Friday 30 March 2012

The power module of choice for 90-degree mounting

Vincotech offers a wide range of power modules, one line of which is the perfect match for book-sized inverters and 19-inch rack-mounted power supplies with a 90-degree angle between the heat-sink and PCB. Called flow90 and featuring pins arrayed at a 90-degree angle, these modules are available as standard products with CON, PIM, and PACK configurations. Furthermore customized topologies like for switching mode power supplies and battery chargers are also commonly used in this package. This concept gets rid of flexible PCBs. The use of flow90 modules utilize the PCB to its maximum and achieve small applications.

Read Vincotech’s article on the flow90 power module!

Featuring an integrated input rectifier, brake, and motor inverter, flow90PIM combines the benefits of a power module - isolation, good thermal coupling with the heatsink, and enhanced reliability - with the advantages of the 90-degree mounting option customarily used for discrete components. The flow90 module is the perfect fit for book-sized frequency inverters and 19-inch rack applications such as switching mode power supplies and battery chargers. With all its features the flow90 is the module of choice for many applications that can benefit of the 90-degree concept.

New IEC technical report is good news for automation end users

The Fieldbus Foundation is supporting a new International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) report that provides guidance to end users for selecting an industry-standard device integration technology encompassing all host systems, field instruments and device protocols.

The new technical report, IEC 61804-6 Ed 1: Function blocks (FB) for process control – Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) – Part 6: Meeting the requirements for integrating fieldbus devices in engineering tools for field devices, explains the requirements for field device integration and how they are met using the EDDL standard (IEC 61804-3). (Dab hands at the simple easy to remember titles are our IEC!)

EDDL is a universal, proven and state-of-the-art method for accessing diagnostic, real-time and asset management information contained in more than 20 million field devices from the world's leading instrumentation manufacturers. EDDL has the power to integrate field devices for optimal control strategies and consistent Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs) across different platforms. The technology extends interoperability to the HMI and diagnostic data levels with improved visualization and graphical capabilities.

The IEC report is based on the recommendations of NAMUR, an international end user association of automation technology in the process industries. The NAMUR NE105 specification was published in 2004 to clearly define requirements for device integration technologies enabling a mixture of sophisticated device types—based on different protocols—from multiple manufacturers, and keeping control systems up to date with new versions of these devices. Device integration technology impacts both the ease of use for devices and system administration.

The Fieldbus Foundation's global marketing manager, Larry O'Brien, said, "This report is good news for automation end users because it illustrates how EDDL can satisfy key requirements for integrating the large amount of data provided by today's fieldbus devices with the applications that must turn that data into useful information–not just FOUNDATION fieldbus devices, but all devices that rely on EDDL technology.
"NAMUR writes excellent recommendation documents, and NE105 provides a very effective outline of how information from multiple intelligent devices should be integrated in a process plant. BIS, one of the leading industrial services suppliers in the world, conducted extensive research to match the functionality of EDDL with the NAMUR NE105 end user requirements. To get this report admitted as part of the IEC 61804-6 standard is beneficial because users now have a roadmap for implementing EDDL-based technologies in accordance with NAMUR NE105 recommendations."

As a standard that is totally independent of computer operating systems, EDDL protects investments in control systems and devices by ensuring obsolescence cycles are not shortened by new Microsoft Windows™ versions. Future devices with EDDL files can be commissioned without upgrading Windows. Likewise, a new version of Windows does not require updated drivers in existing devices; new device management software can be installed while still supporting the older equipment. EDDL also avoids version conflicts with system software, since EDDL files do not require software installation for loading and are non-executable.

EDDL allows operators to receive detailed information about failures of critical devices so that action can be taken before the process is affected. Additionally, EDDL files are organized according to device type and version, enabling the system to automatically find the right file for the device without manual binding. Keeping control systems up to date with EDDL is easy since EDDL files are copied documents, not installed software. The process is the same for all devices regardless of protocol, manufacturer, or type. Updates are guided by a wizard and done once—in a central location—for all workstations in the system.

EDDL graphics are rendered the same for all devices regardless of protocol, device type or manufacturer, thus ensuring a consistent look and feel for device configuration and diagnostics. This is key to the technology's ease of use. A standard dictionary also ensures consistent terminology, and device-specific functions such as advanced diagnostics are integrated with the same user interface as the standard overview.

Because device management software can use EDDL files without special programming, it can maintain an audit trail and keep the configuration database synchronized for all devices. Since graphics are rendered, the parameter status is consistently indicated for all devices. Audit trail and configuration can also be exported and printed for all devices.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Test measurement capability expanded

Keithley Instruments is continuing to enhance the capabilities of its S530 Parametric Test Systems, the semiconductor industry's most cost-effective solution for high speed production parametric test. Supported by the latest version of Keithley Test Environment software (KTE V5.4), the S530 can now be configured for 48-pin full Kelvin switching and with new integrated options for pulse generation, frequency measurements, and low voltage measurements. These new enhancements allow S530 systems to address an even broader range of production parametric test applications with one high speed, cost-effective test solution.

48-pin full Kelvin switching configuration
The S530 Low Current System employs a high performance switch matrix to direct signals between instruments and test pins, providing sub-picoamp measurement resolution and low current guarding all the way to the probe pin. The latest enhancements to this system now support a 48-pin full Kelvin (four-wire) switching configuration, doubling the full Kelvin pin-count previously available. By maintaining the signal integrity associated with full Kelvin switching and cabling while doubling the system's maximum pin-count, the S530 combines precise high speed measurements with enhanced system configuration flexibility to ensure full test coverage well into the future.

Optional ring oscillator measurement capability
A new high speed, high resolution oscilloscope option supports ring oscillator testing over a broad frequency measurement range. With a sample rate of up to 400 megasamples/second, this new system option provides measurements from approximately 10kHz to 20MHz. Frequency measurement capability within parametric test systems has become increasingly important as a growing number of semiconductor fabs have incorporated ring oscillators into their overall process control monitoring test structures.

Optional pulse generation capability
As more integrated circuits incorporate embedded memory such as flash into their design, semiconductor fabs have increasingly added memory structures and measurements to their process control monitoring routines. Testing these devices requires sourcing user-defined voltage pulses to program and erase memory cells, followed by precise DC measurements of the device. To address this need, the S530 uses the same sub-system chassis that currently hosts the capacitance-voltage (C-V) instrument card to integrate two, four, or six channels of pulse generation capability into the configuration, so it can produce a wide range of device testing waveforms and extend system flexibility.

Optional System DMM
Testing van der Pauw and metal structures as part of process control monitoring demands a combination of low voltage measurements, high measurement resolution, and excellent repeatability. For these applications, S530 systems now offer an optional 7-1/2-digit, low-noise digital multimeter optimized for low voltage measurements. It provides 10nV resolution on its lowest (100mV) range and 100nV resolution on its next lowest (1V) range. It also offers 7ppm DC voltage repeatability.

