Saturday, June 9, 2012

Enhancement simplifies workflow

MatrikonOPC™ has expanded the functionality of its OPC Server for Allen Bradley by adding the support for Rockwell®’s EN2T communication card, bit writes, and revamped graphical user interface. With the newly added features, the MatrikonOPC Server for Allen-Bradley® provides users with a comprehensive connectivity package for all Allen-Bradley PLCs in one OPC Server and an optimized workflow, all of which makes configuration and maintenance faster and more intuitive.

Enabling Bit Writes through OPC items provides granular control over data access, which allows engineers to perform intricate operations down to the lowest levels. Also, this OPC Server comes with built-in role-based security down to the per- tag-level. Based on each user’s login, this OPC Server selectively grants or denies access to specific tags, providing only the authorized users with secure access to the right process data. This means the Allen-Bradley OPC Server actively protects the integrity of the overall automation system data.

“Today’s tough economy is driving companies to find innovative ways to do more with less – if they do not, the competition will. The advanced functionality and simplified workflow MatrikonOPC put into this OPC Server for Allen Bradley makes it easier to setup and maintain – saving users time and effort,” said Darek Kominek, marketing manager at MatrikonOPC.

Key features include:
Comprehensive connectivity support for PLC5’s, SLC500’s, Micrologix (1100 A, 1400, 1200, etc.), and ControlLogix’s
Automatic discovery of Allen Bradley PLCs making the integration a snap.
High-performance OPC Server suited for sequential, process, drive, and motion control
And many more...

Automation grant in demand

The British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) has reported that after the completion of the first year of the government funded Automating Manufacturing programme, 156 applications were received from British manufacturers to March 31 exceeding the best estimations by over 50%. British manufacturers are urged to apply before the government money runs out.

Mike Wilson Chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association said “we are delighted with the uptake from industry so far. The UK is one of the nations within Europe that has been slow to adopt the use of automation with a mere 25 robots per 10,000 employees as opposed to 127 per 10,000 employees in Germany. One of the keys to success in addressing the UK’s budget deficit is increasing the export output from the UK and the way to do this is by making UK manufacturing as efficient as possible.”

Allen Green Managing Director of A K Industries who recently completed a review said “we have recently had our automation review carried out on site and we have found this very useful. The automation expert has highlighted several areas that we could cost effectively automate and the pay back period is a lot shorter than we had thought. We are pleased that the government is prepared to help UK manufacturing take the next steps in remaining competitive in an ever increasingly global market place. We have just completed our first 6-axis robotic cell”.

Grant Collier of the PPMA group who promotes the automation programme added “we have actively attended many regional events and exhibitions, the PPMA show, and used our extensive end user databases within our four associations and our strategic partners. In addition we have executed a comprehensive PR programme with industry, regional and national press. As a result applications continue to look very positive for year two”.

British Manufacturers in any sector are urged to take advantage of the programme which involves an independent automation expert visiting factory premises and assessing where automation can help. The expert will then write a full report all of which is paid for by the government.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Confocal scanner

Yokogawa Electric Corporation is to release the CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit on June 20 in Japan and in late August globally. This new product is an addition to the CSU series of confocal scanners, which are capable of observing live cells with high-speed and high sensitivity.

The CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit, a high-end model that follows the previously released CSU-X1, offers the superior performance and functionality that researchers require. With its significantly larger field of view, decreased crosstalk, and extended near-infrared spectral range, it can obtain sharper images of regions deeper inside live cells.

Yokogawa will be displaying this product at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists (JSDB) and the 64th Annual Meeting of the Japan Society for Cell Biology (JSCB), which are being held jointly at the Kobe Chamber of Commerce and Industry from May 28 – 31, 2012, and at the 10th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), which will be held at the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center from June 13 to 16, 2012.

Development Background
In the life science field, high sensitivity, accuracy, and speed are required to capture three-dimensional images showing detailed structures inside live cells, including those in a short time. Yokogawa’s CSU series confocal scanner units offer the excellent sensitivity and high-speed scanning to meet these needs, and can observe samples for longer periods of time with little of the damage normally caused by laser beams. To date, more than 2,000 units have been sold worldwide.

With the expansion of life science research in recent years on subjects such as induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, and the human genome (for personalized medicine), researchers need far faster observation tools with higher sensitivity, multi-wavelength capability, and greater versatility. The CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit is a high performance, versatile tool that satisfies all these requirements.

Product Features
1. Wider field of view and clearer imaging
The new CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit has a larger, newly designed Nipkow disk that allows imaging of areas up to four times the size possible with previous models. This quadruples throughput and increases the likelihood that images of phenomena will be captured even when it is difficult to predict where they will occur.

