Friday, April 26, 2013

Hidden pigeons revealed by thermal camera

Juvenile Pigeon in Recovery
Following an alert from a member of the public, staff from Seahaven Bird Rescue rushed to a library in Newhaven (GB) in an attempt to rescue a number of trapped pigeons. However, some of the birds were hidden inside a wall cavity, so an infrared camera was hired from Ashtead Technology in order to investigate the extent of the problem.

The eggs were no longer alive!
After releasing the trapped birds, the rescuers used the hired Flir i60 thermal camera to inspect the cavity and were surprised to find three nests containing eggs, and that the cavity was a lot larger than first thought. The infrared camera also enabled the rescuers to determine that the eggs were no longer alive.

Ashtead Technology’s staff were delighted that the camera had made a significant contribution to the success of the operation. Josh Thomas said: “Our range of infrared cameras is often employed to investigate walls and cavities; this is usually to find areas of water leakage or poor insulation, but we were very happy to be able to help with this unusual application.”

In addition to the assessment of buildings. thermography is also employed for the inspection of vital equipment such as pumps (to check overheated connections and fuse problems), valves (leakage), storage tanks (sludge levels) and conveyor belts (overheating bearings). Motors and other machinery components can also be easily inspected and potential problems quickly identified and resolved.

At the entry level and weighing just 0.58kg, the compact i60 camera represents excellent value for customers wanting a lightweight thermal camera with many of the features found in high-end imaging equipment. Designed for easy, one-handed operation the high-resolution i60 provides a temperature survey range of -20°C to +350°C and is perfect for small-scale industrial applications and building inspections. Because of its size, the i60 is also the ideal choice for inspecting hard-to-reach machinery and equipment while the 1GB memory allows for the storage of around 1,000 images at any one time.

Commenting on the success of the project, Carrie Grace, founder of Seahaven Bird Rescue said, “The i60 arrived self-calibrated, which meant that we just had to turn the camera on, aim and click. We also found that the flashlight on the camera was really useful because our inspection went on late into the evening.
“The thermal camera dramatically improved the effectiveness of our investigation and the ability to hire this technology is a major advantage.”

Connector incorporats moulded interconnect device (MID) technology

Harting has expanded its har-speed range of connectors with a new PCB connector which will be manufactured using moulded interconnect device (MID) technology. A straight variant for PCB connection will initially be launched on the market.

This use of MID technology means that the size of the new connector has been significantly reduced compared with a conventional PCB connector. The new addition to the M12 range is intended for the integration of the M12 connector configuration into high-speed communication devices such as switches and routers.

Shielding inside the connector is redefined with MID technology. The metal shielded cross is now superfluous. Two plastics are used in the 2-shot MID process, one of which can be deployed with a surface coating in a plating process. The new connector is significantly lighter, with a weight reduction of around 30% per component, and like the larger conventional device can be soldered onto the circuit board in the reflow process.

The new MID variant also meets Cat 6A and performance class EA requirements like the products already available from Harting.

Strain Gauge to USB Converter

New strain gauge to USB converter design offers a more compact solution

A new redesigned strain gauge to USB converter (DSCUSB) has been launched by Mantracourt Electronics Ltd. The new design offers a more compact solution, with a smaller and more stylish enclosure. Internally the product remains unchanged and will perform identically to its widely acclaimed predecessor.

The DSCUSB is a high performance strain gauge digital signal conditioner with USB connectivity. It provides easy sensing for weight, pressure, force and torque and is recognised by engineers worldwide for its high stability and superior performance. The device is easy to connect to a strain gauge sensor and also allows multiple devices to connect to a single PC. The DSCUSB also comes with a free software toolkit, which provides the tools required for configuring, calibrating, logging and managing the parameters of the DSCUSB.

"We are very proud of the DSCUSB, and how widely it is used. It has been a big success," said Louise Stubbs, Marketing Co-ordinator at Mantracourt. "The new, more compact design looks a little more modern and it will be easier to store, transport and handle. Also, the previous design had a fixed USB cable, whereas the new version has a USB connection socket instead. This will allow engineers to choose a specific USB cable length, depending on their situation."

Mantracourt is a world leader in the design and manufacture of electronics for measurement technologies, including strain gauge, temperature, resistance, pressure, voltage, current, potentiometer, rate, flow, LVDT and displacement in either analogue, digital or wireless form.

The DSCUSB is compatible with most load cells and sensors and enables the device to appear as a virtual com port. Windows driver DLL's are also available for interfacing with the DSCUSB. The rugged ABS IP50 enclosure makes the device suitable for most environments and a pcb version of the device is available for projects that require a design-in approach.

"Simply by plugging the DSCUSB into a PC, data can be extracted from most strain gauge bridge input sensors and acquired by the software," said Louise, "This solution enables detailed data logging and manipulation, removing the need for amplifiers, filters & multimeters. Furthermore, the DSCUSB is powered from the USB port, so that no additional power supply is required"

Although ideal for one-to-one interface the device can connect with multiple sensors with the use of a suitable hub. It is also available in ASCII protocol, offering higher resolution and lower temperature drift. Typical applications for the DSCUSB will be those requiring simple sensor connectivity in desktop settings such as test & measurement, R&D and laboratory environments.

