Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gas monitoring company acquires German distributor

The Finnish instrumentation manufacturer Gasmet Technologies Oy has acquired the share capital of Ansyco GmbH in Germany.

Gasmet Analyser In Situ
Gasmet Technologies is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of gas monitoring instruments and systems for industrial and environmental applications. The company’s revenue streams are dominated by FTIR-based analyzers that are able to perform simultaneous measurements of both organic and inorganic compounds in even the most demanding applications.

Founded in 1989, Ansyco GmbH (Karlsruhe, Germany) has been a distributor of Gasmet products since 1993. The company employs 18 staff and in addition to Gasmet, Ansyco also represents other gas monitoring and detection equipment manufacturers such as Environnement SA (France), Geotechnical Instruments (UK), Perma Pure (USA) and Extrel (USA).

According to Mikko Ahro, CEO of Gasmet Technologies, “The Gasmet Group has been operating from three different locations, Helsinki, Hong Kong and Montreal, and this is a good time to combine Ansyco’s application knowledge with Gasmet’s well-established products to expand the Karlsruhe operation.”

Commenting further on the announcement, Mikko Suuntala, CEO of Gasmet Europe Oy (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gasmet Technologies), said: “Ansyco has established a large customer base of loyal customers, and benefits from an excellent reputation for customer service and application expertise. This acquisition demonstrates our long-term commitment to these customers and helps us to build a platform for future growth in central Europe.”

Following the acquisition, Ansyco will be known as ‘Ansyco – a Gasmet Group Company’.

Friday, February 1, 2013

“Best Use of Automation” Award to budding engineers!

The Twin Cities (Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN USA) Section of the International Society of Automation (ISA) on 19 January 2013 presented a “Best Use of Automation” award to a Lino Lakes, Minnesota middle school in conjunction with a national engineering competition.
Standing behind their award entry, are LtoR: Neo Canniff, Kennan LeJuene, Evan Nelsen, and Espen Fredrick.

For the second year in a row, the Twin Cities Section of ISA presented the award at a regional event of the Future City Competition, a national, project-based learning experience where students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades imagine, design, and build cities of the future.

The annual Future City Competition is sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, a consortium of professional and technical societies and major US corporations. The foundation is focused on helping to remove social, education and economic barriers that may deter young students from engineering and technology education and careers.

Out of the more than 35,000 students from 1,300 middle schools participating in this year’s competition, regional winners will vie for national awards at the event finals, which will be held 15-20 February 2013--coinciding with National Engineers Week, 17-23 February 2013. Founded in 1951, Engineers Week is among the oldest of America's professional outreach efforts.

“All of us within ISA’s Twin Cities Section are excited to sponsor this award, which we hope will help inspire young students to explore what I believe is the best career field in the world,” commented Peter Baker, CAP, CTech, an instrumentation and automation consultant who spearheaded the Twin Cities Section’s award sponsorship. “We feel strongly that it is our responsibility to help raise awareness among young people of the value and potential of automation and engineering careers. As they say, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’”

A four-member team of students from Centennial Middle School in Lino Lakes, located just outside of Minneapolis, received the ISA section’s automation award for incorporating the best and most creative use of instrumentation and automation in its Future City Competition building design project.

To compete for the award, school teams worked with mentors to plan their cities using SimCity™ 4 Deluxe software; researched and wrote solutions to engineering challenges; built tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and presented their ideas for judging.

World first for tuning fork level switch !

The latest addition to the VEGA portfolio of vibrating limit switches for liquids, VEGASWING 66, is a world first.

It is designed for reliable, self monitoring and fail safe switching in applications with process temperatures up to +450 °C and process pressures up to 160 bar. Until now, vibrating level switches have been limited to process conditions up to +280 °C and 100 bar. By developing a revolutionary new tuning fork drive, it makes deployment of the instrument possible far beyond these limits. The resulting performance capability is impressive: process temperatures from -196° C to +450° C and pressures from 0 to 160 bar.

Since it is virtually unaffected by product properties, such as changing product density and electrical properties, the vibrating level switch is very versatile. It can be installed in any orientation and supplied in lengths up to 6m, materials include: 316L, Inconel and Hastelloy. Adjustment with product level is not required for setup and it switches reliably and repeatably when a point level is reached. Integrated monitoring capabilities allow accreditation to SIL2 and EN steam boiler regulations and a remote test is also available. VEGASWING 66 is the first level switch for high-pressure, high and low temperature applications; for example distillation columns in the oil and gas industry, steam boilers (for high and low water limits) and in cryogenic, liquid gas tank applications for LNG and nitrogen.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flexibility & performance for traditional oscilloscope apps

National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-5162 digitiser and updates to the LabVIEW Jitter Analysis Toolkit.

NI PXIe-5162 Features
· 10 bits of vertical resolution for greater insight into the signal
· Four channels in a single 3U PXI Express slot, expanding to 68 channels in a single PXI chassis
· 5 GS/s maximum sample rate on one channel or 1.25 GS/s on four channels simultaneously


LabVIEW Jitter Analysis Toolkit Features
· Built-in functions for clock recovery, eye diagram, jitter, level and timing measurements
· Example programs for eye diagram and mask testing, and random and deterministic jitter (RJ/DJ) separation using both dual-Dirac and spectrum-based separation methods
The digitiser, with 10 bits of vertical resolution and a 5 GS/s sample rate, provides high-speed measurements at four times the vertical resolution of a traditional 8-bit oscilloscope. With 1.5 GHz of bandwidth and four channels in a single slot, the NI PXIe-5162 is suited for high-channel-count digitiser systems in manufacturing test, research and device characterisation. Engineers can use the digitiser with LabVIEW and the LabVIEW Jitter Analysis Toolkit, which provides a library of functions optimised for performing the high-throughput jitter, eye diagram and phase noise measurements demanded by automated validation and production test environments.

