Friday, April 23, 2010

Marketing and sales again!

ISA’s 5th Annual Marketing and Sales Summit heads for Atlanta in September

Last year one of the highlights for this correspondent was the ISA's 4th Marketing and Sales Summit in Boston - Managing Through the Tumult and Turbulence. We didn't attend but we were able to look-in on the event and actually participate without having to brave the perils of a tran-Atlantic crossing. It was the first tme that we had been able to share in an event this way and for that reason it is indelibly filed in our memory.

The 5th Annual Marketing and Sales Summit will be held 1-3 September 2010, in Atlanta (GA US). This year’s conference theme is In Search of the Holy Grail: Integrating Marketing and Sales. The event is sponsored by ISA’s Management Division.

In a time where innovation and quick responses to the market are crucial to success, this three-day summit will provide valuable insight into how marketing and sales professionals can work together for positive outcomes.

Sessions will focus on best practices in social media, guerilla marketing, brand marketing, winning complex accounts, market-driven product development, business development and engineering, product marketing management vs. product management, sales vs. marketing, branding in the web 2.0 era, and redefining advertising in the digital age. Breakout sessions will provide even more practical information.
Conference Tracks:
  • Strategy and Business Development
  • Integrated Marketing and Sales
  • Online Marketing
  • Sales Best Practices
“Going on our fifth year, the ISA Marketing and Sales Summit continues to break new ground and deliver vital, timely marketing and sales education, and incredible networking for automation professionals,” stated Juliann Grant, vice president, Telesian Technology and Planning Committee Member. “Last year, we held the first live broadcast to illustrate the power of social media, and we had people participating from around the world. This year we have even bigger plans to showcase new technologies and demonstrate how they integrate with marketing and sales. The bottom line is, the world of communications is rapidly changing, and it’s important that marketing and sales professionals get the education they need to stay on top of current trends, and stay connected with their peers in the automation industry,” she added.

We look forward to a more exciting and an even more participative event than last year's pioneering event.

Corrosion/erosion monitoring

In the oil and gas industry alone, corrosion- and erosion-related losses total billions of dollars every year through unscheduled plant or pipeline shutdowns, lost production, high repair costs, and imposed fines. In addition, incalculable damage can result from potential employee injuries and the effect of spillage on an organization’s reputation.

In industries where the integrity of piping, vessels, and other fixed assets can be compromised by corrosion or erosion, the consequences of failure can be both serious and costly. Historically, time-based, manual inspection methods have been employed to mitigate these risks; unfortunately, this is a very costly approach, frequently involving excavation, scaffolding, special permits, and other expenses. As a result, the annual maintenance costs for assets relying on manual inspection methods are among the highest in the operation.

GE’s Rightrax® system (from GE Energy) reduces these problems using innovative online technology to end costly, time-based inspections while simultaneously providing better, more timely, and more frequent corro­sion/erosion information that dramatically decreases the risk of asset failure. With ROI for the Rightrax system typically less than a year, the economics of going online are compelling. With support for the Rightrax system now available in GE’s System 1® Software, going online is easier and more powerful.

The system uses non-invasive, ultra­sonic sensing technology that attaches to the outside of the asset and measures wall thickness. Rightrax sensors can be polled periodically, allowing users to assess not only useful life remaining by comparing current values to minimum thickness limits, but to establish historical trends. This ability to trend data sets it apart from even the most frequent manual inspection regimens. The benefits are two-fold:

First, users can understand the rate at which corrosion/erosion is progressing, allowing better maintenance planning. Second, users can correlate Rightrax data with process data, providing powerful insight into cause-effect relationships that can help operators understand and avoid the conditions that accelerate corrosion/erosion rates and corresponding asset degradation.

Second, integration provides Rightrax users with all the powerful capabilities native to System 1 software for displaying, trending, analyzing, plotting, and correlating data. It provides powerful import/export functionality for integration with reporting tools and programs, such as Crystal Reports® and Microsoft® Excel®. What sets the power of the System 1 environment apart is its decision support technology: powerful automa­tion capabilities that can automatically analyze data using sophisticated, user-written rules and embedded knowledge. When specific conditions or anomalies of an unknown origin are detected, the system can send intelligent advisories to appropriate personnel.

Thermocouple terminal block

Omega Engineering has introduced the New DRTB Series thermocouple terminal blocks. They are designed and manufactured by Omega using thermocouple alloys to guarantee accurate readings. The terminal block has a built-in female socket to accept a miniature thermocouple connector. This novel feature enables the user to insert a plug for easy connection to a handheld device allowing installation testing, quality assurance compliance, troubleshooting or repairs without interrupting the signal or circuit.

The terminal blocks are fully enclosed and require no end plates. The screws and clamps are zinc plated and together they provide an excellent vibration, maintenance free and corrosion resistant connection.

DRTB terminal blocks mount on standard 35 mm DIN rails or 32 mm G-type rails and are identified with calibration type and positive (+) and negative (-) connections. Wire entry is funnelled to allow quick wire insertion even with stranded wire.

Single source measurement auditor selected

Three-year £2.25M contract to be managed by Emerson’s METCO Services includes 60 audits per year and four full-time engineers providing measurement support

BP has selected Emerson's METCO Services as its single-source provider for offshore and onshore measurement audits and for onshore contract measurement engineering support of BP installations in Britain. The company will also provide operational support to the existing BP Measurement engineering team.

“Selecting Emerson as the single provider for measurement audits and support will streamline management of these services,” said George Bird, Sub-Sector Lead, Procurement & Supply Chain Management, BP. “Having one team of contract measurement engineers working together to support our many offshore installations will also enable more efficient and improved servicing.”

Four full-time, UKAS-accredited auditors will complete 60 measurement audits per year. They will use the METCO 'Inspect' electronic audit package for reporting and scheduling audits on some of BP’s key pipeline infrastructure. “Having all 60 measurement audits conducted by METCO will ensure that they are completed professionally, efficiently and consistent with BP processes and standards,” said Jim Barton, BP’s Measurement Manager & Technical Authority.

Emerson’s METCO Services will also provide measurement support to ensure all meter maintenance is properly completed and recorded, and to manage operational spares and fiscal test equipment to help ensure continuous uptime of metering equipment. Emerson engineers will also compute erroneous measurements so they can be corrected. This measurement support team will initially include at least four full-time engineers at Emerson's Aberdeen facility.

Donald Angus, Business Development Director for Emerson's METCO Services, said, “We are delighted that BP recognised the knowledge and experience of our local team, combined with our outstanding track record of delivery. We look forward to helping them make the most of their measurements.”

METCO is Emerson's specialist measurement services organisation, providing audit and consultancy services, field technicians, and office based engineers to help oil and gas companies manage their fiscal, allocation, and environmental measurement infrastructure.

Close-coupled manifold system simplifies process level measurement applications

Integrated manifolds provide 'close-coupled' connection of differential pressure instruments to process vessels - eliminating size, weight, potential leak paths and installation time

A new highly-integrated manifold concept is offering users a radically simpler means of installing level measurement instrumentation to process tanks and vessels. Two single-piece manifolds integrate all of the valves and features required for connecting the upper and lower pressure sensing points to a differential pressure transmitter. The approach eliminates a huge amount of weight, size and potential leak paths compared with conventional 'hook-ups' fabricated using discrete valves and tubing connections. The solution has been developed by the Instrumentation Products Division of Parker Hannifin.

