Friday, February 13, 2015

Sensing Technologies Driving Tomorrow’s Solutions!

For 30 years, Sensors Expo & Conference has established itself as the United States' leading event focusing exclusively on sensors and sensor-integrated systems.  In 2015, for the first time ever, the longest running event in the industry will be hosted in Long Beach, (CS USA) , offering attendees easy access to Silicon Valley and the cutting-edge markets of Aerospace & Defense, Medical, Entertainment, and more.  The three day event, “Sensing Technologies Driving Tomorrow’s Solutions,” will take place June 9-11th.

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  • The market for sensors and related technologies is expanding at a phenomenal rate. With the convergence of MEMS, Wireless, Wearables and the Internet of Things, the sales of sensors in the U.S. alone are expected to climb to nearly $15 billion in 2016. With this growth, the importance of education and access to the latest technologies is critical. Sensors provides today’s leading engineers and innovators the ideal environment to find the solutions needed to address present challenges, while exploring the sensing technologies that are driving tomorrow's solutions. In fact, 96% of attendees come to Sensors to purchase new technologies that address current projects.

    “We have exhibited at the Sensors Expo since 2012, and are impressed with both the quantity and quality of the leads we receive on the show floor.  As we continue to pursue new business in the wireless sensor network industry, we consider the Sensors Expo to be a critical resource for both industry knowledge and potential new customers for our advanced technology batteries,” said Nicole Haslip, Communications Manager, Saft America.

    With more than 65 dedicated conference sessions, the content rich agenda will cover a broad range of cutting-edge technology areas including: Energy Harvesting for Wireless Sensor Networks, Internet of Things, MEMS, Novel Approaches to Measurement & Detection, Optical Sensing & Detection, Sensor Fusion, Sensors at Work, Smart Cities, Wireless, and Wearables. Featuring the largest showcase of sensing technologies on the market today, the event offers attendees the opportunity to share knowledge, network and broker mutually beneficial relationships to drive business success. 

    In 2014, Sensors welcomed more than 5,000 attendees over the course of three days, representing 45 states and over 40 countries. Top exhibitors have reported great success and business from this event and to date, more than 200 companies are scheduled to exhibit at the 2015 event including PCB Piezotronics, Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, and more.  Attendee registration is now open for the 2015 event.

    In addition to traditional exhibit space, Sensors will offer new and expanded exhibit and sponsorship opportunities, including new Technology Pavilions, Product Showcases, Startup Opportunities, Branding Sponsorships, and more.  Exhibitor sign up is available by contacting Cal Groton or Joe Zuccerella.

    Specialist Maintenance Consultant appointed!

    Richard Fathers
    Richard Fathers has joined MCP Consulting and Training having gained extensive experience from working within the British food industry. His main career path, for over 17 years, was with Tinsley Foods where he covered a variety of roles; these included Maintenance Engineer, Factory Engineer, Engineering Manager, Chief Engineer and General Manager.

    This was followed by roles in both Engineering and Manufacturing over the next 5 years, covering Chief Engineer/Operations Manager and Business Services Manager responsible for Engineering, Health & Safety, Environmental/ Lean Management Team.

    Most recently, Richard has worked as Chief Engineer with Greencore Foods, Spalding (GB).

    MCP’s clients will be able to call on this expertise in maintenance and asset management and business systems’ improvement.

    Seal for use in very aggressive and difficult media!

    LABOM are offering a new type diaphragm seal made of plastic, the DD8040 series. When measuring solid-free, neutral, and aggressive liquid media, the plastic diaphragm seal offers a technologically useful additional option that complements the LABOM portfolio of stainless steel diaphragm seals. Thus, it enables a cost-efficient solution for pressure measurement in the fields of wastewater treatment, semi-conductor technology, electroplating, and chemical plant construction.

    The DD8040 features an EPDM diaphragm, coated with PTFE on the side in contact with the medium. Synthetic oil is used as the filling liquid. The top part of the body, which contains the connection for the measuring device, is made of orange-coloured polypropylene reinforced with glass-fibre (colour code RAL 2004).

    The bottom part with the process connection is available in several versions. Depending on the basic material, the DD8040 diaphragm seal is suitable for various temperature ranges. The PVC-U version can be used between 0 and 60 degrees Celsius, the PP version between 10 and 80 degrees Celsius, and the PVDF version from minus 30 to 120 degrees Celsius, with the exact temperature ranges depending on the process pressure being measured.

    DD8040 is available with a G1/2” or G1/4” inside thread for the process connection. It is particularly suitable for use with mechanical pressure measurement devices, typically manometers with 100-millimetre or 63-millimetre connections. Optionally, it can also be supplied in combination with a pressure transmitter.

    Sex on the beach or a cuppa?

    A home-made cocktail machine which mixes a "Sex on the Beach" fully automatically, or a robot which casually pours out a cup of tea (see below!) - if you have ideas like this, you should take part in the "Productivity Contest" of Festo. Simply make a video of your invention and post it on Facebook by 13th March 2015. In addition to a VIP invitation to the Hannover Messe trade fair, you could win other attractive prizes such as an iPad Air 2.

    The contest is open to all inventors who use Festo electrical and pneumatic automation products not only professionally but also in their spare time to create systems of their own. These include creative developments and designs which make life easier or are simply fun – there are no limits to ingenuity, as the sample videos show.

    The winners will receive their prizes on 13th April 2015 on the Festo stand, Hall 15 D07, at the Hannover Messe.

    Fulling working cocktail machine

    A refreshing cuppa(?)

    Renewal emphasize the value and advantage of partnerships!

