Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dual voltage programmable power source

 Provides regulated output and voltages for dips and drops testing

Teseq has released the VAR 3005, a dual voltage power source controlled by Teseq’s NSG 3000 series of EMC test generators. This new programmable power source not only regulates test voltage, but also generates the reduced voltage for dips and drops testing of EUTs (Equipment Under Test).

The VAR 3005, controlled using either the NSG 3000’s front panel display or the WIN 3000 PC software, has internal advanced microprocessor based electronics. The unit features advanced self-regulation and has several self-test features including self-check, AC power voltage check and phase rotation check, as well as the ability to either inform users or stop a test if the test conditions are not correct.

With electrical performance parameters in compliance with IEC 61000-4-11:2004, the VAR 3005, together with NSG 3040 or NSG 3060 generators, can generate mains dips, drops and variation tests for equipment with a current rating below 16 A. The EUT supply input voltage range is from 10 to 240 VAC, while the output voltage is adjustable from 0 to 265 VAC.

Based on plug and play technology, the VAR 3005 auto-configures tests for the user in order to prevent user errors such as setting voltages out of range. The unit also has the ability to automatically turn off the EUT in the event of a power overload.

A single output source model of the VAR 3005 is also available for applications where dual source is not required.

Unique Integrated DfT workflow from design to production

During APEX 2011 in Las Vegas (April 10-14 NV US), Aster Technologies will show the first tool to provide an integrated workflow for DfT and test coverage analysis from design through to mainstream production.

Design-For-Test is becoming crucial to ensure complex board performances. In the traditional Design flow, DfT is a specific step after the layout phase as addressed by tools such as FabMaster-TestExpert. The CAD file is loaded and a mechanical analysis is performed in order to identify the physical access for In-Circuit or Flying probe test.

With the staggering board density now being faced, it is necessary to consider the DfT as part of the complete workflow (not just for probe placement), verifying the testability at different stages in order to ensure the highest level of test quality for the minimum test cost.
Fig. : TestWay Express – Integrated DfT workflow from Design to Production

TestWay Express has been developed to meet this vision for a software tool that will allow users to analyze each stage of the design to production workflow within a single tool.

This is achieved by the following stages:

• From Schematic, verify that electrical DfT requirements are adhered to in order to maximize test coverage, optimize test probe placement according to test strategy definition, estimate test coverage, estimate cost modeling, production yield and TL9000 - initial return rates.
• From layout, verify mechanical rules, allocate test probes, estimate test coverage based on the real physical access, and generate test programs including input list and test models for the most popular test platforms.

TestWay Express includes 53 CAD importers supporting schematic netlist, layout, schematic graphics and design or test models. This is a key differentiator as other commercial DfT tools work only from the layout stage. TestWay Express operates from native CAD formats and insures the full interoperability between all stages across the design/manufacturing flow.

In the past, test engineers had to use a variety of software tools to (a) verify that a board had been designed with adequate testability in order to maximize test coverage, and (b) verify that the board layout engineer had placed test points where requested. However, once the test points had been validated it was still necessary to develop the ICT or flying probe test program files, which required another process stage.

With TestWay Express, all stages are managed within a single tool through an integrated methodology.

Mr Christophe Lotz, Managing director of Aster said: “TestWay Express is a perfect solution to manage DfT as part of the overall design to manufacturing flow. It results in a significant cost saving and contributes to significantly increasing board quality."

Test coverage is estimated using theoretical models for a wide range of test and inspection strategies such as APM, AOI, AXI, BST, FPT, ICT etc, and Functional Test, that can be tuned to reflect the test and measurement capabilities of the target tester.

Once the test/inspection programs have been completed, TestWay Express can read the debugged test program or test report and compare the coverage between the estimated and measured analysis using industry standard metrics, and identify any misalignment.

More than 50 coverage importers are available for a wide range of the test/inspection machines used within the industry

Cable assembly

Intelliconnect Cable Assemblies meet RF and waterproof requirements

Intelliconnect (Europe) has announced the availability of its cable assembly service. This high quality bespoke service is available for both high-volume or specialist small batch requirements.

Using their own high quality RF connectors, all types of cable assemblies are undertaken from wiring loom assemblies to high performance low loss cables operating up to 60GHz. Coaxial, triaxial and multi-way connectors may be specified and fully immersible waterproof versions are available. All Intelliconnect cable assemblies are 100% electrically tested before despatch. In addition phase matching is available where required to ensure signal integrity in individual, or batches of, assemblies.

Roy Phillips, Managing Director of Intelliconnect, comments;”We manufacture an extensive range of high reliability RF connectors for industrial and medical applications and it is a logical extension of our service to offer our customers a bespoke cable assembly service. As the manufacturer of the connectors we can assure customers of our cable assemblies that all connections and sealing is properly carried out to their exact requirements and deliver a single, tested, assembly to fit straight into their application.”

In addition to custom cable assemblies they manufacture a wide range of standard and custom RF connectors and components, including waterproof and fast turnaround custom designs which are undertaken without NRE charges to their customers. Intelliconnect also manufacture a large range of coaxial adaptors to facilitate inter-series connection and gender change etc.  Typical applications include MIL and aerospace, marine, oil and gas, medical and general microwave markets.

Display suitable for SBCs

Hitachi Display Products Group (DPG) now offers a family of medium size TFT display modules featuring LVDS (low-voltage differential signal) data interface which are suitable for single board computer (SBC) and embedded applications. Hitachi’s LVDS TFT display line-up includes the following screen sizes; 5.7” VGA, 6.5” VGA, 7.0” WVGA, 8.0” WVGA, 9.0” WVGA and 10.4” SVGA. Integrating a LVDS data interface onto a TFT display module allows high speed digital transmission of the image data with low power consumption, excellent tolerance to transmission line effects and exceptional noise immunity which ensures a clear, crisp display image is displayed at all times.

Commenting Mark Stephenson, Product Marketing Manager, Hitachi DPG, said, “The market for easy to use embedded computing products and industry standard SBCs is continuing to grow significantly. LVDS is already common place across a variety of applications particularly in industrial and  consumer  markets and further adoption of LVDS in embedded applications will continue. Hitachi DPG can now offer six TFT display modules, from 5.7" up to 10.4", with an integrated LVDS data interface. This simplifies the task of display integration for the customers using single board computers for embedded and industrial applications requiring a graphical user interface.”

The line-up of Hitachi TFT display modules with LVDS interface includes the 5.7” VGA TX14D10VM1BAA, 6.5" VGA TX17D02VM2CAA, 7.0” WVGA TX18D37VM0AAA, 8.0” WVGA TX20D28VM2BAA, 9.0" WVGA TX23D38VM0CAA and 10.4"  SVGA TX26D12VM0AAA. Other standard display features include IPS (in-plane-switching) wide viewing angle TFT technology, long lifetime white LED backlights, extended operating temperature ranges and compact mechanical dimensions.

Sláinte mhaith - world class process

MCP is organising an AMIS (Asset Management Improvement Service) Master class on the 24th and 25th May at Diageo’s Cameronbridge Distillery, Leven, Scotland for senior level operational/engineering managers to share their experiences. This unique opportunity will enable delegates to benefit from Diageo’s knowledge and pick up ideas for operational improvement applicable to their own organisations.

