Saturday 27 February 2010

Industrial connector module for rapid on-site assembly

Harting has introduced a new version of the Han(R) DD industrial connector module featuring the company's Quick Lock termination technique for on-site assembly in the field without the need for special tools.

This further development of an established module with an excellent track record complements the existing crimp connection version, and enables simple and rapid field assembly. In addition, the Quick-Lock technique incorporates reliable and vibration-resistant contacts to provide superior safety, even in the most demanding applications in industry and traffic engineering.

The new Han® DD Quick Lock module includes 12 contacts designed for operation at 10 A and 250 V, and is 100% plug compatible with the crimp connection version.

Friday 26 February 2010

Long travel range cable-extension position sensors

Celesco's PT9000 cable extension position sensors are packed with application flexibility for real heavy-duty, high-accuracy linear measurement up to 43 metres.

Used on indoor, outdoor and wet environment applications as diverse as material handling, water & waste treatment, hydraulic cylinder positioning and crane control, the modular PT9000 series 'String Pot' sensor includes possibly the widest selection of features available on any standard cable extension position transducer today. The extensive choice of models and options covers IP67 or IP68 sealed aluminium or stainless steel housings, several industry-standard output signal options and a comprehensive selection of electrical interfacing.

The standard version has eleven measurement range options from 0 to 14 metres with an optional extended range to around 43 metres. The operating temperature spans -40°C to +90°C, and the vibration rating is 10G at 2000 Hz. Guaranteed best position accuracy is 0.1% of full stroke with repeatability to 0.02% of full stroke.

Throughout the range, the drum mounted durable plastic-hybrid precision potentiometer, with a 250,000 minimum rated cycle life, is factory configured for a choice of electrical output covering voltage divider, position/velocity output (with additional tachometer), 0/4...20 mA, and 0...10 VDC. An incremental encoder version is also available with positioning resolution from 10 to 250 pulses per inch of travel. Furthermore, CanBus and DeviceNet compatible output versions may also be supplied.

Additional options include a redundant brush system that offers extra protection for extraordinarily dirty environments and a velocity limiting system that prevents the cable from reaching damaging velocity during a free-release. Up to seven electrical connection options are available for each output version – from plastic or metal connectors to fully pressure tested waterproof cable.

To match application requirements the PT9000 series is also available in a choice of powder-painted aluminium or 303 stainless steel housings with IP67 or pressure tested IP68 rated protection from immersion in liquids. Hazardous area certification is also available and measuring cable options further nylon-coated stainless steel, stainless steel only or thermoplastic cable.

The Celesco PT9000 series typically requires just 150 mm width to install with a generous tolerance of misalignment between the cable fixing point and the housing. The design also caters for a choice of four with four cable exit options.

These are available exclusively in Britain from Variohm EuroSensor,

Cost effective field moisture calibration

Humidity sensors and probes need regular re-calibration to ensure continued accuracy. In many cases these must be sent away to a certified calibration laboratory, which may be effective but is rarely convenient as there will be significant process downtime.

The S503 from Michell Instruments means that field calibration of RH sensors and humidity probes is affordable, practical and extremely flexible for any company that uses RH instruments.

The S503 humidity calibrator from Michell Instruments is:

Small and light: At under 2kg in weight and 24cm wide, the instrument is portable, very compact and comes with a convenient carry case.

Reliable: The company has 35 years’ experience in moisture calibration and sensing. The S503 provides exceptional thermal stability to better than 0.1°C. In combination with a Michell Chilled Mirror Hygrometer, such as the Optidew Vision, you can create a complete traceable humidity calibration system. This feature is unique to the market.

Simple to use: The S503 can be used by all staff as no specialist training or experience is necessary. The calibration chamber can calibrate up to 7 probes at once helping to save time as well as money.

Advanced process control system delivers high availability for sustainable mining operations

Their Proficy® Process Systems, was chosen by China Baogang Group’s subsidiary Barun Mining Co. Ltd. for use in the company’s iron mining business in China according to a release from GE Intelligent Platforms. The company chose GE’s solution to facilitate product quality improvement, optimize production and reduce cost.

China Baogang is one of the largest equipment manufacturers in China, involved in the construction of metallurgical, infrastructural facilities, and other industrial projects. The company also provides geo-technical engineering construction, industrial and civil construction, rock and earthwork excavation, equipment installation, and steel structure fabrication and installation services.

Barun Mining Co. Ltd. Is a subsidiary of the Baotou Steel Group. They provide an additional source of material from China’s Bayan Obo area for the Baogang group to protect against global supply chain disturbances.

“GE continues its strategic drive and expansion in the Process automation space,” said Steve Ryan, General Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms’ Process and Safety business. “This win highlights not only the technical capabilities of our solutions, but the fact that customers around the globe in multiple industries are benefiting from them.”

Proficy Process Systems is a state-of-the-art, scalable, fully integrated system for process automation and control. With an open and scalable architecture, it leverages the best of GE Intelligent Platforms’ broad hardware and software platforms to provide a system ideally suited for rugged mining operations control. Barun Mining is employing Proficy Process Systems to record process data for the whole plant.

“We wanted a control system to improve efficiency and product quality,” said Dongziqing, vice president of Barun Mining Corp. “The Proficy Process System High Availability PACSystems RX3i controller, I/O and forward-thinking architecture of 100 MBPS I/O Rack Connectivity will enable us to increase our productivity.

Proficy Process Systems provides a single control environment and comprehensive engineering and operator functionality in a user-friendly system. Its open architecture reduces lifecycle cost through precise calibration and secure electronic configuration. Proficy Process Systems’ Global Namespace provides a single point of configuration to eliminate the risk of inconsistencies between multiple databases and the need to duplicate engineering efforts. And, real time monitoring of plant and an intelligent alarming system provide overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of production equipment efficiency and critical plant conditions.

Coriolis meter with highest flow rate!

Emerson Process Management has unveiled the highest flow rate Coriolis meter available. The latest Micro Motion® ELITE® Coriolis meter covers DN250-DN300 (10”-12”) line sizes and can handle flow rates up to 3,266,000 kg/hour. This new meter adds to the existing DN2-DN200 (1/10”-8”) ELITE line size range, enabling Emerson to deliver the industry’s broadest Coriolis offering.

Manufacturers are challenged with reducing production costs and optimising processes in tough applications that demand high, reliable production rates. Mechanical meters, with moving parts, rotating components, and ongoing maintenance requirements, don’t necessarily deliver the robust performance needed. High flow rate applications demand the best possible accuracy in all conditions, especially when measuring high-value material.

This latest large size ELITE High Capacity meter is ideally suited for pipelines, ship/rail loading and unloading, crude oil custody transfer, mud logging, marine, LNG, gas metering, and refinery blending. ELITE High Capacity Coriolis meters have no moving parts to break or wear, deliver ±0.10% mass and volume flow liquid accuracy, ±0.0005 g/cc density accuracy, and ±0.35% gas flow accuracy.

Micro Motion ELITE High Capacity Coriolis meters also deliver measurement performance for applications ranging from DN150-DN300 (6”-12”) process connections, and have been thoroughly tested in oil and gas applications with results exceeding customer expectations.

Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters lead the industry in quality, measurement performance, and reliability, and are part of Emerson's broad range of intelligent, digital field devices that power the PlantWeb® digital plant architecture. Further cost savings, increased plant availability, and enhanced safety and environmental compliance are achieved when the flowmeters are integrated into the PlantWeb digital plant architecture.

