Tuesday 31 August 2010

MES upgrade announced

Yokogawa releases Real-time Production Organizer™ R1.02

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has released the R1.02 upgrade to Real-time Production Organizer™ (RPO). RPO is a suite of manufacturing execution system (MES) platform packages that integrate the vertical production execution workflow across departments and empower decision makers to organise their work quickly and efficiently. With the R1.02 upgrade, RPO now includes Workflow Composer VP, a newly released package that supports the use of Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and is used together with enhanced versions of Production Instructor VP and Production Supervisor VP as well as third party packages to standardise and automate business processes.

Development background
Today's plant operations need to be flexible enough to deal with the challenges of changing feed materials and market demands; however, there are many barriers in business processes that impede the flow of information between plant areas, posing serious challenges to agile plant operations. These barriers arise for the following reasons:

- Poor information integrity due to insufficient MES connectivity
- Information resolution gaps that cause misalignment between enterprise resource planning (ERP) and MES
- Lack of proper tools for closing loops in business focused manufacturing.

To address these needs and achieve its vision for Production Excellence based on VigilantPlant® and the CENTUM® VP platform, Yokogawa developed RPO. In June 2009, Yokogawa released Production Instructor VP for task execution management and Production Supervisor VP for key performance indicator (KPI) monitoring. Now, Workflow Composer VP has been released to support system integration with the Production Instructor VP and Production Supervisor VP packages.

Product features
1. Workflow Composer VP (new)

With its support of BPMN, Workflow Composer VP enables the standardisation of business work processes and organises their execution. Workflow Composer VP has the following features:

- The implementation of sequential flows can be defined using logic objects including Web services, e-mail, relational database access, and scripting.
- Interactive manual entry or confirmation can be performed using an RPO "E-form" on a Web browser.
- The monitoring console provides execution status information and debugging assistance, and enables manual interventions for the suspension, resumption, or termination of a business process.

2. Production Instructor VP (enhanced)
Production Instructor VP issues template-based or manual work orders for correct and prompt execution, monitoring, and analysis to identify best practices. The enhanced features of Production Instructor VP are as follows:

- Allows the customisation of task detail and shift handover report forms
- Has an extended OPC interface for process data collection
- Enables the control of sub-task execution sequences
- Supports up to 100 custom data fields

3. Production Supervisor VP (enhanced)
Production Supervisor VP is used to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time on a role-based Web dashboard. The enhanced features of Production Supervisor VP are as follows:

- Includes general grid, rich trend, and period comparison chart Web components
- Supports the use of a generic relational database adaptor and a Web service interface
- Enables dynamic changes to KPI limits from an external system

Main target markets and applications are plant production and operation management in industries such as refining, petrochemicals, and chemicals

VigilantPlant® is Yokogawa's automation concept for safe, reliable, and profitable plant operations. It aims to enable an ongoing state of Operational Excellence where plant personnel are watchful and attentive, well-informed, and ready to take actions that optimise plant and business performance. This initiative eliminates unplanned downtime, improves asset utilisation, and allows businesses to adapt to shifting market conditions quickly and efficiently. Based on this concept, Yokogawa launched Safety Excellence solutions in 2005, Asset Excellence solutions in 2006, and Production Excellence solutions in 2007.

CENTUM® VP is their newest integrated production control system, launched in 2008. This takes the VigilantPlant initiative to its next evolutionary step, integrating the three excellence solutions into one Operational Excellence platform.

Monday 30 August 2010

Radar level with FF

Radar level transmitter now comes with Foundation Fieldbus

Siemens Industry Automation Division has added Foundation Fieldbus certified communications to the Sitrans LR250 radar level transmitter. Sitrans LR250 comes complete with Enhanced EDD (Electronic Device Description) and is equipped with a Quick Start Wizard for fast commissioning.

For commissioning via handheld devices, i.e, 375/475, basic EDD is also supported. Sitrans LR250 is also available with either Hart or Profibus PA communications.

The compact plug-and-play 25 Gigahertz 2-wire device Sitrans LR250 is the easiest to install and quickest to configure radar transmitter available today. The level of liquids or slurries can be accurately and reliably measured in minutes. The transmitter can be used in general applications, but is also suitable for chemical, pharmaceutical and hydrocarbon processing applications, including corrosive environments.

UART and CAN modules to support the extended system peripheral needs of developers

Furthering its initiatives on Texas Instruments (TI) platforms, Mistral has announced daughter cards for TI evaluation modules (EVMs) based on TI’s Sitara™ AM1x microprocessors (MPUs) and OMAP-L1x application processors for embedded industrial, medical and consumer designs.

These TI platforms address customer concerns of cost, connectivity, power efficiency and ease of development of applications by providing a platform with robust operating systems support, rich user interfaces and high processing performance. These processors feature a unique rich peripheral sub-system known as the Programmable Real-time Unit (PRU). The PRU sub-system consists of dual 32-bit RISC processors, specifically designed for manipulation of packed memory mapped data structures and for implementing system features that have tight real-time constraints. It offers flexible and configurable input/output controls, enabling developers to extend peripheral capabilities and add custom interfaces to their designs.

Mistral offers two plug-in daughter cards helping developers leverage the benefits of the PRU features on the AM1x and OMAP-L1x processors:Mistral has worked extensively on TI’s leading technology platforms, providing professional services in the areas of custom board design, reference designs, driver development, board support packages and software integration across various technology domains.

“Mistral has been in the forefront of providing a host of well-received offerings on TI platforms,” said Samyeer Metrani, Vice President, Services (USA), Mistral. “Our two daughter cards for TI’s AM1x and OMAP-L1x lines of processors allow developers to leverage the PRU functionality, thereby helping customers build solutions targeted at the industrial and automotive markets. Mistral will also offer development and customization services to customers planning to build next-generation devices around the Sitara and OMAP platforms.”

“TI is committed to offering resources to help make development easier for our customers’ hardware and software engineers,” said Seán Murphy, Marketing Manager, Sitara, TI. “By working with Mistral to develop the daughter cards and software, customers can enjoy benefits including low customer development costs and improved connectivity. The daughter cards enable customers to eliminate the development cycle from the design process by providing the source code for the PRU, enabling the cards to be easily snapped onto the EVMs for extra capabilities, ultimately allowing for a shortened time to market from faster proto-typing.”

Friday 27 August 2010

Module connects CAN & SIMATIC

New extension module for the SIMATIC ET200S I/O system connects CAN 2.0A and CANopen devices with the SIMATIC world.

HMS has extended the functionality of its 1 SI CANopen module for the SIMATIC ET200S I/O system with the integration of the CAN 2.0A protocol. In addition to the standard CANopen protocol, the HMS 1 SI CANopen module can also be used for transmission/ reception of any CAN 2.0A frame regardless of the overlaying CAN application protocol. The extended functionality maximizes usability and flexibility of the CAN Gateway. Typical applications include all kinds of machines and automation systems where CAN or CANopen enabled devices are used in combination with Siemens PLCs.

