Friday, March 21, 2014

Connector with robust M12 module for applications at up to 10 Gbit/s!

Harting has expanded its connector family based on Ha-VIS preLink® technology by adding a robust universal M12 connector housing designed to incorporate a range of connector modules.

New modules that can be used in the M12 housing include a D-coded version for 4-core data cables with transfer rates of up to 100 Mbit/s or a variant with X-coding for 8-core data cables, suitable for applications at up to 10 Gbit/s.

Among the special features of Harting’s preLink® connection technology is a terminal block connected to the individual cores of the data cable via internal insulation displacement terminations which remain stable over time and are vibration-proof. The cable assembled in this way is attached securely to the connector by means of spring contacts fitted in the module, enabling stringent shock and vibration requirements such as those specified in the DIN EN 50155 railway standard to be met.

The module is also designed with a shielding spring which creates a reliable contact between the cable screening and the metallic M12 housing. A set of seals with a slotted design ensures additional security.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Imaging and machine vision acquisition in Europe!

STEMMER IMAGING has acquired Parameter AB, the leading imaging and machine vision provider for Northern Europe and Poland, with retroactive effect from 1st January 2014. STEMMER IMAGING, as Europe’s largest imaging technology provider, is now represented with local subsidiaries in eleven countries, rather than the previous seven, and covers 19 sales regions.

Parameter is one of the most established names in Europe’s imaging and machine vision industry. The company with its headquarters in Stockholm (Sweden) and offices in Denmark, Finland and Poland has been successfully distributing machine vision components and systems for many years in the Nordic and the Baltic countries as well as in Poland. Prior to this acquisition, STEMMER IMAGING and Parameter have successfully collaborated for many years as Parameter distributes STEMMER IMAGING’s machine vision software library Common Vision Blox (CVB).

“The acquisition by STEMMER IMAGING is a logical continuation of our work in this market segment and region, where we have become the market leader", says Michael Cohn, former owner of Parameter. “Parameter will jump to the next level and we can now follow our customers out into Europe and benefit from STEMMER IMAGING’s larger product range, high stock level and superior level of competence. Our corporate cultures are very similar and we know each other very well. This will strengthen service available for customers in the Nordic and Baltic region and also in Poland who will have access to the support and security they need to continue to develop their vision applications with our help.”

Peter Trollsås, Vice President Sales at Parameter, confirms this statement: "We expect that the acquisition by STEMMER IMAGING and the resulting access to a larger range of products and improved purchasing conditions will enable us to be even more competitive. In addition, I am also convinced that the cooperation with STEMMER IMAGING will help us to develop into new markets and further increase overall growth."

STEMMER IMAGING’s founder Wilhelm Stemmer sees the Parameter acquisition as a logical development of the company’s European strategy: "We have appreciated Michael Cohn and his team as reliable partners in the machine vision industry for many years now. STEMMER IMAGING’s and Parameter’s product portfolio have a high degree of overlap in terms of suppliers represented. Thus, the two companies perfectly complement each other. Thanks to the expansion into the Nordic countries, Poland and the Baltic region we have made substantial progress towards our goal of maximum customer proximity in Europe.”

According to Christof Zollitsch, Managing Director at STEMMER IMAGING, machine vision components manufacturers will also greatly benefit from the merger: “The acquisition of Parameter by STEMMER IMAGING is also beneficial for our suppliers due to the reduced number of companies they need to serve in terms of sales and support. Furthermore, they have a competent partner with a high degree of market know-how and technical expertise. As Europe’s largest imaging technology provider this enables us to design and prioritise the technological developments of our manufacturers even better for the benefit of our customers.” According to Zollitsch, the integration of Parameter will be performed gradually and will be completed no later than the end of 2014. Until then, Parameter will continue acting under its own name.

STEMMER IMAGING started its European activities in 2004 with the integration of a British company and the establishment of a subsidiary in Switzerland. Expansions in France and Benelux followed in 2005 and 2012. With the acquisition of Parameter STEMMER IMAGING now serves 19 European countries and over 200 employees provide reliable customer service in all areas related to imaging and machine vision.

A new concept In screen saving!

The versatile ‘OneTime configuration tools’ provided with the Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) from Autoscribe, not only allow the system to be configured without the use of custom programming, but also uniquely provide an audit trail each time a display screen for the system is updated or modified. If a screen is being altered, no one else can modify it until it goes live again. Each version is saved with a version number so the audit trail allows the possibility of returning to an earlier version if required.

A very intuitive modern visual workflow screen editor shows the screen in edit mode along with all the options and control properties associated with that screen. Screens can be linked together and information transferred between them without any programming. New screens can be created by copying and modifying existing screens from the screen library.

In addition, the screen and menu files can be e-mailed between the user and the Matrix support group at Autoscribe, if required, allowing experts to review any proposed changes and provide advice on the implementation. Proposed changes can be developed in a training/development database and once approved can be copied into the live database for immediate use.

Even more screen technology is available within Matrix Gemini with its ability to seamlessly migrate existing LIMS desktop applications developed in previous versions of Matrix to become web enabled. This ensures that any screen that has been configured for use on the desktop is immediately available, with appropriate security, to a user running a web browser, without the need for programming, java or esoteric scripting languages. 

Matrix Gemini is a pure Microsoft.NET/C# product and not a mixture of other technologies. It provides the benefits of close integration between the Windows operating system and web technology so that just a single configuration is needed for both desktop and web use with no further modification, effort or cost.

ISO 17025 calibration extensions!