    The renewal of four ISA partnership agreements for 2015 has been confirmed The four companies renewing their partnership contracts with the Society for the year are:

    • Beamex, a global leader in developing equipment, software, systems and services for the calibration and maintenance of process instruments (ISA’s Strategic Partner for Calibration)
    • FDT Group, an international, not-for-profit corporation consisting of leading manufacturers who manage the FDT Technology standard. FDT standardizes the communication and configuration interface between all field devices and host systems for the process and factory industries independent of the communication protocol. (an ISA Promotional Partner)
    • Eaton, a global technology leader in power management solutions that make electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power operate more efficiently, reliably, safely and sustainably (an ISA Promotional Partner)
    • Ultra Electronics, 3eTI®, a leading provider of certified, cyber-secure network solutions for critical information systems, infrastructure and industrial automation (an ISA Promotional Partner)

    “ISA is pleased to announce the renewal of these four significant and valuable partnerships,” says Jennifer Infantino Halsey, ISA's Director of Marketing & Communications. “ISA’s partners have connected with our members and customers in meaningful ways by providing knowledge and insight; of course, they’ve offered information about their product and service offerings, but they have also contributed valuable resources focused on best practices and core challenges that matter to our audience. We look forward to building on those principles in 2015, and we’re proud to call these companies our partners in that effort.”

    Leaders at these four companies echoed these comments and made clear they recognize the value and advantage of partnering with ISA.

    “Beamex is proud to continue to be ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for Calibration in 2015,” comments Raimo Ahola, CEO, Beamex Group. “In the past year, we developed many synergies between our two organizations by combining our technical expertise. We have contributed an enormous amount of time, resources and knowledge to give ISA members access to the most advanced calibration tools and processes in the world.”

    Ahola says as Beamex celebrates its 40th year in business, “we look forward to the next 40, collaborating with industry-leading professionals, and staying connected to the marketplace, experts and our customers. Through our relationship with organizations like ISA, we continue to develop the most robust, integrated calibration solutions on the market.”

    Shannon Foos, Director of Marketing for FDT North American and an FDT Executive Committee Member, states that the “diverse ISA community is ideal for discussing the broad applicability of FDT Technology. Our continued partnership with ISA provides us with the communication outlets necessary to share network and device integration strategies with the automation and control community.

    “As we build upon our standards-setting collaboration with ISA to focus on sharing best practices,” Foos says, “we can help the automation community streamline device and network management efforts for the process, hybrid and factory markets.”

    Steven Toteda, Vice President and General Manager of Eaton’s wireless business, states: “We have a long-standing relationship with ISA in building marketing programs that successfully reach our target automation professionals. And with ISA’s acquisition of, we will be able to leverage our partnership and expand our digital footprint.”

    "As 3eTI continues to advance, expand and deliver secure standards-compliant solutions that enable more efficient industrial control systems, we particularly value our strategic relationship with ISA," says Benga Erinle, President of Ultra Electronics, 3eTI. "Our mutual objectives are being achieved through programs that are not available elsewhere, and under the guidance of our experts who understand the industry's challenges and are uniquely qualified to address them."

    The ISA Corporate Partnerships Program offers companies a customized, tailored approach to sponsorship within the organization. Partnership packages include year-round promotion, prominent association-wide access and recognition, and turnkey service from a dedicated team of professionals. Companies can bundle ISA products and services with marketing opportunities, providing a more streamlined approach to corporate sponsorship.

    “Our partnerships program extends beyond simple marketing; and it incorporates more than an advertising buy, although advertising is often a part of our partnership packages,” explains Halsey. “We work with our partners to truly understand their goals and we craft packages that are based on creating value for their prospective customers through our channels of communication. We believe that when companies become thought leaders in a market, they will experience a much higher degree of success as a result of that leadership.”

    Thursday, February 12, 2015

    A first for Africa in fieldbus training!

     Eight engineers from Angola LNG passed the inaugural five-day FOUNDATION Fieldbus Certified Technical Specialist course 
    The FieldComm Group has announced that IDX Academy, the South African industrial communications training centre based in Johannesburg (ZA), has been successful in the rigorous certification process required to become a site that offers fieldbus training courses certified under the FOUNDATION™ Fieldbus Certified Training Programme (FCTP). This programme establishes uniform standards for fieldbus end user educational curriculum around the globe, and defines acceptable levels of learning for students of the technology.

    IDX Academy FCTP handover!
    IDX Academy is the first certified FOUNDATION Fieldbus training site on the African continent. Eight engineers from Angola LNG passed the inaugural five-day FOUNDATION Fieldbus Certified Technical Specialist course held on campus last month, with a further nine Angola LNG engineers due to attend the second course in March. The successful students are now proficient in the installation, maintenance, repair, and trouble-shooting of FOUNDATION Fieldbus networks and systems. Certified students may be included in the Student Registry on the FieldComm Group website.

    The certification of IDX Academy is the first FCTP accreditation since the joining of the Fieldbus Foundation and HART Communication Foundation was completed, with the new FieldComm Group becoming operational on January 1, 2015. The opportunity to incorporate certified HART technology training is being planned alongside the current certified training centres.

    The dedicated FOUNDATION Fieldbus training rigs at IDX Academy utilises host systems, devices and components from several FieldComm Group members including Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, Eaton/MTL, Honeywell, National Instruments, Pepperl+Fuchs, Smar, Softing, StoneL, Turck and Wika.

    Chuck Carter, certified FOUNDATION Fieldbus instructor, was instrumental in developing the certified curriculum at IDX. He teaches the FOUNDATION Fieldbus courses and will train additional trainers to ensure ongoing sustainable certified training expertise. Carter has been an instructor in instrumentation and process technology since 1976 and was centre director for over 16 years at the FCTP accredited Lee College Fieldbus Training Centre, Baytown, (TX USA), before relocating to South Africa.

    David Bean, who heads up IDX, commented, “Certification is important for the IDX Academy because we are now formally recognised by the FieldComm Group as the high quality training centre that we are. Our customers expect the best and this gives them a guarantee that the content of our FOUNDATION Fieldbus courses and the course materials are up to date and delivered by an expert.”

