Friday, December 11, 2015

24 Volt device connection standardised!

Uniform plug connectors facilitate installation as well as handling during maintenance, e.g., when devices must be replaced by the end user. PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) recognized this years ago and created clear standards for PROFINET systems.

The M12 L-coded is currently being internationally standardardized and is already being offered by many M12 manufacturers.

These include standards for M12 connector technology. There is still a need to standardize connectors for the voltage supply, e.g., for 24 V, for copper- and fiber-optic-based communication. What PI succeeded in doing with the M12 connector technology for the Ethernet network connection has now been transferred to the 24 V supply. With the M12 L-coded, there is now an M12 power plug connector available that covers the necessary power range with a current carrying capacity of 16 A in the size of an M12 plug connector.

Uniform plug connectors facilitate connection when constructing systems and machines as well as during maintenance and repair. Thinking ahead to the life cycle of automation devices, the uniform voltage supply connection also offers major advantages to device manufacturers, which can significantly reduce their number of device variants. These were the reasons that PI opted for a change of generation that allows new IP 65/67 devices to be uniformly equipped with the M12 L-coded instead of the M12 A-coded or 7/8" plug connector on a power-dependent basis.

In the context of Industrie 4.0 this step also makes sense as it saves significant space on the device and in the installation compared to the 7/8" plug connector. The M12 L-coded is thus also a decisive step forward for miniaturization. The M12 L-coded is currently being internationally standardardized and is already being offered by many M12 manufacturers.

#Profibus #Profinet #PAuto 

Control system for first hybrid energy storage plant in Europe.

The Ireland branch office of Yokogawa has delivered a control system for Europe’s first hybrid energy storage plant in Rhode (IRL). The hybrid energy storage plant was officially launched and opened on the 4th November by Schwungrad Energie, the owner and operator of the facility.
Schwungrad Energie has developed this hybrid power storage system in collaboration with the Department of Physics & Energy at the University of Limerick (UL), and will work with the Irish transmissions system operator to connect the plant to the power grid as a demonstration project under its Smart Grid Programme.
Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD (local representative in lower house of Irish Parliament) launches the plant flanked by Chihiro Atsumi, Ambasador of Japan and Nigel Reams, MD, Schwungrad Energie.

The Rhode hybrid demo project comprises of two Beacon Power 160 kW flywheels and Hitachi Chemical valve regulated lead acid batteries of up to 160 kW. The plant will have a maximum import capacity of 400 kVA and maximum export capacity of 422 kVA when completed. The flywheel system, with very high cycling ability, can rapidly absorb short-term excess grid energy and generate energy as needed by grid operators. Batteries can provide energy over longer durations but have more limited cycling capabilities. The hybrid flywheel will assist in disruption mitigation, during times of unexpected demand or sudden changes in energy supply/demand. After the completion of construction, the plant will enter a test operation phase from February 2016. The Schwungrad Energie plant will be the first field test of a hybrid-flywheel energy storage system in Europe.

Yokogawa delivered the FA-M3V high speed controller and the FAST/TOOLS(TM) SCADA software to monitor and control the amount of energy that is stored in the flywheels and the charging/discharging of the lead acid battery. In addition, Yokogawa provided an ExaquantumTM plant information management system that allows Schwungrad Energie to historize and analyse plant data whilst easily transforming this data into usable, high-value, widely distributed information. The company was also responsible for the engineering, installation, and commissioning of these solutions.

Backed by this project, Yokogawa will actively continue in its efforts to win orders and strengthen its position in the power industry through the provision of grid-connectable power storage systems and other solutions that can help to build a sustainable society.

Driver & motor cuts energy usage!

The prospect of improved energy efficiency, increased operational reliability and lower maintenance costs appeals to any business.It was these three factors which ensured Emerson was able to help Stål & Plast, a Danish extrusion specialist, improve its production processes by replacing three worn-out DC electric motors with energy-friendly Dyneo PM motors and a Unidrive M variable speed drive at the company´s extruder plant.

The annual energy savings have been calculated at an average of 9% or 90,000 kWh, which is particularly interesting in the long term, keeping in mind that over 10 years, 95% of the total costs of an electric motor is directly related to the energy consumption.

Stål & Plast A/S, which is located right in the heart of Denmark, manufactures bench tray systems which are used in greenhouses and nurseries worldwide. The raw plates are manufactured at a modern co-extrusion plant operated by three extruder motors, one 175 kW motor and two 71 kW motors. The extruder plant´s three worn-out DC motors were due for extensive reconditioning or alternatively an expensive and time-consuming replacement, as new DC motors would have to be made to order.

