Friday, August 7, 2015

Best practices award!

Bedrock Automation, the Silicon Valley company that recently introduced its revolutionary Bedrock universal control system, has been named Frost & Sullivan’s North American Industrial Control System Entrepreneurial Company of the Year. Bedrock received this award as recognition for bringing to market one of the most significant industrial control system advances in the past 15 years.

“Frost & Sullivan's independent analysis of the Industrial Controls Systems market clearly shows Bedrock Automation has designed and developed a superior system that is secure by design; promises to optimize cost, performance and ensure security; and is suitable for a variety of industrial applications and plant sizes. The system is truly simple, scalable and secure,” said Piyush Dewangan, industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.  
Frost & Sullivan analysts recommended Bedrock Automation for the award based on an in-depth benchmark study.  Here is a complete copy of the Frost & Sullivan research report

The following excerpts highlight the findings:
  • Scalability. “The system is scalable for applications requiring very few input/output (I/O) points to those requiring many thousands of I/O points. The unified control system platform is suitable not only for DCS and PLC applications, but also for SCADA remote telemetry unit (RTU) and many other applications.”
  • Cyber Security. “Bedrock Automation has designed a control system with layered and embedded cyber security features, starting at the transistor level using secure microcontroller technology that includes secure memory, hardware accelerators and true random number generators (TRNG).”
  • Reduced Total Cost of Ownership. “Bedrock Automation’s system design ensures reduced TCO, with cost reduction in all aspects of the project, such as procurement, engineering, installation, commissioning, and maintenance, and also through built-in cyber security capabilities.”
  • Pin-less Backplane. “In addition to a secure hardware and software platform, Bedrock also designed a patented Black FabricTM backplane to ensure physical protection and security. The Black FabricTM backplane has no I/O module pins and provides integral anti-snoop protection.”
  • Universal I/O. “Bedrock Automation has designed programmable and smart universal I/O modules that deliver embedded cyber security that starts at the I/O channels. In addition to a simplified series of high-density, high-performance I/O modules, Bedrock offers software-configurable I/O that condenses user applications to three high-performance module types.”
  • Power Supply. “Bedrock Automation’s power supply and UPS components offer 32-bit ARM cyber secure microcontrollers with system memory for improved sensing and monitoring experience. Power System variables, such as line, intermediate, channel and output voltages, currents, power factors, and board and component temperatures, can be sensed and monitored. The system also enables dynamic sharing, advanced redundancy, and situational awareness for improved reliability and efficiency.”
  • Reduced Engineering. “Bedrock Automation’s system offers a reduction in engineering hours by approximately 33% due to a simplified bill of material (BOM), software configuration of I/O, and standardization of junction boxes.”
“We started out with a blank sheet of paper and a commitment to rethink industrial control technology from the silicon on up. With deep roots in both automation and semiconductors, and unburdened by legacy, we have created not only the most cyber secure system available today, but have also established new benchmarks for performance, scalability and affordability. We are very proud that Frost & Sullivan has recognized this achievement,” said Bedrock Automation President Bob Honor.

Fast Track Ethernet switches.

Harting has extended its Ha-VIS eCon range of “plug & play” industrial Ethernet switches with the introduction of new versions incorporating 16 RJ45 ports.

Designed to meet the growing demand for Ethernet-capable end devices in the field and the corresponding increase in the number of ports in Ethernet switches, the new variants allow the installation of additional communication infrastructure within production facilities to be achieved quickly, cost efficiently and flexibly. Thanks to the compact design of the Ha-VIS eCon devices, users require only a minimum of space in the electrical cabinet.

Developed and optimised for deployment in tough industrial environments, these unmanaged Ethernet switches are ideally suited to the low-cost expansion of existing network infrastructures as well as the creation of new industrial networks. With approvals for industry, the maritime market and transportation, the switches can be optimally selected for every application.

The Ha-VIS eCon switches are available in over 200 different versions, allowing users to select the exact combination of performance characteristics and port combinations to suit their particular application. Two different compact and space-saving housing designs guarantee the best possible utilisation of the available space in switching cabinets.

Smart Home and IoT semiconductor company opens in India.

The world leading Smart Home and Internet of Things (IoT) semiconductor company commits to Indian market to better support service providers and developers of Smart Home solutions.

GreenPeak Technologies has opened a new office in Mumbai (Ind). GreenPeak has established the Indian office in response to the growing demand for its innovative RF chips for the operator/service provider and Smart Home market. GreenPeak's Asia Pacific presence already includes offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Seoul.

