Thursday, September 30, 2010

T&M acquisition announced

Danaher to acquire Keithley Instruments

Danaher Corporation and Keithley Instruments announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Danaher will acquire all of the outstanding Common Shares and Class B Common Shares of Keithley at a purchase price of $21.60 per share in cash for an enterprise value of approximately $300 million net of cash to be assumed. The acquisition has been unanimously approved by the Keithley Board of Directors.

Keithley Instruments designs, develops, manufactures, and markets complex electronic instruments and systems geared to the specialised needs of engineers at electronics manufacturers and academic institutions for research, product development, high-performance production testing and process monitoring. The Company currently offers approximately 150 products used to source, measure, connect, control or
communicate direct current (DC), and alternating current (AC) signals. Their product offerings include integrated systems solutions, along with instruments and data acquisition modules that can be used as system components or stand-alone solutions. Upon closing Keithley will be part
of Danaher's Tektronix business.

"We are excited about the opportunity to acquire a premier brand and technology leader in bench solutions," said Jim Lico, Executive Vice President - Danaher. "Along with Fluke and Tektronix, Keithley further solidifies Danaher's leading position in the Test & Measurement industry and presents an attractive value creation opportunity."

"We believe this transaction creates significant value for Keithley's shareholders and I am excited about the opportunity this transaction represents for Keithley's customers and employees," said Joseph P. Keithley, Chairman, President and CEO of Keithley. "Danaher has a great history of nurturing leading brand names within the Test & Measurement industry and we look forward to joining the Danaher team."

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals and adoption of the merger agreement by Keithley's shareholders, and is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of calendar 2010. A partnership affiliated with Joseph
P. Keithley has agreed to vote a number of Class B Common Shares representing 19.99% of the voting power of the Company in favor of the merger.

Automation scholorships

The International Society of Automation (ISA) is now accepting applications for its 2011 ISA Educational Foundation Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to students worldwide in two- and four-year colleges and universities, and graduate students, who demonstrate outstanding potential for long-range contribution to the fields of automation, instrumentation, and control. The scholarships support tuition and related expenses and research activities and initiatives. The recipients will be chosen at ISA’s annual Spring Leaders Meeting in 2011 which is scheduled for St Louis (MO US).

Scholarships of $5,000 are provided to the top two undergraduate students, while the amounts of the other scholarships vary. More than $62,000 was awarded to the 2010 recipients.

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate program in an instrumentation, systems, or automation discipline (two-year program or four-year baccalaureate program or its equivalent) at an educational institution in their country of residence. Two-year-program applicants must have completed at least one academic semester or 12 semester hours or the equivalent. Four-year-degree program applicants must be in the sophomore year or higher of their study, or the equivalent, at the time of application. Also, applicants must be full-time students and have an overall grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Contributions to the ISA Educational Foundation come from the following sources: Norman E. Huston Endowment, the Paros-Digiquartz Fund, the Bob and Mary Ives Endowment, the Wilbanks scholarship, the ISA Chemical and Petroleum Industries Division Endowment, the ISA Food and Pharmaceutical Industries Division Endowment, the ISA Executive Board Scholarship, ISA Life Members Committee Scholarship, ISA Section and District Scholarships, the General Education Fund, and others.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New biobank poster

The benefits of integrating comprehensive solutions for biobanks
Thermo Fisher Scientific is offering a new technical poster demonstrating its comprehensive portfolio of offerings for biobanks and biorepositories. Thermo Fisher Scientific has the world's largest breadth of offerings for biobanks, from biospecimen collection, processing, testing and storage to sample and data management. The new poster, The Cure for Your Biobanking Informatics Challenges, was authored by senior technical managers from Thermo Fisher Scientific and highlights the growing need for modern biobanks to find efficient and cost-effective methods of storing and accessing samples.

The new poster outlines how the company's work with some of the world's most renowned biobanks, including UK Biobank and HUNT Biobank, has enabled it to feature a range of expertise in its biobanking module. It also demonstrates how Thermo Fisher Scientific solutions allow customers to get up-to-speed quickly with the flexibility to meet individual requirements and business needs. The company's end-to-end portfolio for biobanks includes centrifuges,
concentrators, freezers, robotics, 2D barcodes, microplate readers, mass spectrometers and comprehensive services that enable turn-key biobanking solutions.

In addition, the poster highlights the company's innovative services and software for biorepositories, including laboratory information management systems, laboratory equipment and storage and related services. The emergence of biobanking modules that facilitate integration with laboratory information management systems (LIMS) provide biobanks with the tools needed to manage sample login, tracking and shipping as well as securely store critical donor information. Thermo Scientific Nautilus LIMS biospecimen tracking software is specifically designed for data capture, location management, chain-of-custody and handling assurance requirements. Furthermore, this information can be integrated with laboratory instruments, assay/test request, and results capture and reporting.

New trace detection technology attracts huge interest!

New trace detection technology offers improved security

Quantitech has reported enormous levels of interest in a new trace detection technology that was launched at this year's Transport Security Expo at London's Olympia (GB).

The new technology was developed by TeknoScan Systems of Canada and their Vice-President Larry Wardrop was present at the Quantitech booth to explain the many advantages of the new instrument over existing techniques. Commenting on the success of the event, Larry said: "A considerable amount of time and money has gone into the development and assessment of this technology, so we were delighted to receive such an enthusiastic reception at the Expo."

The TeknoScan TSI-3000 is a highly sensitive and selective portable system for detecting banned substances, capable of simultaneously detecting target substances from a library of up to 50 separate compounds, providing complete analysis of a sample in 3 minutes or less. A major feature of the equipment is the virtual elimination of false alarms.

During field trials, TeknoScan 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.

Quantitech’s Managing Director Keith Golding said: “There are three important features to this new technology. Firstly, samples are acquired by aspiration and we are able to detect substances both in the volatile state and attached to other tiny particles of dust. Secondly, the number of false alarms is dramatically reduced by concentrating and purifying the sample with a number of sequential techniques, and thirdly, it is a networkable product that can be updated as and when new drugs or explosives become a threat. "A reliable technology for detecting banned substances on passengers and in freight cargo is critically important to every aspect of security, so we are very excited about the prospects for the TeknoScan technology."

Environmental track at #ISAwk

Sessions and Participating Companies of Its Environmental Track at ISA Automation Week 2010

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has announced the offerings of its Environmental Track at ISA Automation Week 2010: Technology and Solutions Event, Tuesday, 4-7 October 2010 in Houston (TX US).

This track offers professionals focused sessions covering emerging industry topics including continuous emissions spills, sampling systems, detectors, and chemical analysis.

Environmental Track sessions offer open forums for professionals to interact with presenters from top industrial companies including Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.; PAI Partners; SpectraSensors, Inc.; Emerson Process Management; Pepperl+Fuchs; Baytown Engineering Services-ExxonMobil Chemical; and others.

Automation professionals have a variety of environmental sessions from which to choose including:
  • EPA Regulations
  • ISA Analysis Division GTFK Award
  • Process Analyzer Marketplace Update
  • Dinosaur Process Analysis Technologies—Are They for Real?
  • Emission Monitoring Systems to Meet EPA Requirements
  • Online Measurement
  • Benefits Achieved with Process Analyzers
  • Analyzer Shelter Safety Concerns
“ISA Automation Week’s Environmental Track offers conference topics centered on the most critical issues in the industry including safety, energy concerns, and compliance at industrial facilities,” said ISA Automation Week Program Committee Co-chair, Gerald Cockrell of Indiana State University. "These key topics will bring attendees together in Houston to address industry challenges and discuss new opportunities.”

