Friday, February 10, 2012

Real-time TOC tightens effluent control at Greencore


Author: Dr Patsy Rigby, Hach Lange, UK

A food manufacturing facility in Selby (GB) has installed a new continuous TOC (Total Organic Carbon) monitor, ‘the BioTector’ which has dramatically improved the site’s capability to refine and improve the plant’s wastewater treatment process. As a result the plant is better able to quickly respond to changes in the influent.

Greencore Foods is a leading player in the food processing industry and the group’s Grocery division is one of Britain's leading manufacturers of bottled recipe products (including cooking sauces, pickles, dips and soft drinks, producing 200 million jars per annum across 800 product lines). Operating from a site at Selby near York, it produces a wide range of both branded and retailer branded products across key market sectors. The facility has received considerable investment in the last 10 years and now boasts some of the most modern, hygienic and efficient production facilities in the country, achieving the prestigious AIB accreditation and being placed in the 'superior' category.

The Selby site is operated on a continuous improvement basis with its own dedicated wastewater treatment plant to monitor and control effluent quality and minimise costly discharge fees.  Effluent from the food manufacturing industry contains an array of inorganic salts and organic components which enter the waste stream in part from the intense wash down of processing tanks and lines during clean in place procedures for product changeover. Overload of organics on the effluent treatment plant adversely affects the efficiency of the treatment process. If the waste is not treated to the required standard, then the site will be unable to achieve the river discharge parameters that have been set by the Environment Agency.

The effluent treatment plant at the Selby facility is managed by a specialist team from Veolia Water IndustrialOutsourcing Ltd. Raw feed water entering the facility, is analysed for TOC  to control the strength of the feed transferred to the site effluent treatment plant.

As Greencore Environment Manager David Murtagh explains “In the past samples were manually collected from the site drains pit and transported to the laboratory at a second location. Given the geographical distance between sites this led to significant waste, both in terms of time and resources. We had a small team in the laboratory who performed a number of analyses on the delivered samples, which was quite labour intensive and delayed results. Even state of the art laboratory techniques still took too long for pragmatic purposes, preventing prompt feedback on the process.  Overall, this was not 21st century and provided no direct information to control the effluent plant or provide an early warning of process issues. An alternative needed to be sought.

"A further key driver was the impending tightening of the consent to discharge to river by the Environment Agency. We needed more frequent, more detailed, prompt, accurate and reliable influent TOC data to help manage the effluent treatment plant more efficiently and provide feedback on the process which is the source of the TOC. We were wary of on-line TOC instruments due to poor experiences in the past; while they worked well on cleaner, particulate-free effluent samples, the high solids, fats, oils and greases, and variable TOC loads coming from raw influent was a major issue for delicate fine capillary tubing and valves, which typically caused instrument seizure.”

Historical issues
Traditional methods for analysis of TOC/COD/BOD were developed as laboratory systems based on UV exposure, wet chemistry or more aggressive digestion by catalysed combustion. While these provide an excellent basis for spot sampling within the laboratory where sample pre-treatment (e.g. by filtering) is controllable, the systems do not often translate well in a real process environment.

Raw effluent presents a series of challenges. With UV based systems, high salt loads can cause scaling of the UV light column creating problems or organic recovery. In high temperature combustion systems, salt loads as low as 0.5% can inhibit the persulphate digestion mechanism and deteriorate the lifetime of the catalyst, demanding excessive maintenance by replacement of the column. Sample volume is commonly restricted to less than 10µl and sample pre-filtering is necessary to avoid particulate blockage of tubing and multi-port valves such that particle size is restricted to <200µm. In a process environment, clogging of tubes with crystallised salts and particulates can demand instrument re-calibration every 2-3 days.

New Monitoring Technology
To achieve continuous, function in harsh process environments the BioTector from HACH LANGE uses a patented advanced oxidation process to offer aggressive breakdown of organics without thermal dependence.  This is achieved by exposing high pH reagents to ozone. Highly corrosive unstable hydroxyl radicals are generated and by a Two Stage Advanced Oxidation this enables the system to handle very large sample volumes without the need for syringe controlled dilution mechanisms (an additional route for blockage in traditional techniques). A self cleaning facility with micro-bubbles prevents particles becoming trapped and an inbuilt salt trap allows salt loads as high as 30% and calcium loads of up to 12% without dilution. Without the temperature resistant ceramic components of contemporary systems where salt can easily crystallise and cause blockage, the catalyst within the BioTector is attached to the exterior of the furnace, extending lifetime and facilitating easy replacement.

Unaffected by fats (internal tubing is protected by back wash), greases, salts and particulates up to 2mm diameter, a representative sample is achieved without pre-filtering allowing in excess of 80,000 continuous measurements per year. Maintenance requirements are minimal (6 monthly service is recommended with no calibration demands between service). The overall result is a 99+% uptime for the end user.

Summary
As Veolia’s Continuous Improvement Manager Marcus Hardiker explains “All previous concerns regarding the use of an on-line TOC meter were addressed with practical solutions. The instrument takes samples from the raw effluent that is fed to the site's treatment plant. However, we needed the sample to be as representative as possible and therefore no in-line filters were installed in the sample line. The sampling arrangement was very carefully engineered by the specialist team in order to deal with the site's unique type of effluent containing high sand and silt content.

"The signals from the BioTector unit have been integrated into both Veolia Water's effluent plant control system and Greencore’s own data acquisition system.  Veolia use the analysis to control the strength of feed transferred to the site effluent treatment plant. Any loads that exceed a pre-determined level are diverted to the site calamity tank. This control has enabled the performance of the effluent treatment plant to be greatly improved.

"The signals from the TOC meter are also transmitted to Greencore’s production areas, and the on-line data is visible for process personnel who can now see the effect that their activities are having on the effluent loads being discharged to the site treatment plant. Greencore has also linked the on-line results provided by the BioTector to an alarm system so that production personnel know when the TOC levels have increased - thus enabling them to react much quicker and thereby identify and address any issues as they arise."

With tailored solutions to match client needs, BioTector is simple to use and can reduce operational costs, avoid downtime and provide greater insight into processes for true real time control. 
This QR Code to enable readers with smartphones to click through to Hach Lange!   

Ultra high speed CPU

The newest addition to the FA-M3 PLC family from Yokogawa is the Vitesse Controller.

The FA-M3 has been designed and is best known for its speed, so with this in mind the new series of sequence CPUs has been named Vitesse, when translated means speed. From day one, FA-M3 has relentlessly pursued higher speeds as the most effective means to solving customer challenges. Over time, this has evolved into the High Speed IPRS (Instruction, Processing, Response and Scan) design concept. Today, we have set a new record with the Vitesse controller in that it has the world’s fastest scan speeds clocked executing 100,000 program steps in 1ms.

