Thursday 31 October 2013

Communications platform strengthens support of industry standards & improve interoperability!

Kepware Technologies has released KEPServerEX® version 5.13. The updated communications platform expands Kepware’s support of industry standards, and enables improved interoperability and communications across key industries.

Their new version features client- or user-driven on-demand communications with new Device Demand Poll functionality. This added flexibility enables users to meet the client-driven polling requirements of their application. Also included in this release, the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Unsolicited Driver for KEPServerEX is now compliant with Open DeviceNetwork Association (ODVA) standards, ensuring interoperability with other Ethernet/IP-based products.

“Interoperability issues are paramount with multi-vendor products, which is why our commitment to supporting industry standards is a top priority as we continue to advance our products,” said Tony Paine, President and CEO of Kepware Technologies. “With version 5.13, we improved the performance of our Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Unsolicited Driver and achieved ODVA certification.”

The enhancements made to KEPServerEX’s EFM Suite considerably advance its communication capabilities for the upstream and midstream Oil & Gas Industry. The EFM Exporter now supports exporting collected archive data directly to any SQL database for custom applications and analysis. Furthermore, the Fisher ROC and ROC Plus Serial drivers now support User Programs in Emerson’s Fisher ROC and FloBoss™ devices, which enables automatic tag generation and data access to User Defined Points.

“As regulations tighten and Oil & Gas networks span increasingly greater distances, the industry requires new and innovative approaches for collecting and communicating data,” said Steve Sponseller, Product Manager of Oil & Gas Solutions at Kepware. “The value of data to the Oil & Gas Industry is growing exponentially. With version 5.13, we paid special attention to helping the industry leverage this information to make highly-informed business decisions.”

Cost optimised electro-mechanical joining module

The new NCFB electro-mechanical joining modules from Kistler Instruments have been value engineered to provide a cost effective solution to many assembly and joining processes. Two versions of the new design are available, each with two measuring ranges. The smaller version has measuring ranges of 5 and 15 kN with 200 mm stroke at a speed of 250 mm/s and the larger version has ranges of 25 and 50 kN with a 400 mm stroke length at 150 mm/s. Both types retain the precision and flexibility of the NC modules with stroke length repeatability in real world conditions of 0.01 mm.

The ram is driven by an electronically commutated AC servo motor controlled by servo electronics to ensure constant rotational and therefore translational speed. The integrated piezoelectric force sensor with integral charge amplifier and absolute displacement encoder provide accurate and reliable operation over the module’s long service life of approximately 5 million cycles. Standard functions such as block pressing, position pressing and force feedback controlled pressing as well as intermediate positioning are all supported.

The modules may be flange mounted vertically or horizontally and threaded bores of sufficient strength to hold tools are provided on the face of the ram. The maximum tool weight without holding brake is 10 kg or 50 kg with holding brake for the smaller unit and 15 kg or 100 kg for the larger.

In addition to economical initial cost, the new modules share the low installation and operating costs of the NC range requiring only an electrical supply and cabling to the servo controller and monitoring and evaluation unit which communicates with the machine interface to provide OK/NOK commands. All Kistler NC joining modules are very energy efficient and low maintenance, compared with pneumatic and hydraulic systems, giving a very short cost recovery period, often less than 24 months depending on the specific application.

Warranty extended!

Two year warranty supports reliability claims

It goes without saying that process interruptions are undesirable and very costly. Therefore it is sensible to use reliable and quality parts in the production process, avoiding the “penny wise, pound foolish” trap with cheaper, but unreliable instruments. Recognising this need for reliable and durable displays, Fluidwell has pursued excellence in quality and reliability. To support this claim, the warranty period for displays has now been doubled to two years.

“No, we are not expecting added cost, or to get more repairs returned as a result of prolonging the warranty period”, says Eric Rath, General Manager of the Fluidwell Group in The Netherlands. “99.8% of the displays we ship out, are never seen back again, and of the 0.2% we get back, half are because of improper use. The decision to double the warranty period is a signal of goodwill and evidence of our trust in our products and to strengthen our reliability core value”.

The warranty period extension to two years is effective immediately and retroactive for displays purchased in the last two years.

Novel twin channel CameraLink (PoCL) embedded vision computer

The EOS-4000 from Adlink is industry’s first 2 channel PoCL (Power over CameraLink) ready-to-deploy embedded vision pc system. With a 3rd generation Intel Core i5/i7 quad processor and compatible with PoCL cameras from Stemmer Imaging’s portfolio, the compact EOS-4000 allows high speed, high resolution imaging for industrial factory automation and medical imaging applications.

For applications requiring high data bandwidth and zero latency image acquisition, the EOS-4000’s dual independent PoCL ports provide data transfer up to 2.56 GByte/s, and pixel clock rates up to 85 MHz for high speed capture of large images. The system uses direct memory access to transmit image data directly from the camera to system memory, eliminating CPU loading during image acquisition. The EOS-4000 supports 64-bit memory addressing, benefiting large address space vision applications.

The rugged and compact (230 x 206 x 82 mm) EOS-4000 supports a two channel PoCL CameraLink base configuration, reducing cabling requirements and eliminating the need for external power adapters. It simplifies system installation and lowers maintenance costs.

The enhanced connectivity of the EOS-4000 provides a rich I/O capability, including trigger and encoder input and two independent RS-232 serial communication ports, reducing host computer loading. 64 isolated digital I/O connectors, digital filter, dual storage, internal USB port, and 1 kbit programmable EEPROM all ideally equip the EOS-4000 to integrate, deploy, and manage copy protection or authentication of software licenses for system development, further accelerating time to market.

Flex-block plinth has double appeal

Successfully introduced in 2012 in the 100 mm high version, Rittal’s flex-block plinth is now available in a 200 mm high version, ex stock. Completing the series of sizes for the entire range of Rittal floor standing enclosures, the innovative design of the flex-block plinth provides simple but effective features providing time saving benefits.
The flex block plinth is bayable, provides reduced labour times by quick and easy assembly without tools; acts as a pallet preventing the need to double handle; enables the option for cable management/restrain within the base, freeing up space within the enclosure; strong with loads up to 15,000 N and a vented option is available, along with filters.

Solutions architect appointed

Industrial IT provider, SolutionsPT, has appointed Kraig Appleton as a Solutions Architect, as it continues to expand the company’s growing team of specialists.

In this newly created role, Kraig will provide technology leadership across a multidisciplinary technical team, enabling SolutionsPT to create, design and implement full technological infrastructures for automation environments across its hardware, software and managed service offerings.

Kraig’s appointment is the latest in a series of new roles created within SolutionsPT to capitalise upon the growing opportunities presented by the operational intelligence and smart infrastructure markets.

