Saturday, April 14, 2012

Paperless recorder

The new FX1000 paperless recording system, from Yokogawa, provides premium features and performance for cost-sensitive OEM suppliers and end user process recording applications. Delivering a high level of measurement, recording, and networking functionality in a compact package, the shallow 6.5” case depth behind the panel allows for installation in tight locations and easy system integration.

A high-precision wide view angle 5.7” color display provides outstanding visibility of trend, digital, bar graph and historical display mode information. Up to 12 universal input channels are available with optional alarm relays, loop power supply, remote control inputs, and 24V AC/DC power. Standard 400MB secure non-volatile flash memory provides long term data storage. Compact Flash removable media and USB media support are optional.

A unique AC power measurement option allows the unit to trend and record 3-phase AC energy consumption that is highly useful for monitoring, diagnostic, and energy conservation applications.
Specialized options include pulse input integration for turbine flow meter measurement, logarithmic scale for vacuum furnace monitoring, and calibration correction for precise temperature measurement in a wide range of applications.

Flexible network connectivity options round out the FX1000 feature list to include FTP file transfer, email messaging, web browser display, and Modbus RTU master/slave \and Modbus TCP client/server functions.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Innovation Award for Wireless transmitter for Humidity - Temperature - CO2

As the most innovative product in the category "Indoor Air Quality", the wireless transmitter EE245 from E+E Elektronik was honoured with the "2012 AHR Expo Innovation Award". The price was presented at a solemn ceremony at the world's largest HVAC Trade Show and Conference in Chicago.

As the jury of this prestigious award is composed of renowned ASHRAE members, this award is a special confirmation and motivation for future developments for the sensor specialists at E+E Elektronik.

The valuation of all submitted products was based on objective criteria: innovation, usability, assessed value for the customer and market impact.

The combination of high-end sensors for humidity, temperature and CO2, as seen in a sleek design with the use of advanced wireless transmitter technology was seen as a special feature of the EE245 by the jury.

The user saves time and money by eliminating expensive wiring and gains flexibility in the selection of appropriate measurement locations. The entire wireless transmitter EE240 series also boasts having a very simple configuration of the entire network via a standard web browser without requiring any additional software.

African organisation becomes latest member

The Society for Automation, Instrumentation, Measurement, and Control (SAIMC) has signed a Memorandum of Membership with the Automation Federation.

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

SAIMC is an African organisation of over 1,200 individual members, with branches in South Africa and Zambia, that advances the theory and practice in the fields of measurement and control. In addition to its individual members, SAIMC has 35 patron members, which include Honeywell, Endress & Hauser and Yokogawa.

The Automation Federation and SAIMC will work together to advance the automation profession through the promotion of continuing education and training; dissemination and communication of relevant information related to and benefiting the profession; and the growth and maintenance of a repository of valuable technical information, terminology and standards. Collaborative discussions have already begun with a focus on getting SAIMC involved in upcoming Automation Federation activities.

Johan Maartens, president of SAIMC, said today, “SAIMC’s leadership recognized the importance of becoming a member organization of the Automation Federation and the positive impact our involvement would generate for the automation profession. Through this membership, SAIMC will be able to aid the Automation Federation in its efforts to promote awareness, programs and services that will advance the automation profession while meeting the goals of SAIMC. May this be a long and prosperous relationship!”

Leo Staples, 2012 Automation Federation chair, stated, “The addition of SAIMC to our growing family of organizations demonstrates a global recognition of the value and effectiveness of the Automation Federation and its efforts to advance the automation profession. We are very pleased that we are effectively serving as the global ‘Voice of Automation.'"

Modbus OPC server functionality expanded

MatrikonOPC™ simplifies open data sharing with the HC900 line of Hybrid Controllers in the release of its latest OPC Server for Modbus. With expanded communication options and a streamlined interface, the MatrikonOPC Server for Modbus provides users with an optimized workflow making configuration and maintenance faster and more intuitive.

With built-in role-based security down to the per- tag-level, the Modbus OPC Server actively protects the integrity of automation system data. Based on each user’s login, this OPC Server selectively grants or denies access to specific tags, providing only the right users with secure access to the right process data. Granular control over data access helps prevent accidental or intentional unauthorized OPC data access. As a part of the overall infrastructure, this OPC server adds another layer to a system’s overall defense-in-depth strategy.

“Secure, reliable access to data in control automation systems is crucial,” said Darek Kominek, marketing manager at MatrikonOPC. “With an optimised user interface and an expanded range of natively supported Modbus variants, the MatrikonOPC server for OPC devices helps make your projects more successful.”

Key features include:
redundant device communications
precise control over who can access what data via role-based security
support for OPC Alarms and Events

Primary wastewater/sewage sampler that works!