The distance between the pinholes on the disk has also been widened, reducing the flare caused by the leakage of light from adjacent pinholes (crosstalk). As a result, images are clearer.

2. Various options for multi-wavelength observation and selectable pinhole size
Three models are provided: a single-camera model, a two-camera model for two-wavelength simultaneous observation, and a single-camera, split-view model for two-wavelength simultaneous observation in a single image. A disk with 50 μm pinholes (appropriated for high magnification) and a disk with 25 μm pinholes (appropriated for low magnification) are available. Users have the option of selecting one or both disk types, and in the latter case can electrically switch between the two disk types.

3. Expanded wavelength up to Near-infrared for deeper observation
Confocal scanner units use laser beams to excite fluorescence-stained samples and observe the fluorescence. As an option, lasers with a near-infrared up to 785 nm wavelength are available for the CSU-W1 confocal scanner unit. The longer wavelength laser beams penetrate further, enabling the observation of regions deeper inside live cells.

Major Target Markets
Cellular research for biology, medicine, pharmacology, agriculture, and drug discovery

Applications
- Real-time observation of protein behavior and physiological responses in live cells
- Observation of two/three-dimensional structures and changes in cells and living tissues

Yokogawa’s Approach to This Field
Yokogawa developed a revolutionary confocal scan technology combining a Nipkow disk with a microlens array and released the CSU10 confocal scanner unit (30 frames per second) in 1996. Yokogawa continued to develop ever faster confocal scanners, leading to the release of the CSU-X1 (2,000 fps) in 2007. CSU series confocal scanners are well regarded as an essential tool for observation in the life science field and over 2,000 units have been sold.

Precision motion control

A range of servo drives for precision motion control that can boost performance and slash system building costs in dozens of common industrial automation applications has been launched by Metronix. The new drives offer a peak current capability that is up to twice that of many similar drives on the market, allowing machine builders to dramatically boost acceleration times.

An increased overcurrent capability of four times the continuous output rating is being offered as standard on Metronix' ARS 2000 FS range of Ethernet-compatible servo drives. This compares with the ~2 to 2.5 times overcurrent rating offered by many other servo drive manufacturers.

The capability can be exploited in many common motion control applications to increase the speed of moves and the overall throughput of machines. In tests that compared drives offering a two times overcurrent capability against the new ARS 2000 FS, using a range of loads on rotary and linear servo motor axes, the new drives shortened travel times by factors from around 17 to 25 %. The drives will sustain the overcurrent for half a second, providing considerable flexibility for the system builder.

Depending on the application and the motion profiles used, faster acceleration can have a significant impact on machine cycle times. Point-to-point moves are the most frequently used type of motion on many machines for example. Here, Metronix' ARS 2000 FS can dramatically shorten the times required to accelerate up to full speed when using common motion profiles such as trapezoids or S-curves.

This kind of movement features extensively in many automation applications such as pick and place, parts handling and assembly, labelling and packaging, and sampling and testing. In continuous applications such as these, Metronix' tests demonstrated overall increases in automation productivity of around 5 to 7% by switching to the new drives.

The faster acceleration results from an uprated IGBT power stage, which utilizes power factor correction to boost the internal DC bus voltage level and allow the motor to reach higher top speeds. This adds only a fractional cost to the drive.

Metronix developed the capability to provide a closer match between drive and servo motor capabilities. Many servo motors offer an overcurrent capability that is higher than the typical drive's overcurrent ratio of around two. Ratios from three to four are common, and they can be even higher. By using Metronix drives, machine builders are able to exploit the full continuous and peak torque capabilities of the servo motor. In some applications, it's also anticipated that users will also be able to select a smaller servo drive, cutting a substantial amount from the bill-of-materials - as the drives are usually the most expensive part of the motion control system.

"This capability provides automation builders with a means of reducing machine cycle times for faster payback, and potentially reducing bill-of-materials costs as well," says Metronix' Product Manager, Frank Essmann. "Some simple calculations at the start of a machine design project are all that's needed to evaluate the potential improvements that can be gained."

ARS 2000 FS is a family of compact panel/cabinet-mounting drives available with a choice of six single- or three-phase continuous output power ratings from 0.5 to 6 kVA, in two case sizes with widths of 59 or 69 mm (2.32 or 2.72 inches). The drives all feature a universal encoder interfacing capability that allows connection to resolvers, analog/digital incremental encoders, and single/multiturn absolute encoders such as Hiperface or EnDat. Standard communications interfaces include Ethernet, USB and the CAN fieldbus - compatible with the DS 402 CANopen device profile. The drives also come with a built-in EMC filter, integrated brake chopper and brake resistor. Two expansion bus slots accepting plug-in modules provide a very powerful means of extending a drive's capability for specific applications. Among the options available are a motion control module that can control up to four interpolated axes, digital I/O, additional networking interfaces including EtherCAT or Profibus-DP, and a functional safety module compliant with EN 61800-5-2.

