Thursday, December 22, 2011

New partner

Avid Solutions has joined Yokogawa's 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, Avid 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.

“We are excited to have Avid Solutions participate as one of our VPS Partners," says Roger Van Nuis, GM Indirect Channels. "Avid has a great reputation as a quality company with high degree of repeat clients in the life sciences, food & beverage, chemical, pulp & paper, energy, general manufacturing, and commercial vehicle industries”.

Avid’s team systematically identifies and manages all project risks from the outset, to ensure that control system is delivered on time and within budget and performs to their specifications.

Extended hardware and software functions

Siemens Industry Automation Division has equipped Version 8 of its Simatic PCS 7 process control system with a host of new functions. The new features range from improved data exchange and an easier engineering workflow, more powerful communication, redundancy-related and fault-tolerant functions to new controllers and extended functionalities for the software tools.

In Version 8 of Simatic PCS 7 the data exchange between the Cosmos plant management software and the PCS 7 engineering tools has been improved and the engineering workflow simplified. This now offers the user enhanced planning quality and an easier way to document the tracking of changes. In the new PCS 7 version the integrated, scalable long-term archiving system, Process Historian, is now suitable for the central archiving of process data from multiple projects in real time. Users can now access the archive data and reports quickly for the purpose of optimizing production and assets. They can now create and modify reports easily using the standard Microsoft Reporting Service tool. In addition to Windows XP, Simatic PCS 7 Version 8 has also been released for Windows 7 (64-bit and 32-bit).

PCS 7 has also been improved as regards Profibus and Profinet communication, in the areas of fault tolerance and redundancy, as well as for the controllers. The fault-tolerant, high-performance Simatic S7-400H controllers have been upgraded to feature greater performance and new functions. They have an increased range of I/Os and an integrated 2-port switch Profinet interface. This enables fault-tolerant, redundant ring structures to be set up and I/O devices to be connected on a system-redundant basis. In addition, the range of controllers has been extended to include the new CPU 416-5H. In terms of performance, the CPU 416-5H with 16 MB RAM is positioned between the 412-5H CPU with 1 MB, the 414-5H with 4 MB and the 417-5H with 32 MB RAM.

The functionality of the software tools has also been extended in Version 8. For example, the Simatic PDM (Process Device Manager) – the tool for operating, setting, maintaining and diagnosing field devices – has been supplemented in Version 8 by adding new export/import functions. In this respect, users benefit from extended plant documentation, integrated statistics, simpler operation and more convenient replacement of devices. The Advanced Process Library (APL) now has new blocks for motor management, starters and compact drives, while the AdvES advanced engineering system has a new type concept compliant with ISA 88 (Control Module Types) and a user interface with a progress indicator. The industry library has been enlarged with technological blocks, e.g. for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) applications. In addition, package units for Simatic S7-300 as well as on-site operator panels can now be integrated into the industry library using the APL appearance. The PCS 7 Telecontrol add-on now permits the setup of hierarchical system configurations, while route control allows graphic offline path-searching and power control facilitates the integration of electrical switchgear in accordance with the IEC 61850 protocol.

The extended functions of Simatic PCS 7 V8 are rounded off by a new automation device: AS mEC RTX is equipped with central IO modules and optimized for small-scale applications and for use in the OEM environment.

System integration excellence recognised!

Must be the time of year but we have received a fair few notifications of awards and details of certifications in the past few weeks and here is another.

All three of the integrators named Integrator of the Year by Control Engineering magazine are Certified members of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

The awards recognize excellence in technical expertise, business skills and customer satisfaction. The winners, representing three annual revenue categories, are:

The Winners: Click picture for more info!
Superior Controls, Seabrook, N.H.,
Matrix Technologies, Maumee, Ohio
Mangan, Inc., Long Beach, Cal.

This is the second time Matrix Technologies has received the prestigious award. The previous award was received in 2008. The award winners will be recognized at a banquet during the CSIA 2012 Executive Conference, April 25 – 28, in Scottsdale (AZ US).

To become a CSIA Certified member, a member company must pass an intensive audit process with stringent performance standards categories in nine categories: general management, financial management, project management, quality management, technical management, human resources management and marketing, business development and sales management.

Certified members are re-audited every three years and recertified if they meet current performance standards. The certification criteria is spelled out in CSIA’s Best Practices and Benchmarks, the accepted roadmap for system integrators committed to delivering the level of quality, performance and long-term support their customers expect.

• Control's Hall of Fame Inductee's have also been announced and promulgated on the Sound Off Blog: Class of 2012 Inductees to the Process Automation Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Connections win award!

Greg Davies, presenter; Peter Hannon, MD of 
HARTING Ltd.; David Sheath, General Manager 
of Caltest Instruments;  and Richard Wilson 
editor of Electronics Weekly.
Harting's Han-Yellock® industrial connector system has won the 2011 Elektra European Electronics Industry Award for Passive & Electromechanical Product of the Year. The award, sponsored by Caltest Instruments, was presented by comedian Greg Davies at a ceremony at London's Park Plaza Hotel in December 2011.

