Friday, December 14, 2012

Engine tester system manufacturer reorganises

Following an internal reorganisation, The Froude Hofmann Group, a global manufacturer and supplier of engine testing systems has appointed four new Divisional Directors. The new structure sees two senior executives join the company and two internal promotions complete the team.

Paul Nash
Simon Roberts

From within the Group, Simon Drain becomes Division Director for Spares and Service, while Richard Barlow is promoted to Division Director for Engine Systems. New to Froude Hofmann are Paul Nash, who joins as Division Director for the Gas Turbine and Electric & Hybrid Motor Department and Simon Roberts who heads up the Chassis and Powertrain team.

All four Directors have a strong technical and commercial background and as motivators and team players are looking forward to the challenges of developing their new Divisions to further enhance the Froude Hofmann brand.

“This new divisional structure has been put in place to help us concentrate on our strengths within the business and to make the most of the wealth of opportunities that have been coming our way in the past year.” said John Harris, Chairman of the Froude Hofmann Group. “These new appointments demonstrate our commitment to ensuring our customers get the best possible products and service from the Froude Hofmann team.”

New Global power management company!

"Eaton Corporation completes acquisition of Cooper Industries forming premier Global power management company!"

Eaton Corporation plc  and electrical equipment supplier Cooper Industries have announced that Eaton has completed its acquisition of Cooper. The acquisition was announced on May 21, 2012 and combines Eaton and Cooper into a new, premier global power management company named Eaton Corporation.

“The $13 billion acquisition of Cooper, the largest in Eaton’s 101-year history, is a transformational milestone that expands our market segment reach, broadens our portfolio of products, services, and solutions, and strengthens our global geographic footprint,” said Alexander M. Cutler, Eaton chairman and chief executive officer.

“Cooper adds proven capabilities in utility power distribution, smart grid, lighting, lighting controls, wiring devices, and safety solutions to Eaton’s strengths in power quality, power distribution and energy services,” Cutler said. “These complementary technologies further accelerate Eaton’s growth as a global integrated power management company focused on one of the most challenging megatrends of our time: the rising costs and increasing environmental impact of the world’s growing energy use.”

Combining the results of Eaton and Cooper for the four quarters ending September 30, 2012, Eaton Corporation plc had pro forma revenues of $21.8 billion and EBITDA of $3.3 billion. Cooper shareholders will receive the consideration to which they are entitled under the scheme of arrangement within 14 days.

Trading of Eaton and Cooper will continue on the New York Stock Exchange until the end of trading today and the ordinary shares of Eaton Corporation plc will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ETN on Monday, December 3, 2012.

“We will soon be announcing the organizational structure for the combined operations,” Cutler said. “That leadership, working with a joint integration team of leaders from Eaton and Cooper, will be responsible for achieving the operational synergies we have identified. We anticipate the entire integration process will take 24 to 36 months, depending on business conditions.”

Data for your project!

Gnaros Inc has announced the launch of Databook Engine.

DataBook Engine is a cloud-based document solution which automates the last step of the project document cycle. It creates the final record books in the various formats demanded by engineering companies. Users can create a databook by simply uploading documents to DataBook Engine, providing some key information from their project document register, and pressing Submit. A single PDF of the required databook will be generated complete with bookmarks, hyperlinks, a table of contents, and an appropriate layout for any unique customer.

“A databook is often the last requirement of a document submission package for an engineering company and can be extremely time consuming to create,” said Gnaros president Brad Bowyer. “We wanted to develop an easy-to-use tool for creating databooks for process control equipment suppliers (and fabricators) that removes the tedious work from this critical step in project document control.”

Coriolis technology reduces maintenance & ensures custody-transfer accuracy

Adria-Wien Pipeline GmbH (AWP) has upgraded custody-transfer measurement on the Adria-Wien pipeline in Austria by replacing existing turbine flowmeters with Micro Motion® ELITE® High Capacity Coriolis flowmeters from Emerson.

Micro Motion flowmeters used to
upgrade measurement systems

or Austrian crude-oil pipeline
AWP is focusing on using the latest technologies in its plants and automation. "Concerns over reliability and maintenance of the turbine meters prompted our upgrade to the latest measurement technology," said Ing. Walter Fellner, Adria-Wien Pipeline GmbH. "We chose Emerson’s Micro Motion ELITE high capacity flowmeters because they are maintenance-free and exceeded our accuracy needs for custody transfer."

The Adria–Wien pipeline carries crude oil from the Transalpine pipeline at the Italian-Austrian border to the Schwechat refinery near Vienna, Austria.

