Friday, September 30, 2016

PLCopen Coding Guidelines.

The independent association PLCopen has recently released a set of coding guidelines for Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs). This is the first time a standard for PLCs has officially been published in the automation industry and it will allow managers to test any and all PLC programs for quality and consistency reasons.

Industrial automation has changed drastically over the past century. From the Charlie Chaplin style factories, where companies were reliant on people to manage the factory floor, to today, where factories are highly automated with only a few people present on the production lines. As a result of this ever greater reliance on machines, software is becoming increasingly responsible, complex, and demanding. This does not come without its challenges. Due to the greater complexity, programs are more difficult to maintain, more time consuming, and potentially therefore more expensive. This is why quality is taking such an important role these days.

Unlike in other industries, such as that of embedded software and computer science, there has not previously been a dedicated standard for Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) programs. This has meant that programs were not measured against anything and were often of a poor quality. But that’s where the independent association PLCopen has come in and set the standard with the release of their coding guidelines. These guidelines are a set of good practice programming rules for PLCs, which will help to control and enhance programming methods within industrial automation.

PLCopen, whose mission is to provide industrial control programming solutions, collaborated with members from a number of companies in different industries to create these coding guidelines. These companies include PLC vendors such as Phoenix Systems, Siemens, and Omron, to software vendors such as Itris Automation and CoDeSys, and educational institutions such as RWTH Aachen. These guidelines were inspired by some pre-existing standards from other domains such as IEC 61131-3, JSF++ coding standard and MISRA-C, and they are the product of three years of work by the working group. PLCopen’s reference standard can be used for testing the quality of all PLC codes, independent of brand and industry.

PLCopen’s coding guidelines are made up of 64 rules, which cover the naming, comments and structure of the code. By following these guidelines, the quality of the code will be improved and there will be greater consistency amongst developers. This will result in greater efficiency, as better readability means a faster debug time, and a program that is easier to maintain. This then results in lower costs as less time is required in order to maintain the program, and the maintenance should be easy enough for both an internal or external programmer as the code will be more straightforward. If the original developer fails to follow certain guidelines when creating a program, this could obstruct other developers and maintenance teams when working with the code during the product lifecycle, thus creating delays and additional costs.

In safety-critical industries, there is the standard IEC 61508 which in 2011 was also extended to PLCS. However, as quality is becoming an ever more important factor across the board, as programs become bigger and more complex, it is generally good practice to follow a set of rules or a standard in all industries. PLCopen’s coding guidelines suggest a standard that can be used across all industries to greatly improve the quality of the code and, as a result, to help companies save time and money. The introduction of such a standard will allow PLC programs to be verified not only from the simple functionality perspective but also from a coding perspective by confirming that good practice programming rules have been followed in their creation. Consistency across PLC programs can only be achieved through the respect of a global corporate or industrial standard, with PLCopen now being the de facto standard in the automation industry.

With quality playing a greater role in industry and with companies always looking for cost saving methods, the answer is to use some sort of standard or set of rules in order to meet these goals. PLCopen have created this standard to improve quality and consistency across PLC programs and so that individual industries and companies don’t have to go to the effort of creating a set of rules themselves. In addition to the internal benefits, this standard will also allow companies to enforce their quality requirements on suppliers, software contractors and system integrators. The only issue for now is that the process for verifying these rules is done manually by most users as they are unaware that some tools are available to do this automatically. But overall, following a standard such as the one proposed by PLCopen, will greatly improve the quality of the program and will save time and money throughout the whole duration of the product lifecycle.

• The PLCopen coding guidelines v1.0 are available for free download from the PLCopen website.

#PAuto #PLCs 

Compact portable hygrometer for convenient spot checks.

The MDM50 portable hygrometer from Michell Instruments makes taking spot checks of dew point or moisture content down to -50°C dew point quick, easy and simple.

