Saturday, January 23, 2010


Award winning software enhancement

InduSoft's powerful Human Machine Interface and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software now works with the latest versions of Microsoft Windows. InduSoft Web Studio (IWS) version 6.1 Service Pack 6 is fully compatible with Windows 7 (both 32 and 64-bit) and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Since its inception, InduSoft has developed its IWS product with broad Windows compatibility in mind. InduSoft Web Studio continues a powerful yet easy-to-use feature set across all current Microsoft operating systems. Everything from Windows CE, Windows Mobile, and Windows Embedded XP to most desktop (Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and now Windows 7) and server (Windows Server 2003 and now Windows Server 2008 R2) platforms is supported.

The company has also implemented many customer-requested improvements to IWS, including:
  • Improved Performance - The already optimized runtime engine for Windows CE and Windows Mobile is now even faster and supports a wider range of devices.
  • Flexible Licensing - IWS is the first Human Machine Interface software for Windows CE and Windows Mobile to support USB hard key licensing (when supported by the hardware platform), in addition to the already supported soft key licensing.
  • Share Data with Any SQL Relational Database - Support for Microsoft SQL Server CE 3.5 + Service Pack 1 as well as for the MySQL .Net Connectors.
  • Reporting Delight - PDF printing on 64-bit operating systems is now supported.
  • Exchange Knowledge Quickly - Send e-mail in almost any language using UNICODE text format.
  • Talk to Just About Anything - A new, custom serial driver (TxRx) allows users to transmit and receive hexadecimal codes to support both ASCII and non-ASCII protocols. If InduSoft doesn't have a built-in driver for a device, this driver will communicate simple streaming protocols used by devices like bar code readers, RFID devices, temperature controllers, actuators and custom embedded controllers.
  • Now in Japanese - The IWS development environment can be switched to a Japanese-based user interface, making it easier to develop and deploy Japanese-language applications. Users of IWS can already develop applications in any language, but InduSoft went a step further and implemented a Japanese language pack that allows them to experience the development environment in either English or Japanese.

InduSoft Web Studio v6.1 Service Pack 6 is available as a free upgrade for existing v6.1 customers on their website.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Moulding application!

Melt pressure measuring chain is precise and reliable

When moulding components to very tight dimensional tolerances the precise measurement and recording of melt pressure is essential to ensure minimum out of spec product. The new melt pressure measuring chain from Kistler brings new precision and repeatability to measuring this important process parameter directly in front of the screw. The new measuring chain is made up of a factory calibrated sensor, matched amplifier and cable designed specifically to measure and record the melt pressure in injection moulding machines and hot runner systems and is also suitable for measuring static pressure in polymer pumps.

The new sensor allows the melt pressure and temperature signals to be integrated into the moulding machine's control system providing a practical, cost effective means of enhancing production efficiency.

The very stable, high temperature resistant, piezoresistive measuring element is protected by a robust diaphragm allowing the sensor to be mounted directly in the flow of the material to eliminate the time lag inherent in indirect measuring systems. A temperature signal derived from the piezorestive element is used by the amplifier to compensate for temperature variations providing an exceptional level of accuracy of the melt pressure in real time.

The new sensor displays exceptional precision with repeatability errors of <0.1%, linearity errors of <0.5% and zero point change of <0.5%. Supplied as a complete measuring chain with a new digital amplifier that also has a melt temperature output, the Type 4021A is available for pressures ranges up to 3,000 bar at a maximum operating temperature of 350o Celsius

The new measuring chain allows the melt pressure and temperature signals to be integrated into the moulding machine's control system providing a practical, cost effective means of enhancing production efficiency.

New website for Invensys

Invensys Operations Management has launched its new corporate website. The new site shows how the company's premier industry brands and solutions offer the most holistic, cost-effective way to optimise and improve the performance and profitability of its clients' business operations.

"Over the past several months, we have made significant investments to create a customer- and visitor-friendly site that supports our open, collaborative approach," said Mark Davidson, vice president, global marketing, Invensys Operations Management. "As a truly integrated company, the combined capabilities of our eight leading brands, including Avantis®, Eurotherm®, Foxboro®, IMServ™, InFusion™, SimSci-Esscor™, Triconex® and Wonderware® are aligned for our clients' long-term success, and the new website has been designed for easy access to information about our unique industry solutions, services and products offerings.
"With more enhancements to come, this is only Phase 1 of our new online presence, but we are pleased to offer a look at the value Invensys Operations Management provides to our clients and the market in general. With an open environment and platform, we help improve the performance of our clients' resources-their people, equipment, energy and materials-in real time, with dramatic, measurable results. Our new site demonstrates that when working with Invensys, the experience will be one of real collaboration with real-time results."

Located at, the website features an integrated view of Invensys Operations Management, with sections devoted to specific industries, solutions, products, and consulting and service offerings, along with customer and ecosystem partner support and training. The site is also home to 60 new customer success stories, as well as additional information.