Called CCIMS Level-Flange, the new solution consists of two manifolds. One provides a single-piece solution for the lower or 'wet leg' pressure connection at the bottom of a tank. This has a flange at one side for connection to the tank, double-block-and-bleed valves in a monoflange style, a mounting point for a differential process transmitter, and tube connections for the balance line connection to the second sensing point. The second manifold provides an integrated solution for the upper or 'dry leg' pressure sensing point, with a flange connection, block-and-bleed valves and balance line connections.

The intimate nature of the piping connection provided by CCIMS Level-Flange aids the fundamental performance of the instrument system. Traditional hook-ups, fabricated from discrete valve and tubing components, typically involve longer flow paths, bends and sometimes changes in bore size. These can introduce pressure drops that can decrease measurement accuracy, commonly referred to as 'gauge-line error'. CCIMS Level-Flange provides a short, straight and even flow connection - allowing end users to benefit fully from the instrument's accuracy to monitor process levels.

The close-coupled design ensures that the differential pressure instrument is mounted directly adjacent to the process vessel - helping to avoid the common problem of blockages that can be caused by factors such as viscous media, hydrate formation, freezing, and so on.

The weight and size of the integrated manifolds is also reduced compared with other solutions. A complete assembly with instrument only extends around 10.4 inches / 26.3 cm from the tank - which can be as little as a half that of some other hook-ups. This eliminates any need for supporting metalwork, and reduces the likelihood of clashing with any nearby pipework etc.

The integrated nature of the manifolds also means that numerous joints are eliminated, every one of which is a potential leak path - helping to avoid both the human and environmental safety issues caused by leakages or emissions.

Installation time is one further significant advantage of Parker's new solution. By replacing hand-crafted assemblies of discrete tubing, joint and valve components that can take many hours to assemble, CCIMS Level-Flange is expected to reduce the installation time and cost of differential pressure transmitter level measurement systems by up to 85%.

Standby power consumption measurements to IEC 62301

New software carries out standby power consumption measurements according to IEC 62301 standard

New standby power consumption measurement software that conforms with the testing methods specified in the IEC 62301 standard and the European EuP Directive has been introduced for the Yokogawa range of digital power analysers.

The new software, available for the Yokogawa WT3000, WT1600, WT500 and WT210 analysers, allows the user to perform measurements according to IEC 62301: Household electrical appliances - measurement of standby power and EuP (Energy-using Products) Directive Lot6.

The software sets up the appropriate test conditions, measures the power values, and creates a test report based on the requirements of the IEC 62301 standard. Key parameters measured and incorporated in the report include total harmonic distortion, crest factor, RMS voltage, frequency, measurement period and power.

IEC 62301 imposes stringent conditions on the accuracy and resolution of the test instruments used for standby power measurement, as well as specifying requirements for analysing the total harmonic content and crest factor of the supply voltage waveform. The Yokogawa WT3000, WT1600, WT500 and WT210 power analysers meet these requirements, and cover current input ranges from 5 mA up to 20 A.

The Yokogawa power consumption software is available as a free download here!

New 6 inch operator interface

Color screen operator interface in a small body brings improved enhanced graphics at a lower price point

GE Intelligent Platforms announced the 6-inch Color-TFT model of the QuickPanel View Basic operator interface, ideal for small applications using point-to-point serial connectivity. QuickPanel View operator interfaces are known for their open and connected abilities to act as the bridge between the enterprise system and the plant floor.

The Basic QuickPanel’s small form factor allows it to fit on spaces where perhaps there is not as much room, or a large screen is not needed. The new color model will provide enhanced graphics, allowing for greater resolution on the screen, and a visual reference for the applications where color is needed or desired. In addition, the new screen increased off-angle visibility for better visuals when looking at it from different viewpoint. The low price point of the unit makes it desirable for companies looking to upgrade their current systems. The model has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, with 16 MB of flash memory and 16MB of DRAM memory and is available immediately.

“The QuickPanel View provides the tools required for today’s application needs,” said Hanuman Gadepalli, Operator Interface Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Acting as the bridge between the enterprise system and the plant floor, QuickPanel View provides information that operators need to run the machines, and that management needs to run the business.”

Show overcomes volcanic eruption...

Despite the fact that many people were unable to attend and the fact that the high level personalities scheduled to participate in the opening, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (who did visit later) and Silvio Berlusconi, the eponymous prime minister of the Italian Republic, (whose Economic Minister did in fact Drive from Italy for the show!), were both precluded from attending the opening by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, the organisers advise that this years Hannover Fair was a success.

It has given a further boost to economic recovery, with benefits set to flow through to the industrial sector over the next few months. Exhibitors are feeling upbeat about their future prospects: "The mood at HANNOVER MESSE is always a good indicator of industry sentiment, so we can now confidently speak of an upswing," commented Deutsche Messe Managing Board Chairman Wolfram von Fritsch at the end-of-show press conference in Hannover on Friday, April 23. "Although the first part of the show was indeed severely impacted by the air travel bans caused by the volcano eruption, the last two days made up for part of this."

"Exhibitors have reported many promising talks on projects, investment plans and deals which will contribute to enhanced utilization of capacity over the weeks and months to come," he added. "Last year people came here in need of orientation; this year they came strictly to do business. The strengths of HANNOVER MESSE were leveraged to good advantage in this phase of the cycle, giving a real boost to business activity. Some exhibitors even managed to generate returns on a par with the boom year of 2008."

Major travel limitations resulting from the international flight embargo impacted both exhibitor participation and visitor attendance, but Deutsche Messe was quick to launch a series of measures to ease the situation, chartering a fleet of buses to bring several hundred exhibitors from across Europe to the show. From Turkey alone, some 150 exhibitors took the 50-hour ride. And from New Zealand, an exhibitor turned up after a 134-hour travel marathon! "Many hundreds of people demonstrated to us just how important it was for them to be at HANNOVER MESSE," von Fritsch remarked. The air travel ban did, however, prevent around 300 exhibitors from arriving in time to set up their stands, with exhibitors from Asia and the Americas most severely affected.

The closing of European airports put the brakes on international air travel to Hannover and Europe in general, which naturally had a negative impact on attendance. "Flight bans and several days of uncertainty did put a major dent in attendance on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and we were not able to catch up by the end of the event," von Fritsch explained. Attendance from outside Germany was down by about half. The total visitor count of 150,000 was roughly 20 percent below the previous year's figure. Attendance from Asia and North America suffered the most.

As expected in light of the flight bans, the majority of foreign visitors were from Germany's neighboring countries. Attendance from the Netherlands was well up on the 2008 figure. The next largest contingents came from Austria, Denmark, France, Switzerland and Poland.

"The performance of HANNOVER MESSE 2010 certainly cannot be gauged in terms of the visitor statistics. This year's event will go down in history as the 'volcano event,'" von Fritsch commented.

The President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Hans-Peter Keitel, agreed that the event had been a success overall. "The volcanic ash cloud paralyzed international air travel, but not HANNOVER MESSE! To the contrary: The exhibitors, and in particular Deutsche Messe, were totally committed to making this HANNOVER MESSE a success. This was absolutely crucial in light of the incipient economic recovery. The companies and industries who exhibited here now have wind in their sails for smoother sailing ahead, despite any navigational obstacles which might still be in the way."

The main sectors at HANNOVER MESSE 2010 consisted of industrial automation, energy technology and industrial subcontracting, with well over 4,000 innovations being unveiled at the exhibition. Hall 2, devoted to the research and development sector, featured market-ready research findings awaiting industrial application.

