Friday, April 11, 2014

Thickness gauge!

Yokogawa's WEBFREX3ES online thickness gauge is included with Faustel’s battery electrode coating lines. The gauge is used to monitor the thickness of the coatings on the electrodes that are main components of lithium-ion batteries.

“As the performance of lithium-ion batteries improves and their production volumes increase, the specifications for measuring the thickness of electrode materials also change,” said Jay Totten, Technology Center Manager at Faustel. “Thickness gauges must now operate faster than ever as electrode manufacturers strive to speed up production lines and improve production efficiency to meet growing demand.”

Modern lithium-ion batteries contain metal foil bases for the anode and cathode, which are thinly and uniformly coated with an electrode coating. The WEBFREX3ES gauge specifications are optimized to measure the thickness of electrode coatings directly on the coating line. Gauges can be installed wherever required, such as between coating machines. The WEBREX3ES’s compact frame allows it to be installed in tight spaces often found in battery electrode production facilities.

System Configuration
WEBFREX3ES consists of up to five frames, which accommodate a Beta-ray type sensor, a measurement manager station to generate coat weight profiles, operator stations, and a profile stack server. The system is equipped with various functions provided for the battery electrode process, including high-speed and high-precision synchronization scanning, automatic identification of coated or non-coated parts, zone trend panel, profile data tracking and a material coefficient window. All major components are originally developed and manufactured at Yokogawa factories under the high quality control policy proven by their highly reliable DCS and field instruments.

Web interface made even better!

VeriSens Software 2.4 with new functionalities

The Baumer VeriSens vision sensors are now come with latest 2.4 software of the VeriSens Application Suite.

This first configurable web interface for vision sensors by Baumer is setting a milestone in simplified creation of human-machine interfaces. Software update 2.4 provides an even further enhanced user interface for more convenient touch operation. Enlarged buttons and short info texts on the related feature checks support the user who often is confronted with small-sized operating panels. Now, the OEM can even configure the VeriSens web interface to match the customer’s corporate identity specifications such as corporate colors and logos.

Easy to operate, the web interface will be configured within a few minutes and in parallel will enhance performance also in conjunction with still commonly used old generation browsers. Now, there is also more to some selected feature checks. The new, high-performance pattern comparison is intuitive to operate and opens up new application potential in packaging control. Enhanced backup and restore functionalities allow utilizing the FTP server not only for defect images but also for backup.

A software update will upgrade all VeriSens models of the XF, XC ID and CS series which are already used in the field with the new feature package.

Fluke Motors & Drives and Process Tools seminars!

Fluke is offering a series of free Motors & Drives Seminars, and a series of Process Tools Seminars, as part of its programme of seminars for 2014 throughout Britain and Ireland. Designed to help maintenance technicians become more effective at troubleshooting motors and motor drives, or technicians / engineers to troubleshoot and calibrate process instruments, the seminars are part of the Fluke Academy programme.

The content of the Motors and Drives Seminars is aimed at helping maintenance technicians (electromechanical technicians, electricians) become more effective at troubleshooting motors and motor drives, and ultimately helping reduce downtime and save on costly repair bills. During the Motors and Drives Seminars the participants will learn:
  • + How to quickly isolate a fault down to a component level
  • + How to facilitate a quick and cost effective repair
  • + How to diagnose a problem (is it a component failure, installation problem or potentially an application performance issue?)
  • + To gain insights in typical fault conditions in a motor system
  • + To take key measurements and use troubleshooting techniques
  • + The basics of interpreting results.
The content of the Process Tools Seminars is designed for instrumentation technicians / engineers to experience how process instruments operate, why they need calibration, and to practice troubleshooting and calibrating process instruments live in a practical workshop. During the Process Seminars participants will learn:
  • + An introduction to Process Calibration
  • + How to set up a Calibration procedure
  • + Practical mA troubleshooting exercises
  • + mA Loop troubleshooting, background tips and tricks
  • + About pressure transmitters and switches
  • + Practical pressure transmitter calibration exercises
  • + About temperature and temperature calibration
  • + Temperature transmitter calibration exercises
  • + Background on Documenting Calibration
  • + HART – “digital calibration” what is that?
Other seminars in the Fluke Academy programme cover power quality improvement; one designed to help facilities reduce their energy costs; and how to make the best use of thermography. 

The web page also provides access to webinars and webcasts that provide online training to obtain the maximum benefit in the application of thermal imagers, power quality meters and portable oscilloscopes, as well as highlighting training courses with partner institutions. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Automation Group lauded for industry advocacy!

Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council, a global business leadership network dedicated to senior executives in the manufacturing industry, recently recognised the Automation Federation as one of 100 world-class manufacturing companies in its 2014 Leadership 100 Awards (ML100 Awards) program.

Now in its 10th year, the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program honors companies and individuals that are shaping the future of global manufacturing. The 2014 ML Awards panel of expert judges concluded that Automation Federation has demonstrated excellence in promoting “Cybersecurity for Operational Technology in Industry Advocacy Leadership,” one of the awards program’s most competitive categories.

