Friday, June 14, 2013

Filter regulators improve response speed of valve solutions

Stainless steel filter regulators reduce closing time of valves

Ascendant Technologies, a specialist valve automation company serving the British oil and gas sector, has selected filter regulators from ASCO Numatics to help improve the response speed of its valve solutions. By deploying the ASCO Numatics 342 Series of filter regulators, which have a large flow rate, the company is able to meet the needs of its customers by offering a solution with a significantly reduced valve closure time.

Filter regulator flow rates are critical in determining the time required to close a valve. ASCO Numatics ½” stainless steel filter regulators incorporate moulded reinforced diaphragms, which enable a flow rate up to 4430 l/min. Following performance tests, Ascendant Technologies concluded that the ASCO regulator reduced the valve closure time from 11.7 to 7 seconds.

“To meet end user requirements, we needed to improve the response speed of our valve solution,” said Andy McDuff, General Manager, Ascendant Technologies. “We tested a number of filter regulators from different suppliers and the ASCO device outperformed its rivals, helping to significantly reduce the valve closing time.”

For Emergency Shut-Down (ESD) applications the response time of the valve can be critical. If the filter regulator is unable to pass enough air to enable the actuator to close the valve in the specified time, then a booster may need to be fitted. This adds to the overall cost and increases the number of potential leak points.

The Series 342 is suitable for ambient temperatures from -40°C up to +80°C (-50°C for arctic conditions is available on request) and for compressed air and gases. It can therefore be installed across many industries, including chemical, petrochemical, oil & gas, refinery, power generation, pulp & paper and process plants.

Integrated production control system enhanced!

The CENTUM® VP R5.03, from Yokogawa is an enhanced version of the company’s flagship integrated production control system.

Yokogawa has been continuously developing and enhancing CENTUM VP as a cornerstone of its Industrial Automation business’s VigilantPlant® vision for operational excellence. In accordance with the strategies set out in the company’s Evolution 2015 mid-term business plan, CENTUM VP has been enhanced with a variety of new functions.

New features in CENTUM® VP R5.03 include a wide area communication (WAC) router for control via public communications networks, enhanced batch functions, easy integration with intelligent electric devices (IEDs), and an eight-loop operation keyboard.

VigilantPlant
VigilantPlant is Yokogawa's automation concept for safe, reliable, and profitable plant operations. It aims to enable an ongoing state of operational excellence where plant personnel are watchful and attentive, well-informed, and ready to take actions that optimise plant and business performance. Based on this concept, Yokogawa introduces a variety of solutions through its Safety Excellence, Asset Excellence, Production Excellence, and Lifecycle Excellence initiatives.
Yokogawa has developed a WAC router that enables a CENTUM VP system to remotely monitor and control equipment over a wide area network (WAN) established using public communication lines, satellite links, and the like. The WAC router provides the same high reliability and security as the Vnet/IP control network that is used with Yokogawa production control systems. It compensates for limited bandwidth and transmission delays by prioritising communications based on data type and target. For added reliability, the router has dual redundant communication modules. Each of these modules can be linked with the WAN by up to two communications lines. When two lines are employed, they may be of the same type or of different types, e.g. satellite link and fibre-optic cable. The router enables reliable and inexpensive monitoring and control of widely distributed facilities such as the offshore platforms used in oil and gas exploration and production.

The CENTUM VP R5.03 batch package is based on ISA-88 and has enhanced functions that allow greater flexibility when accommodating changes in production procedures. The number of operating procedures has been increased, and the recipe procedure has been provided with additional levels of granularity, simplifying the process of making recipe changes. CENTUM VP R5.03 is thus ideal for companies that employ complex batch production processes and are engaged in such industries as foods, pharmaceuticals, and speciality chemicals.

CENTUM VP R5.03 supports the IEC 61850 communication protocol, which has been widely adopted in the electric power industry and other industries that operate extensive electrical facilities. This latest version of CENTUM VP can integrate data from intelligent electric devices and can be used to monitor the operations at power plants whose electrical facilities have been designed based on the IEC 61850 standard. This allows better integration with power plant operations, and also enables the monitoring of electrical facilities at many other types of plants.

A new keyboard has been released with sets of dedicated function keys that can be used to simultaneously adjust eight control loops. For graphic, alarm, and trending operations, there are also dedicated control keys, operation confirmation keys, window call-up keys, a total of 64 special function keys, and keys for alarm acknowledgment and key locking. This keyboard has been designed to make it easier for plant operators to perform their tasks.

