Tuesday 31 December 2013

The First XV for 2013!

These are the most visited stories/papers on the Read-out Signpost during the year 2013. we present them in order (Most visited at top of list) and without comment. We allow the statistics to speak for themselves!)

  • What's best for preserving wine!

  • Test Equipment in CIS region

  • Radar level measurement best practice

  • Thinking big with improved data partnership

  • Static earthing protection for road tankers

  • Delivering operational excellence forum

  • Process control system improves production processes in the dairy industry!

  • Wireless strain gauge sensors

  • New Test + Measurement Catalogue

  • Developing a 3D optical surface profilometer

  • Analysis Forum draws 400 attendees

  • First past the post

  • Emerson raises the bar in Baar!

  • ICS & SCADA Security

  • Power Supplies ex stock 

  • Which was your favourite story?

    Control systems training!

    ISC will be holding a Robust and Reliable Control Systems Design Training Course on the 4th till the 6th of February 2014  in Glasgow (GB).

    This course illustrates the basic concepts of robust and reliable systems and the problems associated with multivariable control systems design.

    Control techniques such as Predictive Control, Linear-Quadratic Optimal Control, H-infinity Control, Loop Shaping and QFT are all covered in the lectures. Fault tolerant and reconfiguration control are also included in this course; together with state estimation using Kalman filters for both control and fault detection. The lectures are reinforced by Hands-On simulation and design examples that provide practical experience of the concepts covered. Computer design packages that simplify the design process are demonstrated.

    An Early Bird Discount is available if registration is completed 4 weeks before the scheduled start date of the training course.

    Monday 23 December 2013

    Wiring system

    Rittal’s wiring system for Ri4Power facilitates vertical and horizontal cable routing in conjunction with internal Form 2-4 separation.

    Where vertical cable routing is required pre-punched cut-outs are provided in the mounting brackets for compartment dividers, which can easily be knocked out and used to install a vertical wiring channel.

    Horizontal cable routing occurs behind the front trim panels. This entails fitting a wiring trim panel suitable for accommodating a wiring channel while, at the same time, concealing the busbar system.

    Rittal’s wiring trim panel consists of an inner front cover of the main busbar system with the option of mounting a wiring channel size 40 x 20 mm (W x D). For use in Ri4Power switchgear with 300 mm high front trim panels, the wiring trim increases the flexibility of the Ri4Power system and makes control gear cabling easier.

    Friday 20 December 2013

    Hall Effect sensors!

    Internal pull-up Resister Design Cuts Costs by Simplifying Installation and Eliminating the Need for External Components, Eliminating the Need for Chopper Stabilization Results in a Clean Output Signal

    Honeywell Sensing and Control’s new SS360PT and SS460P High Sensitivity Latching Hall-Effect Sensor ICs with Built-in Pull-up Resistors are high performance yet economical sensor ICs well-suited for demanding, cost-sensitive high-volume applications, such as commuting brushless DC motors used for medical equipment and appliances as well as for flow-rate sensing, speed and RPM sensing, tachometers, counter pickups, motor and fan controls.

    The SS360PT/SS460P Hall-Effect sensors provide reliable switching points with a high magnetic sensitivity of 30 Gauss typical, at 25 °C [77 °F], and 55 Gauss maximum over the full -40 °C to 125 °C [-40 °F to 257 °F] temperature range, allowing for the use of smaller magnets or a wider air gap. These sensor ICs do not use chopper stabilization on the Hall element, providing a cleaner output signal and a faster latch response time when compared to competitive, chopper-stabilized, high sensitivity Hall-effect bipolar latching sensor ICs. Latching magnetics make these sensors well-suited for accurate speed sensing and RPM (revolutions per minute) measurement. See a test comparison white paper (pdf).

    The sub-miniature, SOT-23 surface mount package (SS360PT) allows for compact design with automated component placement. The small, leaded, flat TO-92-style package (SS460P) allows for a compact PC board layout design. Wide operating voltage range of 3 Vdc to 24 Vdc provides for potential use in a wide range of applications. Built-in reverse voltage capability enhances the protection of the sensor and the circuits, and the robust design allows operation up to 125 °C [257 °F].

    “The new SS360PT and SS460P are the industry’s best solutions for brushless dc motor manufacturers that need latching sensors with reliable, consistent performance,” said Joshua Edberg, senior global marketing manager in the Magnetic Sensors division at Honeywell Sensing and Control. “Honeywell’s new High Sensitivity Hall-Effect Latching Sensor ICs with built-in pull-up resistors are less costly and more compact for brushless motor designs.”

    These Hall-Effect devices are available in two package styles: the SS360PT in the miniature SOT-23 surface mount package and the SS460P in the leaded, flat TO-92-style package. The SS360PT is supplied on tape and reel (3000 units per reel). The SS460P is available in a bulk package (1000 units per bag).

    Under one roof! #PAuto

    Servomex has relocated its Americas business headquarters to a brand new, custom-built facility. This is a significant investment driven by an increase in demand for Servomex’s best-in-class, systems integration products and after sales service and support.

    Martin Cox, General Manager for Servomex Americas, said: “The move represents a substantial investment in our future within the region and is the first stage of our Americas business growth strategy. The new facility is wholly equipped to undertake the very largest systems integration projects, bringing our world-class consultation, design, products and assembly for safety critical integration to an even broader customer base. The facility also includes a brand new on-site service center that will further enhance customer after sales support experience. It is the evolution of the business philosophy of Servomex in Houston.”

    In addition to an impressive 14,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art workshop facility and warehousing space, the new headquarters includes 10,000 sq. ft. of office space, centralizing the entire business process from engineering, sales and marketing, through to customer service, training and delivery. The result is extensive internal collaboration throughout the business, generating significant process efficiency improvements, critical as the business continues to expand.

    Customers, channel partners and staff are already benefitting at every level. In particular, the introduction of a single distribution center has focused on reducing delivery times and the introduction of a centralized, sophisticated communications system ensures internal collaboration with Servomex counterparts worldwide in order for customers to benefit from the company’s vast global expertise. Meanwhile, brand new integrated training facilities and conference areas enhance the training experience.

    Cox adds: “We are extremely proud to be able to offer class leading expertise in the design, manufacture and delivery of the most reliable and accurate systems integration projects. Working with our sales and technical teams, customer’s needs are assessed on a ‘whole life system’ basis that spans the initial assessment through to installation, commissioning and an on-going programme of maintenance and support, an approach which is unrivalled.”

    Miniature triaxial accelerometers can take the heat!

    With an operating temperature range from -54°C to +165°C, the Type 8766A miniature triaxial accelerometers from Kistler Instruments  are ideal for use in harsh environments such as automotive engine bay and under vehicle measurements, aerospace subsystem vibration testing and industrial quality control applications.

