Friday, March 22, 2013

New man at the helm!

The HART® Communication Foundation, the standards organization for the leading communication technology in process automation, announces that its Board of Directors has appointed Ted Masters as President and CEO. Mr. Masters will succeed Ron Helson, who has been the Foundation’s chief executive since 1993 and will retire from his position as Executive Director. Mr. Helson will work closely with Mr. Masters to ensure an orderly transition of Foundation initiatives and no interruption in day-to-day operations.

Ted Masters, 
President & CEO,  HCF
Ron Helson, Retiring
Mr. Masters comes to the Foundation with a wealth of business experience and origins in process control and instrumentation. He has worked in leadership roles with both instrumentation and systems companies and served as president with the former Elcon Instruments, a leader in signal conditioning I/O and HART products. In addition, he has executive-level experience in predictive analytics and smart devices and brings to bear a solid understanding from the users’ perspective.

“Ron Helson has served the Foundation well for 20+ years. His dedication and vision are responsible for the success of the Foundation and HART technology. We wish Ron well in his retirement,” says Mark Schumacher, Chairman of the HART Communication Foundation Board. “I am very pleased and excited about the appointment of Ted Masters to succeed Ron in this very important role, both for the Foundation and for the industry. Ted’s leadership capability, technology expertise and commitment to excellence will ensure the ongoing success of the HART technology for the benefit of the member companies and the end users.”

“It has been my privilege to work with the talented people in our member companies and on the Board of Directors and the Foundation staff in serving the HART Communication Foundation over the past 20 years,” says Helson. “Together we have accomplished a great deal in advancing the HART technology and the benefits it provides to process automation industry users. I have had the benefit of knowing Ted Masters for many years and believe that he is the right executive with the right experience to lead the Foundation forward to greater achievements in the years ahead.”

“I am excited to be a part of forging the future strategy of the Foundation at this exciting time in the industry,” says Masters. “I look forward to delivering additional value to the member companies and building upon the cutting-edge leadership of process automation technology.”

Temperature calibrators

Professional Temperature Calibrator

The JOFRA Model PTC-125 Ultra Cooler -90 to 125°C, is a direct replacement to the well proven ATC-125. Similarly to the RTC-159 it addresses the sub-zero calibration requirements often found in the health care, medical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food industries. The PTC-125 is an alternative to the RTC-159 when requirements on accuracy, stability and temperature range are less demanding. See the specification sheet (pdf).

Reference Temperature Calibrator
The JOFRA Model RTC-159 Ultra Cooler -100 to 155°C is a testament to AMETEK’s position as a market leader and their dedication to push the limits and capabilities of dry block calibration. It builds upon the well proven ATC-125 patented technology and features all the expected advantages and functionality of the RTC series.

The RTC-159 is designed to cover the full range of applications within the health care, medical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food industries. Previously users needed multiple calibrators to cover their requirements, ranging from calibration of sensors in super freezers (-95°C) all the way up to sensors in autoclave sterilization (135°C). With the RTC-159 one size fits all. See specification sheet (pdf).

• These models are available from Instrumentation Technology in Ireland and they also use them in the calibration services they provide for customers.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Proof of concept for LIMS applications

Autoscribe has adopted a novel approach to save time and money and minimise the risk for laboratories embarking on LIMS and sample management projects. Utilising the versatile configuration capabilities of Matrix Gemini, Autoscribe can offer a unique ‘Proof of Concept’ service, which will enable the laboratory to evaluate the system for up to a month, working on an agreed percentage of the laboratory’s needs.

This comprehensive service includes detailed discussions with all of the relevant departments and personnel in order to identify all mandatory items and the desirable but not essential items. This allows the creation of a User Requirements document including, where needed, flow diagrams related to the work patterns and responsibilities. Matrix Gemini is then configured to meet an agreed percentage of the requirements and the configured system is delivered to the customer for an agreed Proof of Concept evaluation period of up to one month.

Autoscribe’s founder and CEO, John Boother, said: “Although Proof of Concept is a chargeable service, the ease of configuration of Matrix Gemini keeps the costs very low making it a very attractive, low risk option for potential users. In addition, customers benefit from Autoscribe’s considerable experience of defining projects and developing a User Requirements Document. Not only that, we will credit 50% of the proof of concept fee if an order for a Matrix system is received within 3 months of the end of the evaluation period.”

More than business intelligence

Putting the right Information in the right hands at the right time

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced new software solutions that address the challenge of making sense of the myriad of data available in business today. These powerful solutions accessed by simple apps deliver Real-Time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) to exploit existing data sets and transform them into actionable knowledge with easy-to-use mobile interfaces coupled with powerful and scalable server-based components.

