Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Improving product quality, reducing rework

High impact solutions quickly improve operations, protecting margins and delivering quality for a sustainable competitive advantage

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the Proficy® Accelerator for Centerlining, enabling continuous improvement and resolution of problems due to variability, in a move to full process reliability and stability. Centerlining is the next solution in the company’s ever-growing line of Proficy Accelerator software and services offerings, delivering functionality in a low-risk, extremely rapid manner by using a proven, template-based approach.

Companies today need a way to automatically track all the data they accumulate from operations, figure out what is “normal” and when things are off track so they can “manage by exception.” Centerlining, also called run-to-target, helps reduce variability and increase efficiency. The goal of the Proficy Accelerator for Centerlining is to reduce costs due to material losses and other waste from process and product variability, as well as increase throughput and yield.

Proficy Accelerator for Centerlining solution focuses on rapidly identifying process and product inconsistencies, performing statistical analysis to improve control, and managing and improving operations in real-time. This solution will drive operational excellence to improve product quality, reduce rework and the risks associated with product safety, and ultimately enable a sustainable competitive advantage.

“Through our long history in the software business, we have continually enhanced our solutions to drive continuous improvement programs allowing companies to build on their progress along a consistent set of milestones,” said Sheila Kester, General Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms’ Operations Management Software. “This Operational Excellence journey starts with plant level efficiencies and builds upon analytics across the production network for improved planning and execution. Proficy Accelerator solutions allow manufacturers to quickly implement the Proficy Software Platform to take advantage of these gains.”

Proficy Accelerator consists of powerful, out-of-the-box solutions that can rapidly demonstrate business value from the Proficy Software platform in as little as 30 days with minimal risk. It is an easy way to prove the value of Proficy and jumpstart the Operational Excellence journey. In addition to the Centerlining solution, GE Intelligent Platforms has also introduced:

· Proficy Accelerator for Production Efficiency allows manufacturers to maximize the utilization of their plant assets. It provides visibility into factors such as equipment downtime, changeover effectiveness, waste and operating efficiency. It supports root-cause analysis by automatically linking downtime events to a specific cause in real time.

· Proficy Accelerator for Change Management drives increased efficiency of personnel and productivity. This solution helps organizations assess, monitor, manage, control and lower project and maintenance costs associated with software and device management.

· Proficy Accelerator for Manufacturing Energy Management correlates energy costs with manufacturing production, rapidly enabling sustainable operational excellence and energy cost savings.

· Proficy Accelerator for Packaging Performance utilizes an operator-centric performance management paradigm to improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), production rate, availability and order fulfillment while reducing waste and labor costs. This solution provides critical insight into high-speed packaging line operations. When fully implemented, customers have seen OEE increases of between 5% and 12% on packaging lines over time.

Fulfilling low-cost solar needs

Carlo Gavazzi adds Eos-Array Lite option to configurable PV-controller technology, boosting performance, efficiency and ROI from smaller installations

Carlo Gavazzi has extended its modular control and management solution for solar-power installations by introducing Eos-Array Lite, offering increased modularity for cost-sensitive applications from 10kWp upwards and providing localised diagnostics supporting rapid repair of power faults.

Building on the principles of the Eos-Array modular control system introduced in 2009, Carlo Gavazzi’s new Eos-Array Lite comprises the dedicated VMU-ML master unit featuring focused control capabilities and up to 15 modules providing string-control, measurement and I/O functions. The Eos-Array Lite string-control module, VMU-S0, provides a cost-optimised feature set monitoring voltage and current to pinpoint the location of any power faults. This can help maintenance teams identify the causes of faults quickly, to minimise the cost of repairs and increase uptime, thereby maximising return on investment for solar generating capacity. The VMU-S0 unit is capable of direct DC measurements up to 16A and 1000V.

Complementing these modules, the VMU-P environmental measuring unit provides one temperature input and one irradiation input for monitoring the status of the photovoltaic (PV) cell array. The VMU-O local output unit provides one relay output allowing the VMU-ML controller to manage a device such as a local alarm.

“Eos-Array Lite enhances choice for customers seeking to overcome the drawbacks of traditional PV controllers, which typically impose large space requirements, limit flexibility, and bring complex installation and wiring challenges,” said Alan Hickman, Managing Director, Carlo Gavazzi. "As a lower-cost option providing all the modularity and many of the features of Eos-Array, Eos-Array Lite will increase the accessibility of Carlo Gavazzi’s technology enhancing the value of solar power to operators and end users.”

When assembled to create a local control system for PV plant, the modules provide timely and accurate alerts to system faults such as defective PV modules, incorrect connections, or failure of the inverter. This contrasts with competing systems, which are typically only able to monitor the inverter. Operators also benefit from simplified installation, since there is no need for power supply or bus wiring among modules. In addition, industry-standard RS-485 Modbus communications simplify integration into the customer’s PV management system.

This modular control system enables a space-optimised solution for any PV installation, and can comprise from two to 16 single-DIN modules, up to a maximum width of 280mm. The system is supported by Eos-ArrayLSoft software, which is designed specifically for use with Eos-Array Lite to facilitate configuration of modules during plant commissioning as well as read-back of data in normal operation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New magmeter

Two-wire magnetic flowmeter offers high performance using dual-frequency excitation

The new Yokogawa ADMAG AXR is a two-wire magnetic flowmeter that achieves high performance by using dual-frequency excitation technology.

To date, most magnetic flowmeters have been of the four-wire type, where high accuracy and performance are achieved by using a dedicated power-supply cable that is separate from the signal cable used for the measurement current output. The two-wire type, on the other hand, uses just one pair of wires for current output and power supply, offering significantly lower installation costs by requiring neither a dedicated power supply cable nor a power-supply unit.

Despite these benefits, conventional two-wire magnetic flowmeters do have limitations in terms of measurement accuracy and stability, and as a result have not been well accepted in the process automation sector.

Now, however, Yokogawa has adapted its dual-frequency excitation technology to the two-wire configuration, resulting in minimal electrical and flow noise in the output signals. The performance in upper flow ranges is comparable to that of conventional magnetic flowmeters, thereby achieving the high levels of measurement accuracy and stability needed for use in control loops.

Their dual-frequency excitation method uses high-frequency switching of the magnetic field combined with high-speed digital processing to execute the complex algorithms required to enhance stability and performance, while at the same time minimising power consumption.
A further performance enhancement is provided by a new coil configuration. Because a two-wire magnetic flowmeter has a limited supply power available, the excitation current supplied to the coils is normally too weak to generate flow signals that can be differentiated from electrical noise. To resolve this problem, Yokogawa has adopted a new high-density coil construction method that enables a stronger magnetic field to be generated with a low current.

The company has also found ways to minimise the noise level by smoothing the liner surface of the measuring tube and developing an electrode system that is immune to noise pickup. As a result, the Admag AXR makes it easy to differentiate signals from electrical noise, thereby achieving a measurement accuracy comparable to that of conventional magnetic flowmeters.

User-friendliness in the new Admag AXR has been enhanced through the addition of a full dot-matrix LCD display capable of displaying messages in six different languages, enabling customisation of the device - by pushbuttons inside or magnetic switches through the display window - without opening the cover, the addition of an electrode adhesion diagnosis function, and a design change that allows the orientation of the converter to be changed on site.

The elimination of the need for a dedicated power-supply unit and power-supply cable has allowed a sharp reduction in instrumentation cost. The lower power consumption of the two-wire instrument also reduces the total cost of ownership.

