Friday, November 7, 2014

Dynamic pressure sensor calibration facility!

Methods and standards for static pressure calibration are well established, but no accepted method or standard exists for dynamic pressure calibration. There is growing demand within industry to ensure pressure sensors faithfully record the changes in pressure that occur during combustion or explosion events. This demand is coupled with the quality imperative within industry.
The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is working on a dynamic pressure sensor calibration method, based on shock tube techniques, which NPL hopes will be adopted as an ISO standard. The methodology uses a shock tube, in which a bursting disc separates two sections, and an increasing pressure in one section initiates failure of the disc, creating a pressure shock wave in the other section. This shock wave is used to calibrate the sensor under test mounted in the section’s end wall.

The shock tube performance has been validated using a Kistler Instruments Type 603B miniature piezoelectric pressure sensor with acceleration compensation, designed specifically for measuring pressure fluctuations of high frequency and short rise time, and the Type 5015 single channel laboratory charge amplifier with a wide measuring range.

The majority of pressure sensors used in industrial applications to make dynamic measurements are calibrated only for static measurements, even though it is widely recognised that the behaviour of sensors will deviate progressively from their static characteristics as the frequency is increased. The new facility provides a calibration process that extends the measurement traceability of pressure sensors into the dynamic regime by exposing them to extremely fast pressure steps of up to 1.4 MPa. This facility is particularly suited for characterising sensors used in applications such as gas turbine and internal combustion engine development.

The pressure steps are created in a shock tube using different combinations of gas, bursting disc thickness, and initial static pressure in the downstream section. The theoretical rise time for the pressure steps is in the region of a few nanoseconds making the frequency content of the pressure rise sufficient for practically all industrial applications. The calibration process extends the measurement traceability of the sensor into the dynamic regime by quantifying its resonant frequency and its amplitude and phase response over a wide range of frequencies. The SI traceability of the calibration is derived from the starting pressure and temperature, gas species, and shock wave velocity measurements. In addition to the standard tests, NPL is able to investigate the dynamic characteristics of entire measurement systems.

EX Software for Modbus scanners!

Precision Digital Corporation has announced ScanView EX Programming Software for the Vantageview PD6730X and ProtEX® PD6830X Modbus Scanners. ScanView EX allows industrial plants to take advantage of existing Modbus systems and efficiently pair their devices with Precision Digital Modbus Scanners for accurate display of and quick access to process information, locally or remotely.

ScanView EX provides operators with full control of the Modbus scanner configuration process using an intuitive layout and an easy-to-understand interface. Clearly labeled menus enable quick programming of the PD6730X and PD6830X functions. ScanView EX is available for free from the site.

"ScanView EX eliminates a lot of button pushing and minimizes confusion when setting up a Modbus Scanner," said Jeffrey Peters, President, Precision Digital Corporation. "Programming elements and functions are presented in a straight-forward, logical manner. In addition, scanner configurations can easily be copied, saved, retrieved, or printed in list form. An on-board scanner data log holds up to 1024 records and can be downloaded to the PC."

ScanView EX features tabs that logically present functions and programming elements. Tabs include Monitor, Mode/PV Setup, Display, Rate/Totalizer, Outputs, Data Logging, and more. Within each tab, the features are organized by related item. Drop-down menus help to avoid confusion when selecting settings.

A PDA8068 meter-to-USB adapter is available for quick & easy connection to a PC for programming the scanner. RS-485 to RS-232 and RS-485 to USB adapters are also available.

• Precision Digital products are marketed in Ireland by P J Bonner & Co.


Modular electronic loads are visibly attractive for power testing!

Interpro Systems have introduced their new ML1800 Series of 1800W modular electronic loads.

Simon Tanner,  their European Sales Manager  comments, “The ML1800 is one of the most cost effective electronic loads on the market. The modular design and clear, colourful display makes it easy to see the status of every load whether as a stand-alone instrument or in a test system.” 

The ML1800 features an 8-inch TFT LCD colour display with multiple language selection that is visible across the room. The 6-slot chassis is rated at 1800W and can be specified with up to six 300W or three 600W modules. Modules are available with current ratings of 60 or 120 amps with voltages up to 80 or 10 or 20 amps with voltages up to 500V.

