Saturday, July 31, 2010

Company move

OTT Hydrometry, the hydrometeorological and water quality instrumentation company, has moved to a new larger facility in Barlborough, just south of Sheffield (GB).

Explaining the relocation, Managing Director, Simon Wills said: "Our business has grown substantially, year on year, both from increased sales of instrumentation and from a greater volume of environmental monitoring services. The new facility will accommodate the current business and provide further room for expansion."

The company's growth has been driven by technological developments that have enabled the widespread adoption of integrated environmental monitoring systems, often providing data via the internet using the recently launched OTT NetView web based data monitoring product. At the same time, the European Water Framework Directive has created a growing need for catchment monitoring strategies that require hydrometeorological instrumentation and systems.

Pressure transmitter with SIL2 approval

Baumer’s pressure transmitter PFSX with SIL2 certification (Safety Integrity Level 2) has been developed according to the IEC 61508 standard. It is suitable for water treatment and energy generation applications as well as for applications in the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and food & beverage industries. The measuring instrument comes with a 4…20 mA analogue output and two galvanically insulated relay outputs with integrated test functions for alarm purposes.

The PFSX can measure pressure ranges from 0…1 up to 0…400 bar with an accuracy of ±0.5 % of the full scale. The pressure transmitter has a four-digit red LED display (8 mm high) with two set points. It is fully programmable on site without any additional tools. All parameters are password-protected.

This approval is based on the Safe Failure Fraction (SFF) of 98 % and the Hardware Fault Tolerance (HFT) which is 0. The sensor architecture guarantees SIL2 safety without the need to use two pressure switches to ensure redundancy. For applications in hazardous areas, the transmitter is also available in ATEX Ex ia IIC T5/T6, ATEX II 1G versions.

The IEC 61508 standard defines basic safety requirements, both for the regular system operation and for the predictability of a failure. These requirements cover general safety management systems, specific product design and safety-compliant process design with the aim of avoiding both systematic design faults and random hardware failure.

Products for PXI & LXI on show

Pickering Interfaces has continued in 2010 to regularly release a steady flow of new products in both the LXI and the PXI platforms. Amongst a variety of products, these latest models deserve attention and will be shown at Autotestcon;

BIRST Modules (Built-In Relay Self Test)
Verification and diagnosis of complex switching operation in a test system has always been an issue, especially in the PXI platform. For this reason, Pickering Interfaces has developed a range of PXI modules with built inself-test. This feature is called BIRST™, or Built In Relay Self Test.

The first PXI modules with built in self test have been released a year ago and new launches continue to include BIRST in PXI matrix modules. At Autotestcon BIRST on LXI Devices will be launched –and demonstrated on a 60-555 LXI matrix.

In addition all Pickering Interfaces LXI products are now fully LXI compliant to the latest 1.3 specification, significantly increasing the number of LXI products available with the most recent additions to the standard. The company is committed to following the LXI standard’s evolution and adopting its newest features to improve user experience of Ethernet controlled instrumentation.

New PXI products on display:
• 40-737 High Channel USB Multiplexer
The 40-737 is an 8 to 1 multiplexer for switching datacomms signals and has been specifically designed for routing USB. The data signal paths are 2-pole arranged as differential pairs as defined by the USB standard. The signal pair have a controlled 100 ohm differential impedance and the multiplexer has been designed for minimum insertion loss. The USB power paths are arranged as a common negative and a switched positive, the negative may also be connected to the PXI front panel ground by means of an optional link. The power paths are designed to ensure minimum loss of the USB power.

• 40-755 50 Ohm RF Multiplexer with 10 off SP4T switches to 2GHz

• The 40-755 is a high density low cost solution for RF switching which is available in 2 mechanical formats. The 2 slot version supports RF switching to beyond 2GHz, the single slot version uses a multipole connector suitable for use to 500MHz (connector limited on bandwidth)

• 40-582 2-Pole 16x16 Matrix Module
16x16 2pole matrix module with BIRST self test in a single PXI slot

• 40-331 and 40-332 High Voltage (1000 Volts) Matrix & Multiplexer modules

• 41-752, their recently introduced Battery Simulator, which is being used by automotive customers to test battery management systems for electric vehicles.

Developed in association with DMC, a systems integrator based in Chicago, the 41-752 is a 6 cell battery simulator that provides up to 300mA of current from each cell. The output voltage from each cell is fully adjustable up to 7V and each cell includes its own sense lines to improve regulation performance. Each cell can be configured to operate as a current sink in a battery charging circuit of up to 100mA. Cells and modules can be series connected to emulate the battery stacks being used in new generation electric vehicles. More than 100 cells can stacked in series in a single Pickering Interfaces PXI or Modular LXI Chassis to allow the testing of battery
management charging systems. The independently controlled channels allow the cells to be set to different output voltages to simulate different charge and capacity states. A safety interlock system can be used to ensure that voltage generation is inhibited when the cables are disconnected from the front panel. Outputs are made available on high voltage D Type connectors permitting the generation of voltages of up to 750V.

Friday, July 30, 2010

New cable foe Ethernet

New cable brings Ethernet communication to 3B and 5B analog signal conditioning modules


Users of the popular 3B and 5B isolated signal conditioning modules can now connect to Acromag’s BusWorks® 958EN or several of their EtherStax® Ethernet analog I/O modules for an easy interface to remote control networks. The new 4001-110 cable provides a DB25 male to 26-pin female IDC ribbon cable connection which interfaces a rack of up to 16 3B or 5B modules providing conditioned voltage signals from analog sensors to the Ethernet I/O modules. Converting the signal conditioners’ outputs to digital data, the Ethernet I/O modules can provide Modbus TCP/IP communication to PCs, PLCs, and other distributed control devices. Typical applications include SCADA, process control, and test and measurement systems.


“Now you can cost-effectively Ethernet-enable legacy analog signal conditioning systems in just a few minutes,” stated Donald Lupo, Acromag’s Marketing and Sales Director for Process Products.

Acromag is an international corporation that has been developing and manufacturing measurement and control products for more than 50 years. They offer a complete line of industrial I/O products including process instruments, signal conditioning equipment, data acquisition boards, distributed I/O modules, and network communication devices.

Machinery safety

Not everyone’s a mathematical genius. That’s why, as far as possible, it’s important to simplify the complex calculation of safety functions in accordance with EN ISO 13849-1 and EN/IEC 62061.

So Pilz has enhanced its PAScal software tool, used to verify the functional safety of machinery. With improved libraries, which store the safety-related characteristic data for all Pilz products, the new version v1.5.0 is even more practice-oriented. It also allows you to import libraries from other manufacturers in Sistema format, the similar software assistant produced by the IFA (Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance).

As a result, PAScal can be applied quickly and simply, even across manufacturers. Libraries in PAScal can be updated automatically through the Internet.

To provide optimum support to machine designers, the internal data structure of PAScal has also been adapted.

