Saturday, November 6, 2010


Emerson Process Management has joined The FDT Group organisation on its Executive Committee and Board of Directors according to a communique issued recently by the group. With its membership, Emerson should be in a better position to support field device users that deploy FDT/DTM technology.

“We are delighted to have Emerson join our leadership team. Their broad industry footprint and their respected position in the marketplace will accelerate the advancement of the FDT standards”, says Glenn Schulz, Managing Director of the FDT Group.

“By joining the FDT Group, we are reiterating our industry wide commitment to support our customers and their installed base of global standards.  We would like to take a role in the stewardship of the future direction of this technology,”
says Peter Zornio, Emerson’s Chief Strategic Officer.  “Emerson is also committed to the FDI Project and our stewardship at the Executive level will help to unify collaboration on this important project.
As a result of Emerson joining the FDT Group as a sponsoring member, the Board of Directors has named Mr. Steve Armstrong of Emerson to the Board of Directors and Mr. Martin Zielinski has been appointed to the Executive Committee as Vice President.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Platform lowers risks and enhances disaster recovery!

Invensys Operations Management has introduced AutoSave for System Platform. The Invensys endorsed-partner product unites Invensys’ open ArchestrA® technology software platform with advanced MDT AutoSave change-management and version-control software.

AutoSave for System Platform enhances change management at the application object level for graphics, templates and instances of application objects within the Wonderware® System Platform environment. By archiving data and documenting application code changes, AutoSave for System Platform can help improve the review, enhancement and disaster recovery for integrated automation and information solutions. Each application object’s version history and revision details are available through a new MDT AutoSave interface that resembles the ArchestrA Integrated Development Environment (IDE) interface. The product also provides the ability to compare two revisions of an object and report differences, as well as to restore an object from AutoSave to the ArchestrA Galaxy repository. Additionally, installation of the AutoSave software is simple, with an automated export of data from the ArchestrA Galaxy application database repository into the AutoSave software.

“With complete version history of all object-level changes, the new AutoSave capability increases the value of the Wonderware System Platform software offering by protecting intellectual property in the system design and by providing greater insight into important changes over the life of each application object,” said Phil Couling, product marketing director, Invensys Operations Management. “Customers also benefit from the ability to roll back undesirable changes to a known state and by permitting greater creative experimentation and idea testing during the design phase. Rollback capability further reduces risks and system maintenance costs. AutoSave for System Platform is another example of how our global ecosystem of partners leverages open and extensible ArchestrA technology from Invensys to help our clients achieve Operational Excellence.”

The Wonderware System Platform software offering can be utilised to meet the SCADA, supervisory HMI, MES and EMI software needs of industrial automation and information users and can help improve the  agility, safety and productivity of plant operations. By capturing and archiving changes as they are made, AutoSave for System Platform protects against loss of configuration data to minimise downtime, assists with regulatory compliance and increases productivity. With a single click, users can roll back configuration changes after an equipment failure or other events, and because the software maintains a history of revisions, different versions of an object can be compared and changes can be reviewed to protect plant assets and personnel. AutoSave for System Platform also provides insight into an object’s associations so that users will be aware of which related objects will be affected when a change is made.

“MDT Software is pleased to join Invensys in providing a product that enables automation customers to more effectively manage and control equipment and processes, resulting in decreased errors, downtime and safety issues, while increasing security and productivity,” said Gary Gillespie, vice president and general manager, MDT Software.

Acquisition in India

The Baumer Group, one of the leading global manufacturers of sensors and sensor systems has acquired the majority of Waaree Instruments, one of India’s leading suppliers of process control instruments. The company is part of the Indian Waaree Group, a family enterprise based in Mumbai. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The acquisition will boost our activities on the Indian subcontinent. It complements the international expansion strategy of Baumer and is an excellent opportunity to strengthen our process instruments business,” stated Dr. Oliver Vietze, Chairman & CEO of the Baumer Group.

“Waaree Instruments is an established player in India with a widespread Indian distribution network and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. This will improve our ability to meet local customer requirements, speed up our local delivery and to timely react to the dynamic and growing Indian market.” With the acquisition, Baumer will achieve a leading position in the Indian market.

Baumer started its Indian business in 2007 with a sales company based in Pune, initially focusing on the factory automation sector with its Sensor Solutions, Motion Control and Gluing System activities. It was expanded with Baumer’s Process Instrument portfolio in 2009. Market activities in India of both, Baumer and Waaree, will be aligned within the next months. The acquisition creates a benefit for local customers as they can select from a broader portfolio of mechanical and electronic Process Instruments.

Stainless steel tape position sensor

ASM has launched the POSITAPE® family of stainless steel tape position sensors with the WB10ZG series that offers a 6.5 ft. (2000 mm) measurement range in a compact 2 x 2 x 3.3 in. housing.

The WB10ZG sensor consists of a specially produced stainless steel tape that is taken up onto a precision machined drum. With its high degree of flexibility, the steel tape offers a very high lifetime and is well suited in applications where pulleys are required due to space constraints that prevent the direct inline measurement. In areas where icing can occur, the flat, smooth surface of the tape also allows for the quick removal of ice accumulation. The standard tape brush continuously wipes the tape surface to remove debris.

This position transducer offers an enclosure rating of IP65 (IP67 with mating connector) and is available with 0.5-4.5V, 0.5-10V and 4-20 mA analog outputs or SSI, CANopen, CAN SAE J1939 digital outputs.

The output linearity is +/- 0.05% full scale over the 6.5 ft. measurement range.

At the heart of this position sensor is a magnetic encoder that translates the linear motion in an electrical signal. A M12 connector provides for a quick electrical connection to be made during installation. The WB10ZG is resistant to 100g/11ms, 100 shocks and 20g 10Hz-2kHz, 10 cycles vibration. The compact, rugged housing and long-life stainless steel tape makes this sensor suitable for use in a wide range of applications with harsh environments and tight locations typically associated with off-highway vehicles and machinery.

Accelerometers for implantable medical device applications

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the expanded availability of the Endevco® 12M series, a family of highly compact, high-sensitivity surface mount piezoelectric accelerometers with no external power requirements, offering 20 years of proven pedigree for high-reliability acceleration measurements within high-volume, implantable OEM medical device and equipment applications.

Weighing just 120 mg and reliably operating in temperatures of up to +150°C, the Endevco® model 12M series features the incorporation of Meggitt’s own proprietary Piezite-type P-8 bimorph sensing element, operating in bender mode. This material offers low base strain sensitivity, low pyroelectric output and extremely high charge output versus size. Advanced manufacturing techniques and materials R&D have propelled Meggitt forward as an industry innovator in these types of piezoelectric sensing technologies. As a result, models within the Endevco® 12M series are routinely incorporated into implantable medical device designs to support such critical applications as patient activity indicators, cardiac pacemaker and defibrillator rate response, implanted pain management device monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, blood glucose monitoring, artificial joint pressure measurements and external and implanted drug therapy systems.

Since 1994, more than six million Endevco®12M series sensors have been successfully incorporated into medical devices, as a means of improving device quality and ultimately, patient care.

Gala dinner at Water & waste event

The organisers of WWEM 2010 have announced that the event’s Gala Dinner will be hosted by Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Monitoring, Assessment and Planning at the British Environment Agency.

Commenting on his participation, he says: “I am delighted to be involved with WWEM 2010, which has grown into one of the most important environmental testing and monitoring events. WWEM offers visitors a fantastic opportunity to learn about the latest developments in monitoring and to receive help and advice from leading experts - it is a great event to attend for anyone with a professional interest in environmental monitoring.”

