Friday, May 11, 2012

The Perfect Connector?

Snap-in IP67 connectors offering the “perfect balance” of price and performance

Foremost Electronics  - this website speaks to you! - has two new compact and lightweight families of waterproof snap-in connectors from Binder. The 720 series of miniature connectors and the 620 sub-miniature series offer the same key features to designers.

These two new connector families feature a unique snap-in lock offering fast and convenient mating even in areas of restricted access with reliability greater than 500 mating cycles. Two sizes accommodate 3 to 12 contacts with the flexibility of male or female options in both connectors and sockets. Internal elastomeric seals mean the range is dust and waterproof to IP67 with excellent electrical characteristics of up to 7A and 250V.

The simple low-cost all plastic modular design uses high quality materials throughout with polyamide housings, polyurethane moulded cables and gold plated contacts, brass pins and phosphor bronze sockets. Designers are offered many versatile options including adaptors for flush mounting, colour coded versions, sockets with solder and dip-solder contacts.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics comments, “These two new connector families from Binder offer the perfect balance of price performance. Their feature set leads the market and we really think they make the perfect connector. We are happy to provide a free sample to any customer who wishes to put them to the test.”

Typical applications for the new Binder 620 and 720 connector families include instrumentation, communications, medical, security systems and LED lighting systems.

Robust sensors

Harting has introduced a new range of Hall-effect current sensors with robust design and construction that makes them ideally suited to use in harsh conditions in areas such as rail technology and renewable energy.

The new sensors are designed to provide rapid and accurate current measurement for use in regulating power semiconductor systems such as frequency converters, uninterruptible power supplies and welding plant. Developed for these markets in close consultation with customers, they are designed to sense currents between 200 and 2000 A, and offer high levels of measurement accuracy and immunity to interference from external magnetic fields.

The Harting current sensor product family is based on the proven and tested Hall effect. The galvanically isolated devices measure current via the magnetic field of the conductor using two principles of measurement: compensation current sensing for the most demanding measurement tasks; and open-loop current sensing where there is less demand for accuracy.

The sensors are easy to incorporate into existing applications, as they have a standard footprint and installation measurements. A choice of connection technologies and pre-assembled signal cables enable cost-effective and secure assembly. Mating connectors and cables are no longer manufactured separately, reducing the overall number of parts required.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Business development manager

Kevin Simmonds joins Carlo Gavazzi UK in the new role of Business Development Manager, responsible for the Energy & Controls product families.

In this new position, Kevin will be developing internal and external marketing and training strategies to support and promote Carlo Gavazzi’s MID certified energy meters. In creating this new position Carlo Gavazzi aims to provide existing customers, M&E Contractors, Consultants and Facilities Managers with all the support required to help them implement successful carbon reduction strategies.

Carlo Gavazzi’s Managing Director Alan Hickman, said. “Kevin’s past experience in the energy management sector will undoubtedly aid our customers looking to reduce and monitor their energy consumption. I am delighted that Kevin will be strengthening our team and bringing with him outstanding knowledge and skills to drive our business forward”.

Kevin joins Carlo Gavazzi from EMS Powerstar, where he held the position of Sales Engineer. Originally trained as an RAF engineer in instrumentation and communications, Kevin brings many years’ experience in manufacturing, operations and engineering, plus commercial expertise, to the new role.

“I am very much looking forward to getting to know Carlo Gavazzi’s customers and working with their advanced product portfolio. In this fast moving commercial role I will constantly be looking for ways to promote Carlo Gavazzi on a wider basis and look forward to the challenges that this presents,” commented Kevin.

Quality manager hits the ground running!

We have had a number of new appointments announced in the past few days.

Keighley Laboratories has appointed Tim Clegg as its Quality Manager, replacing the long-term incumbent Peter Warriner, who is retiring shortly. Tim originally served his apprenticeship with the company, during which he gained a Metallurgical Technician diploma from Bradford College, before working for a nearby production engineering firm for twenty years. He returned to Keighley Labs last year as its Health & Safety Manager and a senior quality management trainee. He will now perform a dual role, steering through the company’s comprehensive quality accreditation programme and maintaining awareness of correct H&S procedures throughout the organisation, which already has a good safety record.

“We are delighted that Tim is taking on this critical quality management role, because he has extensive metallurgical experience and is well respected within the company,” says Keighley Labs MD, Debbie Mellor. “This year is particularly important since we are looking to attain Airbus and NADCAP accreditations, recognised as the most technically demanding across industry, which will open up fresh market avenues for us and reassure our existing customers that we maintain the ultimate quality standards.”

A youthful-looking 54 year old, Tim Clegg is a highly regarded fell and road runner and has been a member of Keighley & Craven AC for around thirty years. In April, he will compete in the demanding Yorkshire Three Peaks fell race for the tenth consecutive year and, as part of his training, he runs regularly to work, from his home in Shann Park, Keighley. He is married with three children.

