Saturday, December 3, 2011

Integrator partnership excites!

Yokogawa has announced that Applied Control Engineering (ACE) has joined its new VigilantPlant® Solutions Partner Program (VPS Partner Program). The VPS Partners program creates a collaborative partnership with select System Integrator's (SI's) to deliver Yokogawa’s best in class industrial automation solutions to the process industry. As a trained integrator, ACE will deliver Yokogawa's VigilantPlant Solutions portfolio including the industry's most reliable portfolio of DCS, PLC, RTU products, as well as, advanced application software solutions. Support comes from some of the leading industry experts, both domestic and from our group companies around the globe, which have executed and supplied over 20,000 control systems worldwide.

“Our program is not open to everyone. We are looking for select companies that share our core values for quality and performance and ACE fits this profile as one of the premier SI’s in the country. Their emphasis on quality is exactly what Yokogawa is looking for in our partners,” says Roger Van Nuis, General Manager, Channel Sales. “We are excited to have them.”

ACE, an independent systems integration firm with seven offices throughout the northeast USA and Texas, focuses on providing unmatched customer service to clients in the machine/process,
plant, and enterprise industries. For the past twenty years, they have built a reputation for having the depth and breadth of expertise necessary to successfully complete any project.

“We are looking forward to working with Yokogawa” commented Tim Cole, President of ACE, “as many of our oil and gas customers prefer their platform. We welcome the long-term investment of adding another system to our competency, as we believe it will be beneficial to ACE and most importantly - our customers.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Accurate and reliable wireless communications link between remote field sites

The new WNM Wireless Network Module from Moore Industries is an accurate and reliable solution for sending process signals between remote field sites. The WNM provides a low-cost wireless communications link between field sites that are in rugged or impassable terrain, with a single unit transmitting for up to 30 miles and the ability to act as a repeater for a virtually unlimited transmission range.

The bi-directional WNM employs Spread Spectrum Frequency Hopping technology to avoid interference problems caused by crowded radio spectrums. This technology allows multiple radio networks to use the same band while in close proximity. Operating at standard operating frequencies of 902-928MHz or 2.4-2.4835GHz, the WNM does not require a regulatory license and can typically be installed without performing costly RF site surveys.

When it is set in the Smart Switch Ethernet (SSE) mode, the WNM enhances the speed and reliability of data packet transmission by determining the most efficient path of broadcast (including direct to a single radio or to some or all radios in a network) on a packet-by-packet basis.

The WNM is ideal for use with the Moore Industries NCS NET Concentrator System®, as well as other SCADA and distributed I/O systems. WNM models are available for data communications networks that use Ethernet and serial (RS-485) communications. In each WNM network, one module is set as a Master. This can be set to communicate with a single WNM remote unit in a Point-to-Point architecture or multiple WNM remote units in a Point-to-Multipoint architecture. 

WNM modules are designed for long-distance data transmission; 902-928MHz units can transmit up to 30 miles, while 2.4-2.4835GHz units have a transmission range of up to 15 miles. The range can be extended indefinitely by using multiple WNM units as repeaters to relay signals. This also allows for the creation of WNM networks when a direct line of sight cannot be established.

The WNM is easy to install and use, as it can be factory-configured to fit user specifications before being shipped. In addition, free PC configuration software allows end users to perform on-site configuration, parameter changes and add WNM modules to a network.

The WNM utilizes 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption, 32-bit CRC (Cyclic Redundancy Check) error detection and ARQ (Automatic Resend Query) for robust and secure communications. The industrial DIN-rail mount metal enclosure also ensures that the WNM can be used in rugged environments, including ambient temperatures from -40°F to 167°F (-40°C to 75°C) and relative humidity of 5 to 95 percent.

Open path gas detectors with wireless

An industry first, Senscient’s new ELDS Version 1.2 Open Path Gas Detectors (OPGDs) feature Integrated 2.4 GHz Wireless Communications between the ELDS Transmitters/Receivers and Senscient Install & Commissioning tools.

No other OPGD is as easy to install, with 2.4 GHz wireless alignment & access to event logs, self check results, and system diagnostics. This eliminates hard-wired Class I Division I or II connectors and cables, or area de-classification for technician access to detectors via open junction box terminals for commissioning.  ELDS Version 1.2 Wireless is particularly beneficial for OPGD systems installed high in the air or under floor grates.

Version 1.2 SITE Senscient Install and Test Environment Software with proven Microsoft Windows Compatibility with Senscient-supplied industrial laptops enables user searchable data export for permanent records in Trend Analysis, diagnostic detail for troubleshooting in the field, exports of all gas readings, daily Auto SimuGas self-check results, and any Fault & Warning events experienced by the systems.

The new product also features expanded gas applications for high level H2S detection at 0-15,000 ppm.meter in FPSO Vent Gases, low level ppm.meter Ammonia open path gas detection, low level ppm.meter HF OPGD for refinery alkylation processes, % LEL HVAC OPGD Cross Duct Methane detection, and % LEL Cross Duct Continuous Methane monitoring for Coal Bed Combustion.

Existing Senscient customers may contact Senscient Customer Care at 1 877-eSimuGas to inquire about field upgrade availability for wireless access.

Data centre enterprise management suite

ABB has introduced its Decathlon suite including software, hardware and services for data centers to provide a single view of IT, facilities and energy management information for improved data access and use, while making the data centers themselves more reliable and energy efficient.

Decathlon enables better control and proactive maintenance of data center operations, with access to information from multiple systems, and provides potential energy savings of 10% to 50%. Decathlon delivers to the data center market the first true Data Center Enterprise Management (DCEM) system which allows the management of energy use and resources across multiple sites; this can result in millions of dollars saved each year for some enterprises.

Remotely located data centers are being used more frequently to handle the continually increasing volume of information required to run any business effectively. The reliable storage, management and round-the-clock security of information are very energy intensive and require that data center equipment must operate without interruption.

