Wednesday 30 September 2009

Fibre Optic IR

Industrial high speed fibre optic infrared transmitter

Omega has introduced its new OS4000 series of industrial high speed fiber optic infrared transmitters with the capability to measure temperature from 200 up to 1600 degrees Celsius (392 to 2912 degrees Fahrenheit) using three standard optical fields of view and three standard fiber optic cable lengths.

This CE compliant product has a very fast response time of one millisecond and adjustable Emissivity from .05 to .99. Other standard features include built in laser sighting for lens probe positioning, linear analogue output (1 mV/ Deg, 0/5 VDC, 0/10 VDC, or 4-20 mA), high and low alarm outputs, fiber optic gain adjust, maximum & minimum temperature measurement, RS232 interface, and a Windows based PC interface software to allow changing response time, high & low alarm set points, and data logging.

Perfect for semiconductor, petrochemical, steel, and plastic industries. Recommended applications are induction heating, vacuum chamber, metal processing and power generation.


Pico in price - Mega in functionality

StanTronic Instruments claims that the new Arbitrary Function Generator, the G5100A from Picotest, offers astonishing functionality for its price class.

Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) technology provides highly accurate and stable signal characteristics with low distortion.

Operation of the unit via the graphical display is very user friendly through soft keys, cursor keys, a numeric keypad or a dial wheel. Standard signal waveforms (sine, square, triangle / ramp, pulse and white noise) are easily button selected. Sine wave frequency is 1 μHz to 50 MHz, and rectangles can be set from 1 μHz to 25 MHz.

Arbitrary waveform signals can be generated up to 10 MHz and the noise has a typical bandwidth of 20 MHz. Additionally AM, FM, PM, FSK, and PWM modulation types are available. The amplitude resolution is 14 bits and the internal sampling rate is 125 MS/sec with a memory length of 256k points.

Waveforms can be easily generated using the waveform editor WavePattR, which is supplied free of charge. Four full signal characteristics of waveforms can be stored in non-volatile memory, which is retained even after switching off the device. The device can be remotely controlled through a USB or Ethernet port, and GPIB can be supplied as an option.

The Data Sheet, pricing and more detailed technical information can be
downloaded from their homepage.

Monday 28 September 2009

IT & automation

“System Concept” merges IT and automation

Rittal’s system concept provides an intelligent modular infrastructure from a single source. Enclosure technology, power distribution, system climate control and electronics through to IT technology, together with engineering tools that have been purposely designed for efficient planning processes are pivotal to this concept.

Based on the their TS 8 enclosure and IT rack system platform, with their comprehensive range of accessories, allows numerous advantages which include flexibility, quick and simple assembly, minimal warehousing, fast availability and high quality.

With the growing convergence between IT and automation, Rittal go beyond simple mechanical solutions and provide coordinated power supply solutions which include the UPS system PMC 40, the type-tested switchgear system Ri4Power and energy-efficient climate control technology, such as the latest cooling unit series, Cool Efficiency.
Ensuring optimised interaction between all components, efficient engineering also offers enormous savings potential throughout the machinery and plant planning process, thanks in part to free CAD data from the RiCAD 3D components library for fast mechanical planning.

In addition software solutions, such as the latest Version 4.1 of Rittal Power Engineering, support the fast, safe configuration of power distribution systems, while Rittal’s Therm facilitates the energy-efficient dimensioning of cooling equipment technology.

By encompassing every aspect from mechanical and electrical engineering to automation, Rittal is linking more and more of its individual engineering tools together to create complete solutions with EPLAN Cabinet and the EPLAN Engineering Centre. This allows a wide variety of engineering data to be used throughout all phases of product and plant design, with the many advantages of a consistent data concept, shorter throughput times and reduced costs.

Cyber czar!

Former US Dept of Homeland Security Cyber Czar to advise

Wurldtech Security Technologies, provider of the award-winning Achilles security analysis platform and other cyber security testing and certification solutions for critical infrastructure industries, has announced that Greg Garcia, former Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications with the US Department of Homeland Security, has joined their advisory board.
Greg Garcia

Greg Garcia
We have recently reported that he delivers an address on "Industrial Security and the Political Control System: A View from Washington" at ISAExpo'09 in October.
He is also a guest at the 2nd Annual Critical Infrastructure Conference, being held in Calgary (CDN)

In this role, Garcia will offer guidance on strategic direction, business development, policy advocacy and other initiatives to improve the effectiveness of public-private partnerships to secure our critical infrastructures.

“Wurldtech’s innovation and market penetration has made a significant improvement in the safety, security and reliabilityof global critical infrastructures” said Garcia. “Theirs is the kind of corporate leadership I vocally encouraged among all stakeholders during my tenure at DHS, so it is a great pleasure for me to join the company’s Advisory Board and provide counsel to – and learn from -- such a forward-thinking company with an incredible track-record.Wurldtech is truly focused on solving shared problems for industrialowners, operators and vendors.”

Garcia was the United States' first Presidentially-appointed Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications (CS&C) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, from 2006-2008 where he led the strategic direction of CS&C, overseeing a $500 million budget for the National Cyber Security Division, the Office of Emergency Communications and the National Communications System.

"Garcia is one of the great minds in cyber security and critical infrastructure protection whose experience will help Wurldtech remain at the forefront of our industry and we areextremely privileged to have his support"
said Tyler Williams, President of Wurldtech Security Technologies."As cyber security risks increase in frequency and sophistication, standards efforts continue to lag technology advancementsand as emerging digital infrastructures such as AMI continue to be deployed without standardized testing, we need greater cooperation and alignment between public and private sector stakeholders immediately. Greg will help us drive this message in Washington."

Before joining DHS, Garcia held several senior industry executive positions and served on the staff of the House Science Committee where he helped draft and shepherd enactment of the Cyber Security Research and Development Act of 2002.

Garcia’s current list of affiliations includes advisory board positions with Triumfant, and Finjan Corporation. In addition, he serves as the managing director of Pierce Capital Partners and has joined Idaho State University as an affiliate research professor of information assurance policy and strategy.

Angle sensors

Non-contact angle sensors are now programmable

Variohm EuroSensor has launched a new software application for communication and programming of Contelec Vert-X series non-contacting and contactless angle sensors. As British distributor for the Swiss manufactured range, Variohm offer OEMs (and machine builders?) the ability to reconfigure and customise the sensor curve and output characteristics over its 0º to 360º measurement range.

With on-assembly sensor configuration, the software has the potential to simplify stock control and reduce build and design timescales by removing the need to purchase several different types of angle sensor across different machines. Furthermore, the flexibility offered will allow specialist machine manufacturers the ability to program critical angle measurement characteristics such as joystick deadband, gearbox backlash or dancer arm neutral zone angles directly on the machine to suit performance requirements.

Vert-X Commander software is a simple-to-use PC based application supplied with a special cable that connects Singleturn Vert-X sensors via an Aardvark USB host adapter. A GUI displays programmable and fixed information from the sensors’ digital interface. Programmable parameters include a selection of six different sensor types with varying gradient, dead band and curve characteristics. For each sensor type, the user can typically set specific voltage output and specify left and right angles with an adjustable deadband (or gap) angle. The information is displayed in a graph showing sensor angle vs. voltage with a trace scaling function that allows closer examination of the output curve. When the desired characteristics have been set on screen, a program key simply downloads the data to the sensor, overwriting the previously programmed information. Fixed displayed parameters include the sensor angle, output voltage level and as primary quality control measure, the sensor serial number and a counter that records the number of times the sensor has been reprogrammed.

