Friday, March 16, 2012

Multilingual remote management!

HMS offers customers free access to the Netbiter Argos remote management service, now available in nine languages.
The three elements of the Netbiter solution:
connectivity gateways, secure hosting
and web interface.

The cloud-based Netbiter® remote management solution allows users to monitor and control field equipment such as power generators, wind turbines, tanks and other field applications via an office computer, laptop or smartphone. HMS now offers the online data center, Netbiter Argos, as a free service.

By connecting a Netbiter communication gateway to the desired field equipment, it is possible to immediately log into Netbiter Argos, visualize all parameters of the field installation, and control it remotely.

Furthermore, as of March 2012, Netbiter Argos is available in nine languages: German, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese. English and Swedish versions are previously available.

Even easier to get up and running
“We are very happy to offer our customers free access to Netbiter Argos,” says Henrik Arleving, Product Line Manager, Remote Management at HMS. “This is yet another step in making it easier for users to get up and running with remote management. The new offering will not only save users the subscription costs, but also get them connected faster. The free-of-charge cloud service and extended language support makes Netbiter unique on the market.”

How Netbiter works:
Netbiter is a complete package for remote management consisting of three main elements: The first is the physical layer: A Netbiter gateway attached to the remote equipment which sends and receives data.

The second is the Netbiter Argos data center that collects and stores the data from the field equipment. This data center offers secure storage of information and enables users to get statistics and reports on the performance of their devices.

The third is secure access to data via an office computer, laptop or smartphone where users see the status of their devices and can monitor and control equipment in a graphical dashboard.

"Experience & knowledge ensures meeting standards!"

A new power measurement software package for the Yokogawa range of precision power analysers provides a complete solution for the testing of standby power in accordance with the latest IEC62301 Ed.2.0 (international) and EN50564:2011 (European) standards.

The software, designed for use with the Yokogawa WT210, WT500, WT1800 and WT3000 power analysers, is targeted at manufacturers of domestic electrical appliances and related equipment, who need accurate measurements to ensure that their products operate at optimum energy efficiency with minimum standby power consumption.

"The standby mode on electrical appliances has long been in use and is mostly taken for granted by consumers", comments Terry Marrinan, Yokogawa's Vice President, Test & Measurement, for Europe & Africa: "The fact that in this mode the equipment is consuming electricity - and that this is something of which most people are unaware - has been a major concern for regulators."

"A recent estimate that by 2020 appliances using standby mode will contribute as much as 50 terawatt-hours of electricity consumption per year - similar to the annual electricity consumption of a country such as Portugal or Greece - emphasises the importance of this issue. Ensuring that manufacturers improve the efficiency of equipment in the standby mode can lead to significant reduction in electricity consumption".

The new standards will help to ensure that power efficiency is incorporated into all the key stages of the product manufacturing process, and Yokogawa's world-class measurement solutions will, in turn, help the industry to develop products with lower standby power consumption in compliance with the IEC and EN standards.

Yokogawa's long experience and knowledge of power measurement is key to manufacturers meeting these standards with benefits for the consumer and the wider environment: "By addressing these issues, we are helping not only the manufacturers but also the consumers, the economy and - last but not least - the environment", added Terry Marrinan.

The European Union (EU) has supported an initiative by the International Energy Agency to limit the standby power consumption of a single piece of equipment to 1 W, a threshold which is expected to decrease to 0.5 W by 2013. These guidelines have been adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which has recently released the second edition of its International Standard IEC 62301 (Household electrical appliance - Measurement of standby power). The European EN50564:2011 standard adopts a similar approach.

These standards define the relevant test conditions for accurate measurement of standby power, and emphasise the fact that determination of the relevant low power levels requires accurate measurement - an area in which the Yokogawa range of power analysers is well established.

Functions provided by the new Yokogawa standby power measurement software include communications between the host PC and the relevant Yokogawa instrument, measurement of power data as defined in the standards, report preparation and production, and saving to the appropriate storage medium.

Electrical parameters measured include total harmonic distortion, crest factor, voltage, frequency, power variation and accumulated energy. In addition, although they are not required by the standard, apparent power and power factor are also measured as reference values.

The software uses both the sampling method and the average reading method defined in the standard, and provides a measurement time check. An "auto" measurement mode checks data stability every ten seconds according to the algorithms defined in IEC62301 and can automatically end the test once stability and the test conditions have been met. A text entry function allows information other than the measured values to be entered for incorporation in a report. The report is generated as a PDF file and the measurements are also available in .CSV format.

Yokogawa's range of power measurement equipment features a high level of functionality, performance consistency, reliability, and the ability to support a wide range of applications. It ranges from the portable, low-cost WT210 digital power meter to the WT1800 and WT3000 precision power analysers, which use high-speed digital processing to carry out accurate measurements under the most challenging conditions.

