Saturday, March 12, 2011

New member for automation body!

The Automation Federation (AF) and the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) recently signed a memorandum of membership initiating CABA as one of the newest members of the Automation Federation.

AF is an association of member organizations providing awareness, programs, and services that continually advance all facets of the automation profession. AF serves as the “Voice of Automation” by providing advocacy and industry-wide strategic analysis and coordination through its member organizations. AF recognizes the importance of bringing like-minded organizations together to create a stronger “Voice” that represents the whole profession, including the home and building automation sector.

CABA, an international, nonprofit industry association dedicated to the advancement of intelligent home and intelligent building technologies, is supported by nearly 400 companies involved in the design, manufacture, installation and retailing of products relating to home automation and building automation.

Through its membership in AF, CABA will work with AF and the other AF member organizations to collaborate on educational improvements; new technology, recommended and best practices, and standards development and promotion; and dedication to improving the working environment of the automation profession.

 “CABA is absolutely gratified to be entering into an agreement with the Automation Federation,” stated Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA president and CEO. “We believe that this agreement will lay the foundations for a strong alliance within the wider automation industry and represent a significant milestone toward enhancing industry productivity, progress and profitability.”

“The Automation Federation is glad to welcome CABA as one of our newest members. We look forward to working together to advance the home and building automation sector and the automation profession as a whole," stated Mike Marlowe, managing director of the Automation Federation. "Together, our organizations can further our common objectives to promote the Automation Competency Model, advance the automation profession and advocate the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education for our youth."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pressure transmitter with flush Connection

Baumer’s pressure transmitter PBMN features a flush connection available in several standard dimensions such as G½ and G1. Due to its full stainless steel construction without elastomer seals the PBMN is highly resistant to a wide range of media. Moreover, the flush connection ensures that no residues of the measured medium remain inside the process connection. This makes the PBMN particularly suitable for pressure measurement in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The PBMN is the high-end transmitter in the modular PB series and can be adjusted to the individual requirements of customers from these industries.

The PBMN with flush connection covers measuring ranges from -100…100 mbar to 0…400 bar and is available in accuracy classes of 0.1 % F.S., 0.25 % F.S., and 0.5 % F.S. The rugged pressure transmitter offers active temperature compensation and can be used in media temperatures from -40…+150 °C when using the optional cooling neck. This makes it particularly qualified for applications requiring accuracy over a wide temperature range. Furthermore, the PBMN is very resistant against vibration, shocks, and bumps. Depending on the connection type, it complies with protection class IP65 or IP67.

The total combined error of the PBMN amounts to < 0.4 % F.S. Its long-term stability is 0.1 % F.S. Selectable output signals include 4…20 mA as well as different types of voltage. With Baumer’s programming device FlexProgrammer 9701, the PBMN can be configured both from a PC workstation and on site.

New faster natural gas analyser

Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced the new Thermo Scientific C2V-200 micro GC gas analyser, designed for rapid analysis of natural gas composition. The C2V-200 micro GC gas analyzer is used both inside laboratories and on-line, offering improved performance at a reduced cost. The unique compact cartridge design and integrated microchip technology in the analyzer make it easier to use with greater control and productivity. Theywill showcase the new C2V-200 micro GC gas analyzer within Thermo Scientific distributor booth 3725 during Pittcon 2011, being held March 13-18, in Atlanta (GA US).

Natural resource scarcity is creating higher demand for faster and more reliable analyzers. The C2V-200 micro GC increases productivity by accurately analyzing the calorific value of natural gas, providing reliable results in seconds. Based on proprietary Thermo Scientific micro GC technology, the core of C2V-200 is a unique cartridge, the size of a credit card. It includes an injection system, column and detector in a highly compact, more efficient gas analyzer that reduces maintenance costs and consumes less gas. Exchangeable column cartridges can be easily installed for flexible configuration and ease of use.

Enhancements in temperature control allow the micro GC columns to be programmed with a speed of 240ºC per minute for the analysis of a wider range of components. An integrated stream selector for auto calibration provides excellent, on-line, reliable analytical results. The C2V-200 micro GC is delivered with dedicated instrument control and data handling software to run on a system, generating rapid results from the time the C2V-200 is installed. Reporting is available in compliance with current ISO, ASTM and GPA methods.

EDDL enhancements supported

HART Communication Foundation supports latest enhancements to Electronic Device Description Language  Standard

The HART® Communication Foundation has announced that supports for the latest enhancements to Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) incorporated in the second edition of the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 61804-3 standard. EDDL is the key industry standard for integrating real-time diagnostic and asset management information from millions of intelligent field devices for optimum data and device interoperability with automation systems.

“The latest improvements to the EDDL standard benefit users throughout the process automation industry. Devices continue to get more sophisticated and EDDL makes them easier to use, transforming data into information so users can take full advantage of intelligent instrumentation,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “The EDDL standard delivers unparalleled ease of use, stability and backward compatibility for industrial automation – ensuring that existing DDs are protected and users have a continuous forward migration path with no investment loss.”

Recent improvements to the EDDL standard enhance the integration of intelligent devices with automation systems, specifically:
• support for offline configuration with default parameter values suggested by the device manufacturer to simplify and speed device commissioning;
• support for Unicode character sets, enabling parameter labels, diagnostics, and device manufacturer expert help text to be displayed in many different languages including Chinese, Japanese, Russian, etc.;
• ability to display all device diagnostics and setup information with rich user friendly graphics for easier and faster completion of commissioning and maintenance tasks;
• new capabilities to support the display of illustrations based in user preferred language, such as images with explaining text to convey know-how from the manufacturer for help in the interpretation of advanced diagnostics, guide setup and for troubleshooting.

A key element of the HART Communication Protocol since 1990, EDDL is the HART standard and the only technology endorsed by the HART Communication Foundation for configuration, set-up, maintenance and support of HART-enabled devices. With these new enhancements: the EDDL standard remains backward compatible and stable for the long life cycle needs of industrial automation; installed devices and systems remain compatible; EDDL files load and perform on systems in the same way; and updates continue without the problems of executable software.