As the DC technology is expensive and outdated in terms of energy consumption and moreover associated with high operation and maintenance costs, A/S, Jacob Braa Sørensen, managing director of Stål & Plast, in consultation with Emerson Industrial Automation, decided to upgrade the extruder plant by purchasing highly efficient Dyneo PM motors from Leroy Somer, which are controlled by a Control Techniques Unidrive M700 variable speed drive.

One of the aspects that mattered most to Stål & Plast A/S was that Emerson was the only supplier that could offer to replace the motors and the controls as a total project for which they would assume full responsibility.

The replacement took place in collaboration with the service partners Lindpro as the professional installer and automation provider for the project, and Ølgod Elektro, which routinely handled commissioning and running-in.

Stål & Plast A/S manufactures a broad range of top-quality bench tray systems, which are used in greenhouses and nurseries worldwide. The tray systems are manufactured on a fully automated vacuum forming machine. The company manufactures its raw plates on a modern co-extruder that makes it possible to manufacture the plates in three layers.

The main reason for choosing a motor technology with permanent magnets was, first of all, the long-term energy savings on power consumption but also the higher operating torque, the operational reliability of PM technology and the very low maintenance costs compared with DC technology.

Calculations showed that Stål & Plast could reduce the annual energy consumption of the three motors by an average of 9%. The extruder accounts for 75% of the plant´s total energy costs, of which most is consumed by the extruder motors.

Over a period of 10 years, 95% of the total costs of an electric motor are directly attributable to the energy consumption, whereas the purchase price and the maintenance costs represent as little as 5% of the total costs of the investment when choosing the Dyneo PM motor technology from Emerson.

Since 1984, they has manufactured Ebb/Flow products in high impact polystyrene, which is sold by a worldwide network of distributors. The distributors are typically nursery construction companies that install the tray systems as part of a total project purchased by a nursery.

Over the years, the tray systems have been thoroughly tested against common fertilisers, temperature impact, UV radiation and normal daily wear and tear in a modern greenhouse. This know-how is used to improve and optimise the products on an ongoing basis.

The tray systems are produced on modern fully automated vacuum forming machines that are optimised for the production of Ebb/Flow products. The production plants are primarily operated by robots and monitored by trained staff with years of experience.

The company manufactures its raw plates on a modern co-extruder that makes it possible to manufacture the plates in three layers. As a result, the finished trays can be manufactured in accordance with the customer´s exact requirements and with all the desired characteristics.

#PAuto @EmersonIndAuto #Denmark 

Fast drinking water analyser optimises treatment.

An advanced precision analyser has dramatically reduced the time and complexity of measuring trihalomethane levels in drinking water at Anglian Water (GB).
Photo: Anglian water
Capable of analysing samples in less than 30 minutes, with no reagents or sample preparation, the powerful instrument has been supplied by the Instrumentation Products Division of Parker Hannifin.

Anglian Water is the first water company in Britain to install the technology. During the last five years, the company has invested more than £100 million in drinking water improvements, surpassing some of the most stringent quality targets in the world. In July 2015, Anglian Water took the strategic decision to further enhance its water treatment and supply processes by installing an in-house trihalomethane (THM) sample monitoring and analysis system.

In England and Wales, water supply regulations enforced by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) set a maximum limit of 100 micrograms/litre for total THM concentration. Water supply companies therefore closely monitor THM levels to ensure compliance with this regulatory limit and maintain water quality and safety.

Until now, like many water supply companies, Anglian Water has relied on a laboratory for THM analysis. This involved sending samples to the laboratory and waiting for the results. Anglian Water therefore decided to look for an alternative on-site method which would take pressure off its laboratory and deliver a same-day result.

The THM Analyzer that Parker has supplied is an integrated purge-and-trap system connected to a compact gas chromatograph column and a very sensitive surface acoustic wave (SAW) detector. It provides a completely self-contained solution for real-time measurement and analysis of THM concentration levels, down to as low as 1 part per billion (ppb) for each individual species of THMs. The analyser can measure chloroform, dichlorobromomethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform – the four species that make up total THMs – to within 10% accuracy.

Mark Berry, Innovation Project Manager for Anglian Water, said: “Using the Parker THM analyser we are now able to measure THM concentrations in-house, and in less than 30 minutes. We are currently analysing over 20 samples a week and have found the system to be very easy to use. Aside from the potential cost-saving benefits, the much faster analysis capabilities provide scope for further improvements in operational efficiency.”

