Friday, November 6, 2015

Female connectors!

Harting has extended its product portfolio for Gigabit Ethernet connectivity by introducing a female version of the M12 Slim Design connector.

The new connector complements the existing male version, so that all the company's compact M12 variants are now available in crimp connection technology.

The M12 Slim Design connectors have been significantly reduced both in diameter and in length. In particular, the outer diameter has been slimmed down to 16.5 mm, allowing a high integration density to be achieved with appropriate devices such as switches. In addition, the housing is significantly more robust, being able to withstand torques of up to 1.5 Nm. The connectors with x-coding conform to IEC 61076-2-109, and comply with Cat. 6A and Performance Class EA.

USB Infra-red temperature sensor.

The PyroMiniUSB, a new USB infrared temperature sensor from Calex Electronics, makes non-contact temperature measurement in benchtop, laboratory and education applications easier and more accessible than ever before.

This low-cost miniature sensor measures surface temperature with 1°C accuracy and with an instantaneous 125 ms response time.

The included intuitive, touch-friendly software provides a temperature display and a scrolling temperature chart. No configuration is necessary when measuring most non-reflective materials, however advanced software options also allow a range of partially reflective materials to be measured.

Data can be logged to an Excel-compatible text file.

Integration with third-party software is straightforward. The open Modbus protocol allows direct communication with the PyroMiniUSB sensor via a virtual COM port.

“If you want to quickly take a surface temperature measurement and see it on a PC, you won’t want an expensive sensor or extra signal conversion equipment,” said Anthony Smith, product manager at Calex. “You just need a small, inexpensive sensor with a USB plug, and simple software to read the temperature. The solution is the PyroMiniUSB.”

The sensor is built as solidly as an industrial pyrometer, with a sealed stainless steel housing that can be fixed into position with the supplied mounting nut and optional mounting brackets.

A choice of wide-angle or narrow optics allows large or small targets to be measured at short or long distances.

As well as general industrial applications, this pyrometer is ideal for schools (for teaching concepts such as heat transfer, emissivity and thermodynamics), universities and test laboratories.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Helping refiners optimise in-line blending units.

SmartProcess Blend, from Emerson Process Management,  incorporates a new Blend Order Management System as well as an enhanced on-line and off-line optimiser for control of continuous in-line blenders. Emerson’s SmartProcess Blend package is a complete, integrated suite of applications native to the standard DeltaV™ distributed control system (DCS). Simplified implementation and ease-of-use are key features of SmartProcess Blend system.
Process control of continuous in-line blenders enhanced by using Emerson's SmartProcess Blend package

“Blending is critical to refinery profitability,” commented Marcelo Carugo, global refining industry lead for Emerson. “Planners try to maximise the most valuable blends from available components. The problem comes when the components you’re using are not what you expected them to be, so the planned recipe will produce off-spec products and adjustments must be made on-line during the blending process. Furthermore, equipment downtime and human error can lead to off-spec product that requires re-blending and further derails the production schedule and increases costs.

“Schedulers provide some margin for unplanned events but blending is often too complex to determine the optimal corrective action manually. What you consume in the current blend affects what you have available for the next one, so deviating too far from the planned recipe can have big penalties. In addition, when correcting an off-spec blend, operators tend to play safe and overcompensate, creating quality giveaways and suboptimum blends utilising more of the expensive blend stocks.”

The new SmartProcess Blend Order Management application provides a multi-language, web-based user interface to link the refinery’s blend schedulers to the blend operators. Planners and operators are able to view a blend order, test it with current data and run the off-line optimiser from the Order Management tool. Using the DeltaV DCS environment, operators can review approved orders, select one for execution and automatically run that blend using closed-loop optimiser control.

The new SmartProcessBlend Optimizer applies closed-loop optimisation to the blend control process. Using non-linear blend models combined with on-line analysers, an optimiser continuously calculates the optimum ratios that make the batch on-spec at the lowest possible cost or as defined by user-defined penalty functions. Penalties can be set based on component cost, deviation from planned recipes, and/or deviation from target qualities.

SmartProcessBlend manages the lifecycle of a blend, from planning and scheduling, to optimisation, to on-line control of the final blend properties. The system is designed as a set of generic templates that are configured to meet the specific refinery’s blending needs. The system is capable of handling complex blending requirements such as those required for reformulated gasoline – with multiple headers, up to 25 components and up to 25 quality specifications. It can also be used for simple, recipe-based ratio blending like asphalt with fewer components and quality specifications.