The first component to help companies achieve true RtOI is Proficy® Mobile. This product, designed specifically for industry, will spark customers to drive efficiency with real-time access to operational information, using the latest generation of mobile iOS and Android devices. It features an easy-to-use standard interface with GE’s patented GEO-intelligence technology that provides situational awareness typically found only in consumer apps like Facebook®, coupled with a powerful back-end server that transforms existing raw data into intelligent, actionable information. And, it provides companies with the option of allowing employees to use their own devices quickly, easily and securely

“Industrial operations need to break free of operating business from within a central control room,” said Mark Bernardo, General Manager, Automation Software for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Business and operational personnel can now leverage smart mobile devices that have actionable information in context to physical equipment. By harnessing RtOI, productivity is increased by arming each employee with the right information at the right time in the right place, to make the right decision, faster.”

Proficy Mobile accesses structured information through equipment models that can be configured specifically to a company’s operations, allowing users to find the information they need quickly and easily. Once data is mapped into the model, users can add intelligence through easy-to-use tools that can outline relationships and connections to multiple disperse systems transforming it to information. And, with GE’s patented GEO-intelligence technology, the system automatically navigates and provides information based on user location, role, and asset condition and context.

With a standard downloadable GE app, “point-and-click” server configuration and an extensible analytics engine – systems can be deployed on top of existing systems such as SCADA, HMI, MES, BMS, ERP and Historians. This capability is essential for industry as new visualization, mobility, analytics and collaboration tools enable action in real time, in the required locations and with the contextual information operators, engineers, managers and executives need to make quicker decisions.

The structured navigation features of Proficy Mobile provide the ability to map data from existing GE or third-party applications, allowing companies to add the necessary context to existing data no matter the source. The built-in intelligence foundation allows companies to define applicable key process indicators (KPIs) and equipment relationships forming standard plant/site-wide and asset-level detailed displays accessible from within the app.

Assets and processes are tracked using KPIs to notify users of alert conditions, as well as trends that may be occurring in the plant. This lays the groundwork for future integration to advanced alarming and predictive analytics, both of which are upcoming components GE is planning for 2013 release. In addition, Proficy Mobile provides aggregated asset health displays intelligently to alert the user to a current condition drawing attention to the most critical information. Health indices alert to pending conditions and alarms with state and severity as an indicator of a process or equipment in trouble.

Proficy Mobile uses technology innovations typically not seen in industry including HTML5, native app code, SSL and RESTful architectures that provide options such as deploying within a traditional non-connected industrial environment or harness private/public cloud Internet-based solutions.

“True industrial mobilization should really focus on pushing information to users in context to where they physically are,” concluded Bernardo. “Mobilizing existing user interfaces and their associated systems designed for 24x7 monitoring in central control rooms have great value. However, the ‘gold mine’ is achieved by adding intelligence on top of existing data elements from multiple systems, to not only transform into real information, but also to control what is accessible by location and role. This provides the true transformation from data everywhere to actionable knowledge anywhere, anytime.”

Connector with crimp termination

Harting has introduced a version of its established Han® HC Modular 650 high-current connector contacts with crimp termination. The new contacts are plug-compatible with existing variants with axial screw termination, and create greater design flexibility for customer applications.

The contacts are fixed in a plastic insert, which creates a single-pole high-current contact. This can be inserted into the existing connector module frames, which means that various interfaces with between one and four contacts can be created in connection with the Han® HPR housing series.

The crimping tools to create the termination between the new Han® HC Modular 650 crimp contacts and the appropriate cable cross-sections are included in the Harting product portfolio.

High-current contacts are used predominantly in the railway industry. By introducing the new crimp variants, Harting is responding to requests for alternatives to axial screw termination technology. Assemblies of large cable cross-sections can now be produced in ideal configurations using either crimp or field-assembled axial screw technology.

The contacts can be used with cable cross-sections of 70, 95, 120, 150, 185 and 240 mm2, and the crimping zone designed for crimp geometry according to the DIN 46 235 standard. Current and voltage ratings are 650 A and 4000 V, respectively.

Flow monitoring systems in Asia Pacific

CiDRA has entered into a strategic sales representative agreement with Krohne Australia Pty Ltd. Under the terms of the agreement, Krohne will act as a sales representative of CiDRA’s SONARtrac array-based flow monitoring systems in Asia and the Pacific, outside of Japan.

CiDRA’s patented SONARtrac flow technology has established itself as a new class of industrial flowmeter, utilizing measurement principles that are distinct from all other flowmeter technologies operating today and is ideally suited for measuring flow in difficult applications. SONARtrac Flow Monitoring System is a breakthrough in full-bore, non-invasive flow measurement technology. By installing on existing process lines, SONARtrac clamp-on flow monitoring systems eliminate the process disruptions associated with installing other types of flowmeters. SONARtrac is not an ultrasonic meter; it utilizes patented array processing techniques to listen to, and interpret, acoustic fields generated by pipe flows. This passive listening approach enables the SONARtrac flow monitoring system to measure single phase and multiphase flows as well as slurries, with the same level of accuracy and performance.

