Friday, September 7, 2012

Test Solutions for 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth

National Instruments has introduced test solutions for 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth low-energy technology that combine NI graphical system design software and modular, FPGA-based PXI instrumentation to provide high-performance test capabilities that are completely user-programmable. These test solutions along with other cellular, navigation and wireless connectivity solutions from NI, help engineers thoroughly test their devices on a single high-performance platform.

“Using the software-designed vector signal transceiver and the WLAN measurement suite, we improved our test speeds by more than 200 times compared to traditional rack-and-stack instruments while also significantly improving test coverage,” said Doug Johnson, Director of Engineering at Qualcomm Atheros.

Product Features
• Ideal for characterisation and production test with best-in-class RMS EVM of -46 dB for 256 QAM
• Ability to perform measurements and custom algorithms in the onboard FPGA of the NI PXIe-5644R VST for faster measurements and real-time test

Head of Engineering & Development!

Peter Clemens has been named Headwall's Director of Engineering and Development. Peter brings thirty years of engineering and applications expertise in the design and development of optical imaging platforms. His experience working in engineering and operations has resulted in over 50 different imaging products brought from design development into full-scale production.

Before joining Headwall, Pete was Technical Director of Operations at BAE Systems. While at BAE, Pete held many roles within systems engineering, engineering management and operations. Over that time period, the company transitioned several times, from Honeywell electro-optics to Loral infrared imaging systems to Lockheed Martin imaging systems and then finally to BAE Systems.

David Bannon, CEO of Headwall Photonics, said that Pete's track record complements Headwall's spirit of innovation perfectly. "With experience working for four of the world's top scientific engineering companies, Pete brings a broad base of technical expertise and engineering management to Headwall's product development and engineering initiatives."

As a fast growing company, Headwall Photonics has established a leading position as a designer and manufacturer of innovative spectral instruments and advanced optics for industrial customers, research organizations, and military/defense applications.

Tank gauging system has NMi and TUEV approval

Additional approvals certify custody transfer accuracy and overfill prevention of Emerson’s Rosemount® Raptor tank gauging system 

The Dutch Metrological Institute NMi, has approved Emerson Process Management’s Rosemount® Raptor tank gauging system for custody transfer accuracy, and the German DIBt / TÜV Nord has tested and approved the system in accordance with the rules for overfill prevention. These national standards with traceability to international standards are essential for customer confidence in the performance and safety of automation equipment like tank gauging.

The Raptor system is a complete tank gauging offering that includes high precision radar gauges, and temperature and pressure measurement instruments. The NMi certificate is written according to the current International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) requirements which require at least 1 mm accuracy for level. The approval means that the Raptor 5900 radar gauge with 0.5 mm accuracy can be used for automatic custody transfer operations within the Netherlands. 

The German DIBt / TÜV Nord has tested and approved the 5900 radar gauge in accordance with the rules for overfill prevention. DIBt is the institute responsible for certifying overfill protection equipment according to the requirements stated by the German Federal Water Act (WHG) concerning water protection. The Raptor 5900 gauge passed the comprehensive reliability test that consisted of 5,000 overfill situations over the temperature range -40 to +70 °C.

The Raptor 5900 radar level gauge has also been approved by metrological authorities for legal custody transfer in a number of other countries. The system has been certified for overfill prevention according to IEC 61508 international safety standard according to SIL 2 and SIL 3 requirements.

New Ex i isolators for vibration sensors

Safe vibration detection in hazardous areas increases plant availability

The new 9147 series extends R. Stahl's ISpac family of Ex i isolators and added important functions: the transmitter supply units enable the use of vibration sensors in hazardous areas. These sensors for condition monitoring of plants and machines allow users to detect any damages at an early stage. Most vibration sensors are designed with the protection class Intrinsic Safety (Ex i) and require the use of isolators. The new 9147-type supply units support a very wide range of these sensors and transmitters. An easily accessible rotary switch allows for quick and easy configuration.

With a one and a two-channel version, Stahl offers customers versatile options: the two-channel version enables users to save 50% space in the switching cabinet, thereby reducing indirect installation costs. An optimal signal-to-noise-ratio ensures highly precise signal transmission. Like all ISpac isolators, the modules are available as single units on a DIN rail, with a common power supply and collective error message via the cost-saving pac-Bus, or in pac carriers. The pac carriers enable factory pre-wiring of plants, thus facilitating final mounting or retrofitting at a later date, and ensuring error-free installation of the isolators.