    The four models in the range, ±50g, ±100g, ±250g and ±500g, use the Kistler PiezoStar® shear element design which provides a wide operating frequency range and outstanding long term precision and stability. The sensor design combines PiezoStar® crystals and integral hybrid microelectronics to achieve very low sensitivity variation over the wide operating temperature range, compared with quartz and ceramic sensing element designs. The hermitically sealed, welded titanium, ground isolated, IP68 housing permits operation in harsh, dirty or wet environments and a TEDS (Transducer Electronics Data Sheet) option is available to simplify installation and set-up.

    Mounting by a central tapped hole on each of three sides of the cube design gives maximum mounting flexibility and allows the miniature 4-pin ceramic connector to be positioned throughout 360 Deg for convenient cable orientation. Alternatively, wax, adhesive or magnetic mounting may be used where stud mounting is not possible. The Type 8766A triaxial accelerometers can be powered by any industry standard IEPE (Integrated Electronic Piezoelectric) compatible power source.

    Photoelectric and ultrasonic sensors with the same design!

    The story of the new performance class continues to be written. With the U500 sensor, Baumer has now expanded the portfolio of NextGen sensors to include ultrasonic technology. The new sensors are identical in design and size with their series O500 electronic counterparts. This OneBox design also applies to every available sensor principle and offers the user maximum flexibility during the planning phase.

    Also with subsequent modifications in a system's requirements profile, the sensors can be exchanged quickly and easily without any additional conversion measures. In addition to the U500 and O500, the smaller O300 completes Baumer's new performance category for applications with limited space.

    While the photoelectric sensors are predestined for applications with very small objects and high speed thanks to their precise light spot, the great advantage of ultrasonic sensors is that they detect almost every object. They do not depend on color, characteristics or transparency, even under harsh conditions with large amounts of dirt.

    The U500 has a special place in the range of ultrasonic sensors due to its versatile performance. With 1000 mm, it offers the longest range in its class, with many application possibilities. The fast response time also increases flexibility in applications. A further advantage is the narrow, symmetrical sonic beam. It has a diameter of only 80 mm at an object distance of 500 mm. This allows the U500 to be used in applications with very cramped spaces.

    Furthermore, the sensor is distinguished by extraordinary reliability, which is based on large excess gain. Reliable operation is therefore guaranteed. The robust housing (IP67) and new transducer also contribute to making the U500 an extremely resilient sensor. It is unaffected by dirt, water droplets or even cleaning agents. The versatility is also shown by the availability of the U500 in three sensor principles: As a proximity switch, distance measuring sensor and reflective light barrier.

    Industry software portfolio enhanced!

    Acquisition of proven leader in software integration will ensure seamless interoperability of Siemens PLM with ERP, MES, CRM and SCM

    Siemens is to acquire TESIS PLMware, a recognised leader in the integration of product lifecycle management (PLM) software with other enterprise applications. The acquisition will further enhance Siemens' industry software portfolio.

    Chuck Grindstaff, president & 
    CEO, Siemens PLM Software
    TESIS PLMware helps customers improve IT costs and efficiency by providing a proven solution for the integration of Siemens' Teamcenter® software with the world's leading ERP systems and other enterprise applications such as MES, CRM and SCM. TESIS PLMware will, after closing, be assigned to Siemens PLM Software, a business unit of the Siemens Industry Automation Division. The agreement includes the acquisition of Munich based TESIS PLMware GmbH and its US business. Terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed.

    Enterprise software integration, particularly PLM/ERP interoperability, is critical to achieving the seamless and efficient flow of information exchange companies require to keep costs in control and remain competitive. With the acquisition of TESIS PLMware, an important partner of Siemens PLM Software since 1992, Siemens is helping ensure that its customers will continue to seamlessly assimilate the Teamcenter PLM portfolio into their global product development and manufacturing environments.

    "Siemens is committed to delivering best in class solutions that help our customers, and the next generation of manufacturers, efficiently bring innovative products to market," said Chuck Grindstaff, president and CEO, Siemens PLM Software. "With the acquisition of TESIS PLMware, Siemens is further expanding its portfolio of industry software. With stable and proven interfaces to the world's leading ERP systems, our PLM solutions are completely integrated into the enterprise software architecture of our customers. This makes them faster, more efficient, more flexible and more cost effective. Today's announcement is another important execution step in our strategy of focused acquisitions in the area of industry software."

    TESIS PLMware, a member of the TESIS group, was founded in 1988 as a consultancy and software company that helps medium and large manufacturing companies worldwide create integrated PLM landscapes and highly efficient product development processes.

    VA meter approved for hazardous areas!

    With the north american FM approvals for the ignition protection types „intrinsically safe“ (IS) and "non-incendive" (NI), Krohne has now received the last pending approvals for hazardous areas for the H250 M40 variable area flowmeter. Since its introduction in 2011, the H250 M40 has achieved more than 30 approvals worldwide for hazardous gas and dust areas, including ATEX, IECEx, usFMc, NEPSI, INMETRO, KGS, GOST-R and PESO/CCOE.

    H250 M40 combines the main types of explosion protection in one device: it can be used in any suitable application that requires intrinsically safe or non-incendive wiring strategies or as well for dust-ignition or explosion proof installations. Together with the worldwide approvals, the flowmeter is therefore the first choice for large international companies that have a stringent explosion protection strategy for all plants but also need the respective local approvals. The same goes for OEMs that can fulfill requirements of different customers with just one device.

    All available indicator variants can be supplied with all available approvals: starting with pure mechanical flow indicators, the devices can easily be upgraded with 1 or 2 limit switches (NAMUR, Transistor or Reed), a 4...20mA signal output with HART, a graphical LCD with totalizer and pulse output or finally with a digital, bus-powered communication interface according to FOUNDATION Fieldbus or PROFIBUS PA standard – all onsite, without interrupting the process. H250 M40 is also the first variable area flowmeter to offer a stainless steel housing with explosion proof (Ex d/XP) enclosure, dedicated for the oil&gas industry.

    All approvals can be publicly accessed via the Krohne download centre.

    Thursday 19 December 2013

    Versatile multi-platform machine vision software

    Stemmer offers an extraordinarily versatile imaging development environment for vision integrators. Sherlock, the advanced machine vision software interface from Teledyne DALSA is available for use on PC-based vision systems as well as in embedded versions for Boa smart cameras and the VA range of multi-camera industrial vision solutions. For added flexibility, hardware independent image acquisition for Sherlock can be provided through STEMMER IMAGING’s own Common Vision Blox imaging toolkit.

    Sherlock supports both monochrome and colour area and line scan cameras. Its rich suite of proven vision tools and advanced algorithms can be applied to a wide variety of automated inspection applications, while a wide choice of inspection region shapes and capabilities such as drag & drop and copy & paste provide extensive design flexibility. With Sherlock available across so many platforms, developers can choose the most appropriate imaging configuration for the application, with no compromise on measurement capabilities. 