The Admag AXR is ideally suited to fluid flow measurement in a variety of industries including chemicals, iron & steel, and food & beverages.

Embeded communication module

New embedded communication module reduces development efforts by up to 70%, speeds up time-to-market and minimizes development risk.

HMS Industrial Networks has a new embedded communication module for CompoNet as the latest member of the Anybus CompactCom (Anybus-CC) product family. With the release of the CompoNet module, HMS completes its offer for CIP™ (Common Industrial Protocol) supported networks.

The new module provides device manufacturers with a fast and easy way to connect their automation devices to CompoNet™. The ready-made solution reduces development efforts by up to 70%, speeds up time-to-market and minimizes development risk. Anybus-CC is a family of interchangeable plug-in communication modules supporting 18 different fieldbus and industrial Ethernet technologies. All modules come in a secure housing about the size of a compact flash card. The core of the module is HMS´s NP30 microprocessor. The hardware and software application interface of the Anybus-CC module for CompoNet™ functions in the same manner as all other Anybus-CC modules, therefore, the new module is fully interchangeable with all other active Anybus-CC modules.

CompoNet™ provides users with a bit-level network to control small, high speed machines and CIP™ network services to connect to the plant and the enterprise. As a member of the CIP Networks (DeviceNet™, ControlNet™ and EtherNet/IP™) family, CompoNet fulfills the requirements of applications using large numbers of simple sensors and actuators by providing high speed communication with configuration tools and combining this with efficient construction, simple set-up and high availability – all on a single network.

Coriolis upgrade

Emerson Process Management has upgraded the Micro Motion® 9739 transmitter to include multivariable-digital (MVD™) technology for faster performance and improved measurement accuracy. Existing users are supported with an easy-to-install retrofit kit that provides a convenient and cost-effective upgrade path.

MVD technology is high-speed signal processing, embedded in electronics, to deliver measurement accuracy in the toughest conditions. The front-end digital processing MVD technology offers dramatically reduced signal noise while delivering a faster response time to improve the overall measurement quality.

The RFT9739 transmitter is a popular and well established product with over 100,000 installed worldwide with various Micro Motion Coriolis sensors. The retrofit kit brings the many benefits of MVD technology to their existing 9-wire Coriolis flow and density meters. Easily installed in minutes, the kit utilises the existing housing and avoids the need for any piping or wiring changes.

The new 9739 MVD retrofit kit has the same outputs as the previous RFT9739 transmitters and uses the same base housing, so providing a fast, cost-effective and convenient way to upgrade to MVD technology. Using an existing Micro Motion Coriolis sensor, an upgrade to the 9739 transmitter with MVD will deliver a 2x improvement in turndown for users. The upgrade is also available for field-mounted versions of the transmitter, housed in a NEMA 4X (IP65) enclosure.

The Micro Motion Model 9739 transmitter with MVD technology has ATEX, CSA-US, and UL approvals and is ideally suited for applications ranging from monitoring to process

Electronics Cooling with a difference

Designed for use in MicroTCA applications, the new Compact Cooling Package (CCP) from Rittal has the flexibility and scalability to provide targeted cooling in many rack mounted applications where significant amounts of heat are being generated. Each CCP is capable of removing up to 1200W of heat in an efficient, controlled manner and multiple systems may be distributed within the rack if required.

The 482.6mm (19”) rack mountable CCP comprises a controller managed air/water heat exchanger, 300mm deep, and a 482.6mm fan tray, which can be supplied as a fully wired and piped re-cooling system. Both major components of the CCP are just 1U in height and may be separated by the electronics they are cooling.

Supporting all leading IPMI and Rittal CMC-TC (Computer-Multi-Control Top-Concept) protocols, the CCP can be controlled via a CPU. If a fan breaks down or in the event of extreme air temperatures (96 h at 55°C), the system still remains operational. The use of robust controllers and sensors ensures secure cooling and allows the system to be reliably controlled automatically. Modular and easy to install, the system can be matched to specific, actual cooling needs due to its flexibility. Applications with ambient temperatures of up to 55°C and at 1,800m above sea level are therefore possible.

With the increasing compactness of electronic systems, and MicroTCA systems, power losses of 600 watts and more can be expected per shelf. One Rittal CCP unit will effectively cool two MicroTCA shelves, providing efficient dispersal of heat, and keeping the electronic systems at constant low temperatures by monitoring the internal temperature. Any vertically cooled rackmount electronic systems can benefit from this development, which has the added advantage that systems placed nearer the top of the rack can receive cooling air at the same temperature as those lower down.

Four awards for innovation and excellence

National Instruments has received four awards from leading industry trade publications for hardware and software, as well as an award recognising the company for excellence in business-to-business marketing. Editors and readers from Test & Measurement World, Design News and Control Engineering selected NI X Series multifunction data acquisition (DAQ) devices for PCI Express and PXI Express, the NI wireless sensor network (WSN) platform and the NI LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module for their technological advancement and innovation. Additionally, the Marketing Leadership Council selected the NI Energising Engineers at NIWeek campaign for its marketing insight and creative use of social media platforms.

Test & Measurement World recognised X Series multifunction DAQ devices for PCI Express and PXI Express as the Best in Test for Data Acquisition for their integration of high-performance analogue, digital and counter/timer functionality onto a single device. Engineers can use NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and NI-DAQmx driver software to customise X Series devices for a variety of test, measurement and control applications.

Design News selected the NI WSN platform as a Golden Mousetrap Best New Products award winner for its complete monitoring solution and software integration abilities. The NI WSN platform was also recognised by Control Engineering with an Engineers’ Choice Award for I/O Systems in Wireless. Additionally, Control Engineering recognised the LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module with the Engineers’ Choice Award for Design, Simulation, and Diagnostics for its simplification of configuring motion axis settings and implementing custom motion control applications.

The NI marketing team received the Marketing Leadership Council B2B Marketing Communications Award for its achievements in business-to-business marketing communication for its social media campaign executed at NIWeek 2009 (See our Report on this) The team was lauded for its identification of what drives customers to connect and creative use of social media platforms to help users to achieve their goals. (The next NIWeek is scheduled for early August!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cryogenic temp measurement

Liquid nitrogen data logging system

MadgeTech’s LNDS, Liquid Nitrogen Data Logging System, is an ultra-low temperature measurement system created specifically for the monitoring of temperature sensitive substances that need to be preserved at cryogenic temperatures.

The LNDS can be mounted to the top or outer of a cryo-shipper or freezer, and the probe sheath can be inserted into the tank. The user can then directly view the internal temperature on the LCD of the logger. Also, a variety of probe sizes are available.

It is easily user programmable with preselected sample rates from between 2 seconds to 24 hours. It features a programmable start time and date, up to six months in advance.

The 8-button membrane keypad and large LCD provides the user with the ability to view the current reading, minimum, maximum, and average statistics, in real-time. The non-volatile memory will retain data even if AC and battery power are lost. Also, the 9-volt battery it runs on is both user-replaceable and cost effective.

The Liquid Nitrogen Monitoring System includes the TCTemp2000 data logger with N.I.S.T calibration certification, thermocouple probe, and 9 volt AC wall mounted power adaptor.

Force link

Kistler introduces a low range 3-component force link.

