Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Power protection

A complete solution for control, protection and monitoring of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plants.

The Smart String Box bundles Carlo Gavazzi surge arrestors, power supply and EOS array master module, string controller, environmental module and I/0, together with a third-party isolator device, all packaged in an IP66 rated enclosure. It is ideally suited to installations ranging from 10kW-120kW and manages up to 250A of total string current.

Smart String Box systems can be fused on both the negative and positive side. Innovative new Carlo-Gavazzi DSF surge arrestors embody a special internal backup that ensures they remain safe at the end of varistor life, thus ensuring the safest transient overvoltage protection for combiner boxes.

Carlo Gavazzi’s recently-introduced Eos-Array controller is flexible, easily scalable and is composed of a series of modular elements to provide efficient local and remote control of a solar plant, targeting small to medium or high power installations.  With no auxiliary bus wiring, the system is simple to install and straightforward to expand.  Further cost saving is provided by the integrated string fuse protection and modularity also improves overall system reliability. String efficiency and inverter performance are monitored, enabling operators to rapidly isolate faults, failures and inefficiencies as soon as they occur.

Built-in independent monitoring provides basic or comprehensive plant control and monitoring on DC and AC sides. The expandable system gathers accurate and dependable data to help maintain an efficient revenue stream from PV installations.  Controllers promptly advise users of events such as blown fuses, PV module disconnection or inverter failure, to enable rapid maintenance measures to be carried out, significantly reducing service time and missed production costs.  There is no monthly charge for the data, which is stored locally to give users full control.

Monitoring systems also provide users with information including calculations of DC-to-AC conversion efficiencies and Balance of System. In addition, solar irradiation, wind speed and PV temperature are recorded and available for analysis. Data are displayed in graphical and analytical format and in real time.
Alarms can be set for reduced efficiency and interrupted production, with notifications sent via email or SMS according to the type of alarm. Anti-theft monitoring can also be added to the Smart String Box, notifying users as soon as a panel is removed.

Components and modules of the Smart String Box are fully compliant with UK and international photovoltaic electrical regulations.

Highest resolution FE-SEM!

Hitachi Launches World’s Highest Resolution FE-SEM

The new SU9000 Field Emission  (FE) Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) from Hitachi High-Technologies features novel electron optics which allow 0.4 nm resolution to be achieved at an accelerating voltage of 30 kV, with a usable magnification up to 3 Million times. This is believed to be the highest resolution-performance currently achievable on a commercially available instrument.

Featuring a new type of cold FE electron source with excellent stability and brightness and utilising Hitachi’s 25 year experience of in-lens detection technology, the SU9000 also provides outstanding ultra-low current and low voltage imaging of sensitive materials. This excellent all-round performance, combined with fast specimen exchange times and the optional scanning transmission (STEM) modes, makes the SU9000 the ideal choice for use in applications ranging from semiconductor devices, electronics, and advanced nanotechnology materials, to life sciences and medicine.


The new, cold FE electron source delivers probe current that is approximately double that of earlier models, giving high quality images with superior S/N and exceptional stability from the moment the electron beam is switched on. The high performance electron optics allow a resolution of 1.2 nm at an accelerating voltage of 1 kV to be achieved without the need for beam deceleration technology. This greatly simplifies low energy imaging and significantly increases sample throughput.

Hitachi’s unique dual through-the-lens detection system allows filtering of electrons of different energies, to give the capability for simultaneous multi-signal imaging. This provides extraordinary versatility for the imaging of structures and surface properties.

Using the scanning transmission (STEM) option, the SU9000 guarantees STEM resolution that can allow the lattice structure of graphite (C (002) d=0.34 nm) to be imaged at 30 kV accelerating voltage. The unique STEM detection system allows simultaneous bright field and dark field imaging and annular DF detection with selectable scattering angle. Up to 4 signals can be simultaneously displayed.
The SU9000 features side-entry sample insertion and can be ready for high resolution imaging in as little as 6 minutes or less; the fast exchange times benefiting from the high stability of the electron beam.

An order of magnitude better vacuum around the sample minimizes contamination, enhancing resolution and eliminating the need for an additional cold trap for cryo work on biological samples.

Ease of use is guaranteed through a new user interface, while a large 24.1-inch widescreen monitor offers a comfortable environment for both operating the instrument and viewing images.

Industrial cameras

3-CCD RGB Colour Cameras Now Available With GigE Vision

The JAI AT-140GE and AT-200GE 3-CCD cameras are available from Stemmer Imaging. Bringing the connectivity benefits of GigE Vision to 3-CCD technology, these new cameras feature a newly developed prism-block assembly to support the three CCDs. The AT-140GE and AT-200GE are ideal for a wide range of applications where colour is critical, including: print  inspection, paint  matching, medical  diagnostics, flat panel quality verification, semiconductor  production and food  sorting and have the performance and features to support a wide variety of machine vision applications.

The new dichroic prism block splits the incoming light into three distinct colour channels for precise RGB values and provides higher resolution and better light gathering ability than earlier 3CCD camera models. With precise sensor alignment (less than 1/4-pixel tolerance), this 3-CCD configuration offers better colour and spatial precision than single-CCD cameras which use Bayer filters and interpolation algorithms that give uncertainty for both edge positions and colour values. The cameras also contain a sophisticated linear colour matrix circuit which enables accurate colour space calibration with monitors, printers, and other peripherals.

The AT-140GE offers 1.4 Megapixel resolution (1392 x 1040) with 1⁄2” CCDs, while the AT-200GE provides 2 Megapixel resolution (1628 x 1236) based on three 1/1.8 inch CCDs. The new cameras operate at 20 frames per second (AT-140GE ) and 15 frames per second (AT-200GE ) at full resolution, with partial scan and binning modes available for even higher frame rates. A wide range of pre-set and programmable shutter and exposure modes are provided to support diverse application requirements.  Exposure can be controlled individually for each colour channel to enable colour balancing without noisy gain adjustments. 

A fully-compliant GigE Vision/GenICam interface lets users choose between 8- or 10-bit output per channel and provides the ability to transmit images up to 100m over industry-standard Ethernet cables. Software support includes a GigE Vision software development kit and Control Tool package.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pressure range expanded

Siemens expands its portfolio with pressure transmitters for the highest requirements

The new Sitrans P500 unit, from the Siemens Industry Automation Division presents a pressure transmitter to meet the highest requirements. Thanks to its response speed (T63) of 88ms and its accuracy of 0.03%, this unit is able to respond quickly and precisely to changes in processes. An additional sensor for static pressure compensates for measuring inaccuracies and makes this measured value available as supplementary process information.

The Sitrans P500 transmitter (part of their Sitrans pressure range) offers a level of accuracy that guarantees stable, precise measurements to a turndown of 10:1. This allows versatile use and reduces the need to procure and stock different transmitters. With a long-term stability over 0.05% in five years (0.08% over ten years), the device offers consistently high measuring accuracy, allowing longer calibration intervals. With dimensions of 87x187x139 millimeters (3.4” W x 7.4” H x 5.5” D), the new transmitter is compact in design and, at 3.3 kilograms (7.3 pounds), low in weight, and it is especially suitable for applications in the chemicals/petrochemicals, oil & gas, and energy sectors.

Thanks to an optimized measuring cell design, the transmitter can also be used for process temperatures of up to 125 degrees Celsius (257 degrees Fahrenheit). The precise temperature compensation of the Sitrans P500 transmitter minimizes measuring inaccuracies resulting from temperature changes. With the new menu-driven setup, local configuration can be done quickly and easily via the magnetic push buttons on the unit. The High Resolution display supports a multilingual plain text menu as well as graphics capability. The transmitter can also be configured using Hart protocol with the help of a quick start wizard.

New Coriolis meter sensor

Siemens Industry Automation Division has developed a new coriolis flow meter sensor for compressed natural gas (CNG) applications.