New board to expands application spread

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the bCOM2-L1100 rugged COM Express board. Designed specifically to respond to the growing requirement to deploy powerful computing solutions in harsh, space-constrained environments such as mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, test/measurement, unmanned vehicles, exploration, transportation and military/aerospace, it features an Intel® Core™2 Duo processor operating at up to 2.26GHz and up to 4GBytes of soldered DDR3 SDRAM. Soldered components substantially improve reliability. A range of processors is available, depending on the performance/watt requirements of the application.

The bCOM2-L1100 provides extensive protection to ensure reliable operation in applications that are subject to shock, vibration and extremes of temperature (-40° to +85° C). All components are soldered to the board for optimum reliability, while mechanical stand-offs provide a high degree of insulation from external forces. Available in a standard version for benign environments, the bCOM2-L1100 is optionally available in extended temperature variants and with conformal coating.

“Not only does the bCOM2-L1100 provide a solution for customers who need the kind of rugged reliability associated with VMEbus and PCI Express in the small form factor of COM Express, but it is also unique in the way it combines performance with rugged reliability,” said Juergen Eder, Product Manager at GE Intelligent Platforms. “Most other rugged COM Express modules feature the less powerful Intel Atom processor, and those that offer similar processing power to that of the bCOM2-L1100 use SODIMM memory, which is more difficult to cool and thus gives them an inferior MTBF. The bCOM2-L1100 delivers outstanding performance/watt from a small, lightweight platform and is ideal for deployment in the most demanding environments.”

As with all COM Express boards, a carrier board is required for the bCOM2-L1100. The CCAR-L1000 carrier board is available for initial development and testing. GE Intelligent Platforms is also able to provide advice to customers designing their own rugged carrier.

Despite its small size, the bCOM2-L1100 offers a broad range of connectivity and I/O capabilities, including Gigabit Ethernet, eight USB 2.0 ports, four Serial ATA (SATA) ports (RAID-configurable), one PATA port, eight GPIO ports (four in, four out), one LVDS port, two SDVO channels, VGA, High Definition Audio (HDA) and PCI Express® (configurable as one 4x PCI Express lane or four 1x PCI Express lanes). Also provided is a x16 PCI Express port for high-end graphics and video applications.

The bCOM2-L1100 provides support for Windows® XP, Vista®, Windows 7, Linux®, and VxWorks®.

Mobile workers to have enhanced decision-making capabilities

Invensys Operations Management has announced that it has contracted with Chevron to provide the Wonderware IntelaTrac™ mobile workforce and decision-support system. The mobile solution will support Chevron's upstream operations with configurable software and ruggedized mobile hardware solutions that enable workers to better manage workflow, procedural and general management tasks which focus on plant, production and field operations, maintenance management, production, inventory and logistics tracking and compliance applications.

The IntelaTrac solution is to assist operators, field engineers, technicians and supervisors in creating inspection and regulatory procedures. It also will assign, schedule and execute rounds and report findings that are prioritised based on the level of severity of the issue. IntelaTrac provides the capabilities for an organisation to create and define procedures based on best practices, as well as regulatory compliance rules and regulations. Procedures are re-usable across many operator and technician rounds to ensure that inspections are performed on a routine basis as mandated by overall corporate policies, as well as regulatory agencies.
"Chevron wants a mobile platform capable of supporting many business work processes and an 'out of the box' solution," said Eric Moorehead, Invensys Operations Management North America Client Care executive program leader. "Our IntelaTrac solution has been used by Chevron in its downstream business process for several years. By extending the availability of IntelaTrac, Chevron anticipates being able to support many new business processes using a single mobile platform for operations, maintenance, reliability tracking, production data collection and safety inspections across the enterprise."

Chevron has been using Invensys solutions since the early 1990s for its downstream operations to standardise refinery process steps and deliver decision support to field workers. Invensys solutions currently deployed at Chevron include Triconex®safety systems, Wonderware IntelaTrac, Wonderware InTouch® human-machine interface, Wonderware® System Platform, Wonderware Historian and Wonderware ActiveFactory™, a trending, analysis and reporting application.

Thursday 25 February 2010

Vaccine temperature measuring system

MadgeTech has released the VTMS, a vaccine temperature monitoring system.
VTMS provides a solution for continuous temperature monitoring and data logging of vaccines or pharmaceuticals in refrigerators, freezers and coolers.

The VTMS system includes a N.I.S.T. traceable TCTemp2000 data logger with thermocouple, glycol bottle and a power supply. Additionally, the TCTemp2000 data logger in the VTMS system has a convenient LCD to ensure temperature parameters are met, in real time. The current reading, minimum, maximum and average statistics can all be obtained through the display.

In the real-time chart recording mode the VTMS can alert the user, or other personnel, via e-mail or text message if the refrigerator has failed, or if the temperature is outside of the nominal range. This allows users to take immediate actions to ensure vaccines and pharmaceuticals in storage are not destroyed. To prevent false alarms, the TCTemp2000 is connected to a Glycol bottle which provides temperature buffered readings.

Submersible sensor for water treatment

With the ED752, Baumer offers a pressure transmitter for all kinds of hydrostatic level and depth measurement. In case of a signal drift, the zero point can be recalibrated. The device is characterised by high accuracy and long-term stability. It is suitable for applications in drinking water supply, hydroelectric power plants, flood protection, wastewater, pools, reservoirs, lakes and rivers, shipbuilding, and many industrial applications such as pump controls.

The transmitters accuracy is 0.1 % F.S., and its long-term stability is 0.1 % per year. The measuring range can be parameterised, which allows an adaptation to customer-specific surroundings. In its standard version, the ED752 is entirely made of stainless steel, but it is also available in a Hastelloy C version especially suitable for seawater.

For applications in the shipbuilding industry, the device is available with a Lloyd’s approval. Furthermore, the ED752 can be delivered in an ATEX version for applications in hazardous areas up to zone 0.

It is available with several output signals (4…20 mA, 0…10 VDC, 0…5 VDC) and cable types (PUR and PTFE). It complies with the protection class IP68.

Extreme high temp piezoelectric accelerometers for gas turbine monitoring applications

Meggitt Sensing Systems has launched the Endevco® models 6237M70 and 6237M71, two compact, extreme high temperature piezoelectric accelerometers with industry-exclusive 10 pC/g output, designed for continuous, reliable operation in temperatures of up to +1200°F (+650°C) with long mean time between failure (MTBF).

The unique low-profile design of Endevco® models 6237M70 and 6237M71 facilitates installation into cramped locations with minimal structural support. Model 6237M70 has its sensitive axis located in-line with the mounting screw, while model 6237M71 is perpendicular, or transverse, to the mounting screw. Both models are ground isolated, and offer a resonant frequency of 11 kHz, with frequency response to 3 kHz (±5%). As charge output piezoelectric devices, they are self-generating, and require no external power for operation. Sensing elements and integral shield are case isolated, and are contained within a hermetically healed Inconel housing. Units are supplied with a 10-foot (3.1 meter) integral hardline cable, with other lengths available upon request, and easy single-bolt mounting via a high-temperature 10-32 UNF-2B end connector and supplied 10-32 screw.

Recommended accessories for use with models 6237M70 and 6237M71 include the Endevco® model 2721B charge amplifier, designed for lower resistance piezoelectric output at higher temperatures, and the model 3090C high temperature cable. With their rugged design and reliable performance, the sensors are well-suited for vibration monitoring of aircraft and ground-level gas turbines, exhaust systems, compressor systems and equipment, environmental chamber testing, and other demanding high-temperature applications.

Controllers offer exxtended operating temp of -40 to 70 Deg C

National Instruments has released two CompactRIO programmable automation controllers (PACs), which offer engineers and machine builders an ideal solution for high-performance measurement and control applications operating at extended temperatures. The NI cRIO-9023 and NI cRIO-9025 real-time controllers are also available with conformal coating for additional protection of components and circuitry within harsh conditions.