Wireless I/O adaptor

Modules for distributed automation applications

The new Wireless POINT I/O Adapter (ILX34-AENWG) is a high-speed, standards-based 802.11g wireless I/O adapter from ProSoft. It takes benefits of the compact size of the 1734 POINT I/O systems (distributed Input/Output modules) from PLC/PAC manufacturer Rockwell Automation®, and combines it with ProSoft Technology´s Integrated Wireless Architecture™.

When coupled with the Wireless, POINT I/O Adapter becomes ideal for collecting data from and for controlling moving systems (like robots, automated carts, overhead cranes, earthmovers), as well as fixed-position racks in hard-to-reach areas of the process plant.

The need
Non-tethered link to distributed I/O is requested in applications with moving or remote equipment, or where it would be difficult or costly to wire devices or control panels. These applications include:
  • Tank farms (Oil and Gas, Water treatment),
  • Cranes, stackers/reclaimers (Material Handling),
  • Rotating filling, spooling, molding machines (Food and Beverage),
  • Robotics / multi-axis machining
  • Remote monitoring
  • Condition monitoring
  • and other remote/moving distributed I/O applications.
The solution
The ability to connect POINT I/O modules wirelessly, allows Automation Engineers to design high-performance, scalable and low-latency systems in cases where wired I/O would be problematic.

This adapter provides a familiar programming environment to users by utilising the connection-based EtherNet/IP protocol and configuration with RSLogixTM 5000 programming environment and connection-based EtherNet/IPTM protocol to simplify configuring and communicating with POINT I/O racks scattered throughout the process facility.

The benefits
The Wireless POINT I/O Adapter can be used in networks with RadioLinx® Industrial Hotspots or third party 802.11g access points to provide high-speed, low latency 802.11g client communication over widely spaced plant areas. This ability to work with existing standards-based wireless technology protects and leverages the end-users' investment. For security, the Wireless POINT I/O employs 802.11i WPA2 with AES Encryption.

The Wireless POINT I/O Adapter provides users with the flexibility and scalability (up to 63 modules) offered by the many standard Rockwell Automation POINT I/O modules including analog I/O, digital I/O, POINT Guard I/O(TM), DeviceLogix(TM), relays, RTD, and counters.

All ProSoft Technology products come with a 3 year warranty and unlimited technical support.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Liquid level

Precision sensor “Off the Shelf”

The Gill Sensors ‘R-Series’ is a precision “off the shelf” liquid level sensor, developed for motorsport, military and industrial applications. The sensor has no moving parts, utilising advanced capacitive technology to accurately monitor the liquid level.

Compatible with fuel, oil, water and other specialist liquids, the R-Series liquid level sensor features an SAE 5-bolt flange mount as standard and is manufactured to the customer’s exact length requirement, avoiding the need for any mechanical adjustment by the customer. With fully integrated electronics producing a configurable 0-5V analogue output, the R-Series is an ideal ‘drop-in’ solution for most liquid level applications.

In addition to the standard sensor, the company has also introduced an ‘Rxl’ variant of the sensor for applications where a very long sensor is required. This variant of the R-Series utilises the same SAE 5-bolt mounting pattern but introduces additional mechanical strengthening features to support the longer probe. This sensor is ideal for industrial applications that require precision liquid level measurement of storage tanks up to 3m in depth.

With over ten years development experience in the field of capacitive liquid level measurement, Gill Sensors has quickly become a leader in the industry, with customers spanning top level motorsport, military and industrial applications.

Servo driver

Built-in motor wizard works with most servo motors for easy integration

ORMEC Systems Corporation (ORMEC) has just announced the global launch of the XD-Series, a new family of Indexer Servo Drives, providing high-reliability motion control capabilities for even the most challenging applications. The unique features of the XD-Series are built upon proven success of ORMEC's high performance, networked, multi-axis integrated motion controllers, of which thousands have been successfully installed in the field. Product philosophy behind the XD-Series centers on the critical importance of understanding application requirements and the ability to specify parameters, to achieve optimal motion control performance.

This series allows programming of 32 individual motion profiles, which can be mapped to I/O points, 1 or 2 functions per point, initiated via Modbus/TCP, and chained or looped together. The adaptable I/O, with 14 inputs and 8 outputs, can be mapped to change from position, velocity or torque modes during program execution. Motion can be synchronized with supported machine I/O, allowing for start, stop or trigger speed changes, with inputs at any point in the chain, and user-defined units for axis position speed and acceleration, further simplifying implementation. By employing an HMI or optional Fieldbus communication, the XD-Series allows motion parameter adjustments, remote commanded motion and real-time indexer status read capabilities. Communication setup may be accomplished via USB or Ethernet connections, with Modbus/TCP, Ethernet/IP, CANopen and Profibus-DP options. The XD-Series is available in 115, 230 and 460 VAC input power, with 3 to 60 amp continuous current ratings.