Decathlon provides real-time equipment health status to ensure reliability and proactive maintenance. It also transforms energy consumption data into valuable information so that data center operators can optimize power use while maintaining high levels of productivity and reliability. It shows precisely where and how energy and resulting costs can be saved in a risk-free way. 

“By providing intelligent access to vital operating systems, Decathlon helps to ensure reliable operation, availability and security of data centers while proactively managing energy use for the most efficient and cost-effective operation possible,” said Eric Olson, Control Technologies product manager for data centers at ABB. “This solution leverages the integration power of our proven   control and information management platforms to provide these benefits to a wider range of business customers.” 

By using the integration and information access capabilities of ABB’s System 800xA platform as its foundation, Decathlon harmonizes various disciplines from IT, facilities and energy management into a unified environment. It enables a single entry point within its database structure to address the needs of Building Management, Asset Management, Power Management, Load Management, Maintenance Management, Server Optimization, Enterprise Historian, Change Management, Energy Management, and Remote Monitoring functions.

Decathlon is scalable from one to 100 or more data centers, and integrates with all leading third party equipment and systems for information access or control. It aligns with the DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) Maturity Model expanded to meet DCEM objectives. This enables customers to start with Decathlon as an information gathering and monitoring tool alongside their existing platforms, and later expand and upgrade to a full DCEM as needed.

Decathlon exceeds the full range of DCIM functionality as defined by the 451 Group of the Uptime Institute, an independent third-party research, education and consulting organization focused on improving data center performance and efficiency. The Institute serves all stakeholders of the data center industry, including enterprise and third-party operators, manufacturers, providers, and engineers.

I/O modules

IO-Modules with integrated display and manipulation protection

Sensor and industrial networking specialist Balluff is the first to offer fieldbus I/O modules with an illuminated LCD display. This not only makes addressing in the network simpler, but also provides a variety of additional functions. These include the lock bit, search&rescue and device identification, providing demonstrable added value: machine and systems operators profit from the significantly greater manipulation protection, more convenience and transparency in maintenance, and from greater availability and productivity. The new module generation is now available for CC-Link, Ethernet/IP and Profinet. Versions for the other commonly used fieldbus systems will also be available soon.

For more than four years Balluff I/O modules with their up to 32 in- and outputs have been indispensible in the machine building and automation world. Characteristic features include the rugged, full-jacket zinc die-cast housing, the flat profile with rounded edges, the clear, large area displays as well as ease of mounting with just two attachment points.
The new generation of I/O fieldbus modules features an illuminated LCD display which opens up new possibilities for operators in setting, maintenance and repair. The baud rate, node address and information about the hard- and software of the module along with much more can now be visualized, making diagnostics and system availability significantly simpler.
Mechanical attachments such as damage-prone rotary switches can be completely eliminated. This makes the new IP 67 generation even more rugged and reliable than the previous series.
Menu guidance on the bright, high-resolution display is easy to use and self-explanatory. Two keys are used for entering and displaying the individual menu points. A special feature is the integrated manipulation protection. This means the display can be locked out by the PLC, preventing unauthorized access.

The new module generation from Balluff is also equipped with an integrated search&rescue function. Two LEDs controlled by the PLC allow the operator to visualize pre-defined events which are not module- or port-specific directly where the event takes place.

Also interesting is the integrated web server, a specific feature of the Ethernet/IP and Profinet module versions. Using a standard web browser the user has access to comprehensive diagnostics functions such as the display of all LED indicators located on the module. Under “Device Properties” one can parameterize for example the devices connected on the IO-Link port. Other features are available under the “Configurations” function, such as assigning the IP addresses.

Water & Waste show

WWEM 2012, the 5th in a series of highly successful environmental monitoring events in Britain, will return to the Telford International Centre on 7th and 8th November 2012.

Organised in conjunction with the Environment Agency and the Water Monitoring Association (WMA), WWEM 2012 will be an essential diary date for anyone with a professional interest in testing or monitoring water quality, level or flow. Exhibitors are already fighting for the best spots and a comprehensive conference and workshop programme will be announced in the coming months.

Commenting on behalf of the WMA, Dave Curtis said: "WWEM 2012 will be a great opportunity for everyone to share best practice and influence the development of standards, instrumentation and procedures in qualitative and quantitative water monitoring.

"WWEM has become a focal point for the water monitoring community and the 2012 event will provide an opportunity for people from every industry to see the latest technologies and to catch up on current regulatory requirements."

Organiser Marcus Pattison said: "In the past, WWEM events have provided an opportunity for the industry to learn about important issues such as the growth of MCERTS within the water sector and this, along with other regulatory tools, will continue to be an important theme in the 2012 event."

Liquid dispenser!

The Deeter Group has introduced a new Low Volume Liquid Dispenser.  Intended for accurate, repeatable dosing of small volumes of chemicals, colours or flavourings. The Low Volume Liquid Dispenser may be used to control any liquid being dispensed in a laboratory or manufacturing process.

The new Low Volume Liquid Dispenser is designed to deliver a measured volume of liquid at the press of a button.  In normal use, the operator selects a volume, presses a button and the Dispenser delivers the required volume without further operator intervention.  The volume required is simple to set and the dose is retained in non-volatile memory for repeat operations. Volumes between 0.025 litres and 10 litres can be selected in increments of 0.001 litres.

The Dispenser will accurately measure volumes over a flow rate range of between 0.2 litres/minute and 2.5 litres/minute and will automatically compensate for the effects of varying flow-rates and changes in liquid temperature.  A calibration menu allows fine adjustments to the compensation.

