Friday, March 9, 2012

Automating and managing calibration workloads

Fluke Calibration has introduced version 8.0 of its MET/CAL® Plus Calibration Management Software, the latest edition of the industry-leading application suite for calibration professionals who need to automate the calibration process and manage calibration assets efficiently and consistently.

Version 8.0 adds many new enhancements, including an expanded Procedure Editor with a more flexible user interface, more powerful functions for editing, testing, and storing procedures, increased security allowing users to create procedures that cannot be edited or changed by others, and the ability to automate a wider variety of references including power sensors, RF power meters, and National Instruments PXI systems. The new version supports compliance with calibration and quality standards including the ANSI/NCSL Z540.3, ISO 9000, ISO/IEC 17025, and NRC 10 CFR.

MET/CAL Plus is a software suite consisting of two applications: MET/CAL for automated calibration and MET/TRACK® for test and measurement asset management. The combination allows calibration professionals to automate calibration on test and measurement tools and equipment, including DC/LF, RF and microwave instruments. The combination also allows users to easily create, edit, test, and document calibration procedures, and track asset information, including calibration and maintenance history and status, traceability, users, customers, and locations.

Calibration data can be easily analysed, reported and shared with MET/CAL Plus. Customised reports and printed certificates can be produced with the software, and data can be exported to other corporation systems.

Fluke Calibration offers MET/CAL Plus users extended support through the MET/SUPPORTSM Gold support program. The annual membership program includes priority access for software support, free software upgrades, free access to over 4,000 warranted MET/CAL procedures, and 20 percent discount on training and database services.

• Fluke Calibration instruments are marketed in Ireland by Irish Power & Process.

Gas sensors boost indoor environmental quality

Gascard® NG OEM infrared gas sensors from Edinburgh Sensors are ideally suited for applications involving the control of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in commercial, institutional and laboratory buildings. Accurate control of critical indoor environmental parameters such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels are not only essential for the well-being and comfort of building occupants, but also have a major impact on energy efficiency.

Using Edinburgh Sensors’ proprietary dual-wavelength infrared sensor technology, the pumped aspiration Gascard® NG sensor provides the high quality, long term stability, excellent repeatability and reliable measurement of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide gas concentrations needed for IEQ applications. Automatic temperature and pressure corrections provide true concentration readings and ensure accurate real-time environmental condition measurements.

With true RS232 communications for control and data logging, along with the option of TCP/iP communications protocol, the Gascard® NG can be easily integrated into a wide range of proprietary gas detection systems and multiple sensor architectures. There are also built-in features for multigas and multi-sensor operation together with the flexibility to incorporate additional gas detection technologies.
Product performance, combined with Edinburgh Sensors’ commitment to customer support and to meeting the needs of the market has seen Gascard® sensors incorporated into IEQ systems installed in many prestigious buildings around the world. This helps to provide a healthy and productive indoor environment while decreasing energy costs.

Reliable biogas flow measurement without compromises

The biogas market has been booming for years. The gas obtained from the fermentation of energy crops, organic waste, liquid manure, sewage sludge or leftover plant materials can be used in a variety of beneficial ways – including fuelling vehicles or generating heat and electricity in combined heat and power plants. Various process parameters must be monitored around the clock for stable operation of a biogas plant: fermentation temperature, gas pressure and, primarily, the gas quantity produced.

The precise determination of the biogas quantity is a decisive criterion for evaluating the efficiency of a production plant and an indicator of an assured fermentation process. However, to date there have not been any flowmeter systems available on the market that were capable of reliably measuring the quantity of biogas. Now this gap is being filled by the Prosonic Flow B 200 ultrasonic flowmeter, developed especially for such applications. For the first time, this device makes it possible not only to measure the volume of biogas, landfill gas and fermentation gas precisely, but also the methane content directly in the pipe.

Unbeatable ultrasonic flow measurement
The ultrasonic flow measurement offers operators of a biogas plant many advantages compared to traditional measurement methods. Thanks to modern and innovative sensor technology, wet and dirty gases can be measured now with high accuracy even under greatly fluctuating process conditions with the Prosonic Flow B 200. The measurement is independent of the gas composition and even possible at very low gas pressures. A benefit that no other flowmeter has been able to match so far.

