Friday, April 8, 2011

Wireless as easy as 1-2-3!

OMEGA has taken the lead in wireless technology and we now boast an extensive product range, allowing customers to very simply build a complete system. Also, using their complimentary Ethernet and internet servers combined with their wide range of sensors, it easily becomes possible to connect, monitor and control any process parameter from anywhere in the world.

Many of the old limitations and complexities of point-to-point, mechanically interconnected instrumentation systems no longer apply. The engineer, technician or scientist can use these new wireless devices to gain a freedom and flexibility in system design and installation that was not previously available. Information can be monitored centrally or data can be collected and analysed in real time or later using a data logger, PC, scanner or SCADA system.

As their NEW HORIZONSTM in wireless communications demonstrates, building a complete wireless measurement system is as easy as 1-2-3!

This new publication has over 65 pages of wireless enabled transmitters, receivers, loggers, recorders, controllers, systems and sensors. Full technical support and application assistance is available by our in-house Engineers.

Wind proof in hazardous area light!

R. Stahl's EXLUX 6000 luminaires for hazardous areas have been subjected to extensive wind tunnel tests. Withstanding wind speeds of up to 187 km/h without sustaining any damage, they proved
resistant to the strongest possible air flow generated in the test stand at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Two pole-mounted models from the proven lamp series went through a battery of tests at the university's Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace without any functional impairment. Suitable for use in zone 1 hazardous areas, the Ex e luminaires are used e.g. in the oil and gas industry. They are installed as standard lighting solutions or as emergency lights with either integral battery or central battery systems.

The ongoing trend towards offshore production in increasingly hostile environments imposes more demanding requirements on the technology used on platforms. More often than not, machines and
systems must not only withstand frequent strong winds, but also more extreme weather conditions such as gale-force hurricanes. Load tests with a wind speed of 160 km/h have been established as a benchmark for an adequate degree of cyclone and hurricane safety. During these tests, which include simulated high-level wind shears, the test object must withstand air flows even in unfavourable mounting positions. By passing these tests, the EXLUX series has proven sufficiently robust and stable for such applications. This new proof of suitability complements various other certifications, such as ATEX, IECEx, VNIIF, FM, CSA and GL (German Lloyd for offshore applications) for normal conditions and extreme temperatures, which the light fittings had previously obtained as well.

Stahl products are marketed in Ireland by Douglas Control & Automation

New member announced!

The Control Systems Integrators Association (CSIA) has signed a memorandum of membership with the Automation Federation.

CSIA is a global, not-for-profit, professional association for control system integration (CSI) companies. CSIA is committed to the development of the business capabilities of CSI companies, globally, and to their implementation of best practices to provide a healthy, low-risk channel for the application of automation technology to their industrial clients. CSIA’s CSI industry Best Practices and Certified member program provide many industries with well-managed CSI companies. In consideration of the need for automation in buildings, factories, municipal plants, environmental systems and energy equipment for the overall welfare of the world’s nations, CSIA has expressed its support of AF’s focus on defining, representing and developing the automation profession by signing the memorandum of membership with AF.

By joining AF, CSIA will work with all AF member organizations to make the “Voice of Automation” heard throughout governmen and academia in an effort to help the member companies of its own association find the educated workers needed to grow and prosper. CSIA plans to participate in meetings and events, as appropriate to their resources, to promote the vision, plans and goals of AF.

“The Automation Federation is pleased to welcome CSIA as our newest member,” said Nelson Ninin, 2011 Automation Federation chair. “CSIA’s membership adds new and far-reaching strength to our ‘Voice.’ With support from CSIA, and from all our member organizations, we can work to effectively and efficiently advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications, and ensure the development of the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation.”

Robert Lowe, CSIA executive director, stated, “We are excited about being a part of the Automation Federation and helping to fulfill the essential mission of representing the automation profession. Our hope is that our member companies will someday find the road to locating quality employees to be straight and smooth.”

A new first in level

Transmitter uses both capacitance and guided wave radar technologies to measure level and the interface between two liquids.

The Levelflex FMP55 multiparameter level transmitter from Endress + Hauser can measure both the overall level of a liquid and the interface between two liquids. It is the first transmitter to utilize two level technologies built into one probe. The transmitter will automatically switch between the technologies in order to provide a concise and reliable interface measurement, even in the presence of emulsion or rag layers. The use of two technologies eliminates many problems associated with interface level applications.

Capacitance is not affected by emulsion or rag layers in interface applications, and the radar allows the transmitter to monitor the overall level as well as the interface level. The transmitter has a multi-echo tracking algorithm that can track up to 20 tank echoes simultaneously as the tank level rises or lowers. This ensures that the transmitter will not make a "jump" to an echo that is not the true level, such as a internal tank obstruction or heater coils. The level sensor has a measuring range of up to 33 ft (10 m). The transmitter offers a 4-20mA with HART output signal plus an optional second 4-20 mA output

With its coated multiparameter probe, the FMP55 is ideal for interface measurement in the oil, gas and chemical industries. It can be used in process temperatures from -58 to 392F (-50 to 200C) and in pressures from -14.5 to 580 psi (-1 to 40 Bar). The FMP55 carries a SIL 2 rating as certifed by TÜV per IEC 61508 and has ATEX, IEC Ex, FM and CSA area classification approvals available.

The FMP55 is equipped with a HistoROM built into the main housing of the transmitter. All of the setup parameters are stored on the HistoROM and, in the event of an electronics change-out, all of the information will be uploaded directly into the new electronics module. In the case of multiple units being set up at the same time with the same measurement parameters, the same HistoROM information can be transferred into a display that can be removed and installed in the next transmitter. This allows for the transfer of the set-up data, greatly reducing setup time during field commissioning.