With registrations running at 36% higher than WWEM 2008; this year's event has consolidated WWEM as a red letter diary date for anyone with a professional interest in water, wastewater, occupational safety and environmental monitoring.

Taking place on Wednesday (10th) and Thursday (11th) at the Telford International Centre, there will be a host of new features at WWEM 2010 including a laboratory conference, a new gas detection zone and a multitude of new product launches.

Automation congress in Europe

ISA European office and her Technology Partners recently organised a two-day congress on the exhibition floor of the fair Industry and Automation. This ISA Congress was held on the 20th and 21th of October in Brussels, the capital of Belgium and headquarters of the European Commision of the European Union. The seminar program focused on the international automation standards such as ISA-88, ISA-95 and ISA-100 and was subtitled, "My name is ISA!"

It was directed at automation professionals who would like to get in touch with their colleagues to exchange experiences and information; who like to stay up-to-date about their field by books, standards or other interesting information. "Then," said the pre event publicity, "we are destined for each other!"

Pieter van der Klooster, Director, of the recently configured ISA European Office was the host at this event. The programme comprised a number of presentations some of which are outlined below.

Process Control Security & Infrastructure
Ard Roelvink of Magion addressed this topic. Strict separation of systems and networks between Process and Office environment have disappeared. In today's world of control & automation connectivity and Integration are at the centre. This has an impact on the infrastructure of your process control. Security goes beyond technical solutions alone. Authorities, suppliers and end users regularly come together nowadays to talk about how to deal with security within industrial environments.

Standard doesn't fit?
"Why standards?", "Why doesn't it fit?", "Why so much trouble?", "What is the result?", "Technology versus standards?", "What does work?". These are the questions addressed by Peter Roeterdink of Arges in this stimulating presentation.

Is your process protected against cybercrime?
Computer systems attract hacking and viruses. This is been widely known by now. But process control systems are also targets has only recently become generally known. What about your process control? Are you sufficiently protected against external influences or even from the inside? These were questions posed by ISA trainer Arjan Meijer.

Banish the wires with ISA-100

Another ISA trainer Bas van de Kerkhof spoke about wireless. The brand new ISA-100 standard is all about wireless communications in the industrial automation. He talked about the opportunities and risks of this standard.

Manufacturing Operations Platform - Easy95
Manufacturing companies are struggling for more than 20-years to align their manufacturing processes with their business needs. according to Marc Blekkink, Managing Director of Ninety-Five. A lot of optimisation has been accomplished in process control and this is also the case in ERP deployment, but they are disconnected. In today's economy manufacturing companies are under a lot of pressure to respond quickly and efficiently within their supply chains. At the same time we see important developments in the IT-landscape that are not deployed by manufacturing. Learn in this reading how Easy95 (ISA95) can solve this problem.
Then Bas Van de Kerkhof then went through the implementation of the ISA95 standard, in a bicycle factory. It could hardly get more practical then this in Bennelux, the home of the bicycle!
(Note for monoglot English speakers ISA is generally pronounced EEZAH in continental Europe, hence Easy95!)

Vincent Waganaar
of Raster Products gave a presentation on Profibus diagnostics: New generation diagnostic tools.

Leading worldwide position in DCS

In the newest version of ARC Advisory Group’s “Distributed Control Systems Worldwide Outlook,” study, ABB retained its leading worldwide market position in this core automation market. According to the study, the DCS (distributed control system) market had suffered more than anticipated in 2009; however, ABB actually increased its worldwide market share in 2009. The study reports that the overall market for DCS (distributed control system) declined by just under 7 percent between 2008 and 2009.

ARC forecasts that market growth should accelerate after 2011, but not near the levels prior to the recent recession. The compound annual growth rate for this market through 2014 is predicted at 4%. Historically, the process automation market has experienced slow but steady growth.

The ARC report states that the global market in 2009 was affected by a decline in large automation projects, many of which were either put on hold or cancelled. Early 2010 data shows that these conditions are gradually improving for the automation suppliers.

The needs for end users in all industries to reduce energy consumption, and optimize raw materials costs, remain among the top cost pressures affecting manufacturers today. ARC stated that integrating the automation and power/energy domains of the manufacturing process, and utilizing the global IEC61850 standard to link intelligent electrical devices, can yield significant energy and operational cost savings.

“The worlds of automation and electrification are becoming increasingly entwined due to the substantial potential for energy savings, increased reliability and uptime, and reduced maintenance costs. ABB’s ability to integrate the process control, process electrification, and power distribution and management portions of a plant with System 800xA , leveraging the IEC61850 standard, offers end users significant operational benefits,” said Larry O'Brien, Research Director for Process Industries, ARC. “Typical savings can result in a 20% reduction in CAPEX (capital expenditures) and OPEX (operating expenditures).”

According to the study, ABB was also the regional market share leader for Europe/Mid East/Africa (EMEA), and the worldwide leader in key global verticals including Upstream Oil & Gas, Pulp and Paper, Cement and Glass.

The report also notes that the DCS business has primarily been a services business over the past few years, with combined project, engineering and operational services accounting for more than half of total revenues. Services and support for the installed base of DCS systems, estimated at over $65 billion worldwide, is the largest opportunity for growth in the coming years.

“ABB’s commitment to our installed base customers, dedicated global services team , and leading-edge technology, provide an unbeatable combination to help our customers get the most value out of their existing ABB control system investment today, and well into the future,”  said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “We provide our customers with a secure evolution path forward for their control systems to help them maintain their competitiveness while achieving their current and long-term business goals.” 

Optical spectrum analyser offers 'best in class' optical performance

Yokogawa's AQ6370C combines exceptional accuracy and resolution with ultra-high dynamic range, comprehensive interfacing and ease of use

The new AQ6370C is an optical spectrum analyser offering the world's 'best in class' optical performance combined with excellent functionality and operability for applications including R&D and production testing of optical devices and transmission systems.It comes from the Yokogawa T&M stable.

Covering the wavelength range from 600 to 1700nm and applicable to both single-mode and multimode fibres, it provides unprecedented optical performance, including high wavelength accuracy of ±0.01 nm, high wavelength resolution of 0.02 nm, ultra-high dynamic range of 78 dB (typical), wide level range of -90 dBm, and fast sweep speed of 0.2 sec/100 nm.

Enhanced functionality and operability are provided by a large, bright LCD screen, easy operation via panel keys and a mouse, four USB ports including memory, mouse and keyboard interfaces, and high-speed GPIB and Ethernet remote interfaces. The instrument also has a built-in wavelength reference source and a range of integral analysis functions.

The ultra-high dynamic range (typically 80 dB) results from an enhanced stray-light suppression ratio in the monochromator, and results in reduced measurement times. The higher-performance model can also achieve a higher dynamic range within 0.2 nm of the peak wavelength. With the sharper spectral characteristics of the monochromator, spectral signals in close proximity can be separated clearly and measured accurately.

The wide level range from +20 dBm to -90 dBm means that the AQ6370C can measure high power sources such as optical amplifiers and pump lasers for Raman amplifiers as well as very weak optical signals. Measurement sensitivity can be selected from seven categories according to the application and measurement speed requirement.

In addition to improved level sensitivity of -85 dBm (from 1000 to 1300 nm), the AQ6370C incorporates a smoothing function to reduce noise on the measured spectrum and a high dynamic mode which obtains a better dynamic range by reducing the influence of stray light caused when the input is a strong optical signal.