The Manufacturing Leadership Council, on its website, refers to cybersecurity as one of the critical issues facing manufacturing: “Both small and large manufacturing enterprises are becoming increasingly technology-enabled, and technology-dependent, in the way they run their businesses. All face rising challenges in understanding and responding to a host of new digital vulnerabilities and national regulations. Such cyber threats may take the form of internal disruption, accidental or deliberate, partner network security breaches, and outright external hacking and attack. Protecting a manufacturing company’s most valuable physical, digital and intellectual assets from cyber disruption is now essential to operational continuity and corporate security in today’s digital business world.”
Throughout 2013, The Automation Federation, the umbrella organisation of the International Society of Automation (ISA), has been a strong and vocal advocate for the use of ISA’s industrial automation and control systems (IACS) cybersecurity standards (ISA/IEC 62443) in better protecting industry and critical infrastructure from cyberattack.

The Automation Federation has played a critical role in the development of the US Cybersecurity Framework, a how-to guide for American industry and operators of critical infrastructure to strengthen their cyber defenses. In fact, ever since US President Obama called for the formation of the framework just over a year ago, representatives of the Automation Federation have been advising the Obama administration—at the White House's request—on the value of ISA’s industrial cybersecurity standards and the importance of incorporating them as core framework guidelines.

The Automation Federation is currently co-sponsoring a series of seminars throughout the US that are designed to better educate manufacturing and industrial leaders about the US Cybersecurity Framework and encourage their assistance in the plan’s implementation.

Cybersecurity experts across the globe regard ISA's IACS security standards as essential safeguards because they focus on proper control system functioning, plant protection and operations, and time-critical systems response. Without these safeguards in place, industrial cyberattack can result in plant shutdown, operational and equipment impairment, significant economic and environmental damage, and public endangerment.

“The Automation Federation is honoured to be recognised for its efforts in raising awareness around the need to better defend America’s critical assets from the serious risks posed by cyberwarfare,” says Michael Marlowe, Automation Federation Managing Director and Government Relations Director. “While no one can prevent industrial cyber attacks, you can significantly reduce your vulnerabilities. That’s why ISA cybersecurity standards are so valuable. They’re proven to mitigate and minimize the consequences.”

All recipients of the ML100 Awards will be honored during an awards ceremony at the 2014 Manufacturing Leadership Summit, which will be held 3-5 June 2014 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA.

IO-Link master.

Siemens has developed a new IO-Link master for its Simatic S7-1200 controller, based on the current IO-Link specification V1.1. The IO-Link master is a module of the S7-1200 controller and connects field devices to the controller via IO-Link.

The field device parameters are automatically backed up in the controller. If the field device has to be replaced, all the parameters are automatically transferred to the new component, so the user does not need to back up the data. The new IO-Link master supports the rapid COM3 mode, provided as an option in the standard device, for short response times or for handling extensive data sets, as well as supporting devices with V1.0 IO-Link specifications.

Thanks to the industry-wide IO-Link standard, switching devices and sensors can be connected to the control level with a low-cost point-to-point link.

One of the world’s most compact frequency inverters.

WEG has added the CFW100 mini frequency inverter to its line of frequency inverters. This compact inverter is available in three sizes (A, B and C) for rated motor power from 0,18 to 0,75 kW and rated current from 1.6 to 4.2 A. With a height of 100 to 126 mm, a width of 55 mm and a depth of 129 mm, the CFW100 units are among the smallest frequency inverters currently available offering many applications at the user’s fingertips.

The mini frequency inverters with integrated micro-PLC are particularly suited to simple technical applications in the commercial and consumer sector, such as swimming pool pumps, motorised hospital beds, lift doors and fitness equipment, as well as small fans or mixing machines and special-purpose machines. With its combination of extensive functionality and extremely small size, the CFW100 is easy to integrate into electrical cabinets and machines. This gives users an especially compact and cost-effective solution for controlling the speed of three-phase induction motors.

Along with the integrated micro-PLC, which supports IEC 61131-3 compatible programming, the CFW100 features an intuitive human-machine interface (HMI) with an LCD display. The plug-and-play design of the new frequency inverter makes installation and commissioning especially easy. As part of the modular CFW100 platform architecture, WEG offers various plug-in base terminals, including USB and Modbus RTU communication interfaces, to facilitate easy access to major field bus systems such as Modbus, DeviceNet or CANopen. Extension modules are also available to enable remote control of the device with an HMI/keypad or an infrared remote control. An optional flash memory card with integrated copy and paste functions allows parameter data sets to be saved and transferred conveniently. A Bluetooth link can also be implemented with an accessory plug-in module. The low-maintenance device concept additionally includes an easily replaceable ventilation module for size B and C units.

