Saturday, April 4, 2015

Schoolchildren monitor local air quality!

A group of schoolchildren from Oasis Academy Brightstowe in Bristol (GB) have been utilising Ashtead Technology’s air quality monitors to measure air pollution during their daily commute to school. The project is part of the BBC News School Report which provides 11-16 year-olds across Britain with an opportunity to make and broadcast their own news.

With support from BBC staff, partners and teachers, the BBC News School Report helps students develop their journalistic skills to become School Reporters. Then, in March, schools take part in an annual News Day, simultaneously creating video, audio and text-based news reports, and publishing them on a school website, to which the BBC creates a link, thereby providing an expanded audience.

“We were delighted to be involved – at the invitation of the BBC – in the air quality monitoring project,” commented Theo Berry, an English Teacher at the school. “Using the handheld air quality monitors was a really exciting and engaging way of involving students in an experiment with real-world outcomes. Rather than being confined to a laboratory, with the air quality monitors they were able to take scientific methods out into the world, following normal routes home and discovering how their everyday lives are affected. Using the air quality monitors was also a fantastic opportunity for cross-curricular work – it’s not every day that science and media classes can combine!”

After deciding to focus their report on air quality, the school enlisted the help of local air quality expert Dr Jo Barnes, from the University of the West of England’s Air Quality Management Resource Centre. Jo says: “One of the reasons for the choice of air quality as the subject matter for the investigation was Bristol’s recent success in being awarded the title of European Green Capital 2015 by the European Commission Expert Panel.” Bristol impressed the jury with its investment plans for transport and energy. The city has committed a budget of €500m for transport improvements by 2015 and up to €300m for energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2020.

Jo advised on the selection, configuration and demonstration of appropriate monitoring equipment from Ashtead Technology’s fleet of rental instruments. “We chose TSI Sidepaks for this project,” Jo says, “because they are lightweight, battery powered and able to continuously log air quality. Six children participated in the trial over a period of three days and we set the monitors to log data every second in order to provide a detailed record of air quality during the children’s commute to school.”

The TSI Sidepaks are supplied with inlet conditioners (impactors) that allow 10, 2.5, or 1.0 microns, which means that users can select the range of particle size that is of most interest. With a built-in pump, the units draw air in from the environment and a laser diode is directed at the aerosol stream. Scattered light is then measured by a photodetector at 90° to the light beam, and the intensity of this light is a function of the particle mass concentration. Real-time data is displayed, in addition to an eight-hour time-weighted average.

Jo continues: “As a short-term project, the facility to rent the equipment from Ashtead Technology was ideal because the purchase cost would have been preclusive. The instruments were relatively simply to set up and operate and the children quickly became competent at running them.”

The children clearly understood the relevance of the trial; Lewis said: “We were monitoring air pollution from traffic – especially cars – and the local factories in Avonmouth,” and Greg said: “The air quality monitors were easy to use – it was simple to remember how to get them working.”

One of the issues associated with air pollution is that, in comparison with the smogs of the 1950s, it is no longer visible. However, Guaire explained: “Poor air quality damages your lungs and makes people’s asthma worse.”

Sadly, the results of the trial were inconclusive, with no clear correlation between pollution levels and mode of transport. However, Jo says: “This was a very small trial so it was never going to produce statistically significant results. However, scientific experimentation rarely delivers simple incontrovertible conclusions, so for the children; it was a good exercise in understanding the importance of experimental procedure and learning how to interpret results. It also gave them an opportunity to speculate on how a future trial could deliver more meaningful data.” Emily, one of the students, agreed: “We’d need to be using more air quality monitors for a longer period of time to get more scientific results,” she added.

Looking forward, Theo Berry says: “We’re hoping to extend and expand our research project, working hand-in-hand with the University of the West of England, to gain more conclusive results about which means of transport offers most protection from poor air quality – but for this we’ll need more air quality monitors.”

Josh Thomas at Ashtead Technology has since offered to supply further monitors for a longer period and it is hoped that the follow-up project will commence soon. He says: “We are always happy to work with clients to solve their instrumentation needs, but this was a particularly interesting project because, as an instrument rental company, we do not always get to see the results of monitoring work. So, it was very gratifying to see the school’s video, and great to see young people learning about air quality.”

• Ashtead Technology will be showing their capability at the AQE Show 22-23 Aipril 2015.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Water quality highlighted on both sides of the Irish Sea!

OTT Hydrometry’s latest water quality and level monitoring technologies will be demonstrated at two major events this Spring.
First, on 21st and 22nd April, OTT will participate in the International Association of Hydrogeologists Irish Group meeting in Tullamore, Co. Offaly (IRL). Entitled: “Integrated Hydrogeology: Contemporary Principles, Policy and Practice,” this event will address many of the strategic issues relating to the management of water resources, in addition to the technical aspects of monitoring. The OTT stand will feature water level loggers such as Ecolog and Orpheus Mini, water level contact gauges/dippers and Adcon/OTT telemetry solutions.

Secondly, OTT will demonstrate a new Phosphate monitor at an Innovation Day at WRc in Swindon (GB)on 29th April. This will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the unique advantages of the ‘Cycle-P’ for remote, continuous Phosphate monitoring. “Phosphate levels in water resources are a major cause for concern,” says OTT MD Nigel Grimsley. “Consequently there is a high demand for the Cycle-P, particularly because it is a continuous monitor that can be quickly and simply installed at any location. Battery-powered and able to operate unattended in the field, it can run over 1,000 tests before a field service is necessary to change the reagents.”

Transmitter for very low air velocity.

