Tuesday 31 July 2012

Excellent Automation leader!

Paul J. Galeski, CEO and Founder of Maverick Technologies, is to be presented with the ISA Excellence in Leadership Award during its 50th Annual ISA Honors and Awards Gala, 24 September 2012 in Orlando (FL USA).

The Excellence in Leadership Award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to advance industry and the automation profession. Galeski, a licensed professional engineer and a Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®), is recognized for creating a paradigm shift in systems integration by establishing and leading two cutting-edge firms to global prominence in less than 10 years.

Galeski founded Maverick Technologies in 1999 with the intent of becoming a global resource dedicated to helping manufacturing businesses reach new levels of success. Over the past decade, Maverick has worked with hundreds of world-class clients to devise unique approaches, enhance productivity, reduce costs and improve safety through the innovative application of industrial automationenterprise integration and operational consulting.

The company traces its roots to Magnum Technologies, which Galeski co-founded in 1989. Under his leadership, Magnum grew to national US prominence in less than a decade, and was acquired by General Electric in 1997. Galeski applied this successful enterprise experience to the development of the Magnum business plan, which quickly garnered global growth and recognition. Within six years, he was able to buy back Magnum and the other constituents of the General Electric Automation Services (GEAS) group: Team Controls, Instrument Control Services and C.F. Picou Associates. In addition to its organic growth, the acquisition of GEAS, helped the company expand its business in key vertical markets and became the largest privately held, independent control systems integrator in the United States.

As of today, Maverick has successfully completed more than 10,000 projects in 45 countries across six continents and has grown to over 500 engineers and 19 US based locations. In July 2012, they unveiled their latest innovation—PlantFloor24, the world’s first full-service, platform-independent, 24/7 hardware, software and process support solution.

“Paul is an industrial automation visionary. He combines technical acumen with strategic focus and business intelligence, leading not one but two successful automation companies in less than a decade,” commented 2012 ISA President Robert E. Lindeman, CAP, PMP. “Paul is innovative, driven and passionate about the solutions that MAVERICK offers, but he’s also dedicated to the development of MAVERICK’s employees. He has been a contributor to several important initiatives to advance the profession of automation, including the Automation Federation’s work on the Automation Competency Model and ISA’s Certified Automation Professional® (CAP®) certification program. I had the opportunity to teach a CAP preparation course at MAVERICK, and was impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of his employees. Paul has every characteristic we look for in a leader, and we’re proud to honor him with this award.”

Galeski, who is an ISA Fellow, also holds a Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from Southern Illinois University, and is a graduate of the GE Executive Management School and the Harvard Business School Presidents' Program.

Great place to work!

The Great Place to Work® Institute named National Instruments number six among the top 25 best multinational workplaces in Europe. 

José Tolovi Jr, Chairman,
Great Place to Work Institute
Being named among the top workplaces in Europe recognises the commitment NI makes to its employees, which directly impacts the company’s key stakeholders and is essential to the long-term growth and success of the company. At NI, the 100-year plan is built on the principle that the culture and employees are a key differentiator and long-term competitive advantage. The unique corporate culture and being honoured as a great place to work is a worldwide standard at NI. Several NI branches in Europe have been recognised as best places to work by the Great Place to Work® Institute, including NI Germany (2004-2005, 2008-2011), NI Italy (2007-2011), NI France (2009-2011) and NI UK (2006-2012). (See report on this recognition in Britain in 2010 Best place to work for five years.) 

“We have been successful in establishing a strong culture that not only helps foster innovation but maintains a positive work environment and a business built to last in a tough economy as well as in times of growth,” said Francis Griffiths, Vice President of European Sales and Marketing for NI. “NI employees have been working hard to achieve the best for our customers and are the reason we are a great company.” 

As NI has grown from a three-man operation to a multinational organisation, it has maintained its entrepreneurial spirit and collaborative nature that spurs innovation in every area of the business. NI also holds the philosophy that a well-balanced work environment improves employees’ well-being and inspires excellence. 

“All companies which have been recognised as one of Europe’s Best Workplaces have established trust-based work cultures that set the standard not only in Europe but around the world,” said José Tolovi, Jr., Chairman of the Board, Great Place to Work® Institute. “This achievement is a testament to the strength of the organisations’ leadership and their commitment to building a great workplace regardless of country, industry or size. Whether economies are growing or under strain, these great companies recognise the importance of a workplace culture based on trust, pride and camaraderie and the positive impact this can have on business performance.” 

LVDTs well suited to capture high speed and high frequency movement

Due to their fundamental design and mode of operation LVDT's are very suitable for measuring high speed and high frequency movements on mechanical structures.

Applications calling for high frequency movements include switch testing, recoil testing, blast testing and high frequency component testing. It is important not to confuse sample rate with frequency response. The parameter being measured is the analogue frequency response, so that, for example, a mechanical oscillation of 500 repetitions per second would be faithfully reproduced by the LVDT output. A typical RDP LVDT and amplifier combination can have a mechanical frequency response of up to 500 Hz. Where applications need to go faster, this can be enabled by modifications to the signal conditioning electronics.

LVDTs are available in ‘spring return’, ‘guided’ and ‘unguided’ mechanical configurations which determine the LVDT frequency response. A spring return type is limited by the ratio of the mass of the amplifier compared to the strength of the spring which typically on a short transducer imposes a limit of the order of 10 Hz. A captive type transducer is not restricted in this way but since it contains guidance bearings if exposed to multi-millions of cycles, will eventually show signs of wear. Consequently the preferred transducer configuration to use for high frequency applications is the unguided type. This version can be arranged to make physical contact between the armature and the body of the transducer and so can operate indefinitely at high frequencies.

Air monitoring consumables price reduction

In response to public sector cutbacks, instrumentation company Air Monitors has announced that it will lower the cost of ambient air monitoring consumables until the end of 2012.

Managing Director Jim Mills says “Our customers in the ambient monitoring market are going through a tough time, so we believe it is our responsibility to help them out; we already sell filters and other consumables at substantially lower prices than our competitors, but for the rest of this year we will make a further reduction of 10%.”

In November last year Air Monitors issued a warning concerning the appearance of sub-standard filters on the market and Jim Mills suspects that these filters are still being offered in some places. He says "I hope that our low prices will ensure that customers are not tempted to try these poor quality imitations, because the use of genuine Thermo Scientific parts protects the quality and reliability of data from the UK's TEOM and TEOM/FDMS particulate monitoring systems.

“Sub-standard filters have resulted in poor monitoring performance that is characterised by noisy data, offsets and erroneous concentrations."

Best in automation

WirelessHART products fulfill users’ requirements for simple, reliable and secure wireless automation

Two WirelessHART® products have been named by industry users as the best among automation, control and instrumentation products introduced during 2011.

The products, recognized as being exceptional for technological advancement, service to the industry and market impact, are the Rosemount 708 wireless acoustic transmitter from Emerson and the RAD-WHA-1/2NPT WirelessHART adapter from Phoenix Contact.

