Friday, December 21, 2012

Marketing trainee sets sights on Rio

Environmental communications specialist Buttonwood Marketing has appointed Josh Cardwell as Graduate Trainee.
Cycling to work!
Josh recently graduated from Loughborough University (GB) with a Sports Science and Management degree, which included modules in Marketing, PR and Brand Management.

Whilst at Loughborough, Josh trained and competed as part of the high performance Triathlon squad, winning the British Universities and Colleges Sports Championships in 2011 and 2012.

In line with Buttonwood’s environmental policy, he still finds time to train, by cycling the 12 mile journey to work (weather permitting) in preparation for the 2013 season, when he will be racing as a guide for a visually impaired athlete whose aim is to race in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Commenting on the appointment, Managing Director Graham Meller said “I am delighted to welcome Josh to Buttonwood Marketing; his commitment and positive attitude will be a great asset to the company.”

New USB DAQ module

ADLINK Technology announces its new USB-7230 and USB-7250 isolated USB digital I/O modules, enriching its DAQ/DIO product line with USB form factor. Suitable for I/O expansion or portable applications, both models present an alternative evolution base to ADLINK’s best-selling PCI/LPCIe-7230/7250. With the enhanced integration of a high-speed frequency/event counter, digital filter and change of state (COS) detection in a single USB module, flexible and reliable high voltage control and monitoring applications are fully supported with unbeatable protection.

Easy and Reliable
The USB-7230 provides 32-CH isolated digital I/O and 2-CH frequency/event counters, and the USB-7250 8-CH solid-state relay output (4 form C and 4 form A), 8-CH isolated DI, and 2-CH frequency/event counters. Featuring high voltage on/off control and monitoring, and isolation voltage support up to 2500 VRMS, integrated frequency/event counting and change of state (COS) detection by the built-in complex programmable logic device (CPLD) occupy no CPU resources while avoiding data loss from changes in signal status. As well, a programmable digital filter removes unexpected glitches from input channels to monitor I/O status more efficiently.

All ADLINK's USB DAQ modules feature USB power, removable screw-down terminals for simplified connection, and a multi-functional stand for fast and easy desktop, rail, or wall mounting. Additionally, a lockable USB cable secures connectivity. The USB DAQ modules also make device ID setting a breeze with a rotary control conveniently identifying the active module in multiple-connection configurations.

“With our experience in measurement and automation, we’ve not only developed an integral product line, but also solutions that are flexible, reliable and easily integrated,” said Catherine Wu, the senior product director of ADLINK’s Measurement and Automation Product Segment.

Worry-free Configuration
ADLINK’s included U-Test application is a free ready-to-use testing program delivering easy out-of-the-box configuration and generation of simple functions to get the platform up and running in no time, with no programming required for full data monitoring, logging and FFT analysis. As well, all ADLINK’s USB digital I/O devices are compatible with LabVIEWTM, MATLAB®, Microsoft® Visual Studio®, and Visual Studio.NET®.

Wireless offering strengthened by acquisition!

National Instruments has announced its acquisition of Signalion GmbH (Dresden D). The acquisition delivers strong wireless communications talent and technologies to the NI platform, which are critical to NI’s goal to continue to drive long term growth in the communications test industry. Signalion founders, Dr. Tim Hentschel and Dr. Thorsten Dräger, will remain with the company as co-managing directors, and work closely with NI R&D to evolve the capabilities of NI LabVIEW system design software and modular PXI hardware for wireless test applications. Signalion will continue to operate as a wholly owned NI subsidiary and to sell and support its products through its direct, distributor and OEM channels.

“NI continues to invest in the strategic areas of RF research, design and test,” said Dr. James Truchard, President, CEO and Co-founder of National Instruments. “Signalion has assembled a top team of researchers and developers through its close relationship with Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden) working on the latest standards such as LTE, LTE-advanced and even fifth-generation wireless research. This expertise combined with a strong product portfolio strengthens our market position while laying the foundation for continued innovation using the NI PXI RF platform and LabVIEW for mobile communications and infrastructure test.”

“We at Signalion are excited to join National Instruments,” said Hentschel. “Our significant experience with RF communications complements the NI platform and we look forward to working on products that will broaden the NI product offering.”