High measurement accuracy down to 0.15 m/s

The new EE660 air velocity transmitter from E+E Elektronik measures air velocity down to 0.15 m/s and is particularly suitable for laminar flow control and other clean room applications. The E+E thin film sensor used in EE660 operates on the hot film anemometer principle which is characterized by high accuracy, excellent long-term stability and lowest sensitivity to dirt. The low angular dependence additionally simplifies installation of the transmitter.

The air velocity transmitter is available for wall or duct mounting as well as with remote probe. The large, flush-mounted LCD display with backlight is 180° rotatable and ensures optimal readability of the measured data.

The EE660 has a current and voltage output, whereby both signals are available on the terminal. The measurement range and the response time can be selected via jumpers. An optional kit facilitates easy adjustment of the transmitter and configuration of the display.

External mounting holes allow quick and easy installation of the transmitter with closed cover. This keeps the electronics protected from construction site pollution. In addition, the electronic components are located on the underside of the PCB and are thus safe from mechanical damage during installation.

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

Certified for ProfiNet connectivity!

The Anybus CompactCom 40-series provides industrial devices with multi-network connectivity with a specific focus on industrial Ethernet. It is especially suitable for high-end industrial applications with high performance demands and is available in chip, brick and module formats.

The 40-series solution for PROFINET enables very fast communication between the host device and PROFINET (process data latency is less than 15 µs through the module) and supports PROFINET RT Class 1 and 3. It comes with an integrated PROFINET IRT Ethernet switch and supports PROFINET functions such as MRP (Media Redundancy Protocol), Clock-Synchronous Operation, Fast Start Up and PROFIenergy. CompactCom is also equipped with a black channel interface enabling PROFIsafe communication. When used in combination with the IXXAT Safe T100 safety module, HMS can therefore offer a complete communication solution for functional safety.

Ready for Industrial Internet of Things
Apart from supporting advanced PROFINET functionality, the CompactCom 40-series also provides users with powerful IT functions running simultaneously with the PROFINET real-time functions. IT functionality includes, for example, a socket interface giving the possibility to send a complete Ethernet frame (up to 1500 bytes), built-in web pages, file system, and firmware upgrade via FTP etc.

The 40-series also comes with security functions such as mandatory software signatures to prevent unauthorized software to be downloaded to the product, and encryption is used to prevent illicit copying.

CompactCom PROFINET is available in versions for regular copper cabling as well as for fiber optics.

Early adopter of PROFINET 2.31
“The fact that the CompactCom 40-series now is conform to the latest PROFINET standards shows that we continue to be at the forefront when it comes to PROFINET connectivity” comments Leif Malmberg, Product Line Manager for embedded products at HMS. “PROFINET is an advanced network which puts very high demands on industrial devices, so it is a good proof-of-concept that the CompactCom 40-series lives up to PI’s latest demands.” (PI=PROFIBUS and PROFINET International)

One development project gives access to any other network
By implementing the CompactCom 40-series, users get connectivity to EtherCAT, POWERLINK, EtherNet/IP, Modbus-TCP, CC-Link, PROFINET and PROFIBUS. Since the release in 2014, the 40-series technology has been evaluated and certified by the network organizations. This means that device manufacturers who implement Anybus CompactCom 40-series will have a pre-certified network interface, speeding up the certification process for their products.

Configuring, maintaining and managing field devices.

FieldMate™ R3.01.10 is the latest version of Yokogawa's multi-lingual stand-alone device management tool for configuring, maintaining and managing field devices in industrial plants. 

With a user interface designed for use on tablet PCs, FieldMate™ supports EDDL and FDT device integration concepts and incorporates integrated communication paths for process automation protocols including HART, FOUNDATION™ fieldbus, PROFIBUS, Modbus and ISA100.11a wireless, as well as for Yokogawa's proprietary protocol BRAIN. 

It automatically scans the bus and reports on the devices found including their status and basic device parameters. From there the user can, in an intuitive way, navigate to the device details such as diagnostics, configuration parameters and maintenance information. 

Standard features include audit trail and device database search functions. Other protocols are handled by setting up FDT projects using the appropriate communication DTMs.

Embedded in FieldMate™ is Yokogawa's FDT2 based frame application DTM Works, which is compliant with both FDT2 and FDT 1.2.x DTMs. FieldMate™ R3.01.10 comes with the latest DTMs for Yokogawa's field devices including FDT2 DTMs for the latest version of the EJX and EJA-E pressure transmitters and the ROTAMASS 3 Series Coriolis mass flowmeter.

In its tablet configuration this unit is the ideal tool for device patrol and maintenance tasks. New functions added include the automatic generation of device configuration reports in a variety of formats and the centralised management of various types of device related information. 

The FieldMate™ "one tool for all" concept allows users to configure, maintain and manage all field devices, no matter the make or protocol used to communicate, in a very efficient manner and thus helps to save on operational expenditures. FieldMate™ synchronises seamlessly with Yokogawa's PRM Plant Asset Management tool, providing a clear path to Asset Excellence.

Measurement Systems simplified with CompactDAQ Controllers!

National Instruments (NI) has announced the new CompactDAQ 8-slot controller, which expands the CompactDAQ controller offering to meet high-channel count applications in rugged environments. By integrating the processor, signal conditioning and I/O into a single CompactDAQ system, engineers can reduce overall system cost and complexity while increasing measurement accuracy. Integrated measurement systems reduce the number of components, connections and wiring needed, which often introduce noise and additional costs, to ensure high-accuracy measurements and cost-optimised systems. 

Both the 4-slot and 8-slot CompactDAQ controllers feature an Intel Atom dual-core processor that can run either Windows Embedded 7 or NI Linux Real-Time. By pairing industry-standard OS options with LabVIEW system design software, customers can easily port LabVIEW code from existing measurement systems to these new CompactDAQ controllers. They can combine LabVIEW and over 60 sensor-specific I/O modules for CompactDAQ to quickly customise data acquisition systems to meet their application needs. 

