Friday, November 30, 2012

Techniques and tools of advanced control for the process

New ISA publication explains the concepts, techniques and tools of advanced control for the process industry, and furnishes practical examples of application and capabilities with web-based workshops

A new book that explains the concepts and terminology of advanced control, and highlights the advanced control tools and techniques most widely and effectively applied in the process industry has been added to the International Society of Automation's (ISA) Bookstore.

Authors: Blevins, Wojsznis & Nixon
Advanced Control Foundation: Tools, Techniques, and Applications by Terrence L. “Terry” Blevins, Willy K. Wojsznis and Mark Nixon is designed to help control engineers and process engineers gain a more thorough understanding of the concepts and capabilities of advanced control products and solutions, which have been proven to reduce variation in plant operation, achieve production targets and improve plant production. The first print run of this book made it to the ISA's bookstore at September's Automation Week but it really hit the big-time at Emerson's User Group Meeting in October, where Susan Colwell, ISA's Publications intrepid Publications Development Manager, reported that the "ISA Bookstore has been hopping since early a.m!.." highlighting this book.

“The book is ideally suited to process and control engineers who have a sound understanding of conventional control techniques but have little or no background on advanced control,” says Blevins, who was instrumental in establishing Emerson Process Management’s Advanced Control Program and, along with his co-authors, has extensive experience in the design and startup of advanced control solutions. “It provides practical examples that allow readers to quickly become familiar with the advanced control techniques commonly utilized in the process industry today. In addition, the web site that accompanies the book  presents workshops on commercially available solutions that apply the advanced control concepts and techniques outlined in the book.“

The three authors draw on their decades of collective experience in designing and applying advanced process control systems across industries, namely oil and gas, refining, chemicals, pulp and paper, cement, steel and mining. Together, the authors have developed numerous innovative process control products, written well over 100 technical papers, and introduced more than 150 patents.

The book is primarily targeted to control engineers responsible for the commission, installation and maintenance of control systems and the advanced control tools installed in process plants, and to process engineers charged with improving process operations and efficiency. It’s also highly relevant to engineering students interested in how advanced control is utilized in the process industry.

The book explains in detail the primary advanced control techniques that are most commonly used in the process industry for: monitoring control system performance; on-demand and adaptive tuning; model predictive control; linear programming (LP) optimisation; data analytics for batch and continuous processes; fuzzy logic control; neural networks; and advancements in proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controllers for use with wireless measurements.

Each chapter is designed to quickly educate readers on various technologies and how they are applied. Examples are used to clearly illustrate the requirements for successful applications. A section of each chapter is dedicated to in-depth explanations of the mathematical basis for each technology.

Since some automation professionals work with distributed control systems (DCS) that do not support advanced control, a chapter of the book outlines techniques that can integrate advanced control tools into existing control systems. In addition, another chapter addresses how dynamic process simulations can be created in a DCS to support checkout and operator training on the use of advanced control.

All three authors are employed by Emerson Process Management, a global supplier of process automation services and technologies. Blevins, a principal technologist at the company, is responsible for more than 50 patents and has written over 70 papers on process control system design and applications. He is the US expert to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) SC65E WG7 function block committee that is responsible for the IEC 61804 function block standards. He is a voting member and chairman of ISA SP104-EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language) committee and is the technical advisor to the United States Technical Advisory Group (USTAG) for the IEC65E subcommittee.

Blevins authored seven sections of the Process/Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook, contributed to the Instrumentation Engineer’s Handbook: Process Control and Optimization, and co-authored Advanced Control Unleashed and Control Loop Foundation, which are among ISA’s top-selling books.

He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville in 1971 and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1973. In 2004, Blevins was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Wojsznis has been developing advanced control products --- with a particular focus on model predictive control, data analytics and auto tuning --- for more than 20 years. In his role with Emerson Process Management, he conducts applied research in the areas of optimization, adaptive control, data analytics and model predictive control.

Wojsznis co-authored ISA’s Advanced Control Unleashed and Control Loop Foundation. Through his career, he has developed computer control systems and applications for the cement, steel, mining and paper industries. His work has resulted in more than 30 patents and more than 40 technical papers. He received a control engineering degree from Kiev Technical University in 1964, a master of science degree in applied mathematics from Wroclaw University in 1972, and a doctorate degree from Warsaw University of Technology in 1973.

In 2010, Wojsznis was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Nixon has been involved in the design and development of control systems throughout his career. He began his career as a systems engineer working on projects in oil and gas, refining, chemicals, and pulp and paper.