The CFW100 operates three-phase motors from single-phase 200 to 240 V supply (50/60 Hz). It has an overload capacity of 150% of rated current for an interval of 60 seconds every 10 minutes. Voltage vector control (VVC) and V/f characteristic curve control are supported for driving three-phase induction motors. The CFW100 has electronic thermal protection capability to prevent motor overheating and four digital inputs as standard, with possibility to increase by expansion plug-in module. The enclosure protection rating is IP20, and the mini frequency inverter can be used at ambient temperatures up to 50°C without derating. Another bonus feature is the SuperDrive G2 setup software for free downloading on WEG website.

New head for Russian!

Servomex Group Ltd. has announced the appointment of Chingis Lalaev as Area Sales Manager - Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to head its newly established office in Moscow.

Chingis Lavlaev
Servomex’s General Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Luca Marinelli, said: “Russia has become a significant marketplace for Servomex in recent years. The opening of a new office and Lalaev’s appointment demonstrates our commitment to our customers across Russia and the former Soviet states. Lalaev’s long-term remit is to establish a Servomex Business Centre in Russia, which will provide the same world-class end-to-end consultation, sales, product delivery, support and training for customers that is our standard in Servomex Business Centers across all our key regions.”

Chingis joins Servomex from Turbocontrol – a Spektr company and channel partner of Servomex in Russia, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the new position. He said: “I am currently responsible for sales and business development across the region, whilst aiding customers with sales and technical support via our Channel Partners who are well established in the region and with the support and expertise of the global Servomex collaborative network.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Expansion for Romanian automation plant!

Investment in new facilities strengthens Emerson’s growing global manufacturing and engineering services network

Emerson Process Management is expanding the company’s existing manufacturing and engineering services campus in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The expansion includes a new 18,800 square-metre flow measurement manufacturing building. This €43.4 million (US$60 million) investment will help meet growing demand for the company’s flow measurement products and services in Europe and other regions.

Additionally, in the summer of 2014, Emerson Process Management moves into a separate, newly constructed €11.6 million facility on the Cluj campus that will be home to the Regional Project Engineering Centre and the European System Integration Centre for its PlantWeb™ Solutions Group. This facility will house up to 600 employees who provide engineering and support services for European control systems and automation projects, plus an initial 100 additional personnel to assemble and test control systems for projects throughout Europe.

“Our customers in Europe and elsewhere strive to improve efficiencies, meet safety and environmental regulations, and reduce energy use, and they are turning to Emerson for our technology and expertise to meet these goals,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. “Adding this new manufacturing capability and centralising our systems assembly and integration for DeltaV™ and Ovation™ systems in Cluj, as well as increasing our project management, engineering and sales support staff there, enable Emerson to better support our European customers and ensure improved response times for our product and service support across the region.”

The new flow technology manufacturing building will offer calibration, services and customer training facilities for Emerson Process Management’s Micro Motion®, Rosemount®, and Roxar® flow measurement technologies. This facility will provide modern and spacious production capabilities as well as offices for engineering and customer support services, and fulfil market demands for quality and traceable calibration. In addition, a state-of-the-art customer experience centre is planned that will incorporate training and meeting facilities, along with displays of Emerson technologies. The new facility adds to Emerson’s current European network of facilities, which includes an existing flow manufacturing and service centre in Ede, The Netherlands.

“These additional capabilities increase our flexibility and ability to manage our European customers’ most challenging needs,” said Sonnenberg. “With this strategic investment, we are committed to continually increasing our local expertise and improving our service levels to customers.”

Emerson’s Cluj-Napoca campus is now one of the parent company’s largest sites in Europe, currently employing more than 1,900 people. This location has proven to be an excellent choice for Emerson’s rapidly expanding production and knowledge centres due to the number of local technical and economic sciences universities and availability of highly qualified engineering professionals.

Emerson’s Cluj-Napoca campus currently manufactures Fisher® pressure regulators, Roxar flow metering and flow assurance products, Rosemount Analytical products, Leroy-Somer® power generators, Control Techniques electrical equipment for photovoltaic power plants, RIDGID® tools, and Appleton A.T.X. lighting fixtures and junction boxes for hazardous and adverse environments.

Everything you need to know about industrial climate control!

Rittal has produced a second guide book, ‘Enclosure and process cooling’. This handy publication from the Rittal Technology Library, provides information on a variety of topics, including the basic principles of climate control, energy saving opportunities and project planning, installation and operation - even for more complex applications.

Answers to many questions that are of interest to original equipment manufacturers, panel builders and end users alike, are explained comprehensively in this must-have book.

As well as product specific guidance on the removal of heat using air circulation, fan-and-filter units, air/air heat exchangers, thermoelectric coolers, cooling units and liquid-based cooling solutions, the accurate selection of climate control equipment using software tools is also covered.

Offering practical and useful tips on the installation and maintenance of cooling equipment, the guide book also draws on decades of experience of climate control solutions in industrial environments, to highlight typical errors and how working solutions may differ from those originally planned.

