Friday, February 19, 2010

Compact plastic housing for individual connector modules

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

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

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

I/O extender with 8 Analog inputs

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

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

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

A growing family

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mini loadcells

Designed for precision force measurements in space constrained environments

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

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

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

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

BA simulators energy consumption

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LVDT extreme reliability for task critical measurements

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

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

See our Acronyms Page

Decreasing installation costs for the power and utility market

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

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

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

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

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

More about PACSystems.

Ultra-fast current voltage system

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

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

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

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

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

All three products will be available beginning in May 2010.

Link load cells

LCM Systems now has the Self Indicating Link Load Cell (SILL) and Radio Telemetry Wireless Link Load Cell (RILL) as stock products.

RILLThis latest introduction means that customers who have previously used these specialist, bespoke load cells for lifting and weighing applications can choose from a standard range of products resulting in faster delivery times and lower prices. The stainless steel TLL Load Monitoring Link is still available as a special and can be manufactured to specific customer requirements. However, a standard version of this product will also be soon available from stock, as will a new wireless telemetry version. The new products will be announced online at and in the trade press.

Manufactured from high tensile aluminium, both the SILL and RILL are lightweight, while the shackle holes are steel bushed to ensure they are rugged and hardwearing. Both product ranges are easy to install and can be matched to standard shackle sizes. The Self Indicating Link Load Cell, with a range from 2.5 tonne to 200 tonne, has an integral display and the applied weight or force can be shown in t, kg, lb or kN, as selected by the user. A built-in alarm will also warn the operator when an applied level is met. The RILL link load cells use a license free 2.4Ghz radio and are supplied with a battery powered handheld indicator that displays the load in tonne. They can be supplied as a simple Link or LCM’s technical engineers can integrate them into more powerful radio systems.

Currently available as a special, the Load Monitoring Link (TLL) is constructed entirely from stainless steel and can be supplied with a rated load ranging from 5 tonne to 100 tonne.

Environmentally sealed to IP66, the load links are normally supplied with a MIL specification plug and socket, although as the cells are manufactured “on demand”, they can be supplied to exact specifications including size, range and output. All products are easy to install and as with the SILL and RILL can be matched to standard shackle sizes or shackles provided as part of a complete package. The TLL series can be combined with LCM Systems’ extensive range of instrumentation to provide a complete load monitoring system.

A wireless version of the TLL is currently being developed to complete this comprehensive range of Link load cells from LCM Systems

New EMEA channel manager

AEG Power Solutions has appointed Gary Browning to the role of EMEA Channel Development Director. Gary has a BA (Hons) degree in Business Studies, specialising in International Marketing Pathways and 10 years practical experience of the IT industry with a proven track record in developing IT channel business for market leader APC.

Michael Adams, Global VP Data & IT for AEG Power Solutions commented, "With over a decade of hands-on experience and a proven track record in our industry, Gary will play an important role in developing channel strategy for AEG Power Solutions and taking us to greater heights in the Compact UPS channel business.”

Gary Browning added, “This is a new role at AEG Power Solutions and I am really looking forward to establishing the AEG Power Solutions brand in the Data and IT channel. I genuinely believe that we can provide a real alternative to the other major vendors currently operating in the market place. We have already established a strong reputation with our UPS products in a number of key industrial applications and the plan is now to replicate this success within the Data and IT arena.”

“The AEG Power Solutions brand represents more than 60 years of German engineering and UPS manufacture. We provide a reliable, premium product at an affordable price, and we continue to develop new product solutions that are relevant to the market.” Browning continued, “We will shortly be launching a channel partner programme in the UK, and through this and other initiatives we will work closely with the channel to develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.”

AEG Power Solutions offers the Protect series of UPS products for channel resellers, providing uninterruptible security for PC’s, workstations, telephone systems and multimedia applications. Standard features include line-interactive UPS technology, automatic voltage regulation (AVR), double mains filter, USB and RS232 communication interfaces and includes data line protection.