Choice of low current or high voltage systems
Two different S530 systems are available. The S530 Low Current System was developed for measuring characteristics such as sub-threshold leakage, gate leakage, etc. The S530 High Voltage System incorporates a source measurement unit (SMU) capable of sourcing up to 1000V at 20mA (20W max.) to any system pin. This version is optimized for the difficult breakdown and leakage tests that GaN, SiC, and Si LDMOS power devices demand. Although the new 48-pin Kelvin capability is unique to the low current system, all of the new measurement options are available for both systems.

Coriolis meters for Europe

Litre Meter s distributing a range of coriolis flowmeters from US-based manufacturer Tricor that is backed by the engineering expertise of designers involved in many of the original patents for coriolis technology.

Tricor’s engineers have been continually developing coriolis flow instrumentation technology since its inception. The meters are designed and engineered in the United States, manufactured, calibrated and tested at a state-of-the-art facility in Germany then distributed throughout Europe by Litre Meter.

Litre Meter CEO Charles Wemyss said: “Tricor may be a new name on the scene but Tricor engineers have been intimately involved with the development and evolution of coriolis flow instrumentation since the beginning.

“Our customers can be confident that, as well as the expertise and back-up of our own engineers, they will benefit from high performance coriolis technology supported by the very gurus who crafted the originals.”

Coriolis meters are used in a wide range of applications worldwide in the oil and gas, petrochemical, food and beverage and life sciences sectors. Litre Meter is now able to supply the full Tricor range of coriolis instruments to its customers.

The meters offer a measuring accuracy of between+/- 0.10 per cent and +/- 0.15 per cent, even in long term operation and across a temperature range from -100 to +204°C depending on the meter selected. The mass flow rates that can be measured range between 0-300 kg/hr and 0-65,000 kg/hr with density range up to 5,000 kg/m³. Tricor coriolis meters are rated up to 100, 200 and 345 bar. Versions will soon be available with sanitary 3A tri-clamp flanges.

Coriolis technology works by passing a fluid towards (and away from) a centre of rotation through vibrating tubes. The force of the fluid passing through the tubes causes twist which is proportional to the mass flow rate of the fluid passing through them. Sensors and coriolis mass flowmeter transmitters are used to measure the twist and generate a linear flow signal.

The Tricor product line complements the range of flowmeters built by Litre Meter itself. They offer a broad range of metering technologies suitable for virtually every liquid, gas or steam measurement application and has particular expertise in measuring low flow rates.

Litre Meter CEO Charles Wemyss added: “Litre Meter’s strength has traditionally been in flowmeters for particularly demanding situations, often with meters almost custom-designed and built for particular applications. Tricor coriolis technology gives our customers access to a wide range of accurate and robust meters which meet the needs of a vast range of industry applications.”

RFID reader for use outdoors or in harsh environments

The new Ha-VIS RF-R500 is a powerful, versatile and robust RFID reader designed for applications outdoors or in harsh environments from Harting.

The reader can capture information automatically on several hundred objects over distances of up to 16 metres and can immediately store data on an existing IT system such as SAP. Automatic capture minimises possible sources of error and enables the optimisation of logistics processes.

The unit is protected by a robust aluminium housing with a protection category up to IP 64. A transmission power of 4 W, coupled with the inclusion of four antenna connections in each device, helps to deliver wide coverage at minimum cost.

A key application for the Ha-VIS RF-R500 is in maintenance management, where the monitoring and logistics processes can be greatly simplified and accelerated with considerable cost savings.

In the rail industry, for example, the reader is ideally suited to tracking wagons entering a maintenance shed. The unit's ruggedness allows it to be mounted next to the tracks, while the powerful processor and optimised software allow information on wagons to be captured while they are in motion.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Low maintenance 4-in-1 pH probe

The Yokogawa FU24 is a new ‘four in one’ pH sensor designed to offer virtually maintenance-free operation and long sensor lifetime – especially in harsh applications involving severe temperature and pressure fluctuations.

The new sensor incorporates a patented Yokogawa-designed bellows system which automatically compensates for the effect of pressure fluctuations. Such pressure variations can be highly detrimental to sensor operation, as they can initiate a pumping effect resulting from the expansion and shrinkage of the gel or liquid inside the sensor. The outcome is that the process liquid will start to ingress into the sensor and the reference voltage – and hence the pH measurement - will start to drift.

In the FU24 sensor, pressure fluctuations are automatically compensated by the built-in bellows up to 10 bar, making the sensor virtually insensitive to pressure variations. A positive overpressure maintained by the tension in the bellows generates a steady flow out of the sensor.

FU24 Features:
Low Long Term Cost of Ownership
• Low maintenance
• Pressurized reference
• High chemical resistance

Reduced Cost to Install System
• 1 inch NPT connection
• With adapter piece K1521JA compatible with existing F*20 assemblies
• 4-in-1: pH, reference, temperature, liquid earth (ORP) Reliability
• High stability

New class of cloud-connected wireless M2M solutions based on Intel architecture

Digi International and Wind River, have just announced a collaboration to deliver a new family of cloud-connected wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions. The M2M Solution Builder kits will include a combination of hardware, software, cloud connectivity and access to tailored M2M development services. This complete end-to-end solution, tailored for performance- and connectivity-driven applications, dramatically simplifies the creation of an M2M solution.

It is expected that by 2015, intelligent M2M systems will account for more than one-third of the volume of all embedded systems worldwide, according to IDC (Worldwide Intelligent Systems 2011-2015 Forecast: The Next Big Opportunity, September 2011) . From real-time traffic data communicated to a vehicle’s GPS, to remote health monitoring systems transmitting data to a doctor's computer, to smart meters transmitting data on utility usage, the spectrum of ways in which intelligence from remote machines can and will be used is vast. With these possibilities come opportunities for companies to use this data to become more efficient, cut operational costs, improve customer satisfaction and create new revenue streams.

“We are excited to work closely with Wind River and Intel to create differentiated smart device solutions,” said Larry Kraft, senior vice president of global sales and marketing at Digi International. “In addition, the close relationship with Wind River allows us to offer customers a complete and field-proven software solution for smart connected devices.”

“The M2M industry is in need of a complete end-to-end solution to accelerate market adoption,” said Jim Robinson, general manager of operations and marketing for intelligent systems at Intel. “Complete solutions from industry leaders like Digi and Wind River will allow developers and OEM’s to quickly build connected products and cloud-enabled services with confidence.”

“Wind River’s value proposition is built on streamlining and supporting the enablement of M2M services with our leading software and middleware, complemented by our extensive hardware and software M2M partner ecosystem,” said Roger Williams, vice president of alliances and business development at Wind River. “The integration of the iDigi Device Cloud will allow customers to build secure and cloud-enabled M2M solutions with Wind River software, adding cloud-based data analytics capabilities and remote device management to new and existing applications. The seamless integration of cloud-connected services and applications is a natural extension of Wind River’s proven software and services for smart connected devices.”

