Friday 29 April 2011

Critical flow components for China!

The ever-changing Shanghai skyline
Brennan has opened a new distribution center in China allowing for faster and more cost-effective shipments of their hydraulic and pneumatic fittings to Chinese customers.

“The new Chinese distribution center is one way Brennan Industries is continuing to grow its global reach,” said David M. Carr, president at Brennan Industries. “With the new distribution center along with the sales office in Ningbo, China, Brennan is meeting the great domestic demand China has for hydraulic fittings and adapters.”

The new Chinese distribution center is located in Shanghai. Since shipments no longer need to clear customs and customhouse brokerage fees can be avoided, customers in China will benefit with time and cost savings.

Fieldbus training!

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced it will conduct a series of free, half-day FOUNDATION™ technology sales force training seminars for industrial automation salespeople, system integrators and manufacturer representatives during 2011. These events will be held in conjunction with the foundation's end user seminar program across North America.

Locations & Dates
Calgary, Alberta, CDN: Sept. 20, 2011
Ft. McMurray, Alberta, CDN: Sept. 22, 2011
Detroit, Mich. US: Oct. 11, 2011
Corpus Christi, Texas US: Nov. 7, 2011
Baton Rouge, La.US: Nov. 9, 2011
Beaumont, Texas US: Nov. 10, 2011
The first fieldbus sales force training seminar will be held on May 25, 2011, at the Doubletree Hotel in Carson, (CA US).

Intended to provide a greater understanding of the operational improvements and business benefits delivered by the FOUNDATION automation infrastructure, the sales training seminars will be presented by leading experts in fieldbus technology. The seminar content is designed to be vendor-neutral, addressing key topics of interest for salespeople involved with control and instrumentation products. In particular, the seminars aim to dispel myths about FOUNDATION technology and provide hard facts and data salespeople can rely upon.

Fieldbus Foundation Global Marketing Manager Larry O'Brien commented, "With the growing adoption of FOUNDATION fieldbus by process industry end users, there is a corresponding need to train salespeople in this advanced enabling technology. We are responding to the needs of the automation community by conducting fieldbus sales force training events at major industrial locations throughout North America."

He added, "Our comprehensive half-day seminars are ideal for busy professionals seeking to expand their knowledge of FOUNDATION technology and learn more about its business value proposition in a wide range of industrial markets. FOUNDATION technology is increasingly being adopted in migration and modernization projects as well as grassroots facilities. The business value proposition of the technology is more powerful than ever."

Physical access control!

Though not strictly automation we thought this item would interest you as security not only in the control systems is important but the matter of physical access can also be a source of worry! Knob twiddlers can sometimes create real problems!

The EKS Light from Euchner is a transponder-based access control system consisting of two components: an Electronic-Key with RFID transponder and an Electronic-Key adapter with integral read unit. It was designed particularly for smaller, decentralized applications to permit reliable controlled access to individual machines or to entire installations there as well. The new FSA version of the EKS Light was specially developed to solve the widespread problem involving tampering of safety guards.

It is simple to operate. Every user receives an EKS Electronic-Key with a certain access and authorization profile. This Electronic-Key is required to access an object or machine protected by EKS Light FSA.  The check integrated into the device releases access with a certain access level if the Electronic-Key is valid.

The new FSA version of the EKS Light was specially developed to solve the widespread problem involving tampering of safety guards. For this purpose, it was specifically expanded for safety applications in combination with the mode selection. The user is assigned the access rights via the EKS. He can then select the desired operating mode using an additional facility, such as a selector switch or touch display. Trained personnel are thereby specifically authorized to perform critical setup and maintenance work in a special, hazardous operating mode.

The FSA version features an additional floating switched semiconductor output that can be utilized to form a safe shut-down signal. For this purpose a safe evaluation must be included downstream. This characteristic allows the EKS Light FSA to be used in a safety-relevant manner as per Category 3 according to EN 13849-1. The machine is reset to a safe operating mode by removing the Electronic-Key.

Like all EKS Electronic-Key adapters from EUCHNER, the EKS Light FSA has also been conceived specifically for industrial use. In addition to the high degree of protection (IP67), its other impressive features are its robust, compact design and the option of placing the Electronic-Key on the installation during the work.

The EKS light FSA is available during Summer 2011.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Quality calibration!

Leading process and laboratory calibration service provider, Lotus Technical Services has recently received accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025:2005.

This standard allows their calibration Laboratory to provide an accredited calibration service for both Electrical and Temperature variables, our defined scope of accreditation

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 specifies the general requirements for the competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations, including sampling. It covers testing and calibration performed using standard methods, non-standard methods, and laboratory-developed methods.

It is applicable to all organisations performing tests and/or calibrations. These include, for example, first-, second- and third-party laboratories, and laboratories where testing and/or calibration forms part of inspection and product certification.

Engineers, Quality Managers and Calibration Co-ordinators can thus be assured that that company provides calibration to the highest standard.

Small bore training!

New expert training targets the safety and integrity of small bore tubing systems

A new approach to training for best practice installation of small bore tubing systems has been launched by the Instrumentation Products Division of Parker Hannifin. The company's new Small Bore Expert (SBEx) courses provide a detailed and personalized understanding that allows users to specify and install efficient, safe and leak-free small bore tubing systems.

Small bore tubing systems are used extensively in a wide range of industries, ranging from fluid instrumentation systems in processing plants to laboratory equipment. Yet choosing the correct tube materials, tube sizes, fixtures and fittings to suit a particular application, and securing high integrity leak-free connections, can sometimes prove daunting to inexperienced users.

Parker's new SBEx course replaces its well-known Safety at Work programme, and following feedback from customers, places far greater emphasis on small bore tubing issues including tube selection, fittings and installation. Each course lasts half a day, or a full day if participants wish to gain practical hands-on experience of preparation, cutting, bending, installation and verifying connection integrity.

SBEx courses are run by professionally-trained and equipped Parker distributors. They are currently available from four key  distributors in Britain, with a further 95 lined up to extend the service level across Europe. The courses will also be run by Parker's 22 direct sales facilities and become available in the Middle East and Africa in the future.

According to Stuart Jessop, European Business Development Manager at Parker, "We are constantly looking to help users achieve high integrity, leak-free systems. We believe that our new SBEx courses, which are run by distributors who have undergone an intensive five days of training covering all aspects of small bore tubing, will widen the opportunities for users to gain precisely the skills and experience they require for their particular installations. Unlike traditional training programmes, which simply demonstrate how to assemble a tube fitting correctly, SBEx courses can be tailored to suit individuals' needs. This will result in higher integrity tubing systems and safer product installation."

