Tuesday 30 November 2010

Data acquisition system with USB 2.0 connectivity

The new DAQ interfacing unit brings the convenience of USB 2.0 connectivity to the widely used Kistler DynoWare data acquisition system.  The new unit has been designed specifically to provide a reliable and flexible interface between piezoelectric sensors and the Windows based DynoWare data acquisition and evaluation software.
The compact DAQ unit supports up to two multi-channel charge amplifiers with a sampling rate of up to 1,000 kS/s, depending on the total number of channels.  The system integrates a 28 channel, 16-bit analogue to digital converter (ADC) for high resolution sampling, trigger functions and an RS-232 interface to control the charge amplifiers and signal conditioners.
The new DAQ system provides a convenient and easy to install method of interfacing piezoelectric measuring chains and associated charge amplifiers and signal conditioners with the DynoWare software running on a PC under Windows® Vista or Windows® 7.  The excellent resolution and high sampling rate allows highly dynamic processes to be measured and evaluated.

Motor, drives and power transmission company acquired

ABB and Baldor Electric Company  have agreed that ABB will acquire Baldor in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.2 billion, including $1.1 billion of net debt.

 Under the terms of the definitive agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors, ABB will commence a tender offer to purchase all of Baldor’s outstanding shares for $63.50 per share in cash. The transaction represents a 41 percent premium to Baldor’s closing stock price on Nov. 29, 2010. The Board of Directors of Baldor will recommend that Baldor shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.

 The transaction closes a gap in ABB’s automation portfolio in North America by adding Baldor’s strong NEMA motors product line and positions the company as a market leader for industrial motors, including high-efficiency motors. Baldor also adds a growing and profitable mechanical power transmission business to ABB’s portfolio.

 The transaction will substantially improve ABB’s access to the industrial customer base in North America, opening opportunities for ABB’s wider portfolio including energy efficient drives and complementary motors. This move comes at a time when regulatory changes in the US and other parts of the world will accelerate demand for energy efficient industrial motion products. The acquisition will strengthen ABB’s position as a leading supplier of industrial motion solutions, and will also enable ABB to tap the huge potential in North America for rail and wind investments, both of which are expected to grow rapidly in coming years.

Joe Hogan “Baldor is a great company with an extremely strong brand in the world’s largest industrial market,”
said Joe Hogan, ABB’s CEO. “Baldor’s product range and regional scope are highly complementary to ours and give both companies significant opportunities to deliver greater value to our customers.”

 John McFarland, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Baldor, commented: “Our Board of Directors believes this transaction is in the best interest of our shareholders, our employees and our customers. It demonstrates the value our employees have created and the strength of our brand and products in the global motors industry. We are excited about the opportunity to join ABB’s worldwide family as we have always respected ABB. We are very pleased that ABB will locate its motor and generator business headquarters for North America in Fort Smith and we are confident that the combined global platform will be well positioned to capitalize on meaningful growth opportunities in the future.” John McFarland will stay with the combined business to support a successful integration.

 “ABB is well known in the marketplace for premium, innovative and advanced products. We have respected them as both a market participant and a value-added supplier for many years,”
said Ron Tucker, Baldor’s current President and COO, and CEO designate. Ron Tucker will run Baldor including the mechanical power transmission products business and ABB’s motor and generator business in North America after the transaction is completed.

 Baldor is based in Arkansas (US), and is a leading supplier in the large North American industrial motors industry. In addition, Baldor offers a broad range of mechanical power transmission products such as mounted bearings, enclosed gearing and couplings – used primarily in process industries – as well as drives and generators. The Baldor drives business will be combined with the larger ABB drives business to achieve even further penetration of this important product line.

 Baldor employs approximately 7,000 people and reported an operating profit of $184 million on revenue of $1.29 billion in first nine months of 2010. This represents an increase of 30% in operating profit and 11% in revenue over the comparable period in 2009.

 The US market for high-efficiency motors is expected to grow 10 to15 percent in 2011on the back of new regulations, effective in December this year. Similar regulations in Canada, Mexico and in the European Union are expected in 2011.

 “ABB and Baldor will be able to offer our North American and global customers an unparalleled range of high-efficiency industrial products and services to help them meet their new demands,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, Executive Committee member responsible for ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division, into which Baldor’s business will be integrated alongside the existing Motors and Generators business. "We expect to achieve over $200 million in annual synergies by 2015, consisting of more than $100 million annual cost synergies and at least the same global revenue synergies. We estimate two-thirds of these synergies will be realized by 2013. We intend to build on Baldor’s excellent North American position to sell energy efficient drives, larger motors and generators. Together, we will accelerate the expansion of Baldor’s mechanical power transmission product portfolio into the global process automation market using ABB’s strong channels in this sector.”

 “We are deeply impressed by the skill and passion of the Baldor team and their excellent customer relationships,”
Spiesshofer said. “The strength of Baldor’s people and executive team, which will continue under the new ownership, will play a key role in our mutual success.”

 Under the terms of the merger agreement, the transaction is structured as a cash tender offer to be followed as soon as possible by a merger. The tender offer is expected to commence in December and is subject to customary terms and conditions, including the tender of at least two-thirds (2/3) of Baldor's shares on a fully diluted basis, and regulatory clearance.

Smart grid security & privacy seminar

In the Netherlands on 6th December 2010 Joe Weiss, of Applied Control Solutions, will be presenting on control system cyber security including his thoughts on the implications of Stuxnet.

Smart grid security & privacy seminar 6th December 2010
He held the first public discussions on Stuxnet with Roel Schouwenberg from Kaspersky, Ralph Langner, and Siemens at the ACS Control Systems Cyber Security Conference on 23rd September 2010. "I do not believe appropriate attention is being paid to the PLC issues," he says. "This is beyond Symatec and other IT researchers.  I also do not believe Stuxnet can be eradicated from the controller.  A Stuxnet-type attack is also not unique to Siemens or PLCs."

Without recognizing Stuxnet, he has addressed this type of attack in my book, Protecting Industrial Control Systems from Electronic Threats (ISBN: 978-1-60650-197-9). There are approximately 20 actual control system case histories in the book. More continue to occur - there have been two this year in North America that have actually killed people

Monday 29 November 2010

Analyser company acquired

Servomex has acquired the Delta F Corporation, a manufacturer of process analyser technologies, based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The Delta F Corporation, a well known and highly respected global brand, develops, manufactures and distributes a range of trace and ultra trace oxygen and moisture analysers based on Coulometric and Tuneable Diode Laser (TDLAS) technology respectively.

Chris Cottrell Servomex
The acquisition combines Delta F’s products, technologies and expertise with those of Servomex to further enhance the company’s ability to deliver a complete range and choice of process gas analysis technologies and systems to industry worldwide.

A pioneer in gas analysis for more than 50 years, Servomex and its HUMMINGBIRD Sensing Technology sub-brand are leading suppliers of process gas measurement solutions and leading edge transducer technologies worldwide. Servomex and HUMMINGBIRD supply to many of the world’s leading companies for use in industries that include hydrocarbon processing, industrial gas processing, electronics and healthcare.

This announcement signals the latest development in the Servomex global expansion programme, which includes the recent opening of a brand new state-of-the-art UK Technical Centre, the addition in 2010 of Customer Business Centres in São Paulo, Mumbai and Dubai and new regional offices in Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore. New System Engineering Centres have also been announced to open in Mumbai and Europe in 2011.