EDDL is a text-based language standard to describe the unique characteristics of intelligent field devices for integration with systems. The HART Communication Protocol was the first to implement EDDL, enabling suppliers to define their products in a single, open and consistent format readable by the multitude of host applications required by industry including handheld communicators, control systems, PCs and other process interface devices.

Power over Ethernet capability added to industrial Ethernet switch family

The Harting Ha-VIS 4000 family of industrial Ethernet switches has been extended to include Power over Ethernet capability, allowing devices such as cameras and wireless access points to be integrated quickly and easily into an industrial network.

In addition to offering simplified installation through the use of one cable for Ethernet and power, the availability of both unmanaged and managed switches enables users to access two operating modes: plug and play when using the unmanaged Ha-VIS eCon 4080-BPoE1 and plug and play including application-specific configuration of the PoE functions with the managed Ha-VIS mCon 4080-BPoE1V.

Thanks to the managed PoE switches, individual PoE devices can be booted up or shut down via a Web interface or SNMP without having to reset the entire network. This reduces waiting times and increases network availability.

The Ethernet switches incorporate a vibration-tested M12 interface and are designed for an extended temperature range from -40° to +70°C. They meet the requirements of the EN 50155 and EN 50121-3-2 standards.

Testing for space missions

Yokogawa oscilloscopes and ScopeCorder help European Space Agency to test high-power laser diodes for space missions

The European Space Agency (ESA) is using Yokogawa digital oscilloscopes, including the recently launched DL850 ScopeCorder, at its European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk (NL) to carry out key evaluation tests on different high-power laser systems for use on space satellites.

Typical laser system applications in space include precision range measurements, radar-like 'lidar' systems to gather a complete picture of surface terrain or three-dimensional samplings of planetary atmospheres, and laser-based space communications with high bandwidth and minimal electromagnetic interference.

ESTEC is the largest ESA research centre in Europe, and is responsible for developing and managing all types of space missions for scientific exploration, satellite-based navigation and communication, and earth observation purposes. It operates an environmental test centre for spacecraft, with supporting engineering laboratories specialised in systems engineering, components and materials, including an opto-electronics laboratory focusing on the performance verification of active optical instruments, including high-power laser systems and components of solid-state lasers

The laboratory includes a Class 10,000 (ISO 7) clean room, two fully equipped optoelectronics laboratories designed for the operation of Class 4 laser systems (defined as powerful enough to burn skin, cause permanent eye damage or ignite flammable material), workshop and storage rooms. It has the equipment necessary to measure the optical spectrum, beam profile, power and energy, stability and modulation response, in free space as well as optical fibres.

The Yokogawa test equipment - initially a DL6154 oscilloscope which is currently being supplemented by a DL850 ScopeCorder - is used specifically to complement test set-ups developed for investigating laser-induced contamination or endurance testing on laser diodes used as pump sources for solid-state lasers.

These tests involve the recording of large amounts of data over considerable periods of time: several weeks or even months in some cases.

The key electrical parameters involved in the tests are voltage and current in well-controlled environmental conditions. Moreover, for endurance testing, the instruments need to be able to automatically detect and store very short and intermittent transient events such as current spikes.

In addition, the DL6154 is used to monitor the pulse shape of an injection seeded high power solid state laser used in the context of laser induced contamination and damage experiments. This equipment has proven to be able to successfully detect the intra-pulse modulation at laser output occurring when the seeding mechanism is not effective, and therefore gives reliable and crucial information on the laser behaviour.

The evaluation of the measured parameters and environmental conditions must be correlated with the optical performance of the test specimen: specifically the output power profile.

The ESTEC team selected the Yokogawa equipment as a result of previous experience with other Yokogawa products, and because of the applications knowledge and proactive support provided by Yokogawa engineers. Another important point was the instruments' ability to observe high-speed physical phenomena and to review historical data over a long period of time, along with their compatibility with NI Labview software for subsequent analysis of the data.

The ESTEC team are currently in the process of expanding their Yokogawa test set-up with the addition of new voltage, current and temperature modules for the DL850 ScopeCorder.

Redefining trending!

MatrikonOPC Analytics redefines trending with Easy Trender™

MatrikonOPC™ has released Easy Trender ™, a user-friendly tool that allows users to quickly and easily visualize process and equipment data. Easy Trender extends the popular MatrikonOPC Analytics™ line of software that provides engineers and technicians with simple industrial reporting and trending.

From small data archives to massive ones, MatrikonOPC Analytics Easy Trender simplifies the task of creating and working with ad-hoc trends, replacing data-overload with valuable insights.
Engineers can organize important tags, trends and timestamps in a Workspace, avoiding the need to continuously save and search for files.

"When we spoke to customers, we found that many were frustrated with existing trending packages.   Usability and universal data access were the primary concerns. Many existing tools were too difficult to use, tied to specific systems, or only accessible through remote workstations. Easy Trender allows front-line problem solvers quick and easy access to all process and equipment data right on the desktop. Easy Trender truly simplifies the trending experience," said Mustafa Al-Mosawi, MatrikonOPC Analytics Product Manager.

Some key MatrikonOPC Analytics Easy Trender features and benefits are:
• View up to 25 trends simultaneously in Dashboard Overview for easy side-by-side visualization of key information
• Organize trends, tags and timestamps in intuitive Workspaces to isolate and group key data together in one place
• Use popular trending formats like Strip-chart, X-Y, Histogram, SPC, Single-Y, Multi-Y and Multi-X plots to best represent your data in the right context

Copper mine development in Peru

ABB automation takes copper mining to new heights in Peru

ABB is delivering a range of automation and power solutions for the Toromocho copper mine in Peru, one of the largest undeveloped copper deposits in the world. The solutions include a mine-wide electrical package integrated with a System 800xA process control system, and the largest, most powerful gearless mill drives in the world – all engineered to operate at the unprecedented altitude of 4,600 meters above sea level.