Major Target Markets
Process control and monitoring applications in industries such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, electric power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, foods and beverages, iron and steel, and water supply and wastewater treatment

Applications
Control and monitoring of plants and production equipment

Future development
With CENTUM VP as its core platform, Yokogawa continues to develop a variety of production control systems. Based on the Evolution 2015 mid-term business plan, Yokogawa is strengthening its range of comprehensive solutions for targeted markets.

Single axis accelerometer delivers precision, reliability and durability AND value for money.

The new, competitively priced Type 8315 single axis accelerometer from Kistler Instruments is especially suited to low frequency applications, including automobile ride quality, wind tunnel investigations and aerospace testing where structural vibration and dynamics are used to assess performance, reliability and integrity parameters. . Other R&D applications include human motion studies, robotics and platform motion control systems.

The Type 8315 K-Beam® capacitive MEMS accelerometer is ideal for use in R&D and OEM applications where precision, reliability and durability are demanded. Six measuring ranges from ±2 g to ± 200 g are available with a frequency response of 0 to 1kHz (0-250Hz for 2g), enclosed in a choice of hard anodised aluminium or welded titanium housings. The sensor design is optimised for low frequency applications common to Aviation/Aerospace, Automotive, Civil Engineering Structure, Seismic and other R&D studies. A temperature output is provided for use where external temperature compensation of the output signal is required.

Wide supply voltage range, 5 to 50 VDC and 6,000 gpk shock rating combined with the availability of a temperature output and integrated signal conditioning make the Type 8315 exceptionally versatile. A choice of adhesive, threaded stud and magnetic mounting bases and connection options facilitate installation.

Power symposium success

Examined impact of regulations and cybersecurity, and showcased the latest energy technologies and developments.

It has been a busy Spring/Summer season for the industry specialised divisions of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

Energised by expert-led technical sessions, valuable on-site training, and insightful keynote presentations, nearly 200 professionals in the power-generation industry attended their 56th Power Industry Division (POWID) Symposium held in early June in Florida USA.

Highlighted by more than 65 technical papers and a wide range of technical sessions, panel discussions, and interactive forums, the symposium drew experts and leaders throughout the globe to explore critical issues and challenges affecting power-generation delivery.

Dr Peggie Koon adresses the Symposium
from the floor!
In addition to examining the ramifications of rapidly emerging cybersecurity initiatives and regulatory pressures, the agenda reviewed the latest news in nuclear, fossil fuel and renewable energy, and showcased innovations and trends in instrumentation, controls, sensors, software, wireless communication and modernization strategies.

“The technical content provided at this year’s symposium was a game changer as leading industry professionals and subject matter experts introduced the latest news in technology, application experiences and best practices,” says Dr Peggie Koon, Ph.D, the director of strategy, partnership development and management at Morris Communications in Augusta, Georgia, USA, and ISA’s 2013 President-Elect Secretary. “The topics and technologies presented at the symposium—from the critical issues in coal, nuclear, gas and renewable energy to the latest in distributed generation, Smart Grid and microgrids--were extremely relevant to today’s power industry professionals.”

The three ISA training classes conducted on site were:
• Introduction to Boiler Control Systems (ES15C)
• Boiler Burner Management Systems: Meeting NFPA Standards (ES16C)
• Transducer/Transmitter Installation for Nuclear Safety Applications Using ANSI/ISA-67.01.01 (IC67)
Beyond the content-rich technical sessions, the symposium gave registrants the opportunity to enroll in three highly pertinent ISA training classes, learn best practices from keynote presenters, participate in Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) industry meetings and ISA standards committee meetings, visit with industry vendors, honor colleagues at an awards banquet, and enjoy numerous social and networking gatherings.

“Given the rich and multi-faceted quality of the program and agenda, I am confident that all those who attended this year’s POWID Symposium were able to come away with valuable knowledge that they can apply to improve their technical expertise, organizational efficiency and competitiveness,” states Bill Sotos, senior consulting engineer at Hurst Technologies, and the General Symposium Chair for this year’s conference.
“On behalf of the symposium planning team and the ISA POWID Executive Committee, I want to thank all of the attendees, exhibitors, speakers, volunteers and ISA staff for their efforts in making the event a remarkable success, and I want to invite everyone to mark their 2014 calendar for ISA’s 57th Power Industry Division Symposium, which is scheduled to take place in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas.”


