Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nanopositioning mechanics and motion controls

Laser technology solutions specialist Altechna Co. (LT) is basing its Alt-SCA femtosecond laser micromachining system around Aerotech's ANT130 series linear motor driven nanopositioning stages in a customised 3-axis XYZ configuration that includes a granite bridge support structure and a unique pneumatically counterbalanced vertical axis. The synchronisation between the one nanometre resolution positioning system and the laser's firing pattern is precisely and crucially controlled with the advanced PSO (Position Synchronised Output) command from their software based A3200 motion controller which is built into Altechna's SCA (System Control Application) front end software using .NET class libraries. (What is a femtosecond? - Wikipedia!)


Altechna has developed its SCA software with C++ and C# to provide a flexible yet powerful control platform for laser micromachining that is capable of 3-levels of simple-to-complex micro-fabrication where, at the basic level, a WYSIWYG equipped GUI is able to convert complex positioning information from BMP or PLT files without the need for G-code programming. Moreover, SCA can be used to program multiplex trajectories using mathematical functions (Fig. 1). At the highest level, programmers may write micro-fabrication code directly in C++ and C#. Altechna's software has been applied to ultrafast-laser materials processing research at the University of Southamptons' Optical Research Centre (Fig 2.).


The AltSCA femtosecond laser machining system integrates the complete Aerotech motion sub-system including rack mounted linear servo-amplifiers with a 10W Yb:KGW (1030 nm) femtosecond laser source, machine vision, beam shaping optics and a galvo scanning head with resulting fabrication speeds up to 350000 pixels per second with 25400 DPI resolution (Fig. 3). Combining such high processing speed and large area positioning capability with nanoscale resolution and sub- micron accuracy, the AltSCA is aimed at both research and industrial users alike for development and/or high throughput manufacture of surface or 3D micro-nano structures for anything from MEMS sensors and optical micro-elements fabrication to microchip repairs and waveguide production.

Altechna is based in Vilnius, (LT) and works closely with the Laser Nanophotonics Group at Vilnius University where the Aerotech equipment is being used for research involving the fabrication of fully functioning microlenses in the order of 100 μm. These three dimensional structures are paving the way for integrated 3D optical micro-circuits.

They are also working on fully integrating Galvo-scanners with the ANT130 positioning system by using Aerotech's Nmark SSaM (Synchronized Scanner and Motion module). This will allow wide-format bitmaps to be processed continuously by enabling laser micromachining of structures and patterns that exceed the normal field of view for the Galvo scanner.

The AltSCA femtosecond laser machining system uses an integrated ANT130 XY series low profile X-Y stage that supports the object workpiece and a separate vertically mounted Z-axis stage for laser head manipulation. The Z-axis is fixed to the granite bridge structure and its pneumatic counterbalance is based upon a tried and tested design that Aerotech has developed over previous generations of micro-positioning stages. The large granite base provides high stability for the positioning system and the complete assembly includes all cabling and provision for air supply.

The ANT130 series has a nominal width of 130 mm and is available in travel ranges from 35 mm to 160 mm, in a choice of two accuracy grades up to +/-250 nanometres to suit high or ultra-high precision requirements. The performance characteristics (pitch, yaw and roll etc) ensure that the combined flatness, straightness, perpenicularity, abbe error, and all other critical geometric specifications do not compromise the nanometre level machining requirements for this application. The compact design includes anti-creep cross roller bearings and a centre driven brushless/non-cogging linear servomotor with 1 nanometre resolution encoders. Maximum speeds are up to 350 mm per second with acceleration to 1g. The non-contact linear servomotor and encoder system helps to ensure a very long working life with minimal maintenance..

The three-axis ANT130 is a part of Aerotech's nano Motion Technology (nMT) positioning range that brings together linear, rotary and goniometric stages to provide exceptional precision, rapid acceleration, high speed and ultra-fine resolution for nanometre resolution positioning. With zero-backlash and hysteresis in combination with high speed encoder feedback processing and real-time axis calibration, the nMT range is providing the enabling technology for many demanding applications where large area/high throughput positioning involves nanometre level structuring – a perfect solution for ultrafast-laser micromachining.

Aerotech’s PC-based A3200 Automation Platform is a software-only multi axis motion controller for up to 32 axes based on the IEEE-1394 Firewire® protocol network delivering fully deterministic, distributed and tightly synchronised motion and I/O control in combination with Aerotech’s Ndrive digital servo amplifiers. Further software expansion modules are available for additional machine control functions such as HMI, Vision and PLC. The flexibility and powerful advanced features of the A3200 include sophisticated commands such as the PSO along with diagnostics, commissioning and programming options that include AeroBASICTM, Visual Basic® C, C++, with higher levels including Windows® based ActiveX components with C++, VB and .NET class libraries.

For such high precision and high resolution applications Aerotech recommends its DSP based linear stage servo amplifiers rather than PWM drive stage alternatives to guarantee extremely low noise and jitter free stability. Its smooth current control also ensures ultra-smooth motion which is essential for sub nanometre applications.

21CFR part 11 complience data acquisition and display

The latest version of Yokogawa's DXAdvanced DAQSTATION range of data acquisition and display stations - the DXAdvanced R4 - features a number of new enhancements including an advanced security option that provides 21CFR Part 11 compliance, multi-batch capabilities, a ProfiBus interface and the new DAQManager data management software.

The advanced security option (/AS1) incorporates all the features required to provide secure electronic records to comply with the US Food & Drug Administration's 21CFR Part 11 standard (pdf), including controlled system access, active directory password management, electronic signatures, and an audit trail.

The DXAdvanced R4 has evolved from Yokogawa's paperless recorder technology to become a complete data-acquisition station with built-in panel, and offers integrated display, recording and communication functions. Two models are available:
the DX1000 with a 5.5-inch LCD panel and up to 12 input
channels, and
the DX2000 with a 10.4-inch LCD panel and up to 48 input channels.
The new models also feature high-capacity internal storage, with 400 Mbyte of secure non-volatile flash memory to support uninterrupted recording of more data over longer time periods.

The multi-batch function allows the user to record pre-defined channel groups to separate data files with independent start and stop control. Up to six batches can be created on the DX1000 and up to 12 on the DX2000.

DXAdvanced R4 offers custom display screens that allow the user to freely arrange field displays along with trend curves, bar graphs and other visuals. DAQStudio builder software can be used to create and edit custom display screens on a PC.

The new DAQManager software allows the user to manage measured data from the DXAdvanced DAQSTATION and Yokogawa's MVAdvanced family of paperless recorders on a PC. Data loaded onto DAQManager can be quickly and easily searched by data/time, tag name, batch name and other criteria.

The PROFIBUS interface, along with support for PROFIBUS-DP and EtherNet/IP protocols, enables the DXAdvanced DAQSTATION R4 to be integrated into end-user applications to provide a much wider range of functions than data acquisition and recording. In particular, it can be used with Yokogawa's MW100 data-acquisition system and other vendor's I/O products to provide many additional input channels. Then, using the optional maths and events
functions of the DXAdvanced DAQSTATION, the unit can be used to initiate actions or alarms based on the acquired data.

Reliable powered wheelchairs

A TorqSense transducer from Sensor Technology, is helping ensure the reliability of powered wheelchairs, scooters, golf buggies and other electric vehicles, having been incorporated into a dynamometer rolling road built by PG Drives in Dorset (GB).

PG Drives manufacture black box electronic motor controllers for chair and vehicle builders around the world. Reliability and robustness are paramount as their duty cycle is so unpredictable. Even the least adventurous users are likely to ‘go off road’ occasionally, get caught in the rain, tackle a big hill up or down, or find themselves needing to carry a large load.

