Friday 30 November 2012

Techniques and tools of advanced control for the process

New ISA publication explains the concepts, techniques and tools of advanced control for the process industry, and furnishes practical examples of application and capabilities with web-based workshops

A new book that explains the concepts and terminology of advanced control, and highlights the advanced control tools and techniques most widely and effectively applied in the process industry has been added to the International Society of Automation's (ISA) Bookstore.

Authors: Blevins, Wojsznis & Nixon
Advanced Control Foundation: Tools, Techniques, and Applications by Terrence L. “Terry” Blevins, Willy K. Wojsznis and Mark Nixon is designed to help control engineers and process engineers gain a more thorough understanding of the concepts and capabilities of advanced control products and solutions, which have been proven to reduce variation in plant operation, achieve production targets and improve plant production. The first print run of this book made it to the ISA's bookstore at September's Automation Week but it really hit the big-time at Emerson's User Group Meeting in October, where Susan Colwell, ISA's Publications intrepid Publications Development Manager, reported that the "ISA Bookstore has been hopping since early a.m!.." highlighting this book.

“The book is ideally suited to process and control engineers who have a sound understanding of conventional control techniques but have little or no background on advanced control,” says Blevins, who was instrumental in establishing Emerson Process Management’s Advanced Control Program and, along with his co-authors, has extensive experience in the design and startup of advanced control solutions. “It provides practical examples that allow readers to quickly become familiar with the advanced control techniques commonly utilized in the process industry today. In addition, the web site that accompanies the book  presents workshops on commercially available solutions that apply the advanced control concepts and techniques outlined in the book.“

The three authors draw on their decades of collective experience in designing and applying advanced process control systems across industries, namely oil and gas, refining, chemicals, pulp and paper, cement, steel and mining. Together, the authors have developed numerous innovative process control products, written well over 100 technical papers, and introduced more than 150 patents.

The book is primarily targeted to control engineers responsible for the commission, installation and maintenance of control systems and the advanced control tools installed in process plants, and to process engineers charged with improving process operations and efficiency. It’s also highly relevant to engineering students interested in how advanced control is utilized in the process industry.

The book explains in detail the primary advanced control techniques that are most commonly used in the process industry for: monitoring control system performance; on-demand and adaptive tuning; model predictive control; linear programming (LP) optimisation; data analytics for batch and continuous processes; fuzzy logic control; neural networks; and advancements in proportional–integral–derivative (PID) controllers for use with wireless measurements.

Each chapter is designed to quickly educate readers on various technologies and how they are applied. Examples are used to clearly illustrate the requirements for successful applications. A section of each chapter is dedicated to in-depth explanations of the mathematical basis for each technology.

Since some automation professionals work with distributed control systems (DCS) that do not support advanced control, a chapter of the book outlines techniques that can integrate advanced control tools into existing control systems. In addition, another chapter addresses how dynamic process simulations can be created in a DCS to support checkout and operator training on the use of advanced control.

All three authors are employed by Emerson Process Management, a global supplier of process automation services and technologies. Blevins, a principal technologist at the company, is responsible for more than 50 patents and has written over 70 papers on process control system design and applications. He is the US expert to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) SC65E WG7 function block committee that is responsible for the IEC 61804 function block standards. He is a voting member and chairman of ISA SP104-EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language) committee and is the technical advisor to the United States Technical Advisory Group (USTAG) for the IEC65E subcommittee.

Blevins authored seven sections of the Process/Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook, contributed to the Instrumentation Engineer’s Handbook: Process Control and Optimization, and co-authored Advanced Control Unleashed and Control Loop Foundation, which are among ISA’s top-selling books.

He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville in 1971 and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1973. In 2004, Blevins was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Wojsznis has been developing advanced control products --- with a particular focus on model predictive control, data analytics and auto tuning --- for more than 20 years. In his role with Emerson Process Management, he conducts applied research in the areas of optimization, adaptive control, data analytics and model predictive control.

Wojsznis co-authored ISA’s Advanced Control Unleashed and Control Loop Foundation. Through his career, he has developed computer control systems and applications for the cement, steel, mining and paper industries. His work has resulted in more than 30 patents and more than 40 technical papers. He received a control engineering degree from Kiev Technical University in 1964, a master of science degree in applied mathematics from Wroclaw University in 1972, and a doctorate degree from Warsaw University of Technology in 1973.

In 2010, Wojsznis was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Nixon has been involved in the design and development of control systems throughout his career. He began his career as a systems engineer working on projects in oil and gas, refining, chemicals, and pulp and paper.

From 1995 to 2005, Nixon was lead architect at Emerson Process Management. In 2006 he joined the company’s wireless team, taking an active role in the development of the WirelessHART specifications and the development of the IEC 62591 standardization. HIs current research includes control using WirelessHART devices, data analytics for batch processes, wireless technology in the process industry, web-based user interfaces, operator interfaces and advanced graphics.

He is active in the Center for Operator Performance, WirelessHART, S88, Foundation Fieldbus ISA standards, and ISA101. He has written numerous papers and currently holds over 70 patents. He coauthored WirelessHART: Real-Time Mesh Network for Industrial Automation and has made contributions to the Industrial Instruments and Controls Handbook and Modern Measurement and Final Element Essentials for the Process Industry.

Nixon co-authored the ISA best-selling book, Control Loop Foundation also with Blevins. This is available as a eBook for iPad & Kindle and is also available in Chinese Language.  He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1982. In 2012, Nixon was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame.

Advanced oil in water detection prevents plant failure

The installation of a continuous oil-in-water monitor in coolant water at a steel re-processing plant has prevented downtime and avoided costly and time-consuming laboratory analysis.

The steel manufacturing industry relies on closed loop generation and recycling of steam as an energy efficient means of process control. Generated steam is used to raise the temperature of mineral oil based heat transfer fluids and later condensed back into water for use as a coolant fluid. However, any cracks on the heat exchanger surface cause leakage of mineral oil into the condensate, which could result in a discharge consent failure and cause plant shut-down during remedial work.

A large steel re-processing group has traditionally relied on daily physical checks to identify hairline cracks in the metalwork, in conjunction with analysis of effluent water for trace oil loading. Previously, water samples had to be manually collected and transported to the laboratory which incurred ongoing extra costs and delays in test results that could prevent timely action in the event of a leak.

Following consultation with Hach Lange, an FP360sc dissolved oil in water probe was installed in a flow-cell assembly on the outlet of the coolant water feed line. With instant warning of line leakages, extensive downtime and the associated costs of late intervention are now avoided. Additional benefits include: reduced operational costs associated with sample collection and transport, avoidance of health & safety issues related to reagent handling in the laboratory, significant improvements in uptime, and closer control of discharge to the environment (current consent limit at 10ppm).

Summarising the advantages of continuous measurement, Hach Lange’s Dr Patsy Rigby says: “Even the smallest traces of oil can pollute large volumes of water, so online monitoring ensures that alarms can be raised to enable prompt remedial action.”

“The FP 360 sc is designed to monitor surface water, process water and industrial water and is available in stainless steel or titanium. It can detect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from 1.2 ppb up to 5000 ppb (μg/L) or mineral oils from 0.1 to 150 ppm (mg/L) and with no calibration necessary and maintenance limited to a 2 yearly lamp calibration and a 4 yearly lamp replacement, this instrument is extremely easy to operate.”