“We’ve expanded the CompactDAQ family by adding an 8-slot controller to give customers another rugged and integrated solution,” said Stefanie Breyer, Director of Data Acquisition R&D at NI. “The Intel Atom 3800 processor gives engineers powerful processing paired with high-accuracy measurements that can be used in a variety of applications from in-vehicle data logging to distributed measurements.” 

Handling solutions in 20 minutes!

Festo has developed a new system for configuring ready-to-install handling systems in less than 20 minutes. The Handling Guide Online (HGO) significantly reduces design, assembly and delivery times compared with previous methods, from around two months to just three weeks for a standard handling system.

The new online tool is a faster and more cost effective option for design engineers looking to configure handling systems. The HGO is ideal for design engineers specifying systems for applications such as palletisers, end-of-line packaging, assembling and laser cutting.

Join a webinar on 22nd May at 9am BST to learn more about the Handling Guide Online. Festo’s Nigel Dawson will show design engineers how they can use the power of the new Festo HGO to take their idea for a new mechanical handling system to a fully worked up and costed design in just 15 minutes.

“In the past, engineers would have to go through a lengthy request for quotation, layout and quotation process when looking to order handling systems,” begins Nigel Dawson, product manager at Festo. “We recognised the need for a modern way of specifying systems, which makes the whole design and procurement simpler and developed this unique online software to make ordering and configuring handling systems a quick and easy experience.” 

The HGO uses three steps. First the engineer chooses between four Cartesian system options; single-axis systems, 2D linear gantry, 2D gantry and 3D gantry. Then the user enters the specific application data into the tool, such as the load and stroke length. The system then calculates the most appropriate handling system for those needs.

Comprehensive datasheets, a powerful animation and complete CAD model are all available for download in a matter of minutes in all common data formats. The last step allows the engineer to further configure the selected system, with additional options in accordance with their own requirements, for example the safety options, sensors and length of cabling.

“In the final design, the HGO details exactly which parts make up the system and includes online links to the individual components. As a result users can easily order spare parts and have visibility on part availability and delivery times – in many cases this is next day,” continues Nigel.  “HGO enables engineers specifying systems at their machine concept and quotation stage to very quickly have a fixed price, enabling them to be 100% sure of their performance and costs in this area. Ultimately this means they can be more competitive”.

Festo can pass significant price savings onto its customers, quotes are immediate, and using HGO eliminates the costs and time spent following up requests. In addition, to support the supply of the system, Festo has built a European production facility for handling systems, applying automation techniques to the assembly, further reducing the cost of these systems. This is an additional benefit to machine builders, who can in turn share cost savings with their customers.

Production monitoring seminar/workshop!

Kistler Instruments will be holding a free production monitoring seminar/workshop in Bromsgrove (GB) on the 16th June 2015. The application of force, pressure, torque and surface strain sensors will be covered in the seminar with hands on workshop experience of X-Y process monitoring using the Kistler maXYmos TL system. Finally, there will be an introduction to monitoring and control of servo press systems using the latest maXYmos NC system.

Places on the free seminar/workshop, including refreshments and lunch, are limited and must be booked by the end of April 2015.

• To reserve a place, email

Affordable custom mono LCD production service.

Clear, sharp, unambiguous displays are always pivotal to any product design. The chosen display medium is the real-life Human Machine Interface (HMI) and must easily convey the Measurements, Messages and Instructions of the equipment to the end users.

Custom solutions rather than off-the-shelf displays will always provide the most satisfactory HMI. Varitronix provides an affordable and fast custom mono LCD production service - the success of this custom service now accounts for a high percentage of the Varitronix production capability.

Varitronix is an R&D-led company, and is able to offer advanced product features within its custom mono LCD service. For example, view angles and contrast ratios are the parameters that OEM product design engineers are most keen to maximise.

Because Varitronix manufactures its own LC cells, its in-house development team can offer different LC fluid combinations, cell gaps, internal cell construction, and molecular alignment techniques. After the cell specification is agreed, the process is continued by discussing options for the drive electronics; operating temperature range; and power consumption.

In a high percentage of applications, Varitronix will supply a complete modular solution including drive electronics, backlights and in many cases customer circuitry. With the experience of more than 30 years of custom design, Varitronix engineers know that a little more time spent in the design stage will result in time saved further in the development cycle, when the samples supplied meet and often exceed the customers’ expectations first time.

To enhance the external characteristics of the displays, many different anti-glare, polariser combinations and final coatings are offered, and if required a custom silkscreen can be applied to the surface of the glass to highlight special areas of the display and add a company logos.

Applications include industrial, commercial, automotive and medical markets.

Wireless corrosion monitoring transmitter!

Rohrback Cosasco Systems (RCS) has introduced the new ISA100 Microcor Wireless Transmitter (MWT-3905). The MWT will be the first corrosion monitoring instrument to integrate with a Yokogawa or any other ISA100 wireless system. 

Multiple Microcor Wireless Transmitters can be combined with wireless extenders to form a single large network to cover up to tens of thousands of devices. ISA100 gives users the flexibility of choosing either star or mesh network topologies. RCS ISA100 devices have an effective wireless range of 1,500 feet (450m), providing a large and reliable network coverage area. 

We are excited to welcome the new Microcor Wireless Corrosion Monitoring Transmitter to the ISA100 Wireless ecosystem,” said Andre Ristaino, managing director of the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute. “The ISA100 Wireless Compliant logo provides confidence that ISA100 Wireless products from any supplier will interoperate reliably and securely.”