ISA Automation Week is a technical conference that covers two and a half days of sessions, and includes two keynote addresses, networking and social events; and a 10,000-square–foot exhibit area that features more than 100 exhibitors.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

#EMRex Beaten by an avalanche of tweets

Jim Cahill, Emerson's blogger par excelance sets up the EMrex Tweet station in San Antonio
See his Day 1 Recap


We rather foolishly thought that we could reproduce an edited version of each day's twitter messages as a sort of report and flvour of what a virtual attendee might make of the Emerson User Group (#EMRex) meeting now happening in San Antonio (TX US).

Last year it was possible to manage and we talked about it in our report - "#EMRex tweets rule" but this year the sheer quantity of tweets made this next to nigh impossible. There were around 227 tweets on the first day alone and by the time we had ploughed through the first two hours or so we gave it up as a bad job.

We suggest that you put in the #EMRex as a search and you will find the unedited and unexpurgated raw tweets in all their glory.

There are a lot of advances too in this years event with video interviews, podcasts and an almost non-stop flow of pictures and comments. The live broadcasts too are made available virtually instantaneously afterwards too on the Livestream Page.

In any case here is the edited version c/w links from that exhausting yet exhilerating first day.

Gary Mintchell talks with Mike Boudreaux about Safety Lifecycle management, among other topics, at #EMRex,

Book signing by @Mark_Sanborn after his keynote at #EMRex

@EmersonExchange DeltaV roadmap session at #emrex has a great following

Clever marketing. Connected my blackberry to wifi at #EMRex and now my phone says Emerson Smart Wireless (the SSID) at the top.

Everyone is attending their first Product Roadmap session this morning. For me, it's Non-Emerson Systems Migration.

@EmersonExchange Asia team planning for #emrex sessions

Product roadmap sessions today. First up for me: @DeltaV

#EMRex - love is a commitment to treat others with dignity and respect.

RT @garymintchell: Pre-show interview with @RuneReppenhagen about @DeltaV happenings at #emrex

#EMRex - you don't have time for relationships; you make time. Reinvent yourself everyday. a

Something is more powerful than technology, it's ingenuity, & ingenuity is even more powerful when leveraged w/technology. M. Sanborn

#EMRex- competitive advantage: replace money with imagination. Ingenuity is more powerful than technology. about 21 hours ago via mobile web

#EMRex keynote @Mark_Sanborn: Etymology of politics - poly = many and ticks = blood suckers about

Emerson is hosting educational Safety Lifecycle Seminars. Request a seminar in your area

# Joanne Salazar JoanneMSalazar

#EMRex - When you value people, you add value to people.

#EMRex @Mark_Sanborn: USA Today is the adult coloring book for US media.

#EMRex - A story illustrates; statistics validate. You make difference: either positive or negative. You are not neutral.

#EMRex keynote @Mark_Sanborn: Don't treat your customers like they're customers... Treat your customers like they're your friends.

"Fear nothing, but to waste the present moment." - Mark Sanborn #EMRex

A professional is more worried about your problems than you are #emrex keynote

#EMRex Keynote speaker - @Mark_Sanborn describes TED talk by @TEDchris: How YouTube is driving innovation

#emrex crowd accelerated innovation.

#EMRex - keynote speaker: power of collaboration - accelerate innovation with three things crowd light and desire

Keynote speaker is about to start here @EmersonExchange #EmrEx

If you haven't yet seen the #EMRex Youtube channel, check out the growing list of videos

Awesome! RT @MikeBoudreaux: .@JimCahill is setting up the #EMRex Twitter Station in the registration area.

Watch @MikeBoudreaux's interview with Peter Welander about Safety Lifecycle Management at #EMRex.

Steve Sonnenberg honoring John Berra for a "job well done" for his long tenure of leadership at Emerson #EMRex as John retires.


Read The #EMRex Daily - today's top stories are contributed by @ReadoutSignpost @keithlarson and @nancybartels

Solutions Area at #EMRex - bringing it all together. Great idea! about 22 hours ago via Twitter for iPad

Looking forward to visiting the Human Centered Design Usability Experience at the #EMRex Technology Exhibits this week.

#EMRex - HCD delivered: electronic marshaling, device dashboards, subsea maintenance, asset performance management.

Sonnenberg is talking about all the new Emerson Process Management innovations

Excellent recap of all emerson innovations at #emrex by steve sonnenberg

#EMRex - human centered design: reduce complexity, eliminate work, and embed knowledge. Increase organizational efficiency.

#EMRex "collaboration creates purpose" User collaboration with Emerson is delivering results for end users.

#EMRex Steve S - Emerson continues to expand it's global presence. We have opened many new locations throughout the world.

Sonnenberg optimistic about coming year.

Wow! @EmersonExchange attendance is 2200! That's a strong indicator that the economy is turning around. Good news. #EMRex

#EMRex Emerson encourages users to submit enhancement ideas at user-ideas@Emerson.com

#emrex Emerson Exchange is off and running. Have fun!

#emrex online daily

The first Exchange Today #EMRex just hit my mailbox now

#emrex - Just announced: over 2200 registrants so far! about 23 hours ago

Good crowd for opening session at #EmrEx about 23 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone

#emrex The ballroom is filling up. Come join us!

Want to join the #EMRex board planning next years conference? Contact the guys in the red shirts.

#EMRex Flight Delays in Boston, won't make Exchange til later tonight. US Airways Fail

Excited for the start of Emerson Exchange. #Emrex

Welcome to the 2010 #EMRex in San Antonio. This week is packed with short courses, workshops, management sessions, roadmaps and many more

Good morning from San Antonio, Texas #emrex

Greetings to all my friends & followers at #EMRex from the Irish west coast

Registration for #emrex strarted nw. early birds here

Be sure to attend the DeltaV SIS Roadmap in Room 214A at 1PM today.

Prepared and ready to head out for day one of #emrex. Two great podcast interviews yesterday. Who wants to be next? 12:52 PM Sep 27th via Seesmic Web

#EMRex YouTube video channel is live with session previews:


news page of Emerson Exchange 2010 is now live: ..

Morning, Twitterland & esp. all you folks at #EMRex. Up early getting ready for a very Emersonish day. Lots o presentations & news to come.

Don't miss the roadmaps on Monday at #EMRex. Lots of exciting new products have been released and more are coming this next year.

The start of two hectic weeks...

Getting ready for a long but fun week at work covering #EMRex

Tall tales, fun & music with Morley

“Morley Unplugged: An Evening of Music, Fun, and Semi-Tall Tales” at ISA Automation Week 2010

The International Society of Automation (ISA) tells us that Dick Morley, father of the programmable logic controller (PLC), will be the featured speaker at its dinner event, “Morley Unplugged: An Evening of Music, Fun and Semi-Tall Tales.” The event will take place at ISA Automation Week 2010: Technology and Solutions Event, Wednesday, 6 October 2010, from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston (TX US).

Morley is best known to automation professionals as the inventor of the PLC. Some of his achievements include receiving the Franklin Institute's prestigious Howard N. Potts Award and induction into the Automation Hall of Fame. He is a well-known author, engineer, consultant, and ISA member. He has held positions such as chairman of the Board of the National Center of Manufacturing Sciences, director at large for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and member of the Manufacturing Advisory Board for Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Morley’s passion for and work in the field of technology have helped to leverage his success and earn him more than 20 US and international patents, including those for the parallel inference machine, the hand-held terminal, the programmable logic controller and magnetic thin film. His contemporaries enjoy his quick wit and legendary story telling, which makes “Morley Unplugged” a fitting event for ISA Automation Week 2010.