New sewage sampler enables real-time control

An innovative new wastewater sampling system, which will open up a new world of opportunity by enabling water companies to continuously monitor sewage at the plant inlet has been put on the market by Hach Lange.

In the past, it has been almost impossible to monitor influent because of the physical and biological challenges that sewage presents – ragging, biofouling etc. However, following trials at a number of British wastewater treatment plants, engineers at Hach Lange have developed a new sample preparation system that works extremely well in these difficult conditions.

The new sampling system employs an innovative design that overcomes the problems of continuous sampling from primary sewage. This includes a number of novel design features including bespoke filter cartridges, which are cleaned by backflushing and air scouring.

The ability to monitor influent has been a major objective for many years; previous attempts have involved capital work to divert flow through a semi-protected channel. However, this can involve tens of thousands of pounds so Hach Lange believes that the development of an effective sampling system is great news for the industry.

One of the influent parameters of most interest is phosphate. This is because there are tight discharge consents to prevent the build-up of nutrient levels in rivers, streams and groundwater. It is common practise therefore to remove phosphate by chemical precipitation with ferric sulphate to form ferric phosphate which can be removed as sludge. Traditionally, this has been achieved by dosing the ferric solution at a constant or flow proportional rate. However, phosphate levels in the influent can vary considerably, particularly when there is a significant contribution from trade discharges, so dose rates are generally set to accommodate the higher levels of influent phosphate to minimise compliance risk.

Now that it is possible to obtain a continuous representative sample of the influent, live phosphate data can be derived from a Phosphax sc orthophosphate analyser, which, in conjunction with a phosphate removal real-time control module (P-RTC) utilises influent monitoring data to determine the phosphate load and thereby to calculate the dose rate to achieve the required removal percentage. It is also possible to monitor phosphate after dosing in order to establish feedback control in a closed loop system.

The P-RTC ensures that chemical dosing is as efficient as possible, and that the plant is able to respond quickly to influent phosphate spikes whilst maintaining consent compliance for both phosphorus and iron. Experience has also shown that influent-P data has provided much greater insight into trade discharges.

Explaining the importance of this new sampling technology, Andy Thornton, an optimisation specialist at the company says, “The most exciting aspect of this development is the fact that the sampler enables the implementation of real-time control, which is improving compliance, reducing waste and bringing substantial cost savings to many treatment plants across Europe and beyond.”

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shipboard certification

CENTUM VP Lloyd's approval!
Lloyd’s Register, a world leading certification organization, has certified that Yokogawa Electric Corporation products comply with the ISO17894 standard on the shipboard use of programmable electronic systems, and are suitable for use on LNG carriers and floating production units. This certificate has been issued for the CENTUM® VP and CENTUM® CS 3000 integrated production control systems, which are the company's flagship products, and for the ProSafe®-RS safety instrumented system.

Safety and protecting the environment are primary concerns of owners and operators of ships and other floating vessels used in the oil and gas industry, so the products that they use must be reliable and of high quality. They tend to look for vendors of programmable electronic systems that comply with ISO17894. Yokogawa has a good track record in this sector, having received control systems orders for a total of 47 LNG carriers.

Encouraged by this certification of ISO17894 compliance, Yokogawa aims to expand its control business in the oil and gas marine sector by targeting growth segments such as LNG carriers and floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels.

Tour of new water supply facility at symposium

The Orange County (Florida) Utilities (OCU) Water Division will host a tour of their newly constructed Southern Regional Water Supply Facility as part of the 2012 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium (WWAC). Taking place 7-9 August 2012 in Orlando (FL USA), the WWAC symposium caters to the needs of automation and instrumentation professionals in the municipal water and wastewater sectors. The tour is scheduled to take place during the late-afternoon of August 7.

“This tour offers a unique look at a state-of-the-art, ozone-based water treatment facility,” says OCU’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) Administrator, Robert Doyon. He looks after the plant’s automated SCADA system and manages the automation systems at several other OCU facilities.

Doyon, a long-time ISA member, is an ISA Level III Certified Control Systems Technician® (CCST®). The plant, which was brought on-line in 2012, uses a highly optimized process for removing the naturally occurring sulfide that is present in much of Florida’s groundwater. “The facility’s fully automated and redundant control system ensures that the plant is able to continuously provide a reliable source of water for both drinking and fire-protection needs in Orange County,” adds Doyon. The tour will give symposium attendees a glimpse at how leading-edge automation is being used in the municipal water sector to minimize costs, increase efficiency and offer enhanced reliability.

Compact and robust emergency pull wire switches

Conveyor plants for bulk goods, woodworking machines, handling plants for drinks bottles and crates: emergency pull wire switches are often used in machines and plants which are especially demanding. Adverse conditions can include dust and dirt, as well as damp, fluctuations in temperature and high levels of mechanical wear and tear.