The Low Volume Liquid Dispenser has two John Guest Speedfit® 8mm push-fit connectors for input and output of fluids.  Wetted surfaces are nylon, PTFE, Buna and acetyl, making the Low Volume Liquid Dispenser suitable for a wide range of fluids over a temperature range of +1 to +65ºC.  Operator controls consist of a three-button keypad and a liquid crystal display.  The display shows the selected volume and progress during dispensing.  A number of additional features are available through the keypad, including pause and restart during dispensing, cancelling dispensing, and manual ‘top-up’ control.

Peter Whiteaker, Managing Director of The Deeter Group comments; "We have over twenty years of experience in designing fluid dispensers and our new Low Volume Liquid Dispenser will be ideal for single users in laboratories to automated systems for low volume dosing.  This new design features temperature controlled accuracy and the convenience of having software provided for control and monitoring from a PC.”

The Dispenser has a serial communication option to enable automated control and monitoring by an external computer using the software provided.  Communication is via USB ‘A to B’ cable and the Low Volume Liquid Dispenser is powered by a low-voltage supply, making it safe to use in damp environments or if liquid is spilt.  A 12VDC mains socket adapter is supplied with each Dispenser.

An audible ‘beep’ option is provided to indicate when dispensing has stopped and a further option will produce continuous ‘beeps’ if the flow rate is outside of  the limits for accurate volume measurement.  These audio options can be enabled or disabled through a display menu and are also saved to non-volatile memory and are restored to the operator’s preference after power-up.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coriolis flowmeter for custody transfer

The CNGmass Coriolis flowmeter series from Endress+Hauser is approved by NTEP in the U.S. and five other international standards organizations for custody transfer of compressed natural gas (CNG) and for fueling vehicles with CNG.

Available in three common sizes from 3/8 to 1 in., the CNGmass measures mass flow up to 330 lb/min (150 kg/min) at fluid temperatures up to 257F (125C) and pressures to 5,080 psi (350 bar). The instrument measures direct mass or corrected volume flow with 0.5% accuracy to meet custody standards. It also outputs temperature and density. Because the Coriolis flowmeter is a balanced two-tube design, it is insensitive to pipeline vibrations, and can be installed without taking inlet or outlet runs into consideration.

When used for custody transfer, the flowmeter is verified on site using reference measurements approved by the local authority for legal metrology controls. The flowmeter must be locked for custody transfer measurements and sealed by authorized personnel, but it can easily be converted back to normal measurements. The flowmeter is approved for custody transfer by NTEP (U.S.), PTB (Germany), NMi (Netherlands), METAS (Switzerland), BEV (Austria) and MC (Canada).

The CNGmass flowmeter carries approvals for use in hazardous areas from UL, ATEX, FM, cCSAus and NEPSI. The transmitter housing is powder-coated aluminium, the sensor housing is acid-and alkali-resistant 304 stainless steel, and all process connections are 316 or 316L stainless steel.

A multi-color LED on the transmitter housing indicates, by various colors and flashing intervals, the status of the instrument and the process conditions—such as creepage, system working/not working, custody transfer mode started, or explicit Modbus messages.

Output options for the CNGmass 8DF/8FF include pulse/frequency signal, 4-20mA current with HART, 30Vdc status output for fault or power supply failure, or MODBUS RS485 output in accordance with the EIA/TIA-485 standard designed for custody transfer applications in dispensing or fueling in the compressed natural gas industry. The MODBUS output contains flow rate, totalizer, temperature and density information, system or process notifications, and security status identification.

Four configuration methods exist for this product. Endress+Hauser’s FieldCare software can be used for on-site configuration, verification and diagnostics. The instrument can also be configured via HART, manually via the local display, or with a plug-in EEPROM

Handheld humidity!

New RH hand meter from Michell is a simple reference for humidity calibration

Michell Instruments new RH hand meter, the MDM25, is an ideal reference instrument for use with humidity generators when calibrating RH probes.

Large users of RH probes – such as laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, semi conductor manufacturers – find that in-house calibration of probes is highly cost-effective when compared to sending out sensors to an external laboratory for calibration and/or adjustment. The MDM25 provides a useful secondary reference for use when performing calibrations with a humidity generator, such as Michell’s S503, and is a cost-efficient alternative to a chilled mirror reference, such as the Optidew Vision.

The display orientation of the instrument can be inverted so it can be read easily when the fixed probe is inserted into the S503. With a wide range of probes it can be used easily and comfortably in many situations.

The MDM25’s polymer-based sensor responds rapidly to changes in humidity and is coupled with a thermistor for accurate temperature measurement. Other measurement parameters which can be derived from temperature and humidity are available on the handheld: absolute humidity, wet bulb temperature and dew point.

Michell Instruments are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Accelerating access to “Big Data” across the enterprise!

GE Intelligent Platforms has launched its latest software product, Proficy® Historian 4.5. 

This Enterprise Historian solution, from GE Intelligent Platforms, collects, aggregates and organizes the massive amount of data that exists across organizations enabling effective decision-making and tight governance. It is easily integrated into any company’s enterprise systems portfolio through an open, flexible architecture that easily leverages existing investments.

The new Proficy Historian 4.5 adds support of more than 15 million tags, a capability unmatched in the industry. This feature allows users to aggregate and disseminate information across the enterprise through a secure and scalable Historian platform.

“Proficy Historian 4.5 empowers enterprises to deliver on business objectives today and in the future,” said Brian Courtney, General Manager Operations Data Management for GE Intelligent Platforms. “This platform is the enabling pillar for companies to realize value for other corporate initiatives such as Operational Excellence.”

At GE Energy’s Monitoring & Diagnostics (M&D) Center in Atlanta, where they use Proficy to monitor more than 1,000 gas turbine assets across the globe, they wanted to be sure their architecture and hardware/software technologies would scale to meet both their business growth projections but also accommodate exponential increase in data. The team commissioned GE’s Global Research Center to conduct an analysis of Big Data technologies on massive time-series process data which are at the heart of GE Energy’s M&D applications. 

