Friday 28 February 2014

UPS for voltage-sensitive systems!

It’s well-known that power outages or unexpected shut-downs can cause damage and incur high costs in control systems. This can be avoided by using a DC UPS. However, some systems are not only affected by power loss, but voltage fluctuations can be equally damaging. In contrast to a conventional DC UPS, the buffer voltage of the PULS UB20 DIN-rail UPS can be set between 22.5V and 26V, making the unit the unit ideally-suited for use in systems which are sensitive to voltage fluctuations and more lengthy variations in voltage.

The PULS's DIMENSION UB20, available from BEC DISTRIBUTION, is suitable for universal use with output currents up to 20A. The unit is very compact, and at only 46 mm wide, it can be used with batteries between 3.9Ah and 130Ah. This means that it’s suitable not only as short-term back-up power for controlled shut-down after a power outage, but also as an emergency power feed until the fault can be rectified.

The backup power is provided by two series-connected 12 V batteries, which are individually charged and monitored. This design approach enhances the life of the batteries and avoids the need of matched batteries when a replacement is required.

The PULS UB20 is easy- to-operate, it has extensive battery diagnostics and many protective functions are built into the unit. The output of the DC UPS is decoupled from the input - load circuits can therefore be split very simply into buffered and unbuffered branches. This means that the energy of the battery can be used very selectively.

Slimline M12 connector for gigabit Ethernet applications

Harting has added a slimline M12 connector to its har-speed product family for the 8-wire gigabit Ethernet application environment.

The new har-speed M12 slim design with crimp connection technology is significantly smaller in both diameter and length than the standard version. The external diameter has been cut back to 16.5 mm, allowing designers to achieve high integration density when the connector is used on devices such as industrial Ethernet switches. The design also has a considerably more robust housing than the standard product, being capable of resisting torques greater than 1.5 Nm.

The connector is designed to conform to IEC 61076-2-109, and meets Cat.6A and performance class EA.

Surviving system integration!

In response to marketplace demand and input from automation professionals, the International Society of Automation (ISA) has developed a new Automation Engineering Survival Training course designed to meet the needs and requirements of system integrators.

Register here!
Automation Engineering Survival Training: Integrator Version (AESTIV)
31 March 2014 – 4 April 2014
ISA Headquarters

Automation Engineering Survival Training: Integrator Version (AESTIV)
5-9 May 2014
Maverick Technologies
Columbia, IL US

Automation Engineering Survival Training: Integrator Version (AESTIV)
4-8 August 2014
ISA Headquarters
ISA Automation Engineering Survival Training: Integrator Version (AESTIV)—which will debut 31 March 2014 through 4 April 2014 at ISA headquarters in North Carolina (USA)—includes a week of highly intensive, hands-on instruction geared specifically to:
  • New automation, control system or process control engineers working for system integrators
  • Seasoned system integration engineers looking to refresh their process automation skills
  • Automation engineers in a position with a system integrator or end user
  • Automation engineers wishing to move into a career as a system integrator
ISA’s AESTIV course is an excellent complement to ISA’s well-established Automation Engineering Survival Training (AEST) course. ISA’s AEST course is geared primarily for automation engineers working in plant environments, particularly those who want to sharpen and broaden their skills and those who are new to the automation profession. Both offerings comprise the ISA Automation Engineering Survival Training Series—two comprehensive, highly intensive training “boot camp” courses that feature expert-led lecture, hands-on exercises covering practical, real-world survival skills, and a local plant tour to see first-hand, real-world implementations of the concepts learned in class.

