Friday, July 8, 2011

Automation social networking!

The International Society of Automation (ISA) debuted its social media site, ISA Interchange, at the recent leaders meeting.
This new educational, news-and-blog site provides automation professionals with an opportunity for finding relevant, high-quality technical knowledge; engaging with each other for information sharing and problem solving; and strengthening professional networks.

See Emerson's Jim Cahill's assessment of the site on his famous blog: ISA Interchange Surfaces and Promotes Exchange of Automation Knowledge! (11/7/2011)
ISA Marketing & Sales Division: New Automation hot-spot (12/7/2011)
“We’ve integrated today’s successful social networking tools with some of the richest resources in the automation field,” said ISA Executive Director and CEO, Pat Gouhin. “ISA Interchange provides rich ISA resources for our members, our customers and the automation community.”

Visitors to the website at will find that ISA Interchange is convenient, searchable, and continually updated with new content to create a rich technical resource. The site hosts articles, news, blogs and streaming video, to which visitors can post comments, start conversations, and share with other professionals in automation communities.

Gouhin continued, “One of our key priorities was to spark discussions about automation topics across technologies. Technicians, engineers, managers, students, all expect instant access to information, and we’re pleased to give them a tool that will enhance their success.”

ISA Interchange integrates onsite commenting; plus provides easy links for sharing via email and through popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flicker®, LinkedIn®, SlideShare, +1, Delicious, and others. The blog site also offers RSS feed subscription and email notification of updates.

Sub-Saharan Africa representation

Invensys Operations Management has appointed EOH, the largest enterprise applications provider in South Africa, as its sole representative in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sudipta Bhattacharya
“Invensys Operations Management has had a presence in South Africa for more than 20 years, supported by our strong ecosystem of regional partners, but now we will be represented solely and directly by EOH,” said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive officer, Invensys Operations Management. “The agreement is largely attributable to EOH’s extensive knowledge in the mining and manufacturing sectors, as well as its reach in the local market. We believe it will broaden the scope of our product and service offerings in sub-Saharan Africa and help us execute and deliver upon projects more cost effectively. Additionally, EOH’s impeccable record of success as a Level 3 BBBEE-rated business solidified the decision.”

The new office in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, will serve as the primary point of contact for Invensys in the region.

EOH’s solid track record in the mining and manufacturing sector creates a solid foundation for Invensys Operations Management to work from, said Asher Bohbot, chief executive officer of EOH. “South Africa has an aggressive energy expansion goal as the leading economic power in Africa and is a key player in the continent’s energy and oil industries. South Africa has an increasingly vital role in the global process industry, including the upstream oil and gas and power generation markets, with coal-based fuels being a significant component of the nation’s energy sector. Our new agreement with Invensys Operations Management allows us to deliver exceptional service and support to these important customers as they pursue real-time operational excellence.”
Besides project engineering, the new Invensys Operations Management facility at EOH will include a training and customer support service centre, as well as a sales and marketing point of contact. Invensys offerings include process control engineering that is utilised by large companies such as Eskom and Sasol in the form of distributed control systems (DCS) to control their processes, boilers and electrical power grids. Some of the global brands that fall within the Invensys stable include Eurotherm®, Foxboro®, InFusion™, SimSci-Esscor®, Triconex® and Wonderware®. EOH has been the exclusive provider of Wonderware software and services in the region for more than eight years.

“The newly established Invensys Operations Management office at EOH will be the main point of contact for clients, as well as for Invensys-supplied products, solutions and services. With the continued support of the South African community, government officials and our strong network of South African partners, EOH looks forward to developing more business for the benefit of our clients and communities in the region,” said Bohbot.

Software deployed in coal, wind and gas power generation

Predictive diagnostics to be used in combined-cycle, coal, wind, and gas storage—along with new research project on boiler tube leaks

SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) is widely expanding its use of GE Intelligent Platforms' Proficy® SmartSignal predictive-diagnostic software and services. This is in recognition of initial value achieved by implementing the SmartSignal solutions in its coal and combined-cycle plants and SSE’s desire to provide this same level of protection for all of its critical equipment across all diversified assets.