From 1995 to 2005, Nixon was lead architect at Emerson Process Management. In 2006 he joined the company’s wireless team, taking an active role in the development of the WirelessHART specifications and the development of the IEC 62591 standardization. HIs current research includes control using WirelessHART devices, data analytics for batch processes, wireless technology in the process industry, web-based user interfaces, operator interfaces and advanced graphics.

He is active in the Center for Operator Performance, WirelessHART, S88, Foundation Fieldbus ISA standards, and ISA101. He has written numerous papers and currently holds over 70 patents. He coauthored WirelessHART: Real-Time Mesh Network for Industrial Automation and has made contributions to the Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook and Modern Measurement and Final Element Essentials for the Process Industry.

Nixon co-authored the ISA best-selling book, Control Loop Foundation also with Blevins. This is available as a eBook for iPad & Kindle and is also available in Chinese Language.  He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1982. In 2012, Nixon was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Advanced oil in water detection prevents plant failure

The installation of a continuous oil-in-water monitor in coolant water at a steel re-processing plant has prevented downtime and avoided costly and time-consuming laboratory analysis.

The steel manufacturing industry relies on closed loop generation and recycling of steam as an energy efficient means of process control. Generated steam is used to raise the temperature of mineral oil based heat transfer fluids and later condensed back into water for use as a coolant fluid. However, any cracks on the heat exchanger surface cause leakage of mineral oil into the condensate, which could result in a discharge consent failure and cause plant shut-down during remedial work.

A large steel re-processing group has traditionally relied on daily physical checks to identify hairline cracks in the metalwork, in conjunction with analysis of effluent water for trace oil loading. Previously, water samples had to be manually collected and transported to the laboratory which incurred ongoing extra costs and delays in test results that could prevent timely action in the event of a leak.

Following consultation with Hach Lange, an FP360sc dissolved oil in water probe was installed in a flow-cell assembly on the outlet of the coolant water feed line. With instant warning of line leakages, extensive downtime and the associated costs of late intervention are now avoided. Additional benefits include: reduced operational costs associated with sample collection and transport, avoidance of health & safety issues related to reagent handling in the laboratory, significant improvements in uptime, and closer control of discharge to the environment (current consent limit at 10ppm).

Summarising the advantages of continuous measurement, Hach Lange’s Dr Patsy Rigby says: “Even the smallest traces of oil can pollute large volumes of water, so online monitoring ensures that alarms can be raised to enable prompt remedial action.”

“The FP 360 sc is designed to monitor surface water, process water and industrial water and is available in stainless steel or titanium. It can detect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from 1.2 ppb up to 5000 ppb (μg/L) or mineral oils from 0.1 to 150 ppm (mg/L) and with no calibration necessary and maintenance limited to a 2 yearly lamp calibration and a 4 yearly lamp replacement, this instrument is extremely easy to operate.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Low cost high speed image recording

Stemmer Imaging has announced the availability of Gecko, a low cost application that captures and compresses video streamed directly from GigE cameras onto a standard PC in real time. The latest version of Gecko supports fast uncompressed ring buffers for capturing short high speed events plus an incredibly fast JPG RAM compressor capable of recording to memory at high rates for long durations. Events may be triggered by mouse, keyboard or camera digital I/O with pre and post event recording buffer.

Gecko is designed for applications that require a simple to use digital video recorder for process monitoring and event capture and records video to standard formats such as AVI and MPG. The application is built using Stemmer Imaging’s widely used Common Vision Blox software.

It allows viewing, control and recording from up to four GigE Vision compliant cameras simultaneously. The simple to use and intuitive GUI allows recording with a single click. Gecko supports file sizes over 2GB for long period recording and frame rates as low as 1Hz for very long time recording.

Smallest, fastest, highest resolution position sensor

Gill Sensors has launched the new Blade20 non-contact position sensor. This latest addition has been developed in response to customer demand for a smaller, faster and higher resolution position sensor that is able to withstand to harsh industrial environments in applications such as process control machinery, materials handling equipment and robotic systems.

The Blade20 features Gill’s patented induction technology principle and represents a significant breakthrough in position sensing, with a single product allowing the measurement of linear and shallow-arc motion as well as long-stroke measurement with a single micro sensor. With a fast update rate for quick positional feedback, it is suitable for a wide range of applications that require fast and accurate position measurement in a dusty or dirty environment.

The core electronics are 40% smaller than the previous generation and the latest technology offers 12-bit resolution capable of data sampling at speeds up to 15 KHz. The product is currently offered with 0.5-4.5V and 0.5-10V outputs, and a 4-20mA variant is planned for release early in the New Year.