Developing an Automation workforce!

Peter G. Martin, Ph.D., a world-renowned expert in the field of automation and a strong advocate for automation workforce development, is to deliver a presentation, “Building the Next Generation of Automation Professionals,” on behalf of the Automation Federation at the 2013 US National Career Development Association’s (NCDA) Global Career Development Conference to be held 8-10 July 2013 in Boston.

In his presentation, Dr. Martin, Vice President of Business Value Solutions at Invensys Operations Management and one of Fortune magazine’s “Hero of U.S. Manufacturing,” will speak on the vital importance of expanding automation training in preparing American workers for advanced manufacturing jobs.

“To compete in today’s highly competitive global manufacturing environment, skills training and competencies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are essential,” says Dr. Martin, who has held executive and technical positions in engineering, product and strategic planning, marketing and training throughout his career. “Career and guidance counselors play a highly important role in building awareness among students and in their communities of the benefits of automation careers, and what courses and skills training are most needed to best prepare for them.”

The NCDA, a member association of the AF, works to empower students to achieve career and life goals by evaluating student performance, recognizing student strengths and potential, and providing counseling, advocacy and supportive resources. The NCDA’s 2013 Global Career Development Conference, a celebration of the association’s 100th anniversary, will showcase recent achievements in professional development, share best practices, and examine new initiatives, programs and products.

The AF, in its role as the “Voice of Automation,” is actively working to promote the value and significance of the automation industry, and to develop and attract a new wave of automation professionals. It works with a variety of private and public organizations, including high schools, community colleges and universities, to stimulate interest among young people in STEM and enrich and broaden automation curriculum.

As part of its commitment, the AF recruits organizations, such as NCDA, to become members and support its various workforce development initiatives.

“The Automation Federation is excited to participate in NCDA’s worldwide career development conference, and we’re honored to have Dr. Peter Martin present our workforce development message to the many professionals attending the event,” says Michael Marlowe, AF Managing Director and Director of Government Relations. “Career and guidance counselors are vital in helping young people recognize all the career possibilities before them. It’s our expectation that conference attendees on hand for Dr. Martin’s presentation will come away with a better understanding of automation careers, and how students can best investigate and position themselves for them.“

In 2009, Dr. Martin received the ISA Life Achievement Award, recognising his work in integrating financial and production measures that improve the profitability and performance of industrial process plants. In 2002, InTech magazine named him one of the 50 most influential innovators of all time in instrumentation and controls.

He holds multiple patents, including patents for dynamic performance measures, real-time activity-based costing, closed-loop business control, and asset and resource modeling. He has published numerous articles and technical papers, and has authored or co-authored three books: Bottom Line Automation; Dynamic Performance Management: The Pathway to World Class Manufacturing; and Automation Made Easy: Everything you wanted to know about automation – and need to ask. (See our critique of this work Knowing Automation - 16/10/2012)

Dr. Martin possesses a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in administration and management, a master of biblical studies degree, a doctorate in industrial engineering, and doctorates in biblical studies and theology.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Model creating software

New version of RiCAD 3D now available free to download

Rittal’s RiCAD-3D software version 3.2 supports the creation of models to provide a complete 3D picture of Rittal products with the visualisation, layout and spacing of single components. This new 3.2 version of RiCAD 3D is now free to download from the Rittal web site.

RiCAD 3D offers the following benefits: Substantial time savings when using Rittal products in the engineering process. Error-free detailed Rittal Data, instead of coarse re-modelling by the user and original data for the 5 most common CAD formats.

The RiCAD 3D database includes both 2D and 3D drawings from article groups: AE (wall-mounted enclosures); CM (floor standing); CP (Command panel/support arm system); SK (climate control components); SV (RiLine60) and TS (bayed enclosures).

Precisely detailed CAD product data; export in all standard CAD formats (AUTOCAD DWG(>R12), Autodest Inventor (R5.3), ProE 2001, ProE Wildfire, Solidworks 3D (=2003), Solidworks (>=2004) and neurtal STEP formats).