The compact and durable Vert-X range is aimed at precision, 0º to 360º, angle measurement spanning applications from analytical instruments to extremely heavy-duty applications such as agricultural machinery, autosports and automated industrial equipment where long life, high reliability and robust construction is required - often in space restricted areas.

These sensors use hall-effect magnetic measuring technology, offering high precision angle measurement in two design versions. Singleturn ‘contactless’ Vert-X sensors are characterised with bearing support for the rotating magnet and fixed sensor whereas Singleturn ‘non-contact’ Vert-X sensors are supplied in a two part sensor and magnet design for free mounting. Both types may be used in normal ambient environments through to long life and zero maintenance use in the most arduous and adverse conditions of high humidity, dampness, oil, dust and vibration.

Friday 25 September 2009

RFIC line expansion

Low-power RFIC line expanded by adding new 300-510MHz transceiver

RF Monolithics have announced the expansion of the company’s low-power short-range radio RFIC line with the addition of the new 300 MHz to 510 MHz TRC105 transceiver radio. The TRC105 is ideal for enabling two-way wireless communications in a wide range of applications including AMR (Automated Meter Reading), Medical (MICS), Home & Industrial Automation, Security Systems, Two-Way RKE (Remote Keyless Entry), Automobile Immobilizers, Asset Tracking Systems, Sports & Recreation Equipment, Low Power Two-Way Telemetry Systems, Wireless Toys, and Controlled Entry/Access.

“The TRC105 has been a much anticipated addition to RFM’s OOK / FSK RFIC family of products as it enables RFM to offer a wide range of frequencies in a single footprint with the same PIN configuration and the same ultra-low-power functionality as the RFM TRC103 transceiver,” said Larry Miller, RFM Director of Product Marketing for Short-Range Radio Products.

Their OOK / FSK RFICs are FHSS capable, multi-channel and are packaged in a 5 mm X 5 mm plastic package. The TRC105 operates across the full 300 – 510 MHz range and Development Kits are available in eight frequency bands: 303-307 MHz, 310-319 MHz, 342-348 MHz, 365-381 MHz, 382-398 MHz, 402-407 MHz, 416-436 MHz, and 447-451 MHz, whereas the TRC103 is available in three frequency bands: 863–870 MHz (ETSI), 902–928 MHz (FCC), and 950–960 MHz (Japan).

Best-in-Class Benefits.
Demonstrating best-in-class leadership, the RFM TRC105 offers original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) the following benefits:
    1) Low Current consumption in receive mode. Most applications require the radio to listen more than transmit. With the TRC105, receiver current is 3.5 mA typical and can be reduced as low as 2.7 mA.
    2) Excellent Receiver Sensitivity at -112 dBm typical (FSK)
    3) Programmable Transmit Power up to +13 dBm
    4) Radio will allow microcontroller to sleep until data is received that requires processing
    5) Transmit/Receive FIFO can be loaded/unloaded with radio in sleep mode, programmable TX/RX FIFO at 64 byte
    6) Transmit at high data rate 32 kb/s OOK and 200 kb/s FSK to reduce transmitter on time and save power
    7) Utilizing the RSSI in Receive mode, the Transmit power can be adjusted to maintain the data link and maximize power consumption
    8) Low price – the price of the TRC105 starts at $2.23 each at a minimum quantity of 3,000 units. Volume discounts are available.

The TRC105 product line includes developer kits that are available for the major frequency ranges. The TRC105 developer kits will be available by the end of October 2009 from RFM distributors ACAL, Avnet, Digi-Key, Mouser Electronics, and Nu Horizons, and by order from RFM’s world-wide network of stocking reps / distributors outside of North America.

Thursday 24 September 2009

Signal generator

New RF Vector Signal Generator provides Industry’s best Combination of high Throughput and low Phase Noise

Keithley Instruments has upgraded its popular RF Vector Signal Generator line for RF engineers with new capabilities that reduce signal generation times and enhance signal quality. In contrast with competitive signal generators, which typically force users to choose between best signal quality and maximum test throughput, the Model 2920A’s no-compromise design combines both capabilities in the same instrument. Patent-pending technology allows the Model 2920A RF Vector Signal Generator to support both frequency and amplitude switching rates that are significantly faster than any competitive system. Unlike systems optimized either for development or production, it is a cost-effective solution whether used on the bench for design verification testing or in production testing.

Continuing Technical Leadership in MIMO Testing
The Model 2920A is the latest addition to Keithley’s MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) testing system solutions. MIMO signals can be easily generated and analyzed by using Keithley’s SignalMeister™ RF Communications Test Toolkit software and Model 2820A Vector Signal Analyzers in conjunction with Model 2920As. When used in conjunction with the signal personalities provided in SignalMeister software, it is not only capable of generating pure signals but can generate impaired signals for in-depth receiver characterization and testing.
Model 2920A Applications
Applications include R&D, product development, and production testing of a growing range of wireless products such as femtocells, access points, mobile devices, wireless modules and air cards, and wireless chipsets. The Model 2920A’s operating mode flexibility makes it an excellent choice for MIMO device and system R&D applications, as well as in engineering education settings.

The Model 2920A, which provides signal generation bandwidth options up to 80MHz with a frequency range of either 10MHz–4GHz or 10MHz–6GHz, builds on the capabilities of Keithley’s Series 2900 signal generator line. It expands the Series 2900 line’s applications for testing wireless devices to today’s high throughput, complex modulation, and wide bandwidth wireless telecom standards, including LTE, GSM/EDGE, cdmaOne, cdma2000, W-CDMA, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE, WLAN, WiMAX, WiBro, TD-SCDMA, DVB (Digital Video Broadcast), and GPS (Global Positioning System).

The unit is optimised for calibrating and testing components such as amplifiers, filters, and wireless receivers thoroughly over their full range of performance at exceptional speed. Several major advances allow it to provide substantially higher test throughput than earlier signal generation options:

  • Industry’s fastest frequency tuning: A new, patent-pending technique that ensures fast settling of phase-locked loop synthesizers allows the Model 2920A to tune to a new frequency on a device under test’s (DUT’s) operating band in 300μs or less. Competitive products typically require 600μs or longer to tune to a new frequency.
  • Industry’s fastest amplitude switching: The Model 2920A provides electronic attenuation and a fast-tracking, automatic level control loop to stabilize quickly on a new power level, which allows switching to a new amplitude in as little as 150ms (compared to more than 500μs for competitive generators). This fast settling time speeds testing a device over its full power handling range.
  • Waveform switching in a single clock cycle: Because devices that operate on multiple standards require rapid switching between numerous complex signals during testing, the Model 2920A’s on-board arbitrary waveform generator includes a 100-megasample memory to hold large individual waveforms or multiple smaller ones. This deep memory, combined with the instrument’s speed-optimized list mode and a sequencer operating mode, supports switching from one waveform to another within a single processor clock cycle—even with waveforms based on different standards that use different modulation schemes.
  • High speed signal file transfers: The Model 2920A offers a direct link from its DSP processing circuit block to an external PC via a USB 2.0 bus that maximizes operating speed. In this high-speed Desktop Control Panel operating mode, an external PC assumes control of the Model 2920A, just as if it were the instrument’s on-board processor controller. This mode supports transferring signal files from a PC directly into the Model 2920A’s arbitrary waveform memory at 100Mb/sec for faster, simpler downloading of extremely large files (such as streaming video test signal files, signal files modified by channel models, and radar profile files). When combined with its high download speed and Keithley applications software, the Model 2920A can perform fast, efficient Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) conformance testing on WLAN access points. This test package allows verifying a device’s compliance with FCC, ETSI, and TELEC requirements related to ensuring that WLAN access point transmissions detect and do not interfere with government radar signals (such as weather radar or air traffic control radar).