High voltage reed relays

Pickering Electronic’ high voltage reed relays feature the highest quality instrumentation grade reed switches. They feature 1kV stand-off at 10 Watts switching up to 15kV stand-off at 50 Watts switching, making them suitable for the most demanding applications.

The Series 104 is a range of Single-In-Line reed relays intended for voltages that are beyond the capabilities of conventional SIL reed relays.

They are ideal for such applications as transformer or cable testing or any other automatic test equipment where high voltages are involved.

Where mains voltages are switched, for example to control and isolate S.C.R. or triac gates, they are an ideal choice.

One or two Form A (energize to make) or one Form B (energize to break) configurations are available.
The range features an internal mu-metal screen to eliminate problems that would otherwise be experienced due to magnetic interaction when they are closely stacked.

Three types of dry switches are available, capable of standing-off 1, 1.5 or 3kV d. c. The 3kV version has an increased clearance between the switch and coil pins to accommodate the higher voltage. Even higher voltage ratings and custom pin outs are available to special order, please contact our sales office for further information.

The Series 60/65 and 62/63 ranges of high voltage reed relays are available for up to 15kV stand-off, 12.5kV switching at 50 Watts maximum. Tungsten plated contacts ensure a long and reliable life.

Both Form A (energize to make) and Form B (energize to break) configurations are available and it is usually possible to achieve a Form C (change-over) function by using a Form A and a Form B type together.

Series 60 are for chassis mounting with solder connections on the top face, Series 65 are Printed circuit mounting. Series 62 are for chassis mounting with push-on connections on the top face and Series 63 are for printed circuit mounting with push-on high voltage connections on the top face.

Automation courses for automated building professionals.

The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the International Society of Automation (ISA) to promote ISA courses to the CABA membership.

ISA is recognised worldwide as a leader in non-biased, vendor-neutral education and training programs for automation professionals. Industry professionals, whether experienced engineers, practicing technicians, or newcomers to the industry, can hone their skills at ISA’s regional training centers, through onsite training programs at their companies, or via distance education. Many ISA courses are lab intensive to reinforce important skills.

ISA’s extensive instructor-led curriculum is organized into three training paths. Although ISA’s certification programs for technicians and automation professionals are not tied directly to ISA’s training courses, the training paths are designed to cover the body of knowledge for technicians and automation professionals and can be helpful to those preparing for certification as an ISA Certified Automation Professional (CAP) or ISA Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST).

CABA has committed to promoting ISA courses that address building automation and control systems through the CABA website.

“CABA is extremely pleased to enter into this agreement which strengthens its relationship with the International Society of Automation,” stated Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA president and CEO. “One of the most important functions of CABA is to educate industry stakeholders and consumers about the advantages of intelligent buildings and the process for creating and maintaining intelligent buildings. We believe our agreement with ISA will lead to a stronger, educated workforce.”

“ISA is dedicated to working with its partners to enhance the quality of the workforce through its multifaceted education programs,” said ISA Executive Director and CEO, Patrick Gouhin. “Our organization is thrilled to work with CABA to establish a list of available ISA education opportunities that will help the labor force in the building automation sector upgrade their skills.”

Mini wireless thermocouple connector/datalogger

Omega’s new MWTC-D Series of Miniature Portable Wireless Thermocouple Connectors and data logger records over 65,000 process temperature data points and are available in standard J, K, T, E, R, S, B, C, or N thermocouple calibration. Each battery powered, compact connector transmits and/or records process & ambient temperature data back to a mating wireless receiver up to 90 m (300’) away. All readings are displayed on your PC screen in real time using the free provided software. The recording can begin either at power up, or at a pre-set time & date. Multiple wireless connectors (Up to 48 units) can transmit to one MWTC-REC receiver. This product is used in chemical, automotive and oil & gas industries to monitor and log temperature process data.

Power & signal from one connector

Hybrid connector module combines power-supply and signal contacts

Power-supply and signal contacts are combined in the new Han® 70 A Hybrid Module: the latest model in Harting's Han-Modular® highly flexible open connector system.

This module has a power contact with a current capacity of 70 A at a rated voltage of 1000 V and four additional signal contacts designed for up to 400 V based on standard Han® E crimp contacts rated at up to 16 A.

The power contact has axial screw terminals. Cables measuring from 6 to 22 mm² (8-4 AWG) can be connected without using an expensive special tool. A secure and durable connection can be made with a standard 2.5 mm hexagon screwdriver.

Harting's Han-Modular® series enables users to create their own customised connector to the desired configuration. Various modules are available for electrical, optical and gaseous signals, and the range is constantly updated.