Owned by Chinalco, China’s leading mining company, Toromocho is a previously undeveloped polymetallic deposit that is set to produce one million tons of copper concentrate a year when production starts in 2013.

Situated in the ore-rich Morococha mining district of the western Andes, Toromocho contains an estimated 7.3 million tons of copper and 4.7 million tons of molybdenum, silver and other metals. The mine’s location - 4,600 meters above sea level in an area vulnerable to frequent seismic activity – places exceptional demands on the site’s electrical and process equipment.

ABB is playing a principal role in the mine’s development, having won three contracts worth around $100 million in total from Chinalco and its engineering, procurement and construction contractor, Aker Solutions. Toromocho will boost the copper output of Peru, the world’s second largest copper producing nation, by 25 percent. Throughput at the mine’s three mills will be 117,000 tons of ore a day.

ABB’s scope of supply includes three complete gearless mill drive (GMD) systems, as well as mine-wide electrification and process control solutions integrated on its flagship Extended Automation System 800xA.

The three GMDs will be the largest such systems operating anywhere in the world and at the highest altitude. One system will be installed on a 40-foot SAG (semi-autogenous) mill with a power rating of 28 megawatts (MW); the other two will drive 28-foot ball mills with power ratings of 22 MW.

GMDs are the heart of the mining process. They power the huge cylindrical drums that break and grind the ore into smaller pieces for further processing. The larger the mill, the more ore it can grind. ABB is constantly extending the engineering boundaries for GMDs by raising the power rating and enabling mill diameters and productivity to increase, while keeping energy consumption low and power quality at the required high levels.

In addition to the GMDs, ABB was also awarded the contracts for mine-wide electrification and process control. The ability to provide equipment and solutions that are engineered and certified for operation at unprecedentedly high altitudes and able to withstand high levels of seismic activity was a key factor behind ABB’s selection. ABB recently won an order to supply a GMD system for the world’s first 42-foot SAG mill, and has designs in place for 44-foot SAG mills with power ratings of up to 35 MW

The electrification solution includes 23 kilovolt (kV) gas insulated switchgear combined with ABB’s uniquely fast-acting Is-Limiter switching device. Is-Limiter protects the mine’s power distribution system by limiting high short-circuit currents and enabling the use of switchgear with a lower breaking capacity for a more economical solution.

In addition, the scope includes 4.16 kV and 380 V switchgear and motor control centers together with medium and low voltage variable speed drives - all of which are housed in containerized, modular electrical rooms - as well as unit substations and distribution transformers.

The entire production process at Toromocho will be controlled by ABB’s flagship process automation platform, Extended Automation System 800xA, and industry-leading ABB Minerals process control library for bulk mineral industries.

System 800xA provides advanced operation of, and information from, all parts of the plant, enabling real-time visibility into the process and rapid response to potential problems. Its unique integrative capability provides access to, and visibility of, all plant systems, and enables Chinalco to easily integrate the site’s electrical equipment with the process control system. The solution is also equipped with a remote monitoring capability, enabling ABB to perform remote troubleshooting and maintenance.

ABB’s global track-record as a single-source supplier of power and automation solutions to the mining industry, along with its comprehensive life cycle support capability in Peru, were also instrumental in Chinalco and Aker Solutions choosing ABB.

Total enterprise quality

Aegis Software and MetricStream Partner to Deliver Total Enterprise Quality Management
 The joint solution will provide manufacturing companies a single quality management solution from the production lines through the business office workflows and into the executive office.

Aegis Software is partnering with MetricStream, market leader in enterprise-wide Governance, Risk, Compliance (GRC) and Quality Management solutions, to deliver a unique and comprehensive solution for total quality management across a manufacturing enterprise. The solution combines Aegis’ shop-floor and process-level quality system with MetricStream’s solutions for CAPA, regulatory compliance, supplier quality and enterprise-wide quality management and assurance. The two industry leaders will combine their expertise, knowledge and experience to help manufacturing companies improve quality and productivity, resolve issues proactively, and enhance operational visibility.

“This partnership is about two market leaders with proven credentials coming together to deliver integrated and innovative solutions for manufacturing companies,” says Jason Spera, Chief Executive Officer, at Aegis. “Aegis focuses on managing, optimizing, monitoring, and tracing the entire scope of manufacturing processes, while MetricStream specializes in optimizing quality processes and streamlining quality management across the enterprise. The combination gives manufacturers true top-to-bottom quality control and visibility from the executive office to the processes on the factory floor.”

“We are delighted to partner with Aegis and look forward to combining our solution strengths to provide additional value for manufacturing operations,” says Gaurav Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer at MetricStream. “With MetricStream and Aegis teaming up, manufacturing companies can truly gain the best of both worlds with an integrated solution.”

Today, manufacturers are under tremendous pressure to improve operational speed and agility. At the same time, they have to ensure that their products are of the highest quality, complying with standards such as ISO 9000. This can be extremely challenging as products become more complex, customer demands increase and business operations expand to new corners of the world.

MetricStream and Aegis will deliver solutions that are designed to overcome these challenges. Aegis solutions are targeted at improving productivity through a range of sophisticated functions – data acquisition and visualization, process tracking and control, quality analysis, document management, reporting and material traceability. Aegis software is built upon a CAD-intelligent backbone, enabling rich, in-depth analysis of each product. Additional features including real-time data dashboards and interactive multimedia will enable manufacturers to accelerate operational speed and agility, while maintaining control.

MetricStream’s Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA), Non-Conformance Management (NCM) and Supplier Quality Management solutions ensure that quality management processes are streamlined and companies can demonstrate compliance to various regulatory standards and industry requirements.

Built on an integrated platform, these solutions streamline quality management across suppliers, operations, business units, departments and geographies. In the process, operational silos can be broken down in favor of enterprise-wide collaboration. The system helps identify quality process and nonconformance issues, and then manages the workflow and collaboration of the investigation and remedial cycle. Powerful capabilities including centralized dashboards, reporting tools and risk maps provide in-depth visibility and information on the Quality Management process. Embedded best practices, automated workflows and alerts make the entire process predictable, thus enabling manufacturers to stay ahead of quality demands.