New VP of technology

PAS recently appointed Jim Huff as Vice-President of Technology. He has over 25 years of industry experience and will use this extensive knowledge to lead the company's technology and solution marketing strategies that shape PAS' go-to-market, corporate, and solution offerings. He joins PAS from Invensys where he was Vice-President of Product Marketing and Portfolio Management.

During Jim Huff's career, he has held a variety of roles spanning the engineering & services, consulting, and marketing disciplines with leading companies such as Emerson, Apsentech, and Invensys.

As PAS' Vice-President of Technology, he will be responsible for bringing the innovative technologies at PAS to market while serving on the leadership team to drive ongoing operations and further alignment of PAS' solution strategies with customers' need for operational and automaton effectiveness.
"I'm excited to have Mr. Huff on board with us here at PAS. He has been a long time business associate and I'm confident in his ability to help PAS develop and bring its technologies to the market. His years of industry experience will help PAS to develop solutions that are maximally aligned with our customer's business goals," says Chris Lyden, President at PAS.

Position direct-write laser application

One of the many varied and interesting research projects at the University of Southampton’s ORC (Optoelectronics Research Centre) (GB) involves direct UV laser writing of integrated optical circuits on specialised glass substrates and on its own patented ‘flat’ optical cable. With application potential from telecom network components through to lab-on-a-chip (LOC) biological and chemical sensors, the photonic circuits are produced with the help of nanometre level precision positioning systems and motion controls from Aerotech.

The types of optical components that are typically written into the substrates include curved or straight waveguides and splitters that channel light around the circuit; and Bragg gratings which can be used to measure the refractive index of fluids or other materials. These refractive index sensors are now built into complete optical microchip solutions for bio/chemical sensing by the ORC spin out company Stratophase Ltd. The basis principle involves passing a sample material over a sensing window and the wavelength of the light reflected from the Bragg grating confirms that its refractive index is within a certain band. With a typical sensitivity of one part in a million, these devices are proving an excellent solution for a wide range of commercial bio/chemical detection applications from sugar concentrations in foods, to toxin, virus and bacteria discovery for pharmaceuticals, and petro-chemical quality control processing.

When a similar UV writing process is directly applied to the special flat optical cable which is manufactured at the ORC, the potential for these types of sensors may be produced without the need to connect high loss pigtail connections between optical fibre and optical material substrates - and may be applied for multiple sensor solutions over extremely long distances for applications that could include biological and chemical monitoring in supply pipes and rivers. The work in this area is at an early stage but the potential outcome using such techniques may also lead to the ‘holy grail’ of producing complete active switching circuits for optical computing.

As opposed to more traditional photolithography mask processing methods for these types of devices, the direct write approach benefits from single-step integration and is consequently much faster and very adaptable for rapid prototyping/short production runs at reasonable costs. The basics of the direct writing process involves modifying the core layer material by manipulating the substrate under the focussed UV laser, so clearly the precision and dynamic performance of the positioning system is fundamental and an intrinsic ‘enabling technology’ for the success of the process.

The high power UV laser is directed through an interferometer to produce an intense dual beam interference pattern at the target area. During the writing process, its focal length is held constant and the overall positioning system flatness, derived from pitch, roll, yaw and Abbe errors from both X and Y axes, must maintain sub-micron tolerances. Furthermore, the writing process needs to be continuous as the core materials are adversely affected by heating, so the control of the UV lasers’ power and firing pattern is completely synchronised with the on-the-fly compound translation of the X and Y axes. This synchronisation is another key factor for the process and is carried out within the Aerotech controller by an advanced software feature called PSO or Position Synchronised Output.

PSO triggers the UV laser in real time during continuous motion, processing high speed encoder feedback in conjunction with XY position array information for the particular feature being written. In this way, not only is each feature held to nanometre level tolerances in all planes, but the accuracy and repeatability from feature to feature and the distance between them is also realised with fantastically high precision.