Several data records for different operating modes can be entered for each component, so it’s no longer necessary to divide them over different library entries. Data records can be based on a particular version, so it’s possible to enter components whose performance data varies during the course of their lifecycle. And components with general fault exclusion can still be incorporated, purely for documentation purposes. Finally it is also possible to choose whether to store components with the necessary values for EN ISO 13849-1 or EN/IEC 62061.

Proven in practice
Various features and functions support speedy work practices.
Operation of PAScal is largely graphical and so is simple and intuitive. An automatic check guarantees that any changes to library entries or new libraries are taken into account, even on completed projects. A compact and clear report from PAScal replaces the normally weighty tome. For greater user convenience, the Safety Calculator provides six languages, right down to the libraries. And plenty support is available from Pilz for any questions from users.

Calculations without the headache
The PAScal Safety Calculator calculates the PL (Performance Level) or SIL (Safety Integrity Level) that safety functions on plant and machinery can achieve depending on the components that are used. The result is verified with the required PL from EN ISO 13849 or SIL from EN/IEC 62061. The results are displayed graphically, so it is easy to see how well the required safety level can be achieved at which points and with which components, or where improvements may be necessary.

Wind farm profitibility improvement

Increasing wind farm profitability by reducing gearbox maintenance costs with condition-based maintenance

As much as 25%-30% of wind farm operating and maintenance costs are associated with gearbox maintenance alone. Reducing these costs can help wind farms stay more profitable, efficient, and competitive, bringing clean energy wind farms to the forefront. GE Energy's Condition-Based Maintenance Solution, including GE Energy's Bently Nevada™ ADAPT™.wind Software, reduces gearbox maintenance costs and provides wind farms with a greater competitive edge in the energy market.

A Bently Nevada integrated condition monitoring system enables operators to understand the gearbox condition remotely. Dependable knowledge of the gearbox condition enables continued operation and revenue generation when a defect is not significant, while mitigating the risk of run to failure, an unplanned outage, or catastrophic event.

Proactive condition monitoring across the fleet also helps operators plan efficiently for and coordinate maintenance outages. Consolidating maintenance into one outage, and scheduling one crane, can save hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year in lost revenue, depending on the size of the wind farm.

GE Energy's patented Planetary Cumulative Impulse Detection algorithm is a set of measurements that detect and trend the passage of particulates through the planetary stage of a wind turbine gearbox. This provides greater insight into gearbox condition and helps pinpoint problem areas. GE Energy's Dynamic Energy Index (DEI) algorithm is specifically designed for variable speed machines. DEI spreads the variation over five bands of operation for more accurate spectral energy calculations and earlier fault detection.

GE Energy's Wind Turbine Condition Monitoring Solution is part of ADAPT™.wind, the standard condition monitoring solution on GE's wind turbine units that can be readily deployed on most manufacturers' ~1.5 MW-class turbines. Turbine owners can expect to see cost savings through several venues including reducing unplanned crane services and optimizing maintenance. The incredible value and benefit in implementing this solution has been acknowledged as many companies are adopting condition-based maintenance (CBM) strategies to decrease down time, reduce cost, and improve reliability. This solution already has over 700 units in the order and installation process.

Plug connector

New plug connector with enhanced contact reliability and reduced manufacturing costs

Harting has introduced a new version of its AdvancedMC plug connector with the card edge replaced by gold pads for AdvancedMC and MCH modules, resulting in a device with improved contact reliability and reduced manufacturing costs.

Designed to provide a two-piece plug-in connection for AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA applications, the new Harting AdvancedMC plug connector is mounted onto the basic side of the AdvancedMC module. Mounting is compatible with the use of automatic pick-and-place machines, and soldering can be carried out using the 'pin-in-hole-reflow' process or by wave soldering. An alternative version is available for assembly on the bottom (extended) component side.

The improved Harting AdvancedMC plug supports data transmission rates up to 12.5 Gbit/s. Because the connector, rather than the card edge, now defines the interface, it is now possible to use PCBs with a thickness beyond the previously specified range. The design of the insertion tongue also reduces the insertion force.

The Harting AdvancedMC plug connector helps to reduce the manufacturing costs of AdvancedMC modules since, because the PCB does not have to be equipped with gold pads, users can save on quality control costs and only require a simple hole array.

The company is offering a special plug-in connector for MCH modules to MTCA.0 that can be used to transmit signals from one PCB via two vertically stacked insertion tongues.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Power-over-Ethernet PSU

Gresham Power Electronics has introduced a flexible range of Power-over-Ethernet (POE) power supplies with an integral DC injector. Power-over-Ethernet provides a means to safely pass electrical power alongside data on Ethernet cabling. Power can come from a power supply within a POE-enabled networking device or from a device built for "injecting" power onto the Ethernet cabling, such as a Gresham Power-Over-Ethernet Power Supply.

Their POE power supplies provide 1 Amp of either 48V or 55V DC output power as utilised by 10/100 Base-T transformers for connection to an IEEE 802.3 (10/100 Base-T) compatible device. An output RJ45 connector provides the 10/100 Base-T data and DC output voltage for connection to network peripherals.

Three models of POE power supplies are available from Gresham Power. Two universal AC input (90-264VAC, 47-63Hz) models are available, one for indoor use and the other for outdoor use (when installed in a suitable environmental enclosure). These two high efficiency devices have an output current of 1A at either 48 or 55 VDC. With free air convection cooling the POE adapters are very compact at just 160 x 63 x 32 mm and have full output protection including Over Current Protection, Short Circuit Protection and Over Voltage Protection. They meet FCC 15 & EN55022 class B requirements and are CE, UL & CSA ,CCC approved These power supplies have LED indicators for Power and Data “good”, feature an impact resistant polycarbonate enclosure with a 3-prong IEC-320 C14 power inlet and have the option of being wall mounted. The model 0334B5555 is for indoor use and has an operating temperature range of -5 to +45C, while the 0525B5555 model is an outdoor unit with an operating temperature range of -40 to +70C and is capable of providing a 70W output if used indoors.

The third Gresham POE unit is also for outdoor use and has a DC input of 10.5 to 32VDC via a captive input cable. Also convection cooled It has an operating temperature range of -40˚C to 70˚C at full load. All other specifications and approvals are the same as the AC input versions.

Jake Moir, Managing Director of Gresham Power Electronics, comments; “Our Power-over-Ethernet power supplies provide a complete range of indoor and outdoor, AC and DC input power solutions for IT network installers to provide power to remote peripheral devices. This reduces installation cost and simplifies cabling requirements by not have to run power cables to remote locations and provides secure power from the host IT system’s UPS or back-up generator, which can be vital in industrial applications.”

Typical applications for Gresham POE adapters would be to provide power for network routers installed in remote locations, to support a small cluster of ports from one uplink cable, network webcams, network intercom/paging /public address systems and hallway speaker amplifiers, VoIP phones, wall clocks in rooms and hallways with time set using network time protocol, or wireless access points in process control systems.

New sales VP at processing industries supplier

PAS has appointed David Vinzant as Vice-President of Sales. He has over 30 years of industry experience and joins PAS from SunGard Energy where he was the Chief Operating Officer and Head of Sales. Prior to SunGard, he held executive-level positions at Invensys and TransEnergy.