The HMS 1 SI CANopen module fits mechanically into the standard ET200S system rack and can be used in combination with all other modules of the ET200S family. The module can be engineered with STEP7, allowing easy configuration and diagnostics. STEP7 also allows upgrading already existing 1 SI CANopen boards with this new functionality. Using the standard PROFIBUS or PROFINET bus coupler of the ET200S, the 1 SI CANopen module can be used along with the large range of Siemens automation and control systems.

HMS supports users of its 1 SI CANopen module with new PLC function blocks which are used to create and analyze CAN 2.0A frames directly in the PLC program. Based on these function blocks, PLC programmers can easily implement customer specific CAN application protocols or specific CAN application profiles.

Sensors now support 0 to 10Vdc analog voltage output

Output options extended on rugged single/dual output rotary position sensors for factory automation applications

Penny + Giles has expanded the output options of the company’s rugged SRH501P and SRH502P contactless rotary position sensors. The newly announced analog voltage output options make these sensors ideal for use in Factory Automated systems and Process Control machinery.

P&G contactless rotary position sensorsWith their newly offered support for 0 to 10Vdc analog voltage output, a signal commonly used by machine controllers and recording instruments, the rugged Hall effect-based SRH501P and SRH502P sensors significantly expand their application range.

Both the single output SRH501P and the dual output SRH502P feature a programmable sensor. Designed for use in extreme environments, these sensors are based on contactless Hall effect technology, which enable them to operate in high dither vibration conditions with no deterioration of the sensing element. Their resistance to shock and vibration makes these sensors ideal for many position monitoring applications in a wide range of machine applications in factory automated systems and process control machinery.

With the 0-10Vdc output option, the sensors can operate from a 13.5-30Vdc unregulated power supply. They are available factory-programmed with any one of 341 different angles from 20 degrees up to 360 degrees, in one degree increments. The SRH501P and SRH502P provide 12 bit resolution (0.025%) over the selected measuring range.

OEMs can also specify the measurement range and output in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. The dual output SRH502P can be set up to have independent measurement ranges for each output channel.

These sensors are easy to install and feature very low maximum output signal noise rated at
1 mV rms so they require no additional signal filtering on the output signal. Both sensors are mechanically interchangeable with the Penny + Giles SRS880 and SRH880 rotary sensors, enabling existing users to quickly and simply upgrade to higher sophistication and a greater level of control.

The sensors are offered available in a marine-grade cast aluminum housing with 87.5mm diameter flange and 12mm diameter shaft. An optional lever arm kit is also available and can be attached to the sensor’s operating shaft.

This new expanded output versions of the SRH501P and SRH502P are supplied with a screened multi-core connecting cable (option S), available in lengths of 1, 5 or 10 metres. They are sealed to IP69K for increased protection in harsh environments and to prevent the ingress of dust, water and pressure jets. The sensors are designed with a wide operating temperature range of -40 to +115°C – more than adequate for the majority of factory automation applications

Changing the guard

Tarak Mehta, the global head of ABB’s Transformers business, has been appointed to ABB’s Executive Committee as head of the Low Voltage Products division as of Oct. 1, 2010. He replaces Tom Sjökvist, who is retiring at the end of September.

Mehta, a US citizen, has been responsible for ABB’s Transformers unit since 2007. It is the world’s largest transformer business, with 16,500 employees.
“Tarak has driven growth in the Transformers business organically and through the integration of several niche acquisitions, developing a very competitive business with an innovative, market-focused portfolio and a robust service offering,” said Joe Hogan, ABB’s chief executive officer.

Mehta joined ABB in 1998 and has held various management positions in the Power Products division in the US, Sweden and Switzerland. Before joining ABB, he worked for 8 years at Cooper Power Systems in the US. Mehta has Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Chicago.

Tom Sjökvist is retiring from ABB after 38 years with the company. He began as a trainee at ASEA in Sweden in 1972, and has since held a wide variety of roles in Sweden, the US, Germany and Switzerland. He joined the ABB Executive Committee in 2006 as head of the Automation Products division.

“Under Tom’s leadership, the business developed a rich portfolio of innovative technologies. In 2010, Tom became head of the Low Voltage Products division, which has proven an equally successful business with double-digit growth in its first half year,” Hogan said.

Oil and gas producer to use innovative technologies

Will help to capitalise on Norwegian Continental Shelf development, new opportunities in shale gas, heavy oil, and deep-water production

Emerson Process Management is one of three suppliers chosen for a long-term frame agreement with Norway’s Statoil that positions Emerson to bid on future automation and safety systems for the international oil and gas producer.

Statoil - operated fields on the Norwegian continental shelfThe agreement supports Statoil’s strategy of using innovative technologies to solve the energy needs of the future, including making the most of emerging opportunities in shale gas, heavy oil, and deep-water production, as well as further development of the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Emerson’s integrated safety and automation system – which includes its DeltaV™ digital automation system and DeltaV SIS™ process safety system – will help Statoil maximise production, while reducing operating costs and minimising safety and environmental risks.

Statoil and Emerson recently collaborated to apply Emerson’s Smart Wireless technology on two offshore platforms. They found that wireless measurement networks offer significant cost and weight savings in such applications.

“It’s exciting to work with customers as forward-thinking as Statoil,” said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. “We expect this new agreement to strengthen our existing relationship – and open the door to new opportunities for improved results.”

The five-year frame agreement covers process safety and automation systems, including engineering services, for new capital projects as well as upgrades to existing facilities, and includes the option to renew for two additional two-year terms. Emerson will continue to provide control valves, measurement instruments, asset management solutions, and related services to help Statoil optimise its operations.

Wastewater optimisation on display

Hach Lange has reserved a double stand (Nos 93 and 94) at November's WWEM 2010 event in Telford (GB). This will provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate a broad range of innovations for monitoring raw water, process water and wastewater.

The company's experts will be available to discuss the efficiency and cost savings that are possible with the company’s new ‘WTOS’ wastewater treatment optimisation system, which has dramatically reduced energy and chemical costs at plants that have already incorporated this technology. (See also the paper "Wastewater treatment optimisation provides cost savings!" just published on our Read-out Signpost Blog!)

Information on the new Hach BioTector TOC Analysers will also be available. These highly advanced instruments provide maximum uptime and reliability due to a patented self-cleaning oxidation technology that easily handles difficult samples and significantly reduces maintenance. Unlike traditional TOC analysers, the BioTector eliminates the build up of salts, particulates, fats, oils and greases that can lead to drift and high maintenance.

Visitors from manufacturing and processing industries will be able to see the new ORBISPHERE 3100 portable DO analyser that employs optical technology to deliver high levels of accuracy and reliability with a substantially reduced requirement for maintenance and calibration.