“We are pleased by users’ recognition of these WirelessHART products and by the overwhelming industry acceptance that WirelessHART technology is receiving around the world,” says Foundation Executive Director Ron Helson. “The WirelessHART standard is a major innovation for the industry that introduced a new era for process automation and has made a significant impact on the global market.”

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) facilities provide optimal connectivity and easy integration

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the availability of its latest manufacturing software solution, Proficy® Plant Applications 6.1. The product includes the best practices the company has implemented at many of the world’s leading companies to provide a manufacturing solution that is best-in-class. In addition, the solution’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) facilities provide optimal connectivity and easy integration for standards-based third-party applications. It enables users to be equipment, product, and people-centric – all on one platform.

Proficy Plant Applications is a proven, comprehensive Operations Management software solution built on GE’s Open & Layered architecture providing modular and scalable capabilities for all types of production environments in a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) package. It is built on a foundation of 15+ years of continuous experience in solving the world’s toughest manufacturing challenges. GE’s expertise in Six Sigma and LEAN, combined with the best practices of its own manufacturing operations facilitates uncompromising quality.

“Faced with increasing global competition, evolving consumer and regulatory demands, increased raw material and energy costs shrinking profit margins, companies are being forced to deliver a growing mix of different products more quickly and at lower cost into the marketplace,” said Don Busiek, General Manager, GE Intelligent Platforms’ Manufacturing Software. “There is intense pressure to optimize production efficiency with greater agility and control than ever before, and without large capital expenditures.”

Proficy Plant Applications now features a Unified Manufacturing Operations Database which allows existing operations to run as they do today while new features are “trialed” safely. Traditional users will appreciate the familiarity of Plant Applications and power users can architect the future. Other features of Proficy Plant Applications 6.1 include:
• Software wizards automate business rules to speed system deployment;
• User interfaces consolidate information according to the users situation to reduce information overload and aid mobile workforces;
• Existing Plant Applications users will be able to upgrade to the newest version while retaining their existing standard Plant Applications functionality.

“Now well into its second decade, the Proficy software suite has an enduring and enviable installed base of blue-chip companies,” said Greg Gorbach, Vice President, ARC Advisory Group. “For both new and seasoned users looking to control total cost of ownership, GE's Proficy Plant Applications V6.1 adds new capabilities to support Collaborative Production Management at scale.”

Plant Applications’ SOA provides better connectivity and easier integration for standards-based third-party applications; integration and maintenance costs are more visible and manageable with the SOA architecture. It also enables organizations to stay current with architecture changes brought on by the massive demands for more data. SOA brings a new integration platform into Plant Applications and reduces risk for CIOs as the progressive global adoption of SOA results in the extensive service enabling of IT systems.

For multi-site, multi-region enterprise-wide deployments, Plant Applications 6.1 features dynamic context based user displays enabling fewer “displays” to serve more people further reducing the total cost of ownership of Proficy software.

“The next decade will see the impact of social applications, the hyper-connected workforce and the ‘Internet of Things,’" continued Busiek. “Changing demographics, social infrastructures, collaboration and mobility is changing the way we work. Plant Applications 6.1 supports the underlying structure for these rapidly evolving technologies and adds further agility to our customers’ manufacturing strategies.”

Monday 30 July 2012

Wire harness software

Solution provider Eplan has taken over the development and sales rights to Harness Expert, the established 3D/2D software for wire harness engineering. The contract between software developer Linius Technologies and Eplan Software & Service was signed recently. This extension to its range will allow Eplan to offer its customers even more comprehensive support for all aspects of cable project management.

What is a wire harness?
A wire harness is a bundle of wires which normally have plugs or terminals at the end to create electrical connections to components and devices. It is considered a passive device. By fixing the wires together, e.g. by wrapping tape around, fitting them into protective sleeves or hoses or putting them in cable conduits, the individual wires are fixed in harness form and can be fitted in the same way as a single cable. The wires are also protected from dirt, heat and mechanical strain with a view to securing electrical properties such as insulation and conductivity throughout the service life of the product. Unlike conventional (sheathed) cable, wire harnesses are developed on a project or application-specific basis depending on the connections required. The benefits of this approach include optimisation of the space and weight within the installation space and ideal conditions for connection requirements. Also pre-fitting/mass production can be achieved even for small batch sizes.
The strategic purchase of the Harness Expert software will provide considerable potential in the domestic and international markets. It will allow Eplan to tackle new segments of industry, including apparatus engineering, rail and specialist vehicle technology, aviation, telecommunications and medical technology. At the same time, there is an increasing demand from within its own customer base for the implementation of 1:1 connections via wire harnesses, as the number of circuit-board based units in control cabinets and devices is increasing constantly. This new software is the perfect complement to Eplan Electric P8, the company's own CAE solution which has previously handled the engineering of single wires and sheathed cables in the control cabinet and field components. Customers can benefit from this consistent process integration, as all phases of the engineering process are supported, from planning through engineering through to wire harness design and production. "The purchase of the Harness Expert software makes our portfolio broad enough to cover all engineering requirements within the global market. It also gives us a considerable competitive advantage, especially in the international market," said Maximilian Brandl, Chairman of the Executive Board at Eplan Software & Service. The solution provider is planning to distribute the software internationally under the name of "Eplan Harness Expert" from autumn 2012.

Open for the IT market
Harness Expert is an easy-to-use software suite which fully supports all aspects of wire harness engineering. Typical harness or wiring loom design processes are shown by the software in 3D. All 2D production documents are produced by the system, which allows comprehensive openness when it comes to the import and export of third-party systems in design, administration and production. Integration between Eplan Electric P8 and Harness Expert provides all relevant wiring information, such as wire specifications, source/target information and bundle and socket assignments. This integrative workflow reduces engineering time and costs.

One workflow: design of mechanical systems and wire harness
The software provides different flexible approaches to designing a wire harness. Typically, this involves importing a 3D model from a conventional 3D CAD system, which then checks both the routes and design aspects such as clamps, clips, safety measures required and length calculations within the digital model. This does away with the time-consuming and expensive construction of prototypes. As an alternative to importing, things can be done in a simpler way. For example, if a wire harness has been laid within an imported 3D model, the design of the 3D model and the wire harness can be passed back to the mechanical design department. The advantage: any impediments to the wire harness as a function of the design can be detected in the virtual model and measures taken immediately - with no need for physical prototypes at all. If 3D models are not available for process-related or organisational reasons, a wire harness can be designed quickly and easily within Harness Expert’s 3D editor.

Reports and test runs
Harness Expert uses the 3D or 2D wire harness layout to produce a wide range of reports required for quotation, ordering and production. Complete or individual parts lists, plug and splice lists, wiring and connection lists and reports on working processes in order to calculate time and costs. The data can be transferred directly to cable finishing systems such as Komax. In order to validate the wire harness design, the system has extensive, practical testing and checking functions for bending radii, fill levels, cable lengths, bundles without wires and connectors. The aim is to identify possible inconsistency and errors at an early stage, i.e. prior to prototype production and simplify corrections.

