Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hybrid connector

Slimline hybrid connector for multiple I/O interfacing in automatic test systems

A hybrid version of the Virginia Panel Corporation (VPC) i2 Micro iCon connector, offering up to 120 signal points and 12 micro coaxial or micro power points for multiple I/O interfacing in automatic test systems, is now available in Britain exclusively from the Peak Group.

The new slimline connector incorporates capabilities for discrete wiring, horizontal and right-angle PCB mounting, and features a 30° cable exit for vertical stackability, along with a 0.8-inch wide footprint for horizontal stackability.

The engaging mechanism integrates spring locking tabs that fasten over the latching post for secure engagement. Keying pins and a square locking mechanism ensure even and precise engagement. The rugged engagement mechanism is engineered for 10,000 cycles.

The 30º angled cable exit reduces the height required by the connector, allowing more space in front of the rack for instrumentation and minimising the vertical space between connectors in a multi-connector panel layout. Right-angle headers enable direct connection from the i2 receiver to a PCB using solderless compliant pins for easy installation.

In addition to marketing the VPC range of mass interconnect solutions in the UK, the Peak Group supplies complete test systems using the VPC interfaces along with National Instruments PXI modular test units integrated with Peak’s own customised hardware and software.

New varients in circuit board connectors

New variants extend versatility of har-flex® circuit board connector range

Harting has introduced a number of new variants in the har-flex® robust circuit-board connector family which extend its versatility in a wide range of board-to-board and board-to-cable applications with a contact pitch of 1.27 mm.

Featuring a compact but robust design, har-flex® ensures reliable operation at all times – even under adverse conditions – through two large holders that ensure that the connectors are firmly held in place using surface-mount joints.

A low-wear insertion and withdrawal procedure is ensured by a very smooth contact point between the male and female contacts. This is the result of a special follow-up treatment in the punching process which Harting has developed from its extensive experience with punching technology. This characteristic also has a positive impact on vibration resistance, which has been verified according to recognised test standards.

The har-flex® IDC connector for flat ribbon cable also meets the most exacting requirements in terms of robustness. A secure catch prevents unintentional removal of the cable from the circuit board. A tensile relief clamp is available as an option to protect the cable insulation displacement connection from the impact of force. In addition to the individual IDC connectors, Harting also offers prefabricated cables to customised designs.

The different har-flex® variants can be freely combined and enable modular device configurations. The spatial requirement on the circuit board is minimised thanks to the variable number of contacts from six to 100. har-flex® data transmission meets the requirements of modern transmission protocols, such as Gigabit Ethernet and PCI Express. In this way, the high level of performance of modern computers is combined with the robustness of industrial devices.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Reducing the cost of oxygen analysis in reactor applications

Pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals are typically produced in batches by mixing several components in a reactor. When the ingredients are mixed with solvents, the void between the top of the reactor and the liquid level can be filled with highly flammable vapours. When combined with oxygen and a potential source of ignition, there can be a risk of explosion.

One way of ensuring that the mixture of air and solvent vapours stays below flammable levels is to use a nitrogen purge. By accurately monitoring the oxygen level in the reactor, the nitrogen feed can be shut down when the O2 level is safe. By ensuring that this level is not exceeded, operational costs are reduced while ensuring that safe operation is maintained.

The Michell Instruments XTP601 oxygen sensor is ideal for this application. Based on thermo-paramagnetic sensor technology, it is ideally suited for determining the level of oxygen in a wide range of background gases. The sensor will operate efficiently under various environmental conditions and is insensitive to mechanical shock. It has very good response time characteristics, has no consumable parts and offers excellent accuracy, for example, 0.02% O2 over a range of 0-1%.

The thermo-paramagnetic sensors used in the XTP601 will last the life of the instrument in normal operation. Features include enhancements such as an integrated touch-screen display that makes configuration and calibration easier. This reduces time spent maintaining the unit, further reducing the total cost of ownership.

It has a very low drift and, with no moving parts, maintenance is minimised. While the initial purchase price is slightly higher than sensors based on electrochemical cell technology, life cycle costs are much lower. This makes the XTP601 process oxygen analyser a popular choice for O2 monitoring in reactors.

Michell Instruments is represented in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The pollutant of greatest concern

Mercury is moving towards the top of the agenda for regulatory bodies and interest from the public domain is growing. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) now defines mercury as “the pollutant of greatest concern”.

In response to this, the organisers of the 11th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) are finalising plans for an event that will bring together the world’s leading authorities on mercury pollution to ensure that global action on this pollutant is coordinated and effective.

Previous ICMGP events took place in Canada, USA, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Slovenia and China. Mercury 2013 will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Scotland, from 28th July to 2nd August 2013.

