Friday, September 30, 2011

Production management system in Swiss plant

B. Braun has installed Werum’s PAS-X system at one more of its sites, its production facility in Sempach, (CH). In Sempach, PAS-X will be used to optimize the manufacturing of liquids, and will also operate in explosion-proof areas. The success of earlier PAS-X installations at B. Braun’s Berlin site, and at two of its plants in Melsungen, substantially influenced the company’s decision to opt once again for Werum’s PAS-X suite.

Werum’s PAS-X manufacturing execution system (MES) will replace a legacy weighing and dispensing system and will provide additional functions for recipe management and execution, as well as for generating electronic manufacturing reports. Apart from supporting „Right First Time” manufacturing, PAS-X will make a further contribution towards optimizing the efficiency, quality and compliance of B. Braun’s production processes.

Semiconductor parameter analyser enhanced!

Keithley Instruments has introduced a variety of enhancements for its award-winning Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System. The Keithley Test Environment Interactive (KTEI) V8.2 upgrade includes new non-volatile memory (NVM) test libraries and sample projects for a variety of emerging memory technologies. The upgrade also supports making very low frequency capacitance-voltage (C‑V ) measurements, which are useful for characterizing device technologies such as polymer electronics, organic LEDs (OLEDs), and OLED-based displays. In addition, KTEI V8.2 supports Model 4200-SCS system configurations with more ultra-fast current-voltage (I‑V ) test modules than any competitive solution, so users can test even more devices in parallel, increasing test throughput and reducing time to market.

New Non-Volatile Memory Test Libraries

The new NVM test libraries included in KTEI V8.2 expand the system’s capabilities for testing all types of non-volatile memory devices, including flash, phase change memory (PRAM and PC-RAM), resistive memory (RRAM or ReRAM), and magnetoresistive (MRAM) memory devices. KTEI V8.2 provides a common set of test libraries for testing the various NVM technologies while incorporating the unique measurement hardware requirements associated with each. The sample projects included for each type of NVM provide the flexibility that researchers need to set up and execute tests quickly, as well as to analyze data. The examples are designed to adapt easily to use with most emerging memory technologies.

The test libraries are designed to build on the capabilities provided in two of the newest hardware options for the Model 4200-SCS, the Model 4225-PMU Ultra-Fast I‑V Module, and the Model 4225-RPM Remote Amplifier/Switch Module. Together, these new modules allow precise sourcing of high speed pulses, as well as accurate measurements of the transient signals produced during testing. The Model 4225-PMU measures voltage and current simultaneously at high speeds over a wide dynamic range. The Model 4225-RPM moves the measurement circuitry of the Model 4225-PMU module closer to the DUT to minimize the effects of stray capacitance while providing additional low current measurement ranges. The Model 4225-RPM also provides fast automatic switching between the 4225-PMU and the system’s capacitance-voltage (C-V) and DC source-measure units, which helps simplify the test configuration and reduces the time required to complete test sequences.

Very Low Frequency C‑V Measurements
Semiconductor R&D typically requires a combination of quasistatic (ramp rate) and high frequency techniques for measuring the capacitance of device structures. However, when applied to devices with too much current flow or leakage, quasistatic C-V has some limitations; for example, parallel resistance cannot be extracted effectively and the results can be quite noisy. A variety of device technologies now require AC-based capacitance characterization at very low frequencies—much lower than the minimum frequency of multi-frequency C-V meters or LCRs.

Measuring small capacitances at low frequencies translates to extremely high impedance values, which AC-based measurement instruments often cannot characterize accurately. KTEI V8.2 includes a new patent-pending technique for making very low frequency capacitance-voltage (VLF C-V) measurements with the system’s DC SMUs and low current remote pre-amplifier that allows measuring device capacitance and resistance at frequencies from 10Hz down to 10mHz. This new technique complements the optional Model 4210-CVU capacitance meter ’s existing high frequency (1kHz to 10MHz) capabilities.

Extended Support for Ultra-Fast I‑V Hardware
The Model 4200-SCS system can now support up to six Model 4225-PMU modules in its nine-slot chassis. Each module provides two channels of voltage pulse sourcing (with pulse widths ranging from 60 nanoseconds to DC) and simultaneous current and voltage measurement at acquisition rates of up to 200 megasamples/second (MS/s), so it’s now possible to configure a system with up to 12 simultaneous ultra-fast I‑V channels.

By boosting the maximum number of Model 4225-PMU modules the Model 4200-SCS can support, KTEI V8.2 expands the system’s ability to characterize multiple devices quickly by testing them in parallel, which is increasingly important as new devices move from the R&D lab toward production. This higher level of parallel test can be applied to testing a device’s ultra-fast bias temperature instability (NBTI), a transient failure mechanism that requires high speed measurements to characterize, as well as to other forms of device reliability testing and multi-DUT NVM testing. By supporting higher test throughput, KTEI V8.2 helps shorten time to market and offers more effective process control.

Model 4200-SCS Background
Keithley’s Model 4200-SCS semiconductor parameter analyzer replaces a variety of electrical test tools with a single, tightly integrated characterization solution that is ideal for a wide variety of semiconductor test applications including technology development, process development, and materials research in reliability labs, materials and device research labs and consortia, as well as any lab needing a benchtop DC or pulse instrument. Keithley has continually enhanced the Model 4200-SCS’s hardware and software ever since its introduction. This commitment to ongoing system innovation ensures a cost-effective upgrade path, so users don’t have to buy a new parametric analyzer because their old one is obsolete. Systems can be upgraded cost-effectively to keep up with the industry's evolving test needs, so capital investments in the Model 4200-SCS stretch much further than with competitive test solutions.

SCADA security simulator

Byres Security (now part of Beldon - see our blog Major Acquisition strengthens war on Stuxnet etc...) has released the new Tofino SCADA Security Simulator (TSSS), part of the Tofino Industrial Security Solution. The product is a complete control system in a box, designed to demonstrate the vulnerability of SCADA and PLC components to security failures, and to test new solutions. It makes the impact of security failures to critical industrial processes easy to grasp, and it shows how to secure processes using the Tofino Security Appliance (TSA). The TSSS is an important tool for helping infrastructure operators, vendors, systems integrators, government agencies and researchers improve Industrial Control System (ICS) security.

Eric Byres demonstrates the new TSSS in this video!

“Cyber threats to industrial processes have been difficult to demonstrate, making it hard to test designs, train staff or research mitigating technologies,” remarked Eric Byres, CTO and VP Engineering of Byres Security. “Now, with the Tofino SCADA Security Simulator anyone can understand both the impact of security breaches on industrial processes and how to stop them.”

A typical TSSS demonstration starts by showing how SCADA and Industrial Control Systems operate, using a widely deployed PLC to control production. Next, SCADA specific malware attacks the control system and destroys the process. Finally, the system is secured using leading technology such as the Tofino Industrial Security Solution. The TSSS provides hands-on experience and reveals the impact of SCADA security in a tangible and visual manner.

Joel Langill, CSO of SCADAhacker.com, explains: "You can only be so effective when trying to explain cyber security to someone using a deck of PowerPoint slides. When you shift the discussion to an actual demonstration showing both an attack and a successful mitigation to an attack, people actually understand it."

Joel continues: "As a security consultant, I use the TSSS not only for simple demonstrations of cyber security controls, but also to implement various security strategies in an offline manner. I can then develop corresponding Tofino Security Appliance configuration schemes which can be applied to online production systems. I find it very handy to be able to use the TSSS with a variety of SCADA / HMI applications, and with associated field control equipment like PLCs, RTUs and application servers."

The Tofino “complete SCADA simulation system in a box” is available in a portable carry-on case, or in a large “trade-show” format. It comes with simple step-by-step instructions for demonstrating SCADA operations, security risks and security solutions. Simulations are available for gas pipelines, power facilities, chemical plants and water utilities. The product is available now from Byres Security and from Tofino Certified VARs.

