Friday, December 9, 2011

Leading innovative automation company!

Emerson Process Management’s Rosemount® business unit was named a Thomson Reuters 2011 Top 100 Global Innovator℠, recognising its achievements as one of the world’s most innovative companies. The programme, an initiative issued by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters, providers of intelligent intellectual property solutions and information, analyses patent data and related metrics in a proprietary methodology to scientifically identify the most influential organisations globally.

The Thomson Reuters 2011 Top Global Innovators programme evaluates innovation performance according to companies that invent on a significant scale, work on developments that are acknowledged as innovative by others around the world, and whose inventions are globally protected due to their importance.

“Being recognised as a Top Global Innovator is truly an honour,” said Tom Moser, president of Rosemount, Inc. “We believe that innovation must deliver customer value to be worthwhile. The true test of being an innovative company is if you’ve been able to help your customers address their challenges in more effective ways than before. That’s what we strive for every day.”

The Rosemount product offering includes a complete line of pressure, temperature, flow, level and safety measurement instrumentation. Throughout the process industries, Rosemount devices are specified more often than any other brand of process instrumentation.

Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index® (DWPI), Derwent Patents Citations Index™, Quadrilateral Patent Index™, and Thomson Innovation®, the IP and intelligence collaboration platform were used to carefully analyse patent data for the Thomson Reuters 2011 Top 100 Global Innovators programme. Comparative analysis was done using the Thomson Reuters Eikon platform, the single source for turning financial information into action. Companies do not apply, and winners do not pay, to receive this honour.

“Innovation is a means of growth and prosperity for companies and nations struggling to overcome sluggish economies and achieve competitive advantage,”
said David Brown, president of the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters. “We salute the Thomson Reuters 2011 Top 100 Global Innovator companies and their leaders for the innovative spirit they foster and their commitment to protecting intellectual assets.”

Reliable outdoor protection for industrial connectors

The reliable Han® HPR series of industrial connector housings from Harting now includes a protective cover for size 3 A bulkhead and surface mounting housings.

The new cover protects the contact inserts from environmental influences when not in use: in particular, effects that can cause outages in outdoor applications in the rail and industrial sectors. This is a particularly significant challenge for interfaces that are not always in use, such as service interfaces.

The Han® 3 HPR protective cover is fitted with the same screw locking system used for the hoods, and fulfils IP 68 protection requirements according to IEC 60529 in the locked position. It is optionally available with a stainless steel lanyard, ensuring that the protective cover will not be lost.

The primary application of the Han® HPR series is in the areas of electrical interfaces in vehicles, applications with increased climatic demands, wet areas and sensitive interfaces that need to be protected or shielded.

Service and software solutions in Southeast Asia

Commitment to customers and Wonderware real-time operations management software from Invensys leads to partnership!

Invensys Operations Management has added an endorsed Wonderware systems integrator to its Partner Ecosystem Program in the Asia Pacific region. Agatos, a Singapore-based integrator, was selected for its demonstrated commitment to superior solutions and service for Invensys customers, as well as for building a strong business practice around delivering solutions built on the company’s Wonderware® software solutions.

“Agatos has continued to invest heavily and advance their knowledge of Wonderware software technology, which has helped establish the company as a preferred ecosystem partner, both within Invensys Operations Management and many major accounts in the Asia Pacific region,”
said Stanley Kiew, business alliance manager, Invensys Operations Management. “As a top provider of control solutions and manufacturing execution systems, Agatos has a long history of helping Wonderware software customers achieve operational excellence. We have absolute confidence in their ability to deliver demanding and complex solutions that will help our customers in their pursuit of real-time business optimisation.”

To achieve the endorsement, Agatos underwent a detailed business process assessment, including certification of its proven expertise in implementing Wonderware software technology at customer facilities. Evaluations included a validated track record of delivering unique solutions built on Wonderware software that have accelerated operational excellence for customers by increasing their efficiency, reducing costs and maximising profits.

“Invensys is a leading provider of automation and information technology, and their Endorsed Partner Program really differentiates them in this market,” said Lee Chin Huei, business owner, Agatos. “We are proud to be named an Endorsed System Integrator. It enhances our status in the already competitive market, but most importantly it improves our ability to provide our clients the advanced, cost-effective solutions they need to move forward toward operational excellence."

Multi-touch interfaces

Monitors bring consumer-style multitouch to industrial and commercial user interfaces

andersDX has launched the Touch-dX family of medium-sized, robust, open frame monitors. These monitors, for the first time, make high-accuracy, responsive multi-touch performance commercially viable in a variety of non-consumer applications ranging from kiosks and point-of-sale systems to industrial process control, ATMs and gaming.

Leveraging patented, high-performance, optical tracking, ShadowSense™ technology (see video above), this plug-and-play monitor family offers up to five touch points and is mechanically compatible with ELO Touchsystems open frame monitors. Unlike many alternative technologies, the Touch-dX monitors can support any input type - including finger, glove and stylus.

The first member of the Touch-dX range is a 19” unit with a 5:4 aspect ratio. This will be followed soon by a 17” 5:4 monitor and 19” and 22” 16:10 widescreen options. Response times are down to just 6ms, while the revolutionary ShadowSense technology allows for touch detection of objects as small as 2mm as well as accidental touch recognition. Choosing andersDX Touch-dX also helps to reduce ongoing maintenance cost as no periodic recalibration is needed.

All Touch-dX monitors come with a comprehensive programming and diagnostic utility that enables andersDX to fine tune the sensitivity of the touch sensor based on customer application requirements. As well as allowing configuration of parameters for performance optimisation, the software allows touchscreens to report all signal level information between the LEDs and touch sensors for detection and diagnosis of possible fault conditions.

andersDX Touch-dX monitors offer VGA and DVI inputs and provide a plug-and-play USB interface. Monitors feature an ultra-thin form factor, are Microsoft® Windows® 7-compliant, and have an on-screen display (OSD) menu for rapid adjustment of key parameters. Typical contrast ratio for the 19” model is 1000:1. Horizontal and vertical viewing angles are 170° and 160° respectively. The unit supports 16.7 million colours.

andersDX CEO Rob Anders says: “With its revolutionary optical tracking technology delivering amazing performance at low cost, and with a form factor that allows drop-in replacement of existing technologies, Touch-dX monitors are a the ‘obvious choice’ for industrial and commercial applications that need a rich, responsive and accurate multitouch experience.”

Commitment to ARM development

ADLINK Technology supports Kontron's new COM standard that targets ultra low power ARM/RISC and SOC designs.

The smallest “short” module size of
82 mm x 50 mm, based on 314-pin MXM
3.0 connector
ADLINK Technology is to support the new Computer-on-Module (COM) standard from Kontron for ultra low-power embedded architecture platforms with a whole new line of products. Building on our design experience with ARM/RISC in OEM and Intelligent Display projects, this marks ADLINK's first endeavor outside x86 boundaries for a standard form factor product offering.

The new COM standard provides a very slim and low profile solution for ARM/RISC and SOC based ultra low-power processors. The standard specifically targets new fast growing markets such as handheld devices and industrial tablets, and in the near future is also expected to move into more traditional applications such as industrial control and data communications. It will be based on a 314-pin MXM 3.0 connector that allows for a total package height of less than 5 mm for both module and carrier. Two module sizes are specified: a very compact “short” module measuring just 82 mm x 50 mm and a “full size” module measuring 82 mm x 80 mm. The defined pin-out will be able to support both traditional features such as 24-bit RGB, and will be future proof by supporting more modern standards such as LVDS, HDMI and DisplayPort. Power consumption of these ARM/RISC solutions will be on the order of 3W.

