Friday, October 26, 2012

RFID systems in industry

RFID box provides pre-installed system to customers’ requirements

The new Harting RFID box makes it easy and quick to implement RFID systems in industrial environments by providing a complete solution which can be deployed immediately.

The box contains all the necessary components, from the RFID reader, power supply and fuse protection to a network switch. In the past, these individual sub-assemblies entailed labour-intensive selection and installation.

Particular features of the box are its robust design (2 mm vanadium steel), the optimum match of the installed components, and ease of installation. Thanks to its very high protection classification (IP 65), the RFID box is ideally suited to open-air applications, and is designed so that the installed components can be very easily adapted to individual customer requirements – ensuring maximum flexibility.

The RFID box is fully pre-installed and tested so that it only needs to be connected to the power supply, network and RFID aerials.

The unit is particularly suitable for applications in port areas (vehicle recognition), in the construction industry where trucks are loaded with building materials and need to be identified, or in construction environments. The fully integrated, powerful and rapid RFID readers make the box ideally suited for detecting passing trains and carriages in rail applications.

Tiny switch!

Binary-switching, magnetic-field sensitive, electronic cylinder switches of the BMF series from Balluff impress with precise and bounce-free switching response, simple handling and universal use. With the BMF 243, the sensor specialist has now rounded off its product line with magnetic field sensors for space-critical applications.

The new compact sensor offers high performance reserves for cylinders with both weak as well as with strong magnets and con-vinces with high repeat accuracy and small hysteresis. Thanks to its small dimensions of 3,8 x 24 mm 3,0, it is the ideal choice for particularly small grippers and cylinders with C-slots. The bracket is already integrated in the sensor. As a result, no additional mounting bracket is necessary: because it is simply inserted into the slot from above, it can be simply mounted anywhere the insertion point for the slot is obstructed or, for example, is covered by weld splatter and dirt. It fits completely into the cylinder slot without protruding. The switch point is adjusted in seconds using a screwdriver. The BMF 243 is supplied with a cable clip that guarantees optimum strain relief and secure cable routing.

With the miniature sensors of the BMF series from Balluff, designers can implement highly dynamic application concepts in pneumatics that can only be realized with low-weight components that have small space requirements. The BMF 243 compact sensor ideally comple-ments two other Balluff miniature sensors: the BMF 103 and the BMF 303. Now the user can freely select from two mounting concepts, the integrated bracket or mounting by means of an angle bracket in C-slots.

BMF sensors query individual positions, e.g., the end positions of pneumatic cylinders, wear-free and precisely and detect the perma-nent magnet mounted on the piston rod through the non-magnetic cylinder wall. As soon as the piston nears, the output signal switches to the other state.

Load cells for high capacity loads

Where very high capacity load cells are called for, then the Series RSL0960 tension / compression canister style load cells from RDP Electronics are up to the job.

The Series RSL0960 is designed specifically for high capacity and high accuracy test and measurement applications including lifting, testing machines and rocket motor testing for loads up to 2,000K lbf. Typically requiring long fatigue life combined with high resistance to the effects of extraneous bending and off-axis loading, the uniquely engineered RSL0960 Series load cells have a minimum deflection resulting in fast frequency response. Constructed of nickel-plated carbon steel, all RSL0960 load cells are manufactured to be shock and vibration resistant. Load cells can also be provided with high environmental protections for outdoor applications. They can be readily coupled to indicators to display test forces such as for on site checks and for lifting loads.


The FTIR-based Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS) from Gasmet Technologies, has received approval from TÜV, the international certification body, for the EN 15267-3 standard, which is more recent and more stringent than the existing German Type Approval and QAL1 certificate, EN14181. This means that the Gasmet CEMS is approved for additional calibration ranges and an increased H2O range up to 40%.

Highlighting the importance of this certificate, Gasmet’s Antti Heikkilä says “The ranges for CO, NO, SO2, H2O have been increased and this certificate demonstrates the low, fully compliant, measurement uncertainties that we can achieve. This is a good indicator of the high quality of the analyser, but it also offers practical advantages. For example, the low measurement uncertainties for N2O and CO2 (5% of measuring range or less) mean that the CEMS system can now be used to monitor Greenhouse gases for emissions trading in addition to measuring pollutants for compliance monitoring purposes.”

The TÜV certificate confirms that, following rigorous QAL1 testing, the Gasmet CEMS fully complies with EN15267-1:2009, EN15267-2:2009, EN15267-3:2009 and EN14181:2004. Covering CO, NO, NO2, N2O, SO2, HCl, HF, NH3, CO2, H2O and O2, the certificate confirms the additional calibration ranges for which the Gasmet CEMS is now approved. Gasmet’s corresponding MCERTS certificate will be updated accordingly in the near future.

Improving LIMS

The latest version of Autoscribe’s Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) provides the flexibility needed by LIMS users within a software framework that will satisfy IT Managers.

From an IT perspective, Matrix Gemini is an advanced software application for 32 or 64 bit platforms, designed specifically for the Windows environment and based on the Microsoft .NET framework. It continues Autoscribe’s unique product migration path by always ensuring compatibility with previous versions of Matrix and easy upgrades for existing customers. All maintenance releases and upgrades are provided as part of Autoscribe’s standard software support and maintenance agreement.

For users there are a host of benefits. The unique ‘OneTime configuration tools’ allow Matrix Gemini to be configured without the use of custom programming or esoteric basic scripting tools. These easy to use configuration tools include a "configuration wizard" to allow free choice of screens, workflows and menu designs, customer specific tables/modules, multiple screens for the same function (e.g. registration screens optimised for each sample category), multiple sample numbering systems and much more.

