Saturday, July 25, 2009

Industrial security

The newly formed, non-profit Security Incidents Organization™ has announced it will provide public access to The Repository of Industrial Security Incidents (RISI).

RISI is an industry-wide repository for collecting, investigating, analysing and sharing critical information regarding cyber security incidents that directly affect SCADA, manufacturing and process control systems. With over 150 incidents, it is the largest known collection of industrial cyber security incidents.

See also the Signpost Cyber Security Page

Modeled after similar safety incident databases, RISI provides subscribers with reliable information that allows them to learn from others' experiences, understand the risks associated with industrial cyber-threats and adapt their current security policies in step with changing industrial cyber-security dynamics. .

RISI has a history dating back to early 2001, when academic researchers developed a database called the Industrial Security Incidents Database (ISID). In 2008 several private cyber security experts, building on ISID, began collaboration on the RISI project with a goal of making the information available to the entire industrial automation community. .

The Security Incidents Organization was established in 2009 to fulfill this goal by operating the RISI database, researching incidents and making the results of that research publicly available.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vibration sensors

Monitran announces its "Grip Tight" bodied vibration sensors and accelerometers

Monitran has made its general purpose vibration sensors and accelerometers available as "Grip Tight" (GT) versions. With Grip Tight (patent pending), the fitting or removal of a sensor to/from its GT stud takes mere seconds - yet the mechanical bond, essential for the transfer of energy, is assured.

Unlike a traditional threaded mounting option, there is no need to screw the sensor onto the stud. This is a major plus when using sensors with integral cables, which would otherwise have their cables twisted when tightening the sensor onto the stud. The Grip Tight method also removes, completely, the risk of sheering the stud-to-machine bond; be it screw or adhesive.

A GT-bodied sensor has no hexagonal base, as a spanner is not required for mounting the sensor to its stud. Instead, tightening a grub screw draws the base of the sensor down onto its GT-stud. James Holland, Monitran's
Engineering Coordinator, comments: "Grip Tight has all the ease-of-use of a magnetic mount but affords the permanency and mechanical stability of a screw mount."

Sensors available with the new GT body include Monitran's MTN/1100 family, which have isolated AC outputs and are ideal for vibration analysis, and the MTN/1185 family, which have DC outputs and are ideal for machine protection.

Grip Tight is ideally suited to applications where the vibration sensor is not necessarily going to be a permanent fixture. For example, the sensor might be taken from machine to machine as part of a regular vibration-based condition monitoring routine.

Holland continues: "A prototype of the Grip Tight stud was shown at MAINTEC, where customers expressed immediate interest in the concept. Specifically, they recognised how Grip Tight affords extended durability through greatly reducing the risk of damage during installation and removal."

As standard the GT studs are available as M6 or M8 male or female threads, but can be made-to-order with virtually any stud-to-machine mounting method.

Also as standard, the grub screw in the sensor body will be a 4mm thread and sensors will be supplied with Allan keys.

Online solar cell demo!

New Keithley Microsite Offers Access to Informative Photovoltaic Measurements Seminar, Online Solar Cell Demo

Keithley Instruments a world leader in advanced electrical test instruments and systems, has created an application-specific microsite for those responsible for characterizing solar/photovoltaic devices. Simplify Your Solar Cell Testing with Keithley’s Precision Measurement Solutionsdescribes Keithley’s high accuracy solutions for solar cell I-V and C-V characterisation, which allow high speed testing without the hassles of integrating separate instruments or writing complicated programs. It also describes key solar cell parameters and measurement techniques.

The microsite offers access to a pre-recorded seminar titled “Photovoltaic Measurements: Testing the Electrical Properties of Today’s Solar Cells.” An online demonstration provides a high-level overview of how Keithley’s ACS Basic Edition systems can be applied to solar cell characterization. Other Keithley solutions profiled include the Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System, Model 2602A System SourceMeter® Instrument, and Model 2440 or Model 2425 SourceMeter Instruments. Visitors can also request their solar cell test information kit.