This expansion has been mirrored by growth in Servomex’s core technologies that, in addition to world-leading Zirconia Oxide, Infra Red and Paramagnetic devices, now include Laser (TDLAS), Gas Chromatography, Plasma, Flame Ionisation Detector (FID) and Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD) techniques.

“The acquisition of Delta F is another major step forward for Servomex and we are delighted to welcome them to the Servomex team,” says Chris Cottrell, Managing Director, Servomex.

“Delta F’s products and technologies are a perfect complement to Servomex’s extensive range of process gas analysis solutions and will further extend our measurement capabilities. This will enable us to provide our customers with an even more extensive choice of analytical solutions that will allow them to realize significant process improvements and improve the efficiency of their business”.

21 Years old and still going strong...

On November 21st 1989, Alan Cook struck out on his own to create a specialist distributor of electro-mechanical components. With a wealth of experience from his careers in both electronic engineering and broad-line distribution Alan wanted to create something different. And so Foremost Electronics was born. The goal was to provide design engineers in Britain with a reliable source of technologically advanced Emech components and offer a “service with a difference”.

Foremost has now firmly established itself as not just a component distributor but a resource for designers who require high quality components – with a difference. Foremost offers a flexible approach to component supply and is happy to undertake in-house customisation of their product range to meet the exact requirements of the designer. From engraving the cap of a switch or adding illumination, through to custom assemblies Foremost can accommodate a wide range of special requirements.

This customer focussed approach to distribution has lead to steadily increasing sales, long relationships with customers and high levels of support from their suppliers.

Suppliers have grown to appreciate the extended product life that Foremost’s customisation offers and a relationship with a specialist distributor who really understands their market.

Elma and knitter-switch, both suppliers of switches and rotary encoders have this to say about Foremost;

“Elma UK is proud to consider Foremost Electronics as both prime business partners and friends. Their on-going policy of supporting, stocking and marketing our rotary switch products is key to our future success. Thanks to Foremost for everything they do for us and happy 21st birthday! “

While Terry Moss, General Manager of knitter-switch UK says; "Knitter-switch have worked with Foremost Electronics for the past 15 years and we have always found them to be excellent at finding new design-in opportunities and retaining long term customers. Foremost have an unsurpassed knowledge of the UK Emech component market and we appreciate this singular focus which serves us very well.”

Apem, market leading manufacturers of Joysticks commented; "Foremost has been a distributor of our joysticks for 9 years now and indeed distributes many other Apem group products. During that time we have enjoyed a strong working relationship and have been very positively impressed by the service driven culture of Foremost. Many customers have reported a desire to work with Foremost in light of the stocking and service packages offered, and the technical design support in the early days of their project. We also value Foremost’s marketing activities which include strengthening both the Foremost and Apem brand with continual advertising, exhibitions and trade publication entries. We congratulate Foremost on its 21st birthday and look forward to many more years of cooperation and success”.

And last but by no means least Binder UK, suppliers of world class circular connectors said; "Proactive, responsive and customer focused; just what a manufacturer requires from a specialist distributor and exactly what we have experienced from our relationship with Foremost. Add to this a narrow and complimentary product portfolio along with excellent product, application and market knowledge; this makes Foremost Electronics the ideal partner for Binder UK.”

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics closes; "We have successfully managed to find our way through a number or recessions and have always come back stronger and this current one has been no exception. We have a dedicated team of experienced technical and sales specialists, headed up by Sales Director Alan Vincent, who can use their extensive knowledge to provide our customers with the best solution to their component requirements and the long term support that is really appreciated in this rapidly changing market.”

Pressure transmitter uses different sensors

BMN pressure transmitter uses piezo-resistive and thin-film technology

Baumer’s industrial pressure transmitter PBMN achieves maximum precision in measuring both low and high pressures by using different sensors. For pressures below 60 bar, a piezo-resistive silicon sensor is used. A metal thin-film sensor ideally suited for higher pressures is available for pressures over 60 bar. The robust PBMN pressure transmitter covers measuring ranges from -100…100 mbar to 0…1600 bar. It is available in three classes of accuracy: 0.1 % F.S., 0.25 % F.S., and 0.5 % F.S. Boasting a combined error of only < 0.4 % F.S., the sensor provides 0.1 % F.S. of long-term stability. The choice of output signals includes 4…20 mA as well as several types of voltage. With its wide measuring range and high overpressure resistance, the PBMN is qualified for a very broad spectrum of applications. The PMBN is easy to configure using Baumer’s programming device FlexProgrammer 9701.

Both the housing and all wetted parts of the fully welded PBMN pressure transmitter are made of stainless steel. Suited for media temperatures of -40…+120 °C, the transmitter offers active temperature compensation within a range of -40…+85 °C. The PBMN is highly resistant to vibration, shocks, and bumps, and complies with protection class IP65 or IP67, depending on the type of connection.

The PBMN pressure transmitter proves its particular strengths in applications requiring precision over a wide temperature range. Typical fields of application include process engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, refrigeration, the automotive and heavy vehicle industries, shipbuilding, healthcare, biotechnology, the chemical industry, and energy supply, as well as test benches, pumps, and compressors.

Saturday 27 November 2010

New members to fieldbus board

Gunther Kegel
Dr. Gunther Kegel, president, Pepperl+Fuchs GmbH, has been elected chairman of the Fieldbus Foundation board of directors. Dr. Kegel replaces John Berra of Emerson Process Management, who is retiring after serving 16 years in his foundation leadership post.

Other executives named to the foundation’s board include: Daniel Huber, senior group vice president, business unit manager - open control systems, process automation division, ABB; Takuji Hosoya, managing executive officer - advanced automation company, Azbil (Yamatake); Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer, Emerson Process Management; and Ralph Carter, president, Rockwell software business, Rockwell Automation.

The remaining board members include: Farshad Amir, DuPont; Timm Madden, ExxonMobil; Masatsugu Tomotaka, Fuji Electric Systems, Co. Ltd.; David Eisner, Honeywell, Inc.; John Eva, Invensys/Foxboro; Fred Cohn, Schneider Electric; Hans Georg Kumpfmueller, Siemens AG; and Kimikazu Takahashi, Yokogawa.

Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Rich Timoney congratulated the new members on their selection to the foundation’s board of directors. “On behalf of the Fieldbus Foundation, I would like to welcome the latest additions to our board. These professionals will bring valuable experience to our organization and help us to serve the needs of the global automation industry,” said Timoney. “During this period of rapid growth for Foundation fieldbus, we are fortunate to have the support of key executives with the world’s leading control system and instrumentation suppliers, as well as major end users companies.”

In recognizing the new board members, Timoney also thanked Berra for his many years of service to the Fieldbus Foundation. He said, “John Berra has been a dedicated supporter of the foundation since it was established in 1994. As chairman of the board, he helped to guide our organization in reaching many key milestones over the years, and has been tireless in his efforts to promote Foundation technology within his own company and throughout the marketplace. The entire fieldbus community owes John a significant debt of gratitude.”

