Saturday, March 7, 2015

Process control & safety under the microscope!

The Program Committee of the 2015 Process Control & Safety Symposium has issued a Call for Papers, inviting authors, innovators, thought leaders and other professionals in process measurement and control—particularly in the chemical and energy processing and other key process industry sectors—to submit abstracts for presentation consideration at the conference.

Given the success of the inaugural Process Control & Safety Symposium, which was held in October of last year, the 2015 event will again be held in Houston (TX USA) 9th to 12th November 2015 - widely recognized as a global center for process industry and the oil and gas hub of the US. The conference will again feature a wide range of workshops, tutorials, keynote speakers, paper presentations and exhibits, and is being co-organized by ISA’s Chemical & Petroleum Industries, Communications, Education, and Pulp & Paper divisions.

Core Topics
Central topics for papers and presentations in process measurement and control include:

Important details and deadlines

Guidelines for abstract submission:
Authors and speakers in attendance must pay registration fee
500-word (max) abstract in English shall be submitted by email or online
Final presentations must be on the official ISA symposium template
Papers accepted for publication and presentation will require completion of the ISA’s Rights and Responsibilities form

Important deadlines:
Abstracts due by 21 July 2015
Draft papers due by 25 August 2015
Final papers due by 20 September 2015
Variability, Instrument Calibration
Automation and Control Systems
Flow Measurement Technology
Field Calibration Technology

Communications in SIL, ISA100
Wireless Technology in the Plant Floor
Field Instrumentations: Wireless, Foundation Fieldbus, and Other Smart Technologies
Bridging Prices Between SCADA and DCS

Control Systems
Process Optimization
Fieldbus Control Systems with Focus on Higher SIL
Control System Strategies, Advanced Control
Instrumentation for Floating LNG Facilities
Automation and Control in Petroleum and Petrochemical Terminals
System Integrations
Advanced HMI and Alarm Management
Data and Document Storage in EDMS and Asset Management
Troubleshooting, Optimization, and Application in Petroleum and Chemical Process Industries
Safety Instrumented Systems

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Assembly elects board!

The CAN in Automation (CiA) has 582 members. They develop jointly CAN-based higher-layer protocols and profiles. This includes in particular the CANopen specifications.

The association represents its members in international standardisation bodies and provides training and publication services. In addition, the organization performs CANopen conformance tests and CANopen interoperability tests. In this year, one of the main activities is the standardization of CAN FD – the improved CAN protocol. It allows bit-rates higher than 1 Mbit/s and payloads up to 64 byte per message.

The international users’ and manufacturers’ group has elected Harm-Peter Krause (esd) as business director.

Uwe Koppe (MicroControl) and Holger Zeltwanger have been confirmed as technical director respectively managing director. The business director is also the chairperson of the Business Committee (BC). Elected BC-members are Emtas, Janz Tec, Kaba, Micro Control, and Spansion. The Technical Committee (TC) is presided by the technical director and comprises the elected members Emtas, esd, Infineon, and Ixxat/HMS.
The CiA board of directors (LtoR): Holger Zeltwanger, Uwe Koppe, and Harm-Peter Krause.

New chief for gas analysis manufactureer in Americas.

Luca Marinelli has been appointed as General Manager for Servomex – Americas, based in Houston (TX USA)

Luca Marinelli
“Luca brings more than twenty years of technical sales and worldwide management experience to the position, most recently as Servomex General Manager for Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEA&I)," said Chuck Hurley, President at Servomex. "His extensive national and international experience and proven track record managing teams, negotiating contracts, collaborating on the design and launch of new products, whilst working with customers, OEMs and Channel Partners already includes the US, Canada and Latin America. This vast knowledge of both the industry and the GM role means he is well placed to take Servomex’s Americas business forward.”

Originally from Milan (I), Luca spent 20 years in the United States where he graduated before working with US corporations, including thirteen years with Honeywell Analytics where he emerged as Director of World Wide Sales (High Tech) and latterly as Vice President of Sales. As well as being fluent in Italian and English, Luca has a strong knowledge of Spanish and French.

Luca joined Servomex in 2009 as General Manager for EMEA&I based in The Netherlands heading the commercial operation and Mumbai manufacturing site. His remit included the successful reorganization of the Sales, Service and Customer Service teams, introduction of regions and realignment of the European Business Center to support them.

Luca said: “The Americas continues to be a very important region for us and one we have invested in with our integrated site in Houston. I look forward to working with the established customers and Channel Partners to ensure they have the best possible experience of Servomex, from consultation to sales, delivery, implementation and service. It is good to be back in the United States.”

Luca succeeds Martin Cox, who returns to Servomex in Britain with global responsibility for business development as Market Sector Manager – Sensing Technologies.

Industry’s 1st Intel Xeon-Based PXI embedded controller.

National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-8880 controller, which is based on the Intel Xeon processor, and the NI PXIe-1085 chassis, which is the industry’s first chassis that uses PCI Express Gen 3 technology. The combination of the eight-core, server-class Intel Xeon processor E5-2618L v3 and full system bandwidth of 24 GB/s delivers breakthrough performance for computationally intensive and highly parallel applications such as wireless test, semiconductor test and 5G prototyping. Customers can take advantage of the flexibility of the PXI platform to replace previous generation controllers with the NI PXIe-8880 and see up to double the performance in their test and measurement applications.

“Over the past two decades, we have witnessed a gradual shift from traditional instrumentation in favour of the PXI platform for automated test,” said Jessy Cavazos, Industry Manager for Measurement and Instrumentation at Frost & Sullivan. “With the addition of Intel Xeon processor technology, we expect the adoption of PXI to only increase for high-performance applications.”