The Prosonic Flow B 200 from Endress + Hauser, is an industry-optimised flowmeter, which exhibits high measuring accuracy (1.5%) and a wide operable flow range (30:1). It causes no pressure loss and requires no maintenance once installed. The unit is available in diameters between DN 50 (2") and DN 200 (8") and can be used at gas temperatures of up to +80 °C and gas pressures up to 10 bar. As an intrinsically safe two-wire measuring device (Ex ia), the Prosonic Flow B 200 is especially suited for use in hazardous areas. Menu-guided local operation allows the user to optimally configure measuring points according to his or her requirements.

Methane content measurement directly in a pipe
Fermentation processes are not always uniform. The operating conditions, which often fluctuate, cause different methane content amounts (CH4) in the biogas, which must be monitored constantly. In addition to measuring volume flow, it is now for the first time possible to measure the methane content of a gas at the same time using the Prosonic Flow B 200, thanks to ultra-precise sound velocity measurement and an integrated temperature sensor.

This is a worldwide one-of-a-kind feature and opens up completely new perspectives for process monitoring. Since gas quantity as well as gas quality can be checked around the clock, a targeted reaction to disruptions in the fermentation process is possible at any time. As a multi-variable flowmeter, Prosonic Flow B 200 can also calculate additional characteristic values upon request such as the corrected volume, the heating output or the Wobbe index as a performance indicator for fuel gas quality.

N.B. E+H Ireland will be demonstrating the new Prosonic Flow B200 at the Energy Show on 28th & 29th March 2012, on Stand B5.

Celebrating automation excellence

Recognition of outstanding achievement by one’s peers is highly valued. For more than 50 years ISA’s awards program has provided a forum for recognition of significant technical contributions to the automation community and dedicated service to advance the mission of the Society.

ISA to celebrate automation excellence!
This year ISA is introducing Celebrating Excellence – an updated program with award categories which recognize excellence in leadership, excellence in Society service, excellence in both corporate and individual technical innovation, and excellence in education.

One new award, which recognises a company whose contributions and innovations have enhanced social value by providing a solution to a significant current social, economic, technical, and/or environmental challenge will be presented for the first time this year. Members are urged to review the Excellence in Corporate Technical Innovation Award. ISA feels confident that their thoughts will turn toward corporate accomplishments that deserve consideration for this prestigious recognition.

Those selected for recognition will be honored at the 2012 ISA Honors & Awards Gala on 24 September in Orlando (FL USA) which will preceed the annual Automation Week.

Nominations are submitted online. The nomination deadline is 15 April so act quickly!

• Note: Only members of ISA can submit nominations. If you are not currently a member, we encourage you to review the ISA membership options, including Automation Community Member, an entry level membership available at no charge.

Flow appointment

Litre Meter has appointed Chris Ringer as applications engineer. Chris joins Litre Meter from Krohne and brings with him expertise in a range of flowmeter technologies including Coriolis flow meters. Prior to working with Krohne as its sales manager in Britain, Chris was flow products manager at Foxboro and before that he was a sales engineer at Hartmann and Braun.

At Litre Meter – part of the Tasi Group – Chris will be mainly responsible for strengthening the company’s customer focus by providing sales support for Litre Meter and products for offshore, sub-sea and general applications manufactured by other Tasi Group brands including TRICOR and KEM.

Commenting on his appointment Chris Ringer said: “I am pleased to be a member of the team here at Litre Meter. My role as applications engineer will enable me to utilise experience I have gained elsewhere in Coriolis engineering applications to effectively promote Litre Meter’s and KEM’s flow meter technology in the UK and provide the best possible level of service to our customers.”

Chris will also liaise closely with sales staff to ensure the accurate quoting of delivery lead times to ensure that customer deadlines are met.

Commenting on the new appointment, Litre Meter CEO Charles Wemyss said: “I am delighted to welcome Chris to Litre Meter. He brings with him valuable experience which will make him a great asset to our team.

“Making appointments like this during the current economic climate demonstrates our continued commitment to providing the best possible service to both new and existing customers.”

A keen motorcyclist, Chris lives in Northampton with his wife Julie and their children Helen and Susan.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

EtherNet/IP Module is compatible with Coriolis meters!