The free space input allows multimode and single-mode fibre measurements to be carried out on the same instrument. In addition, the low insertion loss for multimode fibre available with the AQ6370C also helps to maintain the excellent measurement efficiency. The low insertion-loss variation at the input connector increases the measurement repeatability, and the lack of physical contact means that no damage is incurred in connecting the fibres. An APC level correction function is also included to correct the level offset resulting from the insertion loss of an angled PC (physical contact) connector.
With an advanced monochromator, faster electrical circuits, and noise reduction techniques, the AQ6370C achieves high measurement speed even when measuring a steep spectrum from DFB-LD or DWDM signals, or when measuring a low-power signal from a broadband light source. Efficiency is further enhanced by the high-speed Ethernet and GP-IB remote interfaces.

A combination of wide span sweep with high resolution results from the availability of 50,001 data sampling points, which makes measurements easier and more efficient. Ease of operation also benefits from the ability to carry out trace zooming and the combination of mouse and keyboard operation.
USB interfaces support large-capacity removable memory and hard disk drives in addition to the 512 Mbyte of internal memory: sufficient for over 20,000 traces. Data handling is further eased by the 'all at once' trace filing, which allows all seven traces to be saved simultaneously in one file.

Analysis functions include calculations between traces, maximum/minimum hold, and 13 spectral analysis functions for popular applications such as spectral width analysis, WDM analysis, filter analysis and LED analysis. A macro programming function allows multiple analyses to be combined and executed automatically as well as forming the basis for building automated test systems.
The AQ6370C can compensate for ambient condition changes, vibration and shock through a combination of the built-in wavelength reference source, a wavelength calibration function and an optical alignment function.

The overall high performance of the AQ6370C allows it to be used for both R&D and manufacturing tests on optical devices and systems including active devices such as lasers, amplifiers and transceivers, passive devices such as filters and fibres, and optical transmission equipment for DWDM and CWDM transmission.

Two versions of the AQ6370C are available, differing only in wavelength accuracy and dynamic range: the standard AQ6370C-10 and the higher-performance AQ6370-20.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Piezoresistive dynamic pressure transducer

Meggitt Sensing Systems has announced the global market introduction of the Endevco® model 8510C, a rugged, miniature, high-sensitivity, high resonance gage piezoresistive pressure transducer, ideal for dynamic measurements.

Offered in ranges of 15, 50 and 100 psig with 225 mV full scale output, the Endevco® model 8510C offers high output within a very small (3.86 mm diameter face) and lightweight (2.3 grams) package. The highly rugged model 8510C pressure transducer also features excellent non-linearity of <1% to three times over-range with 4X minimum burst pressure, 20,000 g shock resistance and high stability in temperature transients. Meggitt’s Endevco® pressure transducers feature a four-arm strain gage bridge ion implanted into a silicon diaphragm, designed for a wideband frequency response.  Endevco’s unique sculptured diaphragm produces twice the sensitivity than traditional flat diaphragms resulting in improved resolution  Integral hybrid temperature compensation provides stable performance over a temperature range of -18°C to +93°C (0°F to +200°F). The Endevco® model 8510C features a 10-32 UNF-2A mounting thread and comes standard with a 30-inch integral cable, with custom lengths available upon request. Models also come standard with a vent tube that can be connected to any standard reference manifold, used for differential pressure measurements, or referenced to the ambient atmosphere.

The Endevco® model 8510C is designed for a wide variety of aerospace, automotive and industrial measurements which require a combination of small size, high sensitivity and broad frequency response. Typical applications include process control, blast testing, automotive airbag inflation testing, rocket motor analysis, jet engine inlet pressure measurements, vehicle transmission testing and hydraulics measurements. Recommended accessories include the model 136 three-channel DC signal conditioner, model 4430A bridge transducer signal conditioner or 4990A (Oasis) multi-channel signal conditioner.

Air pressure regulators with 0.1% accuracy

Marsh Bellofram has recently introduced the Type 10 series, a family of high-precision air pressure regulators offering 0.1% output accuracy with very low sensitivity to supply pressure, ambient temperature changes and flow changes, making them ideal for use in pipe and vessel air pressure monitoring, industrial processes, inspection procedures and control and analysis instrumentation applications.

This series offers a highly rugged design with unique features. These include high start-up stability, eliminating the need for regulated start pressure readjustment after long downtimes, with automatic return to output setting at start-up; incorporation of a high-gain pneumatic servo amplifier for regulated pressure, ranging from dead end to 20 cubic meters per hour (12 SCFM), held constant over substantial flow changes;  incorporation of an extra-large capacity integral relief valve, for exhaust flow when regulated pressure is reset to a lower value, with automatic high downstream relief under dead end conditions; and incorporation of a high-performance servo-operated control mechanism in the regulator for added pressure stability.

In addition, excellent temperature stability is achieved via a measurement capsule constructed of specially selected stainless steel alloys which minimize regulated pressure shifts over wide temperature variations.  Inadvertent pressure adjustments are possible via tightening of the Type 10’s integral locking nut. Units may be installed in any position and either panel mounted or supported by in-line plumbing.  Where low power requirements may be of concern, it is also offered in a motorized configuration of 2 rpm/4 watts; 6 rpm/6 watts with extremely high accuracy, allowing it to be used in HVAC systems, remote pressure control ventilation systems or other electro-pneumatic system control applications. Its design allows for easy integration into open or closed loop process control systems and programmable controllers. The Marsh Bellofram Type 10 series is also offered in several model variations to meet particular requirements.  The Type 10EXHR is a high-relief regulator with the same rugged construction and high-accuracy performance as the standard model, with the addition of extra fast “blowdown” for the extremely rapid release of downstream pressure typically required within fast exhaust applications such as cylinder return stroke actuation and air hoists.  A low-range version, the Type 10LR, allows for an output pressure range of 0.5 psig to 25 psig (0.03 BAR to 1.7 BAR) over a maximum supply pressure of 50 psig (3.4 BAR).

The exceptional versatility and performance of models within this high-performance air pressure regulator series also make it ideal for use in gas mixing, air gauging, disc and shoe air braking, positioned signaling, valve operation, gate actuation, calibration stands, cylinder loading, force balance hoists, clamp units, web tensioning, press units and roll loading applications.

Best in the world

Quantitech has been awarded 'Best World-wide Distributor 2010' by Gasmet Technologies Oy, the world's leading manufacturer of FTIR gas analysers for monitoring process and stack gas emissions.

The award was presented to Quantitech Director Dominic Duggan at Gasmet's Helsinki headquarters and included €8,000. Following the presentation, Gasmet's Ilari Patrakka said, "Quantitech has shown a deep commitment to Gasmet customer service by continuously improving their technical capabilities, actively developing new applications and developing innovative ways to communicate with their customers.”
Expressing his delight, Dominic Duggan said, "We have made a high level of investment in supporting the Gasmet products and it is very pleasing that our efforts have been rewarded with this presentation… and a large number of orders!"

Flowmeter for compressed air and gas

Exact Measurement of Compressed Air and Gas Consumption

Only by knowing your exact compressed air and process gas costs will you be able to unearth significant savings potentials. Irrespective of pressure and temperature, the EE771 flow meter from E+E Elektronik measures mass flow or volumetric flow in your supply system with the greatest accuracy. The flow meter can be used effectively to measure the consumption of compressed air, nitrogen, helium, argon, oxygen or other non-corrosive gases.

The design of the new EE771 flow meter is based on the direct thermal mass flow measuring principle. At its heart is an E+E hot-film sensor element proven over several million installations in the automotive industry.

The large 400:1 measuring range ensures precise evaluation throughout the supply system. Even the smallest volumetric flow rates are accurately recorded – an essential prerequisite whether you are calculating usage fees or finding leaks.