This year's HANNOVER MESSE, staged under the keynote motto of "Efficiency, Innovation, Sustainability," attracted bookings from more than 4,800 exhibitors from 64 countries, matching the totals for the "boom year" of 2008.

The energy shows at HANNOVER MESSE occupied around one-fourth of the exhibition space. Over 1,100 companies were on hand to present with conventional and renewable sources the energy mix of the future, with displays covering the entire energy added-value spectrum - from generation, delivery, transmission and distribution to transformation and storage.

A major drawing card for the public consisted of the new MobiliTec trade fair in Hall 27. This was also the location for the group pavilion on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and the exhibitions on renewable forms of energy. MobiliTec marked Deutsche Messe's debut in the electric mobility sector - clearly a topic for the future, given attendance there by around one-third of all visitors to the show, who were able to gain new insights into hybrid and electric drive technologies, mobile energy storage systems, and alternative mobility technologies. Around 100 exhibitors showcased a wide range of future mobility technologies and solutions on a total of over 4,000 square meters of floor space. "Our new MobiliTec tradeshow has been a great success," said a delighted Wolfram von Fritsch. "Our concept of highlighting the linkage between the various sectors and technologies involved worked very well. We presented the full value-added range of electric mobility - from components, drive technologies and batteries to entire systems and the relevant applications, including infrastructure and network integration."

Another show making its debut in 2010 was CoilTechnica. Around 70 exhibitors were in Hall 6 to present technologies for the production of transformers, generators, coils and electric motors. Even before HANNOVER MESSE opened its doors, the industry had made its decision to stage another CoilTechnica in 2011. "This will further enhance the profile of industrial subcontracting at HANNOVER MESSE. The CoilTechnica show has secured the participation of an industry that fits perfectly into the HANNOVER MESSE mesh. Exhibitors were delighted with the trade fair, and will be back in Hannover next year to repeat the exercise," said von Fritsch.

Once again, industrial automation was high on the agenda. Visitor interest was particularly strong for the "Efficiency Days", jointly organized by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI) and Deutsche Messe. Companies showcased their expertise involving energy efficiency in industrial processes in a series of presentations, discussions and guided tours over the five days of the show.

Von Fritsch also expressed his appreciation for the outstanding performance of this year's Partner Country, Italy. "Italy has made good use of every opportunity to present itself as an export-focused industrial nation with strong innovative skills. The adaptability and flexibility displayed by our Italian exhibitors was underscored by Economic Minister Claudio Scajola, who drove all the way from Italy to take part in the opening - a fine confirmation of our close partnership with his country."

The TectoYou careers initiative for young people was another success. Several thousand young people came from across Germany and were clearly inspired by the technologies and innovations presented by exhibitors. HANNOVER MESSE also featured more than 1,000 conferences, forums and workshops, which helped bring visitors up to date on the latest trends and topics.

On Friday, the last day of the show, Deutsche Messe was preparing to stage its 7th "WoMenPower" special symposium, focusing on career issues and success strategies in the workplace as well as "work-life balance". Deutsche Messe expected to welcome over 800 participants.

HANNOVER MESSE 2011 will run from 4 to 8 April, occupying the entire exhibition center, with a total of 13 trade fairs. The nine trade fairs at this year's event - Industrial Automation, Energy, Power Plant Technology, MobiliTec, Digital Factory, Industrial Supply, CoilTechnica, MicroNanoTec and Research & Technology - will be supplemented by Motion, Drive & Automation, Wind, Surface Technology and ComVac.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Next generation valve island.

ASCO Numatics announces the new G3 fieldbus next-generation, electronic platform valve island. The G3 is easy to assemble, install, commission, and maintain, and features a graphic display for easy commissioning, visual status and diagnostics. The robust connections are quick, easy to use and make the platform highly distributable.

The new G3 valve island offers increased intelligence in the form of new diagnostic functions and enhanced plug-and-play capabilities for individual modules. The graphic display (in place of the usual LED indicators) supports plain-language messaging of diagnostic information at both the module and communication node level. The messages give the user direct information and this makes it easier to detect shorted and open load, shorted sensor/cable, low and missing power, and missing module. It also allows self-test activation and provides a log of any network/distribution errors.

The G3 Series product line is a completely modular system. Protected to IP65/NEMA 4, the G3 electronic modules plug together, using an innovative clip design, allowing easy module removal/replacement without dismantling the whole manifold. This makes the system highly user friendly. Additional flexibility is incorporated because the same modules can be used in either centralised or distributed applications.

SPEEDCON M12 connector technology allows for fast and efficient ½ turn I/O connector insertion and the power connector scheme allows the output power to be removed while inputs and communications are left active. An Auto Recovery Module (ARM) protects configuration information during a critical failure.

The G3 supports up to 512 inputs/outputs with one communication node of up to 32 valve solenoids per manifold and up to 16 manifolds per communication node. One node supports 16 I/O modules-analogue I/O, digital I/O (NPN & PNP) and the unique distribution system allows system efficiency by allowing the same modules to be used in either centralised or distributed applications. The G3 interfaces to valves with flow from 275 up to 3820 l/min ANR.

Protocols supported include DeviceNet, DeviceNet w/Quick Connect, EtherNet/IP, PROFIBUS-DP, CANopen, PROFINET and MODBUS TCP. The G3 electronics interface with the highly modular Numatics generation 2000 Series, ISO 5599/2 and ISO15407-2 Series valve lines, to further enhance the modularity and flexibility of the entire system solution.

The G3 range of valve islands has many applications in packaging machinery, conveyors, robotics and valve piloting used in industries that include food processing and machine automation.

High precision pressure measurement

With the PBMN product, Baumer offers a highly precise pressure transmitter for demanding applications in hydraulics or engine and vehicle construction. The fully welded versions are available with an accuracy of up to 0.1 % F.S. The total error band is less than 0.4 % F.S. over the whole compensated temperature range. The transmitter can be easily configured with the FlexProgrammer.

As part of their modularly designed PB series, which can be adapted individually to customer needs, the PBMN is the high-end transmitter for demanding applications. Thanks to the seal-less construction, the measuring device can be used in many different media. The PBMN is suitable for measuring ranges from 0…100 mbar up to 0…1600 bar. It is based either on piezoresistive technology (for pressures below 40 bar) or on metal thin film technology (for pressures over 40 bar).

The PBMN features a high overpressure resistance and long-term stability (0.1 % F.S.) as well as a very high accuracy over the compensated temperature range from -40 °C up to +85 °C. It is available with accuracies of 0.1 %, 0.25 %, or 0.5 %. The total error band in the compensated temperature range is less than 0.4 % F.S. for the version with 0.1 % accuracy.

The measuring device is provided with several output signals (4…20mA, 0…10VDC, 0…5VDC) and stainless steel process connections. A number of options are available for the electrical connection as well. The PBMN is delivered programmed according to exact customer requirements, but it can easily be re-configured using the Baumer FlexProgrammer 9701. The measuring range is one of the adjustable parameters, and the zero point can be recalibrated as well.

EDDL/DDL host test suite

The HART Communication Foundation has released the new enhanced HART EDDL/DDL (Electronic Device Description Language) Host Test Suite. The test suite is used by suppliers and developers of host products to test compliance of their implementation and is used by the Foundation to verify and validate compliance of host products submitted for HART Registration.

