Monday 31 May 2010

Geotechnical mwasurements

Simplified Linear Measuring System Uses Displacement Transducers
The ability to measure linear displacement over an extended range means access to new applications and industries for Applied Measurements. With the existing AML-SGD products starting as low as 0 - 5mm and measuring up to 50mm over four models, the latest introduction measuring 0-100mm is the result of increased demand from customers preferring to use a strain gauge based measuring system.

Based on a four-arm Wheatstone-Bridge design with a nominal impedance of 350 Ohms, the design ensures excellent non-linearity, low power consumption and excellent temperature stability. Additionally, the characteristics of strain gauge based sensors provide higher accuracy linear sensing than that of less accurate and lower resolution LVDT sensors.

Because these sensors operate at similar voltage levels and produce output signals compatible with other commonly used strain gauge sensors such as load cells and pressure transducers, they can easily form part of the same measurement chain in one central instrumentation system.

These displacement sensors operate on low cost DC strain indicators or digital voltmeters, whereas standard LVDT transducers require conversion of the signals to achieve the same level of compatibility. The simplicity of this type of measurement requiring no further processing of the basic signal, can make this type of test or measurement significantly more attractive to a user.

Additionally, strain gauge based displacement transducers exhibit typical non-linearity errors of a quarter of that of typical LVDT’s. As with other strain gauge devices, the resolution is infinite and strain sensitivity is constant with a stabilised input voltage between 1.5Vdc and 15 Vdc.

These advantages are realised by Fugro Offshore Geotechnics, who use these sensors within their accredited soil testing laboratories. It is within these high-tech establishments where sub-sea soil samples are analysed and the sensors are used (together with submersible load cells, also from Applied Measurements) to monitor compression of the sample relative to the force applied.

As Fugro Senior Lab Manager Phil Robinson says, "We test soil samples from destinations all over the world and much time and considerable effort is spent retrieving them from sub-sea locations. By the time we receive them, they are worth a great deal of money and cannot be replaced. The tests can run for only a few hours or for several weeks and as we can only ever run a test once, we need confidence in our testing equipment and that the results can be relied upon."

The range of AML-SGD displacement sensors are precision assemblies contained within a rugged stainless steel outer casing. The internal construction of the AML-SGD transducer ensures a smooth, virtually frictionless movement of the inner core, resulting in high overall accuracy of <+/- 0.1%.

The return force of the spindle is maintained at a minimum level for effective operation when installed upside-down, without having to attach the spindle to the subject. This makes the sensor less intrusive to the application when measuring on soft or pliable materials. The sensors’ are designed for long life and excellent mechanical reliability, hence the 3-year manufacturing warranty offered. This is evidenced by existing applications where these transducers have passed 14 million cycles in normal operation. And unlike some LVDT transducers, the AML-SGD product is completely serviceable by the manufacturer in the event of damage in use.

Any transducer device would be quite useless without means of providing appropriate supply voltage and output signal and this is often a significant part of any data acquisition programme. The AML/SGD range of displacement sensors ensure these costs remain at a minimum, by utilising strain gauge signal inputs of existing data acquisition equipment. In this way, these displacement sensors limit expenditure to the cost of the sensor only, thus eliminating further capital outlay on dedicated instrumentation.

However these advantages would be of no use if this combination of user benefits meant extended lead times. As such it is the policy of Applied Measurements to keep most standard ranges in stock, meaning that the payback period is shorter and the benefits can be realised sooner.

Compact, rugged and easy-to-install, AML/SGD displacement sensors are used by industries such as R&D, machine builders, automotive, marine and geotechnical. The total cost of ownership of instrumentation is now more relevant than ever for these industries and improvements in the versatility of sensors that allow their use with simple DC signal conditioning is but one method of spreading the life costs.

Highest level of safety for up to 64 sensors

Digital input modules for the control system PNOZmulti

The IP67 digital, decentralised input module PDP67 F 8DI ION is now available from Pilz, enabling a higher number of sensors to be connected safely, even outside the control cabinet. As a result, decentralised monitoring of all sensors in the field can be connected to the configurable control system PNOZmulti.

The digital input modules enable contact-based as well as electronic sensors to be connected outside the control cabinet with as much as ease as inside, in accordance with PL e of EN ISO 13849-1 and SIL 3 of EN/IEC 62061; the unit carries out the required feasibility check. As a result, the PNOZmulti is available as an evaluation device for centralised as well as decentralised sensor technology, with proven configuration and diagnostic functions via the PNOZmulti Configurator.

Communication is via a safe data link, so up to 64 safe sensors can be monitored decentrally. Hardware costs are reduced because this solution manages without a local control cabinet and uses only a single cable for communication and supply. All the benefits of the PNOZmulti product range can be enjoyed – free and easy configuration, rapid diagnostics plus the option to monitor a wide range of safety functions with just one unit.

It’s important to note that safety level PL e of EN ISO 13849-1 is only maintained when electronic sensors are used, as these enable a feasibility check. The time needed for this feasibility check must be taken into account in the machine configuration, to ensure that an e-stop is triggered in time in the event of danger.

If contact-based sensors are used, the performance level for a corresponding interface will be assessed as PL c in accordance with the standard EN ISO 13849-1.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Package expedites process planning and launch.

Aegis Software announces the successful deployment of its Manufacturing Operations Software at Teledyne EMS of Lewisburg, Tennessee (USA), a full service electronic contract manufacturing supplier. They chose Aegis after an exhaustive evaluation of different systems.

Their Aegis deployment provides Teledyne expedited process planning and launch using their customers' CAD and BOM data, shop floor WIP tracking, and quality and test management. This information from the shop floor execution system supports Teledyne's continuous improvement through Aegis' real-time dashboards and reporting capabilities.

Teledyne found that Aegis was the optimum solution for their environment. Their defense and commercial market customers are particularly demanding in their expectations for ECO frequency and supporting limited prototype runs. Their dense and exotic designs make quality control and traceability of paramount importance. Aegis' ability to handle such demanding high-mix and ever-changing production requirements while maintaining throughput and efficiency was of key importance to Teledyne. Traceability and visibility without additional overhead was the goal and it has been achieved.

Other factors also compelled Teledyne EMS' to select Aegis, particularly their proven record and installation base. "The selection of a manufacturing information system to support an entire manufacturing enterprise is as important as an ERP selection," said Norm Wolstein, General Manager Teledyne EMS. "Beyond the functional capabilities, we needed a partner with proven performance and experience. Aegis came to our enterprise with over 1000 installations worldwide, is partner to most of our machine vendors, and sent in a team of experts to make certain the deployment program would proceed efficiently and conclude successfully. Now that their system is an integral part of our operation, we are glad that we partnered with Aegis," he added.
"The best evidence of the value of any system brought into a plant is whether you continue to invest in it," said Don Cook Manufacturing Engineering Manager, at Teledyne Electronic Manufacturing Services. "After our successful deployment in a particular set of production cells, we are continuing the rollout of Aegis into other customer-centric sections of the operation."

Teledyne invested in almost all modules of the Aegis system. The solution expedites their NPI process in the engineering office, dispatches paperless instructions to their shop floor stations, tracks product movement, collects quality and test information, guides repair, and makes all information available through real-time user-configured dashboards and historical reports. "Teledyne EMS approached the evaluation and their deployment in a manner that enabled Aegis to deliver them a solid solution," according to Jason Spera, CEO of Aegis Software. "They committed as an organization at all levels to really leverage the capabilities of the system they purchased, and worked as a team with Aegis' deployment services personnel. We are pleased to have them as a customer and proud to be part of their increasingly successful operation."

