Friday, July 15, 2011

Code reading system!

Vision systems integrator, Olmec-UK Ltd, has launched a versatile, extremely simple to use code reading system for standard and hi-speed character recognition and verification on labels. Originally developed to meet the stringent requirements of the healthcare industry, the self-contained Olmec VP2-CR offers fully validated character recognition, character verification and robust 2D data matrix handling and grading, and can be used for tasks ranging from simple verification through to GS1 and CIP13 conformance.

The VP2-CR is capable of verifying codes whilst simultaneously detecting changing batch code orientation and differing quantities and location of characters on a wide variety of label types, sizes and colours. Auto detection and extraction of the lot code, combined with filtering of background colours allows hundreds of label variants to be reduced to just a few format combinations for easy set-up and measurement. Capable of inspecting labels statically or at high speeds, the system provides a batch report at the completion of each job, supporting production traceability.

A simple, graphical user interface using a touch screen controller allows the system to be set up for any type of label in just 3 menu-driven steps. An embedded electronic user manual further enhances ease of use. Powerful facilities include image storage, statistical counting and batch reporting. Supplied with a full IQ and OQ documentation package, the VP2-CR meets current and future regulatory requirements.

Featuring an integrated camera, light source and touch screen controller in an IP67-rated housing, the scalable VP2-CR is available in different configurations including sliding track for implementation behind the industry’s leading print systems. Remote connectivity allows remote monitoring and diagnostics.

Assembling fibre optic fibres!

Harting has introduced a new assembly tool which greatly simplifies and speeds up the assembly of polymer optic fibres, while also producing connections with low attenuation levels.

The new tool is designed for use in the industrial automation environment where preassembled system cables are not normally used. As a result, this environment calls for processing methods that allow quick assembly of an optical data cord with reproducible attenuation levels. The conventional assembly process, involving cutting the fibre and subsequent grinding and polishing, is time-consuming and cumbersome, and so an alternative approach is required.

This new assembly tool allows both precise cutting and stripping. Both single optical fibre conductors are simultaneously stripped and cut with a circular knife in the duplex procedure. The front face of the optical fibre is cut to such high precision in this procedure that there is no need for subsequent polishing. In order to guarantee that each cut is precise, the circular knife is pre-clocked with each processing step. A mechanical counter permanently integrated in the gripper registers the number of steps carried out.

One cutting unit can be used for more than 1200 cuts. At the end of its service life, the cutting tool blocks further use. The user can replace it with a new cutting unit in a simple step. A visual display signals how many cuts can still be made, allowing arrangements for a new cutting unit to be made in good time. The tool consequently guarantees reliable assembly with reproducible cutting and attenuation results.

The most comprehensive website?

There's a lot of hype, flannell and hyperbole about the great paradigm shift that is occurring these days in sales and marketing. Everything you've ever known has changed says Chris Rand in one of his daily (short thankfully) emails. In 2009 we spoke about discovering another mercifully brief guru, Seth Godin in his book Meatball Sundae in our blog Sundae, bloody sundae! Gradually, and to my mind surprisingly slowly, vendors in our industry are realising this.  Why the philosophy? Well we just got this release from Digi-Key Corporation, which we reproduce in full and unexpurgated form, and it set us thinking.

Electronic components distributor Digi-Key Corporation, recognized by design engineers as having the industry’s broadest selection of electronic components available for immediate shipment, offers electronic engineers and procurement professionals the most comprehensive user experience on the World Wide Web.

“Ensuring a positive user experience is important to us,” said Mark Larson, president and COO of Digi-Key Corporation. “We can offer members of the EE community the best components in the electronics industry and provide valuable product information, design tools, and resources—all integrated and readily available on our global websites.”

One way Digi-Key informs purchasers is by providing updated New Product Highlight pages (located on Digi-Key’s supplier pages) which showcase the applications for and specific details about the best electronic components in the industry.

Also offered on Digi-Key’s global websites are Product Training Modules (PTMs)— training portals designed to offer in-depth product knowledge regarding the latest innovations. PTMs are available on Digi-Key’s supplier pages and on Digi-Key’s YouTube channel where users can also gain instant access to the latest, industry exclusive Another Geek Moment videos featuring entertaining product demonstrations.

Some of Digi-Key’s most industry-unique resources are the TechZoneSM technology zones which house articles, white papers, and application notes based on Lighting, Microcontroller, Power, Sensor, and Wireless technologies. Stemming from these online resources are the TechZoneSM Magazines which feature articles penned by top industry professionals. Lighting, Microcontroller, Sensor, and Wireless editions can be accessed as interactive online versions or in downloadable iPad/HTML5 and PDF formats.

“In a recent independent industry survey by Hearst, Digi-Key was ranked #1 for Ease of Website Navigation and Valuable Online Content Offering by industry professionals and design engineers,” said Larson. “Our success as an Internet-based distributor is measured by the high quality of our comprehensive online resources.”

Digi-Key was also ranked #1 in web categories such as Design Support, Best Online Seminars, and Best Technology Education and Training by industry professionals and design engineers in the aforementioned 2011 Hearst study.

As the leading integrated Internet-based distributor, information about and inventory of millions of products is accessible to customers around the globe, with all products shipped from Digi-Key’s single, North American location. The company’s integrated business model provides product and support information online to help put engineers and procurement professionals in control as they solve tough product development challenges.

The company’s online offerings and resources include: an interactive online catalog; PTM Online…On Demand® product training modules; TechZoneSM Magazines; Another Geek Moment videos; Digi-Key toolbar; PurchasingPro for electronics buyers; TechXchange; a Mobile and Social Center; and a Reference Design Library.

Well there you have it! Have they got it right in blowing their virtual trumpet about their web presence?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Analysis, Reporting of Engineering Measurement Data

Features Include Flexible Load Behaviour for Large Data Sets, DataPlugin Wizard for Microsoft Excel and Fundamental Enhancements to DIAdem REPORT

National Instruments has announced NI DIAdem 2011, the latest version of the software tool specifically designed to make engineers and scientists more efficient when locating, inspecting, analyzing and reporting on measurement data. DIAdem 2011 gives engineers a new data-loading method for access to large data sets in less time than before, a new DataPlugin Wizard for Microsoft Excel to easily migrate from Excel to DIAdem and enhancements to the DIAdem REPORT panel for a richer, more dynamic report creation experience.

Analyzing and reporting time-based measurement data presents unique challenges that DIAdem overcomes out of the box. DIAdem is optimized to operate on large data sets, includes engineering-specific analysis tools and features powerful report and script creation editors for automating repetitive data-processing tasks.