NI collaborated with Intel to deliver the server-class power of Intel Xeon processors to the test and measurement market. The embedded controller features eight cores, up to 24 GB of DDR4 memory and 24 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3 connectivity to the backplane. This provides engineers and scientists with up to twice the processing power and bandwidth compared to previous generation controllers. In addition, the new 18-slot chassis incorporates PCI Express Gen 3 technology with eight lanes per slot for a matched total system bandwidth of 24 GB/s, so any test and measurement system can scale well into the future.

“The use of the latest Intel Xeon processors is a new milestone for our collaboration with NI,” said Shahram Mehraban, Director of Market Development for Industrial IoT at Intel. “The Internet of Things requires the highest possible processing power to reduce time to market and lower the cost of test, and NI’s approach with PXI is critical toward that goal.”

When paired with LabVIEW system design software, this next-generation PXI controller and chassis combination empowers engineers and scientists to turn 24 GB/s of test and measurement data into readily usable insight.

Connect a PC to any industrial Ethernet network.

The new IXXAT INpact from HMS Industrial Networks combines the proven Anybus technology with years of IXXAT know-how in the PC interface card area. The result is a PCIe card with multi-protocol support for numerous industrial Ethernet standards and a uniform protocol and card-spanning application programming interface.

Until now, it has been complicated to develop PC-based measurement, visualisation or service applications for several Industrial Ethernet standards since different interface cards and application programming interfaces had to be used for each protocol. The new IXXAT INpact is the solution to this.

Based on proven Anybus and IXXAT technologies, HMS offers a PCIe card in standard and low-profile formats which supports all leading industrial Ethernet standards. Users can easily connect their PC-based slave application to EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, PROFINET IRT/RT, Powerlink and standard TCP/IP by using the IXXAT INpact. Through the uniform driver concept, the customer can switch between protocols quickly and without extensive programming and also profit from future protocol extensions and developments.

Support for multiple industrial Ethernet standards
The network solution inside IXXAT INpact is based on the Anybus CompactCom technology, today used within millions of automation devices globally. Used in combination with a flexible FPGA-based PCIe bus connection, the Anybus NP40 network processor has all functions required to process the communication between the Industrial Ethernet network and the PC-based customer application. With low latency times and a deterministic real-time behavior, it is perfect for demanding industrial applications. Furthermore, the 2-port Ethernet interface (10/100 Mbit, RJ45s), supports protocol specific switch functions – such as IRT for PROFINET, DLR for EtherNet/IP and Hub for Powerlink.

The Common Ethernet flash-update feature enables the user to download any industrial Ethernet protocol without switching cards in a quick and cost-efficient manner, which makes the IXXAT INpact a future-proof and adaptable interface for all types of applications.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

More pixels for high-end industrial applications.

A new 10.1-inch TFT display module featuring WUXGA (1920 x 1200 pixels) resolution has been introduced by KOE. The TX26D202VM0BAA has a pixel pitch of 0.11325mm (w) x 0.11325mm (h), which equates to a pixel density of 224ppi (pixels per inch). The 10.1-inch display module is further evidence of KOE's aim to embrace market demand for high performance, high resolution industrial displays.

The 16:10 aspect ratio display features IPS (in-plane switching) technology and a 16.7million colour palette, which enables highly accurate representation of image detail such as colour gradients and authentic colour reproduction. Excellent optical performance is maintained with a contrast ratio of 800:1 and a brightness specification of 800cd/m² enabling bright, sharp display images. Exceptional colour performance and image clarity at all viewing angles are particularly important in professional broadcast and medical imaging applications.

Mark Stephenson, technical marketing manager, KOE Europe said "KOE are one of the first LCD manufacturers to introduce compact, high resolution display modules developed specifically for industrial and professional applications. This reflects the trend for higher pixel density and enhanced image clarity found in consumer devices such as monitors, tablets and smartphones. The use of higher resolution displays with greater pixel density enables accurate reproduction and representation of graphical information such as measurement and diagnostic images, and video reproduction."

The compact 10.1-inch display has mechanical outline dimensions of 232.0mm (w) x 153.0mm (h) x 4.7mm (d) and an active display area of 217.44mm (w) x 135.9mm (h). A 50-pin, 2-channel LVDS interface supports 8-bit RGB which enables a colour palette of up to 16.7M colours. The LED backlight is specified at 40K hours to half brightness lifetime and features an integrated dimming function. The operating temperature range of the TX26D202VM0BAA module is -30°C to +80°C.

Typical applications for the WUXGA display include diagnostic systems, compact broadcast and video monitors, medical imaging, test and measurement instrumentation. The new TX126D202VM0BAA TFT display module is available through KOE Europe's distribution sales channel partners immediately.

Better delivery from medium voltage variable speed drives.

WEG has more than doubled the maximum power of its air-cooled MVW01 medium voltage variable speed drives - from 6.5 MW to 16 MW for voltages from 2.3 kV to 4.16 kV - to meet the needs of medium voltage three-phase induction and synchronous motors across a broader power range. The overall product line now covers the voltage range from 2.3 kV to 6.9 kV and the rated power range from 400 kW to 16 MW; a water-cooled version is also available, offering up to 40% higher rated power than the air-cooled one. With efficiency levels of more than 99%, the MVW01 achieves the best efficiency of any medium voltage drive currently available on the market, meaning customers can increase energy efficiencies in their application, reducing their environmental footprint and making associated cost savings.

WEG boosts the rated power of the MVW01 medium voltage variable speed drives from 6.5 MW to 16 MW in some voltage ranges.
WEG’s MVW01 variable speed drive combines robustness with ease of use and handling, reliability and safety, so end users can improve their operational processes. The drive is suitable for a variety of applications including pumps, fans, mills and agitators in the oil and gas, mining, minerals and metals, chemical, paper, plastics and rubber, and water and wastewater sectors.