Because it has its own self-contained sampling system, setting up the MDM50 involves simply connecting the hose to the sample point: there are no extra sample conditioning add-ons to purchase or to carry around. The integral sampling system allows for measurements of dew point to be made at pressure, up to 20 barg, with an option available to measure up to 300 barg. The integrated filter removes particulates down to 0.3μm which provides 99.5% protection to the sensor.

A long battery life is essential for making measurements in the field, especially in locations where there is limited access to charging points, so the MDM50 portable hygrometer has an operation time of 16 hours on one full charge. This means users have the confidence that they can work all day without having to stop taking measurements for charging. The universal charger fits neatly into the case when not in use to make sure it’s always handy.

The fast-responding polymer moisture sensor of the MDM50 gives rapid dew-point measurements in compressed air – T95 to -35°C from ambient typically in less than 5 minutes. The sensing element is highly stable, resistant to contamination and, along with the robust and sturdy case, this means the hygrometer is well-suited to the often tough conditions in industrial applications.

As well as dew point in compressed/instrument-air dryers, typical applications for the MDM50 include moisture measurements in medical gases, polymer chip and the output from refrigerated dryers.

• Michell Instruments products are marketed by Instrument Technology.

@Michell_Inst #PAuto 

IR cameras now more affordable.

Until 31st December 2016, selected models from the Fluke TiS Performance Series Infrared Camera range are now more affordable for customers to solve problems and avoid expensive downtime. This popular series of rugged thermal imaging cameras, with up to 320 x 240 resolution and an easy-to-use interface, produce high quality, focused images that enable users to produce better analysis and presentation of results which can also be shared with colleagues off-site wirelessly, via a smartphone or tablet, using Fluke Connect® technology.

Companies conducting infrared inspections want the high quality images that Fluke’s TiS Series offers, to enable better analysis, presentation, and professionalism. Poorly focused images make it difficult to see details and also impact temperature measurement accuracy. With the TiS range’s sharply focused image, there is distinct contrast between areas of varying thermal energy on the surface being inspected. This allows the individual pixels to clearly report the intensity of the energy being focused on them.

Fluke patented IR-Fusion® technology on the TiS Series cameras combines a visible light and an infrared image into one, giving better clarity. More detail can be seen by adjusting the level of infrared and visible light blending in AutoBlend mode, while ‘picture-in-picture’ helps to clearly identify the exact location by providing the centre part of the display in IR and the remainder of the image in visible light. Also included is Fluke SmartView® software, which provides a suite of advanced tools to view, optimise, annotate, and analyse infrared images, and generate fully customisable professional reports.

The Fluke Connect system is a preventive maintenance software platform that wirelessly links Fluke test tools to smartphones or tablets, and to the cloud where measurements can be viewed, graphed, shared and stored for trending and further analysis. Problems can be pinpointed faster by pulling in other measurement types like electrical and vibration into the thermal image. Access to historical data and reports are possible from the field. Measurement data is automatically uploaded to the cloud via the free Fluke Connect app.

@FlukeCorp  #Pauto #TandM

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sensor for verification and inspection.

The new Boa Spot ID is a low cost identification vision sensor from Teledyne DALSA that combines 1D/2D code reading with OCR and verification tools for a host of product identification, verification and tracking applications. It can handle up to 45 parts/second. It is marketed by Stemmer.

Supplied with integrated lighting and choices of sensor resolution, lenses and software tools, Boa Spot ID can be used for part and product traceability, reading product codes to avoid labeling mix-ups, and validating product type, lot and expiration date codes. It can also be used to check that markings and label positions are correct and the presence or absence of features as well as checking assembly history at every stage of manufacturing.

The extraordinary flexibility of the Boa Spot ID enables the appropriate model to be matched to the application, based on the code reading requirements. The choice of 2 sensor resolutions, integrated red, white or blue LED ring lighting and 4 integrated lenses or 6-50 mm external C-mount lenses allows the field of view, magnification and reading distances to be precisely matched to the particular 1D and 2D code size and type.