With new flexible loading options in DIAdem 2011, engineers can choose to delay loading bulk data from Technical Data Management (TDM) and TDM Streaming (TDMS) files until absolutely necessary. This unique approach references data in place on disk during analysis and reporting without compromising the integrity of the original data stored in the file. With this approach, engineers achieve rapid access to data without concern of unintended alterations to original files.

DIAdem 2011 also introduces a new DataPlugin Wizard designed for straightforward integration of spreadsheet-based data files such as those created using Microsoft Excel and CALC. Using the DataPlugin Wizard for Excel, engineers quickly and interactively can teach DIAdem to recognize the structure of similarly organized files. Afterward, they can immediately load Excel data into the environment and process it using the productivity gains that DIAdem provides including large data set capacity, synchronized visualization and integrated advanced analysis and management tools.

DIAdem REPORT has undergone fundamental changes that are instantly advantageous during template-based report creation. Anti-aliasing improves general report quality by yielding cleaner imagery. Interactive axis scaling makes precise graphs and charts easier to create, and dynamic curve comments and snippets automatically update with formatting changes so that reports are always publication-ready. Additionally, a redesigned report management dialog features filtering and duplication capabilities so that engineers quickly and easily can expand larger multipage report templates.

Oil, gas and power users meet

SmartSignal Corporation held its first User Group meeting since being acquired by GE Intelligent Platforms in January 2011. More than 20 oil and gas super majors and power generation giants from Europe and the Middle East gathered at the SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy) Equipment Performance Centre just outside of Leeds (GB) to learn about the value of Proficy SmartSignal solutions and the company’s expanded roadmap as part of GE’s Proficy software product suite. Present were representatives from BG Group, BP, ConocoPhillips, Electricity Supply Board, EDF, Edipower, Enel, E.ON, Fortum, Gas Natural Fenosa, Laborelec, RasGas, RWE npower, Saltend Cogeneration, Scottish Power, SSE, Statoil, Thames Power, Total, and more.

“As part of GE, SmartSignal will have the opportunity to do the kinds of things that we couldn’t do on our own, which will enable us to increase customer value,”
said Dave Bell, Product General Manager, GE Intelligent Platforms. “We now have the power of GE behind us, and we can leverage its experience, research, and technology. We’ll be integrating our software with complementary GE solutions, including the other Proficy software and GE Energy products, to help our customers improve availability and operational excellence.”

Customers Edipower, SSE, Gas Natural Fenosa, Laborelec, RWE npower, EDF, and Segas shared their experiences in working with Proficy SmartSignal solutions, which are used across power--combined cycle, coal, wind, nuclear, and hydro plants--and oil & gas, including upstream, midstream, and downstream. The customers described “catches” identified by the software, which allowed them to detect looming equipment problems early and fix issues before they grew serious or catastrophic. One customer described how the SmartSignal solution helped identify a crack in a critical gas turbine component, saving the power plant 1.4 million euros in repair costs and production loss.

“It was great to hear positive feedback from our European customers and to get their input on our expanding plans,”
said Erik Udstuen, GE Intelligent Platforms Vice President, Software & Services. “GE sees a strong future in the energy sector, and the SmartSignal products are central to our plans of expanding asset intelligence. We look forward to continuing to serve all OEMs, all equipment, across the fleets of energy companies worldwide.”

Partner in automation event!

Schneider Electric is an ISA Automation Week 2011 Partner according to a statement from the International Society of Automation (ISA). Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management and sustainable manufacturing, helping businesses work better, faster, more efficiently and profitably.

Schneider Electric’s high level of visibility at ISA Automation Week 2011 will allow the company to showcase its solutions to address the problems of rising electricity costs combined with lower rates of reliability and quality. Power management solutions can save businesses 25% or more on energy costs, while improving reliability, efficiency, safety, and quality.

This event will feature an Energy Track within the technical conference, focusing on topics like Smart Grid, alternative energies, plant retrofits, and power management. A knowledge-driven technology and solutions event designed to deliver a stimulating and highly relevant educational experience to automation and control professionals who work within continuous process, discrete, and hybrid manufacturing environments, ISA Automation Week will be held 17-20 October 2011 in Mobile, (AL US).

Schneider Electric are to host a booth on the exhibit floor, and will present a paper on industrial energy efficiency. Schneider Electric’s solution set for the industrial environment focuses on power management systems, high density metering, energy tariff optimization, power quality mitigation, intelligent power and motor control, and renewable energy conversion.

“Enterprises with multiple sites and complex energy data often report energy as one of their most significant capital expenditures,”
said Robb Dussault, offer manager at Schneider Electric. “Managing how that energy is purchased and used is of strategic importance to businesses around the world, and Schneider Electric offers engineers and plant managers in water, oil and gas, mining and metals, and other industries real solutions to their energy management challenges.”

“Energy is one of the hottest topics in industry today, and ISA Automation Week offers top-notch technical sessions focused on the latest trends in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and asset management. Solution providers like Schneider Electric will be able to network with attendees and engage in discussions about the future of the energy management field,” said ISA President H.L. “Leo” Staples.

ISA Automation Week partnership packages, which are part of the ISA Corporate Partnership Program, are limited to a small number of companies. The ISA Corporate Partnership Program offers each company a customized, tailored approach to sponsorship. The different packages allow companies to bundle ISA’s products and services with marketing opportunities, resulting in a streamlined approach to corporate support.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Acquisition completed!

National Instruments has announced the successful completion of its acquisition of AWR Corporation (AWR) as planned and as previously announced (New products to strengthen RF design & test 24/5/'11). Effective July 1, AWR, a leading supplier of electronic design automation (EDA) software for designing RF and high-frequency components and systems for the semiconductor, aerospace and defence, communications and test equipment industries, will operate as a wholly owned NI subsidiary under the leadership of the existing management team.

The fast design cycles and increasing complexity of RF and wireless systems demand more integration between design and test. RF system designers need to validate their simulations with actual measurements, while RF test engineers need to increase test reuse and decrease test time through more design integration. By increasing the level of integration between AWR design tools and NI test software and hardware, NI and AWR can significantly improve customer productivity through increased connectivity between design, validation and production test functions.

“We are excited to welcome AWR into the National Instruments family,” said Dr. James Truchard, President, CEO and Cofounder of National Instruments. “The full suite of AWR design tools in combination with a complete RF testing platform from NI will give customers a solution to decrease the time to market of their RF designs.”
NI and AWR both understand and embody the value of high-quality software design tools and world-class customer support. The acquisition strengthens both core software brands – primarily NI LabVIEW and AWR Microwave Office – as it reinforces their breadth and credibility while positioning both as unique but complementary tools in the RF design flow. Additionally, the companies can better service key accounts that use both companies’ tools through a worldwide sales infrastructure that provides local support, a critical requirement for multinational customers.

