk liquid chemicals, gases and oil products. Yokogawa is pleased to become the first automation and safety system provider to sign such an agreement with them.

Back left: Marschal Weeland (Category Buyer), Vopak,
& Marcel Kelder (Global Account Manager), Yokogawa
Front: Niek Verbree (Corporate Director Operational 
Excellence) Vopak,Naoki Nakamura (Senior Manager), 
Yokogawa, & Jos Kea (Global Director Sourcing 
& Procurement) Vopak.
This contract is for the provision of integrated automation and safety solutions, to control pipelines, loading/unloading facilities, and other utilities located at tank terminals. Based on Yokogawa's CENTUM VP distributed control system (DCS) and ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system (SIS), these integrated solutions will enable safe and seamless communication between systems and integrated operator interfaces and alarms, which will lead to greater efficiency in project execution and allow a more unified project and maintenance approach.

Vopak selected Yokogawa as a global terminal automation partner because of the high reliability and global track record of its automation and safety solutions and its global maintenance and service network serving all major markets.

Vopak aims to optimise the safety, reliability and efficiency of its logistics and storage processes through the introduction of automation technology. Vopak applies a consistent blueprint that will guide the automation of processes at all of its storage terminals.

Yokogawa's CENTUM VP and ProSafe-RS systems will make it possible for Vopak to standardise the automation environment at its terminals, allowing the company to profit from economies of scale and shorter installation times. It is expected that a standardised approach to terminal automation projects will lead to further cost efficiency in projects and maintenance.

With the signing of this global terminal automation agreement, Yokogawa and Vopak will focus on realising continuous improvements. Both companies will benefit from standardisation of the control and safety systems for terminal automation through the reuse of knowhow, expertise, and solutions, leading to greater consistency in project execution and guaranteed cost efficiency.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Workshops & Pre-Registration at new British show

The all new Sensors and Systems Show taking place on the 14th and 15th September 2011 at the FIVE Building in Farnborough (GB) has a comprehensive and varied programme of free 1-hour workshops and seminars, all designed to be relevant to today's industry issues.

Some 17 different companies are presenting the workshops covering subjects as varied as 'Laser scanners for automated inspection and process control' through to 'An introduction to product testing for reliability'. Some of the companies and organisations participating include such well known names as Micro-Epsilon, Honeywell, Colibrys, Igus, Adsyst, HBM, Burkert, NPL, Techni Measure, Sensors KTN, Profibus, University of Sussex, Compostella and PARC.

The hour long workshops and seminars are free to attend and allow engineers to choose their subjects of interest and learn the latest sensing and control techniques in use in industry, with the option of questioning the experts face to face. After the workshop, engineers can then visit the company's stand to view the exact products and ask further questions.

Workshop places can be reserved online together with free registration for a free visitor e-ticket to the show by visiting the website. Early booking is advised, as space will be limited.

This event is a focussed event embracing control & instrumentation, test & measurement, calibration, data acquisition, analysis and automation. The ESP KTN, InstMC, Sensorland.com and The Profibus group, plus leading journals such as Industrial Technology Magazine, IP & E, IEN and Eureka are supporting this new exhibition. The show takes places at FIVE, a purpose build venue with easy access and plenty of free visitor and exhibitor parking.

"S+S for Control & Instrumentation is a low cost, time effective way for enabling buyers to see, touch, compare products, meet suppliers face to face and discuss specific requirements before purchasing!"

Management functions added to switching system

Fast Track Switching, Harting's innovative Ethernet-based switching technology, is now even more versatile thanks to the introduction of a range of management functions offering determinism and availability combined with redundancy, reliability, diagnosis and much more.

The Fast Track Switching method recognises, prioritises and accelerates precisely those frames that are particularly important for the user in the specific application. It is easy to set the switch up for the identification characteristics within these frames. This allows the switch to recognise important frames, which are then accelerated by way of the cut-through method, allowing them to overtake other frames blocking their path. As a result, important data always reach their destination on time, regardless of
the remaining network load.

As fully-managed switches, the devices offer all the functions expected from a modern switch including redundancy capability as well as VLAN and DHCP capability. The integrated PROFINET I/O stack also allows the devices to be used and integrated as Conformance Class B equipment in the PROFINET area. EtherNet/IP applications are also optimally supported with IGMP snooping and
DHCP Option 82.

The Fast Track Switching product family includes three new members: the Ha-VIS FTS 3100-A, equipped with ten RJ45 ports; the Ha-VIS FTS 3082-ASFP, equipped with eight RJ45 ports plus two SFP slots; and the Ha-VIS FTS 3060-A, with six RJ45 ports in an especially slim design

The combination of Fast Track Switching technology and extensive management functions allows a very wide range of applications to be implemented with completely new possibilities.

Measuring Displacement

An informative guide to aid LVDT selection

Monitran has produced an easy-to-use and informative selection guide for its Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDTs).

The guide details Monitran’s Miniature, Industrial and Economy LVDTs; which between them have stroke lengths ranging from ±0.25 to ±550mm.

Selection criteria include mechanical/physical characteristics such as construction material, assembly type, cable exit type, operating temperature range and sealing. Electrical characteristics include degree of linearity and output type.

Andy Anthony, Monitran’s Operations Director, comments: “The LVDT is a well-proven, reliable and rugged transducer type for measuring displacement. At Monitran we make all LVDTs to order, so that they can match our customers’ exact requirements.”

Monitran’s Miniature LVDTs are ideal for applications where space is at a premium, the Industrial LVDTs are the most rugged and are ideal for use in harsh environments, and the Economy LVDTs are an extremely cost-effective solution for all less demanding applications.