Friday, December 6, 2013

ATE and mass interconnect system on show!

At Southern Electronics 2014, next February, The Peak Group is featuring its recently announced partnership with Simplicity AI to provide integrated test solutions based on National Instruments industry-standard platforms along with Peak’s test hardware and fixturing technology and Simplicity AI’s advanced test & measurement software.

Both companies are NI Alliance Partners. Peak Production Equipment is a proven provider of automated test and measurement solutions, supporting every stage of the assembly process from component testing to highly complex functional solutions. Peak is also the exclusive British agent for the mass interconnect systems made by Virginia Panel Corporation, which are extensively used as interfaces within the automatic test sector.

Simplicity AI provides a range of advanced technical products and engineering services for test, measurement, control and automation, with a particular emphasis on developing automatic test and measurement software built around industry-standard platforms. The company’s Tequra software suite aims to reduce the cost and risk involved with test software development, deployment and maintenance. The software also provides detailed insight into manufacturing processes and product quality

Peak is a proven provider of automated test and measurement solutions, supporting every stage of the assembly process from component testing to highly complex functional solutions. The company offers intelligent integration of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf” equipment with custom-designed mechanical, electronic and system software elements. Comprehensive installation and commissioning procedures are deployed to merge Peak’s test systems with customers’ processes, followed up with hands-on training and the provision of detailed documentation.

Peak is also featuring its extensive range of test probes and related interfacing hardware, including the recently introduced ENGMATEC range of test plugs for industry-standard interfaces including Western-Min, USB, TAE and HDMI. 

Connector mounting frames in plastic!

Harting has introduced plastic versions of its connector mounting frames for the Han-Port® front panel interface system. The new option provides a lightweight solution for users who need to connect external devices to controls and systems in control cabinets or machine enclosures for diagnostics or maintenance purposes.

The new Han-Port® plastic mounting frames are available as single and double versions. Users can choose between transparent and metallic finishes for the covers. A 3 mm double-bit closure is available for locking the cover. Simply clicking the enclosed rotation knob in the double-bit closure enables rotation knob closure.

The use of high-quality plastics and an IP65 degree of protection (with closed cover) allows the new plastic mounting frames to be deployed in harsh industrial environments.

The mounting frames feature a spring mechanism that lifts the unlocked cover upward by 30°, allowing users to easily detect whether the cover is closed.

The well-known plug sockets and/or data modules are inserted and snapped into place in the new Han-Port® mounting frames. This modular system facilitates a variety of combination options and allows customers to react flexibly to their different interface requirements.

Approvals by outside bodies including NEMA and UL mean that the units can be used virtually worldwide.

Distributor of the year in Europe!

Anglia Components has been presented with the European Distributor of the Year award for EPCOS brand products, after achieving the best business performance in its regional network.

The award was the first made under TDK’s newly inaugurated distributor performance evaluation program for EPCOS brand products. The company’s distribution and sales management teams scored the performance of its European distributors on the basis of 18 separate criteria covering business performance, inventory management, contractual terms and operational excellence. Anglia achieved the highest overall score in Europe to win the award.
TDK and Anglia celebrate the presentation of the award in London’s IceBar. L-R Matt Cotton, MD, EPCOS, Graham Bridger, Marketing Dir IP & E, Anglia, Dietmar Jaeger, Vice President Distribution, EPCOS, and Keith Rogers, Distribution Manager, EPCOS

Commenting on the presentation, Dietmar Jaeger, Vice President Distribution Corporate Sales at TDK, said, “Our new distributor of the year award program was officially launched this year and celebrates the excellence that we find in our distribution network. Our relationship with Anglia in the UK and Ireland is particularly strong, and we are delighted to present this award for the first time to an outstanding and long term partner.”

He added, “Our strategy is to maintain a diverse network of strong distribution partners that includes companies with high service, global and national business models to give our customers a real choice. Anglia is an example of an excellent national distributor, which has effective relationships with its customers in its national market. Our relationship with them is close at every level, from senior management through marketing and account management to day-to-day operations.”

Steve Rawlins, CEO of Anglia Components responded, “EPCOS products are recognized as superior solutions and we are truly proud to have received this endorsement from one of the top brands in our industry. Our whole team strives to make the experience of sourcing EPCOS products from Anglia a positive one for our customers and this success really means a lot to them. They deserve our warm congratulations on their success.”

A bomb waiting to go off!

A new book declares that another Chernobyl or Fukushima-like catastrophe is inevitable unless nuclear power plants across the world adopt fully automated safety systems.

Automation Can Prevent the Next Fukushima  by Béla G. Lipták, P.E., a well-known automation, optimisation and safety control consultant with more than 50 years in safety control system design experience, explains that while the automation technology exists to prevent the vast majority of nuclear reactor disasters, the world’s nuclear energy facilities continue to rely on human operators to monitor plant conditions and manually take corrective safety measures when needed.

“It’s not a question of if, but only of when the next major nuclear power plant disaster will occur,” insists Lipták who, as president of Lipták Associates, advises energy firms and other companies on critical safety, pollution and environmental issues. “The seriousness of this ominous forecast could be much reduced if the nuclear power industry fully embraced automation safety. The safety controls of the 438 nuclear power plants that operate around the world today are outdated. Their designs are based primarily on manual operation. These plants need to be updated with safety systems that are fully automated.”
The possible consequences of severe nuclear reactor failures—explosions and the release of radioactive gases and materials into the environment—are so dire that fully automated systems are a must, Lipták emphasizes.