    Standard tools within Sherlock include: search (pattern finding), ID readers, character readers (OCR), measurement and counting tools, contour tools, texture and colour classifiers. A variety of speciality tools have also been included to simplify difficult inspection tasks such as the inspection of beads of material or measuring the height profiles of parts using laser lines.

    STEMMER IMAGING’s Common Vision Blox (CVB) not only provides the possibility for hardware independent image acquisition, but also offers specialist tools that are available as plug-ins to the Sherlock environment. These include premium tools such as CVB Minos and CVB Manto. CVB Minos is one of the few decision tree pattern recognition tools on the market that uses real grey scale features. CVB Manto is a versatile software for the recognition and classification of objects that vary. CVB Manto is based on specially adapted technology from support vector technology. 

    Sherlock supports a variety of communication methods (I/O, serial, Ethernet/IP) and standard protocols such as Modbus and ProfiNet for easy factory integration.

    Solids volume and level instrumentation company acquired!

    New technology augments measurement instrumentation portfolio; helps operators accurately measure solids for improved process and inventory control

    APM Automation Solutions, a leading developer of solids volume and level measurement instrumentation, is to become part of the Emerson Process Management business. APM’s acoustic imaging and 3D mapping technologies take the guesswork out of measuring the level, volume and mass of bulk solids and powders stored inside a silo or open bin.

    “The APM acquisition is an exciting step as we move further into the solids measurement market,”
    said Tom Moser, group vice president of Emerson Process Management’s measurement and analytical businesses. “Our customers want to be able to go to a single source for liquids, gases and solids measurement instrumentation – now we can better deliver on that request. The addition of APM’s leading technology will enable Emerson to provide customers with a broad range of solids volume measurement options, from small bins up to very large bins and open piles.”
    APM Automation Solutions technology is used in food and beverage, metals and mining, power, chemical, pulp and paper, and other industries. For example, in ethanol production where grain is used as a feedstock and stored in irregularly shaped and difficult to measure piles in large silos, APM’s dust-penetrating technology maps multiple measurement points and generates an accurate reading of the content. This information helps operators to easily spot air pockets or clogging and measure volume for accurate process control, better inventory control, early warning of maintenance requirements, and improved safety.
    Emerson Process Management will expand its capabilities in solids measurement applications by adding these APM Automation Solutions technologies to its Rosemount® portfolio of measurement technologies. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

    News letter app

    PI (PROFIBUS & PROFINET International) presented its new "PROFINEWS" news app at this year's SPS/IPC/Drives. PROFINEWS, the international newsletter of PI, has been available for years in HTML version. Now it is also be available as an app. The PROFINEWS app can be downloaded free of charge for Apple and Android devices from the App Store and Google Play Store. Users can use the PROFINEWS app on smart phones or tablets.

    With the new PROFINEWS app, users will receive up-to-date information about PI and its technologies directly on their devices anytime anywhere in the world. Thanks to intuitive navigation and fast download times, readers can always catch up on the latest news quickly regardless of their location. A push notification service informs users automatically about important topics. Articles of interest can be shared directly with colleagues. In Tech Tips, readers will receive practical advice on the use of PI technologies from selected PI experts.

    The PROFINEWS app will become an indispensable information medium for the PI community as a PI Automation Guide. Members worldwide can publish product and company news in the PROFINEWS app quickly and easily reach a global audience with a single mouse clic

    HMI mobility examined in white paper!

    InduSoft, now part of Invensys, has published a White Paper titled “Remote Access, Any Time, Any Place” that discusses the importance of remote HMI connectivity, as well as the various technologies, such as browsers, smartphone apps and cloud-based solutions, used for retrieving data.

    In today’s highly automated plants headcounts are much smaller, yet operators, engineers and managers must respond faster to events. Fortunately, remote access tools are enabling them to effectively operate from anywhere inside or outside the plant.
    Unfortunately, apps are generally developed only for iPhones and iPads. The large number of Android and tablet manufacturers in the market has resulted in numerous operating systems and screen sizes, making developing an app for each one prohibitively costly.

    Remote access to HMI systems is typically achieved using the Internet, regardless of whether employees use a laptop or a smartphone. However, there is no single solution for all users. A browser works well for users with PCs, whose screens match the HMI screen.
    However, browser-based data retrieval is often unsuitable for handheld devices, such as tablets and smartphones. The download times are too long and the screen sizes don’t match. For these devices, inexpensive apps often provide a better choice.

    While there are many methods and devices for interacting with HMI data remotely, from smartphones to cloud computing, businesses must understand how each method works in order to select the best one for their needs.

    This White Paper will discuss how remote access is best achieved depending on the device type:
    ·         PC
    ·         iPad or iPhone
    ·         Smartphone or Tablet
    It will also examine the different methods for retrieving HMI data, such as browser-based access, apps and cloud computing.

    In addition, the paper shows how new technologies, such as HTML5 and cloud computing, are transforming remote access, making it easier and inexpensive. 

    Wednesday 18 December 2013

    ACM Facility Safety releases SafeGuard Profiler safety software #PAuto

    LOPA and SIL-Verification/Validation Packages to help process automation professionals design and evaluate plant safety systems.

    Process automation professionals are ultimately responsible for the safety systems in their plant, but often find that the design of these systems is a complex task. What’s needed is a software tool that will improve their design efforts in a systematic fashion, ensuring compliance with all relevant standards, and more importantly, ensuring a correctly designed system that will protect the plant.

    To address the challenge of designing safety systems, ACM Facility Safety introduces SafeGuard Profiler software, a design and analysis tool that speeds and simplifies safety system engineering and design.

    SafeGuard Profiler is a Safety Integrity Level (SIL) lifecycle tool that gives process automation professionals the information and the power they need to conduct successful engineering failure analysis, SIL Determination, SIL Verification/Validation (SIL-V), SIL Optimization and other related tasks.

    This tool provides a two-pronged approach to analysis of safety systems and processes, using a LOPA (Layer of Protection Analysis) module and a SIL-V software module for designing and evaluating SIL-rated systems. The two modules work together to help improve and maintain process plant applications at all stages of development.

    The LOPA module provides a Bowtie visualization which helps users graphically visualize an often complex analysis process rather than sifting through pages of spreadsheets and data tables. The Bowtie lets process automation professionals see how causes and consequences of hazardous events are connected in ways that traditional methods might miss.

    The SIL-V module helps with the design and optimization of safety instrumented functions (SIFs) to ensure that the system meets safety requirements under IEC 61511—ANSI /ISA 84.0. The module’s modeling engine can reduce design time by up to 50%, which translates into saving time and money during critical design phases.

