Friday, July 13, 2012

Ultra-fast I-V testing

Keithley Instruments  has published an informative e-guide titled “Ultra-Fast I‑V Applications for the Model 4225-PMU Ultra-Fast I-V Module.” A free copy is downloadable upon request from Keithley

Model 4225-PMU’s key features
• Integrated high speed sourcing and measurement capabilities, which allow for ultra-fast I‑V testing
• Wide dynamic range of voltage sourcing, current measurement (with auto-ranging), and timing parameters
• Broad array of applications
• Built-in interactive software for easy control

Example applications:
• General pulsed I-V testing of devices
• CMOS device characterization
• Non-volatile memory device testing
• Compound semiconductor devices and materials
• Nanotechnology and MEMs devices
• Solar cells
• A broad range of other tests
The 24-page e-guide provides an overview of ultra-fast I-V sourcing and measurement and why these have become increasingly important capabilities for many technologies, including compound semiconductors, non-volatile memory (NVM), MEMs devices, nanodevices, solar cells, and CMOS devices.

Using pulsed I-V signals to characterize devices rather than DC signals makes it possible to study or reduce the effects of self-heating (joule heating) or to minimize current drift or degradation in measurements due to trapped charge. Transient I-V measurements allow scientists and engineers to capture ultra high speed current or voltage waveforms in the time domain or to study dynamic test circuits. Pulsed sourcing can be used to stress test a device using an AC signal during reliability cycling or in a multi-level waveform mode to program/erase memory devices.

The Model 4225-PMU Ultra-Fast I-V Module, an option for the Model 4200-SCS Semiconductor Characterization System, supports many of these high speed source/measure applications. Each plug-in Model 4225-PMU module provides two channels of integrated sourcing and measurement but occupies only a single slot in the Model 4200-SCS's nine-slot chassis.

Unlike competitive solutions, each channel of the Model 4225-PMU combines high speed voltage outputs (with pulse widths ranging from 60 nanoseconds to DC) with simultaneous current and voltage measurements.

Intelligent combination of RFID and sensors

The BIS-V RFID controller is Balluff's answer to the market's desire for a compact evaluation unit that enables the simultaneous connection of up to four read/write heads. Both HF (13.56 MHz) in accordance with ISO 15693 and ISO 14443 and LF (125 kHz) read heads can be connected on the front with plug connectors and are automatically detected.

The RFID controller is the only device on the market that allows IO-Link capable sensors or actuators to be directly connected.

The result is considerable hardware and installation savings. The controller fulfills all requirements for an industry-ready version (IP67, metal housing) and is equipped with Profibus interface and with USB as the service interface to the PC.

There are many typical application areas for the intelligent combination of RFID controllers and sensors. For identification tasks for material flow control in production systems, the user can profit from the low hardware usage and the low installation costs in areas like conveyor systems in mechanical engineering, assembly lines, electric suspension systems or in the entire intralogistics field.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A winner from ISA!

The Journal of Automation notches up another advance.

ISA Transactions, the journal dedicated to the science and engineering of measurement and automation, has earned its highest impact factor rating to date. Thomson Reuters released its impact factor ratings for scientific journals recently. This rated ISA Transactions 21% higher than the previous year.

Thomson Reuters publishes the Journal Citation Reports each year, providing quantitative tools for ranking, evaluating, categorising, and comparing scientific journals. The impact factor is one of these quantitative tools. It is a measure of the frequency with which the "average article" in a journal has been cited in a particular year or period.

“ISA is very proud of the increased citation of its scientific journal. It showcases the credibility of the peer-reviewed articles found in the journal, and it speaks to the usefulness of the content,” said Dr. Ahmad B. Rad, Editor-in-Chief of ISA Transactions.

ISA Transactions, published by ISA for the past forty years, is a journal of advances and state-of-the-art developments in the science and engineering of measurement and automation. Published for many years as a quarterly it recently upped its output to become a bimonthly journal in view of its increased popularity over the last several years, with hundreds of industrial practitioners and applied researchers holding subscriptions.

Measurement topics covered in the journal include sensors, perception systems, analysers, signal processing, filtering, data compression, data rectification, fault detection, inferential measurement, soft sensors, hardware interfacing, etc.; and the techniques that support these technologies, such as artificial intelligence, fuzzy logic, communication systems, and process analysis.

Automation topics frequently referenced in the journal include statistical and deterministic strategies for discrete event and continuous process control, modeling and simulation, event triggers, scheduling and sequencing, system reliability, quality, maintenance, management, loss prevention, etc.; and the equipment, techniques, and best practices that support them such as optimisation, learning systems, strategy development, security, and human interfacing and training.

Your piece of Conamara!

Have you got a piece of Conamara in your pocket! Take a look at your eID passport or credentials.

HID Global, trusted leader in solutions for the delivery of secure identity has shipped over 150 million high-technology eID (electronic ID) solutions to governments for citizen IDs around the world. The company’s management team and employees, along with local political and business officials, celebrated this milestone in a special ceremony today just down the road from the Read-out Offices in Conamara (IRL).  HID Global’s Ireland center is a high security, state-of-the-art eID credential facility that creates products for access and identification-related applications such as electronic passports and contactless swipe ID/access cards.

The US Green Card
“We are proud to be a key provider of secure contactless technology to governments for eIDs worldwide,” said Anthony Ball, senior vice president, Identity and Access Management (IAM) with HID Global. “More than 150 million people worldwide, almost a third of all citizens using high-security electronic passports and identity credentials, carry our technology with them. We are exporting technology and know-how to every continent, and our local workforce and the entire community can be very proud of this milestone, as well as our contribution to a critical aspect of the world’s security.”

HID Global has shipped over 100 million components used in e-passports by travelers in 30 countries, which comprises approximately 28 percent of the world’s market. According to the International Civil Aviation Association, as of December 2011, a total of 355 million e-passports have been issued globally. The vast majority of EU countries, as well as numerous countries outside of Europe, are now issuing machine-readable electronic passports. The company has also shipped over 50 million microchip-based inlays used in eIDs by citizens in 22 countries. Other notable achievements include providing tens of millions of units for a variety of European e-passports.