“GE is getting ahead of the issue, taking a leading position on Big Data as so many of our businesses generate and depend on effective management of data across the enterprise,” said Bill Ruh, GE Vice President and leader of the company’s software inititiaves. “The massive growth in data generated by operations is fueling the need to retain more and more data for analysis and compliance. Open architectures and interoperability across business systems is necessary to accelerate and provide complete context for business decisions.”

In the study, conducted by the GE Global Research Center in August 2011, Proficy Historian was shown to excel against relational and unstructured databases for time series data. Typical columnar or relational databases are not well suited for handling time series process data queries at this scale and some of the newer technologies are too immature at this point for real production/operations environments, according to the study. 

“For process data, Proficy Historian is a complete solution for massive data management systems,” said Courtney. “The Historian used in the study was our out-of-the-box, standard Proficy Historian, an easy-to-use and fast-to-implement solution. We didn’t need to do any custom programming to achieve these results. The study validated our belief that this new release of Historian can solve Big Data customer problems today, without requiring extensive infrastructure changes or customization.”

Proficy Historian 4.5 is the latest example of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year software and solutions services businesses are helping customers improve productivity.

Future proof clamp!

Teseq has released the CDN 3425, a Burst/EFT coupling clamp which meets current and forthcoming standards. The ergonomically designed CDN 3425 offers high performance at a competitive price and features innovative safety and calibration accessories

The CDN 3425’s principle function is to couple Burst/EFT pulses to data lines. It may also be used to couple to mains lines where no CDN is available; for example high current lines >200 A.

Teseq continuously monitors the activities of the EMC standards committees to ensure new and existing products meet the requirements of all test procedures. The new TESEQ CDN 3425 is fully compliant with the specifications of IEC 61000-4-4 Ed. 2.0 2004 and meets the requirements of the latest draft of IEC 61000-4-4 Ed. 3.0 expected to be published in April 2012.

An optional INA 3825 safety cover with interlock function to be connected to NSG 3000 series generators is also available and an INA 3425 calibration kit as specified in IEC 61000-4-4 Ed. 3.0 2012 will be available as an option early 2012.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Telemetry export appointed!

Matthew Ellison, an expert in environmental monitoring with 15 years of experience in the development, installation and management of telemetry systems and networks has been appointed to OTT Hydrometry.
OTT recently acquired the company Adcon Telemetry, a manufacturer of advanced communications technologies, and Matthew has already worked closely with the Adcon products for many years. Simon Wills, OTT MD, says "Matthew is a perfect addition to our team because, as specialists in field monitoring instrumentation, we aim to provide customers with easy, low cost access to high quality environmental data, and the Adcon products, combined with Matthew’s expertise, enable us to offer flexible communications options to suit any application.”

Matthew is delighted to be able to advance his career whilst retaining involvement with the Adcon products. He says: “The most rewarding aspect of my work is finding the most effective way to implement fast data delivery to reduce the frequency of site visits and to inform decisions that help monitor and protect the environment.”

As a telemetry specialist Matthew has been involved in the development of a wide variety of industrial, environmental and agricultural monitoring networks. Water resources is an area of particular interest, so Matthew says he is “very excited about combining the versatility of Adcon telemetry with the breadth of OTT’s monitoring technology.”

Microswitches

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of 3U PXI Microwave switch solutions with the introduction of the 40-784.

The 40-784 supports one or two microwave switches in just 2 slots of 3U PXI and is available in two configurations and three frequency ranges. The available configurations are un-terminated 4 way (SP4T) and 6 way (SP6T) multiplexers, each configuration is available with a 6GHz, 26.5GHz or 40GHz specified frequency range.

All versions offer excellent VSWR and insertion loss performance. The 6GHz/26.5GHz configurations feature extended life of 10 million operations per position.

The 2 slot PXI occupancy allows test system designers to provide dense solutions to solve dense microwave switching problems. The 40-784 can be supported by any PXI compliant 3U PXI chassis and is supported by Pickering Interfaces Modular LXI chassis’ for applications requiring Ethernet based control.

First ISO 21287 standard compact cylinders to incorporate air cushioning

Compact pneumatic cylinders with self-adjusting cushioning provide 'fit and forget' solution for machine builders

Festo's popular ADN family of compact pneumatic cylinders
now includes models with pneumatic end-position cushioning,
which adjusts automatically to suit the prevailing speed
and load conditions.
Many models in Festo's popular ADN compact pneumatic cylinder family are now available with a unique self-adjusting pneumatic end-position cushioning system. Innovative cushioning ports allow the air to be vented in an optimal manner and adjust automatically to suit the prevailing speed and load conditions, providing OEMs and machine builders with a true 'fit and forget' solution.

Festo first introduced a form of pneumatic self-adjusting end-position cushioning - called PPS - on its DSNU family of round cylinders. However, incorporating the option on ISO 21287-standard ADN compact cylinders involved a completely different design approach, due to their much more limited internal space. Festo has developed a unique solution, which places polymer cushioning seals either side of the main piston seal. As the cylinder rod approaches the end of its stroke, one of the cushioning seals enters a chamber in the end cap, with small ports in the seals allowing the cushioning air to escape in a controlled manner.

Festo offers PPS cushioning on five different ADN models, spanning piston diameters from 32 to 80 mm. Each of these is available with a choice of nine stroke lengths from 10 to 80 mm as standard. Stroke lengths up to 500 mm can be supplied to special order. PPS versions have exactly the same physical dimensions as their ISO standard counterparts and are completely interchangeable, providing users with considerable flexibility of design. For applications that involve twisting moments and lateral forces, Festo is also making the PPS system available on the ADNGF guided versions of the cylinder, again offering a wide choice of model sizes and stroke lengths.

