Friday, October 14, 2011

Global partnership

ICONICS has signed a global partnership agreement with Mitsubishi Electric, a world-class supplier of factory and electrical automation equipment and energy systems. Mitsubishi Electric has made a 19.9% equity investment in ICONICS as part of the partnership.

Under the signed agreements, Mitsubishi Electric will market MC Works™ (SCADA) solutions for Process Automation, Factory Automation and Energy Management, based on ICONICS technology. Mitsubishi Electric will promote the solutions through their global network of distributors, resellers and systems integrators.

Mitsubishi Electric and ICONICS will develop integrated software solutions for the Process Automation and Social Infrastructure global markets. The tightly integrated products will greatly reduce Total Cost of Ownership by reducing engineering, deployment and start-up time of applications for the water and wastewater, food and beverage, renewable energy, power and other process intensive industry applications.

“Our strategic partnership with Mitsubishi Electric creates new sales and marketing growth opportunities for ICONICS,” said Russ Agrusa, President and CEO of ICONICS, “and we will also work closely together to design and develop integrated break-through products to simplify development and operations within the social infrastructure and process automation markets. In addition, we are excited by our partnership with Mitsubishi Electric and will have a greater sales reach into the fast growing emerging markets of Asia and other growth economies.”

“The rapid and continued expansion of Social Infrastructure in Asia and Latin America is driving demand for the Automation and Electric Equipment supplied by Mitsubishi Electric and its global partners,” said Satoshi Matsushita, Group Vice President and General Manager, Overseas Marketing Division, of Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo, “and our customers can now acquire their complete automation solution for factory and process automation, including Programmable Logic Controllers, drives, electrical metering and other equipment from a single global supplier.”

Mitsubishi Electric’s MC Works solution is available today as a scalable suite of Web-enabled SCADA applications. Designed from the ground up to take advantage of the range of Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 7, the MC Works software delivers unparalleled ease-of-use, auto configuration, performance and cost savings.

The iQ PlantSuite is Mitsubishi Electric’s DCS solution configured with MC Works SCADA/ HMI, iQ Platform automation controllers and iQ Works engineering tools. It provides an integrated engineering, control and measurement environment with OPC Plug and Play connectivity and interoperability for all applications of Process Automation, Factory Automation and Energy Management.

The MC Works Suite offers the following features and benefits:
• One Development Tool for Multiple Targets
• Desktop and Web-based SCADA and Visualization
• Easy Configuration with Robust, Web-based Workbench
• Modular Suite of Data Tools
• OPC-To-The-Core Technology
• OPC, SNMP, BACnet and Database Connectivity
• Support for Redundancy and Cluster Servers
• Powerful Data Mining Technology
• Project Management and Deployment Tools
• Firewall-friendly and Integrates with Wireless Devices
• Multimedia OPC Alarming and Alert Notification

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Network switch supply agreement

Yokogawa has signed a supply agreement with Belden, a global manufacturer whose products include the Hirschmann brand of industrial network switches: components that are used to connect the different components of a control network. This new agreement will allow Yokogawa to provide a long-term and stable supply of Hirschmann's highly reliable Industrial Ethernet switches to its customers for use with the Yokogawa Vnet/IP® high-speed control network. Under the terms of the agreement, Yokogawa will sell these network switch products to its customers and provide maintenance services that facilitate the configuration of highly reliable control networks.

Overview of Vnet/IP Communications
The construction of reliable plant control networks requires high performance network switches that are reliable and have strong resistance to hostile environments with extreme ambient temperatures and corrosive gasses. In addition, the continuous supply and maintenance of switches must be ensured at each stage of the plant lifecycle. Yokogawa will offer Hirschmann brand network switches from Belden, the global leader in this market, because customers value a low failure rate and high environmental resistance. In addition, Hirschmann's Industrial Ethernet switches are the perfect choice for configuring control networks in plants in demanding environments that must operate with long-term stability.

Yokogawa is committed to providing its customers with highly reliable plant control systems and the long-term support required to guarantee stable operations over the entire plant lifecycle.
The Yokogawa Vnet/IP® high-speed control network allows control information to be transmitted between the devices such as human interface stations and controllers that comprise a control system. The Vnet/IP control network is used in Yokogawa's CENTUM® VP integrated production control system and ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system.