The Master class is in recognition of Diageo’s AMIS World Class achievement at Cameronbridge – the Highest AMIS score ever in the whisky industry and also in Scotland, with full engagement demonstrated across the site through high performing teams.

The event starts on the afternoon of the 24th May with a tour of the distillery followed by a networking whisky dinner at the distillery.

The workshop on the 25th May will demonstrate how Diageo aligned Asset Care with Manufacturing Improvements to deliver high plant performance through close people engagement. The team will also share how, during their AMIS Journey, they have involved projects with early equipment management during recent major investment programmes, that now makes Cameronbridge the largest distillery in the world, with projected output of over 100 million litres.

Extended functions for process automation software packages

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has equipped two of its software packages for process automation with new functions. In its new Version 7.0, the Simatic PDM Process Device Manager offers a redesigned user interface with more user-friendly operation, updated and supplemented device descriptions, as well as the integration of additional libraries and field devices. For example, Simatic PDM – in combination with the Simatic PCS 7 process control system V7.1 SP2 or higher – now allows parameterization of Foundation Fieldbus (FF) devices that are connected to the foundation fieldbus of the process control system. With the new Version 7.1 SP2 of the Simatic Batch software package for batch processes, the user can now choose from two operating modes for executing the recipe logic. In addition to the conventional method in which the recipe logic is processed in the PC-based operator station of the PCS 7 process control system, a new method is now available that is optimized in terms of deterministics. This executes the recipe logic in the engineering station with shorter step change times and higher plant availability. Simatic Batch has also been equipped in Version 7.1 SP2 with new controls that enable the user to perform all necessary operations more efficiently than before. For example, fewer operating steps are now required for the batch control. Furthermore, new recipe objects have been integrated for handling exceptions, offering the user greater flexibility in creating recipes.

The Simatic PDM software package is a universal, manufacturer-independent tool for the configuration, parameterization, commissioning, diagnosis and maintenance of process devices and automation components. The Simatic Batch software package for the Simatic PCS 7 process control system is used for the automation of complex batch processes in batch production. The scalable software with its modular architecture is suitable for any size of plant from the small pilot plant to the largest production plant.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

T/c signal conditioner

The latest offering in Acromag’s new ST130 series of low-cost, temperature transmitters is a thermocouple/millivolt signal conditioner, Model ST132. This model can convert sensor input signals from eight thermocouple types or a ±100mV range and output a proportional 4-20mA process control signal. The ST132 is an output loop-powered (7-32V DC) two-wire transmitter and very easy to use. Free Windows configuration software simplifies set up and downloads calibration settings to the unit through a USB connection. Units mount easily in DIN Form B sensor heads or on a DIN rail. The rugged, low-maintenance design also features a 24-bit A/D controller that delivers high accuracy and linearity with very low drift across a -40 to 80°C operating range. Units are CE compliant with UL/cUL Class 1 Div 2 Zone 2 approvals pending. Despite the advanced-performance and features, the price is reasonable at around €60.00 ($89.00).

“Our new ST132 thermocouple transmitter offers great performance and convenience at a surprising price,” states Don Lupo, Acromag’s sales and marketing director. By leveraging the latest microcontroller technology, this transmitter is able to provide a performance level and feature set that was previously unavailable in a unit of this size and price. In addition to supporting numerous sensor types on a single unit , it performs signal linearization, and cold-junction compensation functions. It also supports reverse-acting (inverse) output and has a fast response time (as low as 8ms). The Windows configuration software helps you quickly program the transmitter using a USB cable connection to select input type, scale I/O ranges, set filtering levels, and choose upscale or downscale operation for sensor faults. Digital calibration eliminates zero/span pots, DIP switches, and pushbuttons for more precise measurements.

A rugged design helps these transmitters operate reliably in harsh industrial environments. Ambient temperature drift is less than 75ppm/°C for long-term stability. The ST132 is shock (50g) and vibration (5g) resistant and includes high-level electrical noise immunity (RFI, EMI, ESD, EFT, and surge protection). And to prevent incorrect wiring, the output/power connection is non-polarized.

For easy installation a variety of mounting and wiring accessories are available. A USB-to-USB isolator protects equipment from ground loops, electrical noise, and surges during configuration. For convenience, a kit supplies the software, isolator, and USB interface cables. Numerous connection head enclosures are also available through Acromag. Select from stainless steel, aluminum, and cast iron housings with explosion-proof or general-purpose ratings. A DIN rail adapter adds more mounting options.

Acromag has designed and manufactured measurement and control products for more than 50 years. They are an AS9100 and ISO 9001-certified international corporation with a world headquarters near Detroit, Michigan and a global network of sales representatives and distributors. Acromag offers a complete line of industrial I/O products including a variety of process instruments, signal conditioners, and distributed fieldbus I/O modules that are available with a 7-year warranty. Industries served include chemical processing, manufacturing, defense, energy, and water services.

Remote Services for automation customers

The Siemens Industry Automation Division is adding a comprehensive Remote Service Platform to its range of Internet-based maintenance and technical support. Companies can now engage Siemens to provide a modularly graded range of services for taking care of their production plants. The Simatic Remote Support Services are available in three service levels starting with reactive troubleshooting, through comprehensive analyses and adjustments to the plant by a permanently assigned contact person, all the way to preventive inspection services.

In distributed plants, or plants scattered over a wide area, service tasks generate high maintenance and repair costs. It is increasingly difficult for companies to provide the suitable experts on-site system-wide, especially as systems become more complex. Remote access to plants over the Internet or by mobile wireless communication is in many cases more cost effective, faster and more flexible than an on-site service. With the Simatic Remote Support Services, the Siemens Industry Automation Division now offers a comprehensive range for remote monitoring, maintenance and repair of machinery and plants. Siemens provides an especially secure remote platform with this service. It allows companies to make their plants and machines anywhere in the world available to competent automation experts, and to introduce the necessary maintenance measures. The system makes it possible for the customer's own experts or external partners like system integrators to be involved in the remote access in addition to the skilled personnel from Siemens.

This new service is available at three levels. The Starter Package represents a low-cost and fast solution for reactive troubleshooting. It includes Remote Desktop Support based on the certified Siemens Remote Service (SRS) Platform. The Enhanced Package includes a permanently assigned contact person who is familiar with the plant situation and who knows the installed systems and components, and the networks and their topologies. By using more advanced diagnostics functions, Siemens service personnel at this level can provide the customer with comprehensive remote support to guarantee smooth operation of the plant. At the third level (Comprehensive Package), Siemens' services also cover preventive inspection work in accordance with DIN 31051. This includes preventive inspection of the system status for transparent representation of the status quo of the plant and recommendation of preventive measures based on the system status reports.