ADN compact cylinders are one of market-leading Festo's biggest sellers - they are used extensively in automation applications demanding small, robust pneumatically-operated actuators. According to Steve Sands, Festo's Product Manager, "The introduction of pneumatic cushioning, which is unique on cylinders of this size, is set to increase their use even further, especially for applications where end-position shocks and vibration must be prevented, such as high speed scanners and vision-based systems involving fragile electro-optics."

Compared to standard-size ADN cylinders, which use polymer end-position cushioning, the PPS versions offer numerous advantages. The system provides highly repeatable cushioning characteristics, with up to 400 percent better energy absorption, depending on cylinder size. This leads to considerably quieter operation - a noise reduction of up to 50 percent - and as much as 80 per cent less vibration. These attributes mean that machine designers can now elect to use cylinders of the same size to handle larger loads and speeds or to obtain increased actuator life-times, or they can use smaller cylinders to secure the same dynamic performance.

Another advantage of Festo's PPS system is that it requires no adjustment, making it a safe and maintenance-free option. Virtually all pneumatic actuators on the market that offer pneumatic end-position cushioning have adjustment screws. Setting up the end-position damping on these actuators can be a potentially hazardous procedure, involving exposure to moving parts. It invariably involves operating the machine under normal load conditions but without guarding, in order that trained personnel can adjust the actuator's damping characteristics in situ. Furthermore, final adjustments are usually made just before a machine enters service, which places personnel under considerable pressure to complete the task as quickly as possible. As a consequence, pneumatic actuators are often imperfectly adjusted, with under-damping causing higher end-position impacts, higher noise levels and increased wear, or over-damping causing lengthier machine cycle times. Either way, less than optimal adjustment results in decreased operating efficiency.

Festo's ADN cylinders equipped with the PPS system are mechanically identical to the standard versions, and can be used with any of the mounting, coupling and auxiliary components that comprise this extensive family. All the cylinders feature longitudinal slots on three sides, offering very flexible mounting schemes. A proximity detector, the SMx-8M, can be inserted in any of these slots to detect the presence of an integral magnet on the cylinder's piston and provide confirmation of end-position.

Towards a more flexible cable layout!

A universal hood and a mixed adaptor frame have been added to the range of housing and insulator components for use with Harting's innovative Han-Yellock ® industrial connector system.

The new additions enhance flexibility in system designs by making cable layout more flexible and by allowing an increased number of connector configurations.

The universal hood provides enough space for a range of cable entry Hartingcombinations for layouts ranging from 3 x M20, 2 x M25, 2 x M32 to 1 x M50 cable glands. Individual cables can be fed in and fitted with separate cable connections. Standard cable connections can be used, with the added benefit that maintenance can be carried out by replacing separate individual cables.

This range of cable entry options is particularly important for use with modular insulators. The new Han-Yellock® mixed adaptor frame sets a new benchmark for potential wiring combinations. Alongside Han-Yellock® modules with bridging functionality, Han-Modular® modules can also be used to handle a wide range of transmission types from power to data. The unique functionalities of the Han-Yellock® and Han-Modular® ranges are integrated within a single compact interface, reducing the number and size of connectors on a panel and providing a quick mating operation.

Fast power quality problem resolution

Outram Research tells us that its PM7000 power quality analyser helped Southern Company, the premier energy company serving the Southeast USA, to resolve a power quality problem quickly and easily. Power quality problems are notoriously difficult to troubleshoot often occurring intermittently and as a result of a wide range of causes.

Southern Company responded to complaints of flickering lights from a residential customer and her concerns of a faulty electrical installation by installing a standard meter socket voltage recorder. This, however, failed to find anything out of the ordinary so the problem was referred to the Company’s specialist Power Quality group. A senior engineer deployed an Outram Research PM7000 power quality analyser that uses the patented Single Cycle Adaptive Store data management technique to search for and record those waveforms most likely to be the cause of power quality problems.

The PM7000 allowed the engineer to zoom in on the exact times that the flickering occurred, and to identify sags in the voltage that were followed surprisingly by very short periods of oscillation to even lower voltages. This detail illuminated the very small anomalies in an otherwise normal looking recording that enabled him to identify the cause as a nearby sewage treatment plant. This plant was using a solid state starter to apply waves of reverse power to gradually bring to a stop a large pump motor, preventing water hammer – pressure surges that can cause noise, vibration and even failure of pipes - when they closed a valve. Once the problem was identified, the resident was assured that her electrical installations were safe and corrective action could be taken.


“A conventional recorder would have to be set on cycle store to get this level of detail, and we only set them to cycle store when we already suspect something like this is happening,” Patrick Coleman of Southern Company told Outram. “Starting from scratch, we would have spent weeks zeroing in on something like this with a conventional recorder, but the PM7000 caught it on the first try, with no special setup.”

“Even other recorders meeting the full rigour of IEC61000-4-30 would not have captured this detail,” commented John Outram. “The standard requires you to record over 200msecs and the voltage excursions seen here are much too small to constitute a dip. The evaluation method fundamental to IEC61000-4-30 would unfortunately have filtered out and eliminated the very effect you need to see.”

Adaptive Store is the patented technology from Outram Research that automatically records the chosen parameters in great detail and at high sampling rates when anomalies and deviations from the predicted trend occur. By automatically adjusting the thresholds distinguishing the anomalies from the trend as signal dynamics change or the available memory becomes full, the PM7000 ensures that less significant phenomena can be summarised and greater detail recorded for abnormal behaviour. It can record this level of detail over long periods, indefinitely if set in ‘First In First Out’ mode and the recording sessions are automatically downloaded to a USB stick. Using Adaptive Store is considerably faster and simpler than setting and adjusting trigger levels as required by other power quality monitors: a process that can lead to an operator taking weeks to ‘zero in’ on the problem as the Southern Company Engineer observed, as well as needing to wade through much unnecessary data.