Commenting on the award, Peter Hannon, Managing Director of Harting Ltd. in Britain, said: "We are delighted to have won this prestigious award for what has become for us a flagship product range. Harting has a long and successful history in the industrial connector sector, and the latest award serves to further emphasis our leadership in this field."

This major European honour joins a number of other awards, including the iF Design Award presented by the iF International Forum Design GmbH and the "Product of the Month" Award from the German magazine "Elektronik Journal".  

Han-Yellock® is a new industrial connector concept which retains the core functionality of Harting's existing Han® product range but differs significantly in terms of size, shape and new features. Key features of the Han-Yellock® range include an internal, latched locking mechanism on the connector hood, a wide range of Han-Yellock® modules to offer a large number of potential configurations, an adaptor frame for use with modules in Harting's Han-Modular® series, insulators that can snap into the front or back walls of the housing, and a protected earth (PE) contact in crimp or Quick Lock termination.

Together, these features combine to offer a connector range with improved functionality in the form of increased versatility, multiplied potential for different configurations, simplified handling, a reduced incidence of errors and maximum safety.

Potential user benefits of Han-Yellock® include fewer part numbers and lower inventory requirements, less wiring work during installation, fewer steps in the workflow and quicker assembly, and reduced downtime because of the latched locking mechanism and maintenance-friendly design.

Two-wire Hall-effect latch

The A1244 from Allegro Microsystems,  is a two-wire Hall-effect latch featuring on-chip transient protection and a zener clamp to protect against overvoltage conditions on the supply line.


The new device, which is programmed at the factory to optimise the magnetic switch point accuracy, uses the same patented high-frequency, 4-phase, chopper-stabilisation technique that is used on the company's complementary family of unipolar switches. This results in lower noise on the output, less switch-point variation over temperature, and faster settling times.

The improvement in noise and switch-point drift allows the device to realise much better switching accuracy, which means better switching repeatability. Moreover, the improved high-voltage transient protection allows the A1244 to survive the conditions specified in ISO 7637-2 and 40 V load dump.
Allegro's advanced BiCMOS wafer fabrication process is used to achieve magnetic stability over temperature and to eliminate the offset inherent in single-element devices when exposed to harsh application environments.


Two-wire latches are particularly advantageous in cost-sensitive applications, such as automotive transmission position sensing and motor commutations applications, because they require one less wire for operation compared with the more traditional open-collector output latches. In addition, the user inherently gains diagnostic capabilities, because there is always current flowing at one of two specified levels. Any output current outside these two narrow ranges is a fault condition.

The A1244 is available in two package styles: the "LH" is a SOT-23W style, miniature low-profile package for surface-mount applications, and the "UA" is a TO-92 style, three-lead ultra-miniature single inline package (SIP) for through-hole mounting. The A1244 is also offered with two supply-current options: -I1 from 5.0 to 6.9 mA, and  -I2 from 2.0 to 5.0 mA.

Measurement House!

We've known about this move some weeks ago and tweeted about it but here is the official release and picture!
The NI gang waiting for Irish and British calls in their BREAM-rated new premises!


National Instruments UK & Ireland, part of a global company that develops and manufactures software and hardware products for engineers and scientists to use for test, control and embedded design applications,  has invested in a new, multi-million pound development to house sales, marketing and support staff for the region. Still based in Newbury, Berkshire, the new state-of-the-art office, named Measurement House, has been designed and built to the company’s specifications.

The move comes as a result of the continued growth and success of National Instruments in Britain & Ireland.  Its new larger headquarters double the space available and are the fourth operational office in NI UK & Ireland’s 23 year history, providing room for future expansion and recruitment as the company continues to grow.

Designed to reflect National Instruments reputation as an innovative and ground breaking technology company, the impressive building boasts contemporary design, BREEAM-rated environmentally efficient credentials, improved and enlarged customer facilities, as well as significantly improved employee facilities.

Robert Morton, 17-year NI veteran and National Instruments UK & Ireland Managing Director (Extreme left in above pic!) , said: “I’m delighted that we are able to build on our reputation as a great place to work with our awesome new building, and provide such outstanding facilities for our customers and employees”

Measurement House will be officially opened in the New Year so expect more on that in 2012!

High temperature pressure logger!

MadgeTech is releasing a high temperature, pressure data logger designed for use in autoclave validation and mapping. This rugged device can withstand temperatures up to 140°C and is completely submersible (IP68). It will begin shipping in February 2012.


The PR140 is built with a precision stainless steel pressure gauge. The device has an accuracy of ±0.03 Bar (±0.435 PSI), which can be achieved over a wide temperature range, from -20°C to +140°C(-4°F to 284°F). The PR140 can be programmed to take readings as often as once per second (1Hz), and has non-volatile memory that can store up to 32,700 measurements.