"Current COM standards do not address the needs of ARM/RISC specific designs. In the COM market today, we either see ARM being forced onto x86 optimized designs that lack ARM critical pin-outs, or we see specific ARM designs that are not future proof because they lack the inclusion of modern interfaces into their pin-out," explains Dirk Finstel, CTO at Kontron. "This limitation in existing COM standards makes our case that there is a need for a new form factor now. We welcome ADLINK to join us in the promotion and verification of this new COM standard. Bringing this to the market with a second supporting company emphasizes the concept of second source that has made the COM approach so successful during the last ten years."

"Embedded technology has always leveraged parts that have been deployed on a large scale in the commercial field. The reason for this is simple: wide availability, investment in OS support, and optimized pricing for components due to large commercial volumes," according to Henk van Bremen, Product Director for Embedded Computing at ADLINK Technology. "This happened with the notebook market in the early 2000s and with netbooks around 2006. It is happening today with the breakthrough of ARM and RISC in the intelligent mobile phone and tablet market that is taking the traditionally x86 dominated netbook market by storm. For the first time, embedded customers will have the same wide choice of operating systems on ARM as on x86, enabling efficient implementations of new and complementary embedded applications based on ultra low-power devices, that were not possible with x86 based platforms. ADLINK will be able to offer a wide range of OS support including: Linux, Android, Windows CE, Windows 8, VxWorks and QNX."

The support model for ARM/RISC based design will be very different than that of traditional x86 designs. While drivers for x86 platforms are generic and mostly provided by parts vendors, the loading on ARM/RISC hardware suppliers is much higher. ADLINK is investing heavily in a new infrastructure to be able to provide driver development, customization and application support that is specifically focused on ARM/RISC for all their product lines, not just for COM modules. ADLINK's commitment to the new modular form factor is just the first step in adopting ARM/RISC platforms, with all other departments soon to follow in embracing ARM/RISC and leveraging the inroads made by this new COM standard.
• See our Acronyms Page for acronyms!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ease of use, cost-effective installation, proven reliability

Turkish refinery improves reliability using Emerson's smart wireless technology

Ílker Karadağ, operation chief of oil movement
learns about the batch functionality within
the TankMaster software
The state-owned Tüpraş refinery in Izmir, Turkey, has placed an order with Emerson Process Management for a tank gauging system that includes 85 wireless TankRadar Rex radar level gauges. The order follows Tüpraş Izmir’s extensive testing of 21 additional devices in the same application. The gauging system will provide accurate, reliable level measurements on some of the refinery’s most critical oil-movement tanks.

The Izmir facility has a refining capacity of 11 million tons/year and storage capacity of 1.9 million cubic metres in 164 tanks – including 44 lube-oil storage tanks that were already being monitored using wired TankRadar® Rex level gauges from Emerson. On other tanks however, the existing non-Emerson gauging system sometimes had communication problems and gave incorrect readings because of damage to cables during excavations in the field. In addition, support personnel were not always available when needed. 

Tüpraş first considered replacing the trouble-prone older system with additional wired TankRadar Rex level gauges, which had proven to be very reliable, accurate and almost maintenance-free since they were installed at the refinery in 2007. Because the tanks are spread over a large area and existing cabling and junction boxes were not up to standard, the high cabling and installation costs of this approach made wireless technology more appealing.

“Ground conditions make excavation for new cable runs difficult, but with Emerson’s Smart Wireless solution we can minimise costs for cabling, cable trenches, conduits, and cable trays,” said Ali Erener, project chief engineer at Tüpraş Izmir. “Going wireless also gives us the flexibility to add more devices in the future – not only for level and temperature measurements, but also for tank water control and nitrogen pressure control at our blanketing tanks, which are far from the control room, as well as other applications.”

The refinery chose Emerson’s solution not only for the proven performance of its wireless technology, but also for ease of use and ongoing support. “Because operations personnel will use the gauging system in their daily work, we required it to be user-friendly,” said operations superintendent Mustafa Atalay, who has worked at Tüpraş Izmir for more than 34 years. “It’s also important to have a good relationship with the supplier to get the most out of the system.”

The IEC 62591 (WirelessHART®) field network at the Izmir refinery will have a node for each tank, including a TankRadar Rex radar level gauge installed with an antenna unit, a Smart Wireless THUM™ Adapter, and a multiple spot temperature sensor to enable accurate volume calculations.

Temperature and level data will be sent wirelessly to a Smart Wireless gateway, which serves as the network manager and provides an interface to the refinery’s TankMaster inventory software or control system. The TankMaster software has also been upgraded to include batch calculation for product transfers.

Expanded marine A&C portfolio

New vessel information and control business organization to further develop automation technologies that will help merchant and offshore vessels operate more efficiently and safely

ABB’s global business for Marine and Cranes continued to expand in 2011. To better serve the needs of the marine automation and control system market, the company established a global Vessel Information and Control organization to develop automation solutions specifically for marine applications, based on ABB’s field-proven process automation technologies.

Their expanded portfolio of solutions for Marine Automation and Control systems consists of a broad range of marine advisory and fleet management reporting solutions, integrated automation, vessel management and control systems, and marine instrumentation and sensors, all of which help to optimize vessel operations and performance, improve energy efficiency, onboard equipment reliability and availability, and operational safety.

The demand for upgraded vessel information and control systems has increased, as ship operators must be ready to meet new environmental regulations, while they lower onboard energy use and fuel consumption. These technologies provide the visibility and control needed to achieve these goals and improve operating costs.

Using ABB’s "leading edge automation solutions that have helped customers throughout the process industries improve their operational efficiency, energy efficiency, asset availability and overall safety", ABB will further develop specific versions of these solutions for the needs of the marine industry, for use in offshore and merchant vessel applications.

"While maintaining our leading position as electrical power and propulsion system supplier in offshore drilling, passenger vessels, LNG tankers and other market segments, ABB will expand our offering to include marine automation and advisory systems based on our solid industry experience and cutting-edge technology," said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division."This strategic move is part of our 2015 growth strategy; ABB's vast experience in process automation technologies helps us to redeploy these successful industry proven solutions to help our marine customers."

ABB has a large installed base of more than 3,000 automation and control systems in operation for marine applications worldwide; professionals from 22 ABB Marine Service Centers globally maintain these systems and provide any needed support services.

In 2011, the company sold a total of 350 automation, vessel management and control systems of various types for a wide range of vessels, including drill ships, jack-up drilling rigs, offshore support vessels, and passenger vessels. 

ABB’s Process Automation division delivers industry specific solutions and services for industrial automation and plant electrification. These solutions help customers meet their critical business needs in the areas of energy efficiency, operational profitability, capital productivity, risk management, and global responsibility. Available industry specific solutions include process control, instrumentation, analytics, safety, plant optimization, telecommunications, energy management and power distribution.

Pneumatic switch probe

For mechanical positional testing in limited space applications

The new P499-F pneumatic microswitch probe from Peak, is designed for the mechanical detecting of the position of a device under test in situations where space is limited.

The probe incorporates a pneumatically operated plunger and an integrated switch function which carries out an "off/on/off" operating sequence. The plunger incorporates a screwable contact head which is both adjustable between 0 and 2 mm and interchangeable between electrically insulating synthetic and conducting metal versions.

The probe is designed for use at centres of 6.5 mm (157 mil), and is rated for a current of 1.0 A with a resistance of 500 milliohm. Operating temperature range is from -20º to +80ºC.