Sessions will include themes such as monitoring, environmental biogeochemistry, atmospheric transport and human exposure. The conference is timely because it follows the finalisation of the UNEP Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury. Delegates may be particularly interested in special sessions which reflect the tagline of the Mercury 2013 which is: ‘Science Informing Global Policy’. The ICMGP will provide that important link between those governments, regulatory authorities and industries that need answers to their mercury issues and those scientists and organisations with expertise to provide the most appropriate solution.

The overall objective of the UNEP convention is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic releases of mercury and its compounds. Since mercury touches many areas of global science, the conference programme promises to be diverse and interesting, covering occupational exposure by small scale gold miners and indigenous fish-eating communities, cleaning contaminated land, reducing emissions from industries such as coal combustion and cement production, and handling mercury containing materials such batteries and even dental amalgam.

Mercury 2013 is expected to attract between 800 and 1200 delegates and will include an exhibition featuring all of the world’s leading organisations connected with mercury. The organisers have announced that, even though the event is nearly a year away, only a few stands remain and these will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

OCR and code reading on moulded components

Automatic reading of part numbers, serial numbers and batch information formed into the surface of moulded components can be difficult using conventional 2D vision systems due to the very low contrast between the code and the component surface. Stemmer Imaging can offer the LMI Gocator 3D smart camera to successfully image these codes, even where they are at varying heights.

Gocator line profiling sensors allow the measurement of surface topography and profile data of the component. The 3D point cloud (height map) from the Gocator can be used to inspect the dimensions (width, length and depth) and locations of the moulded characters. Codes and characters are colour coded according to their height allowing simultaneous display of characters at varying heights on the component surface.

Height map data can be analysed and read by interfacing the Gocator to either Sherlock or Common Vision Blox (CVB) software. Sherlock is a powerful machine vision software interface from Telydyne DALSA. It can be applied to a wide variety of automated inspection applications and features a full range of reader identification tools, including 1D and 2D code reading and verification and optical character recognition.

Common Vision Blox is Stemmer Imaging’s own software platform for quick and reliable vision application development. This fast, powerful and modular programming library supports all common acquisition technologies. CVB search and read tools provide Optical Character Recognition, Optical Code Verification and 1D and 2D code reading.

Catalogue serves Ireland market

Burkert’s new Select Catalogue is a short form publication covering premier, fast moving products in Burkert’s extensive range of fluid control products. The free publication provides a quick and easy aid for selecting valves and sensors for use in the food processing, pharmaceutical, water, petrochemical, medical, bio-medical, beverage and general process control industries.

Ideal for use by customers, distributors, OEMs, contractors and systems integrators, the Select Catalogue is a single source for fluid control products and a key platform in Burkert’s pledge to provide faster deliveries to the Irish market. Catalogues available through Petrochem PipelineSupply Limited.

The Select Catalogue is a complement to Burkert’s main fluid control products catalogue. Covering what is essentially Ireland’s preferred range, it integrates mainstream products in an easy to read format. To assist product choice, quick selection charts are provided, and product data is listed in a logical format, with tables containing the product function, description and part number.

Burkert’s range of fluid control products is one of the largest and most diverse available, (28,000 types) and this is reflected in the new catalogue. Divided into four main sections: Solenoid Valves, Process Actuation and Networking, Process Valves and Sensors, Transmitters and Controllers, the catalogue includes valve products for use at high pressures, for use with steam and hot media, aggressive chemicals and contaminated fluids, in addition to ATEX rated valves, NAMUR valves, and valves for use with clean water.

Complementing the valve and control products are flow, level, pressure, temperature, conductivity and ph/ORP transmitters. The controllers include batch and PID alongside digital valve positioners from Burkert’s market leading ELEMENT range.

A new concept that sets a higher benchmark in process measurement and control, the ELEMENT system provides a complete systems approach, linking clean line valves, sensors, positioners and valve actuators in a simple architecture to solve total control loop processes.

Solenoid valve manual operator

ASCO Numatics has introduced a solenoid valve manual operator that is removable under pressure, enabling faster, easier commissioning and start-up while preventing inadvertent valve movement during plant operation.

It is often considered good practice to include manual operators on solenoid valves to enable functional checking during start-up and commissioning. These operators are then removed prior to the plant being handed over to operations. This prevents potential plant trips or unplanned shutdown. Previously this would have meant depressurising the instrument air systems, a time consuming process and one that can add to the project schedule. The new removable under pressure manual operator from ASCO Numatics can be removed and re-installed while the pipe-work is pressurised, with no loss of line fluid or pressure.

