Friday, December 5, 2014

The performance of a long-range scanner and the simplicity of a sensor.

Taking full advantage of Pepperl+Fuchs' powerful Pulse Ranging Technology (PRT), the R2000 Detection scanner is the ideal solution for demanding field monitoring applications and assistance systems. Empty bay detection and gap recognition are as easily accomplished as the detection of overhanging and interfering products in high-speed AS/RS applications. Assistance systems for collision avoidance in both automatic guided vehicles or manually controlled forklifts and tuggers are another class of applications where the PRT-enabled R2000 Detection offers outstanding features and performance.

The speed and performance of the R2000 Detection is due to the revolutionary PRT measurement principle, a true time-of-flight technology based on ultra-short, high-intensity light pulses. As a result, the R2000 Detection offers exceptional ambient light immunity and unparalleled precision, even at long distances.

The R2000 Detection, together with all products in the R2000 family, uses a unique rotating measurement head instead of an complex rotating mirror design. This approach provides several important functional enhancements including a wobble-free scan plane and a 360o field of view. A very fine and precise light beam only a few millimeters in diameter allows the detection of very thin wires and other small objects. Combine those features with an angular resolution of 0.071o—the highest on the market—and the R2000 Detection is in a performance class all by itself. The internal measurement rate of 54,000 data points per second and up to 30 Hz rotation underline the power of the device.

After acquiring the 360o data points, a powerful microprocessor evaluates the raw data and compares it to up to four user-defined detection fields. The TRUE/FALSE results of each detection area can then be logically combined and associated with one of the four digital outputs. Configuration is simplified using a Device Type Manager (DTM) that can be embedded in any FDT-application like PACTware. The result is a clean and intuitive graphical configuration with instantaneous visual feedback.

To see the R2000 Detection in operation and get a better idea of its operational strength, take a look at this animation video:

New tools for design exploration!

MapleSim™, the advanced system-level modeling and simulation platform has been released by Maplesoft™. This release makes it substantially easier to explore and validate designs, create and manage libraries of custom components, and use MapleSim models within the engineering toolchain.

Release offers new tools for design exploration
MapleSim offers a modern approach to physical modeling and simulation, dramatically reducing model development and analysis time while producing fast, high-fidelity simulations. In MapleSim 7, a new results manager provides greater flexibility when investigating simulation results and exploring designs. It is now possible to compare multiple simulation runs at the click of a button, including simulations of a single model and simulations of different models. Engineers can instantly plot the behavior of any variable, including variables that were not explicitly probed during the simulation. Other tools available through the results manager include the ability to easily visualize the correspondence between the 2-D plot results and the 3-D visualization of the model during simulation.

To support model creation, MapleSim 7 also makes it significantly easier to create, manage, and share libraries of custom components. As well, MapleSim 7 also expands the support of the Modelica language so that more Modelica definitions can be used directly inside MapleSim.

The MapleSim Connector for FMI, which allows engineers to share very efficient, high-fidelity models created in MapleSim with other modeling tools, has also been updated with this release. FMI (Functional Mockup Interface) is an industry standard for defining models to facilitate the sharing of models across different tool sets. For MapleSim 7, the MapleSim Connector for FMI supports more export options for co-simulation and model exchange.

“MapleSim allows engineers to reduce their development time and develop better designs, whether on their own or working with experts in the Maplesoft Engineering Solutions group,” says Dr. Laurent Bernardin, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist at Maplesoft. “With MapleSim 7, our customers will benefit from the new tools that help them analyze their models and improve their designs, while the enhanced support for FMI means even more integration options between MapleSim and the rest of their toolchain.”

As part of the MapleSim 7 family of products, Maplesoft has also released a new component library. The MapleSim Battery Library, which is available as a separate add-on, allows engineers to incorporate physics-based predictive models of battery cells into their multidomain models so they can take battery behavior into account early in the design process.

Connector ranges and contract manufacturing capabilities!

At Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2015 (10-12/2/2015 Farnborough GB), Harting is featuring a number of new additions to its ranges of board-to-board and board-to-cable connectors, as well as a greatly expanded range of M12 connectors for instrumentation and control applications.   

har-flex® from Harting
A number of new additions to the har-flex® 1.27 mm robust circuit-board connector family are being featured which extend its versatility in a wide range of board-to-board and board-to-cable applications. Straight and angled connectors are now available as PCB models. Together with the connectors for flat ribbon connection, PCBs can be combined into complex systems perfectly adapted to their surroundings. All har-flex® connectors are available with from 6 to 100 contacts, in increments of two. In addition to the connectors for flat ribbon connection, Harting also offers assembled cables.

The compact but rugged design of this connector also guarantees reliable operation under adverse conditions. Two large hold-down clips ensure that the connectors are firmly held in place after the soldering. A low-wear insertion and withdrawal procedure is achieved by very smooth contact points between the male and female contacts. This is the result of special follow-up treatment during the punching process which Harting applies based on its extensive experience with punching technology.

For an uninterrupted production chain, the connector is delivered in packaging suitable for machines and can be processed in the SMT solder process. In spite of the rugged design, har-flex® connectors are also suitable for high data rates, which means that they can handle modern transfer protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet or PCI Express.

