Friday, October 5, 2012

Collaboration interfacing fire and gas safety asset systems

Integrated solution provides single maintenance view for safety and process assets, streamlining maintenance work practices and ensuring the availability of safety assets

Det-Tronics EQP safety system
Emerson Process Management has announced support for the Detector Electronics (Det-Tronics) Eagle Quantum Premier safety system within AMS Suite. The integration with Det-Tronics provides AMS Suite users with the ability to monitor both basic process control devices and safety assets such as flame and gas detectors from a single view, streamlining maintenance work practices and ensuring the availability of these critical instruments.

This solution broadens the scope of assets that can be integrated into AMS Suite beyond traditional instrumentation and valves. Utilising the connection between AMS Suite and Det-Tronics S3 software, users are able to view diagnostic information from flame and gas detectors, indicating when maintenance activities such as device calibration or optics cleaning should be performed. Upon clearing these conditions, the S3 software will provide the updated information to AMS Device Manager to update the device history.

"Our users need accurate and timely information on all of their assets. Ensuring safety assets are in good working order when they are needed is critical to protecting the lives and well-being of those in and around customer facilities," said Ron Martin, vice president/general manager of Emerson’s Asset Optimization and Lifecycle Care. "We are committed to expanding the ways we help users make information-based decisions, a commitment we continue to build on."

In an earlier related expansion, Emerson acquired Net Safety Monitoring, a global leader in providing fixed-point safety monitoring solutions, delivering a full range of toxic and combustible gas detectors, flame detectors, ultrasonic gas leak detection, and other specialised safety and security products for hazardous environments. The integration of Det-Tronics software and AMS Suite, and acquisition of Net Safety Monitoring, Inc. provide comprehensive process controls and safety monitoring for the toughest industrial environments.

Unique Sensor for SmartGas Metering

The MEMS-based gas-flow sensor first to embed automatic ‘gas-quality’ compensation

OMRON Corporation and STMicroelectronics have completed the development of a MEMS-basedgas flow sensor with industry-unique built-in correction for differences in gas composition. OMRON will start sample shipments of the new sensor in November 2012.

As with electricity-consumption measuring, gas metering is moving from conventional mechanical solutions to smart electronic meters withautomatic meter-reading functions. There are over 400 million mechanical gas meters in the world and most major gas providers are readying to replace their traditional meters with more accurate and reliable electronic devices.

In addition to higher precision and reliability, the OMRON/ST sensor solution enables the development of smart gas meters that are much smaller, less expensive, and more power-efficient than the conventional equipment, resulting in substantial cost savings for the utility companies and end users alike.Industry analysts expect the global smart gas meter market to exceed 10 million units a year by 2015.1

The new gas-flow sensor combines Omron’s state-of-the-art MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System) thermal flow transducerwith ST’s high-performance analog front-end IC, delivering high-precision gas flow-rate measurement with excellent reproducibility. Gas meters built around the OMRON/ST solution do not need to be configured for a certain type of gas at the time of shipment or installation, as they are intrinsically compensated for both temperature and pressure variations and a built-in circuit compensates for the variation of multiple gas composition. The sensor is dust-resistant to comply with international gas-meter standards.

“The successful collaboration with OMRON in gas metering expands ST’s foothold in the increasingly important field of ‘intelligent measurement’ and sets us to replicate the great success we have achieved in smart electricity metering,” said Marco Cassis, Executive Vice President and President, Japan and Korea Region, STMicroelectronics.

"We are very much excited to introduce a new powerful one-stop solution that enables a simple and very accurate Smart Gas Meter System for global marketsthroughthe successful collaboration with STMicroelectronics.By enabling IT-based smart metering, this new technology will significantly contribute to energy saving," said Yoshio Sekiguchi, Senior General Manager of the Micro Devices Division of OMRON Corporation.

Finalists selected!

National Instruments UK & Ireland Reveals the 10 Finalists in the 2012 Graphical System Design Achievement Awards 

National Instruments UK & Ireland has announced the shortlist for the 2012 Graphical System Design Achievement Awards.  The annual Graphical System Design Achievement Awards aim to recognise and celebrate engineers, scientists and researchers who are using NI technology to find solutions for some of the world’s toughest engineering challenges. 

A panel of experts judged all submissions and chose to recognise the following innovative applications within the field of measurement and control: 


Advanced Control 

• Using LabVIEW and NI DAQ Hardware to Prototype Tidal Stream Turbines for Power Generation  by Pascal Galloway, Sustainable Energy Research Group, University of Southampton
A Green Energy Solution for use in Remote Locations and Developing Nations  by Dr. Mike Rendall, Diverse Energy Ltd

Life Sciences
• Using LabVIEW and PXI to Gain a Better Understanding of Injuries Sustained in Battlefield Explosions
by Nicolas Newell, Imperial College London
• Improving Ultrasonic Tumour Therapy With Passive Acoustic Detection
by Christian Coviello, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University of Oxford

Test/Manufacturing Test
• LabVIEW Balances the nEXT Generation of Turbo Molecular Pumps
by Gerard Johns, Edwards
• Creating an Endurance Testing Solution for Motor and Gearbox Lifetime Qualification Using CompactRIO
by Richard Thomas, Product Technology Partners Ltd

Winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony at Savoy Place, the London home of  The Institution of Engineering and Technology on Monday 19th November, in the presence of Dr. James Truchard, President, CEO and Co-founder of National Instruments.

Finalists and winners will also be congratulated at NIDays Conference and Exhibition, held at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London, the following day, 20th November.  Added to this, a number of finalists will present their innovative solutions and remarkable achievements in NIDays sessions.