The Vitesse controller boasts an on board Ethernet port, USB port and a SD card slot. These features give the FA-M3V unparalleled power for handling large amounts of data on the 32 GB SDHC memory card or over FTP with the client/server functions. Communications with Modbus TCP/IP devices is simple with the built in Ethernet port as well as programming and remote OME (operation, maintenance and engineering). Up to 100 traces can be set, allowing highly accurate analysis of large amounts of operation data. By just inserting an SD memory card into a slot on the FA-M3V CPU module, it is possible to automatically log data in a trace setting file that can be later used to troubleshoot problems and debug programs. It is not necessary to connect a PC to perform this task. Remote maintenance of the FA-M3V can also be performed by e-mailing trace setting and results files.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hugh Wilson - RIP

Hugh Wilson, President ISA 1978/79, presents the charter to the late Fred Gilroy, 1st ISA Ireland Section President. Picture shows left to right: Eddie O'Connell, Tom Nulty, Bob Shine, President Wilson, President Gilroy, Eddie Kenny, Dan O'Sullivan and the late Maurice Radford.

The 1978 ISA President Hugh Wilson passed away late last year. He was 85. A memorial service was held in early January.

Hugh Wilson was an icon of Moore Products Co. He started  in Chicago as a young sales engineer and quickly moved to branch manager. He raised his hand and said he would take over DuPont, which was a stagnant account for Moore for many years. Hugh eliminated all sales credit for himself and started visiting DuPont sites teaching control theory courses at the sites.

He started British operations, then Canada, South Africa, Asia Pacific, and other areas of the world. He finally retired as vice president, International Sales/Operations.

Wilson held many important roles in ISA, none more important than that as ISA President. In all the years he was active in ISA, he never lost sight of the fact that he worked for Moore Products, and so many of his successes in setting up international  operations was a result of his networking at ISA. This included the very successful Ireland Section which despite the size of the country has maintained a supply of ISA leaders up to and including the executive board. He it was who presented the Ireland Section with its charter during his presidency and he is still fondly remembered in the section.

May he rest in peace!

Unified gateway station enhanced!

Yokogawa Electric Corporation is to release an enhanced version of the CENTUM(R) VP integrated production control system, the company's flagship product next month.

In this new version, support for the use of a dual-redundant unified gateway station (UGS), which serves as the interface between CENTUM VP and other control systems, has been added. In addition, an alarm monitoring function is provided for the display of alarm information from other control systems on the CENTUM VP human machine interface (HMI).

Development background
Throughout the oil, chemical, and iron and steel industries, distributed control systems (DCSs), programmable controllers (PLCs), and other types of control systems from a variety of companies are used to control electric power, wastewater treatment, shipping, and other auxiliary facilities as well as the main manufacturing process itself. By monitoring all these control systems using the CENTUM VP that handles the main process, plant efficiency can be improved.

Plant monitoring and control functions are usually designed to be dual redundant so that an automatic switchover to a backup unit can be initiated in the event of a system failure. Although the gateway unit that serves as the interface for the monitoring of other control systems from the main process DCS should also be dual redundant, systems with this feature have not been widely adopted because of the requirement for special software.

Now, with the addition of support for dual-redundant UGSs that serve as the interface between CENTUM VP and other control systems, only simple programming is required to build a highly reliable system with an additional UGS.

In addition to main process alarms, alarms from other control systems can be displayed on the CENTUM VP HMI via an OPC-A&E server. Object Linking & Embedding for Process Control (OPC) is a specification for connecting measuring instruments and control systems. The OPC-A&E sub-specification is for alarms and events. Yokogawa participates in the OPC Foundation, a US non-profit organisation established to develop and enhance the OPC interface, and OPC Council, Japan, a regional organisation of the OPC Foundation.

Nobuaki Konishi, Vice-President and Head of Yokogawa's IA Systems Business Headquarters, comments as follows: "To achieve integrated plant monitoring and control by a DCS, gateway functions must be highly reliable. This has been accomplished with our development of a dual-redundant UGS, enabling the integrated monitoring of offshore platforms and widely distributed facilities such as oil and gas wells for the upstream market. I believe this enhanced UGS will help customers improve production efficiency."

Main target markets are process control and monitoring in industries such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, electric power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, iron and steel, and water supply and wastewater treatment.

Applications include the control and monitoring of plants and production equipment and the remote monitoring of water supply systems, wastewater treatment facilities, power transmission/distribution facilities, and other types of infrastructure.

Versatile transmitter for electrochemical measurement!

Invensys Operations Management has released a two-wire loop-powered intelligent transmitter that, when used with appropriate electrochemical sensors, provides measurement, local display and transmission of contacting conductivity, resistivity or concentration.

For contacting conductivity or resistivity applications requiring a two-wire, loop-powered transmitter, the Invensys Foxboro brand Model 876CR with Foxboro sensors provides the most flexible solution for wide-ranging application conditions.

Product overview:
The Foxboro Model 876CR offers easy configurability, a rugged field-mounted enclosure for the most challenging industrial environments and agency certifications for hazardous electrical areas. Unlike other contacting conductivity and resistivity solutions, the Foxboro offering provides the widest choice of sensing and configuration selections, resulting in the best possible match for process applications. The result is long service life, quick and easy application set changes and savings in both material and labor costs. HART communications and a time-saving HART Device Type Manager integrates with the plant asset management strategies, and the transmitter outputs a HART digital signal and a 4 to 20 mA analog output.

Key capabilities:
• Can be rapidly customized to specific application requirements, including conductivity, resistivity and concentration. One basic transmitter handles all applications, simplifying inventory;
• Up to two unique configuration profiles can be saved, facilitating a quick and easy change, reducing operator time and costs;
• Can be preconfigured for up to three different applications, each with its own display format, temperature compensation curve, chemical concentration curve (if applicable) and output configuration;
• Easy switching of applications saves significant time;
• Applications can be auto-switched via user-programmable switch limits without the need to recalibrate the system for the new range, saving savings for operators and eliminating errors.

Rapid and accurate antioxidant measurements in foods

The PHOTOCHEM® analyser from Analytik Jena provides a rapid and accurate way of measuring water-soluble and lipid-soluble antioxidants in a single system. Measuring antioxidant levels plays an important role in a host of applications. These include characterisation of food quality; control of food processing technologies; improvement of product shelf life; measurement of the antioxidative efficiency of food additives; authenticity control and development of novel formulae. Antioxidants are an essential part of the body’s defence mechanism against cell damage by free radicals

PHOTOCHEM® uses the principle of photochemiluminescence, combining very fast photochemical radical generation with highly sensitive luminometric detection. This technique has considerable benefits over the conventional ELISA measurement method, since ELISA methods generate “synthetic” free radicals, whose reaction with antioxidants can be significantly different from “real” free radicals.

