Friday, May 24, 2013

Noncontact temperature measurement system

Raytek has introduced the Equipment Monitoring System (EMS), a noncontact temperature measurement system that enables round-the-clock condition monitoring of actively powered components or operating machinery, supporting predictive and preventive maintenance. Detecting temperature rises or spikes on the surface of equipment, the Raytek multiple head solution acts as an early warning device for critical assets, including switchgear and electrical cabinets, electrical motors, pumps, furnace controls and heating elements. It gives operators notice of thermal issues as they begin to occur, as well as recording data for trend analysis. Early detection of heat-related faults and failures, along with maintenance performed as needed and not when estimated, result in reduced maintenance costs, less waste from unexpected downtime and higher safety. Temperatures are displayed on the system's LCD control module and/or remotely through the PC-based, Windows 7-compatible DataTemp Multidrop software.Figure: Raytek Equipment Monitoring System

The "plug and play" EMS consists of a control box with circuit breaker, power supply and controller; a connection box with a cable; and sensors with adjustable mounting brackets. It utilizes the field-proven technology of the Raytek MI3 sensors with up to eight sensor heads that can be connected to an MI3 electronics box. The compact system fits in hard-to-reach or enclosed locations and monitors temperature ranges of -40 to +600 °C. The control box and sensors are IP65 rated to ensure long life in harsh environments. Developed with personnel safety in mind, the Raytek solution allows temperatures to be read from a safe location by anyone on active systems without additional equipment or special training.

Users can manually program audible alarm settings through the integrated push button panel on the control module or easily communicate remotely via the RS485 serial interface and DataTemp software. For full factory or machine control, an ASCII protocol allows the system to communicate with an internal control network. The DataTemp Multidrop software enables the simultaneous viewing of multiple points and can be set to monitor up to 32 EMS-systems, providing the ability to see the temperature of, and set early warning alarms on a total of 256 individual monitor points. The software allows operators to easily record and store data; remotely adjust sensor parameters; customize screen views; change sensors from reading object temperature to ambient temperature; change emissivity; and turn filters on/off to scale the range, graph or average.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mercury emissions monitor

Gasmet has a new continuous mercury monitoring system (CMM).

Gasmet Europe’s Antti Heikkilä says “The CMM employs cold vapour atomic fluorescence (CVAF) to deliver very low detection limits at a significantly lower cost than other comparable mercury monitoring instruments.

“We have already installed systems in Finland and Poland, and initial users have been delighted with the CMM’s ability to measure low Mercury levels without cross-interference from gases such as Sulfur Dioxide. No separate chemicals, gold amalgamation concentrators, air scrubbers or additional gases are required, so operational costs are also very low.”

Legislation to limit mercury emissions from combustion processes is progressing quickly in many parts of the world, but process managers have already started to implement mercury monitoring programs. Antti says “We have received enquiries from companies that need to prepare for compliance by better understanding their mercury emissions. However, we are also being contacted by process managers, for example from Sulfuric Acid manufacturing plants, who wish to control Mercury; not just in their emissions, but also in the end-product, by measuring directly in the process stream itself.”

The CVAF spectrometer has an integrated high temperature converter to effectively transform mercury compounds to atomic mercury without any chemicals or vulnerable catalyst materials. The close coupling of converter and fluorescence cell also ensures that Mercury does not recombine to, for example, Mercury Chloride between the converter and the Mercury Analyser. Sample gas dilution with synthetic nitrogen generated within the CMM system is an effective tool to promote sample transportation whilst decreasing the loss of Hg0 fluorescence signal to interactions with O2, CO2, and H2O. The fluorescence cell is specially designed to eliminate stray reflections and background light so that even with sample dilution the CMM system is capable of monitoring low levels of mercury as required in the forthcoming US Clean Air Mercury Rule.