Parker's SBEx courses can be run at distributors' or customers' premises, or at one of Parker's facilities. Depending upon availability, there is also the possibility that the Parker mobile exhibition vehicle can be used by distributors to provide customer training facilities.

HSE with wireless and remote I/O solutions for developers

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced the latest progress on its Wireless and Remote I/O (WIO) technology, including a suite of solutions to assist automation suppliers in developing WIO devices. WIO will enable the utilization of an open, interoperable fieldbus automation infrastructure incorporating both FOUNDATION™ fieldbus High Speed Ethernet (HSE) and industrial wireless applications.

The WIO development is part of the Fieldbus Foundation’s continuing initiative to design and deploy an infrastructure that will accommodate evolving wireless standards inclusive of WirelessHART and ISA100.11a. The foundation’s WIO gateway provides an interface to both technologies and uses Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and Function Blocks to provide interoperability with the other WIO gateways. WIO continues to broaden the automation infrastructure capabilities of FOUNDATION technology by providing interoperable gateways for wired and wireless HSE devices.

According to Fieldbus Foundation Global Marketing Manager Larry O’Brien, “FOUNDATION technology has been built from the ground up for openness, and can support the rapidly changing world of technology in process automation. With WIO, we now have the ability to bring in the valuable diagnostic information from wireless devices, regardless of whether they are WirelessHART® or ISA 100.11a, into the open and standardized infrastructure of FOUNDATION fieldbus.

“Combined with the ability to handle remote I/O, this greatly extends the range and capabilities of FOUNDATION technology to encompass many more devices throughout the entire plant or facility, regardless of their communications technology. The business value lies in taking the large amounts data from these devices through HSE and turning it into useful information in an open environment. You will be able to enjoy the benefits of wireless networking and remote I/O along with the powerful infrastructure of FOUNDATION technology.“

Within the FOUNDATION fieldbus automation architecture, H1 (31.25 kbit/s) and HSE (100 Mbit/s) provide a distributed function block capability with HSE serving as a larger pipeline with increased speed and throughput based on industry standard Ethernet technology. WIO technology expands these capabilities by establishing open, non-proprietary specifications for a wired HSE backhaul network, a wireless HSE backhaul integrating various wireless gateways, and an interface to wireless field device networks.

Tools and resources now available to support the development of WIO devices include:

High Speed Ethernet Wireless and Remote I/O Specification: Defines a series of interoperable gateways to bring control I/O (both analog and discrete) back to plant automation systems over an international standard, high-speed network.

HSE Interoperability Test Kit (HSE ITK): Tests the functionality of an HSE device and its conformance with the FOUNDATION fieldbus function block and transducer block specifications. The HSE ITK’s test cases have been updated to Device ITK Profile 6.0 and now support the VC++ 2008 (v9) standard. The test kit also employs an all-new, intuitive user interface and updated HSE test function device application.

The WIO solution encompasses the existing HSE-RIO specification, allowing industrial plants to access high data requirement devices directly in the fieldbus host system via HSE. Utilizing gateways functioning much like a smart remote terminal unit (RTU), it brings all forms of conventional I/O into the native fieldbus environment easily. This solution makes discrete-in, discrete-out, analog-in, analog-out and FOUNDATION H1 available over a common Ethernet network.

At a WIO Validation Team meeting in November 2010 at the Fieldbus Foundation’s facility in Austin, Texas, the first WIO gateway interconnecting WirelessHART devices to a wireless backhaul network was successfully tested. The WirelessHART process parameters were mapped into transducer blocks in the gateway according to the specification, and communicated over the wireless backhaul network using the HSE protocol. As part of the proof of concept testing for WIO, the foundation’s HSE ITK system successfully tested the WIO gateway over a 300 Mbit/s wireless Wi-Fi backhaul network. Laboratory prototypes of WIO gateways from several leading automation suppliers are currently under test.

The next steps in the WIO program include final validation of the wired HART and WirelessHART interface specifications. This development will give automation suppliers the opportunity to develop full WIO gateways initially running on a wired HSE backhaul. At the same time, the Wireless Sensor Interface Team and Fieldbus Foundation/ISA Cooperation teams will work to finalize the first draft of the wireless backhaul specifications and address key requirements such as security.

Liquid cooling package

New liquid cooling package “LCP Extend” from Rittal

Blade and 1U servers are leading to climate control problems in racks and subsequently changing the requirements of the IT infrastructure. Match cooling capacities to the present and future demand is crucial and Rittal’s new LCP Extend (liquid cooling package) unit is based on an air/water heat exchanger which solves the problem of high heat losses of up to 12 kW per rack.

Without having to modify existing series of enclosures, the innovation can be attached as an independent cooling unit to the rear doors of practically any rack, while the rack is in operation. This means that the system can be easily retrofitted in the event of any problems from thermal issue. Hot air, dissipated towards the rear by the servers, is forced through the air/water heat exchanger by fan units and then expelled.

Maximising long term energy costs is also essential, therefore the LCP extend can be connected to a “free cooling” chiller circuit, providing 24/7, 365 cooling at minimal costs.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Precision measurement

Keithley Instruments  has published an informative e‑handbook titled Making Precision Low Current and High Resistance Measurements.This is available to download free on their website!

Topics covered

The e-handbook covers several topics crucial to ensuring low current measurement accuracy:
• Measurement circuit
• Leakage currents and guarding
• Noise and source resistance
• Zero drift
• Generated currents
• Overload protection
• AC interference and damping
• Using a coulombmeter to measure low current
Topics addressed in the e-handbook related to high resistance measurements include:
• Constant-voltage method
• Constant-current method
• Guarding
• Settling time

In addition to these topics, the e-handbook provides two measurement applications examples: avalanche photodiode reverse bias current measurements and voltage coefficient testing of high ohmic value resistors. A useful glossary of low-level measurement terminology and a guide to selecting instruments suitable for low current and high resistance measurements, such as ammeters , electrometers , and ohmmeters , are included. In addition, links are provided to a variety of webinars, white papers, and application notes relevant to each topic area.

Connector crimp module has 70 A current rating

The new Han® 70 A crimp module is the latest addition to the Harting Han-Modular® Series of heavy-duty connectors.

Designed for use in applications presenting the toughest mechanical demands, the new module is plug-compatible with the existing Han® 70 A axial screw module, and allows the transmission of high power levels within a compact space. In a typical application, up to 12 power contacts rated at 70 A and 1000 V can be implemented in a pluggable version in a Han® 24 B connector configuration.