Kistler force links are widely used in measuring dynamic forces on vibrating tables and quality assurance applications in laboratory and production. The latest addition to the range suits applications requiring a lower measuring range at lower and higher operating temperatures. The new Type 9327C force link has an Fxy measuring range of ±4 kN and Fz of ±8 kN to suit testing of small, precision components and products. The full range now consists of five types covering measuring ranges from ±4 kN to ±150 kN.

The new type has a pre-loaded force link sealed in a robust stainless steel housing measuring only 42 x 42 x 42 mm. The operating temperature range of –40 to +120 degrees Celsius with the option of IP67 protection rating make the force link suitable for a wide range of applications. The rigid construction ensures exceptional crosstalk, hysteresis and linearity performance in tension and compression, irrespective of the point of force application. A compact, robust, multipole connector provides easy connection using a cable standard across the whole of the Kistler range of force links.

The new 3-component force sensor is supplied calibrated ready for immediate use.

De-skew correction

De-skew correction enhances accuracy of oscilloscope-based power measurements

High-frequency power measurements can now be carried out with greatly enhanced accuracy using a de-skew correction signal source, along with voltage and current probes, in conjunction with the /G4 power measurement option on the Yokogawa ranges of digital and mixed-signal oscilloscopes.

Even though power measurement using an oscilloscope is fundamentally less accurate than using a digital power meter, it offers much higher bandwidth. It is particularly suitable for measuring high-frequency switching losses in switched-mode power supplies. It also provides a power measurement capability using a general-purpose product which has other uses, an option that may be more acceptable to users who are not ready to invest in a true power meter or have limited budgets for test equipment.

The de-skew correction signal source is an accessory which is specifically designed to maximise the measurement accuracy of oscilloscopes when they are used for power measurements involving fast switching devices and high-frequency waveforms.

To correctly measure power-supply parameters such as power, impedance, power factor, watt-hours and ampere-hours from the voltage and current under analysis, the voltage and current signals must be applied to the signal input terminals of the oscilloscope with no difference in the transfer time. The signal source corrects the potential delays between voltage and current channels in combination with the auto de-skewing function provided as part of the /G4 option.

The unit produces an output voltage from 0 to 5 V and an output current of 0-100 mA (for low-current measurements) or 0-1 A (for high-current measurements). It has a fall time of approximately 25 ns (low current) or 250 ns (high current). The fixed time difference between voltage and current is 2.3 ± 0.5 ns (low current) or 14.5 ± 1.0 ns (high current). Its power supply of 5 V DC/100 mA is taken from the oscilloscope via a USB cable.

The de-skew correction signal source supports through-type current transformers and a variety of clamp-on current probes.

Teaching resource for AAS

Teaching material resource made available for high resolution continuum source AAS

Recognising the emergence of High Resolution Continuum Source Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (HRCS AAS) into a fully established AAS technique, Analytik Jena has produced a comprehensive package of teaching material for use in higher education. This free resource includes fundamental information, Powerpoint® presentations, videos, two poster presentations and more than 30 reprints from learned journals covering the use of the technique.
It is available from Vince Phelan at Analytik Jena UK.

The HRCS AAS technique was originally developed and patented at the Institute of Analytical Sciences in Berlin, (D) and commercialised by Analytik Jena. A comprehensive 65 page full colour booklet entitled ‘Fundamentals – Instruments and Techniques of Atomic Absorption Spectrometry’ covers the principles and construction of all types of atomic absorption spectrometry, including HRCS AAS, as well as factors that influence the performance and results obtained from different types of instrument.

Powerpoint® presentations in the teaching resource cover the fundamentals and principles of HRCS AAS as well as some HRCS AAS flame applications, such as the determination of trace elements in tungsten, the determination of impurities in Co ore concentrate and the determination of 7 elements in molasses. A video showing the optical path in HRCS AAS is also included.

One of the key messages of this teaching resource is that HRCS AAS is now a well-established technique. This is backed by the inclusion of copies of over 30 papers published over the last 10 years. Papers featuring the HRCS AAS technique have been published in journals including Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Analytica Chimica Acta, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, Journal of Brazilian Chemical Society, Microchemical Journal, Microchimica Acta, Spectrochimica Acta Part B and Talanta, and come from disciplines as varied as oil, coal, biology, food and drink.

A first in coriolis flow

First Coriolis flowmeter with full 2-wire technology (4–20 mA)

Anyone who, in their flow measurement applications, wants to combine the advantages of the Coriolis measuring principle with those of 2-wire technology no longer needs to compromise says a recent release from Endress+Hauser. As a full 2-wire instrument, Promass E TB2 can be integrated into existing plant systems seamlessly and without extra effort.

Previously, Coriolis mass flowmeters were available exclusively with 4-wire technology, and thus with separate supply and signal wire. By using state-of-the-art low-power electronic components, E+H has now succeeded in implementing the Coriolis measuring technology in full two-wire technology – that means consistently in the range from 4 to 20 mA. A few years ago, this would have been inconceivable. The advantages connected with this cannot be overlooked: reduced costs for installation and wiring as well as the seamless integration into existing systems.

Meets all industry requirements
In the chemical and petrochemical industries, 2-wire measuring devices are in high demand, as intrinsic safety is extremely important especially in hazardous areas. Without any compromises, Promass E TB2 meets all of the relevant standards in the process industry such as NAMUR, HART, and SIL. Both, self-monitoring and error diagnostics, for example, are strictly in accordance with the specifications of NE107 (NAMUR). This guarantees a high degree of safety in operation and optimal system availability.

Customer-oriented operating concept
Another outstanding feature of the Promass E TB2 is its innovative, user specific and task orientated operating concept. Operator, maintenance and expert menus can be called up immediately at the touch of a button. Guided parameterization (“Make-it-run” Wizards) guides the user whilst configuring the flowmeter, and “Tool tips” provide additional parameter information. In the event of an error, remedy information is immediately displayed.

Safe and secure data back-up
Promass E TB2 provides data management, data back-up and configuration data transfer to other measuring points via the local display. And in case of servicing, the automatic data back-up via HistoROM enables the fast exchange of measuring electronics and automatic reconfiguration without the need for a new calibration.

Tried-and-tested Coriolis sensor technology
As a tried-and-tested multivariable sensor of the Proline flowmeter family, Promass E simultaneously measures the mass flow, fluid density and temperature. As a result, customers can monitor and control their processes even more accurately. Promass E can be supplied with the line sizes DN 8 to 50. In addition to liquids such as acids, alkalis, and solvents, it also measures all gases flawlessly. The application range extends to a nominal pressure of PN 100 and a process temperature of 140 °C.

Point-of-load regulator

Ultralow VIN DC/DC µModule® Regulator with Onboard 5V MOSFET Gate Drive Delivers 15A from 3.3VIN down to 1.5VIN

The LTM4611, which has been released on Monday 28th June 2010 by Linear Technology, is a complete switch mode DC/DC µModule point-of-load regulator capable of generating its own 5V N-channel MOSFET gate drive for very efficient voltage conversion from 3.3VIN or less to loads as low as 0.8V at up to 15A.

Alternative traditional low input voltage high power switch mode DC/DC converters with N-channel MOSFETs require a second regulator circuit to provide the 5V gate drive needed for logic level MOSFETs. Conversion efficiency for the LTM4611 at full load (15A) is 92% for 3.3VIN to 2.5VOUT.

Applications include systems with only 3.3V, 2.8V or 2.5V as the main power rail such as compact data storage and RAID systems, ATCA and optical networking cards, as well as medical and industrial equipment.

