Friday, July 12, 2013

Adaptor for flexible 8-wire Ethernet applications

Harting has introduced a new compact M12/RJ45 adaptor to provide flexibility in the implementation of 8-wire Ethernet systems in the demanding industrial environment.

The new har-speed M12/RJ45 adaptor has been designed in compliance with IEC 61076-2-109 and meets the requirements for Cat 6A and Performance Class EA. Both straight and angled versions are available.

SMART moves - appointment

New appointment is a SMART move for industrial IT company

A new Business Development Manager to concentrate on the burgeoning SMART industries sector for SolutionsPT.

Martin Roberts has been appointed to the role of Business Development Manager for SMART Markets, to focus on developing SolutionsPT’s presence in SMART cities, airports, buildings and infrastructure projects. He will also be developing its Machine-to-Machine (M2M) SMART services.

Martin has previously held director-level positions with companies including EA Technology, Invensys Operations Management and DeepStream Technologies. Over the last 20 years, he has introduced innovative technologies and solutions to new and emerging industrial, commercial, marine, and utility markets in Europe, North America and Asia.

Martin comments, “There are a number of challenges facing SMART cities at the moment. The biggest challenge being that the return on investment is not always obvious or immediate. We need leaders who have the long-term vision to invest in unlocking the existing data so that the industry can grow and flourish.

“I plan to develop SolutionsPT as a ‘thought leader’ in this industry and encourage our clients to have confidence in the SMART markets”.

Phil Gillard, SolutionsPT, General Manager, added “We are delighted to welcome Martin to the team. He has held a number of top-level positions with some of the major players in this industry, and we’re excited to see how he will develop our SMART activities and provide added value for all our customers in this area.”

Game, set and match!

Rapid, reproducible automated testing of tennis balls

I suppose it was inevitable in the week that Scottish player, Andy Murray won the Wimbledon lawn tennis championship we get a story like this!

World-class tennis players rely on the tennis balls to be of championship quality. To ensure uniformity and consistency in performance during tennis tournaments, ball manufacturers are required to submit samples of their products to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for testing and approval.

Mecmesin, a leading designer and supplier of force and torque measurement solutions, was tasked to design a cost-effective, yet leading-edge automated tennis ball testing machine for the ITF and was looking for a partner to advise on the most appropriate automation equipment. It turned to Festo who supplied Mecmesin with pneumatic components comprising linear axes and pneumatic grippers, together with a PLC based control system which Mecmesin programmed.

The ITF required a versatile test system that can accommodate a range of tennis ball sizes including the larger sized, slower foam balls which are designed for use by beginners. The system needed to reliably automatically load and unload the tennis balls on to the tester, and grip and rotate the balls while being tested. Many parameters are tested over three axes to ensure the uniformity and consistency of results necessary for the international standard required.

There were two additional requirements of the machine. First, the tester had to be monitored remotely, allowing staff to carry on with other tasks, and secondly, it had to be built in such a way that it could accept new tests in the future, without the system having to be re-designed.

Mecmesin has worked with Festo on previous projects and was keen to explore how Festo equipment could be used for this application.

“We worked closely with Mecmesin to fully understand the requirements of the testing machine and recommended our CPX integrated automation platform which includes a PLC,” says Bill Evans, Business Development Consultant at Festo. “This system enables the machine to be monitored remotely, which means staff do not need to be in attendance during the hour long test.”

“By using an automated sample handling system, testing is more reproducible and does not require constant attendance from technicians who are free to perform other duties,” says Simon Garland, Automation Engineer at Mecmesin. “The automated system can safely be left unattended to perform all the required tests, and on completion, a comprehensive test report is available with graphical display of the test results.”

On the previous system, balls were automatically loaded on to the machine, and the test set to run. However, if a ball became misaligned during the test, the testing process would stop until the technician came back later in the day. The test would need to be started again and a technician would need to stay with the machine to manually load the balls. Now, the testing is more rapid and by alerting the technicians to any problems in real-time, the system is more efficient.

“A CPX automation platform with CP string remote I/O capabilities was chosen as it allows Mecmesin to add further modules easily in the future without re-designing the entire control structure,” continues Bill.

To ensure consistent match performance, samples of the ball are tested by being compressed to a specified load, and the amount of movement measured. This is termed “forward deformation”. The load is then released and the “return deformation” is also measured. To make sure each ball behaves uniformly, precision grippers rotate the ball and the test is repeated on three perpendicular axes. In addition, the diameter of the ball and its weight are also recorded. Up to 12 balls can be loaded onto the sample carousel, and when testing is completed, the test report can include pass and fail criteria simplifying the interpretation of the results.

The sophisticated pneumatic ball handling mechanism is capable of locating and positioning the tennis balls on the force testing platform, a weighing scale or the 12 sample carousel. The system is driven by Mecmesin’s powerful Emperor™ software which has a simple user interface, allowing the operator to select which tests are to be made from a menu of options. Results can be stored within the system, or exported to other software applications for secure data storage.

The automated tennis ball tester contains a number of components from Festo including all operating cylinders, linear actuators, pneumatic grippers, PLC, valve terminals and a rotary table enabling it to reliably perform a wide range of tests.

The tennis ball tester was delivered to the ITF in the summer of 2012 and has been used heavily ever since. Mecmesin has been pleased with the reliability of the Festo solution and the two companies are continuing to work together on other projects.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Liquid hydrocarbon flow computer strengthens capability.