Dr. Gunther Kegel studied Electrical Engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Darmstadt, Germany. After completing his doctoral thesis on the topic of "Integration of Sensor Signals Into Robotic Controls," he became a freelance engineering collaborator for several small-sized engineering companies. In 1990, Dr. Kegel was employed by Pepperl+Fuchs Mannheim, a manufacturer of electronics for factory and process automation, as head of its Pre-design Department. He was subsequently named head of Pepperl+Fuchs’ Development Department/Factory Automation and Division Factory Automation, and later served as its deputy managing director. In 2004, Dr. Kegel was chosen as chief executive officer of Pepperl+Fuchs Mannheim. He currently serves as the company’s president and chief executive officer (CEO).

Prior to his current position with ABB, Daniel Huber served as the company’s global technology manager for process industry products and oversaw product roadmaps and forward evolution for ABB’s control systems portfolio. Huber joined ABB in 1987 and has held numerous positions in Research and Development, product management, marketing, sales, service, and business development, as well as Corporate Research. He has also held similar positions at Adtranz and General Electric.

Takuji Hosoya is a 33-year veteran of smart transmitter marketing and development, and the process automation solution business. He is currently executive director of Advanced Automation Company, Yamatake Corporation, in charge of field instruments/automation solution system marketing.

Peter Zornio
As chief strategic officer for Emerson Process Management, Peter Zornio has responsibility for group-level coordination of technology programs such as PlantWeb and Smart Wireless, as well as the group-level marketing team. He also has direct responsibility for the product definition and development organizations for DeltaV, Ovation, and AMS Suite. Zornio has been at Emerson for four years. Prior to that, he spent 21 years at Honeywell, most recently as director of product marketing.

Ralph Carter joined Rockwell Automation in November 2007 through its acquisition of Pavilion Technologies, where he served as president and CEO, and sat on the company’s board of directors. He brings more than 25 years of automation industry experience to his current role with Rockwell, having worked for corporations such as Datastream, Honeywell and Measurex.

Changing the guard at Fieldbus Foundation (The Great Kanduski - ControlGlobal 27/11/2010)

Friday 26 November 2010

DIN rail amplifiers

Feature packed DIN rail signal amplifiers from RDP
RDP Electronics low profile DR7AC DIN rail mounted amplifiers are designed to provide excitation and signal amplification for LVDTs and a wide range of other inductive transducers. Compatible with most full bridge strain gauge transducers is the DR7DC strain gauge amplifier version.

The DR7AC and DR7DC are compactly packaged for DIN rail mounting, offering particular benefit to systems integrators and machine builders. System engineering and earth loop problems are significantly reduced thanks to full isolation between the DC supply side (9 to 36V) and the amplified output with low noise levels.

Offering transducer excitation options of 1 or 3 volts RMS, at either 3kHz or 5kHz carrier signal excitation, there is a choice of a full range output of either ±10 V or 4~20 mA from switched selectable input signal levels ranging from 20 mV to 4 V RMS. The DR7AC and DR7DC amplifiers enjoy excellent thermal stability, with a dynamic response which is flat from static to 250Hz. Due to their wide range of supply capability both models can operate from a range of supplies that includes batteries, road vehicle supplies as well as the usual factory 24V supply.

RDP are advertisers in the current (Oct/Nov'10) issue of Read-out.

New distribution deals to help manage Italian water

Intellect Water has announced two new distribution partnerships with Italian companies for the highly innovative Intellisonde™ in-pipe water quality monitors.
The Intellisonde™ is designed to provide water companies with more efficient access to drinking water quality data and will now be distributed across both municipal and industrial sectors in Italy by the experienced teams at Genoa-based Ast Analytica and Milan company Bimatik.

Developed to continuously monitor in-pipe water within drinking water distribution networks, the Intellisonde™ is a small water quality monitor that can be inserted into pressurised pipes to monitor up to 12 parameters.

Maurizio Chioetto, CEO of Ast Analytica, which was founded 30 years ago, explained that the instrumentation will bring numerous benefits to the Italian water sector. He said: “We are delighted to be entering into this exciting new partnership as an official distributor of the Intellisonde™. The ability to measure water quality in-pipe will be a major benefit to a wide variety of industrial sectors.”

Enrico Bertocchi, Director at Bimatik, added: “We are very pleased to be working with Intellitect and we have already received interest regarding the Intellisonde™. We are very excited about the prospect for this technology because it will, for the first time, provide access to water quality data after the treatment plant and before the customer’s tap.”

Steve Gill, Intellitect Water’s Business Development Director, added: "Ast Analytica and Bimatik will work closely but serve different customers, as we expand our distribution network across Europe.

“The ability to monitor water quality continuously in the distribution network will provide vital access to tap water quality data and offers the potential for improvements in operational efficiency and considerable cost savings.”

Uniquely, the Intellisonde™ technology offers utilities the ability to monitor water quality in the many thousands of miles of pipe that carry water to industrial and domestic consumers. This reduces the cost of water treatment, improves water quality and aids the management of water distribution networks.

In-air motion control by iPhone

Air Mouse app turns iPhone4 into in-air motion controller for PC-connected home theater and business presentations

Movea has announced its Air Mouse application for the iPhone4 is now available for £1.19 (USD 1.99) in the App Store. The new Air Mouse app empowers iPhone4 users to transform their phone into an in-air motion controller for home media and presentation uses.

Utilizing the iPhone4’s gyroscope and Wi-Fi connectivity, Movea’s Air Mouse application enables users to kick back and relax while watching high quality, web-based entertainment from the comfort of their couch and is the perfect navigation tool for online and home media center digital entertainment. With the new Air Mouse app, the user’s natural hand movements can drive more powerful presentation delivery, more interactive classroom lectures, and more immersive motion gaming. With Movea’s Air Mouse app and the iPhone4’s Wi-Fi range of over 100 feet, presenters have the freedom to move around the room to captivate and engage their audiences.

“We are excited to enable iPhone4 users to transform their phones into a powerful, motion-sensing peripheral to create poetry in motion for more effective communications and more immersive entertainment experiences,” said Bryan Hoadley, Executive Vice President of worldwide sales and General Manager of Movea, Inc.

Accompanying the iPhone4 app is Movea’s powerful MotionTools software, available for Mac or PC. MotionTools gives users a suite of effects and tools that allow them to customize, activate and control desktop applications with the flick of their wrist. MotionTools includes a wide range of tools for web browsers, media players, and presentations:

·Dynamic display scroll, pan, and zoom

·Pen drawing, image stamps, and highlighter

·Cut, paste, and other menu keystroke shortcuts

·Internet, and other application hotkeys

·Media player and volume controls

·Presentation tools

MotionTools and the Air Mouse app enable a presenter to turn their computer’s cursor into a highlighter, laser pointer or pen. MotionTools also has built in gesture recognition that allows users to gently swipe their phone in the air to launch applications, skip through songs in a playlist, activate presentation effects, navigate the web, and much, much more

DO2 in Thames waste!

Analytical Technology  has been awarded a new three-year framework agreement by Thames Water, seeing off eight competitors during the bid process. The new agreement will see Analytical Technology installing its optical dissolved oxygen monitors across multiple Thames Water wastewater treatment works in order to improve process control. This new framework builds on the existing relationship between the organisations and demonstrates Analytical Technology’s commitment to servicing the British water industry.