High-resolution light grid BLA!

Identify parts and determine positions

Balluff has developed a new, high-resolution light grid for optical object detection with a width of 50 mm and a range of up to 2 meters. Consisting of a transmitter with a high-performance redlight laser and a receiver, the device works completely self-sufficiently, without additional accessories such as PC or special software. All settings can be made via a display in the receiver.

The high resolution of 0.01 mm opens up many application possibilities. Evaluated are not only the light quantity of the especially homogeneous red laser light, but also the location and position within the light grid. In addition, the emitter and receiver are encased in a rugged industrial housing and can be easily and quickly aligned using the live graphic display on the integrated multi-function display. The user can teach-in up to six different objects using the buttons and can hide obstructions in the measuring field (blanking).

This way different objects can be reliably detected, compared and sorted based on minimal differences in size. Other applications include presence and height checks. The result of the inspection is then available at two analog and three digital outputs. Starting in May 2014, there will also be a variant with an IO-Link interface.

Development package for Profinet Controllers!

Siemens has expanded its offer for the development of PC-based automation solutions for series machine manufacturing with a Profinet driver for controller applications. With the driver, which is delivered as source code, it is easy for the user to implement individual Profinet communication solutions on a standard PC, for networking machines in a production line, for example.

No special hardware is required for this communication solution since the driver utilizes the conventional Ethernet interface to be found on standard PCs. The Profinet driver is also suitable for standard operating systems and is configured via an open XML interface. Engineering tools such as the TIA Portal (Totally Integrated Automation) can provide support for the user here. The new driver supports Profinet with real time (RT) and achieves cycle times of as little as 1 ms when using a real-time operating system.

CO2 sensor module designed for OEM applications!

Maintenance-free, highly accurate, compact

The sensor module EE893 from E+E Elektronik allows highly accurate and long-term stable CO2 measurements in demanding OEM applications. Thanks to its very small size and low power consumption, EE893 can be used in both hard wired sensors and battery operated devices such as wireless transmitters, hand-helds and data loggers.

The dual wavelength NDIR measuring principle is maintenance free and highly insensitive to environmental influences. Aging effects are automatically compensated.

The multiple point CO2 and temperature adjustment ensures excellent accuracy over the entire temperature working range. The CO2 measurements with a measuring range up to 10,000 ppm are available on the digital E2 interface. The measurement interval can be set individually according to the requirements of the application.

What happens after XP?

Support for Windows XP is no longer available. This means users will no longer receive security updates, fixes or online technical support from Microsoft for PCs still running Windows XP. The security and privacy implications of this event could have significant impacts on your business, if you are running XP you should plan to take action soon.

There are potential business implications

Security Risks
Without critical security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, malware and other malicious activity which can steal or damage your business data and information.

The risks of system failure and business disruption could increase because of the end of support, lack of supported software, and the increasing age of hardware running Windows XP.

No one to Call
When problems arise, online and phone-based technical support will unfortunately no longer be available to you or your IT partner, leaving you on your own to deal with the problem.

Reduced Compatibility
Many software and hardware vendors will no longer support products that are running on Windows XP as they are unable to get the Windows XP updates created to fix issues.

SolutionsPT are helping to reduce business risks as a result of this development.

As specialists in industrial IT they recognise that it is not always practical to migrate systems to a different operating system: sometimes the application is simply not supported, skills are not available or maybe the cost of re-testing is prohibitive.

They aim is to provide the necessary support to match the specific needs of each customer, either by extending the life of the Windows XP install base or working together to implement an effective migration plan to a supported operating platform.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Unmanaged industrial Ethernet switches combine versatility, cost-effectiveness and ease of installation!

Harting has introduced two new families of unmanaged Ethernet switches that are optimised for use in harsh industrial environments and offer a choice of compact designs for economy and ease of installation in a variety of customer applications.

With over 200 different models to choose from, along with a choice of RJ45 or fibre-optic cable ports, the Harting Ha-VIS eCon 2000 and 3000 unmanaged Ethernet switches enable the cost-effective expansion of existing network infrastructures as well as the development of new industrial networks.

These compact “plug & play” switches can be easily and quickly put into operation. Two different compact, space-saving housing designs designed for “top hat” rail mounting guarantee the best possible use of available space in the switch cabinet.

The eCon 3000 family is based on a very narrow form factor with a width of 25 mm which permits high packing density in the control cabinet, helping users to save costs. The eCon 2000 family, on the other hand, has a flat design with a depth of 27 mm which permits greatly reduced installation depth at the point of utilisation.

Units in the Ha-VIS eCon 3000 family each feature up to ten Fast Ethernet ports and offer economical and fast options to expand or set up network infrastructures. Full Gigabit switches are available with up to seven ports each for applications with high data throughput. The slim design of the switches also allows them to be positioned on the carrier rail with a very high packing density. Thanks to the DIN rail clip that is integrated into the housing, these switches can be swiftly and simply installed in the field, which consequently helps save money and time.