The rolling road was built earlier this year to measure the torque between the motor under test and the inertia network it is driving, which is simulated by selective use of both passive and active loads. The TorqSense transducer monitors the motor’s performance by constantly measuring the torque at its output shaft and feeding a data stream out to a computer for logging and analysis.

TorqSense is a non-contact transducer that uses Surface Acoustic Waves (SAWs) as frequency dependent strain gauges to measure changes in resonant frequency in the motor’s drive shaft as the test programme is run. A wireless radio frequency coupling is used to transfer the data signal to a pick-up head.

The same coupling is used to supply power to the strain gauges, possible because the gauges are based on piezo technology so need less than one milliwatt of power. This arrangement does away completely with the difficulties of fitting slip rings and maintaining their contact quality throughout an extended test run.

This transducer embraces all the advantages of SAW technology, including no load imparted to the drive mechanism under investigation, a broader signal bandwidth than other analogue based technologies and elimination of electromagnetic interference.

“We often run arduous test regimes for 10 hours or more until the battery is flat,” says Dr Richard Gears of PG Drives. “We always have the rig manned for safety. With large currents being generated and the motor regularly overloaded, we can’t risk lights-out overnight testing."

"The procedures can simulate on and off road, every type of surface, steep gradients, gentle gradients, all sorts of extreme weather, heavy loads, shock loads and every other anomalous behaviour you can imagine. Until last year the analysis regime was based on test driving around the town, but consistency and repeatability were, of course, impossible to achieve. The rolling road has been used constantly since we built it, so its reliability is a much as issue as that of our controllers in the field. Looking back, I don’t how we ever managed without it.”

Machine builders assembly time saved

Thomson RediMount saves design and assembly time for machine builders

Thomson has introduced an innovative system that enables its TRUE planetary gearheads to be connected to any manufacturer's drive motor in a fast, simple and reliable manner.

The RediMount system allows machine and component manufacturers to to select the optimum combination of gearheads and motors for each and every application. The modular system enables gearheads and the mounting system to be stocked separately, which considerably reduces the associated costs. All Thomson Micron gearheads use an identical RediMount system, which guarantees that components are always compatible.

In addition to the high degree of flexibility it brings, RediMount also helps machine designers by reducing motor installation time and avoiding installation errors such as misalignment. First, the system features a self-centering hub. This ensures absolute concentricity between the motor shaft and gearhead pinion shaft eliminating the possibility of excessive wear on components during operation. The reliable alignment of the motor, gearhead and shaft - shaft-to-shaft centering - described here is a truly unique innovation in the marketplace. Another integral feature of RediMount is the pre-assembled pinion which makes the time-consuming pinion positioning process that is required by conventional systems a thing of the past. This not only saves valuable time be saved during mounting, but also eliminates another frequent source of error resulting from motor mounting.

The mounting process is streamlined using the RediMount system. The motor and gearhead can be mounted in just a few simple steps: To start with, the supplied adapter sleeve is inserted into the terminal hub of the gearhead. The gearhead drive shaft's input gear (pinion) is then pushed onto the motor shaft with the clamping hub. The two screws from the terminal hub are then securely fastened through the mounting opening in the RediMount adapter flange. In the final step, the motor flange is tightly screwed to the gearhead housing with the supplied screws.

The advance also extends to linear motion. Thomson's linear drive units will benefit from the fact that all solutions are supplied with the RediMount system as standard so that any servomotor can be specified without incurring any additional expense. Because the RediMount adapter flange is precisely tailored to the dimensions of the provided motor, the length of the drive block will always remain unmodified - meaning that engineers are not faced with any problems associated with the mounting position during subsequent motor replacements.

"With Thomson RediMount, conventional analyses, fitting problems and specifications of the connection sizes between the linear unit and the required motor are a thing of the past", explains Anders Trygg, Product Manager for linear units at Thomson. "All the customer needs to do is specify the part number of the Thomson linear unit as well as the manufacturer and part number of the motor, which the end user intends to use. We take care of the adjustment to the associated motor attachment without increasing the lead times or prices of the respective design."

Latest processors now on VME boards


Concurrent Technologies has released the VP 717/08x family of 6U VME boards featuring the Intel® Core™ i7 processor family. Depending on the application requirements a choice of processors are supported: the 2.53GHz Intel® Core™ i7-610E, 2.0GHz Intel® Core™ i7-620LE and the 1.06GHz Intel® Core™ i7-620UE. Based on 32nm process technology and the new Intel® integrated memory/graphics controller architecture, these processors are from the Intel® embedded roadmap which offers at least seven year availability. With up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3-1066 ECC SDRAM and dual PMC/XMC sites the boards also include extensive I/O functionality and can support VITA 31.1. The VP 717/08x family offers front and rear I/O interfaces that are pin-compatible with the popular VP 417/03x family providing a continuing upgrade path. Commercial and extended temperature versions are also available, and a compatible range of ruggedized, conduction-cooled or air-cooled versions will be available shortly. The boards are particularly suitable for CPU intensive processing applications within the defence, homeland security, industrial control, and transportation market sectors.

The VP 717/08x family is based on the combination of the Intel® Core i7 processor and an Intel® Platform Controller Hub (PCH), the Mobile Intel® QM57 Express chipset. This combination benefits from the integration of the graphics controller and the memory controller into the processor, resulting in reduced memory latency and improved performance-per-watt. The Intel Core i7 processors feature Intel® Direct Media Interface Technology and Intel® Flexible Display Interfaces to the PCH to provide simultaneous high-speed non-graphic traffic and video/graphic traffic. The processors also feature Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology to allow multiple simultaneous execution threads in each core, and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology which elevates performance for specific workloads by increasing processor core frequency on one core when the second core and/or graphics engine utilization level is low. The CPU and graphics engines have separate Turbo modes, and by using simple BIOS setup options, the user can disable either or both of the turbo modes, or pre-set a bias towards one or the other feature.

VITA 31.1 Gigabit Ethernet on a VME64x backplane enables a tried and tested method of implementing a LAN-based multiprocessor architecture by leveraging readily available Ethernet hardware, TCP/IP software, clustering and other network management tools. Using standard networking techniques offers an efficient method of remote booting boards within the chassis, and simplified intercommunication between boards. It can be used as a method of offloading tasks from the standard VME backplane, thereby improving overall application efficiency. VITA 31.1 is suitable for applications such as data acquisition, radar data processing or those requiring data synchronization across multiple system boards.

Supporting two 100MHz PCI-X PMC or two XMC x8 PCI Express® sites, with expansion for two more PMC sites via an optional expansion carrier the VP 717/08x maintains compatibility with the VP 417/03x and offers an array of rear I/O functions –
2048 x 1536 analog graphics, keyboard, mouse, 2x RS232/422/485, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, EIDE and SATA interfaces. The front panel supports dual PMC/XMC, 2048 x 1536 analog graphics, keyboard and mouse interfaces, including an additional USB 2.0 interface and an additional RS232 interface. To cater for embedded applications, there is 64Mbytes of Application Flash memory. For application and data storage there are EIDE and SATA300 rear I/O interfaces, an onboard site for a CompactFlash™ module and an onboard option for a SATA300 2.5-inch disk drive. As well as the industry standard PC interfaces, other features available include a watchdog timer, long duration timer, and LAN boot firmware.

For ease of integration the VP 717/08x supports many of today’s leading operating systems, including Linux®, Windows® Server 2008, Windows® Server 2003, Windows® XP Embedded, Windows® XP, Solaris™, LynxOS®, VxWorks® and QNX®.