Emerson supplied two Micro Motion ELITE High Capacity flowmeters with MVD™ (multivariable digital) transmitters. The flowmeters were added to the refinery in-feed lines in a parallel arrangement that allowed them to be installed individually without interrupting the flow of crude oil.

Emerson’s Rosemount® 3144P temperature transmitters were also installed to provide accurate line flow temperature measurements, as required by the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) regulations. The temperature data is used to compensate for the effects of temperature on volume flow in custody transfer applications. Data from the Coriolis flowmeters and temperature transmitters is communicated to the existing host system using an RS485 Modbus connection.

To help AWP ensure the accuracy of its custody transfer measurements, the ELITE High Capacity Coriolis flowmeters also feature Emerson’s Smart Meter Verification – an easy-to-use, automatic diagnostic tool that quickly verifies the complete meter performance (sensor, drive and signal processing), without interrupting the flow measurement or process flow. This allows meter performance to be tracked without removing it from the pipeline.

The ELITE High Capacity range includes ten sensor models covering DN150-DN400 (6-16 inch) line sizes. They have flow rates up to 3,265,870 kg/hour, (3,266 tonnes/hour) and density accuracies of ±0.0005 grams per cubic centimetre.

Spoiling your winter performance?

One of the problems encountered with outdoor enclosures is the onset of cold weather and consequently the possibility of condensation within the structure. In order to eliminate this unwanted natural event, Rittal’s standard range of heaters for their outdoor cabinet can keep the chill off delicate electronics housed within.

Coupled with effective designs incorporating a double wall design, Rittal’s heaters can ensure the installed equipment works faultlessly throughout periods of miserable weather. With 10 W and 800 W outputs the heaters may be positioned anywhere inside the enclosures to prevent temperatures dropping below operational levels.

Wireless advances in Asia

Another successful season of Asia Pacific ISA100 Wireless technology seminars in Kyoto, Japan with supplier and end-user seminars in Korea and Thailand has been tabled by WCI (ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute). In addition, WCI recently demonstrated at the JEMIMA Measurement and Control Show in Osaka, Japan last month.

“The interest and growth of the ISA100 Wireless technology in the Asia Pacific region is overwhelming,” said Toshi Hasegawa, ISA100 WCI district leader of Asia Pacific and Manager of Technology Marketing, Yokogawa Electric. “We have seen hundreds of interested participants in each event anxious to hear more about the ISA100 Wireless networking technology, which supports control over wireless, multi-vendor interoperability, robustness and security for wireless industrial control systems. Participants have been very impressed by the number of vendors that support ISA100 Wireless. Yokogawa will continue its active promotion and support for developing new ISA100 Wireless products.”

Companies participating in the Asia Pacific events included Yokogawa, Azbil, GE, Flowserve, Fuji Electric and Honeywell.

“WCI will remain committed to global technology seminars in this region and plans to further our outreach going into 2013,” according to Andre Ristaino, managing director, ISA100 WCI. “We are excited with the response from this global audience and anticipate many new companies joining ISA100 WCI in the coming year who are interested in adopting ISA100 Wireless technology.”

Successful fault level prediction trials

Outram Research has confirmed that trials with Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) and Western Power Distribution (WPD) to test and validate an entirely original solution to determine peak fault current on the electrical network have been a success.

The Outram Fault Level Monitor (FLM), which predicts the RMS and peak fault current by passively monitoring disturbances on the transmission and distribution networks during normal operation, is a more cost-effective and potentially more accurate approach than existing methods. The compact device allows users to take measurements on the live network and calculate a fault level value at that measurement point using both upstream and downstream information. The user is presented with a full fault level overview including real time fault level predictions, the trend and average values over a time period such as 30 minutes.

The new product can help improve network safety by accurately predicting fault current and revealing potential fault level issues, in turn helping operators make better investment decisions and simplifying the connection and management of distributed renewable power generation. Network operators will be able to identify the fault level in areas of the network where network modelling may be difficult or non-existent, verify the adequacy of network breakers and resolve fault level problems more quickly. Applying the Outram FLM to Active Network Management schemes is further demonstrating the commercial viability, flexibility and general potential of the Outram FLM for electrical distribution companies worldwide.

Field trials with SPEN demonstrate that the Outram FLM can consistently and accurately calculate fault current in real-world applications. The results are within 5% of the values produced by computer modelling, which has previously generated the most accurate fault level calculations available. In fact it is possible that the values produced by the Outram FLM are more accurate than the modelled values.