The unique mounting concept in combination with a ball valve permits rapid installation and removal of the device that remains operational at all times. That the measuring head can be exchanged in seconds without disconnecting the measuring line is another useful feature for periodic recalibration.

The integrated USB interface allows the customer to easily adapt the flow meter to specific measuring tasks.

Two outputs are available. They can be configured either as analogue outputs (current or voltage), switching outputs or pulse outputs for measuring consumption. The flowmeter requires 18-30VAC/DC power.

E+E products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology Ltd.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doors open on 19th annual automation event #AutoFair

More than 11,000 manufacturing business leaders, industry analysts and technology and service providers from around the globe are gathering today in Orlando, Fla., at the Orange County Convention Center where Rockwell Automation is hosting its 19th annual Automation Fair event #AutoFair.

The Automation Fair event brings together Rockwell Automation and its global network of partners to help attendees learn about the newest automated manufacturing technologies and solutions. The two-day event, held annually in different cities throughout the country, features customer training sessions, seminars and an exhibit floor populated with the latest products and solutions from Rockwell Automation and its partners.

The event showcases solutions geared toward smart, safe and sustainable manufacturing, emphasizing plantwide optimization, sustainable production and machine builder performance,” said Keith Nosbusch, chairman and CEO, Rockwell Automation. “During the next two days, experienced professionals will share their familiarity with optimizing operations, improving productivity, increasing throughput, and meeting quality and regulatory requirements.”

At the event, Rockwell Automation will announce several new offerings, including updates to its Integrated Architecture platform, FactoryTalk suite, PlantPAx Process Automation System and safety solutions, as well as dozens of other new products to help companies optimize their plants, improve performance of their

Updates to the Integrated Architecture platform – Rockwell Automation is focusing on the scale and modularization of its Integrated Architecture to help deliver multi-disciplined control and high performance for small to large systems. The new ControlLogix 5573 and 5575 programmable automation controllers simplify the synchronization of complex motion applications, with the ability to handle as many as 100 axes. For applications with less than 200 I/O points and a lower axes count, Rockwell Automation is introducing additional controllers in the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix form factor. The new additions leverage the EtherNet/IP network, helping manufacturers streamline control and information flow to achieve plantwide optimization.

Advancements to its visualization portfolio – The company is releasing new versions of its visualization and information software to speed users’ access to critical real-time and historical production data. The latest version of the Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus human-machine interface includes increased memory and the addition of several pre-installed software applications running on the Windows CE 6.0 operating system. The company also is releasing new versions of FactoryTalk Historian Site Edition and FactoryTalk View Supervisory Edition to help manufacturers turn real-time data into information that’s visible, useful and actionable across the organization.

Latest generation of the PlantPAx Process Automation System The PlantPAx System Release 2.0 incorporates new features for high availability, device integration and asset management, design productivity, batch and sequencing control, and operations productivity. This includes an expanded high availability offering that helps manufacturers achieve end-to-end fault tolerance in critical control applications. Rockwell Automation also is announcing ten VMware-ready software products, which will help manufacturers leverage the benefits of virtualization. 

New family of safety relays – The new family of Allen-Bradley Guardmaster safety relays are available for machine builders and end users seeking to simplify safety-relay selection and reduce component inventory and lifecycle costs. Designed to meet new global functional safety standards, such as EN ISO 13849-1, the new line of safety relays includes seven basic units capable of supporting a broad range of safety devices in a variety of applications, including single and multi-zone configurations.

The Automation Fair event continues today and tomorrow with hands-on labs, workshops, technical sessions and more than 100 exhibitors, . Industry forums will provide attendees with the opportunity to learn from specialists and customers about energy and environment, global machine builders, life sciences, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and water wastewater.

The week’s events also included the company’s annual Manufacturing Perspectives global media forum. Industry experts and manufacturers spoke about current industry trends related to plantwide optimization, process automation, power and energy management, and original equipment manufacturer globalization and collaboration. The company also hosted its annual Safety Automation Forum and  Process Solutions User Group (PSUG), where the latest trends in safety and process automation were explored.

Award in instrumentation & measurement

The IEEE has named Dr. Reza Zoughi as the recipient of the 2011 IEEE Joseph F. Keithley  Award in Instrumentation and Measurement. Zoughi is being recognized for his contributions to microwave and millimeter wave measurement techniques for nondestructive testing and evaluation. The award, sponsored by Keithley Instruments, is presented for outstanding contributions in the field of electrical measurement. It consists of a bronze medal, a certificate, and an honorarium. The award will be presented to Zoughi on May 11, 2011, during the IEEE International Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference, which will be held at the Four Points by Sheraton Hangzhou, Binjiang, Hangzhou, China (10-12/5/2011).

Zoughi, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), received his B.S.E.E, M.S.E.E, and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering (radar remote sensing, radar systems, and microwaves) from the University of Kansas. Currently, he is the Schlumberger Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T, formerly University of Missouri-Rolla).
His efforts, in the past two decades, in expanding the utility of microwave and millimeter wave inspection techniques have brought significant recognition to the field of Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation (NDT&E). Zoughi's research team has developed millimeter wave imaging systems and methods for inspecting the spray-on foam insulation (SOFI) of the space shuttle's external fuel tank, in addition to a real-time, high-resolution and portable microwave camera that is expected to find widespread utility. He has played a leading role in developing near-field microwave and millimeter wave techniques and developed near-field measurement systems using open-ended waveguide and other more sophisticated probes for evaluating a host of defects in thin and thick and layered composite structures.

Criteria considered by the award's IEEE Evaluation Committee include innovation or development, social value, uniqueness of concept, other technical accomplishments, and the quality of the nomination. The award is administered through the Technical Field Awards Council of the IEEE Awards Board and is independent of Keithley Instruments. 

Detacheable jaw clamp meter!

Fluke has introduced a detachable jaw true-rms AC/DC Clamp Meter. With a recommended price of £180, (ca€210) the new, rugged Fluke 365 Clamp Meter features a large, easy-to-read, backlit display, and is perfect for jobs where access to wires is difficult. The thin, small jaw is detachable with a flexible lead, which makes gaining access to wires and viewing the display easier than ever.
The true-rms Fluke 365 AC/DC Clamp Meter measures up to 200A AC/DC with the detachable jaw, and provides voltage measurement up to 600V AC/DC. State of the art signal processing enables its use in noisy electrical environments while providing stable readings. The compact design of the Fluke 365 fits the hand and can be used while wearing protective equipment. It automatically sets the correct measurement range thus avoiding the need to change switch positions while taking a measurement. The detachable jaw makes accessing of wires and reading of the display easier, while a built-in flashlight/torch allows for illumination and easy identification of the correct wires for measurement.
The Fluke 365 complements Fluke’s latest family of true-rms clamp meters, designed to meet the unique requirements of users testing and maintaining electrical systems, industrial equipment and controls, and commercial and industrial HVAC equipment. This family includes the Fluke 381, which features a wireless, detachable display, and the Fluke 373/4/5/6 with different ranges up to 2500A AC and 1000A DC. iFlex™ flexible current probes extend the measurement capabilities of the Fluke 374/5/6 and the 381 while providing the ultimate measurement flexibility.
The Fluke 365 comes with a soft carrying case, Fluke TL75 test leads and a 3 year warranty.

Shaker level

4B Braime have launched a new type of rotary level indicator, the RLI “Shaker”. A rotary paddle switch, to detect high / low levels of bulk granular solids in bins, tanks and silos, the RLI "Shaker" can also be used to detect plug conditions in spouts, where long life and failsafe detection is required.

