Saturday, June 21, 2014

Simulate circuit designs anywhere, anytime!

National Instruments  has announced that students, hobbyists and engineers can use the new Multisim Touch app for iPad to design and simulate circuits using high-fidelity SPICE simulation results identical to the desktop. The fully interactive Multisim Touch is a new addition to the world-class Multisim simulation solution that extends powerful circuit analysis tools to the iPad so users can quickly prove new ideas, design when inspired or complete homework assignments.

Multisim Touch offers powerful analysis tools in a tablet environment with a specialised library of RLC components, transistors, operational amplifiers and other foundational electronic devices using SPICE simulation models. Users can innovate wherever they are by building circuits easily with multitouch gestures and verifying them with DC, AC, transient and interactive simulation. With the portability of the iPad, users can work from virtually anywhere and the completely native app means no need for a WiFi connection.

As part of the complete Multisim circuits solution, users can explore on the tablet then export via DropboxTM or email back to the desktop version of Multisim to share or incorporate into designs with others. This connectivity means Multisim Touch files can be used for further analysis or printed circuit board design, with verification techniques powered by the complete Multisim solution.

At an introductory price of $4.99 USD, the new Multisim Touch app is an innovative, convenient and inexpensive option for designers who want the accuracy of SPICE simulation on their mobile device with an easy path to collaboration or comprehensive desktop design capabilities.

Statistical process control charts!

The Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information System (LIMS) from Autoscribe can be readily configured to display Statistical Process Control (SPC) charts using its unique One Time Configuration tools. These charts and their associated statistics can be placed on to any Matrix screen using the screen editor. They can be used to monitor the processes involved in manufacturing and product development to reveal trends, identify areas for potential improvement and detect serious problems. Matrix Gemini allows Trend, Histograms, R-Charts and X-Charts to be generated.

Trend charts include user-specified upper and lower limits. If these levels are not set, the upper and lower control limits are automatically set using the 95% confidence rule. Trend charts are particularly useful as they can reveal if a process is moving towards one of the limits, allowing remedial action to be taken in good time. Trending can be based on date, name or index. Histogram charts display the frequency distribution of sample data. An overlay can also be displayed showing the expected random distribution based on the mean and variance of the data.

The (individual) X-Chart displays the numerical values of the supplied data, while the moving R-Chart displays a moving range corresponding to each of the individual numeric values of the (individual) X-Chart. For each chart type, upper and lower control limits are calculated and divided into six zones. Any unnatural variation within the numeric values is determined using the ‘Nelson Rules’ approach and can be automatically highlighted on the control chart by circling them in red.

A number of important statistics, many of them common to all of the charts, can be displayed. Statistical values available include: specification limits, control limits, average value, average range, standard deviation, variance and capability indices (Cp and Cpk).

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Sorry for the delay but who can blame us...."

The following e-mail from PVL Ltd plopped into our in-box the other day and we just had to share it with you!

Dear Customer

Our factory on the shores of the beautiful Lake Iseo traditionally closes for the summer break in August and, judging by the setting, who can blame them!

Deliveries on July orders will consequently get longer so please, if you feel there’s any chance you’ll need more pressure switches in August and early September, consider ordering them now.
We do, of course, hold considerable stock and many products can be shipped overnight but, to be on the safe side, it may well be worth erring on the side of caution.

All orders placed before July 3rd will still have a maximum of four weeks delivery.

And don’t forget, if you fancy a “business trip” to see the products being made, the factory will be glad to accommodate you! (Just not in August as they’ll all be on the lake)

Best regards
David Almond
Sales and Marketing Director

If you go on the trip please send us the pictures, we WILL publish them!

DNV type approval for Ultrasonic leak detector!

Emerson's Rosemount Analytical GDU-Incus ultrasonic leak detector has received the highly respected Det Norske Veritas (DNV) type approval. This DNV certificate further confirms the device is suitable for use onboard marine vessels including LNG and LPG carriers, crude oil tankers, and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units, all of which can suffer loss of production, or worse, in the event of a gas leak not being detected quickly.

“Detecting gas leaks in marine environments is challenging for traditional detectors which require the accumulation of a gas cloud in order to alarm,” said Eliot Sizeland, Emerson’s head of sales and marketing for the GDU-Incus. “Extreme weather and wind on vessels and platforms may prevent a gas leak from being rapidly detected, potentially allowing the incident to escalate when a quick maintenance repair may have been possible without loss of production. Since the GDU-Incus responds to the ultrasound produced by the leak, however, its performance is unaffected by these conditions. That makes it ideal for marine applications. We’re very proud that the detector withstood the rigorous testing required for the DNV certification, which further demonstrates the quality and robustness of the ultrasonic gas leak detector.”

The GDU-Incus is an advanced leak detection system using four sensitive acoustic sensors that constantly monitor wide areas for ultrasound generated from the release of pressurised gas. The GDU-Incus is suited for monitoring ventilated outdoor applications, and is engineered to withstand extreme conditions. Performance is unaffected by inclement weather, wind direction, leak direction or any potential gas dilution, with an instantaneous response to methane, hydrogen and other low molecular weight gases.

The reliable, easy-to-use GDU Incus advanced gas sensing technology does not require calibration or replacement for the life of the instrument. An integrated self-test ensures fail-safe operation, and innovative sensors with no moving parts mitigate the need for maintenance.

The DNV type approval assures potential users that the GDU-Incus has undergone rigorous testing and has been determined to meet the highest quality standards. The DNV assessment process is built upon scientific research and recognised by regulators, insurers, and major clients throughout the world.