The new CompactRIO controllers provide even more processing for advanced measurement and control applications ranging in temperatures between -40 and 70 deg C. The NI cRIO-9023 controller has a 533 MHz PowerPC processor, and the NI cRIO-9025 controller has an 800 MHz PowerPC processor, as well as dual Ethernet ports for network programming, communication and expansion I/O. Both controllers work with the existing CompactRIO reconfigurable chassis, which include field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) that are programmed using the LabVIEW 2009 graphical system design platform. Using LabVIEW and CompactRIO, engineers can quickly implement custom analogue and digital control loops, along with high-speed signal processing algorithms to meet their advanced measurement application needs.

In addition to an extended operating temperature, the new CompactRIO controllers are available with conformal coating. This coating is a specially formulated thin film material applied directly to circuit boards or circuit card assemblies and provides an impermeable seal to protect circuitry from humidity, moisture, mould, mildew, fungus, dust and corrosion caused by exposure to extreme environments. Application areas in which conformal coating can provide protection include marine, railway, automotive, factory monitoring, fuel cell testing and oil and gas refining.

Collaboration on dementia research

Thermo Fisher Scientific is collaborating with the BrainMet (Bioimaging of Metals in Brain and Metallomics) Centre at Forschungszentrum, Jülich, (D) to advance dementia research by studying the effects of metals and metalloproteins in ageing and in the origin of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and Wilson’s syndrome.

From L-R: Prof Harald Bolt, Project member of the Analytical
BrainMet Centre, Dr. habil. J. Sabine Becker, head of the Analytical
BrainMet Centre and Juergen Srega, vice president global products,
scientific instruments, Thermo Fisher Scientific
To carry out the challenging research in the BrainMet laboratory, a Thermo Scientific XSERIES 2 inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) was installed, combining third-generation collision cell and protective ion extraction technologies with an ergonomic, compact design. Led by Dr. habil. Sabine Becker, the BrainMet Centre was officially opened in collaboration with Thermo Fisher by Juergen Srega, vice president global products, scientific instruments, Thermo Fisher Scientific in December 2009 to investigate new and powerful technologies for dementia research.

In most neurodegenerative diseases, abnormal accumulations of metals are observed in the brain, leading to the destruction of the neural network and subsequent cell death. Analysts at the BrainMet Centre are researching the quantitative distribution of essential and toxic metals in thin native tissue sections on the brain. When combining the studies on the bioimaging of metals to metallomics it is possible to explore the relationship between metal ions and metalloproteins in brain tissue and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The resulting data from these studies are successfully combined by BrainMet with neuro-scientific imaging procedures (MRI, PET, auto-radiography, histochemical and optical imaging techniques) to enable high-tech biomedical research.

Dr. habil. J. Sabine Becker, head of the Analytical BrainMet Centre, comments: “We are delighted to have entered into this exciting collaboration with Thermo Fisher. The state-of-the-art XSERIES 2 has been extremely efficient for quantitative bioimaging of metals of healthy and diseased samples of brain tissue and also for investigating the growth of brain tumors and strokes. Our ultimate goal is to advance dementia research and help the pharmaceutical industry introduce new therapies. The XSERIES 2 is very reliable and easy to use while providing the high signal to background ratio and excellent sensitivity that is required for our research.”

Digital valve controller with linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology

Emerson Process Management has expanded its FIELDVUE™ instrument product line with the DVC6200 Series digital valve controller, featuring linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology. This instrument was designed for applications that experience high levels of vibration, corrosion, or material entrapment. The linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology improves reliability by eliminating linkage wear.

The unit has undergone electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) testing to meet IEC standards and will ship with the CE mark. It is available with either the HART® or FOUNDATION™ fieldbus communication protocols.

Orica Mining Services put the new device to work in its Kooragang Island facility in New South Wales, (AUS). Orica, a leading supplier of commercial explosives and blasting systems for the mining and construction industries, is a long-time user of Emerson Process Management products. The Orica facility at Kooragang Island is the second-largest in the world producing ammonium nitrate.

The Kooragang site has standardised on Fisher® valves with FIELDVUE instruments. The plant also uses Emerson's 375 Field Communicator and AMS™ Device Manager with ValveLink™ SNAP-ON™ application software as part of its calibration, valve-monitoring, and predictive maintenance system.

Orica personnel worked with the local Emerson office to improve the performance of a Fisher valve in liquid ammonia service. The valve's high-cycle service conditions and the ammonia atmosphere in which it operates represent one of the most severe environments in any process plant. Emerson engineers recommended the new FIELDVUE DVC6200 instrument with linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology for this harsh application.

Using basic hand tools, Orica’s Instrument Technician Richard Fielding installed the new instrument on an ammonia-service valve. “This device was easy to install, programme, and set up,” he said. “It has been operating trouble-free and has enabled this critical valve to provide accurate and repeatable response throughout its range of travel.”

Fielding said he appreciates Emerson’s continued investment in technology and product enhancements. “The reliability of the FIELDVUE DVC6200 instrument, plus its on-line monitoring capabilities, enables our operators to avoid manual checks and valve repairs in areas filled with ammonia vapours,” he said.

Since installing the device, Orica has not experienced any production losses due to valve failures. “This single instrument application has saved us thousands of dollars,” Fielding said.

Orica plans to order 30 Fisher valves with FIELDVUE DVC6200 instruments for an upgrade at its Kooragang ammonia plant.

Programmable precision DC voltage/current source

The new Yokogawa GS200 is a programmable DC voltage/current source that boasts high accuracy, high stability and high resolution.

With its excellent traceability, stability and 5½-digit resolution, the GS200 generates extremely low-noise DC voltage and current signals for a wide range of device driving and test & measurement applications. In addition, an optional monitoring feature turns the GS200 into a voltage and current measuring instrument.

The GS200 will act as a voltage source up to ±32 V and a current source up to ±200 mA. Typical accuracy is ±0.016% (on the 10 V range), and the high stability is indicated by a temperature coefficient of ±0.0008% /degC (also on the 10 V range). High resolution is provided by a 5½-digit display with a display count of ±120,000. Noise level is very low: only 100 µV p-p on the 10 V range.

Other key features include an output that is programmable up to 10,000 steps of output values, a built-in USB mass storage device, and an optional Ethernet interface. Channel expansion is enabled by the synchronous operation of multiple units.

The GS200 can perform four-quadrant operation by operating as a current source or a current sink in the range of ±30 V and ±200 mA. When the GS200 is sinking current, it can operate over exactly the same range as when it is operating as a current source. The GS200 can thus be used not just as a highly accurate voltage source but also as a highly accurate constant-current electronic load.

The optional voltage and current monitoring feature allows the GS200 to function as a current monitor when it is generating voltage and as a voltage monitor when it is generating current. The display resolution using this option is 4½ digits. The measured values can be stored along with the source values in the internal USB mass storage device.

The instrument features a seamless bipolar output function which inverts the signal polarity without the use of a mechanical contact. As a result, no abnormal voltage or current is generated when the polarity is inverted, providing truly continuous voltage variation from the maximum negative output to the maximum positive output. This feature is invaluable for the evaluation of zero-crossing comparators and for output polarity inversion during program operation. Moreover, voltage or current glitches do not occur when the setting is changed within the same range.