LotusWorks, headquartered in Sligo and with operations throughout Ireland and internationally, have recently added Pipette and Balance calibration to their existing ISO 17025: 2005 scope of accreditation. They were awarded the extension to their accreditation by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) on the 25th February 2014.
Pictured above are some of the team from LotusWorks receiving the award from INAB.  From left: Tom McGuinn Calibrations Supervisor LotusWorks, Tom Cafferkey Director LotusWorks, James Stapleton Accreditation Officer INAB, Noel Molloy Calibrations Manager LotusWorks & Nicola Kennedy Quality Manager LotusWorks
ISO 17025:2005 is the international standard that formally recognises the demonstration of the technical competence of laboratories to carry out calibrations. LotusWorks, previously trading as Lotus Technical Services, first achieved ISO 17025: 2005 accreditation in December 2010 for Electrical and Temperature calibration. The company’s full scope of accreditation can be found on the INAB website under registration number 277C. The addition to the existing scope for Pipette calibration covers 1ul to 10,000ul and for Balance calibration ranges from 1mg to 20,000g. LotusWorks can perform the full scope of accreditation in their laboratory in Sligo or onsite at their customer’s facility.

ISO 17025: 2005 accreditation is recognised as the industry’s top standard, and it assures the quality of LotusWorks laboratory calibration services, processes, technicians, and data accuracy. The company’s calibration capability extends from onsite calibration, to a mobile calibration service and laboratory calibrations performed at the company’s calibration laboratory at their headquarters in Sligo.

Speaking about the accreditation extension, Calibrations Manager of LotusWorks Noel Molloy commented “We are delighted to add Pipette and Balance to our existing Temperature and Electrical offering, accreditation to this standard is a formal recognition that our laboratory is competent to carry out calibrations detailed in the ISO 17025 scope. This extension to our accreditation demonstrates our continued commitment to improving our service delivery.”

More about Lotus

LotusWorks is a leading process and laboratory calibration service provider who has recently celebrated 25 years in business. As a leader in the market since 1989, LotusWorks is consistently broadening their calibration capabilities to keep up with the changing practices of the key markets they serve including pharmaceutical, medical device, semi-conductor, ICT and food and beverage.

LotusWorks continuously look for innovative ways to improve their service offering and add value for their customers. In 2012 the company developed a web based calibration application which provides companies with online access to calibration information regarding their own equipment. This application adds value for customers and allows them to track their calibration statistics instantly online. This instant access to data helps customers with items such as records management. In 2013, the company was shortlisted as finalists in the Irish Laboratory Awards for the categories of “Calibration Laboratory of the Year” and “Start-up Laboratory of the Year” demonstrating their continued recognition as a leading calibration service provider.

LotusWorks now employs over 400 people on both sides of the Atlantic and continues to grow. In 2013 LotusWorks increased its Irish engineering and technical workforce by 35 and in February this year was awarded the much sought after CPD (Continuing Professional Development) standard by Engineers Ireland.

ISA Technical talk on ProfiBus & COMbricks

The next presentation from the very active Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation is a technical presentation "Continuous Monitoring and Diagnosing PROFIBUS Networks using COMbricks".
Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork
Wednesday April 9th, 2014 – 7.30am

Hassan Kaghazchi
Speaker is Hassan Kaghazchi. He is the chairman of PROFIBUS Ireland, Lecturer in Industrial Automation, and Director of Automation Research Centre at University of Limerick, with over 30 years of experience in Training, Education, and consultancy in automation.

PROFIBUS Ireland is the Irish branch of PROFIBUS/PROFINET International. Its mission is to support and promote the use of PROFIBUS and PROFINET technologies. This technical talk will cover the basics of PROFIBUS Technology, its benefits to the end users, application areas, and tools & techniques for diagnosing PROFIBUS networks. The presentation will conclude with a live demonstration of using COMbricks.

Learn sensor measurements fundamentals!

Back by popular demand, the 4-part Sensor Measurements Fundamentals webcast series will be broadcast at the end of March, to help engineers and scientists acquire reliable and accurate measurements as part of their monitoring, test or control system. Throughout each of the interactive webcasts, engineers from National Instruments UK & Ireland will teach the fundamentals, from theory to practice, of acquiring common sensor and signal measurements.

Sensors are at the foundation of every measurement system, but the way they work and the strategies for making the most of them vary by type and application.  The first webcast in the series will cover the essentials of data acquisition and lay the groundwork for subsequent sessions, which focus on specific sensor applications such as temperature, voltage or pressure measurements.

Webcasts will be streamed twice each day from 25th March and will also be available on demand after the series is complete. 

The Sensor Measurements Fundamentals webcast series as follows:
  • Data Acquisition Basics and Technology, 25th March, 10am and 2pm - The series begins with an introduction to the fundamental concepts and the terminology associated with data acquisition. Sensor measurements are complex, requiring integration of multiple physical quantities, high accuracy and accounting for real-world irregularities and deviations. This webcast covers essential sensor operating principles including sensitivity, range, precision, resolution, multiplexing, response time and dynamic linearity, which are critical to ensure accurate representation of the physical phenomenon being measured.
  • Temperature Measurements, 26th March, 10am and 2pm - Watch this webcast for a detailed guide to measurement and device considerations for temperature measurements using thermocouples, RTDs or thermistors. Participants will also learn about common temperature applications, sensor basics and how to connect sensors to instruments.
  • Voltage, Current and Power Measurements, 27th March, 10am and 2pm - Explore the fundamentals of creating AC/DC voltage, current and power quality/monitoring measurement systems. Learn about high voltage measurements, isolation and how to properly connect signals to data acquisition systems for accurate acquisition. In addition, watch a demonstration on how to take power measurements.
  • Load, Pressure and Torque Measurements, 28th March, 10am and 2pm - Learn how to measure load and pressure using load cells and see how wheatstone bridges form the foundation of pressure, load and torque measurements. This webcast also explores concepts such as signal conditioning for load measurements and connecting a sensor to the instrument.

Strain sensors in monitoring of welding of “difficult” materials!

World leading manufacturer of resistance welding technology, Sciaky Electric Welding Machines Ltd, is using Kistler piezoelectric strain sensors to meet the demands of the aerospace industry for the precise monitoring of the welding process. The Kistler strain sensors are easier to fit, simpler to replace, more reliable and longer lasting than the load cells previously used.