Process safety systems

ARC’s New Global Market Research Study shows the process safety systems market growth has rebounded after the world economic downturn, especially in the developed economies of North America and Western Europe.

“Process safety systems suppliers continue to cost reduce their hardware offerings and integrate their safety solutions with basic process control systems. Suppliers offering a truly integrated offering of process and safety are saving end users substantial project costs in engineering and lifecycle expense,” according to Principal Analyst Barry Young, the principal author of ARC’s “Process Safety Systems Global Market Research Study."

MAC Business Model Thrives
The main automation contractor (MAC) business model for executing projects is finding a growing acceptance with integrated process safety systems. The lack of process safety experts requires creative project team sourcing with end users, suppliers, and specialty safety engineering firms.

Smart Configurable I/O and Distributed Architectures
New technology trends include smart configurable I/O and distributed safety system architectures. New software tools are increasingly making the systems easier to implement. The past emphasis on controller architecture (Dual, TMR, QMR) has diminished with more emphasis now placed on the overall process safety system solution and certification.

Integrate Security with Safety
Cyber security’s importance cannot be underestimated, particularly for safety and security of industrial processes. Closer integration of safety and security in process safety systems is required.

"Central nervous system!"

A new smaller diameter optical sensing fibre of only 80µm, for intrinsic sensing within composite materials and textiles

The ability to embed sensors within a material gives engineers scope to measure intrinsic strain of components during their production, or use under varying load conditions. To build a sensor network within a component or structure like a human central nervous system, makes it possible to measure loads at almost any position or environment. This makes certain demands on the sensing fibre, not least of which is small size and in response to this FBGS has announced the launch of its smallest diameter DTG fiber at only 80µm.

The new fibre offers some exciting opportunities compared to standard 125µm DTG fibers.

Because the fiber is thinner:
1. it is less invasive when embedded within laminate composite structures or textiles;
2. it requires less force to strain it which makes it more suited for acoustic sensors and hydrophones and
3. because it is more ”elastic” in respect to its bending properties, it can be used in applications where small bend radii are required.

The fiber has been released as a Beta-product for the 1550nm window and is drawn with an Ormocer coating that brings the outer fiber diameter to about 114µm.

The new 80µm diameter fiber retains all the attributes of the larger 125 µm DTG product, including:
• extremely high mechanical strength
• spliceless FBG chains
• low bending loss (high NA fiber)
• wide temperature range (cryogenic to +200degC)
• Ormocer coating
• Uniform coating even at FBG position

CEO Hugo Mertens says “this development has come mainly as a result of market forces. The composite and textile industry is very exciting and manufacturers in this sector are starting to incorporate DTG’s for sensing applications. We are simply responding to requests for a fiber that is less invasive to the host material and at 80µm it is all but invisible”.

FBGS would like to build collaborations with those companies that share this vision for “smart materials”.

Educational support recognised!

Rohde & Schwarz wins European Educational Support Award at the 2012 Elektra Awards

Rohde & Schwarz’ longstanding support of European Universities has been recognised at the 2012 European Elektra Awards ceremony in London with the company winning the Education Support Award. The award, which is organised by the Britain's leading electronics news title Electronics Weekly, is judged by a panel of independent judges.

Rohde & Schwarz has supported European Universities for many years with technical support, generous discounts, equipment loans, student placement schemes, prize giving’s and donations. The company also has a sponsored lab program offering an additional level of support. Phil McCluskey, Rohde & Schwarz UK’s University Programme Manager explains: “Our sponsored lab program recognises the value of time when it comes to actively engaging with our University partners. For example, by participating in Industrial Liaison schemes, providing letters of support for grant applications and helping to enthuse the next generation of students with technology presentations, relevant teaching materials and access to our experts.”

Referring to the company’s success, Frank Mackel, Managing Director of Rohde & Schwarz UK commented: “This award recognises Rohde & Schwarz’ University programme, the Elektra Awards gives valuable peer recognition for our support for teaching laboratories and research departments – the future, as we see it, of the European electronics industry.”

Wireless & Fieldbus co-operation

Common framework enables multiple communication protocols to run over a shared wireless backhaul

The Fieldbus Foundation has approved a backhaul architecture model, developed in collaboration with International Society of Automation (ISA) standards committee ISA100 that provides a common framework enabling multiple industrial communication protocols to run over a shared wireless backhaul network in process automation systems.