To assist engineers in retro-fit applications this sensor has a unique two-part modular construction. This enables the metal mounting section to be rapidly customised at the factory to suit exacting customer requirements without extensive re-engineering of the product. Being a solid state sensor, it has no moving parts and so has an unlimited mechanical life and is sealed to IP68 to prevent dust or water ingress.

“We’re very proud of what we have achieved in delivering next generation induction technology to provide faster, more accurate position measurement,” said Mike Rees, Head of Marketing for Gill Sensors. “This versatile new sensor is ideal for a wide range of applications throughout industry.”

Comunications co-operation

The HART® Communication Foundation announces that, due to the collaborative efforts of the Wireless Cooperation Team (WCT), specifications for transducer blocks for HART and WirelessHART® devices have been added to the latest Foundation™ fieldbus (FF) technical specifications. This addition enables full integration of HART and WirelessHART device information, including device diagnostics, into a Foundation for ROM (Remote Operations Management) system.

"The Wireless Cooperation Team was formed to help facilitate the acceptance of wireless technology in the manufacturing and process industries,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “We are seeing one of the first positive results of this unprecedented collaboration—now users can incorporate HART, WirelessHART and FOUNDATION fieldbus information into one standard environment for data and device management.”

The revision to the Foundation fieldbus specifications is significant because now suppliers can create FF transducer blocks which enable HART and WirelessHART device measurement and diagnostic information to be integrated into the FF infrastructure.

“The Fieldbus Foundation is excited to have this new level of cooperation with the HART Communication Foundation and WCT. Our whole strategy around FOUNDATION for ROM is to make things easier, more flexible, and more consistent for our end users,” says Fieldbus Foundation Global Marketing Manager Larry O’Brien.

The collaborative effort of the WCT is sponsored by the HART Communication Foundation, Fieldbus Foundation, Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V. and Modbus Organization.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New 3D cad models

3D and 2D drawings available for broad line of regulators

Emerson Process Management now offers 3D CAD drawings and 2D drawings with dimensions for its regulator products.
Type SR5 Sanitary Pressure Regulator

The interactive 3D CAD drawings are high-quality, photorealistic images that can be rotated and zoomed for a complete view of the product, allowing the viewer to truly see how the product can be integrated into the equipment being designed.

The 3D representations save design time and reduce possible issues during fabrication. Two and three-dimensional representations are available for Emerson’s broad line of natural gas, air, liquid, LP-gas, process gas, steam, tank blanketing and sanitary regulator products. The drawings are compatible with all major CAD software, including Autodesk, PTC and Solidworks.

RFID integration

Easy and cost-effective integration of RFID hardware

Ha-VIS middleware from Harting provides easy and cost-effective integration of RFID hardware into existing software systems, enabling users to operate Ha-VIS RFID reading devices to process the transponder-supplied information without the need for any programming.

The new system provides operators with the means to implement automation of the lowest field level into existing processes without the need for years of experience of RFID systems.

Their Ha-VIS middleware operates with a wide selection of data formats – including XML, CSV and MySQL(R) - enabling the immediate use of information. It also meets the requirements of the EPC standard ALE 1.1, allowing it to not only read RFID transponders but also write to them in conformity with the standard.

The ability to integrate RFID hardware in an industry-standard environment without the need for programming leads to customer benefits in terms of ease of use and cost-effectiveness, making it easy to implement the rapid introduction of RFID into the company environment.

ATEX certified load cells

The Deeter Group have added a wide range of ATEX certified load cells for industrial weighing applications to their very successful range of ATEX and IECEx approved liquid level sensors

The new range of load cells are available in lever mount, cantilever, shear beam, folded shear beam and master mount form factors and can measure weights from 10Kg for process weighing up to 50 Tonnes for silo, tank and vessel weighing applications.

Intended for use in hazardous environments the new Deeter load cells meet the requirements of ATEX Directive 94/9/EC, the mandatory requirement for all equipment intended for use in a potentially explosive environment. Many manufacturing processes, including biodiesel production, generate potentially explosive atmospheres and European Directive 137 – The protection of workers from potentially explosive atmospheres – makes it mandatory under European law to assess for an explosion risk and classify the area accordingly.

Peter Whiteaker, Managing Director of Deeter Group, comments; "We are continuing to grow our range of ATEX approved sensors in order to offer our customers a one-stop-shop for sensors and wireless measuring systems for process control and measuring systems.”

The new Deeter load cells may be used in applications as diverse as; weigh platforms, tank and vessel weighing, bag filling machines and conveyors, belt weighers and tank weighing, mixers, catalyst vessels, axle weighers and weighbridges, silo and vessel weighing. Typical industries include food processing, chemical, pharmaceutical and general bulk handling industries and materials storage.