    Additionally, it can help determine optimal voting and test frequency for a specific SIF. Users can select the desired Probability of Failure on Demand (PFD), and the system will automatically calculate the required test interval, failure rate, partial stroke test coverage and other parameters.

    SafeGuard Profiler also includes advanced reporting functions for customized layouts, and it supports the addition of imported external documents with each project. Compiled reports can be printed for presentation using company-defined formats.

    It is designed to simplify the often complex safety system analysis process, and potential users can further shorten the learning curve with training.  ACM offers a free 30-day trial of their software, supported by complimentary expert training at their headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, as well as live, web-based instruction and video training.

    Modules can be purchased separately, or purchased in an expert version which includes both modules along with all the functionality required for senior automation and controls professionals in an environment with a well-established safety culture.

    The expert version includes advanced reporting and an export to SafeGuard Sentinel, a PC-based software package from ACM which continuously measures, monitors, and alerts operations and management personnel to process safety risks, and delivers contingency plans that can be executed immediately in case of an event.

    Batch control system support! #PAuto

    Burkert  has launched a new system service for designing, manufacturing and commissioning packaged batch control solutions for use in markets such as hygienic processing, water treatment, brewing, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, medical/biomedical, chemicals - and many more.
    Burkert’s batch control solutions offer the advantages of integrating a world class range of fluid control products, with third-party products - where required - in systems that are bespoke to customer requirements, fully optimised for maximum performance and designed to meet specific sector requirements regarding hygiene.

    The batch control solutions are the result of Burkert’s unique ability to combine process and laboratory automation, valve elements, sensors, flowmeters, water treatment systems and networked communications into single source customised systems that deliver higher process efficiency and also higher yields with reduced waste.

    The scope of Burkert’s service involves complete project responsibility, from conception through design, manufacture, assembly and testing. It covers both small and large production runs, extends to integration of third-party equipment, and offers the key benefit of simplifying equipment designs; making them more compact and easier to use.

    The batch control solutions can be housed in control enclosures of almost any material, including GRP and stainless steel, and integrate comprehensive levels of instrumentation: level, pH, conductivity, ORP, combined flow rate, pH, ORP, temperature and conductivity, as well as visual displays and controllers.

    “What is increasingly evident, today, is that the complexity of modern processes cannot always be satisfied with standard batch control,” said Tom Carnell, Manager of Burkert UK’s System Division.

    "The requirements for process systems used in medical, biomedical and analytical applications are becoming ever more demanding. To meet these demands, specialised systems are often required. This could involve Burkert in producing a totally individual design, or, more simply, modifying an existing batch process product. Whatever the requirement, a team of engineers and technicians is always on hand to provide the most cost effective solution, and the closest correlation between market demands and equipment performance.”

    The batch control solutions are a further development in Burkert’s overall systems capability. At its Stroud facility, Burkert already provides products ranging from ATEX certified control cabinets, to MicroFluidic multi-station dosing and mixing units for DNA synthesis, to systems based on its mxControl, multi- parameter controller that fully automate and optimise water treatment and purification processes.

    • Burkert are marketed in Ireland by Petrochem Pipeline Supply.

    Tuesday 17 December 2013

    Irish industrial policy examined!

    Ireland's Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, has launched a book on industrial policy in the European Parliament Building in Dublin (IRL).

    In the context of Ireland's exit from the formal 'troika' programme last Sunday and the Irish Government's medium-term economic strategy also to be published this week, a new book from TASC, an independent think-tank dedicated to addressing Ireland’s high level of economic inequality and ensuring that public policy has equality at its core,  provides timely critical analysis about how a strategic approach to industrial and innovation policy is needed, especially to foster indigenous industry and jobs.

    The book, "The Nuts and Bolts of Innovation: New Perspectives on Irish Industrial Policy," is edited by Professor David Jacobson and published by Glasnevin Publishing. The book includes a foreword by Professor Mariana Mazzucato (University of Sussex, author of The Entrepreneurial State) and contributions by Prof. David Jacobson, Prof. Seán Ó Riain (NUI Maynooth), Prof. Jim Stewart (Trinity College Dublin), Dr Eoin O'Malley, Paul Sweeney and Dr Rachel Hilliard (NUI Galway).

    Speaking at the launch, TASC's Director, Dr Nat O'Connor said "Ireland cannot rely on tax incentives or foreign direct investment alone as these will not generate enough employment. There is a need to foster research-led economic activity, innovation at all levels, and much greater focus on supports for indigenous enterprises all across the country, in order to re-balance Ireland's industrial stategy and encourage the major job growth that would represent real recovery."

    Editor Prof. David Jacobson stated "The fundamental lesson from these studies is that Government needs to make policy that is strategic and coherent. If we are going to achieve a more sustainable, job-rich prosperity in the Irish economy, we need to avoid the incoherence evident in past policy decisions. For example, there has been a false perception of a need to choose between encouraging foreign direct investment and fostering indigenous industries: we need both! Many of the strategic policy decisions the Government can make would benefit both FDI and indigenous industries, but this requires detailed analysis of the linkages and the interaction between innovation policy and tax policy. We also need more supports to ensure the success of Irish companies that become multi-national."


    In the book, Professor Seán Ó Riain provides an overview of the challenges facing Ireland in relation to industrial policy. Professor David Jacobson examines the difference between innovation and the narrower concept of R&D. Dr Eoin O’Malley’s paper questions the received wisdom about Ireland’s competitiveness and examines export market share. Professor Jim Stewart overturns the myth that Ireland's 12.5% Corporate Tax provides a ‘cornerstone’ of industrial policy. Chair of TASC’s Economists’ Network, Paul Sweeney, estimates the amount of public money used, directly or indirectly, to support the enterprise sector in Ireland at between €4.7 and €6.2 billion annually. Dr Rachel Hilliard and Prof. Jacobson demonstrate that strict environmental regulation can be business-friendly and lead to innovation.

    • TASC=Think-tank for Action on Social Change

    High-Speed, Rugged rackmount &portable recorders for ground, sea and air applications!

    Two additions to the Talon® family of high-speed turnkey recording systems have been announced by Pentek. The Model RTR 2728 rugged portable and the Model RTR 2748 rugged rackmount recorders use state-of-the-art SSD (solid state drive) storage technology to achieve aggregate recording and playback rates up to 4 GBytes per second.

    As complete recording systems, these Talon recorders are ideal for recording and reproducing wideband IF signals at sample rates up to 1 GSamples/sec. Systems are built on a Windows 7 Professional workstation with an Intel Core I7 processor and provide both a GUI (graphical user interface) and API (application programmer’s interface) to control the system. Signal analysis tools are also provided to allow the user to monitor and analyze signals prior to, during and after a recording.