Krohne is a leader in the process instrumentation market, offering products and services in industries as wide-spread as Oil & Gas, Water & Wastewater, Chemical & Petrochemical, Food & Beverage, Power, Minerals & Mining and Marine. The addition of CiDRA’s SONARtrac line of systems will fit well with Krohne’s strong presence in instrumentation and automation systems, providing their customers with a robust, accurate and maintenance free volumetric flow solution. “CiDRA is pleased to expand our partnership with Krohne. SONARtrac’s proven application in resource industries such as Mining, Power Generation, Concrete, and Agro-Chemical, and the region’s tremendous growth in these industries, presents a strong opportunity to serve customers in Asia Pacific.” says Charlie Neagoy, Managing Director of Product Line with CiDRA.

Patrick Matthews, Managing Director of Krohne Australia, adds: “The sales agreement with CiDRA is a strategic partnership of high importance for Krohne in Asia and the Pacific. We have already worked together for several years in applying SONARtrac technology to difficult minerals processing applications and based on this experience, we strongly believe that the combined knowledge in flow application of our two global companies will become a real success story across multiple industries.”

Software for discrete manufacturing

Aegis Software is launching an all new FactoryLogix suite at SMT Nuremberg April 2013.

Modules and Capabilities:
Fast, simple, controlled production preparation even for large groups of engineers working in tandem.
Optimize and assure material flow & monitoring from the warehouse to the lines and back.
Controlled process execution, quality, test, monitoring and routing factory-wide.
User configured reports, real time dashboards, operations dashboards, and mobile analytics.
Service oriented architecture for third party user interfaces and bridges to other software systems.
Line terminals for fail-safe process interlocking and alarming.
Built from the ground-up using leading-edge technology, FactoryLogix is the first software system designed to support all types of discrete manufacturing. From PCB assembly, to complex box-builds, large system integrations and even high-speed consumer goods processing; this adaptive, multi-market solution redefines the very concept of MES.

Leveraging Aegis’ 16 years of software development experience, FactoryLogix manages the entire manufacturing information environment: from product launch, to material logistics, through manufacturing execution, to operations analytics and real-time dashboard systems. This holistic solution yields unprecedented product, process, and materials traceability as well as the data fulfillment and visibility manufacturers need for competitive improvement.

“FactoryLogix is the single, elegant solution to the many challenges we’ve learned our customers face from our 16 years of supporting 1200 installed sites. It is also ready for the challenges they will likely face in the future.” commented Aegis CEO, Jason Spera. “Sometimes a technology leaps ahead so radically and obviously that it changes an entire market. We think manufacturers will soon agree that FactoryLogix is such a product.”

Redefining the very concept of MES
Built from the ground up, FactoryLogix merges state-of-the-art technology with the knowledge and experience from 16 years of development and 1200 global installations, to deliver a solution that redefines the very concept of MES.

Achieving breakthrough performance with new processes & technologies

ARC's Fourth China Forum

ARC Advisory Group is to hold its next China Industry Forum, August 29th 2013.  This event, co-located with the China Instrument and Control Society’s premier MICONEX event, will focus on key issues that will be “top of mind” for industrial end users and automation suppliers in China over the next five years. Forum participants will share forward-looking concepts and practical applications for emerging automation and IT technologies.  This will include a number of actual end user case studies.
Last year's forum!
Major topics covered will include functional safety and cyber security, control system lifecycle management and service strategies, industrial energy saving with advanced process control, and integration of ”Big Data” and analytics to achieve manufacturing and operational intelligence. Other topics will include remote operations management, intelligent field instruments and control valves, mobility and wireless solutions, CPM/MES in the process industry, production management in the Cloud, and asset performance management.

“ARC’s 2013 China Forum will provide a convenient opportunity for attendees to combine a preview of today’s leading new technologies on display at MICONEX, with ARC’s thought-provoking sessions on industry trends and best practices presented by ARC analysts and select industry leaders,” commented Andy Chatha, President of ARC Advisory Group.

ARC expects the Forum to attract professionals, experts, and management-level participants from a wide range of vertical industries including: Oil & Gas, Refining & Petrochemicals, Chemical, Metals & Mining, Cement & Glass, Pulp & Paper, Municipal, Water & Wastewater, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceuticals & Biotech, and Power Generation.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wake up and smell the oranges!

Standing room only at FTIR workshop

The Quantitech workshop on FTIR gas analysis at AQE 2013 was completely full, with many attendees forced to stand outside the entrance. Commenting on the appeal of this event, Dominic Duggan of Quantitech said: “FTIR can measure almost any gas in almost any application, so anyone with an interest in three or more gases will need to know about FTIR.”

About half of the workshop attendees were British based, with the remainder coming from all over the world, and each attendee was provided with an orange to peel during the workshop, so that real-time air analysis could be demonstrated.