Also new are a number of enhancements to the har-flexicon® series of PCB terminals and connectors. har-flexicon is a miniaturised individual conductor PCB connection technology featuring 1.27 mm spacing and ideally suited to field assembly. Consisting of a pluggable SMD terminal block, with IDC wire connection, har-flexicon® allows the rapid, toolless termination of single wires directly on to a PCB, with the benefits of low processing costs, compatibility with automatic SMT mounting and reflow soldering processes, and a high level of rigidity with large-area SMT fixings. 

New har-flexicon® developments include SMD PCB terminals and connectors with 2.54-mm spacing for use with single-strand wiring in measurement, control and feedback technology. Rigid and flexible conductors with cross-sections from 0.14 to 0.5 mm² are contacted simply and quickly with push-in spring force termination technology. Straight and angled components with from 2 to 12 positions are available for the PCB. For cross-sections up to 2.5 mm², reflow products with push-in spring force termination technology are available as PCB terminals and PCB connectors. 

Among new products in their M12 connector family is a field-installable X-coded M12 connector for Gigabit Ethernet range of applications. This new slimline version features IDC connection technology, and is ideally suited to automation applications where a cable needs to be attached quickly or adapted on site. Also new is a PCB connector based on MID technology that allows M12 connectors to be easily integrated into devices such as switches and routers. 

Harting Integrated Solutions - the company's contract manufacturing operation - is featuring its electronics assembly capabilities, along with its expertise in project development, prototyping, test and evaluation. The company is an ISO9001 supplier, and its Northampton based manufacturing facility designs, manufactures and tests high-speed multi-layer backplanes and integrates them into card frames and enclosures. Cable assemblies from simple ribbon to advanced wiring looms are also offered.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bar codes on steroids in industry!

European Automation has published an industry report about the potential applications of radio-frequency identification (RFID) in industry. An in-depth analysis of the technology, the report looks at how RFID can be used in sectors including retail, logistics and manufacturing. The report is available for download on European Automation’s website, in the Special Reports section

Traditionally, RFID tags have been used in retail and logistics for asset tracking. Nicknamed ‘bar codes on steroids’, RFID tags can be scanned automatically, without needing a direct line of sight to the reader. RFID tags hold basic information about a specific physical object, like an individual product, a palette or shipping container.

European Automation’s industry report suggests that RFID has started being used in more complex applications, including warehouse management and resource planning systems, to help reduce costs and streamline processes.

“Manufacturing and industrial automation are two sectors that haven’t yet become mass market users of RFID technology in production,” explained Darren Halford, group sales manager of European Automation. “The technology that would allow manufacturers to implement RFID systems on their production lines already exists, but until hurdles like standardisation and security are addressed and resolved, widespread adoption of the technology is unlikely to happen outside logistics, stock and warehousing. Unfortunately, this means manufacturers everywhere are missing out.”

European Automation’s industry survey also analyses the role RFID technology could play in the intelligent factory of the future and how it could be related to innovative industry trends, such as Industry 4.0. Although RFID has been around since the Second World War, the technology can be made compatible with existing control systems such as SCADA and DCS, as well as with new generations of equipment, such as big data driven applications. 

This is the first of six industry reports European Automation is planning over the next twelve months. The subsequent ones will focus on energy efficiency and sustainability, collapsing automation architecture, machine-to-machine communication and information security. 

Connector with pin socket version!

Fischer Connectors continues to lead the trend of miniaturization. After the successful launch of the Fischer MiniMax™ Series in 2012, Fischer Connectors extends this miniature high performance rugged connector with a pin socket version.

With the product range extension, the series is now available both in 19 and 24 pin configuration, giving designers more flexibility, especially where space and weight restrictions play a role. This innovative, first-to-market, high density miniature solution with a unique combination of power and signal contacts enables more functionality into smaller devices and lowers the total cost of ownership. This connector is ideally suited for handheld or body-worn applications, for instrumentation and for test equipment where user-friendliness and easy handling are a must.

The pin socket version of the Fischer MiniMax™ Series is available as standalone connector, able to be mounted on a flex or cabled by the users, or as a complete pre-cabled solution.

While the 24 pin configuration is available with 4 power and 20 signal contacts, the 19 pin configuration of the Fischer MiniMax™ Series will feature 4 power and 15 signal contacts as standard, with as unique feature the possibility to increase the number of power contacts depending on the cable used. Within the signal contacts, there are 2 advanced contacts for USB power connections as available option.

The Fischer MiniMax™ Series is available in three latching systems: push-pull, screw lock and quick release. The most important specifications are as follows:

  • Small profile: less than 7mm inside the box
  • Sealed IP68 (2m/24h), both mated and unmated
  • Unbreakable keying system withstands over 4 Nm of torque
  • Over-molded assemblies able to withstand 40 kg of pull (break-away) force

Fischer Connectors will pre-launch the pin socket version of the Fischer MiniMax™ Series on its booth Hall B3 stand 219 during Electronica in Munich, Germany from 11 to 14 November 2014.

Instrumentation on Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P)

Reliable connectors for the revolutionary Rosetta space mission

Regular vistors to our pages may have noticed a certain predilection towards the exploration of the heavens. We leap with enthusiasm on any story from our automation sources which as much as hints at an involvement. Here is one such story.

Souriau has served as a trusted collaborator to the ESA (European Space Agency) and CNES (French Space Agency) by supplying interconnection components 15 years ago for the Rosetta space mission. The firm supplied various types of connectors for the flight model and is proud to have contributed to this unprecedented ESA success.