With a web browser user interface provided as standard as well as the desktop user interface, Matrix Gemini can be deployed globally via Citrix or the Web. From single user, single PC systems to multiple concurrent users connected via multiple sites, Matrix Gemini is equally suitable for both global organisations and small individual laboratories.

Matrix Gemini is designed for use in both highly regulated and unregulated laboratories. It has the tools and design to help with compliance to cGLP and cGMP and FDA 21 CFR Part 11 in pharmaceutical companies, NELAC and ISO 17025 in water testing laboratories or food testing or NAMAS / UKAS regulations. Matrix products are developed and produced in an ISO 9001:2008 certified environment with full documentation available.

Matrix Gemini also features the powerful Crystal Reports reporting tool that provides easy access to organisational data, and allows it to be formatted it with stunning visuals and delivered as interactive content within the user’s applications and via the web. Reports can readily be created, modified viewed, exported and printed.

Fieldbus training in Eastern Europe!

The Fieldbus Foundation, conducting a press conference at the University of Miskolc, (H), has announced that the university has been successful in the rigorous certification process required to become a training site that offers fieldbus training courses certified under the FOUNDATION Certified Training Program (FCTP). This program establishes uniform standards for fieldbus educational curriculum around the globe, and defines acceptable levels of learning for students of the technology.

Fieldbus Foundation's  Director, Larry O'Brien
The University of Miskolc is now the preferred site for certified FOUNDATION fieldbus training in the Central & Eastern Europe region.

There are rigorous procedures that educational institutions must follow in order to gain certified training site status, and for certifying course instructors and curriculum. Certified training centers are required to maintain multiple hosts and devices onsite in order to demonstrate competence with fieldbus technology. They are also audited to ensure their course material adheres to set instructional standards covering fieldbus segment limits; device replacements; commands, icons, menus and screen designs of different software packages; and communication, scheduling and function block assignments enabling configuration.

In addition, certified instructors are audited to see if they have achieved specified Fieldbus Foundation training goals. Instructors must demonstrate expertise in areas such as Human-Machine Interface (HMI) tools, fieldbus troubleshooting, simple device configuration, and device deployment and functionality across a fieldbus network.

FCTP is intended to raise the visibility and prestige of institutions offering certified FOUNDATION fieldbus training and ensure that the instructors delivering the courses are skilled, knowledgeable and technically competent. Through certification, the program demonstrates to prospective end user students that fieldbus training centers, and their instructors, have been thoroughly evaluated based on strict criteria, and have the necessary qualifications to provide the very best training available. Only certified institutions are permitted to use the official FCTP logo.

The Fieldbus Foundation's Global Marketing Director, Larry O'Brien, welcomed the addition of another certified establishment. He commented, "Effective and standardized training of plant personnel is the key to successful design and overall project implementation of an advanced technology such as FOUNDATION fieldbus."

He continued, "This certification program ensures a very comprehensive, vendor-neutral approach to training. The user then has the knowledge required to make an informed decision in system design; host, device and component selection; and implementing that design to ensure certainty of outcome of the project. Process end users want to maximize the benefits of their fieldbus instrumentation and control system investments–and experience has shown that training of operators, engineers and technicians is essential to getting the most out of the technology."

The FOUNDATION Certified Training Program currently offers three levels of certification, and others may be added in the future. The current certifications include FOUNDATION Certified Professional, FOUNDATION Certified Support Specialist, and FOUNDATION Certified Technical Specialist.

For many years, the University of Miskolc, Research Institute of Applied Earth Sciences – Department of Research Instrumentation and Informatics, has been actively involved with several research projects to use, develop, and teach industrial communication systems. Throughout this time, it became apparent that both users and manufacturers within the process automation industry had a fundamental lack of theoretical knowledge and practical experience of new industrial communication systems and their functionality. This inadequate knowledge was seen to have a significant and negative impact on the returns and scheduling of investment projects. In response to this, the Research Institute, with the support from several sponsoring manufacturers, established a dedicated Industrial Communication Research and Training Laboratory in 2000.

Three instructors at the University of Miskolc have been certified to conduct FOUNDATION training courses. József Subert, Viktor Füvesi and Ildikó Bölkény are all members of the Research Institute of Applied Earth Sciences – Department of Research Instrumentation and Informatics and, in addition to their teaching and research roles, are key members of the program and organizing committees of the annual Distributed Control Systems (DCS) meeting, a key event in Hungary for control engineers.

The University of Miskolc will be offering the FOUNDATION Certified Support Specialist course. Registrations can be made via the Education/End User Certified Training Section of the Fieldbus Foundation website and Certified Training Center – Miskolc website.

Dr. Károly Jónap, Head of Department of Research Instrumentation and Informatics, commented, "Certification is important for the University of Miskolc because we are formally recognized by the foundation as a high quality training center. This will give our customers a guarantee that the content of our courses, the course materials and the knowledge of our trainers are up to date. We are looking forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with the Fieldbus Foundation."

Jürgen George, Chairman of the Fieldbus Foundation Central & Eastern Europe Marketing Committee (FFCEEMC), is delighted that the University of Miskolc has gained its accreditation. "One of the key objectives of the FFCEEMC is to provide technical training, support and information about FOUNDATION technology and its applications to users and potential users throughout the CEE region at a local venue and, where possible, in a local language. To have a certified training center here in Hungary that can support the CEE region's technical training needs is a great achievement for all those involved."

