Friday, July 22, 2011

Actuator control in Russia

The actuator control system is pre-assembled saving time and cost. 
Filter regulator and pressure relief valve increase pilot valve operating life and enhance safety
88 pre-assembled Actuator Control Systems
for the Kirishi refinery in Russia

Surgutneftegas is to use Actuator Control Systems (ACS) from ASCO Numatics to control large actuators at its Kirishi refinery near St Petersburg (RU).  The company was selected because of its ability to engineer and supply an actuator control system that could be configured to meet the specific needs of Surgutneftegas.

A total of eighty eight, ½” NPT Actuator Control Systems will control valves used to regulate the flow of oil across the refinery. Being supplied as pre-assembled units reduces installation time and provides significant savings in the total installed cost.

The ACS being supplied to Kirishi consists of a 3-way solenoid (pilot) valve, a filter regulator and a pressure relief valve. The filter regulator cleans the air before it enters the pilot valve extending the operating life of the valve from 5 million up to 10 million cycles. The pressure relief valve protects the pilot valve in an emergency situation. The ACS is SIL 3 and IECEx/ATEX approved and certified to the Russian GOST Standard.

To engineer a system that will precisely meet a customers actuator control needs, ASCO Numatics will combine a range of components that include explosion proof solenoid valves, spool valves, manual reset valves and filter regulators. Manufactured in 316L stainless steel to resist aggressive environments, the system features an optimised flow path and is lighter, stronger and more compact than conventional panel mounting assemblies.

The components are connected by means of a versatile, leak tight coupling system and mounted on a vibration resistant and shock proof stainless steel base plate. The modular system eliminates complex arrangements using panels, pipes and additional fittings and is pre-assembled ready for use.

Many configurations are possible with filter regulators and various single or redundant solenoids with wide pressure ranges and no minimum operating pressure. A selection of explosion proof solenoids is available with ATEX /IECEx (Ex d, Ex e mb, Ex ia), NEMA, UL and CSA approvals. In addition, the solenoid valves can be used in safety instrumented systems with a safety integrity level (SIL) up to SIL-4.

European distributor awards presented in Dublin

(left to right) Avnet Embedded - Design opportunities identification award: Martin Brooks, vice president, Avnet Embedded, with Akihiko Koizumi, general manager, Hitachi DPG, Aitem Djebali, field sales engineer, Avnet Embedded, and Charles Asayag, product manager Avnet Embedded
Hitachi Europe Ltd, Display Products Group (DPG) presented awards to four of its distributors for their outstanding contributions in delivering growth and design win opportunities in a challenging  but re-energized European marketplace that saw Hitachi DPG increase its market share and launch its new Rugged+ TFT display line-up.

The awards were made at its recent European distribution sales conference held in Dublin (IRL).  At the conference, MSC Germany was awarded best overall distributor for strong growth and consistently good performance in finding new designs and pushing for success. In addition, Anglia received the accolade for greatest business growth, Arrow Nordic achieved the award for best new design opportunity performance and Avnet Embedded France received the best individual design win performance award.

Mark Stanley, sales and marketing manager, Hitachi DPG said, “The distribution sales channel is an extremely important route to market for Hitachi DPG. It is essential we have strong, committed and motivated European distribution partners.” He continued, “During the past 12 months our leading distributors have excelled in developing and converting new design in and sales opportunities in what has been a challenging marketplace.” 

Accepting the overall Distributor of the Year award, Frank Dettweiler, product marketing manager, MSC GmbH said, "We are very happy to accept this award recognising MSC's continued outstanding performance promoting Hitachi displays.  One of the keys to our success has been our ability to offer customers genuine value added features and solutions, which solve their design challenges and difficulties.  Customers also reward our exceptional technical and commercial project support. MSC will continue to invest and focus on design in and product promotion activities with Hitachi DPG."

Commenting on Anglia’s award for business growth, David Potts, divisional marketing manager at Anglia, said, “The whole team at Anglia Embedded is proud to be recognised as the fastest growing Hitachi Display distributor in the European network. Hitachi is known around the world as a leader in displays for the industrial market, and we believe that the support offered by Anglia’s team especially the design in work by the FAEs has made a significant difference to their success in the UK market.

Receiving the best design opportunity award, Steve Dyson, supplier business manager at Arrow, responded, “We are very happy to receive recognition from Hitachi for our new project performance. We are fully committed to support our customers from concept to production and beyond with the most appropriate Hitachi display solution. With the current revolution in the graphical user interface, Hitachi industrial panels and world leading IPS technology meet every possible optical requirement.”
 

Commenting the success of Avnet Embedded France in identifying design opportunities, Martin Brooks, vice president Avnet Embedded, said, “Excellent technical sales support is a cornerstone of our value proposition at Avnet Embedded. Our French team has been extremely successful in driving the Hitachi DPG business in their region, pro-actively working on new designs with our customers. I am delighted that Hitachi has recognised their dedication and continuous effort with this award.”

Dough quality takes the biscuit!

