Friday, August 5, 2011

Flow rate, running time, fuel theft & more...

The rising cost of diesel means it is a valuable commodity for bulk commercial users across a variety of industries, making it vital to ensure that expensive fuel is used wisely, not wasted or pilfered. So the launch of the new multifunctional Fuel-View digital meter from Bronkhorst UK, which monitors flow rate and fuel consumption, engine operating times, diesel theft volumes and other parameters, should be of considerable interest to owners and operators of commercial vehicle fleets, construction plant, civil and military aircraft tow tractors, leisure boats, diesel-powered factory equipment, standby generators, heating boilers and diesel-fired burners.

Their new Fuel-View series of flow meters, for fuel flows between 1 and 400 litres per hour, offers a compact, lightweight and cost-effective solution for measuring diesel consumption and operating times of road vehicles, agricultural and aircraft tractors, construction plant, marine vessels, generators and all types of mobile and static engines, at competitive prices from stg£200 ex VAT. The design’s unique features for preventing the theft of fuel, protecting against the overstatement of readings and any interference with compressed air, magnetic fields and disconnection, make Fuel-View one of the best multi-purpose instruments available on the market.

The standard configuration is a ‘blind’ instrument, with integrated cable for the remote digital processing of signals. As an option, Fuel-View also comes with an on-board LCD readout, displaying such information as actual flow, total consumption and engine operating time in idling, overload and optimal modes. The instrumentation is either operated with an external power supply or, on LCD models, via an embedded standby battery, which provides autonomous running of the flow meter for up to 2 years.

The Fuel-View series operates on the principle of a rotary piston, which is mounted in a chamber, and the rotating speed is measured by electronic sensors that record magnetic pulses, the number of pulses being proportional to the actual flow rate. This distinctive design allows mainstream fuel flow even if the measuring chamber becomes clogged up, although a filter does protect the chamber from contamination and can be removed and cleaned without dismantling the flow meter itself.

Mounted in a strong, moulded zinc-aluminium alloy case, with full IP54 protection, the Fuel-View can be fitted in any position and withstands both vibration and hydraulic shock. There are a dozen different models with wired outputs, integral LCDs, or combinations of both, for various flow rates and engine power output. The smallest model, DFM-50, has a nominal flow rating of 25 litres per hour, with a minimum of 1 l/hr and a maximum of 50 l/h, for diesel engines up to 80kW (108 hp). The highest rating model, DFM-400, has a nominal flow rate of 200 l/hr (min 30 / max 400 l/hr), for engines over 300 kW (400 hp).

“As a multifunctional system, the Fuel-View has many interesting commercial applications,”
says Bronkhorst UK’s Managing Director, Andrew Mangell. “For engine design and testing, it will give instantaneous and totalised fuel flow rates, engine operating times and data on optimal running and overloads. Leisure boat owners will want to know about fuel consumption and any incidents of diesel theft, for billing purposes, as well as engine statistics for preventative maintenance. Engine overload times, fuel pilfering and possible engine interference statistics are also useful for operators of construction plant, commercial vehicles and aircraft tugs, tractors and pushbacks. While hospitals and factories with standby diesel generators can tell whether the engines are running efficiently, when the next planned service is due and check that fuel isn’t being siphoned off or simply leaking away. Similarly, factory owners can gain valuable data about the carbon footprints of fork lifts and heating plant.”

“These instruments are relatively inexpensive, easy to fit, extremely robust in use and will introduce a high level of management control over diesel fuel inventories,” he adds.

Accurate measurement of hydraulic cylinder position

RDP Electronics Ltd supply a range of MTS Temposonics sensors that are particularly suitable for measuring the position of actuators.

The magnetostrictive principle utlised by the Temposonics transducers ensures an extremely accurate, highly reliable, long trouble-free performance and also makes them very suitable for installing inside the piston rod of a hydraulic cylinder. Rods are usually installed with the hole at the centre and this is a very convenient space for placing the magnetostrictive transducer. A magnet is positioned on part of the piston and the transducer and rod installed on the cylinder body so that the movement of the piston causes the magnet to move up and down the rod on the transducer.