2-Port EtherNet/IP Plug-in-Module

New EtherNet/IP module with integrated switch reduces infrastructure cost and eliminates the need for external switches.

HMS Industrial Networks is extending its Anybus-CC family with the addition of a 2-port EtherNet/IP communication module with integrated switch. It is the newest member of HMS´s Anybus-CC family of plug-in communication modules providing interchangeable connectivity solutions for all major fieldbus and Industrial Ethernet networks including Profibus, DeviceNet, CC-Link, CANopen, Profinet, EtherCAT and Modbus-TCP. Anybus-CC modules are used as communication interfaces of intelligent automation devices such as drives, HMIs, robots, inverters, instruments, and scales.

The new 2-port version allows EtherNet/IP real-time communication with bus or ring topologies. The module provides an easy way for any kind of automation device with an integrated Anybus-CC slot, to connect to any PLC with EtherNet/IP support and eliminates the need for expensive external switches. In addition to the EtherNet/IP protocol, the module provides a full featured TCP/UDP-IP socket interface which can be used to implement specific application protocols such as Modbus-TCP.

Another key feature of this module is the added support for the DLR (Device Level Ring) network protocol. DLR technology adds device-level network resilience to optimize machine operation. When a DLR detects a break in the ring, it provides alternate routing of the data to help recover the network. In addition, the module also includes industrial IT functions such as an embedded web server, an FTP server and an E-mail client.

The Anybus-CC module comes in housing and is about the size of a compact flash card. The core of the module is HMS´s NP30 microprocessor with its integrated fast Ethernet controller and RAM and Flash memories for the EtherNet/IP device software stack. The onboard 2-port switch provides two 100 Mbit/s full duplex Ethernet interfaces with RJ45 connectors.

All members of the Anybus-CC family are interchangeable and offer device manufacturers a simple and efficient way to connect intelligent automation devices to all major fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks with just one development.

Operating in extreme conditions

ADLINK Technology introduces Rugged System based on High Efficiency Intel® Atom™ processor

ADLINK Technology has a high-reliability Intel® Atom™-based rugged system. The Ampro by ADLINK™ RuffSystem™ 735 integrates a high-efficiency processor, RAM, graphics, networking, serial I/O, and PC/104-Plus expansion into an Extreme Rugged™ enclosure, capable of operating in extreme temperatures at full CPU speed.

The RuffSystem™ 735 is designed for ruggedness and reliability in mission critical applications where other systems would fail, such as transportation control, and field monitoring. The system excels in high vibration mobile applications. Leveraging Ampro by ADLINK™ Extreme Rugged™ boards and having no moving parts, these systems run reliably for years and years with absolutely zero maintenance. In remote mobile applications, this translates to mission success.

Designed from the ground up for use in harsh environments, the RuffSystem™ 735 integrates Extreme Rugged™ boards in a complete turnkey general purpose computer system, simplifying the system integration process and improving time-to-market.

The RuffSystem™ 735 features a 1.6GHz Intel® Atom™ processor N270, up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM, and Intel® GMA 950 graphics core supporting display resolutions of up to 2048x1536 at 75Hz. A broad range of I/O includes one Gigabit and one Fast Ethernet port (dual GbE in Q3), four USB 2.0 ports, stereo audio, 4 serial ports (2 supporting RS232/422/485), and parallel port. Storage is provided by an internal conventional or solid state drive (SSD) via SATA interface and a CompactFlash® socket. The system also provides flexible expansion with PCI Express® Mini Card slot and PC/104-Plus interface.

The Ampro by ADLINK™ MilSystem™ 735 (will be available in Q2, 2010) provides the same level of ruggedness as the RuffSystem™ 735, but uses MIL-STD-D38999 connectors in place of the standard PC connectors found on the RuffSystem™. Both systems are fanless, designed to meet MIL-STD-810 shock & vibration, and operate at full speed in an extended operating temperature range of -40°C to 75°C.

The RuffSystem™ and MilSystem™ 735 are available at competitive prices with Ubuntu Linux 8.04 LTS or Windows® XP Professional preinstalled. The systems also support a full range of additional embedded and desktop operating systems, including VxWorks.

Complete wireless sensor system for IMC.

The Deeter Group has launched a "ground breaking" Wireless Sensor System for industrial measurement and control.

At the centre of their Wireless Sensor System is the simple-to-use Base Station designed to receive data from remote wireless devices such as the Deeter Liquid Vertical Sensor (LVCS-RF). The base station converts remote sensor input signals into industry standard process outputs. The Base Station acts as the coordinator for an IEEE 802.15.4 wireless sensor network. It operates on one of 16 radio frequency channels available in the 2.4GHz ISM band. The high power transceiver can achieve a range of greater than 1km, subject to local environmental factors. The internationally recognised IEEE 802.15.4 protocol allows several wireless sensor networks to share the same wireless spectrum without interference.

The Base Station provides four open-collector transistor outputs which may be used to drive external relays for pumps and alarms or Deeter’s Dual Level Controller. Continuous analogue sensor data such as liquid level is output using a 4-to-20mA current-loop driver which enables interfacing with industrial process controllers or the Deeter Group’s range of Current Loop Indicators. A serial communications channel provides full-duplex RS232 and half-duplex RS485 transceivers allowing software to be developed for linking to PCs, data-loggers, PLCs or other proprietary equipment.

It has has three internal push-button switches and a 2-line by 16-character LCD. The buttons are accessible with the lid removed and are used in conjunction with the display to select installation options during initial setup. Once the system has been installed it will continue to operate without any further need for user intervention. The Base Station is housed in a rugged ABS enclosure with an external antenna. It has cable glands for power input and signal outputs and is supplied with an external, wall mounted, universal AC input power supply.

Deeter is launching the wireless Base Station with the Liquid Vertical Continuous Sensor - Radio Frequency (LVCS-RF) wireless sensor. The LVCS-RF is designed to measure a continuous liquid level and transmit this information by radio to a Deeter Wireless Base Station at regular intervals. The device is battery powered and transmits wireless sensor data using the IEEE802.15.4 protocol operating in the 2.4GHz frequency band. The transmission range is up to 1Km in ideal line-of-sight conditions. The operating temperature range is -20 to +70ºC.

The LVCS-RF circuitry is housed in an IP65 rated die-cast Aluminium head with an external antenna. An optional 3m extension lead and bracket are available for mounting the antenna in a position more favourable to wireless communication should the need arise. The sensor circuit is fitted inside a Food Industry Standard 316L stainless steel tube attached to the head, with a 55mm magnetic ball-float. Standard sensing lengths are 250mm, 500mm, 750mm and 1m. Custom lengths and materials are available on request. The LVCS-RF is powered by a single 3.6V Lithium Thionyl Chloride battery with a life typically of 9 months (based on a transmission interval of 10 seconds and an uninterrupted wireless link to the base station).