Having previously worked as a Furnace Controller with Anderton International of Bingley, maintaining a computerised load list of heat treatment furnaces, Tim later became a Laboratory Technician when the firm merged with Ellison Circlips of Keighley, subsequently rising to Senior Quality Engineer, with metallurgical and final inspection responsibilities. In his new role as Keighley Labs Quality Manager, he will build on the company’s well-established quality management system, looking for opportunities for enhancement and meeting ever-changing customer requirements.

In addition to membership of many distinguished trade associations, such as the North West Aerospace Alliance, Engineering Industries Association and Contract Heat Treatment Association, Keighley Labs holds a continually growing portfolio of quality accreditations. These include the essential UKAS Testing ISO/IEC 17025 standard, BSI Heat Treatment quality management system BS EN ISO 9100:2009 and its associated aerospace standard AS9100 Revision C, and BS EN ISO 9001:2008 quality management accreditation. Among Tim Clegg’s duties will be maintaining a documented quality assurance programme, supervising the work of quality control staff, providing relevant training and adding to the company’s extensive UKAS schedule of accreditation.

PRT enters a new dimension....

Unique in terms of performance,
robustness, and user-friendliness
the R2000 laser scanner
Not all time-of-flight measurements are the same. On the basis of pulse ranging technology (PRT) developed by Pepperl+Fuchs, a new, innovative laser scanner has been produced that impressively demonstrates the advantages of this technology. To this end, further highly interesting innovations have been incorporated in the development of this device in addition to the use of PRT. For example, the measurement optics of the R2000 are based on mirror technology as opposed to the usual lens technology. The measuring module is not stationary, but rotates about its own axis. This means that the conventional mirror mechanism for beam deflection can be dispensed with. The result is a considerable increase in available space as well as identical light spot formation over the entire measurement angle. The light spot geometry is designed in such a way that the diameter does not exceed a few millimeters, even over large distances. This characteristic is important for the exact position detection of driverless transport systems.

2-D distance measurement device with 360° measurement angle
With its numerous unique features, the new 2-dimensional laser scanner is suitable for a wide variety of factory automation applications. A visible red laser simplifies commissioning because the user immediately sees where the sensor is pointing and can simply align the device accordingly. Laser class 1 means that the device can be used across all working ranges without endangering personal health. The light spot has a diameter of less than 20 mm at a measuring range of up to 10 m. This feature is particularly important for the detection of small objects. The precise detection of positions and edge profiles consequently poses no problem.

The measurement angle of 360°, the high sampling rate of up to 250,000 individual measurements per second, as well as a scanning frequency of up to 50 Hz mean that the device is particularly suitable for high-speed applications. An Ethernet interface is used in order to output this large volume of data. Switching outputs are available for purely binary information.

A further highlight is the large display, which is integrated in the light output surface. This allows the device to be commissioned in a straightforward manner without any additional components. All that is required for the basic alignment and network configuration are the two buttons on the device. Furthermore, status messages can be generated and application-specific information, such as distances, measurement profiles, etc., displayed.

Consistent HMI from compact to complex

Beijer Electronics has several new operator panel models in three integrated families, completing their offering of panels for every application in terms of performance and display size. From basic to complex applications, customers can now choose a consistent panel design and easily scale HMI projects between them. The new operator panels are optimized for the upgraded HMI software iX 2.0.

Hardware and software made for each other
Designed and built with aluminum housing, IP-rated sealing and quality components, Beijer Electronics’ new operator panels are robust and ensure reliable operation based on the iX software. All models come with a comprehensive list of drivers, enabling connectivity to most equipment from all major vendors.

Performance levels to suit any needs
Beijer Electronics’ new HMI solution comes in display sizes from four to 21 inches, built on three different CPUs to offer a competitive solution for every type of application. The smaller TxA models run on an ARM9 CPU and offer a highly cost-efficient solution with solid HMI functionality for small and medium-sized applications. The mid-range TxB models, running on the powerful Intel® Atom CPU, deliver high performance suitable for medium to large HMI applications, requiring handling of more data and utilizing more functionality. With the TxC series, built on the Intel® iCore CPU, Beijer Electronics takes HMI to the industrial PC level, delivering a wide range of connectivity options and high performance for larger projects. All models feature high-resolution displays, several in wide screen format and the largest model, the 21-inch TxC, even supports full HD.

The fastest way from idea to application
Beijer Electronics’ new generation HMI software, iX 2.0, and new families of operator panels constitute the company’s market-driven concept HMI at the speed of thought, which focuses on minimizing the distance between the HMI idea and the fully deployable, intuitive, application. The development software has a familiar Windows® based environment and offers refined engineering tools and improved ribbon menu, all of which ensure substantial time gains for project developers.