Vision technology in food slicing!

Stemmer Imaging wins Partnership Award 2012 From PPMA

Stemmer Imaging has won the prestigious Partnership Award 2012 from the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) for the provision of vision technology for use in food slicing machines manufactured by Marel. Marel is a leading global provider of advanced equipment, systems and services to the fish, meat and poultry industries.

Stemmer Imaging has been a provider of vision technology for the Marel range of slicing products developed in Norwich (GB) for around 14 years. Vision specialists from Stemmer Imaging have worked closely with experts from Marel to develop a system that would enable a wider range of larger products to be processed with greater accuracy. Key facets of the projects have been the selection of the most appropriate cameras and the development of a suitable image processing methodology using Stemmer Imaging’s versatile Common Vision Blox machine vision toolkit.

Mark Williamson, Director of Corporate Development at Stemmer Imaging, said: “Receiving this accolade rewards the really close levels of co-operation we have had with Marel who are one of our strategic OEM partners. We have worked to help them develop a flexible, patented solution that has been adopted on a range of commercially available high speed, high volume, continuous feed slicer products. The system measures the area, lean/fat ratio and the lean/fat structure and takes into account their different densities before adjusting the thickness of the next slice and providing grading information to labelling technology down the line. By delivering the vision subsystem pre-configured and tested, we are also removing Marel’s need for post design engineering inherent when using fast changing PC based technology.”

Peter Jongen, R&D Engineering Manager at Marel, said: “Our partnership with Stemmer Imaging in vision technology has strengthened our competitiveness and enabled us to bring a new grading technology to our customers”.

The Judging Panel commented: “STEMMER was the clear favourite for this award for its outstanding partnership with Marel in a highly competitive sector of the industry. We particularly commend STEMMER for refusing to rest on its laurels and for continuing to develop new technologies.”

Stemmer Imaging also achieved ‘highly commended’ status in the Customer Service Award category – another of the PPMA Group Industry Awards.

New fittings website!

Brennan Industries has launched a new website at with its online parts catalog, configurator and a free CAD download solution.

The user-friendly website allows designers to conduct a search of available parts, view the parts in 3-D, and then download the CAD model that can be included directly in customers’ design or specification documents. More than 8,000 individual hydraulic fittings and adapters are available in 3-D CAD models. Designers can select two types of CAD models (with or without threads) that supply lightweight or heavyweight models, depending on the users’ needs.

“Product selection and buying has changed, and now customers commonly research and select products online,” said David M. Carr, president, Brennan Industries. “Our website now incorporates a searchable product catalog, including product comparison and customer attribute selection from a table, so it’s easy to find and select the right product. Downloadable CAD models are available to save customers time as they specify products into their designs.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Analytical integration simplified

ABB simplifies Analytical Integration through new OPC-ADI based interface

An extension to its System 800xA integrated control system based on the new OPC-ADI specification will simplify communication with process analysers and multivariate data modeling programs according to ABB.

System 800xA now features Analyser Device Integration Connect (ADIc), a device interface that allows System 800xA to integrate with analysers and chemometric predictors.

ABB developed ADIc based on the OPC Analyser Device Integration (OPC ADI) specification, an information model that defines a common method for data exchange for process and laboratory analyzers. It is an extension of the OPC United Architecture (OPC UA) specification.

System 800xA has a 10-year history of integrating industrial devices into a unified process control environment. Now, with ADIc, System 800xA is enhanced with advanced predictive analysis capabilities by leveraging the Unscrambler® X ADI Insight Server from CAMO Software. The Unscrambler® X ADI Insight Server applies powerful multivariate models to data collected from analytical instruments and/or standard process values within the System 800xA environment. It is the first multivariate data analysis (chemometric) software to follow the OPC ADI specification.

“System 800xA is all about integration. ADIc is another step towards incorporating islands of intelligence, such as analysers, into a single automation environment,” said Tobias Becker, head of ABB’s Control Technologies business. “ABB takes this further by adhering to the OPC ADI specification to demonstrate that System 800xA’s analytical device integration is fast yet secure, reliable and standards-based.”

“With this leading-edge process tool, customers can harness data from analyser devices to improve overall process efficiency and product quality,” he continued.

Complex industries that are heavy users of analysers, as well as industries that implement Process Analytical Technology (PAT) and Quality by Design (QbD) initiatives stand to reap benefits from this System 800xA extension.

ADIc also supports the integration of analysers to manufacturing systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES), including production management systems such as ABB’s cpmPlus.

Gold standard calibration

Emerson Process Management has received certification of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 from the Laboratory Accreditation Bureau (L-A-B) for its Daniel™ Measurement and Control calibration laboratory located in Houston (TX USA).

Gold standard for calibration
This internationally recognised accreditation by L-A-B certifies Emerson’s Houston production facility for calibration on Daniel liquid ultrasonic flow meters and liquid turbine flow meters. Certified meter proving is critical, since metering performance directly affects process manufacturers’ profits in processing and custody transfer metering and acceptance.

The ISO/IEC certification complements Emerson’s established worldwide network of facilities, which are triple certified by ISO standards, including Stirling, UK; Sorocaba, Brazil; and Singapore. The facilities are internationally certified by ISO standards for quality, occupational health and safety, and environmental management systems.

L-A-B is recognised by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC), and the National Cooperation of Laboratory Accreditation (NACLA).

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 is considered the gold standard for calibration activities in accordance with international standards. The accreditation focuses not only on the laboratory's calibration uncertainties, but also on its management system, processes and procedures.