Applications include usage as a DC voltage/current reference or pulse voltage/current source, measurements of the basic electrical characteristics of semiconductor devices, pulse current driving for LEDs and organic EL displays, charge/discharge characteristics tests on batteries, ‘pass/fail’ component testing, and the evaluation of zero crossing comparators.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Stranded dignostic access extends predictive intelligence capabilities

AMS™ Suite: Intelligent Device Manager v10.5 continues Emerson’s focus on the user experience through usability enhancements, and further extends the predictive intelligence capabilities of PlantWeb® digital plant architecture. AMS Device Manager broadens the support for the WirelessHART™ standard by adding connectivity to the new Smart Wireless THUM™ Adapter, allowing users to extend their wireless networks to access stranded diagnostics in existing HART® devices. Developed from Human Centered Design practices and in conjunction with Emerson’s Human Centered Design Institute, intuitive device dashboards in AMS Device Manager v10.5 provide an easy-to-navigate interface with clear indication of device health and process variable status to simplify maintenance tasks. (see more on THUMS in Conquering Complexity).

AMS Device Manager v10.5 delivers a complete wireless diagnostics solution – from planning to maintaining networks – to ensure that users receive tangible benefits from their wireless solution. The Smart Wireless THUM Adapter allows users to add a wireless signal to any HART device, whether it is a new device that doesn’t offer a native wireless option or an existing device where the HART signal is not being used for predictive diagnostics. AMS Device Manager communicates with native wireless devices and HART devices connected to the THUM adapter and collects diagnostics and alerts in a single application. The AMS Wireless SNAP-ON™ provides planning and wireless network diagnostics for THUM adapters and their connected devices. In addition, the AMS ValveLink™ SNAP-ON application works with the THUM adapter when connected to Fisher® FIELDVUE™ digital valve controllers, enabling advanced performance diagnostics on valves in the field.

Using enhanced EDDL functionality, device dashboards deliver the most critical information about devices to users, including device health status and process variables. Easy visual indication of health and detailed troubleshooting suggestions allow users to spend more time fixing issues and less time deciphering diagnostic information to determine the problem. Benchmarking comparisons of common maintenance procedures like device configuration and troubleshooting show an 80% reduction in time spent on those tasks when using device dashboards in AMS Device Manager.

Expanded architecture options in AMS Device Manager v10.5 give users more flexibility and connectivity opportunities to streamline their asset management processes. With version 10.5, AMS Device Manager can be installed on DeltaV v10.3 or v9.3 automation systems to allow users to upgrade to the newest AMS Device Manager functionality without having to migrate their control system. AMS Device Manager can now also span multiple DeltaV networks for a more consolidated maintenance approach.
“With this release of AMS Device Manager, Emerson continues to exhibit our dedication to work force productivity and to helping users drive business performance,” said Craig Llewellyn, president of Emerson’s Asset Optimization business. “By providing predictive diagnostics in an intuitive, task-oriented way and extending diagnostics to other plant assets through wireless, we deliver significant competitive advantage to our users ".

CCTV package solution for hazardous areas

Declan Lordan of Douglas C&S (IRL) tells us that STAHL has compiled a scaleable package of cameras and recording system for camera surveillance in hazardous areas on gas and oil rigs.

In addition to making operations safer, it enables users to carry out a thorough study of causes and fix any problems in the case of incidents. The system supports both live monitoring at HMI stations as well as complete documentation of events: The standard package includes four cameras whose video signals can be recorded manipulation-proof for up to ten days.

This network-compliant solution which also permits authorised remote access to images via the internet can, if necessary, be easily expanded to include twice or four times as many cameras. The recording capacity, which as a standard is covered by a 500 GB hard disk, can be easily expanded to meet a specific application's requirements. Resolutions of up to 4 CIF as well as a full PAL format with 704 x 576 pixels can be selected for the H.264 compressed digital video files. A PTZ control module is available for the remote control of the pan/tilt/zoom functions of the cameras.

The standard package includes four spherical cameras type EC-710 for zones 1 and 2, which can also withstand the extremely rough ambient conditions on offshore platforms in extreme climates. Their steel housing can withstand aggressive chemical substances and protects the cameras from substantial mechanical stress. It can be installed in ambient temperatures ranging from -30 °C to +75 °C. A heater is used to prevent condensation or frost forming on the surface.

With a diameter of only 55 mm and a mere 435 grams, the cameras can be fitted even into the smallest of spaces. The fixed viewing angle of the hardened lens is +/- 90° horizontally and 68° vertically. In addition to the EC-710 and other camera types, video server and recording technology, different HMI stations for local surveillance and suitable software solutions, R. STAHL can also provide any peripherals as part of the system solution. A broad range of cables, switches, explosion-proof terminal boxes as well as additional input devices such as keyboard or joystick for remotely controllable camera models are available

National Instruments at Advanced Manufacturing

mtec Stand 320
National Instruments measurement and automation hardware and software products work seamlessly together to meet the application requirements of scientists and engineers, irrespective of business or industry sector. With a proven track record and over 30 years of experience and a large and knowledgeable UK based support team, National Instruments has brought the concept of virtual instrumentation and graphical system design to reality.
National Instruments is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. Over the past 30 years, NI have pioneered the concept of virtual instrumentation; the idea of combining open, intuitive graphical programming software with powerful modular hardware to give unparalleled flexibility in the design and implementation of user-defined systems. By adopting this approach, engineers and scientists at more than 30,000 companies annually simplify development, increase productivity and dramatically reduce timescales. From testing next-generation gaming systems to creating breakthrough medical devices, NI customers continuously develop innovative technologies that impact millions of people.

Visit stand 1320 in the MTEC hall to experience the latest NI product innovations in virtual instrumentation and graphical system design through modular hardware, powerful software, and advanced COTS (custom off-the-shelf) platforms.

Do More with LabVIEW 2009: Parallel Programming, Wireless Technologies, and Real-Time Math

Now, more than ever, the tools you use must be flexible and evolve quickly to changing environments.

NI LabVIEW 2009 is a platform-wide software update with new features for taking advantage of parallel multicore and FPGA (field-programmable gate array) based architectures as well as new capabilities for programming wireless sensors and mathematical algorithms in real-time hardware. The latest version of LabVIEW 2009 adds programming and productivity features to drive more efficiency and performance into your applications, helping you do more with evolving PC and embedded technology platforms.

New and Advanced Technologies Products and Technologies to be Showcased at MTEC by National Instruments:
New WSN Platform Delivers Reliable, Low-Power Wireless Measurements
The NI wireless sensor network (WSN) platform provides a complete remote monitoring solution that consists of NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and new reliable, low-power wireless nodes for remote measurements.

Based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, the NI WSN protocol supports mesh routing, which means a WSN router can relay measurements from end nodes to a central gateway. If a primary router is unavailable and an alternate router exists, the protocol automatically routes measurements through the alternate path. Operating for up to three years on just four AA batteries the NI WSN platform offers reliable connectivity from a gateway to end nodes at a distance of up to 300m line of sight or further using mesh networking,

Generic 4 channel 16 bit analogue input nodes are available alongside more specialist nodes such as the 24-bit thermocouple node and all closely integrate with LabVIEW to simplify and accelerate system configuration and deployment by delivering a drag-and-drop programming environment. LabVIEW also facilitates the ability to deploy code directly onto the nodes creating standalone embedded data-loggers with user defined decision making capabilities.

The combination of LabVIEW and NI WSN measurements provides a reliable, low-power system for remote monitoring, environmental monitoring and resource monitoring applications.

Flexible Technologies for Data Acquisition, Test, Measurement and Automation

NI's position holds the position as world leader in DAQ, new enhancements in counters, advanced timing, and parallel software execution are enabling cutting-edge applications across the globe and cementing this position for years to come. Data acquisition applications frequently involve multiple types of analogue, digital, and counter measurements and can consume hundreds of megabytes per second. Featuring NI-STC3 timing and synchronization technology, X Series DAQ devices for PCI Express and PXI Express are the most advanced DAQ devices ever designed by NI.