“The combination of high-speed, high-channel and high-resolution measurements offered by the NI PXIe-5162 digitiser makes it possible for traditional oscilloscope customers to think beyond traditional box instruments for automated test,” said Steve Warntjes, NI Director of Modular Instruments Research and Development. “Using our high-speed digitisers with the LabVIEW Jitter Analysis Toolkit helps engineers accelerate their measurement systems using the processing power of modern PCs instead of the legacy embedded processors on box oscilloscopes.”

Modbus device communications software

Develop your own Windows programs and solutions for Modbus-based automation and control applications without OPC constraints or costly licenses.

NET.MBLINK 4.0 is a factory floor device communications software just introduced by CimQuest INGEAR. This software delivers fast communications between Modbus-based devices—such as PLCs, meters, instruments and controllers—and industrial computers, without the need for costly OPC servers or licensing fees.

It provides direct communication to Modbus devices and controllers using TCP/IP and serial protocols, eliminating the need for expensive, PLC vendor-supplied software drivers.

NET.MBLINK 4.0 allows users to develop their own Windows programs, system services, class libraries and ASP.NET solutions for automation and control applications without OPC constraints. For OEMs and end users with multiple applications, NET.MBLINK 4.0 offers run-time-free deployments without additional license fees. No costly third-party components, drivers, APIs or tools are needed.

For example, a user may want to develop a supervisory control system that takes data from a PLC or PAC, stores in an historian, makes calculations, and sends commands back to the PLC or PAC to start or stop motors, change a valve position, or move a robot. When the communications are via Modbus, NET.MBLINK 4.0 allows the user to do this without installing additional software or paying license fees.

Other features include:
• Data scanning using background threads with selectable read/write, read-only or write-only operations
• Data linking to form controls such as labels, text box, sliders, knobs, gauges, dial and meters for automatic updating of user interface screens
• Data scaling for converting raw values to engineering units and vice-versa
• Data simulation for code development and testing
• Managed code specifically written to address the demands of writing HMI or data acquisition and control applications for Microsoft’s .NET Framework.

Like all solutions in the INGEAR.NET software family, NET.MBLINK 4.0 is a run-time-free class library that simplifies building, developing and deploying connected systems for manufacturing and data acquisition applications using Visual Studio .NET 2012, 2010, 2008 and 2005.

Applications developed with NET.MBLINK 4.0 can run on 64 and 32-bit computers and PACs, with operating systems from Windows CE and XP up to Windows 8, Windows Server, Windows Compact Framework and Windows Mobile, as well as Linux with Mono Framework.

To provide users with flexible purchase options, NET.MBLINK 4.0 is offered in multiple editions, including a Developer Edition, Team Edition and Compact Framework Edition. An optional USB license key is also available to easily allow development capabilities on run-time computers for field testing and debugging.

For example, when an application is deployed to a target machine, a runtime-only license is included with the final application. The runtime-only license does not support any further development or debugging, thus protecting a user’s or an OEM’s software from tampering. If field changes are needed, the USB License overrides the runtime-only license, allowing a programmer to edit, test and debug. When the programmer is finished, he or she removes the USB key and the target machine returns to runtime-only operation.

Real-time communication for industrial WLAN

Using a new Key-Plug, the Scalance W product family from the Siemens Industry Automation Division can now be equipped for integrated real-time transmission over Industrial Wireless LAN(IWLAN) in compliance with the IEEE 802.11n standard.

The Key-Plug, a swap medium similar to the proven C-Plug, can be used to enable so-called iFeatures – in other words supplementary functions specifically for industrial use – which offer the deterministic data communication needed for real-time requirements. The iPCF(industrial Point Coordination Function) activated in this way can be realized using Profinet IO from minimal cycle times of 16 ms and over. With this function, it is even possible to trigger a Profisafe emergency stop command over IWLAN, meaning that data communication over WLAN can now be used in applications such as passenger transport. The Key-Plug is available in two different versions: Key-Plug W780 iFeatures for Scalance W Access Points and Key-Plug W740 iFeatures for Scalance W Client Modules. As well as enabling iFeatures, the Key-Plug also offers facility for saving configuration data.

This allows a device to be exchanged without loss of time in case of failure – without the need for intermediate connection of a PC or programming device. Additional functions are planned for the Key-Plug in 2013 which will extend the scope of feature sets capable of being enabled.

Background: the WLAN standard IEEE 802.11n does not define specific methods either for rapid roaming between several access points or deterministic data communication. The key requirements for real-time transmission over WLAN can be selectively upgraded using iPCF. Under these conditions, seamless real-time transmission over Industrial Wireless LAN(IWLAN) offers an alternative to wired networks. Areas of application include uses in which the laying of cables would be excessively laborious or expensive, or where cables would be subject to rapid wear.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Test probe for use in flying probe testers

A new range of test probes for use in flying probe testers such as the Acculogic (Scorpion) and Digitaltest test systems is now available from Peak Test Services.

The P48/G and P57/G FP Series are variants of Peak’s threaded probes, and incorporate a locking system to ensure high test-point accuracy. They offer a choice of travel distance, tip styles, contact pressure and plating material. Maximum current rating is between 5 and 8 A, and typical continuity resistance is less than 20 milliohms.

• The new probes are available in Britain and Ireland from Peak Test Services and via a range of appointed distributors worldwide.

Annual fieldbus conference in Britain

Preliminary details of their 20th Anniversary Conference programme

The PROFIBUS Group has announced preliminary details of the conference programme to be presented at its 20th Anniversary event on 26th June at the Stratford Manor Hotel, Warwickshire (GB).