The sensor is entirely enclosed and protected by the cylinder, except for the small electronic head, which has very little effect on the overall length of the cylinder measurement. The RDP Temposonics-RD4 sensors for example have been designed for installation into hydraulic cylinders and are ideal for clevis head cylinders, or any space restricted application. Output data can be displayed in analogue and various digital forms in order to provide easy communication and integration into the existing control systems.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

US cement production taken to new level!

Integrated power and automation based on System 800xA will help new Drake Cement plant exceed industry standard productivity and efficiency levels

ABB has delivered a complete power and automation solution for a new cement facility in the Southwestern United States – “an outstanding solution that will help us achieve efficiency and productivity levels beyond industry standards,” according to the customer.

Owned by US cement manufacturer Drake Cement, the new state-of-the-art facility is located in the southwestern state of Arizona, where it has the distinction of being the first cement facility to be built in this, the fifth largest state in the US, for 50 years.

The greenfield facility was officially inaugurated in June this year. It has a production capacity of 660,000 tons of clinker, which is processed at the site into high-quality Portland cement products.

“ABB has delivered an outstanding solution that will help us achieve efficiency and productivity levels beyond industry standards.”
Marcos Gomez-Barrios, President and CEO of Drake Cement.

ABB was selected by Drake Cement in 2008 to be the main electrical and automation contractor (MEC and MAC), and provide a turnkey integrated power and automation solution for the entire site and cement making process.

ABB’s comprehensive scope of supply includes detailed engineering, design, supply, installation and commissioning, as well as the complete scope of electrical, control and instrumentation products and systems.

Among the many ABB products and systems in the solution are medium and low voltage motors, a low voltage multidrive system, transformers, switchgear, a power factor correction system, instrumentation, process gas analyzers and FTIR emissions monitoring system, and ABB’s flagship plant automation system, System 800xA.

Machinery monitoring in nuclear plant

Protection and predictive monitoring to improve availability and ensure safety
Paksi Atomerőmű (PAKS) Nuclear Power Plant has selected Emerson’s CSI 6500 Machinery Health™ Monitor for real-time machinery protection and predictive monitoring of eight turbine-generator machine trains. The PAKS Nuclear Power Plant is the only operating nuclear power station in Hungary, producing approximately 40 per cent of the electrical power generated in the country.

“Emerson’s industry expertise and powerful online machinery monitoring technology made them the ideal choice for this renovation project,” said Ferenc Kiszli, Head of the I&C Department. “With the CSI 6500, we will have improved insight into the condition of each turbine-generator and can effectively plan our maintenance activities while knowing our equipment is protected in the event of a failure.”

The CSI 6500 fully complies with the requirements for API 670 (American Petroleum Institute) protection, the globally-accepted definition of industry best practices for turbomachinery protection. Each of the 32 CSI 6500 monitors supplied will be integrated with the existing distributed control system at the PAKS plant. This allows the operations and maintenance teams to see real-time protection and prediction monitoring indicators so the effect of process adjustments on machinery health can be evaluated.

Emerson’s AMS Suite predictive maintenance software will give the plant’s maintenance and operations staff a graphical user interface to machinery protection parameters and health information. This easy access to information will enable them to predict equipment issues to better maintain and protect the machinery.

“The PAKS project is yet another example of our machinery health solutions being widely adopted as part of modernisation programmes,”
said Ron Martin, vice president of Emerson's Asset Optimization business. “Many customers are standardising on Emerson as their machinery health partner because of our ability to deliver the required API 670 protection as well as critical predictive diagnostics to ensure plant availability.”

40 years in Britain!

When Rohde & Schwarz first entered the British market, it was characterised by its fierce competition and fast moving technology; factors that haven’t changed today. “The UK harbours some of the most creative and talented minds in the electronics industry, and we firmly believe that the business we have built to serve these minds has firm foundations for another forty years and more,” said Frank Mackel, Managing Director of Rohde & Schwarz UK (RSUK).

The company first entered this market in 1954, appointing Aveley Electric as their distributor. In 1971, Rohde and Schwarz purchased Aveley Electric and made a commitment to build a long-term presence in the country. Forty years on and RSUK’s competences have broadened considerably. Today, the company is a sales, service and solutions provider to customers in the fields of test & measurement, radio & TV broadcasting, IT security, radiomonitoring and radiolocation, as well as mission-critical radio communications.