WWEM visitors involved in laboratory or field testing will have the opportunity to handle the latest versions of the company's comprehensive family of electrochemistry instruments. This includes: the digital handheld intelligent HQD meters; the new H-Series meters with rugged probe options; the probeless MP meters and the SENSION+ field and benchtop analysis kits.

With such a comprehensive range of instruments, Marketing Manager Sarah Blayds says, "there will be something on the HACH LANGE stand for almost everyone that visits WWEM, whether they come from the water, wastewater, food, beverage, power or manufacturing sector."

HACH LANGE will run two workshops during WWEM. The first, entitled 'Water Treatment Optimisation Solutions - Saving operational expenditures and optimising plant processes' and the second: 'BioTector - a different approach to on-line TOC analysis.'

Thursday 26 August 2010

Wireless & Networking at #ISAwk

Wireless and Networking Track at ISA Automation Week 2010

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has announced the offerings of its Wireless and Networking Track at ISA Automation Week 2010, 4-7 October 2010, in Houston (Tx US).

The Wireless and Networking Track will cover wireless and the infrastructure, fieldbus implementation, the Ethernet, fiber optic solutions, and radio and other data communication types. Presenters of the Wireless and Networking Track sessions include experts from Fieldbus Foundation, Bechtel, Exxon/Mobil, Hart Communication Foundation, and other companies.

Wireless and Networking Track session titles include:
  • Convergence of Standards and Organizations
  • Moving the Data—Backhaul
  • Project Management for Wireless and Networking
  • Common Installation Challenges
  • The User Experience
  • Wireless Technologies for Process Control
  • Asset Management—How to Handle and Use the Data
  • Future Direction of Wireless and Networking in Process Control
Complete details of each Wireless and Networking Track session are now available online.

“ISA’s annual conference continues to offer the best venue for wireless professionals to meet. Industry’s brightest professionals across all functions will gather in Houston, Texas, to share their expertise and experiences. An abundance of knowledge is available here that can be applied to the attendee’s career right away,” said ISA Automation Week Program Committee Co-chair and 2009 ISA President Gerald Cockrell of Indiana State University.

See more on Automation Week on the signpost blogs here and here.
Follow #ISAwk on Twitter.

Hydrologic profiling and other devices on show!

YSI's new 'Castaway CTD' will be given its first British outing at WWEM 2010 (November 2010).

Designed for fast, accurate hydrologic profiling, the Castaway is simply thrown into the water and retrieved manually. The device automatically records conductivity and temperature profile data, depth and GPS position, so that no field notes or computers are necessary.

Their stand (No. 79) will also feature a number of other exciting new developments. For example, in the water quality monitoring field, the new Pro Quatro and a new fast response pH sensor will be on display. The Quatro is an attachment option for the Pro Plus series of portable meters that provides 4 ports to measure temperature/conductivity, DO, and any two ISEs from pH, ORP, ammonium, chloride, or nitrate.

In the hydrology sector, YSI Hydrodata will demonstrate a new version of the RiverSurveyor M9; a nine-beam acoustic Doppler profiler offering multiple acoustic frequencies that adjust automatically for highly accurate measurements from 0.06m to 30m depths.

Another first for the company at WWEM will be a highly sensitive bubbler water level sensor from Design Analysis Associates with satellite data collection and communication capability.

Click here for details of other exhibits at this show

Keeping track of projects

EPLAN’s new version of Electric P8 2.0 software offers practical potential whether for enhanced project reliability, functionality and speed point wiring and active device protection or for channel oriented PLC design. The quality of all documentation is guaranteed by active check functions and the system automatically prevents incorrect data from being entered.

With the new "protected device" function, all project parts are retained, even in the case of graphic delete commands. Active protection of project data is freely defined in the parts definitions in this platform.

Addresses are central identifiers, even in PLC design, which is found in all automation concepts today. Now, in addition to address-oriented or DT working methods, PLC components can also be designed in a channel-oriented manner. This makes it easier to keep track of large projects and is consistent with current high-end design working methods.

Another highlight is the additional 'Netbased Wiring' model, an exciting approach to wiring. The advantage of this is that both working methods, netbased wiring and target-oriented wiring, can be used in the project.

Extended CAD functions in the area of free graphics now guarantee clear production specifications. Trimming and chamfering as well as perpendicular and tangential design are only some of the functions that support detailed representations for mechanical production.

The new full text filter in parts management lets users use search terms to quickly filter parts masters and select the right component in the tree/list/combination view. Designing is also accelerated at the device level; the full text filter is integrated in the parts master data navigator. This simplifies handling, which is given an enormous boost in the new EPLAN Electric P8. Mini toolbars and detailed icons for toolbars now ensure intuitive handling to the benefit of both professional and occasional users.

New hoods and housings for stainless steel connector series

New hoods and housings have been added to the Harting Han-INOX® series of stainless steel industrial connectors.

Designed for use in the harshest environments in process industries such as food and drink manufacture as well as outdoor use, the Han-INOX®range now offers enhanced application flexibility with the availability of new angled hoods, bulkhead mount housings and surface mount housings in the Han® 3 A size.

The product range has also been extended with the addition of protective caps for bulkhead mount housings and hoods. This feature ensures a degree of moisture protection to IP 65/67 for the connector interfaces at all times, regardless of whether or not they are in use.

Metal analysers at show

Cogent to launch new online trace metals analysers

Cogent Environmental has chosen the WWEM 2010 event (10/11 November Telford GB) to launch a new advanced trace metals analyser that Managing Director Chris Welsh says "will offer enormous advantages over laboratory analysis."

The new OVA7000 can be configured to provide continuous monitoring data for a wide range of analytes (Total As, Au, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Tl, U, Zn) in surface water, industrial wastewater and process water. With 20 years of experience in the development of online metal analysers, Chris says, "The Cogent engineers have designed the new OVA7000 to offer the advantages of continuous data to those that might traditionally have chosen laboratory analysis."

The Cogent stand at WWEM (No 64) will also feature the 'OVA7000As' which has been specifically designed for the measurement of Arsenic in drinking water.

Orange & white switches

Foremost Electronics has additional models and features in the MEC multimec® switch range. MEC Switches was established in 1938 and is one of the leading European manufacturers of high quality switches with a reputation for leading-edge design and the use of top quality materials delivering maximum reliability under all conditions.

The latest innovations in the multimec® switch range include Orange & White LED illumination, frosted caps for more even light dispersion and Foremost offers end users a custom cap printing service.

There are four basic switch modules, 3A, 3C, 3E and 3F, in the multimec® range which provide the components to assemble a very wide variety of options of both illuminated and non-illuminated switches. A 1mm actuator travel combined with 3N actuation force (300g) provides a strong, audible, tactile feel throughout the 10 million cycle mechanical life of the switch.

All multimec® switches are sealed to IP67M specifications and may be specified with optional increased actuation force, useful for additional tactile “feel” in noisy environments or a "quiet" version for audio, broadcast or medical applications etc.