The positioning system used at the ORC is an Aerotech ABL9000 series air bearing stage complete with the A3200 Digital Automation Platform motion control system with FireWire® networked Ndrive linear stage amplifiers. With a 300 mm x 300 mm travel range, this brushless linear servomotor driven, ultra-high precision stage features a balanced air-on-air preload system for maximum stiffness and glass scale encoder feedback with an encoder resolution of just one nanometre. The H-bridge design maintains both axes and their respective encoders at the same level which co-locates the centrelines of mass, force and feedback - effectively ensuring that errors are minimised for best performance straightness and flatness. With dual linear motor driven Y axes and active yaw control, the ABL9000 is able to produce perfectly parallel scans, straight lines and interpolated curves over its entire working surface. Each axis is also factory calibrated by them against a laser interferometer with the error map information added to the controller. In operation this ensures optimum translation stage accuracy.

The combination of Aerotech’s BLM series brushless linear servomotors and HLe series linear servo amplifiers provide the smoothness and stability required for nanometre resolution positioning whilst ensuring the required high bandwidth, zero crossover distortion and ultra-quiet EMC characteristics which are essential for this application.

The A3200 Digital Automation Platform provides fully deterministic PC based motion control with advanced diagnostics, set-up and tuning features that ensure perfect results. As well as the PSO feature mentioned earlier, the A3200 includes trajectory generation with multi-block look ahead to minimise geometry errors in tight profiles by regulating the speed and/or the position on each axis. The ORC use G-code programming for their particular application but the A3200 is also equipped for programming in their own AeroBASICTM or in C, C++, and Visual Basic®. For complete application integration the optional Ncontrol® SDK software development kit may be used with Windows® based ActiveX components, C++, VB and .NET class libraries. There are also a number of advanced software and hardware features available to optimise throughput performance and further improve overall machine operation.

The complete system was supplied to the ORC on a customised granite base with an additional fixed bridge arrangement that provides a stable platform for the ORC supplied interferometer optical system. The scope of supply also included direct drive rotary and vertical lift stages with comparable resolution and precision that are used together for pre-alignment of the substrate. Full cable management was included in the design which greatly assisted commissioning at the ORC.

The excellent performance of the ABL9000 series has now been enhanced with Aerotech’s PlanarHD air bearing stage. The new stage is aimed at high throughput scanning and ultra-high precision step-and-settle applications found in semiconductor processing and other emerging MEMS/Nano technologies. The design features larger air bearing surfaces for improved load carrying and higher dynamic characteristics. A brief performance specification includes 2 m/sec scan velocity and peak acceleration to 5 g - with a positioning resolution of up to 0.25 nanometres, repeatability to 50 nanometres and accuracy to +/- 300 nanometres.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mine's an orange!

Britvic Soft Drinks has selected the A15/81 monitor from Analytical Technolog(ATI), to accurately test Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) levels in finished bottled products. The innovative A15/81 is the only system that can monitor soluble H2S in water on a real time basis and enables Britvic to monitor their water bottling facility for hydrogen sulphide accurately and in compliance with strict legislation.

Bottled water in Britain is strictly controlled by The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water Regulations (England) 2007. The regulation specifies that bottled water should not contain any micro-organism, parasite, property, element or substance at a concentration or value which would constitute a potential danger to human health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates the taste and odour threshold for H2S in water to be as low as 0.05 mg/litre. Although WHO has not set a health-based guideline value of H2S in drinking water, they make it clear that H2S should not be detectable in drinking water by either taste or odour.

The A15/81 monitor measures soluble H2S in water on a real time basis, overcoming the problems caused by conventional dissolved sulphide monitoring systems, providing an improved method for measuring sulphides in solution. Rather than using a traditional ion selective electrodes (ISE) sensor, the A15/81 employs a polarographic H2S gas sensor that is isolated from the sample, enabling continuous operation on many types of water and wastewater streams with minimal maintenance and adjustment. For Britvic, a key advantage of the A15/81 monitor is that the sensor does not come into contact with the sample. Only the gas stream containing the stripped H2S reaches the sensor. As a consequence, the system continues to function regardless of the quality of the sample. The only requirement is that large particulates be strained from the sample.