A week of extensive automation engineering training for system integrators
The in-depth curriculum for ISA’s Automation Engineering Survival Training for system integrators encompasses five components:
  • Measurement and Documentation
  • Control Valves, Control Strategies, and Loop Tuning
  • Advanced Control: Operator Effectiveness & Safety Systems
  • Industrial Security & Project Management
  • Advanced Process Automation
ISA’s expert instructors will cover: 

  • Utilizing control system documentation to determine functional specifications and requirements
  • Installing and commissioning sensors, fieldbus segments, and control loops
  • Leveraging advanced control, alarm management, HMI design, and functional safety to maximize value to the client
  • Designing and segmenting control system networks with an emphasis on data transactions and network security
  • Applying the project management fundamentals and team-building and interpersonal skills required to be successful in a plant environment
  • Implementing ISA standards and best practices for procedural control and manufacturing operations management

New 8-Channel Ethernet modules provide reliable interface for analogue current or voltage inputs!

Acromag has expanded its BusWorks® XT Series of Ethernet I/O modules with XT1210 and XT1220 models that provide an 8-channel interface for analog voltage or current input signals and Ethernet/IP, Modbus/TCP, Profinet, or peer-to-peer communication. Differential inputs have superior noise rejection for reliable measurements when radio frequency or electromagnetic interference is present. Internal software helps eliminate the effects of network traffic loads for more reliable messaging. The sleek design features dual Ethernet ports, removable front-facing terminal blocks, and DIN rail power bus support. Its convenient USB-to-PC connection makes configuration fast and simple with free Windows software. Suitable for use in harsh environments, all modules operate from -40 to 70°C with high voltage isolation, surge protection, and CE approval. UL/cUL Class 1 Division 2 Zone 2 hazardous location approval is pending.

“We continue to develop the BusWorks XT Series to provide even greater versatility, adding analog input modules alongside our current line of digital I/O,” explained Don Lupo, process group sales and marketing director. “The use of differential inputs and Innovasic’s PriorityChannel™ technology greatly increase reliability by eliminating the risks of signal interference and network congestion.”

The XT1210 model accepts current inputs of 0-20mA, 4-20mA, ±20mA DC, or 0-20 amps AC with an optional toroid sensor. The XT1220 accommodates ±5V, ±10V, 0-5V, or 0-10V DC input ranges. All units run off a 12- 32V DC power source (2.8W) at the terminals or through an integrated power connector bussed along the DIN rail that can provide primary or redundant power. Several versions offers a choice of Ethernet/IP, Profinet, or Modbus TCP/IP protocols with peer-to-peer i2o® communication support. Dual 10/100 Ethernet ports allow daisy-chaining units together to simplify cabling and minimize the network switches required, reducing overall system costs.

For more dependable communication, BusWorks XT units employ Innovasic PriorityChannel technology which makes certain that critical data is received on time regardless of traffic on the network. PriorityChannel provides determinism at the device for consistent transmission of time-sensitive data with any of the Ethernet protocols.Many other features add greater flexibility and performance. High input impedance reduces loading on voltage loops. The configuration software enables use of sample averaging on a per-channel basis. For reliability, operation and diagnostic LEDs offer visual status updates and aide in trouble-shooting.

Simple wiring in the control cabinet!

Siemens has broadened its Simatic Top Connect portfolio with a range of new modules and system components for fast and safe wiring of Simatic S7-1500 and Simatic ET 200MP. In addition to connection modules for eight channels (inputs or outputs), Siemens also offers, for the first time, compact versions for 32 channels that are available for connecting sensors and actuators via one or three wires.

Thereby only one cable needs to be connected between the connection module and the S7-1500 controller instead of four for the individual 8-channel modules. In addition, the new 32-channel connection module requires less space on the mounting rail than four modules with eight inputs and outputs each. The new connection modules feature the compact design of the Simatic S7-1500, allowing space-saving installation in the control cabinet. With system cabling, users can save up to 80 percent time compared to conventional single wiring using terminal blocks.

The connection modules with eight channels are available in different versions, with disconnect terminals for manually cutting off specific plant sections, for example, or with relays and optocouplers for adapting the potential with which signals with AC voltages of 110 or 230 volts can also be connected to the controller. The 8-channel connection modules are fully compatible with the field-proven front connector modules for Simatic S7-300 and ET 200 M.

The appropriate system cabling can be selected in accordance with the respective input or output modules simply and quickly in the TIA Selection Tool.