The MVW01 features voltage source inverter (VSI) topology with a three-phase rectifier, DC link and multi-level output converter using Neutral Point Clamped (NPC) technology with 3/5 voltage level for output voltages from 2.3 kV to 4.16 kV or 5/9 voltage level for output voltages from 6.0 kV to 6.9 kV. Specifically designed for the harsh conditions of traction applications, the frequency inverter is equipped with the latest generation of insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) for voltages up to 6.5 kV – and a DC link with a 12-pulse bridge rectifier, with 18-, 24- or 36-pulse rectifiers available as an option.

The drive has exceptionally good dynamic characteristics with the multi-pulse diode configuration of the input rectifier offering a power factor over 97%, which translates into lower demand for incoming current and thus less costs. Driven by the Optimised Pulse Pattern (OPP) clocking method developed by WEG, the output stage topology of the inverter (multi-level NPC) enables optimal switching behaviour that reduces motor current harmonics to an absolute minimum.

Additionally, WEG’s medium voltage variable speed drives are based on the same user interface philosophy as WEG's low-voltage variable speed drives, offering ease of use and simple device programming. Maintenance is simplified by plug-in inverter power modules (one per phase), while the NPC inverter topology with multi-level technology offers a relatively low number of power components, which contributes to increasing efficiency and reliability.

All critical components, including the high-voltage IGBTs and dry-type plastic power film capacitors, are designed for long life. A fibre optic interface is used for the inverter drive signals and signal feedback to the CPU to reliably isolate the medium-voltage components from the control circuit and the control interfaces. In addition, the variable speed drives are housed in IP41-rated cabinets and support all commonly used network protocols, including DeviceNet, Modbus, Profibus DP and Ethernet. Flow-through ventilation with top-mounted fans provides extremely effective heat dissipation and a low noise level (less than 75 dB A).

“Thanks to its advanced technology, the MVW01 is easy to use and provides excellent reliability and safety combined with exceptional energy efficiency,” says Fábio Gonçalez, European Automation Manager at WEG. “WEG has a long history as a provider of motor speed control solutions and manufactures all essential components such as switchgear, oil- and air-cooled transformers, frequency inverters and electric motors, and at our European Automation Centre in Unna, we can also make custom solutions and application-specific software modifications.”

Safety devices for hazardous areas.

IDEC Corporation has released the EU2B family of safety devices including pushbuttons, pilot lights, selector switches and ammeters. These devices comply with ATEX, C-UL, IEC and UL/NEC safety standards for use in hazardous areas. All the devices are fully sealed to prevent the release of sufficient electrical energy which could ignite explosive gases or particles in the environment for which they are rated for use.

The devices are UL/c-UL approved for use in Class I Zone 1 applications, and are rated AEx de IIC T6 Gb for use in explosive gas atmoshpheres. The devices are rated IP65 and Type 4X for protection against water, and are available with exposed or finger-safe IP20 screw terminals.

The pushbuttons are available in flush, extended and mushroom styles. Pushbutton colors include black, green, red, blue, white and yellow. These pushbuttons and all the selector switches contain up to three sealed contact blocks, each rated up to 10A, and are available in normally open or normally closed configurations.

Emergency stop pushbuttons feature push-to-lock and turn-to-reset operation, and are supplied with a yellow body and a standard red mushroom head. Multiple contact configurations are available.

The pilot lights are available in amber, green, pure white, red, blue, white and yellow. Models can operate from a 110Vac, 220Vac or 24Vdc power source.

Selector switches are available with two or three selector positions, and with a variety of spring return options and circuit configurations. A key-operated selector switch is also available.

AC ammeters, DC ammeters and DC voltmeters are available with a wide choice of measuring ranges.

Reducing energy costs associated with compressed air by 60%.

 A new whitepaper entitled “Reduce energy costs in compressed air systems by up to 60%”.The whitepaper, which can be downloaded here free, clearly outlines how  engineers can identify where potential energy savings can be made and discusses compressed air generation costs, the effects of leakages and implementing solutions to reduce energy consumption overall.

In order to survive in a tough competitive environment, many companies are searching for ways to make savings in their production. Such savings can often be found in their existing compressed air systems, which have generally been in place for many years. Up to 60% of energy costs can be saved through optimisation at both the production facility and system level. However companies can only achieve this target by considering the compressed air system as a whole.

All areas, from generation through preparation and distribution to application, must be taken into account and factored into the choice of subsequent measures. The necessary equipment must also be available for performing reliable analysis and implementation. In many cases, the measures have a positive effect because they reduce the need for maintenance in the future. Since potential sources of failure are being eliminated, general process reliability and productivity will increase.

“An integral approach to optimising energy usage in a compressed air system has a range of benefits for the operator, including saving costs across operation, maintenance and servicing of the system,” says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo. “Like any other technology, compressed air systems are efficient if they are designed, used and maintained professionally.”

RF signal generator series leads in price!

The TSG4100A series of signal generators has been introduced by Tektronix. The TSG4100A is a vector signal generator (VSG) at the affordable price of basic signal generator. The new RF signal generator complements other leading mid-range RF test solutions from the company, such as the USB-based RSA306 spectrum analyzer, MDO4000B and MDO3000 mixed domain oscilloscopes. The TSG4100A is the first vector RF signal generator from a tier-one vendor with a price point of less €13,000 (£10,000).

RF signal generators are widely used in product design, testing and manufacturing. Until now, RF engineers and technicians had to choose between basic RF signal generators or far more expensive vector signal generators (VSG). The TSG4100A offers a VSG at an affordable RF signal generator price. Further, as an engineer’s needs change, the TSG4100A can be easily upgraded in the field to deliver more advanced vector and digital modulation capabilities.