The new unit can incorporate two power contacts per module and up to six modules per connector. It has a high working voltage of 1000 V, combined with a large conductor cross-section of 10 to 25 mm². The use of crimp termination technology means that crimping tools already on hand can be used, although contacts can also be removed without tools.

As an open connector system, the Han-Modular® series is especially flexible and allows adaptation to users' individual requirements, so that users can put together their own combinations of connectors to satisfy the required configuration. The range currently includes 36 modules for electrical, optical and gaseous signals, with new modules continually being added.

Real-time mathematics option boosts power measurements

A new real-time mathematics option for the Yokogawa DL850 ScopeCorder introduces many new DSP-based functions that boost the instrument's power analysis capabilities as well as adding features such as sensor linearisation and electrical to mechanical conversion.

In addition to 30 powerful mathematical functions, the new /G3 option expands the instrument's standard bandwidth filters with a set of steep digital filters that can be used for triggering specific measurement sequences based on waveform characteristics.

With the /G3 option, the DL850 ScopeCorder offers up to 16 real-time DSP channels and 30 mathematical functions including calculations of power, sensor linearisation, rotary encoding and mechanical displacement. The mathematical sampling rate is up to 10 MS/s (megasamples per second), while the filter sample rate is up to 1 MS/s. The fast acquisition rate results from the fact that there is no processing after waveform acquisition apart from a fixed calculation delay in the DSP channel.

In the real-time mathematical computations on waveform data, the digital signal processor uses the output data of the input module as its source and outputs the computed data to the acquisition memory of the DL850 ScopeCorder. Using real-time mathematics, input channels can be multiplied, divided or integrated, and dedicated functions such as power integration, 3-phase real power measurements and differentiation can be carried out. What makes the /G3 option extra powerful is that the trigger conditions can be set depending on the result of the DSP or digital filter functions.

Typical applications include using the RMS mathematical operator to trend the RMS value of each individual cycle of a voltage or current waveform, or using the (S1 x S2) operator to multiply the voltage and current waveforms in order to trend the instantaneous power waveform.
To determine the power usage of a system, a power integration function will trend the integrated power over time in watt-hours or watt-seconds.

A mechanical versus electrical phase function calculates the angle between the mechanical rotation measured precisely by a rotary encoder and the input current waveform. This current is often distorted with harmonics, but the DSP can extract the fundamental component of the current using a discrete Fourier transform to produce a trend of the phase difference for display in real time.

The DL850 ScopeCorder is a portable instrument that combines the benefits of a high-speed oscilloscope and those of a traditional data acquisition recorder. Because of its large acquisition memory, it is able to capture and analyse both long term trends over measurement periods of up to 30 days and transient events with sample rates up to 100 MS/s. The range of input modules available allows the DL850 to be configured up to 128 channels with built-in isolation and signal conditioning to capture voltages and currents as well as physical parameters like temperature, stress and vibration. Using input scaling, all types of physical sensors with voltage output can be connected.

The DL850 ScopeCorder is the ideal tool to capture signals coming from power converters, power electronics and control signals and combine these electrical and physical signals in a single measurement file.

10 Gigabit Ethernet switch

Fully managed OpenVPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch from GE provides connectivity for high performance computing (HPC) applications 

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the fully managed NETernity™ GBX460 rugged 6U OpenVPX data plane switch module featuring GE’s unique OpenWare™ switch management capability. The GBX460 is GE’s latest offering in a range of high density 10GigE solutions targeted at demanding high performance computing (HPC) and networking applications such as communications, ISR and radar. GE now offers customers a choice between the fully managed GBX460 with the flexibility, versatility and functionality provided by the OpenWare suite of protocols and switch management software, or the outstanding time-to-operation of the unmanaged version.

The GBX460 with OpenWare supports high throughput interprocessor communication (IPC) between 10GigE-enabled processing nodes for deployed network-centric defense and aerospace applications. Its non-blocking 10GigE ports provide high performance throughput across the VPX backplane; the non-blocking feature means that the GBX460 can pass traffic across all 10GigE ports at wire speed without bottlenecks.

The GBX460 with OpenWare supports features required by customers to meet the needs of next generation network-centric operations: Layer 2/3 switching and routing, including support for IPv6 addressing; extensive management for configuration and protocol options; and the ability to customize the software to meet specific application requirements.

“Today’s military organizations are demanding a tremendous amount of bandwidth and computing to drive the new network-centric battlefield,” said Rubin Dhillon, Industry Manager for Defense Communications at GE Intelligent Platforms. “Applications such as ISR, communications, situational awareness, and radar require very high performance, multi-core and multi-compute embedded system architectures. Ethernet has become the interconnect of choice and now 10Gigabit Ethernet can enable unprecedented performance for these demanding applications.”

The GBX460 can support multiple OpenVPX slots/module profiles for maximum flexibility and throughput. The standard build provides 20 x 10GigE data plane fat pipes and 16 x 1 GigE control plane ultra-thin pipes to support multi-board 6U VITA 65 (OpenVPX) system configurations. Multi-board systems can be configured by using the GBX460 together with GE processor cards such as the SBC622 Intel® Core™ i7-based single board computer and IPN250 and NPN240 NVIDIA® CUDA™ GPGPU processors to scale to extraordinary levels of performance for size, weight and power (SWaP) constrained applications such as deployed image, radar, sonar and signal processing.

Optional builds for the GBX460 include support for up to 24 10GigE ports or up to four front panel 10GigE fiber ports to connect to external networks.

GE’s OpenWare™ is available for the GBX460. Comprehensive and powerful, this switch management environment provides integrated management services including configuration, monitoring, switching control, addressing, routing and all supported protocols. Configuration and monitoring functions are accessible from a serial console or via a network. Supported access methods include Telnet, SSH and SNMP.

Global acceptance for wireless standard!

International standard fulfills users’ requirements for simple, reliable and secure wireless communication in process measurement and control

WirelessHART® the  evolutionary communication technology built on the solid foundation of the HART® Communication Protocol, is achieving widespread global acceptance among end users and suppliers throughout the process automation industry. In just a few short years, WirelessHART has earned international standard status (IEC 62591Ed. 1.0, EN 62591) and has proven its ability to fulfill users’ requirements for simple, reliable and secure wireless communication in thousands of applications working in concert with millions of installed HART devices and systems worldwide.