“Adaptive Store is a technology we developed to reduce the time and cost associated with troubleshooting power quality problems,” explained John. “By taking quick action using the PM7000, Southern Company was able to identify the cause and resolve the problem in a short time frame, minimising the inconvenience to its customer.”

The PM7000 is widely used by companies wanting to troubleshoot, identify and resolve power quality problems quickly and efficiently.

30% energy saving potential: White Paper

"Potential of PROFIenergy” - white paper describes how to save 30% energy in production applications

A new white paper from PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) concerning PROFIenergy describes the results of measurements in real-world applications and highlights the potential benefits for manufacturers, OEMs, and – in particular – plant operators. The data acquired confirm that the use of PROFIenergy in the studied production applications enables energy savings of 30 %.

The well-founded statements regarding the potential for energy savings are based on targeted measurements at various points in the energy distribution and at defined time intervals as a function of the plant status. The potential for energy savings – and thus cost savings – can be determined directly based on the duration of pauses and the energy consumption by loads that are not switched off.

The new white paper also describes the operating principle behind the PROFINET profile developed specially for energy-saving automation systems along with possible applications and optimum use of this profile. Target markets include production lines used for discrete production that feature high-performance machines, such as robots and laser-based components. In addition to the obvious cost savings, PROFIenergy provides competitive advantages to users, for example, in the form of longer machine life due to fewer operating hours. Not the least of the advantages is the environmental benefit resulting from the improved CO2 balance.

New alarm service from wastewater and contaminated soil labs

ALcontrol  has launched a new version of its @mis online analytical data reporting tool that features an 'Alarms and Triggers' module. This means that in addition to access to live laboratory results, users will also be able to set alarms so that they are warned when wastewater or soil samples reach a pre-specified level for any analyte.

When @mis was first developed, it provided users with direct online access to their laboratory results. This became very popular in the market because it meant that users anywhere in the world would be able to follow test results live, which is important because many different management decisions hinge on the availability of such data. For example, the manager of a remediation project needs fast lab results to provide verification that either treated soils meet with the required specification or that treated water complies with a site's discharge permit.

Fast online lab data from @mis also enables users to view partial results as they are created. So, if the first soil test result is high for hydrocarbons, it is clear that the sample is contaminated and further tests may be redundant or the choice of test refined, so the cost of lab testing can be reduced. This feature is a greater benefit when alarms can be triggered as soon as a threshold is reached.

Explaining the benefit of alarms, ALcontrol Commercial Director Simon Turner says: “Advance knowledge that samples have reached a threshold provides our clients with time to react. So, if a soil sample exceeds a threshold, decisions can be taken immediately regarding further treatment or stopping treatment. Similarly, alarms from wastewater samples can provide a timely warning that effluent is approaching its discharge consent value."

Failure to comply with a site permit can be extremely costly. However, @mis is an integral part of ALcontrol’s service and with the new alarm capability, it represents a significant opportunity to reduce risks, lower costs and improve efficiency.

River of automation content!

One of the leading American automation publications is Automation World. Because we on the Read-out Signpost have limited resources we use publications like theirs to keep up to date and often link to articles which we think our visitors will find useful. They have just updated their website and the following comments from their Digital Managing Editor, Grant Gerke gives the thinking behind this redesign.


"Like most successful electronic products, usability and design are paramount in ensuring an engaging user experience. For us, a good user experience pointed to a two-column design that runs throughout the site, offering solid readability for articles and allowing readers to find videos, news, white papers and sponsored links in the second column (aka “right rail”) running alongside the article.
"Our next design choice was to create a "river" of content in the main column for the navigation landing pages, affording readers the ability to sift through newly added content in an easy, streaming fashion, aided by large headlines and images. Each article, video or white paper in the river has a taxonomy category that helps readers identify specific automation strategies.

 

"The new navigation does away with numerous categories from the older site and simplifies the world of automation with five, major navigation buckets: Control; Operations; Information Management; Safety; Security and Energy. Sub-categories from these five disciplines are shown on the landing pages and allow a deeper dive into a particular discipline. 

 

"Along with a new navigation, the site employs a new taxonomy. Taxonomy terms provide a more granular experience within the site and each piece of content provides an opportunity to click on an automation strategy term, for example, “asset management,” or, an Industry term, such as Oil and Gas. On each page, look for multiple terms in the FILED IN section, click, and land on a page devoted to that topic."
Take a look at the site and see what you think!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First participant in developer programme announced

First Participant In FOUNDATION™ Development Services Provider Program

Softing Industrial Automation is the first company qualified under the  FOUNDATION™ Development Services Provider (DSP) program of the Fieldbus Foundation. This program helps automation vendors get started with FOUNDATION product development by making it faster-and easier-to bring fieldbus equipment to market.

The Fieldbus Foundation launched the FOUNDATION DSP program to assist automation equipment suppliers preparing to design and manufacture products employing FOUNDATION fieldbus technology. The program is intended to provide access to qualified development services providers with the know-how to make fieldbus solutions a reality. Qualified DSP participants have been evaluated to ensure they have the tools, training and experience necessary to support a wide range of FOUNDATION fieldbus development projects. Services that can be qualified in the FOUNDATION DSP program include H1 and High Speed Ethernet fieldbus device development services, as well as host system services.

Fieldbus Foundation Manager-Fieldbus Products, Stephen Mitschke, commented, "A growing number of Fieldbus Foundation members want to enter the expanding FOUNDATION fieldbus technology market. However, some organizations may view fieldbus device development as a daunting task when they have little experience or knowledge of digital bus technology. Due to limited resources, they may be required to outsource a portion of the development process. This is where the FOUNDATION DSP solution steps in."