Around the world, institutions currently certified under the FCTP program include: Fieldbus Center at Lee College, United States; Trine University, United States; SAIT Polytechnic, Canada; STC Group – Brielle, The Netherlands, University of Miskolc, Hungary; Waseda University, Japan; and King Mongkut's Institute of Technology, Thailand. Other training centers participating in the program include: Sinopec Yanshan, China.

Pipe-clamp sensor

A simple, fast solution for adding temperature measurements and increased process visibility in areas where intrusive sensors are not possible

Emerson Process Management announces the release of its Rosemount® 0085 non-intrusive Pipe Clamp Sensor, a simple, fast solution for adding reliable temperature measurements and increased process visibility.

Plant operators need accurate temperature measurements that provide critical insight into their operation. This innovative temperature measurement solution allows efficient data capture in applications where intrusive measurements are not possible due to excessive stress placed on sensors with thermowells.

The Pipe Clamp Sensor is optimised for ideal sensor-pipe contact and heat transfer, with a spring-loaded sensor and a highly conductive flat nickel or silver sensor tip. Its robust design was built to hold a transmitter in its assembly, and when paired with the Rosemount 648 wireless transmitter, the sensor gives operators immediate access to reliable temperature measurements, with no process intrusion.

With the 0085 non-intrusive Pipe Clamp Sensor, process manufacturers will have enhanced visibility across their operation, and be better positioned to resolve issues proactively, improve operations, and meet quality and production targets while lowering costs. The Pipe Clamp Sensor is easy to configure and maintain, and its simple two-bolt design makes it easy to install.

Ethernet switches

Gigabit Ethernet switches manage increasing demand for high-speed communication networks on-board rail vehicles

Westermo has further enhanced its Viper range of compact, managed Ethernet switches with the introduction of four new twelve-port devices designed to manage Gigabit networks. The Ethernet and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) devices help meet the growing demand for communication networks with higher data rates on-board railway rolling stock to support video, LCDs and wireless LAN access points. The new devices are part of Westermo’s innovative IP Train concept that delivers a complete Ethernet switch and routing solution to provide a robust network infrastructure for the creation of intelligent trains.

The four new models provide a range of standard Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, and PoE port options as well as additional routing functionality. The Viper-112-T3G has three Gigabit Ethernet ports and nine standard Ethernet ports. The Viper 212-T3G provides the same port configuration, but with additional routing capability to enable the connection of subnets and improved overall network performance.

The Viper-112-T3-P8 offers three Gigabit ports, a single standard Ethernet port and eight Power-over-Ethernet ports that support the IEEE 802.3at `plug-and-play' PoE communications standard. PoE enables both power and data to be transmitted on a single multi-core cable, especially useful for camera applications, reducing overall wiring and enabling faster installation. The Viper 212-T3G-P8 provides the same port configuration, but extends the functionality by offering routing capability. The Viper PoE switches deliver up to 66W of power across their eight PoE ports and are able to isolate the input DC voltage from the connected devices, to protect them from power surges. Power distribution is managed, with ports `tuned’ to maximise distribution efficiency.

Specifically designed to provide highly robust networks and long term field operation, the Viper range exceeds the EN 50155 on-board railway standard for electronic equipment, which encompasses not only EMC requirements, but also shock, vibration, extended temperature range and humidity. The Viper switches achieve high mean time between failures, ensuring the extremely long-term and reliable field operation that is expected within the railway industry.

As well as high levels of reliability, the switches offer unique functionality that simplifies the creation, installation and maintenance of networks. The Viper switches’ WeOS operating system provides an extensive suite of IP networking standards allowing resilient and flexible networks to be created. The operating system is able to detect any rail car position changes, rotations and additions, and then compensate for such changes in the network without any manual reconfiguration. To ease installation and maintenance, Viper switches and any connecting devices can be configured with identical IP addresses in each carriage. This simplifies the overall IP plan and standardises configurations.

WeOS is also able to balance data traffic on the network to maintain maximum throughput and stability. The introduction of increased traffic from new cameras or video stream will therefore not affect the stability of the entire network. In the event of any link or hardware failure Westermo’s unique FRNT technology is able to re-configure a large network in 20ms.

New member for wireless standards group

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) has announced that Forbes Marshall, an India-based steam engineering and control instrumentation company, has joined ISA100 WCI as a supplier member.

For over half a century, Forbes Marshall has been building steam engineering and control instrumentation solutions for the process industry. Forbes Marshall's goal is to deliver solutions in energy, efficiency and process automation, using the best technology the world has to offer.

“We are excited to join the growing membership of the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute and promote the benefits of ISA-100.11a, while simultaneously working to certify our wireless products as ISA-100.11.a conformant,” said Vinod Joshi, manager of research and development at Forbes Marshall. “Forbes Marshall has demonstrated leadership in process efficiency and energy conservation through technology tie-ups and focused investments in manufacturing and research. ISA-100.11a represents best-in-class wireless technology for the process industries and aligns with our corporate philosophy to be recognized as a trusted partner who provides innovative solutions.”

“We welcome Forbes Marshall as a new member and applaud their enthusiasm in promoting and building products based on ISA-100.11a wireless technology,” said Andre Ristaino, managing director of ISA100 WCI. “Customers around the globe are taking notice of the expanding portfolio of ISA-100.11a wireless products and realizing the benefits of the flexible, open wireless networking technology.”