Process management academy for Antwerp

ARC Advisory Group’s 8th annual Process Management Academy (PMA) will be held March 5-6, 2012 in Antwerp, Belgium. With an emphasis on practical strategies, best practices, and maximizing the business benefits of safe and sustainable manufacturing, ARC’s PMA takes the theme “Excellence in Safety and Sustainability” to the next level.

The general session will include presentations by end users who will share their experiences, as well as by leading technology suppliers and other industry experts. In addition, dedicated workshops will focus on the specific issues surrounding cyber security and functional safety, process safety, energy efficiency, and anti-counterfeiting in the process and hybrid industries.

ARC continues to extend, via live internet broadcast, the content of PMA to a broader audience. Participants travelling to Antwerp however have the benefit of networking on a face-to-face basis. Workshop Follows up on Objectives Identified at Previous IT Security Workshop

Information technology and automation are the backbones of most manufacturing operations.  However, production downtime due to IT-related risks is on the rise and, in the coming years, both the rate of technology change and the degree of information integration required will remain high.  How will we manage the associated risks?  What needs to be done to secure automation systems in the future? 

These questions were the topic of the IT Security Workshop held in conjunction with ARC’s previous Process Management Academy. Participants agreed to take action on the conclusions drawn during the workshop and follow up in a second workshop during PMA 2012. This continued discussion will deal with standardisation efforts, custom approaches, the development of intrinsic security design, appropriate levels of protection, and the findings of the IT security investigations conducted in close collaboration with NAMUR.

Trend Change in Functional Safety
End users demand easy and less complex automation solutions.  At this moment in time, more and more smart safety options are competing with traditional ways of safety wiring.  Will this be the start of a new installation standard for safety applications? The combined Cyber Security and Functional Safety workshop will address this trend and present the technical opportunities available.

Excellence in Process Safety
Despite decades of automation effort, human error in operations and maintenance remains a major contributor to industrial risk. Major recent accidents are still fresh in memory, but there are many more ‘near-misses’.  One danger is the unconscious belief that we cannot do much about human unpredictability and unreliability, thus perpetuating industrial incidents and accidents.  The most common root causes for error are lack of competence and failure to follow a procedure.

Herman van Roost, General Manager Industrial Organization and Competences Project at TOTAL Petrochemicals Research performed an analysis of a series of incidents and accidents in the process industry against a checklist of straightforward protective measures that operational management could have implemented. Van Roost concludes that human errors are symptoms of failing organizational defense barriers.  And since operational organizations will only be effective if they are based on human factors, engineering, operational (and higher) managers should be competent in this science.  Van Roost suggests going well beyond separate organizational improvements: Operational excellence should be based on an internally consistent hierarchy of principles and rules.  They should encompass the company’s basic values, formalized organizational fundamentals (the equivalent of an operational “constitution”), general procedures, and even daily instructions.  Such formalized organizational fundamentals, designed to increase human reliability, can be commonly defined for an entire industry branch like the process industry.  They would provide long-term stability to the operational environment despite revolving generations of managers:  such long-term stability is a prerequisite for an effective learning process, which appears to be lacking today in the process industry.  Through benchmarking, companies can compare practices and their respective impacts against the external world.

The workshop is a platform to share experiences, best practices, discuss standardization and cooperation in process safety, as a complement to safety automation.

Workshop on Energy Efficiency

From the 1950s to the 1990s the share of energy costs in the process industries was on average below 7 percent.  In the 2000s the share rose sharply and reached, depending on industry and region, between 15 and 25 percent.  The industry has to face the mounting challenge to counteract increasing energy costs.  While some industries such as chemicals have been working on this issue consistently for over 20 years, others were struck by the 2007/2008 wake-up call.  At the PMA 2009 and 2010 the discussion focused on low hanging fruits, small punctual investments with fast return on investment.  However, there is a limited number of these investments, which raises the question:  How long will there by low hanging fruits and what to do next?

Best Practices in Anti-Counterfeiting
An estimated 10 percent of all goods are counterfeit and 7-8 percent of global pharmaceuticals. The OECD and US government estimate the damage to the global market between $650 billion and $1 trillion. Impacted industries are among others apparel, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, and automotive spare parts.

The internet and the gray market of distributors and re-packers represent real challenges to manufacturers trying to prevent counterfeit drugs from reaching consumers. This implies threats for patient safety, as well as branding and economic threats to the supply chain reaching from pharmaceutical industry down to the pharmacist.  Procedural and technological solutions have seen the light since a few years.

Automotive spare parts and food & beverage industries face similar challenges. In performance chemicals, plastics and rubber, there may be less client safety implications, but the economic implications are significant.

As a result, manufacturers now deploy anti-counterfeiting technologies to protect brands, protect consumers, and allow rapid and effective response to counterfeit products.  These can be visible or invisible, machine or man readable identification and serialization on packaging or the product itself. In Europe the anti-counterfeiting initiatives are strongly stimulated by regulation related to drug safety and managing fraud in the reimbursement processes.

The workshop is a platform to discuss challenges and solutions, both procedural and technological, in reducing counterfeiting.

Investment in gas detection

Senscient Inc. Attracts Lime Rock Partners and closes Series C Financing

Senscient has secured a significant investment to support the global deployment of it multi-gas detection system. The technology detects combustible and toxic gases and significantly increases the level of safety at industrial sites. Lime Rock Partners, a global energy-focused private equity firm, led the Series C investment round and was joined by existing investors Emerald Technology Ventures and Yellowstone Energy Ventures.

ELDS™ Open Path Gas Detectors (OPGD)
Senscient's patented Enhanced Laser Diode Spectroscopy (ELDS™) is the first multi-gas Open Path Gas Detection system capable of detecting both combustible and toxic gases, simultaneously and independently, with extraordinary sensitivity, minimal maintenance, and false alarm free operation.

Senscient’s ELDS systems are currently protecting major facilities across the globe, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, France, India, Germany, and Norway. New installations in additional countries are imminent in the second half of 2011 as customers experience the significant benefits and improved safety levels delivered by the ELDS system.

"Senscient offers a very compelling value proposition to its customers. ELDS systems are fast, reliable, sensitive, simple to install and result in significant savings in total cost of operation," said Rajat Barua, Vice President of Lime Rock Partners. "The technology is unique, qualified by major customers and certified in key international markets. We have been very impressed by the high caliber team of employees at Senscient and look forward to working closely with the company to implement strategies that will accelerate growth."