The M2M Solution Builder kit will integrate performance and connectivity in a fanless and compact form factor. It is suited for a wide variety of applications such as transportation, smart energy, building automation, access control, security/surveillance, m-health, digital signage, kiosks, and fixed/mobile asset tracking/management. The M2M Solution Builder kit will feature the following:

• Intel® Atom™ processor E6204.
• Wind River Linux environment with an M2M software development kit (SDK).
• iDigi Connector™ integration, which allows any device to integrate easily with the iDigi Device Cloud, a proven cloud infrastructure for remote device management and cloud-based information exchange providing “Any App, Anything, Anywhere™” capabilities to connected devices via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or cellular connectivity.
• Wind River Workbench, a collection of tools based on the Eclipse framework.
• A wide range of connectivity options, including certification to 2G/3G cellular, dual-stream 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.15.4, dual HDMI, audio, USB 2.0, internal MicroSD card slot, up to four internal PCI Express Mini Card slots, and an integrated low-power three-axis accelerometer.
• Future options are expected to include 4G/LTE cellular connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0, ZigBee, and Solid State Disk (SSD) storage.

As part of the kit user experience, customers will be able to exercise complete iDigi Manager Pro remote management capabilities and cloud-based desktop and mobile web dashboard applications out of the box. In addition, through iDigi Application Development Services and Digi’s Spectrum Design Services, Digi offers custom iDigi web and mobile application development as well as full wireless and hardware design services, addressing needs from product customization to complete turnkey development.

New dimension for dimensional measurement!

The IM-6500 Series from Keyence is a new type of measurement device. It is a completely new concept to rival established measuring equipment such as profile projectors, measuring microscopes or automatic CNC measuring machines.

The dimensional measurement concept of the IM-6500 series utilises state of the art imaging technology, thus enabling any user to perform reliable measurements in a minimum of time and with an increased accuracy. You simply place a part on a measurement stage, push the button and up to 99 dimensions are measured in a few seconds with accuracies down to 0.7 micron. No tiresome positioning, nor risks of measurement variance or deviation between individual operators. The simplicity of use results in the IM-6500 series emerging as a massive cost saving alternative to traditional time consuming measurement processes.

The IM-6500 measurement concept combines the flexibility of a vision system with the accurate execution of a double telecentric lens.

The all new double telecentric lens, with a large diameter of 100mm, captures the complete image of the target element, thus allowing the measurement of all the control points at once. With this technology it becomes possible to capture pixels without image distortion of the component that is placed around the lens circumference. Hence measurement is neither affected by distortion, nor by the distance. The lens size dictates that parts up to 100mm in diameter can be measured.

Measurement data can be stored digitally as Inspection Reports, Data Lists or Trend Graphs along with screen shot images. These files can be exported to other sources as the IM series utilies a convenient PC based data management system.

With the IM-6500 dimensional measurement concept, you simply place the part to be measured in the measurement area. The iPASS method (Intelligent Pattern Analysis Search System) performs a shape scanning (from the already recorded targets) to determine its position and its shape.

Many features can be measured, from internal diameters, circular threads and angles. Previous difficult to measure features with traditional methods can now be performed automatically with reduced risk of operator error.

The IM-6500 series utilies the latest technology to eliminate individual differences. The original sub-pixel concept by Keyence makes it possible to automatically detect the position of the component edges more accurately than with traditional vision systems thanks to the sub-pixel processing with a margin of 0.01 pixels. The IM series has overcome the age old issue of measurement variations from one user to the other. The same applies for errors due to differences in operator competence. In addition, with the IM series absence of an XY stage, measuring time is saved without needing stage movements, and errors due to stage vibrations are not a concern. This has all been made possible by integrating the high speed image processing technology developed for the automation industry with the optical design technology used in microscopes. Increasing the customers’ results and the quantity of controls should thus contribute to improving quality.

The built in temperature sensor allows the IM-6500 series to be installed almost anywhere in a production facility. Temperature compensation ensures accurate measurement once the system is in use. The IM-6500 series is of a compact space saving design with a footprint the size of an A3 sheet of paper. It can be easily mounted near the production lines or in a laboratory.

Speed switch sensor testing & calibration device

4B Braime Elevator Components Ltd., has developed a new maintenance tool that makes the testing of 4B speed switch sensors quick, easy and accurate.

The SpeedMaster™ is the only device that accurately tests the calibration of speed switches and their alarm and shutdown underspeed relays.

It operates in two modes; input mode provides the user with the machine’s actual running speed, and output mode allows the user to test the speed switch at set underspeed trip points for real time verification of the monitoring system's alarm and shutdown functions.

There is no need to remove the sensor from the machine shaft or change any system connections in order to use the SpeedMaster™. Maintenance and safety personnel can now quickly, easily and accurately test 4B speed switches during recommended inspection schedules.

The new Patent Pending technology of the Speedmaster will change the way plants use underspeed monitoring systems and will make the plants safer.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Food texture analysis brochure

A new 24-page brochure detailing Lloyd Instruments’ full range of food texture analysis solutions is now available for download from the company’s website. The new colour brochure covers all aspects of texture analysis, including its benefits, specific food applications and the range of available instruments, grips and test fixtures.

Lloyd Instruments' range of food texture analysis systems, including the TA1 texture analyser and NexygenPlus multi-lingual texture analysis software, LTCM-100 Series motorised firmness tester and the DFS II manual digital force gauge, are designed to measure food texture parameters such as chewiness, crispness and cohesiveness.

The new brochure is packed with application examples covering bakery, cereals, confectionery and snacks, meat, poultry and fish, fruit and vegetables, dairy foods, pasta and rice, gels and even pet food. Applications of the TA1 for testing cosmetics and packaging are also highlighted.

Drive with intelligence

Complete Drive Solution Packed on Only 21 x 54 mm of PCB Space

Technosoft's new iPOS3604 VX is a new addition to the iPOS family of intelligent servo drives. Based on an innovative design concept, this drive offers high power density (up to 360 W of peak power) on a very compact board (only 21 x 54 mm of PCB space). Specifically developed to be PCB embedded, iPOS3604 VX can be mounted vertically or horizontally onto a motherboard. The plug-in card format of the iPOS3604 card (just 56 x 29 x 7 mm) makes it ideal for assembly in critical-space applications. Several drives can be hosted on a single motherboard. The use of slot connectors will help machine builders to save time and reduce cabling costs.

A complete motion control solution, iPOS3604 VX combines controller, drive and PLC functionality into a single compact unit. The drive is able to control brushless DC, brushless AC (vector control), DC brushed and step motors of up to 144 W (36 V, 4 A) continuous power. Equipped with a CAN interface, iPOS3604 has the flexibility to operate in CANopen and TMLCAN protocols. The EtherCAT interface is available using an additional EtherCAT module. Typical feedback devices include incremental encoders, digital and linear Hall signals. SSI, BiSS, EnDAT encoders and resolver interfaces are available through additional extensions.

A complete motion control solution, iPOS3604 VX performs position, speed or torque control and works in single-axis, multi-axis or stand-alone configurations. Complex motion profiles (PVT, S-curves, electronic camming and gearing) can be executed directly on the drive using its built-in motion controller and the high-level Technosoft Motion Language (TML)  instruction set. The drive commissioning and the motion programming are straightforward with Technosoft’s integrated development environment — EasyMotion Studio — that lets you take advantage of the drive's embedded intelligence. The software provides a simple, graphical way of creating motion programs written in TML. It automatically generates all the TML instructions, so you don’t need to learn and write any TML code. You will be able to split the features of the machine between the host and the iPOS drive, by embedding complex motion sequences in TML functions and then executing them from the host with simple commands. iPOS3604 VX is able to automatically report when the execution of these functions has been completed.