Switches at sea!

Three products in Harting's range of Fast Track Switches have been approved for use on board ships.

Types FTS 3100s-A, FTS 3100-A and FTS 3060-A have been tested and certified to Det Norske Veritas (DNV) requirements. The type approval is granted according to special guidelines that have been developed to meet the needs of international shipping.

Their Fast Track Switching is an innovative Ethernet-based switching technology which recognises, prioritises and accelerates precisely those frames that are particularly important for the user in specific automation applications. The switches recognise important frames, which are then accelerated by way of the cut-through method, allowing them to overtake other frames blocking their path. As a result, important automation data frames always reach their destination on time, regardless of the remaining network load.

This prioritisation of automation protocols also plays an important role in the marine sector, where the ability to create a deterministic, high-performance Ethernet-based network is key to many shipborne equipment applications.

Dance of the molecules!

Laser manufacturer nanoplus uses Yokogawa spectrum analyser for spectral characterisation of distributed feedback lasers

German laser manufacturer nanoplus is using the Yokogawa AQ6375 optical spectrum analyser to verify the high spectral quality of its distributed feedback (DFB) lasers using a spectral characterisation technique based on molecular excitation.

The nanoplus DFB lasers are used for highly accurate detection of trace gases in gas mixtures: a topic that is of great interest in many different areas. For example, the detection of gas leaks and monitoring of the concentrations of explosive gases can help avoid potential disasters. In addition, the analysis of gases in industrial processes allows the optimisation of operating parameters - possibly to minimise the risk of producing undesired end products, such as carbon monoxide from incomplete combustion. Even on space missions trace gas analysis is used for the exploration of remote planets.

A highly accurate method for the detection of gases in low concentrations is based on the use of laser light. This technique relies on the fact that each type of gas molecule has distinctive vibrational and rotational states which can be excited by a specific quantity of energy. With a laser that emits photons of this exact energy, specific molecules inside a gas mixture can be stimulated to "dance". This process can be observed indirectly by measuring the amount of laser light being absorbed by the gas molecules, depending on their concentration.

To achieve high accuracy in the absorption measurement, a laser is required that emits light only at the energy (and hence frequency) that is relevant for the gas type being examined. The frequency of such a single-mode laser can then be tuned extremely precisely around the molecule's absorption frequency by a variation of the operating current.

nanoplus develops single-mode lasers which make use of a patented technology for distributed feedback (DFB). For this technique, metal gratings with dimensions in the 100 nm range are patterned next to ridge structures in semiconductor material using electron-beam lithography. The grating structure acts as a filter for the DFB laser's resonator modes, allowing only one frequency/wavelength to pass with low loss.

To verify the high spectral quality of the lasers, nanoplus uses an AQ6375 optical spectrum analyser from Yokogawa. This instrument offers the great advantage that its accessible spectral range extends well beyond typical wavelengths for telecommunications (around 1700 nm). As a result, the instrument can be used to characterise DFB laser products, for example, for an application in the sensing of water vapour (around 1877 nm), carbon dioxide (2004 nm) and carbon monoxide (2332 nm).

With the AQ6375, the individual Fabry-Pérot laser modes can be clearly resolved. In addition, the high dynamic range enables the demonstration of single-mode laser operation with a side-mode suppression ratio of more than 50 dB. The detection of trace gases with concentrations of less than one part per billion in a gas mixture can be achieved with these high-quality DFB lasers. This sensitivity can be compared to finding a single person out of the entire population of China (a population well beyond a billion people) - or even finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

To achieve a high throughput of characterised lasers, nanoplus uses a fully automated test setup using the GPIB interface of the AQ6375. Despite the relatively complex measurement process, the test setup allows for a quick determination of the lasers' tuning properties at different chip temperatures and operating currents. The lasers are tested in the range from 1200 to 2400 nm before they are supplied to the customers, according to their applications.

One nanoplus laser, for example, is currently on board the NASA "Curiosity" rover on its way to Mars, with the intention to detect traces of water, methane and carbon dioxide - millions of kilometres away from Earth.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bidirectional valve range

A new monoflange-style ball valve for interfacing instruments to process piping has been launched by the instrumentation products division of Parker Hannifin.

The bidirectional valve range - designated Monoball - is available in four sizes with bores of 10, 15, 20 or 25 mm and offers a full cold working pressure rating of 6,000 PSI (414 bar) with 100% bubble-tight shut-off.

Monoflange-style construction makes the new valve lighter and more compact than conventional flange-to-flange mounted ball valves. This makes it ideal for space- and weight-sensitive applications such as offshore platforms, as well as the many common isolation requirements found in oil, gas and chemical processing installations.