Britvic required a dissolved sulphide monitor that was easy to operate and maintain. The only regular maintenance requirement is to change the acid reagent once every six weeks and to change the H2S on an 18-24 month basis. Running costs are very low as the acid usage for pH adjustment in the chemistry module of the A15/81 is inexpensive. The tubing in the sample system has long-life capability.

The monitors were installed at Britvic’s Huddersfield (GB) factory; three on each borehole line fitted in a central location. Following installation, Analytical Technology provided full operational training to Britvic on a one-to-one basis. Since implementing the monitors, Britvic has been able to ensure that its bottled products are accurately and continuously monitored for hydrogen sulphide, ensuring that costs and maintenance are kept to a minimum and reliable results are generated in real time.

Jason Gledhill, Continuous Improvement Co-ordinator at Britvic, comments: “Our customer service expectations include Right First Time, flexible installation due to the nature of FMCG processes as well as a rapid response to queries and quick resolution of any issues as and when they are identified. Analytical Technology performs excellently against all these expectations. The company takes a very flexible and professional approach to system implementation and technical support that really differentiates the company. When requested, support is usually delivered within a 24 hour period. In addition, the cost of the units was minimal compared to the scope of the project that the install was incorporated into.”

Selecting instrument which fits your needs!

Selecting the right measuring points can be tedious; often this requires complex calculations and can become a time-consuming task.

Applicator software from Endress+Hauser is designed to help with the selection and sizing of the instruments needed for a project. Applicator is available free, as a program running on the E+H web-site or by request on CD to install as a local version, to provide support throughout the life cycle of a project. Applicator provides safe, targeted and fast product selection along with simplified, application-specific sizing.

Applicator is designed to help the person who knows their application, but is unsure of the best measuring system for their need. Applicator is composed of three modules, which are interlinked, but may be used independently depending on the information needed.

The first module is the Selection module, which prompts the user to enter specific measuring point parameters. From this information, Applicator generates a selection of suitable instruments, with pictures and properties. These properties can then be viewed in the form of a comparison table. The comparison table provides a detailed overview of each suggestion, making it easy to choose the best product for the job. Printouts of specification sheets in PDF-format support engineering requirements.

The second module is the Sizing module. Products chosen using the Selection module can be easily transferred into the Sizing module, which calculates all the data required to determine the optimum instrument including the nominal width, pressure drop, accuracy, process connections and more. Results can be displayed in a variety of ways, including graphs, and may be printed or transferred to Applicator’s third module.

The third module is the Administration or Project module, which functions like a database to save project information, making it easy to access in the future. All of the data and parameters relevant to the project are stored in this module and may be accessed throughout the life cycle of a project. This module structures projects in hierarchy levels and documents them from the company level to TAG numbers. A Product Configurator interface makes it easy to then build the complete order structure and where an Online Shop account exists, the customer can quickly determine prices and availability.

Wireless streaming video on process screen

Integration of live video display and process values on a single screen allows operators a complete view of the process area

Emerson Process Management has further developed Smart Wireless solutions by integrating video streams from the Industrial Video & Control Co.’s (IVC) Relay Server, with the DeltaV™ digital automation system. For process manufacturers, the benefits of having a live video feed embedded within the DeltaV Operate display are many.

These benefits include improved safety, as operators can remotely monitor hazardous areas, enabling an additional “all-clear” visual before the execution of a process start-up, shut-down, or turn-around and improved security by providing additional ‘eyes’ on the process area, remote plant areas, or site perimeter. In addition, productivity is improved by enabling a live visual of the process being controlled to appear alongside the process measurements. Emissions monitoring is also improved with video monitoring for plant emissions, exact start and stop times for excursions can be identified so reporting to regulatory agencies is more accurate.

Video surveillance is becoming an indispensible part of process plant safety, security and operations. Using wireless technology, mission-critical video feeds can now be delivered to the control room, office buildings and other areas in the plant in a highly flexible way that is not possible with a wired solution. Live video feeds can augment the operators control of volatile processes.