“In these plants, serious safety responses must be immediate and fully automatic,” he says. “Automatic safety systems are like air bags in cars. Their actuation must not be left up to human judgment. They must instantly detect the evolving dangers and must immediately respond to inhibit or mitigate adverse consequences.”

Lipták claims that automated safety systems would have prevented the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. He notes that even less sweeping improvements—such as redundant or self-diagnosing sensors and control panels with graphic displays—might have averted these incidents.

In his book, Lipták recommends that operating licenses or license extensions for nuclear power plants be approved only if the facilities meet the following design and automation requirements:
  • The plant should be able to automatically shut down the reactors even when internal and external electric power supplies fail and regardless of the actions of either plant management or operators.
  • The energy needed to automatically cool and safely shut down the reactors should be made available in an uninterruptible form, using either gravity, or the always-available energy of decay steam.
  • All primary containments should be inerted with nitrogen and both the primary and secondary containments should be protected against explosions by detecting both the presence of hydrogen or that of high pressure steam and by automatically triggering filtered venting, if either rises beyond safe limits.
  • The design should ensure that automatic shutdown systems cannot be turned off by anybody or anything, including cyber-terrorist attacks.

“Furthermore,” he adds, “standards, both national and international, need to be established that describe the designs of the automated safety requirements in the same detail as my book does and require a policy of openness so that the public is informed if a plant—for economic or other reasons—doesn’t meet these standards.”
The author, Bela Lipták, has had a fascinating life in his native Hungary and after he entered the USA as a refugee in 1956. He has published more than 200 technical articles and some 22 technical books, including four editions of the multi-volume Instrument Engineers’ Handbook.

Lab instrument data integration software!

After the successful release of its IRIS software in the United States in March 2012, PAC has recently launched this advanced instrument data integration software designed specifically for PAC laboratory instruments globally. IRIS Software provides customers the advantage of connecting their PAC laboratory instruments, locally or worldwide, and managing these instruments, including gathering and analyzing test data, as well as communicating results, from a single computer. This greatly improves laboratory efficiency since the software has the same look and feel across all instruments, which reduces the amount of training needed when working with multiple software platforms. In addition, it can perform data reprocessing without rerunning a sample, which increases laboratory productivity.

IRIS Software is also compliant with security and quality protocols. It includes password protection at multiple levels and user traceability. This helps ensure that your laboratory instrument data is secure and only accessible to authorized people within your organization. Integrated statistical process control charting is also available for many instrument models.

PAC IRIS Software has numerous plugins (PAC instruments it connects to) including the Herzog OptiDist, ISL PMD 110, Herzog HVM472, ISL VIDA, and many more. All IRIS plugins include a results section to view previously completed tests, a run control section that displays real-time instrument data, a reports section to print reports, a LIMS connection to automatically transfer data, and an online manager to allow web-based control of the software and remote data access. Some plugins have more advanced features including the ability to start a test, to define upper and lower limits and targets, to define the test results from a sample test as a standard to compare to other test results, or for users to modify units of the instrument parameters.

“The IRIS Software is designed to meet our client’s needs for increasing lab efficiency by providing the same software to manage numerous instruments and also remotely accessing data. With its adaptable configurations, IRIS Software offers each laboratory flexibility in its utilization. Small labs with the capacity to grow or large, international organizations wanting to centralize and link all their global laboratory data will find that IRIS effectively meets their organizational needs,” said David Tran, PAC Vice-President of Product Management and Marketing.

Co-operation to deliver Integrated PLM-MES Solution

PTC and GE Intelligent Platforms have announced an acceleration in their joint effort to bring to market a solution that helps manufacturers close the loop between product design and production execution on the shop floor. Beginning immediately, GE will resell the PTC Manufacturing Process Management software in combination with GE’s manufacturing execution system (MES) software. While manufacturing information can be passed directly from the PTC Windchill® solution to the GE Proficy for Manufacturing Discrete product today, the companies expect to deliver an expanded closed-loop integrated solution in 2014.

PTC and GE share a common vision of an “Industrial Internet” where the future of manufacturing is transformed by the surge of smart, connected products. As a result, the two companies kicked off a series of joint sales, marketing, services, support, and product development initiatives designed to collaboratively meet this fast-growing market demand.

GE and PTC are integrating offerings that are based on industry best practices for product lifecycle management (PLM) and MES business processes. The joint solution will manage a closed loop of product information among engineering, manufacturing production and service. Product structures and 3D product representations defined by engineering become the basis for manufacturing routings and manufacturing bills of materials (mBOMs) which are then used to manage shop floor activity and coordinate with ERP systems. Shop floor information, such as the “as-built” BOM, can also be shared with PLM and ERP systems to complete the closed loop with engineering. The complete view of a finished product can also be shared with a company’s service organization to optimize service delivery and performance. Customers of the integrated offering could achieve faster time to deployment and lower total cost of ownership.

“Manufacturers place a premium on their ability to introduce products faster, keep production costs low, and keep product quality high,” said Jim Walsh, general manager, Software and Services, GE Intelligent Platforms. “Essential to meeting these goals is ensuring that products are built precisely as they were designed. PTC’s PLM solution is the best complement to our GE Proficy solution and our organization is energized by the opportunity to offer a truly differentiated solution to solve one of our customers’ most significant challenges.”