Enhanced safety instrumented systems!

The enhanced version of ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system ensures safe operation of plants and upstream oil and natural gas facilities

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has released an enhanced version of its ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system. This new version, ProSafe-RS R3.02.00, features input/output modules that will operate reliably in the high-temperature conditions typically encountered in desert locations. Support of an open communications protocol has also been added, enhancing the system’s compatibility with other vendors’ distributed control systems (DCS).

Development background
In the oil, natural gas, petrochemical, iron & steel, and other energy and basic materials industries, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure the safety of plant operations to prevent accidents, protect the environment, and be good corporate citizens. Accordingly, there is a growing demand for safety instrumented systems that can detect abnormal conditions and safely initiate emergency shutdowns.

Control devices and safety instrumentation systems are often installed outdoors for monitoring oil and gas wells and pipelines. As many of these facilities are in desert locations, they must be able to operate in high-temperature conditions.

In addition, plant operators who replace their safety instrumentation systems to improve productivity and safety need to maintain compatibility with their existing distributed control systems.

To satisfy these needs for high-temperature resistance and inter-system compatibility, Yokogawa has developed this enhanced version of the ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system.

Overview of enhancements
1. High-temperature resistant input/output modules
High-temperature resistant digital and analogue input/output modules have been developed. Previously, input/output modules had to be spaced far apart to prevent the accumulation of heat. While mounted closely together, the new modules can operate at ambient temperatures of up to 70°C (158°F). This reduces the system footprint.

2. Modbus/TCP protocol support
Safety instrumented systemsand distributed control systems are not always replaced at the same time. Therefore, ProSafe-RS has been enhanced by adding support for Ethernet-based Modbus/TCP communications with other systems. Modbus is an industrial communications protocol developed by the US company Modicon (now owned by Schneider Electric). This facilitates the flexible connection of the ProSafe-RS system with distributed control systems from other vendors, allowing Yokogawa’s customers a greater range of choice.

Takashi Nishijima, a Director and Senior Vice President, and Head of Yokogawa’s Industrial Automation Platform Business Headquarters, comments: "The latest version of ProSafe-RS was developed to achieve safety excellence at our customers’ production sites, which is one of the aims of our VigilantPlant range of solutions . Safety is the most important consideration in plant operations. With this new version, ProSafe-RS is now capable of ensuring that our customers’ systems work precisely and safely under high-temperature conditions. The tighter connection not only with CENTUM systems but also other vendors’ systems makes it easier for companies to adopt our highly reliable safety instrumented system. We will continue our efforts to develop products that support our customers’ plant operations."

Major target markets and applications
Major target markets and applications include emergency plant shutdown, fire prevention and firefighting in the oil, natural gas, petrochemical, and other process industries

Arbitrary/function generator usability boosted!

With two new 50 MHz models and active LCD displays, new series makes it easier than ever to generate test signals

Tektronix has announced a new, easier-to-use family of arbitrary/function generators, the AFG3000C Series, and added two new 50 MHz models to the line-up. All models in the AFG3000C Series now feature active LCD displays that allow users to more easily see waveform parameters and wave shapes.

With the addition of the 50 MHz models, Tektronix offers the broadest and most complete range of arbitrary/function generators in the industry, with bandwidths ranging from 10 MHz to 240 MHz, sample rates up to 2 GS/s, and amplitudes up to 20 Vp-p. With a large vibrant display, dedicated front panel buttons for key parameters, and dual output capabilities, the AFG3000C Series builds on the reputation for ease of use and flexibility established by the popular AFG3000B Series.

“Now with nine models, the AFG3000C Series covers a broad range of applications and budgets while best-in-class performance ensures that signals are accurately reproduced,” said Wei Gao, general manager, Value Signal Sources Product Line. “With the display upgrade users can more easily see that their settings are correct, allowing them to focus on the task at hand.”

AFG3000C models with two outputs provide the equivalent functionality of two signal generators, with the added benefit that signals can be easily synchronized across the two outputs. To facilitate arbitrary waveform creation, AFG3000C Series are shipped with ArbExpress software. With this PC software waveforms can be seamlessly imported from any Tektronix oscilloscope, or defined by standard functions, equation editors, and waveform math.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Servo drives boost machine throughput and lower costs

Metronix has a family of intelligent servomotor drives offering machine builders a platform to boost the performance of automation while also decreasing costs. The new ARS 2000 SE drives combine advanced features including integrated functional safety, universal encoder interfacing and a peak current capability that is up to twice that of many similar drives on the market - allowing much faster acceleration. 
At the same time, the drives reduce costs by providing only the features that a significant majority of system builders want - according to a survey of users.