    He added, “We are looking forward to adding world class FOUNDATION Fieldbus training opportunities to the solid base of the other industrial communications products, services and training we already offer across the sub-Saharan region and, of course, we’d be keen to extend our capabilities further with the addition of HART technology training”.

    The provision of a certified training centre in the African continent has been a primary objective of the FieldComm Group Southern African Marketing Committee for some time. Marc Van Pelt, FieldComm Group Vice President EMEA Operations, is delighted that IDX Academy has gained its accreditation. “I am proud that we have reached our goal of providing certified technical training and support to FOUNDATION Fieldbus users and potential users across the region and my thanks go to everyone involved throughout the comprehensive process. It was an honour to present the certificate of accreditation to David Bean and his team.”

    The FieldComm Group’s Director Technical Services, Sean Vincent, welcomed the addition of another certified establishment. He commented, “Effective and standardised training of plant personnel is the key to successful design and overall project implementation of an advanced technology such as FOUNDATION Fieldbus“.

    He continued, “This certification programme ensures a very comprehensive, vendor-neutral approach to training. Process end users want to maximise the benefits of their fieldbus instrumentation and control system investments—and experience has shown that training of operators, engineers and technicians is essential to getting the most out of the technology.”

    Management board expanded!

    Richard Nagorny has been appointed as Managing Director at Werum IT Solutions GmbH in Lüneburg (D).

    Richard Nagorny
    In addition to Rüdiger Schlierenkämper and Hans-Peter Subel, Richard Nagorny becomes the third Managing Director and will be in charge of Business Administration and Finances. Nagorny joined Werum in 2011 as Executive VP Shared Service Center.

    He holds a degree in business administration. Before starting at Werum, he worked for the OTTO Group and the pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca.

    "We are pleased to welcome Richard Nagorny to the Management Board of Werum IT Solutions GmbH. He has proven his extraordinary expertise and his leadership qualities, particularly during the successful integration process of Werum into Medipak Systems and the Körber Group," says Gerhard Breu, CEO of the Pharma Systems business area.

    Clean bill of health for steel vessel after Eddy Current Tests

    James Fisher NDT  was called in by a chemical manufacturer in the North West of England, when it became necessary to inspect a large stainless steel vessel. The contents of the vessel were typically saline and varied between 50 and 100 Deg C, so the site managers were concerned that stress corrosion cracking might be a possibility in the vessel material.

    Conveniently, JF NDT’s Mohan Kang (level 3 NDT practitioner) had recently attended an Ashtead Technology training event which featured the Eddyfi Ectane Surface Inspection System, and Mohan believed that Eddy Current Testing with the Ectane would be ideal for this application, so an Ectane was taken to the customer’s site to provide a demonstration.

    In order to test the Ectane’s ability to detect stress corrosion cracking in 10mm stainless steel, the client provided a test sample for inspection, and a flaw was correctly identified. As a result, JF NDT was awarded a contract to inspect the vessel and an Ectane was hired from Ashtead specifically for this purpose.

    The Ectane is a multi-technology test instrument, and in addition to Eddy Current Testing, it is also able to perform Eddy current array (ECA), Remote-field testing (RFT), Near-field testing (NFT), Magnetic flux leakage (MFL) and Internal rotating inspection system (IRIS) ultrasonic tube testing.

    Commenting on the vessel inspection project, JF NDT’s Ian Moore says: “The external inspection of the vessel took around 2 hours and covered a surface area of around 16m2. Happily, the vessel was found to be free from any detectable stress corrosion cracking and the client was of course delighted.

    “We have been very pleased with the Ectane; eddy current testing worked very well and at just 7Kg and battery powered, the instrument has been well designed for field applications. Our engineers wore rubber boots, gloves and goggles, but the Ectane was still simple to operate, partly because it can be run independently of a computer. Once the work was complete, the instrument was connected to an office PC and ‘Magnifi’ software, that is supplied with the instrument, provided a quick and easy method for analysing the data and helping to produce reports.

    “In the past, following a project such as this, we would have purchased the instrument. However, it is much easier to rent the equipment from Ashtead Technology, and doing so provides substantial cost savings that we are able to pass on to the client, so instrument rental is now our preferred option.

    “As a result of the successful vessel inspection, we are confident that we will receive more work from this client and from others in similar industries.”

    Wednesday, February 11, 2015

    Most sustainable analyser!

    When Servomex, the world leader in gas analysis technologies, launched its new MiniLaser platform in January 2015, it also launched its most sustainable product platform to date. With greatly reduced carbon and ecological footprints and improved resource efficiency in manufacturing, the MiniLaser platform also boasts higher energy efficiency with all the associated cost benefits to customers.

    Steve Walter, Health and Safety Officer at Servomex, said: “At ninety per cent smaller and eighty per cent lighter than many other comparable laser analyzers on the market, the MiniLaser platform is the first of the next generation of Servomex products designed to be lighter, more compact and to require less energy input. In turn, our global footprint is also offset to a marked degree by the reduced environmental impact which our products offer by using less materials as a result of the dramatically reduced size, and the positive environmental effects through monitoring and significantly reducing our end users’ energy demands and emissions.”

    Using SolidWorks sustainability software, Servomex achieved four key aims when designing the MiniLaser when compared to its predecessor, the SERVOTOUGH LaserSP 2930. The first was the reduction of Servomex’s carbon footprint, mostly in terms of CO2 emissions; while the company’s ecological footprint (all environmental impacts e.g. mineral extraction, hazardous chemicals, pollution etc.) was also reduced.