The “Industrial Internet” rapidly increases the complexity of creating ever smarter, connected products. By closing the loop between early-stage engineering design activities, production processes on the plant floor and the service organization, manufacturers can reduce errors, increase flexibility in how they manage late-stage engineering changes, reduce work-in-process, and, ultimately, accelerate new product introductions.

“The seamless flow of information across a discrete manufacturing organization, from design to manufacturing to service, is the dream of all executives,” said Jim Heppelmann, president and CEO, PTC. “That dream becomes a reality with the GE-PTC solution and we are excited to be deepening our relationship with GE to address a real market need.”

Robustly designed safety switchgear for explosive atmospheres!

Conditions like mechanical safety and explosion protection mean that two comprehensive sets of normative guidelines have to be taken into account at once. The standards which switching devices used to monitor the positioning of guard doors on machines in Ex-zones have to meet are correspondingly complex.

For such applications, the steute business field Extreme has a wide range of electromechanical and non-contact safety switchgear. Their electromechanical product range has just been expanded to include new variants of the Ex AZ 16 safety switch with separate actuator which, in its basic design (without explosion protection), has already become a true “classic” for machine safety.

The Ex-variant has the same dimensions as the original version, so that the switches are 1:1 compatible for assembly purposes. The “Extreme” device also fulfils the same familiar high standards of reliability and durability.

In order to meet the demands of explosion protection, a separate terminal box is stipulated for the cable connection; the Ex AZ 16 is optionally available with customised cable lengths. Users have the choice between versions with two or three contacts; a new addition to our range is the switching insert variant with two NCC and one NOC. Available versions also include manoeuvrable actuators which are useful for guard doors with a tight angle of aperture.

In accordance with ATEX and IECEx, the Ex AZ 16 is approved for use in gas Ex-zones 1 and 21. Approvals in accordance with other national explosion protection stipulations, including Russia, China, Brazil and Canada, have also been applied for, while a special version for dust Ex-zone 22 is already available.

Modbus CO2 probe for demanding OEM applications!

The EE871 CO2 probe from E+E Elektronik is designed for maintenance-free use in demanding OEM applications. The Modbus protocol permits easy retrieval and further processing of measurement values and facilitates simple integration into custom applications.

Highest measurement accuracy
The compact probe measures CO2 concentrations up to 10,000 ppm. Thanks to the multipoint CO2 and temperature adjustment, temperature compensation ensures excellent measurement accuracy over the entire operating range of -40... 60°C.

Excellent long-term stability
The CO2 measurement cell of the probe is based on infrared technology (NDIR) and uses a dual-wavelength auto-calibration procedure. Thus, the EE871 is maintenance free and highly resistant to environmental influences. Ageing effects are automatically compensated, thus ensuring excellent long-term stability.

High resistance to pollution
The IP65 enclosure and the replaceable filter ensure optimal protection from contamination. Therefore, the EE871 can also be used in harsh environmental conditions.

Easy assembly
Its compact design, M12 electrical connector and optional mounting flange facilitate the installation or replacement of the CO2 probe.

Due to its very low power consumption, the CO2 probe is particularly interesting for use in battery-powered devices such as data loggers, handhelds and wireless sensors. Other applications can be found, among others, in greenhouses, stables, fruit and vegetable storage facilities, hatchers and incubators.

• E+E Electronics products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Modular power supplies!

Gresham Power Electronics has announced the availability of its BL series of 200W pluggable, hot-swap, modular power supplies.

Developed to provide a fast response, pre-approved power solution for customers assembling instrumentation, test and measurement systems or industrial control applications the new BL series offers a simple, cost effective replacement to CompactPCI and similar “high overhead” power solutions.

The high efficiency universal input voltage BL Series features power factor correction and is housed in a 3U high, 10HP wide, 160mm deep 19” rack mountable cassette enclosure with a rear mounted multi-pin bus connector. The BL series offers hot-swap interchange and is intended to be connected in N+1 redundant configuration for high integrity systems.

Announcing the first model in the range, the 12V/200W output BL175-112, Jake Moir, Managing Director of Gresham Power Electronics, comments; "Our new BL series of power supplies continues our move to UK designed power solutions which offer our customers shorter development times and fast response engineering services. We are very successful in the CompactPCI power supply market and are finding a growing number of requirements for lower cost, reduced intelligence power solutions for instrumentation which has prompted the design of this new product range."

A key feature of the Gresham Power BL series is its flexibility. The enclosure is designed to accept a wide range of standard form-factor power supplies to provide bespoke power solutions on short lead-times and with very low non-recurring engineering costs (NRE). The BL series features over voltage and over current protection, an auxiliary output for cooling fan use and LED indicators for power on and power good. RoHS compliant the BL Series has full international safety agency approvals.

The BL Series is suitable for a wide range of commercial and scientific instrumentation and test applications and military COTS projects. The 12V BL175-112 will be followed by introductions of 3.3,5,24 and 48VDC versions.

Source measure units!

New instruments introduce battery simulation function and extended voltage range

Two new instruments have been added to the Yokogawa GS610 and GS820 family of source measure units: the GS610 Model 7655 is a battery simulator unit which simulates the internal resistance changes of batteries as an aid to failure analysis, while the GS820 Models 765601/Z and 765602/Z are 50 V output versions for testing higher-voltage components such as LEDs and power transistors.