A choice of lateral or axial fixing screws allows two mounting configurations, including an option that allows airtight applications.

Wide Video Graphics Array!

New 7.0” WVGA TFT extends product line up

Hitachi Europe Ltd, Display Products Group (DPG) has announced the introduction of a new 7.0” WVGA TFT display module. The new TX18D44VM2BAA features a 15:9 wide aspect ratio, a display resolution of 800 x 480 pixels and delivers excellent optical performance in a compact and slim mechanical package.

The TX18D44VM2BAA features a uniform and bright 400cd/m² LED backlight providing a 40K hour half brightness lifetime and a contrast ratio of 400:1 which enables bright, clear images and information to be displayed. Electrically compatible with existing Hitachi WVGA TFT display modules, the TX18D44VM2BAA features an industry standard 40-pin 6-bit RGB CMOS interface which enables a colour palette of up to 262K colours.

Mark Stephenson, Product Marketing Manager, Hitachi DPG, “The new TX18D44VM2BAA display module extends Hitachi’s 7.0” TFT product line up to provide product designers with an extensive choice at this popular screen size. Hitachi is able to offer a wide choice of standard ‘off-the-shelf’ display modules for a variety of different applications. The new TX18D44VM2BAA provides a very cost effective solution for engineers seeking a reliable, high performance 7.0” WVGA TFT display.”

The TX18D44VM2BAA display module has compact dimensions of 165.0mm (w) x 106.0mm x (h) x 8.0mm (d) and weighs 126g. The display module, which employs COG (chip-on-glass) construction to enhance long term reliability, can be safely operated at temperatures between -20°C and +70°C and is fully RoHS compliant. User interfaces can be easily supported with the TX18D44VM2BPA which features an integrated touchscreen.

Expanded facility increases Coriolis mass flowmeter output

Krohne is now seeing the benefits of the substantial investment made to expand their British Coriolis mass flowmeter manufacturing facility at Wellingborough. 
The OPTIMASS 2300 installed at a refinery, illustrating the benefit of its compact design.
The OPTIMASS range of Coriolis mass flowmeters has been manufactured there since 2002, and is a winner of the innovation category of the highly acclaimed Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

The popularity in the market place for the OPTIMASS range meant that to keep up with customer demand, Krohne had to expand their British manufacturing facility; a key decision to make during a recessionary period.  A 1,687 Sq Mt extension to this manufacturing facility has since been completed and has proved to be essential in allowing the company to keep pace with opportunities world-wide and continue with their new product development plan. 

One of the most recent innovations is the OPTIMASS 2000; a mass flowmeter for bulk measurement of liquids and gases.  It ranges in size from DN100 (4”) to DN250 (10”) and is the only mass flowmeter available in both Duplex and Super Duplex.  However for a meter that is designed to measure such high flow rates, it has what is considered to be a small installation envelope making it a very attractive proposition to skid builders and companies who have limited space for installation, such as on offshore platforms.  The footprint of the OPTIMASS 2000 also offers significant energy savings to the customer as it has a lower pressure drop due to its straight tube design and the minimal length of the measuring tubes.

Krohne Ltd exports over 90% of its production and has long-term plans for continuous investment to further improve production capacity.  Already in 2012 they plan to increase their calibration facilities and add further rigs to the 11 UKAS accredited calibration rigs already housed at the Wellingborough facility.  Coupled with this will come the launch of a new Coriolis  mass flowmeter to handle  high temperature, high pressure and cryogenic applications.

"The building expansion in the UK is a confirmation of the trust that our customers have in our company and in our employees who’s knowledge and dedication is the key to our success” says Trevor Fawcett, Managing Director of Krohne Ltd.  “Employing and maintaining a skilled work force and developing specialist skills is essential in our line of business.  For this reason we are now offering engineering apprenticeships through a government backed programme. We also operate a recognized industry training and certification programme. The key to our future success depends on our ability to continue to produce innovative and reliable products that exceed our customers’ expectations and having a skilled and dedicated workforce along with excellent manufacturing facilities is a vital step to achieving these goals.”

Extending leading industrial Ethernet position

Over 4 million PROFINET devices installed by the end of 2011

More and more manufacturers and users are choosing PROFINET as the market leader for Industrial Ethernet systems. Today, no other Industrial Ethernet solution is supported by so many manufacturers as PROFINET. Over 150 manufacturers are already making use of the unparalleled versatility of PROFINET in their devices. For users, this means a large selection of products for their applications and the certainty of relying on an open and future-proof standard.

Of course, this trend is also reflected in the number of devices sold. Accordingly, PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) can report strong growth in the area of PROFINET. A projection of the current node count indicates that well over 4 million PROFINET devices will be installed in the field by the end of this year. Jörg Freitag, Chairman of PI, is convinced that the 10 million mark will be exceeded as early as 2014. “PROFINET has enjoyed a first-class reputation within the world's leading industrial companies for many years. Even the choice of an industrial communication standard depends on a long-term outlook. Choosing PROFINET is a decision for the future. The large number of manufacturers and products guarantees long-term investment protection. The number of PROFINET devices in use will multiply to over 10 million by 2014.”
PI is also able to report market growth for PROFIBUS. By the end of 2011, more than 40 million PROFIBUS devices will be installed in industrial plants worldwide. This number shows that user confidence in PROFIBUS is as high as ever.

The international network of PI contributes significantly to the success of PROFIBUS and PROFINET. With representation on all continents, PI is the world's largest and most influential interest group in the area of industrial communication. A total of 27 Regional PI Associations (RPAs), 43 Competence Centers, 23 Training Centers, 10 Certification Test Labs, and more than 1400 member companies apply their experience and knowledge to PI technologies. “Our network gives our member companies throughout the world a decisive competitive advantage,” explains Jörg Freitag. “Here, we have a consistent and straightforward objective: to support the user with the best solution.”

Harvesting vibration energy

Imec and Holst Centre have made a micromachined harvester for vibration energy with a record output power of 489µW. Measurements and simulation show that the harvester is also suited for shock-induced energy harvesting in car tyres, where it could power built-in sensors. In a tyre, at 70km/h, the new device can deliver a constant 42µW, which is enough to power a simple wireless sensor node. These results, obtained within the research centre’s program for Micropower Generation and Storage, are presented at the 2011 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in Washington (December 7-9 2011).
Harvesters with various dimensions. The shiny capacitor stack on top of the beam is visible through the glass package.

Imec’s innovative harvester consists of a cantilever with a piezoelectric layer sandwiched between metallic electrodes, forming a capacitor. At the tip of the cantilever a mass is attached, which translates the macroscopic vibration into a vertical movement – putting strain on the piezoelectric layer and generating a voltage across the capacitor. As piezoelectric material, AlN (aluminum nitride) was chosen. The harvesters are packaged with a 6-inch wafer scale vacuum packaging process. The micromachining production process is compatible with low-cost mass-production fabrication.

The harvester has a record output power of 489µW when the vibrations closely match the MEMS’ resonance vibration, which in this case is 1011Hz. Together with an automotive partner, imec also validated the use of the harvester for use in car tires. These submit the harvester to regular shocks, depending on the car’s speed and the characteristics and condition of the tire. Each shock will displace the mass, after which it will start to ring down at its natural resonance frequency. During this ring-down period, which depends on the quality factor Q of the harvester, part of the mechanical energy is harvested. It is shown that in this way, a constant power output as high as 42µW can be harvested at a speed of 70km/h.