The motion control plug-in adds another powerful mechanism to the cost-saving potential of Metronix' new drives, providing the means to convert an ARS 2000 FS into a very economic intelligent drive. As the module can also control up to four interpolated axes, it can greatly reduce the costs of many common assembly, manufacturing and processing motion control applications such as product synchronization or spacing, registration, labelling, cutting, pick-and-place, and wrapping. Complex applications involving three axes of control, plus a feed or handling axis, can even be accommodated using the economic plug-in module. A powerful Windows-based programming and configuration software tool is available to users to create embedded motion and machine control software for Metronix systems.

Metronix has been producing motion control technology for industrial machines and automotive applications for over 30 years. Its product range includes smart servo drives with integrated positioning capability, plus motion controllers and accessories that provide cost-effective solutions for multi-axis motion control and automation, and decentralized machine control requirements. A key feature of Metronix' motion products is their rich networking and encoder interfacing capability, which ensures that drives can be integrated easily into virtually any industrial system or machine - even if an OEM has custom PLC or control hardware. This feature is highly valued by many OEMs as it allows them to create and continue developing innovative brands of machine offering unique features. Metronix complements this capability with what is probably the most sophisticated and capable custom drive engineering service on the market today. Motion control products designed by Metronix are marketed under its own brand, and in custom forms by a number of well known industrial OEMs.

The company additionally makes geophysical instruments and customer-specific digital controls for measurement and control applications. Metronix is part of the Apex Tool Group, headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, USA. The Apex Tool Group has more than 7,600 employees in over 30 countries. Metronix' design and manufacturing facility is located in Braunschweig, Germany.

Stainless steel Coriolis Transmitter

Micro Motion 1700/2700 transmitters now offered in 316L stainless steel housing for harsh environments

Emerson Process Management has expanded the range of its Micro Motion® Model 1700 and 2700 field and integral mount transmitters with the introduction of a 316L stainless steel housing. This new housing material is suitable for applications in hazardous areas and provides increased durability for extreme environments such as offshore applications.

Stainless steel housings are becoming the material of choice for the oil and gas industry due to the corrosive environments in offshore applications where high humidity and salinity can damage instruments over time.

These transmitters are available for field or integral mounting and are compatible with a wide range Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters including ELITE®, F-Series, H-Series, and T-Series sensors. The transmitters feature the latest generation MVD™ (multivariable digital) processing technology, which provides enhanced accuracy, stability and versatility in a variety of tough applications including the presence of entrained gas, high noise and high turndown.

The transmitters in 316L stainless steel have been approved by CSA, ATEX, NEPSI, IECEx and INMETRO. Micro Motion 1700 and 2700 transmitters are approved for custody transfer, certified for SIL2 and SIL3, and can be installed in Class I, Division 1 or Zone 1 hazardous areas.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Communications in China

China is the latest area where The HART® Communication Foundation is expanding operations. This will serve the growing needs of industry users and suppliers. The Foundation has appointed Minhui Wu as General Manager, HCF China Operations, and has moved its office to a new location in Shanghai.

“Minhui Wu is a welcome addition to the Foundation. He will help us better support and promote HART Communication in China,” says Foundation Executive Director Ron Helson. “The China office provides users and Foundation member companies with application assistance, information and technical support on the HART Protocol in the Chinese language.”

Minhui will be the focal point for Foundation activities in China. He will coordinate with the Foundation’s staff in Austin, Texas, to provide marketing and technical activities on the world’s leading field communication protocol including educational programs, seminars, training, trade shows, documents and website content in Chinese language.

He has more than 16 years experience in the IT industry and holds a PhD in Intelligent Control from Shanghai Tongji University.

Modular basic device for extractive gas analysis permits selection of very small measuring ranges

The Siprocess GA700 series from Siemens Industry Automation Division is a new extractive gas analyser family with an innovative platform concept. A modular basic device is used with local user interface, communication interfaces, power supply, basic electronics, and software. Various analyser modules are integrated into the basic device depending on the measuring task. Each of these modules consists of the actual analyser and the sensor electronics, including the evaluation software and required interfaces. As the first in the range, the Oxymat module measures oxygen according to the paramagnetic alternating pressure principle. The Oxymat module ensures absolute linearity and allows extremely small measuring ranges to be selected in one device: 0 to 0.5 percent with a detection limit of 50 ppm, as well as 0 to 100 and 99.5 to 100 percent.