"We see Lime Rock's investment in Senscient as recognition of our technology capabilities by one of the world's leading energy-related private equity investors,"
said Richard Giffhorn, CEO of Senscient. "Working with our major investors Lime Rock, Emerald Ventures and Yellowstone Energy Ventures we expect to achieve new levels of business performance by expanding our technology offering, increasing our manufacturing capabilities and developing new market opportunities from expansion of our sales organization."

With this transaction, Trevor Burgess and Rajat Barua have joined the Board of Directors of Senscient, Inc.

Wireless seminars prove popular

WirelessHART Mesh Network
An educational seminar on WirelessHART technology presented by the HART Communication Foundation is proving its value to users who want to learn more about the industry’s first international wireless communication standard. The vendor-neutral seminar, Using WirelessHART Technology in Process Industries, includes presentations by industry experts, live demonstrations of WirelessHART technology (IEC 62591 Ed.1.0; EN 62591), and a firsthand experience for users.

“In addition to gaining valuable information about WirelessHART communication, users actually see firsthand the interoperability, reliability and ease of use of this powerful wireless technology,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “Not just data from one vendor’s device in another vendor’s software, but devices from nine different manufacturers forming a robust mesh network relaying data from one device to the other and integrating that data with wired solutions.”

During 2011 five successful seminars have been held in the U.S. and Europe with more than 200 users attending. Additional seminars are scheduled this year in San Diego, CA (18 Aug), Nashville, TN (19 Sep), Port Arthur, TX (12 Oct), both in the US and in Copenhagen, Denmark (27 Oct). There is no charge to attend the seminars but seats are limited and registration is required. Users can view the current schedule and register here .

Seminar topics include understanding and using WirelessHART technology in the plant environment and planning and implementing a WirelessHART project. The live demonstrations show the interoperability of WirelessHART gateways, devices and adapters from multiple manufacturers and illustrate the simple process of a single device joining the network.
The seminars are sponsored by Foundation member companies: ABB, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, MACTek, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, ProComSol, R.Stahl, and Siemens.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weighing systems European presence

US-based scale manufacturer strengthens dedication to customers in Europe
Left to right: RLWS representatives
Mark Johnson Jr, Ber Koppenol, Mark Johnson Sr,
Duco Kroon, and Steve Parkman
Having only recently cemented the details of a newly formed partnership within India, Rice Lake Weighing Systems (RLWS) have announced the opening of a fully staffed European distribution center. Rice Lake Weighing Systems Europe  B.V.  is now open in Arnhem (NL).

RLWS is a privately owned industrial scale manufacturer with roughly 400 US employees. The Rice Lake brand, recognized worldwide for everything from industrial weighing equipment to made-to-order process-control systems, is perhaps best known for a uniquely personal approach to service and customer contact.

The company has been part of CEO Mark Johnson’s family since 1946. “Our business was built on service— the ability to be responsive and stay connected with our customers. As we’ve grown, having this facility within Europe makes sense. It’s the best way to maintain those standards and provide the trademark service, selection and speed our customers have come to expect.” 
Employees at the Arnhem location are experienced and ready to assist with technical support, product training, and more. Rice Lake Weighing Systems Europe a full-service operation with a complete warehouse of products that will ship direct to dealers across Europe. These trained and authorized dealers offer industrial customers a range of popular Rice Lake products, including weights, bench scales, weight indicators, digital controllers and even custom weighing solutions.

 “Our European customers will now have the option of calling on a European-based staff and have better access to support services like training and product demonstrations,” adds Mark.
Businesses interested in learning more about Rice Lake products or distributing the Rice Lake brand within Europe may reach this office directly, contact details here!

Rice Lake Weighing Systems is a family-owned, ISO9001 certified corporation based in the United States. Headquarters, metrology laboratory and main manufacturing plant are located in Rice Lake, Wisconsin with support facilities throughout the world including Alabama, Connecticut, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India and the Netherlands.

SIG for IEC 61499 (Distributed Systems)

The CAN in Automation (CiA) group has established the CANopen SIG (Special Interest Group) "IEC 61499". The group's scope is the development of a framework specification for CANopen-based systems using an IEC 61499 compliant programming environment. During the inauguration meeting the experts from Epis, Isagraph, NXP Control, and Weidmüller agreed to provide a very first proposal at the SPS/IPC/Drives exhibition in November. It is intended to support a migration path from IEC 61131 based decentralized control systems to distributed control systems using IEC 61499 function blocks.

A function block in the IEC 61499 standard is the basic building block from which entire applications may be built. There are two types of function blocks: basic function blocks and composite function blocks. A composite function block contains other composite function blocks and/or basic function blocks. A basic function block contains algorithms and an execution control chart (ECC). Each function block has event inputs and outputs as well as data inputs and outputs. In a basic function block the execution of an algorithm is triggered by the occurrence of an input event. The executed algorithm then from the input data produces new output data. When the algorithm has finished executing an output event is generated. This output event might then be the input event to another function block.
CANopen comprises the application layer protocol (EN 50325-4) and profile specifications defining a list of parameters (process and configuration data as well as diagnostic information). CANopen is based on the CAN (Controller Area Network) protocol, internationally standardized in the ISO 11898 series. CAN and CANopen are designed for distributed control systems.

Coriolis flow measurement for corrosive & harsh environment

High capacity Coriolis meters are ideal for corrosive oil and gas applications

The Micro Motion® ELITE® High Capacity Coriolis meter is now available in Super Duplex material to handle corrosive applications and harsh environments. The Super Duplex meter is available for line sizes from DN 200-250mm (8”-10”) and improved pressure rating to 160 bar (2320 psi).

Super Duplex stainless steel offers the same reliability, accuracy and turn down performance as meters made with 316 stainless steel material, with the added benefit of increased corrosion resistance and pressure rating. Super Duplex delivers excellent resistance to high chloride levels found in the oil field, such as formation water, and is particularly well suited for measuring production fluids and medium pipeline pressure applications. Because of the corrosive compounds in crude oil, natural gas and other hydrocarbon streams, more reliable and robust meters are required that can deliver highly accurate measurement over wide flow ranges. 

The Micro Motion ELITE High Capacity Coriolis meter offers ± 0.10 per cent mass and volume flow accuracy for liquids, and mass accuracy of ± 0.35 per cent for gas. The High Capacity Coriolis meter also offers density accuracies of ± 0.0005 g/cc and can handle a maximum liquid flow capacity of 2,550,000 kg/h. 