Small low-pressure sensor

Gems Introduces New Compact, Low Pressure Transducer

Gems® Sensors & Controls™ has launched the new 3300 series pressure transducer. The 3300 series transducer is designed for low pressure applications that demand small size and low cost along with high accuracy and stability. The 3300 Series pressure transducer is well suited to applications such as chemical sterilizers, autoclaves, pneumatics, HVAC&R, pumps & compressors.

This pressure transducer is the newest addition to the highly successful 3100 and 3200 series transducers, bringing a versatile low pressure capability to the product line and opening up a host of new applications across a number of different industries. All stainless steel wetted parts and all welded construction make the unit compatible with harsh chemicals and environments. In addition, the unique temperature compensation at source technology delivers outstanding temperature stability.

The series is available in pressure ranges from 1 to 16 bar and is capable of operating over a temperature range of -40°C to 125°C. Available in voltage, current, and ratiometric outputs, with a wide selection of connectors, pressure fittings and mating connectors makes the 3300 suitable for many applications without modification.

“Key benefits of the 3300 series transducer for our OEM customers are its low pressure capabilities, compact size, low cost, stainless steel wetted parts and an all welded construction”, says Sitara Hultman, Product Marketing Manager for Gems Sensors and Controls.

Miniature power transmission

New ovoid gearbox design offers 4x output torque for miniature power transmission applications

In what could become a veritable landmark in the world of miniature power transmission, Rotalink has combined spur and planetary gear stages within the industry standard ovoid gearbox for a potential output torque increase of at least 400%. The new gearboxes, available in three model sizes, are the result of an intensive and ongoing design initiative carried out by manufacturer that takes its lead from advances in ultra polymer materials technology and production techniques, and offers further benefits of higher power-to-weight ratio, reduced installation volume and quieter operation.

All three new gearbox lines will enable higher torque or reduced gearbox size for existing customer applications and pave the way for next generation miniature powertrain systems across all industries

The new gearboxes are the 330 series - a form-fit mounting replacement for the conventional ‘standard’ industrial ovoid gearbox with a vastly improved 13 Nm peak holding torque; and the 360 series - a slightly larger model with a massive 28 Nm peak torque in gearbox case that measures just 95 mm x 60 mm x 31.5 mm deep. The third and completely new gearbox model, the 310, is Rotalink’s smallest ovoid design and mounts within a volume of just 45 mm x 29 mm x 20 mm deep but boasts a 2.6 Nm holding torque for a 10000 hour life.

A wide range of ratios are available, typically from 24:1 to 3200:1 depending upon the model size with maximum output speeds between 300 to 400 rpm. All include a zinc plated pressed steel gearbox case and cover with 4-point mounting for maximum durability. Spur gears run on fixed steel spindles leading to the final planetary output stage with precision ball bearings supporting the stainless steel output shaft which is available as a standard flatted design or can be customised for the application.

For the 310 series, they also offer all spur gear versions and different levels of advanced gear materials, with a choice of plain or ball bearings. These options de-rate the maximum torque and performance capability but maintain a flexibility through the range that allows keen pricing for less demanding applications. The new 330 and 360 series are also available with different levels of gear materials and a choice of bearings

All gearboxes are designed for fast and straightforward interfacing with their comprehensive range of DC, AC and stepping motors along with single and dual channel feedback encoders which are fitted directly between the motor/gearbox assemblies. This allows the use of “off the shelf” single output shaft motors and helps to reduce product costs and development timescales.

Rotalink’s holistic approach to miniature power transmission also includes current limiting boards which are useful in DC motor applications to limit torque, and complete motion controls such as Red Drive which allows straightforward drive and control with an easy-to-use graphical programming language that requires no previous programming or motion controls knowledge. Along with special output shafts and wiring/connector options, customised designs can include ancillary products such as output gears, leadscrew output shafts, pulleys, clutches and brakes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Honour for industry veteran!

ISA’s Highest Honour Conferred Upon Moore Industries Founder
Leonard W. Moore Achieves Honorary Member Distinction

The highest honor bestowed by the International Society of Automation (ISA), Honorary Member, has been given to Moore Industries’ founder and President Leonard W. Moore.