Mark Berry adds, “We’re always looking for new technology and innovation to help us deliver a more efficient service for our customers, keep bills down and ensure we protect our environment and drinking water quality. This is a great way to do that, and we’re really pleased to be the first water company in the UK to use it.”

Graham Johnson, Downstream Applications Product Manager for Parker’s Instrumentation Product Division, highlights the significance of the Anglian Water order, “This is the first THM analyser that we have supplied in Europe, following its recent CE marking. The feedback from Anglian Water is very positive and we believe that there is a ready market for this versatile type of water quality monitoring and analysis equipment throughout Europe. Along with its speed and simplicity of use, the analyser’s annual running costs are very low – the only consumables are high purity helium and concentrated standard solutions for verification runs.”

Parker supplies the THM analyser as a complete turnkey package. The high purity pressure regulators and precision control valves for its helium carrier gas system are manufactured by the company’s Veriflo Division.

@FestoAG #PAuto @AnglianWater

Energy efficiency in pneumatics!

Festo has published Energy efficiency@Festo, a new guide which details a number of ways that plant managers can improve efficiency in their pneumatic production processes by up to 60%.

Energy efficiency@Festo
The guide provides detailed information about efficient technologies, that will ensure machines and systems consume fewer resources and less energy. Reducing CO2 emissions as well as operating costs leads to an increase in the sustainability of production processes and therefore a company’s overall productivity.

“Environmental consciousness, corporate responsibility and the balance sheet are all key drivers for increasing energy efficiency,” says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo. “In this guide we focus on advising plant managers on how they can implement measures to reduce energy wastage, with in-depth statistics and details about compressed air technology.”

The top five tips to saving the most energy are:
  1. Using energy saving circuits, for example Festo’s OVEM closed loop vacuum generators monitor vacuum levels and only expend air when required, typical savings are 60%
  2. Correctly sizing drives and tubing – reducing to the next smaller piston diameter can decrease energy consumption by approximately 35%
  3. Reducing switching line tube lengths – savings up to 25% can be achieved
  4. Isolating circuits in standby or shutdown modes – eliminating flow of air in systems at a standstill can provide savings of 20%
  5. Reducing the weight and friction of moving elements has a major affect particularly on multi-axis systems where initial over-sizing becomes compounded – up to 18% energy saving can be realised.
The guide may be downloaded free from the website.

@FestoAG #PAuto 


Low-power floating point processor for intelligent connected devices.

Cortus, a technology leader in low power, silicon efficient, 32-bit processor IP, announced the release of the FPS26 single precision floating point IP core today, the third in a family of products based on the Cortus v2 instruction set. The core is aimed at embedded systems requiring good floating point computational performance while also delivering small silicon area and low power dissipation.


Cortus licenses a range of low power 32-bit processor cores for intelligent connected devices. With growing numbers of controllers in solar energy and industrial control requiring floating point algorithms, many applications require floating point operations executed in hardware to achieve their performance goals. Complex matrix inversion is a challenging computation in MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) wireless systems due to challenges around precision, quantisation and scaling which can be mitigated by using floating point.

“For companies developing intelligent ‘things’ requiring floating point algorithms, our FPS26 core offers outstanding computational performance while efficiently using silicon area”, says Michael Chapman, President & CEO of Cortus. “It is an excellent fit with the industrial internet of things and with power control applications”.

Although historically embedded software has been dominated by fixed-point operations, there are cases where values may have large dynamic ranges and floating point computation is required or advantageous. Examples include matrix inversion in MIMO baseband processing, matrix multiplication and fast Fourier transforms (FFTs).

The FPS26 has a Harvard architecture, sixteen 32-bit registers and a 5-stage pipeline. It offers an IEEE 754 single precision hardware floating point unit, a pipelined parallel multiplier and a hardware divider. It supports the AXI4-Lite™ bus as well as Cortus APS peripherals. The small size of FPS26 makes it highly suitable for cost sensitive applications. The CPU starts at around 0.192 mm2 using a 90 nm technology. Using the Linpack benchmark FPS26 delivers 9.7 times better floating point performance than the APS25 integer core.

Up to eight co-processors can be added to an FPS26 core. The Cortus coprocessor interface allows licensees to add custom coprocessors, for example to accelerate computations in cryptography or signal processing, without knowing details of the internals of the core. Co-processor instructions can be inserted into C-code appearing as function calls.

All cores interface to Cortus’ peripherals including Ethernet 10/100 MAC, USB 2.0 Device and USB 2.0 OTG via the efficient APS bus. They also share the simple vectored interrupt structure which ensures rapid, real time interrupt response, with low software overhead.