Leveraging this advanced technology NI has also released for MTEC this year a new generation of CompactDAQ for USB applications in every industry. With over 60 different modules the popular C Series platform gives the CompactDAQ unimpeded I/O versatility while with four 32-bit counter timers, external triggers and the ability to run modules at different rates, CompactDAQ elevates USB DAQ to new heights in power, versatility and affordability.

PXI, the open, rugged PC-based platform for test, measurement and control, is the perfect system for high performance measurement, parallel test and advanced automation systems. Through modular instrumentation, engineers can choose from a wide variety of measurement, signal generation, RF, power, and switch modules, and then configure the instruments in software to meet their specific needs. Based on Compact PCI, PXI supports measurements from high resolution DC to 6.6GHz RF, making it an ideal platform for high performance applications. See the latest modular hardware on display including the new NI FlexRIO product family which provides flexible, customisable I/O for NI LabVIEW FPGA.

NI Programmable Automation Controllers (PAC) and Machine Vision
On display at this year’s event is the NI CompactRIO PAC which combines real-time and FPGA technologies to deliver high-performance in a small, rugged industrial control and acquisition platform. This architecture combines:
  • Reconfigurable I/O to provide the reliability of dedicated hardware circuitry and the performance of true parallel execution
  • Real-time embedded processors for stand-alone and distributed deterministic operation with a built-in web-based human-machine interface
  • Industrial hot-swappable analogue and digital I/O modules for direct connection to industrial sensors and actuators.

For the first time, you can add imaging capabilities to your CompactRIO system! With NI Vision Development Module 2009, you can now deploy imaging libraries to both deployment targets, as well as acquire compressed images from IP cameras with the latest NI-IMAQdx image acquisition driver. The vision capabilities on CompactRIO are ideal for autonomous robotics, industrial monitoring, and embedded medical device applications.

Also on display at Advanced Manufacturing 2010 will be the latest additions to the NI Smart Camera family. The NI Smart Camera is a high performance, low cost embedded device that combines an industrial controller with an image sensor. It integrates seamlessly with NI vision software to offer image processing directly on the camera, making it ideal for applications such as locating parts, inspecting packaging, verifying assembly and reading 1-D and 2-D codes.

See more on exhibits at Advanced Manufacturing 2010 covered by Read-out for the last ten years!

Medium fidelity simulation released

Invensys Operations Management has announced the availability of its SimSci-Esscor® medium-fidelity simulation solution, DYNSIM® Checkout.

Available as part of the new DYNSIM 4.5 software release, the solution provides the industry a new way to quickly identify, validate and resolve control and safety application design errors throughout the project life cycle, while addressing plant operator process-familiarisation needs and clearing obstacles like late-arriving design information.

Medium-fidelity simulation provides a library of unit-operation models (valves, pumps, conveyers, reactors) similar to high-fidelity models, but requires far fewer engineering hours and less specialised expertise to configure and tune. The models can be auto-generated using industry-leading plant life cycle management software that features intelligent piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID), thus dramatically shortening the time it takes to construct the model. The SimSci-Esscor medium-fidelity simulation solution also requires significantly less design data to complete the model, with P&ID and process flow diagrams being the key required information.

By providing this simulation facility the early stages of the project, potential control and safety application design errors, omissions and changes can be captured before construction, resulting in higher quality for the automation system, as well as significantly reduced client risk at the plant startup and commissioning phases. Medium-fidelity models, while less complicated than high-fidelity, are also suitable for operator familiarisation training, allowing operators to learn procedures "live" on the new control platform and to attain a level of knowledge that was previously impossible at such an early stage in the project. These models can be efficiently rebuilt many times throughout the life of the project and can therefore remain current with the latest control and safety designs.

"Low-fidelity tieback simulation is a common tool for control checkout, but it is not very realistic, and only basic verification of control system functionality can be performed," said Gregory McKim, principal consulting engineer for simulation, Invensys Operations Management. "On the other hand, high-fidelity operator training simulators are extremely full-featured and highly realistic, but their cost and schedule demands may preclude use for control system validation and checkout. Our SimSci-Esscor medium-fidelity solution bridges the gap between these two extremes: It delivers enough detail to validate the control system design; it is useful as an operator familiarisation tool; it is moderately priced; it can be built within the time to support constrained project schedules; and it serves most process and manufacturing industries."

Thicker sludge saves time and money

Recent improvements in pump technology prompted Severn Trent Water (STW) (GB) to initiate a de-sludging trial to reduce costs and energy consumption by producing thicker sludge in the Primary Settlement Tank (PST). Advanced monitoring instrumentation from Hach Lange played a key role in the trial which, nine months after it began, has been heralded a success.

STW's Mark Bryan summarises the objective of the trial: "We believed that if we could monitor and control the settlement process through a real-time control mechanism, we would be able to produce thicker sludge, reduce operational intervention and save the energy and costs involved with further sludge thickening prior to the sludge digestion process."
The trial took place at STW's Stoke Bardolph Sewage Treatment Works. Monitoring and control instrumentation was provided by Hach Lange and a hydraulically operated ram pump with an adaptive control system was provided by EMS Industries Ltd.

A Sonatax SC probe was deployed for the measurement of sludge blanket level and a Solitax SC probe provided suspended solids and turbidity values. All data was handled by an SC 1000 'plug and play' controller, which interfaced with the EMS adaptive control system to manage the pump operation.

Hach Lange’s Jon Shepherd explains the role of instrumentation in achieving the objectives: “For many years thickened sludges have been processed and transported at low solid concentrations of around 2-3% due to concerns over the poor reliability of controlling instrumentation when higher sludge concentrations have been required. It was the aim of this trial to establish if thicker sludge could be created in the PST and pumped. The benefit of pumping thicker sludge is that more solid material can be transported per litre of water pumped, which provides energy savings and improved process efficiency. Our instrumentation reliably monitored the sludge levels under a number of different de-sludging scenarios, including pumping with various sludge densities and using different PST settlement times.”

Paul Hawthorne, Technical Director at EMS commented: “The Hach Lange instrumentation enabled us to refine our adaptive pumping system, allowing the full capability of our pump to reliably pump thick sludge to be achieved”.

The trial demonstrated that sludge in excess of 5.5% solids has been automatically controlled and regularly drawn from the PST. Sludge blanket level stability has been maintained by the EMS pump's adaptive control system which varied the speed of the pump stroking action to suit changing sludge conditions. Hach Lange’s SC1000 control unit enabled the pump to be run only when a minimum sludge blanket level had been achieved and for pumping to cease when sludge density reached the preset low level (5.5% for the trial).

The EMS system is now pumping sludge with solids of over twice the concentration of the traditional system (progressing cavity pump). Paul Hawthorne added: “There is a major drive in the water industry to save energy and to reduce the carbon footprint. We are delighted that this project has managed to demonstrate one of the ways in which this can be achieved.”

Summarising, Mark Bryan said he is delighted with the results of the trial and added that he anticipated this will lead to the new auto-desludging process being rolled out at other STW plants. He explained: “The trial has shown that the original objectives have been met; the new pump runs for approximately 3 hours each day (dependant on incoming solids loading), as opposed to 8-16 hours with the previous system, resulting in considerable energy savings and increased process efficiency. This project has proved that the EMS ram pump can operate comfortably at 5.5% solids and that the accuracy and reliability of the Hach lange instrumentation has been key to the success of the system."