The new HART EDDL/DDL Host Test Suite is one of the most extensive and rigorous host test programs in the process industry using 950 automated test cases and 8300 individual verification points.

“Everyday users rely on HART technology’s promise of interoperability to harness the power of continuous communications among new and existing HART devices,” says Ed Ladd, HART Communication Foundation Director of Technology Programs. “To meet user expectation, the new test suite automates and standardizes the host testing process to verify proper functionality, behavior and interoperability with all HART products.”

The EDDL/DDL Host Test Suite includes Test Libraries, Specifications and adaptable Device Simulator to stimulate and verify proper host functionality and behavior for all HART protocol versions. The Test Suite extensively exercises the host product application to verify compliant operation and functioning with respect to DDL/EDDL Operation, User Interface, Data Modeling and Method execution.

Building on the efforts of the EDDL Cooperation Team (HART Communication Foundation, Fieldbus Foundation, OPC and PROFIBUS Nutzer-organisation) and the HART DDL Working Group, realization of the test suite enhancements was a major undertaking that required many man years of cooperative effort by Foundation staff and multi-company volunteers.

Products submitted for HART registration are tested by the Foundation to independently verify test results and validate that device and data meet HART Protocol requirements. The HART Registration Program is a quality assurance program to ensure interoperability of products produced to the HART Standard regardless of the manufacturer.

New website launched.

Capacitec has announced the launch of a fully upgraded global corporate website. With improvements that are 100% driven by comprehensive customer and industry feedback, the site has been enhanced to reflect Capacitec’s growing product portfolio, while addressing the expressed product, application and educational needs of present and prospective customers.

The new Capacitec website features a clean, easy-to-navigate home page, which includes added search capabilities by product type or target market category. Upon selection of desired target product or application, the user has instant access to a series of comprehensive product pages, devoted to sensing system product specifications, as well as detailed recommendations on accompanying software and accessories. The site’s enhanced search capabilities allow for greater functionality and speed of information gathering. In addition, a comprehensive resource library contains up-to-date product literature, as well as detailed examples of the practical applications of Capacitec product technologies that will best solve a specific measurement challenge.

Notes Bob Foster, president, Capacitec, “We are pleased to announce the launch of the new Capacitec company website, which is really reflective of where our company is today. The goal for was to grow an invaluable customer resource and go-to reference guide for the engineering community at-large, and particularly, one that keeps pace with the tremendous growth we’ve experienced over the past few years.”

Improving security of oil & gas infrastructure

The LOGIIC Consortium has announced its formal inception under the auspices of the Automation Federation.

The LOGIIC (Linking the Oil and Gas Industry to Improve Cybersecurity) program is an ongoing collaboration of oil and natural gas companies and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate. LOGIIC was formed to facilitate cooperative research, development, testing, and evaluation procedures to improve cybersecurity in petroleum industry digital control systems. The program undertakes collaborative research and development projects to improve the level of cybersecurity in critical systems of interest to the oil and natural gas sector. The program objective is to promote the interests of the sector while maintaining impartiality, the independence of the participants, and vendor neutrality.

The Automation Federation serves as the LOGIIC host organization and has entered into agreements with the LOGIIC member companies. Member companies contribute financially and technically, provide personnel who meet regularly to define projects of common interest, and provide staff to serve on the LOGIIC Executive Committee. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate has contracted with the scientific research organization SRI International to provide scientific and technical guidance as well as project management for LOGIIC.

“LOGIIC is a model example of how leading industry organizations can team with government in a public-private partnership to ensure the security and safety of the automation systems that are crucial to our critical infrastructures,” said Ted Angevaare of Shell and chair of the LOGIIC Executive Committee.

As its first project under the auspices of The Automation Federation, LOGIIC seeks to evaluate and improve the level of security of Safety Instrumented Systems as these are increasingly integrated with process control systems. These goals are to be achieved by an evaluation process conducted by subject matter experts working closely with system vendors. The results of this project will ultimately benefit not only the members of LOGIIC, but also the oil and gas industry as a whole.

Current members of LOGIIC include BP, Chevron, Shell, Total, and other large oil and gas companies that operate significant global energy infrastructure.

The elephant in the room...

Festo's Bionic Handling Assistant set to revolutionise handling technology

At this year's Hannover Fair (ending on 23rd April), Festo launched its latest bionic concept project.

Festo uses bionic concepts in the same way the car industry uses concept cars - they are not saleable products but are proof of research ideas and demonstrations of design concepts, intended to stimulate dialogue with customers, suppliers and partners. Known as the Bionic Handling Assistant, the latest concept offers a completely flexible - and safe - means of moving objects from one position to another. It could revolutionise the design of materials handling systems, and potentially opens up a host of entirely new application areas involving direct, non-hazardous contact between humans and robots. These include equipment for use in hospitals, rehabilitation and care homes for the elderly, as well as agricultural machinery and even domestic appliances - anything, in fact, that requires risk-free mechanical assistance.

The Bionic Handling Assistant is the latest innovation to spring from Festo's Bionic Learning Network, which is an alliance of educational establishments and specialist companies tasked with exploring bionic solutions for automation applications of the future. The inspiration for the Bionic Handling Assistant comes from elephants' trunks -a fundamental part of the animals' olfactory system - which are muscular, flexible extensions to their upper lip and nose, with finger-like growths known as proboscides which enable them to grasp food and other small objects.

The Bionic Handling Assistant employs highly innovative biomechatronics technology and introduces an entirely new concept, whereby direct contact between machines and their human operators - whether accidental or intentional - is no longer hazardous. In the event of a collision with a human, the Bionic Handling Assistant yields immediately, without modifying its desired overall dynamic behaviour, and then resumes its operation. Unlike heavy industrial robots, the Bionic Handling Assistant is characterised by an excellent mass-payload ratio, provides smooth operating motion with more degrees of freedom, and makes very efficient use of resources.

The Bionic Handling Assistant consists of three basic elements for spatial movement, together with a hand axis with a ball joint, and a gripper with adaptive fingers. Each basic element comprises three circularly arranged pneumatic actuators tapering at an angle of 3°; each actuator is supplied with compressed air at the interfaces of the basic elements. Opposing movements are effected by the loop-like design of the actuators, which act like a spring when the compressed air is exhausted. Their extension is measured by position sensors, which control the system's spatial movement. In the hand axis, three further actuators are arranged around a ball joint; their activation displaces the gripper by an angle of up to 30°. Festo SMAT safety position sensors register the travel and ensure precise alignment, and the company's VPWP proportional valves are used for pneumatic control. The overall result is a highly flexible system that can transmit high forces despite its lightweight design.

The Bionic Handling Assistant is manufactured using the latest additive rapid manufacturing technologies, which facilitate the production of individual moveable system components from polyamide. This is applied in thin layers onto a base platform, with each new layer being fused into place by means of a laser beam, hardening the layers only where it is programmed. This is a form of 3D printing which now makes it possible to cost effectively produce intricate, complex products in small batch sizes.

Readers may be interested to view the video of the Bionic Handling Assistant here. This page also provides detailed information about Festo's other bionic projects.

New lift inverter drives

New series lift inverter drives are built to achieve even higher efficiency levels

Gefran’s new and exclusively designed ADL and AVRy lift drive inverters cover entry-level to advanced performance for power ranges up to 90 kW with a strong emphasis on energy efficiency and application versatility. Designed with over 40 years of experience in civil lift engineering, the new drives offer reduced energy consumption and reduced CO2 emissions across the range with regenerative ‘clean energy’ power recovery technology available with the AVRy versions.