Data monitoring programme for compressors

Atlas Copco has launched SmartLink, a new data monitoring programme for compressors that intelligently gathers, compares and analyses data to help compressed air users increase maintenance and service efficiency. Making smart use of connectivity, data monitoring and business intelligence, Atlas Copco helps customers to get a better view of their maintenance needs, maintain production uptime and improve, wherever possible, their operating costs by minimising energy consumption.

Until now, the service of compressors and compressor rooms was either based on regularity (ie organisations with service contracts in place that ensure planned visits from a service technician) or was conducted on a reactive basis (an unforeseen problem requiring an immediate intervention). According to Atlas Copco this doesn’t need to be the case anymore: The SmartLink data monitoring program enables the monitoring of productivity on a 24/7 basis.

SmartLink provides businesses with a complete insight of their compressed air production. It helps to predict potential problems (and thus anticipate them); and shows how and where production can be optimised and energy can be saved.

There are three different options available: SmartLink Service which enables the user to easily schedule maintenance visits as they have an overview of machine data and the time left before a service is due. The service log book is always just one click away and the online link with Atlas Copco allows them to request and receive quotes for spare parts or additional services quickly.

The second option SmartLink Uptime allows the end user to be informed by email or SMS message if there is a problem with their compressed air production. Based on this information the necessary actions can be taken to avoid the risk of a breakdown. It is possible to visit the website at any time and see the actual warning/shutdown status of the machines as well as a history of previous notifications.

Finally, SmartLink Energy enables the continuous monitoring and analysis of the energy
efficiency of a compressor room. The user defines the performance indicators (such as air pressure) and the benchmarks and immediate improvements can be made when needed. The results can be used for energy monitoring according to ISO50001

Over the coming years it is Atlas Copco’s ambition to integrate SmartLink into air production installations worldwide and help customers benefit from the insight it offers.

SmartLink is an easy to install, efficient to consult, and simple to tailor data monitoring program. Data is gathered, compared, and analysed efficiently and when needed, warnings are sent out in order to prevent downtime. This data enables local service organisations to plan and prepare their interventions. As a result service efficiency increases, time is gained and money is saved.

Process safety fundamentals!

A new ISA course, Process Safety Fundamentals (EC50CT), provides a sound foundational understanding of leading process safety concepts, standards and procedures, and accentuates the need to regard process safety as a fundamental daily priority.

Process safety focuses on preventing significant industrial accidents, such as fires, explosions and chemical releases, in chemical plants and other facilities dealing with hazardous materials, such as refineries and oil and gas production installations.

Luis Garcia - Instructor
“Process safety is a continuous journey, rather than a destination, and everybody within a plant or manufacturing organization must undertake this journey and recognize what’s at stake,” says Luis Garcia, a consultant for Siemens Energy and Automation, a Certified Functional Safety Expert and the instructor of ISA’s Process Safety Fundamentals course. “Operators and technicians, but also engineers and managers—even though they may not be directly involved in safety administration—need to understand the critical importance of process safety, and recognize the serious risks if safety procedures are not followed.”

“This course shows that safety is everyone’s business,” continues Garcia, who for nearly 30 years has been working to develop process safety standards and procedures in the oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical sectors. “Safety provides the foundation for any plant to operate effectively. It can’t be viewed as a burden or an add-on step. It’s got to be approached as a critical need.”

ISA, Garcia says, has played an important role in elevating process safety through the development of the ISA84 functional safety standards. These standards improve the design, installation, operation and maintenance of Safety Instrumented Systems—the computer-based systems relied upon in most modern plants to prevent adverse safety, health and environmental consequences.

In addition to explaining the purpose and value of the ISA84 standards, ISA’s Process Safety Fundamentals course:

• Covers legal requirements.
• Describes the role of personnel in the Safety Life Cycle.
• Reveals how to determine and manage safety risks.
• Evaluates the basic characteristics of a SIS and their implications.
• Emphasizes the importance of maintenance in the operational phase.
• Discusses the differences between various industry-applicable standards.
• Serves as a preparatory course for a more advanced ISA offering: Safety Instrumented Systems—Design, Analysis and Justification (EC50).

Throughout his career, Garcia has participated in the design and development of instruments for many safety-related applications, such as solenoid valves. He has written several white papers, and has conducted seminars and workshops throughout Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Spain and Great Britain.

Garcia graduated with honors as a metallurgist and material scientist from Liverpool University, and holds a mechanical degree from Saint Joseph Technical College in Rosario, Argentina.

The next scheduled offering of Process Safety Fundamentals (EC50CT) will be on 20 May 2013 at ISA’s Columbia, Illinois USA regional training location. The last day to register for this class is 6 May 2013. The EC50CT course will also be offered as part of ISA SIS Boot Camp at ISA Technical Training Camp - Houston this coming June.