RSUK has been able to build an industry-leading team of sales and applications staff. By ensuring that customers communicate directly with well-trained technical staff for support and product modifications, they have been able to ensure British customers receive "impeccable" service and a voice in guiding Rohde & Schwarz product development. RSUK’s local service organisation is another source of company pride today and an important differentiator from the competition.

An important milestone for Rohde & Schwarz’ success in the mobile communications market was when the BT-Cellnet and Racal-Vodaphone joint-venture was looking for a supplier to build the world’s first Type Approval System for GSM mobile phones. RSUK won the contract for Munich to build the system and also completed much of the software development. With demand for mobile phone production test systems soon taking off, wireless handset testers became a key constituent of Rohde & Schwarz’ product portfolio.

RSUK relocated to a purpose-built facility in Fleet (GB) in 1990, moving closer to many customers within the Armed Services community, including the British Ministry of Defense (MoD). In the 1990s, RSUK competed successfully against indigenous manufacturers to win several large contracts from the MoD, including Avionic Radio Test systems for the RAF that are still in service today. In the following decade, RSUK has supplied secure communications systems for among others, Royal Navy Fast Offshore Patrol Vehicles and Tornado aircraft, as well as Merlin and SeaKing helicopters.

Rohde & Schwarz’ firm commitment to the British market has won custom in other domains. Among the many organisations that RSUK has worked with is BBC Engineering, which awarded RSUK a contract to install the first 30 UHF TV relay systems throughout the country. Being able to offer a turnkey solution thanks to the capabilities of RSUK’s Services division, which provides the installation and commissioning expertise to complement our transmitter technology, was key to the deal. Today, Rohde & Schwarz is the main supplier of broadcast transmitters in Britain with over 900 transmitters installed.

After 40 years, RSUK remains an independent company with a commitment to always deliver – a commitment that is shared by their parent company. Their aim is that "the trust-based relationships that RSUK employees create with customers will see them continuing to choose Rohde & Schwarz well into the next century!"

Student motor racing!

Mantracourt enables wireless torque measurement in student motor racing
Picture taken by Remi Saint-Onge, member of club ReflETS
Mantracourt has announced that its T24 wireless instrumentation range is being used in the development of racing cars for Formula SAE, an international engineering competition where student teams compete against each other, with single-seater race cars they have designed and built themselves.

As a part of a sponsorship package for the Ecole de Technologie Superieure engineering team from the University of Quebec (CDN), the company has been providing wireless strain gauge technology and technical support to enable drive shaft torque measurements during testing.

"We are very pleased to have the chance to work with the engineering students on such an exciting and worthwhile project," said Kelly Voysey, Marketing Manager at Mantracourt. "The accurate measurement of torque in rotating systems is often challenging, however it does provide one of the best examples of how wireless technology is expanding the boundaries of measurement and instrumentation. It is encouraging to see students embracing the very latest in measurement technology."

The Formula SAE Competition is organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Over 90 competing university teams from all over the globe, design, build and test prototype Formula-style racing cars and compete in categories such as design, endurance, fuel economy, acceleration, cost & manufacturing analysis. Mantracourt initially sponsored the 2009 Ecole de Technologie Superieure team who used a Mantracourt ICA load cell amplifier in their vehicle suspension tests. The ETS Formula SAE Team from the University of Quebec is renowned for its lightweight and ergonomic car design, its excellent suspension design and its scientific approach to vehicle validation and development.

For their 2011 prototype, the Canadian SAE team designed a new differential assembly. The behaviour of the new assembly needed to be monitored, as there were a few concerns. Strain gauges were installed on each drive shaft. These were connected to a strain gauge to radio telemetry T24-SA transmitter. A machined short cylinder, acting like a holder for the transmitter and the battery, was mounted on the drive shaft. Mantracourt T24-AO1 wireless receivers were installed on a bracket near the transmitter for better signal transmission and were connected to the car’s data acquisition system (Motec ACL).

"Our T24 range of wireless instrumentation technology is being used for similar projects in industry,"
said Kelly Voysey. "It's ideal for rotating systems or locations where space or access is limited. This project also demonstrates how our technology is finding its away around the world."