When compared to other lift drive designs, the ADL series can increase system speed and reduce energy consumption and costs by up to 48% as well as reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1000 Kg/year. AVRy regenerative drives can further reduce energy consumption by an additional 42% - for total savings of up to 90% - with CO2 emissions reduction up to 6000 Kg/year.

The ADL100 series features an advanced sensorless vector control to provide a cost effective solution for geared lift applications with speeds to 1.2 m/sec and use with asynchronous induction motors. The modular design includes a simplified I/O configuration but includes full featured lift control capability with integrated braking control and wireless remote interfacing for Bluetooth devices. An integrated RS232 serial communications port is also included with Modbus RTU protocol and set-up/diagnostics made easy with a PC programming wizard or an optional multilingual keypad.

The ADL 200 series builds on these features with advanced characteristics for geared or gearless lift systems in standard or machine room-less installations with asynchronous induction motors or synchronous brushless motors. The versatile ADL200 series is based upon an advanced 32-bit hardware platform with a wide range of pre-defined drive configurations plus interfaces for multilevel I/O control and encoder options which include incremental, sinusoidal and EnDat absolute. In addition a wide choice of communications fieldbus options ensure maximum interfacing capability.

Gefran’s AVRy series inverters feature built-in ‘clean energy’ power recovery technology for reduced operating system costs and energy savings for geared and gearless lift systems with Synchronous or Asynchronous motor ratings to 15 kW and speeds to 5 m/sec.

All Gefran lift drives are built for maximum lift cabin operational flexibility and extreme levels of comfort for lift passengers. Motor control includes space vector modulation for whisper quite operation and dedicated elevator features include smooth start, multi-speed, braking, output contactor and door control functions. Gefran lift drives also include controls for independent management of short floors and position controls for storing floor distances.

Rebranding to drive global expansion

Curvaceous Software Limited (Curvaceous), the award-winning British company, has today re-branded as PPCL to support its global expansion in both North America and Asia. The new PPCL brand and its livery replaces the Curvaceous brand in Europe and the C-Visual brand in the US.

Curvaceous and C-Visual are wholly owned subsidiaries of Process Plant Computing Limited and PPCL was selected as the name to best represent the company moving forward while reflecting its heritage. The company’s previous websites received hundreds of thousands of hits so the new website has been created to meet increasing user demands and educate markets new and old about the benefits and applications of Geometric Process Control Software.

PPCL’s new visual identity will be deployed across all key constituents of the business and the product suite will remain as CVE (Visual Explorer), CPM (Process Modeller) and CRSV (Response Surface Visualiser).

Robin Brooks, Managing Director of Curvaceous Software says: “Consolidating our worldwide activity under a single brand is the next step in our strategic growth plan to support our unique product suite throughout our markets. We believe a cohesive brand is central to our success and PPCL will better support our partners in their sales drive. We believe our new brand will be well received and understood by our customers who will continue to receive the same attention to detail and dedicated customer service that we have always been known for.”

Acquisition extends open platform!

Invensys Operations Management Acquires Skelta Software

Invensys Operations Management has acquired Skelta Software, a privately held software company headquartered in Bangalore, India.

Founded in 2003, Skelta provides enterprise-wide business process management (BPM) and advanced workflow software solutions for companies of every size in several industries, including manufacturing and infrastructure operations. The Skelta BPM suite offers leading capabilities for business process modeling and execution and includes unique, integrated capabilities for business rules management, forms management, document management and business activity monitoring. It also includes connectors to popular Microsoft offerings such as SharePoint®, BizTalk® and Microsoft Office®.

"This acquisition further extends our Enterprise Control System strategy," said Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and chief executive officer, Invensys Operations Management. "Simply put, Skelta technology will enable Invensys Operations Management and our global network of ecosystem partners to deliver new, easy-to-configure workflow, collaboration and process-centric applications. This, in turn, empowers our customers and partners to be more productive and innovative as they strive to achieve productivity excellence. Every business needs the flexibility to respond to new business challenges in real time. By extending our open Wonderware® System Platform and InFusion™ Enterprise Control System offerings, we further accelerate the development of applications that improve collaboration and workflow across people, systems and documents."

Skelta offerings enable customers to build powerful BPM solutions in the financial services, healthcare, life sciences, energy, manufacturing and infrastructure operations industries. These software solutions are proven to accelerate customer deployments with a high return on investment and lower total cost of ownership. They also offer prebuilt solutions, such as accounts payable, document management, and governance, risk management and compliance, to increase efficiencies and reduce costs. These offerings include advanced collaboration tools, real-time work flow processes and new application development tools, delivered and serviced by more than 80 partners, including systems integrators and valued-added resellers, who will join Invensys Operations Management's existing global network of more than 3,000 ecosystem partners.

"Combining our strengths accelerates the development and delivery of solutions that help customers improve collaboration and empower their workers with actionable information, driving real-time process improvements and increased profitability," said Sanjay Shah, chief executive officer, Skelta Software. "Our customers will continue to work with the same strong Skelta team and continue to receive the same excellent products and services, but now they will be backed by an industry-leading company with global capabilities, allowing us to further expand our suite of BPM software, services and solutions."

The business will continue to be managed by Skelta's existing executive team, adding approximately 130 employees to Invensys operations in India.

Skelta BPM is one of the first completely embeddable business process management and advanced workflow frameworks, and like Invensys' ArchestrA® software framework, it is built on Microsoft .NET technology, making it open, extensible and scalable. Their software will extend the Invensys Wonderware System Platform and InFusion Enterprise Control System with new workflow capabilities that can help customers improve their process execution, standardisation, quality control, regulatory compliance and environment, health and safety programs.

Skelta BPM technology can improve productivity for clients in many industries, including food and beverage, oil and gas, and power. Its agile framework links manufacturing and infrastructure operations systems to existing business and departmental workflow systems, helping customers achieve better business results in real time. Personnel at every level of the operation, including quality managers and planners, can use the resulting solutions to help control their daily workflows, as well as improve demand response, issue resolution and corrective and preventive actions. For example, because it is being integrated with the InFusion ECS, Skelta technology will help make it quicker and easier for customers to initiate a production change sequence as a result of a large order or to manage workflows associated with maintenance issues, such as faster recovery from unplanned downtime. Preconfigured industrial and manufacturing-specific workflows will be built into future Invensys offerings, with the goal of dramatically reducing the cost and complexity of implementing high-value workflow solutions while driving productivity excellence.

"Expanding the System Platform offering to include a strong workflow component is almost revolutionary in the benefits it will bring to users," said Mike le Plastrier, director, EOH, a South Africa-based distributor of Wonderware software solutions. "In asset-intensive industries such as mining, there is inevitably a requirement to work with transactional data from multiple sources, such as a LIMS, vehicle management or assay management system, to create a common platform for the complete mine. Our customers require a workflow system to ensure their data is effectively correlated and stored. In addition, with embedded workflow solutions, System Platform is now ideally suited to allowing logic to be placed on production streams, providing, for example, real-time accounting capabilities."

Read a short comment in ControlGlobal "Invensys buys business process management software company Skelta-- what's it mean?" and their post press conference: "More on Invensys and Skelta".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Best corporate blog...