So what is the Story behind the LTM4611?

Background
Many densely populated and sophisticated board designs such as multi-ASIC embedded systems or dual-core single-board computers use an isolated brick to convert a 48V bus to 3.3V as the main power rail. There are several reasons:
    1) With only a 3.3V bus, power consumption of the board (total circuit) can be improved if proper DC/DC point-of-load converters are chosen to convert 3.3V to lower voltages (2.5V, 1.2V, 1.0V, 0.9V) to power DDR memory, FPGA core, transceivers, for example.
    2) Running only one bus line (3.3V) simplifies circuit design by eliminating the requirement for 5V or 12V rails often required to bias higher power DC/DC point-of-load regulator.
    3) Isolated bricks have improved their efficiency in converting 48V to 3.3V even at higher output power and their prices are more attractive than in the past.
The challenge is when the load that is powered from the 3.3V rail requires more than 5A to as much as 12A. Although this requirement seems rare, because of the advancements in FPGAs, processors and ASIC technologies, more designers are relying on these devices to boost performance in smaller circuit boards especially when multiple of them are used in parallel. It is not rare to see applications with 10A load requirement. One recent customer asked for 30A for 1V rail powered from 3.3V input. However, traditional low input voltage high power switchmode DC/DC converters with N-channel MOSFETs rely on a second regulator circuit to provide higher than VIN voltage for MOSFET gate drive which increases layout complexity, size and cost. When 5V is not available, delivering high current to loads from 3.3V input bus is very inefficient and power dissipated will increase the junction temperature of the regulator and surrounding components.
New Solution
The LTM4611 is a complete switchmode DC/DC system-in-a-package point-of-load regulator capable of generating its own 5V N-channel MOSFET gate drive for very efficient voltage conversion from 3.3V or less to loads as low as 0.8V at up to 15A. Conversion efficiencies for the LTM4611 at full load (15A) are 92% for 3.3VIN to 2.5VOUT, 88% for 2.5VIN to 1.5VOUT, and 81% for 1.5VIN to 0.9VOUT. Examples of applications include systems with only 3.3V, 2.8V or 2.5V as the main power bus such as in very compact data storage and RAID systems, ATCA and networking cards as well as medical and industrial equipment. The LTM4611 includes the main DC/DC power circuit and the gate drive circuit which contain inductors, MOSFETs, input and output bypass capacitors and compensation circuitry in a small 15mm x 15mm x 4.32mm LGA (land grid array) package weighing only 2.6g. The device boasts +/-2% total DC output error over temperature, line and load regulation as a result of its architecture, precision reference voltage and differential remote sense amplifier; a very key specification for loads such as FPGAs and ASICS that require better than +/-3% voltage accuracy for their optimum performance. To increase output load to 30A, 45A or 60A, two, three or four LTM4611 DC/DC µModule devices can be paralleled to share current.

Features:

  • Complete DC/DC system-in-a-package regulator with onboard gate driver in 15mm x 15mm x 4.32 mm LGA package
  • Ultra low VIN: 1.5V to 5.5V (6V abs max)
  • 0.8V to 5V output, 15A
  • Differential remote sensing for precision regulation
  • Clock synchronizable from 360kHz to 710kHz

Cryogenic and extreme environments

Sensors Ideal for Cryogenic, Flight Test, HALT/HASS/ESS, and Space Hardware Testing

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the global market debut of the Endevco® model 2271A series, an accelerometer family designed for high-reliability vibration and acceleration measurements in cryogenic and other extreme environments.

Available with either 10-32 side connector (model 2271A) or 10-32 top connector (model 2271AM20), the Endevco® model 2271A series is designed to reliably operate over a very wide operating temperature range of -269°C to +260°C (-452˚F to +500˚F) with unusually flat temperature response. Units exhibit excellent output sensitivity and stability over time, with shock survivability to 10,000 g pk. The piezoelectric sensing elements of the model 2271A series are housed in a corrosion-resistant stainless steel case, which is hermetically sealed for use in demanding environments. Signal ground is isolated from the sensor’s outer case. A three-meter (ten-foot) low-noise coaxial cable is supplied for error-free operation. As a self-generating device, the accelerometer family requires no external power source for operation. In addition, select models are eligible for purchase under the Endevco® -R replacement sensor program.

Recommended accessories for the Endevco® model 2271A series include the model 2950 triaxial mounting block; signal conditioner models 133, 2775 or 4990a (Oasis); or the model 2771C in-line charge converter. With its rugged construction and precision accuracy over an extremely wide operating temperature range, the model 2271A series is ideal for use in cryogenic testing; HALT/HASS/ESS; flight test engine monitoring; environmental testing; and space hardware evaluations.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cable extension position

New low-cost cable extension position sensor series now available with incremental encoder

Celesco's SR1 series low-cost/high performance string pot sensors are now available with an incremental encoder measurement source. The SR1E, available exclusively from sensor specialists Variohm EuroSensor, has a measuring range up to 3 metres with a resolution of 100 pulses per 25 mm of travel (+/- 2 pulses). With IP67 protection rating its tough polycarbonate enclosure is built for outdoor and wet environment applications in construction equipment and industrial position sensing, and includes built-in mounting flexibility where the user can freely select mounting position, cable exit and connector orientation on installation.

The Celesco SR1 range now includes encoder, voltage divider and user programmable 4..20 mA and VDC versions with electrical and mechanical flexibility that allows users to select a single low-cost product solution across many general purpose applications for cable extension based position sensing. The 'one-size-fits-all' SR1 range can eliminate the customers’ need to specify and purchase multiple stroke ranges and offer benefits of simplified stock and lower unit cost.

Specific to the new SR1E encoder version, a 5...30 VDC push-pull driver covers a wide choice of supply voltages and electrical connection is via an M12 – 4-pin connector with mating plug supplied and 4 m cable sets are available on request.

The maximum velocity for the sensor is 2 m/sec with maximum acceleration at 10 g with an operating temperature from -20ºC to +85ºC. The overall accuracy for SR1E is +/- 0.1% F.S. and repeatability to +/- 0.05% F.S. Custom encoder resolutions are also available on request.

As with all string pot or cable extension sensors from Celesco, installation is very straightforward with no critical alignment required. The nylon coated stainless steel cable is fully spring loaded, is easily attached to the object under motion and fully retracts into the body of the SR1E ensuring a compact installation envelope of around 200 x 120 x 100 mm (w x h x d).

Control systems safety

ISA Publishes Control Systems Safety Evaluation and Reliability, Third Edition

The International Society of Automation (ISA) announces the publication of Control Systems Safety Evaluation and Reliability, 3rd Edition, by William M. Goble.

This updated third edition, intended to serve a wide variety of users, provides the detailed background necessary to understand how to meet important new safety regulations and offers discussion on reliability engineering topics. Professional control system designers will learn to properly evaluate control system components and various system architectures and will learn how to better communicate with vendors and increase accuracy of life-cycle cost estimates.

Goble has more than 30 years of experience in analog and digital electronic circuit design, software development, engineering management and marketing. He provides a basic foundation, including probability, statistics, reliability theory definitions, and basic reliability modeling techniques. He also presents advanced topics relevant to safety instrumented and control systems. Each chapter contains exercises to assist the reader in applying the theories presented, with practical implementation.

The book is also an excellent text for college courses because of its detailed explanations, practical presentation, and discussion of the difference between theory and real-world application.