Electrical documentation solution..

EPLAN tells us that their R&D team carefully considers user feedback in all their activities and this has formed the basis of the EPLAN Service Pack 2.1.

EPLAN is "the solution for all your electrical documentation." Whether designing single line diagrams, electrical schematics, wiring diagrams, block diagrams, fluid (hydraulic or pneumatic) connection diagrams, EPLAN handles on-line repetitive tasks, even when multiple users work simultaneously on a project.

Developed specifically with a focus on improving programme functions and quality measures, the EPLAN Service Pack 2.1 brings new functions to the areas of terminal design including reports, part navigators, message management, automated processing, text editing / display and many more.

Many of EPLAN’s 25,000 customers have already taken the next decisive step towards consistent engineering by updating to the new EPLAN Platform 2.1 software, which can now be downloaded from the support domain of the EPLAN homepage for all software service customers. The new service pack can be installed without having a previous installation of version 2.1.

Acquisition expands wireless reach

Wireless reach expanded with acquisition of portfolio of cellular routers and gateways

B&B Electronics  has deepened its wireless solution portfolio with the acquisition of Conel s.r.o. (CZ) Conel is a well-established market leader in reliable and secure wireless communications routers, gateways and devices that connect cellular networks to Ethernet, serial and other data networks.

The acquisition further expands B&B’s European footprint, as well as strengthens B&B’s position in the fast-growing wireless market by extending its reach into cellular communications networks. In 2011, B&B acquired Quatech, Inc., an industrial networking company with a complementary product line that included an industrial-grade embedded OEM wireless technology platform sold under the Airborne brand name.

“The Quatech and Conel acquisitions are consistent with our strategy of rapidly growing our market share and deepening our technology solutions,” explained Seán Harrigan, B&B’s president and CEO. “As our industry continues to consolidate, we plan to remain aggressive in seeking out a wide range of opportunities that will strengthen our position, product breadth and the value we bring to our customers.”

Conel, founded in 1991, employs approximately 73 people in its Czech facility, where it designs market leading products. Conel’s European customer base is diverse, covering applications in wastewater, construction, fleet and vehicle management, pipeline monitoring and electric grid asset monitoring.

“Conel brings a wide variety of advantages to B&B’s customers,” added Harrigan. “It has built a strong brand in Europe with products that quickly have become known for rugged reliability. Its product roadmap will provide several exciting extensions of our own technology into the wireless solutions that are proving so important to many of our customers.”

Harrigan said the company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of B&B Electronics, and company Managing Director Jan Cevona will continue with B&B as Managing Director. Harrigan said the companies will work together to secure the necessary industry approvals and certifications to bring Conel’s product technology to North American customers.

Conel is known for extensive product breadth in this sector, with strong product offerings for GPRS, EDGE, UMTS / HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+, CDMA protocols in its current line of modems and routers. Conel’s rapid growth rate in Europe also has been tied a customer-centric strategy of providing strong local support and a Firmware-Over-The-Air (FOTA) technology that allows its products to receive automatic wireless firmware updates without requiring an on-site technician visit. In an approach similar to B&B’s product philosophy, Conel’s products are designed with an emphasis on “plug-and-play” user convenience and simplicity, with a built-in SIM recognition driver in the router that recognizes the unit and configures the internal cellular modem automatically, making integration simpler for customers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Safe gas!

Ensuring the safety of CNG (compressed natural gas) filling stations with spot checks of moisture

As the popularity of natural gas vehicles (NVGs) grows, so does the need to ensure the quality of compressed natural gas supplied at filling stations. A vital element of CNG quality is ensuring a very low water dew-point at pressure, and the ability for engineers to carry out spot checks of moisture content of compressor-dryers can save companies time and money on maintenance by catching issues early on.

CNG filling stations use network natural gas supplies that are typically at 1 to 1.5 barg and have a water dew point of somewhere between -30 and -20°C. NGVs operate on a full tank of CNG at a pressure of around 200 to 250 barg. Therefore the natural gas must be compressed by a factor of between 133 and 250 times prior to filling. This compression leads to an increase in the pressure dew point that, in most cases, will leave the natural gas saturated with water and often with liquid condensate. This liquid condensate can cause a number of problems including damage to engines.

To avoid this risk, the condensate must be removed by a suitable drain and then, in order to comply with ISO 15403:2000(E), the compressed natural gas must be dried to give a water dew point significantly lower than the lowest ambient temperature that will be experienced either at the filling station or in the vehicle in subsequent use.

The MDM300 I.S. portable dew-point hygrometer from Michell Instruments is ideally suited for spot checks of dryer performance by site or service engineers as it is capable of measurement in pressures up to 250 barg and has full hazardous area certification. The instrument also makes fast measurements consecutively in any direction without a waiting time in between, allowing for many more measurements to be taken each day.