Bolletje, a Dutch baked goods manufacturer with 500 employees and three plants in The Netherlands, needed to solve a production issue: variation in the quality of its dough from batch to batch due to inconsistent process execution. The company turned to long-time partner, GE Intelligent Platforms, for a solution that would help them to not only improve quality, but also achieve better line of sight into inventory and have a way of tracing its products from the bakery to the store.

The selection and implementation of the Proficy® solution was initially driven by the company’s Information Technology group who were looking for an integrated implementation with one interface and easy and actionable access to information. As the potential gains became clearer, Production took on overall project management, and engaged additional stakeholders. Management’s goal was to make sure that they could bring new operators on board quickly and efficiently without a loss in productivity or quality. Shift leaders wanted less waste and more throughput.

The company started with a small production line that mainly produced the dough for specialty seasonal and holiday-themed products and then expanded to three additional lines that were involved in making dough for pretzels. Working with Novotek, GE’s long-time partner in the Netherlands, Bolletje chose the Proficy Software platform, because it provided an integrated platform for Batch execution, MES automation and visualization. The combination of Proficy iFIX, Historian and Plant Applications has now become the standard manufacturing platform for Bolletje, giving the company better control and visibility into the whole manufacturing process.
In 2010, the company introduced the Proficy solution as it installed new production lines used for baking crispbreads, or crackers, and rusks, or biscuits. Proficy made data collection much easier enabling capitalization of the information that was available via the lines.

In addition to quality, Bolletje’s plans include improving inventory accuracy. The current system is based on an accounting practice called backflushing, where the company accounts for material usages based on counts of finished product. This approach can drive incorrect scheduling and production decisions. The company plans to use more visibility into the actual use of raw materials to improve materials planning, and get more a more accurate understanding of material costs for each product line. Thanks to Proficy’s integrated solution, inventory accuracy can be achieved while also enabling end-to-end traceability of ingredients, processing conditions and quality data – all linked to each production lot.

“We are still implementing elements of the solution, so the full results are a bit down the road. But already, shift leaders are very enthusiastic about the solution,” said B-J Hudepohl, Production Manager for Bolletje. “They see less waste and new workers are being trained faster ensuring the expertise of seasoned operators is captured. In fact, there has only been one bad batch of pretzels since the system was installed on that line.” 

“Bolletje started their journey with a focus on batch product quality, with a clear plan to address OEE and traceability as the whole solution is deployed.” said Seán Robinson, Global Industry Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms’ Food & Beverage industry segment. “Exposing the information they need for quality and enabling their stakeholders to focus on consistency is a different starting point than many processors who focus on OEE first. This approach is rapidly creating appreciation of how information can drive measurable improvement very quickly.”

Power modules for fast switching motor drive applications

"The ideal power module solution for fast switching motor drives."

Most of the current high power semiconductors are optimized for switching frequencies between 4 and 8 kHz. Today, however, more and more applications require frequencies of 10 kHz and higher. New power modules specifically designed for higher frequencies can now fill that gap.

For a powerful, reliable and cost effective motor drive, the right choice of power semiconductors is very important. Most of the current high power motor inverters use IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor) for the power switching, which are built in Trench Field Stop technology. The Trench Field Stop IGBT from Vincotech, is designed for motor drive applications with a typical switching frequency of up to 4 kHz. At higher frequencies, the Planar Cell Field Stop components are the optimal choice. This technology seems to be the favourite for nearly all 1200V motor drive applications using switching frequencies above 8 kHz. 

This article provides a comparison of both technologies, Trench Field Stop and Planar Cell Field Stop Technology, and explains what is best for fast switching motor drive applications.

Communication protocol leads the field!

According to a recent market study released by the ARC Advisory Group, 46 percent of all field devices installed worldwide at year-end 2010—32 million devices—communicate using the HART® Communication Protocol. This is the largest market share of any field communications protocol—larger than all other fieldbus devices (Foundation fieldbus, Profibus and other all-digital), proprietary protocols and 4-20mA (analog/non-smart) combined.

Ron Helson
The  study estimates that the number of installed HART-communicating devices will grow to 35 million in 2011 and projects growth to continue to 37.3 million in 2012. 

“Users worldwide are sending a clear message to industry suppliers by purchasing and deploying HART-enabled products in such overwhelming numbers,” says Ron Helson, Executive Director, HART Communication Foundation. “Users choose HART Communication because it is a simple, reliable, secure, low-risk, feature-rich and cost-effective intelligent communication protocol that delivers significant value during the entire plant life-cycle.  HART is the field-proven global standard and its use will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.”

The ARC study includes a five-year market analysis and technology forecast of pressure transmitters, representing the largest product segment of field devices. The Pressure Transmitter Worldwide Outlook projects that the market for HART-enabled pressure transmitters will continue to grow and is expected to represent nearly 73% of all transmitters shipped this year. A comparison with the 2005 study shows that HART Communication is the only communication technology that significantly increased its share of the pressure transmitter market.