Smart US sensors

The new lower cost rugged MassaSonic series M-300/150, M-320/150 (range 2.5M) and M-300/95, M-320/95 (range 4.5M) RoHS compliant smart ultrasonic sensors are now available from Vydas stock in Britain. Programmable switched outputs or analogue outputs of 0-10VDC and 4-20mA are now available.

Applications for this sensor include, liquid level control, mechanical positioning, roll diameter measurement, web loop/break monitoring, asset tracking, remote monitoring, automatic filling operation, automatic packaging, bulk level control, paper and plastic film processing and many others.

The M-300/320 ultrasonic sensor design incorporates state-of-the-art ultrasonic and microprocessor technology to provide low cost precision non-contact distance measurement for factory automation or industrial process control.

Additional size of pressure reducing regulators

New DN 100 (4-inch) Fisher® EZHSO Series spring-to-open natural gas regulator ensures gas delivery for high pressure transmission and distribution applications

Emerson Process Management has released the new DN 100 (4-inch) Fisher® EZHSO Series spring-to-open pressure reducing regulator. The EZHSO design incorporates a unique spring cartridge that offers a fail-to-open alternative, ensuring gas delivery in the event of diaphragm failure or lack of supply pressure to the pilot. The failure action is the opposite of the EZH Series spring-to-close pressure reducing regulators.

The Types EZHSO and EZHSO-OSX (slam-shut) regulators are available in DN 25, 50, 80 (1, 2, 3-inch) and 100 (4-inch) sizes. These new offerings provide the same benefits as Emerson’s proven Fisher Type EZH regulators; such as true no-bleed design, top-entry maintenance, bubble-tight shutoff, and inlet/outlet rating of 103 bar (1500 psig).

The Whisper Trim™ Cage option is available for DN 50, 80 and 100 (2, 3, and 4-inch) sizes, opening a broader application range for this product family.  Noise reduction of 10-20 dB(A) can be achieved, depending on the application.  As a “source treatment”, the Whisper Trim technology utilises multiple orifices of special size, shape, and spacing, which reduces noise-producing interactions.

Aerospace EMC Test Routines

New emission and susceptibility tests to RTCA/DO 160

Teseq has introduced the aerospace DO160 RF emission and susceptibility test applications for use in Compliance 5 EMC test software.

This dedicated application makes setting up and testing fast and simple. Preloaded example hardware configurations, limit lines etc. enable the user to quickly configure their hardware and select the particular test required.

The new update supports both E and F versions of the standard including conducted and radiated emission and susceptibility, ensuring tests can be performed with a minimum of setting up.

TESEQ Compliance 5 RF Emissions and Immunity test software is the definitive software environment for RF EMC testing, providing a sophisticated, fully featured RF EMC software package capable of performing all types of EMC emissions and immunity testing in standard and specialised applications.

It is available in two versions, Compliance 5 RF Emissions and Compliance 5 RF Immunity, which can be used together or independently. Compliance 5 provides a single, integrated test platform for every RF EMC test requirement. Compliance 5 is multi-user with administrator control making it suitable for commercial test laboratories and manufacturers. Compliance 5 allows the user to configure tests while giving the administrator overall control of important files such as transducer factor files, calibration data and results.

Industry specific application test packages ensure that set-up time is minimised while providing fully compliant, fast, efficient and repeatable testing. Optional packages are available for Military, Automotive and Reverberation Chamber testing. Reporting is made easy using the Teseq® ‘Global Report’ function which automatically places selected information from the test into a pre-existing template document.

VSD calculator

Easy to use calculator predicts return on investment

VSD savings calculator
GAMBICA has launched a simple calculator that estimates the energy savings that installing a variable speed drive (VSD) on a relevant application can achieve. GAMBICA, the national organisation that represents the interests of the instrumentation, control, automation and laboratory technology industries in the UK, launched the product on behalf of the members of its variable speed drives group.

The free calculator allows potential buyers to make an informed decision before purchasing a VSD for their application. It comes in the form of an easy to use Microsoft Excel file and is available to download from GAMBICA’s website.