With the aim of providing customers with an “Extreme” version for precisely this application profile, steute has fundamentally redesigned its very successful ZS 71 emergency pull wire switch.

One of the modifications is particularly effective sealing of the enclosure. Replacing metal with high-quality plastic as the enclosure material has made it suitable for long-term use in corrosive environments. Another change is a stainless steel draw gear; the mounting screws are also stainless steel.

Thanks to numerous optimisations of its construction, the ZS 71 »Extreme« can even be exposed to a high-pressure cleaner without any detrimental effect to its long-term functionality. This is documented by its categorization in protection class IP 69K. Another variant, in protection class IP 67 and able to withstand cold temperatures of down to -40 °C, is also available.

The safety features of the ZS 71 Extreme include integrated pulling and tearing monitoring of the wire, which can be up to 35 metres long. Its compact design enables it to be integrated in existing constructions, even in very narrow locations.

W&WW standard procedures & emergency events complience eased

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced Proficy® Water Operations, a Work Process Management (WPM) application specific to Water/Wastewater utilities that builds on the industry-leading capabilities of the company’s Proficy Workflow solution. By guiding operators through procedures, WPM reduces risk and costs, improves quality and eases compliance by minimizing operator errors and tracking responses. Furthermore, to minimise the effect of a “brain drain” that many infrastructure industries will face when their expert operators soon retire, the solution captures and digitizes expert knowledge—ensuring that best practices become standard operating procedures.

“Operations Management solutions are growing in demand as municipalities seek to streamline plant operations,” said Alan Hinchman, Infrastructure Market Director for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Proficy Workflow brings together the principle of continuous improvement and the critical next step of electronically documenting standard operating procedures. Together, customers are enabled to prepare for the future, understand the best practices of yesterday, while optimizing operations today.”

With Proficy Water Operations, utilities can easily document processes, transfer institutional knowledge and drive critical consistency and predictability into the plant. The solution allows digitization of manual and automated processes with one tool across the entire facility – from plant operators and maintenance teams to field crews and leadership. Operators want the right information to do their jobs. With documented processes and electronic Standard Operating Procedures (eSOPs), every operator is an expert with step-by- step instructions guiding the right actions.

“Optimising operations requires a work process management system to define, model and coordinate each utility’s workflows and resources,” said Matt Wells, General Manager, Work Process Management Solutions. “A WPM system digitizes procedures to guide operators, track actions for reporting, and align plant processes for rapid response to normal and unusual events. Proficy Workflow applications drive proper notification and action by triggering corrective workflows and tasks through integrated real-time transactions.”

With GE’s Water Operations solution, utility operators can also bridge the gap between Operations and Maintenance – finally achieving real-time, condition-based asset management. When an out-of-spec event takes place in the SCADA, Water Operations can trigger a work process to interface with the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), secure a work order number, send specific instructions including GIS location information to an operator, and facilitate the corrective action to remediate a problem. Water Operations can then close out the work order with the CMMS, whether plant or GIS centric, and record the actions taken for historical records. This reduces the need for operators making scheduled rounds and device readings – and automates the process of moving from condition detected to creating work requests and the right corrective action. The result: Less downtime, maintenance, and risk – and lower costs.

Furthermore, utilities around the world can benefit from GE’s growing library of Water/Wastewater eSOPs – which speeds digitization and implementation. The library includes digitized eSOPs such as turbidity, filter operation, security, caustic chemical feed, and more.

“Proficy Workflow allows us to make every operator an expert with interactive, step-by-step instructions,” said Frank Fisher, DPW Information Systems Administrator for Waterford Township, Michigan (US). “In turn, we can decrease downtime, maintenance and costs across operations, reduce troubleshooting time and risk, and capture knowledge of our best operators before they retire. We can also record and track work processes for compliance.
"If you have an operational process, it can most certainly benefit from a Workflow designed to monitor abstract and varied functionality to ensure proper operation and efficiency. No doubt it takes work at the beginning to develop them, but when they are in place, hundreds of DPW staff hours are saved and effective and consistent operations are ensured,” said Fisher.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Automatic control of mechanical assys

Noomeo and Kineo CAM are collaborating to develop a solution for automatic control of the quality of mechanical assemblies.

Nowadays, most products that surround us are designed with computer-aided design (CAD) software. Resulting digital models (CAD models) are then used for the development of means of production that will enable the manufacture of parts.

One major difficulty is then to ensure that the result of production conforms to the original design. Non Destructive Testing (NDT) is a set of methods and techniques of perception and action implemented to verify such compliance. The origins of manufacturing errors are numerous: poor adjustment of machinery, tool wear ... but also, human operator errors when performing manual assembly, or when preparing machining or assembly performed by machines or robots.