Heart-stopping moment!
Early last November (2/11/2014), Philae, ESA´s robotic spaceship successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P), more than ten years after departing Earth. An Ariane 5G+ rocket launched the Rosetta spacecraft and the Philae lander which traveled for 10 years to reach the comet, 500 million km (310 million miles) away from Earth. This trailblazing mission will provide a much deeper understanding of solar system formation, the origin of comets, and their potential link with the origins of life on Earth.

The company contributed to the success of the mission providing an array of connectors to its end-client ESA. These connectors are typically used for power supply connection and vital signal transmission linking satellite’s sensors to the on-board computer for instance. Prior to selection, they carried out a series of tests based on ESA specifications to demonstrate its connectors were able to withstand the specific conditions set as exceptional requirements for this deep space mission. SOURIAU’s ESA qualified connectors were then selected and successfully integrated on the Rosetta mission.

The company has partnered with the ESA and the CNES for over 25 years and supported various space programs by providing high-quality and reliable solutions for harsh environments and long durations, on both standard and specific design bases. Souriau's  connectors have been used at the International Space Station to perform diverse extra-vehicular operations. In addition, Souriau' provided special harnesses for the Cassini-Huygens’ mission to Saturn’s moon, Titan, that enabled the probe to disconnect from its carrier and land after a 7-year journey through deep space.

The Rosetta space mission demonstrates Souriau's - part of Esterline Connection Technologies - ability to design and manufacture superior products perfectly suited for satellites and space exploration. True to the motto “Reliable People, Reliable Solutions,” Esterline Connection Technologies will continue to innovate while ensuring the highest reliability of its interconnect solutions for space programs. A good example is the selection of microComp®, a new generation of ESA qualified space grade connectors, on the future ExoMars rover which should land on Mars in 2018.

See also: A fascinating story: Trash to gas project to help life on Mars! (30/11/2014)

Benefits of Extracting Smart HART® Data!

According to the HART Communications Foundation, more than 30 million HART-enabled instruments are installed in process plants worldwide and the majority of process transmitters made today are HART compatible. Unfortunately the cost of installing a plant-wide HART monitoring system and the lack of familiarity with alternatives means that valuable HART data frequently goes unused.

A white paper from Moore Industries shows why this doesn’t have to be the case. “Extracting HART Data from Smart Instruments” details how the use of a HART interface module such as Moore Industries’ HIM can serve as a simple and cost-effective method for gathering HART information that can be used for monitoring instrument status, diagnostic data, alarms, calibration values and alert messages.

HART interface modules can be installed across any termination point on a 4-20mA process loop without interfering with the analog signal to the control system. It can be configured to extract or read the HART variables from the field transmitter. It “strips out” these process variables from the HART digital signal, converts them to 4-20mA and discrete signals and sends that data to the process control system or other receiving devices. Process variables that are commonly transmitted by HART interface modules from multivariable transmitters include mass flow, temperature, pressure, differential pressure, density or volumetric flow and more.

HART interface modules can also be used by engineers to monitor critical transmitters and applications. For example, a HART alarm can be set to monitor diagnostic data from a critical process transmitter when it is reconfigured or a field device malfunction occurs. HART interface modules can also be used for valve monitoring, emergency shutdown (ESD) valve testing, monitoring multi-dropped instruments and even converting HART data to MODBUS RTU protocol.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Engineering and creativity competition winners announced!

In April 2014 COPA-DATA launched its engineering, usability and creativity competition called zenon Challenge. Teams from all over the world were invited to create tangible and functioning control and visualization applications using the HMI/SCADA software zenon and LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robots. Out of ten submissions, Team ITS (Image Tweaking System) from the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences in Austria emerged as the winner.

This year, 20 teams equipped with a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Kit and zenon from COPA-DATA participated in the challenge. In the end, ten teams fulfilled all requirements for entering the competition. 

Markus Wintersteller, juror for the project design category of the zenon Challenge looks back on the competition: "From the beginning, we had a feeling that this year our expectations would be exceeded. However, nobody suspected such an exciting final. In the video voting, two teams went neck and neck right until the last minute."

Public voting as a deciding success factor
The overall ranking was made up of three tasks the teams had to fulfil to gain crucial points. 40 per cent of the total votes were given by the three members of the jury, according to project design, usability and creativity. The teams could gain a further 20 per cent of its points by answering project-specific questions. The remaining 40 per cent of points was achieved via the online fan community in the form of public votes.

The winning projects 
First place: Team ITS – Image Tweaking System, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences
The six-member ITS team won the competition with a well thought out robot mechanism that used LEGO bricks to recreate a logo very accurately. 
Gero Gruber, usability juror of the zenon Challenge explains: "The project gained points in the jury ranking particularly because of its usability factor. This is where the team was able to clearly stand out from the competition."

Second place: Team Vives Automation, VIVES University College
The Vives Automation team from VIVES University College in Belgium ranked second place with their Delta Robot that arranged plastic balls according to colours in corresponding containers. In a nip and tuck race with Team ITS, only a few pivotal points were missing at the end for the win.

Third place: Team AGH, AGH University of Science and Technology
Team AGH from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow achieved the highest amount of points from the jury evaluation in the engineering category, with its 3-in-1 solution.