The APS tool chain and IDE (for C and C++) is available to licensees free of charge, and can be customised and branded for final customer use. Ports of various RTOSs are available such as FreeRTOS™, Micrium uC/OSII®, Micrium uC/OSIII® & TargetOS™.

To date well over 800 million devices have been manufactured containing Cortus processor cores.

Advantages of ball guided, ball screw driven linear units.

Thomson Industries has released a new video to introduce the benefits of the WM80, ball guided, ball screw driven linear units. These linear systems are designed for high thrust, payload, precision and stiffness with force up to 12000N and repeatability to 0.005mm.

The WM series is ideal for applications where high precision and rigidity are critical, such as machine tool automation and test and measurement.

Kyle Thompson, Global Product Line Manager, Systems at Thomson, explains in the video, “The WM80, ball guided, ball screw driven unit has an internal movable ball screw support that allows for longer stroke lengths and high speeds.” The WM80 linear unit has a self-adjusting plastic cover strip designed to provide environmental protection for the internal components while reducing friction to a minimum.

Kyle demonstrates in the video that the WM linear unit utilises a patented screw support technology. The WM40 model is designed specifically for miniaturised applications with extremely small dimensions. Thomson offers stroke longer stroke lengths of up to 11 meters for all screw driven units.

MES implementation on Thai site.

First PAS-X MES implementation in the Thai pharmaceutical industry / interfaces to ERP, LIMS and eQMS for efficiency and compliance / large benefits in quality, time- saving and reduction of lead times

GPO Rangsit
Werum’s PAS-X MES went live at the Government Pharmaceutical Organization’s (GPO) manufacturing site in Rangsit, Thailand – the first in the Thai pharmaceutical industry. GPO is the largest pharmaceutical producer and distributor of important medicines for the Thai market.

PAS-X has been implemented as a full-scope MES across the whole facility from the goods receipt of raw materials, warehousing, weighing, production and quality until shipment of finished products to the GPO nationwide supply chains. The MES integrates GPO’s ERP and LIMS systems to ensure efficient and compliant data transfer. The PAS-X MES is supported by an electronic QM system (eQMS) under the concept of a fully integrated and electronic production site.

“PAS-X has enabled us to reduce paper records from the plant floor and replace them with an electronic and sequenced way of gathering the right data for the right product from the right authority at the right time,” says Dr. Mukdavan Prakobvaitayakit, Deputy Managing Director, GPO. “The review-by-exception functionality has also enabled departments within the manufacturing organization to start reviewing the events in real-time which saves time and reduces lead time for product release as the review can be completed in parallel with production.”

The complete IT design and test and validation services were provided as a turnkey project to ensure the facility meets international GMP standards (PIC/S). The project was carried out locally by the Werum Asia Pacific Support Centre in Thailand.

 @Werum #PAuto #Pharma #Thailand

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dust & Air Quality workshop!

Ashtead Technology and TSI are to co-host a technical workshop on Dust and Air Quality Monitoring. The free-to-attend event will take place on Wednesday 27th January 2016 at TSI’s British headquarters in High Wycombe (GB).

Ashtead’s Josh Thomas says: “This is a training event, designed to provide anyone with a professional interest in air quality with an opportunity to learn about the latest monitoring technologies and to discuss their applications with industry experts.”

Starting at 9.45am and finishing at around 3pm, the day will be split into 4 sessions: Workplace Dust Monitoring; Environmental Dust Monitoring; a case study on the monitoring of particulate exposure by schoolchildren, and a Practical Workshop in which attendees will have the opportunity to operate some of the latest instruments.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided, but places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

REGISTER HERE

Pneumatic systems market.

Since pneumatic systems are not energy-efficient by nature, the integration of pneumatic equipment with electronics will address the need for compact, efficient solutions in the global market. This is especially crucial as the stringent enforcement of environmental regulations spurs the demand for energy-efficient products across industries.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Global Pneumatic Market Factbook, finds that the market earned revenues of $10.51 billion in 2014 and estimates this to reach $13.09 billion in 2019. Emerging regions, especially Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will evolve into key markets for pneumatic products.

“The need for solutions equipped with advanced sensor technologies that help monitor equipment performance will fuel advancements in pneumatic products,” said Frost & Sullivan Manufacturing 4.0 Research Analyst Kiravani Emani. “Focus on miniaturisation will also boost operational excellence and broaden the scope of applications for pneumatic systems.”