They offer three different setup methods for the FMP55. The first method is the use of the removable display. Second, the device can be fully commissioned via the three buttons on the display itself, using a menu-guided six-step quick setup. Third, Endress+Hauser's free FTD-based FieldCare software program allows for a very flexible method for setup using a PC, and the software can be integrated into a complete lifecycle management system.

Control valve enhanced!

Severe service trim capabilities, cryogenic construction and a PSA version added to the general purpose valve range

There are seveeral new capabilities for the Fisher® GX control valve and actuator system range announced which make it suitable for a wider range of applications. These include the addition of a Whisper Trim™ III low noise trim and an anti cavitation trim, making the valve system suitable for severe service applications. There is also a cryogenic version which enables use down to -196º C and a design specifically for use in Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) skids. To verify cycle life, the PSA design has been successfully tested to withstand over 1 million high speed cycles.

“The GX valve system has been particularly well received by our customers, and these new options make it even more versatile,”
said Praf Patel, Emerson’s European Business Unit Manager for sliding stem valves.  “In particular, our customers have said they value the high performance of the overall package – which includes the valve, the actuator and the digital positioner – because of its positive impact on loop and plant performance.”

The GX is a compact and rugged globe-style valve system that can control a wide range of process liquids, gasses and vapours. Operations and maintenance savings are delivered through the use of standardised constructions and the predictive diagnostics and performance advantage of the integrally mounted Fisher FIELDVUE® DVC2000 digital valve controller. Even the cryogenic and PSA designs, which are both arduous applications, use mainly standard parts. This enables industry-leading delivery times for these valves of just three weeks ex works. Valves with a range of standard options are available in one week.

Technology partnership!

Exclusive agreement combines ACM technology with Invensys solutions expertise to help customers achieve environment & safety excellence

Invensys Operations Management is to be the exclusive provider of a unique process safety decision-support solution from ACM Facility Safety, a division of ACM Automation. Under the terms of a new partnership agreement, Invensys will now offer ACM Facility Safety’s process safety decision-support software, Machu Picchu, to the global process industry.
“Together, Invensys and ACM are embarking on a new path to make industrial plants safer,” said Steve Elliott, environment and safety excellence principal for Invensys Operations Management. “Invensys will take responsibility for the delivery of new solutions that enable customers to continuously track deviations between the plant’s designed risk profile and the actual operating risk profile in real time. Using dashboard displays, plant operators will be able to readily identify, mitigate, minimise and potentially eliminate process risks. This expanded solution capability enhances our Triconex® safety software and systems to help our clients achieve sustainable environment and safety excellence. The partnership with ACM is another example of how our global Ecosystem of partners accelerates our capability to deliver integrated solutions that deliver real-time results.”

Designed to work with a plant’s process automation, control and safety systems, the Machu Picchu decision-support tool provides visibility into process risks and combines expert knowledge of the plant’s risk parameters, diagnostic alarms and historical operator observations to monitor the integrity of all safeguards 24x7. It then calculates the level of risk caused by a deviation and provides operators a set of pre-engineered contingency plans or detailed instructions on how to address abnormal situations.

Murray Macza, general manager for ACM Automation Inc., said, “We are extremely pleased to be working with Invensys—the acknowledged leader in critical control and safety systems—to extend our global reach and bring our safety offerings to the chemical, petrochemical, refining, oil and gas production, power generation and manufacturing industries. Today’s end users are under tremendous pressure to run their plants at maximum throughput without limiting their commitment to safety and the environment. By working closely with Invensys, we can accelerate the introduction and adoption of revolutionary new technology that will help process manufacturers improve their business performance, as well as achieve safety and overall operational excellence.”

Frequency counter

 Low-cost 3 GHz frequency counter has TCXO timebase
The TF930 3 GHz low-cost universal frequency counter from Aim-TTi now incorporates a TCXO (temperature-controlled crystal oscillator) timebase, giving it a stability within ±1 ppm over its full operating temperature range, combined with a low aging rate.

The counter can measure frequency, period, pulse width, duty cycle and frequency ratio, as well as event counting (totalise). For frequency, period and ratio functions, the instrument uses a reciprocal counting technique to provide high resolution at all frequencies. Eight significant digits of reading are produced in a one-second measurement time, nine digits in 10 sec and ten digits in 100 sec, with a granularity of less than two counts in the least significant digit.

The overall frequency range is from 0.001 Hz to over 3000 MHz, with high sensitivity across the range. For frequencies up to 125 MHz the input is configurable as 1 megohm or 50 ohm impedance, AC or DC coupling, and 1:1 or 5:1 attenuation. The threshold is fully variable, and the active edge can be positive or negative.

The TF930 incorporates a USB interface which allows it to be remotely controlled via a computer’s USB port. It operates from internal rechargeable NiMH batteries, which give typically 24 hours operating life. The universal AC charger supplied will recharge the batteries in less than 4 hours, and can be used for continuous AC operation. The instrument can also be powered from a standard USB port.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MES improves production

Invensys Operations Management has recently helped Alfa Laval, a world leader in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling , to improve production by introducing Wonderware MES 4.0 into its production systems.

For several years, Alfa Laval has been using Invensys Wonderware HMI solution, InTouch®, in its production and has also gradually implemented solutions for measuring the efficiency and downtime in their factories around the world.

In order to ensure a better follow-up of production data with the aim to increase productivity even further, Alfa Laval has now taken the next step and upgraded to MES 4.0 (Manufacturing Execution System) from Invensys Wonderware.

The new solution helps reduce unplanned downtime by identifying and analysing the causes of the outages and enables in a standardised way the comparison of production data in the continuous improvement process supported by the OEE number (OEE = Overall Equipment Effectiveness).

"Our automatically generated reports, which are regularly posted by the system, are a valuable tool for our continuous improvement efforts. To be able to summarise yesterday's production results at the morning meeting the day after is invaluable information to quickly analyse and implement appropriate corrective measures." Greger Malmqvist, project manager at Alfa Laval, says.