The detection of problematic vibrations is virtually indispensable in condition monitoring of process plants with rotating parts. By diagnosing danger long before a failure could happen, it helps prevent costly plant shutdowns. Generally, vibration detection is successful considerably earlier than temperature, speed, or acoustic measuring. Complete condition monitoring for machines of course also includes temperature sensors, discrete signals and 4...20 mA signals. R. Stahl's ISpac range of isolators offers users solutions for all possible signal combinations.

Stahl products are marketed in Ireland through Douglas Controls & Automation.

A LIMS Implementation Methodology that really works!

Autoscribe has developed and enhanced a successful and proven LIMS implementation methodology based on work with hundreds of projects that have met customer expectations and the originally agreed budgets. By treating a LIMS project as a partnership with a customer, and listening closely to what is needed, this methodology ensures that everyone within the Autoscribe and customer project teams have clearly defined roles. 

Using an iterative process in the implementation ensures that the project progresses in the right direction and at the right speed. This approach also provides the opportunity to utilise Autoscribe’s considerable experience to suggest alternative methods for achieving the objectives if necessary, and then defining the milestones to achieve the solution. A detailed description of the implementation process is covered in a downloadable System Implementation Guide.

The implementation procedure naturally includes the delivery of a configuration of Matrix Gemini built to agreed detailed requirements. This includes workflows, screens, menus and much more, which are created using Matrix Gemini’s unique “One-time Configuration” tools without the need for any custom coding. The customer then tests and evaluates the delivered configuration and feeds back information on any changes that are needed. 

The number of iterative cycles depends on the overall size of the project. Provision is made to teach the customer how to build their reference data in the system such as product types, tests, limits etc. Customers can also be trained on the use of the configuration tools and therefore be involved in the initial configuration process or later when business requirements change. No programming skills are required. This well-proven approach not only means that the system will exactly fit the customer processes and needs, but also that user acceptance is very positive and training needs are kept to a minimum.

Autoscribe customers are encouraged to learn how to use the configuration tools if they are interested in doing so and can be involved in anything from 0 to 100% of the configuration. It is important to note that Autoscribe will support all customer-designed configurations with no extra cost for a support agreement. This configurable approach offers the fit of a custom solution without the problems and costs of on-going support, documentation and upgrades associated with custom systems. 

As the implementation moves towards its conclusion, System Administration training is conducted at a suitable time. Once it is agreed that the configuration is complete, the security and user roles can be defined in the system. The customer completes the reference data loading and Autoscribe delivers the final configured user guide, data dictionary and conducts any user training ordered.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Affirmed under monitoring certification scheme (MCERTS)

Following a rigorous testing programme, Hach Lange’s Biotector B7000 Online TOC Analyser has been awarded the 200th product conformity MCERTS certificate by SIRA, the body that manages the MCERTS scheme on behalf of the Environment Agency.

The Biotector B7000 is the latest Hach Lange product to achieve MCERTS in a line that began with the company’s portable and online samplers, which were awarded a certificate at WWEM 2008. This latest certificate confirms that the B7000 complies with stringent MCERTS performance specifications across three ranges (0–20 mg/l, 0-1,000 mg/l and 0-10,000 mg/l) and is considered suitable for use on treated wastewater, untreated wastewater, surface water, estuarine and coastal water applications.

Presenting the certificate on behalf of the Environment Agency, Paul Wiggins said: “The purpose of the MCERTS scheme is to assure the quality of environmental monitoring, by providing instrument users with confidence that certified equipment is capable of producing the quality of data that we require. However, the success of the MCERTS scheme could not have been achieved without the support of manufacturers such as Hach Lange.

“We recognise that certification represents an investment in time and resources which can sometimes be hard to justify when an instrument is already a market leader, but we believe that the attainment of a certificate will provide marketing advantage and demonstrate that a manufacturer is committed to quality. I congratulate Hach Lange on the achievement of this milestone certificate and thank them for their continued commitment to MCERTS.”

In the past, the Environment Agency conducted a large amount of industrial environmental monitoring, but in recent years this responsibility has shifted to the process operators themselves, and the MCERTS scheme is helping to ensure that the quality of monitoring remains high. Nevertheless, Matthew Dillon, UK & Ireland Sales Director at Hach Lange, says “As a manufacturer we invest heavily in the development of instruments and analysers that are robust, reliable, accurate and simple to use. However, it is extremely important that the recommended maintenance and calibration procedures are followed assiduously (and our service team can help with that, if necessary) because failure to do so would threaten the quality of data and would not be acceptable to the Agency.”

To further support the quality of monitoring, Hach Lange regularly runs training workshops and can provide personal competence training for key staff so that users are able to obtain optimal performance from their Hach Lange instruments.

