Friday, July 26, 2019

How does your salary compare?

It's that time of year again when Automation.com, ISA and InTech survey automation professionals about salary and career information.

To see how your salary and company compare to others in the industry, please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

As an incentive for your participation, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of five US$50 Visa gift cards. Please take about 5 minutes to complete this important survey.

These answers are COMPLETELY CONFIDENTIAL. 

Results will be published in the Autumn issues of InTech and Automation Insights e-Newsletter.


 @automation_com #PAuto  @ISA_Interchange

Connections in metal casting production facilities.

Harting’s Han® High Temp connectors are being used in metal die-casting production systems to minimise adverse environmental effects and reduce maintenance and service periods, line downtime and hence operating costs.

Metal casting manufacturers are continually looking at ways to reduce environmental damaging emissions from their production process to satisfy increasingly more stringent environmental regulations and minimise resultant air pollutants.

For example, in order to produce metal cast automotive engine component parts, sand is typically used with a mixture of organic binders as an important constituent part of the casting process. During this high-temperature process these organic binders can lead to the release of hazardous levels of air pollutants.

To reduce the level of these pollutants there has been a move in the industry to apply certain types of inorganic binder materials mixed with sand. Such a change also requires slight modification to the die-cast tooling and the applied processes. This has involved adjustment to the applied electrical heating processes to the tools. As a direct consequence, higher temperature levels are reached which have a detrimental impact on the life of such tools based on the limited operating temperature range of the electrical interface connections.

Using Harting’s new Han® range of high-temperature connectors can help to reduce this negative impact condition and maximise the lifetime of the electrically heated metal sand casting tools. This, in turn, supports the trend to a significant reduction in the environmental impact of the metal die casting production process. As such, it reduces potential tooling maintenance and service periods, line downtime and hence operating costs.

New sealing materials
For example, bulkhead-side connector seals must not melt or adhere to other integrated component parts over the full operating temperature range. Consequently, Harting has opted for a non-stick coated high-temperature-resistant rubber version, which avoids bonding between the hood and housing even if they are left mated for a number of years.

Many of the hood and housing coatings and lacquers available on the market are not suitable for long-term use at high temperatures as they can cause melting, which can in turn lead to mated parts sticking together. Thanks to the application of a special surface treatment of the aluminium die-cast hoods and housings, Harting has been able to dispense with any potentially detrimental additional protective coating finish.

The insulating body and contacts must withstand both the high ambient conditions of the location and the additional heat generated inside the housing when under mated load. Harting has selected high-temperature-resistant copper alloy contacts that maintain constant electrical properties when heated. In addition, high-temperature LCP plastic insulators ensure long service life.

As a result of the above-mentioned features, Harting’s Han® High Temp connectors are able to permanently withstand operating ambient conditions of +200°C, providing extended operating lifetimes and ensuring reduced line downtime compared to alternative solutions.

@HARTING_Group #PAuto @ArmitageComm

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Suppliers honoured.

Analog Devices (ADI) recently hosted its inaugural Supplier Day event to honour and recognise its suppliers. Held in Boston (MASS USA), the event brought together 100 of the semiconductor company’s top suppliers for a day of recognition, celebration and relationship building. A total of 18 awards were presented for outstanding performance and contributions.
National Instruments CEO Alex Davern (centre) accepts the Supplier of the Year Award from John Hassett (right), Senior Vice President Global Operations and Technology at Analog Devices. Also in pic is Kevin Bisking, Global Account Manager for NI.
The first event of its size and scope for ADI, Supplier Day 2019 was hosted by John Hassett, Senior Vice President Global Operations and Technology at ADI, alongside key leaders from the Global Operations and Technology group. In his opening address, Hassett shared ADI’s business strategy and its impact on the supply chain, and discussed the challenges the company faces as it continues to strengthen its core business while extending its value.

“Each of our suppliers plays a critical role in ADI’s overall strategy by offering differentiated, reliable and cost-effective solutions,” said Hassett. “This year we’ve recognised a number of our supplier partners, who have individually and collectively done a tremendous job of enabling ADI’s strategic objectives and providing outstanding support to our team as we compete, thrive and grow as a solutions company to stay ahead of what’s possible.”

The awards recognised excellence across five categories, including Quality, Delivery, Service/Responsiveness, New Product Time to Revenue and Corporate Social Responsibility. National Instruments Corp. was awarded Supplier of the Year for its exceptional performance in the development and delivery of innovative test equipment and solutions, supporting test for many of ADI’s existing and emerging product requirements.

