Friday, August 10, 2012

Gold for clamp meter!

International Design and Excellence Awards recognise exceptional industrial design

The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) has honoured Fluke Corporation with a Gold Award in its International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA®) program, the premier international competition honouring design excellence in products, ecodesign, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. The Fluke industrial design team was recognised in the Commercial and Industrial Products category for its work designing the new Fluke® 37X/38X clamp meters with iFlex™.

While the shape of the new 37X/38X clamp meters mimics the old in basic silhouette, they differ in touch points and ergonomic details. For example, the 381model has a remote display, an innovative design that significantly increases the tool’s functionality.

“The Fluke 381 is an excellent design solution because it addresses a longstanding ergonomic problem for clamp users: how to comfortably read a display while positioning the clamp in the right relationship to the wire,” said Matthew Marzynski, industrial design manager for Fluke Corp. “By decoupling the display from the device and removing that problem entirely, the 381 offers users more utility and ease-of-use than a traditional clamp.”

IDSA is the world’s oldest, largest, member-driven society for industrial design, representing professionals in product design, interaction design, human factors, ergonomics, design research, design management, universal design and related design fields. Its IDEA program fosters business and public understanding about the impact of industrial design excellence on the quality of life and the economy.

EMF for Water & Waste

State-of-the-art web server technology along with the experience gained with 1.5 million magmeter installations worldwide – a powerful combination.

The Proline Promag L 400 electromagnetic flowmeter from Endress + Hauser is for water and wastewater applications. It has an Ethernet port and built-in webserver for easy data access and configuration via any web browser. The industry optimized L sensor has drinking water approvals and corrosion protection that allows it to be installed underwater, underground and in saline environments. Sensors are available in nominal diameters from 2 to 90 in.

With the integrated webserver, the flowmeter can be accessed via a standard web browser. This allows engineers and maintenance technicians to configure all device functions without any special software; to upload and download configuration date for backup or copying to identical meters; and to access device, diagnostic and process information.

The Promag L 400 also has KTW/W270, ACS, NSF 61 and WRAS BS 6920 drinking water approvals, as well as custody transfer approvals to MI-001 and OIML R49 water
meter standards. Accuracy is 0.2% of range. Each device is tested on accredited and traceable calibration rigs.

Seamless integration into existing control systems is assured via HART, Profibus DP and EtherNet/IP (in preparation).

An on-board HistoROM™ system provides data storage of all sensor, transmitter and totalizer data, with no data loss if power is removed. The HistoROM system provides a built-in data logger, has an event logbook and parameter backup, and can be restored using .xml files through the webserver.

Data can be accessed via the webserver or the local graphics display. The graphics display has guided menus, “Make it Run” wizards, 16 languages, help displays, and built-in simulation software.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Enhanced smart cameras with measuring capabilities

The LMI Gocator family of 3D smart cameras available from Stemmer Imaging has been upgraded with a host of new measurement capabilities, scripting and enhanced PLC interoperation for use across a wide range of manufacturing industries. These new facilities are also available for existing Gocator users through a free firmware download (V3.3). New measurement tools include Gap and Flush measurement, Groove measurement and extended Whole Part measurement. A new megapixel resolution version is also available.

The new Gap and Flush measurement tool allows Gocator sensors to perform precise inline non-contact gap and flush inspection by measuring the distance between two sharp or curved edged panels, as well as how flush two surfaces are relative to each other. This new toolset allows tolerances to be set, and measurements and inspection decisions to be made without costly external inspection units. This new tool is ideally suited to the inspection of the fit and finish of assembled panels in automotive production.

The new Groove Measurement tool has applications wherever grooves are essential to a product’s performance such as tyres, plastic container lids, or tongue and groove materials. The Groove measurement tool measures the width and bottom of V and U shape grooves and gives users the ability to accurately set pass/fail conditions and inspection decisions based on these measurements.