In addition, the XD-Series features a built-in Motor Wizard, which simplifies non-standard motor integration and enables users to quickly commission unproven motors. Once the program and motor data are loaded onto the indexer, configuration data is stored both in the indexer and on a removable memory card, greatly simplifying software transfer, duplication requirements, and hardware replacement needs. Software includes extensive support for monitoring and optimizing an application, allowing the application program to be quickly honed to perfection.

ORMEC's software tools can reduce conventional setup efforts, from what typically was days, to a matter of minutes, with the supplied pre-defined "load and go" application templates. The versatility and high-performance design of the XD-Series make it uniquely capable of handling a wide range of motion control applications, including Intelligent Conveyor Control, Pick and Place, Labeling, Flying Shear, Rotary Knives, Scanning, High Speed Printing, Part Storage and Retrieval, and many others. In addition, the unique built-in features of the XD-Series allow it to support otherwise difficult application requirements, such as Tension Control, Dual Loop Feedback, Registration, Gearing and others.

New transmission probe

Aabspec has released a new dual sample transmission probe for their #S and #SX multi-mode spectroscopy/ microscopy systems.

The probe is formed in a single piece of 316 stainless steel (no welds, no brazes) and provides lower thermal mass with integral sample temperature read-out. The #S and #SX provide the capability to compare two samples in the same experiment. Temperatures from –150degC to 600degC can be used with pressures from UHV to 1000psi.

Optical modes include FTIR using Transmission or Large Angle Reflectance with the option of UV irradiation. In addition, the #S and #SX provide Raman Spectroscopy and Microscopy. Applications include polymer, adhesive, catalyst and

Scottish power

Improving automation at twelve sites

PAS has announced that Scottish Power has selected its comprehensive alarm management and control performance software and services to improve the operations of twelve sites comprising gas-fired, coal-fired, and hydro-electric power generation stations.

Under the contract, PAS engineers will assess the performance of alarm management systems and control loops, and develop improvement plans for each individual plant. PAS will also install its PlantState Suite software at all sites, which will provide comprehensive alarm management and control performance functionality to facilitate the assessment, and improve the performance, of their systems. Upon completion of the project, Scottish Power will continue to utilise PlantState Suite to monitor and sustain the improvements.

"Scottish Power selected the PAS alarm management and control loop performance solutions after an exhaustive assessment of available technologies in the market," said Suzanne Mackay, Scottish Power Project Manager. "We believe that these technologies will best help us avoid abnormal operating situations, significantly improve the situation awareness of our plant operators, and provide better control of our plants

"In choosing PAS software and services, Scottish Power has taken a significant step in further advancing their leadership in Process safety, reliability, and performance." said Chris Lyden, PAS President. "We are proud to be their partner in this endeavour."

ELVIS @ university!

Standardised for new mechatronic engineering course

Kingston University (GB) recently purchased thirty NI ELVIS (National Instruments Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite) units to equip its state-of-the-art laboratories for its new Mechatronic Engineering course, which started in 2009.

“We chose to standardise on NI hardware and software tools in order to provide the best learning experience for our engineering students” said Gordana Collier, Senior Lecturer at Kingston University (in picture left with Robert Morton of National Instruments). “Our strategy is to adopt an ‘applied approach to teaching and research’ which was the driving force behind the investment. We are very passionate about hands-on, project-based learning being more engaging and producing better skilled, better prepared engineers for the workplace. NI ELVIS, LabVIEW and Multisim help us deliver this experience to students and more effectively support their learning.”

Mechatronics: An Integrated Approach
Clarence De Silva; available through ISA

This book offers a strong foundation in such core subjects as dynamic system modeling, electronic components and analysis, mechanical components and analysis, robotics, sensors/transducers and instrumentation, stepper motors, dc and ac motors and drives, hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, fluidics, automatic control, digital processing and hardware, communication and interfacing, software tools, design, and prototyping. Appendices provide additional background on Laplace and Fourier transform techniques, and software tools including MATLAB®, SIMULINK®, and LabVIEW®. The book emphasizes practical situations and applications with numerous worked examples, problems, and exercises. An entire chapter is devoted to practical case studies.
Head of School of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering, Professor Andrzej Ordys pointed out: “Our MSc in Mechatronics combines strong theoretical background with practical hands-on experience. We believe that this addresses the needs of students and employers. Moreover, we are seeing an ever increasing importance of applied electronics in virtually all engineering disciplines; for example in the automotive industry. Thus it is our imperative to enhance the electronics content and delivery in all our courses, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Furthermore, the NI equipment has already proven very useful in our research projects.”

NI ELVIS, based on National Instruments LabVIEW, features an integrated suite of twelve instruments in one compact form factor and is ideal for hands-on learning. Educators use it to teach concepts in circuit design, instrumentation, control, telecommunications and embedded/MCU theory.

Each unit in Kingston’s lab is accompanied by a Freescale microprocessor teaching board. Several experiments from Quansar, including an inverted pendulum are also used with NI ELVIS. A suite of fifteen National Instruments CompactRIOs have been deployed in research and teaching of advanced control.
“NI has always been passionate about enabling STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) education and inspiring future engineers and scientists” said Robert Morton, National Instruments UK & Ireland Managing Director. “Now, more than ever, we believe universities need to deliver a healthy stream of innovative, creative and talented engineers and scientists to address some of the serious challenges industry, and the world, faces in the 21st Century. NI is proud to be able to supply tools to help universities do this.”