File format provides new capabilities to enable users to accurately measure flow, improve productivity, reduce costs and increase measurement data security with better insight to their operation

Emerson Process Management and Flow-Cal Inc., have announced that Flow-Cal’s liquids CFX file format is now generated in the Emerson ROC800L flow computer. This added capability within Emerson’s flow computer creates a seamless interface from the field to Flow-Cal’s Enterprise Liquids measurement system. Users of Emerson’s flow computer have the ability to rapidly deploy this solution, improve productivity, reduce cost and increase measurement data security with better insight to their operations.

Emerson's ROC800L flow computer
The version 7 CFX file format allows for the import of liquid data into the FLOWCAL measurement application which automates the complex process of batch and ticket processing. Data generated from the CFX file includes flow information, CTL and CPL, meter configuration, and analysis. The Flow-Cal CFX file format is a secure, binary format which retains data integrity by ensuring the measurement data cannot be changed or manipulated. Generating the file format within the Emerson flow computer offers an additional level of data security.

"The CFX export created by the ROC800L meets all the requirements of Flow-Cal’s latest format for liquid measurement," states Michael Squyres, president of Flow-Cal, Inc. "This simplifies the process of an operator using Flow-Cal’s industry leading application to validate, edit and report the data provided by the ROC800L. Working together, Flow-Cal and Emerson offer another seamless solution to address the latest needs of our evolving industry."

The ROC800L covers a wide variety of applications for liquid handling across a full range of liquid hydrocarbons, including crude oil, refined products, special application products, lubricating oils, and light hydrocarbons. The ROC800L leverages the easy-to-use architecture of the ROC series, offering fill in the blank configuration that brings users online faster.

"The recent modifications to the ROC800L have been in response to the demands of the growing liquids market," says Craig Llewellyn, president, Emerson Process Management, Remote Automation Solutions. "Generating the CFX file will improve operations by offering a new level of data security and seamless integration for our clients."

Miniature IR sensor.

Raytek has introduced miniature infrared sensor for ambient temperatures up to 180 °C.

Expanding its MI3 series of compact infrared temperature sensors, Raytek introduces the MI3LTH pyrometer for operation in high ambient temperatures without cooling. The sensing head withstands up to +180 °C as it is separated from the electronics.
This widens the range of applications for the non-contact systems, enabling, for instance, direct replacement of contact probes measuring temperatures up to 1,000 °C. Moreover, the good thermal protection also allows for cost-efficient solutions where cooling accessories or cooling water cannot be used due to a lack of space or a high explosion risk.

The new MI3LTH sensor has all the benefits of the MI3 series: small size, plug-and-play capability, compatibility with the full range of digital communication boxes, optionally with Modbus and Profibus interfaces, or an analog communication box with four galvanically isolated analog outputs. The modular MI3 system provides very cost-efficient solutions especially for applications with multiple measuring points since the communication boxes serve up to eight sensors.

The introduction of this sensor completes the digital MI3 series as a follow-up to the successful analog MI series. Possible applications include industrial ovens and dryers, laundries, and the textile industry. Industrial OEMs will find it a versatile, easy-to-integrate temperature measurement solution.

Control in mobile hen houses!

Stallbau Iris Weiland e. K. based in Bad Sooden- Allendorf in North Hesse (D) has gained a solid footing in the free-range poultry farming business with its innovative mobile hen houses. The company uses the Logo! logic module for small-scale automation solutions from the Siemens Industry Automation Division to control everything from feeding to lighting.

The increasing demand for high-quality foods in keeping with strict animal welfare principles has made free-range management of laying hens one of today’s growth industries. The mobile hen house models from Weiland are capable of accommodating 225, 800 and 1,200 laying hens, and provide an animal-friendly alternative to stationary hen keeping. Stationary solutions can give rise to considerable problems in the chicken run as a result of feed and parasite accumulation. The maximum mobility afforded by this innovative management system provides a solution here. Various functions required in the hen houses are partially or fully automated – depending on the model – by the 0BA7 series Logo! logic module in 12/24 V DC technology from Siemens: from feeding and lighting through to automatic opening and shutting of the exit flaps. Logo! also controls the accumulators and opens and closes the nesting boxes.

One of the decisive factors in choosing the Logo! logic module was its capacity for fast program modifications using an SD memory card. Program changes can be sent by email without the need to send costly components through the post or transport them in person to the site. The “Astro Clock” function module also precisely controls opening and closing times and automatically changes over from summertime to wintertime depending on the geographical location of the hen house on the basis of exact times pre-programmed for every day of the year. The program controlled interruption of darkness phases is also possible by switching on the hen house lighting, for instance where the daily rhythm is required to start in the early hours of the morning.

Logo! was launched in 1999
and featured in the first full
colour issue of Read-out!
The mobile hen houses can be easily towed into a new position by tractor, allowing poultry farmers to transport them complete with their occupants to fresh pastures on a weekly basis. This ensures that pastures remain intact, and provide the hens with a daily supply of green matter to feed on. After only a few weeks, there is sufficient regrowth of the turf to permit repeated use. The hen houses are designed on multiple levels and provide everything the hens require: a continuous supply of dry litter for pecking and scratching, as well as different levels for feeding, drinking, laying and roosting. These contented hens lay an average of 92 to 95 eggs over a hundred days. The closed floor panel allows the mobile hen house to be used in water conservation areas. The hydraulic chassis and low-pressure soilprotecting tires also guarantee safe mobility in almost any kind of weather and on uneven terrain. The launch of a new mobile chicken house equipped with a Logo! logic module clearly demonstrates the transferability of this successful concept.

Chlorine monitoring in water with high Mn/Fe salts!