Switches in the Ha-VIS eCon 2000 family each offer up to 16 Fast Ethernet ports and are also available in a 7-port full Gigabit version. This allows customers to expand or set up network infrastructures in a time-saving, economical way. Owing to the extremely flat design, the switches can also be accommodated in installations where space is restricted towards the cable connection at the front. RJ45 and fibre-optic ports are located on the front of the switches, allowing cables to be connected quickly and simply.

Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows power to be supplied to end devices directly via the Ethernet data cable. PoE+ is a standard for the parallel transfer of energy and data using twisted pair cables. Switches based on the PoE+ standard offer more power for optional end devices. The new eCon ranges include switches with a 54 V supply voltage and models with integrated voltage converters which allow the use of standard 24 V power supplies. Using these switches consequently reduces the cabling effort, while saving time and money.

The switches are designed for use over the industrial temperature range from -40°C to +70°C, and comply with the relevant standards for use in the maritime and transportation markets.

Current transducers offer more flexible mounting in small packaging! #PAuto

LEM has added three new members to its HO series of PCB-through-hole mounting current transducers, which provide an aperture of 8 x 8 mm to carry the primary conductor under measurement, extending the options for this form-factor. The new models, for 6, 10 or 25 A nominal measurements of DC, AC, and pulsed signals benefit from the revised LEM Open-loop Hall-effect ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) introduced several months ago with the launch of the HO 8, 15 and 25-NP & –NSM models.

Using the latest LEM-developed ASIC, combined with Open-loop Hall-effect technology, the new devices meet the demand for high performance and quality at a lower cost.

The HO 6, 10 and 25-P models’ offset and gain drift are twice as accurate (over the temperature range -25 to +85ºC) as the previous generation. A high level of insulation between primary and measurement circuits, due to the high clearance and creepage distances of more than 8mm and a CTI (comparative tracking index) of 600, allows a test isolation voltage of 4.3 kVRMS/50Hz/1min.

In addition, the HO xx-P series delivers better performance in other areas such as response time, power supply and noise, allowing the development of more technically advanced power electronics applications.

The transducers require a PCB mounting area of only 2.88cm2 and weigh only 10g. They can measure up to 2.5 times the primary nominal current but also incorporate an additional pin providing an over-current detection set at 2.63 x the nominal current IPN (peak value). The products also provide fault reporting in the case of memory contents being corrupted. LEM's HO xx-P transducers operate from a single supply voltage at 3.3 or 5V.

The new range delivers its output as a scaled analogue voltage; in most systems this will be converted to a digital value by an analogue/digital converter (ADC) which requires a reference voltage. The HO xx-P series can also be configured to make measurements relative to an external reference.

LEM’s HO xx-P models are ideal for a range of applications where mounting flexibility offered by the aperture and a small size is needed, such as in solar combiner boxes and solar-power inverters, as well as small smart meters, variable speed drives, uninterruptible and switch-mode power supplies, air conditioning, home appliances, static converters for DC motor drives, and robotics.

The transducers are CE marked, conform to the EN 50178 standard and are recognised for industrial applications with a wide operating temperature range of -40 to +105°C.  LEM offers a five-year warranty for each transducer.

New man to lead lead compressor growth strategy for Ireland!

Atlas Copco Compressors has announced the appointment of Seán Fairest as Country Manager for Compressor Technique in Ireland. In this new role, he will spearhead a strategy to strengthen the position of Atlas Copco as a market leader in Ireland by helping his team of almost 30 staff engage more closely with customers.

Seán Fairest
He said: “My mission is to help the team in Ireland develop and grow over the coming years. All the economic indicators are strong and we have some fantastic products and services that will deliver sustainable productivity for our customers. We are very positive about our future and we are committed to investment in order to further strengthen our position in Ireland.”

A focus of his new role will be to ensure that customers are benefitting fully from Atlas Copco’s service offering to maintain the safe, efficient and effective operation of their equipment over the long term. “One thing that I am already shocked to see is that we have customers in Ireland who are prepared to gamble with their production and product quality by working with unauthorised service partners and non-genuine spare parts. As someone who has grown up in the service business, I understand the risks involved with such decisions and will work tirelessly to help the users of our equipment understand these risks and make the best informed decisions for their business.”

He aims to help his team “cover every blade of grass through every channel” to provide customers with the products and services they need to capitalise on the improving economic climate in Ireland. “Ireland is poised to take off and it is our job to make sure we are in the right place to provide our customers with the products and services they need to make the most of the good times ahead.”

Seán can draw from almost 20 years of experience with Atlas Copco, joining the group as a Service Engineer and working his way through the organization to a more recent position as Vice President of Marketing for Compressor Technique Service at Atlas Copco’s Airpower division in Antwerp, Belgium. A qualified mechanical engineer, he has also served as Business Line Manager for the Service, Oil Free Air and Industrial Air business lines during his career with the company.