Managing Director of Outram Research, John Outram, said: “We are delighted with the success of the trials. The possibility of having an instrument that predicts the value of the maximum fault level on their networks, at every voltage level, is generating much interest among Distribution Network Operators (DNOs). The Outram FLM is a unique solution which meets a need that, up until now, has remained unfulfilled. The equipment is the size of a lunchbox so can be deployed quickly and easily and moved from site to site by a single engineer. We have worked very closely with SPEN on the requirements and with additional help from another UK DNO, Western Power Distribution, we aim to deliver a solution with all the functionality required by operators worldwide.”

Western Power Distribution (WPD) is planning to take the Outram FLM one step further. With a vision for an Active Network Management solution, WPD aims to introduce a means of supplying the FLM with a small, non-customer-affecting network disturbance and to combine it with the benefit of further communications developments. This should enable a Fault Level value with a high confidence rating to be produced on demand. WPD have identified a real network environment in which they aim to trial active fault level-based control of a Distributed Generation connection.

Stage one of this project involved laboratory trails comparing the predicted fault level with the actual measured peak current seen in response to a bolted fault. These trials were outstandingly successful, the results showing that the FLM predictions were between 2.5 and 5% of the current measured by lab instrumentation – an error margin felt very hard to improve upon as noise on the network and sensor deficiencies will always produce some degree of uncertainty.

All these trials show that the FLM technique is not only accurate, but also that this precision can be repeated in different network situations. Outram Research Ltd is currently in talks with other DNOs to get the Outram FLM deployed in a number of further sites. After reinforcing their findings with more trials, Outram looks forward to offering the FLM to the wider market and is now accepting expressions of interest.

Advanced manufacturing software!

Advanced manufacturing software solutions drive lower costs, faster production and tighter control on quality

GE Intelligent Platforms is building on the expertise of GE as a world-class manufacturer to introduce advanced manufacturing software solutions that drive lower costs, faster production and tighter control on quality. Deployed at GE manufacturing plants around the world, these solutions are continuously honed to keep GE and other manufacturers competitive in their markets.

The software solutions, called Proficy for Manufacturing, address key challenges faced by companies across a diverse range of manufacturing businesses. The first in the family is aimed at long cycle, engineer- or build-to-order (ETO or BTO) complex manufacturing operations. For companies in aerospace, defense, heavy equipment, energy or other complex discrete manufacturing industries, paper-based processes to manage plant floor production are still the norm. The need for comprehensive visibility into production performance has become increasingly important to stay competitive. Elimination of the paper-based processes through digitization provides fast, reliable and accurate information manufacturing businesses need to effectively manage their operations and work toward optimizing their supply chains.

“Manufacturers and their suppliers face multiple industry challenges today,” said Jim Walsh, Software General Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “These include agile product development, price pressures, customization to meet consumer demand, quality, and, of course, cost.”

GE companies deploying pieces of the solutions have already realized significant benefits such as: 70% faster order-to-delivery, 15% reduced WIP, 12% less rework and 24% reduced warranty costs.

A key aspect of Proficy for Manufacturing includes the ability to reduce costs through MES digitization of existing paper processes. Manufacturers can then leverage the benefits of digitized processes such as reducing waste, increasing flexibility and decreasing lead times. Digitization makes it possible to capitalize on the value of fast, reliable and accurate information to maximize production performance, save time and money while still providing a consistent high quality product.

Main points
The main points of digitising for many complex manufacturers are:
• Produce products faster to enable single piece flow manufacturing, improve throughput, reduce lead times and balance workloads;
• Reduce Work In Process to enable “Just In Time” material delivery, free up floor space, and reduce the cost of inventory;
• Gain tighter control on quality that will serve to standardise proven processes, eliminate process waste, reduce rework and meet regulations in a more efficient way.

“The key thing we’re striving to do is drive for standard, repeatable tasks throughout the process,” said Jeannine Abele, CIO – Supply Chain Division of GE Aviation. “We want to make it easy for our employees to execute the work that they need to complete. In addition, we need to put auditability and traceability in place so we have a verifiable record of what’s been done to every part, to every engine, throughout the whole lifecycle of the manufacturing process.

GE Aviation is one of the first companies to pilot Proficy for Manufacturing at its plant in Middle River, Maryland. Other companies working with Intelligent Platforms include GE Power & Water in Belfort, France; GE Energy Storage in Schenectady, New York; GE Transportation in Las Vegas, Nevada and Kansas City, Missouri; GE Lighting in Hendersonville, North Carolina; GE Power Conversion in Campinas, Brazil; and GE Appliances in Louisville, Kentucky.