In 2012, Intellitect Water launched the new V2 Intellisonde (IV2) in-pipe water quality monitor, which offered two new advantages; retained calibration data and improved chlorine measurement. Since that time, IV2 sondes have been successfully installed around the world offering users easier access to water quality data. However, now that the IV2 sondes have been in operation for nearly a year, one of the key benefits of the latest sensor technology has proven to be its ability to operate very well in a variety of conditions, including water containing high levels of manganese and iron salts.

The chlorine monitoring problems associated with manganese and iron have been well known for many years, so the Intellitect development team gave this a high priority, and Intellisondes now feature a unique electrochemical configuration that effectively eliminates the issues experienced by traditional sensors.

The problems caused by these salts are the result of metal deposition on sensor electrodes, and whilst some of this will re-dissolve, the time taken for equilibrium to be achieved means that these sensors suffer from long settling times and can fail completely. In contrast, the Intellisonde chlorine sensor efficiently reaches equilibrium and operates over an extended lifetime compared with other equipment.

Figure 1, above, shows Intellisonde measurements of free chlorine in potable water with very high iron/manganese concentrations, demonstrating its effectiveness over the lifetime of the chlorine sensor. Commenting on the data, Intellitect’s Jo Cooper says: “Clients with high levels of manganese or iron salts have been delighted with the performance of the Intellisondes in comparison with traditional technologies, and the facility to measure other parameters has proved very popular because it enables easy evaluation of processes such as flushing.”

The head of an Intellisonde is a mere 3.6cm in diameter, but fully populated can provide continuous water quality data for up to 12 parameters. Measurement options include Free Chlorine, Mono-chloramine, Dissolved Oxygen, Conductivity, pH, ORP/Redox, Flow, Pressure, Temperature, Turbidity and Colour. An ISE channel is also available for Fluoride, Nitrate or Ammonium.

No chemicals or membranes are necessary to operate or calibrate the Intellisonde sensors, and they are quickly and easily replaced at the end of their service lives. The reference electrode, chlorine and dissolved oxygen sensors are replaced after 6 months; pH/ORP and ISE after 1 year; and the conductivity sensor is replaced after 2 years.

Trace analysis of mercury!

The ‘mercur’ from Analytik Jena is a compact system specially optimised for the complete, cost-efficient determination of mercury traces to the ng level. The instrument guarantees mercury analyses in accordance with EPA 1631, EPA 245.1, EPA 245.2, EPA 245.7, EN 1483, EN 12338, EN 13806 and EN 13506.

The ‘mercur’ is available in atomic fluorescence (AFS), atomic absorption (AAS) and combined (DUO) versions.  With excellent detection limits and a wide linear measuring range, atomic fluorescence spectrometry is often the method of choice in mercury trace analysis. However, atomic absorption has its advantages for samples in difficult matrices because of its high tolerance towards interferences. The DUO offers the benefits of both techniques, with simple software-controlled change between the two methods.

The mercur utilises the cold vapour technique to convert mercury to the gaseous state by reduction of the dissolved cation with SnCl2. The mercury is therefore separated from the background matrix before transfer to the analysis cell, to reduce interferences and matrix effects. Even further enhancement can be made using simple or cascade enrichment methods. Here cascade enrichment prevents the quenching effect. Enrichment times can be varied to match complex sample matrices or the expected mercury concentration range.

An optional autosampler makes the ‘mercur’ highly automated and easy to operate, with a high sample throughput. Fast analysis is achieved by using continuous flow operation with or without the autosampler plus the unique FBR routine (Fast Baseline Return), which minimises measurement time by increasing argon flow. Automated, intelligent gas-liquid control ensures minimum reagent consumption and short measurement times in various operating modes.

The system is extremely safe through the use of a bubble sensor. If a liquid threatens to spill into the system, this sensor causes the valves to close, and the liquid is automatically transferred to the waste container. Positioned between the gas-liquid separator and a specially optimised drying membrane, it protects the gold collector and the measurement cell against contamination.

Mobile diagnostics for fieldbus network control valves

ValveLink™ Mobile 4.0 provides greater plant-wide access to control valve status for improved reliability, increased uptime

Emerson Process Management’s ValveLink™ Mobile software version 4.0 introduces mobile management of control valves on a FOUNDATION fieldbus network. Available on 475 Field Communicators, ValveLink Mobile 4.0 offers an intuitive interface featuring large touch screen icons which allow operators to configure, calibrate, validate, diagnose and troubleshoot valves in the field.

The intrinsically safe Field Communicators extend ValveLink Mobile 4.0 advantages to hazardous areas where FIELDVUE™ digital valve controllers are located. Greater plant-wide access to control valve status means operating reliability is improved, while overall plant uptime is increased using troubleshooting guides embedded in ValveLink Mobile.

Designed to meet modern work practices, ValveLink Mobile 4.0 enhances worker productivity and improves asset management with its seamless integration of field diagnostics of HART and fieldbus instruments into the ValveLink software.

ValveLink Mobile 4.0 is pre-installed on new 475 Field Communicators and can be added to existing 475 and 375 Field Communicators using the Easy Upgrade utility from Emerson

25th HUG-in scheduled for Nice!

Honeywell's 25th EMEA user group meeting is scheduled for Nice (F) 4 - 7 November 2013.

‘Knowledge’ is the theme of the 2013 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) 2013 Honeywell Users Group Conference, the 25th year the event has been held. Knowledge and understanding make “it” happen – whether "it" is reducing cost, evolving a plant’s system, or improving a specific aspect of plant operations. Honeywell Users Group global conferences feature many ways to share and exchange knowledge, including information-packed user presentations, industry-specific breakout sessions, topical panel discussions, hands-on demonstrations and networking opportunities to interact with users and Honeywell experts.