In this context, Noomeo and Kineo CAM are collaborating to develop a solution called CAAMVis aiming at automating the quality control of mechanical assemblies by Artificial Vision. No learning phase is required other than loading the CAD model and identification of control points. Time savings are even greater when production lines must adapt to frequent configuration changes.

The assembly is inspected by the CAAMVis control system whose architecture consists of a robot arm equipped with a 2D/3D vision sensor, software for image processing and automatic comparison with stored digital models and software for automatic computation of 3D control sequences that are executed by the robot.

The main operations addressed by CAAMVis are:

• automatic selection of control points computed from the model and the current state of the assembly,
• motion planning of part holding and / or sensor holding manipulators allowing to reach previously computed control points,
• execution of generated robot trajectories,
• automatic comparison between the digital model and measurements made at each stage to check the compliance of the assembly.

Online configurator for Industrial Ethernet network components

Version 5 of the Simatic Net Selection Tool online configuration system for Industrial Ethernet network components is now available from Siemens with an array of extended functions.

The latest version of the Simatic Net Selection Tool comes with a significantly extended portfolio of components for Industrial Ethernet. One of the added benefits of Version 5 is that it allows orders to be quickly and simply placed for the new device variants of the Scalance X-500 product line. The new switches are a valuable addition to the upper end of the Siemens portfolio, and provide the ideal central interface between Industrial Ethernet networks both in production and in higher-level IT networks. Also offered by the Simatic Net Selection Tool are the Industrial Wireless LAN devices of the Scalance W700 product series, which provide high-speed data transmission conforming to standard IEEE 802.11n. The configurator now also permits electrical and optical Industrial Ethernet cables and connectors to be selected and ordered.

Simatic Net Selection Tool Version 5 is available online at or alternatively can be used offline after downloading in the Siemens Industry Mall, the online catalog and order placement system for automation and drive technology.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Measurement Microphones

National Instruments has announced that NI Alliance Partner G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration, a leading producer of acoustic front-end products, now sells microphone kits for use with NI dynamic signal acquisition (DSA) hardware. NI offers several different microphone types, from array microphones to condenser microphones appropriate for class 1 sound-level measurements. Customers in a number of industries, including aerospace and defence, are already having success using these products for applications like acoustic holography, environmental noise, noise mapping and sound power.

“For more than 10 years G.R.A.S. and NI have worked together on joint projects, and there has always been a great collaboration between our companies,” said Peter Wulf-Andersen, Managing director at G.R.A.S. Sound & Vibration. “I am proud that one of the biggest players in the industry has chosen G.R.A.S. as an official partner.”

NI’s new microphone kits include a G.R.A.S. microphone capsule and preamplifier. Inside the capsule is a diaphragm made of a special stainless alloy that provides maximum sensor life. The microphones contain a Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS) chip and combine with NI DSA hardware to provide a plug-and-play sensor experience.

New quad-port PoE frame grabber

AdlinkTechnology has released their quad-port GigE Vision frame grabber, the GIE64+, featuring PoE (Power over Ethernet), IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol and smart PoE application programming interface. The GIE64+ supports PCI Express® x4 lane, 4 independent Gigabit Ethernet ports with data transfer rates up to 1 Gb/s, and GigE Vision camera compliance. With multi-channel synchronization, PoE interface, IEEE 1588 PTP technology and Smart PoE support, the GIE64+ dramatically cuts cabling requirements by as much as 60%, significantly reducing maintenance burdens and boosting ease of use. The GIE64+ is perfectly suited to manufacturing environments utilizing multi-camera acquisition.

The GIE64+ supports IEEE 1588, providing a software trigger mode for multi-camera synchronized captures. Combining IEEE 1588 and PoE function, the GIE64+ utilizes a lone Ethernet cable for power supply, data transfer, and synchronization. In a typical 4-channel image system, as an example, with the GIE64+, only four cables are required rather than the conventional twelve, representing a clear reduction in TCO (total cost of ownership). In addition, the GIE64+ further supports a smart PoE application programming interface, enabling easy power status programming and auto detection of compatibility with both PoE and non-PoE devices. Operational simplicity and energy efficiency are enhanced exponentially.

“As the demands on GigE Vision solutions increase, ADLINK has responded by offering two distinct PoE solutions for the machine vision industry. For image acquisition operations in which flexibility and expandability are key, ADLINK provides ideal PoE frame grabbing capability in our GIE64+. And we also provide compact and ready-to-deploy platforms with our EOS series of embedded vision systems, meeting or exceeding customer requirements for factory automation and other application platform solutions.” stated Neil Chen, Adlinks’s Product Manager of Digital Imaging.

The GIE64+ provides link aggregation, increasing double-speed networking by merging 2 Gigabit Ethernet pathways into a single connection. An easy-to-read I/O-mounted LED display comprehensively communicates PoE status for worry-free power monitoring. Full driver support is provided for Windows 7/XP.