Torque test ensures reliability of steerable drills

Hydrocarbon drilling accuracy has been increased tenfold by using adapted advanced aerospace guidance systems. And an equally innovative torque sensor ensures efficiency during the equipment’s regular programmed maintenance.
Gyrodata's high accuracy surveys assure precise wellbore targeting and reservoir delineation, and prevent costly problems such as missed objectives and wellbore collisions in multiwell structures. As the world’s leading supplier of precision wellbore survey services to the energy, mining, environmental and construction industries, the company maintains state of the art manufacturing and test facilities in Houston (TX USA), Aberdeen and Barrow-in-Furness (GB). Texas serves the Americas and Britain looks after the rest of the world.

“We have about 60 Well-Guide RSS (rotary steerable systems) sets here in Barrow and dispatch them to oil field operations far and near, along with our specialist engineers,” explains Ian Carruthers of Gyrodata. “A typical job lasts about two weeks, and when the kit comes back there is an intensive two weeks completely rebuilding it.”

A key operation in the overhaul process is torque testing the rotating parts using a specialist rig, at the heart of which is a TorqSense from Sensor Technology in Banbury (GB). Any variation from tight torque tolerance specifications suggest that there might be something needing attention, perhaps a sticking seal or a failing bearing.

“Not even the smallest of faults is allowed. Failure halfway through a complex rotary steerable or surveying operation in a remote oil field would lead to enormous on-costs – so we don’t send out equipment unless we are 110 percent certain of its performance.”

Well-Guide RSS is the industry's first and only fully automated rotary steerable drilling system with 3D automated control near the bit. The system can drill highly accurate trajectories using pre-programmed courses with full downhole closed-loop control that allows real time trim steering during the drilling operation.

This technology makes survey and extraction drilling far more predictable and reliable, pulling huge amounts of time and cost out of the overall operation.

“Similarly, we have to be very efficient at overhauling the returned equipment,” explains Ian. “Often it is due out again fairly promptly, plus there is a steady stream of urgent jobs that we have to rise to in order to maintain our service commitment to client companies.
“TorqSense helps with this because it is a plug and play non-contact technology that saves the need to faff around setting up slip rings. Basically we load the Well-Guide into the rig, switch on and run a suite of tests at different speeds. The data is collected on the fly and fed straight into a computer for immediate analysis.”

At its heart TorqSense uses tiny piezo-ceramic combs, known as Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) devices fixed to the shaft of the equipment under test. These distort in proportion to the instantaneous torque level in the shaft as it rotates. The distortion creates RF data signals that are transmitted via a radio frequency coupling rather than by slip rings or other mechanical contact.

This data signal in turn is transmitted to the control unit, from which it can be read on an alpha-numeric display or, as Gyrodata do, transferred to a PC for analysis and profile building using a customised version of Sensor Technology’s TorqView software programme.

TorqSense comes in a wide range of sizes, the larger being used in many applications at the heavy duty end of industry, while the smaller ones are found in applications such as fine chemical dosing and lab-based research. In all cases the reliability of collecting high speed real-time digital torque data and TorqView’s instant display makes analysis and data logging simple, fast and straightforward.
Gyrodata originally trialled TorqSense in its British plant and was so impressed that it bought more and encouraged its American engineering colleagues in Houston, Texas to adopt the technology too.

Ian says TorqSense fits well with the Gyrodata ethos: “Our role is to make life simpler for our customers out in the field. To do this we have to make life simpler for ourselves - and TorqSense fits this bill superbly.
“We are expanding steadily and when we moved to new larger premises recently the TorqSense rig proved completely mobile and instantly reliable.”

In search of the Higgs particle

Siemens Scada system supports Cern

The Cern European Nuclear Research Centre in Meyrin near Geneva (CH) is the site of the world’s biggest particle physics laboratory and accelerator centre. Cern is home to the world’s biggest particle accelerator, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Alongside the control, monitoring and documentation of experiments conducted in the LHC, since 2001 all technical processes at Cern have been monitored and controlled by a Scada system from the Simatic HMI family: Simatic WinCC Open Architecture (WinCC OA).

The scientific community is making ever greater use of high-end industrial standard systems. The decision taken at Cern to use the Simatic WinCC OA was down to its extreme stability and connectivity, its open system architecture and its resistance to external disturbances, as well as its capacity for coping reliably with data overload situations.

The demands made on the Scada system are enormous: Over ten million I/O (input and output) monitoring channels are processed by hundreds of computer systems using a widely distributed control system. Its ability to handle a large number of channels and high volumes of data makes the Simatic WinCC OA highly suited for networked and redundant high-end control systems. The Scada system ensures continuous, high performance communication right from the field level – in other words from the machine – to the control centre.

The open communication concept behind WinCC OA permits the integration of the most diverse components using OPC (Object Linking and Embedding OLE for process control), different field buses and telecontrol protocols. WinCC OA can also be used alongside Windows on Linux and Solaris operating systems, and offers scope for long-term data archiving using database management system software Oracle RdB, which features hierarchical compression stages and balancing functions. At the Cern, for instance, 200,000 value changes are processed per second in an Oracle Cluster.

Siemens subsidiary ETM professional control GmbH based in Eisenstadt (A) has developed and marketed the Scada system Simatic WinCC Open Architecture for over 25 years.  As part of their Simatic HMI family, the Scada system monitors and controls applications requiring a high degree of client-specific adaptability, large and/or complex applications and projects that impose specific system requirements and functions.

Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is a large-scale research centre near Meyrin in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland. Cern is concerned studying the basic constituents of matter and the interaction between elementary particles. This addresses the fundamental question of how the universe was formed and how it works. Large hadron colliders are used to accelerate particles to almost the speed of light and to cause them to collide with one other. A large number of different particle detectors are used to reconstruct the trajectory of the particles generated by these collisions. This allows conclusions to be drawn about the nature of both the collided and the newly formed particles. This process is an enormous technical undertaking, both in terms of the manufacture and operation of the equipment and also of the extreme demands made on computing performance for evaluating the large volumes of data. This is another reason why Cern is operated and financed on an international level.

Saturday 28 July 2012

8000 networks

WirelessHART standard achieving widespread acceptance throughout industry

More than 8,000 WirelessHART® networks are currently installed in major manufacturing sites around the globe signifying the widespread acceptance of the WirelessHART standard (IEC 62591; EN 62591) by the process automation industry.

Tens of thousands of WirelessHART devices are at work in a variety of process applications including rotating equipment, pipeline monitoring, storage tank farms and many others. Major companies such as Bayer, BASF, BP, Celanese, ConocoPhillips, Evonik, PEMEX, Shell, Statoil, and others are realizing the benefits of WirelessHART technology at process manufacturing sites worldwide.