As always, the conference agenda is driven by customer input through the EMEA Users Group Steering Committee. The EMEA HUG Steering Committee includes representatives from major oil, gas and petrochemical organisations including Total, Shell, BP, Repsol, SABIC, Marathon Oil, PDO Oman, Equate and others like British Sugar. This year’s conference will be hosted by Steering Committee Chairman, Dominique Rouille from ExxonMobil.

Throughout the three-day conference, Honeywell customers will share insights and best practices into how greater safety, reliability, efficiency and sustainability can be achieved across vertical process industries including chemicals, oil & gas, refining, metals, mining & minerals and pharmaceutical, through the use of innovative process control solutions.

Parallel conferences organised by Honeywell, and running at the same venue, include the Honeywell Enraf Terminal Operations Conference and the Honeywell Field Products Channel Partner Conference.

The winner of the 2013 Honeywell student challenge to solve a critical plant business issue using Honeywell UniSim® Design Suite will also be announced at EMEA HUG, with the winner showcasing their idea at the conference.

Reports on previous HUGs may be found on the right hand column of our Conference Releasees Pages.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

SCADA systems automate electrical distribution!

A white paper, SCADA Systems Automate Electrical Distribution, has been relaesed by Indusoft, that explains how utilities can improve operations while controlling costs.

Today’s electric utilities in both industrialized and developing nations must meet ever-increasing power demands while providing greater reliability – all from their existing facilities.

Many countries’ electric distribution providers face budget cuts that require them to do more with less, while others are in areas growing so fast that power demands are outpacing the ability to bring new distribution facilities online. Regardless of the situation, providing better service without substantial investments in new equipment is a challenge facing nearly all electric utilities.

By deploying a modern automation system, utilities can both improve performance and reliability without a huge financial investment. These systems also help automate operations for utilities facing staff reductions or difficulty in finding qualified personnel.

With an understanding of the unique needs of electric distribution providers, this non-commercial

Ireland & Britain distributorship recognised!

Wonderware United Kingdom and Ireland, a division of SolutionsPT, has been awarded the Distinguished Distributor Award for Technical Support by Invensys at its annual EMEA Connect Conference in Bratislava (SK).

The award is given in recognition of outstanding levels of technical support provided throughout the year. In particular, the team was praised by Invensys for its excellent work in case management, open communication principles and improved customer relationship processes, and acknowledged as leading the way for other distributors to follow.
The Award-winning Wonderware Team!

David Baskett, Technical Support Manager, for Wonderware United Kingdom and Ireland, said: “We have worked hard over the last 12 months to improve all aspects of our technical support. Solidifying communication links with the Invensys EMEA team has resulted in good working relationships between engineers and the management team. We have very clear processes and escalation routes in place between Wonderware UK and Ireland, and Invensys EMEA and have encouraged feedback to help us enhance the level of support we offer and to improve response times.

“We feel really honoured to receive this award and that all our efforts to provide a more effective, user-friendly and simplified service to our customers, have been recognised.”

And the technical support efforts of the Wonderware team have also been recognised by clients too. Nigel Bailey, Control and Automation Team Leader at Perenco UK Ltd, said: “Over the last few years Wonderware Technical Support has provided an extremely robust, reliable and ultimately effective Support Service for BP (now Perenco) North Sea Gas Assets. This has covered many systems such as Wonderware InTouch, Historian, System Platform, 3rd Party I/O Servers and more recently Stratus and Advantech. The team’s relentless drive, commitment to understand the issue, root cause and resolve exceeds that of many automation vendors we deal with."

Industrial trailer control panel

Stadium IGT manufactures bespoke control and status panels for many diverse applications including; professional audio and broadcast equipment, industrial systems, safety and alarm panels, marine monitoring equipment, defence, agriculture and building services and automation.

A recent example of a rugged, industrial, custom HMI solution is a trailer control panel developed for the major British based vehicle trailer and bodywork manufacturer DON-BUR. DON-BUR are recognised as the market champions for the design and manufacture of a wide range of commercial vehicle trailers and rigid bodywork and offer innovative development of bespoke and aerodynamic, fuel-saving transport solutions. DON-BUR equip their trailers with a loading deck HMI control system which provides users with a simple to use and safe operating system.

Terry Moss, Sales and Marketing Director of Stadium IGT, explains, “DON-BUR wanted to improve upon their existing trailer control switch panel design. The switches and indicators used for controlling the loading deck are required to operate in a hostile outdoor environment. Stadium IGT was asked to find a solution that would not only meet their tough sealing requirements but also to reduce the cost of the panel.”

Stadium IGT’s design team created a waterproof membrane switch panel to replace the existing conventional switches. Integrating all of the required control functions into a single assembly not only offers cost saving but also streamlines assembly and simplifies operation. To ensure full protection against moisture and ingress of debris the panel is also sealed from the rear by use of an acrylic overlay. In addition to deck control, interior light operation and audible alarm mute functions the new specification called for a number of operator safety features and now includes a number of LED safety system indicators and a conventional ‘emergency stop’ push-button switch.

Moss continues, “DON-BUR previously had to purchase a number of different components from a number of suppliers to build this control panel. Our new design allows DON-BUR to incorporate a number of new safety features into the control panel and demonstrates how Stadium IGT can integrate a range of different technologies into a single Man-Machine-Interface. Our ability to provide a single, multi-function custom assembly means DON-BUR now only needs to order just one part number from one supplier to receive a fully tested plug-in panel that not only meets their control and environmental requirements but which has also reduced their component spend”.

Subminiature pressure transducers

Featuring 1% accuracy, Honeywell Sensing and Control’s Model S Series of subminiature pressure transducers fit into tight spaces with little clearance, and accurately measure pressure ranges from 100 psi to 15000 psi.