(We recently reported the acquisition of Byres Security by Belden!) 

Smart wireless street infrastructure.

Dust Networks®, the leader in intelligent wireless sensor network solutions, has announced that Streetline the leading global provider of smart parking solutions for cities, airports, universities, private garages and consumers, has selected the company as its wireless sensor networking technology provider. The Dust Networks SmartMesh® network supports a variety of Streetline’s sensor-enabled mobile and web-based smart parking solutions due to its long battery life, reliability and robust scalability.

“Dust Networks’ ultra-low-power SmartMesh products allow us to cost effectively deploy sensors anywhere in the urban environment, especially in places where power is not readily available,”
said Zia Yusuf, president and CEO of Streetline. “Combining Streetline's patented sensor-based applications with Dust mesh technology allows us to deliver low-cost and high reliability solutions to our customers.”
“We are very excited about partnering with Streetline,” said Joy Weiss, president and CEO of Dust Networks. “The pioneering work Streetline has done in smart parking is already making cities greener and reducing traffic congestion in major urban areas. Major efficiencies will be realized as more and more wireless sensor data is collected and fed into Streetline’s systems to make that information actionable.”

New faces!

Brennan Industries recently  additions to the management team at its headquarters in Cleveland.

Jennifer Altier joins Brennan Industries as the new human resources manager. Altier brings six years of human resources experience to Brennan Industries. She specializes in employment and labor relations, medical leave and recruiting. Prior to joining Brennan Industries, Altier worked as a human resources coordinator at Eaton Aerospace. She studied business and human resource management at Virginia College.

Rob Ward joins Brennan Industries as the new credit manager. He brings 10 years of experience with Bank of America in credit, underwriting, collections and account management. He is also an investment committee member for the United Way of Greater Cleveland. Ward earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio (US).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Enhanced process imaging solution!

Raytek® has announced an enhanced version of its ThermoView™ Pi20 process imager with DataTemp® Pi (DTPi) software. This rugged, yet easy-to-operate thermal imaging solution includes two additional cameras, a new enclosure and C++ software development kit (SDK) allowing for use in a wide range of industrial environments.

Designed for automated monitoring and control of continuous or stationary targets, the ThermoView Pi20 fixed-mounted process imager provides an automated view of your process, allowing plant operators to shorten process startup times and lower production line changeover costs. The camera is paired with the intuitive DTPi software, which minimizes or eliminates the long learning curve associated with many process imaging systems.

The ThermoView Pi20 is now even more robust and versatile with the addition of two 45-degree remote focus cameras and a new "outdoor" enclosure. This solution is ideal for applications ranging from furnace refractory monitoring, to semiconductor/solar manufacturing and production of glass, plastics, automotive components, building materials, food and beverage products, and petrochemicals. Customized solutions are also available for engine testing, steel coating, metal forming, materials testing, solar module testing and automotive fabrication.

Together, the Raytek Pi20 camera and DTPi software offer multi-point control flexibility corresponding to Areas of Interest (AOIs) on the product with independent alarm settings. This provides the ability to reduce heating costs by applying heat to only the areas that need it. Users can also tell immediately when a product changeover is made if their process is under control. Process problems that show up as temperature anomalies are instantly detected, and image file and AOI archiving based on alarm conditions captures data showing when the alarm condition occurred.

Featuring an IP54 rating, the rugged ThermoView Pi20 camera is offered in two temperature ranges: -40 to 500° C (-40 to 932° F) and 200 to 2000° C (392 to 3632° F). For each temperature range, three lens options are available: 21.7° x 16°, 30° x 22° and 45.2° x 33.7°. The ThermoView Pi20 provides easy networking over long distances using a standard Ethernet interface, which transmits up to 30 frames per second of imaging data from the camera. Additional fiber optic Ethernet accessories enable Ethernet cable runs beyond 90 m (300 ft.), thus eliminating the need to place the PC operating DataTemp Pi software in a hazardous area. These features reduce the user's capital investment costs by eliminating the need for specialized enclosures and expensive industrial computers to survive in a harsh field environment.