"This recognised accreditation extends and strengthens Emerson's commitment to providing the world’s best flow measurement technology and meter prover systems," said Drew Weaver, director of global flow labs and fluid mechanics at Emerson Process Management, Daniel. "Most importantly, it helps streamline the customer experience by assuring product performance and integrity."

Ultrasonic meters are frequently used for critical hydrocarbon applications and the turbine meters are used as master meters to calibrate other hydrocarbon meters in the field. The prover is the reference standard against which the meter is calibrated under actual operating conditions. Direct proving allows the meter to be calibrated for any flow changes that affect meter performance and linearity while verifying repeatability, thus satisfying liquid hydrocarbon custody transfer contractual requirements including API or international standards.

Infrared cameras for food!

Stemmer has boosted its range of infrared (SWIR & NIR) sensitive cameras with the addition of new models from Xenics, Allied Vision Technologies, IDS GmbH, JAI and Teledyne DALSA. These cameras provide a wide choice of resolution, sensitivity, waveband and other functionality, but it is their enhanced performance in imaging light from the NIR region of the spectrum (700 to 1050 nm) and for the Xenics product SWIR (1um to 3nm), that allows them to reveal information in food inspection that simply cannot be obtained using conventional imaging.

Infrared imaging is particularly important in the inspection of foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and meat, because NIR & SWIR radiation allows features below the surface of the object to be viewed, whereas standard cameras can only show surface information. This allows checks to be made for early signs of decay, mechanical bruising and pest damage below the surface. This subsurface imaging capability also offers the added benefit of being able to check the contents under printed packages, giving allowing a further quality check even after a product has been packaged.

The new additions to the infrared camera range include both area scan and linescan models together with a choice of vision data transfer interfaces and a rich array of features. This allows easy interfacing into existing processing lines and ensures that the most appropriate camera to be chosen for the particular application.

Stemmer Imaging provides world-​class expertise and support in imaging technology, not just in applications that benefit from the use of Infrared imaging but across all machine vision applications. As an independent supplier, it is well positioned to offer advice on the optimum components for a particular project. In addition, feasibility studies and practical tests can be performed in-house to confirm results and remove uncertainty.

New personal ozone monitors

Amidst growing concern with the consequences of ground level ozone on health, and the continued failure of Britain to meet European air quality directives, Air Monitors, has launched a new portable UV-based ozone monitor which significantly enhances the ability to measure the air that people breathe.

The handheld Personal Ozone Monitor (POM) allows accurate and precise (2ppb) measurement of ambient ozone in air across a wide concentration range (2 ppb to 10 ppm). The instrument has an inbuilt display, so users can view real-time data. Small, lightweight (0.34kg) and with a low power requirement, it is suitable for diverse applications such as Health and Safety monitoring at industrial sites, personal exposure monitoring, vertical profiling with balloons etc. and urban arrays of ground-based detectors.

Other functions include on-board GPS, providing location data with each ozone measurement, and a memory capacity of 341 days (when taking hourly measurements) – all data can be transferred to a PC at a later time. This makes the POM suitable for long-term monitoring at remote locations where power is limited.

Air Monitors is the sole distributor in the UK, and Managing Director Jim Mills says “Most people are aware of the fact that stratospheric ozone is beneficial to humans because it protects us from harmful UV radiation. However, the dangerous effects of ozone at ground level are less well known; it causes eye, nose and throat irritation, chest discomfort, coughs and headaches, particularly in people who exercise or suffer from bronchitis, respiratory allergies or asthma. Ozone also damages crops and materials such as rubber, paint and textiles.

“The major advantage of the POM is that it provides a means with which ozone can be monitored in the air that people breathe.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Meat analyser wins approval down under!

NDC InfraLab e-Series has received Aus-Meat® AMISLC Committee approval following independent testing by SGS to AOAC Methods for meat fat analysis

B-R controls P/L, NDC’s exclusive distributor in Australia for its range of On-Line and At-Line NIR Gauges and Analyzers, recently commissioned SGS Food & Agriculture Laboratory in Queensland, who are a NATA accredited testing laboratory (ISO 17025), to carry out independent testing of NDC’s InfraLab NIR Benchtop Meat Analyser with the aim of receiving Aus-Meat approval.

The resulting report was then submitted for assessment and on the 21st August, Aus-Meat granted its approval of the InfraLab for the measurement of of fat in meat up to CL 50 (chemical lean, equivalent to 50% fat content).

B-R Controls were supported by NDC’s Applications Technical Support group, and SGS performed the tests on 3 separate InfraLab fat analysers provided by NDC.

The reference method used for the fat analysis was:
• AOAC Official Method 991.36 Fat (Crude) in Meat and Meat Products Solvent Extraction (Submersion) Method, AOAC International, 2006

Multiple replicates of meat samples over a wide range of fat values from 5% to 50% were analysed using the AOAC method and the results compared to the reading obtained when analysing the same samples using each of the three NDC InfraLab units.

Extracts from SGS’s report Conclusion confirm:
“The calculated standard deviation of the three instruments compares more than favourably with the results that could be expected using the reference method.”

“The statistical analysis of the data obtained during the testing showed that all three instruments tested produced results on a single sample that had a very low relative standard deviation. Additionally, it was not possible to conclude statistically that any one instrument provided a different result from any other.”

This product is marketed in Ireland by Irish Power & Process.

Pressure/DP for oil/gas industry

The new EJA series of pressure/differential-pressure transmitters has been launched by Yokogawa. Incorporating their unique DPharp digital resonant sensing technology, this latest product range includes a version that is particularly suited to the oil and gas industry. The low copper housing DPharp EJA transmitter features multi-sensing capability, fast response time and its new compact design makes it significantly lighter than the stainless steel versions currently on the market, ideal for use on offshore platforms.