The Microcor Wireless Transmitter uses high-resolution metal loss measurement providing 18-bit resolution, and is the industry's most widely used and only technology capable of operating in any process environment. The wireless corrosion monitoring transmitters can be deployed in hazardous area locations (Class 1, Zone 1) with temperatures ranging from -40°C to +70°C. The Microcor Wireless Transmitter power module has a typical life of three years and is hazardous-location certified to allow change out in the hazardous area.

Panel meters, explosion proof meters at Canadian show!

Precision Digital Corporation will demonstrate its newest flow, level, temperature, and pressure meters at the ISA Calgary Show 2015 (April 22-23, 2015 Alberta, Canada).
The Precision Digital Team will demonstrate the company's new products, including Modbus® Scanners, explosion-proof indicators, and NEMA 4X/IP65 field-mounted displays. Featured will be the ProtEX® PD6800-0L1, an explosion-proof process meter with a segmented bargraph, ideal for oil & gas level applications using the metric system, and the ProtEX® PD6830, a field mounted flow indicator designed for accurate display of and quick access to local or remote process information in hazardous areas or in the harshest safe area applications.

"Our ProtEX explosion-proof instruments and Vantageview family of field mounted meters are designed for what operators need most...meters that are easy to read, display important information about their process, and can be seen from wide angles and a distance, especially in hazardous areas," said Jeffrey Peters, President, Precision Digital Corporation. "Precision Digital meters are designed for readability and ease of use, from large character displays to automatic unit conversions." 

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

Best Practices in Global Test and Measurement Rental and Leasing Services.

Microlease has been named Company of the Year for Best Practices in Global Test and Measurement Rental and Leasing Services by Frost & Sullivan for the second year in a row.

Jessy Cavazos, industry director at Frost & Sullivan, said, “The expectations of test and measurement equipment customers are at an all-time high. They demand support on a global basis and require assistance in managing their assets throughout the product life cycle from acquisition to disposal. Microlease’s integrated offering comprising rental and leasing services, certified pre-owned test equipment, new test equipment and asset management services fully addresses those customer needs. You expect an instrument rental and sales company to offer its customers the latest and greatest technology, but Microlease goes well beyond that with a range of services that help customers acquire, use and dispose of their test assets with maximum financial efficiency.”

She continued, “Microlease’s value proposition resonates with customers across the industry and is fuelling its growth. It has made significant investments to support customers locally across all three regions of the world. It provides local support in Europe, the USA and Asia, including India and South East Asia. We congratulate the Microlease leadership team and employees on their magnificent achievement.”

Frost & Sullivan industry awards recognise companies that have demonstrated a unique approach toward doing business in their respective markets. Microlease was named the recipient of the Company of the Year Award for a second time after analysts assessed that it continued to lead the industry in terms of growth strategy, implementation, innovation and leadership in customer value.

“We are delighted that Frost & Sullivan has recognised our business model for a second year in a row. At Microlease we aim to give our worldwide customer base a real choice and provide them with a complete service that exactly meets their requirements for the lifetime of their projects, whilst helping them to manage their assets effectively,” said Nigel Brown, Microlease CEO. “We will continue to drive innovation in our industry and grow by helping our customers be more successful.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Learn about the real-time analytics revolution!

Wonderware seminar to explore the increasing role real-time analytics is playing in today’s manufacturing industry.

The free event, ‘Operational Intelligence: Real-time Analytics in UK Manufacturing’ will take place on Thursday April 23rd 2015, from 9:30 to 16:00, at Williams Conference Centre (GB), home of the nine-time Constructors Championship-winning F1 team.

Designed to allow attendees to explore the benefits of Operational Intelligence (OI) technologies, the event is hosted in partnership with Callisto Integration and features a keynote speech by Marc Van Herreweghe, Vice President of Manufacturing Insights at the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Before joining IDC, Marc amassed over 20 years' experience at British American Tobacco (BAT), with responsibility for 45 factories in 40 different countries. His expertise includes global supply chain, lean manufacturing, new factory build and organisational change. The Belgian national has advised a wide range of organisations extensively on manufacturing strategies, in addition to holding academic advisory roles at a number of universities.

He will look at how manufacturers can protect tomorrow’s profits by adopting advanced manufacturing technologies and integrated working systems. His talk will be followed by a Q&A session for attendees.

The event follows a recent whitepaper commissioned by Wonderware UK and delivered by IDC, looking into what the new sources of competitive differentiation will be for the factory-of-the-future and how intelligent use of data will be a key tool for manufacturing businesses in the next five years. The whitepaper will be made available to all delegates attending the event.

Those wanting to attend the event can register here: Click here

Other core topic areas that will be focused on at the event, include:
·         How to drive continuous improvement with real-time KPIs and holistic root-cause analytics
·         The latest alarm management practices
·         The latest technologies available to boost price efficiency in all areas, such as quality and Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE)
·         Manufacturers that have achieved greater efficiency and reduced costs with OI technology
·         Energy Management technologies and approaches
Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from leading brands such as Callisto Integration, Schneider Electric, Wonderware and UReason, whilst hearing case studies from other companies that have already adopted an OI framework.

Wonderware UK OI product manager, Mike Charles, said: “Since we first introduced the term Operational Intelligence two years ago it has been adopted by several key players in our industry. But it’s important to remember that OI is far more than just a technology stack. It’s a best-practice approach to working with operational data and as such its applications vary business-to-business. At our event, which is squarely aimed at decision makers, delegates will hear an unbiased view of this approach and the wider analytics market from the leading manufacturing industry analyst, IDC. This will be balanced with real-world stories from manufacturers who are at various stages of their OI journey.”