The Awardees:

Supplier of the Year
National Instruments Corp.

Top Performer Contracted Manufacturing – Front End
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

Top Performer Contracted Manufacturing – Back End
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc.

Top Performer Equipment & Services – Front End
Evatec AG

Top Performer Equipment & Services – Back End
National Instruments Corp.

Top Performer Materials – Front End
GlobalWafers Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Top Performer Materials – Back End
C-Pak Pte Ltd.

Outstanding Support for ADI/LTC Integration
United Test & Assembly Center, Ltd.

Outstanding Support for ADI/LTC Integration
Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp.

Best in Quality – Established Supplier
Tokyo Electron, Ltd.

Best in Quality – Niche / Developing Supplier
Chipbond Technology Corp.

Best in Delivery – Established Supplier
Coilcraft, Inc.

Best in Delivery – Niche / Developing Supplier
ASTI Telford and Reel Service Group

Best in Service & Responsiveness – Established Supplier
ASM Pacific Technology, Ltd.

Best in Service & Responsiveness – Niche / Developing Supplier
Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp.

Best in New Product Support – Established Supplier
Photronics, Inc.

Best in New Product Support – Niche / Developing Supplier
Compass Technology, Inc.

Corporate Social Responsibility Award
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd.


 @ADI_News #Semiconductors #USA

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Touch switch!

A new touch operated sensor launched by Omron Electronic Components Europe is a drop-in replacement for a mechanical switch, but delivers all of the reliability and flexibility of touch.
Capacitive touch sensors deliver a great many benefits in terms of longevity and user-friendliness, but usually require careful work at the design stage and proper set up to ensure that they work reliably in the application. By contrast, mechanical switches are very simple to design in and assemble. The new Omron W7ED touch sensor combines the simplicity of a mechanical switch with the enhanced performance and flexibility of touch control.

Suitable for almost any application in which a mechanical switch is currently used, the W7ED is just fastened to the touch electrode with a screw. It reliably detects the capacitance change brought about by the presence of a finger without the need to design or incorporate a control PCB or to perform sensitivity adjustments. There are no moving parts to wear out.

Gabriele Fulco, European Product Marketing Manager, Sensors at Omron said, “With the W7ED we truly are giving control panel designers the best of both worlds. They can eliminate moving parts and the contact wear associated with mechanical switches without going through the somewhat laborious process of designing in a touch sensor and setting it up. This is an ideal solution for a great many applications – but especially useful in environments from domestic kitchens to industrial and R&D applications including elevators where the control panel is exposed to fluids and other contaminants.”

The Omron W7ED can be operated from a supply of 5-15V DC. The maximum output current is 10mA.

@OmronEurope #Electronics @NeeshamPR

Hot spots in London!

As London is featuring in the news headlines these last few days it is interesting to read something about air quality in this great metropolis.

AQMesh pod in London
From today detailed information on the city's air pollution will be published on breathelondon.org, the website for a new collaborative project to paint a clearer picture of London’s air quality. The readings are being provided by a network of AQMesh air quality monitoring pods supplied and installed by Air Monitors, part of the ACOEM Group.

The AQMesh pods are stationary – mostly mounted discreetly on lamp posts, but the pod data is being supplemented by measurements from instruments that have been installed by Air Monitors in two Google Street View Cars, as they travel the city’s streets.

Visitors to the Breathe London website will be able to view almost live data (within an hour) on nitrogen dioxide; one of the urban pollutants of greatest concern.

“This is a major step forward,” says Felicity Sharp, Air Monitors Managing Director. “The availability of highly localised air quality data is critical to the empowerment of citizens so that they can make choices that affect the quality of the air they breathe.

“In the past, air quality data has not been sufficiently local to allow most citizens to change the way they live their lives, but with the benefit of this website they will be able to choose where they want to walk, run, play, go to school or even buy a house.

“The data will also help to raise awareness and thereby encourage citizens to choose more environmentally friendly transport modes, particularly in pollution hotspots.

“Importantly, the data will also help national and local government to assess the effectiveness of air quality improvement measures. So this is great news for London, and we hope that it will be replicated in similar smart city projects around the world.”


@airmonitors #Environment @_Enviro_News

Protecting against sophisticated cyber attacks.

The global economy is at a critical junction, compelled by the imperative to take advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). But an increasingly digitalized world has also increased the risk of mega attacks against critical infrastructure, which threaten to affect operations, create financial losses, and even put lives at risk.

As these physical and digital worlds converge, the reality of more frequent and sophisticated industrial cyber attacks makes evident that the operational technology (OT) cyber threat has become greater than the information technology (IT) threats.

