Thursday, February 28, 2013

Process automation system upgrade!

Latest release offers increased integration and easy upgrade for process, machinery and drives automation


Honeywell has upgraded Experion® PMD, boosting the range and functionality of its comprehensive automation solution for controlling processes, machinery and drives through a single system.



The new release of Experion’s integrated Process, Machinery and Drive control, (PMD) widens the scope of the solution further, integrating Experion Alarm Management, Experion Integrated Historian,  OneWireless and Digital Video Manager solutions for the first time. Release 800 also adds a new Field Controller Express (FCE) controller with over 60 percent more controller point capacity, integrated Profibus and TotalPlant Alcont UPLINE/IOLINE highway interface, native peer-to-peer connectivity with Experion MX and the Experion PKS controller family through parameter connection and a single point of data entry. 


“With Experion PMD the result is better quality, more efficient production, and reduced maintenance and project lead times,” said Brad Garnett, business director, Pulp, Paper & Continuous Web Solutions at Honeywell Process Solutions. “The updates in Release 800 make it a truly all-encompassing automation solution for pulp and paper manufacturers, as well as others in the chemicals, metals, pharmaceuticals and food and beverage industries.”

PMD controllers can be used on all control levels for implementing advanced controls, fast machine controls and process controls. A single, consistent set of engineering tools across these levels means lower capital costs and enables cost effective execution of production line and plant- wide control. Benefits include reduced database maintenance, easier training, increased access to diagnostic information, single alarm and event logging, and faster control responses.

The new release is fully scalable and also continues to support migration from Honeywell’s TotalPlant Alcont (TPA) systems. Customers migrating to Experion PMD are able to reuse many existing TotalPlant Alcont assets to minimize costs, and commissioning and start-up times. Existing TotalPlant Alcont application solutions are converted to Experion using existing cabinets, I/O and wiring so the costs of implementation can be minimized while significantly extending the life of assets.

Zero-day rootkits & bootkits

New features to help protect endpoints against the most potent and stealthy advanced persistent threats

LynuxWorks has announced  announced that they will demonstrate the industry’s first technology capable of real-time detection, alert and protection against zero-day rootkits and bootkits. Rootkits are the most sophisticated and lethal type of malware--stealthy and extremely potent. When resident on endpoint devices, the LynxSecure 5.2 product can help security experts and IT staff discover rootkit infections and neutralize them, and then easily remotely clean infected machines, thereby preventing future infections.

LynxSecure 5.2 is the next version of the established secure separation kernel and hypervisor from LynuxWorks. Designed from the ground up with security as a key design goal, this military-grade virtualization solution is now available for Enterprise users. It is small, secure and offers high performance that is well suited to today’s modern roaming endpoints, such as laptops and hybrids. Now adding a feature that does real-time detection of stealthy advanced persistent threats such as rootkits, brings the use of this technology to the front of Enterprise security protection.

“This new feature in LynxSecure 5.2 really shows off the power of using virtualization technology to protect endpoints,” said Robert Day, vice president of marketing at LynuxWorks. “We will be demonstrating several examples of LynxSecure protected endpoints including live defense of a real rootkit.”

Rootkits work at the lowest levels of the operating system (OS) they intend to attack. Thus, it is a self-defeating cause to try and have a detection and prevention mechanism that is a part of the “target of attack.” The approach to combating these insidious threats needs a mechanism that offers a completely different security posture: It must execute with a higher privilege than the attacked OS; provide complete control of the platform hardware; and monitor all activities of the OS and its applications. Also, this mechanism must be self-protecting, non-bypassable and tamper-proof. LynxSecure provides a comprehensive end-to-end solution, fully manageable by IT staff, while providing a detailed real-life picture of the rootkit infections in the corporate network.

“Rootkits are not only the most dangerous cyber-threat, but also the most common one. Daily we witness new cyber-attacks on major corporations, media companies and government agencies. What’s common to these attacks is that the targets are endpoints and that the malicious payloads are rootkits and bootkits.” said Avishai Ziv, vice president of Enterprise Security solutions at LynuxWorks. “The existing dedicated tools for detecting and removing rootkits and bootkits are very few, provide only partial remedy and require a lengthy, complicated process. Our technology is the only one capable of handling the entire cycle while the endpoint is still active, with swift, remote remediation.”

New handheld configurator

The cost and complexity of configuring instruments in the field has now been significantly reduced following the introduction of ABB’s new lightweight and robust handheld configurator.

Designed for use with any HART device, the DHH805 can be used with both ABB’s instruments and those of other manufacturers without the need for an exclusive licence, providing a truly universal device offering a greatly reduced cost of ownership.

The mobile handheld DHH805 allows easy parameterization of any HART device from any manufacturer as long as its EDD (Electronic Device Description) is released from the HART foundation. The DHH805 does not require expensive license renewals as the EDDs necessary for the update can be downloaded directly from the HART foundation or a manufacturer’s website. Device configurations can be created off-line, stored in the DHH805’s memory and uploaded to the device at another time.

Featuring the common ABB HMI platform, the configurator can be powered up in less than 10 seconds and is supported by a powerful battery, which provides 80 hours of continuous use before recharging.

The DHH805 is delivered with a Windows compatible PC-Tool that will notify users of firmware and software updates that may become available, which can then be downloaded or updated free of charge. Users can also use the DHH805 PC-Tool to activate and register the handheld device; carry out EDD listing and uploading; and make changes to the device’s configuration settings.

The device is fully certified for hazardous areas (IEC Ex, ATEX and FM) and is supplied with a 2 GB SD memory card that can store up to 1000 HART EDDs, together with 200 separate device configuration files.

• This product id marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Enhanced network-based control system

Yokogawa has released an enhanced version of the STARDOM™ network-based control system. With this release, the integrity of the data transferred between supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) is ensured in challenging upstream oil & gas and other applications.

Development background
The FCN autonomous controller and the FCN-RTU low power controller are core components of the STARDOM network-based control system, which is widely used in applications involving the monitoring and control of oil & gas fields, water supply facilities, and other installations that are often hundreds of kilometres apart. In such applications, the controllers installed at each site send data via a narrowband communications link to the SCADA system at a central control facility. To ensure that no data is lost, such systems generally employ DNP3, an open distributed network communications protocol. The STARDOM system has been enhanced to make better use of the functions supported by the DNP3 protocol.

Product features
With this enhancement, the FCN and FCN-RTU controllers now support a dual connection to DNP3 clients, enabling the same data to be sent to master and backup SCADA systems (the DNP3 clients) at the same time. When the same essential data is stored on master and backup SCADA servers in separate locations, the system can switch over to the backup SCADA server in the event of a disaster or some other eventuality that could cause the master SCADA server to go offline. This disaster recovery system ensures the uninterrupted monitoring and control of oil & gas fields, water supply facilities, and other types of infrastructure.

Takashi Nishijima, a Yokogawa Director and Senior Vice President of Yokogawa’s Industrial Automation Platform Business Headquarters, says: “Dating back to the days when the company introduced its flagship CENTUM system, Yokogawa has continually been focused on maximising system reliability, and this is one of the core values of our VigilantPlant initiative. We have adopted the same policy with our SCADA systems and are able to prevent the loss of valuable data and guarantee total consistency - even when data is transmitted between customer facilities that may be hundreds of kilometres apart. Yokogawa will continue to enhance the reliability of the systems that its customers and society depend on.”