Utilising a unique stepper motor drive, the RLI “Shaker” rotates clockwise, then counter-clockwise and then shakes to shed any excess material build up.  If the paddle rotation is impeded at any time by the bulk material then the electronic circuit provides a signal for level indication or control.

The RLI “Shaker” uses fewer mechanical parts compared with standard rotary level indicators. No gearbox or clutch is required as the stepper motor drive is directly coupled to the output shaft and is practically indestructible and cannot be damaged by forced or backwards rotation. Also, an adjustable torque control allows one unit to cover many different densities of material, and provides easy on site calibration without having to change paddles.

 The RLI Shaker is ATEX certified.

Smart load sensor!

A smart load sensor developed by Sensor Technology provides all the information needed to optimise efficiency and increase profitability of a wide range of industrial operations.

A new development launched at the Sensing Technologies event in September, allows weighing processes to be fully integrated with handling operations. All live data is captured in real time and can be transferred to a database, stored, totalised and analysed.

For instance, you may need to know how much material you have transported, or you could be handling two or more materials simultaneously which need to be accounted individually; or if working for multiple customers at the same time you can bill each appropriately.

The development, called LoadSense, is an intelligent load sensor that can be integrated with a crane hook, fork lift or other handling device. It has an on-board single-chip computer for recording, analysing and archiving readings, and wireless communications capability which can transfer data in real time to a host computer.

Designed and manufactured by Sensor Technology, internal batteries make LoadSense’s operation completely autonomous. As such it can be deployed with minimal disruption to operations, and will automatically begin transmitting data. No special training is required to install or operate the unit.

LoadSense is built around an intelligent load sensor, a hand-held display and a receiver. The load sensor is based on proven strain gauge technology, and is calibrated as standard in the range 1-5 tonnes, with other ranges available on request.

The transmitter (operating on an unrestricted 2.4 GHz waveband), enables accurate load data to be sent to the display, a full colour, TFT touchscreen computer, running the familiar Windows XP and LabVIEW. The display provides real time measure of the load, while the computer records and processes real-timevalues.

Sensor Technology’s Tony Ingham explains: “Our main markets are materials handling and warehouse operations, where the intelligence will convert raw data into instant stock counts. We have already had enquiries about raising nuclear fuels rods, monitoring window cleaners’ cradles on high rise buildings and winching and weighing building materials.

"Theatre stage hands could lift and lower scenery from the wings rather than from a remote control room. Using LoadSense with a tractor-mounted winch, you could assess roadside trees’ susceptibility to wind speed. For applications involving liquid discharge, a system could be configured to monitor and control flow.”

LoadSense could be wirelessly integrated into a SCADA or Manufacturing Enterprise Systems control system, producing instant operating reports and e-mailable customer bills. It also improves operating safety because operators are free to remove themselves for dangerous location.

Exhibition sold out!

In these days when exhibitions, especially in the English speaking world, seem to be on their last legs it is nice to get a story like this.

The organisers of WWEM 2010 (10/11 November 2010) have announced that the last exhibition stand has been sold and bookings are now closed.

Visitors can still register online to attend and with registrations running at 36% higher than WWEM 2008; this year's event has consolidated this devent as a red letter diary date for anyone with a professional interest in water, wastewater, occupational safety and environmental monitoring.

Taking place over two days at the Telford International Centre (GB), there will be a host of new features at WWEM 2010 including a laboratory conference, a new gas detection zone and a multitude of new product launches.

WWEM 2010 will provide two Conferences, one focusing on Process Monitoring and another on Laboratory Analysis. There is a charge (£55/day) for the Conferences, but entry to the Exhibition and over 70 walk-in/walk-out Workshops is totally free and includes parking and refreshments.

Refinery software enables process modeling and optimisation

ROMeo software leverages proven reactor modeling technology from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company

Invensys Operations Management has released its SimSci-Esscor® ROMeo® Refinery software solution, which enables refinery-wide process modeling and optimisation as a component of the InFusion Enterprise Control System (ECS). The new software extends the company’s powerful ROMeo optimisation software using a complete set of rigorous kinetic reactor models, under license from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE).

The new ROMeo software can help refiners achieve Productivity and Control Excellence because it allows them to improve crude selection, evaluate crude supply opportunities and reliably predict refinery yields and qualities to determine the potential for improving yields of higher-value products and processing lower grades of crude.

“This latest release of our ROMeo Refinery software allows refineries to rigorously simulate and optimise the entirety of their operations in detail, from the crude oil tank farm to final product blending,” said Harpreet Gulati, product director, Invensys Operations Management. “With clear, measurable and visible benefits that can total millions of dollars per year, companies can utilise a ROMeo solution to get a complete understanding of the true profitability of their refineries, as well as understand the interaction between upstream units that have downstream constraints.”

The ROMeo refinery software offers:
•    A scalable software solution that allows incremental, expandable deployment within a common architecture, helping to ensure rapid return on investment.
•    Refinery-wide modeling to identify the most profitable processing of different crude oil feedstocks, which can help ensure the highest-value product pools.
•    Re-use of individual unit models for performance monitoring or online optimisation of individual units and distillate pools.

This release of the ROMeo Refinery software incorporates EMRE's rigorous kinetic models, which enable detailed modeling and optimisation of FCC, reformer, HF alkylation and sulfuric acid alkylation units. Additional models for hydrocracking, fuels and lubes hydrotreating, coking, isomerisation, visbreaking and other units will be available in the near future. All models are available in open equation format, enabling quick and robust modeling inside the ROMeo Refinery software environment.

The ROMeo Refinery software is based on Invensys Operations Management’s proven ROMeo optimisation suite. ROMeo software technology provides a common platform to optimise other aspects of refinery profitability, such as refinery-wide mass balance, utilities optimisation, naphtha management and hydrogen optimisation. Its baseline features can act as a springboard for additional functionality, such as Wonderware® Intelligence, an enterprise manufacturing intelligence product that can be layered on top of existing ROMeo installations to create dashboards and monitor KPIs.

condition monitoring software upgrade.

The industry-leading System 1 software suite now has Lubrication Analysis Data Import package

GE's Bently Nevada business announces the latest version of the industry-leading condition monitoring software, System 1 6.7.   This latest version supports current Microsoft platforms and enables migration and modernization of System 1 to streamline technology maintenance costs. It also provides a consolidation of condition monitoring platforms by providing lubricant analysis data import that strengthens diagnostic and predictive health capabilities within your reliability centered maintenance program for smarter plant operations.

System 1 6.7 allows customers to migrate to the latest PC/server hardware platforms, Microsoft OS and SQL platforms allowing streamlined security and IT platform management across the network.  This efficiency allows customers to better understand equipment health and more effectively manage System 1 for optimal efficiency, production and emissions.

The addition of the lubricant analysis data management system eliminates the need for paper reports that are to trend manually making it difficult to establish a normal baseline and identify assets entering a failure mode.  The lubricant analysis data import application package allows users to streamline data trending to easily identify if an asset condition is changing.  The system also allows users to identify correlation of lubricant analysis data with other condition monitoring and process data to help identify a failure mode.  System 1 alarm and alert configurations and Decision Support Rules allow users to automate analysis and alerts sent to maintenance staff and DCS Operators so that quick action can be taken as soon as the health of an important asset changes.

Speedy fibre-optic splice termination

LightCrimp splice technology is a new rapid, easy-to-use technique for splicing optical fibres in communications networks. It comes from the Enterprise Networks business unit of Tyco Electronics which is also known for the Amp NetConnect products.

