Friday, September 27, 2013

Customisable master solution for EtherCAT, CANopen and Powerlink

The IXXAT Econ 100 is a universal ARM-based platform with a Linux operating system that comes as a standard version already with four Ethernet, two CAN and two USB ports.
Whether "out-of-the-box" or adapted to specific customer requirements, the IXXAT Econ 100 is the right choice for various applications in terms of performance, flexibility and price.

For the implementation of EtherCAT and CANopen master applications or Powerlink Managing Nodes, special application development kits are available for the IXXAT Econ 100. These kits include a comprehensive board support package and, pre-installed on an SD card, the corresponding master software package and the Linux operating system.

For the enclosed sample applications, also a suitable IO module is included in the scope of delivery, as well as a detailed documentation, enabling the fast and easy start of the development.

The EtherCAT Master functionality is provided using the proven protocol software from acontis for EtherCAT Master Class A and B devices. A specially optimized link layer allows the IXXAT Econ 100 to operate with cycle times of less than 1 ms.

The CANopen master implementation is based on the CANopen master/slave software from IXXAT, which enables the Econ 100 to act as a multi-channel CANopen controller.

Powerlink has been implemented based on the IXXAT POWERLINK-master/slave software. Due to the integrated hub logic the managing node implementation also supports the typical Powerlink line topology.
Redundancy features, such as redundant master or line redundancy, enable the IXXAT Econ 100 to operate as highly-available Powerlink communication solution.

By combining the various master software packages, powerful controllers for heterogeneous systems with CANopen, EtherCAT or Powerlink can be easily implemented. Typical operation areas of the IXXAT Econ 100 are customer-specific control applications and gateway solutions in which the IXXAT Econ 100 is acting as master in one network and as slave within a superior network.

The remarkably high degree of flexibility by using the IXXAT Econ 100 is achieved by the unique combination of extension interfaces, FPGA, software and services.

In addition to the interfaces of the base version, custom interfaces or enhancements (e.g. digital and analog IOs, DVI output) can be added quickly and easily via expansion slots and the integrated FPGA. This makes the IXXAT Econ 100 the perfect device for customized solutions.

During the development of the IXXAT Econ 100, special attention was paid to the requirements of the various fields of application. Thus, the unit has, despite of its fanless design, an extended temperature range from -40 ° C to + 70 ° C.

The used CPU is a dual core Cortex A9. The internal RAM memory has a standard size of 256 MB and can be extended up to 1 GB. The operating system and programs are stored in flash memory on an SD card.

Besides the version within the robust metal housing, IXXAT offers the IXXAT Econ 100 also a board-level product for space-saving integration into already existing customer applications.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Indian valve & automation leader purchased!

Emerson has signed an agreement to purchase Virgo Valves and Controls, Ltd, a leading manufacturer of ball valves and automation systems based in Pune, India.

A privately held company, Virgo serves diverse markets worldwide, including the oil and gas, power and mining industries. In addition to ball valves, Virgo also manufactures high performance butterfly valves and severe-service valves for critical applications. Virgo will operate within Emerson Process Management’s final controls business, serving customers in the energy and process-related industries.

"Virgo’s leadership in the engineered, on-off valve market is a great strategic fit within our business and strongly complements our Fisher® control valve business," said Steve Sonnenberg, Emerson’s executive vice president who heads its Emerson Process Management segment. "Their ‘customer first’ focus on meeting or exceeding customer expectations in innovation, quality, performance and on-time delivery, aligns perfectly with the solutions that customers have come to expect from Emerson. We are excited about the synergy between our two companies and the opportunities for global business growth."

Mahesh Desai, co-founder and chairman of Virgo, citing the advantages of Virgo being part of Emerson, said: "The alliance with Emerson, and in particular the Fisher line of products, is a continuation of our growth as a global brand. We appreciate the support of customers, employees and other stakeholders that have been part of our company."

Since starting operations in 1986, Virgo has focused on the manufacture and sales of engineered on-off valve products, and today has manufacturing locations in Europe, the United States and India. Its sales in more than 60 countries last year were about $250 million USD, more than 80 per cent outside India. The deal is expected to close early next month.

Air Monitors appoints sales manager for Scotland

In response to recent growth in the sale of air quality monitoring systems and web-based data collection systems, Air Monitors has appointed Peter Lawson as Regional Sales Manager (Scotland).

Welcoming Peter to the company Air Monitors Managing Director Jim Mills said: “Peter has many years of experience in air quality monitoring having worked for ETI and Monitor Europe – companies that I founded in 1992 and 1998 respectively.

“He is based in central Scotland, so Peter is perfectly placed to enhance our Scottish operation, and I am delighted to welcome him back, along with six other former Monitor Europe staff.”

Air Monitors has an extensive customer base in Scotland, including a large number of local authorities, many of which have utilised the company’s ‘AQWeb’ technology which collects air quality data and makes it available in real-time via PCs, tablets and smartphones. However, Peter’s responsibilities will also include the launch of new technologies for particulate monitoring such as the FIDAS system, and for AQmesh; the low-cost, multipoint, real-time, web-enabled ambient monitors.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

10G fibre media converter family with Small Form Pluggable modular form factor for high bandwidth

B&B Electronics has expanded its 10G (Gigabit) fibre media converter family with the iMcV-10G-Converter SFP+, featuring 10G speed in an SFP+ (small form pluggable) modular form factor. The iMcV-10G-Converter SFP+ allows operators of high-bandwidth, mission-critical networks, such as ISPs (Internet Service Providers), Telecoms, municipalities, medical facilities and large campuses, to convert between different fibre types within a network, and to move enormous amounts of data over long distances.
As a single-wide module, the new converter optimises the cost-per-slot in a multi-port chassis, and its modular form factor also allows installation in a variety of chassis (20-, 6-, 3-, 2- or 1-slot). It supports an array of protocols, and allows remote management from a central office when using SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol). The new SFP+ form factor joins the company’s existing 10G fibre family, including the XFP, Mux/DeMux/4, and WDM/2 media converters.
The advantages of fibre over copper infrastructures include bandwidth, security, bi-directional transmission of data, and the ability to cover distances up to 100Km compared to 100m. As demand for high-bandwidth applications such as Internet and Data Storage has skyrocketed, certain industries are migrating to fibre which they can install over great distances with tools that let them securely manage network segments.

For example, ISPs and Telecoms need 10G fibre infrastructures to support their customers’ bandwidth-hungry applications and downloads such as online gaming and streaming videos. Medical facilities need high bandwidth to move large imaging files such as MRIs, X-Rays and other data between labs and hospitals; municipalities need it for localising, storing and transferring police or fire records, for example; and large campuses such as universities with satellite locations use it for storing and transferring student files.

B&B Electronics’ iMcV-10G-Converter SFP+ is protocol-independent with dual SFP+ ports which can provide a single conversion between Single-Mode and Multi- Mode fibre, Single-Mode to Single-Mode fibre or Multi-Mode to Single-Strand Single-Mode fibre.  Because the ports are not proprietary, they accept any SFP+ module that meets the SFF-8431 standard, as outlined by the SFF Committee, 2009, Rev 4.1.  The hot-swappable nature of SFP+ and the numerous fibre protocols and types that are available allow for easy configuration and future upgrading as network demands evolve.