Originally established 15 years ago, the Ireland facility was acquired in 2007 by HID Global. In 2010, the operation was expanded and engineered into one of Ireland’s most advanced secure technology facilities to accommodate the growing global trend toward eIDs and e-passports. Now one of Connemara Gaeltacht’s largest employers, the operation is dedicated to e-government product research, development and manufacturing, and includes a world competence center for HID Global’s high technology RFID-enabled components.

By 2015, it is estimated that worldwide, 85% of all credentials issued annually will be eIDs, according to a recent Acuity Market Intelligence report. The number of countries issuing eIDs is expected to exceed the number of countries issuing traditional national IDs by 4 to 1. With more and more airports deploying Automated Border Control schemes (e.g. Helsinki, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Portugal and others), HID Global’s e-passport and eID technology allows the possibility for travelers to cross borders quickly, enabling them to avoid long immigration queues while providing highly secure ID authentication and validation.

“HID Global is at the center of an important global trend,” said Craig Sandness, vice president of sales with HID Global’s Government ID Solutions. “Governments worldwide are shifting to eIDs to dramatically improve the security, privacy, convenience and confident authentication needed in border and access control, and other important identification-related applications such as national IDs, driver licenses, electronic voting, and health care. As a leading high security e-passport and eID component producer, we are able to provide the complete assembly of these critical components from one source.”

The company’s secure contactless technology inlays and prelaminates allow governments worldwide to make e-passports and other electronic documents more secure. HID Global’s microchip-based inlays are tamper-proof and highly secure, and reduce authentication error and documentation falsification. The company’s products are designed to extend the life of e-documents, while withstanding daily wear and reducing incidents of tampering and fraud.

Operation dynamometers from a distance!

MSI launches new handheld, remote display

MSI-8000 remote control & display
Fans of MSI’s Dyna-Link 2 Series Tension Dynamometers "enthusiastically welcome" the MSI-8000, a full-featured remote control and display for operating the dynamometer at safe and convenient distances.

According to MSI sales representative, Kyle McKinney, “In uses like rigging a mobile construction crane, the Dyna-Link would likely be out of view or inaccessible. Our MSI-8000 allows users to see that weight data and control the scale wirelessly, where they haven’t been able to in the past.”

Through MSI-8000’s ergonomic keypad and bold 5-digit LCD display, users have complete control over dynamometer function, programmability and operation. A rechargeable battery allows up to 24 hours of continuous, proven RF communication at distances up to 100 feet. The MSI-8000 currently syncs wirelessly with the latest generation of Dyna-Link 2, the MSI-7300, with future connectivity plans for other MSI crane scale products, including the MSI-3460 and MSI-4260 models.

Users in the petro-chemical, energy, marine, aerospace, and test and measurement industries will appreciate MSI-8000’s heavy-duty, IP65 shock-resistant housing, as well as a standard RS-232 port that allows for advanced traceability and reporting.

Control on your iPad!

Mobile extensions are now available for GE Intelligent Platforms' visualization applications, Proficy® HMI/SCADA iFIX and CIMPLICITY, on the Apple iPad®. Mobility is one of the growing trends in the Automation industry and the iPad ProficySCADA “app” extends the control room providing users with information anywhere, increasing visibility and efficiency of operations.

The iPad app enables users of either
iFIX WebSpace or CIMPLICITY GlobalView
to instantly connect to their
HMI/SCADA runtime projects
The iPad app enables users of either iFIX WebSpace or CIMPLICITY GlobalView to instantly connect to their HMI/SCADA runtime projects. It supports the same full featured capabilities of a standard client by delivering full HMI/SCADA functionality including third-party application support with no screen conversions required. This enables every customer to quickly harness the power of the iPad with minimal engineering effort across their operations.

“HMI/SCADA represents the foundation of the industrial software ecosystem and GE Intelligent Platforms has more than 25 years of experience in HMI/SCADA,” said Mark Bernardo, Product General Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms’ Automation Software. “We use advanced server based technologies that provide full operation over the web, and now on the iPad, with no screen conversions required.”

The ProficySCADA app enables both power and casual users by incorporating the ability to limit functions via standard runtime project security features as required by a user and/or a group. It also incorporates popular iPad specific user interface functionality such as intuitive multi-touch gestures to achieve mouse and keyboard operation. It automatically zooms in to the currently active window to make it easier to tap windows user interface elements.

The new app also takes advantage of the open, flexible and scalable nature of the Proficy HMI/SCADA solutions, iFIX and CIMPLICITY. These products can operate on a single node or scale up to 200+ nodes. Although they have the ability to connect to almost any device via OPC, they also come with many standard built-in native drivers addressing the need for connecting major PLC brands. As such, they are completely hardware independent and provide the flexibility of communicating with multiple makes of control solutions from a single server.

iFIX and CIMPLICITY also excel at real-time data management, control and provide seamless integration with other solutions in the Proficy family including Proficy Historian. They facilitate adherence to industry standards for improved consistency, quality and compliance. Proficy HMI/SCADA products constitute the foundational platform that enables tools for advanced analysis, Work Process Management, and operational excellence.

“Many customers want the full HMI/SCADA functionality on devices like the iPad,” continued Bernardo. “ProficySCADA, GE Intelligent Platforms’ first iOS app, enables plant operators and engineers to react faster to problems with real live information and to investigate proactively in a very easy way. As more and more industrial companies realize the power of tablets and smartphones, they will want these types of software clients to expand their systems backed by powerful platforms like Proficy to enable their workforce.”

Safety Relay

Weidmüller's safety relay 'SCS 24V DC SIL3' ensures functionally safe shutdown to EN 61508, SIL 3: reliably shuts down process industry plant and plant components in the event of an emergency

With its new 'SCS 24V DC SIL3' SAFESERIES safety relay Weidmüller offers a module designed to shut down process industry plant and plant components in the event of an emergency. TUV NORD certified the safety relay fulfils SIL3 requirements in accordance with EN 61508. The relay features a safety and an additional monitoring circuit.