Their single-channel GS610 and multi-channel GS820 source measure units are high-accuracy, high-speed programmable voltage and current sources that incorporates both generation and measurement functions as well as USB interfaces and USB storage functions.

The instruments feature high power output, with a maximum output voltage and current of 110 V and 3.2 A, respectively, a basic accuracy of 0.02%, and pulse widths down to 100 µs. These performance levels, coupled with the fact that the units can operate as current sources or current sinks, make them ideally suited to measuring and evaluating the electrical characteristics of a wide range of devices, including semiconductors, secondary batteries, in-vehicle electronic components and displays.

The new 7655 version of the GS610 can firstly measure the current/voltage characteristics of a battery during charging or discharging and then simulate the internal resistance changes of the battery by controlling the output voltage in real time with reference to this characteristic. This makes it possible to simulate low and defective batteries and carry out marginal battery power testing on portable devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras.

The GS610 Model 7655 battery simulator is designed to save time and money by avoiding the need to prepare batteries with low charges and/or defects. Tests can be performed which are easily reproducible over long periods.

The 765601/Z and 765602/Z versions of the GS820 each provide a maximum output voltage of 50 V, compared with 18 V for the standard version. The maximum current capability of the new models is ±1.2A, compared with ±3.2A for the standard unit.

Applications for the higher-voltage unit include testing LED lighting, power transistors and FET devices, protection devices (varistors and diodes) and voltage regulators. Potential users include both equipment manufacturers and component or sub-assembly manufacturers.

Hannover goes to Canada!

For the first time in its company history, Deutsche Messe AG will organize an event in Canada. Hannover Fairs USA, Deutsche Messe AG’s U.S. subsidiary, have established the Canadian Wind Energy Conference Partnership with with the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), in which Hannover Fairs USA holds a majority share.

From now on the Canadian Wind Energy Conference Partnership will organize the CanWEA Annual Conference and Exhibition, which with 200 exhibitors and approximately 2,000 visitors is Canada’s biggest wind-energy event.

“The Canadian Wind Energy Association is a strong and influential partner,” said Dr. Andreas Gruchow, Member of the Managing Board, Deutsche Messe. "Our long-term goal is to establish our portfolio of energy events worldwide. So far this year we have launched a trade fair in Brazil and started new partnerships in the U.S. and Turkey. The new cooperation in Canada is a perfect match for our activities.”

Last years event!
“Deutsche Messe has a phenomenal track record over many years in producing wind energy conferences and exhibitions,” said Robert Hornung, President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association. “Partnering with such a well-established trade event management organization allows us to enhance the scope and diversity of conference exhibitors and delegates, and increase our reach internationally.”

Canada currently has 7,000 megawatts of installed capacity, and new projects will contribute an additional 1,500 megawatts annually in the coming years. The CanWEA Annual Conference and Exhibition, Canada’s leading wind-energy event, promotes public discussion about policy, communications and business development in the expanding Canadian wind-energy market. Industry leaders participate in and support the event, which will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary from 27 to 29 October 2014 at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal in Montreal, Québec.

Level radar range!

Invensys has introduced its Foxboro Eckardt™ LevelWave Radar Series measurement solution for liquids, including corrosive, sticky or difficult media.

“The Foxboro Eckardt LevelWave Series enables us to offer our customers wider capabilities for level measurement with the same peace of mind, quality and accuracy they have come to expect from Invensys,” said Roger Ingemey, general manager of Invensys Foxboro Eckardt. 

“We have more than 50 years’ expertise in level measurement and a well-deserved reputation for excellence, based on our experience, innovation and extraordinary quality. Every Foxboro Eckardt device is rigorously tested before leaving the factory. With its unique, modular design, the LevelWave Radar Series measurement solution guarantees easy and fast field installation, and each device will consistently provide accurate and stable measurement performance across a wide range of installations and applications.”

The LevelWave Radar Series is state-of-the-art measurement technology combined with robust, durable and reliable instrumentation. Each device has a unique 360-degree rotation, which allows for side or top mounting as standard, making it much simpler to fit into an existing space. For greater ease, all LevelWave instruments feature a user-friendly external display, offering easy, intuitive configuration for a new operator. For further effortless operation for busy engineers, there is an option for full digital remote electronics up to a distance of 100 meters.

The new measurement solution is excellent for a wide range of applications, including blending; distillation tanks; process tanks and separators; solid silos and storage tanks for most liquids; pastes; foam; and corrosive media. This makes the new LevelWave Radar Series a great addition to the company’s existing level measurement portfolio and an ideal solution across many industries.

“In a world where time is money, when choosing which device to purchase, it is important to know how easy it will integrate into an existing system and how long it will take to install,” Ingemey said. “The LevelWave Series has a unique modular design—a simple click-in system—so installation really couldn’t be easier. This enables process operators and installers to move onto the next job more quickly; it makes ongoing maintenance much simpler; and its easy head removal reduces process downtime.” 

Interface board for industrial LCD monitors!

Ginsbury has announced the introduction of the Digital View DD-1920-Dual-DVI interface controller. Designed and developed for  industrial LCD monitor applications and high reliability display systems, the new DD-1920-Dual-DVI controller supports LVDS LCD panels up to 1920 x 1200 resolution.

The Digital View DD-1920-Dual-DVI board provides two DVI inputs with OSD or RS-232 serial selection control to drive LVDS LCD panels up to 1920 x 1200 resolution. The board has compact mechanical dimensions measuring 107.4mm (w) x 73.6mm (h) x 1.2mm (d) and features two DVI-D connectors and a 12V DC power input header.