In addition to being used an isolation valve, Monoball's compact construction makes it a versatile building block for configuring multi-valve manifold arrangements. This provides a simple means of coupling instruments closely to process piping, to allow the safe removal of an instrument valve if it needs replacing due to damage or plugging.

Additional construction features employed by Parker further enhance reliability and safety for users. The valve body is machined from a single forging, reducing potential leak paths to the minimum. In addition to NPT threaded interfaces, Parker can also supply the valve with two-ferrule tube fitting ends, thereby eliminating taper threads and the subsequent need for thread sealants, which can cause be a source of problems in the field.

As standard, Monoball valves are available in stainless steel (ASTM A182 F316/F316L), carbon steel (ASTM A350 LF2/A105), or Duplex (ASTM A182 F51) materials. Other high performance alloys, and NACE MR 0175/ISO 15156 compliant versions are available on request. Depending on the bore size chosen, the valve comes with flange sizes from 1/2 to 2 inches NB (15 to 50 DN), compatible with ANSI B16.5 flange classes from 150 to 2500. Users can also specify the valve with a range of seat materials, including PTFE and PEEK. A fire-safe version is optionally available.

User-programmable current transducers

The HO series of current transducers, from LEM, is setting a new standard of performance, programmability and ease-of-use for designers of the latest generation of motor drives and inverters. The HO series of open-loop ASIC based current transducers deliver better performance in areas such as thermal drift, response time, power supply and noise driven by technology advances in power electronics applications.

LEM's HO series are open-loop devices, based on Hall-effect current sensing technology, that measure AC, DC or pulsed currents with a nominal value of 8, 15 or 25 ARMS, with a response time of 2 to 6 μsec. Both of these parameters, and several others, are user-programmable by a simple serial digital bit-sequence, generated by the system's host microcontroller. Other parameters that are user-programmable include reference voltage, over-current detection limits, fault reporting and low power mode.

This series delivers its output as a scaled analogue voltage; in most systems this will be converted to a digital value by an analogue/digital converter (ADC) which requires a reference voltage. The designer can program the LEM HO-series transducer to output a reference of 0.5, 1.5, 1.65 or 2.5V on a dedicated pin. Alternatively, the HO-series can be configured to make measurements relative to an external reference.

For the HO models, LEM designed a completely new ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit). The HO provides offset and gain drift figures twice as good (over the temperature range -25 to +85ºC) as previous-generation open-loop Hall-effect-ASIC based transducers. It achieves a typical accuracy of 1% and 2.8%, at +25°C and +85°, respectively, without offset, and with a high level of insulation between primary and measurement circuits.

An innovative feature of the series is programmable over-current detection, separate from the main current measurement. Using a single measurement range (for both detection and measuring functions), if the transducer must detect an over-current condition at (say) five times the nominal full-scale value, the measurement range must extend up to the over-current limit, reducing available accuracy within the nominal range. Separate over-current detection, with programmable threshold, ensures maximum resolution is maintained up to the nominal full-scale value.

LEM's HO-series transducer operates from a single supply voltage at 3.3 or 5V. It occupies a PCB-mountable, small (12 mm wide x 23 mm long x 12 mm high), lightweight (5g) package which incorporates three separate primary conductors to allow for multi-range measurement configurations (enabling nominal measurement as low as 2.67 ARMS when programmed at 8 ARMS for the nominal range). Versions of the HO-series transducers will be available for both
through-hole and surface-mount assembly. The construction provides long creepage and clearance distances (8 mm) and a CTI (comparative tracking index) of 600 for excellent insulation.

The high degree of programmability and flexibility of the HO series means that designers can use a unique reference in a wide range of circuit configurations, simplifying designs and reducing parts stock-holdings. As well as contributing to the efficiency of variable speed drives, LEM’s HO model is also ideal for a range of applications including solar-power inverters, solar combiner boxes, uninterruptible and switch-mode power supplies, air conditioning, home appliances, static converters for DC motor drives, and robotics.

The transducer is CE marked, conforms to the EN 50178 standard and is recognised for industrial applications with a wide operating temperature range of -40 to +115°C. LEM supplies example microcontroller code to configure the serial bit stream and program the HO series' parameters. LEM offers a five-year warranty for each transducer.

New process weighing website

Features case studies, downloadable certificates and manuals, and G4 software updates

Vishay Precision Group has announced that its VPG Process Weighing product group has unveiled a new website for users of BLH and Nobel Weighing Systems equipment and applications. The new website features case studies, downloadable certificates, and downloadable manuals for both new and existing / established software versions. The newest addition to this software library is an updated version of the G4 Force Measurement standard software, which upgrades the G4 family of multichannel weight/force indicators to communicate via Ethernet/IP open communications protocol.