Sitrans FCS200 has a compact design, which allows for example the use of small and efficient dispensers. The high capacity with a flow rate up to 500 kg/min ensures faster fuelling. Via the Siflow FC070 Ex transmitter the new flow meter sensor can easily be integrated into Simatic automation systems. This allows a broad range of control, measurement and automation solutions for CNG distribution, compression, storage and refueling.

Every SITRANS FC Coriolis flow meter provides precise information about liquids or gases flowing through a pipe. Typically, our Coriolis flow measurement capabilities are used for measuring, mixing products, accounting, as well as many other applications. We emphasize safety, reliability and quality, and our innovative technologies regularly set new standards in Coriolis flow measurement.

Friday, May 27, 2011

2-channel scopes

Fluke introduces new 2-channel ScopeMeters with highest safety ratings

Fluke has introduced three new 2-channel models, the Fluke 190-202, the Fluke 190-102 and the Fluke 190-062, to its highly successful range of rugged, handheld, portable 190 Series II ScopeMeters®. Offering 200MHz, 100MHz and 60MHz respectively, up to 2.5 GS/s real time sampling rate and 400 pico seconds resolution, they complement the recently introduced four-channel 190-204 and 190-104 Series II ScopeMeters. Together they are the first oscilloscopes on the market with 1000V CAT III / 600V CAT IV safety rating, bringing an unprecedented combination of performance and ruggedness into the field. Designed for the industrial plant maintenance professional servicing, installing and maintaining heavy duty electrical equipment, electro-mechanical machinery and plant automation control systems, they can be safely used on industrial equipment that is permanently installed on an electrical distribution system

The Fluke 190 Series II ScopeMeters offer a number of powerful and time-saving features for increased productivity. Connect&View™ triggering offers hands-free operation, providing an immediate, stable display for capturing and displaying complex waveforms for rapid fault finding. The TrendPlot™ recording function helps uncover long-term trends and shows changes in any of the measurable parameters, like the rise-time of a signal. Frequency Spectrum Analysis using FFT helps to identify individual frequency components contained in a signal. The ScopeRecord™ function allows waveform recordings to be made over an extended period of up to 48 hours. A 'Replay' function enables the user to take a closer look at any anomaly seen flashing by on the screen, by re-playing the last sequence of 100 screen images.

The new Fluke 190 Series II ScopeMeters are designed for use in harsh environments. The sealed casing is IP51 rated and the high capacity Li-ion rechargeable battery is designed for operation up to 7 hours with easy access for battery switching to extend operating time. USB ports offer PC connectivity and memory device insertion. In addition, the 190-xx2/S Series II ScopeMeters includes the SSC Kit, offering a hard case and FlukeView software for documenting, archiving and for further data analysis

Society collaborates with technical college!

ISA collaboration with Los Angeles Harbor College in California brings technical training to students


The International Society of Automation (ISA) announced today that it has signed an agreement to partner with Los Angeles Harbor College, located in Wilmington, (CA US). The agreement provides ISA the opportunity to offer technical training to students at the College starting later this year up to the end of June 2014. 

Science faculty at LAHC for completion 2012
The agreement will enable ISA to bring quality course content and instruction to Los Angeles Harbor College. The college will provide students with flexible course offerings and hands-on learning opportunities that will prepare them for careers in automation and control. Local automation professionals looking to enhance and grow their existing knowledge will also benefit from being able to enroll in these ISA course offerings at the college. 

The following ISA technical training courses will be offered at Los Angeles Harbor College:




  • Mathematics for Instrumentation Technicians (FG02)






  • Introduction to Industrial Automation and Control (FG07)






  • Developing and Applying Standard Instrumentation and Control Documentation (FG15)






  • Electrical Systems and Principles (TI15)






  • Industrial Electronics (TI20)






  • Electrical Noise Effects on Instrumentation Control Equipment (TI21)






  • Maintaining Pneumatic Components in Measurement and Control (TI06)






  • Installing, Calibrating and Maintaining Electronic Instruments (TI25)






  • Tuning Control Loops (TC05)






  • Troubleshooting Instrumentation and Control Systems (TC10)






  • Industrial Data Communications Systems (TS06)






  • Industrial Networking and Security (TS12)






  • Advanced Operation of Digital (Smart) Transmitters and Digital Valve Controllers (TS16)






  • Advanced Operation of Digital (Smart) Transmitters (TS17)






  • Advanced Operation of Digital Valve Controllers (TS18)






  • Certified Control Systems Technician® (CCST®) Level I Review Course (TS00)

    The Los Angeles Harbor College will establish, manage, and maintain ISA’s schedule of course offerings. Courses will be open to current and potential Los Angeles Harbor College students and to any interested professionals. Schedule inquiries can be directed to John Sparks, economic development project director of Los Angeles Harbor College.

    “This partnership is creating a local cadre of ISA trainers who will be able to serve industries in the area with flexible scheduling to meet their training needs,” said John Sparks at the college.

    ISA’s Education Services Manager, Dalton Wilson, said, “We are thrilled to be working with Los Angeles Harbor College to bring our quality course content and expert instruction to existing, new and future automation professionals in the Wilmington, California area. We plan to establish similar arrangements with other colleges across the US to enhance our efforts to grow the automation profession.”
  • New partnership!

    An agreement has been reached between between Irish Power and Process (IPP) and the infrared instrument company NDC.

    NDC On-line NIR Moisture Gauges and At-line Analysers are used for production control and quality assurance to measure constituents such as moisture, fat or oil, protein and coating thickness or coatweight.

    Noel Heery, of IPP adds, "This new partnership includes sales of new equipment and service cover for existing users."

    A solution for compact motor drive applications

    IPMs - a power electronics solution for application embedded motor drives, which is compact and has good thermal characteristics?

    Power electronics for application embedded motor drives need to be compact and to have good thermal characteristics. Different IPM (intelligent power module) concepts are competing with different sets of features to be the best solution.

    Higher integration and more complex subsystems are some of the current mega trends in power electronics.  Intelligent Power Modules (IPM) are very popular for motor drive applications. They are a combination of power semiconductors like IGBTs, MOSFETs and diodes with peripheral components like driver circuits. If a whole subsystem has a good match to an application, an IPM can bring a lot of unique benefits.

    In particular application integrated motor drives have very specific requirements: they need to be extremely compact, are often used in harsh environments and can have ten thousands of operating hours. Vincotech's flowIPM is dedicated to embedded motor drive applications and takes all typical requirements into consideration.

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    What volcanic dust?

    Advanced borescopes employed to investigate effects of volcanic dust

    As volcanic dust once more creates havoc in Northern European airspace, controversy reigns over the levels of dust in which air travel is safe. As one of the measures to assess the effects of the ash, airlines and engine manufacturers are therefore looking to be able to assess the internal components of engines.

    Speaking in a BBC interview and clutching a vial of volcanic ash (to demonstrate the low levels involved), Willie Walsh (right) explained that a BA plane has flown though the 'red zone' for about 45 minutes at different altitudes. The aircraft then returned and video borescopes were employed to examine the engines and found no evidence of volcanic ash. (Item in BBC Radio news programme  25th May 2011)


    Alan Hasson from Ashtead Technology says "The latest video borescopes are ideal for this purpose, because they provide users with a comprehensive evaluation of the internal components of an engine, without having to dismantle it, which would be costly and time-consuming."

    Following the previous Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010, Ashtead Technology was contacted by an aviation maintenance firm looking to hire a high specification endoscope for emergency aircraft engine examinations.

    Avalon Aero, based at Biggin Hill Airport in Kent (GB), performed internal inspections of engines following flights in the ‘red zone’; an area in which ash might be encountered, but was deemed safe to fly by the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

    Martin Darling, Avalon Aero’s Technical Director, explained: “Ashtead Technology’s engineers recommended hiring the Olympus IPLEX SAII Videoscope and the device proved extremely useful, providing quick and easy visual access to the internal components of aircraft engines. Our investigations did not find any ash within the engines and this evidence was of course extremely valuable to our clients.”