“What we see today confirms our projections. HART continues to have the largest share of the market, which includes fieldbus, conventional, proprietary and all other types,” says Wil Chin, ARC Research Director. “Rather than see level off, we see strong, continued growth for HART with proprietary and conventional decreasing and fieldbus gaining slightly.”

New roles at automation company

Moore Industries-International has promoted two executives to new roles in order to facilitate the company’s growth and maintain its leadership position in the design and manufacture of electronic measurement and interface instruments for the process industries. Scott Saunders has added the duties of Chief Operations Officer to his current role as VP, Sales & Marketing, while Gary Prentice has been named the company’s new National Sales Director.

Scott Saunders
Gary Prentice
In his new position as COO, Saunders will assist Moore Industries founder and President Leonard W. Moore in day-to-day oversight of the company. This includes daily operational management along with playing a strong role in the strategic positioning of Moore Industries. In addition, Saunders will continue to manage the company’s overseas operations along with his role as the head of the sales and marketing departments.

Saunders has moved up the ranks at Moore Industries since joining the company as a Regional Sales Manager in 1999. He was previously the Director of Strategic Marketing and National Sales Manager before being named VP, Sales & Marketing in 2009. Before coming to Moore Industries, he was a field sales engineer and territory manager at BGV, Inc. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration from Winthrop University in South Carolina.


“I have been privileged to work for a company that has a world-class reputation for providing the most reliable and rugged instrument solutions,” he said. “While I have had the opportunity to assist in further expanding this market position as VP of Sales & Marketing, this new role affords me the opportunity to work on a more strategic planning level with the owner and key Directors within the company.”

As National Sales Manager, Prentice will take over some of the responsibilities currently held by Saunders, including being in charge of the company’s regional sales managers within the United States and Canada. He will continue to serve as the sales manager for a region that includes New England and eastern Canada. In addition, he will help to hire and train a Regional Sales Manager based in Houston to take over a new territory that includes portions of the Midwest and Southwest.


“It is a great time to be moving into the role of National Sales Manager,” he said. “Our business is strong and my first task is to expand our North American coverage by adding an additional Regional Sales Manager. Hiring, training and guiding a new sales manager is one of the most exciting and rewarding tasks that a person can have.”

Prentice has 36 years of experience working in the process control industry and has been a Regional Sales Manager at Moore Industries since 1993. He graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.


“I am confident these changes will further prepare the company to meet the organizational and market challenges that are required to maintain our leadership role within the industry,” Moore said. “Scott and Gary have a proven track record, and the company has benefited from their hard work, dedication and organizational excellence.”

Examining the automation market

ARC Advisory Group is once again a partner for ISA Automation Week (#ISAutoWk). This annual event brings together end users, manufacturers, industry organizations, and the press for three days of informative automation technology and problem-solving presentations along with exhibits by key technology providers.

ARC is hosting a mini-forum at Automation Week 2011, ARC Inside:  Automation Market Outlook and Business Performance Strategies for 2012 and Beyond, where ARC Analysts will share results of timely market research and provide useful recommendations to help companies prosper in highly competitive global markets.  Presentations include:

Building on the success of their previous collaboration, ARC complements ISA’s excellent practical programs by providing a strategic perspective for managers and practitioners of process automation.  The combined programs will provide the broad insight necessary for the workforce to navigate the increasing challenges ahead.  Understanding the future landscape will help organizations focus on the appropriate automation strategies and investments during an uncertain economic landscape.

Asian motion control network makes strides in North America

Membership of The Mechatrolink Members Association (MMA) has reached the 900 member plateau, including 50 firms in North America. The MMA is a group of Mechatrolink product developers and users who promote the use of Mechatrolink, an industrial network optimised for motion control.

Mechatrolink is an industrial network optimised for motion control, and is the most popular motion control network in Asia. In fact, it’s getting to the point where, to sell machine controls and factory automation into the Asian market, a company’s best approach is to use Mechatrolink. It is an open fieldbus protocol originally developed by Yaskawa and now maintained by the MMA.
It is an independent non-profit organization that makes Mechatrolink specifications and operating parameters available to all. The organisation also works to ensure that products labeled as MMA-compatible meet the relevant specifications. The MMA is continually improving network performance and actively recruiting new members.

“Mechatrolink is the most widely used motion control network in Asia,” says Derek Lee, a representative of MMA North America, “We also welcome the relatively large number of North American companies to the MMA.”
 

Mechatrolink connects devices such as servo motors, servo amps and I/O to each other and to motion controllers such as PLCs, PACs and motion controllers. Mechatrolink is available in both RS-485 and Ethernet versions, operates at speeds up to 100 Mbps, and can support up to 62 simultaneous devices.

“It’s rapidly reaching the point where, to sell machine controls and factory automation into the Asian market, a company’s best approach is to use Mechatrolink,” says Lee.

North American members include Cleveland Motion Controls, National Instruments, Manufacturing Data Systems, Phoenix Contact, Red Lion Controls, Texas Instruments, Turck, Yaskawa and many others.