With the iPOS3604 VX intelligent drive, programming is simplified by enabling the host to focus only on the global functionality of the machine, the interaction between machine and user, the management of the application and so on. The drive is perfectly suited for all industrial applications that need high-precision control and limited space integration.

Combustion flue gas analyser

Helps reduce emissions and improve efficiency of combustion processes

The latest solution for combustion flue gas analysis, the Rosemount Analytical Model 6888 in-situ oxygen analyser has just been launched by Emerson. The Model 6888 provides accurate measurement of the oxygen remaining in the flue gases coming from combustion processes such as boilers, incinerators, kilns, process heaters and industrial heating furnaces. By maintaining the ideal level of oxygen in the flue gases, optimal efficiency is achieved and the lowest levels of NOX, CO, and CO2 are produced.

The in-situ design of this instrument places a zirconium oxide sensing element at the end of a probe which can be inserted directly into a flue gas stream. Probe lengths are available from 45cm to 3.65m, and a slip mounting option provides the ability to mount a long probe at any insertion depth. Signal conditioning electronics reside in the head of each probe, eliminating the need for expensive signal cable.

The Model 6888 is fully field-repairable. All active components can be replaced, including the diffuser/filter, sensing cell, heater and thermocouple, and all electronics cards. A dual-channel operator interface unit provides an easy-to-use method of set-up, calibration and failure diagnostics.

It offers unique optional features never before possible in an oxygen analyser. Since the calibration frequency of an oxygen analyser is highly application-dependent, the Xi electronics provide an on-line diagnostic that determines when calibration should be conducted. This feature greatly reduces unneeded calibrations, technician time and calibration resources. The feature can trigger a fully automatic calibration by sequencing solenoids to introduce calibration gases to the sensing cell. Calibrations can be conducted on-line while the furnace is in operation.

Another feature of the Model 6888 is its ability to continue operation through process upsets. If process upsets cause flue gas temperatures to exceed the normal sensing cell heater temperature (736oC, 1,357oF), the heater is turned off, the process is permitted to heat the sensing cell, and the electronics calculate the oxygen content of the flue gases on the fly. If process upsets cause a reducing condition (flue gas oxygen levels decline to zero), a stoichiometer feature provides an indication of the level of oxygen deficiency during this event.

In applications where there is a heavy particulate loading in the flue gas stream, a plugged diffuser diagnostic feature notes the "return to process" time after calibration gas is turned off. As the time extends, the diagnostic will indicate the need for a diffuser replacement.

"As the needs and compliance demands for flue gas analysis become greater, we are making our Rosemount Analytical instruments more and more accurate and easy-to-use to meet our customers’ requirements. The Model 6888 promises real savings in time and resources for users, as well as a way to achieve compliance with government regulations," stated Dave Anderson, Marketing Director, Emerson Process Management, Rosemount Analytical.

Load cells for offshore

The CPA Series of Compression load cells from LCM Systems are often the sensors of choice for companies constructing Centre of Gravity (CoG) systems. When a long standing customer approached the company for the standard load cells to be used as part of a large offshore jacking system, engineers at LCM suggested that a modified version would be more suitable as they were to be used with specified hydraulic cylinders. In fact, after further discussions the customer realised that LCM could supply a complete CoG system, together with customised PC software, saving them both time and money.

The engineers at LCM Systems were faced with another design challenge. Firstly, the load cells had to be compatible with a specific Enerpac cylinder and had to be easy to mount and dismount. Secondly, the load cap had to be versatile enough to self align a +/- 2 degree angular loading scenario, at the same time being restrained for safety. And last but not least, it was essential that the load cells were manufactured in stainless steel and environmentally protected to IP67 minimum while having an accuracy of < 0.25% with full multi-point calibration and complete traceability.

Within only 6 weeks, the company took delivery of the complete system that comprised 30 load cells, completely constructed as specified and supplied calibrated, with a calibration certificate, traceable to UKAS. 17-4PH and 316 stainless steel were used to manufacture the fully welded load cells and the cover and mounting base respectively. For ease of mounting on the hydraulic cylinder, LCM Systems designed an integral connector for quick and easy commissioning and the load cap has a spring load retaining system for versatility and safety. Finally, with the installer in mind, carry handles were incorporated for safe and ergonomic transportation.

This special load cell design is a perfect example of how LCM Systems can adapt standard products to meet a customer’s exact requirements. Generally, this approach adds no extra cost or only a minimal extra cost to the standard load cell price, but quite often offers reductions in the client's overall costs.

Monday 26 March 2012

Intelligent softstarter

Automatic settings deliver correct starting current regardless of load

Carlo Gavazzi has launched the RSBS single phase, plug ‘n’ play Softstart motor controller that delivers a smooth start and long term reliability for single phase high pressure scroll compressors typically used in the growing heat pump market. 

The RSBS has been developed to reduce high inrush currents and associated effects to prolong compressor life.  The compact design features a self-adapting algorithm that will automatically react to changing load conditions to ensure that a wide range of compressors are started with the correct current and within the required ramp-up time of 600ms.

This self-adaptation feature eliminates light flickering and voltage disturbances, while reducing mechanical stresses on the compressor, and minimises the number of alarms during start-up, resulting in fewer service calls and reduced system downtime.  The RSBS features integrated protection against short-cycling, with an internal delay to ensure a maximum of ten starts per hour is observed.

To address the issue of weak power supplies in remote locations, the under voltage alarm is only active during bypass mode.  Other alarms such as Locked Rotor and End of Ramp protect the system during start up, leading to a reduction in system stoppage and service calls.

Alarm indication is provided through a red LED which signals the type of alarm via a user friendly flashing sequence.  The RSBS can also be supplied with an optional auxiliary alarm relay to interface additional alarm systems to the external panel.  Featuring compact dimensions of 137 x 84 x 60mm, the RSBS is easy to fit in any existing panel design via DIN rail or panel mount.

High technology IndyCar platform

All-new Dallara DW12 Chassis showcases state-of-the-art electronics.

Mouser Electronics has just unveiled the No. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS/GEICO/KV Racing Technology Chevrolet Dallara to be driven by IndyCar Champion Tony Kanaan for the 2012 IZOD® IndyCar Series.

Tony Kanaan
The 2012 IZOD® IndyCar Series season will be the 101st season of American open wheel racing. It also marks the biggest change to the sport in recent history as the existing car used through 2011 – a 2003 model Dallara IR-05 powered by naturally aspirated V8 engines – is permanently retired. Driven by the need to increase driver safety and performance, the ICONIC Project (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) was led by experts and executives from racing and technical fields. The committee included Randy Bernard, William R. Looney III, Brian Barnhart, Gil de Ferran, Tony Purnell, Eddie Gossage, Neil Ressler, Tony Cotman and Rick Long. IndyCar accepted proposals from BAT Engineering, Dallara, DeltaWing, Lola and Swift for chassis design. At the finish, organizers accepted the Dallara proposal.