Completion of this work is a key milestone supporting implementation of the Fieldbus Foundation's wireless High Speed Ethernet (HSE) backhaul included in FOUNDATION™ for Remote Operations Management (ROM) technology.

In June 2008, ISA100 leaders established a new working group, ISA100.15—Wireless Backhaul Networks Working Group—to develop standards and technical reports to address one or more dedicated or shared wireless backhaul(s) to support technologies running multiple applications. At the same time, Fieldbus Foundation end user members identified the wireless backhaul as critical for FOUNDATION for ROM development.

To expedite the work, the Fieldbus Foundation and ISA began joint collaboration on wireless networks combining Fieldbus Foundation application protocol expertise with ISA100 communication networking resources to complete the architecture model. ISA will publish the work as technical report ISA-TR100.15.01, Backhaul Architecture Model: Secured Connectivity over Untrusted or Trusted Networks, within the ISA100 family of standards.

Dr. Penny Chen, principal systems architect with Yokogawa and co-chair of the ISA100.15 working group, praised the results of the wireless backhaul collaborative effort. "Working together, dedicated engineers have a developed a solution meeting industry requirements for a wireless backhaul transport network to facilitate interoperability, end-to-end security, and end-to-end quality of service in industrial wireless installations."

Dave Glanzer, Fieldbus Foundation director of technology development and co-chair of the working group commented, "The Fieldbus Foundation has consistently supported wireless advancements, and this joint initiative is crucial to FOUNDATION for ROM. Our ROM solution extends the capabilities of FOUNDATION fieldbus to countless wired and wireless devices installed in some of the world’s harshest and most remote locations. It provides a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in applications ranging from tank farms and terminals to pipelines, offshore platforms, and even OEM skids."

According to Glanzer, plans are underway for a series of field demonstrations using the FOUNDATION for ROM wireless HSE backhaul. Major end users hosting the demonstrations include Reliance Industries (India), Petrobras (Brazil) and Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia). Additional end user sites in Japan and Europe are expected to join the program. The field demos will offer a look at the full functionality of FOUNDATION for ROM, including wireless device integration, remote I/O integration, and wireless backhaul capabilities.

FOUNDATION for ROM was designed to enable fieldbus connectivity to remote I/O and the leading industrial wireless protocols, and is the first successful integration of ISA100.11a, WirelessHART®, wired HART®, and wired H1 protocols into a single standard environment without sacrificing the diagnostic capabilities of existing wireless devices. Instead, these capabilities are mapped into the FOUNDATION block structure to provide a standard environment for data management and quality, eliminating techniques which are highly customized and much more costly to maintain throughout the plant lifecycle.

As part of this solution, FOUNDATION for ROM provides a way to bring large concentrations of discrete and analog field I/O back to the control room using HSE communication. It also employs Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and function blocks to ensure interoperability with FOUNDATION for ROM devices. This is essential to improve integration of critical functional areas, including machinery health monitoring, safety interlocks, fire & gas detection systems, and video surveillance.

Infrared sensors for semiconductor sector

Versatile sensor system meets a wider range of industrial application requirements and features extended five year warranty

Ircon has introduced the new 7V Series of infrared sensors to the Modline®7. The new models provide solutions for the semiconductor industry and are one of eight in a series launched by Ircon earlier this year.

Combined with Ircon ModView™ Pro software and an extended five year warranty, the Modline 7 provides best-in-class solutions for demanding industrial environments. The new PROC-7 processor box allows full sensor operation through a push button panel and is part of a full line of accessories offered for the Modline 7 series thermometers.

The Modline 7 is a rugged, IP65 (NEMA 4) sealed sensor system with the flexibility to meet nearly any continuous temperature monitoring and control requirement. The thermometers are used in a wide range of industrial applications, including semiconductor manufacturing, metals processing, furnace refractory, primary and secondary glass, as well as plastics thermoforming.