Quantitech’s second workshop on new sampling technologies for dioxins, particulates, mercury and heavy metals was equally well attended, with especially high levels of interest shown in the G4 automatic isokinetic sampler.

Specialist Distributor of the Year for 2012

Futura Electronics has been nominated as Specialist Distributor of the Year for 2012 by Harting Ltd, the British operation of the manufacturer of electronics and electrical connectors.

Karen Miller, Electronics Distribution Manager for Harting Ltd., commented on the award: “Futura’s strategy of supporting customer design-ins and working closely with the Harting team has resulted in a significant increase in sales over 2011 in what is generally a very difficult marketplace. As a relevant newcomer to the Harting network, we continue to see them strengthening their position as a Harting distributor.”

The Harting Technology Group is skilled in the fields of electrical, electronic and optical connection, transmission and networking, as well as in manufacturing mechatronics and software creation. The Group uses these skills to develop customised solutions and services such as interconnectivity products for energy and data transmission applications, mechanical engineering, rail technology, wind energy plants, factory automation, and broadcast and surveillance technology.

• See also Harting's award to Anglia Components as Distributor of the Year!

Humidity on the metro!

RH sensors installed in major new metro line

In January 2013, Michell China  successfully completed the installation of hundreds of WM52 RH transmitters in a Metro project in China.

The No.6 Line is an important trunk line which crosses the broad metropolitan districts of Beijing. The project is its first phase with a length of 30.69KM, consists of 33 stations of which 20 are underground stations.

More than 400 pieces of WM52 are used in critical areas like central control rooms, network computer rooms, as well as the platform waiting area, to monitor the temperature and humidity.

The WM52 was selected for the project because of its high reliability and quality, while the design makes it easy to install, even in areas that are hard to access. The customer was also impressed by the knowledge and expertise of the Michell team providing support for the project, backed by the company’s 40 years’ of specialising in humidity measurement.

• Michell are represented in Ireland by Instrument Technology Ltd

Flying probe test

"The rules have changed!"

Late last year SEICA Italy held a technical seminar dedicated to the electronic testing of PCBs. This meeting was the official opportunity to present to the attendees their new product line called RAPID; flying probers targeted to PCB testing. The product represents the combined knowledge and expertise of the SEICA BBT line, and is based on the “Ultra Fast” technology. In addition to speed, attention to aesthetics and improved ergonomics were also very important. Compactness and rationality, combined with the software ease of use, are the result of Seica’s research to develop a system that is simple to use and maintain.
The Ultra Fast technology is based on an innovative stimuli and measurement system directly installed on the flying probes, and hence very close to the circuit under test. This technology is present on all Rapid Line testers. Therefore, every single test has “smart” hardware available, based on DSP technology, able to communicate in real-time with the central unit allowing for capacitive, resistive and inductive measurements which are highly accurate and precise. The changes in the manufacturing processes and in the economy of many companies, along with the short time-to-market, increasingly justify the use of automation. The use of automation will allow customers to achieve the efficiency levels and throughput imposed by the time and costs restraints of the market.

To be economically cost-effective in most of the manufacturing PCB operations of today (featured by high-quality of different units and by production cycles of small-to-medium series) any automated solution should have a high level of flexibility and a very short setup time. To reach this requirement, an automated solution should include mechanical flexibility, and simplified and intuitive software in order to empower the user with the complete solution in mixed, and low-volume production.

The Rapid range also has in-line test solutions (Rapid 240, equipped with 4 flying probes, Rapid 280, equipped with 8 probes), with automatic loading/unloading capability.
Since the time required for testing is normally longer than most other manufacturing processes, the most common configuration for testing is the “stand-alone” configuration, with storage units/external loaders connected to the internal loader of the test system.

Due to the increasing need to manage low-volumes of mixed productions, the best solution should be able to host multiple types and quantities of products to achieve the highest advantage from 24/7 automated operation capability. The Seica Multi Type Board Handler -MTBH, connected to the Rapid testers with horizontal architecture provides this type of capability. In fact the loader may host up to 150 boards at a time, either of the same type or of different type (part number). A simple software menu enables the user to define the test sequence. The system will test each board, automatically adjusting the rail width, loading the board and executing the related test program. After the test, the board is automatically downloaded and conveyed to dedicated shelves, depending on the pass/fail result of the test. The test information is stored in a file for statistical purposes and repair activities. The use of this kind of automated solution reduces the operator intervention.

The RAPID 270 tester, the product line’s flagship product, with 8 flying probes, equipped with automated vertical conveyor, meets the most demanding requirements in terms of versatility and ease of use, without compromising any high-performance standards. The system is equipped with 8 fully independent measurement probes, enabled to reach high test speeds or to perform the parallel test on two PCBs simultaneously.