The automotive, food processing and packaging industries will account for a bulk of the market’s share, primarily due to the stringent emission and safety regulations governing these sectors. The electronic and semiconductor industry too will contribute significantly to market revenues owing to the increasing automation of manufacturing facilities.

However, regional manufacturers may be unable to fully capitalise on these prospects as low-cost manufacturers continue to make the most of the price sensitivity of customers. Chinese imports, in particular, present a big threat. Furthermore, the shortage of qualified and skilled personnel to develop novel solutions and selling techniques will stall innovation.

“Established vendors are investing in intelligent products that facilitate application connectivity in order to overcome the challenges posed by cheap imports and, in the long term, to profit from the anticipated surge in demand post 2020,” noted Emani. “They are also offering value-added benefits to enhance customer services and widen their footprint in the global pneumatic market.”

Global Pneumatic Market Factbook is part of the Mechanical Power Transmission Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related studies include: North American Pneumatic Equipment Market, Global Machine Safety Systems Market, Global Motion Controllers Market and Global Oil-free Compressors Market. All studies included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Estimating plant energy savings easily!

With a long history of involvement in promoting energy savings, Emerson Industrial Automation has invested massively in research into technological solutions and services designed to cut energy bills. On the strength of this expertise, Emerson now presents the Energy Savings Advisor, its new mobile app offering businesses the opportunity to calculate the energy savings that can be achieved on their applications with its high-performance drive solutions.

Highly intuitive, precise and interactive, the Energy Savings Advisor app can be used to estimate and quickly assess the value of potential savings on a motorised application by implementing Emerson's high-efficiency drive solutions, whether its fixed or variable speed ranges, using either induction or permanent magnet synchronous technology.

In addition to the motor on its own or the contribution made by a variable speed drive, the Energy Savings Advisor takes account of the motorised application in its entirety, from the motor to the transmission, including the mechanical or electronic regulation system.

Very easily and in a matter of minutes, the Energy Savings Advisor runs simulations and compares the existing equipment according to different custom scenarios in order to obtain the most relevant analysis and meet a need for energy optimization. The potential savings for the application concerned are immediately calculated and displayed in the form of a graphic overview. A complete report showing a breakdown of the simulation and results obtained can then be sent by e-mail.

The Energy Savings Advisor can also be used to transmit the result of a simulation directly to Emerson's energy optimization experts for more in-depth analysis. They can then suggest adopting a global energy optimization approach for a device or a process by choosing the best-performing drive system for the given application. Emerson's specialists can help businesses identify the best possible options depending on their goals in terms of return on investment or total cost of use, thus contributing to improving the performance of the investments made.

Available in several languages and optimized for the majority of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, the Energy Savings Advisor can be downloaded free of charge from the website

Petrochemical industry embraces new testing event!

The inaugural PEFTEC event took place in Antwerp (B) in mid-November 2015, and reported feedback from conference speakers, exhibitors and delegates has been extremely positive.

PEFTEC 2015 was created to provide the petrochemical industry with an opportunity to discover the latest information on testing and monitoring, in the laboratory, in the field and on-site. A packed conference programme ran over both days and over 80 seminars took place in 8 seminar rooms that were located within the exhibition hall.

In response to demand, the organisers had to increase the floor space of the Exhibition. However, the majority of the booths were small and informative rather than promotional. Nevertheless, there were over 120 international laboratory and process monitoring equipment suppliers and analytical service providers on show, representing more than 220 organisations worldwide. As part of the PEFTEC Technical Programme, there were also 40 poster presentations – all of which were located within the exhibition hall. PEFTEC therefore represented a truly unique opportunity to see the entire market sector under one roof at the same time. Dr Oliver Sauer from Grabner Instruments agreed: “The show was a great place for networking with other suppliers in the market, with partners and customers – a sort of family reunion.”

Summarising her thoughts on the event, Elizabeth Wilkinson from Lovibond Tintometer said: “The inaugural PEFTEC event proved to be extremely successful – bringing in a great many industry experts throughout the supply chain. The organisers must be complimented on such a successful event for its first year and we certainly look forward to joining them again in 2017.”

Prof. Ralf Zimmermann, one of the Conference speakers added: “I found the meeting interesting; the scientific programme was very well organised and the show was focused, which made it very efficient, so it's a very worthwhile event to visit. Also the location was well chosen and I recommend that the event should continue in the same format.”

As PEFTEC organiser, Marcus Pattison was obviously delighted with the success of the event and with the highly positive feedback that it generated. “These are challenging times for the oil and gas sector, so it was very encouraging that PEFTEC 2015 was such a success, and we are greatly looking forward to PEFTEC 2017 which will take place 29th to 30th November, again in Antwerp."