The new offer for industrial companies is based on the Siemens Remote Service (SRS), a secure and remote platform already used by a host of Siemens customers in medical engineering and the energy sector. This platform is certified in accordance with ISO/IEC 27001 and has a field-proven security concept, which also ensures that there are no reactions by means of network separation in accordance with the DMZ (demilitarized zone) architecture. In addition, customers can also use their own web portal to view and monitor all the modifications made by the Siemens service personnel in real time. To enable later tracking of changes, the system also logs details of who had access to the individual plants and when. Siemens provides the entire technical, globally redundant remote infrastructure for operating the platform and ensures its functional capability and maintenance.

New C & I show for Britain

An all new Sensors and Systems Show gains support.

There is a all new show in the 2011 calendar filling the need for a technical platform for the ever growing subject of sensors and systems. Called 'Sensors and Systems for Control and Instrumentation', the 2-day event will be held at the 5 star FIVE venue in Farnborough (GB) over the 14th and 15th September 2011.

Already the show is receiving strong support from exhibitors, well-known publications and distinguished engineering institutions, including The Profibus Group, the Institute of Measurement & Control, magazines Industrial Technology and Industrial Plant & Equipment together with the website Sensorland.com.

Phil Cooper
, a Director of ESP KTN (The Electronics, Sensors, Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network) is actively supporting the show. He commented "This regional show compliments the aims of the ESP KTN, which carries out a wide range of knowledge transfer activities to underpin Electronics, Sensors, Photonics, Instrumentation and Control Systems technologies in the UK. The show also provides a valuable opportunity for the ESP KTN to increase its visibility and outreach to new members through the seminars it will be running during the event."

With this support from the industry, the need for a convenient exchange of knowledge and fulfilling equipment needs, positioning in the South of England within the proximity of several core companies, particularly in the defence industry, the new show looks set to be a extremely successful event for visitors and participants.

Protecting fittings from corrosion

Salt Fog @ 480 hours
Brennan Industries has introduced its new Brennan Black® coating, the most advanced protection against rust and corrosion.

This proprietary Bi-LENE® coating is a blend of fluoropolymer, engineered plastics and selected corrosion inhibitors that is tailored to provide specific properties for particular applications unlike conventional fluoropolymer coatings. The properties consist of low friction, strong adhesion, resistance to wear and abrasion, excellent resistant to corrosion, chipping and elements such as weather, sunlight and salt water. Field and lab tests show the coating resists corrosion past 1,600 hours of exposure making it at least 300 percent more resistant to corrosion than competitor’s advanced plating. It works in a wide range of temperatures from negative 420 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The Brennan Black coating is the most advanced corrosion resistant coating available,” said David M. Carr, president, Brennan Industries. “The Brennan Black coating offers the highest industry standard and is the answer for protecting systems and ensuring longevity in the most corrosive and harsh environments enabling customers to save money by protecting operations and reducing replacement costs.”

The Brennan Black coating is best demonstrated on steel hydraulic adapters, where it provides unparalleled performance in resistance to corrosion. The Brennan Black coating is also available throughout five additional Brennan Industries product classes. Test results are available upon request.

Instrument manufacturer recognised in own region

Moore Industries-International received the Manufacturing Leadership Award from the San Fernando Valley Business Journal at a ceremony on March 16 at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills, (CA US). The recognition highlights their place as one of the most innovative manufacturing companies in the region.

Moore Industries was founded in 1968 by Leonard W. Moore, who remains with the company as its CEO. Being an independent, privately-held company allows it to be more agile and flexible in its manufacturing and product development.

Moore Industries was picked for the award by an advisory committee of experts selected by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal for their knowledge of the local manufacturing industry. The committee reviewed various criteria before choosing Moore Industries, including its market dominance, creativity in doing business, financial success, number of employees and length of time in the area.


“This award belongs to each and every employee at Moore Industries for their efforts and dedication in keeping the company competitive as one of the leaders in the industry despite the enormous changes in the manufacturing arena throughout the years,” said Albert Badgen, the company’s Director of Manufacturing. “We have gained the respect of professionals in a variety of industries who trust our products to keep their manufacturing processes running smoothly. Winning this award reflects the reputation that Moore Industries has gained through more than 40 years of creating the highest quality instrumentation for process control.”

Along with winning the award, Moore Industries also received special recognition from the California State Legislature. Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield of Woodland Hills presented the company with a certificate honoring Moore Industries as one of the top manufacturing companies in the San Fernando Valley and greater Los Angeles communities.

Battery monitor

LEM has announced the introduction of Sentinel 3+, the latest generation of the proven Sentinel product that continuously monitors the state of health of batteries in uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. The enhancements incorporated in Sentinel 3+ enable it to be fully integrated into the newest architectures of UPS, accommodating UPS design evolutions such as transformerless circuit topologies.

• Advanced battery monitoring components track latest changes in UPS design practice
• Uprated robustness, improved EMC performance and enhanced noise shielding maintain measurement performance
• Offered as a portfolio of measurement components, or complete monitoring platform for incorporation in to battery systems
• Dedicated and hardened bus communicates comprehensive data to supervisory systems
Sentinel 3+ is a battery-monitoring transducer that makes measurements of voltage, temperature and impedance, of cells and complete batteries, in UPS installations of all sizes up to mega-watt back-up power supplies for data centres and hospitals. Sentinel 3+ reports its measurements – on VRLA (valve-regulated lead-acid), gel or flooded stationary batteries – to supervisory systems over a dedicated communications bus, and offers a unique capability to assess the true state-of-health of UPS batteries while they are in service. Sentinel 3+ gives complete confidence that battery arrays will deliver their rated power when called on to do so, and identifies weak and failing cells without the need to remove them from service for cycling tests.

Designers of the latest UPS systems have exploited technology developments such as the availability of fast IGBTs (insulated-gate bipolar transistors) to reduce costs by eliminating bulky and expensive transformers from their circuit configurations. The battery packs that the Sentinel product monitors are, in consequence, operated in a floating voltage mode: the battery is subjected to higher ripple currents, and the monitoring circuitry must handle high common-mode voltages, with superimposed high-amplitude, fast transients.

LEM's Sentinel 3+ features upgraded algorithms to take account of this more challenging measurement environment, maintaining the well-proven accuracy of the Sentinel product family, as well as improved EMC immunity and enhanced overall robustness. Sentinel 3+ delivers voltage measurements over a range of 0.9 to 16V with an accuracy of +/-0.5%; impedance measurement from 0.05 to 250 mΩ with repeatability of +/-2%. Sentinel 3+ features Common Mode Transient Immunity up to 20 kV/µsec with a common-mode voltage level of +/-600V, and a transient repetition rate of 20 kHz.

Fastest SATA 6 Gb/s industrial grade SSDs

The ADLINK ASD Series of SSDs is highly reliable, has an extended operating temperature range, and is able to withstand high levels of shock and vibration. ADLINK SSDs are ideal for applications in telecom, defense, medical, industrial automation and transportation.
AdLink Technology presents their ASD Series of industrial grade solid state drives (SSDs). The AdLink ASD Series is designed to meet the needs of today's mission critical applications in severe environments and reduce time-to-market for rugged platform integrators who require comprehensive solutions to provide embedded platforms with high availability, performance and reliability. These ASD SSDs provide a SATA 6 Gb/s (SATA III) interface to match the data transfer capabilities of 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor-based platforms and have the fastest read/write speeds available on the industrial market. The AdLink ASD Series offers reliability, ruggedness and extreme performance, allowing AdLink to provide a complete storage solution for its customers.