Peter Whiteaker, Managing Director of The Deeter Group, comments; "Over the past 20 years the Deeter Group has justly earned its reputation as a supplier of quality products and services. The introduction of our new British designed and manufactured wireless sensor systems takes us into a new and growing market sector. Our wireless base station and LVCS-RF sensors can be integrated into our customers systems or we can provide a complete measurement package by simply adding a Deeter Current Loop Indicator”

Location sensing technology

No wires required for accurate 802.15.4 real time location systems

Dust Networks® is expanding the capabilities of its wireless sensor networking (WSN) technology to include location sensing. The company has married its pioneering work in standards-based time synchronized mesh networking with new time-of-flight ranging capabilities to deliver a new paradigm in location sensing, Time Synchronized Positioning Time-of-flight (TSPT). Using multi-channel time-of-flight ranging on IEEE 802.15.4 radios, TSPT networks can accurately pinpoint the position of a person or asset to within 1-3 meters indoors or outdoors, even in the harshest RF environments.

“The seamless addition of location sensing capabilities to ultra-low power wireless sensor networks fundamentally changes the economy of delivering asset and people-tracking applications,” said Brenda Glaze, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Dust Networks. “We are looking forward to partnering with the leading sensor and asset management solution providers to enable new services and products.”

Conventional real-time-location system (RTLS) technologies typically require a fixed wired infrastructure which can be very expensive to install. TSPT utilizes Dust’s field-proven time synchronized wireless mesh infrastructure which can run for many years on batteries or harvested energy, allowing infrastructure to be easily deployed with no disruption to buildings or their occupants. Key features of TSPT include:
  • No wires: every mote can run on batteries or harvested energy. Installations are non-disruptive, and the technology can be readily used indoors and outdoors.
  • No site survey: the self-forming 802.15.4E mesh infrastructure channel hops, and the mesh connectivity automatically adapts as the RF environment changes.
  • No special deployment skills: the network forms automatically, and no field wireless expertise is needed.
  • Location tags, attached to people or assets, also run on low-cost batteries for years.
  • Sensor and control data is readily handled by the tags and network, allowing applications developers to easily combine information about where an object is with information about how the object is.
Dust Networks TSPT products will begin sampling in Q3 2010.

Rugged, waterproof keypads

“The demand for rugged waterproof keypads continues to grow as the need for security and access systems becomes more widespread.” Claims Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics, “These two new additions to our keypad range offer a cost effective, ergonomic, low profile secure access solution while in addition they are vandal resistant and waterproof.” These products are exclusive to Foremost Electronics who can supply them to customers throughout Europe.

The new AK-1604-N-SSB-WP-MM features a 16 button alpha-numeric keypad and the AK-304-N-SSB-WP-MM has a 12 button numeric keypad. Custom legend options are available with a minimum order quantity of 2,000 pcs plus nominal tooling costs.

Both keypads are manufactured from rugged cast metal, are waterproof to IP67 and are rear panel mounted through a single large cut-out with an optional rubber gasket for additional weatherproof sealing. The keypads have contacts rated at 24VDC/20mA and contact resistance of 20mΩ. Life expectancy is greater than 2,000,000 cycles per key and they have an operating temperature range of -20 to +60ºC. Both keypads are available in Illuminated versions.

These new compact, low profile, metal keypads may be used in public and industrial environments for access control, security, data-entry, vending machines and kiosks, environmental control and service access.

Compact, low maintenance hydrogen generator

Quick and easy gas generation is now available at Quantitech with the new LNI Schmidlin range of Gas Generators.

The H2-FID hydrogen generator is ideal for operation with flame ionization detectors (FID), providing a source of pure hydrogen fuel gas at up to 10.5 Bar that compares well with cylinder gas.

The small contained volume (less than 40 ml) also makes the H2-FID safe for operation in spaces where hydrogen cylinders are restricted and an automatic shut down procedure places the unit on standby in the event of any internal error.

The latest solid Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) technology available means that users of the H2-FID only require pure water (distilled / deionised) for trouble free long-term operation.

Dominic Duggan, Quantitech’s Sales Director, said: “Infrequent, inexpensive service requirements make the H2-FID a perfect choice for emission monitoring companies, especially where shipping or site use of cylinders is a problem. The LNI gas generator range will also prove popular with laboratories, for example to provide carrier gas for gas chromatography (GC) instruments. “We believe that the elimination of cylinder shipping, handling and refilling combined with no flammable, high pressurised gas storage will also appeal to our customers.”

OTDR measurements

OTDR measurements added to Yokogawa multi field tester family

The latest instrument to be added to the Yokogawa family of multi field testers is the AQ1200 OTDR (optical time-domain reflectometer).

Designed to aid the installation, commissioning and maintenance of fibre-optic infrastructure including FTTx, the new instrument offers a comprehensive range of optical measurement capabilities in a compact handheld package measuring only 216 x 157 x 74 mm and weighing only 1 kg.

In addition to OTDR analysis functions, test features include a fault locator for automatically finding faulty events, plus an optional visual fault locator using a visible light source. A further option allows optical loss testing in conjunction with a built-in stabilised light source and optical power meter with a range of +10 to -70 dBm or +27 to -50 dBm.

The AQ1200 incorporates an easy-to-read 5.7-inch colour LCD display, and offers built-in multiple language support. It operates at wavelengths of 1310 and 1550 nm over distances ranging from 500 m to 200 km and with pulse widths ranging from 3 ns to 10 µs.

Other facilities include a simple connection test option using the Ethernet PING test, support for an external video fibre inspection probe, and multi-core fibre test capability.

This multi field tester series also includes the AQ1100 MFT-OLTS optical loss tester.

Assists supersonic flight without leaving the ground

Powerstax has supplied an AC power source to the famous Brooklands museum as part of an ongoing project to restore the original flight simulator used to train pilots for Concorde.

Brooklands was the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit, constructed at Weybridge, Surrey (GB) in 1907. More than a great sporting arena, Brooklands was the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation, home of Concorde and the site of many engineering and technological achievements throughout eight decades of the 20th century.

The Concorde simulator has been donated to the museum and is gradually being restored to the point where all of its major flight-deck instrumentation, including the legendry MACH meter will function. Aircraft control systems require 26VDC @ 400Hz and initially a number of small, second hand power supplies had been bought at auction to get the project off the ground. As more of the flight deck has been brought to life a single, more reliable power solution which could provide enough power for the current level of activity and planned future needs was required.

Gordon Roxburgh, the volunteer in charge of this project (see his website on "Concorde: Celebrating an aviation icon"), comments; "We needed a more powerful AC power supply that could meet the aircraft power specifications and provide enough output for our existing and future needs. As a charity the cost was also an important factor and the Behlman AC power source and special price offered by Powerstax met all of our needs".

The Concorde flight simulator now at Brooklands was decommissioned in 2004 and the volunteers are being assisted by the University of Surrey to replace the original control systems. Visitors to the museum can “take a flight” in the simulator and eventually be able to experience a functioning Concorde flight-deck

The Behlman range of AC Power Sources available from Powerstax are ideal for cost-effective conversion from and to any single-phase shipboard, avionics or world-wide power requirement. Behlman products provide a comprehensive AC-AC product range from 1350VA up to 120kVA. These offer variable AC voltage and frequency (45-10kHz) plus optional features such as Three-phase input, IEEE-488, RS232, Extended Frequency, extra output voltages and are CE marked.

Powerstax designs and manufactures high power density, high efficiency AC-DC and DC-DC power supplies and DC-DC Converters. Served markets include Defense, Avionics, Industrial, Medical, Telecoms, Datacoms, IT, Test & Control & Transportation.