Micromachined vibration harvesters such as these are ideal devices to generate electricity from machines, engines and other industrial appliances which vibrate or undergo repetitive shocks. In these environments, they will power miniaturized autonomous sensor nodes, in situations where battery replacement is not sustainable or practical. Harvesters will allow sustainable monitoring on a massive scale. One example is Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) and its successors: a car tyre with built-in sensors that monitor e.g. the tire integrity and pressure, the road condition, or the driving style.

Technology for Scottish emergency response service

The Environment Agency of England and Wales set up a network of air quality incident response units following the Buncefield explosion and Quantitech supplied most of the monitoring equipment.
Since then the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has equipped itself with a range of the latest environmental monitoring technologies for use by the Airborne Hazards Emergency Response (AHER) service to improve the provision of information about airborne hazards during a significant incident such as an explosion or a major fire. This will allow NHS Scotland and the emergency services to assess the potential risks to human health and mitigate them.

The monitoring equipment includes advanced portable Gasmet FTIR multi-gas analysers in addition to Tecora Echo high volume and Delta low volume air sampling equipment. The instruments have been deployed in mobile vehicles and provide SEPA with the ability to respond quickly to emergencies by monitoring airborne particulates and almost any gas.

Quantitech's Dr Andrew Hobson has been responsible for providing initial training on the instruments. He says, "We are delighted that the Gasmet DX4030 portable FTIR gas analyser has been chosen for this project because it was developed for applications in which almost any gas might need to be identified, so it is ideal for incident investigations.

"The FTIR analyser can be located in a backpack and effectively provides laboratory grade analysis in a field instrument. A Bluetooth connection to a handheld PDA provides simultaneous measurements for up to 25 compounds and the collection of a complete sample spectrum means that over 250 compounds can be analysed and the unit can potentially analyse over 5000 compounds."

The introduction of the new service has been led by SEPA in partnership with other agencies and will help protect the public during emergencies by providing interpreted and informed scientific advice on airborne hazards to NHS Scotland and the emergency services

Hygienic processing and production

Food safety is an ongoing concern and Rittal has invested significant engineering resources to ensure their enclosures will meet the stringent hygiene requirements in all sectors of the food and processing industry.

Enclosures of all types are required to operate critical processes and Rittal has engineered a range of stainless steel enclosures to help increase productivity whilst, at the same time optimising hygienic protection.

Whether on the plant floor of a bottling facility or in the clean room of a meat processing plant, Rittal’s stainless steel enclosures and human machine interface (HMI) products are perfectly engineered to suit the application.

Constructed with 304 and 316L stainless steel and certified up to IP69K, Rittal’s enclosures are ideal for food and beverage applications where sanitation concerns necessitate frequent wash downs. Compared to conventional enclosures, stainless steel construction and innovative designs can result in higher productivity, greater system availability and improved cleaning capabilities.

Universal code reader

With its MAC502 reader, Pepperl+Fuchs is launching an innovative stationary universal code reader that can read all common 1-D and 2-D codes (26 different code symbologies) at very high speeds of up to 10 m/s and 30 readings per second.

Overview of Main Features

• Reads all common 1-D and 2-D codes at speeds of up to 10 m/s and 30 readings per second
• Readings over large range: 60 mm to 190 mm
• Large read area up to 110 mm * 70 mm
• Burst mode: for recording codes received in quick succession
• Multicode: simultaneous reading of up to four different codes
• Match code
• Code quality output
• Interfaces: RS232 and Ethernet
Both code readers have a very large depth of focus and can reliably read codes at distances from 60 mm to 190 mm without having to make any mechanical or electronic modifications. Small Data Matrix codes and large barcodes are reliably detected due to the large read field of up to 110 mm x 70 mm. There is no need for the time-consuming installation of configuration software to parameterize and operate the code readers, as these tasks are handled by a modern web interface provided by a web server integrated in the code reader. A prerequisite is that the code reader is connected to the company network or a PC via the integrated Ethernet interface. The web interface is accessed by entering the IP address of the reader in the address line of any Internet browser, enabling the code reader to be configured with a convenient user interface on any PC. The code reader has a code quality output to prevent the loss of readings. If this falls below a predefined value, the user is warned in plenty of time. The MAC502 has many other powerful functions. These functions include an automatic error image memory, a multicode function that reads up to four different codes simultaneously, and burst mode for recording codes received in quick succession. These codes can be evaluated at a later time. Another feature of the code reader is its Ethernet and RS232 interfaces. The RS232 interface can be connected to the CBX800 interface box, so that all common bus interfaces (including PROFIBUS, PROFINET, and DeviceNet) can be implemented.

With screw-fitted M12 connectors and IP65 protection, the MAC502 is ideal for use in harsh industrial environments.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Honour for co-founders

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars have honoured National Instruments cofounders, Dr. James Truchard and Jeff Kodosky, with the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship at a reception in Austin (TX US). According to the Woodrow Wilson Award Center, this award recognizes executives who, in their business practices and personal actions, show a deep concern for the common good beyond the bottom line.

Dr. James Truchard and Jeff Kodosky
Dr. James Truchard and Jeff Kodosky cofounded National Instruments in 1976, establishing themselves as visionary leaders and technology pioneers. Together, along with cofounder Bill Nowlin, they created NI out of a three-person garage office and have developed it into one of the world’s most progressive multinational companies.

Today, NI equips engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate innovation and discovery, helping its customers address the most pressing issues the world faces. The company’s corporate responsibility efforts advance this mission by providing access to technology for engineers who face extraordinary economic or other obstacles in achieving their goals and by partnering with education organizations to further the knowledge and love of engineering and science in the next generation.

Through its development of complete teaching solutions and collaboration with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the LEGO® Group and universities worldwide, NI has engaged students with technology in a fun, hands-on learning environment, encouraging students to become future leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Not only is NI hardware and software used as part of FIRST and LEGO robotics programs, hundreds of NI employees volunteer as mentors in classroom and after-school programs and competitions around the world.

National Instruments also is dedicated to delivering on sustainable business practices to ensure long-term company success and fostering a strong culture of innovation, discovery and fun for all employees. As NI president and CEO, Dr. Truchard has created a work environment that not only attracts top talent, but also creates quality jobs and a quality way of life for the members of the NI family. The company has recently been recognized as one of the top 25 multinational workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute and FORTUNE magazine. Truchard is internationally regarded for his entrepreneurial spirit, technological foresight and steadfast leadership of the company.

NI Business and Technology Fellow Jeff Kodosky has also been instrumental in the growth of NI, designing and implementing one of the company’s preeminent platforms, NI LabVIEW system design software. LabVIEW has been integral in creating smarter, life-altering technologies that improve human life and the health of the planet and is central to robotics programs designed to enhance engineering education. LabVIEW was recognized by Electronic Design magazine as one of the “Top 50 Milestones for the Industry.”

CAN data logger with scripting functionality!

CAN to USB data logger enables engineers to run almost any CAN networking application using a simple-to-develop scripting language

A new high-speed controller area network (CAN) to USB data logger has been introduced by Kvaser that boasts the ability to run user-developed scripts to suit a wide variety of CAN networking applications.

Kvaser Eagle is a flexible, versatile, enhanced evolution of the Kvaser Memorator Professional designed with engineers in mind who need customised features such as CAN protocol converters, CAN gateways, advanced CAN logging functionality, CAN node simulation and standalone ECU programming. As such, the Kvaser Eagle can be applied in industries as broad ranging as automotive development, industrial diagnostics and oil and gas monitoring.