Cutting force training

Following the highly successful Cutting Force training course held at Trinity College, University of Dublin (IRL) last year, Kistler are holding similar one day event in association with Birmingham University (GB) on the 11th May 2011. The full day course will cover all the fundamentals of Cutting Force measurement in both classroom and workshop sessions to ensure that the benefits of using Dynamometer systems are fully utilised in both production and academic environments. The course programme is attached.

The guest speaker will be Dr Garret O’Donnell who was a main speaker at the Dublin course and is a leading authority on high performance machining in automotive and aerospace applications.
Click on image to read course programme

The one-day Cutting Force training course fee is £150 per industrial delegate and £100 per academic delegate. Group rates are available on request. The course fee includes all materials, lunch and refreshments.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Force and scales for 175 years

The Chatillon brand has just celebrated its 175th anniversary. The original Chatillon company was founded in 1835 by John Chatillon as ‘John Chatillon & Sons, Inc’ to manufacture weighing scales products, and has enjoyed a rich and varied history. Since 1997 it has been part of AMETEK.

Currently, Chatillon products include force gauges, torque gauges, ergonomic gauges, force testers and test stands, materials testers, and force and torque sensors for use in a variety of applications and industries where accurate, quantitative results are required. These, together with Lloyd Instruments materials testing machines, are manufactured in Largo (FL US).  AMETEK is still today also an important manufacturer of Chatillon weighing scales for a wide variety of uses.

Although famous for its scales and force measurement products, the company also manufactured high quality cutlery and military knives between 1900 and the late 1950s, including Foster Brothers’ cutlery, once one of the world's foremost names in professional cutlery for chefs and the meat-cutting trade.

The Chatillon brand has enjoyed an enviable reputation for technical innovation, and in 1930 developed an iso-elastic alloy for use in scale springs.  This made it possible to have true temperature-compensated springs in weighing devices and this led to the introduction of the legal-for-trade spring scale. In 1940, the company adapted its scale technology to produce force measurement devices and then in turn used this force measurement technology in 1992 to develop ergonomic gauges for use by the medical profession in physical therapy and ergonomics.

The natural synergy of force measurement and materials testing was harnessed in 1991, when the company became the distributor in the USA of the Lloyd Instruments range of materials testing machines. Both force testers and materials testing equipment can be used for tensile, compression, shear, friction and flexural testing. A force tester is ideal for basic force measurement applications such as peak loads and extension, while a material testing machine uses precision loadcells for more precise measurements. Chatillon force and weighing products are sold worldwide through a number AMETEK sales offices and an international distributor network.

Wireless sensor network platform expands!

National Instruments has two new products that extend the communication and measurement capabilities of the NI wireless sensor network (WSN) platform. The new NI 9792 is a programmable WSN gateway that can communicate with NI WSN measurement nodes as well as other hardware through a variety of open communication standards. The gateway combines an NI LabVIEW Real-Time controller and an integrated WSN radio so that LabVIEW Real-Time applications can run locally on the gateway to aggregate data from NI WSN devices, making the NI 9792 ideal for embedded, wireless data-logging applications. Additionally, the new NI WSN-3226 voltage/resistance temperature detector (RTD) combination node extends the measurement capabilities of the NI WSN platform to include support for resistance-based measurements such as RTDs and potentiometers and provides engineers and scientists the ability to combine voltage and temperature measurements on a single NI WSN device.

NI WSN products are ideal for long-term data logging and remote monitoring in the following applications:
– Environmental monitoring
– Energy monitoring
– Building monitoring
– Structural health monitoring
– Distributed temperature monitoring
– Transportation
– Industrial monitoring
The NI 9792 gateway, which is programmable with the LabVIEW Real-Time Module for stand-alone operation, features a high-performance 533 MHz processor and 2 GB of onboard storage for embedded data-logging applications. The new gateway also features integrated Web (HTTP) and file (FTP) servers, which makes it possible for remote access to measurement data from thin client devices such as smartphones and mobile computers. The NI 9792 includes an RS232 serial port and dual Ethernet ports to provide flexible connectivity to other devices such as enterprise-level networks or wired I/O systems. With this flexibility, engineers and scientists can create a complete wired and wireless measurement solution to meet various application needs.

The new WSN-3226 measurement node adds resistance-based measurements to the NI WSN platform and features four analog input channels that can be configured on a per-channel basis for ±10 V measurements or resistive measurements. The new measurement node provides engineers and scientists the flexibility to choose between high-speed and high-resolution analog input modes on the device, optimizing the power and performance trade-offs for their applications. The WSN-3226 also features two bidirectional digital channels that can be configured on a per-channel basis for input, sinking output or sourcing output. Additionally, the measurement node can be powered by four AA batteries, with an operational lifetime of up to three years, or externally powered with a 5 to 30 V supply, which offers improved efficiency for energy harvesting applications.

Using the LabVIEW WSN Module Pioneer, engineers and scientists can customize the behavior of the WSN-3226 by adding intelligence to extend battery life, increase analog and digital input performance, perform local control, analysis and data reduction and interface with custom sensors. Additionally, the latest version of NI WSN software, NI WSN 1.2, provides support for WSN-3226, along with other features including faster firmware updates, more accurate data timestamping and automatic I/O variable deployment. The software also delivers Web-based configuration of the NI 9792 gateway, eliminating the need for application software to configure and set up a WSN.

Sweet deal for American sugar!

Siemens has been awarded a contract to equip the biggest sugar refinery operating in North America with electrical and control technology. The plant, which is currently under construction in Gramercy, (LA US), will be owned and operated by Louisiana Sugar Refining (LSR), a joint venture set up with Sugar Growers and Refiners, Cargill and Imperial Sugar Company. The refinery is due to start production in September 2011, producing a million tons of sugar every year.

