Friday, November 29, 2013

Keyance static eliminators!

Keyence's  comprehensive range of static eliminators offers significant benefits. Featuring a differential method that eliminates the need for adjustments, they produce oppositely charged ions and create a high-precision ion balance. They are twice as fast as the best standard system on the market and eliminate clogging, a typical problem that can slow down production.

Static electricity is eliminated by delivering a stream of oppositely charged ions to the surface to be treated. The charge to be delivered depends on the manufacturing parameters, the humidity level, the temperature and other conditions. The SJ Series features a built-in differential system - known as the I.C.C. method - that continuously calculates the optimal amount of ions to be supplied. No operator adjustments are necessary, even in high-static environments.

The SJ Series eliminates static charges quickly and more completely, even at high speeds. It is extremely easy to install. Simply connect it to a reference potential and it's ready to go. Only Keyence offers such capability. Competing brands offer sensor-based control, which results in higher costs and complexity.

The SJ Series has adopted the pulse AC method, which applies alternating positive and negative high voltage to an electrode probe to make it produce ions of both polarities. Compared to the conventional AC method, the amount of ions generated is higher and the oscillating frequency can be changed. The pulse AC method can therefore be used to eliminate static electricity in any situation, such as fast-moving targets or work areas.

By combining these two functions, the SJ Series is the fastest in its class. It boasts a cycle frequency of 66 Hz - twice that of competing brands.

A common problem with static eliminators is that their electrode probes become clogged and must be cleaned three to four times a month. With SJ Series, the electrode probes need to be cleaned only once every three or six months. This difference stems from the materials used for the electrode probes (silicone or tungsten) and the laminar flow of air that guides charges more directly. Due to the considerably longer maintenance intervals, the SJ Series features alarm outputs that provide information on the system's operation or the drift of the electrostatic potential zero so that preventive maintenance may be performed to optimise productivity. The broad SJ Series range features the right model for any application. There are three main types of eliminators: bar-type units for large surfaces, blower-type units for medium-sized surfaces and spot-type units for small surfaces. They all operate using the same principles and offer the same benefits.

Hygrometer exceeds the specifications!

Chilled mirror hygrometer exceeds the specifications set out in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for Engine Testing

Recent tests carried out on Michell’s Optidew Chilled Mirror Hygrometer confirm that it meets the Code of Federal Regulations for Engine Testing: an essential requirement for any instrument used for emissions testing in the US and many other regions. The code (CFR Title 40, Part 1065, Engine Testing Procedures) sets out a number of criteria that humidity measurement instruments must meet, and Michell’s Optidew Hygrometer exceeds each of these:
• the Optidew has an accuracy of ±0.2°C – twice better than the required dew-point accuracy of ±0.5°C
• the Optidew has a repeatability of 0.1°C – five times better than the required repeatability of 0.5°C
• the Optidew updates its digital outputs every 5 seconds, or 0.2Hz twice as frequent as the required data update frequency of 0.1Hz, or once every 10 seconds
• the Optidew consistently has less than 0.008°C noise on its outputs. The maximum output noise level is 0.02°C
• the complete system rise and fall time, which is the time taken for the sensor to heat or cool from 10% to 90% of its range, should be no more than 50 seconds – the Optidew has a total rise/fall time of less than 45 seconds.

The industrial chilled mirror hygrometer combines the accuracy and integrity of a laboratory hygrometer with an instrument which is robust enough to survive in a tough industrial environment. The rugged 316 stainless steel NEMA 4 / IP66 wall mount enclosure is suitable for installation in an engine test room, while the remote sensor can be mounted directly into the engine air-intake ducting.

The Optidew gives reliable results every time because it measures a primary characteristic of moisture – the temperature at which condensation forms on a surface. With no calculated variables that can shift over time, the Optidew is ideal for monitoring engine test cell inlet air where consistency of measurements and long-term reliability are vital.

All vehicles with petrol or diesel engines require emissions testing – this includes cars, motorcycles, locomotive engines and many others – but even powered tools, for example lawnmowers and chain saws, need to undergo the same kinds of tests. Engine tests ensure that their emissions meet the current standards to protect the environment and prevent pollution. While the exhaust gases are typically checked for concentrations of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde and particulate matter, precise measurements of the humidity and temperature of the air in the engine intake is vital for the accuracy of the tests. This is particularly important for applying a correction factor to the measured concentration of nitrogen oxides which is influenced by the inlet humidity and temperature.