In the efforts to increase its competitiveness through a more efficient production, Alfa Laval will continue to globally implement the Wonderware MES solution in its production units in the coming years.

Nanotechnology measurement techniques!

Keithley Instruments has published an informative poster on nanotechnology measurement tips and techniques. A free copy of the poster, titled "Measurement Techniques for Characterizing Graphene  , Carbon Nanotubes, and Nano-materials and Devices: Low Power, Low Voltage, Low Resistance" is available upon request from Keithley here!

The poster is divided into several topic areas:
• Measurement Technique for Hall Voltage and Resistivity Measurements 

• Technique for Measuring Resistance as a Function of Gate Voltage
• Circuit to Measure Drain Family of Curves on a Carbon Nanotube
• Avoiding Sources of Error When Measuring Low Power Materials and Devices

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

Helicopter sensor stars on stage

Helping the stars not to break a leg!
With theaters striving to create breath-taking spectacles and leave the audience gasping for more, there is often world-class engineering behind the scenes.  A British company is developing technology to ensure safety when excited performers and heavy machinery share the same space.

If live theatre is to compete with film and television, it has to produce visual spectacles to complement the performance of the actors, singers and musicians on stage. Hollywood’s increasing reliance on CGI (computer generated imagery) has upped the ante for stage set designers, who have to work before a live audience, in restricted space and with a constant eye on the safety of the many people working frantically round the set.

Many stage props and almost all of the backdrops are lowered onto the stage from the fly tower just behind it. Usually this is done quickly between scenes, but sometimes it is during  - and as part of - the actual performance. Either way, safety and reliability are essential.

“Until recently, the sets were manually controlled with a technical stage manager watching everything from the wings and giving instructions by radio to the winch operators above.” explains Tony Ingham of Sensor Technology who is helping to introduce safety systems and automation to the theatre industry.

“Speed is of the essence during scene changes, but you have to be confident the winches won’t fail – which could easily damage the set or injure a person.”

Sensor Technology is achieving this using real-time load signals from each winch. The data is monitored by a computer in the control room so that instant action can be taken if any loads move out of tolerance.

“We developed the load cells, which we have called LoadSense, a couple of years ago, originally for monitoring cargo nets carried under helicopters.” says Tony. “We were asked to develop one specific capability within the cell and were delighted to do so because we could see that the technology would transfer to many other fields – although I didn’t realise it would get to be a backstage pass to a world of greasepaint and legwarmers!"

That critical characteristic was robust, industrial-grade wireless communications, something in which Sensor Technology already has a 15year track record from its TorqSense transducer range.  In basic terms, each LoadSense has an on-board radio frequency transmitter which sends signals to the control room computer. The transmitter has to be physically robust to cope with the environment it finds itself in and capable of maintaining its signal integrity through the most corrupting of harmonic conditions.

“By working in real time, we can act instantly to any problems. For instance, if a load starts running too fast we would slow it down immediately. If a prop is heavier than expected this could suggest someone was standing on it so shouldn’t be whizzed 50 feet into the air at high speed. In fact, in this case, the computer ‘jiggles’ the load for a second or two as a warning to encourage the person to step away: If the load then returns to normal we are happy to let it rise; if it doesn’t, the floor manager is alerted by an alarm to check the situation.”

LoadSense is proving so sensitive that it can provide a feedback signal to close the control loop on a vector drive controlling the winch. Normally theatre engineers use sensorless vector drives, which offer good dynamic performance without the complications of wiring in a feedback sensor.

Sensor Technology is closing the loop which improves system integrity and enhances safety by a significant margin.

“Not that many years ago, stage scenery was fairly static, being moved only during the interval when the curtains were closed,”
Tony recalls. “Then the big theatres in the West End and on Broadway started to emulate some of the things you see in the movies. Looking back, those early efforts were pretty crude, but you would say the same about long-running film franchises such as James Bond or Indiana Jones.

“Nowadays, film directors can produce their spectacular images using CGI, and this has upped the ante no end for their cousins in live theatre. The computer power they turn to is not virtual reality but industrial automation.”

In fact, theatre engineers probably work in more demanding conditions than manufacturing engineers. Everything has to be right on the night, harmonic corruption is at stratospheric levels, there can be major changes at a moments notice, people run through the ‘machinery’ without a thought for personal safety.

“But with automation some order is brought to this creative chaos. In fact, the health and safety inspectors now insist on it, with lots of failsafes and feedbacks. I honestly don’t think theatre engineers would be able to achieve half of what they do without wireless communications.  There would be just too many wires running all over the place and inevitably some would get broken at the most inopportune of moments.”

Video monitoring software on industrial cameras

Longwatch, a division of Industrial Video and Control (IVC),  has announced that Longwatch video monitoring software products have been integrated with IVC’s latest industrial cameras.  IVC is a leading supplier of cameras and video systems for industrial, military, and commercial applications.  IVC acquired Longwatch in February 2011, and the two companies have worked since then to create video solutions using Longwatch software and IVC’s cameras. (See our story Video surveilence pioneer acquired - 3rd Feb'11)

Longwatch video surveillance software runs on a standalone PC or can be integrated with almost all popular HMI/SCADA platforms used in automation and process control, including General Electric iFix, Wonderware InTouch, InduSoft WebStudio, and Control Microsystems ClearSCADA. The software allows automation and process control operators and engineers to view live camera data on their HMI screens, pan and zoom cameras from the HMI, “rewind” archived video data to review historical events, link archived video with historian data, and record what operators saw and did during an “event” at their HMI screens.