The system is controlled through a touch screen control panel, which is integrated with the analyser and calibrator inside an air-conditioned cabinet, and calibration is maintained with regular automatic zero and span calibrations using Hg0 and HgCl2 calibration gases generated within the CMM system - typically every 24 hours. Periodic linearity checks with atomic mercury or mercury chloride are also possible.

The Gasmet CMM is now available from a worldwide network of subsidiaries and distributors; however visitors to Mercury 2013 will be able to meet some of the Gasmet staff that have been involved in the development of this technology at stand No. 24.

Optimise Automated Test Systems

National Instruments has announced its newest general-purpose programmable power supplies, which offer the highest power density available in PXI and form the foundation of automated test systems. The PXIe-4112 and PXIe-4113 modules provide high power density that saves rack space while simplifying design by eliminating the need to mix multiple instrumentation form factors. When programmed with NI LabVIEW software and paired with a range of PXI hardware instrumentation, the new power supplies can help engineers create a complete, customised test solution. 
New programmable power supplies from NI
offer highest power density to save rack
space while simplifying design

“With the capability of these new programmable power supplies, PXI demonstrates yet again its unique value in building automated test and benchtop validation systems,” said Charles Schroeder, NI Director of Test Systems. “When engineers combine NI PXI hardware with LabVIEW, they simplify their programming experience and quickly gain access to the latest technology – all within a thriving ecosystem. Engineers incorporating these latest technologies into their automated test systems have technical and time-to-market advantages over those using legacy box instrument approaches.”

The new programmable power supplies are ideal for a range of applications from aerospace and defence to automotive and component test. These modules feature two 60 W power supply channels in a single PXI Express slot. The NI PXIe-4112 power supply features 60 V at 1 A per channel and the NI PXIe-4113 power supply offers 10 V at 6 A per channel. The two channels can be combined to create a single 120 W channel. To easily synchronise measurements, engineers can combine the power supplies with more than 1,500 PXI modular instruments ranging from digital multimeters to RF analysers and generators, and simply trigger the instruments across the PXI chassis backplane.

Engineers can quickly take measurements using soft front panels with an interactive user interface or build fully automated applications using the LabVIEW example programs that come with the power supplies. There are example programs to perform voltage sweeps, source DC current and source DC power. With seamless LabVIEW integration, engineers dramatically reduce development time while improving system scalability for a range of applications.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New embedded vision system

Adlink Technology has released its new EOS-1220 GigE Vision-compliant embedded vision system, featuring 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 quad core processors, four independent PoE (power over Ethernet) ports, full compatibility with GigE Vision cameras and support for smart PoE APIs, allowing remote switching of PoE status. With high-end CPUs and multi-channel connectivity in a compact housing, the EOS-1220 is ideally suited to multi-camera imaging applications such as 3D robot guidance.

Combining PoE and IEEE 1588 support, enabling single-cable transmission of power, signal, and data synchronization, Adlink's EOS-1220 dramatically cuts cabling requirements by as much as 60%, significantly reducing maintenance burdens. In addition, the EOS-1220 further provides smart PoE APIs allowing remote switching of PoE status. With this feature, camera power consumption is more easily monitored and controlled, stabilizing camera temperature and significantly extending system lifetime.

“Since accuracy and speed of 3D robot guidance performance improve proportionately with the quantity and quality of collected 3D data, enhanced computing power is essential. Commensurately, vision inspection, a critical asset on the production line, is more efficiently provided in multi-camera systems that also lower system costs. The use of PoE technology dramatically improves flexibility in optimizing system configuration.” stated Neil Chen, Product Manager of digital imaging at ADLINK. “4-CH gigabit PoE ports, superior multicore processing performance, rich I/O functions all make the EOS-1220 an ideal solution for 3D vision robotic guidance.”