Thursday 29 November 2012

Low cost high speed image recording

Stemmer Imaging has announced the availability of Gecko, a low cost application that captures and compresses video streamed directly from GigE cameras onto a standard PC in real time. The latest version of Gecko supports fast uncompressed ring buffers for capturing short high speed events plus an incredibly fast JPG RAM compressor capable of recording to memory at high rates for long durations. Events may be triggered by mouse, keyboard or camera digital I/O with pre and post event recording buffer.

Gecko is designed for applications that require a simple to use digital video recorder for process monitoring and event capture and records video to standard formats such as AVI and MPG. The application is built using Stemmer Imaging’s widely used Common Vision Blox software.

It allows viewing, control and recording from up to four GigE Vision compliant cameras simultaneously. The simple to use and intuitive GUI allows recording with a single click. Gecko supports file sizes over 2GB for long period recording and frame rates as low as 1Hz for very long time recording.

Smallest, fastest, highest resolution position sensor

Gill Sensors has launched the new Blade20 non-contact position sensor. This latest addition has been developed in response to customer demand for a smaller, faster and higher resolution position sensor that is able to withstand to harsh industrial environments in applications such as process control machinery, materials handling equipment and robotic systems.

The Blade20 features Gill’s patented induction technology principle and represents a significant breakthrough in position sensing, with a single product allowing the measurement of linear and shallow-arc motion as well as long-stroke measurement with a single micro sensor. With a fast update rate for quick positional feedback, it is suitable for a wide range of applications that require fast and accurate position measurement in a dusty or dirty environment.

The core electronics are 40% smaller than the previous generation and the latest technology offers 12-bit resolution capable of data sampling at speeds up to 15 KHz. The product is currently offered with 0.5-4.5V and 0.5-10V outputs, and a 4-20mA variant is planned for release early in the New Year.

To assist engineers in retro-fit applications this sensor has a unique two-part modular construction. This enables the metal mounting section to be rapidly customised at the factory to suit exacting customer requirements without extensive re-engineering of the product. Being a solid state sensor, it has no moving parts and so has an unlimited mechanical life and is sealed to IP68 to prevent dust or water ingress.

“We’re very proud of what we have achieved in delivering next generation induction technology to provide faster, more accurate position measurement,” said Mike Rees, Head of Marketing for Gill Sensors. “This versatile new sensor is ideal for a wide range of applications throughout industry.”

Comunications co-operation

The HART® Communication Foundation announces that, due to the collaborative efforts of the Wireless Cooperation Team (WCT), specifications for transducer blocks for HART and WirelessHART® devices have been added to the latest Foundation™ fieldbus (FF) technical specifications. This addition enables full integration of HART and WirelessHART device information, including device diagnostics, into a Foundation for ROM (Remote Operations Management) system.

"The Wireless Cooperation Team was formed to help facilitate the acceptance of wireless technology in the manufacturing and process industries,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “We are seeing one of the first positive results of this unprecedented collaboration—now users can incorporate HART, WirelessHART and FOUNDATION fieldbus information into one standard environment for data and device management.”

The revision to the Foundation fieldbus specifications is significant because now suppliers can create FF transducer blocks which enable HART and WirelessHART device measurement and diagnostic information to be integrated into the FF infrastructure.

“The Fieldbus Foundation is excited to have this new level of cooperation with the HART Communication Foundation and WCT. Our whole strategy around FOUNDATION for ROM is to make things easier, more flexible, and more consistent for our end users,” says Fieldbus Foundation Global Marketing Manager Larry O’Brien.

The collaborative effort of the WCT is sponsored by the HART Communication Foundation, Fieldbus Foundation, Profibus Nutzerorganisation e.V. and Modbus Organization.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

New 3D cad models

3D and 2D drawings available for broad line of regulators

Emerson Process Management now offers 3D CAD drawings and 2D drawings with dimensions for its regulator products.
Type SR5 Sanitary Pressure Regulator

The interactive 3D CAD drawings are high-quality, photorealistic images that can be rotated and zoomed for a complete view of the product, allowing the viewer to truly see how the product can be integrated into the equipment being designed.

The 3D representations save design time and reduce possible issues during fabrication. Two and three-dimensional representations are available for Emerson’s broad line of natural gas, air, liquid, LP-gas, process gas, steam, tank blanketing and sanitary regulator products. The drawings are compatible with all major CAD software, including Autodesk, PTC and Solidworks.

RFID integration

Easy and cost-effective integration of RFID hardware

Ha-VIS middleware from Harting provides easy and cost-effective integration of RFID hardware into existing software systems, enabling users to operate Ha-VIS RFID reading devices to process the transponder-supplied information without the need for any programming.

The new system provides operators with the means to implement automation of the lowest field level into existing processes without the need for years of experience of RFID systems.

Their Ha-VIS middleware operates with a wide selection of data formats – including XML, CSV and MySQL(R) - enabling the immediate use of information. It also meets the requirements of the EPC standard ALE 1.1, allowing it to not only read RFID transponders but also write to them in conformity with the standard.

The ability to integrate RFID hardware in an industry-standard environment without the need for programming leads to customer benefits in terms of ease of use and cost-effectiveness, making it easy to implement the rapid introduction of RFID into the company environment.

ATEX certified load cells

The Deeter Group have added a wide range of ATEX certified load cells for industrial weighing applications to their very successful range of ATEX and IECEx approved liquid level sensors

The new range of load cells are available in lever mount, cantilever, shear beam, folded shear beam and master mount form factors and can measure weights from 10Kg for process weighing up to 50 Tonnes for silo, tank and vessel weighing applications.

Intended for use in hazardous environments the new Deeter load cells meet the requirements of ATEX Directive 94/9/EC, the mandatory requirement for all equipment intended for use in a potentially explosive environment. Many manufacturing processes, including biodiesel production, generate potentially explosive atmospheres and European Directive 137 – The protection of workers from potentially explosive atmospheres – makes it mandatory under European law to assess for an explosion risk and classify the area accordingly.

Peter Whiteaker, Managing Director of Deeter Group, comments; "We are continuing to grow our range of ATEX approved sensors in order to offer our customers a one-stop-shop for sensors and wireless measuring systems for process control and measuring systems.”

The new Deeter load cells may be used in applications as diverse as; weigh platforms, tank and vessel weighing, bag filling machines and conveyors, belt weighers and tank weighing, mixers, catalyst vessels, axle weighers and weighbridges, silo and vessel weighing. Typical industries include food processing, chemical, pharmaceutical and general bulk handling industries and materials storage.

Enhanced safety instrumented systems!

The enhanced version of ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system ensures safe operation of plants and upstream oil and natural gas facilities

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has released an enhanced version of its ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system. This new version, ProSafe-RS R3.02.00, features input/output modules that will operate reliably in the high-temperature conditions typically encountered in desert locations. Support of an open communications protocol has also been added, enhancing the system’s compatibility with other vendors’ distributed control systems (DCS).

Development background
In the oil, natural gas, petrochemical, iron & steel, and other energy and basic materials industries, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure the safety of plant operations to prevent accidents, protect the environment, and be good corporate citizens. Accordingly, there is a growing demand for safety instrumented systems that can detect abnormal conditions and safely initiate emergency shutdowns.