Typically used to measure liquid, gas, and steam flow rates as well as liquid levels in tanks, pressure transmitters are vital in maintaining safety on an oil platform, as they are essential to trigger safety shutdowns when hazardous conditions are detected. This new range from Yokogawa is the latest generation of digital pressure transmitters, adding new levels of functionality, performance and safety compared to the original EJA series, of which five million units have been shipped to customers around the world.

The new EJA series offers users within the oil and industry many new features and benefits. Firstly, the response time, the time from the detection of a pressure change to the change in the output of an electric signal, has been brought down to 90 ms, which equals the capability of Yokogawa’s premium EJX series. This faster response time will now allow the new EJA transmitters to be used in high-speed applications such as turbine surge control.

Secondly, the multi-sensing capability means that a new EJA differential pressure transmitter will be able to simultaneously measure both differential and static pressure. This means that a single new EJA differential pressure transmitter will be able to measure both the liquid level and the pressure in a tank, a function that traditionally could only be carried out using two pressure transmitters. Not only does mean it can fit in installations where space is limited, but also is a more cost-effective solution.

Thirdly, the flexible, rugged housing means that the transmitters can be mounted either vertically or horizontally and new, larger indicators on the display make it easier for oil land gas engineers to read the process variables and alarms and the intuitive display also aids in faster commissioning and maintenance.

All transmitter versions in the new EJA range comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) IEC61508 standard on the functional safety of electrical/electronic devices and are suitable for use in safety integrity level (SIL) 2 applications in single mode and SIL 3 applications in dual mode. Independent certificates and reports, from both TUV and, come as standard to support this statement: a feature that is unique to Yokogawa’s DPharp sensing technology.

See also Pressure/DP Transmitters based digital resonant sensing! (28 Sept 2012)

Most innovative machine vision project!

An award for the Most Innovative Machine Vision Project 2012 has been won by Olmec. The award, which is part of the Processing & Packaging Machinery Association Group Awards recognised Olmec’s development of a vision system for the final inspection of ear drop dispensers prior to packaging at Thornton & Ross.

Thornton & Ross Ltd is the largest independent OTC (Over the counter - drugs) manufacturer in Britain and develops, manufactures and supplies a growing portfolio of healthcare products. In 2011, the company commissioned a new packaging line for a range of ear drop products. At a late stage in development the original inspection system built into the line system was found to not be capable of inspecting the droppers to ensure that they were intact before packaging. Olmec was asked to provide a means of solving the application without impacting the existing footprint or layout of the process.

Olmec’s Technical Director, Robert Pounder said: “We are thrilled that our expertise in our field has been recognised through this award. As vision systems integrators, many customers come to us with difficult engineering challenges. However, this project was particularly satisfying as we were constrained by the position in the process that the images could be acquired and we had to link our twin linescan camera solution into an existing reject mechanism. The project involved a combination of skills including vision technology, mechanical engineering, software and control system interfacing.”

Andrew Felstead, Project Engineering Manager at Thornton & Ross Ltd, said: “Thornton & Ross made a significant investment in step change technology which relies upon guaranteed product quality. The importance of vision in this process was recognised at an early stage, but when the OEM vision system failed to meet our original scope, we were faced with a potential disaster. The complete system was so far advanced we had to retain its overall design and that placed severe demands on Olmec. It required a highly innovative approach to devise a vision system that could make all of the required measurements at the required speed within the physical restrictions of the existing system.”

The Judging Panel commented: “Olmec’s solution stood out as a prime example of a vision system designed for a specific purpose, successfully achieving its goals. The system was all the more impressive as Olmec were appointed late in the process.”

More powerful TEM!

Hitachi's advanced HT7700 120kV TEM becomes more powerful!

The introduction of the new objective lens option and a new STEM (Scanning transmission electron microscope) version makes Hitachi’s HT7700 the most powerful 120 kV TEM currently available, as well as the most intuitive. Now the ground-breaking HT7700 is just as well suited to the low accelerating voltage, high resolution examination of engineered light element materials as the advanced biomedical and biological samples for which it is already known.

The new high resolution pole piece option for the HT7700 utilises Hitachi's unique double-gap objective lens technology, together with minimised spherical aberration to provide enhanced resolution – the best in class for a 120 kV instrument. This makes it especially suited to high resolution imaging of light element materials where lower voltages provide improved contrast and reduced damage. Exceptional imaging is possible even at voltages as low as 40 kV.

The HT7700 continues to offer fully digital imaging, with a wide range of fully integrated and semi integrated CCD camera systems to ensure that the best camera is available for the application. A high sensitivity real-time digital CCD camera enables all microscope operations to be performed through the graphical user interface - including setup, alignment, image adjustment and image acquisition.

An optional high performance Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM) system further enhances the analytical capabilities of the HT7700. This integrates seamlessly with HT7700 operation and provides powerful brightfield and darkfield imaging. The high magnification and large Field-Of-View STEM is ideal for high-resolution lattice imaging, bulk crystal structure, and nanoparticle analysis. With an intuitive STEM GUI and automation capabilities, spatially resolved EDX, analytical imaging and thick section analysis are all made routine. All STEM images are instantly archived in Hitachi’s EMIP database software.

High efficiency LED driver range

Marl International has extended its range of LED drivers with a wide range of new dimmable and non-dimmable LED power supplies offering up to 90% efficiency, in support of the new high efficiency Citizen LED lighting products. Marl is British distributor for both Citizen and driver manufacturer Magtech.