• See Eric Byres's blog: A Truly Portable SCADA Security Simulator (29/9/2011)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Device server switch

Westermo device server switch provides IP connection to legacy serial devices and routing functionality

Westermo has released its Lynx DSS compact device server switch for connecting legacy serial control and telemetry systems to the latest IP networks. With low data rate serial communications being replaced by higher bandwidth IP networks, the Lynx DSS helps to preserve any investment in existing systems, add functionality by supporting new equipment that requires additional bandwidth, and ensures trouble free industrial communications for many years.

Lynx DSS is an industrial Ethernet switch for managing applications with a combination of IP and serial connections. Providing a single unit solution it replaces the need for multiple units. Powered by an updated version of the Westermo WeOS operating system, the device delivers enhanced serial to Ethernet connectivity, and support for dual serial networks, modem replacement functionality, and Modbus gateways. Legacy devices can be connected via two serial ports. One of these is configured for RS-232 and the other for either RS-232 or RS-422/485.

Two versions are available, the L208-F2G-S2 and L108-F2G-S2. The L108 supports a range of layer 2 switching functions that provide resilient, rapid recovering redundant ring Ethernet networks. The unit has four 10/100 Mbit/s ports and two further ports can be fitted with either Gbit or 100 Mbit SFP transceivers. In addition to these functions the L208 provides additional layer 3 networking functionality including routing, firewalls and VPN remote access.

With the increasing number of cyber attacks, advanced security is now critical for industrial networks. Remote, secure access to a network is provided using encrypted VPNs and a multi-port DMZ (demilitarized zone or subnet that is exposed to the Internet) can be constructed using the internal port-based-firewall-function. These functions support users wanting to communicate over potentially insecure networks and also help to prevent users inadvertently connecting to the wrong network.

Suitable for deployment in extreme operating conditions, the device is type-tested to meet industrial EMC, isolation, vibration and shock standards, and approved for use in relevant industrial applications, including Cenelec EN 50121-4 certification for railway trackside installations. The Lynx DSS has a wide operating temperature range from -40 to 70 °C. There is no fan or other moving parts, and the industrial grade components and a full metal IP40 enclosure – with no cooling holes that would allow the ingress of dust – contribute to the extremely high mean time between failures (MTBF) of over 500,000 hours, resulting in long trouble-free service life.

Lynx DSS is the most compact and energy efficient switch of its type on the market. The low power requirement of just 250 mA at 24V DC, results in a reduction in running cost over the life of the unit and helps companies reduce their power usage. With a footprint size of only 100mm x 50mm, the unit is easy to incorporate into machines and existing applications. A wide operating power requirement of 19-60V DC further increases the number of suitable applications.

The WeOS operating system has been developed as a cross platform solution. Available on the Westermo RedFox, Wolverine, Lynx and Falcon products, it provides a future proof and scaleable solution for industrial networking requirements.

New panel feed throughs!

Panel feed-throughs for Han® PushPull Profinet variant

New panel feed-throughs with transmission rates up to 1/10 Gbit/s Ethernet have been introduced for use with the Harting Han® PushPull Profinet variant.

The Han® PushPull (variant 14 according to IEC 61076-3-117) is the standardised connector for industrial Profinet cabling with IP65/67 protection. There are now two new panel feed-throughs available in robust metal housings for transmission rates up to 1/10 Gbit/s Ethernet, Category 6, Class EA.

The panel feed-throughs for round and rectangular cut-outs allow swift and simple installation in devices and switch cabinets, as well as retrofitting of existing housings with a Profinet interface with IP 65/67 protection.

The female inserts are executed with 360° shielding in order to increase the electromagnetic compatibility and the transmission path’s immunity to interference.

In order to allow users to make independent decisions on the system’s grounding concept, the RJ45 female inserts snap into the metal panel feed-throughs to provide electrical isolation. This ensures that the RJ45 shielding potential and the housing ground are not accidentally connected.

For selective grounding of the RJ45 shielding potential, the shielding potential on the panel feed-through and that on the RJ45 jack module can be gripped via a Faston connector and electrically connected to one another. Electromagnetic disturbances that are injected on the data shield and enter
the device are consequently effectively dissipated.

Panel feed-throughs with two RJ Industrial® 10G Category 6 bulkhead RJ45 jack modules and Ha-VIS preLink® RJ45 cable jack are available.

The RJ Industrial® 10G Category 6 bulkhead RJ45 jack module offers an RJ45 interface on the device’s internal IP 20 side and facilitates further distribution with standard patch cables.

The Ha-VIS preLink® RJ45 cable jack offers simple and swift assembly with insulation displacement termination for the connection of data cables - even pre-assembled ones - with conductor cross-sections from AWG 22/7 to AWG 23/1.

Protection against combustible dust

ASM has expanded its POSIWIRE® family of rugged cable extension position sensors with the WS12EX series that has a measurement range up to 118 inches.

In locations where combustible dust is present, the maximum allowable surface temperature of installed devices is limited to only 2/3 of the minimum ignition temperature of the surrounding combustible dust. If there is a risk of dust accumulation, further considerations such as the smoldering point of the dust and additional temperature safety distances must be evaluated. The WS12EX series was developed to meet these safety requirements related to combustible dust.

The position sensor housing is rated IP67 and is available with the industry standard analog outputs: 0-10VDC and 4-20mA. The linearity is +/- 0.10 % of full scale with an optional +/- 0.05 % full scale. A precision potentiometer is utilized for the rotary sensing element. The WS12EX series achieves the requirements of EX Dust Explosion-Proof Category 3, Zone 22 for non-conductive dust.

The WS12EX series was designed for numerous industries where combustible dust is present: saw mills (saw dust), food processing (flour dust) and other harsh application (carbon dust).

Foundation Fieldbus and HART

Fieldbus Foundation issues Transducer Block Specification for Wired HART® and WirelessHART® devices

The Fieldbus Foundation has issued a FOUNDATION™ Wireless and Remote I/O (WIO) preliminary specification addressing fieldbus transducer blocks for wired HART® and WirelessHART® devices, together with updates to the WIO System Architecture and WIO Data Structures related to the transducer block specification.

Part of the Foundation for Remote Operations Management solution implementing wireless and remote I/O, the new technical specification defines a fieldbus transducer block used to represent HART devices within Foundation for Remote Operations Management devices. Both wired HART and WirelessHART devices may be represented in this block. In addition, the specification describes the expected method for HART configuration tools and asset-managing hosts to access HART devices using the native HART command protocol transported through the fieldbus High Speed Ethernet (HSE) network. The specification also defines structures to identify and maintain HART device status in wired multi-drop networks as well as in WirelessHART mesh networks connected to Foundation for Remote Operations Management devices.

The Fieldbus Foundation's (FF) director of technology development, Dave Glanzer, commented, "The new transducer block specification will benefit end users who need to be able to interface HART and WirelessHART devices to Foundation fieldbus to improve their integration with a control system, or with FF devices. They may also require a networked method for an asset-managing host to access a large set of HART and WirelessHART devices for HART configuration and maintenance purposes."

Within the FF architecture, H1 and HSE provide a distributed function block capability with HSE serving as a larger pipeline offering increased speed and throughput. The WIO development expands these capabilities by establishing open, non-proprietary specifications for a wired or wireless HSE backhaul network integrating various wireless Foundation for Remote Operations Management devices with interfaces to wireless field device networks.

HSE provides an efficient way to bring large concentrations of discrete and analog field I/O from modular devices back to the control room using a high-speed HSE connection. Employing HSE devices functioning like a smart remote terminal unit (RTU), the technology brings all forms of conventional I/O into the native fieldbus environment easily. This solution makes discrete-in, discrete-out, analog-in, analog-out and H1 fieldbus available over a common Ethernet network. The addition of remote I/O further tightens the integration of process instrumentation within a FOUNDATION control system infrastructure.