Control devices and safety instrumentation systems are often installed outdoors for monitoring oil and gas wells and pipelines. As many of these facilities are in desert locations, they must be able to operate in high-temperature conditions.

In addition, plant operators who replace their safety instrumentation systems to improve productivity and safety need to maintain compatibility with their existing distributed control systems.

To satisfy these needs for high-temperature resistance and inter-system compatibility, Yokogawa has developed this enhanced version of the ProSafe-RS safety instrumented system.

Overview of enhancements
1. High-temperature resistant input/output modules
High-temperature resistant digital and analogue input/output modules have been developed. Previously, input/output modules had to be spaced far apart to prevent the accumulation of heat. While mounted closely together, the new modules can operate at ambient temperatures of up to 70°C (158°F). This reduces the system footprint.

2. Modbus/TCP protocol support
Safety instrumented systemsand distributed control systems are not always replaced at the same time. Therefore, ProSafe-RS has been enhanced by adding support for Ethernet-based Modbus/TCP communications with other systems. Modbus is an industrial communications protocol developed by the US company Modicon (now owned by Schneider Electric). This facilitates the flexible connection of the ProSafe-RS system with distributed control systems from other vendors, allowing Yokogawa’s customers a greater range of choice.

Takashi Nishijima, a Director and Senior Vice President, and Head of Yokogawa’s Industrial Automation Platform Business Headquarters, comments: "The latest version of ProSafe-RS was developed to achieve safety excellence at our customers’ production sites, which is one of the aims of our VigilantPlant range of solutions . Safety is the most important consideration in plant operations. With this new version, ProSafe-RS is now capable of ensuring that our customers’ systems work precisely and safely under high-temperature conditions. The tighter connection not only with CENTUM systems but also other vendors’ systems makes it easier for companies to adopt our highly reliable safety instrumented system. We will continue our efforts to develop products that support our customers’ plant operations."

Major target markets and applications
Major target markets and applications include emergency plant shutdown, fire prevention and firefighting in the oil, natural gas, petrochemical, and other process industries

Arbitrary/function generator usability boosted!

With two new 50 MHz models and active LCD displays, new series makes it easier than ever to generate test signals

Tektronix has announced a new, easier-to-use family of arbitrary/function generators, the AFG3000C Series, and added two new 50 MHz models to the line-up. All models in the AFG3000C Series now feature active LCD displays that allow users to more easily see waveform parameters and wave shapes.

With the addition of the 50 MHz models, Tektronix offers the broadest and most complete range of arbitrary/function generators in the industry, with bandwidths ranging from 10 MHz to 240 MHz, sample rates up to 2 GS/s, and amplitudes up to 20 Vp-p. With a large vibrant display, dedicated front panel buttons for key parameters, and dual output capabilities, the AFG3000C Series builds on the reputation for ease of use and flexibility established by the popular AFG3000B Series.

“Now with nine models, the AFG3000C Series covers a broad range of applications and budgets while best-in-class performance ensures that signals are accurately reproduced,” said Wei Gao, general manager, Value Signal Sources Product Line. “With the display upgrade users can more easily see that their settings are correct, allowing them to focus on the task at hand.”

AFG3000C models with two outputs provide the equivalent functionality of two signal generators, with the added benefit that signals can be easily synchronized across the two outputs. To facilitate arbitrary waveform creation, AFG3000C Series are shipped with ArbExpress software. With this PC software waveforms can be seamlessly imported from any Tektronix oscilloscope, or defined by standard functions, equation editors, and waveform math.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Servo drives boost machine throughput and lower costs

Metronix has a family of intelligent servomotor drives offering machine builders a platform to boost the performance of automation while also decreasing costs. The new ARS 2000 SE drives combine advanced features including integrated functional safety, universal encoder interfacing and a peak current capability that is up to twice that of many similar drives on the market - allowing much faster acceleration. 
At the same time, the drives reduce costs by providing only the features that a significant majority of system builders want - according to a survey of users.

"The new servo drives integrate a very high-performance position control capability but at a middle-market price," says Metronix's Frank Essmann. "We've managed to reduce costs by up to 15% compared with our existing ranges, by carefully matching functions to the needs of a majority of our OEMs and automation engineer customers."

The ARS 2000 SE family of compact panel/cabinet-mounting drives are available in a choice of six single- or three-phase continuous output power ratings from 0.5 to 6 kVA - the same ratings as two other Metronix drive families with identical form-factors. This compatibility allows the drives to be used as more cost-effective replacements or upgrades in many applications, and ensures that machine builders can choose a drive offering optimized cost-performance.

The new drives incorporate three advanced features that are proving very popular with current Metronix customers. The first is an extremely compact design with integrated line and motor filters plus an integrated brake chopper and braking resistor. This is a typical characteristic of all Metronix drives - which are provided ready to use - avoiding the additional costs of external EMC filters and wiring.

The second feature is an increased overcurrent capability of four times the continuous output rating. This compares with the approximately two times overcurrent rating offered by many other servo drive manufacturers. The feature typically allows the speed of moves and the overall throughput of machines to be increased by factors from around 17 to 25 %. Metronix's tests demonstrate that these drives provide overall increases in automation productivity of around 5 to 7% in typical continuous processing applications.

The third advanced feature is the integration of Safe Torque Off (STO) functional safety. This is provided and certified to Category 4/PLe according to EN 13849-1 - the maximum rating achievable single-axis safety level in this category.

The new drives also feature a universal encoder interfacing capability that allows connection to resolvers, analog/digital incremental encoders, and single/multiturn absolute encoders such as HIPERFACE or EnDat. Standard communications interfaces include the CAN fieldbus - compatible with the DS 402 CANopen device profile. One further feature is an SD Card interface, which can be used to store firmware and operating parameters. This allows the drives to be commissioned very easily, and facilitates an easy change-out by maintenance workers - without any need for a sophisticated software parameterization tool. The drives come in case sizes with widths of 54 or 69 mm (2.1 or 2.7 inches).

Compared with Metronix's existing panel-mounting drives, the only significant features that have been omitted are an expansion capability in the form of two slots that accept plug-in modules - containing additional I/O, fieldbus interfaces, etc - and built-in power factor correction.

The drives' built-in intelligence provides enormous flexibility for system builders. It allows engineers to create highly cost-effective drive-based solutions easily for many common applications requiring one or a few axes, or economic solutions for subsystems in processing equipment performing functions such as labelling or handling. Other common applications include functions such as synchronizing, sorting and a flying saw, and axes that automate auxiliary machinery functions such as set up and guarding. The drives can also be used in more complex multi-axis machinery and plant automation - which can now be designed in a more flexible way thanks to Metronix's expanded drive portfolio.

A powerful and easy to use Windows-based software tool for parameterizing and analyzing the new drives is available. For more complex applications, Metronix offers a motion controller which can be integrated easily.

Metronix has been producing drive technology for industrial machines and automotive applications for over 30 years. Its product range includes smart servo drives with integrated positioning capability, plus motion controllers and accessories that provide cost-effective solutions for multi-axis motion control and automation, and decentralized machine control requirements. Metronix complements this capability with what is probably the most sophisticated and capable custom drive engineering service on the market today. Motion control products designed by Metronix are marketed under its own brand, and in custom forms by a number of well known industrial OEMs.