• The General Symposium Chair for next year’s symposium is Aaron Hussey of Expert Microsystems. Check the ISA website for updates on ISA’s 57th POWID Symposium as they become available. Dates and venue: June 1st through June 7th, 2014, Scottsdale, (AZ USA)

Free on-line thermowell calculation tool!

The new free on-line thermowell calculation tool from Endress+Hauser is to help customers stay compliant with the new ASME PTC 19.3 TW-2010 thermowell standards.

The thermowell sizing tool calculates the thermowell’s ability to withstand stresses under given process conditions, important for safety-critical or demanding applications with high flow rates or high process pressures, particularly in the oil and gas and chemical industry.

Because a thermowell is subjected to a variety of stresses in these types of applications, typically because of in-line and transverse vibrations, it is necessary to run calculations on the thermowell design to make sure these stresses do not exceed the maximum allowable limit. Endress+Hauser’s thermowell sizing calculator gives users a safe alternative to not only thermowell failure but loss of measurement, damage to expensive equipment, and safety risks to plant personnel.

Unlike the traditional, time-consuming approach of using spreadsheets, the thermowell sizing calculator allows users to make preliminary calculations to select the right thermowell early on in the design process – in just a few clicks.

Enrichments in the thermowell calculation tool include a larger variety of thermowell geometries, such as stepped thermowells, and the updated ASME PTC 19.3 TW-2010 standards have enhanced resonant frequency calculations allowing the maximum thermowell length to be determined based upon the process conditions.

The thermowell calculation tool is available on-line via the Endress+Hauser Applicator tool, a program that provides step-by-step assistance with product selection, sizing, and configuration.

Also available on-line is a new white paper titled, “Basics of Thermowell Design and Selection,” that discusses thermowell design considerations, how to perform thermowell calculations, and options for selecting the right thermowell.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Panel mounted display units

LCM Systems has launched a new range of panel mounting display units for use with any of LCM Systems load cell products, including those with integrally mounted amplifiers. There are three models within the PMD Range: the PMD-Process for use with most industry standard voltage & current analogue process signals; the PMD-Strain for use with strain gauge bridge based sensors, including load cells and load pins and the PMD-Serial, which can be connected to a RS232 or RS485 ASCII serial bus, primarily for use as a remote slave display.

There are a number of options available that can be mixed and matched, depending on a client’s particular application. One of the main advantages of these new indicators is that they are so easy to set up and use. All 3 indicators have menu free set up and calibration and to further simplify commissioning, a pictorial instruction manual has been produced. This provides step-by-step details for each function so saving time searching through an overly complex manual.

All three models can be supplied in either AC or DC powered versions with a wide choice of analogue, relay or digital outputs and all option boards are pluggable and have the advantage that they can be retro-fitted.

All products are IP65 sealed to ensure they withstand harsh and rugged conditions, with an option for IP67. Different input signals are available, depending on which indicator is used.

The PMD-Process, PMD-Serial and PMD-Strain indicators are all suitable for simple crane weighing applications, hoist and winch monitoring and any other force measurement applications.

Equipment monitoring system

The Equipment Monitoring System (EMS), introduced by Raytek, is a noncontact temperature measurement system that enables round-the-clock condition monitoring of actively powered components or operating machinery, supporting predictive and preventive maintenance. Detecting temperature rises or spikes on the surface of equipment, the Raytek multiple head solution acts as an early warning device for critical assets, including switchgear and electrical cabinets, electrical motors, pumps, furnace controls and heating elements. It gives operators notice of thermal issues as they begin to occur, as well as recording data for trend analysis.

Early detection of heat-related faults and failures, along with maintenance performed as needed and not when estimated, result in reduced maintenance costs, less waste from unexpected downtime and higher safety. Temperatures are displayed on the system's LCD control module and/or remotely through the PC-based, Windows 7-compatible DataTemp Multidrop software.

The “plug and play” EMS consists of a control box with circuit breaker, power supply and controller; a connection box with a cable; and sensors with adjustable mounting brackets. It utilizes the field-proven technology of the Raytek MI3 sensors with up to eight sensor heads that can be connected to an MI3 electronics box. The compact system fits in hard-to-reach or enclosed locations and monitors temperature ranges of -40 to +600 °C. The control box and sensors are IP65 rated to ensure long life in harsh environments.