Valve controllers save in repairs and downtime

Digital valve controller helps Chinese chemical plant save over €30000 in repairs and downtime!

After Emerson Process Management replaced existing valve positioners in the Shanghai Ethylene Cracker Complex (SECCO) with Fisher® FIELDVUE™ DVC6200f digital valve controllers, the SECCO plant gained better control, production efficiency, and uptime – and €30,500 ($40,000) in annual maintenance savings.

SECCO is the largest integrated chemical facility in China. The complex includes a naptha-fed ethylene cracker and ten downstream derivative plants with thousands of control valves of different brands, types and sizes. Temperature fluctuations in the process caused high variability in the end product which, combined with vibration of the pipeline, often led to damage and replacement of the positioners on these valves. After SECCO engineers and Fisher valve specialists from Emerson discussed ways to address this problem, SECCO decided to replace the facility’s positioners with Emerson’s Fisher FIELDVUE DVC6200f digital valve positioner.

The DVC6200f offers linkage-less, non-contact position feedback to reduce vibration-induced problems as well as diagnostics and Foundation™ fieldbus communication to promptly alert operators of potential valve problems. The instrument is easily mountable onto any valve, which was especially important in SECCO’s case. In addition, achieving high process reliability and performance is possible because of the DVC6200f’s diagnostic capability to predict problems before they occur, allowing operators to take pre-emptive action to minimize process variability or avoid a plant shutdown.

After installation, operations in the facility were enhanced with better stability and control. Production efficiency improved, while waste and rework were reduced. Valve performance is more reliable, and uptime has increased because of less frequent valve failure and scheduled maintenance. SECCO has saved an estimated $40,000 annually by eliminating the frequent replacements of positioners a well as maintenance, labor and potential production loss.

Track-and-trace made easy

Complete line of traceability solutions

Traceability creates lean manufacturing processes, simplifies just-in-time deliveries, aids legal certainty and ensures product quality. Balluff can look back on 25 years of experience in this area and offers an extensive portfolio of track-and-trace solutions. The portfolio was recently expanded to include new RFID technologies for high-temperature applications, which are often called for in the semiconductor industry or in paint-spray lines and drying ovens in the automotive sector.

They offer not only the entire spectrum of flexibly combinable LF, HF and UHF-RFID components, but also a variety of stationary bar-code readers by means of which its customers can realize individual and economical traceability solutions on a high technical level. Data carriers mounted directly on a workpiece, a workpiece carrier or on equipment gaplessly record all steps and lots of a production sequence. This occurs in running operation, so that the data can be evaluated in real time or later – even after years – for traceability purposes.

Balluff, with its RFID systems of the BIS series, offers industry-proven solutions for extremely rough environments. With its variety of robust data carriers and read/write heads with high enclosure rating, the identification systems solve nearly every application problem, be it in material flow monitoring, automated assembly, warehousing or the control and quality assurance of flexible production lines.

Because Balluff has successfully worked together with proven system integrators for years, the user always obtains individual, economical solutions on a high level that are perfectly matched to his needs.

New website to assist users!

New website makes it easier than ever for customers to find information about company’s interface solutions for the process control industry. 

Users visiting Moore Industries newly designed website will find a sleek and intuitive home page prominently featuring the Interface Solution Download Center, a “one-stop shop” for product information that is the heart of the redesign.

The Interface Solution Download Center is the place for customers to find relevant information on more than 90 unique product lines offered by Moore Industries and MooreHawke, a division of Moore Industries. Items available for download at the Interface Solution Download Center include:

• Data Sheets and Installation Manuals
• PC Configuration Software and Device Description Files
• Hazardous Area Approvals and Certificates
• CAD Drawings
• Complimentary Products, Accessories and Assemblies
• Additional Resources and Recommended Reading
• Alternate Product Choices

“The goal of this website redesign is to help users get the information they need as quickly and easily as possible,” said Scott Saunders, VP of Sales and Marketing and COO of Moore Industries-International, Inc. “The Interface Solution Download Center gives our customers one location to find all of our product information. Whether they need a data sheet to research a potential new application or documentation and software for existing products, they can find it all in one place.”

The redesign marks the most significant upgrade since Moore Industries launched its website in 1999. It is now optimized to work with all major Internet browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Its clean, uncluttered design makes it easy to find the right information and also loads quickly on any device – a plus for users of tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices researching solutions for their process control needs while at on-site locations.