The new technique saves time and reduces installation costs by allowing users to terminate single optical fibres in less than a minute, with a few simple tools and limited training, by simply stripping the cable, cleaving the fibre and carrying out the crimp operation. There is no need for epoxy, special set-up procedures or workstations.

The technique is ideal for use with low-fibre count cables, and the same LightCrimp splice is used for both single-mode and multimode 125 µm diameter fibres.

LightCrimp splices provide rugged, miniaturised form-factor splices that are of a quality, dependability and performance that rivals that of fusion splices. LightCrimp splices have been tested in accordance with IEC 61300 procedures, with an operating temperature range extending from -25°C to +70°C. They have also been designed to meet TIA 568-C.3, IEC 61753 Cat U, and EN optical requirements.

All necessary components and tools for LightCrimp splices are available in a starter kit including a rugged case.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winter Conference Award in Plasma Spectrochemistry

Thermo Fisher Scientific will play a key role in the organization of the 2012 Winter Conference Award in Plasma Spectrochemistry.  At the 2012 biennial Winter Conference, the company will present the award to the scientist who has made the most noteworthy contribution to the field of plasma spectrochemistry. Prof. Ramon Barnes, who received the award during the 2010 Winter Conference, will chair the scientific committee for the 2012 award. Thermo Fisher Scientific announces that it has extended the deadline for scientists worldwide to submit their applications for the next award in 2012. The closing date for submission is now March 31 2011.

The Winter Plasma Award recognizes achievements in conceptualization and development of novel instrumentation as well as the elucidation of fundamental events or processes involved in plasma spectrochemistry. It also acknowledges the authorship of significant research papers or books that have had an influential role in new advancements as well as outstanding applications that open new fields of use for plasma spectrochemistry. In addition to having their contribution to the field recognized by the scientific community and the industry, the selected scientist will also receive an award of $5000.

The award ceremony will take place during the 2012 Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry. The conference will showcase the latest advancements in plasma spectrochemical analysis. The event brings together international scientists experienced in applications, instrumentation and theory to examine recent progress in the field. The conference offers the ideal platform to discuss and examine the continued growth in popularity of plasma sources for atomization and excitation in atomic spectroscopy and ionization in mass spectrometry, and the developments of these discharges.

The inaugural Winter Conference Award in Plasma Spectrochemistry was presented to Ramon Barnes PhD (middle) at the Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry in January, 2010 by Gary M. Hieftje, Indiana University (left), and Lothar Rottmann, Thermo Fisher Scientific (right).
Lothar Rottmann, global support manager inorganic mass spectrometry at Thermo Fisher Scientific, commented: “Thermo Fisher Scientific is the leader in plasma spectrochemistry instrumentation and our company is pleased to sponsor this industry award. The Winter Conference award complements our objectives for advancement and innovation, and we look forward to honoring scientists who are making significant breakthroughs in this field.”

Hydrogen monitors in refinery

Quantitech launched a new hydrogen detection technology in Britain towards the end of 2007 and Managing Director Keith Golding is delighted to report, "the technology is proving popular in a wide variety of applications and has recently been chosen by BP for process analysis at its Cherry Point refinery in Washington, USA."
The unique hydrogen monitoring instrumentation is manufactured by H2scan Corporation, based in California, and is distributed exclusively in Britain and Ireland by Quantitech Ltd.

Founded in 2002, H2scan Corporation has been built around a hydrogen specific sensor technology that was originally developed in the U.S. National Laboratory at Sandia. Since that time H2scan has developed a range of advanced portable and fixed monitors for the specific measurement of hydrogen in mixtures, without interference from other gases.

In-line process hydrogen monitoring versions of the technology, the HY-OPTIMA 700 analysers, have been ordered by the BP facility after a successful trial which resulted in good performances in a high percentage, harsh contaminant (H2S) and multi-component process gas in comparison with traditional process analysers.

Explaining the reason for H2scan's success, BP’s Analyser Engineer, Ryan Holgate said: “H2scan participated in a competitive bidding process with gas chromatographs and was selected based on a number of factors including performance, cost and maintainability.”

The H2scan analysers will provide real-time measurement without the need for valve switching, frequent calibrations and is designed to save considerable retail space in BP’s analyser shelters. H2scan’s success with BP provides a good example of widespread acceptance of H2scan’s miniaturised and advanced analyser technologies in oil refineries.

Keith Golding added: “H2scan’s hydrogen specific solid-state sensing technology is able to detect hydrogen against virtually any background gases without false readings or expensive support equipment. These instruments are able to detect hydrogen concentrations from 15 ppm to 100% over a wide range of temperatures without cross-sensitivity to other substances.

"We are pleased to hear about H2scan's success in the USA and look forward to bringing the benefits of this technology to the UK petrochemical industry."

Load cell for restricted space

Tension and compression load cell is ideal when space is restricted

Flexibility is the key to the TCA series of tension/compression load cells from LCM Systems. Designed in-house by LCM’s talented design team, engineers can specify custom sizes and specifications to meet specific application requirements.

Known in the USA as billet load cells, the TCA series is ideal for measuring both tensile and compressive forces and their unique size makes them ideal for use where space is limited. The standard cells are provided with metric threads at each end, designed to accept spherical seating rod-end bearings. However, the versatility of this particular range means that LCM Systems can offer versions with male threads at each end, one male and one female or imperial thread sizes.

Ideal for applications such as structural testing, cable tension monitoring and press load monitoring, the load cells are constructed from stainless steel and as standard have a rated load ranging from 1tonne to 100tonne (although special versions are been manufactured with rated loads up to 1200tonne). They are weatherproofed to IP66, although IP67 and submersible versions can also be supplied, when specified. 

As with all load cells offered by LCM Systems quick turnaround and fast delivery is guaranteed, while expert advice on suitable instrumentation to enhance the products and provide a complete load monitoring systems is given free of charge.

“Due to its excellent versatility, the TCA range is rapidly becoming one of our most popular for custom applications.” explains Steve Sargeant, Managing director at LCM Systems. “There are not many UK manufacturers who produce tensile/compression load cells that have such a large range with a low profile, so we are seeing good sales volumes in applications where space is restricted. Sales are particularly buoyant in the US and China, where there seems to be a large demand for this type of product.”

Miniature high definition board level camera

Stemmer Imaging can offer a compact new low cost, high definition board camera for use in a wide range of markets. Measuring 42 x 42 x 34 mm and weighing just 40 g, this high performance camera can be readily mounted in awkward positions or on moving objects.

Featuring an aspect ratio of 16:9 for wide screen displays and 720p/60 frames per second signal output, the progressive scan CMOS sensor achieves over 600 TV Line resolution. The camera also provides a DVI output at VGA resolution allowing easy connection directly to a monitor.

Integrated camera controls include electronic zoom, slow shutter, AGC/Off/Manual, edge and blemish correction and adjustable gamma. Both DC and video auto iris control is provided for added versatility.
The electronics shutter can be controlled to meet particular lighting and operation conditions. Electronic zoom is x1 ~ x4 and is complemented by electronic pan and tilt features.

Combined sensor is a first!

New combined temperature and pressure sensor is another world first for Kistler

With a front diameter of only 1 mm the new Type 6188A combined temperature and pressure sensor is another milestone in miniaturisation of sensors from Kistler Instruments. Designed primarily for precision monitoring of melt temperature and cavity pressure in injection moulding, the new sensor will find many other applications in research, development and manufacturing. As with Kistler’s other combined sensors, the Type K thermocouple is mounted right at the front of the sensor to provide rapid response to temperature changes. The connecting wires to the thermocouple are threaded through the pressure sensor elements, which share the front face of the sensor.