Automation in agricultural production!

Headwall Photonics has partnered with Ocean Spray, the leading processor and provider of cranberry products, to test innovative technologies targeted at providing Ocean Spray with the technology necessary to improve product quality and agricultural yield. 

With this spectral imaging inspection platform, Headwall has introduced a new class of machine vision inspection capabilities that offer real-time assessment of product quality for many different types of agricultural processing applications.

With many years as an instrument supplier to US organisations such as NASA, the Treasury Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Headwall has customized multispectral and hyperspectral technology for high performance, real-time commercial and industrial applications.

"Ocean Spray has a long history of innovation within the agricultural industry. We are pleased to work with Ocean Spray to develop machine vision sensors that offer unique inspection capability as well as the opportunity to introduce precision agriculture techniques for improved agricultural yield and product quality," said David Bannon, CEO of Headwall, "Headwall is very proud of our strong partnership with Ocean Spray and the high level of technical collaboration generated throughout this relationship."

Conductivity measurement with remote sensor for increased flexibility!

Baumer has added a new model to its range of CombiLyz conductivity meters. In addition to the compact AFI4, the AFI5 version with remote sensor is now also available. This new CombiLyz version includes two individual components: the inductive sensing element and the transmitter with integrated CombiView display. These components can be installed separately from each other and connected via a cable.

Installing the transmitter and inductive sensor separately offers ultimate flexibility in terms of their installation position. Whilst the sensor can be integrated to best effect in the process, the transmitter with an integrated display can be attached in a way that is resistant to vibration. This ensures clear and convenient readability whilst simultaneously extending life time. The transmitter with integrated display CombiView is suitable for wall and tube installation and can therefore be adjusted optimally for any angle. With its resistance for ambient temperatures up to 85°C and reliable, precise measurements even under extreme conditions, the CombiLyz AFI5 has a multitude of uses – especially in limited spaces and for applications with strong vibrations.

Otherwise, the AFI5 has the same reliable technical features as the compact version. With its IP 69 K protection class and entirely stainless steel design, the hygienic version can withstand even the toughest conditions. The CombiLyz can be used for example in CIP and SIP processes, for monitoring concentrations in liquids, or for phase separation of different media. Altogether there are 14 selectable measurement ranges from 500 µS/cm to 1000 mS/cm. This includes the concentration, temperature, current output, switching states and device status in addition to conductivity.

The sensor's measurement results have a maximum deviation of

Ultrasonic flow meter.

The Sonic-Pro® Hybrid Ultrasonic flowmeters from Blue-White, measure flow rate using either Doppler or Transit Time methods. Non-invasive clamp-on transducers work with both clean and dirty fluids, with a high capacity flow velocity range of up to 30 feet per second (9 meters per second).

Sonic-Pro® can be configured and controlled remotely via RS-232, RS-485, USB, or Ethernet. View real time flow and download data log files remotely on a Windows® PC.

Additional features include: Easy reading backlit LCD; data logged to standard SD card format supplied with unit; isolated 4-20 mA output - fully configurable; 0 – 1000Hz Pulse Output - fully configurable. Housing is NEMA 4X (IP 66) wash down.

Sonic-Pro® may be ordered with the optional T-Track mounting system.

Bright LED lights for small installation spaces!

The series 6039 compact tubular light fittings from Stahl provides extremely robust and bright LED luminaires for use as machinery and equipment lights in hazardous areas (Ex zones 1, 2, 21 and 22).

Unlike other LED lights, these luminaires do not have to be meticulously positioned – work areas are uniformly illuminated in a wide beam angle of ±60°. They consume less than 15 W of power and achieve a luminous flux of 1,000 lm. The flicker-free LED light provides enhanced safety especially near rotating equipment. Glare is reduced by a diffuser.

Featuring ATEX and IEC Ex certifications, the luminaires provide IP66/67 ingress protection and are rated for temperature class T4, with an option for T6. They can be operated under rough climatic conditions with ambient temperatures ranging from ­40 °C to +70 °C. Durable and maintenance-free, they are especially suited e.g. for service crews in the oil and gas or chemical industry. With a length of 443.5 mm, a diameter of 54 mm and a weight of only 1.4 kg, the luminaires’ compact construction ensures easy installation even in hard-to-reach places and small installation spaces. Optional accessories include a safety guard for use in rugged environments, a mounting bracket, 2-pole and 3-pole plug connectors and connection cables in 2.5 or 5 m length. The luminaires accept almost any common input voltage.

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

Changes at vison association in Britain!

At a recent UKIVA Members’ meeting, Ian Alderton from Alrad Imaging was elected Chairman, with Mark Williamson from Stemmer Imaging standing down after 13 years in the role and Paul Wilson from Scorpion Vision becoming Vice Chairman. This new structure establishes a succession plan for the committee, as the Chair and Vice-Chair are now both elected for a two-year tenure, with a view to the Vice-Chair succeeding the Chair, leading to a 4-year cycle.

Mark Williamson: Standing down as chair!
Alderton has been a longstanding member of the UKIVA committee and it is the second time a member of Alrad Imaging has been appointed chairman, Geoff Smith holding the office from 1997 - 1999.

Paying tribute to Williamson’s tenure as Chairman, Alderton said: “Mark has done a great job for the Association for many years and his experience and stature in the industry has ensured continuity through the many changes the UKIVA has experienced in recent years. These include transition from an independent organisation to be a Special Interest Group of the Processing & Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) and the passing of founder member, Don Braggins.” Williamson will remain an active of the committee and he continues to be a member of the main PPMA board.