    There is also a marked improvement of resource efficiency in terms of how efficiently all of the raw materials are utilized in manufacturing the product, including all forms of transport and different sources of energy (e.g. renewables). Finally - and importantly for customers - there is an improvement of energy efficiency through reduced energy consumption during its working life as confirmed through SolidWorks’ Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

    Steve Walter concludes: “Overall the MiniLaser platform performs better in every aspect of environmental impact assessed, making it Servomex’s most sustainable product to date and quite possibly the most environmentally sound product of its kind on the market.”

    Electric rod style linear actuator.

    Curtiss-Wright Corporation has expanded its Exlar FT Series™ universal electric rod style linear actuator product line with the release of the FT45 model.

    The FT Series roller screw driven actuators offer high thrust, high speed, and high robustness in a compact form factor, making them an ideal alternative to hydraulic cylinders. With continuous force rating to 40,000 lbf (178 kN), speed to 60 in/sec (1,500mm/sec) and stroke lengths from 6 inches (150mm) to 8 feet (2,400mm) the FT Series can be applied across a wide range of linear motion applications.

    The new FT45 has a continuous force rating of 10,000 lbf (44.5 kN), filling the gap between the existing FT35 and FT60 models. The FT45 features the following key enhancements over the existing FT Series frame size designs, including the largest FT80 model:
     • IP65 (min.) environmental protection standard on all mounting configurations
     • Idler pulley design greatly simplifies motor installation and belt tensioning / maintenance
     • Grease zerk fitting allows re-greasing of nut assembly without having to disassemble the unit
     • Removable front seal bushing design greatly simplifies front seal maintenance / replacement

    Enterprise-control system integration standard information!

    A newly redesigned website with a bold new look and enhanced navigation experience has been inaugurated by the European office of ISA to serve the ISA95 community.

    To start with they have streamlined the menus to give quick access to the the various sections.

    They have consolidated information on the organisation and their work and commitment to the ISA-95 community

    They invite this community to start exploring:
    • Their community work that defines
    • Exciting market development initiatives that promote the adoption of “ISA-95”
    • Very interesting ISA-95 downloads
    • The ISA-95 training courses; open enrollment or at your location (throughout the Globe)

    The expect to be rolling out new pages over the coming months, and hope that visits to the new website will be useful and enjoyable.

    They incourage visitors to contact them should they feel that something ought to be reviewed or enhanced.

    "Going forward, we promise to continually expand our online content and keep you updated with the latest information on ISA-95," comments Pieter H.W. van der Klooster, Director, ISA International Business Development

    ISA-95 is the international standard for the integration of enterprise and control systems.

    Updated thermal calculation software!

    To simplify the often time-consuming and complicated calculation of enclosure cooling and heating require-ments use Rittal’s Therm 6.3 software.

    Input the dimensions and position of your panel, together with the heat loss of the equipment installed, the ambient temperature, your preferred internal temperature and details of the available power supply, you can then select a cooling or heating solution specific to your project requirements.

    A user-friendly interface guides you step-by-step through the selection process and at the end of the calculation, you receive a detailed report that not only shows the selected product, but also the net heat transfer through the walls of the enclosure. In the case of cooling solutions, the internal temperature that would be reached without climate control. All evaluations are based on the requirements of IEC/TR3 60890 890 AMD 1 and DIN 3168 for enclosure cooling units and so this useful tool also gives considerable peace of mind that suitable components have been chosen.

    Enclosures can be selected from Rittal ranges or alternatively, the dimensions of bespoke cabinets can be entered manually. The heat dissipated by installed equipment can be input directly, calculated using actual measured enclosure internal and ambient temperatures or selected from a database of standard components.

    Use an online version or download the offline version of Therm 6.3 from the Rittal website.

    Solid state interface relays!

    An addition to its existing RV8 DIN rail product line has been announced by IDEC Corporation. The RV8S solid state interface relays feature 100mA to 3A switching capability in a compact 6mm wide space. Other leading RV8S features include high switching cycles, extended operating life and high-speed load switching. A common application is as an interface device between a PLC or other controller outputs and a load with high power requirements.

    The RV8S can switch loads up to 240 VAC, and it has passed 100K cycles of UL Extended Endurance testing. Common uses of the unit include general load switching in control systems for assembly machines, solenoids, molding machines, and other applications requiring a high repetition rate.

    The unit has operate and release times which are much faster than electromechanical relays. Depending on the specific model, the operate time is as fast as 40µsec with a 200uS release time. The relay also generates no acoustic and far less electrical noise than its electromechanical counterpart because it makes use of semiconductor outputs instead of electrically sparking contacts.

    The RV8S requires much less power to operate, about 5-10 times less than an equivalent electromechanical relay. This is particularly important when the relay is driven by a PLC or similar discrete output, as these types of outputs are often low power.

    It is suitable for DIN-rail mounting, and has appropriate UL/c-UL and CE ratings. It also has IP20 protection, and can safely operate in temperatures from -20 to 60ºC and humidity from 5 to 85%. The RV8S supports flexible wire termination options, including screw terminal and spring clamp models.

    The RV8S is available for 24 Vdc, 48 Vdc and 240Vac input voltage applications, with output voltage ranges of 0-24Vdc, 0-48Vdc and 24-280Vac respectively. The 24-280Vac output versions are available in random or zero-cross models. The switching configuration for all models is single-pole, Normally Open.

    Tuesday, February 10, 2015

    New Managed switches maximise port, speed & power options for demanding networks!

    Red Lion Controls has expanded  its N-Tron® series NT24k managed Gigabit Ethernet industrial switch platform with the addition of compact DIN-rail mountable switches. The new all-Gigabit and Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) IEEE802.3af/at switches deliver wire-speed performance in harsh environments where space may be limited.
    “With more organizations using Gigabit Ethernet for applications that range from the factory floor to extreme remote locations, our NT24k platform gives customers the ability to future-proof networks with an easy upgrade path,” said Diane Davis, director of product management, networking at Red Lion Controls. “Our switches are easy to deploy yet powerful enough to meet a variety of industrial networking requirements, including wide environmental specifications, network monitoring and PoE capabilities.”