Datacenteragility!

We love these big make-up words. We recall during the eighties or maybe earlier, our memory is a little vague on dates, when a company introduced a calibrator which they called a "supercalibratortestersignalgenerator" which one could sing to the tune of a certian song in "The Sound of Music." You know the one I'm sure. Well here's another - datacenteragility!

TE Connectivity has launched a new website, datacenteragility.com, to help data center managers get a better understanding of how TE can help build agility into their data centers.

According to the 2011 Gartner Scenario for Data Center Providers, "Flexibility and speed are key requirements from the new data center designs."  Put these two factors together and it is clear that data centers require products and solutions that build agility into their design and operation: both in terms of meeting business needs for new services and to flex capacity.  It is this same need for agility that is also
driving the growth of cloud-based data centers.

A key source of data center infrastructure information, datacenteragility.com  provides visitors with multi-media content detailing the key products in TE's data center portfolio and extracts from the TE
Enterprise Networks knowledge library relating to data center infrastructure issues.

The site also has links to other TE Enterprise Networks sites featuring AMP NETCONNECT and KRONE products along with the latest data center news from around the globe to help data center managers keep up to date with the latest events in the data center infrastructure market.

Package for wastewater aeration control

Endress+Hauser has announced their Instrumentation for Aeration Control package geared specifically toward advanced aeration control strategies. Instruments available measure dissolved oxygen, nitrate, ammonium, pH, suspended solids, temperature, air flow rates, air pressures and water levels in aeration basins to provide enhanced and reliable control of a process.  Direct measurement of these parameters can drastically reduce energy costs associated with operating aeration basins.

The combination of sensors and transmitters ensures that the proper amount of air is blown through the system at the correct basin level, and that the process is removing nutrients from the water efficiently and reliably.

This family of aeration control sensors easily connects to any plant’s PLC or SCADA system via 4-20mA with HART, Profibus or other digital interfaces. This allows any wastewater treatment plant to add aeration basin control measurements quickly and easily. Digital communications and advanced diagnostics in E+H instruments simplify maintenance and commissioning and provide state-of-the-art condition monitoring.

Primary savings come from controlling air flow. Aeration blowers can account for up to 70% of the energy usage of a wastewater treatment plant. In a typical process, microorganisms consume organic carbon as a nutrient—creating carbon dioxide, water and biomass—while dissolved oxygen is used to convert ammonium to nitrate which is later broken down into its components.  Oxygen is forced into the aeration basin with large blowers (see Figure). Using blowers at full capacity when ammonia levels are low can be expensive and unnecessary.

They offer a simple and cost-effective solution for measuring ammonium and nitrates present in the aeration basin: Liquiline CM442 transmitters and CAS40D sensors, both with the digital Memosens protocol, monitor the ammonium and nitrates of the incoming and/or treated water with a single sensor array that can provide additional parameters such as pH, temperature, chloride and potassium.

Endress+Hauser Oxymax optical or amperometric dissolved oxygen sensors with the digital Memosens protocol monitor dissolved oxygen to make sure minimum levels are maintained. With the CM442’s dual channel digital technology, one transmitter can measure ammonium, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, temperature and pH.

To ensure that the air delivery system is functioning properly, a T-Mass 65I thermal mass insertion flowmeter can be placed in the blower air line.

Because blowers must overcome the hydrostatic pressure of the basin to force air into the process, an Endress+Hauser Cerabar S pressure transmitter is available to measure air line pressure. A Prosonic FMU90 ultrasonic or a Waterpilot FMX21 hydrostatic instrument can be used to measure and control level.

Using aeration basins is an excellent way to remove nutrients, but the energy costs can be high. The Endress+Hauser Aeration Control measurement package helps provide better efficiency of  the process, helps a plant meet permit levels efficiently and reliably, and saves energy.

“We offer a complete instrumentation package for easy integration into virtually any aeration basin control system thanks to our advanced analytical, flow, pressure, level and temperature instrumentation with digital communication protocols,” says Nick Camin, product manager in the Endress+Hauser Environmental Group. “From on-line ammonium and nitrate measurement to blower air flowrates, Endress+Hauser is the single-source supplier for aeration control measurements.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not just hot air!

A new old show for 2013!

Actually, it’s not really a ‘new’ show; it’s a greatly expanded version of the MCERTS (for air) events with which you will be familiar.

The event will still focus on air emissions, but it will now also focus on a wide range of closely related subjects such as workplace monitoring, confined space, ambient monitoring, leak detection, fugitive emissions, fenceline monitoring, abatement etc. As a result it will appeal to specific people within almost every industry.

One of the major differences is that AQE 2013 will address the many thousands of industrial emissions that are controlled by Local Authorities.

It’s still in Telford (GB) and there will still be a Conference, an Exhibition and a large number of Workshops.

Basically it may be said that AQE 2013 is a specialist event for anyone with a professional or academic interest in air quality.

See our Events Page for exhibitions and other events of interest to the automation professional.

Mounting layout developed into major engineering solution!

What started with high-performance 3D mounting layout turned into an integrative "XL engineering solution" for enclosure layout. Design, 3D layout, production and mounting merge to form an integrated solution – plus more added-value.

The enclosure layout is subject to extreme deadline and cost pressure, which solution provider EPLAN Software & Service substantially alleviates. With the new EPLAN Pro Panel 2.1 automation engineering, mechanical and plant engineering all reap the benefits of an interdisciplinary engineering tool that covers all discipline-specific requirements. Design, 3D layout, production and mounting merge onto a uniform database for a fully integrated solution. The result is an accelerated product development process – reduced costs and more added-value.

Uniform data – automatic synchronisation

Integration is the key word that brings together all parts of the EPLAN Platform. Devices that are used in electrical and fluid designs can now be incorporated in the mounting layout - without manual synchronisation. Users can engineer faster. Typical reverse engineering tasks such as the manual data transfer between disciplines, import and export and verification data - as well as many other time-consuming redundant steps are eliminated. In addition, potential errors during project comparison are prevented ahead of time. The full functionality of EPLAN Platform's key basic features such as revision control, rights management and special programming with EPLAN API can be used – and that's everything: Integration continues in production, mounting and wiring. Direct data transfer to NC machines, conductor routing and cable preparation ensure a smooth workflow throughout the entire product development process.

Reliably designed – accurately produced
From dynamic collision control to automatic checking of respective installation conditions: The software makes professional 3D layout design easy - even for occasional users. Production data for holes or cutouts is taken account in the 3D model and can be further processed. The flexible software lets users create both associative mounting diagrams and special drilling templates. More practical decisive advantages: Production information is only entered once when the master data is created – even for parts with variable lengths such as cable ducts and mounting rails. Components and NC data are automatically integrated in the mounting layout; a sure way to fast results. Modifications to housing, doors or mounting plates are easily transferred to the appropriate production system via an NC interface - Steinhauer and Perforex are just two examples of the high degree of production integration.

Cables quickly routed
More flexible 3D conductor routing: Now, cables as well as conductors can be routed within a 3D mounting layout. The new standard in performance also applies to cable routing: Defining route networks and laying connection is intuitive and can also be done independently of real or virtual wire ducts. New layout areas further expand the 3D routing possibilities and also support virtual wiring of Lütze frame systems. Using "wiring holes", wires and cables can be routed, for example, on the back of mounting plates, partitions or other enclosure parts – along the shortest route.

Coolly configured, precisely dimensioned
Where would engineering be without the right device data? That's where the connection to EPLAN Data Portal really scores big – components can be easily transferred from the Portal to the device list or integrated into the 3D mounting layout. Highlight at the Hanover Fair: the interface to the brand new Rittal Therm 6.1 – the engineering configurator for laying out and dimensioning heating, cooling and climate control solutions from Rittal. A configurator determines what Rittal Therm devices are required, and compiles and transfers them to the EPLAN device list. The result: Highly efficient integration of climate control solutions in a 3D mounting layout.