It offers exceptional versatility with extended temperature ranges (-40° to 3000°C/5432°F), high-resolution optics and fast response times. The thermometer's sensing head can operate as a stand-alone sensor, providing simultaneous analog and digital outputs of process temperatures. Motorized focus control and both through-the-lens and laser sighting are standard on all units.

The new thermometer's intuitive sensor design features integral water-cooling in a stainless steel enclosure. The high-temperature water jacket with integrated air purge capability reduces installation and setup time and is intended for use in ambient temperatures up to 315°C/599°F. An optional air purge collar accessory enables the lens to be cooled and kept free of debris in hot dusty environments.

In addition, the unit's standardised installation accessories and common Windows ModView Pro software platform minimise multiple product configurations at the user's facility. Sensor setup and monitoring can be accomplished either from the rear panel of the instrument or from the ModView Pro software. This allows for remote PC-based sensor configuration, temperature monitoring, trending and archiving via an intuitive graphical user interface. For example, users can change the temperature display from degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius, adjust emissivity levels, scale the range, focus the sensor, activate filters (e.g., peak hold, valley hold, and averaging) and save data for future reference or graphing.

Modline 7 Series thermometers use high-speed digital signal processors with an RS-485 serial data communications networking capability that supports up to 32 sensors. The ModView Pro software is included at no additional cost with all new Modline 7 Series thermometers.

Green power is golden!

GreenPeak Green Power product achieves Golden Unit Status for the new ZigBee PRO Green Power Feature

GreenPeak Technologies has announced its support for the ZigBee PRO Green Power feature, which adds support for energy harvesting and battery-free applications as part of the ZigBee 2012 standard. GreenPeak also announces achieving ZigBee Certified and Golden Unit status for its Green Power product.

Green Power is the newest feature for the ZigBee PRO feature set. Green Power gives battery-free, energy-harvesting devices the ability to join ZigBee PRO 2012 networks. Without requiring batteries, these self-supporting devices typically generate (harvest) just enough power themselves to communicate a brief command. For example, a light switch without a battery harvests energy from flipping the switch on or off. This energy is captured to send the “on” or “off” command to the network to switch on or off the appropriate light. Hence, the light switch is a self-powered device.

“GreenPeak is very enthusiastic about the ZigBee Alliance announcing the ZigBee PRO Green Power feature for battery-free devices. Battery-free has been in GreenPeak’s charter since its foundation. Today, Green Power creates autonomous sensors: install them and forget them.” says Cees Links, founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies. “Standardising the elimination of batteries is the next step needed to enable the Smart Home where light switches and sensors in and around the house are interconnected, but without the burden of keeping batteries charged. We are looking forward to contribute to making this maintenance-free and environmentally friendly initiative a success.”

GreenPeak is one of the first ZigBee Alliance members to achieve the Golden Unit status and as Vice Chair of the Green Power working group, GreenPeak has been one of the driving forces and an influential contributor in establishing the ZigBee PRO Green Power feature. GreenPeak is leading the industry as the standard of excellence and is enabling its customers to quickly develop and easily deploy certified battery-free, self-powered solutions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Strategic manufacturing award for Dublin Pharma plant

The pharmaceutical company Rottapharm/Madaus has won the 2012 Strategic Manufacturing Award in the category "Outstanding Achievement in Continuous Improvement" and the cross-competition "SMA e-F@ctory Hall of Fame" award for its production plant in Dublin (IRL). The prizes pay tribute to the Continuous Improvement Program of Rottapharm/Madaus, in which the PAS-X Manufacturing IT Business Platform of Werum plays an important role.

Production in Dublin, 
Source: Rottapharm/Madaus
Werum had rolled out PAS-X step by step at the Dublin plant since 2009. It began with the warehouse implementation, followed by the manufacturing and packaging areas. PAS-X integrates Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and several Distributed Control Systems (DCS).

"Our goal is to achieve a paperless factory. For this purpose, we automated the processes in the warehouse, in our manufacturing and packaging areas and reduced the number of manual entries," said Áine Tobin, Project Manager, Rottapharm/Madaus Ltd. "With PAS-X we were able to eliminate over 720,000 wet signatures and to release batches in less than half the original time. On the other hand, the inventory accuracy has now increased to 99 percent."