The company additionally makes geophysical instruments and customer-specific digital controls for measurement and control applications. Metronix is part of the Apex Tool Group, headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, USA. The Apex Tool Group has more than 7,600 employees in over 30 countries. Metronix' design and manufacturing facility is located in Braunschweig, Germany.

Tough electric cylinder

New electric cylinder provides exceptional performance in challenging environments

Festo has launched a new electric cylinder, the ESBF, that delivers exceptional performance with high load applications in demanding and challenging environments, such as those found in the food and beverage industry. ESBF gives high dynamic feed forces enabling machine builders to improve flexibility and control.

The robust cylinder features a unique threaded breathing port which improves its environmental protection. The port enables users to apply a positive pressure to the cylinder during clean in place cycles, so they can be sure of its ingress protection for increased process reliability and long life in demanding environments. Alternative cylinders available on the market are sealed with no breathing port. This means that there is the risk of contamination of dust and airborne moisture inside the cylinder caused by the vacuum effect of the cylinder rod moving in and out, resulting in premature failure.

The electrical ball screw cylinder is available in three sizes – 63, 80 and 100mm – and delivers stroke lengths of up to 1.5m at speeds of up to 1.3m/s. It gives high dynamic feed forces of up to 17,000N and the piston rod is protected against rotating for additional reliability.

It has a running performance over 10,000kms and thanks to specially designed micro reservoirs for grease, it is lubricated for life with minimal maintenance. It has smooth surfaces, so it doesn’t harbour dirt and is easy to clean, which is essential in food and beverage manufacturing.

The competitively-priced ESBF cylinder is ideal for push-pull and positioning applications and is suitable for use in splash zones. It has been designed to meet the requirements from arduous environments and uses FDA approved food grade lubrication and has a corrosion resistant class of CRC3.

Sensors can be bonded on to the actuator, to provide the end user with position details for added feedback. For maximum customer choice, the piston rod is available with a male or female thread as well as a stroke extension and bellows. The bellows kit also comes with a threaded breather port, further protecting the cylinder and avoiding the common suction pump effect.

The motor can be mounted axially or with a parallel kit for applications where space is limited. Both options are classified to IP65 for the protection against the ingress of dust and water. Festo offers a full range of servo and stepper motors for the cylinder but it can also utilise third-party motors for added flexibility. The cylinder mountings comply with standard ISO mounting dimensions so users can use standard accessories.

“With the ESBF, we can now offer machine builders a complete solution for electrical positioning, including motors, drives and accessories, for challenging high load applications,” says Nigel Dawson, product manager at Festo. “We hold 36 combinations in stock with next day delivery, and special variants can be delivered in just 7 to 10 working days.”

Operator assist care seminar!

An Opportunity to attend an Industry-Led Seminar Exploring the Importance of Operator Asset Care

Supported by some of Britain’s leading companies, this one day seminar will explore the background to OAC and the real life experience of senior production and manufacturing directors in its implementation.

Operator Asset Care is based on the principle that the people operating production equipment on a daily basis are the ones most capable of improving equipment reliability and performance.
OAC creates a culture where operators develop ‘ownership’ of their equipment and work with maintenance, engineering and management to ensure that equipment operates properly every day. 

The day will be conducted by MCP consultants in partnership with industry colleagues who have overseen and managed programmes within their own organisations. Places are limited so early registration is recommended.

Workshop Programme:

The day will be split up into presentations & workshop groups from companies such as Novartis, United Biscuits, Heineken and PZ Cussons. Work shop hi-lights include:

• Why is Operator Asset Care critical to success?
• Overcoming barrier using OAC & AMIS
• OAC within a TPM programme – Heineken.
• OAC as part of Global TPM programme
• Developing Advanced team members for OAC activities
• MCP’s approach to OAC

MCP Consulting & Training, Blythe Valley Business Park, Solihull, West Midlands, England

Thursday February 7th 2013

Multible awards at water event

During a glittering MCERTS awards ceremony at WWEM 2012, HACH LANGE was presented with no less than four certificates, demonstrating a massive commitment to the scheme which evaluates the performance of monitoring instruments against stringent MCERTS specifications. Key to HACH LANGE’s success was the effort from their teams across UK, Germany and America.
Dr Andrew Thornton, Matthew Dillon,  Darin Stell,  Dr Patsy Rigby, Dr Geoff King, Tristan Mann

MCERTS is the Environment Agency’s monitoring certification scheme and the certificates were presented by the Agency’s Head of Monitoring and Analytical Services, Malcolm Lythgo, who congratulated HACH LANGE on this achievement adding: “We appreciate that submitting instruments for MCERTS evaluation is a significant investment in both time and money. But customers do appreciate the additional reassurance of the quality of data from products having MCERTS, as well as meeting the Agency’s permit requirement for all new and replacement equipment to have MCERTS, where available.”

Following receipt of these certificates HACH LANGE now possesses a comprehensive suite of MCERTS certificates covering: automatic samplers; online process monitoring sensors and controllers including pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen; the BioTector online TOC analyser; and portable water quality monitoring instruments for conductivity and pH.

In the past, the Environment Agency conducted a large amount of industrial environmental monitoring, but in recent years this responsibility has shifted to the process operators themselves and the MCERTS scheme is helping to ensure that the quality of monitoring remains high. Nevertheless, Matthew Dillon, UK & Ireland Sales Director at HACH LANGE, says “As a manufacturer we invest heavily in the development of instruments and analysers that are robust, reliable, accurate and simple to use. However, it is extremely important that the recommended maintenance and calibration procedures are followed assiduously (our service team can help with that, if necessary) because failure to do so would threaten the quality of data and would not be acceptable to the Agency.”

To further support the quality of monitoring, HACH LANGE regularly runs training workshops and can provide personal competence training for key staff so that users are able to obtain optimal performance from their HACH LANGE instruments.

From a strategic perspective Matthew Dillon says “One of our key goals is to ensure that customers are able to generate the highest quality data and we see the MCERTS scheme as an important contributor to that goal. More HACH LANGE products will receive MCERTS in the near future and I would like to acknowledge the work of Dr Patsy Rigby from our technical team in helping to make this process such a success.”

Reaching 10,000 drivers!

NI Instrument Driver Network Reaches 10,000 Drivers for Automating Stand-Alone Instrumentation

National Instruments has announced that the NI Instrument Driver Network (IDNet) has reached a new milestone of 10,000 instrument drivers for automating stand-alone instrumentation. From IDNet, you can access free, NI-certified instrument driver downloads for LabVIEW system design software, NI LabWindows/CVI and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. IDNet instrument drivers simplify instrument control across a variety of buses including GPIB, USB, PXI, PCI, Ethernet, LXI and RS232.

“We typically check the NI Instrument Network for instrument driver availability prior to selecting equipment for purchase because we are well aware of the amount of development time lost when creating drivers ourselves,” said Ernest Clifford, Senior Systems Engineer at Alpha Research and Technology. “If the equipment manufacturer has a LabVIEW driver available, we’ll always select that device over one that does not have a LabVIEW instrument driver.”

“For over 20 years, NI has been the industry’s preferred provider for free open-source LabVIEW Plug and Play instrument drivers,” said Ray Almgren, Vice President of Core Platforms Product Marketing at National Instruments. “We are thrilled that IDNet now provides over 10,000 instrument drivers for automating stand-alone instrumentation.”