Power sources reduces energy consumption

Power source reduces energy consumption in grid-tied inverter testing

The California Instruments brand MX Series AC / DC Power Source from AMETEK Programmable Power is now available with a power sink option (SNK) that dramatically reduces the total energy consumed in the production testing of grid-tied inverters designed for distributed resources such as solar energy systems. By utilizing the MX Series to simulate the interconnection with the utility grid, the output power generated by the inverter is returned to the grid saving over 85% of the energy consumption. The MX Series programmable source may be programmed to simulate utility power variability (voltage, frequency, harmonic distortion) necessary to test the inverter's ability to source energy to the grid. In addition, the unit can dynamically test the inverter's ability to comply with the anti-islanding tests required of grid-tied distributed resources. Islanding is the term used to describe the unsafe operation of a distributed resource in the event of a loss of utility power.

“The use of the MX Series in this application can result in significant reduction of energy usage in production testing,” comments Eric Turner, AMETEK product manager for solar energy test systems. “Instead of using a load bank to dissipate the energy in the form of heat, over half of the energy is returned to the grid. And the added energy costs needed for cooling are also eliminated.”

The California Instruments MX Series is available in power levels from 15 kVA to 270 kVA. The MX Series uses a sophisticated digital signal processor-based arbitrary waveform generator and power analyzer. This integrated, multi-instrument approach effectively eliminates the need for additional equipment to create a complete AC and DC power test system. Using a large graphical LCD display, the advanced measurement and analysis capabilities can be accessed directly from the front panel without the need for remote control. IEEE-488, RS-232C, USB and Ethernet interfaces are included and Windows™ Graphical User Interface application software comes with each MX unit.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where, when and how much power?

The Dranetz Energy Platform EP1 is a handheld electrical energy and power demand analyzer specifically designed for conducting facility energy audits and power demand studies. The EP1 is the ideal tool for gathering, recording and reporting “where, when, and how much” electricity is used. Applications in industrial, commercial and institutional facilities include energy/cost reduction programs, alternative energy monitoring and power/harmonic studies. With the growing emphasis on “green” facilities, the EP1 with its handy Energy Platform Report Writer (EPRW) software offers facilities engineers and electrical contractors a cost-effective means of gathering and reporting the data required to document energy savings. The EP1's ability to record both forward and reverse energy is essential in grid-tied alternative energy system analysis. The EP1 is the ideal instrument to certify a facility's energy consumption and carbon footprint.

The unit is equipped with eight input channels—four current and four voltage—and is easily set up to monitor and record three-phase, split-phase or single-phase circuits. Its 4 GB of compact flash memory provides the largest storage available in the industry for recording data for extended periods. The intuitive automatic-configuration feature and color touch-screen interface combine to simplify monitoring setup and configuration. Measured data can be displayed onscreen or easily imported into EPRW (included) or DranView (optional) software that provides powerful reporting features including trending and energy-usage reporting.

“Using similar data measurement and recording technology and easy-to-use color interface developed for our high-end PowerXplorer PX5 power quality analyzer, the EP1's features have been optimized to provide the most capable and cost-effective energy analyzer available,”
comments Ross Ignall, Dranetz Director of Product Management. “The EP1's large memory, color touch screen, easy-to-read color reports, carbon footprint calculator, AC/DC measurements and automatic setups provide a powerful monitoring solution.”

Industrial hotspots

ProSoft Technology® enlarges its 802.11n range of solutions with two new dual-radio Industrial Hotspots™

ProSoft Technology® has developed 2 new Automation-Class industrial 802.11n solutions. These are dual-radio Industrial Hotspots™. One is water-tight (IP67). Both enlarge the option given to Automation Engineers for high-speed wireless networks. Dual-radio solutions will allow longer distances, better performances while repeaters are involved, and allow 2 channels to be used simultaneously (for example: one for the automation application, while the other one can be used for maintenance purpose, without impacting the application)...

These new Automation-Class RadioLinx® industrial radios support IEEE-802.11n standard and provide premier performance for high-capacity networks. They offer high-reliability networking option to applications with moving devices and/or obstructed environments that are traditionally difficult to solve with wireless solutions.

These radios implement the latest technology to provide greater flexibility and performance to a broad range of manufacturing and production applications. In short, while Industrial 802.11a/b/g solutions are already suitable for a wide variety of applications, industrial 802.11n radios are welcome to ease implementation of wireless network for some critical cases, and they will offer the wireless option to a wider range of applications.

RadioLinx Industrial 802.11n full range now consists of 1 single-radio Industrial Hotspot, 1 single-radio Industrial Client, 2 dual-radio Industrial Hotspot solutions, including 1 water-tight version.

The 802.11n Dual Industrial Hotspot solutions provide two radios in one and only require a single Ethernet connection.

The dual radios can be used in lieu of a repeater to extend the range of your wireless network without sacrificing speed.

Their family allows transport of demanding industrial protocols (provided by the »reliable I/O message delivery» functionality). VLAN (Virtual Local-Area-Network) support allows network traffic segmentation: while one connection is reserved to the automation control application, another connection will allow programming or maintenance, for example, to be done simultaneously without interfering with the application.

The MIMO technology (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) is used with up to three antennas connected to each radio, to benefit from multipath due to reflections (typically on metal parts on the plant-floor). This enables high-speed data rates (up to 300 Mbps), and advanced performance in industrial environments.

For configuration and monitoring of the 802.11n Industrial Hotspot radios, »RadioLinx WirelessN Discovery» licence-free software tool, allows viewing the network topology, assigning IP addresses to radios for configuration, monitoring network diagnostics, updating radio firmware and detecting the presence of any 802.11 radios on the network. Automatic or manual network configuration is user selectable (can be prioritized or fixed) with self-healing functionality and master redundancy for reliable large networks.

All these radios operate within extended temperature range (-40 to +75 C) and offer hazardous location ratings (including ATEX Zone 2 Category 3). Other industrial specifications include: high vibration/shock resistance, DIN-rail mounting, Power over Ethernet and simultaneous bridge / repeater / Industrial Hotspot mode.

As other 802.11 RadioLinx solutions from the manufacturer, the new family of radios supports 802.11i and RADIUS security for centralized management of security policies. Quality of Service (QoS) for data prioritization is supported as well for background applications such as VoIP (Voice over IP) and video.

Compatible with existing 802.11 RadioLinx solutions, the RadioLinx 802.11n Industrial radios improve performance for high-bandwidth applications and high packet-rate control applications. They also provide better signal sensitivity and range in environments like mobile factory settings.

SMT mounted accelerometers

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the global market launch of the Endevco® model 72 series, a new family of high-g SMT-mountable piezoresistive accelerometers designed to support a variety of high-reliability acceleration, vibration and shock measurements.

Available with a 20,000 g measurement range and a soon-to-be-released 60,000 g version, the Endevco® model 72 series offers broad frequency response, minimum zero shift post-shock event and a Class 3 Rating for electrostatic discharge protection. Its low-profile, miniature, hermetically sealed LCC package weighs just 0.16 grams for significantly minimized mass loading effects. The LCC package can be SMT mounted using production pick-and-place machines and reflow solder for easy installation.