    Alan Hasson believes that aircraft engine inspection is a perfect example of the benefits of instrument rental: "The latest technology can be expensive to own, so instrument hire provides fast access to the best available equipment, which is especially useful when unforeseen situations occur," he says.

    Diesel flow measurement!

    Measuring flow rate, running time, fuel theft & more

    The rising cost of diesel means it is a valuable commodity for bulk commercial users across a variety of industries, making it vital to ensure that expensive fuel is used wisely, not wasted or pilfered. So the launch of the new multifunctional Fuel-View digital meter from Bronkhorst, which monitors flow rate and fuel consumption, engine operating times, diesel theft volumes and other parameters, should be of considerable interest to owners and operators of commercial vehicle fleets, construction plant, leisure boats, diesel-powered factory equipment, standby generators, heating boilers and diesel-fired burners.

    Their new Fuel-View series of flow meters, for fuel flows between 1 and 400 litres per hour, offers a compact, lightweight and cost-effective solution for measuring diesel consumption and operating times of road vehicles, tractors, construction plant, marine vessels, generators and all types of mobile and static engines, at competitive prices. The design’s unique features for preventing the theft of fuel, protecting against the overstatement of readings and any interference with compressed air, magnetic fields and disconnection, make Fuel-View one of the best multi-purpose instruments available on the market.

    The standard configuration is a ‘blind’ instrument, with integrated cable for the remote digital processing of signals. As an option, Fuel-View also comes with an on-board LCD readout, displaying such information as actual flow, total consumption and engine operating time in idling, overload and optimal modes. The instrumentation is either operated with an external power supply or, on LCD models, via an embedded standby battery, which provides autonomous running of the flow meter for up to 2 years.

    The Fuel-View series operates on the principle of a rotary piston, which is mounted in a chamber, and the rotating speed is measured by electronic sensors that record magnetic pulses, the number of pulses being proportional to the actual flow rate. This distinctive design allows mainstream fuel flow even if the measuring chamber becomes clogged up, although a filter does protect the chamber from contamination and can be removed and cleaned without dismantling the flow meter itself.

    Mounted in a strong, moulded zinc-aluminium alloy case, with full IP54 protection, the Fuel-View can be fitted in any position and withstands both vibration and hydraulic shock. There are a dozen different models with wired outputs, integral LCDs, or combinations of both, for various flow rates and engine power output. The smallest model, DFM-50, has a nominal flow rating of 25 litres per hour, with a minimum of 1 l/hr and a maximum of 50 l/h, for diesel engines up to 80kW (108 hp). The highest rating model, DFM-400, has a nominal flow rate of 200 l/hr (min 30 / max 400 l/hr), for engines over 300 kW (400 hp).

    “As a multifunctional system, the Fuel-View has many interesting commercial applications,” says Bronkhorst UK’s Managing Director, Andrew Mangell. “For engine design and testing, it will give instantaneous and totalised fuel flow rates, engine operating times and data on optimal running and overloads. Leisure boat owners will want to know about fuel consumption and any incidents of diesel theft, for billing purposes, as well as engine statistics for preventative maintenance. Engine overload times, fuel pilfering and possible engine interference statistics are also useful for construction plant and commercial vehicle operators. While hospitals and factories with standby diesel generators can tell whether the engines are running efficiently, when the next planned service is due and check that fuel isn’t being siphoned off or simply leaking away. Similarly, factory owners can gain valuable data about the carbon footprints of fork lifts and heating plant.”

    “These instruments are relatively inexpensive, easy to fit, extremely robust in use and will introduce a high level of management control over diesel fuel inventories,” he adds.

    Tactile switch

    Omron Electronics introduce compact, long stroke tactile switch

    A new tactile switch suitable for demanding OEM applications such as automotive instrumentation, medical equipment and process control applications has been unveiled by Omron Electronic Components B.V. The long stroke B3AL switch is a two terminal device featuring a high operating force and long life durability.

    The vertically operated switch is notable for its enhanced resistance to dust penetration and a long operating life of up to 1million operation cycles which ensures long and reliable operation under extreme operating conditions. Available in four versions, with operating forces of 1.96N, 2.45N, 3.00N and 3.50N, the long stroke switch has a pretravel of 1.3mm which is achieved by using a rubber plunger.

    Featuring a compact design with dimensions of just 6.9mm x 6.0mm x 5.0mm (l x w x h) the B3AL is rated for switching currents of 1mA at 5VDC to a maximum of 50mA at 16VDC with a resistive load and features an insulation resistance of 100MΩ at 100VDC and a contact resistance of 100mΩ. The B3AL switch supports an ambient operating temperature range of-40° to +90°C and weighs approximately 0.18g.

    Supplied on 12mm tape and reel, the tactile switch is designed to prevent flux penetration and is available from Omron Electronic Components and European distribution partners with a minimum order quantity of 1400 pieces.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Texas know-how for Ireland & Britain!

    National Instruments has announced the appointment of Kyle Voosen as its new Director of Marketing in Britain and Ireland.  Previously Product Marketing Group Manager for Industrial & Embedded Systems at NI Corporate Headquarters in Austin, Texas, Voosen takes responsibility for NI UK & Ireland marketing strategy and execution, including managing a team of technical marketing engineers and marketing communications professionals.

    Voosen began his National Instruments career in 2001 on its Engineering Leadership Programme as an Applications Engineer in Austin.  He moved into Product Marketing two years later, soon becoming a well recognised and respected industry figure in his role as Product Marketing Manager for Machine Vision and Image Processing.

    In 2006, he enjoyed six months working in the NI Germany office as a Technical Marketing Engineer, focused on industrial and embedded products, developing his international understanding of National Instruments customers and applications.  On his return to the US, Voosen embarked on a successful stint in Sales as the NI Vision Business Development Manager, helping to solve customer problems, while significantly growing NI vision revenue in Europe.

    Since 2009, he has lead a team of Product Managers and Marketing Engineers, for products including NI CompactRIO, C Series I/O, NI Motion and NI Vision, in his role as Industrial Embedded Group Manager.

    On moving to Britain with his family to lead the branch’s marketing efforts, Voosen said “I’m excited about the prospect of working with the talented and successful team here in the UK, both in marketing and the wider branch organisation.  I’m also eager to get to know the local engineering and scientific communities while promoting the benefits of LabVIEW and graphical system design“.

    Voosen’s promotion is confirmed after National Instruments reported its most successful year in the company’s 35 year history.  “Kyle Voosen represents a significant addition to the UK team and we look forward to his joining us as we strive to continue the impressive growth we have seen over the last 5 years” said Robert Morton, Managing Director, NI UK & Ireland.  “Voosen brings considerable experience of working with sales, marketing and R&D.  I am confident he will enhance our ability to listen to our customers, and the market, and articulate the benefits of NI products and approach for engineers and scientists trying to solve some of the toughest challenges facing society today.  He joins us at an exciting time, as graphical system design, powered by LabVIEW, is being increasingly adopted as an industry standard for test, control and embedded applications.”

    "Most powerful woman" takes chair!

    Premier Farnell has appointed Valerie Gooding CBE as a non-executive director and Chairman of the Board with effect from 15 June 2011.  Val will succeed Sir Peter Gershon, who retires at the Company’s Annual General Meeting on 14 June after 7 years on the Board.

    Valerie Gooding CBE
    Ms. Gooding brings a wealth of global experience to the Board including 10 years as CEO of BUPA (British Health Insurance company), a period during which the group more than trebled in size, delivered record profits, and achieved significant international expansion.  Prior to joining BUPA Ms. Gooding held a number of senior roles at British Airways, latterly as Director for Asia Pacific . She will continue to serve as a non-executive director on the Boards of Standard Chartered plc and the BBC, but will stand down from the Board of J Sainsbury plc at the company’s Annual General Meeting in July to give her the time to devote to the Chairmanship of Premier Farnell.  Ms. Gooding was previously a non-executive director of Compass Group plc and BAA plc.