About STARDOM
STARDOM is an open network control system consisting of components with control, operation, and monitoring functionality, and is highly acclaimed as it combines the reliability of a DCS with the versatility and economy of a PLC. The autonomous controllers at the core of STARDOM have the same control and monitoring functions found in a PLC as well as the information distribution functions of a PC. They are widely used as intelligent remote terminal units (RTU) in distributed applications such as natural gas and oil wells and pipelines. When used in combination, FCN and FCN-RTU autonomous controllers and Yokogawa’s FAST/TOOLS SCADA software give increased flexibility in distributed applications.

Major target markets
• Widely distributed installations such as those used in oil & gas, water supply, and wastewater treatment applications
• Small- to medium-sized plants for the processing of oil, chemicals, iron & steel, nonferrous metals, pulp & paper, food, pharmaceuticals etc.
• Small- to medium-sized power plants that employ wind, steam, or water turbines

Applications
• Monitoring, operation, control, data collection, and data storage for geographically distributed facilities

Caravan alarm!

LPRS is supplying their Duet wireless Keyfob and RX3 AM receiver module control to state-of-the-art alarm systems for caravan manufacturers and owners.

Manufactured by Keen Electronics the PROTECTOR TWO caravan alarm and light controller is an updated version of the original PROTECTOR alarm now fitted to thousands of Lunar Caravans. The LPRS keyfob offers users the ability to turn the alarm system on and off and also an external awning light for additional security. The keyfob also features a panic alarm function in response to requests from caravan owners who travel abroad.

The alarm system is very simple to use as the keyfob buttons are clearly marked for their specific functions; ALARM and LIGHT, removing the need for ambiguous pictograms. Simplicity of use is a key feature of both Keen Electronics and LPRS products.

The new LPRS Duet wireless Keyfob features recessed buttons to reduce the risk of accidental operation and a rolling code KeeLoq system encryption for improved security. Operating frequency is 433.92MHz with a transmit power of <+4dBm. Power is provided by a +12V lithium cell with an on-board low battery indicator. The keyfob has a plastic case and buttons, measures just 50x38x13mm and has LED light signalling when operated.

The LPRS RX3 AM receiver module features standard software supporting a total of 4 channels of independent control, RSSI output for measuring transmitter signal strength, two fully configurable control channels 1 and 2. (channels 3 and 4 non-configurable), rolling code KeeLoq encryption rates 200 and 400uS/bit and 4 configuration modes: Key fob registration, bistable, monostable and time registration monostable mode.

Other applications for LPRS keyfob wireless controllers and receivers include; security gates and bollards, vehicles, intruder alarms, light switching and domestic appliances.

Premier stockist

Forward 2000 (Oxon) has won the prestigious Festo ‘Premier Stockist of the Year’ award for outstanding performance in 2012. The award is presented to the company within the Festo Premier Stockist network that shows the best sales growth of Festo products for the year, combined with demonstrable gains in operational efficiency – evidenced by over 90% usage of the Festo on-line shop – and the highest level of commitment to strategic campaigns.

The award was presented to Dave Watton, Sales Director, and Graham Breakspear, Managing Director, of Forward 2000, by Stuart Gittins, Festo’s Indirect Sales Manager.
LtoR: Graham Breakspear (Director, Forward2000), Dave Watton (Sales Director, Forward2000), Stuart Gittins (Indirect Team Sales Manager, Festo), Marco Flori (Business Development Consultant, Festo)

“This award complements an exceptional year with Festo and highlights the hard work, commitment to technology and excellence within the Forward 2000 sales force,” says Dave Watton. “We are very pleased to have won the prestigious title of Premier Stockist for the first time.”

Watton points out that the award is the result of a collaborative effort: “We have always worked in partnership with Festo, taking many of our customers to Festo HQ in Northampton to discuss projects in detail, or to participate in Festo training courses. Our success is built on providing fast, cost-effective and knowledgeable service alongside efficient local distribution. I would like to thank everyone within Forward 2000 for their hard work throughout 2012 and Festo for its support and high level of service.”

According to Festo’s Stuart Gittins, “Forward 2000 has demonstrated excellence in product campaigns, promotional activity, training commitment and process efficiency. It returned the best year-on-year growth of its Festo portfolio, principally by providing an exceptional level of service to its customers in Oxford and the surrounding areas.”

“The company also operates a highly professional and service-oriented business, meeting its customers' needs. Forward 2000 has established an enviable reputation with many leading industrial companies in the field.”

The level of service provided by all Festo Premier Stockists aims to be exemplary; only companies that meet specific Festo-defined standards are granted the title. In particular, each stockist must operate in accordance with the ISO 9002 standard, carry guaranteed stock levels, and offer fully-trained technical support personnel and competent trade counter services. Each stockist has direct access to over £35 million worth of stock held at Festo's European Customer Services Centre in Germany, enabling them to offer customers next-day delivery of virtually any pneumatic component, from a range of over 23,000 products.

Upgrade automation on North Sea platform

New safety and automation systems using Emerson’s new electronic marshalling with CHARMs technology will help improve oil recovery from Visund platform.

Statoil has awarded Emerson Process Management, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR), a €25million ($33m) contract to upgrade safety and automation systems on the Visund oil platform in the Norwegian North Sea.

Photo:Statoil
Previously selected by Statoil as one of its preferred automation and safety suppliers, Emerson will provide integrated safety and automation systems to help the international energy company boost oil recovery and extend the life of the field while also reducing operating costs and minimising safety and environmental risks. The Visund project includes a complex, but seamless changeover from existing to new automation and safety systems (known as a hot cutover) to allow uninterrupted operation of the floating production, drilling, and living-quarters platform.

Emerson will design, configure, and install the new safety and automation systems, as well as provide on-going support services to help ensure continued smooth operations. Aker Solutions of Bergen (N), will provide project-execution support to Emerson.

To help with space and weight limitations on the platform and to offer more design flexibility during the upgrade, Statoil will take advantage of Emerson’s electronic marshalling with CHARMs technology. This technology reduces the complexity of connecting such systems to the hundreds or thousands of measurement and control instruments in typical process operations – a significant advantage because last-minute wiring changes with traditional marshalling can result in high costs and expensive delays. (See our 2009 article on the launch of CHARMS in 2009: CHARMS gets THUMS up in Rijswijk!)

Statoil will also benefit from Emerson’s operator and maintenance interfaces that were designed with human-centered design principles to make it easier for workers to correctly and efficiently assess operational conditions and take appropriate action to ensure production uptime.

Based on Emerson’s PlantWeb™ digital architecture, the integrated solution will include a DeltaV™ digital automation system to monitor and control platform operations, as well as a DeltaV SIS system to perform emergency shutdown functions and to control fire and gas detection systems. Emerson’s AMS Suite predictive maintenance software will be used for instrument commissioning and configuration and to monitor field devices for potential problems that could affect operations.

"Emerson continues to develop its safety and automation business in the North Sea by providing the best technologies and by investing in support services and skilled personnel to help our customers make the most of their operations," said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. "We are delighted that Statoil has recognised the value our technologies and experience can bring to the Visund project."