The patented, monolithic, four-active arm bridge circuit design of the Endevco® model 72 series (US patent 6,988,412) incorporates a highly sensitive MEMS sensing element with light gas damping to attenuate resonance. Mechanical stops are included to increase ruggedness and reduce the likelihood of breakage under overload conditions, with stability and reliability to four times over-range. With a frequency response extending down to dc (steady state acceleration) and a minimum post shock zero shift, this accelerometer is ideal for measuring long duration shocks associated with a variety of automotive, aerospace and general test & measurement applications.

Recommended accessories for use with the Endevco® model 72 series include the model 136 three-channel bench top DC amplifier or model 436 three-channel rack mounted DC amplifier, both available from Meggitt Sensing Systems.

Control system health

Software diagnoses all aspects of control system health

ExperTune's PlantTriage® Control System Monitoring Software now has tools to diagnose the health of instruments, valves, and controls.

For years, ExperTune's patented "Control Loop Health" approach has accurately identified problem control loops, based on technical and economic factors. Several new tools provide more specific performance metrics and diagnostics for each control loop component: the instrument, the valve, and the controller.

The Valve Health measurement, for example, combines information about control valve sizing, application, and mechanical performance, to give an overall picture of the valve's health. PlantTriage's "context-sensitive drill-down" also provides the next level of detail, including measures of each specific aspect of performance, such as "% valve stiction".

Likewise, Sensor Health uses real-time data to look at common symptoms of instrumentation problems. The Controller Health tools focus on aspects of actual control performance, including variability, inability to hold setpoint, and dynamic response.

John Gerry, President and Founder of ExperTune, was recently inducted into the Process Automation Hall of Fame. Asked about the new metrics, Gerry says "The team at ExperTune is always focused on blending engineering expertise with real-time information. The goal is to provide accurate, actionable, real-time advice. This new approach provides a straightforward way to diagnose specific control loop issues - from high-level performance metrics, straight down to root cause."

Signal conditioning multiple channels

Analogue signal conditioning proves robust for multiple strain gauge channels

For large projects calling for hundreds of strain gauge transducer channels, analogue signal conditioning has been demonstrated to provide a cost effective and robust solution.

RDP Electronics, who have recently been responsible for large projects of this type, advise that analogue can be more resilient to electrical supply fluctuations and interference than digital electronic devices. Analogue also offers the benefit of long cable runs without the need for further amplification.

In the rare circumstances where amplifier replacement becomes necessary, then thanks to the capability to enable standardised calibration from matched transducers, units can be swapped out with minimal effort. RDP offers a choice of signal conditioning amplifiers including the popular Modular 600 Multi-Channel Signal Conditioning System. The Mod 600 is a fully featured microprocessor instrumentation unit that incorporates configurable analogue outputs and is based on a modular design concept to provide complete flexibility and expandability.

USB-to-GPIB interface adapter

Keithley Instruments has introduced the Model KUSB-488B USB-to-GPIB Interface Adapter. The Model KUSB-488B, which complements Keithley's precision measurement instruments, is priced at $495 USD, which is less than competitive versions, helping test engineers and researchers lower their cost of test, measurement, and ownership.

To minimize the cost associated with switching to a new adapter, the Model KUSB-488B's driver library is fully command-compatible with Keithley's traditional GPIB command set and National InstrumentsTM (NITM) command set, making it plug-and-play compatible with existing applications. The driver library is also compatible with Keithley's PCI-based Model KPCI-488LPA GPIB interface, making it easy to switch from either a PCI or USB approach to GPIB control, protecting users' software investment and lowering their overall cost of test.

The KUSB-488B provides complete support for Windows 2000/XP/Vista. The KUSB-488B also supports industry-standard VISA (Virtual Instrument Software Architecture) libraries to ensure compatibility with applications using VISA. For OEMs, a utility is included to install the driver software silently, bypassing the normal installation so that the driver can be installed with the OEM's software.

The interface ships with 32-bit dynamic link libraries for Application Development Environments (ADEs) running under Windows XP/2000/Vista and drivers for
the most current programming languages, including Microsoft Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual Studio .NET, Borland Delphi, LabVIEW Version 7.0 and up (VISA and IEEE-488.2), and LabWindows(tm)/CVI Version 7.0 and up (VISA and IEEE-488.2). A diagnostic/interactive tool is included for quick verification of communication between the interface and a GPIB-capable instrument, such as their digital multimeter (DMM), SourceMeter® instruments,
switch mainframes and cards, low level measurement systems, and a wide
variety of other specialized test solutions.

Sensors unique innovation

An integrated transmitter eliminates the need for an external limit switch with safety clutches
Safety clutches provide precise torque limiting to ensure that the loads on components in machines and facilities do not exceed allowable levels. Up to now they have required an external limit switch and associated cable to send a signal to the controller if an overload situation occurs. The new EAS®-Sensor safety clutch with integrated signal transmitter developed by mayr® Antriebstechnik sends the overload signal wirelessly. This revolutionary and absolutely reliable overload sensing system has considerable advantages compared with conventional signal transmission.

The stroke of a safety clutch when it disengages due to excessive torque is only a few millimetres. This small amount of travel is all that is available to change the state of a built-in mechanical or contactless limit switch. Consequently, external limit switches must be fitted and adjusted precisely and with great care to ensure that they operate reliably. However, under certain conditions even the greatest possible care is in vain, for example when the position of the safety clutch shifts during operation as a result of thermal expansion.

With the new EAS®-Sensor, the limit switch is integrated directly in the clutch. It detects the disengagement motion of the clutch in case of overload and transmits the signal wirelessly to a base station connected to the machine controller. The EAS®-Sensor is adjusted in the factory for proper operation, eliminating the need for assembly and adjustment effort. Overload sensing is fully reliable. External factors such as vibration or axial offset of the clutch, which for example may result from thermal expansion of the shaft, do not impair operational reliability.

The transmitter of the new unit, including its power supply, is entirely contained in the torque adjustment nut of the proven EAS®-compact® safety clutch. It reports the operating state of the clutch at regular, short intervals, along with information on the supply voltage level. If the supply voltage drops, a warning signal is triggered early enough to allow the transmitter battery to be replaced promptly. This does not require dismounting the clutch.

The new sensor is distinctly better than conventional safety clutches with external limit switches, especially in the following application scenarios. In the case of drives with moving shafts, such as robot arms, it is not necessary to move brackets and cable guides along with the drives. This makes the entire assembly significantly simpler and more reliable. Reliable signal transmission is also ensured with drives subjected to vibration or horizontal motion. Axial offset of the clutch, for example as a result of the thermal expansion of the shaft, can easily lead to false triggering in conventional systems with externally fitted signal transmitters. Naturally, the EAS®-Sensor is a perfect choice for applications where there is simply no room to fit an external limit switch. In addition, the new device is an attractive option when drives must be installed on site. It is ready to install out of the box, with no need for prior adjustment by suitably trained staff.

Development of the new sensor has significantly improved the reliability of signal transmission with mechanical safety clutches and substantially simplified the installation of torque-limiting overload protection. Thanks to the integration of the signal transmitter in the proven EAS®-compact® unit, the system not only delivers enhanced signal transmission reliability but also has other quality features that characterise a modern, reliable safety clutch. They include high torsional stiffness, freedom from play, a rapid drop in torque when the overload limit is reached, high accuracy of the adjustable torque, long life, and low life cycle costs. Safety clutches in the EAS®-compact® series fulfil these criteria optimally.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Plug fest!