The new website boasts a collection of case studies that provide many real-world examples of the broad range of applications and systems built on BLH and Nobel products, both standard and highly customized, and the exceptional engineering resources brought to each installation. Case studies are available in German and English, with Chinese versions coming soon. New case studies will be added regularly.

Another new feature is the ability to download certificates and manuals for application instrument software (G4, TAD3), as well as other software types. Updated application software pages offer direct downloads of their respective manuals in the most recent version and offer access to manuals for older versions, as well.

The most recent software update accessible through the new website enables the G4 family of instruments to communicate with other industrial control systems and their components via the Ethernet/IP open communications protocol. This capability was previously available only in the G4 Weighing Standard software.

The new Ethernet/IP capability for Force Measurement Standard software enables users to access instrument configuration, maintenance, system information, and other functions in the same way as with the Weighing Standard program. The Ethernet/IP capability is available on devices running the latest version of the Standard software, including all Application Software versions building on it. With this addition, the full G4 software family for both application types gains a key communication feature for remote access and control.

Kit helps build personalised pulse networks

New kit offers the ultimate in flexibility

Teseq now offers a development kit that allows automotive technicians and engineers to design their own pulse networks. By using the FLX 5510 in conjunction with Teseq’s NSG 5500, automotive EMC laboratories can easily design their own pulses as well as meet unique and custom specifications including pulse impedance, peak voltage, pulse width and pulse width under load.

Compatible with all NSG 5500 systems, the FLX 5510 does not require firmware or additional upgrades. Included with each FLX 5510 are two DIY 5510 sub-modules, one with a fully-functional example circuit as well as an empty one ready for use. By plugging the DIY sub-module into the FLX 5510, users can design a pulse network that meets their own particular needs.

Used in conducted immunity testing, engineering investigations, quality control, fault analysis and weak-spot analysis, the FLX 5510 is designed for applications with special pulse waveform requirements. It has a pulse network peak current of 300 A, a pulse network maximum voltage of 660 V and a maximum pulse width of 30ms.

A step-by-step software wizard is included with the FLX 5510. By using this tool, users can easily design their own specialised pulses, eliminating guesswork. A writeable and erasable surface allows users to mark the name of their project on the front of the unit.

The FLX 5510 is fully integrated into Teseq’s AutoStar immunity software that includes sequencing and reporting.

New president of the French Mecatronics Association (ARTEMA)

We all know that the French have elected a new president in their country but the French Mecatronics community also has a new president in Bruno Grandjean of REDEX.

ARTEMA represents some 120 companies, employing a total of nearly 30,000 people in France and generates an industrial activity of €5billion. With a strong Mechatronics orientation in common, these companies represent 80% of the country's production.

With a consolidated turnover of €50m and 7 subsidiaries across the world, 300 employees worldwide and an export rate of 90%, REDEX is a European leader in Mechatronics providing critical components for ultra-high precision machines around the world. Planes, cars or boat manufacturing as well as wind mills or power plants are manufactured on the most modern machines equipped with.

REDEX Drives, justifying the company’s motto: "Great Achievements start with us". REDEX products are 100% built in Europe and demonstrate the strength of European Engineering.

Bruno Grandjean, 47 years old, has joined REDEX in 1995 after a working in the aerospace industry. He holds a degree in Engineering and a Master of Science from Stanford University.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Acquired company "supercharged by union!"

Deal enables Emerson Process Management to provide complete liquid level measurement solutions across the process industry

Emerson has acquired ISE Magtech, enabling Emerson Process Management to strengthen its level measurement solutions in the oil and gas, refining, chemical and power generation industries. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

ISE Magtech designs and manufactures level gauges and associated equipment for use in industrial applications. This acquisition will allow Emerson Process Management to build on the strength of its existing portfolio of level measurement products and provide complete level measurement solutions across the process industry.

"This acquisition is strategic to extending our solutions to help oil & gas, refining, chemical and power plant operators to monitor and control conditions in a wide range of applications," said Tom Moser, president of Rosemount Measurement. "ISE Magtech’s knowledge and technology combine perfectly with Rosemount technology to expand Emerson’s offering."

Rosemount® Guided Wave Radar provides reliable measurement of fluids across a wide variety of process conditions. ISE Magtech’s Magnetic Level Gauge coupled with the Rosemount Guided Wave Radar creates a complete liquid measurement solution by combining a local visual indication of level with a robust transmitter to support plant operators’ needs for visual and automated system monitoring.

"ISE Magtech is one of the industry’s most recognised providers of magnetic level gauges and transmitters – a complement to Emerson’s end-user-voted industry leading instrumentation," added Moser.

"We are excited to join Emerson and leverage our expertise, complementary products and our customer relationships," said Ken Mauer Jr., vice president & general manager of ISE Magtech. "Our mission, now supercharged by this union, continues to be one of providing outstanding customer service and effectively solving process plant problems to maximise production."