Markus Wintersteller recaps: "Team AGH packed all three projects into one video and was able to prove extensive zenon know-how. This performance and the outstanding commitment were also rewarded with votes from the fan community.”

Companies co-operate in design of integrated production control system.

Eaton is supporting Yokogawa in the development of its next generation integrated production control system, CENTUM VP R6.01. Yokogawa wanted to design a new system with an intrinsically safe universal input/output (I/O) module for greater efficiency in system configuration and engineering and approached MTL, part of Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds business, for its expertise in intrinsic safety devices for hazardous area and general process control applications.

“We have a long standing relationship with Yokogawa, having worked together globally for more than 20 years on various projects, so we were delighted once again to partner with them on the CENTUM VP R6.01,” said Riccardo Codega, MTL marketing director, Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds Division. “We worked closely with them to understand their requirements for a universal I/O module and recommended our MTL4500 intrinsic safety isolators, which have been adapted to work in a universal environment. The backplane mounting series is designed with systems vendors in mind and is perfect for DCS applications such as this.”

Yokogawa  launched its first version of CENTUM in 1975, and the company has continued to improve the platform by applying the latest technologies.

Recognising the challenges faced by today’s manufacturing plants for increased flexibility as well as improved process efficiencies, with the need to maintain safe operations, Yokogawa wanted to develop an intrinsically safe universal I/O module that would allow its customers to reduce the time required for installing and configuring a control system.

“We chose to work with Eaton MTL for its credibility and expertise in intrinsic safety,” said Nobuaki Konishi, Vice President of Yokogawa Industrial Automation Platform Business. “The company is recognised in the industry as being a key supplier and we were confident we could rely on them to provide a high quality and safe solution.”

As part of the CENTUM VP R6.01, Yokogawa has expanded its range of I/O devices, which are critical control system components, and a key feature is a new N-IO field I/O device with an I/O module that can easily handle multiple types of I/O signals. As such, it eliminates the need for I/O modules to be replaced according to the signal they convey, which reduces rewiring, footprint and the time spent on installation and associated costs.

Eaton’s MTL product specialists added additional diagnostic features and functionality so line fault detection is integrated into the Yokogawa system. Now, there are channel level diagnostics in the control system that help users avoid downtime and increase plant productivity.

A key benefit of the MTL4500 Series isolators is that the base plate does not require intrinsic safety certification. The field connection is on top of the module, so it does not need any additional accreditations and it is accessible to all regions worldwide. As a result, the approval process into a plant is simplified in virtually any application.

The MTL4500 isolators are a compact integrated solution for flexible cabinet layout. Incorporating advanced circuit design, a common set of components and innovative isolating transformer construction, the isolators achieve a significant reduction in power consumption while increasing channel packing densities. The 16mm wide design reduces weight and gives exceptionally high packing density.

Eaton’s MTL4500 isolators are plug-and-play with easy commissioning and set up, therefore simplifying project engineering and reducing installation and maintenance costs. The design is based on existing, proven technologies and provides a reliable solution for manufacturing plants and process industries including oil and gas, petrochemicals, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Eaton continues to work closely with Yokogawa in its development of control systems that will provide customers with an improved operating environment by increasing the safety and efficiency of their operations and achieving greater synergy between their control system and field devices. In addition to improving production efficiency, this will allow the optimisation of maintenance of the production control system, safety instrumented system, programmable controllers, all field devices, and other components, thereby reducing costs and ensuring the long-term stability of operations.

MTL products, part of Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds portfolio, 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.

See also our story: Integrated production control system! (18/11/2014)

What You Need to Know Before Replacing Your Control System!

A white paper, “What You Need to Know Before Replacing Your Control System,” has been published by Maverick Technologies. It describes a situation facing many electric utility companies: the advancing age of a distributed control system (DCS) at a generating plant. As control systems get older, many of those plants face increasing risks of system failures and declining availability of replacement parts. Owners have to explore how to replace that aging equipment with more contemporary offerings.

The white paper helps plant operators consider the right questions as they look at new offerings within the context of the specific needs of generating facilities. Power plants have many types of systems and equipment not found in other process industry environments, so those projects have to be approached in a way that addresses those unique needs. Author Matt Sigmon considers options in a way not favoring any particular supplier’s system.

Maverick has successfully completed program upgrades using a wide variety of platforms, so this discussion applies regardless of the vendor direction chosen, or if no vendor has been selected yet. Sigmon draws on his experience working with customers as part of their DCS Next program which has been used to upgrade control systems in hundreds of plants.

In addition to discussion of control system strategy, there is a sidebar on approaches for building in cyber security protections with any upgrade. This is particularly important for electric utilities since they fall under the NERC-CIP regulations. Two actual case studies round out the white paper, discussing upgrade projects at a gas-fired cogeneration plant in California, and at a municipal utility in Louisiana using conventional steam boiler and turbine technology.

If the operator won’t come to the switch!

Ergonomic comfort and flexibility: wireless hand control

If the operator won’t come to the switch – then the switch must go to the operator. Bearing this principle in mind, steute has developed the RF HB-4CH wireless hand control, to be presented at the SPS IPC Drives for the first time. Development of this industry-compatible hand control was inspired by the steute business division Meditec, which provides high-quality controls for medical equipment.
The RF HB-4CH is equipped with four push buttons which can be assigned desired functions with very little parametric effort on the receiver side. The housing is comfortable and very light to handle, aided by powerful lithium batteries which provide the power necessary for around 800,000 switching cycles without needing to be changed.