Gocator’s ‘whole part’ measurement capability has been further enhanced with the addition of a Rotated Box measurement tool. The whole part measurement process is achieved by automatically detecting the start and end point of a single or multiple components traveling along a conveyor. The new Rotated Box tool makes it possible to accurately measure an object in whole part mode even if it is not perpendicular to the laser line during scanning. This allows measurement of an object’s true width and height by accounting for its angle of rotation. This is particularly important in applications such packaging inspection where it is likely that the items will not be precisely lined up as they come down the line.

A new extension to the script measurement tool allows users to carry intermediate results from one frame to another to calculate statistics (e.g. averages) or accumulate results. For applications such as bread cutting or web scanning, these tools make it easy to calculate accumulated measurements (e.g. volume) from each scanned cross section.

Inspection using two Gocator sensors linked together has been further enhanced. Occlusion Prevention allows every angle of intricate surfaces to be ‘viewed’ without fear of occlusions. Any occlusions are eliminated by merging data from the main sensor and buddy sensor to extract data from the best view of the target’s surface in the X & Y directions.

Integrating Gocator sensors into PLC controlled factories is now much easier and requires no software programming. Gocators are now certified to communicate with a wide range of PLCs, including Allan-Bradley and Omron, via the industry standard EtherNet/IP protocol.

Wireless telemetry system

New generation relay module for T24 wireless telemetry system

LCM Systems has launched the latest addition to the T24 wireless telemetry system for multiple data acquisition in real time. The T24-RM1 is a new generation of relay module that offers 2 power relays each of which can be assigned a set point and triggered from either one T24 acquisition module or a summed group of up to 8 units.

The T24-RM1 dual 240Vac 5A relay modules are capable of mains power switching and have been designed as limit or window alarms for the T24 acquisition units. The relays can be latched and a digital input or external command can be used to reset them. An alarm signal relay is operated if communications is lost or other selectable errors occur. This alarm output can be silenced by a contact free digital input or external command.

The T24 system has been built using a worldwide, licence free 2.4GHz direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) communication protocol that guarantees high integrity, error free digital data transmission. This can also co-exist with other commonly used protocols such as Zigbee, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ETSI. The modules have internal antennas that deliver a wireless range of up to 200m (650ft) are supplied as standard in IP65 sealed ABS cases, with a DIN rail option available, if required.

With wireless configuration and calibration, T24-RM1 is easy to set up via a PC and the user-friendly Windows package T24 toolkit software. LCM Systems can offer a fully integrated system solution comprising of load cells and wireless telemetry products, packaged into a fully functional bespoke solution to meet customers’ specific

World's fastest EMI test receiver

The new R&S ESR test receiver is available in two different models for frequencies ranging from 10 Hz to 3 GHz or 7 GHz to meet the requirements of all users who perform EMC certification on commercial equipment. The R&S ESR covers all commercial standards relevant for test houses and EMC labs used by electrical equipment manufacturers and their suppliers.

This instrument from Rohde & Schwarz is yet another example of the company's technology leadership in the field of EMI test receivers. The test receiver features time domain scan, an FFT-based receiver technology that allows it to perform measurements up to 6000 times faster than other EMI test receivers. Standard-compliant EMC measurements which took hours in the past can now be completed in just seconds, saving users valuable time on the way to obtaining desired results. This measurement method offers great advantages when the DUT can only be operated for short periods for testing, e.g. in the automotive and lighting industry.

It opens up totally new analysis capabilities. The spectrogram function seamlessly displays the analyzed spectrum over time and records measurements for up to five hours, allowing developers to detect sporadic interferers. The frequency mask trigger responds to specific events in a spectrum. If the mask is violated, a trigger is activated. The measurement is stopped, and the user can analyze the exact cause and effect of the interferer. The persistence mode allows users to clearly differentiate between pulse interferers and continuous interference. It displays the probability distribution of occurring frequencies and amplitudes in various colors, making it possible to detect interferers that are hidden by broadband signals.