These industrial grade SSDs deliver low latency with less than 1ms access time, power consumption as low as 2 watts, high reliability and high capacity. The series is available in 2.5”, 1.8” and JEDEC MO-297 (Half-Slim) form factors and is designed for use in enterprise, industrial and embedded computing platforms in fields such as defense, telecom, transportation, industrial automation and medical.

The AdLink ASD Series is well-suited for rugged and embedded environments. It supports a wide operating temperature range from -40°C to 85°C and is resistant to high levels of shock (1,500G/0.5msec) and vibration 3.08G (7-800Hz). SSDs have no spin-up time, seek time or rotational latency, resulting in faster system boot and shorter application load time compared to conventional hard drives. To provide additional reliability, they implement wear-leveling and hardware ECC, resulting in years of reliable operation with minimal maintenance and a mean time between failures (MTBF) of up to 2 million hours.

“Our customers depend on AdLink to provide a total solution in a ruggedized format that is able to operate under the most demanding environmental conditions," stated Stephen Huang, Vice President of the Industrial Computing Product Segment of AdLink. "The AdLink industrial grade ASD SSD Series provides customers with the high data transfer rates of the SATA 6 Gb/s interface, high reliability and long product life in an industrial grade storage solution. With these advanced features and leading NAND flash controller technology, AdLink continues to provide customers with high quality solutions and reliable product support. Our new line of industrial grade SSDs meets the requirements of transportation, avionics, factory floor, and other rugged applications with extended temperature requirements.”

Built using high speed SLC/MLC NAND flash with Toggle-Mode and advanced controller technology, the AdLink ASD Series offers high speed performance of up to 470MB/sec sequential read and 385MB/sec sequential write speed (2.5" 128GB SLC). With no moving parts, ASD SSDs are designed to deliver the durability required by portable devices that are frequently dropped or jostled. In addition to the 2.5" form factor, the AdLink ASD Series offers models in 1.8" form factor with Micro SATA connector and in Half-Slim form factor to provide design flexibility for customers seeking to create next generation ultra-thin rugged devices based on the standard SATA interface. For smoother integration of embedded platforms, the AdLink ASD Series is compatible with the latest Intel-based platforms. Product descriptions and features of the AdLink ASD Series are summarized in Table 1 below:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Advanced manufacturing body latest AF member

The US National Council For Advanced Manufacturing (NACFAM) signed a Memorandum of Membership with the Automation Federation,  becoming one of the newest members of AF.

For over 20 years, NACFAM has been the voice of advanced manufacturing in Washington, D.C. (US), helping its members’ bottom lines by providing projects and policy/program solutions for U.S. manufacturing in NACFAM’s four major issue areas: sustainable manufacturing, workforce education and training, process technology and innovation and supply chain relations through network-centric manufacturing (NCM).

AF serves as the “Voice of Automation” by providing advocacy and industry-wide strategic analysis and coordination through its member organizations to provide awareness, programs and services that continually advance the automation profession.

To create a stronger “Voice” that will advance the automation profession and the goals of all its members, AF has been working to bring like-minded organizations together. In late 2010, representatives from AF and NACFAM began discussions for building a collaborative effort between the two organizations to meet the mutual goals of accelerating manufacturing innovation and building a more competitive U.S. manufacturing sector.

These discussions led to NACFAM signing a Memorandum of Membership to join the Automation Federation in March 2011. Through this new relationship, NACFAM will lend its support to promoting the Automation Competency Model and will work with AF and the other AF member organizations to achieve mutual goals. Representatives from AF will be in attendance for NACFAM’s Annual Policy Conference scheduled for 20–21 April 2011 in Washington, D.C.

Nelson Ninin, 2011 Automation Federation chair, said, “The Automation Federation is pleased to welcome the National Council For Advanced Manufacturing as one of our newest members. NACFAM is the leader in the promotion of advanced manufacturing, and because automation plays such a vital role in advanced manufacturing, this new relationship is ideal for reaching our mutual goals—particularly in the areas of promoting the profession and building ‘the Next Generation of Automation Professionals.’”

Rusty Patterson, NACFAM chief executive officer, stated, “NACFAM is an action/think tank that brokers intense collaboration to accelerate manufacturing innovation. We see great value in what the Automation Federation has built in such a short time to promote automation. As a member of the Automation Federation, NACFAM can support these efforts which in turn will support the goals of our organization. We look forward to a strong collaborative membership.”

PXI battery simulators

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PXI battery simulators with the introduction of the 41-753.

The 41-743 is a single channel battery simulator designed to support the testing of battery operated devices.

The 41-753 provides a very fast responding adjustable power supply capable of providing voltages up to 6V and output currents up to 2.8A. The 3U PXI module has a programmable output resistance function that allows it to replicate the effect of batteries with a finite output resistance.

The 41-753 features a remote sense connections and a very fast correction loop that allows the module to emulate the battery even at the end of the cable runs required to connect to the device under test. The module is fully isolated from ground. The fast correction loop means that the 41-753 can be used without having to add bulky decoupling capacitors in the device under test. It is particularly useful for the testing of mobile phones and PDA's

10th year of show continues success

electronica & Productronica China 2011 closed this years show successfully with the best figures in its 10-year history. A total of 480 Chinese and international exhibitors presented their products on 23,000sqm exhibition space. With 37,908 visitors the visitor number was far beyond expectation. The number has increased by 18% compared to last year’s event. Therewith electronica & Productronica China achieved another new height.

Copyright 2011 Messe Muenchen
A gathering of industry leaders
It was held at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in mid-March 2011. The trade fair has already become a leading platform for the presentation of electronic components, ICs and manufacturing equipments in China as well as the Asian-Pacific region. This is also reflected in the congregation of industry leaders such as BOSCH, BYD, CREE, EPCOS, ERNI, Fairchild, Freescale, HARTING, Infineon, International Rectifier, LEM, Linear, OMRON, ON Semiconductor, PANASONIC, Phoenix, ROHM, STMicroelectronics, TE Connectivity, Vicor, Weidmueller and JAM, KODERA, KOMAX, Practical Solution, Schaefer, Schleuniger and Shinmaywa in the exhibition areas. The exhibitors brought the world’s latest technologies and industry trends to the show.

Varied supporting programme
A high-quality supporting programme has become a unique feature of electronica & Productronica China. This year Messe München International collaborated with prestigious organizations, such as Society of Automotive Engineers of China and China Power Supply Society, to bring out a programme consisting of over 100 speeches. 4,373 audiences attended the lectures. The two conferences and seven forums reflected the fastest-growing markets in China: automotive electronics, automotive testing, power electronics, medical electronics, LED, communications test, green manufacturing, connector and wire and cable processing.

Summer wear for your instruments!

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

Rittal have a range of cooling units specifically designed for outdoor enclosure applications. If you want your electronic equipment to remain useful for longer when situated outdoors, then treat it like you would your pet and give it some air!

