Friday, May 11, 2018

Keeping up with Cybersecurity.

Last year, Automation.com introduced the first of the Cybersecurity series of Advancing Automation eBooks. Unfortunately, during that intervening time cyber threats have continued to evolve and even the biggest businesses are struggling to cope. Big names like Facebook, Equifax and Yahoo have all experienced breeches over the last year.

That’s why they have now compiled a new edition of their Cybersecurity eBook, working with leaders, both new and old, to deliver the necessary information needed to ensure the strongest possible safeguards for any facility and facilitate future planning to keep one step ahead of the next cyberattack.

@automation_com  #PAuto #ISAuto

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Second generation bridges!

A new range of Anybus .NET Bridges for PROFIBUS, PROFINET, EtherCAT and EtherNet/IP has been introduced by HMS Industrial Networks. Bridging the gap between Operational Technology (OT) and IT, the .NET bridge family enables data from industrial machinery to be presented to .NET-based IT applications. The result is that .NET programmers can build a PC program which exchanges live data with a PLC system — for statistics, analysis or maintenance.
“This is the second generation of our .NET bridges,” says James Kime, Product Manager for Anybus gateways. “The existing versions for PROFINET and PROFIBUS have been updated with new functionality, and we can now also offer connectivity to EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT. The .NET Bridges are truly ‘edge gateways’ in the sense that they establish a bridge between IT and OT. IT programmers get access to data from industrial machinery, while PLC programmers can rest assured that the data access does not interfere with their critical industrial applications and systems.”

The basic prerequisite for Industrial IoT is that IT systems get access to data from industrial applications. However, the fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks of the factory floor are designed for real-time communication – by default separated from the IT-infrastructure. The Anybus .NET Bridges address this situation by acting as translators between OT and IT — sending and receiving data between the factory networks and IT platforms using .NET as a framework.

The communication is set up in a couple of minutes and the .NET Bridges are therefore a very fast way to realize IIoT.

Thanks to the data bridging capabilities of the Anybus .NET Bridges, IT systems get unprecedented access to real-time data from the factory floor which enables predictive maintenance, KPI-follow-up, machine analytics, data mining, big data processing, production statistics and much more – without interfering with the industrial processes.

The solution can be used for a wide range of use cases, from simple transfer of KPI values, advanced messages with structured data types, or ultra-fast transfer of I/O data for “big data.”

The information exchange between the OT and IT is defined in a spreadsheet template which defines how the data is mapped, tagged and presented to IT-applications. The spreadsheet is uploaded to the HMS code generator which automatically creates a customized high- level C# API (events and Post methods) that is easy to integrate directly into a .NET application. It also generates a customized GSDML or XML file for the PLC.

@HMSAnybus #PAuto #IIoT @hmsnetworks

Load cells under water.

The EPICTidal Team consisting of Lab-Sea-Systems Dr Florent Trarieux, Cranfield University’s Dr Joao Amaral-Teixeira and Nick Barlow, Managing Director of Designcraft Ltd (Blade designer and manufacturer) wanted to know the performance implications of employing lower cost methods for the manufacture of large scale tidal turbine rotors. Lowering the cost of rotor blade manufacture would make this renewable energy more economical to use and widely accessible, benefiting all tidal energy markets throughout the world.

To assess the rotor blade performance they developed a submersible tidal turbine test rig incorporating 2 x DDEN load cells from Applied Measurements. The rotor blade design to be tested was coupled to the tidal turbine test rig and placed in a state-of-the-art test tank, where the team were able to increase the size, flow rate and turbulence levels within the tank. The first DDEN load cell measured the torque and the other measured the thrust of the tidal rotor design.

“The DDEN were ideal to use in this application as they are fully submersible up to 10 metres” explained Bob Davies, Applied Measurements’ Production Director.

The DDEN in-line submersible load cells are low profile and very compact and designed to measure both tension and compression underwater. They come with an IP68 rating and are sealed using ‘O’ rings to guarantee integrity during long term submersion. Their IP68 rating and ‘O’ ring sealing makes them ideal to use underwater or in areas at risk of flooding. The DDEN submersible load cell comes in capacities from 0-250N up to 50kN with customised capacities, threads and dimensions on request, as well as versions rated to greater submersion depths in seawater, oil and other more aggressive media.