“Morley Unplugged” will feature a casual, western theme, offering ISA Automation Week 2010 attendees and exhibitors a Texas-style evening filled with music and entertainment. The event is included with ISA Automation Week 2010 registration.

New OPC server

OPC Server for LonWorks maximizes security and interoperability in building automation.

MatrikonOPC™ has released its newest OPC Server for LonWorks. This OPC Server provides open connectivity for real-time data access between LonWorks—a control networking technology platform—and other control system components such as HMIs, historians and ERP systems.

From a “single seat” workstation, building automation professionals can control and monitor their LonWorks-enabled systems such as lighting control, shading control, HVAC, access and security, and energy management systems. Flexibility and ease of use were key design factors in the development of this OPC Server. As a result, the MatrikonOPC Server for LonWorks also includes an integrated device discovery and exploration tool that enables users to easily view all devices on their LonWorks network.

With its built-in tag-level security, the LonWorks OPC Server helps protect the integrity of building automation systems. Based on each user’s login, this OPC Server selectively grants or denies access to specific tags, providing secure access to building automation data. Granular control over data access helps prevent accidental or intentional unauthorized OPC data access. This role-based security adds another layer to a system’s overall defense-in-depth strategy.

“Secure access to real-time data is critical in building automation systems and data center applications. The MatrikonOPC Server for LonWorks provides maximum security and connectivity to help users run their buildings and data centers more efficiently,” said Seán Leonard, Matrikon’s vice president of OPC products.

Benefits of the MatrikonOPC Server for LonWorks include:
• Auto device discovery (including LonWorks devices and routers)
• Support for Lontalk protocol
• OPC Security: configure users to have read-only tag access

New family of I/O boards

First in new family of I/O boards significantly enhances functional density

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the first in a new family of VME multifunction I/O boards designed specifically to address the problems caused by the growing constraints on size, weight and power in today’s military platforms. It is also highly appropriate for commercial applications that are similarly challenged. The VME-6500 6U VME Multifunction I/O Board can deliver in a single chassis slot the analog and digital I/O capabilities that could previously have occupied four slots, and can therefore make a significant contribution to substantially enhanced performance and functional density.

With data acquisition becoming an increasingly common requirement in military applications such as radar, image capture and processing and video tracking, the rugged VME-6500 also responds to the requirement to place data acquisition hardware as close as possible to the sensors with its ability to operate over wide temperature ranges and to withstand shock and vibration. Further, the VME-6500 provides a highly cost-effective, off-the-shelf alternative to a custom-built solution.

“Modern military embedded computing platforms are being deployed in an increasingly diverse and challenging range of scenarios – scenarios like unmanned vehicles - that require them to be as compact and light weight as possible,” said Rob McKeel, Vice President, Military & Aerospace Embedded Computing at GE Intelligent Platforms. “Systems designers need to pack the maximum functionality and maximum computing performance into the smallest space possible – and the VME-6500 is designed to enable them to do that. Expect to see further, similar multifunction products from GE in the near future that will continue to offer our customers a sustainable competitive advantage.”

The VME-6500 features eight analog input channels, eight analog output channels, 16 digital input channels and 16 digital output channels. Each analog input channel is equipped with a 16-bit ADC (analog-to-digital converter), and each analog output channel with a 16-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter). Analog inputs are software-programmable to provide exceptional flexibility in sample rates, gains, filters and current ranges, while analog outputs are similarly flexible with programmable voltage and current rates, together with waveform generation.

Digital input channels are capable of multiple voltages and current ranges, and feature programmable input thresholds and de-bounce times. Digital outputs support high voltage and current drivers, and are protected for short circuit, over current and over temperature conditions.

Semiconductor testing

New levels of usability, convenience, and productivity for semiconductor test applications

Keithley Instruments has announced a new release of its ACS Basic Edition Semiconductor Parametric Test Software for semiconductor test and measurement applications. ACS Basic Edition Version 1.2 adds new levels of usability, convenience, and productivity in the characterization of component or discrete (packaged) semiconductor devices. It features a
Trace Mode that allows an instantaneous check of results and interactively controls voltage sweeps to avoid impending device breakdown. In addition to full support for Keithley's broad line of source-measure instrumentation, ACS Basic Edition combines high speed hardware control, device connectivity, and data management in an easy-to-use tool optimised for part verification, debugging, and analysis.

Productivity Features
ACS Basic Edition offers an incredibly rich set of quick and easy-to-access test libraries, so no programming is needed. An intuitive GUI further simplifies many types of I-V testing, data collection, and analysis. Even novice users can test a semiconductor component in seconds, generate a family of curves, and then compare them with reference curves immediately. While pre-configured tests minimise startup time, the user still has the flexibility to optimize a test or
the entire test system.

The new Trace Mode feature of ACS Basic Edition Version 1.2 supports interactive testing of a device. It can be used to map out the operating range and characteristics of a DUT while avoiding damage to the device. This interactive mode includes a convenient method of controlling the
voltage level of a sweep with either a virtual slide bar or the arrow keys on a PC keyboard.

Serving a Wide Range of Applications
ACS Basic Edition maximises productivity for technicians and engineers responsible for packaged part characterization in applications ranging from early device research through development, quality verification, and failure analysis. It will serve university researchers and
developers of novel devices equally well, aiding in the transition from pure research to commercial application. It can also be used in semiconductor facilities and companies involved in pilot production for process refinement at the component level, supporting engineers involved in QA, failure analysis, and post-production testing.

Web-configurable and network-controllable

NI GPIB-ENET/1000 Gigabit Ethernet-to-GPIB Controller Transfers Data up to 4X Faster
National Instruments has announced their GPIB-ENET/1000 Gigabit Ethernet-to-GPIB controller along with new instrument control software including enhanced features in LabVIEW 2010, VISA 5.0 and new instrument drivers. GPIB-ENET/1000 performs up to four times faster on large data transfers, and up to three times faster on small byte transfers than its predecessor, the NI GPIB-ENET/100.

It comes with a password-protected Web interface for easy configuration. It is RoHS-compliant and can communicate and be configured through networked computers, as well as control IEEE 488 devices from anywhere on an Ethernet-based (LAN) TCIP/IP network. Engineers can use the GPIB-ENET/1000 to share a single GPIB system among many networked users or to control several test systems from a single networked host computer.
“With the new higher-performance NI GPIB-ENET/1000 and LabVIEW 2010, controlling instruments will be even more intuitive,” said Phil Hester, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at NI. “National Instruments continues to invest in and support the instrument control product platform and maintain the company’s three-decade market leadership in instrument control.”

GPIB-ENET/1000 can interface with up to 14 GPIB devices that engineers can access from several network hosts via Intranet or Internet. It is compatible with 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX and Gigabit networks with maximum GPIB transfer rates of up to 5.6 MB/s. It comes with an external DC power supply, optional rack-mount and DIN-rail/wall-mount hardware and is currently supported on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

With an intuitive graphical programming interface, extensive support with more than 8,500 instrument drivers and other time-saving configuration and troubleshooting tools, LabVIEW 2010 makes instrument control easier for engineers using GPIB and other instrument control buses such as USB, Ethernet and serial. LabVIEW 2010 includes an enhanced Instrument Driver Finder (IDFinder) Wizard to help engineers locate instrument drivers and example code on the Instrument Driver Network and install them for immediate use. LabVIEW and the IDFinder significantly reduce time to first measurement by helping engineers get up and running without leaving the LabVIEW environment. Additionally, with the release of VISA 5.0, a standard for configuring, programming and troubleshooting instrumentation systems, engineers can now launch the IDFinder Wizard directly from Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX), making it easier to find the drivers.