These rugged transducers are designed to handle high pressure and temperatures, with a high natural frequency and flush diaphragm for applications such as engine and transmission test stands, pressure brake testing, and hydraulic sensor testing.

Honeywell’s full line of subminiature pressure transducers accurately measure pressure ranges from 100 psi to 15000 psi. These gage-only subminiature pressure transducers have a high natural frequency and utilize a flush diaphragm that is manufactured from 17-4 PH Stainless Steel. Temperature compensation is accomplished by using temperature-sensitive components located inside the transducers. These transducers have a small electrical zero balance circuit board which is in the lead wire (approximately 1 in x 0.087 in thick). This balance board does not have to be in the same temperature as the transducers. All transducers have four (4) active bonded strain gages arranged in a Wheatstone-bridge configuration.

Honeywell offers a full line of lightweight subminiature pressure transducers which feature a compact, flush mount, low profile design and flush diaphragm enabling them to fit into extremely small spaces with tight clearances. The unitized stainless steel design, with a thin diaphragm and heavy sidewalls constructed from one piece of stainless steel, makes these sensors very rugged, yet thin enough to measure low pressures. Honeywell’s wet/wet subminiature differential pressure sensors offer a high degree of accuracy and pressure measurement ranges from 5 psid to 2000 psid. Their small size, bidirectional overload protection, wide temperature compensation and high natural frequencies make them uniquely suited to aerospace, chemical or nuclear applications.

First SBCs to enable optimum price/performance, extend product life through easily upgraded

A further development in GE Intelligent Platforms's strategy to deliver high performance solutions for the connected world is the launch of the industry’s first family of modular single board computers (SBCs) designed specifically to deliver high performance over the long term with minimal expense and low total cost of ownership (TCO).

Single board computers can play a critical role in processing the significant amounts of data that characterize the connected world, and in ensuring that data is directed to where it is required in the shortest possible time. They are at the heart of many of the world’s most complex, most sophisticated, most demanding data-driven networks. The modularity that is at the heart of GE’s new family of SBCs will allow them to deliver the highest levels of functionality and performance over longer periods of deployment and at lower cost than is possible with current monolithic single board computer designs.

“GE’s vision for the advanced industrial and commercial networks of today’s connected world sees powerful, intelligent embedded computing subsystems interconnected to provide high performance, high speed nodes that can help transform business operations,” said Vibhoosh Gupta, Product Management Leader, GE Intelligent Platforms. “Single board computers have long been favored in these environments – but this new family of solutions from GE will make them an even more compelling choice.”

The new family of scalable, modular, single board computers takes advantage of GE’s decades of experience in engineering SBCs for critical infrastructure applications, affording organizations the opportunity for regular technology refreshes – but without the time-intensive and expensive requalification that would otherwise be involved. It also takes advantage of GE’s expertise in COM Express technology.

A wide range of applications is served by the new family – finance, medical, manufacturing, automation, communications, transportation, security and so on – where the requirement is to embed a powerful computing capability within a system or subsystem that is functioning in the highly connected world that is typical of today’s business operations.

“In order to remain competitive and to grow the profitability of their business, organizations need to continually refresh the computing framework of critical infrastructure applications, ensuring that the highest performance is maintained throughout their extended lifespan,” continued Gupta. “The problem is that this can involve significant time, effort and expense as new technologies are qualified for deployment. This new family of modular SBCs addresses that problem: critical systems can more easily be updated with less effort and at lower cost.”

The new family of modular GE SBCs achieve this by separating the computing core (processor, chipset and memory) on a COM Express module – from the carrier card (which typically contains system I/O ) on which the core is deployed. This allows the computing core to be simply and inexpensively upgraded to keep pace with increasing performance demands. It also minimizes the risk to the critical infrastructure from obsolescence issues, and reduces the cost to re-qualify the complete assembly.

“The rapid introduction of new generations of processor technology provide a significant opportunity to continuously maintain the highest levels of computing performance – and these new modular SBCs allow that opportunity to be leveraged more easily and at lower cost ,” continued Gupta.

The first product in the new VM601 family is the VM601P1 modular dual slot 6U VME64 SBC which features the QoriQ™ P1022 processor. Other family members will offer a choice of VIA Nano or Intel® Core™ i7 processors. They are designed to offer customers maximum flexibility and cost-effectiveness, with the ability to choose precisely the right combination of processor performance, power dissipation and cost. Additional SBC form factors will be added to the modular SBC family over time.

Frequency control and timing components added to portfolio

Anglia has greatly expanded its portfolio of frequency control and timing components following its appointment as Ireland & Britain distributor for IQD Frequency Products, a recognised leader in the market. Anglia act as distributor for a number of world class semiconductor suppliers including Analog Devices, Microchip and STMicroelectronics, the addition of IQD allows it to offer customers a complete timing solution for their applications.

LtoR: Sarah Porter, Commercial Marketing Manager and David Pearson, Technical Director, Anglia, Sarah Bradley, Business Development Manager and  Karen Cox, Sales Office Manager, IQD Frequency Products
According to Anglia Technical Director, David Pearson, the addition of the IQD line means that Anglia covers the whole frequency spectrum and offers a range that extends from standard crystals to high performance VCXOs, TCXOs and OCXOs. He said, “The IQD line is a great fit in the Anglia portfolio and fits perfectly with our very strong range of microcontrollers and interface products. It is one of the best known names in the industry for timing devices, with a pedigree of nearly 40 years.”