The 200 MHz Vector signal transceiver!

National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-5646R vector signal transceiver with 200 MHz of RF bandwidth, making it ideal for testing the latest wireless standards such as IEEE 802.11ac, 160 MHz WLAN and LTE Advanced. Engineers can use the open software design of the vector signal transceiver to develop channel emulation systems, radio prototyping, custom real-time signal processing for spectrum analysis and many other applications.

NI vector signal transceivers combine a vector signal analyser with a vector signal generator and a user-programmable FPGA for real-time signal processing and control. Customers have seen 10X to 100X improvements in test time in applications such as power servoing in power amplifier test by taking advantage of the speed, deterministic processing and inherent parallel architecture of the FPGA. Built on the NI LabVIEW RIO architecture, the vector signal transceiver combines programming flexibility and the latest RF hardware to revolutionise mobile technologies test. The NI PXIe-5646R offers 200 MHz of complex bandwidth via a sample rate of 250 MS/s, which is greater than eight times the data rate for the standard LTE radio frame. This makes the vector signal transceiver ideally suited for the latest design and test techniques such as digital predistortion and envelope tracking.

The NI PXIe-5646R is powered by LabVIEW system design software and provides the ideal platform to simplify modern design and test challenges. 

Cellular 4G communication & monitoring system for remote locations!

B&B Electronics has provided Quatro Electronics with a high-reliability Cellular 4G communication and monitoring system for the oversight of equipment in remote locations.
Founded in 1996, Quatro Electronics have been trusted to protect, manage and monitor remote and vulnerable sites globally offering their customers total reassurance and confidence that their valuable assets are safe and providing a robust and cost effective alternative to manned guards.

The development of a new product, The Quatro SmartTower, a unique solution for deploying the Britains most powerful video verified alarm technology designed specifically for remote site protection, required B&B Electronics to provide a new communications solution to ensure the remote tower’s transmissions were always on, to signal remote alarm conditions, provide monitoring and notification services to the control centre and offer access to the latest high speed cellular infrastructures. The B&B communication system also enabled self-monitoring of The Quatro SmartTower itself as an asset that needed to be tracked.

Working alongside their British Channel Partner, Adey Electronics, B&B was involved from the initial network design in order to provide a reliable and robust Cellular 4G platform as the core of the Quatro SmartTower communication system. The key to the system is the recently launched LR77 B&B Conel cellular router which provides Dual SIM 4G capability ensuring “always on connectivity”. Utilising the built in Global Positioning System (GPS) in the LR77 Router allowed B&B Electronics to provide Quatro with both asset tracking and real-time date/time stamping of images generated by the remote cameras and sent to the control centre.

The Quatro SmartTower is a totally IP based communications system which uses IP cameras and wireless passive detectors. By providing bespoke user modules specifically designed and written to integrate with the LR77 B&B Electronics were able to provide a high level of bi-directional automation in the field, enabling the Quatro SmartTowers to perform specific actions (e.g. directing a camera to a specific location on site), power-management and to provide crucial alarm messages to the remote control centre.

As streaming live video and CCTV images is bandwidth dependant it was essential that Quatro would be able to take advantage of the latest 4G/LTE capabilities. Basing the system around the LR77 Router exceeded the required communications requirements in both functionality and its capability to operate in remote outdoor locations. Integrating R-See-Net management software provided by B&B Electronics they Quatro are also able to manage and monitor the communications, traffic and functionality of the devices from remote monitoring stations, invaluable in the growth of deployment of the towers both in Europe and the USA.

John Robertson General Manager of Quatro Electronics, comments, “Together, B&B Europe and Adey Electronics have provided us with a high level of technical support and flexible customer service for our remote security management services. They have provided market-leading equipment, helped with the software development, networking and communications to ensure the final solution exactly met our requirements.”

Thursday 27 February 2014

First software defined availability platform!

SolutionsPT, in conjunction with partner Stratus Technologies Inc, has announced the launch of everRun® Enterprise, a next-generation software solution which represents a breakthrough in virtualisation technology.

