Thursday, February 26, 2015

Live rental instrument demonstrations at show!

A wide range of the latest air quality and emissions monitoring equipment will be on display at the Ashtead Technology exhibition stand at AQE 2015.

“Our objective for this event is to meet organisations that need access to the latest technologies, without the hassle and cost of maintaining their own kit,” says Josh Thomas, Regional Sales Manager. “We like to think of ourselves as our customers’ equipment partner, providing access to a very large fleet of fully serviced instruments; calibrated and ready for immediate use.”

The Ashtead Technology stand will feature popular examples from the company’s rental fleet including VOC analysers, toxic gas detectors, emissions and combustion analysers, indoor air quality meters, temperature and humidity meters, and dust/particulate monitors.

Alongside the live demonstrations, visitors to the stand will also have the opportunity to discuss their own application requirements with Ashtead Technology’s knowledgeable market managers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LCD touch screens.

Varitronix has announced the availability of a new range of Projected Capacitive LCD Touch Screens, for use with a stylus, a gloved finger or bare finger. The screens have been developed to operate with Varitronix-developed, in-house software which allows the "touch technology" to be optimised to differentiate between false and genuine touches.

The technology ensures that false touches are rejected, even when liquid is unintentionally present on the screen – the touch-sensitivity is fully restored when the liquid is removed. In addition, wet, damp (or sweaty), bare fingers are not a problem – accurate tracking is still ensured.

The Touch Screens are also gloved-finger compatible – the glove can be made from cotton, leather or plastic (eg for medical applications). A stylus can also be used, with a minimum diameter of 3mm - Touch Screens which support a stylus diameter of 2mm are currently under development. The screen size options vary from 1.77” to 17”.

With international certifications including ISO 9001 for general quality management and ISO/TS 16949 for quality management of automotive products, the new range of LCD Touch Screens are manufactured to very high quality standards, providing durability and long-life. The Touch Durability is 10M touches.

Two options are offered for the hardness of the screen glass – the standard glass is 6H and the harder glass option is 7H. A custom silkscreen can be applied to the surface of the glass.

Applications will include industrial, commercial, automotive and medical markets.

Power up to 12 load cells for large weighing applications.

Precision Digital Corporation has  announced the latest versions of the PD6100 Strain Gauge Meter and the PD8-6100 Explosion-Proof Strain Gauge Meter. Part of the ProVu® and ProtEX® families of digital panel meters, the PD6100 and PD8-6100 are digital strain gauge and load cell meters designed for weight, millivolt, and force measurement applications.

New features include the ability to power up to twelve (12) 350 ohm load cells. Enhanced programming buttons now closely resemble the operation of a typical scale, allowing for zeroing with one button push. The Tare/Reset Tare function enables the meters to compensate for anomalies, such as sludge buildup at the bottom of an empty tank. In addition, the dual-scale function means measurements can be displayed in two different units of measure.

"The PD6100 is the perfect choice for weighing applications in large bins, tanks, or scales, because the meter enables more load cells to be averaged to determine weight, volume, or level," said Jeffrey Peters, President of Precision Digital Corporation. "The PD8-6100’s NEMA 4X/IP68 rating makes it ideal for weighing applications in hazardous or harsh environments."

Both the PD6100 and PD8-6100 feature one-button zeroing of the display, auto-zero adjustment to prevent drift, and highly visible information displays in panel-mounted or rugged, field-mounted enclosures.

The explosion-proof PD8-6100 is rated NEMA 4X/IP68 and carries worldwide agency approvals (FM, CSA, ATEX, IECex, and CE) that allow it to operate in hazardous locations or in the field under the harshest environmental conditions, such as extreme cold.

The PD6100 and PD8-6100 Strain Gauge Meters can perform automatic unit conversions when switching between pre-defined units, such as pounds, kilograms, and tons, without the need for additional scaling. Both meters accept mV input signals up to 300 mV (unipolar) and ±250 mV (bipolar), and are rated for a max current of 350 mA @ 10V.