Self-contained binary gas analyser for fine control of hydrogen in heat treatment furnaces! #PAuto

Michell Instruments’ XTC601 binary gas analyzer ensures accurate control of levels of hydrogen in heat treatment furnaces during production of metal. With its small footprint, integrated display and interface, the XTC601 thermal conductivity analyzer is convenient to install and simple to use.

Unlike many similar analyzers, which act as blind transmitters and require a separate display to be installed, the XTC601’s built-in interface not only allows users to interrogate, configure and even calibrate the unit in situ, but offers this at a price which is comparable to a typical blind analyzer.

The heat treatment process involves controlling levels of hydrogen in a background of nitrogen at temperatures up to 980°C, with typical H2 ranges of 0-10%, 0-25% & 0-100%. The XTC601 has two mA output ranges available, one fixed over the maximum span and the other user configurable, for maximum flexibility.

The analyzer’s thermal conductivity sensor is non-depleting making the XTC601 highly cost-effective over its lifetime as it doesn’t need replacement sensors. With no consumables or moving parts to change, maintenance is minimal which also helps to keep costs down.

The XTC601 can be calibrated for many different gases, giving it a wide range of uses beyond heat treatment. The measured gases currently available are: carbon dioxide, methane, argon, helium, nitrogen, hydrogen and air, as either target or background gases. Other typical applications include industrial gas production, helium recovery and food processing.

• Mintchell products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

24 hour multi-lingual international assistance!

Consisting of products, engineering tools and customer support, ‘Rittal – The System’ is completed with Rittal International Service. A total of 64 subsidiaries, more than 150 service partners and over 1,000 service technicians guarantee a local service and fast response times.
Rittal International Service now offer tailored service agreements to protect production processes and safeguard productivity that will maintain the value of equipment and systems, minimise downtime and allow costs to be managed over the long-term.

Select from a wide-range of available service packages, including Basic, Comfort, Advanced, Full and Customised. The packages offer various options for availability of Rittal support, response time, spare parts availability, maintenenace visits and extended warranty.

Rittal’s cooling products situated in harsh industrial environments consistently demonstrate high quality and reliability. Regular preventative maintenance leads to longer product service life for increased equipment profitability. Also available Rittal’s warranty extensions between one and three years will provide reassurance for a total warranty period of up to five years

New medium-voltage and low-voltage products plant in Bulgaria!

ABB has just inaugurated a new facility for producing low and medium voltage products in Bulgaria in the presence of the country’s President Rosen Plevneliev.

ABB facilty in Rakovski, Bulgaria
The facility is located in the town of Rakovski about 25 kilometers to the northeast of Bulgaria's second largest city Plovdiv and is expected to generate around 600 jobs once fully operational. It is part of a $23-million investment to expand production capacity to serve growing demand in Europe and Asia and will manufacture low-voltage control products and medium-voltage power products.

“This new unit further strengthens our manufacturing footprint in the region and enables us to deliver solutions across Europe, faster and more efficiently” said Bruno Melles, head of ABB’s Medium Voltage products business, a part of the company’s Power Products division.

Morten Wierod, head of ABB’s Control Products business, within the Low Voltage Products division, added: “This represents an opportunity to build on an excellent team in this region. We are committed to develop our footprint in Bulgaria to support our growing business.”

The new unit covering an area of about 15,000 square meters represents the second major investment by ABB in the Plovdiv region. The first greenfield factory manufacturing low-voltage products was built in 2009 and now employs over 1,000 people.

Other ABB production units in the country are located in Petrich for low-voltage products, Sevlievo for high-voltage products and transformers and a turbocharger service station in Varna.

Appointment to help in providing high accuracy energy audits!

Atlas Copco Compressors appoints Keith Findlay as AIRScan Manager.

Keith Findlay
Atlas Copco Compressors has announced the appointment of Keith Findlay as AIRScan Manager within its Compressor Technique Service division in Britain. Commenting on his new position in the company, Keith Findlay said: “My goal is to increase the profile of AIRScan among our UK customer base by providing highly accurate energy audit reports which can help customers save money by highlighting the benefits of VSD and energy recovery technology, in addition to enabling them to rectify downstream issues such as pressure drops, process leaks and pipe work improvements. I therefore believe AIRScan has the potential to become a good practice guide, as well as an energy audit.”

After completing his apprenticeship with City and Guilds and J.I.B Achievement Measurement qualifications in electrical engineering, Keith moved into the field of compressed air and for six years worked as an Industrial Air sales engineer with Atlas Copco, winning the Salesman of the Year award in 2004. After two subsequent career moves he went on to set up his own business in air energy management, gaining the expertise which after four years lead to his re-joining Atlas Copco Compressors in this specialist role.

AIRScan is Atlas Copco’s highly accurate, non-intrusive, independent survey report system which is designed to pinpoint any compressed air system energy drains so action can be taken to achieve peak efficiency, with consequent savings in energy costs. In his new position, Keith plans to build an AIRScan team of the company’s own specialist service engineers and energy consultants to assist existing customers and new clients to achieve the ISO50001 standard, which includes ISO11011 compressed air energy audit compliance.

A native of Sunderland, Keith’s leisure activities are shared between playing golf, supporting Sunderland AFC, encouraging his two sons at football and pursuing his love of world travel.

High-integrity interface for mass interconnect systems!