The agreement covers the full IQD Frequency Products range including quartz crystals, crystal clock oscillators, fast make oscillators, VCXOs, TCXOs, OCXOs, rubidium oscillators, industrial and automotive crystals, custom filters, real time clocks, SAW filters, VCOs and synthesisers. Anglia will be supporting the full range, and making the most popular devices that are recommended for new designs available through Anglia Live for same day shipment.

Sarah Bradley, Business Development Manager, IQD Frequency Products added, “With their vast experienced design and demand creation team throughout the UK we see Anglia as a perfect distribution partner to promote and sell IQD's wide range of frequency control products. The exceptional strength of Anglia’s technical team enables them to design in and sell our high performance products including OCXOs, Crystal Filters and VCOs. They have a very strong portfolio of microcontroller, digital and analog semiconductor products from Analog Devices, Microchip and ST Microelectronics. We believe that they will be able to create many new opportunities for IQD by offering our timing solutions alongside these devices.”

New office in Hong Kong to exploit burgeoning Chinese market

GreenPeak Technologies has expanded its international operations with the opening of a new office in Hong Kong.  GreenPeak's Asia Pacific presence already includes offices in Tokyo (J) and Seoul (KR).

Hong Kong - gateway to China
“China is an incredibly vibrant market - with the opening of our office in this region, GreenPeak will strengthen the support to our fast growing customer base.” says Frans Frielink, VP Business Development of GreenPeak Technologies, a market leader for ZigBee silicon. “There is a tremendous market potential in China and establishing this office is essential to support our clients operating in the region and will enable our growth. We have been working with customers and their OEMs in the region for a long time and this expansion will enable us to better assist our customers being successful in the Smart Home market.”

LIMS boost for multi-sample registration

The Bulk Sample Registration capability of the Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) from Autoscribe has been designed to save time when registering large numbers of samples and/or multiple sample types. Details for different sample types can be presented on a single screen. This has additional benefits for contract laboratories which may need to carry out regular analyses of samples from many different disciplines such as food, pharmaceutical, medical etc.

Bulk Sample Registration offers a grid with spreadsheet-like data-entry functionality, including copy and paste and fill function for registering large numbers of samples. This provides great flexibility to accommodate a wide range of sample types. For example the system could be set up to accept, say, 10 similar samples followed by, say, 20 individual samples. A test or group of tests can be easily added to a particular Bulk Sample Registration sample row as many times as needed.

Data may also be prepared in Excel or other compatible spreadsheet and copy/pasted into the Bulk Sample Registration grid. Bulk Sample Registration allows entry of the sample data to be done in advance of the registration operation, and optionally saved as a template for future use. Templates are particularly useful for contract laboratories who have regular repeat batches of samples for analysis.

Data can be automatically registered from the grid using a single button. Before registration takes place, the system carries out a number of checks. These include checking the presence of data in each required column for each sample; that any batch code used is present in the database; that sample codes are assigned to sample rows, and many more.

Rectification plant!

Small-scale industrial rectification plant used in higher education

The Lucerne School of Engineering and Architecture has installed a new rectification plant as an invaluable aid to students enrolled on its mechanical engineering course. The installation is a small-scale industrial plant, and has been equipped by Siemens with the Microbox version of its Simatic PCS 7. Students are now able to receive hands-on training at a real industrial plant controlled and monitored by an industrial-standard process control system.

The beautiful city of Lucerne
To enable students to gain a fundamental understanding of substance separation processes, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Hochschule Luzern, CH) has replaced its previous small rectification column by a larger plant. The new downscaled industrial- standard plant allows the reproducible investigation and depiction of all the key process variables and their interdependencies during rectification, also known as multi-stage distillation.

The Microbox automation system Simatic PCS 7 AS RTX from the Siemens Industry Automation Division is an entry-level system suitable for small-scale and plant-level applications. Unlike a classical control system, the PCS 7 is installed on an industrial PC built into the control cabinet, in this case the Microbox PC 427C. This uses the Windows XP Embedded 2009 operating system. The control system communicates across Ethernet with the operator station, a desktop PC. Two ET200 remote I/O stations are connected to the sensors and actuators via a Profibus DP interface. Because of its educational function, the entire plant is configured behind glass, allowing students to observe and monitor the separation process.

During rectification, substance mixtures are separated into their components on the basis of their different boiling points. Multi-stage distillation or rectification is used in a large number of different processes, such as the production of bio fuels, the recovery of solvents, air separation and whisky distillery. Prola AG, an engineering company based in Emmenbrücke in Switzerland and Siemens Solution Partner worked on the electrical planning, project engineering and programming of the instrumentation and control technology used in the plant. A number of specific demands had to be taken into consideration, ranging from adherence to strict occupational safety standards and restrictive access for operators through to the database storage and evaluation of all relevant data.

Cybersecurity study (2013)

Industrial cyber security: Are you where you need to be? This report discusses survey results.

A study was conducted by Control Engineering in May 2013 to evaluate cyber security awareness and implementation of cyber defenses. 

Of the respondents, 41% indicated their role within their organisation as a process control engineer, while 16% are production engineering managers.

The top five primary industries serviced by the respondents' companies are manufacturing (25%), engineering services (11%), energy/utilities (10%), oil and gas production/delivery (10%), and chemical production (9%).

The report is here on their website, (Those who wish to download the report need to register)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New portable pressure calibrator!

The new Yokogawa CA700 Portable Pressure Calibrator is equipped with a silicon resonant sensor that uses Yokogawa proprietary DPHARP technology. The CA700 can measure pressures with an accuracy that is within ±0.01% of rdg*, making it one of the most accurate portable pressure calibrators on the market. This highly accurate portable pressure calibrator features a variety of functions that includes a wide selection of measuring ranges, as found/as left data storage, and memory capacity to store calibration procedures. The Yokogawa CA700 provides an accurate and efficient calibration and verification tool for pressure/differential pressure transmitters and other types of field devices for commissioning or regular inspection.