• Precison Digital Corp products are marketed in Ireland by PJ Bonner.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Radio communication in hazardous areas.

The Series 9730 HFisolators from R. Stahl enable users to deploy any type of standard industrial antennas for radio communication in hazardous areas. These antennas can be connected via customisable cables with plug connectors. Using electrical isolation, this innovative solution shields the surrounding atmosphere from all ignition risks: only an intrinsically safe signal (Ex ia IIC) is transmitted to the external antenna. The antenna can therefore never be exposed to supply currents due to radio device malfunctions.
This new solution dispenses with the need for special antennas certified for explosion protection. Such special-purpose antennas are usually costly, only available in a limited range of types, and often depend on fixed cables without plug connectors that are difficult to modify. Instead, any standard antenna can be used and connected to the HFisolator via conventional coaxial connectors. Such antennas can therefore very easily be repositioned, serviced, or replaced. The HFisolator tolerates extremely rough climatic conditions with ambient temperatures ranging from ­60 °C to +80 °C. Using the ISM frequency bands around 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5 GHz, the HFisolator supports all wireless transmission standards commonly applied in industrial environments (WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n; WirelessHART; ISA 100.11a; Bluetooth; ZigBee; EnOcean).

In addition to type 9730 HFisolators, R. STAHL provides a wide range of Ex d and Ex p enclosures for radio systems. The explosion protection specialist is a trusted partner for wireless solutions in hazardous areas with many years of experience working in this field.

Stahl products are marketed in Ireland by Douglas Control & Automation.

Connector with rapid termination technology!

Harting has introduced a slimline version of its har-speed X-coded M12 connector equipped with HARAX® rapid termination IDC connection technology.
The new field-installable 8-pin M12 connector is the latest addition to their family of products for Gigabit Ethernet applications, and is intended for scenarios in automation technology where a cable needs to be attached quickly or adapted on site. 

In particular, the insulation displacement contact is designed to ensure an uninterrupted connection performance by maintaining the twisting of the STP cable for as long as possible when it is drawn deep into the mating face.

Green chairman re-elected!

The Green Rating Alliance has announced that Rob Wilkinson, CEO of AEW Europe, has been re-elected Chairman of the Green Rating Alliance for the year 2015.

Rob Wilkinson
Rob Wilkinson said: "I am pleased to continue my work as Chairman within the Green Rating Alliance in 2015. The last year was a year of great achievements for the Green Rating Alliance. Resulting from a strong commitment by all members new projects and sustainable services have been developed to further assess and manage the environmental performance of real estate assets across Europe. We trust in continuing member support in the future and are delighted to offer innovative solutions that address the member’s requirements as well as the market’s expectations in 2015.”

New Executive Board
GRA’s Chairman Rob Wilkinson will be supported by a regrouped Executive Board in 2015.
Paul Lensing, Business & ESG Manager and member of the Green Team at CBRE Global Investors was elected as CEO succeeding Christoph Wildgruber, former Head of Sustainability at Allianz Real Estate. He will be supported by Xavier de Saqui de Sannes, Director - Asset Management, France & Belgium at Invesco Real Estate, as CFO and Gérard Biessy, Vice President Corporate Business Lines at Bureau Veritas SA, as General Secretary. Thierry Laquitaine, Sustainable Manager at AEW Europe and Eric Saint-Martin, Director of Asset Management projects at Gecina, act as Deputy CEOs.

Ex ic - Intrinsic safety’s new protection level!

Power management company Eaton has released a new whitepaper, Ex ic – Intrinsic Safety’s New Protection Level, that helps users and manufacturers understand more about Ex ic, the new intrinsic safety protection level for electrical apparatus in flammable environments. The paper is authored by Phil Saward, training and technical consultant, Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds Division. Phil Saward has 25 years’ experience in hazardous area products and applications and has served time on various FOUNDATION™ fieldbus committees.