For this submersible application the DDEN load cells were fitted with 10 metres of submersible 4-core screened polyurethane cable for complete submersible protection underwater. They have a guaranteed accuracy to <±0.15% of the rated capacity (0.05% typical) enabling precise thrust and torque blade measurements which was crucial to this renewable energy application.

A small ICA6H amplifier was fitted within the bodies of both the DDEN submersible load cells. At only 19mm diameter this amplifier is ideal for fitting inside the body of a load cell. An ICA6H amplifier was used in this application so it could easily fit within the load cell, maintaining the submersible protection needed for underwater testing. The ICA6H load cell amplifier delivered a high-level ±10Vdc analogue output, for use with their data acquisition and control systems.

Other outputs are available for the DDEN including 0-5Vdc, 0-10Vdc or 4-20mA, which can be used with many data acquisition and control systems. For a digital output, a DCell load cell digitiser can be used instead of an ICA to deliver a RS485 digital output.

@AppMeas #Pauto 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

High precision hygrometers.

Michell Instruments has launched its upgraded S8000 chilled mirror hygrometer range to maintain its position as the world’s most popular and cost-effective family of industrial chilled mirror hygrometers. The first of the new instruments released in April 2018 were the S8000 RS and S8000 Remote. The very popular mid-range S8000 Integrale is due to be released in May.

The chilled mirror hygrometers from Michell cover a dew-point range from -100°C dp to +120°C dp, using both integral and remote sensors. The remote sensors can survive environmental temperatures up to +120°C, so can often be positioned directly at the point of interest.

The all-new S8000 series instruments now use the same intuitive, touch-screen HMI, making it easier to use and configure. For multi-instrument users, the common interface makes it simple to switch between models – which is a key feature for many operators. A complete range of communication options are now available on all models, giving the option of USB, Ethernet, RS232 or RS485 to take the hassle out of establishing connectivity with your system. All models feature data logging to SD card as standard for convenient standalone operation.

The cases have also been updated to a fresh, easy to clean surface and distraction-free look.

These high-precision instruments use the fundamental chilled mirror principle to ensure reliable and drift-free measurements of dew-point. The S8000 RS is a real ‘work-horse’, with an accuracy of ±0.1°C dew point, which can measure dew points down to -90°C with no need for additional cooling. Typical applications range from use as a calibration reference, to industrial settings where precise control of humidity is critical, such as semi-conductor manufacture.

The S8000 Remote combines high accuracy with a remote sensor for measuring directly in the process. Typical applications include environmental chamber verification, pharmaceutical manufacture or as a National Measurement Institute traceable precision reference tool for field calibrations.

• Michell instruments are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology.


 @Michell_Inst #PAuto 

Deployed systems management.

National Instruments (NI) has announced SystemLink, application software for distributed systems management. SystemLink helps improve operational efficiency and decrease maintenance costs through a centralized interface for automating tasks such as software deployment, remote device configuration and system health performance monitoring.

Trends like the Industrial Internet of Things, 5G and the electrification of vehicles, coupled with existing realities like maintaining distributed legacy systems, are inspiring companies to seek new approaches to systems management. The push towards connected and centrally coordinated systems has transformed theories and pilot projects into large-scale, distributed deployments with impactful business returns. Companies derive these returns from the actionable, data-driven insights that help them maximize uptime, increase efficiency and drive future product innovation. At the same time, companies need to balance their adoption of new, connected technologies while preserving support for valuable legacy assets with long life cycles.

Systems that manage, maintain and extract insight from small-scale pilots or groups of systems are relatively straightforward to implement. However, attention now shifts toward the next challenge, which is scaling and managing large deployments, varying life cycle stages and distributed testers and nodes across entire plants, fabs and factories. This challenge includes tasks like remote software and system configuration as well as data management and performance monitoring, and applies to industries such as aerospace and defense, transportation and manufacturing.

SystemLink enables engineers to connect, deploy, and manage distributed systems, both NI and third-party, through a centralized interface accessible from anywhere, making it possible for them to remotely configure and deploy software, monitor the health and performance of their equipment, manage alarms, and visualize application parameters. Additionally, engineers can automate the communication of data to customer-defined dashboards and remote operator interfaces.

“SystemLink substantially reduces the administration time necessary to deploy software and manage configurations on test systems,” said Daniel Huang, head of testing technology at Siemens AG. “This enables our engineering teams to focus on higher value tasks.”