Steve Varley, Product Manager, Ginsbury explained, "The latest addition to the Digital View product range is intended for industrial and commercial display applications where the advanced image control functions of models such as the Digital View SVX-1920 type controllers are not required."

The DD-1920-Dual-DVI controller board also provides for two build options: LED drivers for LED backlit LCD panels and an audio amplifier with volume control via the OSD or RS-232 serial commands.

DD-1920-Dual-DVI key features:
• Input: two DVI inputs supporting 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576p, 480p
• Colours: up to 3 x 8-bit providing up to 16.7million colours
• Image Control (via OSD and RS232): brightness, contrast, sharpness, clock, phase, colour temperature, image position, gamma
• Image scaling: up/down scaling to fit input to LCD panel format.

As with all standard Digital View LCD controller boards the DD-1920-Dual-DVI comes with multi-panel support and the availability of custom engineering services. The DD-1920-Dual-DVI is now available immediately from Ginsbury.

ARCOL Resistors Extend Global Distribution with RS Components #Components

Arcol Resistors is increasing the availability of their power and specialist resistor range worldwide through closer cooperation with RS Components, widely recognised as the world's leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products.

The latest Arcol Resistor types to be added to the RS Components product range are the market leading RWS7 and RWS10 surface-mount resistors which have been uniquely designed to meet the rising power requirements for surface mount components.

The 7 watt RWS7 has a value range from R1 to 5K and the 10 watt RWS10 is available from R1 to 10K. Both types feature an optimised thermal design for greater efficiency, improved surge capacity and overload characteristics. TCR options available are ±20ppm/°C, ±50 ppm/°C, or ± 90 ppm/°C depending on resistor value.

Mike Pritchard, Commercial Director of Arcol Resistors, comments, "With operations in 32 countries and market-leading suppliers from across the globe RS Components will play a major role in extending our market reach. Their innovative online sourcing solutions and DesignSpark electronics design software will provide Arcol with unrivalled sales opportunities."

Arcol Products already available from RS Components include the market leading high power HS aluminium housed resistors, the AP725 20W D²PAK packaged resistors, MRA metal film resistors, MSR bare element resistors, RCC carbon composition resistors and ACPP precision passivated chip resistors.

Mike Pritchard continues, "We are continually working with RS Components to ensure they have the stock profile their customers require. Customers looking for stock of our products at RS can use our simple to use “stock locator” which is easy to access from our homepage and allows customers to find available stock of any resistor available via distribution. Powered by the proven netComponents global electronic component database, users may refine their search by geographic region and complete or partial part number."

ARCOL offer one of the widest ranges of resistors available to electronics designers and manufacturers including the market leading HS aluminium housed high power range, the MSR series of bare element resistors, the RWS precision power wirewound SMD resistor family, axial thin film, silicon coated types and precision passivated chip resistors and resistor packs.

Typical applications include traction, snubbers, switched mode power supplies and non-inductive resistors for high frequency and pulse applications,

White paper on the use of logic Solvers in tank overfill protection systems!

Moore Industries-International has released a technical white paper exploring the possibilities available to designers of Safety Instrumented Systems (SIS) using logic solvers as part of a tank overfill protection system. The “Logic Solver for Tank Overfill Protection” white paper provides examples of straightforward tank overfill protection system topographies and associated Safety Integrity Level (SIL) calculations.

A tank overfill protection system is an SIS that provides automated overfill control during the containment of dangerous substances. If the level in a tank rises above set limits, the logic solver initiates the final element of the SIS to make the process safe. This can include shutting off the input feed to the tank by isolating the pump and closing the input valve.

The “Logic Solver for Tank Overfill Protection” white paper guides safety engineers through the steps needed to determine the right logic solver for their needs. While many people assume that a logic solver for a tank overfill protection system must be a safety PLC, in many cases a discrete logic device in the safety loop is sufficient. This avoids the complications and expense associated with a complex programmable solution.

The white paper shows the methodology and calculations for determining applicable logic solvers in SIL 1 and SIL 2 environments. In many cases, discrete logic devices such as the STA Safety Trip Alarm are suitable for use while providing a flexible, low-cost and user-friendly solution.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Integrated industrial solutions for the smart factory!

At Southern Electronics, Harting will feature its comprehensive range of integrated solutions for the smart factory of the future under the broad heading of “the fourth industrial revolution”. Products on show include interconnectivity products for smart network infrastructures and smart power systems, RFID hardware and software for implementing automatic ID within the industrial environment, and the latest generation of connectors for wire-to-board and board-to-board interfaces. The Harting Technology Group’s electronics assembly operation – Harting Integrated Solutions (HIS) - will also be demonstrating its backplane and sub-assembly capabilities.

New networking products include the Ha-VIS mCon 3000 range of Ethernet switches, which enable the construction of complex and efficient network structures, and are optimised for use in harsh industrial environments. The high demands on reliability and safety in industrial settings mean that managed Ethernet switches need to become more efficient, and the new Harting switches address this challenge by offering high availability, network security, monitoring capabilities and high reliability.

The integration of the PROFINET I/O device stack allows the switches to be deployed and incorporated seamlessly into existing and newly planned PROFINET applications.