All-weather colour camera for plant monitoring

Yokogawa has released the first model in the new FIELDEYE II series of all-weather CCD cameras for the monitoring of plant facilities and premises. This new model, the FC33U, is non-explosion proof and has pan-tilt zoom functionality. Yokogawa plans to release an explosion proof model by the end of this year.

This new FIELDEYE II all-weather CCD camera is compact in size and features best-in-class performance. It is expected to provide a boost to Yokogawa’s plant monitoring solution business.
Development Background

Many plants have security camera systems that allow the monitoring of production lines and other facilities from locations such as the central control room. Yokogawa entered this market with the 1997 release of the FIELDEYE series of all-weather CCD color cameras. Much smaller and lighter than other plant monitoring cameras on the market, these products have acquired a solid track record particularly here in Japan and other Asian countries.

The monitoring camera market has been expanding worldwide, driven by the recent increase in awareness of the need for heightened plant security. To improve plant safety, monitoring cameras that deliver high performance, yet easy-to-install, are in demand. In response to these market needs, Yokogawa has developed this new FIELDEYE II series all-weather CCD color camera.

Product Features
1): Compact and light, yet rugged and corrosion-resistant
In contrast to the FIELDEYE series, which used an aluminum enclosure, FIELDEYE II series enclosures are made of robust, corrosion-resistant SUS316L*1 stainless steel. Although stainless steel is about three times denser than aluminum, the new enclosure weighs about the same as the aluminum enclosures used on our earlier products, thanks to its small size (made possible by the redesign of camera system components) and the use of a thin-wall stainless steel casting process. The FC33U is one of the most compact non-explosion proof pan-tilt zoom type CCD camera systems on the market today, and is also one of the lightest products employing a stainless steel construction. With these characteristics, the FC33U is easier to install and can be used in a greater variety of locations.

2): Camera with high sensitivity, magnification, and resolution
As a standard feature, the camera unit, a core component of this product, has superior sensitivity (minimum illumination: 0.5 lux, zoom magnification (36× optical and 20× digital), and horizontal resolution (650 TV lines). As such, it is one of the best-performing plant monitoring cameras on the market today..

Major Applications
The monitoring of processes and facilities at oil, petrochemical, chemical, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, food, and iron and steel plants

*1 A stainless steel with excellent corrosion resistance, fracture toughness, ductility, workability, and weldability that can be used in a wide variety of applications
*2 Approximately the brightness of a full moon

Putting green energy on the Canadian grid


National Instruments has partnered with Prolucid LocalGrid Technologies Inc. (LocalGrid™) to build the next-generation energy management system for Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited. Funded by nearly €1.92 million ($2.5m) in grants from Canada’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative and Ontario’s Smart Grid Fund, the project takes advantage of distributed intelligence technology to manage renewable energy generated by the community onto the power grid. In addition to allowing for increased generation capacity, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the integrated platform can improve reliability and efficiency across the electric power system.
Toronto Hydro is working with LocalGrid to develop a distributed approach for managing generation without requiring expensive new power lines or capital equipment. LocalGrid’s software uses NI CompactRIO devices installed on the grid to control and monitor community generation sources.

“The electrical grid will be radically transformed over the next 10 years, moving from a centralised model of power generation and distribution to a less capital-intensive local or MicroGrid model,” said Bob Leigh, president and CEO of LocalGrid. “This is driven in part by the introduction of distributed renewable sources of generation. Our technology allows renewables that are currently blocked to come online without costly infrastructure investment.”

The LocalGrid solution addresses an unexpected challenge created by clean energy incentives. Due to the country’s vast size, cold climate and expansive economy, Canada has one of the highest rates of per capita energy consumption in the world. To promote conservation and efficiency, the federal and provincial governments provide rebates to households and businesses for renewable energy installations. In some areas, the boom in solar panels and wind turbines actually generate more power than the existing infrastructure can handle, resulting in valuable electricity being wasted.

Toronto Hydro, the largest municipal electric utility in Canada, is working with LocalGrid to develop a distributed approach for managing generation without requiring expensive new power lines or capital equipment. LocalGrid’s software uses CompactRIO devices installed on the grid to control and monitor community generation sources.

“We are using CompactRIO because of its combination of advanced analytics and processing power, in a rugged, flexible, field-deployable system, at the right price point,” said Leigh. “A distributed energy management system must have flexibility, modularity and reliability at the core of the design so that it can grow with the needs of utilities for years to come.”

Last Autumn, Toronto Hydro and LocalGrid kicked off a two-year demonstration period at Exhibition Place. The mixed-use district is home to Canada’s largest entertainment venue and has a variety of distributed generation installations. This month, testing began with the CompactRIO intelligent grid devices that will manage, monitor and control the Exhibition Place grid.