The standard toolset provides fast, robust decoding of most 1D barcode and 2D matrix code symbologies and verifies the quality of the code against ISO/AIM industry standards. It reliably reads Data Matrix and QR codes even with damaged or missing finder patterns as well as poorly printed, low contrast, noisy, warped and damaged barcodes. It can also decode multiple barcodes in the same image. The expanded toolset includes an advanced algorithm which offers greater robustness for decoding marks etched or dot peened on plastic or metallic surfaces. The standard toolset can be field upgraded to the expanded version if required.

The expanded toolset also offers additional tools for applications that require more than just code reading. These include match, edge, verify and graphics tools. The Match tool is used to verify patterns such as logos or locate features on a product or package. The Edge tool is used for determining label position or alignment or to determine the number of products in a package. The Verify tool can be trained on a series of good samples in order to verify product features, such as labels or logos. It can also detect defects on labels caused by poor printing, ink stains, scuffs or tears. The Graphics tool enables text to be added to a runtime image for example to inform operators what to do in case of error.

The Boa Spot is a slimline integrated IP67 solution with flexible mounting options allowing it to be mounted in very small spaces. It provides versatile I/O for control and interfacing and built-in Ethernet factory communication protocols.

@stemmerimaging #Pauto @TeledyneDALSA

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Software dedicated solely to pharma and biotech industries.

Werum IT Solutions has released a standalone version of its PAS-X KPI software product. PAS-X KPI is the only KPI/OEE tool dedicated solely to the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. It is capable of seamlessly integrating data both from the ERP level and the machine level at the shop floor. By allowing comparisons and evaluations of operating data at production lines in different facilities, it provides an enterprise-wide, single source point of data.

“Providing significantly improved transparency on the shop floor, PAS-X KPI helps plant managers take expedient, appropriate measures to maximize production performance – all without any additional machines or operators,” says Matthias Köhler, Senior Head of Strategic Program Management, Werum IT Solutions GmbH.

“The new PAS-X KPI is easy to deploy because it is a standalone product independent from our PAS-X MES,” adds Lars Hornung, Senior Director Global Sales, Werum IT Solutions GmbH. “Very interesting for many of our customers is that we offer a trial ‘proof of concept’ installation: Pharma and biotech manufacturers can test PAS-X KPI in their own production environment for a stated term.”

Werum’s KPI/OEE tool is browser-based and supports multiple delivery methods, including site installation and enterprise cloud. It offers the option to scale up MES functionality easily, e.g. Electronic Batch Recording (EBR).

PAS-X KPI automatically collects process data related to Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) in real time. Results are displayed on various monitors in easily understandable terms to enable quick decision making. Operators and supervisors can continuously view the up-to-date status of their lines, including production goals and target achievements. Plant managers benefit from standardized reports with aggregated operating figures for analyses in larger contexts.

@WerumKarriere #PAuto

Highly reliable industrial wireless communications infrastructure.

Yokogawa has announced that it has received a Technology Award from the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers (SICE) for its achievements in the development of industrial wireless technology. The award was presented on September 22. Encouraged by this, Yokogawa will continue working to develop and popularize industrial wireless technology.

The Technology Award is in the highest rank of awards conferred by SICE. It is given in recognition of the development of a technology or methodology within the past five calendar years that represents a significant advance in any one of the science & technology fields or industries in which SICE is involved. Yokogawa received this award for the development of a Highly reliable industrial wireless communications infrastructure.

Reason for winning
• As interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, industrial wireless networks are being introduced for industrial automation applications where there is a need to improve the monitoring of production facilities. Yokogawa has greatly expanded the possibilities for wireless instrumentation by releasing the industry’s first fully duplex wireless system based on the ISA100 Wireless international standard (IEC 62734), which was developed for plant applications requiring highly reliable wireless technology. With its ability to update data every second, capability to collectively manage up to 500 devices, and dual redundant communication paths and system devices that prevent the loss of data, this wireless system achieves the high reliability required in process automation.
• Yokogawa has won this Technical Award for a paper that was presented on this subject at the SICE Annual Conference 2015, which was held last July in Hangzhou, China.