    Users have the flexibility to create waveform files offline and download them into its arbitrary waveform memory using a USB memory stick or the GPIB or LAN interfaces. This transfer flexibility will be useful for those who prefer to employ third-party tools to create signal files, such as The MathWorks’ MATLAB® interactive programming environment.

    The Model 2920A’s enhanced speed performance doesn’t compromise its phase noise performance. Unlike competitive signal generators, which are typically designed to maximize either throughput (for production test applications) or signal purity (for design verification applications), it includes new capabilities that allow optimizing for whichever performance aspect is most critical for a specific application:

  • Ultra-low phase noise option: High signal purity is essential when creating complex HSPA+, 802.11n WLAN, 802.16e WiMAX, and LTE signals. To ensure the quality of these signals, the Model 2920A-UPN Ultra Low Phase Noise option provides phase noise ≤-135dBc/Hz at a 300kHz offset on a 2GHz carrier. That allows generating WCDMA signals with EVMs <0.85%. This option also permits the Model 2920A to generate 5.8GHz, 40MHz bandwidth WLAN 802.11n signals with an EVM of less than ‑43dB and WiMAX signals with a residual RCE (Relative Constellation Error) ≤-43dB. Just as important, the Model 2920A provides no-compromise tuning times as fast as 750µs when the low phase noise option is used.
  • Low amplitude range option: The Model 2920A’s wide signal range makes it ideal for testing a broad spectrum of receivers and components. The Model 2920A-LAR Low Amplitude Range option extends that range to allow the generator to output signals as low as ‑130dBm or as high as +13dBm. In addition, the Model 2920A offers excellent accuracy, repeatability, and stability specifications, so test system designers can set narrow limit bands in their test protocols, helping to ensure higher product quality:
    • Absolute amplitude accuracy of ±0.6dB (typically ±0.3dB) from
      -110dBm to +13dBm up to 3GHz
    • ±0.05dB relative amplitude accuracy (linearity)
    • ±0.05dB amplitude repeatability

    The Model 2920A’s combination of high speed and high quality signal generation performance makes its pricing even more competitive because users can perform multiple applications with the same instrument—from design verification testing to production testing—extending the usage of each unit purchased. Option prices, whether the ultra-low phase noise option or optional personalities tailored to various telecom standards, are also at or below the cost of competitive solutions. Orders are being taken now for delivery in six weeks.
  • Indicating pressure

    Pressure transducers incorporate integral displays

    RDP Electronics offers a comprehensive range of pressure transducers which now includes some models with integral displays.

    The range embraces versions from a simple battery powered display through to a more complex pressure calibrator. Battery powered types offer the benefit of use in remote locations, obviating the need for wiring.

    Variations can be supplied designed for use in intrinsically safe environments and other options include limit relays and alternative voltage outputs. Within the RDP range of pressure transducers are units with the capability of delivering a power supply to a separate 4~20Ma transducer and to display its output for calibration.

    Manufactured predominantly from stainless steel, most types of pressure transducer are also available with very high accuracy.

    Wednesday 23 September 2009

    Resisting fretting rust

    No need to fret!
    Shaft coating allows quick gearbox removal

    Nord Drivesystems has developed a specialised surface treatment option for hollow drive shafts that resists the formation of fretting rust or friction corrosion - reducing wear and facilitating the easy removal of gear motors for gearbox and motor servicing or replacement.

    Fretting rust or friction corrosion occurs in fixed mechanical joints under load and vibration where at least one surface material contains iron. Whilst it is commonly associated with bolted tension members in structures like bridges, the phenomenon is also seen in splines and drive shafts (even stainless steel versions), where the clamped drive and driven shaft surfaces actually experience microscopic levels of relative motion and slippage.

    The oxidised debris is an abrasive material that contributes to increased wear and, much more of a problem for drive shafts, the miniscule fragments become compressed between the surfaces often making removal extremely difficult - sometimes resulting in costly shaft damage.

    Nord’s RS coating option, available across its wide range of gearmotors, produces an extremely hard wearing and corrosion resistant layer of approximately 10 microns thickness that reduces surface friction characteristics of the hollow shaft and significantly reduces the formation of fretting rust. The treatment allows effortless gearmotor shaft removal and eliminates the potential for destruction of the insert shaft, saving costs by minimising maintenance and repair timescales.

    Breath alcohol

    Temperature sensors for breath alcohol instrument

    The Lion Alcolmeter® 500 is a breath alcohol measuring instrument designed for field use and extensively used by public services and other authorities for fast subject screening to ensure safe alcohol levels, in many instances before a vehicle or dangerous machinery is actually operated. The British Home Office approved instrument fully complies with the stringent accuracy and reliability standards for such equipment which uses high reliability temperature sensors from BetaTHERM Inc, supplied by its exclusive British distribution partner Variohm EuroSensor.

    Temperature sensors used in breath alcohol instruments are essential to maintain that the subject breath temperature falls within an acceptable range and to provide the means to compensate for minute breath temperature variance for the test result. Along with other measured criteria, breath temperature levels help to determine the validity of the breath sample – if for any reason the temperature is out of its normal and relatively narrow range, the Alcolmeter 500 will register an alarm.

    To maintain such a high specification, the alcolmeter 500 uses ultra-small bead thermistors. These sensors utilise metallic oxide semiconductor material sintered on platinum/iridium alloy lead wires with a controlled glass coating which provides a hermetic seal. With fast response times and high power sensitivities, the technology is well suited to gas flow or liquid temperature measurement and their small size (0.25 mm diameter) make them ideal for portable instruments. Other applications for this high reliability temperature sensor are gas chromatography and thermal conductivity gas analysis equipment.

    This range of thermistors are used in demanding temperature measurement, control and compensation applications in biomedical, automotive, aerospace, instrumentation, HVAC, consumer industries and instrumentation. The range enjoys the highest reputation for total reliability and uncompromising accuracy and Variohm provide complete technical support from customer product development through to full production.

    Installation rails

    Rapid installation rails for fast enclosure configuration

    Specifying the right enclosure for the right application can depend on a number of variables such as size, environment and material used. Accessories however, which are used to customise an enclosure, can also play a strategic part in determining its performance. Rittal now offer special interior installation rails for the fast configuration of its AE compact enclosures. Using this new mounting technique ensures the protection category of the enclosure remains unaffected due to the absence of any drilling.

    The newly developed interior installation rails and accessories such as door-operated switches, lights, punched sections, door supports, thermostats and hygrostats can be inserted without the need to drill any additional holes in the enclosure. Simply insert the rails against the rear panel of the enclosure and screw into the front enclosure edge.

    Rittal interior installation rails are available for AE Enclosure with depths of 210, 250, 300 and 350mm.