Kraig joins SolutionsPT from Infinis, one of the UK's leading generators of renewable power, where he was responsible for designing all of the company’s renewable energy systems.  Prior to this Kraig worked in the oil and gas industry.

Kraig commented: “In my previous role I was responsible for overseeing one of the largest installations of the Wonderware System Platform in Europe. My understanding of Wonderware from the customer’s perspective gives me a real insight into the challenges our clients face. I intend to use this to develop effective software solutions for them.

“My initial focus will be on developing our operational intelligence and smart infrastructure offering, helping our customers to harness the data they produce and turn that into a competitive advantage, ultimately improving profitability.”  

Phil Gillard, SolutionsPT, General Manager, added: “Kraig will be the voice of the customer internally, helping shape our products and how they are delivered and delivering innovative infrastructure solutions matched to their objectives to support them in driving their own revenues.”

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Training contract for Kuwait Oil Company

Emerson’s most comprehensive training programme to date is designed to help KOC enhance maintenance-engineering expertise

Emerson Process Management has worked with the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) to develop a comprehensive training programme that helps new engineers develop the skills needed to maintain a running oil production facility in northern Kuwait.  Developed under a contract that KOC awarded to Emerson in May 2013, the ‘first-of-its-kind’ programme is expected to lead to further cooperation between the companies.  

As part of this contract, Emerson’s Educational Services team has launched a new aspect of customer training called Workforce Effectiveness.  Workforce Effectiveness begins with an assessment of the customer’s unique needs, continues with the development of a plan tailored to address those needs, and wraps up with measurement of the results.  

The 19-week ‘boot camp’ programme designed for KOC covers field instrumentation, the DeltaV™ automation system, and cyber security, as well as process control – including advanced control and complex control strategies. The training will be conducted at Emerson’s regional training centres in the USA, at both the Austin, Texas, and Marshalltown, Iowa, facilities.

"We are seeing more customers engage in a broad course of training for their newer employees," said Dorothy Hellberg, director of Emerson Process Management’s Educational Services. "As customers expand their engineering staff to replace experienced retiring employees or to staff new facilities, condensed training programmes are critical to smooth project execution and continuing operations. Our services can easily be configured to meet those needs." 

The training project is a joint effort between Emerson’s Lifecycle Care and Educational Services employees. Eight Emerson Process Management business units and five complementary instrumentation companies are part of the overall training programme.

Solutions for safe applications based on IEC 61508

With IXXAT Safe, HMS offers a product family under the IXXAT brand for fast, cost-effective implementation of safe communications solutions in industrial automation devices.

With the IXXAT Safe offering, HMS offers an extensive portfolio of solutions for safe communications according to IEC 61508 – from safety protocol software to finished safety I/O modules for integration into customer devices. HMS and its safety development team also support customers in the development of their safety applications, as well as in the certification of end products, also offering customer-specific development as OEM solutions.

The new addition to the IXXAT Safe offering is the IXXAT Safe T100, a complete solution for simple and fast integration of safe I/O using a safe communications protocol. The IXXAT Safe T100 safety module is integrated directly into the customer product or system – for example into welding systems, drives, counter terminals, and many more. Thanks to the comprehensive architecture with safety hardware and software, as well as precertification by TÜV Rheinland, the use of the IXXAT Safe T100 considerably simplifies the development of devices and systems with safe communications.

As a result, the user also benefits from significant reductions in development time, cost, and risk.

The IXXAT Safe T100 uses the well-known Anybus CompactCom modules from HMS as a communications pathway through the unsafe network – here, safe communications are implemented using the "black channel" principle.

In addition to the first version now released - the IXXAT Safe T100/PS for PROFIsafe on PROFINET, additional variants will soon be available, such as for CIP Safety on EtherNet/IP or Functional Safety over EtherCAT.
If there are special requirements in terms of form factor, connectors, or the number of I/Os, custom versions of the IXXAT Safe T100 can also be implemented.

This offering also includes protocol stacks for Functional Safety over EtherCAT (FSoE), CIP Safety on EtherNet/IP, CIP Safety on Sercos, and openSAFETY.

Like the IXXAT Safe T100, these protocol stacks are also precertified by TÜV and permit the implementation of safe communications in suitable hardware. Integration can be carried out by the device manufacturer themselves, but HMS is ready to assist with implementation, porting, and certification services. The advantage for the customer of using a precertified safety protocol stack is the significant reduction it provides in development time, cost, and risk.

Remote Monitoring & Analysis solution for oil & gas company

TOTAL S.A., the leading global oil and gas company with operations activities in more than 50 countries, has chosen Proficy® SmartSignal for its predictive analytics and Remote Monitoring & Analysis solution.

“TOTAL has a very large fleet of rotating turbo machinery,” said Bernard Quoix, Head of Rotating Machinery for TOTAL Group. “The objective of this solution is to constantly monitor these equipment from headquarters, or a remote base anywhere in the world, and produce appropriate alerts and alarms when abnormal running conditions are present. This will allow our maintenance and engineering teams to analyze and launch appropriate maintenance actions.”

Proficy SmartSignal predictive analytics software can identify impending equipment problems early and helps avoid unexpected shutdowns and catastrophic failures. It can identify what is going to fail, what is the apparent cause of the failure, and what is the priority of the impending failure. And it can do this automatically and continuously.

The reliability of rotating machines in operation at TOTAL sites will be further improved with a direct positive impact on production.

“Advances in the Industrial Internet like sensors, hardware, software and analytics have enabled companies to prolong the lifespan of their assets, while optimizing their efficiency,” said Brian Courtney, General Manager, Industrial Data Management Software for GE Intelligent Platforms. “The Industrial Internet, via predictive analytics, helps customers moving from reactive to proactive, allowing them to fix minor issues before they become major ones. This greatly reduces costs while improving overall return on investment.”

Leveraging existing instrumentation, tools and IT infrastructure, Proficy SmartSignal works on any equipment from any OEM and can detect the broadest range of equipment problems across the widest variety of assets, load ranges and failure modes.

GE will provide TOTAL with system set-up and installation of Proficy SmartSignal, project implementation and monitoring services and support. The project began in mid-2013 and will be deployed over a multi-year fleet plan that includes all of TOTAL’s exploration and production sites around the world.

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Protecting America's strategic infrastructure!

The Automation Federation and the Alabama Technology Network will sponsor an informative, free seminar on 21 February 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA to examine the details surrounding the implementation of America’s Cybersecurity Framework.

Register to attend today
To register to attend this important, free seminar, click here, or contact Isaac Queen at +1-256-215-4253 or via email at

Time & location.
February 21, 2014
8 a.m. to noon
Jefferson State Community College - Shelby County Campus
HSB Multipurpose Room - First Floor
4600 Valleydale Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35242
The Automation Federation has been actively involved in the development of the Cybersecurity Framework, which was recently released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). President Barack Obama, through an executive order in early 2013, called for NIST to create the Cybersecurity Framework as the first step in a comprehensive plan to safeguard American industry and critical infrastructure from potentially crippling cyberattack.