From a strategic perspective Matthew Dillon says “One of our key goals is to ensure that our customers are able to generate the highest quality data and we see the MCERTS scheme as an important contributor to that goal. At Hach Lange we aim to offer the widest range of MCERTS products on the market; we already have a good number of certificates and we currently have a variety of products undergoing MCERTS evaluation. These include the SC1000 Digital Controller with sensors for pH, dissolved oxygen, ammonium and turbidity, and portable devices such as the HQD range of electrochemical instruments for pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen.”

• All the products mentioned above will be on display at WWEM 2012 (Nov'12 Telford GB - stands 94,95 & 96) along with W.T.O.S. - Hach Lange’s highly successful wastewater treatment optimisation solution.

High performance & system flexibility from RSTi Standards-based distributed I/O

The PACSystems® RSTi is a new, innovative standards-based granular machine I/O integrated with the company’s PACSystems controllers on PROFINET that meets the needs of the Industrial Internet. The RSTi from GE Intelligent Platforms, is based on global standards and delivers on the PROFINET promise of a consistent and standard high performance communication link between field I/O and controller. The unit’s integration into the control system also simplifies development and commissioning that results in increased productivity.

The RSTi family of PROFINET-based granular I/O is part of GE Intelligent Platforms’ High Performance Platform that leverages industry standards as well as the company’s experience in embedded technology and automation to deliver long-life higher performance solutions that are easy to configure, manage and upgrade.

“The RSTi, like all of our new control solutions, is based on open standards, leveraging our expertise in automation and ruggedized computing to meet the needs of the Industrial Internet,” said Bill Black, Controllers Product Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “In designing our distributed network architecture GE set a goal of making distributed I/O configuration and operation as simple as traditional rack-based systems. With the introduction of RSTi this capability is extended to an entire new range of applications that benefit from the combination of a wide range of high-density, small form-factor I/O types.”

The RSTi provides simplified installation by placing the granular I/O closer to the field devices using standard Ethernet cabling. The distributed nature of the unit provides the flexibility to expand and reconfigure field devices without impacting control-to- device wiring unlike centralized control systems that require new wiring to be installed back to the central control cabinet, thereby lowering the total cost of ownership by reducing the high cost of field wiring. OEMs can build machines in sections with local I/O drops which can easily be assembled at the customer site, connected to the controller by a high performance network, one standard Ethernet cable versus hundreds of wires. And, the compact size will be attractive to equipment builders and end users alike because it allows the modules to be closer to the control devices and therefore reduces wiring and hardware cost.

“Equipment builders are continuously looking for ways to improve the performance of their equipment while augmenting usability and reducing size and complexity,” continued Black. “These requirements extend to the control system. With PACSystems GE provides high performance control solutions with best-in-class integration of distributed, networked, I/O ideally suited for demanding applications.”

The RSTi extends the capabilities of the PROFINET-enabled solution with the addition of a comprehensive line of granular slice I/O that allows users to simplify panel design and reduce the overall size of the control panel while benefiting from the performance, maintainability and upgradeability of the PACSystems platform. There are more than 80 different module types to choose from for discrete, process, motion and specialty applications. In addition, communications protocols like PROFINET, PROFIBUS DP, DeviceNET, MODBUS/TCP, MODBUS serial, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, CANopen and CC-Link are available. Users can standardize on the RSTi for a wide range of applications which, in turn, reduces spare parts, training and support costs.

Aiming for zero defects

Birmingham (GB) based Barkley Plastics produce 6.5 million injection moulded parts each month, every month, making quality control an essential part of the business process.  With many end user customers now demanding “zero parts per million defects”, just a few out of spec parts in a delivery can incur significant costs.  This is a major problem, especially for export orders, when the parts are needed to keep a production line running.  The only solution is for the end user to manually sort the consignment and bill the cost, which can be more than the value of the order, to the supplier.  Like many injection moulders, Barkley have been using cavity pressure monitoring for several years to try to identify out of spec parts before they get into the delivery system.

For the past 10 years, Barkley had been using a simple 2-channel peak cavity pressure monitoring system that was difficult to set-up and had become problematic.  To protect its reputation and bottom line, two of the old systems have now been replaced with the latest 4-channel CoMo Injection systems from Kistler Instruments.  Interestingly, this new, state-of-the-art system cost about the same as the old system did 10 years ago making the much more sophisticated CoMo Injection system very good value for money.

According to Barkley’s Business Development Manager, Matthew Powell, by monitoring all aspects of the cavity pressure curve during the moulding process, the CoMo system ensures that all out of spec parts are rejected quickly and reliably.  “Because the CoMo system automatically provides perfect rejection of faulty parts,” he says, “it is possible to run the moulding machines in the dark with little or no supervision.” 