Under the new ICONIC regulations, all teams will compete with a core rolling chassis, called the "IndyCar Safety Cell," developed by Italian designer Dallara. Teams will then outfit the chassis with various "Aero Kits," which consist of front and rear wings, sidepods, and engine cowlings. Development of Aero Kits is open to any manufacturer. However, all teams will use the Dallara aerodynamic package in 2012 and delay the introduction of multiple aero kits until 2013. The new IndyCar Safety Cell will be assembled at a state-of-the-art Dallara facility in Speedway, Indiana.

2011 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon carried out the first official test of the Dallara chassis at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August 2011. Following Wheldon's death at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship, Dallara announced that the 2012 chassis would be named the DW12 in his honor. Safety was one of the foremost requirements in the design of the new chassis, which was designed around identified areas for improvement based on IndyCar’s own research and testing.

The new engine formula consists of 2.4 L V6 turbocharged engines, fine-tuned to produce 550–700 horsepower (410–520 kW) with a 12,000 RPM limit. All engines will run E85 fuel with IndyCar being the only motorsports property to take to the racetrack using this renewable and environmentally friendly fuel. The "push to pass" feature in 2012 will allow a limited horsepower gain up to 100 HP as opposed to the last season’s "overtake assist," which only provided 10 to 20 HP increase
The turbocharger will be provided by BorgWarner. Powerplants for 2012 will be supplied by Honda, Chevrolet, and Lotus. The No. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS/GEICO/KV Racing Technology IndyCar will be powered by a Chevrolet twin turbo V6. The powerplant will be built in a joint effort with Ilmor Engineering. Additionally, Mouser will serve as the exclusive supplier of electronic components to KV Racing Technology. Joining Mouser as co-sponsors are TTI, Inc, Murata, Molex, TE Connectivity, Phoenix Contact, Littelfuse, KEMET, Ohmite, Hammond, Harwin, Digi, ebm-papst, Omron, BIVAR, Fluke, and Amphenol.

Friday 23 March 2012

Precision source measurement

Keithley Instruments has introduced the Model 2657A High Power System SourceMeter® instrument

Click on picture to see video!
The Model 2657A adds high voltage to the company's Series 2600A System SourceMeter® family of high speed, precision source measurement units. Together, these instruments allow Keithley's customers to characterize an even broader range of power semiconductor devices and materials. A built-in 3,000V, 180W source allows the Model 2657A to source up to five times as much power to a device under test as the nearest competitive system, at significantly lower cost. The precision, high speed 6-1/2-digit measurement engine built into the Model 2657A enables 1fA (femtoamp) current measurement resolution to support the low-leakage requirements of next-generation power semiconductor devices. 

The Model 2657A is optimized for high voltage applications such as testing power semiconductor devices, including diodes, FETs, and IGBTs, as well as characterizing newer materials such as gallium nitride (GaN), silicon carbide (SiC), and other compound semiconductor materials and devices. It is also useful for characterizing high speed transients and performing breakdown and leakage tests on a variety of electronic devices at up to 3,000V.

Like the rest of the Series 2600A family, the Model 2657A offers a highly flexible, four-quadrant voltage and current source/load coupled with precision voltage and current meters. It combines the functionality of multiple instruments in a single full-rack enclosure: semiconductor characterization instrument, precision power supply, true current source , 6-1/2-digit DMM, arbitrary waveform generator, voltage or current pulse generator , electronic load, and trigger controller, and is fully expandable into a multi-channel, tightly synchronized system via Keithley's TSP-Link® technology. Unlike competitive solutions, which are typically limited in terms of power, the Model 2657A can source or sink up to 180W of DC power (±3,000V@20mA, ±1500V@120mA). The Model 2657A also offers 1fA resolution, allowing it to make fast, accurate sub-picoamp measurements even when sourcing up to 3000V.

Digitising or Integrating Measurement Modes
The Model 2657A provides a choice of digitising or integrating measurement modes for characterising both transient and steady-state behavior, including rapidly changing thermal effects. Each mode is defined by two independent analog-to-digital (A/D) converters-one for current and the other for voltage-that run simultaneously to ensure accurate source readback without sacrificing test throughput. The digitising measurement mode's 18-bit A/D converters support one-microsecond-per-point sampling, so users can capture voltage and current transients simultaneously. In contrast, competing solutions typically must average multiple readings to produce a result, so they aren't fast enough to characterise transient behavior. The integrating measurement mode, based on 22-bit A/D converters and common to all Series 2600A instruments, optimises the Model 2657A's operation for applications that demand the highest measurement accuracy and resolution. This ensures extremely precise measurements of the very low currents and high voltages common in next-generation power semiconductor devices.

Powerful Test Development Tools
Basic device characterization can be performed with no need for software installation or programming with TSP Express, Keithley's LXI-based I-V test software utility. Users can simply connect a PC to the LXI LAN port and access TSP Express with any Java-enabled web browser. Test results can be viewed in either graphical or tabular format and then exported to a .csv file for use with spreadsheet applications. Two additional tools for creating test sequences are provided with the Model 2657A: the Test Script Builder application (for creating, modifying, debugging, running, and managing TSP scripts) and an IVI-based LabVIEW® driver (to simplify integrating the Model 2657A into LabVIEW test sequences). The Test Script Builder application has new debugging capabilities that make test program development easier and more productive.

ACS Basic Edition software is also available as an option for component characterization. The latest release offers a rich set of features for characterizing high voltage and high current components. The included measurement libraries have been updated to support both DC and pulse mode operation of both the high voltage Model 2657A and high current Model 2651A High Power System SourceMeter instruments. These libraries address a variety of power devices, including FETs, BJTs, diodes, IGBTs, etc., with tests that include input, output, and transfer characteristics on most devices. A special "Trace Mode" provides real-time control over an instrument's voltage or current output using a simple slider.

Flexible, High Accuracy Connection and Probing Solutions
The Model 2657A can be connected to other instruments in a test system with standard safe high voltage (SHV) coaxial cable connections compatible with existing high voltage test applications. However, for applications that depend on getting the most from the instrument's low current measurement performance, Keithley also offers special HV triaxial (guarded) connections to optimize the Model 2657A's measurement accuracy.

The optional new Model 8010 High Power Device Test Fixture provides connections for testing packaged high power devices at up to 3000V or 100A, making it safer and simpler to configure a device test system that includes the high voltage Model 2657A, one or two high current Model 2651A instruments, and up to three low power SMU instruments (other Series 2600A instruments or the Model 4200-SCS semiconductor characterization system). In addition to standard banana jumpers, the Model 8010 has rear-panel oscilloscope and thermal probe ports to simplify system integration for further DUT characterization. The Model 8010 has full safety interlock capability. To prevent instrument damage if a device fault occurs, integrated protection circuits in the Model 8010 safeguard the inputs of the lower voltage Series 2600A instruments from the high voltages the Model 2657A can output. Individual protection modules are also available to simplify connecting multiple SMUs safely to a third-party probe station, component handler, or other test fixture.