The DDMI (Data & Diagnostics Management Information) feature in B&B Electronics’ SFP+ transceivers will allow users to view the SFP+ status (fibre type, manufacturer, output power) when the company’s iMcV-10G SFP+ module is installed in a chassis with an SNMP management module installed as well. Included with all of B&B’s fibre products is its free, GUI-based SNMP software, iView2, which allows network operators to easily configure and manage remote network nodes from a central management host. iView2 runs standalone on Windows NT/XP/2000/7 or as a Web Server running under IIS.

The module supports an array of 10G protocols, including 10G Ethernet, 10G Fibre Channel, and OC-192, available via DIP Switch settings on the module itself. While the module is Plug-and-Play (PNP), the optional DIP Switch settings for specific 10G applications make this device flexible for different kinds of installations.

Multi-Mode, Single-Mode, Single-Strand and CWDM fibre types up to 80Km are available.

CO2 monitors for use in incubation

Edinburgh Instruments tell us that LiCONiC AG (a leading Swiss scientific instrument maker) have selected the Edinburgh Sensors Gascheck IR CO2 sensor for integration into their range of CO2 Incubator products.

LiCONiC AG manufacture a wide range of automated incubators for use in life science research applications including cell screening.  Selective high quality CO2 measurement is essential in automated incubator performance because the regular access challenges the chamber environment. Using Gascheck sensors enables LiCONiC to deliver the required controls without dependence on temperature or humidity.

"We deal directly with LiCONiC AG Headquarters in Switzerland, the Gascheck units are supplied via Edinburgh Sensors," Edinburgh Sensors’ Sales Manager, Julie McCormick, said:  “We are delighted to be working with LiCONiC AG and will continue to do so over the next few years. They are an important part of our expert network of key customers who generate sales for our product around the world.”

The Gascheck Infrared Gas Sensor Range, supplied by Edinburgh Sensors offers high performance detection and measurement of CO2, with a choice of pumped or diffusion aspiration technology to provide accurate and reliable determination of CO2 gas concentrations.

Keeping IT out of harm’s way!

Rittal’s new Micro Data Centre Level E provides IT infrastructure with reliable and flexible protection. The security safe is fully compatible with Rittal’s TS IT rack and effectively shields servers from physical threats. The Micro Data Centre can be upgraded, using a variety of accessories to create an extremely tough resistance class 4 security room.

An additional feature is the cable inlets in the side panels. If required, these can be provided with larger-than-standard diameter plastic tubing. This is recom-mended for water inlet and return flow, for example, when using climate control devices with Rittal Liquid Cooling Packages (LCP). Cable entry holes are easily sealed, and additional cables can be inserted at a later date.
Rittal’s Micro Data Centre Level E is available as an end-to-end solution, including 482.6 mm (19”) server racks and a variety of climate control devices. Up to four safes can be connected via the cable inlets in the side panels. It is also possible to use existing server racks with the Micro Data Centre Level E.

Options and extras are modular and freely combinable. There is a wide choice of add-ons, such as the Rittal Computer Multi Control III (CMC III) monitoring system and a variety of climate control solutions, including Rittal LCP. Also available is the DET-AC Plus fire detection and extinguishing system, the intelligent Power Distribu-tion Unit (PDU) and the Power System Module (PSM). A range of locking mechanisms are also available.

Market share leadership award!

Advanced features, durability and reliability cited in recognising Anritsu Site Master™ Cable and Antenna Analysers

Anritsu Corporation has been presented with the 2013 Global Market Share Leadership Award in Cable and Antenna Analysers by Frost & Sullivan. The award was presented as “prestigious recognition of Anritsu’s accomplishments in cable and antenna analysers” and acknowledged the features, durability, and reliability of the Site Master cable and antenna analyser family in making the announcement.

“A strong product portfolio, coupled with a committed approach to enhance the functionalities of its existing products, has led Anritsu to develop an edge over its competition in the global cable and antenna analyzer market. Anritsu has leveraged its core competencies to provide innovative products that raise the bar on the portability, usability, and reliability that have helped it lead the market and maximise customer satisfaction,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst, Prathima Bommakanti.

The Frost & Sullivan Award for Market Share Leadership recognises a company’s leadership position within the industry in terms of revenues or units. Anritsu was presented with the award after Frost & Sullivan analysts conducted a thorough market evaluation that also considered three other factors: continuous product improvement, strong customer-centric focus, and a focus on research and development. In making the announcement, Frost & Sullivan referenced the Site Master S331L analyser and its advanced features, user-friendly design, reliability, and cost-effectiveness as an example of Anritsu’s leadership.

“Anritsu established the handheld cable and antenna analyser market in 1995 with the introduction of the first Site Master. Nine generations later, we continually redefine the market by developing instruments that address technology changes and customer needs. Earning the Frost & Sullivan Market Share Leadership Award is testament to our commitment to design the most innovative cable and antenna analyzers that satisfy the testing requirements of field engineers and technicians worldwide,” said Donn Mulder, Senior Vice President, Anritsu Company U.S.

Frost & Sullivan used its CEO’s 360-Degree Perspective™, which serves as the foundation of its TEAM Research™ methodology, during the award evaluation process. This unique approach enables the company to determine how best-in-class companies worldwide manage growth, innovation and leadership.

Safety approval for isolators & splitters

The SSX and SST family of safety isolators and splitters from Moore Industries have been approved by exida for use in a Safety Instrumented System (SIS) up to SIL 3 in monitor mode, where only the input circuit is part of the safety function. It is the latest product in the FS Functional Safety Series to receive SIL 3 approval, joining the STA Safety Trip Alarm. The SSX and SST are also approved for single use in an SIS up to SIL 2, as is the SRM Safety Relay Module.

These three products form the core of Moore Industries’ growing line of safety-related instrumentation. They have been designed and built to strict IEC 61508 standards, ensuring safe and reliable function – particularly in environments where hazardous or emergency situations are likely to occur. Detailed FMEDA reports are also available for all FS Functional Safety Series Products.

Although using Proven In Use data is an acceptable approach per the IEC 61508 standard, designing instruments in accordance with the standard from the ground up forces the components and circuit design to undergo additional scrutiny that ensures the highest level of reliability. Leading third-party safety auditing firm exida audits Moore Industries products and processes to ensure they are in compliance with the IEC 61508 standard. With this certification, end users can rely on these instruments to perform as expected and when demanded.

Invensys acquires InduSoft!

Yesterday we reported on a letter to customers from InduSoft announcing their acquisition by Invensys. The official release has now reached us from Invensys.

Invensys has acquired InduSoft, a provider of HMI and embedded intelligent device software for the automation market. Headquartered in Austin (TX USA) and founded in 1997, InduSoft has delivered more than 250,000 HMI software licenses to more than 700 customers worldwide, primarily industrial computer manufacturers and machine and system builders, who embed InduSoft’s software into their products.

“The acquisition of InduSoft represents the continuing execution of our strategy to strengthen our portfolio through inorganic means, enabling us to target additional segments across our portfolio,” said Ravi Gopinath, president of Invensys’ software business. “InduSoft strengthens and broadens our leading software solutions portfolio, particularly in the embedded HMI segment, and provides a continuing driver for growth. They have a proven and experienced team who we are very happy to welcome to Invensys.”