To meet demands like testing higher complexity DUTs and shorter timeframes, engineers need tools tailored to their needs that they can efficiently use through their workflow, helping them to meet their exact application requirements. SystemLink is the latest addition to NI’s software-centric platform that features products tailored to needs within distinct stages of their workflow – products that have been adopted in whole or in part by more than 300,000 active users. With LabVIEW engineering system design software at its core and TestStand test management software handling overall execution, this workflow helps to improve the productivity of test and validation labs across many industries. Each piece of the workflow is also interoperable with third-party software to maximize code/IP reuse and draws on the LabVIEW Tools Network ecosystem of add-ons and tools for more application-specific requirements.

@NIukie #PAuto #IIoT

Partnership to battle cybersecurity!

Wunderlich-Malec and Bedrock Automation are partnering to deliver automation solutions that address 21st century cyber threats while simultaneously delivering powerful and affordable edge control solutions. Wunderlich-Malec will deliver Bedrock OSA from its 32 U.S. locations.

“Every day, there are new disclosures about cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities in the digital systems that run our factories and critical infrastructure. Although many companies have strengthened the resiliency of their networks, their control systems continue to utilize outdated technologies that were not designed to protect users against the types of cyber-attacks we are seeing today,” said Mike Norman, Vice President Operations, Wunderlich-Malec.

Bedrock’s award-winning control systems combine standards-based control and embedded security with industrial hardness and state of the art edge control. Bedrock products mitigate cyber security vulnerabilities from the inside out, in a way that legacy control systems can’t. With over 30 different cyber security technologies intrinsically embedded in every system module, the Bedrock® OSA protects against the vulnerabilities and malware affecting all aspects of automation including controllers, power modules, SCADA networks, process sensors, and actuators.

The Bedrock® platform is scalable from RTU and mini PLC applications requiring as few as ten I/O to large DCS projects involving thousands of I/O points. Bedrock’s free IEC-61131 system engineering tools give Wunderlich-Malec’s engineers additional flexibility to meet clients’ control and cyber security needs at lower costs.

“Wunderlich-Malec has a keen understanding of the cyber security threat and extensive experience in open enterprise integration. We welcome them to the Bedrock community and look forward to working together on these important projects,” said Bedrock Automation founder and CEO Albert Rooyakkers.


#cybersecurity #PAuto @BedrockAuto @WunderlichMalec

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Comprehensive & practical automation.

There are a few publications which can be relied upon as "Bibles" of the automation sector and this is one of them. It is always important that the knowledge contained in them reflects the current state of industry and technology. As one of the editors said, "the book is particularly valuable to automation professionals early in their careers "

The third edition of A Guide to the Automation Body of Knowledge, a comprehensive, yet practical overview of the essential concepts and processes in industrial automation and the skills required to master them, has been issued by the International Society of Automation (ISA).

Editors Nicholas P. Sands (Left) and Ian Verhappen
This new release has been updated to reflect the continuing evolution of digital technologies and their impact on automation processes as well as new automation standards in such areas as alarm management, HMI design and operational technology cybersecurity.

The book’s co-editors Nicholas P. Sands, PE, CAP®, Senior Manufacturing Technology Fellow at DuPont and Ian Verhappen, P.Eng., CAP®, Senior Project Manager at CIMA+ - are ISA Fellows who bring decades of collective expertise and experience in automation standards development, automation competency, safety instrumented systems, alarm management, process safety and industrial communications networks. The ISA has been indeed fortunate to find such competant sucessors to the late great Vernon L. Trevathan whose precise work in the field was reflected in his editorship of previous editions. 

“Though much of the content of this guide covers the fundamentals of the automation profession, automation is a dynamic field of practice that continues to change through new technologies and practices. That’s why it was important to introduce this new edition,” says Verhappen. “The value of the book remains the same, however, as it serves as a highly applicable, condensed reference guide to established automation principles and practices.”

Given its easy-to-follow, plainly written format and approach, Sands says the book is particularly valuable to automation professionals early in their careers as well as to other practitioners in the field needing a “refresher” on certain topics.

• The guide is also consistent with the Automation Competency Model - which defines the core skills and knowledge needed to succeed as an automation professional - and relied upon as a study guide for those seeking to gain ISA Certified Automation Professional ® (CAP®) certification.