“We believe this is the first solenoid pilot valve manual operator in the market that is removable under pressure,” said Wim Van de Haar, ASCO Numatics’ Marketing Manager for Oil, Gas and Chemicals. “We work closely with our customers to understand the issues that affect them in their day-to-day work. The need for a removable under pressure manual operator was the outcome of one of these customer meetings.”

The removable under pressure manual operator is currently available for the 327 series of solenoid valves. The 327 series is a 3/2 pilot valve used extensively for control valve and emergency shutdown valve piloting. The 327 series is available in a range of body materials and with a selection of solenoid operators and certification. This makes it suitable for use in all of the major markets across the globe and in all hazardous areas.

Tank Blanketing!

Seminars help users reduce operating costs, enhance safety and comply with clean-air regulations

Tank University seminars provide a unique opportunity for participants to learn and share their tank blanketing knowledge and experiences with other users

Programme venues and dates
Gdansk, Poland – 16 October
Leuna, Germany – 17 October
Milano area, Italy – 18 October
Ploiesti, Romania – 22 October
Cartagena, Spain – 24 October
Lyon, France – 25 October
Budapest, Hungary – 29 October
Istanbul area, Turkey – 31 October
Emerson Process Management will hold a series of Tank University seminars from October 16th to October 31st at eight strategic locations across Europe. Tailored to the needs and interests of operators and installers of tank blanketing systems, the Tank Blanketing seminars will help users understand how to reduce operating costs, enhance safety and comply with clean-air regulations.

The seminars will be in English and will show how users can take advantage of Emerson’s technologies to solve tank blanketing problems. Topics include instability and accuracy, nitrogen cost, environmental compliance and product quality. The interactive content includes presentations, sizing exercises, workshops and a hands-on demonstration unit.

Open forum discussions will provide a unique opportunity for participants to speak with Emerson’s tank blanketing specialists about the challenges they are facing. Emerson’s panel of experts will use their extensive product knowledge and industry experience to suggest cost-effective solutions.

The full day’s programme runs from 8.30am to 5.00pm and includes a buffet lunch.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PCB giant appoints senior sales manager

Daniel Janssen has been appointed as Senior Sales Manager for Central Europe, Benelux and Emerging Markets with Omron Electronic Components Europe, which includes Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Janssen reports to Leon Mordang, VP Sales and Marketing and will be based in Germany, and will lead Omron’s 10-strong sales team in the territory.

Daniel Jansson
Commenting on the appointment, Mordang said, “Daniel Janssen brings an exceptional track record in business development to Omron’s strong teams covering strategic markets such as Germany and Eastern Europe. Omron is taking an account and market led approach, and Janssen experience in major account and project management will be invaluable.”

Daniel Jansson added, “Omron Electronic Components has an exceptional reputation for quality, a strong European management structure and a real commitment to the region. As Senior Sales Manager, I have an exciting opportunity to lead an effective team with a clear vision for growth addressing markets with great potential.”

Janssen joins Omron from Chimei Innolux Corporation where he was Global Account Manager - Telecom & Automotive for over six years. Prior to this, he spent five years as Project Manager at TPO, formed from the merger of Philips Mobile Display Systems and Toppoly Opto. He started his career as a Design Engineer with Philips Mobile Display Systems and TPA Engineering.

Intuitive design serves automation environment

New web-based real-time management and visualization software suite delivers a comprehensive solution that brings together process management infrastructure, expertise, and ecosystem support for greater efficiency and improved operational agility.

This latest release of FAST/TOOLS® R9.05 SCADA System has many new features and an intuitive design that works with all Yokogawa solutions, allowing it to serve as a corporate-wide automation environment.

Main Target Markets
The main target markets are oil and gas upstream/midstream, petrochemicals, chemicals, renewable energy, power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, food, iron and steel, waste, and water supply and wastewater treatment.

Applications include remote process management, asset management, data collection, and storage in widely distributed applications.
Development Background
The SCADA market continues to grow, and a number of market research reports have identified the need for increased integration of disciplines and functions to drive down operating costs. This requires a transparent environment that can be integrated both vertically and horizontally with a variety of sources that can be accessed and shared globally.

This latest release offers enhanced data acquisition, system integration, and remote operations, and allows the deployment of information to subscribers through a secure cloud service that is always up to date, thereby increasing overall efficiency and eliminating the need for the exchange of paper documents.

Main Features
1. Collaboration/Decision Support Solution (CDSS)
It is now possible to easily create an environment for the real-time capture of key operational, maintenance, and business information, allowing improved visualisation of information and, showing with a single view, its impact on performance. This facilitates better communication between stakeholders, both inside and outside the organisation.