"The new servo drives integrate a very high-performance position control capability but at a middle-market price," says Metronix's Frank Essmann. "We've managed to reduce costs by up to 15% compared with our existing ranges, by carefully matching functions to the needs of a majority of our OEMs and automation engineer customers."

The ARS 2000 SE family of compact panel/cabinet-mounting drives are available in a choice of six single- or three-phase continuous output power ratings from 0.5 to 6 kVA - the same ratings as two other Metronix drive families with identical form-factors. This compatibility allows the drives to be used as more cost-effective replacements or upgrades in many applications, and ensures that machine builders can choose a drive offering optimized cost-performance.

The new drives incorporate three advanced features that are proving very popular with current Metronix customers. The first is an extremely compact design with integrated line and motor filters plus an integrated brake chopper and braking resistor. This is a typical characteristic of all Metronix drives - which are provided ready to use - avoiding the additional costs of external EMC filters and wiring.

The second feature is an increased overcurrent capability of four times the continuous output rating. This compares with the approximately two times overcurrent rating offered by many other servo drive manufacturers. The feature typically allows the speed of moves and the overall throughput of machines to be increased by factors from around 17 to 25 %. Metronix's tests demonstrate that these drives provide overall increases in automation productivity of around 5 to 7% in typical continuous processing applications.

The third advanced feature is the integration of Safe Torque Off (STO) functional safety. This is provided and certified to Category 4/PLe according to EN 13849-1 - the maximum rating achievable single-axis safety level in this category.

The new drives also feature a universal encoder interfacing capability that allows connection to resolvers, analog/digital incremental encoders, and single/multiturn absolute encoders such as HIPERFACE or EnDat. Standard communications interfaces include the CAN fieldbus - compatible with the DS 402 CANopen device profile. One further feature is an SD Card interface, which can be used to store firmware and operating parameters. This allows the drives to be commissioned very easily, and facilitates an easy change-out by maintenance workers - without any need for a sophisticated software parameterization tool. The drives come in case sizes with widths of 54 or 69 mm (2.1 or 2.7 inches).

Compared with Metronix's existing panel-mounting drives, the only significant features that have been omitted are an expansion capability in the form of two slots that accept plug-in modules - containing additional I/O, fieldbus interfaces, etc - and built-in power factor correction.

The drives' built-in intelligence provides enormous flexibility for system builders. It allows engineers to create highly cost-effective drive-based solutions easily for many common applications requiring one or a few axes, or economic solutions for subsystems in processing equipment performing functions such as labelling or handling. Other common applications include functions such as synchronizing, sorting and a flying saw, and axes that automate auxiliary machinery functions such as set up and guarding. The drives can also be used in more complex multi-axis machinery and plant automation - which can now be designed in a more flexible way thanks to Metronix's expanded drive portfolio.

A powerful and easy to use Windows-based software tool for parameterizing and analyzing the new drives is available. For more complex applications, Metronix offers a motion controller which can be integrated easily.

Metronix has been producing drive technology for industrial machines and automotive applications for over 30 years. Its product range includes smart servo drives with integrated positioning capability, plus motion controllers and accessories that provide cost-effective solutions for multi-axis motion control and automation, and decentralized machine control requirements. Metronix complements this capability with what is probably the most sophisticated and capable custom drive engineering service on the market today. Motion control products designed by Metronix are marketed under its own brand, and in custom forms by a number of well known industrial OEMs.

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

Tough electric cylinder

New electric cylinder provides exceptional performance in challenging environments

Festo has launched a new electric cylinder, the ESBF, that delivers exceptional performance with high load applications in demanding and challenging environments, such as those found in the food and beverage industry. ESBF gives high dynamic feed forces enabling machine builders to improve flexibility and control.

The robust cylinder features a unique threaded breathing port which improves its environmental protection. The port enables users to apply a positive pressure to the cylinder during clean in place cycles, so they can be sure of its ingress protection for increased process reliability and long life in demanding environments. Alternative cylinders available on the market are sealed with no breathing port. This means that there is the risk of contamination of dust and airborne moisture inside the cylinder caused by the vacuum effect of the cylinder rod moving in and out, resulting in premature failure.

The electrical ball screw cylinder is available in three sizes – 63, 80 and 100mm – and delivers stroke lengths of up to 1.5m at speeds of up to 1.3m/s. It gives high dynamic feed forces of up to 17,000N and the piston rod is protected against rotating for additional reliability.

It has a running performance over 10,000kms and thanks to specially designed micro reservoirs for grease, it is lubricated for life with minimal maintenance. It has smooth surfaces, so it doesn’t harbour dirt and is easy to clean, which is essential in food and beverage manufacturing.