Developed with personnel safety in mind, the Raytek solution allows temperatures to be read from a safe location by anyone on active systems without additional equipment or special training. Users can manually program audible alarm settings through the integrated push button panel on the control module or easily communicate remotely via the RS485 serial interface and DataTemp software. For full factory or machine control, an ASCII protocol allows the system to communicate with an internal control network. The DataTemp Multidrop software enables the simultaneous viewing of multiple points and can be set to monitor up to 32 EMS-systems, providing the ability to see the temperature of, and set early warning alarms on a total of 256 individual monitor points. The software allows operators to easily record and store data; remotely adjust sensor parameters; customize screen views; change sensors from reading object temperature to ambient temperature; change emissivity; and turn filters on/off to scale the range, graph or average.

Turnkey virtualisation system

Virtualisation solution enhances manufacturing by providing increased protection from hardware failures

Honeywell has launched the newest Experion® Virtualisation Solutions package, the industry’s first turnkey blade solution that is optimised for virtualisation and the needs of the process control industry enabling offshore oil and gas, refining and petrochemical customers to increase operations availability and reduce the total cost of ownership of their control system, saving them millions of dollars annually.

By applying virtualisation to industrial control systems – a concept first introduced by Honeywell in 2010 – processing plants and refineries can simplify their computing environments, streamline maintenance and reliability, and reduce the amount of hardware space needed at facilities such as floating offshore oil rigs, where space is at a premium.

Virtualisation is a major productivity and efficiency tool for commercial and industrial operations. Process controls typically require separate servers to support different applications – requiring additional space, hardware and significant maintenance costs. Virtualisation allows a single server to simultaneously run multiple operating systems and applications, insulating the operating systems from hardware changes, improving overall server utilisation, simplifying maintenance and reducing costs.

The newest member of the family, called the Premium Platform, is based on blade server technology. It provides an alternate offering for the ultimate in lifecycle and availability features being demanded by the process industry. The Premium Platform reduces setup time by 90 percent, generates 40% more energy savings, has 22% greater density than alternative virtualised server platforms and allows recovery from a processor failure in minutes.

“Customers are demanding higher availability from their virtual environments," said Jason Urso, vice president of technology, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Virtualisation solutions using blade servers offer that extra layer of reliability, but it’s about more than just reducing downtime: virtualisation simplifies operations and allows manufacturers to modernise their facilities and turn them into true business assets.”

The new Premium Platform leverages blade server technology from IBM. Honeywell chose the IBM BladeCenter S to power the new Premium Platform offering because of its highly integrated design especially in the area of storage, and its focus on markets where simplicity is critical. IBM’s long term support along with its significant worldwide support infrastructure and the maturity of this platform were considerations in our decision.

Experion PKS is Honeywell’s flagship process control and automation system used by process manufacturers around the world. It redefined industrial automation as the first enterprise-wide distributed control system designed to unify people with process, business requirements and asset management. This approach improves process visibility and safety by enabling facilities to consolidate plant equipment controls while eliminating integration problems. The open control platform can be easily maintained and upgraded if necessary

RFID reader is versatile and cost-effective for industrial applications with read ranges up to 2 m

The Ha-VIS RF-R200 is the latest RFID reader in Hartings's extensive range of auto-ID solutions. This new RFID device is a mid-range unit optimised for read ranges up to 2 m, and offers superior performance characteristics combined with versatility and cost-effectiveness.

The RF-R200 reader is available in a number of different versions to suit the requirements of diverse applications. These include a model with an RJ45 interface and PoE (Power over Ethernet) capability, a unit with a USB interface designed for office use, and a basic PCB module without housing for integration into machines or other products.

Key features of the RF-R200 reader include 500 mW of transmitter power, support for automatic transmission of the acquired transponder information to a computer, and support for an external antenna as well as the internal antenna with a read range up to approximately 20 cm. The unit is sealed to IP 30 requirements, and occupies a minimum footprint when installed on a “top hat” rail in a switch cabinet.

Typical applications include tool identification, tracking of manufactured goods on production lines, logistics, and the description of transponders in office or production environments.

New free-standing enclosure!


Rittal's new free-standing enclosure the SE 8 is a standardised system with features that can be assem-bled efficiently. Keeping the costs of engineering and handling in check, free-standing enclosures are used in many areas of industry and in building services mana-gement. Typical fields of application are compact machinery and equipment, whose power distribution and automation components can be accommodated in one single enclosure.

