Saturday, July 28, 2012

8000 networks

WirelessHART standard achieving widespread acceptance throughout industry

More than 8,000 WirelessHART® networks are currently installed in major manufacturing sites around the globe signifying the widespread acceptance of the WirelessHART standard (IEC 62591; EN 62591) by the process automation industry.

Tens of thousands of WirelessHART devices are at work in a variety of process applications including rotating equipment, pipeline monitoring, storage tank farms and many others. Major companies such as Bayer, BASF, BP, Celanese, ConocoPhillips, Evonik, PEMEX, Shell, Statoil, and others are realizing the benefits of WirelessHART technology at process manufacturing sites worldwide.

Ron Helson
“The WirelessHART standard is built on the solid foundation of the HART® Protocol and by design provides the same familiar ease-of-use, backward compatibility, interoperability, reliability, and security,” says Ron Helson, HART Communication Foundation Executive Director. “WirelessHART was designed to so that the integration and operation of HART and WirelessHART devices with automation systems is seamless and transparent.”

Leading automation suppliers such as ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, MACTek, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, R. Stahl, Siemens and others are shipping WirelessHART-based products to provide cost-efficient wireless communication for process industry applications.

The WirelessHART standard supports self-organizing, full multi-hop and multi-path mesh topologies and requires no specialized tools or expert communication protocol settings for deployment. The technology is easy to implement, provides built-in reliability in all industrial environments, and employs 128-bit AES encryption, multi-tiered, always-on security to protect the network and the data being transferred at all times. WirelessHART builds on proven international standards—the HART Communication Protocol (IEC 61158), EDDL (IEC 61804-3) and IEEE 802.15.4.

Friday, July 27, 2012

COM express modules

GE Intelligent Platforms has added to the company’s growing range of COM Express modules with the launch of its highest performance offering to date, the rugged bCOM6-L1400. 

Taking advantage of the significant processing and graphics capabilities of the recently-announced Intel® Core™ i7 processor, the bCOM6-L1400 can support multiple independent displays in a wide variety of commercial, industrial, transportation and defense applications in a broad range of embedded computing environments. 

 The launch of the bCOM6-L1400 further expands GE’s range of rugged COM Express solutions following a series of announcements. The most recent of these was the launch of the rugged bCOM6-L1200 – which features a range of five VIA Nano™ and VIA Eden™ processor options - in February. 

By separating the carrier card from the processor, the COM Express architecture extends the useful life of the subsystem by allowing simple, cost-effective upgrade of the processor alone. This reduces long term cost of ownership while ensuring that performance keeps pace with changing needs.
Offered with a choice of either a dual-core or quad-core processor for maximum flexibility and enabling customers to select the optimum price-performance/watt combination for the planned application, the bCOM6-L1400 takes advantage of GE’s extensive experience and expertise in the design and development of rugged COM Express modules. It also complements GE Intelligent Platforms’ extensive portfolio of rugged embedded computing solutions that includes single board computers, multiprocessors, Ethernet switches, displays and networking.

The bCOM6-L1400 can be confidently deployed in the harshest, most challenging environments that are subject to extremes of temperature, vibration, shock and contaminants. Its components are specifically selected for reliable operation in hostile environments, and the processor and memory are soldered to the board for the highest possible resistance to external forces. 

Extended mechanical construction protects the module, which is designed for optional conformal coating for even greater resistance to moisture, dust, chemicals, and temperature extremes. Sophisticated dynamic thermal management optimizes uptime and helps prevent damage to the system.

GE is able to provide customers with the support necessary to enable them to develop their own carrier card configurations, or to provide custom carrier card variants on request. This ability provides significant flexibility to systems integrators looking to create unique, high value-added solutions. 

“The bCOM6-L1400 is a further example of GE’s rugged high performance platform strategy in action, and of our commitment to bringing the most recent processor technologies to market as rapidly as possible,” said Steve Pavlovsky, Product General Manager, Control & Communication Systems, GE Intelligent Platforms. “The COM Express architecture is ideal for OEMs looking to reduce developments costs, minimize risk and time to market and to provide the lowest possible cost of ownership. With the announcement of GE’s bCOM6-L1400, those customers get not just the benefits of COM Express and of Intel’s latest processor, but also outstanding performance, exceptional flexibility, remarkable robustness – and the commitment to customer satisfaction for which GE is renowned.”

As well as its graphics capabilities (VGA, LVDS with dual channel support and SDVO/TMDS/DisplayPort over DDI), the bCOM6-L1400 features up to 8GBytes of DDR3 memory, Gigabit Ethernet and four SATA interfaces, with support for both RAID 0 and RAID 1. Also provided for optimum connectivity are eight USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports.

Ethernet line extender

Ethernet Line Extender provides high-speed network connections over existing cabling
Easy-to-use, compact device for mission critical railway, industrial and utility applications

Westermo has enhanced its series of Ethernet line extenders with the release of a high-speed, compact device that is capable of meeting the increasing data transfer demands within industrial applications. The DDW-142 is the latest addition to the Wolverine range, which uses SHDSL technology (symetric high speed digital subscriber line) to establish a high-speed connection between Ethernet networks using any existing copper cables. This can enable considerable cost savings to be made when installing new systems where in the past the only option would have been fibre.

The DDW-142 is a fully managed device with Layer 2 switch functionality that enables effective Ethernet networks to be created over distances of up to 15 km. Data rates of up to 30.4 Mbits/s are possible, making the device suitable for connecting complex networks that may include a large number of devices requiring high bandwidth. An integral 2-port 100 Mbit switch allows two Ethernet devices to be attached and a RS-232 port enables legacy devices to be easily incorporated into the IP network.