Space saving dual bridge load cells

Where data integrity is an essential requirement and space limited, then dual bridge load cells from transducer specialists RDP Electronics Ltd can offer an effective answer.

For critical structural testing and monitoring in the aeronautics and automotive industries, for example, a load cell with two separate and independent sets of strain gauges combines sensor redundancy within a single unit. This permit two sets of signal conditioning electronics to be deployed so that in the event of failure of one, the second signal conditioning set maintains system integrity until the fault can be rectified. Additionally, under normal operating conditions, the two outputs can be compared for greater certainty of data integrity, allowing rapid diagnosis of any faults.

RDP’s dual bridge load cells not only provide an accurate, reliable solution but also are cost effective thanks to the dual outputs.

Hygienic level switch for high temperatures

There is no doubt that one of the leading areas in Europe for beer or lager is the state of Bavaria in Germany. So there is little surprise that Brau Beviale, in Nuremberg, is THE exhibition with "a shot of emotion for the European beverage industry!" It is scheduled for 10th till 12th November 2010.

Baumer’s level switch LFFS, which will be on display at the show (hall 4, stand 338), is suitable for high process temperatures of up to 200 °C. A bright blue light on top of the switch shows when a media is detected. The indication can be seen easily even if the sensor is mounted on top of a tank. Thanks to the DN38 process connection, the sensor is excellently suitable for food and beverage industry applications. For the use in hazardous areas, different ATEX versions are available. It can be easily configured on PC via the FlexProgrammer 9701.

The LFFS detects the level of liquids, viscous fluids and even dry media. For particularly difficult media like adhesive substances, the teach-in function enables a manual adjustment of the level to be detected. The switching status can be chosen as “normally opened” or “normally closed”. The output type can be chosen as PNP, NPN or digital out by the programming unit. All wetted parts are made of FDA-approved acid-proof stainless steel or PEEK thermoplastic. The LFFS complies with the EHEDG demands and 3A approval. For the use in open or closed tanks, the device withstands a pressure of up to 40 bar. Since the switch does not contain any moveable parts and its electronic unit is completely integrated, it is practically maintenance-free.

When used with a cooling neck, the level switch is suitable for process temperatures from -40 °C to up to +200 °C. The optional sliding connection is available in 100 and 250 mm length and can serve as a cooling neck or extension, for example if the medium has to be reached through the tank insulation or the level detection has to be adjusted to a certain height. In the standard version, the LFFS is designed for permanent process temperatures from -40 °C up to +85 °C as well as for the use in CIP and SIP facilities with short-term temperatures of up to 140 °C (max. one hour).

For applications in gaseous and dusty surroundings, the LFFS is available in different ATEX versions which enable a safe level detection of explosive gas or dust mixtures, which appear e. g. in the chemical, pharmaceutical or food industry. The ATEX certifications cover the zones 0, 1 and 2 as well as the zones 20, 21 and 22.

Interconnect backbone of extremely high-performance mission computing environments

Mistral Solutions has announced the availability of Curtiss Wright’s new OpenVPX™/VITA-65 compliant VPX6-6902 Serial RapidIO® (SRIO) switch card.

The VPX6-6902 SRIO switch is a rugged 6U VPX board, available in both air and conduction-cooled versions and combines Ethernet and SRIO switching in a single slot for management, control and dataplane switching in high performance embedded military systems. Supporting both Gen-1 SRIO (1.25, 2.5, 3.125 Gbaud) and Gen-2 SRIO (5.0, 6.25 Gbaud), the VPX6-6902 enables systems integrators to quickly and easily architect small to large high-performance systems that adhere to the VITA-65 OpenVPX™ systems specification.

The VPX6-6902 is designed to form the interconnect backbone of extremely high-performance mission computing environments, and simplifies systems design with features designed for redundant and fail-safe architectures. The VPX6-6902 is available in a variety of system configurations, and supports a number of standard OpenVPX™ profiles.

Secure wireless approval

Dust Networks® and Emerson Process Management have announced that Emerson’s Smart Wireless solutions, using Dust Networks’ SmartMesh® IA-510 wireless sensor networking, have been certified by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to meet US government Federal Information Processing Standard-197 (FIPS-197) requirements.

"Dust Networks' SmartMesh IA-510 system is the perfect platform for Emerson's Smart Wireless products, enabling us to provide a highly reliable, scalable solution with low power consumption and built-in security," said Nicholas Meyer, Smart Wireless Gateway Manager, Emerson Process Management. "The addition of FIPS-197 certification by NIST confirms that Emerson’s offering is the most secure solution available."

"Data security is a critical requirement for many wireless sensing applications. Achieving FIPS-197 certification for SmartMesh IA-510 is just the latest example of Dust Networks' on-going commitment to delivering complete wireless sensor networking solutions," added Brenda Glaze, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Dust Networks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

'Rock Star Physicist' to shine at annual conference

‘Why We Need Explorers’ keynote at National Instruments UK & Ireland Annual Conference & Exhibition

National Instruments UK & Ireland has announced that Professor Brian Cox OBE, the ‘Rock Star Physicist’, will deliver the keynote address at NIDays 2010. Cox is Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Manchester (GB) and one of the leaders on the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), as well as a hugely popular TV presenter, author and media figure. NIDays is the UK and Ireland’s largest graphical system design conference and exhibition, held at the London home of Institution of Engineering & Technology, Savoy Place, on Tuesday 9th November 2010.

Professor Cox will explain ‘Why We Need Explorers’. In tough economic times, our exploratory science programmes - from space probes to the LHC - are first to suffer budget cuts. But Professor Cox will explain how curiosity-driven science pays for itself, powering innovation, fostering a profound appreciation of our existence, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.
“We are excited to welcome Professor Brian Cox to NIDays as this year's guest keynote speaker” said Robert Morton, UK & Ireland Managing Director at National Instruments. "As well as his work with the LHC at CERN, Professor Cox is an inspirational and passionate voice for science and technology. His high profile role as a STEM advocate has been influential in popularising and explaining big science to the general public. I'm positive the hundreds of NIDays attendees who are continually innovating and pushing the boundaries of science and engineering will enjoy his perspective on the importance of scientific exploration and discovery."

Brian obtained a first class degree and a PhD in High Energy Particle Physics, at the same time as playing keyboards with the Irish rock band, D’Ream (whose song, ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, was famously used as the Labour Party election song in 1997). He is now Professor of Particle Physics at the University of Manchester and one of the leaders on the ATLAS experiment at the LHC at CERN in Geneva (CH). He has also become a hugely popular TV presenter, author and media advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). Brian’s television credits include the BBC blockbuster, Wonders of the Solar System, which will be followed by a new series on the Universe; he has also fronted Space Hoppers, The Big Bang and numerous specials for Horizon. His book Why Does E=mc2? quickly became a bestseller.

Brian’s talks inspire audiences around the globe, from TED in America to the World Economic Forum in Davos and China. With staggering images, his presentations show that science breaks down barriers and can both shock and excite. He also describes the breathtaking work at CERN, where scientists are recreating conditions a billionth of a second after Big Bang “in the hope of revealing the underlying simplicity of the universe.”