With experience spread over 80 years and an impressive worldwide customer list, which includes most of the leading automobile and aerospace companies, Slough-based Sciaky has led the way in the development of resistance welding, especially of “difficult” materials. In particular, aerospace applications, where very clean aluminium and titanium are welded, demand reliable monitoring of the welding process. A critical parameter is the force exerted by the welding electrodes, which was previously measured by a load cell installed inside the ram connecting the weld cylinder to the electrode control mechanism. This required special machining and significant dismantling when replacement was needed. By contrast, the Kistler piezoelectric strain sensor, mounted externally on the main structure of the machine, requires only simple machining to provide a flat seating and a single tapped hole for mounting the sensor.

Unlike the load cell, the piezoelectric strain sensor measures the force at the electrodes indirectly by reference to the strain on the main body of the machine. The conversion from strain to force is achieved using a Kistler Type 5073A single channel industrial charge amplifier which is mounted on the machine remotely from the sensor.

In addition to fitting the sensors to new welding machines, Sciaky now retrofit the Kistler strain sensor whenever the old-style load cell needs replacing. According to Sciaky Managing Director, Louis Kunzig, the strain sensor is now fitted as standard to all Sciaky Resistance welding machines supplied for aerospace applications and for critical applications, such as manufacturing steering components, in the automobile industry.

World's first on-line Guided Wave Radar integrity testing!

The world’s first on-line Guided Wave Radar (GWR) transmitter and probe testing function has been introduced by Emerson. The Verification Reflector function, now available with the Rosemount® 5300 Series GWR transmitters, is designed for applications requiring periodical transmitter integrity tests to ensure that the level measurement device functions correctly and overfilling will not occur.
The 5300 with Verification Reflector enables automated transmitter integrity tests without stopping the process or manually raising the product level in the vessel. This helps to reduce the risk of accidental spills and enables either device verification or proof-testing to be completed much faster. There is no need to climb the tank to remove the test measurement device or open the tank to monitor levels. This helps to reduce costs, increase plant uptime and improve staff safety.

In the past, most guided wave radar transmitters have required the fluid level in the vessel to be raised to the alarm point. The fluid has to be moved in and out of the tank under test - increasing the risk of spills. The process can take up to half a day to complete, which can interrupt normal activities. The process needs to be supervised by operators to monitor the tank level - increasing health and safety risks due to the possibility of exposure to the tank contents.

The Verification Reflector function eliminates the need for this procedure by using an adjustable reference reflector fitted to the probe of the guided wave radar. During commissioning, the location and amplitude characteristics of the reflector are stored in the transmitter. When the test procedure is later initiated, the stored reflector data is compared to the current measurement to verify the integrity of the measurement electronics and upper part of the probe.

Compared with traditional diagnostics that only monitor the transmitter electronics, the verification reflector can also be used to diagnose any problems with the upper parts of the probe inside the tank. These include product build-up, corrosion monitoring and other process related conditions. During the test, the transmitter will output a level corresponding to the reflector position, which can be used to verify the integrity of the transmitter output.

The Test function shows that the guided wave radar has been correctly configured and confirms that the alarm loop is working with a reflector level being displayed in the control room. In addition, the Test function can be accessed remotely using Emerson’s Rosemount Radar Master software package.

Easy to fit and adjust, the Verification Reflector is suitable for Rosemount 5300 Series guided wave radars with single flexible stainless steel probes (4 mm) and firmware 2.H0 or higher, with the software option enabled. The reflector can also be retrofitted to existing devices to this specification.

Rosemount 5300 Series GWR level transmitters provide highly accurate and reliable direct level measurement. They are easy to install and are virtually unaffected by changing process conditions. With no moving parts, maintenance requirements are minimised. A wide choice of materials and process connections, and a broad range of accessories and probe styles make them suitable for a wide range of applications. They are capable of handling the most challenging applications including process vessels, control and safety.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Powerful Powerlink connectivity in the new Anybus CompactCom 40-series!

Powerlink is an industrial Ethernet network originating from the Austrian automation company B+R. It is now receiving recognition from many manufacturers of automation products and systems around the world.

It is one of the first networks to be offered in the new Anybus CompactCom 40-series which will be released in April. The CompactCom 40-series allows very fast and accurate communication between the host device and Powerlink. Communication speed and reliability are important since Powerlink networks are often used for demanding industrial applications such as synchronized servo drive systems. The CompactCom 40-series Powerlink products come in three different formats – chip, brick and module – and are all equipped with the same software interface from the host device. This enables full flexibility for customers when preparing their automation product for CompactCom.

"We see Powerlink as an important network in the future, especially among device manufacturers and machine builders that need high performance network technology that combines reliability and fast data transfer," comments Leif Malmberg, Product Line Manager, embedded at HMS. "We get many requests for Powerlink connectivity from around the world, especially from the Central European markets. Therefore, we are now pleased to be able to offer connectivity to Powerlink in our newest series of embedded products. The new Anybus CompactCom 40-series will allow device manufacturers to get connected to Powerlink with a single development project and at the same time get connectivity to 19 other networks."

Technical highlights
The Anybus CompactCom 40-series enables fast communication between the host device and Powerlink - process data latency is less than 15µs and it allows up to 1500 bytes of process data in each direction. The CompactCom 40-series in chip, brick and module format comes with an integrated Ethernet hub implemented in the Anybus NP40 network processor and supports Multiplexing and PollResponseChaining. It has a response time of 1µs (time from Pollrequest to PollResponse) and a synchronization jitter of max. 1µs.

Connectivity to any network with Anybus

Anybus CompactCom is the most widely used concept for industrial multi-network connectivity world-wide. By implementing Anybus CompactCom, device manufacturers can achieve instant connectivity to 20 industrial networks including Powerlink, by simply plugging in the corresponding Anybus product. This opens new business opportunities for the device manufacturers and widens their market considerably.

What is Anybus CompactCom?
Anybus CompactCom is a series of industrial network interfaces which are integrated into an industrial device to offer connectivity to different industrial networks. CompactCom comes in chip, brick or module format, allowing the user to choose level of integration. The Anybus CompactCom 30-series is already in use in millions of industrial automation devices. The new 40-series will be released to the market in April 2014.