The Visund oil and gas field, which came onstream in 1999, is located 22 kilometres northeast of the Gullfaks field in the Tampen area of the Norwegian North Se

Availability Virtualised in Automation


HardwarePT has joined forces with Stratus Technologies in this years Availability Virtualised in Automation road show 2013. They provide fault-tolerant hardware platforms, and virtualisation technologies to deliver assured uptime for virtualised plant IT environments.

It is scheduled to visit venues throughout Britain and in Ireland including some iconic sports locations including Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United and Croke Park the home of Gaelic Games. The tour will be held in the second part of April 2013.
The historic headquarters of Gaelic Games: Croke Park

The direction of embedded systems

National Instruments has released Embedded Systems Outlook 2013, which shares the company’s conclusions about the direction of the embedded systems market. The outlook is intended to assist engineers and scientists in a wide variety of application areas, from energy and life sciences to industrial control and transportation, as they navigate the rapidly changing business and technology landscape.

Embedded Systems Outlook 2013 discusses the following trends
  • Reconfigurable Heterogeneous Architectures: When faster CPU cores fall short, embedded system designers are combining heterogeneous processing elements to meet application needs.
  • The Digital Energy Revolution: Digital technologies are changing the way we manipulate, move, control and store energy.
  • Democratisation of Embedded System Design: Many design teams are abandoning larger specialised teams for smaller groups focused on translating domain expertise into realised innovation.
  • Total Economic Profitability: More companies are adopting a comprehensive approach that considers not only cost benefit analysis but also factors like flexibility and risk.
  • Embedded Vision: Technology originally used in high-volume consumer devices is powering a new generation of intelligent embedded systems.

“NI has years of experience in the embedded systems market, and the success of our company has hinged on our ability to identify and take advantage of emerging technology trends,” said Jamie Smith, Director of Embedded Systems Marketing at National Instruments. “Because we work with organisations in so many different sectors, we’ve managed to stay at the forefront of innovation in a rapidly changing industry.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Video processing in NASA project

GE Intelligent Platforms's video processing technology had been deployed on board NASA’s Global Hawk as part of the agency’s Hurricane Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Mission. The Global Hawk aircraft is unique in its research capabilities because of its long range and flight duration, providing extraordinary capabilities for scientific and commercial ventures.

GEIP daq8580 rugged streaming network appliance
The rugged full motion video (FMV) compression appliance,, the GE daq8580, provides visual situational awareness on the missions, which study hurricanes and wildfires. The missions are a joint partnership between NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and see the autonomous Global Hawk deployed to conduct unprecedented atmospheric research initiatives.

The Global Hawk aircraft can reach altitudes above 60,000 feet and cover more than 20,000 km in extended 30 hour missions. It has been involved in several science campaigns each with specific information gathering objectives. The scope of these missions has varied from high altitude monitoring of ozone depleting molecules, to the study of large cyclones in the arctic influencing weather patterns.

“NASA selected GE’s daq8580 video compression technology to enable multiple video capabilities on Global Hawk missions,” said Don Sullivan, Biospheric Science Engineer, NASA. “It allows us to ingest high bandwidth, high resolution video streams from the onboard sensors and compress the data by factors as large as 100:1. The reduced bandwidth video feed can then be transmitted over the communication link to the ground station for observation and analysis with negligible impact on image quality. We expect to deploy several more units over the next two years.”

The daq8580 compression platform minimizes system complexity as well as the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements, all while increasing operational reliability.

“This FMV compression appliance provided three key capabilities for the NASA missions,” said Rod Rice, GE Intelligent Platforms. “First was very high performance with very low latency, ensuring that optimum quality captured images were processed and transmitted in the shortest possible time, and with minimal bandwidth usage. The second was the daq8580’s open architecture, allowing it to be easily and cost-effectively integrated within Global Hawk’s other systems. Third was its support for CameraLink, an industry standard protocol which allows for the support of a broad range of high resolution cameras, giving NASA substantial flexibility.”

The daq8580 is a rugged multichannel FMV compression appliance for processing, server and storage applications in harsh, constrained environments. It is designed to address the challenges of processing, transporting and storing full motion video through video encoding, and can interface with a wide variety of analog and digital I/O and process standard video formats up to 1080p30 as well as computer resolutions up to 1600x1200.

It provides exceptional compute power for video compression/decompression, video switching, format conversions, scaling, blending and many other video processing functions while enabling multichannel video compression and decompression for over 100x reduction in bandwidth without sacrificing video quality.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Vector Signal Transceiver

National Instruments has announced its second vector signal transceiver, the NI PXIe-5645R, which is built on a software-designed architecture that engineers can modify with LabVIEW to meet their specific needs. The new vector signal transceiver adds a high-performance, differential or single-ended I/Q interface to test both the RF and baseband signals of a device with a single instrument for faster test times using the latest PC and FPGA technologies.

“The software-designed architecture of the new NI PXIe-5645R vector signal transceiver provides users with unprecedented flexibility for applications such as RF transceiver baseband test,” said Jin Bains, NI Vice President of RF R&D.

First past the post!

Tapeswitch are now providing sensors for horse riding simulators to Racewood Equestrian Simulators.

Racewood are one of the principal manufacturers of equestrian simulators, designing and manufacturing a unique patented product to simulate a wide range of horse riding activities, including racing, polo, jumping and riding for equestrians of all abilities. Racewood machines have sensors at the neck, saddle and knee to identify the riding position and help identify and correct any flaws in the riders position.

Historically Racewood had used foil sensors unfortunately these sensors were proving unreliable and didn’t measure up to Racewood’s exacting standards.

Keen to find a better solution for their customers Racewood contacted Tapeswitch. Working closely with Racewood, Tapeswitch were able to identify a switch that would deliver just the right sensitivity that the customer needed and which allowed Racewood to fit the switches inside foam and leather.

Karen Keighley of Tapeswitch commented “Whilst this was a relatively low quantity project we were able to deliver a much improved solution at a good cost effective rate. This allows Racewood to improve their customers’ experience without increasing the cost.”

Tapeswitch’s reputation has been built by providing pressure-sensitive products with durability and reliability to meet the customer’s specific criteria, and deliver a greater return on investment due to a high quality build and increased longevity.

Fan and filter units

Rittal’s range of TopTherm fan and filter units has been extended with electronically commutated (EC) variants now available in all but the smallest unit.

With a combination of fan and dust filters and a particularly economical means of dissipating heat loads from enclosures using ambient air, Rittal’s EC fan-and-filter units employ the same diagonal fan technology as the standard version. Improved performance against static pressure offers advanced energy efficiency and a more constant air throughput to effectively minimise the occurrence of hot spots in the enclosure.

By using EC motors, an innovation that utilises DC (direct current) motors, which are more energy efficient than the conventional AC (alternating current) shaded-pole equivalent, Rittal’s new TopTherm series of fan-and-filter units offer energy savings in excess of 60 percent over previous models and also provide intelligent control and fan status monitoring for larger units.

Infinitely variable speed control enhances a means of conserving energy further by operating the fan at a speed determined by the demand for cooling. A programmable logic controller (PLC) may be used to control the fan motor, via a 0-10V DC or pulse width modulated (PWM) signal.

A tacho-signal output allows direct monitoring of the fan speed and a malfunction or failure is signalled immediately for action, minimising the risk of component failure in the enclosure and reducing system downtime.

Process control design competition

Honeywell has launched its annual process control design competitions in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to recognise the most talented chemical engineering students across the globe.