The hand control communicates with the receiver device via sWave wireless technology (SW 868/ SW 915). Very short switching frequencies are possible (approx. 12,000 telegrams with repetition per hour). The range is 400 m outdoors and around 50 m inside buildings. This wireless technology, developed by steute especially for industrial applications, creates the conditions necessary for disturbance-free, reliable signal transmission and the simultaneous operation of several hand controls within one wireless area.

With its RF HB-4CH, steute is able to open up new fields of application. The steute business division Wireless offers a wide range of very different wireless switchgear, but until now has never had a mobile control system. Demand is expected from areas such as logistics, building automation, machine and plant engineering. Wherever staff have to walk long distances, the operation of machine functions by remote control can save time and optimise processes. Typical uses for the wireless hand control could be the control of machines (e.g. for material feeding) and hoisting devices, as well as the operation of automatic storage systems, pumps and winches. In building automation, the wireless switching device can be used to operate, for example, industrial gates, barriers and lighting systems.

Abstracts sought! Leak detection & repair - Fugitive emissions!

Abstracts are due by 15 January 2015.

The Program Committee of ISA’s 15th Annual Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)-Fugitive Emissions Symposium has issued a Call for Presenters, inviting authors, innovators, thought leaders and other professionals in the air compliance field to submit abstracts for presentation consideration at the conference.

The symposium, dedicated to the in-depth exploration of all critical issues in air compliance and leak detection and repair, will be held 19-21 May 2015 in New Orleans, (LA USA)

Attendees will gather to learn about the most recent innovations and advances in air compliance strategies, technologies and techniques; hear and share best-practice LDAR program success stories; and get the latest news and updates on EPA regulations and compliance requirements from regulatory officials.

Subject areas
Presenters are sought who can deliver addresses (or write technical papers) pertaining to the following subject areas:

Abstract Submission Details and Guidelines
Abstracts (including your contact information) should be submitted based on the LDAR subject matter and topics featured above. Abstracts should be 300 words or less and describe what the presentation (non-commercial) will cover.

If your abstract is accepted and you agree to submit a presentation for the conference proceedings or handout, you are also agreeing to participate and present at ISA’s 15th Annual Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)-Fugitive Emissions Symposium. Abstracts should be sent to All abstracts will be reviewed by the LDAR Technical Presentation Committee. You will be notified via email that your abstract has been reviewed, accepted, or rejected by the technical presentation committee. 

Rugged computers in the US!

JLT Mobile Computers has announced that the company has formed a US subsidiary with office in Tempe, (AZ USA). JLT first entered the US market in 1999 and has since 2007 been the Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) of Vehicle-Mount Terminals (VMTs) for DAP Technologies, who has sold the computers under the DAP brand in North America. JLT takes over an organization of 13 employees from DAP to perform the sales, services and staging of its VMTs across the North American market. US customers that today buy VMTs from DAP will benefit from a closer relationship with the original manufacturer while experiencing continuity of staff, service and product quality.

JLT Mobile Computers has been at the forefront of rugged design since its inception in 1994, when it started building electronic control systems for the Swedish forestry industry. JLT pioneered the rugged computer market, shaping it over the last 20 years by instigating and championing a level of design and manufacturing quality demanded by the leaders in the world’s toughest end-markets, including drilling, mining, construction, ports and warehousing/logistics. Today, the company is selling its rugged computers under the JLT brand as well as being the ODM for several leading logistic and transport IT companies.

The new JLT US organization is led by Eric Miller, former VP of Sales at DAP. The US subsidiary of JLT is located in the former DAP facilities in Tempe, Arizona and takes over all existing customer agreements including warranty commitments and services contracts for the DAP VMT products. JLT also takes over existing reseller agreements and relationships. 

“Since the company was founded, the US market has accounted for a substantial part of JLT’s overall sales, thus constituting a key strategic market for JLT. Over time, we have formed a productive and close partnership based on mutual respect and trust with our US sales partner, so I’m thrilled to be working with this extraordinary team under this new structure,” said Per Holmberg, CEO of JLT Mobile Computers AB.

“Having our own local JLT sales office and experienced sales organization will give US customers the benefit of working closely with the original design manufacturer, while continuing to deal with the same local staff and benefit from the same local services and support,” added Eric Miller, CEO of the newly founded JLT Mobile Computers. Inc. in the US.

“Combinnovations" - focus on customised industrial communication solutions

An initiative has been developed by HMS Networks to increase focus on tailor-made solutions for industrial communication. Local development centers around the world will help customers to get customized solutions for their specific needs within industrial network connectivity, machine communication, wireless solutions, integrated safety and remote management etc.