Three relays are connected in series in the safety circuit to guarantee safe isolation of the output circuit at all times. The typical break time is 14 and the make time 7 ms. An internal 5 A fuse guarantees short-circuit protection in the SIL circuit. A special circuit arrangement in the input circuit ensures the module is immune to test pulses, which are generally undertaken in circuitry of this kind. The additional monitoring circuit is designed as a wide voltage input. The typical make time in the monitoring circuit is 21 ms. These design features in a single device provide safety-oriented shutdown functionality (SIL3) as well as electrically isolated 24-230 V AC/DC field signals to the higher-level controls. Features that allow the user to deploy the relay to suit individual requirements, such as in back-up systems with high DC voltages or overfill protection solutions for tank systems. Two yellow LEDs integrated in the safety and monitoring circuits are located on the front of the device to simplify relay function and fault analysis. Easy accessibility ensures users are able to replace the fuse on site. Measuring just 113.6 mm x 22.5 mm x 117.2 mm (length/width/height) the safety relay is compact by design, meaning it requires only little space on DIN TS35 mounting rails in the electrical cabinet. Screw connection technology ensures vibration-resistant connection of conductors with cross-sections between 0.14-2.5 mm².

Safety shutdown is afforded significant importance in the process industry because it serves functional safety, for instance in backup systems with high DC voltages. EN 61508 specifies that all devices utilized in safety circuits must fulfil particularly strict conditions. SIL (Safety Integrity Level) makes it possible to classify corresponding devices according to the reliability of their safety functions or rather safety-oriented design principles must be maintained in order to minimize the risk of malfunctions. A member of the SAFESERIES the new safety relay 'SCS 24V DC SIL3' now offered by Weidmüller is designed to guarantee emergency shutdown of systems and system components operating in the process industry. TUV NORD certified the safety relay fulfils Safety Integrity Level specifications in accordance with EN 61508.

The standard EN/IEC 61508 states that functional safety is given when safety systems and organizational measures minimize risk to an acceptable level. In this case SIL 3 relays are deployed to ensure emergency shutdown. It is not envisaged to implement an event of this nature on a permanent basis, but merely once a year in an emergency. Accordingly, operation in low demand mode is sufficient. However, it should be noted that the high demand operating mode also has a central role to play in creating functional safety. Overfill protection solutions in tank systems is just one example, because their control is a permanent process. Weidmüller also tackles demands of this nature with its new safety relay.

The new safety relay satisfies the highest demands with proven technology and sophisticated features. For instance, status indicators indicate that the relay is operating flawlessly: two yellow LEDs, one 'Relay Output' (safety circuit) and one 'Monitor' (monitoring circuit) simplify error analysis considerably. Three relays are connected in series in the output of the safety circuit (SIL circuit). This circuit arrangement guarantees reliable isolation in the safety circuit. One challenge to be faced when deploying the safety relay in process engineering and control systems is to accommodate different supply voltages. For example backup systems are operated with very high DC voltages. For that reason Weidmüller has additionally added a monitoring circuit to its safety relay; this is equipped with a wide voltage input, and as a consequence is able to meet this requirement. These design features in a single device provide safety-oriented shutdown functionality (SIL3) as well as electrically isolated 24-230 V AC/DC field signals to the higher-level controls.

A special circuit arrangement makes the input circuit immune to test pulses, which are usually used in distributed control systems (DCS) to monitor the status of signal circuits. The max. permissible switching voltage is 250 VAC/30 VDC; the max. permissible switching current is limited to 5 A. A standard internal fuse provides short-circuit protection. The typical break time is about 14 and the make time 7 ms. The input of the safety circuit of the 'SCS 24V DC SIL3' is rated as follows: rated control voltage 24 VDC (+/- 20%) and 35 mA current consumption. To ensure rapid on-site replacement the fuse is easily accessible.

The design of the monitoring circuit is a further compelling feature: a wide voltage input from 24 V AC/DC to 230 V AC/DC forms the basis for individual application solutions.

The safety relay is designed for use in a wide range of temperatures from -25 °C to +50 °C without restrictions. Thanks to its compact dimensions of just 113.6 mm x 22.5 mm x 117.2 mm (length/width/height) the SAFESERIES safety relay requires just a small amount of space on DIN TS 35 mounting rails in electrical cabinets (IP20).

Additions to St St connectors

The Harting Han-INOX® industrial connector family - made from high-quality stainless steel to withstand harsh industrial environments - is being extended with a number of new additions to provide more application flexibility.

New products in the Han-INOX® range include covers for sleeve and bulkhead housings in size 10 B, and a bulkhead housing with integral cover and coupling housing in size 10 B.

Han-INOX® is designed to withstand the toughest environmental conditions, and makes connectivity possible in areas where it would previously not have been feasible. In addition to outdoor applications, the product can also be used in the food industry and chemical processes.

Harting’s tried and tested modular Han® connector concept forms the basis of the Han-INOX® series. When combined with standard contact inserts or used with the flexible Han-Modular® series, the product can be used for a multitude of applications from energy supply to data transfer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wireless in the power plant!

Wireless transmitters monitor changes in boiler condensate conductivity, detecting leaks that could cause boiler damage
SSE has extended the use of Emerson Process Management’s Smart Wireless technology at its Slough Heat and Power energy facility in England. The new Rosemount® Analytical wireless conductivity transmitters are being used to detect changes in boiler condensate conductivity which could be caused by cooling-water leaks in the turbine’s condenser. If left undetected, the contaminated feedwater will cause hydrogen embrittlement of the furnace tubes that will result in tube failures.

The 80MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant had previously relied on manual sampling and laboratory analysis of turbine condensate. However, this method caused delays in detecting leaks and as a result the boilers had to be shut down while repairs were made.

Smart Wireless conductivity transmitters
allow the condensate extract lines to be
continuously monitored
"Emerson’s Smart Wireless conductivity transmitters allow us to continuously monitor the condensate extract lines," said Emma Wilcockson, electrical, control and instrumentation technician at SSE. "If we detect a change in conductivity, maintenance can be scheduled before the problem leads to an unplanned shutdown or damage to the plant."

Emerson had previously supplied a Smart Wireless Starter Kit for the boiler house, and SSE’s excellent experience with this application was a major factor in selecting wireless for this latest project. In addition, the costs and time required to run power and signal cables to each instrument made a conventional solution impractical.