• Michell products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Too much stock for maintenance, repair and operations?

Lean Engineering and Training Consultancy MCP reports that its spare parts and materials’ management audits show average scores of around 55% when compared to world the class benchmark of at least 75%!

‘You can think of your MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) stores as a goldmine waiting to be tapped. A large company could save an investment of say, £10,000 one hundred times over in just two years. That’s around £1 million for a store issuing £200,000 (of parts) per year’, reports MCP’s MD, Peter Gagg.

‘Typically stock turns are around three to five times per year, when they should be nearer one. On completion of a parts and stores audit a company is likely to see savings of 10% per annum on the above figure, plus a one-off windfall of around 10-15% of total stock value, as we nearly always find that stock levels are almost always too high!’

A full audit will cover 4 days on-site with a one day strategy and briefing workshop with managers and personnel and is designed to assess the gap between current status and best practice. Amongst the benefits accruing from the spare parts and materials’ audit will be improved cost performance, reduction in inventory-replenishment purchase by up to 60% and lower storeroom inventories of at least 30%.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Design elements content package!

New "PAS-X MBR Design Elements" Content Packages based on industry best practice / process-specific and fast MBR creation for pharmaceutical production

In order for pharma and biotech customers to implement PAS-X MES projects even faster and more easily, Werum Software & Systems expands its PAS-X Content Packages offering further: New on the market are the "PAS-X MBR Design Elements" Content Packages.

The "PAS-X MBR Design Elements" Content Packages are based on the best practice of the industry and directed by the PAS-X User Community PFU. They accelerate the creation of MBRs (Master Batch Records) and help to assure higher quality MBR design in the configured system.

The MBR Design Elements are templates for the fast and simple creation of MBRs for specific processes in the pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals production such as granulation, IPC testing or reconciliation. They focus on the most efficient use of PAS-X functionality, and are designed to operate together. The MBR Design Elements are part of specific libraries available for all major manufacturing types, such as solids, liquids and packaging. In addition, Universal Elements are also on offer covering general processes that are not related to specific manufacturing types.

The "PAS-X MBR Design Elements" Content Packages provide a comprehensive framework for harmonizing and standardizing processes within or between different plants, and drive efficiency in global organizations. Customers can and will expand and modify these elements to meet their own specific process and equipment requirements.

Power modules utilise split output topology for superior dynamic behavior!

The body diode reverse recovery charge of a SiC MOSFET  from Vincotech, is lower than that of an Si MOSFET, but still not as beneficial as with SiC Schottky diodes. As the switching performance demands for new wide band-gap components increases, so do the requirements for the commutation process. The split output topology provides an additional tool to reduce turn-on losses and boost cross-conduction suppression. Installed at the module level it negates the limitations of the SiC MOSFET.
Efficiency per phase of a three-level flowMNPC 0 SiC module with 53 mΩ SiC BUCK MOSFETs
The module behaves in inverter applications in the same way as in a boost circuit. This makes it possible to achieve better performance and efficiency than with a SiC JFET or SiC BJT – and enjoy the added advantage of MOSFET technology’s simple gate drive circuit.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New member for security alliance!

Japan’s Control System Security Centre (CSSC, President Dr. Seiichi Shin) has joined the ISA Security Compliance Institute (ISCI) as an Associate member. As an Associate ISCI member, CSSC will participate in the ongoing development and promotion of ISASecure® industrial controls cybersecurity certification programs.

Dr. Seiichi Shin
President CSSC
CSSC is the hub of Japan’s critical infrastructure protection initiatives, providing research and development and cybersecurity testing of industrial control components and systems comprising Japan’s critical infrastructure. CSSC’s mission is to enhance ICS (industrial control system) security of critical infrastructure. CSSC functions are organized into operational areas that address R&D, international standardization, certification, human resource development, promotion and security verification of individual control systems.

CSSC has adopted the ISASecure industrial controls certification scheme as part of Japan’s critical infrastructure protection program, addressing the cybersecurity of industrial control systems. CSSC is slated to commence ISASecure EDSA certifications in early 2014, and commence subsequent ISASecure certifications as they become available.