Over the last 20 years since Mechatrolink was established, more than 2 million Mechatrolink devices have been shipped, and more than 300 different products have been certified to Mechatrolink specifications. Device profiles for motion nodes have been clearly defined and proved effective over two decades of development and use.

MMA provides worldwide support for Mechatrolink with affiliates in Germany, Japan, China, Korea and the U.S.—and Mechatrolink is in the process of becoming an official international IEC standard for industrial communication networks.

See our Fieldbus Page for details of other fieldbus protocols

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flowmeters improve turbine proficiency

Ansaldo Energia is using Micro Motion® Coriolis flowmeters from Emerson Process Management to provide highly accurate measurements of the volumes of air and fuel being used by gas turbines on a test rig at its factory in Genoa (I). The greater measurement accuracy provided by the Micro Motion flowmeters has enabled Ansaldo Energia to increase the performance and generating efficiency of the turbines it produces.

Ansaldo Energia is the largest Italian manufacturer of equipment for power generation. The company manufactures a range of gas turbines with nominal power ratings of 70 MW, 150 MW and 250 MW.

Gas turbines operate at very high temperatures with peaks of around 1200 to 1300ºC. To ensure durability and reliability over time, the turbine blades are cooled with air bled from the compressor which is located upstream of the combustion zone. The removal of this air, which could have been used in the combustion process, reduces the efficiency of the turbine. In order to optimise turbine performance, the smallest amount of air possible should be taken for cooling.

For many years, Ansaldo Energia tested the blades and vanes of its turbines by measuring air flow with calibrated orifices. However, the continuous development of the test procedures and the search for higher performing turbines led to the need for more accurate measurements of the air being used.

Resulting from a close collaboration between Emerson and Ansaldo Energia quality control, Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters are now being used to measure the air cooling flowrate during blade and vane testing to optimise performance.

Ansaldo Energia is also developing the application of Micro Motion flowmeters to measure the gas flowrate of the turbines during performance testing. This innovative use provides increased measurement accuracy and flexibility, as Coriolis technology enables the flowmeters to measure all types of gas and liquid fuels − without needing any further calibration.

Laureate recognises smart energy IT strategy

Mainstream received a Laureate Medal recently in the prestigious 2011 Computerworld Honours Program for their project “Faster, Better, Simpler IT Strategy with Smart Energy Reference Architecture."

Impressive scene at awards ceremony
Their core business is to develop and build wind and solar plant – on land as well as at sea.  They then sell the plant to its natural owners; organisations such as utilities, energy intensive corporations and pension funds. Their expertise is taking projects through all the stages of development – such as securing land, wind analysis, GIS, environmental studies, consenting, procurement, financing and so on.

Mainstream won in the Innovation category, alongside NASA and Duke University, a category which “Recognizes organizations for the design and development of new technologies and/or the application of an existing technology in a new and unique way to advance overall human health, security  or well-being.

Project Overview
Project Title: Sustainable ICT Strategy built on Smart Energy Reference Architecture at Mainstream Renewable Power.
Mainstream Renewable Power was established in February 2008 by Dr Eddie O'Connor. The company operates in 8 countries and specialises in the Development, Construction and Operation of large-scale Wind and Solar Power Systems. With a rapidly expanding organisation, a growing pipeline of development projects and the need for Business Process Excellence, a unifying framework was required to establish a coherent Information and Communications Technology Strategy to meet business expectations, specifically to;
1. Enable Deal-making
2. Manage Cash
3. Execute Projects The technology used was built on the Microsoft Platform.

The challenges to overcome included;
1. Build for Rapid growth
2. Build for a Start-up
3. Build for operations across 4 continents
4. Build for future expansion

Computerworld is a leading global IT Magazine from IDG. The awards ceremony was held in  Washington DC and this is a Global competition with 11 categories.

John Shaw of Mainstream recently made a presentation on ICT Strategies for The Supergrid!

New ATEX-certified junction boxes

Marechal  Electric has introduced a new range of ATEX-certified, IP66-sealed junction boxes which combine safe electrical connections in harsh, wet and hazardous environments, with the flexibility to specify a mix of Exe terminals with currents ranging from 4A to 350A and cable sizes ranging from 1.5mm2 to 240mm2. The largest of the ten standard box sizes can accept up to 402 individual Exe terminals rated at 4A with 1.5mm² cables, or five 350A Exe terminals with 240mm² cables. The boxes are rated for voltages up to 750V and operate over a temperature range of -55 to +60 degrees Centigrade.

The new MXBJ range of junction boxes is certified to IECEx LCI 11.0026 and ATEX N° LCIE 11 ATEX 3028, for use in ATEX gas zones 1 & 2, and dust zones 21 & 22. Sealing to IP66 ensures that the junction boxes are water-tight and dust-tight whilst their high resistance to shock is rated to IEC and EN 62 262, level IK09.

The junction box casings are manufactured in polyester resin, reinforced with fibre-glass and graphite, and secured with stainless steel screws. Cable glands, in sizes ranging from M12 to M63, are available in a choice of polyamide, for unarmoured cable, or nickel-plated brass for armoured or unarmoured cable.