According to Marl Managing Director, Adrian Rawlinson, “Citizen’s new state-of-the-art LEDs deliver up to 17,675 lumens at over 155 lumens/Watt. This class leading efficiency can be entirely lost if a poorly designed driver is employed. Marl partners with Magtech, who fully understand the specific characteristics of high power LEDs and offers power solutions that match the performance of these outstanding products.”

Marl Magtech LED drivers are designed for general lighting applications such as channel letters, architectural, decorative, accent, landscape, transportation, safety and many other lighting applications where LED is being used.

The new additions include the ESL1048 and ESL1025 series of 48 and 25 Watt 1-10V dimming driver power supplies. These linear shape drivers can operate from 100-277VAC and employ terminal blocks for easy installation. They are perfect for fluorescent replacement, flat panel edge-lit and linear accent lighting applications. LP1040 AC-Dimm® series of 40 Watt, AC Line ELV dimming driver power supplies are IP66 sealed and operate from a 90-277V AC supply. This series is equally suitable for indoor and outdoor locations including wet or damp conditions. For lower power applications, the highly compact ESL1012 12 Watt, AC Line ELV and Triac dimming driver has been added. Available either 110VAC or 220VAC input, the ESL1012 is just 6.6cm in diameter by 2.7cm high. These drivers comply with UL8750, Class 2 safety Standards.

Also new is the LF2200-xx, which provides two independent outputs in the range of 100-Watts each, with an efficiency of up to 90%. The forward voltage is ranged from 50 to 286Vdc, making it ideal for applications that employ large quantities of LEDs in series. The driver features an IP67 sealed waterproof enclosure, making it equally suitable for dry, damp and wet locations.

Marl supports the full Magtech driver range from 3W to 240W with single or multiple output channels. Magtech’s state-of-the-art electrical design ensures that this series complies with UL Class 2 criteria and its unique compact packaging complies with NEMA4 and IPx6 standard, UL category 1310, UL879 and NEC standards. All models are designed to meet energy conservation requirements. Marl can also source customised Magtech LED drivers to support bespoke requirements.

The announcement follows the introduction by Marl of Citizen LEDs in a range of five types with light outputs from 100 lumens to 17,675 lumens. The key feature of the range is its exceptional luminous efficiency. They are 40% more efficient than the manufacturer’s existing products and achieve 155 lm/W. Marl has also introduced Citizen’s new low wattage, high efficiency LEDs rated at 0.06W, 0.1W and 0.2W. Ideal for use in arrays where low heat output and exceptional uniformity of brightness are required, these LEDs deliver up to 139 lm/W.

Power transformer design site demonstrates benefits of software automation

Provides detailed introduction to virtual design using finite element analysis

A new website to help engineers accelerate and improve the design of electrical power transformers and AC line reactors has been launched by Cobham Technical Services.
Optimise the performance of electrical power transformers & AC line reactors.

Designed to be a useful resource for engineers seeking to optimise the performance of power transformers or reactors the new website provides clear insight into the benefits of automating the design process using finite element modelling, simulation and analysis by means of an on-demand detailed technical audio visual presentation.

'Introduction to Transformer Design' demonstrates the virtual design process. It explores the Opera design software to illustrate how finite element analysis (FEA) techniques enable conceptual designs of power transformers and reactors to be created, analysed and optimised easily. By allowing users to prove designs before building physical prototypes, this approach reduces production costs and shortens time-to-market significantly - and provides a simple means of fine-tuning design ideas to meet specific goals such as higher efficiency or reduction of materials.

Opera electromagnetic design
software enables users
to model any type of
transformer geometry.
Subjects covered include the definition of model geometry, finite element shapes, mesh density and material type, as well as transformer or reactor configuration, containment and winding layout. Open-circuit, short-circuit, inrush current and mutual inductance tests are described in detail, together with results analysis options. The presentation also highlights how it's possible to extensively automate the design-analyse-optimise process.

The presentation includes benchmark results on an internationally agreed family of problems defined to test the accuracy of simulation software in modelling transformers. Structural and thermal analysis capabilities are also covered briefly, showing how the electromagnetic FEA tool can encompass every aspect of transformer design and qualification. For engineers wishing to gain a more in-depth appreciation of multiphysics simulation, the website provides a link to a further detailed presentation.

The website also provides a dynamic overview of the low-frequency electromagnetic design automation software package Opera, as well as a wealth of information about finite element application areas and capabilities. Cobham is also further populating the site with technical papers and application notes on transformer design and optimisation.

Industrial big data problems solved!