IVC offers a range of industrial video solutions that include enterprise-class camera management software and rugged IP camera hardware. For hazardous areas, IVC has developed ATEX Zones 1 and 2, Class 1 Division 1 and 2 Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ), fixed, and high megapixel cameras. IVC’s software provides powerful and flexible features for viewing and controlling cameras from multiple locations, as well as sophisticated storage and automatic alarm functions.

The operator will now be able to view multiple video feeds within the context of the Operate screen, and with onscreen buttons, switch cameras or manipulate the PTZ camera’s view. IVC’s View Station software can also be used to provide operators with many additional features including video system automation, alarm management, and live and stored video viewing and control.

Emerson can provide services to install, qualify and support these wireless offerings as well as integrate wireless products from other wireless partners, providing process manufacturers with a single point of contact for their wireless needs.

Smart Wireless solutions for plant-wide operations include a variety of applications including, mobile worker, field data backhaul of remote WirelessHART™ field instruments, safety mustering, location tracking for personnel, control network bridging and remote video monitoring.

Smart Wireless is an extension of PlantWeb® digital architecture that offers solutions for field instrumentation and plant operations. Emerson’s Smart Wireless products include pressure, temperature, level, vibration, and pH field devices; wireless enabling devices; and native wireless interfaces to the DeltaV and Ovation® automation systems, AMS™ Suite software, Syncade™ suite smart operations management, and SmartStart™ services.

Precision power meters

A range of current sensors is now available that allows the Yokogawa family of precision power meters to be used for measuring very high currents.

Developed and manufactured by Hitec Power Protection of The Netherlands, the new Zero-Flux™ current sensors allow the precise measurement of currents up to several thousands of amperes - including simultaneous measurement of AC and DC currents - while also providing accurate phase-shift information.

Other key features of these sensors include isolation from the primary circuits, very high stability and accuracy, high bandwidth, saturation detection with automatic reset after overcurrent, and the ability to switch on the devices with current already present when connected.

There are three types of current sensor in the Zero-Flux™ range: the MACC Plus external current sensor; the SC1000 split-core sensor; and the CURACC current-measuring system.

The MACC Plus external current sensor offers a 1000:1 current transfer ratio for maximum 850 A peak current (600 A RMS). For DC currents, a maximum of 600 A DC can be measured continuously. Versions with voltage outputs are also available. With an overload capacity of 20%, sinusoidal currents of 85 A RMS, 170 A RMS and 430 A RMS can be measured. Maximum continuous DC currents are the same as the AC peak limits.

The SC1000 split-core Zero-Flux™ current measuring system is designed for applications where it is not possible (or allowed) to switch off a motor in a production facility or in a critical safety environment like a nuclear power plant. It can also be used in situations where it is inconvenient or costly to remove and replace the glands on thick power cables in order to run them through the sensor hole. The SC1000 measures primary currents up to 1000 A peak (700 A RMS), with a transfer ratio of 1000 A peak/0.5 A peak or 1000 A peak/10 V peak for a voltage output.

If 1000 A peak (700 A RMS) is not enough, the CURACC series offers up to 6000 A peak (4240 A RMS) for 'current-in/current-out' applications. For currents up to and including 2000 A peak (1400 A RMS), a robust resin-encapsulated head is available. For DC currents, a maximum of 6000 A DC (model E) can be measured continuously.

A range of junction units is available to minimise wiring.

Yokogawa products with which these current sensors can be used include the WT3000 precision power analyser, WT500 compact power analyser, WT210 (single-phase) and WT320 (2/3-phase) power meters, WT1600 and WT1600S digital power meters, and PZ4000 single-shot power analyser.

Guide details innovative high-pressure tube connector

Parker Hannifin has published a new 40-page guide to its innovative range of ferrule-less tube connectors for high-pressure fluid applications, which provides permanent connections for instrumentation tubing systems operating to 20,000 PSI /1,380 bar.

Assembled by means of a push-fit operation taking seconds, Phastite connectors can reduce installation costs by factors of up to 90% or more compared with welded or cone-and-thread fittings.