To support engineers that are installing and maintaining ever increasingly complex networks, the DDW-142 has been designed to be extremely easy to set up, requiring no configuration for simple point-to-point communications. For larger networks, a web interface is provided and a CLI allows even more complex configuration. The Wolverine range is also supplied with a unique cable distance calculator. This uses data from real world applications to enable installers to calculate the speed and achievable distances using different types of cable. Once installed, SHDSL diagnostics and management functions enable indication of line degradation allowing planned maintenance. Should maintenance be required, a back-up and restore facility enables configurations to be quickly downloaded from a USB stick.

The DDW-142 is designed for use in tough environments and mission critical railway, road or utility applications where device failure could result in significant costs. The rugged and very compact unit can operate in extreme temperatures (-40 to +70°C) and where EMC and vibration levels are high. Total galvanic isolation and transient protection of the electronics contribute to a MTBF of 437,000 hours, ensuring high operational reliability and a long service life.
The Wolverine’s WeOS operating system provides an extensive suite of IP networking standards allowing resilient and flexible networks to be created. Developed to allow cross platform and future proof solutions, WeOS delivers a unique level of security and enables the DDW-142 to form part of a point-to-point, multi-drop or resilient ring network. In the event of any link or hardware failure, Westermo’s unique FRNT technology is able to re-configure a large network. 

The DDW-142 is transparent for multicast addressing, allows VPN (Virtual Private Network) pass-through for IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) and can be used with protocols like Modbus/TCP and PROFINET I/O. The DDW-142 also features a Link Fault Forward (LFF) functionality whereby the Ethernet link status is sent over the SHDSL link between two units.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Donation helps Phoenix to rise...

Keithley Instruments is helping the electrical engineers of tomorrow characterize photovoltaic devices accurately and efficiently. Oregon State University's Solar Vehicle Team (OSUSVT) has been putting the company's donated Model 2440 5A SourceMeter® instrument to work in analyzing and troubleshooting mono-crystalline silicon solar modules. These modules are powering the Phoenix, the solar race car in which the team competed in the 2012 American Solar Challenge, held in July. The donated instrument has already helped the team boost the power output of this year's vehicle by 50 percent over last year's.
The Phoenix
The team, made up of students, staff, and faculty members, has developed a soldering, testing, and laminating procedure to produce slightly flexible, lightweight solar modules based on mono-crystalline solar cells . To maximize vehicle performance, the team requires parametric data on each of the solar modules they construct in order to arrange the sub-arrays on the car in the most efficient manner. The Keithley Model 2440 SourceMeter instrument, acquired through a donation arranged between OSU's Kathy Han and Chuck Cimino, one of the company's marketing directors, is used to characterise each module's overall power output and maximum power point current using an I-V curve tracing technique. The Model 2440 allows students to gather accurate data on the performance of each module quickly and simplifies making side-by-side comparisons. Each solar module is characterized both before and after lamination and the data obtained is used in troubleshooting problems such as shorted cells and cracked cells. In addition, this data was employed in current matching in the sub-arrays, as well in projecting the output of the vehicle's entire solar array.

Kathy Han, the OSUSVT manager and lead for the body and co-lead for the solar module team, notes, "The Model 2440 allows us to obtain accurate I-V curve data on all our solar modules consistently and easily both before and after lamination. The data we obtained on maximum power output, open-current voltage, short-circuit current, maximum voltage, and maximum current let us detect problems like shorted and cracked cells, as well as to determine the best sub-array location for each module to maximize overall power output or to reject a module outright. Before we had access to the Model 2440, we had problems with one of our previous solar arrays that used solar cells that had been laser-cut from the front side, which we now know produces some melting of the p/n junction. This caused internal shorts and increased internal resistance in the cells. The Model 2440 made it possible to detect
problems that simply weren't detectable before and to match solar cells better. Because of Keithley's generous donation, this year's vehicle has 50 percent higher power output (900W instead of 600W) than last year's."

Keithley's Cimino explains, "The Model 2440 SourceMeter instrument is part of Keithley's Series 2400 line of source measurement units (SMU s), and is capable of sourcing and measuring up to 40V and 5A. Series 2400 instruments are optimized for test applications that demand tightly coupled sourcing and measurement, like the OSU's Solar Vehicle Team's. We were delighted to be asked to participate in their pursuit of the American Solar Challenge by making the SMU available for their use. We've also donated similar instrumentation to other college solar vehicle teams in previous years because of our long term commitment to supporting the development of the next generation of innovative and well trained electrical engineers and scientists."

All seven models in the Series 2400 SourceMeter line provide precision voltage and current sourcing as well as measurement capabilities. Each is both a highly stable DC power source and a true instrument-grade 6-1/2-digit multimeter. The power source characteristics include low noise, high precision, and flexible voltage, current and resistance readback. The multimeter capabilities include high repeatability and low noise signal conditioning and A-D conversion. The result is a compact, single-channel, DC parametric tester. In operation, these instruments can act as a voltage source, a current source, a voltage meter, a current meter, and an ohmmeter. By linking source and measurement circuitry in a single unit, these instruments minimise the time required for test station development, setup, and maintenance, while lowering the overall cost of system ownership. They also simplify the test process itself by eliminating many of the complex synchronisation and connection issues associated with using multiple instruments.

Test + Measurement races ahead!

The British subsidiary of Yokogawa’s European Test & Measurement operation – has entered into a sponsorship deal with Oxfordshire-based Drayson Racing Technologies to support Drayson’s pioneering development of electrically driven racing cars.

The sponsorship agreement involves Yokogawa supplying Drayson with selected items of test equipment including oscilloscopes and power meters, in exchange for which the Yokogawa logo will be displayed on the Lola-Drayson B12/69EV Le Mans prototype electric drive racing car.

The culmination of Drayson Racing’s long experience in green technology since pioneering bio-ethanol fuels in 2007, this ground-breaking vehicle has been designed to demonstrate the potential of green technologies in the harsh environment of motorsport.