Proficy® Historian 5.0 and Proficy Historian Analysis from GE Intelligent Platforms, is a combined solution that enables improved operational productivity by providing a reliable, secure, high speed, scalable platform for aggregating Industrial Big Data. The solution allows companies to contextualize, analyze and visualize huge amounts of data and act on it quickly to improve their operations.
Robust Operations Data Management is a capability and a requirement that impacts all industries where often IT and technology systems that have evolved over time cannot support strategic growth initiatives. The new Proficy Historian 5.0, combined with Proficy Historian Analysis, provides enhanced features that facilitate a conversation between IT and Senior Management because the data provides an Enterprise Operations Intelligence Platform that accelerates complete context in the decision making process.
In addition, Historian 5.0 allows for multiple data stores so companies can separate regulatory data from process data for easy reporting for differing requirements. Data stores are a powerful new concept in Time Series data management allowing for the partitioning and fit-for-purpose optimization of Proficy Historian. Never before have companies had so much control over how their archiver performs, how data gets managed, and how system resources are allocated to reduce overall cost of ownership, improve performance, and enable compliance.
Industrial Big Data is a reality in business today,” said Brian Courtney, General Manager Industrial Data Intelligence Software for GE Intelligent Platforms. “The massive growth in data generated by operations means that more and more data must be retained for analysis and compliance. There is a clear need for improved governance and security as well as the need to contain lifecycle costs of data management.”
Proficy software platform provides a highly scalable data management platform that empowers enterprises to deliver on business objectives today and into the future. Its proven lower total cost of ownership and quicker time to value allow companies to quickly make sense of data. The solution features built-in data collection, high data compression, and control and business system independence which translate to reduced customization.
“GE is uniquely positioned to provide a solution of this scale,” said Jim Walsh, Software Vice President for GE Intelligent Platforms. “We are using our Historian as a foundation for our own solutions in huge business situations that monitor thousands of assets around the world in critical infrastructure facilities. We are committed to invest and innovate in software as a core competency of the company as we scale our solutions to meet the needs of our customers.”
At GE Energy’s Monitoring & Diagnostics Centers, Proficy Historian has reduced the data footprint of monitoring more than 1500 turbines in 60 countries from 50 terabytes to 10. Year-over-year fleet analysis requiring access to massive time series data sets, which previously took days to complete, can now be completed in minutes. In addition, the company has saved millions of dollars by doing predictive analysis on the turbines facilitating planned downtime for repairs and maintenance. And, they have increased their customer satisfaction twofold.

Adding the new Proficy Historian Analysis to the platform provides web-based visualization of trend data, reporting, search capability and collaboration enabled by the Industrial Internet. This analysis tool gives process engineers a good view into Historian data for actionable information. They can use the tool to drag and drop Historian tags into trend analysis to create reports on the fly facilitated by Internet access, which also allows troubleshooting from any location. Users can also easily pull data and graphics into a Microsoft® Word-like environment to create professional reports.
Proficy Historian 5.0 features more than 15 million tags on a single server with upwards of 3,000 client/collector connections and is able to archive 256GB with microsecond sampling. Its advanced data management capabilities feature tiered data management strategies using server-to-server capability that are designed to help companies comply with the Food & Drug Administration’s 21CFR Part 11 and other regulatory requirements. And, as part of GE’s Proficy Software platform, it provides best-in-class HMI presentation and Workflow capabilities as well as industry-leading analytics.
“Ultimately, more data means better analytics,” concluded Courtney. “Proficy Historian is an Industrial Big Data management platform that scales both horizontally for any data volume and variety, and vertically for any velocity. This type of advanced Historian technology can help turn data and information into an asset and a competitive differentiator.”

Turning up the heat!

Newest Addition to PAX2 Series improves flexibility and ease of use for process & temperature control markets

Red Lion Controls has expanded its portfolio of industrial automation solutions with the new PAX2C PID controller, which is designed specifically for the process and temperature control markets. Applications include food & beverage, plastics, packaging, energy, gas, heat treating and glass processing.

The PAX2C is the latest addition to Red Lion’s PAX2 series, adding a number of flexible, easy-to-use features to help customers improve productivity and drive efficiency on the production line.

The PAX2C’s features include:
• Field installable plug-in option cards – simplifies configuration by enabling customers to seamlessly use different cards to build their own controllers. This type of flexibility, which is unique in the controller market, eliminates the need to order additional products to meet changing application requirements.
• Dual-line tri-color display – provides at-a-glance visual representation of up to 16 changing alarm conditions with 7 programmable color zones; customizable to allow users full access to bar graphs, annunciators, color zones and display mnemonics.
• Universal input – accepts current, voltage, resistance, temperature and process signals all in the same unit.
• Universal power supply – accepts AC or DC power, and is ready to plug in “out of the box” for fast, easy installation regardless of power polarity.
• Easy programming, firmware and software upgrades – using a standard built-in USB connector and Red Lion’s Crimson software to support both current needs and future requirements.

“The real game-changer with our PAX2C is the flexible plug-in option cards – customers can build their own controllers by simply changing cards,” said Jeff Thornton, director of product management at Red Lion Controls. “This reduces inventory and lowers costs because they only need to stock a single controller and a handful of option cards.”

The PAX2C is available now through authorized Red Lion resellers and distributors. In Ireland they are represented by Instrument Technology.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Android user interface for power analysis

Outram Research's Bluetooth®-enabled power quality range now interacts with Android devices enabling flexible remote control using the latest tablets and mobile phones. Power engineers can now control the entire range of Outram’s power quality analysers with one application running on either an Android or Windows device.

Power quality analysers are often deployed in electrical cabinets or other difficult to reach locations, making it difficult for engineers to read a display on the instrument. Using a remote solution rather than a fragile integrated display eliminates problems of analyser location, permits a more robust product and allows for a more comprehensive, graphically superior user interface.

In addition to viewing information such as phasor diagrams to validate correct set up and operation, engineers can remotely access real time power quality data from the analyser. This wireless communication, via PMScreen, allows engineers to program the analyser on site, take snapshots of live data for reporting and check adherence to the EN50160 standard. Engineers can also view current, voltage, power, power factor and flicker, access harmonic data, and in the PM7000 this capability extends to over 500 general parameters. Detailed information is presented on events such as sags (dips), surges and interruptions in power as well as, in the PM7000, ranked waveforms, transients, interharmonics, ITIC Curves and 3D bar graphs.

“We wanted to offer our customers the opportunity to take advantage of the latest technology. Tablets and mobile devices are now prevalent in the workplace and are becoming an integral part of modern business and engineering workflow. Users can remotely control their power quality equipment without disturbing or needing access to the installation, eliminating the need to take time unlocking and locking cabinets or climbing back up the pole. It could mean not entering the building at all so avoiding drawn out entry or safety procedures,” said John Outram, Managing Director of Outram Research.