The robust construction allows the junction boxes to be used in wet or corrosive environments such as the food, drink and chemical industries, as well as in hazardous, ATEX applications such as oil refineries, gas terminals and silos.

Christophe Janin, Sales Director explains; “The new junction boxes extend MARECHAL’s range of ATEX-certified decontactor plugs, sockets and spring-assisted terminals, allowing customers to increase the flexibility and safety of their electrical supply as well as helping them to reduce maintenance costs.”

FDT White paper

New white paper identifies how FDT technology can help lower costs by putting assets to work!

The FDT Group has published a new White Paper titled, “Specifying FDT Technology – Putting Your Assets to Work!” which is now available.  This paper provides engineers that specify automation or asset management systems with an overview of FDT Technology and suggests text to use as a part of the request for proposal or ordering specifications to ensure that appropriate FDT products are purchased.  The White Paper is available at no cost from the FDT site.

Preventing unplanned shutdowns, reducing downtime, and lowering maintenance costs at manufacturing and processing facilities have been shown to provide significant financial benefits for the entire organization.  One way to achieve these results is to make certain that all installed assets are used to the best of their ability.

Over the past several years, FDT Technology has been embedded in the majority of distributed control systems and smart field devices – often without being utilized by the user. FDT Technology, which is both an international (IEC 62453) and ISA (ISA103) standard, provides a unified method for accessing intelligent device information independent of the field communication protocol or control system supplier.  When field devices are enabled to share their entire configuration, status and diagnostic information, they are being used to their full ability, reducing costs over the lifecycle of the facility.

The white paper answers many of the most common questions including,
What is FDT Technology?,
What is a DTM?,
What is a Frame Application?,
How does FDT integrate into my automation or asset management system?,
How do I include FDT Technology in my project?

Review the whitepaper from the site and learn how easy it is to get started with some simple steps that can provide significant financial, operational and performance benefits in both existing plants and new construction.

Freedom of choice in platforms

Industry comment by David Owen, US Business Development Manager, and Bob Stasonis, US Marketing Manager Pickering Interfaces.

David Owen
Bob Stasonis
This year has seen three test platforms continuing to develop their market message and attract new users from older platforms such as GPIB and VXI, the choices seem to continue to expand for users. From a professional and a business standpoint, we see the choices as good for both vendors and customers as it allows for a broader range of applications to be supported by a greater number of products and platforms that address every budget and requirement. In this short article, we point out where the various platforms appear to be headed and why, from a Pickering standpoint, the freedom of choice is a good thing.


LXI Milestone
The LXI Consortium has announced that by May 2011 it has certified more than 1,500 products from 35 different vendors since products were first launched in December 2005. That is particularly impressive since the consortium requires third party certification of LXI Devices to ensure vendors maintain the interoperability standards set by the specification for Ethernet (LAN) controlled instruments.

What does that mean for the vendors and users of LXI products? First of all, it certainly ensures that complete test systems can easily be assembled with a number of LXI products. Second, certification reinforces the robustness of the Ethernet interface and its widespread availability on computing platforms and ensures that it has the same feel and stability associated with GPIB systems. For vendors, it validates that their product line is compatible with all LXI products.

For Pickering  the core of our business is PXI based switching systems, but we have invested heavily in the LXI platform for good business reasons.

Doing the impossible in LXI
Many of our dedicated LXI solutions were simply impractical to implement in a PXI form factor. PXI imposes modular mechanical constraints on product design and when there is a requirement for a large and/or very complex switching system, it simply will not fit. Creating a cross-point matrix for example with 4,000 off 2A rated relays requires a great number of modules to be interconnected, often completely filling or exceeding the capacity of a single PXI chassis. Some products require the use of large components such as microwave relays which simply take too much of the space in a PXI chassis, in doing so inflating the real cost of the switch and taking up valuable rack space. Each PXI module has its own overhead from the PCI interface it carries and the slots it occupies in the chassis.

In comparison the LXI platform requires its own LAN controller interface – Granted, a higher cost than the PCI interface on PXI – and its own case system to support its switch payload which is typically much lower cost than the PXI chassis. An added advantage is that external cabling is usually greatly simplified as any inter-module is eliminated as it is handled internally, In the case of a large complex switching application, the overall cost advantage can be a 40% saving or even more.

So for Pickering the advantages of LXI are clear, they enable us to provide switching systems with LXI which are hard, impossible or uneconomical to do in PXI. It is not just switching systems these arguments apply to, in almost all product categories of test and measurement there are clear differences in what can be achieved in one platform compared to another. The differences may lie in measurement traceability, accuracy or particular areas of performance and they vary from one category to another.


PXI and AXIe Market Growth
PXI continues with its own milestones and the entry into this market of Agilent Technologies is certainly a very major event that will ensure the continued adoption of that platform into wider markets. We believe it is a very welcome event and one that will help expand the overall PXI market size and increase its adoption as the primary modular standard.