“The concept of a third level of protection for intrinsic safety has existed for several decades,” said Phil Saward. “Only in recent years has it been formally adopted into the major standards systems in common use worldwide. Meanwhile, other methods of protection have filled the gap. In particular, Ex nL has provided a workable, but somewhat loosely defined alternative until its recent withdrawal from international standards. The paper therefore covers the essential differences between Ex ic and Ex nL, and discusses the pros and cons of the two techniques.”

The whitepaper deals primarily with the impact on countries that follow IEC and ATEX practice - but there are parallels with the ‘non-incendive’ technique that is adopted in North America. The paper is aimed at those who are familiar with the principles of explosion protection for electrical apparatus, but will also appeal to readers who are responsible for compliance to the ATEX Directive and relevant IEC standards. Topics covered include:

  • What is Ex ic?; 
  • The position of Ex ic in the Intrinsic Safety family; 
  • Changes to the IEC standards; 
  • Why things are changing now; 
  • Background and links to the ATEX directive.

One of the most helpful elements of the whitepaper is the inclusion of a case study which demonstrates how the new Ex ic standard can fundamentally change the design of a FOUNDATION™ fieldbus network, compared with implementations that were based on the Ex n standards. This practical illustration will help readers understand the potential impact in terms of network design and hardware selection.

VOCs – why speciate?

The Quantitech stands  at AQE 2015 in Telford (GB), the air quality and emissions show (22/23 Apl 2015)., will feature three different technologies for measuring individual organic compounds. This is extremely important because VOCs mostly exist in a mixture of more than one organic compound, so measurements can be misleading unless the individual compounds are speciated.

Firstly, AQE2015 will provide the first opportunity in Britain for potential users to see the new FROG-4000™, a rugged, portable PID GC capable of analysing trace levels of individual VOCs in air, soil and water. This technology enables fast on-site analysis in a range of environmental, health and safety applications, which is a major benefit because samples containing volatiles are notoriously difficult to transport.

Secondly, Quantitech will demonstrate a unique portable gas chromatograph toroidal ion trap mass spectrometer (GC-TMS). The TRIDION™-9 combines a high speed GC with a miniaturised TMS in a lightweight, field-portable instrument, designed to rapidly detect an enormous variety of chemical compounds in liquid, solid or gaseous samples.

At 10am on Wednesday 22nd April, Quantitech will run a workshop in Room 3 outlining the identification and quantification of individual VOCs in applications such as contaminated land, pollution incidents, fenceline monitoring and environmental impact assessments. This workshop will include practical demonstrations of both the FROG-4000 and the TRIDION-9.

Thirdly, portable Gasmet FTIR analysers will be on display, offering simultaneous analysis of multiple compounds. The Gasmet product line includes online stack and process monitoring heated FTIR systems, portable heated FTIR analysers and a unique ambient FTIR gas analyser, the Gasmet DX4040. Application stories for these analysers will be detailed in a free Workshop entitled: ‘FTIR applications in this world and beyond?’ at 11am on Thursday 23rd April.

Zone 1 and 2 hazardous areas enclosures!

As part of its new range of ATEX load cells, LCM Systems Ltd is launching the AEN ATEX/IECEx stainless steel Ex d enclosure. 

Designed for use in Zone 1 and 2 hazardous areas, the enclosure will contain an internal explosion and prevent the transmission of sufficient energy to ignite a potentially flammable atmosphere outside of the enclosure, making it ideal to house load cell amplifiers or act as a junction box in environments where explosive gases, mists, dusts or vapours are present.

The new enclosure is manufactured in stainless steel with a minimum thickness of 16mm to give maximum environmental protection, is environmentally sealed to IP67 and has an internal volume of 500m3. It has been designed to accommodate cable entries for M12, M16 and M20 threads, with the number of cable entries as per customer and application requirements. For ease of use and flexibility, the AEN ATEX enclosure can also be supplied with a mounting base for straightforward attachment to walls, floors and assemblies. 