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

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

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

FAB growth!

The Fab Owners Association (FOA), the association of semiconductor device manufacturers and suppliers, has announced that its membership grew by 14% since the beginning of 2011 and now totals 74 members. 

The new members are device-makers Globalfoundries and LFoundry GMBH.  New associate members include Macquarie Electronics USA, M&W U.S., Inc, RED Equipment Pte Ltd., SigmaTech, Inc., Mattson Technology, Inc., ePAK, Rite Track and ASML.  With the addition of companies based in Europe and Asia, the FOA has further broadened its international scope.

L.T. Guttadauro, executive director of the FOA stated, “Device manufacturers continue to be attracted by the opportunity to share common goals in an unbiased setting. Through collaboration and tools like our manufacturing benchmark studies, working groups and aggregate purchasing programs, members are better prepared to predict demand, product cycles and material requirements.  Associate members are attracted by the growing marketing opportunities presented through their membership.”

The FOA’s device-maker members are: Anadigics Inc., Atmel Corporation, Austriamicrosystems AG, Avago Technologies, Fairchild Semiconductor, Freescale Semiconductor, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Infineon Technologies AG, International Rectifier, Intersil Corporation, Jazz Semiconductor, LFoundry GmbH, Micrel Semiconductor, Microchip Technology, ON Semiconductor, Philips Lumileds, Skyworks Solutions, Spansion LLC, SVTC Technologies, Telefunken Semiconductor, TriQuint Semiconductor, and X-FAB Texas.

They represent approximately 1.6 million eight-inch- equivalent monthly wafer starts and approximately US$30 Billion in annual revenues.

Monitoring mission-critical assets & balance-of-plant equipment

Constellation Energy deploys new predictive diagnostic technology to help avoid surprises and eliminate equipment failures

Constellation Energy has chosen to upgrade and widely expand its use of GE Intelligent Platforms's Proficy® SmartSignal solutions across the company’s entire high-capacity power generation fleet. Constellation will deploy the SmartSignal Shield predictive-diagnostic solution, along with SmartSignal Cycle Watch software, a high-speed solution specifically designed for combustion turbine start-ups.

Constellation initially tested the SmartSignal Epi-Center software in 2008 and expanded its use in 2009 to five plants, including coal, combined-cycle, and combustion turbine. The software provided early warning of several hundred equipment problems, which helped Constellation increase reliability and reduce maintenance costs. As a result, Constellation has decided to implement a three-phase project to maximize its monitoring of all mission-critical assets and balance-of-plant equipment that impact performance.

The program includes:

  • Deployment of SmartSignal Shield software within the initial five plants.



  • Deployment of SmartSignal Shield software in all additional plants in the Constellation high-capacity fleet.



  • Deployment of SmartSignal Cycle Watch software on all 21 combustion turbines across Constellation’s fleet.



  • “With the addition of Proficy SmartSignal solutions across our national fleet of fossil fuel plants, we’re already seeing good results in reaching our reliability and maintenance goals,” said David Lillefloren, Director, Business Performance for Constellation Energy’s CPG Support Services Group. “Ultimately, this technology is going to help us to extend the life of these important assets.”

    Constellation Energy is an industry innovator and world leader in operations excellence. On the cutting edge of use of technology to improve the performance of plants, Constellation Energy uses Proficy SmartSignal technology in its own Performance Monitoring & Diagnostic (PM&D) Center, with support from the SmartSignal in-house Availability & Performance Center (APC).

    SmartSignal Epi-Center software is an industry-leading predictive solution for managing, controlling, and optimizing equipment maintenance and industry operations. The new SmartSignal Shield solution builds upon years of experience and provides even earlier predictions of impending failures and, now, apparent causes of the impending failures, along with prioritisations. The new SmartSignal Cycle Watch software is the only solution for increasing reliable starts in combustion turbines. Using patented technology and special high-frequency sampling, SmartSignal Cycle Watch software uniquely analyzes the highly variable conditions of start-up and detects subtle deviations that only are visible in these high-stress and transient conditions.

    Erik Udstuen, GE Intelligent Platforms Vice President, Software & Services, said, “Constellation Energy is one of our most proactive customers, always looking for ways to improve availability, reliability, and efficiency. Constellation’s use of Proficy SmartSignal to protect all of its critical plants and equipment is leading the industry with new and powerful technologies. As we both continue to innovate, we look forward to a long and productive partnership.”

    The Proficy SmartSignal solutions are the latest examples of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year software and solutions services businesses are helping customers improve productivity.

    Simplifying regulatory complience

    Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced that Nova Biologicals, one of America's largest providers of laboratory testing and consultancy services to the water, environmental, medical device and pharmaceutical industries, has implemented an integrated Thermo Scientific LIMS (laboratory information management system) and NextDocs DMS (document management system) solution. The solution automates time-consuming, paper-based laboratory data management processes, ensures compliance with stringent industry regulations and enables it to deliver premier customer service. The comprehensive solution demonstrates Thermo Fisher’s ability to provide customers with the most comprehensive Informatics offerings that solve the industries ever-growing and expanding needs.

    “Our mission is to deliver value to our customers by minimizing risk, increasing efficiencies and validating and improving their products through Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), regulatory compliance and laboratory data management,” said Dr. Pearce, CEO and founder of Nova.

    In the wake of more stringent regulations for environmental testing introduced by the US National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recent years, Nova required stronger compliance through record keeping, demonstration of capability (DOC), document control, reagent and standard traceability and reporting. Because its manual, paper-based system could no longer support this, Nova selected Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS integrated with the NextDocs DMS. In addition to more efficiently meeting industry regulations, the company can now serve their customers more effectively.

    Nova offers comprehensive diagnostic testing for the presence of infectious disease organisms, processing around 10,000 water samples each month to ensure compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). In addition to helping Nova comply with regulatory requirements, Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS has also improved laboratory efficiencies and sample throughput, delivering significant cost and time savings in Nova’s laboratory by automating previously lengthy, manual document management processes. Dr. Pearce comments, “We are delighted with the tangible benefits that the new solution has delivered, including significant cost and time savings. Since its introduction into our laboratory, the SampleManager and NextDocs DMS solution has been instrumental in helping Nova maintain its NELAC accreditation in the state of Texas. The solution has also refined work processes and improved reporting to customers in terms of both quality and speed.”

    Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS is offered in combination with NextDocs DMS, creating a fully-integrated and highly configurable solution. Thermo Fisher Scientific is well-positioned, via Thermo Scientific CONNECTS, to offer the most comprehensive Informatics solutions for laboratories consisting of a combination of Thermo Scientific instruments, LIMS and chromatography data management (CDS) software and services. The company also partners with technology leaders to extend its Informatics capabilities, working with well-known companies such as Microsoft and SAP and with leading solutions such as NextDocs’s Document Management System and Accelerys’s Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN).