The instrument is easy to use. Simply place it in the IFC400 docking station, connect to a computer, and the device can be started, stopped or downloaded using the MadgeTech software. Graphical, tabular and summary data is provided for analysis and can be viewed in PSIA, mmHg, bar, Torr and kPa. The data can also be automatically exported to Excel® for further calculations.

Technology agreement

Rigorous simulation and optimisation to help achieve real-time operational excellence!

Invensys Operations Management has signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to deliver comprehensive software solutions and services for Shell.

Under a new Corporate Enterprise License, Invensys will provide a suite of its SimSci-Esscor® simulation solutions to improve Shell’s global upstream, downstream and petrochemicals production, helping it to achieve operational excellence. A critical part of the agreement will be Invensys’ ROMeo® solution, an integrated software platform for simulation, data reconciliation, optimisation and operations decision support. Invensys will also supply its PRO/II®, PIPEPHASE® and DYNSIM® software, along with several other software solutions, training and support services. The Corporate Enterprise agreement allows Shell access to Invensys software packages on a global basis within Shell’s IT infrastructure, enabling enhanced use of simulation software across all Shell business units.

“Shell needed cost-effective, flexible access to our open simulation and optimisation software across its global organisation without any restrictions,” said Tobias Scheele, vice president, advanced applications, Invensys Operations Management. “We have been working with Shell and providing them service and solutions for more than 30 years. This Corporate Enterprise License strengthens our long-standing relationship with Shell. Shell will use our SimSci-Esscor ROMeo optimisation software and our other family of simulation and modeling solutions to deliver increased value around the globe, helping them to achieve operational excellence in real time.”  

Invensys Operations Management’s ROMeo software provides a leading unified modeling environment for off-line and on-line optimisation. In use at dozens of upstream facilities, refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants worldwide, the software supplies a scalable environment for optimising all major units, as well as other aspects of plant profitability, such as utilities and instrument/equipment performance. Additional benefits are derived from leveraging the rigorous predictive models to enhance planning and scheduling decisions, leading to increased margins.

Monday, December 19, 2011

New marketing VP appointed

Roy Kok has joined ARC Advisory's management team as Vice President of Marketing.  He brings more than 30 years of automation industry and marketing experience to ARC. 

Roy Kok
Prior to joining ARC, Roy served in roles at GE, Intellution, VenturCom, and Kepware in marketing, sales, and product management roles.   Roy has also offered strategic consulting services to over a dozen companies and has been involved in startup opportunities.  This broad background brings significant marketing experience and resources to both ARC and its clients. 

In his new role as VP of Marketing for ARC, Roy will be responsible for all corporate marketing including positioning, messaging and outreach.  “ARC is the recognized leader in industrial business intelligence with products including market studies; custom services for product marketing, channel management, and marketing positioning; ARC Forum networking and thought leadership events; plus technology consulting services for industrial automation end users.  I am very excited to be joining the team to be able to help ARC drive additional value for the industry,” he explained.

Commented Andy Chatha, ARC President and Founder, “We are very fortunate to have Roy join the ARC team.  His market knowledge and broad set of connections will be valuable assets to ARC and our global clients.”

EMC receiver testing range increases to 18 GHz

TESEQ now offers a high-performance digital EMC/EMI receiver module that extends the frequency range of the PMM 9010 receiver system from 6 GHz to 18 GHz.  Ideal for use in commercial test labs and by in-house manufacturers’ test facilities, the upgraded PMM system can now be used for a wider range of EMC testing.

The innovative PMM 9180 offers high performance, convenience and cost savings by cutting turnaround times and eliminating the need for expensive coax cables and periodic calibration checks.  It provides better radiated emissions system sensitivity than other units on the market.

The uniquely designed, battery-powered unit is the only fully-compliant EMI receiver module on the market directly connected to an antenna located inside the testing chamber and has the ability to transmit data outside the testing chamber via fibre-optic cable, eliminating signal losses that can exceed 20 dB.

It is fully compliant with CISPR 16-1-1 and MIL-STD.  It features a plug-in Li-Ion rechargeable battery that lasts for a minimum of four hours.

The FCC requires that EMC emissions testing be performed at 10 times the highest clock frequency in a product.  By using this instrument, FCC testing can be performed on products with clock speeds to 1.8 GHz as well as MIL 461 RE 102 testing, which has an upper frequency limit of 18 GHz.  The PMM 9180 can also be used for CE marking.

It is fully compatible with the PMM Emissions Suite software.  This unique software offers full control of all auto and manual receiver functions, real-time display, editing of standard limits, creation of correction factors tables and warning messages for incorrect settings.

In addition, the software includes one-click operation for selecting measuring mode: swept, spectrum analyser or tuned.  All measurements taken by the receiver can be retrieved, saved, recalled and compared when using PMM’s PC Emissions Suite software.

The TESEQ PMM 9180 features a high speed optical interface, an operating temperature of -5°C to 45°C, a measurement accuracy of +2.0 dB and a maximum input level of 137 dBuV without damage.