Micro Motion® EtherNet/IP™ Module enables quick and cost effective access to plant-wide networks, providing plant and process data to improve availability and throughput

Emerson Process Management has introduced an EtherNet/IP™ Module for Micro Motion® Coriolis meters. Suitable for new or retrofit installations, the module is compatible with all Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters, and is the only Coriolis EtherNet/IP solution for hazardous areas. Access to the multivariable data enabled by the module allows for increased productivity and fast process insight with control system access to flow, density, temperature and many other parameters.

Compact and easy to install in less than 30 minutes, this module can be mounted in the control cabinet, removing the need to run Ethernet cabling out to the field. The module web browser provides network access to a powerful configuration and diagnostic interface, enabling a full range of remote activities. This includes Smart Meter Verification, which determines Coriolis meter performance without stopping the process or interrupting the flow.

The new module enables quick and cost effective access to the growing number of EtherNet/IP plant-wide networks and adds to the range of communication interface options available with Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters. These include DeviceNet, PROFIBUS DP, Modbus, Foundation fieldbus and PROFIBUS PA in addition to the traditional interfaces of 4-20 mA frequency and HART®.

It is suitable for DIN Rail mounting and is ODVA Certified. The software provided enables Micro Motion Coriolis flowmeters to be easily configured remotely via the plant network.

EtherNet/IP is an open, industry-standard networking technology supporting connections to a wide range of devices including motor starters, sensors, controllers and HMI devices. EtherNet/IP supports non-industrial and industrial communications on a common network infrastructure.

Torque measurement aids vehicle development!

On a business park near Farnham near Londion (GB), Protean Electric is developing a novel method of providing practical, cost-effective electric power for road vehicles.  The Protean DriveTM is a unique in-wheel electric drive system for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric light-duty vehicles, which can improve fuel economy, add torque, increase power and improve vehicle handling of both new and existing vehicles.  The system has already been successfully installed in vehicles ranging from small vans to luxury, high performance cars.

Having proved the concept, Protean Electric is now continuing to increase the efficiency of the in-wheel electric motor and regenerative braking capability to further improve performance.  Already, the in-wheel motor weighing only 31 kg delivers more than 81 kW. and 800 Nm yet fits easily into a conventional 18- to 24-inch road wheel.  An important part of the development process is the accurate measurement of torque and speed in the test laboratory.

The test rig designed by Protean engineers uses two in-wheel motors; one as the power source and the other as the brake.  This configuration allows the performance of the motors to be monitored in both drive and regenerative braking modes on the same rig with both torque and speed being measured using a Kistler Type 4504 contactless torque measuring flange.  The CoMo Torque control monitor calculates and displays power derived from the torque and speed signals.

Protean’s Mark McDonnell says they chose the Kistler system 4 years ago because it was easy to use, good value and had the accuracy needed.  Over the years, Protean have added additional Kistler torque measuring systems as the development programme has expanded.

With the need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels growing in importance, the suitability of the Protean DriveTM for easy retro-fitting and as original equipment means that the Kistler equipped test rigs will be kept busy well into the future.

Crisp action, long life tactile switch

Omron Electronic Components has announced a new IP67 sealed tactile switch offering long term reliability and a crisp clicking switch action.

Sealed to IP67 (IEC60529), the Omron B3SL provides enhanced resistance to dust penetration, helping ensure that its rated life of 100,000 operating cycles can be achieved even in harsh operating conditions. The vertically operated switch, which features a high operating force of 1.96N, is noted for its precise, crisp clicking action. The B3SL features a medium stroke which is achieved by using a rubber plunger, and has a pretravel of 0.3mm.

Andries de Bruin, Omron European Product Marketing Manager, Switches, said, “The B3SL takes the comprehensive Omron tactile switches range into medical and process control applications including keyboards with a membrane overlay or standalone keypads. The IP67 sealed versions are protected against contamination of the switching contacts in dusty environments and allow immersive cleaning of the PCB.”

Featuring a compact design with dimensions of just 6.2mm (l) x 6.5mm (w) x 3.4mm (h) the B3SL is rated for switching currents of 1mA at 5VDC to a maximum of 50mA at 12VDC with a resistive load and features an insulation resistance of 100Mohms at 100VDC and a contact resistance of 100mohms. The B3SL switch has a maximum bounce time of 5ms and supports an ambient operating temperature range of -25°C to +90°C.