Kvaser Eagle’s script functionality allows users to develop highly customised applications written in the Kvaser t programming language. The programming language, which is event driven and C-like, is compiled into efficient byte code for execution on Eagle on the developer’s PC. Kvaser also has a network of technical associates with different domain expertise who will become a major source of application-specific Kvaser t software for Eagle.

Commenting on the announcement, Lars-Berno Fredriksson, Kvaser's president, said: “With the Kvaser Eagle platform, we responded to customer requests for a CAN interface that meets the requirements of many different application domains, as well as being applicable to the whole CAN based systems lifecycle; development, integration, verification, after market and maintenance. The result is our most flexible interface yet, which with a little programming expertise or help from our network of specialist software partners, can be perfectly tailored to the user’s application in a way that most other CAN interfaces on the market cannot.”

Their marketing director Michael Odälv added: “An important provision for Eagle was the ability to encrypt scripts so that domain developers and users can protect their intellectual property. In addition, our design team made ease of program development central to their efforts, giving software developers the ability to develop Kvaser t script using an editor that they are already familiar with and Kvaser’s CANlib software development kit.”

Ease of software development does not compromise the Kvaser Eagle’s advanced feature set: the Kvaser t language supports floating point calculations, structures, recursion and file access, and a Kvaser t program can also be linked into the Eagle’s data logger functionality to implement advanced filters.

Eagle has two CAN interfaces on one side and a USB connection on the other. Real-time performance from the CAN buses has been secured by using three microprocessors (MCUs) in the device, one MCU to handle each busload and another to run the script.

The Kvaser Eagle is based on an Arm 9 core that runs at 200MHz with minimal current consumption. This enables the battery to operate for a week whilst waiting for a CAN message. The SDRAM and NAND flash in the Arm 9 provides two hundred times the memory capacity found in Kvaser’s Memorator Professional interface and data logger and there is the option to increase memory capacity, should users require it.

SCADA in the cloud and a free tee-shirt!

InduSoft will host a free webinar SCADA in the Cloud on December 14, 2011 to demonstrate how to leverage Cloud computing for supervisory control and data acquisition projects.

Click image to download WebStudio Software
Cloud-based SCADA technology is becoming more widespread thanks to advancements in Cloud application technology. As part of its dedication to helping customers achieve optimal results, InduSoft has developed SCADA software that is fully capable of leveraging the portability and availability of Cloud technology.

The SCADA in the Cloud webinar will highlight the importance of Cloud-based applications within the industry. Attendees will also learn how some end user companies have used Cloud-based SCADA to surge ahead in their field. In this webinar, InduSoft will:
  • Discuss Cloud-based SCADA trends with experts who will share their challenges and successes
  • Help attendees learn how to benefit from their time in development.
  • Learn what kinds of tools are available, and how to use them to build a better SCADA system in the Cloud.
The webinar is latest installment in a series that alternates between technical and industry topics. Recent webinars focused on best practices, building automation and energy management SCADA and packaging SCADA systems.

Oh yes! All who register and attend will receive a free T-shirt, as well as a copy of the trial version of the InduSoft Web Studio software suite.

ROM initiative

The Fieldbus Foundation unveiled its FOUNDATION™ for Remote Operations Management (ROM) solution at a media event held last week, at the Fieldbus Center at Lee College (TX US). 

FOUNDATION technology through this initiative "will transform" the industrial remote operations market by providing a single integrated infrastructure built specifically for process automation.

The Fieldbus Foundation's FOUNDATION for ROM initiative is intended to develop a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in remote applications ranging from tank farms and terminals to pipelines, offshore platforms, and even original equipment manufacturer (OEM) skids. The technology enables fieldbus connectivity to remote I/O and the leading industrial wireless protocols, including WirelessHART® and ISA 100.11a. It provides an interface to these wireless technologies and uses Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and function blocks to ensure interoperability with FOUNDATION for ROM devices.

The Venue
The media event featured FOUNDATION for ROM technology presentations and demonstrations, followed by a tour of the Fieldbus Center at Lee College, one of the Fieldbus Foundation's FOUNDATION Certified Training Program (FCTP) partner sites. The Fieldbus Center facility is dedicated to training the next generation of process automation operators and technicians.

A brief tour of the FOUNDATION certified fieldbus training center at Lee College in with their certified instructor, Chuck Carter!

Fieldbus Foundation Global Marketing Manager Larry O'Brien commented, "FOUNDATION for ROM is important because it is the first example of being able to integrate ISA 100.11a, WirelessHART, wired HART, and wired H1 protocols into a single standard environment. More importantly, it is one that does not sacrifice diagnostic capabilities of the existing wireless devices. Instead, we map these capabilities into our block structure to provide a standard environment for data management, quality, and more, eliminating today's solutions which are highly customized and much more costly to maintain throughout the plant lifecycle.

"Remote operations management is one of the fastest growing segments of the process automation business. However, it is also caught up in the turbulence of business challenges, technological change, personnel issues, and the need for operational excellence. With FOUNDATION for ROM, industrial operations can implement a true predictive and proactive maintenance strategy for remote assets that could not previously support one. Data from devices on multiple networks, both wired and wireless, are tightly integrated into the FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure, providing a single environment for management of diagnostic data, alarms and alerts, data quality, control in the field capability, and object oriented block structure."

Within the FOUNDATION automation architecture, the H1 (31.25 kbit/s) and HSE (100 Mbit/s) fieldbus networks provide a distributed function block capability with HSE serving as a larger pipeline with increased speed and throughput. The FOUNDATION for ROM solution expands these capabilities by establishing open, non-proprietary specifications for an interface to wireless field device networks, a wired HSE backhaul, and a wireless HSE backhaul integrating various wireless sensor networks such as WiFi, satellite, cellular, etc. As part of this solution, FOUNDATION for ROM provides a way to bring large concentrations of discrete and analog field I/O back to the control room using HSE communication. This is key to improved integration of critical functional areas, including machinery health monitoring, safety interlocks, fire & gas detection systems, and video surveillance.

Remote diagnostics via FOUNDATION fieldbus provides significant improvement in labor costs by avoiding the need to send maintenance personnel on unnecessary trips to the field to check or diagnose problems with instrumentation without the benefit of remote diagnostic data. In the oil & gas industry, for example, the use of FOUNDATION fieldbus and the remote access to devices it affords can reduce the exposure and risk operations personnel face in the hazardous environment of an offshore platform or safety zone.

Access to high-quality process and equipment health data ultimately increases a user's profitability by minimizing downtime and increasing production, which results from well-informed operational, maintenance, and management decisions. Experience has shown that a comprehensive remote operations management solution enables industrial organizations to respond faster to market conditions, increase efficiency, reduce downtime, and achieve higher production availability. It also minimizes the costs and risks associated with remote site visits-enabling fewer core personnel to meet the operational requirements of numerous facilities from a single secure location.

The following companies participated in development of the FOUNDATION for ROM technical specifications: ABB, Abzil/Yamatake, Aniotek, Advanced Process Automation Technologies, Apprion, Belden/Hirschmann, Boeing, BP, Byres Security Inc./Tofino, Chevron, Cisco, Cooper Industries/MTL, EF Johnson, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, ExxonMobil, Fieldbus Diagnostics, Fieldbus Inc., General Electric, Geode Network Technologies, HART Communication Foundation, Herman Storey Consulting, Hodson Consulting, Honeywell, Industrial Automation Networks Inc., International Society of Automation, Invensys Process Systems, Maximum Control Technologies, National Instruments, OPUS Consulting, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V, R. STAHL, RuggedCom, Saudi Aramco, Shell Global Solutions, Siemens, Smar, Softing, Turck, Westlock Controls, Wi-Fi Sensors, Inc., and Yokogawa.