The UKIVA committee was also re-structured. Representatives from Acrovision, Bytronic Automation, Clearview Imaging and Scandinavian Machine Vision were elected to join current committee members from Alrad Imaging, Framos, Multipix Imaging, Scorpion Vision, and Stemmer Imaging. Outgoing Chairman, Mark Williamson, said: “With a number of new members joining the Association, we felt it was the right time to restructure the committee and to get some of the newer members involved.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Customised UPS systems for offshore rig hazardous areas.

Stahl configures application-specific explosion-protected UPS systems based on an extensive modular portfolio and delivers complete package units
R. Stahl plans and implements individual, application-specific uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems for oil and gas rigs and similar applications with hazardous areas where 100% availability is imperative. On unmanned platforms in particular, these systems ensure that crucial equipment (e.g. valves, pumps, navigation and signal technology such as GPS and flashing beacons) continues to be operational for a defined period of time in case of an overall power failure. This enables users to retrieve and store data in a coordinated fashion before bringing the platform into a safe state.

Based on a versatile modular portfolio, the company designs UPS solutions exactly according to customer specifications. These systems can be delivered as turn-key package units on request. Thanks to decades of experience in the field and extensive explosion-protection know-how, R. STAHL is able to pursue a comprehensive engineering approach that starts with the choice of components. Optimal configurations can yield complex positive synergy effects in the project planning stage. Other suppliers of hazardous area solutions often only choose to put conventional UPS systems in special enclosures in order to formally safeguard explosion protection.

In a recent project, Stahl supplied a custom-engineered compact DC UPS system for Ex zone 1 that was installed on an offshore platform off the coast of Gabon in Central Africa. This system is equipped with robust, corrosion-proof CUBEx housings manufactured from copper-free cast aluminium that are designed for extreme environments. In this case, they withstand temperatures up to +50 °C. The UPS provides up to 4,000 W in operation and includes NiCd batteries with a 300 Ah capacity in an Ex e battery container, a central control module with all required specification- and standard-compliant UPS components, and a DC energy distribution board to protect the connected loads. Redundant charging technology is an integral part of the enclosed system, which achieves excellent thermal power loss management with reliable dissipation from the pressurised chamber.

The UPS features a software-free design and contains no rotating parts like fans. Temperature-compensated charging, power diodes for voltage adjustment, and Ex LEDs to display the UPS status ensure very reliable operation and excellent safety. R. STAHL’s integrated Ex UPS guard monitors the standard-compliant operation of the system according to EN 60079 ff.

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

EMF for building management energy application!

For many years now ‘Energy’ has been a hot topic. Energy prices are constantly under the spotlight, and pressure is consistently being applied to businesses and consumers alike to reduce their carbon footprint in order to help meet the government targets for reducing the effects of climate change.

For large infrastructure sites such as hospitals, large office complexes and arenas, energy management is a very important factor in optimising energy usage which in turn can reduce both utility costs and carbon emissions. Given the significant amounts of energy, including gas and water these buildings use, it is vital to have a management process in place to monitor on site usage and identify areas of high consumption. This data can then be used to look at ways of optimising energy usage.

One such example is a London based hospital that required their energy and water consumption to be monitored and evaluated against KPI’s as part of their management process. PA Energy, a London (GB) based energy and water services company with an impressive track record in assisting customers to reduce their utility demand and costs, were contacted and asked to review the metering in 3 blocks whilst identifying any problems with heat and chilled water metering and provide a resolution fix.

Heat metering requires three values; the flow rate, the temperature of the supply heat transfer fluid (usually water) and the temperature of the fluid in the return leg of the system.  These values can calculate the energy consumption which can be reviewed and savings potentially made. It was on the LTHW (low temperature hot water) system that PA Energy required a reliable flowmeter to measure the flow rate of the water up to 80C at flow rates of between 5 and 8.5 m3/h. They decided on the OPTIFLUX 2000 electromagnetic flowmeter from Krohne, the world market leaders in electromagnetic flowmeter technology.

Designed for water and wastewater applications the OPTIFLUX 2000 was the ideal choice. It provides both high accuracy and reliability and is maintenance free. It comes with a wide range of industry approvals and with a huge installed base, it gave PA Energy confidence that they were installing a meter they could trust.

Percy Albuquerque, managing director of PA Energy comments; “Installing the correct flowmeter on a project is vital. We need to be confident that it can meet the demands of the application and provide accurate and reliable data readings that can be used in calculating energy consumption.” He continues, “KROHNE offered a solution that ticked all the boxes. We have now installed a number of  OPTIFLUX 2000 flowmeters and are very happy with how they are performing.”

The systems provided by PA Energy, using the OPTIFLUX 2000 will enable the site staff to monitor utility consumption and evaluate demand whilst identifying opportunities for cost savings and carbon reduction.

• Krohne products are marketed in Ireland by DWN Instrumentation

Multi-application turbidity sensor!

Endress+Hauser introduces the Turbimax CUS52D turbidity sensor for process water filtration and other industrial process turbidity conditions. The Turbimax CUS52D performs laboratory-quality turbidity measurements without the need for extensive bypass installations, avoiding costly product or water losses.

The sensor measures turbidity from 0.000 to 4000 NTU with accuracy of 2% of measurement ±0.01 NTU at process temperatures from -4 to 185 °F with a detection limit of 0.0015 NTU.  The sensor measures turbidity in accordance with ISO 7027

The Turbimax CUS52D’s surface minimises the build-up of biofilms and particulates. The ability to operate at high pressures (up to 145 psi) makes suppressing air bubbles possible. For bypass operation an optional air bubble trap catches smaller air bubbles. In particularly challenging cases, the CYR52 ultrasonic cleaning system can be installed on a flow cell or even right on the existing pipe to prevent and remove surface contamination and bubbles without direct product contact.