An International Fellow of the Explorers Club, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and winner of the prestigious British Association Lord Kelvin Award for his work promoting science, Brian was awarded an OBE in 2010. When he isn’t filming in far away places, he writes both for tabloids and broadsheets, and co-presents BBC Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage with his friend, the comedian Robin Ince.

Engineers, scientists and educators involved in test, control and design are invited to attend NIDays 2010 and watch Cox’s Keynote speech. NIDays is a multi-track conference and exhibition exploring the latest innovations, tools and technologies from National Instruments and its partners, offering more than 50 hours of in-depth technical sessions, including 30 hours of hands-on training.

Wide or narrow wireless band operation for speed or distance

LPRS has introduced the latest generation of its market leading low power wireless modules, easy-Radio Advanced. eRA continues to offer simple to use, out-of-the-box wireless communication as previous versions, but with a number of new, innovative, features while still offering back compatibility with earlier easy-Radio modules if required.

Key new features of eRA include the ability for users to change the bandwidth of the radio from 150KHz down to 12.5KHz, providing narrow-band performance at a wide-band budget. Internal temperature measurement of the wireless modules ensures less than 1.5KHz frequency drift from ambient 20ºC over a range of -40 to +85ºC. This new feature may also be used as a thermometer to measure the temperature of the end user equipment, accurate to within 1ºC.

Modes of data transmission include the proven easy-Radio protocol with 16-bit encryption and anti cross talk software (DCS) and a new raw data mode that allows customers more flexibility to use their own coding system on any frequency they choose, enabling direct compatibility with other ISM raw data modules from any manufacturer. With the addition of three more (total 4) separate data buffers, easy-Radio performance and data throughput has been greatly improved by up to 25% when compared to 02 versions.

Other new features of LPRS’s eRA include digital RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication), accurate internal level measurement of signal strength removing the requirement for the host system to handle A-D measurement. A simple command for either the current RSSI level or the signal strength of the last received data packet is used. Temporary channel selection is another new command allowing the user scan other channels if required without storing the settings in the internal EEPROM, maximising its life.

easy-Radio Advanced features a crystal controlled synthesiser for frequency accuracy < +/- 1KHz over full temperature range, a high sensitivity receiver (-117dB @ 12.5KHz Bandwidth), up to 10mW transmission power (at 434MHz) and user programmable frequency (up to 132 channels), bandwidth (down to 12.5KHz) and RS232 data rates up to 115200. easy-Radio Advanced can be powered using a 3V lithium cell or a regulated supply up to 5VDC. Measuring just 38x14x4mm it has been tested to meet European radiated and conducted standards. eRA continues to use the same pin-out arrangement as before allowing seamless integration into existing products wanting to take advantage of the new technology. John Sharples, Managing Director of LPRS comments: "The new easy-Radio Advanced transceiver is a complete sub-system that combines a high performance very low power RF transceiver, a microcontroller and a voltage regulator all in one simple to use package. e-RA continues to offer our customers the fastest and easiest way to get wireless enabled products to market. We are also making available to our customers free flash firmware upgrades ensuring updates and new features can be quickly programmed-in, making easy-Radio Advanced a truly future proof solution.”

Typical applications for the LPRS e-RA wireless modules include hand-held terminals, vehicle to base station data transfer, remote data acquisition, industrial control and communications and wireless security.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Real time simulation platform

A&D Instruments Ltd have released a new range of hardware and software test solutions for dynamic automotive measurement and modelling. Procyon is a 32 core ultra-high-performance simulation and control platform.

Procyon is their next generation of high-speed real-time simulation and control platform that meets the demands of the Automotive and Engineering solution providers for running large, complex simulations in real-time. The open and configurable system architecture supports multiple CPU’s with multiple cores and user-programmable FPGA’s, as well as Hyper Transport, PCI Express and conventional PCI interconnections.

The Procyon gives advanced processing technology. Its features include:
  • Multi-core and multi-CPU support (up to 32-core with 8 AMD Opterons)
  • Direct connection of I/O interface to CPU
  • Real-time application development environment with
  • MATLAB/Simulink and Virtual Console
  • Open system specification enables third-party I/O board development
  • Flexible system configuration
Phil Hopper, A&D’s Business Development Manager said of the release ‘We are very excited about this step into the UK market; we have had great success globally with our products and have developed unique and powerful solutions unmatched by other suppliers. We have already had considerable interest in our solutions specifically developed for Hybrid Vehicle and Battery test development and we are looking forward to market feedback for all our products.’

A&D Instruments are a leader in the development of test, measurement, monitoring and control solutions across the world with over 30 years experience in this specialist field, the release of their integrated product suite forms part of a strategic plan to raise the profile of their existing extensive range of solutions in Britain.

Measurement Solutions include:
  • Vehicle Measurement System
  • Wheel Force Sensors
  • Wheel Position Sensors
  • Rotating Torque Sensor
  • Combustion analysis
  • Force Matrix Sensor
  • WCA mini - portable FFT Analyser, data recorder, Noise and Vibration analysis.
Their range of complete solution and service development suite of products includes software, DSP hardware, sensors and related equipment, all part of A&D’s own product offering. Though initially targeted at the automotive sector the products clearly offer exceptional solutions in a wide variety of engineering applications.

As part of A&D Instruments Ltd’s process of continual product development and research, they have a long and key relationship with Birmingham City University where a fully equipped engine test and development cell is installed, providing a centrally located dynamic demonstration facility.

A&D uses Simulink and Model-Based Calibration Toolbox for calibration automation, hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) system models and real-time control applications. A&D are a Mathworks Connections Program Partner.

As the only modelling solution providers to offer a proven multi-core processing solution, A&D Instruments are setting new standards for vehicle and product development. For further information please contact

Coker drum safety for crude oil refineries

Coker Drum Safety System prevents unsafe actions by coker drum operators.
The SIS-TECH Coker Drum Safety System (CDSS) automatically inhibits the opening of valves under unsafe process conditions. In a crude oil refinery, this prevents the release of hydrocarbons and/or hydrogen sulfide to the atmosphere, or introduction of hydrocarbons to an open drum. The CDSS logic solver makes sure that an in-service drum is not opened to the atmosphere, or that an open drum is not placed in service.

Understanding the Problem
OSHA (US Department of Occupational Safety & Health) says, in Hazards of Delayed Coker Unit (DCU) Operations, “The batch portion of DCU drum switching and coke cutting operations creates unique hazards, resulting in frequent and serious accidents.” The specific hazardous operating states are listed as coker drum switching, coker drum removal, and coke cutting (hydroblasting) operations.

Each DCU has at least two coker drums, and an operator is responsible for manually lining up the coker drums and valves. Although operator procedures and training emphasize the importance of correct line-up and the hazards of deviating from approved procedures, accidents often occur. Failure to open or close valves in the correct sequence can result in the release of hot hydrocarbons and/or hydrogen sulfide gas, and can also cause a fire.

Improper line-up of coker drums has led to several serious accidents, including fatalities. Because valve line-up is manually executed, operator error is one of the leading causes of these accidents.

Total Automation Solutions (TAS), recently installed a CDSS system at a major refinery. “The use of the CDSS in conjunction with the TAS Coker Interlock System eliminated the need to install a safety programmable logic controller (PLC),” said J.R. Thompson, senior vice president at TAS. “The installation was simple and straightforward, requiring only that we clearly defined the conditions under which certain valves could be opened or closed.”