Considering the availability of 4 probes per side, it is possible to carry out even the most accurate measurements on both sides of the PCB, and, above all, to perform any type of tests like standard PCB test, Kelvin test and measurements of active and passive components. The Rapid 270 flying prober is particularly useful where a minimum start-up time for testing is required in order to reduce the time-to-market of products, to test the most sophisticated prototypes, and batches reduced to the single unit and for service and repair laboratories.

The wide range of Rapid line testers encompasses two additional products, Rapid 230 and Rapid 250, oriented to “single-side” PCB testing of ceramic products and devices, with the capability to test passive or active components embedded within the same circuits.
The Rapid 230 is a tester with 4 probes located on the TOP side, and with exclusively manual loading; while the Rapid 250 tester, thanks to an automated conveyor, may be introduced into an automatic test line.

Comparing different test philosophies from Europe to Asia and North America (NA), Seica has found the European market as well as the NA market to embrace the automated test strategy developed in the Rapid line. In these geographies (Europe and NA) where quality, time to market, and fast response are needed with the ease of use of the Rapid automated and manual system it is a truly revolutionary test system with the ability to meet the current and future needs of the PCB shop. Whereas, in Asia, big lots and aggressive pricing tactics are more prevalent and the market less reliant on quality metrics.

For the ATE companies like SEICA, it is essential to succeed in being a partner capable of providing immediate and effective solutions to those needs, by presenting applications, and innovations arising from research and a continued experimentation. These seminars organised by SEICA, are the basis of a dynamic and flexible attitude and of the partnership of co operation that the company has maintained for over 25 years with its Customers.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Software advances in data communications

Wonderware United Kingdom and Ireland, has released enhanced versions of some of its most popular software, making it even easier for customers to achieve operational excellence and optimise capacity, through improved data communication systems.

System Platform 2012 R2, InTouch 2012 R2 and Historian and Information Server 2012 R2 - have all been reinforced to offer new capabilities that maximise IT platforms and software systems to achieve real-time operational excellence.

System Platform 2012 R2 marks a new generation of Wonderware platform which now makes it possible to connect to multiple galaxies, offering heightened flexibility, scalability and performance as well as expanded supervisory control, information reporting and analysis, and a 300% increase in historian data capacity.

Users of InTouch 2012 R2 now have access to extensive support for new technologies and full product support. Other improvements include intensified ArchestrA Graphics and higher security – an important consideration for all users in today’s industry.

Advances in Historian and Information Server 2012 R2 have seen major boosts to storage performance and data retrieval. Security has also been strengthened with improvements being made to data encryption.

Sue Roche, Business Manager, Wonderware UK and Ireland, comments: “Ultimately we want to provide solutions that optimise availability and reduce costs. We believe that by raising standards in data security and reliability we can help our customers achieve operational excellence.”

Meanwhile, HMI Reports has been superseded by Dream Report which is the new reporting technology supplied by Wonderware. Complementing the 2012 R2 Releases, it provides a comprehensive, clear and convenient reporting tool, allowing reports to be created from a variety of data sources, including Wonderware and non-Wonderware products.

Irish heavyweight in calibration

Classic Technology, operating Ireland’s only UKAS calibration laboratory,  has added Mass Calibration to its unique UKAS Calibration Service for Pressure, Temperature and Electrical calibration.

Classic has installed the latest state of the art Mass Calibration equipment in a specially built, air-conditioned (climate controlled) dedicated laboratory within their facility to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy. The laboratory operates under the terms of a rigorous quality system that has been audited to ISO 17025:2005 for mass calibration.

Classic Technology’s new Mass Calibration laboratory has the capability and uncertainties for the calibration of OIML Class E2 weights from 1mg to 10kg, and OIML Classes F1, F2, M1, M2 and M3 from 1mg to 20kg. All calibrations are performed to the highest possible standard using approved procedures, standard methods and uncertainties.

Since its launch in 2008, their UKAS calibration service has been a runaway success, providing unparalleled turnaround times for both repair and calibration to a large number of Ireland’s leading companies including pharmaceuticals and aerospace that require the most exacting standards.

Classic Technology, a 100% Irish owned company, is Ireland’s leading independent test instrument distributor representing some of the world leader’s in their field; Druck, LTH, Eurotherm, Zwiebel, Techne and In-Situ.

Customers know they can rely on an unbiased opinion of the best test equipment available; covering parameters such as Pressure, Temperature, Mass, Flow, Level, pH and Conductivity.

Distributor of the year!