Stratford Manor Hotel
The conference will open with a State of The (Industrial) Nation address from Brian Holliday, one of the "founding fathers" of The UK's PROFIBUS Group, addressing factors such as government, manufacturing, industrial infra-structure and skills, and why investment and standards such as PROFIBUS & PROFINET remain key to growth and prosperity.

PI Chairman Karsten Schneider will then present the keynote speech, bringing important news of updates on the technology including PROFINET for Process industry applications, performance achievements and the latest developments on such key areas as PROFIenergy, the organisation's innovative solution for massive energy-savings during production idle times.

Case Studies
James Powell, author of "Catching the Process Fieldbus" and a regular presenter at previous conferences will present a case study of a customer who has switched from Ex HART to IS PROFIBUS PA utilizing a multi-vendor solution, showing that PROFIBUS PA is not just for large sites and revealing the economics of using PA and IS instead of Ex construction.

Other practical presentations and case studies will be delivered by David Bray of United Utilities on the subject of lightning protection while an expert from BAE Systems submarine division will address key issues of safety and security in systems design and implementation.

Master Classes and Workshops
There will be a number of Master Classes and Workshops, covering matters such as the new Certified PROFIBUS System Designer course. Delivered by the Group's Technical Officer, Andy Verwer, this presentation shows the need for such certified training and outlines the course content.

Peter Thomas of Control Specialists will discuss how the use of PROFINET can take you into the realms of the IT world, which is very different from the one in which control engineers usually operate in. He will show how WireShark can be used as a tool for base lining the operation of your PROFINET network and will initially look at normal Internet traffic frames such as ping and web site calls to gain a better understanding of how it can be of benefit.

Other workshops will be presented covering tools and techniques for health checking and trouble shooting, PROFIBUS device configuration and device commissioning using FDT/DTM and EDDL based tools.

Flying high in business jet!

LynuxWorks tells us that LynxOS-178 is flying high. The recent announcement by Rockwell Collins that its Pro Line Fusion® integrated avionics system that uses LynxOS-178 is now in service on the Gulfstream G280™, marks the system’s debut in the super mid-size business jet market segment.

“This deployment is a major step in the continued widespread use of LynxOS-178 in avionics systems,” stated Robert Day, Marketing VP for LynuxWorks. “New market segments, such as the business jet market, further expand the reach of standards-based software and benefit from the software’s ability to reduce the time and cost of platform development and its subsequent certification.”

Earlier this year, LynuxWorks received Advisory Circular AC 20-148 approval from the FAA for reusable software components (RSC) authorized for the LynxOS-178 product used in the Rockwell Collins Adaptive Flight Display Runtime, Common Computing Module Runtime, Data Concentration Module Runtime and Synthetic Vision Module Runtime for Pro Line Fusion.

Industrial design awards

Three new products from the Siemens Industry Automation Division have been selected to receive the coveted iF product design award 2013. Alongside the new Simatic S7-1500 controller, awards also went to the Sirius function relays and the distributed periphery Simatic ET200SP. Simogear geared motors from the Drive Technologies Division were also among the award winners.
The picture shows a SIRIUS Function relay with functional safety technology

The Industrial Design of the Simatic S7-1500 controller focuses on performance as well as on optimum usability. All components of the system are designed in an integrated way despite their varying functions. The numerous interface and display elements are arranged vertically to mirror the pin assignment. The high-end surface treatment of the curved front cap emphasizes the quality of the device,especially when mounted in a cabinet. Another characteristic element of the design concept is the “shark’s fin” used to open the front flap.

The new housing concept adopted for the Sirius function relays combines new functions, a high level of automation capability and improved handling with cost-efficient manufacturing.

The aim of the new Industrial Design was to integrate the various versions in just one housing concept with a uniform appearance. A clear surface treatment, reduced details as well as the terminal arrangement and the legible product graphics provide best usability. The manufacturing process is optimized by the use of technical innovations such as laser-cut housing variants and special fonts for laser etching.

The distinctive feature of the Simatic ET200SP distributed periphery is its small module size, which permits optimum utilization of limited control cabinet space. All Industrial Design details – such as the top surface with its cooling slots and the unlocking elements or the module lettering featuring minimal font size – have been especially aligned by Industrial Design. Here too, a common feature of the Industrial Design is a curved surface which creates a uniform and unique visual appearance when mounted in the control cabinet.

Here's to the next fifty years!

Sláinte!
Last July we reported on the excellent circulation figures for the International Society of Automation's (ISA) "hidden jewel" ISA Transactions (ISAT) in our article The Journal of Automation notches up another advance. The journal has been so successful that has now graduated to a bi-monthly from a quarterly. What we did not mention was the the journal was also marking its 50th year of publication.

This month, the new editor, Dr Ahmad B Rad marks the event as follows: "The fine tradition starting in 1962 continues and the hard work of many individuals in the last fifty years has facilitated establishing a solid foundation for even further growth.”

To mark the occasion the former editor of many years Professor Russell Rhinehart has penned what he calls "a fast journey to evolution of the journal and implicitly the history of control and instrumentation.”

A link to this is included in an article, ISA Transactions shares 50 years of history, on the ISA's newly instituted ISA Interchange published today.

• Incidentally if you are a member of ISA you have access to the wealth of articles published in ISAT down the years at no cost.

Partnership to enhance security of ICS!

Offering value-added solutions across the industrial automation world

Yokogawa and McAfee have signed a partnership agreement to offer holistic and value-added IT security solutions for the industrial automation world.

Building on Yokogawa’s strong global track record in delivering control system solutions and McAfee’s cyber security expertise, the partnership addresses the imperative of digital threats to industrial control systems.

In particular, the partners will collaborate to offer Yokogawa’s customers seamless solutions to avoid gaps between different IT systems across proprietary solutions and expanded communication channels (e. g. IP, wireless, and mobile) and running common operating systems and applications.