The competitively-priced ESBF cylinder is ideal for push-pull and positioning applications and is suitable for use in splash zones. It has been designed to meet the requirements from arduous environments and uses FDA approved food grade lubrication and has a corrosion resistant class of CRC3.

Sensors can be bonded on to the actuator, to provide the end user with position details for added feedback. For maximum customer choice, the piston rod is available with a male or female thread as well as a stroke extension and bellows. The bellows kit also comes with a threaded breather port, further protecting the cylinder and avoiding the common suction pump effect.

The motor can be mounted axially or with a parallel kit for applications where space is limited. Both options are classified to IP65 for the protection against the ingress of dust and water. Festo offers a full range of servo and stepper motors for the cylinder but it can also utilise third-party motors for added flexibility. The cylinder mountings comply with standard ISO mounting dimensions so users can use standard accessories.

“With the ESBF, we can now offer machine builders a complete solution for electrical positioning, including motors, drives and accessories, for challenging high load applications,” says Nigel Dawson, product manager at Festo. “We hold 36 combinations in stock with next day delivery, and special variants can be delivered in just 7 to 10 working days.”

Operator assist care seminar!

An Opportunity to attend an Industry-Led Seminar Exploring the Importance of Operator Asset Care

Supported by some of Britain’s leading companies, this one day seminar will explore the background to OAC and the real life experience of senior production and manufacturing directors in its implementation.

Operator Asset Care is based on the principle that the people operating production equipment on a daily basis are the ones most capable of improving equipment reliability and performance.
OAC creates a culture where operators develop ‘ownership’ of their equipment and work with maintenance, engineering and management to ensure that equipment operates properly every day. 

The day will be conducted by MCP consultants in partnership with industry colleagues who have overseen and managed programmes within their own organisations. Places are limited so early registration is recommended.

Workshop Programme:

The day will be split up into presentations & workshop groups from companies such as Novartis, United Biscuits, Heineken and PZ Cussons. Work shop hi-lights include:

• Why is Operator Asset Care critical to success?
• Overcoming barrier using OAC & AMIS
• OAC within a TPM programme – Heineken.
• OAC as part of Global TPM programme
• Developing Advanced team members for OAC activities
• MCP’s approach to OAC

MCP Consulting & Training, Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull, West Midlands, England

Thursday February 7th 2013

Multible awards at water event

During a glittering MCERTS awards ceremony at WWEM 2012, HACH LANGE was presented with no less than four certificates, demonstrating a massive commitment to the scheme which evaluates the performance of monitoring instruments against stringent MCERTS specifications. Key to HACH LANGE’s success was the effort from their teams across UK, Germany and America.
Dr Andrew Thornton, Matthew Dillon,  Darin Stell,  Dr Patsy Rigby, Dr Geoff King, Tristan Mann

MCERTS is the Environment Agency’s monitoring certification scheme and the certificates were presented by the Agency’s Head of Monitoring and Analytical Services, Malcolm Lythgo, who congratulated HACH LANGE on this achievement adding: “We appreciate that submitting instruments for MCERTS evaluation is a significant investment in both time and money. But customers do appreciate the additional reassurance of the quality of data from products having MCERTS, as well as meeting the Agency’s permit requirement for all new and replacement equipment to have MCERTS, where available.”

Following receipt of these certificates HACH LANGE now possesses a comprehensive suite of MCERTS certificates covering: automatic samplers; online process monitoring sensors and controllers including pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen; the BioTector online TOC analyser; and portable water quality monitoring instruments for conductivity and pH.

In the past, the Environment Agency conducted a large amount of industrial environmental monitoring, but in recent years this responsibility has shifted to the process operators themselves and the MCERTS scheme is helping to ensure that the quality of monitoring remains high. Nevertheless, Matthew Dillon, UK & Ireland Sales Director at HACH LANGE, says “As a manufacturer we invest heavily in the development of instruments and analysers that are robust, reliable, accurate and simple to use. However, it is extremely important that the recommended maintenance and calibration procedures are followed assiduously (our service team can help with that, if necessary) because failure to do so would threaten the quality of data and would not be acceptable to the Agency.”

To further support the quality of monitoring, HACH LANGE regularly runs training workshops and can provide personal competence training for key staff so that users are able to obtain optimal performance from their HACH LANGE instruments.

From a strategic perspective Matthew Dillon says “One of our key goals is to ensure that customers are able to generate the highest quality data and we see the MCERTS scheme as an important contributor to that goal. More HACH LANGE products will receive MCERTS in the near future and I would like to acknowledge the work of Dr Patsy Rigby from our technical team in helping to make this process such a success.”