The technologies and applications covered by the IEC 62734 standard, whose formal designation is ‘Wireless systems for industrial automation: Process control and related applications,’ were specified by IEC/TC65/SC65C/WG16 based on ISA100.11a, an international wireless communications standard for industrial automation.

@YokogawaIA #PAuto #SICE #ISA100 

MES business has new leader!

James O’Brien has been appointed by Zenith Technologies to lead its manufacturing execution system (MES) business to its next phase of growth.

James O'Brien
Over the past five years, Zenith Technologies has strategically grown its MES offering globally to meet growing demand for technology-based manufacturing efficiency programs in the life science sector.

In his role as MES business unit lead, James will use his background in software development, consultancy and technology implementation to continue to develop Zenith Technologies as a world leader in the provision of MES solutions and services to the life science industry.

This company assists pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers with the implementation of MES solutions, providing on-the-ground support. James will be focused on forming further collaborations in the industry to support life science companies with the transition to MES and automated systems.

Commenting on the appointment, Jim Lehane, director at Zenith Technologies, said: “James has worked with us as a senior MES engineer for a number of years, supporting some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with global automation projects. In his new role as MES business unit lead, James will drive Zenith Technologies forward to further success in the US and Europe, leveraging our global presence, skilled engineers and world-class implementation and support services.”

James’ appointment comes as MES technology is being adopted by the life science industry at a faster rate than any other vertical market.1 To support demand, the firm recently announced a partnership with MES software provider Werum IT Solutions.

Jim continued: “It’s an exciting time for our company, as pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers are recognising the benefits of MES and adoption is increasing at a steady rate. In particular, we are experiencing increasing demand in the US market, which has led us to open two new offices in Oakland and San Diego.”

Based in Bluebell, PA, James will lead Zenith Technologies’ team of engineers in 16 offices globally to support clients with their manufacturing enterprise solution needs.

He said: “MES technology can dramatically improve productivity during manufacturing, however there are a number of challenges associated with its implementation. It is our goal to assist companies with the transition to MES systems so they can realise the benefits with minimal disruption to their operations.”

 @ZenithIre #PAuto #Pharma #USA #MES

Connecting devices wirelessly by bolt!

HMS Industrial Networks has introduced The Anybus Wireless Bolt — a wireless access point designed to be mounted on a machine or cabinet to give it wireless access via WLAN, Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy. This access makes it possible to do configuration via a regular tablet or smartphone or connect to a cloud service, realizing Industrial IoT.

“We have seen a steadily growing interest in wireless connectivity through our Anybus Wireless Bridge,” says Martin Falkman, Product Manager at HMS Industrial Networks. “Therefore, we wanted to offer machine builders a robust, industrial-grade wireless solution for on-machine mounting. The Anybus Wireless Bolt is yet another way that HMS enables customers to realize IIoT with solid and secure wireless solutions, getting them ready for the communication demands of the future.”

The unit is mounted onto a machine or cabinet (just like a bolt) to give it a robust and IP67-classed wireless interface. It is typically used for configuration purposes. For example, the Bolt makes it possible to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) such as a tablet or smartphone to a machine and use it as an HMI. Another typical use case is connecting a machine to a cloud service.

The Wireless Bolt can communicate wirelessly up to 100 meters via WLAN, Bluetooth or Bluetooth Low Energy. On the wired side, the Anybus Wireless Bolt can communicate with devices on serial (RS232/485), CAN or Ethernet. Regardless of communication method, it has the same connector (2x9p Plug Connector) for both power and communication.