The new combined sensor allows the injection moulding process to be monitored to provide high-level quality assurance and zero rejects, especially when small or precision products are being produced. The documentation of mould cavity pressure and contact temperature provides end users of injection moulded plastic products with reliable reports on the stability of the manufacturing process and the quality of the moulded products.

The cavity pressure curve is the most informative characteristic for monitoring the process and evaluating the quality of the injection moulded part. It is considered to represent the “fingerprint” of moulding. The contact temperature provides additional information for optimising and monitoring the injection moulding process.

Diagnostic technology

Emerson expands diagnostic technology on its Rosemount® 3051S Series of Instrumentation

Emerson Process Management has expanded its Advanced HART® Diagnostics Suite on the Rosemount® 3051S Series of Instrumentation for pressure, flow and level measurement. New features expand diagnostic coverage beyond transmitter electronics to identify and prevent abnormal process and installation issues.

The new Power Advisory Diagnostic helps ensure the integrity of the electrical loop by detecting unwanted changing electrical conditions, such as water in the terminal housing, ground loop issues, corrosion of terminals, or an unstable power supply. The Advanced HART Diagnostics Suite also includes Statistical Process Monitoring technology, to measure and analyse previously unseen process noise, providing intelligent process insight. This has led to a significant expansion in the range of process diagnostic applications such as detection of furnace flame instability, incipient distillation column flooding, and valve or pump cavitation.

“The expanded capabilities of Advanced Diagnostics on the Rosemount 3051S gives plant personnel additional insight into their facilities – insight they can use to make informed decisions that will optimise the availability, efficiency and reliability of their plants,” said Dave Wehrs, Vice President of pressure design and engineering for the Rosemount division of Emerson Process Management.

The Rosemount 3051S with Advanced Diagnostics was put through the rigorous IEC 61508 safety certification process by exida, resulting in an industry-leading Safe Failure Fraction of 96.8%. Safety can be further improved by utilising Power Advisory Diagnostic and Statistical Process Monitoring to uncover previously undetectable failures of the electrical loop and in the process connection, including plugged impulse lines. Combining the highest safety-rated pressure transmitter in the industry with advanced diagnostics enables 10-year proof test intervals and the safest installation possible.

“The end result of having equipment with low failure rate and high diagnostic coverage is not just improved safety but also lower downtime,” said Dr. William Goble, principal partner of exida.

The Rosemount 3051S Series of Instrumentation is part of Emerson’s broad range of intelligent, digital field devices that power the PlantWeb™ architecture. Further cost savings, increased plant availability, and enhanced safety and environmental compliance are achieved when the transmitters are integrated into the PlantWeb digital plant architecture.

Latest Process Automation System announced #Autofair

PlantPAx System Release 2.0 from Rockwell features high availability, device integration and asset management, design productivity, batch and sequencing control, and operations productivity
Rockwell Automation announced the latest generation of its PlantPAx Process Automation System, an integrated control and information solution that helps manufacturers achieve plantwide optimization in a wide range of industries at the annual Rockwell Automation Fair (#autfair) in Orlando (FL US). PlantPAx System Release 2.0 builds on the success of the initial PlantPAx system, adding new features for high availability, device integration and asset management, design productivity, batch and sequencing control, and operations productivity. In addition, a new focused program will help OEMs and skid builders serving process industries reduce their overall costs and minimize their time to market, all while simplifying the integration of their equipment into the user’s process system.

“The Rockwell Automation PlantPAx Process Automation System is gaining significant adoption across a wide customer base,” said Steve Eisenbrown, senior vice president of Architecture and Software, Rockwell Automation. “It’s a strong foundation that allows us to add new platform capabilities and domain expertise to continue to expand our served market deeper into process applications.”

PlantPAx System Release 2.0 capabilities include:

System High Availability – Continuity of operations is critical for many process control applications and is a core discipline of the PlantPAx system. In particular, for 24/7 processes, the PlantPAx system focuses not only on the redundancy of system components, but also on maintainability – helping ensure that problems are detected and corrected without disrupting production. New capabilities include EtherNet/IP network support for redundant systems and Device Level Ring network topology that provides a highly available EtherNet/IP network without any additional infrastructure costs. A new I/O line – based on ICS Triplex technology – adds redundant I/O capability for the system. PlantPAx System Release 2.0 also includes new diagnostics and error checking to help operators and maintenance personnel identify and resolve the root cause of a problem before disrupting production.

Device Integration and Asset Management – The PlantPAx system has a broad portfolio of connectivity options, including HART, Profibus-PA, and Fieldbus Foundation. PlantPAx System Release 2.0 expands on these offerings for an even more scalable portfolio. Another important addition is the integration and asset management of other devices in the system, such as intelligent motor control centers, variable frequency drives, condition monitoring and power control components. Drives, for example, are now exposed via icons and faceplates in the visualization layer, and managed in the asset management layer to provide disaster recovery, automatic backup and restore of drive configuration, and change auditing.

Design Productivity – A focus on design productivity helps enable Rockwell Automation delivery partners to bring a more consistent, modular solution to users more quickly and with less human error. Careful evaluation of the typical DCS configuration workflows has revealed a number of steps that can be simplified or accelerated. This includes initial sizing and architecture design, the creation of reusable engineering and template objects, and engineering and deployment tools for objects and diagnostics in the PlantPAx library.

Batch and Sequencing Control – PlantPAx System Release 2.0 addresses the entire spectrum of batch applications. At the most complex level, new batch server software adds key capabilities like intelligent recipes, improved runtime user control, expanded data collection and reporting, and enhanced material management. For simpler sequencing requirements, such as those encountered in OEM skids or simple startup sequences, PlantPAx System Release 2.0 provides an elegant alternative to traditional custom sequencing solutions. The new Logix Batch and Sequence Manager is an S-88 compliant engine that offers simple configuration and execution and minimizes costly and risky design and maintenance aspects associated with custom code. This unit-scale sequencer also easily integrates into a higher-level batch strategy, helping ensure that OEM solutions, such as clean-in-place skids, easily plug in to plantwide production operations.

Operations Productivity – The PlantPAx approach to operations productivity is a three-tiered solution. At the most basic level, the Rockwell Automation historian collects key process data from within the controller chassis or via a server at the site level. Data is then analyzed in an information and decision support portal. This portal provides appropriate information about the production system based on user role. For example, maintenance personnel might leverage reports showing information such as motor runtimes or valve diagnostics, contrasted with the information needs of operations or quality control departments. Then, as the third tier, PlantPAx System Release 2.0 offers industry-leading optimization solutions. This optimization leverages advanced control techniques for single loops or unit operations or more advanced model predictive solutions for an entire line or plant area.

New Focused Program for Process OEMs and Skid Builders
“Users spend a significant amount of their engineering time – up to 60 percent in some cases – integrating equipment from various vendors into their DCS,” said Som Chakraborti, Process Business director, Rockwell Automation. “PlantPAx System Release 2.0 helps customers reduce this non-value add expense. It introduces a set of architectures and efficiency tools to help equipment manufacturers deliver their scope quicker, and offers end-users simpler integration to their process automation system."

According to ARC Advisory Group research director Larry O’Brien, “Forming collaborative partnerships with process OEMs and skid builders will be a key ingredient in the future success of process automation suppliers. For an OEM or a skid builder, adopting a standard approach to automation such as the PlantPAx system means they can eliminate a lot of custom engineering, reduce time to start up, and provide better connectivity to the rest of the manufacturing enterprise. Rockwell Automation has an advantage in this case because they have been forming these relationships for years.”