2012 winner (left) Davide Bocciardo from
the University of Edinburgh with his
advisor Dr. Maria-Chiara Ferrari
and Orhan Genis of Honeywell
Rewarding innovative projects using Honeywell’s UniSim® Design simulation software for the process automation industry, winners will receive an expenses-paid trip to their regional Honeywell Users Group Conferences (HUG): HUG Americas, taking place in Phoenix, Arizona; HUG Asia-Pacific, being held in Perth, Australia; and the EMEA event, celebrating its 25th year in Nice, France.

The events provide winning students with an opportunity to present their project, learn more about the process industries, and network with attendees, including potential employers. The sponsoring tutor will also receive the opportunity to attend a training course on cutting-edge technological innovation at one of Honeywell’s world-class automation colleges. The prize covers all travel, accommodation and registration costs for the event.

“It is always encouraging to see so much global talent through these student competitions,” said Bradd Schneider, vice president of global sales for Honeywell Process Solutions. “I’d really encourage students to participate in their region. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your talents and learn more about the industry.”


Competition details
All entries must use Honeywell UniSim® Design Suite software, available free to professors teaching at students’ universities. It provides an interactive process model that allows engineers to create steady-state and dynamic models and is used extensively for plant design, performance monitoring, troubleshooting, operational improvement, business planning, and asset management around the world.

Entries must be submitted through professors lecturing at the student’s university by 30 April for the Americas, 31 May for Asia Pacific and 30 September for EMEA. Submissions should include an abstract of approximately 300 words detailing the benefits derived from the design, and a short presentation. Further information, entry requirements for all regions, and details for professors wishing to obtain the UniSim Design software can be found at unisim.studentcompetitions.com.


Protecting against engine failure.

Rocker arm inspection system protects against engine failure

Olmec has worked with a major vehicle manufacturer to develop an automated vision inspection position to verify the position of piston valve roller rocker arms in commercial automobile engines. During engine assembly the roller rockers must be correctly located onto the push rod seat at one end and the valve spring at the other end. This is a vital inspection, since incorrect assembly leads to a catastrophic failure of the engine the first time it is started. The automated system speeds the inspection process by removing any initial visual inspection requirement.

The vision system consists of two cameras mounted on a saddle that moves into position above the engine block. The cameras are positioned so that one of the cameras views a roller rocker in one row of pistons as the other camera inspects the rocker in the parallel row. The cameras are then moved on a linear ballscrew guide using a stepper motor to inspect each of the roller rockers at the eight piston positions to give a total of 16 measurements. Once the measurement cycle is completed, the saddle moves out of the way to allow the next engine block to move into place.

High dynamic range cameras are used to produce high quality images even in the presence of reflections from the metal parts. Illumination is provided by an LED bar light. Measurements are made on the minimum and maximum angle of the rocker position at each location as well classifying any detected defects against a stored library. Measurements need to be able to accommodate any variation in compression across the rockers in the inspected sets.

Pass/fail results are displayed on the control screen, with each rocker position showing either green or red according to their status. Any red indicators mean that a visual inspection must be made before the engine block can proceed further.

Machnie vision training!


New machine vision training seminars in Britain are to provide machine vision education for end-users and vision integrators alike. A programme of product-specific training, independent machine vision theory training and best practice training will take place during 2013. These seminars are organised by the European Imaging Academy, an educational initiative from STEMMER IMAGING.

This in-depth programme is especially tailored for people who are responsible for product and production quality and for ensuring that a production process is efficient, reliable and competitive. This includes automation professionals, project managers and engineers, quality control managers and engineers, process managers and engineers.

Independent technology courses cover: ‘Planning and realisation of machine vision solutions’ and ‘Optics and illumination systems for machine vision’. Product-specific courses are available on: ‘Machine vision solutions from Teledyne DALSA’ and ‘3D imaging using the LMI Gocator’. Product-specific courses are available free of charge, whilst independent technology and theory courses are chargeable.

The European Imaging Academy’s main aim is to improve the transfer of theoretical and practical knowledge about machine vision to engineers across Europe. The training courses are especially tailored to the needs of people working day to day with practical tasks and feature ‘hands-on’ sessions. Course lecturers are experienced experts with a lot of practical ‘on the job’ vision expertise, who can provide not just the theoretical basics, but also a lot of helpful ‘hints and tips’ gained from real-world experiences.

• Places on any course can be booked on line or by calling 01252 780000. Early registration is advised as spaces are limited.

Distributership extended in Europe

Hover-Davis has announced expansion of AdoptSMT Europe GmbH sales and support distribution adding the countries of Austria and Switzerland to its territory that already includes Britain, Ireland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Greece and Malta.

AdoptSMT Group has successfully distributed Hover-Davis products throughout Europe since 2006. In this expansion of its relationship with AdoptSMT Group Hover-Davis is pleased to include full Austrian and Swiss sales and support and distribution authority to AdoptSMT Europe offices in Grödig (near Salzburg) Austria and Teufen, Switzerland. Customers in Austria and Switzerland may now purchase Hover-Davis tape and label feeders from directly through AdoptSMT exclusive of a pick and place equipment investment.

“AdoptSMT has continued to expand sales, service and support coverage throughout Europe in recent years adding regionally focused service centers, staffing and offices that provide cost effective and expedited expert knowledge. In that respect we are very excited to offer our Hover-Davis customers direct access to AdoptSMT in their home market. With headquarters in Grödig and an established office in Switzerland, AdoptSMT is uniquely positioned to service the SiPlace® replacement market as well as service the growing demands for label feeding along with our other feeder products. The replacement feeder market is increasingly affected by obsolescence, longer lead-times and availability. These are all challenges that AdoptSMT successfully overcomes for it’s customers through their focus into this market and our mutual cooperation. Customers in the Austria and Switzerland may now enjoy this expanded support through AdoptSMT ,” states Mike Cyr, Hover-Davis General Manager.

Erhard Hofmann, Managing Director AdoptSMT Europe GmbH, notes: “Our sales team is very excited that we are recognized for our ongoing successes including expansion of services and offices, staffing and also the success of the 2011 Feeder Trade-In program. Austria and Switzerland are very important markets for us. We are very excited to directly support our local customers with new Hover-Davis tape and label feeders. Now we can also better approach and support customers with headquarters in Austria or Switzerland and factories in the neighbouring Central and Eastern European countries.”

Automation interests explored at Far East meeting

Underscoring the International Society of Automation’s (ISA) commitment to global partnership-building, ISA’s Executive Director and CEO Patrick Gouhin participated last week at a meeting in Hong Kong exploring collaborative initiatives among industry associations throughout all areas of the world, including the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.

ISA's Pat Gouhin
Gouhin and other chief executive officers of international industry associations attended the event as members of the Key Global Association Committee (KGAC), a committee established in 2011 by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) to examine the multi-national opportunities and challenges facing global industry associations and societies whose primary headquarters are located in the US.

KGAC membership is composed exclusively of chief executive officers of global, US-based associations with revenue of at least $10 million, out of which at least 10 percent comes from international activities.

KGAC’s gathering in Hong Kong, held16-23 February, represented the committee’s third meeting, and came at the invitation of Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) and the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Significant attention at the meeting was given to the positive business environment and strong economic activity in Hong Kong and neighboring China.