At the seminar, representatives from the White House, NIST and leading cybersecurity subject matter experts will explain the importance of the Cybersecurity Framework, and will illustrate why industrial automation control systems (IACS) security standards are such vital components of the plan and essential to its successful implementation.

Seminar attendees will learn:
  • How woefully under-prepared American industry and critical infrastructure are to prevent cyberattack on IACS, which could result in severe economic and environmental damage, significant operational impairment, and public endangerment.
  • The role and value of ANSI/ISA99, Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards (also known as IEC 62443) in preventing and mitigating cyberattack and security breaches.
  • All the key provisions and essential details of the Cybersecurity Framework.
At NIST’s request, the Automation Federation and its affiliated organization, the International Society of Automation (ISA), have served as advisors to the federal government in the formation of the framework. Both the Automation Federation and ISA strongly recommended that the ANSI/ISA99 IACS security standards be incorporated as essential framework components.

The ANSI/ISA99 standards—developed by a cross-section of international cybersecurity subject-matter experts from industry, government and academia—apply to all key industry sectors and critical infrastructure, and, as a result, provide the flexibility to address and mitigate current and future vulnerabilities in IACS.

“The Automation Federation is committed to assisting the White House and NIST in implementing the Cybersecurity Framework,” says Mike Marlowe, Automation Federation Managing Director. “This seminar, and others to follow, will provide industry leaders with a greater understanding of what is required to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure.”

USB plug and play!

National Instruments has four new R Series boards (USB-7855R, USB-7856R, USB-7855R OEM and USB-7856R OEM) with USB connectivity, which help engineers add FPGA technology to any PC-based system using one of the most widely adopted buses on the market. These products, based on the LabVIEW RIO architecture, are a result of the company’s continued investment in the R Series product family.

The LabVIEW RIO architecture is an integral part of the NI graphical system design platform. A modern approach to designing, prototyping and deploying embedded monitoring and control systems, graphical system design combines the open NI LabVIEW graphical programming environment with commercial off-the-shelf hardware to dramatically simplify development, which results in higher-quality designs with the ability to incorporate custom design.

“Using these new USB R Series devices, engineers and scientists can create highly customisable measurement and control systems using standard PC technology,”
said Jamie Smith, Director of Embedded Systems Marketing at National Instruments. “They are ideal for high-performance medical, life science and semiconductor machines.”
Key features:
·        Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA: Implement tasks like custom timing and triggering, synchronisation, multirate sampling, high-speed control and onboard signal processing.
·        Improved I/O: Take advantage of analogue input and analoue output rates of up to 1 MHz for closed-loop control tasks, as well as digital I/O (DIO) rates of up to 80 MHz.
·        Selectable Logic Levels From 1.2 to 3.3 V: Adjust DIO levels to meet specific application requirements.
·        Selectable Gain for Analog Input Ranges: Get more resolution at lower voltage ranges.
·        OEM Options Available: Get the same power in a board-only form factor with the flexibility to create your own I/O interface. 

FPC/FFC connector offers fast, reliable assembly!

An FPC/FFC connector featuring a new rotary backlock mechanism for quick, reliable cable insertion, conforming to an industry accepted footprint has been announced by Omron.

The XF3M FPC/FFC connector is ideal for connecting LCD panels to printed circuit boards and other board-board connections in applications such as industrial equipment, home appliances, printers, LCD TVs and mobile devices. Omron is also expecting strong interest from other applications featuring colour LCD displays, including intercom/security systems, GPS-systems, measurement equipment, medical instruments and healthcare appliances.

The key feature of the XF3M is its new rotary backlock mechanism which offers easier cable insertion, positive confirmation of correct installation and very secure retention of the cable in use. The mechanism is based on a rotary slider for securing the FPC/FFC cable, which is mounted independently from the FPC/FFC socket. A sharp "click" on engagement makes it easy to confirm that the latch is completely locked. This mechanism enables the socket to be constructed with a four-sided housing that securely holds the FPC/FFC cable for enhanced mounting reliability. With conventional rotary lock connectors, the rotary slider is positioned at the FPC/FFC socket, which means that lifting the cable or applying excessive force may cause the rotary latch to disengage. The innovative design of the new Omron XF3M addresses these issues.

The connector has a height of 2.0 mm and a depth of 6.4 mm (when locked). The XF3M has a dual contact structure, enabling the cable to be inserted either way up.  To simplify insertion, the connector can accept cable inserted at an angle, and will then lock securely to hold the cable in place. It accepts 0.3mm thick FPC or FFC cable, is available in 0.5 mm and 1.0 mm pitches and conforms to a widely used industry accepted board footprint. The moulded parts use LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) resins. Its halogen-free construction makes the XF3M environmentally friendly.

Truly handheld RF spectrum analysers!

Aim-TTi have launched a new series of handheld RF spectrum analysers, the PSA Series II. Available in 1.3GHz and 2.7GHz versions, the new instruments are smaller, lighter and have longer battery life than other handheld RF products.

Whereas a typical “handheld” spectrum analyser weighs over 2kg (4.4lb) and is considerable wider than a hand width, the PSA Series II weighs only 560 grms (20oz) and is just 9.2cm (3.6”) wide, fitting perfectly into the hand.

Despite their small size, the analysers incorporate a 4.3” (11cm) backlit TFT colour display with touch screen. A high capacity rechargeable Li-ion battery gives more than 8 hours operation from a charge.

The PSA1302 has a frequency range of 1MHz to 1300MHz whilst the PSA2702 operates up to 2700MHz. Dynamic range is 80dB with a noise floor approaching -100dBm. Resolution bandwidth is selectable down to 15kHz. Sweep modes include continuous, single, peak hold and sweep average. Sweep parameters can be set in terms of centre plus span or start plus stop to 1kHz resolution. A zero span mode with AM or FM audio demodulation is also provided using a built-in speaker.

Dual markers are incorporated with simultaneous readout of absolute amplitude and frequency plus difference values. Markers can be scrolled manually, or set to automatically find or track peaks. Up to three traces can be displayed (Live, View and Reference) clearly differentiated by colour. Traces or complete screen images can be saved to files.

Advanced features include data logging for traces, data points or screen images. Up to 10,000 entries per file can be stored with triggering from a manual key press, internal timer, external trigger, or the limits comparator. The 1.8GB of internal memory enables many large files to be stored.

Limit lines and limit patterns can be displayed with a full limits comparator enabling audible warnings, output pulses, halting of the trace, or entries into logging files. Compensation tables for antennae or other external transducers can be created and loaded.