"CSSC will soon receive independent accreditation by the Japan Accreditation Board as an ISCI-chartered lab in accordance with the ISASecure Guide 65 conformance scheme. We look forward to working with CSSC as an ISASecure certification body (CB) and as an ISCI member," said Andre Ristaino, ISCI Managing Director.

Air cushion plates for fast and reliable transport

Festo has launched its new ATBT air cushion plates, which are the first choice for fast and gentle transporting of flat panel displays and photovoltaic substrates, as well as cell packs for electro-mobility. They make contactless handling of substrates easy, regardless of their size and weight.

The ATBT air cushion plates generate a thin air cushion on the fine surface, which enables the glass panels and delicate films used in the solar and electronics industries to glide evenly. The air cushion plate uses an air-permeable material with a microporous texture. This ensures an even, constant air flow with low compressed air consumption and allows thin-film modules, coated on both sides, to travel through the manufacturing process on an air cushion without contact.

Electric drives control the modules during the process, while suction cups made of special material don’t leave any residue behind on the thin-film cells. A diagnostic module measures the exact distance between the glass and the air cushion plate and uses this to control the air consumption in an energy-efficient manner.

Whether for loading and unloading, intermediate buffers, lifting and centring, holding and clamping items using a vacuum or for use in inspection and test devices, precise X-Y-movement systems or photolithography devices – air cushion plates are the transport system of choice.

For the easiest selection of ATBT air cushion plates, Festo has created an engineering software tool. It allows the design engineer to enter the design parameters and therefore select the correct air cushion plate for their application.

Inline systems for programming & test!

New features in the RAPIDO™ multi-site inline production system family for high-speed in-system programming and board test based on the latest Embedded System Access (ESA) technologies have been made available by Goebel. One of the essential innovations is an option to utilise planar downholders in sandwich construction. Now ultra-thin, rigid-flexible boards with contact gaps of up to 50 mil can be safely handled in multiple-up production. Utilising this technology, RAPIDO has become one of only a few systems that meet the challenges of safe inline contacting for such sensitive applications.

As a second innovation, all fixtures are equipped with an intelligent module for identification and data storage. The compatibility between fixture and target board can be ensured by means of this so called FID module (Fixture Identification and Data). Additionally, there is the opportunity to automatically configure the entire system incl. band width, UUT, test program, etc. This approach avoids manual faults and provides a simple and efficient UUT change. Furthermore, the FID module determines fixture state, stores the entire life cycle, and signals required maintenance work, such as probe changing.

Other amendments include an increase in adjustable band width for standard systems to 250 mm. Moreover, new functions at the MES interface (Manufacturing Enterprise System) are implemented.

“The extension of our RAPIDO system family gives us the opportunity to meet the demands of high-volume production particularly in the automotive and consumer industries even better”, said Alexander Beck, Team Manager Integration in Goepel electronic’s JTAG/Boundary Scan Division. “All developments are derived from customer concerns and the growing range of installations and applications. In association with our extensive worldwide service, we are able to deliver individually configured standard solutions with highest productivity.”

Alarm Suite helps plant operators identify & address important automation alarms!

Process plants and pipelines generate thousands of alarms from their automation systems every day — many of which are not serious. Control room operators must then quickly distinguish between routine process alarms and critical alarms that warn of operating problems or safety issues.

Honeywell has just unveiled its new DynAMo™ Alarm Suite, an advanced alarm management software that reduces the overall number of alarms while helping operators focus and respond to those most critical.

At issue is the sheer number of alarms, which range from day-to-day activities (known as nuisance alarms) such as the opening of an electrical switch room door, to notification of a critical equipment failure. According to the Abnormal Situation Management® (ASM®) Consortium, ineffective management of nuisance alarms can lead to incidents that cost the process industry billions of dollars, and pose an increased risk of fatigue and stress for operators who must constantly make instant decisions on how to respond when an alarm sounds.

DynAMo Alarm Suite leverages more than 20 years of alarm management experience in the process industries, and can help users reduce overall alarm count by as much as 80 percent, identify maintenance issues, and increase visibility of critical alarms that require urgent attention. Its customizable, role-based dashboard enables operators, engineers and managers to view the health of their alarm system at a glance. A key feature of the new software is that it is compatible with many mobile devices, enabling personnel to view alarm metrics at any time, from almost any location. This ease of access enables more frequent monitoring and faster corrective action, which helps alleviate a major fatigue factor of operators.