“I want to thank MEHK and the Hong Kong Tourism Board for their hospitality and generosity in hosting our KGAC meeting. My participation as a KGAC committee member underlines ISA’s continuing interest in forging new international relationships, and building on our already significant multi-national presence and involvement,” Gouhin says. “We feel strongly that our resources, expertise and leadership in automation and control can be of great value in addressing many global manufacturing and industry challenges.”

KGAC meetings, Gouhin says, “bring into sharper focus that most global associations and societies share similar strategic interests and difficulties, and that there is a compelling need for greater collaboration among them.”

In fact, as a result of several meeting discussions this week, ISA is considering partnership arrangements with other international industry associations.

“All of the industry associations participating in KGAC recognize the importance of partnering in order to leverage the collective resources and strengths for the betterment of the professions and industry sectors we represent,” Gouhin says.

Fieldbus safety & security

In response to recent concerns, the PROFIBUS Group has developed a free-to-attend one-day seminar addressing important safety and security issues arising from the use of digital communications technologies in automated manufacturing and advanced engineering applications.

The British Profibus Group celebrated 20 years!
Presented at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry (GB), on April 23, 2013, the seminar will cover key application areas such as packaging, printing, electrical and electronics assembly, robotics, automotive engineering, drives, mechanical handling and logistics, control systems and energy management, focusing on the safety aspects of system design and operations.

Supported by live demonstrations and case studies the seminar will be of great value to Designers, Production Engineers and System Engineers involved in design, operation and maintenance of modern automated factories and machinery.

The seminar will be presented by safety and fieldbus specialists Stephen Park and Harriet Gibbons of BAe, Derek Lane of Wago, Mark Freeman, Peter Brown and Ian Curtis of Siemens Automation & Drives. Topics to be addressed include:
  • PROFIBUS and Intrinsic Safety
  • Basics of Functional Safety Standards
  • The Basics of PROFIsafe
  • Simple good practice for Industrial IT Security
  • Safety strategy for C&I Systems
  • Security and its application to C&I networks
  • PROFIsafe security considerations
Attendance is free of charge to pre-registered delegates from the User community, i.e. companies that own, operate, design, build or maintain automated plant.

A letter to the President!

The CEOs of the largest European non-ferrous metal companies have addressed an open letter (pdf) to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, urging a rethink of short-term fixes to the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and a comprehensive review of Europe’s industrial, energy and climate change policies.

The signatures on the letter
Underlining their continuous support to a well-functioning EU ETS as a central instrument in EU climate policy, CEOs express deep concerns that unilateral EU climate policies, hereunder the latest proposals on the “backloading” of allowances and other short-term measures, have a detrimental effect on the industry’s global competitiveness. Under the current regime these measures will enhance industry closures and carbon leakage. Investments will be relocated to outside Europe contrary to the Commission’s goal of increasing industry’s share in the EU GDP to 20% by 2020.

Rather than focusing on quick fixes, the CEOs propose concrete long-term solutions for the re-design of the EU ETS.

“Long-term structural measures for the period after 2020 should include measures to adequately protect Europe’s industrial competitiveness on a global scale” stressed Oliver Bell, President of Eurometaux “In our view, the lack of predictability regarding the future EU climate policies and the missing link with the EU objectives in terms of reindustrialisation, are major obstacles for our industries, making the necessary investments. The retention of the industry in Europe offers the biggest potential in emissions’ reductions while safeguarding skills and employment.”

In their conclusions, the CEOs call for the rapid adoption of concrete measures to achieve the European Commission’s recent industrial policy strategy in which it sets the goal of increasing Europe’s industry share and support industrial investments in Europe. CEOs urge the Commission to engage in a review of the EU ETS which has to include at least the following three pillars: benchmark-based EU allocations for direct and indirect emissions to energy intensive industries; allocation based on actual industry production – rather than historic, and a symmetric and reciprocal linkage to other carbon trading schemes.

Signatories of the letter include senior representatives from: Hydro, Rio Tinto , Alcoa, Wieland werke, Boliden, Trimet Aluminum, Atlantic copper, Aurubis, Elkem, Metallo – Chimique, Finnfjord, IGMNir, Xstrata Zinc, Befesa, FerroPem, Voerdal, Nystar, KGHM and Norilsk Nickel.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Outdoor cabinet technology protects process analysers

Intertec has won the contract for the environmental protection cabinets and shelters that will protect the field-based process analysers at the new Sadara petrochemical complex in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The outdoor cabinets will be constructed from high-performance grades of GRP (glass reinforced polyester). This will provide proven long-term protection against the region's extreme climatic conditions - which include very high temperatures and UV levels for example - as well as the corrosion threats posed by the process media and salty sea air.

The Sadara complex will have 26 world scale manufacturing plants and will be the world’s largest petrochemical facility ever built in a single phase. Intertec is expecting that cabinets to protect around 1000 field-based analysers will be needed for this project.

The key technical reasons behind the selection of Intertec's enclosure technology are the performance of the GRP-based construction materials used - which have been proven in previous applications with the joint venture partners behind Sadara - and the company's turnkey manufacturing capability.

The enclosures required range in size from small cabinets suitable for housing a single analyser, to shelters as large as 11 x 3m, which can accommodate 10 or more analysers. The cabinets are being designed and manufactured at two of Intertec's global facilities, in Sarnia, Canada and Neustadt, Germany. Deliveries to the instrumentation OEMs involved in the Sadara project started in Q1, 2013.

Sadara Chemical Company (Sadara) is a joint venture between Saudi Aramco, a leading energy supplier, and The Dow Chemical Company, a leading science and technology company. Sadara will construct, own and operate a world-scale integrated chemicals complex in Jubail Industrial City II, in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

When completed, the Sadara complex will represent the largest petrochemical facility ever built in a single phase. Sadara and the adjoining PlasChem Park will establish a world-scale manufacturing footprint that delivers a full range of value-added, performance products destined for the emerging markets of Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. Sadara’s world-scale integrated complex will produce over 3 million tons of chemical and plastics products: amines, glycol ethers, isocyanates, polyether polyols, polyethylene, polyolefin elastomers and propylene glycol.

Twenty years of communication!

Commemorative events planned worldwide throughout 2013

The HART® Communication Foundation announces the 20th Anniversary of its founding. To commemorate this significant milestone, the Foundation and its member companies plan special end user focused events in Europe, North America and Asia throughout 2013. The events will include end user presentations on their successes using HART Communication, panel discussions, workshops and “meet the experts” networking opportunities.

“Since our founding in 1993, the Foundation has worked diligently in cooperation with its member companies and industry users to provide high quality open communication standards and technology that serves the needs and requirements of the process automation industry,” says Ron Helson, Foundation Executive Director. “As a result, the HART Protocol is the global standard communication technology for intelligent measurement and control devices and systems in process automation applications around the globe.”

The special Anniversary Events build on the theme, HART: Benefits Today and Into the Future, providing an opportunity for users to learn more about HART Communication, the future of HART technology, real-world HART applications and the latest HART-enabled products. The events are sponsored by Foundation member companies and presented free of charge for users. The events will be held in Hannover (D) in April, in Houston (TX USA)in June, and in Tokyo (J), in December.

Established in 1993, the Foundation is the standards development and support organization for the HART Communication Protocol. Foundation programs provide worldwide support for application of the HART technology and ensures the technology is openly available for the benefit of the industry. The Foundation educates users on the capabilities and benefits of HART Communication providing technical support, application assistance, training and educational programs.