Body recognised for promotion automation as a discipline among young

The Automation Federation named 2012 ML100 New Workforce Award Winner

The Automation Federation(AF) is listed among the distinguished recipients of the eighth annual Manufacturing Leadership 100 Awards.

The AF is an association of member organizations that provides awareness, programs and services that continually advance all facets of the automation profession. It serves as the “Voice of Automation” by providing advocacy and industry-wide strategic analysis and coordination through its member organizations.

The Automation Federation was selected for the 2012 ML100 New Workforce Award by Manufacturing Executive, the global community for manufacturing leadership and producer of the Manufacturing Leadership Summit and ML100 Awards program.

The Automation Federation is being recognized for its AutomationSTEM program and its related activities, initiatives and collaborations, including the Alliance with FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). AutomationSTEM is designed to make the future workforce aware of the importance of automation and engineering; the many career opportunities available in this broad profession; and the importance science, technology, engineering and math will play in those careers.

An independent judging panel chaired by David R. Brousell, vice president and editorial director, and Jeff Moad, executive editor of manufacturing executive, reviewed project and individual achievement nominations, and the winners were decided by a panel of qualified judges from various companies and organizations in the manufacturing sector.

The Automation Federation will be honored and presented with its 2012 ML100 New Workforce Award for the AutomationSTEM program at the Manufacturing Leadership Summit Awards Gala in May.

2012 Automation Federation Chair, Leo Staples, stated, “The Automation Federation’s receipt of the 2012 ML100 New Workforce Award is a true affirmation of the work we are doing and the benefits it will have for the future of manufacturing. The award recognizes our AutomationSTEM program, whose K-12 education initiatives will surely help alleviate the future technical skills shortage we will face as a profession by building the next generation of automation professionals now. We hope this ML100 Award will encourage others in the profession to provide support for our AutomationSTEM initiatives.”

Automatic hardness testing facility

Maintaining its policy of continuous investment in technology and facilities, Keighley Laboratories has added a Zwick Roell ZHV-10 automatic micro and macro hardness tester to its Test House resources. Featuring fully automatic Vickers indentation measurement and dedicated hardness testing software, the new equipment will bring about measurable improvements in accuracy, repeatability and productivity, to the benefit of the company’s internal Heat Treatment division and clients of its Technical Services department. Used for the precise measurement of surface hardness and case depth of metallic materials, with test loads between 100g and 10Kg, it will introduce considerable time savings over previously manual routines, freeing up highly skilled operators for other analytical duties.

The new equipment was supplied by Indentec, part of Zwick Roell AG and a worldwide centre of excellence for hardness testing machines, which has a business relationship with Keighley Labs that dates back many years. A UKAS accredited calibration laboratory, Indentec has been additionally contracted to service and recalibrate this and other hardness testing equipment on a long term basis, which will be carried out on site by trained engineers to ISO 6508-2 and ASTM E384 standards.

Such is the sizeable footprint of the new hardness tester, Keighley Labs also took the opportunity to enlarge its existing Test House microscope room, creating a spacious new optical suite. This also houses the advanced zoom stereo metallurgical microscope acquired previously and allows for the installation of further state-of-the-art equipment.

Part of Keighley Labs’ comprehensive mechanical testing and metallography services, the hardness of a material is determined by its resistance to indentation by a hardened ball or diamond indenter, then measuring the size of the permanent impression produced. With loads, pressures and temperatures constantly increasing in modern machinery, metallic parts are subject to increasingly arduous operating conditions and hardness testing is often the best way of establishing that components will survive such stresses, becoming a critical part of the quality control process. Keighley Labs employs this physical testing method as quality assurance for its in-house Heat Treatment division, handling up to a dozen test samples daily, as well as undertaking case depth and surface hardness evaluation of materials and components for external clients.

Vickers testing, using a pyramid-shaped diamond indenter, is suitable for all types of materials and surface treatments and Keighley Labs’ new Zwick Roell ZHV-10 machine is equipped for micro and macro Vickers testing to ISO 6507, although it can be fitted with an alternative Knoop indenter. It features a built-in measuring microscope with four objective lenses, a motorised turret with 1.3 megapixel USB camera, an automatic motorised XY table with 150mm x 50mm travel, for precise positioning of samples, with automatic focus providing an additional motorised Z axis for bringing the test surface into sharp resolution without operator involvement. It also includes a high definition 24” LCD monitor, a microprocessor running Windows XP, flatbed scanner and Indentec ZHµ HD automatic indentation software, with sample scanning facility and a report generator for outputting data to spreadsheet programs, enabling further statistical analysis.

Employing this configuration, Keighley Labs’ technicians can either view and measure test impressions manually, by focusing with the joystick and clicking on indentations with the mouse, or allow the machine itself to intelligently follow predefined patterns, indent the sample, then measure and generate test results, all entirely automatically. They can also set up templates of indentation points, for performing hardness tests on routine samples, and program straight line and transverse patterns for automating case hardness routines and testing welded seams.

Apart from freeing up technicians for other tasks, this ‘click and walk away’ functionality ensures precise sample positioning and imaging, enhanced accuracy, an extremely high level of repeatability and overall increased productivity, reducing standard testing procedures from more than an hour manually, to less than twenty minutes automatically. It also eliminates operator-related errors caused by eye strain, fatigue and inevitable inconsistencies, which can be a common problem in microhardness testing especially.

“The time savings made possible by this automatic hardness tester will enable us to offer faster turnaround times and deliver even more accurate, repeatable and reproducible data,” says Keighley Labs’ Test House Manager, Matthew Mellor. “We chose Indentec because the company has an excellent reputation, with its own service and calibration engineers, and its equipment offers the highest image resolution on the market.”

Safety expert keynotes at Instrumentation Symposium

Process safety expert Paul Gruhn with ICS Triplex/Rockwell Automation, is to deliver a keynote address at the 58th Annual International Instrumentation Symposium (IIS) on Wednesday, 6 June 2012, in La Jolla, (CA USA).

Gruhn will address IIS attendees from around the world on lessons learned from process and aerospace accidents and, more importantly, how to avoid them. His presentation will explore and discuss the importance training, awareness and procedures play in minimising hazardous scenarios. Topics include:

• why everyone needs training
• importance of having people follow procedures
• recognizing that some people don't know what they don't know
• impossible to foresee every possible hazardous scenario
• reusing of software has not always been successful
• near misses are often not followed up
• the past is often ignored

Gruhn is the global process safety consultant at ICS Triplex/Rockwell Automation. He graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois, USA, in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Gruhn has been very active with ISA at the section, division and department level for more than 20 years. He became an ISA Fellow in 2001, is a member of the ISA84 standard committee (on safety instrumented systems) and the ISA101 standard committee (on human machine interfaces). Gruhn is the developer and instructor of ISA courses on safety systems, the author of two ISA textbooks, chapters in other books and more than two dozen published articles. He is the developer of the first commercial safety system software modeling program. Gruhn is a Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in Texas, USA, and is an ISA84 expert.