The new ML1800 modular load series CC, CV, CR, CP, short circuit, battery and LED operating modes, 20khz transient test speeds with programmable rise, dwell and fall times, inductive load and capacitive load simulation makes it an ideal solution for testing of today’s sophisticated power supplies, batteries, LEDs, adaptors and converters.

The 16-bit programming and measurement resolution lets the ML1800 be operated as standalone instrument as well as having the capability to be integrated into a larger test system. It offers 10 User programmable stored test sequences of up to 10 steps each. Programs can be run once, continuously looped or run once and then chained to other programs to provide very complex loading profiles.

A major advantage to users of the ML1800 load series is the ability to change test modes without turning off the load input. This allows the ML1800 series to more accurately simulate load testing applications. Turn-on capacitance and inductance simulation is easily performed using the CC Rise and CV Rise modes. In addition, the load’s LED mode and Battery simulation functions allow for quick setup and execution for these power products. The CC to CV and CR to CV functions also provide the user with special loading simulation features.



Expanded plant reflects growing demand for automation technology & services in Britain!

Emerson Process Management continues to grow its British operations capability with the expansion of its Leicester facility as part of an ongoing commitment to provide additional regional expertise, services and support for its customers. The expanded facilities, which include a new staging area for customer Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT), will provide an improved response for users of its automation technology and services.
(LtoR) John Pattison, Director, Projects and Services, UK and Ireland, Stuart Brown, Vice President/General Manager, UK and Ireland, and Roel Van Doren, President, Emerson Process Management Europe open the new expanded Leicester facility
“We are committed to helping our customers with their increasingly complex projects by offering skilled and experienced staff available locally,” said Roel Van Doren, President of Emerson Process Management Europe. “The multi-million pound investment in the expansion of our Leicester facility, together with the new service centre being constructed in Aberdeen will help meet the growing demand for Emerson’s technology and services for projects in the UK and Europe”.

Expanded facility includes a new staging area 
for customer Factory Acceptance Testing
The expansion of the Leicester facility adds an extra 24,000 sq/ft to the existing 53,000 sq/ft and will accommodate the expected growth in the region and support the long term business plans of Emerson’s process systems and solutions and power and water solutions business units. The two storey extension provides a state-of-the-art integration and staging area, additional office space and a large storage area.

Customers will benefit from the new integration and staging area when conducting Factory Acceptance Testing of the control systems specifically designed and built for their applications. The staging floor and office areas have been designed to provide a comfortable and safe environment for Emerson and its customers to work in.

The new service centre, which will open in Aberdeen next year, demonstrates Emerson’s commitment to the growing number of large oil and gas installations in the North Sea that require automation technology and lifecycle support to ensure operations run safely, reliably and efficiently.

Enabling T+M instruments communicate wirelessly!

Fluke has introduced a compact interlocking module which enables the wireless connection of some existing Fluke tools to the free Fluke Connect™ mobile app. By inserting the new Fluke ir3000FC Connector over the IR port of a Fluke 189, 287 or 289 Digital Multimeter (DMM), or a Fluke 789 ProcessMeter™, technicians can efficiently and safely capture real-time readings from the primary display and share data instantly with other team members in the field.

Technicians can AutoRecord™ measurements safely and free to Fluke Cloud™ storage from wherever they are working, without writing anything down. Everyone on the team with a smart phone and the app can see the data. EquipmentLog™ history allows technicians to assign measurements to specific equipment, creating a cloud-based history of test measurement data for easy access during both troubleshooting and reliability maintenance. TrendIt™ enables technicians to instantly graph data, helping to identify trends and quickly make informed decisions.

The app features ShareLive™ video call, allowing users to securely connect and collaborate with others. This enables other team members to see what the technician can see, so that work approvals at a remote location can be authorised without the technician leaving the field. The Fluke Connect app is downloadable free from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

The true-rms Fluke 289 Industrial Logging Multimeter and Fluke 287 Electronics Logging Multimeter are high performance DMMs designed to solve complex problems in electronics, plant automation, power distribution, and electro-mechanical equipment. They feature TrendCapture, which graphically displays a logged data session to quickly determine whether anomalies may have occurred. The Fluke 789 ProcessMeter is the ultimate troubleshooting tool for electricians and instrumentation professionals, combining the functionality of a loop calibrator with the power of a digital multimeter.