Anglia Components has won the Harting Distributor of the Year award for the second year in succession. The award was based on increased business development year on year in a challenging British electronic component market in 2012.
LtoR: Graham Bridger: Anglia Marketing Director, Peter Hannon: HARTING Managing Director, Andrea Bradford : Anglia Product Marketing Controller, Karen Miller: HARTING Electronic Distribution Manager, Kerry Higham; Anglia Product Marketing Manager, Simon Asbury: HARTING Sales & Market Development Director

Simon Asbury, Director of Sales & Market Development for Harting, said, “Anglia fully deserved to win our Distributor of the Year award for a second time. Far from resting on their laurels, they have increased their focus on creating new business opportunities. Their strong technical support and commercial teams deliver at every level. Anglia work closely with customers on design-in and then follow through with an effective logistical and commercial package. Well done!”

Graham Bridger, Marketing Director at Anglia, responded saying, “We have a very close working relationship with the team at Harting and have really pulled together to deliver an outstanding result. We have increased our sales budget and maintained our very strong position in the Harting network in a very tough market.”

Anglia has been a Britain and Ireland distributor for Harting since 2000.

• See also Harting's Specialist Distributor Award for 2012 to Futura Electronics.

Developers workshop for Limerick

PROFIBUS Ireland in co-operation with Profichip Germany, is offering a one day workshop for PROFIBUS developers.

This one-day workshop is aimed at product manufacturers and engineering companies who want to develop a PROFIBUS product. If you are a manufacturer of drives, transmitters, or intelligent valve actuators, then you need to implement the latest technology in your products. PROFIBUS technology is the way forward. This one-day course will give you an overview of the technology plus details of the communication protocol, tools and methods to get you started correctly on development of your own PROFIBUS products.

The PROFIBUS technology is introduced step by step, starting from the first idea up to the completely finished end equipment. The workshop covers both software and the hardware topics.

The workshop is planned for 17th April 2013, Limerick.

Motor racing sponsorship

Electronic instrumentation specialists to provide student racing team with essential measurement technology

Mantracourt Electronics has announced that it will be providing further sponsorship to Formula SAE ÉTS, a student racing car team based out of École de Technologie Supérieure in Montréal, Canada.

The Formula SAE ÉTS team approached Mantracourt in 2009 for access to their specialist instrumentation equipment and unique products.

The team use Mantracourt's wireless torque and load measurement technology to monitor car performance to gain essential information for both testing design modifications and to optimise race-track settings.

During the 2012 season the Formula SAE ÉTS team enjoyed considerable success in several international competitions whereby they secured a number of 1st and 3rd places, against fierce competition.

“We really value Mantracourt’s sponsorship and technical assistance", said Patrick Leroux, Manager of Vehicle Electronics. “Wireless torque measurement is really important to improve our racecar. We use it for differential load transfer characterisation for many setups and it helps us to choose which one is the best for our application. It also helps us improve our differential model in our lap simulator.”

The Formula SAE Competition is organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Over 500 competing university teams from all over the globe, design, build and test prototype Formula-style racing cars and compete in categories such as Design, Endurance, Fuel Economy, Acceleration, Cost & Manufacturing Analysis.

UK based Mantracourt is a leading manufacturer of industrial measurement technologies, including strain gauge, temperature, resistance, pressure, voltage, current, potentiometer, rate, flow, LVDT and displacement in either analogue, digital or wireless form.

“We are very pleased to be continuing our sponsorship of the ETS team,” said Louise Stubbs, Marketing Coordinator at Mantracourt. “We share a similar passion about our technology, as they do about their car design, so it has been exciting and fun to be a part of their success. We wish them all the best for the 2013 season. We will be following the team’s performance.”

Mantracourt has recently announced the release of its T24LOG100, a data logging software package that can handle up to 100 channels of wireless instrumentation data simultaneously whilst also offering a range of sophisticated features that will enable engineers to optimise system monitoring and control.

End user training!

An affordable online training platform, End User Academy (EUA) can be delivered to process automation professionals anytime, anywhere.

Endress+Hauser has launched its new End User Academy (EUA),  which allows field technicians to gain the valuable training they need to run plant operations safely, smoothly and more efficiently—all without spending too much time away from their regular job duties.

Through its online training modules that cover theory and concepts as prerequisites, the End User Academy (EUA) gives field technicians the preparation needed to successfully begin on-site and classroom training. The online training module is easy-to-follow with narrated presentations complete with diagrams, photos and videos; and it offers instruction in the following areas:

• Flow - Electromagnetic, Vortex, Coriolis Mass Flow, Ultrasonic, D/P Flow, Thermal Mass Flow
• Level - Capacitance, Vibration, Ultrasonic, Hydrostatic, Radar, Guided Radar, D/P Level
• Pressure - Gauge/Absolute, Differential Pressure, Hydrostatic
• Temperature - Temperature Transmitter, RTDs and Thermocouples, Sensors
• Liquid Analysis - Conductivity, pH/ORP, Chlorine, Dissolved Oxygen, Turbidity, Chemical Analysers
• Recorders & Components - Paperless Recorders, Visual Data Managers, Displays, Power Supplies
• Solutions - Wireless Networks, Life Cycle Management, Plant Asset Management

According to Jerry Spindler, Endress+Hauser customer training manager, “The importance of investing in skilled workers is often overlooked by employers, so companies need to realise the value that online training can provide. This value can be measured in a number of ways including increased employee satisfaction and retention, higher productivity, reduced new-hire orientation time, and fewer process upsets and incidents.” 