CANopen plug-fest for encoders and inclinometers

Plugfest is great and descriptive name coined by CiA here. Hosted by Systeme Helmholz several CiA members connected their CANopen encoders and inclinometers to CANopen PLCs from Systeme Helmholz and ifm electronic.

After establishing SDO and PDO communication as well as Heartbeat, the linked devices were stressed by means of high busload. Other dynamic tests included high-frequently transmitted Sync messages, to which the sensors responded with PDOs (synchronous operation). Just a few minor problems were detected such as not 100 per cent matching electronic data sheets (EDS).

“It is sometimes quite hard to cause the CANopen sensors to send Emergency messages,” said Holger Zeltwanger, CiA Managing Director, “due to the robustness and reliable CAN low layers.”

The companies ifm, Leine & Linde, Mobil Elektronik, Pepperl + Fuchs, and Wachendorff participated in the plug-fest with sensors. These products are used in factory and machine automation as well as in mobile machines. CiA will schedule another plug-fest for encoders and inclinometers in autumn.

Power station control upgrade

Santee Cooper Modernizes its Winyah Station with GE Energy’s Mark™ VIe TMR Digital Control System

Benefits of the Mark™ VIe TMR digital control:
•Reduced maintenance, costs, and downtime
•Increased mean time between failures (MTBF)
•Modern maintenance tools and diagnostics for troubleshooting in real-time
•Remote monitoring capability to reduce time spent manually monitoring
Located between Myrtle Beach and Charleston in the US, South Carolina’s Santee Cooper Winyah Generating Station has been working with GE Energy to modernize and upgrade their Westinghouse Control System with their most advanced digital control system for turbines, the Mark™ VIe Triple Modular Redundant (TMR).

Santee Cooper is South Carolina's state-owned electric and water utility and is the largest power provider in the state. It utilizes a diverse fuel and energy supply of coal, nuclear, oil, gas, hydro, and renewables to directly serve more than 165,000 residential and commercial customers in Berkeley, Georgetown, and Horry counties. Santee Cooper also supplies power indirectly to all 46 counties of the state (through wholesale customers).

When it was built, Winyah was Santee Cooper's most ambitious generating project. Units 3 and 4 at this site were the first in the Southeast to have "scrubbers," which help hold down emissions into the environment.

The existing Westinghouse EHC control system on the Winyah plant’s Unit #4 steam turbine generator is being migrated to a Mark VIe TMR control system. This is the first Mark VIe Control System to replace an existing Westinghouse Control System, although GE has been working to modernize other systems at Santee Cooper, including the June 9, 2010 replacement of a Mark II with a Mark VI at Cross Station.

The Mark VIe TMR is a custom-programmed, expandable, digital control system. It will be mounted and prewired in new cabinetry, then installed. The Mark VIe TMR is the latest turbine control system from GE's Control Solutions business. It provides modules for interfacing with nearly every type of sensor on the market today.

This modernization will extend the life of the Winyah plant and improve the equipment reliability, reducing downtime and expensive maintenance. It also provides Santee Cooper the opportunity to improve their existing turbine control with the addition of modern instrumentation as well as more robust and precise control of the equipment.

The base scope of the Westinghouse conversion includes a Mark VIe TMR Cabinet, 2 HMIs with 4 network switches, a primary emergency overspeed kit, Watt/VAR transducer, a factory acceptance test, on-site training, and on-site technical direction.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Family of boards

Concurrent Technologies has released the TP 702/38x family of 3U 4HP CompactPCI® boards, featuring the Intel® Core™ i7 processor family. Depending on the application requirements a choice of processors is 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 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, an optional XMC site, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, two SATA disk interfaces and optional graphics, the TP 702/38x offers rear I/O interfaces that are compatible with the popular TP 402/35x 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 TP 702/38x 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 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.

Mass storage (for the operating system, application software and application data) is provided by the removable 4 Gbytes flash drive and two Serial ATA150 interfaces via J2. An additional removable single or dual channel flash drive module is available, accessed via the onboard XMC connector. As well as being removable, the flash drives also support write protect inputs making them ideal for security sensitive applications.

The TP 702/38x rear I/O provides two high-speed USB 2.0 ports, one RS232/422/485 and one RS232 port, plus two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces with an option for a 2048 x 1536 analog graphics interface. The 32-bit CompactPCI control/data plane throughput can operate at 33/66MHz backplane PCI signaling speeds. Other features provided are PC real-time clock, watchdog timer, long duration timer, up to 8 GPIO signals and a legacy speaker interface. The TP 702/38x-RC conduction-cooled version supports, in a single 3U 4HP slot, an XMC site (via a x4 PCI Express port). All versions can operate as a system controller for up to 7 peripheral slots with hot-swap control, as a peripheral board or as a blade.

For ease of integration, the TP 702/38x family of boards support many of today’s leading operating systems, including Linux®, Windows® Server 2008, Windows® Server 2003, Windows® 7, Windows® 7 Embedded, Windows® XP Embedded, Windows® XP, Solaris™, VxWorks® and QNX®.

Cyber protection

Industrial Defender has introduced its Host Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS), an application whitelisting-based security solution that prevents malware attacks and non-trusted software modifications on control system servers and end-point devices. Industrial Defender’s HIPS is specifically designed for industrial control system environments where it is critical to avoid the high overhead of software scanning operations common with traditional anti-virus technologies, as well as the administrative overhead of frequent software and anti-virus signature patch updates.

"Many system administrators consider their mission-critical automation systems relatively secure, having deployed firewalls as well as changed the default system passwords," said Ryan Elbert, P.E., Engineering Manager at Black and Veatch, the consultancy firm. "In reality, sophisticated and persistent threats will eventually penetrate firewalls, and actions of employees and/or contractors almost inevitably introduce malware and unauthorized software to automation systems. Application whitelisting solutions like Industrial Defender’s HIPS provide a highly effective defense against such threats, especially in critical and legacy automation system environments."

As a whitelisting-based solution, the Host Intrusion Prevention System permits only a predetermined list of authorized applications to launch on each automation system computer. By ensuring that only approved, trusted applications can execute, HIPS automatically blocks all unauthorized applications, including unknown malware and rogue applications installed by users.

"HIPS is based on patented, award-winning application whitelisting technology from CoreTrace® that is tightly integrated and managed within Industrial Defender’s suite of Defense-in-Depth™ and compliance automation products, and supported with our professional services including host scrubbing, product deployment, whitelist initialization, and periodic system audits and refreshes,"
said Walt Sikora, Industrial Defender’s VP of Security Solutions. "The integration of HIPS into a complete automation security management solution assures safe, secure system implementations while minimizing the long-term cost of ownership."

Wireless conformance testing

ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute Announces Selection of NTS for Certification Laboratory

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) has announced the selection of National Technical Systems (NTS) as its independent third-party lab to provide conformance testing for the ISA100.11a certifications starting this month. NTS provides companies and government organizations throughout the world with process and product compliance services, managed engineering services, design engineering services, and program management support.

“WCI selected NTS as the first independent provider of ISA100.11a conformance testing based on its depth of capabilities in wireless protocol testing, quality of operations, and geographic support,” said Andre Ristaino, managing director of WCI.

“We are pleased to be selected as the first lab to provide ISA100.11a conformance testing,” said Osman Sakr, CTO of National Technical Systems. “The ISA100.11a standard will greatly enhance the implementation of wireless systems in the automation and control environment.”