Growing number of cyber threats targeting industrial environments
According to McAfee’s recent threats report, cyber-crime, hacktivism, and cyber warfare are on the rise worldwide and are growing ever more sophisticated. Governments, large enterprises, small business, and home users face a wide range of digital threats, and recent prominent cases of industrial sabotage and espionage have escalated these concerns.

Today’s cyber security threats mean that industrial control system users and suppliers alike must be increasingly vigilant against current and future intrusions, as human safety and environmental impacts are directly at stake.

Special emphasis on industrial environments running critical infrastructure
While today’s process control systems can take advantage of advanced general-purpose IT to reduce costs, improve performance, enable interoperability with APC, MES, and other systems, and add other important new capabilities, the very same technologies have made today’s industrial control systems increasingly vulnerable to security intrusions – malicious or otherwise – from both within and outside the plant.

Organizations tasked with running critical infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines, chemical plants, power stations, and water treatment facilities must look at holistic security systems across two disparate, yet interconnected zones, enterprise IT and industrial control systems.
Holistic approach combining Yokogawa’s industrial experience and McAfee’s cyber security expertise

Holistic approach combining Yokogawa’s industrial experience and McAfee’s cyber security expertise
McAfee solutions provide resilience, efficient compliance measures, and real-time intelligence for changing threat environments, along with the power of real-time visibility and centralized management through a single platform. The combination of this expertise with Yokogawa’s domain knowledge provides a more holistic approach resulting in the provision of more value-added industrial automation solutions.

This partnership addresses the issue that industrial process control systems typically have a three to five times longer lifecycle than typical commercial systems. Since both system technology and cyber threats are ever-changing, automation system suppliers must embrace a lifecycle approach to industrial cyber security.

“Security measures for control systems are indispensable. Yokogawa is continually making stringent efforts to provide our customers optimum control system security solutions, starting with the development of highly secure instruments and systems and extending to the provision
of operational support services,” said Nobuaki Konishi, Vice President of Yokogawa’s IA Systems Business Division (IA Platform Business Headquarters). “This partnership will allow us to combine our technology and plant security know-how with McAfee’s technology to enhance the security of our products and our line-up of security solution services covering the entire lifecycle of our customers’ plants. This will include the integration of anti-virus software with industrial control systems used in the process industries.”

“Businesses are looking for integrated security solutions, moving from simply securing components, to understanding and measuring the security of a business system as a whole,” said Wahab Yusoff, vice president for McAfee South Asia. “That is why we feel strongly about this opportunity to work with Yokogawa as a leading global supplier of industrial control systems with a history of nearly 100 years of growing expertise and experience.”

• See our page on ICS & SCADA Security for information on system security since Stuxnet was discovered in 2010!

Press force sensor

Kistler Instruments has upgraded its press force sensor range to provide full consistency throughout the measuring range from 0.1 to 700 kN. The piezoelectric sensor element provides a compact design with a low sensor weight, offering significantly smaller dimensions and mass than equivalent strain gauge devices. With three calibrated measurement ranges, the same sensor can be used for a wide spectrum of forces. The feasibility of switching measuring range when using suitable amplifiers bolsters this advantage while accommodating the general trend towards production and measuring stations handling a greater variety of parts.

However, the wide-range measuring chain also offers critical advantages in laboratory applications, where frequent changes of sensor are common practice and the extremely high degree of overload protection eliminates the need for involved protective measures when using the lowest measuring ranges.

The range of eight force sensors has been developed specifically for use in production environments, especially for quality assurance monitoring in assembly applications. The piezoelectric sensors cover measuring ranges from 0.1kN to 700kN and are supplied as standard with 1%, 10% and 100% measuring range calibrations. In most applications, the sensors may be fitted directly into presses, punches and rams but, where this is not possible, a variety of flanges and adapters are available.

SCADA Visualization App!

InduSoft has launched an InduSoft Visualization App for Windows 8 and Windows RT, Microsoft’s highly-anticipated new version of its Windows operating system.

As the first SCADA/HMI app designed specifically for Windows 8, the InduSoft Visualization App offers mobile access to your InduSoft Web Studio application on Windows 8 devices. This application allows you to develop attractive interfaces with easily customizable widgets that display alarms and trend history in an easy-to-read format.

“InduSoft is excited to launch the Visualization App for The Windows Store,” said Lourenço Teodoro, Vice President of engineering at InduSoft. “We feel confident that the beautiful, new design, cloud connectivity, great hardware and solid foundation of Windows 8 will provide a great experience with the InduSoft Visualization App, and we are glad to be leading the frontline of the SCADA/HMI world.”

The InduSoft Visualization App was created specifically for the Windows 8 app store, and is designed to work seamlessly with Windows 8 devices. This app allows mobile access to InduSoft Web Studio applications, and allows users to have critical information always at their fingertips. Being able to view alarms, alarm history, process values, trends, and historical data means that users have all the information they need to make important decisions wherever they are.

“Microsoft app developers have always provided rich software experiences and value for our shared customers,” said John Richards, Senior Director, Windows Business Development. “Windows 8 offers a no-compromise experience across PCs, laptops, and tablets, enabling our app developers to deliver innovative software.”

"It is an exciting time" stated Mike Bradshaw, Director at AdProSys, distributors and support team for the comapny in Ireland and Britain, "InduSoft Web Studio was already a fantastic product with excellent web and thin client offerings. The launch of the Visualisation Manager app for Windows 8 confirms our place in this market and provides our existing and future customers with an exceptional toolset on which to build their next generation operator and management information systems".