“There is a clear need in wireless design and manufacturing for test solutions that are more affordable and still meet demanding requirements,” said James McGillivary, general manager of RF and Component Solutions at Tektronix. “Tektronix first made huge strides in filling this void with the highly disruptive RSA306 USB-based spectrum analyzer . Now we are continuing this momentum with the TSG4100A that offers unbeatable price performance in an RF vector signal generator.”

Great RF Performance
The TSG4100A series includes three models with carrier frequencies from DC to 2.0 GHz, 4.0 GHz and 6.0 GHz respectively. The instruments provide spur-free outputs with low phase noise (–113 dBc/Hz at 1 GHz), outstanding amplitude accuracy (<+/- 0.4 dB at 1 GHz, 0dBm CW signal from +16dBm to -100 dBm level range) and excellent frequency resolution (1 μHz at any frequency). An oven-controlled crystal oscillator time-base provides <±0.002 ppm temperature stability and <±0.05 ppm aging stability, the most accurate and stable available for a mid-range signal generator.

Analog Modulation
TSG4100A signal generators offer a wide variety of modulation capabilities. Modes include amplitude modulation (AM), frequency modulation (FM), phase modulation (ΦM), and pulse modulation. There is an internal modulation source as well as an external modulation input. Unlike most analog signal generators, the TSG4100A can sweep continuously from DC to 62.5 MHz. And for frequencies above 62.5 MHz, each sweep range covers more than an octave.

Vector Modulation
Units can be software upgraded to support VSG applications. With the vector upgrade, TSG4100A series offers full support for vector signal modulation on RF carriers between 400 MHz and 6.0 GHz. It features a dual, arbitrary waveform generator operating at 125 MHz for baseband signal generation. The generator has built-in support for the most common vector modulation schemes: ASK, QPSK, DQPSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8PSK, FSK, CPM, QAM (4 to 256), 8VSB, and 16VSB. It also includes the standard pulse shaping filters used in digital communications: raised cosine, root-raised cosine, Gaussian, rectangular, triangular, and more. For additional flexibility, the rear-panel BNC I/Q modulation inputs support arbitrary vector modulation from an external source.

Expanded I/O & Control range enhances flexibility & energy efficiency #PAuto @ABBpowercomms

ABB has launched its Symphony® Plus SD Series of flexible control and input/output (I/O) products, which offer total plant automation across application types, irrespective of size or physical location.
Scalable SD Series of products introduced for total plant automation, particularly in harsh environments and decentralized installations
The SD Series is designed to improve energy efficiency and productivity in diverse operating environments within the power and water industries. The new range is especially suited for applications where control is distributed over a wide area often in harsh conditions, such as wind and solar power plants as well as water facilities.

The new portfolio is the latest addition to the Symphony Plus product family, ABB’s flagship automation platform for the power generation and water sectors and the most widely used distributed control system (DCS) in these industries.

“The launch of the SD series is a reaffirmation of ABB’s commitment to continue investing in the Symphony Plus platform based on an ‘evolution without obsolescence’ approach of introducing new technology with enhanced benefits while protecting the long-term investment by ensuring full compatibility with existing installations,” said Massimo Danieli, Managing Director of ABB’s Power Generation business, a part of the company’s Power Systems division.

SD Series is a portfolio of DIN rail-mounted control and I/O products based on a scalable architecture, flexible design and field-proven technology. The energy-efficient solution pays for itself through reduced long-term energy, operational and maintenance costs.

Furthermore, they can withstand extreme operating conditions such as temperatures from -20 to +70 degrees Celsius without the need for additional environmental protection. This significantly reduces their footprint and maintenance costs, and improves reliability and performance thanks to fewer components.

Symphony Plus enables plants and personnel to perform efficiently and balance objectives like asset availability, operational reliability and production efficiency with business goals like asset life extension, carbon reduction and regulatory compliance.

There are more than 6,500 Symphony installations in operation all over the world, including more than 4,500 in power and water applications.

Frequency inverters provides maximum drive performance.

One of the highlights of the Mitsubishi Electric next generation range is their new FR-A800 inverter. The ultramodern drive has been specially designed for use in classic plant and machinery and with its maximum output and performance, increased efficiency and productivity are guaranteed. At the same time, the latest in-house technology concepts will enable the optimisation of plant efficiency and energy balance. FR-A800 inverters are particularly user-friendly and offer numerous network connections. The FR-A800 series is the result of the further development of the successful FR-A700 series. It complies with international regulations and standards and is equipped with the very latest safety functions.
With the FR-A800 series of inverters, the company introduces its very latest drive technology with an output range extending from 750 watts up to a maximum of 1 megawatt. They provide for the operation of both standard asynchronous motors and IPM/SPM motor technology. USB host and USB device functions guarantee user-friendly programming and parameterisation as well as data logging functionality. It is also fully integrated in Mitsubishi Electric’s iQ Works programming environment. The built-in operation panel and multitext display allows the easy and intuitive operation of the components.

Real sensorless vector control enables maximum speed and torque quality up to a maximum frequency of 400 Hz to be achieved. An overload capability of 250 per cent during the start-up phase will ensure reliable start-up, especially under difficult operating conditions. Minimum terminal scan times of less than three milliseconds will guarantee the fastest possible response. At the same time speed rise times of less than 80 milliseconds will help to ensure maximum performance and improved productivity.

Four overload scenarios offer optimised plant planning while three additional slots expand the range of possible applications. Functional safety up to PLe/SIL3 guarantees operation in situations ranging from simple emergency stops to complex press actuation. The new series of inverters offers a total of eleven network options including CC-Link, SSCNET, Profibus-DP, Profinet, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, LONworks and Modbus RTU, enabling them to be used worldwide. Full backward compatibility with the FR-A700 series guarantees that components can be replaced easily and safely.