Supplier selection service

Simplifies supplier selection process, creates consensus, and helps ensure fact-based decisions

ARC Advisory Group has released ARC STAR (Solutions That Accelerate Results), a domain-specific supplier selection service. This on-line, cloud-based, hosted solution provides easy-to-use tools that define a process and selection criteria for making strategic supplier selections. ARC clients can now make use of ARC’s proven supplier selection process, in an on-line, hosted, and guided environment. ARC STAR will be available for most key enterprise, automation, and manufacturing software application areas. At this release, ARC STAR is available for Advanced Process Control (APC), Analytics for Operational Excellence, Batch Control Systems, Collaborative Production Management/MES (for Discrete and Process Industries), and Distributed Control Systems (DCS).

ARC STAR – Supplier Selection Service guides users through a step-by-step process selecting and evaluating suppliers and their products against specific application and cultural requirements. The process guides the user through the project and team definition, reviewing and editing ARC-provided selection criteria and supplier questions, weighing selection criteria, developing a supplier Request for Information (RFI) list, evaluating supplier responses, and developing a final ranking of RFI results. ARC STAR then fully documents the process and results for management review and approval. ARC STAR helps ensure inclusive, fact-based, impartial supplier evaluations and selections, free of the user bias issues that typically hamper these activities. In addition, ARC estimates that ARC STAR can reduce the cost and effort of a supplier selection process by well over 50 percent.

“ARC STAR is a new area of value for ARC end user clients. We have been involved in many custom supplier selection processes over the past 25 years and have used this expertise to create a simple, cost-effective service, for others to use,” says ARC President Andy Chatha. “The ARC STAR of-fering will expand from the current six domains to over a dozen in the coming months.”

Dispensing water hot or chilled or sparkling

IGT Industries has supplied an innovative control solution to the advanced water systems supplier Vivreau for their Vi Tap which dispenses chilled still and sparkling water, plus boiling water from a single tap.

Established in the late 1980’s, Vivreau has grown to become a global leader in the development and manufacture of purified drinking water systems. Vivreau believe that water systems are more than just a vending machine and should be designed to suit individual environments.

The new Vivreau Vi Tap replaces older technology tap head units with a new and innovative user interface proving customers with extra features which needed an HMI interface to match. The sleek and modern tap head control unit design imposed severe space constraints and required a solution from IGT including both capacitive switching and their proprietary thin film backlighting.

IGT were selected by Vivreau as they had the ability to turn the design concepts into a working end product, providing, in-house, all the design, manufacturing, assembly and control software. IGT has many years of experience in manufacturing such complex parts and ensuring the right materials are selected for reliable long term operation...

Their capacitive switching was the chosen HMI solution as it has no moving parts, requires zero maintenance, has an easily cleaned surface and is a familiar interface for those already used to using touch sensitive technology. IGT’s thin film backlighting provides a control surface less than 1.5mm thick, creates bright, clear and even illumination with no light spill between buttons and can be animated if required. Colour options are infinite and include tricolour LED’s providing very clear and positive feedback to user input with low power consumption.

The combination of capacitive switching and thin film backlighting enables environmental sealing to a high level which can be used in many sectors, both consumer and industrial, with a range of control interface protocols including I²C, UART, USB and more.

Sales and Marketing Director for IGT, Terry Moss, says that “The new Vivreau Vi Tap is an excellent example of what IGT does best. Working closely with a customer to provide an innovative human machine interface which not only fulfils the technical and environmental requirements of a design but provides an outstanding aesthetic solution.”

IGT-Industries have been at the forefront of Man Machine Interface technology for more than twenty years and have been responsible for many technological innovations now in common use. These include numerous backlighting techniques, integral RFI screening and most recently the development of capacitive switching systems, both touch screen based and single press control panels with optional back-lighting. IGT products are widely used in rail, marine, aviation, industrial and medical markets.


The ISA Ireland Section partnership and sponsorship programme with automation companies active in Ireland is a recent innovation with this very active section. It is a method of supporting ISA Ireland in promoting Automation and also benefiting participating companies by introducing them to ISA membership and giving them exposure at ISA Ireland events.

The latest company to sign up as an ISA Ieland Partner is Rockwell Automation.
Picture shows: ISA Ireland Membership Chairman Billy Walsh, Trish Kelly – Rockwell Automation, HR Manager, Denis Gorey – Rockwell Automation, Ireland Team Lead and John Downey as Past President of ISA Ireland.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tracking modules!

Vehicle tracking modules deliver high application performance and reliability plus direct manufacturer support for best cost-of-ownership

Astra Telematics has launched its latest generation of modules, using state-of-the-art GPS and processing technologies to support cutting-edge capabilities and benchmark power efficiency.

The AT240 and AT110 modules combine the highly accurate and sensitive SiRFStar IV GPS module with a high-performance low-power ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor and the Telit GE865 GSM/GPRS modem. Ultra-efficient power management, designed in-house by Astra, enables the modules to remain awake continuously without imposing excessive drain on the vehicle battery.

“Our new modules provide up to the minute features and are designed, built and directly supported by Astra allowing customers to achieve outstanding performance, reliability and competitive cost of ownership,” said Phil Vella, managing director, Astra Telematics.