Unlike baying suites with frames and removable side panels, the body of Rittal’s SE 8 consists of two side panels and a roof made from one piece of sheet steel. For the user, this means that both handling and installa-tion of separate side panels are eliminated.

Depending on size, SE 8 enclosures are available as one or two-door models. One particular advantage is that due to the absence of a centre bar, doors can overlap and the 1,800 mm wide, two-door system enclosures offer unimpeded access to complete mounting plates and switch panels. Rittal’s SE 8 offers major potential savings, especially in the larger widths. One single enclosure can thus be used instead of two or three bayed ones.

Thanks to the TS 8 sections on the side panels, which Rittal produce in a unique manufacturing process, the user can now easily and quickly install the complete range of accessories familiar from the baying system in the SE 8. System accessories include virtually all the products needed in enclosure configuration. Accessories range from enclosure lights through to climate control solutions. Overall, the user also benefits from the improved interior installation capabilities. Flexibility and additional space are provided by expanding on two mounting levels.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New office opened in Cork!

Endress+Hauser is well known as a global leader in the provision of measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering. With their support, customers can optimise their processes in terms of economic efficiency, safety and environmental protection.

Cristoph Roche, E+H General Manager
Ireland with Minister Seán Sherlock TD
Established in Clane over 30 years ago as a sales subsidiary, Endress+Hauser (Ireland) Ltd quickly expanded into a thriving sales and service organisation, and now employs an experienced workforce. Their network of sales and service engineers covers the length and breadth of the Ireland, ensuring we're always on hand to help.

Endress+Hauser's presence in Ireland has grown significantly more recently. Continuity is regarded highly in the organisation and the company has kept growing over the years and expects to do so into the future. Their new office in Little Island, Cork, is taking its part in carrying on this tradition as it increases its team and strengthens its closeness to its customers in the area.

To celebrate this key milestone on Friday 24th May 2013, Minister Seán Sherlock TDMinister for Research and Innovation (Part of the Ministry of Education & Skills), officially opened the new premises.
The E+H Democar

Endress+Hauser was touring Ireland its state-of-the-art Democar during the last two weeks of May. This 40ft lorry brought the latest technologies in process automation to its key Irish customers. The mobile exhibition unit usually tours around continental Europe but this year celebration the Irish Gathering Initiative, It travelled from Germany to Ireland, strengthening relationships between Ireland and the rest of Europe particularly in the field of automation.

Measuring hand force!

In many areas of research and industry a need exists for hand forces to be measured to assess mechanical loads and stresses on the body; in the ergonomics sector, recording and testing the operating forces at human-machine interfaces and for a range of technical design tasks. Typically, these forces are exerted during activities such as pushing, pulling, lifting or carrying loads.

The new hand force measuring system from Kistler Instruments has been developed to meet the need to evaluate Repetitive Strain Injury (RPI) and other occupational health risks. In addition, the new system may be used to identify and quantify potential risks from handling loads over the course of a working life and for ergonomic and biomechanical load analyses as the basis for solving design, construction or relevant health & safety issues associated with new equipment an or working practices. The versatile system is ideal for measuring forces at the man-machine interface in the R&D laboratory to evaluate the forces required for specific activities for health and safety protection and for designing and testing machines and systems in the production environment.

The unique Kistler Type 9809A hand force measuring system consists of two piezoelectric 5 component measuring handles, a USB interface, all cables and data acquisition, data logger and evaluation software for running on a PC which records force data directly via the USB interface or imports files that have been recorded by the data logger. From the individual force curves, the overall 3D forces and the centre of pressure are calculated for different coordinate systems (handle, object and spatial). The measurement files can then be exported in ASCII CSV format. The 3D force vector and the vector position for different coordinate systems allow the calculation of the moments with reference to the point of interest in the coordinate system.

The Type 9809A hand force measuring system is a precision tool for a wide variety of ergonomic, biomechanics and health and safety applications in both the laboratory and field.

Select promotion!

Peak Production Equipment has been promoted to Select Member status of GOEPEL electronic’s global alliance program GATE™ (GOEPEL Associated Technical Experts).

Under the terms of the GATE program, members receive application-specific transfer of GOEPEL electronic’s product expertise in the area of JTAG/Boundary Scan utilisation, as well as participating in the joint development of customised automated test systems incorporating these technologies.