“Like all Mitsubishi Electric inverters, the FR-A800 series comes with numerous protective, safety and overload functions, high-quality temperature-resistant capacitors, continuously lubricated encapsulated cooling fans and double-coated control and circuit boards. Integrated maintenance timers indicate component fatigue. All these features increase the equipment availability by providing predictive and condition-based maintenance funtionalities”, explains Oliver Endres, European Product Manager Energy / LVS / Inverter of Mitsubishi Electric’s Factory Automation-European Business Group.

And now, Mitsubishi Electric has added dust and splash-proof versions with an IP55 protection rating to its FR-A800 series of modern frequency inverters. Specially designed for harsh environments and tailored to the requirements of pumps and fans, the drives are highly robust and ideally suited for use in industrial and commercial building automation systems as well as in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ex d inverters!

R. Stahl's solutions for hazardous area equipment also include explosion-protected motor switches and frequency inverters for installation close to Ex d or Ex e motors in ATEX zones 1 and 2. As a rule, the company can add Ex d / Ex de ignition protection to any choice of power electronics for distributed drive units. They area a company with great expertise in implementing customised, application-specific drive control. In addition, drives featuring a very compact design and up to 7.5 kW output power are now available as ready-to-use, fully certified systems (ATEX / IECEx) from a single source.

These fan-less, almost maintenance-free explosion-protected frequency inverters ensure very efficient heat dissipation, which allows for operation even at ambient temperatures up to 55 °C. Due to their special aluminium flameproof enclosures, they can be used in onshore as well as offshore applications. The inverters feature a wide functional range including optional PLC functions for intelligent and efficient drive control in installations such as conveyor systems, pumps, heating and cooling equipment, centrifuges, textile machines, and various others.

Communication modules enable flexible configurations and enhancements. The drives ensure PTC motor monitoring compliant with ATEX regulations, provide class C2 electromagnetic compatibility, and support safe solutions as per SIL categories 1 through 3. Throttles and mains filters are available as optional features. Moreover, R. Stahl also offers stainless steel versions, special paints, and versions with a window or wiring space.

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

Differential current transformer for current measurements up to 10 A

Harting has added a differential current transformer capable of carrying out current measurements at up to 10 A to its family of current sensors for industrial applications. Specifically designed for measurements of ambient conditions in the wind energy sector, the single-piece core transformer combines high functional reliability with extremely high mechanical stability for the most demanding applications.

The differential current transformer permits the measurement of the current deviation in supply and return conductors or the monitoring of earth leakage currents in single or multi-phase power cables.

The compact current transformer is designed for a maximum cable diameter of 110 mm, and is suitable for the detection of primary nominal currents of up to 10 A with a conversion ratio of 1:600. It can be used for measurements over the frequency range from 5 to 400 Hz.

The housing design is optimised for high holding forces of up to 250 kg, and features an IP65 degree of protection according to the IEC 60 529 standard. It employs Harting's proven HARAX(R) insulation displacement connection technology to provide simple, quick and tool-free assembly.

The wide temperature range of -15°C to +55°C permits use in heat-sensitive applications.

Thermogrraphers sharing info by phone!

With a full 180° articulating lens and 14.5cm touchscreen, the Fluke's new TiX520 and TiX560 Infrared Cameras allow thermographers to easily navigate over, under, and around objects to preview and capture images. The new Expert Series cameras are ideal for predictive maintenance, in R&D, oil and gas, and utility applications, where flexibility and higher resolution are essential, and they enable users to share their data in real time via Fluke Connect™.

The responsive 14.5cm LCD touchscreens of the TiX520 and TiX560 offer a large viewing area, which enables thermographers to quickly identify issues while still in the field, as well as easily edit images directly on the camera, eliminating time in the office. SuperResolution mode boosts resolution four times, so the normal 320 x 240 pixels resolution of the images captured increases to 640 x 480 pixels, revealing even greater detail. Optional telephoto and wide-angle lenses add versatility to meet a wide variety of applications.

Out of focus images may produce inaccurate temperature measurements that can be off by as much as 20°, making it easy to miss potential problems. To ensure consistently in-focus images, the cameras feature LaserSharp® Auto Focus, exclusive to Fluke, which uses a built-in laser distance meter to pinpoint the target, and accurately calculate and display the distance.

The cameras also feature Fluke IR-Fusion® technology with Picture-in-Picture, full visible light, and AutoBlend™ modes for easier identification and reporting of problems. On-board advanced analytics allow users to adjust or enhance images right on the camera without additional software. Also included is Fluke SmartView® software, which provides a suite of advanced tools to view, optimise, annotate, and analyse infrared images, and generate fully customisable professional reports.

New office expands research capability for PSU innovator!

Stadium Power has opened an R&D centre in Norwich (GB) as a stand-alone facility for the development of power products as part of the wider company strategy to become a leading design-led technology business

(LtoR) Kenny Lang, Business Development Director,
Norwich Research Park & Steve Applegate,
Commercial Director, Stadium Power
The new Regional Design Centre (RDC), located at Norwich Research Park, a world leading location for research, innovation and business in the East of England, is connected to the University of East Anglia and is well positioned to facilitate leading Stadium’s technology developments in power management, wireless connectivity, green products and miniaturisation.

The facility features a 1000 square foot laboratory, exclusively for the design, prototype and test of power products and is home to the engineering team who are relocating from the Diss-based manufacturing facility.

The Norwich RDC for Stadium Power represents the first stage in a development plan to establish regional R&D operations in selected global locations to drive and support the wider Stadium Group businesses with design-led customer focused integrated technologies.