Devices for high-bandwidth applications

Industry’s first all-hybrid, 9-slot chassis provides faster throughput; new DSA module delivers 24-bit resolution; new digitizer serves high-bandwidth applications

ADLINK Technology has announced a new family of high-performance PXI and PXI Express (PXIe) products for applications requiring fast data throughput, such as audio and image test. The three new products include:

• PXES-2590, the industry’s first all-hybrid, 9-slot PXIe chassis that provides up to 8 GB/s throughput
• PXI-9527, a dynamic signal acquisition (DSA) module that offers 24-bit resolution and IEPE signal conditioning for accurate sound and vibration testing
• PXIe-9842, a digitizer with 200 MS/s for dynamic measurements

These products follow the Q4 2011 release of the ADLINK PXIe-3975, a 3U PXI Express controller based on the Intel® Core™ i5-520E 2.4 GHz processor for functional test applications.

“As a sponsor member of the PXI System Alliance, ADLINK has invested in the PXI platform by developing more than 100 PXI products for automation and test,” said Catherine Wu, Senior Director of ADLINK's Measurement Product Center. “We continue to expand our PXI and PXI Express offerings with this new family of products to serve engineers with high-throughput applications, such as spectral monitoring and signal intelligence.”

PXES-2590 Chassis Provides High Data Throughput
The PXES-2590 9-slot PXIe chassis provides all-hybrid peripheral slots for high data throughput up to 8 GB/s and offers a flexible solution by allowing engineers to take advantage of both PXI and PXIe modules.

The chassis is efficient and low-maintenance, protecting the system with cooling and alarms that reduce power consumption and increase the life of the chassis. The PXES-2590 fan has a special placement that helps the system avoid noise to other modules, which is particularly helpful for components such as RF modules that are typically sensitive to noise. In addition, with the software-configurable ADLINK-automated monitoring system, the chassis monitors its own power and temperature, adjusting fans accordingly and triggering an alarm when user-configured limits are met.

PXI-9527 DSA Module Offers 24-bit Resolution and IEPE Signal Conditioning
The PXI-9527 DSA module provides accurate measurements for audio analysis with up to 432 KS/s at 24-bit resolution. The new DSA module is easily integrated into existing systems with software support for NI LabVIEW and MATLAB, or engineers can use ADLINK’s Dynamic Signal Assistant with no additional programming to verify the system performance and shorten development time.

Flexible for a wide range of systems, the analog I/O ranges of the PXI-9527 support applications with voltage requirements from ±40 V to ±0.316 V. And with built-in current excitation for IEPE sensors, the new audio digitizer doesn’t require the user to build additional signal conditioning circuitry. In addition, the PXI-9527 offers better price/performance than audio digitizers with a much lower sampling rate.

PXIe-9842 Digitizer Serves High-Speed Measurement Applications with Sampling up to 200 MS/s
The ADLINK PXIe-9842 is a single-channel, 14-bit, 200 MS/s digitizer. The digitizer capitalizes on the benefits of PXIe, offering a high-throughput measurement tool for demanding applications that require high bandwidth, including fiber optic sensing, video signal analysis, and radar signal acquisition. The 100 MHz bandwidth analog input with 50 ohm impedance is designed to receive a ±1 V high speed signal. With its simplified front-end design and stable onboard reference, the PXIe-9842 provides engineers with both high-accuracy measurement results and high-dynamic performance.

PXIe-3975 Controller Brings up to 2 GB/s Throughput to Multitasking Test Environments
These additions to the ADLINK PXI/PXIe family of products follow the Q4 2011 release of the company’s first PXIe controller, the PXIe-3975, a 3U controller with Intel® Core™ i5-520E 2.4 GHz processor for hybrid PXIe-based testing systems. With maximum system throughput of up to 2 GB/s, this quad-core controller leads the field of mid-performance PXIe testing system solutions for general purpose and electronic functional testing applications and seamless execution in multi-tasking environments.

Safety trip video!

Moore Industries has produced a new video showing how its STA Safety Trip Alarm serves as a logic solver that goes beyond what customers would expect from a standard alarm trip. The video shows how the STA can monitor potentially hazardous events as well as initiating emergency shutdown procedures or alerting personnel of unsafe process conditions.

The video (above) is hosted by journalist and industry expert Peter Welander and features a demonstration of how the STA serves as a Single Loop Logic Solver in Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS). In the video, the STA monitors a “hot pot” filled with water. When the temperature goes above or below a set point, dual alarm outputs on the STA signal a warning that an unsafe state has been reached. The video also shows how a third alarm monitors input or instrument faults such as a disconnected wire.