Siemens and the International Society of Automation (ISA) have partnered to create this guide to provide oil and gas professionals at every level a starting point to prepare for potential OT cyber threats while still reaping the benefits of digitalization.

Contents include:

• The State of Cybersecurity in the Oil & Gas Industry: United States
• Industrial Cybersecurity for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
• What Executives Need to Know About Industrial Control Systems
• Assessing the Cyber Readiness of the Middle East’s Oil and Gas Sector

@ISA_Interchange @Siemens @PonemonPrivacy

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Consolidation testing of soils.

ELE International has launched the AUTO Soils Consolidator (ASC), which is the company’s latest addition to the ELE Soiltest PRO range of advanced soils testing equipment.

“By automating the test, we can create new levels of accuracy and reliability in the test results,” says ELE MD Tony Power. “However, a key benefit is that staff are freed for other duties which saves time and money.”

Compressible soils can be subject to long-term consolidation under the loads imposed by foundations and above ground structures, so the one-dimensional consolidation test (Oedometer) is vitally important for many construction projects. Traditional test methods involve manual changes to the loading of suspended weights; often 4 or 5 times, but ELE’s new ASC completely automates the process without the need for a compressor. This means that load resolution is maintained across the full 15kN range.

The ASC is also able to incorporate two external manual consolidation frames, which is a major advantage for laboratories wishing to upgrade their consolidation test capability, without making their manual frames redundant. This will also be useful for educational laboratories needing to demonstrate first principles as well as the latest technology.

The ASC features a large splash proof colour touchscreen which provides tabular displays of logs and calculations, as well as user-defined tables, with on-screen T50 and T90 values.

The ASC has been launched alongside the latest version of ELE’s DataSystem soil test management software (DS8) which is loaded with the latest BS, ISO and ASTM standards. With Ethernet connectivity, DS8 is able to manage up to 16 machines simultaneously, so with a small footprint it is simple to set up and run a comprehensive geotechnical testing facility in a small laboratory. This connectivity also enables users to monitor tests remotely 24/7, and provides an opportunity for remote service diagnostics.

Real-time graphical outputs are available in the DS8 software, and operators now have the ability to make changes to tests as they proceed; target loads for subsequent stages can now be changed after a test has started, without having to restart the test from the beginning.

The reporting capability of DS8 has been significantly expanded over previous versions. For example, users now have the ability to select consolidation plots to be included in the report, and templates can be slightly modified with results presented in an editable pdf format.

Summarising, Tony Power says: “This is great news for soils testing laboratories. The launch of the ASC will substantially improve the efficiency of testing, and the new DS8 geotechnical software will improve the management of a wide variety of tests.

“The ASC is the first in the series of new products in our ELE Soiltest PRO range and I look forward to announcing further launches in the coming months.”


@ELE_int #Environment @_Enviro_News 

Surface defect identification.

AMETEK Surface Vision offers a precise and accurate method of detecting key surface defects of interest, utilising a new color classification option available in Surface Vision’s industry-leading SmartView® defect inspection system.

“Customers are looking for a dependable, accurate defect detection solution, particularly as market drivers focus increasingly on packaging and materials that need to be safe or sterile,” said Satoshi Suzuki, Director of Sales - Japan, AMETEK Surface Vision. “It’s important to them that contaminants are detected quickly and accurately, and SmartView is able to deliver the detailed real-time results that maintain their quality, reduce wastage and maximize uptime.”

Claimed to be the most advanced surface inspection platform available, SmartView combines powerful software, linescan camera technology, high-intensity lighting and industry-leading engineering for trusted automatic defect detection. Color classification extends SmartView’s abilities by enabling the recognition of common contaminants in the production process, particularly blood, oil spots, water spots and dirt: substances that, even in minute traces, can compromise the quality of food or medical grade materials.

SmartView’s color functionality works by identifying, cross-checking and classifying a specific defect through a color feature set integrated into SmartView’s comprehensive defect libraries. By classifying and distinguishing each defect, users are supported in making production decisions that maintain high product quality and improve productivity. For example, as SmartView is able to distinguish water drops from oil spots, users can improve winder operation efficiency, as the ability to dry water drops later in the process means the paper does not need to be stopped at the winder.

Users get the immediate benefits of SmartView’s SmartLearn functionality, which provides an advanced classification solution that classifies easily distinguishable defects, with real-time results at any production speed. Unlike systems that require the user to set the parameters manually by building a manual classification table, SmartLearn’s patented automatic multi-step classification technology enables much quicker start-ups.