Steve Applegate, Commercial Director for Stadium Power commented: “The launch of the RDC in Norwich is a very exciting move for Stadium Power. We are already an established provider of customised power solutions, working with our customers to design, develop and innovate. However the RDC reflects the next stage in the execution of our strategy boosting our technology roadmap providing the power technologies of today and tomorrow, whilst ensuring that our development focus is tightly aligned to our customer’s needs.”

“The RDC gives us access to a unique space for our engineers to flourish, in a location where we can attract and develop the best talent in our industry. We are in the process of a technical recruitment drive and our intentions are to develop Graduate schemes in electronics and power engineering, and we will work closely with the University on research programmes to support our development plans.”

The Norwich Research Park is a business community of research organisations with world-leading credentials and over forty science and technology based businesses. The Park, a partnership with the University of East Anglia, is home to over 12,000 people including 3,000 researchers with an annual research spend of over £100 million.

With a one hour drive to Cambridge (GB), Norwich boasts a comprehensive network of regional, national and international transport links, especially into Europe and beyond with three daily flights to Amsterdam Schiphol.

Make M-Bus measuring devices talk Modbus-TCP.

New gateway from HMS Industrial Networks enables M-Bus data from measuring devices to be monitored from Modbus-TCP networks. M-Bus (Meter-Bus) is a widely used communication standard for measuring devices. It is predominantly used in buildings, for example in electricity meters, gas meters, water meters or other types of consumption meters. By getting data from these measuring devices onto a PLC or SCADA system, users can get a total overview of their energy consumption, including building parameters which previously had to be checked separately.

How the gateway works
The Anybus M-Bus to Modbus TCP gateway decodes M-Bus telegrams and maps meter values to Modbus registers. Mapping and configuration is done in a web-based configuration tool allowing the user to set up the gateway without any programming. It is possible to connect up to 20 M-Bus slaves and enable them to communicate on a Modbus-TCP network.

Connectivity to more networks with Anybus X-gateways
The solution can be extended by pairing the M-Bus gateway with an Anybus X-gateway Modbus-TCP, making it is possible to connect M-Bus devices to most industrial networks. Versions are available for CANopen, CC-Link, ControlNet, DeviceNet, EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Modbus RTU, PROFIBUS and PROFINET.

Making energy savings possible
"We see a substantial market for this solution," says Niklas Selander, Product Manager at HMS. "Many industrial companies are currently trying to optimize their energy consumption. Their production lines are often connected to some kind of industrial network, but building parameters such as electricity, water, gas etc. are usually monitored on separate M-Bus systems. With our new solution, we enable plant owners to analyze and optimize their energy usage from PLC´s on Modbus-TCP and other networks."

Reliable fibre optic connecting.

Radiall now offers the EB-LuxCis® product range. 
Featuring the widely used LuxCis® ARINC 801 Fiber Optic contact inserted in a 2 or 4 channel Expanded Beam insert, the EB-LuxCis® product range is available in various circular or rectangular connectors. This new solution is suitable for highly contaminated environments and demanding applications where ease of maintenance is necessary.

"Implementing high performance optical solutions that withstand harsh environment conditions and provide an easy cleaning process is now possible with this new product range. We have combined the best technologies to answer customer needs for a reliable connection offering reduced sensitivity to contamination." said Luc Kaes, the VP Product Manager.

A key advantage of the EB-LuxCis® product range is the ability to use up to 4 standard LuxCis® ARINC 801 cable assemblies, which simplifies and reduces maintenance. The Expanded Beam technology also offers advantages for cleaning and reduces sensitivity to particulate contamination and misalignment. Accommodating both Multimode and Singlemode fibers and different cable diameters, this versatile and ruggedized solution features a scoop proof design that reduces the risk of damaging the optical end face when mating is done, even on difficult to reach areas.

The current range includes EB-LuxCis® with MIL-DTL-38999 and EN4165 interfaces and is constantly expanding. Radiall designs and manufactures harnesses equipped with EB- LuxCis® for Avionics, Radar, Electronic Warfare, Power and Flight management applications.

Achieve a high speed, information driven, operation in manufacturing!

Mitsubishi Electric has announced its next generation iQ Platform, the iQ-R Controller Series is now available. Today’s manufacturing environment is already complex and fraught with competitive challenges, but tomorrow, the year after and four years after that will be even more taxing, especially as manufacturers contemplate concepts such as Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT). However, with Mitsubishi Electric’s e-F@ctory concept reinforced with the new iQ-R series, manufacturers can approach these challenges better prepared and can get ahead of their competitors, while benefiting from iQ-R’s advanced concepts and designs purporting to over 47 new patents – iQ-R is truly revolutionary.

Protection from all sides
Advanced technology, thoughtful design.
(Source: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, JP)
Protection of your business, knowhow and manufacturing processes are increasingly important and iQ-R has been designed to meet these needs bringing peace of mind to its users. The continuing threat from external unauthorized access to control systems has led Mitsubishi Electric to design the iQ-R with various protective features such as IP address filtering to prevent unapproved access to the system; knowhow is protected with strengthened password and program encryption and finally production can be protected by easy, flexible and cost effective system configuration with redundant CPUs using standard CPU technology. Added to this is Mitsubishi’s well known focus on backward compatibility where existing installed hardware can continue to be utilized well in to the future and you have a picture of a programmable control concept that is designed to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) from all facets of the business. This is also true for programming support as the new GX Works3 compliments iQ-R perfectly with its multi-language interface which will be ideal for companies with international export business, while its other innovative functions help significantly reduce development time through effective reuse of existing software assets.