A new JTAG*/boundary-scan hardware interface is now available for the Peak Group's production family of PXI test systems. The JT 2147/VPC from JTAG Technologies is a signal-conditional module that allows “ideal world” connections from JTAG Technologies PXI and PXIe DataBlaster high-speed boundary-scan controllers to the VPC (Virginia Panel Corporation) mass interconnect system supplied and used in Peak’s configurable PXI-based functional testers.

Based on the highly successful QuadPod(TM) architecture from JTAG Technologies, the JT 2147/VPC has been specifically designed for connection into VPC’s G20x or G14x 192-pin ‘QuadraPaddle’ connectors, and is fully compatible with the Peak system design.

The JT2147/VPC features four independent JTAG test access ports (TAPs) along with 16 static DIO (digital input/output) channels and 64 dynamic DIOS (digital input/output scan) channels. Adding boundary-scan capabilities to any board or system tester will increase fault coverage of interconnections, logic parts and in-signal passives. It will also frequently reduce fixture costs due to test-point reduction and will allow in-system programming of memories and programmable logic parts.

JTAG/boundary-scan applications prepared using JTAG Technologies ProVision ATPG software tools may be executed on the PXI platform with driver packages that are available for NI LabView, TestStand and LabWindows alongside Geotest ATEasy and a number of generic language compilers including .NET framework, C++ and VB.

The VPC adaptors utilise standard QuadraPaddle connector modules, providing a wide variety of contact types. The connection between the PXI instrument and receiver module is accomplished using a passive printed circuit board, an active signal-conditioning module (as with the JT 2147/VPC) or a flexible circuit, with each providing optimum connectivity performance while reducing wiring cost.

*JTAG - Joint Test Action Group, the common name for the IEEE 1149.1 Standard Test Access Port and Boundary-Scan Architecture.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Measurement technologies increase plant efficiency and reduce costs for Romanian plant.

Flowmeters solve measurement problems and enable annual savings of €1 million

CAROM Onesti has improved mass balance, increased boiler efficiency, and reduced tanker turnaround times at its petrochemical production and distribution facility in Romania. Vortex and Coriolis flow measurement technologies from Emerson Process Management enabled more-accurate and reliable measurements that reduced product loss in the MTBE plant by 150 metric tons per month, improved boiler efficiency by 3 per cent, and eliminated the need to rework tanker filling operations in its distribution terminal. These improvements together have provided savings of €1 million per year.

Mass balance is vital for complex processes within reactors and distillation columns, and achieving that balance requires accurate and reliable flow measurement. However, the differential pressure (DP) flowmeters CAROM used previously required frequent maintenance because process fluids sometimes polymerised inside the meter − clogging impulse lines and leading to bad measurements.

To solve this problem, CAROM installed Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters from Emerson. The new meters’ reliable accuracy enabled the required mass balance to be achieved, reducing product loss by 150 metric tons per month for savings of €700,000 per year. Based on current production figures, this saving translates into a 2 per cent increase in overall plant efficiency. In addition, because Micro Motion flowmeters have no moving parts, maintenance costs have been significantly reduced.

Emerson’s measurement technology also helped CAROM improve the performance of nine boilers that provide superheated steam to the site’s production units. Impulse lines for the three orifice flow meters previously used to measure the flow of superheated steam suffered a number of leakage problems, requiring on average around 300 hours of maintenance a year. In addition, the loss of up to two tonnes of steam per hour meant that more fuel was being used to meet the production demands.

“Following the installation of Emerson’s Rosemount 8800D Vortex flowmeters with integral temperature sensors for each line, the improvements were immediately evident,” said Marian Stancu, chief energy engineer for CAROM Onesti. “Maintenance requirements were reduced to almost nothing, and because steam loss was eliminated, boiler efficiency improved by 3 per cent, saving more than €200,000 per year in fuel. This meant that our initial investment was recovered in just 25 days of operation.”

Within the fuel distribution terminal, tankers leaving the facility by road or rail are weighed to ensure they have been correctly filled. If the filling is not accurate, the tankers have to return to the terminal − extending the time and cost for loading. Additional personnel and labour hours are required, and vehicles and locomotives are left standing idle.

“CAROM needed a measurement technology that is suitable for our diesel and petroleum products, and is accurate, reliable and easy to use and install,” continued Stancu. “Having successfully used Emerson’s Micro Motion Coriolis technology for mass measurement in other areas of our plant, we extended the use of this technology to diesel truck loading.”

The Micro Motion flowmeters improved measurement accuracy and enabled CAROM to optimise truck loading. With a typical train comprising 10 tanks, the loading process that used to take at least two days can now be completed in less than one day. The optimised loading has enabled savings of over €90,000 per year, and the faster train turnaround is also saving over 300 labour hours a year.

“Combining the process knowledge of our local team with Emerson’s product and application knowledge has provided the best solutions to our measurement problems,” added Stancu. “Emerson has become a trusted partner, and its Rosemount and Micro Motion measurement technologies have enabled savings of €1 million per year.”

Integrated solution for leakage detection in drinking water networks!

Krohne introduces a new version of the WATERLFUX, which is now available with integrated pressure and temperature sensor as option. Thus the water meter can be used for leak detection in drinking water networks when comparison of pressure and flow values is used as method.

The leak detection in drinking water systems is often carried out by monitoring night flows. Between 2...4 am, there is a theoretical zero consumption; at this time the pressure sensors installed for line monitoring should measure no significant pressure drop when no flow exists. For this purpose, the readings of the pressure sensors are aligned with the flow rates of the water meters (district meters).