“Toronto Hydro and Prolucid LocalGrid’s work will serve as a model for sustainable energy and smart grid technologies, showing other utilities an integrated and interactive approach to improving efficiency, reliability and responsiveness,” said Owen Golden, vice president of NI’s energy segment. “We are extremely excited to be the technology partner for the sophisticated control and monitoring applications needed within such a complex network.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The year of ZigBee!

GreenPeak Technologies has announced the year of ZigBee. Worldwide, GreenPeak and other ZigBee semiconductor suppliers are now shipping millions of ZigBee chips every week, making ZigBee the only credible open worldwide standard for the smart home supported by cable and satellite operators and other companies playing in the smart home space.

“ZigBee has been recognized as the connected and smart home technology of choice, due to its worldwide standardization and acceptance via the cable TV and service provider industries,” says Greg Potter of Multimedia Research Group. “Once the cable companies have taken the first step of providing ZigBee networks in the majority of new set-top boxes, it helps create a thriving industry of ZigBee add-on devices for the home - making it easy for installers, system integrators, and home do-it-yourselfers to install a wide range of ZigBee devices onto the cable companies’ ZigBee backbone within the home". Revenues from services derived from ZigBee backbones within the home are set to skyrocket from $80 million in 2012 to over $1.7 billion in 2017.

According to IMS Research – now part of IHS (NYSE: IHS) – one of the key trends driving the use of ZigBee in the ‘smart home’ is the adoption of the technology by managed service providers in the U.S. and Europe, offering home monitoring and energy management systems via cloud-based home management platforms. The growing traction of ZigBee RF4CE in home entertainment devices is set to continue. IHS projects that shipments of ZigBee RF4CE ICs will grow with a CAGR of 29.1% in the period 2012 to 2018 as ZigBee RF4CE is increasingly incorporated in a range of devices such as set-top boxes, television sets and the accompanying remote controls as an IR replacement technology, enabling more sophisticated interaction with home entertainment devices.

According to Greg Potter, “The ZigBee revolution is driven by cable companies and service providers who wish to expand their market by a wide variety of home services, in addition to delivering content. Often called the Fifth Play, cable companies are now adding home services to the previous four plays: TV & movies, broadband Internet, VoIP and wireless phone services.”

“There are approximately 600 million homes connected to the internet – each of these is a potential customer for a ZigBee home network, with over a hundred possible devices in each home talking to the network: from thermostats, lights and switches, security sensors, door locks, appliances, remote controls, etc.” says Cees Links, Founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies. “GreenPeak’s Open Smart Home Framework provides a context in which all these devices seamlessly connect to each other and to the internet via the low power ZigBee standard, complementary to WiFi for data sharing and content distribution.”

Exclusive reseller in Japan

Quantum Composers announced today that Opto Science Inc, a top reseller of laser and pulse generator technology, will take over as the new exclusive reseller in Japan.

 Quantum's Saphire pulse generator
Opto Science has been representing Quantum Composers products since 2005 and has been recognised several times for their excellence in customer service and support. The company itself has been in business for over 25 years, providing products and services to a wide range of customers from their headquarters in Tokyo. They specialize in the sale of laser instruments, such as CO2, Excimer and YAG Lasers, optical supplies and of course test & measurement instruments such as pulse generators.

Sales and Marketing Director for Quantum Composers, Mr. Will Bomar says “Making Opto Science an exclusive reseller was an easy decision. They have shown through their dedication and expertise that the title is well deserved.” The announcement itself came just before one of the largest Asian tradeshows of the year, LASER EXPO (OPIE 2013) in Yokohama. Opto Science is making their exclusive debut and will be showing several Quantum Composers products at their booth.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Opto Science provides laser systems (laser source, instrumentation systems, sensors, optical materials optical components, peripherals, optical components, vacuum) optical communications (optical components, measuring instruments / fiber processing equipment, accessories) and associated Raman Biotechnology such as unit production and sale systems to foreign skilled Optoelectronics (custom design).

Additional industrial network interfaces

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of new CANopen and CC-Link bus interfaces for its high performance PACSystems® RSTi distributed I/O. Both networks enable the I/O and a wide range of control devices to connect on the same network, therefore reducing wiring and network complexity. The RSTi system is based on global standards and delivers on the promise of an open, consistent and standard high performance communication link between field I/O and controller. The unit’s integration into the control system also simplifies development and commissioning that results in increased productivity

“Equipment builders are continuously looking for ways to improve the performance of their equipment while augmenting usability and reducing size and complexity,” said Bill Black, I/O Product Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “These requirements extend to the control system. Every level of a GE Intelligent Platforms’ control system – from our PROFINET networked I/O modules to our cloud-based automation development platform – is built to connect and collaborate. With PACSystems, GE provides high performance control solutions with best-in-class integration of distributed, networked, I/O ideally suited for today’s demanding connected applications.”

Users can standardize on the RSTi I/O system regardless of the controller type or bus interface for a wide range of applications which, in turn, reduces spare parts, training and support costs. There are more than 80 different module types to choose from for discrete, process, motion and specialty applications. In addition to CANopen and CC-Link, GE offers PROFINET, PROFIBUS DP, DeviceNET, MODBUS/TCP, and MODBUS serial.