Huge load cell for China!

LCM Systems has won a contract to supply a 2000te TCA tension and compression load cell to China – the largest in the company’s history.

This impressive load cell was ordered through Modern Hero Technologies, one of LCM’s distributors in China and has now been delivered and installed in one of China’s materials testing Institutes. The load cell will be used as part of a certified test machine set up for analysing the tensile and compressive strength of a wide range of materials, including wire cables.

“When the tender specifications came in, we knew that it would be challenge.” says Steve Sargeant, Managing Director at LCM Systems. “However, our design team is always up for a challenge, especially as this load cell would be the largest tension and compression we had manufactured.”

Quality of the manufacturing process was also key to LCM Systems winning the order. The company has a proven track record for the design and manufacture of customised load cells and together with the fact that the load cell would be manufactured under strict quality controlled procedures made them the engineering company of choice for the project.

The project went without any hitches and was delivered on time and within budget. LCM Systems’ design team are now looking for their next “biggest” challenge.

Do you have one?

Managing remote & central office fibre network connections!

B&B Electronics has developed a modular generation of its Carrier-grade, intelligent, four-port IE-iMcV-MultiWay Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter that can install in AC or DC internal-powered chassis. The modular version joins the company's existing DIN-Rail or wall-bracket-mountable standalone version for managing remote devices and central office network connections in the security, traffic and remote-monitoring markets. Both versions are designed for use as CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) devices at the network edge as well as in fibre infrastructures, and feature rugged temperature specs (-40 to +85 C). The modular converter, developed for customers who have invested in chassis-based infrastructure to help them maximize their cost per slot, can be installed in low or high-density-port chassis, including those offering extended temperature.

With two SFP (Small Form Pluggable) fibre uplink ports and two 10/100/1000 Mbps Base-T copper ports, Ethernet network administrators can connect various devices using both copper ports and one fibre port, while designating the other fibre port for the secure network connection. SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) and other troubleshooting capabilities provide functionality similar to that of a Layer 2/3 switch, offering a cost effective alternative to these traditional fibre switches.

The IE-iMcV-MultiWay is geared towards enterprise gigabit networking applications where there is a need to securely move large amounts of data over long distances of fibre with remote management, and to reduce onsite visits for troubleshooting network equipment. Such geographically dispersed enterprises and applications include ISPs, Telco’s, municipalities (traffic signals and digital signage), and all kinds of physical security (surveillance cameras, building access systems, alarms).

A Swiss-army-knife-type tool for network connectivity and management, the IE-iMcV-MultiWay can play multiple roles: managed fibre termination, fibre repeater, mode converter, multi-port switch, dual independent media converter and media converter with 1+1 redundant fibre uplink.

The IE-iMcV-MultiWay can mimic a traditional fibre switch and serve as a central office infrastructure connection with the troubleshooting functionality expected by today’s network administrators to avoid unnecessary truck rolls. It offers status monitoring (interface and RMON1 statistics, OAM status and control) with management on all ports via SNMP. Part of the IEEE 802.3ah and 802.1ag standard, OAM (Operations, Administration and Management) defines how to manage, monitor and test network equipment. Also included is port-based VLAN and VLAN trunks, IEEE 802.1ad (Q-in-Q) and a user definable EtherType.

Included is B&B’s free, GUI-based SNMP management software, iView2, which allows easy configuration and management of remote network nodes from a central management host. iView2 runs standalone on Windows NT/XP/2000/7 or as a Web Server running under IIS.

IE-iMcV-MultiWay in Action:
A Brazilian city’s transportation department responsible for its subways, ships, boats and buses needed to add IP video surveillance equipment to its network to better monitor and manage people movement.
Networking the remote IP surveillance cameras to the central office had requirements and challenges; the cameras would be outdoors, needed remote management capabilities and secure connectivity up to 30Km away. The customer had already invested in a chassis-based media converter infrastructure and preferred a DC power-based solution for high reliability. Additionally, the video collected at the copper-port-based cameras would have to be converted for long distance fibre optic transmission back to the copper-port-based servers at the central office.

The solution:
Install B&B Electronics’ iMcV-Gigabit copper-to-fibre media converters in the existing six-slot chassis to connect the two central office servers. At both camera locations, a four-port B&B IE-iMcV-MultiWay converter with SNMP and rugged temperature specs was installed in an extended-temperature, DC-powered chassis, and then housed in a NEMA enclosure at the base of a pole where the IP camera was mounted on top. One copper port on the MultiWay at each camera location connected the copper-port-based IP camera at the top of its pole. The fibre connection then emanated from the converter installed at the central office, connecting point-to-point through the two fibre ports on each MultiWay converter installed at each camera, and then continued back to the central office.

Mobile material logistics software!

A live, hands-on demonstration of the Aegis FactoryLogix mobile material logistics module, inStock will be possible at next week's APEX in Las Vegas (NV USA), (March 25-27). Visitors will learn how this simple and intuitive handheld scanning solution significantly improves operational efficiency and accuracy in stockrooms that typically rely on fixed computer terminals or paper-based material management.

inStock utilises the convenience of a pocket-sized Motorola MC40 mobile computer with a modern, touchscreen interface to scan inventory into valid/approved stock locations, providing users with instant access to each part instance, quantity and location.

When material is required for a job, inStock users are guided through the kitting process with digital pick lists that are grouped by their destination on the factory floor, and sorted for efficient picking in the stock area. Once assigned to a kit, this material is removed from stock and its location is tracked through the entire manufacturing process, and available for immediate lookup.

“inStock leverages the decades of materials logistics expertise of our colleagues from our diplan acquisition in 2012” explains John Walls, Chief Technology Officer at Aegis. “Our engineering teams in the US and Germany worked closely to integrate the diplan software with our FactoryLogix Manufacturing Operations System, which then allowed us to rapidly develop the mobile application our customers were looking for.”

Biogas always under control!

OPTISONIC 7300 Biogas is a dedicated flowmeter for biogas applications from Krohne. The device is a specialised version of the OPTISONIC 7300 ultrasonic gas flowmeter for process gas applications.