Card fold test

Lloyd Instruments has added a new packaging test fixture to its range of specialised grips and accessories for the Plus range of materials testing machines. This new fixture is designed to allow a pre-scored section of cardboard to be bent through 90 degrees and the maximum force required to perform this bending to be measured. The fixture is supplied with NEXYGEN software to compensate for any residual forces with moving the mechanism before the card sample is fitted.

The new accessory consists of a lower fixture with a rotating assembly, an upper cord mounting block and specialised software. Since there is a residual force required to move the fixture when there is no card sample fitted, this value must be removed from the test measurement to obtain the actual force required to bend the card. This is automatically carried out using the software supplied.

To perform the test, the cord is attached to the pulley on the lower fixture and any slack is removed by moving the crosshead. The forces required to move the fixture are measured and stored in a reference file. The cardboard is then inserted into the fixture and the test repeated. The software automatically removes the residual force and displays a graph of "Test Load" against "Extension" or "Load" (total load including the load required to move the fixture) against "XHead". The software is configured to allow batch testing and to archive test results.

Tube fittings in tight awkward spaces

Brennan Industries has a new presetting tool used to preset ferrules on tubing prior to final assembly into a fitting. The presetting tool is ideal when an installation must be made in tight spaces or hard-to-work areas.

Manufactured from carbon steel, these presetting tools for instrumentation tube fittings are available in sizes 5/8 inches and up.

“The presetting tool lets major portions of installation work happen in a more favorable work setting because it allows for the presetting of the ferrules onto the tubing in a safe, open and ground level area,” said Bill Jarrell, vice president of marketing at Brennan. “Users that have installations in cramped areas or overhead will benefit from our preset tool.”

To use the preset tool, the user must secure the tool in a vise, remove the protective nut and assemble the fitting nut and ferrules loosely onto the tool then insert the tubing through the nut and ferrules until it bottoms in the preset tool.

After standard assembly procedures have been followed, the tubing with the nut and ferrules can be removed from the body of the preset tool and attached to the tube fitting body by following standard reassembly instructions.

Drives provide flexibility to advanced motion control

Simplifies automation for food, chemical, pharmaceutical, electronics, printing, wood/metalworking and other manufacturing sectors

Baldor Electric has just launched a new generation of smart drives. Offering economic and space-saving solutions for many common single-axis automation requirements, the drives also feature an Ethernet interface compatible with the deterministic Ethernet-compatible motion control standard, Powerlink.

The new programming capability - Mint Lite - is now being fitted without charge on all of Baldor's MicroFlex e100 and MotiFlex e100 single- and three-phase drive ranges. These drives are available in a broad choice of power ratings up to 33.5 A - with higher ratings coming soon. The versatile drives may be used to control rotary and linear servo motors, linear motors, closed-loop vector motors, and in V/Hz control modes.

The embedded Mint Lite capability supports a range of basic motion programming requirements including performing relative and absolute moves, S-ramp profiles, jog and homing movements, changing target positions on the fly, registration moves, and reacting to real-time trigger events. The programming facility allows standalone drives to provide solutions for many common automation and machinery tasks such as cutting or feeding to length, indexing axes, simple pick and place motion, and machine adjustments such as changing guides or backstops to reconfigure machinery for new batches. Such capabilities are widely required in a large number of manufacturing and processing sectors including food and beverage, packaging, pharmaceutical, electrical and electronics equipment, printing, and wood/metalworking.

More flexible PLC interfacing is another notable application for the new drives. Every drive manufacturer offers a defined process data exchange interface with PLCs, or a ‘drive profile’ utility. The ability to program Baldor's drives means that the standard drive profile may be adapted, perhaps to simplify the communications process or perhaps to optimise drive behaviour for a specific application. The drives' TCP/IP-compatible Ethernet interface also makes it simple to link into Ethernet factory networks for changing product recipes, reporting production metrics, etc.

All of Baldor's MicroFlex e100 and MotiFlex e100 drives come with built-in I/O as standard - including fast latch inputs for registration applications - plus CANopen manager capability to support distributed I/O expansion and HMI interfacing. MotiFlex e100 drives offer card slots for further local I/O expansion and fieldbus connectivity. The fieldbus modules extend connectivity options to external PLCs, supporting interfaces such as Ethernet/IP, Profinet-IO, Profibus and DeviceNet. This configuration versatility allows drives to be configured very cost effectively to provide single-box solutions for automation applications.

If used in a Powerlink system, the local intelligence adds versatile new system building capabilities. Critical events can be acted on directly, eliminating the impact of network and controller scan time latencies; the faster response of critical axes can be translated directly into higher throughput. Another fundamental difference a smart drive can make is by using the local intelligence to offload a centralised Powerlink network controller. For machine builders configuring systems with large numbers of motion axes, this can save hundreds of dollars as Baldor fits Mint Lite programming capability as standard.

Development and configuration tools for the drives are included in Baldor's development environment, Mint WorkBench, which is provided without charge to users.

The new smart drives complement Baldor's existing Powerlink network control possibilities: a traditional central controller available for varying numbers of motion axes - NextMove e100 - and a plug-in controller for drives called Mint Machine Module that can control either two or five axes. The plug-in control card provides access to the full capabilities of the rich Mint language, and is capable of being programmed to perform very sophisticated motion functions such as gearing and cams.

Here is more information on Baldor's Servo-Drive Solutions Overview

Easy to install, time saving delayed valve

Tyco Waterworks has a new EBCO Delayed Valve (EBV), developed and manufactured to provide full flow replenishment of storage tanks used in high rise buildings, buildings with multiple outlets fed from storage tanks or from pumped systems.

This new delayed valve is packed full of time, energy and cost saving features. After extensive field trials, engineers have found that ease of installation is its most outstanding attribute. The Delayed Valve has been designed as a simple mechanical device, comes fully assembled and can be fitted easily and efficiently straight from the box, with no need to dismantle the unit before installation. For added efficiency, the adjustable delay valve design means that the positioning of the floats to provide the required delay can be carried out away from the tank. This makes installation more convenient and reduces the possibility of spills and water damage during installation.

Technically, the design is based on the renowned and established EBCO equilibrium ball float valve and this new EBV incorporates the unique and patented ECOvalve fill control device. Allowing the valve to open fully and operate at full flow every fill cycle, means that trickling is eliminated, valve and pump wear is significantly reduced and running costs are kept to a minimum. Tyco Waterworks has shown that an energy saving of up to 81% can be achieved by installing the EBV. The robust and simple mechanical design can operate in tanks with walls sloping up to 5º and does not require precise vertical or horizontal levelling for the valve to function.

For added versatility, it is available in single float (fixed delay) or twin float (adjustable delay) versions. The adjustable twin float device is recommended for tank systems with a raised inlet or float valve housing, so the float can be adjusted to allow optimum main tank capacity.

Cost savings can also be made due to the fact that there is no need for ancillary equipment. In other products on the market, filters are often part of the design and not only do they add to the cost of the original job, but they need to be replaced regularly and require ongoing maintenance. The Tyco Waterworks delayed valves provide the perfect cost-effective ‘fit and forget’ solution.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Young Stress Analyst competition

The BSSM’s (British Society for Strain Measurement) annual Young Stress Analyst Competition, is scheduled to take place alongside the 7th BSSM International Conference on Advances in Experimental Mechanics, to be held in Liverpool (GB) from the 7-9 September 2010.

The competition is sponsored by Airbus, AWE and Imetrum Non-Contact Precision Measurement and will give four finalists the opportunity to present their work at a special session at the Conference.