Starter kits for both the CANopen and CC-Link are available on the GE Intelligent Platforms online store. These specially-priced starter kit systems are ideal for OEMs to evaluate the RSTi for the first time and see the flexibility and power of this open distributed I/O system.

Software supports full performance of Windows 8

zenon 7.10, COPA-DATA's new automation software version is compatible with Windows 8 as of release and supports the complete performance of the new Microsoft operating system.

With the successfully completed compatibility tests, Microsoft has confirmed that zenon 7.10 can smoothly run under Windows 8 and fully meets all quality and security requirements of the operating system. The zenon 7.10 setup has been adapted for use with the new Windows 8 Desktop user interface, enabling users to run zenon directly by way of various tiles (style icons).

Reinhard Mayr, Product Manager at COPA-DATA, explains: "Being a Gold Application Development Partner, we have been able to profit from the strategic partnership with Microsoft for many years now. The confirmed compatibility of zenon 7.10 with Windows 8 once again underlines our continued technological leadership in the industrial automation software market. The new certification signalizes security, reliability and sustainable investment protection for our customers and partners."

To exploit the full performance of zenon under Windows 8, COPA-DATA recommends its customers to use the new version, zenon 7.10, only.

Certification for process systems cyber security

Wurldtech Security Technologies’ Achilles® certification recognises best practices to protect process control equipment against evolving cyber security threats

Emerson Process Management’s DeltaV™ digital automation system and its project and engineering support services have successfully passed annual best practice standards set by Wurldtech Security Technologies, a world leader in protecting mission-critical connected systems and devices.

Emerson has taken a leading role in responding to increased global cyber-security threats by providing cost-effective, easy-to-use protections to its DeltaV digital process automation system. Because of the dynamic nature of cyber security threats, manufacturers participating in Wurldtech’s Achilles Practices Certification programme must re-certify every year. Annual audits help participants improve their cyber security processes and practices, development, testing, commissioning, maintenance and support throughout an automation system’s lifecycle.

Building on industry security requirements set by the International Instrument Users Association (WIB), Wurldtech created its programme to proactively and independently certify that manufacturer policies and practices meet and exceed these requirements.

"Wurldtech set the bar for device manufacturer cyber security," said Emerson Process Management’s chief strategic officer Peter Zornio. "Now, with the Achilles Practices Certification they’ve expanded coverage to the entire control system and its lifecycle. This certification is just one testament to Emerson’s on-going commitment to helping process industries meet current and emerging international cyber security standards and regulations, and most importantly, protecting their process and assets."

"We congratulate Emerson on this achievement," said Wurldtech CTO and founder, Nate Kube. "By certifying its DeltaV system and its service practices for project engineering and support, Emerson can better meet cyber security expectations through globally recognised standards."

• Readers may be interested also in our ICS & SCADA Security page.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Testing energy efficiency

Yokogawa power meters and analysers are the key elements in tests being carried out by LUX-TSI,  an independent British test house specialising in the testing of energy efficient lighting and electronic products, including LEDs, to ensure compatibility with international standards governing energy efficiency.

The two companies have entered into a relationship to test products using Yokogawa’s WT210 and WT3000 instruments to evaluate compliance with European Ecodesign (ErP) Directives, and this capability will be demonstrated at the euroLED Conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham, on 24th and 25th June 2013. At this event, LUX-TSI will also be exhibiting with its partner, UL, who are global players in the provision of energy performance and safety testing and certification.

The Yokogawa WT3000 precision power analyser provides “best in class” precision and stability. With a basic power accuracy of ±0.02% of reading, DC and 0.1 Hz-1 MHz measurement bandwidth, and up to four input elements, the WT3000 provides a high-accuracy measurement solution for testing all types of power electronics products.

Dr. Gareth Jones, Chief Executive of LUX-TSI, is a keen supporter of the EU Ecodesign Directive in helping to reduce greenhouse emissions: “The European Commission has brought into effect regulations and directives focused on improving the energy efficiency of key products”, he comments: “There are two complementary ways of reducing the energy consumed by these products: imposing requirements at the design phase, and adding labelling to raise the awareness of consumers. Our UK based independent accredited test house is supporting the implementation of this directive through providing energy performance testing to industry and Government.”

It is estimated that over 80% of all product-related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase. Product energy-efficiency improvement is a highly effective mechanism to achieve carbon emission reductions, both in terms of the short payback period and the change that may be affected. Research has shown that the introduction of more energy-efficient electronics and lighting represents the lowest cost to society per ton of CO2 emissions reduced.

Lighting products are an important part of the energy-using product space, and consume around 20% of electricity usage. The production, distribution, use and end-of-life management of lighting products are associated with important environmental impacts such as waste generation and the release of hazardous substances.

“One effect of new regulations has been a phasing out of most of the inefficient incandescent light bulbs available for sale in the EU”, says Dr. Jones: “This is driving an important new product into the lighting world – the solid-state LED light - which creates benefits in terms of lowering energy: not only in its growing use but also the energy consumed in manufacturing the product, which is much lower than for other lighting technologies.”