    “By integrating Thermo Scientific SampleManager LIMS with NextDocs DMS, we are able to create a more comprehensive, personalized, seamless solution that works better together, offering greater benefit to our customers,” said Dave Champagne, vice president and general manager, Informatics at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

    Airport water management

    New self-cleaning analyser improves airport’s water management
    A highly advanced, self-calibrating Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analyser from instrumentation specialist Hach Lange is helping Manchester Airport (GB) to effectively monitor runoff whilst drastically reducing instrument maintenance requirements.

    The Airport is the fourth largest in the UK and handles more than 22 million passengers a year. With flights to 225 destinations worldwide, the airport operates around the clock and Hach Lange's Biotector B7000 analyser is helping to protect the environmental performance of this busy airport.

    As a result of extremely low temperatures over Christmas, the airport used more than 600,000 litres of de-icing liquid, such as glycol on aircraft, and acetates on runways, paths and standing areas, which created a challenge for the airport’s Water Services Engineer, Mark Stewart. He explained: “The liquid can be washed away by rain and snow into the airport’s main drainage system so it is paramount that we have the necessary analysis on-site to monitor the situation. This is because high volumes of different contaminants, such as glycol, will have a significant effect on the subsequent wastewater treatment process.


    “The B7000 was selected following excellent performance in independent trials and has now been permanently installed to measure the TOC of run-off prior to the treatment process. Previously installed instrumentation required much higher levels of service and calibration so the B7000 represents a more cost-effective solution.


    “Very high levels of organic material, such as glycol, can have an adverse effect on water quality monitoring equipment but we have found the B7000 to be extremely resilient in this respect, and overall it has proved very reliable.”

    Contaminated water is passed to a local wastewater treatment facility before being discharged into the Manchester Ship Canal.

    Explaining the many other applications for the B7000, Hache lange's Ian Smith said: “This analyser is extremely robust and flexible; it can measure TOC, COD, BOD, TC, TIC or VOC in water and waste water (even when oil and grease are present) and can operate with up to 30% chloride and 12% calcium sludge. Consequently, it is ideal for use across many industries where inlet and outlet monitoring of wastewater conditioning is required, for organic and inorganic carbon measurement in process waters and for monitoring cooling water, boiler water or surface water. It is self-cleaning, performs complete oxidation through its Two Stage Advanced Oxidation technology and has an extremely low maintenance requirement; no further calibration is necessary between six-monthly services.”

    Instrumentation for PNG gold & silver mine.


    Krohne Australia has secured a project win for the gold and silver processing facility at the Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV) operation, Hidden Valley Mine in Papua New Guinea. They supplied flow, level, density, pressure and temperature instrumentation.

    An aerial view of the Hidden Valley Mine Project
    The Hidden Valley mine is located in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea, around 300km north-west of Port Moresby, and is part of the 50:50 joint venture between Harmony and Newcrest Mining Limited. The mine, which has a significant gold and silver reserve, was commissioned during the year and had its first gold pour in June 2009. Ore mined was stockpiled ahead of the full commissioning of the carbon-in-leach gold and silver processing plant in FY10. The plant treats 4.6 million tonnes of ore per year and the Hidden Valley Mine will produce on average +250,000 ounces of gold per year and 4 million ounces of silver per year.

    With ninety years of practical instrument know how, Krohne provides extensive application experience in minerals processing facilities. Experience complimented by their range of OPTIFLUX electromagnetic, OPTIMASS coriolis, OPTISWIRL vortex, ultrasonic and all metal variable area flow meters, the company has unique expertise when it comes to flow measurement. Their OPTIWAVE, OPTIFLEX and OPTISOUND continuous level technologies are characterized by their high accuracy and reliability, even in difficult slurry, frothing and solids applications. A complete series of OPTISWITCH point level switches for slurries, liquids and solids round out their level portfolio for minerals processing facilities.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Out with paper!

    Electronic components distributor Digi-Key Corporation has ceased production of its print catalog and will offer its products exclusively online beginning immediately. By eliminating its printed catalogs, Digi-Key’s goal is to help preserve the environment while continuing its shift to a totally integrated, global electronic-components distributor.

    Additionally, Digi-Key will produce online-only versions of TechZone Magazine beginning with the June 2011 Lighting Solutions issue. Customers will be able to access both the product catalog and TechZone Magazines as downloadable PDFs and interactively online. TechZone Magazine is mobile-enabled for users with an iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android-compatible mobile device. Both the Digi-Key interactive and PDF catalogs will be mobile-enabled in the future.

    “By producing interactive and PDF catalogs and magazines, Digi-Key will significantly reduce its impact on the environment while providing customers with efficient, virtual access to Digi-Key’s expansive product offerings,” said Mark Larson, president and COO, Digi-Key Corporation. “Our portfolio of websites and online resources will give our customers greater access to Digi-Key’s in-stock products, while providing unparalleled information about real-time pricing, lead-times and product specifications, as well as videos, reference designs, custom editorial content and more.”

    Digi-Key Corporation focuses on providing customers with superior service, which includes product selection and availability, on-time delivery and responsiveness. Using leading-edge processes and state-of-the-art technologies, Digi-Key serves a global customer base from its 600,000-square-foot facility in  Minnesota USA.

    To find a catalog, visit your country-specific Digi-Key website and click on “Interactive Catalog” or “PDF Catalog” in the Resources section on the homepage. If you do not know the Web address for your country-specific Digi-Key website, visit www.digikey.com and click on “Change Country” in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage.

    To find TechZone Magazine, visit www.digikey.com and click on “TechZone Magazine” in the Resources section on the homepage. There, you can view the online eBook versions of each TechZone Magazine or subscribe at the top of the page to receive electronic versions of the magazine via e-mail.

    Usergroup meeting

    ExperTune User Conference offers case studies, training

    ExperTune will hold its 2011 User Conference,  May 10-12 in Milwaukee, (Wi US).  The conference will feature training by world-class experts, as well as many case studies that show the value from control system improvements.

    Many of the case studies focus on the use of ExperTune's PlantTriage software.  Proven in hundreds of plants worldwide, PlantTriage control performance monitoring system automatically diagnoses and prioritizes process, control, and instrumentation problems, 24 hours a day.  Integrated analysis and tuning tools improve plant results by focusing effort on the most critical issues. 

    John Gerry
    , President of ExperTune, says  "This conference is an excellent forum for the sharing of ideas between users of our software.  We know from previous conferences that people are saving millions of dollars using these proven tools and techniques."

    In addition to the case studies, there will be several training sessions and discussion panels presented by world-class experts.  Mr. Gerry adds "We work with some of the most knowledgeable people in the automation industry.  These are people with a remarkable combination of practical knowledge and theoretical understanding.  The formal training and the informal environment allows conference attendees to actually solve their real-world problems."

    Safety rotary encoder

    SIL3/PLe compliant drive solutions, including rotor position detection

    Machine and plant engineering companies are increasingly relying on failsafe components to fulfil the safety requirements specified in the current version of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. The safety sine/cosine rotary encoder RVK58S from Pepperl & Fuchs, is an ideal choice as it also allows the position of the motor rotor to be detected with the highest accuracy levels.