The first prize winner will receive Imetrum Non-Contact Precision Strain Measurement software and a cash prize of £200; cash prizes will also be awarded to the other three finalists. All four finalists will receive free conference registration, a contribution towards B&B accommodation, lunches and refreshments over the three days of the conference and will be invited to attend the conference dinner free of charge on Wednesday 8 September to receive their prizes. Other entries of merit will be invited to produce a poster for display at the conference, which will also be entered into a competition.

The competition is open to final year undergraduate (or equivalent) students, MSc students, PhD students who have not submitted their final thesis and industry based personnel. The closing date for receipt of entries is 29 June 2010. Full details about the competition and an application form can be found online.

Last year’s competition was a great success by all reports and they would like this year’s event to be even better. This is a great way of getting young, enthusiastic people interested in experimental mechanics and the BSSM.

ATEX certification for prizewinning gas detector

Senscient has received ATEX International Certification from FM Approvals Ltd for operation of their new Open Path Gas Detector (OPGD) ELDS 1000 Series for methane and ELDS 2000 Dual Gas Series for methane and hydrogen sulfide in potentially explosive atmospheres.

With features that include 3x better sensitivity for detecting flammable gases and lower ppm level toxic gases, Senscient ELDS open path gas detectors offer facility owners a substantial improvement in site safety and risk management over previous NDIR-based technology systems. Additionally, the ELDS 2000 Series OPGD is the first fixed gas detector able to monitor both methane and hydrogen sulfide in a single unit simultaneously with discreet output communication.

Senscient's patented Enhanced Laser Diode Spectroscopy (ELDS) solves major problems associated with traditional fixed gas detectors by eliminating routine re-calibration, sensor replacement, unreliable readings and false alarms that cost industries millions of dollars in lost revenue annually.

ELDS is designed to provide new levels of plant safety and risk reduction in offshore platforms, FPSO's, onshore petrochemical facilities and refineries. New ELDS units targeting other industries and gas hazards are being introduced throughout 2010.

The ATEX certification ensures Senscient ELDS Series 1000 and 2000 open path gas detectors are capable of detecting the target gas over an entire line of sight coverage of 5 to 40 meters. The certification also confirms the systems' ability to trigger isolated multi-channel analogue or digital output signals to a remote safety PLC.

"ATEX Directive 94/9/EC is the final Senscient ELDS certification required for us to meet our goal to become the first fixed gas detector manufacturer to meet all performance-based hazardous area compliant product and facility standards for USA, Canada, and Europe," according to Jean Berthold, Senscient CMSO and VP.

This company won the ISA Intech Gold Innovators Award for ELDS Gas Detector at ISAExpo'09

On-line verification for on-line flowmeters

Next-generation meter verification technology for Micro Motion® Coriolis meters is the only verification tool to test the complete meter, in minutes and without any process impact

Emerson Process Management has announced Smart Meter Verification technology for Micro Motion® Coriolis flow and density meters. Smart Meter Verification delivers complete, on-line verification of device performance, saving significant expense by reducing labour and outsourced calibration service costs while eliminating process interruption.

With no need to remove the meter from the line or stop the process flow, Smart Meter Verification – at the touch of a button or on a pre-determined schedule – delivers measurement integrity feedback in under two minutes. Smart Meter Verification technology is embedded in the transmitter functionality to verify calibration and the complete health of the sensor, drive, and electronics.

David Spitzer's Industrial Flow Measurement presents a rational procedure for flowmeter selection
that is based on factual information. Effective flowmeter selection requires a thorough
understanding of flowmeter technology in addition to a practical knowledge of the process and the
fluid. This book will help experienced engineers, technicians and others evaluate the appropriate
criteria rationally to arrive at the proper flowmeter selection.
With no complex interpretation and no interruption to process measurement, Smart Meter Verification delivers benefits to a range of applications and industries. These include a reduction in costs by minimising manpower and services to check or calibrate meters, increasing availability by allowing verification without process or measurement interruption and eliminating uncertainty by providing complete feedback whenever it is needed – with no process impact and no need for complex interpretation.

Smart Meter Verification also improves safety, health and environmental impacts by reducing trips to the field and the need to break process seals. The entire flow measurement meter is checked – sensor and electronics – for complete measurement certainty. Smart Meter Verification is easy to operate at the touch of a button, on a pre-determined verification schedule, or automatically based on process events.

Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters lead the industry in measurement performance and reliability, and are part of Emerson's broad range of intelligent, digital field devices that power thePlantWeb™ digital plant architecture. Further cost savings, increased plant availability, and enhanced safety and environmental compliance are achieved when the flowmeters are integrated into the PlantWeb digital plant architecture.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Robust, ultra-sensitive sensor measures tensile and compression forces

Kistler's robust Type 9217A sensor uses an ultra-sensitive PiezoStar® element to provide precise measurement of compression and tensile forces under the toughest industrial conditions in production process monitoring systems. With a measuring range of ±500 Newtons and sensitivity of a few millinewtons, the Type 9217A force sensor is equally suitable for use in both production and laboratory applications. The rigid construction ensures that the sensor is resistant to lateral forces and has a high tolerance to bending moments, thus minimizing interference effects. The sensor weighs only 16 g, has an outer diameter of 8.5 mm, overall length of 28.5 mm and an operating temperature range from –80 to +205 oC

Mounting is by an M10 external thread with a front-end hole tapped M3 to provide simple and flexible adaptation for testing switches, push buttons, plugs, springs, etc., and for highly sensitive force measurement in research and development applications. The sensor is supplied with calibrated measuring ranges of 100% and 10%.

Partnership provides facilities for LIMS

Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced that up to data has become a member of its Informatics Global Partner Alliance Program. This addition to the more than 70 partners already in the program demonstrates the company's global strength and presence and its ability to fulfill the growing market needs around the world. up to data professional services will provide distribution and servicing of Thermo Scientific Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) and Chromatography Data Systems (CDS) throughout Germany.

The addition of up to data to the company's Global Partner Alliance will ensure that life sciences laboratories in Germany have access to a complete Thermo Scientific Informatics solution comprised of consulting, software, implementation and validation, and data management. up to data will also provide full operational support and administration support for all Thermo Scientific informatics products and underlying databases.

Life sciences technology investments in Germany are focused on the biotechnology sector, which is becoming a core area of research for future drugs. In addition, large pharmaceutical companies will continue to seek technology solutions that increase efficiencies within the drug lifecycle, reduce costs and shorten time to market. up to data has specialized in life sciences in Germany, and now this market will benefit from the addition of Thermo Scientific purpose-built informatics solutions to the up to data portfolio.

"Our customers will benefit from our new partnership with the global service and sales teams at Thermo Fisher Scientific. By offering best-in-class Thermo Scientific Informatics software, we are able to provide our customers with a comprehensive solution set for managing their data and for helping to ensure that their laboratory workflow meets the demanding regulatory requirements in Life Sciences,"
confirmed Dr. Martin Lohfink, managing director at up to data professional services.

Dave Champagne, vice president and general manager for Thermo Fisher's Informatics business, said: "Thermo Fisher's Global Partner Alliance Program brings together the expertise of sales and services organizations around the world, allowing Thermo Scientific Informatics solutions to be delivered to private and public sector businesses focused on a range of industries. up to data will contribute to our long-standing support of the important and growing life sciences community in Germany."

On-line tutorial

New Keithley Online Tutorial Provides Information on Ultra-Fast I-V Measurement Applications

Keithley Instruments has created an interactive applications overview that provides instruction and insight into a variety of semiconductor measurement applications that require ultra-fast I-V measurements. The new overview is titled "Ultra-Fast I-V Applications".

Ultra-fast I-V sourcing and measurement have become increasingly critical capabilities for many semiconductor technologies. Using pulsed I-V signals to characterize devices rather than DC signals makes it possible to study or eliminate the effects of self-heating (joule heating) or to minimize current drifting in measurements due to trapped charge.