Emerson recommended the best positioning for the conductivity probes, transmitters and gateway, and SSE installed the Rosemount Analytical Model 6081C Conductivity Transmitters in the condensate extraction lines.

The conductivity transmitters send data to the PLC-based control system via a Smart Wireless Gateway. Emerson’s AMS Device Manager predictive maintenance software is used to manage the Smart Wireless network. With an established wireless network at the plant, "plug-and-play" technology meant that it was very easy and quick for SSE engineers to install and configure the new wireless conductivity devices in the turbine basements.

Despite the harsh environment of the turbine basement, which is surrounded by metal structures that can obstruct wireless signals, the wireless network was quickly established. The system has been operating for more than six months and during that time the transmissions between transmitters and the wireless gateway have been extremely reliable.

About reed relays!

Pickering Electronics has published the Reed RelayMate, a new publication which looks in detail at Reed Relays. It describes how reed relays are constructed, what types there are and how they work. Their relay experts explain temperature effects, magnetic interaction and other factors that can affect their operation. A comparison is made with other relay technologies and advice given on how to choose the correct relay for the application.

The Reed RelayMate is available free of charge from their website as a in pdf but is also available in printed format!

Temperature in lime production!

The Tinytag Ultra 2 thermocouple data logger recently launched by Gemini Data Loggers is suitable for accurate temperature monitoring in a range of manufacturing applications across a variety of industries.

The versatile logger has proved to be an effective solution for lime manufacturer and supplier Singleton Birch for detailed research into lime production.

The Lincolnshire-based (GB) company extracts the raw material – calcium carbonate – from their quarry and then burns it in kilns to make lime – calcium oxide. Their product range includes quicklime, hydrated lime, natural hydraulic lime, graded chalk, aggregates and other specialist products and services. The thermocouple logger is used in the laboratory to gather information as part of research and development work to monitor the temperature rise of calcium oxide when water is added. The rise in temperature needs to be accurately measured as this indicates how reactive the lime is at different stages, which means it can then be determined for what final application the lime can be used. The temperatures need to be logged at different intervals throughout the process. In order to gather as much data as possible, continuous monitoring is required with data downloaded after every test.

The thermocouple logger is ideally suited to the demands of the process. The temperatures being monitored start at 20°C and peak at about 80°C: as soon as the lime is added to the water the temperature rises rapidly and needs to be measured. Matt Austin, a Chemist with Singleton Birch comments “I chose the Tinytag thermocouple logger as it is compact and easy to use with the Tinytag Explorer software provided. I can easily configure the unit at the parameters I have chosen through the software and then download the data when needed. It has proved to be reliable and user friendly.”

The Tinytag Ultra 2 Thermocouple data logger supports the most popular thermocouples types – K, J, T and N –providing monitoring for temperature ranges from -270°C to 1370°C, depending on the type being used. This makes it suitable for a wide range of manufacturing and processing applications, including the extremes of temperature experienced in hot industrial processes such as smelting, right through to conditions experienced in freezers.

Thermocouples are available either as bare wire, offering lower cost and faster response times, or built into probes designed for specific uses depending on their type of construction or insulation material used. The logger has a built-in temperature channel allowing the particular process and the ambient air temperature to be monitored simultaneously and a connection that supports both standard and miniature thermocouple plugs. The logger features burn-out response and like all Tinytag products it is compatible with the easy to use Tinytag Explorer software for viewing and management of data, which is downloaded to a PC via a USB connection.

• TinyTag data loggers are marketed in Ireland through Manotherm!

SMU family expanded

National Instruments has announced the expansion of its line of PXI SMUs for automated semiconductor test. Ideal for parallel testing of multipin semiconductor DUTs, the new NI PXIe-4143 SMU offers 600,000 samples per second and four channels – the highest channel density of any SMU – and expands NI’s multichannel SMU output range to 24 V at 150 mA. Such features help reduce the cost of capital equipment, decrease test times and increase mixed-signal flexibility for a variety of DUTs.

“With the new NI PXIe-4143, our SMU family now gives test engineers DC measurement options for almost any device,” said Ron Wolfe, Vice President of Semiconductor Test at National Instruments. “Our industry-leading channel counts, superior sample rates and SourceAdapt technology for custom tuning, provide one of the most flexible selections of semiconductor measurement instruments available.”

Product Features
· Four SMU channels with up to 600 kS/s sampling rate to measure fast transient responses
· Four-quadrant output capability of 24 V at 150 mA, complementing preexisting NI SMU capabilities for sourcing and sinking
· Measurement sensitivity of 10 pA
· Flexible, compact PXI modular instrumentation architecture for small-footprint equipment deployments

Industry's quietest modular PSUs

400W output in 1U, 8 configurable isolated outputs - medical, laboratory, scientific, audio and broadcast applications

Excelsys Technologies have released the first Ultra-Quiet products from their market leading Xgen platform of user configurable power supplies.

The Excelsys Xgen Ultra-Quiet family is comprised of four models offering up to 400W output power. With only 37.3dBA of acoustic noise over all load conditions, this new family is the quietest modular, configurable power supply in the market.

The XTA and XTB models provide 200W and 400W power and are UL and CB certified to EN60950 2nd edition. The XNA and XNB are certified to the latest UL and EN60601-1 3rd edition medical approvals and deliver 200W and 400W respectively.

Each model comes in a compact 1U package measuring 260mm x 89mm and offers users up to 8 isolated outputs from 1.5VDC to 58.0VDC. All outputs are fully user adjustable and may be combined in series for higher voltages or parallel for higher currents.

Dermot Flynn, Sales Director of Excelsys Technologies, comments “This latest family of Xgen power supplies are the quietest modular power solutions in the market over all load conditions. This step change in performance will allow our customers to dramatically reduce system noise and vibration, which are critical issues particularly in the medical, scientific, laboratory and broadcast industries.”

Standard Xgen product features include, ultra high efficiency of 89%, instant custom configuration, individual output control, 5VDC auxiliary, universal 85-264VAC input and a full suite of protection features including OVP, OCP, SCP and OTP.