The guide describes the technology and sealing principle, the assembly process, and the advantages of this connection system compared with other approaches. It then provides detailed specifications and selection information for all the various shapes and sizes of fitting for tube diameters from 1/4 to 1 inch/6 to 25 mm, and information on the associated handheld or benchtop assembly tools.

Aerospace testing

Intepro Systems will be exhibiting at The Aerospace Testing 2010 trade show in (Hamburg D; 18-20 May 2010). Intepro supplies users worldwide with ATE systems to test power electronics used in a wide range of applications. Intepro Systems’ knowledge and expertise in moving and measuring power makes their products unrivalled for production testing, ESS screening, repair and characterisation of power components and sub assemblies used across all industries.

The main feature of Intepro’s exhibition booth will be their new LXI Compatible controller which will allow users to communicate to Intepro’s TGA bus as well as GPIB, SPI, I²C and RS485/422. By communicating with so many internationally recognised control busses this single hardware device will reduce user’s hardware requirements and costs.

Intepro will also be displaying their new battery tester that offers users simple programming to create custom test routines. Cyclic charge and discharge of Lithium Ion batteries is critical for their safe and reliable operation, especially when used in fail-safe installations in aircraft. Once programmed the battery test system operates in a stand-alone mode and does not require a computer connection. The internal memory provides a programmable tester that can be programmed to perform a wide range of simple or complex testing functions.

Derek Somers, Intepro’s European Sales Manager comments “Aerospace Testing 2010 is an excellent chance for us to display a range of our new products and test systems. With our new LXI controller our customers will now be able communicate with many busses by using just one reliable hardware module. This is Intepro’s way of giving our customers flexibility with total control.”

Intepro has been the market leader in power supply testing for over 25 years and its systems are used in telecommunications, aero-space, military and other power electronics applications. Intepro has a global reach with direct sales offices in the Ireland, USA, U.K. and China and distributors covering Europe, China, Korea and Japan.

They 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

Certified gold

Trace Software International, a leading software maker in the industrial automation and power distribution market, announced today that elecworks™, its flagship product, has achieved Certified Gold Partner status with DS SolidWorks Corporation. With this certification, elecworks™ becomes the first Certified Gold Partner application for electrical design, integrated to SolidWorks.

This certification awarded in January 2o10, a few days before elecworks™ new release presented successfully at SolidWorks World 2010, places electrical design as a development axis for SolidWorks® 3D CAD and induces Trace Software International to keep on strengthening mechanical and electrical collaborative work through a seamless integrated tool.

Elecworks™ enables users to design automation and electrical installation projects from 2D schematics up to 3D design. It has been specifically designed for engineers who want to integrate electrical schematic in their existing SolidWorks platform as an easy to use add-on. It uses a user-friendly ribbon interface and operates on Windows. An additional Routing and Cabling module enables cabinet and machine 3D automatic wiring.

As requested through the Gold application process, customers have tested both the performance and the integration level of elecworks™. Customers have commented about the benefits of combining electrical schematics with 3D mechanical views as well as real-time change updates between elecworks™ - SolidWorks and/or different project participants. They were also impressed by its user friendliness and seamless interface.

This certification ensures that appropriate levels of support are available and that Trace Software International intends to regularly update the product. Elecworks™ is available in English, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese and in the near future, German and Japanese.

For customers, elecworks™ new Certified Gold product status means compliance with SolidWorks Certified Gold product criteria including compatibility with each new SolidWorks release.

Elecworks with it’s Gold status means real-time updates between elecworks™ and SolidWorks whether viewing SolidWorks 3D interface or elecworks™ 2D schematics. It also boosts productivity with projects stored in a unique database and no data import / export hassle, which would be the case using other electrical CAD software. Adding electrical design on their existing platform saves data exchange and training time and increases productivity.

“Integration between key product design applications can save precious time off the development process and increase productivity,” said Nick Iwaskow, SolidWorks Manager, Alliances. “Integrating elecworks™ directly within the SolidWorks environment helps designers and engineers improve designs and deliver the products their customers are looking for”.