To flow measurement, biogas presents a number of challenges such as low pressure and low flow rates and changes in gas composition: it contains 50-70 vol% of methane depending on the bio feedstock and process. The remaining part is CO2 (30-50 vol%) and small amounts of H2S, O2 and N2. While further downstream the gas may be compressed to 100 mbarg, the pressure is typically only 50-60 mbarg when measuring raw biogas e.g. directly after the fermentation. Here, biogas is also saturated with water and when the gas cools down, 5-6 vol% of free liquid water may appear in the pipeline. Temperature typically ranges from little over ambient temperature up to 50°C / 122°F. Backflow may appear in this applications, also scaling of bacteria can occur in the flowmeter. Also, process conditions are variable, e.g. when measurement is done directly after the fermentation, sudden temperature drops can occur when new sludge is fed into the fermentation tank.

Various flow measurement principles have been tested in these applications: while DP flowmeters (orifice plates) are not used due to the high pressure drop provided, Vortex flowmeters struggle with very low pressures and flow velocities, and thermal mass flowmeters are limited when water is present in the gas. Although ultrasonic is the only principle that is able to measure backflow, ultrasonic flowmeters are challenged by high damping of the acoustic signals by CO2 and high water content. In combination with a high price in relation to the other principles this has limited their use for biogas so far.

This unit has been specially designed to overcome the limitations of the ultrasonic principle here: while its signal transducers provide a stronger ultrasonic signal into the gas, its specialised signal processing allows for a better detection of small, strongly dampened acoustic signals. This and the mechanical design of transducers and transducer pockets makes the measurement insensitive to liquid water and biological scaling.

It features a maintenance-free full bore flow sensor without any moving parts. As H2S provides a corrosive solution when dissolved in water, the measuring tube is made of stainless steel 1.4404/316L and transducers are made of NACE-approved grade 29 Titanium for maximum corrosion resistance. OPTISONIC 7300 Biogas is equipped with lap joint flanges to lower its overall weight as biogas does not present high pressures and sometimes only plastic piping is used. The measurement accuracy is specified at 1% of actual measured flow rate, when calibrated with air, starting from 1 m/s / 3.28 ft/s flow velocity. When 2 % accuracy is sufficient, dry calibration can be selected as alternative at a significantly lower price.

Since the methane content of biogas may vary, it may be required for the operation of the biogas facility to know the exact methane content, e.g. when used as fuel for gas engines in a CHP unit. It features a built-in temperature sensor that in combination with the measured velocity of sound, enables direct measurement of methane content via calculation of the molar mass. OPTISONIC 7300 Biogas can also provide calculation of gas flow volume to standard conditions by using an additional pressure sensor. The electronics also include diagnostics to validate the functions of the flowmeter and the process. For output of the measured values, 4…20mA and pulse outputs are available. HART and Modbus (optional) are included for field communication.

The instrument is certified for use in explosive areas (zone 1). As in general no pressure drop is allowed in biogas pipelines, the device is available in common line sizes DN50, 80, 100, 150, 200 / 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8".

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

High flow capacity tank blanketing regulators!

Emerson  has released the T200 Series small-size tank blanketing regulators. This new series of regulators consists of three models: the T205 pressure reducing tank blanketing regulator – non-balanced trim; the T205B pressure-reducing tank blanketing regulator – balanced trim; and the T208 pressure relief tank blanketing regulator.

The latest tank blanketing sizing guidelines (ISO 28300 and API 2000) take into account additional factors than mere pumping in and out and temperature changes. They include factors such as the latitude, average storage temperature, vapour pressure, and insulation. These changes in flow requirements may result in greater flow capacity, which is provided with the new T200 Series.

Storage tanks fluctuate in pressure as content is pumped in or out and as the temperature increases or decreases. Tank blanketing regulators such as the T200 Series ensure proper vapour pressure in liquid storage tanks by adding blanketing gas or relieving tank vapour. This is important for safety, product quality and the environment.

Bright ideas for measuring!

IO-Link Provides Measurement Output Data in Millimeters

The days of complex single-beam evaluations for standard tasks and cumbersome configuration are over. The new LGM Series measuring light grid is the latest member in the Pepperl+Fuchs family of automation light grids.
The new LGM Series measuring
light grids provide the measured
values directly in millimeters

"What makes this product stand head and shoulders above other measuring light grids on the market are the 16 predefined measuring options that are integrated into the unit," says Carsten Roth, Product Manager. "Users can select the optimum mode for their application from the evaluation methods and receive direct measured values in millimeters, such as the object height, lowest or highest object position, sum, average, etc."

The values are digitally transmitted at extremely fast cycle times, even with beam crossover activated, using IO-Link, which enables convenient commissioning and maintenance from the control level. Parameterization and configuration are completed via a PC—no external programmer, no additional software.

The LGM light grids have an ultra-low profile to fit into tight spaces. Innovative, tool-free mounting accessories make installation, alignment, and replacement fast and easy. The IP67 aluminum housing withstands harsh environmental conditions even at cold-storage temperatures.
The LGM is available with various resolutions and field heights up to 3200 mm, permitting large measuring ranges.

"Unlike complex products with single-beam output that evaluate each beam," says Roth, "these measuring light grids provide measured values in millimeters without time-consuming calculations and set new standards with their compact design, functionality, and unique price/performance ratio."

Power controller!

Provides outstanding stable and precise power control, meeting international quality, immunity and emissions standards

 Invensys Eurotherm has launched the new EFit SCR Power Controller. The EFit is an easy to integrate and commission power controller, providing no compromise on control for resistive and infrared heating elements.

Nicolas Ebel, Power Products Manager at Invensys Eurotherm explains how the EFit overcomes a number of challenges and achieves outstanding stable, precise control even in the most demanding of industrial environments.  He said: “There are many industrial processes such as heat treatment that require precise temperatures in order to comply with regulations and it is imperative that the work piece temperature is kept within specific limits. This can be difficult to achieve in industrial plants where the operation of large machinery can cause fluctuations in the voltage supply. With resistive heaters, for example, there can often be a variation of 10% in the supply voltage and this can generate a 20% variation in the power to the load, resulting in adverse temperature fluctuations.”