The ThermoView Pi20 camera is easily interfaced to the DataTemp Pi software for real-time viewing, archiving and playback of both on-line and off-line thermal images. The DTPi supports up to sixteen Pi20 cameras simultaneously in a single software package where each camera can have up to 192 process alarms to be assigned as relay outputs. As a result, users can minimize the total system footprint on the factory floor and control room with a single PC installation. The software is designed to be set up and operational within minutes.

Raytek now offers a new C++ software development kit (SDK) to complement the LabVIEW™ based SDK. With this new SDK, C++ developers can now write customized software for the Pi20 camera to suit their unique processes. System integrators, as well as more technically advanced end-users will find this useful.

The system enables a significant reduction in product scrap by providing alarm outputs immediately when they occur, anywhere on the product.

Additionally, DTPi software interfaces to remote I/O modules can be employed as triggering inputs, allowing for file saving or other application events to occur.

Raytek offers a full complement of accessories for its newest thermal imaging solution to provide protection for hardware in dirty, high temperature environments. They include an IP67 (NEMA 4)-rated protective enclosure with integrated cooling and air purge options, a junction box to house I/O module accessories, a DIN rail industrial power supply and other accessories. The Pi20 camera is also available with fiber optic Ethernet cable and converters for extended cable runs, as well as a mounting bracket allowing easy base- and tripod-mounting

Modbus gateway integration with wireless

The Deeter Group has added a Wireless Modbus Gateway to its range of Wireless Sensor Network products.

Any users of Modbus communication protocols will find the new Deeter Wireless Modbus Gateway is a simple and cost effective way to connect a Deeter Wireless Sensor network to a Modbus system to monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as liquid levels, temperature, humidity, vibration, pressure and proximity.

The Deeter Wireless Modbus Gateway communicates with the Modbus network via a RS485 port in slave mode; it coordinates the wireless sensor network and manages data acquisition from the sensors using the IEEE 802.15.4™ wireless protocol in the 2.4GHz ISM frequency band.

These Gateways may be installed as a component of a new control or measurement system or as an extension to an existing wired sensor system in order to add wireless connected sensors.

Alan Marsh
, Sales Manager at Deeter Group Ltd. Comments; "Modbus has become one of the most popular standard communications protocols used in process control and is now amongst the most commonly available means of connecting industrial electronic devices. Our new Modbus Gateway will allow customers to integrate Deeter Wireless Sensor products into existing or new control systems in locations where wireless has cost, safety and convenience advantages over conventional cable connected systems.”

Deeter Wireless products may be used indoors or outside and all are rated to IP64, have an operating temperature range of -20ºC to +70ºC and compliant to FCC part 15.

The Deeter Group’s comprehensive range of wireless sensors and network components may be used to remotely monitor temperature, pressure, flow, humidity, liquid level, float or proximity switches or any sensor connected to a 4-20mA control loop. Deeter wireless sensor networks are very versatile and can range from a simple single sensor measurement to complex multi sensor and multi-vendor systems with mixed sensor inputs and routers to extend wireless range and offer self-healing mesh networks.

Signal bandwidth doubled with software radio module

Pentek has  announced its fastest ever multichannel data converter with digital down and up converters. With two channels each of 12-bit, 500 MHz A/D and 16-bit, 800 MHz D/A, the Model 71651 delivers more than twice the bandwidth of Pentek’s previous data converters. As a member of the popular Cobalt™ family of high-performance XMC modules, the Model 71651 has a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA at its core. The FPGA is preconfigured with data acquisition and playback IP to give the module turn-key functionality, with room left for user customization.

“The Model 71651 handles a tremendous breadth of communications and radar signals,” commented Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. “With its high speed data converters and digital up/down converters, tuning bandwidths range from 10 kHz to 240 MHz, two and a half times our previous modules.” Hosking also pointed out that the 71651 FPGA is preconfigured for use out of the box. “Our embedded IP was inspired by what our customers most often require for their applications. We’re simply giving them a quick start towards their final configuration.”