SmartProcess Blend can be combined with Emerson’s expert blending consultancy to provide a turnkey solution that ensures optimal use of available components and tank rationalisation - maximising profit for both greenfield or existing refinery blending units. Emerson’s turnkey capabilities include design, construction, and installation of fully instrumented, skid-mounted in-line blenders, analyser houses and sample systems.

Emerson’s broad range of flow meters, vibration, temperature and pressure transmitters, radar level gauges, and valves complement the SmartProcess system to provide an easy standardised path to integrated turnkey blending solutions.

Expanding control business in Central Asia.

Yokogawa Electric CIS, has set up a sales and after-sales service office in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. This office opened on August 2015.

Turkmenistan has the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas (source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015). With its exports of natural gas, cotton, and other agricultural products, the country is experiencing steady growth, and even higher rates of economic growth are anticipated. To make full use of its abundant natural gas reserves, Turkmenistan has plans for the construction of many oil, gas, and chemical plants as well as power stations and other types of industrial infrastructure. To date, Yokogawa has provided control systems, field devices, and other products as well as ancillary services to its customers in the country’s natural gas and chemical sectors. Recognising the need to respond quickly to local needs and conditions, Yokogawa has decided to set up a sales and after-sales service office in Turkmenistan that will enable it to better identify customer needs and promptly offer appropriate solutions.

Leveraging the extensive experience that it has gained in oil, natural gas, petrochemical, and chemical projects around the world, Yokogawa will help the energy industry in Turkmenistan achieve higher growth.

Impact on engineering assessed and acknowledged!

Muc-Off’s Innovation in Testing Technology for Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Bicycle Chain wins Application of the Year 2015

National Instruments has unveiled the winners of the 2015 Engineering Impact Awards at a ceremony held at the Royal Academy of Engineering, London (GB), as part of the annual NI Days event. The awards highlight Northern Europe’s most innovative engineering projects using NI technology to solve some of the world’s most demanding engineering challenges.
National Instruments Team at the end of another successful NI Days in London

NI Engineering Impact Awards 2015



Electronics Test & Measurement:  ON Semiconductor Speeds Up Test Times With the Semiconductor Test System – ON Semiconductor

Internet of Things: Preparing Today for the Grid of Tomorrow – National Grid UK

Life Sciences: Holographic Tweezers: Positioning Living Stem Cells in 3D University of Nottingham


Physical Test & Measurement: Lubricating the Gears of Greatness Muc-Off  

The 2015 Application of the Year Award was presented to Martin Mathias and Alex Trimnell, from Muc-Off for their case study detailing their use of NI hardware and software for chain lubricant optimisation for professional cycling teams. Ultimately, this helped to contribute to Sir Bradley Wiggins’ success in setting the current UCI World Hour record.

Muc-Off and Team Sky collaborated to bring a new science to cycling, for the very first time in the history of the sport. Muc-Off used LabVIEW and CompactDAQ to create a comprehensive testing system to quantify the quality of their lubricants and prove to Team Sky that they had the expertise to create the world’s best bicycle chain lubricant.

With no previous experience of using LabVIEW and a very tight time frame, the Muc-Off team worked with NI to develop a training plan, adaptable hardware configuration with CompactDAQ and a scalable software development approach. This enabled Muc-Off to create a test rig that gives immediate results, simultaneously, to both the technical engineering team and the non-technical cyclists, to vastly improve development time. This innovation in testing is leading the development of a new class of lubricant, incorporating military grade materials and Nano-Tube technology.

Using this technology Muc-Off supplied a fully tested and optimised chain to Wiggins on the day of his 1 hour record attempt. In professional cycling, the smallest improvement can make a huge competitive difference and Muc-Off’s new, optimised chain contributed to Wiggins smashing the world record by more than 3%, travelling 54.526km (33.88 miles) in only 60 minutes.

“We now work with NI frequently to help drive further marginal gains in professional cycling, while always aiming to bring the best of this technology to the everyday cyclist,” said Martin Mathias, co-author of the Application of the Year. “So whether it is in-depth sound and vibration analysis or reproducing climate conditions, NI has the breadth of experience across many industries to assist in specifying and utilising the hardware and software to achieve our upcoming goals.”