SSE supplies energy to 10 million customers throughout Great Britain, is independently recognized as the best energy supplier for customer service on the island, and is Britain's leading generator of electricity from renewable sources. In the spring of 2010, SSE chose Proficy SmartSignal solutions to protect its entire large thermal fleet. This agreement covered all coal and combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants in Britain, consisting of 6.5 GW of generating capacity. The contract included fleet-wide licenses of GE’s flagship Proficy SmartSignal Epi-center solution, along with Proficy SmartSignal xConnector software, which provides a comprehensive gateway between Epi-center and the OSIsoft PI System™. This purchase also included implementation of the first two units: a CCGT unit at Medway and a coal-fired unit at Fiddler’s Ferry.

With the new agreement, SSE will expand its use of Proficy SmartSignal software beyond its thermal fleet to wind farms and gas storage. SSE will begin trials at its Toddleburn wind site, including all 12 Siemens turbines, along with the Aldborough Gas Storage site, including three Siemens gas compressors. If successful, these tests will lead to further expansion across the wind fleet and incremental gas storage assets.

Also, SSE will expand implementation across combined-cycle units by adding the Keadby and Peterhead plants. Covered equipment will include all combustion turbines and generators, steam turbines and generators, HRSGs, feed pumps, condensers, and condensate pumps.

According to Erik Udstuen, GE Intelligent Platforms Vice President, Software and Services, SSE and GE also will be partnering in an unusual and innovative R & D project to develop a software product to provide early warning and location of boiler tube leaks.

“Tube leaks in coal-fired boilers are leading causes of forced outages and lost production. GE will expand upon its initial work in this area, along with SSE boiler-expert and operator feedback. A resulting product would revolutionize the industry, helping operators to minimize the damage caused by leaks, reduce the time to repair, and make repairs during off-peak production,” he said.

Neil Connolly, Engineering Centre Manager of SSE, further explained the partnership, “Through our initial purchase, GE has proven its industry leadership and engineering expertise, and we’re really excited about working with them—and having the best monitoring and maintenance equipment across our gas storage and wind farms.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Engine connectors

Souriau's KV class connectors are the perfect answer to the high-vibration and high-temperature (260°C) requirements encountered in aircraft engines and other harsh operating environments. In addition, the trend in aviation to minimise weight and to optimise the ergonomics of wiring harnesses make KV class connectors the perfect solution with their integrated backshell. It is because of these special features that the KV class is the solution adopted for new engine developments.

These connectors are qualified to Rolls Royce ESC15 KV and ESC16 KV standards. These connectors with an integrated backshell are used in engine environments and have been tested to vibration levels higher than the usual international standards (M83723 and EN2997).

In addition to the “traditional” approval tests (8 hours’ axial vibration at high temperature), KV class connectors have also undergone vibration endurance testing for 60 hours with high levels of vibration (considerable movement of up to 13 inches/second and spectral density of 0.03 g²/Hz).

Their 8535 KV and 8536 KV connectors are therefore the solution for harsh operating environments, with the added benefits of simplified wiring and weight reduction through their integrated backshell.

Cryogenic fluid custody transfer

Coriolis flowmeters have European, Asian, Australian and U.S. approvals for cryogenic fluids in custody transfer applications

Accurate mass-flow measurement
for Cryostar LNG fuel dispensers
Micro Motion® Coriolis flowmeters from Emerson Process Management are being used by Cryostar in its fuel dispensers for liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vehicles. This company is a leading provider of advanced technologies for LNG applications and they chose the Micro Motion flowmeters not only for their inherent accuracy, but also because regulatory organisations in Europe, Asia, Australia and the U.S. have approved the meters for measuring cryogenic fluids in custody transfer applications.

“When we were designing our fuel dispensers, we looked at various measurement technologies and several potential suppliers,” said Philippe Fauvel of Cryostar. “Emerson’s Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters have all the approvals we need for our growing markets, as well as providing the accurate and reliable data that this fiscal application demands.”
The Cryostar dispenser, which has a 99.5 per cent accuracy, has been approved by the relevant Weights and Measures departments in many world areas to the appropriate standard. These include MID (Europe) and Nederlands Meet Instituut (NMI) for Australia and Asia. Cryostar is also seeking National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) approval for North America.