Project pioneer Lord Drayson, former UK Minister of Science & Innovation, Managing Partner at Drayson Racing Technologies and President of the Motorsport Industry Association, comments: “Electric racing represents a considerable new business opportunity for motorsport and underlines the growing commercial potential of green racing technology. Electric-powered racing is really taking off with the launch of the new FIA Formula E world championship for electric racing cars planned for 2013, and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of the push for innovation at such an exciting time for the sport and the industry.”

The Lola-Drayson B12/69EV racing car incorporates a number of technical advances such as inductive charging, composite battery power, moveable aerodynamics and electrical regenerative damping, making it one of the most innovative clean-technology motorsport projects in the world. With a power output of over 850 horsepower, it also aims to be the fastest electrically powered racing car yet developed.

Angus Lyon, Chief Engineer, Electric Drive Train, with Drayson Racing Technologies, is enthusiastic about the benefits of the sponsorship agreement for his development work: “The Yokogawa test instruments will help us to address a number of challenges in the design of critical components of the drive train - in particular, identifying and eliminating the cause of electrical noise and interference that inevitably occur in the harsh automotive environment.”

Andy Barnes, UK Sales Manager for Yokogawa Measurement Technologies, is equally positive about the relationship: “We are delighted to be associated with such a prestigious project in a technology sector which totally reflects our corporate focus. Yokogawa’s test instruments are at the forefront of measurements in the power electronics field with particular emphasis on sustainable technology and energy efficiency, and this project is an outstanding example of how advanced engineering techniques can be used to achieve these aims. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

LCD distribution for Ireland & Britain

Ginsbury to support LCD module business for Kyocera and recently acquired Optrex

Ginsbury has announced a Britain and Ireland distribution agreement with LCD manufacturer Kyocera Display Corporation. Ginsbury will promote and support a wide range of Kyocera passive STN and active TFT LCD flat panel displays. Ginsbury will also continue to support and manage existing Optrex LCD business brought about by the recent acquisition of Optrex Corporation by Kyocera.

Neville Milward, Director, Ginsbury said, “The addition of Kyocera to our franchised supplier portfolio strengthens our display proposition across many different applications and vertical markets. Kyocera has an excellent reputation for producing a broad range of high quality, standard display modules,” he continued, “Kyocera will enable us to design in, support and supply many market sectors with high quality display solutions with the knowledge of a commitment to maintaining product longevity for our customers.”

Phil Blake, UK and Scandinavia Regional Sales Manager, Kyocera commented, “We are confident that new and existing customers in the UK will benefit significantly with the addition of Ginsbury as our franchised distribution partner. We are impressed with Ginsbury’s approach to product marketing which is highly focused and features strong technical support. There are many premium, niche manufacturers that need the focused approach of a specialist technical design-in distributor. The design-in phase is essential and Ginsbury have exhibited the knowledge and experience required to develop new business opportunities for Kyocera. We look forward to building a successful relationship with Ginsbury and creating new business growth.”

Blake added, “Our relationship with existing Optrex customers will not be affected by the change of ownership. We are fully committed to supporting legacy business and maintaining the continuity of supply to an established and highly valued customer base.”

Kyocera Display Corporation was formed following the recent acquisition of LCD manufacturer Optrex Corporation. The acquisition has enabled Kyocera to expand its LCD product offering and manufacturing capabilities for high quality, small to medium sized display modules and touchscreen based products.

Extreme performance ATCA blade

The ADLINK aTCA-6250 incorporates the latest dual 8-core/16-thread Intel® Xeon® processors to provide robust computing power for high-end carrier-grade applications.

Featuring dual 8-core Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L (2.1 GHz/1.8 GHz) with Intel® C604 chipset, eight channels of DDR3 memory up to 128 GB, and a 400 W power supply subsystem for maximum computing performance, the aTCA-6250, from Adlink Technology , provides versatile connectivity including dual 10GbE Fabric Interfaces, dual GbE Base Interfaces, quad front panel GbE interfaces, dual front panel USB and COM ports, and onboard SATA DOM socket. Dual 10GbE ports and dual hot-swappable SAS bays on the optional aTCA R6270 Rear Transition Module (RTM) provide additional network throughput and storage capabilities.

It is designed for carrier-grade applications requiring maximum computing power, reliability and high network/storage throughput such as media servers in IPTV, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) broadband networks, network security, network monitoring/analysis and wireless infrastructures. ADLINK's latest ATCA blade is designed for NEBS compliance and gives telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) and network equipment providers (NEPs) a powerful, high bandwidth solution for mission critical applications and a smooth, reliable path for scalability and upgradability.

The aTCA-6250 implements dual Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L-based devices linked by dual Intel® Quickpath Interconnect (Intel® QPI) point-to-point link interfaces providing high bandwidth, low latency connectivity from processor to processor at up to 8 GT/s. With Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L provides increased performance from both single and multi-thread workloads while maintaining thermal and energy efficiency. Eight sockets of DDR3-1600 VLP RDIMM offer a maximum capacity of 128 GB of main memory. The memory design of the aTCA-6250 is optimized for maximum memory bandwidth and provides forward compatibility with next generation DDR3-1866 memory supported by future Intel® CPU designs.

High speed data-transfer on the PICMG 3.1 Fabric Interface is enabled by a PCI Express 2.0 capable Intel® 82599EB 10GbE controller and Base Interface connectivity is provided by PCI Express 2.0 capable Intel® 82576EB GbE controllers. Paired with the optional aTCA-R6270 RTM, the aTCA-6250 supports additional dual 10GbE SFP+ ports enabled by an Intel® 82599ES 10GbE controller.

"Combined with Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2658 and E5-2648L, the aTCA-6250 delivers powerful performance for high-end telecom, network security and media server applications requiring carrier-grade computing power, memory bandwidth/capacity, high throughput connectivity and accelerated packet processing," said Eric Kao, Director of ADLINK's Embedded Computing Product Segment. "The ADLINK aTCA-6250 is powered by a 400 W power supply subsystem to ensure uncompromised computing performance. ADLINK's advanced thermal solution guarantees stability and longevity for operation in critical environments at maximum performance.