NI also released a free tool for creating LabVIEW Plug and Play instrument drivers called LabVIEW Instrument Driver Development Studio, so engineers can easily develop their own drivers and upload them to IDNet. LabVIEW Instrument Driver Development Studio provides a powerful and flexible platform that speeds up development through functional SCPI command templates for common instrument types and automatically generates LabVIEW source code for the instrument. Engineers can easily develop consistent instrument drivers by loading and modifying the source code from an existing driver and create sophisticated driver architectures with the drag-and-drop interactive user interface. NI can then certify the instrument driver to verify that it meets established standards.

Monday 26 November 2012

Shelter at airport

Intertec has won an order from Europoles for special-purpose field equipment shelters to protect vital airside navigational equipment at Kassel Airport (D), which is currently undergoing major expansion including a new runway.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) stipulates that any structure sited within 60 metres either side of the runway centre line or approach paths must be fully frangible to comply with safety regulations. These types of structures typically include masts and control cabinets for antennas and runway approach lights, and are designed to break or collapse in the event of an aircraft collision, to help protect passengers by preventing serious damage to the aircraft. The ICAO's frangibility guidelines are mandated by numerous national aviation authorities, including Germany's air traffic control company (Deutsche Flugsicherung, or DFS), the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the USA's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Although most electronic communication and navigation equipment is usually sited outside an airport's operational area, the localizer and glide path transmitters and antennas of an instrument landing system (ILS) are exceptions. The localizer antennas are sited beneath the runway approach path, while the glide path antennas are positioned to one side of the runway, adjacent to the touchdown zone. Due to the high frequencies involved, to minimise cable losses the localizer and glide path transmitters are co-located with their respective antennas, and their environmental protection shelters therefore need to be frangible.

All the frangible poles, antenna masts and associated structures for Kassel Airport's expansion are being supplied by the European market leader Europoles. It chose Intertec frangible shelters for the project primarily on the strength of product quality. Intertec has supplied Europoles with conventional and frangible field equipment shelters for a number of airport projects in Germany, including Wunstorf Airport, near Hannover; the quality, performance and corrosion resistance of the shelter for this installation so impressed Kassel Airport's operators that they stipulated similar models.

Intertec is supplying four custom-built frangible shelters in total for the Kassel Airport installation. The main material used to build the shelters is glass fibre reinforced polyester (GRP) sheeting, enclosing a polyurethane foam core which provides a very high level of insulation from the outside temperatures. This is the same basic technique that Intertec uses in its Arctic range of field equipment shelters for harsh environments. The shelters feature one-piece roof and wall panels with reinforced edges, held together by adhesive and screws to form a very rigid structure with excellent stability in strong winds. No metal reinforcing components are used in the shelters' construction, other than a steel floor. The lightweight fabrication material has a very high tensile strength, but will break quickly and cleanly when subjected to a high impact force from the side.

Located in the centre of Germany, with high speed rail and road links to virtually every major city in the country, Kassel Airport is undergoing significant expansion. Due for completion in Spring 2013, the airport will feature a new 2,500 metre runway - 1000 metres longer than its predecessor - and a completely new support infrastructure that includes a 35 metre control tower and a terminal that can be expanded to handle up to 3 million passengers a year.

As part of the expansion, the airport is being equipped with a Category III Instrument Landing System (ILS) for all-weather operation, enabling aircraft to land even when conditions such as fog or snow severely limit pilots' visibility. The ground-based sub-systems of the ILS transmit radio signals that are interpreted by the approaching aircraft's ILS receiver, to provide the pilot with precision runway centreline, angle-of-descent and touchdown position guidance.

To maximise flexibility and operational efficiency, Kassel Airport will have two localizer sub-systems and two glide path sub-systems, enabling aircraft to approach and land from either end of the runway. Each of the four separate installations will comprise a transmitter plus associated control and monitoring equipment housed in an Intertec frangible shelter, together with a set of antennas mounted on frangible masts produced by Europoles.

Intertec has extensive experience in the design and production of non-metal shelters for housing field equipment at airports, including frangible models for equipment sited within operational areas. The company manufactures many of its enclosures and shelters from GRP, and has built up considerable expertise in this specialist material.

According to Intertec's Project Manager, Ernst Gassner, "The GRP and foam sandwich construction we use to build most of our field protection cabinets is ideal for frangible shelters, because it combines structural strength and stability with clean fracturing under impact. It allows us to create shelters that contain no structural metalwork, very quickly and cost-effectively. This capability is likely to be of interest to anyone seeking to meet frangibility guidelines, such as those in the ICAO's Aerodrome Design Manual."

Cooling changes!

Rittal’s new TopTherm Generation Blue e cooling units provide an energy efficient means of cooling enclosures and offer benefits that include a wide range of nominal cooling outputs, from 500 to 4000 Watts; energy savings of up to 45% – in ideal conditions up to 70% and intelligent Eco-Mode control for on demand energy usage.

As well as the reduced operating costs associated with greater energy efficiency, the Blue e cooling units also have the following benefits over the Basic variant. Larger enclosure internal temperature setpoint range, with a lower limit of 20°C; visualisation of enclosure internal temperature and error messages on a 7-segment display; up to 10 units may be connected in a ma-ster/slave configuration; switching hysteresis is adjusta-ble in the range 2-10°C; parameters are easily adjusted using the exposed buttons, however passcode protection restricts access and prevents accidental adjustment of parameters; improved monitoring, including high condensate level and dirty filter mat warnings; setting up and interrogation possible using the RiDiag II diagnostic software and may be incorporated into higher-level remote monitoring systems.

Point level switch

Failsafe design and high reliability make the Liquiphant FTL8x level switch suitable for monitoring Minimum and Maximum liquid levels in safety applications up to SIL3.

The Liquiphant FailSafe FTL8x series of point level switches is new from Endress+Hauser. The level switches have two relay outputs, a 4-20mA output that connects to a failsafe switching unit with a two-channel output, safety contacts, and a safety locking function.

The 4-20mA output can be connected directly to a safety PLC or similar system for MIN and MAX safety applications up to SIL3. The 4-20mA signal jumps from high to low current when the MIN or MAX point level is reached for reliable detection by the safety system. In addition, a permanent live signal of 0.25 Hz is superimposed on the sensor output to indicate the sensor is operating in the “good” state. The level switch meets SIL3 requirements in accordance with IEC 61508, IEC 61511-1, ISA 84-1 and DIN EN ISO 13849.

For high reliability, built-in diagnostics monitor the tuning fork-type sensor for damage, corrosion, material buildup and mechanical blocking. If a problem occurs, the live signal changes to notify the operator, a fault relay sends a signal to an annunciator or PLC, and a combination of three LEDs on the housing indicate the problem so that the switch can be cleaned, repaired or replaced prior to failure.

The switches can be used for minimum and maximum level detection in liquids from -76 to 536F (-60 to 280C), at pressures up to 1450 psi (100 bar), viscosity up to 10,000 mPa-s, and densities from 0.4 to 2.0 g/cm3. The FTL8x can also be used in highly corrosive media.

Tuning fork sensors are available in 316L or 318L stainless steel with AlloyC22 plating, and the other wetted parts are available with Alloy22 plating or ECTFE or PFA coatings for use in aggressive liquids. A choice of polyester, stainless steel or aluminium housings for the electronics are available, with or without a sight glass.