    Saturday 19 September 2009

    T/C logger

    4 channel thermocouple data logger

    MadgeTech has just released the QuadTemp2000, a four channel thermocouple logger equipped with an LCD.

    It has a reading rate of up to 4Hz and can store up to 500,000 readings per channel. To maximize memory capacity users can enable or disable channels. For easy identification, each channel can be named with up to a ten digit title.

    The convenient LCD is an ideal tool to ensure process parameters are met, in real time. Each channel is identified by its title, and the current reading, minimum, maximum and average statistics can all be obtained through the display. The statistics can be reset for different cycle processes where tolerance values may vary.

    In addition, the QuadTemp2000 features individual cold junction compensation for each channel providing increased accuracy and response time, and if a probe is removed or severed during logging, the software automatically annotates the data.

    This unit is ideal for use in monitoring warehouses, refrigerators, ovens, and HVAC applications. With the QuadTemp2000, monitoring multiple points is easy. Simply place the thermocouples in the monitoring areas and start the logger. Data from all channels is simultaneously logged. After the monitoring cycle is complete data can be downloaded to a PC for further analysis.

    Friday 18 September 2009

    Harsh pressure!

    Pressure sensors for harsh environments

    Three new ranges of high performance, pressure sensors from Kistler Instruments use a new, patented double lip sealing method to eliminate the need for an O-ring seal to ensure accuracy and reliability where extremely high temperature, vibration and shock are likely. Contained in a high integrity housing, the piezoresistive sensing element is isolated from the pressure media by a welded 316L stainless steel or Hastelloy™ diaphragm. Integrated surface mount electronics provide signal conditioning and temperature compensation. .

    The three ranges consist of absolute (Type 4260A), gauge (Type 4262A) and differential (4264A) with an accuracy of up to 0.05% FS and long-term stability of 0.1% FS per year. Every sensor is fully tested over both pressure and temperature ranges to ensure compliance with the appropriate specification. This calibration data, traceable to ISO 17025, is available.

    A wide range of electrical and pressure connections are available and ATEX zoned hazardous area types can be supplied to order. Pressure ranges from 1 to 350 barA for the 4260A, 0 to 35 barG for the 4262A and 0.1 to 10 barD for the uni-directional 4264A and ±0.1 to ±1 barD for the bi-directional 4264D. All have EMC, reverse polarity, power supply regulation and short circuit protection as standard and display exceptional linearity, hysteresis and repeatability characteristics.

    The new piezoresistive pressure sensors have been designed to withstand harsh operating conditions where extremes of temperature, vibration and shock are likely to be present. Typical applications include R&D, industrial, automotive and aerospace component and system testing.

    Thursday 17 September 2009

    Bus power

    Fieldbus power supply
    delivers up to 500mA per segment

    MooreHawke has introduced the TRUNKGUARD® TPS400 Fieldbus Power Supply for general purpose and non-incendive applications.

    Available models supply 350mA (for non-isolated, energy limited applications) or 500mA (for high current demand applications) of isolated, conditioned simplex (non-redundant) or duplex (redundant) power to up to four segments.

    The fieldbus power supply has a high-availability, modular design featuring modules that are hot-swappable with load-sharing in redundant pairs. This maintains power to the segment in the instance that one module in a pair needs to be removed. Additional features include a rugged industrial metal housing, optional pluggable surge protection, and multi-segment H1 connectors that deliver simple, error-free wiring to a DCS and reduce installation time.

    The TPS400 also has an economical Diagnostics Module (FDM252) option that provides a master alarm and LED-based alarms for segment noise, DC voltage levels and conditioner status faults.

    Ideal for use with MooreHawke Series 200 and Series 300 TRUNKGUARD Fieldbus Device Couplers, the TPS400 also works perfectly with any other manufacturer’s non-intrinsically-safe fieldbus device couplers.

    Weather-proof Enclosures

    Wall mounted compact enclosure
    offers protection against the elements

    Rittal have introduced a new compact wall-mounted compact enclosure to their range of CS outdoor enclosures. Constructed from aluminium with a pure polyester coating, the corrosion resistant single-walled enclosure is available in five different sizes offering a flexible system for quick project adaptations.

    An integrated, chamfered rain canopy prevents water from collecting on the roof and seal area. The swing lever handle with semi-cylinder allows the door integrated into the body of the enclosure to be opened with ease; there are also narrow gaps to guard against vandalism. Mounting plates are positioned at the rear of the enclosure and can be quickly removed for machining purposes.

    The CS range of enclosures are particularly suitable and ready to use within applications such as telecommunications, traffic guidance and signaling through to gas, water and electricity supply where the installed equipment is either passive or has minimal heat loss.

    This new wall-mounted enclosure completes their range of aluminium outdoor enclosures which include both wall-mounted and floor standing enclosures, each of which is available ex works as either single-walled or double-walled.


    Online sampling and analysis
    A necessity, not a luxury

    A major overhead for any processing plant is effluent discharge. And, in accordance with the British Water Industry Act 1991, any company having a significant quantity of trade effluent discharge must obtain consent prior to making a discharge to the public sewer network or water course. With consent granted on the basis of effluent composition and any levels exceeded resulting in major fines, the need for accurate, effective and traceable measurement has never been so apparent

    Simple sampling
    At the very least, having an on-site sampler will ensure the customer has a representative sample to give to the trade effluent officer. And here’s where Endress+Hauser can help! Their Liquiport 2000 lightweight portable sampler is ideal for an entry level sampling system. Cost-effective and reliable, its medium detection system recognises the difference between filled and empty pump hoist so that accurate dosing volumes are guaranteed.

    For more complex sampling tasks, their MCERTS approved ASP Station 2000 sampler has been specially designed for precision sampling. Offering automatic sampling initiated on the basis of time, quantity or flow, ASP Station 2000 provides defined distribution and conservation of liquid media. Samples are preserved using the integrated cooling system that keeps samples in peek condition from +2°C to +20°C (factory setting is 4°C). The current sample compartment temperature is displayed at the controls and recorded in the internal datalogger (optional) for future reference.

    Continuous monitoring
    Where continuous monitoring of online parameters is required, the CE4 measurement station with its integrated water sampler is the right choice. The system consists of four main components: electronics, analysis pipework, water sampler and accessories, meaning the system can be tailor-made to suit every measurement task – it can be configured to include pH/ORP, conductivity, DO and turbidity. All components are installed inside a weatherproof stainless steel cabinet, so outdoor storage poses no problems!

    Immediate detection
    In addition to achieving representative effluent samples, online analysis enables immediate detection of product loss. Their range of online analysers covers all key analytical parameters from pH and suspended solids through to the sum parameters of BOD, COD and TOC. And, by activating alarm set points on the analysers, you can ensure that should any content limits be breached, you’ll know about it immediately - an important factor to avoid fines. Remember, prevention is better than cure!

    Wednesday 16 September 2009

    QVGA Display

    Industrial-Grade QVGA TFTs
    Boast high-end specs and long-term availability

    Anders Electronics, market leader in innovative electronic device display experience optimization, has announced the availability of its newest 3.5” QVGA TFT displays. Specially designed for high-end industrial and medical devices, these 3.5” QVGA TFTs offer excellent optical specifications, superb 3 to 5 year guaranteed availability, and an on-board LCD controller for the portrait model that markedly lowers design complexity and speeds time to market.