New total Nitrogen and Sulphur analyser

Thermo Fisher Scientific has launched a new Total Nitrogen and Total Sulfur (TN/TS) analyser, which features an innovative direct injection design providing the capacity to analyze both heavy and light hydrocarbons without changing introduction modules. As a result of the versatility, precision and accuracy offered by the their iPRO 5000 series analyser, scientists in petrochemical and commercial testing laboratories, oil refineries, R&D centers and chemical plants, will benefit from significant time savings and productivity advantages, in addition to total ASTM compliance.

This analyser features the proprietary Thermo Scientific jetPRO direct spray injector, which enables automatic analysis from ppb levels up to percent levels for both nitrogen and sulfur on just one instrument and without changing introduction modules. As a result, it is now possible to quantify nitrogen and sulfur in heavy hydrocarbons within just three minutes. Compared to the standard boat method, this is a dramatic reduction in the time spent from analysis to viewing results, which provides an immediate cost-saving and productivity increase. Offering exceptional precision of two percent or better when analysing light hydrocarbons at ultra-low concentrations, the analyzer ensures high accuracy, as well as reproducibility and repeatability of analysis. Providing meticulously controlled combustion processes, the analyser also contains a proprietary pre-soot detection technology which ensures complete combustion that is soot-free. The iPRO 5000 series analyzer is also the smallest and most compact total nitrogen and total sulfur analyzer currently available.

Developed for a wide range of applications, the iPRO 5000 series analyser offers an ideal solution for the diverse requirements of petrochemical analyses. The instrument provides the capacity to analyze virtually any refinery sample from raw crude to end product, while ensuring ASTM compliance and enabling optimisation of refinery processes. For commercial testing laboratories requiring ASTM compliant results quickly and cost-effectively over a wide range of applications, the iPRO 5000 series analyzer is four times faster than previous methods which enables a significant increase in productivity and cost-efficiency. In addition, the instrument’s exceptional precision makes it the ideal choice for high performance applications such as those conducted by research and development centers.

The iPRO 5000 series analyzer is controlled by Thermo Scientific NSX Visual software, which supports Microsoft Windows 7 and has been developed to adapt to the specific workflows of users who require ease–of-use and flexibility. The NSX Visual software assures total ASTM compliance through pre-loaded ASTM method templates, which enable the user to simply select the required method and start the analysis. The software is also programmed to proactively alert the user if method parameters are changed to a value which is outside the scope of the official ASTM methods.

Tiny pressure transmitter

Festo has launched a compact pressure transmitter module providing a very flexible solution for closed-loop control and monitoring of pneumatically-operated automation components. Capable of sensing both pressure and vacuum, the new SPTE pressure transmitter is a highly versatile and easy-to-use feedback device. Typical applications include vacuum detection in pick-and-place machines, such as those used in semiconductor chip testing, and surface-mount component placement machines for PCB assembly.

Designed primarily for cost-sensitive high volume applications, SPTE is the smallest pressure transmitter in theirproduct range. It has a grid size of just 10 mm, facilitating extremely tight packing densities in crowded control racks, and a very low weight which makes it ideal for integrating directly with moving machine parts. The transmitter's extremely small physical dimensions also mean that it has minimal internal volume, enabling it to react quickly to changes in pressure and provide a fast response output signal.

The SPTE uses a piezo-resistive pressure cell capable of measuring vacuum over the range 0 to -1 bar and pressure over the range 0 to 10 bar. The pressure transmitter is available with a choice of 0 to 10 V or 1 to 5 V analogue output, enabling users to employ the control scheme of their choice without need for conversion circuits - the signal can be fed direct to a PLC or other form of control system, helping to minimise installation costs.

A unique benefit of Festo's SPTE pressure transmitter is that it offers users considerable flexibility in mounting, with a choice of three configurations featuring different pneumatic connection schemes.

One configuration, available in 4 mm and 6 mm sizes, enables the transmitter to be plugged directly into pneumatic socket-type connectors. Another provides push-in fittings for standard pneumatic tubing and is available in 3 mm and 4 mm sizes. This form of transmitter module can also be used in conjunction with single and 8-way mounting brackets, which use a simple clip retaining mechanism to facilitate fast assembly and disassembly without the need for tools. The third type of configuration uses a highly cost-effective flange-mounting arrangement, which requires no additional hardware. The module is secured direct to the body of the pneumatic component that it is monitoring - such as a cylinder or valve - and uses an O-ring seal to secure an air-tight connection. By dispensing with the need for pneumatic tubes this approach provides the shortest path between the component and transmitter, minimising evacuation time and resulting in the fastest possible signal generation.

Typically, high throughput pick-and-place machines use any array of tightly packed vacuum gripper nozzles of various sizes, depending on the types of parts to be moved. Each nozzle may require a different vacuum level, the presence or absence of which indicates whether or not a part has been successfully picked. Due to limited space, it is often impractical to use sensors with built-in teach functions to determine the performance of each nozzle at its point of use. By using SPTE pressure transmitters to monitor the vacuum levels, the various thresholds can be defined on the control unit.

Festo's SPTE pressure transmitters are supplied complete with a 2.5 m cable for electrical connection. Designed for operation with filtered compressed air, the transmitters have a full-scale accuracy of 3 percent, and accommodate media and ambient operating temperatures over the range 0 to 50 degrees Celsius.

If required, the SPTE pressure transmitter can be combined with a Festo SVE4 signal converter to produce two digital output signals for applications where an analogue input is not available or cost-effective within the control unit. This arrangement can be used, for example, to monitor upper and lower operating limits.

The SPTE pressure transmitter is a direct result of Festo's on-going research into all-electronic, contactless sensors; in recognition of the advances that the company is making in this area, the product received an honourable mention in the Red Dot Design Awards for 2011.

A simple change of system

Converter from COPA-DATA imports projects from WinCC into zenon
COPA-DATA has launched WinCC-to-zenon Converter, a tool that makes it possible to easily convert projects into zenon. Using a wizard, the WinCC-to-zenon Converter assists Siemens WinCC automation software users to easily and safely switch to the HMI/SCADA system zenon from Copa-Data.

Quick changeover
For manufacturing companies, undertaking a new automation project often involves evaluations of different or additional software. One common hurdle when changing to a new SCADA system is the attendant high cost of resources. Most of all, for complex automation applications that have been built up over many years and have been repeatedly expanded, the time consumed transferring data should not be underestimated. COPA-DATA is addressing exactly this problem with the WinCC-to-zenon Converter.

Simple conversion thanks to an import wizard
A C-Sharp-based, open wizard ensures that screens, variables, and the alarm configuration of WinCC projects can be imported into zenon simply, automatically and reliably. All related settings are transferred over exactly and are immediately available for use in zenon, where they can be edited freely. Users can benefit from all the features of zenon immediately and without limitation once the conversion has been completed.

[1] WinCC is a product of Siemens AG.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

High quality video for hazardous area!

Certified camera line expanded to provide high quality video from hazardous areas at reduced bandwidth.

Industrial Video and Control (IVC) expanded their hazardous area product line with the introduction of H.264 cameras designed and certified for use in hazardous areas. They now offer Class I Division 1 and Class I Division 2 PTZ dome and ATEX PTZ cameras that support H.264 encoding.

Users can view and store high frame rate, quality video over networks while consuming less bandwidth and storage.  This makes these cameras ideal for situations where video might be transmitted over low-bandwidth media such as wireless, or where video shares the network with other critical data.

IVC’s H.264 Class I- and ATEX-rated PTZ cameras are available with an 18x, 26x, or 36x optical zoom imagers.  Theses cameras are also available with a variety of copper and fiber IP connectivity options.

These new camera models are supported in IVC’s Relay Server and Longwatch camera management software packages.