“For the next 20 years and beyond, we expect continued growth in the adoption, application and advancement of HART Communication,” says Helson. “We will continue to evolve, support and enhance the HART standards and technology to serve automation industry needs and assure that HART Communication remains the simple, reliable, secure solution to improve and modernize industrial process facilities for globally competitive, sustainable operation.”

The formation of the HART Users Group in 1990 with 26 member companies marked the beginning of the HART Communication Protocol as an open communication technology. In 1993, the Group created the HART Communication Foundation as an independent, not-for-profit, membership organization to maintain and support the HART protocol standards.

• Today the Foundation is supported by a global membership of more than 280 companies and has support offices in Austin, Texas, USA, Basel, Switzerland, Shanghai, China, and Tokyo, Japan.

Smart touch computer

The 15.6’’ ultra-slim Smart Touch Computer in stylish aluminum alloys fits various industrial applications

ADLINK Technology has launched a brand-new 15.6” Smart Touch Computer BFS-15W02. With low-power Intel® Atom™ D2550 processor, it allows fanless operation up to 50°C while guaranteeing longevity support. Unlike conventional panel PCs, this ultra-slim Smart Touch Computer does not only look appealing, but also provides IP54 protection and outstanding reliability. Sleek full-flat touch screen, chemical resistance, ease of maintenance and cleaning are just a few examples among its outstanding features, arm-mount capability and an optional integrated desktop stand designed specially for this product make it fit anywhere – on a working bench, on the wall or on a swing arm, and still stay connected via built-in WiFi or dual Gigabit Ethernet.

"The BFS-15W02 can easily be configured for a wide range of applications, including retail, hospitality and healthcare industries," says Richard Tai, Director in charge of ADLINK Smart Panel and Smart Touch Computer product lines. "This product is one of the many building blocks in our portfolio to fulfill cloud computing demand, in which the Smart Touch Computer services as the terminal, or user interface, to access or retrieve the data real-time, no matter in a wired fashion or wirelessly. In the future, this can not only reduce limitations on managing and monitoring, but also lay the foundation of reducing production, service and business administration costs."

Stylish product design with trust
The BFS-15W02 adopts a full-flat touch screen which passes the IP54 test, with waterproof protection on the front and the top, combining data protection and convenience. An appealing appearance and compact stylish design is achieved through flat surfaces and invisible screws. Particularly valuable features include chemical resistance and ease of cleaning. Available with an integrated tilt-adjustable stand, the BFS-15W02 also supports both 100mm and 75mm VESA mounting holes.

Interactive interface with no boundary
Pre-loaded Windows Embedded Standard 7 Premium and Cedarview Processor, the BFS-15W02 offers an excellent performance with low power consumption. Embedded dual Ethernet and WiFi allow users to access and transfer data easily. This new product also features capacitive power and brightness buttons, for a reliable and a user-friendly interface. Its fanless design allows high operation temperature up to 50oC, providing users with wide range of working environments. The BFS-15W02 supports VGA output for a second display to broaden its applications. Opening the back cover to upgrade the 2.5”SATA HDD/SSD is a simple task.

Variety of applications
The BFS-15W02 is very user-friendly; its “fit anywhere” design makes it highly flexible and easily put to use in many different kinds of installations. This simple, complete and compact system enables system developers to incorporate BFS-15W02 easily into applications, including retail stores and showrooms for advertisement broadcasting in a range of locations: hotels and restaurants for self check in/out stands, and interactive tourist information kiosks, as well as healthcare, physical medicine and fitness centers.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Robust connector housings for outdoor applications


Harting has expanded its Han-Eco® industrial connector series with a range of plastic housings including a variant designed for outdoor applications.

These connector housings - in glass fibre reinforced high-performance plastic - give the customer the benefits of reduced weight and improved cost/performance ratio. They combine outstanding mechanical properties and excellent resistance to environmental factors, and in comparison with the company’s Han® B standard series they also provide greater contact density through an additional module space.

For outdoor applications, the new variant uses flange gaskets with fluorine rubber (FPM) as the sealing material. FPM provides excellent resistance to the effects of the weather, especially UV radiation, ozone pollution and high temperatures. It also offers high chemical resistance, for example to mineral oils, synthetic hydraulic fluids, fuels, aromatic compounds, many organic solvents and chemicals.

Expansion in Belgium

Due to its continued strong growth, Magnetrol International NV is expanding its production and office facilities in Zele (Belgium) by more than 5.000 sq meters. Completion of the building is foreseen for May 2014.

The building expansion is designed and constructed in accordance with BREEAM, the world’s leading design and assessment method for sustainable buildings. It is aiming to be one of the first industrial buildings in Belgium with BREEAM certification.

Magnetrol International NV has been located in the industrial park of Zele, Belgium for over 40 years. Magnetrol International employs more than 130 people at its Zele, Belgian facility. Over the last five years Magnetrol Belgium has been nominated four times for Trends Gazellen awards for large companies as a result of its outstanding results.

More than 95% of the Belgian production is exported to the EMEAI markets. Magnetrol is a recognized leader in providing customized solutions to its customers for level and flow measurement. Magnetrol’s primary technologies include guided wave radar, ultrasonic and thermal dispersion.

Magnetrol International NV is part of the Magnetrol International Incorporated group with headquarters near Chicago, Illinois, USA. The group is family owned and has existed for more than 80 years.

Magnetrol’s investment in its facilities is another example of its mission to be the customer’s preferred partner in the global supply of level and flow control instrumentation.

Forty years in automation

Red Lion Controls celebrates its 40th anniversary with a brief video on the company’s history, product innovations and industry leadership in communication, monitoring and control for industrial automation and networking. Mike Granby, president of Red Lion, presents a timeline of company achievements over the past 40 years, with an introduction by Laura Hoffman, vice president of global marketing.



• Red Lion Products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology Ltd.

New product catalogue for position sensors

Sensors for distance, angle and inclination – with application examples

With its new product catalogue ASM provides engineers with a practical decision-making tool for selecting the right position sensor.

Whether distance, angle or inclination, ASM offers with six innovative product lines sensor solutions for a wide variety of applications requiring feedback position sensors. The company is known for three decades for the production of high-quality sensors.

With this new catalog it provides not only an overview of the unique product range with technical specifications. The operating principle of each sensor line is described in detail, too. Along with many application examples, design engineers receive a reference tool for the selection of the right sensor technology and therefore the most suitable model.

Automation body recognised!

100 world-class manufacturing companies and individual leaders have been announced as winners of the 2013 Manufacturing Leadership 100 Awards (ML100 Awards). These awards Recognise the world’s finest best practices in manufacturing and supply chain management. New technologies, global economic uncertainties, industry convergence, and breakthrough best practices are transforming the manufacturing ecosystem at an accelerating rate, forcing manufacturers to continuously rethink how they can maximize the value they deliver to their customers.

The 2013 ML100 Award winners, selected by Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council are located in countries throughout the world, including the US, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Award nominations were judged across 11 categories. The Automation Federation is one of seven award recipients in the “New Workforce” category.

The award, in particular, recognizes the significant partnership formed in 2012 between the Automation Federation and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which is designed to expand automation instruction among community colleges in the US, and greatly increase the number of community college graduates with the technology training needed for careers in advanced manufacturing.