The Excelsys Xgen Ultra-Quiet power supplies are particularly suitable for applications that are noise and vibration sensitive applications including, medical, laboratory, scientific, audio and broadcast applications.

Push-pull connections

Intelliconnect offers one of the most complete range of push-pull connectors available to design, system and test engineers.

These push-pull connectors have many advantages over screw and locking types. They offer panel designers space savings as there is no need for a coupling-tool or locking by hand and fast and easy mating and un-mating for portable and test equipment as well as systems with frequently changing set-ups. Push-pull connectors also simplify assembly during production and offer the ability to replace or upgrade sub-assemblies on the factory floor.

Applications for Intelliconnect push-pull connectors include military and aerospace, industrial and medical nuclear systems, marine (including radar) SCADA and telematics, audio, safety and test equipment

Intelliconnect offer four main types of push-pull connectors. A 7.0mm Nim Camac type high voltage miniature connector series designed in accordance with NIM-CAMAC CD/N549 standard. The ABMS series of rugged sub-miniature connectors for use with with small, semi-rigid and flexible cables which may be used in FDA approved medical applications. The BMA sub-miniature connector series for use with small semi-rigid cables that have very low VSWR up to 22 GHz. And finally the sub-miniature SMB series designed to be compatible with small semi-rigid and flexible cables including RG316, RG174 and RG196. The SMB plugs have female contacts while the jacks have male contacts.

All Intelliconnect push-pull connectors are waterproof to IP68/NEMA 6 (minimum 10m depth for 4 hours) and are available in PCB, surface, edge, press fit and bulkhead mount configurations and are ideal for use in rack and panel applications.

Roy Philips, Managing Director of Intelliconnect, comments. "Our push-pull connectors offer very flexible solutions for end users and allow designers to make maximum use of panel space. They are a perfect solution in confined spaces or when frequent system re-configuration is required.”

Intelliconnect design and manufacture their complete connector range offer fast, flexible and reliable delivery times from local stock in Britain. Short manufacturing lead-times are standard, reducing inventory costs, with Kanban and JIT available.

Intelliconnect also manufacture the market leading Pisces range of waterproof RF connectors, coaxial adaptors to facilitate inter-series connection and gender change etc. dust-caps and offer value added services including custom cable assemblies.

In the event that customers are unable to find a suitable standard connector for their application Intelliconnect are happy to provide custom designed solutions with low NRE and very short lead-times, typically 7 weeks from design acceptance.

A "sensorble" conjunction!

A major exhibition organiser and a leading publishing house have joined forces to run the British national exhibition for sensors and instrumentation. The announcement of a partnership by Trident Exhibitions Ltd and Datateam Business Media Ltd brings together the expertise of two companies with years of experience in this field.

Trident Exhibitions Ltd, event and conference organisers for over 30 years, and Datateam Business Media Ltd, publisher of 30 trade magazines including 12 titles in the industrial sector such as Instrumentation and Automation, will now jointly run a focused national event.

"This partnership can only benefit the industry providing a focused exhibition targeting a dedicated audience," said Helen Thewlis, Managing Director, Trident Exhibitions Ltd. "We have many years experience in running dedicated events alongside each other at the NEC and are happy to come together with Datateam to run a sensors event. Trident has worked closely with Datateam for our successful mtec and Instrumentation shows in the past so this partnership is a logical extension of this successful relationship."

For 2012 Trident will focus its efforts on this joint enterprise and therefore the Sensors & Systems show at Silverstone (GB) this October will not take place. Trident and Datateam will work together on the Sensing Technology exhibition at the NEC (Birmingham GB) on 25th and 26th September, and will announce the new show for 2013 at this event.

Kathy Ambrose, Publishing Director, Datateam Business Media Ltd said: "This partnership has been built on mutual respect and understanding of the market. The UK needs a major sensing & instrumentation event and together we can provide that. The future looks very exciting."

Board-mounted pressure sensors!

High quality and high resolution in a cost-effective solution

Honeywell has released its new Basic Board Mount Pressure Sensors, NBP Series, the newest offering in its board mount pressure sensor product portfolio. These are a cost-effective, basic performance, mV output, unamplified, uncompensated, high quality and high resolution solution for customers seeking high-volume, economical board mount pressure sensors.

Honeywell’s NBP Series is ideal for customers who want to do their own compensation, calibration, and amplification to make use of the maximum resolution of the bare sensor output, leveraging a custom algorithm required for their application. The NBP Series offers the value you expect from Honeywell, including: manufacturing excellence, prompt prototype delivery, availability throughout the product development cycle, and superior application support.

“Honeywell’s Basic Board Mount Pressure Sensor is an exciting new product,” said Jacky Leff, global product marketing manager for Honeywell Sensing and Control. “It offers our customers everything they need in an economical basic board mount pressure sensing solution: high quality, high reliability, and product availability.”

The NBP Series can be used in a wide range of applications. Potential medical applications include pressure monitoring for wound therapy machines, hospital beds, oxygen concentrators, and blood pressure monitors. Potential industrial applications include HVAC transmitters, air movement control, environmental control, level indicators, leak detection, industrial control, and other commercial applications.

With more than 100 years of manufacturing and engineering excellence, Honeywell designed this device to Six Sigma standards. The NBP Series features a durable design that operates over the full temperature range of -40 °C to 150 °C [-40 °F to 302 °F]. Numerous packaging styles, pressure ranges, housings, gel coating, and porting help to meet specific application needs and simplify integration. The sensor’s compact package size (as small as 7 mm x 7 mm [0.276 in x 0.276 in]) is smaller than most competitive board mount pressure sensors, allowing for easy placement on crowded printed circuit boards or in small devices.

SCADA anywhere!

Web Studio v7.1 is the latest version of the award-winning software from InduSoft. This newest version offers enhanced interface capabilities for use on a variety of smart phones and tablets, as well as revision control and intuitive project management.

It provides an enhanced Studio Mobile Access (SMA) client that works with any HTML.5 web browser to display alarms, trend and critical tag values. It also adds easy-to-use widgets (gauges, switches and text boxes) to monitor and interact with process values (tags) on any current browser, including those found on iPad, iPhone (iOS Safari), Android phones and tablets.