Mr. Vinzant, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University, has global experience in multiple industries, including Oil & Gas, Refining, Petrochemical, and Utilities. For the last 15 years, he has managed customer facing activities for all phases of sales and delivery of implemented software and industrial automation solutions.

"PAS provides unique solutions critical to the safe and effective operation of our customer’s production assets,” he says. “I look forward to working with our customers to meet the growing and changing needs of their business, as well as contribute to PAS’ continued growth.”

“I’m very excited about David joining our team here at PAS. His extensive background in sales will help strengthen our leadership within our target markets,” says Chris Lyden, President at PAS.

Nitrogen in soils and plants

Facilitating fast, reproducible and automatic Nitrogen determination in soils and plants

Thermo Fisher Scientific has a new application note for providing rapid, automatic and reproducible quantitative determination of nitrogen in soils and plants with the Thermo Scientific FLASH 4000 nitrogen/protein analyzer. The application note is entitled “Nitrogen Determination in Soils and Plants by the Thermo Scientific FLASH 4000 Elemental Analyzer.”

Nitrogen content in soils is an important evaluation parameter of organic matter. The analyses of nitrogen content provide valuable information regarding the deficiency or excess of nutritional elements important to plant growth. Nitrogen content analysis is also essential when determining the quality of various types of crops for feeding and processing, as well as for N-cycle and N-fixation monitoring in agricultural and environmental research.

For maximum analytical performance, nitrogen content determination in soils and plants must be performed using accurate instrumental analytical techniques while also avoiding the use of toxic chemicals. To achieve this, the classic Kjeldahl method has been replaced by the Dumas combustion method, a simple and automatic technique that does not require sample digestion of toxic chemicals and facilitates faster analysis combined with excellent reproducibility. The FLASH 4000 is based on the Dumas combustion method, providing significant advantages over the Kjeldahl method including laboratory staff safety, improved sample throughput, automation, reduced operational costs and quantitative determination of nitrogen in a large range of concentrations.

The new application note details the analytical configuration and analytical conditions required to achieve rapid, safe and reliable nitrogen content determination in soil and plant samples. The correct quantity of oxygen, correlated to the weight and type of sample, is determined automatically by the OxyTuneTM feature of Thermo Scientific Eager Xperience software which facilitates the complete combustion of the sample.

Experimental results demonstrate excellent reproducibility and no memory effect when changing the type of sample, indicating the complete detection of the nitrogen present in the sample. The FLASH 4000 is able to analyze nitrogen in a wide range of samples from low to high content without matrix effects. In addition, the nitrogen data obtained using the analyzer is within the tolerable levels set by WEPAL International Round Robin Tests, demonstrating the high-performance of the instrument.

Smart US sensors

The new lower cost rugged MassaSonicT series M-300/150, M-320/150 (range 2.5M) and M-300/95, M-320/95 (range 4.5M) RoHS compliant smart ultrasonic sensors are now available from Vydas stock in Britain. Programmable switched outputs or analogue outputs of 0-10VDC and 4-20mA are now available.

Applications for this sensor include, liquid level control, mechanical positioning, roll diameter measurement, web loop/break monitoring, asset tracking, remote monitoring, automatic filling operation, automatic packaging, bulk level control, paper and plastic film processing and many others.

The M-300/320 ultrasonic sensor design incorporates state-of-the-art ultrasonic and microprocessor technology to provide low cost precision non-contact distance measurement for factory automation or industrial process control.

Forty fold increase in capacity

New plant to give forty-fold increase in production capacity
Intellitect Water, the company that developed the Intellisonde™ water quality monitoring instruments, has outgrown its premises in Christchurch and moved to a much larger facility in Romsey (Hants GB).

Chief Executive Tony Halker says, "The move has become necessary as a result of the rapid growth in orders that we have experienced in recent months, not just for our in-pipe network drinking water quality monitors, but also for the other versions of the Intellisonde™ that have been developed for applications such as short-term deployment for incident response, intake protection and final effluent monitoring. "The new facility in Romsey will bring product development, production and management operations under one roof. However, the main benefit will be a forty-fold increase in production capacity."

Planning guideline

PROFIBUS Planning Guideline available

With its three-part Installation Guide, PI (ProfiBua & ProfiNet International) is providing support to plant manufacturers and operators for their planning, installation, and commissioning activities. Through proper conceptual planning and careful installation, operators can avoid countless errors from the outset.

The first two volumes of the three-volume set ("Cabling and Assembly Guideline" and "Commissioning Guideline") have been available in German and English for some time. With the publication of the ProfiBus Guideline for Planning, PI is providing plant operators with an easy-to-use overview document containing all information relevant for planning ProfiBus systems.

The guideline is aimed at persons who are engaged in the planning of ProfiBus systems. The volume includes information for ProfiBus DP and ProfiBus PA. The reader is guided through the planning process in a structured manner. In addition to providing support for the plant topology definition, the guideline also covers the selection of cable types and plug connectors. Information is provided for planning transmission lines using copper cable as well as optical means. The guideline also contains tips for estimating the bus cycle time and information regarding shielding and grounding of ProfiBus systems as well as a document template for planning and documenting plants.

The three guidelines can be ordered in hard copy from ProfiBus Ireland, your local ProfiBus organisation or downloaded here from the PI Site. The pdf download is available free-of-charge to all interested parties.

Price Guide for hard copies: price per volume: €24 non-members, €18 members, special price for complete 3-volume set: €55 non-members, €39 members.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Safety health & environment keynote announced

Process safety expert David Cummings, Global Process Safety Management Competency Leader for DuPont Safety, Health & Environment (SHE), will deliver a keynote address at ISA Automation Week 2010 on 6 October (Houston, TX, USA).

He will speak on the topic of Marvel or Myth—a “Golden Hammer” to Manage Process Safety Risks. His presentation will explore the key elements required to implement and maintain a consistent and highly reliable program to prevent process incidents, including risk management systems, safety culture, operational discipline, and organization learning.

The abstract states the following about his timely topic: “Serious process safety related fires, explosions, and toxic releases seem to be in the news every day somewhere in the United States or in other parts of the world. Beyond high visibility industry incidents like those at BP's Texas City and Imperial Sugar's Port Wentworth plants, incidents also occur in virtually all industry segments involving a myriad of hazardous materials and technologies.”

David Cummings serves as the Global Process Safety Management Competency Leader for DuPont SHE based in Delaware (US). He has overall responsibility for internal standards and policies, training, improvement strategies, auditing, and performance management systems relating to process safety across four global regions and 180 manufacturing locations. Cummings has over 30 years of experience within the safety and health field with a BS from Western Maryland College and an MS from Temple University in Occupational Health and Safety. He is an ABIH Certified Industrial Hygienist in Comprehensive Practice. In addition to various technical and management roles within DuPont, he has held previous positions within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the US Navy, and the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

“Process safety is on everybody’s mind these days and I’d imagine that any automation professional working in the process industry as well as other industries will benefit from attending David Cumming’s keynote address. Recent incidents have shown the impact these accidents can have, not only for the affected organization itself, but for the environment, humanity, wildlife, and the overall economy,”
said Gerald Cockrell, ISA Automation Week technical program co-chair. “We could not have asked for a timelier topic when we invited Cummings to present at ISA Automation Week."