Available from February 28th 2014, the comprehensive solution, which represents the latest addition to the Stratus portfolio, combines the best of Stratus’ high-availability software solutions with enhanced features such as disaster recovery and application monitoring to ensure business continuity.

Robert Dinsmore, High Availability Product Manager at SolutionsPT, said: “The new release combines Marathon’s EverRun and Stratus’s own Avance technology – meaning you get 99.999% availability from a software platform that can be used with commodity x86 servers. This brings true fault tolerance to a much greater user base since it allows businesses to stay in line with their current IT hardware policy, whilst delivering a higher level of availability than most cluster based alternatives. It does all of this in a simplified package that does not require additional shared storage.”

“This launch signals a change in strategy for Stratus,” said Nigel Dessau, Chief Marketing Officer at Stratus Technologies. “We are broadening our focus on fault tolerance – which ensures the highest levels of availability – beyond hardware, to virtual workloads on commodity servers. In effect, we are bringing mainframe-like levels of availability to Intel-based servers.”

everRun Enterprise unifies the ease of use, monitoring, management and service capabilities of the Avance® high-availability software with the fault-tolerant engine of previous generations of everRun. Additionally, the entire solution now leverages the open source Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor. The result of this new architecture is a higher performance software platform that supports a wider range of operating system guest workloads.

“This is significant since some customers have resisted migrating business-critical applications to virtualised architectures due to a lack of reliable, enterprise-grade availability in today’s hypervisors,” said Jason Andersen, Senior Director of Product Management at Stratus Technologies. “We also see a very similar requirement in private clouds. This technology will be the basis of our cloud strategy as well.”

everRun Enterprise is designed to keep Windows® and Linux™ applications up and running continuously without changes to applications or in-flight data loss. It is compatible with a wide range of platforms, is easy to implement and includes centralised management tools for an all-encompassing view of the entire stack – from bare metal to the applications. The software runs on industry-standard Intel-based x86 servers without the need for specialised IT skills. Unlike other availability solutions, everRun Enterprise prevents downtime from occurring rather than merely recovering from it – a difference that can have a significant impact on revenues, costs and customer satisfaction.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

First Certified Intel® Industrial Solutions System Consolidation Platform!

Collaboration underscores promotion to Premier membership in Intel®Intelligent Systems Alliance

ADLINK Technology has announced its Matrix MXE-5301 fanless, embedded computer as the first hardware platform to be certified for the Intel® Industrial Solutions System Consolidation series. The MXE-5301 supports a wide temperature range and offers a fanless and cable-free design, making it uniquely suited for industrial applications. Intel’s industrial workload consolidation platform with the MXE-5301 enables the combination of several applications—or workloads—and their respective host operating systems into a single computing solution. What were once multiple, separate systems can now be combined into just one platform using advanced hypervisor technology that allows host operating systems to coexist. For the customer, workload consolidation reduces the number of individual devices, allowing a single, smaller footprint and lowered system and environmental complexity.

“ADLINK has a long history in industrial automation design. It’s exciting to be able to showcase modern software tools and demonstrate how the market will benefit,” said Roy Wan, GM, Measurement and Automation at ADLINK Technology. “We look forward to continuing our work with Intel on this -leading effort to build industry-specific application ready platforms.”

“Increasing reliability and reducing complexity on the factory floor are critical needs for industrial automation,” explained Jim Robinson, general manager Segments and Broad Market, Internet of Things Solutions Group at Intel. “Consolidating heterogeneous workloads using hypervisor technology relies on a capable and reliable hardware foundation. The collaboration with ADLINK allows us to introduce deployment-ready platforms that can handle those computing challenges.”