Andrew Pitt of GOEPEL electronic (left)
 presents the GATE Select Member
certificate to Karl Miles of the Peak Group.
Peak has already collaborated with GOEPEL electronic on a number of test solutions and systems based on combined functional and JTAG/Boundary Scan technologies for major customers in the aerospace and defence markets. As well as continuing to provide the specialised integration of GOEPEL electronic’s hardware and software platforms into customised test systems, Peak is expanding its offering to include dedicated JTAG/Boundary Scan solutions so that the test solution can evolve with the product as it moves through prototype into production and repair. Peak’s holistic approach to managing customers’ test solution requirements ensures that benefits of the GOEPEL electronic solutions to the customer are realised throughout the product life cycle.

Commenting on the award of Select Member status within the GATE program, Karl Miles, Technical Sales Manager of the Peak Group, said: “Owing to the higher complexity of the products being tested in industries such as aerospace and defence, we have seen an increase in the number of our solutions requiring JTAG/Boundary Scan integration. This has dramatically increased our experience of this technology, and we are delighted that GOEPEL electronic has recognised this with promotion to Select Member of the GATE program.”

“It was a logical step to promote Peak as Select Member within our GATE program”, says Frank Amm, Corporate GATE Program Manager with GOEPEL electronic. “An increasing number of satisfied customers, the extended visibility of GOEPEL electronic’s Boundary Scan solutions and therefore an intensified market penetration were the strongest arguments to award Peak Production Equipment. We’re definitely on the right path towards even greater success in a fiercely competitive market.”

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Big Data defined!

One of the most authoritative magazines in the Automation sector is InTech, published by the International Society of Automation. An article in the current issue has won high praise indeed from Bob Lederer of RBDRChannelRBDR is produced Monday-Thursday on a youTube site and presents news, commentary and insights on important research issues and innovators. It is a free service.

He states in this edition of their video that the definition of BigData by Sanat Joshi, is the best he has seen. The article Big Data is on line if you want to read it.

Definition

A simple definition would be that data becomes big data, or rather a big data problem, when the volume, velocity, and/or variety of the data exceeds the abilities of your current IT systems to ingest, store, analyze, or otherwise process it.


Sanat Joshi, (InTech, May/June 2013)
The lead article in this issue is on Asset Management systems, and there are more articles on Batch, Safety, and a special section on security.

Check out the InTech site to see if you qualify for your own personal copy.

Contract laboratories benefit from LIMS flexibility

The Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) from Autoscribe is a versatile system that can meet the varied requirements of contract laboratories both large and small. In addition to ease of set-up for traditional LIMS activities through its unique ‘OneTime configuration tools’, Matrix Gemini offers bulk sample registration templates, multi-site use through its standard web browser interface and can readily incorporate business information alongside the laboratory data.

Matrix Gemini provides the flexibility to capture, store and report a very wide range of materials and tests. This is perfect for contract laboratories who may have different divisions for various industries. The easy to use configuration tools allow the system to be configured without the use of custom programming or esoteric basic scripting tools. A configuration wizard allows free choice of screens, workflows and menu designs, customer specific tables/modules, multiple screens for the same function (e.g. registration screens optimised for each sample category), multiple sample numbering systems and much more. In addition, Matrix Gemini features a Bulk Sample Registration capability to save time when registering large numbers of samples and/or multiple sample types.

Matrix Gemini is a dual desktop/web system and therefore customers of contract laboratories can be given controlled access for the purpose of registering samples, checking on the work status and obtaining reports, for example. This functionality will reduce the number of phone calls and e-mails sent to the contract laboratory. The web access provides the flexibility from the smallest contract labs with single user, single PC systems to large multinationals with multiple concurrent users connected via multiple sites.

Matrix Gemini is not just a LIMS as it also provides business management functionality. It will allow the creation of quotations, order booking, allocation of appropriate prices and the production of invoices either directly or in conjunction with a corporate accounts system. The pricing part of the system is completely configurable allowing discount structures based on customer, number of samples submitted, turnaround times requested and more. This allows contract laboratories to monitor profitability right down to the test level.