Thompson has been working with refineries and coking systems for years, and he appreciates the safety and simplicity of the CDSS. “Without a CDSS, we would have to engineer, design and program a separate safety PLC system. This is a significantly more costly solution, and requires that the refinery have staff available to support the safety PLC.”
Monitoring Operator Actions
The SIS-TECH CDSS is a safety instrumented system independent of the TAS Coker Interlock System and other plant control systems. The CDSS monitors process conditions to prevent operations from opening the wrong valve or performing operations on the wrong drum. The CDSS provides a totally independent logic solver coupled with independent process sensors to provide a stand-alone layer of protection for the coker drum.

For each Coker Drum, the CDSS monitors three process variables: overhead pressure, overhead temperature and inlet temperature. It verifies safe conditions before allowing the TAS Coker Interlock System operator to open the vent, drain, top/bottom head, blowdown, overhead to fractionator, or inlet feed valves.

The CDSS logic solver monitors process variables to detect unsafe conditions. It then removes the permissive to operate the affected valves and sounds an alarm, thus preventing the valve from opening at the wrong time.

The CDSS is suitable for use up to SIL-3. The number of inputs and voting architecture (1oo1. 1oo2, 2oo2 or 2oo3) can be adjusted for each process variable to meet any SIL or reliability requirement. The CDSS is rated for -30 to 75C operation, meets Class I Div II requirements, and can be installed in harsh refinery environment near the equipment under control.

Field installation and implementation of the CDSS logic solver costs less than half that of a safety PLC. In addition, on-going support costs are much lower as the CDSS is much simpler to maintain than a safety PLC.

Outdoor enclosures

Simple selection guide for complex outdoor solutions

Different applications demand different solutions and Rittal has released a new easy-to-read 16 page brochure to help clients choose the right outdoor enclosure for their application.

Containing a selection guide covering single and double walled free standing and wall (or pole) mounting enclosures in aluminium and stainless steel, the guide also gives details of “built-in” and “add-on” vandal resistance and noise reduction options for sites in residential environments, as well as the multiplicity of cooling preferences available.

The brochure includes details of cabinets used in a variety of industries, including energy, water, telemetry, rail and road traffic and telecoms together with applications as diverse as wind power, line monitoring, flood prevention, signal light controls, information systems and FTTx.

Details of the material choices, structure and extensive internal mounting options, EMC shielding and weather resistance for locating enclosures in the harshest of situations, including mountainous, coastal, desert and polar are included in the brochure.

Not only assisting in the design and selection of the best materials and cooling solution for the enclosure application, Rittal also provides an after sales service which includes full maintenance of the cooling system with its extended service intervals, due to the high technology nano-coating applied to the metal parts of the thermal interface.

Plastic connector housings

High-quality plastic connector housings are rugged, lightweight and cost-effective

The new Han-Eco® from Harting is a complete range of high-quality all-plastic industrial connector housings that combine ruggedness, light weight and reduced costs with versatility, safety and reliability.

Han-Eco® is the ideal solution for users who require a cost-effective, lightweight product and who do not require the full range of product features offered by Harting's established Han® B series of connector housings. The product also offers a higher contact-density/housing-size ratio than the Han® B series.

Like the Han® B standard series, the Han-Eco® series is available in sizes 6 B, 10 B, 16 B and 24 B. Depending on size, versions of the bulkhead mounting and hood with straight or angled cable exit can be supplied. The cable exits are available with metric threading.

Han-Eco® housings are made of high-performance plastic that is highly resistant to environmental stress and - in combination with the design - provides very good mechanical stability. When the connector is closed and locked, it provides IP 65 protection as defined in DIN EN 60 529. The material also meets the demanding flammability requirements of UL 94 Class V 0.

Fast, simple assembly is a key product feature, with a click-and-mate design totally eliminating the need for tools during assembly.

The Han-Eco® housing is compatible with the full range of modules from the Harting Han-Modular® series of industrial connectors. One extra module fits into the Han-Eco® housing compared to the equivalent product in the Han® B Standard series. This special feature applies to all four sizes.

A PE (protective earth) module has been developed specifically for the Han-Eco® housing to hold the protective ground conductor. Use of the PE module is optional depending on the application.

The new Harting series complies with all standards relating to user safety. All metal parts in the PE system are fully connected to the protective ground conductor. This prevents the risk of anyone touching live parts if a fault occurs. The housing is also suitable for use on machines and systems with Class II protective insulation.

To ensure a safe, compliant PE connection, the housings are not compatible with the Han® B Standard series. However, the mounting dimensions of the Han-Eco® bulkhead are identical with the mounting dimensions of the Han® B Standard series, eliminating the need to modify control cabinet side panels.

The locking lever (locking system with two transverse levers on all sizes) can be mounted on the bulkhead or the hood to suit user needs. A coupling hood is also available for cable-to-cable applications.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gearshift indication in racing

West Surrey Racing choose Variohm cable-extension transducers for neat gearshift indicator solution
When West Surrey Racing (WSR) needed a rapid solution to improve the gearshift indicator system on its FIA World Touring Car Championship BMW 320si, they chose MTA series cable-extension transducers from motorsports sensor specialists Variohm EuroSensor. The neat solution was delivered on the same day as the initial enquiry, in time to meet the deadline for FIA race approval, and easily installed and electrically interfaced to a simple dashboard display to indicate the selected gear from the gear stick position.

The compact miniature 'stringpot sensor' from Celesco was chosen for its installation simplicity and robustness. The 35 mm diameter x 13 mm thick sensor provided the distance measurement directly from the BMW's H-pattern 5-speed gearshift mechanism without the need to ensure precision alignment, with the integral spring loaded stainless steel cable simply connected to the gear stick. The IP55 rated aluminium housed unit was supplied on an optional mounting bracket that was fixed in a slightly offset position on the car chassis to ensure each gear position returned a different position reading.

WSR chose the smaller of two MTA models with a 75 mm stroke and voltage divider (potentiometer) output powered from the car's 12 VDC supply. The high duty cycle conductive plastic potentiometer has an essentially infinite resolution and very long working life, and with a full stroke accuracy of better than ±0.4% and repeatability of ±0.02%, it provided more than adequate performance for the application.

With demanding applications in areas such as heavy construction equipment and agricultural machinery, the MTA series is well suited to the arduous environmental conditions that the BMW typically sees throughout a race.

WSR is based in Sunbury-on-Thames (GB) and in addition to its eBay-backed FIA WTCC BMW 320si race team, also competes in the British Touring Car Championship and provides R&D, CAD and engineering services throughout the motorsports industry that can accommodate anything from one-off performance prototypes to 'Limited Edition' production.

Variohm EuroSensor also supplies WSR with ride height position measurement solutions using its race proven ELPM series linear slimline linear position transducers. The compact rod-type ELPM provides stroke lengths up to 75 mm in IP67 sealed housings.

Wireless first with vibration spectrum for detailed machinery analysis

Wireless Vibration Transmitter expands Smart Wireless predictive diagnostic capabilities and delivers critical information to both maintenance and operations

Emerson Process Management has expanded the capabilities of its CSI 9420 Wireless Vibration Transmitter to deliver more detailed information for machinery analysis. In addition to sending operators direct alerts on high vibration caused by faults like cavitation or bearing defects, the CSI 9420 can now also use Emerson's reliable Smart Wireless network to send high resolution spectra to vibration experts for detailed diagnosis of machinery issues.

The CSI 9420 connects quickly, easily, and economically to any machine. Its wireless capabilities are especially beneficial for equipment that is in remote or hard-to-reach locations, or is inadequately monitored, and needs more visibility to operations and maintenance personnel.