Six new members

Six companies have recently joined The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA)

Founded in 1994, the Control System Integrators Association is a global organization dedicated to advancing control system integration for the success of its members and their clients.
New associate members include:
  • B&D Industrial, Macon, (GA US)
  • NOFFZ Computer Technology, Toenisvorst, North-Rhine Westfalia, (D)
New participating members are:
  • Brasil Logic Sistemas, Indaiatuba, Sao Paulo, (BZ)
  • Guadalupe y Hernandez, San Martin Texmelucan, Puebla, (MX)
  • Industrial Process Group, LLC, Warsaw, (IND US)
Control Technology Corporation, Hopkinton, (MA US), is a new partner member.

The CSIA 2012 Executive Conference, April 25 – 28, at the Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale (AZ US) and we're told that the programme is building nicely. Details on the website shortly! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New personality wireless!

ProSoft Technology industrial 802.11n radios use a removable memory card to save and manage radio configuration settings

Now included in all RadioLinx IHN (industrial 802.11n) from ProSoft Technology, a new “Personality” specification automatically stores and loads radio-configurations. This functionality is appreciated for saving and managing radio configuration settings.

The Automation-class RadioLinx IHN series (industrial 802.11n) now comes with a Personality feature. This new feature automatically stores and loads radio configurations. It consists of an industrial-grade SD (Secured Digital) memory card and the ability given to the radio to read/write configuration information from/to that card.

From the user point-of-view, the typical benefits include:
  • Manage and distribute multiple configuration profiles. This is a great functionality for machine builders as they need to replicate multiple systems using the same settings.
  • Increased uptime of the network.
  • Easier backup and maintenance of radio configurations.
  • Damage recovery (a failed radio site shortly brings back into operation). In the event of a failure, the Personality feature allows loading configuration quickly into a replacement radio. The SD card can be removed from a radio that is no longer operational and inserted into a new radio (no computer required), or an archived configuration can be copied to an SD memory card and inserted into the new radio.
When a radio configuration is completed and saved (and an SD card present in the RadioLinx), the radio writes the new configuration to the Personality card.

The radio is able to function normally with or without a Personality card. When it is powered on, the radio first checks presence of an SD card which contains a configuration; if so the radio copies the settings from the SD card to its internal flash memory. Otherwise, it uses the configuration already installed in its memory.

This is a standard feature in all models of the RadioLinx IHN series (Industrial 802.11n) from ProSoft Technology.


TOC, TIC and TC determination in solids and liquids in a single instrument

The Multi N/C series of catalytic combustion analysers from Analytik Jena provide a versatile platform that can be configured for the fully automatic direct determination of bound carbon (TIC/TOC, TC, NPOC, POC) from liquid, paste or solid samples in a single instrument using the combustion analysis method. The Multi N/C series meets the requirements of DIN-EN, USEPA, ASTM, FDA and USP standards, including DIN EN 13137 for the determination of TOC in waste, sediments and sludge, and DIN EN 1484 and ISO 8245 for the detection of total and dissolved organic carbon in aqueous samples.

Instruments in the range include the Multi N/C 2100, Multi N/C 3100 and Multi N/C UV HS. The novel design provides an extended dynamic range for TOC measurements from 2 ppb up to 30000 ppm without dilution. This allows the systems to be used in applications ranging from trace-level analysis of ultrapure waters to the analysis of drinking, ground and surface waters with medium TOC, or measuring highly contaminated, particulate waste waters.

Direct measurement of solids is also possible with all the models in the range with the addition of the HT 1300 high-temperature solids combustion system. A click of the mouse is all that is required to change between solids and liquids mode.

This HT 1300 solids module provides catalyst-free high temperature combustion in a robust ceramic combustion tube using an additional furnace which is adjustable up to 1,300 °C.. Large solid samples of up to 3 g can be accommodated, which allows for solids with low homogeneity. The large dynamic measuring range of the N/C range is particularly suited for the detection of high TOC content (up to 500 mg C absolute) in solids.

High accuracy results are ensured using patented VITA® technology, which automatically determines the retention time of the sample in the analyzer. This not only leads to good accuracy and sensitivity but also excellent repeatability. VITA improves repeatability from typically 5-10% in the 0.5 – 1.0 mg/l range and 3-5% in the 1000 to 5000 mg/l range to 1-2% across the measuring ranges.

In addition, VITA significantly reduces the intervals between calibrations to around 6 months, reducing running costs. Multi N/C series instruments can be calibrated across the entire detection range using a single standard sample, eliminating the need for a large number of standard reference materials.

The multi N/C® series can also be used for non-direct TOC determination of samples such as sediments, soil and lime stone using the so-called suspension method with no special accessories.

This permits two different methods: TOC detection using the so-called direct method and the differential method. Another option for the detection of the TOC in specific matrices (e.g. sediments, soil, lime stone) is the suspension method. Different devices and technologies can be used to detect the parameter TOC in solid samples.

Multiphysics simulation tool accelerates electromagnetic design projects

The latest Opera electromagnetics simulator 
adds mechanical stress analysis, extending
the tool's multiphysics capability to provide a 
single-step solution to complex design problems.
A powerful new version of the Opera electromagnetics simulator for design engineers has been released by Cobham Technical Services. The latest software adds three-dimensional mechanical stress analysis, extending the tool's multiphysics capability to provide a single-step solution to complex design problems. By capturing mechanical deformation in conjunction with electromagnetic and thermal modelling, the integrated software can greatly reduce design complexity and timescales.

Opera version 15, from the Vector Fields Software business unit of Cobham Technical Services, provides a complete design-simulate-analyze-optimize toolchain for electromagnetic applications. The software is renowned for its accuracy of simulation and speed of execution - allowing demanding simulations to be solved on standard office-grade PCs. It is available in a number of variants that include finite element analysis (FEA) for static and time-varying electromagnetic fields, and application-specific solvers for rotating electrical machines, superconducting magnets, charged particle beam devices, and magnetization/demagnetization processes. Advanced material models, such as lossy dielectric insulation and magnetic hysteresis, put Opera at the cutting edge of simulation capability. Opera’s electromagnetic models may also be coupled with third-party system simulation tools available within Simulink.

The new three dimensional stress analysis module solves for deformations within the elastic limit of the materials, and may be coupled with the electromagnetic solvers to provide a single-step solution to virtual prototyping. In addition to stress and strain produced by the application of mechanical loads and by electromagnetically induced forces, Opera's thermal analysis module may be used to co-simulate thermal expansion. The effects of gravity or rotationally induced forces can also be incorporated in design simulations.

The latest version 15 of the software extends the fundamental performance advantage of Opera for many common design engineering applications. For instance, mechanical deformation is a vital consideration in the design of large and superconducting magnets, and electrical equipment and coils in transformers, motors, generators and actuators. The ability of a superconducting magnet's coils to withstand the mechanical forces generated during a quench, or the mechanical integrity of the stator end windings of a generator subject to a short-circuit condition, are critical design requirements.

Many other enhancements are incorporated in the new release of Opera, to simplify and speed the design process. One of these supports the rapid creation of models of coils, by providing a dynamic pictorial representation of the model under construction, to guide the user as design data is entered. This extends Opera's existing user-friendly approach to creating models of coils (and other common structures) which allows a user to select common forms of construction from a library, and then enter the design data using dialog boxes.