    The feature-rich displays are offered in either portrait or landscape orientation – a unique option, especially in industrial grade displays where landscape has become the standard. Both models include an integral white LED backlight, and can be used in pin selectable parallel RGB mode or serial/parallel MCU mode, with no external LCD controller required for MCU mode in the portrait model. In the case of the landscape, RGB I/F model, an SPI interface is provided to allow access to the display’s internal control registers where required

    The amorphous silicon-based TFT displays have been developed for use within an extended -30°C to 85°C temperature range, and are especially thin and lightweight - making them suitable for a wide variety of demanding industrial and medical applications, such as industrial control and automation and medical diagnostic devices. At the same time, the displays offer high colour saturation, high brightness (450 cd/m2 for portrait model, 500 cd/m2 for the landscape model), high contrast (portrait – 400:1, landscape – 500:1), 262K colours, and ultra-wide viewing angles of 150°, left to right

    Adding further value to the 3.5” QVGA TFTs, Anders also offers a range of display enhancements, including EMI filters (low Ohm ITO coating for EMI suppression, and mesh filters), filters for light optics, and a variety of finishes, polarizes, retarders, EMI Windows, Broad Band PET, anti-reflective, and light control filters for privacy. Additionally, Anders offers optically-bonded protective glass windows for all TFTs, ideal for rugged industrial applications.

    “These new 3.5” QVGA TFTs offer all the advantages of a feature-rich tier-1 manufactured display with long-term availability – in a low-volume, low-cost package,” said Mike Logan, Product Manager at Anders Electronics. “In today’s competitive industrial and medical device market, we’re pleased to continue to exceed both commercial expectations and high-end technical standards, enabling a truly outstanding enduser experience for our customers,” he concluded.

    Powered by Wonderware

    Invensys Announces New Partners and Collaboration for Wonderware Windows CE HMI

    Invensys Operations Management has announced a number of innovative, strategic partnerships with industry-leading human-machine interface (HMI) hardware manufacturers.

    The Powered By Wonderware® program delivers Invensys Operations Management's industry-leading Wonderware InTouch® HMI software in a Compact Edition form factor for Windows CE devices. The program was created in partnership with Advantech Corporation, Arista Corporation, Axiomtek, B&R Industrial Automation, Beckhoff Automation, Beijer Electronics, Kontron and VIPA. Powered By Wonderware certified devices are now available from these leading vendors, with pre-installed images ready for use out of the box.

    "The Powered by Wonderware program, in conjunction with our partners, means that our customers can now order their HMI hardware with runtime software pre-installed, directly from their vendor of choice," said Keith Jones, Invensys Operations Management marketing program manager, Wonderware HMI/SCADA products. "This offers a certified combination of InTouch Compact Edition software and vendor hardware, tested by Wonderware and ready to use out of the box. Customers will appreciate the time they will save with the pre-installed software, as well as have confidence that their industrial computer panel is ready to run. In addition, InTouch Compact Edition software has never been more affordable, with users able to select the license size they need and take advantage of exciting new bundled pricing."

    According to Dan Fitzpatrick, global embedded program manager, Invensys Operations Management, by partnering with many of the world's top HMI hardware brands, Invensys now offers clients the most cost-efficient version of the market-leading Wonderware InTouch HMI software on a vast amount of hardware styles and ratings.

    "In addition, Wonderware customers are assured that InTouch Compact Edition software is certified to function properly on all certified hardware and that, together with our partners, we will support the complete solution in every corner of the globe," Fitzpatrick said.

    Ultrapure water

    New sensor ideal for ultrapure water applications

    The Orbisphere 1100 series optical dissolved oxygen sensor from HACH LANGE is providing major advantages to international service company Serco, in the course of its work to solve corrosion problems within the British power generation sector. The instrumentation has helped reduce maintenance time and service requirements to improve the overall monitoring efficiency of testing carried out under plant conditions.

    The sensor is used to monitor feedwater for the determination of dissolved oxygen levels in ultra pure water, in this instance, primary coolant in pressurised water reactors.

    Dissolved oxygen is vitally important in applications ranging from power generation, wastewater, drinking water and beverage production to monitor and control corrosion rates of materials.

    Employing luminescent measurement technology, with no membranes or electrolyte, the solid state sensor head of the Orbisphere 1100 is unaffected by process changes or pressure shocks and requires minimal user intervention. It is quick and easy to calibrate, saving on maintenance costs as a result. Annual maintenance is limited to just a few minutes for a zero point calibration. In addition, chemicals are not required for this process, making the task easier and safer without reducing measurement precision.

    A further useful feature of the luminescent measurement technology is the elimination of effects on readings by other dissolved gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

    The Serco Technical and Assurance Services laboratory team provides a dedicated service to industry, solving corrosion related plant problems. Its research laboratories enable the simulation of most plant conditions found within the power generation market. The majority of the work performed is for regulatory purposes and for plant lifetime/safety studies, so it is vitally important that fast, accurate and reliable results are produced during corrosion experiments that replicate plant conditions.

    In order to tailor analytical services to customer needs, the laboratories employ a sophisticated range of the latest laboratory instruments.

    Chris Auener, Structural Integrity Analyst at Serco, said: “The sub 10ppb accuracy of the system within the calibration range of the Orbisphere 1100 from HACH LANGE reduces the inaccuracy of the measurement allowing previously unseen readings within primary water conditions at Serco.

    “We have numerous requirements from industry to recreate plant conditions with high purity water containing high concentrations of other dissolved gases and pH raisers and so the Orbisphere 1100 has proved ideal for our purposes. The instrument is also extremely user-friendly and meets the industry standard.”

    Another benefit of the Orbisphere 1100 is that the sensor will fit into any existing Orbisphere sensor housings, allowing quick and reliable monitoring, even at sub 5ppb levels making the instrument ideal for all power applications. The sensor is then connected to the Orbisphere 510 - Multi Channel O2, O3, CO2, N2 and H2 Gas Analyser and Orbisphere 410 - Oxygen and Ozone Gas Analyser.

    Summarising, Gareth Hughes, Industrial Process Sales Manager at HACH LANGE said: "The key feature of the Orbisphere 1100, that sets it apart from other instruments, is its ability to provide highly accurate ultra-low DO measurements with little or no service requirement, saving valuable time and costs in the process.”

    Tuesday 15 September 2009

    US level

    Ultrasonic continuous liquid level sensor
    With multipoint switch capability

    Gems® Sensors & Controls™ has launched the UCL-510 Ultrasonic Level Sensor. The compact UCL-510 is suitable for non-contact applications such as industrial water treatment, wastewater management, chemical storage, and many other challenging fluid applications. The UCL-510 offers an innovative solution for challenging fluid measurement with no moving parts.

    This highly accurate and reliable sensor is built for general purpose, small tank applications 49.2” (1.25m) or less and offers switch, controller and transmitter capabilities in one multi-function transmitter. The UCL-510 is packaged within a compact sensor with a 2” dead band and an innovative PC interface that provides fast and accurate configuration.