The modules support a wide variety of telematics functions. External interfaces include CAN2.0B plus digital and analogue I/Os for connecting devices such as temperature sensors. The CANBus interface supports FMS2.0 which provides a variety of useful data such as fuel consumption, and OBD2, which is mainly for vehicle service/diagnostics information. An embedded MEMS accelerometer to allow monitoring of driver behaviour (acceleration, braking, cornering), collision detection, tow alarm and “wake on motion” power management. Users can also optimise settings such as SMS limits, GSM roaming and reporting intervals, and set device-based geo-fencing for applications such as tracking high-value goods. The modules also support convenient iButton operator authentication, and offer schedule based immobilisation, based on a 7 day hourly schedule. The unit features five digital outputs or external load switches.

The AT240 is a self-contained module featuring an integrated antenna and a moulded IP67-sealed enclosure designed for easy mounting in automotive applications. The AT110 is a miniaturised module for use with external GSM and GPS antennas, housed in a sturdy aluminium enclosure and ideal for use as part of a larger in-vehicle system. The modules are supplied with full documentation and backed by manufacturer support, enabling Application Service Providers (ASPs) and system integrators to deliver turnkey solutions quickly and ensure low cost of ownership for end users.

PXI programmable resistors

NI Adds PXI Programmable Resistor Modules to Embedded Software Validation and Hardware-in-the-Loop Platforms

National Instruments has announced a new family of PXI and PXI Express programmable resistor modules that replicate the behaviour of resistance-based devices such as potentiometers, resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) and resistive loads. The modules include a range of five to 18 channels, so engineers can choose the best module that scales to meet requirements for applications ranging from single unit validation of an automotive engine control unit to system integration testing for an entire network of airplane control systems.

Four new PXI and PXI Express programmable resistor modules extend the NI hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) platform to meet custom requirements in a variety of HIL testing applications for embedded software validation. It includes example programs and reference VIs to help engineers easily create custom NI LabVIEW applications and NI VeriStand plug-ins to meet their requirements.

“The new PXI programmable resistor modules add to our broad offering of hardware and software for hardware-in-the-loop testing,” said Ian Fountain, Director of HIL and Real-Time test for NI. “NI continues to add unique value for engineers solving rapidly changing embedded software validation problems with easy-to-use, commercially available tools based on our graphical system design approach.”

Camera & lighting for food industry

Stemmer Imaging has boosted its portfolio of products for use in the food industry with the addition of a wide range of camera and lighting housings. Available in food grade materials, housings compatible with FDA regulated washdown applications are also available.

The housings are manufactured in 316 stainless steel by the Allison Park Group Inc, and are available in versions capable of supporting more than 40 industrial vision cameras and a variety of lenses and illumination sources. Enclosures have been carefully designed to reduce pockets where moisture could accumulate, while providing easy access to the camera and lens to make mounting, positioning, focusing, alignment and servicing as simple as possible. Camera lenses can be adjusted close to the viewport to reduce reflections.

Standard cable glands on the enclosures use a split insert to provide a watertight seal around one or more cables. The gland allows passage of the standard I/O and power cable (and an Ethernet cable) without removal of the connectors from the cables. Each housing is highly configurable, with air cooling and air curtain faceplate options and a choice of window materials. An optional 3 axis (pan, tilt, roll) mounting provides even greater flexibility for camera alignment.

Co-operation means modern software suite more accessible to Irish market

GE Intelligent Platforms has teamed up with Gilroys to help promote and service GE’s Proficy Software Suite in the Irish Market. The Proficy software suite is developed by GE’s Intelligent Products division and channelled through Kerrco Automation in Ireland and the Britain.
Gayle Walker presenting Premier Solution Certification to Michael Fitzgibbon of Gilroys. Also included are Terry Siggins of GE-IP and Martin Hurley of Gilroys.
“Gilroys’ reputation, highly skilled engineering team and their focus of our software suite was a deciding factor in choosing them as our Premier Solution Provider for the Irish market” said Terry Siggins, Sales Director with GE-IP, at an award ceremony at Gilroys Cork office in Ringaskiddy.

The appointment coincides with the release of Proficy Historian 5.0. Proficy Historian is a powerful, enterprise-wide data historian that collects, archives and distributes tremendous volumes of real-time production information at extremely high speeds. Proficy Historian improves visibility, provides context to raw data, and aggregates islands of information–resulting in better and faster decisions, increased productivity and reduced costs across the enterprise.

A further recent enhancement to the Proficy Suite is availability of Proficy for Sustainability Metrics providing companies with Real-Time Insight into machine and facility energy consumption -- driving an overall reduction of energy. Proficy for Sustainability Metrics collects and displays information from a wide variety of data sources and contextualizes it quickly into cost and greenhouse gas produced. Proficy for Sustainability Metrics can monitor data from potable water, chilled water, electricity, steam systems as well as other independent data sources with easy setup and minimal engineering time.

Gilroys have already delivered Proficy based solutions to MSD, Pfizer, Servier, Wellman International, Tara Mines and a host of Irish manufacturers.

“Backed by GE-IP we see long term sustainable growth for our Irish partner” said Terry Siggins.

Valve for dust collector systems

ATEX certified series 353 pulse valve is ideally suited to challenging environments in the agricultural, grain, food, pharmaceutical, chemical, wood, plastics and cement industries

ASCO Numatics has introduced a 316L stainless steel version of its series 353 pulse valve for use in dust collector systems. Certified to ATEX Category II 2G/D Zone 1 + 2 for explosive areas, it has been introduced to meet the growing demand for valves for challenging environments in the agricultural, grain, food, pharmaceutical, chemical, wood, plastics and cement industries.