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Standby power for mission-critical facilities

“Balancing continuing demands for greater and more reliable computing capacity in a world facing ever-tightening regulation of carbon emissions and the challenge of controlling power costs is now a major concern for everyone involved in the Data Centre industry” according to Michael Adams, Global Vice President, Data & IT, AEG Power Solutions.

With UPS systems accounting for a substantial part of the energy used by today’s facilities, AEG Power Solutions understand that optimising efficiency is a critical step forward in rising to meet these challenges.

Accordingly, they believe the launch of Combination Architecture© will provide the basis for a new generation of standby power systems capable of harnessing renewable and alternative energy sources. The new solutions will utilise low-impact, cost-efficient technologies as sources of power or energy storage in order to increase system efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. These technologies include ultra capacitors, fuel cells, solar cell and wind power energy.
Adams continues. "Our unique Combination Architecture© systems will deliver what our customers need most - a way to drive down infrastructure operating costs, provide additional energy to boost computing capacity and reduce Data Centre carbon footprint to help make our world greener and cleaner.”

One example of the application of Combination Architecture is a SuperCaps UPS which the company will be previewing at CeBIT, 2nd March 2010. The new product allows the whole or partial replacement of traditional lead acid battery banks with a more environmentally-friendly solution which requires less maintenance, provides faster recycling and eliminates the need for additional cooling.

"A clean and secure supply of power is critical to today’s data centres and IT facilities. Any power failure can have a devastating impact on mission-critical computers, communications and data resulting in costly downtime.” Adds Adams. “Combination Architecture is the next step forward to more efficient, environmentally responsible standby power and it’s only available from AEG Power Solutions. Just ask us how we can design a solution, incorporating fuel cell, SuperCap or battery storage to help reduce the environmental impact of any facility and reduce its running costs.”

Typical IT applications for Combination Architecture include Data Centres, networks, workstations, internet servers and telecommunication applications. Host computers, file servers and computer centres as well as their integration in complex networks in industrial companies, banks and insurance companies.

These standby power systems are also suitable for building control systems, equipment and systems for air traffic control, petrochemical installations offshore, onshore and pipelines, power generation, transmission, distribution, desalination treatment and industrial processes in chemicals, mining steel and paper.

Smart data company appoints British agent

RFI Engineering, has appointed Adaptive Modules Ltd as its distributor for the United Kingdom.

Adaptive Modules is upgrading its portfolio from subsystems to solutions for the fast growing professional M2M market. After thoroughly assessing the market and evaluating RFI Engineering’s solutions, Adaptive Modules decided to become the RFI Engineering distributor for Britain.

“It was important to find a company whose approach matches our own: a commitment to supply the best quality products, timely response and prompt delivery," explained Andrew Aslett, Managing Director of Adaptive Modules, recently. "RFI Engineering’s smart router product line brings cutting-edge wireless programmable data routers and remote management accessories in key vertical M2M market segments such as out–of-band management, smart grid connectivity, sensor networking and point of sale vending solutions.”

"We are impressed with the competence and know-how of Adaptive Modules in our field of business,” says Peter Calis, CEO of RFI Engineering. "We are happy to have teamed up with a capable company in the United Kingdom who will work closely with us to make a difference to the brand. As both producer and marketer of advanced data routing cellular technology and products, RFI Engineering is uniquely positioned in the M2M market.”

Alternative energy and high efficiency influence product range

Farnell has selected the alternative energy sector as its latest focus market. The emphasis in this area of high importance has seen the leading multi-channel distributor add over 1,000 new products targeted at applications in alternative energy and high efficiency product design. Suppliers include leading industry names such as Microchip, ST Microelectronics and Tyco plus niche suppliers such as Advanced Linear Devices. The new additions take Farnell’s total number of products in this sector to over 5,000.

Lynn MaThe latest issue of the company’s informative Technology First Journal looks in detail at alternative energy through a range of topical articles and features. Additionally, the element14 technology portal and e-community will feature a dedicated discussion and information group covering the topic to provide support and information for design engineers working on new projects.

Alternative energy encompasses areas such as wind power generation, hydro power and solar energy as well as less publicised techniques such as harnessing vibration and thermal energy to produce electricity. High efficiency is crucially important in the electronic circuitry that supports alternative energy systems to ensure that a minimal amount of the power generated is wasted in the form of electrical losses. The company also recognises that when considering the wider electronics market, components that have low power consumption or support energy efficient design, are crucial in helping engineers in the development of end products that have low total cost of ownership and deliver environmental benefits.

Lynn Ma, Technical Marketing Manager-Europe, Farnell said: “The development of alternative energy sources and the efficiency of both industrial and consumer electronics equipment remains under the spotlight as globally we seek to address the unsustainable rate at which the world’s natural resources are being consumed. The electronics industry has a key role to play in the development of effective systems to support alternative energy generation and energy efficient design as a whole. Through our focus in this area we are seeking to simplify component selection and sourcing and speed the design process for our design engineering customer base.”

Monday 22 February 2010

Interactive new product showcase

Omega Engineering has published a New Product Showcase using the latest “page turning” software. This allows simple online product browsing and navigation, with viewing of the complete brochure in an easy to view format giving the user an interactive feel of a real book on screen!

There are over 50 New products manufactured by Omega, including sensors for temperature, pressure, load, force, level and flow measurement as well as instrumentation including controllers, data loggers, hand held meters and transmitters.

The publication details equipment for hygienic and automation applications, custom design pressure transducers and the latest technology in wireless measurement along with a technical reference article on strain gauge fundamentals.

All 16 pages have direct links online to full product specifications and pricing.

Testing frequencies up to 10MHz

Features of test instruments need to grow in line with the increasing operating frequencies of the applications.

StanTronic Instruments has therefore included the new LCR Meter LCR-8110G from GW Instek in its product range which has a ten times higher test frequency than its predecessor. Therefore it can much better simulate the operating conditions of the devices tested.

Basic accuracy for all RLC measurements is 0.1% with test frequencies of 20 Hz up to 10 MHz. In Multi- Step Mode, the unit provides the ability to perform up to 30 different measurements on one component and it has a Pass/Fail function with an acoustic alarm and many parameter options to set.

Up to 64 test programs can be stored in non-volatile memory.

The characteristics of the component under test can be displayed on an LCD graphics screen (320x240 pixels), with either the voltage range or the frequency sweep on the horizontal axis.

The unit comes with RS-232 and GPIB interfaces for remote control and transfer of test data to a remote computer for further analysis. Various optional test leads and fixtures are available for differentcomponent types and 2/4 wire measurements.

For reduced frequency requirements, a 5 MHz version (LCR-8105G) is available.

Reduce emissions while saving fuel costs

With the price of petrol and diesel rising again and against a backdrop of global warming, it is no wonder that close attention is focused on driving, which according to the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the largest contributor to ground level ozone affecting global warming and acid rain. Most vehicles generate three major pollutants: hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. Vehicles also emit large quantities of carbon dioxide, the biggest contributor to global warming.

While car manufacturers strive to produce ever more efficient cars and engines it is a simple fact it will take many years before there are a sufficient proportion of newer vehicles on the road to have a significant impact. With the world still on an economy drive, older, less efficient vehicles are going be around for many more years to come.

But therein lies the solution. One of the quickest and surest ways to effect change is by offering immediate and realistic cost savings. That is where Forever Freedom International (FFI) can help with its amazing fuel pill, the MPG-CAP™. Used in a ratio of just 1 gram per 300 – 380 (More or less may be required for different engine types, driving styles, and fuels) litres of EU petrol – or EU on-road diesel - this inexpensive little caplet decreases emissions by up to 75% and fuel consumption by 7 to 14%.