R&S ESR also offers conventional stepped frequency scan so the user can compare with existing results. The test receiver is also a full-featured spectrum analyzer and offers proven tools such as IF analysis and time domain display, e.g. for click rate analysis.

The R&S ESR not only features outstanding functionality, it also scores top marks for ease of operation and its clearly structured touchscreen. The various measurement modes are distinctly separated, and the operating mode can be switched at the press of a button. Users can easily configure complex measurements and automated test sequences directly on the touchscreen. The R&S EMC32 software can be used to remotely control the R&S ESR and integrate it into complex EMC systems for automated measurement sequences.

The test receiver's application spectrum is as versatile as its diagnostics capabilities. The R&S ESR makes it easy to perform acceptance testing (conducted or radiated) in line with EN/CISPR/FCC on modules, assemblies, household appliances, IT equipment, TVs, radios, etc. In the automotive sector, the R&S ESR is ideal for acceptance testing of vehicles and accessories in line with automobile manufacturer guidelines, also for mobile applications thanks to the DC operation option.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Educational version of HMI/SCADA software

Award winning independent SCADA provider, InduSoft, Inc. has launched a special educational version of its InduSoft Web Studio v7.1 for students and researchers at higher education institutions all over the world. The educational version was developed as a result of the feedback received from university instructors, students and researchers who had worked with several thousand InduSoft Web Studio licenses donated by the company.

The goal of the program is to provide students a complete SCADA/HMI package that enables them to develop real-world applications, without limits on development time. This enables students to experiment and innovate while creating the types of actual projects they encounter in the work world.

“It’s really gratifying when students, teachers and researchers tell us how much they are learning,” says InduSoft engineer Paolo Guerra. “At a university in Brazil, all the graduating engineers used InduSoft Web Studio as part of their graduation projects. Looking at the different kinds of applications they developed for a variety of industries and purposes was impressive.”

The learning opportunities are a two-way street for InduSoft and its users. By developing a special educational version of InduSoft Web Studio v7.1, the company can review feedback from people who are learning SCADA/HMI application development for the first time. This helps InduSoft tailor its software to better serve a wide range of users.

A thorough range of testing was performed in the development of the educational version of InduSoft Web Studio, as well as the creation of special licensing. InduSoft also provided complete training for the instructors.

The educational InduSoft Web Studio program has been used throughout the world from the University of Texas to colleges in places such as Canada, the Philippines and the Netherlands. >From providing free online training to offering a dedicated educational version of its latest software, InduSoft is dedicated to furthering education of its users and students alike.

Panel indicators

Marl International has added many multi-voltage LED panel indicators, providing universal options for applications in harsh and demanding environments. Marl’s vast range of standard and customised LED panel lamps includes components that have an operating voltage input range from 12V- 48V AC/DC (a true bi-polar product) and 110-240V AC.

According to Marl Managing Director, Adrian Rawlinson, “The new multi-voltage LED panel indicator range is easier to design in and more tolerant of fault conditions in the circuit environment, and eliminates the need for many customers to order and stock 12V, 24V and 48V versions of the same LED.”

The wide voltage option is available across a wide range of Marl panel indicators, in all the popular colours including red, green, blue, yellow and clear. Lens options included smoked, diffused or water clear. A key feature of Marl LEDs is their long life and physical endurance. Most are specified with a service life of 100,000 hours and can be supplied with full environmental protection including sealing to IP67. They are assembled in robust anodised aluminium housing, and are offered with a range of mounting options to suit the customer’s enclosure. Electrically, Marl LEDs can be supplied with reverse polarity protection, or as fully bipolar components. Terminations available include flying leads, solder tags, screw terminals or solder pins.

Since Marl assembles all panel LED components at its manufacturing site in Cumbria (GB), it is able to offer a high degree of customisation. Specific requirements in terms of electrical characteristics, housing configuration and other specifications can be readily accommodated. The Marl standard and bespoke panel indicator range includes components suitable for specialist and demanding environments, including high vibration, marine,and portable applications.