    According to Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek, “The new Talon recording systems have the ability to capture and reproduce signal bandwidths approaching 500 MHz. The recorded signals can be reproduced to replicate live sensor equipment or receivers in the field. Today’s higher-precision converters require more storage for long flights or experiments. The advanced SSDs we use in our ruggedized recorders not only add capacity, but they also keep up with the very high data rates. For example, the rackmount system can record up to 5.3 hours of contiguous data without interruption. And, both recorders operate flawlessly under shock and vibration, making them ideal for severe environments."

    Data files include time stamping as well as recording parameters and optional GPS information. Files are stored in the native Windows NTFS (new technology file system) format, eliminating the need for file conversion. Files can also be transferred from the system through gigabit Ethernet, USB ports or written to optical disks using the built-in 8X double layer DVD±R/RW drive.

    The recorder’s SSDs are configured to support numerous RAID levels giving the user many options to balance performance versus failsafe trade-offs. They are hot-swappable and can be easily removed or exchanged during or after a mission to retrieve recorded data.

    Data Streaming
    Both recording systems use Pentek’s high powered Virtex-6-based Cobalt® boards that provide the data streaming engine for the high-speed A/D and D/A converters. A built-in synchronization module is provided to allow for multi-channel phase-coherent operation. The rackmount system is scalable to accommodate multiple chassis for more channels and higher aggregate data rates.

    Supporting Features and Products
    Pentek SystemFlow® recording software features a Windows-based GUI (Graphical User Interface) that provides a simple and intuitive means to configure and control the system.

    Abstract submission deadline extended!

    The deadline for submitting abstracts for the 2014 ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls (WWAC) Symposium has been extended to 31 January 2014. The original deadline was 15 December 2013.

    The 2014 ISA WWAC Symposium, to be conducted 5-7 2014  in sunny Orlando (FL USA), is expected to draw between 200 and 300 attendees and more than 30 speakers.

    ISA Water/Wastewater Industries Division, in collaboration with the Florida Section of the AWWA (FSAWWA), the Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA), the WEF Automation and Info Tech Committee, and the Instrumentation Testing Association (ITA), the ISA WWAC Symposium helps professionals in the water and wastewater industries understand how instrumentation, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and automatic control applications are vital to the treatment and distribution of water, and the collection and treatment of wastewater. The symposium also provides an excellent opportunity to gain valuable technical information, networking, professional development, and continuing education credits (CEUs and PDHs).

    Prospective authors are invited to submit a 250-word abstract based on a 30-minute presentation, a 6-12-page paper or large-format poster. Papers for acceptance should address topics in automation within the water and wastewater industry, and must not be product- or company-specific in natures. All papers are peer reviewed to conform, or to be modified to conform, to ISA Water and Wastewater Industry Division and ISA format, content and quality guidelines.

    Popular subject areas of interest include:
    • New technologies and applications
    • SCADA Security, ISA99, CSET, and mitigating risks
    • Control system redundancy and robust design
    • Wireless technologies
    • New control system technologies
    • Process optimization
    • SCADA
    • Energy use modeling and optimization with SCADA
    • HMI design for operator effectiveness
    • Human factors and control room design
    • Alarm management and alarm rationalization
    • Data reporting and presentation techniques /strategies
    • Data management, historians and data retrieval
    “The ISA Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls Symposium has continued to be successful over the past three years. Our secret is our focus,” says Bob Lindeman, the 2012 president of ISA who gave the opening remarks at the 2013 WWAC Symposium. “The event caters specifically to the needs of professionals involved with automation, instrumentation and SCADA in the municipal water and wastewater sectors. It is a niche event and we are proud of its increasing popularity. There is no other event like it in North America.”
    In addition to the technical program, two optional training courses will be offered in conjunction with the symposium:

    • Troubleshooting Instrumentation and Control Systems, a two-day training class providing information on typical control system architectures and troubleshooting these systems for technicians.
    • Introduction to Industrial Automation Security and the ANSI/ISA99 Standards, an eight-hour introductory training class on automation security and the ANSI/ISA99, Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards.

    Control system for desalination plant in Saudi

    Yokogawa has received an order from Petroleum, Chemicals & Mining Company (PCMC - a major EPC company in Saudi Arabia involved in the construction, engineering, and operation of plants in the oil, petrochemical, and gas industries) to supply the control system for the SWRO-4 Desalination Plant, which is being built in Jubail, Saudi Arabia by the Power & Water Utility Company for Jubail and Yanbu (Marafiq).

    Jubail, located in the northern part of the Arabian Gulf, is one of the two major industrial cities in Saudi Arabia (the other is Yanbu on the Red Sea), and Marafiq provides electricity and water to both cities. The plant under construction, SWRO-4, will utilize reverse osmosis (RO) membranes to desalinate seawater, and will be able to produce 100,000 cubic meters of potable water per day. This is greater than the combined output of 77,000 cubic meters per day from the five desalination plants that Marafiq currently owns and operates in Jubail. Plants of this type rely on a technology that involves the application of pressure to seawater, thereby pushing it through a special membrane. Desalination occurs as the salt cannot pass through the membrane. The desalinated water from the new plant will be provided to the Jubail area.

    Yokogawa is to deliver the CENTUM® VP integrated production control system and the Plant Resource Manager (PRM®) integrated device management package, the latter of which will be used for the monitoring and online diagnosis of the instrumentation devices in this plant. In addition, Yokogawa will deliver an operator training system to improve operator performance. Yokogawa Middle East & Africa is responsible for the entire project, including the engineering and commissioning of these products. Delivery is scheduled for 2014 and the plant will start operation at the end of September 2014.

    In the Middle East, there is a serious water shortage due to rapid industrialization and population growth, especially in urban areas. To alleviate this problem, there are plans to construct many desalination plants. Desalination plants that use RO membranes are more efficient than those that rely on the evaporation of seawater, and so there is considerable demand for the construction of such plants throughout this region, as well as in other regions such as North America and Asia. Yokogawa aims to leverage this order to expand its control business with desalination plants and other segments of the water infrastructure market.

    Monday 16 December 2013

    USB to CAN just got better!

    The new IXXAT USB-to-CAN V2 interface offers significant advantages for users thanks to a combination of existing and new features. For example, the USB-to-CAN V2 uses powerful hardware and connects over USB 2.0 at 480 MBit/sec. This enables very high data throughput with minimum latency and lower power consumption, which makes the interface suitable for very demanding applications at maximum bus load and CAN bit rates up to 1 Mbit/second, for example simulation applications.

    The virtues of the existing USB-to-CAN are still there: outstanding robustness for long-term use in harsh environments, very easy operation at a cost-effective price.

    The existing versions of the proven IXXAT VCI and IXXAT ECI drivers support the new USB-to-CAN V2, also permitting drop-in use in existing applications without changes to software – even when changing between different interface types. The IXXAT APIs for CANopen and SAE J1939 also support the new USB-to-CAN V2 device family.