Dr Pedro Puig Deu, Managing Director of Trace Software International, declares: “We are very proud to be the first electrical application to achieve SolidWorks Certified Gold Product status. It is an important milestone for Trace Software International and for SolidWorks. Demand is strong since it is a cost-effective way to develop electrical design on existing tools. We feel that the Certified Gold status will give our customers an added confidence in elecworks™. We remain committed to helping our customers design better electrical projects faster and we will continue to work upstream with SolidWorks on future releases to bring the electrical world even closer to 3D mechanical world”.

New debug probe

Ashling Microsystems, a NeST Group company, has launched an Entry-level Debug Probe for embedded development on Texas Instruments (TI) Processor and DSP platforms. Opella-XDS100v2 is designed to work with v4.1 (or later) of TI’s Code Composer Studio (CCS) IDE and seamlessly plugs into the CCS environment allowing convenient debugging of application code actually running on the target system. Debugging support is provided for all TI platforms including OMAP™, DaVinci™, TMS320C6000™, TMS320C5000™, TMS320C2000™ and TMS470™ families

Commenting on the product release, Hugh O’Keeffe, Engineering Director of Ashling Microsystems, Ltd. said “TI's decision to make CCS free to Opella-XDS100v2 users is a massive step forward in reducing the cost of equipping engineering teams who wish to target applications based on TI's Processor or DSP platforms. A full set of development and debug tools is now available for significantly less than $100 per seat. This price point will open up many new markets and applications that were not previously possible due to the prohibitive cost of equipping engineers”

Opella-XDS100v2 and TI’s CCS are available directly from Ashling and its sales representatives worldwide.

3-component dynamometer

Only 32 mm high but with a large measuring range of ±10 kN, the new Type 9129AA three component dynamometer from Kistler Instruments is ideal for measuring the machining forces involved in drilling, grinding, milling and turning operations as well as general, multicomponent force measurement in confined spaces. The 95x105 mm cover plate has tapped holes to facilitate mounting work pieces or clamping devices. The materials used in the construction of the dynamometer are resistant to corrosion by cutting fluids and the unit is sealed to IP67 when used with the matching cable.

The design of the new dynamometer uses four multi-component, piezoelectric, force sensors, which provide the three components of the force vector and the three components of the resultant moment vector. Forces are measured with practically no displacement and the design minimizes temperature error. The four sensors are ground isolated to avoid ground loop problems and the signals are taken to a 9-pin flange connector.

Kistler piezoelectric force measurement technology is both precise and robust making the Type 9129AA dynamometer suitable for a wide range of research and development applications.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Single-ferrule fittings

Brennan Industries now offers single-ferrule instrumentation fittings.

The single-ferrule fittings are available in sizes ranging from 1/16 to 2 inches. The fittings are available in brass and 316 stainless steel.

The single-ferrule fittings feature a design that makes incorrect installation difficult and makes incorrect assembly less likely because there are fewer pieces involved. The single-ferrule design is ideal for applications under high vibration or pulsation.

“The single-ferrule fittings are preferred by some customers over the double-ferrule style fittings,” said Bill Jarrell, vice president of sales and marketing. “We have responded to our customers who were requesting a single-ferrule fitting.”

Power quality meter

The latest smart modular power analyser from Carlo Gavazzi introduces a new performance level within the company’s proven energy management range. The WM30-96 offers enhanced faster communications for building automation networks, along with superior functions such as load monitoring measurement and comprehensive alarm management; all in a compact plug-and–play modular format that streamlines installation and simplifies inventory management.

Starting with a base unit that provides the display, touch-panel, power supply and measurement inputs, users can then add up to three slimline modules to the rear for alarms, pulse outputs, analogue I/O and data communications interfaces. It’s the first modular power analyser to provide BACnet-IP communication.

Applications run from cost allocation and control, through complex cost and power analysis, to advanced energy and power analysis for solar energy and power generation.

A mono LCD occupies much of the base unit’s 96mm-square frontage. All necessary information is available at a glance on the front panels customisable home page, which is readily configured by the user. Values of actual vs. installed power are displayed continuously to provide immediate alerts to potential power overloads.