Fluke Cloud storage infrastructure has been built to be one of the most flexible and secure cloud computing environments available, built upon state-of-the-art security, including secure access, electronic surveillance, multi-factor access control systems, built-in firewalls, and encrypted data storage.

More than twenty Fluke tools connect wirelessly with the Connect app, including digital multimeters, thermal imagers, insulation testers, process meters, and specific voltage, current and temperature meters.

Meeting the video recording demands of Bloodhound!

We briefly mentioned this project in our report of the Stemmer Vision Technology Forum last June.

With Bloodhound SSC’s objective of reaching 1000 mph to smash the current world land speed record, extraordinary demands are being placed on the video system being developed by Stemmer to produce and record video data for both engineering and broadcast purposes. The Gecko image recording and compression application from Vision Experts has been specially adapted to meet the demands of this remarkable project.
Pic: Siemens NX
Technical Director at Vision Experts, Jason Dale, explains: “The project threw up a number of challenges initially. Firstly data needs to be acquired from up to 12 GigE cameras at HD resolution and every single frame from each camera must be recorded. In addition video had to be compressed in real time to stream to a number of different places, and the video also needed to be time stamped so that it could linked with the engine management system so that individual frames can be related back to specific control events.”

Mark Williamson, Director – Corporate Market Development at Stemmer said: “The Gecko system was a natural fit for the system since it connects to industrial vision cameras using STEMMER IMAGING’s Common Vision Blox imaging toolkit. In addition, by adapting the software, it offers a great deal of flexibility – a significant number of Gecko systems delivered have some level of customization for the application.”

“For Bloodhound, we rewrote the software for realtime video streaming and compression to encode the video directly to an MJPG format, so that all of the huge volumes of data generated can be recorded to hard disk”, Dale continued. “To solve the digital I/O requirements needed for linking to Bloodhound’s engine management system, we utilised an Adlink EOS embedded vision system equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor. The bespoke codec was tailored to make optimum use of the quad-core i7.”

For this development phase of the project, three identical vision systems have been built. One is with the Bloodhound team, one is with the STEMMER IMAGING development team and the third with Vision Experts. In this way each new development can be verified on 3 independent systems.

“The next challenge is with telemetry”, said Dale. “We have shown that we can acquire that volume of data, compress it all to disk and also recompress a feed for the live stream. Now we have to ensure that we have enough bandwidth to allow successful data transmission from a vehicle moving at these speeds. We are about to deliver the latest part of the system to evaluate this. A special relay mast is likely to be required to maintain line of site between Bloodhound and the control centre for the duration of the run.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Machine control and industrial network connectivity combined.

With the new IXXAT Econ 100, HMS offers a stand-alone embedded PC for real-time Industrial Ethernet for many applications – from small material handling devices to complex robot-based systems for medical use. The Econ 100 combines the machine control expertise from IXXAT with the fieldbus and industrial Ethernet capabilities of HMS' Anybus technology.

The Econ 100 is an ARM-based embedded PC platform for top-hat rail mounting incorporating a Linux operating system and unique multi-protocol support. Customer-specific gateway and control solutions can be swiftly and simply implemented for a variety of different fieldbus and industrial Ethernet standards. From the "out-of-the-box" variant to specific OEM solutions, the Econ 100 comes with unique flexibility and performance.

New expansion board combines multi-protocol approach with local I/Os and enhanced data security
In addition to the on-board interfaces (two Ethernet, two CAN and two USB interfaces), the Econ 100 can be expanded by means of a new expansion board: Alongside analog and digital I/Os, the expansion card offers a slot for HMS Anybus CompactCom modules, a serial interface and 512 MB NVRAM.

The CompactCom modules are available for all popular fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet networks and can be easily interfaced from the Econ 100 application software by means of the common Anybus programming interface. Together with the EtherCAT and CANopen master solutions that are already available with Econ 100, this multi-protocol approach makes the Econ 100 an ideal and future-proof platform for customer-specific control solutions with communication included.

The expansion card also provides 24 inputs and outputs e.g. for direct connection to sensors and actuators. Thanks to an digital output current of up to 2 A and a 12-bit resolution for the analog channels, the Econ 100 is ideal for a wide variety of applications, and the RS232/RS485 interface makes the Econ 100 a perfect link between real-time Industrial Ethernet or CAN-based networks and proven serial applications.