The multimec® range of switches are RoHS compliant available in either through-hole or surface mounting, with either silver or optional gold contacts and in standard or high temperature models.
“The versatility of multimec® push button switches offers designers great flexibility in creating unique front panel designs.” Comments Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics; “They are available with a very wide range of cap styles and illumination colours providing thousands of options for panel design and layout. We have been distributing MEC switches for over 20 years and very extensive stock holding and the most competitive prices available. We also have the most cap options in stock in the UK and offer tailor made solutions for our customers.”

Typical applications for the multimec® switch range available from Foremost include agriculture, audio-visual, communication, consumer electronics, electrical appliances, industrial automation, instrumentation, medical, security, transport and many more markets.

Affordable portable computer-based instrumentation for students

Computer-based instrumentation that supports hands-on learning anywhere, anytime for students and institutions

National Instruments has announced the release of the NI myDAQ portable instrumentation device for students in university engineering courses. NI myDAQ advances engineering education by making it possible for students to experience engineering outside of the lab, in their dorm room or anywhere they choose, at any time. The device is designed by National Instruments and features Texas Instruments analogue circuits including data converters, amplifiers and interface and power management components. The hardware integrates with NI LabVIEW graphical development software to help reverse the trend of rising educational costs by giving students hands-on interaction with real analogue circuits, sensor measurements and signal processing for about the price of an engineering textbook.
“Students need exposure to real circuits and hardware, but the problem for engineering professors is trying to meet the increasing cost of providing real electronics with continually tighter budgets,” said Dr. Tony Ambler, Chairman of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. “NI myDAQ is inexpensive enough for every student to have their own, plug it into their laptop at home, in the dorm or in the park, and experiment with the real electronics all around them, without using lab time or lab equipment.”

Compact enough to fit in a student’s pocket and powered by USB connection, NI myDAQ provides a solution for college engineering professors who want their students to experiment during homework and beyond, through a student-owned measurement, signal processing and control device. NI myDAQ bridges the gap between theory and real-world practice by providing students eight LabVIEW software-based instruments including a digital multimeter (DMM), oscilloscope, function generator, Bode analyser, dynamic signal analyser, arbitrary waveform generator, digital reader and digital writer. Students can use all these instruments to perform many laboratory-style experiments.

When combined with LabVIEW on a PC, NI myDAQ delivers a complete solution for hands-on learning of core concepts in engineering curricula that include analogue circuits, sensor measurements and signals and systems courses. Multiple universities throughout the United States are already developing NI myDAQ curricula, and National Instruments is making these and other resources available to educational institutions and students at www.ni.com/mydaq.

NI myDAQ also integrates with their Multisim circuits education environment to provide a far-reaching educational platform. The device includes the eight software-based instruments, DMM cables, an audio cable and a reusable storage tray. LabVIEW Student Edition software and Multisim Student Edition software are also available with the device at a significant discount to students.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Protecting fuel pipelines from lightening

Lightning expertise helps boost protection of instrumentation for one of Earth's biggest attractions - fuel pipelines

Abriox has upgraded the lightning protection on its remote corrosion monitoring solutions for pipelines, with the help of the lightning test consultancy services of Cobham Technical Services. The degree of protection of the system against high energy surges has been substantially enhanced by a development exercise incorporating advice on the nature of coupling between lightning power surges and ground-based equipment, and characterisation studies including destructive testing.

Abriox's Merlin cathodic protection monitor.The protection has been implemented on Abriox's Merlin cathodic protection (CP) monitor (right). This telemetry-based instrument is one of the most widely used field devices for remotely monitoring the anti-corrosion CP systems that are installed on pipelines, storage tanks and other buried metal infrastructure used in onshore oil and gas networks.

"Pipelines are a significant attractor for lightning, and in some regions of the world strikes can occur frequently. We've always had lightning protection on our corrosion monitor, but the only feedback we ever got on how it performed in the real world tended to be when a burnt-out unit arrived back from the field," says Jason Hanlon, Technical Director of Abriox. "How much energy was present, what the shape of the energy surge was, whether it arrived directly or indirectly remained a mystery - and we decided that it would be a good idea to better understand the risk by talking with lightning experts."

Abriox has its design centre in the England, and after investigating the high voltage testing market, selected British-based Cobham Technical Services, because its lightning unit is one of a tiny number of organisations in the world that specialise in lightning testing and consultancy and is able to give practical advice, rather than simply testing against standards.

An initial review considered the particular installation conditions and environments of the Merlin CP monitor, and a typical catastrophic field failure. A destructive test at Cobham's test facility in Abingdon was performed. It became clear that the corrosion monitor was most likely dealing with power surges that arrived following direct strikes on the pipeline itself, or the supply to the electrical rectifiers that provide the impressed-current cathodic protection system. Unlike some of the areas that Cobham works in - particularly aircraft protection - there are no standard lightning test waveforms for this type of nearby strike to ground-based equipment, but that did not prevent Cobham from creating a representative waveform specifically for this testing purpose.

The destructive test exercise also demonstrated to Abriox that some of the external lightning surge protection devices originally selected for use with Merlin did not actually perform in the way the manufacturer's datasheet indicated. Although other aspects of the Merlin design provided a good degree of protection, the Abriox designers sought further improvement.

After the exercise, they gained a better understanding of the nature and energy levels of lightning-related power surges, and decided to re-engineer the system to increase the protection level. This exercise involved both uprating the surge protection circuitry, using different components and changing the physical layout of parts of the embedded electronics system.

To speed the design phase, Abriox constructed its own simple low-power generator that could provide a high voltage pulse, to test switching times and clamping characteristics. However, when the final protection design was settled on, they took a monitor to Cobham to fully characterise its performance against lightning pulses.

Cobham subjected the equipment to increasing levels of lightning strikes using a range of pulse shapes and durations that represented the kind of surges that would be experienced in typical installation scenarios. The revised protection worked perfectly, and continued to operate successfully beyond its target energy level protection rating corresponding to a 12 kA transient waveform. Cobham used a 30 kA-rated generator to test the equipment, and in the very final test step, the strike energy was increased to the maximum. Although this destroyed the front-end protection circuitry, the Merlin monitor itself survived and continued to function.

"With Cobham's help, we now know exactly what our lightning protection system is capable of," adds Jason Hanlon of Abriox. "It's impossible to protect against every conceivable lightning strike, but we know that our equipment will be resilient when faced with the majority of the real-world energy surges that could be encountered."

"This particular project was very interesting. Our understanding of the nature of the lightning threat means that we were able to simulate the type of waveform expected by Abriox's monitor in the field," says Dan Brown of Cobham Technical Services. "This type of pipeline installation makes it highly likely that power surges arrive indirectly, from the pipe or power supply, making it important to consider protection for the design as a whole - rather than just the system inputs. It's easy to blow up a device in our lab; what's more of a challenge is to do it in a representative way."