Known for its easy-to-use software and friendly, high-quality customer support, InduSoft has won multiple awards in its segment, including Control Engineering magazine’s prestigious Engineers’ Choice Award in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013, InduSoft took the magazine’s top prize in three categories: Software Applications and Monitoring; HMI Software; and Mobile Apps for Controls, Automation, Instrumentation.

“Combined with Invensys’ existing software offerings, our capabilities and expertise in the OEM and machine-building segments allow us to provide a broader, end-to-end HMI, SCADA and MES solution to our customers,” said Marcia Gadbois, president of InduSoft. “Together, our software tools will make it easier for them to integrate their information and automation systems. They will continue to work with the same strong InduSoft team, and we will ensure they continue to receive the exceptional products and service they have come to expect from us. But now they will be backed by a company with global capabilities and an excellent worldwide reputation for providing industry-leading HMI, SCADA, historian and advanced applications such as MES software and solutions.”

“With InduSoft we can now offer everything from basic embedded HMI devices to manufacturing operations, asset management and ERP integration,” said Norm Thorlakson, vice president, HMI and supervisory software and solutions, Invensys. “InduSoft technology quickly makes us more competitive and gives us immediate entry to new customers and a stronger OEM sales channel, with a focus on machine builders and embedded systems. We are confident it will make us much more attractive. Wonderware® users will now be able buy industrial devices, machines and computers with InduSoft software, while companies that are using InduSoft software will be able to expand their solutions with Wonderware supervisory, historian and manufacturing operations management software.”

InduSoft will continue to be managed by its existing executive team, adding employees to Invensys operations in the United States, Brazil and Germany

Major refinery order in Japan!

Yokogawa has received an order from JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation (JXE) to execute the front end engineering design (FEED) for a project to consolidate the control rooms and systems at its Mizushima-A oil refinery.

To strengthen its global competitiveness, JXE is working hard to ensure the safe and stable operations at all of its refineries in Japan. One of the means to accomplish this is the consolidation of control rooms, which facilitates faster decision making and improves efficiency by allowing the different refinery units to share more information. Consolidation of the control systems will enable the refinery’s various processing units to share more production data, thereby leading to more integrated operations and improved efficiency.

During the planning phase of this project, Yokogawa conducted a feasibility study of control systems. Upon signing the contract, Yokogawa will prepare a master plan to introduce a CENTUM® VP production control system that will integrate the monitoring and control functions for units throughout the refinery complex that are currently handled by multiple control systems. This master plan will also address the introduction of a ProSafe®-RS, a safety instrumented system to ensure the safety of processes throughout the refinery.

Yokogawa will also propose solutions to JXE, such as software packages for remote monitoring and online diagnosis that improve maintenance efficiency, field wireless solutions that enable the installation of measuring instruments at previously difficult-to-install locations, advanced control rooms with designs that enhance operability and the visibility of data, and operator training systems. These solutions can thus enhance operational safety and stability.

In addition to helping Japanese energy and material companies improve their production efficiency and operational safety, Yokogawa also provides various high value-added solutions that will allow them to make full use of their existing facilities. Yokogawa believes that this approach will lead to the expansion of its solution service business.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Double win for industrial automation partners

SolutionsPT and NeoDyne rewarded by ACP

SolutionsPT and its system integrator partner, NeoDyne, have both been honoured by industry giant, Automation Control Products (ACP)

SolutionsPT, based in Cheadle (GB), has been named as ACP’s International Partner of the Year and NeoDyne, of Cork (IRL), has received the International Integrator of the Year award. 
Rob Dinsmore, SolutionsPT; Martin Farrell, NeoDyne; Matt Crandell and Keith Jones, ACP.
Rob Dinsmore, Product Manager, accepted the award on behalf of SolutionsPT at the ACP annual global conference, Thindustrial13, in Atlanta, USA. It was given in recognition of SolutionsPT being more successful than any other distributor outside the United States.

Rob Dinsmore, and Matt Crandell.
He said: “It is great to see that all our hard work over the last 12 months has paid off and to be recognised by a major industry player such as ACP is a real honour.

“ACP is a forward thinking company and we are proud to distribute its products and encourage the growth of thin client architecture in the industrial automation industries in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It’s also great to be recognised alongside NeoDyne who we work with very closely.”

NeoDyne’s coveted award is in recognition of two of its major client wins in the food and beverage sector, for which SolutionsPT has provided both the ACP software and the Thin Client hardware.”

Martin Farrell, Automation Director of NeoDyne, added: “NeoDyne identified that the widespread adoption of virtualisation for industrial automation platforms created a demand for matching strength terminal server solutions. Working with SolutionsPT, we have used ACP as a differentiator when we offer these solutions to our customers. As a systems integrator, we have found that ACP has simplified thin client hardware installation and commissioning and has enabled our customer’s automation engineers to support the systems going forward without the need for assistance from IT.  We believe that this has helped grow our client base and ultimately why we have won this award.”

ACP is manufacturer of ThinManager, the thin client and terminal services management system.

Says ACP CEO Matt Crandell, presenting the award, “ACP’s International business is growing at an exceptional rate in part due to the abilities and integrity of our ecosystem partners.  NeoDyne is an exemplary example of such a partner. In 2012 NeoDyne was awarded, and successfully implemented two installations of ThinManager with two new customers in the food & beverage industry”.

He added: “SolutionsPT is also a great example of such a distributor. They truly understand the value our products offer which has certainly helped to drive growth in the UK and Ireland.”

More than 300 sites Charmed!

Emerson's CHARMs automation technology logs 1 billion operating hours at more than 300 customer sites

Widely adopted by oil and gas, refining, and chemical industry customers, Emerson Process Management’s next-generation DeltaV™ digital automation system, featuring electronic marshalling with CHARMs technology, has provided an engine for the business’ strong growth for the past two years. (See our article written in 2009 at launch of CHARMS in Europe - CHARMS gets THUMS up in Rijswijk!)

Thanks to electronic marshalling with CHARMs (Characterization Modules) technology, the DeltaV system not only offers unprecedented flexibility and cost savings for some of the world’s biggest and most complex projects, but also transforms and streamlines automation practices that were developed based on technology limitations that existed more than three decades ago.
Emerson make the case for CHARMS
CHARMs technology, the heart of electronic marshalling, has already logged 1 billion operating hours at more than 300 sites.

The now-proven technology was developed initially for offshore platforms, which have space and weight limitations and where last-minute automation design changes routinely result in high costs and expensive delays. Instead of implementing the costly and complicated traditional approach of a pre-engineered physical wiring scheme, CHARMs technology provides a flexible approach that reduces the complexity of connecting automation systems with thousands of temperature, pressure, level, flow, and other control and measurement devices in a typical process operation.

"DeltaV’s CHARMs technology has overturned 35 years of industry thinking and promised to forever change how automation projects are designed and implemented," said Steve Sonnenberg, president of Emerson Process Management. "Our customers are proving this true – our business has seen a tremendous increase in demand for each of the past two years, and we anticipate continuing this robust performance this year."

The sophisticated technology provides an innovative solution to replace a long-standing industry approach that did not provide the needed flexibility for today’s highly complex and challenging projects. The simplicity and enhanced flexibility accommodates late project changes, eliminates hardware, and helps customers reduce field rework, minimising costly schedule delays. This new solution has since been proven to bring similar benefits to automation projects in many process industries.