With the NVRAM available on the expansion card, the Econ 100 covers data security for the user. Using this feature, it is suitable for critical applications such as automated handling technology, where the last operating state with all process variables must be retained in case of power failures.

Simplified programming with Soft-PLC
In addition to supporting programming in C/C++, HMS offers an intuitively operated Soft-PLC programming environment in collaboration with Copalp, which is consistent with IEC 61131-3 for simple programming and configuration of control applications. The software package supports all important protocols, including CANopen, EtherCAT, Powerlink, PROFINET and EtherNet/IP.

In order to support a rapid and efficient implementation of complex applications, HMS offers various well-documented application development kits, ADKs, for the Econ 100. The ADKs include an extensive board support package incorporating all necessary interface drivers, sample applications, the respective protocol software package pre-installed on an SD card, and the Linux operating system.

Designed to be used in many fields
The combination of a powerful CPU, up to 1 GB RAM, the rugged metal casing as well as a fanless design with an extended temperature range of -40 °C to +60 °C, ensures that the Econ 100 matches requirements of various important application areas.

In addition to the standard version, the Econ 100 is also available as a board-level product which can be integrated in existing customer applications while taking up very little space. OEM versions with specific hardware adaptations and adapted application variants can be developed by HMS on request.

Workstation for oil and gas applications!

Eaton has launched a next generation Azonix Barracuda 15” HMI workstation in the MTL product line for the oil and gas industry that enables users to reduce operational costs while increasing productivity and rig safety.  Designed in response to demands for increased processing power and a more rugged HMI for operation in hotter environments, the robust and reliable Azonix Barracuda 15 is expected to set a new high standard for monitoring and controlling processes in oil and gas applications worldwide.

This workstation for Zone 2 hazardous areas features an Intel i7 2.5GHz processor and up to 8GB of DRAM to deliver increased processing power compared to alternative technologies.  This increase in computing power provides the bandwidth to run the most demanding DCS or SCADA software packages, therefore avoiding configuration challenges.  The workstation is available with wireless and Bluetooth options which offer high speed communications for fast rig-up rig-down applications, therefore increasing productivity. 

The Azonix Barracuda 15 is quick and easy to install and connect. Fitted with identical mounting options and the same connector interfaces as its predecessor, the new workstation is a simple drop-in replacement, which lowers installation costs and downtime, thus increasing rig uptime and process efficiency.

The workstation is exceptionally user-friendly.  It incorporates a state-of-the-art touch panel which allows for either a resistive or projected capacitive touchscreen. These sensors support glove touch capability for use in harsh and cold environments. Thanks to the new LED backlit 1024 by 768 display screen, the workstation is visible in virtually all working conditions.

Azonix Barracuda 15 workstation has a wider operating temperature range than alternative systems, providing reliable operation between -40ºC and 60ºC.  It uses industrial grade parts and a cast aluminium housing for extreme environmental conditions, which makes it robust, therefore increasing reliability and improved asset uptime.    

The workstation is lightweight and has a small footprint enabling the user the flexibility to install it conveniently in challenging rig environments.  In addition, the systems do not require external panel housing, saving users approximately $1000-$3000 per installation, and multiple mounting options accommodate installation across various rig configurations. 

Designed for use in tough and hazardous environments worldwide, the Azonix Barracuda 15 workstation is fully certified for the most demanding conditions found in up- and downstream oil and gas applications.  It has hazardous area approvals, including AEx, ATEX Zone 2, and is IECEx class 1 Zone 2 rated, providing increased rig safety.  In addition, customers can use one configuration globally which reduces their cost of sustaining multiple hardware and software assets.

“Cost of rig downtime is exceptionally high and is estimated at up to $500,000 per day, so it is clear to see that increasing reliability and uptime goes a long way towards increasing productivity and profitability,” says Kevin Gillespie, MTL marketing communications manager, Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds division. “With over 25 years of experience in developing HMIs for the oil and gas industry, we have extensive knowledge of the challenges faced by our customers, and Azonix Barracuda 15 has been designed to fulfil all their requirements, enabling users to reduce operational costs while increasing rig safety.”

Android app for sound level meters!

Svantek has announced the launch of SvanMobile. This exciting new Android ‘app’ has been designed for use with the company’s high performance SVAN 977B and SVAN 979 sound level meters.