“ADLINK’s new aTCA-6250 offers versatile storage and connectivity support with four RJ-45 GbE ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two serial ports and analog graphics output on the front panel; onboard SATA DOM socket, Fabric Interface protocols and Base Interface channels to Zone 2; and dual hot-swappable SAS bays, three USB ports, one serial port and two SFP+ 10 GbE ports on the aTCA-R6270 RTM. Combining high computing performance, high memory capacity/bandwidth and high bandwidth of network and storage I/O interface, the ADLINK’s aTCA-6250 is specifically designed for extreme high-end telecom applications.”

The aTCA-6250 supports the Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (Intel® DPDK), a lightweight run-time environment for Intel® architecture processors offering low overhead and run-to-completion mode to maximize packet processing performance. It provides a rich selection of optimized and efficient libraries, also known as the Environment Abstraction Layer (EAL), which are responsible for initializing and allocating low-level resources, hiding the environment specifics from the applications and libraries, and gaining access to the low-level resources, such as memory space, PCI devices, timers and consoles.

The EAL provides an optimized Poll Mode Driver (PMD); memory & buffer management; and timer, debug and packet handling APIs, some of which may also be provided by the operating system. To facilitate interaction with application layers, the EAL, together with standard the GNU C Library (GLIBC), provide full APIs for integration with higher level applications.

Wireless and Ethernet compatibility

Smart Wireless Gateway with EtherNet/IP output compatibility reduces the time and cost to establish a wireless field network with an EtherNet/IP PLC (programmable logic controller) 

Emerson Process Management is making it easier for process industry manufacturers who require EtherNet/IP to set-up and run a wireless field network in their operation. 

Currently, PLC users requiring EtherNet/IP must purchase a converter from a third party provider to add wireless to their systems. Using a converter can increase the time it takes to establish and run the wireless network, while adding cost and hardware complexity. The Emerson Smart Wireless Gateway eliminates the need for the converter and provides users with a simple integration that will natively speak to their PLC through the EtherNet/IP connection. 

In addition, the Smart Wireless Gateway also provides enhanced security features for industrial automation and control systems. These new security features are designed to IEC 62443 (ISA99) standards and are intended to fully comply with NERC CIP requirements. The new customised user account feature allows a manager to easily set-up and configure gateway access privileges for various members of their operation. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Your marks - on metal!

For the first time ever Weidmüller offers a marking system with which it is possible to print on markers made of metal.
The markers are printed using the "PrintJet PRO" printer, which also prints the proven assortment of MultiCard markers. Utilising Weidmüller's system ensures marking tasks in and around the electrical cabinet are extremely straightforward: one printer, one software, one type of ink. Users do not need an oven or similar additional equipment. The seamlessly fine-tuned holistic system is open to high levels of customized solutions – thanks to the freedom to create layouts and uncomplicated importing of data from other systems. Now, long delivery times for pre-printed marker versions are a thing of the past. MetalliCards are printed on the ink-jet printer PrintJet PRO. 

Printing metal MetalliCard markers is made possible by a special update kit. It is possible to create colour graphics, characters and logos to suit individual requirements. Users are able choose between riveting and gluing or using stainless steel cable ties or holders to secure the metal markers – options that ensure high levels of flexibility. Fulfilling the highest requirements MetalliCard markers are resistant to high temperatures, extreme changes to the climate, UV radiation and other external influences. The rectangular markers are available in sizes from 27 mm x 18 mm through to 85 mm x 54 mm. There are also round markers (diameter: 30 mm) as well as a version for stainless steel cable ties for marking cables. Anodized aluminium (inexpensive with excellent print quality) and stainless steel (particularly suitable for the process and chemical industries) are the materials of choice.

Due to their material properties metal markers are better suited to the more demanding applications than markers made from polyamide. They are much better able to withstand harsh environments – including high temperatures, climate swings, UV radiation and other environmental chemical/physical loads. With its MetalliCard Weidmüller offers stringently tested markers for marking electrical equipment and cables. Chemically resistant (tested to DIN ISO 175) MetalliCard has successfully completed wipe tests with many different substances. Add to that its UV resistance (tested in a sun tester with a radiation power of 768 W/m², 500 hours). Also completed successfully were the thermal stability test (temperature range: -55 °C to max. 130 °C), alternating thermal loads of heat and cold (to IEC 61984) and the saline spray test (in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9227 for 336 hours respectively). MetalliCards offer a verified degree of protection to IPX9 K (high-pressure/steam cleaning) to DIN EN 60529, VDE 0470-1.

With the MetalliCard marking system it is possible to print metal markers utilizing the "PrintJet PRO" printer, which has long been well established on the market. It also prints the proven MultiCard range of markers. Users are able to complete their marking tasks in and around electrical cabinet with the seamlessly fine-tuned Weidmüller system: just one printer, one software and one type of ink. Users are able to create individual layouts and utilize data from other systems without any difficulty. Colour graphics, characters and logos can all be created as desired. MetalliCards are printed on the ink-jet printer PrintJet PRO. A special update kit ensures it is possible to print metal MetalliCard markers. The printing process remains identical: to fuse the water-based ink to the metal substrate the card is pre-treated with a primer and there follows a longer thermal fixing process. The markers are ready within as little as 5.5 minutes.

Users are able choose between riveting and gluing or using stainless steel cable ties or holders to secure the metal markers – options that ensure high levels of flexibility. The rectangular markers are available in sizes from 27 mm x 18 mm through to 85 mm x 54 mm. There are also round markers (diameter: 30 mm) as well as a version for stainless steel cable ties for marking cables. The materials available for ordering are anodized aluminium and stainless steel (1.4301). Whereas aluminium represents an inexpensive marker material stainless steel is suitable for use in the process and chemical industries – which have particularly high requirements with regard to industrial suitability in harsh environments.