The market report from Deloitte on Technology, Media & Telecommunications India Predictions, states that “India has a large base of 500 million internet capable devices and also has a large and growing market for home appliances and devices which are or could be web-enabled. Deloitte believes that India could be a test market for many relevant IoT applications.”

This offers tremendous market potential for consumer electronics goods manufacturers who are developing exciting new Smart Home and electronic lifestyle solutions in a highly competitive marketplace. Because of its expertise, GreenPeak is a key partner in building those Smart Home, IoT and lifestyle solutions. GreenPeak is currently already rolling out a Senior Lifestyle System in China, which enables seniors to feel safe and live at home independently longer.

“This new office reflects GreenPeak’s continued commitment to the Indian market and ensures that we have local resources in place for our planned growth over the next few years. India is a key market in our global strategy. The new India office strengthens our commitment to  support our fast growing customer base in that region,” says Cees Links, Founder and CEO of GreenPeak Technologies. “Having our expertise and resources locally available in India also enables us to better support our customers to leverage Smart Home, Senior and Family Lifestyle solutions and will also help the IoT to become more widespread and economical to implement.”

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fire and Gas Systems (FGS) for process industries.

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has published a guide to designing and implementing performance-based Fire and Gas Systems (FGS) for process industries, as described in the ISA technical report, ISA-TR84.00.07-2010, Guidance on the Evaluation of Fire and Gas System Effectiveness.

Austin Bryan
See link to interview below!
“This book, The Performance-based Fire and Gas Systems Engineering Handbook, is an essential follow-up to the ISA-TR84.00.07 technical report because it provides the practical, how-to direction on designing and implementing a performance-based FGS that’s not covered in the technical report,” says Austin M. Bryan, a senior engineer at Kenexis Consulting Corporation who co-authored the publication along with two of his Kenexis Consulting colleagues, Elizabeth Smith and Kevin J. Mitchell.

The ISA-TR84.00.07 technical report, Bryan explains, is a breakthrough in risk-based fire and gas systems engineering for industrial process settings: “The report takes the basic concepts used in performance-based Safety Instrumented Systems design and shows how they can be applied to the design of an FGS. Performance-based FGS design relies on risk assessment to ensure a specified level of system performance. This more flexible, tailored approach meets the needs of process industries, which have many highly specific concerns, such as combustible or toxic gas, and seek to move away from ‘one-size-fits-all,’ prescriptive systems.”

While the ISA-TR84.00.07 technical report describes how the concepts of performance based design can be applied to FGS design and the special considerations that must be made to do so, it does not provide any explanation on how to actually develop such a design.

“That’s where our book comes in,” Bryan maintains. “It presents the FGS lifecycle and associated workflow needed for FGS designers of industrial systems to fully understand the performance-based design concepts underlying the technical report, and delivers the practical guidance on how these concepts may be implemented.”

• For greater perspective on performance-based FGS engineering, the ISA-TR84.00.07 technical report and the significance of this new ISA book, read the author interview. You’ll also find background on all three book authors and learn how you can purchase a copy of the publication.

Seven-inch HMIs for hazardous area.

The only 7" widescreen HMI for Zone 1 hazardous area applications, the innovative ET-208 operator interface, is now available with Movicon, the HMI visualisation software solution for complex engineering tasks. Running a Windows Embedded operating system, SERIES 200 R. STAHL HMIs offer a highly versatile solution in their device class.

Movicon CE currently represents one of the most powerful open software solutions on the market. Thanks to the XML structure of this runtime engine, Movicon-based projects are platform-independent and can be run autonomously on the HMI device, operator terminals, PDAs, smartphones or wireless systems (pocket PCs, handhelds). This means: maximum data transparency, simplified project engineering for different types of devices, and lower maintenance costs.

For project engineering tasks, the Movicon graphics management offers a vast object library that supports the import/export of bitmap images and freely scalable vector graphics. The Movicon toolbox also includes an object viewer for IP camera visualisation: video streams from the IP camera can be displayed and parameterised on the compact operator interfaces. In addition, the visualisation software includes VBA scripts, PLC logics, recipe management, data archives and a comprehensive alarm management. Movicon also offers a broad range of drivers. If required, multiple drivers can communicate simultaneously with higher-level PLC or control systems from many different manufacturers. The SERIES 200 device comes with Simatic S7-300, -400, and -1200 connector modules that allow data transfer using PROFINET, PROFIBUS, or MPI protocols.

The HMI also provides Ethernet and USB ports as well as classic serial interfaces, all explosion-protected; a version with integrated Wi-Fi interface will be available soon. Barcode scanners or RFID readers can be integrated via a reader box. The HMI's high-bright, widescreen touch display ensures excellent sunlight readability and is as easy to use as the latest generation of smartphones. To ensure fast data processing, the HMI has powerful processors, similar in speeds to mobile phone processors.