The STA performs some of the same functions as expensive safety PLCs but is more affordable and easier to program. The process alarm trips and analog outputs are user configurable via front-panel push buttons. Configurations can be downloaded to multiple STA units with a free software utility program. It has been subjected to extensive testing by TUV and Exida and approved for IEC 61508 and 61511 compliance, including single use in Safety Instrumented Systems up to SIL 2 and firmware suitable for use in a SIL 3 system.

Website to streamline info delivery!

The new web site improves the user experience by simplifying access to product and technical information.

The Mechatrolink Members Association (MMA) has updated its web site to streamline the delivery of information. The new web site has improved graphics and an updated layout, making it easier to use. A new search engine on the product page provides easier access to updated technical and product information.

The site also simplifies the member registration process for equipment companies, systems integrators and individuals. The login process for existing members has also been streamlined.

As part of the new website launch, the MMA is offering a free membership upgrade to new members. Entry Level membership has always been free, but this drive allows companies to join at a higher grade of membership—as a Regular Member—with added benefits. An annual Regular Membership in MMA normally costs $1,500, but until March 31, 2012, it’s free. The free membership is good until March 31, 2013, at which point it can renewed on an annual basis.

The site is available in English, Japanese, Korean, and both simplified and traditional Chinese.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

pH sensors and what to do with them....

We have published a white paper from Endress+ Hauser entitled  "pH Sensors: Know whether to calibrate the sensor, clean the sensor, perform a calibration check or ...?."  This is a non-commercial white paper that outlines the proper procedures for maintaining and calibrating pH sensors.

All pH sensors in a process need to be inspected, cleaned and calibrated on a regular maintenance schedule to ensure accurate readings. In some companies, however, maintenance and quality control directives may not be specific enough when dealing with pH sensors.

For example, they may not describe the exact procedures involved in calibrating a pH sensor, or the proper timing for when to conduct pH calibration and maintenance. On the other hand, the instructions may be too specific, detailing many more procedures and operations than are actually required.

The white paper describes:
• Knowing when to do a pH sensor calibration versus a calibration check
• How to properly clean a pH sensor
• How to perform a pH sensor calibration

The paper includes a complete decision tree diagram that shows, step by step and in great detail, the proper procedures and operations required to maintain pH sensors.

• More papers published or hosted by the Read-out Signpost!

In-pipe water quality

Intellitect Water has launched a new remote data collection and web display capability, known as ‘Intellitect Gateway’, that will enable the managers of water distribution networks to view water quality data in real-time.

The new system collects data from any number of Intellisondes that can be simply installed at strategic locations within the drinking water distribution network to monitor up to 12 parameters including Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Mono-Chloramine, Dissolved Oxygen, Conductivity, pH, ORP/Redox, Flow, Pressure, Temperature, Turbidity and Colour.

Intellisondes are capable of logging water quality data, but in order to take advantage of the Intellitect Gateway facility, they are supplied fitted with a SIM card to enable the transmission of data via GPRS. Each Intellisonde has a unique MAC address and serial number, and data are transmitted in a TCP/IP format which specifies the destination for the data, which data is to be sent and the frequency of transmission.

Intellitect Gateway customers are provided with secure access to their own data, so that it can be viewed via the internet in tabular or graphical format. In addition, customers can connect to the Intellitect Gateway via ODBC and then integrate the data into their own SCADA system.

Summarising the benefits of the new technology, Intellitect Water CEO Tony Halker says: “Live access to water quality data in the distribution network is vitally important for water companies because it enables them to react quickly to changes or problems before they reach the customer’s tap.

“This has only recently been made possible by the development of sensor technology that is not only able to function inside pressurised water pipes, but also able to do so without frequent recalibration, reagents or maintenance.

“By providing secure, live data it will be possible to improve tap water quality and reduce the cost of capital work to investigate problems.”

Soil moisture!

MadgeTech has released the SMR101A, a soil moisture data logging system. Soil moisture data is essential in determining and scheduling irrigation for proper plant growth, care and research. The SMR101A provides precision volumetric water content measurements over a complete range from dry to saturated. The data collected can be useful in analyzing the health of the soil and plant root systems.

The SMR101A has a 10-year battery life, allowing it to be used for long-term soil moisture analysis, over multiple seasons. The system is ideal for irrigation management, green house monitoring and soil moisture trend studies. It features a 4Hz reading rate, a multiple start/stop function, ultra-high speed download capability, 1,000,000 reading storage capacity, optional memory wrap, battery life indicator, optional password protection, and more. The system comes with an EC-5 soil moisture probe, that has a response time of 10ms, and can be used in all soil types.