Weidmüller offers inlays to print the different markers and a universal inlay. The respective inlays are able to accommodate several markers of the same type of each marker size – independent of the drill holes. The inlays are designed to last for more than 2000 printing processes. The universal inlay has been designed to accommodate all eight different marker sizes for printing. Sophisticated inlay positioning takes up a marker for each printing operation.

Display products for Switzerland and Spain

KOE Europe has appointed Data Modul as a franchised distributor for Switzerland and Spain. The expansion of the distribution agreement between the two companies now enables Data Modul to promote and supply the full range of KOE industrial and Rugged+ LCD modules in these two regions.
Data Modul (left to right) Claus Vogt, Konrad Szabo, Marion Radina (Product Management), Axier Gonzales (Sales Manager Barcelona), Walter King (COO), Martin Schellenberg (Sales Manager Switzerland), Alejandro Garcia (General Manager Spain), Santiago Munoz (Sales Manager Bilbao).
Announcing the extension of distribution agreement with Data Modul, Mark Stanley, General Manager, KOE Europe explained, “Data Modul has shown a consistent level of achievement in developing and supporting new display business for KOE in central Europe. The expansion of KOE’s distribution sales channel in Switzerland and Spain with Data Modul is fully merited and we look forward to further success and business growth.”

Walter King CEO, Data Modul commented, “Data Modul prides itself on providing customers with value-added product solutions. This helps our customers to considerably shorten design cycles and thus the time to market of their products. The broadening of our long standing relationship with KOE is a result of our successful philosophy of total solution design in. KOE manufacture a high quality, high performance display product portfolio and we are excited by the prospect of taking these products to a wider European market.”

Data Modul is Europe’s biggest independent specialist supplier of display technology. Data Modul’s continued investment in R&D has enabled the addition of high quality products and solutions that are used in many industrial applications and information systems.

Another voice to advance automation!

The Measurement, Control & Automation Association (MCAA) has signed a Memorandum of Membership with the Automation Federation (AF). As the newest member, MCAA has agreed to collaborate with the other member organisations to advance the automation profession.

The Automation Federation is an association of member organizations providing awareness, programs and services that continually advance all facets of the automation profession. The Automation Federation serves as the “Voice of Automation” by providing advocacy and industry-wide strategic analysis and coordination through its member organizations. The Automation Federation is bringing like-minded organizations, like MCAA, together to create a stronger "Voice" that will further spread the messages about the importance of the automation profession and the need to develop the next generation of automation professionals.

Cynthia Esher, President MCAA
MCAA is a trade association whose purpose is bringing process control providers together to develop the resources they need to prosper. The organization helps the management teams of process control product and solution providers run and grow successful businesses by offering timely, unique and highly specialized resources acquired from shared management benchmarks and strategies where proprietary company information is secure. Because of the interest of its membership in workforce development, MCAA recognized the valuable work of the Automation Federation and has joined the Automation Federation as its fourteenth member organization.

MCAA President, Cynthia Esher, said today, “One of our primary concerns is Workforce Development. Our Association has taken interest in the work of the Automation Federation to promote the next generation of automation professionals. MCAA will join with the other organizations in the Automation Federation to create more visibility for our industry with our future workforce. We’re interested in this effort from all levels: high schools, trade schools, technical schools and engineering schools. We recognize the strength of the alliance we are making through membership in the Automation Federation and believe that together we can make a difference in this vital area.”

“The Automation Federation welcomes MCAA as our newest member organization. I know MCAA’s support and participation will strengthen our workforce development efforts significantly. I look forward to working together for the advancement of the automation profession,” said 2012 Automation Federation Chair, Leo Staples.

Smart Wireless vibrating fork liquid level switch

The Rosemount 2160 IEC 62591 (WirelessHART®) vibrating fork liquid level switch has been enhanced with faster update rates and advanced broadcasting functions to improve its suitability for critical level control applications. The 2160 also features improved diagnostic capabilities that help to reduce plant maintenance costs. Typical applications for the level device include overfill protection, high and low level alarms, pump control (limit detection), pump protection, and empty pipe detection.

The Rosemount 2160 level switch now provides one second update rates, extending the range of suitable level control applications to include fast moving applications, such as those found in batch filling. Wireless network redundancy and robustness enable customers to confidently extend their use to critical monitoring and control applications.

For monitoring applications, a unique trending capability enables the collection of data samples for a specified device variable. This reduces the number of transmissions over the wireless network, optimising power module life. A new advanced broadcasting function ensures that changes in process value, frequency of the vibrating fork, battery voltage or temperature are transmitted immediately, thereby improving both safety and diagnostic capability.

The 2160 has no moving parts and requires minimal maintenance. The condition of the forks is continuously monitored to help identify corrosion, build up or damage. Plant-wide alerts can be configured to warn of changes to an instrument’s status, giving operators advanced warning of any potential health problems.

Should an operator need to inspect the unit, a new ‘squawk’ feature helps operators identify a specific device. An integral LCD display showing switch output states and diagnostics provides real time, accurate verification of process conditions.

The 2160 liquid level switch is virtually unaffected by flow, bubbles, turbulence, foam, vibration, solids content, coating, liquid properties and product variations. It is designed for use in extreme temperatures and performs in harsh process conditions that are unsuitable for other switches. Two models are available, covering the temperature range -68° to 260°C (-94° to 500°F).

New smart position sensor

Honeywell is rounding out its SMART position sensor portfolio with the new Rotary Configuration that provides 360° non-contact angular position sensing. With this product, Honeywell offers a SMART Position Sensor that encompasses the most basic geometric configurations: lines, angles, and circles. The new sensor is highly durable, accurate, and cost-effective, enabling design engineers to replace an optical encoder, or to utilise a sensor instead of a resolver which can be expensive and difficult to integrate into a system.

The SMART Position Sensor utilises non-contact magnetoresistive (MR) technology to determine the object’s position, which allows it to accurately sense position in dirty and harsh environments, replacing optical encoders, which use light to determine position, to obtain a highly accurate measurement. Resolvers are typically hand-wired devices with extremely high accuracy and durability for use in incredibly precise, non-serviceable aerospace applications.