• Visit the NI Engineering Impact Awards website to submit an entry for next year’s contest.

Sensor system to help "Seniors" remain at home.

The Sensara Senior Lifestyle System, from Green Peak, is a new generation Internet of Things (IoT) service application that can help people to live at home longer, secure and comfortable, and that provides peace of mind to seniors, their loved ones and their caretakers. This system does not use intrusive cameras or devices that people constantly need to wear on their body.

How it works The Sensara Senior Lifestyle System is comprised of a limited number of small sensors (5 for apartments to 8 for large houses) that are installed in someone’s home – a few motion sensors and a few open/close sensors. These sensors are installed at strategic places in the home (living room, bathroom, kitchen, hallway and front door) and they automatically connect wirelessly to a gateway that is plugged into a standard home internet router provided by their telephone or cable provider. Because these sensor devices are small, battery operated, and do not have to be worn, they are truly install and forget.

After installation, these sensors start to collect data about what happens in the house. This data is uploaded to an analytics engine “in the cloud” and, over time, usually a period of about two weeks, the analytics engine has enough data to be able to recognize living patterns of the person in the home: at what time someone gets up, how long the bathroom is used, with what repetition the kitchen is used, how long one is out of the house for shopping, when are they taking a nap, etc.


When the behavioral patterns are known, exceptions can be detected and analyzed. For instance, minor exceptions like skipping a meal or major ones like not getting out of bed in the morning, or even suspicious inactivity in the afternoon. The Sensara data analytics algorithm basically compares the inputs from the sensors (or the lack of inputs) with the normal behavior of a person, and based on detection of exceptions and anomalies, it sends a (text) message to the smart phone of a caring person, a family member or friend. The message could read something like this – “normally Ann is out of bed by now, but today she is not, maybe you want to give her a call” – and with a single click the call can be made, and further action can be taken.

• Here is the White Paper in pdf Format: Enable seniors to live longer independently at home!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Relay handles up to 60 I/O with built-in web server.

The FL1F SmartRelay is a substantial upgrade from IDEC Corporation, to their previous FL1E model. Responding to market demand for a programmable relay with many of the features found in micro PLCs, the FL1F SmartRelay can now accommodate small- to medium-sized OEM machine control and other applications.

The FL1F SmartRelay CPU module has 8 discrete inputs and 4 discrete outputs. There are six types of I/O expansion modules, and up to 12 I/O expansion modules can be added to the CPU, expanding the I/O capacity to 60 I/O. Maximum configurations are 24 discrete inputs, 20 discrete outputs, 8 analog inputs and 8 analog outputs. Each discrete output can switch up to 10 A.

These I/O points are monitored and controlled through the use of FL1F SmartRelay’s expanded programming capacity with a maximum 400 function blocks. In addition to a host of industry standard function blocks, five new types are supported: astronomical clock, analog filter, maximum and minimum, average and stop watch.

The FL1F SmartRelay has a new and improved LCD operator interface which can display 6 lines, each with up to 20 characters. Selectable white, amber or red backlighting allows operators to easily distinguish alarm and alert status at a distance. An external Text Display Panel, which mimics the CPU display, is also available to provide an additional operator interface point.

These displays are used for two main purposes: displaying operator interface information and controlling the machine or process, and programming the unit. Although the FL1F SmartRelay can be fully programmed from either the local or remote display, a more common approach is to program the unit using the supplied WindLGC version 8 PC-based software. This software allows development and editing of three programs at the same time, and supports drag and drop operations to reduce development time.

The FL1F SmartRelay’s Ethernet port can be used to connect to:

  • PC for programming
  • Text Display panel
  • Other FL1F controllers
  • Internet for remote monitoring

The Text Display Panel has two Ethernet ports. The first is used to connect to the FL1F SmartRelay CPU, while the second can be used to make the same types of connection as the CPU module.

When connected to the Internet for remote monitoring through either the CPU module or the Text Display Panel, access to the FL1F SmartRelay’s integrated web server is activated. The integrated web server is simple to configure via menus provided in the programming software, with no HTML programming knowledge required. Access is allowed from any web browser and is password protected. This two-way access allows for both viewing of data, and for changes to parameters and programs.

Up to 20,000 data sets can be logged and stored to a Micro SD card. This card can also be used for program storage, and for transfer of program data from one controller to another. The FL1F SmartRelay offers improved Real Time Clock backup with up to 480 hours of internal buffering, and settings of power-up time and the status of the LCD screen at the time of power-up can now be customised.