This integrated solution for this application, eliminates the installation and wiring of external pressure sensors. The pressure sensor provides an alarm via a status output when the programmed upper or lower limit is reached. The integrated temperature sensor can also serve as an additional measured parameter at the measuring point, also there is no need to open the line a second time.

WATERFLUX is a battery-powered electromagnetic water meter. It has a measuring tube with a rectangular and reduced cross-section. This construction has several advantages: the coils produce a stronger and more uniform magnetic field, the signal -to-noise ratio is improved and ensures stable measurement even at low flow rates. Through the constriction, the flow speed is increased and the flow profile in the rectangular cross-section is optimized. Thus, the meter is practically independent of interferences from the inlet section, which was confirmed in in studies at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt PTB, the national German metrology institute. The water meter can be installed directly behind an arc or a reduction in the pipe without straight inlet or outlet sections.

The significant reduction of the inlet and outlet sections result in smaller measurement wells . Another important advantage of the rectangular sensor construction is the very low power consumption of the coils. This results in a long battery life of up to 15 years with two internal batteries and up to 20 years with an external battery pack.

For remote measurement points WATERFLUX can also be equipped with a GSM antenna ( also battery powered) for remote transmission of readings. The protection class IP68 version of the water meter can also be used to temporarily or permanently flooded measuring points.

• Krohne products are marketed by DWN Instrumentaton

Major donation of calibration announced!

Beamex, ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for calibration, has donated to the International Society of Automation (ISA) a significant amount of calibration equipment, including multifunctional documenting calibrators and communicators, pressure pumps, and field temperature blocks, along with calibration management software.

Calibration management software
“ISA depends on companies like Beamex to provide the latest tools and software so that our training students around the globe can learn using real-world equipment,” says ISA Executive Director & CEO Patrick Gouhin. “Receiving donations like this one from the vendor community facilitates the best possible experience for the automation professionals engaged in our training, and we thank Beamex for their donation.”

Raimo Ahola,  CEO of Beamex Group commented, “ISA offers outstanding curriculum for automation professionals and we are proud to partner with them. Beamex appreciates the opportunity to provide educational tools for ISA students and give them the ability to learn accurate processes to collect, analyze and store calibration data through our integrated calibration solution.”

The donated assets will be used in a range of ISA's hands-on technical training courses for automation and control professionals, enabling them to become familiar with and utilize some of the most advanced, accurate and reliable calibration equipment in the marketplace.

He emphasises that Beamex is "the only company in the marketplace to offer this type of streamlined solution. We are at the forefront of an automation revolution. We’re developing the most robust equipment, combined with advanced calibration software, to perform calibrations, document and house data, as well as examine results.

“We will continue to be a pioneer of process improvement and education,” he continues. “One day, in the not so distant future, integrated calibration solutions will be the standard for all calibration processes. Every technician, experienced or new to the field, will need to understand these concepts to effectively and efficiently calibrate their instrumentation.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Density calibration facilities commissioned in England and the USA.

New facilities provide world’s only liquid density meter calibration at multiple temperature and pressure conditions, ensuring high measurement accuracy to help limit financial and productivity risks

Hot on the heels of announcement of expansions and new facilities in Scotland and Romania comes this news of further developments in the USA and England.

Emerson Process Management has commissioned new ‘state-of-the-art’ liquid density meter calibration facilities in Boulder, Colorado, (USA) and Slough, (GB). These new facilities are purpose-built to support the recently released Micro Motion® Compact Density Meters (CDM). The new calibration facilities offer unique flexibility that enables calibrations at real-world temperatures and pressures that mimic true application conditions, ensuring high accuracy.

In custody transfer, blending and concentration applications, accurate density measurement is critical to limit financial and productivity risks. To ensure high accuracy, meters must be calibrated in environments that closely replicate real-world applications. Emerson’s new liquid density meter calibration stands calibrate density meters at real-world temperatures and pressure conditions that mimic true application environments.

“By rethinking both the meter design and the calibration methodology, Emerson has created an on-line density meter that brings market-leading accuracy to our customers’ applications,” said Andy Dudiak, vice president of Emerson’s Micro Motion business unit.

Emerson’s new facilities have tripled the capacity of the previous density meter calibration facilities, reducing calibration processes from days to hours. Consequently, manufacturing schedules are dramatically reduced, meeting customers’ key requirements for shorter delivery times.  

In addition to the innovative new liquid density meter calibration stands, a new gas density calibration facility achieves the same calibration process time reduction – from days to hours.  Built in Slough to support the recently launched Micro Motion Gas Density Meter (GDM), this new calibration facility offers significantly improved re-calibration turnaround times that shorten customer maintenance schedules.

These new facilities are part of Emerson’s global investment in calibration facilities and services. This new capability adds to Emerson’s existing flow calibration network, with primary calibration service centres located in the USA, Brazil, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, the UAE, China, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Enhancements to FF technical specs!

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced the latest updates to its open, non-proprietary FOUNDATION fieldbus technical specifications. The specification updates (Version 2014.1) will further enhance FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM) and the usability of FOUNDATION technology.
FF-Rom Logo
FOUNDATION for ROM specification-related updates, along with an update to the Common File Format (CFF) specification, have improved coverage of ROM communication profiles under existing specifications in preparation for the first official ROM device registrations. Additionally, there is expanded specifications support for complex, mixed conventional I/O points.