    The product combines 4 relays, 4-20mA output and pump/valve control in one small sensor for a total fluid handling and automation solution. The UCL-510 is suited for corrosive and dirty applications and is virtually maintenance free and reduces tank system hardware.
    Ultrasonic continuous liquid level sensor
    With Multipoint Switch Capability

    Gems® Sensors & Controls™ has launched the UCL-510 Ultrasonic Level Sensor. The compact UCL-510 is suitable for non-contact applications such as industrial water treatment, wastewater management, chemical storage, and many other challenging fluid applications. The UCL-510 offers an innovative solution for challenging fluid measurement with no moving parts.

    This highly accurate and reliable sensor is built for general purpose, small tank applications 49.2” (1.25m) or less and offers switch, controller and transmitter capabilities in one multi-function transmitter. The UCL-510 is packaged within a compact sensor with a 2” dead band and an innovative PC interface that provides fast and accurate configuration.

    The product combines 4 relays, 4-20mA output and pump/valve control in one small sensor for a total fluid handling and automation solution. The UCL-510 is suited for corrosive and dirty applications and is virtually maintenance free and reduces tank system hardware.

    Sanitary standards

    Sanitary Standards Certification
    Earned by food & beverage automation experts

    ESE, Inc., has earned 3-A Sanitary Standards certification from 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc.,(SSI), a non-profit organization representing equipment manufacturers, processors, regulatory sanitarians, and other public health professionals whose mission is to enhance product safety for consumers of food, beverages, and pharmaceutical products. ESE, Inc. successfully met a comprehensive inventory of 3-A Sanitary Standards and 3-A Accepted Practices to certify the sanitary design of its processing equipment for dairy and food processing. ESE's Q5 Near Infrared Analyzers were inspected for their patent-pending flow cell design - whereby near infrared light passes through product in a flow cell, then returned light is rapidly and accurately analyzed for moisture, fat, protein, solids, salt, pH, or other constituents.

    "Our 3-A certification status demonstrates a commitment to food quality that dates back to 2005 - preceding many of our competitors - and continues on today with heightened concern for potential safety issues facing the industry,"
    states Tom Walther, President of ESE, Inc. "ESE proudly displays the 3-A Symbol to demonstrate our commitment to food hygiene standards and assure our customers that ESE's equipment conforms to the appropriate and current 3-A Sanitary Standards."

    3-A Accepted Practices are used on a voluntary basis and certify that adequate public health protections are in place for equipment, systems, and products serving the dairy and food industries. Food and dairy producers widely recognize this certification because it signifies equipment that is easier to clean, inspect, and maintain. To achieve member status, food technology vendors must be verified by an objective, independent, third-party professional; inspections must be renewed every five years to maintain certification status. ESE first earned its 3-A certification in 2005 and has continually met the stringent requirements for certification.

    Security Inst

    exida Joins ISA Security Compliance Institute

    The ISA Security Compliance Institute announces the recent addition of exida LLC as a Technical Member.
    Founded in 2007, the ISA Security Compliance Institute’s mission is to provide the highest level of assurance possible for the cyber security of industrial automation control systems. The Institute is well into development of an industry consensus cyber security specification for the ISASecure designation. Conformant products will carry the ISASecure designation, enabling suppliers to substantiate claims of compliance. The designation will also provide asset owners with independently validated cyber security characteristics for products when making procurement decisions.

    Andre Ristaino, managing director of ISA's Automation Standards Compliance Institute, comments on the addition of exida to the Institute. “Dr. William Goble and his organization are globally recognized experts in engineering practices in the field of safety. Many of the same concepts are applicable to cyber security of control systems. exida’s insights and contributions from their top-drawer professionals will improve the quality of the ISASecure test specification.”

    Headquartered in the US and Munich, (D), exida is a significant provider of functional safety and control system security services, and certification and engineering tools. The company has extensive experience in major markets such as oil and gas, chemicals, power, automotive, and pharmaceuticals. exida has certified over 70 safety products to the ISO/IEC 61508 international standard.

    exida also owns Byres Research, located in Vancouver (CDN). Byres Research is a world-class team of security and controls systems professionals dedicated to helping corporations and government agencies protect critical industrial automation and control systems from cyber incidents.

    “We are very pleased to be a Technical Member of the ISA Security Compliance Institute”, says Dr. Goble, principle partner of exida. “Membership is consistent with our overall goal to help rapidly mature the field of control system security, including the design, certification, and application of products used in critical applications. "

    See our CyberSafe Page and our recent report on Byre Security's Tofino™ Virtual Private Network (VPN))

    Wireless board!

    ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute Elects Governing Board Officers

    The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute announces newly elected leadership for the Institute’s Governing Board. Dan Sheflin from Honeywell was selected as the Institute’s first Chairman and Dr. Penny Chen from Yokogawa was selected as the Institute’s first Vice-Chairman.
    The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute provides the linkages between the published standard and implementation of the technology in the commercial marketplace via conformance certification programs, education, and technology support.

    Sheflin is the Vice President of Advanced Technology for Honeywell’s Automation and Control Solutions (ACS) business which is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.

    With the election of Sheflin, Honeywell demonstrates its commitment to the advancement of the ISA100 family of standards. “The creation of the ISA100 family of communication standards is one of the most profound industry milestones this century and establishes the foundation for the next generation of industrial automation controls. Communication interoperability is an enabling technology that will not only reduce life cycle costs, but provides the foundation for applications that have not been invented yet.”

    Dr. Chen is a Principal Systems Architect at the Yokogawa Industry Automation Global Strategic Technology Marketing Center in the US (USMK). She actively participates in automation industry standards initiatives including ISA100 (Wireless Systems for Automation) and ISA99 (Manufacturing and Control Systems Security). She is currently Co-Chair of the ISA100.15 Wireless Backhaul Backbone Network Working Group. Chen's professional experience includes positions at Intel, Alcatel-Lucent, and a start-up company which focused on wireless networking technologies and security solutions for multiple wireless technologies including Bluetooth, WiFi, and 2G/2.5G/3G Mobile. Penny earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University (USA).

    The newly elected Vice Chairman states, “Yokogawa is a staunch advocate for industry standards and the ISA100 wireless communication standard offers functionality, interoperability, and flexibility for unlimited future growth, We are excited to participate in an industry initiative as important as the ISA100 Industrial Wireless communication standard.”

    Monday 14 September 2009

    Concrete pH

    Flat surface electrode design
    Fast and easy on-the-spot pH measurements on concrete

    Extech Instruments, a major supplier of test and measurement equipment for the industrial marketplace, announces its new PH150-C ExStik Concrete pH Test Kit with everything you need for pH testing. The PH150-C’s flat surface electrode design provides fast and easy on-the-spot pH measurements on concrete, and the kit’s waterproof/dustproof design (IP570) floats in water and protects the meter in wet environments.

    Its one metre extension cable with probe guard/weight attached to the flat surface Concrete pH Meter for taking measurements on flat concrete surfaces, and the rust-resistant metal weight helps to keep the electrode in contact with the wet concrete surface. The test kit features a probe guard to protect the electrode. To eliminate guesswork, the test kit’s RENEW indicator tells the user when it is time to replace the electrode and the CAL alert informs the user when it is to recalibrate.

    The meter includes a dual display with numerical readout and analog bar graph, and the memory function records and recalls 25 sequentially tagged readings, allowing detection of changes over time. 1, 2 or 3 point calibration automatically recognizes buffer solutions, and the kit features a simultaneous display of pH and temperature with ATC. Furthermore, there is a Data Hold, Auto power off and low battery indicator.