    Commenting on the appointment, Dennis Millard, Senior Independent Director said, “We are delighted that Val will be joining Premier Farnell as we continue to execute our strategy for profitable growth, bringing innovation and differentiation to the global high service distribution sector.  She will bring outstanding qualities to the role of Chairman and we welcome her to the Company.  We would also like to thank Sir Peter Gershon for his strong leadership and invaluable counsel over the past 7 years. His insight and experience has been important throughout this time as we have worked to transform the organisation. ”

    Val Gooding, previously recognised in the Fortune list of most powerful women in world business said, “This is an exciting appointment for me.  I have watched Premier Farnell’s evolution with interest in recent years as it has transformed to become a web business with a strong international presence in the emerging markets, and high service reputation.  Sir Peter Gershon leaves an outstanding legacy and I look forward to building upon it with the Board, Harriet Green and the wider executive team to deliver continued profitable growth through anticipating and meeting the needs of our customers and suppliers in the rapidly changing world of technology.”

    Same day gearbox assy!

    Baldor (now part of ABB) has enhanced its fast turnaround gearbox assembly operation, which now has access to a large extensively-equipped machine shop, to the point where it can provide European customers with a same-day build service.

    Capable of building custom-configured power transmission products within hours of order placement, the new British-based assembly line can produce high efficiency gearboxes and gearmotors in a wide range of models and sizes from the renowned Dodge Quantis family. The Quantis product line is also directly interchangeable with most other leading gearmotor products for ease of replacement.

    According to Tristin Hurst, Product Manager for Baldor UK, "Custom gearbox assembly is a popular service with OEMs, end users, system integrators and system maintainers, but we have now raised the bar significantly. Any single-product order placed before 1pm will be available for collection or shipment that day - and the same applies to orders for multiple products placed before midday."

    Hurst adds: "We are also now able to offer a wider range of gearbox input and output options, helping customers configure the optimal solution, and to apply special paint finishes such as corrosion-resistant epoxy. Baldor's renowned high-efficiency motors also make the service ideal for customers who need to comply with forthcoming EU energy efficiency legislation stipulating IE2-rated gearmotors after June 2011 as well as NEMA Premium gearmotors for export to American markets."

    Dodge Quantis gearboxes and gearmotors are based on a modular design concept to facilitate the implementation of custom configurations. Baldor stocks all the components needed to assemble Dodge Quantis in-line helical (ILH) and right-angle helical bevel (RHB) speed reducers and gearmotors, in any case size from 38 to 108. The range includes the Quantis Gold gearmotor, which is based on an IE3 Premium Efficiency motor and is the most energy efficient package available in the industry.

    Quantis ILH series speed reducers offer a choice of foot or output flange mountings, are available in double or triple ratios, and have an efficiency of up to 98.5 percent per stage. The RHB series right-angle speed reducers offer shaft-mount, foot or output flange mounting, triple ratios, and have an efficiency of 98.5 percent per stage. They also offer two output options on the RHB units of the straight hollow bore, as well as patented twin-tapered bushings kits, which facilitate fast disassembly and reassembly by ensuring that the reducer will not seize onto the customer's driven shaft.

    Both the ILH and the RHB series are suitable for B5 flange mounted separate reducers which feature a universal clamp-collar design that enables users to employ the motor of their choice - when replacing a unit, they are not limited to any one manufacturer's products; they also offer integral gearmotors. The Quantis range employs spring-loaded nitrile rubber oil seals for better sealing - any gear reducer is only as good as the seal.

    Baldor's gearbox assembly service covers a wide range of IEC metric and NEMA models, to accommodate customers serving both the European and American markets. The company also offers a wide choice of DC and AC motors for its gearmotors; for the three-phase AC models it is also offering its latest IEC IE3-rated (former CEMEP 'EFF1+') motors, which provide unprecedented energy efficiency and are ideal counterparts to the high-efficiency Quantis product line.

    The use of IE2 rated (former CEMEP 'EFF1') motors becomes mandatory in the EU in June 2011 for a very wide range of common motor sizes. Baldor is actively encouraging OEMs to start considering early migration straight to the higher IE3 efficiency level, to help provide them with a competitive edge. Although IE3 is not due to come into effect in the EU until 2015, its USA equivalent, NEMA Premium, has been mandated since December 2010 by the USA's Energy Independence Security Act (EISA), which stipulates that virtually ALL 3-phase motors imported into the USA must exhibit this level of efficiency.

    Baldor's new build-to-order gearbox service operates on a 7 days a week basis. Customers can either collect their order direct from the assembly plant, or Baldor will arrange for shipment anywhere in Europe.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    New products to strengthen RF design & test

    In a second announcement National Instruments has announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement under which they will acquire AWR Corporation (AWR).

    AWR is a leading supplier of electronic design automation (EDA) software for designing RF and high-frequency components and systems for the semiconductor, aerospace and defense, communications and test equipment industries. Upon the closing of the transaction, AWR will continue to operate as a wholly owned NI subsidiary under the leadership of the existing management team.

    The fast design cycles and increasing complexity of RF and wireless systems demand better integration between design and test. RF system designers need to validate their simulations with actual measurements, while RF test engineers need to increase test reuse and decrease test time through more design integration. By increasing the effectiveness of the integration between AWR design tools and NI software and hardware, NI and AWR together can significantly improve customer productivity through increased connectivity between design, validation and production test functions.

    “AWR has an exceptional team with strong RF talent and technologies that expand the NI platform into RF design, which is complementary to our capability to make measurements across the RF design flow,” said Dr. James Truchard, president, CEO and cofounder of National Instruments. “We believe this combination will accelerate the deployment of RF and wireless technologies and offers a significant benefit to the customers of both companies.”

    Both NI and AWR deliver unique strengths that together will enable customers to more productively design and test their RF systems. The acquisition will strengthen both companies’ core software brands, NI LabVIEW, AWR Microwave Office and Visual System Simulator, as well as the NI RF testing hardware platform. The full suite of AWR design tools in combination with a complete RF testing platform from NI will give customers a platform to decrease the time to market of their RF designs. NI will also augment its current academic and university RF and communications initiatives to include AWR software tools, so educators and students can benefit from the improved teaching and learning experience for the rapid design and prototyping of RF systems.

    “There is clear synergy between the customers and product offerings of both companies,” said Dane Collins, CEO of AWR. “NI has a leading platform in prototyping and testing of RF systems which is complementary to AWR’s RF circuit and system software design tools to the benefit of mutual customers. Together, we are better able to support and service our growing global installed base.”

    Acquisition to increas capability in RF & MicroWave

    National Instruments  has acquired Phase Matrix, Inc. (PMI). The acquisition brings key RF talent, technologies and manufacturing capabilities to NI and will significantly increase the capability of NI products in high-frequency RF and microwave applications, extending the frequency range of NI products to 26.5 GHz and beyond. Phase Matrix will continue to operate under the name “Phase Matrix, Inc.” as a wholly owned NI subsidiary and will continue to design and manufacture RF and microwave test and measurement instruments, subsystems and components. Phase Matrix founders, Pete Pragastis and Charanbir Mahal, will remain with the company as the General Manager and Chief Technology Officer, respectively.

    Dr James Truchard
    (Pic: Ralph Barrera
    AMERICAN-STATESMAN
    )
    “NI has been the leading supplier of PXI modular instrumentation for over a decade, and our significant investments in the development of our PXI RF platform have helped our customers build faster and more efficient RF test systems,” said Dr. James Truchard, President, CEO and Cofounder of National Instruments. “Phase Matrix will help NI significantly accelerate the deployment of high-performance RF and wireless technologies for both R&D and production test applications.”