#PAuto #ISAuto

App-based industrial cameras.

Vision App-based industrial cameras have the potential to permanently change industrial image processing. A single IDS NXT camera can solve a wide variety of image processing tasks. For this purpose, users can even develop their own vision apps.

IDS Imaging is now launching a new IDS NXT vegas model with a 1.3 MP CMOS colour sensor and is also equipping both the colour and mono versions with more powerful LEDs. With the product market launch, the company will also release new firmware, and a new cockpit for configuring the camera from a PC.

IDS NXT combines the advantages of app-based devices as multifunctional tools, as we know them from smartphones in our everyday life, with the requirements of modern industrial cameras. The result is a new generation of devices that can be flexibly configured and used for a wide variety of tasks. Its latest member is IDS NXT vegas with a 1.3 megapixel CMOS colour sensor from e2v, which enables users to solve image processing tasks that require colour recognition.

The small, lightweight (185 g) colour version has a liquid lens with autofocus, a ToF ("Time of Flight") sensor for distance measurement, integrated lighting, and many other features. Users benefit from the same advantages that the mono version offers – such as PC-independent data processing thanks to an integrated CPU and a robust, vibration-resistant housing with IP65 protection.

Both mono and colour models will be delivered with higher-intensity LEDs, which enable the best results to be obtained even under difficult lighting conditions. The already enormous light intensity can be increased even further by using a newly integrated "high-power mode". This is automatically preset for trigger operation and ensures that the LEDs are briefly operated at higher than normal current. This results in brighter, more brilliant images.

IDS has not only further developed the camera family, but is also launching new firmware 1.2. For example, users can now set a live image to be mirrored horizontally or vertically in the sensor before processing. This is done without any loss of CPU performance. This function is useful, for example, if the camera views the object to be examined via a mirror. In addition to other operating functions, IDS has also integrated new system messages, such as a warning function that can be activated via the REST interface. This informs the user if no new trigger signal has been received after a defined time.

The IDS NXT Cockpit, which serves as a PC application for configuring the innovative industrial cameras, has also been further developed. New features such as Auto White Balance and Colour Gain configuration allow users to adjust the image to the particular imaging conditions. In addition to German and English, a French version of the cockpit is now available; others will follow.

@IDS_Imaging #PAuto

Smallest handheld tester for 5G mobile networks.

The latest firmware release for Anritsu Corporation's Network Master Pro MT1000A make it the world’s smallest-in-class handheld tester supporting 100 Gbps with eCPRI/RoE and high-accuracy delay measurement functions. The upgraded MT1000A with strengthened functions for 5G mobile networks will support the measurement needs of mobile operators and network installation companies, and help with the early and easy deployment of high-speed networks.

5G communications networks supporting various advanced requirements, such as ultra-fast speeds, very high reliability and low latency as well as multiple simultaneous connections, are now being investigated. As a result of this, not only are new wireless technologies such as beamforming and mmWave being adopted, but there are also new wired network architectures being deployed. For example, the CPRI base station interface deployed since the 3G era is being extended to Ethernet-based eCPRI/RoE. However, since Ethernet is a best-effort technology, network latency times demand very strict management, while 5G requires many more base stations because it uses high frequency radio bands such as mmWave that do not propagate over long distances and each base station is synchronized using PTP technology.

The newly announced MT1000A eCPRI/RoE and high-accuracy delay measurement functions are critical technologies for measuring throughput and latency and performing high-accuracy time synchronization tests during the Installation and Maintenance (I&M) of 5G mobile networks carrying eCPRI/RoE traffic. Anritsu’s MT1000A has a proven track record as a reliable tester for 10G, 25G, and 100G Metro, Access and Mobile networks and this new firmware update adding support for eCPRI/RoE traffic with high-accuracy latency measurements has been developed as an effective solution to meet future measurement requirements.

The Network Master Pro MT1000A is a portable handheld tester for evaluating the transmission quality of different communications networks operating at speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps. In addition to supporting RFC2544, Y.1564 and many other network evaluation test standards, it also supports Sync-E and IEEE 1588v2 tests. When combined with the optional High-Performance GPS Disciplined Oscillator MU100090A, it offers support for time synchronization tests based on GPS time data as well as high-accuracy one-way latency measurements between two remote MT1000A units.

@AnritsuEMEA  #TandM

Monday, May 7, 2018

Exit for Automation Insider - well not quite!