This software can be utilised to monitor main production facilities, such as petrochemical complexes and power plants, as well as sub-processes, such as utilities, reactors, tank farms, and loading and offloading facilities. Dashboards deliver cross-referenced information on business performance factors, along with data on energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and direct cost savings that can be used to determine the effectiveness of efforts to reduce energy consumption and waste and monitor compliance with environmental standards. A single, easy-to-use user interface allows for the integration of the document management, video/CCTV, maintenance, and other software environments required for your communication and collaboration needs.

2. Alarm System Performance Analysis (ASPA)
The variety and number of alarms have increased with the introduction of more intelligent functions in process installations and the integration of asset management, business, and planning data from other systems into the SCADA environment. Without the proper implementation of a good alarm philosophy, operators will be flooded with more alarms than they can handle, i.e. exceeding the recommended number of 10 alarms in a 10 minute period of time.

ASPA adds a significant new dimension to the alarm management capabilities of this software. It eases the process of defining key performance measurements, analyzing alarm system behavior, and presenting this from different angles. This delivers a holistic and informative overview, providing guidance on improvements that can be made to create a sophisticated alarm management and analysis environment that is compliant with the EEMUA 191 and ISA/ANSI 18.2 standards, enhancing your process management system investment.

3. Mobile device support
Besides the currently supported web-based clients for PC platforms, an HTML5 web environment is now available that provides diagnostics, alarms, and process graphics over the cloud to tablets and smart phones. While the functions are slightly limited in comparison to full-blown web-based clients, rich functionality is provided for mobile devices, allowing anytime/anywhere access with all appropriate authorisation and security through browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. This allows for quick data analysis and decision making.

4. Remote gateway station
With the introduction of a remote gateway station (RGS), FAST/TOOLS® delivers an integrated automation solution that addresses one of the final barriers to achieving a corporate-wide automation strategy across multiple domains and geographies. This adds a new dimension to the Yokogawa Universal Gateway Station (UGS) environment, connecting your CENTUM VP DCS and STARDOM RTU environment with FAST/TOOLS®.

5. OPC Unified Architecture client function
This release includes an OPC Unified Architecture (UA) client. OPC UA is a next-generation standard that provides a cohesive, secure, and reliable cross-platform framework for access to real-time and historical data and events. Yokogawa’s FAST/TOOLS® OPC UA client is the first SCADA software that meets the requirements of the OPC certification program for interoperability and robust performance.

6. IEC61850
From the profitability and regulatory compliance perspectives, power efficiency management and CO2 emissions reduction are of paramount importance in today’s industrial processes and in the oil and gas energy supply chain. The relationship between process control and power consumption is so strongly interwoven that, for optimal efficiency management, both should be integrated into one supervisory system. To enable sophisticated integration of information from intelligent electronic devices (IED) into FAST/TOOLS®, this new release delivers full support for the IEC61850 MMS specification. IEC61850 is an emerging open standard for the design of electrical substation automation.

Short-travel test probes

New from Peak Test Services, the P360/G-DX is a short-travel high-current test probe capable of carrying currents up to 15 A.

Designed for testing at 3.70 mm centres in limited-space conditions, the new probe is one of the smallest threaded high-current probes on the market, with a tip diameter of only 1.3 mm. Typical applications for the DX head style probe include tests on battery contacts or charging contacts.

The P360/G-DX features a nominal travel distance of 0.8 mm (1.2 mm maximum), and has a nominal spring force of 80 cN (pre-load 50 cN). Pointing accuracy is ±0.1 mm.

The probe incorporates a gold-plated beryllium/copper plunger, a brass gold-plated barrel and receptacle, and a stainless steel spring.

The P360/G-DX probe is available in the Britain and Ireland from Peak Test Services and via a range of appointed distributors worldwide.

New guidelines for fieldbus

Document describes standard industry practices for implementing FOUNDATION technology

The Fieldbus Foundation has released a major revision to its AG-181 System Engineering Guidelines. AG-181 is a comprehensive guide that includes best practices and recommendations for a complete FOUNDATION fieldbus installation, from engineering and design through commissioning, startup, operations, and maintenance. The guide includes recommendations on topics from selecting cable to wiring installation, grounding, implementing plant asset management systems, and best practices for project management.

The new edition of AG-181 has been reformatted and reorganized to make it easier to read and access information. Some content has been rewritten to include more up-to-date information. This includes sections covering the Fieldbus Intrinsically Safe Concept (FISCO) fieldbus design rules, cable length, surge protection and segment scheduling. A section on the use of existing wiring has also been added.

According to Larry O'Brien, global marketing manager for the Fieldbus Foundation, the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines is "one of the automation industry's best-kept secrets" that belongs in the library of almost every process control engineer. It is a highly valuable resource for the growing number of end users, system integrators and engineering firms involved in the implementation of FOUNDATION fieldbus.