SmartView’s color option is applicable in manufacturing light coated papers; food package grade paper; fine and light coated paper used in magazine printing and office copying; coated board for high grade packaging; and nonwoven materials such as medical cloth.

SmartView’s color functionality is fully compatible with the most recent iterations of the software.

@surfacevision #PAuto

Powerful IoT sensor solutions.

Sensera has signed a global agreement with Arrow Electronics, Inc. to distribute its high-precision, real-time location and location-aware smart wireless sensor solutions*.

Ralph Schmitt, CEO of Sensera Ltd., said, "Arrow is a global leader in IoT solutions and we are delighted to work together with them to bring our IoT sensor technology to a broader base of customers around the world. Their extensive team of sales and applications professionals will allow us to deliver our mission-critical sensor technology to significantly more customers. The agreement was founded on a history of successful cooperation in a few countries, and we have already engaged in a set of new customers in the expanded geographic footprint which will provide near term revenue."

Under the new agreement, Arrow's IoT group will provide consultancy, and will assist with designing and delivering solutions based on Sensera products, including system integration and deployment. The agreement covers Sensera’s IoT Solutions division and its MicroDevices division.

Prior to the current agreement, Arrow distributed nanotron Technologies, Sensera’s IoT Solutions division, in limited geographies winning multiple customers. Arrow will now provide Sensera’s entire product portfolio to its extensive worldwide customer base enabling the delivery of IoT solutions for mission-critical applications. Its technical sales teams and field application engineers will provide customers with design-in and product support.

*Sensera Ltd is a leading designer and manufacturer of end-to-end sensor solutions and services for the rapidly growing IoT market, which combines precise proximity detection and tracking in real time with smart IoT sensors. Arrow is one of the world’s largest technology solution providers, with annual sales of $29.7 billion (€26.6b), and over 200,000 customers.


@Sensera_SE1 #Wireless #IoT @Arrow_dot_com



Mini-Distillation Analyser.

ISL's latest version of its robust and portable micro-distillation analyzer, OptiPMD, has been intriduced by PAC. OptiPMD combines 15 years of experience with the latest technology to offer a user-friendly solution that significantly reduces the need for training. OptiPMD follows ASTM D7345, which is approved in more than 10 fuel specifications, including gasoline with up to 20% ethanol, diesel, jet fuel, kerosene and bio-diesels.

OptiPMD performs a physical atmospheric distillation in just 10 minutes using only 10 ml of sample. This allows faster decisions for process optimization and potentially saves millions in off-spec products.

It is designed to be a true "one-push-button" solution, with a fully automated test sequence, allowing minimal operator attendance. Simply prepare the sample and load into the analyzer. Type in a sample ID, select it from the pre-loaded options, or scan it with the barcode reader. Then, just press START to run the sample. The results can be stored, printed or shared via ethernet, LIMS or with a USB drive.

The fastest way to perform a distillation of petroleum products, this analyzer saves between 25 to 35 minutes per distillation, compared to D86 analyzers.

The robust design and compact size makes it ideal for mobile lab applications. It also includes the highest safety standards including an optical flame detector, a built-in fire suppression system, and quality control functions, which allow users to enter specification limits by product.

The unit is compliant with: ASTM D7345, IP 596 and in perfect correlation to: ASTM D86, D1160 (biodiesel B100), ISO 3405 & IP123. It's also included in 10 ASTM fuel specifications as an alternative to D86 for product certification and compliant with international fuel specs in Canada, Mexico, Chile, India as well as Def Stan 91-091 for jet fuel.


#PAC #PAuto 

Helping optimise gas production system.

Emerson has completed its $48 million (€34m) contract for automation systems and cloud engineering software-as-a-service for the Shah Deniz 2 project in Azerbaijan and is fulfilling an ongoing five-year services contract to help ensure reliable, safe operations. Emerson’s support services, predictive reliability software and digital twin solutions will help optimise operations and achieve reliable performance.

“Emerson’s Project Certainty model is designed to help companies ensure that complex projects do not overrun timelines and budgets, and Emerson’s MAC services are a core element of that strategy,” said Jim Nyquist, group president of systems and solutions for Emerson’s Automation Solutions business. “We are proud to have helped complete this project ahead of schedule and excited to provide continued support to promote long-term successful operations.”

The $28 billion (€25b) project includes the first subsea development in the Caspian Sea. At plateau, the BP-operated Shah Deniz 2 is expected to produce 16 billion cubic metres of gas per year incrementally to Shah Deniz 1 production.