See also Major innovator to speak at Automation Week posted earlier in July.

Drive for brushless DC servo motor motion control

New version of drag-and-drop flowchart programmed motion controller with integral servo drive opens market with low-cost brushless servo version

Since its launch in early 2009, Rotalink's Red Drive servo motor driver and controller has significantly lowered the cost barrier for brushed DC precision motion control. Now the innovative designer and manufacturer of miniature motors, transmissions and controls has launched a brushless version of Red Drive that offers the same easy-to-use flowchart based software and price-performance advantages of the brushed version. The new BLDC10A Brushless Red Drive has a 10A input current rating from a 12-24 VDC supply voltage and includes hall sensor inputs for brushless commutation, incremental encoder input and 27 programmable TTL level I/O pins for analogue and digital machine interfacing.

Like its brushed servo counterpart, the modular design concept includes the separately supplied SA1 serial port adapter to program the controller with the free-of-charge Red Drive PC-based graphical software. For fast and cost-effective OEM product development, the microprocessor chip is available separately, allowing the full board version with its integral servo drive to be used in the design and pre-production phases with the IC version incorporated in the final machine for full production. This option also enables the customer the flexibility to choose and design-in the optimum power components and I/O requirements for the application.

This drive is easy to program using a drag and drop flowchart programming method which eliminates the complexity typically associated with many other motion controllers available today. The Windows™ program allows scaling of encoder and gearbox resolution into meaningful units at set-up along with I/O interfacing assignment. Set-up also includes simply entering catalogue values for motor stall-torque and no-load speeds for automatic tuning. Homing, limits and reset inputs can also be set.

The sequential graphical programming format requires little training or specialist motion control knowledge. The programmer simply creates then drags and drops function blocks in a sequential order with relevant values. Separate subroutines can be included in the program to call specific functions at any time on input states or as a part of the program flow. Program functions include incremental and absolute distance moves, acceleration, speeds and wait times in addition to maths and variable calculations. In all, the Red Drive's EEPROM memory storage can handle repeatable sequences of more than 100 functions and drives may be easily linked through I/O for multi-axis set-ups. An A safety input may also be configured to shutdown the drive for emergency measures.

Up to 8 of the 27 I/O points may be assigned to 5V analogue inputs with the remaining available for digital I/O interfacing at 5V TTL levels. All I/O is connected to the BLDC10A via a IDC type connectors using space saving flat cable assemblies or crimp connectors with standard wiring. The 4-pin encoder connection uses a snap-lock header connector, and motor, power and hall sensor connection is via convenient screw terminals. The SA1 RS232 serial adapter board is interfaced via a 14-way header and only needs to be connected to the drive when programming and is therefore useful for production environments or security minded OEM applications where access needs to be restricted.

Magnetostrictive linear position sensor

Gefran has launched its new ONP1-A magnetostrictive linear position sensor range that features the sensor and automation specialists recently patented ONDA magnetic sensitive element measurement system.

With its name derived from the Italian word for 'wave', Gefran's ONDA technology combines a highly sensitive wave measuring element for current or voltage output of both displacement and speed from a simple magnetic cursor. The contactless and durable measurement system is characterised by simplicity in installation and extremely long life with very high accuracy and repeatability in an affordable design - even for applications that do not require such high levels of precision.

For the ONP1-A linear position transducer the measurement element runs in an IP65 protected extruded aluminium rail with a robust 4-pin solenoid valve connector built into one end. Maintaining complete simplicity for installation, the magnetic cursor requires no electrical power and can be supplied as a simple floating component that is fixed on the customers machine or alternatively in a housing that mounts parallel to the rail in a choice of three configurations with different axial connections. In all configurations the alignment is not critical and the cursor may be fixed with the rail moving – or vice versa. Steel mounting brackets are optionally available that match the anodised rail profile and mating DIN 43650 connectors rated to IP65 with flying leads are also offered.

With more than thirty electrical stroke lengths available from 50 mm to 1500 mm, the high bandwidth ONDA measurement system has a resolution that is limited only by the sensitivity of the measuring system, an independent linearity of better than 0.04% of full scale and maximum acceleration up to 100 m/s2. With both voltage and current output signals available, the unit requires a 24 VDC input and is fully protected againstpolarity inversion and overvoltage.

The highly robust design of the ONP1-A allows for a shock rating of 100g for 11 milliseconds and vibration to 12g between 10 and 2000 Hz. The operational temperature range is from -20 to +75

Solid state replaces vacuum tubes in radar TX

A full line of highly reliable, solid-state radar transmitter systems to drive Klystrons, TWTs, IOTs, and magnetrons operating from UHF to W band is available from Diversified Technologies.

DTI Radar Transmitter Systems incorporate switching power supplies, solid-state pulse modulators, and controls that provide from 10 to 50% greater power efficiency and higher reliability than vacuum tube based systems. Featuring full pulse flexibility from 50 ns to 10 ms pulse frequencies, depending upon application, these modular, all solid-state systems are suitable for new and retrofit radar installations.

Providing >99% switching efficiency, <500 ns switching times, and pulse frequencies up to 100 KHz, depending upon load, DTI Radar Transmitter Systems are easy to install. Stackable from 11 to 66 KV, they have a single controller that can drive one or two switches in a push-pull configuration, yielding fast fall time for a capacitive load.

Keep it cool!

Don’t leave your electronics in a sealed cabinet this summer!

Rittal have introduced a range of cooling units specifically designed for outdoor enclosure applications. If you want your (electronic) kit to remain useful for longer when situated out of doors, then give it some air!

Any outdoor enclosure will suffer from Solar Gain on long and hot summer days and as a result the internal temperature will rise above the ambient. It is well known that the life expectancy of most electronics will fall dramatically with a temperature increase above 30-35° Celsius. Electronics sealed in an outdoor enclosure will effectively cook unless there are some simple measures taken to both remove any generated heat, and reduce or eliminate the effect of the sun.

Rittal include several standard outdoor enclosures with twin walls, separated by a 25mm air gap, which provides a suitable home for sensitive equipment, all featured in their CS Outdoor enclosure selector. In addition, they are able to supply either built into the enclosure, or as separate “after-market” items, a range of air conditioning units which maintain the IP55 rating of the enclosure.

Designs specifically for use in roof mounting, side wall, rear panel or door mounting applications are available, with cooling capacities ranging between 750W and 1750W and providing from 570m3/hour of cooling air through to over 1000m3/hour to cater for a wide range of circumstances.

Canadian technology to aid banned substance detection in GB.

Quantitech has signed an agreement with the Canadian company TeknoScan Systems Inc to introduce a highly advanced technology for banned substance detection, to the British market.