"One of the things we try to do at the Fieldbus Foundation is put information into the hands of those who need it around the world. We want people to become proficient in the use of our technology, from engineering and design to installation, maintenance, and operations," said O’Brien. "Our System Engineering Guidelines document contains the distilled wisdom of many of the world's leading fieldbus technology experts, from those in the engineering and construction world to end users, systems integrators, educators, and suppliers. It offers many good pointers on how to do your fieldbus project right the first time, and is an essential part of the toolbox of any FOUNDATION fieldbus professional. If you already have the older version, the latest update will look more streamlined and contains several new sections, as well as rewrites of old sections."

The FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines is separated into 11 sections, each covering different aspects of the fieldbus project lifecycle. Specific topics include: General Considerations, Fieldbus Definitions, Fieldbus Project Requirements, Host System Requirements, Software Configuration, Field Device Requirements, Segment Components, Network/Segment Design Guidelines, Site Installation Guidelines, Acceptance Testing, and Documentation Requirements. It is available on their Technical References Page.

O'Brien indicated that the FOUNDATION fieldbus System Engineering Guidelines provides accurate and current fieldbus information in a vendor-neutral format, and is revised periodically to reflect changes to FOUNDATION technology. He said, "There is no better guide to implementing FOUNDATION fieldbus available today."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hands-free wireless voice and video communications system for plant field operations

Mobile Worker: Voice and Video enables field personnel to interactively problem-solve with off-site experts

Emerson's VP of Wireless Bon Karschnia announces Mobile Worker: Voice and Video. at Emerson Exchange on Tuesday
Emerson has released Mobile Worker: Voice and Video, a communications technology designed to help process manufacturers save time and money on plant maintenance and trouble-shooting by bringing the problem to the experts, rather than bringing the experts to the problem.

In the face of reduced plant work forces, more experienced personnel nearing retirement age, and increasing travel costs, Emerson has partnered with AudiSoft to deliver a hands-free, high-definition voice and video solution that plant personnel can wear into remote field locations anywhere in the world.

From the problem area, the field engineer can securely, visually and verbally, communicate live via a Wi-Fi access point, cellular, or satellite wireless connection with remote experts who, from their laptop or PC, can see and diagnose the problem, then instruct the field engineer through the problem’s resolution.

"We have a lot of customers with processes and field devices in remote locations - from diamond mines near the Arctic Circle, to platforms hundreds of miles offshore. If we can help them resolve their problems without flying expert consultants to the location, we can save them critical time and potentially millions of dollars in downtime," said Emerson’s Bob Karschnia, Vice President of wireless at the Emerson Exchange Conference (#EMrex) in California (USA). "We continue to find new wireless applications to help our customers manage their processes in challenging industrial environments. This is another valuable application they can add to their toolbox."

The Mobile Worker kit includes a video camera and noise-cancelling microphone that attach to a hardhat, a small touch-screen interface that straps to the chest, and an additional video camera that can be hand-held to zoom into areas too small for the headset camera to access. From any area where a wireless signal can be reached, HD, VGA or QVGA video (depending on available signal strength and bandwidth) can reach either a PC loaded with the Frontline Expert software, or a dedicated server or host subscriber via a web browser. Secure, encrypted communication allows real-time conferencing over the plant network or the internet, to solve remote problems much faster and more cost-effectively than transporting an expert to the site.

The Mobile Worker kit is rated for ATEX Zone 2 use, with Class 1 Division 2 certification available in the near future.

New reporting option!

Integration offers seamless access to advanced reporting tools and easy export capabilities for professional database systems.

Ocean Data Systems and InduSoft, have teamed up to offer new reporting options for InduSoft Web Studio users. With seamless access to the Dream Report application, InduSoft users gain the ability to create sophisticated reports that include tables, bar charts, pie charts, screen shots and more.

Click for Webinar!
The option to integrate Dream Report into InduSoft Web Studio lets users easily access history data such as alarm history, trend history, OEE data and process data to generate a variety of reports in formats including but not limited to Microsoft Excel and Adobe PDF. Users can also automatically publish reports via a secure web portal on the Internet, or via an internal company intranet, using a built-in interface.

This integration solution enables users to browse reports, access entire report history, generate reports on demand, configure per-report user access, save reports locally, and print reports from a web client.

In addition, Dream Report’s configurable end-user interface simplifies exporting files to professional databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle. By offering check-box configuration tools and other features, the need for programming or database development skills to communicate with database applications is eliminated.