    Only rigorous end-to-end safety concepts are able to truly ensure the required safety level. This means that the capability of a safety solution is effectively only as good as the weakest link in the chain. It has long been common practice to configure important system components redundantly and detect potential malfunctions by comparing corresponding system parameters. Although this fulfils the purpose, it is undesirable in today’s view due to duplication of the costs of equipment and material as well as high installation and cabling efforts. Furthermore, increasing the number of components raises the probability of failure and makes certification of conformity more expensive.

    Self-monitoring replaces redundancy
    Intelligent self-monitoring is often used now in place of redundancy to ensure proper operation of the various functional units. The new RVK58S sine/cosine rotary encoder from Pepperl+Fuchs Drehgeber GmbH, plays a key role in the development of safe drive solutions. This high-resolution encoder, packaged in a 58-mm housing, has 1024 increments per revolution and boasts a functional safety concept, along with an absolute position track as an extra feature. Signal conditioning is handled by a special ASIC, which also looks after internal diagnostics.

    Faults on the incremental encoder disc or errors in the signal path can be detected reliably by using the formula sin²(x) + cos²(x) = 1 to evaluate the incremental sine and cosine signals from the encoder, which are offset by 90 degrees. The supply voltage, temperature, LED drive and calibration data checksum are also monitored. If a violation occurs, the encoder electronics put the outputs in a high-impedance state so that the controller can detect the malfunction immediately by means of its open-circuit detection function. With this feature, the new rotary encoder considerably simplifies the development of safe machines and at the same time eliminates the need for the redundant sensor component approach used in conventional concepts. The sine/cosine rotary encoder is already certified, and certification of the additional absolute position track is currently underway at TÜV. After this certification is issued, the device will be approved for use in drive products that fulfil safety requirements up to SIL3/PLe using only one encoder.

    Rotor position detection using a single-cycle absolute position track
    In addition to the high-resolution incremental tracks, the rotary encoder has a sine/cosine absolute position track with exactly one cycle per revolution. It provides information on the actual position of the rotor in the motor. This information is needed for purposes such as start-up commutation of synchronous motors. The absolute position is output as a digitized signal with 13-bit resolution using either the Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI) or Bidirectional Synchronous Serial (BiSS) interface protocol. With the combination of the sine/cosine interface, SSI and BiSS, the encoder utilizes existing communication paths and eliminates the need for proprietary safety protocols.

    In combination with a suitably certified controller, the safety rotary encoder from Pepperl+Fuchs enables single-encoder solutions, eliminating the need to integrate a second encoder to fulfil more stringent safety requirements. However, a prerequisite for this is that both sensor channels are always connected to the controller. With this system configuration, classification at a higher ISO 13849 performance level (PL e) or IEC 62061 safety integrity level (SIL 3) is straightforward. All motor activities are carried out and monitored reliably, enabling the implementation of typical speed-based safety functions such as safe limited speed, safe speed monitoring, safe standstill monitoring, safe rotation direction, safe acceleration/deceleration, and so on.

    Safety rotary encoder replaces mechanical safety solutions
    The innovative safety functions allow conventional mechanical safety devices, which are subject to wear, to be replaced by software functions in many applications. For example, in high-bay warehouses the expensive hydraulic end-stop buffers at the ends of the storage and retrieval machine guideways can be eliminated entirely. In addition, less empty space is needed and the vehicles can be made lighter thanks to lower braking deceleration. In combination with a suitable safety control unit installed either locally or in the drive controller, the RVK58S monitors compliance with the specified braking ramp (safety limited deceleration) as well as the speed of travel (safe limited speed) of the storage and retrieval machine. If any of the configured limits is exceeded, the system is either braked with the aid of the drive or (in case of total drive failure) a mechanical brake in the vehicle is applied.

    Safety functions simplify start-up and servicing
    Machine operators are most likely to be injured during start-up, set-up and servicing, since these activities are usually performed directly in the hazard area. The safety rotary encoder enables the implementation of many extended safety functions that allow these activities to be managed safely with minimal effort.

    Summary
    Machine manufacturers and operators are obliged to fulfil the safety requirements specified in EN ISO 13849, and the world’s first functionally safe rotary encoder with a supplementary absolute position track makes a valuable contribution to the efficient implementation of safe drive solutions. The RVK58S merges seamlessly with modern safety concepts and makes it easier for machine and plant engineering companies to demonstrate that their products conform to the required performance level (PL) or safety integrity level (SIL). Thanks to the integrated absolute position track, the encoder is suitable for general-purpose use in a wide variety of drive solutions, regardless of whether they are based on synchronous or asynchronous motors.

    SCSI cable assys for high vibration requirements

    Harting has introduced a range of high-performance SCSI overmoulded cable assemblies based on the company's har-mik® male connectors.

    The new assemblies, which are ideally suited to use in high vibration environments, are available in 14-, 26- and 36-pole versions, and in a range of standard lengths from 0.5 m to 5 m. In addition to standard AWG 28 shielded cable, other types are available on request.

    Reliable contact termination is achieved with established Harting IDC technology, ensuring durable gas-tight connection to the wire. Secure strain relief is realised through overmoulding, providing robust assemblies for use in IP 20 environments such as cabinets and control rooms. Integral screw locks allow easy fixing to the mating connector and provide protection against unintended disconnection.

    Apart from these simple operations, no additional assembly is required, saving time and money compared to the use of individual piece parts and their associated tooling, and resulting in an overall reduction in field installation time.

    Cockpit display

    Mistral Solutions as extended its product offerings with the latest from Esterel Technologies - the SCADE ARINC 661 Solutions for Interactive Cockpit Display Development.

    This commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) tool provides companies with a means to define processes that will bring more independence and great control when defining Cockpit Display Systems. The SCADE ARINC 661 Solutions help airframers, CDS developers and UA developers to efficiently create and certify, up to DO-178B Level A, ARINC 661-compliant Cockpit Display Systems and User Applications. The SCADE ARINC 661 Solutions are built on top of the SCADE Suite and SCADE Display (featured in Mistral’s April 2010 PR), which are both used for developing UAs and CDS logic and graphics.

    The SCADE ARINC 661 Solutions consist of three products:
    The SCADE ARINC 661 Widget Designer: Enables CDS suppliers to build their ARINC 661 widgets, and associated look and feel, as SCADE Suite and SCADE Display models. It includes a default Widget Library, containing all ARINC 661 standard-based widgets, with the flexibility to edit, modify and re-generate them at anytime.
    The SCADE ARINC 661 UA Designer Environment, including:
    o   SCADE ARINC 661 UA Pages Creator: Enables UA developers to create ARINC 661 UA pages by rapidly assembling ARINC 661 Widgets
    o   SCADE ARINC 661 UA/Server Communication module: Enables developers to co-simulate their UAs and the created ARINC 661 pages
    o   SCADE ARINC 661 Server (PC implementation)
    The SCADE ARINC 661 UA Definition File Generator: Allows for generation of ARINC 661 standard XML and binary Definition Files from the description of ARINC 661 pages, with its DO-178B level A Certification Kit
    Additionally, the SCADE ARINC 661 Server and associated source code license enables users to port their server implementation onto the embedded target.