• Stahl are marketed in Ireland through Douglas Controls & Automation.

CAN FD node and system design recommended practice.

The nonprofit CAN in Automation (CiA) association has released part 1 of the CiA 601-1 CAN FD node and system design recommended practice. The CiA 601 series of guidelines and recommendations fills the gap between the ISO standards for CAN FD and the system design specifications. 
Sampling of a recessive bit at the transmitting node with and without transmitting node delay compensation (Source: CiA)

This provides specifications and guidelines on the physical layer interface design for automotive electronic control units and non-automotive devices supporting the CAN FD data link layer as defined in ISO 11898-1. The related CAN high-speed physical layer is defined in the harmonized ISO 11898-2 standard, which includes the specification of high-speed transceivers with low-power mode (formerly known as ISO 11898-5) and/or with selective wake-up functionality (formerly known as ISO 11898-6).

It is released as a Draft Standard Proposal (DSP). It specifies the Tx delay symmetry and the Rx delay symmetry requirements as well as the recessive bit-time at the receiving node’s RxD pin for different bit-rates (1 Mbit/s, 2 Mbit/s, and 5 Mbit/s). Rules of thumb on how to calculate the transmitting node delay with and without galvanic isolation are also included. Part 1 will be updated frequently depending on the experiences coming from prototype developments of OEMs and CAN FD plug-fests organized by CiA. The document is also available for non-members on request for review purposes. In particular, carmakers and Tier 1 suppliers are invited to submit comments and further recommendations to be evaluated and discussed in the CiA Interest Group (IG) “CAN FD”.

Part 2 (host controller interface recommendation) and Part 3 (system design specification) are still under development. Part 4 is also in preparation. It introduces and specifies a ringing suppression technology intended for star and hybrid topologies. These parts will be released as a DSP when the “CAN FD” group has observed and implemented all pending comments.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

pH/ORP measurement solution.

The SensTation Digital sensor measurement system, a scalable and integrated solution that combines the unique capabilities of the digital SMART sensors and the SMARTDAC+ data acquisition and control system has been announced by Yokogawa. This solution eliminates the need for a transmitter and allows users the choice of any of the paperless recorders in the SMARTDAC+ series, each of which can connect to up to 16 sensors. In addition to supporting a wide range of analytical and data control applications, this solution improves maintenance efficiency.

Development Background
Liquid analyzers are used in the oil, petrochemical, iron and steel, electric power, water supply, wastewater treatment, and many other industries. These analyzers are necessary to control the quality of raw materials and products, monitor reactions, and manage water treatment. Conventional liquid analyzers are composed of a sensor and a transmitter that converts the sensor’s analog signals into digital signals for transmission over communications networks and the real-time display of data.

Data acquisition systems are often used in plants to collect and log data from liquid analyzers. In 2013, Yokogawa released the SENCOM series of SMART pH/ORP sensors, which are able to process digital signals and store calibration data and other types of information in digital form. This eliminates the need for a transmitter and allows direct connections with PCs and other digital devices. Digital SMART sensors with a Modbus RS485communication interface can be connected for use with the SMARTDAC+ recorders.

Key Benefits
1. Easy to maintain
The SensTation system eliminates the need for a transmitter and has a comparatively simple configuration, yet combines the unique and powerful features of Yokogawa’s SENCOM sensors and SMARTDAC+ recorders. Using a SMARTDAC+ recorder and the SPS24 SENCOM PC software, SensTation users are able to remotely monitor sensor and diagnostic data in real time from a PC, smartphone, or tablet device. They can analyze current and historical data and receive automatically generated e-mail messages when a device error has occurred or maintenance is required. Users also have the option of calibrating their SENCOM sensors offline in a laboratory or workshop, where working conditions are optimal.

2. Easy navigation and high flexibility and expandability
SMARTDAC+ recorders have a touch panel user interface similar to that found in the latest tablets and smartphones. This means that users will find the navigation familiar, intuitive, and easy. And unlike conventional transmitters that have a limited number of input/output terminals, SMARTDAC+ offers users a range of I/O modules to choose from, ensuring that they can connect to and have a detailed, real-time overview of all the sensors at a particular site. The SMARTDAC+ GX20 and GP20 recorders, both of which come with a large touch panel, can accommodate up to 10 modules and 100 I/O channels, and the GX10 and GP10, which have a smaller touch panel, can accommodate up to 3 modules and 30 channels. The SMARTDAC+ recorders support a number of widely used network protocols, ensuring smooth integration with SCADA software, PLCs, and distributed control systems.