Additionally, the EOS-1220’s rich I/O interface, including four RS-232/422/485 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, 32 PNP/NPN isolation digital I/Os, dual storage (two SATA interface, and one CFAST slot), an internal USB port, and 1 kbit programmable EEPROM, make the EOS-1220 simple to integrate and deploy, providing management of copy protection and software license authentication for system development. Driver support includes Windows 8/7/XP and Windows Embedded Standard 7, and File-Based Write Filter (FBWF), providing a stable, secure, and high performance software operating environment.

Trade up your LIMS

Recognising the high purchase price and ongoing support costs of many competitive Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), Autoscribe has devised a payment scheme that would significantly reduce capital budget costs. This is specifically designed for LIMS users who are looking to replace their existing system but may be finding it difficult to raise the required budget. The new scheme spreads the total cost of an Autoscribe Matrix Gemini LIMS over 5 years, including ongoing support.

Autoscribe Managing Director, John Boother, explained: “We have had discussions with a number of users who are unhappy with their current system and although they would find it difficult to obtain more capital funding, they are already paying significant ongoing maintenance costs.  Our new approach would effectively allow them to ‘trade up’ their current system to Matrix Gemini at a similar cost to their existing ongoing support agreement. Naturally the exact costs would depend on the number of licences required etc, however because the total package includes the Matrix Gemini support costs over the 5 year period, we have also effectively inflation-proofed the support!”

At the end of the 5 year period, the customer can revert to a standard support and maintenance contract which means that they will continue to benefit from Autoscribe’s unique ‘future proofing’ product support policy for its Matrix family of LIMS. Autoscribe’s Matrix product line has been developed to specifically ensure backwards compatibility and easy upgrades for existing customers, so customers with a support and maintenance contract are getting a ‘LIMS for life’ – there are no hidden additional costs for major upgrades. 

ISA chalks up another symposium success

A joint conference of the International Society of Automation (ISA) and the Machinery Failure Prevention Technology (MFPT) Society attracted more than 200 attendees last week to learn about the latest advances in instrumentation and mechanical failure prevention, and to discover practical synergies between the two long-standing professional associations.

The theme of the conference—ISA’s 59th International Instrumentation and MFPT 2013—focused on sensors and process measurement and control systems designed to improve reliability, safety and affordability, particularly in aerospace, oil and gas, chemical and manufacturing. A strong emphasis was placed throughout the technical program on avoiding and significantly reducing hazardous situations and accidents.

In total, more than 120 technical papers and presentations were delivered, 58 through ISA and 62 through MFPS. Other highlights of the event included three high-level keynote presentations, three tutorials, an ISA training course on industrial wireless technology, two technical discussion groups, a panel session, an exhibit (featuring products and services from 19 vendors), technical tours, networking opportunities and social functions.

“Collaborating with ISA on our annual MFPT conference was a huge success,” remarked Chris Pomfret, MFPT’s Executive Director. “The attendees enjoyed a broader and synergistic technical scope, the exhibitors had access to a larger audience, and the networking value for everyone was raised. With so many conferences being offered and too little time and resources for attendees to participate in all of them, it’s essential that entities like ISA and MFPT collaborate to create successes like this one.”

Ruth Sikorski, the Chair of ISA’s 59th International Instrumentation Symposium (IIS), emphasised that the conference gave ISA and MFPT the opportunity to educate and prepare technical leaders for the challenges of the future.

“As technical societies, we have an obligation to help train our successors--the ones who will be implementing the next phase of our progression toward a more knowledge-based, net-centric industrial base,” she says.

The symposium - the first collaborative venture in the history of ISA’s IIS - was organised by ISA’s Aerospace, Test Measurement, Process Measurement and Control divisions and the MFPT Society. Valuable technical content was provided by the Propulsion Instrumentation Working Group (PIWG).

Intelligent cybersecurity provider makes appointments

ISC8 Inc the provider of intelligent cybersecurity solutions, has named three new executives; Scott Millis as chief security strategy officer; Kelly Anderson as vice president of sales for North America; and Gev Pestonji, vice president of sales for Asia Pacific.