Analyser for clean water applications

The System-C Online TOC Analyzer from Biotector safeguards sensitive processes in clean water applications. The lightweight and portable System-C analyzer is the low cost option for low range clean TOC analysis.

Following customer feedback, BioTector System-C was specifically designed and engineered to meet the requirements of clean water applications including Condensate Return, Cooling Water, Potable Water, Pharmaceutical Water (WFI) and Demineralized Water.

David Horan, CEO of BioTector Analytical Systems commented on the launch “One of our core philosophies at BioTector is that we listen to our customers and, by responding to the challenges they face, we have continuously expanded our range of products and built our reputation. System-C is one example of customer feedback that has developed into a new product to service a particular market segment. And the early signs of interest we’ve seen are already very encouraging.”

BioTector System-C for clean water applications offers process insights, process incident alerts, environmental monitoring, energy optimisation, product loss prevention, water loss prevention, boiler protection and plant protection.

System-C uses the same award-winning, patented technology that has given BioTector an international reputation for unparalleled accuracy and reliability combined. BioTector was established in 1995, has more than 1,000 applications in 40 countries and is the market leader in the USA. So you can use BioTector TOC measurement data with total confidence.

• We reported that two of the SFA Irish National Awards 2012 were presented to Biotector recently. 

Position sensors offshore!

Measuring tape principle ensures long operating life

Oil Platforms, shipyards, construction and offshore engineering companies all have special requirements for sensors that can meet the tough and harsh environments that they have to work in. Sensor specialists ASM have engineered the WB100M Tape sensor for such applications. It is highly resistant to shock and operational to IP68/69K in sea water.

The POSITAPE® series of sensors exceeds all expectations when used in areas of difficult access and pulley wheels are used to change the direction of the tape route. On conventional wire draw sensors the use of these pulleys can considerably affect the life of the draw wire but with the POSITAPE® range they will have no effect on the life of the sensor.

Developed primarily for Offshore and outdoor applications the WB100M is well suited to wet, harsh applications often found in dock sites such as cranes and ramp positions or even sluice gates found on inland waterway systems.

The fully encapsulated electronics ensure that no moisture can penetrate the critical areas where as water is allowed to freely flow through the mechanical areas with no effect due to the use of materials specifically selected to work well in a salt water environment, resulting in the IP68/69K capabilities.

The WB100M is available in a range of measuring lengths from 2000mm up to 10000mm and a wide range of analogue or digital outputs including CAN-Bus.

Divisional directors appointed

Keighley Laboratories has appointed three of its long-serving managers to Divisional Directors, in recognition of their contribution to past performance and their key roles in future growth plans. Together clocking up almost a hundred year’s work experience with the West Yorkshire firm, Michael Emmott becomes Divisional Commercial Director for the Heat Treatment Division, Matthew Mellor is now Divisional Technical Director responsible for the Technical Services Division, including the test house, machine shop and chemical laboratory, while David Wright has been named Divisional Production Director for the Heat Treatment Division.

“We are entering an important new phase for the company, especially with the opening of our latest production facility this year, and these promotions were designed to help restructure the senior management team, to lead the company forward,” says MD Debbie Mellor. “By assuming greater responsibility, each new Divisional Director will have ownership of his respective area and the capacity to implement strategic changes, instigate further process improvements and ensure our continued market progress.”
From left: David Wright, Michael Emmott and Matthew Mellor
Michael Emmott, Divisional Commercial Director
Michael joined Keighley Labs in 1969 as a trainee heat treatment inspector and progressed to induction hardening, before a 10-year stint as Night Shift Inspector, then Supervisor. He later transferred to the company’s commercial activities, becoming Commercial Manager for the heat treatment business area and travelling extensively both at home and overseas.