Particulate monitor passes test!

A new ambient particulate monitor that will be of particular interest to anyone involved in air quality, especially if that interest includes the health effects of emissions from industrial processes and engines.

The new TEOM 1405-F and 1405-DF ambient particulate monitors from Air Monitors have successfully completed a series of laboratory and field trials in Britain and Germany.

The trials were part of a combined UK-Germany PM Equivalence Program to achieve both MCERTS and German UBA certification for the measurement of PM2.5 and PM10 without the need for correction factors which are required for many other techniques.

Commenting on the announcement, Air Monitors MD Jim Mills said: “This is great news for ambient air quality monitoring in the UK because the 1405-F provides the benefits of TEOM technology with the advantage of volatiles and non-volatiles measurement by FDMS – data which is essential for an understanding of the nature and source of PM pollution, which in turn is important to inform control and improvement measures.”

The TEOM 1405 distinguishes itself from other PM measurement methods by utilising a direct mass measurement that is not subject to the measurement uncertainties found in other surrogate technologies and provides a self-referencing, NIST traceable direct mass measurement.
For those that need to measure both fine and coarse particulates simultaneously, a dichotomous format version of the 1405 is available (1405-DF) for continuous monitoring of both PM2.5 and PM10. This provides a substantial cost reduction in comparison with two individual instruments.

A key feature of the new design for the 1405-F is that the control unit, the sensor and the FDMS are all built into the same box, which means that the unit is smaller and more cost-effective.
TEOM = tapered element oscillating microbalance

New technology makes segmented flow analyser compact and easy-to-use

Building on its reputation for innovation, SEAL Analytical has launched the 'AA1' – a fully automated analyser employing new technology based on segmented flow analysis for rapid, accurate, precise analysis of parameters such as Ammonia, Phosphate, Nitrate, Nitrite, Total Nitrogen, Total Phosphorous and Chloride. Typical applications include water, wastewater, soil, plant, fertilizer, food and beverage analysis.

Designed for reliability and simplicity, the AA1 is fully automatic with up to two separate channels analyzing two parameters simultaneously and performing up to 120 tests per hour. Stuart Smith is President of Seal, he says the instrument "is a lab manager's dream because it is compact and able to run unattended. Its operation has been greatly simplified which makes it extremely attractive to users; with minimal flow paths and the ability to add samples at any time during a run. This new approach to segmented flow employs low reagent quantities, so while results are extremely accurate, the cost per test is minimised."

Instrument control and data acquisition is performed with intuitive, easy to use 'AACE Lite' software, offering over 1,000 analytical methods meeting USEPA, ASTM, ISO and other international regulatory standards.

In order to achieve low detection limits and excellent reproducibility for the AA1, SEAL Analytical's German facility has designed and manufactured an innovative pump and brand new heating module.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Champion is Britain's first!

Dr. Richard Thomas, a Certified LabVIEW Architect and Senior Systems Engineer at Product Technology Partners, joins a select number of forty five expert engineers around the globe to be honoured by National Instruments as a LabVIEW Champion. Richard, the first LabVIEW Champion in Britain, received this recognition from NI for his outstanding contribution to LabVIEW's success and for inspiring others to learn and grow through active technical community participation and face-to-face interactions.

“The prestigious LabVIEW Champion title exists as a way to validate and thank outstanding advocates for their participation and willingness to help others in our user community as well as provide them with the technical resources to help others in the future” said Mike Bailey, LabVIEW Marketing Manager, National Instruments UK & Ireland. “Richard Thomas cares deeply about how LabVIEW is portrayed and taught, and his work with user groups is inspirational.”

National Instruments online community is a resource for its 170,000 members to discover and collaborate on the latest example code, tutorials, textbooks and more. Engineers and scientists around the globe share development techniques, learn about cutting-edge technologies and connect with LabVIEW and other NI product experts working on similar applications.

Richard has a highly positive impact in technical and product communities, both locally and online. He hosts the Cambridge LabVIEW Users Group and frequently authors and presents material on a wide range of topics including object-oriented programming and user interface design. Additionally, he recently won a National Instruments world-wide LabVIEW Coding Challenge, a competition to transform a basic LabVIEW Front Panel into a fully functioning User Interface that is both creative and easy to use. Richard’s winning entry was chosen based on the number of “likes” it received from the LabVIEW community members.