How does it work?
The MPG-CAP™ gradually puts a catalytic coating on the face of the engine piston making fuel burn more efficiently while still in the combustion chamber, as opposed to continuing to burn on its way out the exhaust. Evaporative emissions decrease as fuel efficiency increases. In effect, the combustion chamber is enabled to burn more of the air/fuel mixture thus reducing wasted fuel that is expelled in the exhaust cycle of the engine.

The product has been thoroughly tested by tier one testing facilities and has been demonstrated in both laboratory and on road studies to improve octane (petrol) and cetane (diesel) values, reduce combustion chamber carbon deposits and exhaust particulate emissions, lower CO, NOx, and unburned hydrocarbon emissions, and improve mileage 7-14%.

Made of the purest of active ingredients and with no end of life disposal issues, these little capsules are even supplied with a money back guarantee. This product, properly registered with the EPA, is very inexpensive and easy to use. It and associated products can be ordered online where it is also possible to sign up to become a distributor of the products.

Friday 19 February 2010

Compact plastic housing for individual connector modules

The new Harting Han-Modular ® ECO connector is a low-cost, compact plastic connector housing designed to hold a single module from the Han-Modular® range.

The new housing provides a simple, easy-to-install way of incorporating individual units from the wide range of Han-Modular(R) connector modules. The housing is available as a robust, industry-compliant IP 65 variant, as well as an IP 20 version for applications in control and switching cabinets.

Connector modules are available for a very wide range of applications, making the system highly flexible and universally deployable. Various modules are available for currents and voltages up to 70 A and 1000 V, respectively, as well as signal modules with up to 25 contacts and special data modules.

I/O extender with 8 Analog inputs

IntelliCom has announced a new I/O module in the NetBiter® I/O Extender product family.

The I/O module has 8 analog Voltage inputs (0-10V) and communicates with standard Modbus RTU. The I/O module is designed for industrial applications and is DIN rail mountable. The product has LED indicators for easy overview of I/O status.

The NetBiter® I/O extender range is fully compatible with NetBiter® M2M Gateways for communication over Ethernet, GSM and GPRS. The I/O module is also supported at - an online management portal that simplifies installation, management of remote sites using I/O products.

A growing family

For more than 40 years, Endress+Hauser has been the leading provider in the area of continuous level measurement by ultrasonics.

In the new Prosonic T FMU30, a compact sensor enters the market which provides, apart from an attractive price, also numerous new features. It replaces the old FMU230/FMU231 series and stands out with convincing functionalities. The menu-driven operation via a graphic display in national languages makes commissioning easy and safe. Warning and alarm messages in plain text safeguard the swift rectification of problems. Seeing what the sensor sees – the envelop curve is an important instrument for measured value analysis in time-of-flight measuring methods. It can be displayed directly on site and permits immediate fault tracking. The simplicity in commissioning, operation and maintenance saves time and thus money.

The new Prosonic T uses the extremely stable and tried and tested software algorithms which are also employed in the already established Prosonic M. This software permits the optimum adaptation of the measuring performance of the sensor to the respective application – from medium properties through to the type of tank – and this provides an additional benefit in terms of process safety. In addition, the new software facilitates the suppression of interfering reflectors like agitators, ladders and nozzles. This so-called mapping prevents the reaction of the sensor to such obstacles and permits non-contact measurement also in tight installation conditions.

Prosonic T covers a maximum measuring range of 8m in liquids and 3.5m in bulk solids. It is available with a 1½“and 2“process connection and designed for temperatures from -20 to +60°C.

Prosonic T FMU30 is the cost-effective all-rounder for numerous applications in liquids and bulk solids. The range covers from level monitoring in sewage plants and process water tanks through to measurements in loading, storage and buffer tanks as well as conveyor belt monitoring.

As they say themselves, "Simple, reliable and universal – that is the new Prosonic T generation!"

Mini loadcells

Designed for precision force measurements in space constrained environments

Sherborne Sensors has announced the global market introduction of the U2000 series, a new range of compact miniature universal load cells, designed for precision tension and compression force measurements in space constrained environments.

Offered in ranges from 1 to 50kN, the miniature U2000 series load cells provide precision measurement capabilities in either tension or compression mode, with a 3mV/V full scale output. Their robust, shear web design incorporates multiple strain gauges, strategically placed to counteract and minimize errors associated with unwanted side or axial forces. A corrosion-resistant stainless steel housing and environmental sealing to IP54 helps ensure reliable performance in harsh environments, over a wide temperature range of -20 to +80°C.

The low deflection and high frequency response characteristics of the Sherborne Sensors U2000 series are especially beneficial for both materials testing and high-speed load measurement applications, and particularly, where peak loads are being monitored. Additional available options for the U2000 series range include spherical load buttons, mounting bases, fully isolated double bridge and fatigue rated versions. In addition, Sherborne Sensors custom designs and manufactures variations to conform to specific customer requirements.

All Sherborne Sensors U2000 series miniature universal load cells are 100% tested and calibrated at the factory prior to shipment, and are accompanied by a two-year comprehensive warranty. This range is also included under the new Sherborne Sensors Guaranteed On-Time Delivery program.

BA simulators energy consumption

The latest variable speed drive technology from Parker Hannifin, the global leader in motion and control technologies, is being used by British Airways (BA) to improve the efficiency and reliability of its flight cabin simulators. By enabling the simulators’ hydraulic control systems to be powered only when needed, the drives are cutting energy consumption by 95%, in addition to extending maintenance intervals and service life considerably.

The two British Airways flight cabin simulators, one based on a Boeing 737 and the other a 747 passenger cabin, are used by the airline for essential cabin crew training. The ability to simulate various incidents allows trainee crews to practice safety procedures and emergency drills in a realistic setting, preparing them for real life situations. With thousands of crew members training each year, the simulators are in high demand, making it essential they are available for use 24/7.

The cabin area in each of the simulators is a life-size representation of a section of a real aircraft, complete with seats, overhead lockers, and all other fixtures and fittings. The 747 simulator is static, with doors that are hydraulically operated in exactly the same way as on a real aircraft. In addition to hydraulic doors, the 737 version is mounted on a large hydraulic rig, which controls the rise, tilt, and shake of the simulator. This system can move the cabin forwards, backwards and side to side, simulating flight conditions, such as turbulence.

Both simulators are controlled from a single hydraulic control system located in a small external plant room, with the power output typically split 30% to the 747 rig and 70% to the 737 if both are in use simultaneously. Previously, two separate pumps and motors in the hydraulics system had to be constantly run at 100% speed, leading to high energy costs and significant wear and tear on the system. To remedy this problem, BA approached Parker SSD for a more efficient solution.

Parker worked closely with BA and Trend Control Systems to modify the hydraulic system using the latest drive and control technology. The improved system combined a Parker AC variable speed drive with a Trend controller and Parker accumulators and valves. This set up would allow the hydraulic system to be driven only when needed, and therefore reduce energy consumption considerably.

The Parker SSD 650v AC drive was ideal for the application as it offered a flexible, easy to use solution that would provide dependable performance over a long service life, and therefore maximise the return on BA’s investment. The drive makes setting up complex open-loop AC motor control systems simple and fast, with pre-programmed options and a user-friendly interface. Additionally, the compact dimensions of the unit would allow BA to make the most efficient use of space in the simulation area.