The applications overview includes sections on integrated high speed sourcing and measurement; a discussion of voltage, current, and timing parameter ranges; a description of the built-in interactive software provided in Keithley's ultra-fast I-V test solution; and a detailed discussion of ultra-fast I-V applications. Built-in links provide easy navigation, and many of the schematics and other diagrams enlarge automatically when scrolled over to allow easier reading.

Ultra-fast I-V testing is appropriate for a growing range of semiconductor test applications, including:
  • CMOS device characterization (charge pumping, self-heating, and charge trapping)
  • NBTI and PBTI characterization, modeling, and monitoring
  • Testing non-volatile memory devices such as PCRAMs
  • Testing of compound semiconductor devices and materials (laser diodes and thermal impedance measurements), and
  • Characterization of nanotechnology, MEMs devices, and solar cells.

New option for mixed signal oscilloscope

A FlexRay serial bus analysis function is now available as an option to 4-channel models in the Yokogawa DLM2000 Series of mixed-signal oscilloscopes.

Designed to provide physical-layer waveform observation and protocol analysis for the fast, highly reliable FlexRay in-vehicle local area network, the new facility allows the user to capture FlexRay bus signals with a wide variety of dedicated triggers and carry out analysis and troubleshooting on parameters that can affect the FlexRay signal.

With the new analysis function, the DLM2000 can automatically detect and display packet information directly beneath the time-domain waveform and can search or trigger on specific serial bus conditions. A wide variety of trigger conditions can be set, including ID/data trigger combinations and combinations of serial bus triggers with normal edge triggers.

An important feature of the serial bus analysis function on the DLM2000 Series is that it enables simultaneous analyses of different buses. Waveforms and analysis results from two buses with different speeds can be displayed in individual zoom screens with different scales.

The series is a family of mixed-signal oscilloscopes offering up to 500 MHz bandwidth and 2.5 GS/s sampling speed along with the longest memory (up to 125 M points) and fastest update rate (up to 450,000 waveforms per second) in this class of instrument. The combination of flexible analogue and digital inputs, plus a large-screen display in a compact ergonomically styled body, makes the instruments exceptionally easy to use.

In addition to the key performance specifications, the DLM2000 Series features a number of advanced measurement and analysis features, including histogram and trending functions, up to 20,000 history memories, digital filtering, zoom windows, and user-defined mathematics.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

High-density switching subsystem for automated measurements

The new EX1200 series from VTI Instruments is a high- density switching subsystem for automated measurement and control, offering the capacity to switch up to 576 channels of voltage or temperature in a single-rack 1U high mainframe.

The new system allows users to ‘mix and match’ a variety of modules to build a comprehensive signal switching and I/O subsystem for data logging, level detection and control applications.

The EX1200 series is designed to realise the benefits in terms of capital investment that result from having one common hardware and software platform that can be used in development, manufacturing and field service.

A compact design provides granularity to address small channel requirements, while a high-density 3U mainframe can be used in large channel count applications. Multiple EX1200 series can be easily connected with the LXI communications interface to create a highly synchronised, distributed measurement system.

VTI provides a variety of software utilities and options that reduce the time it takes to begin using the EX1200 family of products. The series is delivered with an embedded web interface that provides virtual monitoring and control of all switches and instruments without the need for third-party software.

The EX1200 series is supported by the popular DAC Express turnkey software package. The DAC Express intuitive graphical user interface significantly shortens test setup and configuration time, enabling test engineers to begin monitoring, recording and analysing data within minutes.

VTI Instruments products are available in Britain through TTi Instrument Distribution.

No tools to connect connector!

The Harting RJ Industrial® 10G is Harting's latest version of the world's first RJ45 connector requiring no tools for connection, and features a future-proof design compatible with 10-Gigabit Ethernet applications.

The connection is made reliably and quickly using proven insulation displacement terminal technology. The insulation displacement terminals are designed for rigid and flexible conductors with an extremely broad range of wire cross-sections.

Cables with diameters from 4.5 to 9 mm are securely fixed in place in the connector with a newly developed cable gland, allowing users to connect all standard Ethernet cable types with a single RJ45 connector design. Thanks to its compact design, the rugged and industry-standard IP 20 model is also suitable for multiport RJ 45 jacks.

In addition to the IP 20 models, all Harting's existing IP 65/67 PushPull types up to the Han® 3A version are now available with the new RJ Industrial® 10G insert.

Pressure TX for hygenic applications

For hygienic pressure measurement, Baumer offers the electrical pressure transmitter ED701. It is especially suitable for applications in the pharmaceutical and food & beverage industries as well as in medical technology. The measuring device features high accuracy and long-term stability. It is available with several Clamp and hygienic process connections.

The piezo-resistive pressure transmitter ED701 with its stainless-steel diaphragm is based on a silicon sensor designed for high precision over a wide temperature range. This ensures that the pressure transmitter offers very high accuracy (up to 0.1 % F.S.) and excellent long-term stability (0.1 % per year). If required the zero point can be recalibrated using a simple mechanical adjustment. The measuring range can also be programmed, which allows for adaptation to the customer-specific application.

With a large range of process connections and several output signal options (4…20mA, 0…10VDC, 0…5VDC), the ED701 is suitable for a great variety of applications. In order to reduce the surface roughness, the process connections can be electro-polished. For use with aggressive media, the ED701 can be provided with a pressure connection in Hastelloy C. For applications with oxygen, the device is available with a process connection cleaned of oil and grease.

The standard oil filling is FDA-approved white oil suitable for temperatures from -10 °C up to 125 °C and used for pressure measuring in the pharmaceutical and food & beverage industry. Other available options include halocarbon oil and silicon oil, which are suitable for applications with temperatures of up to 300 °C.

Direct on-line measurement of density and concentration

Eliminates the need for expensive laboratory analysis.

Endress+Hauser has introduced the Liquiphant M, a density meter that provides on-line measurements, eliminating the need for extensive and expensive off-line procedures and laboratory measurements. A built-in density calculator can be end user customized with complex tables and mathematical interdependencies, allowing the meter to provide the same kind of density and concentration measurements once possible only with lab instruments.

Because the Liquiphant M provides on-line measurements, it allows control systems to react much faster to changing process conditions. Instead of waiting for results to come back from the lab, a control system can take corrective action immediately by performing closed-loop control.

Calculating Density
The Liquiphant employs a mechanically oscillating fork with two tines that are each excited to resonant frequency. The frequency changes when the fork is immersed in any liquid. If the vibration falls below a predetermined frequency, the sensor reports the covered state to a subsequent switching electronics. The tines are excited by a piezoelectric drive. The resonant frequency depends on the moment of inertia of the fork as well as the membrane stiffness, and the frequency measures approximately 1000-1200Hz in air.

Changes in resonant frequency are directly interrelated with the density of the medium. In a lower medium density, such as liquefied gas, the resulting resonant frequency is higher than in more pronounced densities like water. The electronics of the Liquiphant can measure this change in the resonant frequency. The density of the medium can also be calculated taking temperature and process pressure into consideration.

Concentration can be calculated in mass or volume units. For example, "Degree Brix" is a measuring unit for the specific density of liquids. This is particularly used in the food industry to determine the sugar content in fruit juices and beverages, or in oil production to measure the salt concentration in tanks.