“I'm a hugely enthusiastic LabVIEW programmer and enjoy pushing LabVIEW and NI hardware to their limits” said Dr. Thomas. "By staying active with the LabVIEW community of developers, I not only keep my own skill up to date, but raise the quality of LabVIEW-based measurement and control systems around the world."

Now qualified as a Certified LabVIEW Architect, Richard began programming in LabVIEW twelve years ago as a post-grad student at Leicester University, acquiring and analysing data from a large scale laminar wind tunnel. He continued to use the award-winning system design software in his career at the Turbomachinery Group of the Engineering Department at Cambridge University, where LabVIEW is used extensively for hardware control and instrumentation acquisition and data analysis. Richard now works as a Senior Systems Engineer at Product Technology Partners, a Cambridge-based software consultancy providing solutions to scientific and industrial software challenges.

Champion looks back! Dr. Richard Thomas shares his passion for LabVIEW and how the software is essential to his career. (2nd May 2012).

Release the bandwidth potential of your scope!

Tektronix has given customers the option to upgrade the bandwidth of their existing DPO3000 or MSO3000 'scopes to the full 500MHz according to a release from TTi.

Because a customer's project requirements can change over time, there is often a need for improved oscilloscope performance.

With the addition of bandwidth upgrades for the MSO/DPO3000 Series Oscilloscopes, customers can purchase the bandwidth they need now, and simply upgrade it (up to 500MHz) when their project requirements change - without purchasing a whole new instrument.

Existing owners of DPO3000 or MSO3000 oscilloscopes can purchase a bandwidth upgrade regardless of the age of the product. However, for older models, re-calibration to the higher bandwidth is recommended

Tension/compression load cells ex stock!

A new initiative has been introduced by LCM Systems which will lower prices and ensure faster delivery for all customers.

The company's best selling DCE load cell for measurement of tensile and compressive forces is now available ex-stock from its headquarters on the Isle of Wight (GB). This small and versatile product is ideal for design engineers and systems integrators who are working on applications for tensile strength, tension measurement and general force applications.

The standard product is offered in ranges from 100N to 50kN, although specials can be designed and manufactured not only with customised ranges, but different thread sizes, integral connectors and high temperature versions are all popular requests from design engineers. This compact load cell is constructed in stainless steel and environmentally sealed to IP65. To add to its versatility, different mounting options are available, designed to make the load cell suitable where space is limited and a version with rationalised output can also be supplied.

Over the past six months, LCM Systems has extended its factory by 30%, allowing parts to be held in stock for even faster assembly and delivery. As well as the DCE load cell, in future, customers will be able to order shackle load cells, the SGA analogue stain gauge amplifier and the TR150 handheld load indicator for immediate dispatch.

High performance compute blades!

Designed to meet the performance and flexibility requirements of NEPs and TEMs.

ADLINK Technology has announced the aTCA-6200, a next-generation AdvancedTCA® (ATCA) processor blade that demonstrates their leadership in the development of high performance compute blades with flexible expansion capabilities. The aTCA-6200 features two 1.8 GHz eight-core Intel® Xeon® processors E5-2648L, the Intel® C604 chipset, DDR3-1600 memory up to 128GB and a PICMG® mid-size AMC bay. On-card connectivity includes dual 10GBASE-KX4 Fabric Interfaces, dual GbE Base Interfaces, dual front panel GbE egress ports, CFast socket and quad SAS channels which provide leading edge network performance and storage capabilities. The aTCA-6200 is ideal for carrier-grade applications such as media servers in IPTV, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) broadband networks, and wireless infrastructures, providing telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) and network equipment providers (NEPs) with a flexible, cost-effective solution for mission critical applications and a reliable, smooth path for scalability and expansion.

“With its two eight-core Intel® Xeon® processors E5-2648L, eight sockets for DDR3-1600 VLP RDIMM memory up to 128GB capacity, and one mid-size AMC bay, the aTCA-6200 delivers the computing power of 32 concurrent threads, massive I/O and memory capacity, and flexible connectivity for high-end telecom and media server applications requiring carrier-grade performance,” stated Eric Kao, Director of ADLINK's Embedded Computing Product Segment.