“The new SMART Position Sensor provides customers with excellent and precise accuracy for those applications that require a high level of accuracy, as well as capable accuracy in applications where system tolerance may be of concern,” said Chris Gottlieb, global product marketing manager for Honeywell Sensing and Control. “In addition, this device provides the same benefits that customers have come to expect with the SMART Position Sensor platform: lower total cost of ownership, high accuracy, and high durability.”

Honeywell developed the new sensor to offer the high level of accuracy needed for the specific transportation and industrial applications in which it is designed to operate, measuring values down to 0.01º. Potential transportation applications include steering angle, articulation angle, and boom arm detection, while industrial customers could use it in solar panels or wind turbines.

Honeywell uses a patented combination of an ASIC and an array of MR sensors to accurately and reliably determine the position of a magnet collar attached to a rotating object to identify and control the object’s position. This technology helps OEMs reduce warranty costs because there are fewer parts to wear out or break down. This also helps end users reduce downtime due to fewer calibration requirements.

The SMART Position Sensor’s automotive-grade potting makes it more resistant to vibration, shock, and extreme temperatures, improving reliability and allowing for use in a wide variety of tough applications. Repeatable output that occurs within a 3,0 mm ±2,0 mm [0.118 in ±0.079 in] air gap between the sensor and magnet collar expand application opportunities. The sensor also provides minimal signal error with up to 2,50 mm [0.10 in] of radial error, simplifying design-in.

Twenty years years comms!

June conference to mark 20 years since The PROFIBUS Group launched in the UK

The PROFIBUS UK Group was founded at the C&I Show in May 1993 (Remember C&I?). 20 years on, they're still going strong and celebrating with a one-day Conference to be held on 26th June 2013 at The Stratford Manor Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon (GB).

Karsten Schneider
Profibus Internation Chair

The event will concentrate on the real issues of implementation, maintenance and management of PROFIBUS and PROFINET systems and will deliver a mixture of presentations, demonstrations and hands-on practical sessions suitable for a wide variety of experience levels. It will cover latest developments in these technologies for factory and process automation including safety, motion control, wireless implementations and integration with the Internet and MES. The event will be supported by a tabletop exhibition.

"The conference is designed for engineers, managers and indeed anyone concerned with the real issues of implementing fieldbus and/or industrial Ethernet technologies" said organiser and Group Chairman, Bob Squirrell. "We've invited some top speakers and some very able engineers to present the facts and demonstrate the systems, including new PROFIBUS International Chairman Karsten Schnieder who will be presenting the Keynote Address."

There will be plenty of opportunities for networking during the event or at the (optional) Celebratory Dinner the evening before where delegates will have the opportunity to meet some of the the industry's experts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Controller for nuclear power plants

Triple modular redundant Tricon system simplifies licensing process, enables easier nuclear modernisation projects

Version 10 of Invensys's Triconex® Tricon® controller has been approved for use in safety-related nuclear power plant instrument and control applications by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) dated April 12, 2012, the NRC indicates that the latest version of the Tricon controller can now be used in safety-related (1E) applications, like reactor protection systems, in U.S. nuclear power plants and U.S. Department of Energy facilities that require licensing or oversight by the NRC. It is the first controller from a dedicated automation vendor to achieve such certification from the NRC and it remains the only triple-modular-redundant system to be qualified.

“The Triconex Tricon system is extremely important to us as we continue to migrate to digital technology, while providing safe, clean, reliable power to our customers in California,” said Scott Patterson, program manager for I&C obsolescence for Pacific Gas & Electric, which operates the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo, Calif. “Partnering with Invensys, an automation vendor whose core competency is safety systems, gives us an additional layer of protection as we upgrade older safety-related equipment. NRC certification means we can move forward with modernising and optimising our plants to ensure their continuous safe operation. We are confident this technology will enhance future upgrades and new designs, as well as ease the licensing process.”

The Tricon controller’s state-of-the-art fault tolerant, triple-modular-redundant—TMR—architecture removes single points of failure by integrating three isolated, parallel control systems and extensive diagnostics into one system. The system uses two-out-of-three voting to provide high-integrity, error-free, uninterrupted process operation. True TMR is the only such technology certified by the NRC. The Commission’s SER encompasses the Tricon controller’s software and hardware, including termination panels, chassis, power supplies, main processor modules, communication modules, input/output modules and interconnecting cabling.

"In 2002, the NRC certified an earlier version of our Tricon controller, and since that time we have made a number enhancements,” said Clayton Scott, chief nuclear officer, Invensys Operations Management. “We sought this unprecedented second certification so that we can continue to deliver the industry’s most reliable safety controller, helping our customers produce the safest, most reliable energy possible. Enabled by our Triconex technology, our nuclear customers can now apply Tricon controllers in both their existing fleet and new builds. This certification will be of tremendous value to the fleet of U.S. nuclear plants that require modernisation. It also sets a new standard for control and safety excellence for the global nuclear industry.”

“Partnering with Pacific Gas & Electric and the Diablo Canyon team to renew nuclear safety certification for the Tricon controller gives other nuclear plants wanting to modernise their safety systems and meet the latest regulatory guidelines a strong point of reference,” said Harry Forbes, senior analyst with ARC Advisory Group. “The NRC’s approval enables other nuclear power plants to expedite their system modernisation plans with shorter schedules and more predictable project costs. ARC believes the Tricon controller will help nuclear power plants globally migrate to digital control with a simplified licensing process.”

Invensys leads the market when it comes to overall safety shutdown systems. As one of the world’s most rigorously evaluated control systems, more than 10,000 Tricon controllers are in use today in safety and critical control applications worldwide, and they have collectively amassed more than 650 millions of hours of operation without failure upon demand.