Keith Golding, Quantitech Managing Director, says, "TeknoScan's technology represents a major advance in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. The problem with existing technology has been a lack of selectivity; the inability to identify target substances in a chemically 'noisy' environment. Until now the most sensitive detector has been the nose of a specially trained dog. However, TeknoScan has developed a highly sensitive and selective portable system that has major advantages over existing techniques, not least of which is the ability to detect target substances from a library containing up to 50 separate compounds all at once."

TeknoScan has demonstrated detection and identification of threat substances from samples as small as 0.1 nanograms in a polluted environment. Therefore, there is an extremely high probability of detection if an individual, object or container has been in contact with a target substance, even if masking agents are present.

The complete TeknoScan Analyser is approximately the size of a briefcase and provides complete analysis of a sample in 3 minutes or less.

TeknoScan Systems Vice President, Larry Wardrop, believes that the new technology will be utilised in a wide variety of applications. He says, "This equipment will be of enormous benefit to those responsible for our safety and security. Screening of all types of air cargo, container traffic and the vehicles crossing our borders is available to us through this technology. In addition to the sampling equipment that we are developing for containers and packages, we also have versions that enable the testing of individuals, cars, trucks, caravans, hotel rooms and even large meeting venues such as music and sports stadia."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Miniature proportional solenoid valves with inlet pressure compensation


ASCO Numatics has launched the Preciflow-IPC – Series 202 miniature proportional solenoid valves. These high performance valves are particularly suited to applications that require very precise control of air and neutral gases for medical or industrial applications. These include ventilators, oxygen mixing, anaesthesia, Mass Flow Controllers (MFC), fuel cells, and all applications where a high flow and low power consumption are required.
Picture, right, shows Cutaway view of the ASCO Numatics Preciflow-IPC solenoid valve showing the stainless steel valve seat and body, and FPM diaphragm and seals.

Thease two-way valves are constructed using high performance materials, including stainless steel for the valve seat and body and FPM for the diaphragm and seals. The design of the valve enables precise control by using flat spring technology to keep the core in suspension and give a perfect axial guidance without friction.

They are available for use with 6V, 12V and 24V DC supplies and have 23cm PTFE flying leads. The low power consumption of just 2.5W, makes them suitable for battery operation and the proven flat spring technology enables a low hysteresis of <5%,>
The valves do not require a minimum operating pressure and have an operating differential pressure of 0 to 7 bar with a maximum inlet pressure of 10 bar. Other features include a large orifice (3mm) and a wide pressure range with a high flow rate of up to 190 lpm at 2.6 bar. The variable flow is proportional to the control signal and there are no steps in the flow curve. The control signal is PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) and the valve can be used with a digital regulator or proportional control electronics.

The valve is available as an inline version with G1/8” with brass body, cartridge mount or pad mount (with PDVF body) and satisfies all relevant EC directives.

Wireless certification service

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) has announced the formal launch of ISA-100.11a certification services. With official testing of devices completed in late June 2010, participating suppliers can now offer ISA-100.11a-certified products.

ISA-100.11a certification testing is being conducted for the WCI by National Technical Systems, Inc. (NTS), an independent third-party engineering, testing and certification company which has bases in the US, Europe and the Far East.

Notable among suppliers in this initial launch is Nivis LLC, earning certification for their ISA-100.11a communication protocol stack. Nivis, a leader in secure, open standard wireless sensing and control networks, is the first to have an ISA-100.11a-certified protocol stack—enabling integration of ISA-100.11a wireless communication technology into real-world industrial plant applications.

“This is a significant milestone for WCI and the ISA100 Standard. WCI conformance testing services provide a vital link between the standards development process and implementation of the resulting standard in the marketplace. Conformance testing provides assurances to end users that registered ISA-100.11a devices will interoperate and adhere to their requirements,” said Andre Ristaino, managing director of WCI.

“We ran rigorous tests on devices submitted in June using the WCI test kits and are pleased with the results, especially having had several of the first devices meet the ISA-100.11a requirements” said Osman Sakr, CTO of National Technical Systems. “We look forward to testing additional products as they become available.”

Manufacturers are expected to make their own product announcements in the coming weeks. These will be in addition to the recent announcements from Honeywell (see Industry Perspectives from Honeywell User Group {automation.com}) and Yokogawa (More on Wireless {Read-out}) highlighting ISA-100.11a-compliant products at their respective user conferences.

“It is and has always been our mission to support our members with their adoption and implementation of the ISA-100.11a wireless standard,” continued Ristaino. “As new products pass certification, we look forward to seeing the first commercial installations of industrial wireless systems that demonstrate the scalability, reliability, and performance benefits of the ISA-100.11a standard.”

With a planned maintenance review underway, the ISA-100.11a standard is expected to be submitted to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for approval in early 2011. Certified products already deployed can maintain compliance with a simple, over-the-air firmware upgrade provided by the vendors—a clear example of one of the future-proof benefits of the standard.

The ISA-100.11a industrial wireless networking standard is the first in the ISA100 family of standards. This wireless mesh network standard protocol helps supplier companies build interoperable wireless automation control products. As a result, manufacturing sites are able to create, modify, optimize, and scale a wireless network quickly, cost-effectively, and seamlessly.

Planned additions to the ISA100 family of standards include support for backhaul functionality, factory automation, and other key-use cases. See ISA100 website for details on the approved standard, the ISA100 roadmap, and use-case presentations.

Transducers can help measure reservoir levels

With the driest start to a year in Britain and much of Western Europe since 1929, monitoring falling reservoir levels assumes increased importance and can readily be accomplished using RDP transducers.

They offer two main approaches for monitoring water levels either using transducers fitted with floats, or alternatively by using pressure transducers. Floats attached to transducers have proved a popular solution and are used to measure the height of the float at the top of a reservoir. For large lakes even a change of 1mm represents a significant change in volume, so accuracy is essential. There are several installations of this type in mountainous areas of Italy.

The use of submersible transducers in conjunction with 4~20mA output amplifiers enables signals to be communicated from remote measuring locations to a control room. Pressure transducers can be deployed to measure the ‘head of water’ from which depth can be calculated as an alternative monitoring method. In both cases RDP transducers are designed for long life delivering accurate and reliable measurement despite immersion in water.

Solids control in drilling

This story has been withdrawn on instructions of the principal's PR representatives.

They apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Editor

Five gallons of control in a three gallon book

The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control, 3rd Edition; N. E. Battikha

Whether you are an experienced engineer, technician, project manager, or new to the field, this best-selling book should help you better understand how to assess, compare, select, and correctly implement the various methods of measurement and control for process automation. Reviewer Nick Sands of Du Pont, Maryland (US) was so impressed he wrote that this book contained "five gallons of control in a three gallon book!"

This book provides quick and easy reference to:
  • ISA symbology
  • instrument and control valve selection criteria
  • conversion guidelines
And includes new sections on:
  • maintenance
  • calibration
  • decision-making skills
  • consulting
Bonus CD-ROM also included!
This book features a bonus CD-ROM packed with useful information such as an extensive glossary of terms, a list of web-based resources, as well as the entire text of the book!