“ADLINK’s aTCA-6200 is equipped with the latest Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2648L featuring an integrated memory controller and two Intel® QuickPath Interconnect (Intel® QPI) point-to-point link interfaces. Intel® QPI provides higher bandwidth with low latency connectivity from processor to processor at up to 8 GT/s,” stated Steve Price, director of marketing, Communications Infrastructure Division, Intel. "With Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, the Intel® Xeon® processors E5-2648L increase the performance of both multi-threaded as well as single-threaded workloads and energy efficiency.”

ADLINK’s new aTCA-6200 provides high-speed data-transfer on the PICMG 3.1 Fabric Interface enabled by an Intel® 82599EB 10GbE Ethernet controller and Base Interface connectivity provided by Intel® 82576EB Gigabit Ethernet controllers. Versatile storage support includes four channels of SAS RAID 0/1, onboard bootable CFast socket, onboard 2.5” SATA drive space, and modular Fabric riser card for additional PICMG Fabric Interface protocols. The mid-size AMC bay supports AMC.1 PCI Express and Advanced Switching, AMC.2 Gigabit Ethernet and AMC.3 SATA/SAS storage expansion. I/O features of the aTCA-6200 include Base Interface channels, Fabric Interface channels and front/rear egress ports. Front panel I/O includes two RJ-45 GbE ports, three USB 2.0 ports, an RJ-45 to DB-9 standard serial port and a DB-15 connector for analog graphics output.

Subminiature Linear Hall Effect Sensor IC

Honeywell is extending its Linear Hall-effect Sensor Integrated Circuits (IC) product line with the addition of the new SS39ET Series to its SS49E and SS59ET portfolio of low-cost Linear Hall-effect devices.

With the launch of the SS39ET Series, Honeywell’s Linear Hall-effect product family now consists of three package styles with different lead configurations:
• SS39ET: subminiature SOT-23 surface mount package (tape and reel format)
• SS49E: leaded flat TO-92 package (bulk packaging, 1000 units per bag), SS49E-T2 (straight leads), and SS49E-T3 (formed leads) on tape in ammopack (fan-fold) format
• SS59ET: miniature SOT-89B surface-mount package (tape and reel format)

“With the launch of the new SS39ET Series, customers can choose the package style and size to meet their application needs,” said Josh Edberg, senior global product marketing manager for Honeywell Sensing and Control. “Customers will appreciate the SS39ET Series’ SOT-23 subminiature footprint that takes up less space on the PC board, allowing more design flexibility and cost savings in their application.”

The SS39ET Series are designed to monitor magnetic fields from a permanent magnet or an electromagnet. All packages can be supplied on tape for automated, lower-cost assembly. These devices respond to both North and South poles, and can be powered with voltages as low as 2.7 V.

A wide temperature range of -40 °C to 100 °C [-40 °F to 212 °F] allows use in many environments, and the thermally balanced, integrated circuit provides stable operation over the full temperature range. Thin film resistors improve accuracy and provide a stable output. The energy-efficient, low current consumption of 6 mA at 5 Vdc and the 2.7 Vdc to 6.5 Vdc supply voltage range allow circuit design flexibility.

Potential industrial applications for the SS39ET Series include:
• Anti-tampering magnetic field sensing in smart remote utility meters
• Basic current sensing for motor load monitoring, detection
• Pump control in heavy-duty equipment and household appliances
• Simple linear or angular displacement sensing
• Handlebar/throttle position sensing in e-bikes and scooters
• Current sensing in appliances
• Speed adjustment trigger in tools and appliances
• Magnetic code reading in safes, security, and building access control systems.

Potential medical applications for the SS39ET Series include:
• Position sensing in infusion pumps

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Coriolis with Modbus

Yokogawa has extended the communication capabilities of the well-proven ROTAMASS 3 Coriolis flowmeter series by adding a Modbus interface. Modbus communications via an RS-485 connection will be available in both Modbus RTU and ASCII transmission modes.

The fast and simple Modbus communication at up to 57 kbit/s enables access to all relevant process measurements including - but not limited to - mass/flow, density and temperature.. All measurement variables are included as readable address registers.

Compared to other field communication protocols like FOUNDATION Fieldbus or Profibus, the Modbus protocol involves no costly changes to the conventional 4-20 mA wiring, allowing a point-to-point or multi-drop network to be realised with minimal effort.