The Merlin CP monitor is one of the most widely-used cathodic protection monitors in the world, thanks to its very high degree of compactness, flexible monitoring programmability, and a versatile wireless communications system that will operate in all world regions using text-messaging over mobile or satellite phone networks. The device eliminates the conventional labour-intensive nature of monitoring cathodic protection by automatically measuring, recording and communicating readings and alarms. In this way it helps operators to maximise the operating life of their assets and to demonstrate a high level of integrity, particularly for pressurised pipeline systems.

Cobham Technical Services provided the consultancy services at its lightning lab in Abingdon. This facility is one of only a handful in the world offering a range of generators that are capable of simulating most forms and intensities of lightning strike - with up to 200 kA impulse currents. Aerospace testing is one of the largest elements of the consultancy's business, and the company has contributed significantly to the field of lightning protection of aircraft over the past 40 years. Cobham also offers wide-ranging test services for ground-based equipment such as wind turbines and controls, and equipment operated by utilities, military and other organisations.

Rapid oil-in-water analysis technology

Advanced technology for oil-in-water analysis will be demonstrated at the upcoming Oil in Water Monitoring Workshop in Aberdeen (GB).

Quantitech’s Dr Andrew Hobson will be at the event with the InfraCal TOG/TPH (Total Oil and Grease/Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons) analyser, which offers on-site results within minutes, is lightweight and ideal for monitoring fuel, oil and grease in water discharge both before and after treatment.

The instrument is extremely compact, weighs less than 2.5kg, operates from a 12 volt DC power supply (which enables it to be run from a car battery) and has no moving parts to require adjustment or alignment. It is ideally suited for use in remote locations such as oil rigs or wastewater treatment plants.

Dr Hobson explained: “The Oil in Water Monitoring Workshop provides the perfect platform to demonstrate the many benefits of the Infracal TOG/TPH analyser.

“One of the main advantages of the InfraCal is that it provides users with on-site readings within minutes and removes the inconvenience of having to wait considerably longer for off-site lab results.”

The exhibition, taking place on September 23, is designed for those who are concerned with analysis, monitoring and measurement of produced water in relation to discharging, reporting and re-injection. Attendees will be able to keep abreast of the latest technological and legislative developments as well as current practices and trends in oil-in-water analysis, monitoring and measurement.

Automation system upgrade at Swedish pentaerythritol plant

Emerson Process Management’s DeltaV™ digital automation system has been selected by Perstorp, the speciality chemicals group for the control system upgrade at its pentaerythritol processing plant in Perstorp, (S). The existing distributed control system will be replaced as part of a plant lifecycle management programme to ensure continued high product quality and operational efficiency for decades to come.

The Perstorp plant uses a chemical batch process to make pentaerythritol (penta), an additive in paint and lubricants. The existing Emerson RS3™ distributed control system, one of over 50 RS3 and DeltaV systems installed at Perstorp plants worldwide, has provided flexible and reliable control of the process since 1984. However, the need to run the plant continuously with continued high product quality and reduced downtime prompted Perstorp to plan for the time when spares for the existing system would no longer be available.

“To remain competitive in this very tough marketplace, Perstorp has decided to invest in the very latest process automation technology wherever appropriate,” explained Jörgen Annell, Engineering Manager at Perstorp. “Having considered a number of alternatives, we felt that Emerson’s DeltaV system provided the advance control and batching features we required, while also helping to minimise process disruption and cost during the migration procedure.”

The Perstorp migration project will be one of Europe’s first installations of version 11 of Emerson’s DeltaV system. The system has an ISA88 batch hierarchy, with integrated functions such as easy configuration and scheduling, advanced control and multi-stream formulations, and automatic data collection. New intuitively designed operator displays help to improve operator performance by providing clear and quick recognition of alerts, and rapid access to the information needed to understand the alert and act in a timely fashion.

Important to the selection of the DeltaV v11 system was its I/O on Demand functionality, including Electronic Marshalling to help minimise installation time and costly plant downtime during the upgrade. DeltaV Electronic Marshalling eliminates up to two-thirds of the wiring and connections needed by conventional marshalling cabinets by removing the need to wire I/O to specific controller I/O cards. Instead, Perstorp will deploy 792 single channel Characterization Modules (CHARMS) to relay 3000 Device Signal Tags to 60 DeltaV S-series I/O modules. This unique wiring technology is expected to reduce downtime during this upgrade by two days, helping to reduce lost production. The migration procedure will be performed by Perstorp’s engineering team and is expected to take two weeks to complete.

“Emerson is extremely pleased to be able to further its excellent relationship with Perstorp by providing the latest version of the DeltaV digital automation system,” said Bob Sharp, President, Emerson Process Management - Europe. “Minimising plant downtime is critical for projects such as Perstorp's, and DeltaV Electronic Marshalling will play a significant role in ensuring a quick and smooth migration process.”

The Perstorp pentaerythritol plant in Sweden is operated by the legal company of Perstorp Specialty Chemicals AB.

EBR now part of suite

New EBR capability enables users to address exceptions and process deviations in real-time, reducing wasted time, money and materials

Rockwell Automation has released its FactoryTalk Pharma Suite 2.1 software. FactoryTalk Pharma Suite applications now incorporate electronic batch recording (EBR) capabilities, and are tailored to the needs of pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers. The new release continues the tradition of innovations that set Pharma Suite apart, and extends its capabilities in supporting a true “review-by-exception” methodology.

With Pharma Suite 2.1 exceptions during batch recording can be reviewed and addressed in real-time, not after the fact, as is typical for paper-based or “paper-on-glass” workflows. The exception handling during the EBR execution occurs during the manufacturing process, allowing the operator on the shop floor to address exceptions as the manufacturing rules are enforced in real-time. This reduces wasted time, money and materials. New usability capabilities also allow quality personnel to start investigating process deviations as they occur on the shop floor, rather than wait for batch completion. Collected exceptions are the starting point for the batch review process. The online batch record review capability allows quality control personnel to more efficiently judge the documented deviations and to close out the review process more quickly and with fewer process deviations.

The new EBR capability reduces the amount of time spent on batch review after completion of the batch, which means the finished products spend less time warehoused waiting for the release. This reduces inventory costs, increases turnover and allows the product to spend more time in the distribution channel before its shelf life expires.
All quality-related processing information is compiled in a holistic batch record based on the ISA S88 standard. Pharma Suite also provides the capability to render batch record information in different publishing formats like PDFs, HTML, XML and classic paper-based reports.

Rockwell Automation recently presented these new capabilities at its 11th Annual International Life Sciences Symposium in Montpellier (F June 2010). The event brought together senior managers from the world’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies and gave them an opportunity to network, share best practices and learn more about the latest industry trends. Attendees applauded the new capabilities including the use of role-based views and reports, the ease of system usability, the adaptation of industry standards and the ease of deployment.