Integrated signal conditioning for scalable, high-performance measurements

Strain, thermocouple and high-voltage analogue input modules offer increased accuracy for high-channel-count measurement systemsNational Instruments has announced the company’s first data acquisition (DAQ) modules with integrated signal conditioning for scalable, high-performance measurements on PXI Express. The new NI SC Express family delivers increased accuracy, high data throughput and best-in-class synchronisation for measuring strain gauges, bridge-based transducers, thermocouples and high-voltage analogue inputs. PXI Express provides 250 MB/s of dedicated bandwidth for each SC Express module in the chassis, which helps engineers increase channel count without compromising sampling rates or data throughput. With a smaller footprint, simplified cable management and new software features for automatic synchronisation, the SC Express modules make it easy for engineers to set up and program high-channel-count sensor measurement systems.

The PXIe-4330 24-bit simultaneous bridge input module offers 0.02 percent accuracy and 25 kS/s per channel sample rate for high-performance strain, load, force and torque measurements. The bridge input module achieves high accuracy with a ratiometric design where the ADC references the excitation voltage. This approach removes the measurement’s dependence on the stability and accuracy of the excitation voltage. In addition, unique delta-sigma ADCs provide both excellent AC performance as well as DC accuracy, while traditional delta-sigma ADCs only offer AC performance.

This bridge input module can perform quarter, half and full bridge-based measurements with automatic synchronisation features. The included driver software ensures tight synchronisation across multiple modules and chassis with inter-channel skews as low as 5 ppb. The 8-channel bridge input module can scale to a 136-channel system in a single chassis and thousands of channels when synchronising across multiple chassis. The high-accuracy, simultaneity and synchronisation features make the NI PXIe-4330 module ideal for high-channel-count structural test applications, such as wind tunnels, bridge monitoring and crash tests.

With the thermocouple module, engineers can measure temperatures with 0.30 °C accuracy on 32 channels. The isothermal terminal block minimises error with a unique design that optimises thermal conductivity, making it possible for the nearby cold-junction compensation (CJC) thermistors to accurately measure at the thermocouple junctions. The 32-channel thermocouple module can scale to a 544-channel system in a single chassis and thousands of channels when synchronising across multiple chassis. The increased accuracy and scalable platform make the NI PXIe-4353 module well-suited for precision measurements from a single channel to large systems for applications such as fuel cell testing and monitoring thermal chambers.

The high-voltage isolated analogue input module is the first analogue input module from National Instruments that can measure up to 300 V with simultaneous sampling. With a 16-bit ADC per channel and a 250 kS/s per channel sampling rate, the NI PXIe-4300 module can stream 4 MB/s per module and 68 MB/s in a single chassis. This 8-channel analogue input module can scale to a 136-channel system in a single chassis and thousands of channels when synchronising across multiple chassis. The ability to measure 300 V with CAT II channel-to-channel isolation makes the NI PXIe-4300 module ideal for automotive testing, such as fuel cell and battery tests.

The new SC Express modules include NI-DAQmx driver software and support for multi-device tasks, a new feature of NI-DAQmx that helps engineers easily synchronise multiple modules. The same code that acquires data from one module can synchronise up to 17 modules in a chassis. The modules work with a variety of NI hardware including NI X Series, dynamic signal acquisition (DSA) and NI SCXI products, and more than 1,500 types of I/O available on the PXI platform. The new modules also integrate with NI software including NI LabVIEW and the LabVIEW Real-Time Module, NI-Sync and NI DIAdem.

Safe processing of analogue values

The new automation system PSS 4000 from Pilz, now includes safe analogue input modules, which significantly extend the system’s application range. Modular, fine-granular hardware gives the automation system flexibility, enabling the design to be tailored exactly to the requirements of the plant or machine.

The control system PSSuniversal PLC of the automation system PSS 4000 now has various head modules available, to which I/O modules can be connected individually. The head modules are available in different performance classes, either for control functions, for a local preprocessing function or in the form of a pure communication interface for SafetyNET p. All head modules can be used for standard control tasks as well as safety-related control functions up to SIL3 of IEC 61508.

Applications – safe and decentralised
Applications requiring safe, decentralised recording of analogue values are now accessible with the new, failsafe analogue input modules for PSS 4000: due to the redundant input data, a safety assessment in accordance with EN ISO 13849-1 PL e (Cat. 4) and EN/IEC 62061 SIL CL 3 can be achieved.

Two different modules are available for safety-related evaluation of voltage signals from -10 to +10 V or current signals from 0 to 25 mA.

Decentralised, safe recording of analogue values enables the installation work required in widely distributed plants to be reduced, thanks to short cable routes. At the same time, interference on the measuring lines is minimised, shielding measures can be reduced and compliance with installation regulations for control and power cables is much easier.

Analogue modules for extended application range
In addition to the modules for the normal application range, special versions of the module are also available for more extreme application areas. The modules have an identical function, but special measures enable them to be used under heightened environmental conditions – such as in a temperature range of -40 °C to +70 °C. Higher mechanical robustness values for vibration and shock stress also reduce the cost of mechanical compensation measures for items such as mechanical spring or absorption elements. Additional measures for control cabinet air conditioning or dehumidification are no longer needed.

Other potential application areas for safe analogue input modules include monitoring of valve positions, temperature or fill levels on process machinery, or in the field of building automation.

Expansion in Britain

Despite Britain's continuing economic downturn, Hima-Sella is expanding its operations there by opening two new offices, one in Ashby de la Zouch in the East Midlands and one in Aberdeen, in Scotland in recognition of the importance of its key customers in rail and oil & gas sectors.

Customers rely on Hima-Sella for its expertise in engineering safety, control and automation systems and moving closer geographically brings many benefits. Hima-Sella’s managing director Ian Wright comments,

“Having two new offices in locations nearer to key customers makes good business sense. The efficiency savings we’ll make by cutting travelling time and reducing our carbon footprint are substantial, so everyone gains as a result. Many of our engineers and account managers spend hours travelling to visit customers. We’re looking at new ways that take staff well-being into account yet maintain the service excellence that we know our customers value.”

In Ashby de la Zouch, in Leicestershire, Hima-Sella’s moving into a brand new, low-energy building on the Ivanhoe Business Park. Near to Derby and the rail industry hub, this establishes a convenient East Midlands base for Hima-Sella, close to all the main rail companies in the Britain, easily accessible by road and an hour away from London by train.

Anwar Hussain at Salloway Property Consultants comments, "This sale is the last of all the properties in the Clowes Development at Ivanhoe Business Park. We’re delighted to see Hima-Sella establishing a regional presence here in the East Midlands."
The Ashby office is being fitted out this month with plans for staff in the transportation and automated engineering team to be in place by July. With two new office locations, technology such as video conferencing will be used to improve business efficiency and reduce the amount of time spent travelling.

The office in Aberdeen (see pic) is located at the Energy Industries Council’s (EIC) Carden Place premises at the heart of the energy capital of Europe, which hosts Offshore Europe and is home to many oil companies and energy-related contractors, suppliers, agencies, government bodies and research organisations.

Hima-Sella remains 100% committed to its Stockport headquarters, being refurbished over the summer with a new reception area, enhanced office accommodation and improved catering facilities for the firm’s 100-strong staff.

Wright adds, “We’re strongly committed to taking Hima-Sella forward as planned this year and these two additional office locations will help us to capitalise on our growing reputation and credibility with key customers. Opening new offices closer to customers, combined with the enhancement of our existing Stockport site gives us the ability to accommodate future expansion.”