“Outram has harnessed the impressive processing power of today’s portable devices enhancing the user experience with the introduction of a bigger screen, better graphics and the opportunity to email snapshots of live data.”

Outram Research customers can select from a range of tablets and mobile devices to interact with their Bluetooth-enabled equipment. A Samsung Galaxy tablet is currently provided as standard on the market-leading PM7000, the industry’s Cat IV 600V Phase A-powered power quality analyser, and is available as an option on all other Outram analysers, including the 3-phase PM3000, single-phase PM1000 and the split-phase PM2000 that is designed specifically to troubleshoot residential power quality problems in the USA.

New Managing Director

COPA-DATA has appointed Martyn Williams as UK Managing Director with immediate effect. Martyn will head up the British operation as it continues to grow into new markets.

A qualified Electronic Engineer, Martyn has over ten years experience in sales, marketing and business management in the Automation industry and joins from Zenith Technologies where he was Business Development Manager. Prior to that Martyn was Sales Manager at COPA-DATA.

COPA-DATA CEO Thomas Punzenberger commented, “I’m very pleased to welcome Martyn back to COPA-DATA. The UK is a very important market for us and the experience he brings to the company will help us to grow our business significantly and help reach our goals for the future.”

Talking about his new role, Martyn said, "I am really excited to be part of the COPA-DATA team again. For 25 years, COPA-DATA has been at the forefront of engineering excellence in process solutions for the automation industry. I am really looking forward to working with our strong team in the UK and globally to take this brand to new heights.”

New members

The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) has announced the following control system integration firms have joined as associate members:

• Axcend Automation and Software Solutions Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
• Control Systems Integration, Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa
• Oros Electro Control, Salamanca, Guanajuato, Mexico
• Sterling Automation, Inc., Maple Grove, Minn., U.S.

New participating members are:
• Arun Electric, Bell Buckle, Tenn. U.S.
• Moriah Engineering Solutions, Inc., Isabela, Puerto Rico, U.S.

Virtual revamp!

Monitran’s new website gives engineers easy access to product information and support services

Designed with ease-of-navigation for sensor identification and selection in mind, the new site details Monitran’s extensive range of products and the company’s value-added services. The site includes; product selection guidelines, installation and maintenance tips, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and pages devoted to specific industries, including wind energy, mining and paper.

Andy Anthony, Monitran’s Managing Director, comments: “We’ve structured the new website as an engineering resource, respecting that engineers will mostly benefit from easy and multiple ways of finding the most suitable sensors for their applications.”

Even from the Home page visitors to the site can fast-track to vibration sensors with AC outputs (for analysis), vibration sensors with DC outputs (for monitoring), eddy current probes (for proximity measurement) or LVDTs (for displacement measurement). Alternatively, the Products page lists all sensors and accessories which can then be filtered by one of 42 attributes, for example ‘High Temperature Industrial’, plus the entire site can be searched for key words.

Anthony concludes. “When designing a website it’s very easy to concentrate on the aesthetics and gimmicks, at the expense of giving the content and the site’s functionality sufficient attention. With the new Monitran website our starting point was to ask ourselves how, as an OEM, can we help our valued customers make informed decisions on which sensors to use for any given application? We also wanted to draw attention to the fact that, unlike most other OEMs, we have an experienced engineering team able to undertake complete turnkey projects.”

Multiplexer gains SIL3 rating!

The MTL4850 Hart Multiplexer gains SIL3 rating for functional-safety related loops

The SIL3 rated MTL4850 Hart Multiplexer is now available. MTL is known worldwide as an intrinsic safety interface specialist, and now takes the lead in functional safety components by introducing the SIL3 rated MTL4850 Hart Multiplexer for connection to instrument loops performing safety functions up to and including Safety Integrity Level SIL3.

This multiplexer is designed to ensure that there is no effect on the analogue loops to which it is connected; multiple concurrent faults in the components that couple the MTL4850 to the analogue loops would have to be present before the isolation would be compromised. The MTL4850 HART multiplexer does not itself implement a safety function but may be applied alongside measurement and control equipment that is providing a safety function.

Unique design features make it suitable for use in applications where the 4/20mA instrument loops, to which it is connected, are implementing safety functions up to SIL3 and the techniques used mean that systematic faults can be prevented.

The multiplexer provides a common bridge to access HART information for the signal channels that are connected to it, This is particularly important when the multiplexer is associated with signal loops that are feeding a safety shutdown system.

MTL continues to increase its functional safety product portfolio which demonstrates its commitment to comply with IEC61508:2010. Moreover, this certification as a Functional Safety Management Company demonstrates that MTL has processes and competence to design and market products according to the international standard. Thus the customer may have the confidence to use MTL’s products in Safety Instrumented Systems.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Optical absorption sensor

Sensor employs optical absorption for interface detection, measuring suspended solids and turbidity, and detecting phase separations and product loss.

The OUSAF11 sensor for measuring optical absorbance by a process fluid has been introduced by Endress+Hauser. Using visible and near-infrared wavelengths of light, the OUSAF11 is ideal for product loss detection, interface detection, and suspended solids and turbidity measurements.

The sensor emits light in both the visible and near-infrared regions, and absorption by the process fluid is determined using an optical sensor mounted in the sensor head. The sensor is available in an immersion model for use in open tanks and basins, or in an insertion model with Tri-Clamp or Varivent connections that meet 3A Sanitary Standards.