“When operators are forced to deal with hundreds of alarms at any given point in time, there is increased risk to safety not to mention process efficiency,” said Vimal Kapur, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Process Solutions Advanced Solutions business. “The DynAMo Alarm Suite is an effective tool for optimizing alarm management programs to prevent alarm floods and ‘chatter,’ and reduce operator stress. The software offers a layer of protection to minimize unplanned outages, safety incidents and environmental releases.”

DynAMo Alarm Suite can be integrated with Honeywell’s industry-leading Experion® Process Knowledge System (PKS), as well as any other control system. Honeywell also offers alarm management consulting, services and support, with worldwide coverage.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scada software expanded for plant-specific analysis of individual KPIs

Siemens Industry Automation division has expanded the Simatic WinCC V7.2 Scada software with the optional WinCC/PerformanceMonitor package for calculating and analyzing plant-specific key performance indicators (KPIs). The user can derive optimisation potential for production and measures for increasing productivity. Combining the results and accompanying values reveals correlations, such as product quality in relation to suppliers.

The Simatic WinCC V7.2 Scada software supports the acquisition, visualization, and analysis of production data. Analysis with the new WinCC/PerformanceMonitor software package is based on the process data acquired by WinCC, which are associated with each other during runtime. The user quickly and simply sets up the calculation formulas to be used in WinCC, without any additional knowledge.

Several visualisations are possible for evaluation: a Gantt chart with the time sequence of states, a bar chart for analysing the key performance indicators and a table for states and accompanying values. The visualizations are also available via the web in the WinCC WebNavigatorClient. The calculated key performance indicators can be further processed in a WinCC display, for example line-dashboard, or in a trend display. In conjunction with the Simatic information server, the key performance indicators can be grouped together online to form target-group-oriented reports and can be queried at any time.

Automation in India!

Automation 2014 is the largest solutions-based showcase of automation technologies in India. It is the 9th annual International exhibition and conference on "Factory Automation, Instrumentation & Controls, Instrumentation, Process Automation, Robotics, Sensors, Hydraulics & Pneumatics, Wireless Technology, Information Technology & Software Solutions, Building Automation, Safety & Environment, Electrical & Energy Conservation, Security Electronics, and Telecommunications." It is scheduled for Mumbai (IND) from the 15th to the 18th October 2014.

This show will present a face-to-face environment with top automation experts and game-changing education geared toward maximizing your productivity and profitability in any industry. This event showcases a wide and comprehensive range of manufacturing and automation equipments and products which are used by almost all types of industrial sectors. 

AUTOMATION 2014 is the perfect meeting place for the professionals who are mainly part of the manufacturing department as they get to exhibit the best and advanced technology aided equipments. Renowned and well established companies will participate in this show to display their exclusive range of automation equipments. Companies that provide integration of automation, robotics and machine vision will show actual demonstrations of systems. 

Visitors come in contact with the experts and discuss about various business related issues. The exhibitors get to interact with potential partners and collaborate with them into new business contracts. The participants come across several benefits which will enhance the productivity of each firm. Discussions are conducted where the representatives of the participating companies get to come across various effective means of executing business. At AUTOMATION 2014 visitors can attend industry forums, user group meetings, hands-on labs, technical sessions and demonstrations to expand knowledge and use of the latest control, power and information technologies. This will allow attendees to see live demos solving challenges they face in their industry, and also to learn from solutions used in other industries that may be beneficial to them. 

The rest of the show features the latest automation, robotic, vision and motion control technologies and systems on display from leading global suppliers. 

A comprehensive educational conference accompanies the Automation 2014 exhibition and conference.

Dream partner in productivity!

Ocean Data Systems was recently presented the Invensys 2013 Productivity Partner Product of the Year Award.

A valuable partner of Invensys, Ocean Data Systems has provided reporting tools to Invensys and its affiliates since 2007.

"Ocean Data Systems received this award for several reasons," explained Dan Fitzpatrick, Invensys Business Development Manager, "including the fact that license sales have tripled in recent quarters. As a progressive member of Invensys' ecosystem, Ocean Data Systems has partnered with other Invensys affiliates to make their third party solutions even better. From their responsiveness to their exceptionally high quality products, Ocean Data Systems is truly deserving of this award."