Mitschke added, "From small developers looking for assistance on a few key components, to multi-million dollar companies seeking a partner to develop an entire FOUNDATION-ready device, FOUNDATION DSP can help streamline product R&D. Best of all, the program can ensure a strong ROI by reducing staffed man-hours and maximizing the efficiency of product development."

Dr. Ernst Flemming, business development manager at Softing, said, "For Softing, as the leading provider of fieldbus-enabled products, it is key to be known to manufacturers who are interested in utilizing FOUNDATION technology. The Fieldbus Foundation's development services provider program is an excellent platform to increase our visibility in this market. The stringent rules that apply to the program ensure that only high-quality technology providers participate in the program. We very much appreciate the recognition at such a high quality level and look forward to seeing the first results shortly."
FOUNDATION DSP program participants and their development tools/services will be featured in a special section of the Fieldbus Foundation's website. Participants are also authorized to display the official FOUNDATION DSP logo in their marketing materials.

Burglar resistant enclosures!

Developed especially for high MTBF applications requiring protection against vandalism, a new double-walled WK 4 outdoor enclosure is now available from Rittal. Giving optimum protection against unauthorised access to DIN EN V 1630:1999-04, the new CS outdoor stainless steel enclosure meets the requirements of burglar resistance class WK 4.

Corrosion protection and a high-quality surface coating that uses pure polyester powder are among the familiar standard features of Rittal outdoor enclosures. The product range is rounded off by a concealed climate control solution with a heat exchanger or cooling system and temperature monitoring, plus a range of system accessories for interior installation.

Built into the Rittal WK 4 CS outdoor enclosure, the heat exchanger or climate control unit is concealed from the outside, with no integrated louvres. This heat exchanger (100 W/K) or climate control unit (1600W) is equipped with a highly efficient, covered air duct inside the interior door. This means that unauthorized access from outside is impossible.

Rittal offer an extensive range of system accessories, allowing the interior installation of the enclosure to be arranged very flexibly: from 482.6 mm (19") or metric mounting angles, to mounting plates, through to shelves.

Rugged, portable, multiband recording and playback system

This new instrument  is a complete workstation, data acquisition, and solid-state RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) recording system in a box for the capture and playback of signals up to 700 MHz in shock- and vibration-prone environments such as vehicles, ships, and aircraft.

The RTR 2726 is Pentek’s second-generation in portable recording devices, but the first to use the popular Cobalt™ series of software radio modules. “Customers with our first-generation RTS 2721 were using it in flight applications and asked for an upgrade to solid-state disk drives for tougher environments,” said Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. “We went much further, increasing signal frequency and bandwidth, and nearly tripling the recording speeds.”
The system includes built-in digital up- and down-converters, with record channels offering 16-bit, 200 MHz ADCs and playback channels offering 16-bit, 800 MHz DACs. It can stream data to and from storage at sustained data rates of 1600 Mbytes/second, allowing the RTR 2726 to support four channels of record and/or playback in a variety of configurations. Storage consists of eight hot-swappable solid-state disk drives in a RAID configuration with up to 4 TB in total capacity.

Data files include time stamping as well as recording parameters and optional GPS (global positioning system) information. They are stored in the native Windows NTFS (new technology file system) format, allowing drive units to be read by other PCs without the need for extensive file conversion. Files can also be downloaded from the system through Ethernet, USB ports, eSATA ports or written to optical disks using the built-in 8X double layer DVD±R/RW drive.

Rugged Portable Operation

The RTR 2726 is housed in a steel enclosure with carry handle, measuring 16.9” W x 9.5” D x 13.4” H and weighing just 30 pounds. A fold-down front panel holds a full keyboard and touchpad and exposes the unit’s built-in 17” LCD monitor. The system can also be closed and operated remotely using a built-in Ethernet port. Connections are made through the unit’s side panel and include analog signal inputs and outputs, six USB ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two eSATA ports, PS2 ports for external keyboard and mouse, and a VGA output for connection to an external monitor.

The cooling system in the RTR 2726 includes built-in temperature monitoring. A temperature monitor display is included underneath the system’s LCD and built-in temperature alarms provide users with early alerts when operating in very hot environments.

Turnkey System

Like all of Pentek’s recording and playback instruments, the RTR 2726 is a full Windows-based workstation. It includes a quad-core Intel Xeon® processor, a high-resolution 17” LCD monitor, keyboard, and a high-performance SATA RAID controller along with Cobalt modules for the data acquisition, signal conditioning and playback.

Software built into the RTR 2726 includes the Windows 7 Professional operating system and Pentek’s SystemFlow Recording software. SystemFlow features a GUI for setup and control of the record and playback operations and is able to store configuration profiles for later one-click set-up. In addition, the SystemFlow software includes signal viewing and analysis tools that allow the user to monitor the signal prior to, and during, recording as well as examining the signal during playback. The tools include a virtual oscilloscope and virtual spectrum analyzer, eliminating the need for additional equipment during a data collection session.

Limit controller


The newest addition to the Yokogawa UTAdvanced family, the UT35A-L Limit Controller has been introduced by Yokogawy US.

The 1/4 DIN sized Limit Controller is an FM approved instrument ideal for oven, furnace and kiln applications. The UT35A-L can be configured as a high or low limit. It comes standard with universal input, three alarm outputs and retransmission output. Also there is a timer for exceeded duration and a display for maximum temperature. RS485 and Ethernet communications are available as an option.

New high-res camera

High resolution imaging with no compromise on speed

Stemmer Imaging can now offer the new Prosilica GX3300 camera from AVT. The GX3300 combines 8 Mpixel resolution with high speed (240MB/s) data transfer and a frame rate of 17 fps at full resolution, meaning that it is no longer necessary to compromise resolution for speed. Supplied complete with a rich set of smart features, the GX3300 is ideally suited to a range of machine vision applications.