The valve has the same features as the existing aluminium version and is suitable for control with either remote ASCO pilot valves or an integral solenoid. The diaphragm pulse valve combines high flow, long life and extremely fast opening and closing to provide a reliable and cost effective solution. The valves are available as ¾”, 1” and 1½” threaded versions and can be mounted in any position without affecting their operation.

The series 353 pulse valve is part of a complete range of dust collector products from ASCO Numatics that includes power pulse valves, pilot valves, pilot boxes, sequential controllers, pressure differential modules, tank systems and air preparation equipment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Promoting "The Internet of Things!"

Impulse to help deliver Intelligent Systems to the embedded marketplace

Advantech has selected Impulse Corporation Ltd as its first global partner to help promote the concept of The Internet of Things within the applied computing industry.

The Internet of Things, (IoT), is becoming more prevalent in today’s worldwide industrial market, offering scalable, future-proof and cost-effective designs in the next generation of industrial and embedded platforms. This is achieved through connectivity of intelligent devices and intelligent systems, and universal interconnectivity through IP networks and the Internet. Advantech and Impulse are now working together to deliver the promise of The Internet of Things. As part of this promise, Impulse is set to share its extensive product and system design knowledge with the industrial computing market.

Following Advantech’s launch event held in July 2012, in which they discussed and promoted the concept of The Internet of Things, Advantech identified Impulse as a key partner in the delivery of their intelligent devices and systems to Britain. Impulse’s experience in a wide range of industrial applications was key to Advantech choosing Impulse as one of the authorities in the industry.

Craig Wright, Operations Director at Impulse, speaks of their inclusion in this highly important development: “I am delighted that Impulse has been chosen to be part of Advantech’s vision for the future development of The Internet of Things in the industrial and embedded market. Impulse has over twenty years of experience in the applied computing industry and has seen and been part of the recent move towards global intelligent systems in the industrial marketplace whilst maintaining the traditional mythology of industrial computing system design and application.”

Craig continues “Our extensive knowledge allows us to give first class local product design, development and project support for all our customers whilst utilising the comprehensive range of Advantech eAutomation, embedded and industrial computing product and solutions. We continue to work closely and effectively with customers to help achieve their objectives, and with Advantech alongside us, we are confident in continuing to provide long-term, cost-effective and reliable products and solutions. Impulse believes that The Internet of Things is a gateway to a more efficient and intelligent way of connecting embedded and automation based industrial systems. Advantech clearly share this vision and together we are making the next steps toward 'Enabling and Intelligent Planet'".

Practical examples of where The Internet of Things concept has grown in the industrial computing sector include real time analysis and control of traffic monitoring systems, where sensors can remotely adjust highway signage dependant conditions such as traffic speed, weather conditions and time of day.

Another intelligent system example would be the collection and analysis of data from a factory or building automation system. Scalable analog and digital I/O devices, using a mixture of wired and wireless communication protocols, ensure important data such as device health, status and performance can be collected, stored and analysed on a single, centralised platform or cloud server.
The health and stability of such systems can be monitored remotely through various networked devices and remote I/O modules. Tasks like these, which would have originally required an engineer to check on-site, can now be done remotely from a single control centre. Such functionality can free up service engineer resources, and more importantly, save time and money.

Digital signage is another area where the concept of The Internet of Things has influenced the way next-generation signage hardware is designed. Traditionally, digital signage systems would have been updated locally. In the example of a chain of retail stores, each with locally managed signage, many companies found that signage was not being updated, often advertising inconsistent and out of date promotions. In modern times, with the influence of The Internet of Things, next-generation digital signage systems have been designed to be updated remotely, allowing for consistent, up-to-date and targeted marketing campaigns.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3D load cells

Load cell designer and manufacturer LCM Systems is now able to offer its customers 3D models as standard on all its customised load cells. As well as supplying a comprehensive range of stock load cells, the company supplies customised sensors for a wide range of applications in a number of industrial markets, including the oil and gas, process control and materials handling.

“We have been providing 3D models on request for a couple of years.” says Steve Sargeant, Managing Director at LCM Systems. “However, now we are being increasingly asked to provide 3D models so customers are able to rotate the images in all planes to ensure that the load cell is suitable for their particular applications. Our design department has recently been evaluating a number of different software packages and we have now decided on the best one that suits both our customers’ needs and ours.”

LCM Systems recognises that offering customers 3D models and 3D interactive PDFs will help them visualise the load cells in situ and enables changes to be made relatively easily and quickly before the product goes to manufacture.

Test instrumentation

Keithley Instruments has introduced seven instrumentation, software, and test fixture configurations for parametric curve tracing applications for characterizing high power devices at up to 3,000V and 100A. They’re optimised to provide the industry’s most cost-effective solution for characterizing the growing number of high power semiconductor devices, including those based on silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) technology. These systems offer the power required for the vast majority of high power device design and development applications, and are optimized to address the characterization and test needs of research, reliability, failure analysis, and power device applications engineers; power device designers; incoming inspection technicians; and many others.

Lee Stauffer, a Keithley staff technologist, notes, “Many power device developers have told us they like the dynamic range and ease of use of a traditional curve tracer, but they know they need more flexibility in configuring the measurement channels, as well as the accuracy, capability, and graphical user interface that a modern parametric analyzer offers.”