To aid the final optimization of a design, Cobham's Opera software package can be supplied with an advanced auto-optimization tool that has been designed specifically to work with its finite element methods. This tool is able to work out the best solution for one or multiple goals — even when they compete with each other.

ERP/MES system

Rollout in Denmark is important milestone in one of the biggest IT programs in Novo Nordisk’s history

Filling of modern insulin in vials
at Novo Nordisk's site in Hillerød, Denmark
In the framework of the global PS@ SAP program, Accenture, Werum Software & Systems, and NNE Pharmaplan have rolled out the first combined ERP/MES system at Novo Nordisk’s site in Denmark.

The main objective of the program is to implement a globally standardized ERP/MES solution on the basis of SAP and Werum’s PAS-X. The program is intended to be rolled out later to most of Novo Nordisk’s worldwide manufacturing sites.

Novo Nordisk decided on this because it provides essential functionalities out-of-the-box. Another factor that convinced Novo Nordisk to choose Werum’s manufacturing execution system is the fact that PAS-X has a proven record of successful installations throughout the industry.

The program started with the development of a standalone PAS-X pilot system in Denmark in 2008 and with some other implementations throughout the organization. Since then, Novo Nordisk, Werum and NNE Pharmaplan have been cooperating closely and have designed and implemented a MES PAS-X Core system.

Accredited calibration

• The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) has accredited NI Calibration Services Austin to one of the highest international calibration standards in the industry, ISO/IEC 17025:2005.
• NI now offers 17025 calibration services for OEMs and other organizations seeking to maintain compliance with the strictest governmental, medical, transportation and electronics regulations.
• The new calibration service offering is ideal for companies standardizing their automated test and measurement systems on PXI modular instrumentation, which provides some of the most advanced technology for addressing the latest engineering challenges.
The Calibration Services Austin headquarters of National Instruments has been accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to provide calibration for ISO/IEC 17025:2005, one of the most rigorous international calibration standards in the industry. The accreditation recognizes NI’s commitment to excellence in quality and customer service and extends the company’s investment in PXI-based test and measurement offerings. The company’s new ISO 17025 accredited calibration service is ideal for the ever-growing field of engineers standardizing their automated test systems on the PXI modular instrumentation platform, which offers some of the most advanced technology possible to address demanding engineering challenges.

For companies subject to government regulation – including OEMs that develop medical devices, transportation products and electronics – as well as multinational corporations looking for a single quality benchmark, ISO 17025 provides the most highly recognized global standard for calibration. The ISO 17025 accredited calibration service, which also complies with the ANSI/NCSL Z540-1-1994 standard, helps any organization that needs its PXI instrumentation certified for compliance with rigorous quality standards.

10,000 CNC

The 10,000th model of NUM's new-generation CNC kernel, Flexium, has been produced. This major milestone has been achieved within just three years from launch - marking a spectacular success for a mid-level CNC provider that serves mainly specialised machine tool builders.

Peter von Rueti of NUM holding the 10,000th Flexium CNC kernel, with members of the manufacturing team at the company's Italian facility in Cuggiono
"Machinery OEMs tend to be very conservative in introducing new technology, and we anticipated that volume sales of our new CNC kernel would not kick-in until typically years four to five of its lifespan," says Peter von Rueti, CEO of NUM. "2011 proved us wrong. We're one of the longest-established CNC companies and we have never seen such a rapid design-in. Annual sales of Flexium have even overtaken those of our previous-generation CNC kernel, Axium, which controls machine tools produced by dozens of world-leading OEMs."
NUM started shipping the Flexium platform in 2008. NUM attributes its rapid success to both performance and business factors.

For some OEMs it's the power of Flexium's soft PLC controller that attracts. For most though, it's the scalability feature of the platform, which allows it to be applied economically to small machines with up to five axes and spindles, or much larger machines with up to 200 axes. These attributes mean that machine tool OEMs are able to use the same control system across their complete range of machine designs - greatly reducing the workload on the engineering development team.

Another aspect of the CNC kernel's success is related to the rise of Asian markets, and the particular way in which NUM works with clients. A partnership ethos has always been at the heart of NUM's business philosophy. This is proving particularly advantageous in Asia where NUM's willingness to provide young machine tool OEMs with in-depth engineering support on aspects such as writing software and tuning machines has won significant new customers.

"Being able to use the same CNC to power a complete range of machines gives a large payback, and today over half of our leading customers have made that choice and use our CNC platform exclusively,"
adds von Rueti. "The machine tool market has an enormous middle ground of specialised OEMs who build machines in annual quantities measured in tens to hundreds. A typical engineering department at these machine builders might number just five to 10 people. For this level of company, using one universal CNC platform can easily save the cost of employing one or two additional engineers"

Software savings are becoming even more critical as the role of software in machinery design continues to expand. Twenty to thirty years ago software accounted for as little as just 5% of a machine's cost. NUM thinks the value of software deployed in the average machine tool today has risen to the 10-20% range, and the machine's electronics, engineering and software combined count for well over 50%. Being able to maintain just one PLC, and one user interface dramatically reduces the workload on busy engineering departments, and allows both faster deployment of new features to customers, and a simpler means for an OEM to create unique 'look and feel' branding.

"With the rapid rise of Asian and Latin American economies, competition in the machine tool sector is getting more intense, and we view control and user interface software as playing a critical role in adding value and differentiating a company's branding,"
adds von Rueti. "Making it easier for machine builders to adopt one universal CNC platform and software system was a key factor behind the development of Flexium, and we are expecting this capability to continue driving higher than average growth over the next 5 to 10 years."

There are two distinct segments in today's CNC marketplace: three 'tier one' suppliers that account for most of the high volume manufacturers of common machinery types such as mills, and a larger group of middle ranking vendors - including NUM - that serve mainly smaller volume and specialist machine builders. NUM believes that this market is on the verge of a shake up: over the next decade many machine builders will gravitate towards those vendors providing much richer software tools and support. The success of the Flexium platform is already proving this to be the case, and it has brought NUM into direct competition with the highest volume suppliers - especially in the Asian market.

Two versions of the Flexium CNC kernel provide economic solutions for different sizes of machine. Flexium 6 is cost-optimised for standalone machines with up to five motion axes and spindles. The more powerful Flexium 68 handles up to 32 interpolated axes, divided into as many as eight coordinated groups. If more axes are required, to support very large equipment projects such as a multi-cell production line, Flexium 68s may be interconnected using a real-time Ethernet link. This allows the Flexium 68 system to be expanded to control over 200 interpolated axes, as well as further positioning axes and I/O. Software flexibility is at the core of Flexium. The platform gives machine tool OEMs complete control over the look and feel of the machine. The system's PLC is programmed according to IEC 61131-3 standards, and offers a choice of development software, providing machine control programming environment in forms to suit individual programmers. Flexium's man-machine interface is also completely adaptable, and can be easily programmed using standard tools such as HTML, Java Script, or one of the PC-based rapid software development environments. This flexibility, which allows users to add their own unique 'look and feel' branding to each machine, is in stark contrast with some competitive platforms, which have fixed user interfaces that may only be modified by the vendor. NUM's long-established range of drives and motors complement Flexium with a motion control capability that is highly optimised for machine tool applications.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Connectors with a difference!

Marechal Electric have installed of electrical safety Decontactors™ to connect mobile processing equipment to the mains power supply in Eckes Granini’s juice production plant. The water- and dust-tight Decontactors feature power ratings from 20A to 63A and provide enhanced electrical safety for operators in a production environment which has a high level of humidity and pressure-washing.