IIS, ISA’s longest running division symposium, will cover all aspects of instrumentation technologies and applications across the automation field. It offers three full days of technical programming presented by industry experts, as well as a student paper competition, instrumentation exhibition, networking and more. In addition, instructor-led training courses will be held to complement the technical program. Topics covered at this symposium include process instrumentation, sensors technology, tip timing, measurement and virtual instrumentation to name a few.

Attendees will earn Continuing Education Units for completing the training courses and Professional Development Hours for attending the technical sessions.
IIS is sponsored by Honeywell, an ISA Corporate Partner, and by the following ISA divisions: Aerospace Industries, Test Measurement and Process Measurement and Control. Program development is also in collaboration with ISA’s Automatic Controls and Robotics Division and Chemical and Petroleum Industries Division, and the Propulsion Instrumentation Working Group.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Water industry leader is global industry manager

25+ years of hands-on experience in Water & Wastewater Industry

Today 22 March 2012 is World Water Day and on this day appropriately enough GE Intelligent Platforms  have  announced that Terry Biederman has been named Global Industry Manager for its Water & Wastewater industry. Biederman brings 25+ years of experience in the day-to-day management of water utilities as well as a keen knowledge of the technologies needed to run a world-class facility.

Prior to joining GE, Biederman served as the Director of Public Works for the Township of Waterford, (MI USA), the third most populated township in the state with a population of approximately 71,000 people since 1996. The Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for potable water treatment and delivery, wastewater collection and transportation, building and ground maintenance, and fleet maintenance. Biederman managed 52 full-time employees and an $18 million annual budget.

“Terry Biederman’s reputation for successful implementation of innovative solutions is renowned in the industry,” said Alan Hinchman, Global Market Director for GE Intelligent Platforms’ Infrastructure Industry. “I have worked with him personally and know him to have tremendous vision into the solutions needed to run a complex organization in a way that is both innovative and insightful.”

In his new role, Biederman will have global responsibility for GE Intelligent Platforms’ activities in the Water & Wastewater industry including working with customers to advise and counsel on a variety of technology solutions supported by the company’s industry-leading Proficy® Software platform and PACSystems® control systems.

Bringing Biederman on board during the week of World Water Day highlights GE Intelligent Platforms’ on-going commitment to bringing innovative hardware and software automation solutions to municipal water and wastewater plants.

GE Intelligent Platforms is also supporting World Water Day through the Our Water Counts movement. The Our Water Counts weekly blog – in celebration of World Water Day – will feature daily blogs on the global water crisis. Our Water Counts is an interactive web site and active blog featuring real discussions between all water stakeholders to create new, innovative ways to solve how the world sources, treats, moves and uses water.

European embedded computing sales team includes Ireland & Britain

Anglia Embedded  has been appointed as Britain and Ireland embedded channel distribution partner for Advantech, a world leader in single board computers (SBC), with effect from 31 March 2012. The agreement greatly strengthens the embedded distributor’s range for industrial automation, digital signage, kiosk and other embedded computing applications.

Paul Senior, Anglia, &
Andy Courtney, Advantech
“Advantech completes Anglia Embedded’s full house of technologies from the world leading brands,” said Steve Rawlins, CEO at Anglia. “Anglia Embedded can now offer its customers a full portfolio of system components sourced from the world’s top brands, spanning displays, communications and SBCs.”

“We are pleased to welcome Anglia to the Advantech family of resellers,” said Bart de Vreese, European Channel Sales Director at Advantech. He continued, “The experience and knowledge of Anglia’s staff is what truly sets them apart. Adding the Advantech Embedded Core range to its display and connectivity product lines will enable Anglia to offer a full solution to its customers, enhancing its commitment to understand, apply and deliver.”

According to David Pearson, Technical Director at Anglia, the agreement with Advantech is hugely significant because it is a world leader in industrial PCs, panel PCs, rack mount PCs and standalone PC and ARM core based embedded boards. “Advantech has been building top quality, high performance computing platforms since 1983. Anglia Embedded is proud to add this key line to its portfolio.” he said.

Paul Senior, Divisional Marketing Manager for Anglia Embedded added, “Embedded computing technologies from Advantech package the popular PC architecture in a range of formats to support the growing diversity of embedded computing applications that are enabling an intelligent planet. Their products are enabling companies to use less energy in their premises, optimise their manufacturing processes, communicate with their customers through inspiring interactive digital signage, and improve their security.”

In addition to Advantech, the Anglia Embedded line-up of quality embedded products also includes Hitachi displays and Cinterion, connectBlue, Fastrax and Telegesis wireless technologies.

Infrared thermometers

Versatile sensor system meets a wide range of industrial application requirements

Ircon® has introduced the Modline® 7 Series of infrared thermometers. Combined with Ircon ModView™ Pro software and a variety of accessories, the Modline 7 Series provides best-in-class solutions for demanding industrial environments.

The Modline 7 is a rugged, IP65 (NEMA 4) sealed sensor system with the flexibility to meet nearly any continuous temperature monitoring and control requirement. The thermometers are used in a wide range of industrial applications, including semiconductor manufacturing, metals processing, furnace refractory, primary and secondary glass, as well as plastics thermoforming.

The Modline 7 offers exceptional versatility with extended temperature ranges (-40°F to 5432°F/3000°C), high-resolution optics and fast response times. The thermometer's sensing head can operate as a stand-alone sensor, providing simultaneous analog and digital outputs of process temperatures. Motorized focus control and both through-the-lens and laser sighting are standard on all units.

The new thermometer's intuitive sensor design-with integral water-cooling in a stainless steel enclosure or high-temperature water jacket-reduces installation and setup time. The water jacket is intended for use in ambient temperatures up to 599°F/315°C with an integrated air purge capability. An optional air purge collar accessory enables the lens to be cooled and kept free of debris in hot dusty environments.

In addition, the Modline 7 standardized installation accessories and common Windows ModView Pro software platform minimize multiple product configurations at the user's facility. Sensor setup and monitoring can be accomplished either from the rear panel of the instrument or from the ModView Pro software. This allows for remote PC-based sensor configuration, temperature monitoring, trending and archiving via an intuitive graphical user interface. For example, users can change the temperature display from degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius, adjust emissivity levels, scale the range, focus the sensor, activate filters (e.g., peak hold, valley hold, and averaging) and save data for future reference or graphing.

The sensor system also features preset alarms for early warning detection, system on/off control or quality record keeping. A programmable relay output can be triggered automatically by product temperature (process alarm), sensor internal temperature (sensor alarm) or manually.

Modline 7 Series thermometers use high-speed digital signal processors with an RS-485 serial data communications networking capability that supports up to 32 sensors. The ModView Pro software is included at no additional cost with all new Modline 7 Series thermometers.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Alliance to aid cloud development!

Company works with Microsoft to deliver cloud-based manufacturing solutions

Invensys Operations Management has announced an alliance with Microsoft Corp. for migrating some Invensys applications to the Windows Azure cloud. By bringing together industrial thought and technology leaders, the alliance expands the company’s continuing relationship with Microsoft and will afford end users cloud-based offerings in the manufacturing and infrastructure operations space.