“This project has been very much a joint development with Emerson,”
continued Fauvel. “Emerson helped with obtaining MID approval, and we used their valuable LNG knowledge and experience to achieve the best possible design – making our dispensers among the most accurate and reliable on the market.”

MID certification means that when Emerson’s compact flowmeters are used as a component of a complete measuring system, such as the Cryostar fuel dispenser, it is not necessary for the dispenser manufacturer to type test and certify the devices – saving both time and money.

The Cryostar dispenser uses a Micro Motion ELITE® CMF100 flowmeter to determine mass flow, eliminating the separate fluid density compensation required by traditional volumetric technologies. This reduces costs and measurement uncertainty while simplifying installation. Additionally, Micro Motion meters do not require straight pipe runs or flow conditioning devices, enabling compact and efficient skid-based metering designs.

Micro Motion meters are ideally suited to cryogenic applications for dispensing LNG fuel to motor vehicles. They have no moving parts, enabling the meters to deliver improved system reliability and increased plant availability. Using Micro Motion Coriolis meters for LNG dispensing provides operators with accurate, real-time, in-line measurement data, while meeting the ATEX safety limitations.

“Emerson’s full range of Coriolis measuring instruments has MID approval for LNG applications,”
said Denis Henrot, Vice President for Emerson’s Micro Motion line in Europe. “This makes our highly accurate Coriolis flowmeters ideally suited to low flow applications such as in fuelling dispensers, in addition to established high flow applications in pipelines, tankers and storage systems.

Low cost video tracker

Miniature automatic video tracker easily integrates into size-, weight- and power-constrained environments

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the ADEPT3000 miniature rugged automatic video tracker. Designed for the detection, surveillance and tracking of still or moving objects, it is designed as a low cost solution for environments in which size, weight and power (SWaP) are highly constrained. These would typically include unmanned vehicles and man-portable devices, or integration directly into a gimbal.

The ADEPT3000 is small (34mm x 24mm – approximately the size of a microprocessor), light weight (around six grams) and consumes minimal power (~1 watt). It is designed to complement the more powerful but less compact ADEPT5000 multi-target video tracker.

“Growing numbers of military and aerospace environments are severely constrained in terms of weight, size and power,” said Jamie Farmer, Business Leader, Applied Image Processing at GE Intelligent Platforms. “The ADEPT3000 responds to those requirements – but despite its small size, it is an extraordinarily capable solution with significant processing power, allowing the ADEPT3000 to take more decisions itself.”

Whether integrated in air-to-ground, ground-to-ground, ground-to-air or naval electro-optical systems, the improved algorithm at the heart of the ADEPT3000 provides effective detection and tracking of challenging objects in difficult environments. The ADEPT3000 supports standard definition analog video, and, once a target has been acquired, the resulting signal is passed to a sophisticated algorithm for track path analysis.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flexible and modular

Rittal’s Ri4Power, Form 1-4, offers an economic approach to low voltage switchgear requirements with easy planning, simple handling, quick installation and a high-degree of modularity. Ri4Power Form 1-4, allows switchgear manufacturers to fabricate every known form of internal subdivision from one single set of modules. Units for very different needs and applications can be made with one and the same component.

For switchgear manufacturers, RiLine60 is a compact busbar system with component and connection adaptors that offers a solution for up to 1600 A for power distribution at the lower distribution level. Maxi-PLS provides a compact busbar system of 1000-4000 A that cuts installation time and Flat-PLS is a rugged busbar system for currents up to 5500 A, based on flat copper bars, meeting maximum requirements with its high short-circuit resistance.

TS 8 enclosures form the platform of Ri4Power, with their range of dimensions and expandability offering complete flexibility. Door heights are available from 150mm to 2000mm. The divided enclosure interior allows the internal space to be optimally adapted to the specific requirements of the function-related switchgear. Available as ‘flat pack’ or assembled as steel work and copper, Ri4Power represents a flexible approach to Motor Control Centres/Distribution boards.