The book is The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control, 3rd Edition by N. E. Battikha and is published by the International Society of Automation.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New faces in Cleveland

Brennan Industries recently announced personnel changes to management at its headquarters in Cleveland.

Ted Moyer (left) joins Brennan Industries as the new vice president of national and international sales. Moyer will be responsible for directing and coordinating company sales functions, directly managing major client accounts and establishing and implementing short- and long-range departmental goals, objectives, policies and operating procedures. Prior to joining Brennan Industries, Moyer was national sales manager and regional sales manager at Legris Inc. in Mesa, Arizona.

He earned his bachelor’s of science from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He currently resides in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Bill Jarrell (centre) will be heading up the marketing and procurement departments as vice president of marketing and procurement. He will be responsible for global product procurement, new product development and launches, marketing, media relations, advertising and the Brennan Industries website. Jarrell has over 25 years of experience in the fluid connectors and the fluid power products industries. He held the position of vice president of corporate sales and corporate sales manager at Brennan Industries before his new position.

He earned his bachelor of arts from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. He has also completed XEROX PSS II sales and ATECS time management courses. He currently resides in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Jeff Worobel (right) joins Brennan Industries as the new director of finance, replacing Tom Levicky who after 11 years with Brennan Industries will be retiring. Worobel will be responsible for managing the financial and tax reporting requirements at Brennan Industries and maintaining and ensuring appropriate and effective accounting procedures are followed. Worobel brings over 25 years of experience in accounting to Brennan Industries. Prior to joining Brennan Industries, Worobel was controller at NeTeam Systems, LLC, a reseller and integrator of voice-over Internet protocol telephony systems in Richfield, Ohio. He spent several years at Ernst and Young before joining NeTeam Systems.

Worobel earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ohio Wesleyan University. He currently resides in Copley, Ohio.

The company has expanded Tom Paluscsak’s responsibilities as quality engineer to include all quality systems domestically and internationally, both on the manufacturing side as well as the customer side. Paluscsak will also be responsible for overseeing the Brennan ISO program and all of its requirements.

Safe gas detection

Gas detectors receive CSA & BASEEFA hazardous area certifications

Senscient received two certifications this June for its ELDS Open Path Gas Detectors (OPGD) in potentially explosive or hazardous environments. Both CSA and BASEEFA certificates apply to ELDS 2000 and 1000 Series detector transmitter and receiver units.

The Certificate of Compliance from independent product testing and certification organization CSA International certifies the Senscient line of ELDS Open Path Gas Detectors (OPGD) for use in hazardous locations in the US and Canada. This CSA certificate assures compliance to CSA and UL standards for hazardous locations/zones and product safety.

The BASEEFA 10ATEX0066X certification covers the same ELDS detectors for use in "potentially explosive atmospheres" for ATEX (Europe).

ELDS is designed to provide new levels of plant safety and risk reduction in offshore platforms, FPSOs, onshore petrochemical facilities and refineries in addition to other industries with toxic or flammable gas hazards.

The CSA North America and BASEEFA ATEX certification are the latest in a string of independent third party certifications covering product safety, use, application, and manufacturing.

Previously, Senscient ELDS Open Path Gas Detectors received both the FM Global and FM ATEX International Performance Certification that ensures ELDS open path gas detectors are capable of detecting hazardous gases over a specified line of sight coverage to LEL.meter standards, and triggering isolated multi-channel analogue output signals to a remote Safety PLC. With completion of these two Performance Standards, the new ELDS OPGD became the FIRST and ONLY laser-based open path gas detector line to be certified to the highly challenging international Performance Approval Standards, clearing the way for ELDS use in systems requiring Safety Integrity Level (SIL) compliance around the world.

Lab conference details

The organisers of WWEM 2010 "the world’s largest environmental monitoring event", have published details of their new Conference dedicated to the Laboratory sector.

Focusing on efficiency, sustainability, quality procedures and accreditation, the Conference will address the key issues facing commercial laboratories in the new low-carbon, post-recession era and will be most relevant to analytical staff within the water, food/beverage, manufacturing, processing and environmental sectors.

Titled Laboratory Sustainability and Efficiency, the Laboratory conference will be repeated on both days and chaired by Dr Jeff Llewellyn, President of the British Measurement and Testing Association (BMTA). It will feature:
  • UKAS and what Accreditation can do for your Laboratory by Debbie Hudson, UKAS
  • Proficiency Testing and Inter-Laboratory Comparisons by Matt Williams, NPL
  • Samples Transportation by Justin Hayday of CitySprint
  • The production of ISO Guide 34 Accredited Gas Calibration Standards and Evaluation of their Stability by K D Cleaver, BOC Limited
  • Sampling of Environmental Water by Hazel Davidson, ALcontrol
  • A Waste Water Data Management System That Provides Real Advantage by Alex Hardie, EXOVA
WWEM 2010 organiser Marcus Pattison said: “Laboratory analysis plays a major role in environmental monitoring across a number of industries. We are therefore delighted to be able to devote an area of WWEM to the laboratory sector, complete with a dedicated conference, a series of walk-in, walk-out workshops and an exhibition featuring many of the world’s leading players in the laboratory sector. “A common thread, running through all of the presentations will be advice on how to improve both accuracy and efficiency.”

Whilst the Conference is repeated on both days, some visitors may require entry on both days to give them the facility to attend other technical workshops and presentations.

WWEM 2010 is scheduled for 10-11 November 2010 in Telford (GB)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rugged power meters

EMC immunity testing makes very specific demands on RF power meters. A large dynamic range, fast measurements, rugged design and a frequency range that matches the application are some of the unique requirements for power meters in an EMC test environment.

TESEQ
has introduced The PM 6006 power meter which has been specially designed to meet these demanding requirements.

Two models are available. The PMU 6006 is designed for connection via the USB interface and is supplied with Windows-based control software. In addition to having different graphical display modes available, the software provides averaging, offset use, and the ability to switch units to dBm, dbμV or V. It can also handle simultaneous readouts of multiple power meters. The PMU 6006 is powered by the USB connection.

The second model is the PMR 6006, designed for direct connection to the recently introduced Teseq ITS 6006 Immunity Test System. Up to three power meters can be connected and the power measured can be read by either the ITS 6006 software utility or by optional Test House Software.

Common specifications are frequency range 1 MHz to 6 GHz, linear measurement range -45 to +20 dBm, RMS power using log detector, low voltage detection. Both power meters feature a ruggedly designed metal casing and have LED indication of power on and measurement activity.
Paul Dixon, Managing Director of Teseq Ltd comments;”These new power meters add to our extensive EMC testing capabilities giving our customers the flexibility to make stand alone measurements or buy into one of our comprehensive suites of test systems and software.”

Pulse and arbitrary function generator

TTi (Thurlby Thandar Instruments) has launched a lower-cost version of the best-selling TG5011 function/arbitrary/pulse generator.

The new TG2511 has a maximum frequency of 25 MHz for sine and square waves. It offers similar facilities to the more expensive 50 MHz generator, but with proportionately lower maximum frequencies for pulse and arbitrary waveforms.