@HMSAnybus #PAuto #IoT #Wireless

Ireland Section members at ISA Leaders Meeting

Delegates of the Ireland Section at the International Society of Automation (ISA) Leaders Meeting this weekend with ISA President 2016 - Jim Keaveney
From Left:  Dave O'Brien, Billy Walsh, President Jim Keaveney, Brian Curtis, John Murphy (Section President 2016-17).
ISA Leaders Meetings engage a cross-section of ISA volunteer leaders in the policy-setting and decision-making process during two to four days of work sessions focused on society business held in a face-to-face setting.

The meetings usually begins with a Kick-off Session where information about Society initiatives is shared and ends with a Wrap-up Session where key decisions are announced. All attendees should participate in the Kick Off and Wrap Up sessions.

Leadership training is integrated throughout the schedule. The meeting flow minimizes conflicts, enables cross-pollination, and provides time for discussion and networking during breaks, lunches, and receptions to strengthen relationships.

Districts are encouraged to schedule their District Leadership Conferences in conjunction with the FLM.

The next leaders meeting will be the Spring event and will be held in Raleigh, NC USA, close to the ISA World Headquarters.

The Election for new Society Leaders for 2017-2018 is being held at present. Brian Curtis of the Ireland Section has been nominated for the Position Secretary/President Elect. The vote concludes on Friday 30th September 2016 and the results will be announced shortly afterwards.

#PAuto #Ireland #ISAuto

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Filter, regulator, and lubricator (FRL).

Emerson has introduced the ASCO Numatics 651 Series filter, regulator, and lubricator (FRL) line of air preparation products. This new FRL line broadens the company's high flow-rate 650 Series family to include products with G1/8 and G1/4 port sizes.

"The 651 Series FRLs require less space and are designed to fit in compact applications and in machines that require a high volume of air," said Enrique Pelayo, ASCO European Product Marketing Manager. "With the highest flow rates for their size, these highly versatile air preparation products are ideal for packaging and other applications that require space-saving designs."

The 651 Series extended high and low temperature capabilities (-40° C to 80° C) enable them to be used in applications across a broad range of industries, including those in harsh environments. The modular FRL products are of a robust construction and are easy to assemble, mount, and position. The new manifold endplate flanges allows the maintenance engineer to remove the manifold assembly out of service without disconnecting from the piping. Front-facing, low-profile gauges are easy to read and are unique in products of this type.

@ASCOValve #PAuto @ASCO_EU 

Housing allows two modules.

Han-Modular® Twin is a new connector housing that allows two modules from the Harting Han-Modular® range to be combined in a space-saving and flexible way. The new angular housing means that the system is now easy to use as a motor connector.

In a typical configuration, the housing is fitted to the motor in place of the terminal box with the Han-Modular® Twin mounted at a 90° angle to the motor. The power connector is particularly useful for bigger motors up to 70 A.

Han-Modular® Twin can also be used as a double interface, for example combining a module for 4 × 40 A inserts and a second module for 25 signal or data contacts. This arrangement offers a new connection option for servo motors, combining one rectangular and two circular connectors. As a result, a faulty motor can be changed very quickly to reduce production down-time.

Measuring 39 × 44 mm, the Han-Modular® Twin has the appearance of a small format IP65 industrial connector. The hood is in two parts – an upper part with the cable inlet and the carrier housing underneath. This design makes it easier to fit the inserts into the hood, allowing the cable to be fitted faster and more securely. Cable-to-cable connections can also be made without additional coupling housings or special components.

@Harting, #Pauto

Monday, September 26, 2016

Upgrade helps keep energy flowing in the Philippines.

On-time, on-budget automation upgrade enhances reliability of Malampaya natural gas operation

Reliable operations are essential for the Malampaya natural gas production and processing facilities run by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX). Gas from the Malampaya field powers generating stations that provide up to 40 percent of the electricity for Luzon, the Philippines’ largest island and home to more than 48 million people.

Ron Martin - Emerson
Emerson recently upgraded automation technology to improve the reliability of the Malampaya operation, and by finishing the work ahead of schedule helped SPEX restore the supply of gas as planned so the Philippines would benefit from the continued use of reliable and cleaner-burning natural gas to power its economy.