    The SCADE ARINC 661 Solutions also benefit from the numerous tool-chain integration modules already available for SCADE Suite and SCADE Display.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    New sensors offer magnetostrictive capability at a very affordable price

    RDP Electronics,  sole distributor of MTS Industrial Series Temposonics transducers in Britain and Ireland, announce their new E Series range, bringing these high quality sensors into price contention with linear potentiometers for even basic applications.

    Although the high quality of MTS sensors is well recognised they can be perceived as just ‘too good’ for simpler applications. Thanks to use of the magnetostrictive principle there is no mechanical contact between fixed and moving parts ensuring extremely good accuracy, resolution and stability. Compact size offers a further benefit as sensors need only to be marginally longer than the displacement range under measurement. The new E Series retains the excellent performance of the well established, more sophisticated R and G Series at a price competitive with linear potentiometers but without their drawbacks. Due to the adoption of magnetostrictive technology the E Series is immune to problems typically associated with linear potentiometers such as noisy output and unreliability that compromise applications and adversely affect the cost of ownership.

    Thursday, March 24, 2011

    Changes at the top!

    Invensys plc has announced that Wayne Edmunds, who has been Chief Financial Officer of the Company since 2009, has been appointed Chief Executive with immediate effect. Ulf Henriksson has stepped down as Chief Executive and as a director of the Company. David Thomas, who has held senior financial roles within the Group since 2002, has been appointed Acting Chief Financial Officer and a permanent appointment will be made in due course after consideration of internal and external candidates.

    Sir Nigel Rudd, Chairman of Invensys plc, commented: "I am delighted that Wayne has agreed to take on the role of Chief Executive to lead Invensys through the next stage of its development. We have three world class businesses and a management team to match, and I am confident that Invensys is well positioned to continue to deliver value to shareholders.
    "I would like to thank Ulf for his hard work and achievements which have delivered a transformation of Invensys. We wish him well for the future."

    • See also Gary Mintchell's Feed Forward Blog: Invensys Names New Corporate CEO, for more background!
    Jim Pinto also comments in Invensys CEO fired just before year-end! (31/3/2011)

    Powerful water information hub

    GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of the Proficy® for Water InfoCenter, a solution pack that brings the power of the Proficy Software Platform to help water utilities face their many challenges to make better decisions saving time and money for better service to customers.

    This InfoCenter is part of GE’s “Intelligent Water” initiative, which provides insight into resources by optimizing field workforce, fixed assets and plant operations with a task relative information environment, conveyance by leveraging buffer capacity, reducing pump station energy consumption, and limiting non-revenue water with improved information visualization, treatment by mitigating increasing energy consumption during treatment with smart plant management of pumping and chemicals, and business with coordinated web based solutions providing transparency into operations that deliver actionable information to power better financial decision making.

    "Proficy for Water InfoCenter is the first major release following our announced relationship with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," said Alan Hinchman, Global Water Industry Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms speaking of last year’s GE - EPA collaborative research agreement. "Water and wastewater utilities face a number of challenges globally including reducing operational costs, managing water quality, and increasing efficiency. GE believes the solution to solve these challenges is to provide operational information contextualized with historical data in a concise manner to operators via local interfaces or mobile devices. Proficy for Water InfoCenter does that by changing how utilities will manage their treatment and conveyance systems.”

    The Proficy software platform brings insight and solutions to water operations in a way that is both actionable and profitable. Developed specifically for water/wastewater utilities, the Proficy for Water InfoCenter software platform provides connected information to better manage water resources to improve operations in resource management, conveyance and treatment of water and overall business management. It brings together award-winning Proficy HMI/SCADA - iFIX visualization, embedded Proficy Historian, web publishing capability with Proficy WebSpace, and more than 250 water-specific dynamos.

    “Water is fast becoming a currency worldwide, and the budget shortfalls and economic realities facing nearly every area around the country today makes this a message that is hard to ignore,” said Hinchman. “With a total view of the water grid, the agency can see what’s happening from source water through treatment, you can gain unprecedented information and make better decisions to reduce loss, anticipate demand, and improve operations, reliability and security, saving time and money and better serving constituents.”

    The GE Intelligent Platforms and the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) focuses on connecting dissimilar data sources into a software-based platform that improves decision making capabilities across a water system. The solution will increase the effectiveness of a distribution network for the delivery of better quality water while using 15% less energy.

    Proficy for Water InfoCenter is the first related product released following the CRADA and the latest example of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year software and solutions services businesses are helping customers improve productivity.

    New flowmeter developed

    Shell and Krohne signed an agreement to commercialise a new multiphase flowmeter based on the Magnetic Resonance principle for oil and gas field installations. The agreement comprises the manufacturing, marketing and sales of the new meter which was developed through an R&D collaboration between Shell and magnetic resonance specialist Spinlock. The aim is to bring the first generation flow meter into operation in 2012.

    The Magnetic Resonance (MR) principle is based on strong permanent magnets, excitating the medium particles to oscillate and measuring the resonance frequency. Krohne is the first manufacturer to implement this measurement principle in an inline multiphase flow meter for use in oil and gas field applications, allowing to measure both gas and liquid flow phases simultaneously. The most important field of application for this type of flow meter will be the measurement of crude oil directly at the well where it is basically a mixture of oil, natural gas and water. The application of a MR flow meter will give oil companies major cost reduction.

    “Leveraging enhanced and more cost-effective multi-phase metering solutions in our operations is a priority area for Shell. With Krohne we have found a recognized partner to commercialize this exciting technology” said Jeroen Regtien, Vice-President Hydrocarbon Recovery Technologies.

    “This new and highly innovative measuring principle fits perfectly in the KROHNE culture and is a strategic addition to the existing product portfolio“ said Stephan Neuburger, Managing Director of the Krohne group.

    EDDL enhancements

    Enhancements relating to EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language)

    Thanks to EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language), millions of field devices such as valve positioners, radar level transmitters, and bus diagnostics modules work together even if they are made by different manufacturers. PI (ProfiBus and ProfiNET International) welcomes the incorporation of the latest enhancements of the EDDL technology in the second edition of the IEC 61804-3 international standard.

    These enhancements include the option for offline configuration with the standard parameter values suggested by the manufacturer in order to simplify and speed up device commissioning. Effective immediately, diagnostic messages and other texts can be displayed in many different languages – including Japanese and Chinese. Device diagnostics and setup information can be displayed in one easy to overview page, simplifying commissioning and maintenance.

    Device-internal mechanisms prevent the displayed overviews or configuration wizards from becoming cluttered with irrelevant information, and thus wasting the valuable time of technicians. A further important innovation involves the illustrations: Explanations appearing in the graphics are now displayed in the language selected in each case, which greatly facilitates interpretation of the diagnostic and setup information by operating personnel.

    EDDL was originally introduced in 1992. Its backwards compatibility has ensured against incompatibilities with installed devices and systems. And this also applies to the current enhancements. EDDL remains a compressed text file so that the advantage of being independent from the respective operation system still applies.

    The new edition of EDDL brings immediate benefits to users, while representing an important step towards the Field Device Integration (FDI) project, since EDDL will be an integral component of the FDI technology.