Technicians that have an interest in enrolling in the End User Academy (EUA) have the opportunity to test drive a course for free. The goal of this “test drive” is to provide end users with firsthand experience with the interactive training material available on the Endress+Hauser End User Academy (EUA) to determine if this training product is right for the technician and/or organisation.

Waveform generators

Tektronix has unveiled its next generation of arbitrary waveform generators that offer up to 50 GS/s sample rate performance. With the industry’s best combination of high sample rate, long waveform memory and deep dynamic range, the new AWG70000 Series supports a wide range of demanding signal generation requirements in defense electronics, high-speed serial, optical networking and advanced research applications.

As data rates and signal complexity continue to increase across all electronics and RF segments, engineers and researchers need more advanced signal generators to fully stress test designs or to perform cutting-edge research. The AWG70000 Series meets this need with its unique combination of 50 GS/s sample rate performance, 16 GS of waveform memory, and 10 bit vertical resolution. This means it produces fast, clean signals that can be routed through a receiver or other device under test for long periods of time for truly comprehensive testing.

“The AWG70000 series represents a significant advance for customers who are pushing against today’s performance boundaries and need a more powerful way to generate accurate test signals at high sample rates,” said Jim McGillivary, general manager of the Source Analyzer Product Line, Tektronix. “This next generation of arbitrary waveform generators further extends Tektronix’s long track record of leadership and innovation in advanced signal generation technologies.”

Researchers at Bell Labs, the research organization within Alcatel-Lucent, recently turned to the AWG70000 to generate signals for advanced research demonstrating 1.5 Terabits per second superchannel transmission over ultra-long-haul optical fiber distances. “The sampling rate of 50 GS/s combined with the ability to synchronize two AWGs enabled us to generate 30 GBaud signals per optical carrier, with a data rate of 233 Gb/s, more than twice the previous record,” said S. Chandrasekhar, one of the lead Bell Labs researchers on this project. His colleague, Xiang Liu added, “the performance and signal purity of the AWG70000 more than met our requirements for this demanding experiment.”

The AWG70000 Series gives design engineers and researchers the ability to create, generate or replicate ideal, distorted or “real-life” signals, an essential step in the design and measurement process. By offering easy generation of very complex signals with complete control over signal characteristics, the AWG70000 Series offers an industry best solution for measurement challenges in the following applications:

Defense Electronics – The AWG70000 offers bandwidth on demand by generating wide bandwidth signals at baseband, IF and RF frequencies up to 20GHz, with greater than -80 dBc dynamic range. With up to 16 GSamples of waveform memory, it can generate unique signals that are long enough to simulate real world environments, making it the most flexible wideband signal generation product available today.

Optical – Researchers developing new and faster optical technologies can use the sample rate and high vertical resolution of the AWG70000 to very high bandwidth signals with good spectral purity. Multiple units can be synchronized together to provide a complete IQ signal generation at these high bandwidths.

High-Speed Serial – A number of next generation serial buses have intense signal generation needs. For instance, the AWG70000 offers a two-box solution for HDMI 2.0, supporting four lanes at 6 Gbps per lane. It gives designers the ability to add impairments to waveforms directly, eliminating the dependency on hardware elements to generate the necessary signals.

Advanced Research – The AWG70000 Series is ideal for a variety of research applications, giving scientists the ability to create high precision, high-speed non-standard waveforms. With the AWG70000, engineers and researchers can now generate signals that they previously could not generate.

Hat trick as Sensor specialist recognised again

Robert Bosch GmbH has awarded Balluff "Preferred Supplier" status. This is the third time in a row Balluff has been recognized.

The distinction is awarded to suppliers who have made a considerable contribution to the success of Bosch through their particular competence and service. One essential criterion for selection was overall flexibility. Balluff stood out because it had successfully implemented numerous customized projects and therefore set itself apart from the competition.

The designation is part of the purchasing strategy of the Bosch Group by means of which the company aims to bundle its purchasing volume and strategically organize its suppliers. The goal is to simplify the purchasing and procurement process and to maximize the purchasing volume of all Bosch plants worldwide with the so-called "Preferred Suppliers". Bosch re-examines the Preferred Supplier status every year.

Variable-wavelength modules for optical test system

Grid tunable light source modules enhance versatility of Yokogawa’s multi-application test system

Yokogawa has extended the range of plug-in modules for use with its AQ2200 Series multi-application optical test system by introducing two new tunable light source modules that allow the test wavelength to be varied to suit the user’s application.