    As NI works to drive growth of its PXI RF products, Phase Matrix will contribute critical experienced RF talent, technologies and manufacturing capabilities. NI and Phase Matrix have worked together for a number of years and, for some time, NI has been interested in adding Phase Matrix capabilities to the NI portfolio. Phase Matrix will also continue to sell directly to customers and OEMs, who should continue to contact Phase Matrix, or its distributors, for sales, support and service needs for all current product offerings.


    “Phase Matrix is excited to become part of the National Instruments family,” said Pete Pragastis, General Manager of Phase Matrix. “We believe our expertise in modular instrumentation, fast-switching synthesisers and high-frequency microwave components will complement the NI platform, and Phase Matrix looks forward to collaborating on products that will extend the current NI product offering into higher-frequency applications.”

    Eliminate control cabinets!

    Festo’s new CAFC protective valve terminal hood provides a highly cost-effective and elegant alternative to large and cumbersome control cabinets.
    Festo has dramatically reduced the cost of installing its valve terminals by launching a protective hood that can eliminate the need for a control cabinet in many applications. The new CAFC hood fits directly over the valve terminal and occupies minimal space, making it a highly cost-effective and elegant alternative to unnecessarily large and cumbersome cabinets.

    Most automation designers currently elect to house the system’s valve terminal and constituent control modules in some form of protective cabinet. However, conventional cabinets often take up far more space than is actually required by their functional content. By creating a small, self-contained protective hood for its valve terminals, Festo has overcome this problem. Fabricated from low cost aluminium and designed for minimal material usage, the hood can help system installers and machine builders save up to 50% of the space and 70% of the cost of a standard control cabinet.

    The CAFC hood is suitable for use with any Festo valve terminal, including the company’s highly popular CPX multifunctional automation platform. It provides a high degree of protection against the ingress of contaminants such as dust, water droplets, foreign particles, etc, as well as guarding against impact damage and helping to prevent anyone tampering with connections or settings. Typical applications include assembly and packaging machines, and process control systems.

    The hood is also ideal for automation designers seeking compliance with European ATEX directives stipulating that some form of protective cabinet must be used for switchgear and controllers located in potentially explosive work environments. The CAFC is suitable for use in ATEX Zone 2 and Zone 22 environments, which are defined as areas where combustible gas, vapours or dust are not normally present in the air, but if they do occur they might, for a short period, form a potentially explosive atmosphere.

    The CAFC comprises a hinged aluminium cover running the full length of the valve terminal, with retaining clips at either end of its bottom edge which accept socket-head securing screws. In its open state, the hood offers completely unrestricted access to the valve terminal’s electrical and pneumatic connections. Once closed, it has a visually unobtrusive appearance, with all pneumatic and electrical connections exiting neatly from a slot on the lower edge of the unit.

    A further advantage of dispensing with a control cabinet is that the valve terminal can be located very close to the process or machine that it is controlling, reducing tubing and cable lengths, improving the response time of pneumatic actuators and helping to minimise compressed air consumption.

    The hood is available with a numerous choice of lengths, to suit the customer’s particular valve terminal configuration. When ordered at the same time as a CPX valve terminal, Festo will ensure that the appropriate size of hood is shipped. Festo can also supply any configuration of CPX valve terminal and its associated hood as a complete ready-to-install solution, comprising both units pre-assembled on a backing plate.

    Watertight connectors for signal & control

    Marechal Electric has introduced watertight connectors to applications requiring signal and control contacts with the PNC series, which combine contacts for electrical power and control signals, in a single rugged housing. The multi-contact PNC connectors are sealed to IP66/IP67 as standard and feature corrosion-resistant butt contacts to ensure reliable operation, even in the presence of dust and contaminants.

    The integration of control signals and power into a single connector significantly reduces maintenance costs and down-time whilst increasing operator safety. Rather than disconnecting individual connectors for the power and for signaling and control functions, the operator can quickly and easily disconnect a single connector. This ensures that the machine is completely isolated and eliminates the risk of the operator disconnecting only one of the two individual connectors.


    Marachel will be showcasing the PNC series, and other connectors, on Stand C32, at IWEX 2011, NEC Birmingham, from 24-26 May.
    Their unique butt contact technology allows the connectors to provide an extended operational lifetime, even in high duty-cycle applications, with a rating of over 2000 load cycles. The compact size and the design make disconnection and reconnection quick and easy. A unique locking ring prevents accidental disconnection and maintains the connection to improve both reliability and safety.

    The PN plug is also available in a multicontact version with a different design: PN 7C connectors integrate up to 7 contacts, rated for currents of 25A per contact; whilst the PN 12C connectors offer up to 12 contacts, rated from 5 to 10A per contact. The connector housings are manufactured in a choice of glass reinforced polyester (GRP), which is rated for voltages up to 500 V a.c. and shocks to IK08; or in corrosion-resistant metal casings rated up to 415V a.c. and shocks to IK09. Both casings operate over temperatures from -40 °C to +60 °C. With a choice of wall-mounted socket configurations and a range of accessories, PNC connectors provide engineers with the flexibility to ensure quick installation and easy access in each location.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Air-air heat exchangers!

    Rittal IP54 Air-Air Heat Exchangers offer low energy consumption

    Rittal air-air heat exchangers can lead to attractive cost savings over refrigerant based air conditioners due to their simple design, low energy consumption and minimum maintenance. Air-air heat exchangers utilise the ambient air to cool the air within the enclosure interior using only two working parts.

    Extracting heat from within the enclosure and releasing it into the surrounding environment the exchanger’s operation is based on the counterflow principle. Completely separate airflows are routed through the heat exchanger module by powerful fans which control the internal and external airflows. Thermal winding protection on the fan motors is provided as an added safety feature. The exchanger matrix, which is made of aluminium, is light and offers maximum durability.

    Units can be mounted internally or externally on the wall or roof of an enclosure. Spanning between 12 and 90W/K the range follows a similar platform design including appropriation to UL and is available ready for connection, along with wiring and cutout drawings. Sizes and cut-out dimensions match the TopTherm cooling unit generation which gives the exchangers the added adaptability of being interchangeable with TopTherm cooling units.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Safe cable storage

    New Cable Reel option for Earth-Rite Hazardous Area Static Grounding Systems

    Newson Gale has introduced a new Self-Retracting Cable Reel option for their range of hazardous area static grounding systems. The VESM02 provides a rugged and versatile alternative to spiral (retractable) cable for the range of Earth-Rite® range of systems, which are typically used to ground (earth) road tanker trucks, railcars, mobile tanks, IBC’s, drums and other conductive plant items especially in outdoor locations where the cable may be exposed to rough treatment when not in use.
    The VESM02 reel has been assessed and approved in accordance with European ATEX requirements for installation in Zone 1 (flammable gas/vapour) and 21 (combustible powder/dust), when connected to any Earth-Rite Grounding System with certified Intrinsically Safe monitoring circuit output. The unit is also suitable for use in conjunction with Earth-Rite systems with certified Intrinsically Safe monitoring circuit outputs according to North American NEC Class/Division approvals.

    The VESM02 has a durable light-weight, all-steel housing with powder coated finish, suitable for use outdoors or indoors (NEMA 4 / IP 56 environmental / ingress protection). The reel is fitted with 50ft / 15.2 metres of Cen-Stat™Static Dissipative Hytrel® protected cable with adjustable ball-stop which is held under constant tension via a spring/auto-locking ratchet device, and also comes pre-terminated with a 10ft / 3 metre length of two-conductor connection cable, making it simple to wire in to the Earth-Rite Grounding System, irrespective of local wiring preferences (flexible cable or conduit).
    The precision slip-ring assembly has a special “ultra-low-resistance” design making it suitable for monitoring extremely low earthing and bonding resistance values, which should be maintained at less than 10 Ohms as recommended by all major international static control technical standards and industry guidelines.

    The VESM02 may be specified with Newson Gale’s ATEX and FM approved 2-Pole grounding clamps – for example the VESX90-IP Universal Heavy-Duty Clamp with Tungsten Carbide Contact Points which is commonly used for Road Tanker Trucks, Railcars and Mobile Tanks. Useful options include a Pivot Swivel Mounting Base which allows for up to 345 Degree Reel Rotation in areas where the reel must have a wide angle of use.