With the recent availability of the ISA100.11a Stack Conformance and Device Interoperability Test Kits designed to verify conformance, suppliers will be able to use the same test kits that NTS uses during certification testing. Suppliers will use these test kits as part of their quality assurance processes and in preparation for formal conformance testing.

NTS is an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited test lab.

Webcast to Detail Step-by-Step Certification Process
    The WCI has scheduled a webinar which provides guidance to suppliers seeking to certify devices to the ISA100.11a standard. The webinar will include a step-by-step description of the conformance process, including whom to contact first, and how to get support during the product development process.
    Webinar Date: Tuesday, 20 July 2010 at 11 a.m. ET USA

Transducers for higher temperature

Transducer specialists RDP Electronics advise that many of their standard LVDTs can now be factory modified for higher temperature operation than normal.

Most LVDTs, with a range of ±100mm, or less, in RDP’s extensive programme of transducers, can be ordered modified during production to operate at upper temperatures of up to 200ºC.

This capability offers the benefit of using otherwise standard LVDTs in much higher temperature environments than would normally be the case. Where significantly higher temperatures are encountered, then RDP offers the LIN and PY ranges suitable for reliable and accurate operation at up to 600ºC. LIN transducers are available for measurement ranges from ± 5 mm up to ± 25 mm and as well as withstanding extreme high and low temperatures are also suitable for environments subject to exposure to radiation. Also widely used in the nuclear industry, as well as in turbines, high pressure testing chambers such as autoclaves and in research laboratories are RDP’s PY series transducers.

New centre in Shanghai

Facility comprises quality assurance equipment; features the Qualmark Typhoon 4.0, the world’s most advanced accelerated testing system

ADLINK Technology recently held the grand opening of their Shanghai Operations Centre (SHOC), located in Shanghai (CN). The SHOC represents the single most significant investment in ADLINK’s 15 year history. This successful opening further demonstrates their world-class capabilities in the industrial computing industry. The goal of establishing the SHOC is to provide them with a first-rate operations centre. For which, countless resources were utilized for the architectural design and interior layout of the center.

The ADLINK SHOC building site is approximately 29,878 square m (321,604 square ft) with 36,000 sq M (387,500 sq ft) of useable area, which is three times greater than their Taipei, Taiwan headquarters. A significant amount of capital has been invested in quality assurance equipment, in addition to building board assembly (SMT and DIP) and system assembly lines. Furthermore, along with the equipment necessary for an electromagnetic interference (EMI) lab and vibration and temperature testing, ADLINK has also procured the world’s most advanced accelerated testing system, the Qualmark Typhoon 4.0.

Jim Liu, (PIC) ADLINK’s CEO and President, and General Manager of SHOC, noted, “As part of the grand opening event, we will be offering a tour of the facilities to customers to experience first-hand the realization of our vision in undertaking large-scale projects for global customers. The Shanghai Operations Center will allow ADLINK to significantly increase our design, manufacturing, and service capacity and serve as a world-class operations base to provide companies with the necessary means to easily bridge into the Chinese market.”

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Industrial wireless transmitter

The NEW zED Series wireless transmitters from Omega, let you monitor sensors for temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure, as well as thermocouples and any transducer with an analogue voltage or current output.

You can record data and view active charts in Web pages over an Ethernet network or the Internet without any special software, just your Web Browser.

You can even set alarms for notifications by email including text messages to mobile phones.

The radio is a High Power IEEE 802.15.4 compliant transmitter operating at 2.4 GHz. It can transmit over one Kilometre (without obstructions). The zED Series wireless transmitters are designed for demanding industrial applications and harsh outdoor environments. The electronics are protected in a rugged weatherproof, polycarbonate IP65 rated housing.

Omega offers different models powered by conventional alkaline batteries that can last for years, as well as versions powered by a universal AC adapter that operates on any voltage worldwide (110 to 240 Vac).

This is becoming a habit!

Thermo Fisher Scientific wins coveted Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation
Award for three years in a row!


Thermo Fisher Scientific is a winner of Microsoft Corporation’s Life Sciences Innovation Awards 2010, for the third consecutive year. The award recognizes best-in-class companies for their innovative use of Microsoft-based solutions. This designation demonstrates Thermo Fisher’s leading position as provider of enterprise-level informatics solutions to the life sciences industry. Microsoft selected Thermo Fisher and Emory University, part of the Atlantic Clinical and Translational Science Institute (ACTSI), as winner of this award for their use of Thermo Scientific Nautilus LIMS (laboratory information management system) to advance information exchange in the clinical and translational science environment across a diverse set of laboratories.

The ACTSI is focused on accelerating the translation of laboratory discoveries into healthcare innovations for patients and plays an important role in North American health research by supporting investigators across Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Grady Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech). A key initiative for ACTSI is the selection and deployment of LIMS across the consortium to support a “virtual bio-repository” environment. The ACTSI implemented Nautilus LIMS™ at Emory University as part of an enterprise biospecimen management system rollout to enhance workflow, foster collaboration and effectively manage samples. With the need to connect many laboratories and external institutions with its enterprise LIMS, Emory achieved a level of standardization with Nautilus that is replicable across configurations and gave Emory and ACTSI an informatics solution that will be an important component of their translational science informatics infrastructure.

The award, announced at the Drug Information Association’s (DIA) 46th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., was presented to Thermo Fisher Scientific and Emory University to acknowledge the use of Microsoft technology to enable seamless communication and collaboration between Emory and external consortia, advancing scientific discoveries. The LIMS is an important component of an overall architecture supporting translational science across Emory and the ACTSI.

“Thermo Fisher and Emory have been selected for this prestigious award for using Microsoft technology to facilitate collaboration and improve workflow across a number of laboratories,” said Michael Naimoli, director of life sciences industry solutions, Microsoft. “The Emory/ACTSI implementation takes advantage of Thermo Scientific WebAccess deployed on Microsoft technologies to deliver rich client functionality via a web browser to both internal and external users. In addition, the Study Design Module (SDM) created by Thermo Fisher and Emory using Microsoft tools provides an easy to use graphical user interface for study design, which allows the ACTSI to design workflows more quickly.”

The ACTSI is one of 46 medical research institutes working in a consortium funded through the CTSA (Clinical and Translational Science Awards) to enhance translational research in the United States. The implementation of the Nautilus LIMS solution will enable consistent terminology usage and information model mapping across different laboratories, allowing integration with upstream clinical study systems and downstream laboratory analysis processes. The solution has resulted in significant cost savings due to reduced maintenance needs and simpler integration, as well as improving efficiency and data quality. Time savings have also been generated as deployment of a standard base configuration with optional additional lab specific configuration minimizes deployment time for initial lab implementations and use of the new SDM extension will reduce the configuration time for new study protocols by as much as 50 percent, providing more efficient management and tracking of mid-study modifications. In addition, the audit and traceability features of Nautilus ensure regulatory compliance throughout the management of research specimens. The ACTSI Clinical Interaction Network Nautilus implementation currently supports 117 study investigators/coordinators conducting 47 research studies with more than 37,000 original samples and more than 102,000 aliquots.

The ACTSI is supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Award program, National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources.

Dave Champagne, vice president and general manager, Informatics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, comments: “We are delighted that our work as a leading provider of informatics solutions to the life science industry has been recognized with this award for the third consecutive year. Our enterprise LIMS solution, which has been implemented at Emory University, makes the industry’s goal of advancing scientific discoveries amongst a community of institutions a reality.”