Through the partnership, community colleges within the AACC—particularly those located in largely industrial areas experiencing significant shortages of qualified manufacturing workers—have the opportunity to join with the Automation Federation as members of a workforce development consortium called the Automation Community College Consortium. The consortium will assess local workforce needs in creating and implementing factory and process automation curricula, technical training, and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)-recognized automation certifications as part of the National Skills Certification developed by the Manufacturing Institute.

"The Automation Federation is honoured to be recognized for its efforts to build the next generation of automation professionals and stimulate growth in advanced manufacturing through the Automation Community College Consortium,” says Michael Marlowe, Automation Federation Managing Director and Government Relations Director. “Being honored as a 2013 Leadership 100 Award recipient reflects our ongoing commitment to and the progress we’re making in workforce development for advanced manufacturing.”

The other awardees included Johnson Controls Inc., and Agilent Technologies among many others.

The winners will be honored on May 15 at a celebration that follows the ninth annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit in  Florida (USA), a gathering of manufacturing leaders from around the globe.

Analyser manufacturing

The laboratory instrument manufacturer SEAL Analytical has transferred the production of its market leading automated discrete analyzers, the AQ1 and AQ2, to the company’s facility in Mequon (WI USA). The move follows the acquisition of a block digestion business from Aim Lab Automation Technologies Pty Ltd.

SEAL’s President Stuart Smith said: “Digestion is an essential part of the sample preparation process for some of the tests that our discrete analysers perform, so it makes sense for these instruments to be manufactured at the same location for delivery to our clients worldwide.
“This will also ensure that future innovations in these product lines reflect the entire analytical process, so that we continue to provide complete bespoke monitoring solutions.”

With facilities in Europe, USA and China, SEAL Analytical is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of laboratory instruments including automated discrete and segmented flow nutrient analysers for use in environmental and industrial laboratories. SEAL products are ideal for all types of water, seawater, soil, plant and fertilizer analysis where high reproducibility and low detection limits are required.

The AQ1 and AQ2 instruments automatically test multiple samples in discrete reaction vessels. Following internationally recognised standard methods such as USEPA, ASTM, ISO, these instruments are able to analyse a wide variety of parameters including alkalinity, ammonia, chloride, cyanides, nitrate/nitrite, nitrite, phenolics, ortho phosphate, total phosphorus, silicate, sulfate and total Kjeldahl nitrogen.

Champions!

National Instruments has inducted two British engineers into the LabVIEW Champions program for their outstanding contributions to the global LabVIEW community. Chris Roebuck and Steve Watts have been recognised as LabVIEW Champions to thank them for their time and effort in helping others in the LabVIEW community.
Steve Watts and Chris Roebuck
Chris Roebuck specialises in test and measurement for RF devices, spacecraft command and control, and data management. His passion for visual programming began with LabVIEW 3.1 in 1996 and he has continued to use LabVIEW throughout his career at Filtronic Broadband and EADS Astrium.

National Instruments online community is a resource for its 200,000 members to discover and collaborate on the latest example code, tutorials, textbooks and more. Engineers and scientists around the globe share development techniques, learn about cutting-edge technologies, and connect with LabVIEW and other NI product experts working on similar applications.
Last year he joined NI Alliance Partner, SSBV, as the Software Technical Specialist, responsible for the architectural design and implementation of large scale test and measurement solutions for the space industry. Roebuck has regularly presented at NI UK events and conferences including NIDays, Automated Test Summits and customer advisory boards. He is an active member of the NI community and will chair the 2013 Certified LabVIEW Architect Summit in Paris, alongside Jeff Kodosky, the “Father of LabVIEW”.

“As an enthusiastic LabVIEW developer of many years I am thrilled that NI has bestowed upon me the honour of being inducted into the LabVIEW Champions program” said Chris Roebuck. “I look forward to continuing to support the worldwide LabVIEW community and increasing proficiency levels, along with promoting wider adoption of LabVIEW.”

Steve Watts has been writing industrial software for more than 25 years and began programming with LabVIEW in 1998. He is the co-owner of SSDC Ltd (Structured Software Design Consultants) a supplier of custom designed functional test, laboratory management, industrial control, logging and database systems to aerospace, military, academic research, automotive and manufacturing industries. As well as playing a significant role in the UK LabVIEW Community, Watts chaired the inaugural European CLA Summit and runs the LabVIEW User Group CSLUG (Central South LabVIEW User Group). His book, entitled “A Software Engineering Approach to LabVIEW” has achieved worldwide success and is highly regarded as a seminal text for serious LabVIEW developers.

“I’m delighted to receive this award” said Watts. “I'm very keen on understanding how design decisions impact the final deliverable code, and this can only be done by open discussion with peers. The input of the LabVIEW community is central to this.”

With just 55 LabVIEW Champions around the world and 15 in Europe, Britain now boasts 3 members of this exclusive club, with Roebuck and Watts joining Dr Richard Thomas from Product Technology Partners, who was inducted last year.

“The prestigious LabVIEW Champion title exists as a way to validate and thank outstanding advocates for their participation and willingness to help others in our user community as well as provide them with the technical resources to help others in the future” said Mike Bailey, LabVIEW Marketing Manager, NI UK & Ireland. “Both Chris and Steve have been consistently exceptional participants in the global LabVIEW community. They are known worldwide for their technical expertise and approachability and are truly shining examples to our community.”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Calibrator communicates

The 709H Precision HART Loop Calibrator from Fluke, is an easy-to-use tool with a user-friendly interface and HART capabilities that reduces the time it takes to measure or source, voltage or current, and power up a loop. With its best-in-class accuracy at 0.01% of reading, the Fluke 709H is ideal for process technicians who need a precise loop calibrator and powerful HART communicator in one compact, rugged, reliable tool.

This calibrator supports a select set of HART universal and common practice commands. In the communicator mode, technicians can read basic device information, perform diagnostic tests, and trim the calibration on most HART-enabled transmitters. In the past, this could only be done with a dedicated communicator, a high-end multifunction calibrator, or a laptop computer with a HART modem. The 709H also features a built-in, selectable 250-ohm resistor to tune the loop for HART communications.

The Fluke 709H and non-HART 709 models feature an intuitive interface with dedicated buttons, a Quick-Set rotary encoder knob, and simple two wire connection for quick, easy measurements. The dedicated 0-100% span and 25% step buttons make for quick and easy testing. Ramping and auto-stepping enables technicians to perform tests remotely and be in ‘two places at once’.

The optional 709H/TRACK software with communication cable can document milliamp measurements and HART transmitter parameters and enable upload of data to a PC.

Low temperature fluorescence spectroscopy

Liquid nitrogen and liquid helium cryostats are available as part of the range of temperature-controlled accessories for the FLS980 and FLS920 series of photoluminescence spectrometers from Edinburgh Photonics. Fully field retrofittable, these cryostats allow fluorescence measurements and temperature maps to be made over the temperature ranges 77-300K and 4.2-325K respectively. Versions with an upper temperature of 500K are also available.

Low temperature operation allows researchers to benefit from enhanced fluorescence intensities. Temperature maps can be generated by acquiring a series of emission, excitation, synchronous and anisotropy scans over a predefined temperature range. The individual measurements are automatically started when the target temperatures are reached.

All cryostats are supplied complete with controller and chamber adapter. The spectrometer software communicates with the cryostat controller to allow families of temperature dependent steady state and life- time data to be acquired under computer control.