The high-sensitivity instrument is extremely easy to use with sample measurement times of less than 3 minutes. There is no complex or time-consuming sample preparation and only a few microlitres of sample are needed. Sampling, measurement and rinse cycles are performed completely automatically. The anti-oxidative capacity of the sample is measured by comparison with a calibration curve.

Typical applications for PHOTOCHEM® include: water-soluble antioxidative capacity of lyophilised vegetables, fruit juice and beer; water- and lipid-soluble antioxidative capacity in bakers yeast, cheese, tea & coffee and lipid-soluble antioxidative capacity in edible oil and salami extracts.

Hi-speed USB to Multi-Port RS232/RS422/RS485 industrial adapters

Metal enclosure devices provide high performance serial connectivity in demanding industrial settings

EasySYNC Ltd, a specialist in USB communications and instrumentation systems, has introduced a new family of rugged, adapter modules. These products present a simple method for allowing legacy serial devices to interface with modern interconnect ports based on Universal Serial Interface (USB) technology.

The adapter products in this family are subdivided into three series. Those in the USB2-H-100X-M series are designed for interfacing with RS232 level I/Os and have the capacity to support maximum data rates of 1 Mbps for each port. While the adapters in the USB2-H-500X-M and USB2-H-600X-M series are for interfacing with RS485 and RS422 level I/Os respectively, both supporting data rates of up to 8 Mbps for each port.

Offered in single, dual, quad. 8 and 16 port configuration versions, each of the modules uses a standard USB-B device connector for attaching to an upstream host or hub port. All of them incorporate a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed bridge chip supplied by FTDI.

Each channel of the adapter modules in this family has an industry-standard DE-9P connector, with the single and dual port modules also incorporating 5 mm terminal block connectors per channel, as an alternative interface option. They are capable of supplying an output voltage of +5 VDC at currents levels of up to 80 mA on the 5 mm terminal block connectors or 30 mA on the DB9 connectors. Integrated transmitter and receiver LEDs provide a visual indication of data traffic passing through the modules.

These products are contained within metal enclosures allowing them to be utilized in harsh industrial environments. They have an operational temperature range that spans from -40 °C to +85 °C. All members of this family are fully compliant with both FCC Part 15 Subpart B and European EMC directive.


“EasySYNC’s plug-and-play adapter modules mean engineers can benefit from functionality afforded by current computing hardware so that existing automation and industrial control systems can gain advanced functionality,” states Susan Maxwell, General Manager of EasySYNC. “With these new, more robust additions to our product portfolio, the scope of application areas that can be supported is greatly expanded.”

The new modules require USB device drivers to make them appear as Virtual COM Ports (VCPs). These drivers, which are available for Mac OS X, Linux Windows and Windows CE operating systems, can be downloaded free of charge here!

Bus anniversary

This year is CAN in Automation’s 20th anniversary (March, 5th). The nonprofit users’ and manufacturers’ group with 570 member companies serves the CAN (Controller Area Network) community with marketing and standardization activities. CAN is a serial bus system used in many industries. There are sold annually close to 1 billion CAN interfaces. Nearly all important chipmakers have implemented CAN in silicon. CiA members have developed the CANopen application layer and profiles used in many embedded networks from machine control to medical devices, from commercial vehicles to diesel locomotives, from electronic lock to lift control systems, for example.

“We provide for the entire CAN community services,” said Holger Zeltwanger (extreme left), CiA MD. “We collect technical, product and marketing information and distribute them in our events and publications.”
CiA’s birthday is celebrated at the 13th international CAN Conference (iCC) in Hambach Castle, Neustadt an der Weinstraße (D). At this conference the CAN-FD (flexible data-rate) protocol will be introduced. The backward compatible protocol breaks the 1-Mbit/s data-rate and allows longer payloads in a single frame (up to 64 byte compared with up to 8 byte). At the conference some silicon vendors will launch their CAN transceivers supporting partial wake-up functionality as standardized in ISO 11898-6. They will enable partial networking; this means the user is able to switch single devices on and off, in order to reduce energy consumption.

The CiA headquarters in Nuremberg (Germany) with 14 employees provides training courses and in-house seminars as well as several printed and online publications. Besides the established CANopen conformance tests, the association will offer CANopen interoperability tests. CiA is also represented in China (Guangzhou).

Veteran automation professional passes

Arkady Ovodenko the oldest Russian ISA senior member passed away on February 5, 2012 in his eighty ninth year. He was a member of the St Petersburg Section.

He was very well known person in Russia and former USSR in avionics area. 

He was founder and chair of the Main design center of the Holding " Leninetz" in St. Petersburg.

He was an Honorary Radio Operator of the USSR and a "Deserved Machine Builder of Russian Federation" (both titles being the highest state professional titles in USSR and RF). Arkady Ovodenko name is entered in the Engineering Encyclopedia of St.-Petersburg.

May he rest in peace!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

AS91000 Rev C Standard approval

Keighley Labs Accredited To Aerospace AS9100 Rev C Standard 

Debbie Mellor, MD Keighley Labs
The Heat Treatment division of Keighley Laboratories has been certificated to the AS9100 Revision C standard, the quality management system for the aviation, space and defence industries. Designed to meet the stringent and complex demands of the international aerospace industry, AS9100 is the highest certification in the sector and Revision C is the latest version of a standard with which all suppliers must comply, in order to ensure a listing on the OASIS (online aerospace supplier information system) database.

The company was audited over a three-day period by BSI, Britain's premier certification body, and was recommended for accreditation to AS9100 Revision C, strengthening its position as a specialist technology provider and augmenting its existing accreditation to BS EN ISO 9001:2008. Earlier, a 4-man team led by Heat Treatment Technical Manager, Allan Carter, a qualified metallurgist and chartered engineer, had put in place a year-long programme aimed at implementing changes to internal systems and procedures necessary under Revision C.

“The major themes for the new AS9100 specification were risk assessment and customer satisfaction,” says Allan. “This has entailed reviewing all of our First Article Inspection reports and developing risk management procedures for all new aerospace work, including treatment process sheets identifying temperature and soaking times, quenchants used, testing stages, case depth and other technical criteria. We have also introduced methods for measuring customer satisfaction, by recording on-time delivery performance and customer feedback, as well as carrying out routine calls and surveys. These procedures are primarily aimed at organisations in the aerospace sector, although our clients in other industries also appreciate these enhanced standards.”

Quality and reliability are critical values for the aerospace industry, where errors or product failures could prove fatal, so the effective operation of a quality management system plays a critical role in reducing risk. Recognising the need for compliance across the industry, in 1997 a group of major US aerospace manufacturers released a single, unified quality standard, AS9000, which was subsequently replaced and updated by the internationally-adopted AS9100 that is based on ISO 9001.