It is also possible to plan and configure the various combinations quickly and easily, with the aid of Rittal's Power Engineering software Version 5.0. With the assistance of the integrated assembly planning tool, individual assembly plans can be drawn up for each enclosure field. From these, the switchgear manufacturer can assign the different components quickly and perform assembly smoothly.

Systems integrator in South Africa

Invensys Operations Management has named Advansys (Pty) Ltd to its global ecosystem of partners as an Endorsed System Integrator (ESI).

Located in Johannesburg (ZA), Advansys provides specialised industrial control and automation engineering and consulting services to the manufacturing and utilities sectors throughout Southern Africa. Advansys was selected because of its demonstrated commitment to providing superior solutions and service for customers, as well as for building a strong business practice around delivering solutions built on Invensys Operations Management’s Wonderware® software.

“Advansys emphasises innovation, quality and customer value and has a long history of helping Wonderware customers achieve operational excellence,”
said Ashtad Engineer, vice president, Ecosystem, Invensys Operations Management. “They won the Wonderware Southern Africa Innovation Award in 2010 for showing creativity in adapting our ArchestrA® toolkit to create their Diagnostic Suite, already being used by one of their key customers. And in 2011, Advansys won the Best SCADA / HMI Implementation award for demonstrating a new human-machine interface that provides unprecedented ease of navigation and operator communication. We look forward to working with them as we execute our long-term growth strategy.”
To achieve the endorsement, Advansys underwent a detailed business process assessment, including certification of its proven expertise in implementing Wonderware technology at customer facilities. Evaluations included a validated track record of delivering unique solutions built on Wonderware technology that have accelerated operational excellence for customers by increasing their efficiency, reducing costs and maximising profits.

“We are proud that Invensys Operations Management has certified us as an ESI based on our track record of delivering successful industrial automation solutions to leading Southern African companies,” said Graeme Welton, director, Advansys (Pty) Ltd. “We will continue to emphasise innovation and the provision of high-quality, value-adding and cost-effective solutions to our customers using the ArchestrA System Platform. We particularly look forward to interacting with other partners within the Invensys ecosystem to leverage knowledge, sales support and business development and to share the innovations we have developed and will continue to develop.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Safety offering deepened!

Acquisition expands depth of Emerson Process Management’s safety and security offerings

Net Safety's Millennium
catalytic bead combustable
gas detector
Emerson Process Management has acquired Net Safety Monitoring,  a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of fixed toxic and combustible gas detectors, flame detectors, safety systems, and other safety and security products.  The acquisition expands Emerson’s capabilities to provide comprehensive process controls and safety monitoring for the toughest industrial environments.

For nearly two decades, Calgary-based (CDN) Net Safety  has built a reputation for developing products engineered for continuous performance in the most extreme conditions, particularly for the oil and gas industry.

“Emerson and Net Safety share a passion for providing products and solutions that help our customers run their operations under strict safety standards” said Ken Biele, president of Emerson Process Management’s Analytical Group. “Together we will be able to help not only manage and control processes, but also ensure the safety of our customers’ people, facilities and property.” 

“This is a great move for Net Safety, our employees, and especially our customers,” added Net Safety chief operating officer Kevin Algar.  “Emerson’s technical leadership, global presence, and financial strength will help us expand our offerings and better serve our customers around the world.”

Net Safety and its global sales and support offices in Calgary, Houston, Abu Dhabi, Beijing and Singapore will continue operating as a separate business within Emerson Process Management’s Analytical Group.

Pulp & paper offering strengthened

ABB to acquire Swedish manufacturer of quality control and process optimization solutions

ABB has agreed to acquire Lorentzen & Wettre from ASSA ABLOY AB (publ) for a price of about €83m (SEK 750m or US$119m), to strengthen its business in the pulp and paper area.

Based in Sweden, Lorentzen & Wettre manufactures equipment for quality control, process optimization and test instrumentation for the pulp and paper industry. It has production facilities in Kista and Kajaani, Finland, and sales and service offices across Europe and in Canada, China, Japan, Singapore and the US. The company has approximately 190 employees, and will be incorporated into ABB’s Process Automation division.

“This acquisition will nicely complement our existing portfolio of pulp and paper industry offerings,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “This is an excellent strategic fit as Lorentzen & Wettre’s products and services will enable us to address the broad spectrum of pulp and paper production challenges.”