Using the MadgeTech Software, starting, stopping and downloading from the SMR101A is simple and easy. Data can be displayed in graphical, tabular and summary views and may also be automatically exported to Microsoft Excel® for additional analysis.

As the leader in data logger technology, MadgeTech continuously improves its products and develops solutions to meet ever-changing challenges. MadgeTech offers free firmware upgrades for the life of the product so that data loggers already deployed in the field can grow with new technological developments. Units do not need to be returned to the factory for upgrades. The user can do this automatically from any PC.

Optical connectors!

Souriau has pioneered the development of optical connectors, yesterday for the telecom market, today for harsh environments. Building on this rich know-how, Souriau has launched of its website devoted to optical connectors and fibre-optic technology:

On this new site visitors can explore the whole range of Souriau products grouped by market, from aerospace to defence via railways and industrial plant, with detailed illustrations by application. For each market the site proposes a selection of connectors according to the required performance and the standards that must be conformed to. Data sheets and catalogues can be downloaded quickly and easily. The product ranges of its partners, featuring active optical components for electro/optic conversion, maintenance (inspection, cleaning, repair) and personnel training, are also presented.

The site also presents Souriau’s R&D and qualification testing (EN, IEC, ISO, MIL) capabilities, as well as its production facilities, and the latest innovations in fibre-optic technology: insensitivity to dust, high density and reduction of installation times. Souriau is continuing to develop optical technology to make it easy to install and reliable for the harshest environments, from ocean depths to outer space.

Souriau is aware that the selection of an optical technology is also based on the capacity of the supplier to minimize risks, from the preliminary project to full industrial production with its logistic imperatives. Souriau’s dedicated optical team is experienced in this constant support of its customers, and can be contacted directly through the website to respond to the specific questions and needs of the visitors.

"Is it a bug or a feature?" asks security expert!

Software Quality Engineer, Gregory Pope, of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is to deliver a keynote address during the ISA Safety and Security Division Symposium (25-27 April 2012 Anaheim CA USA).

Gregory Pope, "ís it a bug or a feature?"
Pope will address ISA Safety and Security Division Symposium attendees on the topic of “Is it a Bug or a Feature?” His presentation will cover who should do software testing, when it should be done, some of the more useful test types and what makes a test “good.” He will also explore the value of pretest activities, such as requirement analysis; inspections and static analysis; the role of dynamic code analysis and test automation, including where to find requirements for testing, effective test design techniques and metrics for measuring the quality of tests.

His abstract states the following about his topic: "Computer-controlled systems are becoming larger and more complex and increasingly being used in automation of security and safety related applications. The effort required for testing this software and its interaction with other components in these systems is often underappreciated. Software can seldom be fully tested and proved to be without defect; however, techniques exist to substantially lower the risks of using software.”

Jim Gilsinn, ISA Security Track Program Chair, says, “Greg Pope has a zest for safety and Software Quality Assurance (SQA). He is a leader in the field, as proven by his track record; SQA group leader for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, project leader for advanced simulation, founder of a software testing company, patent holder and chairman of various societies to list a few. Greg is a sought- after speaker in the SQA community. The timing could not be better for him to present the keynote at this year's ISA Safety and Security Division Symposium. Industrial control system designers can take advantage of open and IT-based technology, although there is a great need within the safety and control communities to address SQA. Ensuring that systems are robust and secure enough for today's software-dependent and complex systems is incredibly important for both the vendors that produce products and the end users that install those products in their applications.”

Pope has more than 40 years of experience developing software in the commercial and government sectors.

New master data sets herald a new direction in mechanical design

EPLAN Fluid 2.0 offered users a comprehensive "fluid data packet" containing more than 1,000 hydraulic macros.
The comprehensive master data set especially designed for hydraulics users of EPLAN Fluid required attention in the mechanical design. The new version revises standards for transparency and documentation, especially during interaction with the data sets. This master data can be of solid assistance in the struggle against ever-greater design complexity.

Pneumatics and electrical engineering on the same path
The advantages of common documentation for controlling technology in fluid and electrical engineering are obvious – EPLAN Fluid is therefore often used together with EPLAN Electric P8, which means integrated processing of pneumatic and electrical documentation. Additional potential is clear when considering hydraulics, as hydraulic design is often a part of the mechanical design.

Large schematics up to DIN A0 format are typical. In the hydraulic industry, customer requirements and new standards increasingly specify structured documentation in DIN A3 or DIN A4 format. Requirements for functions of convenience, such as rotating and mirroring partial schematics or single components, also differ from the documentation requirements in electrical engineering.

Fluid data set: 1,000 new macros
Eplan has been working with well known manufacturers and users to support the special requirements of hydraulics. In the summer of 2010, EPLAN Fluid 2.0 offered users a comprehensive “fluid data packet” containing more than 1,000 hydraulic macros.