Electric cylinders with IP65 rating

Festo has launched a range of electric piston-rod cylinders featuring enhanced ingress protection, including models with a high IP65 rating, for applications involving exposure to aggressive media. The new enhanced IP versions of DNCE cylinders offer machine builders and OEMs a wide choice of configuration options, enabling the performance and level of protection to be optimally matched to the application.

Enhanced IP versions of DNCE cylinders are available in 32, 40 and 63 mm frame sizes and with standard stroke lengths from 100 to 800mm in 100 mm steps, depending on size. All the cylinders employ a high performance ball screw drive and are capable of handling acceleration rates up to 6 metres/sec/sec, with a very high positional repetition accuracy of plus or minus 0.02 mm. Each model offers a choice of two spindle pitches, enabling users to select the optimum drive characteristics for their needs.

Festo has developed the enhanced IP versions of DNCE cylinders in response to customer's requirements for an actuator that combines the environmental robustness of pneumatic models with the flexibility and performance of all-electric solutions. Unlike pneumatic cylinders, where there is always a positive internal pressure to help protect against the ingress of moisture, standard electric cylinders are inherently more susceptible to corrosion when used in wet environments, due to the suction effect of their internal drive mechanism. This tends to limit their potential as alternatives to pneumatic cylinders. The enhanced IP versions of the DNCE cylinder overcome this disadvantage, widening their applications scope significantly.

The main improvement to the enhanced IP versions of the DNCE is a threaded breather port in the front face of the cylinder, which enables users to connect a length of standard pneumatic tubing for the remote supply of air and exhaust venting in an area outside the immediate environment. This prevents unwanted media being drawn into the drive, resulting in increased reliability and reduced need for routine maintenance.

An optional bellow kit further extends the level of protection, by guarding against damage or corrosion of the piston rod, cylinder seals and bearings by aggressive media such as dust, chippings, oil, grease or fuel. It also helps prevent water in washdown environments from entering the cylinder. The front of the bellow has a polymer ring with a breather port that accepts a push-in tube connector, enabling air to be ducted to and from a safe environment, in the same manner as the port on the cylinder's body.

To accompany the bellow option, Festo has introduced a piston rod extension kit that provides the extra length needed to accommodate the bellow in its compressed state. Further enhancements, all designed to simplify cylinder installation and use, include various piston rod options such as threaded extension pieces, special threads, and a female thread instead of the standard male version.

Enhanced IP versions of the DNCE are suitable for use with a range of Festo stepper and servomotors, as well as third-party products, which can be mounted in-line or in parallel using a toothed belt coupler. Unlike many IP65 rated automation products on the market , which only achieve this level of protection by the use of sealant compounds, the DNCE features motor coupling housings with full IP-rated gasket sets. These retain their protective qualities throughout the life of the product. Users can disassemble the cylinder and motor to implement changes such as altering the drive ratio or to perform routine servicing, confident that the protection level will be retained on re-assembly.

The level of ingress protection afforded by the complete motor/cylinder combination depends on a number of factors, including the individual IP ratings of the motor's housing and its power and signal connectors. All combinations of Festo motor and cylinder meet IP54, and when used with Festo servomotors this increases to an IP65 rating. In the case of third-party motors, the level of protection will depend upon the IP rating of the motor.

Festo's enhanced IP cylinders are ideal for applications involving exposure to dust and water, such as in the woodworking, plasterboard and concrete manufacturing industries. The cylinders are particularly suited to highly dynamic moves requiring accurate control of speed, acceleration and deceleration. Typical uses include push-pull type applications without significant offset loads, such as opening and closing flaps or doors, and lifting and lowering on gantry systems. Furthermore, although enhanced IP versions of DNCE cylinders are not intended for applications involving direct contact with food, they can be used in its vicinity. An IP65 rated version of the cylinder featuring a special corrosion resistant finish and NSF-approved food grade lubrication is available for applications in the food and beverage industries.

Festo's DNCE cylinders use the same types of mounting adaptors as the company's DNC pneumatic cylinders and to a large degree are mechanically interchangeable, enabling machine builders to switch to all-electric alternatives very easily. An extensive range of cylinder accessories includes foot, end flange, trunnion and swivel flange mounting components, as well as a wide variety of piston rod attachments such as clevis and ball-end couplings.

All DNCE cylinders are constructed from robust extruded aluminium, with a high alloy stainless steel piston rod and a steel spindle. The piston rod is non-rotating and its internal drive is equipped with a collar magnet for positional feedback purposes. The cylinder housing features full-length T-slots, enabling proximity sensors to fitted at any desired position and adjusted very easily.