Only German provider of IECEx training courses.

Hazardous area solutions specialist R. Stahl commands comprehensive expertise in all areas of explosion protection, covering everything from real-life application know-how to detailed knowledge of all relevant standards such as ATEX, IECEx and others.

Stahl training courses and seminars have long been available to machine manufacturers and end users who stand to benefit from this wealth of information. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and IECEx system have now officially named R. Stahl an "IECEx Recognised Training Provider" (RTP) according to IECEx OD 521. This is the first German company to receive this global certification as a provider of training programs for hazardous areas staff who seek to attain a competence certification as IECEx Certified Persons, in keeping with the structures and requirements stipulated in the Operational Documents OD 503 and OD 504.

The extensive qualification programs cover a wide range of subject matters from the selection and configuration of explosion-protected equipment to the inspection, installation, maintenance, repair, overhaul and reclamation of devices in potentially explosive atmospheres. In addition to Certified Persons trainings according to IECEx and other qualification tests, Stahl offers a variety of further training courses on numerous other explosion protection issues. Topics include anything from the basics to dedicated know-how for diverse occupational groups, on specific types of protection, or relating to regional issues. The R. STAHL website provides information on available courses including the option to sign up for specific seminars and trainings.

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

Noncontact temperature monitoring in hazardous areas.

All models of the versatile Raytek® MI3 Compact Series infrared sensors are now also available as intrinsically safe versions for use in hazardous environments. Intrinsically safe devices prevent explosions in hazardous locations by limiting the energy and surface temperature of the device under normal operation, or when conditions arise that could become hazardous. Devices are approved as intrinsically safe only after passing the rigorous approval process required by a recognized entity.

The intelligent MI3 miniature sensors are now fully ATEX and IECEx certified for use in Zones 1 and 2 (gas) and Zones 21 and 22 (dust). Raytek supplies a complete intrinsically safe package, including the sensor, communication box and an Ex power supply. All three components are IP65 rated. One or two intrinsically safe MI3 sensing heads can be powered by one power supply. The sensor cables can be up to 30m (98ft) long in total, providing high flexibility for setting up safe monitoring scenarios. The communication box, power supply, and sensing heads can each be easily exchanged in the field without re-calibration of the entire system.

The MI3 is a rugged, IP65 stainless steel miniature pyrometer with integrated electronics. It is the smallest, fully functional, standalone digital infrared temperature sensor for fixed installations on the market today.

The MI3 series comprises pyrometers for various spectral ranges and applications, including the 1M and 2M shortwave models with an excellent 100:1 resolution and 10 ms response time, which are suitable for monitoring temperatures up to 1,800°C (3272°F). Each intrinsically safe MI3 sensing head is labeled with the Ex certification. The MI3100 model’s Ex certification also covers the laser sighting function for easy positioning and aiming. MI3 sensors have excellent EMC characteristics and can be used in ambient temperatures up to +180°C (356°F). Communication boxes are available with RS485, Modbus, Profibus, Ethernet TCP/IP and Profinet IO interfaces, and with four galvanically isolated analog outputs. Automatic head detection and digital communication between sensor and box enable plug and play.

With the addition of ATEX and ICEEx certification, the MI3 series can now be used in many additional areas - for example, in steel industry processes using hydrogen atmosphere, such as galvanizing, annealing, plating and coating. Other application areas include hydrogen reduction in the solar industry, petrochemical (sulfur recovery, boilers, reactors, pipes, flare control) and chemical (fertilizer, starch, alcohols, flower, vinyl) processes, mining (monitoring) conveyors and equipment, fire detection and storage terminals (coal, wood pellets, sulfur, petroleum coke, starch), hazardous waste disposal and sewage, as well as ink, laminate and coating processes that emit volatile vapors, and many more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Automated test system producing ground-breaking broadband solutions.

An automated test system installed by the Peak Group at SMT Developments is helping Genesis Technical Systems, an award-winning supplier of broadband solutions based on ground-breaking technology, to guarantee the quality of its mBond® system for delivering affordable superfast broadband over existing copper networks.