PlantPAx System Release 2.0 is available in the first quarter of 2011.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Multi-axis robot

New multi-axis robot from Mitsubishi Electric increases flexibility and reduces cycle times
The MELFA RV-2SDB from Mitsubishi Electric is a compact, high speed, high functionality robot with a 2kg (max. 3kg) load carrying capacity and cycle times as short as 0.6 seconds. On show for the first time in Europe at Automatica 2010 last June, the vertical, multi-axis articulated robot arm can provide a significant productivity boost in assembly and production cells in a wide range of industries, with faster motion and unique design features to improve cycle times and an innovative construction to give greater freedom of movement over a larger motion space. Simple to program and easy to integrate, the MELFA RV-2SDB meets all modern production needs, with the flexibility to be readily redeployed as requirements evolve.

Although the robot arm is more compact than previous generations, this has not come at the detriment of reach or operating radius. The maxi-mum reach of the robot has been extended to 504mm, and the length and shape of the arm have been specifically optimised for maximum flexibility. An innovative flap arm construction reduces the minimum work area radius to just 139.5mm. In addition, a reduced protrusion of the elbow arm lessens interference in the rear space. All of this ensures that the maximum use can be made of the working space around the robot, and allows the most compact production area layout to be achieved.

The design of the robot enables further optimisation of the working space through a unique shoulder design. The motion space of the shoulder is extended in the minus side so that it can be rotated into the space in the backward direction. This delivers a larger working area without the need to change the orientation of the robot, eliminating wasted motion and further shortening cycle times. A further design fea-ture is the wrist section, which has been made less bulky than traditional designs, so that the arm can reach easily into narrow openings. This increases the flexibility of the robot for the widest range of application possibilities.

The swing area extends to 240 degrees both left and right enabling best use to be made of available space on the production line. With a total of 480 degrees of motion space available, the shortest motion path for any task can always be used, increasing the degree of freedom in the robot arrangement and helping to decrease overall cycle time.

Cycle times are also decreased by the significantly increased speed of the robot. Maximum combined speed is 4,400mm/sec, but axes J4, J5 and J6 in particular have been given a significant speed boost – some 10% faster than Mitsubishi Electric’s generation RB-3SDB. This has been based on customer feedback and application analysis which high-lights that many tasks require the robot to change its posture from one step to another. By enabling the robot to change its posture more quickly – with axes J4, J5 and J6 being key here – cycle times can be signifi-cantly reduced. Mitsubishi Electric has also focused on significantly raising the speed of the wrist section, again reducing cycle times.

With the rigid design of the arm and advanced servo control, the RV-2SDB achieves the highest degree of straight-ahead motion accuracy, with positioning repeatability to ±0.02mm.

For more sophisticated set-up and control, Mitsubishi Electric provides a rich selection of software programs that guide users through their start-up phases. RT-ToolBox2 provides varied features essential for start-up, such as program editing, debugging and cycle time planning. The MEL-FA-Vision software makes it simple to employ a vision system on the robot, such as that supplied by the e-F@ctory Alliance Partner, Cognex. And MELFA-Works is a 3D robot and application simulator that provides powerful support for system design and preliminary study.

The wide variety of robot interfaces offered ensures a high degree of installation flexibility, as well as scalability as applications evolve. The robot comes as standard with additional axis control interface, Ethernet communications interface and encoder interface  for conveyor belt fol-lowing, making it easy to build a complete manufacturing system with the robot at its heart. Data input/output to and from the robot can be controlled directly from a Mitsubishi Electric GOT series operator inter-face without any additional programming requirement. Sample GOT graphics are provided as standard to highlight the robot’s operational status in a clear, user-friendly manner, including current values, error indication and maintenance forecasts. A window containing the user manual is also included.

With the MELFA RV-2SDB being mountable in floor standing, ceiling or wall mounted configurations, its versatility to suit every application requirement is assured.

Improved durability for low cost level switches

The LS-3 Series of compact, all plastic liquid level switches, from Gems Sensors & Controls, is ideal for shallow tanks, restricted spaces or for any low-cost, high volume use. The highly reliable design of the LS-3 Series level switch operates on a simple principle: a magnet-equipped float moving directly with the liquid surface actuates a hermetically sealed reed switch within the unit’s stem. As with all Gems buoyancy type level switches, contact between the fluid and the switch is hermetically sealed, ensuring long life and reliable operation.

LS-3 Series level switches are available in a wide variety of engineered plastics, including polysulfone, polypropylene, and FDA-approved PVDF. They offer broad water-based, chemical, oil compatibility at an attractive price for OEMs. Models are available to withstand temperatures ranging from -40°C to +121°C (-40°F to +250°F), and pressures to 10.3 bar (150 psi). These compact units measure as little as 0.75-inch in diameter and are less than 2" in length below the mounting. A unique fluted stem prevents build-up from dissolved solids in the monitored liquid.

LS-3 Series switches are easy to install: they operate with either end up, and are virtually maintenance free. Mountings include 3/8”-16 straight thread, 1/8” NPT, G1/8”, and M12x1.75 straight thread. Switch actuation is easily changed from N.O. to N.C. by reversing float position on the stem. LS-3 switches are also available in other unique configurations for special applications, such as low liquid levels and turbulent fluids. Approvals include UL Recognition, CE, CSA and FDA.

Gems products are marketed through Manotherm in Ireland.

Takeover marked in visit to Ireland

Representatives of both R. Stahl and Clifford & Snell recently visited their Ireland agents Douglas Controls & Automation in Cork, the capital of Ireland's southern province

Stewart Birell,Stahl's Regional Sales Manager, Declan Lordan Douglas Control & Automation,  Chris Manville   Account Manager UK, Ireland, Scandanavia & Benelux, Clifford & Snell and Eugene Pigott Douglas Control & Automation
R. STAHL and Digital Angel Corp signed a contract earlier this year  on the takeover of British business Clifford & Snell by R. STAHL group. Clifford & Snell is a specialist for signalling devices for explosion-protected and industrial use. Their product program excellently supplements Stahl's product line for signalling devices. Digital Angel, whose core business is RFID technologies, had been looking for a partner for this unit who is able to further expand the sustainable business.

Clifford & Snell develops and produces optical, acoustic and combined signalling devices. In regard to combination of signalling devices (horns and signal lamps) Clifford & Snell has a unique market position. The products in explosion-protected design are used in R. STAHL's traditional markets (oil & gas, chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, etc.). The products in industrial design are required, among others, in industrial buildings, hospitals, airports, schools or on ships.

With the completion of the product portfolio in signalling devices the expert in explosion protection can realize significant increase in sales in this segment. In the medium-term R. STAHL plans to double sales in the segment for signal lamps with the takeover of Clifford & Snell, in the long-term even a triplication of sales is anticipated. Currently Clifford & Snell generates annual sales amounting to about € 4.3 million.

Besides products that have a performance and quality level comparable to R. STAHL products, the new partner makes contributions in regard to development know-how and sales structures. The present Managing Director, Trevor Gage, will in future manage business unit signalling devices in the R. STAHL group; he has extensive professional expertise.

"With Clifford & Snell we move to position 2 in Europe in the field of signalling devices. By combining the excellent competences in development and sales with our value creation and sales structure we will be able to grow disproportionately in the field of signalling devices ", says Martin Schomaker, CEO of R. STAHL.

"This is an excellent opportunity for the business and to be affiliated with the internationally respected R. STAHL group, will enable us to accelerate our product development program and advance Clifford & Snell's worldwide sales and marketing effort", says Trevor Gage, Managing Director of Clifford & Snell.