Werum's PAS-X is a major building block within Rottapharm's Continuous Improvement Program with which the pharmaceutical manufacturer continually reduces non-value-added activities and lastingly expands its competitiveness.

Engine inspections

Pic: Courtesy of Olympus 
Recent months have seen a surge in demand for hired video borescopes and many of these instruments are being used for engine inspection. Ashtead Technology’s Josh Thomas believes this is happening for three reasons: “Firstly, borescopes enable inspection without the cost and delay of dismantling engines. Secondly, instrumentation technology has advanced considerably recently and the latest video borescopes are very light and easy to use, but provide extremely high quality images. Thirdly, we now stock a wide range of the latest inspection equipment so that clients can rent the most appropriate equipment for each job.”

Borescope inspections are undertaken wherever internal components are difficult to access, and on both installed and uninstalled engines. For example, engine and gearbox manufacturers use them as part of their quality control procedures. “A number of motorsport teams, including Formula 1, have recently hired borescopes to help improve engine efficiency, and they have employed our high speed cameras to assess gearbox performance. However, we also have customers in other sectors including all sections of the automotive sector and clients with industrial engines and turbines.”

One of the latest additions to Ashtead Technology’s fleet of NDT inspection instruments is the Olympus IPLEX UltraLite. Weighing just 700 grams, it incorporates a combined control and display unit that fits in the palm of one hand and frees the other hand to guide the probe insertion tube. Observed images can be stored on a memory card as high-quality JPEG images and MPEG-4 movies.

New head in Europe

Roel Van Doren as has been appointed President, Europe with Emerson Process Management. In his new role, Van Doren will be responsible for leading all European sales and marketing activities. He takes over from Bob Sharp, who is moving to a new position at Emerson, in St. Louis, USA.

Roel Van Doren
Van Doren will continue to be based at Emerson’s European head office in Baar, Switzerland, where he previously held the position of Vice President, Northern Europe.

"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Roel to this key position," said Steve Sonnenberg, President, Emerson Process Management. "Europe is a significant part of the Emerson Process Management business and our continuing investment in the region demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest level of service and support to our customers."

"This is an exciting time for Emerson in Europe as we are growing our network of regional service and support centres and expanding our manufacturing operations," said Van Doren. "My aim will be to support our stated objective to make Emerson a Trusted Advisor, providing technology that is easy to install and use, and people that are responsive to our customers’ requirements."

Van Doren has been with Emerson for 22 years, progressing through the organisation in various management roles. After ten years with the Belgian organisation, Van Doren moved to the UK in September 2000 and became the General Manager Operations for Britain and Ireland. Subsequently he took an assignment in the US as Vice President of the Refining and Chemical Industry Center.

SIF interoperability test kit

Powerful solution includes new test cases to verify latest safety device functionality

The Fieldbus Foundation has released the latest version of its FOUNDATION™ for Safety Instrumented Functions (SIF) Interoperability Test Kit (ITK). This powerful test solution has been updated with new test cases to verify the functionality of H1 (31.25 bit/s) fieldbus devices based on the current FOUNDATION for SIF technical specifications, including the newly introduced H1 dual-mode device capability employing powerful field diagnostics.

FOUNDATION for SIF ITK 1.2 is an excellent tool for troubleshooting and debugging fieldbus instruments, and provides all hardware and software required to ensure a manufacturer's complete device interoperability as specified by the Fieldbus Foundation's official registration testing procedure. By using the test kit, device developers can run tests identical to those used by the foundation before submitting their device for registration.

Fieldbus Foundation Director-Fieldbus Products Stephen Mitschke said, "The updated FOUNDATION for SIF ITK verifies advanced functionality such as the new dual-mode H1 device capability allowing automation suppliers to bring new safety products to market without having to design two entirely different devices. Developers can implement H1 instruments with SIF features activated or de-activated. More importantly, this means that plants will only have to stock one type of instrument that can be used as either a process device or a safety device."