Released in January 2009, Revision C is the fourth and latest release of the standard, which takes in the revised requirements of ISO 9001:2008 and nearly 100 additional criteria specific to the aerospace industry, Revision C changes include greater focus on planning and project management, additional emphasis on risk management and mitigation, and the need to develop plans for continuous improvement of customer satisfaction.

A major requirement within Revision C is for organisations to take responsibility for their specific supply chains and ensure that all products making up aircraft components conform to standard, including implementing the necessary processes to verify procured products and services. As an AS9100 Rev C accredited supplier of heat treatment services, Keighley Labs can offer its customers a quality management system accepted by the aerospace industry and ensure compliance with risk management throughout the supply chain.


“This accreditation underlines our ongoing commitment to quality assurance and strengthens our supplier status,” says Keighley Labs MD, Debbie Mellor. “The revisions to AS9100 make the standard even more rigorous than before and it demonstrates that we can meet the most exacting requirements. We are grateful to Allan and his project team for steering us through the accreditation process and to our whole workforce for their commitment to continuous improvement. Hopefully, this will open up fresh market opportunities for us.”

Process weighing video

New VPG process weighing video highlights features and capabilities of G4 modular instrument for weighing and force measurement

The VPG Process Weighing division of the Vishay Precision Group,  has unveiled a new video highlighting the features and capabilities of the G4 modular high-speed instrument for weighing and force measurement and control applications. Based on more than 60 years of experience, BLH and Nobel Weighing Systems have developed the G4 for multi-channel operations and for today's communications requirements. The new five-minute, animated presentation provides a 3D view of the instrument, allowing users to see exactly how to set it up and use it.

Click pic to visit video page!
The video "G4: State of the Art Instrument for Weighing and Force Measurement" demonstrates the G4's easy-to-use interface and the optimal visibility provided by the unit's 5.7 inch color touchscreen and graphics display. Viewers can see how six different hardware modules can easily be added to or replaced on the instrument according to customer or application requirements.

By equipping the unit with single- or dual-channel modules — or two-channel, high-speed modules with sample rates up to 800 updates per second — the instrument can provide up to eight weighing or force measurement channels, all synchronized to improve performance in industrial environments. To increase I/O communication, the G4 can be equipped with I/O modules featuring eight digital inputs and outputs, in addition to a single or quad analog output for PLC-based control systems.

The G4's wide variety of communication interfaces for industrial applications are also highlighted in the video. USB, Ethernet, and Serial communication are standard on the CPU module, and fieldbus interfaces can be changed easily via a plug-in module. Ethernet with Modbus TCP and the Ethernet/IP protocol support process monitoring and control in addition to remote set-up by a browser application on a PC or mobile device.

The video concludes with a discussion of the G4's many weighing and force measurement applications, from single or multiple tank weighing to batching and web tension. Through the Windows® CE operating system, the VPG Process Weighing division can tailor software to fit the needs of any application for process weighing or force measurement.

Optimising circuit performance!

Complete solution to optimise circuit performance for professionals and improve circuits teaching in education

Product Features
Multisim 12.0 Professional Edition
• System-level, closed-loop simulation of analog and digital applications with Multisim and LabVIEW saves time in the design process
• All-new database enhancements including electromechanical models, AC/DC power converters and switch-mode power supplies for designing power applications
•  More than 2,000 new database components from Analog Devices, National Semiconductor, NXP and Phillips
• 90+ new pin-accurate connector symbols make custom accessory design for NI hardware easier

Multisim 12.0 Education Edition
•  Easier student project facilitation and design with new pin-accurate connectors to NI educational hardware including NI myDAQ
• All-new power and machine components for teaching mechatronics and power electronics theory 
• Improved support for digital theory curricula with the latest Xilinx FPGA tool support (12.x and 13.x)
• Analog and digital system-level simulation with LabVIEW for simulating complete laboratories via desktop to teach controls, energy, power and mechatronics theory
Multisim 12.0 has been introduced by National Instruments with specialised editions for circuit design and electronics education. Multisim 12.0 Professional Edition is based on industry-standard SPICE simulation and optimised for usability. Engineers can improve design performance to fit their applications by minimizing errors and prototype iterations with Multisim simulation tools that include both customisable analyses developed in NI LabVIEW system design software and standard SPICE analyses and intuitive measurement instruments. It also provides unprecedented integration with LabVIEW for closed-loop simulation of analog and digital systems. Using this all-new design approach, engineers can validate field-programmable gate array (FPGA) digital control logic alongside analog circuitry (such as for power applications) before leaving the desktop simulation stage. Multisim Professional Edition is optimized for layout routing and rapid prototyping needs, making seamless integration possible with NI hardware such as the NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) FPGA platforms and PXI platforms for prototype validation.

Multisim 12.0 Education Edition incorporates features specialized for teaching and is complemented by a complete solution of hardware, textbooks and courseware. This integrated system helps educators engage students and reinforce circuit theory with an interactive, hands-on approach to investigating circuit behavior. With the addition of new capabilities, Multisim 12.0 can now also facilitate student comprehension of topics in mechatronics, power and digital curricula, expanding the use of a single environment throughout engineering education. Widely implemented throughout academia, technical colleges and four-year universities choose Multisim for its interactive components, simulation-driven instruments and integration to the NI Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS) and NI myDAQ educational hardware platforms. 


“By giving students access to the same tools they will use as professionals, we eliminate the barriers that make engineering overwhelming or abstract,” said Dave Wilson, director of proficiency programs for National Instruments. “The latest version of Multisim introduces powerful functionality in an intuitive way so engineers, both in industry and in training, can focus on the application rather than the tool.”

Solo flight tracks global Black Carbon


On 8th January 2012 a tiny ultra-light aircraft left Ljubljana in Slovenia on a mission to circumvent the globe using the smallest amount of fuel per distance flown whilst recording ambient levels of Black Carbon (BC) – one of the most important measures of air quality in terms of both human health and climate change. British based particulate monitoring specialist Jim Mills from AirMonitors says the project, which is known as ‘GreenLight WorldFlight’, “is tremendously exciting because it will, for the first time, reveal data on Black Carbon over an enormous area, and such valuable temporal and spatial data will provide greatly improved insight into the ways in which BC emissions could be addressed.”

Black Carbon
Black Carbon (BC) is a term describing the fine particles that are produced as the result of incomplete combustion of fuels. A large fraction of the emitted particles are light absorbing carbonaceous aerosols which  exhibit  very  large  optical  absorption  across  the  spectrum.  The most measured component is aerosol black carbon – a unique primary tracer for combustion emissions because it has no non-combustion sources. BC is inert and can be transported over great distances even though its lifetime in the atmosphere is relatively short and measured in days or weeks. Whilst suspended, it affects the optical properties of the atmosphere, leading to local heating or cooling, depending on the processes involved.