The new VSD energy saving calculator is intended as a first-pass indication tool to help decide if a VSD will bring energy savings to the application. The calculator can also help estimate what payback period can be expected, making it clearer that a VSD represents a guaranteed investment that will reduce energy bills by more than its cost.

Electric motors consume significant amounts of electricity; estimated to be about two-thirds of all industrial energy use. Even a simple electric motor, costing a few hundred pounds, can be expected to consume many tens of thousands of pounds worth of electricity over its useful lifetime. Variable Speed Drives can help to make significant energy savings by controlling the motor speed, particularly in pump and fan applications.

“Energy saving is currently a high priority on the British and EU agendas and VSDs are gradually being recognised as one of the most important tools for cutting energy costs,”
explained Steve Brambley, deputy director of GAMBICA. “We hope this new tool will encourage non technical people, particularly in purchasing departments, to embrace the technology.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Patnership surveys more!


The Industrial Automation Group of Advantech and Industrial Video andControl (IVC), a leading supplier of industrial video solutions, announce their partnership to provide state-of-the-art video surveillance solutions.  As a world class manufacturer and provider of industrial and embedded PC platforms, Advantech provides IVC customers an ideal industrialized embedded platform for remote, ruggedized industrial applications.   Advantech’s embedded platforms can support both analog and IP-based camera technology as well as offering class 1, division 2 UL certified solutions.

“IVC is extremely satisfied with the quality and performance of Advantech’s products.  Their rugged PCs provide an ideal platform for our IVC and Longwatch camera management software,” stated Clarke Esler, IVC’s Director of Marketing.  “They are particularly attractive to customers deploying our camera systems in remote locations.  We can preconfigure the Advantech PCs with our software to offer our customers solutions that are essentially turn-key.  Additionally, their certified product line dovetails nicely with our certified camera line.”

Tough submersible load cell

Applied Measurements have just designed and manufactured a special version of their compact CCG annular load cell (also known as a ‘ring load cell’ or ‘donut load cell’) for use in a particularly tough application where it is submerged 1 metre deep in potable water, subjected to a force of 160kN (~16 tonnes) and subjected to a repeated cycle of freezing and thawing.


The load cell design utilises 17-4PH stainless steel for the sensing element and cover in conjunction with a stainless steel IP68 cable gland, submersible polyurethane cable and a double ‘O’ ring sealing system to ensure that the transducer’s integrity is maintained at all times.

The submersible load cells achieved an accuracy of better than 0.5% of rated capacity despite their low height of just 40mm.  It was also fully temperature compensated over the operating range to minimise the effect of the application’s cyclic thermal profile.

The submersible CCG annular load cell, alongside the DDEN in-line submersible load cell, are just two of a number of customised transducer designs from Applied Measurements that are suitable for both permanent and temporary submersion in a variety of medias including water and hydraulic oil.

In addition to low level submersion applications where external pressures range from a few hundred millibar up to 4 or 5 bar typically, we also specialise in the design of load cells for use in applications where much higher pressures in excess of 620bar (9000psi) are present, such as subsea vessels and systems, ROVs & AUVs, oil well tools and pressurised vessels.  The majority of these designs feature a pressure compensation system to nullify the external stresses experienced in these demanding situations and ensure high accuracy measurements.

Nomination date extended!

The HART Communication Foundation has extended the deadline to receive nominations for the 2011 HART Plant of the Year Award to August 15.  (We covered this in our blog "Are you the plant of the year?" in April). End users and manufacturers from all world areas are encouraged to enter their plant or customer’s plant for recognition. The HART Plant of the Year is the only international award presented to end user companies in the process automation industry to recognize the exceptional application of HART Communication. Nomination forms and details are available on their website!

“We are seeking a plant that has taken the capabilities of HART instruments beyond configuration and calibration or is using real-time diagnostics and process variables in HART-enabled devices integrated with control, information, asset management or safety systems,”
says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “Selection of the HART Plant of the Year is based on a plant’s use of HART Communication not on the size of the installation.”

The HART Communication Foundation is the technology owner and standards organization for the HART Communication Protocol. Founded in 1993, the Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit, membership organization providing support for the HART Communication technology and standards worldwide. The Foundation is supported by a global membership of more than 250 companies. HART Communication is the leading technology for process measurement and control with more than 32 million devices installed worldwide.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"World´s most graphic HMI!"