Web Studio with Dream Report capabilities is a highly scalable solution that can grow from simple batch reporting for a single unit to reporting for the entire enterprise. By combining report information from multiple databases into one consolidated site reporting system without duplicating the source data locally, enterprise reporting becomes much faster and more reliable.

A native driver was developed by Ocean Data Systems for seamless communication with InduSoft Web. In addition, special licensing that contains only the InduSoft driver makes the Dream Report add-on a very affordable solution.

Light curtains

The GL-R Series is the most robust of the market thanks to a metal housing 3 times thicker than the traditional safety curtains (32x38 mm). This new series has been designed to address the problems users are having with safety light curtains. Unique and strong design, quick and easy installation, and yet the highest level of security is provided.

Another unique feature: its thick and robust metal built-in guard protects the lenses (5 mm recess). Thus, the probability of direct impacts on this sensitive part is extremely reduced. Finally, the GL-R Series housing meets IP65/IP67 enclosure ratings. The system offers significant advantages for the user: downtime risks are reduced, no need of expensive additional guarding and finally twisting and misalignment issues are eradicated thanks to the robust design.

These curtains are much easier to install. With the one-line system, no need to connect the transmitter and the receiver to the control panel, because the transmitter receives power from the receiver. Moreover, with the optical synchronisation, the transmitter and receiver can be wired separately. The number of wires is reduced by 72% from 18 to 5 wires, thus reducing installation time and risks of faulty wiring.

Assembly is also simplified: the GL-R Series brackets come pre-assembled, so installation is as simple as sliding them into the mounting track and securing them to the machine.
These mounting brackets have been designed to attach directly to standard extruded aluminum allowing a straight or L-shaped or adjustable angle mounting. The range of detection has been increased up to 15m. On top of these features the GL-R series curtains do not require any additional protection making this system the simplest to install in the industry.

The GL-R series meets the machine safety design standard ISO 13849-1, PLe level of performance. It is the most demanding: Mean time to dangerous failure per hour: 10-8 to < 10-7.
These curtains are also Type 4 and SIL3.

This Series, in keeping with the other Keyence safety light curtains, offers a no dead zone detection, with the first beam emitted 10 mm from each end. There is no need for additional guarding to prevent intrusion on the dead zone detection level.
Many curtains still do not offer this key safety feature. Compared to the models allowing edge detection, the GL-R Series solves the common problem of end brittleness.

Finally, with the 7 segments display errors are more easily and safely identified.
Last innovation, the operation of the GL-R Series can be monitored with a PC. The status of I/O signals including OSSD outputs, override inputs, and error conditions can be checked as well as light intensity. During operation, the monitoring will help to easily identify the causes of an abnormal operation. All error codes and order of occurrence are saved as error history records during operation. This allows for easiertroubleshooting and analysis.

New gateways enabling communication

HMS Industrial Networks has released a series of new Anybus X-gateways that enable communication between several industrial networks and PROFINET IRT. The new X-gateways can connect PROFIBUS and CANopen to PROFINET IRT with fibre-optics, and ControlNet, EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet to PROFINET IRT with copper cabling. The new X-gateways help plant owners and machine builders to migrate to PROFINET without making changes to their existing machinery.

Many industrial companies are today implementing industrial Ethernet networks like PROFINET. However, there are often existing subsystems and machinery which are already networked and need to be included in the new networks. Anybus X-gateways from HMS offer an easy way to connect existing subsystems to PROFINET.

What’s new?
Anybus X-gateways have long been able to connect PROFINET to several fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks. HMS now extends the connectivity to cover PROFINET IRT (Isochronous Real Time) for both copper cabling and fibre-optics. New networks for copper are ControlNet, EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet while new networks for fibre optics are PROFIBUS and CANopen.

Making PROFINET migration possible
PROFINET IRT is used by many large European car manufacturers, most notably those within the AIDA group, and is one of the fastest growing industrial Ethernet networks on the market, says Niklas Selander, product Manager at HMS. By using an Anybus X-gateway plant owners can keep existing equipment and simply connect it to PROFINET IRT networks. This maximizes the investment in their current machinery and speeds up the migration to PROFINET. Machine builders also benefit as they do not have to develop this connectivity themselves and can just use an Anybus X-gateway to connect their machines to PROFINET IRT.

How it works
The new Anybus X-gateways copy I/O-data between any industrial network and PROFINET IRT. Gateway settings regarding, for example, I/O sizes are configured in a Windows-based terminal interface which means no programming is necessary.

The PROFINET interface of the X-gateway works as an I/O-Device on the PROFINET IRT network and supports up to 220 bytes of I/O for both input and output data. The gateway’s baud rate is 100Mbit/s (full duplex) and uses two RJ45 connectors (copper) or two SC-RJ connectors (fibre-optic) allowing installations in line or ring topology. The integrated 2-port IRT switch is another very valuable asset, as it eliminates the need for expensive external switches.