“Enhancing the proven HART Protocol to include wireless communication capabilities greatly shortened the time required for industry acceptance,” says Ron Helson, Executive Director, HART Communication Foundation. “WirelessHART by design provides the same familiar ease of use and complements the HART instrumentation already installed in users’ plants. Its secure backward compatibility, interoperability and reliability make it easy for both users and suppliers to support wired and wireless devices connected to the same automation systems, operating side-by-side and using the same tools.”

Wil Chin, Research Director, ARC Advisory Group comments: “After an auspicious start, WirelessHART has crossed the ‘Chasm’ and is entering the ‘Early Majority’ phase of the technology adoption curve. The thousands of sites that have validated the value and performance of WirelessHART in pilot programs will accelerate its adoption in mainstream applications and drive healthy growth for the foreseeable future.”

End users attending recent Foundation-sponsored seminars describe WirelessHART Communication as: “very reliable,” “easy to set up,” “easy to configure” and “surprisingly forgiving–it even works beyond the recommended best practices.”

The WirelessHART standard supports star, point-to-point and/or mesh topologies and requires no specialized tools or expertise for deployment. The technology is easy to implement, provides built-in reliability in all industrial environments, and employs 128-bit AES encryption, multi-tiered, always-on security to protect the network and the data being transferred at all times. WirelessHART builds on proven international standards—the HART Communication Protocol (IEC 61158), EDDL (IEC 61804-3), IEEE 802.15.4™ radio and frequency/channel hopping, spread spectrum and mesh networking technologies.

Major automation manufacturers actively promoting WirelessHART technology and shipping WirelessHART products for process industry applications include ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, MACTek, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact and Siemens.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Fieldbus hosts

Emerson and General Electric hosts pass tests for support of NAMUR NE107 field diagnostics

The Fieldbus Foundation has registered the first two FOUNDATION™ fieldbus hosts incorporating new, mandatory host profile “61b.” Fieldbus hosts supplied by Emerson Process Management (DeltaV Digital Automation System, with AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager) and GE Energy (GE ControlST) passed tests verifying their support for NAMUR NE107 field diagnostics, which is now required as part of the second phase of host testing and registration.

registered FOUNDATION hosts
In the FOUNDATION fieldbus automation infrastructure, hosts can include configuration tools, recording devices, alarm display panels, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), or a combination of functionality. Host profiles are key to fieldbus system interoperability, defining required features for different classes of tested and registered hosts. They include: Class 61 – Integrated Host, Class 62 – Visitor Host, Class 63 – Bench Host Non-Commissioned Device, and Class 64 – Bench Host Commissioned Off-Line Device.

The following host features have gone from "optional" to "mandatory" with the new host profile 61b:

Block Instantiation – Allows full utilization of fieldbus devices supporting instantiable function blocks. Primarily intended for control in the field (CIF).

Multiple Capability Levels – For devices where certain blocks/features are optional (licensed), the standard or higher capability level can be set in the tag placeholder during system configuration to prevent unsupported blocks from being used in the control strategy. This prevents surprises during commissioning. It also makes device replacement easier.

Enhanced Function Blocks – Allows full utilization of enhanced blocks (standard blocks with additional parameters).

Profiled Custom Function Blocks – Allows full utilization of non-standard blocks.

Configuration of Scheduled Control Function Blocks – Allows developers to build CIF control strategies.

DD V5.1 Device-Level Access (enhanced Electronic Device Description Language with cross-block) – Makes fieldbus devices easier to use by enabling a dashboard with all diagnostics on the same page, and all setup on one page, regardless of which block it is in.

According to Fieldbus Foundation Director, Fieldbus Products, Stephen Mitschke, the registration of hosts supporting host profile 61b will improve the user experience at sites employing FOUNDATION fieldbus-based control systems. “Support for device-level menus, one of the additional features mandated by host profile 61b, will make it easier for users to configure and maintain fieldbus devices,” he said “In addition, registered hosts must now demonstrate the ability to configure field diagnostics in devices. An enhanced, structured view of diagnostics according to NE107 contributes to effective asset management.”

Emerson’s chief technology officer, Peter Zornio, commented, “With this registration, Emerson reaffirms its leadership in FOUNDATION fieldbus technology, and will drive further growth. A best-in-class FOUNDATION fieldbus solution is a key part of Emerson’s I/O on Demand offering to our customers, allowing them to choose the best I/O solution for each of their applications. In fact, five out of ten of our largest DeltaV systems on order right now are using FOUNDATION fieldbus technology.”

Using the power of FOUNDATION fieldbus, and considering the NE107 recommendations for field diagnostics, the Fieldbus Foundation developed a profile specification enhancing the organization, integration and presentation of device diagnostics within fieldbus systems. The FOUNDATION fieldbus diagnostic profile includes a standard and open interface for reporting all device alarm conditions, and provides a means of categorizing alert conditions by severity. The technology facilitates routing of alerts to appropriate consoles based on user-selectable severity categories. In other words, it sends the right information to the right person at the right time without flooding the operator with alarms that are irrelevant to his duties. Furthermore, it provides recommended corrective actions and detailed help, as well as an indication of the overall health of the device.

iPad/iPhone manufacturing software

Aegis Software is to unveil its next industry-first technology in the form of the only iPad and iPhone integrated manufacturing software system for electronics assemblers at the SMT 2011 show in Nuremberg (D May 2011).

inSite brings simple, instant, and mobile access to quality, WIP, performance, and traceability information. Forward and reverse traceability is immediately available for viewing and to share direct from your device via email. View active WIP, shipment information, and detect process bottlenecks. Quality Paretos with interactive drill-down all the way from customer level through product and down to individual pin information. inSite even recalls and displays the product image directly on your device. The massive reservoir of process, product, and materials information within the Aegis MOS system is now accessible right in the palm of your hand.

Since 2000, Aegis has led the technology in manufacturing operations software. First to offer a web-based MES system. First to use IPC standards for machine monitoring. First make reporting and dashboard creation simple for the customer. First to integrate and project through NSA-level 128 bit security. Still the only to offer a singular system spanning NPI through shop floor control, materials verification, quality, test, packout, dashboards, and reporting built by one company. And now, the unparalleled information within the Aegis Manufacturing Operations System is accessible via iPad and iPhone applications now available on the Apple App Store free of charge to Aegis customers.

Video capabilities in graphic HMIs

Maple Systems has just released a powerful new Graphic HMI video capability that could revolutionize the control and monitoring processes of automation.

No longer are HMIs limited to still imagery or primitive animations. From general surveillance of your plant to capturing important process imagery when alarms or triggers occur, you can now integrate both live and recorded video into your HMI application. And this imagery can then be stored on a removable device (SD card, USB Drive), and then later reviewed for analysis.