Reaching 10,000 drivers!

NI Instrument Driver Network Reaches 10,000 Drivers for Automating Stand-Alone Instrumentation

National Instruments has announced that the NI Instrument Driver Network (IDNet) has reached a new milestone of 10,000 instrument drivers for automating stand-alone instrumentation. From IDNet, you can access free, NI-certified instrument driver downloads for LabVIEW system design software, NI LabWindows/CVI and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. IDNet instrument drivers simplify instrument control across a variety of buses including GPIB, USB, PXI, PCI, Ethernet, LXI and RS232.

“We typically check the NI Instrument Network for instrument driver availability prior to selecting equipment for purchase because we are well aware of the amount of development time lost when creating drivers ourselves,” said Ernest Clifford, Senior Systems Engineer at Alpha Research and Technology. “If the equipment manufacturer has a LabVIEW driver available, we’ll always select that device over one that does not have a LabVIEW instrument driver.”

“For over 20 years, NI has been the industry’s preferred provider for free open-source LabVIEW Plug and Play instrument drivers,” said Ray Almgren, Vice President of Core Platforms Product Marketing at National Instruments. “We are thrilled that IDNet now provides over 10,000 instrument drivers for automating stand-alone instrumentation.”

NI also released a free tool for creating LabVIEW Plug and Play instrument drivers called LabVIEW Instrument Driver Development Studio, so engineers can easily develop their own drivers and upload them to IDNet. LabVIEW Instrument Driver Development Studio provides a powerful and flexible platform that speeds up development through functional SCPI command templates for common instrument types and automatically generates LabVIEW source code for the instrument. Engineers can easily develop consistent instrument drivers by loading and modifying the source code from an existing driver and create sophisticated driver architectures with the drag-and-drop interactive user interface. NI can then certify the instrument driver to verify that it meets established standards.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Shelter at airport

Intertec has won an order from Europoles for special-purpose field equipment shelters to protect vital airside navigational equipment at Kassel Airport (D), which is currently undergoing major expansion including a new runway.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) stipulates that any structure sited within 60 metres either side of the runway centre line or approach paths must be fully frangible to comply with safety regulations. These types of structures typically include masts and control cabinets for antennas and runway approach lights, and are designed to break or collapse in the event of an aircraft collision, to help protect passengers by preventing serious damage to the aircraft. The ICAO's frangibility guidelines are mandated by numerous national aviation authorities, including Germany's air traffic control company (Deutsche Flugsicherung, or DFS), the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the USA's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Although most electronic communication and navigation equipment is usually sited outside an airport's operational area, the localizer and glide path transmitters and antennas of an instrument landing system (ILS) are exceptions. The localizer antennas are sited beneath the runway approach path, while the glide path antennas are positioned to one side of the runway, adjacent to the touchdown zone. Due to the high frequencies involved, to minimise cable losses the localizer and glide path transmitters are co-located with their respective antennas, and their environmental protection shelters therefore need to be frangible.

All the frangible poles, antenna masts and associated structures for Kassel Airport's expansion are being supplied by the European market leader Europoles. It chose Intertec frangible shelters for the project primarily on the strength of product quality. Intertec has supplied Europoles with conventional and frangible field equipment shelters for a number of airport projects in Germany, including Wunstorf Airport, near Hannover; the quality, performance and corrosion resistance of the shelter for this installation so impressed Kassel Airport's operators that they stipulated similar models.

Intertec is supplying four custom-built frangible shelters in total for the Kassel Airport installation. The main material used to build the shelters is glass fibre reinforced polyester (GRP) sheeting, enclosing a polyurethane foam core which provides a very high level of insulation from the outside temperatures. This is the same basic technique that Intertec uses in its Arctic range of field equipment shelters for harsh environments. The shelters feature one-piece roof and wall panels with reinforced edges, held together by adhesive and screws to form a very rigid structure with excellent stability in strong winds. No metal reinforcing components are used in the shelters' construction, other than a steel floor. The lightweight fabrication material has a very high tensile strength, but will break quickly and cleanly when subjected to a high impact force from the side.

Located in the centre of Germany, with high speed rail and road links to virtually every major city in the country, Kassel Airport is undergoing significant expansion. Due for completion in Spring 2013, the airport will feature a new 2,500 metre runway - 1000 metres longer than its predecessor - and a completely new support infrastructure that includes a 35 metre control tower and a terminal that can be expanded to handle up to 3 million passengers a year.