Longwatch software—including the Console Recorder, Video Management System, Longwatch Viewer, Video Window and the Video Historian—now provides seamless, integrated support of IVC’s latest, state-of-the-art industrial cameras including:
• MZ-3630-04 - Outdoor manual zoom day/night switching color fixed megapixel IP camera
• PTZ-3330-11 – Outdoor 26x day/night switching color PTZ IP camera
• AMZ-3641-02 – Class I Division 1 3 megapixel color fixed IP camera
• APTZ-3141-xx – Class I Division 1 day/night switching color PTZ IP camera (all versions)
• APTZ-3142-xx – Class I Division 2 day/night switching color PTZ IP camera (all versions)

The combination of Longwatch video monitoring software with IVC’s industrial cameras allows IVC to meet the needs of industrial plants for security surveillance, process monitoring, pipeline and well-site monitoring, and video monitoring of remote sites, such as pumping stations, power transmission lines, offshore platforms, water and wastewater facilities, mines, and similar applications.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Redundant server systems for increased plant availability

Siemens Industry Automation Division has new software for configuring redundant OPC UA servers (Openness, Productivity & Collaboration, Unified Architecture). The S7 OPC Redundancy application allows the design of redundant server systems for fail-safe connection of HMI devices within Industrial Ethernet or PROFIBUS networks. OPC is a standardised and open interface for connecting Windows applications using various protocols such as S7-communication, Profinet and SNMP. The extended development version, OPC UA, additionally provides security and redundancy functions, for example.

Within a redundant server structure, a backup server immediately assumes the functions of the failed OPC UA server in the event of a power outage or system failure. In this way, connected clients such as HMI devices can access the central data and remain operational without interruption. The new Siemens software thus increases the availability of automation data to HMI systems. In normal operation, the clients are distributed evenly across all connected servers, providing improved utilization of IT resources.

PCs with the Windows Server operating system, Simatic Net S7 basic software, and the new S7 OPC Redundancy application are required to establish a redundant OPC UA server system. The OPC UA server is synchronized using high-performance Industrial Ethernet access points with a bandwidth of 10, 100 or 1,000 Mbit/s. No additional wiring is required. The connected OPC clients require the appropriate OPC UA support for communication. Existing standard OPC UA clients with reconnect functionality in accordance with the OPC UA specification can continue to be used.

Metal, pulp & paper applications

Yokogawa signs global partnership agreement with ANDRITZ

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has been selected by ANDRITZ as a global partner for the provision of process control systems, field instruments, and process analysers for their customers' metal and pulp & paper plants. The object of this agreement is to standardise the terms and conditions of contracts and promote greater efficiency in the global purchase and supply of products, systems, and services.

Curd Ornig, Head of Category Management of ANDRITZ Group's Global Procurement organisation, commented as follows about this agreement: "The ANDRITZ Pulp & Paper business area is a leading global supplier of turnkey systems and services for the production of all types of pulp, paper, tissue paper, board, fibre board (MDF) and nonwovens, as well as of biomass boilers and gasifiers for energy production. ANDRITZ Metals is one of the leading global suppliers of complete lines for the production and further processing of cold-rolled carbon steel, stainless steel, and non-ferrous metal strip. ANDRITZ values its relationship with Yokogawa and believes that working collaboratively to meet our creative endeavours will continue to deliver value for both companies."
Dr. Tony Lee, Vice President, Yokogawa Electric Corporation, said: "We have become a global partner of ANDRITZ by demonstrating the strength of our products, their reliability, and our global support capability. We look forward to strengthening our corporate relationship with ANDRITZ by delivering cutting-edge solutions from both our companies to end-users."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Approval streamlines certification process for measuring system suppliers

Emerson adds Daniel® Ultrasonic & Turbine meters to its range of products with MID Certification
European MID approval streamlines certification process for measuring system suppliers

Emerson Process Management's  Daniel® Gas Ultrasonic meter, Liquid Ultrasonic Meter and Liquid Turbine Meters are now certified as meeting the requirements of the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) 2004/22/EC. The MID is a European directive that covers a range of different measuring instruments. The certificate is valid throughout the whole of Europe.

For the measurement of liquids, the MID certification applies to complete measuring systems. Daniel liquid products have evaluation certificates which simplify the process of obtaining a system approval, so suppliers of these systems that have responsibility for MID compliance of a system can save time at the evaluation and certification stage. In addition, Daniel also has the capabilities and experience to take responsibility for overall MID system certification.

For gas measurement products, MID certification applies to individual products and Emerson can provide Daniel CE marked meters to address any customer concerns about MID compliance.

“By purchasing MID certified products, measuring system suppliers can streamline their certification processes, saving time and money,” said Mark Dutton, Vice President & General Manager, Daniel Measurement and Control, Europe. “These newly certified meters join the existing line up of Emerson’s MID certified components, systems and start-up services.”

Emerson products that already have MID Certification include Micro Motion® Coriolis sensors and transmitters, Rosemount® pressure and temperature transmitters, gas and liquid flow computers and Micro Motion dedicated density meters.

Emerson has considerable experience with all aspects of MID approval and its industry specialists are ready to help customers select the best products for their application and assist in obtaining MID approval for their measurement systems.

PXI switches

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PXI RF switches with the introduction of the 40-755 multiplexer modules.

The 40-755 supports up to 10 off SP4T RF switches in a single module and is available in two different versions based on a common switch design.

The high density version occupies just one slot of a 3U PXI chassis and uses a high density multi-way connector that is suitable for switching frequencies to 500MHz. The higher frequency version uses SMB connectors and is suited for switching signals to 1.8GHz.

The 40-755 is the highest density SP4T switch available in the standard PXI format and is suitable for use in both commercial and military ATE systems. It is an ideal replacement for use in older VXI-based military ATE applications that are being replaced and/or upgraded by PXI/LXI solutions where great numbers of SP4T are used as standard RF switch sub-assemblies.

The two models use a switch design based around high quality electro-mechanical relays and in addition to being supported in any PXI compliant chassis they can be supported in Pickering Interfaces Modular LXI Chassis.

New member for wireless body

Flowserve Corporation has joined the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (ISA100 WCI) as a supplier member. 