In addition to monitoring the process, the CoMo system can be used to balance the hot runners, which Matthew Powell describes as a “massive bonus” that is essential to maintaining consistently high quality parts.  This feature alone makes life much easier for setters and technicians, a benefit that is not always obvious.  The availability of accurate data about the performance of the moulding machines allows communication between departments to be based on hard facts, rather than experience and intuition.  Typically, mould design is part science and part knowledge and the precise data supplied by the CoMo system compliments the high quality tooling manufactured by Barkley Plastics in its in house toolroom and design facility.

Matthew Powell again, “Although the new system is much more sophisticated than our old system, it is actually easier to use.  However, to get the best results in the shortest time demands expert training, which is what Kistler supplied.  We have already minimised the number of rejects and can see the potential to eliminate rejects totally as we become more familiar with the CoMo Injection system”.

The injection moulding industry is very competitive with quality and zero defects often being more important than price, especially when the economy is far from buoyant.  A reputation for delivering a first class product will win new and retain existing customers more effectively than a low price.  With production running at around 80 million parts per annum, minimising rejects can make a major contribution to Barkley Plastics’ reputation and profits, which is why the company is now planning to install more CoMo Injection systems from Kistler.

Smart Wireless technology for well production enhanced

New interface seamlessly integrates wireless networks with RTUs, reducing installation cost and time, increasing reliability and operating efficiency

Emerson’s ControlWave RTU and wireless interface
Emerson Process Management has enhanced the use of Smart Wireless for intelligent well production by unveiling its new IEC62591 compliant WirelessHART® Interface for use with its Remote Terminal Units (RTUs). The new native interface directly integrates Smart Wireless networks with their family of remote terminal units and flow computers including ROC800, FloBoss, and ControlWave® RTU’s. Installation is streamlined and wellhead operation is reliable and more effective with the combined power of RTUs and the benefits of Emerson’s full portfolio of Smart Wireless devices.

"The constant demand for oil and gas has forced the upstream market to apply new unconventional methods of extracting hydrocarbon liquids," commented Craig Llewellyn, President, Emerson Process Management, Remote Automation Solutions. "The seamless integration of Emerson’s RTU platforms with WirelessHART solutions provides our customers with a competitive advantage over conventional approaches."

The new interface speeds seamless integration and installation. With the interface installed, the RTU auto-detects the WirelessHART devices by sensing them as they are on, or added, to the network. There is no site survey required, making it easy and fast to set up the wireless field instrumentation, saving time and money.

The Smart Wireless mesh network enables wireless field devices to automatically find alternative communications paths, avoiding obstacles so users have flexibility during setup. This IEC62591 mesh communications approach yields greater than 99 per-cent communications reliability. The networks implement Encryption, Authentication, Verification, Anti-Jamming and Key Management methods to ensure that data transmissions are secure.

The native interface saves commissioning and start-up time since no external gateways, Modbus or data mapping are required. The interfaces have I/O communication modules for RTUs and a Smart Wireless field link to provide a weather-proof, explosion-proof wireless interface for outdoor mast mounting. This installation allows physical and environmental mounting flexibility so users are not limited to a specific location during device setup.

The installation and reliability advantages of integrated RTU and Smart Wireless networks open the way for users to improve operational performance by delivering more and better quality data to operations personnel.

The ROC800, FloBoss 107, and the ControlWave are industry-leading RTUs and flow computer products for the oil and gas upstream and midstream markets. Learn more about these and other Remote Automation Solutions from Emerson Process Management at and by contacting your local sales office.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Boost for hands-on education!

National Instruments has introduced NI miniSystems. These miniaturised versions of real-world systems, such as roll-chassis dynamometers and electrical smart grids, are developed in collaboration with leading educational suppliers to bring instant relevance to math and science theory as students begin to pursue engineering degrees.

Lab platforms have historically been too inaccessible for widespread use in a typical classroom and are often disconnected from the professional tools that are actually used in research and industry. Using the integrated hardware and software approach of graphical system design, NI miniSystems eliminate the cost, time and space barriers that limit educators’ abilities to overcome theory-only education by engaging students through hands-on experimentation. NI miniSystems give first-year university or college students a tangible connection between their studies and their future jobs.

“We’ve seen how the graphical system design approach helps scientists and engineers be more innovative by giving them a unified language and set of tools,” said Dave Wilson, Director of Academic Programs at National Instruments. “We’re extending this approach into our education platform so that all students, regardless of who they are or where they come from, can access the innovations of great scientists, engineers and educators from around the globe.”

Free instruments!