To continue developing the strong partnership between NI and Kingston University, National Instruments UK & Ireland is a regular participant in the Industrial Advisory Board, held at the University campus. The role of the Industrial Advisory Board is to shape and tailor university courses to meet industry needs, ensuring graduates achieve the relevant technical skills, knowledge and experience to take a proactive role in industry.

Sensor company changes

In order to be prepared for its continuing successful development in the years to come, Contrinex, the Swiss based sensor company, shas reinforced its management team by winning a top manager from a global market leader as Chief Business Officer and completing succession planning, as the 2nd generation joins the Managing Board
From left: Friedrich Keglowich, Annette Heimlicher and Founder Peter Heimlicher.

Contrinex has grown from a one-man operation founded by Dipl. Ing. ETH Peter Heimlicher in 1972 into a multinational group with over 500 employees worldwide. More than 15 country affiliates serve the core markets of Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

Friedrich Keglowich, 54, is joining the Contrinex AG Managing Board in early February. As Chief Business Officer (CBO), he will head up International Sales, Marketing and Product Management with the support of the teams already in place.

After completing a degree in electrical engineering, Mr Keglowich worked for BBC AG (now ABB) for over 10 years and then changed to SICK AG, where, in his capacities of Managing Director and Industrial Sensors Division Manager, he contributed considerable towards the success and phenomenal growth of this company in the past 20 years.

Annette Heimlicher, 32, daughter of the company founder, is also joining the Managing Board. She will remain in charge of Corporate Development, where she will continue to be responsible for the company's global expansion and strategic development.

She holds a Master in Economics degree from London School of Economics (LSE) as well as a further Master's degree from the University of Geneva. She was previously active as Associate Director at the World Economic Forum in Geneva.

Company founder Peter Heimlicher, 64, remains as CEO and President of the company.

Into Africa!

Centre of excellence to support clients in North and Francaphone Africa

Invensys Operations Management has opened a new facility in Algiers (DZ), strengthening its commitment to clients in the North African market. The new location will serve as the company's regional sales and operations headquarters. It features an engineering excellence centre, modernised staging area, technology showcase centre and a training and customer support service centre, ensuring support to local project deployment.

Algeria is fundamental to world oil and gas markets as a major exporter of crude oil, piped natural gas, LNG and petroleum products, and it accounts for one-quarter of EU gas imports. Approximately 90 percent of the nation's crude oil exports go to Western Europe, with Italy as the main market followed by Germany and France.

Invensys has been very active in North Africa and the Middle East and is rapidly expanding in the region. "As a leading provider of industrial automation systems and services, Invensys recognizes Algeria's immense potential, especially in the oil and gas sectors. We are pleased to contribute to the nation's plans to invest and build effective and efficient systems for a sustainable future," said Teemu Tunkelo, president, Invensys Operations Management, Europe, Russia and Africa. "Our new facility will enable us to better serve our valued customers in Algeria and North Africa, leveraging our global organization's 100 years of experience providing innovation, technology and world-class automation solutions."
The expansion of Invensys Operations Management in Algeria also reflects the company's innovative approach to human resource management. Training local employees and those of its customers in advanced control engineering will help Algeria efficiently develop the country's oil and gas reserves while meeting sustainability targets.

"We are very optimistic about our future in Algeria, and we look forward to helping our clients drive real-time business and performance optimization," said Mohamed Hales, Invensys Operations Management's general director for Algeria. "Invensys aims to be the unquestioned industry leader by creating long-term success for our clients and their customers, and we remain committed to accelerating knowledge transfer programs that will contribute to Algeria's development and progress."

Servo accelerometers

High-precision measurements with resolution down to 0.05 mg

Sherborne Sensors has announced the launch of the A200 Series, a family of high-precision, gravity referenced linear servo accelerometers, offering measurement resolution down to 0.05 mg.

A200 Series

Guaranteed Delivery
Sherborne Sensors has also announced the global launch of their Guaranteed On-Time Delivery program, designed to provide customers with added assurance when selecting Sherborne Sensors as their supplier of choice for precision measurement instrumentation requirements.
Under the terms of the program, Sherborne Sensors will guarantee that products will ship on or before their originally acknowledged ship date, or the Purchaser is eligible for credit, in accordance with an established Late Delivery Compensation plan. Eligible products include all Sherborne Sensors precision accelerometers, inclinometers, force transducers, load cells, rotary encoders, digital panel meters, power supplies and accessories. Products are accompanied by a comprehensive two-year product warranty, with each model 100% tested and calibrated at the factory prior to shipment.
Notes Sherborne Sensors Managing Director, Mike Baker, “Our Guaranteed On-Time Delivery program provides our growing worldwide customer base with even greater confidence, that our products will be delivered as promised, on-time, every time, without exception. In extending this unprecedented offer, we hope to further assist customers in minimizing costly downtime, while providing even more reasons why Sherborne Sensors is their first choice for precision measurement instrumentation.”