"We saw a 40 per cent drop in installation costs over traditional approaches," said Bryan Beyer, operations manager, Southern States Chemical, the East Coast’s largest sulphuric acid supplier. "The simplicity of CHARMs technology also means fewer failure points, which translates into more reliability and greater up-time for our plant." Southern States Chemical was the first North American facility to install CHARMs technology.

The technology has also proven popular among innovative engineering and procurement contractors like WorleyParsons, which engineers, designs and builds plants and platforms and works with Emerson to provide the automation systems. Most recently, WorleyParsons has experienced significant cost, space and weight savings from reduced wiring and cabling required for a sophisticated Arctic offshore installation.

"As our customers ask us to take on increasingly large, complex projects – often with fast-track schedules – changes late in the design process are inevitable," said Robert Armstrong, chief instruments and controls engineer, WorleyParsons. "CHARMs technology streamlines how projects are designed and engineered and as a result, has helped control the cost and schedule impact of last-minute changes."

The innovative approach of the technology was driven by human centred design principles, which examine total work processes for improvement – not just incremental product features – to eliminate unnecessary work, reduce complexity, and embed knowledge into Emerson’s technologies.

Specifying valves and terminals

Festo has published a new whitepaper to help designers improve the electro-pneumatic control of their machines. The paper, Quality and an attractive price – the right way to buy valves / valve terminals, advises engineers and designers on how to choose the optimum valves and valve terminals and dispels some of the misleading information in the marketplace.

The whitepaper is free to download from and highlights some of the key factors affecting the total cost of ownership. There are a number of questions that engineers should consider to ensure they are making the right choice of valves and valve terminals enabling them to select the best valve design.

As a ‘hygienic factor’ valves and valve terminals must meet the necessary technical requirements such as flow rate, function, installation space and IP class. The whitepaper advises on other factors equally important to bear in mind. For example, much fuss has been made lately regarding electrical energy costs of solenoid valves. However, while power-saving solenoid functions are a good idea, as they cut down on heat generation and a small amount of wasted energy, the biggest potential for cutting energy costs is related to the sealing principles applied. Some valves, including many with power saving solenoids, require a permanent leakage to operate and also specify a five micron fine filter which creates a bigger pressure drop than a 40 micron filter. Costs associated with these factors can be many times the electrical savings.

The underlying message of the whitepaper is to ensure designers are more aware of all of the issues involved and not to be misled by headlines promising dramatic savings that only consider one narrow aspect of their design.

“Today’s global market for valves and valve terminals is so large that it is almost impossible for engineers to maintain an overview,” says Jacqui Hanbury, product manager at Festo. “Often price seems the only buying criterion, but it pays to look more closely, particularly with regard to total cost of ownership, higher productivity and process reliability. Here at Festo, we make it easy for our customers by offering attractively priced and long-lasting high-quality valves, and our new whitepaper makes it easier for engineers and designers to make an informed decision about how to specify valves and valve terminals.”

Stainless steel cooling units

Rittal now have standard pricing for the stainless steel variants of their cooling units, including those from the TopTherm Generation Blue e range. A selection of wall-mounted cooling units, with nominal outputs in the range 300-1500 W and rated operating voltages of 230 V AC and 400 V AC, are now also available from stock.

Cooling units keep the air inside an enclosure below a maximum permissible temperature, which may be even lower than that of the air surrounding it. The ambient air is used to cool refrigerant, which removes the heat from the air inside the enclosure, at a high temperature and pressure. However, due to separate internal and external air circuits, these units satisfy an ingress protection category of IP54 and the air inside the enclosure is simply recirculated preventing the ingress of dust or other contaminants into the enclosu-re.

To lessen their impact on the environment and reduce operating costs Rittal’s TopTherm Generation Blue e cooling units incorporate energy efficient EC fans, revised components in the refrigerant circuit and an energy saving control strategy. The Eco-mode software, which restricts the use of the internal fan, can have a significant impact on energy consumption, particularly in periods when no cooling is required.

As a result of the now standard pricing and ready availability of wall-mounted stainless steel cooling units, Rittal can respond quickly to demands for enclosure cooling when standard units do not meet the needs of the application. Equipment destined for, for example, the food and beverage and offshore industries may fall into this category.

Intrinsically-safe IR thermometer

A new, intrinsically-safe, infra-red (IR) thermometer, designed for electrical and HVAC installation and maintenance technicians and plant maintenance professionals working in hazardous (Zones 1 & 2) gas and vapour environments in process industries such as petroleum, oil and gas, chemical and pharmaceutical has been introduced by Fluke. With a 50:1 distance-to-spot ratio, it provides accurate measurements far away from inaccessible or potentially dangerous locations.

The rugged, easy-to-use Fluke 568Ex Intrinsically Safe Infrared Thermometer provides two-in-one, non-contact or contact, temperature measurement from -40degC to +800degC with ±1% accuracy. The three simple soft-key buttons allow quick navigation, via the graphical display, of advanced features to adjust emissivity (using a built-in material table), to start data logging for up to 99 points of data, or to turn alarms on and off. MIN, MAX, AVG and DIF functions help to quickly identify problems, while audible and visual alarms provide instant alerts to measurements outside the user’s set limits.

Two levels of backlight on the Fluke 568Ex ensure easy reading in most conditions. Supplied with a K-type thermocouple bead probe for contact measurement, it is also compatible with other non-Ex K-type mini-connector thermocouple probes. The Fluke 568Ex comes complete with a conductive hard carrying case, safe for carrying into hazardous areas.

Installation Tester for the British market!

Robin, partnered with Amprobe, offers a wide range of cost-effective, innovative test equipment specifically designed to make the electrician’s job faster and easier. This includes the Robin-Amprobe KTS1625 Digital Multifunction 17th Edition Installation Tester specifically designed for insulation/continuity/RCD/loop/voltage testing in the British electrical market.

The Robin-Amprobe KTS1625 is a multifunction installation tester, designed to allow testing to BS7671 IEE 17th Edition regulations, measuring various parameters of the electrical system to provide complete safety analysis. It enables loop impedance measurements, measurement of continuity and insulation resistance of motors, transformers or wires, as well as testing of RCD functions and measurement of voltage and frequency. With a CAT III 300V safety-rating, it features a large backlit display providing dual measurements.

Safety and performance are the two most critical requirements for every electrical system. The quality of insulation, properly working grounding system and active protection are “must haves” to assure safety of people, electrical systems and buildings against electrocution, fire, and other equipment damage. They are critical to prevent loss of productivity due to power interruption. The KTS1625 can test these properties.

Robin-Amprobe products are sold and supported by a wide range of dealers and are backed up by a professional support service.

SCADA/HMI leader acquired!

This is the text of a communication from InduSoft to their customers and which we received this morning.

"It is with great pleasure, and much excitement that we announce Invensys' acquisition of InduSoft. This partnership was created to work on the strength of both Invensys and InduSoft to serve customers worldwide, and form a stronger framework for developing and supporting the InduSoft products that you know and love.

We aim to offer the fullest range of industrial software solutions on the automation market, and this partnership will supply InduSoft customers with a highly focused platform for HMI applications, interfaces for embedded devices, and intelligent systems, while providing expanded support and better customer relationships. This is an unprecedented opportunity to combine the strengths of both InduSoft and Invensys and work in collaboration with one another, while focusing on each of our core competencies.