Scott Millis, formerly the chief IT strategy officer at McAfee, brings a deep understanding of all aspects of IT – cybersecurity, application development, networking, computers, governance and data centers; across diverse sectors including manufacturing, distribution, large enterprises and professional services.

“Having spent considerable time analysing and vetting ISC8’s technology with industry veterans and CSOs, the feedback was undisputable: the company’s products are 100% geared to address the latest cybersecurity threats facing today’s enterprises,” said Millis. “The company has well over a dozen trials lined up over the course of the year; the names of the companies involved would be of envy to anyone in the cybersecurity space. ISC8 is a company that I can help grow to be a marquee name in the industry.”

Kelly Anderson’s most recent position at Equifax, one of the three largest credit reporting agencies, revolved around using Big Data analytics for telco, pay TV, social networking and mobile applications. He brings more than twenty years of industry experience and a strong pedigree for developing and executing sales and marketing strategies for technology-driven companies.

“ISC8’s value proposition is clear, compelling, and timely given the resurgence of sophisticated malware and Advanced Persistent Threats attacking large enterprise and service provider networks,” said Anderson. “In two weeks of account engagements, the feedback has been consistent - When can we have a product to trial?’ Not often does one come into a company and have the ability to talk to Fortune 50 corporations and receive this type of resounding feedback. The portfolio is a perfect match to current and emerging market needs.”

Gev Pestonji joins ISC8 as the vice president of sales to manage the anticipated growth in the Asia Pacific region. Pestonji’s experience includes over twenty years in sales throughout the region with technology leaders such as Cisco, Nortel, and Siemens.

“ISC8 has built up a strong pipeline of opportunities globally,” said Gev. “I am encouraged about the prospects that ISC8 is working to close over the coming months and look forward to contributing to the company’s global growth.”

“The addition of these key executives signals our commitment to growth in cybersecurity technologies and markets,” said Bill Joll, president and CEO of ISC8. “Their combined experience increases our in-depth understanding of cybersecurity technology platforms and experience across global markets that will provide a strategic advantage in our expansion efforts globally for all three ISC8 cybersecurity products: Cyber adAPT, a signature-less  Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) and malware detection solution; Cyber NetFalcon®, for Big Data security analytics; and Cyber NetControl, providing content control for service providers and enterprises. I am pleased to have found such exceptional talent that will help ISC8 deliver on the significant pipeline of opportunities that has been built up across all three products.”

• See our page on ICS and SCADA Security

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Level controller helps increase reliability & accuracy

Level controller brings fully electric level control to a wide variety of applications in production and processing systems.

The new Fisher® L2e from Emerson uses a rugged force-balanced displacer sensor to detect the level of a single liquid or the interface of two liquids. The controller’s new advanced knife-edge sensing design combines with aerospace quality switch technology to provide rugged, reliable and accurate level control.

A fully electric level control loop, consisting of the L2e level controller used in conjunction with a Fisher easy-Drive™ electric actuator powered D3 or D4 control valve, helps to eliminate emissions and increase uptime, and requires less maintenance than conventional pneumatic level loops.

The L2e zero and span adjustments enable tuning for a wide variety of level loop applications. Additionally, the controller is certified for use in hazardous areas and is NACE compliant for sour service.

By scanning the QR code on the inside cover of the L2e, instrument technicians have access to 24/7 field support for set-up, calibration and loop tuning.

Compact thermal imager

Omega has introduced a new line of compact thermal imagers powered by FLIR®.

The OSXL-I series (FLIR I Series) is a compact, lightweight, point-and-shoot camera with an easy-to-use focus-free lens. This CE compliant product stores up to 5000 jpeg images with a convenient thumbnail image gallery. The OSXL-I is much easier, faster and safer to use than infrared thermometers, and far more accurate. The 71mm LCD colour display makes it easy to read images and temperature data to help find wasteful energy loss, locate moisture damage, document repairs, detect energized equipment, minimise downtime and more. Ideal for HVAC, Automotive, Electrical and Building Inspection.