A200 series accelerometers are available in ranges from ±1 to ±20g, and are designed to reliably operate over a temperature range of -55 to +95°C (-67 to +203°F). The design of the A200 series incorporates a closed-loop balance torque mechanism, allowing sensors to reliably measure vector acceleration, and operating as a complete servo measurement system. By adjusting servo amplifier parameters and related electronic networks, operating characteristics of the A200 series can be optimized to suit particular application requirements. A200 series units are available with connector or solder pins versions as standard, with option for custom units that may be manufactured and tested to meet specific military conformance standards. Flight qualified versions are also available.
Incorporating the same torque mechanism and servo electronics, certain models within the A200 series (A260) also feature a switching regulator; to enable direct operation from a single ended dc power supply. Galvanic isolation between primary and secondary circuits provides total electrical isolation between input supply and signal output. To meet certain measurement requirements, such as those found in aerospace applications, specific units feature an optional low-pass filter and 1g bias circuitry for vertical mounting

With their versatility and performance characteristics, the A200 series may be used in a variety of applications, including flight test monitoring, accident data collection, structural health monitoring, flight simulators, mass transit system braking control, road bed analysis, data acquisition systems, and low frequency analysis. Recommended accessories for the A200 series include power supplies, mating connectors and panel indicators, all available from Sherborne Sensors.

The A200 series has a long and successful market history under the Schaevitz® brand. Acquisition of this technology by Sherborne has allowed customers to benefit from the same exceptional product qualities as its predecessors, with the added benefits of ISO9001: 2000 certified manufacturing, extensive applications engineering support, global technical sales presence, repair, refurbishment and calibration services, stocking programs, and continuous product improvements.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Flight test

New sensors

The new FTS fibre optic displacement sensors from Ixthus are designed for flight test applications. Weighing just 175 grams, the sensor electronics feature a 25 x 50 x 75 mm enclosure with MIL-DTL-83513 Micro-D connector for power and output signals.

Philtec provides customized non-contact fibre optic sensors which are ideally suited for the extreme environments of many aerospace applications. Small probe size, wide sensor bandwidth and extreme temperature ranges are key advantages. These devices measure linear distance and displacement up to 50 mm.

Typical applications include valve and actuator measurements, turbine shaft and blade tip dynamics, as well as satellite component testing in cryogenic chambers.

Another gateway

Industrial gateway for data acquisition, visualization and control

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of its Industrial Gateway Server (IGS) 7.5 drivers for the company’s Proficy® software. The enhanced offering, utilizing industry-standard Kepware KEPServerEX and driver technology, includes more than 100 protocols, which enables connectivity to thousands of different control hardware and instruments. Several of the connectivity solutions support vertical-industry specific hardware, popular in today’s growing markets.

A single IGS 7.5 instance allows for customers to connect to a variety of devices, IGS 7.5 provides users with an opportunity to consolidate information from different control hardware and instruments to visualize, control, analyze and optimize via connected Proficy HMI/SCADA, MES, EMI or Workflow software. It is optimized to use the maximum possible speed supported by the devices with built-in diagnostics for communication errors and complete browsing functionality into devices. This connectivity solution added to GE’s Proficy software portfolio allows customers to manage operations from a more complete perspective, allowing them to process various data points and co-relating multiple process indicators.

“The capabilities and functionalities of control hardware and instruments are being enhanced at the same pace as the software,” said Prasad Pai, Product Manager for GE’s Proficy iFIX software. “Newer communication standards and protocols are being introduced with the view of providing customers the ultimate flexibility in data acquisition and control. Due to these fast paced changes, it is important to partner with a company, such as Kepware, focused solely on keeping abreast with the changes.”
IGS 7.5 provides robust and efficient connectivity through the latest OPC DA standards and also comes with a native Proficy iFIX interface that takes speed and reliability further. It goes beyond Proficy iFIX HMI/SCADA solutions and can be used with the entire Proficy software portfolio, such as Proficy CIMPLICITY, Workflow, Plant Applications and Historian, aligning with GE’s commitment to providing a tightly integrated software portfolio. The native interface into the Proficy iFIX software is also a unique feature of this driver over other offerings.

“Today, with acquisitions/mergers and consolidation, companies inherit a variety of control hardware and instruments in their plants,” said Pai. “The biggest challenge is how to consolidate them and bring them to a common data communication standard. The enhanced IGS 7.5 goes a long way in providing that solution.”

The enhanced IGS 7.5 application supports remote and offline configuration options without disrupting communications. Existing customers can seamlessly upgrade to the enhanced IGS 7.5 and access all the newly added device connectivity options quickly. GE’s on going work with Kepware keeps the product in tune with technology changes and enhanced with connections into newer devices.