The slogan is: “by professionals, for professionals.” Typical questions to consider include: ‘What exactly has to be documented in the day-to-day hydraulic environment?’ ‘What technical data must be included in the hydraulic schematic?’ ‘What pressure switch settings are needed and how are they best represented in the schematic?’ EPLAN Fluid offers the best solutions for high-quality documentation with a combination of macros for pressure switches and the associated data tables.

Hydraulic power units and sub-plates
The tremendous number of filter variants and pump and motor combinations on power units often lead to very similar documents that only vary slightly in the smallest detail. EPLAN technologies, such as variant technology and project options, offer the unique opportunity of creating intelligent macros that can be changed instantly in the fluid plan. A modular system makes it easy to create different variants of collective sub-plates. This system provides the easiest way to put together sections.

Perfectly suited for mirroring and rotating
The new macros collection is the ideal tool for intelligent rotating and mirroring of fluid power elements; this is a new functionality of the upcoming Eplan Fluid version 2.1.
In a schematic, it is often necessary to show that cylinders move in opposite directions and are controlled correspondingly. Ideally, the user only has to design half the switch and completes the documentation using the new convenient functions for intelligent rotating and mirroring. The new macros are great for this purpose. They are the ideal starting point for key users, as well as administrators, while providing quality assurance.

The Eplan Data Portal – Interesting for manufacturers
The macro collection is also the optimum starting point for fluid power engineering for hydraulic component manufacturers. Based on the underlying macros, you can allocate your item data and use the EPLAN Data Portal to make the component data available to approximately 20,000 users. While neutral macros available in EPLAN Fluid can be used for different manufacturers (1:N relationship), the item data in the EPLAN Data Portal is associated with a specific macro (1:1 relationship); it provides a solid engineering basis when combined with additional documents such as technical data sheets, component photos and 2D and 3D data.

A secure base for project planning
The combination of Eplan Fluid functionality and the new practical hydraulic macros contained in the Fluid data sets delivers unbeatable advantages for the hydraulic design engineer. Benefits include quality graphical documentation according to current standards, modular kits for sub-plates based on practical applications, and an ever- increasing number of device data from fluid power manufacturers in the EPLAN Data Portal.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Changes in dry solids flowmeter line!

Siemens- Automation Industry Division is expanding its dry solids flowmeter product line with the new Sitrans WF100, Sitrans WF200, and Sitrans WF250 strain-gauge load cell based flowmeters. These new flowmeters provide effective measuring for compact installations and high capacity applications. Siemens also rebrands its Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT) based Milltronics flowmeters into the Sitrans WF300 series.

Sitrans WF100 handles flowrates of 1 to 200 t/h (1 to 220 STPH), while the Sitrans WF200 series handles flowrates of 200 to 900 t/h (220 to 990 STPH). Sitrans WF250 is for use with air-activated gravity conveyors or air slides, typically found in cement processing. The Sitrans WF250's unique design includes an air chamber that separates the air from the material, thereby removing the impact of air on the sensing plate and providing accurate measurement. All of the Sitrans WF100 and Sitrans WF200 series flowmeters use patented triple beam parallelogram style load cells that have proven their reliability and durability for over 25 years in Siemens heavy-duty belt scales, offering superior accuracy and repeatability.

Siemens also rebrands its Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT) based Milltronics flowmeters into the Sitrans WF300 series. Milltronics E-40/V-40, Milltronics E-300/v-300, and Milltronics A-40/A-300 flowmeters have been respectively rebranded to Sitrans WF330 standard-duty flowmeter, Sitrans WF340 compact flowmeter for constricted spaces, and Sitrans WF350 unique flowmeter for aerated materials. Sitrans WF300 series flowmeters have capacities of up to 300 t/h (330 STPH), and have CSA and FM approvals.

Sitrans WF300 series flowmeters use Sitrans WFS300 and 320 LVDT based sensing heads. The sensing element of these flowmeters is mounted outside the process, which protects it from exposure to harsh environments. Frictionless pivots exclude the vertical force of the measured material, and a viscous fluid damper provides mechanical damping in the event of pulsating flows.

All of Siemens Sitrans WF solids flowmeters are ideal for monitoring solid materials in cement, mineral, plastics, and food processing industries. Siemens flowmeters are unaffected by vertical force changes caused by material buildup, performing in situations where other weighing devices have difficulties such as in fly-ash or flour applications. See also their page on Weighing Systems for every task.