Ron Helson
“The WirelessHART standard is built on the solid foundation of the HART® Protocol and by design provides the same familiar ease-of-use, backward compatibility, interoperability, reliability, and security,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “WirelessHART was designed to so that the integration and operation of HART and WirelessHART devices with automation systems is seamless and transparent.”

Leading automation suppliers such as ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, MACTek, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, R. Stahl, Siemens and others are shipping WirelessHART-based products to provide cost-efficient wireless communication for process industry applications.

The WirelessHART standard supports self-organizing, full multi-hop and multi-path mesh topologies and requires no specialized tools or expert communication protocol settings for deployment. The technology is easy to implement, provides built-in reliability in all industrial environments, and employs 128-bit AES encryption, multi-tiered, always-on security to protect the network and the data being transferred at all times. WirelessHART builds on proven international standards—the HART Communication Protocol (IEC 61158), EDDL (IEC 61804-3) and IEEE 802.15.4.

Friday 27 July 2012

COM express modules

GE Intelligent Platforms has added to the company’s growing range of COM Express modules with the launch of its highest performance offering to date, the rugged bCOM6-L1400. 

Taking advantage of the significant processing and graphics capabilities of the recently-announced Intel® Core™ i7 processor, the bCOM6-L1400 can support multiple independent displays in a wide variety of commercial, industrial, transportation and defense applications in a broad range of embedded computing environments. 

 The launch of the bCOM6-L1400 further expands GE’s range of rugged COM Express solutions following a series of announcements. The most recent of these was the launch of the rugged bCOM6-L1200 – which features a range of five VIA Nano™ and VIA Eden™ processor options - in February. 

By separating the carrier card from the processor, the COM Express architecture extends the useful life of the subsystem by allowing simple, cost-effective upgrade of the processor alone. This reduces long term cost of ownership while ensuring that performance keeps pace with changing needs.
Offered with a choice of either a dual-core or quad-core processor for maximum flexibility and enabling customers to select the optimum price-performance/watt combination for the planned application, the bCOM6-L1400 takes advantage of GE’s extensive experience and expertise in the design and development of rugged COM Express modules. It also complements GE Intelligent Platforms’ extensive portfolio of rugged embedded computing solutions that includes single board computers, multiprocessors, Ethernet switches, displays and networking.

The bCOM6-L1400 can be confidently deployed in the harshest, most challenging environments that are subject to extremes of temperature, vibration, shock and contaminants. Its components are specifically selected for reliable operation in hostile environments, and the processor and memory are soldered to the board for the highest possible resistance to external forces. 

Extended mechanical construction protects the module, which is designed for optional conformal coating for even greater resistance to moisture, dust, chemicals, and temperature extremes. Sophisticated dynamic thermal management optimizes uptime and helps prevent damage to the system.

GE is able to provide customers with the support necessary to enable them to develop their own carrier card configurations, or to provide custom carrier card variants on request. This ability provides significant flexibility to systems integrators looking to create unique, high value-added solutions. 

“The bCOM6-L1400 is a further example of GE’s rugged high performance platform strategy in action, and of our commitment to bringing the most recent processor technologies to market as rapidly as possible,” said Steve Pavlovsky, Product General Manager, Control & Communication Systems, GE Intelligent Platforms. “The COM Express architecture is ideal for OEMs looking to reduce developments costs, minimize risk and time to market and to provide the lowest possible cost of ownership. With the announcement of GE’s bCOM6-L1400, those customers get not just the benefits of COM Express and of Intel’s latest processor, but also outstanding performance, exceptional flexibility, remarkable robustness – and the commitment to customer satisfaction for which GE is renowned.”

As well as its graphics capabilities (VGA, LVDS with dual channel support and SDVO/TMDS/DisplayPort over DDI), the bCOM6-L1400 features up to 8GBytes of DDR3 memory, Gigabit Ethernet and four SATA interfaces, with support for both RAID 0 and RAID 1. Also provided for optimum connectivity are eight USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports.

Ethernet line extender

Ethernet Line Extender provides high-speed network connections over existing cabling
Easy-to-use, compact device for mission critical railway, industrial and utility applications

Westermo has enhanced its series of Ethernet line extenders with the release of a high-speed, compact device that is capable of meeting the increasing data transfer demands within industrial applications. The DDW-142 is the latest addition to the Wolverine range, which uses SHDSL technology (symetric high speed digital subscriber line) to establish a high-speed connection between Ethernet networks using any existing copper cables. This can enable considerable cost savings to be made when installing new systems where in the past the only option would have been fibre.

The DDW-142 is a fully managed device with Layer 2 switch functionality that enables effective Ethernet networks to be created over distances of up to 15 km. Data rates of up to 30.4 Mbits/s are possible, making the device suitable for connecting complex networks that may include a large number of devices requiring high bandwidth. An integral 2-port 100 Mbit switch allows two Ethernet devices to be attached and a RS-232 port enables legacy devices to be easily incorporated into the IP network.

To support engineers that are installing and maintaining ever increasingly complex networks, the DDW-142 has been designed to be extremely easy to set up, requiring no configuration for simple point-to-point communications. For larger networks, a web interface is provided and a CLI allows even more complex configuration. The Wolverine range is also supplied with a unique cable distance calculator. This uses data from real world applications to enable installers to calculate the speed and achievable distances using different types of cable. Once installed, SHDSL diagnostics and management functions enable indication of line degradation allowing planned maintenance. Should maintenance be required, a back-up and restore facility enables configurations to be quickly downloaded from a USB stick.

The DDW-142 is designed for use in tough environments and mission critical railway, road or utility applications where device failure could result in significant costs. The rugged and very compact unit can operate in extreme temperatures (-40 to +70°C) and where EMC and vibration levels are high. Total galvanic isolation and transient protection of the electronics contribute to a MTBF of 437,000 hours, ensuring high operational reliability and a long service life.
The Wolverine’s WeOS operating system provides an extensive suite of IP networking standards allowing resilient and flexible networks to be created. Developed to allow cross platform and future proof solutions, WeOS delivers a unique level of security and enables the DDW-142 to form part of a point-to-point, multi-drop or resilient ring network. In the event of any link or hardware failure, Westermo’s unique FRNT technology is able to re-configure a large network. 

The DDW-142 is transparent for multicast addressing, allows VPN (Virtual Private Network) pass-through for IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) and can be used with protocols like Modbus/TCP and PROFINET I/O. The DDW-142 also features a Link Fault Forward (LFF) functionality whereby the Ethernet link status is sent over the SHDSL link between two units.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Donation helps Phoenix to rise...