About Leonard W. Moore
Leonard W. Moore is Founder and President of Moore Industries. Moore founded the company in 1968 after recognizing a vital customer need that was going unnoticed. Working out of a friend’s garage/shop, Moore designed and built the first Moore Industries SCT signal converter, which soon evolved into a product line of six signal interfaces. In 1974, the company’s success brought them to build the current headquarters in North Hills, CA, which employs hundreds of people today.
Prior to being conferred an Honorary Member, he was elected an International Society of Automation (ISA) Fellow in 1996 for his contributions to the advancement of signal conditioning instrumentation and monitoring systems, including Radio Frequency Interference and EMI protection.
Moore continues to lead Moore Industries into emerging fields of technology. The company remains in the San Fernando Valley, most recently being named a top manufacturer again by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2009. To date, Moore Industries has nine global locations encompassing North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
In addition to his professional accomplishments and contributions to the automation industries, Moore has been a no-holds-barred individual on both a business and a personal front. An avid fun-seeker, Moore was a professional racecar driver and received his pilot’s license at 73. He continues to fly his restored Ercoupe model 415D airplane most every week.

Moore received the Honorary Member distinction, “for contributions in the advancement of the arts and sciences of automation over a 40-year career of innovation, product development and business leadership,” according to the ISA. Moore will be presented with a special plaque and pin to mark this achievement at the ISA Honors and Awards Gala on October 3, 2009 at the Westin Galleria in Houston, Texas.

“The list of previous winners is impressive to say the least. I am, of course, extremely honored to be part of this elite group,” said Moore.

Moore has lead many innovative business pursuits during Moore Industries’ 40-plus year history. He holds several patents related to electronic instrument packaging, signal conditioning and instrumentation and monitoring systems. In fact, Moore patented and introduced the Cable Concentrator System, which allows dozens of I/O to be transmitted on a single, twisted-wire digital pair in the late 1980s.

“While I have been involved with many exciting product and business development pursuits during our 40 year history, I think what I am most proud of is the culture we have created here at Moore Industries,” Moore said. “When I learned about this honor, and this might sound corny, the first thing that came to mind was all of the talented people that have come through our door to earn an honest living, and that we have supported them with a great place to work. We have an employee retention rate that is phenomenal in any industry, and during any economy. We have many employees that have been with us 10, 20, 30, and even over 35 years,” he continued.

About ISA Honorary Membership
ISA members are organized into particular grades: Honorary, Fellow, Senior Member, Member, and Student Member. According to the ISA’s website, “Honorary Membership is reserved for individuals whose support of, and/or contributions to, the advancement of the arts and sciences of instrumentation, systems, and automation are deserving of special recognition.”

Previous Honorees include Hewlett Packard’s William Hewlett and David Packard and the Fluke Corporation’s John Fluke. Here is a complete list of previous Honorees.

Plan adherence reporting

New Provideam OEE service pack adds Plan Adherence Reporting

Provideam OEE Monitoring Software is Ireland's leading solution for collecting and analysing yield and downtime data. To maintain it’s leading position Provideam is regularly updated with new features and enhancements. Service Pack 3.6 has just been released and includes many great new features, such as Manual Data Entry and Plan Adherence Reporting.

The new Provideam Manual OEE Module allows users to enter data collected manually from production machines and to analyse this data in an easy to use intranet application. The Provideam Manual OEE Module has many advantages over paper-based or Excel-based approaches including;

  • Multiple simultaneous users
  • Analysis of data over any period – shift, day, week, month etc.
  • Robust reliable database data storage

To get a preview of the module they provide a training video.

To celebrate the launch of our new Manual OEE Module they are offering 50 complimentary licences to use the Provideam OEE Monitoring System. These licences will entitle you to use Provideam to analyse data from 2 machines. To win a licence you simply need to be amongst the first 50 to register for the Provideam Newsletter here. Winners will be notified at the time of the release.

The new Provideam Plan Adherence Module allows companies to fill the information deficit between Planning Departments and Operations Departments. The module enables users to monitor production performance versus a planned schedule and also to predict the start and completion dates of future orders.

There are two aspects to the Planning Module, 1) Data Entry and 2) Reporting.

    1) The Data Entry section enables users to enter current and future Work Orders / Production Requests. These Work Orders can be entered manually or imported via CSV or script. (Support for ISA 95 Messaging will follow in due course)

    2) The Reporting section enables users to create Gantt Chart Style reports which indicated the actual, targeted and predicted start/end times of each of the Work Orders for specific period ranges.