The customer can customize the Liquiphant M for many density and concentration applications including but not limited to:
  • Content measurement and concentration (sulphuric acid, sugar, alcohol, etc.)
  • Quality statements (mineral oil, milk, etc.)
  • Purity indication
  • Product identification
  • As a changing variable indicating the metabolism in relation to kinetic statements (reaction rate)
  • As a basic variable for physical calculations or simulations
  • For clarification of how much material is contained in a given volume.
The Liquiphant M Density meter is capable of providing analytical process information on-line and in-line according to customer requirements. It offers solutions for a variety of applications including process optimization, quality monitoring and reduction of waste. The meter can also be used for monitoring of preliminary, interim and final products during blending operations - and for verification and documentation of process steps. Because it reduces the need for offline laboratory measurements, it also improves plant availability and speeds response to changing conditions.

Weather measurement at London show

Gill Instruments exhibited at Oceanology International 2010 marine science & technology exhibition in London’s Docklands (GB) in March 2010. Featured products on display were the New MetPak II Combined Weather Station as well as the WindSonic Wind Sensor, Extreme Weather WindObserver and WindMaster Pro Ultrasonic Anemometers.

The MetPak II is a compact and lightweight multi-sensor instrument that measures a wide range of weather parameters. Gill ultrasonic technology, as used in the proven WindSonic instrument, measures wind speed and direction. Temperature and humidity are measured using industry standard probes housed in a naturally aspirated radiation shield. Barometric pressure is measured within a vented enclosure. A serial data output is provided to interface to industry standard data loggers.

Manufacturing solar panels

Competitive Advantage Through Complete Visibility and Control Over Solar Panel Manufacturing Process

HelioVolt has implemented the GE Intelligent Platforms Proficy® Software suite in its new thin film solar PV module manufacturing plant. The company, based in Texas (US) chose GE’s software to increase plant yield and throughput, while meeting strict control and traceability requirements. With the solution, they will be able to achieve a rapid return on its investment and gain immediate visibility into its manufacturing processes.

HelioVolt is producing thin film solar PV modules for commercial rooftop, utility-scale ground mount, residential, BIPV and custom installations. It is the first thin-film company combining high-efficiency products with low-cost manufacturing capabilities to create a new generation of Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) based solar modules. Thin film technologies reduce the amount (or mass) of light absorbing material required to create a solar cell. This can lead to reduced processing costs from that of bulk materials.

“Our automated and fully integrated manufacturing process, from substrate to final module assembly and test, allows us to reach high manufacturing efficiencies and low costs more rapidly than other competing technologies,” said Iga Hallberg, Vice President of Business Development for HelioVolt. “The Proficy solution can help us to keep plant yield and throughput high, as well as ensure quality. Ultimately, this will lead to better and more cost-effective solar modules for our customers.”

As a new company, HelioVolt needed a solution that is easily replicated to new plants, but also needed the solution to scale data storage for up to 30 years to satisfy warranty requirements. In addition, high volume manufacturing was a must to drive cost down while maintaining quality.

“HelioVolt had some tight project deadlines to meet to satisfy their investors, so only a turnkey solution supported by rapid implementation services would work for them,” said Erik Udstuen, Vice President of Software and Services for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Proficy offers a complete Lean Manufacturing solution that provides the flexibility to add equipment and optimized work processes as HelioVolt scales its business.”

The software system employed at HelioVolt is made up of five core elements of the Proficy suite providing the company with robust redundancy, enhanced data security, reliable information and increased control of every aspect of operations through access to critical data. By delivering web-based visualization and real-time analytics, operators are able to increase efficiency and optimize production processes in real-time resulting in reduced costs and increased profitability.

“GE’s experience in manufacturing as well as the company’s ability to get a complete system up and running in a short time frame were key to working with HelioVolt,” concluded HelioVolt’s Hallberg. “We are looking forward to a bright future in the solar business and we think this software solution will help us get there.”

More information on GE IP's Solar PV OEM Equipment

LVDTs successfully monitor structures in marine environments

Waves of the Irish Coast: Caisleán Nua.Monitoring cracks in structures in coastal environments such as sea-walls, harbours and tunnels calls for transducers that are precise, robust and can withstand the corrosive marine atmosphere.

RDP Electronics Ltd has decades of experience in providing Linear Variable Differential Transducers (LVDTs) that provide accurate measurement of even the smallest movement in cracks, to provide essential diagnostic data that can be used to determine the cause and where necessary prompt appropriate remedial action.

To combat the corrosive atmosphere in marine locations that can be more aggressive than total immersion in seawater due to the combination of saline water and oxygen that accelerates corrosion, it is essential to specify stainless steel transducers. For long-term tests, 316 stainless steel generally recognised as ‘marine grade’ stainless steel is preferred and usually LVDTs are additionally specified as rated up to IP68 and 230 bar.

LVDTs which are unguided types, rather than captive, are mounted on pins drilled either side of the crack. Locations often call for long cable runs from the LVDT’s location to instrumentation, which is achievable due to the 4 – 20mA output of the transducer.

Directors re-elected

At the annual general assembly of CiA (CAN in Automation), three directors have been re-elected: Arnulf Lockmann (Janz), Heinz-Juergen Oertel (Port), and Holger Zeltwanger (pictured right). They lead the non-profit association since 2005.

The CiA members also nominated the Technical Committee and Business Committee delegates (esd, Janz, Port, Schneider, Vector, and Wachendorff).

The CiA international users’ and manufacturers’ group, which supports the international standardized Controller Area Network (CAN) serial communication system (ISO 11898 series) has more than 500 members worldwide.

“The members requested activities to improve the standardization of CANopen device descriptions in order to simplify the selection of products,” says Holger Zeltwanger, the re-elected Managing Director. “This could lead to a data base, in which the system designer may search for specific device functionalities.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New low-cost USB device simplifies temperature measurements

New Device Features NI InstantDAQ Technology that Automatically Loads Built-In Measurement Software

National Instruments has announced the NI USB-TC01, a USB data acquisition (DAQ) device that measures and records temperature data from a thermocouple. The new device combines a quick and easy plug-and-play setup with the high-quality capabilities and features of NI DAQ products. The USB-TC01 thermocouple measurement device features NI InstantDAQ technology, which helps customers to instantly take temperature measurements with no set-up time or driver software installation. Additionally, the USB-TC01 features a standard miniplug connector that helps customers use different thermocouples to meet their specific application needs. Priced at £89 GBP or €99 Euros, the USB-TC01 is ideal for all types of labs and adds convenience to making temperature measurements.

You can see a demonstration of the USB-TC01 by viewing the video “NI USB-TC01 with NI InstantDAQ Technology”.

The new USB-TC01 device offers instant setup for a wide breadth of temperature applications for use in scientific labs; heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) units; cryogenics; industrial ovens and furnaces; engine exhaust and combustion systems; building monitoring; and many other environments. In addition to saving time and resources in system setup, the new device also exhibits the overall accuracy and reliability of more complex measurement systems. With traditional stand-alone data loggers, measurements are made independently of the PC so data can only be viewed offline. The USB-TC01 is always connected to the PC so customers can take live measurements and view results displayed instantly on the PC monitor.

Customers also have the option to expand upon the basic functionality of the USB-TC01 by downloading additional, free ready-to-run applications from their website. For further customisation, customers can build their own applications by combining the USB-TC01 with NI LabVIEW graphical system design software and NI-DAQmx driver software.

Leading brand show in Chinese electronics community

electronica & Productronica China 2010 has achieved new record number of exhibitors, visitors and exhibition space. 380 Chinese and international companies participated in the show. The exhibition space covered 20,000 sq.m, nearly two times that of 2009. 32,125 visitors have attended the show. The number has increased by 14 % compared to last year's event. These figures make clear that electronica & Productronica China is a leading brand show in the Chinese electronics Community.