GE Intelligent Platforms Joins the PTC® PartnerAdvantage™ Program

Optimising Manufacturing Performance by Connecting MES and PLM

GE Intelligent Platforms is joining the PTC® PartnerAdvantage™ program. The two companies will work to integrate GE’s Proficy® software applications with PTC’s technology solutions to help manufacturers close the loop between product design and production execution on the shop floor.
As a platinum tier member of the PTC PartnerAdvantage program, GE Intelligent Platforms will gain access to tools for integrating its MES applications with PTC Creo® design software and PTC Windchill® product lifecycle management software. Proficy Plant Applications, integrated with PTC Windchill MPMLink®, will enable process plans, manufacturing bill of materials (mBOMs), and work instructions to accurately reflect engineering design.
“When manufacturers design the process for quality and compliance they can ensure that products are built right the first time,” said Jim Walsh, Industrial Software General Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “The integrated solution that Proficy software and PTC Windchill offers customers is the ability to reduce errors, accelerate new product introductions, and provide flexibility to manage engineering change.”
GE’s Proficy Plant Applications maintains traceability and genealogy of products and parts, including process parameters, equipment and tooling used for a full “as-built” record of modifications and sign-offs, complementing the “as-designed” and “as-planned” records in PTC Windchill.
With hundreds of thousands of software installations and a pedigree spanning decades, Proficy is the software of choice for manufacturers that need proven capability and high reliability. It allows manufacturers worldwide to produce products faster, reduce work in process, gain tighter control on quality, and streamline supply chain.
“The very nature of product design, increasing collaboration and protecting data fidelity across any user role, any design mode, or any data source is imperative,” said Brian Shepherd, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Segments, PTC. It is incumbent upon software companies like GE and PTC to assist manufacturers in making this a reality.”

Sales office and local distribution partners in Britain

The Fluidwell Group have openrd their new sales office in Britain, which will be fully supported by two new local strategic distribution partners - icenta Controls Ltd. and Stream Measurement Ltd. This initiative offers improved regional sales support to local users of Fluidwell indicators, instrumentation and remote monitoring. Following the opening of Fluidwell Asia in Australia in 2011, and Fluidwell Inc. in the USA in 2012, this new sales office is the latest development in an ongoing worldwide expansion program for the company.

Improved customer support
Eric Rath, Managing Director of the Fluidwell Group in The Netherlands, confirms that “customers of Fluidwell, both new and existing, will benefit immediately from the wealth of experience provided – with the advantage of an increase in their UK cover, making Fluidwell products local to all of our customers. The local presence with technical sales support together with a more attractive price offering, emphasizes Fluidwell’s commitment to increasing its UK focus”.

Combined experience
Distribution partner icenta Controls is already well known to Fluidwell customers in the UK as its local flow and level detection instrumentation partner. With its broad process instrumentation background, icenta is the perfect choice to handle the Fluidwell displays range, with a focus on power generation, oil & gas, energy and environmental industries. “Expanding the icenta portfolio to include Fluidwell displays and indicators complements our existing flow and level activities; it will provide existing customers with a comprehensive package and open up significant new business opportunities. A combination of the successful F-Series and the DIN panel mount indicator series, Fluidwell instrumentation and our extensive industry experience brings real added value to our customers”, says Paul Gentle, General Manager of icenta. “We are proud to be chosen as a key UK distribution partner for Fluidwell and are looking forward to making this new challenge a great success for both icenta, Fluidwell and all our customers!”

Stream Measurement Ltd is one of Britain's leading flow meter manufacturers with a heritage established over 80 years. Stream will be utilising their technical product expertise to supply the full range of Fluidwell indicators and controllers (focussing on the process and petrol industries) along with Fluidwell’s remote monitoring solutions, branded as ProcessMonitor. “We have been using Fluidwell products for over six years and combining the indicators with the ProcessMonitor solution is a very logical one”, comments Andy Maber Director of Stream Measurement Ltd, “with the recent launch of the new DIN panel mount D-Series and more new products due to be released soon this is a very exciting time to be involved in the Fluidwell and ProcessMonitor ranges”

Double benefits
“These changes bring our customers double good news. With Fluidwell closer to the market, we are better placed to hear the direct feedback from our customers, using this market intelligence to enhance and develop exciting new products for the future”, continues Eric Rath, “for this reason the new UK structure is active immediately”.

LEDs look the part for a handheld industrial instrument design

A quest for a very professional appearance allied with compact size led Instrument Installations Ltd to specify Marl 512 Series LEDs in its handheld actuator demonstration product range for use during client visit and training room demonstrations of Rotork actuators.