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Asset management suite enhanced

Enhancements extend predictive diagnostic management to motor control centres, drives, and other high value assets through the DeltaV™ digital automation system

AMS™ Suite: Intelligent Device Manager v11, extends Emerson Process Management’s asset management leadership by adding PROFIBUS DP v1 asset support when used with the DeltaV™ digital automation system.

AMS Device Manager v11, a key component of the PlantWeb™ digital plant architecture, will help users streamline maintenance procedures by providing a single application for managing all field devices using HART®, FOUNDATION™ fieldbus, PROFIBUS DP, and IEC 62591 (WirelessHART®) communications. By having a central point to actively manage all asset information, users can take better advantage of predictive diagnostics to ensure equipment reliability and availability.

Adding PROFIBUS DP protocol support provides AMS Device Manager users with an expanded range of assets that are manageable from one application. In addition to instrumentation and valves, users can now communicate with motor starters, motor control centres, drives, and other high value equipment, accessing diagnostics and configurations for more assets than ever before.

Like the previous version, AMS Device Manager v11 delivers significant user experience improvements to operations and maintenance workers in a plant through user-centric interfaces called Device Dashboards. Now including PROFIBUS DP assets, these interfaces deliver clear asset status diagnostics and expert guidance to streamline important and frequently-performed tasks. Maintenance technicians receive more in-depth information to solve device issues.

AMS Device Manager v11 also expands its support to the DeltaV v11 release, including the S-series hardware, CHARMs I/O cards, redundant wireless, and native wireless I/O cards. The DeltaV v11 release features “I/O on demand” to help users eliminate work, reduce project costs and increase operational flexibility.

Users of Emerson's Guardian and Foundation Support will now benefit from the incorporation of AMS Device Manager system details into the Guardian application. Guardian enables users to receive support content that is matched to their individual system. Customised content includes knowledge base articles, Microsoft® updates, system updates, and open support calls. Guardian users extract the most performance from their system with the lowest life-cycle cost and maximum process availability. Guardian is available for the DeltaV digital automation system, Ovation™ expert control system, and standalone AMS Suite users.

"With the addition of PROFIBUS DP support to AMS Suite, Emerson expands the scope of the industry’s most comprehensive asset management package,”
said Craig Llewellyn, president of Emerson Process Management’s Asset Optimization business. “The broad capabilities delivered with a focus on ease of use, ensure users experience the full potential of their asset management solution. By expanding the scope of predictive capabilities to help prevent unexpected downtime, we enable users to positively impact the financial performance at their facilities.”

The enhanced versiuon can be used with the Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 operating systems, and continues to support Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems. AMS Device Manager v11 includes new versions of popular SNAP-ON™ applications, including AMS Wireless, AMS ValveLink, and QuickCheck.

Multitasking transducer!

Measure up to 16 pressure inputs simultaneously from your laptop!Ellison Sensors introduced the GS4200 USB Digital pressure transducer 3 years ago after identifying a need for a more flexible approach to pressure measurement. The latest development allows the user to measure up to 16 pressure inputs at the same time from just one PC, saving precious time and effort.

This is a unique product in its ability to measure, analyse and record pressure directly onto your PC or laptop. Power is provided from the USB port eliminating the need for further connections. Data is presented via the ESI-USB configurable software supplied with the transducer, and its instant connection with auto-detection will automatically configure with your computer. The fast sample rate enables dynamic pressures to be measured with up to 21 bit resolution, and it is available in pressure ranges from 0-500 bar and 0-3000 bar. The transducer is equipped with superior Silicon-on-Sapphire technology so the user is assured high accuracy and stability.

In identifying the needs of the customer, the natural course of the products development was to enable the user to measure multiple inputs all at once, instantaneously. Having to use multiple computers and endless connections is time consuming and inefficient. For customers like the British Geological Survey for example, the ESI USB transducer with 16 inputs will be an invaluable tool. The main difficulty at the moment arises when trying to monitor several transducers at the same time. ‘The problem is that we currently have to have several transducer windows open at the same time. With a small computer screen this means we can only see the topmost transducer information’ said Dr. Chris Rochelle of the British Geological Survey. ‘A single transducer window on the screen that could display the pressure status of a number off experiments at the same time would allow us to see all their pressures at a glance, and hence better monitor their progress.'

New partner announced

OSIsoft® is now an ISA Automation Week 2010 Partner. OSIsoft is the provider of the PI System®, the industry-standard enterprise infrastructure for management of real-time data and events. The new partnership with ISA offers OSIsoft a high level of visibility at ISA Automation Week 2010 through specialized and intensive promotional opportunities that will provide recognition before, during, and after the event.

ISA Automation Week 2010 Sponsor packages, which are part of the ISA Corporate Partnership Program, are limited to a small number of companies. The ISA Corporate Partnership Program offers each company a customized, tailored approach to sponsorship. The different packages allow companies to bundle ISA’s products and services with marketing opportunities, resulting in a streamlined approach to corporate support.
ISA Automation Week 2010 is the knowledge-driven technology and solutions event designed to deliver a stimulating and highly relevant educational experience to automation and control professionals who work within continuous process, discrete, and hybrid manufacturing environments. It will be held 4-7 October, 2010 in Houston (TX US).

OSIsoft, with operations throughout the world, has completed more than 14,000 installations in industries such as oil and gas, power and utility, pharmaceuticals, data centers, chemical, pulp and paper, and metals and mining. OSIsoft’s PI System provides a flexible foundation for establishing a culture of continuous improvement at the plant, across the enterprise, and throughout the value chain.

The company will showcase two important new product releases at Automation Week: PI System 2010 and PI for Office 2010. PI System 2010 continues to build on scalability and security as well as offer a consolidated package of all components required to run businesses in real-time. PI for Office 2010 is a natural evolution of OSIsoft’s products built on the Office platform. PI for Office 2010 supports Microsoft’s Business Intelligence products that are part of SQL Server 2008 R2 and SharePoint Server 2010. Integrating manufacturing and operational data with business intelligence has never been easier. PI for Office 2010 also continues to build on OSIsoft’s successful products PI DataLink for Excel, PI DataLink for Excel Services and PI WebParts.

“OSIsoft was very pleased to learn about ISA Automation Week’s focus on technical education and training. Supporting this event is a great way for OSIsoft to bring our message of driving business improvements through leverage of operational and manufacturing data,” said Jon Peterson, OSIsoft VP Marketing.

“Sponsorship of ISA Automation Week 2010 is an effective way for OSIsoft to connect with a well-qualified base of motivated automation professionals in its marketplace,” said ISA Executive Director and CEO Patrick Gouhin. “It gives the company excellent opportunities to maximize its visibility with the right audience.”

Integrated enclosure manufacturing

How can the process times be reduced in the entire product engineering process in order to reduce costs? This is a question that is often asked in enclosure manufacturing, with the answer lying in the cross-discipline meshing of engineering, manufacturing and commissioning.

Enclosure manufacturing begins with the schematic that is designed comfortably in EPLAN Electric P8. Complete parts data such as enclosures and devices can be selected rapidly from the EPLAN Data Portal or via product configurators. The system automatically generates corresponding device, terminal and wiring lists providing information about components, connection points or wiring cross-sections. This electrical engineering documentation, taking into account existing manufacturer data and the housing with all its accessory parts, is configured in EPLAN Cabinet as a 3D prototype.