The body of the rugged OUSAF11 is constructed of 316L stainless steel. The measuring head contains the light source and optical sensor, and it’s constructed of FEP fluorocarbon film. The fouling-resistant sensor head contains no glass. The FEP fluorocarbon film is non-reactive, highly transparent, resistant to sunlight, and has a high temperature rating. Additionally, FEP is accepted by 3A for sanitary applications.

The sensor can be operated continuously up to 194 ºF (90 ºC), and up to 266 ºF for up to two hours, allowing it to be used in hot CIP processes.

It is easy to install and commission. The sensor can be installed in a pipe, with the appropriate fitting, or suspended in an open channel or basin. The integrated cable is easily wired to the transmitter. The menu-guided interface on the CVM40 allows the sensor to be set up quickly. Interface to the transmitter can also be accomplished using a keyboard and the USB port on the transmitter.

The OUSAF11 sensor operates with the Endress+Hauser Memograph CVM40 graphic transmitter and recorder to form a complete measurement system.

The CVM40 has a full-color graphic display, built-in web server, and Profibus, Modbus, Ethernet TCP/IP and RS232C/RS485 communications. It has four optical channels for input from sensors, and two universal analog inputs that accept voltage, current, RTDs, thermocouples and other standard inputs. Outputs include up to six relays, a 4-20 mA output and digital pulse outputs. The instrument can support a range of sensors in addition to the OUSAF11 with its six digital input channels.

The CVM40 can be field or panel mounted. The CVM40 can also be programmed with math functions and linearization capability to output in a preferred unit of measure.

Applications for the OUSAF11/CVM40 measurement system include food & beverage, mining, and similar processes. For example:

• Dairies can closely monitor process and effluent streams for product loss.
• CIP systems can be monitored to ensure milk/water interfaces are detected more precisely, resulting in water usage and treatment cost savings.
• Breweries can monitor interfaces, such as beer and yeast solids.
• Mining operations can perform suspended solids measurement in liquid streams using the visible wavelength capability.

When ordered, the sensor and transmitter are tested and calibrated together as a system, ensuring optimum performance.

Automation Awards in Ireland

This year the Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation (ISA Ireland) has decided to introduce two new awards to their Honours & Awards programme for 2012.

ISA Ireland Award Medallion
The purpose of these new awards is to provide recognition for projects and individuals who through the use or championing of innovative technology have advanced the cause of the Automation Industry in Ireland.

The Innovative Project Award: - To recognise a project which has made a significant contributing to the advancement of Industry in Ireland through the use of Automation Technology

The Automation Champion Award: - To be awarded to a person in recognition of their contribution to the advancement of instrumentation, automation, IT or industrial systems and / or technology in Ireland.

The achievements here need not necessarily be in large capital projects. They may be sites of early adopters or developers of new corporate systems, projects undertaking development of customised Automation/IT solutions or projects delivering cost savings due to greater integration and utilisation of existing systems .

The already existing awards of the Section include Craftsman Award, Degree, an Honors Degree Award named in honour of Gerard Dullea, a past President, Post Graduate and Technology Achievement Awards as well as their Pioneer Award.

These awards are open to all industries in Ireland. ISA Ireland are asking individuals to look at projects or individuals in their companies to see are there worthy nominee’s. The nomination forms are available at the website under Honour & Award section.

The closing date for applications is Friday 2nd November

Gland plates

Split gland plates for the base of Rittal’s CS New Basic enclosures now have the same dimensions as the gland plates for Rittal’s TS 8.

Differences from the TS 8 lie in the enhanced surface protection and in the outdoor gland plates powder coated in RAL 7035.

All the "base configuration" accessories for the TS 8 such as cable entry, cable management, EMC etc., can now also be used without restriction in the CS New Basic single-walled aluminium outdoor enclosure.

Providing higher flexibility in the base for cable entry and access for cable management, the change is a good reason to use the glands, available ex-stock, for standard size enclosures.

A World's first!

World’s First IR temperature sensor with built in touch screen display and data logging

The new PyroMini infrared pyrometer from Calex Electronics is packed full of exciting new features.
Its miniature sensing head measures just 18 mm x 45 mm, making it ideal for mounting in tight spaces. A high ambient version is capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 180°C without water or air-cooling, allowing significant energy and cost savings to be made. Manufactured from stainless steel 316 and sealed to IP65, the PyroMini sensing head is ideal for food and pharmaceutical applications among many others. A wide selection of optics allows the PyroMini to focus on small or large targets at short or long distances.

The special low-noise interconnecting cable is resistant to interference from movement, making the sensing head ideal for mounting on robot arms. It can be supplied in lengths from 1 m to 30 m.

The electronics module is also available with a number of different options:
The backlit touch screen interface provides a large, bright display of the measured temperature indigital format and a graph view that shows the history of the measured temperature. It also enables full configuration of the sensor including temperature range setting between -20°C and 1000°C, adjustable filtering, peak or valley hold processing, emissivity setting and reflected energy compensation. In alarm conditions, the whole display changes colour to provide an immediate and obvious alarm indication. Alarm modes and levels can be configured via the touch screen.

When fitted with a MicroSD card, the PyroMini also functions as a data logger, providing a useful means of recording process temperatures for quality assurance and traceability. The user can select the sample rate and the number of samples to be taken and schedule the data logging to start at a certain time. With a 2 GB card, the user can store 28.4 million time and date stamped readings, which provides almost 1 year's worth of data at the fastest possible sample rate of 1 per second.

Output options include 4 to 20 mA, RS485 Modbus and alarm relays, which are rated 24 V DC so there is no need for a separate trip amplifier.

Other options include mounting brackets, an air purge collar, protective lens cover and lasersighting tool.