The Siemens Industry Automation Division will be supplying a wide range of electrical and control system components for the refinery. The contract will include the Simatic PCS 7 distributed control system, valve positioners, switchgear, smart motor control centers, Sinamics centrifugal drives and NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) certified motors. Added to this will be numerous software templates used to optimize the sugar refining process.

Siemens comes with a decades of experience in supplying automation equipment to the food industry, having successfully completed numerous large-scale projects. The company’s involvement with the sugar industry goes back as far as the 1960s. Its in-depth knowledge of the industry and the comprehensive portfolio of solutions and components offered by the Industry Automation Division played an instrumental role in finalizing the agreement.

“Apart from Siemens general experience in the sugar industry, we were won over by concrete aspects of their bid such as their crystallization process control strategy and general automation control concept. Working in cooperation with Siemens, we will make this plant the most technologically advanced sugar refinery in the United States", says LSR Plant Manager Jack Thompson.

“Our control methods and components for optimizing sugar production will help LSR achieve a sustainable improvement in its competitive position” says Prof. Michael Bruns, Head of Process Automation for the Siemens Industry Automation Division. “Our many years of experience in this industry mean that we are ideally placed to supply precisely tailored automation solutions. These are designed to allow our customers to produce more sugar per unit of time, to a higher and more consistent standard of quality, and consequently at reduced cost."

Sunlight readable displays for explosion-protected HMI systems

The displays of conventional HMI
systems show a distinct glare
in strong sunlight (top), while
innovative displays ensure
much better readability(middle)
The PC-based, explosion-protected operating systems from Stahl's Open HMI series can now, on request, be fitted with innovative 15" displays that reduce glare and reflections to a minimum. The displays of these models can be read easily even in bright sunlight, since a filter pack effectively diverts even strong incoming ambient light. The new solution is based on a very effective combination of polarisation filters placed on top of and behind one another in front of the display.

Many important operating and monitoring tasks are carried out at HMI systems installed outdoors. This can only be done safely and easily if the displays do not reflect ambient light too strongly. Thanks to the new solution, bulky canopies that were supposed to give shade but in practice hardly did so to a sufficient degree are no longer necessary.

High Brightness displays, which caused thermal problems in explosion-protected systems in particular and which were similarly useless against glare, are also no longer necessary, as the new package does not require particularly bright LEDs. Unlike any standard filters used so far, this filter pack hardly affects the image display for viewers: although the sunlight readable displays can be adjusted to up to 1,000 cd/m², they are already easily readable even in direct sunlight with a luminescence of 700 to 800 cd/m².

Certified for hazardous gas and dust explosion zones 1, 21, 2 and 22, the Open HMIs are fitted with low-energy CPUs from the Intel Atom series and consist of explosion-protected modules. These touchscreen systems can be operated in rugged environments and even at continuously extreme ambient temperatures between -30 °C and +50 °C. Numerous international certifications ensure suitability for various applications in a wide range of industries, such as the oil and gas sector, package units and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Manufacturing information systems seminar

The ISA Ireland seminar "Manufacturing Information Systems" promises to be an enlightening afternoon with contributors having both a practical and acedemic knowledge of the subject.

The seminar is very much aimed at the users of MIS, rather than the vendors. We have deliberately restricted speakers to users from industry rather than integrators or vendors, and our speakers will present actual end user problems and triumphs. Not sales presentations.

We want to ensure that it will provide an opportunity for automation users to network and see what other sites are doing. Its purpose is to try and show where the industry is going, how different manufacturing facilities are positioning themselves and the way that process information is being collected, packaged and used.

Attendance is free, once people have pre-registered. Registration on
Scheduled for Tuesday 12th April at Cork's Rochestown Park Hotel the event starts with Barry Lawlor of Janssen Biologics speaking on the Development and Roll-out of a core MES Solution across the J & J Global Pharmaceutical Supply Group. Barry joined Johnson & Johnson in 2005, as a Senior Automation Engineer, where he worked in partnership with Global Engineering to deliver the control system infrastructure and support mechanisms for the Centocor greenfield start-up. He was appointed as the Project Manager & IT Lead (Biologics) for the development and implementation of an MES core for API manufacturing in 2009. He is currently managing the rollout of the MES Core at the Janssen Biologics site in Cork.

Then Michael Lawlor of Genzyme will talk on the view from the Pack Line level up in design, selection, and integration of a Serialisation\Product Security Project. He has been involved in Automation for over 20 years. At first in the Medical device and electronics industries and for the last 8 years in the Bio-Pharma industry. In Genzyme he has led several projects including the integration team of the MES system to the Production Systems and Automation Lead on the Corporate Serialisation Project. This project was initiated in late 2007 and is still running today in the implementation of French market CIP13 requirements.

Charlotta Johnsson of the University of Malmo will talk on Make2Pack and ISA88-part5. Dr Johnsson has four years of industrial experience from Siemens, as a developer of batch-control software. She obtained her doctorate in 1999 at the Department of Automatic Control where she now holds a position as Associate Professor.
She is a voting member in the ISA SP88 and ISA SP95 standardisation committees. Her research interests are production control, manufacturing operations, batch control, and graphical languages.

John McKeon from Astellas will highlight the topics of Global serialisation, anti-counterfeit and track and trace. He is an engineeriwho has worked as a consultant to Astellas Ireland for 7 years. He has worked in a number of automation and system integration projects, including the Astellas response to counterfeiting and the implementation of track and trace.

There will be ample opportunity to visit the table-top exhibits and for networking with peers.

Manufacturing Information Systems
13.30 Tuesday 12 April 2011 Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork.
Organised by ISA Ireland Section - OnLine Registration Form and pdf flyer of event

Ideal for weighing applications

Shear Beam Load Cells from LCM Systems – Ideal for Weighing Applications

The versatile SBL-2 range of shear beam load cells from LCM Systems has been designed for use in a wide variety of weighing applications from vessel weighing to floor scales to pallet trucks. Manufactured in nickel-plated alloy steel and with a rated load from 250 – 2000kg, installation is also enhanced by the number of mounting options available. These include assemblies for platform foot or vessel mounting, as well as shock mounts.