The unit is available in immersion, flow cell and in-line versions. The immersion model can be installed in open channels and basins, while the stainless steel hygienic in-line model can be inserted directly into pipes. It can be used at the raw water inlet of any plant and the outlet of process filtration and clarification. The Turbimax CUS52D is well suited to filter monitoring, filter backwashing and all stages of industrial water purification.  With available 2” triclamp it is also well adapted to hygienic food and beverage processes in brewing, spirits, soft drink, dairy and others. Its fast response time of less than 1 second means it can also perform very well as a primary process variable (PV) in control applications.

The sensor uses the 90° light scattering principle in accordance with the ISO 7027 standard. The optical signals from the sensor are continuously monitored and tested for plausibility. In the case of discrepancies, an error message is sent via the transmitter.

A smart solid state reference for the Turbimax CUS52D allows the sensor to be verified and calibrated before insertion into the process without the use of liquid standards. As a result, neither employees nor processes come into contact with any harmful liquid standards such as Formazin, which are typically used for field calibration. The solid state references are matched to each sensor for maximum calibration accuracy, are simple to use, and provide consistent, reliable and clear results.

Single channel measuring amplifier for pressure sensors!

Kistler’s new single channel measuring amplifier for piezoresistive pressure sensors is suitable for a wide range of applications using high-accuracy measurements with digitally compensated sensors. 

The Type 4624AK amplifier is designed to interface with their PiezoSmart sensor identification and is ideally suited for use with digitally compensated sensors which allows the characteristic values to be automatically read out from the electronic sensor data sheet (TEDS). The new amplifier is especially suited to applications using a small number of sensors where a multi-channel amplifier would be uneconomic or difficult to accommodate as are often encountered in motor vehicle and aerospace testing.

The amplifier may also be used with pressure sensors that are not equipped with sensor identification. The characteristic values of the sensor (sensitivity, zero point) being entered manually via an Ethernet connection and a web browser . Saved on non-volatile memory, the sensor data is protected in the event of power loss.

The measuring chain is ready for use once automatic or manual amplifier configuration has been completed. Correction of the zero point of the sensor (e.g. for adjusting to barometric pressure) may be set using pushbuttons on the housing of the amplifier or via the Ethernet on the web browser.

The amplifier is suitable for signal processing for most common piezoresistive pressure sensors and the easy-to-use single channel measuring system is particularly recommended where maximum precision is required such as on-board measurement in motor vehicles or for demanding measurement tasks in testing laboratories.

Always the right connection!

More than 15 Years of Connector Expertise from Pepperl+Fuchs.

For more than 15 years, Pepperl+Fuchs has been offering exactly the right connection technology for your automation solution. Whether in the field of mechanical engineering, welding, material handling, mobile applications, or in the process industry - they supply connection technology tailored perfectly to industrial and other applications.

M8 and M12 round plug connectors, as well as valve connector cordsets, multichannel junction blocks, and Y splitters, are standard components in the automation sector. With over 500 employees, Pepperl+Fuchs has been producing connection technology in all conceivable variations to the highest quality standards for more than 15 years. In their Competence Center in Hungary, the company houses the entire injection molding technology arm of the corporate group, producing customer-specific solutions and ready-made plugs too in highly competitive conditions.

With perfectly connected global logistics, all connectivity products are produced at the site in Hungary in LEAN optimized processes. Gold-plated and gas-tight crimped contact pins ensure the highest vibration resistance and durability of products. The automated 100% inline functional check and the use of high-quality materials and lines from renowned German and European manufacturers guarantee their familiar quality.

With distribution centers in Mannheim, Singapore, and the United States, they stock a wide range of connectors for customers worldwide, delivered quickly and dependably, within Europe for instance in just 48 hours. They are able to produce and deliver non-stock variants within two weeks.

Validate rugged computers by joining partnership!

JLT Mobile Computers has announced it has joined the Navis Ready partner program and will initiate validation of its rugged vehicle-mount computers against the Navis N4 terminal operating system. Validation of JLT hardware is expected to be completed soon and will underline that the JLT products deliver the best possible performance and reliability in the most challenging working environments. 

"We are experiencing an acceleration in the number of customers within the port segment using our rugged computers," said Per Holmberg, CEO, JLT Mobile Computers. "By collaborating with Navis, whose terminal operating system is used by the world's leading container terminal operators, we can demonstrate that our solutions comply with Navis Ready requirements, providing an extra level of confidence to our customers." 

The Navis Ready Program is a validation program for suppliers of different technologies designed to operate within a marine container terminal operating environment. All devices designated Navis Ready have been tested in a simulated environment to ensure that specific messages have integrated effectively with a specific release of Navis N4 terminal operating system (TOS).

JLT mobile computers are already used extensively in this environment and by becoming validated under Navis Ready, both existing and future customers will be assured that the hardware and software have not only been designed to work together but have been validated to provide an optimal customer experience. 

Confidence boost
Validation is an important endorsement of quality and reliability. Shipping ports and terminals win and maintain business based on their up-time and their efficiency in moving containers from ship to shore and then onto their final destination. Reliable and efficient IT equipment is a critical element in the overall communication infrastructure, and instrumental in delivering quality of service. 

Whether tracking cargo through a port or enabling the automation of processes or equipment, the demands on computer hardware and wireless connectivity in ports are substantially higher than in the average operating environment. Validation and acceptance into the Navis Ready Program will demonstrate that JLT mobile computers meet and exceed these demands. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Display provides consistent images from all viewing angles!