Ruggedised USB isolators

Ruggedised USB isolators stand up to tough industrial environments

B&B Electronics has expanded its family of USB isolators. Designed to isolate and protect connected equipment from surges, spikes and electrostatic discharges carried on USB cable Their new one-port Ulinx™ UHR401 and two-port Ulinx UHR402 USB isolators also protect themselves by virtue of their rugged construction. Unlike consumer-grade USB hubs, Ulinx hubs are built to withstand industrial networking hazards like shock, drop, vibration, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and temperature extremes. They are equipped with high retention ports that hold USB cables firmly in place to eliminate data loss, and in extreme cases, the risk for fire caused by loose cables and arcing.

Applications include industrial control and manufacturing, remote sensing and remote metering, instrumentation, point-of-sale, test and measurement, laboratory information systems (LIMS) and medical applications requiring EN 60601-1 certification.

The Ulinx UHR401 and UHR402 are rated for a temperature range of -40 to +80°C. They provide Level 4 ESD protection (15 kV air, 8 kV contact) as well as 4 kV isolation between the upstream and downstream USB ports. Downstream ports provide full 500 mA power to connected devices. The high retention ports hold cables so firmly that it requires 1.45Kg (3.2lbs) of force to dislodge one. The Ulinx UHR401 and UHR402 are shipped with an external supply that has US, EU, and UK blades. An optional locking barrel plug can be purchased separately. Both models carry a five-year warranty.

Thermal analysis for data centres

Rittal now offers a thermal analyses service for data centres. On average, approximately 18 percent of the energy costs occurring in data centres are consumed by cooling systems. An optimised climate control system can cut energy costs.

Data centre thermal analyses enables companies to identify and resolve defects in climate control systems. The functionality of the hardware and the energy efficiency of IT infrastructures are determined, to a large extent, by the temperature in the server rack and/or data centre.
If the temperature is too high, there is a greater chance that systems will fail and energy costs for cooling increase. Servers in upper rack areas are often supplied with insufficient cold air, resulting in temperatures that rise above the specified limit values. Outer enclosures in non-contained cold aisles are also often problematic as larger volumes of warm air flow into these areas and mix with the cold air.

Rittal uses thermal analyses to visualise, document and optimise the weaknesses that cause these problems. The analyses involve measuring the temperature of the cold air at the air inlet of each server rack, in a vertical pitch of 100 to 200 mm, to determining the rack surface temperatures using infra-red thermography.

Once the measurements have been processed, customers are given a detailed written report with the measurement results clearly depicted in tables and graphs. This makes it easy to identify temperature problems on server racks and servers. These measurements can then be used as a sound basis for putting in place carefully targeted measures to optimise the climate control system.

LED driver!

The LT3791 is a new synchronous buck-boost DC/DC LED driver and voltage controller from Linear Technology, which can deliver over 100W of LED power. Its 4.7V to 60V input voltage range makes it ideal for a wide variety of applications, including automotive, industrial and architectural lighting. Similarly, its output voltage can be set from 0V to 60V, enabling the LT3791 to drive a wide range of LEDs in a single string. Its internal 4-switch buck-boost controller operates from input voltages above, below or equal to the output voltage, ideal for applications such as automotive, where the input voltage can vary dramatically during stop/start, cold crank and load dump scenarios. Transitions between buck, pass-through and boost operating modes are seamless, offering a well-regulated output even with wide variations of supply voltage. The LT3791’s unique design utilizes three control loops to monitor input current, LED current and output voltage to deliver optimal performance and reliability.

The LT3791 uses four external switching MOSFETs and delivers from 5W to over 100W of continuous LED power with efficiencies up to 98.5%. LED current accuracy of +6% ensures constant lighting while + 2% output voltage accuracy enables the converter to operate as a constant voltage source. The LT3791 utilizes either analog or PWM dimming as required by the application. Furthermore, its switching frequency can be programmed between 200kHz and 700kHz or synchronized to an external clock. Additional features include output disconnect, input and output current monitors, open and shorted LED detection and integrated fault protection.

The LT3791EFE is available in 38-lead thermally enhanced TSSOP package, priced starting at $4.75 each in 1,000-piece quantities. An extended temperature version, or I grade, the LT3791IFE, is also available, priced starting at $5.25 each in 1,000-piece quantities. A high temperature version, or H grade, the LT3791HFE, is also available, priced starting at $5.50 each in 1,000-piece quantities. There is also a high reliability MP grade version, LT3791MPFE, available starting at $14.75 each in 1,000-piece quantities.

Test engineers & consultants sought!

A.T.E. Solutions, Inc., the test and testability consultants and educators, are looking for test engineers and consultants.

Suitable candidates are invited to email their availability from now to the end of the year, a brief description of your their of expertise and their rates.

They say they will ask for a detailed resume only after reviewing the email.

They are located in Los Angeles (CA USA), but successful candidates may work from another location.

Engineers should not sent attachments to with their email email nor should they make phone calls to them.