According to Mitschke, multiple FOUNDATION for SIF pilot projects are underway at locations around the world with different end users. Saudi Aramco has successfully launched two pilot projects and is preparing to install working systems within operating oil and gas facilities. After these smaller pilot projects are complete, the company plans expanded deployment of FOUNDATION for SIF technology in order to exploit its benefits on larger, mega-scale projects. In addition, Shell Project & Technology has specified FOUNDATION for SIF for use on the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) project in the Netherlands. These companies, along with other major end users, are encouraging the automation equipment industry to develop safety-approved products for their initial installations.

The FOUNDATION for SIF ITK includes a host of test cases verifying the functionality of a fieldbus device and its conformance with the FOUNDATION fieldbus function block and transducer block specifications. It also incorporates a DD "Super Viewer" allowing examination and verification of a device's DD, and a conformance test procedure for the Physical Layer. Device developers can "walk" their DD, execute methods, and render visualization elements supported by DD 5.1 technology. The interoperability test suite can be paired with an ITK automation tool designed to eliminate several manual intervention steps required when performing pre-registration testing of fieldbus devices. The tool improves ITK schedule efficiency and provides a direct reduction in the person-hours needed to complete the testing phase. It is available with a maintenance agreement to keep the test suite software up to date with the latest enhancements.

FOUNDATION for SIF ITK 1.2 is available to current users with maintenance agreements, as well as for new purchases.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cybersecurity and economic threats in US

Automation group confers with US Government officials on growing cybersecurity and economic threats

Representatives of the Automation Federation (AF) recently met with US President Barack Obama’s staff to help confront two serious threats to US national security and economic growth: cyberattack, and the lack of advanced manufacturing skills among American workers.

During late November and early December, a contingent of AF leaders and staff traveled to Washington DC to attend a series of high-profile meetings on cybersecurity with White House National Security experts and US Department of Homeland Security personnel, and on American workforce development with officials from the US Department of Energy, US Department of Labor and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the US Department of Commerce.

These prominent meetings are the latest example of an ongoing collaboration between the AF and the US government to formulate and support the passage of cybersecurity legislation through Congress, and to build the next generation of automation professionals that is critical for the future of advanced manufacturing.

“The Automation Federation is honoured to have been asked by White House National Security staff and other government officials to assist in securing the nation’s critical infrastructure against cyberattacks,” says Leo Staples, Automation Federation Chair. “Through ISA, the founding organisation of the Automation Federation, we have the expertise in automation and control systems security standards that can thwart cyberattack.

“And in helping to develop America’s workforce, we’re continuing to work with the federal government and educational leaders around the country to leverage the AF’s Automation Competency Model as the foundation for building a trained automation workforce.”

The Automation Competency Model, developed through a partnership with the Department of Labor, is a detailed framework that defines the specific industry, workplace and academic competencies required to succeed in automation careers.

Cybersecurity
The risks of highly damaging cyberattacks on America’s infrastructure are real. US Defence Secretary Leon E. Panetta recently warned that the US is facing the possibility of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor” that could dismantle the nation’s power grid, transportation and telecommunications systems, financial networks and government functions.

US defense and national security officials are increasingly concerned about aggressor nations or extremist groups using cyber tools to gain control of critical plants --- such as water treatment and power --- to contaminate water supply and cause widespread power blackouts.

Some serious international cyberattacks already have occurred. In August of this year, a cyberattack on the state oil company Saudi Aramco infected and shut down more than 30,000 computers.

The National Security staff at the White House, on behalf of the President, is preparing an executive order to address the importance of protecting America’s infrastructure against cyberattacks. Government officials have expressed interest in implementing ISA99 Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards as part of a comprehensive cybersecurity effort.

Among the numerous cybersecurity meetings Staples and other AF leaders recently attended included conferences with:

• The special assistant to the President on cybersecurity matters at the White House, who requested that the AF continue to work with administration officials as they move forward in addressing cybersecurity threats against industrial automation and control systems.
• The deputy director and chief cybersecurity strategist within the Department of Homeland Security, who reiterated the relevance and value of ISA99 standards, and requested ongoing cybersecurity consultation with the AF during 2013.
• US Congressman David Price (D-NC) and US Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), who restated their support of the AF’s cybersecurity initiatives. Both legislators have led efforts in Congress to raise awareness of cyberattack risks, and to better protect the country’s automation and control systems.