The Model 71651 features two input and two output RF channels, transformer-coupled to allow direct connection to HF or IF radio stages. The input channels feature 12-bit, 500 MHz A/Ds that feed data into the Virtex-6 FPGA. The output channels incorporate a Texas Instruments DAC5688 digital upconverter that translates real or complex baseband signals to any IF frequency up to 380 MHz. Dual 16-bit, 800 MHz D/As create real or in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) analog outputs.

Built-in Acquisition and Playback IPFour types of pre-configured IP in the FPGA help simplify the capture, movement, and playback of data. Three Acquisition IP modules accept data from any of the A/Ds, a test signal generator, or the Playback IP in loopback mode. These acquisition modules each have a private memory bank for storing data in capture mode, or to serve as a FIFO buffer for the linked-list DMA engine to move data off-board through the x8 Gen 2 PCIe interface. The DMA engines can automatically generate meta-data to simplify host processing.

Each Acquisition Module includes a powerful DDC IP core with flexible input selection. Each DDC has an independent 32-bit tuning frequency from 0 Hz to the A/D sampling frequency, and an independent decimation setting from 2 to 131,072. The decimation filters accept user-supplied coefficients and deliver complex (I and Q) output data streams.

In addition to the DDCs, the 71651 features a complete beamforming subsystem. Each DDC core contains programmable I and Q phase and gain adjustments followed by a power meter that continuously measures the individual average power output and performs threshold detection. A programmable summation block handles any of the three DDC core outputs, automatically compensating for summation bit growth. For larger systems, multiple 71651 modules can be chained together via a built-in Xilinx Aurora 4X gigabit serial interface.

The D/A Waveform Playback Module provides a linked-list controller so users can easily deliver waveforms stored in on-board or host memory to the D/As. Up to 64 individual link entries can be chained together to create complex waveforms with a minimum of programming. Parameters for each waveform include length of waveform, delay from playback trigger, waveform repetition, plus the link to the next waveform.

Development Tools

Users can also implement their own IP in the 71651’s FPGA using Pentek’s GateFlow FPGA design kit. Boards can be populated with a variety of FPGAs to match the specific requirement of the processing task.

Pentek’s ReadyFlow Board Support package for Windows, Linux or VxWorks operating systems includes C-callable libraries, drivers, and example code for easy access to all of the features. The Signal Analyzer features a virtual oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer for viewing live data streaming from the 71651, straight out of the box. A command line interpreter allows customers to change module parameters to check operation and performance on the Signal Analyzer without having to compile C code.

Switch for industrial, transportation and medical applications

The new Honeywell MICRO SWITCH™ V15W is a standard-sized basic switch that has been designed for harsh-duty, wash down areas.

 Rugged yet precise, these switches provides highly accurate machine control for turning circuits on and off.

The V15W can be used in a wide range of challenging environments, including off-road vehicles such as ATVs, golf carts, lawn mowers, and snowmobiles; construction and agricultural machinery; industrial equipment such as factory floor wash-down machinery; and medical equipment such as hospital beds, dental chairs and foot pedals.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fieldbus interoperability test kit!

The Fieldbus Foundation has released its H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 6.0.1. This powerful test tool, which tests the functionality of an H1 (31.25 kbit/s) fieldbus device and its conformity with the FOUNDATION™ function block and transducer block specifications, is available to members holding an active maintenance agreement.

H1 ITK 6.0.1 demonstrates the Fieldbus Foundation's commitment to quality and its continuous improvement of solutions supporting developers of FOUNDATION fieldbus products. The updated test kit addresses bug fixes to the NI-FBUS Communication Manager (4.0.1) software, which have resolved issues related to alarms and obsolete descriptor errors. It also includes miscellaneous bug fixes to H1 device test cases.

Josef Fraunhofer after
whom the Franhofer Institute
is named
Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute of  Karlsruhe (D), the H1 ITK consists of a test engine, communication stack and function block interface card. An excellent tool for troubleshooting and debugging devices, the H1 ITK includes all hardware and software required to ensure a manufacturer's complete device interoperability as specified by the Fieldbus Foundation's official registration testing procedure. By using the H1 ITK, device developers can run tests identical to those used by the foundation before submitting their device for official registration.