The 3D model allows enclosures to be dimensioned, set up and checked, virtually instead of physically, long before the enclosure is manufactured. This ensures correct design data, exact planning and rapid implementation of the projects. Information about cut-outs and recesses as well as for holes and threads is transferred from the 3D model and fed through corresponding NC interfaces directly into the machining centre. Optimised cutting lists for NC-supported cutting technologies can be generated simply from the 3D data and will ensure precise fitting cable ducts and mounting rails. In addition all the advantages of automated wire preassembly take effect.

An integrated 3D routing function determines the best possible routing as well as the required conductor lengths within the enclosure. Completely preassembled conductors can then be rapidly installed. With this comprehensive design approach using EPLAN Electric P8 the entire product engineering process becomes faster, leaner and less expensive.

Motors, drives, power transmission and controls catalogue

Baldor has released a major new catalogue overviewing the extensive range of industrial motors, drives, power transmission and motion control products it stocks in Europe. The 120-page guide is a valuable resource for automation builders and maintainers alike. It details hundreds of the most commonly required DC and AC motors, drives, gearmotors, Baldor-Dodge gearboxes - supported by a European assembly centre - and Baldor-Dodge bearings. The catalogue also details the company's comprehensive range of servomotors, drives and controllers for precision motion control applications.

The motor selection is very broad, and includes Baldor's renowned energy-efficient motors, available in both IEC frame and NEMA frame variants for companies who build for international markets or maintain equipment manufactured overseas. Also included are details of special-purpose motors for severe-, hazardous and washdown-duty operating environments, as well as inverter-duty and commercial-duty motors.

The catalogue concludes with useful reference material including quick reference sections on IEC and NEMA frame sizes, and imperial/metric conversions.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

WLAN testing

Enhanced WLAN Software Toolkits and Multichannel RF Instruments Improve on Industry-Best Test Speed and Accuracy

National Instruments has introduced its new solution for IEEE 802.11n wireless LAN (WLAN) testing, the NI WLAN Measurement Suite 2.0, which includes enhanced software toolkits for IEEE 802.11n WLAN signal generation and analysis. The suite integrates with the 6.6 GHz PXI Express multichannel RF signal generators and analysers to deliver true, phase-coherent multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) RF measurements required for IEEE 802.11n WLAN testing. The suite also delivers the industry’s fastest measurement speed for those including error vector magnitude (EVM) and spectrum mask and provides the highest class of measurement accuracy for IEEE 802.11n and a/b/g WLAN test.

Using a software-defined architecture based on PXI and NI LabVIEW graphical system development software, engineers can significantly lower their cost of test and reduce the size of their test systems by testing multiple wireless standards, such as IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth, GSM/EDGE, WCDMA, WiMAX and others, using the same PXI test system.

The WLAN Measurement Suite 2.0 adds IEEE 802.11n support to the generation and analysis toolkits to facilitate MIMO testing with true port-to-port phase coherency. For measurements, the toolkit integrates with NI PXIe-5663E 6.6 GHz two-, three- and four-channel vector signal analysers (VSAs) to provide engineers highly accurate multistream MIMO measurements. For signal generation, the toolkit integrates with NI-PXIe-5673E 6.6 GHz two-, three- and four-channel vector signal generators (VSGs) to generate true phase-coherent, multistream RF signals.

In addition to 802.11n MIMO support, the latest version of the NI WLAN Measurement Suite improves on the previous version with faster measurement time. When combined with the latest NI PXIe-8133 quad-core embedded controller, the system can perform composite EVM and power measurements in 7.0 ms, the fastest in the industry. A result of the toolkit’s multicore-enabled measurement algorithms, the fast measurement speed is crucial for reducing test times and lowering the costs of testing wireless devices.

The new NI WLAN Measurement Suite also adds a variety of software features to improve measurement performance and ease of use. Engineers can software-enable its new resolution bandwidth filter feature to remove broadband noise and increase EVM measurement accuracy. With front-end filtering engaged, engineers can achieve residual EVM accuracy of better than -47 dB when testing WLAN devices.

The measurement suite includes soft front panels for signal generation and analysis to support a wide range of WLAN IEEE 802.11n configurations, including 4x4 MIMO, and to report measurement results and traces. Additionally, engineers can use the measurement suite as either a standalone executable or as an API in LabVIEW, NI LabWindows™/CVI ANSI C development environment or in other C, C++ and .NET development systems.

Wireless standard strengthens board

GE to help drive the Commercialisation of the ISA100

GE’s worldwide industrial, communications, energy and process experience is helping to drive industry recognition of the ISA100 wireless communications standard, with the addition of GE to the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute Governing Board.

GE is a supporter of the ISA100 family of open standards, which is a reliable, flexible and deterministic communications protocol that helps streamline and optimize the integration of industrial processes’ automation applications. This protocol makes it easier for different equipment and systems to communicate and work together.

“As a leader in technical innovation and open standards, GE is excited to participate in establishing the ISA100 standards,” said Melanie Cook, communications general manager for GE’s Digital Energy business. “Our customers rely on GE to deliver reliable solutions for their mission-critical communication networks and are increasingly demanding products that are interoperable for easier infrastructure deployments. From Smart Grid modernization to oil and gas and industrial automation applications, the ISA100 standards will help us in meeting our customers’ requirements.”

The ISA100.11a Industrial Wireless Networking Standard, approved in September 2009, is the first in the ISA100 family of standards. This mesh standard protocol helps companies build interoperable communications equipment. As a result, manufacturing and processing plants can create, modify and optimize beginning-to-end operations quickly, cost-effectively, and seamlessly.

Future ISA100 standards will include support for backhaul functionality, factory automation and other key-use cases. Details on the approved standard, the ISA100 roadmap, and use-case presentations are available on the website.

“The addition of GE expands coverage of industry verticals represented in the WCI and gives us another great resource for ensuring conformance, interoperability, and marketplace adoption of standards that best meet the needs of users around the world,” said Andre Ristaino, Wireless Compliance Institute managing director. “GE’s depth of technology expertise in process industries and creative application of technology is impressive. We look forward to working with the GE team to help improve communications for a new generation of process innovation.”

Fieldbus surge protection

MTL Instruments has released a new Surge Protection Device (SPD) that can be retrofitted to FOUNDATION™ fieldbus systems. The FS32 prevents surges and transient over-voltages conducted along the Trunk, or Spurs, of fieldbus systems from damaging the associated electronics such as terminators, spur blocks and the bus control equipment. Designed to fit MTL’s latest fieldbus products to protect spurs, the FS32 can also be used to protect spurs on Megablock wiring hubs. In addition, the plug-in format makes the product easy to retrofit, and the small footprint assists in the reduction of the size of junction boxes.

The multi-stage hybrid surge protection network at the heart of the FS32 uses a combination of solid state electronics, and a gas filled discharge tube, to provide surge protection up to 20kA. This impressive surge protection circuit is designed to exhibit exceptionally low line resistance, and has negligible voltage drop to the spurs.

In operation the FS32 does not adversely affect the performance, or operation, of the fieldbus or connected equipment. The FS32 allows signals to pass with little attenuation, whilst diverting surge currents safely to earth (ground) and clamping output voltages to safe levels. Fully automatic in operation, the FS32 device reacts immediately to ensure that the equipment is never exposed to damaging surges between lines or the lines to earth (ground). Reacting instantaneously, the FS32 redirects surges safely to earth (ground) and then resets automatically.