Stefan McSweeney, Senior Account Manager, SMT Development Ltd., demonstrates the Peak automated test system for testing the mBond broadband system from Genesis Technical Systems

The Peak System is being used by SMT Developments, the manufacturing subcontractor used by Genesis, to test the three key circuit boards used in mBond: the DC/DC power-supply module, the controller daughterboard module and the base motherboard module. It forms part of a three-pronged approach to quality testing developed by Genesis, which also includes automated optical inspection (AOI) and final functional testing.

Stefan McSweeney, Senior Account Manager at SMT Developments, believes that the Peak test system offers long-term benefits to SMT’s business: “The improved quality of the finished product that results from in-depth testing enables us to meet all the relevant quality standards to the extent that the products meet customer requirements prior to shipment. This in turn helps us to ship the right products at the right time.”

Genesis Technical Systems, with headquarters in Calgary, Canada and Great Britain, was established with the aim of providing affordable, sustainable and life-enhancing broadband technologies to enable telecoms operators to cost-effectively deliver ultrafast mobile and fixed broadband services over existing copper networks whilst meeting increasing broadband traffic demands. Its two key products are mBond®, which operates by aggregating the bandwidths of a number of different copper pairs in existing installations, and DSL Rings®, which combines a convergence node with home gateways for servicing multiple users in remote and rural areas. Between them, these two systems offer “plug & play” solutions to eliminate the cost and installation challenges presented by urban-based fibre networks.

“Investing in test is key to ensuring our product quality”, says Seán Scharffenorth, Engineering Director of Genesis: “Everything we do is aimed at minimising the chance of in-field failures, and we have spared no effort in implementing the best test procedures at all stages in the production process.”

In implementing the test system, Peak had to produce a single extra-large test fixture that could accommodate positions for the DC/DC power-supply module, the paired base motherboard and controller daughterboard modules on one probe bed. Control of the test process was carried out by National Instruments TestStand software with LabView modules controlling all aspects of the test routine. A power supply and digital multimeter are mounted externally to the test fixture, and the switching module and a Goepel boundary-scan system are fitted internally.

Sensors detect which modules are fitted to the fixture, and the operator uses a barcode system to ensure that all the PCB modules are automatically populated to the correct fields and that the correct test is selected to be executed.

The actual tests that are carried out include pre-power tests, power-on tests, boundary-scan testing, I2C and NAND flash programming including MAC address programming. The system also includes operational software and the generation of manufacturing data, as well as an interface to SMT Developments’ 123 insight MRP Software and label production system.

“As well as helping to ensure the quality of our end product, the investment in automated test has significantly boosted our productivity”, says Seán Scharffenorth: “Not only is the whole testing process time dramatically improved: we are also able to carry out multiple tests that would be impossible with traditional discrete test instruments, allowing us to significantly increase test coverage.”

Peak worked closely with Genesis and test software supplier Simplicity AI to ensure that the system met the test procedures laid down by Genesis and a quality finished product. This work has been funded by Genesis as the design house, who have ownership of the system and deploy it to SMT.

“This partnership approach forms the basis of a very important business model for Peak”, says Karl Miles, Peak’s Technical Sales Manager: “It means that we have applied our specialist knowledge of test hardware and software to meet the specifications laid down by Genesis, as well as supporting the contract manufacturer, SMT Developments, in implementing the final test solution in the production environment.”

High-sensitivity current probes.

Two new high-sensitivity current probes are now available for Yokogawa's families of mixed-signal oscilloscopes and ScopeCorders.

The 701917, covering a frequency range from DC to 50 MHz, and the 701918, covering DC to 120 MHz, offer sensitivities ten times higher than previous models (typically 1 V/A) along with low noise levels of typically 60 µA RMS. They are ideally suited to the measurement of low-level currents from about 1 mA to 5 A.

The probes feature a slim, lightweight sensor head which is easy to use in confined spaces. Automatic zero adjustment and demagnetisation are accessed via a button on the termination box, making setup quick and easy. An overload/jaw-unlocked warning is included for added safety.

Connection to the instrument is via the front-panel BNC connector. The power can be provided from the oscilloscope's probe power option or from a separate probe power supply.

Applications include tests on LED drivers, controllers and power supplies, evaluation of embedded power supplies, measurements of the power consumption of low-voltage devices such as FPGAs, and tests on embedded components in domestic appliances.

The 701917 and 701918 probes are designed for use with Yokogawa's DLM2000 and DLM4000 Series of mixed-signal oscilloscopes and the DL850E and DL850EV Series of ScopeCorders.