The H1 interoperability test suite can be paired with an ITK Automation Tool designed to eliminate several manual intervention steps required when performing pre-registration testing of fieldbus devices. The tool improves ITK schedule efficiency and provides a direct reduction in the person'hours needed to complete the testing phase.

Growing customer base for CMMS served by new web site

SoftSols Group is celebrating its growing business with a brand new website. The new site highlights the range of sectors in which the company’s Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS), Agility is continuing to build its reputation as affordable and easy to use maintenance software.

The world’s largest distributor of electronic and maintenance products and one of Britain’s most famous high street chains are among the latest companies to sign up for the Agility Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS).

Agility is widely recognised as a leading system for efficient and cost effective maintenance management. The CMMS enables users to easily prioritise and schedule work for their maintenance teams. It offers a clear overview of the work that needs to be done, so resourcing levels can be confirmed, response times monitored, and all tasks can be managed and assessed. Agility will automatically generate planned preventative maintenance (PPM) work orders and can be flexibly configured to work well for a variety of sectors and different companies’ specific needs. Each company decides what it wants to measure, adding the data fields that it needs and customising key performance indicators.

International garden products manufacturer Scotts Miracle-Gro recently selected Agility for its largest British manufacturing site in Yorkshire, while RS Components, the world’s largest distributor of electronic and maintenance products, also chose Agility to improve the performance of their maintenance operation at their Nuneaton distribution centre (GB). Argos – Home Delivery has also chosen Agility for maintenance management at its Darlington, Castleford, Stafford and Bedford (all in England) distribution sites and Mars Group’s pet division, Royal Canin, continues its roll-out of Agility from its British factory to a new site in Canada.

Agility’s reports and Key Performance Indicators help businesses to easily understand the true picture of all of their maintenance activities, to make better informed decisions, and improve their output and profit margins.

Agility CMMS provides an intuitive and powerful method to efficiently manage maintenance activities.

Containing data centres!

Rittal now have a 12 m long XL version of its turnkey Data Centre Container (DCC) especially designed for IT applications and targeted at medium-sized companies with a very high demand for computing power, as well as at large corporations or hosting providers.

Equipped with their IT infrastructure components, benefits include an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), an automatic fire alarm and extinguisher system, power supply and distribution, raised floors, as well as access control and monitoring functions. Rittal’s DCC also has a reinforced exterior shell, burglary protection features to protect against external threats and energy-efficient climate control.

As many as sixteen TS 8 server racks with 752 height units can be accommodated within a Rittal DCC XL and with an outer width of 3 m and height of 3.25 m it is approximately 60 cm wider and 65 cm taller than the ISO standard. These generous dimensions provide technicians and administrators with enough free space for installation and maintenance.

Its design allows a separation into hot and cold aisles to allow targeted cooling of the servers. The use of direct free cooling is also possible, depending on the geographical location, where this filtered outside air is guided directly into the container. A switch-over to a conventional climate control unit is then only made at high external temperatures. This way, a very good PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) of less than 1.2 can be achieved.

A Rittal DCC can be standardised, to meet the specific requirements of server farms, which are composed of dozens of containers and serve entire regions or continents via software services.

Due to the possibility of physically separating server racks and technology, the Rittal DCC XL is especially suited for "private clouds". A high level of physical security is guaranteed therefore air conditioning technicians can maintain the climate control system, without having to obtain real access to the servers themselves.

Managing industrial wireless LAN

Fast wireless standard and central management for Industrial Wireless LAN

Siemens Industry Automation Division has developed a package of coordinated industry-compatible components for wireless communication complying with the WLAN (Wireless LAN) standard IEEE 802.11n. The new range consists of the access points SCALANCE W786 and W788, the client module SCALANCE W748 and the IWLAN controller SCALANCE WLC711. The main advantage of the components is the data rate of up to 450 Mbps.

The high data rates of the new IWLAN components allow even large amounts of data to be transferred securely and quickly. Potential fields of use include applications with video, visualization or voice data. With the use of Mimo (multiple input, multiple output) technology with three antennas per wireless interface, these SCALANCE W products achieve long ranges and a high degree of robustness in wireless communication. This means that the Siemens components are suitable not only for wireless communication in an automation environment, but also in industry-related areas such as logistics, airports, road and underground railway tunnels or crane systems. Typical applications for wireless data transmission via IWLAN are the monitoring of safety-critical areas for the protection of persons or the monitoring of processing and storage procedures in high-bay storage systems.