The first development of its kind, FOUNDATION for ROM integrates remote input/output (I/O), ISA 100.11a, WirelessHART®, wired HART, and FOUNDATION fieldbus H1 protocols into a single, open-standard data management environment. With Modbus incorporation under development, FOUNDATION for ROM allows full integration of field connected assets into the FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure. These enhancements further extend the capabilities of FOUNDATION fieldbus to wired and wireless devices installed in some of the world's harshest and most remote locations. This open, non-proprietary solution provides a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in applications ranging from tank farms and terminals to pipelines, offshore platforms, and even original equipment manufacturer (OEM) skids.

As part of this new technical specifications release, a fixed set of Device Description (DD) Symbol IDs was added to technical note 16 in order to improve interoperability between backwards-compatible devices and host systems. This provides a more reliable way for a host to properly take advantage of the backwards compatibility of a device. In 2013, the foundation created a continuous improvement process initiative with the ultimate goal of making the end users' experience with FOUNDATION technology easier than with conventional analog control systems. Since then, the Usability Initiative has resulted in four immediate objectives toward this common goal: backwards compatibility, pre-defined device templates, automated device replacement, and process value (PV) interchangeability. Backwards compatibility simplifies device replacement.

CNC and 3D simulation software for mechanical engineering courses!

Purdue University’s  College of Engineering has chosen to equip one of its key educational laboratories with NUM's open-architecture CNC systems and 3D simulation software. The equipment will provide students with hands-on CNC programming experience and help to familiarise them with advanced CNC machine tool operation and control techniques, using a powerful combination of virtual machines and physical high performance CNC demonstrator systems.

Purdue University is one of the USA’s leading academic research institutions and hosts one of the nation’s largest engineering faculties. Its College of Engineering comprises 14 schools and departments – each specialising in a particular engineering discipline – and is currently undergoing further major expansion. As part of the expansion, Purdue University is upgrading the mechanical engineering laboratory at the university’s main campus. This laboratory is principally used for teaching students the basics of CNC control and programming, and introducing them to machine-based manufacturing processes and techniques. It is currently equipped with several 2-axis CNC demonstrator machines based on NUM 760 and 10xx series CNC systems, together with a NUM 2D simulator.

Left Steven Schilling , MD, NUM Corporation,
& Yung C. Shin, Professor of Mechanical
Engineering at Purdue, in front of the
university’s historic Heavilon Hall clock.
According to Professor Yung C. Shin, who oversees all CNC-related education and research activities at the School of Mechanical Engineering, “When we set up the mechanical engineering lab in the 1990s, we looked at CNC systems from many manufacturers. However, most of the systems were like black boxes so their operation was difficult to understand, which was far from ideal when we wanted to teach the basics of CNC control. We therefore decided to base our educational platform on NUM’s CNC systems, primarily because of their open architecture and the fact that the NUM was enthusiastic about helping us to use their products in this role. The openness of NUM’s CNC, especially with regard to NC code and I/O facilities, enables us to clearly demonstrate the exchange of data between the PLC, CNC and drive electronics, and simplifies integration with other lab equipment. Also, many of the CNC machines that we use in our manufacturing research labs are based on NUM CNC systems, so there is a high commonality of coding.”

NUM has acted as a CNC partner to the School of Mechanical Engineering for some 24 years. Steven Schilling, General Manager of NUM Corporation in Naperville, Illinois, points out the importance of such long-term support for educational establishments, “The staff at Purdue always have access to our technical support people and receive engineering help whenever they need to reconfigure or reprogram CNC systems for new projects. This close cooperation ensures that the Purdue’s laboratory CNC equipment has the latest features and tools to aid students in developing new machining technologies.“

Many of the CNC machines
in Purdue are based on
NUM CNC systems, such as this
laser-assisted machining system
 for ceramic materials
The latest upgrade to the mechanical engineering laboratory’s CNC equipment is extensive. NUM has supplied two Flexium 68 CNC systems configured for milling applications, each with an NCK (Numerical Control Kernel), PLC, HMI and 3D simulator hardware and software, plus additional simulator dongles for four PCs. Flexium 68 provides a very versatile foundation for educational and research applications such as this, where the type of machine and the control approach change over time. As standard, the NCK accommodates up to 5 axes/spindles on a single channel, with full interpolation on 4 axes. Single NCK options can expand this to 32 axes/spindles in up to 8 channels, with up to 32 interpolated axes, while multi-NCK configurations can handle more than 200 axes.

To help improve ergonomics, the laboratory has installed two desktop consoles for human-machine interaction. Each console is equipped with a NUM FS152i operator panel and an MP04 machine panel, fitted with CAN interfaces. The operator panels feature 15 inch LCD screens and integral industrial PCs with solid state drives, run an embedded version of Windows, and are connected to the university’s Ethernet network. Each console can be used for simulation or for controlling the laboratory’s CNC demonstrator machines.

NUM has also supplied all the motors, drives, power supplies and associated hardware for two additional 2-axis demonstrator machines. Both of these combine latest-generation bi-axis NUMDrive C servo drives with BPH brushless servo motors. One of these machines uses the HP version of the drive with high performance control loops, to facilitate research into applications involving very fast or precise kinematics.

Using Flexium, Purdue University’s students and post-graduate researchers can now investigate CNC techniques to a very detailed level. All CNC, servodrive, I/O and PLC setup and programming is performed using a unified software toolset to help shorten the learning curve, increase productivity and work satisfaction, and encourage collaborative effort. The system’s inherent open architecture has multiple advantages. Application-specific HMIs (Human-Machine Interfaces) can be easily created or modified using industry-standard editors and languages such as HTML, JavaScript, Visual Basic, Delphi, C or C++, while the PLC can be programmed using any IEC 61131-3 compliant object-oriented graphical or textual language. In addition, students who need low-level control of the NCK – for example, for real-time axis transformations – can use dynamic operators in the code, while techniques such as real-time compensation can be developed using embedded loop control macros in the servo drives.