Fluke UK is offering a free Pressure Module or a free Fluke 700G Pressure Gauge to purchasers of a Fluke 753 or 754 Documenting Process Calibrator (offer ends 31 Dec 2012). The 753 and 754 feature an easy-to-follow, menu-driven display that guides users through tasks; the 754 is designed for easy field calibration of HART instruments. More information can be found by visiting this page: a linking page enables purchasers to choose and claim a free tool.

The Fluke 750 Series Documenting Process Calibrators offer programmable calibration routines enabling technicians to create and run automated as-found/as-left procedures to ensure fast, consistent calibrations. The recorded results can be easily downloaded to a PC via the USB port, eliminating the need for manual transcription. The Fluke 754 offers fast HART communication and requires no external box or secondary tool to perform everyday HART calibration and maintenance. The rugged Fluke 700Pxx Pressure Modules include differential, gauge, absolute, vacuum and dual pressure versions. The 700G Pressure Gauges offer a choice from nine easy-to-use models that deliver highly accurate measurements in the harshest industrial environments.

Fluke 750 Series
The Fluke 753 and 754 Documenting Process Calibrators calibrate temperature, pressure, voltage, current, resistance, and frequency and have three operating modes - measure, source, or simultaneous measure/source - enabling technicians to troubleshoot, calibrate or maintain instrumentation with just one tool. A rechargeable Li-ion battery pack provides power for a shift and can be charged from within the calibrator. A unique soft case features a clear window to shield the calibrator from the elements while still allowing the operator full access to the calibrator’s controls and keyboard. The case design includes an input-output slot for test leads, open side pockets to connect a pressure module, and ample storage for a pressure module, hand pumps, test leads and interconnect cables. The 754 is easy to update as additional instruments are added and new HART versions are released, and is backed by the service and support of Fluke, a member of the HART Communications Foundation.

The Fluke 750 Series works with Fluke DPC/TRACK™ 2 software for managing calibration records and data. It features an instrumentation database that makes it easy to manage instrumentation, create and schedule tests, load and unload the calibrator, print a variety of standard reports, and manage calibration data. The Fluke 750 Series also works with calibration management solutions from Honeywell Meridium, Emerson, Cornerstone, Yokogawa, Prime Technologies, Intergraph, and others.

Wireless for environmental

Multi Sense capability added to the Rack Sentry Family of data centre monitors

Wireless Sensors has expanded their SensiNet Rack Sentry family of environmental monitors with the introduction of the Multi Sense wireless temperature sensor. The all new Multi Sense is designed specifically to help data center operators increase efficiency while maintaining adequate cooling for the increasingly dense power loadings from today's servers and network equipment. The new design was driven by the requirements of ASHRAE's TC9.9 (2011 Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments) which establish "IT equipment air inlets as the common measurement point for temperature and humidity compliance". The Rack Sentry Multi Sense allows placement of sensors where they are needed with the flexibility of wireless operation allowing reconfiguration as needs change.

The requirement for measurements at three points on the rack (low, middle and high) is easily accommodated within the tightest budgets with the Multi Sense's unique "daisy chained" sensor design leveraging a common wireless transmitter with three, field configurable digital sensors connected to the wireless node by industry standard Cat 5 connecting cable of any length. Simply place the sensors where required, snap the CAT 5 cable in place and the SensiNet system takes care of the rest.

"We really pay attention to feedback from our customers" says Wireless Sensors CEO Paul Richards "and this feedback has been directly incorporated into this newest design. Our customers challenged us to design a system that provided granularity, reliability, low installed cost and the flexibility to meet their needs today and in the future. The Multi Sense addition to our industry leading SensiNet Rack Sentry product really brings this requirement to life. This is truly a plug and play system and even allows a customer to reconfigure in the field to support adds, moves and changes. Sensors can be added, deleted or moved in the field by simply plugging them in with Cat 5 patch cables".

The SensiNet Rack Sentry family also includes other measurements such as humidity, insertion temperature probes for duct and chilled water temperatures, contact closures and analog signals. The systems operates as a standalone system or delivers data through a rich suite of communication protocols including Modbus TCP, OPC, ODBC, SNMP and others.