Keithley Instruments is helping the electrical engineers of tomorrow characterize photovoltaic devices accurately and efficiently. Oregon State University's Solar Vehicle Team (OSUSVT) has been putting the company's donated Model 2440 5A SourceMeter® instrument to work in analyzing and troubleshooting mono-crystalline silicon solar modules. These modules are powering the Phoenix, the solar race car in which the team competed in the 2012 American Solar Challenge, held in July. The donated instrument has already helped the team boost the power output of this year's vehicle by 50 percent over last year's.
The Phoenix
The team, made up of students, staff, and faculty members, has developed a soldering, testing, and laminating procedure to produce slightly flexible, lightweight solar modules based on mono-crystalline solar cells . To maximize vehicle performance, the team requires parametric data on each of the solar modules they construct in order to arrange the sub-arrays on the car in the most efficient manner. The Keithley Model 2440 SourceMeter instrument, acquired through a donation arranged between OSU's Kathy Han and Chuck Cimino, one of the company's marketing directors, is used to characterise each module's overall power output and maximum power point current using an I-V curve tracing technique. The Model 2440 allows students to gather accurate data on the performance of each module quickly and simplifies making side-by-side comparisons. Each solar module is characterized both before and after lamination and the data obtained is used in troubleshooting problems such as shorted cells and cracked cells. In addition, this data was employed in current matching in the sub-arrays, as well in projecting the output of the vehicle's entire solar array.

Kathy Han, the OSUSVT manager and lead for the body and co-lead for the solar module team, notes, "The Model 2440 allows us to obtain accurate I-V curve data on all our solar modules consistently and easily both before and after lamination. The data we obtained on maximum power output, open-current voltage, short-circuit current, maximum voltage, and maximum current let us detect problems like shorted and cracked cells, as well as to determine the best sub-array location for each module to maximize overall power output or to reject a module outright. Before we had access to the Model 2440, we had problems with one of our previous solar arrays that used solar cells that had been laser-cut from the front side, which we now know produces some melting of the p/n junction. This caused internal shorts and increased internal resistance in the cells. The Model 2440 made it possible to detect
problems that simply weren't detectable before and to match solar cells better. Because of Keithley's generous donation, this year's vehicle has 50 percent higher power output (900W instead of 600W) than last year's."

Keithley's Cimino explains, "The Model 2440 SourceMeter instrument is part of Keithley's Series 2400 line of source measurement units (SMU s), and is capable of sourcing and measuring up to 40V and 5A. Series 2400 instruments are optimized for test applications that demand tightly coupled sourcing and measurement, like the OSU's Solar Vehicle Team's. We were delighted to be asked to participate in their pursuit of the American Solar Challenge by making the SMU available for their use. We've also donated similar instrumentation to other college solar vehicle teams in previous years because of our long term commitment to supporting the development of the next generation of innovative and well trained electrical engineers and scientists."

All seven models in the Series 2400 SourceMeter line provide precision voltage and current sourcing as well as measurement capabilities. Each is both a highly stable DC power source and a true instrument-grade 6-1/2-digit multimeter. The power source characteristics include low noise, high precision, and flexible voltage, current and resistance readback. The multimeter capabilities include high repeatability and low noise signal conditioning and A-D conversion. The result is a compact, single-channel, DC parametric tester. In operation, these instruments can act as a voltage source, a current source, a voltage meter, a current meter, and an ohmmeter. By linking source and measurement circuitry in a single unit, these instruments minimise the time required for test station development, setup, and maintenance, while lowering the overall cost of system ownership. They also simplify the test process itself by eliminating many of the complex synchronisation and connection issues associated with using multiple instruments.

Test + Measurement races ahead!

The British subsidiary of Yokogawa’s European Test & Measurement operation – has entered into a sponsorship deal with Oxfordshire-based Drayson Racing Technologies to support Drayson’s pioneering development of electrically driven racing cars.

The sponsorship agreement involves Yokogawa supplying Drayson with selected items of test equipment including oscilloscopes and power meters, in exchange for which the Yokogawa logo will be displayed on the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV Le Mans prototype electric drive racing car.

The culmination of Drayson Racing’s long experience in green technology since pioneering bio-ethanol fuels in 2007, this ground-breaking vehicle has been designed to demonstrate the potential of green technologies in the harsh environment of motorsport.

Project pioneer Lord Drayson, former UK Minister of Science & Innovation, Managing Partner at Drayson Racing Technologies and President of the Motorsport Industry Association, comments: “Electric racing represents a considerable new business opportunity for motorsport and underlines the growing commercial potential of green racing technology. Electric-powered racing is really taking off with the launch of the new FIA Formula E world championship for electric racing cars planned for 2013, and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of the push for innovation at such an exciting time for the sport and the industry.”

The Lola-Drayson B12/69EV racing car incorporates a number of technical advances such as inductive charging, composite battery power, moveable aerodynamics and electrical regenerative damping, making it one of the most innovative clean-technology motorsport projects in the world. With a power output of over 850 horsepower, it also aims to be the fastest electrically powered racing car yet developed.

Angus Lyon, Chief Engineer, Electric Drive Train, with Drayson Racing Technologies, is enthusiastic about the benefits of the sponsorship agreement for his development work: “The Yokogawa test instruments will help us to address a number of challenges in the design of critical components of the drive train - in particular, identifying and eliminating the cause of electrical noise and interference that inevitably occur in the harsh automotive environment.”

Andy Barnes, UK Sales Manager for Yokogawa Measurement Technologies, is equally positive about the relationship: “We are delighted to be associated with such a prestigious project in a technology sector which totally reflects our corporate focus. Yokogawa’s test instruments are at the forefront of measurements in the power electronics field with particular emphasis on sustainable technology and energy efficiency, and this project is an outstanding example of how advanced engineering techniques can be used to achieve these aims. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

LCD distribution for Ireland & Britain

Ginsbury to support LCD module business for Kyocera and recently acquired Optrex

Ginsbury has announced a Britain and Ireland distribution agreement with LCD manufacturer Kyocera Display Corporation. Ginsbury will promote and support a wide range of Kyocera passive STN and active TFT LCD flat panel displays. Ginsbury will also continue to support and manage existing Optrex LCD business brought about by the recent acquisition of Optrex Corporation by Kyocera.

Neville Milward, Director, Ginsbury said, “The addition of Kyocera to our franchised supplier portfolio strengthens our display proposition across many different applications and vertical markets. Kyocera has an excellent reputation for producing a broad range of high quality, standard display modules,” he continued, “Kyocera will enable us to design in, support and supply many market sectors with high quality display solutions with the knowledge of a commitment to maintaining product longevity for our customers.”

Phil Blake, UK and Scandinavia Regional Sales Manager, Kyocera commented, “We are confident that new and existing customers in the UK will benefit significantly with the addition of Ginsbury as our franchised distribution partner. We are impressed with Ginsbury’s approach to product marketing which is highly focused and features strong technical support. There are many premium, niche manufacturers that need the focused approach of a specialist technical design-in distributor. The design-in phase is essential and Ginsbury have exhibited the knowledge and experience required to develop new business opportunities for Kyocera. We look forward to building a successful relationship with Ginsbury and creating new business growth.”