Video integration with HMI applications offers exciting possibilities. You can connect a camera to your Maple HMI to view or record live video of your process in NTSC or PAL formats. For more coverage, you can connect two different cameras to the HMI, and import video on two different channels.
So as an example, you could aim one camera on an entire bottling machine while another camera records close-ups when a bottle is incorrectly filled. You can even capture video when the viewing windows are closed — freeing you up to utilise another screen of your HMI application — even though video is being recorded.

Maple's Video Feature works hand in hand with the Maple Media Player for functional image review. And it's easy to integrate the Media Player into your HMI application and take advantage of numerous audio/visual capabilities.

With the Media Player you can incorporate video tutorials for operational procedures, show important messages, exhibit crucial warnings, display advertising, utilize as an analysis tool for quality control, or customize the feature to work for your unique control challenge.

The media player has several functions for reviewing footage including: Forward, Reverse, Play, Pause, Zoom, Next, Previous, and a Volume Adjustment. Beyond functionality, the Maple Media Player can be customized to match the look, feel and design of your application. Supported file formats include: mov, mpg, mp3, wmv, flv, avi, and wav.

Support radio module

Pentek has a new addition to the popular Cobalt® family of Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA boards, the Model 71662 four channel, 200 MHz, 16-bit data acquisition board with built-in digital down converters (DDCs). With an input bandwidth from 300 kHz to 700 MHz, the board is suitable for direct connection to IF or RF ports of communications, unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) and radar systems for real-time DSP tasks such as demodulation and decoding. Together with Pentek’s ReadyFlow board support package, with its built-in command line interface and signal viewer, the Model 71662 forms a complete solution for data acquisition, processing and analysis.

Pentek software radio is available in PCIe, VPX, & cPCI
formats as well as conduction-cooled versions
“With 32 channels of multiband DDC, the Model 71662 represents the highest channel count product in our Cobalt family. This is perfect for communication applications where a multitude of channels need to be intercepted and received in parallel,” said Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. “In addition to the on-board resources, Pentek provides the components that enable customers to easily build, customize and integrate their own system application. GateFlow enables custom FPGA IP (intellectual property) development, and the ReadyFlow board support libraries and command line interface allow engineers to quickly get up and running.”

Built-in Acquisition IP
The 71662 provides four transformer-isolated input channels that each supply a Texas Instruments ADS5485 16-bit, 200 MHz ADC. The ADC outputs pass to an input multiplexer that supports four Acquisition IP modules factory-installed in the Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA. Each IP module can receive data from any of the four ADCs, or from a test signal generator, providing highly flexible input and antenna assignments.

Four 512 MB DDR3 SDRAM memory banks, one for each IP module, can buffer data in a FIFO mode or store data in a transient capture mode. All memory banks have DMA engines for streaming data at up to 1600 MB/second through the PCIe interface to off-board storage or additional processing. These linked-list engines offer a unique acquisition Gate Driven mode in which the gate duration determines the transfer length, eliminating the need for pre-set transfer lengths. To simplify post-acquisition analysis of multi-channel data, the DMA engines can automatically construct meta-data packets that contain information such as channel ID, a sample-accurate time stamp and data length.

Integrated Digital Downconverter Cores
Also contained within each of the four Acquisition IP modules is an 8-channel digital downconverter bank. Each DDC bank has its own decimation setting from 16 to 8192, providing a wide range of independent output signal bandwidths. The decimation FIR filter within each bank accepts a unique set of 18-bit user-supplied coefficients for custom channel shaping. Each of the eight DDC channels within a bank can have its own 32-bit tuning-frequency setting and delivers a complex output stream consisting of 24-bit I and 24-bit Q samples.

“The combination of input channel selection, independent decimation controls, and channel bandwidth controls allows quick configuration of the Model 71662 for a wide variety of applications,” said Bob Sgandurra, product manager of Pentek. “In communications monitoring, for instance, the board can be set to continuously examine wide spectral bands for signals of interest on some channels, and use other channels to zoom in on a detected signal for a detailed narrowband view. The 71662’s internal timing bus further expands the module’s applicability by supporting the synchronization of multiple modules for even wider channel counts.”

FPGA Resources Available
The installed Acquisition IP modules in the 71662’s on-board Virtex-6 FPGA allows users to implement their own logic designs. A variety of FPGA sizes are available for the 71662 so that users can obtain as much, or as little, capacity as they need. The SXT devices, for instance, offer up to 2016 DSP slices for applications such as real-time signal demodulation, decoding and forwarding by an UAV monitoring communications in hostile areas. For applications with less-demanding requirements, the lower-cost LXT series is available.

To support custom design in the 71662, Pentek offers the ReadyFlow board support package and the GateFlow FPGA Design Kit. ReadyFlow provides features such as turnkey signal analysis software and a command line interface for controlling the module’s operation in an application program. GateFlow includes all of the board's factory-installed IP as documented source code, as well as a library of other functions so that developers can integrate their own IP with Pentek’s. All data and control paths are accessible within the FPGA.

Thursday 21 April 2011

More than a modem!

Armac launches international website for IQsafeLinkTM
“The success of IQsafeLink™ belongs to the world”, is what Armac thought after the breakthrough of IQsafeLink™ in the Netherlands and Belgium. Launching an international website, was the logical first step.

After invention and development of the first safe and intelligent system for remote control on machine and process control over internet, IQsafeLink quickly won in popularity within the Dutch speaking countries, where Armac Industrial Automation finds her basis. After being elected as Product of the Year 2010 by, an award that boosts innovative products in the field of engineering and industrial automation, the IQsafeLinkTM became a hot item. Advantages, that make the IQsafeLinkTM a unique and essential tool for remotely connecting to machines over internet are (to name a few):
• 24/7 service by specialised engineers from any place where there is internet connection (better service level than your competitor)
• more efficient facilitation of your personnel as they work from any location and less travel expenses of engineers in the (far away) field
• clear and prompt help as lingual barriers and miscommunication are minimalized
• software expert watches remote, so solutions are quicker found, so for the customer there will be less and shorter production stagnation and an increasing capacity

Armac works completely brand independent and IQsafeLinkTM can be used in almost all situations. It works with all PC control systems (incl. MS Windows!) and can use all applications, without installation of these application on the service engineers PC or laptop. There is no extra software necessary! IQsafeLinkTM is simple to implement in any installation and easy to use. And above all … where there is internet … there is connection to a machine anywhere in the world. IQsafeLinkTM is a must have for every professional, service oriented image of your machine constructing company (OEM).