IVC is a manufacturer of IP-based cameras and developer of advanced software for managing networks of video systems.  “IVC has a long history of providing video solutions that can be used in challenging petrochemical environments,” states Norman Fast, president of IVC.  “One of our goals is to continually bring the state-of-the-art in video technology to our industrial customers.  This announcement further establishes IVC as the leader in providing video solutions to critical industrial applications.”

Monday, September 26, 2011

Robust and NVIS compatible LED panel indicators

Marl International has extended its industrial and defence LED panel indicator range with two robust series featuring exceptionally high EMC screening. One of the new LED indicators offers NVIS (Night VISion) radiance, making it suitable for use by operators wearing military night vision goggles.

Marl 677 and 697 panel indicators are specifically designed to address the most demanding applications. Both series benefit from an exceptionally high degree of EMC protection, with an internal stainless steel mesh behind the lens to provide continuity of screening as well as a conductive panel seal. Sealed to IP67, the lamps are supplied in robust chrome plated aluminium housings and are fully potted for high vibration applications. They have a smoked lens to give a good on/off contrast ratio.

The 677 series is offered in red, yellow, green, blue and cool white in 12V and 24V versions and has an internal reverse protection diode fitted as standard. The 697 series is available in green only, and is specifically designed for military panels where operators may be wearing night vision aids. It emits radiance to Mil-85762A standards, for compatibility with NVIS panel displays used by operators wearing night vision aids.

Coupling/decoupling network for emission testing

Teseq has developed a new coupling/decoupling (CDNE) network for emissions testing.

The publication of EN 55015, based on CISPR 15 A1 Ed 7, has introduced an independent method of measurement of radio disturbance characteristics of electrical lighting equipment. This method specifies the use of a coupling/decoupling network (CDN) as defined in IEC 61000-4-6 for emission measurement in the frequency range 30 to 300 MHz.

An analysis of results of testing with existing CDN designs showed the need for closer CDN impedance tolerances. A standard working group was founded for improving the CDN design and for transferring the new emissions measuring equipment requirements to CISPR 16-1-2 and methods to CISPR 16-2-1.

The result describes a specific coupling/decoupling network for emissions (CDNE). In addition to closer tolerances for the asymmetrical impedance, the phase angle, symmetrical impedance and the internal attenuation are also defined.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thermometer datalogger

The RDXL4SD is a portable Thermometer & Data Logger from Omega. It has built-in analysis functions. It can accept up-to 4 thermocouples from types J, K, T, E, R and S or 2 Pt100 Ω 2-wire sensors. The data loggers have a back lit display, showing up to 4 Channels simultaneously and capable of sampling, processing and displaying measurements without being connected to a computer.

They include a real-time SD memory card data logger (1 to 16 GB capacity) built-in clock and calendar and real time data recorder. Auto sampling time can be set from 1 to 3600 seconds and the user can also log data manually. These real-time data loggers save measured temperature data, along with the time information (year, month, date, minute, second) into the SD memory card. Data can be subsequently downloaded to Excel for analysis.

Quick ship valves!

The Quick Ship programme of Emerson Process Management has now been extended to cover selected Fisher® valves, assemblies and parts. Fast delivery of replacement products and spare parts is critical to keeping any plant running at maximum efficiency and Emerson’s Quick Ship programme supplies critical products and spares on reduced lead times so that customers can minimise costly down time.

Reduced lead times for Fisher valves,
selected valve assemblies and parts
Initially launched to cover Rosemount® temperature and pressure transmitters, then extended to include Rosemount and Micro Motion® flow products, Emerson has now established a dedicated Fisher Europe Quick Ship team that will check the availability of parts and manufacturing resources to meet the customers requested lead time.

The premium Quick Ship programme offers customers a reduced lead time for Fisher valves, and a lead time of less than three days on selected valve assemblies and parts. The Quick Ship option is available on Fisher sliding stem valves up to 6”, rotary valves up to 10” and butterfly valves up to 12”.

Quick Ship orders follow a different route through order processing and on to the dedicated Quick Ship workshop and team, in order to meet the agreed delivery time. To ensure that Quick Ship orders are fulfilled within the shortest possible timescale, Emerson has made a significant investment in the resources and infrastructure at its facilities in Székesfehérvár, Hungary.

As part of the Quick Ship programme, Emerson’s new Installed Base Tool offers major customers on-line access to their installed valves based on tag and serial numbers. This allows customers to select parts for individual valves with prices and lead-times. The tool also enables 24/7 on-line ordering of parts. 

The Installed Base Tool is being further developed to allow customers to upload valve information including certificates, pictures, history, diagnostics reports and even schedule maintenance or service calls directly.

“The start-up of the Fisher Europe Quick Ship programme has already helped many customers get replacement products and parts on site quickly,” said Hans Nieuwpoort, the Fisher Europe Quick Ship Programme Director. “This programme means that more of our customers have speedy access to critical replacements – minimising plant downtime and lost revenue.”

Data acquisition and display

Equipped with a new touch screen operator interface, the Yokogawa DXAdvanced Touch is a new model series of the highly capable DXAdvanced R4 data acquisition and display stations. The pressure-sensitive touch screen gives users a faster and more efficient way to navigate the display screens and normal operating modes of the unit, and it does so with no degradation of the display quality and clarity that all DX models are known for.

An operator can quickly and easily enter batch and message text information on a full-screen touch keyboard, and readily access trend history data with the calendar search functions. For biotech, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries, the Advanced Security option delivers full compliance with FDA regulation 21CFR Part 11, enabling all models to be used in any FDA program area that must comply with the regulation. This is complimented by a multi-batch option that allows channels to be grouped and recorded to discrete batch records with independent start and stop control.

Custom display screen support and an alarm annunciator display mode using ISA sequencing is also included- the DXAdvanced Touch becomes an intelligent annunciator system with data display and recording functions.

Two model ranges are offered- DX1000T with 2-12 universal inputs, 5.5” color display; and the larger DX2000T with 4-48 universal inputs and 10.4” color display.

Open network connectivity is a hallmark feature- DXAdvanced Touch can interface with PLCs and other control products as a data source or to add graphical data display and recording functions. MODBUS RTU and TCP, EtherNet/IP and PROFIBUS DP protocols allow installation on control networks. Up to 300 optional external I/O inputs can be brought into the DX2000T to build a large recording system.

VDTs for hydraulic proportional control

Thanks to their ability to be immersed or flooded by non-corrosive and non-degrading oils often used in hydraulic systems, LVDTs from RDP Electronics are ideal for providing feedback for control valve positions.

Proportional valve control can be used to manage direction and amount of fluid flow, or pressure within a system, are particularly useful in situations where system speed must be tightly controlled and where ramping up and down is needed to avoid sudden starts or stops. They can also provide precise control in applications where hydraulic pressure must be built up steadily. Because RDP’s LVDTs have a have a high-speed response and operational suitability over a wide range of temperatures, they can usually be incorporated in many proportional control valve applications.

Connector for pluggable grounding systems

Harting's new Han® GND industrial connector series uses an innovative design that makes it possible to execute grounding systems in a pluggable design.

The use of industrial connectors has been well-established in the electrical cabling of machines and systems for many years, offering the advantages of quick and error-free commissioning. Until now, however, grounding lines for potential equalisation have normally been permanently connected: a process which is relatively time-consuming and can be subject to errors.

The Harting solution is to provide a pluggable ground connection using the Han® GND. This single-pole connector in the robust IP 65 plastic housing is designed for stranded wires from 10-35 mm2, and is optionally available in crimp or axial screw termination. The latter has the advantage that the
lines can be connected without a special tool. A simple screwdriver is all it takes to achieve a quick and easy reliable connection. Extra connector mating security can be provided by the use of additional locking elements that prevent unintentional opening.

The Han® GND is based on a narrow, space-saving design with an economical plastic housing.