Gateway addition

Read & write network data

A new addition to the Anybus gateway family from HMS Industrial Networks, enables a Profibus-DP Master to read and write J1939 network data for control and monitoring tasks. The gateway accomplishes this by operating simultaneously as a Profibus-DP Slave on a Profibus network and as a CAN node on a J1939 network. Data is exchanged from either network based on a user defined configuration. HMS provides a free Windows-based configuration tool (BWConfig) that allows the user to map J1939 parameter (PGN) data into the module's input and output tables, accessible by the Profibus Master over the Profibus-DP network.

With is rugged industrial design the device is designed for use across a wide variety of applications and industries. These include heavy duty equipment and vehicles used for agriculture, construction, fire and rescue, oil and gas, mining, power generation, motor control, material handling, trucking, mass-transportation and marine applications.

Typical uses include applications in oil & gas production, or on-vehicle applications where the gateway is used as an interface between the J1939 network and Profibus based industrial PLCs.

On the Profibus side the gateway supports Profibus-DP Slave functionality with cyclic I/O data transmission and it can handle up to 244 bytes Input and 244 bytes of Output data. On the J1939 side the gateway supports up to 35 incoming J1939 transport protocol (large message) sessions and can monitor up to 120 different PGNs in the Input data point configuration and transmit up to 100 different PGNs in the Output data point configuration. The J1939 transport protocol (large message) handler rejects incoming session requests (both BAM and RTS/CTS) for PGN/Address pairs that are not configured as input data points.

This is the newest member of HMS´ Anybus gateway family which consist of more than 180 individual versions providing inter-network communications between almost any fieldbus or industrial Ethernet network.

Hydrostatic pressure sensor

Deltapilot M represents a new instrument from the Pressure M-Platform of Endress+Hauser.

The Deltapilot M hydrostatic pressure sensor is used in level, volume and mass measurement in liquids and paste-like media. The area of application ranges from process engineering and process instrumentation through to the pharmaceutical and food industry.

Deltapilot M is available in the following versions:
  • FMB50 – compact design
  • FMB51 – rod probe
  • FMB52 – cable probe
  • FMB53 – cable probe with anchor clamp

The modular instrument design safeguards optimum adaptation of the instrument to application requirements. The modularity covers the entire M-Platform and comprises, among other items, different process connections, housing materials, electronics as well as communication protocols. This contributes considerably to easy operation, flexibility in instrument selection as well as time and cost savings in commissioning and maintenance.

Deltapilot M is equipped with the tried and tested Contite measuring cell. It guarantees a high degree of accuracy also in fast temperature changes, is absolutely climateproof and insensitive to build up. Measurements are performed with the highest reproducibility.

Commissioning is easily and quickly accomplished via a DIP switch on the electronic insert - entirely without any additional tool. An onsite four-line display is optionally available.

Deltapilot M has all relevant international approvals (ATEX, FM, CSA, NEPSI, etc.) for applications in hazardous areas.

Learning from down under down under

Studying automation at (very) long distance

Distance learning is one of the new ways of learning and IDC Technology have been in the forefront. Here is perhaps an extreme example in more senses than one. Extreme climate and extreme distance. So wrap up well and meet one of their students.

One of IDC Technologies’ engineering students, Steve Szekely, is based at the Australian Antarctic Division station on very remote Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean (No! I didn't know there was such a place either!). The base is a sub-Antarctic settlement of between 15 and 40 people located at the northern tip of the 34km by 5km island. The island is world heritage listed. We were curious about Steve’s life and work at the station and about how he managed his engineering study obligations, including joining the live interactive webcasts with students from other parts of the world.

Steve is studying the Advanced Diploma in Industrial Automation, which is offered by them via distance learning using the latest techniques.

What is your age, and do you have a partner/ family on the “mainland”?
I am 44 years old. My wife Julie and our three children are living in New Zealand.
What is your career background in brief?
My background is as a radio/communications technician mostly in the mining industry but also contracting as a technician in a variety of communications fields.

When did you decide that you wanted to do some Antarctic service?
I have always wanted to go to Antarctica since I was a boy. I grew up in Tasmania and was fascinated by the stories of adventurers and the extreme conditions they had to deal with.

What is your official job title, and what tasks do you have to do?
I am a Communications Technical Officer. I am one of two comms personnel, and between us we look after all the comms equipment on the island.

What are some of the unique engineering and technical challenges you have?
The things that can cause the most difficulties here are the ever present winds with salt spray, and the wild life. Wind chill can make it very difficult to do delicate wiring work outside. Zero degrees C may not seem very cold until you add 30 knots of wind. Once you take your gloves off you only have minutes before you lose feeling in your fingers and have to stop.

As far as the wildlife goes, Elephant seals can cause quite a bit of havoc when they decide to rub up or lean against your equipment enclosures. A large seal is quite capable of knocking down a 1.5m solid wooden fence.

Managing Study Obligations

Why did you choose this particular course (or what factors were part of the decision?)?
I have done quite a bit of work in the mining industry and I have always been interested in the automation and process control side of the operation. I thought that I would like to increase my knowledge in this area and diversify my skill set. The problem was that I could not attend classes in person. Everything had to be done remotely.