The instruments have a full filing system capable of storing up to 1,000 each of traces, screen images, set-ups, logging files, limit patterns or compensation tables under auto incrementing names or user-defined names. USB host and device connectors allow the connection of USB Flash drives or direct connection to a PC.

Control of the analyser is provided by finger operated soft keys created on the touch screen. These form a hierarchical menu system that gives rapid access to the menu functions. Alternatively, all functions can be operated using the hard keys alone.

The ruggedised casing incorporates rubber protection buffer and includes a bench stand and screen protector. For bench-top use, the instrument can be operated continuously from its AC charger. For portable use, the long battery life of eight hours can be further extended by selecting auto-off which turns the instrument off after a delay of 5 to 60 mins. from the last key press whilst retaining all data.

The PSA Series II will offer RF service engineers a cost effective and highly portable tool that will make it practical to a carry a spectrum analyser to areas that have traditionally been difficult to access with bench top instruments and not cost effective when using existing portable products offered by other manufacturers. This can reduce the need for a return visit when it is suspected that a spectrum analyzer is required.

Other engineers working on the bench will appreciate the low cost of the products enabling them to justify the purchase of an RF spectrum analyzer for tasks where the cost would have been previously been difficult to justify.

Optimising metrological inspection process.

Watchmaker uses Keyence to optimise the metrological inspection processes.

A renowned jewel-bearing specialist uses Keyence's IM Series image dimension measurement system to improve the repeatability and rate of its test.

La Pierrette SA has been a supplier to the most prestigious watchmakers since 1914. Quality, precision and reliability are the three "key watchwords" of this Swiss company, which meets the highest standards in gemstones for movements in fine timepieces, particularly those bearing the Geneva Seal stamp. The main purpose of jewel bearings is to reduce metal-on-metal friction, that in short time, can ultimately result in bearing seizure and vastly reduced contact surfaces. La Pierrette SA produces a broad range of synthetic sapphires and rubies, from the simplest to the most complex, for luxury watch movements at its home base in the heart of Switzerland's Joux Valley, the cradle of fine watchmaking. It is a key player in the luxury watch industry and employs a workforce of more than 100.

"The manufacturing of jewel bearings is a complex process because diamond is the only mineral harder than the gems that we cut. As a result, diamond machining is the only possibility, which makes for very tight manufacturing tolerances. Depending on the target characteristics, the tolerance intervals are between 2 and 8 µ, meaning that production is possible only with specially engineered machines. All this also requires many metrology operations," explains Romain Conti of La Pierrette's R&D department.

"Before, we performed all our inspections using manually operated stands. Because many dimensions have to be characterised repeatedly on each bearing, this process was long. With the IM Series, this process is much more automated and faster. Not only can we inspect a series of pieces at the same time, but our measurements are more complete because we can now also check for flaws in shape."

"The system is really easy to set up and it was up and running in virtually no time. We decided to put it through a probationary period in order to qualify the measurements obtained with it and make sure that they met our accuracy requirements. We 'empowered' the system with the measurements we had obtained with our manually operated stands and calibrated gemstones qualified by METAS, the Swiss national metrology institute. That enabled us to optimise some settings. Nonetheless, and very quickly after putting the IM Series into actual service, we saw that it made the inspection process five times faster," adds Mr Conti.

This time saving is essential at La Pierrette SA, which turns out several million pieces each year. "We have to inspect every visible piece both in terms of conformity and appearance. However, our production volume allows us to inspect only a small fraction of the other pieces. The IM Series enables us to increase the number of inspections and thus improve the quality of our products. That, coupled with the fact that the IM Series allows us to directly view measurement statistics, helps us to identify production deviations much faster.

"The IM Series was an immediate success with the members of our inspection department and is used regularly by 5 or 6 people," says Mr Conti. The IM Series image dimension measurement system makes it possible to obtain high-accuracy, reliable measurements in a minimum of time. Simply place a target on the stage and press the button. Up to 99 points are measured in a matter of seconds with a high degree of accuracy. Its automatic operation and repeatability of ± 1 µm eliminate inter-operator variability problems.

"What's more, it eliminates repeatability problems inherent to our measurement stands, such as button wear and stage alignment," says Mr Conti.

The IM Series also allows simultaneous measurement of several dimensions as well as geometry inspections.

Digital pH/ORP sensor & PC software products for enhanced maintenance efficiency

Yokogawa has just released the new SENCOM* platform product series for the digital measurement of pH and ORP. This will join an existing lineup of quality pH/ORP solutions that includes the FLXA21 two-wire pH/ORP-transmitter. With the release of the SENCOM platform products, they bring pH and ORP measurement into the digital era.

The SENCOM platform initially consists of a SENCOM module, the FU20F pH/ORP SENCOM sensor, a SENCOM cable, and the SPS24 SENCOM PC software. The installation of a SENCOM module in an FLXA21 transmitter will give it the powerful digital signal processing capabilities required to work together with the new SENCOM sensors.

Like its predecessor, the FU20F pH/ORP SENCOM sensor is a general purpose sensor that is suitable for a wide range of applications. The FU20F can store digital data and be calibrated using the SPS24 SENCOM PC software and/or the FLXA21. With these SENCOM platform products, our customers will be able to reduce the amount of maintenance work that needs to be performed on-site, thereby improving efficiency and reducing costs.

The target market is the process industries such as oil, petrochemicals, iron and steel, electric power, and water supply and wastewater treatment. with applications such as Monitoring the quality of treated wastewater and neutralised water and controlling the concentrations of liquid infusion systems

Development Background
Liquid analysers are used in the oil, petrochemical, iron and steel, electric power, and water supply and wastewater treatment industries to control the quality of raw materials and products, monitor reactions, and manage the wastewater treatment process. The properties of certain solutions may cause damage to or foul the sensors in these analysers and thus adversely affect measurement accuracy, so sensor calibration is required on a regular basis. However, conditions vary and it is not always safe or convenient to perform the calibration work on-site, which usually requires a converter to store data and the use of standard calibration solutions. There is a need to move this work to a safer location and also reduce measurement downtime.

Masatoshi Nakahara, Senior Vice President of the Industrial Automation Platform Business Headquarters, said, “To improve quality and production efficiency at our customers’ plants, it is crucial not only to improve plant facilities but also to keep measuring instruments in optimal condition for long-term stable operation. The newly developed digital SENCOM sensor will help customers improve maintenance efficiency and reduce costs. As part of our VigilantPlant initiative, Yokogawa will continue to develop and offer solutions that help its customers achieve the ideal plant.”