For North America, these switches are designed as either single seal or dual seal devices with an alarm in accordance with ANSI/ISA 12.27.01. This means that the user does need to install an external secondary process seal which is required in ANSI/NFPA 70 (NEC) and CSA 22.1 (CEC). These devices comply with installation practice in North America and enable very safe, low-cost installation in pressurized applications with hazardous media.

The FTL8x switches meet ATEX, CSA, FM, UL, IEC ex, NEPSI and TIIS requirements for use in non-hazardous areas. Special models are available for use in hazardous areas or applications with high pressures.

Friday 23 November 2012

Keeping hydraulic projucts on course!

Innovative TorqSense wireless sensors from Sensor Technology are playing an important role in new product development for Hydraulic Projects Limited (Hy-Pro), one of Britain’s leading developers and suppliers of hydraulic drive units for marine steering and autopilot systems.

The sensors, which accurately measure shaft torque in rotary drive systems, are providing the essential data that Hy-Pro needs to refine the design of the electrically powered pump assemblies used in the high-performance hydraulic steering systems that the company supplies for use in yachts and other small pleasure craft.

Developing suitable pump assemblies for these marine applications in small vessels is challenging. The motors must operate economically as electrical power is usually derived from 12 V or 24 V storage batteries with limited capacity, yet the pump systems must be able to supply high power when called upon to do so, to ensure that the steering systems continue to operate reliably in heavy seas and bad weather.

To ensure that its products offer the best possible performance in relation to these seemingly conflicting requirements, Hy-Pro is constantly evaluating potential improvements to its pump drive systems. A crucial part of the evaluation process is accurately measuring the torque delivered by the electric drive motor to the pump, under varying load conditions and over a wide range of speeds, in a purpose-built test rig.

“We considered various ways of measuring the torque in the motor shaft on the test rig,” said Barry Wynn, Senior Design Engineer at Hy-Pro, “but all were either inconvenient or were incapable of delivering the accuracy and fast response that we needed. Then we looked at TorqSense sensors from Sensor Technology, and realised that they offered a reliable, easy-to-use and cost-effective solution that would meet all of our requirements.”

TorqSense sensors, which are covered by patents, depend for their operation on surface acoustic wave (SAW) transducers. These transducers comprise two thin metal electrodes, in the form of interlocking “fingers”, on a piezoelectric substrate such as quartz. When an RF signal of the correct frequency is applied to the transducer, surface acoustic waves are set up, and the transducer behaves as a resonant circuit.

The key feature, however, is that if the substrate is deformed, the resonant frequency changes. When the transducer is attached to a drive shaft, the deformation of the substrate and hence the change in resonant frequency will be related to the torque applied to the shaft. In other words, the transducer, in effect, becomes a frequency-dependent strain gauge.

Since the transducers operate at radio frequencies, it is easy to couple signals to them wirelessly. Hence, the TorqSense sensors incorporating the SAW transducer technology can be used on rotating shafts, and can provide data continuously without the need for the inherently unreliable brushes and slip rings that are often found in traditional torque measurement systems.

In the Hy-Pro application, a TorqSense sensor is used to measure the torque applied to the pump over the critical speed range of 500 to 4,000 rpm. The results are displayed in real time, so that the progress of tests can be readily monitored, and are also captured and stored for more detailed analysis later with Labview software.

“The TorqSense sensor has proved to be completely dependable and very accurate,” said Barry Wynn. “The data it has provided us with has played an important role in helping us to refine our systems by ensuring an optimum match between the characteristics of the pump and motor over the full operating range.”

“In fact, the insights we’ve gained during our tests have enabled us to further enhance the performance and reliability of our steering and autopilot systems, which, of course, means big benefits for our customers and a very useful boost to our own competitive position.”

Communications platform enhanced!

KEPServerEX 5.10 Features new ABB TotalFlow communications Driver, additional support to the Electronic Flow Measurement (EFM) option, and EFM support to the Fisher ROC and ROC+ drivers for the Oil & Gas industry.

Kepware® Technologies also made enhancements to its entire library of communication drivers covering all industries to ensure optimal performance and reliability and enhanced the KEPServerEX communications server platform to streamline management and diagnostics of devices.

“Connecting disparate automated devices and systems is our business, and we excel at identifying and deploying the right solution to meet the specific challenges of every industry we serve,” said Tony Paine, President and CEO of Kepware Technologies. “The experience we bring to the Oil & Gas industry is backed by our proven interoperability, centralized communications and scalability.”

Keeping track of who provided how much product to a pipeline is a laborious and difficult task associated with custody transfer in the midstream and upstream markets. Kepware’s KEPServerEX helps streamline the delivery of information across the Oil & Gas supply chain by automatically polling the pipeline’s Flow Computers and collecting their historical flow data. This data is then formatted properly and stored locally for input to the industry’s leading flow analysis and accounting solutions such as Flow-Cal and PGAS, via KEPServerEX’s enhanced EFM Exporter. The EFM Exporter now includes the ability to export user-configurable CSV files for use in custom flow-analysis solutions, operational monitoring and analysis, as well as easy data storage.

Kepware continues to enhance its core server with a focus on deployment, management, and diagnostics. All drivers in Kepware’s EFM Suite now offer both EFM and real-time data, allowing customers to consolidate their data into a single-server communications platform. Additional KEPServerEX 5.10 features include:

-New driver for ABB Totalflow devices.
-New EFM support to the company’s existing Fisher ROC and ROC+ drivers, further enhancing communications to Flow Computers.
-Added COM port sharing for serial-based drivers. This new feature serializes multiple communication protocols over a single network in order to streamline telemetry over radio or modem systems. This functionality is particularly relevant for telemetry applications, including Oil & Gas, Water/Waste Water, and Power Distribution.
-New organizational views in the server Configuration enables more efficient management of large projects. The added feature enables users to “Organize by Driver” and “Organize by Connection,” helping individuals efficiently diagnose and correct network issues. In addition, users now have the ability to view shared connections as well as what Network Interface Cards and virtual networks are being used.

Aside from Kepware’s new products for the Oil & Gas industry, the company is also announcing its preparation for Rockwell Automation’s ControlLogix v21 firmware update. Kepware is working closely with Rockwell in order to implement the new Symbol Instance Addressing, which replaces the Direct Memory Access (DMA).

Distributor for British market

Beijer Electronics announces the signing of a new British distributor, TLA. The signing of TLA is a stepping stone in the continuing growth of Beijer Electronics in that market and follows the company’s expansion of their direct sales staff earlier this year.

TLA will market and support Beijer Electronics’ range of HMI (human-machine interface) products which includes operator panels, HMI software and industrial PCs for industrial and rugged environments.

Richard Ainley, UK Sales Manager for Beijer Electronics, commented: “TLA are an excellent fit to Beijer Electronics and the UK operation, which is now expanding very rapidly. TLA’s extensive sales force will have a positive impact in the UK market place and they will add value to the products by offering ex stock delivery, technical support and even full project design and programming."

Angle sensor

The PRDS1 is an extremely compact magnetic angle sensor in M12 housing from ASM, which sets new standards. The angle is measured without contact and wear-free over the entire measuring range up to 360° via a separate magnet.