Workforce Development
The US has a considerable shortage of workers with the skills needed for advanced manufacturing jobs. According to a recent survey by Deloitte Consulting, nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs remain unfilled because companies cannot find workers with the requisite skills for the positions. Fifty-six percent of manufacturers say the shortfall of available workers is worsening.

The AF is working with high schools, community colleges and universities to develop the automation curriculum needed to teach the skills required in the fast-evolving world of advanced manufacturing. By encouraging interest among young people in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the AF is helping to keep students in school and on strong career paths.

Among the numerous workforce development meetings AF officials recently attended in America’s capital included conferences with:

• The executive director at the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), a non-profit consortium of electric natural gas and nuclear utilities and their associations. The meeting paved the way for establishing a partnership between the CEWD and AF.
• The chief strategist of Workforce and Education within the Department of Energy, who expressed interest in developing a partnership with the AF on workforce development programs and training opportunities.
• The chief manufacturing officer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the assistant to the President for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House. At the meeting, it was agreed that AF’s workforce development efforts should be part of the objectives of the federal government’s National Network of Manufacturing Innovation.
• Representatives of the Department of Labor to consider new ways to promote the Automation Competency Model. Also at the meeting, both parties agreed on new collaborative and workforce development initiatives designed to improve student interest in STEM.

Along with Staples, the following ISA and AF officials attended the series of meetings: Terry Ives, 2013 ISA President and AF Vice Chair; Michael Marlowe, AF Managing Director and Director of Government Relations; Pat Gouhin, ISA Executive Director and CEO; Steve Huffman, Chair of AF’s Government Relations Committee; Pam Hurt, AF Board of Director at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers; and Steve Mustard, member of AF’s Government Relations Committee.

Terminal Post Connections Solutions for audio, power &instrumentation applications

Cliff Electronics extensive range terminal posts includes single terminal binding posts and multiple binding post assemblies in a number of different designs and configurations for consumer and professional applications, including those in audio, engineering, instrumentation, medicine, lighting and vending.

Rated up to 60A, the binding posts are also available in fully insulated, touch-proof and 4mm versions for test and instrumentation applications, with solid brass, gold-plated models for use in Hi-Fi speaker applications also available. Cliff manufactures dual binding post assemblies in a variety of designs in either standard or custom configurations.

They also manufactures the BFA (Built For Audio) range of terminals, which have been designed in response to European industry safety requirements prohibiting the use of banana plugs in order to minimise the risk of accidental electric shock. In the BFA range the customary 4mm socket is replaced by a 4mm spring contact probe and 3.6mm cross holes for wire connection prevent the entry of banana plugs, meeting the norms of BS EN 60065 for audio applications.

Cliff’s terminal posts are used by some of the world’s leading audio manufacturers in applications such as loudspeaker connection, amplifiers and mixers as well as in laboratory power supplies, test and instrumentation products, medical equipment, electric fencing, military communications and for industrial connection requirements.

Key specifications include nickel and gold-plated finishes, 4mm plug, fast-on or cable connection with blanking buttons available to ensure touch-proof safety properties. Pre-assembled horizontal and vertical PCB-mounting terminal plates are available as are anti-magnetic nickel free versions for industrial applications and custom binding post designs are regularly undertaken for specific applications.,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Software opens new perspectives

The latest version of EPAN's software 2.2. has numerous functional extensions and innovative additional modules. It opens up new perspectives in engineering. The new graphical macro selection, smart terminal analysis and automatic termination points provide rapid design engineering results. Engineers receive a solid system which accelerates processes and provides a basis for standardisation and automation.

Version 2.2 has been designed to synchronise efficient engineering with the simultaneous creation of high-quality and informative documentation. Rapid filters in project data navigators, comprehensive parts data exchange and extended terminal design ensure greater convenience and speed in project processing.

An intuitive graphical macro selection helps designers to implement standards effectively, whilst still able to navigate comprehensive macro collections. Informative graphics and a clear structure makes access to defined circuit templates a breeze as searching through directory structures is replaced with graphically supported navigation. This allows technical sales staff to draw up initial circuit documentation in dialogue with their customers as early as the initial project brief.