Wireless races ahead!

Though not strictly speaking in our sphere of interest we thought this wireless application would be of interest to you. And possibly inspire you with an idea for one of your applications!

LPRS is supplying their market leading easyRadio Advanced (eRA) wireless modules to Microgate, the specialist Italian sports timing system manufacturer, for use in their new wireless athletics training timer – WITTY.
The new Microgate WITTY has been designed as a portable, practical and precise athlete timing system which meets all the requirements of the latest training methods. It can perform all the measurements typical of modern athletic preparation including sprint, shuttle, resistance and courses whilst also meeting many custom requirements. The WITTY can acquire results with accuracy higher than one thousandth 1/1000 of a second.

Significant features of this timer include an intuitive and easy to use graphical interface with a colour display, simple and fast learning process, single or double timing photocells available with unlimited extra photocells for unlimited intermediate times, calculation of speed (km/h, m/s, mph), fast data transfer to PC (for rankings, data assessment and export) via an on-board USB interface and water resistant. Operational for 10 hours from internal batteries WITTY is supplied in a backpack for complete portability.

The key to the success of the system is the use of LPRS eRA modules to transfer data from the self-configuring photocells, which are easy to set up and offer fast repositioning when moving from one exercise to another. The eRA modules offer reliable wireless transmission up to 150m range and provides selectable transmission frequencies, allowing multiple WITTY systems to be used in the same training area.

Federico Gori of Microgate srl comments; “We have a very good working relationship with LPRS and have used LPRS products for many years in our ski race timing gates. The new eRA wireless modules offer exceptional versatility and were simple to design-in to our products.”

The Microgate WITTY system may be expanded with the addition of further photocells (single or double) to record lap times. A range of accessories are available including starting pads, time displaying LED boards and direction indicators. The WITTY is compatible with the Microgate Optojump Next system, an optical measurement system which can measure flight and contact times during the performance of a series of jumps to an accuracy of 1/1000 of a second.

The recently introduced easyRadio Advanced (eRA) wireless module range of transmitters and transceivers incorporates the unique LPRS easyRadio software protocol and build on the simplicity of previous easyRadio (02) modules by remaining true to the original brief of “reducing time to market by removing the complexity associated with the radio software development interface”.

As well as many new and advanced features eRA offers a much improved transmitting range with latest field tests reporting 1.6 mile coverage owing to narrow-band operation and greater immunity from interference. Other innovative features on the easyRadio Advanced transmitters and transceivers include the ability to change the bandwidth of the radio from 150KHz down to 12.5KHz thus providing narrow-band performance on a wide-band budget. eRA modules can also interface to other raw data modules using either FSK (FM) or ASK (AM) modulation modes. Using the free flash firmware upgrade tools from LPRS new updates/features can be quickly programmed by engineers, making a truly future proof solution. Designed with a back compatible pin configuration, current easyRadio 02 users can easily upgrade to easyRadio Advanced versions with a minimum of fuss.

In addition to designing and manufacturing the highly successful easyRadio Advanced (eRA) wireless modules, the full LPRS product range now includes, Raspberry Pi and Arduino Shield wireless platforms, narrow band long range wireless modules from CDP, the IQRF range of wireless networking components, the IQVC range of visual control panels together with antenna, wireless key fobs and a wide range of sensor products.

Certification improves efficiency of water monitoring

Hach Lange has achieved FDT certification for its sc200 Universal Controller and associated sensors, which means that process managers will find it simpler and quicker to integrate the company’s broad range of water and wastewater analytical instruments.

The sc200 successfully completed tests for Device Type Managers (DTM) and is available with 43 sensors and analysers covering 20 different parameters. As a result, this multi-sensor DTM represents the world’s broadest certified portfolio of water and wastewater analytical devices.

FDT/DTM is an open standardised technology providing a communication and configuration interface between field devices and host systems. Under FDT/DTM, any device can be configured, operated and maintained through the standardised user interface – regardless of supplier, type or communication protocol.

Employing this technology (free software download from HACH-LANGE.com) the sc200 provides users with the ability to configure device parameters, operate devices via a standardised graphical user interface, and access advanced diagnostic information from any location.

Configurable to operate either one or two digital or analogue sensor inputs, the sc200 replaces the sc100 Controller with advanced features for easier operation. All logged measurement and diagnostic data can be easily extracted in XML format from the controller via an SD Card slot, which also provides a simple means for firmware updates.

Communication options include MODBUS 232/485 and Profibus DP V1.0, so the controller can be easily integrated into digital networks.

Summarising, Hach Lange’s Martin Small says: “This announcement is great news for industrial process managers because it will now be even simpler to integrate any of our leading sensors into their monitoring and control systems.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Adding functionality for mechanical test apps & embedded software validation

Product Features
• Real-time model execution from a variety of modeling environments
• Open, extensible architecture to create custom code modules or incorporate custom user interfaces
• Built-in test automation using the Stimulus Profile Editor
• Integration with NI hardware I/O library, including FPGAs, embedded networks, machine vision, RF and a range of multifunction data acquisition modules including instrument-grade I/O
National Instruments has announced NI VeriStand 2012, the latest version of its configuration-based software environment with an open, intuitive software interface for developing real-time testing applications. Engineers can use the new version of NI VeriStand to perform high-speed data acquisition and logging and to find useful data faster during postprocessing with additional data logging flexibility. They can get up and running faster using new hardware configuration utilities, and NI SC Express integration makes acquiring conditioned measurements easier than ever before.

“This release of NI VeriStand is the next step in our investment to provide a real-time testing platform that reduces risk and cost across a spectrum of applications ranging from embedded software validation to mechanical test systems,” said Mike Santori, NI Business and Technology Fellow. “As the importance of software continues to grow in today’s products and systems, we continue to add new features to NI VeriStand to help engineers meet strict time-to-market requirements despite increasing test challenges.”

Feeding the food industry!

We reported the other day that NDC-Infrared Engineering had updated their website in the area of rubber and vinyl production. Now we report that in their roles as a specialist in online and at-line measurements of moisture, fat, protein, oil and Degree of Bake (surface brownness) for food processes the company has completely redesigned its website and published a new, industry–specific brochure to serve that side of their business. The new website provides enhanced navigation to allow visitors to find information on the use of NIR food gauges for quality assurance and process control in a wide variety of foods processing lines.


The simplified approach to navigation makes it easy for visitors to identify their market and application area and makes extensive use of intuitive or “friendly” URLs such as www.ndc.com/snacks etc. This industry-driven approach makes it easy to identify the most appropriate product or system for the application.

The new site offers the benefit of providing easily accessible basic information, with other information such as application notes available following registration. All registrations from NDC’s previous site will be carried over, so there will be no need to re-register. The site also makes it very easy to identify the local market-relevant NDC contact anywhere in the world.

In addition, a new, industry-focused brochure is available for immediate download. This describes the measurement of moisture content, oil or fat content, protein content and degree of bake and covers applications in a host of food applications. These include: coffee and tea processing; confectionery; cookies and biscuits; corn wet milling; crackers and crispbreads; dairy powders; flour and grains; ingredients; seeds, nuts and spices; meat further processing; olive oil extraction; pet foods and animal feeds; potato chips and crisps; baked or fried snack products; starch
and sugar processing and refining.