Environmentally sealed to IP67, the SBL-2 load cells can be used in harsh and rugged conditions, where design engineers can be assured that their accuracy will not be compromised. Supplied on their own or together with LCM instrumentation for a complete system, all sensors are backed by comprehensive engineering support and a team of in-house engineers who can advise on the best shear beam load cells for individual applications.

LCM Systems also supply a range of beam load cells constructed in fully welded stainless steel. Like the SBL-2 range, these load cells have been specifically designed for weighing applications and they can also be used in installations where force measurement is a requirement. With a rated load ranging from 5kg to 500kg, the BBL-1 load cells are also available with a variety of mounting options, depending on customer requirements.  Typical applications for these products include hanging scales, tensile test machines and dynamometers.

Digital strain gauge technology

Mantracourt  has announced the availability of their Strain Gauge to USB Converter (DSCUSB), a compact, high performance digital signal conditioner with USB connectivity aimed at applications requiring high accuracy measurement. The DSCUSB converts a strain gauge sensor input to a digital USB serial output. Having been developed and applied to several specialist applications, Mantracourt's digital strain gauge technology is now available off the shelf, along with a dedicated PC based data logging software package.

"The DSCUSB is ideal for all strain gauge bridge based sensors including strain, weight, load, force, torque, pressure & displacement," said Kelly Voysey, Marketing Co-Ordinator at Mantracourt. "Typical applications for the DSCUSB will be those requiring simple sensor connectivity in desk top settings such as test & measurement, R & D and laboratory environments. For several of our customers it's proving to be a very powerful technology that enables the accurate monitoring, collection and analysis of critical data."

Mantracourt are specialists in the design and manufacture of electronics for measurement technologies including strain gauge, temperature, pressure, voltage, current, potentiometer, rate, flow, LVDT and displacement in either analogue, digital or wireless form.

The Strain Gauge to USB Converter is enclosed within a rugged metal case, making the device suitable for all indoor environments. It is a combined miniature precision strain-gauge conditioning amplifier and an analogue-to-digital converter with a USB serial interface. For more advanced use, the device has five-point temperature compensation and seven-point transducer linearisation algorithms, all available via the comm port. The strain gauge, load cell, pressure transducer and torque sensor may be programmed to produce an output in engineering units; real mV/V calibration may be applied.

The DSCUSB also features an onboard shunt calibration resistor. The resolution is selectable to one part in 66,000 and may be programmed to take up to 500 points per second, with programmable peak-and-trough recording built in. Mantracourt supply standard Windows DLLs for both native USB and virtual serial port communications with the modules.

“We can provide this technology in an OEM format for companies looking to integrate this technology into their own systems,” said Kelly Voysey, “Such an application has seen the DSCUSB integrated into weighing scales for a diet club, providing a simple solution for a chain of Diet & Health Clubs. Members of these clubs weigh-in at weekly meetings and the system automatically tracks their weight loss to help reach their weight loss goals."

Cable for industrial robots

exans MOTIONLINE™ cables to provide flexible and reliable solutions for KUKA’s industrial robots

Nexans has been awarded a €1.6 million contract by the German company KUKA Roboter GmbH, one of the leading robot producers worldwide to supply its specialized MOTIONLINE™ robotic cables for use in the construction of sophisticated 3D industrial robots.

The new contract for 2011 continues the close cooperation and partnership between the two companies that saw the Nexans factory based in Nuremberg, Germany deliver over 180 kilometres of robotic cables to KUKA in 2010. A wide range of MOTIONLINE™ power, control and bus cables will be used by KUKA in a variety of demanding torsion and chain cable applications to deliver high-performance and total reliability, even whilst being subjected to multi-axis twisting and flexing and high accelerations.

Typical applications for the MOTIONLINE™ cables will include welding and assembly robots used across all stages of automotive production, as well as machine tending, processing, production line pick and place and palletizing applications.

Dedicated Motion Application Centre
In addition to the high-technology and innovation demonstrated by the MOTIONLINE™ cables, a key element in winning the contract was Nexans’ own dedicated Motion Application Centre (MAC), which is part of the Nexans Research Centre (NRC) in Nuremberg (D). This facility, unique in the industry, enables cables to be exposed to dynamic operating loads that simulate realistic, in-service conditions, thus ensuring that they offer the ideal combination of bending, tension and torsional strength and vibration resistance required for their intended application. This means that Nexans is able to provide clear proof to KUKA that a robotic cable will perform throughout its expected lifecycle as required by the relevant specification.

“Of all automation applications, robotics is especially demanding due to the need for 3D movement, resistance to torsional loads and high speeds and total reliability. So this latest major contract from KUKA, a world leading robot producer, is an important reference for the technical excellence of our MOTIONLINE™ brand”, says Giuseppe Di Lorenzo, Nexans Global Segment Manager & Commercial Director Automation. “In the coming year we are also looking forward to working together with KUKA to advance robotic cable technology to meet the challenges created by the latest developments in robot vision.”

IO solution helps provide clean, safe drinking water

Moore Industries’ I/O Solution Helps OCWA Provide Clean, Safe Drinking Water to Central New York

In a peer-to-host system, multiple fi eld concentrators network to handle signal inputs and outputs.

Moore Industries-International recently helped a water plant in central New York to maximize its effectiveness while reducing costs – an important consideration for municipalities focused on providing high-quality services to their constituents in the current economy. A recently released case study from Moore Industries details how the company’s NET Concentrator System helped the Onondaga County Water Authority (OCWA) modernize the control system at its water treatment plant in Marcellus (NY US). Through the use of this Distributed I/O and Remote I/O solution, the OCWA has achieved improved efficiency and a significant cost savings.