PXI is not the only modular standard that is growing. AXIe also has its adopters for higher performance systems and has embedded interfaces based on both LXI and PXI. More options on the platform of choice arise with Pickering Interfaces supporting its PXI switching modules in an LXI controlled modular chassis, so sales of Pickering PXI switching modules can be placed in an LXI or or a PXI controlled environment.
(See also our report on the National Instrument press event in London 20th July 2011!)

Summary
It is unusual to have three relatively new (in terms of test and measurement) standards making market progress at the same time, but it seems the future for test and measurement is principally with these growing instrumentation standards. Users have more choice, that is good news for the industry and vendors have the opportunity to promote the platform that best suits their products knowing that all three standards will have their place in test systems.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Top custom magazine

For the fifth time out of the last six years, The Journal from Rockwell Automation and Our Partners has been recognized as a top custom magazine in business-to-business publishing. In addition, the magazine has won seven awards, setting a record for the most honours bestowed on the magazine in one year.
Awardwinning cover

One of this year's two awards for top custom magazine comes from the 2011 Magnum Opus Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Custom Media, which bestowed its Gold Award for “Best All Around Publication — Best Manufacturing Publication.” This honour recognizes superior achievement in custom magazines by organization/industry type, as selected by a panel of judges from the famed Missouri School of Journalism.

The second award for top custom magazine comes from the 23rd Annual APEX Awards of Excellence in Corporate Communications. The Journal won the 2011 APEX Award of Excellence for “Best Custom-Published Magazines & Journals.” This honour recognizes the magazine as a whole for content, design, fulfillment of its mission for the customer, and overall quality.

These prizes build upon The Journal's recognition in recent years as a top magazine, earning American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) 2010 National Azbee Award, "Custom Publication General Excellence: Magazine;” the Business Marketing Association (BMA) 2009 and 2006 Awards of Excellence for "Outstanding Custom Magazine;" and the 2008 APEX National Award of Excellence for "Best Custom-Published Magazines & Journals."

In addition to the two honors for top custom magazine in 2011, The Journal has won five other awards:
• 2011 ASBPE National Azbee Award for Design, Front Cover - Photo, "Alphabet Soup of
Sustainability Standards,"
February 2010 issue.
• 2011 ASBPE Azbee Award for Design, Midwest Region, Contents Page or Pages, February 2010
issue.
• 2011 ASBPE Azbee Award for Design, Midwest Region, Opening Page/Spread - Photo, “Alphabet
Soup of Sustainability Standards,”
pp. 20-21, February 2010 issue.
• 2011 ASBPE Azbee Award for Design, Midwest Region, Opening Page/Spread - Computer
Generated, “Decisions at Your Fingertips,” pp. 20-21, April 2010 issue.
• 2011 BMA Excellence Award for PR Campaign, Trade Shows, “Automation Fair,” Rockwell
Automation and The Journal teams for outstanding media relations strategy and execution for
coverage of Rockwell Automation’s 2010 Automation Fair exposition.

The Journal From Rockwell Automation and Our Partners is published six times per year by Putman Media for Rockwell Automation. It educates engineers about industrial automation news and trends, and the leading-edge automation products and services from Rockwell Automation and complementary technology from its partners.

The magazine is the collaboration between Putman Media, Rockwell Automation and Padilla Speer Beardsley (PSB) Public Relations (Minneapolis). The Journal’s 2011 award-winning team at Putman Media includes Publisher Mike Brenner, Executive Editor Theresa Houck, Managing Editor Amanda Joshi, Vice President of Creative Services Steve Herner, Art Director Jennifer Dakas, and Production Manager Rita Fitzgerald. This team publishes the magazine under the direction of Rebecca Archibald, Executive Publisher and Rockwell Automation Campaign Manager for Commercial Marketing. Senior Vice President Kathy Burnham leads the PSB team.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Software reduces cost, risk of high performance embedded computing

Delivers flexibility and portability, allows performance potential of multicore processing technology to be realized

GE Intelligent Platforms has released AXIS Version 5.0. AXIS – Advanced Multiprocessor Integrated Software – is GE’s comprehensive development environment that accelerates the design, creation, testing and deployment of complex DSP and multiprocessing platforms for real-time applications such as radar, sonar, communications and image processing.

AXIS increases productivity, maximizes performance, reduces cost, optimizes software code portability and minimizes program risk and time-to-market. It also substantially eases the upgrade path for technology insertions. Version 5 provides support for GE’s latest multicore and many-core hardware platforms including single board computers featuring 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors as well as those featuring the latest Power Architecture processors from Freescale, and those featuring NVIDIA’s CUDA GPGPU (general purpose processing on graphics processing units) technology. It also includes a number of new features designed to maximize ease of use, flexibility and performance.

“AXIS Version 5 allows us to provide our customers with a highly integrated hardware and software platform that uniquely enables them to take maximum advantage of the enormous benefits of the latest processing technology from Freescale, Intel and NVIDIA,” said Michael Stern, Product Manager, GE Intelligent Platforms. “Using AXIS, developers can create leading-edge high performance computing applications in less time and at less cost than would otherwise be possible, while maximizing return on investment by creating solutions that are more easily portable from one hardware generation or architecture to another.”