    The VESM02 forms part of the Earth-Rite range of static grounding and bonding equipment available from Newson Gale. For more information contact your local office or in-country distributor.

    Extendable tip test leads

    Fluke has introduced the new Fluke TL175 TwistGuard™ Test Leads, the only test leads on the market with adjustable length test tips for use in changing measurement situations. The patented extendable tip sheath meets new electrical safety requirements to reduce tip exposure while providing the versatility needed for most measurements By simply twisting the test lead the user can change the exposed probe tip length to anything between 4mm and 19mm. The leads conform to the latest safety standard EN61010-031: 2008, which became effective on 1st March, 2011.

    The new Fluke TL175 TwistGuard Test Leads offer WearGuard™ lead wire wear indication. They are covered in two layers of silicone insulation. The inner contrasting colour is exposed when the leads are nicked, scuffed, or otherwise damaged and in need of replacement. The double insulated silicone layers also withstand high temperatures yet remain flexible for use in cold temperatures.

    The Fluke TL175 TwistGuard™ Test Leads are manufactured to provide extra heavy strain relief on both probe-end and plug-end. The universal input plugs are compatible with all instruments that accept standard 4mm shrouded banana plugs. For use up to 10A, the electrical safety ratings are CAT II 1000 V, CAT III 1000 V / CAT IV 600 V depending on the tip length – the safety rating is indicated for the tip length being used.

    Compact & rugged fanless embedded computers

    ADLINK Technology has released its MXE-3000 fanless embedded computer with rich integrated I/O. Equipped with the Intel® Atom™ D510 1.66 GHz processor, the MXE-3000 delivers twice the performance of the previous N270 platform, meeting high-performance computing needs at all times. Featuring maximum operating shock tolerance up to 100 G, minimal footprint with a small profile, and unique thermal design with zero cable management requirements, the MXE-3000 provides reliable performance in mission critical and harsh environments for a variety of applications.

    Leveraging the advantages of enhanced RF function, dedicated I/O features, 9-32 VDC wide range power input, and LVDS & VGA dual display support, the MXE-3000 with ease of mounting capability – VESA or DIN rail, is an ideal match for diverse applications such as intelligent transportation, medication management, digital signage, factory automation, and logistic applications, and especially in automated guided vehicle systems.

    With changes in market trend from toward smaller fanless configurations, the MXE-3000’s compact 210 mm (W) x 170 mm (D) x 53 mm (H) size suits it ideally for applications requiring limited storage space and demanding zero-noise, dustproof performance. A unique cable-free structure and extended temperature functionality enable the MXE-3000 series to greatly benefit customers with high-performance computing, lowered total cost of ownership, and long-term durability.


    “The ability to withstand harsh environmental factors is critical for in-vehicle computing applications requiring a reliable platform in semi-outdoor environments. In task-driven industries such as warehousing, factory automation, and harbor automation, the MXE-3000 can be deployed on vehicles like trucks, lifters, or trailers for efficient transport. The MXE-3000 further provides value-added material management. In one example, inventories can be recorded while simultaneously transferring goods. Utilizing proven RFID and Wi-Fi technologies, the in-vehicle retrieves cargo information via reader and relays it wirelessly to the control center for dependable online cargo management.” noted Kenny Chang, director of ADLINK’s I/O platform center.

    Unlocking the secrets of FTIR!

    The place where the British decodified signals from the Axis forces in England was kept secret for years after the war. Now however the story of this hidden aspect of the struggle has been recorded and the people who worked quietly there have been acknowledged.

    Bletchley Park has been chosen by Quantitech, as the location for a seminar that will focus on FTIR multiparameter gas detection. Taking place on Thursday 30th June, the seminar is being sponsored by FTIR specialist Gasmet and participation is free of charge.

    The seminar is titled: 'Unleashing the Potential of Gas Monitoring with FTIR' and will focus on the technology and regulations that apply to both fixed and portable applications in stack emissions, process monitoring, occupational safety, research and ambient monitoring.

    The seminar will include practical demonstrations and provide the latest guidance on gas detection (including Technical Guidance Note M22) with high profile speakers from NPL, Gasmet, Quantitech and a leading occupational safety organisation.

    Refreshments will be provided and there will be an opportunity to participate in a guided tour of the Bletchley Park National Codes Centre, which explains how the Enigma and Lorenz codes were broken during WW2. 

    This seminar is designed for both novices and those that already have FTIR instruments and places are being allocated on a first come/first served basis.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Reducing troubleshooting complexity!

    Device Dashboards and ValveLink™ Mobile diagnostics reduce the complexity of advanced troubleshooting in the field

    Click Image for more info!
    Emerson Process Management has a new icon-based user interface for the industry-leading 475 Field Communicator that simplifies the work of field maintenance technicians. The new interface features graphical menus that are easy to use and understand, and Device Dashboards that provide a clear view of a device’s operating health. The 475 also includes the ValveLink™ Mobile software application, which delivers advanced control valve diagnostics in the field for Fisher® FIELDVUE™ instruments.

    The icon-based interface functions like popular consumer products with a touch screen for one-finger selection of various tasks, including quick connection to field devices and ValveLink Mobile. Once a field device is identified, task-based menus enable technicians to easily carry out maintenance or troubleshooting routines.

    Device Dashboards, popular on other Emerson products, are now incorporated in the 475 Field Communicator. These intuitively designed interfaces provide an instant view of all essential information needed to evaluate, diagnose and configure a field device. The clear, concise presentation of device data helps reduce guesswork and shortens the time required for maintenance in the field. Issues are not only identified, but detailed troubleshooting information indicates where and how repairs should be made.

    The ValveLink Mobile application uses the icon-based interface to simplify access to HART® control valve data and is easily navigated with the commonly-used flick, zoom in and zoom out capabilities. For example, users can select an icon to initiate a series of valve tests, including a total check of the HMIconfiguration, calibration, diagnostics and other key parameters. Diagnostic data can be viewed and stored in the 475 Field Communicator or uploaded to Emerson’s AMS Suite for additional evaluation.

    The icon-based interface is pre-installed in 475 Field Communicators purchased since January 2011 and can be downloaded without charge by current users of 475 and 375 Field Communicators who hold Easy Upgrade licenses. With Easy Upgrade, users can quickly and easily update their communicators with the latest capabilities via the Internet. ValveLink Mobile software has come pre-installed on all 475 Field Communicators since January 2010.

    See also our blogs:
    Conquering complexity (Nov 2009)
    Peter Zornio speaks (Video Jun 2010)
    Conquest of complexity advances (Dec 2010)

    European expansion!

    AFCON Software and Electronics is expanding its operations in Europe. AFCON's subsidiary in the Czech Republic has established the Software Division to distribute their software products, especially Pulse SCADA/HMI, and to provide system integration services to its customers.

    This is the first step taken by Afcon in order to place itself closer to its potential customers. The Czech company is responsible for distributing these software products to CEE countries (mainly Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia).

    Mr. Rene Pelanek MSc., MBA is the appointed CEE Sales Director. Mr. Pelanek, previously the CEE Sales Director of MEDIUMSOFT, Inc., a leading European software developer of Large Emergency Dispatch Centers such as 112 or 911 ICT solutions.

    Apart from the distribution of SCADA/HMI solutions, the software division also provides technical support and training expertise for AFCON's product suite, including Pulse SCADA/HMI and Dart cellular software to new and existing customers. In addition, the division offers software and application services.

    Wireless & green!

    Dust Networks® has for the second consecutive year been listed by JMP Securities, a San Francisco-based (US) investment bank, in its published report, “The Green 100: The Top 100 Most Promising Privately Held Clean Technology Companies in 2011.”