Using the built in Bluetooth functionality of the Android smartphone or tablet, Svantek’s SvanMobile allows remote operation of the company’s high performance SVAN 977B and SVAN 979 sound level meters when making general acoustic measurements or monitoring environmental and occupational noise and vibration. Users can set up and then control the meter using the app.

It enables the user to link measurement files from the sound level meter to media from smartphones such as images, videos and audio notes, as well as location and meteorological data. It is also possible to use SvanMobile to connect to the sound level meter over the internet if it has a GPRS modem or WiFi.

John Shelton, Managing Director at Svantek comments: “This is a significant development for Svantek. For devices running on Android platform, SvanMobile helps extend the functionalities of the SVAN 977B and SVAN 979 sound level meters. Plus anyone who monitors noise in the environment will appreciate being able to build a project around their sound level measurements by adding weather data and GPS positions.”

Svantek’s SVAN 977B and SVAN 979 instruments are robust, reliable, accurate and easy to use and capable of type 1 IEC 61672:2002 sound level measurements and acceleration, velocity and displacement vibration monitoring. Both models offer a variety of key features: all weather microphone protection, hand held, lightweight and robust case, real time FFT analysis, advanced data logging and advanced trigger and alarm functions.

In addition, data is stored on a standard micro SD card and easily downloaded to a PC using SvanPC++ software over USB interface.

A key feature of these sound level meters is being able to disconnect the microphone preamplifier and use them for vibration measurements. The instruments also have two high-speed digital signal processors meaning they are capable of measuring 2ms steps of time history, logged simultaneously to audio recording (with 48 kHz sampling) and real time frequency analysis.

As Svantek’s flagship sound & vibration level meter and analyser, the SVAN 979 is one of the most advanced and powerful single channel instruments on the market. It offers 1/1, 1/3, 1/6 and 1/12 octave real time analysis and features a large, super contrast OLED display with excellent visibility in all light conditions. The SVAN 979 also has a large dynamic range of measurement – over 110dB – and incorporates a high quality G.R.A.S. 40AE microphone for measurement in frequency ranges starting as low as 3HZ.

The SVAN 977 is a new generation sound & vibration level meter and analyser offering 1/1 or 1/3 octave real time analysis. Exceptional hardware design enables ultra sound measurements up to 40 kHz.

Digital instruments for molten metals!

Sterling Sensors have recently added portable foundry pyrometers to their range.
The rugged battery powered digital instruments are designed to measure the temperature of both ferrous and non-ferrous molten metals up to 1800°C.

The DPP provides a safe and convienient portable measuring device. Housed in a tough, lightweight aluminium case it is ideal for use in foundry's, metal processing and recycling plants or environments where extreme temperatures need to be measured.

With a single button operation the instrument searches holds and displays the peak stable temperature on a 4-digit red LED display. Sequence indicating lights keep the operator informed of progress througout the measurement process.

Instruments can be ranged to use type B, K, N, R or S thermocouples in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit.

Type B, R and S units are commonly used in ferrous metals and are supplied with a connector for use with plug-in expendable thermocouples.

Type K and N pyrometers are ranged for use in non-ferrous metals and can be supplied for use with disposable fast response thermocouples or more durable swaged thermocouple elements.

Control & safety systems help reduce project risk for gas production & processing operations!

BP has awarded Emerson Process Management, a global business of Emerson, a contract in excess of US$40 million to be the Main Automation Contractor for the Shah Deniz Stage 2 development project in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. Emerson will provide integrated control and safety systems to help ensure safe and efficient control of gas production on two new offshore platforms and at an expanded onshore gas processing plant at the Sangachal terminal.

The contract is part of Emerson’s global agreement with BP to provide services for greenfield automation projects. Selecting Emerson as the Main Automation Contractor helps BP simplify procurement and project execution. In this role, Emerson will provide system engineering, installation, configuration and testing, supported locally by the Emerson Azerbaijan service centre in Baku.

“This contract is a testament to Emerson’s experience in deepwater offshore oil and gas applications and to the quality of our work providing similar technology for BP’s nearby Chirag Oil Project,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president, Emerson Process Management. “This latest large-scale project continues the long-standing and trusting relationship that exists between our companies.”

Emerson is also providing automation technology and services for BP projects west of Shetland in the UK, including two offshore platforms in the Clair Ridge field and a floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel for the Quad 204 development.