The new AQ2200-131 (one channel) and AQ2200-132 (two channels) allow the user to tune the test wavelength to one of the preset DWDM (dense waveform division multiplexing) grid wavelengths. As a result, users require only one module to cover a variety of test requirements, with resulting economies in cost, space and lead time.

Target applications include the testing of optical fibre amplifiers and digital coherent systems, especially those involving DFB (distributed feedback) laser diodes.

Two versions of each module are available for different applications.. The standard type, targeted at optical fibre amplifier testing, is tunable to one of the 100, 50 or 25 GHz grids, and offers a line width of 3 MHz. The advanced type, aimed at digital coherent system testing, is tunable to an arbitrary grid frequency with 100 MHz minimum steps, and has a narrow line width of 100 kHz plus SBS (stimulated Brouillon scattering) suppression.

This multi-application test system is a modular platform that offers a solution for many optical test applications. With its broad range of available plug-in modules, it simplifies complex measurement setups with a single-box solution. A single system can handle multiple applications simultaneously, allowing different users to control the modules with resulting cost savings. The fast response of the instrument makes it an ideal tool in the manufacturing environment.

The system is available with 3- and 9-slot frames which allow “hot swapping” of modules, and combines fast command processing and programming capabilities with Ethernet, GP-IB and USB interfaces.

The broad range of available modules includes units for optical power sensing and measurement, light sources, optical attenuators, optical switches, and optical transceiver testers.

PXI solid state matrices expanded

Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of solid state PXI matrices with the introduction of the 40-501,a single slot 3U PXI module providing a high voltage 64x4 solid state matrix.

The solid state relays used in 40-501 are rated to 100V with 150mA hot switch capability and the ability to withstand 350mA surges for 10ms on relay closure or during normal operation. This makes the module ideal for applications requiring frequent hot switching of high voltages carried on capacitive cables that might result in a limited operating life when using alternatives based on mechanical relays. The switching life is unlimited while used within ratings and the operating speed is comparable with reed relay solutions making it ideal for high volume tests where speed of operation is important.

The 40-501 is functionally and pin layout equivalent to 40-500 (a solid state 60V 500mA matrix), allowing users to choose the most appropriate solution for their application without connection or software changes.

Automation & control in Sardininan power plant

ABB has won an order from Enel, Italy's largest power company and one of Europe's leading utilities, to supply its Symphony® Plus automation and control system to serve one of the major units at the Grazia Deledda Sulcis power plant on the island of Sardinia..

Grazia Deledda Sulcis is a 590 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant near the town of Portoscuso on the southwestern coast of Sardinia. The plant comprises two units, each with a generating capacity of over 240 MW. The existing control systems will be replaced with a total plant automation solution to enhance the unit's efficiency and improve its environmental performance. The company is taking proactive measures to improve efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of its coal-fired power plants.

The new Symphony Plus solution includes the recently introduced high-performance controller, burner management and flue gas desulfurization systems, instrumentation, a new control room and operator stations equipped with an intuitive and easy-to-use human machine interface.

"The Symphony Plus plant automation system can make a significant contribution towards improving efficiency and lowering environmental impact by integrating multiple plant production and information systems into a single platform" said Massimo Danieli, head of ABB's Power Generation business, a part of the company's Power Systems division. "It is scalable and enables integration of the plant's electrical, business and maintenance systems as requirements evolve over time"

The Grazia Deledda Sulcis power plant is located within the Sulcis Iglesiente basin, which contains Italy's only coal deposits. The use of coal to generate electricity is expected to rise in coming years as Italy seeks to reduce its dependency on natural gas imports from Russia and Algeria. Around 52 percent of Italy's electricity is generated with natural gas, which makes it one of the most heavily gas dependent countries on gas in the European Union.

Symphony Plus is ABB's automation and control platform for the power and water sectors. This powerful, versatile and scalable platform is designed to maximize plant efficiency and reliability by automating, integrating and optimizing the entire plant. There are more than 6,000 Symphony installations in operation all over the world, including more than 4,000 in power and water applications.


Rittal’s Cuponal busbar is a copper-coated aluminium busbar available in lengths of 2400m which can offer customers several advantages over traditional busbar systems. Suitable for installation in standard Rittal tested busbar supporting systems, the Cuponal busbar is available in the following sizes and current rating:

20 x 5mm 235A; 20 x 10mm 363A; 30 x 5mm 328A and 30 x 10mm 493A.

Busbars are usually made from copper, however, savings through lower costs, lighter weight and simplified handling can be made by the use of other materials such as aluminium and cuponal.

A core of aluminum is pressed with a coat of copper, so that both form an inseparable unit. This will allow the positive characteristics of electrically highly conductive copper with the light weight of aluminum combined optimally.

Cuponal is a bi-metal composite material for use as electrical connection in switch cabinets, switchboards and distribution boards.