PCI and PXI programmable resistors

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PCI and PXI Programmable Resistors.

Expansion of existing range
The existing PCI High-Density Precision Resistor Card (model 50-297) and PXI High-Density Precision Resistor Module (model 40-297) have been expanded to increase the versions offered from 6 to 42; each version offers users the choice of the number of resistor channels, resistance range and the resistance setting resolution. Depending on the version the resolution is from 0.125Ω to 2Ω and resistor channel counts from 3 to 18. Resistor values up to 1.51MΩ can be simulated.

New product introduction
Pickering is introducing the new PCI Programmable Resistor & Relay Card (model 50-293) and the new PXI Programmable Resistor & Relay Module (model 40-293) offer lower densities and cost solutions (compared to similar products) for simulating resistors with 12 versions available having resolution from 0.25Ω to 2Ω and channel resistor channel counts of either 2 or 4. In addition, each of the 12 versions has the option of adding 8 SPDT relays which can be used for other switching functions within a test systems their use potentially saves the addition of further switching products within a test system.

All of these PCI and PXI resistors are programmed by the use of resistance calls from the driver, the driver uses calibration data from the module to give the best setting available to the user and can also return to the user the theoretical value of the resistor. Basic accuracy is 0.2% ± resolution for the 40-297 and 50-297 and 1%± resolution for the 40-293 and 50-293.

By offering the programmable resistors in different form/factors with the same options Pickering Interfaces continues to promote its test solutions in multiple platforms, allowing the user to choose the most appropriate platform for their test system.

Gesture and multi-touch operation of machines and plants!

Siemens has new flat-panel monitors and panel PCs with industrial standard 19 and 22-inch widescreen displays for gesture and multi-touch operation. The Simatic IFP1900 and IFP2200 flat-panel monitors and the Simatic IPC477D and IPC677D panel PCs feature projected capacitive touch (PCT) screens that are specially designed for industrial applications. They respond to light contact, enabling intuitive and efficient single-touch, multi-touch, gesture, and two-hand operation of machinery and plant. They even respond when the operator is wearing protective gloves.

Outstanding features of the new flat-panel monitors and panel PCs include industrial standard anti-glare, ensuring easy legibility from wide viewing angles, high touch resolution for precise operation, and automatic detection of spurious touching and operation, for example, caused by catching the screen with the ball of the hand or soiling. The continuous glass front is scratch-proof and resistant to chemicals; a metal surround protects the glass front from mechanical damage. The devices in aluminum housings are designed for 24-hour continuous use, meet exacting temperature, vibration, shock, and EMC requirements, and can be used for single-touch applications, too.

Cyber Security for Industrial Control and Automation Systems: Conference

"While no one can prevent industrial cyber attacks from occurring, you can significantly reduce your risk by understanding your vulnerabilities and minimising the consequences."

Brochure online or as download pdf
The ISA Ireland conference, Cyber Security for Industrial Control and Automation Systems, (Twitter tag: #IndCyber) is focused on raising awareness of Industrial Cyber Security, and preventing or mitigating the damage that a cyber attack will have on Control and Automation Systems used throughout manufacturing, utility and transportation sectors.

A range of International Experienced Speakers have been selected to highlight the nature of the threat, how your systems and infrastructure can be better protected, and methods to minimise attacks on your business. Without implementing the proper preventative measures, an industrial cyber attack could contribute to equipment failure or impairment, production loss or regulatory violations, with possible negative impacts on the environment or public welfare. Incidents of attacks on these critical network infrastructure and control systems highlight vulnerabilities in the essential infrastructure of our society such as the smart grid, which could become more of a focus for cybercriminals in the coming years.

The event is targeted at the Industrial Control Sector that affects all manufacturing industry to a high degree as well as the national utility and transportation providers. These are systems that cannot afford to be shut down immediately when they come under cyber attack.

The conference aims to:
Register Here!
  • Reveal how to detect cyber threats, and mitigate the risks and exposure to your plant systems and networks 
  • Introduce proven industrial control systems security standards and practices and demonstrate how to apply them 
  • Showcase best practices utilized in various industries and highlight peer experiences and lessons learned 
As well as threats from external sources steps ought to be taken to protect  Control and Automation Systems from internal threats which can cripple a company for days, weeks or even months.

This conference on the 8th of May 2014 in Cork will address the nature of Industrial Cyber Security threats and show what steps many of the control system manufacturers and end users are taking as they implement Cyber Security Standards like ISA/IEC62443 (Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security) and ISA99.

• More on cybersecurity on our Cyber Security links page!

Monday, April 7, 2014

PXI microwave switch modules from Pickering!

Pickering Interfaces is improving and expanding its range PXI Microwave Switching Modules. All of these new and improved microwave switch modules will include visual indicators of the relay setting thru the use of blue LEDs that indicate when a normally open path has been closed. These indicators are provided as an aid to help the user with visual checking of routing during system debug phase of test system development.