“With ISA100-based products in the works at Flowserve, joining the ISA100 WCI gives us access to a technical and user ecosystem that enables us to accelerate our ISA100.11a product offerings,” said Scott Wilkerson, senior product portfolio manager of Flowserve Corporation. “Our solutions help customers move, control and protect the flow of materials in critical industries worldwide. We look forward to offering our customers products based on the global ISA100.11a wireless standard.”

“As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pumps, valves, seals and other components, Flowserve brings another product category into the ISA100.11a-based offerings,” said Andre Ristaino, managing director of ISA100 WCI. “Flowserve’s applications are supported across key industrial sectors, including oil, gas, chemical, power generation and water resources. We look forward to working with Flowserve.”

Recently, ISA100 WCI announced the success of its Wireless Plugfest—a structured program conducted periodically to confirm interoperability of wireless products certified to the open ISA100.11a standard. Hosted by National Technical Services(NTS), a US based independent third-party engineering, testing and certification company, test engineers successfully demonstrated interoperability of ISA100.11a-based field devices, provisioning devices, and gateways—confirming the technical capability, openness, ease of use and interoperability capabilities demanded by ISA100.11a users.

New partner for global alliance

Pilgrim Software has joined the Thermo Fisher Scientific's Informatics Global Partner Alliance. Pilgrim Software will provide integrated risk, compliance and quality management solutions to Thermo Fisher’s informatics customers operating in highly regulated environments.

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a proven integrated portfolio of informatics solutions, including laboratory information management systems (LIMS), chromatography data systems (CDS) desktop spectroscopy, document management systems (DMS) and electronic laboratory notebooks (ELN) to customers in regulated industries such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and clinical and diagnostic laboratories, as well as regulated process industries such as food and beverage processing and water and environmental testing.

Thermo Fisher’s informatics solutions are designed to provide customers with state-of-the-art systems for helping to mitigate risk and maintain compliant processes while producing safe and secure products that meet regulatory requirements and industry standards. Pilgrim’s risk, compliance and quality management software integrates fully with existing laboratory and enterprise systems, providing a natural end-to-end solution for Thermo Fisher’s customers seeking to remain compliant, minimize risk, reduce costs, and operate more effectively.

Thermo Fisher offers its customers comprehensive solutions to manage and document the risk management process both before and after product are delivered to consumers. Pilgrim Software solutions support this effort. These include Internal and External Audit Management for raw materials and reagents to assist with regulatory requirements; SOP and secure Document Management Systems; Employee Training and Certification records tracking; Root Cause Analysis of Process of Non-Conformance or Deviation; a Supplier Quality solution, documenting vendor processes and tracking performance by scorecard; as well as instrument maintenance, change management and ad hoc inquiries reporting.

“By extending its proven solution to Thermo Fisher Scientific customers, Pilgrim can serve an expanded range of organizations with its globally recognized process automation platform," said Prashanth Rajendran, chief operating officer of Pilgrim Software. "We look forward to building a productive relationship between our two companies, tapping into complementary product knowledge and industry expertise so we can offer an expanded portfolio of customers a more proactive and predictive quality, compliance and risk management solution framework.”

“Our goal is to provide our customers with the most complete solutions possible so that each stage of their operations is defined by seamless and integrated systems that enable faster and more informed decision making,” said Dave Champagne, vice president and general manager for the Informatics business at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “By partnering with Pilgrim, we bring compliance full circle by enabling our customers to manage risk and quality processes both before and after the product is delivered to consumers. For our customers in regulated industries, this end-to-end solution will greatly improve their ability to respond to regulators, government overseers and the public during recalls or when their customers complain.”

Instrument optimised for high power semiconductor test

Keithley Instruments has introduced the Model 2651A High Power System SourceMeter® instrument, the latest addition to the company's Series 2600A System SourceMeter family. Specifically designed for characterizing high power electronics, the Model 2651A provides the widest current range available in the industry. This range is critical for a variety of R&D, reliability, and production test applications, such as testing high brightness LEDs (HBLEDs), power semiconductors, DC-DC converters, batteries, and other high power materials, components, modules, and subassemblies.

Like each member of the Series 2600A family, the Model 2651A offers a highly flexible, four-quadrant voltage and current source/load coupled with precision voltage and current meters. It combines the functionality of multiple instruments in a single full-rack enclosure: semiconductor characterization instrument, precision power supply, true current source , DMM, arbitrary waveform generator, V or I pulse generator , electronic load, and trigger controller, and is fully expandable into a multi-channel, tightly synchronized system via Keithley's TSP-Link® technology. Unlike competitive solutions, which typically have limited power, measurement speed, and/or resolution, the Model 2651A can source or sink up to 2,000W of pulsed power (±40V, ±50A) or 200W of DC power (±10V@±20A, ±20V@±10A, ±40V@±5A). It can also make precise measurements of signals as low as 1pA and 100 microvolts at speeds up to one microsecond per reading.

Two Measurement Modes: Digitizing or Integrating
The Model 2651A provides a choice of digitizing or integrating measurement modes for precise characterization of both transient and steady-state behavior. Two independent analog-to-digital (A/D) converters define each mode-one for current and the other for voltage-which run simultaneously for accurate source readback without sacrificing test throughput.

The digitizing measurement mode's 18-bit A/D converters allow capturing up to one million readings per second for continuous one-microsecond-per-point sampling, making this mode the most appropriate choice for waveform capture and measuring transient characteristics with high precision. Competing solutions must average multiple readings to produce a measurement result and often don't allow the measurement of transient behavior.

The integrating measurement mode, based on 22-bit A/D converters, optimizes the instrument's operation for applications that demand the highest possible measurement accuracy and resolution. This ensures precise measurements of the very low currents and voltages common in next-generation devices. All Series 2600A instruments provide integrating measurement mode operation.

