Friday, 27 May 2022

Build AI vision apps without coding!

The current software release 2.6 for the AI vision system IDS NXT focuses primarily on simplifying app creation. The initial phase in development is often one of the greatest challenges in the realisation of a project. With the help of the new Application Assistant in IDS NXT lighthouse, users configure a complete vision app under guidance in just a few steps, which they can then run directly on an IDS NXT camera. With the Block-based Editor, which is also new, users can configure their own program sequences with AI image processing functions, such as object recognition or classification, without any programming knowledge. Users create simple sequences in a few minutes with this visual code editor without having to know the syntax of a specific programming language.

With the Use Case Assistant, IDS supports users in creating Vision App projects. They simply select the use case that fits their project. With queries and tips, the assistant guides them through the process of creating the Vision App project and creates the code, just like in an interview. It links existing training projects with the vision app project or creates new training projects and data sets in IDS NXT lighthouse if required.

With the combinable blocks and the intuitive user interface of the Block-based Editor, anyone can realise their own projects using AI-based image processing (such as object detection or classification) as an individual vision app without having to know the syntax of a specific programming language. Using the predefined blocks of the code editor, users build their vision app graphically, including processes such as loops and conditional statements. How this works is demonstrated, for example, in the IDS Vision Channel. The session "Build AI vision apps without coding – xciting new easyness" is available for viewing as a recording.

IDS NXT is a comprehensive system with a wide range of workflows and tools for realising your own AI vision applications. The intelligent IDS NXT cameras can process tasks "OnDevice" and deliver image processing results themselves. The tasks of the cameras are determined by apps that are uploaded to the cameras and executed there. Their functionality can thus be changed at any time. This is supported by software such as IDS NXT lighthouse, with which users can not only train neural networks, but now also create their own vision apps. The system offers both beginners and professionals enormous scope for designing AI vision apps.

@IDS_Imaging @mepaxIntPR #PAuto 

Motion control programming in manufacturing tiles.

As a material for the home, workplace, or retail environment, tiles provide a robust and durable surface that can be both practical and elegant. With earliest examples dating back to the 13th century, they last for decades with no visible loss in pattern brilliance or color fade. As good conductors of heat, they adapt to the room’s warmth and help keep your home feeling cozy. And when compared to other materials such as timber and marble, they are highly sustainable as they are made of natural material.


A core step in the manufacturing process is the application of glazes, engobe (a colored slip), and other crystalline protection. These provide adhesion to the tile body along with the required high abrasion resistance and anti-slip coatings needed for locations like restrooms and kitchens where water is present.

Companies such as E.G. Sistemi s.r.l YES! are focused on system integration for the manufacturing equipment used in today’s highly automated ceramic industry. Situated in the ‘ceramic valley’ in Maranello, northern Italy, they have recently retrofitted the multi-axis airless station with independent translators.

Such equipment is coupled with a conveyor belt that delivers tiles to the airless station where they are processed according to one of a number of recipes. Once the process is complete, the tiles are transported to the next stage by the conveyor belt. Such a dirty and dusty environment demands reliable multi-axis motion controllers and motor drives for the servos. Additionally, a robust and easy-to-use human-machine interface (HMI) is essential.

At the core of the implementation is a Delta DVP50MC series motion controller. Capable of controlling up to 24 axes in one millisecond, this solution supports both single-axis motion instructions, such as velocity, torque, and position, as well as multi-axis instructions, such as electronic cam (E-CAM) and gear. G code can also be used. On the connectivity side, CANopen, RS-232, and RS-485 are available in addition to EtherCAT for the motion control and an Ethernet port. Other signals can be wired to the 16 high-speed inputs, while eight high-speed outputs provide additional control options. The DVP50MC also supports an SSI absolute encoder and two incremental encoders to provide servo position feedback.

The multi-axis airless station only requires three axes for its three independent translators. To implement this, three ASDA-A2-E series servo drives with STO safety function were coupled with three 180 mm, 3 kW ECMA series servo motors featuring integrated encoders. The servo drives link back to the motion controller via EtherCAT. By combining these two components, the team benefitted from precise control provided by the 1 kHz frequency response and 1 ms settling time. This provided superlative vibration suppression for accurate material application during tile processing. A further benefit of these servo drives for this design was the support for up to 720 electronic cam (E-CAM) points in the ASDA-A2-E. The configuration software ensures that smooth interpolation points can be defined automatically, simplifying programming.