Alarms and other information can be sent via multi-media formats, such as a PDF, to an email account, a printer or a smartphone in real time, or as historical data. InduSoft v7.1 connects to any SQL database including but not limited to MS SQL, MySQL, Sybase, Oracle, MS Access and ERP/MES systems such as SAP. It also easily connects to Excel and other popular PC-based programs. InduSoft v7.1 provides a built-in interface for display of trends, alarms/events, grids and other objects without requiring SQL programming.

The InduSoft Collaboration Tool and Application Lifecycle Management option is available for an additional license. It enables users to compare any configuration file, as well as merge changes from multiple developers. This option also offers support for source control, and interaction via Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server for lifecycle management.

InduSoft Web Studio v7.1 also provides the following features:
• Over 240 built-in drivers to allow plug-and-play 2-way communication with most PLCs, temperature controllers, motion controllers and bar code/2D/RFID readers. Toolkits to help users build their own drivers for other devices.
• FDA traceability with built-in functionality to create 21 CFR part 11 compliant projects with e-signatures.
• Graphics and design tools that can be combined with built-in objects to create any functionality required. A library of objects to allow project creation with a consistent “look and feel.”
• An optimized trend history module designed to load up to millions of values from SQL Relational Databases, with built-in data decimation in Trend Control.
• Tools to provide quick creation of and access to Statistical Process Control (SPC) values without programming.
• Multi-Language support including English, Portuguese, German, and French.
• The ability to take an application created for Windows CE and deploy it on any supported Microsoft operating system including Embedded, Windows® 7 (and soon Windows® 8) and Server editions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Flow computer enhanced

Improves flow calculation accuracy, fluid handling flexibility, and reporting consistency to reduce uncertainty, simplify measurement, and facilitate faster report generation

The ROC800L liquid hydrocarbon flow computer has been updated by Emerson Process Management, delivering improvements to flow calculation accuracy, fluid handling flexibility, and reporting consistency. These improvements will allow users to reduce uncertainty, generate faster reports, and improve measurement precision.

The ROC800L covers a wide variety of applications for liquid handlers across a full range of liquid hydrocarbons, including crude oil, refined products, special application products, lubricating oils, and light hydrocarbons. The ROC800L takes advantage of the easy-to-use architecture of the ROC family, offering fill-in-the blank configuration that brings users online faster.

For accurate and flexible measurement, the unit has been enhanced to include the ability to maintain accurate measurements by calculating vapour pressure based on GPA-TP-15 (API chapter 11.2.4). Measure and correct ethanol volume as a new fluid capability based on OIML-R22 (1973) or ABNT NBR 5992 standards. Correct water volume per API 11.4.1. and monitor volume loss from evaporation. This can be achieved by entering a shrinkage factor for each liquid meter monitored, either by sample analysis or by using volume monitoring external to the ROC800L, accounting for product shrinkage per API chapter 20.1.

The ROC800L now also generates liquid production EFM (Electronic Flow Measurement) reports in the same format as the ROC809 and ROC827 for gas measurement, allowing the user better reporting consistency between gas and liquid reports and quicker report access.

"We continue to provide enhanced solutions to address the thriving liquids market," acknowledged Craig Llewellyn, president, Emerson Process Management, Remote Automation Solutions. "These ROC800L enhancements address our customer challenges and will enable them to compete better in their markets."

ROC800L compliments the ROC800 family of products to fill the need for a rugged RTU type flow computer that is DIN rail mounted with the capability of withstanding the toughest environments that the oil field has to offer. The ROC800L can be a stand-alone, solar powered device, or connect to a host system including Emerson’s OpenEnterprise SCADA system and DeltaV™ digital automation system. This allows customers to derive the maximum benefit by performing remote device diagnostics using Emerson’s AMS Suite of predictive maintenance software to improve productivity and reduce maintenance cost.

The ROC800L had been tested and found to meet the requirements of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate for liquid flow computers, and CSA Class 1 Div 2 safety requirements.

Automation to rove on Mars

Discussions at the Farnborough Airshow (July 2012)

NASA Director Doug McCuistion and Siemens Industry CEO Siegfried Russwurm discussed the dawning of a new era of space exploration and the critical roles that NASA engineers and Siemens software technology play in helping to make it possible. The two companies referenced the impending August 5 landing of the latest Mars Rover “Curiosity” – designed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) using Siemens software – as a tangible example of how modern software technology is being employed to enhance competitiveness in the aerospace industry. Part of this ongoing transformation includes public-private partnerships and a constant drive to maximize productivity and shorten development times.

“Curiosity is the most sophisticated rover ever sent to Mars, and will further enhance our under-standing of the Red Planet, while paving the way for future human exploration,” said Doug McCuistion, NASA Director of the Mars Exploration Program. “The incredible team of scientists and engineers at NASA’s JPL has employed the latest in software technology to design the Mars Rover to withstand the impossible extremes of launch, space travel, atmospheric reentry, and landing a 2000 pound operational vehicle on the surface of Mars.”

Left: Doug McCuistion and Siegfried Russwurm
JPL used product lifecycle management (PLM) software from Siemens throughout the develop-ment process to digitally design, simulate and assemble the Rover before any physical prototypes were built. The software helped ensure all components would fit together, operate properly and withstand whatever environment the mission would require. “Siemens is proud of our strong part-nership with NASA and the role our technology plays in helping them pursue such extraordinary and ambitious missions,” said Siegfried Russwurm, Member of the Siemens Board and CEO of the Industry Sector.

In the aerospace industry, Siemens’ overall revenues across all technologies are in the mid-three-digit million Euro range. Russwurm highlighted the essential role of cost-efficient product design and production in aircraft manufacturing: “The Aerospace Industry is on the leading edge when it comes to managing the full complexity of sophisticated product development and manufacturing. With our unique Siemens combination of PLM software and automation technologies, we not only cut time to market by up to 50 percent but also save resources and energy costs”. As a part of the Siemens vertical IT for industrial production Siemens PLM software is used by more than 70,000 customers worldwide in aerospace, automotive, electronics, machinery and other industries.