Vision body has new consultant

Dr. John Haddon has been appointed as Technical Consultant for the UK Industrial Vision Association (UKIVA), following the retirement of Don Braggins. John is the founding director of Panther Vision Ltd, which joined the Association towards the end of 2009. John will be the first point of contact for anybody requesting technical advice from the Association, and will contribute articles to the trade and technical press as part of the Association’s continuing objective to raise and maintain awareness of the capabilities of vision technology in manufacturing industry.

Dr J F Haddon
John has over 27 years experience in the development and implementation of leading edge image processing and computer vision techniques and applications, and takes a keen interest in all things related to industrial vision. As an independent consultant and member of the Executive Board of the Vision and Imaging Network of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), he is ideally placed to take on this role.

He has been a visiting Professor at the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing at the University of Surrey and a Visiting Fellow at both Surrey University and the University of Exeter. He became a QinetiQ Fellow in 1999 in recognition of "Outstanding technical contributions in the field of image analyses". John has also been an active member of several international and inter-governmental research committees on behalf of the UK Government, has been a member of technical assessment teams for foreign governments and has worked with multinational businesses both in the UK and overseas. 

John has an excellent pedigree with the written word. He has produced over 100 publications and reports, has contributed to several technical books and has been a reviewer for several learned journals. 

Are you the plant of the year?

HART Communication Foundation seeks nominees for 2011 HART Plant of the Year Award

The HART® Communication Foundation is actively seeking qualified nominees for the 10th annual HART Plant of the Year Award. End users and manufacturers from all world areas are encouraged to enter their plant or customer’s plant for recognition. The HART Plant of the Year is the only international award presented to end user companies in the process automation industry to recognize the exceptional application of HART Communication technology. Nominations will be accepted through 30 June 2011. Nomination forms and details are available on the website .

“Selection of the HART Plant of the Year is based on a plant’s use of HART Communication not on the size of the installation. We are seeking a plant that has taken the capabilities of HART instruments beyond configuration and calibration,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “Or, the plant that is using real-time diagnostics and process variables in HART-enabled devices integrated with control, information, asset management, or safety systems.”

Previous recipients include MOL Danube (Hungary), Mitsubishi Chemical (Japan), PDVSA Petropiar (Venezuela), StatoilHydro (Norway), Sasol Solvents (South Africa), Clariant (Germany), and DuPont (USA). A complete list of recipients and their success stories are available at

Wednesday 20 April 2011

New online shop!

HardwarePT online shop now open for business

HardwarePT has developed an online shop, which brings a selection of popular industrial automation hardware products and accessories to the online world, enabling you to shop with ease for your essential brands.

Products are available under the following headings:
Industrial Computers, 
Remote I/O Modules,
Industrial Networks and 
Industrial Keyboards
Uninterruptable Power Supplies

E-Handbook on Nanoscale electrical measurements

 Keithley Instruments has published an informative e-handbook titled "Ensuring the Accuracy of Nanoscale Electrical Measurements."

The e-handbook is divided into several topic areas:
* Nanotech Testing Challenges
* Electrical Measurement Considerations
* Electrical Noise
* Source-Measure Instruments
* Pulsing Technologies
* Avoiding Self-Heating Problems

In addition to these topics, the e-handbook provides insights on  graphene, the single-atom-thick crystal of carbon, thought by many to be the semiconductor industry's eventual replacement for silicon. A useful glossary of low-level measurement terminology and a guide to selecting instruments suitable for nanotechnology applications are included. In addition, links to a variety of webinars, white papers, and application notes relevant to each topic area are included.

The company is helping advance the state of the art in a growing list of nanotechnology applications. Six decades of experience in designing ultra-sensitive measurement tools allow Keithley to provide university, corporate, and government labs around the world with solutions for investigating new
material and device properties. Keithley partners with organizations like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), leading Nanotechnology Centers of Excellence, customers, and other
leading nanotechnology measurement tool vendors to create more complete nano test solutions. The insight into emerging needs provided by these working partnerships helps Keithley deliver new capabilities faster.

Ultra-fast Iinclusion analysis in steel

Thermo Fisher Scientific has a new ultra-fast method for characterizing steel cleanness by analyzing inclusions using optical emission spectroscopy (OES). The method, which uses the Thermo Scientific Spark-DAT option on the Thermo Scientific ARL 4460 Metals Analyzer, significantly enhances the capabilities of the instrument and offers a faster and more cost-effective alternative to existing methods of characterizing steel cleanness.

Inclusions can affect the properties and the quality of steel, making their control vital. The Spark-DAT option enables steel manufacturers to identify, characterize and count inclusions in only a few seconds, making it highly effective for steel production. The advanced Spark-DAT option features a unique methodology and software technology and offers a range of innovative applications for the characterization of steel cleanness. These applications include the determination of inclusion size and distribution and the quantitative analysis of total oxygen content at concentrations of 30ppm and below in killed steel samples.

The Spark-DAT option offers a range of advantages for steelmaking plants. By enabling the fast determination of steel composition, inclusion characterization and accurate total oxygen content simultaneously on a single OES instrument, initial investment costs are significantly reduced. In addition, as analysis times are almost unchanged compared to standard OES, up to 30 samples can typically be analyzed per hour. The sample and its surface preparation, as well as the instrument maintenance and consumables, are also unchanged, ensuring low operating costs.

The Spark-DAT option on the Thermo Scientific ARL 4460 Metals Analyzer considerably enhances the OES technique and increases the versatility of the spectrometer. From routine use to research, Spark-DAT provides a quick, simple and cost-effective solution for inclusion analysis in the steel industry.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Best distributor for EMEA!

 Chris Godfrey, Farnell’s MRO Segment Manager (left)
& Patrice Jaunasse, Sales Director at Tektronix
Farnell has won the 2010 EMEA High Service Distributor of the Year award from Tektronix, the leading global manufacturer of test measurement and monitoring solutions. The award, presented at Tektronix’s annual executive partner meeting in Paris this week, recognises the outstanding progress that Farnell has achieved over the past 12 months with a 20% increase in sales performance and overall engagement, which outperformed 2009 levels.

Tektronix also noted the successful collaboration between the two companies on element14 – Farnell’s technology portal and eCommunity for electronic design engineers – and its support on new product introductions.