Emerson honoured for "Best Corporate Blog” by BtoB Magazine

This is the official account from Emerson on something we commented on already on our blog , "A tale of two media", last week. where we quoted from the citation which said that the blog was selected for relevance, rich features, and frequent content updates

Emerson Process Management has earned the 2010 “Best Corporate Blog” award from BtoB Magazine for the “Emerson Process Experts” blog, led by chief blogger Jim Cahill.

This blog features technology and application specialists throughout the company − and sometimes customers − sharing their experiences, suggestions and tips on applying process control and monitoring technologies in plant operations to improve safety, reliability and performance.

“What makes our Experts blog so meaningful is how tightly it reflects the daily challenges customers face,” said Kathy Button Bell, chief marketing officer for Emerson. “We strive in all of our communications to reflect an intimate understanding of customer challenges, and encourage conversations about how Emerson can help them solve those issues.”

When the Emerson Process Experts blog began four years ago, the goal was simple. Give a voice to the many technology, application and business experts within the Emerson Process Management organisation. While the blog has been prolific and successful in achieving this goal, the hundreds of postings have also revealed an important truth about social media.

Some people might pursue a blog as a publishing tool − a way to tell their story,” says Jim Cahill, social media manager for Emerson Process Management. “But blogs like this are equally important as listening devices, making your organisation available for customers to respond to what they read, ask questions, seek help. If you are listening, you can respond in a meaningful way. We call it ‘living at the surface’.”

As we have said before we find it extraordinary that Emerson is almost unique - but not quite - in the automation industry to sufficiently value this phenomenon to appoint a Social Media Manager.

Protection against voltage transients & high temps

Hall-effect latches withstand high-voltage transients and high temperatures

The new A1225, A1227 and A1229 from Allegro MicroSystems Europe are a family of Hall-effect latch ICs that combine enhanced protection against high transient voltages with the ability to operate over extended temperature ranges up to +150°C.

These extremely temperature-stable and stress-resistant sensor ICs are especially suited for applications that require high-voltage transient protection close to the sensors, but where space or distance considerations preclude the use of external protection devices. Typical uses include motor commutation in sunroofs and power windows within the automotive market.

The A1225/7/9 devices include Allegro’s advanced offset cancellation technique which, along with high-speed 4-phase chopping, gives lower noise on the output, less switch-point variation with temperature, and faster settling times. The resulting improvements in noise and switch-point drift lead to much better switching accuracy and repeatability.

Superior high-temperature performance is made possible through a Schmitt trigger circuit that maintains operate and release point symmetry by compensating for temperature changes in the Hall element. In addition, the internal compensation circuitry provides magnetic switch points that become more sensitive with temperature, hence offsetting the usual degradation of the magnetic field with temperature. The symmetry capability makes these devices ideal for use in pulse-counting applications where duty cycle is an important parameter.

The improved high-voltage transient protection allows the devices to survive the tests specified in ISO 7637-2 and a 40 V load dump for less than 0.5 s with minimal external protection. In addition, enhanced ESD (electrostatic discharge) prevention structures provide ESD protection of up to 8 kV HBM (human body model) without the need for external protection components.
The three basic devices (A1225, A1227 and A1229) are identical except for magnetic switch points. Each device includes, on a single silicon chip, a voltage regulator, Hall-voltage generator, temperature compensation circuit, signal amplifier, Schmitt trigger, and a buffered open-drain output to sink up to 25 mA. The on-board regulator permits operation with supply voltages of 3.8 V to 24 V.

The first character of the part number suffix determines the device operating temperature range, with suffix ” L” denoting -40°C to +150°C. Two package styles provide a magnetically optimised package for most applications. Suffix “LT” is a miniature SOT89/TO-243AA transistor package for surface-mount applications, while suffix “UA” is a 3-lead ultra-miniature single-inline package. Both packages are lead (Pb) free with 100% matt tin leadframe plating.

Rugby Rucks and Rivalry

Engineering students Raymond Carley, from Killiney, Sam Hajim, from Clonskeagh and Fionan O’Sullivan, from Dun Laoghaire pictured at UCD Belfield ahead of the Siemens RoboRugby

UCD students and their robotic rugby players took part in the Siemens RoboRugby Challenge 2010 at UCD Belfield Campus. The robots, which are made from thousands of individual pieces are the result of a creative, innovative and design exercise by first year UCD Engineering students, UCD Belfield.

The Siemens RoboRugby tournament provides a platform for students to illustrate their ingenuity and problem-solving skills, which are at the root of all engineering, in a fun and interesting way. 19 autonomous robots will compete in this year’s competition, including ‘Rubber Bandits’, ‘The Majestic Turkey’ and ‘Anne-droid’ to name a few.

Siemens, one of the world’s leading engineering companies, sees Siemens RoboRugby as an important and yet fun initiative that stimulates an interest in engineering and technology innovation among undergraduate and graduate students. Ireland is well placed to capture a significant slice of the international green economy, which is likely to create substantial employment opportunities with varying skills requirements and the development of expertise in key engineering disciplines is critical in this regard. 20,000 engineers in the wind energy sector alone will be desperately needed across Europe in the next 10 years.

According to Brian Mulkeen, UCD School of Electrical, Electronic & Mechanical Engineering, “The first-year Engineering students have devoted thousands of hours to this exciting and important part of an Engineering education at UCD. Between designing, building and programming their miniature robots, they have all picked up new skills, including teamwork, that have a much wider application. From strong and heavy to light and agile; complicated to more simple approaches, the Siemens ‘RoboRugby’ competitors aim for reliable robots.”

Commenting on the sponsorship, Dr. Werner Kruckow, CEO, Siemens Limited said, “Siemens has been a keen sponsor of the RoboRugby competition at UCD for six years. The sponsorship enables us to play our part in providing a platform for students to develop their creative and lateral-thinking skills. As a world leader in science and technology innovation, we encourage the development of a green technology industry. Ireland has the natural resources, so it is vital that we continue to nurture and develop the requisite talent and skills for Ireland to realise its ambitions to become an international hub for innovation and green technology.”

Siemens, which employs around 1,000 people in Ireland, is one of the world’s leading electronics and electrical engineering companies operating in the Industry, Energy, Healthcare and IT sectors. The company is the world’s largest provider of environmental technologies, generating €23 billion – nearly one-third of its total revenue – from green products and solutions.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A new connector concept

Han-Yellock® is a new industrial connector series from HARTING which retains the core functionality of the company’s existing Han® product range but differs significantly from in terms of size, shape and new features.

Key features of the Han-Yellock® range include an internal, latched locking mechanism on the connector hood, a wide range of these modules to offer a large number of potential configurations, an adaptor frame for use with modules in HARTING’s Han-Modular® series, insulators that can snap into the front or back walls of the housing, and a protected earth (PE) contact in crimp or Quick Lock termination.

Together, these features combine to offer a connector range with improved functionality in the form of increased versatility, multiplied potential for different configurations, simplified handling, a reduced incidence of errors and maximum safety.

Potential user benefits of Han-Yellock® include fewer part numbers and lower inventory
requirements, less wiring work during installation, fewer steps in the workflow and quicker assembly, and reduced downtime because of the latched locking mechanism and maintenance-friendly design.

The Han-Yellock® interface consists of a housing, a bulkhead mounting on the housing side and a carrier hood with cover on the cable side. The system can be used with a variety of insulators and fingerproof contact inserts, which simply snap into place. Contact assemblies can be inserted from the mating or termination side, and also offer an option for contact bridging. The modules require only male crimp contacts, and no special assembly tools are required.