Multi-function USB DAQ modules

Adlink Technology has released its USB-1900 Series and USB-2401 USB DAQ modules. Equipped with built-in signal conditioning, the USB-powered Plug and Play USB DAQ modules deliver easy connection and accurate results for both portable measurement and machine automation applications. Featuring built-in signal conditioning, ADLINK USB DAQ modules enable direct measurement of most frequently applied signal sources which reduce manpower requirements and associated development costs while increasing overall accuracy.

All their USB DAQ modules feature USB power and removable screw-down terminals, for simplified device connectivity, and a multi-functional stand for fast and easy desktop, rail, or wall mounting. Additionally, a lockable USB cable secures connectivity. The modules also provide device ID setting by a rotary control for convenient identification of the active module in multiple-connection configurations.

"Adlink, having already developed and released over one hundred DAQ and DIO modules to the market, is pleased to leverage our accrued analog design expertise into the new USB DAQ modules.” Catherine Wu, Director of their Measurement and Automation Product Segment said. “Adlink USB DAQ modules provide comprehensive advantages and a cost-effective option. Our combined features make them not only ideal for users requiring portable measurement in basic research and data monitoring scenarios, but also for machine automation applications with limited space for I/O expansion.”

This collection offers the USB-1900 series, consisting of USB-1901 and USB-1902 models of 16-bit 250 kS/s DAQ modules. Also in the series is the USB-1903, with additional built-in precision current-to-voltage resistors allowing direct measurement of current signals from 0 to 20 mA. Rounding out the USB DAQ category is the USB-2401, a 24-bit four-channel simultaneous-sampling universal DAQ module supporting sampling rates up to 1.6 kS/s and a more flexible signal conditioning circuit such as voltage, current, strain, load cell, thermocouple, and RTD measurement. The line is ideally suited for easily accomplished deployment and superior accuracy when measuring temperature, stress, strain, and other factors in diverse applications.

The USB DAQ modules include ADLINK’s free U-Test utility, allowing direct operation and testing of all functions with no requirement for coding or programming. Driver support is provided for Windows 7/Vista/XP, in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and 3rd party software support accommodates LabVIEW & MATLAB.

New Sales Manager

Cobham Technical Services has appointed Dr Nigel Atkinson as Sales Manager for its Vector Fields Software product lines. He will be based at Cobham's Kidlington site in Britain, and responsible for the worldwide sales of Cobham's electromagnetic design software outside of the Americas. The product range includes the company's renowned electromagnetic design, simulation and optimisation software, Opera for the simulation of a wide range of electromagnetic applications including electric machines, magnets, and charged particle beams, plus the Concerto package for antenna, RF and microwave design.


"This is an exciting time for electromagnetic simulation software providers", states Nigel Atkinson. "In addition to our traditional markets, the renewable power and automotive sectors are undergoing rapid change - with significant growth in the development of wind farms and hybrid vehicles. These are both areas where Cobham's Opera and Concerto software tools are already helping designers shorten development time significantly. With new application-specific design environments being rolled-out as part of Cobham's new software releases in applications such as transformer design, advanced finite-element analysis techniques are now available and accessible to every level of designer. I see tremendous opportunities for growth of our business internationally, particularly in a number of the key Asian economies, as well as further potential to develop our positions in established global markets".

Nigel Atkinson brings extensive knowledge of simulation software, with in-depth technical experience in finite element modelling, including software development, as well as managerial experience in support and sales functions. Prior to joining Cobham, he was a UK Account Manager for a leading engineering simulation software company.

Nigel Atkinson holds a PhD from Bath University (GB), which was awarded for research into the electromagnetic design of MRI scanners - a design field in which Cobham's Opera software is widely used.

"We are extremely pleased to have someone of Nigel's experience join our sales team", says Dr Kevin Ward, Head of Cobham's Vector Fields Software business in Kidlington. "We believe that his technical background in finite element modelling, combined with his commercial knowledge of our potential customer base, will help us broaden our reach significantly."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Power supply enhancements

The Siemens Industry Automation Division is expanding the Sitop power supply portfolio with the PSU100D switched-mode power supply systems.

The new products are single-phase devices with an attractive price/performance ratio for direct mounting on a wall. Screw installation means that a mounting rail is not necessary. The rugged, low-profile aluminum casing with IP20 degree of protection requires little space and permits mounting in different positions. The devices meet all the basic requirements for a power supply and are particularly suitable for installation in apparatus and machines, as well as for use in automation solutions with no standard rail mounting.  The wide temperature range from minus 10 to plus 70 degrees Celsius supports universal implementation even under harsh environmental conditions.

The six fan-free variants of the power supplies provide a regulated supply of 24 volts with rated output currents ranging from 2.1 to 6.25 amperes (A) and 12 volts  with 3 or 8.33 A. Another 24 V version with an output current of 12 A uses a fan for cooling purposes. For higher outputs, two devices of the same type can be connected in parallel. Single-phase connection to almost any public and industrial supply system is possible thanks to the wide-range input of 85 to 264 V AC, radio interference class B as well as certification in accordance with CE and cULus (Underwriters Laboratories certification for Canada and the USA). The output voltage can be set between 22 and 28 V using potentiometers in the 24 V variants, and between 11 and 14 V in the 12 V variant. A green LED indicates the operating status "Output voltage OK." Electronic short-circuit, overload and overvoltage protection features ensure safety in the event of a fault.

Non-radiometric density solution for tailings thickener underflow

OPTIMASS 7300 installed in tailings
thickener underflow line
A Coriolis mass flowmeter to a tailings thickener underflow line to provide a non-radiometric density solution for an Australian coal producer has been applied sucessfully by Krohne.

One of Australia largest and most established open cut coal mines in located in Central Queensland. The adjacent coal handling and preparation plant has production capacity of greater than 10 million tonnes per annum of coking coal and at current rates of production, reserves that can support the operation for a further 50 years. Reliable thickener underflow density measurement allows this facility to optimise its tailings disposal schemes to recover water, minimise tailings impoundment areas and comply with regulations over the life of the facility.

Radiometric density measurement has traditionally been employed on thickener underflow lines as they provide a non-contact solution to the high solids, high abrasion environment present in minerals processing. However the high total cost and regulatory requirements of owning these radiometric devices is becoming prohibitive in a competitive, cost and labour intensive production environment. Aside from the initial purchase price, licensing, transportation of nuclear source, documentation and administrative controls, the radiometric devices require ongoing training of on-site radiation safety officers who can perform calibration, wipe tests and ensure regulatory compliance. Add to this decommissioning and disposal costs and one can see the driver for a robust, non-radiometric density solution.

Successfully applying non-radiometric density monitoring to the underflow line gives the engineers, operators, and plants information needed to optimize the thickener for the intended duty. Krohne was selected because of their knowledge and expertise in abrasive slurry applications combined with the OPTIMASS single straight measuring tube to provide a reliable, robust solution for the underflow line.

The straight-tube OPTIMASS 7000 series Coriolis mass flowmeters have been successfully used on abrasive fluids such as slurries (minerals processing) and sand & water mixtures for over 15 years. In these applications a single straight measuring tube will always offer clear advantages over other designs with tube geometries that suffer erosion and premature failure of flow dividers and bends in the abrasive fluid stream. Other specific problems with abrasive fluids are typified by their tendency to separate out with the heavier particles falling to the bottom of the pipeline and the carrier fluid flowing above in a stratified flow. Krohne offers expertise and application guidance to highlight potential problems so they are mitigated during the design, planning and installation of the meter.

Reduced capital and operating costs, as well as reduced environmental impact have made OPTIMASS a permanent part of the thickener process.

New high-end spectrum analyser

The R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer from Rohde & Schwarz outperforms all comparable high-end instruments on the market in both RF performance and bandwidth. For the first time, developers are able to view multiple measurement applications at a glance as well as analyze signal interactions – two important features that make complex measurement tasks significantly easier.