“As the result of a growing awareness of the need for safety and stability in plant operations, increased attention is being paid to the maintenance and inspection of field devices,” says Chris Costlow, Yokogawa’s Sales and Marketing Manager of Meters & Instruments for North America. “There is a strong need for portable pressure calibrators, like the CA700, that operate efficiently and perform to a high standard.”

Product Features
1. Best-in-class accuracy
The calibration of high-precision field devices requires calibrators that deliver greater accuracy and high performance. The CA700 can measure pressures with an accuracy that is within ±0.01% of rdg*, making it one of the most accurate portable calibrators on the market. It can also output and measure current and voltage within ±0.015% of rdg. The CA700 is the only pressure calibrator in its price range that can generate and measure both current and voltage.

2. Functions that improve calibration efficiency
For more stable and efficient calibration, the CA700 is able to store the calibration procedures for pressure transmitters and switches in its internal memory. It also records data and error rates before and after calibration. The stored data can be used for purposes such as analysis of device performance and determination of maintenance frequency, thus improving device maintenance.

3. Wide measurement range
The CA700 comes in three models with a wide variety of measurement ranges. Users can thus choose the model with the desired measurement range, eliminating the need for the purchase of multiple calibrators.

AdduXi achieves utmost quality!

Cost-effective vision sensor allows the carrying out of more inspections on its production lines with the greatest ease.

AdduXi is a tier-2 automotive supplier focused on zero defects and automating its production lines. In a highly competitive market, the company has more than doubled its turnover in the last five years and boasts a customer portfolio that includes names such as Bosch, BWT, Brose, Continental, Delphi and WABCO. It employs a workforce of 210 and operates two production sites in France and Switzerland, two engineering and design departments for mould sets and special machines, also in France and Switzerland, and two commercial subsidiaries in Germany and Spain. AdduXi's core business is plastic injection moulding, but overmoulding and assembly now account for half of its turnover.

"We advocate using vision systems for in-process inspection, but some highly advanced systems are not suited to all applications. In other words, not only were we looking for affordable vision systems, we also needed a solution that was highly stable and utterly simple to use. You see, our facilities operate 24/7 but our vision specialists go home at the end of the day," says Christophe Paviot, Manufacturing Engineering Manager at AdduXi's site in Bellignat, France.

"We looked at a number of vision sensors of similar type. However, either their detection capabilities weren't optimal or they were too complicated to operate. Keyence's solution proved to be the best one. It was very easy to set up and we had it up and running on our production lines in no time. Best of all, no extra lighting was necessary; all we added was a filter. There are now eight vision sensors operating at our facilities round the clock and without any stability issues," adds Mr Paviot.

The IV sensor offers excellent detection stability thanks to a range of innovations. Its HP-Quad lens contains 4 layers of glass to achieve low aberration and gather a maximum of light. The HS-HDR function broadens the light-receiving sensitivity range when dispersion occurs in reflections and a polarised filter eliminates glare from shiny targets.

"Although the IV sensor is quite recent, we've already installed it on four production lines. We use it on three assembly lines to detect the presence or absence and correct positioning of inserts as well as on a coil overmoulding line to check for the presence of material across the entire surface to be covered," explains Mr Paviot.

This new cost-effective sensor by Keyence places vision systems within reach of anyone. It takes about a minute to set up, even by a novice. It meets 80% of vision needs with a very high level of accuracy and is an advantageous alternative to using one or more sensors to detect targets of varying position. The outline recognition technology allows automatic position compensation. The IV Series performs all normally needed adjustments in real time. The Intelligent Brightness Adjust function (IBA) automatically adjusts the brightness of the built-in lighting. The autofocus function ensures sharp images and is driven by a motor engineered specifically for the IV Series. Last but not least, the IV Series is the first-ever vision sensor in its price range to offer both colour detection and autofocus capabilities.

The IV Series is thus a flexible solution that in most cases can meet a large portion of the needs of production facilities. In comparison, three or four sensors of different makes are often needed to achieve the same level of functionality. There are eight different sensor heads to meet the specifications of each application – detection distance (up to 2000 m), field of view and exposure time (up to 1/25000 for high rates).

"Not only do Keyence make quality products, they are also always on hand to help us find the best detection solution for our needs. They come out at a moment's notice to conduct tests with their equipment so that we can choose the best sensor or vision system solution for our needs," concludes Mr Paviot.

Customised wireless telemetry mooring link load cell!

With a range of ex-stock bow shackle load cells LCM Systems is able to offer next day delivery on its range of standard TELSHACK-B load cells. However, sometimes the off-the-shelf solution isn’t quite right for a customers’ specific application and it’s here where LCM’s in-house design team and extensive experience in customising load cells gives LCM a competitive advantage.

This happened recently when a multi-national marine engineering company in Canada enquired about the TELSHACK-B load cell. They liked the principle of a wireless telemetry shackle, but wanted to measure ship docking tension on a winch. The main requirements were that the load cell had to be shackle style; it had to be light enough for a single operator to lift it manually, yet it had to be robust enough for use in an offshore and heavy industrial environment. Additionally, the solution had to be wireless so as to avoid trailing cables and full traceability was required on all materials. This was hard to achieve with a conventional shackle, when the measurement range is 85te. But this did not daunt LCM’s design engineers. A more compact, lightweight solution was needed.