    The USB-to-CAN V2 is available in different variants with either one or two CAN interfaces based on ISO 11898-2. In the USB-to-CAN V2 compact, the CAN connection is implemented as a sub-D9 plug or alternatively as an RJ45 connector. The versions that carry two CAN interfaces are connected via RJ45 connectors. Adapter cables to sub-D9 plugs are included with the devices. Additional options include galvanically isolated CAN interfaces, bulk variants, and support for ISO 11898-3 low-speed CAN and LIN.

    The new housing design supports creation of customer-specific variants branded with the customer logo.

    Another newly introduced variant is the IXXAT USB-to-CAN V2 for embedded use, which is designed without housing but with a slot board and adapted USB cable for installation into a computer.

    Wireless relay module updated!

    An updated version of its T24-RM1 wireless relay module has been announced by Mantracourt.

    Offering dual power relays capable of mains switching, the new version will accept up to 16 inputs from T24 wireless instrumentation devices, it will sum up to two groups of eight acquisition modules and also provides new relay operation modes.

    Developed in response to feedback from our customers, the new T24-RM1 is ideally suited to weighing applications where an alarm action is required in response to a set condition in a complex multi-sensor environment.

    “Wireless instrumentation has opened up a vast array of new measurement and control possibilities,”
    said Jonathan Purdue, Business Development Manager at Mantracourt, “especially in the field of lifting and load control. The updates to the relay module are very much due to feed-back from the marketplace, and we feel sure that these improvements will make the T24-RM1 a more complete solution when working in the field.”

    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.

    “These relays can be configured as high, low or window alarms and can be associated with a group of up to eight acquisition modules per relay. The relays can then operate when the sum of the assigned acquisition modules reaches a set point or when any of the modules reach the set point. There is also a mode where the difference between the lowest and highest value is compared to the set point.”

    In operation, the T24-RM1 relays can be latched and a digital input or external command can be used to reset them; also, an alarm / error signal relay is operated if communication is lost or other selectable errors occur. The state of the power relays during an error can be selected. The alarm will reset once the source of the alarm or error is removed.

    The T24-RM1 module is supplied in an IP65 sealed ABS case, and a DIN rail option is available.

    Co-operation leads to smallest intelligent motor!

    The two companies, Dr. Fritz Faulhaber GmbH & Co. KG from Schönaich, (D), and Technosoft SA from Neuchâtel (CH), have combined their skills and knowledge to produce one of the world’s smallest intelligent motors for speed and position control with EtherCAT com-munication, which complies with CoE (CAN application protocol over EtherCAT).

    The motor is based on the highly successful 32....BX Brushless DC 4-pole technology Servomotors using the FAULHABER® ironless stator system and a dynamically balanced rotor, resulting in a no-cogging output, which is ideal for low inertia loads.

    The controller is of modular design and compact construction, for high reliability, and incorporates the iPOS4808 controller which utilises Technosoft’s MotionChip™ technology and offers 7 I/Os. The configuration, tuning and local programming of the iPOS drive can easily be done using Technosoft’s powerful graphical platform EasyMotion Studio. The position sensor is absolute single-turn providing 4096 counts per revolution for accurate speed and position control, down to 5 arc minutes.

    Alongside the EtherCAT version, there are two CAN versions: the standard CANopen protocol, in accordance to the CiA 301, 305 and 402 profiles, and the TMLCAN protocol. The Technosoft Motion Language (TML) opens the possibility to use the powerful motion controller, allowing it to operate as an independent intelligent device (e.g., customise any homing routine to match the application needs). Stand-alone single or multi-axis applications with communication between drives (without the need of a CAN master) are possible, while various types of CAN masters are also supported with an extended set of Technosoft Motion Control Libraries.

    This intelligent motor has a maximum speed of 6000 rpm and a stall torque of 97 mNM, which is achieved from a motor with a diameter of 32 mm and the maximum length of the integrated unit is a mere 92.8 mm. The controller is housed in an oblong, which is 46.5 mm x 67 mm, with a depth of 26 mm. There are six families of Faulhaber gearheads that are available for fitting to the motor, depending on the requirements of the application.

    An intelligent motor can be used in many applications, but it has been developed for medical analysis and dosing machines, pick and place and welding robots, instrumentation and optical equipment, unmanned military vehicles, packaging bottling and labelling machines.

    Compact, cost-effective intelligent panel mount drive with an EtherCAT interface!

    Having a capability of 10 A continuous and 20 A peak current at up to 80 V, the iPOS8010 BX-CAT controller from Technosoft, offers a very compact, cost-effective universal solution for the control of rotary or linear brushless, DC brush, and step motors of powers up to 800 W and voltages up to 80 V.

    Based on the MotionChip™ technology, iPOS8010 BX-CAT can operate either as a standard EtherCAT drive that accepts the CAN application protocol over EtherCAT (CoE), or as an intelligent drive that can be programmed to execute complex motion profiles directly at drive level, using its built-in motion controller as well as the high-level Technosoft Motion Language (TML).

    Equipped with:
    • 2 Safe Torque Off inputs (STO), Cat. 3 (EN954-1), SIL3 (IEC61508, IEC62061), PLe (EN/ISO 13849-1)
    • 2 feedback devices (dual-loop support)
    • 2 analog inputs, 8 digital inputs and 5 digital outputs.

    The iPOS8010 BX-CAT drive can work with EtherCAT communication cycles down to 200 μs for all working configurations: open loop micro-stepping or closed loop control of 2 or 3-phase steppers, DC brushed motor control, sinusoidal (FOC) or trapezoidal (Hall based) control of brushless motors. Its configuration, tuning and local programming can easily be done using Technosoft’s powerful graphical platform, EasyMotion Studio.

    IPOS8010 BX-CAT has been developed for the many 1 HP requirements in medical analysis and dosing machines, pick-and-place and welding robots, packaging, bottling and labelling machines, industrial equipment, food and textile machines and material handling equipment.
    Located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Technosoft is a leading DSP motion control technology company specialized in the design and manufacture of motion control and intelligent motor products. For markets and customers with special require-ments, the company can provide a custom motion system to meet their needs.

    Thursday 12 December 2013

    Integrated prediction and protection system for hydroelectric turbines!

    New offering gives early warning of developing turbine problems, helping to reduce maintenance costs and improve safety

    Emerson Process Management has introduced an integrated predictive diagnostics and protection system that offers real-time monitoring to improve reliability for all major types of hydro turbines. The predictive diagnostics help maximise availability and reduce maintenance costs, and the protection system helps hydro power plants avoid catastrophic failure and comply with safety, health and environment regulations.