How long have you been doing it now?
I have been working on this course for about a year.

How many hours commitment each week is required for you?
On average I do about an hour and a half of study a night. Mostly reading text books and working on assignments.

Given your location, how do you manage with the online webcasts?
As the delegates are spread out all over the world, the question of setting a time for a webcast is difficult. I am given a choice of two or three different times during the day for each webcast and so I just find the one that is most convenient.

Others at the site must be studying too in down time, but what special challenges does the location bring to your study time?
I try to arrange field trips between study modules so that I can get away for up to a week at a time. If there are urgent repairs needed then that takes priority over studying and webcasts but due to the webcasts being recorded, I can catch up when I return to the station.

What’s been good, what’s been not so good with the course?
I have really enjoyed the work on PLC programming and control loop tuning as well as the chemical engineering module. It really helped me understand some of the processes that I had seen in the mining industry.

I love the flexibility of the study and the access to the lecturers. They have all been excellent at responding to email queries. I guess that there has not been any thing that I would call “not so good”. Some of the modules have been harder than others, but that just adds to the overall sense of achievement.

After your term is finished, how will the new qualification help?
When I return home I would like to pursue more opportunities in the process control field, in particular the oil and gas industry. I already have considerable experience in industrial data and communications and this qualification helps to bridge these skills into other fields.

And finally, what advice would you give someone who has a work commitment and is contemplating one of these courses?
To take on a commitment like this is a big task but if it wasn’t hard work then the qualification would not be worth anything. To help with this, the course has been designed with flexibility in mind. The varied webcast times and studying at your own pace can usually be juggled around work commitments without much, or any, interference on your work time. In my own case there was a period when I just could not attend webcasts or study but IDC worked with me to find a solution.

I have found the course to be very interesting and rewarding and I am very glad that I started.

More security

New series provides flexible, functional industrial network security

To mark the introduction of a new decade (hopefully not with a bang!) where they hope that industrial network security will be widely adopted, Byres Security are starting off 2010 with the introduction of a new line of Tofino products, the Tofino Argon Product Series.

This is a suite of five rugged Plug-n-Protect™ security appliances with varying connectivity, temperature and power supply capabilities, as well as a selection of firmware modules that customize the functionality of each appliance. The result is a practical and effective cyber security system that is uniquely suitable for protecting industrial facilities with a variety of SCADA, process control and networking systems.

The release of these new products lets companies select the exact mix of security features, fibre/twisted-pair network support and environmental hardening their plants need in a security solution. For example, detailed filtering of Modbus TCP messages over fiber optic cable (by combining the Tofino Argon Modbus Enforcer LSM with the Tofino 220 MM/MM appliance) might be ideal for securing an onsite tank farm, while secure remote maintenance support over a DSL modem would take advantage of the Tofino Argon VPN LSM and the Tofino 220 TX/TX appliance combination.

The mix and match strategy of the Tofino Argon Product Series is about making control systems simpler and more secure” remarked Eric Byres, a leading global industrial security expert and the Chief Technology Officer of Byres Security Inc.Complex IT firewalls include convoluted features that you don’t need and don’t use – they are an invitation to configuration errors and ultimately a big security risk. Tofino is designed with the needs of industry in mind, letting you purchase just the features you need to secure your control system.”

The Tofino Argon Product Series is part of the Tofino Industrial Security Solution, which includes Tofino technology that is sold by Belden / Hirschmann, Honeywell and MTL Instruments. All Tofino products are simple to implement and do not require shutdowns to deploy, providing increased safety, network security and performance of control systems.

Dew point

Drift free measurements in vacuum

The S8000 Integrale cooled mirror hygrometer, from Michell Instruments, provides highly reliable, drift-free dew-point measurements in vacuums as low as 0.05 mbar, making it unique in its category. It is ideal for applications, such as oil refilling of transformers, which involve vacuum pumping.

Many high voltage transformers, especially those switching many thousands of kVA (such as the types found in power plant sub-stations), are filled completely with a refined mineral oil. This serves several purposes; most importantly the oil must act as a main part of the transformer’s insulation, though it also serves to cool the transformer.

Moisture inside transformers adversely affects the dielectric and insulating properties of the oil. Vacuum pumping the transformer enclosure is a common practice in the industry, with the sole purpose of minimising the total moisture content prior to oil filling.

Optimal dryness is desirable at this critical stage and a reliable, accurate dew point measurement enables users to monitor the process and ensure that moisture is eliminated as much as possible. Together with its low-pressure capability, the S8000 can measure dew-points as low as -60°C with 0.1°C accuracy. Its fundamental chilled-mirror technology is drift-free so measurements are reliable over time. The design of the sensor head allows for excellent sealing both in high-pressure as well as in low pressure and vacuum applications, making it a highly versatile instrument.

Invisible displays?