The result was the LCM3782 85te Wireless Telemetry Mooring Link Load Cell. Stainless steel was the manufacturing material of choice in order to keep the load cell light but strong. The solution was to use a compact 180T Tonsberg Mooring Link, the load cell pin was replaced with a stainless steel pin and the wireless telemetry housing was also constructed from stainless steel. This made the shackle load cell light enough make operating the winch a one-man operation and a handheld battery powered display was supplied, with a gross/net facility for monitoring ease. To further ensure that the system could withstand the harsh operating conditions it was sealed to IP67 and the complete system was supplied fully calibrated and issued with certificates, traceable to UKAS.

Commenting on the project, Steve Sargeant, Managing Director at LCM Systems says: “We encourage customers who do not see exactly what they want on our website to call us with their specific applications. This way, if we don’t have a standard product that is entirely suitable, we can customised existing load cells or design a completely new product to customers’ exacting requirements.”

Monday, July 8, 2013

Protecting computers in harsh environments

B&B Electronics has expanded its family of industrial-grade USB port protectors with the small-form-factor, affordable USBSSP2 “USB Sentinel” USB 3.0 surge suppressor. Unlike typical non-portable or “pass-through-panel” USB surge protection devices, B&B Electronics’ USB Sentinel is compact (4.5 x 1.22 x 0.96 inches, 11.4 x 3.1 x 2.5 cm) and portable, connecting in-line between the computer and the peripheral device to protect it from the surges, spikes, and electrostatic discharge (ESD) that can occur when connecting computers to equipment in the field and factory. With a wide (0 to 80°C) operating temperature, advanced heavy industrial emissions standards and an EN61000-6-2 heavy industrial rating, the USB Sentinel is small enough to tuck into a pocket or a laptop bag, yet tough enough to stand up to repeated use in harsh environments.

The USB Sentinel is a passive device and provides fast, 20 microsecond clamping of surges -- up to 700 volts on the data lines and 1000 volts on the power lines -- without interfering with normal USB 3.0 connectivity. It is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0, providing a single USB surge suppression solution. The device is transparent to the operating system, host computer or hub, and it requires no drivers.

This suppressor is suitable for field service technicians, as well as fixed installations in industrial automation, instrumentation, security, kiosks, point-of-sale and laboratory market applications.

The USB Sentinel includes a USB 3.0 cable and carries a lifetime warranty.

• Datalink Communications is Distributor/Agent for B&B Electronics products in Ireland. (see B&B Representation in Ireland announced).

Load cell technology in Antartica!

Mantracourt Electronics’ miniature load cell and strain gauge amplifier (ICA4S) was chosen as a key component in a project to build a drill that recently extracted a 763m ice core from the Ross Ice Shelf in western Antarctica. The research from the study will build a better picture of atmospheric greenhouse gases, sea level and temperature change over the last 20,000-40,000 years.

For this project, Mantracourt’s ICA4S load cell amplifiers have been incorporated into a pair of load pins to provide a 4-20mA output for the monitoring of drilling forces during extraction.

Photo: Darcy
“The drill system is now into its third year of service on the ice,” said Louise Stubbs, Marketing Coordinator at Mantracourt. “This project is a very good test of our technology, with extreme temperatures and a rigorous demand for accuracy and reliability.”

The ICA range of miniature load cell signal conditioners offers a high performance strain gauge amplifier in miniature OEM format, designed specifically for fitting inside load cells, thereby converting a standard load cell to a 0-10 volt or 4-20mA output.

The ICA family offers high stability and fast response and is available in 6 versions with two performance categories S & H (industrial & very high stability). The ICAH range offers very low drift over wide operating temperatures. There is also an ATEX certification available on one version of this device.

“The Mantracourt aspects of this project were supported by our UK based Technical Partners, Applied Measurements,” said Louise. “Mantracourt works with a number of Technical Partners around the world to ensure our technology is backed up by the highest level of customer service and technical support.”

Blower health monitoring solution!

Emerson Process Management has introduced a Blower Health Monitoring Solution as part of its family of Essential Asset Monitoring applications.

While essential for fired heater or boiler operations, many blowers today are not sufficiently instrumented to perform online health monitoring. High costs for wired solutions have typically resulted in forced and induced draft blowers being monitored only periodically by maintenance checks and during field rounds. Failure symptoms are often missed between manual checks, leaving facilities vulnerable to unexpected failures which can trip a furnace or boiler.
Integrated monitoring applications are online 24/7 to increase availability, reduce production losses and lower maintenance costs

Emerson’s new blower monitoring solution uses a pre-engineered application and networks of wireless or wired instruments that lower implementation costs and provide an early warning system for operations and maintenance staff. The new blower solution expands online, automated monitoring and health analysis to a new class of equipment. The result is reduced manual measurements, increased blower availability, fewer process upsets, reduced production outage and lower maintenance costs.

"Blower failures can trip fired heaters or boilers, resulting in plant slowdowns or shutdowns, or at least some serious upsets," commented Pete Sharpe, director of industry solutions development, Emerson. "Blower issues can also increase energy costs, reduce throughput, and potentially cause reportable safety and/or environment incidents. Failure is driven by many culprits, which can often be detected early. The most common causes of trips include normal wear-and-tear that causes vibration, lubrication issues, motor alignment, bearing faults, bent blades, louvre drives, and duct or screen blockages."

The new blower release adds to the growing family of Essential Asset Monitoring solutions, which include monitoring solutions for pumps and heat exchangers, with other asset types under development. Each scalable module provides the user with a selectable set of faults that determine which instruments are needed for that asset. The full solution from Emerson includes the software and any new devices and services required to implement and set it up.