In his new role, Michael will be fully responsible for divisional sales and marketing, managing the company’s national and international customer base and targeting fresh business opportunities arising from the new production facility and other technical initiatives.

A qualified mechanical engineer, he gained a BSc in Maths & Computing from the Open University and also has a teaching diploma, allowing him to lecture at colleges of further education. Michael is married with three daughters.

Matthew Mellor, Divisional Technical Services Director
Matthew joined Keighley Labs in 1990 from Bingley Grammar School, as a trainee metallurgical technician. He then progressed by stages from Technician, to Senior Technician, then Test House Supervisor, before assuming his previous role of Test House Manager.

In his new position, he will undertake planning, coordination and management control of the company’s test house, machine shop and chemical analysis departments, monitoring personnel performance and ensuring adherence to quality standards, at the same time looking to improve overall efficiency and optimising costs. He will also maintain and expand the company’s technical accreditations, adding to an already extensive list that includes UKAS, British Aerospace, Bombardier, Rolls Royce and Airbus, as well as furthering the process of securing NADCAP approval.

A qualified metallurgist and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Approved Supervisor, Matthew is married and has one daughter. He is a keen table tennis player and competes regularly in the local league.

David Wright, Divisional Production Director
David joined Keighley Laboratories in 1978 as a general operative, subsequently gaining hands-on experience of most roles in the heat treatment workshop. He was later promoted to Supervisor, then Production Manager, before being elevated to Divisional Director.

In his new post, David will manage a team of up to 40 staff and be in overall charge of the company’s production process and ancillary operations. He will oversee the integration of the new production department, toward the end of this year, and ensure that the total heat treatment function conforms with expected quality standards and turnaround times. He will also play a key role in evaluating the application of advanced techniques to existing heat treatment processes.

Having gained a Diploma in Management through a 2-year distance learning programme at Newcastle College, he later added a Diploma in Business Coaching, gaining an insight into team and organisational dynamics.

Hydrogen monitoring videos

The instrumentation company Quantitech has added a range of new videos to its YouTube channel demonstrating the different applications for its unique hydrogen monitoring technology.

There are five short videos: the first explains the technology behind the H2scan solid-state sensors; the second summarises the product range and the final three explain the application for the technology in 1) a portable instrument for surveying work, 2) an in-line continuous process monitor and 3) an area monitor for health and safety applications.

Managing Director Keith Golding says “The main advantage of this technology is the ability to detect hydrogen against virtually any background gases without false readings or expensive support equipment, across a wide range of concentrations and temperatures with almost no cross-sensitivity to other substances."

Quantitech first introduced the H2scan hydrogen specific monitoring technology to the UK market almost 5 years ago and Golding says that in that time, the technology has found application in health and safety, and process control applications including syngas production, hydrocarbon processing, lead acid battery monitoring, chlorine manufacture, nuclear power/waste, chrome plating, research, semiconductor and electronics manufacture, abatement exhausts, transformer oil, fuel cell technologies and hydrogen production.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New version improves scalability of measurement & control systems

“Building a system fast is important, but it’s equally important to build it right – that means using solid architectures and proven development practices,” said Dr. James Truchard, President, CEO and Co-founder of National Instruments. “New features and resources in LabVIEW 2012 promote training and drive development practices to help our customers deliver high-performance and high-quality systems in less time, thereby minimising development and maintenance costs.”

He was speaking at the annual NIWeek meeting as he introduced NI LabVIEW 2012, the latest version of its industry-leading system design software for engineers and scientists. Users gain ready-to-run starting points for a breadth of LabVIEW applications and access to new training options that help improve the quality of their systems. These new features demonstrate NI’s ongoing commitment to provide a platform that accelerates the success of any measurement or control system and ensures that users can innovate with confidence.

LabVIEW 2012 Features
• Templates and sample projects
• Self-paced online training
• Improved stability
• New tools for high-performance analysis and advanced image processing
• Productivity enhancements powered by the user community
• Mobile apps for display and control on an iPad

Solinoid valves for KSA!