Blake added, “Our relationship with existing Optrex customers will not be affected by the change of ownership. We are fully committed to supporting legacy business and maintaining the continuity of supply to an established and highly valued customer base.”

Kyocera Display Corporation was formed following the recent acquisition of LCD manufacturer Optrex Corporation. The acquisition has enabled Kyocera to expand its LCD product offering and manufacturing capabilities for high quality, small to medium sized display modules and touchscreen based products.

Extreme performance ATCA blade

The ADLINK aTCA-6250 incorporates the latest dual 8-core/16-thread Intel® Xeon® processors to provide robust computing power for high-end carrier-grade applications.

Featuring dual 8-core Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L (2.1 GHz/1.8 GHz) with Intel® C604 chipset, eight channels of DDR3 memory up to 128 GB, and a 400 W power supply subsystem for maximum computing performance, the aTCA-6250, from Adlink Technology , provides versatile connectivity including dual 10GbE Fabric Interfaces, dual GbE Base Interfaces, quad front panel GbE interfaces, dual front panel USB and COM ports, and onboard SATA DOM socket. Dual 10GbE ports and dual hot-swappable SAS bays on the optional aTCA R6270 Rear Transition Module (RTM) provide additional network throughput and storage capabilities.

It is designed for carrier-grade applications requiring maximum computing power, reliability and high network/storage throughput such as media servers in IPTV, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) broadband networks, network security, network monitoring/analysis and wireless infrastructures. ADLINK's latest ATCA blade is designed for NEBS compliance and gives telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) and network equipment providers (NEPs) a powerful, high bandwidth solution for mission critical applications and a smooth, reliable path for scalability and upgradability.

The aTCA-6250 implements dual Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L-based devices linked by dual Intel® Quickpath Interconnect (Intel® QPI) point-to-point link interfaces providing high bandwidth, low latency connectivity from processor to processor at up to 8 GT/s. With Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L provides increased performance from both single and multi-thread workloads while maintaining thermal and energy efficiency. Eight sockets of DDR3-1600 VLP RDIMM offer a maximum capacity of 128 GB of main memory. The memory design of the aTCA-6250 is optimized for maximum memory bandwidth and provides forward compatibility with next generation DDR3-1866 memory supported by future Intel® CPU designs.

High speed data-transfer on the PICMG 3.1 Fabric Interface is enabled by a PCI Express 2.0 capable Intel® 82599EB 10GbE controller and Base Interface connectivity is provided by PCI Express 2.0 capable Intel® 82576EB GbE controllers. Paired with the optional aTCA-R6270 RTM, the aTCA-6250 supports additional dual 10GbE SFP+ ports enabled by an Intel® 82599ES 10GbE controller.

"Combined with Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L, the aTCA-6250 delivers powerful performance for high-end telecom, network security and media server applications requiring carrier-grade computing power, memory bandwidth/capacity, high throughput connectivity and accelerated packet processing," said Eric Kao, Director of ADLINK's Embedded Computing Product Segment. "The ADLINK aTCA-6250 is powered by a 400 W power supply subsystem to ensure uncompromised computing performance. ADLINK's advanced thermal solution guarantees stability and longevity for operation in critical environments at maximum performance.

“ADLINK’s new aTCA-6250 offers versatile storage and connectivity support with four RJ-45 GbE ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two serial ports and analog graphics output on the front panel; onboard SATA DOM socket, Fabric Interface protocols and Base Interface channels to Zone 2; and dual hot-swappable SAS bays, three USB ports, one serial port and two SFP+ 10 GbE ports on the aTCA-R6270 RTM. Combining high computing performance, high memory capacity/bandwidth and high bandwidth of network and storage I/O interface, the ADLINK’s aTCA-6250 is specifically designed for extreme high-end telecom applications.”

The aTCA-6250 supports the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK), a lightweight run-time environment for Intel® architecture processors offering low overhead and run-to-completion mode to maximize packet processing performance. It provides a rich selection of optimized and efficient libraries, also known as the Environment Abstraction Layer (EAL), which are responsible for initializing and allocating low-level resources, hiding the environment specifics from the applications and libraries, and gaining access to the low-level resources, such as memory space, PCI devices, timers and consoles.

The EAL provides an optimized Poll Mode Driver (PMD); memory & buffer management; and timer, debug and packet handling APIs, some of which may also be provided by the operating system. To facilitate interaction with application layers, the EAL, together with standard the GNU C Library (GLIBC), provide full APIs for integration with higher level applications.

Wireless and Ethernet compatibility

Smart Wireless Gateway with EtherNet/IP output compatibility reduces the time and cost to establish a wireless field network with an EtherNet/IP PLC (programmable logic controller) 

Emerson Process Management is making it easier for process industry manufacturers who require EtherNet/IP to set-up and run a wireless field network in their operation. 

Currently, PLC users requiring EtherNet/IP must purchase a converter from a third party provider to add wireless to their systems. Using a converter can increase the time it takes to establish and run the wireless network, while adding cost and hardware complexity. The Emerson Smart Wireless Gateway eliminates the need for the converter and provides users with a simple integration that will natively speak to their PLC through the EtherNet/IP connection. 

In addition, the Smart Wireless Gateway also provides enhanced security features for industrial automation and control systems. These new security features are designed to IEC 62443 (ISA99) standards and are intended to fully comply with NERC CIP requirements. The new customised user account feature allows a manager to easily set-up and configure gateway access privileges for various members of their operation. 

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Your marks - on metal!

For the first time ever Weidmüller offers a marking system with which it is possible to print on markers made of metal.
The markers are printed using the "PrintJet PRO" printer, which also prints the proven assortment of MultiCard markers. Utilising Weidmüller's system ensures marking tasks in and around the electrical cabinet are extremely straightforward: one printer, one software, one type of ink. Users do not need an oven or similar additional equipment. The seamlessly fine-tuned holistic system is open to high levels of customized solutions – thanks to the freedom to create layouts and uncomplicated importing of data from other systems. Now, long delivery times for pre-printed marker versions are a thing of the past. MetalliCards are printed on the ink-jet printer PrintJet PRO. 

Printing metal MetalliCard markers is made possible by a special update kit. It is possible to create colour graphics, characters and logos to suit individual requirements. Users are able choose between riveting and gluing or using stainless steel cable ties or holders to secure the metal markers – options that ensure high levels of flexibility. Fulfilling the highest requirements MetalliCard markers are resistant to high temperatures, extreme changes to the climate, UV radiation and other external influences. The rectangular markers are available in sizes from 27 mm x 18 mm through to 85 mm x 54 mm. There are also round markers (diameter: 30 mm) as well as a version for stainless steel cable ties for marking cables. Anodized aluminium (inexpensive with excellent print quality) and stainless steel (particularly suitable for the process and chemical industries) are the materials of choice.