Development in Europe, North America and Asia
HMS development activities take place in different centers in:
Halmstad, Sweden: The Development Center at the head office in Sweden works with customized hardware, software, system-on-chip solutions and wireless solutions. The focus is on fieldbus, industrial Ethernet, remote management, including Internet of Things.
Karlsruhe, Germany: The Solution Center in Karlsruhe is specialized in adapting and formatting standard products into customer-specific solutions.
Weingarten, Germany: The Development Center in Weingarten is specialized in solutions for machine communication, system-on-chip, industrial Ethernet, functional safety, automotive, as well as fully customized hardware and software.
Bedford, USA: HMS’ Solution Center in Bedford is specialized in adapting and formatting standard products into customer-specific solutions.
HMS has worked with customization projects since the start 25 years ago, and the initiative builds on this experience. Customization projects at HMS range from simple brand labelling to development of completely new products. All developments are based on solid Anybus, IXXAT or Netbiter technology and platforms leveraging on thousands of hours of research and development time already spent by HMS. This minimizes customers’ costs and time to market.

Examples of projects offered by HMS:

  • Fully customized solutions
    For very specific requirements, HMS tailors unique OEM solutions. Based on proven technologies and platforms, unique solutions are created for the customer in terms of hardware, software, communication interfaces, performance and functionality.

  • Hardware and software modifications of HMS standard products
    Typical customization requirements are higher IP protection types, special board sizes and form factors, special connectors, special power supplies, housing designs or special protocol implementations.

  • Communication solutions for functional safety
    HMS expertise in solutions for functional safety in accordance with IEC 61508 helps customers implement safety functionality into their products, which can be challenging and requires a great deal of knowledge. Ready-made stacks and hardware are available to be used and customized to specific needs.

  • Brand labelling
    This can include customized housing color, specific labelling, logos, manuals, article numbers, packaging and OEM-specific product configuration.

  • Complete system solutions
    HMS carries out feasibility studies, creates the concept, and develops the required hardware and software as well as final system and verification tests.

  • Software and software services
    HMS provides portation and implementation services of software and IP core products into customer designs targeting all application areas within industrial communication. Examples include stacks for embedded solutions, IP-Cores (FPGA), PC-based drivers (Linux, Windows), OEM-specific tools and software for web-based remote management.

  • “Combinnovations"
    “Custom projects are in our DNA and have been a major success factor for HMS,” says Jörgen Palmhager, COO, HMS Industrial Networks. “In a custom project, we combine ideas, technology and innovations together with our customers into new 'Combinnovations,' in an agile and collaborative way. The result is often new and exciting technology within areas such as Internet of Things, Wireless Communication, Industrial Ethernet, Safety etc. Customers benefit both from HMS development expertise as well as our solid track record of manufacturing and delivery. ”

    Tuesday, December 2, 2014

    Protecting LIMS from typing errors!

    A result entry enhancement has been added to the Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information System (LIMS) from Autoscribe Ltd. The new double-blind entry capability allows the results from a test to be entered into the LIMS on two separate occasions and then checked against each other by the LIMS in order to minimise typing errors. If the two values do not match, the user is warned and asked to pick the correct one. It is particularly useful in clinical trial studies for patient data collection in conformity with CFR 21 part 11 data validation.

    When a test is set up as a double blind test, the results fields appear empty, as normal. Stage 1 values are entered and saved. Any value can be edited, which includes audit trailing, before the sample test is confirmed as having completed stage 1. Once this has been confirmed, the stage 1 results disappear and the stage 2 values can be entered and saved. These may also be edited before confirmation of completion of stage 2. When stage 2 completion is confirmed, any conflicts are highlighted on a conflict resolution screen. Once all conflicts have been resolved the final values appear in the results fields. Calculations and limit checking are performed.

    The conflict resolution screen allows the user to choose either value 1 or value 2 in any results field where there is a conflict. This screen may not be closed until all conflicting results have been resolved

    Software for TCSPC measurements.

    A new version of their Fluoracle software for the FS5 Spectrofluorometer has been announced by Edinburgh Instruments.

    Mark Vosloo, the CEO commented, “We believe in remaining at the forefront of leading edge technology development. Fluoracle enhances TCSPC measurements and delivers not only high performance results for us but also for our customers. To stay ahead, we continuously work hard to deliver faster, reliable and accurate analytical instrumentation.”
    The FS5 Fluorescence Spectrofluorometer

    The Fluoracle Software has been designed to provide support for TCSPC (Time correlated single photon counting) measurements and add further high performance capabilities to the FS5.  The software update includes:

    • A simplified signal rate dialog
    • Improved error handling
    • Transmission Scans and Transmission detector signal rate support
    • New Service/Validation Scans to automate instrument operation tests
    • Sensitivity scan to show four SNR calculations
    • Easy User Monochromator calibration
    • Temperature Sensor support
    • Heated Sample Cassette support
    • Second PMT detector support and new detector setup dialogs
    • Xenon Lamp ignition check
    • Performance improvements to the Contour Plot/Colour Map

    The FS5 is a fully integrated, steady-state spectrofluorometer designed to meet the highest specifications in the research and analytical markets. Ultimate sensitivity, coupled with high speed data acquisition and ease of use, makes the FS5 the ideal plug and play analytical tool. The optical design is the best in its class, utilising specially selected optics to achieve the maximum in signal throughput. Using single photon counting techniques for the highest detection sensitivity, the FS5 delivers data you can trust.

    Wireless gateway allows flexible antenna installation

    The compact 1410D Smart Wireless Gateway for wireless network applications where gateway installation locations are limited, in difficult safe areas that must connect to distant wireless application networks has been introduced by Emerson.  