Low noise precision instrumentation amp

Intersil Corporation today announced a new 40V, low noise instrumentation amplifier that is the industry’s first precision instrumentation amplifier with an integrated analog-to-digital converter (ADC) level shifter and driver.

The ISL28617 incorporates a differential output to easily interface to today’s highest performance differential input ADCs. It offers excellent gain accuracy and gain temperature coefficient over a temperature range of -40°C to 125°C, with the industry’s highest common mode rejection ratio (CMRR) in all gain configurations. Noise measures only 8.6nV/√Hz @ 1kHz and 85nVrms from 0.1Hz to 10Hz, and the ISL28617 can provide both high gain and attenuation, setting it apart from competing instrumentation amplifiers which typically are limited to gain only configurations. The ISL28617 is ideal for instrumentation, industrial, motor control and medical systems.

Features and Specifications
Integrated differential output ADC driver simplifies the design of high performance 24-bit instrumentation systems
Excellent solution for both single and dual supply voltage operation
Unlike competing amplifiers, provides both high gain (10,000x) and attenuation (0.1x) required in flexible data acquisition systems.
Low noise characteristics make it ideal for noise-sensitive, high gain applications

The ISL28617 is part of a precision, low noise signal chain solution from Intersil including the ISL21090 low noise voltage reference and the ISL26134 low noise 24-bit delta-sigma ADC.
Additionally, using Vishay Precision Group’s next generation Z-1 Bulk Metal Foil technology FRSM chip resistors provides gain setting with non-measurable noise while maintaining exceptional gain accuracy under extraordinary thermal and environmental stresses.

New webs site for control system integrators

A new, enhanced web site, designed to serve as a resource for clients of control system integrators, in addition to information for current and prospective members has been launched by the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

The web site reflects CSIA’s expanded mission to educate buyers about the control system integration process, the benefits of retaining CSIA members, and the added security and value CSIA certification brings to control system integration projects.

“Serving control system integrators and raising the bar for successful business management continues to be our primary mission,” said CSIA Executive Director Robert Lowe. “Our leadership recognized that raising awareness of control system integration and the value that CSIA membership brings to the end user would ultimately help our members succeed.”

Visitors to the new web site’s home page will be asked to self-select their audience type. One side of the site is written for clients (“end users”) who are looking for a solution to their industrial automation needs. The other side is for integrators who are interested in learning more about the association and the benefits CSIA membership affords.

Content for prospective clients of CSIA members includes information about the types of services a control system integrator performs in particular industries, along with case studies related to that industry. Additionally, there is a list of certified members who work in that particular industry. Visitors can search all industries by choosing a menu item that directs them to CSIA’s popular “Find an Integrator” search engine.

On the integrator side of the new site, visitors can expect leaner, more focused content written with the no-time-to-waste integrator in mind. News, events and information about best practices and the certification process appear here, along with a link to the CSIA Connected Community, the CSIA’s social media site available to all members and registered guests.

Throughout the site, visitors will find a red flag in the upper right corner that takes them directly to the search form for Find an Integrator. No matter where a visitor enters the site, which could be anywhere the search engine leads them, CSIA wants visitors to easily locate the right integrator for their project. A shortcut to the membership list appears at the bottom of every page, for those who want to bypass the search function.

CSIA staff, assisted by a marketing and public relations firm, will be continuously updating the site’s content with newly published articles, case studies and updates about the annual conference and other association activity.

Prolific author talks!

One of the most prolific authors in the area of control and automation is Greg McMillan. His advice as a mentor is sought and valued throughout the sector. He also has a sense of deprecating and well observed humour and is not afraid to display this in some of his published works.

One of his most popular works is "How to Become an Instrument Engineer: The Making of a Prima Donna!" A work which expresses so well the delights and frustrations of our profession. "Have you ever tried to explain to a spouse or a friend what an instrument engineer does?" he asks in the first few paragraphs, and he has us hooked!

Susan Colwell, of the Publication Department of International Society of Automation (ISA), works closely with him in the publishing of his work. Recently she sat down with him and discussed his work, wit and philosophy. He describes his writing "I find an incredible release in expressing myself and being myself...."

"I write so ideas are not is a crime to see the expertise that is being lost each day as the most experienced professionals are encouraged to retire, never having the opportunity to pass on the knowledge they gained the hard way." 

It is indeed difficult to quantify the incalculable debt owed by the world of automation to Greg McMillan and the other "doers" who commit their experience, not to say wisdom to posterity in writing.

Her interview may be found on the new ISA Interchange.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monitoring & control in water plant

The global water industry leader Veolia selected ARC Informatique PcVue Scada software as their solution to monitor and control services and operations at its Super Rimiez water treatment plant near Nice (F) – recognized as the one of the largest drinking water supply sites in Europe. Performance, ease of use and lower total cost of ownership provided by ARC Informatique solutions were key factors in Veolia selecting the PcVue solution. Additionally, the 20 year relationship and trust between the two companies made the decision easier for Veolia.

The Veolia Super Rimiez water treatment plant is a cutting edge example of global water treatment technology. Constructed in 1972, the plant has seen a number of adaptations, including a total overhaul in 1998 and a systems update in 2007. The Alpes Maritimes Secteur Nice facility covers twelve drinking water production sites with a total capacity of 460,000 m³ per day and a 3,400 km hydraulic network for the distribution of drinking water to 64 cities and towns with a total population of over 950,000 people. Super Rimiez supplies the City of Nice (population of around 350,000) and surrounding area. Water is distributed to the population by a 1,200 km hydraulic network fitted with multiple valves, pumps and regulating equipment.

The Super Rimiez plant manages every stage of an extremely complex process that takes water all the way from collection points to household taps. Apart from the collection and distribution of water, Super Rimiez is also responsible for treating and storing the water in reservoirs located at elevated locations. This includes managing processes at the site itself, as well as all of the remote command and control functions for pumping stations and secondary processing installations located up and downstream, including 20 treatment works and the 90 telemetry stations forming part of the overall system.