Due to their material properties metal markers are better suited to the more demanding applications than markers made from polyamide. They are much better able to withstand harsh environments – including high temperatures, climate swings, UV radiation and other environmental chemical/physical loads. With its MetalliCard Weidmüller offers stringently tested markers for marking electrical equipment and cables. Chemically resistant (tested to DIN ISO 175) MetalliCard has successfully completed wipe tests with many different substances. Add to that its UV resistance (tested in a sun tester with a radiation power of 768 W/m², 500 hours). Also completed successfully were the thermal stability test (temperature range: -55 °C to max. 130 °C), alternating thermal loads of heat and cold (to IEC 61984) and the saline spray test (in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9227 for 336 hours respectively). MetalliCards offer a verified degree of protection to IPX9 K (high-pressure/steam cleaning) to DIN EN 60529, VDE 0470-1.

With the MetalliCard marking system it is possible to print metal markers utilizing the "PrintJet PRO" printer, which has long been well established on the market. It also prints the proven MultiCard range of markers. Users are able to complete their marking tasks in and around electrical cabinet with the seamlessly fine-tuned Weidmüller system: just one printer, one software and one type of ink. Users are able to create individual layouts and utilize data from other systems without any difficulty. Colour graphics, characters and logos can all be created as desired. MetalliCards are printed on the ink-jet printer PrintJet PRO. A special update kit ensures it is possible to print metal MetalliCard markers. The printing process remains identical: to fuse the water-based ink to the metal substrate the card is pre-treated with a primer and there follows a longer thermal fixing process. The markers are ready within as little as 5.5 minutes.

Users are able choose between riveting and gluing or using stainless steel cable ties or holders to secure the metal markers – options that ensure high levels of flexibility. The rectangular markers are available in sizes from 27 mm x 18 mm through to 85 mm x 54 mm. There are also round markers (diameter: 30 mm) as well as a version for stainless steel cable ties for marking cables. The materials available for ordering are anodized aluminium and stainless steel (1.4301). Whereas aluminium represents an inexpensive marker material stainless steel is suitable for use in the process and chemical industries – which have particularly high requirements with regard to industrial suitability in harsh environments.

Weidmüller offers inlays to print the different markers and a universal inlay. The respective inlays are able to accommodate several markers of the same type of each marker size – independent of the drill holes. The inlays are designed to last for more than 2000 printing processes. The universal inlay has been designed to accommodate all eight different marker sizes for printing. Sophisticated inlay positioning takes up a marker for each printing operation.

Display products for Switzerland and Spain

KOE Europe has appointed Data Modul as a franchised distributor for Switzerland and Spain. The expansion of the distribution agreement between the two companies now enables Data Modul to promote and supply the full range of KOE industrial and Rugged+ LCD modules in these two regions.
Data Modul (left to right) Claus Vogt, Konrad Szabo, Marion Radina (Product Management), Axier Gonzales (Sales Manager Barcelona), Walter King (COO), Martin Schellenberg (Sales Manager Switzerland), Alejandro Garcia (General Manager Spain), Santiago Munoz (Sales Manager Bilbao).
Announcing the extension of distribution agreement with Data Modul, Mark Stanley, General Manager, KOE Europe explained, “Data Modul has shown a consistent level of achievement in developing and supporting new display business for KOE in central Europe. The expansion of KOE’s distribution sales channel in Switzerland and Spain with Data Modul is fully merited and we look forward to further success and business growth.”

Walter King CEO, Data Modul commented, “Data Modul prides itself on providing customers with value-added product solutions. This helps our customers to considerably shorten design cycles and thus the time to market of their products. The broadening of our long standing relationship with KOE is a result of our successful philosophy of total solution design in. KOE manufacture a high quality, high performance display product portfolio and we are excited by the prospect of taking these products to a wider European market.”

Data Modul is Europe’s biggest independent specialist supplier of display technology. Data Modul’s continued investment in R&D has enabled the addition of high quality products and solutions that are used in many industrial applications and information systems.

Another voice to advance automation!

The Measurement, Control & Automation Association (MCAA) has signed a Memorandum of Membership with the Automation Federation (AF). As the newest member, MCAA has agreed to collaborate with the other member organisations to advance the automation profession.

The Automation Federation is an association of member organizations providing awareness, programs and services that continually advance all facets of the automation profession. The Automation Federation serves as the “Voice of Automation” by providing advocacy and industry-wide strategic analysis and coordination through its member organizations. The Automation Federation is bringing like-minded organizations, like MCAA, together to create a stronger "Voice" that will further spread the messages about the importance of the automation profession and the need to develop the next generation of automation professionals.

Cynthia Esher, President MCAA
MCAA is a trade association whose purpose is bringing process control providers together to develop the resources they need to prosper. The organization helps the management teams of process control product and solution providers run and grow successful businesses by offering timely, unique and highly specialized resources acquired from shared management benchmarks and strategies where proprietary company information is secure. Because of the interest of its membership in workforce development, MCAA recognized the valuable work of the Automation Federation and has joined the Automation Federation as its fourteenth member organization.

MCAA President, Cynthia Esher, said today, “One of our primary concerns is Workforce Development. Our Association has taken interest in the work of the Automation Federation to promote the next generation of automation professionals. MCAA will join with the other organizations in the Automation Federation to create more visibility for our industry with our future workforce. We’re interested in this effort from all levels: high schools, trade schools, technical schools and engineering schools. We recognize the strength of the alliance we are making through membership in the Automation Federation and believe that together we can make a difference in this vital area.”

“The Automation Federation welcomes MCAA as our newest member organization. I know MCAA’s support and participation will strengthen our workforce development efforts significantly. I look forward to working together for the advancement of the automation profession,” said 2012 Automation Federation Chair, Leo Staples.

Smart Wireless vibrating fork liquid level switch

The Rosemount 2160 IEC 62591 (WirelessHART®) vibrating fork liquid level switch has been enhanced with faster update rates and advanced broadcasting functions to improve its suitability for critical level control applications. The 2160 also features improved diagnostic capabilities that help to reduce plant maintenance costs. Typical applications for the level device include overfill protection, high and low level alarms, pump control (limit detection), pump protection, and empty pipe detection.

The Rosemount 2160 level switch now provides one second update rates, extending the range of suitable level control applications to include fast moving applications, such as those found in batch filling. Wireless network redundancy and robustness enable customers to confidently extend their use to critical monitoring and control applications.

For monitoring applications, a unique trending capability enables the collection of data samples for a specified device variable. This reduces the number of transmissions over the wireless network, optimising power module life. A new advanced broadcasting function ensures that changes in process value, frequency of the vibrating fork, battery voltage or temperature are transmitted immediately, thereby improving both safety and diagnostic capability.

The 2160 has no moving parts and requires minimal maintenance. The condition of the forks is continuously monitored to help identify corrosion, build up or damage. Plant-wide alerts can be configured to warn of changes to an instrument’s status, giving operators advanced warning of any potential health problems.