After carbon dioxide, BC is recognised as the second most important cause of anthropogenic global warming; contribution between 20% and 40% with a significant regional heterogeneity. However, BC is particularly important because it only stays in the atmosphere for a relatively short period of time, so efforts to reduce BC could have an almost immediate impact on global warming.

BC is also a major human health issue because despite dramatic reductions in airborne particulates in recent decades, problems persist and many scientists now believe that finer particles may be the major cause because they are able to travel deeper into the respiratory system.

There is a complex interplay between local pollution, regional transport and climate effects and these are major issues that need to be resolved on a global and regional level. Measurements of BC in global background locations are scarce and only recently have there been in-situ measurements performed by airborne platforms.

GreenLight WorldFlight’
Designed and manufactured in Slovenia, the Pipistrel Virus aircraft is being piloted by Matevž Lenarčič, a biologist, environmentalists and photographer.  The plane has been modified to include an aerosol inlet for an Aethalometer to measure aerosol Black Carbon. Measurements will be performed throughout the flight and will include regions where very little or no measurements have previously taken place, including parts of Antarctica, Africa and over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The Aethalometer was specially designed by the company Aerosol d.o.o. – the manufacturing and development facility behind the Magee Scientific Aethalometers. Magee Scientific is the US company that originally developed the aethalometer technology. Dr. Griša Mocnik, Chief Scientific Officer and Director of Aerosol d.o.o.,says “The instrument was equipped with an isokinetic inlet and had to outperform almost anything we had made before; so far, it has measured very low levels over the oceans and sometimes surprisingly high concentrations of light absorbing aerosols over land. So the design was a tradeoff between measuring both low and high concentrations with no user intervention.

“Plumes of pollution will be encountered and using back trajectories possible source regions will be identified. The results will therefore be not only the concentrations of black carbon at the elevation of the flight but also the source locations.”

The raw data with a time resolution of 30 min is available with a time delay of about a day at this location!

Other Research
The importance of BC has been recognised by the European Commission which is funding a new research project that aims to create a method, system and tools for adaptively influencing traffic flow in real-time to reduce CO2 and BC emissions caused by road transport in urban and inter-urban areas.

The two host cities Glasgow and Graz, were chosen due to their ability to manage traffic flows and utilise real-time air quality monitoring systems from Air Monitors (UK) and a decision support system provided by IBM Inc.

Air Monitors is also sponsoring a new PhD at King's College London to study ambient levels of Black Carbon.


See also our previous article on Black Carbon : Air quality specialist calls for Black Carbon standard (14/10/2011)

Greater energy efficiency in data centres

Data centres can account for half the power consumption of a company and on average 37 percent of this is used for cooling. By integrating Rittal RiZone with IBM's MMT (Management and Measurement Tool) a comprehensive energy management solution is available for all parts of a data centre that can monitor, actively regulate and reduce their data centre's energy consumption by more than 10 percent.

Linking them enables cooling power to be adjusted. IBM tested the behaviour of the systems in part of its own data centre and through the use of MMT and Rittal RiZone, found it was possible to change the ideal set point for the ambient temperature from 20°C to 24.63°C on the cooling system by using optimization algorithms. These higher flow temperatures provide greater potentials for saving on climate control.

Climate control is steered actively and automatically based on comprehensive rules and control loops. The energy-efficient arrangement of the dynamic IT infrastructure is performed while the system runs through a systematic diagnosis and analysis of all infrastructure parameters such as temperature, humidity or CPU usage.

Rittal RiZone recognises IBM MMT as an SNMP-enabled terminal device. While RiZone monitors the data from the data centre, MMT ensures the optimisation. The interaction of both solutions provides a complete view of the entire infrastructure and enables MMT to regulate and control active processes such as the server standby or the cooling units.

Apart from climate control, RiZone also monitors, regulates, and manages access, power supply and security of data centres in a modular and scalable way. This means that the solution can be used in applications ranging from an individual rack in a data centre to a company's complete information technology setup. It can also be combined with a management system such as IBM MMT, which is based on real-time sensor networks and summarises the data from various sensors such as those for temperature, air flow, power and corrosion to a physical analysis application.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New sales manager in Ireland!

Endress+Hauser (Ireland) Ltd has appointed Brian O’Connell as Sales Manager.

Brian has over 20 years experience in the process automation industry and within the Endress+Hauser Group. Initially, employed as a Service Engineer, Brian promptly moved to the Sales team where he has successfully assisted customers across all industries, with a special focus in the Life Science arena.

Commenting on the appointment, Endress+Hauser (Ireland) General Manager Christophe Roche said “We are pleased to appoint Brian in this key role within our organisation. His experience and knowledge will most definitely strengthen our position as one of the leading suppliers of measurement solutions.”

Extreme position switches

The new generation, versatile even in adverse and explosive environments: standard position switches for extreme applications.

Wet, extreme temperatures and explosive zones: these are typical environments for the completely new ES/EM 98 standard position switch series from steute.

Mounting dimensions in accordance with DIN EN 50041, our new position switches are very versatile. Their robust metal enclosures can withstand high levels of mechanical wear and tear. Depending on the wishes of the user and the sealing type, variants in protection classes IP 66, IP 67 and IP 69K are available. An enormous temperature range from -40°C to +100°C increases the application potential for this new switchgear series even further.

Users can choose from a large selection of actuators, and the available switching inserts include a new, pressure-resistant variant with three contacts designed as a snap action contact with positive break NC contact. In the near future variants will also be available which have been reinforced to meet the requirements for gas and dust explosion protection (zones 1 and 2/ zones 21 and 22 according to ATEX guidelines) and correspondingly certified. As a further, particularly innovative addition to the new range, steute has developed RF 98 wireless versions which work according to the »energy harvesting« principle and require neither cables not batteries. With these features the new series is suited to all manner of tasks in the automation industry – including and especially in areas with extreme ambient conditions.

New belt gear for actuators

New, compact belt gear introduced for precision linear actuators 
Improved wash-down capabilities also well-suited to food packaging and other harsh environment applications.


Thomson Industries has introduced a new, more compact belt gear solution for their T60 Series Precision Electric Linear Actuators. The BGM06 belt gear enables installation in limited space applications. A rugged aluminum housing earns the BGM06 an IP65 rating for protection against dirt ingress and an S1 rating for wash down, which improves the belt gear’s ability to withstand water and other aggressive chemicals, ideal for harsh environments such as food and beverage applications.

In addition to minimum space requirements, the BGM06 belt gear also comes with a new, optional clevis fork. The fork in combination with the clevis pins mounted directly to the back of the gear, make this mounting fast and straightforward with only a fractional increase to the overall package dimensions. The BGM06 belt mounts directly to Kollmorgen AKM3 or AKM4 servomotors with alternative motor mounts available on request.