The locking facility is a key function of the Han-Yellock® connector, making connection and disconnection safe, simple and quick – even under harsh industrial conditions. When locked, the connection is resistant to vibration and shock, and is protected against accidental opening. The patented internal locking mechanism operates as the cable and device sides are joined together, and a red ring around the perimeter of the locking pushbutton will be visible if the housing halves do not snap together properly. This ring disappears as soon as the internally protected
stainless-steel springs snap into place.

The locking function also features an integrated blocking capability, where rotating the button by 90° makes it impossible to open the connector. The pushbutton can be set back to its visually open position only after the button is turned back 90°. It is then possible to release the two housing halves by pressing the snap-in button. This feature provides an elegant mechanism for preventing an accidental opening of the connector – and no additional components are needed for it.

Mangement team augmented to support sales

Gresham Power Electronics has appointed Gareth Owen to the position of European PSU Sales & Technical Manager for their Power Supply Business. Gareth returns to Gresham to fill this strategic appointment as the new senior contact for all of the OEM and Distribution business Gresham has throughout Europe

Jake Moir, Managing Director of Gresham commented; “We are pleased to welcome Gareth back to Gresham and he will quickly make a positive impact on our business as he already has a thorough knowledge of our products and their capabilities and good relationships with our existing customers. He will spend a great deal of his time travelling throughout Europe supporting our growing number of OEM customers and ensuring our Distributors have all the information and back-up they need to generate new design projects.”

This new appointment acknowledges Gresham’s understanding of how important it is to spend time face to face with both customers and distributors. Moir continued, “so much information is now available to our customers from an ever increasing range of sources that it actually seems to be getting harder to find the most appropriate solution to any need. We feel we should get back to basics and spend time with all of our customers to not only understand their immediate needs but to ensure any Gresham solution can add value to their whole product strategy.”
Gareth brings a wealth of experience of the power conversion industry having spent over 12 years with Sanken Power Systems, where he was Technical Applications and Power Supply Design Divisional Manager. During this time he spent 2½ in Japan seeing best practice design and manufacturing in operation and also gained a working knowledge of Japanese.

Gresham is able to supply standard products from their very wide range of high power density, high reliability compactPCI products, OEM power supplies, hot-swap power shelves and products for telecoms, medical, industrial and commercial applications as well as static frequency converters, DC UPS, distributed power systems and DC:AC inverters for Naval defence systems.

Having a direct presence in Europe will not only increase awareness of these standard products but more importantly enable Gresham to develop their very successful custom design services for OEM’s.

Well field application released!

Invensys Operations Management has announced its Well Field Application, a software suite that monitors, manages and enhances the performance of oil and gas well fields in real time.

Built on the company’s Wonderware® System Platform and InTouch™ human machine interface solutions, the software provides reports, alarms, call outs, data storage and process data management on all well field assets. Its management capabilities are driven by a real-time overview of the entire field, supported by functions that look deep into the operations of each well to extract detailed production information. That information can be used to easily create reports, alarms and graphics that call attention to underperforming assets. These reports and alarms can then be sorted by asset, route, operator or foreman and accessed via the Web, viewed on hand-held devices and sent via email or text message, helping to eliminate delays and reduce maintenance costs. Additionally, any process variable, such as flow rate, pressure and volume, can be compared and measured to help identify assets that are performing below expectations.

“The Invensys Well Field Application provides operators and enterprise managers with a single point from where they can see and measure the operation of their well field, helping them to achieve productivity excellence. By combining our extensive experience in oil and gas operations with our proven supervisory control and data acquisition products, Invensys is able to offer a unique integrated, comprehensive real-time solution,” said John M Gilmore, Jr., director, upstream oil & gas, Invensys Operations Management. “This product enables our oil and gas customers to work smarter by pulling together, into one operations management package, real-time information from existing networks, both hardware and software, to improve the overall productivity of their operations.”

The application is data driven and further extends Invensys Operations Management’s open Wonderware System Platform, which means that users can easily configure assets, wells, operator responsibilities and similar data themselves, saving engineering and programming costs. Operators can quickly add hundreds of wells at a time to the configuration, and the solution contains proven templates to integrate many real-time automation and information systems, as well as any control and data-acquisition hardware. This is particularly valuable for maturing well fields that are operating with multiple generations of automation equipment.

In addition to managing the physical assets of the field, the Invensys Well Field Application provides tools for improving human resources functions. Best practices and training methods can be identified and developed using summaries and comparisons that can be organized by area, team, lift type or custom group. Training of new operators is also made easier because of how the system logically organizes and presents information.

CT range extended

Carlo Gavazzi has expanded its CTD family of current transformers with the addition of six solid-core and five split-core models pushing capability up to 4000A. Like the existing CTD portfolio the new devices are easy to install, simple to wire and deliver enhanced safety assurance.

With the new current transformers, the company able to provide solutions from 50A right up to the highest currents for energy management applications, including motor control and power control centres. Split core versions provide Class 1 measurement to EN60044-1 standards, with the new CTD-5S designed for 26 x 32mm bus bars and primary currents from 125A to 400A. CTD-6S extends capability to the 200-1000A range on 50 x 52mm bus-bars, whilst models CTD-8S, CTD-9S and CTD-10S cover current ranges of 400-2500A, 500-4000A and 400-4000A respectively, on 30 x 80, 35 x 125 and 50 x 126mm bus bars.

New solid-core models are rated Class 0.5 and are available in either vertical or horizontal mounting formats on the larger bus bars, ranging from the 400-2500A CTD-8H / CTD-8V to 400-4000A CTD-10H/CTD-10V models.

All of the new devices cater for 5A or 1A secondary current measurements. Furthermore, current transformer output can be bridged without changing connection of the secondary, so avoiding any output over-voltage during either the maintenance or installation procedure.

The CTD’s screw terminals are compatible with all wire types on the secondary side, making connections easy and flexible with up to eight-wire connection; and the use of up to 10 isolated screws ensures strong and reliable attachment of the current transformer to bus bars. Simple output and earth connections, together with the ability to seal terminal-block covers and the split-core bar fixing screws, provide the assurance of maximum safety protection.

The CTD family are compatible with Carlo Gavazzi’s full range of energy management products and digital panel meters, and suitable for both motor control and power control centres.

Ultra miniature loadcells

Sherborne Sensors has introduced the SS4000M series, a family of ultra miniature universal load cells, designed for precision force measurements within tension or compression applications where space is at a premium.

Offered in ranges of ±10 to ±500N with 2mV/V output, the robust construction of the SS4000M series consists of a bridge of transducer-quality strain gauges, bonded to the transducer element. This element is manufactured from high strength alloy or stainless steel, depending upon range requirements. Even with its small size, the SS4000M series offers high accuracy and very low deflection under load. Units are temperature compensated over -10 to +60°C for reliable operation in a variety of application environments. Recommended accessories include indicators and male rod end bearings for tension related applications.

With their high-reliability performance characteristics in a small envelope size, the SS4000M series is ideal for use within high-volume OEM applications, as well as materials testing, laboratory analysis, research and development and general force measurements within space constrained environments.

All these SS4000M series ultra miniature 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 company's new Guaranteed On-Time Delivery program.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Three cheers for wireless certification!

Unanimous certification a major industry milestone; wireless control benefits plant operations and lowers costs says automation leader.

Emerson Process Management applauds the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) unanimous vote to certify WirelessHART technology as "the first global standard for wireless communications for industrial process measurement and control." (see our story "First international standard for wireless in process automation," earlier this month!)