Along with product information, easy-to-navigate menus allow users to find additional information about Moore Industries. This includes a news section with press releases since 2007 along with the ability to download white papers, case studies and technical articles.

Airflow sensor!

Honeywell has expanded its Zephyr™ airflow sensor HAF Series portfolio with new digital versions that provide airflow ranges of 0 to 20 SLPM (Standard Liters per Minute) and 0 to 200 SLPM. With this new product, Honeywell has leveraged its original Zephyr building block airflow sensor via a bypass to the main flow channel of the sensor, eliminating the need for a customer-designed bypass in equipment such as ventilators.

“With this new extension to the Zephyr HAF Series, our customers can now choose between creating a separate bypass or using one included in the sensor,” said Jacky Leff, senior product marketing manager for Honeywell Sensing and Control. “These sensors are configurable and customizable with multiple interface and package options, a variety of flow ranges, and custom calibration - all which increase the customer’s options for integrating the sensor into the application.”

Honeywell’s new Zephyr™ airflow sensors with the built-in bypass offer customers three important benefits:
1. High performance that includes a narrow Total Error Band (the most comprehensive and meaningful measurement that provides the sensor’s true accuracy) of ±4% reading and a high accuracy of ±3.5% reading, allowing for very precise airflow measurement-often ideal for demanding applications with high accuracy requirements.
2. Ease of integration provided by simple electrical interfaces (regulated, compensated, calibrated, linearised) and multiple mechanical configurations (manifold mount, male and female fittings).
3. Custom calibration, including forward flow direction and optimized custom calibration for many gases (dry air, helium, argon, nitrogen, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide), which eliminates the need to implement gas correction factors.

These new airflow sensors are designed to function in a wide range of applications. Potential medical applications include anesthesia delivery machines, laparoscopy, patient monitoring systems, spirometers, ventilators and ventricular assist devices (heart pumps). Potential industrial applications include air-to-fuel ratio, analytical instrumentation, fuel cells, fume hoods, gas leak detection, and gas meters.

Honeywell first introduced the foundational building block of the Honeywell Zephyr™ HAF Series in March 2010 with a digital output version, ±200 SCCM airflow with two port styles (long port fastener mount and short port snap mount). Subsequent building block line extensions include an analog version, additional flow ranges (±50, ±100, ±400 or ±750 SCCM), and a short port fastener mount.

Honeywell’s customers use this Zephyr building block with their own bypass solution. The bypass serves as a small parallel airflow pathway to the main airflow channel in the equipment, such as a ventilator. Honeywell’s building block airflow sensor is attached to the bypass. When air passes through the bypass, by design only a small amount of air goes into the Zephyr building block. Due to its sensitivity, the sensor can provide a measurement that allows the customer to determine the airflow through the main flow channel.

When using the Zephyr building block, the customer needs to ensure that the air is laminarized when it enters the bypass, and does this through the use of the bypass shape, filters, screens, etc. With the new Honeywell Zephyr™ airflow sensor, the sensor is directly in the main flow channel and the bypass is optimized inside the sensor.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ye olde photometer in Ireland!

Winner Michael Whelan of Wicklow County Council & Niall O’Brien of  Hach Lange
To celebrate the launch of the new spectrophotometers; DR 3900 and DR 6000, instrumentation specialist HACH LANGE launched a competition to find the oldest operational HACH or LANGE photometer in Ireland. Extensive research revealed that the contestant with the oldest instrument, and winner of a brand new DR 3900, is Michael Whelan of Wicklow County Council with his DR3 spectrophotometer purchased in 1985.

Mr Whelan previously used the DR3 at a water treatment plant for testing colour, turbidity, pH, residual aluminium, and residual fluoride. Mr Whelan said, “Amazingly, we have only ever had to replace the bulb, such is the quality of the Hach instruments. I am looking forward to using the DR3900 with barcode identification because water quality testing will be easier and quicker.”

The DR 3900 employs barcode recognition to ensure that every sample is tested for the correct parameter. The instrument will also read the sample barcode to determine the batch number and expiry date, and this data will also be assigned to the analytical result. In addition, the latest RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology is enabled to ensure that an accurate, reliable, traceable record is created for every sample. In addition, users are able to define their own 'set points' for specific sampling locations, so that any results falling outside of these points will be flagged immediately. The DR3900 can also be used to automatically calibrate online instruments. It can detect expired cuvettes and can even update its internal methodology from the RFID label on the cuvette boxes.

For a cool head!