From the POSIROT® family of magnetic angle sensors ASM presents an especially compact sensor. Only 12 mm in diameter and 50 mm depth the PRDS1 is suited to particularly compact applications where access is difficult. The complete measurement range of 0° to 360° is totally non contact utilising an independent magnet with an air gap between the sensor. This overcomes any connection or alignment problems often experienced if sensors have output shafts.

The PRDS1 has a range of incremental digital outputs RS5V, RS24V and HT24V with other alternatives being continuously developed. The sensor is manufactured from stainless steel with an integral M12 thread incorporated into the M12 body giving sealing options from IP67 to IP69K.

The extremely compact designed PRDS1 angle sensor can be used for all applications where angle detection and angle monitoring is required, such as assembly lines, valve flap settings, packaging machines, medical equipment, etc.

Packaging height & volume measurements enhanced

A new measurement tool for the LMI Gocator range of 3D smart cameras (available from Stemmer Imaging), improves the accuracy of height and volume measurements on packages that travel along a conveyor belt in a random orientation. This new ‘Rotated Box’ tool works in conjunction with the Gocator ‘whole part measurement’ capability.

Whole part measurement is ideally suited to production line environments. It involves capturing a sequence of laser profiles, identifying discrete objects, and measuring the properties of those objects, such as volume or maximum height. Multiple measurements can be performed on each object. Volumetric measurements such as volume, centroid, orientation, etc can be made to provide important information on packaging lines such as dimensions, location, and orientation.

The whole part measurement process is achieved by automatically detecting the start and end point of a single or multiple components travelling along the conveyor. The new Rotated Box tool makes it possible to accurately measure an object in whole part mode even if it is not perpendicular to the laser line during scanning. It can be used to measure the orientation angle, width and height of boxes in packaging applications if the boxes are not be precisely lined up as they come down the line.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Digital panel meters

The new Junior JR/JR20-E series digital panel meters is now available from sensing & instrumentation specialists Vydas International Marketing. Manufactured by Ditel (ES) the instrument is one of the KOSMOS series of digital panel meters and carries a three year warranty.

The JR/JR20-E has the benefit of programmable multiple inputs and is designed for measuring DC VOLTAGE (±600V, ±200V and ±20V), DC CURRENT (±5A, ±1A} ±100mV and ±60mV), AC VOLTAGE (0-600V, 0-200V and 0-20V), AC CURRENT (0-5A, 0-1A, 0-100mV and 0-60mV)

JR-E and JR20-E models are easy to scale into desired engineering units, directly by front panel keys or real input signal value in teach mode. A universal power supply is also a feature offering aux supply from 20-265VAC and 11-265VDC.

The JR-E is a 4 digit indicator with 14mm digit and -9999 to 9999 display range and the JR20-E has a 4 digit indicator with 20mm digit and -1999 to 9999 display range.

Both models allow configurable decimal point by three front panel keys and has 2 led for set points status indication (if output 2RE option card is installed).

Detection, saving, later recalling and resetting of maximum and minimum values reached by the input signal since last reset activation. Reset function sets automatically memorized value to current input signal value when maximum or minimum value are displayed. Maximum and minimum values recalling to display and reset functions are directly available through frontal keys.

Capable of measuring AC/DC voltage in 600V, 200V and 20V ranges, AC/DC current directly or through a current transformer in 5A and 1A ranges or through an external shunt in 60mV and l00mV ranges.

Water/Wastewater event success!

The organisers of WWEM 2012, the Water Wastewater and Environmental Monitoring event in Britain, have announced that visitor numbers were up by 22% in comparison with 2010. On behalf of the organisers, Marcus Pattison expressed his delight with this success, adding: “We are extremely pleased with the number of people that took advantage of everything that WWEM 2012 had to offer and it is very satisfying to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from both visitors and exhibitors.”

WWEM 2012 attendees were provided with a wide choice of activities including a Process Monitoring Conference and a Laboratory Analysis Conference (both CPD approved), a ‘Meet the (international) Buyer’ event, a meeting on water sector innovation, over 80 Workshops, free training courses on gas detection and safety, and an exhibition featuring over 130 stands representing more than 250 of the world’s leading providers of test and monitoring equipment and related services. As a result of the wealth of information available, many visitors found it necessary to attend both days of the event.

The next WWEM event will take place on the 5th and 6th November 2014 and over one third of the 2014 exhibition stands were re-booked at the 2012 event, so the organisers have warned that the best positions are going fast.

Interface connections

EtherCAT interface connects sensors to factory automation

Included in RDP Electronics Ltd’s extensive range of transducers is a comprehensive programme of products from MTS. Thanks to the ability to measure very long displacements, versions are particularly suited to measurements both inside and outside hydraulic cylinders. Devices are available with analogue and various digital communications options, including an EtherCAT version for connection to the open field-bus system implemented as Ethernet for Control Automation Technology.

The R-Series EtherCAT sensors are simple to connect to this Ethernet-based fieldbus system and operated as a slave on this bus system which benefits from a high data rate, short response time and a good real-time performance.

The absolute Temposonics linear position sensors are based on the MTS developed magnetostrictive measurement principle that combines various magneto-mechanical effects and precise speed-measurement of an ultrasonic wave for position detecting. Sensor integrated signal processing transforms the measurements directly into standard outputs. The contactless principle - an external movable magnet marks the position - eliminates wear, noise and erroneous signal problems.

Management of IP-based communication networks

The Harting Ha-VIS Dashboard is a software system for the monitoring, installation and servicing of IP-based communication networks incorporating up to 256 network devices.

The new system detects manageable network members and can automatically map the network topology. Intelligent Harting network components as well as network devices from other manufacturers can be monitored and managed centrally.

The Ha-VIS Dashboard makes it possible to configure detected network devices centrally via the web, SNMP, Telnet or SSH interfaces. Events such as link-down detection are automatically detected and can trigger configurable actions: for example, notification by e-mail. In addition, the Ha-VIS Dashboard provides analysis services for the simple monitoring and management of Ethernet networks. The network load can be retrieved cyclically port by port for selected connections and then mapped in a diagram.

Benefits include centralised management of managed Ethernet devices, the ability to carry out Ethernet network monitoring, event and alarm management, and performance monitoring.

Applications include network infrastructure management in industry, energy technology and transportation.

New base station

Mantracourt has announced the addition of a new base station to its T24 range of wireless equipment.

The new base station (T24-BSue) offers an extended range, with a line of sight range of up to 200m (650ft) for T24 acquisition modules. The T24-BSue interfaces to a PC via USB, has an IP65 (equivalent to environmental NEMA 4 rating) enclosure and is powered via USB, enabling ease of installation and ease of use.

It is also compatible with their T24 repeater technology, enabling impressive -line of sight operation for the T24 series of instrumentation.

"The T24 wireless instrumentation range is proving a big success for us," said Kelly Voysey, Sales and Marketing Manger at Mantracourt. "We have been working closely with our customers around the world, so that we can continue developing better instrumentation technology. The T24-BSue is yet another step forward and will give engineers a lot more flexibility when implementing wireless measurement or control systems."

The T24-BSue is supported by Mantracourt's Log 24 and Log 100 software toolkits and also with a .DLL (Dynamic Link Library), allowing customers using VB (Visual Basic) to develop their own custom software for their applications. The T24 range of products operates using a licence exempt 2.4GHz radio frequency and provides 16 channels of data. With an operating temperature of -40 to +85°C, the T24-Bsue is able to cope with extreme temperatures and is already in use monitoring levels of snowfall on high altitude roads.