New housings provide more wiring space for industrial connectors

Harting has added extended angled bulkhead and surface-mounting housings of size 3 A to the proven Han® HPR series of industrial connectors.

This new housings make it possible to mount a Han-Brid® Quintax contact insert in an angled Han® 3 HPR bulkhead or surface mounting housing, as well as making more wiring space available for improved assembly of the various contact inserts.

The Han® HPR series of heavy-duty industrial connectors is ideally suited to providing the electrical interface in areas such as transport, applications with harsh climatic or moisture-resistant requirements, and sensitive interfaces that have to be protected or shielded.

For mounting the new housings, two versions are available: one with through holes and one with blind tapped holes in the mounting flange. The version with the blind tapped holes eliminates the need for separate sealing of the fixing screws.

The housings incorporate M25 cable entries, allowing cables with larger outer diameters to be used. Otherwise, they correspond with the specifications for HARTING's other angled Han® 3 HPR bulkhead and surface-mount housings, and are 100% plug-compatible with the Han® 3 HPR hoods with screw locking.

nano Motion Technology (nMT) range expands

Following closely behind the recent launch of single-axis and dual X-Y axis ANT series linear nanopositioning stages as a part of Aerotech's nano Motion Technology (nMT) range, two new rotary and two new vertical translation variants have now been introduced. With their direct-drive ANT series now covering 95 mm and 130 mm wide linear and vertical-linear translation stages in addition to rotary and goniometric angular positioners, users can now specify long travel range, multi-axis nanometre resolution mechanics for high throughput production and demanding test and research applications. The new stages perfectly complement the outstanding precision, nanometre level precision and high dynamic performance offered by the landmark nMT range.

The new ANT95-R and ANT130-R rotary stages comprise 95 mm and 130 mm diameter models with a positioning resolution of 0.1 arc sec and with a calibrated repeatability of just 2 arc sec. They both utilise Aerotech's specialised direct-drive motor technology for extremely smooth motion with in-position stability to within a staggering 0.5 arc sec. Both sizes are available in angular travel ranges of 20°, 180° or continuous 360° rotation and maximum speed and acceleration for the latter is up to 200 rpm/400 rad/sec2. Direct axial load capacity is 2 kg for the smaller diameter stage and 3kg for the larger stage. The error motion performance across both sizes of rotary stage (tilt, axial and radial) is in line with the outstanding overall specifications and suited to demanding high throughput manufacturing applications such as disk-drive fabrication, fibre optic device alignment, and MEMS sensor manufacture and test.

The nMT range has been further enhanced with the ANT95-L-Z and ANT130-L-Z series vertical stages which have nominal widths of 95 mm and 135 mm respectively and a calibrated positioning resolution of just 2 nanometres. Supplied complete with vertical mounting angle brackets and integral pneumatic counterbalance mechanisms, the ANT95-L-Z is available in vertical travel ranges of 25 mm and 50 mm whilst the wider ANT-130-L-Z offers 35 mm and 60 mm travel. Within each travel range a high performance –PLUS option is available which increases the repeatability by a factor of around 30%; for the ANT95-L-Z-PLUS this yields a bidirectional repeatability of +/- 75 nanometres.

The design of these new vertical translation stages is derived from the single axis and X-Y linear ANT stages with anti-creep cross roller bearings and a centre driven brushless/non-cogging linear servomotor for ultra smooth performance characteristics and in-position stability of just a few nanometres when driven by Aerotech's ultra low-noise linear stage amplifiers. Aerotech's specially developed 40 MHz linear encoder processing ensures such high resolution and together all of these features ensure a dynamic performance and precision which is much improved over traditional leadscrew driven stages or ceramic motor types. The overall speed and acceleration performance of the new vertical stages is up to 200 mm/sec and 1 g - which though not as high performing as their horizontal plane linear positioning counterparts at 500 mm/sec and 5 g - are still eminently suited to high throughput production and test applications.

All ANT series stages are protected with a durable black hardcoat finish, and exceptionally long working life and low maintenance is guaranteed by the non contacting direct-drive linear and rotary motor technology and non contacting optical encoders used in the design.

The exceptionally high performance specifications for the ANT range are in part attributed to the advanced motion control and drive technologies available as a part of complete motion system solutions from Aerotech. With all cabling included and with fully assembled stages that are thoroughly tested and calibrated in Aerotech's state of the art clean room facilities, complete systems can encompass custom designed machine frames with highly stable granite base and gantries to support customer supplied equipment such as lasers or metrology apparatus.

Aerotech's advanced motion controls include algorithms, data acquisition and analysis tools that counteract the minute disturbances that influence positioning stability and dynamic performance at sub micron levels and optimise overall performance.

Motion control options include the software only A3200 Automation Platform with DSP based Npaq drives or the Ensemble™ series rack or desktop system for multi-axis positioning systems, whilst the Soloist™ series is especially suited to demanding single axis applications. Servo drive technologies include PWM amplifier stages for highest dynamic performance in addition to wide bandwidth and ultra low noise linear servo amplifiers for best in-position stability/lowest jitter performance.

These motion controllers also feature advanced software commands that are designed to simplify interfacing with customers own systems such as the PSO command that synchronises laser firing with real time position. Comprehensive analogue and digital I/O and GUIs are also available along with a broad choice of diagnostic, set-up and programming tools are available for fast and trouble-free system commissioning. Supported programming languages include AeroBASICTM, Visual Basic® C, and C++ with optional advanced application support covering Windows® based ActiveX components and .NET class libraries.

Complete range of load cells

ZEMIC, one of the largest sensor and transducer manufacturers in the world, offers a complete range of load cells through Variohm EuroSensor
As one of the largest sensor and transducer manufacturers in the world, ZEMIC load cells are characterised by high quality, versatility and competitive pricing. The Asian based manufacturer produces its own wide range and also supplies branded products for the European and American load cell market. As its exclusive British distributor, and with over thirty years experience in weighing systems, Variohm EuroSensor provides complete technical and full service support across this comprehensive range; with stock delivery and professional consultancy available for standard load cells and customised designs alike.

The ZEMIC load cell range covers single point or platform cells, compression cells, S-type, shear beam and dual shear beam as well as spoke type designs with complete weighing assemblies, junction boxes and transmitters available for installation convenience. Load capacities from a few hundred grams to over 500 Tons are available for applications as wide ranging as pricing scales to weighbridge platforms and from in-vehicle weighing systems to hopper scales.
Construction materials include stainless steel, plated alloy steel and anodised aluminium with protection classes from IP65 to full IP68, and with accuracy up to 4000 divisions. OIML approved load cells with R60 'legal-for-trade' versions are fully available.

For extreme application areas such as wash down and hazardous environments, their new BM6G series single point load cell has all-stainless construction with IP69K rating, OIML-R60 approval and C3 class accuracy. With corner correction to fit platform sizes up to 800 x 800 mm and for off-centre loads from 100 to 500kg, the BM6G is aimed at food industry weighing applications where cleaning by high pressure water jet is essential. Other approvals available include EMC and ATEX.

The standard ZEMIC load cell range offers low cost weighing solutions across industry and research, but for specialist requirements Variohm EuroSensor can facilitate directly with ZEMIC’s engineering department where over 225 design engineers are on hand to provide cost-competitive customised modifications or completely new designs.