Smart vision systems for packaging inspection

Smart vision systems and compact vision systems, for applications such as product and packaging inspection; code and label reading and verification, and 3D measurement of product volume to optimise packing and reduce packaging waste, will be shown by STEMMER IMAGING at Pro2Pac (17/20 Mar 2013 London GB).

Smart cameras feature on-board image processing so do not need a PC in order to operate.
The Gocator 3D camera from LMI Technologies Inc offers a host of 3D measurement capabilities such as product volume, surface flatness and groove measurements and can be used in direct packaging applications or in the manufacture of packaging materials. Product volume measurements allow the contents of cartons and containers to be optimised to avoid wasting valuable space. Groove measurement can be used wherever grooves are essential to a product’s performance such as plastic container lids. Surface flatness measurement is ideal for web applications such as paper or plastic film production.

The BOA range of smart cameras includes the BOA, BOA Pro and BOA IDR models and offers a multitude of product and packaging inspection capabilities for product quality and packaging integrity as well as 1D and 2D code reading and verification capabilities. The BOA Pro has the powerful Sherlock software on board, previously only available on PC-based systems. Sherlock provides a comprehensive range of measurement and analysis tools complemented by advanced pattern recognition tools for object alignment and robot guidance.

GEVA-300 is a new, low cost compact vision system from Teledyne DALSA, which provides an industrial vision platform to which up to 6 GigE Vision cameras can be added for multi-camera inspection applications. Vision solutions can also be setup using the Sherlock application software or the entry level iNspect software which requires little or no prior vision experience.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

WMS supplier selection guide

A new Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) supplier selection guide has been launched by ARC Advisory Group. The guide, in combination with supporting ARC data on the WMS marketplace, a strategic report on the WMS Business Case, and consultant support, will allow companies going through a WMS supplier selection process to make quicker and better decisions.

ARC Return on Investment (ROI) research has demonstrated that WMS solutions often provide the single best solution for reducing the costs associated with distribution while simultaneously improving service. In fact, a WMS can serve as a platform for further savings that would be difficult to achieve without having this solution in place.

Part of the success of a WMS in driving cost savings and service improvements is based upon the maturity of this technology. In theory, this maturity should make supplier selection easier. In practice, WMS solutions exist on a complexity continuum spanning low cost solutions with limits on the depth of functionality provided, to highly functional, much higher cost solutions. Further, different suppliers have developed special domain expertise in specific industries. The potential business benefits and associated payback periods reflect these facts.

ARC STAR – Supplier Selection Service guides users through a step-by-step process selecting and evaluating suppliers and their products against specific application and industry 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.

The selection guide was authored by Steve Banker. Steve has been covering the WMS market, WMS solutions, and WMS suppliers for over 15 years. Steve is one of the best known figures in the field of supply chain management and warehouse management has been a particular focus for him.

Ergonomics focuses on the user!

In March 2013, COPA-DATA will introduce a new version of its automation software. zenon 7.10 again focuses on the user and features pioneering technology, with its support of 64-bit, Windows 8 and Multi-Touch.

With concepts such as “setting parameters instead of programming” or the simple integration of its products into existing automation and IT infrastructures, COPA-DATA is consistently pursuing the concept of ergonomics in industry. This is built upon further in zenon 7.10: there is even more focus on the user. Working with templates, individualization as desired, freely-configurable wizards, simple reusability and intuitive Multi-Touch operation ensure quick and secure configuration of projects, a high degree of usability and ergonomic working.

zenon 7.10 – an overview of some of the new features

• Enhanced Batch Control module with touch support in Runtime and integration into the Report Viewer for seamless documentation of batch processes.
• Comprehensive production reporting: the Report Viewer now has complete access to the recipe administration in zenon. Complete reporting of all important data such as alarms, an audit trail or historic and online data is possible in one single tool.
• Know-how protection in the zenon Editor: important elements of a zenon project can be blocked for certain users via the user administration. This protects applications from manipulation.
• Improved performance when reading and displaying large amounts of data, especially in the Extended Trend module.
• Auto-zoom in the Extended Trend Module
• Direct import of variables from the new SIMATIC STEP 7 version of the Siemens TIA portal.
• Everywhere App by zenon with Everywhere Server: HMI/SCADA-App for Smartphones and Tablets for Windows Phone and iOS
• Native Multi-Touch support under Windows 8
• 64-bit version
• SQL Server 2012 and Windows 8 support
• New drivers: such as ICCP Tase, DNP3_NG, Codesys, Steriflow and KUKA

The new version also offers the user unique possibilities with graphics and new ways of operating the software. COPA-DATA Product Manager, Reinhard Mayr: “With zenon 7, we are already the first HMI/SCADA producer to bring native Multi-Touch and DirectX 11 support to the automation market. The feedback from our customers has shown that we were in step with the times. This, in addition to the fact that Microsoft is also increasingly using Multi-Touch and new mobile platforms, led us to release technology that makes the work of users even easier.”

zenon as a 64-bit version: increased memory capacity for increasing amounts of data
In addition to a 32-bit version, zenon 7.10 will also be available as a 64-bit version. Users are free to use either just one version or the other, or a combination of both. There are no additional costs for customers as a result of using the zenon 64-bit version.
COPA-DATA Development Manager, Günther Haslauer, explains: “Automation projects are becoming ever more extensive; hardware and software has to be able to process an ever-increasing amount of data. In a 32-bit application, the addressable area is limited to 32 bits. This means that a maximum of 232 bytes can be addressed directly, so a maximum of 4 GB RAM can be used. 64-bit applications are not subject to this limit. The addresses are 64 bits long (8 bytes) and can thus have a value of up to 264-1. For the foreseeable future, this massive number will be many factors higher than the physical memory that is available. Issues such as too few free addresses for application data or address fragmentation are no longer relevant. The real usable amount of memory is then the same as the physically-installed amount of working memory. It should be noted that a 64-bit operating systems is, of course, required for the use of 64-bit applications.”