Product Features
1. Better working conditions / reduced measurement downtime
The FU20F pH/ORP SENCOM sensor is able to process digital signals and store digital information, including calibration data. Using either the SPS24 PC software or an FLXA21 transmitter, it can do offline calibration of these sensors in a laboratory, where working conditions are optimal. In addition, the ability to swap out the FU20F and replace it with a calibrated sensor on site will significantly reduce measurement downtime.

2. Quick and efficient calibration
With the SPS24 software, it will be possible to simultaneously calibrate up to four SENCOM sensors, significantly shortening calibration time.

3. Efficient data management
The SPS24 software features an integrated database capable of storing data for up to 100 SENCOM sensors. This enables predictive maintenance, allowing service staff to identify when sensor maintenance and/or replacement is required. In addition, there is no longer the need to go on-site to obtain the data stored on a converter.

*“SENCOM” comes from the phrase “SENsors with COMmunication,” which emphasises the data storage capability of these sensors. Yokogawa Electric Corporation and its subsidiary Yokogawa Europe B.V. (headquartered in the Netherlands), have jointly developed the SENCOM platform for their customers to increase maintenance efficiency and reduce cost of ownership.
Following the introduction of the FU20F, which is the first sensor to be offered based on the SENCOM platform, Yokogawa will expand the SENCOM series lineup by adding products that support four-wire liquid analysers and thereby widen the scope of measurement.

Analyser manufacturer in Water, Agrochemical, Environmental & Pharma Sectors appoints distributor!

OI Analytical (a Xylem brand!) has appointed Lab Solutions (previously Anaserv Ltd) as sole distributor for the company’s Automated Chemistry Analyser (ACA) line in both Britain and Ireland.

“We are very pleased to make this announcement,” said John Damiral, Sales Manager EMEAI for OI Analytical. “Lab Solutions is a specialist in ACA with over 20 years of experience in sales and customer support for methodologies covering ASTM/EPA and ISO standards in the Water, Agrochemical, Environmental and Pharmaceutical sectors.

“Lab Solutions is the ideal partner because many of their customers require dedicated support from their team of analysts who are able to help convert a specific application or method for the OI Analytical range of Chemistry Analysers.”

Monday 28 October 2013

New member of imaging sales force!

Laith Marmash has joined Stemmer Imaging's British sales force. With more than ten years experience in various project management, sales and business development roles, Laith has a strong technical background in vision systems, automation control and coding and marking technology. His appointment reflects Stemmers’s policy of providing the highest level of support for its customers.

Laith Marmash
Laith has worked for both AB Controls and Cognex, with a special focus on the automotive, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. He will now work closely with Stemmer’s partners and integrators within these sectors.

Mark Williamson, Director – Corporate Market Development at Stemmer, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Laith to the UK team. He has exactly the right blend of skills that we were looking for. He has worked on various vision projects from the shop floor to board level in many manufacturing industries and with ‘household name’ companies. He is equally happy working with OEM partners, distributors and system integrators. This, combined with his ability to both manage existing projects and develop new business, makes him a valuable addition to the sales team.”

Environment Agencies build new technology into rain monitoring network!

As parts of England suffer from extreme weather conditions with rain and storm winds wreaking havoc over large swaths of the southern shires and counties it is appropriate indeed to share this item about a precipitation monitoring technology that performs particularly well during periods of high intensity rain.

During recent trials conducted by the British Environment Agency (EA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), in cooperation with the British Met Office, OTT Hydrometry’s Pluvio2 raingauge exceeded the target performance requirements of the assessment and over 100 units have now been purchased by the EA. As a result, the quality of monitoring data has been improved and the cost of running the more remote sites has been significantly reduced because site visits are only necessary once or twice per year, instead of quarterly, which is the normal requirement for tipping bucket raingauges.

The OTT Pluvio2 operates on a weighing measuring principle which ensures that it can measure precipitation accurately and reliably in all weather conditions, while requiring minimal maintenance.

The EA’s Dave Stewart has been responsible for the implementation of Pluvio2 into the Agency’s network. He says: “Initial results look promising; the Pluvio2 is proving to be very reliable, so we have been able to reduce the frequency with which we have to make site visits. This is particularly advantageous with remote sites where we are making considerable savings in time and travel; payback periods vary from almost immediate, up to several years.”

Large European grant for work on water!

Intellisondes selected by ‘SmartWater4Europe’ project

The European Commission has awarded a €6m grant to the SmartWater4Europe project led by the Dutch water company Vitens; a consortium of 21 organisations, of which Intellitect Water is one.

John Howell, Sales Director of Intellitect Water, is delighted with his company’s inclusion: “By developing and implementing intelligent drinking water supply networks, the project aims to demonstrate the advantages of the water quality data that the Intellisonde generates in the understanding of water networks to ultimately make operational network improvements.

“Naturally, we are excited to be involved in the project, because it provides a high profile opportunity to demonstrate the improvements in water quality, operational efficiency and customer service that are made possible by in-pipe monitoring.”

Intellitect’s contribution to the project will involve the installation of Intellisondes in the Vitens’ distribution network (“Innovation Playground”) involving around 2,300 km of pipe and serving approximately 200,000 consumers. Each Intellisonde will feature a full suite of sensors for monitoring Free Chlorine, Mono-Chloramine, Dissolved Oxygen, pH/ORP, Conductivity, Pressure, Temperature, Turbidity and Flow. In addition to internal datalogging, the sondes will transmit data in real time to Intellitect Waters’ data hub.

The project brings together public and private water operators, research organisations and smart technology providers in a bid to design the drinking water supply system of the future.

“The current method of water supply and distribution is outdated, reactive and certainly not intelligent,” explains Erik Driessen, Vitens’ Innovation Manager. “For example, we take samples, and the lab tells us a day later that the water consumed yesterday was OK. This is not how it should be in the future.”

The project evolved after Vitens, which had already conducted a pilot project, joined forces with three other sites across Europe which were also trialling smart water technologies.

The sites include: Acciona Agua’s demonstration site in the city of Caceres in Spain, which is located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the University of Lille’s campus at Villeneuve d’Ascq in France and a Thames Water network in the heart of London.

SmartWater4Europe is a 4 year project, beginning in December 2013, and the overall aim is to make a business case for smart water supply networks across Europe. However, John Howell says: “The Intellisondes will be installed from the beginning of 2014, so Vitens will be able to focus on exploiting the benefits that smart data provides.”

Enabling instrumentation monitoring over the web!

Web server allows remote instrumentation data to be viewed on tablets, iPads and smart phones

Mantracourt have announced the latest version of their T24LOG100 instrumentation monitoring software. This version includes advanced features such as a web server that allows remote viewing of instrumentation data to on tablets, iPads and smart phones.

The software is a data logging package that can handle up to 100 channels of wireless instrumentation data simultaneously whilst also offering a range of sophisticated features that will enable users to optimise system monitoring. Its display is customisable, so that it can be branded with company colours and logo, and licenced for distribution.