Emerson’s Micro Motion Coriolis meters are designed with no moving parts so they are not subject to wear or measurement drift associated with the rotating components of positive displacement (PD) or turbine meters. In addition, Micro Motion Smart Meter Verification delivers measurement confidence by verifying the complete meter performance (sensor, drive and signal processing) while the operation is flowing and without removing the meter from the line. Smart Meter Verification can check meter performance on a set schedule or at the touch of a button in minutes.

Micro Motion Coriolis meters lead the process manufacturing industry in quality, measurement performance and reliability, and are part of Emerson's broad range of intelligent, digital field devices that power the PlantWeb™ digital plant architecture. Further cost savings, increased plant availability, and enhanced safety and environmental compliance are achieved when the flowmeters are integrated into the PlantWeb digital plant architecture.

Enhanced calibration services for power measurements

An enhanced calibration service for high-frequency AC power measurement.

New services now being offered by Yokogawa, through its European Standards Laboratory in Amersfoort (NL), include calibration at frequencies up to 100 kHz - the only industrial (i.e. non-government or national) organisation to offer such a service; calibration of external current transducers at currents of up to 1200 A with very precise phase calibration to cater for the measurement of power as well as current; and the capability to carry out calibration at low power factors down to 0.001.

The European Standards Laboratory has also developed a high-accuracy power measurement system based on two sampling voltmeters and synchronisation devices using two stage inductive voltage dividers and electronic current compensated transformers with an AC shunt resistor. The measurement uncertainty of this low-frequency sampling wattmeter is less than 40 parts in 106 for active, reactive and apparent power for frequencies between 45 and 60 Hz.

Clive Davis, Yokogawa Europe's Test & Measurement Marketing Manager, comments: "This enhancement of our industry-leading calibration facilities supports Yokogawa's business proposition of offering value-added services and support to European customers, and reinforces our belief that we are the leading power measurement specialist in Europe."

CNC system automates machine!

An advanced application-specific CNC system from NUM has helped machine tool manufacturer Sinico to create a fully automated 9-axis rotary transfer cut-off and end-finishing machine for manufacturing volume batches of parts from metal bars and tubes. Thanks in part to the high speed of the CNC system, the new machine is considerably faster than Sinico's previous-generation machine.

The rotary transfer stage of the
TOP 2000ri employs a powerful
NUM BPH brushless motor capable
of generating 36 Nm of torque.
Sinico's new TOP 2000ri machine is the latest in a long line of flexible chip-removing machine tools, used by manufacturers for a wide variety of processes that include cutting, facing, chamfering, boring, centring, turning, drilling, threading, tapping and milling. The machines also handle shaping operations such as flaring, tapering, rolling, pressing, marking and knurling. Manufacturers use the machines to produce parts for an exceptionally diverse range of applications including hydraulic components, electric motors, industrial chains, power transmission, earth moving machinery and automotive components, as well as contract machining.

The performance of Sinico's new TOP 2000ri is impressive - the entire loading and setting of blank bars or tubes takes just 9 seconds, compared to 21 seconds on previous-generation machines; since this operation is repeated many times during a production run, it helps improve throughput significantly. Capable of accommodating tubes from 8 to 120 mm in diameter and bars from 8 to 80 mm, the machine can accept feed material up to 6.5 metres in length and produce parts up to 640 mm in length. These attributes, combined with its fast changeover capabilities, make the machine a supremely flexible solution for manufacturers producing a wide diversity of parts.

Sinico has used NUM CNC systems on a number of machines and the two companies have a history of collaborating on the development of new cutting and shaping techniques. In this instance, Sinico chose to base all of the TOP 2000ri's motion control functions on NUM equipment for two key reasons. First, it needed the flexibility and multi-axis capabilities of NUM's new-generation Flexium 68 CNC system to accommodate the machine's fast throughput and changeover characteristics. Secondly, it wanted to continue partnering with a company prepared to offer a fast and reactive service for collaborative software development.

All power supplies, drives and motors - including five high power spindle motors - were also supplied by NUM. The main rotary transfer stage of TOP 2000ri, which clamps and loads cut-to-length material into the end-finishing stages, is driven by a large NUM BPH brushless motor capable of generating up to 36 Nm of torque. This high speed stage feeds up to four workstations sequentially, making 90 degree moves in less than 0.4 seconds. The finishing stages of the machine employ five asynchronous AMS series spindle motors, each rated at 9 kW, plus a further eight NUM brushless motors for various position control tasks.

On the control side, there are seven single-axis NUMDrive C units, six rated at 130 A, and one at 14 A. There are also three dual-axis 50 A NUMDrive C units. The drive rack is powered by a NUM 120 kW regenerative regulated power supply together with an auxiliary power supply. Overall control of the machine is handled by NUM's new Flexium 68 CNC system.

The application-specific software for the Flexium CNC system was developed by NUM in conjunction with Sinico, using the CoDeSys hardware manufacturer-independent IEC 61131-3 programming system. This approach enabled engineers to easily share development. The application-specific HMI uses a NUM FS152i P2 control panel, featuring a touch-sensitive screen and an integrated industrial PC, together with a customised keyboard and a hand wheel for making small parameter adjustments easily and quickly. The code for the HMI was developed by Sinico, using standard Visual Basic to call routines from the NUM-supplied libraries.

The entire process flow on the TOP 2000ri is synchronised by NUM's advanced new CNC kernel, Flexium CNC. This is over four times more powerful than the fastest version of NUM's well-known Axium controller, which has been a popular choice for machine tool applications for many years. The HMI is specifically designed to present machine operators with a clear portrayal of each manufacturing stage, so that they can familiarise themselves easily with the entire process. A large number of different setup parameters can be stored and recalled at any time, enabling a changeover of the part being manufactured to be accomplished in very short timescales. This minimises machine 'dead' time and helps maximise overall productivity.

The TOP 2000ri features Sinico's patented AVTC system, which continuously varies the feed rate to the machine's cut-off stage to ensure that a constant volume of material is removed. The software automatically generates an ISO program for the ideal cutting speed curve, depending on the dimensions of the bar being processed and the shape that has been specified. This reduces cutting times to an absolute minimum and helps to increase the life of the saw blade.

New website in force!

The Chatillon® brand moves into its 176th year with exciting new products and a completely revised website. Part of the AMETEK Test & Calibration Instruments, which also includes Lloyd Instruments’  materials testing machines, Davenport  polymer test equipment,  hardness testers from Newage Hardness Testing Instruments and Jofra  calibration instruments, Chatillon force measurement instruments and systems are used for production, quality and R&D in a host of applications and markets.