The DVP50MC is also responsible for controlling the conveyor belt. For this task, the team selected an MS300 series compact vector control drive to couple with the chosen motor. This variable frequency drive (VFD) series supports motors from 0.2 kW to 22 kW and is available in both single and three-phase options for everything from 115 V to 460 V systems. Remarkably space-saving at 40% smaller than comparable drives, the MS300 simplifies installation and wiring within the electrical cabinet. The unit is linked to the motion controller via RS-485.

Rounding off the implementation is a 15-inch, DOP-100 series HMI that enables the operator to select the correct recipe for the tiles being manufactured. Part of Delta’s advanced design offering, this display provides a narrower frame that leaves more room for displaying the input controls and system feedback. With an IP65 rating, it is more than ideal for the wet and dirty facilities of tile manufacturing and, thanks to multi-lingual support, ensures simple deployment across the world when required. Thanks to its power isolation, the display is also well protected from accidental surges caused by other equipment on the same electrical supply.

Beyond the hardware’s capabilities, the short learning curve for the software development of the DVP50MC really excited the team. Thanks to the ease of defining E-CAM and GEAR control, they completed around two-thirds of the software implementation within a single day. Furthermore, having all the elements sourced from a single supplier ensured that, should an issue arise, only a single contact was required to resolve it. “Sorting out development problems is also possible remotely,” says Giuliano Castioni, Field Application Engineer. “By leveraging our ASDASoft servo software, we could trace the source of a vibration issue back to the mounting bolts used. As a result, the customer saved much time thanks to our rapid problem resolution.”

With all the components coming from Delta, interoperability is given, ensuring a smooth development path. Such was the success of the initial four prototypes, E.G. Sistemi s.r.l YES! is working on building further machines. The combination of easy-to-program motion controllers and excellent support from Delta’s support team ensure that Maranello retains its status as the place to source outstanding tiles.

@mepaxIntPR #deltaww  #Automation #Manufacturing #Italy

Monitoring emissions from space!

With ABB’s technology, the GHGSat team is able to precisely locate and measure methane emissions from any given industrial site on earth*. The launch of three new ABB-built high-resolution methane sensors doubles the company’s capacity to monitor customer sites. In addition to the three units being launched – Luca, Penny and Diako – six additional units are under fabrication at ABB.
Pic: Space Flight Laboratory
Space is the only location allowing emissions to be monitored freely across jurisdictions and report on improvements or otherwise. Measuring different sites with the same sensor ensures that emissions are compared consistently. Space measurements are also especially useful for sites where ground sensors are economically not viable or too complex to deploy.

GHGSat announced the initial constellation contract with ABB in October 2020, with first deliveries started in 2021. The launch of three additional units strengthens GHGSat’s lead in-orbit, operating the world’s largest constellation in the world dedicated to GHG emission monitoring.

According to the International Energy Agency, methane is responsible for around 30 percent of the rise in global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, and rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions are key to limiting near-term global warming and improving air quality (Report 23/2/2022).

"Satellite data is critical for stakeholders globally to take immediate action for a sustainable future. The first full year of commercial operation for GHGSat satellites confirmed the impact our technology can have. We’re excited to double our capacity and accelerate the change needed to make a difference for our planet,” said Stephane Germain, CEO of GHGSat.

“This is an exciting milestone for our team as we witness the efficiency of applying our serial production knowhow to space sensors manufacturing which in the past have been mainly one-off contracts. Our partnership with GHGSat led to a paradigm shift in the industrial space sector. Not only does this set new standards in our space offering for the private sector which is growing at a rapid pace, but it also allows us to expand our expertise and solutions offering,” said Marc Corriveau, General Manager ABB Measurement & Analytics Canada.