It has has been proven cost-effective in a wide range of applications across all industries. For example, it presents an excellent solution for monitoring refinery pumps, protecting against not only production loss but also health and safety risks from fugitive emissions. Other key uses include monitoring of cooling towers, compressors, and agitators in settling ponds, as well as all types of motors, pumps, and fans.

Vibration information delivered wirelessly by this unit includes velocity and PeakVue™ stress wave values. Configuration, diagnostics, and alerts from the CSI 9420 are available in Emerson's AMS Suite predictive maintenance software, while vibration data can be correlated with other process variables in the company's DeltaV™ and Ovation™ digital control systems as well as other suppliers data historians or control systems. The instrument has a user-configurable interface to report high resolution spectra and waveforms, as well as vibration energy bands for enhanced trending and alarming.

"Emerson is committed to providing our customers with Smart Wireless offerings that increase safety, reliability, and uptime – absolute priorities for our users," said Stuart Harris, vice president and general manager of the Asset Optimisation business. “By significantly enhancing wireless predictive diagnostics for essential machinery, we enable our customers to expand their monitoring programmes to address these key business priorities.”

Smart Wireless extends the benefits of Emerson’s PlantWeb™ digital plant architecture to areas of the plant that were previously out of physical or economic reach. In addition to the wireless vibration transmitter, Emerson offers a wide range of wireless field instrumentation and plant operations technology, including Fisher® position monitors, Rosemount® transmitters, Rosemount Analytical and Machinery Health™ Management devices, and native wireless interfaces to AMS Suite predictive maintenance software, DeltaV or Ovation digital automation systems, and wireless SmartStart™ services.

S-Type Load Cells

The STA series of S-Type tension/compression load cells from LCM Systems provide the perfect solution for measuring both tensile and compressive forces. With a wide range of ex-stock products, available for same day despatch with easy credit card payments, the STA series is ideal for a wide range of applications where high accuracy measurements are required. Typical applications include hanging scales, material test machines and general force measurement.

Four different models can be purchased. All have standard metric threads at each end that are designed to accept standard mating spherical rod-end bearings and can be supplied on their own or combined with LCM Systems’ comprehensive range of instrumentation to provide a complete load monitoring system. Popular instrumentation supplied with the STA load cells include the SGA strain gauge amplifiers and the TR150.

The STA-1 series has rated loads from 50 to 300kg, is manufactured in aluminium alloy and is environmentally sealed to IP66. For measurements in harsh environments, the STA-3 series is the range of choice. With load ratings up to 1,000kg, it is constructed in nickel-plated alloy steel and manufactured to IP67. For engineers looking for higher load ratings, the STA-4 is the tension/compression load cell of choice ranging from 1500 – 5000kg and along with the STA-3 series makes it a very cost-effective solution for many process weighing applications.

For straightforward application advice, LCM Systems’ experienced in-house design engineers are only a phone call or email away and they will talk you through the most appropriate load cell for your particular requirements

Thai oil contract signed

Invensys Operations Management has signed a five-year, multi-million dollar contract to deliver a comprehensive refinery-wide optimisation solution for Bangkok-based Thai Oil Public Company Limited, one of Asia Pacific’s leading refining and petrochemical companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Invensys will implement its SimSci-Esscor ROMeo® optimisation software to improve the real-time performance of Thai Oil’s refinery operations. An integrated software solution for simulation, data reconciliation and operations decision support, the ROMeo software solution will be a critical part of Thai Oil’s five-year master plan to optimize all its major distillation and conversion units, as well as its plant-wide energy and hydrogen systems, supporting its vision of becoming a fully integrated high-performance refiner. Invensys will also provide turnkey design, engineering, commissioning and consulting services for the refinery-wide optimisation solutions.

“We look forward to helping Thai Oil achieve sustainable growth as they pursue their long-term strategic plan,” said Ravi Gopinath, president, Invensys Operations Management, Asia Pacific. “By providing accurate modelling capabilities and superior solver capabilities at every critical unit, the ROMeo solution will help Thai Oil maximize profits, minimize plant and processing costs, while achieving operations excellence by balancing control, asset and productivity excellence, along with environment and safety excellence.”

SimSci-Esscor’s ROMeo software provides a leading unified modeling environment for off-line and on-line optimisation. In use at dozens of refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants worldwide, it provides a scalable environment for optimizing all major refinery units, as well other aspects of refinery profitability, such as utilities and instrument/equipment performance. Additional benefits are derived from leveraging the rigorous predictive models to enhance planning and scheduling decisions, leading to increased refinery margins. It is an integrated software solution for simulation, data reconciliation, operations decision support and optimisation.
“Given the difficult economic forecast for refining in the near term, we need a comprehensive, scalable solution that will help us drive continuous peak performance,” said Chaiwat Damrongmongkulgul, deputy managing director, refinery, Thai Oil. “We have had considerable success in implementing advanced process control, but to ensure we meet our long-term strategic objectives, we have to move to real-time optimisation. We need an experienced partner and a sustainable optimisation solution that will allow us to improve the profitability of our operations in real time, and we believe that Invensys can deliver.”

Security track at #ISAwk

The International Society of Automation (ISA) has announced the offerings of its Security Track at ISA Automation Week 2010: Technology and Solutions Event, Tuesday, 4-7 October 2010, at the Westin Galleria Hotel, Houston, Texas, USA.

ISA’s Security Track offers a variety of topics to keep professionals current on the latest topics, including regulatory issues, alarming and monitoring, firewalls, encryption, physical security, safeguarding energy reserves, and others. Security standards ISA99, NIST 800, and will also be addressed.

Sessions will include paper presentations and participants from notable companies including AkzoNobel; Constellation Energy; OSIsoft, LLC; EnGlobal; Yokogawa; Apprion; Exida; Shell; ABB; and others.

Security Track session titles include:
  • What Are Users Doing to Secure Their Industrial Control Systems?
  • Lifecycle of a Vulnerability from Detection through Mitigation
  • Defense against Advanced ICS Attack Scenarios
  • Secure Remote Access to ICS Networks
  • Emerging Research and Development in ICS Security
  • Industrial Certification: What Does it Mean for Industry?
  • The Convergence of Safety and Security
Complete details of each Security Track session are now available online.

“ISA’s conferences continue to be the best place for security professionals working at any level from facilities to engage in thought-provoking discussions on issues that affect our world,” said ISA Automation Week Program Committee Co-chair, Gerald Cockrell of Indiana State University. “Each year, industry’s top professionals attend to share their research and knowledge, which really has developed the program into what it is today.”

ISA Automation Week is a technical conference that covers two and a half days of sessions, and includes two keynote addresses, networking and social events, and a 10,000-square-foot exhibit area that features more than 100 exhibitors.

Internal & remote temp measurement

Digital monitor provides accurate internal & remote temperature measurements

Linear Technology Corporation has introduced the LTC2990, an I²C temperature and voltage monitor for 3V and 5V systems. Many emerging, low voltage systems today rely on monitoring ICs to relay parametric data used in assessing overall system health and reliability. Traditional ADC implementations require a sensor, low noise preamplifier, precise reference and some type of digital interface, resulting in a complex monitoring scheme prone to inaccuracies if not carefully designed. This is a highly integrated monitoring solution that incorporates a 14-bit ADC, a 10ppm/°C voltage reference and I2C digital interface to provide submillivolt voltage resolution, as well as +1°C accuracy internally and +0.5°C accuracy remotely when making temperature measurements. The LTC2990 provides a configurable, yet simple solution for monitoring temperature and voltage without compromising accuracy on any parameter.