In addition to the current collaboration on the workload consolidation program, ADLINK is also proud to announce its promotion by Intel to Premier Member in the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. From modular components to market-ready systems, Intel and the 250+ global member companies of the Alliance provide the performance, connectivity, manageability, and security developers need to create smart, connected systems. Close collaboration with Intel and each other enables Alliance members to innovate with the latest technologies, helping developers deliver first-in-market solutions. "It's a great honor for ADLINK to achieve the Premier level through more than a decade of successful cooperation with Intel. We have demonstrated successful global business growth strategies and have led the market with vertical applications based on Intel® embedded architecture,” said Jim Liu, CEO of ADLINK Technology, Inc. “This level of alliance gives us more and better opportunities to collaborate with Intel on new and emerging technologies, and better serve our customers and partners with advanced platforms."

System integrators to meet!

The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) is inviting all control system integrators and industry partners to its 2014 Executive Conference, April 23 – 26, in San Diego (CA USA)

Keynote speakers include Alan Beaulieu, president of the Institute for Trend Research, who will give a preview of the economic developments affecting control system integrators, and Robert Tucker, president, The Innovation Resource Consulting Group, author of the bestselling book, Driving Growth Through Innovation.

Additionally, 20 educational sessions feature experts and members speaking on a wide range of topics chosen to help registrants improve their independent control system integration businesses. Also planned is an industry expo with 60 companies showcasing new products and applications.

The 2014 Executive Conference is expected to draw more than 400 control system integrators and their associates from the United States, Canada, Latin America and abroad, making it the premier event for control system integrators.

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Miniature, half-pitch light-guides!

Multitron has announced the availability of a new range of MENTOR miniature light-guides with radiating surfaces of 2mm diameter and a grid dimension of 2.54mm. Compared with conventional 5.08mm grid light-guides, these new miniaturised versions allow twice the number of display elements within the same physical width. This offers design engineers a whole new range of possibilities, particularly when space is restricted.

These new miniature light-guide modules are available in 150 standard variants including both horizontal and vertical radiating types, and single or multi-row modules. A number of different lengths are available as standard and special lengths can be provided at low MOQs due to clever tool inserts. Some versions are panel-mounted thus avoiding the need to drill holes in the PCB. Diffused and clear light-guide options are offered and customised, coloured modules are also available; these show the LED display colour when the LED is switched off.

Despite their small radiating surface diameter of 2mm, with a relatively close side-by-side design, the miniature light-guides have been specially developed to prevent glare affecting neighbouring guide elements. This has been achieved by an in-house product creation process which starts with virtual development, and continues via simulation and prototype manufacture, all the way through to the final production stage.

This new range of light-guides extends MENTOR’S multi-category portfolio by adding over 150 new miniature light-guides. In total, MENTOR offers 452 variations of standard light guides, 209 of which are immediately available from stock with low MOQs. Other product categories in which MENTOR excel include diverse opto components, capacitive keypads, knobs, handles and illuminated switching.

As well as standard products, MENTOR has highly advanced and innovative competencies in the design and in-house manufacture of custom light guides and optics for a wide variety of applications. They are first-tier suppliers to many major automotive and lighting companies.

Targeting the booming upstream oil & gas industries!

The enhanced version of the FCN-RTU (field control node remote terminal unit) low-power autonomous controller for the STARDOM(TM) network-based control system has been announced by Yokogawa. This new version of the FCN-RTU has been developed to meet the requirements of customers in the high-growth upstream oil & gas industries.

Development background
Until recently, gas wells were drilled at multiple sites spread out over a wide area, and each individual well head had its own controller for monitoring and control. With the advent of unconventional horizontal gas drilling techniques, multiple wells can now be drilled from a single well pad, enabling a reduction in the number of controllers needed to monitor and control the well heads. For such applications, the controllers need to be able to handle more input/output (I/O) signals. Also, as wells are often drilled in remote locations where temperatures can be extreme, these controllers must be ruggedly built to withstand those conditions. The new version of the STARDOM(TM) FCN-RTU has been developed to address these challenges.

Product features
1. Increased number of I/O modules
The enhanced FCN-RTU can now accommodate eight I/O modules, up from the previous three, and can thus handle up to 256 input/output signals. This is well within the requirements of the latest unconventional natural gas well monitoring and control applications.