The high-end R&S FSW signal and spectrum analyzer comes in three models that cover the frequency ranges 2 Hz to 8 GHz, 13 GHz or 26.5 GHz. The R&S FSW was specially designed to meet the requirements of development laboratories in the aerospace, defense and communications industries. The result is reflected in its excellent technical features.

The practical 12.1" touchscreen is the first feature that catches users' attention. The MultiView function allows users to display the results of different applications on the touchscreen at the same time, enabling them to keep track of even the most complex signal analyses and find errors more easily. An additional benefit is the elimination of time-consuming switching between measurement applications.

At 10 kHz carrier offset, the R&S FSW achieves a phase noise specification of less than
–137 dBc (1 Hz), which is up to 10 dB less than comparable instruments on the market. This is especially important for developers of RF components and complete systems for radar applications. By taking advantage of the analyzer's excellent phase noise specification, they can achieve more stable radar signals. Equipped with the R&S FSW-K6 option, the R&S FSW also supports comprehensive analysis of pulsed signals, e.g. for radar applications. Its broad analysis bandwidth of up to 160 MHz allows the R&S FSW to measure wideband, hopping and chirp signals, which makes it ready today for the requirements of tomorrow's wireless standards such as the 802.11ac. Developers can also detect spurious emissions extremely quickly with the R&S FSW thanks to its low inherent noise and its ability to rapidly analyze wide frequency ranges, even when using narrow resolution bandwidths.

The R&S FSW is the perfect instrument for developers of wireless communications base stations and components. They especially appreciate the analyzer's broad 160 MHz demodulation bandwidth and multi-standard radio analysis function: The combination of these two features in a single instrument makes it possible for the first time to simultaneously measure multiple mobile radio and wireless standards at different frequencies. Users can easily spot signal interaction among the standards.

Josef Wolf, Director of the Spectrum Analysis, Network Analysis and EMC Subdivision at Rohde & Schwarz, points out: "These measurements are essential for multi-standard base stations of the future. That is why we have integrated the multi-standard radio analyzer into the R&S FSW. This feature, combined with the large touchscreen display, provides functionality that is unique on the market. The optimum analyzer for tomorrow's developments is now available today."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Unified automation for buildings

ISA launches new standards committee on building automation

Fairgreen House in Galway (IRL)
The International Society of Automation (ISA) has extended its standards reach with the creation of a committee on building automation. ISA111, Unified Automation for Buildings, will development standards and guidelines to communicate the necessary information to enable building subsystems to be managed and to interact so that an individual building, a local collection of buildings such as a campus, or a geographically diverse collection of buildings appear to a user to be a single, coordinated, cohesive building automation system.

The committee will define the terminology, concepts, characteristics of automating building subsystems, and building automation architectural models necessary to unify the management of the variety of building automation subsystems. Direct communication between or among the variety of building subsystems without building management system involvement will also be considered and defined as appropriate.

ISA111 will not detail how any individual building subsystem works or is automated, but rather will address how the variety of subsystems can be monitored, managed, and interact in a cohesive and unified manner to ensure the safety and security of personnel, buildings and building automation systems, and to meet building functional and business case needs. “This committee has drawn great interest from across the global automation community,” stated Jacob Jackson of Assurity Design Group, who will serve as co-chair of ISA111. “This ranges from major manufacturing companies and vendors, to architect/engineering firms and integrators, all the way to government building authorities. We have also had strong interest from key organizations such as the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) and InfoComm International.”

The launching of ISA111 follows the establishment earlier this year of an ISA Building Automation Systems Technical Interest Group. This group, similar to other ISA special-interest divisions and interest groups, brings together building automation professionals within the larger automation community for events, information exchange, and networking. The group will provide resources and support for the new ISA111.

Much of the work of ISA111 will be conducted via web meetings. However, the committee will hold an inaugural meeting on 17 October 2011, 2:30–5:15 p.m., in Mobile, Alabama, in conjunction with ISA Automation Week 2011.

Long life pH sensor available

Rugged Rosemount® Analytical RB Sensor resists poisoning in scrubber applications
Emerson Process Management has added a new rugged pH sensor line to the company’s popular pH product families. The new Rosemount® Analytical Model RB Sensor is designed for optimum sensor life in demanding scrubber applications.

pH sensors are most vulnerable to failure due to poisoning of the reference junction. The new RB sensor features a proprietary multi-junction that hinders reference poisoning. This design is particularly successful against the aggressive sulphides found in scrubbers. The unique multi-junction reference chamber of the RB extends survivability. In addition, the sensor is built of chemically resistant Kynar adding to its long life.

“Now, our customers have an exceptional range of long-life pH sensors from which to choose,” said Linda Meyers, senior product manager. “Our PERpH-X™ line of sensors allows extended operation in high heat and pressure. The popular TUpH™ family resists coating in applications with high suspended solids. And now the RB fits nicely into the line when chemical resistance is the primary challenge.”

Instead of replacing the entire sensor, the Model RB Sensor can be simply reassembled inside its titanium sheath high-pressure body, reducing costs for replacement and shipping.

The sensor allows for optional installation methods including in-line, submerged or ball-valve insertion.

Secure PCB connection

Souriau’s secure PCB connection for hostile environments, its 8D Double Flange (38999 Series III) enables the panel fixing to be separated from the PCB connection. This is an elegant, robust, high-performance solution for connecting up PCBs in boxes whilst retaining all the flexibility of a standard interface.

The first flange of the 8D Double Flange is fixed to the panel using a jam nut mounting system, and the second flange is there to hold the printed circuit board in position. This separation between the two means that shocks and vibrations are not transmitted to the contacts, ensuring greater robustness.

The company can supply MIL-STD-1560 layouts in all sizes (from 9 to 25). The contacts have no shoulder, which means it is also possible to solder them to boards of varying thickness by reflow or wave soldering.

A zinc-nickel protective coating is offered as standard. In addition to being RoHS compliant, it also has the advantage of offering high resistance to salt spray, and keeping ensuring good continuity of electrical contact at the same time.

This means that the ground can be optimally connected to the PCB, helping provide better EMI protection between the connector and the upper side of the PCB.
This will be particularly valuable in the case of a multi-layer PCB with external metallisation.

Finally, Souriau can offer its customers a complete 3D CAD (Step) modelling package, to help system engineers achieve accurate sizing of their boxes.

Perfect match in Brazil extends industrial software offering

Siemens is extending its industrial software portfolio through the acquisition of Active SA, Santo André, in Brazil, supplier of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) software, principally applied to the pharmaceutical and bioengineering industries. This takeover enables Industry Automation, a Division of the Siemens Industry Sector, to further develop its leading global position in the industrial software market. Both parties agreed not to disclose the purchase price for Active SA.

Founded in 1995 and operating chiefly in Brazil and Mexico with a staff of around 50 employees, Active is one of the leading MES providers of pharmaceutical and bioengineering software in Latin America. The company claims that around half the medicinal drugs manufactured in Brazil are produced using MES solutions from Active. Following the takeover, the company is set to become part of the Industrial Automation Systems Business Unit, whose CEO Eckard Eberle commented: "Active's operations constitute a perfect match with the Siemens industry software portfolio. Active is firmly established in the market, boasts outstanding expertise in production processes and for over fifteen years has been a recognized partner and preferred software supplier to many renowned companies."

"We will maintain our successful course. Our customers can continue to rely on our excellent products and solutions while, under the Siemens umbrella, having a strong partner to provide investment security," said the two managing directors and previous owners of Active, Marcio Moretti and Rodrigo Alvarez.

In recent years, the Division has acquired a number of leading industrial software providers in their respective fields including UGS in USA (2007), Innotec in Germany (2008), and Elan Software Systems in France (2009).