The Marcellus facility treats and distributes water from Otisco Lake to roughly half of the OCWA’s nearly 350,000 residential customers. Automation systems at the facility control processes which ensure the quality of the treated water and compliance with state health department and EPA regulations. In order to update its operations and increase efficiency, the OCWA decided to switch from analog Remote Terminal Units to digital control systems through an online SCADA system powered by Ethernet and MODBUS network communications.

Moore Industries assisted the OCWA in implementing their new system by delivering isolated I/O modules which eliminate potential signal loop interference from the Ethernet control network. The I/O modules within the NET Concentrator System contain ground loops or other individual aberrations locally, stopping them from impacting other readings at the site. The new system also reduced total wiring by transmitting process control and monitoring signals across a single digital communications link.

“Having isolated I/O modules was critical to the success of our facility control process upgrades,” said OCWA Executive Engineer Geoffrey G. Miller, P.E. “This system allows our technicians to view I/O directly from the plant through a local HMI or laptop. Doing this has saved us time and money by reducing trips to the field.”

Installing the NET Concentrator System helped the OCWA solve several data collection problems. The ability to monitor the water filtration beds in real time has improved operator reaction time and increased efficiency. In addition, it is a reliable solution in reducing overhead related to hard wiring and maintenance.

“With modern I/O modules, there’s no reason for plants to rely on analog signals which require expensive wiring that often fails,” said Moore Industries Senior Field Applications Engineer Jim McConahay, P.E. “Working with the OCWA, we’ve developed a solution that is scalable, cost-effective and improves the ability of engineers to receive and analyze data and make mission-critical decisions.”

• The paper may be found on this page on the Moore website!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Technology so cool, it is rocket science!

Aware Technology has been formed, based on NASA R & D, additional layered intellectual property and the vision of industry professionals, to deliver the next step in the evolution of HMI/SCADA, DCS Systems and Historians - layered analytics delivering “Automation Confidence through System Awareness.”

Aware Technology will deliver an automated learning solution that builds a Knowledge Base of Process Experience, to deliver both operational Confidence Metrics and Anomaly Detection. The product, Process Data Monitor (PDM), will integrate with all existing HMI/SCADA, DCS and Historian solutions through both native interfaces and industry standards such as OPC. PDM will also integrate directly with automation components – sensors and controllers through a PDM Data Gateway. Gateway collected data will be delivered to PDM running as an Enterprise Appliance, or to PDM running as a hosted “Private Cloud” application.

Target markets initially include Process and Hybrid applications. Examples include; Oil and Gas Production and Refining, Power Generation and Distribution, Water Purification, Wastewater Treatment, Chemical Manufacturing, Metals Manufacturing, Mining, and Building Automation. PDM will complement your existing Advanced Process Control (APC), Health Monitoring and Asset Management systems.

“This is not a grass roots startup,” commented Peter Millett, Chairman and CTO of Aware Technology. iSagacity, a services company I co-founded in 2004, initially pioneered this technology in 2006, licensing and improving upon NASA’s Patents and offering it to our customers in the Nuclear Industry as a service. We’ve formed Aware Technology to improve the product and deliver it to the masses, under the guidance of Roy Kok, our President and longtime automation industry veteran.”

“This product represents the natural next evolution of virtually all automation systems,” stated Roy Kok, President of Aware Technology. “It is widely known that 50% of automation engineers and operators are likely to retire over the next 5 to 10 years. This is a major loss of experience for the industry as a whole and the focus will be on capturing experience into a database, to offer guidance to new personnel, and give operators and engineers the tools to be proactive in process management rather than reactive to process alarms and failures. Other solutions focus on Advanced Process Control through complicated modeling processes and can’t deliver Confidence Metrics. Our solution is quite unique and is designed for the majority of the market, even addressing applications that do not have control rooms today, like Building and Facilities management.”

Meat temp by wireless

MadgeTech’s RFOT is the most advanced wireless temperature data logger in the meat industry today. The RFOT’s rugged design, equipped with a flexible piercing probe allows it to be used in the harshest environments. It is perfectly suited for smoke houses, ovens and other cooking processes up to 212°F (100°C) as well as refrigerators and freezers down to -4°F (-20°C). It is completely splash proof and can withstand wash down cycles. This state-of-the-art device records and transmits internal product temperature readings back to a central computer for instant real-time monitoring.

The RFOT never needs to be connected to a computer as it has been designed for two way wireless communication. Full communication can be performed directly from a central PC. In addition to wirelessly transmitting data, the RFOT also stores each reading to internal memory for backup. This back up data may be retrieved wirelessly at a later time.

MadgeTech’s easy to use software features user programmable critical control points, called “cooling flags” to assist in compliance with USDA Appendix B. The “cooling flags” are automatically annotated on the graph and tabular data views. The summary tab provides the cool down duration between each critical control point. The data can also be automatically exported to Excel® for further calculations.

As the leader in low power data logger technology, MadgeTech continuously improves its products and develops solutions to meet ever-changing challenges. The RFOT was designed with our customers in mind. MadgeTech offers free firmware upgrades for the life of the product so that data loggers already deployed in the field can grow with new technological developments. Units do not need to be returned to the factory for upgrades. The user can do this automatically from any PC.

Detecting threats in cargo!

Dr Alex Grigoriev, Senior Research Scientist from TeknoScan in Canada will deliver a seminar entitled 'Detecting Threats in Cargo', at this year’s Counter Terror Expo which takes place at London Olympia on 19th and 20th April.

Dr Grigoriev, who is a guest of instrumentation specialist Quantitech (Stand 020), will cover topics such as sample preparation and how multi-stage analysis can reduce false alarms. The seminar will take place at 2.05pm on 19th April and Dr Grigoriev will also be available on the Quantitech stand to demonstrate the technology.

Last year Quantitech signed an agreement with TeknoScan to introduce the highly advanced TSI-3000 banned substance trace detection system to the Brotish market. This technology, along with the Gasmet DX4030 multi-gas analyser will be demonstrated by Quantitech staff at the company’s stand.