Wide Dynamic Range Addresses a Broader Range of Applications
Connecting two Model 2651A units in parallel via TSP-Link expands the system's current range from 50A to 100A. This is two-and-one-half to five times greater than the nearest competing solution. The voltage range can be expanded from 40V to 80V when two units are connected in series. The embedded Test Script Processor (TSP®) included in all Series 2600A instruments simplifies testing by allowing users to address multiple units as a single instrument so that they act in concert. The built-in trigger controller in the Model 2651A can synchronize the operation of all linked channels to within 500 nanoseconds. These capabilities of the Model 2651A provide the broadest dynamic range available in the industry, making the unit suitable for a broad variety of high current, high power test applications, including:
*    Power semiconductor, HBLED, and optical device characterization and testing
*    Characterization of GaN, SiC, and other compound materials and devices
*    Semiconductor junction temperature characterization
*    Reliability testing
*    High speed, high precision digitization
*    Electromigration studies

High Speed Pulsing Prevents Device Self-Heating During Test

To minimize device self-heating during tests, a common problem with high power semiconductors and materials, the Model 2651A offers high speed pulsing capabilities that allow users to source and measure pulses with high accuracy. Pulse widths from 100 microseconds to DC and duty cycles from 1 percent to 100 percent are programmable. Competing solutions are typically hampered by limited flexibility for programming the instrumentation's duty cycle.

Powerful Test Script Development Tools
TSP Express, Keithley's LXI-based I-V test software utility, is embedded in the instrument, so there's no need for software installation or programming. From basic to advanced tests, TSP Express delivers device data in three easy steps: connect, configure, and collect. It also simplifies connecting instruments to allow higher pulsing levels. Results can be viewed in either graphical or tabular format and then exported to a .csv file for use with spreadsheet applications. Two other powerful software tools for creating test sequences are also provided. The Test Script Builder application supports creating, modifying, debugging, running, and managing TSP scripts. An IVI-based LabVIEW® driver simplifies integrating the Model 2651A into LabVIEW test sequences.

The Model 2651A will be available in April 2011.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Flexible choice of programming languages

Extended safety functions in TwinCAT 3: Integrated engineering concept and scalable safety runtime on an IPC

See also details of Beckhoff at #Hannover Messe11
With the introduction of the new TwinCAT 3 software generation, Beckhoff now offers a pure software safety technology which features additional functions for engineering and runtime. The new concept offers a choice of programming languages and therefore increases the flexibility and application range for safety applications. In addition to the familiar function block diagram language (FBD), safety programming can also be accomplished in the high-level C programming language.

New safety editors are part of the TwinCAT 3 engineering environment, which is fully integrated in Microsoft Visual Studio®. The familiar development tool is consistently used for programming of safety, PLC, motion control or visualization applications. TwinCAT 3 offers all the functionality required for the safety process in a single software offering: configuration, programming, diagnostics and the TwinSAFE Calculator for calculating the safety performance level according to the new European machinery directive.

TwinSAFE: scalable safety solution
TwinSAFE from Beckhoff is a proven safety solution with scalable software and hardware components. In addition to the familiar safety logic terminals for Beckhoff I/O systems (KL6904 for Bus Terminals and EL6900 for  EtherCAT Terminals), the new TwinCAT Safety PLC offers an innovative, pure software solution. The benefits of the terminal solution include simple configuration and enhanced safety features. The TwinCAT Safety PLC software is designed for more complex applications. With a safety PLC running on an Industrial PC, the same high level of performance that is available for the standard controller can now be used for the safety technology as well.

Both safety solutions can be configured and programmed with TwinCAT 3 engineering tools – and not only with the familiar function block diagram language (FBD), but also with the high-level C programming language.

The new European machinery directive requires the specified safety performance level to be verified mathematically. While other solutions require external tools for this purpose, the TwinSAFE Calculator is integrated in the TwinCAT development environment and can access all data that has already been entered. External safety sensors and actuators are maintained in a database. With the new, modern engineering environment, the safety controllers and, of course, the safe input and output components, Beckhoff offers a complete, integrated system for safety technology.

Wireless aids solar sludge drying process!

Once water has been cleaned and decanted, it is often necessary to dry the residual sludge. The SOLIA solar sludge drying process, proposed by MSE, uses an automated turner. The sludge is laid out in windrows, in a greenhouse, to accelerate water evaporation. The operation is automated, and there is no further need to enter the greenhouse to control the robots. These robots are radio-controlled, which provides a more robust solution than the traditional wired approach.
For the SOLIA´s process, the sludge is first treated by a centrifuge and then dried in a greenhouse heated by solar radiation. An automated turner regularly mixes the dried and fresh sludge to optimise drying times.

MSE has decided to attach radios to the robots to enable information to be sent back and forth with the control station. This means the operator can control the robot remotely, program its movements and know its current position. The robot has a WAGO controller, which interfaces with the radio.

“Implementation proved to be very simple, thanks in particular to ProSoft Technology´s technical support,” explains Xavier Bousquet from Veolia Water Solutions & Technology. “As far as the choice of supplier was concerned, we stuck to the specifications given by their local distributor. Our major concern was reliability. We had to have a reliable solution, with none of our users encountering any problems. This was indeed the case with Prosoft Technology´s RadioLinx solution.”

So far, Prosoft Technology radio systems have been installed at half a dozen of the company´s sites. Veolia Water Solutions & Technology has designed the technological solutions used at these plants and also offers a whole range of associated services to ensure the day-to-day technical efficiency and durability of all solutions installed on its customers´ sites. A unique portfolio of exclusive technologies provides the best in innovation and complete control of each strand of the water treatment process, both for local authorities and industry.

A reliable transmission system
RadioLinx brings all the advantages of wireless connection to industrial automation applications, whilst still offering high levels of reliability. In addition to its ability to withstand harsh operating conditions, it also improves the transmission of Ethernet data packets. The standards set out in IEEE 802.11 (commonly known as “Wi-Fi”), bring an extremely high level of security (802.11i), flexibility and interoperability to industrial automation applications. Originally designed for office and home applications, this technology may show limitations when it comes to industrial protocol transfer, resulting in transmission problems for industrial automation systems (due to radio transmission method used for Ethernet packets). But the RadioLinx range ensures optimal transfer of data packets. To improve data packet transfer, RadioLinx uses a specific signal processing algorithm developed by ProSoft Technology, which allows better use of the full bandwidth and supports the fast data transmission speeds demanded by industrial automation engineers.