“EFit overcomes these issues as the power controller contains built in compensation that continues to apply stable power with better than ±2% linearity at the boundaries of the load, even during fluctuations in the supply.  The result is a reliable, repeatable heating process and high quality end products compliant to demanding heat treatment standards.”

Key features and benefits of EFit include

Connect Easily
  • Easy installation, just clip onto a DIN rail. Offers minimal connection with pre-wireable plug in connectors
  • Straightforward connection and commissioning to global standards; nothing to configure, simply plug and play
  • Compact dimensions make it suitable for both new and retrofit applications, and reduces cabinet costs
Control Precisely:
  • Built in power stabilisation and a variety of firing modes for different types of load, provides energy savings and high quality products
  • Precise control, including the elimination of voltage fluctuations, achieves tight tolerances and the ability to optimise energy use
  • Consistent high quality end products that comply to standards with no scrap or rework
Improve Processes:
  • Minimising downtime as EFit reliably operates in heavy industrial conditions, with high immunity to electromagnetic disturbances, maximising throughput and reducing the cost of ownership
  • Designed to give a fast stable response even in heavy industrial environments enabling continuously optimised heating processes with minimum downtime. This faster throughput improves OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and helps with the achievement of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
Standardise Globally:
  • Peace of mind for installers working in a global environment where industry regulations form an essential part of the engineering supply chain. The product is cUL approved, CE compliant to power controller product standards, and China RoHS.

Growth, innovation and leadership study in London!

Britain is projected by the Bank of England to be the fastest growing economy in the West by the end of 2014. How can industry leaders leverage this growth and make their businesses successful? The key trends driving growth will be analysed during Frost & Sullivan's GIL 2014: Europe that returns to London for its sixth consecutive year on Wednesday 14th May  in Kensington (London GB). Frost & Sullivan's Growth, Innovation and Leadership (GIL) Community of business leaders from all over Europe will gather to share ideas and strategies.

This year's congress will explore the very latest in business thinking, including an inspiring keynote by EIA Partner & Director Dorman Followwill. "The Frost & Sullivan Partner team that recently presented key UK trends to 10 Downing Street will explore UK-specific Mega Trends and other transformative forces that can drive growth as the UK economy heats up," 

Innovation continues to be at the core of Frost & Sullivan’s philosophy and strategic thinking. Mr Followwill's keynote will also focus on why innovation is critical to success, where innovation comes from, how to become a visionary innovator and what the next steps should be. "Whether you are inspired about future prospects or anxious about the impact the future may have, this research-based talk will bring some valuable insights to your life and future strategy," adds Dorman Followwill.

Frost & Sullivan will also present its multi Award-winning consultative sales and management development programme, Helix, that enabled a major European company to deliver an 18.5 percent increase in gross margin through a re-energised sales force focused on selling value.

The congress will kick off at 9 am with a welcome address by the Head of UK Operations, Partner Gary Jeffery.

Highlights will include:

  • The New Mega Trends - Macro to Micro Opportunities for Future Business, Cultures, and Personal Lives by Partner Sarwant Singh; 
  • Global Smart City Market – A $1.5 Trillion Market Opportunity by 2020, Industry Convergence Trends and Workshop, Exploring the Vortex of Innovation Driving New Concepts, Products and Services, and 
  • the 2014 Frost & Sullivan Growth Excellence Awards Banquet. 

Furthermore, Frost & Sullivan’s Industry Thought Leaders will present the key trends driving the ICT, Energy & Environment, Healthcare and Industrial sectors.

This annual one-day congress is part of Frost & Sullivan's exclusive GIL community that represents a worldwide network of over 5,000 senior executives.

Highly accurate humidity & temperature measurement for demanding climate control!

The new EE210 transmitter from E+E Elektronik has been developed for highly accurate measurement of relative humidity and temperature in demanding climate control applications. Excellent temperature compensation ensures outstanding accuracy over the entire temperature working range.

Besides relative humidity and temperature, EE210 calculates further physical quantities such as dew point temperature, absolute humidity and mixing ratio. Two of the measured and calculated values are available on the freely configurable analogue voltage or current outputs.

The combination of completely encapsulated measurement electronics inside the sensing probe and HCT01 humidity sensor with E+E proprietary protective coating enables the use of the EE210 even under harsh and aggressive environmental conditions.

The innovative enclosure of the EE210 provides outstanding protection against contamination. Thanks to the external mounting holes the housing remains closed during installation and so the electronics is protected from construction site pollution or mechanical damage. At the same time the installation costs are minimized.

Up to three individually selectable measurement values can be shown simultaneously on the optional display. The smooth cover surface avoids accumulation of dust in protruding edges.

EE210 transmitters are available for wall or duct mounting. Typical applications are agriculture (stables, incubators, hatchers, green houses), storage rooms, cooling chambers or indoor pools.

• E+E Elektronik products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

SEMI F47-0706 compliant power supplies!

The UltiMod and Xgen families of power supplies, from Excelsys Technologies, are now compliant to SEMI F47, an essential standard requirement for Semiconductor Processing Voltage Sag Immunity.

Factory automation equipment requires very high levels of power quality due to the sensitivity of the fabrication equipment and process controls. “Semiconductor processing equipment, in particular, can be vulnerable to voltage sags on the input line” says Dermot Flynn, Director of Sales for Excelsys, “The UltiMod and Xgen families compliance to SEMI F47, ensures that our customers equipment, and their customers semiconductor production, are unaffected by voltage dips or sags”.

A voltage sag (or dip) is defined as a decrease in rms voltage or current below 90% of nominal for durations of half an AC cycle to one minute, but not a complete interruption. Voltage sags can have many causes such as severe weather conditions, utility equipment operations or failures as well as adjacent customers power demands. Many of us will have seen the effects of voltage sag (such as momentary dimming of incandescent lights), but in a production environment input voltage sag can cause a production shutdown, leading to significant revenue losses.