    Building on its experience in effective predictive monitoring technologies for steam and gas turbines, Emerson developed low frequency sensors with built-in signal filtering and conditioning for use with its CSI 6500 Machinery Health Monitor. By accurately monitoring measurements such as vibration, temperature and eccentricity, the CSI 6500 captures meaningful data for every aspect of hydro machinery operation.

    “We are applying our expertise with predictive diagnostics to hydroelectric turbines – giving users the ability to proactively address equipment issues before they impact performance or safety,” said Nathan Pettus, vice president of Emerson’s Machinery Health Management business. “This continues Emerson’s commitment to offer the right products and solutions to give our users peace of mind about their critical assets.”

    The CSI 6500 and machinery health sensors provide continuous monitoring on hydro turbines and give instant notification of vibration alerts. When a pre-set trip level is exceeded, the protection system shuts down the turbine automatically, ensuring improved safety of plant personnel and preventing catastrophic machine damage. Just as importantly, predictive diagnostics from the CSI 6500 enable plant personnel to identify potential issues in the turbines such as cavitations or rotor imbalance and plan repairs before the protection system is ever engaged.

    For facilities that require additional protection parameters, the CSI 6300 SIS Digital Overspeed Protection system protects equipment and personnel from damage caused by overspeed event.

    See Emerson's banner advert on our homepage!

    Batch grading module!

    An optional grading module for the Matrix Gemini Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) from Autoscribe allows multiple specifications to be set up for products manufactured in batches. It provides the functionality required to assign the tests and apply the limits needed to determine the grade of any manufactured batch. It is essential to be able to grade an individual batch according to the actual specification to determine which orders it can fulfill, since there is often some variation between product batches and individual customers are likely to have specific requirements.

    The Matrix Grading module allows the user to define which tests are performed on the samples and their specific limits for multiple specifications. The results can be either descriptive (e.g. pass/fail) or numeric. In the case of numeric results they can be a single value, greater or less than a specific value, or within a range of values.

    At the sample approval stage the results for the batch can be compared against all the grading specifications for the material. If none of the specifications are met then the batch has failed and is “ungraded”. A batch that meets at least one of the multiple specifications is classified as “graded” and the Grading module can display which specifications have been met. This allows decisions to be made about which customers could accept this specific batch of material from stock or to confirm if the batch is suitable for a particular ‘live’ order.

    Robust RFID data carrier with extra-large memory!

    Balluf presented a new generation of data carriers, up to eight times faster than the standard, with extra-large memory of up to 128 kBytes at the SPS IPC Drives trade fair. These drives work up to eight times as fast as the standard ISO 15693, making them the ideal choice for track-and-trace applications with high data volumes such as those used in assembly lines in the automotive industry.

    Built with FRAM technology, the data carriers are maintenance-free, require no external energy supply and have virtually unlimited read/write cycles. Thanks to their high degree of protection (up to IP 68), they offer especially trouble-free communication with a high level of data security, even in difficult environments.

    Powerful RFID controller BIS-V
    Once the user has decided on a RFID controller from Balluff, the powerful Balluff signal processor BIS V is an ideal choice. It not only supports all the features found on new data carriers, but also significantly simplifies hardware and installation for users. The controller in the metal casing with IP 67 protection fulfills all requirements for industry-oriented design and comes equipped with USB as a service interface to PCs. Balluff offers the device with a choice of Profibus, EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP or CC-Link interface. Especially positive for users: up to four HF read/write heads (13.56 MHz) in accordance with ISO 15693 and ISO 14443 or LF read/write heads (125 kHz) can be connected in the front with plug-in connectors and are then automatically recognized. In addition, the RFID controller is the only device on the market to offer an IO-Link master port for direct connection of IO-Link-compatible sensors or actuators.

    Honeywell named top supplier of electromechanical products in France!

    Left: Pascal Fernandez, Vice-President of SPDEI ; Right : Stephane Mathieu, Director of Sales for South of Europe, EMEA Honeywell Sensing and Contro
    Distributors of electronic components in France have picked Honeywell as the industrys top supplier of electromechanical products  in 2013.
    The award was presented during the 18th Annual SPDEI Awards ceremony held in Paris last November.  Members of Syndicat Professionnel de la Distribution en Electronique Industrielle (SPDEI) evaluated suppliers based on several criteria, including quality, delivery, services, innovation and new products, local presence and support, margin, traceability and design. 

    “This recognition is a confirmation of our relentless focus on quality and delivery and meeting our customers’ needs in France and throughout Europe,” said Steve Kenny, director of sales distribution for S&C in Europe.

    Stephane Mathieu, Honeywell Sensing and Control Director of Sales for South Europe, received the awards on behalf of Honeywell at the ceremony

    Oxygen levels for safety and quality in Swedish biogas production

    A major Scandinavian producer of Biogas has selected Michell Instruments’ XTP601 oxygen analysers to monitor O2 levels for safety and quality at two sites in Sweden.

    The XTP601 Oxygen Analyzer is used to continuously provide readings of the levels of O2 in the process. In general, the lower level of oxygen in these applications should be no more than 0.5%, with a danger level of 4%. The XTP601 has alarms to shut down the plant if oxygen levels approach the danger level to ensure safety.

    One plant produces biogas from sewage and while the other uses food and garden waste, however the biogas from both plants is used as a transport fuel. Despite the different feedstocks, the process of upgrading the gas for use is the same. The biogas must be upgraded to 95% methane, which will give it a high enough calorific value to produce the energy required for transport fuel. It will also make it highly flammable – which is why it is important to keep levels of oxygen low during the process. The XTP601 provides stable, accurate readings and is capable of measuring oxygen from 0-1% up to 0-50% as well as suppressed zero ranges, such as 90-100%.

    There are three options for configuration: a transmitter; a transmitter with status LEDs or a full display version. All of these options may be rated for either safe or hazardous area use, with hazardous area classifications available for ATEX, IECEx and CCSAUS. The full display version of the XTP601 has a touch screen interface to enable easy operation without needing to remove the lid. This means that users can calibrate, change settings and interrogate the instrument in the hazardous area without the need for a ‘hot permit’ or permission to carry out work. Menus allow easy access to information on oxygen concentration; analyzer status; a graph showing oxygen trends over a user-defined time period; alarm history; minimum and maximum concentrations and other parameters to aid diagnosis of plant conditions.

    • Michell instreuments are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

    Wednesday 11 December 2013

    Save energy by cooling with water says Rittal

    Rittal air/water heat exchangers are capable of cooling the air in an enclosure to a temperature lower than that of the ambient air. Heat to be removed is transferred to a water circuit and may be conveyed to a remote location before being dissipated. The lack of dependence on ambient air results in a maximum operating ambient air temperature of 70 °C.  Air is recirculated inside the enclosure maintaining an ingress protection category of IP 55.