The easy-to-navigate website naturally carries full details of the brand new DF II Series of Digital Force Gauges, the first of their type to offer wireless data transfer and communication via integral Bluetooth. Digital force gauges, combined with testers and stands, software, sensors, grips and fixtures and accessories form one of the most comprehensive ranges of force measurement instruments available.

The new website contains a host of new features including an interactive ' Virtual Tour’ of the new DF II products, extensive information on different force testing solutions and a comprehensive library of technical manuals available for download. The DF II Series interactive Virtual Tour is the closest thing to having the gauge actually in one’s hands!

A section dedicated to force testing solutions allows visitors to explore force testing possibilities from a variety of different viewpoints. Testing solutions can be evaluated by test types or by market and application area. In addition, there is the facility to find international standards for the material or product being tested.

New flexible temp. Tx gives user flexibility

Status Instruments has launched a new ‘smart’ temperature transmitter range that accepts resistance signals including RTD, Slidewire  or Thermocouple  sensors, and converts them to a standard industrial (4 to 20) mA transmission over a user programmed range.

With its flexible design, the TTR200 will accept more than 30 resistance sensors, including Pt100, Pt500, Pt1000, Ni types, Cu types and slidewire sensors up to 100K and resistance up to 10 Kohms. The TTC200 accepts 13 different thermocouples. In addition, Status has also provided the facility to download additional sensor characteristics as well as the user’s own 22 point linearisation table via the free programming software.

Zero offset adjustment and zero / span alignment to process is available to help minimise system errors. Input signal damping is also available to help slow the output (if required) for a very rapid rate of change of input signal.

PC configuration, which is performed quickly using Status’ USB port-driven configurator, allows the user to select sensor type, range, filter, Tag number, units and error signal without the need for calibration equipment.

Configuration set up may be saved as a PC file for later use. In addition the user may read live process data when connected to the PC allowing for sensor off-set calibration, where the user can offset the value to correct for any sensor offset.

If required the desired range can also be specified at the time of order, removing the need for user configuration.

• Status Instruments are represented in Ireland by PJ Boner & Co.

Head for new environmental unit!

Graham Leggett has joined Tiger Optics as product manager of its environmental division. Dr. Leggett brings more than 15 years of experience in gas analysis, ranging from research science at the Britain's National Physical Laboratory, to the measurements of specialty gases in semiconductor manufacturing and environmental applications.

Dr Graham Leggett
Prior to joining Tiger Optics, he served as a project director and manager at AEA Technology plc, the international environmental consulting firm, where he oversaw such projects as the UK’s National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, the UK’s Greenhouse Gases Inventory, and the European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation. Earlier in his career, he managed a portfolio of projects at the National Physical Laboratory relating to atmospheric environmental measurements, for a total of nine years’ experience in the greenhouse gas and air quality sectors.

“With such expertise, Graham is the ideal manager for our new environmental unit, which we formed to address the critical needs to measure and curb emissions,” said Lisa Bergson, Tiger Optics’ founder and chief executive. “We receive daily requests from people around the world, who wish to use our powerful CW-CRDS technology for all sorts of environmental applications. Graham will help us sort this out and spearhead the development of the best products.”

Tiger Optics, the leading maker of laser-based trace gas analyzers, already helps its customers dramatically reduce emissions through cleaner manufacturing. With their low flow and freedom from routine calibration, the company’s CW-CRDS products use less of the fossil fuel-based gas needed by conventional analyzers, thereby eliminating the environmentally compromised aspects of molecular analysis.

They also require no consumables and are generally low power. More importantly, they reduce waste by helping their customers achieve greater quality and throughput. In addition to his environmental experience, Dr. Leggett has a distinguished record in academics, research science and industrial applications. He has a pure chemistry background, having earned his bachelor of science degree (1994) and PhD (1997) from the University of London’s Queen Mary and Westfield College. His doctoral thesis, entitled “Chemical Strategies for the Removal of Trace Impurities from Gases and Solvents,” led to the development of novel, patented technologies and two successful commercial products at Air Products plc, where Dr. Leggett worked as a research scientist and project manager from 1997 until 2001.

At the National Physical Laboratory, where Dr. Leggett worked as a senior research scientist, project leader and reporting leader from 2001 until 2008, he devoted significant time to experiment design and implementation in the analytical laboratory, as well as to industry consultancy work. He was awarded the NPL Silver Award for his role in developing a new cylinder valve and connector for handling reactive species that ultimately became a successful commercial product.

Video monitoring nuclear bomb site clean up!

Industrial Video and Control (IVC) is supplying video cameras—50% of which are radiation tolerant—to Parsons Corporation.

Pic: New York Times
Parsons is building the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), a plant designed to process liquid waste stored in underground tanks at the Savannah River Site.  Video from the IVC cameras will be integrated into an Emerson Process Management DeltaV control system, where software from IVC will allow the video to be viewed on DeltaV Operate screens.  IVC’s software will also be used to build up multiple multi-monitor views that will display any number of live video windows.

The cameras will monitor processing operations in the SWPF, allowing operators at the DeltaV consoles to watch over critical steps in the process and monitor the activities of workers in the area.  IVC is supplying cameras, a complete video network, and Relay Server and View Station camera management software to Parsons.

The Savannah River Site is a “nuclear reservation” near Augusta, Georgia. The 310 square mile site was built during the 1950s to refine materials for use in nuclear weapons, and to store all the solid and liquid waste that resulted. From 1953 to 1988, the site produced 36 metric tonnes of plutonium in five nuclear reactors. None of the reactors on the site are operating at present, but plans are to clean up radioactive materials on the site and use the site for other purposes.

For example, the Savannah River Site will have a Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX) manufacturing plant that will convert weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors. Other plans call for a reactor park for power generation, and acting as a host for reactor research. The site is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.

As part of the overall clean-up operation, the SWPF facility will process 75 million gallons of salt waste currently stored in underground tanks, at a rate of 6 million gallons per year. The SWPF will remove Caesium-137, Strontium-90, and actinides from the salt wastes.