The Flexium 3D graphical simulation capabilities that Purdue University is installing in the mechanical engineering lab will improve work flexibility significantly. Until now, the simulation software required physical connection to the CNC system – which meant that only one student at a time could use it – and was limited to basic 2D simulation of path lines. The lab now has six separate simulator stations – two on desktop consoles and four on standalone PCs – each capable of true 3D workpiece simulation in standalone mode, without needing access to a CNC system. A further six networked PCs are also being installed, allowing students to perform simulation at different locations.

Students are now able to simulate and optimise any ISO-code part program that they have written, with full visualisation of the tool centre point path and workpiece material removal, backed by automatic checking for collisions between machine components, the tool and the workpiece. The simulation software currently supports 3-5 axis turning and 3-axis milling/drilling, as well as water jet and plasma contour cutting, and can be transferred between applications very easily. It creates a dynamic colour image, showing the workpiece as a 3D volume than can be rotated and viewed from any perspective.

Purdue University plans to make the new CNC facilities available to students in the autumn, as Professor Shin explains, “We need to be able to provide more students with hands-on experience of CNC programming and visualisation as soon as possible. There is now a resurgence in the domestic automation market thanks to new processes like additive manufacturing, and CNC programming skills are once again in short supply. Students are excited by CNC programming when they can see the results of their efforts – whether that's on a simulator, a CNC demonstrator or machine tool – which is why our new facilities are such an important educational tool. Some 65% of our graduates go on to pursue careers in manufacturing – and many have become professors in their own right. I like to think that when they set up their own laboratories they will remember the grounding that we gave them.”

Instrumentation reshaped with software-based, all-In-one device!

Five essential instruments in a single device with an innovative software experience, creating new possibilities for engineers using benchtop test equipment.

VirtualBench, from National Instruments, is an all-in-one instrument that integrates a mixed-signal oscilloscope, function generator, digital multimeter, programmable DC power supply and digital I/O. Users interact with VirtualBench through software applications that run on PCs or iPads. The device provides the most common functionality affordably and opens up new possibilities for how engineers can use benchtop instruments. 

Key Benefits 
• Takes up minimal space on a desktop or benchtop 
• Simplifies instrument configuration through consistent, user-friendly interfaces 
• Offers new capability and convenience with a consolidated view of multiple instruments, visualisation on larger displays and quick functionality to save data and screenshots
• Integrates seamlessly with LabVIEW system design software
“Before, I didn’t have the room or budget to buy a full setup for each bench,” said Russell Stanphil, Electronics Advisor at TechShop ("America's 1st Nationwide Open-Access Public chain of member-based workshops!"). “I can now park one laptop and a VirtualBench on each seat, replacing four to five boxes.” 

Because VirtualBench uses today’s consumer computing platforms, engineers and scientists can take advantage of the latest technologies like multitouch displays, multicore processors, wireless connectivity and intuitive interfaces. The simplification and increased capability through software leads to more efficient circuit debugging and validation. 

“We are building on what NI does best, which is our software-based approach to test and measurement,” said Chad Chesney, Director of Data Acquisition Marketing at NI. “VirtualBench’s software user experience is more intuitive, creating efficiencies that go above and beyond simply having these five devices in a single device.” 

Office & service centre for Scotland to support automation for Oil & Gas!

Emerson has broken ground on a new £20 million (ca €25m) office and service centre at Dyce, Aberdeen, Scotland to support the North Sea oil and gas industry. The Aberdeen facility is one of a series of new regional service centres Emerson Process Management is opening around the world as part of its ongoing commitment to provide local support, training, and services for its customers.

Celebrating the start of construction work, on 13th June Emerson’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David N. Farr (third from the left) joined representatives from Miller Developments, local dignitaries and senior managers from Emerson Process Management at a ground breaking ceremony. Picture obviously taken before any work was done, note the immaculate spades & wellies!

“Today’s ground breaking is the first milestone in the construction of this important new facility which will provide our customers operating in the North Sea with an enhanced range of services and support,” said Stuart Brown, General Manager, Emerson Process Management UK and Ireland. “This investment demonstrates our commitment to the growing number of large oil and gas installations in the area that will require lifecycle support to keep their operations running efficiently and profitably.”

The facility will support a range of services and solutions from both Emerson Process Management and Emerson Network Power. A 2600 square metre office accommodating sales and support will be linked to a 3065 square metre service centre and provide a customer collaboration suite and meeting facilities.

The facility will house Emerson Network Power’s global training centre for industrial systems, as well as offering its sales, design, project management, commissioning and maintenance services. A lifecycle service centre will support Emerson Process Management customers’ North Sea installations. In addition, an Integrated Operations (iOPs) centre that uses a working model of a production enterprise, will help address customers’ needs for streamlined decision-making, easily accessible expertise and the safe, collaborative collocation of essential personnel.

“The greatly expanded resources available within the new facility will build upon our well established operations in Aberdeen,” said Brown. "These include the oil and gas sales and support team, specialist oil and gas industry metering and measurement services, as well as Emerson Network Power’s industrial grade AC and DC UPS system solutions to support wide-ranging onshore and off-shore process and safety critical applications.”