2. Improved environmental resistance
An additional ten STARDOM FCN-RTU I/O modules are now rated for use in temperatures ranging from -20°C to +70°C. These enhanced components are thus well suited for use in the very cold or hot weather conditions that can be encountered at natural gas drilling sites.

3. Support for 64-bit Windows 7
ASTMAC VDS, the STARDOM supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) package, as well as all related software, now supports the 64-bit version of Windows 7. All engineering, monitoring, and control functions can be performed on computers running 64-bit Windows 7.

Integration breakthrough offers 6 instruments in 1 oscilloscope.

The MDO3000 Series of Mixed Domain Oscilloscopes has been released by Tektronix . The ultimate integrated oscilloscope that includes a spectrum analyser, logic analyser, protocol analyser, arbitrary function generator and digital voltmeter, the MDO3000 clears the design bench of costly, specialised equipment and provides the tools needed to test and debug virtually any embedded design. In addition, Tektronix has developed the MDO3000 to be completely customisable enabling customers to select the functionality and performance needed now - and later.

With the complexity of modern embedded designs coupled with the growth of wireless, it has become increasingly costly to give designers all the tools they need for efficient debug and troubleshooting. The MDO3000 fundamentally changes the rules by offering the functionality of six independent instruments without the significant cost of separate instruments.

“The case for integrated, multi-instrument oscilloscopes is extremely compelling on multiple levels,” said Dave Farrell, general manager, Mainstream Oscilloscopes at Tektronix. “In addition to cost savings, the MDO3000 saves space on the engineer’s bench, improves usability with the same basic controls for multiple instruments and ensures engineers always have access to all the instruments they need. There’s no need to track down a spectrum analyser or function generator when it’s already built into your scope.”

Integrated spectrum analyser!
Recent research shows over 25% of oscilloscope users now use a spectrum analyser multiple times per week1, and over 40% of embedded design projects include some form of wireless capability2. As the world’s only oscilloscope with a built-in spectrum analyser, the MDO3000 Series is uniquely positioned to address this paradigm shift for today’s designers. Now engineers can access both time domain and frequency domain analysis in a single instrument. When compared to both standalone oscilloscopes and basic spectrum analysers in this class, the MDO3000 Mixed Domain Oscilloscope provides best-in-class performance and features, providing the convenience of a single instrument without performance trade-offs.

Fully upgradeable platform
With the MDO3000 Series, engineers can start with the minimum performance and functional levels they need to accomplish the project at hand with the knowledge that their test platform can be upgraded in the field without delay. Performance upgrades include analog bandwidth of the oscilloscope and input frequency of the spectrum analyser. Functional upgrades include the addition of digital channels, protocol analysis, arbitrary function generation or digital voltmeter measurements.

Six Instruments, One Oscilloscope, Infinite Versatility
The MDO3000 Series oscilloscopes feature 2 or 4 analog input channels with bandwidth ranging from 100 MHs to 1 GHs, 16 digital channels (optional) and one RF input channel matching the bandwidth of the oscilloscope (9 kHs up to analog bandwidth). The RF input frequency on any model can be extended to 3 GHs.

Based on the MSO/DPO3000 Mixed Signal Oscilloscope Series, the MDO3000 provides industry leading debug functionality. With the new FastAcq feature, the MDO3000 oscilloscopes offer a more than 280,000 waveforms per second capture rate displayed on a vibrant digital phosphor display for easily finding infrequent anomalies in a signal. More than 125 available trigger combinations, automated serial and parallel bus analysis, innovative Wave Inspector controls, and optional automated power measurements round out the feature-set, and ensure comprehensive tools for every stage of debug. This functionality is extended with the addition of 9 optional serial protocol analysis packages – I2C, SPI, RS-232, USB 2.0, CAN, LIN, FlexRay, MIL-STD-1553, and Audio.