Portable 3D body scanner for human metrics applications!

Security is sadly becoming a major factor in public buildings, plants and events as well as in travel. Visitors, and indeed sometimes staff need to be subjected to special scrutiny as they enter premises.
The world’s first portable 3D body scanner from Space Vision, (J), utilises nine board-level UI-1221LE USB cameras from IDS Imaging Development Solutions. Designed to be easily set up in a space of 198 x 230 x 222 cm, the body scanner is used in the human metrics business, where precise measurements of the human body are used in various applications, such as measurements for made-to-order clothes and in dress pattern making software or monitoring body shape as part of dieting and exercise regimes.

The system consists of 3 lightweight portable towers, each containing 3 of the board level cameras. The person to be measured stands in the middle of the space and a safe, low-intensity red laser light pattern is projected onto the body. Changes in the pattern due to the shape of the body are captured and the images analysed to generate around 1 million 3D data points within 2 seconds. All control and analysis software runs on a separate PC.

The compact UI-1221LE board level camera is an ideal choice for this application, with dimensions of 36.0 x 36.0 m x 20.2 mm and weighing just 16 g. It is equipped with a 752 x 480 pixel CMOS sensor. IDS implemented some slight modifications to the connector for Space Vision together with some additional features in the uEye API. The IDS Cockpit application, part of the IDS Software Suite supplied free with all uEye cameras, is used by Space Vision to adjust individual camera parameters and to check images after the set-up procedure is completed.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Duct mounting HVAC transmitters.

The new EE150 humidity & temperature transmitter has been optimised specifically for use in the HVAC and building technology sectors and impresses with an outstanding price/performance ratio.

The clever housing concept, the compact design and the 6mm diameter probe simplify mounting of the transmitter, which results in minimized installation costs. The IP65/NEMA 4 enclosure provides optimal protection of the electronics and the capacitive E+E humidity sensor element guarantees long-term stable measurement results.

The transmitter features a particularly installation-friendly design. Thanks to the external mounting holes it is not necessary to open the housing for mounting. This means that the electronics are protected against construction site pollution. For duct mounting the RH/T probe of just 6mm in diameter does not require a hole any larger than a standard T probe. The mounting flange further simplifies installation of the transmitter. The benefits are shorter mounting times and thus minimized installation costs.

The PTFE filter cap protects the sensing head against contamination, ensuring excellent long-term stability. The measured values are issued via two 0-10V or 4-20mA analog outputs. Using an optional configuration kit and the free software, the user can set the output scaling and perform a 1 or 2 point adjustment for humidity and temperature.

• E+E products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Emissions analyser helps manage power station!

When one considers how much chicken is eaten every year its hardly surprising that sufficient poultry litter is available to fuel power stations. Thetford for example, is Europe’s largest poultry litter fuelled  power station and this story describes how the plant’s emissions monitoring equipment is not just utilised to demonstrate environmental compliance, but also to manage the plant’s efficiency.
A multiparameter emissions monitor at Thetford power station (GB) is being used to demonstrate to the Environment Agency that the plant is performing within the conditions of its environmental permit. However, the data from the analyser, which was supplied by based Quantitech, also performs a vitally important role in helping to manage the plant. “Individual gas readings are displayed in almost real-time in the control room,” says Plant Manager Andrew Corbyn, “which enables our staff to respond quickly to the changes resulting from variations in our feedstock. This ability to continually adjust the process ensures that we operate the plant efficiently; generating the maximum amount of renewable energy whilst maintaining a good clean burn.”

Thetford Power Station Stack
Commissioned in 1999 and operated by Energy Power Resources Ltd (EPR), Thetford Power Station has a net installed capacity of 38.5MW and generates enough electricity for many thousands of homes. The plant is the largest poultry litter fuelled power station plant in Europe.  All of the plant’s feedstock is biomass and comes from sustainable sources and in comparison with a coal-fired power station, the plant makes a significant contribution to the fight against global warming.