Enhanced operator interface panels

Red Lion Expands Industrial Automation Portfolio with G3 Kadet Series Additions

Red Lion Controls has expanded its portfolio of industrial automation solutions with two new additions to its G3 Kadet series of operator interface panels. With high‐resolution, wide‐format screens, the new G304K2 and G307K2 panels provide complete Human Machine Interface (HMI) functionality for PLCs, motor drives and other communications‐capable devices to drive productivity in industrial environments through improved visibility, management and control. Offering the same powerful multi‐protocol conversion facilities as the previous generation, the following new G3 Kadet models provide enhanced functionality for both machine builders and end users:

  • 4” G304K2 includes an Ethernet port (10 base‐T/100 base‐TX) and supports up to four Ethernet protocols from a list of over 70 supported protocols. Two serial protocols – chosen from a list of over 150 – may also be assigned to the unit’s RS232 and RS485 ports, allowing it to communicate with an unlimited number of disparate devices simultaneously.
  • 7” G307K2 offers a WVGA wide screen with a resolution of 800x480 for organisations who require a larger display. The high‐definition display supports 32K colors to provide superior clarity for detailed user interfaces. The panel supports up to four Ethernet and three serial protocols simultaneously.
Both models excel at protocol conversion, which allows integrators and system designers to seamlessly integrate disparate equipment. The ability to easily integrate devices from different manufacturers enables machine builders to select the most cost‐effective PLCs, drives and motion controllers while end users leverage best‐in‐class components for the task at hand. End users are also able to use the Ethernet port to upgrade existing serial‐based control systems, which avoids the risk and downtime associated with traditional PLC upgrades.

“Our new high‐resolution 4” and 7” operator interface panels offer more capabilities at half the cost of many competing full‐feature display panels,” said Jeff Thornton, director of product management at Red Lion Controls. “With the addition of these new models, Red Lion offers customers a comprehensive range of HMIs for numerous industrial applications.”

Red Lion’s Crimson 3.0 software, which includes access to over 220 communications protocols, comes standard with either model for easy deployment and programming. This allows customers to costeffectively standardise on one HMI for all of their machines, regardless of the PLC or drive manufacturer used.

• Red Lion products are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

World’s first in-line 2D optical micrometer

New 2D multi measurement system takes IN LINE, measurements with micron precision

The new Keyence TM-3000 2D Optical Micrometer introduces significant technological advancements to 100% automated high-speed, in-line or off-line measurement and inspection applications. The TM-3000 is designed to combine the functionality of a laser scan micrometer, machine vision system and optical comparator into a single device. It is available in three sensor head sizes along with the ability to utilise 2 transmitter-receiver pairs simultaneously to provide unparalleled flexibility. This newly developed high speed 2D optical micrometer includes a high-speed computing CPU and two dedicated image processing DSPs. Using a total of four processors for parallel processing, TM-3000 Series allows for fast processing of 1800 (images)/minute.

New Technology - 2D micron measurement precision
The 2D Optical Micrometer employs a dual telecentric lens to create uniform collimated light with a green LED. A two dimensional CMOS array then detects the light to dark transitions on the 2D array to measure the dimensions. Certificates of traceability along with calibration certificates are available upon request. High speed and high precision are a result of sub-pixel processing only in the areas or points designated for measurement. TM-3000 Series offer a ±0.15 μm repeatability.

Multi-Point measurement with no target positioning required
Because the system works in two dimensions it can measure up to 16 points within the measurement area. A combination of 15 measurement modes and 8 auxiliary modes can support measurements including, but not limited to, hole diameter, center pitch, intersection point, radius, width, angle, perpendicular distance and area. The position correction function automatically orients the test part prior to measurement, thus increasing accuracy. No longer are expensive positioning mechanisms needed to ensure the best precision. All programming and monitoring can be performed with or without a PC.

New economic linear axis for fast positioning of light loads

Festo, has launched a new cost-effective electric toothed belt axis with high feed forces and flexible motor attachments. The ELGA linear drive integrates a plain-bearing guided belt drive which is ideal for positioning lighter loads quickly and is easy to handle and fit, enabling machine builders to save installation time and associated costs.

Delivered ready-to-install, it is suitable for handling, feeding and conveying applications in the electronics, food and packaging industries, where end users require fast positioning with excellent feed force performance.

The belt drive is reliable and is protected by a magnetically attached stainless steel cover to guard against the ingress of dust. The plain-bearing guide is manufactured from a polymer which gives exceptional sliding performance. It runs dry, with no need for any lubrication, and as a result, it has minimal maintenance and can be used in environments where grease could cause a problem. Due to the magnets on the cover the drive is also ideal when mounted upside down.

ELGA linear drive is based on the proven technology of Festo’s EGC linear axes and is robust with excellent rigidity. The pinions are made from stainless steel to minimise wear from the belt, which gives the ELGA a long service life of up to 5,000 km. It is available in three profile widths – 70, 80 and 120 mm – and provides high force feeds of up to 1300N at high speeds of up to 5 m/s and accelerations of up to 50 m/s2. The axis can be specified in working lengths of up to 8.5m.