Triple output power supply extends to 112 volts

Aim-TTi has extended its QL series of precision power supplies by adding a higher voltage triple output model. The new QL564T has two identical outputs of either 56V/2A or 25V/4A plus an auxiliary output variable between 1V and 6V at 3A.

The QL series are true linear power supplies offering high precision with very low noise. With a total output power in excess of 240 watts, the QL564T includes linked mode operation for series or parallel operation up to 112 volts or 8 amps.

Numeric or spin-wheel entry can be used and the setting resolution is 1mV or 0.1mA. The auxiliary output voltage and current can be monitored at a press of a button and can be set to a resolution of 0.01V.

The QL564T is manually controlled only, while the QL564TP adds full bus control via USB, RS232, GPIB and LXI compliant LAN interfaces.

Strategic investment at calibration management specialists

Partner Endress+Hauser investment to increase growth in Irish company

CompuCal Calibration Solutions have announced a strategic investment by its long-term partner Endress+Hauser. Headquartered in Cork (IRL), CompuCal has doubled its workforce over the past 12 months. The new strategic partnership with Endress+Hauser will accelerate CompuCal’s ambitious growth targets and see CompuCal expanding its technical team by a further 50% over the next two years to 20 people.  The expansion of jobs at CompuCal will be mainly concentrated in the R&D division. With further growth and investment, the potential exists for more jobs to come on stream.

CompuCal is a family owed business and was founded by Eddie Dornan, father of Jackie (left) and Matthew in Belfast in 1964. Originally a welder by trade, Eddie moved his family to Arklow and then Cork, and became a very successful and respected business man. An innovative entrepreneur, Eddie changed his business as his customers' needs changed. He developed one of the most successful electical, mechanical and instrumentation service businesses in Ireland and Britain. Eddie sold the electrical and instrumentation business in 1995; this business still operates very successfully today in Cork.
The remaining elements of the business continue to operate in Cork. Jackie took over the running of the business on Eddie’s retirement in 1997 and has developed the CompuCal Calibration and Compliance product to service the needs of its customers in Ireland, US and Europe.
CompuCal provides world-class calibration solutions to its multi-national regulated customers in the pharmaceutical, medical device and oil & gas sectors. By implementing innovative technological solutions CompuCal delivers savings in operational expenditure leading to improved quality and compliance for its customers.

Jackie Dornan, Managing Director of CompuCal, said, “We are extremely proud of our team in Cork and of our web-based calibration and compliance software platform which gives us competitive advantages in the global marketplace. We are embarking on an exciting new journey with our partner Endress+Hauser, which will strengthen their position in the market and enable them to fully meet the expectations of their customers.

“We are an indigenous Irish company,” continued Jackie, “who are securing continued growth with new global customers and partners as well as new jobs and R&D projects for our Cork office. CompuCal is proof that Ireland is still an ideal location for foreign companies to invest in.”

Endress+Hauser is a global leader in measurement instrumentation, services and solutions for industrial process engineering. With around 9,500 employees, in 2011 the Group generated worldwide net sales of €1.5 billion.

As the market continues its trend to outsource its calibration activities, Endress+Hauser will leverage CompuCal’s solutions which will strengthen its position in the market and enable the company to fully meet the expectations of its customers . 

Dr Raimund Sommer, Managing Director of Endress+Hauser Process Solutions, underlines the relevance of this investment: “CompuCal has been a reliable partner for many years. CompuCal offers a perfect fit to our Plant Asset Management suite of integrated software tools. It will also ensure seamless integration into our Life Cycle Management ‘W@M’ on one hand and allow integration with widely used calibrators to deliver paperless calibrations to our customers”.

• Endress+Hauser strengthens calibration business (This story on the E+H pages)
• Kalibriergeschäft mit CompuCal Calibartion Solutions gestärkt (ElektroTechnik - 23/7/2012)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chilled mirror hygrometer

New fast and easy to use chilled mirror hygrometer for low dew point reference measurements in the lab and industry

Michell’s new S8000 RS has been designed to provide fundamental, dependable measurements in a range of industrial applications where highest precision of the dry gas measurement is critical and the ease of use is essential.  It is the smallest and among the lightest instruments on the market which is capable of measuring dry dew points precisely to -90°C (0.1ppmv) with no need for additional, external cooling equipment. Combined with its 0.1°C accuracy this also makes it the most cost-effective as well as convenient hygrometer in its class.

Chilled mirror hygrometers have excellent accuracy and repeatability because they base their measurements on the actual formation of condensed water or frost on a mirror surface. This is a primary characteristic of moisture so will not drift over time, as can occur with calculated or inferred variables.

The S8000 RS has a sophisticated new optical system that detects very small changes in moisture condensed on the mirror surface. This guarantees high sensitivity and fast response when measuring low-dew points. As with all Michell chilled mirror hygrometers, the S8000 RS is available with UKAS and NIST accreditation.

With a high-contrast LCD touch-screen, the S8000 RS is easy to operate and interrogate. USB or Ethernet connections are supplied as standard to enable remote operation and data logging via a PC or network.

The robust overall design and practical features like alarms make the S8000 RS Reference hygrometer a multi-purpose tool for a wide range of applications in an industrial environment as well as for calibration facilities.

Michell supplies precision hygrometers and is the largest dew point sensors manufacturer in Europe. Their reference chilled mirror hygrometers, such as the S8000 RS, are constantly in use within their own factory for dew-point sensor manufacturing, and their 24/7 calibration facility and service. Michell’s customers benefit from the robustness and 40 years of expertise built into each chilled mirror hygrometer design.

Key applications for the S8000 RS include:
· Reference instrument for calibration laboratory. Compact, light and needing no additional cooling – it is ideal for small in-house calibration laboratories.
· Verifying the purity of industrial gases. Its fast response and high sensitivity enables quick measurements to be taken.

Ensuring the dryness of controlled industrial environments.

• Michell Instruments are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Pressure transmitters for gas, steam or liquids

New hygienic pressure transmitters are specifically designed to meet the needs of the food and beverage and life sciences industries.