“Pharma Suite 2.1 is the next logical step to break the old ‘paper-on-glass’ paradigm,”
said Martin Dittmer, FactoryTalk Pharma Suite product manager, Rockwell Automation. “For years, EBR has been interpreted as putting the old paper system behind computer screens; however, computer-based systems are capable of much more. Pharma Suite continues to incorporate new and exciting capabilities to assist our customers in accelerating their innovation and shortening time to market. Pharma Suite is optimized to help users maximize their productivity at each step of the recipe lifecycle from recipe design to execution, review and approval.”

In Pharma Suite, recipes are modeled graphically and aligned with the ISA S88 standard. Visual tools and intelligent search mechanisms help ensure that all information required for recipe design can be accessed quickly and easily. Recipes are assembled from reusable parameterized building blocks that represent standard functions such as adding material to a process or checking equipment against requirements. Pharma Suite also allows the reuse of pre-configured building blocks to accelerate recipe design, reduce errors and speed validation, resulting in faster deployment.

The recipe execution client of Pharma Suite maximizes operator efficiency by focusing on the operator’s main workflow. The system guides the operator through complex processes and helps ensure that all tasks are completed according to the recipe. Deviations are handled by the built-in exception management that delivers important input for review by exception.

Pharma Suite is based on the state-of-the-art FactoryTalk ProductionCentre manufacturing operations platform, which is proven in hundreds of installations across different industries and scales of deployments. It leverages a service-oriented architecture for cost-effective, flexible deployment, as well as integration with business and automation systems. Its object-oriented design makes it easier and faster to build, modify and systematically deploy applications across multiple sites.

Floating monitor at show

Following successful trials with a final effluent monitor, engineers at Intellitect Water are developing a new version of the company's tiny multiparameter water quality monitor, the Intellisonde™ that will float on rivers, lakes and reservoirs, providing continuous water quality monitoring data.

The new monitor will be unveiled at WWEM 2010, the Water, Wastewater and Environmental Monitoring event being held in Telford in England in November.

Intellitect Water Chief Executive, Tony Halker, says, "The new floating monitor is a logical extension to the Intellisonde™ range, which includes a number of in-pipe versions and a final effluent model. The new floating monitor will be battery powered and provide long periods of unattended monitoring."

Intellitect's technology will be on display at stand 71 during WWEM and the company will run a Workshop entitled 'Final Effluent Monitoring in Real-Time' at 12 noon in Workshop room 4 on Wednesday 10th November 2010.

Sensor calm in the storm!

New module overcomes noise susceptibility, transmission distance and other limitations of conventional sensors

National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-4844 optical sensor interrogator, a two-slot 3U PXI Express module for fibre Bragg grating (FBG) sensors. FBG sensors operate by reflecting a wavelength of light that corresponds to changes in physical phenomena such as strain and temperature. Unlike conventional electrical sensors, FBG sensors are nonconductive, electrically passive and immune to electromagnetic interference, making them a safe and reliable alternative in environments subject to noise, corrosion or extreme weather. The transmission medium is standard optical fibre instead of copper wire, making it possible to take measurements over long distances of up to 10 km. Engineers and scientists can use FBG sensors for the most common measurement types, including strain, temperature and pressure, and several sensors can be daisy chained along a single optical fibre to greatly reduce the size, weight and complexity of the measurement system.
The PXIe-4844 optical sensor interrogator is the latest addition to their SC Express family of sensor measurement modules for PXI Express. It features four optical channels that are simultaneously scanned at 10 Hz. Each channel has an 80 nm wavelength range (1510 to 1590 nm), which can scan 20 or more FBG sensors per channel (more than 80 FBG sensors per module, depending on the sensor range). For high-channel-count applications, engineers and scientists can further extend the maximum number of FBG sensors per module by connecting one or more optical channels to an external optical multiplexer or by adding more NI PXIe-4844 modules in the same PXI chassis.

In addition to multiple channels, the NI PXIe-4844 features an optical core that combines a high-power, low-noise swept wavelength laser with fibre Fabry-Perot tunable filter technology from Micron Optics. The module delivers a wavelength accuracy, repeatability and stability of 1 pm, which is equivalent to sensor accuracies of approximately 1.2 microstrain and 0.1 degrees Celsius for FBG strain and temperature sensors, respectively. Unlike most instruments, the interrogator does not require periodic external calibration as every scan made by the NI PXIe-4844 is calibrated to an onboard NIST-traceable wavelength reference.

Engineers and scientists can program the NI PXIe-4844 with easy-to-use configuration and driver software to shorten setup and configuration time. The module includes the NI-OSI Explorer utility for automatic sensor detection and simplified sensor configuration as well as the NI-OSI driver software with easy-to-use LabVIEW API for acquiring measurements in scaled physical units. Using NI LabVIEW software, engineers and scientists can view, log and analyse the sensor data. Applications in LabVIEW can easily be extended to also include synchronisation with other sensor types, instruments or control systems using intuitive graphical icons and wires that resemble a flowchart. LabVIEW also offers integration with thousands of hardware devices and provides hundreds of built-in libraries for advanced analysis and data visualisation.

The industry-standard PXI platform for measurement and automation provides the industry’s highest-performance timing and synchronisation capabilities and the high-throughput PCI Express bus. The NI PXIe-4844 can be integrated into the same chassis as other PXI modules including SC Express for complementary electrical data acquisition and control. With the PXI platform, engineers and scientists can simplify complex measurement systems located in remote, challenging environments by combining both optical and electrical measurements into the same PXI chassis.

Applications that can benefit from the NI PXIe-4844 include civionics, for distributed measurements over long distances including bridges, dams, tunnels and other civil structures; energy, for monitoring wind turbine blades, pipelines, nuclear reactors, offshore platforms and power generators; and transportation, for testing and monitoring marine vessels, rail vehicles and aircraft components.

Check out this singing lightning storm, brought to the stage with tesla coils provided by ArcAttack and optical sensing technology from National Instruments.

Process variables on the iPhone!

Using SweetWilliam Automation´s new ScadaMobile application for the iPhone platform, engineers can monitor and control values on an EtherNet/IP or Modbus TCP/IP network by utilizing the built in Wi-Fi card of the iPod Touch or iPhone and the ProSoft Technology Industrial Hotspot solution.

ProSoft Technology have announced the support of the Industrial Hotspot series of radios in conjunction with SweetWilliam Automation´s new ScadaMobile application for the iPhone/iPod platform. The application is designed to provide engineers with access to live process control variables, and the ability to modify this data remotely from their iPhones.

Functionally, the application creates a secure wireless interface between an iPhone device and an existing 802.11 wireless network on the plant-floor, effectively allowing an iPhone device to read Modbus TCP/IP and EtherNet/IP process control variables from Programmable Automation Controllers / Programmable Logic Controllers (PAC/PLCs) distributed throughout their plants. These live values are displayed in stylized lists and include user-established variance allowances and alarms. Engineers are able to monitor these variables in real time and make adjustments on the fly from an iPhone device.