Synchronized views of analogue, digital waveforms and spectrum traces.

Tektronix has introduced the MDO4000C Series of Mixed Domain Oscilloscopes that can be configured with up to six instruments in a single unit including a full spectrum analyzer. Starting with the highest-performance oscilloscope of any 6-in-1 instrument from Tektronix, engineers can upgrade their MDO4000C instruments over time to meet their most demanding challenges and add functionality as needs change or budgets allow.

As with previous generations in the MDO4000 series, the MDO4000C provides a synchronized view of analog and digital waveforms along with RF spectrum traces, making it the ideal debug tool for Internet of Things (IoT) and many other embedded engineering applications. Like the 6-in-1 MDO3000 introduced last year, the MDO4000C expands on its core oscilloscope functionality with options to add a spectrum analyzer, arbitrary/function generator, logic analyzer and protocol analyzer. A digital voltmeter (DVM) is available for free with product registration.

“Integrated instruments have proven highly popular with our customers because they can cover more debugging and analysis tasks with a single instrument, allowing them to keep engineering programs on track and get to market faster,” said Chris Witt, general manager, Mainstream Oscilloscopes, Tektronix. “The increased performance of the MDO4000C – what we call 6-in-1 plus – makes it the optimal tool for solving tough design problems.”
As an oscilloscope, the MDO4000C features long record length, fast sample rate and fast waveform capture rate to help uncover elusive problems. Performance enhancements compared to the MDO3000 integrated oscilloscope include:
  • More scope performance – 20 Mpoint record length, up to 5 GS on all channels, >340,000 waveforms/s capture rate and a 50% larger display
  • Up to 6 GHz spectrum analyzer with better spectrum analyzer performance, the ability to synchronize views across time and frequency domains, and the ability to perform vector signal analysis
  • Logic analyzer timing resolution down to 60.6 ps and independent logic thresholds per channel enabling capture of multiple logic families at once
  • Protocol analysis for up to three buses simultaneously with triggering up to 500Mb/s
Compared to standalone instruments, the MDO4000C saves time lost from having to look for and configure instruments and delivers outstanding value without compromising on performance. It also enhances usability through integration. For instance, the built-in arbitrary waveform generator makes it easy to capture signals on the scope, modify them, and then replay them through the generator, enabling margin testing by making it easy for users to add noise to any signal.

While saving bench space and improving usability is part of the MDO4000C’s DNA, it is also easy to acquire and own. The MDO4000C can be configured as a base oscilloscope with a competitive entry price of just €6,900. A 3- or 6-GHz spectrum analyzer, arbitrary/function generator, 16 logic channels, or protocol support can be added at the time of purchase, or added later as an upgrade, allowing it to precisely conform to every lab’s needs and budget. Oscilloscope bandwidth extends from 200 MHz to 1 GHz and can also be upgraded at any time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fast selection of standardised Ex plugs and sockets.

Modern industrial plants require more and more flexible systems which enable instant electrical connections and disconnections as and when required. Such plug-and-play functionality usually relies on plugs which comply to international standards, especially IEC 60309.

R. Stahl assists customers in finding a suitable plug connector for specific applications with the "Plugs & Sockets Selection Guide" for the SolConex product range, a series of standardised, Ex-certified plugs and sockets for hazardous areas. For some time, this guide has already been available as a convenient selection wheel – and this popular tool is now complemented by an online version: a new step-by-step assistant system on their website guides users through a custom configuration and selection process. After entering a selection of core product features (application range, operating current and voltage) the assistant quickly and reliable provides a choice of suitable standardised products. Following a successful configuration, the online system also enables the customer to post his or her enquiry. This ensures a quick availability of the required products.

The IEC 60309 defines standards for round plug connectors with different numbers of pins and pin arrangements. Standard-compliant plugs of a specific type and voltage can only be inserted into the corresponding socket type. Unmatched anywhere in the world, SolConeX is a state-of-the-art product family for explosion-protected connections with a range of features which support day-to-day operation. A major safety feature is the large switch handle which operates the load disconnect switch. Its position clearly indicates the on/off status and can be recognised from far distances. The SolConeX series of plugs also ensures a high level of safety: the internal connection chamber of the plugs achieves IP66, which reliably protects the pin connections with wires from water and dust ingress. Thanks to innovative manufacturing technologies, this level of protection is ensured even against incorrect use or storage without a protection cap.