    Wireless Gateway installations can be difficult when antenna distances are limited and there are few safe locations. The 1410D Gateway uses the Smart Wireless 781 Field Link to enable flexible remote antenna location up to 200 metres, and the separate possibility of connection to hazardous areas with intrinsic safety protection.    

    “The new Gateway allows users with limited safe locations to quickly and easily add to and strengthen their wireless network,” said Bob Karschnia, vice president of wireless for Emerson.  “Smart Wireless Gateways empower Smart Wireless networks to supply better data, enabling process manufacturers to increase safety, environmental accountability and process performance.”

    A smaller size and DIN-Rail mount capability makes the 1410D ideal for limited cabinet space requirements. The built-in layered security functions ensure that the network stays protected at all times. Additional devices can be added quickly and easily without the need to configure the communication paths. The Gateway manages the wireless network automatically and delivers greater than 99.9% data reliability.

    The Smart Wireless Gateway 1410D has 100 device capacity and an optional redundancy feature. The Gateway connects legacy hosts and provides Modbus® RTU and RTU/TCP/IP, and EtherNet/IP output.

    Push buttons available!

    The latest Full Screen OLED Pushbutton from NKK Switches is now being stocked by Foremost Electronics. This new OLED switch may be used to display a variety of graphics in addition to words and symbols and also provides simple video playback.

    The full screen design allows larger displays to be assembled from a number of switches providing an interactive video + HMI display and control panel. The OLED display interface uses SPI Protocol enabling high-speed synchronous communications.

    Applications for the new Full Screen OLED pushbutton switch include professional broadcast, audio, video and lighting systems, TV editing suites, air traffic control systems, arcade games and interactive displays for museums and exhibitions.

    Key features include the world’s smallest class of OLED with 96 x 64 display dots, 50,000 hour lifetime, smooth and positive tactile response in operation, a richly expressive 16-bit 65,536 colour display, multiple units can be combined to form one screen for flexibility in sizes and layouts, highly-reliable dust-proof gold-plated twin contacts with life expectancy up to 1,000,000 cycles.

    Frequency inverter for decentralised motor and wall installation.

    WEG has launched the MW500 robust frequency inverter with decentralised design that simplifies commissioning, installation and motor start-up. The high performance drive is a space-saving solution that can be mounted directly on motor terminal boxes without any special protective housing, or adjacent to the motor on the wall.  As a result, the need for lengthy cables and switch cabinets is eliminated, which reduces installation costs, and it provides high flexibility of the installation. 

    MW500 is robust with an IP66 protection rating.  It can withstand high overloading of 150% for 60 seconds every 10 minutes, and operate in temperatures up to 40°C (wall installation) and 50°C (motor installation).  With increased ruggedness compared to alternative technologies, it provides reliable operation over a long service life.

    The drive is also easy to maintain.  Three LEDs on the top of the inverter indicate the state (ready, alarm and fault) of the motor so users can identify at quick glance the performance of the equipment. Furthermore, an optional line disconnector can be fitted for simple and safe maintenance.

    The inverter is designed to operate asynchronous motors in the power range 0.75 to 7.5 kW, and is offered as three variants for a mains voltage of 380 to 400V (A: 1.1 to 1.5 kW, B: 2.2 - 4 kW and C: 5.5 - 7.5 kW), and for 200 to 240V, as variant A (0.75 to 1.1 kW).  It is ideal for many applications, including centrifugal pumps and compressors in processing industries, ventilators and fans, mixer and filling machines, washing machines and driers, conveyor belts and mechanical engineering in general.

    “Engineers are increasingly specifying variable speed drives to control their motors and make energy savings, however, many are limited in where they have to position the drive,” says Marek Lukaszczyk, European Marketing Manager at WEG. “With the MWV500 engineers now have a flexible variable speed drive that can be set up exactly where required.”

    The drive is available with a built-in analogue potentiometer to regulate the speed of an asynchronous motor without the need for a control panel. However, users can use the device simply and intuitively from an optionally integrated control panel (HMI), which is also available with remote control. The standard version of the MW500 has a PID process controller and an integrated PLC with numerous programming functions. An EMC filter conforming to EN 61800-3 is integrated in the device and category C2 and C3 variants are optional.

    The decentralised inverter is based on the same successful device platform as WEG’s CFW500 frequency inverter. The MW500 is able to detect and enable simple, plug-and-play add-on components, and to guarantee maximium flexibility, digital inputs, outputs and communication protocols such as CANopen, DeviceNet and Profibus-DP are available as expansion modules.  In addition, a mobile memory card, the Mcard, enables process data to be transferred easily from one device to another. The expansion modules and compatibility with frequency inverters in the CFW family (CFW500, CFW700 and CFW11) enable one device to address many different applications.  As such, users require less stock and so save on both space and storage costs.

    The Windows-based SuperdriveG2 application software for the programming, control and monitoring of the MW500 is available to download on the WEG website for free. 

    Standards catalogue for your computer!

    The best way to search the complete IEC Collection for free !

    A free IEC Catalogue is available for PC, Mac OS, Android Tablets and iPad. This stand-alone application is the ideal tool for consulting the entire bibliographical information on IEC International Standards, Technical Specifications, Technical Reports and other documents.

    This new application provides users with an ideal tool for consulting the entire bibliographical information on IEC International Standards, Technical Specifications, Technical Reports and other documents.

    It is available, as a stand-alone application, for computers running Windows and Mac OS.