    Compact NT24k hardened metal housing provides industry-leading shock (200 g) and vibration (50 g) tolerance coupled with an up to -40° to 85°C operating temperature range to ensure optimal network performance in the harshest industrial environments. Models include:

    • NT24k-8TX-POE: 8 port all-Gigabit PoE+ switch with redundant 22-49 VDC power inputs offers a built-in step-up power supply to boost power for applications such as security cameras, panel displays and wireless access points
    • NT24k-8TX: 8 port all-Gigabit switch with redundant wide 10-49 VDC power inputs for industrial applications
    • NT24k-16TX: 16 port all-Gigabit switch with redundant wide 10-49 VDC power inputs for industrial applications

    All NT24k models feature N-Ring™ technology with ultra-fast (30 ms) recovery for rings containing up to 250 nodes, automatic configuration, and backup and restore capability to provide reliable plug-and-play solutions for critical monitoring and communication applications.

    Designed for industrial manufacturers, OEM machine builders and system integrators, the rugged NT24k platform is ideal for alternative energy, water/wastewater, transportation and intelligent traffic applications. The NT24k switches offer a full set of management features and advanced security to ease network deployment with key functionality, which includes auto-IGMP configuration, Ethernet/IP with CIP messaging, N-Ring and N-Link™ ring technology, N-View™ monitoring, event logging, SNTP and IEEE802.1x with Radius remote server authentication.

    • Red Lion Products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

    Open CCTV system flexible & safe!

    R. Stahl Camera System's OPEN CCTV SYSTEM offers the unique option of operating CCTV equipment of various manufacturers in one system, essentially independent of communication protocols.

    OPEN CCTV has been designed for the combined operation of hardware in hazardous and industrial areas. This highly flexible system enables system developers and operators to overcome what used to be typical limitations: an OPEN CCTV SYSTEM can integrate not only explosion-protected cameras and other technology from Stahl, but almost any other hardware in order to implement customised monitoring solutions specifically tailored to various areas of application (e.g. in drilling rigs, refineries, pharmaceutical plants, etc.). The system also allows for easy expansion of existing systems, for instance if increased safety standards call for inspection windows, or require an additional surveillance e.g. of tank farms, loading bays, platforms, or cranes. Innovative zoom cameras or thermal imaging cameras can be as smoothly integrated as redundant power supplies, UPS systems, alarm processing technology (e.g. for I/O interfaces of fire and gas alarm systems) or redundant server systems.

    R. Stahl manufactures a wide selection of explosion-protected cameras as key components of any CCTV solution. Most are based on the innovative SNF technology, where static, sensor-controlled pressurisation with nitrogen (N2) prevents the ingress of moisture or dust into the camera interior. The cameras are therefore completely water-proof, which greatly increases their life-expectancy and availability. SNF cameras are furthermore extremely light-weight, compact and easy to operate, and tolerate even extreme ambient temperatures (­40°C to +75°C).

    The company brings its entire broad expertise to the design of individual CCTV systems: comprehensive knowledge regarding all methods of explosion protection ensures that the full range of technologies is taken into consideration as the ideal option for a specific application is selected. Depending on the number of cameras, recording requirements, necessary interfaces, security patrol routines etc., R. Stahl can attach software of different degrees of complexity to suit the individual OPEN CCTV solution. In addition to devising project-specific systems their camera systems provides a full service up to the implementation stage, comprising everything except installation.

    • Stahl products are marketed in Ireland by Douglas Controls & Automation.

    Collaboration to deliver security!

    Yokogawa has announced a collaboration with Cisco Systems, Inc. to deliver Shell's SecurePlant initiative at Shell. SecurePlant is a comprehensive security management solution for plant control systems that was jointly developed as an initiative between Cisco, a leader in the IT industry, Yokogawa, a leader in mission-critical plant automation systems, and Shell. The three companies have agreed to proceed over the next three years with the implementation of SecurePlant at around fifty Shell plants globally.

    Industrial producers around the world face a wide range of operational challenges in areas such as cybersecurity that pose a pervasive threat to safety and availability. Most companies with global operations, however, still take a relatively simplistic plant-by-plant approach, such as implementing operating system security patches and anti-virus pattern file updates. As a result, security levels tend to vary at each plant.

    In the general practice of control system security management, individual control system vendors extensively validate security patches and anti-virus pattern files to confirm that they do not interfere with system operation, and then report the results to their customers for implementation. Since plants tend to use a variety of control systems and equipment from different vendors, occasionally with multi-generation platforms from a single vendor, this process is often complicated. For this reason, plants increasingly have the need for plant-wide integrated services that take a more holistic and efficient approach to the management of system security.

    With the aim of standardising security practices at Shell plants around the world and minimising control system vulnerability, Yokogawa and Cisco collaborated on the design of the SecurePlant service and will jointly provide deployment and operational services.

    The SecurePlant solution is designed as a standard solution that consists of the delivery of OS patches and anti-virus pattern files for control systems and the provision of real time and proactive monitoring of solution delivery, as well as a help desk operation to manage this solution.

    Supplier-certified Windows security patches and virus signature files are distributed from a SecureCenter to the SecureSite at each plant via Shell's existing global network. The real time and proactive monitoring capabilities enable the centralised management of plant security. A customer help desk operated jointly by Yokogawa and Cisco is available 24/7/365 to manage solution related incidents.