Harting’s RFID technology offers a high degree of flexibility to simplify the implementation of scalable solutions in different application sectors. The system combines rugged, high-performance RFID readers with powerful data pre-processing to ensure high-speed data transmission and optimum dynamic network performance. An efficient software solution allows the scaling of RFID solutions from individual readers through to enterprise-wide solutions across different locations. As an aid to integration of the RFID transponding functions, all the readers provide UHF technology as a standard feature. Their rugged design and construction allows them to be used in a wide range of industrial environments, including mounting on metal surfaces.

In the electronics interconnection sector, Harting has introduced a number of new devices in the har-flex® family of compact, versatile and rugged board-to-board and board-to-cable 1.27 mm pitch connectors. Straight and angled connectors are now available as PCB models which, when combined with the connectors for flat ribbon connection, allow PCBs to be combined into complex systems perfectly adapted to their surroundings. All har-flex® connectors are available with from six to 100 contacts, in increments of two. Fully assembled cables are also available. The compact but rugged design of the har-flex® connectors also guarantees reliable operation under adverse conditions. Large PCB retention clips ensure that the connectors are firmly held in place after soldering. A low-wear insertion and withdrawal procedure is achieved by a very smooth contact point between the male and female contacts. In spite of their rugged design, har-flex® connectors are also suitable for high data rates, which means that they can handle modern transfer protocols such as Gigabit Ethernet or PCI Express.

Also new is a 2.54 mm pitch version of the har-flexicon® miniature rapid-connection system for printed-circuit boards incorporating surface-mount devices. har-flexicon® is tailored to the market demand for screwless rapid termination technology and economical processing for miniature electronic assemblies. It is designed to be compatible with SMT and reflow soldering processes as well as with automatic loading systems using pick-and-place technology. The new system, incorporating SMD PCB terminals and connectors with 2.54-mm spacing, enables the flexible, field-installable rapid connection of individual wires with push-in spring-force termination technology as well as providing a stable basis for surface mount connectivity. Rigid and flexible conductors are available with cross-sections from 0.14 to 0.5 mm². Straight and angled components with 2-12 positions are available for the PCB. For cross-sections up to 2.5 mm², reflow products with push-in spring force termination technology with a pitch of 3.50/3.81 mm and 5.00/5.08 mm are available as PCB terminals and PCB connectors.

Harting Integrated Solutions – the company’s contract manufacturing operation - is featuring its electronics assembly capabilities, along with its expertise in project development, prototyping, test and evaluation. The company is an ISO9001 supplier, and its Northampton based manufacturing facility designs, manufactures and tests high-speed multi-layer backplanes and integrates them into card frames and enclosures. Cable assemblies from simple ribbon to advanced wiring looms are also offered.

Operator Interface Solutions for the Industrial Internet!

The first product in GE Intelligent Platforms' new line of Operator Interface (OI) solutions designed specifically to take advantage of the Industrial Internet has been announced. QuickPanel+ integrates process control, view and an option to run an embedded data historian with the latest touchscreen technology to provide the high performance, connectivity and user experience expected in today’s increasingly connected world.

It is a is a general purpose operator interface capable of connecting to a variety of industrial PLCs and PACS. With faster processing speeds and more memory, it delivers control, view and data historian capabilities in a single device. The latest in capacitive touchscreen technology makes it as responsive as a tablet or smartphone yet robust enough to withstand industrial environments and applications, even if the user is wearing gloves.

“We live in an outcome driven world,” said Bernie Anger, General Manager of GE Intelligent Platforms’ Control & Communications Systems. “We are all challenged to keep pace with technology, customer experience and expectations to always do more with less. Quick Panel+ was specifically designed with these customer challenges in mind, and delivers on the promise of the Industrial Internet for automation in a sleek and simply way.”

The QuickPanel+ is the latest release in GE Intelligent Platforms’ operator interface solutions. Its state-of-the art features mean the OI is no longer a mere portal but a strategic bridge for understanding and running a machine. It is a single solution for controlling, viewing and understanding past and present performance. Through combining the ability to view machine status and control the machine, or view machine status and run a data historian, the QuickPanel+ lowers total cost of ownership, speeds time to market and makes integration easy.

“GE’s automation architecture redefines the experience with industrial equipment,” said Anger. “At each layer, it helps OEMs design better machines and plants, and it helps users operate their plants smarter. The experience starts at the pivotal point where people connect with machines – the operator interface.”

With the Windows EC7 operating system, QuickPanel+ also provides users with a fully-functional browser and multimedia support for extracting value from an OI. The QuickPanel+ can improve productivity and knowledge sharing through making assets like training videos or documentation readily available to the user

The first QuickPanel+ release, available immediately, is the 7-inch widescreen format. This will be followed by a 12-inch model later in the year with other screen sizes available in early 2014

Central European sales team strengthened!

Additional support for OEM customers and distribution sales channel

KOE Europe has further enhanced its account management team with the appointment of Olaf Kastens to the position of central European account manager. Olaf will be responsible for providing design in and sales support to OEM accounts and the central European distribution sales channel.

Olaf Kastens
With over 15 years' experience selling electronic components, power modules and TFT displays to OEM and distribution customers, Olaf Kastens joins KOE Europe from German power semiconductor manufacturer Semikron where he held the position of regional sales manager. Previous industry experience includes sales engineer roles at Renesas, NEC and STMicroelectronics.