Measuring consumption of natural gas in a process

Today, natural gas is one of the most important energy carriers in many factory processes with constantly increasing sales. In many companies and plants it is an easy to handle fuel, without which operation is virtually unimaginable. Although the current price tag of around 40 cents per cubic metre seems very low in and of itself, there are considerable costs that come to bear in practice: For example, at this gas price in a DN 100 natural gas pipe at 25 bars of pressure, 35 million euros flow through the pipe per year. In this case, it is worth investing in precise measuring equipment, especially if internal balancing of energy consumption is a goal.

In this application, a vortex flowmeter such as the OPTISWIRL 4070 C provides high accuracy at minimal investment cost. In order to check the characteristics of the OPTISWIRL when measuring natural gas, Krohne had a production model tested under practical conditions at the pigsar testing facility in Dorsten (D).

The high pressure gas meter testing facility operated by EON Ruhrgas is the national standard for the Federal Republic of Germany and as such is responsible for maintaining the reference value for unit of volume for high pressure natural gas and passing on this reference value to other laboratories. In association with and under the control of the Federal Institute of Physics and Metrology (PTB), pigsar conducts calibrations and verifications as an independent laboratory.

An OPTISWIRL 4070 C DN150 PN40 featuring integrated pressure and temperature compensation was used as a test device. The purpose of the test was the volumetric measurement (standard cubic metres) of natural gas routed directly to the calibration rig from the EON Ruhrgas operating network. Results were then compared to those of the turbine-type meters used as reference devices. Two series of tests at 16 and 41 bars of pressure were run as these are representative of the prevailing pressure range of 16-40 bar in practice. The result did not only confirm the specific measuring accuracy - it exceeded it considerably: at 16 bar of pressure, the measuring accuracy of the OPTISWIRL only deviates an average of ±0.24% from the turbine, while measuring uncertainty is at ±0.15%. At the higher pressure, the values were even somewhat better with the same measuring uncertainty, measuring inaccuracy was only ±0.135%. This puts the device clearly above the standard specified accuracy of 1% for gases in both tests.

For the user, improved measuring accuracy means more precise monitoring and, in the case of internal balancing that means more accurate billing: In the first example cited, 0.1% measuring accuracy corresponds to a sum of €35000. The price of an OPTISWIRL (size DN150) does not even amount to a fifth of this.

Range expanded to meet demand for wireless!

Mantracourt has announced that it has expanded its production capabilities in order to address the growing demand for its range of instrumentation products.

Strain gauge amplifier
In response to a strong business performance during 2011, Mantracourt has invested in new surface mount pick and place equipment for its production line, as well as new component storage equipment and the addition of five new members to their production team.

Mantracourt is a leading manufacturer of industrial measurement technologies and a world leader in the design and manufacture of electronics for measurement technologies, including strain gauge, temperature, resistance, pressure, voltage, current, potentiometer, rate, flow, LVDT and displacement in either analogue, digital or wireless form.

"Last year was a very good year for Mantracourt," said Kelly Voysey, Sales and Marketing Manager at Mantracourt. "Our T24 wireless range of instrumentation products is being adopted worldwide and has helped boost our exports and overall sales figures. We also saw growth across the rest of our range, with established products such as our load cell amplifier and load cell indicator still performing well in the marketplace."

The Mantracourt T24 wireless telemetry range is a flexible low power radio system designed to enable the transmission of high accuracy measurement data from load cells, inclinometers, accelerometers, temperature, displacement and pressure sensors. With a combination of transmitter and receiver technologies, engineers are able to remotely monitor instrumentation readings.

"Looking ahead, we are planning further investment in our production capability, We are also planning to add more products to the T24 wireless range and to increase the number of global partners that we use to promote, distribute and support our products worldwide.”

Mantracourt’s new SMT production equipment is DEK 'Horizon 03ix' solder screen printer. A feature of this machine is an optical inspection technology that ensures the quality of the PCB build as well as increased throughput of the surface mount pick and place line. A new dry storage cabinet with its ability to control humidity, prevents the risk of moisture damage to sensitive semi conductive components which improves long term reliability of the product.

Cybersecurity - the road ahead

Discerning the impact of cyber threats in the next-generation enterprises

Post 2010, after the infamous Stuxnet attack in Iran, cyber threats have gained considerable attention from all sections of the industry, from automation and device vendors at the plant-floor to management personnel in boardrooms.

The need for implementing security initiatives is increasingly becoming a regulatory compulsion. A practical projection of current trends indicate that regulations and standards governing cyber security is likely to surge in future, reflecting the urgency and opportunity for automation vendors to invest in this emerging market space.