"The new web server facility will enable users to view the data online, wherever they have access to their network," said Jonathan Purdue, Business Development Manager at Mantracourt. “Users will now have the freedom to monitor sensors and installations when on the move and on-site.”

The software offers a dynamic summary web page view of the configured channels. The built in web server allows the user to add their own custom web pages.
The Mantracourt T24 wireless telemetry range is a flexible low power radio system designed to enable the transmission of high accuracy measurement data from load cells, inclinometers, accelerometers, temperature, displacement and pressure sensors. With a combination of transmitter and receiver technologies, engineers are able to remotely monitor instrumentation readings.

Mantracourt’s new version of the T24LOG100 instrumentation monitoring software also includes a graphical / mapping capability.

Supporting a wide range of image formats the software allows users to build graphically rich representations of their system.

"The new mapping facility will enable users to create a visual representation of their channels," concluded Jonathan Purdue.

UK Connector manufacturer Intelliconnect doubles sales in 2012/13

RF and Waterproof connector manufacturer Intelliconnect has doubled its order book in the year to August 2013 compared to the previous 12 months.

“Our outstanding increase in sales marks the culmination of a great deal of hard work,” comments Roy Philips, Managing Director of Intelliconnect (Europe). “We have introduced a number of important new products, enhanced and relocated our cable assembly capability, made significant investments in design, manufacturing and test equipment and worked hard on growing our market share.”

Intelliconnect premises in Corby Northants
Intelliconnect have continued to grow their business in Britain while winning major orders in Australia, France, Israel and India. Their USA sister company continues to have healthy sales and is well positioned for future growth.

Intelliconnect are to making a number of significant connector product launches during the next 12 months aimed at the European medical and test and measurement markets as well as continuing to serve the valuable SCADA, defence and marine product areas.

Philips continues. “We have a very wide standard product range many of which are available from stock and our market leading seven week turnaround time for customer connector designs offers our customers reductions in product development lead-times and cost savings.

The Intelliconnect cable assembly facility in Northamptonshire (GB), produces affordable, high quality high frequency microwave cables, high specification triaxial assemblies and semi-rigids as well as the standard RG/LMR type products. Cable assemblies may be waterproofed to IP68 and special features including phase matching, high frequency operation and ruggedised assemblies for use in harsh environments are on offer.

Updated solution improves tracking & managing software and licenses

A new version of Wonderware Software Asset Manager, which automatically locates and inventories Wonderware licenses has been issued. Once the inventory of licenses is generated, the solution then automatically identifies, downloads and distributes relevant patches and software updates.

Product overview:
Wonderware Software Asset Manager tracks
& manages users’ software & licenses.
Wonderware Software Asset Manager offers a centralised infrastructure to view and report on Wonderware software and licenses. It automates a client’s patch management strategy and is delivered as a non-intrusive, highly secure, portable service that can be used without impacting system performance or interrupting production. Wonderware Software Asset Manager is available through the company’s Customer FIRST Support and Services Program, a portfolio of comprehensive technical support, software maintenance and professional services. With Wonderware Software Asset Manager, clients can conveniently and confidently know they are running the latest versions of their Wonderware software, reducing ownership cost, improving enterprise health and enhancing planning capabilities.

Key enhancements:
• Continues to be available as part of Premium and Elite Customer FIRST memberships, but now is additionally available for purchase by Standard Customer FIRST members as an agreement option;
• Works as a stand-alone, disconnected environment-- clients can simply download the software and run it without further interaction with Invensys;
• Offers improved usability, including installation, configuration and deployment:
- User-friendly Installation Wizard eliminates manual activities and speeds configuration;
- Error Log is now conveniently visible directly from the client;
- Online Agent provides troubleshooting and self-diagnostics for quick deployment issue resolution;
• Support the latest Microsoft OS and SQL technologies;
• Detects hot fixes and security patches to ensure proper system application.

Friday 25 October 2013

1.5 million valve controllers!

The process industry’s use of Emerson Process Management’s Fisher FIELDVUE digital valve controller continues to grow as aggregate sales jumped to over 1.5-million shipped worldwide.   

Introduced in 1994, the FIELDVUE product line, with its innovative digital communication and diagnostic capabilities, has helped accelerate the process industry’s move to valve-related digital instrumentation.  

FIELDVUE digital valve controllers prove highly suited to a wide variety of industries and applications where they provide reliable, unmatched valve operation. FIELDVUE instruments provide consistent and predictable information on valve assembly performance and condition, helping operators improve plant performance.

"FIELDVUE instruments have become the industry standard and have made Emerson the market leader in the digital control of valve operation, diagnostics and predictive maintenance," said Bruce Grumstrup, Emerson’s vice president for FIELDVUE and positioning instruments. 

"Today, the capabilities of the FIELDVUE family of instruments have become extremely diverse, including nuclear-certified, natural gas approved, remote mount, and safety-instrumented systems," said Grumstrup. "The more we build into the instrument, the greater the application flexibility and customer interest we generate."  

Emerson was the first in the industry to introduce a loop-powered, digital valve controller with advanced control and diagnostic capabilities. Continued product development and increasing capabilities have contributed to increasingly widespread application.  

The latest generation of the FIELDVUE instrument line, the DVC6200 Series digital valve controller, features linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology that greatly extends system operating life by withstanding high levels of vibration, corrosion, or material entrapment. 

User benefits include the availability of equipment alerts that notify of pending issues, automated configuration, calibration and tuning, and access to advanced levels of valve assembly diagnostics. With the self-diagnostic capability of the FIELDVUE digital valve controller, questions about valve performance can be answered without pulling the valve from the line.

The DVC6200 series is offered with ATEX, CSA, IECEx, and FM hazardous area approvals as well as other certifications/approvals. It is also listed in the Lloyd’s Register for industrial, marine and offshore use. 

Position transmitter for simple stroke measuring & feedback!

Festo has launched a new range of pneumatic cylinder position transmitters, the programmable SDAT-MHS.  Economic and easy to set up, the high performance pneumatic cylinder mounted sensors give accurate position feedback over stroke lengths up to 160mm, enabling engineers and machine builders to gain position feedback and conduct simple object measurement or identification.
There are five transmitters available with 50, 80, 100, 125 and 160mm sensing ranges. They offer excellent repeatability, measuring absolute values such as lengths, thicknesses and heights, and are therefore ideal for process monitoring and object detection, for example for monitoring components and displacements in applications such as assembly, riveting, ultrasonic welding, pressing or adhesive bonding.