The AXIS software suite includes an integrated graphical user interface. AXISView, provides task level programming for algorithm development and system visualization. The developer exploits an iterative application development cycle allowing the user to benchmark routines and tune the system architecture to meet performance requirements.

In addition, AXISFlow provides a high performance interprocessor communication library for high throughput, low latency data movement across multiple fabrics (PCI Express®, Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Serial RapidIO etc.) scaling from one to many CPU nodes across a single board, multiple boards in a single chassis and multiple system chassis.

AXISLib provides DSP and math function libraries to support very high performance signal and data processing routines with a standard VSIPL wrapper as well as a faster RSPL API for optimum performance and portability across multiple processor platforms. Generic C versions of the libraries are also available.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Innovative wireless marine polution control application

Rosemount® Analytical solutions help marine waste disposal specialist maintain commitment to environmentally friendly operation, while supporting plans for facility expansion

Emerson's versitile THUM
Emerson Process Management is installing an innovative wireless continuous emission monitoring (CEM) system at Singaport Cleanseas Pte Ltd, a large marine pollution reception facility for the collection and disposal of hazardous waste, located in Pulau Sebarok, Singapore. Through a unique combination of analytical equipment, Emerson will deliver a cutting-edge solution for emissions compliance.

As an eco-friendly marine waste disposal specialist committed to environmental protection and resource recovery, Singaport Cleanseas needs a flexible solution that will enable them to meet all environmental standards for emission and effluent discharge – both today, and as their facilities expand in the future.

To meet the specific requirements of Singaport Cleanseas, Emerson will provide a standard Rosemount® Analytical CEM system that includes an innovative implementation of three Model 1056 wireless-enabled analysers featuring the Smart Wireless THUM™ Adapter. This unique configuration allows the non-wireless analysers to function as a wireless system.

According to Bernard Chew, Managing Director at Singaport Cleanseas, “Singaport Cleanseas faces a complex and significant challenge. The National Environment Agency in Singapore requires that the emission data from our incinerator be reported every day, so we need a continuous monitoring solution now, but we want a system that will also allow for expansion as our future growth requires. To install a wired CEM system now and potentially move it later would be an inefficient and wasteful use of our budget, especially on an island like Singapore where trenching costs are very high. Emerson experts will solve the problem with this ingenious wireless configuration.”

In the integrated system, the popular Model 1056 analysers, most frequently associated with pH and conductivity measurements, will be used to convert the analogue signals of the other system components into HART® digital signals for use in the wireless communications. The primary variables from these CEM analysers will be transmitted to the customer’s control room via Smart Wireless THUM Adapters installed on each Model 1056 analyser. The Smart Wireless THUM Adapter enables HART measurements to be integrated into a reliable wireless system.

The X-STREAM™ process gas analyser employs IntrinzX™ photometric technology with intrinsic linearity to deliver high sensitivity, large dynamic ranges and long-term span stability with extended calibration intervals. Performing daily zero and span checks as well as calibration automatically, the system will meet all requirements for daily validations with minimum personnel.

Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology takes advantage of the IEC 62591 (WirelessHART®) international standard for industrial wireless communications. In its self-organising mesh network topology, every device in the network can also pass information for its neighbouring devices, so if something disrupts communications between two devices, the network automatically provides an alternative path. Changes in the plant’s configuration no longer interfere with transmission paths. As a result of this highly flexible system, Singaport Cleanseas will be able to add additional wireless devices to the new plant as expansion and application requirements demand without additional configuration or engineering.

Mission critical at eBay!

Infrastructure investment to avoid $2,000 per second impact for downtime

When one of the largest companies in the e-commerce industry, looks to increase the stability of its data center, a critical component to its business strategy, a central “must-have” is continuous power. To that end, eBay chose a mission critical system that includes Quad PAC Redundancy Control Systems from GE Intelligent Platforms.

eBay reports that its transactions total approximately $60 billion per year in goods, which translates to almost $2,000 per second.

The company started a strategic infrastructure project called Topaz in 2010 that would increase the stability of eBay’s data centers as well as enable further growth. Topaz, located near Salt Lake City, Utah, was the first data center that the company built from scratch and was also the beginning of a project to reduce eBay’s use of co-located data centers and simultaneously reduce company-owned facilities. In addition, management was interested in an eBay-only facility that would maximize efficiencies by tailoring capacity and availability to needs specific to its core business.

“Our data centers make up more than 50% of our global power usage,”
said Dean Nelson, eBay Senior Director of Global Foundational Services. “I pay that power bill, so economic and ecological efficiency was a must.”

eBay worked with RTKL, a global design firm that provides services to deliver a comprehensive and customized design of mission critical projects. The Topaz facility was a “green field” development focused on the design principles of reliability, maintainability, sustainability and efficiency. As a result of the design and construction efforts and the subsequent power usage savings, the Topaz facility achieved a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating in 2010.