“As Microsoft’s Alliance ISV Industry Partner of the Year in 2011, we are excited to enter into this alliance, which further defines our position as a leading provider of automation solutions that help optimise manufacturing business operations in real time,” said Ravi Gopinath, president, Invensys Operations Management’s software business. “Working with Microsoft reinforces the strategic alignment between our two companies, with a mutual goal of using Windows Azure technology to bring leading-edge cloud solutions to the industrial market. By offering cloud-based variants of our existing Historian and business process management solutions, we can help our customers lower costs, reduce systems complexity and cut hardware and software investments, while creating a high-performance environment for more agile operations management.”

Within the alliance, Microsoft will help Invensys accelerate the development of its Wonderware® Historian and Workflow applications to enable them to run on the Windows Azure cloud. Initial development activities will extend existing Invensys solutions with managed history and reporting capabilities, as well as business process management on demand.

“Invensys is an example of how Microsoft continues to work with companies that use our platforms to build the solutions their manufacturing customers need to address the critical operating issues they face each and every day,” said Walid Abu-Hadba, corporate vice president, developer and platform evangelism, at Microsoft. “Providing cloud-based reporting and collaboration services allows these customers to pay for what they use, which means they can better scale and manage their technology deployment costs. It’s an attractive model for any customer that has widely distributed operations, limited IT resources or the need to rapidly scale. Customers will have the choice of different usage models, so they pay for only what they need.”

New display demanding monitoring applications

IPS-Pro technology evolution enables high resolution, small pixel pitch displays

Hitachi Display Products Group (DPG) has announced the introduction of a new IPS (in-plane switching) 9.0” TX23D86VM0BAA TFT display module. The WXGA display features a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels and uses the latest enhancement of Hitachi’s IPS display technology, IPS-Pro New Process.

Optical performance, contrast, uniformity and brightness are excellent and the display module is ideally suited to broadcast or medical monitoring applications where the information represented on the display image must be accurate and easily interpreted. IPS-Pro provides a very stable display image over a very wide viewing angle of 176° making it ideally suiting to multi-viewer applications

Steve Donohoe, Technical Manager, Hitachi DPG, commented, “IPS-Pro New Process has been developed to enable higher resolution display panels with smaller geometry pixels. The new process implemented in the LCD cell also ensures good light transmittance from the backlight through to the front of the display. This is the most recent enhancement of IPS technology and has enabled Hitachi to ensure that the new 9.0” TFT display has excellent black level uniformity, high colour saturation and an exceptional contrast ratio of 1000:1.”

A long life LED backlight provides a brightness of up to 350cd/m². An integrated LED controller enables the backlight to be dimmed making it possible for the viewer to fine tune the backlight brightness to suit a particular viewing environment.

A 6-bit data interface featuring FRC (frame rate control) enables up to 16.7million colours to be displayed via the single channel 30-pin LVDS data interface. The TX23D86VM0BAA display module features mechanical dimensions of 216mm (w) x 142mm (h) x 11.7mm (t) and an extended operating temperature range of -20°C to +70°C.

Embedded Controller Featuring 2nd GenerationIntel® Core i5™ Processor

New controller offers 50% improved processing power and new peripherals

National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-8115 high-performance embedded controller featuring the latest dual-core 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, which helps reduce test times and is ideal for multicore applications. The PXIe-8115 controller features a rich set of peripheral I/O ports with six industry-leading USB 2.0 ports. These onboard peripheral ports minimise the need for external peripheral adapters and help engineers build cost-effective hybrid systems. To improve the serviceability and minimise downtime, this embedded controller features In-ROM and hard drive diagnostics to determine the controller’s health. By combining the controller with NI LabVIEW system design software, engineers can gain efficiency in a variety of test, measurement and control applications.

The Intel Core i5-2510E processor gives the NI PXIe-8115 controller a 2.5 GHz base clock frequency and uses Intel Turbo Boost Technology to automatically increase the clock frequency based on the application type. For example, when running applications that generate only a single processing thread, the CPU places the one unused core into an idle state and increases the active core’s clock frequency from 2.5 GHz to 3.1 GHz. This feature removes the need for software applications to be multithreaded to use the latest CPU developments. The flexibility to operate in a dual-core or a high-performance single-core mode makes the controller ideal for a variety of applications, including high-performance automated test and industrial control.

In addition to high CPU performance, the NI PXIe-8115 controller features six USB 2.0 ports, two display ports to connect to multiple monitors, dual-Gigabit Ethernet, GPIB, serial and parallel ports. This extensive peripheral I/O no longer requires the purchase of individual PXI modules. Engineers can optimise use of the slots in a PXI chassis because the slots are available for measurement modules rather than standard I/O. For memory-intensive applications, the controller comes standard with 2 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 memory with up to 8 GB of maximum memory and support for the Windows 7 64-bit operating system. The NI PXIe-8115 controller combined with the NI PXIe-1082 chassis is ideal for intensive analysis, signal and image processing and high-speed data acquisition.

To improve the reliability of PXI systems, the NI PXIe-8115 controller features In-ROM and hard drive diagnostics for serviceability of the PXI embedded controller. With this new feature, engineers no longer have to use third-party tools to determine the health of the memory and hard drive. By combining the analysis of the diagnostics with spare hard drive and memory options from National Instruments, the improved serviceability of the NI PXIe-8115 reduces downtime and ensures minimal impact to the application. 

Magnetic float level switches approved for safety instrumented systems

SIL 1 suitable level switch is ideal for high and low liquid level alarm duties in the oil and gas, power, refining and chemical industries

Selected models of Emerson's Mobrey Horizontal Magnetic Float Level Switches have been certified in accordance with IEC61508 to attain (Safety Integrity Level) SIL 1 for a single device and SIL 2 for a pair of devices.

Following successful third-party evaluation by global organisation Exida, Mobrey Horizontal Magnetic Float Level Switches have the required Failure Modes, Effects and Diagnostic Analysis (FMEDA) report. The models assessed and certified are typically used in the oil and gas, power, refining and chemical industries, and are ideal for high and low liquid level alarm, overfill alarm, and pump control duties.

The use of certified devices provides a measure of quality and reliability, making it much easier to design and implement a safety system in process applications that must comply with the IEC 61508/61511 functional safety standard.

Mobrey Horizontal Magnetic Float Level Switches provide robust and reliable level switching in most liquids. The magnetically coupled design enables reliable operation even when operating in extremes of pressure and temperature. Measurements are unaffected by changes in process temperature, dielectric, or the presence of vapours and there is a wide range of flanges, floats and switching outputs to suit all types of liquid level application.

There are no glands or linkages that could cause leaks, or springs that require maintenance. The snap action mechanism ensures a clean make or break of the switch contacts and there is the option of a hermetically sealed switch mechanism to eliminate freezing and corrosion of contacts and all moving parts. Other options include versions with marine approvals and ATEX certifications for use in hazardous areas.