The GX3300 features the new quad-tap Kodak KAI-08050 CCD progressive scan sensor which provides exceptional image quality, high sensitivity and dynamic range, improved anti-blooming and reduced smear.   Dividing the sensor into a four quadrant parallel readout allows this device to support an impressive 17 fps at 8 MP.  The GX3300 is equipped with an F-mount to make full use of the 4/3” optical format and is compatible with a wide-range of high quality commercial and industrial lenses. 

The GX3300 is the latest camera in the Prosilica range to feature Link Aggregate Groups (LAG), or IEEE 802.3ad, a well-established computer networking technology. This links two Ethernet ports to provide data transfer of 240 MB/s, twice that achieved using a conventional GigE Vision configuration.

The camera is supplied in a compact, ribbed camera housing, specially designed for heat dissipation. With its rugged enclosure and optimized thermal management, the GX3300 delivers high quality images even in tough environments with temperatures up to 50°C.

The elegance of climate monitoring

New data logger for humidity, temperature, CO2 and air pressure

The new HUMLOG20 data logger from E+E Elektronik does not need to hide in any application. The state-of-the-art, elegant housing and the large display make the data logger a real attention-grabber. The current measurement values can be read off easily thanks to the large display, even from a distance of several metres.

The excellent price-performance ratio and the corresponding optics make the HUMLOG20 the optimal choice for numerous applications. Typical fields of application include the monitoring and recording of humidity, temperature, CO2 and air pressure in museums, conference rooms or classrooms as well as climate monitoring in clean rooms, greenhouses, storage rooms or calibration laboratories.

The HUMLOG20 data logger offers multiple customer benefits.
Seamless data logging over a period of more than a year is possible thanks to the long battery life and a memory capacity of 3.2 million measurement values.
The current measurement data are always available in the network, as the data logger is compliant with the network thanks to the integrated Ethernet interface. The data can be queried, displayed and saved on a PC in real time.

A simple analysis and visualisation of the measurement data is possible with the SmartGraph3 software included in the scope of delivery.

A fast response to possible deviations is supported by a visual and acoustic alarm function.

E+E are reprresented in Ireland by Instrument Technology!


Building automation

A new Technical Division, the Building Automation Systems Division was approved at the ISA's annual Fall Leaders Meeting in October in association with Automation Week. The new BAS technical division will launch January 2012.

Pic: CPL CONCORDIA Soc. Coop.
The Building Automation Systems Division was organized for building automation professionals who design, build, install, troubleshoot, operate and manage building automation systems, and who seek to adhere to best practices to ensure optimum system operation and performance. The division was formed to aid these professionals as they apply available standards and technology to building control systems.

Technical divisions are ISA membership groups that offer networking and educational activities to members around the world who work in the same industries or who have similar technical interests. Networking can be done via email discussions lists, in person at events and via newsletters. Technical division members are encouraged to write, review, and present technical papers at ISA symposia and ISA Automation Week; and to publish technical papers. Division members also plan and conduct ISA’s annual symposia. ISA has 16 other Technical Divisions that are divided between two departments, the Automation and Technology Department and the Industries and Sciences Department.

Monday, November 28, 2011

RIO technology platform extended

NI CompactRIO Module Development Kit and RIO Mezzanine Card Expand Possibilities for Custom I/O  

National Instruments has announced a new version of the NI CompactRIO Module Development Kit (MDK) and the introduction of the RIO Mezzanine Card (RMC) specification for NI Single-Board RIO. These additions expand the options for adding specialized or custom I/O to packaged and board-level embedded control and monitoring systems. With these technologies, system integrators and OEMs now can fully integrate custom electronics with the proven and reliable NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) hardware systems and provide their users with the same experience that scientists and engineers expect from NI products.

“The new CompactRIO Module Development Kit improves our ability to create complementary embedded modules to serve our customers and build our business,” said Wolfram Koerver, program manager for CompactRIO modules at S.E.A. Datentechnik GmbH, a company that provides advanced products and solutions in the field of industrial automation and measuring technology. “We designed a RIO Mezzanine Card and NI Single-Board RIO into our BMX Embedded Measurement and Control Platform in a much shorter timeframe than a full-custom solution. With the RIO Mezzanine Card feature, we now can provide cost-effective solutions for higher volume applications which require specialty I/O and communication features.”

Incorporating updates based on customer feedback, version 2.0 of the CompactRIO MDK provides engineers and scientists additional time-saving resources that simplify the processes of creating any custom module. The 2.0 version features a new field-programmable gate array (FPGA) communication core that automatically implements NI technology best practices and low-level housekeeping tasks including module detection, identification, data transfer and other common functions. By starting with the NI communication core, engineers can access years of NI research, development and optimization to accelerate their design process and maximize compatibility of custom modules within the RIO ecosystem. The new MDK also includes slot-agnostic code generation and an elemental I/O node paradigm, making it possible for module designers to provide the same user experience whether engineers and scientists use third-party modules or NI modules.

Additionally, NI Single-Board RIO devices now feature an expansion connector for an RMC. The RMC connector provides a method for adding application-specific custom circuitry to NI Single-Board RIO, including a combination of analog or digital I/O or processor-based peripheral ports, including CAN, UART and USB. The high-density, high-bandwidth RMC connector exposes up to 96 digital I/O lines from the reconfigurable FPGA, making it an ideal platform for building high-speed electronics applications.

An integral part of the NI graphical system design approach, NI RIO technology combines NI LabVIEW system design software with commercial off-the-shelf hardware to simplify development and shorten time to market when designing advanced control, monitoring and test systems. NI RIO hardware, which includes CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO, R Series boards and PXI-based NI FlexRIO, features an architecture with powerful floating-point processors, reconfigurable FPGAs and modular I/O. All NI RIO hardware components are programmed with LabVIEW to give engineers the ability to rapidly create custom timing, signal processing and control for I/O without requiring expertise in low-level hardware description languages or board-level design.