Emerson served as the main automation contractor (MAC) for the megaproject, with the company’s Project Certainty approach supporting a reduction of global automation engineering complexity, which contributed to production starting more than four months ahead of schedule.

Emerson’s advanced predictive reliability software and dynamic simulation software, parts of its digital twin solutions, will help anticipate upcoming reliability concerns before they impact production and simulate the impact of production performance improvements safely prior to execution.

Emerson’s MAC services and cloud engineering services helped incorporate multiple projects, global contractors and suppliers into a unified programme to ensure standardisation and maintain the project timeline. Virtualisation and implementation of the DeltaV™ distributed control system with Electronic Marshalling helped the project team eliminate design rework by making it easier to fit automation systems into the platform’s limited space.


 @EMR_Automation #PAuto #Azerbaijan @Emerson_News @HHC_Lewis

Monday, July 22, 2019

PSU and battery charger range.

Anglia has added a comprehensive range of battery chargers and power supplies to its product line up following its appointment as Britain and Ireland distributor by leading Norwegian manufacturer Mascot.

David Pearson, Technical Director at Anglia Components, commented, “Mascot is a company with an outstanding pedigree in power supplies and we are proud to add their range. Mascot utilises cutting edge design techniques to provide robust, reliable, high performance products with excellent efficiency. The portfolio meets global regulatory requirements and green energy standards capturing the mood of our times and meeting customers’ demand for energy efficient products.”

Graham Lee, Sales Manager for the territories, for Mascot, added, “Anglia is known throughout the industry for its high standards of service and support. Mascot shares this culture, and we believe that, with our industry leading products, the two companies will prove a winning combination.”

Mascot offers chargers for lead acid, NiMH, Lithium-ion and LiFePO4 batteries and perfectly complements Anglia’s extensive range of batteries. In addition, Mascot offers DC/AC inverters allowing mains powered 110 / 230V AC equipment to be driven from a DC supply such as a battery or a renewable source like a solar panel. A range of reliable desktop and wall-plug power supplies and DC/DC converters rounds out the Mascot portfolio to be offered by Anglia.

@angliaLive #PAuto @NeeshamPR

Solderless connectors extended!

Intelliconnect (Europe) Ltd has extended its award-winning range of solderless, field-replaceable connectors which provide solderless attachment to semi rigid cables to include .047” as well as its existing .085” and.0.141” cables. This innovative clamp connector series offers customers an alternative for assembling connectors to semi-rigid cable with no loss in performance or reliability.


Roy Philips, managing Director of Intelliconnect (Europe), comments, “Our solderless connectors provide customers with a very useful alternative to conventional types for assembling connectors to 0.085"(RG405) and 0.141" cables with no loss in performance or reliability. Solderless assembly speeds manufacture and facilitates field replacement in the event of wear or damage to the connector.”

The stainless-steel 2.9mm and SMA connectors have been designed for applications where reliability, durability, robustness and high-frequency performance are very important. Typical applications include civil and military telecommunications, civil and military aeronautics, military equipment, space and measurement systems.

The Intelliconnect solderless connector range has many key features including field replaceable capability, guaranteed equivalent performance to solder connection, no special tooling required, and cable retention force is similar to soldered versions.

System designers will find the main advantages of these solderless connectors are faster assembly time, repeatability and performance and they also provide field replaceable connectivity in the event of wear or damage to the connector.

@Intelli_Connect #PAuto @proactivefleet

Towards a universal measuring instrument.

Frequency is a crucial parameter for efficient level detection. Just how crucial, however, was surprising even to VEGA as a manufacturer of measurement technology.

Level (L) and Solid applications
80-GHz radar technology found market acceptance at a pace nobody had expected. It quickly replaced the previous 26-GHz technology standard in many areas. With more than 100,000 80-GHz radar instruments already sold, there is good reason to celebrate at the company headquarters.

80-GHz radar sensors can be used universally for the majority of industrial level applications. VEGAPULS 64 detects liquids with unwavering accuracy, even with condensate or buildup on the antenna. Since the sensor can also be equipped with the smallest antenna of its kind, there’s hardly a mounting location where it doesn't fit.

80-GHz sensors also set standards for applications with bulk solids. It doesn't matter if there’s a lot of dust in the air or material sticking to the sensor: VEGAPULS 69 has the performance reserves needed to reliably handle measuring situations like these.

• VEGA products are marketed in Ireland through Hanley Controls.

 @VEGAControls #PAuto @EolasTec