The fully equipped training centre will further enhance Emerson Network Power’s industry-leading capability to manage and deploy accredited engineers for both planned and emergency offshore service support work.

Services available from the new centre will include enterprise asset management, engineering and operations support services, products and systems training and education, total metering management, metrology consulting, and calibration and production data validation. For customers with urgent service needs the centre will also provide repair services and emergency spares.

The new facility will replace the existing offices located in nearby Kirkhill, Aberdeen, and is one of over 400 services centres Emerson Process Management has worldwide. When fully operational in mid-2015, the facility will have a team of over 150 Emerson personnel.

The facility will be located within the D2 Business Park, a major new business hub currently being developed by Miller Developments, a division of The Miller Group, one of the Britain's leading property development companies.

David Milloy, Joint Managing Director, Miller Developments, said: “Since its launch last year, D2 is quickly establishing itself as a prime location for business in Aberdeen and we are delighted Emerson has recognised its potential. Not only does D2 have a fantastic location with superb transport connections, but occupiers like Emerson can also benefit from the ability to create a bespoke package of facilities which are tailor made to suit their needs.”

Global leader in gas detection and monitoring supports ISA100 Wireless!

Riken Keiki has joined the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute. Founded in 1939, Riken Keiki has been specialising in developing gas detection and monitoring solutions to help ensure safety in industrial sites for almost a decade.

Riken Keiki was founded through a research initiative with the Private Research Foundation Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, currently known as the Independent Administrative Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, based in in Japan. To this day, Riken Keiki’s products benefit from scientific insight provided by its partnership with the Institute.

“Riken Keiki continually refines the technologies established throughout our history while investigating and improving the quality and technical capabilities of the products we provide,”
said Masaru Ishibashi, Deputy General Manager Engineering Department, Riken Keiki“By joining ISA100 Wireless, we open a new chapter in our product evolution, one that will lead to stronger products and better systems.”
“We welcome Riken Keiki to ISA100 WCI,” said Andre Ristaino, Managing Director, ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute. “Riken Keiki’s products will greatly expand the ISA100 Wireless selection of gas detection offerings.”
Riken Keiki offers over 100 different models of gas detection and environmental measurement products, including toxic gas detectors, gas detectors for preventing accidents resulting from oxygen deficiency, gas detectors for preventing gas explosions, environmental monitoring instruments, radiation monitors and more. Each product is designed to respond to diverse industrial requirements and broad applications.

Monday, June 16, 2014

New partner in barcode & datacapture in MES technology solutions.

VisionID have appointed ONG Automation as their first “Allianz Partner“ for MES Technology Solutions in recognition of their utilisation, skills and the delivery of a large number of MES solutions delivered by ONG recently using VisionID’s technology for Barcode Scanning, Cognex Vision Solutions, Mobile Computing, RFID and Label Printing.

Robert Jones – MD, and Cathal Murtagh, 
Sales & Marketing Director, VisionID with 
Richard Stapleton, Industry Solutions 
Manager, ONG Automation
Cathal Murtagh, Sales and Marketing Director, VisionID, “The VisionID philosophy is to be the leading independent supplier of Mobile Computing, Identification and Barcoding solutions to all industry sectors throughout Ireland. VisionID Ltd. was formed to provide Barcode and Data Capture solutions in today’s “real time” society. Whatever the industry sector, data capture technology can facilitate improved performance and efficiency, delivering a realistic ROI in a very short timeframe.”

Richard Stapleton, Industrial Solutions Manager, ONG Automation, “We have seen our MES business grow over recent years and customer demands for Turnkey Automation Integration MES solutions and ERP Integration has also grown. VisionID provides us with the Data Capture technology and Technical support to enable us capture this real time data to help our customers improve decision making and increase their profits.

“We have been an early adaptor in industry for real time data collection and have delivered a large number of MES Solutions worldwide using VisionID’s technology to complement our every growing Industrial Automation and MES Solutions business. “

“Key Plant Stake Holders, Plant Managers and Decision Makers all require real time plant floor information, Reporting Solutions, Traceability Solutions and MES Solutions with integration into the ERP Layer from a Turnkey Supplier. Our Industrial Automation Solutions provide Real Time Process Information but we needed solutions which could provide us with information for our Track & Trace and MES Solutions. We turned to VisionID to provide us with the technology for Barcode Scanning, Vision Systems, Mobile Computing, RFID and Label Printing Solutions."

Richard went on to say, “using technologies from leading suppliers in the market such as Motorola, Cognex, Zebra, we provide our customers with the very latest in technology complimented with the leading MES Software Suppliers such as Wonderware and Rockwell to provide turnkey cutting edge MES solutions for our customers. We recently used the Motorola RFID Solutions supplied by VisionID as part of an MES Solution for Product Tracking and we are delighted with the level of support and training provided by VisionID.”

Cathal added “We have aligned ourselves with the world’s leading manufacturers of Barcode Printers, Barcode Scanners, Handheld Mobile Devices, Wireless Solutions as well as Plastic Card Printing Systems and we are delighted now to be working with ONG Automation.

Recently VisionID has launched a number of new initiatives including a €100,000 investment in a state-of-the-art Service and Support Department, a Professional Services team and a dedicated Software Provider/IT Reseller Channel Manager."

• ONG Automation are a Worldwide Solution Provider of Industrial Automation & MES Solutions with their headquarters in Cork Ireland, ONG have offices in Qatar, UAE and USA. ONG Automation are a Wonderware Endorsed System Integrator and a Rockwell Recognised System Integrator for Industrial Automation.