With its “Power over Ethernet” (PoE) specification, the power supply and connection of the radio system to the wired Ethernet is done via a single cable (instead of two), which greatly simplifies installation and reduces set-up times. Another valuable function of the RadioLinx series for this installation is that it supports serial encapsulation, which means that serial peripherals can be used and integrated into the main Ethernet architecture of the control system. This radio system ensures high performance for both IEEE 802.11bg (2.4 GHz band) and 802.11a (5 GHz band) configurations: a more powerful processor provides faster processing of the data and the signal, which, as far as the user is concerned, means higher data speeds.

RadioLinx systems are ideal for industrial applications: industrial grade enclosures, extended operating temperature ranges, compliance with shock and vibration resistance standards, certification for use on sites where there is a risk of explosion, fitting to DIN rails, etc. But would Veolia´s requirements need less?

Process automation at Hannover

Hannover fair is possibly the largest industrial exhibition in the world.

Read-out is unable to attend this year however we have received a number of press releases and reports from exhibiting companies and we are also following it on twitter #hannovermesse11.

Process Automation remains the leading technology event for the process  industry.

Decision-makers from industries such as chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food & semi-luxuries and biotechnology come here in search of non-branch-specific solutions, along with trade visitors from sectors such as plastics and metalworking, surface treatment, the paper industry, car manufacturing and component supply, the optical industry, electrical engineering and electronics, and the energy industry.

As well as complete solutions, visitors to Process Automation will also find engineering and maintenance services and a vast array of components and field devices.

In 2011 Process Automation is located in Hall 11, synergies are generated

Maintaining analytical equipment at high temperatures

Smart controller for explosion-proof heaters provides ultra flexible temperature control for process instrumentation

Intertec has launched an explosion-proof smart programmable controller for precision temperature regulation of process instrumentation and analyzer enclosures in hazardous environments. Suitable for use with any explosion-proof electric heater from Intertec's extensive range of compatible heaters, the new generation Smart Controller 2.0 brings exceptional flexibility to thermal management. Advanced facilities include fieldbus networking, extensive monitoring and diagnostic routines, programmable temperature ramping, data logging, and temperature monitoring with user-definable limits.

The controller has a switching capacity of up to 10 A, enabling it to be used with explosion-proof heaters with power ratings as high as 2,300 W, depending on the ambient and required enclosure/equipment temperatures and the heater supply voltage.

Heater systems based on Smart Controller 2.0 may be used to control the temperature of equipment or the surrounding air in an enclosure or cabinet very accurately, and are especially suitable for use with analytical instruments that need to be maintained at high temperatures and are located in hazardous environments. Typical applications include analyzers handling difficult media in oil, gas and petrochemical processing plants.

When used in conjunction with an Intertec CP xxxTHERM HI explosion-proof heater, the controller provides an all-in-one solution that does not require separate safety certification. The complete controller/heater system is fully approved to international explosion proof standards including ATEX, IEC, CSA C/US and GOST.

Intertec's range of THERM HI explosion-proof electric heaters includes both finned and block styles, for convection air heating or direct equipment heating by conduction, and covers output power levels from 60 W to 500 W. As standard, they are available with a choice of 120 V or 230 V input, and are also CSA C/US approved for 277 V.

The new digital PID (proportional-integral-derivative) controller provides a very high level of accuracy and functionality. Operating as a remote terminal unit (RTU), it uses the Modbus RTU communications protocol over an RS485 serial network to facilitate easy integration with existing process control systems. As many as 31 controllers can be set up and monitored in one branch of a network.

Intertec has created a new suite of PC software and LabView VI drivers that enable a wide set of attributes to be programmed, including the controller's P and I terms, a user-defined ramp for temperature increase against time, and the heater's temperature limit. The software also features a very easy-to-use data logging function, which provides a graphical record of temperature values retrieved over time from each controller.

Additional facilities allow the controller to be used as a temperature monitor, to provide a digital output when the temperature is within a user-defined range; this could be used to control a cooling fan for example.

Housed in an aluminum enclosure the smart controller has an IP66 protection rating and all external surfaces have a saltwater resistant finish. The PID controller and all associated electronics are fully encapsulated in silicone, with the Ex e electrical terminals freely accessible in a separate compartment. Power to the heater element is handled by a fully proportional, triac-based control circuit, which uses zero-voltage switching to maximize efficiency and minimize EMI (electromagnetic interference).

There are two versions of controller: the standard version features a compact housing measuring just 57 x 125 x 80 mm (2.2 x 5 x 3.1 inches) and is suitable for IEC-Ex and ATEX Zone 1, 2 , 21 and 22 . When installed in a NEMA 4X rated enclosure, the system is also approved for use in North American hazardous environments rated Zone 1 or 2, Group IIC or Class I or II, Division 2, Group A, B, C and D. The second version, developed for the North American market, is designed to form part of a cable conduit system, and is approved for Class I, Division 1 rated hazardous environments.

The smart controller incorporates three temperature sensors; one is integrated in the controller housing, for measuring local cabinet temperature, and another is embedded in the heater itself, together with a temperature-sensitive fuse, to ensure that its surface temperature can never exceed the specified 'T' rating. Intertec heaters are available for T3, T4 and even T6 temperature classes, limiting heater surfaces to 150, 90 or 50 degrees Celsius respectively. The third is an intrinsically safe KTY silicon temperature sensor mounted at the end of a cable, which can be freely positioned in the instrument enclosure or embedded in the equipment that has to be kept at a constant temperature. The standard version of the controller features a built-in bi-color LED indicator which provides a useful local diagnostic aid by showing any deviation from the set point temperature and highlighting the occurrence of any heater error.