Strategic offering with McAfee solutions enhances control system protection.

No computer system can be absolutely secure

Emerson Process Management has joined forces with Intel® Security, part of Intel, to enhance and strengthen its integrated cybersecurity solution to better secure the DeltaV™ distributed control system (DCS). This increased layer of cyber protection is designed to help safeguard critical assets and data.

This strategic relationship reinforces Emerson’s commitment to protecting infrastructure throughout the plant lifecycle and addresses the market demand for consistent, proven industrial cybersecurity.

The DeltaV DCS has long incorporated built-for-purpose control system firewalls and network switches that provide easy-to-configure security and protection features to help system networks remain available, reliable and more secure.

“Through our global network of experts, we follow ‘defence in depth’ layered security practices designed to both comply with emerging cybersecurity standards and combat new, emerging, and complex threats,” said Seán Sims, vice president of Emerson’s Lifecycle Services. “Taking the next step to expand our offerings and deliver enhanced control system protection means our customers experience increased protection without sacrificing availability.”

The new solutions provide efficient compliance measures and instant intelligence for changing threat environments, along with the power of real-time visibility and centralised management through a single platform.

“Through our partnership, we are able to provide a portfolio of technologies designed to address the increasing cybersecurity threat landscape to industrial control systems,” said Tom Moore, vice president, Embedded Sales at Intel Security. “By combining our industry expertise, Emerson is able to serve its customers more efficiently, increasing their security posture and availability.”

Emerson is certifying supported releases of the DeltaV DCS and AMS Suite asset management to offer Intel® Security’s Anti-Virus, Network Monitoring, and Application Whitelisting solutions. Additionally, Emerson will offer Intel Security’s Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) solution to perform monitoring and the McAfee® ePolicy® Orchestrator for streamlined and centralised security management. This enhanced portfolio of cybersecurity solutions hardens endpoints, improves security visibility, as well as availability and reliability of the control systems.

This collaboration was enabled by LOGIIC - an industry consortium of oil and gas companies who brought together leading control system manufacturers and security vendors to increase host security while not compromising system availability.

Call for papers for International Food & Pharma event.

The ISA FPID 2016 is organised by the International Society of Automation (ISA).

The ISA’s international Food and Pharmaceutical symposium is being held in Ireland in March 2016, and its first time to be held outside of North America. The symposium will bring together experts, suppliers, and end users in a two-day symposium of presentations and panel discussions.

The first call for papers has been issued with a deadline of 30th November 2015.

The symposium will focus on how Automation is used to address the impact of increased regulation, manufacturing costs, and security threats related to the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Speakers will present on the latest trends, and provide case-studies which demonstrate the effective integration and use of Automation to solve these challenges.

The table below shows suggestions for topics but prospective presentations should not limit themselves to these.

Suggested Topics

• Cyber Security
• ISA Standards
• Sustainable Processing
• Process Optimisation
• Data Integrity
• Serialization / Track and Trace
• Alarm Management
• OEE, PAT, GAMP
• Industrial Internet of Things
• Energy/ Waste Management
• Usage of Cloud for Automation
• Process Control
• Instrumentation: Calibration, Wireless
• Paperless Automation
• Batch Management & MES
• Manufacturing Regulations

Use the hastag #FPID16 on twitter


Focus on CAN FD.

About 100 engineers attended the two-day 15th international CAN Conference (iCC) held in Vienna in October 2015. The 22 presentations were of high quality, said the organizer, CAN in Automation (CiA). The main focus was on CAN FD, the improved CAN protocol introduced at the 13th iCC in the Hambach Castle (D).

Other topics included Internet of Things (IoT) and secure communication in CAN network systems. Bosch presented a security extension to the CAN protocol.

Daimler discussed some internal research results on CAN FD system design aspects. The airborne industry made in an ad hoc presentation a commitment to use CAN FD in aircrafts. In the tabletop exhibition Cypress, Fraunhofer, Kvaser, Microchip, and Renesas showed their latest ISO CAN FD implementations. Microchip announced a CAN FD stand-alone controller with integrated transceiver.

All presentations are documented in the proceedings, which can be purchased from CiA office. This includes the papers on transceiver add-on circuitry hiding CAN FD messages to legacy Classical CAN implementations by Kvaser (FD Filter) and NXP (FD Shield). Another interesting paper was given by Denso about its Ringing Suppression technology based on dynamic bus impedance adjustment.