Speed, performance, excellence
Speed is also a keyword with iQ-R Series. Not only are the processors optimized for consistent, reliable manufacturing operation, and are up to eight times faster than the preceding QCPU, but when combined with the new high speed bus, users will see an increased throughput of around 40 times the current iQ Platform which was already one of the fastest systems on the market. This massive speed increase means manufacturing with greater response which can be used to increase quality through more rapid reaction to changes in parameters, perform greater control and co-ordination between complex motion tasks or even greater resolution for energy management tasks such as load balancing or peak management for example. iQ-R really is putting its users in control.

Reduced engineering time means faster to market
The deliberate and structured reduction in engineering load starts with the programming interface GX Works3 which increases program reusability while at the same time provides advanced options for monitoring and fault diagnosis but also increased options for protecting and managing the users programming assets. Additionally, iQ-R series has new features for auto-saving operational data especially error flags and occurrences so that maintenance engineers can quickly diagnose operational performance from the stored historical data. The new memory dump feature allows active information to be automatically saved to the SD card detailing timing and error conditions, and status information; protecting this vital data even if the most serious event occurs.

In summary, MELSEC iQ-R Series is a proud successor of the original iQ Platform extending its features and functions while reducing engineering effort. It has been designed to optimize all aspects affecting TCO while delivering outstanding performance. Its data management, processing and programming flexibility along with the future roadmap of extensive functions, modules and options while continuously supporting existing legacy systems means that iQ-R should be in the toolbox of any serious automation engineer who wants to tackle the future challenges.

Audio, data, and fibre connectors!

Cliff Electronics has announced the FT Digital XLR Feed-Through connector series. The FT Series is a complete range of audio, data, and fibre connectors that can be front or rear mounted into an industry standard 24mm XLR connector mounting hole. The new FT Series are simple to mount into any panel designed to accept XLR connectors including instrument, control and rack panels, wall-plates, etc.

John Hall, General Manager of Cliff Electronics tells us ; “Our new FT series of feed-through digital XDR connectors offer a low cost, highly flexible and customisable solution to adding digital control connectors to standard audio and AV control panels. Using the same, industry standard, XLR connector cut-out already extensively used for audio and control connections greatly simplifies control panel design and manufacture”

The new Cliff FT series is ideal for developing custom I/O solutions used in broadcast, AV installations, systems integration, home theatre, etc. The RJ45 versions are suitable for creating Ethernet hubs and patch points in industrial applications.

The FT Series offers true feed-through connection, allowing standard cabling to be used to connect at both front and rear, eliminating the need to solder or terminate the connections and simplifying and speeding up assembly and servicing.

Current options include both USB 2.0 and 3.0 LC and SC fibre, RJ45 in both Cat6 and Cat5e with and without shielding, connector “gender” change and further options will be introduced throughout 2015.

Cliff Electronics will also be offering 1RU and 2RU 19” rack panels and wall-plates to further allow customised solutions.

For ease of assembly the Cliff FT Series are available with standard or countersunk mounting holes. The connector shells are made of high impact plastic, the same material used on Cliff’s standard plastic XLR connectors, field proven to be rugged and reliable. Bezels are available in 7 colours to identify the function of FT connectors when fitted to a control panel.

Fastest 50 in USA: Sensors and their systems on show!

For the second consecutive year, the leading event in the USA focused exclusively on sensors and sensor-integrated systems, Sensors Expo & Conference has been named to Trade Show Executive's (TSE) Fastest 50 list. Recognised in the category of “Total Attendance,” the 2014 Sensors event welcomed over 5,000 attendees to explore the latest in cutting-edge sensor innovations. The 2015 Conference is expected to continue to grow as the industry’s longest running sensor event moves to the West Coast June 9-11 at the Long Beach Convention Centre in California (USA)

“Sensors Expo & Conference has been providing attendees with the knowledge and access they need to the latest in sensor technologies for the past 30 years, but with the rapid evolution of the market and the introduction of new concepts such as the Internet of Things, the demand for education and early access to innovations has never been higher,” said Mat Dirjish, Executive Editor, Sensors Magazine, official publication of the event. “We are thrilled to be recognized by TSE for our efforts to educate and connect this new generation of sensor evangelists as they seek out new technologies and create new solutions.”

Featuring the largest showcase of sensing technologies on the market today and with more than 65 conference sessions dedicated to topics such as Energy Harvesting, Internet of Things, MEMs, Sensors Fusion, Sensors at Work, Smart Cities, Wireless, and Wearables, the 2015 Sensors Expo & Conference offers engineers and innovators the ideal environment for education, networking, and access to the latest in sensing technologies. Hosted in Long Beach, California, the event also provides attendees with easy access to Silicon Valley and the cutting-edge markets of Aerospace & Defense, Medical, and Entertainment.

For 2015, Sensors will also offer new and expanded exhibit and sponsorship opportunities, including new Technology Pavilions, Product Showcases, Startup Opportunities, Branding Sponsorships, and more. More than 200 companies are already scheduled to exhibit including All Sensors Corp., Analog Devices, B-SCADA, EM Microelectronic, Freescale Semiconductor, Hoffman + Krippner, LORD MicroStrain, PCB Piezotronics, ROHM Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, and ZMDI. 

Non-contact signal transmission for same cost as slip-ring types!

The Kistler Type 4520A sensor for measuring torque on shafts rotating at up to 10,000 rpm uses frequency modulation to transmit the torque signal from the rotating shaft without contact and convert it into an analogue signal.

This system is considerably more reliable than slip-ring signal transmission which can suffer signal loss due to dirt and wear on the slip-rings. In the past, contactless sensors have been more expensive than slip-ring types but this design costs about the same as inferior slip-ring types.

The sensor has a TTL speed signal at 60 pulses/rev. and an external 100% range check input. Ten units cover the range from 1 to 1,000 Nm, all with standard ±10 V signal output, and 150% overload capacity. Suitable for static and dynamic measurement of torque in assembly, for quality control in production and in laboratory applications.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Wearable electronics enabled by sensors!