During the bid, which involved nine competitive instrumentation providers, Thames Water was impressed by Analytical Technology’s Q45D-ODO monitor’s capability as well as the commercial services offered by the vendor. Analytical Technology was required to meet a rigorous vendor assessment standard which showed that the company had provided excellent customer support for their disinfection monitors already installed within Thames Water. Analytical Technology also demonstrated capital cost savings as well as project and whole-life savings, which will be achieved through lower maintenance and reduced cost for spares.

Dissolved oxygen (DO) is one of the most critical parameters in the activated sludge process and tighter consent targets now mean that utility companies including Thames Water need to review instrumentation to ensure that all wastewater treatment works are fully compliant. Analytical Technology’s optical dissolved oxygen monitor has been designed to provide reliable DO control while keeping maintenance to a minimum. The monitor is based on fluorescence quenching technology and provides continuous monitoring with virtually no servicing required.

Conventional oxygen sensors are often affected by process coating and any material that slows the diffusion of oxygen into the reaction cell will cause an error in the oxygen reading. Unlike traditional dissolved oxygen monitors, Analytical Technology’s Q45D-ODO contains an Auto-Clean function which generates a series of high pressure air blasts to remove contaminants from the face of the sensor and eliminate errors caused by fouling. The Q45D-ODO’s Auto-Clean capability will enable Thames Water to achieve continuous and reliable DO measurement without the risk of sensor fouling.

Garry Tabor, Sales Director at Analytical Technology, comments: “Dissolved oxygen monitoring is an essential process for water utility companies such as Thames Water. Analytical Technology supplies all Thames Water disinfection monitors, and its proven supply record over the years of the successful partnership means this new agreement reinforces our strong position as leading instrumentation providers within the UK water industry.”

Thursday 25 November 2010

Vibrating fork level switch for safety instrumented systems

Emerson Process Management has extended the capability of its Rosemount® 2100 series of vibrating short fork level switches with the introduction of the Rosemount 2130 for (Safety Integrity Level)SIL 2 safety instrumented systems. This new version features built-in fault monitoring/self-checking diagnostics and is ideal for high and low level alarms.

New vibrating fork level switch
Following successful third-party evaluation by global organisation exida, the Rosemount 2130 has the required Failure Modes, Effects and Diagnostic Analysis (FMEDA) report. As a result, companies in the oil & gas production, refining, petrochemical, chemical and power industries can benefit from the almost maintenance free, vibration fork technology while ensuring compliance with associated IEC industry standards.

With several output types with a Safe Failure Fraction (SFF) over 90%, the resulting FMEDA report shows SIL 2 suitability. As per IEC 61508 and IEC 61511, the documentation provides safety instrumentation engineers with the required failure data and with proof test recommendations. With a five-year-plus proof test interval, the proof test can be co-ordinated with plant turnaround, minimising process interruption and reducing risk to personnel.

The Rosemount 2100 series is already a popular choice for high and low level alarm and pump control duties. The new 2130 version is simple and easy-to-use, reliable in a wide range of applications and requires no on-site calibration. The visible “heart-beat” LED gives an instant visual indication that the unit is operational. In addition, the built-in fault monitoring/self diagnostics can detect extreme corrosion of the forks, or any other internal or external damage to the fork sensor, which triggers a warning LED and safe handling of the load.

Further functionality in the new version includes a low-density option suitable for liquids with a specific gravity down to 0.5 (500 kg/m3), a wide choice of electronic output options for use on their own, or as part of an analogue or digital plant monitoring network.

This instrument is designed for use in extreme temperatures ranging from -70 to + 260 °C and like other models in the Rosemount 2100 range, the new model is available with 316L stainless steel as standard, ECTFE/PFA copolymer coated 316L stainless steel or corrosion resistant alloy C wet side as well as a choice of electronic output types and aluminium or stainless steel housing options.

North American sales director

Ashling Microsystems has appointed Mr. Atul Kapur as its North American Sales Director based at the company’s offices in Chantilly (VA US)
Atul Kapur

Mr. Kapur has over 10 year’s international experience in the Semiconductor Industry. He was formerly Strategic Partner Manager-OMAP at Texas Instruments in Asia.

Commenting on the appointment, John Murphy, Managing Director of Ashling Microsystems, Ltd. said, “We are delighted to have Atul on board: he brings an in-depth knowledge of the Embedded Software industry and will be a great asset to the company. North America is an important market for our Embedded Software Development Tools and with Atul now in place we are looking forward to growing our presence in this market.” 

Ashling Microsystems is an international Embedded Software Development Tools company. The company is a subsidiary of the NeST Group, a broad based technology provider operating in the areas of software development, electronics design and manufacturing, optronics and fiber optics, broadband and RF solutions and power systems and magnetics. Through its close cooperation with leading semiconductor vendors, Ashling is a world leader in the Embedded Software Development Tools market. They have development centres in Limerick, Ireland and Trivandrum, India and sales and support representatives worldwide.

New open platform HMI

New open-platform HMIs Offer SCADA versatility, web-based features, and UL certification

Maple Systems has released two new UL-listed Touchscreen Open HMIs — 7 and 10 inch high-resolution widescreens that run a pre-installed version of Windows CE. These units fit the bill when you need more capability and versatility than a standard HMI, but don't need or have the budget for a full-scale industrial panel PC.

The 16:9 widescreen high-resolution displays of these new additions offer 30 percent more viewing area than the 4:3 standard screens of similar size. That means 30 percent more room for applications, graphics, text, and buttons etc. And the clarity of those graphics is augmented by the 800 x 400 pixel screen resolution, the 65 thousand colors of the LED display, and the RISC processor that handles graphic rich applications — like Maple's powerful SCADA software — Web Studio.

Windows CE is more affordable and requires less ram than XP, and so with 128 MB of Flash Memory and 64MB of DRAM, the 400 MHz 32 Bit RISC Processor hums right along and ensures quick application response times.

With enhanced connectivity, these innovative Open HMIs come with an Ethernet Port, USB Ports, three Serial COM Ports, an SD Card Slot, and an Audio Jack. With this enhanced connectivity and the resident web browser of Windows CE, these new arrivals grant you the versatility and capability that you would normally find in units costing thousands more. And the hardware can be enhanced by connecting an external keyboard, mouse, printer, printer, and external speakers etc.

With their preloaded web browser, Ethernet connectivity and optional Web Studio Software, these Open HMIs are fully capable of remote data entry, remote monitoring, and scenarios that require support for multiple devices. And of course the operating system means you have software options far beyond the proprietary configuration software of a standard HMI.

Sleekly designed but durable these units are CE certified, RoHS Compliant , and UL listed for both Canada and the US. Because of that durability and reliability, these units can withstand operation in temperatures ranging from 32 degrees to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (0 to 45 degrees Celsius), and they operate in a non-condensing relative humidity range of 10 to 90 percent. In fact, they can even withstand the rigors of water jet spraying when properly installed into a NEMA4 rated panel

In addition, these quiet fanless models draw only 12 watts of electricity, so they produce less heat than a full-scale industrial panel PC. As a result they do well in tight spaces or sealed environments where the airflow needed for a panel PC's cooling fan would be more restrictive. As an additional bonus, the lack of a cooling fan eliminates the damaging dust and particulates that would otherwise be drawn into the circuitry.