The new Anybus X-gateways enable communication between PROFINET IRT and several industrial networks. In this image PROFIBUS.

What is an X-gateway?
Anybus X-gateways allow two different networks to talk to each other. In simple terms you could say that it is a real-time translator between any two networks. Gateways solve important industrial communication issues for system integrators and end users working with industrial network design, and offer a quick and easy way to connect two otherwise incompatible networks.

Enhancing interest in science & technology among youth!

The Automation Federation (AF) and its founding sponsor, the International Society of Automation (ISA), continue to build on their partnership with FIRST® to strengthen math and science teaching in K-12 education, and inspire and support a new generation of technology innovators.

Earlier this year, Marcus Rasco, a senior professor in electronics at DeVry University in Texas (USA), and the president of ISA’s North Texas Section, served as a judge at the Dallas East Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, at the Dallas Convention Center.

Two years ago, the AF and ISA entered into a formal partnership with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and motivate young students toward careers in automation and engineering. As part of this alliance, AF and ISA members around the world are highly encouraged to participate in FIRST initiatives in their local communities.

“Participating as a judge in this competition enabled me to gain a first-row seat to the inventiveness, creativity and scientific aptitude of many of our young people,” Rasco said. “It was a great experience and it drove home the importance of continuing to help and encourage young people develop their technological skills and capabilities.”

For years, Rasco has been actively involved with school districts in northern Texas to place a greater emphasis science and technology instruction. He has helped conduct numerous robotics, electronics and biomedical-related workshops at middle schools, high schools and on the DeVry University campus.

One of the challenges that these students face is the high start-up costs for a robotic kit. Upon Rasco’s recommendation, ISA’s North Texas Section approved a donation to one local school, the Jack E. Singley Academy, to help defray the costs of a robotic kit. In addition, he contacted representatives at five other professional engineering societies in Texas, urging them to become involved through either donations or mentoring initiatives.

“Marcus Rasco’s initiative is emblematic of the type of grassroots involvement and mentorship that we envisioned when the AF and ISA decided to partner with FIRST,” says Mike Marlowe, AF director. “Our organizations have a common goal to increase the awareness of automation and engineering education around the world. As industry professionals, we’re in the ideal positions to enrich the lives of young people and open their eyes to exciting career pathways in automation.”

Dean Kamen, FIRST® founder and chief executive officer at DEKA Research and Development, emphasises that “bringing students together with engaged, accomplished engineering and automation professionals helps stimulate interest in STEM course work, which is essential for America to remain competitive in the fields of automation and technology.”

FIRST is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1989 to attract young people to career opportunities in STEM. Each year FIRST offers young people from ages six to 18 the opportunity to participate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self-confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.

AF seeks to serve as a catalyst for cultivating the next wave of automation professionals. The AF and ISA have developed initial work plans with FIRST to recruit new volunteers, mentors, and sponsors, establish new teams, and promote the work of FIRST through ongoing workforce development initiatives.

All across the U.S., business, engineering and educational leaders are forming partnerships to improve the quantity and quality of engineers and engineering technologists graduating from America’s educational system.

Many experts say that the lack of emphasis on science and math learning in our public schools is causing the U.S. to lose its edge in innovation and eroding its capacity to create new scientific and technological breakthroughs. If this trend continues, they say, America’s long-term economic growth, standard of living and national security could be undermined.

Remote monitoring of water data

Operating data of water treatment plants can be remotely monitored over a network with the new Process Monitoring System (PMS) from the Siemens Industry Automation Division.

The PMS is particularly suitable for use in swimming pools as well as the treatment of process and drinking water. Up to 32 bus addresses and therefore the same number of systems and devices, such as measuring and control systems, can be connected to the PMS via RS 485 interfaces. The monitoring system transforms the data of the connected devices into easy-to-read tables and graphics which can be called up via a network or the Internet, with special safety precautions in place. The user requires a computer or mobile end device, such as as smartphone or tablet-PC with Internet browser. Changes to all parameters important for water quality are clearly visualized in transparent trend displays. Remote parameter assignment is also possible with special password-protected access. E-mail notifications can also be set up which are then either event-driven or sent at defined times.

The PMS is equipped with a LAN port for connection to the worldwide data network. A version is also available with a 56K analog modem. In addition, the acquired values are saved on an SD card. An archive file is automatically created for each device connected to the PMS. A 2 GB card has sufficient memory capacity to archive all the data from 32 connected measuring and control systems for several years. Files containing data for one month can simply be downloaded for further evaluation and imported into Excel applications or other databases.