Cumulative security features are offered by both the iPhone and the Industrial Hotspot radios to prevent unauthorized access to the network. The new 802.11n industrial hotspots feature WPA2-PSK and 802.11i RADIUS security, which prevent unauthorized access and modification to the network ScadaMobile provides a feature upon configuration which requires the user to assign a matching security code as both a password for network access and as a Security Tag in the CPU. When ScadaMobile launches, the Security Code must match that on the CPU in order to create a connection.

By utilizing the ScadaMobile application in conjunction with ProSoft Technology´s Industrial Hotspot series of radios, engineers can manage their industrial processes remotely. The Industrial Hotspots are certified for hazardous environments and optimized for plant-wide network integration, particularly the new 802.11n series, which is designed to meet the specific needs of industrial customers who demand ease of deployment, ruggedness and reliable industrial communication.

For plant engineers, this solution enables:
- Live monitoring of process data to engineers and plant floor operators
- Secure remote monitoring and modification of live process data

- Real-time alarm management

All ProSoft Technology® wireless solutions come with a three year warranty and unlimited technical support for the life of the product.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Wireless devices certified

Recent ISA100.11a Product Certifications announced

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) has announced certifications of six ISA100.11a wireless devices as conducted for WCI by National Technical Systems.

ISA100.11a wireless devices that have completed certification include:

  • XYR 6000 Pressure Transmitters (Gauge, Absolute and Differential Pressure); Models STWA94L, STDW924/930/974, STGW944/94L/974/97L/98L
  • XYR 6000 Universal IO Transmitter; Model STUW700/701
  • XYR 6000 Temperature Transmitter with Digital Input Transmitter; Model STTW401
  • XYR 6000 Temperature Transmitter; Model STTW400
  • XYR 6000 Multiple Digital Input Transmitter; Model STXW500
  • EJX B Series Differential Pressure and Pressure Transmitters
In recent weeks WCI also announced the ISA100.11a certification of the Nivis communication protocol stack, enabling integration of ISA100.11a wireless communication technology into real-world industrial plant applications.

“We are excited with this achievement and it brings us all one step closer to ISA100.11a broad market adoption,” said Andre Ristaino, managing director of WCI. “We will continue to test new products as they become ready and look forward to announcing installations of registered ISA100.11a wireless devices.”

The ISA100.11a industrial wireless networking standard is the first in the ISA100 family of standards. This wireless mesh network standard protocol helps supplier companies build interoperable wireless automation control products. As a result, manufacturing sites are able to create, modify, optimize, and scale a wireless network quickly, cost-effectively, and seamlessly.

Planned additions to the ISA100 family of standards 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 ISA100 website.

Monday 23 August 2010

Valves for Chinese nuclear plants

Emerson Process Management has been awarded two multi-million dollar purchase orders from Westinghouse Electric Company for critical control valves to be used in the first of two AP1000™ pressurised water reactors at both the Sanmen and Haiyang nuclear power plants in China.

Emerson’s Fisher® air-operated control valves will serve several functions related to operational safety in the nuclear containment area. As part of the safety-related system, the valves are engineered to comply with government requirements, including ASME Section III standards for components of nuclear facilities, and undergo rigorous qualification testing at the new Emerson Innovation Center in Marshalltown, (IO, US). The valves' actuators are sized in accordance with EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) guidelines to ensure adequate operating margins that meet industry standards. To confirm they can operate after a seismic event, they are also designed and tested to survive 6g (6 times gravity) vibration loads in three axes.

In the passive residual heat removal system of the AP1000™ nuclear power plant, Emerson’s Fisher control valves will help achieve proper plant cooling during shutdown. Engineers at Emerson have developed a specially modified ball valve that fits into the limited space available while meeting three key requirements: highly efficient flow during shutdown to provide cooling through a natural convection process without the assistance of the reactor coolant pump; tight shut-off when the plant is in operation to maintain efficiency; and accurate throttling control for all flowing conditions. Extensive testing demonstrated to Westinghouse that the new valve design could meet all specified flow requirements.

Egg-xact temperature!

MadgeTech has released the EggTemp data logger. The new data logger is designed to thermally respond to temperature effects the same way a real egg does, making it ideal for monitoring eggs during shipping, storage, pasteurization or incubation.

This durable device can measure and record up to 60°C and has a user replaceable battery that typically lasts up to 1 year. The EggTemp is water tight and can be completely submerged for monitoring pasteurization cycles. The HDPE, food grade plastic enclosure can easily be cleaned for sanitation and requires minimal maintenance.

MadgeTech’s data logger software offers an easy way to analyze data. Data can be viewed in Celsius or Fahrenheit, and in graphical, or tabular data formats. Statistics, including pasteurization units, are automatically calculated in the summary view. For further analysis, data can also be exported to Excel®.

Special moment in water technology!

Major new technology to be unveiled at WWEM

OTT Hydrometry
has chosen WWEM 2010 (Telford GB 10/11 November 2010) for a special moment in the company's history.

Reluctant to minimise the impact of the announcement that the company has prepared, OTT Managing Director, Simon Wills is keeping his cards close to his chest. He says, "WWEM attendees will be the perfect audience for a new technology that will be unveiled at this year's event. Low rainfall during the summer of 2010 has heightened concern with water quality and this new technology will be a major benefit to those responsible for water resources."

Anyone interested in finding out what Simon and his colleagues have been up to should visit stand 104 on 10th or 11th of November.

OTT will also run a WWEM Workshop at 3.30pm on Wednesday 10th November entitled: 'Remote sensing of water quality using satellite imaging technology in the UK and Republic of Ireland - a new approach'

In the pink!

Marl has taken the unusual step of adding a pink version to its 676 series of standard indicator LEDs. These rugged IP67 sealed LEDs are extremely popular for panels and status indication applications due to their wide viewing angle.

With the addition of a pink version, the range of colours offered by Marl in the 676 series is increased to six: red, yellow, green, blue and cool white. The pink LED offers designers more opportunity to customise the appearance of their system, and to assign different colours to different types of status and warning indication.

The pink LED is identical to the standard 676 series, except that it is fitted with a clear rather than a smoked lens to allow the colour to be seen clearly. Offered in both 12V and 24-28V versions, 676 series LEDs feature an internal reverse protection diode to reduce the risk of damage in the event of incorrect connection. Specifically designed for demanding environments, the LEDs are internally potted to help withstand high vibration, and sealed to IP67 to protect against dust and liquid. The housing is black anodised aluminium and the domed lens helps ensure a wide viewing angle.