In sharp contrast with solutions that require all instrumentation to be housed in a chassis, all seven Keithley configurations offer the flexibility to add new measurement channels economically as users’ needs evolve, with no need to return the system to the factory to install new hardware. For example, someone could start with an entry level Parametric Curve Tracer, then add the capabilities of additional System SourceMeter® instruments, such as higher voltage and/or higher current, at a later date. Six different System SourceMeter instrument models can be mixed and matched to create the optimum combination of voltage, current and power for the user’s specific needs. Keithley’s TSP‑Link® virtual backplane technology makes it easy to incorporate any number of Source-Measure channels, all of which are fully and automatically synchronized with other SourceMeter instruments in the system.

All seven configurations include the latest version of Keithley’s ACS (Automated Characterization Suite) Basic Edition software, which supports Keithley’s newest SMUs and takes maximum advantage of the Series 2600B’s TSP-Link connection trigger model, which allows for 500ns trigger synchronization between instruments. This tighter synchronization capability maximizes the high speed pulse mode capabilities of the new Model 2651A and Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter instruments. The Windows-compatible ACS Basic Edition package provides control and analysis tools well-suited for high power device characterization, including complete parametric test libraries for MOSFETs, BJTs, triacs, diodes, IGBTs, and other device types. The software’s “trace” mode, which uses an on-screen slider control that works much like the power control knob on a traditional analog curve tracer, allows users to control the level of voltage and current levels sourced interactively and to see how the power device responds in real time. The software’s “parametric” mode provides a “fill-in-the-blanks” GUI to configure a test precisely and a comprehensive set of tools for precise parameter extraction. All seven bundles also include all cabling and adapters required for system assembly, as well as a number of sample power devices useful for training and demonstration purposes.

Motion control at Robot Show!

Network Controller, Application Software, and new and expanded products

For over 20 years Elmo has provided the robotics industry with comprehensive, powerful, precise, safe, and durable motion control solutions ― a selection of which are being shown at the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit 2012 (Pittsburgh, PA, U.S., Oct. 22-24).

Gold Maestro
Their solution comprises a multi-axis network controller (Gold Maestro) that handles up to 100 axes and supports EtherCAT and CANopen; the Elmo Application Studio (EAS) design environment that can program, tune, configure, optimize, set-up, and network any single and multi-axis servo drive application; and three lines of high-density servo drives that are compliant with a wide range of industry standards and protocols.

It allows Elmo to accommodate efficiently and consistently the automated motion requirements of any application with any level of complexity, any level of precision, any motion or combination of motions, any power requirement, any voltage, any servo drive motor, any environment, and any feedback.

To continue to do so, Elmo invests heavily in R&D to develop new solutions and products and to expand existing ones. For example, the Whistle and Gold Whistle servo drive lines now have a 200 V power range, the Trombone 12 A/400 V has been expanded to 16 A/400 V, and the Gold Trombone 8 A/800 V to 12 A/800 V.

These products can be explored at Elmo's booth, as well as the new, 65 kW Gold Drum HV 100 A/800 V servo drive ― an ideal servo drive for high, power demanding industry applications, varying from machine tools, big Gantry systems, spherical robot arms, pick and place machines, and many others. It provides exceptional power/volume and servo performances, incomparable to any other solution available in the market today.

Power quality & energy analysis

The latest Fluke Power Quality and Energy Analyser captures 400Hz measurements in critical avionic power systems

A new power quality and energy analyser designed specifically for technicians in avionics and the defence industry has been introduced by Fluke. Featuring the most advanced power quality functions available in a rugged, reliable handheld tool, the Fluke 437 Series II 400Hz Power Quality and Energy Analyser is the ideal tool for submarine, aircraft, military ship and other transport applications where 400Hz measurements are mission critical.

The 437 is the latest model in the Fluke 430 Series II Three Phase Power Analysers, the first tools to use a patented algorithm, Unified Power Management, to measure and quantify energy losses due to harmonics and unbalance issues, allowing users to pinpoint the origin of energy waste within a system.

Both the 435 and the 437 models include PowerWave, a fast capture system that displays waveforms and half cycle RMS voltage and current values in full detail to measure interactions during switching operations to prevent motor/drive/load mismatches.

They are fully compliant with IEC 61000-4-30 Class-A. Each can monitor systems with up to ten power quality parameters on one screen, can record up to 150 parameters on four phases simultaneously, in accordance with the EN50160 standard, and are safety rated to 600V CAT IV/1000V CAT III.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Temperature transmitter

Features a modular design can easily be customized for any application

Emerson Process Management has released an enhanced Rosemount 644 Temperature Transmitter, featuring ease-of-use improvements and a modular design that enables customised functionality at each process point.

"We are excited to unveil this innovative addition to Emerson’s complete portfolio of temperature measurement solutions," said Nick Grant, Emerson Process Management’s vice president of worldwide temperature. "The 644 transmitter’s modularity, along with its comprehensive diagnostics, unmatched accuracy and proven reliability, gives users valuable clarity into their process so they can achieve much greater efficiency, reduce business and safety risks, and consistently meet production and quality targets."

The modular components of the Rosemount 644 Temperature Transmitter give users the flexibility to truly maximise their instrumentation investment. Users can easily customise the base model to fit any application, so they only purchase what they need, and have more to spend on additional measurement points. A thoughtful, human-centred design makes the device easy to wire, with clear, straightforward diagrams and improved accessibility. A simplified transmitter interface and second sensor input help to minimise installation and maintenance time, and increase productivity.