The SEMI F47-0706 standard defines minimum voltage sag immunity requirements for equipment to be used in the semiconductor industry. These immunity requirements state that the equipment must operate without interruption during voltage sags that are specified by sag depth (in percent of nominal voltage remaining during the sag) and voltage sag duration (in cycles or seconds).

The UltiMod and Xgen families meet the required Voltage Sag Immunity of 200ms at 50% Voltage Sag as well as meeting 20ms hold up for a complete loss of input line voltage.

Boasting the highest reliability, Excelsys power supplies come with the Industry leading 5 year warranty coupled with the leading efficiency specification of up to 92%. UltiMod and Xgen can be populated with up to 6 off the shelf powerMod output modules which have power ratings of 72W to 288W and can supply any combination of voltages from 1.5V to 58V. All outputs are fully isolated and may be connected in series or parallel for maximum flexibility and all are individually adjustable over a wide range. All possible output configurations carry full safety agency approvals, UL60950, EN60950 and are CE marked. All models have a permanently on 5VDC bias/standby voltage, power good LED indicators and individual output module control signals.

Applications for Excelsys UltiMod and Xgen user configurable modular power supplies include: Wafer Fabrication, Optical Inspection, Wire bonding, and Automated Test Equipment

Monday, March 17, 2014

Binary gas analyser!

Michell Instruments has launched a new binary gas analyser – the XTC601 Thermal Conductivity Analyser. It uses thermal conductivity technology to detect percent levels of a target gas mixed with another background gas.

The introduction of this instrument extends Michell’s current gas analysis offering of moisture and Oxygen for both process and industrial markets. The measured gases now available are: Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Argon, Helium, Nitrogen, Hydrogen and Air, as either target or background gases.

Typical applications would be: H2 Generator cooling systems (Power Generation), H2 in heat treatment furnaces (Metals), H2 in NH3, Methanol or Chlorine (Chemical), CO2 in fermentation process (Food), CO2 in Biogas, H2 in Blast Furnace top gas (Steel), H2 in Hydrocarbons (Petrochemical), He recovery (Industrial gas) or N2 in CO2 (Industrial Gas).

The key advantages of the XTC601 binary gas analyser is its low cost of ownership and compact dimensions (particularly in Ex d format). Thermal conductivity sensors are non-depleting which gives the analyzer minimal maintenance costs, and long term reliable operation.

The analyser provides measurements with an accuracy of 2% full scale and a stability of ±0.5% per month of span. The sensor is highly flexible and is capable of measuring gases from 0-5% up to 0-100% (calibrated to suit application).

Michell are offering three variants of the XTC601 binary gas analyser, each available suitable for use in hazardous or general purpose areas. There is a base transmitter, a transmitter with status LEDs, and an analyzer with a display, touch screen buttons and an intuitive HMI to enable users to access the full operation of the analyser.

• Michell products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

2-wire transmitter offers frequency/pulse options & precise software control

Acromag’s newest addition to the TT230 series of space-saving thin transmitters is the TT239 frequency transmitter. Designed to deliver flexibility while maintaining optimal performance, it supports frequency, pulse, and pulse-width modulation (PWM) input signals. Precise configuration is simple with a convenient USB connection to a PC. With a rugged design, an operating temperature range of -40 to 80°C, electrical noise immunity, and surge protection the TT239 is ideal for many applications. Even hazardous locations are no threat with CE compliance and UL/cUL Class 1 Division 2 Zone 2 approval pending.

“We always strive to produce flexible products that can be easily tailored to a customer’s needs,” explained Robert Greenfield, process group sales and marketing director. “And the TT239 is no exception with its ability to satisfy unique requirements for frequency monitoring such as input/output scaling, thresholds, sample averaging, update rates as fast as 10ms, and so on.”

Each unit accommodates a variety of signal types selected in the configuration software. The TT239 interfaces unipolar and bipolar input signals with amplitudes up to 120Vrms (±170V DC) and frequencies up to 100KHz. It effortlessly converts the input signals to a proportional current output of 4-20mA. The software lets you select whether you measure input frequency or duty cycle, as well as precisely scale input ranges for full resolution. Its USB-to-PC connection for software-driven configuration makes setting ranges and calibration easier, more accurate, and very reliable.

The TT230 series process signal converters support source and sink output wiring, with power being received from the output loop current or a DC supply when using a three-wire connection. Installation and maintenance of this 2-wire transmitter is fast and simple with front-facing removable terminal blocks. Its slim design, of only 12.5mm wide, enables high-density mounting in tight spaces with quick attachment to a DIN rail via a spring clip.

All TT230 models deliver high accuracy, stability, surge suppression, noise immunity, and fast response. They also withstand 25g shock and 4g vibration to deliver dependable operation in hostile environments. Built to AS9100 aerospace and ISO 9001 certified quality control standards and backed by a 2-year warranty, you can rely on Acromag’s instruments for long-lasting superior performance, even under the toughest conditions.

Acromag has designed and manufactured measurement and control products for more than 50 years. With a headquarters near Detroit, Michigan and a global network of sales representatives and distributors, Acromag products are sold worldwide. They offer a complete line of industrial I/O products including process instruments, signal conditioning equipment, data acquisition boards, distributed I/O modules, and network communication devices. Industries served include manufacturing, water services, power generation, mining, defense, and transportation.

Food & Pharma symposium!

More than 70 automation and control professionals gathered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA last week at the inaugural ISA Food and Pharmaceuticals Industries Division (FPID) Symposium to learn how to address emerging serialization requirements and supply chain processes that are driving major changes in global food and pharmaceuticals distribution.

A view of ISA's impressive HQ at RTP
Research Triangle Park, a globally acclaimed epicenter of high-tech research and development, served as the ideal setting for the symposium given that it is home to many prominent, industry-leading pharmaceutical companies as well as to ISA headquarters. In addition to featuring 23 expert speaker and technical presentations with panel discussions, a well-represented vendor exhibit, and two ISA training courses, the event included tours of local companies so attendees could view first hand many of the recommended automation processes and techniques discussed.