*For more than two decades, with involvement in the Canadian SCISAT mission and the Japanese GOSAT satellites program, ABB has been at the forefront of greenhouse gas sensing from space. ABB optical equipment already in space cumulates more than 100 years of reliable operation. Since 2003, the SCISAT sensor tracks long-term subtle composition changes in the Earth's atmosphere down to parts per trillion of more than 70 molecules and pollutants. Weather agencies across the world base their predictions on ABB equipment flying onboard the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellites (NPP and JPSS), which improves the timeliness and accuracy of weather forecasts for up to seven days, helping save lives through advanced warning evacuations.


@ABBgroupnews @ABBMeasurement @ghgsat @IEA #Environment #PAuto #Canada

PACs increase ROI for machine builders.

Emerson has released its PACSystems™ RSTi-EP CPE200 programmable automation controllers (PAC). This new family of compact PACs helps original equipment manufacturers (OEM) successfully meet customer requirements by minimising the need for specialised software engineering talent. CPE200 controllers will deliver large programmable logic controller (PLC) capability in a small, cost-effective, IIoT-ready form factor so machine manufacturers do not need to sacrifice performance for price.

To stay competitive, today’s OEM machine builders must provide equipment that is ready to support analytics and give end users competitive advantage through increased efficiency, speed and quality. However, as builders develop innovative solutions for material handling, life sciences and more, they can struggle to program and deliver machine control systems on time and within budget with the performance, security and flexible connectivity customers require. The CPE200 series solves these problems with security-by-design, open programming and open communications built in to simplify connectivity to external analytics software platforms while reducing cost and complexity for OEMs and end users.

“Gaining a competitive edge in today’s marketplace means having the flexibility to connect to the wide array of equipment end users employ as part of their proprietary processes, and supporting secure, open connectivity to allow easy access to on-premises and cloud-hosted analytics platforms,” said Jeff Householder, president of Emerson’s machine automation solutions business. “The CPE200 series controllers take advantage of Emerson’s cybersecure-by-design architecture, common programming capabilities, and IIoT readiness to provide options currently missing in legacy compact PLCs.”

The controllers offer open communications through native, pre-licensed support for OPC UA Secure and other common industrial protocols for flexible connectivity over high-speed Gigabit Ethernet. IEC 61131 programming languages and C, the world’s most popular and easiest-to-use programming language, help engineers write and run the high-performance algorithms that enable proprietary production strategies and advanced automation technologies.

@EMR_Automation @Emerson_News @HHC_Lewis #PAuto #OEM

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Reducing risk of failures in glass furnace refractories.

Deterioration of refractories can increase fuel costs and may cause glass breakouts or failure, which is why it is vitally important to maintain the condition of a glass furnace refractory as it will ensure safety and process efficiency.

The LWIR-640 monitoring system from AMETEK Land monitors the exterior of the melt tank and identifies any hot areas that may indicate refractory damage. It also gives an early warning of potential glass breakouts.

Philippe Kerbois, Global Industry Manager – Glass, said: “Around 70% of container glass production costs come from energy, so preventing cracks and lost heat produces significant savings. Early detection of glass breakouts enhances plant safety, so using thermal imaging solutions from AMETEK Land ensures fast detection of glass breakouts, allowing for early maintenance, increased safety, and longer lifespan of the tank.”

This long-wavelength thermal imager provides a full temperature measurement range of -20 to 1000 °C (-4 to 1832 °F) in three ranges with a choice of different optics and lenses. It combines cutting-edge, high-resolution radiometric camera technology with sophisticated data processing and powerful software support, delivering detailed thermal images with unrivalled precision.

The thermal imaging provided by the LWIR-640 camera allows a continuous view of the entire target at any distance. Thermal data generated by the camera is presented in real-time, making it faster and easier to detect anomalous hot spots, alerting plant staff to take immediate action.

In addition to providing a fast-response safety monitoring system, the LWIR-640 solution also supplies the thermal data necessary to detect damage or wear to the refractory lining. This allows corrective maintenance to be scheduled at the least disruptive times. By increasing the reliability of safety monitoring, the LWIR-640 system can also reduce insurance premiums for an added return on investment.