Around 40,000 tonnes of combustion ashes generated by the plant are marketed and sold as Fibrophos fertilizer, which is high in phosphate, potash and trace elements.

Heat from the combustion process is used to generate steam which drives a turbine that generates power exported to the local distribution network. Emissions from the plant are effectively abated through careful combustion control; however, the plant also operates a bag filter system for particulates and injects bicarbonate into the waste gas stream to remove acid gases such as HCl and H2SO4.

Emissions monitoring
Thetford Power Station operates under an environmental permit and as such the plant has to provide the Environment Agency with continuous monitoring data including half hour and daily averages for HCl, SO2 and TOC (total organic compounds). Monitoring data for CO, NOx and dust are also reported to the Agency.

Quantitech has supplied and installed an MCERTS approved Gasmet FTIR and an MCERTS approved 3006 FID to continuously monitor all of the gaseous emissions.

Thetford operates a second FTIR analyser to ensure that there is no possibility of expensive downtime. EPR Group Environmental Manager Kevin Williams says: “We originally purchased the portable Gasmet DX4000 analysers as a an emergency back-up unit, but the core measurement components of a DX4000 are exactly the same as the Gasmet CEMS, so it made sense to run both analysers simultaneously so that we always had a ‘hot’ back-up.”

The Gasmet CEMS employs an FTIR spectrometer to obtain infrared spectra from the exhaust gas by first collecting an ‘interferogram’ of the sample signal with an interferometer, which measures all infrared frequencies simultaneously to produce a spectrum from which qualitative and quantitative data are produced.

Over a number of years, Gasmet has established an extensive library of FTIR reference spectra that now extends to simultaneous quantification of 50 gases or identification of unknowns. This means that it is possible to reanalyse produced spectra with the instrument’s PC based software (Calcmet) and thereby to identify and quantify unknown gases. However, this feature is not particularly important for the Thetford plant because, while the moisture content of the feedstock varies significantly, the chemical composition does not, so the main issue from a monitoring perspective is to measure the parameters that affect process control and those specified in the site’s environmental permit.

Gasmet FTIR technology was chosen for the Thetford plant because of its ability to monitor multiple gases simultaneously. Operations Team Leader Richard Bloomfield says: “The system has performed very well, with very little maintenance required. Zero point calibration with nitrogen (background) just takes a few minutes each day and is fully automated. Water vapour calibration is conducted at least once per year, but under normal circumstances no other calibration is necessary.”

Gas monitoring for process control
Richard continues “The Gasmet analysers are our eyes and ears; providing us with almost real-time information on conditions inside the combustion chamber. We have a display in the control room that provides recent trends in addition to the live data, so that we can take steps to ensure optimal combustion efficiency, whilst maintaining compliance with our emission limits.”

There are a number of ‘tools’ with which the combustion process can be managed. For example, it is possible to adjust the feed rate, the distribution on the grate, the grate speed and air flow from below (primary air) and from above (secondary air).

The plant operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week and the control room staff therefore work in shifts. Paul Dunthorne has worked at the plant for over 15 years. Initially employed as a part-time night worker, Paul has worked his way up the company and is now highly experienced in managing the process. “I love this job,” he says, “it takes quite a while to learn how to control the process, but with the benefit of the gas measurements, we can make the necessary changes to the process and watch the effects of our actions, which is very rewarding.

“We also like to make sure that the process is running well when we hand over to the next shift so, with the variability in the feedstock, every day presents a new challenge.”

Nick Gooden is responsible for running the instrumentation.  “If the CEMS starts to report unusual figures, it is tempting to blame the analyser, but with the benefit of a duplicate FTIR system, we usually find that the second analyser is reading exactly the same, which helps us to identify the true cause of the issue.”