"This is a great honour," said Alex Mazal, President and CEO of Ocean Data Systems, "We pride ourselves on customer support and we work closely with our OEMs to assure we are delivering the integration and product enhancements to make them successful. It was an honour to receive this trophy at the Invensys Software Users Conference in October."


HMS brings a reworked version of the extremely successful 
USB-to-CAN interface to market under the IXXAT brand.

The new IXXAT USB-to-CAN V2 interface offers significant advantages for users thanks to a combination of existing and new features. For example, the USB-to-CAN V2 uses powerful hardware and connects over USB 2.0 at 480 MBit/sec. This enables very high data throughput with minimum latency and lower power consumption, which makes the interface suitable for very demanding applications at maximum bus load and CAN bit rates up to 1 Mbit/second, for example simulation applications.

The virtues of the existing USB-to-CAN are still there: outstanding robustness for long-term use in harsh environments, very easy operation at a cost-effective price.

The existing versions of the proven IXXAT VCI and IXXAT ECI drivers support the new USB-to-CAN V2, also permitting drop-in use in existing applications without changes to software – even when changing between different interface types. The IXXAT APIs for CANopen and SAE J1939 also support the new USB-to-CAN V2 device family.

The USB-to-CAN V2 is available in different variants with either one or two CAN interfaces based on ISO 11898-2. In the USB-to-CAN V2 compact, the CAN connection is implemented as a sub-D9 plug or alternatively as an RJ45 connector. The versions that carry two CAN interfaces are connected via RJ45 connectors. Adapter cables to sub-D9 plugs are included with the devices. Additional options include galvanically isolated CAN interfaces, bulk variants, and support for ISO 11898-3 low-speed CAN and LIN.

The new housing design supports creation of customer-specific variants branded with the customer logo.

Another newly introduced variant is the IXXAT USB-to-CAN V2 for embedded use, which is designed without housing but with a slot board and adapted USB cable for installation into a computer.

In-line vial measurement at Capitol Europe!

To provide high-speed, high-accuracy inspection facilities for production of a new range of vials, Capitol Europe has opted for Keyence optical micrometers in the TM-3000 series.

Capitol Europe specialises in the manufacturing of packages and packaging products for the pharmaceutical industry and medical testing applications. Its strength lies in the specific technological characteristics of its polypropylene tubes and vials that set them apart in several ways. For instance, they are made in one piece directly with their caps.

Example of a plastic vial made by Capitol Europe
Furthermore, Capitol Europe has been involved in innovative and patented technologies that guarantees their sterility and efficient sealing. Their active coating also ensures absorption of gases and humidity.

This type of manufacturing entails implementation of a high-precision production process, such as the new production line designed by the Sandmann Company to make plastic vials using an injection process. These parts are 26 mm in diameter, with a bevel that is used to pierce the membrane seal. The in-line inspection system required for the application had to show the necessary levels of accuracy while being able to keep up with high production rates. Four sides of each of the 32 parts made have to be measured every 10 seconds (2 for height measurements and 2 more to check the bevels).

"We knew that it would be difficult to find a solution that could rise to the challenge; being fast enough while complying with our requirements in terms of precision", says Eric Daniel, Maintenance Manager at Capitol Europe's plant in Niederbronn-Les-Bains.

Capitol Europe opted for an innovative solution enabling high-speed, two-dimensional in-line measurement with an accuracy level of the order of a micron: the Keyence TM-3000 sensor. This system does away with expensive off-line inspections that rely too heavily on the operator's skills. The 2D optical micrometer features a high-speed central processing unit and two DSP circuits dedicated to image processing. It can operate at up to 1,800 images per minute, thanks to its four processors that operate in parallel.

Its double telecentric optical system transmits a uniform beam of collimated light. This avoids variation in the image projected on the CMOS sensor depending on the target's position. The two-dimensional CMOS sensor detects transition between dark and light areas and measures the target's dimensions. The process, which is also impervious to reflecting surfaces, ensures accuracy levels of 0.5 µm to 3 µm depending on the models, with repeatability levels of +/- 0.06 µm to +/- 0.2 µm. The measurement range reaches 65 mm at a maximum distance of 270 mm between the emitter and the receiver.