Current estimates suggest that LEDs will achieve more than 70% market penetration by 2020, displacing traditional technologies that have existed for 100 years within a very short timescale.

Testing lighting and electrical products according to the regulations is technically complex and requires controlled laboratory conditions, with stringent calibration and operating procedures. “This is where the LUX-TSI independent accredited testing laboratory with its Yokogawa power measuring instruments has a key role to play”, says Dr. Gareth Jones: “We are happy to fulfil this requirement by supporting manufacturers and governments to ensure that the product performance complies with the regulations in use and in the design phase.”

Automation boot camp training!

ISA introduces ISA Technical Training Camp, an in-depth combination of technician, automation engineering and safety courses to be taught during June 2013 in Texas, USA.

To meet the automation and control community’s needs for comprehensive technical training in a highly condensed format, the International Society of Automation (ISA) announces it will conduct three knowledge-intensive training programs in Houston, (TX USA) over four consecutive weeks in June 2013.
ISA Technical Training Camp students enjoy:

•  Discounted pricing. Save 5 percent on any Technical Training Camp package when you register with promo code “13HTTCPR” by 15 May 2013
• Direct access to and interaction with ISA’s subject matter experts and instructors 

• The opportunity to take an ISA84 SIS Certificate exam. Qualified applicants can choose to sit for one of the ISA84 SIS Certificate programs on Friday, 28 June 2013 
• Pre-arranged local plant tours, which demonstrate how the instruction and skills taught are being applied in actual work environments
• Complimentary ISA technical publication libraries (varies per course)
• After-class networking events to encourage discussions among students and instructors, and facilitate personal and professional development
.
Sponsored by the ISA Houston Section, this three-part training event, ISA Technical Training Camp—Houston, represents the first time ISA has offered its newest in-depth training events—Technician Training Boot Camp, Automation Engineering Survival Training, and Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) Boot Camp—all in one location.

This Training Camp comprises three rigorous, value-packed training events:

“ISA Technical Training Camp provides a very unique opportunity to take one or more of ISA’s most comprehensive, world-class training events at one location over a short time period, and at a reduced rate for those attending more than one,” says Dalton Wilson, ISA’s manager of Education Services. “As a result, students have the ability to learn and master skills more quickly while saving time and expenses.”

Class size is limited, and registrations will be filled on a first-come-first-served basis

Save operational costs with energy reduction initiative

WEG has launched a new energy reduction initiative, which is designed to help manufacturers optimise efficiencies of existing equipment throughout their plants and processes. The free assessment reviews equipment and outlines a number of steps manufacturers can take to reduce energy use and increase equipment efficiency and reliability, enabling them to minimise costs, reduce carbon footprint and total cost of ownership.

In partnership with Sulzer, WEG is educating British customers in selecting suitable plant equipment with energy saving potential, and giving objective, professional advice on improving productivity while reducing energy consumption and costs.

Experts will assess existing plant equipment and can install drives on-site to monitor and demonstrate existing energy usage. Then a variable speed drive (VSD) can be fitted, energy savings proven and potential savings related to project payback, on-going operational savings and total cost of ownership can be calculated.

The free energy assessment is a simple process and enables the customer to trial equipment before purchase. It is suitable for all plant equipment, including pumps, compressors, fans and conveyor belts.

“Today there is greater pressure than ever on organisations to minimise their carbon footprint and reduce their costs and at WEG we’re committed to increasing energy efficiency, offering customers valuable choices on how they can best enhance their bottom line,” says Daniel Griffiths, product specialist – automation, at WEG. “Our energy efficient technologies like the W22 electric motors and our CFW inverter drives can play a real role in helping them to do both. Our products are always designed to increase energy efficiency, reduce noise and temperature levels, reduce size and increase reliability.”

Motors are responsible for generating over 40% of total global energy consumption. Selecting motors that have been designed with energy efficiency as a priority, such as WEG’s W22 Super Premium motor that exceeds the yet to be implemented IE4 regulations, will enable manufacturers to make significant energy savings, reduce operational costs and increase productivity.

WEG’s new frequency inverter CFW501, which has been designed to meet the needs of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry, is another example of energy efficient technology. The robust, compact and easy-to-use drives are currently available with a power range from 0.18 to 7.5 kW and are suitable for all pump and fan applications. Thanks to their advanced features and design, they help users to optimise the operation of their motors, while being quick and easy to install and cost-effective to maintain.

New industrial computing modules to enhance customer choice

GE Intelligent Platforms is to develop a range of rugged COM Express modules based on the new AMD  Embedded G-Series SOC (system on a chip) processors. First shipments are expected in later this year (2013).

Including AMD processors in the new products will enable GE to develop more compact ‘Type 10’ modules in the so-called ‘mini’ format, measuring just 84mm x 55m and allowing customers to deploy them in a broader range of environments. The new products will also provide customers with the flexibility to choose exactly the right COM Express module for the target application.