Enhanced recipe management and new Batch Control for efficient batch production
The Batch Control module for lot-based production that is integrated into zenon has been comprehensively expanded in zenon 7.10. The new features range from integrated operations and touch support in zenon Runtime through to integration into the Report Viewer. Users can, for example, freely select the recipe or lot from any desired project and display the data from this in the Report Viewer. These are compiled and output via an individual report, which is automatically archived in the desired format and can be printed. In addition, this version of Batch Control offers numerous new filter options and the possibility to connect to order administration systems. Users also benefit from more display options. Thus, for example, the production process and recipe can be displayed in one window at the same time, so the production progress and individual process stages can be seen more clearly.

Support for Windows 8, Multi-Touch and SQL Server 2012
COPA-DATA is the first HMI/SCADA provider to fully support Windows 8, in addition to Microsoft SQL Server 2012. This also includes the reinterpreted Multi-Touch technology based on interaction contexts. zenon 7.10 can process all gestures that are currently also supported by Windows 8 as standard. Users can also individually define the Multi-Touch gestures that are available in specific screens.

Static-analysis technology available in academia!

Award-winning GrammaTech CodeSonar static-analysis tool available for classes and research

GrammaTech has expanded its no-cost academic program to include CodeSonar®. The tool can now be used in academic research and teaching.

GrammaTech’s Academic Program already includes projects at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of California Davis, Szeged University, Loyola College, the University of Waterloo, Seattle University, Swinburne University, the University of Hertfordshire, University College London and many other institutions. Application areas in which researchers are using GrammaTech’s static-analysis technology include improving software quality, computer forensics, applying statistical learning techniques to software engineering and exploring new debugging approaches.

GrammaTech grew out of research started at Cornell University and is proud to be able to contribute program-analysis technology back to the research community. The company also actively collaborates on research projects with universities such as the University of Virginia, Georgia Tech and the University of Wisconsin.

“The Software Engineering Institute (SEI), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), FDA, and many other influential organizations are encouraging the use of static analysis to improve software quality and security. GrammaTech’s Academic Program helps university faculty incorporate hands-on experience with static analysis. Students will be able to use the same technology that has been used on a wide variety of mission-critical projects, including the Mars Curiosity Rover,” said Mark Zarins, VP of Marketing at GrammaTech. “Faculty can also use the technology in their research projects.”

Selecting thermowells

New tool helps users select the right thermowell early in the design process
Emerson Process Management has introduced an online thermowell calculation tool that incorporates the new ASME PTC 19.3 TW standard. The tool is now available free-of-charge on their site. Emerson is the first to make available an online tool offering a more automated approach to thermowell calculation as opposed to the traditional way of utilising spreadsheets.

"The new tool offers preliminary calculations and gives users the option to perform a quick pass or fail thermowell calculation," according to Danjin Zulic, Temperature Marketing Engineer, Emerson Process Management. "Users can save time by performing iterative, preliminary calculations to select the right thermowell earlier in the design process."

In addition to the tool, the web site has a link to an R21 Report request form for official evaluations. "Once the thermowell order is ready to be placed, the official R21 report provides detailed documentation of the thermowell calculation."

A video and white paper are also available on the web site that explains the new ASME PTC 19.3 TW standard. Enhancements in the new standards and thermowell calculation tool include different types of stem profiles, more accurate natural frequency equations, and a calculated Strouhal number. The new standard also provides natural frequency correction factors that take into account different components of the thermowell such as the mounting style and temperature sensor mass.

• Emerson's Jim Cahill has also written on this in his Emerson Process Experts Blog: Online Calculation Tool for Thermowell Installations 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Safety for specialist CNC machine builders

NUM has released a sophisticated system-wide functional safety architecture for its CNC system, providing an exceptionally scalable solution that can be applied very easily to almost any type of machine tool - regardless of complexity or number of axes. Known as NUMSafe, it includes a dedicated safety PLC, safe input and output modules, and digital servo drives with built-in safe motion monitoring. It is compatible with NUM's new-generation Flexium+ CNC platform.

According to NUM's Chief Technical Officer, Massimiliano Menegotto, "Functional safety is becoming a mandatory requirement for most types of machine tool, independent of the machine's performance, accuracy and complexity. As well as improving operator safety, it also increases machine productivity and availability. NUMSafe's inherent scalability and versatility of control gives OEMs a simple solution, regardless of whether the end product is a basic 3-axis machine, or some highly complex machine with a hundred-plus axes for an application such as rotary transfer machining."

Until relatively recently, designers wishing to implement even basic functional safety schemes on CNC machines were forced to use electromechanical safety technology such as special contactors and relays. This approach involved significant extra component and wiring costs, as well as increased machine development and build times. By integrating safety functionality across the entire CNC platform NUMSafe minimizes the need for additional hardware and simplifies software development, to OEM's considerable advantage. Furthermore, end users benefit from a strong increase in machine productivity because it is no longer necessary to power off the complete machine every time there is an element of human interaction; instead, protection can be ensured by dedicated functions which limit the movement, speed and position of axes.

A key advantage of the NUMSafe architecture is that safe devices such as the safety PLC and I/O modules can be contained within the same standard terminal line up as other elements of the control system. All communication between the machine's control system, operator panel and servo drives is handled via EtherCAT field bus, using a Fail Safe over EtherCAT (FSoE) protocol to ensure integrity of safety-related data. NUMSafe complies with the EN ISO 13849-1 machinery safety standard up to PL e, and with the EN 61800-5-2 functional safety standard for variable speed drives, up to SIL 3.