Enterprise partnership

Invensys Operations Management has been named Microsoft Global Enterprise Partner of the Year in the category Alliance ISV Industry. The award recognises Invensys Operations Management for excellence and innovation in using Microsoft-based solutions to help its manufacturing and infrastructure management customers achieve operational excellence.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer
“In today’s manufacturing world, integrating business and operations data in real time is important to achieving production and profitability goals,” said Simon Witts, corporate vice president, Enterprise & Partner Group, Microsoft Corp. “Invensys Operations Management’s solutions, including its InFusion™ Enterprise Control System, use Microsoft.NET and other Microsoft technology to improve productivity, asset performance, customer response times, inventory velocity, emissions management and many other aspects of their clients’ operations. We are pleased to recognise them as a Microsoft Global Enterprise Partner of the Year.”
“You can’t really manage and optimise your operations and achieve top profitability until you connect your business strategy to your production execution,” said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive officer, Invensys Operations Management. “In most plants, the production floor isn’t connected to the rest of the enterprise, and that gap is where much of the value is lost. Our solutions, using Microsoft technology, link corporate goals, like environment and sustainability, with supply chain targets and production metrics. Consolidating data for planning, scheduling, production and other operations management tasks on a single platform allows everyone at every level of the enterprise to see and understand how their decisions impact profitability and productivity in real time. And that leads to faster, smarter choices.”

For example, New Belgium Brewing, the third-largest craft brewer in the United States, produces more than 600,000 barrels of beer each year. The brewer has used Invensys Operations Management solutions, including Wonderware InTouch® HMI, Wonderware® Historian, which fully utilises Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and ArchestrA® System Platform as the backbone of its manufacturing execution system (MES).

“Beer brewing is an energy-intensive process, and, among other things, the Wonderware MES continuously monitors steam, water and electricity consumption to ensure optimal usage,” said Igor Valuyev, the company’s chief electrical and automation engineer. “Focusing on sustainability gives New Belgium the strength to grow our business, improve the welfare of our employees and reduce our impact on the environment. With help from Invensys, we have a system that supports our business goals, as well as our commitment to the environment.”

Another example of how Invensys and Microsoft collaborate is KapStone Paper and Packaging, who recently implemented Invensys Operations Management’s Avantis® enterprise asset management (EAM) solution with Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP solution.

“While acquiring paper mills and other related operations, KapStone needed to build an IT infrastructure that would reduce operating costs, enable continuous improvements and help improve productivity,”
said Todd Sain, director of application design and support, KapStone. “The Avantis® EAM solution did exactly what we needed it to do, and because it’s an integrated offering, it is scalable and quickly implemented so better ROI is achieved sooner. The common look and feel, as well as the tighter connection between Dynamics AX and Avantis, helps reduce overall training effort, improve decision making in the ERP layer and shrink total cost of ownership.”

Manufacturing operations are becoming more complex and demanding, and executives, plant managers and even operators expect their systems and technology to do more. But, said Bhattacharya, what they really need is to stop executing their business, supply chain and production strategies independently. That would allow personnel to access and act on real-time operating and performance information.

“Plant managers and operators are required to do more with what they have,”
he said. “By using our open-platform technology, they can integrate their people, processes and systems and achieve what we call ‘operational excellence.’ Simply put, this means that they can improve the safety, sustainability and profitability of their operations by uniting their business controls, production controls and process controls in real time. The InFusion Enterprise Control System enables that.”

• Invensys Operations Management is attending this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, being held July 10 through July 14 in Los Angeles, Calif. Bhattacharya will participate in the keynote address, joining Witts on stage to discuss Microsoft’s relationship with Invensys on July 13. Witts will kick off the event at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time in the Staples Center.

Exhaust temp profiling!

Exhaust temperature profiling system now available with additional features to address carb regulations
MadgeTech has released a firmware upgrade for the ETR101A, exhaust temperature profiling system. This upgrade enhances the data logger to address the needs brought to them by customers using the ETR101A. To comply with CARB emission regulations the upgrade includes:
  • Trigger setting capability: Program the data logger to only record temperature above a certain degree. No more analyzing unnecessary data!
  • An LED alarm: Program the data logger to activate an LED alarm after 24 hours of data has been recorded. Streamlines data collection!
  • Records 14 days of data at a 5 second reading rate.
These features are now included in all new ETR101A and TC101A data loggers shipping today.

The ETR101A firmware upgrade is FREE, and easy to install from a PC. Simply log onto their website and select Firmware Upgrades from the Downloads menu. Click on the ETR101A Firmware Upgrade, and download the .zip file. Follow the instructions provided in the Installation Tech Note to upgrade each device.

The new firmware revision requires MadgeTech Software 2.05 or higher. The software can be downloaded FREE from the MadgeTech website.

For more information on the ETR101A upgrade, or technical support, please call (603) 456-2011,
e-mail Follow MadgeTech on Facebook and Twitter to receive information on new product releases, industry news and more.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Merger agreement announced

ITT Corporation  and privately held YSI Incorporated have entered into a definitive agreement for ITT to acquire, via merger. The financial terms of the proposal were not disclosed. YSI had 2010 global revenues of $101 million and employs 390 people at several facilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Completion of the acquisition is expected in the third quarter 2011, pending customary closing conditions and approval from YSI’s shareholders.

“The addition of YSI is the next logical step in our strategy to acquire attractive companies whose businesses complement our existing water portfolio,” said Gretchen McClain, president of ITT’s Fluid and Motion Control business, and future chief executive officer of the new standalone water company that will separate from ITT later this year. “We see very compelling growth characteristics in the analytical instrumentation market. As we move toward the formation of our new water company, the addition of YSI further builds on our attractive analytics business and our commitment to provide the best solutions to the challenges our customers face across the water industry.”

ITT’s analytics business is a leading manufacturer of premium field, portable, laboratory and online analytical instruments used in water and wastewater, environmental, medical, and food and beverage applications. The company’s meters, sensors, analyzers and related consumables are used every day by thousands of end-users world-wide to analyze and control quality in industrial applications where precise measurement is required. ITT’s analytics products are sold under the globally recognized brands WTW, SI Analytics, OI Analytical, Royce Technologies, Aanderaa Data Instruments (AADI), Global Water Instrumentation, ebro and ¬Bellingham & Stanley.

“The opportunity to add a company with the brand recognition and reach of YSI not only strengthens our Analytics portfolio, but also gives us a great opportunity to globally expand our entire existing brand offering,” said Chris McIntire, president of ITT Analytics. “YSI’s expertise in field and outdoor, environmental applications strongly complements and broadens our existing capabilities. From our workplace cultures to our philanthropic initiatives, YSI and ITT are a perfect fit.”

Rick Omlor, chairman and chief executive officer of YSI Incorporated, said, “We believe joining ITT offers a great opportunity to continue growing our business, and I’m especially pleased that YSI will live on within a strong global company united around water. With a 63-year legacy founded in scientific discovery and innovation, YSI’s strong brand equity, backed by ITT’s global citizenship philosophy is the right choice to move YSI into the future.”