As part of the expansion, the airport is being equipped with a Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS) for all-weather operation, enabling aircraft to land even when conditions such as fog or snow severely limit pilots' visibility. The ground-based sub-systems of the ILS transmit radio signals that are interpreted by the approaching aircraft's ILS receiver, to provide the pilot with precision runway centreline, angle-of-descent and touchdown position guidance.

To maximise flexibility and operational efficiency, Kassel Airport will have two localizer sub-systems and two glide path sub-systems, enabling aircraft to approach and land from either end of the runway. Each of the four separate installations will comprise a transmitter plus associated control and monitoring equipment housed in an Intertec frangible shelter, together with a set of antennas mounted on frangible masts produced by Europoles.

Intertec has extensive experience in the design and production of non-metal shelters for housing field equipment at airports, including frangible models for equipment sited within operational areas. The company manufactures many of its enclosures and shelters from GRP, and has built up considerable expertise in this specialist material.

According to Intertec's Project Manager, Ernst Gassner, "The GRP and foam sandwich construction we use to build most of our field protection cabinets is ideal for frangible shelters, because it combines structural strength and stability with clean fracturing under impact. It allows us to create shelters that contain no structural metalwork, very quickly and cost-effectively. This capability is likely to be of interest to anyone seeking to meet frangibility guidelines, such as those in the ICAO's Aerodrome Design Manual."

Cooling changes!

Rittal’s new TopTherm Generation Blue e cooling units provide an energy efficient means of cooling enclosures and offer benefits that include a wide range of nominal cooling outputs, from 500 to 4000 Watts; energy savings of up to 45% – in ideal conditions up to 70% and intelligent Eco-Mode control for on demand energy usage.

As well as the reduced operating costs associated with greater energy efficiency, the Blue e cooling units also have the following benefits over the Basic variant. Larger enclosure internal temperature setpoint range, with a lower limit of 20°C; visualisation of enclosure internal temperature and error messages on a 7-segment display; up to 10 units may be connected in a ma-ster/slave configuration; switching hysteresis is adjusta-ble in the range 2-10°C; parameters are easily adjusted using the exposed buttons, however passcode protection restricts access and prevents accidental adjustment of parameters; improved monitoring, including high condensate level and dirty filter mat warnings; setting up and interrogation possible using the RiDiag II diagnostic software and may be incorporated into higher-level remote monitoring systems.

Point level switch

Failsafe design and high reliability make the Liquiphant FTL8x level switch suitable for monitoring Minimum and Maximum liquid levels in safety applications up to SIL3.

The Liquiphant FailSafe FTL8x series of point level switches is new from Endress+Hauser. The level switches have two relay outputs, a 4-20mA output that connects to a failsafe switching unit with a two-channel output, safety contacts, and a safety locking function.

The 4-20mA output can be connected directly to a safety PLC or similar system for MIN and MAX safety applications up to SIL3. The 4-20mA signal jumps from high to low current when the MIN or MAX point level is reached for reliable detection by the safety system. In addition, a permanent live signal of 0.25 Hz is superimposed on the sensor output to indicate the sensor is operating in the “good” state. The level switch meets SIL3 requirements in accordance with IEC 61508, IEC 61511-1, ISA 84-1 and DIN EN ISO 13849.

For high reliability, built-in diagnostics monitor the tuning fork-type sensor for damage, corrosion, material buildup and mechanical blocking. If a problem occurs, the live signal changes to notify the operator, a fault relay sends a signal to an annunciator or PLC, and a combination of three LEDs on the housing indicate the problem so that the switch can be cleaned, repaired or replaced prior to failure.

The switches can be used for minimum and maximum level detection in liquids from -76 to 536F (-60 to 280C), at pressures up to 1450 psi (100 bar), viscosity up to 10,000 mPa-s, and densities from 0.4 to 2.0 g/cm3. The FTL8x can also be used in highly corrosive media.

Tuning fork sensors are available in 316L or 318L stainless steel with AlloyC22 plating, and the other wetted parts are available with Alloy22 plating or ECTFE or PFA coatings for use in aggressive liquids. A choice of polyester, stainless steel or aluminium housings for the electronics are available, with or without a sight glass.

For North America, these switches are designed as either single seal or dual seal devices with an alarm in accordance with ANSI/ISA 12.27.01. This means that the user does need to install an external secondary process seal which is required in ANSI/NFPA 70 (NEC) and CSA 22.1 (CEC). These devices comply with installation practice in North America and enable very safe, low-cost installation in pressurized applications with hazardous media.

The FTL8x switches meet ATEX, CSA, FM, UL, IEC ex, NEPSI and TIIS requirements for use in non-hazardous areas. Special models are available for use in hazardous areas or applications with high pressures.