The shows were held from 16 to 18 March 2010 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai, China, and presented the whole range of electronic components, ICs, cable processing, and surface mounting equipment. On the exhibitor list were leading international players such as Tyco, NXP, EPCOS, Omron, Panasonic, Phoenix, Weidmuller, Vishay, ERNI, Infineon, Bosch, Microsemi, Komax, Schleuniger, Shinmaywa, JAM, Kodera, and Schaefer. Among the Chinese companies exhibiting at the event were Songchuan, Hongfa, Brightking, Degson, Faratronic, Three-Circle, Yinhua, Junquan Automation, Hebi Haichang, Changchun Zhenyu, and HIPrecise.

These companies together with the participants of the German and Japanese companies' national pavilions brought to the show cutting-edge technologies and latest industry trends.

Atsushi Aihara, Senior Manager of Automation Controls Division, Panasonic Electronic Works (China) appreciated the size of the exhibition scale and the number of exhibitors. He said: "electronica & Productronica China is bigger than similar trade shows in Japan and there are more visitors here". Dr.-Ing. Stephan Zizala, Senior Director of Microcontroller, Industrial and Multimarket, Infineon said: "It's excellent. Our booth is always crowded. As for the quality of visitors, we feel it's a good mix of technical engineers and decision makers. "

Tyco Electronics were actively participating in the Innovation Forum and are very satisfied. Thomas W.M Shen, Director of China Automotive Business, Tyco Electronics (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. explains: "Our German experts came all the way here to give speeches in order to have direct exchange with the targeted engineers. electronica & Productronica China provide an excellent platform for us to communicate with the target market."

Conference, Symposium, Forums
Along with the busy fair ground, nine inspiring innovation forums, conferences and symposiums were held during the trade show, featuring expert talks and presentations on a wide array of hot topics and trends such as automotive electronics, power electronics, passive components, cable processing, electronics manufacturing, and LED. Nearly 100 speeches were given attracting 2,598 attendees

At the 2-day International Conference on Advanced Automotive Electronics Technology, experts from FAW, SAIC, DONGFENG, Infineon, Tyco, Bosch, and Continental presented the latest developments in automotive electronics, power train system and safety.

The Symposium on Future Developments and Applications of Power Electronics Technology focused on energy-saving and environmental protection and highlighted topics such as power conversion and renewable energy. Scientists and industry experts from Fudan University, China Power Supply Society, Tongji University, Vishay, and Infineon shared their insights into the low-carbon economy in China.

Two LED-related forums, "the 4th Shanghai LED Lighting Innovation and Application Forum" and the "LED Technology Forum" presented topics such as LED industry policy development and preferential policies and technology applications.

electronica & Productronica China was held in parallel to LASER World of Photonics CHINA SEMICON China and the CPCA show under the umbrella of the Shanghai International IT and Electronics Fair (SIIEF).

electronica & Productronica China 2011 will be held at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai, P.R. China, from 15 – 17 March 2011.

56th International Instrumentation Symposium

The International Society of Automation (ISA) is to hold its 56th International Instrumentation Symposium (IIS) on the 10-14 May 2010 in New York (NY US).Registration for the event is open, with online pre-registration extending until 3 May 2010.

The IIS brings together industry experts, scholars, and researchers from across the globe to discuss instrumentation, and the technologies that surround this field, through four days of sessions, meetings, and training. Speakers will present papers on topics such as electronic instrumentation, wireless technology, cybersecurity, aerospace systems, process measurement and control, virtual instrumentation systems, laser and electro-optics instrumentation, geo-science and remote sensing, and more. The event also will feature volunteer-led tutorials, vendor exhibits, and social functions.

A pre-conference ISA training course, Industrial Wireless Systems (IC85C), will be led by Wayne Manges, ISA100 committee co-chair. Attendees of this course can earn Continuing Education Units, while attendees of the symposium sessions can earn Professional Development Hours.

The IIS is ISA’s longest-running symposium and is sponsored by three of ISA’s technical Divisions: Aerospace Industries, Test Measurement, and Process Measurement and Control.

Symposium sponsorships are available and those interested should contact Carol Schafer.

Load cells for tension control

Sherborne Sensors has introduced the SS6000 series, a range of fully customizable shear strain gauge load cells, designed to directly integrate with new or existing roll bearing systems, for high-precision force measurements within demanding web tension applications.

The design of the SS6000 series incorporates precision transducer quality bonded strain gauges as its primary transduction element, to ensure high-reliability under demanding conditions, as well as to facilitate easy integration with closed loop tension control systems. The transducers are fully compensated for the effects of temperature on zero output and sensitivity, with minimal deflection and high resonant frequency, ensuring rapid response to tension changes. Sensors are machined from stainless steel, for high resistance to shock, overload and corrosion, and are offered in ranges from ±2,000 to ±5,000 kg (4,400 to 11,000 lbf), with 2 mV/V output. The cylindrical end shape of the SS6000 series allows bearings to be mounted direct to the load cell.

With extensive in-house applications engineering and manufacturing expertise, Sherborne Sensors can also design and manufacture custom load cells to meet specific application and conformance requirements, including enhanced measurement capabilities, wider temperature ranges, and specialty connectors.

The SS6000 series is ideal for precision web tension control measurements, including slitting, coating, laminating and embossing processes, as well as winding machinery control applications. All SS6000 series load cells are 100% tested and calibrated at the factory prior to shipment, and are accompanied by a two-year comprehensive warranty. The product is also included under the new Sherborne Sensors Guaranteed On-Time Delivery program.

Refinery margins improved by up to 25 cents per barrell!

Invensys Operations Management has released its Refinery-wide Performance Optimisation Solution. The company has leveraged and integrated multiple technologies from its solutions portfolio to deliver different aspects of real-time business operations management to the refining industry. From simple control loop performance management and rigorous unit optimisation to LP vector updating for multi-unit planning optimisation, customers will be able to optimise all of their refining assets and reap cost savings and margin improvements of up to 25 cents per barrel.

"Based on the collective feedback from the more than 50 customers who are already using the solution, as well as our own industry expertise, we believe the Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution is the most comprehensive refinery performance enabler in the marketplace, capable of delivering millions of dollars in savings each year," said Don Clark, vice president, industry solutions, Invensys Operations Management. "It enables companies to quantify and understand the financial impact of their business decisions in real time and ensures that their technology does not fall into disrepair as they pursue operations excellence related to safety, the environment and asset management. With a sustainable, tuned optimiser, our customers are also able to ensure optimal refinery planning by automatically downloading updated planning model LP vectors that can further drive the profitability of their refining operations."

The solution leverages Invensys Operations Management's SimSci-Esscor(r) ROMeo® optimizer and Wonderware® Intelligence enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) applications. The backbone of their On-line Performance Suite, ROMeo software is the industry's leading unified modeling environment for off-line and on-line optimisation and is being used to optimise operations in refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants worldwide. The Wonderware Intelligence EMI application acquires critical process and optimal performance data from the ROMeo optimiser and models and aggregates it with data acquired from other operational data sources, including laboratory information management systems, enterprise resource planning systems, manufacturing execution systems and refinery process historians, to provide deeper insight and tracking of refinery performance. The Wonderware Intelligence software can calculate and make readily available unique and extremely valuable key performance indicators to all plant personnel, allowing operators and executives to measure the real-time financial impact of the optimiser through flexible web-based dashboards.