The InduSoft team will continue to work together to develop and support InduSoft Web Studio, InduSoft EmbeddedView, and InduSoft CEView. For current users of InduSoft Web Studio, the result of this partnership will be an expansion of global support, as well as the continued development and support of the InduSoft products our customers have used and relied upon for more than a decade.

Our customers and partners are hugely important to the success and growth of InduSoft. As a company, InduSoft has always held customer support, best-of-breed software, and a protection of customer investment as priorities. It was important when discussing this partnership with Invensys to ensure that we could serve and benefit you. We've listened, and we've worked to ensure that you have the largest number of automation solutions available.

Current InduSoft customers can expect the same level of dedication to support and development as before, and will be able to enjoy the benefits of this acquisition, such as a wider array of products to choose from, and the opportunity to scale up or down for every level of automation. If you currently use InduSoft Web Studio products for high-end SCADA applications, you will continue to have a stable, high-quality platform with a full range of capabilities for industrial automation.

The acquisition of InduSoft by Invensys promises a strong future for the industrial market, and InduSoft is fully committed to developing the most powerful industrial software solutions for machine builders, OEMs, the embedded market, and industrial automation. With the support of Invensys, InduSoft users can look forward to a future full of possibilities."

Self-contained digital pH and ORP measurement!

Yokogawa has combined its expertise in pH and ORP sensor technology with integrated digital communications and signal-processing circuitry to produce the SENCOM (SENsor COMmunication) range of self-contained smart sensing solutions.

The SENCOM smart sensor design enables improved maintenance management and diagnostics, further enhancing the simplicity and reliability that Yokogawa is renowned for. In addition, SENCOM has its own permanent calibration memory, allowing it to be calibrated in the laboratory before returning it to the field, resulting in improved accuracy with reduced operating costs, shorter downtime, and improved safety.

These sensors maintain specific measurement and calibration data and this information can be exchanged between the sensor and a transmitter such as Yokogawa’s FLEXA family. Dedicated SENCOM SPS24 management software is also available for use with a Windows PC. Utilising historical measurement, calibration and diagnostic data from the sensor, the SPS24 data management system provides users with the tools necessary to predict maintenance and calibration frequency and estimate sensor life. The calibration information can be managed, analysed and conveniently documented by the SENCOM SPS24 software.

This new sensing approach enables simplified maintenance by the replacement of “pre-calibrated” sensors. Furthermore, it is possible to monitor sensor aging in real time using a sensor “wellness” feature, as well as carrying out reference impedance measurements for the early detection of diaphragm clogging.

The new software makes it possible to optimise the performance of pH/ORP sensors for enhanced reliability and process safety. The software allows the operator to continuously monitor pH/ORP sensor measurements, perform calibrations and configure the various parameters, keeping track of up to 100 different SENCOM sensors.

The first SENCOM sensor to be introduced in Yokogawa’s new family is a pH/ORP sensor, targeting applications requiring easy, accurate and reliable measurements. Future sensors will target the full spectrum of pH and ORP applications in the power, utilities, petro-chemical, chemical and pulp & paper industries. The new SENCOM sensors are designed to deliver new levels of accuracy and reliability even in the harshest of industrial environments.

Wireless gateway handles up to 200 sensors

The Deeter Group has introduced their deeternet® Wireless Gateway which offers wireless viewing of data from up to 200 sensors using a web browser.

Neil Palmer, Sales Manager of Deeter Group tells us that “our new deeternet® Wireless Gateway is a very cost effective, simple to use and efficient way of monitoring remote sensors using safe and reliable wireless protocols. It is ideal for small to medium sensor monitoring systems and requires no investment in special software or networks.”

Using an Ethernet connection the deeternet® Wireless Gateway requires no special software and provides a user friendly web interface which gives easy access to sensor data at a glance. Customisable set points can be programmed to trigger email and SMS alerts.

The new Wireless Gateway offers Plug-and-Play operation with other supported deeternet® wireless hardware all communicating via the robust and secure IEEE 802.15.4 industrial wireless communication protocol. Most 3rd-party sensors can be connected by adding an optional deeternet® Wireless Sender. The Deeter deeternet® Wireless Gateway measures just 200 x 200 x 55mm and is supplied with an external power supply.

Automation represented at US cybersecurity workshop!

Representatives of the Automation Federation have participated in the fourth in a series of workshops organized by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop an initial draft of a national Cybersecurity Framework.

The workshop, held at the University of Texas at Dallas and involving leading cybersecurity experts across America and the world, moves NIST one step closer to finalizing the draft and preparing it for official release in October. These actions are in keeping with an executive order signed by President Barack Obama earlier this year that calls for a federal framework to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure identify, assess, and manage cyber risk.

Leo Staples, Leader of AF team!
At NIST’s request, the Automation Federation and its affiliated organization, the International Society of Automation (ISA), have actively participated in all four workshops, serving as advisors to the federal government in the development of the framework. Since standards are widely viewed as essential to any effective cybersecurity initiative, the Automation Federation and ISA are strongly recommending the inclusion of the ANSI/ISA99, Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards—widely recognized for their comprehensive approach to industrial cybersecurity.

“The Automation Federation continues to play an important role in the development of the Cybersecurity Framework,” says Leo Staples, the past chair of the Automation Federation who serves as leader of the Automation Federation’s Cybersecurity Framework team. “Both The White House and NIST have noted the invaluable contributions by the Automation Federation throughout these workshops. They continue to rely on our expertise during this process, and have asked for our continued support as the framework enters the implementation phase.”

In addition to Staples, other members of the Automation Federation Cybersecurity Framework team who attended today’s NIST workshop in Texas include Michael Marlowe, Automation Federation Managing Director and Director of Government Relations; Steve Mustard, member of the Automation Federation Government Relations Committee; and Eric Cosman, current Co-Chairman of the ISA99 committee on industrial automation and control systems security and the Vice President of Standards and Practices at ISA.

Today’s NIST workshop, which attracted hundreds of other participants, focused on further refining the Cybersecurity Framework discussion draft, and addressing additional concerns among industry representatives about their specific cybersecurity challenges.

“Members of the Automation Federation Cybersecurity Framework team today referenced the ISA99 Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards as being essential resources that all industry sectors can utilize in protecting their critical assets,” reports Staples.

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

Putting widespread cybersecurity standards in place is vital since many of America’s industrial production settings and infrastructure environments are woefully under-prepared to address cyberwarfare. If industrial control systems and critical infrastructure—such as a power plant, water treatment facility, or transportation grid—are attacked, the result could be significant equipment impairment, production loss, environmental damage, and public endangerment.

“The risk of cyberattacks on our nation’s critical infrastructure is a growing threat that must be addressed,” emphasizes Paul Galeski, the founder and chief executive officer of MAVERICK Technologies who has advocated for improved cybersecurity safeguards on behalf of the Automation Federation in meetings with government officials in Washington, DC. “Like many others in our industry, I have been following the work of the Automation Federation as it leads the effort to address the protection of industrial automation and control systems in the Cybersecurity Framework currently being drafted by NIST. I commend the Automation Federation volunteers and staff that have worked with NIST to make sure that the Framework helps protect the vital infrastructure assets of our nation.”