    Joy Weiss
    The report profiles 100 of the leading private companies in the Clean Technology sector, as identified by JMP Securities equity research analysts Alex Gauna and Bryce Dille, and it listed Dust Networks as a top company in the New Grid Technologies category.

    “It is an honour to receive continued recognition as a Green 100 company,”
    said Joy Weiss, President & and CEO of Dust Networks. “With more than ten thousand Dust-enabled networks in the field driving significant energy and operational efficiencies, the green impact of wireless sensor networks is well established and growing rapidly.”

    Strategic cooperation agreement

    ISaGRAF and infoteam Software have signed a strategic cooperation agreement. Under the terms of this agreement, infoteam Software becomes a distributor of the ISaGRAF product and a preferred Engineering Services provider in Europe, Germany and China, gaining access to advanced tools for IEC 61499 and IEC 61508 safety. This agreement will also allow ISaGRAF to bundle infoteam services with their products to make much more complete offerings to customers worldwide.

    ISaGRAF will continue to develop and promote its flagship IEC 61131 and IEC 61499 product, ISaGRAF. It will also leverage some key technologies made available by infoteam.

    infoteam Software will continue to support their well-known OpenPCS product. In addition, infoteam Software will offer industrial and safety automation engineering services for the ISaGRAF product. infoteam Software will be able to combine the ISaGRAF offering with its current technology, providing a long-term path for its existing customer base.

    "This cooperation is a natural evolution for infoteam. The use of the technological advances and the superior environment in the ISaGRAF Automation Collaborative Platform will help infoteam focus on providing its customer base and the automation market in general with the best-possible solution to address their needs. While ISaGRAF and infoteam have competed in the past, this cooperation will make our offering unique worldwide," said Dr. Wolfgang Brendel, Chairman of infoteam Software.

    "infoteam will provide a strong engineering arm to the ISaGRAF business. Its operations in Europe and Asia will be a major contribution to help customers develop new products using ISaGRAF. All the expertise that infoteam has gained in developing and promoting the IEC 61131 OpenPCS solutions, combined with the ISaGRAF technology will show immediate benefits to the ISaGRAF community," said Julien Chouinard, ISaGRAF Managing Director.

    Current transducers

    LEM has introduced the CTSR family of current transducers for use in a range of safety-critical applications including solar installations. Two transducers in the new series measure AC or DC leakage nominal currents, from values as small as 300 and 600 mARMS, with spectral components up to 9.5 kHz. The residual or leakage currents that the CTSR family is designed to measure can arise in fault conditions in a number of industrial or power-generation scenarios. Examples include solar panels that are coupled to an earthed grid, or in failure modes such as a short circuits or earth faults. The connection of a solar panel to the grid raises safety concerns; if a fault occurs there is a potentially serious safety issue around any human contact with the system.

    The CTSR family of transducers has been specifically designed to meet the latest safety standards that have been issued in respect of solar installations and inverters, namely VDE 0126-1-1, UL 1741, and IEC 60950-1. The devices are PCB mountable, lightweight (28g) components, with a 20.1 mm diameter aperture that easily accommodates multiple conductors. The residual-current capability measures the sum of all of the instantaneous currents flowing through the aperture, in single- or three-phase configurations. Conductors may be carrying primary currents of up to 30A/wire (AC or DC).

    The CTSR 0.3-P and CTSR 0.6-P safely measure nominal currents of 300 and 600 mA respectively, to a maximum accuracy of 1.9% and 1.5% respectively at +25°C ambient temperature, without offset, providing an analogue output to trigger a safety system in the event of a high leakage current. They both provide a high overload capability up to 3300A (for a pulse duration of 100µs, and with risetime of 500 A/µs), as well as a very high level of insulation between primary and measurement circuits, thanks to long creepage and clearance distances (11 mm), coupled with a CTI (comparative tracking index) of 600V.

    These products can also be supplied with a primary inserted conductor (made up of 4 individual conductors), and in that configuration have the designation “CTSR xxx-TP”.

    CTSR-series transducers operate from a +5VDC supply and have a typical current consumption of just 17.8 and 18.1 mA unipolar when measuring 300 and 600 mA respectively as nominal primary residual current (CTSR 0.3-P and CTSR 0.6-P models); They provide access to their internal reference voltage, and to options such as self test and demagnetisation.

    Models with higher nominal current range up to 3 ARMS to meet the needs of specific customers can be developed on request.

    As well as ensuring safety in solar inverter installations, LEM’s CTSR range is also ideal for a range of applications that includes symmetry fault detection in medium power inverters, failure detection in a range of power sources.

    The transducers are CE marked, conform to the EN 50178 standard and are recognised for industrial applications with an operating temperature range of -40 to +105°C. LEM offers a five-year warranty for each transducer.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    British gas storage automation contract

    System 800xA process control, safety systems, instrumentation and associated engineering for Storengy's new underground gas storage facility that will export gas to the National Grid

    Ancient map showing Stublach!
    ABB  has won a Main Automation and Instrumentation contract for a new natural gas storage facility in Cheshire (GB). The facility is designed to hold over 400 million cubic meters of gas, and will be controlled by ABB System 800xA along with ABB Instrumentation. The Stublach facility is being built for Storengy (a GDF Suez company) in Cheshire and will store gas in salt caverns deep underground. 

    The processing plant consists of gas compressors which move the gas between the caverns and the British National Grid Transmission System (NTS). Additionally, an on-site drying plant removes water from the gas before it is returned to the NTS. The site is expected to be in operation in excess of 25 years.

    Acting as the Main Instrumentation and Automation Contractor (MIAC), ABB will provide engineering design services for the Automation, Safety Instrumented System (SIS) along with the supply of an 800xA Integrated Process Control system and 800xA based SIS, ABB and third party instrumentation to Jacobs Engineering who are responsible for Engineering, Procurement and Construction of the plant. 

    The ABB system will control the import of gas into the caverns for storage and export of Gas into the National grid; this includes the complex control required to handle these transfers in both free flow and compression modes.

    Plant safety is critical and the TUV certified AC 800M HI controllers along with the field devices are used as the Safety Instrumented System to control the processing plant, associated pipelines and the well heads, which are situated up to 2 km from the processing plant.  This will be engineered by the ABB TUV certified engineers based in the UK.

    Availability and efficiency of the plant are crucial; the System 800xA controllers will be in a redundant configuration to ensure these key factors. The 800xA system also interfaces to fire and gas monitors around the plant, third party packages such as the compressor unit controls to monitor and control the plant. This provides integrated visibility for the operators of the process, plant assets along with the safety aspects for both the plant and personnel.

    A significant factor in the selection of the company for this project was ABB’s portfolio of automation, safety and instrumentation products along with the global success of the System 800xA, its Main Automation Contractor capabilities in Britain and the fact that ABB are just completing a similar installation for gas storage in Cheshire.

    The ABB System 800xA control system along with ABB Instrumentation provides inherent asset monitoring facilities to assist operators manage and maintain the plant to increase productivity and reduce energy usage.

    This company's a gazelle!

    As award and tributes go we think this one is unique in calling the companies which receive it "Gazelles!" They are know for their speed and beauty - and hopefully they know how to earn "doe!" (Sorry!!!!)

    The Belgian economic magazine “Trends” searches annually for “Gazelles” - fast growing companies that symbolize competitive entrepreneurship.


    Magnetrol International NV, based in East Flanders (B), has again nominated in the category “large companies”. These companies reinforce the competitive capacity of the area thereby having a positive influence on business in general. The category contains companies with a turnover of at least €10 million.

    Based on data and information published in Trends Top 100.000 – in which Magnetrol International NV ranks 3.773 – the editors examine which of the companies have grown the fastest in the period 2005 - 2009 as far as turnover, personnel and cash flow are concerned.

    Since 1971 Magnetrol International NV has a branch office in Zele (larger Ghent Area), Belgium. Magnetrol grows each year thereby creating additional opportunities on the job market, two key factors that are taken into account while nominating companies for the ‘Trends Gazelles Award’.