Intertec can supply the smart controller and the customer's chosen heater as a complete package. The controller is delivered ready to install, adapted to the heater, and pre-programmed with the customer's choice of parameter default values, including temperature set point, heating temperature class, RS485 address, and line voltage and frequency. In addition to the PC-based software, an optional USB to RS485 interface converter is also available.

As well as providing heating solutions for plant engineers assembling their own field-based process instrumentation systems, Intertec is able to supply complete, turnkey instrumentation systems with process instruments, manifolds, tubing etc - pre-assembled into a cabinet or enclosure and ready for hook-up on site.

Bridging platforms

JUKI and AEGIS Software has announced a unique integration of JUKI’s new Intelligent Shop Floor Solutions software package (IS) with CircuitCAM Express for fast data preparation and facility-wide programming.

JUKI’s IS software package provides managers, supervisors and engineers with the tools required to run the most efficient production possible, and has been seamlessly integrated with AEGIS’ CircuitCAM Express, now branded as NPI Plus. This seamless integration provides a full set of CAD importers and Gerber processing with direct library management access to IS for graphical part matching and machine angle verification. Additionally, a feeder setup report for viewing the part as loaded in the feeder.

“The integration of CircuitCam Express NPI Plus into our IS software gives us the ability to provide a complete software and hardware solution for our customers from the prototype process to high- volume production. This is of great benefit to our customers and is a reflection of the strong relationship that Juki has with Aegis.” said Juki Marketing Manager, Geron Ryden.

“This unique programmatic bridge between the two software platforms delivers the overall experience and capability customers want. Their usage experience appears as a singular software system, while, in fact, they are leveraging the core competencies of both JUKI and Aegis. The result is ease of use, rapid data preparation, and all the line optimization and management benefits only the machine manufacturer can effectively provide,” adds AEGIS CEO, Jason Spera.

Customisable switch

The latest high quality customisable switch to be introduced by Foremost Electronics is the Marquardt Mechatronik GmbH model 1683 pushbutton switch suitable for use in appliances requiring protection class II.

Suitable for use in harsh industrial environments, including high dust and water areas, the 1683 pushbutton switch is protected to IP65 and IP67 levels and can control devices of up to 4,000W with its powerful switching system for currents up to 16A. The highly reliable double lifting contact system has a proven high life endurance of over 1,000,000 operations and has a number of different connection options including quick connect, solder and PCB terminals.

This attractive and ergonomically designed switch can accommodate single and double pole contact options in the same compact package, with on/off and momentary actions. The switch cap is available in a range of colours, may be printed with customer specific legends and illuminated with either LED, glow lamp or conventional a filament bulb.

Alan Cook, managing Director of Foremost Electronics comments;” "The Marquardt 1683 pushbutton is another high quality, high reliability switch from one of our key suppliers. It has many possible applications from one-off control panel designs through to volume produced industrial and outdoor equipments. The flexibility of the switch, offering different contact, illumination cap and printed legend options, really meets the needs of our customers."

The 1683 pushbutton has electrical ratings for Europe of 16 A (4) 250 V AC – 10,000 cycles, 12 A (8) 250 V AC – 10,000 cycles, 10 A (8) 250 V AC – 50,000 cycles and is approved to IEC/UL 61058 ENEC. It has an ambient operating temperature range of -20 to +80 °C and is flammability rated to UL 94 V-2.

Applications for the Marquardt Mechatronik GmbH 1683 pushbutton switch foot include; outdoor equipment, agricultural vehicles, construction vehicles, household appliances, medical equipment, laboratory equipment and industrial control.

Now manufacturing intelligence...

The Industry Automation division of Siemens has added Manufacturing Intelligence (MI) capabilities to its Manufacturing Execution System Simatic IT. Simatic IT for Manufacturing Execution and Intelligence offers customers in the process, discrete and life sciences industries a completely new depth and quality of information from shop floor production data to top floor management level. The key benefits are faster and more targeted access to information such as production, quality assurance and maintenance data, because it is now available in a fully integrated system. The MI accesses the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) database directly. The database contains real-time information from the production processes of one or more production plants, enabling companies to identify performance fluctuations quickly and to take the necessary remedial action efficiently.

Users at production and management level need meaningful information to support their optimisation processes.
This includes data relating to orders, materials, plant capacity utilisation and production quality and costs. Role-based information that is easy to interpret forms the basis for making reliable, fast decisions, and is vital for making continuous improvements. To achieve this, Business Intelligence (BI) information needs to be combined with Manufacturing Intelligence (MI). Since BI solutions cannot be used at production level, companies have an interest in creating added value through the operational advantages of an MES system. Simatic IT achieves this added value by integrating the functions from the Manufacturing Execution and Manufacturing Intelligence systems. This facilitates communication between production and management level without the need for additional interfaces. Companies in all industries should benefit from this flexible, customizable, structured, role-based, industry-specific intelligence from production to management level.

Simatic IT for Manufacturing Execution and Intelligence brings together information from a wide range of data sources, even from more than one location. Users can create balanced scorecards with the help of industry-specific KPIs, set the parameters to be analysed, define the drill-down level of the information required and access tried and tested industry-specific libraries. Simatic IT for Manufacturing Execution and Intelligence records, structures and visualizes production, quality and maintenance data in one view in line with users’ specifications. Visual representations of relevant information provide users at production, plant and management levels with the necessary decision-making resources for their area of responsibility.

The information can be accessed centrally or remotely via a mobile device like a Microsoft Windows phone. Wherever users are located, they can call up scorecards, analyse faults and check production options.

Simatic IT for Manufacturing Execution and Intelligence bridges the gap between the different IT layers in production and management, thereby increasing the efficiency of a company’s production process and creating direct added value.