Appearance is increasingly as important in industrial instrumentation as it is in consumer electronics – especially during the critical sales phase, according to Chris Hill, Managing Director of Instrument Installations. He said, “The unit is intended to professionally demonstrate the key features of the actuators in formal client presentations in the field and at the training facility. It not only had to look great, but also has to be very easy and intuitive for the sales force to use, ensuring a really slick demonstration. Being a handheld unit, we only had limited space available. We specified the Marl 512 Series LED as it fitted the bill in terms of both size and appearance.

“We sought LED technology as the unit is powered by the actuator – and the Marl LEDs draw a very low current from the 24V supply. The fact that the product is designed and manufactured by a quality UK company was also a substantial benefit.”

Each unit features five Marl 512 Series LEDs, in yellow, green and red. Marl 512 Series panel mount LEDs feature a robust bright nickel plated brass housing, which gave Instrument Installations the aesthetic appearance they sought and are just 27mm deep behind the panel, a sufficiently low profile for the handheld mobile actuator demonstration units. Other features of the 12.7mm diameter 512 Series LEDs include IP67 protection, resistance to vibration and a smoked lens. An internal reverse protection diode is fitted as standard. Marl also offers the LEDs in white and blue.

Function-optimized servo drive reduces bill-of-materials costs for OEMs

Metronix has added a low cost option to its range of intelligent servomotor drives. The new drives - ARS 21xx/23xx SE - offer motion control system builders a platform to boost the performance of machines and automation while substantially decreasing costs.

The new drives deliver a very high level of performance with a peak current capability that is up to twice that of many similar drives on the market - allowing faster acceleration - and offer great applications versatility thanks to universal encoder interfacing. However, they also reduce costs by a significant margin compared with other similar drives from Metronix by stripping out the Safe Torque Off feature.

This provides system builders with a very cost effective drive for applications that do not require advanced functional safety, and where a simpler disabling mechanism based on electrical contactors is all that is required. In numerous other applications, safety disabling features might not be needed at all because the drive is inside a closed system that cannot be accessed during operation. The approach might also be used when machine manufacturers are asked to fit machines with a user's preferred brand of PLC. Due to the complexity and costly commissioning required for some fieldbus-based safety concepts, external safety devices might be preferred. There are a number of machine building companies that have not adopted drive-integrated safety and continue to use external safety devices for various reasons. Or, a machine vendor might choose to offer a proprietary safety concept.

The ARS 21xx/23xx SE family of compact panel/cabinet-mounting drives are available in a choice of six single- or three-phase continuous output power ratings from 0.5 to 6 kVA (with peak output powers from 1 to 12 kVA).

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

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

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

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

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

Metronix has been producing drive technology for industrial machines and automotive applications for over 30 years. Its product range includes smart servo drives with integrated positioning capability, plus motion controllers and accessories that provide cost-effective solutions for multi-axis motion control and automation, and decentralized machine control requirements. Metronix complements this capability with what is probably the most sophisticated and capable custom drive engineering service on the market today. Motion control products designed by Metronix are marketed under its own brand, and in custom forms by a number of well known industrial OEMs. Metronix additionally makes geophysical instruments and customer-specific digital controls for measurement and control applications. The company's design and manufacturing facility is located in Braunschweig, Germany. Metronix is part of the Apex Tool Group, headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, USA. Apex Tool Group has approximately 8,000 employees in over 30 countries.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Screw module added to modular connector range!

A new Han E® screw module has been added to the Harting Han-Modular® series flexible open connector system, which allows users to assemble customised connector configurations to suit their applications.

The new module comprises five Han E® screw contacts, each rated at 230 V and 16 A, of the type already employed in the proven Han E® connector. It features a sliding insulation cover incorporating a mechanism that closes it automatically during mating and ensures that the contacts are introduced into the connector with protection against voltage and accidental contact.

The simplicity of the screw module makes it particularly suited to situations where special tools and specialised personnel are not available during installation.

A further special feature is the option of simultaneously connecting five stranded wires from 0.5 to 2.5 mm2 along with rigid conductors in a compact arrangement, offering a space saving of up to 40% compared to the use of conventional Han E® connectors. As a result, switch cabinets and machines can also be more compact.

The Harting Han-Modular® series currently includes over 40 modules for electrical, optical and gaseous signals, and is being continually expanded, enabling more new configurations to be realised.