Continuous thermal imaging can also be used for accurate interior monitoring using the NIR-B-2K borescope thermal imaging system, establishing temperature trends throughout the furnace. It also detects cooler spots, which may indicate refractory damage.

LWIR-640 and NIR-B-2K thermal imagery can be combined within AMETEK Land’s advanced thermal imaging software, IMAGEPro, to show a view into the furnace for thermal distribution and batch coverage functions, as well as monitoring the outside of the furnace for hot spots.

@landinst @codacomms #PAuto #Manufacturing

High performance videoscope.

Rugged industrial videoscope helps professionals quickly and safely find hidden issues in difficult-to-access locations 

Teledyne FLIR has released the FLIR VS80 high-performance videoscope series, a professional inspection tool for use in a wide variety of commercial and industrial applications.

To enable the widest range of visual inspections, the FLIR VS80 is designed as the most versatile and powerful videoscope in its class. The VS80 is outfitted with a 1024 × 600 high resolution (HD) seven-inch touchscreen display and is available for purchase in seven different kits with the option to purchase waterproof, ultra-slim probes that can be swapped in and out within seconds. Probe options include a 4.5 mm diameter two-way articulating probe; a four-way articulating probe; a plumbing spool probe with a 25-meter cable; single HD and dual HD visible camera probes; a standard definition probe; and a general-purpose thermal camera probe.

“Trades and technicians need to inspect targets in tight spaces, without time-consuming disassembly in many industries including manufacturing, building, and automotive maintenance,” said Rob Milner, business development director, Teledyne FLIR. “The new FLIR VS80 meets all these needs while providing an impressive range of diagnostic versatility across the visible and infrared imaging spectrums. Professionals are better equipped to find hidden dangers and damage in locations that are difficult or inaccessible. In total, the VS80 provides inspection and repair personnel the ability to lower maintenance costs and the capital costs of replacement while improving productivity and safety on the job.”

Live Reference Simplifies Diagnostics and Repair Confirmation
Teledyne FLIR offers unique live reference image comparison on the display screen to make historical or standard image comparisons easier. Inspectors simply add a side-by-side reference image with the live videoscope imagery. They can then quickly compare the imagery to see if a component has changed since previous inspection, or if it needs repair or replacement. The information can also be added to a post-inspection report with multiple options for inspectors to capture detailed information, including through text, voice, images, and videos recorded with timestamp display.

The device is also compatible with the FLIR Tools Mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. From a mobile device, view saved images and video captured from the VS80, download files, and share them easily with customers or colleagues.

@flir @mepaxIntPR #PAuto 

Fast and reliable implementation of Ethernet-APL field devices.

Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (Ethernet-APL) is the new standard for end-to-end digital communication in the process industry and is also suitable for use in hazardous areas. Device manufacturers will have to prepare themselves for growing demand from end-users for this modern data transmission technology.

commModule APL is a new hardware module from Softing Industrial Automation, is designed to support device manufacturers in implementing Ethernet-APL field devices for the process industry quickly and reliably.

Manufacturers face the challenge of developing and certifying new Ethernet-APL-capable devices within the shortest possible time-to-market - ideally without having to build up extensive specialist knowledge of Ethernet-APL. As a ready-to-use and pre-certified hardware for the implementation of Ethernet-APL field devices, commModule APL supports manufacturers in exactly this challenge.

The hardware module provides connectivity to Ethernet-APL as well as an application software that can be easily configured to implement the required behavior of the respective field device. commModule-APL is delivered with a pre-installed PROFINET stack. It provides a configurable application data model and commands mapping to migrate existing HART and Modbus devices to Ethernet-APL. This does not require writing a single line of code. 

The assignment to HART or Modbus commands is done with the accompanying commScripter tool. commModule APL has already passed comprehensive EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) and environmental testing, as well as conformance testing for the Ethernet-APL Physical Layer and for the PROFINET protocol with PA Profile 4.02. It is also pre-certified in accordance with ATEX and IECEx. These features drastically reduce the effort, risk and time required to develop device hardware.

NB: The Industrial Ethernet Book May/June 2022 issue has special editorial coverage of Single Pair Ethernet and Ethernet-APL.

 @SoftingIA @mepaxIntPR #PAuto #Communications