International System EST (ISE) has selected Emerson Industrial Automation to supply control cabinets for a utilities upgrade project at SABIC’s Petrokemya Arabian Petrochemical site in Al Jubail, (KSA). This significant order is for four large cabinets which will contain over 140 ASCO Numatics solenoid valves and a variety of other control equipment. The cabinets will be supplied fully assembled and certified – ready for installation.

“We chose Emerson for this important project because of their proven ability to engineer and manufacture cabinets such as these,” said Salem Al-Khaldi, President of International System EST. “They have the capabilities in-house to design and build these cabinets and deliver them to site fully certified. All we have to do is make one electrical connection and then connect the pneumatics at the bulkhead. This frees up our own engineering time through the design, engineering and installation phases of the project.”

“We are pleased that ISE and SABIC have recognised our abilities and awarded us this project,” said Mehmet Caner, Regional Manager for Emerson’s ASCO Numatics in the Middle East. “We have full capabilities in our regional headquarters in Dubai to support our customers in the supply of cabinets and panels such as this. We are able to carry out all the work, from engineering design through to assembly and Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT).”

The cabinets, the largest of which is 1.8m x 1.8m x 0.5m, will be ready for FAT within ten weeks of drawing approvals. They will be used to automate valves located on the demineralised water and water purification plants on the site

Improving reliability and availability of fieldbus installations

Fieldbus Foundation updates device coupler test specification

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced the latest updates to its open, non-proprietary FOUNDATION™ fieldbus physical layer technology. Current enhancements to the H1 (31.25 kbit/s) device coupler test specification will help improve the reliability and availability of fieldbus control system installations, as well as optimize device interoperability and integration.

As part of a Foundation fieldbus infrastructure, device couplers or isolated device couplers (where applicable) are installed where the fieldbus trunk (i.e., home run cable) is connected to the various device spurs. Isolated device couplers are specifically designed to allow automation end users to connect more devices per coupler while permitting live segment work in hazardous plant areas. These couplers provide isolated, conditioned power to multiple fieldbus devices and protect against short circuits caused by excess current in a spur. By enabling more devices per segment, they also help reduce controller input/output (I/O) points and associated installation costs.

This device coupler test specification includes criteria from the international IEC 61158 standard and additional functional tests such as input impedance, short-circuit reaction time, and bus voltage consumption. The specification is designed for coupler manufacturers to perform a standard set of tests against their implementation. A team of volunteers comprised of current members of the foundation who supply coupler products, as well as end users employing registered couplers, developed the test cases.

The Fieldbus Foundation's Director-Fieldbus Products, Stephen Mitschke, commented, "The Fieldbus Foundation is committed to rigorous test procedures for all FOUNDATION devices, hosts and components. Our device coupler test specification is intended to provide a high level of robustness in fieldbus systems. The resulting registered products are tested to perform optimally with registered power supplies and conditioners, as well as registered H1 cable."

Mitschke added that the latest enhancements to the FOUNDATION fieldbus physical layer specifications will provide end users with greater confidence that registered fieldbus equipment can be employed in a tightly integrated, interoperable control system architecture that is well suited to the most demanding industrial environments.

To obtain this updated specification, visit the Technical Specifications page of the Fieldbus Foundation's website.

IR Temperature applications go digital

Raytek® has a new digital publication Application Success Stories, an online collection of end-user case studies recapping the successful usage of Raytek IR temperature measurement instruments in a wide range of industrial applications.

A sampling of the applications discussed in the publication includes automotive camshaft manufacturing, incineration of chemical waste, low-e glass tempering, temperature measurement during epitaxial deposition, and web monitoring of semi-permeable films.

Each success story presents a situational question, details the winning solution and the benefits achieved through implementation. The publication is available on their website  and can be viewed online on a computer or mobile device, and downloaded for later reading. In addition, Raytek is running a special offer for new success stories submitted by end-users and published on the website as detailed here.