    Moving forward, Yokogawa and Cisco will continue to offer comprehensive security solutions involving the deployment, operation, and monitoring of control system environments. These services are applicable to plants of all sizes in a wide variety of industries, including facilities spread out over a large geographic area. In addition, both companies will leverage their technologies and experience to develop deep industrial automation (IA) solutions such as remote system maintenance, remote plant asset management and Big Data on the top of a secure remote access platform to help companies in making faster decisions, reducing total cost of ownership (TCO), and achieving operational excellence.

    Low-wear test plugs for testing standard interfaces!

    ENGMATEC test plugs, now available through the Peak Group are designed to speed the production testing of electronic equipment incorporating a range of standard interfaces including USB, HDMI, RJ45 and eSata. They have been specially developed for industrial-level automatic testing. Because plugs are frequently inserted and withdrawn during such tests, their contact resistance changes, which means that conventional plugs are not suitable for this purpose.

    The automation-compatible test plugs made are designed to ensure that the plug connections are reliably contacted with a low level of wear. All ENGMATEC test plugs have been developed for use in functional tests during production and for end-of-line tests, and are suitable for very high mating cycles. Depending on the interface, up to 200,000 mating cycles are possible. Plugs are available for testing male or female connections.

    These test plugs are manufactured from abrasion-resistant plastic, with contact wires made of copper beryllium and glued into the plug body. The specially shaped plug tip facilitates low-wear contacting with the plug sockets and prevents premature damage to the contact springs. When used in conjunction with pneumatic contacting units, the plugs can be assembled into an extremely wide variety of different test adapters.

    Recently introduced test plugs include several types for the new USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed) interfaces as well as new versions for the eSATA (Serial ATA) interface, DisplayPort connections, and FireWire (IEEE 1394) connections.

    Students refresh their maths skills in Vienna!

    After high school, many graduates take advantage of their new-found freedom to seek employment or travel before continuing their formal education. When they return to their studies, they often come to the realization that they have not retained enough knowledge from high school to thrive at university. Professors at the Vienna University of Technology (Vienna UT) noticed in particular that many of these students were not prepared to pick up their mathematics studies from where they left off in high school. In addition, students joining the university came from different backgrounds with different levels of knowledge.

    At Vienna UT, university-level mathematics courses are essential for programs such as Engineering, Economics, Computer Science, Physics, and Urban and Regional Planning. Proficiency in high school mathematics is expected of all students in these programs. To help the students whose math skills were not at the required level expected of high school graduates, the research group of Prof. Breitenecker at Vienna UT developed a refresher course that would be offered in the weeks leading up to the start of the semester, with the goal of raising students’ mathematical proficiency. This optional course would cover topics that were most essential to the programs participants were enrolled in. A diagnostic test at the beginning of the course identified concepts that demanded closer attention and steered the direction of the course for each student.

    Since the course was held over a short period of time, the resources were simply not available to design and grade exercises for a large number of participants, let alone return results in time to provide effective feedback. In order for the refresher course to be most effective, a web-based assessment system with automatic grading capable of handling mathematics was crucial - this is where Maplesoft™, a subsidiary of Cybernet Systems Co was called in!

    This is where Maple T.A. became an important tool for Vienna UT. “After a long period of testing different environments in commercial and open software we made the decision to choose Maple T.A. because of its powerful algebraic possibilities and the randomization feature,” noted Andreas Körner, Lecturer at Vienna UT. “The grading function, especially the automatic and prompt feedback to students, was also important. The programming interface allowed the adoption of the grading routine to user defined grading algorithms which helped to reinforce the didactical nature of the lectures. We invested time and effort in creating examples and tests, and with that we now have a system of assessment that is efficient, one that offers students a flexible way of completing tests, and instructors a smooth administration of lecturers.”

    Maple T.A. is a powerful online testing and assessment system designed especially for courses involving mathematics. It offers features such as standard math notation, sophisticated plotting, free-response math questions, and intelligent grading, allowing instructors to truly assess student understanding of math-based concepts. Because it is designed especially for courses involving mathematics, it is particularly suitable for use in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses. In addition, Maple T.A. is compatible with virtually any course management system, including Blackboard®, Moodle™, and Brightspace™ by D2L™, so it can be seamlessly incorporated into existing course infrastructure.

    Following each session of the refresher course at Vienna UT, students could go to Maple T.A. to begin practicing what they learned immediately. Whenever students encountered problems they could not solve, they received hints and feedback in Maple T.A. that helped them work through the problem on their own. This feedback allowed students to refine their skills and ultimately master the concept without depending on a professor or teaching assistant. “Maple T.A. is an asset to staff and students especially during the refresher course,” Stefanie Winkler, Assistant, Vienna UT noted. “A large amount of students can work independently without generating more administration work.”

    A comparison of the results from the diagnostic test held at the start of the refresher course and the final test showed vast improvements in students’ grades. The majority of students failed the diagnostic test at the start of the course. However, by the end of the course, results showed a significant shift: most students scored 70% or higher. Over the last few years, students’ test results have continued to reflect the same trend. “Since 2008 when we began the course, these test scores show a consistent increase in students’ mathematical skills year after year. Using Maple T.A. in our refresher course has been very useful. Maple T.A. made it possible to bring students closer to a level of mathematics necessary to successfully pursue their area of study,” Prof. Felix Breitenecker commented.

    Since the refresher course was first offered to Electrical Engineering students in 2008, the program has been expanded to seven different fields of study. Maple T.A. has also been adopted into other courses at the Vienna UT, and students’ exams are now beginning to be administered online using Maple T.A. in some engineering courses.

    Questions developed by the Vienna UT team, covering math topics such as Integral Calculus, Linear Functions, Vector Analysis, Differential Calculus, and Trigonometry, have been added to the Maple T.A. Cloud, making them available to all users of Maple T.A.

    Handheld IR thermometer for high-temperatures!

    A handheld thermometer series for flexible temperature monitoring in high-temperature industrial applications from 400 to 3,000 °C, such as steel production and processing, chemical and petro-chemical industry, as well as heat treatment and power plants has been added to the Raytek range. 