Basic servo drive system extended.

Siemens has extended its basic servo drive system, consisting of the Sinamics V90 converter and the Simotics S-1FL6 servo motor, to serve a much wider field of application.

The basic servo drive system is now available with 200-volt converters and motors with lower shaft heights and lower moments of inertia ("Low Inertia"/LI) – in addition to the familiar 400-volt versions with a higher moment of inertia ("High Inertia"/HI) of the servo motors. The 200-volt converters are up to 25 percent smaller than the 400-volt versions and therefore save additional space in the control cabinet. With a total of eight converter sizes and seven motor shaft heights with a power range from 0.05 to 7.0 kilowatts, the system is suitable for service in single- and three-phase networks. The different motor shaft heights and flange dimensions address the demands of the Asian market. Thanks to the lower moments of inertia of the motors, a wide range of motion control tasks can be realized in a cost-efficient manner. Here the focus is on dynamic motion and processing – for example positioning, transporting and winding in a wide range of applications.

Numerous integrated functions such as pulse train input positioning (PTI), USS/Modbus connection, internal positioning (IPos) as well as speed and torque control enable users to reduce their machine costs. A braking resistor has been integrated as standard to improve dynamic performance. Furthermore, the servo converter also features a rapid pulse train input of up to 1 megahertz (MHz) and supports absolute encoders with a 20-bit resolution. These functions give the system a high level of fast positioning accuracy and a low level of speed ripple. The improved servo performance is made possible by a number of features including the three-fold overload capacity of the Simotics S-1FL6 servo motor and the optimally coordinated combination of motor and converter as Integrated Drive Systems (IDS). Using IDS-based drive technology, Siemens boosts productivity, energy-efficiency and reliability in all automation environments and throughout the entire lifecycle.

Sinamics V90 is also characterized by its outstanding ease of use. For example, the Sinamics V-Assistant software tool, which is available as a free download, supports commissioning, engineering and diagnosis of the converter. Intuitive menu navigation gives a clear overview of the commissioning procedure. Thanks to coated electronic modules in the Sinamics V90 and a protection rating of IP65 for the Simotics S-1FL6, the drive system is extremely rugged – even in difficult ambient conditions. The integrated Safe Torque Off (STO) safety function prevents the motor from rotating unexpectedly, thereby improving safety for both machine and operator.

November is Automation Appreciation Month.


The International Society of Automation (ISA) and its affiliate, the Automation Federation, have designated November 2015 as Automation Appreciation Month.

“Automation Appreciation Month is an opportunity to celebrate the value and importance of the automation discipline, and to thank ISA members for their dedication and volunteerism to the Society and to the automation profession as a whole,” says Patrick Gouhin, ISA Executive Director and CEO.

Throughout November, ISA is offering its members special benefits, promotions and discounts on multi-day classroom or online, instructor-assisted ISA training* and other select ISA products, which include technician guides, safety books and cybersecurity resources. (To view a list of all the special Automation Appreciation Month offers for ISA members, click here. Interested in becoming an ISA member? Review ISA’s member benefits page.)

As part of Automation Appreciation Month’s celebration of the automation profession, ISA and the Automation Federation seek to raise awareness throughout industry and manufacturing around the need to encourage more young people to pursue STEM-centered learning—which is essential to developing the next generation of automation professionals.

Throughout October, ISA highlighted—through emails distributed to its membership—four valuable ways ISA members can contribute to STEM initiatives. They include:
All automation professionals, engineers and others within STEM-centric career fields will find numerous ways to get involved through programs established by ISA- and Automation Federation-supported affiliates, such as:
Increasing the supply of workers qualified and prepared to compete for high-tech jobs is perhaps the most pressing challenge facing manufacturers worldwide. Experts project that over the next 10 years nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs in the US will be needed. However, because of the ongoing shortage of skilled workers, up to 2 million of these jobs may go unfilled.
Today, six out of 10 production jobs remain open because of the talent shortage, according to a recent study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte.

Boosting the availability of STEM-savvy workers provides manufacturers with the competent workforce needed to drive corporate growth and meet critical performance metrics. For qualified employees, today’s jobs in manufacturing are well paying and offer solid advancement potential. The average annual salary of a manufacturing worker is $77,000 (€70k)

For more details on Automation Appreciation Month and to learn how you can help encourage and support young people in their STEM learning, visit www.isa.org/aam.