Arlene Lucas-Starrh, Senior Global Marketing Communications Manager commented, "We are pleased to present these success stories for the convenience of industrial end-users searching for a solution to their temperature measurement application. These are true-life customer experiences with our products, and those in similar situations will be able to find a comparable answer to their needs."

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bank holiday!

Today is the August Bank hoiliday in Ireland so please excuse us if we don't respond promptly to your email!

The answer to a panel builder's dream!

The RiLine60 is the answer for panel builders and OEM’s looking to reduce costs according to a recent communique from Rittal. Adaptable for all leading manufacturers of distribution and control gear, timesa-ving assembly, versatile applications and individual modularity are all features.
Combining contemporary design and outstanding safety technology, Rittal’s busbar system is modular and the adaptor mounting plates can be fitted quickly allowing power connections to circuit breakers and contactors. Design improvements mean that the integrated step mechanisms for adapting to the flat bar cross-section can now be locked using pins. Engineers have the flexibly to insert flat copper bars retained in a holder from the front, or slide them in from the side.

Creating holes by simply knocking out perforations permits the simple, tool-free introduction of round conductors and laminated copper bars. Specially incorporated anti-slip guard also guarantees that the OM (One Move) component adapter holds securely in any position. Installation on 4-pole busbar systems is ensured by adjusting the adapter section.

With power ratings of up to 1600A and 3 and 4 pole versions available, Rittal’s RiLine60 is flexible for today’s demanding applications, such as the Process Industry or where down time is critical.

One ton visitor on Mars!

NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Monday Morning (Irish time) to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.

The first picture:
The Shadow of Curiosity on the surface of Mars
The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack.

"Today, the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars. Curiosity, the most sophisticated rover ever built, is now on the surface of the Red Planet, where it will seek to answer age-old questions about whether life ever existed on Mars -- or if the planet can sustain life in the future," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "This is an amazing achievement, made possible by a team of scientists and engineers from around the world and led by the extraordinary men and women of NASA and our Jet Propulsion Laboratory. President Obama has laid out a bold vision for sending humans to Mars in the mid-2030's, and today's landing marks a significant step toward achieving this goal."

Curiosity landed at 10:32 p.m. Aug. 5, PDT, (1:32 a.m. EDT Aug. 6) near the foot of a mountain three miles tall and 96 miles in diameter inside Gale Crater. During a nearly two-year prime mission, the rover will investigate whether the region ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life.

"The Seven Minutes of Terror has turned into the Seven Minutes of Triumph," said NASA Associate Administrator for Science John Grunsfeld. "My immense joy in the success of this mission is matched only by overwhelming pride I feel for the women and men of the mission's team."

Curiosity returned its first view of Mars, a wide-angle scene of rocky ground near the front of the rover. More images are anticipated in the next several days as the mission blends observations of the landing site with activities to configure the rover for work and check the performance of its instruments and mechanisms.

"Our Curiosity is talking to us from the surface of Mars," said MSL Project Manager Peter Theisinger of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "The landing takes us past the most hazardous moments for this project, and begins a new and exciting mission to pursue its scientific objectives."

Confirmation of Curiosity's successful landing came in communications relayed by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter and received by the Canberra, Australia, antenna station of NASA's Deep Space Network.

Curiosity carries 10 science instruments with a total mass 15 times as large as the science payloads on the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Some of the tools are the first of their kind on Mars, such as a laser-firing instrument for checking elemental composition of rocks from a distance. The rover will use a drill and scoop at the end of its robotic arm to gather soil and powdered samples of rock interiors, then sieve and parcel out these samples into analytical laboratory instruments inside the rover.

To handle this science toolkit, Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as Spirit or Opportunity. The Gale Crater landing site places the rover within driving distance of layers of the crater's interior mountain. Observations from orbit have identified clay and sulfate minerals in the lower layers, indicating a wet history.

The mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.