• New GE COM Express modules will provide new levels of price/performance, and be more compact
• Reduced number of components will further increase reliability for modules used in industrial and harsh environments
• Customers will benefit from GE’s implementation of unique characteristics of AMD Embedded G-Series SOC processors
GE Intelligent Platforms’ rugged COM Express modules are designed to enable high performance automation for a connected world, and offer ultimate durability and varying levels of performance-per-watt. They are well-suited for OEMs designing computing platforms into equipment for industrial or harsh environments, and when reducing the overall design cycle and lowering validation costs are of key importance. Onboard components are specifically selected for their reliability in demanding conditions. Unlike solutions designed for benign environments, the processor and memory on GE COM Express modules are soldered to the board for maximum resistance to shock and vibration. Extended mechanical construction protects the module, which is designed for optional conformal coating for even greater resistance to moisture, dust, chemicals, and temperature extremes.

The COM Express embedded computing architecture is growing in popularity because it separates the underlying “carrier card” from the processor. This means that COM Express modules can be more easily upgraded to the latest technology than would otherwise be possible. The benefit to customers is that this approach extends the useful life of a subsystem by allowing simple, cost-effective upgrade of the processor alone, reducing long term cost of ownership while ensuring that performance keeps pace with changing needs.

Such is the flexibility that the GE COM Express module gives to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and system integrators that it can feature in a broad range of commercial environments including industrial automation, test & measurement, security, transportation, and medical where it can enable end users to be more productive, manage resources better, improve quality and increase revenues and profitability.

“AMD’s new embedded computing processor technology provides a unique combination of functionality and performance characteristics that enables us to design COM Express modules that require fewer supporting chips, making the modules more compact, requiring less power and dissipating less heat and maximizing reliability and uptime,” said Tommy Swigart, Product Manager, Control & Communication Systems, GE Intelligent Platforms. “We are looking forward to working with AMD to bring the benefits of COM Express to help address an even wider range of customer challenges.”

"The AMD Embedded G-Series SOC processors offer a small footprint, low-energy use, and rich I/O integration to enable smaller form factor embedded designs, cool and efficient operation, and simplified build requirements,” said Kamal Khouri, director of embedded products, AMD. “As a significant player in the embedded computing market, and a leader in the development of COM Express solutions, we’re delighted that GE Intelligent Platforms will be featuring the AMD Embedded G-Series SOC processor in its new products.”

The planned product will further extend GE’s growing range of rugged COM Express modules. Most recently announced was the bCOM6-L1400 which takes advantage of the significant processing and graphics capabilities of the Intel® Core™ i7 processor to support multiple independent displays. Prior to the bCOM6-L1400, GE had announced the rugged bCOM6-L1200 which features a range of five VIA Nano™ and VIA Eden™ processor options.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Protection on display

Rittal was one of the largest exhibitors at this years CeBIT Exhibition (the world's largest trade fair showcasing digital IT and telecommunications solutions for home and work environments) recently held in Hannover, Germany.

During a visit to the stand by the German and Polish premiers, Rittal took the opportunity to demonstrate some of the countless new Rittal products on display. These included RiMatrixS, the world’s first standardised data centre and the Modular Safe Level E that delivers robust protection of business-critical data against physical damage caused by fire, water, smoke or unauthorised access. In addition, Rittal also showcased the new LCP DX (Liquid Cooling Package Direct Expansion) for reliable data centre cooling: It fits perfectly into environments where only small and medium-sized IT installations need to be cooled.

Particularly impressive was Rittal’s latest innovation RiMatrixS. Until recently each data centre was a one-off custom-built model and the entire process, from initial consultation to planning construction and integration of individual components, could take several months. RiMatrix S cuts this timeframe down to six weeks.

Now modular, the new data centre has a single model number, is fully pre-assembled and planned right down to the last detail including financial considerations. Rittal provides precise figures for energy efficiency, providing visibility into future operating costs.

Visitors to the Rittal website can use the Selector to gain an initial overview of the RiMatrixS data centre and can calculate energy efficiency by entering just a few key pieces of information.

Sensors & biosensors

IFSA has just published the second volume from Advances in Sensors Book Series, Vol.2, titled 'Sensors and Biosensors, MEMS Technologies and its Applications', 558 pages, and includes eighteen chapters with sensor related state-of-the-art reviews and descriptions of the latest achievements written by experts from academia and industry from 12 countries: China, India, Iran, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, Ukraine and USA.

Edited by Sergey Y. Yurish, it overviews highlights in the field and is divided into three main parts: physical sensors, biosensors, nanoparticles, MEMS technologies and applications.

The book has been organised by topics of high interest. In order to offer a fast and easy reading of the state of the art of each topic, every chapter in this book is independent and self-contained. The eighteen chapters have the similar structure: first an introduction to specific topic under study; second particular field description including sensing applications.