To help machine builders minimize development time the application programs for the safety PLC are created using the same suite of powerful software tools that is used to commission the entire system, including the CNC, PLC, drives and I/O modules. The logic of the safety application is programmed using function blocks such as 'E-Stop', 'Operation Mode', 'AND', 'OR, etc, linked to safe inputs and outputs.

Complex safety functions can be set up easily by chaining function blocks. For example, requesting the machine operator to perform an action requiring use of both hands - such as operating two control switches simultaneously - to prevent exposure to moving parts, and verifying this before allowing execution of any motion command, only requires a couple of instructions. The safety application is a self-contained program; as soon as the developer is satisfied with its logic it can be downloaded to the safety PLC.

NUM's latest NUMDrive X digital servo drives, which are available in mono- and bi-axes versions, can incorporate a safe motion monitoring module that operates in conjunction with the safety PLC to oversee and control all safety-related aspects of drive and motor behaviour. By allowing safety functions to be implemented on individual machine axes, and only where required, this modular approach helps reduce system cost. Furthermore, NUM offers two versions of the module, enabling designers to match their application needs very precisely. Both versions feature redundant channel architecture and use cross-monitoring techniques to ensure data integrity.

The basic safe motion monitoring module provides a Safe Torque Off (STO) function; this is the most commonly used safety function and ensures that the drive can longer command the motor to generate torque, with continuous monitoring to prevent unexpected start-up. In addition to STO, the extended version of the module implements the EN 61800-5-2 compliant functions of Safe Operating Stop (SOS), Safe Stop 1 (SS1), Safe Stop 2 (SS2), Safely­Limited Speed (SLS) and Safely-Limited Position (SLP) either by means of safe homing and incremental encoders, or by employing certified absolute encoders such as those used with NUM's new line of innovative single-cable servo motors.

Used singly or in combination, these functions enable designers to implement a wide range of machine safety concepts. For example, SS2 safely monitors that the braking of an axis is as quick as possible in the event of an emergency. This can be followed by the SOS function to instruct the drive/motor to maintain a fixed position by generating a degree of holding torque, but not to move - the axis is monitored continuously to ensure that it remains stationary.

Another cost-saving benefit of NUM's safety architecture is that there is no need for an additional encoder on machine axes that implement safety functions. Motor feedback can be derived from safe encoders which return position and redundant position data to the drive using a secure certified protocol, or, in the case of synchronous motors, any standard sin/cos encoder.

Global alliance to light the world!

Moving light to the front of the panel

LED lighting manufacturer Bivar Inc and Marl International have formed an international opto-electronics partnership with manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia and a portfolio of approximately 24,000 high performance LED and light pipe products. The partnership will supply and support customers around the world through a global network of agents and distributors.
LtoR: Graham Round, Distribution Manager, Marl International; Tom Silber, President, Bivar, Inc.; Adrian Rawlinson, MD, Marl International; Nathan Orton, Technical and Procurement Director, Marl International; Michael Finn, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bivar; Paul McDermott-Roe, Sales Director, Marl International; David Moorhouse, Operations Director, Marl International.

Before signing the partnership, the CEOs of the two companies, Tom Silber, President of Bivar and Adrian Rawlinson, Managing Director of Marl International spent two years looking at how the two companies can most effectively combine their strengths to the benefit of both sets of existing and potential customers. Both companies fully recognise the importance of becoming a global player, and the agreement is the first phase of an exciting joint strategic plan.

Commenting on the relationship, Tom Silber said, “We value our strong relationship with Marl and share in the excitement at what we can create together. I’m confident customers will benefit from greater accessibility to our products and solutions.”

Adrian Rawlinson concluded, “The similarities between Bivar and Marl are uncanny, the synergies and potential are phenomenal. Our collaboration is particularly exciting because it’s bilateral. We will be promoting availability of Bivar products in the UK and Europe whilst Bivar are accelerating development of Marl products in North America.”

The two companies first initiative is “moving light to the front of the panel” with the launch of an enhanced product range of panel mount indicators and flexible light pipes with a wide variety of features and options based on metal and cost effective nylon housings. The dynamic nature of the collaboration also enables both organisations to encourage enquiries for custom solutions.

M2M Marketing appointment

Anglia Components has recruited M2M marketing specialist Tim Clayton as Divisional Marketing Manager for Anglia M2M, the distributor for Cinterion, Antenova, connectBlue and other top suppliers in Ireland and Britain.

Tim Clayton
Clayton brings fifteen years’ wireless experience to Anglia M2M, and reports to John Bowman, Marketing Director, Semiconductors. Commenting on his new role, Tim Clayton said, “Anglia offered me a great opportunity to join an exciting and fast growing distributor and develop a successful business unit from a strong base. Anglia M2M represents some major lines and has an effective technical support team. The M2M market is growing extremely rapidly and Anglia is very well positioned to capture that growth.”

John Bowman added, “Tim Clayton’s direct involvement in significant M2M designs gives him a unique skill set. His experience of working with major cellular and GPS module manufacturers provides him with the technical and commercial insight to offer a truly complete service to Anglia M2M customers. He will be an immensely valuable addition to the Anglia team.”

Tim Clayton has worked in the sales and marketing of wireless components since 1998 and has held positions at leading specialist wireless distributors since 2000.

Wall box solution

Rittal’s Technical System Catalogue lists all the benefits of its top selling, cost effective, AE wall box range such as corrosion resistance, a range of accessories for easy assembly as well as security and environmental issues.

In production for over fifty years Rittal have been providing standard and special wall boxes, in a range of different materials, for the whole range of the industrial sector including construction, transport, manufacturing, and offshore sitings.

Moisture spot checks!