Test tools for competition

We recently reported the appointment of Fluke as sponsors of WorldSkills London 2011 (See"Sponsorship announced!" 1/7/2011).
Their test tools have been chosen by this event to be used by the Competitors within the ‘Manufacturing and Engineering Technology’ category at the Competition, to be held over four days at ExCeL London from 5-8 October 2011.

The Fluke 233 Remote Display Digital Multimeter (DMM) has been selected for the participants to use in the ‘Polymechanics/Automation’ skill. Polymechanics technicians, or mechanical and maintenance fitters, produce and install parts for the technical repair of production machinery. The Fluke 179/EDA2 DMM Combo Kit will be used in the ‘Manufacturing Team Challenge’ which involves designing and manufacturing equipment assemblies.

The Fluke 233 gives users ultimate flexibility in difficult test situations, using a wireless transmitter to send measurements to the detached display, and thus improving safety and increasing productivity for the technician. By simply sliding the wireless display out of the meter body, the user can place the display where it is most easily seen, up to 10 metres from the point of measurement, while putting the meter in the best position to take measurements.

The Fluke 233 includes a built-in thermometer that enables users to take temperature readings easily without carrying a separate instrument. It offers a 10,000 microF capacitance range, measures frequencies to 50kHz and captures min/max and average readings automatically. It will measure up to 1000V AC and DC and up to 10A. The removable display is magnetic and has a flat bottom, so it can be conveniently mounted or placed on a flat surface where it can easily be seen. When the display is attached, the Fluke 233 operates as a conventional multimeter.

Designed specifically for precision measurement by demanding front-line industrial technicians and engineers, the Fluke 170 Series was developed for use in environments that range from relatively clean bench areas to very harsh work environments. The Fluke 179/EDA2 DMM Combo Kit includes an industrial strength test lead probe kit, a magnetic meter-hanger and a compact lightweight soft case. With a category IV safety rating for use up to 1000V and 10A, AC and DC, the easy-to-use true-rms Fluke 179 DMM comes complete with a thermocouple temperature probe.

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 46 skill areas over four exciting days of competition. Hundreds of colleges from across Britain 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.

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.

Network diagnostics!

Seminars in this series always attract much praise:
“Very well presented and a lot of useful information”
“Fantastic as always and very informative”
“Superb day for experience and information”

This new seminar focuses on the practical aspects of maintenance and diagnostics of PROFIBUS and PROFINET installations (23rd September 2011, Warwick GB). Covering the use of PROFIBUS and PROFINET in key application areas such as packaging, printing, electrical and electronics assembly, robotics, automotive engineering, drives, mechanical handling and logistics, control systems and energy management, it addresses the key practical issues arising from the use of digital communications technologies in automated manufacturing and advanced engineering applications.

Supported by demonstrations and hands-on workshops of actual tools used in diagnosis and maintenance, the seminar will be of great value to Production Engineers and System Engineers involved in operation, fault-finding and maintenance of modern automated factories and machinery.

Standardised in IEC 61158, PROFIBUS and PROFINET provide state of the art digital communications addressing all the needs of the manufacturing and materials handling industries, significantly lowering capital expenditure on installation, commissioning and maintenance. They offer unprecedented integration of automation, control, monitoring and safety systems using standardised and widely supported communications and networking solutions.

Attendance is free of charge to pre-registered delegates from the User community, i.e. companies that own, operate, design, build or maintain automated plant.

New com port software for RS232, Modbus and RS485 devices

Windmill Software have a new version of the ComDebug data logging and com port trouble-shooting software.  What's more, it is free to every subscriber to their Monitor newsletter.  The new version
works with Windmill 7 64-bit, as well as other versions of Windows; lets users enter and record data in Hexadecimal, ASCII or binary format and logs data from serial instruments - PIC microcontrollers, RFID readers, plcs, data loggers and so on.

The software collects data from devices connected to the PC's com port over RS232, RS422, RS485 and Modbus. A terminal emulator lets users trouble-shoot serial port connections. Even though there is no charge for the software, Windmill Software provide free technical support for it for life.

When monitoring com port communications, users can see all bytes sent and received, including non-printing characters like carriage returns. This is crucial when dealing with binary data.

With ComDebug uses can quickly identify and correct communication errors. The software can send and receive unsigned integers, single bits, floating points, 16-bit 2s complement integers and other types of data. It can control the state of the PC's serial port output lines - setting them high or low - and show users the state of the port input lines

ComDebug runs under all versions of Windows, from Windows 7 64-bit down to Windows 95.

The passing of a pioneer!

His many friends throughout the world will be sad to hear of the passing of Maurice Radford. He was aged 77 and died peacefully on Sunday 10th July after a long illness at the Eyrefield Manor Nursing Home in Greystones, Co. Wicklow (IRL).

Maurice was born in 1933 and grew up in Wexford. He played hurling with Wexford Minors before moving to Dublin in 1953 to serve in the Air Corps. It was there, that his training as an Instrument mechanic marked the start of his life long career and passion for instrumentation.

He helped to start the ISA Ireland Section in 1978 and in 1982 was elected ISA District 12 Vice President (when this comprised all geographical areas outside U.S. and Canada). He served for two terms until 1986. The ISA recognised his lifetime service in 2004 with the Instrument Pioneer Award by the section where it was recieved on his behalf by his son Mark. He was hounoured by the Society in 2006 with the Golden Achievement Award though he was unable to attend in person. The Section President at the time Jim Long presented it to him in person later.

Maurice’s energy and drive for engineering excellence will be remembered by the customers, employees and suppliers of the companies he began and managed since 1971 until his untimely illness in 2003. (Measurement, Control and Automation and Mytec Ltd.). Maurice was an early adopter of many technologies and a great evangelist for innovation. He had little respect for the status quo and enjoyed being a contrarian!

Hugh Wilson President ISA presents the Charter to the late Fred Gilroy 
1st IrelandSection President Also included: Eddie O'Connell, Tom Nulty, 
Bob Shine, Eddie Kenny,  Dan O'Sullivan and Maurice Radford. 
(Silver Springs Hotel, Cork, September 4th 1978)

He introduced many new products to Ireland and was at the forefront of electronic weighing in the 1960’s,  digital instruments in the 70's and 80’s and rubber valves in the 90’s.

With the passing of Maurice, the Automation  Industry and the people associated with it Ireland and in the wider world is the poorer.

Maurice will be sadly missed by his wife Brenda; children, Mark; Norma and Rhona and grandchildren, Lauren, Caolán, Faoláin, Ellen, Fintan, Isobel, Fionn and Caoimhe to whom, and I'm sure all who knew him will join us, we extend our deepest sympathy.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Irish Heart Foundation.