The micrometers in the TM-3000 series are able to measure up to 16 points on parts to be inspected, and they provide more than 15 measurement modes: diameter, centre distance, intersection point coordinates, angle, height, step, distance to a perpendicular, radius, circularity, etc.

Moreover, the position correction system automatically makes up for any target alignment or tilt faults. This ensures high precision even when positioning is difficult or when the objects are moving randomly. The adjustment system is simplified and it does away with the necessity of a mechanical repositioning device for the parts to be inspected. Furthermore, the LED source technology used shows exceptional stability and has a very long service life. Eric Daniel confirms the fact: "We have made 11,000,000 parts since the TM-3000 was installed. We have not had any measurement problems at all, and the level of accuracy remains stable at 0.03 mm.

We have obtained the result with several repeat measurements of a given production batch. The result shows a remarkable degree of precision, because our parts are irregularly shaped."

In spite of the unique performance levels shown by the TM-3000 series micrometers, they are easy to install and operate. "My colleague in charge of the system mastered it in 10 minutes and the installation took hardly any time at all", concludes Eric Daniel; the performance levels of the TM-3000 series have given him ideas for other inspection uses.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Vortex flowmeter simplifies maintenance, reducing installation costs & increasing availability in utility apps!

The Rosemount 8600 Utility Vortex flowmeter is an expansion of Emerson's vortex flowmeter family. Optimised for clean fluid and steam in utility applications, the new flowmeter is available in standard and multivariable versions. Its application specific design simplifies maintenance, reduces installation costs and increases availability.

The unique design of the Rosemount 8600 Utility Vortex flowmeter provides a cost effective solution for a wide range of utility applications. For example, when compared with traditional DP flowmeters, the Rosemount 8600 Utility typically provides a 46 per cent saving on the installed cost (based on a 2” line size installation).

The cast construction of the unit minimises potential leak points and eliminates the need for impulse lines – improving reliability and reducing installed cost. There are no moving parts to wear or stick, and no impulse lines to plug or freeze. The signal filtering (Adaptive Digital Signal Processing-ADSP) and a mass-balanced sensor design, maximise measurement reliability and eliminate the impact of vibrations on measurement accuracy.

For saturated steam applications, a multivariable measurement option on the Rosemount 8600 Utility Vortex provides a temperature compensated mass flow output directly from the meter. Unlike traditional multivariable vortex designs, the Rosemount MultiVariable™ 8600 Utility Vortex has an isolated temperature sensor. This allows the temperature sensor to be verified or replaced without breaking the process seals. Operator safety is enhanced by limiting personnel exposure to process conditions and throughput maximised by eliminating the need to shut down the process to maintain the temperature sensor.

Internal flow simulation diagnostics simplify maintenance, enabling easy field verification of the electronics without the need for additional equipment. With a turndown ratio of 30:1, the vortex linear technology provides accurate measurement over a broader range of flow rates.

This ange comprises seven line sizes from DN25 to DN200 (1 to 8 inches). Each unit is leak tested and factory configured to speed installation and there is no field calibration or zeroing required. Accuracy is ±0.75% of volumetric flow rate in liquid, ±1.0% of volumetric flow rate in gas and steam, ±2.0% of mass flow rate in saturated steam with ±0.2% repeatability. Suitable for process temperatures in the range -50°C to +250ºC, the transmitter can map independent variables to provide an analogue output, pulse output, or HART® burst variables.

It forms part of a broad range of Rosemount Vortex flowmeters for a variety of process and utility applications. The unique features of their Vortex flowmeter simplify installation, maintenance, and meter verification, while improving overall process availability and reducing the total cost of ownership.

Instrumentation distribution across Europe

Mantracourt appoints additional distributors to support demand for instrumentation across Europe

Mantracourt has announced that it has appointed several new overseas technical partners in order to advance the sales and support of its range of wired, wireless, digital and analogue instrumentation products.

With the appointment of new expert distributors in Spain, France, Turkey, Norway, Finland and Switzerland, Mantracourt is fulfilling its plan to expand its sales operation whilst maintaining its commitment to a high level of customer relations and excellent technical support.

Mantracourt is a world leader in the design and manufacture of electronics for measurement technologies, including strain gauge, temperature, resistance, pressure, voltage, current, potentiometer, rate, flow, LVDT and displacement in either analogue, digital or wireless form. Mantracourt has also recently become a leading developer in the field of remote data logging software.