It has a flexible motor connection whereby the motor can be mounted on any of the four corners. As such, the position does not have to be specified when ordering, making it easy to handle and install. Users simply fit the drive and it is ready to go.

“ELGA is a new generation of electrical linear axes that have been developed to meet growing customer market demands for higher feed force, accuracy and speed,” says Nigel Dawson, product manager at Festo. “Customers expect axes and multi-axis systems that have been matched to their individual requirements, and this is achieved with the ELGA. It has exceptional flexibility, making it ideal for applications with low guidance needs or for use with an external guide, for example, for simple transport or positioning tasks.”

The ELGA linear drives are simple to size and order using Festo’s free Positioning Drives software. The software can be downloaded from Festo’s website and users enter their requirements, such as load and stroke length etc, to efficiently size electric drives, motors and gear units easily. Axes are custom built and delivered ready to install in 7-10 working days.

New concept to manufacturing service!

The problem of lack of technical skills or understanding is one familiar to many processes today.

A ‘concept to manufacturing’ service has been launched by Marl Manufacturing, for businesses who need to introduce a technology based product but have no technical skills or resources in-house. The product realisation service is a complete technical product creation and realisation package, and goes well beyond the scope of traditional sub-contract manufacturing or electronic manufacturing services (EMS), covering initial electronic design, layout, prototyping and full production.

According to Adrian Rawlinson, Managing Director of Marl International, “A great many businesses are finding that their competitive position can be greatly improved by adding an electronic control element or a display user interface to their products, but as their business is non-technical they lack the expertise to turn their idea into a design let alone create a prototype or put it into production. The new Marl Manufacturing service is for them. We can literally take a drawing on the back of an envelope, and work in partnership with business management through the steps of turning that idea into a workable design, building a prototype and taking it into production. The concept to manufacturing service is aimed at businesses in non-technical sectors such as hobbies and leisure activity, medicine, safety and security.”

The key strength of Marl Manufacturing is that the entire product realisation process from concept to design to prototype to volume manufacturing is conducted under one roof at its base in Ulverston, England. This creates a strong connection between the different stages of the product realisation process, and provides a unique flexibility to adapt and change if the customer’s needs evolve and develop during the course of a project.

Rawlinson explained, “We can offer fast turn-around and competitive pricing on small volumes, but with our sourcing and logistics expertise we can match offshore manufactured price levels on much higher volumes as well. We provide a very competitive and highly professional assembly and manufacturing service based in the UK to our wide base of customers. Our heritage is in lighting products, but a project doesn’t have to have an LED in it for us to be able to manufacture it competitively.”

Marl offers cable assembly, wiring looms and box build services as well as sub-assembly or complete system build including electronic PCB assembly. Design and manufacturing of bespoke housings to suit the application environment is a particular strength of Marl. Marl International has recently invested £120,000 (ca€154) in tools for prototype and small batch production allowing it to offer a particularly strong service in this area.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Environment management standard

Analytical Technology has been awarded the ISO 14001 environment management standard, recognising the company’s commitment to minimising its impact on the environment. As the supplier of water and gas monitoring instrumentation to the majority of Britains largest utility companies and leading food and beverage, metal finishing and pharmaceutical manufacturing companies across Europe, Analytical Technology is leading by example in matters relating to environmental protection. 

The ISO 14001 standard assists companies who want to minimise how their processes and operations negatively affect the environment and also provides guidance on how to comply with applicable laws and regulations. In order to obtain this certification, Analytical Technology is monitoring its consumption of fuel, gas, electricity and water in an attempt to reduce waste and energy usage and improve its overall environmental performance.

Analytical Technology manufactures both water and gas monitoring instrumentation to help companies demonstrate compliance with the strict regulations outlined by the Environment Agency (EA) and EU Directives. Industrial companies in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and metal finishing sectors employ Analytical Technology’s instrumentation to monitor trade effluents to ensure that only safe levels of chemicals are released into the environment. The company’s wide range of water monitors includes dissolved hydrogen sulphide, pH, ammonia, dissolved oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, residual sulphite and several chlorine monitors.

Mike Strahand, General Manager Europe at Analytical Technology, commented: “We are committed to protecting the environment in whatever way possible and everyone in our team has an enhanced awareness of our company environmental policy. As we help companies on a daily basis to minimise their impact on the environment through the use of our water and gas monitors, we are delighted to have received recognition for our continual commitment to operating in an environmentally conscious manner.”