Enclosed in-line measurement for moisture

While NIR is widely used for measuring products transported on open conveyor belts, NDC Infrared Engineering’s improved PowderVision sampling system allows moisture to be measured in powders, granules and flakes flowing in enclosed ducts or gravity fed conveying systems. PowderVision can be used with a wide range of industrial powders, including chemicals, minerals, detergents and ceramics.

Designed to work with an NDC 710e NIR Moisture or Multi-component Gauge, PowderVision collects samples every few seconds, with measurement values output via digital or analogue connectivity to a PLC or SCADA system for process control.

PowderVision consists of a tube-mounted sampling cup made from 316 stainless steel which slides into a collar that is permanently welded into the appropriate duct in the process. PowderVision is optically coupled to the 710e NIR gauge via a sapphire window. The cup collects sample as it flows through the duct, allowing moisture and other measurements to be made simultaneously. When the measurement is complete, the cup is emptied using a powerful jet of compressed air and the next sampling sequence begins.

Making continual on-line moisture measurements eliminates the need to send samples away for laboratory measurement and allows drying processes to be controlled automatically, helping users to achieve consistent product quality, as well as creating opportunity for increased product yield and reduced fossil fuel consumption through process optimisation.

User-configurable software in the 710e HMI provides control of the PowderVision’s sampling timing sequences according to the required sample collection rate, and the Gauge’s measurements are automatically synchronised with the filling and emptying cycle. The gauge reading is then held until the sampling process has been repeated.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Travelling university in Dublin

"The most significant European manufacturing occasion of the year!"

Business management or engineering personnel will find it an invaluable way of getting up to date with the latest news, views, trends and technologies.

Each year Rockwell reassess and renew the content of its Automation University so that it reflects current industry issues and provides fresh and stimulating ideas. Manufacturers, Producers, System Integrators, Engineering Consultants or Machine Builders or OEMs, all should benefit from attemding their Automation University.

Click for your Reservation!
The current series will tackle three key business drivers in today’s challenging world of automation.

Plant Wide Optimisation Encompassing asset optimisation, multidiscipline process control, legacy system management and data driven decision management.

Machine Builder Performance Covering the sub topics of productivity improvements, secure remote access, scalable control solutions and differentiated value.

Sustainable Production Including energy management strategy, regulatory compliance, cyber security, product integrity and plant safety.

The university visits Dublin on 6th June 2013.

Venue Details

Castleknock Hotel & Country Club
Porterstown Road
Castleknock
Dublin 15
Sat Nav
GO code is L2H GJFK
Longitude 53.36693
Latitude -6.39284

Other venues may be seen on our Events Page!

Level & Flow school sessions in USA

Endress+Hauser has announced its July 2013 schedule of instrumentation training courses. 

Classes typically are a combination of classroom and hands-on training on either the Endress+Hauser Process Training Unit (PTU™), a full-scale, working process skid with on-line instrumentation and controls, or live instruments in training stands, both designed to simulate operating conditions.

Open Space & Guided Wave Radar Level School
Friday, July 12, 2013 in Mobile, Alabama
The Endress+Hauser L-104 Radar Level School is an introductory course (8 hours) on Open Space and Guided Wave Radar Level for maintenance and engineering personnel. The course dedicates a half day to each technology to give a basic understanding of these level technologies.

Level School – Introductory
Monday, July 15, 2013 - Wednesday, July 17, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee
The Endress+Hauser L-101 introductory course for level provides maintenance and engineering personnel with a basic understanding of level technologies that apply to virtually any manufacturer's equipment. It includes in-depth training on Time of Flight (ToF) technologies that include a variety of radar types as well as ultrasonic level transmitters.

Level School - Advanced
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - Friday, July 19, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee
The Endress+Hauser L-102 advanced course is for students having completed the basic level school. The Advanced Level School begins with a brief review of current level technologies. Following the technology refresher, the course looks deeper at each level measuring technology including proper techniques of configuration, calibration and troubleshooting.

Flow School - Introductory
Monday, July 22, 2013 - Wednesday, July 24, 2013 in Gonzales, Louisiana
The Endress+Hauser F-101 introductory course on flow measurement will provide maintenance and engineering personnel with a basic understanding of numerous flow technologies, plus in-depth training on magnetic and Coriolis flow meters that apply to virtually any manufacturer's equipment.

Flow School – Advanced
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - Friday, July 26, 2013 in Gonzales, Louisiana
The Endress+Hauser F-102 advanced course on flow measurement is designed for students who have successfully completed the basic Flow School Course. The class will start by providing instrument techs and engineers with a brief section on the basic understanding of numerous flow technologies. Following this introduction, it proceeds with in-depth training on vortex shedding, electromagnetic, ultrasonic, and Coriolis flow meters, plus Density and Viscosity measurements.

Flow School Coriolis
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - Friday, July 26, 2013 in Gonzales, Louisiana
The Endress+Hauser F-103 Coriolis flow course provides maintenance and engineering personnel a basic understanding of the Coriolis principle for any manufacturer's equipment. It also provides in-depth training on density and concentration measurements.