Updated PXI Microwave SPDT Relay Module and PXI Microwave Transfer Switch:
The PXI microwave SPDT relay module (model 40-780A) supports from 1 to 4 SPDT relays and is available in a variety of different frequency options from 12.4GHz to 65GHz - a 75Ω 2.4GHz version is also available. The PXI microwave transfer switch (model 40-782A) supports either one or two transfer switches with frequency options of 18GHz, 26.5GHz and 40GHz.

New PXI Terminated SPDT Microwave Relay Module (model 40-781): This module is a terminated SPDT switching module with 18GHz frequency range offering one or two relays and the option of using internal or external terminations. The external termination versions allow users to attach external high power loads to increase the carry power of the relay.

Hyperspectral data acquisition management tools!

Headwall has released its new Hyperspec III application software featuring a powerful set of hyperspectral data acquisition management tools. The enhanced software suite represents an easy-to-use platform for controlling hyperspectral sensors across applications ranging from manned aircraft to UAV airborne remote sensing. The software is compatible with Headwall's award-winning Hyperspec® family of sensors, including lightweight Micro-Hyperspec®. The software is versatile, Windows- and Linux-based, and supports both USB and CameraLink interfaces.

"Efficient, flexible and powerful software is pushing the science of hyperspectral imaging forward at a very rapid rate," said Headwall CEO David Bannon. "Combining this new software platform with our patented, high-performance optics technology gives the spectral imaging community capabilities they've never had before."

An important benefit of Hyperspec III software is that it is multi-threaded and can control more than one sensor simultaneously. For example, machine-vision applications using multiple sensors are able to operate at peak efficiency with this highly efficient and elegant software platform. With sensor frame rates in excess of 400 FPS, Hyperspec III is designed for rapid collection and management of large volumes of incoming hyperspectral data. Hyperspec III software runs on Headwall's Hyperspec Data Processing Unit (HDPU), which effortlessly captures and manages incoming image files for interpretation and post-processing.

With the exponential growth in the deployment of UAV platforms, the Hyperspec III software offers end-users a comprehensive and efficient user environment for quickly obtaining remote sensing data with Headwall's hyperspectral imagers.

Hyperspec III software is exceptionally versatile, allowing users to choose modules to suit specific needs. For example, airborne versions of the software provide GPS/INU integration and time stamping, ortho-rectification, precise calibration, and start/stop triggering of the sensor. This optimizes flight-path efficiency, which is a highly desired capability for the remote-sensing community. The Hyperspec III software also includes the ability to interface with Google maps to trigger sensor operation based on pre-defined GPS coordinates.

Pan-and-tilt and other motion-control features are built into Hyperspec III, yielding a virtually unlimited array of use-cases for hyperspectral imaging that range from ground to space.

Configure PLCs and machines remotely!

HMS Industrial Networks now introduces Netbiter Remote Access into the Netbiter Remote Management solution. Remote Access is a technology that provides an instant, secure communication tunnel to remote equipment, such as PLCs and machines. It allows users to employ their usual PLC configuration software such as Rockwell RSlogix® or Siemens TIA Portal®, just as if they were connected to the machine on site. This makes it possible to instantly take action in case an operational problem occurs and reduces the need to travel to the site.

Configure just if being on site.
Netbiter Remote Access makes it possible for machine builders, system integrators, OEMs and end users to instantly connect to devices, equipment or machines from any location. The solution provides a secure communication tunnel for PC-based software applications and allows PLC programmers and machine owners to configure, reprogram and debug the machinery from any location saving both time and travel costs while improving customer service.

How it works
Users first connect a Netbiter EasyConnect™ 300-series gateway to their remote device or machine. By running the Netbiter QuickConnect™ software on a computer, a secure tunnel is created to the Netbiter gateway and the device/machine to which it is connected. PLC programmers or machine owners can simply open their regular configuration software (such as RSLogix or TIA Portal) and configure or debug just as if they were on site.

The secure connection is established via the cloud-based Netbiter Argos data center. This means that there is no need for opening inbound ports in firewalls or setting up VPN connections on site. The result is a secure connection which is set up a matter of minutes.

Simplicity and security
“Simplicity and security are the main traits of Netbiter Remote Access,” says Henrik Arleving, Product Line Manager at HMS Industrial Networks. “After connecting the Netbiter gateway to a machine, users can access their machines and be up and running within minutes from any location. This is a much sought-after functionality that will save machine builders, system integrators, PLC programmers and maintenance staff a lot of time and effort, not to mention substantially decreased travel costs.”

Solid security
Data is encrypted both to and from Netbiter Argos and it is also possible to choose a two-step verification method (logging in with a password and also getting an SMS to verify the user’s identity). This ensures secure data connection to the remote equipment. Since the connection is made through the Netbiter Argos, which acts as a routing portal for all communication, there is no need to bother with fixed IP addresses or holes in the users’ firewalls.