Eurolec Instrumentation Ltd/Oriel Medical Devices Ltd, with the assistance of Enterprise Ireland in the areas of R&D and intellectual property protection, has recently developed an exciting new instrument, which has been designed to cool the brain at the earliest possible intervention.
Marie, a French student at Eurelec models the Cool Head device
In the event of heart attacks, strokes, brain trauma, birth difficulties and some other medical circumstances, medical evidence suggests that if action is taken quickly enough the ability to cool the brain by just 1°C can reduce both swelling and the loss of neurologic function & result in a significantly improved prognosis. The Cool Brain operates off its own rechargeable batteries, 12V paramedic vehicle and mains power (with adaptor) . It therefore provides cooling from the earliest opportunity all the way through to intensive care in hospital

Eurolec have now been granted an Irish patent for this innovative device and the Neuroscience dept in Trinity College Dublin are currently conducting research under Prof. Shane O’Mara to evaluate the efficacy of the Cool Brain instrument.

It is hoped that on the satisfactory conclusion of this research, steps can be taken to commercialise the Cool Brain and further adapt the system – the instrument can also be configured to heat as well as cool and could be beneficial in treating soft tissue injuries in sport and also in the transportation of human organs.

Advanced Monitoring software for wireless instrumentation data

New data logging software offers up to 100 channels of instrumentation data with many advanced features.

Mantracourt has announced the release of T24LOG100, a unique data logging software package that complements the T24 wireless telemetry range. It allows the user to view and log up to 100 channels of wireless data simultaneously, whilst also offering a range of sophisticated maths functions that will enable engineers to optimise system monitoring and control.

The T24LOG100 display is highly customisable, so that it can be easily branded with company colours and logo and licenced for distribution.

"The design and development of the T24LOG100 software has been driven by working with our customers on many wireless instrumentation projects around the world." said Kelly Voysey, Sales and Marketing Manager at Mantracourt. "The T24LOG100 package contains advanced functionality and features that we feel sure customers will value and appreciate. “

Displaying each value in a resizable window, channels can be setup with user-defined algorithms that can be used to calculate a multitude of maths functions. Visual displays and noise indicator alarm can indicate under and over range as well as loss in communications. T24LOG100 can log on demand, at pre-set intervals, on entering and leaving a pre-set overload and during an overload. Data is also generated in a CSV format, enabling external analysis. Future development of the T24LOG100 will include the ability to import a picture, drawing or schematic to display data readings graphically.

“We are very proud of the T24LOG100 package; it is the result of a lot of thought and expertise on the part of our development team,” said Kelly Voysey. “In the T24LOG100 we have delivered a software package that we consider highly effective, robust and user friendly.”

Data station and modular controller

Red Lion Controls has announced the ZR Series Enhanced Data Station Plus and Modular Controller.

Designed to act as the key connection point for industrial data collection and management, the ZR Series offers protocol conversion, data logging and remote machine access – all at processing speeds six times faster than previous products.

“As more companies understand that maximizing their product output is the key to a successful operation, the demand for plant floor data continues to grow,” said Jeff Thornton, director of product management, indication and interface at Red Lion Controls. “Our enhanced ZR Series provides six times the processing rate of previous products, which means that larger amounts of data can be monitored much faster than ever before.”

The ZR Series simplifies complex plant floor environments by allowing disparate devices to communicate seamlessly using a 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet port that supports up to ten protocols simultaneously. In addition, the Ethernet port and three built-in serial ports leverage more than 250 communication drivers to convert numerous protocols simultaneously and connect and collect data from virtually any PLC, drive or bar code scanner.

A built-in data logger logs tags at user-programmable rates before automatically time/date stamping each tag. The information can then be stored in an open CSV file format, allowing easy access from virtually any application. The ZR Series can also synchronize log files with any FTP and/or Microsoft SQL server for further analysis. In addition, USB host capabilities allow thumb drives for programming and log file storage as well as other USB devices to be used.

To extend production monitoring to remote personnel, the ZR Series also provides text message and email alerts. A built-in webserver enables global access to data logs and allows information to be monitored using a smartphone or Internet-connected PC.

Read Lion products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Valve terminal ranges with low-cost networking connectivity

Festo has extended the reach of its VTUG and MPA-L valve terminals and added a low-cost connection module for use with Fieldbus or industrial Ethernet networks. As a result, OEMs and machine builders can now connect the valve terminals directly to protocols such as CANopen, Profibus, EthernetIP and DeviceNet thus reducing installation and engineering costs significantly.