Farnell offers over 160 product lines from Tektronix’s comprehensive range that includes oscilloscopes (including the new MSO/DPO4000B Series), digital multimeters, frequency counter analyzers, power supplies and arbitrary function generators. Comprehensive technical data on all the products, coupled with the discussion forums provided by element14, helps potential users of Tektronix products select the optimum device for their application quickly and easily.

Chris Godfrey, Farnell’s MRO Segment Manager at Farnell said: “The award from Tektronix is a testament to our high service distribution standards and our truly multi-channel approach. We continue to support our customers with not only the latest and best new technologies from our suppliers but also add value with our unique eCommunity, element14, where design engineers around the world collaborate and share best-practice.”

“This award represents a major landmark in the relationship between Tektronix and Farnell,” said Patrice Jaunasse, Sales Director at Tektronix. “Farnell have demonstrated a real multi-channel approach in taking our products to market effectively, and have also successfully expanded their portfolio to include our new mid-range oscilloscopes, which requires them to provide more in-depth technical advice to customers.  We are delighted to present this award to Farnell, in recognition of this achievement.”

DMM for hazardous areas

Easy to use Digital Multimeter allows safe testing of bonding conductors in hazardous areas 

Newson Gale has introduced a new multi-function portable meter to enable engineers and technicians to test bonding and continuity in hazardous areas, in addition to other electrical data collection. The meter (order code ISDMM) is particularly useful for carrying out periodic tests of grounding (earthing) and bonding connectors and conductors, either on permanently bonded equipment or temporary devices such as grounding clamps, cables and reels. The unit is also suitable for testing conductive or semi-conductive hose assemblies used for transfer of flammable or combustible products where it is essential to achieve continuity over the complete hose length, including end-fittings.

In addition to bonding/continuity (resistance), the ISDMM offers several other metering options, including Voltage, Current, Capacitance, and Temperature.

The easy to use unit comes complete with 9V battery, test probes and rugged carry case, and optional extras include a hand-rewind extension reel (30 mtrs / 100ft) and heavy duty crocodile test clips.

The ISDMM is approved according to IECEX (World) and ATEX (European) hazardous area standards and is suitable for use in flammable gas/vapour and combustible dust atmospheres. The unit may be used in outdoor or indoor locations, is water and dust tight (IP67 / NEMA 6) and has a maximum operational temperature rating of 50 deg C (122 deg F).

The ISDMM forms part of the Cen-Stat range of static grounding and bonding equipment available from Newson Gale. For more information contact your local office or in-country distributor.

E-learning thermography!

Fluke has an e-learning programme specifically designed for the use of thermography in building diagnostics. The programme can be purchased online or is free of charge to purchasers of a new Fluke Thermal Imaging Camera designed for building diagnostics. The programme consists of 13 training modules, valued at £300 (ca€345) Fluke TiR and TiS thermal imagers are supplied with a voucher which can be used online to activate the course. The training content has been developed in association with experienced building diagnostic thermographers at Fluke’s training partner, Infrared Building Solutions.

In order to enable customers to make the fastest start into the world of infrared thermal imaging of buildings, Fluke is now offering purchasers of buildings diagnostic cameras an exciting and unique way of learning how to use their new camera for a range of applications. Leak tracing? Energy assessments? Roof surveys? Plumbing and heating diagnostics? All these and more are covered in this new e-learning programme. Purchasers of a Fluke TiS camera or one from the range of TiR cameras from a Fluke authorised distributor will be provided with a voucher which enables them to log immediately into an easy-to-use, on-line training system as soon as they open the camera case. This allows them to start working effectively straight away.

Once logged in, purchasers can benefit from the series of 13 training modules. The different modules will take anywhere from 10 minutes to 1 hour maximum. Each module can be taken whenever and wherever it is convenient, and a key advantage is that users can study at their own pace. In total, if users choose to take all the modules, the programme runs for approximately four and a half hours. All modules are practically focused on how to be safe, effective and efficient in the real world of building diagnostics. In addition to covering a full range of applications such as those mentioned above, subjects ranging from “Marketing Infrared Thermography and Getting a Return on Investment” to “Standards and Regulations” and “Software and Report Writing” are covered, helping the Fluke camera buyer to grow his or her business as well as capture and interpret high quality images.

For those users that want the full hands-on training experience, Fluke is offering a number of one day training courses in thermography for building applications

Marketing of wireless standard

Founder and CEO of  GreenPeak Technologies, Cees Links, has been named as the Marketing Chair of ZigBee RF4CE. As Marketing Chair, Mr. Links is responsible for developing and coordinating the worldwide market acceptance of the ZigBee RF4CE wireless standards into set-top boxes, remote controls, television sets and other consumer electronics and home entertainment systems.

Cees Links
"Getting Cees Links as a member of our team is a real coup," said Mr. Bob Heile, Chairman of the ZigBee Alliance. "There are few in the electronics industry who have the experience we need to evangelize our standards and drive their adoption into the consumer electronics market."

"ZigBee RF4CE is the specification created especially to control consumer electronics products," explains Cees. "Currently being rolled out worldwide, ZigBee RF4CE is a real step forward for entertainment control. No more wires, no more infrared, no more point and shoot thanks to more sophisticated home entertainment devices."

Recognized as a pioneer of the wireless data industry, Cees Links is a visionary leader dedicated to bringing together the world of mobile computing and continuous networking. Under his responsibility, the first wireless LANs were developed which ultimately became Wi-Fi, the ubiquitous household technology now integrated into the most of the world's notebooks, mobile computing devices, and smart phones. Cees has been involved in the establishment of the IEEE 802.11 standardization committee and the Wi-Fi Alliance. He was also instrumental in helping to establish the IEEE 802.15 standardization committee that is the base for all ZigBee specifications and standards.

Cees created the right vision for wireless LANs and saw it through to a complete success for Wi-Fi. He will do the same to make ZigBee RF4CE equally successful.

High-speed PCI express digitizer

AdlinkTechnology has released the PCIe-9842, their PCI Express digitizer providing an impressive 200 MS/s sampling rate of 14 bits of data across one channel. The PCIe-9842 is specifically designed for applications such as light detection and ranging (LIDAR) tests, optical fiber tests, and radar signal acquisition. Its 100 MHz bandwidth analog input is designed to receive ±1V high-speed signals with 50 Ω impedance. With this simplified front-end design and highly stable onboard reference, the PCIe-9842 provides not only high-accuracy measurement results but also delivers high-dynamic performance.