In order to provide the high availability (Tier IV design) that eBay wanted, and minimize the requirements of redundant switchgear and generator plant, a ring bus with six breaker transfer switchgear was specified at Topaz. The Tier IV design not only required that distribution equipment be fault tolerant, but the controls need to be as well. Generator control switchgear from Russelectric was commissioned. The Russelectric team pre-tested, qualified and implemented the GE Quad PAC redundant control system on the project.

The Quad PAC solution features “Smart Redundancy,” an algorithm that continually calculates the relative system availability in real time and delivers predictive analysis on key process input variables. A quad redundancy control system has a Master Controller and three synchronized backup controllers. It leverages Ethernet-based I/O devices that can seamlessly arbitrate its control from one of the four controllers in the system. If the Master Controller, or any of the system components fail, the system identifies the best backup controller to take over and provides the system with the most capability to withstand the next sequence of multiple or cascaded system failures.

“Within the physical infrastructure, our backups need to have backup,” said eBay’s Nelson. “We have to be prepared for multiple failures at any different point. This system offers three complete levels of backup which provides us with the near-zero downtime we need for our mission critical data centers.”

The Quad PAC controlled switchgear was designed with a voting scheme where triple inputs are sent to the PLC system. The best of the three dictates the state of the device. This helps reduce wiring issues, loose connections over time and the impact of human error which accounts for approximately 60% of all failures in a data center.

“The Quad PAC is a great solution for data centers, hospitals and other facilities where critical processes are automated,”
said Bernie Anger, Vice President of GE Intelligent Platforms Control & Communications Systems. “It uses a unique and revolutionary ‘predictive intelligence’ that provides security and peace of mind for organizations that just can’t afford to go down.”

Ethernet conference to tour Europe!

Free conference shows how a consistent and well integrated solution of robotics, machine vision, pneumatics and motion and control, could boost your automation performance

To promote the benefits of Ethernet POWERLINK connectivity, the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG) is holding a series of conferences across Europe. ASCO Numatics, together with three other market leading companies, are organising the event. During the conference, ASCO Numatics will be demonstrating how its latest G3 electronic valve island with POWERLINK interface can be networked to create integrated solutions.

The British event is to take place on the 16th November 2011 at the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham. Themed POWERLINK on tour with Industry Leaders, the conference shows how a consistent and well integrated solution of robotics, machine vision, pneumatics and motion and control could boost automation performance. It will also tour locations starting in France in early October, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Details on the PowerLink website and also on our Events Page.

Ethernet POWERLINK provides the user with greater speed, bandwidth and flexibility. Participants will learn about the benefits of `Integrated Automation’ and how industrial Ethernet technologies, more particularly POWERLINK, permit this integration with best performance.

Organised by ASCO Numatics, B&R, Stäubli and Cognex, the one day conference will consist of a mix of presentations, technical workshops and live demonstrations.

Oh yes! And participants will have a chance to win an iPad!

I & C for Saudi water installation

Electrical, control and instrumentation solutions to serve new pumping station for water transmission system

ABB has won an order worth about $15 million from Japanese pump manufacturer, Torishima Pump, to provide a turnkey electrical control and instrumentation solution for a new pumping station under construction in Saudi Arabia.

The system will be operated by the state-run Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), responsible for operating the country’s national desalination plants, a network of pumping stations, reservoirs and over 3,700 km of pipes to transport water in bulk from the plants to major consumption centers.

“ABB’s ability to provide an integrated power and automation solution based on the latest products and technologies coupled with our proven project management competence, strong local presence and extensive experience of executing large water transmission and pumping station projects underscores our expertise in the sector,” said Franz-Josef Mengede, head of ABB’s global power generation business, a part of the company’s Power Systems division. “We are pleased to support the country in the development of its power and water infrastructure to meet growing demand.”
ABB’s solution includes the electrical balance of plant, field instrumentation and the distributed control and communication systems for the pumping station, which will be located at the Al Baha end of the pipeline. ABB is responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation, commissioning and training for the technologies being supplied.

When completed in 2013, the water transmission system will be capable of transferring 80,000 cubic meters of potable desalinated water per day along a 217 km pipeline between the cities of Al Taif and Al Baha, where it will be connected to the local water network for distribution throughout the province of Al Baha.

Enhanced SCADA!

Black Diamond 1.5  from Viklele Associates is a significantly enhanced version of our state of the art process automation and visualization SCADA. This version adds a dockable integrated development environment for building professional and intuitive HMIs for process automation and control. All the built-in features like report designer, manual entry screen designer, task reminder service, expression evaluator etc., have been enhanced to give you more control and improved functionality.

Nidhi Purnapatre, product manager for Black Diamond SCADA said, “We have incorporate all significant feature suggestions from our customer, I wish to thank them for making Black Diamond a better product”.

She added, “I am particularly pleased about the enhancements in the report designer and symbol library. Also, enhancements in the expression evaluation have made capturing consumption data like hourly power consumption, or hourly fluid flow through a flow meter very easy. These are every day needs of a process engineer, and Black Diamond will allow gathering this information without having to write any code.”