The WM30-96 offers high accuracy for energy metering together with 10 digits for total energy counting, ensuring ideal performance for medium and high voltage applications. High contrast, white backlighting and wide viewing angles ensure that information is easy to see from any position.

Touch panel technology gives major advantages over traditional push-buttons for selecting from the four main variable areas: energy metering; current-voltage-frequency metering; power and power-factor metering; and harmonic analysis. FFT harmonic analysis is performed up to the 32nd harmonic (current and voltage), ensuring dependable measurements for load control and alarming. There are four freely configurable virtual alarms and a real time clock function is built in.

The base unit is powered by a universal 18 to 60 VAC/DC or 90 to 260 AC/VDC supply and front protection is provided to IP65, NEMA4x and NEMA12 standards. Carlo Gavazzi’s use of advanced component technology has resulted in space-saving behind the panel of up to 30 percent compared with competing analysers.

Whilst the base module alone acts as a simple monitoring device, the meter is completed by stacking low-profile modules on the rear of the base unit. Up to three flat modules can be added: one each of type A, B and C.

Dual channel relay output (SPDT) and dual channel static output (AC/DC Opto-Mos) modules are type A. Type B designates analogue outputs including a dual channel 20mA current module and dual channel 10V DC voltage device. Data communications facilities are added using type C modules: currently available are a fast RS485/RS232 serial port, Modbus over Ethernet TCP/IP interface and uniquely a BACNet-IP port. Depth behind the panel is just 50mm with a single option module.

As with other Carlo Gavazzi energy meters and analysers, the WM30-96 carries CE marking and UL certifications.

Catalogue on CD

Rittal have released a CD of their popular catalogue for Electronics Enclosures and associated products.

Customers faced with the size of Rittal’s Handbook 32, were demanding a more portable look up system which complemented the information available on the website.

Packed with details on everything from Backplanes to Power Supplies and with some base systems included to give designers a head start, the catalogue includes all of the Ripac branded Subrack ranges, both as kits and individual parts, as well as Desktop Cases and Rack Cases.

Touch sensors replace switches

Further to its recent announcements of licensing agreements with Nissha and Samson Electro-mechanics for 3D input technology for mobile phones, Peratech Limited has announced that YFM Group managed Partnership Investment Finance has invested £1.1 million into the Company. This will be used for further research and development into Peratech’s award-winning, patented Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) technology for touch technology solutions, as well as growing the company’s highly successful sales into overseas markets.

“We are really excited by the huge potential of Peratech and its technology,” says Mark Winderbank at YFM Group, which is the most active VC investor in UK SMEs. “Peratech’s recently announced license deals with major international companies Nissha and Samsung Electro-mechanics demonstrate how QTC can open up exciting new ways of doing things. We are proud to be able to support a fast growing British company with a truly unique technology that has a tremendous world market. Of all the possible investments that we have looked at recently, Peratech stood out because of the strength of its innovative technology and huge growth potential.”

The key to QTC’s success is that it enables traditional, old fashioned switches to be replaced with ultra reliable QTC versions that offer additional features such as no contacts to wear out and no air gap to be contaminated with water or dust. Moreover, because QTC is force sensitive, it opens up a whole new range of applications where the current flowing is directly proportional to the pressure applied. This enables a new category of touch sensitive, human machine interfaces to be created with a completely new three dimensional aspect. For example, the width of a line being drawn electronically can depend on the pressure applied, which is an ideal feature for Asian and Chinese characters, or pressing harder moves faster down into a menu structure on a mobile phone.

“In these financially challenging times, it is a real testament to both the QTC technology and the team behind it to have received funding of this level,” adds Philip Taysom, joint CEO of Peratech. “The Company has invested significant R&D efforts to understand this new class of material science that it has invented. We are now at the stage where its ability to add value and completely new innovative features, which provide significant commercial advantages, are clearly demonstrable as can be seen from the licensing deals that we are closing with Tier 1 international companies.”