Mark Stanley, KOE Europe, General Manager commented, "Olaf joins KOE Europe with a wealth of semiconductor and display industry experience. Olaf's knowledge and experience will be highly beneficial supporting our growing business with OEM customers and distributors. Central Europe is a key region for KOE and it is essential we maintain a knowledgeable and experienced account management team to support local business needs."

Based in Hamburg, Germany, Olaf Kastens will manage new and existing business opportunities for KOE Europe throughout central Europe and joins existing account manager Tatjana Rex in supporting and developing central European business.

Automation partnership agreement for Canada

ACM Facility Safety and Autopro Automation Consultants have established an integration partnership agreement focused on providing real-time risk visualization solutions to process industries in Canada. The partnership is designed to deploy SafeGuard Sentinel software, a solution that allows users to monitor their process safety risks in real-time, and provide Risk Performance Indicators (RPIs), equipping management to proactively track process safety performance without incidents.

As the largest independent automation engineering specialty organization in Canada, Autopro is uniquely qualified to seamlessly integrate SafeGuard Sentinel into the wide range of existing control systems and industrial information systems which need to be monitored to ensure process plants are operated with visibility into their level of risk.

SafeGuard Sentinel took ACM more than three years to develop, and has been described by industry experts as a long-overdue disruptive technology; a technology that unexpectedly will change the way plants are operated.

Ken Bingham, CEO at ACM, tells us that the partnership with Autopro is the perfect fit in ACM’s ongoing mission to make the world a safer place, “I’m very excited about our partnership with Autopro. Autopro’s experience with safety systems and integration are a powerful combination that will allow us to meet the safety needs of our clients.  The end result is that plants using this technology will operate more safely, resulting in fewer process upsets, reduced environmental damage, reduced damage to assets and most importantly, fewer injuries.”

David Nakaska, President of Autopro Automation Consultants, mirrors the excitement of ACM, “Risks take many forms within operating facilities from safety and environmental related risks to equipment damage, process upsets, production interruption and damage to corporate image. ACM has developed a unique product in Safeguard Sentinel which can make a real difference in achieving safer and more productive facilities by identifying risks in real-time. Autopro is delighted to add our expertise in industrial automation, functional safety, industrial IT and systems integration to complement ACM’s process safety and risk experts in the design and implementation of this high value solution.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fast, easy, flexible: USB 3.0 board level Cameras

Baumer further adds on the MX camera series by the fast USB 3.0 interface and additional performance features, increasing added value for users. Diverse application possibilities, easy USB connection and maximum flexibility in minimal installation spaces characterize the ten new camera models.

They are available with resolutions from VGA to 4 megapixels and high performance Sony CCD and CMOSIS sensors. Fast motion sequences are detected with up to 160 frames per second and global shutter sensors in monochrome and color. The MX series' proven large range of functions, including sequencer or storable user sets and matching Baumer GAPI SDK v.2.2 software, round out the benefits of the new USB 3.0 board level cameras.

All models are certified in accordance with the new USB3 Vision standard, making them compatible with software libraries for industrial image processing such as NI LabVIEW, MVTec HALCON or Matrox Imaging Library. Plug and play functionality enables quick and easy camera integration. The USB 3.0 interface allows for a single cable solution for data transmission and power supply.

The small, remoted 28.5 x 28.5 mm sensor head is connected to the system printed circuit board with only 8.2 mm overall height by flexprint. This allows utmost flexibility in camera integration where space is very limited – in industrial image processing installations or medical and laboratory technology.

High level appointments at B&B Electronics!

B&B Electronics Manufacturing Company’s Board of Directors has announced that Sean Harrigan has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Jerry O’Gorman, previously the Managing Director of EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) Operations, as the company’s new CEO.

A member of B&B Electronics’ senior management team since 2006, O’Gorman understands the company’s customers, products, and operations, as well as its strategic growth plans. He also played an integral role in the company’s recent acquisitions (Quatech in October 2011, Conel in March 2012, IMC Networks in June 2012) which expanded B&B’s portfolio of mission-critical network connectivity solutions.
Jerry O'Gorman

The CEO’s office will remain at B&B Electronics’ headquarters in Ottawa, IL, and O’Gorman will work from there as he assumes his new responsibilities. The company expects to appoint a new Managing Director for the EMEA operations in the coming weeks.

“The Board has complete confidence that Jerry is the right person to be our next CEO,” said Andrew Snyder, Director of Graham Partners, B&B Electronics’ owners. “He has been an outstanding leader and has almost doubled our EMEA revenue over his seven years. Plus, Jerry already knows the business and customers so he can step in and be immediately effective.”

O’Gorman was instrumental in vetting Czech Republic-based Conel and its portfolio of industrial wireless cellular routers for acquisition last year. He led Conel’s integration into B&B, and established a new business development team across the EMEA region to exploit the expanding portfolio of cellular, fiber and Wi-Fi network connectivity solutions available to B&B through its acquisitions. O’Gorman brings over 25 years of experience in business leadership, international sales and marketing from a variety of technology-based industries.

In a related move, the Board appointed Fred Thiel as Executive Chairman of the Board, formalizing Thiel’s prior advisory role as Director of B&B Electronics. Serving from B&B’s Lake Forest, CA office, Thiel will advise the CEO on key strategic issues including new product development, customer acquisition, and talent management.

Thiel, an expert in M2M, smart systems, and industrial connectivity technology, brings over 20 years’ experience in managing software and technology companies for rapid growth. He has served as CEO of Lantronix, a leader in M2M, device networking, and systems management technology. Thiel has been an Operating Partner for Graham Partners since 2007.