Using its innovative dual purpose connector, the valve terminals are configured and delivered complete with an M18 connector. This allows connection directly to the industry standard IO-Link network or, by fitting a separate CTEU network module connection to many Fieldbus or industrial Ethernet protocols are possible.

Whether multipin, IO-Link or network connection, the pneumatics doesn’t change.  This means the design of the circuit stays the same however connected electrically, thus enabling OEMs to reduce design and drawing costs and to access Festo’s ‘plug and work’ philosophy.

The affordable CTEU bus node module includes a comprehensive range of diagnostics functions which helps reduce downtime and machine failure significantly, for example, by identifying overvoltage and short circuits.

The VTUG terminal is an extension to Festo’s standard valve range and is an aluminium sub-base valve terminal that can accommodate up to 24 valve positions, saving users significant amounts of wiring and control cabinet space. The MPA-L, which is a polymer sub-base valve terminal, offers individual modularity with up to 32 positions; these positions can be a mixture of three different valve sizes matching the user’s application exactly, thus saving compressed air. High level IP65/IP67 protection also enables use under harsh ambient conditions.

Supporting the industry trend to decentralise machine installations, both valve terminals are compact and easy to install.  This enables users to save energy as the valve terminals can be mounted directly next to the cylinders.

In addition, the CAPC distribution module allows one network module to be used to run two valve terminals as a distributed network with data cables of up to 20m.  This offers cost savings in the number of network modules needed as well as giving users the convenience of mounting the valve terminal exactly where required.

“At Festo we have a wide range of pneumatic valve terminals, from single valve, multipin and fieldbus valve terminals to complete automation platforms, readily available to suit all applications,” says Jacqui Hanbury, product manager at Festo.  “I’m delighted we can now offer affordable Fieldbus and Ethernet compatible valve terminals that can be easily integrated to the network, allowing our customers to realise the benefits of networking.”

Data Acquisition System

Vishay Precision Group has announced that its Micro-Measurements brand has introduced a new data acquisition system featuring a scanner with eight software-configurable input channels with RJ-45 connectors. The System 8000 StrainSmart® Data Acquisition System can accept signals from strain gages or strain-gage-based transducers, thermocouples, or high-level voltage sensors. Strain gage channels support full-, half-, or quarter-bridge configurations, and offer built-in precision completion for 120 Ω, 350 Ω, and 1000 Ω bridges.

The System 8000 is intended for static and dynamic test and measurement applications. System scanners may operate independently, or up to 16 scanners can be used concurrently for a maximum of 128 channels. Each channel's data is processed in a modern 24-bit digital signal processor, and filtering is performed using finite impulse response (FIR) multi-stage filters. This provides excellent noise rejection, stability, and unsurpassed measurement accuracy. Sampling rates are 1000, 500, 200, 100, and 10 samples/second.

All channels in the system are sampled simultaneously. Each of the 24-bit analog-to-digital converters over-samples data at a rate of 128k samples/second and provides high-quality, low-noise data (without the need for signal averaging) at rates up to 1000 samples/second/channel.

The scanner communicates with a host PC running over an IEEE-802.3u 100Base-TX or an IEEE-802.3 10Base-T Ethernet network. Micro-Measurements StrainSmart software, available separately, is optimal for configuring, controlling, and acquiring data from the System 8000. The system also includes a Programmer's Reference Kit, which provides documentation, programming examples, and instrument drivers to assist with custom software development.

An optional system voltage calibration card gives users the ability to perform a system-level calibration of the entire measurement circuit without the need to return the System 8000 to the manufacturer or metrology lab. The card allows the system to be calibrated (gain and offset of each channel) under actual operating conditions, thereby minimizing errors due to environmental conditions.

The System 8000's scanner offers compact dimensions of 10.2 in. by 11 in. by 1.7 in. (260 mm by 280 mm by 44 mm). Its aluminum-alloy enclosure provides superior strength and durability, and minimizes RF emissions and susceptibility. A rack-mount kit is also available.

Network connectivity for high-performance applications

The Anybus® NP40™ is a new network processor from HMS Industrial Networks that handles communication between an industrial device and any industrial network. The new processor is the core of HMS’s Anybus CompactCom™ 40-series in chip, brick and module formats. It is designed for demanding applications, especially targeting real-time industrial Ethernet.

Flexibility: One hardware platform, any network
The NP40 comes with support for all major Industrial Ethernet and Fieldbus networks. This means that a single hardware platform can support several different networks by simply downloading new firmware. Consequently, there is no need to start a development project for each new network. The new technology makes life easier for device manufacturers since they can install a communication interface into a product and then simply download the firmware they need before sending their products off to the end customer.