The generator comes with Waveform Manager Plus for Windows, enabling complex waveforms to be created using a PC. Commonly used waveforms that are pre-programmed into the software include sin(x)/x, exponential rise and fall, logarithmic rise and fall, Gaussian, Lorentz, haversine and cardiac waveforms.

The TG2511 offers a comprehensive set of digital modulations including AM, FM, PM, PWM and FSK. The modulation source can be any standard or arbitrary waveform, or any external signal applied to the modulation input from DC up to 20 kHz.

A wideband noise generator creates Gaussian white noise with a high crest factor and a bandwidth of 20 MHz. Noise can be added to any waveform or can be used as a modulating source.

Arbitrary waveforms of up to 128k words can be generated at 14 bits vertical resolution and a sampling speed of 125 MS/s. A front-mounted USB port enables external flash memory storage of up to 1000 waveforms.

USB and LAN interfaces are provided as standard, the latter conforming with LXI class C (Lan eXtensions for Instrumentation). A GPIB interface is available as an option. All functions of the generator can be controlled from the digital interfaces, and arbitrary waveform data can be transferred via them.

Solar inverter's shining efficiency

A report jointly issued by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and Bureau Veritas shows that AEG Power Solutions’ Protect PV.250 solar inverter offers remarkable efficiency. Energy conversion efficiency testing conducted according to European Standard EN 50530 yielded a very high efficiency grade of 98.7%.

Energy conversion efficiency testing was conducted at eight different power levels, nine DC voltage levels and for two module technologies (thin film and crystalline technology, both used in solar farms). MPPT testing, performed by ISE according to the same European EN 50530 standard, yielded a Maximum Power Point (MPP) efficiency grade of 99.99%. ISE also reported that the PV.250 inverter, launched in Sept. 2009, successfully complied with EN 50530 dynamic requirements.

Testing was conducted by Fraunhofer ISE, the largest solar energy research institute in Europe, and by Bureau Veritas, an international group specialized in the inspection, analysis, audit, and certification of products, infrastructure and management systems according to regulatory or voluntary standards. Designed for power plants generating from one to several hundred megawatts, the AEG Power Solutions Protect PV.250 inverter was developed and is manufactured in Warstein-Belecke, Germany.

Orders totalling 40 MW were already booked at the end of the second quarter, mainly for Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy, but also for Belgium and France. Certification for Italian grid operator ENEL has also been achieved. This means PV 250 will soon be included in the ENEL listing, a very promising achievement for AEG
Power Solutions on this market.
One of the first Protect PV.250 installed is part of the equipment of the solar farm of the city of Hungen in Germany. “The performance of the solar park is considerably higher than what the forecast and the efficiency study calculated. We are very satisfied.” Technical Manager Thomas Weichmann comments; "With the PV.250 technology in general, and especially with the infrastructure of the plant in Warstein-Belecke, AEG Power Solutions is very well positioned to fulfil all photovoltaic power plant requirements – today and in the future, in Germany and elsewhere,” said Enrique de la Cruz, VP Solar Strategic Business Unit . With DC voltage capability up to 1000 V, the Protect PV.250 enables customers to achieve optimal power efficiency thanks to its field-programmable gate array (FPGA) control system. Specifically engineered to meet the requirements of utility-grade applications, the Protect PV.250 can be customized to each application thanks to a range of available options and its unique container design.

AEG PS has started developing solar activity and products based on its sound power expertise two years ago. Its sales in solar inverters should be multiplied by 10 this year.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Communications standard

Profibus available across full range of monitors

Analytical Technology has added 24VDC powered and digital options of the Profibus DP (Decentralised Peripherals) standard across its full range of monitors, including its extensive chlorine range, in response to customer demand. The addition of Profibus DP standard to Analytical Technology’s monitors enables water and wastewater treatment plants to optimise maintenance and achieve a high level of confidence in chlorine measurements.

Profibus is a standard concerning fieldbus communication and was first introduced in 1989. The most commonly used application is Profibus DP, which is employed to operate sensors via a centralised controller in production environments. Profibus DP aims to offer better plant control through improved instrument output. Monitors and instrumentation equipped with Profibus DP offer more information by communicating sensor state and calibration needs, enabling operators to make judgements on the efficacy of measurements.

Demand for Profibus-enabled instrumentation in the water and wastewater industry is increasing. Analytical Technology works closely with customers to anticipate new requirements and as a result the company has added Profibus DP to its range of chlorine monitors, including free and combined chlorine, reagent free, clean water variant and unique non contact gas phase dirty water variant. Analytical Technology’s monitors are now available as 24VDC with relays or 85-260VAC with relays with optional digital communications. The Profibus-enabled monitors share the same sensor and processor, offering customers a common platform approach to measure all forms of residual chlorine in all applications. Installation costs are also reduced as Profibus-enabled monitors can run from one cable.

Dr. Michael Strahand, General Manager Europe at Analytical Technology, comments: “We are pleased to be able to offer our full range of monitors with Profibus DP. We aim to be at the forefront of researching and providing new technology and we look forward to working with our customers to further enhance our monitoring instrumentation.”

Wireless router

Deeter Electronics has introduced a Wireless Router to increase the range and reliability of their recently launched Deeter Wireless Sensor System for industrial measurement and control.

The new Wireless Router may be added to a Deeter Wireless Sensor System to significantly increase the range of the wireless communication between sensors and a Base Station. These Routers may also be used to improve communications reliability.

A basic Deeter Wireless Sensor System is comprised of a Base Station and a remote sensor node, either a general purpose Deeter Sender or self contained Liquid Vertical Continuous Sensor (LVCS-RF) probe. The maximum range between these, in ideal conditions, can exceed 1Km. However in many industrial environments the signal will be attenuated by obstructions and fading may result from multiple signal paths caused by reflections. These effects reduce the quality of the communications link and the achievable range. Adding a Deeter Wireless Router to the system extends the effective range and improves signal quality.

In use the Wireless Router should be positioned midway between the remote probe or sender and Base Station, possibly offset in order to avoid obstructions that might cause interference. Up to four Routers may be used in a single system with data being retransmitted a number of times before reaching the Base Station. This will greatly extend the transmission range and reliability.

The use of multiple Routers allows the wireless network to automatically establish the most effective signal route between probe and Base Station at turn-on. Should this signal path become interrupted for any reason the Router network will re-establish the most efficient and reliable signal path. In this mode the Routers are operating as a self-healing wireless mesh network offering maximum signal reliability.

The Deeter Wireless Router must be permanently powered-up to relay messages. Any message sent from a base station to a “sleeping” battery powered remote node or sensor will wait at the last Router until the sensor wakes up and polls for data.

The Deeter Wireless Sensor system uses the internationally recognised IEEE 802.15.4 protocol in the 2.4GHz ISM radio band allowing users to install approved devices with no licensing requirements. It operates on one of 16 radio frequency channels available allowing several wireless sensor networks to share the same wireless spectrum without interference.