Underground SCADA

The world’s longest tunnel uses the Siemens Scada System

With a length of 56.8 kilometers, the world’s longest tunnel is in the process of being constructed in Switzerland between Erstfeld and Bodio: The Gotthard Base Tunnel is due to open to rail traffic in 2017. The control technology used in the tunnel is based on the Scada(Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system Simatic WinCC Open Architecture(WinCC OA) from the Siemens Industry Automation Division.

Tunnel Route (Pic: WIKI)
The control technology will be responsible for remotely controlling and monitoring the relevant data points used by the tunnel’s electromechanical systems. Tunnel Control Centres located at the northern and southern entrances to the tunnel will display, monitor and operate the entire infrastructure of the tunnel. The individual subsystems making up the infrastructure comprise the power supply, the contact line, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting as well as the operation and monitoring of doors and gates. Overriding management of all these systems is performed by the WinCC OA-based control system. The processor operating screens can be accessed and controlled in the tunnel control center. The system uses the continuous flow of incoming information to compile an overview diagram which, as well as system statuses, also displays the locations of trains currently in the tunnel and other additional information. This overview is visualised on a large display screen but can also be accessed at individual workstations.

The control technology will be continuously adjusted and upgraded in line with the progress of the construction work throughout the entire construction project. As systems from different manufacturers are used throughout the tunnel, an integration concept was developed for the electromechanical systems and tunnel control technology. This includes for instance a standardized data point scheme encompassing all systems and OPC UA (Unified Architecture), which serves as a standardized interface between the tunnel control technology and electromechanical systems.

An essential component of the system is its high failure safety. This is achieved using a feature known as the Disaster Recovery System, entailing one redundant WinCC OA hot-standby system per tunnel control center. In the event of a failure in the south tunnel control center, for instance, the north tunnel control cen- ter automatically assumes emergency operation.

The Siemens subsidiary ETM is contributing not only its technology but also an extensive fund of experience from similar enterprises to this large-scale project. The ETM professional control GmbH based in Eisenstadt (A), has been developing and marketing the Scada system Simatic WinCC Open Architecture for more than 25 years. The company has been a fully-owned subsidiary of Siemens AG since March 2007. As part of the Simatic HMI family from Siemens, the Scada system is used to monitor and control applications with a high requirement for customer-specific adaptations, large and/or complex applications and projects that call for specific system requirements and functions.

The new Gotthard tunnel, also known as the Base Tunnel or Second Tube, will be the world’s longest tunnel with 57 kilometers. The construction project also encompasses two additional tunnels: To the north the 20 kilometers long “Zimmerberg Base Tunnel” and the 15 kilometers “Ceneri Base Tunnel” to the south. The new Gotthard tunnel will significantly flatten the route from Germany through Switzerland to Italy, as well as shortening it by around 40 kilometers. The project will also allow high-speed trains to make use of the tunnel.

Prelaunch launch of DP system

The FMD72 electronic DP sensor eliminates the need for impulse lines and capillary tubes—along with their related issues such as leaks, condensation, icing and plugging.

The Deltabar FMD72 Electronic Differential Pressure measurement system has been announced by Endress + Hauser. (Well actually, it is to be launched according to their website, on the 7th September 2012.)  The FMD72 uses two pressure sensor modules connected electronically to a single transmitter—thus eliminating the need for impulse lines or capillaries and their related issues of icing up, clogging, leaky taps, dry/wet leg inconsistencies, and problems with temperature changes.

Ambient temperature changes cause measurement drift in traditional capillary systems, but up to 95% of this drift can be eliminated with the FMD72. In addition to eliminating operational and maintenance problems, the FMD72 responds up to ten times faster than traditional impulse and capillary systems, is easier and less expensive to install, and does not require heat tracing.

One sensor module measures the hydrostatic (high pressure), the second sensor measures the head pressure (low pressure), and the transmitter calculates the differential pressure. These measured values can be used to calculate the level, volume or mass of liquids in pressurized tanks.

The sensors connect to the transmitter module via industry standard, color-coded twisted pair cable and have NEMA 4X/6P (IP66/IP68) watertight housings and connections. The transmitter can be located away from the sensors in areas safe and convenient for personnel. The system meets ATEX, IEC Ex, CSA and FM specifications for use in hazardous areas including Zones 0, 1 and 2; and Division 1 and 2.

The transmitter outputs differential pressure, head pressure and temperature via  4-20mA with HART. The sensors have 0.075% accuracy over a measuring range of -15 to 150 psi and work in process temperatures from -40 to 257ºF. Accuracy of the entire system—two sensors and the transmitter—is 0.1%.

The system has built-in diagnostics for continuous health indication via HART. Operators can access HART data via Endress+Hauser’s FieldCare software or Field Xpert PDA.