Ultra low-noise remote charge converter

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the re-launch of Endevco® model 2771C-XX, an ultra-low noise remote charge converter (RCC), designed to facilitate even more precise measurements from piezoelectric transducers within mechanical system health monitoring, nuclear power plant/regenerative energy and environmental testing applications. This highly popular model is now being offered at a lower price and as a lower noise drop-in replacement for legacy Endevco® 2771B models or other industry equivalents.

Offered with three individually fixed gains of 0.1 mV/pC; 1.0 mV/pC; and 10 mV/pC, the model 2771C-XX offers a rugged two-wire (IEPE), single ended design operating from constant current power (4-20 mA), with a broadband noise range down to 5µ Vrms and frequency response of 0.4 to 50 kHz. Both RCC signal output and input current are carried along the same wire. Housed in a rugged, small package, units are designed to withstand shock loads of up to 100 g peak and are radiation tested to 1.0 MRads.

Because of its low impedance voltage, signal output from this unit is less susceptible to noise pick-up. Also, shunt capacitance of the cable connecting model 2771C-XX to the main signal conditioner does not significantly affect system noise or sensitivity. It can also support TEDS (per IEEE P1451.4) for smart sensor and larger channel count applications, and includes an available M1 Version with male BNC to facilitate easy panel mounting. The RCC is designed for direct compatibility with both Endevco® and other industry piezoelectric charge output accelerometers.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Investment in renewable energy

There have been two releases from ABB on investments in various countries on wind and wave energy resources.

ABB invests in wind technology company
ABB has made a strategic investment in Pentalum Technologies, an Israel-based company developing advanced wind sensing technology for control and optimisation of wind turbines and wind farms.

Pentalum is developing an innovative LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology that remotely senses the wind vector in front of wind turbines in order to optimally align them to incoming wind flow. Pentalum’s system is also applicable to wind forecasting and site assessment, and is designed to significantly increase wind farm efficiency at a lower cost per site than existing measurement technologies.

The investment was made through ABB Technology Ventures, ABB’s venture capital arm, which invests in early and growth stage companies with technologies of strategic importance to the industry segments the company serves. Other participants in funding for Pentalum included Cedar Fund, which led the round; and Evergreen Venture Partners, both from Israel; and Draper Fischer Jurvetson from the US.

"Cost and complexity issues are hampering the widespread adoption of optimization systems for wind power,” said Girish Nadkarni, head of ABB Technology Ventures. "We have invested in Pentalum because we believe their technical approach will significantly improve profitability for developers and operators of this important renewable energy source.”

“Given ABB’s broad expertise and strong position with wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm developers and operators, they are a very strong partner for Pentalum,” said Sagie Tsadka, President and CEO of Pentalum. “Our wind sensing technology can significantly improve the performance of wind turbines and wind farms, and ABB can be instrumental in helping us deliver this benefit to the marketplace through their extensive customer base.”

ABB provides a wide range of products, integrated solutions and expertise that enable the efficient generation of wind power and its smooth integration into the grid. Customers include turbine manufacturers, engineering contractors, independent power producers and utilities.

ABB invests in renewable energy company
Technology generates clean electricity from nearshore wave energy

ABB has invested about $13 million in Aquamarine Power, a Scottish company that has developed technology to convert energy captured from waves near shore into clean, usable electricity.

ABB Technology Ventures, the company's venture capital arm, made the investment in a funding round that also included a $4.8 million investment from SSE Venture Capital, the venture capital unit of Scottish and Southern Energy and other investors.

The investment gives ABB access to another renewable energy technology, and provides an entry into the emerging marine energy market, where ABB has considerable pull-through sales potential for its power systems, power electronics and medium-voltage drives.

"Wave energy is primed to become an important part of the world's renewable energy portfolio,”
said Brice Koch, head of ABB Marketing and Customer Solutions, which oversees the company’s renewable energy initiatives among other activities. "This investment reflects our belief in its technical viability, and our confidence in Aquamarine’s technology and its management team.”

Aquamarine’s Oyster wave power device consists of a hinged mechanical flap connected to the nearshore seabed that pipes high-pressure water to an onshore turbine for power generation. The system is easier to install and maintain than other wave power generation systems, and has won a number of renewable energy innovation awards.

In November 2009, the first full-scale demonstrator Oyster began producing power at the European Marine Energy Center based in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. Once commercialized, Oyster wave power devices could be deployed in farms rated at 100 megawatts or more.

“This strategic investment gives ABB an early-mover advantage in our wave energy technology, while we gain access to ABB’s technical, research and engineering expertise and global supply chain network,” said Aquamarine Power CEO, Martin McAdam.

ABB Technology Ventures invests in strategically interesting early and growth stage companies. To date, investment areas include smart grid communications, cyber security for utilities, data center power optimization and wind farm efficiency.


New HMI-concept provides realistic user interfaces

iX - "The world's most graphic HMI solution!"

Industrial visualization is in a state of change. Now, industrial user interfaces take on inspiration from consumer-oriented products like personal computers, mobile phones, MP3 players, etc. with advanced 3D-style graphics, icon based navigation and controls. However, impressive user interfaces have a wider perspective reaching beyond the good looks. They motivate users and operators to interact with the working environment in a positive way. The traceable consequence is a more efficient work flow and reduced downtime - both factors which lead to increased profit.

A common look and feel among the products, graphics and environments that represent a corporation's ideas and vision, contribute to brand distinction and consistent customer experiences. iX, from Beijer Electronics Products AB, lifts the concept of a HMI solution from merely being a functional add-on, to becoming an integral part of a user experience by adding the right look and feel with advanced 3D-style graphics, icon based navigation and controls.

The user can take advantage of vector-based graphics, enabling to scale and rotate objects, which stay crystal clear without jagged edges or inconsistent color transitions. The import of WPF objects and .Net controls allows to use the vast resources behind Microsoft´s .Net framework Add drop shadows, bevels and choose opacity for objects in addition with other graphical effects are just a few functions to create a realistic user environment. iX also enables to incorporate Windows media objects like Media Player, Internet Explorer and PDF-viewer for easy understand process explanation.

Design time is reduced drastically with ready-made symbols and objects from the component library, which matches for several industrial applications. By applying dynamics in HMI applications, it´s easy to draw the attention of an operator to interact with an ongoing process or supervisory staff. The project engineer is able to generate individual graphical operator interfaces and offer end customers a recognizable added value in terms of user-friendly operation and improved user satisfaction.

Control excellence for nuclear industry

Invensys Operations Management is extending the availability and support of its long-proven Foxboro® SPEC200N analog control system. To prolong the product’s lifecycle, Invensys has signed a multi-year agreement with Scientech, a business unit of Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Company. Under the agreement, Scientech will manufacture the SPEC200N product line from its Idaho Falls, Idaho (US), facility, as well as provide sustaining engineering services to Invensys. Exclusive customer sales and support for the SPEC200N product will continue to be provided by Invensys Operations Management.

The Foxboro SPEC200N analog electronic control system, initially installed in 1976 and deployed in more than 70 nuclear power plants, continues to be recognised for its outstanding reliability in both safety and non-safety-related applications.