Other special design features also contribute to an excellent usability and easy maintenance. The internal strain relief can be tilted 90° to the side and thus enables a very fast and easy installation, ensuring superior safety and precisely defined tensile forces of the clamping points. Moreover, SolConeX is the first product series in its class that can be optionally equipped with up to two additional auxiliary contacts. The snap-on auxiliary contacts are available with explosion protection types "Intrinsic Safety (Ex i)" or "Increased Safety (Ex e)" and enable the users to integrate the devices into various different automation systems at a later date. SolConeX products are available with ATEX and IECEx certifications for zones 1, 21 and zones 2, 22 as well as with a number of regional certifications (TR CU, FM, CSA, ULB etc.). Thus they are suitable for applications around the world, even in areas with extreme environmental conditions and ambient temperatures ranging from -50 °C to +55 °C.

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

Defining switch upgrade strategies.

United Electric Controls (UE) has announced a new program to help companies assess their industrial switching needs and evaluate upgrade opportunities. The program includes a guided assessment of needs for operational visibility, adjustability, safety, availability, energy conservation, economy and hazardous locations and helps determine the ideal combination of legacy and new digital switches that can meet them.

“A typical process plant might have anywhere from 100 to 1000 mechanical switches installed, some of which may be nearing the end of their useful lives or taking up operating space that might be filled by more productive contributors to plant control, process efficiency and safety. In addition to our robust line of electromechanical switches, UE offers temperature and pressure transmitters with built-in digital switching functionality to help customers determine where digital switching may fit into the plant automation schemes,” says Wil Chin, Director of Marketing for United Electric Controls.
Reliable switching is vital to plant operation performing functions ranging from controlling hard alarms, permissives, safety interlocks, blowers and fans to initiating an emergency shutdown. United Electric Controls has found that many companies are migrating to digital switches for the following reasons:
  • Improved operational visibility via LCDs that display local process variables and diagnostics
  • Easily adjustable set point and deadband to reduce setup time
  • Certified for use in SIL 2 safety systems, capable of SIL 3
  • Improved uptime to boost productivity
  • Protection from hazardous conditions
  • Lower total cost of ownership
  • Plant modernisation
UE has also found, however, that some companies tend to prefer electromechanical switches to achieve the following objectives:
  • Limited power availability at the source
  • Faster reaction time
  • Lower purchase price
In the new switch assessment program, UE application experts will meet with plant managers to help identify the mix of switches that will meet their needs, now and into the future.

Switch options
UE offers a unique line of digital and electromechanical switches, including hybrid transmitter-switches that offer functionality not possible with traditional switches or process transmitter, including the following:

  • For companies that might want to augment their switching capability with built in temperature or pressure sensing capability, UE offers its One Series 1XTXSW hybrid transmitter-switch, which functions as a switch, a gauge, and a transmitter. This reduces costs and potential media leaks while increasing reliability. It is ideal for applications with high cycle rates and hazardous environments.
  • For those that need SIL 2 or SIL 3 functionality, UE offers its One Series Safety Transmitter, a unique hybrid that integrates a switch, a transmitter and a logic solver in one unit. This enables deployment of a fully certified Safety Instrumented System (SIS) in the field while minimizing the number of safety components.
  • For those who benefit from continuing to use mechanical switches, UE offers a complete line of electromechanical pressure, differential pressure, vacuum, temperature and general purpose switches, covering heavy, medium and light duty applications.

Durable miniature switches.

Omron Electronic Components Europe has launched two durable new compact surface mount switches aimed specifically at high use switching applications such as elevator switches, circuit breakers, digital pens and laser pointers.

The new Omron D2LS switches have a rated life of at least 5 million operations and can switch at 300 operations per minute. Omron has released the switch in a standard version, with an operating force of 0.6N and a high force type with an operating force of 1.2N. Both feature the same long life and fast switching, and offer a clear click during switching.

The D2LS is exceptionally compact, with overall dimensions of just 8.6 x 4.8 x 3.0mm, supporting the down-sizing of module designs. They are sealed to IP40, and can switch loads of 1mA at 6VDC. The contacts are silver, and the switch is supplied in normally open configuration. Contact resistance is 100 milliohms. 


Omron supplies the D2LS in embossed tape packaging for automatic mounting, in reels of 2000 pieces.

Gas sensor manufacturer appointments announced!

City Technology, a part of Honewell, has made two new appointments in line with the continued growth of the business.

Marco Di Nubila
Marco Di Nubila joins the team as Global Marketing Leader, where his primary focus will be further developing the company’s future growth plan. Marco’s role will be strategic in the company’s realisation of the opportunities presented by new and intelligent sensing technologies, industrial edge devices and the Internet of Things.