Summarising, Quantitech’s Dominic Duggan says: “The main reason for installing an FTIR analyser at Thetford was to demonstrate compliance with the environmental permit. However, whilst that is certainly being achieved, the major return on investment for multiparameter emissions monitoring has been in the process management that it enables.”

Processing signals.

Pentek has announced the Model 7070 PCIe FMC carrier with a Virtex-7 FPGA. As a stand-alone signal processing board, it provides an ideal development and deployment platform for demanding DSP applications. 

How can the technology be utilised:
The 7070 has many useful capabilities. The optical transceivers provide a direct pipeline to the FPGA for very high bandwidth links to remote sensors or systems. The powerful Virtex-7 handles the most challenging DSP tasks, and installing an FMC transforms the 7070 into a complete I/O subsystem. Combined with any of Pentek’s FMCs, it creates a complete radar and software radio solution.

Model 7070 design features:

The Flexor Model 7070 features a high pin-count VITA 57.1 FMC site, 4 GB of DDR3 SDRAM, PCI Express (Gen. 1, 2 and 3) interface up to x8, optional 12x user-configurable gigabit serial I/O and optional LVDS connections to the FPGA for custom I/O.  The Flexor Model 7070 delivers new levels of I/O performance through the built-in gigabit serial interface with optional optical transceivers, making 12 full duplex optical lanes available to an MTP connector. With the installation of a serial protocol in the FPGA, this interface enables a high bandwidth connection between 7070s mounted within the same chassis or over extended distances between chassis.

Simple & accurate adjustment with wire-wound variable resistor.

The VRH320 Variable Wire Wound Resistor available from ARCOL Resistors, has a wide range of applications for voltage and current adjustment including industrial machinery RPM adjustment, instruments, automated control installations, load simulation and educational modelling.

The VRH320 has been ergonomically designed to enable simple and accurate adjustments by use of its top mounted slider. It is encapsulated in an IP20 rated lacquered metal casing which has dimensions of 446mm x 93mm x 160mm.

There are six resistance values available in this range encompassing 10Ω to 10KΩ. Key specifications of the ARCOL VRH320 include a 320VA continual loading with a 640VA overload capability for a period of 15mins. As with all ARCOL products the VRH320 is RoHS compliant.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Global Power MD appointed

Stadium Power has appointed Gary Howse to the role of Managing Director, Global Power. The appointment builds on recent positive developments in Stadium’s power products business.

Gary Howse
Based primarily at the Stadium Power facilities in Diss and Norwich, Norfolk, Gary will be responsible for managing the global power business with facilities in Britain and China.

Charlie Peppiatt, CEO of Stadium Group, comments, “I am delighted to welcome Gary to Stadium Group plc . He joins us with a proven track record of business turnaround and significant experience in the global electronics industry working in operational, commercial and general management roles. His previous senior positions include UK Managing Director at PartnerTech AB, Managing Director at Hansatech Ltd, Commercial Director at Ultra Electronics CEMS and Director of Sales Europe at Jabil Inc.”

With more than sixteen years working in senior management in manufacturing and engineering environments, Howse has successfully led and grown a number of electronics businesses. He has in-depth experience of product development, supply chain and purchasing, company finance, costing, budgeting and operations management.

Stadium Power is a major supplier of high power density open frame power supplies, LED power supplies and DALI drivers, commercial and MIL-STD EMC filters, plug-top and open frame medical power supplies for portable and system use, DC-DC converters, AC-DC power supplies from 5-1500W, battery chargers and EN54 Fire and Security power supplies offering the industry standard 13.8Vdc and 27.6Vdc outputs.

Stadium Power has over 30 years of experience in the manufacture of custom, standard and medical switch mode power supplies, programmable power supplies and converters, LED drivers and EMC Filters to international standards including EN, IEC, CSA and UL.

The company can offer a complete design and build custom power supply service including in-house Design, Engineering, NPI, PCB assembly and box build services. Offshore manufacturing for high volume products can be provided the wholly owned facility in Asia.