The new iX V1.30 captivates by intuitive operation and realistic graphic objects
With its open platform architecture and world-leading graphics, iX has set the trend for modern HMI solutions. Beijer Electronics´ HMI solution, developed in house, is now available in an even more powerful combination, in which upgraded software offer extended features. This includes even greater functionality in development and runtime operation, quicker screen changes and project builds. Other improvements are a new scroll function, even better data uploads and downloads and Chinese language support.

The iX Developer acts as a universal project planning tool for all products of the iX Panel series. Its range includes touch and keypad units from 4,3” to 19” display sizes.

The overall performance of the iX Developer and the runtime has been improved drastically by adding new and modifying existing features. The result is an intuitive project planning tool, to create realistic graphical environments in an efficient way.

Every newcomer to the iX developer V1.30 will take advantage of the large amount of existing demo project, helping him in the realization of their own projects. Equally useful is the extended choice of demo screens. Using the existing templates and scripts inspires the user in easily creating their own solutions.

Animated GIF-files will make the screen come alive and creates a strong user attendance for a safe operation. The improved toggle-tag-feature helps the user to create a back lighted switch in a flash, clearly showing the status of the push buttons. Great reduction of the engineering time is implemented by the use of the extended object library and integrating the graphical elements into own projects.

The feature Database Export allows the summarizing of production data and alarm lists into complete reports with ease. Finally the Excel formatted file is ready to be analysed in external software programs.

In the runtime mode the new feature Alarm-Viewer offers a far improved navigation in alarm lists. By using the Touch-Scroll-Feature the user is able to sift through even long lists quickly and intuitively. Keyboard layouts, which contains special characters e.g. Cyrillic or Chinese fonts are now included as standard equipment. The machine user overlays their language specific keyboard to work in an well known environment. This feature is very useful, especially for export oriented machine builders.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Magneto-transport measurement systems

In the field of functional materials, the need for specialist turn-key systems is growing as scientists focus upon research into new materials and systems for the next generation of semiconductors, photovoltaics, spintronics and ferromagnetic systems.

Research and development into new materials continues to expand to meet the wider ranging needs of current and emerging technological applications. There is a growing trend within academic and industrial research and development for off the shelf turn-key measurement solutions which combine ease of use with high level research functionality and measurement sensitivity.

In the field of functional materials, the need for specialist turn-key systems is growing as scientists focus upon research into new materials and systems for the next generation of semiconductors, photovoltaics, spintronics and ferromagnetic systems.

The new Ohmpoint Measurement System from Rhomap  is a flexible research tool that offers a range of software selectable sample connection probe geometries in one system. The instrument allows users to measure resistance in two or four point geometry, sheet resistance and magneto-transport behaviour, including Hall effect and magnetoresistance. The flexibility of the system also enables the user to easily select between individual measurements and batch scanning of multiple samples.

The Ohmpoint system is controlled through the bespoke MeasureR software interface that provides a flexible and intuitive user experience.

Power supply series extended

Aim-TTi has extended its best-selling CPX400 series of PowerFlex regulated laboratory power supplies to include single-output models.

The CPX400S is a 420 W power-supply unit with extremely compact dimensions, being only 107 mm wide (quarter rack width). Maximum output voltage is 60 V and maximum current 20 A subject to the 420 W power limit envelope. Range control buttons allow it to be configured as full PowerFlex, fixed range 60 V/7 A or 20 V/20 A, or any user-selected voltage/current combination.

The power supply uses true analogue controls, but incorporates an S-Lock function which transfers control of voltage and current from the analogue controls to internal digital circuitry for stability and safety.

The CPX400SP adds a full range of digital control interfaces for remote-control applications, along with duplicate power and sense terminals on the rear panel. RS-232, USB, GPIB and LAN (Ethernet) interfaces are all provided as standard. The LAN interface is compliant with LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation).

As well as using minimum space in bench-top applications, these units offer high density for rack-mount use. Up to four single- or two dual-output units, or a combination of both, can be fitted into a single rack width.