Frost and Sullivan are hosting a free on-line analyst briefing on the topic on 16th May 2012. Presenter, Senior Research Analyst Karthik Sundaram, comments "The growing risk of cyber threats has transformed the discipline of cyber security into an indispensable part of corporate strategy in the factory of the future,” 

This briefing will try to understand and analyse:
• History of cyber threats; 
• Significance to automation vendors; 
• Evaluate contemporary security initiatives; 
• Articulate strategic recommendations.
It will provide automation vendors with an insight into some of the popular industrial perceptions towards cyber security, offering viable recommendations for security initiatives in future enterprises.

To register click here: Analyst Briefing: Cyber Security: The Road Ahead!

Partnership in process training unit

Process Training Unit (PTU) is a fully functional “mini process plant” featuring Endress+Hauser instruments and the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system.

Carotek partnership facility (NC USA)
Endress+Hauser and Rockwell Automation announce the opening of a new Process Training Unit (PTU) in Philadelphia, PA. The Process Training Unit features Endress+Hauser instruments and the Rockwell Automation PlantPAx process automation system designed for the purpose of educating field technicians, engineers, and sales personnel. The PTU provides a unique learning experience through hands-on activities. Participants learn the application, installation, operation and diagnostic procedures related to many types of process instrumentation and control processes. Various communication protocols are also demonstrated including: EtherNet/IP, HART, PROFIBUS PA, and FOUNDATION Fieldbus.

"Not only is Endress+Hauser making major investments in the US to expand manufacturing capability, but additional investments are also being made around the country to offer best-in-class Instrumentation Training Schools by constructing the type of Process Training Units that are unequaled in the industry. And this is in cooperation with our Alliance Partner Rockwell Automation. No other supplier of instrumentation or controls can claim this type of commitment to addressing the process training needs of its customers," says Jerry Spindler, Training Manager - Customer and Field Service Training.

In the Philadelphia PTU, there are three process demonstration units designed specifically for the market needs.

The first unit includes numerous fully functional flow, pressure, temperature, level and analysis instruments. The Rockwell Automation PlantPAx system regulates the flow paths and velocity of the process by actuating control valves and adjusting the speed of pump drives. It also provides operators with a real time view of the process and continuous monitoring of critical parameters.

The second unit simulates the types of processes and procedures found in the Life Sciences industries. In this unit, analytical instrumentation measures the pH, conductivity, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and optical density which give a picture of the health of the cells and the effectiveness of the cleaning processes within the bioreactor. The controls of the bioreactor are implemented with the Rockwell Automation ControlLogix™ PAC and PlantPAx system.

Lastly, the PTU includes a demo unit that simulates environmental, water and wastewater treatment applications. The system uses common additives to simulate the same type of conditions found in environmental monitoring and water/wastewater treatment applications. It includes over 5,000 square feet of classroom and hands-on training space.

• Other PTUs are located at La Porte (Houston), TX; Memphis, TN; Mobile, Alabama; Matthews, NC; and Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, with additional units being planned around the U.S.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Safe sensors in food!

Headwall Photonics has announced that their CEO David Bannon recently met with USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan to discuss Headwall sensor technology developed through close collaboration with the USDA Agricultural Research Service organisation.

The following Headwall Hyperspec® sensors are COTS products and are available as optimized sensors for the following spectral regions:
UV 250 - 600nm
VNIR 380 - 1000nm
Extended VNIR 550 - 1700nm
NIR 900 - 1700nm
SWIR 950 - 2500nm
The success of recent USDA and FDA initiatives such as the Food Safety Modernisation Act and expansion of the HACCP Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) are in part dependent upon the incorporation of new techniques, protocols, and instrumentation that are consistent with food safety regulations and enhanced food quality objectives and provide US food producers with increased competitive capabilities.

For a number of years, Headwall Photonics has worked closely with researchers and scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, the agency's chief scientific research organisation, to develop spectral imaging instruments for high speed, in-line inspection of food and agriculture products. These spectral vision systems utilise a specialised processing algorithm that is tailored to the specific product or agricultural inspection algorithm.

"Through ongoing collaboration with USDA researchers, Headwall continues to develop cost-effective, compelling spectral solutions that support improvements in food safety inspection and food quality while meeting the need of food processors for high throughput inspection," offered David Bannon, CEO of Headwall Photonics. "Our hyperspectral sensor platform has been specifically designed for these critical applications."

Headwall's hyperspectral in-line imaging instruments represent a critical inspection technology that allows food processors and agricultural researchers to identify product characteristics within the field of view of the sensor based on the sample's chemical 'fingerprint' or spectral signature rather than relying solely on visual appearance. Based on a patented sensor design, Headwall's Hyperspec Inspector™ sensors are specifically designed for high spectral and spatial imaging in very harsh operating environments such as required within food processing centers. Headwall's hyperspectral imaging platforms have been optimized for reliable, cost-effective performance based on years of deployment within military and defense organizations.