With clear, measurable and visible benefits that can total millions of dollars per year, refining companies that utilise the solution can make better decisions about how to deliver long-term, sustainable benefits. Additional attributes of the Refinery-wide Performance Optimization Solution include:
  • A scalable software platform that allows incremental, scalable deployment, all within a common architecture that helps ensure rapid ROI and the ability to grow as the benefits grow;
  • The ability to layer the Wonderware Intelligence EMI solution on top of existing SimSci-Esscor ROMeo optimizer installations;
  • Refinery-wide modeling to identify the most profitable processing of different crude oil feedstocks, which can help ensure the highest value product pools;
  • Closed-loop optimisation of individual units and naphtha pools, as well as the refinery's utilities and hydrogen systems;
  • Refinery-wide mass balance data reconciliation to identify faulty meters and optimal yield accounting;
  • World-class refinery solutions talent from Invensys that have a proven track record of enabling success.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Test software combines electrical & mechanical analysis

During APEX 2010 Las Vegas ( NV US; 6-9 April 2010), ASTER Technologies, are to introduce the first Design for Test (DfT) software to combine electrical and mechanical analysis.

It has been developed to address a new vision of the DfT market that has to solve the many challenges that developers face today, such as: shrinking release cycles, budget compression and improvement in product quality.

TestWay, the world-wide reference coverage analysis tool that allows users to quantify and qualify the test coverage for a wide range of inspection and test equipment, has been enhanced to address the problem for companies that subcontract the manufacture and test of their products, but need to know how to optimize the physical test access in order to achieve maximum test coverage.

The “probe analyzer” is an interactive, rules-based routine specifically designed to assist the Layout engineer or Test developer to identify any possible probe location based on the copper surface, which is useable for a physical access. Access constraints, spacing checks, test points assignment, use of the largest probe size, pin offset and Agilent’s bead probes are taken into account in accordance with company specific guidelines

Once the potential probe placement has been identified, TestWay can estimate the test coverage for ICT and FPT based on the measurement capabilities of the targeted test equipment. The “probe analyzer” also generates a comprehensive accessibility report that clearly states whether adequate probe locations were identified for each net, highlighting mechanical rules violation, so that this information can be fed back to design to support improvements. By reading the access report interactively with the layout viewer, colour coding is used to assist the design and test engineer to graphically browse the non-testable nets in the design.

TestWay provides a sophisticated level of coverage analysis by allowing users to define the test line and combine ICT or FPT with complementary test techniques such as AOI, AXI, BST, FPT, ICT, MDA and Functional Test. It estimates the theoretical coverage aligned to various test strategies, prior to test development, in order to identify areas where test coverage can be improved, so that electrical rules could be applied to identify DFT violations that limit the test efficiency.

The ability to estimate coverage that is aligned to the mechanical layout constraints of the PCB, allows users complete visibility of what can realistically be achieved, so that the effectiveness of the completed test programs can be realized.

Christophe Lotz, Managing Director of ASTER Technologies, said, “Within the new electronic world where the people who design is no longer the same as the people who produce, the market expects a new generation of tool that is useable by both groups. Now, design & test engineers can identify in a matter of minutes, a missing test point, and understand the consequences in terms of test coverage”.

ASTER proposes a wide range of products that support electrical DfT and test coverage analysis. This allows users to select a configuration, which meets their immediate requirements. TestWay is a scalable product from TestWay Express for coverage estimation and measurement, up to TestWay-Classic that provides additional features such as a fully programmable environment capable of supporting customer’s rules checking, test optimization criteria, advanced reporting and Boundary-Scan test generation.

Digital automation system hardware wins award.

iF International Forum Design, based in Hanover, (D), has recognised Emerson’s DeltaV™ digital automation system S-series hardware for outstanding product design. The iF product design award has served as an internationally recognised trademark for outstanding design for 56 years. The award was presented in Hanover, as part of CeBIT, the world's largest digital IT and telecommunications solutions trade fair.

The evaluation criteria for the iF product design award includes design quality, workmanship, choice of materials, degree of innovation, environmental friendliness, functionality, ergonomics, visualisation of use, safety, brand value, branding and universal design.

“We evaluated how automation engineers interacted with automation system hardware across many industries and global locations and found many ways current practices could be significantly improved,” said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer at Emerson. “We worked with M3 Design to tap their considerable experience and expertise in human-focused product development to overcome the issues with the current generation of automation hardware. Together we have significantly improved our DeltaV hardware design to eliminate steps and reduce project complexity, and make it easier to install, use, and maintain.”

“We worked with the Emerson team to take a human centred design approach, focused on usability,”
said Paul Noble-Campbell, Director of Industrial Design at Austin, Texas-based M3 Design. “It is great to see our contribution to the S-series recognised as being truly innovative by the iF International Forum Design group.” The M3 Design effort included packaging for the new CHARMS (Characterisation Modules) that make up the electronic marshalling technology in the new S-series hardware, the CHARM I/O card, and the I/O card carrier. The innovative packaging included a design to efficiently remove heat from the electronics and at the same time exclude unwanted items such as termination screws.

The text of the award reads, “Several innovative features create dramatic savings to installation costs, such as characterisation modules that reduce cable complexity by a factor of several times. These systems ensure the safe and efficient operation of production processes; creating large savings in the consumption of energy and other precious resources. All touch points and status indicators were designed to ensure that the products are intuitive and easy to service. The new design language showcases the functional improvements in communicating the attributes of reliability, simplicity and ease of use; and positions Emerson as a market leader.”

See also our article CHARMS gets THUMS up in Rijswijk on the introduction of this product in Europe!

Longer warrenty and higher temp for encoders

Reflecting the total confidence in the quality of its wide range of WDG encoders and systems, German manufacturer Wachendorff Automation GmbH has extended its warranty from 3 to 5 years as well as increase the working temperature range of all WDG encoders to those used for military specifications.

They saw the warranty expansion as a logical extension to the positive feedback and extremely favourable returns statistics from many satisfied users.

WDG products include incremental and absolute encoders, guided belt measuring systems and draw wire type linear measurement encoders. In particular, WDG series encoders cover incremental shaft and hollow shaft encoders from 24mm to 145mm in diameter with standard quadrature resolution up to 25000 pulses per rev. WDG series absolute encoders include single- and multi-turn variants with up to 18-bit resolution and output options of SSI, CANopen and Profibus-DP in both optical and highly robust magnetic designs. A wide and flexible choice of mounting styles include synchro-flange, clamp ring and screw-flange mechanical interfacing.

The decision to increase the standard temperature rating places the rugged and durable standard WDG encoder product line in operating temperatures from -40°C to +80°C with storage up to +100°C.

All Wachendorff WDG encoder products and systems are characterised by high reliability and resistance to vibration with IP68 rated housings available for the toughest of environments. Application areas for the product includes cranes, lifts, road marking machinery, agricultural and construction vehicles.

Wachendorff is represented exclusively in Britain by Variohm EuroSensor, which provides complete sales and technical support across the full range of products with stock delivery available on many standard products and the ability to coordinate special custom encoder requirements with Wachendorff.

New product guide




CAN in Automation (CiA) has published the CANopen Product Guide 2010 on the Internet and on CD-ROM.

A total of 287 CANopen-specific entries are listed and provide a comprehensive overview of CANopen products. Devices are listed by the application-specific employability and by their functionality (e.g. controller and display, sensor and actuator, gateway). The product entries, which also include CANopen software, literature and services, can be looked up by their product name or by their manufacturer's name. As a special service they are additionally listed by their conformance to the CiA device and application profiles.

Extensive information on worldwide sales and technical company contacts are included in a company-specific section. Ample information on CANopen, the standardized embedded network, and on the CiA device and application profiles is provided as well. In addition, the CANopen Product Guide will be distributed on CD-ROM at the international CiA training events as well as on national and international fairs and exhibitions. The CANopen Product Guide 2010 on CD-ROM is also available free of charge from CIA Headquarters.