Niklas Sjöström, Product Specialist Thomson Linear Motion Systems, says: The new Thomson BGM06 belt gear and the T60 Precision Linear Actuator offers high thrust force and low backlash solutions where small dimensions are most important.”

Event expands with support of instrument manufacturers body

The fifth in a series of events that began in 2005, WWEM 2012, the Water Wastewater & Environmental Monitoring event (Telford, GB, 7/8th November 2012) is to be be larger than any of its predecessors and this is due in no small part to the collaborative arrangements that have been established with a number of major organisations, that now includes GAMBICA.
Crowded conference room at last year's WWEM
GAMBICA is the trade association for Instrumentation, Control, Automation and Laboratory Technology in Britain. It has a membership of over 200 companies, ranging from major multinationals to medium and small enterprises. Tim Collins is Director of the Laboratory Technology Group and says he is "delighted to become a partner of WWEM 2012; several of our members have already signed up to exhibit and I imagine that more will do so in the coming weeks."

GAMBICA members are drawn from five specific industry sectors, namely: industrial automation; process control and instrumentation; environmental analysis and monitoring equipment; laboratory technology; and electrical test and measurement equipment. The organisation seeks to serve the interests of members through its work on regulations and standards, political lobbying, economic forecasting, integrated management systems and exports. As such, WWEM 2012's Marcus Pattison says "GAMBICA is an ideal partner because so much of its core activity overlaps with ours and I am looking forward to working with them to ensure that their members maximise the benefit of their participation in WWEM 2012.

"One of the main Conferences at WWEM 2012 will focus on laboratory analysis and we will be working with GAMBICA to ensure that the presentations are topical, interesting and informative."

Intelligent drive

A μ-sized intelligent drive solution for faster assembly and installation

The iPOS line of highly flexible Technosoft intelligent drives has been expanded with a new, micro-sized pluggable servo drive: iPOS3602 MX. Particularly developed for motion control applications where space is critical, this drive can be integrated – within seconds — to the user’s motherboard or PCB machine. All basic motor control functions, as well as motion control and PLC features, are embedded onto this remarkably small drive (55 x 26 x 13 mm, 10 g). Equipped with CAN / CANopen and optionally with EtherCAT interfaces, iPOS3602 MX provides a flexible, compact solution adapted to the decentralized control of any rotary or linear brushless, DC brush or step motor up to 75 W (36 V, 2 A).

The drive's setup, tuning and motion programming is fast with EasyMotion Studio and Technosoft Motion Language (TML). Thanks to its embedded intelligence, iPOS3602 MX is able to run complex motion commands directly at drive level. Using the TML language, multiple operations can be executed with iPOS3602 MX: setting of various motion modes (profiles, PVT, PT, electronic gearing or camming, etc.), change of motion modes and/or parameters, execution of homing sequences or program flow control. At the same time, iPOS3602 MX can handle digital I/O and analog input signals, execution of arithmetic and logic operations, and transfer of data between axes. The iPOS drive accepts incremental (quadrature or sine / cosine) encoders and digital or linear Halls signals as position feedback. SSI, BiSS, EnDAT absolute encoders and resolver interfaces are available through an additional extension.

iPOS3602 MX can be set to operate in various communication modes: CANopen, EtherCAT and TMLCAN. When CANopen or EtherCAT mode is selected, the drive may be controlled via the appropriate masters. As a bonus, iPOS offers to the master the option to call complex motion sequences pre-stored in the drive's memory. When TMLCAN mode is used, iPOS3602 MX operates in standalone mode, and may play the role of a master. If higher level coordination is needed, then iPOS3602 MX can be controlled through a PC or a PLC using one of the available TML_LIB motion libraries.

Court case won!

CLIFF Electronics has won a long and complex court case to protect its trademark and products sold in the USA from counterfeiting.

Details of ruling
The court in Topeka, Kansas, USA has issued its order in the long-running dispute between CLIFF UK and its ex-distributor Cliff Electronic Components Inc, of Topeka (CLIFF USA now trading as CHK Electronics) and Andrew Brunt. The court ruled that Cliff USA had infringed on CLIFF UK’s American trademark, engaged in unfair competition with CLIFF UK, falsely designated the origin of its counterfeit goods marketed to American consumers, owes CLIFF UK an unspecified money judgment and infringement penalties yet to be determined. It also ruled that CLIFF UK is entitled to an injunction prohibiting Cliff USA and Andrew Brunt from engaging in further use of the CLIFF trademark or name. The court denied the counterclaims of CLIFF USA and Andrew Brunt, and found the latter personally liable.
The ruling confirms that only CLIFF UK, its USA subsidiary CLIFF, INC., or CLIFF authorised CLIFF resellers are entitled to sell products in the USA under the CLIFF brand name. Counterfeit products must not be marked with the CLIFF name nor sold as genuine CLIFF products. To read the court’s order visit: www.cliffuk.co.uk/lawsuit
OEM who specify CLIFF parts to be used in their products should be aware that genuine parts are only sold by Cliff UK or CLIFF, INC. or an authorised reseller. Names of authorised resellers can be obtained from CLIFF, INC.
A number of components such as Stackjacks™, and some kinds of terminals, which infringe CLIFF UK’s patents are being sold by unauthorised sellers, and used by some USA OEM. These parts have been marked with the CLIFF trademark in the past, but more recently have appeared with no markings. Some OEM who are known to have purchased these parts, whilst awaiting the outcome of this lawsuit , have been advised that they infringe CLIFF UK’s US patents by using patent infringing clones. These OEM should now desist from using parts which infringe our patents.
In 2008 they discovered that a Cliff-branded product returned under complaint from an end user was not manufactured by an authorized Cliff company or in any Cliff production facility. Cliff launched an investigation and was surprised to discover that the product in question had been cloned by Cliff Hong Kong and marketed by Cliff Electronic Components, Inc., which was at that time Cliff’s official distributor in the USA. The company has always been fiercely protective of its trademark and products, their quality and the reputation of the company and this discovery rapidly led to a change to the manner of distribution in the USA and the formation of the current authorized USA distributor, Cliff Inc.

As the investigation continued Cliff UK discovered other cloned products that were being sold under the CLIFF brand name and also that counterfeit Cliff drawings were being used to give a false impression of their provenance and quality. Cliff UK also discovered the sources of manufacture and tracked the companies involved, despite name changes and other measures used to cloud the origins of these counterfeit products.

These actions have resulted in several years of legal proceedings in the USA concluding with a judgment completely in the favour of Cliff Electronics on all points, as detailed in release on the court judgement (see box). Cliff UK is now awaiting the ruling on injunctive relief, damages and penalties to be awarded against Cliff Electronic Components, Inc., and its president, Andrew Brunt, whom the judge ruled is personally liable for all damages to Cliff UK. Cliff is continuing to pursue all other companies and individuals involved.