As part of the automation upgrade, Emerson specialists helped SPEX execute a planned upgrade to address the impending obsolescence of the safety system on its onshore gas processing facility and a planned upgrade of the control systems, networks, and valve equipment on its offshore production platform. Emerson experts worked closely with SPEX in planning the changes to ensure the shortest possible downtime, as well as the safety of more than 75 workers who would be involved.

“The Emerson team helped us complete the work without any safety or environmental incident, on time, and with the right quality,” said Bonifacio Lapuz, Turnaround Manager, who managed the project for SPEX.

Safety and operational performance at Malampaya also won recognition for SPEX as Shell’s Upstream Asset of the Year. “Our success reflects the collaboration of everyone involved,” noted SPEX managing director, Sebastian Quiniones. “Everyone worked as a team.”

Emerson has provided automation technologies and services for the Malampaya operation since its inception more than 15 years ago.

“We understand Malampaya’s importance, and we knew there was no room for cost, schedule, or technical risk,” said Ron Martin, president Asia Pacific, Emerson Automation Solutions. “But with our technologies and the project tools and expertise we’ve developed and proven on hundreds of similar jobs, we were able to deliver a reliable, on-time solution with the certainty SPEX and its customers needed.”

@EmersonProcess #PAuto #Gas

Development of new gas detection technologies.

Edinburgh Sensors, has a worldwide reputation for high performance gas sensing solutions which is built on 40 years of experience. A dedicated R&D team focuses on the development of new technologies, pushing the boundaries for gas detection.

Changes in global consumer patterns create new requirements for gas detection and the path to new gas detection solutions can be challenging. We work closely with our customers to find solutions for their current needs. The new 0-100% CO2 Gascard NG+ has been developed in co-operation with one of our customers who required an alternative performance specification to the standard Gascard NG, specifically reduced response time and noise. By compromising with the long term stability and drift we were able to modify the optical system used in our 100% CO2 product.

We are always working on new sensors and gas ranges; if you can’t see your particular specification listed among our standard products our technical team would be delighted to hear from you to discuss your target gas and concentration requirements.

@Edinst #Pauto #Sensors

Sunday, September 25, 2016

ATEX inspection tools for hire!

Responding to increased market demand for equipment that is certified for use in potentially explosive environments (ATEX), Ashtead Technology has become one of the first rental companies to heavily invest in the latest ATEX certified remote control crawlers and push-rod cameras.

“We have received a large number of requests for these specialised systems in recent months from a wide range of customers,” says Ashtead’s Sales Manager, Jay Neermul. “Increasingly, drain inspection and remediation contractors are being required to offer services in potentially explosive atmospheres so we have expanded the fleet to include a selection of camera systems for both zone 1 and zone 2 operation.”
The new purchases include multiple units of the latest inspection equipment such as EX versions of the iPEK Rovion Crawler and the iPEK Agilios Push Rod Camera, which are both Zone 1 certified. The camera on the Rovion crawler has a 10x optical zoom for clearer images and produces high-quality PAL video, and both sides of the powerful 6-wheel-drive can be controlled independently. The Agilios push rod camera also offers advanced features; with high pipe-bend mobility, it has an operating range of up to 90m and is suitable for inspections starting at a diameter of just 52mm (house laterals). It also has LED lighting, a high quality, robust, axial camera, and a constantly upright picture.

The Zone 2 certified Minicam Proteus crawler has also been added to the fleet. Engineered, built and tested for safe use in some of the most dangerous situations, without compromising on any of the features of other Proteus crawlers, the ATEX version makes working in explosion-risk environments much easier and safer than alternative methods.

Summarising the justification for this investment, James Carlyle, General Manager says: “By adding this technology to our rental fleet we are enabling our clients to bid on a wider range of projects, confident in the knowledge that they have access to all the necessary technologies without the capital cost of ownership – put simply, we invest in this equipment so that our customers don’t have to.”

@ashteadtech  #PAuto