    Their Raynger 3i Plus 1M and 2M models measure infrared radiation in the shortwave spectrum (1 µm and 1.6 µm) and provide high precision ( +/- 0.5%, 1 °C). Thanks to the superior resolution of 250:1, critical plant parts and products can be reliably monitored from longer distances. For exact aiming, the measurement spot is highlighted with two laser beams. Moreover, even red hot objects can now be easily targeted by means of a new "Red Dot" scope sighting function (patent pending).  Additionally, the use of a "Red Nose" heat-resistant warning detector and alarm reduces the risk of the sensor overheating — minimizing repair costs — while averting costly accidents and ensuring operator safety.

    The robust handheld devices withstand drops of 1 m. A powerful firmware supports display, analysis, and trending within the device. Up to 4,900 data points can be recorded. The scope of delivery furthermore includes the Raytek DataTemp® Windows PC software which supports real-time communication and further data processing. In addition to on-board USB and Bluetooth interfaces, a mobile app allows for comfortable data storage and sharing. The display can be set to degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit. The devices are equipped with a Lithium-ion battery that can be easily recharged and allow an operational cycle of 24 hours.

    Cable termination technology with enhanced reliability!

    Harting has extended its preLink® pre-wired connector system with a number of additional components that allow easy, quick and reliable installation under extreme environmental conditions.

    preLink® offers a robust and installer-friendly connection technology that is equally suitable for PROFINET communication and Gigabit requirements in industrial applications. Wiring is greatly simplified by using the preLink® terminal block, which accommodates up to eight wires and is connected in a single operation involving the preLink® assembly tool. This simple and very fast installation process is identical for all preLink® products.

    Feedback from the assembly tool confirms to the installer that assembly has been properly performed - making the preLink® installation process error-free.

    In addition to the existing preLink® RJ45 jacks, Harting has added the preLink® RJ45 connector in IP20 design and the Han PushPull® connector for V.14 (PROFINET and AIDA compliant). The preLink® RJ45 connectors in IP20 are exceptionally well suited for connections from field devices such as data-collection terminals, controllers and wireless access points.

    The preLink® range is supplemented by D-coded M12 connectors for Fast Ethernet (100 Mbit/s) and X-coded M12 connectors for Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gbit/s.

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    Firmware for wireless gateway enhances ease-of-use!

    Latest firmware for the Smart Wireless Gateway streamlines the wireless network interface, helping users improve operations and enhance safety

    Emerson Process Management has used customer input to design the new firmware version 4.5 for its Smart Wireless Gateways. This new firmware will enable users to see and understand process information quickly, helping to make sound decisions and take needed action.

    The new version 4.5 software streamlines the wireless network interface, security setup, and field device configuration. It has a consistent look and feel and simplifies information presentation. Visual feedback and information filtering are built into the software to support fast navigation. NAMUR symbols and organised table views provide-at-a-glance actionable information.

    “Across Emerson we have continued to invest in Human Centred Design. Our new 4.5 firmware is a great example of the power of this investment,” said Tom Moser, president of Emerson’s Rosemount business. “The clean design and intuitive interface puts actionable information at our customers’ fingertips.”

    Firmware version 4.5 will also give users quick access to field instrument diagnostic data for continuous monitoring of device health and the wireless network.

    Appointments at connector specialist group!

    Nathan Ashford (European Distribution Manager), Damien Croft (European Marketing Manager), Debbie Pendergrast (Sales Manger Southern Europe), Alex Grout (European Managing Director)
    EDAC has restructured its European sales and customer-service operations with one notable promotion and the addition of two key team members. According to Alex Grout - who took over the role of European Managing Director last April - the new appointments have been necessitated by the business upswing that has resulted from an significantly enhanced product portfolio and the company's acquisition of British company MH Connectors.

    Grout has promoted Damien Croft, previously Senior Manager with MH Connectors, to lead the sales organisation for all EDAC brands within Europe, and has also enhanced his European customer-facing teams with the addition of two new heads.

    Debbie Pendergrast will be responsible for developing EDAC and MH business within Southern Europe. Fluent in French and Spanish, Pendergrast will spearhead EDAC's sales effort within Italy and Spain and will take control of the strong MH Connectors operation in France, including the existing sales operations based in Mantes La Jolie.

    Prior to joining EDAC Pendergrast ran her own business in Spain where she enjoyed considerable success working with Spanish and French business partners and customers: "Together EDAC and MH have an unbeatable portfolio of connector solutions,” she said. "2015 is set to be a key year in the company's evolution and I'm looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead."

    Grout puts great store in EDAC's relationship with the European and global distributors who promote the EDAC and MH Connectors brands within Europe. Nathan Ashford joins the EDAC Group as European Distribution Manager with responsibility for managing the relationships with European distributors and defining future strategy. Ashford was previously with Omron Electronic Components where he was responsible for the company's European high service channel. He benefits from a great understanding of how high service distribution works and the value it delivers to design engineers and is already applying his experience to promote the benefits of EDAC and MH interconnect solutions to distributors and their customers in the European market space.

    H & S in Irish SmartPly facility!

    Recently RTÉ News (The Irish State broadcasting body) covered the €60 million expansion of the Coillte Smartply Facility in Belview Port, Waterford (IRL). Read-out has learned that Pilz Ireland are the lead H&S consultants for this project which is currently the largest industrial construction/manufacturing expansion project in the country.

    Pic: Coillte
    With an equipment spend of over €35 million which Pilz Ireland are also involved in for Design Stage Compliance Assessments, as well as the remaining budget which will be spent on the construction of a 9000 sq.m factory extension with all civil, mechanical, electrical services and significant Automation of Plant and Equipment this is a project which shows the breadth of knowledge, expertise and capacity within our building.