John Hall, General Manager of Cliff UK comments; "Not only has Cliff lost substantial direct sales in the USA but there has been much confusion caused by misuse of the Cliff brand in the USA, Europe and Asia.”

Throughout this problem Cliff has striven to ensure that its customers were not adversely affected and made great efforts to keep those customers and markets advised, individually by direct notification and collectively via notices on its website and other publicity.

Cliff products are mainly used in professional and high quality equipment and it has been of utmost importance to the company to minimize any problems caused by counterfeit products. In some cases They replaced failing cloned or counterfeit Cliff-branded products with genuine products free of charge. It is a popular belief that the use of counterfeit products causes only quality or reliability problems, but just as important is the issue of invalidating Approvals Files and Certifications if non-approved components are substituted.

The company believes that the recent court ruling demonstrates to all who attempt to counterfeit CLIFF products that all actions necessary will be taken to stop this nuisance and protect CLIFF customers.
CLIFF Electronics has won a long and complex court case to protect its trademark and products sold in the USA from counterfeiting.

Details of ruling
The court in Topeka, Kansas, USA has issued its order in the long-running dispute between CLIFF UK and its ex-distributor Cliff Electronic Components Inc, of Topeka (CLIFF USA now trading as CHK Electronics) and Andrew Brunt. The court ruled that Cliff USA had infringed on CLIFF UK’s American trademark, engaged in unfair competition with CLIFF UK, falsely designated the origin of its counterfeit goods marketed to American consumers, owes CLIFF UK an unspecified money judgment and infringement penalties yet to be determined. It also ruled that CLIFF UK is entitled to an injunction prohibiting Cliff USA and Andrew Brunt from engaging in further use of the CLIFF trademark or name. The court denied the counterclaims of CLIFF USA and Andrew Brunt, and found the latter personally liable.
The ruling confirms that only CLIFF UK, its USA subsidiary CLIFF, INC., or CLIFF authorised CLIFF resellers are entitled to sell products in the USA under the CLIFF brand name. Counterfeit products must not be marked with the CLIFF name nor sold as genuine CLIFF products. To read the court’s order visit: www.cliffuk.co.uk/lawsuit
OEM who specify CLIFF parts to be used in their products should be aware that genuine parts are only sold by Cliff UK or CLIFF, INC. or an authorised reseller. Names of authorised resellers can be obtained from CLIFF, INC.
A number of components such as Stackjacks™, and some kinds of terminals, which infringe CLIFF UK’s patents are being sold by unauthorised sellers, and used by some USA OEM. These parts have been marked with the CLIFF trademark in the past, but more recently have appeared with no markings. Some OEM who are known to have purchased these parts, whilst awaiting the outcome of this lawsuit , have been advised that they infringe CLIFF UK’s US patents by using patent infringing clones. These OEM should now desist from using parts which infringe our patents.
In 2008 they discovered that a Cliff-branded product returned under complaint from an end user was not manufactured by an authorized Cliff company or in any Cliff production facility. Cliff launched an investigation and was surprised to discover that the product in question had been cloned by Cliff Hong Kong and marketed by Cliff Electronic Components, Inc., which was at that time Cliff’s official distributor in the USA. The company has always been fiercely protective of its trademark and products, their quality and the reputation of the company and this discovery rapidly led to a change to the manner of distribution in the USA and the formation of the current authorized USA distributor, Cliff Inc.

As the investigation continued Cliff UK discovered other cloned products that were being sold under the CLIFF brand name and also that counterfeit Cliff drawings were being used to give a false impression of their provenance and quality. Cliff UK also discovered the sources of manufacture and tracked the companies involved, despite name changes and other measures used to cloud the origins of these counterfeit products.

These actions have resulted in several years of legal proceedings in the USA concluding with a judgment completely in the favour of Cliff Electronics on all points, as detailed in release on the court judgement (see box). Cliff UK is now awaiting the ruling on injunctive relief, damages and penalties to be awarded against Cliff Electronic Components, Inc., and its president, Andrew Brunt, whom the judge ruled is personally liable for all damages to Cliff UK. Cliff is continuing to pursue all other companies and individuals involved.

John Hall, General Manager of Cliff UK comments; "Not only has Cliff lost substantial direct sales in the USA but there has been much confusion caused by misuse of the Cliff brand in the USA, Europe and Asia.”

Throughout this problem Cliff has striven to ensure that its customers were not adversely affected and made great efforts to keep those customers and markets advised, individually by direct notification and collectively via notices on its website and other publicity.

Cliff products are mainly used in professional and high quality equipment and it has been of utmost importance to the company to minimize any problems caused by counterfeit products. In some cases They replaced failing cloned or counterfeit Cliff-branded products with genuine products free of charge. It is a popular belief that the use of counterfeit products causes only quality or reliability problems, but just as important is the issue of invalidating Approvals Files and Certifications if non-approved components are substituted.

The company believes that the recent court ruling demonstrates to all who attempt to counterfeit CLIFF products that all actions necessary will be taken to stop this nuisance and protect CLIFF customers.

HMI Software wins award!

InduSoft's Web Studio v7.0 + SP1 has received the Engineers' Choice 2012 award for HMI software. This award is determined each year by the readers of Control Engineering magazine who vote for the best products in automation, control and instrumentation based on technological advancement, service to the industry and market impact.

According to Mark Hoske, Editor/content manager for Control Engineering: "While intuitive and attractive displays are important for human-machine interface/SCADA software, users also appreciate next-version compatibility to preserve existing investments. The ability to quickly and easily interconnect with existing data and analyze it, along with easy scalability across machines and platforms, has impressed the Control Engineering subscribers who see value in InduSoft Web Studio v7.0 HMI/SCADA software for these and other attributes."

Marcia Gadbois, vice president of business development for InduSoft speaks for the whole company when she says, "We are truly honored to receive the Engineers' Choice award because it is a vote from our customers and our peers. Each day, we strive to provide our customers with the most flexible, reliable and affordable SCADA solutions. We owe our success to them."

A truly independent SCADA software package, InduSoft Web Studio v7.0 provides 240 built-in drivers that facilitate communication with virtually every major automation component including PACs, PLCs, PID controllers, motion controllers and bar code/2D/RFID readers. It also offers client support for OPC UA, OPC.NET 3.0 and OPC XML

A comprehensive package, InduSoft Web Studio v7.0 + SP1 includes reports, trending, database connectivity, and drivers as well as solutions for Windows CE and Windows embedded machines. It also supports Unicode fonts for international and multi-language support.

User-friendly configuration tools for web thin clients enable InduSoft Web Studio v7.0 to offer remote access from any PC without the need to install software. Web server capabilities provide browser access from laptops, smart phones and other devices.