A new high performance 3.5" TFT display has been introduced by KOE. The Rugged+ TX09D200VM0BAA features a 3:4 aspect ratio, QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) resolution and IPS (in-plane switching) technology to provide highly consistent colour and image performance from all viewing angles.

KOE's Rugged+ modules provide reliable and consistent operation under the severe and rigorous conditions found in harsh environment and industrial applications yet deliver exceptional optical performance. The use of IPS technology enables excellent colour saturation, deep black levels and viewing angles of up to 170° degrees in all directions (left/right, up/down).

A contrast ratio of 900:1 and a backlight brightness rating of 600cd/m² ensure high quality and consistent colour image reproduction. The white LED backlight provides a specified 70K hours to 50% brightness lifetime. A 50-pin CMOS interface supports 8-bit RGB data which enables a colour palette of up to 16.7 million colours.

Mark Stephenson, technical marketing manager, KOE Europe said, "The new 3.5-inch Rugged+ portrait mode display is the ideal solution for a wide range of applications. Static or handheld electronic systems and equipment can benefit from the strong optical performance of the display module. The display panel, can if required, be used in either landscape or portrait mode which creates opportunities for new design implementations."

Featuring a fully enclosed metal bezel with integrated mounting fixtures, the 3.5-inch display module has mechanical outline dimensions of 65.7mm (w) x 88.8mm (h) x 9.95mm (d) and an active display area of 53.28mm (w) x 71.04mm (h). Operation in extreme temperature environments is guaranteed with an operating temperature range of -30°C to +85°C and storage  temperature range of -40°C to +90°C. The Rugged+ module has also been designed to be highly resistant to ESD, mechanical shock and vibration. The compact 3.5-inch display module weighs just 72g.

KOE's Rugged+ 3.5-inch TFT display module is targeted for use in high reliability industrial, medical, marine, automotive and aerospace applications where consistent and guaranteed operation under extreme temperature, mechanical shock and vibration is a necessity. The new TX09D200VM0BAA display is available immediately from KOE's European distribution sales channel.

PCI fault insertion card!

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PCI based switching solutions with the introduction of its first PCI Fault Insertion Card.

This new PCI Fault Insertion Card (model 50-190) is available as either a one or two slot short PCI card with the following features:

  • 75, 64 or 36 channels of fault insertion
  • One or two fault insertion busses, each of which can select from three fault sources
  • The ability to introduce open circuit paths, shorts between paths or shorts to fault connections such as battery or ground
  • 2 Amp hot switch capacity for powers up to 60W and voltages to 165VDC/115VAC
  • High bandwidth suited for use on Can and FlexRay bus systems

Pickering Interfaces continues to promote its test solutions in multiple platforms by offering fault insertion in different form factors (PXI and PCI) with the same options. This offering allows the user to choose the most appropriate platform for their test system. The 50-190 PCI Fault Insertion Card has the same functionality as their widely used 40-190 PXI Fault Insertion Module.

Keith Moore, Managing Director of Pickering, explained “Over the last year or so, we have been expanding our PCI product family in response to market demands. One would think that PCI is nearly obsolete, given that it is no longer available on desktop PCs. However, we have found that the industrial PC market, which is a larger market than PXI, still embraces PCI cards and expects to support them for many more years. As PCI products are electrically similar to standard PXI devices, it is a natural migration for Pickering to re-layout many of our popular PXI switch modules, thus supporting a greater portion of the test market.”

Rugged multi wheel rotary encoder.

Rotary Switches Online   (part of Foremost Electronics) is now stocking the compact and multi-function Elma Multi Wheel rotary switch. The Multi Wheel is a miniature encoder with 8+1 joystick function for one-finger control. This advanced HMI product is a Hall Effect sensed encoder with magnetic indexing over 12 detents and has a centre button with 8 joystick directions and centre push function.
Sealed to IP66 for rugged applications other standard features include, LED backlit illumination (RGB) which can be programmed to change colour with each switch activation, 3VDC operation, UART output, LED control interface, 6 positions ZIF or solder pads connection and a full metal front-end in clear or black. Options available include custom front-end shape and colour, alternative connectors, cabling and pinning and IP67 or IP68 sealing.

The ELMA Multi Wheel rotary encoder has an operating temperature range of -20 to +70°C and working life of 1,000,000 encoder revolutions and 500,000 joystick actuations and can be mounted to the front or rear of control panels.

Typical applications for the Multi Wheel rotary switch include medical equipment, test and measurement instrumentation for outdoor environments, aviation, transport and construction vehicle cockpits, industrial controls and building automation.

Video highlighting the removable electronics capability of I/P transmitter!

The IPX2 Current-to-Pressure (I/P) Transmitter is approved to work with either instrument air or natural gas as a supply medium. When an I/P transmitter is installed on a natural gas line and used for the supply medium, liquid slugs can often enter the supply line and the transmitter itself. Depending on the size and duration of the slug, the I/P transmitter’s electronics may need to be removed for cleaning and draining or completely replaced.

A new video produced by Moore Industries shows how the IPX2 reduces production interruptions caused by liquid slugs. Available for viewing at the Interface Solution Video Library, the video shows how a field engineer or technician can quickly remove or replace the electronics module in the IPX2 with some simple tools. Within a few minutes, an electronics module can be removed for maintenance or replaced entirely by a new unit.

The video features a step-by-step walkthrough of how to remove the electronics module of the IPX2 using a 3mm Allen wrench and a small Phillips head screwdriver. The video presents easy-to-follow steps for safely removing the electronics module without damaging any elements.

Along with showing how to remove the electronics module, the video also shows how the IPX2 minimizes the risks of debris entering the unit. It has been designed to be clog-resistant, with a large orifice and an easily replaceable internal filter protects against clogging caused by debris.