The wearable devices space is viewed as the next goldmine of opportunity for sensor manufacturers as profits shrink in the smartphone and tablet segments. Further, the sensor landscape for wearable devices will gain a new dimension through the entry of software and hardware giants such as Google, Apple, Samsung  and Intel

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Wearable Electronics Enabled by Sensors finds that the sensors market earned revenues of €70 million   ($108 m)  in 2014 and estimates this to catapult to €710 million ($800 m) in 2020.

“Rising average life expectancy and increasing awareness on health and fitness monitoring have fuelled the adoption of wearable devices,” said Frost & Sullivan Measurement and Instrumentation Senior Industry Analyst Sankara Narayanan. “In addition to clinical healthcare, medical, fitness & wellness applications the wearables market is witnessing a series of new product launches, such as Heads-up Displays, smart watches, smart fabrics, wrist bands, and glasses that are used across various consumer, industrial and other verticals. As the need to collect various physiological data and quantified self-movement surges, wearables will incorporate more complex electronics and sensors.”

Since the wearable electronics ecosystem is complex, a combination of both hardware and software knowledge is required for companies to make it big in the industry. Many firms do not have the skill to design products from scratch. Further, the need to integrate a large number of sensors inside a wearable device poses serious problems in terms of battery life and time to market.

Sensor platforms, rather than sensor components, will play a critical role in wearable device innovation and shortening time to market. Sensor platform companies, with expertise in sensors, low-power processing, and wireless connectivity, can design solutions with the desired number of sensors while ensuring robust battery life and reduced power consumption.

“Sensor platforms fill the software-hardware knowledge gap, enabling rapid prototyping of wearables and helping wearable designers do their own hardware design,” added Narayanan.

Connector distributor of the year announced!

MH Connectors, manufacturer and supplier of  I/O interconnect products has awarded its Distributor of the Year 2014 accolade to RS Components.
Damien Croft, Head of European Sales, EDAC Europe; Adrian Robinson, EDAC Group President & CEO; Phil Dock, Global Head of Product & Supplier Management, RS Components.
Presenting the award Damien Croft - newly promoted Head of European Sales at MH Connectors'  parent company EDAC Europe - congratulated RS Components on winning the award for a second time: "RS was MH Connectors' Distributor of the Year in 2012,” said Croft. “Winning it again in 2014 reflects RS's outstanding dedication to our brand and the technical expertise and customer support delivered by the RS team. We hope the Distributor of the Year award will be an inspiring platform on which to extend the partnership between our two companies into 2015 and beyond.”

Receiving the award Phil Dock, Global Head of Product & Supplier Management at RS Components, commented, MH Connectors’ versatile, high-quality interconnect solutions strengthen our position in the marketplace and complements our broad portfolio of products from highly respected brands. We will strive to achieve even greater success in the future.”

Robust humidity sensor helps keep trains moving in cold weather.

A manufacturer of safety equipment for railways relies on Michell’s Humidity and Temperature sensor, PF72-Series, to monitor and control its range of railway switch-point heating systems.

‘Points’ are the sections of track that move to switch the trains from one track to another. Because of their moving parts and exposed conditions, they are susceptible to freezing in cold weather if not heated.

The heating system measures the temperature and humidity around the point so the systems can automatically react to changes in temperature and prevent the point from freezing. As with any railway application, the measurement equipment must not only be robust it also has to be extremely reliable.

In addition to its primary safety function the sensor helps the customer to save energy as the heating system is only switched on when necessary and does not over-heat the area. The stainless steel PFMini72 relative humidity probes are based on the I7000 Hygrosmart relative humidity module. This interchangeable module has miniaturized electronics and does not require recalibration, instead the module is simply replaced, which can be done without specialised equipment. Because the I7000 is small, engineers can carry a supply with them and exchange them on the spot to ensure the heating system continues to operate.

• Michell products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Measuring vibration on your phone app!

Fluke has introduced the handheld Fluke® 805 FC Vibration Meter, a portable multifunction vibration screening tool that provides quantifiable information on the bearings and overall health of motors and other rotating equipment, and shares that data in real time via Fluke Connect™.

The 805 FC is ideal for frontline mechanical troubleshooting teams that need reliable and repeatable measurements of rotating equipment to make imperative go/no-go maintenance decisions.

Vibration screening is a critical part of motor maintenance, and trending measurement data over time provides invaluable insight into long-term motor health. This instrument automatically saves vibration data wirelessly to Fluke Connect cloud storage so authorised team members can view all of the measurement data for each asset with the Fluke Connect app on their mobile devices before they leave the inspection site.

Using EquipmentLog™, technicians and managers can get all their measurement data in one place to get the complete asset story. EquipmentLog history allows technicians to assign measurements to specific equipment, creating a cloud-based history of all test measurement data (e.g. vibration, electrical, infrared images) for easy access during both troubleshooting and reliability maintenance.

Technicians can also share measurements with other team members in real time with ShareLive™ video calls to get approvals for repairs or get questions answered without leaving the field.

It measures overall vibration from 10Hz to 1,000Hz and provides a four-level severity assessment for overall vibration and bearing condition. It detects peaks in the vibration signal readings of roller bearings from 4,000Hz to 20,000Hz, and uses a proprietary algorithm to interpret severity to determine if the bearing is going bad. And it features an infrared sensor that automatically measures surface temperature and displays it along with the vibration reading for a broader understanding of machine health.

The 805 FC has a unique sensor tip design that minimises measurement variations caused by device angle or contact pressure. This reduces operator error and improves the accuracy and repeatability of quick vibration screening. The meter also provides a severity scale for both overall vibration and bearing condition readings, delivering more information than typical vibration pens.