Major Target Markets
Process industries such as oil, petrochemicals, iron and steel, electric power, and water supply and wastewater treatment

-Monitoring the quality of treated wastewater and neutralized water
-Metal treatment bath monitoring
-Controlling the concentrations of liquid infusion systems

Motors & Drives upgrade Champagne production!

We have had a number of wine applications of late and here is just one more from the Champagne region of France. Nicolas Feuillatte, the globally recognised champagne producer, has chosen Emerson to deliver improvements to its bottling line.

The Centre Vinicole - Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (CV-CNF) is the leading Champagne producers’ union. It comprises 80 cooperatives and represents over 5,000 wine-growers. Its facility in Chouilly, in the Marne region of France, is one of the most automated plants of its type, with a workforce of 235 people, half of whom are involved in production. The company output reaches 23 million bottles a year, making it one of the world’s leading champagne producers.

Frédéric Lopez, automation manager CV-CNF, said: “We needed to replace a series of drive systems, in a gradual process. We considered using the original supplier of the equipment, as well other leading firms in this sector. They were all able to supply equipment that would have met our expectations, but we also wanted to establish a partnership with a company able to deliver the level of service we needed. This is why we selected Emerson.”

The first step was to replace one conveyor drive system. It sits at the start of the line, to position the empty bottles with extreme accuracy before cleaning and filling. The bottles are loaded onto the conveyor from 1,200 x 1,200 pallets, and then lifted in rows of four to 12 (depending on their size) onto a perpendicular conveyor.

“This line runs at a rate of 4,000 to 6,000 bottles an hour and has to offer maximum availability in operation. Emerson designed the most appropriate solution for us as well as to program the variable-speed drives,” said Frédéric Lopez.

The existing drive system consisted of an automatic controller, an alignment controller, a variable speed drive and a motor. The solution from Emerson removes the need for the alignment controller, reducing the overall complexity of the system. It consists of a Control Techniques Unidrive M700 variable speed drive, connected to the automatic controller and combined with a Leroy-Somer DYNABLOC Pjn1102 low backlash servo-gear. This offers high overload tolerance, very high torsion strength and great accuracy.

Emerson’s MCi200 machine control option module has been added to Unidrive M to manage positioning. The Unidrive M700 drive is especially suited to this type of application, with a cycle time of 250µs, synchronised communications through real-time Ethernet and an integrated PLC for controlling movement sequences.

The entire application is simple to program using Engineering Control Studio. The system uses Unidrive M’s embedded Advanced Motion Controller. In the final configuration, 15 different configurations have been defined to suit the various bottle shapes. Each cycle has a coarse pitch with a specific movement profile (position, speed, acceleration and deceleration), a fine pitch with a second movement profile (position, speed, acceleration and deceleration) and the number of short pitches to be carried out.

The required configuration is selected using logic inputs, which automatically starts the chosen cycle. The coarse pitch is performed then the fine pitches are chained together while the path is free. Signals for ‘end of long movement’ and ‘cycle completed’ are sent by the drive’s logic outputs to the client system. All programming and training was carried out on site by Emerson’s support teams.

“We have taken over the application completely so that we can make our own adaptations. With its technologies, expertise, and service, Emerson has fully met our expectations and we are in the process of deploying their solutions across our entire site”, added Frédéric Lopez.

Two factor authentication!

The 2-factor authentication prevents hackers from using stolen passwords to gain access to remote PLCs and machine networks. The new version of eCatcher, the eWON remote access VPN software, includes 2FA in order to protect the connection identity. It requires both "something you know" and "something you have": the combination of login credentials and a security code texted to the user’s phone. Start right now and add this security layer to your company´s account today!

eWON says that more than 5,000 users have successfully started using their 2-factor authentication which was released at the beginning of 2015.
eCatcher is a software for eWon industrial routers , that allows you to access your machines remotely, using your preferred PLC software environment.
This new security feature is aimed at protecting our customers from unauthorized access to their account and machine information.

Flexy is the first industrial modular M2M
router and data gateway designed for
OEMs and system integrators
When security matters
Security concerns ripple through the automation industry. Attackers are always looking for ways to compromise valuable data and 76% of network intrusions exploited weak or stolen credential. Moreover, 62% of IP breaches in the manufacturing, services and technology industries involved stolen credentials, according to DBRI*. This is where the two factor authentication (2FA) comes into play.

2FA? What for?
The two factor authentication is a secure identification mechanism combining two different components for unambiguous authentication. In other words: it adds an extra step to the login procedure. It is based on the principle that an unauthorized actor is unlikely to be able to supply both factors required for access. While it is not new technology – banking institutions and many other firms and services are developing it to protect their users - , eWON is the first industrial communication company to add this new security layer to its customer accounts!