Mantracourt’s new technical partners for Europe include Elkome in Finland, Ascell in Spain, Wallace in France, Geotrade in Switzerland, Teknik Destek Grubu in Turkey and Sensors AS in Norway.

"We are delighted with these appointments,” said Louise Stubbs, Marketing Coordinator. "Much of Mantracourt’s success has been built on working closely with users, helping us to understand their requirements and to assist them in using our products. These companies are a very good match for this approach, each having a high level of technical expertise and offering excellent customer service."

Mantracourt has recently announced its latest version of its T24LOG100 software, a data-logging package that can handle up to 100 channels of wireless instrumentation data simultaneously whilst also offering a range of sophisticated features. T24LOG100 enables users to optimise system monitoring and control and also offers remote access via the web on mobile devices.

"The new webserver facility of T24LOG100 enables users to view the data online, wherever they have access to the Internet," said Louise Stubbs. “Users will now have the freedom to monitor sensors and installations when on the move and onsite.”

Autoscribe publishes ‘Thornton & Ross’ case study

Autoscribe has published a new case study that shows how Thornton & Ross has improved its QC laboratory efficiency using the Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Thornton & Ross Ltd is the largest independent pharmaceutical manufacturer in Britain. Its QC laboratory has an important function in both raw material evaluation and in production and this can significantly impact overall manufacturing performance.

Thornton and Ross identified the need for a LIMS capable of controlling, managing, organising, documenting, analysing and reporting information, since increasing volumes of laboratory test data were overwhelming existing practices. Matrix Gemini was installed to manage data for a wide range of analytical techniques for both the raw materials and finished products teams.

The case study is available for download here. It looks at the challenges faced by the company, the solution employed and the resultant benefits for the laboratory, including satisfying all of the regulatory requirements.

Simplicity reaches new Peak!

Join forces to provide integrated test solutions

The Peak Group and Simplicity AI have formed a collaborative partnership to provide integrated test solutions based on National Instruments industry-standard platforms along with Peak’s test hardware and fixturing technology and Simplicity AI’s advanced test & measurement software.
Pictured following the signing of the agreement between The Peak Group, Simplicity AI and National Instruments are left to right: Simon Smith, Systems Architect, Simplicity AI Ltd., Robert Morton, Managing Director, National Instruments UK & Ireland and Karl Miles, Technical Sales Manager, The Peak Group.
Both companies are NI Alliance Partners. Peak Production Equipment, based in Letchworth,  (GB)  is a proven provider of automated test and measurement solutions, supporting every stage of the assembly process from component testing to highly complex functional solutions. Peak is also the exclusive British agent for the mass interconnect systems made by Virginia Panel Corporation, which are extensively used as interfaces within the automatic test sector.

Simplicity AI, based in Hampshire (GB)., provides a range of advanced technical products and engineering services for test, measurement, control and automation, with a particular emphasis on developing automatic test and measurement software built around industry-standard platforms.

“The combination of our hardware expertise and the specialist software from Simplicity AI allows us to offer an integrated package of test solutions that is second to none”, comments Peak’s Technical Sales Manager Karl Miles: “We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with each other and with National Instruments.”

“This announcement builds on our established track record of working together to deliver high quality test and measurement solutions across a range of industries”, says Simon Smith, Systems Architect, Simplicity AI Ltd.: “The new formal collaboration is a demonstration of our long term commitment to maintaining a close working relationship, enabling us to deliver maximum value to our customers.” 

Rental solution for old landfill gas analysers!

As rental partner for Geotech, a leading gas analyser manufacturer, Ashtead Technology has an effective, low-cost solution for customers dealing with gas analyser obsolescence. For example, Geotech landfill gas analysers first manufactured in 1999 have now been replaced and updated to incorporate the latest technology, such as GPS and Bluetooth. For users of these much older analysers, the facility to rent instruments from Ashtead Technology’s fleet of the latest models, provides a smooth transition from redundant instruments to the latest technology.

The analysers manufactured before February 2007 include the GA2000, GEM2000, GA2000 Plus and GEM2000 Plus analysers with serial numbers from GA4999 to GA09149. Geotech’s aim is to service these analysers for as long as possible after the last analyser is manufactured (typically, the life of an analyser is 10 years), but this series of analysers was first manufactured 14 years ago, and the cost of replacement parts for the original design has now become preclusive. Customers with these instruments now have the option to rent the latest models, a viable long-term option for some Ashtead Technology customers.