    Pilz's lead engineer is Jack Collins, who with his strong background in construction and experience in more recent years in Machinery Safety upgrade projects with Pilz, made him the ideal candidate for leading this project supported by our in-house Consultants and Administration. "This is a great opportunity for Pilz Ireland and enables us to further demonstrate our multi-talented team capabilities in the market."

    • SmartPly Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is the smart, cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative to plywood. It is suitable for use in structural and non- structural applications. With unrivalled quality and environmental certification,

    Supplier of automated test & measurement solutions & products updates website!

    The Peak Group has launched a new web site which reflects the company’s updated divisional structure.

    The Group is now structured as three distinct divisions: Peak Production, concentrating on the group’s core business of manufacturing high-quality automated test equipment and electronic testing systems; Peak Test, a British leader in the distribution of spring contact test probes and receptacles; and Peak Software, a specialist provider of software solutions for a range of industrial automated testing requirements.

    The Peak Group is a proven provider of automated test and measurement solutions supporting every stage of the assembly process from component testing to highly complex functional solutions. With over 30 years’ experience of innovation in the military, aerospace, rail, automotive, power generation and industrial electronics markets, The Peak Group offers a holistic approach to ensure that all aspects of the product lifecycle are supported from prototype through to service and repair.

    The Peak Group offers intelligent integration of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) equipment with custom-designed mechanical, electronic and system software elements. Comprehensive installation and commissioning procedures merge Peak’s test solutions with customers’ processes, followed up with “hands on” training and detailed documentation. Peak’s dedicated service, warranty and post-warranty support ensure rapid response and minimal equipment downtime.

    Peak is a National Instruments Alliance Partner and a distributor for Virginia Panel Corporation (VPC), allowing it to design and manufacture integrated test systems based on NI’s PXI hardware and VPC’s Mass Interconnect systems. The company also acts as a distributor and systems integrator for a number of other products, including ENGMATEC low-wear test plugs and Optomistic light probes.

    Seventeen new SL Series Programmable DC PSUs

    Magna-Power Electronics has expanded its popular 1U SL Series product line to 6 kW.
    The SL Series product range now spans 70 models at power levels 1.5 kW, 2.6 kW, 4 kW, and 6 kW all in a 1U, 1.75" high rack-mount form-factor. 

    With programmable DC output voltage ranges from 0-5 Vdc to 0-1000 Vdc and programmable DC output current ranges from 0-1.5 Adc to 0-250 Adc, the product line satisfies requirements in a variety of industries including: automated test equipment (ATE) system integration, automotive testing, oil and gas, remotely operated underwater vehicles, and aerospace systems testing. 

    Magna-Power introduced the SL Series product line–the company's first 1U power supply–in early 2013 in response to overwhelming demand from customers. "The expansion to 6 kW in 1U continues Magna-Power's long-standing commitment to offering industry-leading programmable power densities," explained Adam Pitel, Vice President overseeing worldwide sales and marketing. "This latest innovation is the result of continuous research and development work in power electronics and heat management, along with further advances in the company's internal manufacturing processes."

    All SL Series models come standard with monitoring and control from a variety of sources, including: front panel, computer interface and an isolated analog-digital I/O connector. A Standard Commands for Programmable Instrumentation (SCPI) command set is supported, allowing easy ASCII text programming over a computer interface. In addition, an IVI driver is included for the Visual Studio programming environment along with a dedicated National Instruments LabVIEW™ and LabWindows™ driver. Additional computer interface options include LXI TCP/IP Ethernet (+LXI), IEEE-488 GPIB (+GPIB), USB and RS-485.

    All SL Series models are available with three-phase input, including 208 Vac, 240 Vac, 380 Vac, 415 Vac, 440 Vac, or 480 Vac. 1.5 kW models are also available with a single-phase active PFC Universal Input (UI), allowing for an input voltage range spanning 85 Vac to 265 Vac.

    The SL Series product line is designed and manfactured at the company's vertically integrated manufacturing facility in Flemington, NJ USA. Some 1.5 kW models are in-stock, while build-time is 2 weeks for all other SL Series models and power levels.

    Accuracy offers peace of mind in custody transfer of natural gas!

    The new OptiPEAK TDL600 moisture analyzer from Michell Instruments has a class-leading measurement accuracy of ±1% of reading. For transmission companies, this high accuracy ensures that the international standards of gas quality for transport and use are met.

    These pipeline networks are highly complex transmission and distribution systems used to move gas across states, countries or even continents. In all of these cases it is important that gas quality is maintained within the requirements of the main international natural gas quality harmonization guidelines. These guidelines include moisture content and in Europe, the EASEE-gas Common Business Practice – 2005-001/01 – Harmonisation of Natural Gas Quality sets a water dew-point limit of -8°C at 70 barg,equal to a moisture content of ~49 ppmV (based on ISO18543).

    Taking advantage of the latest developments in laser spectroscopy, the OptiPEAK TDL600 has an unrivalled accuracy for any process moisture analyzer of ±1% of the reading or 1ppmV verified by calibration traceable to NPL (UK) and NIST (US). Its lower detection limit of 1ppmV makes it the most sensitive instrument in its class on the market, as well as being one of the most reliable. Michell has developed a unique laser lock system to ensure the laser remains locked to the correct water absorption signal, maintaining a high integrity measurement at all times. In some earlier TDLAS moisture analyzer designs, drift in laser wavelength over time may cause gradual deterioration in measurement performance.

    With D-MET, the Dynamic Methane Compensation System, the OptiPEAK TDL600 is also able to measure moisture reliably in natural gas with varying compositions (such as blended gas from multiple fields or following bio-methane or re-gasified LNG injection) without the need for manual software correction factors to be made.

    • Michell Instruments products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.