“Even as Invensys provides digital instrumentation and control solutions for new nuclear power plants with our award-winning Triconex® 1E Tricon safety and Foxboro I/A Series® distributed control systems, for many existing plants the most cost-effective approach to re-licensing their operations is to extend the life of the analog control systems already in place until a modernisation strategy can be implemented,”
said Mike Chmilewski, vice president, control technology innovations and nuclear portfolio, Invensys Operations Management. “As part of our long-standing commitment to the nuclear power industry, we have enlisted the expertise of Scientech to support the SPEC200N Life Extension Program. This strategic partnership will extend our ability to supply the SPEC200N product line, helping to sustain control excellence for our clients in the nuclear industry.”

Extending support for the SPEC200N analog control system provides continuity of operations, allowing customers to bridge the lengthy design and re-licensing process that is required for safety-related digital instrumentation and control upgrades. Invensys is uniquely positioned to assist nuclear power plant operators in the upgrade process because the functionality of SPEC200N systems can be programmatically migrated to the company’s Triconex Tricon Class 1E digital safety platform.

“The Foxboro SPEC200N control system has been used for more than 30 years to control and protect more than 70 plants within the nuclear industry,” said David Linton, president, Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Company, and co-chief operating officer, Curtiss-Wright Corporation. “We look forward to being a strategic partner with Invensys in their continued support of the Foxboro SPEC200N product line, not only because of their history of enabling control excellence, but because the manufacture of the SPEC200N analog control system fits seamlessly with our reengineered replacements for other analog equipment lines produced at our Idaho Falls facility.”

New CEO for Indian leading technology design and systems engineering company

Mistral Solutions has announced the appointment of Sanjay Virnave as its Chief Executive Officer.

The 13-year old company has over the years established itself as a respected player in product engineering services, defense electronics and homeland security domain, with operations in India and USA.

Sanjay Virnave
Sanjay is an industry veteran with an illustrious career in Sales and Marketing spanning 25 years. He has worked with several leading organizations like IDM, PCL, NIIT, Acer and Tulip Telecom, during this period, driving revenues with his strategic leadership skills. Sanjay has vast expertise in handling large accounts and Government. His last assignment was as President of Sales at Tulip Telecom Limited.

Apart from a remarkable industry career, Sanjay also serves as a guest lecturer at several premier management institutes.

“Sanjay is a great addition to the Mistral management team. His vast experience and leadership skills will be pivotal in leading Mistral’s team as we step the pedal on our ambitious growth plans in the coming years”, said Anees Ahmed - Chairman, Mistral Solutions.

While Sanjay works with the team in strengthening Mistral’s presence in its existing verticals of Product Engineering Services, Defense Solutions and Homeland Security, the founders, Anees Ahmed and Rajeev Ramachandra will continue in full-time executive management role and focus on company strategy, new business initiatives and growth plans.

“Mistral has made a mark for itself globally in the area of cutting-edge technology since its humble beginnings over a decade ago. Mistral provides me the opportunity to draw on my past experience, and work with some of the best minds in the industry. It will be my endeavor to continue offering our customer’s world class products and services across our focus domains, and being a part of the organization’s journey to the next level of excellence.” said Sanjay.

#SPS - Siemens at the show!

Picture from IEB's collection
During SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg (D) many press releases were issued by many companies. Sometimes there was more than one  and we have listed those issued by Siemens Industry Automation Division here. The complete details of each are include on our Conference & Exhibitions blog site. The Siemens (shown above) this year covered 2500 sq.m. (up from 1400) and was as crowded as eve!

#SPS Cables for automation applications

The development of standards supported by rigorous in-house testing is proving vital to the success of the Nexans Motionline range of cable solutions for demanding, dynamic automation applications

Nexans is showing the latest advances in its MOTIONLINE range of cable solutions developed specifically to deliver high-performance and total reliability in a wide variety of control chain, bus, sensor and robotic automation applications. In particular, visitors to the Nexans stand (Booth 5-130) at SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2010 will be able to find out more about a unique programme of standardization, backed by rigorous in-house testing, that enables Nexans to demonstrate the capabilities of its MOTIONLINE cable solutions in demanding, real-life conditions.

About Nexans
With energy as the basis of its development, Nexans, the worldwide leader in the cable industry, offers an extensive range of cables and cabling systems. The Group is a global player in the infrastructure, industry, building and Local Area Network markets. Nexans addresses a series of market segments: from energy, transport and telecom networks to shipbuilding, oil and gas, nuclear power, automotives, electronics, aeronautics, material handling and automation.
The call for standards
Standards for static cable applications are well established and internationally recognised. However, the historic lack of standards for automation cables has resulted in cable performance criteria being defined according to the needs of specific industrial automation applications.

As a European market leader in automation cables, Nexans has responded by taking the lead in defining standards that provide a scientific means of comparing the relative merits of different cable designs, resulting in a clear and transparent way for customers to guarantee that the cables they specify will deliver the required performance and lifetime.

Trailing chain cables

The initial results of this programme are a series of standards for trailing chain cables that classify them as ‘basic’, ‘advanced’ or ‘premium’ according to a set of four main mechanical criteria: bending radius; acceleration, travel length; minimum number of bending cycles, together with other properties such as chemical and temperature resistance.

It is also important that cable conductor and insulation materials provide the appropriate level of fire, heat and abrasion resistance demanded for safety and performance, as well as offering the resistance to attack by oils and other chemicals essential for a long service life. Important developments in new material technologies are being made in this area such as TPM (Thermoplastic Modified) insulation and flame retardant PUR Medoxprotect-S jacket material. There may also be a requirement for cables to offer resistance to EMI (Electromagnetic Interference).

These standards have now been applied directly to the Motionline range, but the main intention is that they will be adopted as international standards recognised throughout the automation industry.

The standardisation process is ongoing and Nexans is currently working to develop similar standards for robotic applications that will need to consider additional criteria such as torsional strength.

Dedicated Motion Application Centre (MAC)

Playing a key role in the standardization project is Nexans’ own dedicated Motion Application Centre (MAC), which is part of the Nexans Research Centre (NRC) in Nuremberg, Germany. This facility, unique in the industry, enables cables to be exposed to dynamic operating loads that simulate realistic, in-service, conditions, thus ensuring that they offer the ideal combination of bending, tension and torsional strength and vibration resistance required for their intended application. It provides clear proof that an automation cable will perform throughout its expected lifecycle as described in the relevant standard.

Nexans has been testing automation cables for 20 years. The MAC was established around 5 years ago and is the subject of considerable ongoing investment to reflect the changing needs of the automation industry, resulting in a current roster of 12 different machines designed to test cables to their limits. A key advantage of the facility is that it enables the electrical and data performance of the automation cables to be monitored under dynamic loading conditions. In addition to the mechanical tests, environmental chambers also allow the cables to be subjected to varying environmental conditions.

Engineered solutions

The Motionline brand covers a very wide scope of automation cable products. However, the catalogue range is sometimes only a starting point, since there is a frequent need for Nexans to design and engineer a special cable to deliver the vital combination of high-performance, reliability and long life required for a specific application.

The development process starts with an in-depth analysis of the customer requirements for the cable, such as a miniaturized cable tailor made to fit the available space envelope or a hybrid cable combining power and data transmission. The MAC will then test the cables used currently and work with the NRC to surpass the existing performance in terms of durability and environmental resistance. This seamless interface between benchmarking and design theory and then back to practical implementation results in the rapid and effective development of the ideal customized solution.