    SCADA upgrade!

    Yokogawa Electric Corporation has released version R9.04 of the FAST/TOOLS web-based SCADA system. The product of more than 30 years of innovation in the oil & gas, petrochemical, and power industries, this platform-independent process management software is relied on by innovative industrial automation users worldwide and sets the standard for operational excellence.

    The FAST/TOOLS web-based SCADA system enables remote engineering and maintenance, and allows the deployment, and real-time management of process applications via secure web-based services, thereby increasing overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and return on assets (ROA).
    Remote plant management (RPM) is driving down operating costs and improving the sharing and exchange of information. With the proliferation of decision support and collaboration centres, data from a variety of sources can now be accessed and shared globally, allowing continuous application development and management. With this new version of Yokogawa's FAST/TOOLS SCADA system, a number of new functions are provided that make it easier to work with such services. By providing continual access to process and maintenance information from all sources, this will enhance efficiency by reducing cycle times and eliminating the need for the exchange of paper documents.

    Main features of the new system include operation recording and playback, E-mail notification and alarm reporting, advanced trending capabilities, and a FOUNDATION fieldbus faceplate library.
    With this new release, it is now possible to record HMI displays in real time. Functioning much like a flight recorder, this enables the synchronised playback of screens with alarms and events as well as process and trend data, and includes all mouse tracks and relevant keyboard strokes. The recorded video data can be used for cause-and-effect analysis, operator training, and simulation to increase overall safety, security, and regulatory compliance. This adds a significant new dimension to the capabilities of this software, which already includes audit trailing and diagnostics functions.

    In addition to its standard EEMUA 191 compliant alarm management functionality, this software now enables alarm notification messages to be e-mailed in real time to users who have subscribed to this service. This call-out function makes it easy to define when, where, and to whom notifications should be sent. The alarm management function now also enables the export of alarm & event notifications to programs such as MS-Excel for alarm analysis.

    The comprehensive trending capabilities of FAST/TOOLS have been extended with functionality that shows whether a signal is off-line. In addition, automatic and/or manual data backfill can now be used to display recovered data, allowing operators to confirm at a glance the integrity of the trended signals. X-Y plots have also been added to the rich trending library, allowing two-dimensional views of important process characteristics.

    The extensive faceplate and symbol library has been enhanced with FOUNDATION fieldbus faceplates that may be used together with Yokogawa's STARDOM (FCN/FCJ) autonomous controllers for increased flexibility in distributed applications. Faceplates are automatically assigned to the control logic based on the controller function blocks and are ready to use when deployed in the system environment. This allows for seamless integration of FOUNDATION fieldbus device messages and data, setting a new standard for operational excellence.

    Main target markets include oil and gas upstream/midstream, petrochemicals, chemicals, renewable energy, power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, food, iron and steel, waste, and water and wastewater treatment, for applications such as remote process control, asset management, data collection, and storage in widely distributed applications.

    Precision and safety in pressure control

    With the double adaptor ARID, Baumer enables the combination of their MEX5 safety pressure gauge and their PBSN pressure transmitter. Both instruments are designed for harsh industrial environments with high media temperatures where precision and failure-safety are particularly important. Therefore, the PBSN delivers high-accuracy process data as 4…20 mA output signals while the MEX5 gauge indicates the local pressure. As the MEX5 works on a mechanical basis with no need for electricity, it provides a fall-back option, ensuring that the process can still be controlled in case of a power cut. The resulting increase in process safety is particularly valuable in the harsh and potentially hazardous environments encountered in fields such as energy production, the petrochemical industries, and biotechnology.

    The adaptor has one G½ or ½NPT2 connection on the process side and two G½ connections on the side of the measuring devices. It is made of stainless steel 316L and can operate at temperatures of -25-100 °C while being able to withstand pressures of up to 400 bar. The PBSN pressure transmitter delivers a 4…20 mA output signal which is more accurate in this pressure range than the current output signal of a mechanical pressure gauge equipped with an integrated 4…20 mA transmitter.

    Since mechanical pressure gauges with integrated 4-20 mA transmitters are relatively expensive, the combination of two instruments through the ARID double adaptor offers a more economical solution. The fact that the ARID adaptor makes it possible to use two measuring instruments on only one pressure port on the process pipe saves further costs because the user is not required to provide additional pressure ports for the additional instrument.

    OPC redundancy solution

    MatrikonOPC™ has released the most powerful version of its OPC redundancy software - OPC Redundancy Broker.  The latest version adds features sought after by users, including support for 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system and expanded redundancy protection to include historical data transfers based on the OPC Foundation’s Historical Data Access (HDA) specification. Being open standards-based means users can protect all of their OPC Servers, real-time or historical – regardless of the OPC Server vendor.

    OPC Redundancy Broker is designed for OPC applications that require the use of redundant hardware or software to achieve the highest degree of communication reliability. ORB can even be retrofitted to current systems because it functions with any OPC server DA, HDA, or A&E, regardless of vendor.

    From simple communication-failure based failovers to powerful condition based failovers – OPC Redundancy Broker has the functionality needed in virtually any redundancy application. Easy to use, OPC Redundancy Broker guides users with intuitive step-by-step configuration choices that help them best protect their systems in minutes. OPC Redundancy Broker offers three types of redundant pairs: Hot, Warm, or Cold between the primary and secondary OPC Servers. It handles all configuration and fail-over issues automatically. It also provides additional monitoring capability in the form of watchdog tags that trigger a fail-over between the Primary and Secondary OPC Servers. These watchdog tags can be configured based on the OPC item’s Value, Value change, Quality, or Timestamp. The combination of these features minimizes the fault-tolerance of the system and promotes maximum system redundancy.

    “Customers turn to us because control system downtime is not an option. MatrikonOPC products are reliable and easy to use helping users to quickly and correctly deploy the software knowing their systems are properly protected. With the newly added features in OPC Redundancy Broker - everyone using OPC can now protect their systems to maximize up-time and profitability.” said Seán Leonard, Matrikon’s vice president of OPC products.

    Fieldbus enhancements

    Updates to H1 physical layer specifications in Foundation Fieldbus promote better device installation and integration

    The Fieldbus Foundation has enhanced its open, non-proprietary FOUNDATION™ fieldbus physical layer technology. The latest updates to the H1 (31.25 kbit/s) physical layer specifications will improve the robustness of fieldbus control systems by optimizing device interoperability and integration. End users will benefit from easier installation, faster commissioning and seamless startups.

    Enhancements to the FOUNDATION fieldbus specifications include:
    • Addition of a test procedure for isolated couplers to the existing FOUNDATION fieldbus Coupler Test Specification. Registration of isolated couplers is now possible.
    • Improvements to the H1 Physical Layer Conformance Test Specification based on Action Requests received during the last few years. The most significant changes include the addition of a receive jitter test case and a device-coupler interoperability test.
    • Updates to the H1 Physical Layer Test Specification to remove obsolete profiles and align new references in the document with the current International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) specifications. Coupler profiles were also added to the test specification.
    • Miscellaneous updates to the FOUNDATION fieldbus Cable Specification.
    Fieldbus Foundation Director-Fieldbus Products Stephen Mitschke commented, "The Fieldbus Foundation's rigorous interoperability test and registration procedures thoroughly examine all aspects of a fieldbus device. The latest enhancements to our physical layer specifications will strengthen this testing and provide end users with greater confidence that registered FOUNDATION fieldbus devices can be employed in a tightly integrated, interoperable control system architecture."

    Implementation of the new FOUNDATION fieldbus H1 Physical Layer Test Specification Version 2.0 is not immediately required. However, fieldbus device developers are encouraged to start using the specification as soon as possible. The updated specification will become mandatory with the next major release of the Fieldbus Foundation's Interoperability Test Kit 'ITK'. Until then, developers can still provide proof of conformance to Version 1.5 of the specification when registering a device.
    H1 Benefits Chart!