The LTC2990 caters to a wide variety of applications including supply voltage monitoring and remote diode temperature measurement, particularly in industrial or computing systems where thermal management is crucial for maximizing performance. The device enables configuration of four single-ended voltage inputs to measure any combination of internal temperature, remote temperature, remote voltage and internal VCC for single or repeated measurements. When making differential measurements of diode or transistor voltages to calculate temperature, the LTC2990 allows for cancellation of error due to sensor series resistance. Its accuracy is the result of the averaging 14-bit ADC, while the number of supporting components and area required is minimized thanks to the internal 10ppm voltage reference. In addition, the I2C serial interface enables easy configuration and read back of the device's control, status and data registers, with support of up to 400kbit/s in I2C fast mode.

The LTC2990 is offered in commercial and industrial versions, supporting operating temperature ranges from 0°C to 70°C and -40°C to 85°C, respectively. The LTC2990 is available today in a small RoHS compliant, 10-lead MSOP package.

Rapid oxygen analysis

HACH LANGE will demonstrate a range of advanced technology for the brewing industry at this year’s International Brewing Convention.

Benefitting from over 40 years of experience in oxygen measurement within the industry, they will be at stand B8 in Manchester (GB) on October 18-20 to demonstrate the Orbisphere of instrumentation, which is designed for high levels of accuracy and low levels of maintenance.

On display will be the Orbispher 3100 portable gas analyser for flexible plant monitoring, 6110 total package analyser for quality control, the DR 5000 UV VIS spectrophotometer and the advanced optical LDO sensor for continuous oxygen monitoring.

HACH LANGE’s Gareth Hughes, a brewing industry specialist, said: “From water treatment to in-process control, quality control and wastewater treatment, HACH LANGE instruments monitor key parameters such as oxygen and turbidity, which are crucial to product quality. We are looking forward to demonstrating how brewers can benefit from rapid, reliable measurement results with our instrumentation.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

LIMS in Northern Ireland

Thermo Fisher Scientific Implements Enterprise-Level LIMS for Northern Ireland Water

Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced that Northern Ireland Water (NI Water), the sole provider of water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland, has standardized on Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS (laboratory information management system) across its laboratories as part of its continuous focus on improving sample management and maintaining the highest quality water. SampleManager LIMS is used to manage more than 150,000 samples per year taken from reservoirs, water treatment works and directly from the taps in consumers' homes. NI Water's state-of-the-art laboratories carry out the necessary testing to ensure that drinking water is safe for consumption and meets all regulatory and quality standards.

Standardizing on SampleManager LIMS across its laboratories allows NI Water to maintain the highest levels of testing and consistency in results. To enhance the quality of the test methods and to reduce time associated with collecting and logging field samples, NI Water has integrated a new handheld remote sampler with SampleManager LIMS. This allows field samples to be taken, results recorded and input directly into the LIMS, saving time, ensuring the quality of the sample at log-in, and reducing manual transcription errors as well as providing a secure record of sampler locations.

Remote Sampler, developed by CSols, is already in pilot usage with customers across Europe and in British-based water companies, who are using Remote Sampler with existing SampleManager LIMS installations. The introduction of Remote Sampler at NI Water extends the use of SampleManager LIMS to field applications, thus allowing more samples to be processed by in-the-field sampling. Because Remote Sampler reduces the time necessary to collect and log-in a sample, it enables more efficient use of laboratory resources, as well as consistent compliance with various regulatory requirements for documented processes, such as those defined by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) for the Water Industry.

"We have introduced Remote Sampler in the field for all our water quality samplers. Remote Sampler runs on rugged handheld computers and integrates seamlessly with Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS. The use of Remote Sampler allows us to ensure that all samples taken in the field are accurately recorded, taken where they are claimed to be, and inputted into the LIMS at source. This saves time and facilitates data management," said Gareth Maxwell, LIMS and Compliance Reporting Manager for NI Water. "With SampleManager LIMS in place and our investment in remote sampling, NI Water is setting the benchmark in the future of water testing in Europe. This solution puts NI Water in the leading edge of extracting real benefits from our quality testing programme. NI Water will have better sampling audits than most other UK water utilities currently."

"We're delighted with the working relationship that we have with Gareth and the rest of the staff at Northern Ireland Water. It has enabled us to focus on exactly what is required to make our sampling software work effectively in a busy routine environment which is tightly regulated," said Dr. Phil Goddard, CEO of CSols. "Integration with SampleManager LIMS has proved to be straightforward and robust."

NI Water is a Government Owned Company (GoCo) set up in April 2007 to provide the water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland. It supplies 625 million liters of clean water every day for nearly 1.7 million people and treats 134 million m3 of wastewater each year. NI Water has equipped its laboratories with the technologies and infrastructure that allow it to deliver the highest quality water which consistently meets all regulatory and quality standards for consumption. SampleManager LIMS integrated with Remote Sampler has improved the efficiency and security of data entry as samples are taken in the various field locations, and greatly assisted sample identification and tracking. As all samples are now recorded on a single electronic database, the integrated solution has provided NI Water with a means to retrieve and report data in a way that would not have been previously possible, while also ensuring the integrity of the field samples at log-in.

"The integration of the Remote Sampler with SampleManager LIMS illustrates the broad partnership opportunities inherent in any collaborative relationship with Thermo Fisher Scientific," says Dave Champagne, vp and general manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific - Informatics. "Thermo Fisher's long standing partnership with CSols enabled this solution to be delivered to NI Water, a solution which now serves as a template for other water agencies or public service companies around the world. And the configurability of SampleManager LIMS, allowing for workflow customization in any industry setting, as well as its ability to be easily integrated with any kind of laboratory instrumentation or ERP system, further enabled this new Remote Sampler solution to be realized. The ultimate benefits belong to NI Water and other companies at the forefront of solving pressing industry challenges."

Electric car battery research​

Project will investigate turning used electric car batteries into energy storage devices
ABB and General Motors have signed a non-exclusive memorandum of understanding to cooperate on a research and development project that will investigate uses for electric vehicle batteries once their useful life in the vehicle is over.

The project will examine the potential of reusing spent lithium-ion battery packs from GM’s electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, as a means of providing cost-effective energy storage capacity, which will improve the efficiency of electrical systems as they evolve into smart grids.

“Future smart grids will incorporate a larger proportion of renewable energy sources and will need to supply a vast e-mobility infrastructure – both of which require a wide range of energy storage solutions,” said Bazmi Husain, head of ABB’s smart grids initiative. “We are excited to explore the possibility of employing electric car batteries in a second use that could help build needed storage capacity and provide far-reaching economic and environmental benefits.”

According to GM, the Volt’s battery will still have significant capacity to store electrical energy, even after its automotive life.

"That’s why we’re joining forces with ABB to find ways to make the Volt batteries provide environmental benefits that stretch beyond the highway,” said Micky Bly, Executive Director of Electrical and Hybrid Systems, who announced the partnership at the EV Battery Tech conference in Troy, Michigan. “Our relationship with ABB will help develop solutions that optimize the full lifecycle of the Volt battery.”

Economical grid storage is often identified as a key “enabler” technology of smart grids that will drive the wider use of a variety of applications, including:
    managing the intermittency of wind and solar resources
    mitigating spikes in electricity demand
    providing backup power
    allowing cheaper off-peak power to be used during peak periods
ABB is currently at work on more than 20 projects around the world examining all aspects of the smart grid, from energy storage to network management, metering and communication, distribution automation and home automation systems.