Saturday 21 August 2010

Digital servo amplifier

Aerotech has launched a new digital servo amplifier with a linear power stage for ultra-high resolution brushed or brushless linear and rotary motion control systems. The new compact ML series amplifier is intended for lower power use but maintains the very high performance characteristics required for nanometre and microradian level precision positioning applications that are acutely susceptible to electrical noise, and where PWM servo amplifiers become unusable. The DSP based ML range is designed for minimal radiated noise to allow the servo system to provide exceptional levels of speed control and in-position stability for ultra-smooth motion profiles, and to ensure negligible interference levels for sensitive processing and measuring equipment.

Aimed at very high resolution motion systems applications as found in NDT, MEMS, vision systems and microscopy but with less dynamic performance requirements, the new amplifier is available in three versions: as the Ndrive ML option for Aerotech's A3200 software only motion controller; as an entry level version of the Soloist™ ML integrated single-axis position controller range; and as a low-cost linear drive stage solution for the multi axis Ensemble™ ML, a networkable and panel mount motion control system.

The basic specifications for the ML series linear amplifiers in all configurations includes 5A continuous/10A peak current rating with a customer supplied DC bus voltage of +/- 40 V and a control supply requirement of 18-36 VDC. A single 16-bit ±10 V analogue input is used for direct interfacing to the motion controller with an ESTOP sense input included.

The ML features primary and secondary incremental encoder interfaces which are optionally equipped with Aerotech's MXH hardware based multiplied encoder technology for up to 65536 times quadrature output. Using a 1V p-p sinusoidal encoder which does not require a costly power supply, this level of multiplication has a 2MHz analogue input frequency that allows nanometre or microradian level resolution across Aerotech's wide range of high precision direct-drive positioning mechanics, without compromise on top speed.

The MXH encoder option also enables the single axis Position Synchronised Output (PSO) feature to be implemented at the highest level. Aerotech's PSO is a powerful algorithmic software tool that precisely coordinates the real-time position from a linear or rotary encoder with high speed output pulses from the controller which are be used to trigger external events.

This feature is widely used in applications such as laser micromachining or position critical NDT where exacting, no compromise synchronisation is required between laser firing or sensor reading and the axis path position.

For the alternative software based MXU encoder version, the encoder interfaces have a 4096 multiplication factor and both MXU and MXH encoder options include end-of-travel limits and home inputs on the primary feedback encoder. An optional I/O expansion board is also available to equip the ML drive with 8 opto-isolated digital inputs and 8 digital outputs (sinking or sourcing) in addition to single 16-bit analog inputs and outputs, and a brake relay output.

As the ML series linear stage amplifier does not include an integrated power supply and the I/O expansion option may not be required for some applications, the drive can be a low cost solution and additionally its small footprint may be advantageous in space restricted OEM applications.

The ML drive's 10A peak current rating will provide more than sufficient power for the majority of micropositioning applications, however where more useful power may be required and in areas where amplifier temperature rise must be kept to a minimum, a water cooled version is available. This version can provide a 35% increase in usable power.

In addition to the ML range, Aerotech also produce linear stage amplifiers with 2 & 3 axis PSO capabilities, integral mains power supplies and built-in I/O and fieldbus interfaces - offering the superb linearity, high bandwidth, zero crossover distortion and ultra-quiet EMC characteristics of the ML series. These control options and higher power versions are available throughout the A3200, Soloist and Ensemble ranges, and in addition Aerotech offer a full complement of PWM stage amplifiers for very high speed and heavy load precision positioning applications.

All of these Aerotech drive technologies may be freely mixed for multi-axis positioning systems ensuring that each axis is cost and performance optimised. A choice of PC-based software-only, rack or panel mounted motion controls in single or multi-axis formats allow optimal performance with diagnostics and comprehensive features that aim to ensure fast product development and commissioning, reduce positioning errors, improve throughput performance and ensure time-saving and quality improving benefits.

Energy track at #ISAwk

Yesterday it was the Automation & Control track, today The International Society of Automation (ISA) announced the offerings of its Energy Track at ISA Automation Week 2010 (Houston 4-7 October 2010)

The Energy Track will explore the Smart Grid, alternative energies, and plant retrofits; and bring to light those technologies and techniques which can make or break the profit line. Presenters of the Energy Track sessions include experts from Siemens Energy, Inc., CyboSoft, 3e Technologies International, Emerson Process Management, Schneider Electric, and others.

Energy Track session titles include:
  • Controls for Energy I
  • Controls for Energy II
  • Energy Security
  • Technology for Energy Generation I
  • Asset Management for Energy Sources and Generation
  • Technology for Energy Generation II
  • Alternative Energy Sources
  • Alarm Management

Outdoor application housing

Rittal’s “System” concept provides a total solution for the housing of sophisticated electronic equipment down to humble connections. The specifically designed range of enclosures is not limited to electrical or electronics use and can provide a waterproof and weatherproof environment for other technologies.

As part of the company’s overall “system” programme, all of the outdoor enclosures include punched sections, for the attachment of a wide variety of standard mounting parts used in the market leading TS 8 cabinet and 19” Racking systems. This allows the accommodation of equipment to IEC 60297 for 19” practice, or for DIN Rail, studs and other methods including mounting plates, which can then be factory pre-assembled for on-site installation.

The global supply of standardised outdoor cabinets ensures that if serious damage occurs in remote locations abroad, there is a local Rittal office and support network, with the knowledge and experience of the widest possible climatic and application requirements, which can rapidly supply replacement parts including doors, panels, hinges and cooling units.

Rittal’s outdoor range includes wall/post mounting and free-standing enclosures in single and double skin, rain canopies, which also provide protection from solar gain and even pre-cast sectional concrete bases to reduce the need for wet concrete on site.

A guide is available to assist in initial product selection depending on the application.

Sensor manufacturing agreements

Flexpoint Sensor Systems have expanded their working relationship with Sensor Products Inc., (SPI). In addition to development and production of “nip sensors,” for Sensor Products, Inc., the Companies continue to explore development of additional products. SPI will continue to market and distribute Flexpoint’s patented Bend Sensors® through their extensive sales, marketing and distribution network.

Flexpoint is working with SPI on the finalization of the nip sensor which they plan to have in production by the end of the year. The nip sensor is utilized to measure actual contact (interfacial) pressure and distribution between two mating or impacting surfaces. These products are analytical tools used in the manufacturing and R&D processes by engineers and technicians. Initial production levels of the sensors are expected to be thousands of units per year.

Sensor Products is a world leader in the niche field of tactile surface pressure and force sensors. Its customized and off-the-shelf systems are installed within virtually all of the Fortune 500 industrial companies.

Flexpoint is currently working on the development of two additional products which have been brought to the Company by SPI. They will also begin to manufacture an additional product under contract for SPI. These products have the potential to significantly increase the production of sensors by the company.

The President of Flexpoint, Clark Mower stated, “We continue to be excited to be involved with Sensor Products, Inc. The relationship has been very synergistic for both companies and we look forward to a long relationship with them as we progress on these and other products.”