The Deeter Wireless Router is housed in an ABS enclosure with an external antenna. Power is provided by an external 5VDC mains wall mounted adapter connected via cable glands. An optional 3m extension lead and bracket are available for mounting the antenna in a position more favourable to wireless communication should the need arise.

Peter Whiteaker, Managing Director of Deeter Electronics, comments; "Our new Wireless Router is the final piece in our class leading wireless sensor system. Adding one or a number of Routers to a measurement system not only extends the communications range but can greatly improve the reliability of the transmitted data signal. We can now offer our customers a complete, simple to operate, low cost wireless sensor system which provides a very viable alternative to conventional control and instrumentation systems."



The Deeter Group product range includes level sensors, industrial weighing equipment, reed and proximity switches, security switches, termination assemblies, litz and magnetic wire and solar power systems.

Plastic replaces metal!

Foremost Electronics has added the Binder 713 series M12 plastic connector to its extensive range of high quality industrial connectors.

The Binder 713 series female socket is a reliable, low-cost, direct replacement for metal-bodied versions. Its plastic housing is manufactured from rugged polyamide and has exactly the same dimensions as industry standard metal versions.

Front and rear mounted versions are available in 4, 5 and 8-pole formats with either PG9 or M16 locking threads. Protected to IP67, the 713 series has solder contacts for wires up to 0.25mm² and the housing can accommodate cable sizes from 3.5 to 5.0mm. Contacts are gold-plated bronze with a current rating of 2 to 4A and solder bucket and dip solder versions are available. The new plastic 713 series connector has a minimum mating cycle of 100 cycles.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics, comments; "We have a long established relationship with Binder Connectors and we are pleased to be able to offer their new low cost plastic connectors. The new 713 series offers competitive pricing with no reduction in performance or quality"

Typical applications for the new Binder 713 series include industrial controls, drives, sensors and automation equipment.

Robots in hospital

Revolutionary hospital robots and cutting edge Agility software

Software company SoftSols Group is helping a hospital in Scotland become the first in Britain to use a fleet of robots to carry out routine deliveries.

The robots at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Stirlingshire will help to keep patient areas free of trolleys and other clutter, reduce infection risks and free up support staff to focus on priorities for patients.

Operating behind the scenes, in specially designed tunnels and lifts, they will also provide a calmer environment, to improve the patient experience.

Supporting this innovative solution is the Agility computerised facilities management Helpdesk system developed by the SoftSols Group. The software is being integrated with the robotic vehicles to monitor their performance delivering and retrieving a wide range of supplies.

The Agility software monitors the robots, generating performance management statistics as part of an automated system, which flags an alert should the robots not deliver on time. Trials of the robots are currently underway ahead of the hospital opening its doors to patients in August this year.

In addition to performance management for the robots Agility is being used to automatically allocate and dispatch porters based on their location in the hospital, take food orders at the bedside and manage a wide range of services including reception, estates maintenance, security and cleaning.
The software has been implemented as part of the hospital’s Facilities Management contract with international service company Serco, who are part of a Project Team led by Forth Health (A joint venture between John Laing and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia) and including Laing O’Rourke as the Design & Construct Partner.

Robin Barter of Serco says, “SoftSols Group rapidly understood the extremely complex requirements of the performance management system and the system interface with the robots, and then expertly translated these into comprehensive specifications and, subsequently, a coherent working system.”

David Hipkin, SoftSols Group Managing Director said, “This cutting edge project is exciting for lots of reasons, not least because it shows how flexible the Agility solution is. It is a whole new area where the software is not just supporting systems; it is enabling innovation and breaking boundaries.”

Environmental monitoring certs scheme

Environment Agency strengthens their Monitoring Certification Scheme policy

The British Environment Agency will outline a hardening policy on the use of MCERTS certified products at WWEM 2010 (Telford, GB, 10th and 11th November 2010).

Summarising his forthcoming presentation at the event, the Agency's Paul Wiggins says, “A good number of flow meters have now achieved MCERTS, so all new and replacement meters must now be certified.” He reports a high number of MCERTS product applications for both flow and analytical instruments and expects many of these to receive certificates at the WWEM event, adding: “We can now look forward to a time when the number of certified analytical instruments will enable us to enforce the MCERTS policy for all new and replacement water quality monitoring instruments.”

Speakers from the Environment Agency at WWEM 2010 will also provide an update on Better Regulation and the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) and include the latest position on operator self-monitoring (OSM) and the role of MCERTS and Operator Monitoring Assessment (OMA) in supporting the move to OSM for industry and the water utilities.

Visitors to WWEM 2010 will include staff at every level within regulators, water companies, industrial manufacturers, consultants, education, researchers, process engineers and laboratory analysts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Digitising preparation and recording in weighing operations

New solution provides food & beverage, CPG and life sciences manufacturers with out-of-the-box software and services with return in as little as 30 days

GE Intelligent Platforms has a new Proficy® Accelerator Solution for Weighing Operations – which reduces ingredient variation in food, beverage, CPG and life sciences manufacturing to increase product quality and safety. The new Weighing Operations Accelerator Solution digitizes the highly manual process of pre-production ingredient preparation and recording. This out-of-the-box solution reduces errors and waste by guiding operators through step-by-step instructions, automating Weigh Orders, and tracking actions and ingredient data for historical records.

“There are many challenges in Weigh and Dispense operations, including variability and risk of human error, inefficient and inaccurate recordkeeping, and complex and changing recipe formulations that often require expert operators,” said Sheila Kester, General Manager, Operations Management Solutions for GE Intelligent Platforms. “These challenges reduce resource flexibility, require extensive training and put product quality and safety at risk. Proficy Accelerator Solution for Weighing Operations brings the power of Work Process Management to manufacturers and drives more sustainable production.”

With a focus on operator guidance and equipment control in Weigh and Dispense activities, this solution can help automate work processes, embed expert knowledge, enable complete electronic record-keeping, improve product quality, reduce waste and cycle time, and increase resource flexibility.

Proficy Accelerator Solution for Weighing Operations combines full-featured software and a rapid engagement model that allows users to quickly automate and optimize Weigh and Dispense processes. Key capabilities include:

· Weigh order creation and dispatching

· Automated selection of appropriate weighing equipment based on established certification criteria

· Operator guidance during weigh and dispense of materials

· Registration of material lot code and verification of correct material usage

· Historical data recordkeeping, with report file generation for use in label printing, inventory updates, etc.

· Advanced analytics via industry-standard Microsoft reporting technologies including SQL Server Reporting Services

· Highly intuitive, graphical interface for process mapping and workflow generation

· Integrated ISA-95 modeling

Proficy Accelerator Solutions leverage proven products and best practices to rapidly demonstrate the value of GE’s Proficy software. These solutions combine the right blend of software and services components for a specific industry application or process. These offerings serve to rapidly prove the value of the solution with faster results than traditional projects for quicker ROI. Other Proficy Accelerator Solutions include:

· Accelerator for Centerlining

· Accelerator for Production Efficiency

· Accelerator for Change Management

· Accelerator for Manufacturing Energy Management Solution

· Accelerator for Packaging Performance Solution