• For more than 15 years now, eWON has helped machine builders, OEMs and system integrators with secure PLC remote access for maintenance and diagnostics purposes. Security is at the forefront of eWON remote access strategy due to Internet-based attacks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Customisable drives for precision applications.

SolutionKit® is a range of servo actuators, from Harmonic Drive, designed to be completely customisable for high precision applications. The new range offers all of the benefits of an off-the-shelf actuation system, without the typical product development drawbacks. SolutionKit® caters for the needs of users in specialist applications including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, food processing etc.

Product development costs continue to grow as the demand for more specialised equipment rises in extreme and niche applications where production batch sizes are shrinking. Standard, off-the-shelf products have traditionally served to bring down costs in the high volume sectors but, until now, this has been out of the reach for niche applications where usage characteristics can vary considerably.

The high salinity of marine and offshore applications can cause corrosion on metallic surfaces as well as water ingress, which can lead to drive failure from prolonged submersion. Designed to overcome these and other problems, SolutionKit® allows users to specify custom gears, motors, encoder feedback systems, output bearings, sensors, windings, protective coatings and ingress protection ratings up to IP68.

"Traditionally, every time a product is redeveloped or redesigned to customise it for a given application it needs to undergo revalidation and retesting to ensure it is safe and fit for purpose," explained Graham Mackrell, managing director of Harmonic Drive. This means original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can incur higher costs. It is for this reason we have made SolutionKit®; a completely modular system that uses preapproved components, which have already been tested.

"For example, mains power varies from 240V in public low voltage networks, 300-560V in high voltage industrial networks and 12V, 24V and 48V in vehicle batteries. To provide the required motor torque constant in these varying applications, we need to customise the windings specification to suit.

"In this scenario we used SolutionKit® to take our standard AlopexDrive® and customise it for military vehicle use in harsh desert environments. Here, protective coatings, ingress protection and vibration resistance, as well as a hollow shaft to allow services to pass through, are vital to the sustainable operation of the entire system."

• In addition to its modular customisability, SolutionKit® offers compatibility with nearly all proprietary encoder technologies being used by customers already. Technologies such as Sick's HIPERFACE, Siemen's DRIVE-CLiQ and Heidenhain's EnDat can all be specified with SolutionKit®.

New wine in old bottles!

Linking CANopen to TCP-based networks

Everyone is talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). However, it is, according to CAN in Automation (CiA),  just “new wine in old bottles”“We do this since more than 10 years,” explained Holger Zeltwanger, CiA’s managing director. “First users came from the ModbusTCP business followed by the generic ASCII protocol.” 

Horst Zeltwanger
CiA had already released the CiA 309 series of interface specification for CANopen-to-TCP gateways in 2004. Recently, the nonprofit association launched new versions for three parts of this set of specifications.

Part 1 (version 2.0) describes the general principles and specifies the communication services. Besides some editorial improvements and corrections, the updated document provides a new section explaining CiA 309 operating sequences. It provides entire protocols, exchanged between a TCP device and a CANopen device, whereby the communication link is established via the CiA 309 gateway device. The CiA 309 services also include management services for the gateway devices and the CANopen host controller. Other services are dedicated to initiate Layer Setting Services (LSS) in order to set the CANopen node-ID via the CAN network or to change the bit-rate. The related CiA 309 protocols are described in part 2 to part 4.

Part 2 released as version 1.3 specifies ModbusTCP messages. The new CiA 309-2 document just introduces some editorial improvements and corrections. Additionally, the Modbus extended exception has been introduced. Part 3 version 2.1 specifying the ASCII-based protocol and launched end of July as the other parts has not been functionally extended. Just a few editorial changes have been made including some additional definitions.

There are some CiA 309 gateways on the market. Most of them use the ASCII-based protocols on the TCP-side. There are also software packages available providing the necessary protocol stacks for both interfaces as well as gateway program. They support ModbusTCP as well as ASCII protocols. In subsea applications, CiA 309 gateways are embedded in the so-called “tree”-controllers, which links the sensor networks on the ocean ground to the topside controller via TCP-based networks.

By means of the CiA 309 protocols, the user can access from a remote controller every device in the connected CANopen network. This TCP-connection is mainly used for remote configuration and remote diagnostic purposes. Real-time communication is done locally. Nevertheless, any CANopen device is via such a standardized CiA 309 compliant interface a “thing” in the Internet.

Additionally, the CiA 309-4 document specifies the remote access via ProfinetIO. CiA and Profibus International members have been jointly developed this specification. Both associations have released it already in the year of 2011.