Dual- and triple-channel programmable power supplies

Keithley Instruments has added two multi-channel power supplies to the company’s Series 2200 line of programmable DC power supplies. Both combine the advantage of greater output accuracy than offerings from the market leader at prices that are substantially lower, as well as features that enhance ease of use in circuit design , university student labs , materials research , and device testing that requires the use of more than one power source. With these new models, Keithley now offers a range of one-, two-, and three-channel power supplies that complement its broad source and measurement instrumentation offering. 

The new supplies’ output levels are designed to address a wide range of sourcing requirements for characterizing components, circuits, modules, and complete devices. The Model 2230-30-1 supply provides two output channels, typically used for powering analog circuits, with each channel capable of outputting up to 30V/1.5A/45W, plus a 6V/5A/30W output channel, typically used for powering digital circuits. (In contrast, the market-leading three-channel supply’s analog outputs are limited to just 25V@1A.) The Model 2220-30-1 supply provides two output channels, each capable of outputting up to 30V/1.5A/45W. These maximum output levels, combined with voltage setting and reading resolution of 1mV and current setting and reading resolution of 1mA, allow generating a wider range of output power and reading a wider range of load currents with high precision.

Better Voltage and Current Output and Readback Accuracy than the Competition
With basic voltage setting accuracy and voltage readback accuracy of 0.03% for each output channel (compared to the market leader’s lower accuracy of 0.05%), Series 2200 multi-channel supply users can be confident the exact voltage they program for any channel is the level applied at the output terminals. Unlike the many competitive units that don’t offer remote sensing, rear-panel remote sense terminals on each channel of the new Series 2200 supplies compensate for voltage drops in the power supply leads to ensure that the correct voltage is delivered to the load terminals of the DUT, enhancing overall system accuracy. They also offer 0.1% basic current setting and readback accuracy (versus the market leader’s 0.15% accuracy) and less than 3mVp‑p ripple and noise to ensure high quality load current measurements.

Isolated and Independent Outputs for Greater Testing Flexibility than Competing Supplies
Each output channel is completely isolated, which allows the new supplies to power two isolated circuits with different reference points, eliminating the need for a second supply. Many competitive multi-channel supplies do not offer isolated channel outputs and cannot properly power isolated circuits. Each channel can also be turned on or off independently, so the supplies can be used to power up a circuit that requires turning on multiple voltage levels in a specified time sequence. A programmable timer allows setting up a test to run unattended, turning off the outputs after a specified interval.

Reconfigurable Outputs and Easier-to-Understand Output Displays
For applications that require supplying more than 30V or 1.5A, the new supplies’ 30V outputs can be combined in a variety of configurations, such as being wired in series to produce a 60V output with a maximum current output of 1.5A or wired in parallel to produce a 3A output at 30V. When configured this way, special display modes show the actual voltage and current for the combined pair. This is an important advantage over competitive units, which typically do not show the actual combined output, increasing the potential for confusion or incorrect interpretation of the displayed results. The new Keithley supplies also allow configuring the 30V outputs to test a bipolar circuit or maintain a user-defined ratio between the two outputs when using Tracking mode.

Protection for Delicate Devices under Test (DUTs)
Several features help protect fragile or experimental DUTs from damage during testing, including programmable voltage maximum values that prevent the accidental entry of a channel’s voltage above the pre-set value. These settings are in addition to the current limit setting function, which controls the level of current that can flow into the DUT, and each output channel’s limit can be set independently. In addition, all front panel controls can be locked using a user-definable password to prevent inadvertent changes during critical tests.

Optimised for Test System Integration
The new multi-channel power supplies are designed to perform as effectively in automated test systems as they do in manual configurations. A USB TMC-compliant device port makes it easy to control each remotely from a variety of programming environments. For example, Tektronix Edition LabVIEW SignalExpress™ from National Instruments provides all the tools needed for basic instrument control, data logging, and analysis. This programming environment, which supports a wide range of Tektronix bench instruments, can be used to automate the entire test bench or test system by providing access to the features of multiple instruments from one intuitive software interface.

Flexible Operation and High Ease of Use
A variety of features enhance the operating versatility and simplify operation of the new supplies:
• Instrument settings can be saved to one of 30 internal memory locations to save time when conducting repetitive tests.
• A rotary knob with adjustable step size simplifies studying a DUT’s response to voltage or current changes. A numeric keypad offers an alternative method of entering values precisely.
• Voltage and current outputs for all channels are shown simultaneously on the bright vacuum fluorescent display, unlike competitive units, which can display only one channel at a time.
• Standard IVI-Com and LabVIEW instrument drivers ease integration into automated test environments.