During the two-day symposium, noted experts and guest speakers explained the importance of automation to reduce errors and implement enhanced serialization controls to improve tracking and tracing throughout distribution channels. Specific technologies and methodologies were discussed along with examples of their use. Many of the most effective approaches involve highly coordinated strategies that incorporate automation, supply chain management, and information analysis and security.
Delegates during a break in the main entrance area of ISA HQ
Two highly popular ISA training courses were conducted during the two-day event: Implementing Enterprise/Control Integration Using ANSI/ISA95 Standards (IC55C) and Introduction to Applying the Batch Control Standard ANSI/ISA88.01 (IC40C).

“Our team really enjoyed the conference,” says Eric V. Mayer of Avid Solutions, a developer of automation and information solutions. “The quality of the presentations was outstanding and right on point with the theme and focus of the conference. We were impressed with the experience and expertise of the attendees, many of whom were high-level engineers and technologies with substantial experience in the automation and MES industry.”
John Hamel of Parsec Automation Corp., a developer of real-time operations and performance management software, echoed these comments, saying the meeting was “well organized with great presentations. We look forward to attending future ISA FPID events.”

Assisting ISA headquarters in conducting this year’s symposium were the Tar Heel Section of ISA, which provided numerous volunteers, and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), which contributed valuable technical content and served as an event sponsor and exhibitor.

In addition to the technical sessions and training opportunities, attendees were treated to:

Tours of two area companies, Biogen Idec and Lonerider Brewery
Attendees received a first-hand look the US Manufacturing and Patient Services Operations of Biogen Idec’s RTP-based facility. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is the world’s oldest independent biotechnology company. The company discovers therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, hemophilia and autoimmune disorders. Patients worldwide benefit from its leading multiple sclerosis therapies.

Attendees also made a tour of the Lonerider Brewery beer-making operations in Raleigh, NC. The conference visitors witnessed all stages of the beer-brewing and bottling processes.

An award ceremony
At a conference award ceremony, Andre Michel was named 2013 ISA FPID Member of the Year for his contributions as division webmaster and editor of ISA’s FPID newsletter.

Two networking luncheons and an exhibitors’ reception
Two networking luncheons were held, providing attendees the opportunity to mingle and interact personally with colleagues as well as conference presenters.

In addition, an exhibitors’ reception enabled leading vendors to demonstrate their newest products and services in a casual, social setting. Participating exhibitors included Avanceon, ESP, Laetus, Parsec Automation, Mangan, Rockwell Automation, Brilling Systems, Inc., Avid Solutions, Prime Technologies, the ISPE Carolina-South Atlantic Chapter and the Tar Heel Section of ISA.

Next year!
ISA is pleased to announce that next year’s ISA FPID Symposium will take place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in early March. Symposium and division leaders are already recruiting volunteers, participants and speakers for the event. Updates and more information will be posted on the ISA website.

Aircraft lightning protection testing!

A major British manufacturer of aircraft engine control units recently awarded Pickering Interfaces a contract for a large quantity of High-Density PXI Multiplexers (model #40-651) as the switching solution for use in its new automated production test systems. These systems will be used to test FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Controller) lightning-strike protection components on Airbus’ A330 and A350 as well as Boeing’s Dreamliner aircraft.

The customer needed to test the transient-voltage-suppression diodes, or transorbs, used to protect the FADEC’s sensitive electronics from very fast voltage spikes induced on connected wires following a lightning strike on the aircraft. Due to the quantity of transorbs that needed to be tested (one on every I/O connection of the FADEC), a large number of high-power multiplexers were required to connect the UUT to the test instrumentation.

The customer required a compact, modular test architecture for scalability and ease of maintenance and selected PXI as their preferred platform. With no high-density PXI multiplexers of the required performance commercially available, the customer approached Pickering (a preferred PXI switch supplier) to discuss their options. Pickering’s engineers subsequently designed, built and tested a new PXI multiplexer to their specification. Following a successful trial of the initial prototype, Pickering worked closely with the customer to simplify the test system wiring by adding a second connector to the multiplexer for the MUX common connections. This led to a preliminary order for 84 multiplexer modules, with additional future requirements planned.

The 40-651 High-Density PXI Multiplexer is a COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) product and is available worldwide.

Expert in embedded PC systems acquired.

Adlink Technology has acquiresd 100% of PENTA GmbH in Germany for approximately €5.4m following a board resolution on 12th March 2014.

Established in 1994 and located in Deggendorf and Puchheim, Germany, PENTA has about 40 employees with a predominantly R&D and technical background. PENTA has extensive experience and know-how in the design and manufacture of medical embedded PC systems and monitors. The company promotes its products with the well-known brand through established sales networks in vertical markets that require high quality products for critical applications such as medical, industrial automation or food & beverage.

"By leveraging PENTA's solid design methodology and manufacturing capabilities, ADLINK's medical product line can be effectively improved; this will also help to enable access to adjacent markets with similar critical requirements.” – stated Jim Liu (picture left), CEO of ADLINK – “Furthermore, the synergy of this acquisition with respect to global sales, improved production control, market development and product comprehensiveness will be brought into full play. With the addition of PENTA's technical team, ADLINK will be able to provide better support to its worldwide customers in Europe and increase its global market share in medical market."

Helmut Müller and Walter Steinbeißer, founders and managing directors of PENTA concur that joining the ADLINK group will allow to quickly generate several synergies, which will result in benefits for the customers. "A shared strong focus on innovation and quality, as well as high flexibility and customer orientation combined with the already existing global setup of ADLINK makes it now possible to optimally serve customers with high-tech products on a worldwide basis,“ explained Helmut Müller.

"With the deep vertical integration of ADLINK we are able to offer our customers standard products, semi-custom and OEM products while covering the entire spectrum from electronics development all the way to the fully assembled and tested device. All from a single company, this translates into a notably high investment security“, commented Walter Steinbeißer.