New thermal imaging cameras

New thermal imaging cameras from Testo, including their first in a camcorder design

Testo  has launched two new models to add to its range of thermal imagers, the Testo 876 and Testo 882. This is the third generation of thermal imaging cameras from the measurement technology specialist Testo, who entered the thermography market in 2007. Daniel Auer, Director of Product Management Infrared Measurement Technology: “Testo combines consistently strong technology with innovation. With the new products, we are establishing technical standards to be able to offer our customers even more added value.”

Testo 876 - Strong Technology in Camcorder Design
The Testo 876 is the first Testo thermal imaging camera in a classical camcorder design. The light, 900g imager is equipped with a rotatable display. This makes thermography possible even in difficult-to-access places. This new design opens up new possibilities, especially for professional industrial thermography because the display can be rotated by up to 180 degrees, making it possible to work above your head. Benefits extend to both building and industrial maintenance and servicing, enabling difficult to access areas to be thermographed from a different angle. Furthermore the exchangeable lens ensures optimum attention to detail. Thanks to its low weight and easy operation, the Testo 876 adapts optimally to the requirements of the thermographer – for fast and versatile work.

Testo 882 - Best Image Quality

As the first Testo thermal imager with a 320 x 240 pixel detector, the Testo 882 promises high accuracy without the necessity of an exchangeable lens. Equipped with a 32° lens, the new model offers the user all image details at a glance, ensuring fast, uncomplicated and precise work. The precise infrared images allow even the smallest faults in difficult-to-access places or dangerous zones in industrial systems to be identified precisely, reliably and from a safe distance.

Show for Cairo

Automation Technology Egypt 2011, the 5th International Industrial Control and Automation Technology Exhibition and Conference is scheduled from 7-9 May 2011.

Automation professionels and vendors are invited to participate in the event that is scheduled to be held at the Cairo Int'l Conferences Center, Nasr City – Cairo - Egypt. It is the only Automation, control and Instrumentation show being held in Egypt during the year.

Profile for exhibits including Factory Automation, home automation, power management, building management systems (BMS) and SCADA Applications in Power / Water / Building Automation.
Exhibits including also Information Technology & Automation Software Solutions, Security Electronics, Telecommunications, robotics and automation, electrical and electronics, hydraulics and pneumatics, industrial control, test and measurement instruments, process control, level control system and automation in construction technology.

The Conference is mainly aimed at demonstration of advanced developments in the domain of automation and information technologies in industry and new opportunities for business development.

Automation Technology 2011 will provide a platform to make valuable contacts in the growing Egyptian market.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Merger approved

Shareholders approve merger agreement

JP Keithley  President & CEO
Keithley Instruments has announced that, at its special meeting of shareholders held 23rd November 2010, the Company's shareholders approved and adopted the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of September 29, 2010, among Danaher Corporation, Aegean Acquisition Corporation and Keithley Instruments and the transactions contemplated thereby.  Approximately 90 percent of the total number of votes represented by the common shares and Class B common shares outstanding and entitled to vote at the special meeting voted in favor of approval and adoption of the merger agreement.  Under the terms of the merger agreement, upon completion of the merger, each outstanding common share and Class B common share of  Keithley will be converted into the right to receive $21.60 in cash, without interest.

The completion of the merger remains subject to the termination or expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (the "HSR Act") and the satisfaction or waiver of other conditions. Keithley Instruments also announced that Danaher refiled its HSR Act Premerger Notification and Report form related to the merger on November 15, 2010 to provide the US Federal Trade Commission with additional time to review the transaction.  Keithley Instruments and Danaher believe that the status of the FTC review should not affect the anticipated timing of the completion of the transaction during the fourth quarter of 2010.

Linear units

According to Rose+Krieger this new generation of RK DuoLine linear units, which are supplied with a spindle or timing belt will bring greater flexibility to automation. Thinking about on which side the motor drive should be positioned is no longer necessary. Optional coupling and motor adapters can be attached to all four hollow shaft outputs on the idler unit. Not only does this simplify positioning, customers can also configure and adjust the axial motor themselves.

The DuoLine with spindle drive is fitted with a newly developed spindle support for increased rotational speeds. A vmax of 2 m/s with stroke lengths of around 5 meter is possible. All DuoLine variants are magnetically sealed with a steel band increasing the protection rating to IP40. The enclosed ball rail system also provides an efficiency rating above 85% on the spindle variant and brings the no-load torque for the timing belt variant down to 2.5 Nm.

The variants also share common features in terms of the table installation options. The BLOCAN® profile slots have T-rails with tapped holes to simplify the attachment of loads and provide the greatest possible flexibility. The central lubricator on the table, which supplies grease to the guide system and spindles depending on the type, reduces l maintenance to a minimum. The DuoLine generation begins with the 160x100 size corresponding to the length of the edge on the guide profile in mm. The manufacturer offers a specific service for selecting the right motor specification.

NDT resources

Keighley Laboratories adds to non-destructive testing resources

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is a highly valued quality assurance and analytical technique that helps safeguard against the potential failure of engineering material, components, fastenings and structures. Since it enables in-depth evaluation of a material without causing damage, NDT often provides the final QA stage before a new product enters service, while in-service NDT can be the last line of defence against component failure in the field.

As part of its broad range of advanced metallurgical solutions, Keighley Laboratories offers a specialised NDT service for clients in the aerospace, automotive, petrochemical, nuclear, defence, mechanical engineering, construction, civil engineering and allied industries, covering both laboratory and site inspection. The company continually invests in staff training and new technology to expand its capabilities, recently adding to its NDT resources with a new digital flaw detector for more demanding ultrasonic testing, a magnetic permeability meter for critical aerospace and nuclear energy applications, and a hand-held ferrite content meter for testing weld seams and piping materials in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries.

Their NDT facility covers the two most common methods of surface crack and flaw detection, Liquid Penetrant Testing and Magnetic Particle Testing, and the volumetric inspection technique, Ultrasonic Flaw Detection, as well as providing Radiographic Testing services on a sub-contracted basis. Non-destructive testing and inspection procedures are highly operator-dependent, relying upon the skills and experience of NDT technicians to obtain and evaluate results, and all members of the Keighley Labs team are certificated to a minimum of PCN Level 2, an internationally recognised symbol of competence. Indeed, Senior NDT Engineer, Roger Wheatley, is qualified to PCN Level 3 and able to develop NDT procedures, write instructions, audit techniques and both train and examine Level 1 and 2 candidates, making him a valued asset for both the company and its customers.
Roger Wheatley

“We like to think of ourselves as the best, with a high degree of technical skill and experience, able to handle the most critical components,” says Roger. “Although most of our work is carried out in the lab, around 20 per cent of projects are on site, checking fixtures that cannot be moved like motorway bridges, presses, silos, boilers, offshore rigs or miles of installed pipelines in paper mills and petrochemical plants. At the other end of the scale we also handle private work for owners of vintage vehicles, checking the integrity of steering racks and drive trains in readiness for classic car shows.”

For the detection of surface breaking flaws on ferrous and non-ferrous materials, such as casting and forging defects, weld cracks, leaks in new components and fatigue cracking on in-service components, Keighley Labs provides Liquid Penetrant Testing with either colour contrast or fluorescent techniques, working to national and international standards including BS EN 571:1997. LP testing can be undertaken either in the firm’s laboratory or at the customer site.