Performance: For demanding applications – Enabling motion and sync
The NP40 enables very low latency, down to a few microseconds. It practically allows for ”zero delay” between the network and host API making it possible to support high-performance applications that require synchronization or motion profiles.

“What we have seen over the past few years is that industrial Ethernet is now demanding more performance and a new architecture,” says Jörgen Palmhager, Chief Operating Officer at HMS. “The new industrial Ethernet networks are getting more and more specialized which requires a lot from a network processor that is to handle the ‘translation’ between different networks and protocols. In the NP40, HMS combines a powerful ARM Cortex M3 core with an FPGA fabric on the same chip, allowing both fast data transfer and real-time synchronization in hardware/FPGA. The NP40 technology gives users the best of both worlds. They get the speed and accuracy they need for demanding applications, and the flexibility to adapt to different networks by simply downloading a new firmware. The solution is based on MicroSemi SmartFusion technology but integrates HMS’s unique blocks like our RTA™ (Real Time Accelerator) for industrial communication.”

Inside the NP40
The Anybus NP40 is a single chip network processor that includes a high-performance ARM core and an FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) fabric. The ARM core runs the protocol and application stacks while the FPGA fabric is used to implement the various real-time Ethernet interfaces. A real-time-switch is integrated into the FPGA fabric and it supports synchronous cyclic messaging in real-time networks such as PROFINET IRT, Powerlink, EtherCAT and Sercos III. Since the network processor is flash-based, it can be re-programmed for several different industrial Ethernet networks.

The NP40 is built on technology from Microsemi Inc. and the architecture is designed to combine performance, low power consumption and flexibility in a single chip design.


The NP40 is already powering the network connectivity for industrial devices in pilot installations. The network processor will be on display on various tradeshows such as SPS/IPC/Drives in Germany and the Rockwell Automation Fair in the US during the fall. The wider release of the network processor, as part of Anybus embedded solutions, will take place during 2013.

The NP40, in combination with Anybus protocol and application software, make up the Anybus CompactCom C40 solution – a ready-made network connectivity solution on a single chip.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bus meeting for China

The 2013 General Assembly of the Fieldbus Foundation will be held in Shanghai, China, on March 12-15, 2013. This annual event is open to Fieldbus Foundation members and non-members, and will be attended by leading FOUNDATION™ fieldbus suppliers, end users and industry participants from around the world.

The highlight of the General Assembly is the conference to be held March 14. The conference program is focused on automation end users and will provide an overview of the many Fieldbus Foundation developments across the globe. It will include updates by leading fieldbus experts on the latest initiatives in FOUNDATION technology, as well as presentations by major end users who have installed fieldbus in their industrial operations.

Representatives of Fieldbus Foundation member companies are invited to attend the General Assembly business meeting on March 15.

"FOUNDATION fieldbus is a technology that’s helping to drive global industrial development, so it only makes sense that our 2013 General Assembly would be held in Shanghai, China — the heart of one of the world's fastest growing markets and location of some of the largest fieldbus projects to date," said Rich Timoney, Fieldbus Foundation president and CEO. "Our annual meeting will attract a wide spectrum of the fieldbus community throughout China's burgeoning manufacturing and industrial base. We strongly encourage all end users of FOUNDATION technology, and those looking to become users, to actively participate in this event."

Design software for fully shrouded busbar systems

Rittal’s RiLine60 shrouded busbar system has been developed to distribute power up to 1600A and with an extensive range of adaptors allows design engineers total flexibility. With fast assembly and ingenious design RiLine60 is ideally suited for power switchgear systems and automation control panels.

To assist in reducing design and installation time Rittal’s RPE design software has been developed for the design and creation a parts list for a distribution system. The RPE software has been designed to integrate RiLine60 into standard Rittal enclosures: TS 8, SE 8, AE, CM and KS.

Extensive testing has provided heat loss data for the following manufacturers: ABB; GE; Hager; Mitsubishi; Moeller; Schneider; Siemens and Terasaki.

On selection of the type of enclosure, number and manufacturer of the devices, the RPE software will generate a CAD drawing of the system and calculate the heat loss within the panel. Another key feature of the software is the ability to produce a design and routine verification document that complies with the IEC 61439-2 standard.

All the features of the RiLine60 and RPE design software will enable the design engineer to save time and offer a safe and reliable power distribution system.