The Siprocess GA700 basic analyser with enclosures for rack or wall mounting can accommodate two analyzer modules. Module replacement is simple and user-friendly, and can be carried out on site without having to replace the basic device. The parameters already set for the measurement are automatically transferred from the basic device to the replacement module. The modules are temperature-controlled to permit quick and easy replacement without repeated recording of the temperature characteristic. Furthermore, they operate independently of ambient temperature variations, and thus provide highly stable measurements. The analyser modules are suitable for ambient temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius, have a uniform operating concept, and are equipped with a local user interface comprising display and keyboard. The high-resolution graphic display outputs the measured values in analog and digital forms. The operating software has been radically changed, with the focus on clear menu navigation and comprehensive user prompting. For example, an installation wizard is available for initial commissioning, and provides clear and explicit instructions for guidance through the process. The software is provided in 12 languages for global use. During operation, the modules signal servicing intervals, calibration requirements, or remaining lifetime of parts subject to wear, thus providing the basis for predictive maintenance concepts.

The new Oxymat module for measuring oxygen is suitable for demanding applications where high requirements exist regarding reliability and measuring quality. This is ensured by modern electronics, simple operation, and a physical unit matched to the measuring task. Corrosive gas mixtures can also be measured thanks to the use of special materials in the gas path. The detector unit does not come into contact with the sample gas, and is therefore suitable for use in harsh atmospheres while simultaneously ensuring a long service life.

An Ultramat module for measuring infrared-active gases and a Calomat module for hydrogen and noble gases are also planned.

Extractive gas analyzers are used in process plants to continuously determine the concentrations of gases. They are used, for example, for safe monitoring of process flows, for ensuring high product quality, or for the reliable determination of emissions. Different physical or electrochemical procedures are used depending on the components to be measured.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Device for extractive gas analysis

Modular basic device for extractive gas analysis permits selection of very small measuring range

The Siprocess GA700 series from Siemens Industry Automation Division is a new extractive gas analyzer family with an innovative platform concept. A modular basic device is used with local user interface, communication interfaces, power supply, basic electronics, and software. Various analyzer modules are integrated into the basic device depending on the measuring task. Each of these modules consists of the actual analyzer and the sensor electronics, including the evaluation software and required interfaces. As the first in the range, the Oxymat module measures oxygen according to the paramagnetic alternating pressure principle. The Oxymat module ensures absolute linearity and allows extremely small measuring ranges to be selected in one device: 0 to 0.5 percent with a detection limit of 50 ppm, as well as 0 to 100 and 99.5 to 100 percent.

The Siprocess GA700 basic analyzer with enclosures for rack or wall mounting can accommodate two analyzer modules. Module replacement is simple and user-friendly, and can be carried out on site without having to replace the basic device. The parameters already set for the measurement are automatically transferred from the basic device to the replacement module. The modules are temperature-controlled to permit quick and easy replacement without repeated recording of the temperature characteristic. Furthermore, they operate independently of ambient temperature variations, and thus provide highly stable measurements. The analyzer modules are suitable for ambient temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius, have a uniform operating concept, and are equipped with a local user interface comprising display and keyboard. The high-resolution graphic display outputs the measured values in analog and digital forms. The operating software has been radically changed, with the focus on clear menu navigation and comprehensive user prompting. For example, an installation wizard is available for initial commissioning, and provides clear and explicit instructions for guidance through the process. The software is provided in 12 languages for global use. During operation, the modules signal servicing intervals, calibration requirements, or remaining lifetime of parts subject to wear, thus providing the basis for predictive maintenance concepts.

The new Oxymat module for measuring oxygen is suitable for demanding applications where high requirements exist regarding reliability and measuring quality. This is ensured by modern electronics, simple operation, and a physical unit matched to the measuring task. Corrosive gas mixtures can also be measured thanks to the use of special materials in the gas path. The detector unit does not come into contact with the sample gas, and is therefore suitable for use in harsh atmospheres while simultaneously ensuring a long service life.

An Ultramat module for measuring infrared-active gases and a Calomat module for hydrogen and noble gases are also planned.

Extractive gas analyzers are used in process plants to continuously determine the concentrations of gases. They are used, for example, for safe monitoring of process flows, for ensuring high product quality, or for the reliable determination of emissions. Different physical or electrochemical procedures are used depending on the components to be measured.