Founded in 1895 the company has technology that contributes to improving paper quality, reducing manufacturing costs, and cutting the consumption of raw materials and energy. The company’s offering includes automated fiber and pulp analysis devices, consistency transmitters, moisture sensors, laboratory paper testing instruments, automated paper testing systems, and industry specific services.

"We are very excited to continue to develop our business as part of the global Process Automation business of ABB,” said Patrik Stolpe, CEO of Lorentzen & Wettre.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. ABB expects the acquisition to be completed during the second half of the year.

Practical lab measurements & instrumentation

Critique by Dr. Sergey Y. Yurish, International Frequency Sensor Association (IFSA)

The Handbook of Laboratory Measurements and Instrumentation is a practical oriented book which presents to readers experimental and laboratory activities with an approach as close as possible to reality, even offering remote access to experiments, providing to the reader an excellent guide and tool for learning laboratory techniques, instruments and methodologies including methods of measurements, results analysis and errors evaluation.
The authors are internationally recognized scientists from the University of Porto (P), Maria Teresa Restivo, Fernando Gomes de Almeida, Maria de Fátima Chouzal, Joaquim Gabriel Mendes and António Mendes Lopes. They confirm that instrumentation is vital for the design and implementation of measuring, monitoring and actuation systems and in data acquisition systems and processing, playing nowadays a fundamental role in many technological areas, as well as in those of certification, control and information. The increasing demand of experimental accuracy in all scientific areas makes instrumentation for measurement a crucial component, particularly in higher education curricula with a strong technological element, being also essential at research and development level.

The publication of this handbook, by the International Frequency Sensor Association, is well-timed because when dealing nowadays with large classes it is very difficult for universities’ teachers and professors to provide to the students direct contact with well-structured hands-on experimental measurements in real measuring laboratory. This well organised book presents to higher education students in engineering, physics, bioengineering and other related areas, a first overview of some of the most common measurement techniques, offering a close approximation to the real laboratory environments, which they may encounter at a later stage in their studies.
The handbook is organised in a logical and methodical way. The introduction is following by thirteen well-illustrated chapters on various aspects of measurement and instrumentation such as generic laboratory equipment, temperature, dimensional, force, strain, displacement, proximity and angular velocity measurements, data acquisition systems, web monitoring and control, bridge circuits for resistance, inductance and capacitance measurements, etc.
Each chapter is independent, self-contained and followed by useful references collected at the end of the book including basic books, articles and carefully selected web links. Each one presents a clearly defined learning objective, the essential concepts and a step-by-step guide for performing the experimental activity, various complementary multimedia contents and a final synthesis. The set of open questions that closes each chapter is intended to provide formative assessment. This unique book includes dozens simulations, animations and videos (see examples in the full-page [pdf]  review in Sensors & Transducers). It makes this title a very valued and different volume from existing books on measurements and instrumentation.

The Handbook of Laboratory Measurements and Instrumentation not only fills the existing gaps in the available literature on measurements but also simultaneously opening the excellent prospects for the dissemination of know-how, technologies and techniques among students, researchers and engineers.
The newly published book significantly contributes to the dissemination of experimental activity in engineering education and to facilitate the conception, tuning and exploration of experimental systems for laboratory training. The full technical description of the equipment is provided to make the setups easily reproducible. Engineers, researchers, technicians and students who are working in measuring laboratories will find plenty of practical information here for solving daily problems.

Fault insertion modules

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PXI Fault Insertion solutions with the introduction of the 40-197 and the 40-198. Fault Insertion (FI) modules are used within an Automatic Test System to simulate common fault conditions such as an open, short to ground or a short to other connections in a device under test.

The 40-197 provides up to 34 fault insertion channels that can be connected to any of four fault bus connections, each having two 2 different conditions. Each fault insertion channel can switch up to 220VDC at 60W. Each channel can carry and hot switch 2A continuously and up to 6A carry for short duration surge currents. The 40-197 bridges the gap between Pickering’s simpler fault insertion offerings & more complex FIBO options also available from Pickering Interfaces.