Concentrated communications

The updated NET Concentrator System® (NCS) from Moore Industries provides users with increased options for communications. With the addition of the new EMM Interface Module, the process control and distributed I/O network now comes standard with an Ethernet (MODBUS/TCP) port and dual, independent MODBUS RTU (RS-485) ports. One or both of the MODBUS RTU ports can be configured as MODBUS master ports, allowing the NCS to poll other MODBUS RTU slaves with the network polling functions of a typical MODBUS master.

Previously, the NCS could only act as a MODBUS slave. The update allows the NCS to be used as either a single or dual MODBUS master, allowing it to provide simultaneous Ethernet and dual MODBUS RTU master/slave communications.

The company has also streamlined the configuration process with the latest update to the NCS. Users can now view, select and set operating parameters within minutes for both Ethernet and the dual MODBUS parameters through the Internet Explorer Web browser or their free Intelligent PC Configuration Software.

The NCS provides a real-time signal gateway between the field or factory floor and control strategies. It is designed to work in demanding industrial applications and settings, including the harshest temperature settings. Its ambient temperature range of -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to +185°F) allows it to be installed in conditions beyond the capabilities of comparable systems. In addition, its 20-bit input and 18-bit output resolution matches or exceeds the accuracy of the most precise process transmitters on the market, easily surpassing the specifications claimed by other I/O systems.

Multi-channel signal conditioning

Modular instrumentation system is suitable for input from many transducer types

Thanks to design modularity and the capability to be connected to several different transducer types, the Modular 600 system from RDP Electronics is widely used in universities and research establishments.

The Modular 600 is a fully featured microprocessor instrumentation system, which also incorporates configurable analogue outputs. Its modular design concept, provides complete flexibility and expandability, accepting inputs from up to 164 channels in either free standing or rack form. It can be tailored to measure several engineering parameters including displacement, pressure, load/force, strain, torque and vibration. There is a family of signal conditioning modules suitable for LVDTs, load cells and strain gauges for pre-amplifying transducers before they are connected to logging equipment such as A & D cards.. It is straightforward to add or remove modules by simply unplugging them from the front panel and making the necessary switch changes. A key element in the Modular 600 system is the 650 digital I/O and data storage module that provides a real-time LED display of any selected channel in the system and also acts as a data hub into which a PC can be connected. Serial data can be sent via RS232, RS422 or RS485.

TFT display module

LED backlight provides user brightness control

Hitachi Europe, Display Products Group (DPG) has announced the introduction of a new compact 8.0" wide aspect ratio TFT display module. The new TX20D28VM2BAB has a display resolution of 800 x 480 pixels (WVGA), an integrated LVDS data interface and delivers excellent optical performance.

The new transmissive display continues Hitachi’s integration of robust high brightness LED backlights in medium size TFT display modules. The white LED backlight helps to provide excellent image uniformity and delivers a brightness of 550nits with a half brightness lifetime of 40K hours. A contrast ratio of 600:1 ensures display images are clear and bright.

Ideal for applications in high brightness environments where the lifetime of the backlight is not a critical requirement, the user has direct access to the LED backlight driving circuit. By driving the LEDs with a current of 20mA, a higher brightness of 900nits can be achieved. This will however reduce the half brightness lifetime of the backlight to typically 20K hours.

Commenting Mark Stephenson, Product Manager for Hitachi Display Products Group said “Excellent image uniformity and high colour saturation make the new TX20D28 display module ideal for applications such as in industrial user interfaces, domotics, marine navigation and media entertainment systems” He continued, “The 15:9 wide aspect ratio format of the TX20D28 is increasingly popular, allowing graphical user interfaces to be designed for many different application environments while the LVDS interface aids ease of integration with single board computers.”

The TX20D28VM2BAB display module features compact dimensions of 189mm (w) x 120mm (h) x 7.5mm (d) and weighs 170g. A 20-pin LVDS data interface supports a colour palette of up to 262k colours. The display module will operate safely and reliably at temperatures between -20°C and +70°C.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

High speed measurement option for precision power analyser

A new high-speed data-capture option has been introduced for the Yokogawa WT1800 precision power analyser.

The new /HS option from Yokogawa, provides fast, accurate measurements of power parameters such as voltage, current, power, torque, speed and mechanical power with millisecond response. This allows it to capture numeric data on the change of status during one rotation of a motor when the motor is started, when the rotation speed changes, or when the load condition varies.

This new function takes advantage of the WT1800's sampling frequency (up to 2 MS/s) and its unique ability to carry out calculations on measured parameters in real-time.

The new high-speed data-capturing function can measure 3-phase voltage/current/power and torque/rotation speed/mechanical power every 5 ms (when external synchronisation is off) or every 1-100 ms (depending on the clock signal frequency) if external synchronisation is on.
It transmits a block of data every second to an internal or external memory or to a PC using a communications interface. Every second, the WT1800 updates its displays with the previous one second of data.

The average characteristic is set using the cutoff frequency of the high-speed filter for measured data during the 5 ms or 1-100 ms period. The cutoff frequency can be varied from 1 Hz to 1 kHz in 1 Hz steps. Wiring configurations include single phase for DC input, 3-phase 4-wire and 3-phase 3-wire (3V/3A).

The new firmware will also support German and Chinese menus and messages.

Major target markets for the WT1800 with the high-speed option include motor and inverter evaluation in the automotive and aerospace sectors as well as alternative energy and power conditioning applications.

Semiconductor software upgraded

Keithley Instruments has introduced an upgrade to its popular Keithley Test Environment (KTE) semiconductor test software. KTE Version 5.3 is designed for use with their S530 Parametric Test Systems, the company's fastest, most cost-effective line of process control monitoring solutions to date.

KTE is a powerful test development and execution software platform that has served hundreds of semiconductor fabs worldwide with their previous-generation parametric test systems. Now, Keithley's S530 test systems can leverage the same industry-proven software platform, providing flexible test plan development and high speed test execution for even the most demanding production environments. Users of existing Keithley S400 and S600 Series parametric testers especially benefit from KTE Version 5.3 on the S530 because existing measurement routines can easily be ported to the S530, and identical test plans can be shared between existing testers and new S530 systems.

Extending the KTE test development and execution environment to S530 systems brings together the advantages of Keithley's three decades of field experience in parametric test code development with the fastest, most advanced system hardware available in the market. S530 instrumentation provides the speed and wide measurement range that parametric test applications like process control monitoring demand.

Keithley is committed to supporting its parametric test customers by providing new test systems that are highly compatible with its earlier systems. This commitment to maintaining software compatibility ensures a smoother migration path and protects fabs' test software investment when adding newer, faster testers to their test floors. For new Keithley parametric test customers, this commitment to system software continuity means they can be confident their test systems are based on industry-proven software.

For customers already using earlier versions of KTE, KTE V5.3 speeds and simplifies integrating S530 test systems into their test floors:

The same test recipes and test plans can be used for all Keithley automated parametric test systems, which not only shortens the learning curve for test engineers and operators working with multiple systems but offers a smooth migration path to protect the fab's test development investment when adding new high speed systems to the test floor or replacing older ones.

Users can continue working with the familiar user libraries they've developed for earlier Keithley systems over the years after recompiling and rebuilding them for use with the S530. Typically, only minimal debugging is required.

KTE V5.3 simplifies creating new user access point (UAP) source code for conditional test sequencing and customizing the flow of the S530's system operation. UAP source code developed for earlier systems is applicable to S530 systems with minimal adjustments.

The tools within KTE provide identical functionality for all Keithley parametric test platforms.

KTE for the S530 is designed to run on a Linux operating system on a standard industrial PC to ensure long-term stability and ease of maintenance. The software has been optimized for speed and extended reliability in high throughput production test environments. S530 systems running KTE V5.3 can address all the DC I-V and C-V measurements required in process control monitoring, process reliability monitoring, and device characterization. They are optimized for use in production parametric test environments that must accommodate a broad mix of products or wherever wide application flexibility and fast test plan development are
critical.