Harrigan became CEO at B&B Electronics in March of 2011. He now leaves the company to pursue other professional opportunities.

Flexible, lightweight, precise climate control!

Rittal’s thermostatic electric cooler offers flexible and lightweight cooling for a heating solution that offers precise climate control.

Ideal for accurately controlling the temperature to ±1 K in small enclosures providing 100 W of both heating and cooling. The compact size, light weight and low vibration operation of the Rittal thermoelectric cooling unit is ideally suited for command panels and support arm systems. The unit may be fitted either externally or, if space around the enclosure is at a premium, internally, leaving only 55 mm protruding outside.

Rittal’s cooler may be installed either horizontally or vertically on the wall or door of the cabinet and the optional master/slave adaptor can be used to connect multiple units, providing a truly scalable, modular solution.

Peltier technology requires no refrigerant or chilled water to function; an electrical power supply is all that is needed. The range consists of only two units, a DC and an AC variant, which accept 24 V DC and 100 230 V AC power supplies respectively.

Simplicity itself, the only moving parts of Rittal’s thermoe-lectric cooler are fans moving air across either side of the solid state element which reduce the risk of component failure and maintenance requirements as well as less vibration and noise, both acoustic and electrical Supplied complete with a USB cable and software, both set up and monitoring of operational parameters may be carried out with ease.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Profinet protocol added to automation system platform!

Bus protocol with drop-in migration interface in DeltaV™ system widens motor centre, variable speed drive options and adds redundancy for high availability applications

Emerson Process Management, with strategic partner for industrial Ethernet MYNAH Technologies, is to add PROFINET protocol to the DeltaV digital automation system.

Adding to the system’s wide range of bus compatibility offerings, PROFINET will join PROFIBUS DP and other protocols as an option in motor control centres, variable speed drive and other applications in process automation businesses.
Emerson's VIM2 interface module adds PROFINET protocol to DeltaV, connecting motor control centres and variable speed drives in process automation applications
Other Ethernet based protocols already supported include Modbus/TCP and Ethernet/IP via a Virtual I/O Module (VIM) interface with the DeltaV™ system. Release of a new drop-in replacement interface called VIM2 will enable inclusion of the PROFINET protocol.

“PROFINET for motor control centres, variable speed drives and other equipment is a growing bus protocol choice in process industries,” said Emerson Process Management’s chief strategic officer Peter Zornio. “This addition ensures our users have the full spectrum of system solutions. A big advantage of this and other Ethernet protocols is that they utilise commercial-off-the shelf network technologies, which helps reduce overall costs and training.”

The VIM2 with the PROFINET driver will support multiple levels of network availability. Low availability requirements are satisfied with simplex VIM2 modules and standard COTS network equipment. Medium availability or reliability will be supported with simplex VIM2 modules with media redundancy network topology. High availability requirements are met using redundant VIM2 modules with the built-in Ethernet ports communicating through media redundancy, without external switches.

The VIM2 interface also allows separation of the DeltaV control network from the PROFINET network like a firewall. The VIM2-based PROFINET architecture enables users to optimise expansion activities or perform maintenance operations on MCC and variable speed drives in remote locations from a laptop using vendor-specific diagnostic tools, while constantly monitoring applications from a centralised network. The VIM2 interface and firewall function allow this high level of access without sacrificing control system security integrity.

The PROFINET protocol running on the VIM2 will be available in November 2014.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Highspeed cameras for high speed attempt!

Stemmer has delivered a four camera system for testing on Bloodhound as the engineering team continues to develop the vehicle for its world land speed record attempt. The camera system is one of several that are planned in total and will initially be used in conjunction with other engineering sensors to observe what is happening around the vehicle during testing. These trials will also enable an evaluation to be made of the optimum placement of the cameras in the chassis.

The system features four colour GigE cameras that are all streaming HD resolution colour video in real time to a rugged and compact Adlink EOS embedded vision system equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor. The four independent Gigabit Ethernet ports can provide data transfer rates up to 4.0 Gb/s. In order to deal with the high volume of data generated, a custom version of the Vision Experts’ Gecko recording software has been developed to perform the real-time video compression.
Pic: Siemens NX

Gecko automatically starts up when the system is powered up, connects to the cameras and starts recording video from the cameras to video files. Video is encoded directly to an MJPG format rather than using standard AVI to give improved speed and reliability. The MJPG compressor has been written to make use the quad-core i7 to enhance throughput and to be fault tolerant. In the event of a power failure or an unexpected mid-stream hardware failure, the video remains intact.

The system also provides for some digital output signals from the embedded PC to be integrated with the rest of the Bloodhound management system. This allows video recording to be started and stopped with the engine and provides sync signals from the video to the rest of the engine system, as well as providing digital status and fault lines.

The next phase of the system may involve even smaller cameras since some positions on the vehicle, such as the wing-tips, are very tight on space. In addition, high speed cameras may be used to provide more engineering information.

What is Bloodhound?
Bloodhound SSC is a jet and rocket powered car designed to go at 1,000 mph (just over 1,600 kph). It has a slender body of approximately 14m length with two front wheels within the body and two rear wheels mounted externally within wheel fairings. It weighs over 7 tonnes and the engines produce more than 135,000 horsepower - more than 6 times the power of all the Formula 1 cars on a starting grid put together!