Magnetic Particle Inspection is conducted on ferro-magnetic materials, by inducing a magnetic field into the test piece, and is ideal for detecting cracks, porosity, seams and other surface breaking, as well as sub-surface discontinuities down to 2mm. Imperfections are revealed using fluorescent or non-fluorescent media; on-site testing is carried out using permanent magnets or portable electro-magnetic yokes where a suitable power source is available. Suitable for welds, castings, forgings and machined parts, including engine, suspension and braking components, testing is carried out by Keighley Labs to BS EN ISO 9934-1 and BAE RO5-6103 standards.

For identifying imperfections within a test piece or any changes in material properties, Ultrasonic Flaw Detection reveals volumetric discontinuation, utilising sound waves introduced into the component from an ultrasonic source. Undertaken by digital and analogue machines, ultrasonic detection is able to penetrate up to 10m in steel and can detect laminations, lack of fusion and any corrosion, as well as carrying out thickness and depth checks. This technique is suitable for welds, wrought iron products and castings in magnetic and non-magnetic materials, including glass, ceramics and plastics, again with tests carried out either in-house or on-site.

To upgrade its ultrasonic testing facilities still further, Keighley Laboratories has invested around £8k in a new Sonatest Masterscan digital flow detector, which incorporates the latest developments in amplifier and pulsar technology to deliver higher levels of near-surface resolution and penetrating power. The NDT department has also added a digital magnetic permeability meter, for measurement of ferro-magnetic inclusions in feebly magnetic materials against relevant specifications, and a hand-held ferrite content meter, for analysing the ferrite content in austenitic and duplex steel; both are suitable for off-site or in-house applications and give Keighley Labs further distinctive methods of material inspection, in line with the latest customer requirements.

Keighley Labs technical services laboratory is accredited by UKAS, NADCAP, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Rolls Royce, Bombardier Aerospace and British Aerospace, enabling it to carry out sub-contract testing of aircraft and associated companies, and it meets the accreditation standards of many other customer industries.

New software engineering framework

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has introduced the industry’s first automation software with One Engineering Environment and One Software Project for all automation tasks called the Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal). The new software engineering framework enables users to develop and commission automation systems quickly and intuitively, which eliminates the traditional time consuming and costly integration of separate software packages. Designed for high efficiency and user-friendliness, the TIA Portal is suitable for both first-time users and experienced users. Furthermore, the TIA Portal will be the basis of all future software engineering packages for configuring, programming and commissioning automation and drives products in the Totally Integrated Automation portfolio from Siemens. Examples of this include the new Simatic Step 7 V11 automation software for Simatic controllers, and Simatic WinCC V11 for Simatic HMI (human machine interface) and process visualization applications.

For the design of the TIA Portal framework, Siemens studied many typical software engineering applications over several years and analyzed and evaluated its customer requirements worldwide. As an integral component of all software engineering packages from Siemens, the TIA Portal framework provides advanced shared services across all the configuration interfaces ensuring uniform navigation for the user and consistent system behavior. For example, all devices and networks in any automation system can now be configured within one shared device and network editor. Project navigation, library concepts, data management, project storage, diagnostics and online functions are standard features and made available to the user in the shared TIA Portal framework. This unified software development environment offers a high level of efficiency across the overall automation project and is comprised of programmable controllers, HMI devices and drives. Additionally, all data management for controller parameters, blocks, tags or messages now only need to be entered once, saving significant time and cost for software engineering of an automation project. The design of TIA Portal is based on advanced object-oriented software architecture and centralized data management, providing seamless data consistency by automatically avoiding data entry errors. Users can easily find data and program blocks across the entire automation project using a project-wide cross-reference system, which greatly reduces the time to troubleshoot and debug a typical software project.

This new single software framework will enable all Siemens Programmable Controllers, HMI operator panels and drives to be configured in the same development environment. This greatly reduces interfacing and configuration costs, for the common tasks of communications setup between controllers, drives and HMI devices. For example, the user simply drags and drops a tag from the programmable controller, such as the signal of an I/O (input/output) module, to the screen of an HMI device. The tag is instantly assigned within the HMI, and a controller-HMI connection is created automatically in the background with no manual configuration required.

The new Simatic Step 7 V11 engineering software, based on the TIA Portal framework, supports Simatic S7-1200 controllers, all the Simatic S7-300 and S7-400 controllers, and the PC-based automation system Simatic WinAC. Supporting this wide range of programmable controllers enables Simatic Step 7 V11 to provide the most scalable software engineering capabilities and performance requirements for an automation system. Benefits of this scalability includes transferring existing configurations of Simatic controllers and HMI devices to new software projects and greatly reducing the time and cost of typical software migration tasks.

The new Simatic WinCC V11 engineering software is also based on the new TIA Portal framework. This includes configuration of machine-level applications using HMI operator panels with support for current Simatic TP and MP model panels, support for the new Simatic HMI Comfort Panels, and for larger PC-based SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) process visualization systems. Configuration and commissioning of the Sinamics inverter drive family is planned in future TIA Portal enhancements.

A photo accompanies this press release. You can find this photo on the Internet at www.siemens.com/ia-picture/2500

Fieldbus protocols expanded

The VPG Process Weighing division of the Vishay Precision Group has expanded the fieldbus protocols of its BLH-Nobel Weighing Systems G4 family of multichannel weight/force indicators to include the EtherNet/IP open communications protocol. This new capability allows the instruments to communicate with other industrial control systems and their components, such as a programmable automation and logic controllers or I/O systems.

VPG's G4 instruments offer high speed and performance for industrial applications, such as process weighing and control, force measurement, Web tension measurement and control, automation, force vector calculations, high dynamic force measurement, and high-speed batching/blending systems. The units are certified to link to a wide variety of communication interfaces, including Profibus, DeviceNet, Modbus/RTU, USB, RS485, RS232, Modbus/TCP, and now EtherNet/IP.

This family is offered with four base mounting options: DIN rail (RM), panel (PM), desktop (DT), and harsh environment (HE). The IP65-rated G4-PM, DT, and HE are equipped with a 5.7-inch color touch screen and graphic display for quick, easy operation and simple parameter changes. The screen displays up to four weight/force channels simultaneously, allowing the user full control of multiple process vessels. The IP20-rated G4-RM is intended for blind applications and requires a PLC/DCS interface.

The G4-PM, DT, and HE accommodate up to six different, easily installed modules for advanced performance, more functional channels, custom applications, or repair, while the G4-RM can be equipped with up to three modules. The modular nature of the units provides customers with a highly flexible, upgradeable, single instrument system capable of weighing up to eight independent vessels or scales. For Web tension applications, up to six zones can be monitored simultaneously with the G4-RM. By providing the largest scale capability available, the G4 units offer very economical solutions, as each can replace multiple instruments from other manufacturers.

The G4 units can be configured for either 24VDC or 115/230VAC operation. Software upgrades can be downloaded from VPG's website and transferred to the instruments via a standard USB port connection. Custom software designed to customer requirements for special applications is available upon request, and is easily accommodated by the units' Microsoft® Windows CE® software platform. Remote access via a standard Web browser allows for simple set-up, monitoring, and diagnostic tests.