Typically two cylinder switches are used in basic pneumatic ‘end-to-end ‘movement applications, but for multiple positions or intermediate positions multiple switches and PLC inputs are required to detect and interpret the position.  Now, with the new SDAT-MHS, engineers and machine builders need only one transmitter, which enables them to save significant installation time. 

SDAT-MHS can be set up with analogue current output 4-20mA, a switching output and an IO-Link combined in a single device. As a result, users can benefit from maximum flexibility in their choice of signal processing method with just one device. 

A simple interface allows up to four channels to be programmed in IO-Link mode.  This means that almost all applications can be controlled without having to program the analogue input of the PLC.

SDAT-MHS is the only position transmitter of its type that is IP65 rated, therefore providing excellent protection against the ingress of dust and water in more demanding application areas.  In addition, the transmitters feature three LEDs which uniquely help with set up and alert the user if they are within or outside the measuring range. The transmitters can be fitted easily to any cylinder with a T-slot and are available with up to 20m of cable.

“With our new SDAT-MHS position transmitters it’s now possible to measure longer stroke lengths, extending the scope for pneumatic cylinders being used as measuring devices giving accurate closed-loop position feedback,” says Steve Sands, Product Manager at Festo.  “We’re delighted to extend our range of cylinder mounted sensors. The ease of set-up compared with individual switches or older designs provides a far more elegant and cost saving alternative."

Environment for modeling, testing and system checkout prior to start-up.

Invensys has released its SimSci SCP270, included in the Dynamic Simulation Suite (DSS), replacing FSIM Plus.

SCP270 software provides Foxboro I/A Series and Foxboro Evo control system users with a comprehensive environment for modeling, testing and system checkout prior to start-up. The software allows for efficient operator training, control systems validation and enhanced plant performance.

Product overview:
SCP270 software, part of the company’s Dynamic Simulation Suite, is a “virtual stimulation” of Invensys’ Foxboro I/A Series distributed control and Foxboro Evo process control systems. Combined with capability from its DYNSIM modeling software, SCP270 software is delivered as part of a turnkey OTS from Invensys. SCP270 software dramatically reduces start-up and commissioning times, helping to drive significant cost savings. The software also improves operator training for better plant performance. Operators can use the process model to run through a variety of scenarios, testing operator response and reaction time.

Key new features:
• Dramatically reduces start-up and commissioning times, providing significant cost savings;
• Accurately analyses and troubleshoots control logic response and performance of the company’s I/A Series and Foxboro Evo control systems;
• Based on a standard programming interface allowing for easy integration with any simulation.
Key capabilities:
• Uses the same communication protocol and connects to the same hardware and software as the Foxboro I/A Series and Foxboro Evo CP270;
• Offers a small hardware footprint;
• Supports other control software, including Triconex, Rockwell, Emerson, Siemens, GE, Yokogawa, as well as many other PLC, SIS, DCS and third-party simulation software.

Connector provides reliable transmission of energy, signals & data over all power ranges!

The new Harting Han® PushPull Signal connector provides reliable transmission of energy, signals and data over all power ranges, consistently and in a uniform package profile.

The connector has ten contacts, each with a rated current of 5 A, for use with conductors with wiring gauges of up to 0.75 mm². To ensure EMC interference immunity, the contact inserts are fully screened, as they are with RJ45 data connectors, and screened cables can be connected. PushPull locking is incorporated for reliable and intuitive connection, and perfect locking is indicated by an audible click.

The PushPull Signal connector can also be used for hybrid applications, with one part of a connector face used for energy transmission and other contacts available for communication signals. PushPull Signal connectors are available in the PushPull 14 and 4 version series in accordance with IEC 61076-6-107.

Han® PushPull version 14 is the preferred connector for decentralised automation in the field for data transmission and energy supply according to the guidelines of the PROFIBUS user organisation (PNO) and the automation initiative of German automobile manufacturers (AIDA).

Thursday 24 October 2013

Among the World’s Top 10 best multinational workplaces

For the third consecutive year, the Great Place to Work® Institute has ranked National Instruments among the top 25 multinational companies to work for in the world. This year’s “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces” list ranks NI at number nine. This honour is a testament to NI’s commitment to creating exceptional workplaces worldwide. 

“NI’s long-term management approach, known as the 100-year plan, recognises that our employee contributions directly impact our key stakeholders’ success and are critical to NI’s overall growth, creating a great work environment and developing rewarding careers for our employees,” said Dr. James Truchard, CEO, President and Cofounder of National Instruments. 

Dr James Truchard, co-founder NI
FORTUNE has named NI among the nation’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 14 years and the Great Place to Work Institute has recognised NI branches including China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the U.K. 

NI employees make products that accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery for engineers and scientists solving the world’s grand challenges. Because of NI employees’ work building the tools of scientific discovery, customers are working to break the world land speed record, monitor smart grids more efficiently and launch rockets into space. 

“Our employees are our greatest competitive differentiator,” said Mark Finger, Vice President of Human Resources at National Instruments. “Repeatedly receiving this type of recognition both globally and nationally reinforces our commitment to creating meaningful jobs and careers for our employees.” 

As NI has grown to over 7,000 employees in almost 50 countries, the company’s culture has spread beyond Austin headquarters to each of the branch offices. NI invests in its people and is committed to being a stable employer despite trying economic times. 

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Mobile App includes pressure ratings

Brennan Industries has expanded its mobile application that provides easy access to the Brennan product catalog and product cross-reference tool, to include pressure ratings for more than 6,000 parts in more than 330 popular series.

The mobile app, optimized for iPhone and Android devices, now includes pressure ratings in PSI or bar units for many Brennan products, as well as the ability for users to search for ratings by series or part number. The mobile app, originally introduced in 2012, gives users quick access to more than 30,000 Brennan products, product comparison information and the company’s contact information.

“Pressure ratings are important for our customers’ applications, so putting that information at their fingertips is one way that Brennan can make their jobs a little easier,” said Bill Jarrell, vice president of marketing and operations at Brennan Industries. “Especially when they are using their smartphones out in the field.”
The pressure rating product search is also available on mobile and desktop browsers. They also provide a demo video showing how the App works.

The app features an easy-to-navigate product catalog that is broken down by categories and includes specifications for each product. The app also offers a product cross-reference tool that allows users to compare Brennan products side-by-side with competitors’ products to determine the best value. Users who want more information about Brennan or how to contact the company can find their nearest location, contact phone number and email address and a Brennan overview video conveniently through the app.

Nuclear Excellence Centre in France

New centre dedicated to engineering, services and training, will help end users in the nuclear industry improve maintenance operations, increasing safety and availability 

Emerson Process Management has opened a Nuclear Excellence Centre dedicated to engineering, services and training for Fisher® valves. The new centre at Emerson’s valve manufacturing facility in Cernay (F), will offer end users and engineering and safety authorities in the nuclear industry, a range of specialist training courses and expanded lifecycle care services for Fisher valves and Emerson instrumentation for nuclear applications. The support and training will help operators of nuclear plants across Europe, CIS and Asia improve the availability and reliability of their plants.