Interactive electrical cable inspection system installed

Olmec-UK has developed a vision system to verify cable assemblies before soldering during the manufacture of instruments for the automotive industry. The system differs from many vision systems since it is used interactively by the assembly technicians rather than replacing them. The operators present the cables in a particular colour sequence to a precise position on a PCB. The cables are clamped into position and the PCB then passes to the next station for soldering.

Operators use their fingers to slide two-wire cables along a pair of grooves in the cable block until the bare ends of the cables are positioned over the solder pads. The vision system checks the colour of the cables and tracks the position of the cables as the operators move them into position, using an edge detection method. When the bare metal ends of the cables are in within 1 mm of the soldering position, the system initiates spring-loaded clamps across the grooves to hold them in position and the operators can then remove their hands.

Once the cables are clamped, the vision system makes a second positional check (since there is some variation in the speed with which operators slide the cables) to confirm that the ends are in the correct position. If they are not, the clamps are released and the process is repeated. The procedure is repeated for each of the 4 cable blocks on the PCB before it is released for soldering.

Although colour imaging is a standard machine vision technique, the cables used in this application are very reflective. This makes differentiating between colours such as red, orange and brown quite challenging. The traditional machine vision solution would be to use high intensity dome illumination, but this is not practical, so a large flat illumination system was designed to minimize reflections.

The interactive vision system not only acts as an aid to the worker but also controls how they do their job, since the cameras are part of the workflow. The operator can’t move onto the next PCB unless the camera shows that everything is in the right position.

Brewing control!

The Siemens Industry Automation Division has announced the launch of Braumat 7.0 in 2014. The new version will be optimized for use with Simatic S7 controls and industrial PCs with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. While the proven basic structures and project engineering processes will remain unchanged in the Braumat 7.0, an increase in the number of signals or parameters for processing will mean substantially enhanced functional scope. At the same time, the software will be purged of obsolete components. Simatic S5 controls and Windows XP installations will no longer be supported in the new version. Braumat 7.0 is scheduled to roll out worldwide in the first half of 2014.

"With Braumat 7.0, we are adjusting a solution which has now been in successful application for over 30 years and bringing it into line with the possibilities and needs of today's technical standards", says Gunther Walden, Head of Food and Beverages at Siemens. "The new Braumat version is set to upgrade the proven control system operating in hundreds of breweries the world over with modern functional features, and will provide our customers with the assurance that they can continue to rely on Braumat in the future."

Other key new features of Braumat 7.0 will include simplified engineering as well as more effective and additive functions for processes such as material management and automation in the cellar area. Operation of the system will be further simplified by a re-engineered graphic user interface and brought into line with the needs of modern operators. At the same time, new functions will be implemented to address the growing security needs of modern automation technology.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Investigating aero-engine technologies!

Monitran supports the Oxford Turbine Research Facility in its investigations into future aero-engine technologies

Monitran is providing specialist engineering services to the Oxford Turbine Research Facility (OTRF), part of the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford (GB).

Monitran has designed and is supplying high-accuracy signal conditioning units for interfacing with hundreds of thin film heat transfer gauges; which the OTRF has fitted to a full working section of a turbine in order to investigate a variety of turbine blade cooling techniques.

Kam Chana, Commercial & Technical Director of the OTRF, comments: “While we could have outsourced to a traditional CEM we selected Monitran because of their engineering professionalism when it comes to taking on specialist projects and their considerable experience in conditioning small signals.”

Working from schematics provided by the OTRF, and using appropriate CAD software, Monitran designed a double-sided, eight channel analogue circuit board. Each channel is isolated and particular attention was paid to the use of ground planes to screen signal paths into high gain amplifiers. The boards, which are housed in a 19-inch rack system, have been tested at sample rates of 1MHz, as the rationale behind the OTRF’s use of thin film heat transfer gauge sensors is that they have response times in the order of 1μs.

Andy Anthony, Managing Director of Monitran, comments: “This was and continues to be a very interesting project for us and we’re pleased to be supporting the Oxford Turbine Research Facility and the University of Oxford in their investigations into future aero-engine technologies. Also, the service we’re providing gives further testimony of our ability to undertake bespoke projects and deliver professionally engineered ‘turnkey’ solutions.”

To date, Monitran has manufactured 20 signal conditioning units for the OTRF and is on hand to produce more if required; and another reason for the company’s selection by the OTRF was its ability to deliver consistent quality.

Pushing boundaries for instrumentation monitoring

New mapping functionality enables rich graphical display for Mantracourt's latest T24LOG100 data logging software

Mantracourt have announced the latest version of their acclaimed T24LOG100 instrumentation monitoring software. This new version of the T24LOG100 includes advanced features such as a graphical / mapping capability and a facility for remote viewing via a web server.

Mantracourt’s T24LOG100 software is a data logging package that can handle up to 100 channels of wireless instrumentation data simultaneously whilst also offering a range of sophisticated features that will enable users to optimise system monitoring and control. The T24LOG100 display is highly customisable, so that it can be easily branded with corporate colours and a logo and licenced for distribution.

"The new mapping facility will enable engineers to create a visual representation of their channels" said Jonathan Purdue, Business Development Manager at Mantracourt.

"With the new mapping facility, once the display channels are defined, the user can quickly build graphical pages showing the data in a variety of formats including digital display or bars,” said Jonathan Purdue. “Up to eight pages can be defined, and the pages can be easily navigated between. The software enables a variety of image formats to be imported, including JPG, GIF, PDF and DXF."

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.

LIMS website launched

Autoscribe has launched a new combined British and US website to reflect the worldwide nature of their business. With a fresher, cleaner look, much improved navigation, additional content and more downloads, the site features a new ‘market’ section which allows visitors to see at a glance the applications of information management systems in different market areas, as well as a more in depth view of the Business Solutions that are available.

Another new section is devoted to information on the unique configuration capabilities of the Matrix family of LIMS. The ‘OneTime configuration tools’ are the lynch pin of the Matrix Gemini LIMS, making it highly configurable, adaptable and flexible, within a standard product core. These tools are used to create the initial configuration at implementation and can be used subsequently by either Autoscribe or customers’ staff to further configure or re-configure the system to keep it in step with any changes to the laboratory workflow or business practices.

The new site also has a stronger focus on real-life uses of Autoscribe products, with more case studies, and a glimpse of some of Autoscribe’s clients. With agreement from many customers in place, a comprehensive program is under way to produce a whole series of new case studies to further illustrate the diversity of applications. These will be added to the new site as they are completed.

Flow service capabilities

Flow Lifecycle Care provides wide ranging flow services to support customers around the world

As an on-going effort to strengthen global customer support, Emerson Process Management has created a new Flow Lifecycle Care organisation. Flow Lifecycle Care provides an extensive range of flow service capabilities for the entire range of Emerson flow technology, to better respond to global customer requirements.

"The creation of Flow Lifecycle Care is a natural extension of Emerson’s commitment to expand global support and provide the highest level of flow measurement expertise expected from Emerson by our customers," said Larry Flatt, Group Vice President of Emerson Process Management. "The importance of flow measurement, in virtually every industry and application around the world, warrants specific focus from Emerson to ensure we are actively helping customers’ maximise their investment."

Customers must keep operations up and running reliably and many are under additional pressure to improve overall process efficiency and increase output. These demands are challenging to meet given staff downsizing, changing workforce demographics, budgetary constraints, and retiring technical expertise. With Flow Lifecycle Care, Emerson strives to bridge this gap with expert services and solutions that can aid customers in meeting their operational goals by maximising the effectiveness of their flow technologies.