As part of the integrated front-end engineering and design team for Shah Deniz Stage 2, Emerson worked closely with BP and its engineering contractor to define the digital automation solution. The integrated Emerson solution will use Emerson’s DeltaV™ distributed control system, DeltaV SIS™ process safety system, and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software.

The DeltaV system will control and monitor onshore, topside and subsea operations. The DeltaV SIS system will perform process and emergency shutdown functions, if needed, plus control the fire and gas detection systems to enable secure gas production. Electronic Marshalling with intrinsically safe CHARMs technology will help reduce the complexity of connecting the automation systems with thousands of control and measurement devices.


In addition, Emerson’s AMS Suite software will deliver predictive diagnostics from the control and measurement devices to enable timely corrective maintenance. Diagnostic data will be integrated with similar information from BP’s Chirag project to present a clear picture of overall asset health and performance of BPs operations in the Caspian Sea.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ergonomics in enclosure assembly!

Allowing panel builders to work in the most ergonomic and safest way possible, Kiesling Maschinentechnik, a member of the internationally successful Friedhelm Loh Group (which includes Rittal), supply Assemblex assembly frames that support and rationalise processes throughout every stage of machining, assembly, wiring and testing of enclosures.

Three types of assembly frames offer simple and variable fixing of mounting plates using quick release fasteners, are mobile, can be tilted, independent of mains power and depending on the version, height adjustable with a maximum mounting plate or enclosure size of 1900 mm x 1900 mm.

Optional extras include the management of cable reels to the installation of the mounting plate inside the enclosure directly from the assembly frame to prevent heavy lifting. Furthermore, Assemblex assembly frames take up minimal space when not in use and with the absence of mains power, eliminate the risk of careless damage to floor power leads.

Wireless Lab Management Solution for Education!

Tektronix has announced the industry's first wireless lab instrument management solution for quickly setting up and efficiently managing basic electronics engineering laboratories at colleges and universities. The new TekSmartLabTM TSL3000A solution supports up to 120 instruments (30 test benches) on a single platform.

At many learning institutions, implementing productive and fully integrated instrument networks in classrooms can be a daunting task. For instance, using LAN cables to set up a network is costly, time consuming and limits flexibility. Moreover, many instruments lack LAN ports. By converting instruments' USB ports into a wireless interface using a Wi-Fi-USB converter, TekSmartLabTM eliminates cabling hassles while giving professors the software tools they need to efficiently manage large, busy
classrooms.

"Centralized control of instruments dramatically improves the classroom and lab experience for students, instructors and lab managers, " said Michael Ewald, General Manager, Bench Products, at Tektronix. "TekSmartLabTM eliminates many repetitive manual tasks, saving valuable class time. Features such as intuitive laboratory layout emulation, automatic instrument configuration, and push-button report generation mean that professors and students can focus on learning and not shuffling paper or configuring their tools."

Running on a lab server, TekSmartLabTM sets up quickly without any LAN cables or special instrument configuration. From a central dashboard, professors can load instrument configurations associated with different course requirements and then distribute them to up to 120 instruments with a single mouse click. Professors can easily check the instrument status and measurement contents to help with a specific test bench remotely and to save a student's measurement results into a report.

TekSmartLab also improves overall lab management. In conventional teaching labs, asset managers must manually check and record information such as instrument model numbers, serial numbers, and location. Detailed information such as the length of usage can only be estimated by experience or by keeping usage logs. In contrast, TekSmartLabTM automatically records and displays asset information and tracks usage time.

A typical classroom test bench consists of an oscilloscope, function generation, digital multi-meter and power supply. Most Tektronix and Keithley instruments intended for education applications are supported by TekSmartLab including Tektronix TBS1000B-EDU series, DPO/MSO2000B series and MDO3000 series oscilloscopes; AFG2021 and AFG3000C series arbitrary function generators; and Keithley DMM2110 multi-meters and 2231A-30-3 power supplies. 

Valve and flap monitoring!

Position switch with analogue output for extreme environments

Open or closed? Position switches monitor the position of flaps and valves, as well as confirming the presence of tools or work pieces. These universal switching devices can also be used in extreme environments.

steute has now developed a new position switch variant for extreme applications which does not work using the conventional “on/off” technology, but which transmits an analogue signal corresponding to the exact position of the actuator or plunger. The position is recorded by an integrated Hall sensor which, depending on the variant, creates an output signal in one of the three standards 0 … 20 mA, 4 … 20 mA or 0 … 10 V.