Compact sample conditioning for speedy spot-checks of moisture

Compact and convenient sample options ensure the best results from their portable hygrometers, MDM300 and MDM300 I.S.
• Michell Instruments are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.
Without sample conditioning the results of moisture measurements may be affected by pressure, while sensors are at risk of damage by particles, liquids or glycol in the sample gas. Michell has specialised in industrial hygrometry for four decades and this expertise has produced compact and light sample systems which ensure that making spot-checks of moisture with a portable hygrometer will give readings that are as reliable as online measurements.

Various sampling options are available giving users the choice of the best system for their needs. According the MDM300 product manager, Auberon Tatum, the most popular and flexible of these is the MDM300 sample panel. ‘It is a fully-functioning sample system that is also light and easily portable,’ he explains. ‘It provides both flow control and filtration, but is also compact and light enough to carry.’ The sample panel is capable of measuring moisture in gases under pressure – up to 300 barg – and will operate in temperatures up to +50°C."

It only takes a few minutes to set up the system: the MDM300 is mounted on to the panel and connected to the inlet and the outlet. This only needs to be carried out once, as the complete system can be transported between sample points, ensuring that using the sample panel makes no impact on the speed at which measurements can be made. For further protection, a robust case is available to transport the system over longer distances, even within hazardous areas.

Further sampling options and accessories for the MDM300 range are available including kits with sample pump, SF6 application kits and a medical gas kit for clean air in hospitals.

Michell’s Easi-fit and Compressed Air Kits are suitable for applications where the sample is above atmospheric pressure. The Compressed Air Kit includes a particulate filter and fittings to make it easy to connect into a compressed air system. The kits are small, making them a convenient method to ensure correct measurements from common applications for the MDM300.

Harvesting gold down under!

Five meters supplied to a gold producing facility to protect tripper cars from damage caused by overfilled bins, avoiding a potentially hazardous situation.

Tipper Cars
Tripper cars are used to provide a transfer point for raw material. Tripper cars move back and forth to allow mined material to be discharged into different locations - feeding conveyor belts, mills, bins or stock piles.
One of world’s largest gold mines uses Krohne's OPTIWAVE 6300 to measure multiple bin levels with heights exceeding 10m. The position of the tripper car is controlled by the measured bin levels from these radars and the demand on the bins. However due to mounting and mechanical restrictions the bin level meters are positioned to the side of the bins and cannot measure product level right up to the conveyor, causing potential for the ore to build up to the tripper, damaging the tripper car and causing a potentially hazardous situation. By mounting the OPTIWAVE 6300 on the tripper cars, the radar is able to quickly lock onto the level of one bin to the next, measuring the material level in each of the bins, with the peak rising as it approaches the centre of the bin; and falling as it moves away from the centre. This additional, tripper car mounted radar provides redundancy for the bin mounted radars and protects the tripper cars from damage caused by an overfilled bin.

Dust and dirt inherent in mining operations makes reliable bin level measurement from a moving tripper car even more challenging. KROHNE’s OPTIWAVE 6300 FMCW radar level meter provides a more stable and responsive measurement than pulse radar and is well suited to dusty process conditions.

The OPTIWAVE 6300 has a unique PP or PTFE Drop shaped antenna: its shape prevents product build-up in dusty applications. Further the frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) measuring principle provides continuous measurement at high bandwidth, resulting in enhanced reliability and accuracy in the presence of strong multiple reflections, like a dusty environment. An installation wizard specifically for solids, powders, and granulates permits the instrument to measure uneven surfaces accurately with ranges up to 80m.

Offshore contract

Contract to Supply Integrated Control and Safety Systems for Cygnus Offshore Development Project

Yokogawa's Centum VP
Yokogawa has been awarded a contract by GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd to supply the integrated control and safety systems (ICSS) for its new Cygnus Development Project, following on from recent North Sea contract awards from a number of major oil and gas companies.

Under the contract, Yokogawa Europe Solutions B.V. will supply the complete ICSS comprising of the following systems: process control, process shutdown, emergency shutdown, fire & gas detection (complete with associated field devices), process data historian, and field device asset management.

The ICSS will feature Yokogawa’s CENTUM VP process automation system, ProSafe-RS safety system, Exaquantum production management solution, and PRM asset management package.

Yokogawa Europe Solutions B.V. will also be supplying an operator training system (OTS) utilizing the OmegaLand advanced operator simulation environment.

The ICSS will be distributed across the Cygnus complex, which currently consists of a total of four greenfield offshore platforms. Three platforms are bridge linked (Alpha WHP, PU, and UQ) and a second remote drilling centre is located on the fourth platform (Bravo WHP). The planned export route is through the ETS pipeline system to the Perenco Bacton Gas Terminal in North Norfolk.

The Cygnus gas field has 18 billion m3 in proven and probable reserves and is situated within British Continental Shelf blocks 44/12a and 44/11a. The field is operated by GDF SUEZ, which also owns a 38.75% stake. Centrica has a 48.75% interest and Bayerngas holds the remaining 12.5%.

Production is expected to start from the new facilities in late 2015. The field is expected to meet demand for nearly one and a half million homes at peak production, accounting for around 5% of British gas production.

The ICSS will provide fully integrated and seamless control and safety functions for the platforms along with a single interface allowing operators to start, control, and monitor all facilities from a central control room. Asset management is another important issue; with its rich functionality, PRM will minimize maintenance costs and enable proactive instrument maintenance management. The OTS will be used not only for operator training but also as an engineering tool to confirm changes in control strategy.

Yokogawa’s rapidly expanding North Sea installation base has also enabled the further expansion of the company’s Aberdeen based north sea business unit, which is due to move into larger premises in early 2013.

In its Evolution 2015 mid-term business plan, Yokogawa has designated the upstream oil and gas sector as a focus area. Yokogawa will continue to propose solutions that ensure safe and stable operations at its customers’ plants and production facilities, thereby expanding its industrial automation and control business.