InduSoft Web Studio v7.0 + SP1 offer new features, including:
• An intuitive ribbon interface that provides logical tool/object grouping, and the ability to open multiple documents simultaneously
• Native support for distributed security systems, and full integration with Microsoft Active Directory via LDAP
• Support for dynamic rotation for externally imported pictures
• Configuration interfaces for FTP and SMTP email
• A reduced footprint full-featured version designed for Windows Embedded operating system deployments
• Intellectual property protection features.

A highly scalable solution, InduSoft Web Studio v7.0 + SP1 is fully compatible with earlier versions to make upgrades painless.

Also a recipient of the Engineers' Choice award in 2010, InduSoft has hundreds of distributors across the world along with certified system integrators in many countries. SCADA software training is available for users and integrators in its North American offices. InduSoft compatible hardware certification is also available.

Wireless enhancement

Enhancing wireless optimisation for 3G/WiFi/BT/GPS support, ideal for intelligent transportation and factory automation applications

Adlink Technology has released the new Matrix MXE-5300 series of rugged, quad core, fanless computers, based on the high performance 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3 processor and QM67 chipset. The MXE-5300 is the ultimate Matrix fanless embedded computer, featuring top-of-the-line processor performance, outstanding wireless optimization capability, robust mechanical design, and Intel® AMT 7.0 support. The MXE-5300’s combined features make it an ideal choice for intelligent transportation, in-vehicle multimedia, and surveillance and factory automation applications.

Outstanding Wireless Optimisation
“We’ve found that rapid growth in wireless technologies has boosted development of embedded applications, for example more efficient cargo management via reader and wireless relay to control centers.” Kenny Chang, Director of Adlink’s I/O platform product center said. “The Adlink MXE-5300 features wireless optimization. With our optional RF Matching Module, the MXE-5300 provides enhanced wireless performance to support 300m 802.11 a/b/g/n accessibility with a minimum bandwidth of 1Mbps, 100M operating range for Bluetooth 3.0 support, WCDMA for HSDPA CAT.10, HSUPA CAT.6, and reduced GPS cold start time of 25 seconds. The MXE-5300’s outstanding wireless optimization capability easily meets and exceeds customer needs.”


Evolved Mechanical Design
The Adlink’s MXE-5300 features performance-enhancing mechanical and thermal design, including customized copper conduits to enhance thermal dissipation efficiency, memory and storage stabilizers to withstand the challenges of high-vibration environments, and an anodized aluminum alloy chassis to prevent corrosion. With industrial SSD storage devices, the MXE-5300 provides an extended market-leading operating temperature range of up to -20°C to 70°C for reliable performance of varied applications in mission-critical and harsh environments. Furthermore, with the MXE-5300’s unique thumbscrew design, replacement or swapping of HDD and RAM/mini PCIe modules is easier than ever, lowering maintenance costs and increasing flexibility

Rich I/O Capability
The MXE-5300 supports rich I/O interfaces, including 4 serial ports, six USB ports (2 USB 3.0), 4 isolated digital I/Os and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. In addition, the MXE-5300 provides two Mini-PCIe and one USIM slots for wireless needs. Intel® AMT 7.0, accommodated on the MXE-5300, enables remote monitoring and control over embedded devices via the net, remote system reboot in the event of OS failure, and system disconnect from the web when malicious intrusion is detected, preventing migration to other devices.

Virtualisation technologies for high availability and disaster recovery

Certification for VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualisation platforms expanded!

Invensys Operations Management has expanded its certification for virtualisation technology, making it the first industrial automation provider to be certified for high availability, disaster recovery and fault tolerance in supervisory control applications leveraging both the VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V virtualisation platforms. The company’s ArchestrA® System Platform 2012 and Wonderware® InTouch® 2012 software are now certified for the latest VMware solutions, including VMware vSphere version 5.0 and ESXi version 5.0 for mission-critical applications.

“Historically, high-availability and disaster-recovery solutions in supervisory control systems were expensive to implement, not only because of hardware and software costs, but also because of additional administrative burdens,” said Maryanne Steidinger, director of product marketing, Invensys Operations Management. “Along with many other benefits, when ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and InTouch 2012 software are deployed, they support high-availability and disaster-recovery implementations using Windows Server Hyper-V virtualisation from Microsoft, as well as the latest remote desktop services that are part of Windows Server 2008 R2. Now, after a rigorous validation period, our ArchestrA System Platform 2012 and Wonderware InTouch 2012 software are also certified for disaster recovery and high availability using VMware virtualisation. All this is possible on commercial operating systems using off-the-shelf hardware, further reducing cost and easing implementation of mission-critical applications.”

Virtualisation software, like that offered by Microsoft and VMware, transforms or “virtualises” a computer’s hardware, e.g., the CPU, hard drive and network controller, to create a virtual computer that can run its own operating system and applications just like a “real” computer. By sharing hardware resources with each other, multiple operating systems can run simultaneously on a single physical computer. And because it has the CPU, memory and network devices of the “host,” a virtual machine is completely compatible with all standard operating systems, applications and drivers. With virtualisation, users can safely run several operating systems and applications at the same time on a single computer, with each having access to the resources it needs when it needs them. And it’s all possible with commercial off-the-shelf hardware and operating systems.

“End users are rapidly deploying virtualisation solutions to reduce the number of physical servers needed for their plants in order to lower their hardware costs, IT costs and energy bills,” said Craig Resnick, vice president, ARC Advisory Group. “Virtualisation technology also helps end users with system deployment of high-availability, disaster-recovery and fault-tolerance solutions as it is used to quickly get plants back up and running when computers fail, regardless of location. Invensys Operations Management’s certification for both VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V ensures that its customers are covered and protected regardless of their choice of platform.”

While the underlying technology is sophisticated, virtualisation can deliver benefits that are much simpler to understand and achieve. By eliminating dependencies between the physical hardware and the software, customers have more choices to better manage their applications, servers and equipment. One of the many benefits is the ability to move virtual machines between host computers, which enables a variety of different fail-safe scenarios to be implemented, each providing options for different levels of redundancy that make systems more resilient, less prone to equipment failure, less prone to site failure and simpler to upgrade.

“At OpsManage’11 last fall, we set up and demonstrated a scenario where an entire primary system in Florida failed over to a backup disaster recovery system in California,” Steidinger said. “Customers were impressed with the ease and speed with which the backup system took over control, using only commercial hardware. That’s the flexibility they are looking for to modernise and optimise their business. As the first industrial automation provider to be certified for high availability, disaster recovery and fault tolerance on the two major virtualisation platforms, we look forward to continuing to offer the products our customers need to achieve the highest levels of compliance, collaboration and operational excellence.”