Key capabilities now available in the 644 include Hot Backup™ and Sensor Drift Alert, which ensure seamless performance in the event of a sensor failure, and advance notification of potential issues so users can be proactive and maintain total process control. The enhanced 644 is SIL2 safety certified to meet any safety application requirement and users receive full documentation for easy SIS compliance. The new Local Operator Interface (LOI) option is provides a cost-effective and convenient solution for on-the-spot commissioning and in-field configuration. With its intuitive menu structure, users have immediate access to the information they need to troubleshoot issues, validate measurements or make adjustments to ensure efficiency and reliability.

For over 50 years, Emerson’s innovative Rosemount temperature portfolio has provided reliable temperature measurement to the process industry.

Accidental arcing!

Inproving protection against accidental arcing within electrical switchgear systems

A key objective for Rittal when developing Ri4Power modular system was the protection against accidental arcing. Internal arcing could lead to production downtime but more importantly is a danger to personnel.

Rittal carried out extensive testing to ensure that the Ri4Power complied with the stringent IEC 61641 standard. Segregation and insulation of busbars ensures that screws and tools can no longer become in contact with unprotected busbars, functional units and terminals, thus reducing the risk of internal arcing.

Shhh! Quietness for the patient!

New additions to the Powerstax Multistax and Medistax low profile configurable power supply ranges offer low acoustic noise power solutions for audio, broadcast, office and home applications and patient monitoring and medical equipment where ambient noise is required to be kept to a minimum. Both new low-noise ranges have a standard noise output of 42.7dBA with an additional ultra-quiet version measured at just 38.3dBA being available, providing 800W maximum output.

These new high efficiency power supplies carry full safety agency approvals including UL and EN60950 and EN60601-1 3rd Edition and meet EMI limits, including FCC Class B and EN55022 Class B as well as all relevant Immunity limits.

The Multistax and Medistax low-noise power supplies can provide up to 1200W in an extremely compact 1U x 260mm x 127mm package, while offering industry leading power density of 15W/in3 and efficiencies of up to 90%. Designed around an innovative plug and play architecture users can configure a custom power solution in less than 5 minutes. The Medistax family offers 4000VAC isolation with less than 300μA leakage current and a 150μA option is available.

Standard output voltages from 1.5 to 24VDC are available and all output modules are isolated allowing them to be combined in series or parallel for non-standard output voltages or higher current requirements.

For higher power requirements the Powerstax A3600, based on the Multistax low-noise platform, can provide single and very flexible multiple output solutions up to 3600 watts of output power in a 1U high and 350mm deep 19“ rack mount package.

Rob Hill, Director of Sales - EMEA for Powerstax, comments: “These latest additions to our Multistax and Medistax product ranges offer system designers low-noise, simple to integrate, very flexible, high efficiency and high reliability power solutions.”

Powerstax designs and manufactures an extensive range of standard, value-added and custom AC & DC power solutions for a broad range of fixed and mobile applications including hot swap front- end AC-DC bulk power, DC-DC converter bricks and modules and programmable, modular rack mounted power supplies.

The main markets served by Powerstax include industrial, defence, transportation, avionics, telecoms, datacoms, IT, test, measurement and control, medical equipment and all commercial markets. For more information contact or visit

HMI company taken over

IGT Industries Ltd has been acquired by the Stadium Group. Stadium Group plc is an AIM‐Listed company employing over 1100 people across operations in the Britain and Asia.

Stephen Phipson (L), CEO of Stadium Group
& Nick Giles, MD IGT Industries.
PIC: The Southern Daily Echo.
The core businesses of the Stadium Group include the design and manufacture of power supply products and Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS). The acquisition supports a strategy to build an electronic business with a portfolio of adjacent products and technologies, offering synergies and economies of scale. IGT will adopt the new trading name of Stadium IGT Limited and will remain at the current site in Eastleigh with day‐to‐day running of operations unchanged.

The acquisition also sees Terry Moss take up the position of Sales and Marketing Director. Moss comments; “This acquisition will benefit our customers by offering access to wider products and services within the Stadium Group including access to Stadium’s global supply chain in Asia. We now have the financial stability of being backed by a major UK PLC and going forward with a commitment by Stadium to invest in IGT’s core product offerings and technology.”

Stadium IGT, now part of Stadium Group plc, have been at the forefront of Man Machine Interface technology for more than twenty years and have been responsible for many technological innovations now in common use. These include numerous backlighting techniques, integral RFI screening and most recently the development of capacitive switching systems, both touch screen based and single press control panels with optional back-lighting. Stadium IGT products are widely used in rail, marine, aviation, industrial and medical markets.

Remote display function and more added to crane scales

MSI’s Challenger and Port-A-Weigh crane scales have been a staple of the MSI line for decades, popular in industries ranging from petro-chemical and aerospace to agriculture, marine, metals and more. They have now enhanced functionality of both models to allow use with the new MSI-8000 RF Remote Display.

Adding MSI-8000 RF Remote Display compatibility is a major advantage for these field proven products. According to MSI sales representative, Kyle McKinney, “Our MSI-8000 offers users the added advantage of seeing and controlling weight data wirelessly from a safe distance”. The MSI-8000 has been industry tested for reliable use at distances up to 100 feet, and uses a rechargeable battery for a minimum 24 hours of continuous use.

In addition to remote-capability enhancement, the MSI-4260 electronics were completely refreshed from the ground up to include MSI’s exclusive ScaleCore™ technology, their most advanced weight-processor package, that offers improved speed and performance. MSI-4260 now also includes a more durable marine-strength bulkhead casting, and an upgraded display package for better visibility in low-light settings. An upgrade package is available to customers with original MSI-4260 and MSI-3460 equipment.