This new device belongs to the tried-and-tested Extreme position switch 98 series featuring, amongst other things, a robust and saltwater-proof metal housing, high protection classes and standard dimensions in accordance with DIN EN 50041. The different actuators can be offset by 4 x 90°, permitting versatile integration of the analogue position switch within the surrounding construction. It is also individually programmable in the factory, making it perfectly adaptable to the application in question.

One of the first applications for the HS 98 is position monitoring of valves and flaps in freight and cruise ships. A ship outfitter was looking for a versatile switching device which would not only monitor the open or closed position of valves and ventilation flaps in extreme environments, but which would also indicate the precise position of these valves and flaps. This challenge has now been met by our new analogue position switch, which is also suited to numerous other application fields, for example machine building. An Ex variant currently under development will open up further possibilities.

Monday, November 3, 2014

HMI+PLC with extensive analogue capability!

The new model of IDEC  FT1A Touch micro programmable controller series of combo HMI+PLC units is the FT1A Touch 14 I/O. New features make it suitable for advanced analog monitoring and control, allowing users to economically perform both operator interface and control for a much wider range of applications.

Many small scale applications such as simple machines could benefit by using a programmable graphical interface along with a discrete and analog controller and I/O, but don’t have the panel space or the budget for separate components. The FT1A Touch 14 I/O addresses this need by combining operator interface and control in a single compact package, all programmable with IDEC’s PC-based software.

The FT1A Touch 14 I/O provides up to 158 discrete and analog inputs and outputs (using FT1A controllers as Remote I/O slaves), PID control, Ethernet communications and a built-in 3.8-inch touchscreen HMI in a compact package costing less than $500. These features make it a good fit for applications requiring a graphical user interface along with discrete and analog control at an affordable price.

Responding to market demand, the following features were added to the updated FT1A Touch 14 I/O from the existing FT1A Touch:
  • The two-point built-in analog inputs now accept 4-20mA in addition to 0-10VDC
  • Two built-in analog outputs were added, each configurable as 0-10VDC or 4-20mA
  • Can now expand up to two additional analog two-point I/O modules
  • RTD/Thermocouple analog input module available
  • PID control
  • Can be configured as Remote I/O Master, allowing additional FT1As to be used as Remote I/O Slaves for additional discrete I/O 

The device has 14 I/O consisting of eight discrete inputs of which two can be configured as analog, four discrete outputs and two analog outputs. The discrete inputs can handle switching frequencies up to 10KHz. The analog inputs and outputs can be configured as either 0-10Vdc or 4-20mA.

Two analog expansion adapters can be added, each with either two inputs or two outputs. Remote I/O capability allows up to three FT1A controllers to be configured as remote I/O slaves with 24, 40 or 48 I/O, for a maximum of 158 I/O on a single control system.

PID control functions include auto-tuning, anti-reset windup and bumpless transfer. Programming of the control functions is accomplished via IDEC’s WindLDR, and the HMI is programmed using IDEC’s WindO/I-NV3 software. The WindLDR software allows users to simulate ladder and function block programs to test software without requiring connection of hardware.

Communications includes RS232C and RS485 ports for serial networking; an RJ45 Ethernet port for remote Ethernet and Modbus TCP communications; and a USB port for entering recipe data, performing program updates and data logging.

Critical data can be logged to a USB memory stick and then retrieved by removing the USB stick, or by accessing the data stored on the USB stick via Ethernet. Project files can be transferred between a USB memory stick and the FT1A Touch14 I/O. The USB port is a quick and convenient way for an OEM to program multiple units, and for users to quickly update ladder and HMI programs.

The built-in Ethernet ports allow the FT1A Touch 14 I/O to be configured as a Client (Master) or Server (Slave) on the Modbus network. Modbus RTU (Master or Slave) is also supported. With these capabilities, the FT1A can communicate with other PLCs or devices using the Modbus protocol. It also contains native drivers for communication with PLCs from a wide range of manufacturers using various protocols.


With 47.4KB of logic control programming memory, complex PLC programs can be constructed without undue restriction. And with 5MB of configuration memory for the display, a full-featured display interface can be easily configured.