    Monday, December 1, 2014

    Protocol allows higher transmission speed plus...

    At the end of October, a CAN-FD-plug-fest took place in the offices of the international users and manufacturers group CAN in Automation (CiA). Participants of fourteen companies communicated in a network with their CAN-FD-products. Among them were manufacturers of micro-controllers (Infineon, Renesas, Spansion, and STM) and companies that employ FPGA implementations (Bosch, ESD, Ixxat/HMS, Kvaser, National Instruments, Peak, as well as Daimler and Volkswagen). Data was transmitted with 500 kbit/s in the arbitration-phase. The bit-rate of the data-phase started with 1 Mbit/s and was then raised up to 10 Mbit/s. No errors frames were detected up to a bit-rate of 5 Mbit/s – even during busloads up to 100 % over a longer period of time (several hundred thousand frames). LeCroy participated with a passive bus analyzer, which was able to interpret the individual bits of the CAN FD protocol. CiA will organize similar events in the US and Japan in 2015.

    At the moment, the CAN-FD-protocol is being standardised by ISO. It is supposed to be internationally standardized in the ISO 11898-1 standard. High-speed CAN communication is specified in the ISO 11898-2 standard. The document, which is under revision at the moment, is also supposed to include the low-power option (ISO 11898-5 to date), as well as the optional selective wake-up function (ISO 11898-6 to date). Both standards are to be published in 2015. ISO committees are also working on expanding the ISO transport layer protocol (ISO 15765-2) so that it can support the larger data frames (up to 64-byte payload). The nonprofit Asam association has adapted the CAN-based calibration protocol as well. Corresponding Autosar extensions have also been approved and will be published soon (Version 4.2.1).

    CAN FD is also being discussed in the responsible CiA interest groups. Besides the activities regarding generic network design recommendations (CiA 601), an update of CiA 301 is planned. Under the name CANopen+, the application layer will be extended accordingly. Besides 64-byte SDOs, the PDOs are to be extended to 64-byte too. This is especially of interest for complex CAN devices, for which the previous 8-byte limit led to functional restrictions. The PDO extension is especially beneficial for devices that support functional safety as well as security measures. Normal functionality can also be improved by longer PDOs. Electrical drives according to CiA 402 can receive several commands in one PDO. However, the CANopen profiles have to be revised accordingly.

    Recently the CiA organization has started the Interest Group (IG) “Commercial Vehicles”. The group will develop an application layer for CAN FD networks in trucks and omnibuses, which will be submitted to SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). In this context the physical transmission will be specified too. These specifications are developed under the name CiA 602. They will adopt the functions and data standardized in J1939 as far as possible. It is more or less a matter of mapping the existing SAE specifications to CAN FD networks.

    Even though CAN FD has adopted many principles of Classical CAN, there are some characteristics the user should pay attention to. To get this information to users from the various sectors, CiA will organize informative events (CiA Tech Days) and dedicated seminars (CAN/CAN-FD Training) worldwide throughout the next year. The latter are addressed at developers who don’t have much experience with CAN. The CiA Tech Days mainly want to inform technical managers about the possibilities and limits of CAN FD. Moreover, CAN FD will be a topic at the 15th international CAN conference in Vienna.

    “The CAN FD protocol not only allows higher transmission speeds, but also longer frames with a maximum of 64 bytes,” explained Holger Zeltwanger, CiA Managing Director. Besides the semiconductor manufacturers, providers of software tools have also started to adapt their products to CAN FD. However, the original CAN FD protocol had to be changed to improve the reliability of the data transmission. “Among others, a stuff-bit counter was introduced, which is protected by a parity bit,” clarified Zeltwanger, who also chairs the related ISO working group.

    Intermateable and interchangeable connectors.

    Esterline Connection Technologies - Souriau has awarded a dual-source agreement to AB Connectors for the supply of its micro38999 connectors, which are used by many of the group's customers. The agreement guarantees that both manufacturers' micro38999 connectors are intermateable and interchangeable. Designed primarily for use in on-board systems for aeronautics and qualified to MIL-DTL-38999, the micro38999 range by Esterline Connection Technologies - Souriau stands out for its outstanding vibration and temperature resistance. Its enhanced resistance to harsh operating environments and its compact size are the key factors that have set the range apart from its competitors in recent years. The micro38999 range allows size and weight savings of 50% compared to the smallest MIL-DTL-38999 Series III units.
    A few examples of the outstanding performance offered by the micro38999 range include its vibration resistance of 44 Grms at 125˚C for 8 hours, its removable electrical crimp contacts, its M39029 and EN 3155 contacts, and the fact that it can be supplied with non-reflective black zinc-nickel plating to satisfy the latest RoHS requirements.

    The micro38999 range by Esterline Connection Technologies - Souriau recently demonstrated vibration stability that enabled it to be selected for sensors (accelerometers, pressure, temperature) used in qualifying new aircraft.

    Its small form factor, lightning resistance and integrity were also essential factors for aeronautical engineers looking for EWIS (electrical wiring interconnection system) compatible miniature connectors for next-generation civil aircraft.

    Under the terms of the dual-source agreement, Souriau will provide AB Connectors, at the latter's request, with the drawings of its connectors. In return, AB Connectors will do the same if it develops complementary products. Both manufacturers will also regularly conduct joint checks of the interoperability of their connectors.