Dr Grigoriev has been directly involved in the development of the TSI-3000 and has considerable research experience in the field of trace detection applied to cargo.

Stepper motors

The A3981 and A4980 from Allegro MicroSystems Europe are two new automotive-grade programmable stepper-motor driver ICs that are designed to operate bipolar stepper motors in full-, half-, quarter- and sixteenth-step modes at up to 28 V and ±750 mA in automotive, consumer and industrial applications.

Both devices offer a single-chip solution with internal digital timing circuitry and a built-in translator for ease of operation. The A3981 can be controlled by simple step and direction inputs, or through an SPI-compatible serial port that also can be used to program many of the integrated features and to read diagnostic information.

The A4980 is identical to the A3981 except for a low-voltage operation feature which will allow the IC to run down to a load supply voltage of 3.3 V (compared with 7 V on the A3981). This low voltage operation may be necessary in some automotive applications where the battery voltage during cold cranking can drop to a critically low level.

The built-in current regulator can be programmed to operate in fixed off-time or fixed-frequency PWM modes, with several decay modes available to reduce audible motor noise and increase step accuracy. In addition, the phase current tables can be programmed via the SPI interface to create unique microstepping current profiles to further improve motor performance for specific applications.

The current in each phase of the motor is controlled through a DMOS full bridge, using synchronous rectification to improve power dissipation. Internal circuits and timers prevent cross-conduction and shoot-through when switching between high-side and low-side drives. The outputs are protected from short circuits, and features for low load current and stalled rotor detection are included. Chip-level protection includes hot and cold thermal warnings, overtemperature shutdown, and overvoltage and undervoltage lockout.

The A3981 and A4980 are supplied in a 28-pin TSSOP power package with an exposed thermal pad (package type LP). This package is lead (Pb) free with 100% matt-tin lead-frame plating.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thermal imager promotion!

Fluke is offering their Ti32 and  TiR32 Free Lens Promotion, running until 30th April, 2011.

These two popular Fluke thermal imagers provide an unmatched combination of ruggedness, ease of use and superior image quality. The choice of a free additional telephoto, or wide angle, lens (recommended list price over £1,000) to purchasers of a new Fluke Ti32 or TiR32 Thermal Imager, enables an even wider range of application areas where the thermal imager can be used.

The Fluke Ti32 Industrial Thermal Imager is designed and priced to deliver unprecedented performance for troubleshooting and preventive maintenance of electrical installations, electro-mechanical equipment, process equipment, HVAC/R equipment and more. The Fluke TiR32 Thermal Imager for Building Diagnostics is designed and priced to deliver unprecedented performance for building envelope, energy audit, restoration and remediation, inspection and roofing professionals.
The Fluke Ti32 and TiR32 are industrial grade, high-performance imagers incorporating a powerful 320x240 sensor to provide high-definition, strikingly crisp, detailed images. Their superior image quality helps to identify even the smallest temperature differences that could indicate problems. With Fluke’s patented IR-Fusion® technology, users can marry high-precision thermal images with visual (visible light) images in full screen, picture-in-picture or blended views for enhanced problem detection and analysis. IR-Fusion is the only solution available with physical parallax correction, which enables perfect alignment, pixel by pixel, of both infrared and visible images.

Users can record voice comments of up to 60 seconds with every image taken by the Fluke Ti32 and TiR32. They feature a three-button menu designed for intuitive operation and navigation with a push of the thumb, on-screen emissivity correction, transmission correction and high temperature alarm (dew point temperature alarm on the TiR32).

Fluke SmartView® Software (with free software upgrades for the life of the product) is included with each thermal imager. SmartView software is a modular suite of tools for viewing, annotating, editing and analysing infrared images that fully supports Fluke IR Fusion technology. It enables users to edit images in five viewing modes and generate customised professional reports in a few steps. Fluke 3D-IR™ three-dimensional viewing makes hot or cold spots “pop out” of the background for easy viewing and analysis.

The Fluke Ti32 and TiR32 include a 2GB SD memory card that will store at least 3,000 basic infrared images or 1,200 fully radiometric infrared and linked visual images, each with 60 seconds of voice annotation, as well as a multi-function memory card reader (USB) for downloading images to a computer. Each imager comes with a rugged hard carry case and a soft transport bag, an adjustable hand strap for right- or left-handed use, two rechargeable lithium ion smart batteries, a two-bay external charger, an AC power supply, and an interactive training DVD.

"Prevent errors" check in upgrade!

EPLAN Electric P8 2.0 SP1 released in March 2011 has many new features such as extended reports and parts management, flexible terminal design, new check functions, PDF/A output and an individual revision management.

"Prevent errors" a new type of check, allows users to protect their project actively against incorrect entries, thus securing the quality of the machinery and plant documentation in the long term. In combination with the new "Protected device" function the software offers reliable and, at the same time, flexible protection of all the project data from preplanning through to the project completion.

The revision process can now be controlled for individual pages through the page filter as required by the respective project phase. At the same time certain types of pages, such as cover sheets, tables of contents and revision directories, can be excluded generally from completion. A clearer structure is provided in the process by using colours and symbol forms for different identifications. All project participants recognise at a glance whether project information has been added, modified or deleted.

New form functions with "conditional areas" open up exciting new options in the definition of project reports. EPLAN forms can now be formed dynamically so that different types of items can be reported in a common form. This form reacts to the corresponding item properties by using special partial tables for reporting, displaying suitable product graphics or special symbols and, for example, highlights safety-relevant items through a different colour. The resultant reports not only ensure that the required overview of the project data is available in the engineering phase, but also makes the decisive information available in a compressed but well structured form available for all the downstream project phases.

In maintenance and servicing the new PDF/A format guarantees long-term access to cross-discipline project documentation. In accordance with the ISO 19005-1 standard this format is a standard for the long-term archiving of electronic documents. In particular this reliable archiving also provides added value in light of the requirements of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC that requires a complete documentation for at least 10 years. At the same time PDF/A supports paperless workflow and thus simplifies the complexity of large projects.