The access points are available in three versions. With an extended temperature range and extremely resistant housing, SCALANCE W786 is suitable for outdoor use. SCALANCE W788 is designed for indoor operation with degree of protection IP65 and for a control cabinet with degree of protection IP30. With the client module SCALANCE W748, any stationary or mobile devices with Ethernet capability can be integrated in the wireless network.

The IWLAN controller SCALANCE WLC711 represents a significant expansion of the portfolio. The controller allows central configuration and monitoring of up to 32 access points and client modules. A controller-based wireless network solution reduces effort and costs during commissioning and operation of larger IWLAN installations. With parallel operation of two SCALANCE WLC711 IWLAN controllers, the availability of the communication network can be increased. The device is installed in a housing without a fan and is suitable for DIN rail mounting. In addition to all this, there are the new access points and the client module also with integrated controller functionality in the versions SCALANCE W786C, SCALANCE W788C and SCALANCE W748C.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Informatics for water and environmental testing labs!

Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced a new informatics solution specifically developed for laboratory professionals working in water and environmental testing laboratories. The new LIMS is preconfigured to enable customers to comply with water and environmental regulatory guidelines and requirements, and it is built on the comprehensive functionality provided by the company’s flagship laboratory information management system, Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS. They will showcase the Water and Environmental LIMS at their booth (# 4145) during WEFTEC 2011 ( held 17/19 Oct'11 Los Angeles CA).

Water and environmental testing laboratories face unique challenges with delivering accurate, consistent and traceable results. In the current economic environment, it’s more important than ever to standardize workflows and processes that facilitate regulatory compliance, ensure public safety and monitor quality throughout the entire sampling, testing and reporting process. The US Safe Drinking Water Act, and the subsequent release of the US EPA’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment, puts pressure on municipal, state and privately owned water facilities to remain in compliance with mandatory limits for an increasing array of contaminants. This LIMS offers tools and functionality to enable lab managers to deliver the defensible data necessary to meet the compliance requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Thermo Scientific Water and Environmental LIMS helps laboratory professionals make faster, more informed decisions at all levels of the organization, delivering information needed to manage laboratory processes and respond to the most current regulatory and business demands. Purpose-built functionality helps labs:

• Establish protocols and documentation methods that meet NELAC compliance requirements and ISO 17025 guidelines
• Automate reports and records to ensure full traceability
• Improve lab and workflow efficiencies

Developed in conjunction with environmental experts for ISO 17025 and NELAC requirements, Thermo Scientific Water and Environmental LIMS has built-in functionality designed for workflows found in water and environmental labs. Pre-defined test methods, batch sequences, regu¬latory reports and other templates allow customers to reduce administra¬tion overhead, cost and implementa¬tion time. In addition, comprehensive dashboard functionality ad¬dresses the regulatory and operational needs of three distinct but interrelated aspects of a laboratory’s business: personnel, quality assur¬ance and the customer.

Companies working within the environmental and water and wastewater sectors face many challenges in improving efficiencies, processes and traceability while ensuring regulatory compliance. To assist the industry in meeting these challenges, a series of five educational on-demand webinars is now available for viewing at Developed in collaboration with industry experts from EM2 Solutions, Pilgrim Software and the Winvale Group, the webinars address topics relevant to professionals working in the environmental and waste testing industries.

“The pace of regulatory change in the water and environmental industry is sometimes faster than the adoption of new technologies to meet those new requirements,” said Dave Champagne, vice president and general manager, Informatics, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “With the EPA establishing compliance parameters for five new contaminants every year, the cycle of certification for state, municipal and privately owned water supplies is in a constant state of oversight. Our Water and Environmental LIMS will help industry professionals meet these ongoing challenges. And by developing this on-demand webinar series with our industry and technical partners, we are able to deliver an overview of the key issues to the industry and contribute to the adoption of newer technologies which can enable easier and more cost effective regulatory compliance.”