"By combining the service capabilities of Emerson’s flow technologies into one group, we intend to strengthen customer confidence in the form of less risk, increased reliability, and improved certainty in their flow applications," said Scott Anderson, President of Emerson’s Flow Lifecycle Care.

Emerson specifically supports oil and gas customers in the North Sea with Roxar reservoir and production monitoring technologies and METCO specialist measurement services. Roxar offers advanced technology to help operators maximise reservoir performance while METCO audit and consultancy services, field technicians, and office-based engineers help the world’s oil and gas companies manage fiscal, allocation, and environmental measurement infrastructure.

Flow Lifecycle Care services are available around the world with 42 regional service centres and over 650 personnel. Plans are well underway to expand this network of support. The new organisation will focus on flow service and support for Emerson’s Daniel™ Measurement and Control, METCO, Micro Motion®, Regulator Technologies, Rosemount® Flow, and Roxar™ technologies. By partnering with Emerson, customers can expect a comprehensive offering of flow services to include; installation, start-up, repair, calibration, meter auditing, consulting and education.

Miniature, lightweight USB industrial vision camera

Weighing just 12 grams and around 23 x 26.5 x 21.5 mm in size with a robust magnesium housing, the new IDS uEYE XS industrial vision camera from Stemmer combines high quality, 5 Mpixel colour imaging with a range of automatic functions normally only found in digital cameras for the consumer market. The robust construction, small size, USB 2.0 interface, Mini B USB 2.0 connector and integrated power supply allow easy interface even into harsh industrial environments.

Automatic image control functions, including auto white balance, auto gain and auto exposure time, are performed in the camera itself. This considerably reduces demands on the CPU, while also enabling easy processing of images captured independently of the PC system. With exposure compensation, backlight compensation, photometry and anti-flicker function options, there is huge scope for adapting the automatic image control, making the XS perfect for ATM, kiosk and embedded systems as well as medical engineering, microscopy, and access control.

The XS offers a choice of seven image formats: 5 Mpixel (2592 x 1944), 3 Mpixel, Full HD, UXGA (1600 x 1200), 1.2 Mpixel, 720p and VGA. The frame rate is freely adjustable (e.g. for long exposures), and 15 frames per second can be captured in JPEG mode at full resolution. Frame rates as high as 30 fps can be achieved using binning or subsampling. There is also a live video capability operating at 15 frames per second at full 5 Mpixel resolution.

The integrated auto focus operates at any distance above 10 cm, either automatically or manually using the software. The current focus position can also be read using the associated API function. A digital zoom is also provided.

The comprehensive, well-proven IDS Software Suite including drivers, tools and interfaces is supplied with the uEYE XS. This makes it quick and easy to integrate the camera into a huge range of different applications

Website is a first for automation business!

The new e-F@ctory Alliance software webstore is a first for the automation business and offers a huge range of incredibly useful ‘approved’ automation software and dedicated function blocks available for instant download. Programs on offer also include partner solutions that have been developed alongside Mitsubishi Electric to support users to find best practice solutions for their automation challenges and further increase performance for many different application fields.

Ciarán Moody
Commenting from Mitsubishi Electric Europe’s Factory Automation – European Business Group, Ciarán Moody, Business Development Manager for partner relationship said “The webstore is intended to be an extremely active service, every day the range of solutions we offer will continue to grow, it certainly helps us to have a dedicated portal for automation related function blocks and software distribution, but the greatest value and convenience is to our customers - meeting the increasing worldwide market demand for function blocks and software solutions from one convenient source.”

All the software and function blocks associated with Mitsubishi products available for download are designed to improve production accuracy, increase efficiency and ultimately reduce costs for any automation challenge. Items that are expected to be very popular include innovative sector and application specific function blocks for the water, food & beverage, consumer packaged goods, process and life science industries. There is already a high demand for function blocks, as they can save a significant amount of time for engineers and programmers in development and commissioning.

The convenience of being able to search and select from such a wide range of useful software and function blocks by solution, by industry sector or by function should prove to be a fantastic asset to any developer, software engineer, designer or integrator looking to software and function blocks from a trusted secure location. The webstore can be found at where open access is provided to browse and purchase all the software solutions on offer.

The site offers extended download service as well as a CD backup order option and accepts all major credit cards supported by Visa, MasterCard and Amex via a secure online payment service.

Mercury emissions monitor draws crowds in Edinburgh

Gasmet unveiled a new continuous mercury monitoring system (CMM) at Mercury 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the ‘International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant’. Expressing his delight with the number of enquiries received, Gasmet Europe’s Antti Heikkilä said: “With delegates from over 50 countries, the conference was extremely well attended and our booth received a constant stream of enquiries throughout the week.

“We received requests for monitoring applications covering mercury emissions in coal and waste incineration, to emerging measurement requirements such as mercury in natural gas and other forthcoming regulatory driven applications.

“Most of the visitors to our booth were looking for a monitor with low detection limits, no interferences and with low operating costs, so the CMM was ideal for their needs.”

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

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.

Data acquisition software now works with even more devices

Windmill Software are pleased to launch a major new improved version of ComDebug, the free serial communication, data logging and trouble-shooting software.

The improvements were all suggested by users of ComDebug, and make the software even more versatile. For instance, with ComDebug users can now:
- Log data from sensors that send data as a web page
- Collect data as 4-byte (32-bit) integers, 4-byte words (double words), ASCII characters, hexadecimal, signed bytes, bytes, bits, 4-byte floating point or 4-byte reverse floating point
- Enter custom commands to extract data or output control messages
- Easily identify communication problems
- Communicate more easily with TCP/IP, Modbus, RS-485, RS-422 and RS-232 measurement devices

The new custom commands allow ComDebug to extract data even if it is an unusual format. For example, the start of a message from a measuring device might be indicated by only part of a byte whilst the rest of the byte carries data. By entering a custom command, ComDebug can log the
just data and ignore the rest. Users can enter custom commands themselves, or Windmill Software is happy to set up a custom command for any instrument.

Another improvement makes it easier to use ComDebug with some Modbus devices. Previously ComDebug read data as 2-byte words. This was inconvenient when the device sent 4-byte words. One user had to open the log file in Excel, concatenate the two hex strings then convert the hex
to decimal. Do-able but laborious. Windmill Software have taken notice of his "gotta be an easier way???" plea and added options to collect data as 4-byte words or 32-bit integers.

The new software also now has a trouble-shooting screen, so users can see exactly what is being sent to and received from instruments, and identify where any problems may be occurring. The screen shows the outcome of each data reading, the messages sent and received, the data extraction procedure and result, and the time in hundredths of a second since data logging started.

ComDebug communicates with a vast range of instruments over TCP/IP, Modbus, RS-485, RS-422 and RS-232. These include dial gauges, digital indicators, digital thermometers, force gauges, I2C devices, load meters, multimeters, PIC microcontrollers, plcs, pressure transmitters and power analysers, from manufacturers like Fluke, Garmin, Honeywell, Love Controls, Mettler Toledo, Motorola, Omron, Rockwell Automation, Siemens and Texas Instruments.

European distributors recognised

Display supplier KOE Europe has presented awards to four of its distributors for their outstanding contributions in delivering new business development, design win opportunities and sales growth in the European marketplace. The awards were made at KOE Europe's recent European distribution sales conference held in Aix-en-Provence (F).