Temperature monitoring system for rotary kilns!

Raytek has introduced a new generation of CS210 system for non-contact temperature measurement and monitoring of rotary kiln shells. The modular system now integrates up to four infrared line scanners for monitoring long and difficult-to-access kilns.

High-resolution thermal images of rotary kilns
support the optimization of maintenance
schedules in the cement and lime processing
industry as well as in waste incineration plants
Additionally, point sensors cover shadow areas, for instance behind tyres. Designed for rotary kilns exclusively, the software compiles all data to a complete thermal image. The upgrade also enables a real-time display of a 3D thermal image of the kiln surface, making refractory monitoring especially user-friendly. Damaged and fallen bricks are quickly located, enabling users to initiate repair and avoid expensive production stops.

The system provides a one-brick resolution and sends failsafe hotspot alarms. A Refractory Management database helps determine when best to replace the refractory. All oven-related and operational data, information about the refractory material, and maintenance dates can be easily managed and documented with a user history.

A separate sensor monitoring the burning zone can also be integrated and managed via the software. Communication with the control room is typically realized via a fiber-optic cable and Ethernet TCP/IP. Moreover, the control level can access all system-related data via an OPC server.

Particle trouble in Downing Street!

Not all particles are equal

Recently, the British Prime Minister’s car was covered by a thin layer of Saharan dust and air quality was suddenly a lead item in the national news. The dust itself does not pose a serious hazard to health in comparison with the finer particles (from diesel engines for example) that travel deep into the lungs, but Jim Mills, MD of Air Monitors, believes that the media attention that this event inspired should have a positive effect on the UK’s strategy for improving air quality: “This recent pollution episode demonstrates that people need to be able to see pollution before they become interested in it,” he says.

Dust on car at No 10 (Pic Guardian, Steve Back
Just a few days prior to the Saharan invasion, the World Health Organisation reported that ‘in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.’ This extraordinary and alarming statistic barely made the headlines, so why is that?

In the 1950s thick smogs meant that air pollution was highly visible to the public and politicians, whereas today, ‘out of sight and out of mind’ is an apt description of political attitude to air quality.

The problem with solving urban air quality problems is that death certificates never say ‘Died from air pollution’ so the statistics that show 29,000 premature British deaths (as a result of air pollution) pass largely unnoticed because the ‘cause of death’ is usually a heart attack, a stroke or some other cardiovascular ailment. The fact that this figure exceeds those for obesity, alcohol and road traffic accidents is largely ignored.

Jim believes that the problem needs to be made visible: “People need to know what the air quality is, but that information needs to useful – in other words, knowing that air pollution is bad in London today doesn’t really help. Londoners won’t decide to work in Sussex today as a result!

“Air quality data needs to be more spatially specific; people need to know which streets are particularly bad so that they can make decisions accordingly; such as choosing a route to work or selecting a school in an area with cleaner air.

“Greater detail and higher visibility of air quality data will also help to motivate politicians to implement measures to improve air quality.”

So, the answer is to find a way to improve the detail and visibility of data and Jim says this has been the focus of his company Air Monitors in recent years: “We have developed a bolt-on capability (AQWeb) for monitoring stations that utilises the latest communications technology and the ‘Cloud’ to make live data available via the Internet. In addition, working with the company Geotech, we have launched AQMesh, a revolutionary technology that dramatically reduces the cost and footprint of monitoring equipment so that air quality can be measured anywhere, and live data viewed at anytime from anywhere.”

In summary, it is unfortunate that media noise following the appearance of dust on the Prime Minister’s car raised concern about particles that were not the main culprit in the deaths that result from air pollution. However, it is encouraging that this event served to raise the profile of a critically important issue and that technology has been developed to provide air quality data that will be useful.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Software helps take advantage of OPC standard!

The MatrikonOPC UA Proxy has just been launched. It makes it easy for companies to take advantage of the next generation Open Process Control (OPC) standard – OPC Unified Architecture (UA) – whilst continuing to use their existing OPC classic architectures.
Key features
· Streamlined setup workflow allows for connection in minutes
· Easy to use, the smart defaults require minimal user knowledge of OPC UA
· Eliminates traditional DCOM or firewall issues
· Operates on Windows system server

While the OPC UA standard is backward compatible with classic OPC from a data perspective, it uses different technologies to establish connections and transmit OPC data. Using the UA Proxy from MatrikonOPC, companies can bridge this gap, making it possible for them to maximize their ROI on their existing classic OPC architecture whilst being free to adopt the broad range of new OPC UA based product offerings.

“Companies using OPC classic have seen the benefits that the adoption of open standards can bring to their business as well as the additional value OPC UA has to offer, but sometimes have concerns about how to go about tying the two technologies together,” said Darek Kominek, marketing manager, MatrikonOPC. “With the release of the UA Proxy, MatrikonOPC removes those obstacles – providing the first easy, reliable way to seamlessly combine these two OPC technologies.”