Once installed, the new system had a noticeable effect on energy consumption. Dennis Doody, Senior Engineering Technician for BA, commented, “We are very impressed with the new hydraulic control system for our simulators. The combination of the Parker SSD drive and the Trend Controller have allowed us to use the system in a much more efficient way, cutting overall energy costs by as much as 95%, from 360kW/day to just 21kW/day. As the operating conditions are now much more stable, and the system isn’t being driven flat out all the time, we are seeing a reduction in the need for maintenance, which is lowering our costs still further. “Aside from the money saving implications, we’re really happy that we’ve managed to cut the environmental impact of the simulators. They are a vital part of our training processes and essential to our ability to safeguard passenger safety, but we want to make sure we’re using them in the most efficient way. The new hydraulic drive and control system has enabled us to meet our economic objectives in line with our company-wide sustainability goals. We’re very happy with the outcome and feel sure we made the right decision choosing Parker as our partner on the project.”

LVDT extreme reliability for task critical measurements

Although LVDTs are acknowledged for their accuracy and reliability there are some critical measurement tasks where dual redundancy is specified. Typical applications are in the nuclear transport and power generation industries where data signaling is used for control purposes. Measurement specialists RDP Electronics has developed an arrangement using a pair of LVDTs to offer extreme reliability of data signaling for these highly critical situations.

The operating principle of Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDTs) requires no electrical contact across the transducer position sensing element which for the user of the sensor means clean data, infinite resolution and a very long life. RDP has several decades of experience in the research, development and manufacture of LVDTs to internationally recognised quality standards and offers a comprehensive range for a variety of displacement measurement purposes.

See our Acronyms Page

Decreasing installation costs for the power and utility market

GE Intelligent Platforms announced the availability of its new 125V DC Input module for the PACSystems® RX3i controller. Input modules provide the interface between the RX3i and external input devices such as sensors, push buttons, and switches. The new input module is specifically designed for those applications, such as switchgear used in various utility industries that utilize 125V DC power.

The 125 volt DC Positive / Negative Logic Input module provides 16 input points in one group with a common power input terminal. This input module can be wired for either positive or negative logic. Input characteristics are compatible with a wide range of input devices, and the module is compatible with all existing CPU firmware.

“This module expands the options available for our controllers” said Bill Black, Controllers Product Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms, “reducing installation costs by providing a module with just the right amount of input points. The utility market in particular uses 125V DC power in many applications where operation of essential equipment must be maintained if AC is lost and this input module will fit their requirements. ”

The PACSystems RX3i controller features a single control engine and universal programming environment to provide application portability across multiple hardware platforms and deliver a true convergence of control choices. It is a high performance controller with a 300 MHz Intel® microprocessor and 10 Mbytes of user memory that eliminates the need for multiple controllers and simplifies control. Other features include:
  • A universal backplane with a high speed PCI bus running at 27 MHz for fast data throughput for complex I/O and a serial bus for simple I/O that optimizes performance and your investment. The universal backplane also supports HOT SWAP to minimize downtime.
  • A wide range of I/O modules (over 40 types available) for simple to complex applications; various network modules are also available.
The PACSystems portable control engine provides high performance on several different platforms, allowing OEMs and end users with application variability to choose the exact control system hardware that best suits their needs - all in a single, compact and highly integrated package.

The 125V DC Input module is also available for the Series 30-90 and both are available immediately.

More about PACSystems.

Ultra-fast current voltage system

Keithley Instruments has introduced the Model 4225-PMU Ultra Fast I-V Module, the latest addition to the growing range of instrumentation options for the Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System.

Model 4225It integrates ultra-fast voltage waveform generation and current/voltage measurement capabilities into the Model 4200-SCS’s already powerful test environment to deliver the industry’s broadest dynamic range of voltage, current, and rise/fall/pulse times, expanding the system’s materials, device, and process characterization potential dramatically. Just as important, the Model 4225-PMU makes ultra-fast I-V sourcing and measurement as easy as making DC measurements. Its wide programmable sourcing and measurement ranges, pulse widths, and rise times make it well-suited for applications that demand both ultra-fast voltage outputs and synchronized measurement—from nanometer CMOS to flash memory. For more information, visit

Unlike previous solutions, which required up to three different test stands to characterize a device, material, or process thoroughly, the Model 4225-PMU’s broad dynamic range allows characterizing the full range of materials, devices, and processes with a single set of instrumentation. Now, labs can configure one flexible system to handle all three measurement types: precision DC I-V (Model 4200-SMU), AC impedance (Model 4210-CVU C-V Instrument), and ultra-fast I-V or transient I-V (Model 4225-PMU).

Two Channels of Integrated Sourcing and Measurement in a Single Module
Each 4225-PMU module provides two channels of integrated sourcing and measurement but takes up only one slot in the nine-slot chassis. Each chassis can accommodate up to four modules for a maximum of eight ultra-fast source/measure channels. Each channel combines high speed voltage outputs (with pulse widths ranging from 60 nanoseconds to DC) with simultaneous current and voltage measurements. The module provides high speed voltage pulsing with simultaneous current and voltage measurement, at acquisition rates of up to 200 megasamples/second (MS/s) with 14-bit analog-to-digital converters (A/Ds), using two A/Ds per channel (four A/Ds per card). Users can choose from two voltage source ranges (±10 volts or ± 40 volts into 1 megaohm) and four current measurement ranges (800 milliamps, 200 milliamps, 10 milliamps, 100 microamps).

Optional Hardware Expands Source-Measure Flexibility
Each Model 4225-PMU can be equipped with up to two optional Model 4225-RPM Remote Amplifier/Switches, which provide four additional low current ranges. They also reduce cable capacitance effects and support automatic switching between the Model 4225-PMU, the Model 4210-CVU, and other SMUs installed in the chassis. The Model 4220-PGU Pulse Generator Unit, which offers a voltage-sourcing-only alternative to the Model 4225-PMU, is also available.
Broad Array of Material, Device, and Process Characterization Applications
Together, the 4225-PMU and 4225-RPM provide all the tools necessary to perform a broad array of applications that no other single instrument chassis can support. Some key application areas include:
  • General-purpose ultra-fast I-V measurements. Pulsed I-V testing has a wide variety of uses, including preventing device self-heating by using narrow pulses and/or low duty cycle pulses rather than DC signals.
  • CMOS device characterization. The 4225-PMU/4225-RPM's high speed voltage sourcing and current measurement sensitivity make them well-suited for CMOS device characterization, including high-K devices and advanced CMOS technologies like Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI).
  • Non-volatile memory device testing. The system's KTEI software includes toolkits for testing both flash and phase change memory (PCM) devices. The system is well-suited for testing single memory cells or a small array, such as in R&D or process verification.
  • Characterizing compound semiconductor devices and materials. The Model 4225-PMU is useful for characterizing III-V materials, such as gallium nitride (GaN), gallium arsenide (GaAs), and other compound semiconductors. It allows setting a pulse offset voltage so measurements can be made from a non-zero value, for investigating the amplifier gain or linearity of a device.
  • NBTI/PBTI reliability tests. The optional Model 4200-BTI-A Ultra-Fast BTI Package combines all the hardware and software needed to implement all known BTI test methodologies with the fastest, most sensitive measurements available. In addition, Automatic Characterization Suite (ACS) software supports full wafer- and cassette-level automation and includes NBTI/PBTI test libraries with easy-to-use GUIs.
Four Programmable Sweep Options
The Model 4225-PMU can generate four types of sweeps: Linear Sweep, Pulsed, Arbitrary Waveform, and Segment ARB® (patent pending). The Segment ARB mode simplifies creating, storing, and generating waveforms made up of up to 2048 user-defined line segments for exceptional waveform generation flexibility.
High Performance Cabling
An optional multi-measurement performance cable kit connects the Model 4200-SCS to a prober manipulator, simplifying switching between DC I-V, C-V, and ultra-fast I-V testing configurations, eliminating the need for re-cabling, and enhancing signal fidelity.

All three products will be available beginning in May 2010.