KOE Europe Distribution Sales Channel Awards 2012/13:
Data Modul AG - Distributor of the year
Avnet Italy - Best new design win
Gleichmann - Best distributor - moving design to production
Data Modul AG (Spain) - Best new 'start up' distributor
At the conference, Data Modul AG was awarded best overall distributor for strong growth and consistently good performance in finding new design opportunities. In addition, Gleichmann received an accolade as the best distributor for migrating design wins to production orders. Avnet Italy achieved the award for best new design win performance and Data Modul AG (Spain) received the best new 'Start Up' award.

Accepting the overall Distributor of the Year award, Marion Radina, product marketing manager, Data Modul said, "We are very pleased to accept this award recognising the excellent performance of Data Modul promoting KOE displays. We believe our success is due to our ability to offer customers genuine value added solutions which help solve their design challenges. Data Modul will continue to invest and focus on design in and product promotion activities with KOE."

Mark Stanley, general manager, KOE Europe added, "During the past 12 months our leading distributors have excelled in developing new designs and converting sales opportunities in what has been a competitive marketplace." He continued, "Our distribution sales channel is a very important route to market for KOE. It is paramount that we have able, focused and motivated European distribution partners."

Entry level oscilloscope series expanded

Tektronix has expanded its TBS1000 oscilloscope series to include three new 4-channel models at 60 MHz, 100 MHz and 150 MHz bandwidth. Designed and built by Tektronix, the TBS1000 oscilloscopes are backed by a 5-year warranty for years of reliable electronics testing in research and development, education, service and manufacturing applications.

With a full set of the most frequently used measurement types and analysis functions, the instruments offer excellent performance and accuracy with up to 1 GS/s sample rate and 2 percent dc gain accuracy down to 2 mV/div.

The TBS1000 Series (TBS stands for Tektronix Basic Scope) oscilloscopes were launched in November 2012 bringing five 2-channel models to market. The addition of 4-channels adds versatility that opens up the TBS1000 series to a wider range of test environments, such as entry level design and debug and quality assurance applications.

Both the 2- and 4-channel oscilloscopes include a fully-featured, fully documented programmatic interface for instrument control and data transfer, a waveform logging feature that allows users to log waveforms to a USB flash drive, and a pass/fail mask test that allows a user to specify a tolerance band around the signal and take action if the signal goes outside the band.

“At these prices service facilities, test labs, design centers and universities around the world can afford to equip their entire teams with a very capable digital oscilloscope,” said Jeff Yost, general manager, Basic Oscilloscopes at Tektronix. “And this isn’t just another oscilloscope – it’s a Tektronix oscilloscope, the most widely used oscilloscope in the world. That means intuitive operation familiar to engineers everywhere and accurate, repeatable results.”

Call for papers at analysis symposium

The Program Committee of the 59th ISA Analysis Division Symposium has issued a Call for Papers inviting abstracts for presentation consideration at the conference, which will be held 4-8 May 2014 in Louisiana, USA.

Papers for acceptance should address topics in process and laboratory analysis, including methods, applications, hardware, software, systems, operations and maintenance. Subject content may concern technology in development or technology applied in industry practices. Proceedings will be marketed and sold globally. An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) will be assigned to them.

Popular subject areas of interest include:
The ISA Analysis Division Symposium is recognised worldwide as the premier international forum for introducing and discussing new and innovative analytical techniques, developments and applications in the analytical sciences.
  • Chemical analyzers
  • Systems integration
  • Physical properties
  • Maintenance
  • Spectroscopy
  • Chromatography
  • Gas detectors
  • Sampling systems
  • Emerging technologies
  • Validation/Calibration
  • Environmental

“The primary interest of the ISA Analysis Division lies in the application of process analytical technology, and we fully expect that attendees will gain a fuller awareness about how to properly select, install and maintain process analyzers,” explains Michael W. Chaney, CAP, project manager at LyondellBasell in Morris, Illinois, and Technical Program Chairman of the 59th ISA Analysis Division Symposium. “We are very eager to learn about new technologies and methods to implement or maintain process analysers that would benefit the end user, vendor or the EPC (engineering procurement company). Our symposium program will appeal to many industries that use process analytics, and not only the oil and gas industry.”

All papers are peer reviewed to conform, or to be modified to conform, to ISA Analysis Division and ISA format, content and quality guidelines. The submission deadline for papers, which must not be product- or company-specific in nature, is 20 December 2013. For complete guidelines and other important 

Growing team of hardware and software engineers has new leader

Opto 22 has promoted Engineering Manager Ken Johnson to company Vice President of Engineering. In his new post, long-time employee Johnson will expand his current leadership of the company’s Engineering group with an increased role in corporate strategic planning.

During his two-year leadership of the Engineering group, Johnson managed a growing team of electrical engineers and software developers in planning and building Opto 22 I/O and control products, including the recent groov, which simplifies mobile interface development and use for industrial automation.

Johnson says bringing groov to market was his biggest accomplishment in that time. Opto 22 CEO and President Mark Engman agrees, saying “groov was a challenging product in terms of hardware and software development. Getting the groov Box hardware appliance out the door, followed shortly by groov Server for Windows software, was a technical and management challenge that Ken really stepped up to.”

Johnson has been with Opto 22 since 1994, serving briefly as Network Manager and then as Senior Project Engineer until becoming Engineering Manager in 2011. Johnson holds a B.S. in Engineering Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.S. in Physics from the University of California, San Diego.

Backpressure regulators/relief valves in lightweight, corrosion-resistant titanium!

A new lightweight, corrosion-resistant version of its Fisher® 98 Series Backpressure Regulators/Relief Valves has been released by Emerson. With a body made from high strength titanium, product weight is significantly reduced and maintenance requirements are minimised – helping to increase overall platform safety. The new regulators/valves are designed to meet the need for reliable, high quality devices that are resistant to the highly corrosive conditions and aggressive chemicals typically used in offshore applications.

Titanium is strong and light, reducing product weight by up to 50 per cent – an important factor on offshore platforms. Titanium also performs well in offshore conditions because of its low galvanic corrosion factor when exposed to sea water. The improved corrosion resistance and extended service life reduces the need for maintenance, lowering costs and enhancing safety as the need for personnel to visit hazardous areas is minimised.

Emerson’s Fisher 98 Series regulators/valves are used for backpressure or relief applications in liquid, gas, air, and steam service. They have a fast response speed, which is very important in safety shut-down applications. Their compact design makes them easy to install in the skid-based systems found on oil offshore platforms where space is at a premium. Because they are self-operated, they do not need any external power source (electric or pneumatic). This is another feature which makes the device easy to install. It also removes the potential for a supplementary source of ignition, which helps to reduce the risk of fire on the platform.

The Fisher 98 series range comprises direct-operated and spring-loaded regulator/valves and versions with additional pressure loading to maintain relief differential pressures, backpressures or for remote set-point adjustment. The Fisher 98HM is a direct-operated, spring to close regulator, which requires no external power to operate and features a sensing line connection for sensing pressure externally from the regulator.

Fisher 98 Series Backpressure Regulators/Relief Valves are part of the broad range of Fisher regulators available for pressure and flow control of industrial gas and liquids, natural gas and propane gas.