Industrial Automation Insider publishes final issue!

The editorial in the latest issue on Industrial Automation Insider is (we think) somewhat sad. Walt Boyes writes


"Well, this is it.

This is the last issue of the INSIDER. When David Spitzer and I bought the INSIDER in 2014 we hoped to find a market for news and analysis in the automation industries that was not influenced by advertising spend. We believed there was such a market, and we decided we would keep the INSIDER a subscription only publication. We are proud to have provided you news untainted by advertising dollars.

We believe that we have produced great news, some interesting scoops (that’s hard to do in a monthly magazine) and some hard-hitting deep analysis. We have gotten feedback to the effect that we are unique, and we are doing a service to the industry that is needed. But everything comes to an end. 

We want to thank our readers and subscribers for supporting us these last years."

So much water has flowed under so many bridges since Andrew Bond first put pen to paper and produced the first beige coloured edition way back in pre pdf day. He then passed the torch on to Nick Denbow who continued the good work. Some years ago it crossed the Atlantic when Walt Boyes of Boyes & Spitzer took up the mantle. It perhaps lost a little of its European flavour in the transition but it never ceased to be interesting and sometimes controversial.

Like so many print and distributed periodicals the easily availability of news "as it happens" (not to mention the news that hasn't happened) the number of people who actually read these in their oh-so-busy mailboxes must shrink. Insider,and indeed our own publication Read-out, have suffered.   The Read-out name is preserved as a constantly changing news presence on continually updated website.

Walt thanks his co-writers David Spitzer, Joy Ward, Rajabahadur Arcot, Nick Denbow and all of the other people who supported the INSIDER over the past few years. He also promises that they will continue continue to appear, from time to time, "in our blog on the Spitzer & Boyes website."

David W Spitzer's own e-zine - which provides technical and indeed marketing, information for automation professional bay email each month - will continue to be produced. (Get your copy each month by signing up on the website.)

We wish those involved in the monthly production of Insider every success as they continue to provide news and analysis in the automation industries but in a different way. We thank Walt and his team for great - and perhaps irreplaceable - service through the years.

#PAuto @waltboyes @DavidWSpitzer @Processingtalk 

Energy-saving medical power supply with high power density.

The new BEO-3000M AC/DC switching power supply series from Bicker Elektronik was developed for space-saving installation in medical devices and medical computer systems. The 3x5" open frame power supplies are available with precisely regulated DC single output voltages of 12 V, 24 V, 36 V or 48 V, which can be fine tuned in the range of ±5%. In addition, a 5 V standby and a 12 V fan output is available.

The particularly high quality and robust built medical power supplies for reliable 24/7 continuous operation provide an output power of 250 watts fanless or 300 watts with 10 CFM airflow. With a high efficiency of up to 94%, a standby power consumption of less than 0.3 W and an operating temperature range of -40°C to +70°C, the BEO-3000M series is also convincing in closed systems. For international use, the medical switching power supplies have a wide-range input (90 to 264 VAC at 47 to 63 Hz) with active PFC power factor correction. With a high isolation voltage of 6516 VDC between input and output, the BEO-3000M series complies with the medical safety standard 2xMOPP (Means Of Patient Protection) and has international medical safety approvals: IEC60601-1:2005+A1:2012 (Edition 3.1), EN60601-1:2006+A1:2013 (Edition 3.1), ANSI/AAMI ES60601-1:2005 (3rd Edition).

The BEO-3000M series comes standard with short circuit and overtemperature protection with auto-recovery and over-voltage protection with shutdown, as well as a remote sense function to compensate voltage drops on the output lines to the load. No base load is required at the outputs, so latest-generation mainboards (Skylake / Kaby Lake / Coffee Lake / Gemini Lake) with their special power-saving modes can be safely supplied. For operation of medical computer systems, the BEO-3000M power supplies also have ATX-compatible PSON and PG / PowerGood signal ports.

In addition to the long-term availability of at least 5 years Bicker Elektronik grants a warranty of 3 years on the power supply series BEO-3000M. In addition, the power supply specialist offers suitable accessories such as the two AC input cables X1-054 (2-pin) and CB-105-3-600 (3-pin), the IEC connector filter PSZ-1019-B1 incl. cable and ferrite as well product specific connection cable set PSZ-1035.

@bicker_de #Medical