Should an operator need to inspect the unit, a new ‘squawk’ feature helps operators identify a specific device. An integral LCD display showing switch output states and diagnostics provides real time, accurate verification of process conditions.

The 2160 liquid level switch is virtually unaffected by flow, bubbles, turbulence, foam, vibration, solids content, coating, liquid properties and product variations. It is designed for use in extreme temperatures and performs in harsh process conditions that are unsuitable for other switches. Two models are available, covering the temperature range -68° to 260°C (-94° to 500°F).

New smart position sensor

Honeywell is rounding out its SMART position sensor portfolio with the new Rotary Configuration that provides 360° non-contact angular position sensing. With this product, Honeywell offers a SMART Position Sensor that encompasses the most basic geometric configurations: lines, angles, and circles. The new sensor is highly durable, accurate, and cost-effective, enabling design engineers to replace an optical encoder, or to utilise a sensor instead of a resolver which can be expensive and difficult to integrate into a system.

The SMART Position Sensor utilises non-contact magnetoresistive (MR) technology to determine the object’s position, which allows it to accurately sense position in dirty and harsh environments, replacing optical encoders, which use light to determine position, to obtain a highly accurate measurement. Resolvers are typically hand-wired devices with extremely high accuracy and durability for use in incredibly precise, non-serviceable aerospace applications.

“The new SMART Position Sensor provides customers with excellent and precise accuracy for those applications that require a high level of accuracy, as well as capable accuracy in applications where system tolerance may be of concern,” said Chris Gottlieb, global product marketing manager for Honeywell Sensing and Control. “In addition, this device provides the same benefits that customers have come to expect with the SMART Position Sensor platform: lower total cost of ownership, high accuracy, and high durability.”

Honeywell developed the new sensor to offer the high level of accuracy needed for the specific transportation and industrial applications in which it is designed to operate, measuring values down to 0.01º. Potential transportation applications include steering angle, articulation angle, and boom arm detection, while industrial customers could use it in solar panels or wind turbines.

Honeywell uses a patented combination of an ASIC and an array of MR sensors to accurately and reliably determine the position of a magnet collar attached to a rotating object to identify and control the object’s position. This technology helps OEMs reduce warranty costs because there are fewer parts to wear out or break down. This also helps end users reduce downtime due to fewer calibration requirements.

The SMART Position Sensor’s automotive-grade potting makes it more resistant to vibration, shock, and extreme temperatures, improving reliability and allowing for use in a wide variety of tough applications. Repeatable output that occurs within a 3,0 mm ±2,0 mm [0.118 in ±0.079 in] air gap between the sensor and magnet collar expand application opportunities. The sensor also provides minimal signal error with up to 2,50 mm [0.10 in] of radial error, simplifying design-in.

Twenty years years comms!

June conference to mark 20 years since The PROFIBUS Group launched in the UK

The PROFIBUS UK Group was founded at the C&I Show in May 1993 (Remember C&I?). 20 years on, they're still going strong and celebrating with a one-day Conference to be held on 26th June 2013 at The Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon (GB).

Karsten Schneider
Profibus Internation Chair

The event will concentrate on the real issues of implementation, maintenance and management of PROFIBUS and PROFINET systems and will deliver a mixture of presentations, demonstrations and hands-on practical sessions suitable for a wide variety of experience levels. It will cover latest developments in these technologies for factory and process automation including safety, motion control, wireless implementations and integration with the Internet and MES. The event will be supported by a tabletop exhibition.

"The conference is designed for engineers, managers and indeed anyone concerned with the real issues of implementing fieldbus and/or industrial Ethernet technologies" said organiser and Group Chairman, Bob Squirrell. "We've invited some top speakers and some very able engineers to present the facts and demonstrate the systems, including new PROFIBUS International Chairman Karsten Schnieder who will be presenting the Keynote Address."

There will be plenty of opportunities for networking during the event or at the (optional) Celebratory Dinner the evening before where delegates will have the opportunity to meet some of the the industry's experts.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Controller for nuclear power plants

Triple modular redundant Tricon system simplifies licensing process, enables easier nuclear modernisation projects

Version 10 of Invensys's Triconex® Tricon® controller has been approved for use in safety-related nuclear power plant instrument and control applications by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) dated April 12, 2012, the NRC indicates that the latest version of the Tricon controller can now be used in safety-related (1E) applications, like reactor protection systems, in U.S. nuclear power plants and U.S. Department of Energy facilities that require licensing or oversight by the NRC. It is the first controller from a dedicated automation vendor to achieve such certification from the NRC and it remains the only triple-modular-redundant system to be qualified.

“The Triconex Tricon system is extremely important to us as we continue to migrate to digital technology, while providing safe, clean, reliable power to our customers in California,” said Scott Patterson, program manager for I&C obsolescence for Pacific Gas & Electric, which operates the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo, Calif. “Partnering with Invensys, an automation vendor whose core competency is safety systems, gives us an additional layer of protection as we upgrade older safety-related equipment. NRC certification means we can move forward with modernising and optimising our plants to ensure their continuous safe operation. We are confident this technology will enhance future upgrades and new designs, as well as ease the licensing process.”

The Tricon controller’s state-of-the-art fault tolerant, triple-modular-redundant—TMR—architecture removes single points of failure by integrating three isolated, parallel control systems and extensive diagnostics into one system. The system uses two-out-of-three voting to provide high-integrity, error-free, uninterrupted process operation. True TMR is the only such technology certified by the NRC. The Commission’s SER encompasses the Tricon controller’s software and hardware, including termination panels, chassis, power supplies, main processor modules, communication modules, input/output modules and interconnecting cabling.

"In 2002, the NRC certified an earlier version of our Tricon controller, and since that time we have made a number enhancements,” said Clayton Scott, chief nuclear officer, Invensys Operations Management. “We sought this unprecedented second certification so that we can continue to deliver the industry’s most reliable safety controller, helping our customers produce the safest, most reliable energy possible. Enabled by our Triconex technology, our nuclear customers can now apply Tricon controllers in both their existing fleet and new builds. This certification will be of tremendous value to the fleet of U.S. nuclear plants that require modernisation. It also sets a new standard for control and safety excellence for the global nuclear industry.”

“Partnering with Pacific Gas & Electric and the Diablo Canyon team to renew nuclear safety certification for the Tricon controller gives other nuclear plants wanting to modernise their safety systems and meet the latest regulatory guidelines a strong point of reference,” said Harry Forbes, senior analyst with ARC Advisory Group. “The NRC’s approval enables other nuclear power plants to expedite their system modernisation plans with shorter schedules and more predictable project costs. ARC believes the Tricon controller will help nuclear power plants globally migrate to digital control with a simplified licensing process.”

Invensys leads the market when it comes to overall safety shutdown systems. As one of the world’s most rigorously evaluated control systems, more than 10,000 Tricon controllers are in use today in safety and critical control applications worldwide, and they have collectively amassed more than 650 millions of hours of operation without failure upon demand.