Marco holds a Master of Science (Hons) in Industrial Management Engineering, a Master in Business Administration (Hons) and brings over 14 years’ of international expertise in planning, strategic marketing, product management, business development and post-merger integration. During his career, Marco has worked for a variety of global organisations (including Fiat, Ariston Thermo and Atran), and has extensive marketing experience in diverse industries including HVAC, automotive and consulting.

Theresa Barry
Theresa Berry also joins the team as Product Manager, where her primary focus will be managing the development of key new product innovations. Theresa holds an FdA in Business and Management, a BTEC in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and brings over 10 years’ experience working for global electrical equipment manufacturers.

Theresa joins the company from Tyco Fire Protection Products, where she held the position of Product Manager for Sensors. Prior to this, Theresa held a number of commercial and marketing roles within Apollo. During her career, Theresa’s responsibilities have included product life cycle management, implementing successful product launches, strategic planning and market analysis.

High resolution position sensor.

Employing capacitance micrometry, the NX NanoSensor® from Queensgate delivers sensitivity levels that are able to measure changes in position to an atomic scale.

This state-of-the-art non-contact position measuring system relies on 2 sensor plates - a target and a probe, which between them form a parallel plate capacitor. Through the use of an appropriate electronic controller, the spacing of these two plates can be accurately ascertained. Among the key applications for the NX NanoSensor are stage feedback, vibration measurement, metrology, deformation measurements, precision manufacturing, drift measurement, precision beam steering and microscopy.

Via NX NanoSensor position can be determined to a margin of better than 7pm, with a linearity to 0.02% and a bandwidth from 50Hz up to 10KHz. There is provision for the system to be tuned so that either the positional accuracy is improved or conversely the responsiveness to dynamic motion is heightened. Plate shapes that are round, square or rectangular can be selected. Active areas of 22.5mm2, 113mm2 and 282mm2 are offered. Working in tandem with the NX NanoSensor, the NS2000 controller module measures any changes in the parallel plate capacitance and subsequently produces an analogue voltage that is directly proportional to the difference in position of the target and a probe sensor plates.

The non-contact measurement and non-self-heating mechanism means that NX NanoSensor products do not impact the values they are measuring, thereby giving true nanoscale measurements. Furthermore, they use a non-hysteretic technique, which means the position is repeatable. Numerous material options can be used in their construction; Super-Invar, Zerdur, aluminium, stainless steel and ceramic - allowing thermal properties to be matched to the stability required by the specific application, in order to safeguard against position drift. Ultra high vacuum, radiation hardened, non-magnetic and cryogenic variants can be specified.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Staying grounded!

A cost-effective range of neutral earthing resistors (NERs) has been designed by Cressall to help generator manufacturers and end users around the world protect distributed generation systems. The NERs have been specifically designed to be supplied with multiple vacuum contactors, for applications requiring the earthing of multiple parallel-connected generators.
NERs are used in medium-voltage AC distribution networks to limit the current that would flow through the neutral point of a generator in the event of an earth fault. The resistors limit fault currents to a value high enough to be detected but low enough to prevent damage to switchgear or generators.

These switched NERs have been designed as a cost-effective method of providing a single resistance earth for generators that are connected in parallel.

When generators are connected in parallel, there are typically three options for earthing - using a single fixed earthing point, earthing all of the neutrals or using a single earthing point through individually switched neutrals. Using a Cressall switched NER gives the user the flexibility to select which generator is to be earthed. Because there is only one earth path, protection relay coordination is straightforward and the risk of damage due to circulating currents is reduced.

Applications for Cressall’s NERs range from backup supplies for airports and hospitals to generation for small towns and industrial centres that are too far from the main grid.

“As the price of energy increases, so does the requirement for alternative sources,” explains Martin Nicholls, sales director of Cressall. “For example, in remote applications it is not cost effective to build and maintain power transmission lines over long distances. Therefore, remote diesel or natural gas generators are used, operating independently off the normal grid. These effectively mimic a normal power station, only smaller.

“We have been supplying switched NERs for standby and combined heat and power projects for more than 20 years; however the demand for cost effective solutions for multiple point earthing resistors led us to introduce this modular range. Previously when earthing of multiple generators was needed, the main option was to source fully specified metal clad switchgear and package it with a stand-alone resistor, which makes the project large and very expensive. By creating and developing a standard range, Cressall has improved the response time to customers, shortened delivery times, lowered cost and improved quality.”