To ensure the effective monitoring and smooth operation of such a complex infrastructure, Veolia uses a Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. For this, Veolia has chosen the ARC Informatique PcVue SCADA monitoring software package. The monitoring software gathers data, stores it in a central IT system and then the data is processed. PcVue directly processes the data and displays it as animations (called mimic panels) using symbols that can be instantiated (known as objects). The information gathered is converted into standard PcVue objects and then stored in databases for subsequent use in associated spread sheet tools.

At Super Rimiez, the software controls and monitors processes not just at the main site, but also at secondary sites. The remote control and monitoring service installed comprises no fewer than 26 SCADA terminals, which acquire around 50,000 variables from some 400 industrial PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and remote terminals. To achieve this, the team of engineers at Super Rimiez configured 1,800 mimic panels and 600 objects. “In addition to ultra-high performance, a major benefit of the ARC Informatique PcVue solution is the user-friendly graphic interface, which enabled our team of development engineers to configure mimic panels and objects much more quickly than with a traditional SCADA solution. This helps to reduce costs and application roll-out times significantly”, explains Marc Pons, Veolia Water engineer and Head of the Control-Command department at the Côte d’Azur operational centre.

With regard to the data transmission network, the TCP/IP communication protocol is used throughout the plant, and at the 26 SCADA terminals. The system is based on a virtual private network on ADSL lines and the GPRS network, with a satellite link for the main connections and RTC, GSM and SMS packet transmissions for time-stamped data stored by a secure archiving server. The network serves around 450 monitoring sites and is capable of issuing an average of 8,000 remote commands and acknowledging and supervising 7,000 alerts every month.

“Yes, the performance, ease of use and application roll-out cost reduction associated with using the PcVue software were certainly key deciding factors in Veolia opting for this solution. But it is also very important for us to have total confidence in the companies we work with, and this has been the case between Veolia and ARC Informatique for nearly twenty years now”, explains Marc Pons of Veolia.

The authorities of the urban communities of Nice recently stated their intention to become self-sufficient in energy and water treatment services and looked into the possibility of producing electricity from the potential energy generated by a cascade of water. Wishing to align itself with this initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the City of Nice is evaluating a proposal from Veolia to install 4 micro-turbines in the water supply system for converting potential energy into useable electric power.

Untreated water coming down from the mountains is channelled to Super Rimiez above the city and some 280m above sea level. The elevated pressure achieved in this way, which can be up to 17 bars, is converted into electric power by the micro-turbines.

This solution for producing renewable energy should make it possible to generate over 12 GWh of electric power per year – the equivalent of the average electricity consumption of over 3,000 households.

Integrated power distribution solution

At CeBIT (5-9 March 2012), Rittal and Siemens announced a power distribution solution that uses Siemens busbar distributor systems in Rittal's live data centres.

In the context of their cooperation, Rittal and Siemens are guaranteeing the compatibility of the Siemens Sivacon LD and BD2 busbar distribution systems with the Rittal Ri4Power low-voltage power distribution system in data centre applications. The Sivacon series of busbar distribution systems includes systems ranging from 25A through to 6300A. Rittal, the system provider, links technical infrastructure with an ideally coordinated system solution.

A reliable power supply is vital for business, especially for data centres. Busbar distribution systems are therefore increasingly used for low voltage power distribution in high-performance data centres, since they are a low fire risk and have greater reliability than cables. In addition, they can be adapted to changing requirements in a much more flexible and less costly way, for example, during alterations and extensions.

Multichannel transmitter!

The Liquiline CM444 & CM448 from Endress + Hauser are multichannel transmitters for monitoring and controlling processes in water & wastewater, chemical, power and other industries.

Liquiline CM444 and CM448 accept inputs from up to eight Endress+Hauser Memosens digital sensors including nitrate, spectral absorption coefficient (SAC), pH, ORP, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, free-chlorine and ion selective electrode sensors.  Mix and match as needed – the device recognizes any combination of Memosens sensors and starts operating immediately.  Memosens technology means all sensors can be precalibrated in the laboratory.  When connected to the Liquiline series of transmitters - sensors are recognized automatically.  This makes the exchange of sensors fast and maximizes the uptime of the measuring point.

They can be field-upgraded at any time to accept additional inputs simply by plugging in additional modules. Optional current inputs are available for processing signals from other process devices such as flow, level or pressure sensors.

Outputs include up to eight 4-20mA current outputs with HART; as well as Ethernet, Profibus, and Modbus TCP or 485 networks. An integrated web server provides remote access via any web browser.

Additional outputs include up to four relay outputs capable of switching 24, 115 or 230Vac. The relay outputs can be used to sound alarms, start or stop cleaning functions, activate a controller, or perform other related functions.

The web server connects to the Internet via the CM444 or CM448 transmitter’s Ethernet TCP port. Using any web browser, users can perform remote configuration or access to device parameters.

Virtual Process Values
In addition to actual process values provided by the sensors or analog inputs, mathematical functions can be used to calculate a maximum of six "virtual" process values. The following mathematical functions are possible:

• pH calculation based on two conductivity values, often used in boiler feed water and similar applications
• Difference between two measured values from different sources, such as for membrane monitoring
• Differential conductivity to monitor the efficiency of ion exchangers
• Degassed conductivity for process control in power plants
• Redundancy for monitoring two or three measuring sensors.
• rH calculation based on the measured values of pH and ORP sensors.

The virtual process values can be:
• Output via a current output or one of the digital network
• Used as a regulating control variable
• Assigned as a measured variable to a limit contactor activated by one of the unit’s relay outputs
• Used as a measured variable to trigger cleaning
• Displayed in user-defined menus.

The CM444 & CM448 have a back-lit graphic display that alerts users to errors and displays load curves. It also has drop-down menus for monitoring values, and displays outputs from the built-in data logger. The data logger can maintain up to eight separate data logbooks, with 150,000 entries per logbook. The data logger has an adjustable scan time of one second to six hours, and a logbook that keeps track of up to 75 calibrations.

Device configuration, diagnostics and maintenance asset functions can be accomplished with Endress+Hauser’s FieldCare software. FieldCare, based on FDT/DTM technology, can connect to either via a service interface or HART.

They both have rugged plastic IP66/67 housing that is leak proof and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for use in non-hazardous applications in water & wastewater, oil & gas, chemical and power industrie