High speed web inspection for laser-machined holes

Olmec-UK has partnered with web handling specialists, Universal Converting Equipment, to produce a vision system capable of real-time measurement of laser machined holes in film. The vision system is mounted directly onto the web, which runs at 350m/min. Lasers are used to perforate the extruded web material with hole sizes from 30 – 120 µm depending on the particular requirement. The vision system checks that each hole is present and measures it to ensure it meets specification, and must be capable of working on pre-printed or plain films.

60 µm laser machined hole imaged
at 350 m/min web speed
Given the size of the holes, the speed of the web and fluctuations in the speed of the web, the correct triggering of the camera, imaging and illumination is extremely challenging. Four lasers are spaced across the web, with a camera at each laser position to make a measurement. The speed of the web means that over 5mm of film passes through the field of view of each camera every millisecond. The system must process the data from the 4 cameras in less than 20ms to keep up with the web manufacturing speeds.

The time at which the laser fires to make a hole is locked against a high resolution encoder to allow a specific distance to be counted before triggering the camera and light. However a number of other factors influence the exact triggering position. Key to the success of the project was the development of a proprietary algorithm which searches for the hole but disregards imaging locations with no hole features. This algorithm also provides the operator freedom to add or reduce web tension which also impacts the trigger location. An algorithm was also developed to find the holes in noisy images based upon the target hole size entered in to the laser system. This helps avoid detecting background noise as a hole feature.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Analysis forum draws 400 attendees

ISA demonstrates its undoubted strength again in providing stunning seminars allied with top class training built on member experience.

Nearly 400 attendees and more than 60 exhibitors gathered at the International Society of Automation’s (ISA) 58th Analysis Division Symposium, which was held in April 2013 in Galveston (TX USA).
Each year, this long-running symposium, sponsored by the ISA Analysis Division, brings together process and analytical professionals and industry experts from across the world in a dynamic and interactive environment to improve technical knowledge, discuss emerging trends and developments, and share best practices and innovative processes.

More than 60 exhibitors
This year, 12 technical sessions and 35 technical papers covered leading-edge topics in sampling, chromatography, spectroscopy, chemiluminescence and other analytical techniques. The conference program also included: keynote presentations, a Technology Forum and Exhibition showcasing the latest products and services, six hands-on courses for technicians, various committee meetings, award presentations, a banquet, and numerous networking receptions and social activities.

During the awards ceremony, ISA’s Analysis Division presented 10 Gilmer Thomason Fowler Konrad (GTFK) awards. The GTFK awards program recognizes the authors of the best technical papers at the annual Analysis Division symposium. Initiated in 1976, the program was established as a memorial to four of ISA’s past directors: Fred Gilmer, Edward Thomason, Lewis Fowler and Ken Konrad.

This year’s GTFK award winners are:
Chair Don Nettles with Susan Harris
Frank Richerand Jr.
Bailey Brupbacher
Martin Hess
Susan P. Harris
Randy Ridge
Xiang (Sherry) Liu
Greg Lankford
Hsu-Hung Huang
Kuan-Ting Yeh
Charles Bates

In a separate award presentation, Siemens was recognized for developing the Innovative Product of the Year with the introduction of its modular oven, an enhancement to the company’s MAXUM gas chromatograph.

On the opening night of the symposium, attendees and exhibitors witnessed a demonstration of a robot, which was designed and built by a team of students from five high schools in Pasadena, California. The team, called Team 231 High Voltage, recently entered its robot in an international robotics competition (the FIRST® Robotics Competition), which combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of designing and building robots.

A compilation of technical papers presented at ISA’s 58th Annual Analysis Division Symposium will soon be available for order in CD-ROM format.

The 59th ISA Analysis Division Symposium is scheduled for Baton Rouge in Louisiana (USA)