Monday 24 May 2010

Melt pressure sensors on web!

Gefran launches dedicated website for IMPACT series melt pressure sensors

Gefran has launched a new dedicated website for its IMPACT series high temperature fluid pressure transducers and transmitters.

With product specifications and application information for plastics extrusion, injection moulding, blow forming and polymer production, the website covers the complete IMPACT range which is based on innovative MEMS technology to produce a fluid-free piezoresistive sensor capable of operation in high temperature environments of up to 350°C with exceptional durability.

Unlike conventional melt pressure sensors which use mercury or oil filling, the silicon on insulator (SOI) sensing element is suited to RohS compliant uses for medical and food industry plastics production, and as the process contact membrane can be up to 15 times thicker, a much improved resistance to dynamic pressures, increased resilience to abrasive materials and longer life is realised.

The website covers specifications for the five different sensor models available in the range. Users can select Voltage output, 4..20mA, or mV/V output transmitters for full scale pressures up to 1000 bar or 0-10V/CANopen transducers for pressures to 3000 bar. For explosive atmospheres an Ex rated version is also available.

The website also includes downloadable PDFs for further product information in addition to the electrical installation manual. IMPACT is the acronym for Innovative Melt Pressure ACcurate Transducer.
The IMPACT series features a separate signal conditioning unit and a 15-5 PH stainless steel isolation diaphragm with a GTP coating for optimum corrosion, abrasion and temperature resistance. A choice of both rigid and flexible stem lengths ensures straightforward installation.

The URL is

New fieldbus barrier

MTL Instruments have a new range of Fieldbus Barrier wiring hubs that establish a new benchmark for connecting intrinsically safe field instruments to FOUNDATION™ fieldbus networks in hazardous areas. The 9370-FB Series Fieldbus Barrier retains the major benefits of the “High Energy Trunk” technique whilst removing the drawbacks associated with existing Fieldbus Barrier implementations. The result is lower cost, safer operation and higher reliability throughout the life-cycle of the fieldbus network. These benefits are not only for the plant operator, but for all parties involved in the design and installation process.

The 9370-FB Series are modular in construction, comprising of a fixed carrier assembly and pluggable components. These are assembled to form complete, self-contained enclosure systems in either stainless steel or carbon-loaded GRP, and sized according to the application requirements.

A key feature of the 9370-FB is the speed and ease in which it can be reconfigured or repaired. All parts of the system containing complex electronic circuits are housed in “pluggable” modules that can be removed and replaced while the equipment is live. This is a sharp contrast to conventional Fieldbus Barrier implementations, where serviceability is made difficult or impossible by the ‘hard-wired’ nature of the field enclosure; which cannot be live worked in the hazardous area. Tracing and fixing faults is also made easier, since rapid substitution can be used to pin-point the source of problems.

The use of innovative connector technology has allowed MTL to provide a Fieldbus Barrier system that has the ultimate flexibility. The barrier modules, terminator and optional surge protection devices are all certified for removal, and replacement, in the hazardous area without causing an ignition risk. This certification not only means safer maintenance, but also provides the unique ability for expansion in service. For example a 12-spur enclosure, fitted with one 6-spur module, can be optionally specified and installed; expansion to 12 active spurs is easily accomplished by plugging a second module into the enclosure. No other configuration is necessary, provided the fieldbus power supply is correctly sized and the full loading of the segment has been anticipated.

Commenting on the new release, MTL’s Technical Manager for Industrial Networks, Phil Saward says, “We are confident that the product’s innovative features will help users to achieve the improvements in efficiency and plant safety that are required in today’s demanding business environment. Not only has MTL responded to the demand for greater flexibility when using the High Energy Trunk technique, but has also exceeded customers’ expectations for easy installation and maintenance of field-mounted equipment in fieldbus applications.”

Optional, integrated surge protection is also a key feature of the 9370-FB Series, and includes plug-in devices to protect the barrier modules from transients transmitted along the trunk and spur cables. In conjunction with additional protectors located at the fieldbus host, and at the fieldbus instruments, they allow the user to install and operate fully protected networks.

Unlike conventional fieldbus barrier enclosures, the plug-in surge protection devices can be included at the time of installation or retrofitted once the system is in service. This streamlines the selection process, avoids clumsy over-specification and allows protection to be added in response to site experience.

Fast response pH probe

In response to a growing trend for water quality measurement in the field, YSI Hydrodata has launched a new Fast Response pH Probe, the YSI 6589 FR.

Compatible with YSI 556 multiparameter meters and all 6-Series sondes (except 600R and 600QS), it has been built with a signal conditioning amplifier internal to the probe allowing for faster response times in low ionic strength water; cold water; sampling AUV (autonomous underwater vehicles) and Data Flow applications. It is expected that the life of the pH sensors will also increase.

The 6589 Probe can be deployed on instruments that have been subjected to pH port connector contamination because it is immune to most of these issues, thereby avoiding expensive bulkhead replacement repairs.

YSI’s Ian Thompson said: “The speed of measurement can be greatly increased with the new pH Probe, which, combined with the avoidance of bulkhead replacements saves considerable operational time and costs.”

Free DMM offer!

Fluke offers free DMM with ScopeMeter

For a limited period, Fluke is offering a free Fluke 233 Remote Display Multimeter to purchasers of a new Fluke 190C/215C/225C Series ScopeMeter®. A high performance, handheld, colour oscilloscope in the ScopeMeter series must be purchased by 31st July 2010 and the Fluke distributor’s invoice, with a voucher downloaded here , sent immediately to the address shown on the voucher. The Fluke 190C/215C/225C Series ScopeMeters feature high resolution colour displays and offer bandwidths up to 200MHz and sampling rates up to 2.5GS/s. The Fluke 233 Multimeter features a removable display which will operate wirelessly up to 10m from the point of measurement.

The Fluke 215C and 225C ScopeMeters are aimed at maintenance specialists who deal with industrial buses, networks and general electronics. They verify electrical signal quality on industrial buses including Profibus, Foundation, Modbus, CAN-bus, RS-485 and more. They offer easy signal quality validation of all the signal parameters, and feature floating and fully isolated inputs for true differential signal measurements. Like the Fluke 190C Series, the 225C and 215C offer a wide range of test capabilities including FFT analysis for identifying individual frequency components contained in a signal. The TrendPlot paperless recording function helps uncover long-term trends and shows changes in any of the measurable parameters (like the rise-time of a signal); the ScopeRecord function allows long records of waveform recordings to be made, over a period up to 48 hours; a 'Replay' function enables the user to take a closer look at any anomaly seen flashing by on the screen, by re-playing the last sequence of 100 screen images.

The Fluke 233 Remote Display Multimeter gives users ultimate flexibility in difficult test situations. By simply sliding the wireless display out of the meter body, the user can place the display where it is most easily seen, while putting the meter in the best position to take measurements. The radio transmitter automatically turns on when the display is removed from the meter and off when the display is re-attached. The removable display is magnetic and has a flat bottom, so it can be conveniently mounted or placed on a flat surface where it can easily be seen. The Fluke 233 provides measurements up to 1000V AC and DC and up to 10A for use in CAT IV 600V/CAT III 1000V working environments. It offers a 10,000 microF capacitance range, measures frequencies to 50kHz and captures min/max and average readings automatically. It also includes a built-in thermometer that enables users to take temperature readings easily without carrying a separate instrument.