For applications that require data to be acquired and transferred in real-time, the PCIe-9842 is designed on the PCI Express x4 bus interface to provide adequate bandwidth for real-time transfers. As the signal is converted from analog to digital, the data will be transferred directly and continuously at a sustained 400 MB/s rate to the host system memory. End-users will further benefit from a typical dynamic performance that includes a 11.3 effective number of bits (ENOBs) and a 70 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) with an input frequency of a 10 MHz sine wave.

“The benefits of PCIe-9842’s exceptional dynamic characteristics will be especially evident in radar signal acquisition, high-speed RF spectrum monitoring, and optical signal detection applications,” stated Catherine Wu, Product Director at ADLINK. “We designed the PCIe-9842 as a cost and feature optimized solution to provide our customers with an ideal digitizer solution.”

Adlink not only provides legacy drivers for users to develop using Microsoft C++ and Visual Basic, but also a task-oriented driver (DAQPilot) to accelerate the development cycle. Express VIs and Polymorphic Vis for the PCIe-9842 also provide a quick and simple way to operate the digitizer in LabVIEW®.

Monday 18 April 2011

At automotive show

Pickering Interfaces has continued to regularly release new products in both the LXI and the PXI platforms tackling the problems faced by our users in the Automotive industry. For the Automotive Testing Expo show in Stuttgart (D) in May this year they are exhibiting amongst others the following solutions/products on their stand (1969, Hall 1).

BIRST Modules (Built-In Relay Self Test) for PXI/LXI Applications
Verification and diagnosis of complex switching operation in a test system has always been an issue. For this reason, Pickering Interfaces has developed a new, first range of modules introducing built in self-test to selected models of their PXI and LXI switching modules. This feature is called Pickering Interfaces BIRST, Built in Relay Self Test

The BIRST tool allows the user to very easily check relay operation in a switching solution without the aid of external test equipment.. BIRST will identify any relay failures in the switch module and is capable of detecting relays with deteriorating contacts which may indicate they are in the process of failing. To conduct a test the user simply disconnects the switching module from the UUT and runs the supplied application program. No supporting test equipment is needed; the test simply runs and identifies the position of any defective or suspect relays within the module. They will show various PXI and LXI products with BIRST at the event.

New Battery Simulator
They have also expanded the range of our customer focused PXI instrumentation modules with the introduction of the 41-752 Battery Simulator. The 41-752 is an addition to Pickering’s family of battery simulators

The recently introduced 41-752 is used by automotive customers to test battery management systems for electric vehicles.

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

Fault Insertion Modules and Chassis
The company has a broad number of PXI modules specifically designed to support fault simulation applications.

The 40-192 is a 6 channel fault insertion switch with two fault busses capable of hot switching signals up to 10A and 200V. The 40-191 uses the same architecture but is capable of switching signals of 30A, 40V and handling surge currents in excess of 120A with no lifetime degradation. Each module is capable of simulating the most common faults found in a system - open circuits and shorts circuits to one of two fault connections. The fast switching speeds ensure the modules can be used to simulate transient fault conditions.

Fault simulation is widely used in the process of testing controllers that are required to respond to sensor readings. These include engine management systems, transmission controllers and suspension systems. These systems are often safety critical, so it is essential to check their response to common sensor errors - such as short circuits, open circuits and damaged sensors - to ensure they do not cause unwanted reaction by the control system. A critical example might include the inadvertent shut down of an engine in response to a single sensor failure. Using Pickering Interfaces range of PXI fault insertion products users can develop automated methods of testing controllers, allowing more thorough and reproducible testing to be performed at the design and upgrade phase of controller development.

High voltage controller & manager! (including video)

Linear Technology Corporation introduces the LTC4000, a high voltage controller and power manager that converts virtually any externally compensated DC/DC power supply into a full-featured battery charger. The LTC4000 is capable of driving typical DC/DC converter topologies, including buck, boost, buck-boost, SEPIC and flyback. The device offers precision input and charge current regulation and operates across a wide 3V to 60V input and output voltage range, compatible with a variety of different input voltage sources, battery stacks and chemistries. Typical applications include high power battery charger systems, high performance portable instruments, battery back-up systems, industrial battery-equipped devices and notebook/subnotebook computers.

The LTC4000 features an intelligent PowerPath topology that preferentially provides power to the system load when input power is limited. The LTC4000 controls external PFETs to provide low loss reverse current protection, efficient charging and discharging of the battery and instant-on operation to ensure that system power is available at plug-in even with a dead or deeply discharged battery External sense resistors and precision sensing enable accurate currents at high efficiency, allowing the LTC4000 to work with converters that span the power range from milliwatts to kilowatts.

The LTC4000’s full-featured controller charges a variety of battery chemistries including lithium-ion/polymer/phosphate, sealed lead acid (SLA), and nickel-based. The device also provides charge status indicators through its FLT and CHRG pins. Other features of the battery charger include: ±0.2% programmable float voltage, selectable timer or C/X current termination, temperature-qualified charging using an NTC thermistor, automatic recharge, C/10 trickle charge for deeply discharged cells and bad battery detection.

The LTC4000 is housed in a low profile (0.75mm) 28-pin 4mm x 5mm QFN package and a 28-lead SSOP package.

Below is a film of a pdf presentation providing further information on the product!

Significent potential savings..

Study confirms significant potential savings through PROFIenergy

A study by the Institute for Automation & Industrial IT, (Koeln University of Applied Sciences, D), confirms potential savings of 50% or more during idle phases as a result of PROFIenergy. Up to now hardly any empirical values and only limited comprehensive data were available on the relationship between energy consumption and operating modes, especially with regard to idle times. Measurements taken as part of the study were intended to provide clarity and actual figures.

Initial analyses and measurements were completed on production lines at the Daimler factory in Sindelfingen and the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles factory in Hannover. The behavior of the overall plant and its components were analysed with respect to load curve, load distribution, and pause durations, among other things. In addition, the influence of operating modes on energy consumption was analyzed, and pauses were analyzed with respect to frequency and duration. In addition to planned pauses and idle times, unplanned pauses were also recorded and their relevance determined. With up to 15 different measuring points, it was possible to record typical load curves in the plant from the main incoming supply to individual consumers and to determine characteristic values.

Specific examples taken from the measured results indicate the energy savings potential realized by using PROFIenergy. In some production areas, the potential savings were in excess of 50%. During the analysis it became clear that unplanned pauses, amounting to about 60%, can also be utilized, because even short pauses of 3 to 5 minutes are relevant for use of PROFIenergy. These pauses represent significant savings potential that can be exploited with clever use of PROFIenergy to signficantly reduce energy consumption.

The first PROFIenergy pilot applications are currently undergoing testing at multiple user sites.