In addition to the Modbus communication, the standard I/O interfaces such as 4-20 mA, pulse/frequency and status in/out are still available for control and/or monitoring purposes.

For easy configuration of meter measurements and settings, a free ROTAMASS Modbus communication tool will be delivered with each ROTAMASS. This software tool is equipped with different functions, clearly shown in an explorer view. Despite Modbus communication, all settings can be done by means of the indicator. Even simultaneous HART communication via HHT or FDT is possible.

The ROTAMASS Coriolis flowmeter is respected in the market for its superior "box in box" design, which guarantees decoupling of the device from external vibrations and stresses. With its two U-shaped and thick wall tubes, this device achieves an optimum measurement accuracy of ±0.1% of reading for liquids and ±0.5% for gases, and has excellent zero-point stability, even under tough conditions in the field.

The mass-flow measurement range of the ROTAMASS spans from 45 kg/h to 600 t/h. A unique density accuracy of ±0.0005 g/cm3 (±0.5 g/l) results from the real density being calibrated using different liquids and temperatures. ROTAMASS can handle applications involving temperatures from -200°C up to +350°C.

Every ROTAMASS model is available with a variety of process connections offering pressure rates up to 285 bar. The result is a range of instruments to suit every customer in terms of pressure loss, measurement accuracy and price.

ROTAMASS with Modbus and its user-friendly communication tool is the ideal solution for multivariable process measure in a wide range of applications.

Earth monitoring

The recently upgraded Earth-Rite FIBC from Newson Gale is an effective way to ensure correctly specified Static Dissipative (SD) or Conductive materials are used in hazardous area applications involving FIBCS (big-bags or super-sacks) and other flexible or semi-rigid containers.

Type C FIBC’s are commonly used to control the risk of uncontrolled static discharge when loading or unloading bulk powdered and other loose solid materials in hazardous areas. Depending on the application, the potentially explosive atmosphere where the transfer process takes place may be a combustible dust, or sometimes a dangerous hybrid atmosphere comprising dust and solvent vapours. Bearing in mind the inherent risks, it is always necessary to earth the FIBC prior to product transfer, however in view of the need to attach a mechanical earthing clamp to a flexible tab, many safety conscious organizations prefer to use a monitoring system to take the guesswork out of this operation.

The Earth-Rite FIBC fulfills this need through intrinsically safe monitoring electronics which continuously verify the containers’ resistance and satisfactory connection to earth. When these conditions are confirmed, the system provides local indication to operating personnel in the form of pulsing green multi-LEDS, along with a pair of control contacts (DPDT) which can be interlocked with the process to prevent transfer of product until a safe condition exists.

The system is certified for safe use in hazardous areas to all major worldwide approvals and can be installed in accordance with IECEX/ATEX Zoning or North American NEC Class/Division requirements. The Earth-Rite FIBC is simple to install and operate, and is supplied with a special stainless steel earthing clamp assembly, purpose designed for clamping onto flexible/fabric static dissipative materials. The main controller and indication unit is housed inside an IP66/NEMA 4X enclosure and is available with universal AC (110/120 – 220/240V) or DC (12 – 24V) power supply options.

The Earth-Rite FIBC forms part of Newson Gale’s innovative range of Static Earthing & Bonding Equipment. For detailed specifications, model numbering and further options please contact Newson Gale or your local distributor.

Scholorships awarded!

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced the 2011-2012 recipients of the James O. Gray-Fieldbus Foundation Scholarship Fund. The program honors the memory of James (Jim) O. Gray, a long-time leader in the Fieldbus Foundation who passed away in 2002. It establishes a perpetual $250,000 (ca €190k) endowment fund providing scholarships to students seeking a career in the industrial automation profession.
Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Rich Timoney congratulated Ms. Thunyaporn Sathaporn, student at KMITL, Bangkok, Thailand, on being named a 2011-2012 James O. Gray Scholarship recipient.
Since 2003, the James O. Gray-Fieldbus Foundation Scholarship program has funded 26 educational scholarships for students around the world.