"It is clear to us that the advent of wireless instrumentation is enabling new and innovative approaches to engineering challenges that require some level of instrumentation," said Kelly Voysey. " Whether it is a remote location, moving machinery or simply a temporary installation, equipment such as the T24 range has many advantages over 'wired' installations, especially now battery life can span years if the equipment is configured appropriately."

Phase reference module

Tektronix has a new Phase Reference Module, the 82A04B, for the DSA8300 oscilloscope available that when combined with new electrical sampling modules provide instrument jitter of greater than 100 femtoseconds, typical. This represents the lowest instrument jitter of any multi-channel oscilloscope on the market, sampling or real-time, making the DSA8300 the instrument of choice for design, debug and characterization of critical 100G transmitters and links on up to 6 channels as defined in the IEEE802.3ba & 32G Fibre Channel test specifications.

For designers working on 100 (4x25) Gb/s communications systems, a key test challenge has been acquiring high bit-rate signals with sufficient fidelity to allow precise characterization of the device under test in the presence of real-world signals. As clock speeds continue to increase, the bit period at 25Gb/s is just 40 picoseconds, making it critical to minimize instrumentation jitter and noise while providing enough bandwidth to fully characterize signals.

“The new phase reference module, upgraded electrical sampling modules and other enhancements establish Tektronix as the clear leader in high-speed data communications,” said Brian Reich, general manager, Performance Oscilloscopes at Tektronix. “We offer customers significant advantages in measurement system fidelity, versatility and usability; all at very competitive price points.”

Designed for use with the DSA8300 mainframe, the new 82A04B Phase Reference Module supports input clock frequencies from 2-32 GHz with an option available to support up to 60 GHz.

In addition to the new phase reference module, Tektronix announced 6 new electrical sampling modules that support bandwidths from 20 to 70 GHz. These modules use unique remote sampling heads that place the measurement acquisition point at or near the device under test to minimize signal degradation due to cabling. Taken together, these capabilities provide a unique combination of low vertical noise, low intrinsic jitter and bandwidth performance to enable engineers to fully characterize signals (3rd harmonic) to data rates up to > 45 GHz for the latest IEEE and Fibre Channel standards.

The DSA8300 can support simultaneous acquisition of up to three differential (or six single-ended) signals with ultra-low jitter for multi-lane system testing common in today’s 100G electrical designs. In contrast, competitive alternatives can only acquire two single-ended signals, at a maximum 50 GHz and lack support for remote sampling, leading to significant signal impairment.

To boost designer productivity, Tektronix also released application software and firmware updates for the DSA8300 Series to improve timing analysis, setup and test execution. Notable features include guided channel acquisition and TDR step alignment, user channel delay and TDR deskew in time units, and quantitative and descriptive information on how to get the best jitter performance when using the new 82A04B Phase Reference Module.

High performance inverters

Beijer Electronics has expanded its drives offer with a new range of high performance inverters of own brand.

Beijer Electronics Performance Inverters P2 combine premium control with high performance, reliability and ease of use.

P2 inverters are capable of controlling both standard induction motors and permanent magnet motors. The inverters offer open loop vector control of standard induction motors providing up to 200% torque from zero speed as well as closed loop encoder feedback capability.

For the latest generation of high efficiency PM motors the inverters offer open and closed loop control. The choice of control method and motor type provides premium control and optimum energy efficiency for the actual application.

Extensive I/O and communications interface capabilities ensure the drive can be integrated quickly and efficiently into a wide variety of control systems and the simple parameter structure with carefully selected factory settings provide fast and easy commissioning.

The Beijer Electronics Performance Inverters P2 are available in different frame sizes in the range of 0.75-160kW with a range of options as e.g. single or three phase input, main switch, Ethernet and fieldbuses, etc.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Success in oil and gas

Yokogawa has published a 70 page e-book that discusses the use of its innovative VigilantPlant automation concept for safe, reliable and profitable plant operations in the oil and gas industry. Complete with customer testimonials, full colour photos of the applications plus an executive summary for each project, this book is free to download here from Yokogawa’s website.

It can be viewed online, as a PDF, or opened in applications such as Kindle, iBook and Aldiko, so it can be read on the move.

The e-book contains details of over 30 projects where Yokogawa’s expertise in automation control technology has been used in applications including the installation of ICSS systems in the largest LNG terminal in Europe, on an FPSO project and on offshore platforms.

With a new focus on its business in the North Sea, Yokogawa UK believes that this book will give prospects and customers an insight into the complexity of work carried out by its engineers to ensure an efficient and profitable oil and gas production and processing

Compact motor starter

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has added the particularly compact Sirius 3RM1 motor starter to its switching technology portfolio. The module has been designed as both a direct-on-line starter and a reversing starter with integrated overload protection for smaller motors with a rating of up to 3 kW, used, for example, for fans, pumps and lifting gear as well as in machine tools. At just 22.5 mm wide, the Sirius 3RM1 requires very little space in the control cabinet. The motor starter therefore meets the requirement in modern plant and machinery construction for space-saving components.

Besides its narrow profile, the Sirius 3RM1 is also characterized by economical hybrid technology that combines the benefits of semiconductor and relay systems in one device: the low-wear semiconductor components are responsible for connection and disconnection operations while an energy-efficient relay system is used during operation. This extends the motor starter's service life and reduces maintenance demands. Siemens also offers a special infeed system for the new motor starter which permits fast and simple implementation of assemblies. As the main circuit is centrally connected to the infeed system, there is no need for separate wiring of the individual motor starters. The assembly with the infeed system is particularly suitable for conveyor systems in which a large number of motors are used on one conveyor belt. When maintenance is required, the individual motor starters from an existing assembly can be removed from the group with little effort thanks to the infeed system. Moreover, the motor starters can also be simply slotted in in the main circuit using a device connector, so there is no need for extensive manual power supply wiring between the motor starters in the assembly. Wiring errors cannot therefore occur and commissioning of the motor starters is speeded up.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Wireless System simplifies troubleshooting!

Fluke has introduced their CNX Wireless System, the first set of test tools that wirelessly connects multiple measurement modules and sends simultaneous readings to a master device up to 20 metres away, allowing users to troubleshoot problems quickly and efficiently. Ideal for industrial maintenance technicians, electricians, control technicians and facilities maintenance technicians, the rugged, customisable tool set allows users to choose various measurement modules based on their specific troubleshooting needs.

At the core of the Fluke CNX Wireless System is a CAT III 1000V / CAT IV 600V multimeter with a screen that displays its readings along with live readings from up to three other measurement modules. For more complex troubleshooting, users can view live measurements from up to 10 modules simultaneously on a computer equipped with the CNX PC Adapter.

The modules, which include AC Voltage, AC Current Clamp, iFlex AC Current Clamp, and K-Type Temperature units, can take live measurements or log up to 65,000 sets of data. Logged data can be saved to a computer in .csv format.

The Fluke CNX system allows users to place modules in hazardous or awkward places and then watch the readings from a safe distance. For example, a technician can de-energise a panel, connect voltage or current modules to all three phases, close and re-energise the panel, and then conveniently read the measurements outside the arc flash zone.

By leveraging the most common electrical test tool – the multimeter – the Fluke CNX system allows technicians to extend their existing capabilities and skills, helping them meet market