* Buy one, get one for 50% off. Applies to any multi-day classroom or online, instructor-assisted ISA training course scheduled between November 2015 and March 2016.

Monday, November 2, 2015

PAT Tester Kit includes ‘free’ accessories for British market!

Fluke is offering a Fluke 6500-2 UK Basic Portable Appliance Tester Kit as one of their Special Offers, until the end of the year. This can be used to verify the electrical safety and operation of portable appliances in accordance with the latest relevant guidelines and regulations. The automated Fluke 6500-2 PAT Tester is a low weight, small size, one-touch instrument with auto-test capabilities designed to increase the number of portable appliance tests completed each day. The kit includes a range of accessories, which come effectively free with the PAT Tester.

Rugged, compact and lightweight, the Fluke 6500-2 is efficient to work with and easy to carry around. It performs all the tests for class I and class II appliances. The fully automatic PAT tester offers pre-set and user-programmable test sequences which are initiated from a single button – speeding up test procedures and reducing time on site. It features an integral QWERTY keyboard for rapid data entry plus a large backlit colour dot matrix display for showing informative Help screens and detailed data formats. A USB flash drive stick provides back-up of the internal memory and speedy transfer to a PC.

The Fluke 6500-2 offers 25A and 200mA earth bond tests, insulation test, touch current test, substitute current test, load/leakage test, PELV test, IEC lead test and extension lead testing, as well as providing a test capability for RCD protected devices. It features a built-in carrying handle and conforms to safety standard EN61010, while weighing only around 3kg. It is supplied with a separate protective hard carrying case which has extra storage space for accessories. Included in the case are test leads, a test probe, a crocodile clip, user manual and a USB stick and lead.

The Fluke 6500-2 UK Basic PAT Kit includes Fluke DMS 0702/PAT software to enable test results to be stored and printed quickly and easily by UUT or as a listing, with an export function for listings in text or Excel format; a Fluke EXTL100, an adapter that provides easy testing of extension leads; and a Fluke Pass560R, a reel of self-adhesive labels on which can be written the appliance ID and the next test due date.

The Fluke 6500-2 UK Complete PAT Kit has also recently been reduced in price and includes an SPScan6000 Barcode Scanner, Fluke Fail250 appliance fail labels and APP1000 barcode labels in addition to the contents of the Basic PAT Kit.

Wider range of applications for compact IP65/67 IO system.

Siemens has expanded its product line of extremely compact Simatic ET 200AL IO systems, which have the high IP65/67 degree of protection, to include modules with the M12 connection system, higher output currents, and longer maximum distances between modules.

Analog and digital actuators, and sensors, such as IO-Link devices, can be connected to the new M12 modules, which have up to 16 digital inputs. The high channel density reduces both the wiring effort and the space requirement for higher quantity structures. As the output current is now twice as high, actuators with a current consumption of up to 2 amperes can be connected. The maximum distance between two modules has now been increased from 10 to 15 meters, which now makes the Simatic ET 200AL IO system suitable for widely distributed IOs in large machines and systems. Groups of actuators can now be shutdown safely according to SIL2 via the ET 200AL outputs.

Background information:
At IP65/67, this Simatic ET 200AL IO system has a high degree of protection, an extremely compact design, a small space requirement and a low weight. It has been specially designed for applications in confined spaces and those involving motion. The devices are mounted directly in a machine or assembly line on site, for example on drag chain conveyors, where the M8 and the new M12 connection systems are used to connect the actuators and sensors in confined spaces. The rugged modules are designed for use within a temperature range from -25 to +55 degrees Celsius. They can be flexibly screwed on through the front or side in all kinds of mounting situations, for example to give a perfect fit on a mounting rail. With module widths of 30 or 45 millimeters and up to 32 modules per station, the Simatic ET200AL offers a high IO quantity structure for a wide range of applications. The IO system is configured quickly and easily via the TIA Portal, and used in Profinet or Profibus networks. The wiring of the module has been made extremely simple: for example by means of a color-coded assignment of lines to interfaces, and the integrated mounting for cable ties. The plastic enclosure of the Simatic ET 200AL makes it especially suitable for mobile applications subject to sustained accelerations from 5 g up to a maximum of 10 g. The modules have electronic short-circuit protection, and restart automatically after a line interruption or exchange of modules.