Technology keeps your eye on the road! A nifty idea!

Sometimes we use information not specifically related to process automation or Test+Measuremnt because they are unusual or simply because we like the idea! And we think this is a nifty idea!

Low pressure overmoulding services
used to finalise the Bike HUD for launch
EC Electronics has provided specialist manufacturing services to ready an innovative new Head Up Display (HUD) for market.  The recently launched Bike HUD from Bike Systems features a control module produced by EC Electronics.

The Bike HUD control module is connected to a small screen on the rider’s helmet, displaying dashboard information within the rider’s peripheral vision.  To ensure the module achieves the necessary robust requirements, EC Electronics used its in-house Low Pressure Overmoulding facility to entirely encapsulate the control board as well as the helmet and handlebar units.

Bike Systems engaged EC Electronics’ expertise at an early stage to rapidly prepare the finished design for production, contributing know-how in areas such as Design for Manufacture (DFM), production of the complete set of cable assemblies, as well as facilities for low-pressure overmoulding.  Additionally, working closely with the company’s Hong Kong subsidiary, EC Supply Chain Solutions, engineers were able to source an important custom component at a competitive price.

“Bike System’s innovative Bike HUD sets high standards of quality throughout, is robust and has received excellent reviews since its launch,” said Bill Green, Technical Director for EC Electronics.  “The success of this project showcases the technical competencies and manufacturing expertise EC Electronics can offer designers needing to take their project from an early prototype stage to full production readiness.”

Enhanced single loop controllers.

Yokogawa has enhanced its YS1000 series single loop controllers released this month! The controllers feature a new TFT LCD with improved display characteristics and a design that facilitates easy maintenance.

Development Background
Single loop controllers are used in a wide variety of industrial facilities such as power plants, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, chemical plants, and iron and steel plants. These controllers receive temperature, flow rate, pressure, and other types of measurement readings from sensors and send corresponding instructions to control elements such as valves in order to maintain these values within a desired range. Each control loop has its own controller. Single loop controllers are widely used in industry today to control small plant facilities and serve as back-ups to distributed control systems.

Yokogawa released its first analog controllers in the 1960s, and went digital in the 1980s with the release of the microprocessor-equipped YS80 series digital single loop controllers. The company continued to improve its products and followed up by releasing the YS100 series in 1991 and the YS1000 series in 2007. Today, for such reasons as the decline in the number of skilled engineers in the workforce, many of our customers have a need for controllers that are easy to use and maintain. To meet such needs, Yokogawa has improved its YS1000 series controllers.

1. Improved LCD screen
Formerly, this product used a STN LCD screen. This has been changed to a TFT LCD screen that has a 1.5 times wider viewing angle. The display contrast and brightness are also notably improved, making the screen much easier to read. In addition, the TFT LCD has a longer lifespan and does not need to be replaced as frequently.

2. Online replacement
As controllers typically are used over long periods of time, periodic replacement of the LCD screen is required. With the enhanced YS1000 controllers, the TFT LCD can be replaced while the controller is online, without interrupting the output of signals to control elements; there is no need to switch off the controller before replacing the display.

Major Target Markets
Production sites in a wide variety of industries including power, oil refining, petrochemicals, chemicals, iron and steel, pulp and paper, food, pharmaceuticals, and water and sewage

Operation, monitoring, and control of production facilities

Future Approach
In total, more than 30,000 YS1000 series single loop controllers have been delivered to a variety of plants worldwide. The new YS1000 controllers offer improved displays that are easier to read and maintain, and their completely updated design ensures that they will be available for years to come. As a leading supplier of single loop controllers, Yokogawa is committed to meeting its customers’ needs.

User-friendly gas analyser for launch next month!

A next generation gas analyser dedicated to the anaerobic digestion and biogas market at the AD & Biogas Show 2014 (2-3/7/2014, Birmingham, GB).  Visitors to the Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds stand will be the first to see the company’s innovative MTL gas analyser, which is the first truly modular solution and is expected to bring significant cost savings to gas measurement.  In addition, visitors can meet experts from MTL to learn more about hazardous area electrical equipment and how it is used to help meet ATEX safety certification requirements on a Biogas plant.

“The anaerobic digestion and biogas industry has been demanding a more user-friendly solution in the market, and our modular gas analyser is specifically designed to meet and exceed that need,” says Iain Gordon, Gas Analysis Product Line Manager at Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds Division. “With more than 30 years of experience in gas analysis, our team has developed a simple-to-use, high performance, fit-and-forget solution, which enables process managers and engineers to increase uptime and reduce operational costs.”

MTL GIR6000 is Eaton’s first gas analyser dedicated to the biogas market and uses sensor technology initially developed to provide continuous and reliable online gas measurement in the oil and gas industries.  The company is now extending its hazardous area knowledge and experience built on protecting equipment in the oil and gas industries to the biogas markets.

An expert will also be on hand to answer queries on hazardous area safety around the Biogas plant, enhancing safety and ensuring that plants meet the standards required for measurement and control in the hazardous area.  For more information on the new easy-to-use MTL GIR6000 gas analyser and to book a hazardous area discussion visit Hall 3 stand C031 at AD & Biogas trade show 2014, or contact

MTL products, part of the portfolio from Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds business, provide leading electronic instrumentation and protection capabilities for the process control industries.  Key applications include intrinsic safety, fieldbus, industrial networking, surge protection, HMI and visualisation, gas analysis and alarm management.