The 40-198 supports up to 20 fault insertion channels that can be connected to one of two fault insertion buses, each of which has three optional fault definitions. With hot switching capabilities of up to 110VDC & 150W, each channel can carry and hot switch 5A continuously and up to 10A carry for short duration surge currents. The 40-198 is designed to fill a gap between Pickering’s 2A & 10A standard topology fault insertion solutions .

The two models use a switch design based around high quality electro-mechanical relays and in addition to being supported in any PXI compliant chassis, they can be supported in Pickering Interfaces Modular LXI Chassis’.

Pickering Interfaces offers the widest range of fault insertion modules available in the PXI platform, allowing users to choose the size and rating of the fault insertion channels they need from 2A to in excess of 30A. All fault insertion solutions are compatible with most common real time operating systems

Trace gas analyser for SF

Tiger Optics is continuing to expand the capabilities of its patented CW-CRDS technology, and has just announced plans to introduce the LaserTrace 3TM trace gas analyzer at the Semicon West trade show in San Francisco (US). The LaserTrace 3 can detect moisture, oxygen, methane, and other analyte contaminants at limits that are more than two times (2X) lower than previous generations of the product line.

Tiger, in the industry vanguard, sells laser-based trace gas analyzers to semiconductor manufacturers, tool manufacturers, purifier manufacturers and the gas companies that supply bulk and specialty
gases to the industry. In semiconductor manufacturing, contamination in process gases has a destabilising effect and negatively impacts deposition processes. As a result of as little as single-digit
parts-per billion impurities in process gases, product yields are reduced. To remedy this problem, the LaserTrace 3 allows users to monitor for intrusions at levels that were never previously available.

“The leading semiconductor manufacturers have adopted our patented CW-CRDS technology due to the superior detection range, ease of use, the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry, and the fact
that this is an absolute technology. No calibration gases are required,” said Lisa Bergson, Tiger’s founder and chief executive. “In order for our customers to meet targets for the 15-year International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, they need to monitor their process gases at ever increasing levels of purity. The technological advancements of the LaserTrace 3 are a result of Tiger Optics’ on-going investment in research and development. We’re thrilled that our customers will now be able to realize a two-fold improvement in their detection limits.”

Since its debut in 2003, the LaserTrace platform has been widely accepted for semiconductor applications, based on its versatility, ease-of-use, and low cost-of-ownership. The multi-species,
multi-point, multi-gas product line accommodates up to four sensor modules in a standard 19-inch rack, or permits placement of individual sensor models as far as 200 feet from the computerized control unit. In 2005, the company introduced its LaserTrace O2 as the world’s first laser-based, trace oxygen analyzer to detect parts-per-trillion levels in ultra-high-purity gases. In 2008, the LaserTrace+
made possible the lower detection limit (LDL) of 200 parts-per-trillion, affording the widest dynamic range of any dedicated analyzer currently in the market.

Switch based on RFID

A new electronic contactless safety switch for protective equipment, such as covers, flaps and doors, has been introduced by Siemens.

The new 3SE63 safety switch is based on contactless RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) transponder technology and offers a high level of protection against interference, tampering and bypassing. The rugged safety switch has a plastic enclosure providing a high degree of protection up to IP69K that is resistant to detergents and is designed for a long service life and for use under extreme environmental conditions. It switches wear-free and covers a wide range of applications, including protective covers, flaps and doors that are difficult to adjust or that open and close frequently. The switch can be used in safety applications up to Performance Level e according to EN 13849-1 as well as SIL 3 according to IEC 61508/62061 and is suitable for connecting several devices in parallel.

The new 3SE63 safety switch satisfies the regulations for tamper-proof occupational safety protection through individual coding of the switch and actuator. The low-maintenance device is equipped with integrated monitoring functions for open-circuit, external voltage and cross-circuit, and has two short-circuit-proof 24 V DC safety outputs. Further comprehensive diagnostic functions, such as threshold indication, can be displayed on the status LEDs on the device or obtained from the diagnostics output for further processing. The new electronic safety switch has a larger switching displacement than mechanical switches and therefore a wider tolerance band. This means that the device can be mounted and adjusted quickly and easily.