Cerabar M PMC51 and PMP51 are new pressure transmitters from Endress + Hauser, suitable for accurate absolute and gauge pressure measurements in gases, steams or liquids, and for level, volume or mass measurements in liquids.

Standard accuracy is 0.15% with 0.075% accuracy available as an option. Long term stability is 0.1% of URL/year and 0.25% of URL/five years. (URL=upper range limit.)

The Cerabar M transmitters are available with ceramic or metal process isolating diaphragm seals which allow the sensors to work in temperatures up to 752 ºF or pressures up to 6,000 psi.

Outputs include 4-20mA, 4-20mA with HART, Profibus PA and Foundation Fieldbus.

A separate housing option allows the electronics housing with its optional LCD display module to be mounted up to 33 ft from the sensor to avoid problems with vibration, lack of space and high temperature, or if extreme cleaning of the measuring point is required.

In the separate housing version, no special end-user wiring is required. The sensor is delivered with the process connection and a socket. The electronics housing with a socket and a mounting bracket are supplied as separate units. The cable is provided with a socket at both ends. These cable sockets are simply plugged into the housing and the sensor.

A Cerabar M transmitter can be programmed to calculate level, volume and mass in any tank shape by means of a programmable characteristic curve that accounts for level, pressure, density of the medium and gravitation constant. The system can compensate for foam formation, agitators, screen fittings and liquid gases.

The intrinsically safe (Ex ia/IS) transmitters can be used in hazardous areas, including FM/CSA Division 1 installations. Options are available that make the transmitters suitable for gaseous oxygen, hydrogen and ultrapure gas environments, as well as paint shops.

Models include:
• PMP51 has a piezoresistive measuring cell and a metal welded process isolating diaphragm to handle pressures to 6,000 psi.
• PMC51 has a capacitive measuring cell and a ceramic process isolating diaphragm, and provides a metal-free PVDF connection

All versions are compliant with ASME-BPE, have 3A and EHEDG approvals, can be used for process pressure monitoring up to SIL2, and are certified to IEC 61508 Edition 2.0 and IEC 61511 by TÜV NORD.

Vision for non-visionaries!

New modular vision user interface for non-vision engineers

Vision systems integrator, Olmec-UK, has developed a new, modular easy-to-use user interface that allows engineers to easily make adjustments to any Olmec production-line vision system without needing to be vision experts. Configured to run in the Windows® 7 environment using a large touchscreen, the new VP3 user interface is a flexible platform that features modules for 1D and 2D code reading, human readable codes, defect inspection, blister pack inspection, part presence, colour verification and high accuracy gauging and measurement.

The VP3 interface features large, simple to use buttons for set-up, system configuration and statistics with a clear ‘pass/fail’ result indicator. Recipe selection can be made through simple drop-down boxes with an auto-complete function for multiple recipes. It provides multi-level security to help support compliance with industry standards such as CFR21 Pt II requirements for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Access to setting of parameters such as thresholds, defect sizes, delay time to reject mechanism etc can be strictly controlled so that the basic user cannot change any significant operating conditions.

Provision is made to store images of both good and failed product, and images from failed components can easily be reviewed while measurement continues in the background. Presentation of statistics such as total number of good or failed products can also be controlled and the system can also be set up for remote diagnostics, if required.

This versatile approach to the user interface makes it suitable for use with all of Olmec’s custom-designed vision solutions. It is capable of operating with a wide range of colour or monochrome cameras operating to give enhanced dynamic range and is not limited by camera frame rate or resolution.

Hectic exhibition season winds down

Eplan's season began at the Drives and Controls Exhibition, held at the Birmingham NEC (GB), where the team gathered a record number of contacts and new interest in their software solutions.

As the first major exhibition of the year, there was no better place than Drives and Controls to unveil a new exhibition stand complete with mini-demo area for attendees to see EPLAN first-hand.

A Rockwell Automation event shortly followed at the end of April, as well as the usual trip to the Hannover Fair, Germany as a part of the larger EPLAN family, then on to All Energy, Aberdeen to make some great contacts in the north and beyond. The season was wrapped up at Appetite for Engineering in June. A number of smaller seminars and events are being scheduled for later in 2012.

Phosphor characterisation

Edinburgh Instruments has helped one of its customers, Leuchtstoffwerk Breitungen GmbH, to better characterise its phosphor products. A software wizard has been developed for the customer to allow spectral data produced by the FLS920-s Fluorescence Spectrometer to be presented in the CIE 1931 colour space, both graphically and in tables.

Leuchtstoffwerk Breitungen is a specialist manufacturer of phosphors, pigments and selected inorganic chemicals. Phosphors and fluorescent materials produced by the company are used in LEDs, backlit LCDs, Laser Phosphor Displays and X-ray intensifying screens. The FLS920-s Fluorescence Spectrometer is used to characterise the spectral properties of the different materials. By transforming the spectral data into the CIE 1931 colour space, the software wizard allows the company greater access to chromaticity information for its materials.

Edinburgh Instruments’ Operations Manager, Roger Fenske, commented: “We are always happy to discuss special applications with our customers and prospective customers. Since our range of spectrometers is used in a myriad of unique projects both in industry and research, we frequently customise hardware, software or both to meet the challenges faced by our customers. By providing instruments that meet the customer’s specific needs, we allow them to concentrate on their own work.”

Roller gap separation

Cost effective means of measuring roller gap separation

The measurement of the position of the roll bearing on the inside rollers is an essential requirement in a number of precision manufacturing processes. It is a measurement task that can be achieved simply and cost-effectively using an RDP E725 digital indicator in combination with an LVDT.

RDP Electronics's amplifier indicator can be set to display the average gap and run out across the width of the roller. A special feature of the E725 allows the transducers to be re-zeroed without actually drawing the rollers together. Typically this is achieved by using a 1mm spacer and programming the E725 when pressing the zero button to read 1mm rather than zero.