The combination of a quick-release button, integral load-break switch, and automatic watertight sealing means that Marechal Decontactors can be connected and disconnected safely and quickly, even under load, by any authorised employee. Eliminating the need for a qualified electrician, to connect and disconnect the electrical supply every time a piece of equipment is moved, significantly reduces maintenance times and costs as well as increasing productivity by making it faster to move mobile equipment between different locations.

“As a food production plant, power-cleaning of equipment is an almost constant operation and Marechal Decontactors have demonstrated their ability to provide a safe working environment for our employees whilst also increasing our operational flexibility and productivity,” explains Mr Laurent Perrin, Head of Maintenance in the Preparation Department of Eckes Granini. “Following expansion in 2010, our use of Marechal DSN Decontactors has been extended to the pump supply and to the discharge machines, where the Decontactors are housed in Marechal stainless steel boxes.”

Marechal’s sales engineer, Patrick Chevrot adds, “An in-house R&D service, backed by a global network of sales engineers or subsidiaries and the ability to customise connectors, means that Marechal can design and install electrical safety connectors which can meet the most challenging operating conditions.”

In addition to automatic watertight sealing to IP66/67, when the plug is connected and disconnected, Marechal Decontactors feature a robust housing with a glass-fibre, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) coating which provides long-term resistance to corrosion and shock. The nickel-silver butt contacts and metal jumpers also guarantee a reliable electrical performance regardless of the number of connection and disconnection cycles.

Marechal Electric’s range covers standard and custom power connectors, boxes and accessories which are used throughout the food industry worldwide to increase electrical safety in applications where humidity and power-cleaning can present challenging safety issues. These applications include silos, production lines, packaging components and motors.

In addition to the food and drink processing sector, Decontactors are used in explosive environments and in the construction, marine, energy, mines and quarries sectors, as well as by emergency services.

Servo systems

The RS2 series Servo systems from Sanyo Denki are available with rated outputs from 30W to 15kW and are available through Total Motion Systems (TMS).

Motors with flange sizes from 40mm to 220mm square give continuously rated torques up to 95Nm and offer compact size, light weight, high torque and speed and low cogging for smooth rotation ideal for high precison processes and vibration-sensitive applications.  The motors are available with absolute or incremental encoder options.

Compatible servo drive/amplifiers with current ratings from 15A to 300A are available  and are designed with easy set-up in mind.  An auto tuning facility is provided and using the set-up software the user is able to set up parameters and view graphical displays of position, velocity and torque and to perform systems analysis.  Up to 15 amplifiers can be monitored simultaneously. The amplifiers can be switched between torque, position or velocity modes and an on-board jog function allows testing of the motor and amplifier connection without the need to connect to a host device.  A built in operator panel allows parameters to be changed and for the amplifier status to be monitored.

Amplifiers are also available with EtherCAT interface allowing the creation of a system compatible with a variety of devices.

Shackle load cells for offshore mooring tension application

As well as providing a comprehensive range of standard load cells, LCM Systems has highly experienced in-house design engineers who time and time again have demonstrated their ability to meet both the commercial and technical requirements of clients. For one offshore engineering systems integrator, LCM Systems provided a complete shackle load cell solution designed to match stringent criteria, complete with full American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) traceability.

The enquiry was made by a long-term client of LCM Systems, who had previously bought load pins from LCM to be installed into shackle and pin assemblies already on site. This project was to provide a complete shackle load cell solution for measuring mooring tension but there were some important criteria that needed to be met.

Firstly, the load cell had to be a shackle type, designed to fit into an existing link plate and the pin had to be manufactured from 17-4PH stainless and withstand full submersion to 500psi. Secondly, material and proof load certificates were required for the shackle, with the load pin requiring full traceability to pass inspection by the ABS. Additionally, all cables had to be robust and protected.

The result was the LCM3064 150te subsea submersible D-type shackle load cell that answered all the criteria. The load cell was designed using a GN Rope H11 shackle rated to 150te, with the pin manufactured from 17-4PH stainless steel. It also featured a mating 10m subsea moulded connector cable assembly, protected by heavy duty, steel reinforced hydraulic hose and a special anti-rotation bracket to loop back the hose for the correct cable path. In order to ensure the load cell would fit into the existing assembly, loose spacers were supplied for added flexibility when it was installed into the widely toleranced link plate.

Automation Show in India

The industrial shows organized by Deutsche Messe and Hannover Milano Fairs India (HMFI) which open in Bangalore on 6 December 2011 are taking place against the background of an optimistic economic climate. The line-up of shows this year comprises five key events: CeMAT INDIA, MDA INDIA, Surface INDIA, Industrial Automation INDIA and Laser INDIA - which makes its debut in 2011. These shows offer invaluable insights into product innovations in the fields of intralogistics, power transmission and control technology, surface treatment, industrial automation and laser technology. 390 exhibitors from 25 countries (compared with 350 in 2010) will be taking part this year and are expected to occupy a total display area of more than 10,000 square metres.

As in previous years, the product presentations will be complemented by an extensive parallel program of conferences and meetings organized by Deutsche Messe AG and HMFI in collaboration with the relevant industry organizations and media partners. "We can thus offer our visitors a program that contains useful information on diverse topics and aspects of industry, as well as a traditional-style exhibition", says Tessa Marheineke, a director at Deutsche Messe AG. "The themes and issues addressed in this program are of great relevance to industry in India and will provide information about technological developments there."

One of the biggest trade fairs within this year's constellation is MDA, which has attracted 177 exhibitors. This event showcases electric and mechanical power transmission, as well as hydraulics and pneumatics. Leading manufacturers such as Schaeffler, Freudenberg Simrit, Bosch Rexroth, Festo, SKF, Conti Tech and Bonfiglioli will all be represented.

For the first time the power transmission engineering sector within the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) - together with its Indian branch VDMA INDIA - has organized a forum to be held in conjunction with the trade fair. The forum will focus on keynote themes such as resource and energy efficiency and feature a panel discussion on the opportunities and risks on the Indian market. One of the speakers on the panel is Christian Kienzle, director of ARGO-HYTOS GMBH and chairman of the association within the VDMA which is responsible for the fluid technology sector. Kienzle regards India as one of the most interesting markets of the future: "Over the next few years India will remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world and will go from strength to strength. The German fluid technology industry already enjoys a strong position on the Indian market. Due to the sound growth of the Indian economy we confidently expect this positive trend to continue across the whole fluid technology sector."

Another main attraction of the trade fair program is CeMAT INDIA, which boasts 81 exhibitors. Numerous leading manufacturers, including Konecranes, Voltas, Still, Exide, and Cascade, will exhibit products from the intralogistics sector. A new forum, organized for the first time by the Indian trade magazine LOG.INDIA, will be held parallel to CeMAT. All the core issues and questions relevant to the organization of the whole materials handling chain will be discussed by representatives of international companies and practical solutions presented.

Surface INDIA also comprises an extensive exhibition and an informative supporting program. The Society for Surface Protective Coatings India (SSPC) is organizing an international symposium in conjunction with the trade fair. This event will focus on surface coating and related technologies.

The first Laser INDIA will be launched this year with 42 exhibitors taking part. A forum staged by the Indian Laser Association in cooperation with Laser Technologies Pvt Ltd. will explore the diverse uses of laser technology in different industrial sectors and applications.

The organizers expect around 59 exhibitors at this year's Industrial Automation INDIA, including such companies as Sick, Harting and Beckhoff. A forum organized by the ARC Advisory Group will complement the exhibition with presentations which illustrate how automation technology can optimize manufacturing processes.