High performance, cost-effective sunlight readability, together with outstanding indoor colour saturation

Anders Electronics has announced the availability of its newest sunlight readable 2.8” TMR TFT display. Specially designed for portable applications like mobile handsets, remote monitoring systems, industrial and metering products, portable measuring devices, and medical devices, the Anders 2.8” TMR TFT offers excellent indoor and outdoor optical specifications, superb guaranteed availability, and unprecedented cost-performance advantages.

Traditional sunlight readable products rely on either a power-consuming bright backlight, unsuitable for portable applications, or cost-prohibitive transflective technology. The newest Anders display leverages highly cost-effective transmissive micro reflective (TMR), a recognized and viable alternative to transflective displays for designers of indoor/outdoor OEM products.

For outdoor use, TMR displays are comparable in performance with transflective displays. For indoor use, the TMR display’s high transmission rate actually results in better colour saturation and better performance compared with transflective technology.

Anders’ portrait mode TMR TFTs are currently available in 2.8”, 4.3”, 5.7” and 7.0” screen sizes, with a resolution of 240 x (RGB) x 320 pixels, 262K colours, and an integrated backlight. The displays offer a display surface luminance of 300cd/m2, a contrast ratio of 300:1, and a 12 o’clock viewing angle. Designed for rugged industrial and outdoor use, Anders’ TMR TFTs offer operating temperatures from -20C to +70C and storage temperatures from -30C to +80C.

“Our TMR TFTs offer all the advantages of transflective TFTs – in terms of performance, durability, and sunlight readability – at a significantly lower cost to OEM designers than transflective displays,” said Mike Logan, Product Manager at Anders Electronics. “In today’s competitive environment, this gives our clients better value, with no compromise on quality – ultimately translating into increased sales,” he concluded.

IT Management

New IT management software

RiZone, Rittal’s new IT management software, along with Microsoft’s System Centre Operations Manager (SCOM), represents the first commercial software which extends beyond the infrastructure components and allows the power consumption monitoring of all devices enabling real energy savings to be easily achieved.

RiZone monitors and controls the cooling from chillers, computer room air-conditioning (CRAC) systems, liquid cooling packages, free cooling and power supplies, such as UPS, power distribution, etc. along with energy use and other physical parameters, such as temperature and access or security of a data centre. Microsoft’s SCOM monitors the performance of the server and provides an event display and event evaluations. Through this collaboration Rittal has created an essential management pack that facilitates the sharing of data between IT infrastructure and servers.

RiZone and SCOM, through integrated communication, enables the physical services to be automatically scaled up and down depending on the IT demand - with no impact on resilience or downtime. If demand within the application layer is higher, the software interacts with the physical layer to provide what is needed, such as more power or more cooling. Conversely, if IT demand is low, the physical layer can effectively hibernate which can significantly reduce valuable power consumption. An added benefit is a holistic view of the overall network infrastructure is provided via the SCOM intuitive graphical user interface.

New website launched

New website with improved sales and service functionality

Intepro Systems have gone live with a new website offering greater levels of functionality for visitors. The new website is the latest development in a restructuring of the company that has seen Intepro recently relocate their European HQ to a new facility in Sandhurst, (GB), appoint Simon Tanner to the role of UK Sales Manager, have Nicky Charles take on the role of UK and Europe Support Manager and sees Colin Sycamore change roles from European Sales Manager to the new position of Global Service Manager to provide the highest level of service to the large installed customer base and the growing list of new installations.

In addition to providing comprehensive information on Intepro’s products and markets full information is available on their support services including installation and relocation, calibration, project management, training courses, test programmes, fixtures and software updates. The key new area on the website is a management function for customers to register system faults, monitor repair processes and outcomes.

Derek Somers, European Sales Manager of Intepro comments, “The launch of our new website is a response to the continued growth of our business. It offers improved functionality and will develop continuously to provide new and existing customers with enhanced sales and support features. Intepro has been supplying ATE solutions all over the world for nearly 30 years. The mission critical nature of our test systems means that fast, efficient service and visibility of the process is essential to our customers and we are pleased to be able to provide this new management tool on our re-launched website.”

The company produces some of the most reliable and easy to use automated test equipment for power testing applications. A highly specialised engineering team and flexible system architecture delivers high quality customer specific solutions to end users throughout the aerospace, alternate energy, automotive, industrial, military, OEM power supply, power components and telecommunications industries.

Intepro Systems ATE is configurable to suit every customer's needs and provides complex instrumentation and ATE systems for design validation, production test and burn-in of power systems, power supplies, DC:DC Converters and power components. Intepro has supplied ATE systems to end users and manufacturers all over the world and their knowledge and expertise in moving and measuring power makes their products unequalled for production testing, ESS screening, repair and characterisation of power components and sub assemblies

It has a global reach with direct sales offices in the U.K., Ireland and U.S. and distributors covering Europe, China, Korea and Japan. Intepro have a highly specialised engineering team with world wide experience in delivering custom and turnkey test solutions, integrating the latest technological innovations to the test process such as, dual well fixturing, machine vision and automated handling.