    The PH150-C test kit comes complete with a flat surface concrete pH electrode, protective sensor cap, sample cup with cap, plastic stand (that helps keep the meter in place), 1M extension cable with weighted probe guard, plastic bottle, four 3V CR2032 button batteries, a 48” (1.2m) neckstrap, and a carrying case.

    Cable outlets!

    New Rittal NH isolator quick change cable outlets

    Rittal has extended its series of secure isolators with the addition of a range of new NH isolators in sizes 00 to 3. Similar in design to the existing RiLine60 series, the new isolator cable outlets can now be changed from top to bottom within seconds. The position of the cable outlet can be decided upon just before assembly, and inventory costs can thus be halved.

    The size 00 rail is available in two versions for direct contact on 60 or 100mm rail systems, and can also be used on 185mm rail systems with the addition of an adaptor. The 60mm rail system version is contacted via rotating mounting hooks.

    1 to 3 size rails can be assembled on 185mm rail systems with a uniform construction width of 100mm. As before, cable outlets can be changed from top to bottom within seconds. Contacting to the rail system is by means of busbar terminals, without the need for any drilled holes.

    Comprehensive contact hazard protection of IP 2X protection category is always assured, due to integration in the RiLine 60 base tray system.

    This new series is supported by a wide range of accessories for conductor connection, current measurement and fuse monitoring.


    Farnell increases focus on electronic design for transportation

    Farnell has extended its support for electronic engineers working on automotive, rail and other Transportation applications by adding a large number of Transportation-orientated electronic components to its product portfolio. At the same time the company has made available a wide variety of technical collateral that will help these engineers speed product selection and application development.

    The recent addition of over 800 new parts means that Farnell’s dedicated Transportation portfolio now features almost 4000 products from 80 industry-leading suppliers including Altera, Analog Devices, Cree, Freescale Semiconductor and STMicroelectronics. Technical documentation for electronic engineers working in the Transportation field comprises over 60 new documents ranging from application notes and selector guides to design tips and reference guides.

    To coincide with Farnell’s increased Transportation focus, the latest Farnell Technology First Journal also has Transportation as its theme. The Journal brings together a variety of news, product and market information. Technical articles and FAQs designed to help engineers working on applications as diverse as motorcycles and heavy agricultural vehicles are also included.

    Downloadable PDF and interactive online versions of Technology First can be accessed via the Transportation link on the Technology First area of the Farnell website. This link also provides access to information on the new product introductions, allows visitors to search products by category, and incorporates ‘hotlinks’ to the technical collateral.

    Jamie Furness, Global Head of Strategy & Community Development, states: “From comfort and safety to infotainment, security and drivetrains, innovative electronic design is fundamental to delivering more features, making vehicles safer and more efficient and, critically, reducing cost of manufacture. The key to future success for manufacturers lies in innovation so, despite the short-term challenges facing the Transportation industry in general and automotive manufacturers in particular, this is the perfect time to increase our focus on this sector.”

    Friday 11 September 2009

    Console recorder

    Message from the PR Rep of Lonwatch which accompanied this release:
    I’ve been a PR hack for 20+ years, and I’ve NEVER used the word “breakthough” to describe a client’s product. (I admit to once using “paradigm shift” back in the 1980s, and for that I apologize).
    As you know, most products are not breakthroughs, best-in-class, state of the art, award-winning, or leading edge, except in the mind of the vendor’s PR people.
    But this time I have such a breakthrough product! The Console Recorder from Longwatch is a virtual time machine, a software package that lets companies see what the operator was watching on the HMI when the plant blew up. It records the video signal to the HMI and archives it, so companies can see exactly what happened during an alarm, explosion, plant upset, leak or any other event.
    If three monitors are available, the company can put archived plant video on one screen, display what the operator was watching on another screen, and show data from the historian on a third screen—in other words, the company can reconstruct the EXACT situation as it occurred in the control room at the time of the incident.
    I will leave it to your fertile editorial imagination to consider what this might mean in terms of legal implications, accident investigations, event reconstruction, regulatory concerns, training, operator procedures and process control/automation in general. I am with child in anticipation of reading what you might say.
    Rich Merritt

    Unique event, alarm or process upset record!
    Video software records exactly what was on HMI screens when an event occurred, archives it, and plays the video back for training or analysis purposes.

    Longwatch has launched the Operator’s Console Recorder, a software module that automatically records images being shown on multiple HMI or SCADA operator’s displays. The module takes its signals directly from each HMI screen’s video software driver, so it records the actual video being sent to the HMI. The software can accommodate video signals from an unlimited number of HMIs to show what operators were watching at the time of an event, alarm or process upset.
    Few, if any, companies have taken the simple step of making sure that their human interfaces are delivering necessary information in a timely and unambiguous fashion so that the operators make timely and appropriate command actions.
    Playing back what the operator was seeing can be a very valuable method for troubleshooting, training and process improvement. It can also be an important tool to help analyse what went wrong, or what can be done to avoid future problems.

    Video images can be combined with the automatic data mapping capability of their Video Historian, so the Console Recorder can automatically retrieve and replay operator displays simply by clicking on a time-based alarm or system message. Playing back what the operator was seeing at the time of an event can be a valuable tool for training and analysis purposes, and can help mitigate insurance and regulatory issues by eliminating guesswork and conjecture.

    Videos used for monitoring plant activities can also be combined with the operator console videos and data from a process historian. This enables engineers, analysts or investigators to see what was happening in the plant, what the operator was seeing on the HMI screen at the time, and all relevant real-time data that occurred at the time of an event.

    For example, in the case of a leak at a pumping station, investigators could watch plant video taken at a remote site showing fuel oil creeping across the floor of a pumping station, real-time data being acquired from pumps, valves and the receiving tank while the leak is occurring, what appeared on the operator’s HMI screen, and the alarm screen that came up when the leak detector went off. Investigators can then watch the operator switch the HMI screen to live video feed from the pumping station, observe the leak, and take action from the HMI to shut off the pump. Plant video would show the arrival of a maintenance crew to repair the leak. Analysis of all data and videos might show that the leak detector was poorly positioned and an alarm condition is needed for when fuel oil is being pumped but is not being received at the storage tank.

    With a typical three-display system, as found in many process control applications, it would be possible to display remote pump video on one screen, video from the operator’s display at the time of the event on a second screen, and process historian data on a third screen, thus getting a simultaneous view of what happened and what the operator saw.

    To help mitigate insurance and regulatory issues, the combined video and historian information could help determine that the operator acted correctly and the spill was cleaned up with no damage to the environment. The Longwatch Operator’s Console Recorder and Video Historian fills the gap between normal plant data acquisition and actual plant management, because it shows everything that happened during an event; i.e., what actually happened, what the data acquisition equipment monitored and recorded, and what was reported to the operator on the HMI screen.

    "Capturing the actual video feed to the operator HMI is a much better solution than traditional methods," says Steve Rubin, president of Longwatch. “Before Longwatch, recording and playback of an operator’s HMI was clumsy and limited. One method was to put a camera over the operator’s shoulder. This is intrusive and intimidating, and the camera has a limited ability to read what’s on the screen,” he explains. “In an installation with multiple HMIs, this solution would require a camera on each screen.”