The new standard was developed by major process automation suppliers, including Emerson, working within the not-for-profit HART Communication Foundation. To be known now as IEC 62591, the standard makes it easier for refineries, chemical plants, energy producers, and other process businesses to add wireless technologies to their operations, at substantially lower cost than traditional wired technology. It also provides customers with multi-vendor interoperability and protects their technology investment. The IEC is the world's leading organisation that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies.

"The commission’s endorsement of this standard confirms what Emerson and many others have known: this technology is a reliable, versatile, and economical tool for improving process operations and enabling a significant return on investment," said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. "IEC 62591 compliant technology will have as great an impact in process plants as Wi-Fi has in offices."

Emerson was the first to offer WirelessHART products and continues to lead the industry with a broad portfolio of devices using the technology. Likewise, many other suppliers are building broad support for IEC 62591 by developing products based on the standard.

Beyond typical process measurement and control applications, customers are increasingly using wireless products where wired measurements would be too expensive or impractical – such as monitoring temperatures in moving railway tank wagons or wellhead pressures on remote offshore oil platforms – as well as applications such as corrosion and vibration detection which improve plant safety.

“The adoption rate has been incredible," according to Sonnenberg. "Emerson customers are already using our WirelessHART products in more than 1,200 installations around the world. Having an international standard should accelerate this growth by assuring them of future compatibility, allowing them to begin gaining the benefits of this exciting new technology."

IEC 62591 devices operate in state-of-the-art, self-organising wireless networks that automatically re-route communications to avoid obstacles or other interruptions. The standard is also based on the widely used HART communication protocol designed for the configuration and integration of devices into automation systems. This enables customers who wish to add WirelessHART products to existing systems, the ability to take advantage of familiar tools and training.

Specifications for HART and WirelessHART are controlled by the HART Communication Foundation, an international, not-for-profit organisation with more than 200 member companies that include major process automation manufacturers.

Quality standard award upgrade

Intepro Systems has been awarded ISO9001-2008 quality standard approval for its British and Irish facilities. Building on their well established ISO9001-2001 quality procedures meeting the additional requirements of the latest version of ISO9001-2008 further demonstrates Intepro’s continuing commitment to quality and total customer satisfaction.

Colin Sycamore, Global Support Manager for Intepro comments,"We are very pleased to have improved our quality standards to ISO9001-2008 levels as proof of our commitment to ensure our customer service is of the highest standard. We are committed to continuous ongoing improvements in quality management in every aspect of our business to ensure our customers get the best possible service and support from Intepro globally."

Having achieved the same quality standard in both its European facilities ensures a constant delivery of products and services to Intepro’s customers worldwide. Meeting the requirements of ISO9001-2008 and other industry specific quality standards is a global aim for Intepro Systems.

Pic: Intepro’s Global Support Manager Colin Sycamore and Nicky Charles, UK and Europe Support Manager, with their ISO9001-2008 certificate.

Introducing Thermography

Fluke is offering a free, 72-page illustrated book, ‘Introduction to Thermography Principles’, designed to provide an introduction to thermal imager operation and procedures with an overview of the latest information on their safe, efficient and practical usage.

Thermal imagers have become essential troubleshooting and preventive maintenance discovery and diagnostic tools for electricians in industrial, process and commercial applications, as well as for service providers in the building diagnostic and inspection industries. The ‘Introduction to Thermography Principles’ book includes detailed chapters on Troubleshooting, Training and Safety, Applied Theory, Thermography Applications and Inspection Methodologies, as well as Analysis, Reporting and Documentation. These chapters are backed by full colour images from real applications.

Fluke offers a wide choice of thermal imagers for industrial and building diagnostic applications, from the entry level Ti9, through the Ti10, TiR, TiRx, Ti25, TiR1, to the Ti32 and TiR32, each suited to a different range of tasks and to satisfy different budgets. The Fluke Ti9 Electrical Thermal Imager is a rugged entry-level thermal imager aimed at electrical contractors and electricians, offering best in class image quality and instantly showing faults in electrical equipment.

The rugged, high-performance Fluke Ti25 and Fluke Ti10 Thermal Imagers are designed to make thermal imaging affordable and effective for day-to-day troubleshooting and maintenance tasks. The Fluke Ti32 and TiR32 Thermal Imagers are industrial grade, high-performance IR cameras incorporating a powerful 320x240 sensor to provide high-definition, strikingly crisp, detailed images: their superior image quality helps to identify even the smallest temperature differences that could indicate problems. These four models incorporate IR Fusion®, a technology that integrates infrared and visible light images in full screen, or picture-in-picture, views for enhanced problem detection and analysis.

Potential users of Fluke thermal imagers can request a free demonstration and also request a free copy of the book (normally priced at £22).

New version of video surveilance system

Longwatch latest release is available in three platforms that eliminate the need for custom programming to set up a video surveillance system.
The Longwatch Video System Version 5.1 is now available in three distinct platforms that make installation, configuration and application easy. The platforms eliminate the custom programming needed with traditional video systems and create a “fast track” for integration with a process control, HMI/SCADA or automation control system. The result saves money by reducing false alarms, reducing labor costs, reducing support costs, and improving decision-making speed and accuracy.

The platforms include:
    Console Recorder Platform: Monitors what operators are watching on HMI displays and records their keystroke actions, so that playback reveals what operators saw on the screen during an “event” and what they did about it. A small software module acts as a “camera” to record exactly what is on the system screen, including mouse movements. The result is video that can be used for root cause analysis, process documentation, operator training and process improvement.

    Video Historian Platform: Automatically links and synchronizes historical trend information and stored video from multiple cameras in the field or process. This enables the operator to actually see what happened when various trend conditions occurred. It also includes a patent-pending “process tab” that automatically links SQL database messages from alarm, quality and other MES databases with video from automatically selected cameras. The result ranges from seeing what happened when an alarm was posted in the HMI/SCADA/DCS system, to having a “video traveler” of a manufacturing or batch work order as it works its way through the plant.

    Surveillance Platform: Eliminates “blind spots” in video surveillance by providing the most flexible and efficient networking support available. Event messages automatically contain video “snippets” that show what happened before, during and after an event, to help reduce false alarms and to help inform first responders when necessary. Events can be triggered by security alarms, door switches, level or leak sensors, limit switches, or a variety of hardware and software-generated signals. Video can be sent over wired or wireless networks, including instrumentation networks, ranging from 9600 baud serial up to satellite, broadband and fiber.
Each of the platforms is supplied on a CD-ROM, which allows fast installation and integration with cameras of all types, industrial networks, and HMI/SCADA systems, DCSes, process historians, and control systems of all types.

“Longwatch is delivering software specifically made to integrate video with industrial applications, especially for improved operational performance and safety,” said Steve Rubin, president and CEO of Longwatch. “We have customers who are able to reduce their labor costs with Longwatch. Other customers use Longwatch systems to reduce downtime by catching and fixing problems before they become costly. Longwatch paid for itself in minutes by preventing downtime for a wallboard manufacturer. These customers needed no special hardware and no custom software to achieve results. Longwatch was applied ‘out of the box’ to save them start-up and ongoing maintenance costs. We’re doing for industrial video today what our team did 25 years ago for HMIs: making the application simple to use, highly valuable for the user, and general purpose to help many industries.”

See also Steve Rubin's article "We can tune PID controllers, but what about tuning the operator?" published in March 2010.