Ashtead Technology’s Jay Neermul believes that renting provides a good opportunity to upgrade to the latest technology: “The new GA5000 landfill gas analyser is now the most popular in our hire fleet; partly because it is Ex approved, but also because it provides highly accurate readings (+/- 0.5% for CH4 and CO2) in half the time of its predecessor.”

The GA5000 is also smaller and lighter with a new colour screen that works in all light conditions and features new intuitive menus, with a choice of languages, which guide users through the measurement process.

Harting connectors with monoblock inserts incorporating tool-free installation

Harting has expanded its Han-Eco® series of robust lightweight industrial connectors with a range of monoblock inserts offering higher contact densities and a snap-in function that provides tool-free installation.

The Han-Eco® series comprises robust connector housings made of glass-fibre reinforced high-performance plastics. The series has established itself on the market since its launch in 2012 thanks to its ability to offer advantages such as lighter weight and savings in time during assembly and installation.

The new monoblock E units, which have been developed primarily for use in housings from the Han-Eco® series, retain the proven Han-Eco® “click and mate” snap-in function, offering simple tool-free mounting.

A special feature of the new Han-Eco® monoblock E inserts is that they achieve up to 67% higher contact density than Han E standard screw inserts of the same size. The inserts feature a pre-leading protective earth contact and a six-fold coding system resulting in contact numbers of 10+PE, 14+PE, 20+PE and 28+PE for the four sizes.

It is also possible to combine a monoblock E insert with modules from the Han-Modular® series in a housing from the Han-Eco® series or in the Han-Modular® docking frame.

The new contacts are based on the proven Han® E contacts with screw termination. The monoblock E inserts have a rated voltage of 500 V and a rated current of 16 A. The cable connection cross-section is 0.75 mm2 (AWG 18) minimum and 2.5 mm2 (AWG 14) maximum.

Celebrating innovation and engineering excellence in Britain and Ireland!

The annual National Instruments UK & Ireland Graphical System Design Achievement Awards celebrated engineering applications that have demonstrated groundbreaking solutions to some of the world’s most demanding engineering challenges, including a desktop Tokamak and an assistive control system for attendant-propelled wheelchairs. 

Held at The Royal Academy of Engineering in the presence of Jeff Kodosky, National Instruments Co-founder and “Father of LabVIEW”, NI’s awards celebrated innovation and engineering excellence in the UK and Ireland. 

Jeff Kodosky
The Application of the Year Award was won by the winner of the Advanced Control Systems category, author Pawel Majecki, from Industrial Systems and Control (ISC) for his case study entitled Controlling 70- Ton Gripper Arms for Offshore Wind Turbine Construction Using LabVIEW and CompactRIO 

The construction of offshore wind farms requires steel monopiles measuring 75 meters long, 7 meters in diameter and weighing up to 700 tons, to be driven into the seabed, forming the foundations of wind turbine towers. Powerful waves and sea currents make it extremely difficult to keep monopiles vertical in deep water and inaccurate monopole installation is proving costly to the offshore industry.  Majecki describes how ISC used NI CompactRIO and NI LabVIEW to develop an intuitive, reliable way to deploy, position and stow giant gripper arms in the sea to improve the accuracy of monopole installation.  Because the system is software defined, ISC were able to rapidly iterate their control designs, moving from a blank sheet of paper to a fully deployed and tested system in just a few months. The 70-ton hydraulic, robotic, gripper arms that accurately install the monopiles are partially controlled by a joystick and touch panel interface, on a chest pack, worn by an operator.  In addition to improved installation, the system’s advanced fault detection prevents operator injury and vessel or monopile damage. 

The following winning applications were also recognised for their engineering expertise using graphical system design: 

Life Science: Testing and Validating Powered Attendant-Propelled Wheelchairs by University College London

Transport: Aston Martin Race Engine Vibration Analysis by Computer Controlled Solutions 

Special Recognition: Graphical System Design in the Classroom: Leeds University 

Student Design: Artemis, Autonomous Robotic Technology Enabling Minimally Invasive Surgery by The University of Manchester and The University of Leeds