The Provideam Plan Adherence Module is an excellent low cost alternative to MES for Production Plan Adherence.

Provideam is a fully automatic (and now manual) OEE Monitoring Solution. Both automatic and manual Machines can be analysed in a wide variety of reports and views. Provideam can be used to monitor from 1 to 100s of Machines.

Module Targets Harsh Environments

ETX 3.0 CPU Module Targets Harsh Environments
Intel® Atom processor powers rugged, I/O-rich ETX module

Diamond Systems has launched an ETX 3.0 compliant computer-on-module (COM) based on Intel’s low-power, high-performance Atom N270 processor. Rated for operation over an enhanced, -20° to +70°C temperature, the ETX-N270 is aimed at defense, transportation, energy management, industrial automation, and medical applications.

Within a compact 4.5 x 3.7-inch (114 x 95mm) footprint, the ETX-N270 integrates a high- performance, low-power 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, up to 2GB of high-speed DDR2 system DRAM, and a complete set of PC- compatible system controllers and interfaces. The module’s advanced high-resolution display controller supports analog and LVDS-interfaced CRTs and LCDs and also provides a TV output option.

The ETX-N270 COM’s extensive set of I/O
interfaces also includes:
1 10/100Mbps Ethernet port
1 IDE interface (supports 2 drives)
2 SATA interfaces (support 1 drive each)
4 USB 2.0 ports
2 serial ports
AC’97 audio (mic in, line in/out)
PS/2 keyboard/mouse support (USB keyboard mouse also supported)
1 parallel port (shared with floppy interface)

It is intended to be used as a macrocomponent, plugged into system baseboards
containing application-specific circuitry, interface buffering, I/O connectors, and other required functions and components. The module’s inclusion of both 32-bit PCI and 16-bit ISA expansion buses on its ETX 3.0-compliant interface maximizes the ease and flexibility of system development.

Supported operating systems currently include Windows XP and Linux 2.6, with support for additional OSes and RTOSes (real-time OSes) available on request.

Pricing and Availability
The ETX-N270 CPU module is immediately available, priced at $325 (quantity 1).
Also available are several pre-integrated “Pluto” (ETX form-factor) and “Neptune” (EPIC form-factor) development kits, which include generic or application-oriented ETX baseboards, complete sets of interface cables, OS driver software, and comprehensive documentation.

Low-cost ultra low power wireless mesh networks

Strategic Collaboration to Benefit Utilities and Industries Needing Energy Efficient IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee Networks with Out-of-the Box Configuration Capabilities

Comit Systems
has announced a strategic cooperative relationship with GreenPeak Technologies to deliver customized low-cost, ultra low power wireless mesh network solutions utilising GreenPeak’s technology. Comit Systems will deliver turnkey engineering services for fast and reliable integration of GreenPeak’s technology, working with end users to identify the system architecture that will deliver the best results with the lowest total cost of ownership.

With the growing importance of ZigBee as a standard for The Smart Grid and energy-efficient networks, this partnership allows utilities and other industries to quickly and cost-effectively install wireless sensor networks to improve their energy demand response and consumption tracking. A contributing member of the ZigBee Alliance, GreenPeak’s revolutionary technology utilizes energy harvesting to facilitate battery-free operation in a totally wireless environment, without the need for either communications or power connectivity. Comit has the systems design expertise to deliver a network solution utilizing GreenPeak’s technology that co-exists with legacy networks.

Cees Link, CEO for GreenPeak Technologies stated, “By partnering with Comit, we recognize the advantage of working with an experienced and reputed full-service contract engineering company to quickly develop new solutions and expand into new vertical markets and geographic regions. We are very impressed with Comit’s engineering expertise and the company’s commitment to providing customers with the best solution.”

“We are very pleased that this partnership with GreenPeak gives us the opportunity to expand our traditional ASIC and semiconductor contract engineering model to providing customized solutions based on industry-leading third party technology,” stated Venkat Iyer, CEO for Comit Systems, Inc. “We look forward to working together with GreenPeak to provide solutions for a wide range of wireless applications.”