Fisher control valve maintenance training
Expanding on the maintenance training already being provided at customer sites, Emerson will offer training courses at the new purpose-built centre. On-site facilities include a dedicated environment replicating valves installed in a nuclear power plant. This training provides best practices and procedures for maintaining nuclear certified Fisher devices. 

"Employee safety is critical in the nuclear industry so efficient maintenance procedures are essential to minimise turnaround times," said Olivier Royer, nuclear services manager, Emerson Process Management. "The new centre enables valve maintenance training to be performed away from restricted areas of the plant, but in a realistic setting that enables trainees to experience typical maintenance issues in a controlled environment." 

These tailor-made solutions from Emerson have been expanded to meet the growing demand for specialist training to help replace the skills and knowledge being lost in the industry. Certified to ISO 29990, the training modules are designed to ensure that personnel can perform predictive and preventive maintenance in compliance with AP913 guidelines. The systematic usage of diagnostic devices, such as the Fisher Flowscanner™ and Fisher FIELDVUE™ digital valve controllers, is an important part of the training to help users understand failure phenomena analysis and optimise material life.

"Within the French nuclear power installed base, over 50 days of production are lost due to unsafe valve maintenance. This is often caused by a lack of expertise and Emerson’s reliable predictive maintenance solution and remote technical assistance is playing a key role in increasing productivity for the nuclear end-user," added Royer. "Support provided by Fisher service engineers is helping to reduce valve failures, increasing installation safety and ensuring end users achieve ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) - a major commitment to minimise the exposure time of employees to radiation." 

"The new Excellence Centre at Cernay is part of several key initiatives to continually enhance and upgrade Emerson’s global nuclear expertise, and is committed to customer needs," said Jean-Pierre Bruyère, director for Emerson’s Fisher European nuclear business unit. "Combining highly qualified trainers with nuclear product experts provides a valuable service for nuclear customers."

Taking advantage of the latest mobile worker technologies and using images from webcams at the centre in Cernay, Emerson also offers interactive remote maintenance support. This allows a field technician with limited experience or located in a remote area to obtain real-time audio/video guidance from an expert to diagnose, repair or replace critical pieces of equipment without the need to bring that expert to the site. 

In addition to the extensive resources available at Cernay, a European team of 100 employees, fully dedicated to the nuclear industry, is available to provide expertise to end-users on all safety-related functions from RFQ to valve dismantling, and proving a complete integrated loop.

In addition to maintenance and maintenance training, the Cernay centre provides FAT (Factory Acceptance Testing) for its complete range of nuclear products including Fisher valves and digital controllers, Topworx® valve control and positioning systems and Rosemount® instrumentation.

LIMS customer survey results announced!

Autoscribe has recently conducted a satisfaction survey with its Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) customers worldwide. 

Their CEO, John Boother, said: “Producing management software suitable for use in wide and varied laboratory environments requires much more than just programming skills. We wanted to understand our customers’ feelings about all the aspects of our business, from the sales experience through implementation and support services as well as the quality of the software itself.” 

While careful attention is being paid to the response to every single question in the survey, they were heartened by the overall levels of satisfaction expressed by its customers. When asked what they saw for the future of the Matrix Gemini LIMS in their organisation based on their needs and experiences of the product, over 90% of the respondents said that they would either continue as they are, expand use to other departments or sites, add more licences or upgrade the current version.

By far and away the most popular feature of Matrix is its flexibility and ease of configuration according to the survey and almost half of the respondents make use of the web-based user interface which is supplied as standard. Sales assistance, implementation services, support services together with software quality and reliability all received very similar high scores.

“Only by listening to customers’ opinions can we understand where we should concentrate our efforts to improve”, continued Boother. “We felt the survey was very representative, covering many geographic areas and a wide range of laboratory sizes, with some handling as few as 250 samples a month and others handling up to 75000 samples per month so we were particularly delighted to hear that 81% of respondents would recommend Matrix to another user.”

Rittal ready for the cold! #Enclosures

Enclosure heaters can prevent the temperature of delicate electronic equipment from falling to a level at which condensation occurs and is arguably as important as providing cooling during warmer periods.

Rittal’s enclosure heaters with fans have capacities in the range 250 W to 800 W and the smaller heaters, without fans, have an output range of 10 W to 150 W. Providing a high level of energy efficiency due to the incorporation of self-regulating positive temperature coefficient (PTC) technology, the heaters benefit from a development using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and a compact physical size that belies their heating performance.

Positioned anywhere inside the enclosure, Rittal heaters may be fitting being either by snap-fastening onto 35mm support rails or direct screw-fixing onto TS 8 punched frame sections. Quick and easy assembly is completed using clamp-type wiring terminals.

Control is effected simply by the inclusion of a thermostat or hygrostat in the supply to the heater, ensuring that either a minimum temperature is maintained or maximum relative humidity is not exceeded.
Rittal’s enclosure heaters are now available with CSA approval and can be installed on systems for export to Canada.

Fluorescence spectrometer

Edinburgh Instruments has launched a new fluorescence spectrometer, the FS5, a fully integrated steady state spectrometer with single photon sensitivity, designed for the research and analytical market. The FS5 has a number of features that are unique in its class of fluorescence spectrometers they include: Ultimate single photon sensitivity throughout the specified spectral range, high data acquisition speed, comprehensive yet easy to operate software and an unmatched range of plug and play sample cassette options.

In addition to the standard version, the FS5 is offered with a number of options:

·        FS5-NIR with an extended wavelength coverage to 1000nm while maintaining the specified sensitivity in the UV and visible spectral range
·        FS5-MCS, a phosphorescence lifetime option with a lifetime range of microseconds-to-seconds
·        FS5-TCSPC, a fully integrated lifetime option for the measurement of fluorescence lifetimes from picoseconds to microseconds by Time Correlated Single Photon Counting
·        FS5-POL with fully automated polarisers in excitation and emission
·        Two further advanced options are available with an extended wavelength range to 1650nm and with time resolution down to 50ps.

The new FS5 is an extension of Edinburgh Instruments’ portfolio of state-of-the-art and reliable spectrometer products. The instrument has been designed with the background of more than 35 years of experience in the field of fluorescence spectroscopy, and is manufactured at the company’s base in the UK.

Commenting on the new product launch, Mark Vosloo, CEO of Edinburgh Instruments said:

“The FS5 opens up new market opportunities for Edinburgh Instruments. We have taken a new and fresh approach to analytical instrumentation and aim to satisfy the growing need for high performance but affordable research tools.”