    Another method is to use process historian data. “It’s possible to recreate the console display the operator should have been watching by driving it with data from the process historian,” says Rubin. “This requires the historian to record all the data values present on every display. However, no one knows which screen an operator was actually watching at the time of the event. An operator could have been looking at a trend display, not the alarm summary screen.”

    With the Longwatch system, there is no problem reading the screens, and no doubt which screens operators were watching. By combining video data from plant locations, video from HMI screens, and data from the historian, investigators can go back in time to see exactly what happened and make a better analysis of what to do about a similar situation in the future.

    W&WW papers!

    Water and wastewater white papers will add to your problem-solving repertory

    The technical papers section at Controlsoft gives environmentally concerned operations people in the waste and wastewater industry the chance to review solid information that can lead to tighter chlorine control and lower chlorine setpoints, as well as massive cost savings.

    The Water and Wastewater group includes application notes and technical email such as "Process Control for Drinking Water Treatment," "Coordinated Control for Chlorination Stations," and "Keeping Chlorine Discharge Residual at the Desired Level."

    These papers offer both experienced and new technical personnel the opportunity to add to their process control knowledge.

    Engineers and operations people may request free PDFs of the Water and Wastewater group by going to On the home page, click on the Support button to reach the technical papers section of the web site, which shows the titles of available papers (grouped by industrial category, such as food and beverage, fermentation and biochemical, etc.).

    Thursday 10 September 2009

    Debug probe

    Support for TI’s Code Composer Studio 4

    Ashling Microsystems, a NeST Group company, has added support for Version 4 of Texas Instruments Code Composer Studio (CCS) on its Opella-XDS560 Debug Probe.

    Version 4 of Code Composer Studio is based on the Eclipse open source software framework. Opella-XDS560 is a high performance JTAG Debug Probe targeting Texas Instrument (TI) DSP Platforms. Opella-XDS560 seamlessly plugs into Code Composer Studio IDE allowing convenient debugging of application code actually running on the target system. Debugging support is provided for all TI platforms including OMAP™, DaVinci™, TMS320C6000™, TMS320C5000™, TMS320C2000™ and TMS470™ families

    Opella-XDS560 and TI’s CCS are available directly from Ashling and its sales representatives worldwide. Click here for more details!.


    SolutionsPT Continues to Invest for the Future
    John Bailey moves to group Chairmanship role and Phil Gillard appointed SolutionsPT General Manager

    SolutionsPT Limited, an operating company of the Pantek Group, today announced that John Bailey has been appointed Chairman and Phil Gillard moves to the newly created role of SolutionsPT General Manager. John Bailey, who founded the first Pantek Company in September 1985, has previously managed SolutionsPT on a day to day basis. Phil Gillard initially joined the company as Business Development Manager in May of this year.
    John Bailey

    Announcing these executive changes John Bailey said, “These announcements, especially that of Phil’s appointment as SolutionsPT’s General Manager follow on from the development of a solid commercial restructuring lead by Neil Pearce and the very successful major rebranding of the organisation that we announced in February 2007, and are yet a further enhancement to our positioning and investment in the company’s future success.”

    Phil Gillard brings a wide and in-depth range of market sector knowledge along with significant management and commercial experience to SolutionsPT. Phil, having graduated in Control Engineering in 1982, commenced his career as a Control Engineer for Petrofina. Subsequently he had more than a decade of experience in the DCS sector, initially with Fischer & Porter then as Sales and Marketing Director at Yokogawa. Additionally, Phil has significant knowledge of the systems integration business including PLC, SCADA and MES technologies, gained via a five year tenure as Business Unit Manager for the Engineering Division at Motherwell Information Systems. Additionally, Phil has nine years international account management experience - primarily in the Food and Pharmaceutical sectors - which he gained at Rockwell Automation and AspenTech.

    Commenting further upon Phil Gillard’s new role John Bailey continued: “Besides Phil’s key manufacturing and control market sector experience along, of course, with his business development expertise, he also brings us valuable commercial and general management experience. This appointment will allow SolutionsPT to continue to develop its key business areas and fulfil its role as a Wonderware Star+ distributor for the years to come.”

    Elaborating upon the company's market position Phil Gillard observed: “The single entity that is SolutionsPT is increasingly being recognised as offering one of the most comprehensive and effective ‘scope of delivery’ offerings within its chosen position in the manufacturing information and control market. This is particularly important in today’s difficult trading environment where the market requires a high level of technical and application knowledge coupled with the ability to be agile in response to evolving business drivers.”

    Wednesday 9 September 2009

    PV plant control

    New versatile modular controller for solar photovoltaic plants
    Carlo Gavazzi’s new Eos-Array controller enables efficient running of PV plants to help meet the growing demand for green energy

    Carlo Gavazzi has announced a new versatile, reliable management and control system targeting small to medium or high power solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The new controller is designed to enable the plants to meet growing demand for clean sources of energy by maintaining efficient operation, maximising performance and strengthening the Return on Investment.

    Easy to install and configure, the new Eos-Array comprises individual modular elements that, when interacting with one another, provide a complete and independent control solution that gathers accurate and dependable data to ensure effective information management. The core component is the VMU-M which performs local bus management of measuring units and I/O modules. The VMU-M assigns the proper local unit address automatically and gathers all local measurements from the VMU‑S and VMU‑P, simultaneously connecting with the external world through VMU-O modules.

    It has a modular design allowing the control to be scaled up or down according to requirements and budgets. A single master VMU-M can control 15 Eos modules on its local bus; including up to seven VMU-O I/O modules and one VMU-P unit. With no auxiliary bus wiring, the system is simple to install and straightforward to expand. Further cost saving is provided by the integrated string fuse protection and modularity also improves overall system reliability. String efficiency and inverters are controlled locally enabling operators to rapidly isolate faults, failures and inefficiencies.

    Each VMU-O provides two PV panel temperature inputs and two relay outputs to manage alarms (such as the integrated anti-theft system) and external loads (such as lighting and PV washing systems). The VMU-S measures DC output from the PV panel. VMU-P collects relevant environmental data (through external sensors) such as wind speed, air temperature and irradiation. Eos-ArraySoft can download the Eos-Array system memory to the PC, for scheduled or on-demand plant efficiency calculations and alarm analysis.

    A typical 50kW plant would use one VMU-M unit for data logging and local bus management, ten VMU-S units for string control (50kW total for 228x220W PV panels, 12.5A/400V single string), one VMU-O for I/O management and one VMU-P for environment measurements. Eos-ArraySoft software is installed in a local PC to provide data collection and historical analysis.

    Temp Calibration

    Modular concept temperature calibration systems

    The CS Series from Eurolec comprises two dry block “black body” sources for calibration with a temperature control system and a pocket for a reference thermometer. Model CS173 features a range of +30 to +200°C and model CS174 features a range of 40°C below ambient (approx. -20°C) to +85°C, together with 0.01°C resolution between -19.99°C to + 85.00°C.

    In addition, both models feature a 2 position Precision Accuracy Check (PAC*) function where at the touch of a switch, the accuracy of the unit is confirmed at 2 preset points. A calibration certificate, traceable to national standards is supplied with both models. For precision accuracy checking over an extended range, reference thermometers RT161 or PC Temp RT1 are recommended.

    These innovative units save the on the inconvenience and time lost due to external calibration, are quick and easy to use and will provide considerable cost savings when compared with external or contracted on-site temperature calibration.