Wataru Futagoishi
Thunyaporn Sathaporn
Gang Zhao
Recipients of 2011-2012 scholarship
Mr. Wataru Futagoishi, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan: Wataru Futagoishi is a first-year student in master's courses within Waseda University's Department of Applied Mechanics. His course work is focused on mechanics, mathematics and other related topics. Wataru has been recognized at the head of his class in mechanical engineering and won the JSME Hatakeyama Prize, the most prestigious award for junior students in the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was enrolled as a research member to address diagnostic problems using FOUNDATION fieldbus devices. Wataru is currently studying corrosion diagnostics with Coriolis mass flowmeters. He will graduate in March 2013.

Ms. Thunyaporn Sathaporn, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Bangkok, Thailand: Thunyaporn Sathapaporn is a junior majoring in Automation Engineering at KMITL. In this area of study, she has had the opportunity to learn about fieldbus technology basics and serve as a professor’s assistant in KMITL’s 2010 FOUNDATION fieldbus seminar and workshop. Thunyaporn is currently studying topics such as PID control and sequence control systems, as well as the design and configuration of fieldbus control strategies in industrial operations.

Mr. Gang Zhao, SAIT Polytechnic, Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Gang Zhao is enrolled in his second year within the Instrumentation Engineering Technology program at SAIT Polytechnic. A native of Shandong, China, Gang completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Physics in 1983 and went on to work for a power supply company. He was later employed at an environmental firm, where he was involved with a variety of lab analysis instruments. Gang intends to pursue his strong interest in instrumentation to gain additional knowledge and professional opportunities related to FOUNDATION fieldbus technology.

Fieldbus Foundation President and CEO Rich Timoney congratulated the latest scholarship recipients. He said, "Each year, the James O. Gray-Fieldbus Foundation Scholarship Fund recognizes a group of deserving students involved in the field of instrumentation and industrial automation. This unique scholarship was established with the support of control technology stakeholders around the world, whose efforts will help maintain a strong and vibrant control industry."

Jim Gray was employed by Invensys/Foxboro for 25 years as sales and marketing manager. In addition to being very active within the Fieldbus Foundation from its inception, he held the positions of: secretary of the Board of Directors, member of the Executive Committee, and member of the U.S. Marketing Committee.

A complete measuring chain

The latest version of the Kistler maXYmos BL process monitoring and product testing system is the basis of a complete XY measuring chain costing less than €2400, including sensors. Since its launch, the maXYmos BL system has proved to be a cost-effective method of monitoring a wide range of manufacturing processes, especially joining, assembly, and product testing. Monitoring the relationship between force, measured by piezoelectric or strain gauge sensors, and distance, measured by potentiometric displacement sensors provides an accurate evaluation of any variation in a production process or product performance compared with a known optimum.

The new version adds envelope curve evaluation as standard to further enhance the performance of this versatile and compact monitor. During setup, the band of the envelope curve automatically wraps around the outside contour of a previously measured bundle of curves evaluated as “Good”. Automatic trend tracking, which can be activated for the band of the envelope curve, tracks the set-point limits, for example with progressive tool wear, and adjusts the evaluation function to suit the actual process in real time. One or two separate envelope curves, in addition to other evaluation objects, may be defined for each measurement curve.

In addition, new PC software allows direct transfer of the test data from the maXYmos BL to a PC and provides an easy to use method for displaying, measuring and analysing measurement curves and process values, and for evaluating process capability.

Excitement in engineering -

Michael Aivaliotis conducted an interview last year at NIWeek 2011 which we only became aware of recently!
Hunter Smith, Ben James, Humphrey Huang, Peter Gayler - Bottom Row: Dylan Caswell, Tim Lynch, Michael Aivaliotis.
He says, "I sat down with a group of engineering interns at National Instruments. Now these intern positions were not typical. Hunter Smith and Ben James who managed this group of students, gave them the flexibility to do whatever project they wanted, as long as it was extremely awesome. How's that for some parameters to work within?"
Links to items mentioned in podcast
Waterloo Labs Youtube Channel
Facebook Page

This group within National Instruments is called Waterloo Labs, and I had a great time talking with them. It is great, not to say contagious to see so much excitement in engineering. 

Some of the projects that have come out of Waterloo Labs is an iPhone controlled vehicle, an Eyeball powered super mario game, a Kinect powered etch-a-scetch. "One of the coolest projects so far, I think is something they go in great detail in this interview. Take a listen to find out what it is!" concludes Aivaliotis!