    Cooling with water may also be considered from an energy saving perspective. Air/water heat exchangers supplied with the eComfort controller incorporate the Eco-Mode control functionality. This employs an intelligent strategy to effectively target the use of energy by disabling the internal fan when the temperature inside the enclosure falls to a predetermined level below the setpoint. The fan is then pulsed periodically to ensure the accuracy of the sensed temperature before being permanently enabled when the temperature rises above the predetermined level

    Although the capital cost of a cooling system incorporating multiple air-to-water heat exchangers and a single water chiller may be greater than that of an equivalent number of refrigerant based cooling units, energy savings are typically in the region of 40 per cent.  Efficiency of water cooling systems may be further improved, particularly in the British climate, by locating water chillers externally and integrating dry air coolers to take advantage of free cooling.

    Mission Critical Operations training!

    ISA to develop a new certification program as part of a multi-million grant to fund degree programs and prepare workers for careers in “Mission Critical Operations”

    The International Society of Automation (ISA) is to begin developing a new certification program as part of a recently announced US$23 million (€16.7m) United States federal grant to fund two-year degree programs in “Mission Critical Operations” at five North Carolina colleges (USA).

    The grant, administered through the US Department of Labour, is designed to prepare tomorrow’s workforce to compete for increasingly demanding, high-wage and high-skill jobs in industrial operations and information technology, particularly those defined as mission critical—“operations requiring round-the-clock supervision of systems” and those “aimed at combating the evolving threat of critical infrastructure operations failure.”

    Certified Mission-Critical Professional (CMCP) certification program will test graduates based on the skills and body of knowledge taught through new Mission Critical Operations curriculum and degree programs to be established at five establsihments.
    ISA’s new

    While Mission Critical Operations encompasses a broad spectrum of career areas—including infrastructure maintenance, communications and emergency operations—ISA’s new CMCP certification program will focus on industrial operations, such as automation engineering technology, advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity of industrial control networks.

    More than half of the $23 million grant is allocated to Cleveland Community College, the grant consortium leader in North Carolina and a long-time workforce development partner of ISA and ISA’s sister organization, the Automation Federation. Nearly $1.5 million of the remaining amount will finance ISA’s development of the CMCP certification program.

    “As an organisation that has been training and certifying professionals for rewarding careers in automation, engineering and manufacturing for decades, ISA is uniquely capable to develop this new CMCP certification program,” says Dalton Wilson, ISA’s manager of Education Services. “Furthermore, our existing, long-standing partnership with Cleveland Community College will be a major asset as we work with educators there to craft a certification program that’s directly tied to the curriculum and degrees to be offered at the five colleges.”

    Since the functions, skills and knowledge requirements of a Mission-Critical Professional in industrial operations and the precise coursework essential to train one are not yet well defined, Wilson says it will take time to develop the CMCP certification program. Based on the grant proposal, the first full year the program will be offered will be 2017.

    “A comprehensive job analysis needs to be conducted, and we’ll be identifying and engaging subject-matter experts to assist in developing the certification exam,” he reports. “Once completed, the CMCP certification will be another valuable addition to our certification offerings and, when combined with a degree in Mission Critical Operations, graduates in this field will be able to really differentiate themselves among prospective employers and significantly enhance their marketability.”

    Specialist of the year!

    Connector manufacture Harting has presented Northern Connectors, based in St Helens (GB) with the company’s “Specialist Distributor of the Year” award’ for 2012-13.

    The award was presented to Northern Connectors on the basis of a significant  increase in sales growth over the year.

    “This award is in recognition of the focus and commitment put in by the whole Northern Connectors team”, commented Karen Miller, Electronic Distribution Manager for Harting: “In today’s very challenging and competitive market, Northern Connectors has provided our customer with technical competence and customer service excellence.”

    LtoR: Francine Timmins, Customer Service Manager, Northern connectors, Karen Miller, Electronic Distribution Manager, Simon Asbury, Director Sales and Market Devolopment, Harting, Keith Hewitt, Managing Director and Scott Jones, General/Product Manager, Northern Connectors

    Tuesday 10 December 2013

    Press force sensors have switchable ranges!

    Seven press force sensors from Kistler Instruments provide full coverage from 0.1 to 700 kN. The ability to switch the measuring range, when using suitable amplifiers, bolsters this advantage to meet the needs of production and measuring stations handling a greater variety of parts.

    The piezoelectric sensor element provides a compact design with a low sensor weight, offering significantly smaller dimensions and mass than equivalent strain gauge devices. However, the wide-range measuring chain also offers critical advantages in laboratory applications, where frequent changes of sensor are common practice and the extremely high degree of overload protection eliminates the need for involved protective measures when using the lowest measuring ranges.

    The range of seven force sensors has been developed specifically for use in production environments, especially for quality assurance monitoring in assembly applications. The piezoelectric sensors cover measuring ranges from 10kN to 700kN and are supplied as standard with 1%, 10% and 100% measuring range calibrations. In most applications, the sensors may be fitted directly into presses, punches and rams but, where this is not possible, a variety of flanges and adapters are available.

    Usability enhancements!

    The latest updates to its open, non-proprietary FOUNDATION fieldbus technical specifications have been announced. The new features will enhance the usability of FOUNDATION technology, with the ultimate goal of making the digital fieldbus automation experience easier than conventional analog control systems.

    The updated version of the FOUNDATION specification includes additional advanced support for fieldbus device replacement and backwards compatibility, Device Description (DD) templates, field diagnostics and alarm/alert integration. The ability to utilize these enhanced features is included in the foundation's new Host Profile C, which will be available for registration in early 2014.

    Fieldbus Foundation Director-Fieldbus Products Stephen Mitschke commented, "The usability features in our updated technical specification will make it easier for both automation suppliers and end users to realize the full value of FOUNDATION technology. They are aimed at simplifying fieldbus implementation, operation and maintenance.

    "As an end user-driven organization, we are listening to our fieldbus user community, suppliers and engineering partners, and employing their feedback in a continuous improvement process to make FOUNDATION technology easier to use in a wide range of applications." 

    The latest features in this technical specification enable host and device suppliers to offer backwards compatibility to their users in order to further simplify device replacement. The incorporation of DD templates also provides an interoperable way for instrumentation companies to offer a variety of application settings for devices. Suppliers can embed the templates in their DDs from the factory floor. This will make it quicker and easier for end users to access a correct offline configuration. They also gain the freedom to utilize a newer device with an existing device configuration without the need for new DDs.

    With the new device diagnostics alarm management feature, hosts tested under Host Profile C must integrate field diagnostics into alarm management systems, rather than just provide access to the information in a device view.

    Application time support is also mandatory under Host Profile C. This feature requires a time stamp capability in the host system, which will start on an actual calendar date and time. Additionally, a new standard dictionary update feature requires that fieldbus end users have the ability to install a new dictionary update on their host system to support the latest DDs. This will further improve the simplicity of device replacement.