The integrated, optional 50 MHs AFG functionality is more than two times faster than competitive offerings with eight times the arbitrary waveform record length. While the integrated digital voltmeter (DVM) provides 4-digit AC RMS, DC, or AC+DC RMS voltage measurements, as well as 5-digit frequency measurements in a large, easy-to-read display that makes changes in your readings instantly visible. The DVM feature is available free of charge when an MDO3000 product is registered.

Adding to the value story, MDO3000 instruments are the first in the industry to offer 3.9 pF passive voltage probing on instruments with a starting price of €2,700/£2,250. For higher speed applications, 1 GHs passive voltage probes are offered standard with 1 GHs instruments – the only in the industry. These low capacitance probes minimise the impact on devices under test while reducing signal distortion and cleanly passing the signal to the oscilloscope for measurement.

“The trend toward integrated instrumentation is one that we plan to embrace wholeheartedly. We can now give our engineers the full set of tools they need while lowering overall cost of ownership,” said Scott Ausborn, test engineer supervisor, Logitech, UE. “But what makes the MDO3000 particularly attractive is the integrated spectrum analyser. Wireless is showing up in more products every day, and EMI challenges come up regularly, so having a spectrum analyser tightly integrated into our scopes isn’t just a nice to have, it’s becoming a core requirement.”

Monday 24 February 2014

Earth testers for simpler, faster testing!

Two new Earth Ground Testers, indispensable troubleshooting tools to help maintain uptime and lower the risk of electric shock to personnel ahve been introduced by Fluke. Their 1623-2 and 1625-2 GEO Earth Ground Testers offer automated data collection and storage, with download capabilities via a USB port, eliminating data entry and recording errors. The choice of models targets electrical contractors, industrial maintenance technicians and power utilities and telecom engineers. The higher end 1625-2 features Automatic Frequency Control (AFC) which identifies interference and chooses measurement frequency to provide an even more accurate earth ground value. Optional colour coded wires provide easier identification and deploying of wire reels and stakes, thus offering faster setup.

A lack of proper grounding also increases the risk of equipment failure. Without an effective grounding system, electrical devices are subject to instrumentation errors, harmonic distortion issues, power factor problems and a host of possible intermittent dilemmas. Studies show that as much as 25% of power quality problems are related to poor grounding. The new IP56-rated Fluke 1623-2 and 1652-2 GEO Earth Ground Testers can perform all four types of earth ground measurement:

  • 3- and 4-pole Fall of Potential (using stakes)
  • 4-pole Soil Resistivity testing (using stakes)
  • Selective testing (using 1 clamp and stakes)
  • Stakeless testing (using 2 clamps only)

The testers are also easy to use. For each test, the tester indicates which stakes or clamps need to be connected and the large rotary switch can be used even with a gloved hand. Other advanced features on the Fluke 1625-2 include R* measurement, which calculates earth ground impedance at 55Hz to more accurately reflect the earth ground resistance than a fault-to earth ground would see, and adjustable limits for quicker testing.

With the stakeless test method, two clamps are placed around the earth ground rod and both are connected to the tester: no earth ground stakes are used at all. The tester automatically determines the resistance of the earth ground rod which does not need to be disconnected - leaving the bonded earth ground system intact during test. This enables tests inside buildings, of power pylons, and anywhere there is no access to soil. This test method only works if a bonded earth ground system exists for the building or structure under test, but most are. If there is only one path to ground, as at many residential applications, the stakeless method will not provide an acceptable value and the Fall of Potential test method must be used.

Available also as complete kits, these come with the 1623-2 or 1625-2 tester, test leads, 4 earth ground stakes, 3 cable reels with wire, 2 clamps, batteries, and manual - all inside a professional Fluke carrying case.

1500 tonne calibration test machine delivered!

LCM Systems has recently installed a custom designed 1500 tonne calibration machine at its manufacturing facility on the Isle of Wight (GB). The addition of this machine to their calibration facilities means that all load cells, shackles and pins with capacities up to 1500 tonnes in compression, and 150 tonnes in tension, can be calibrated in-house. For customers, this means that prices can be reduced and faster delivery times for large capacity load cells guaranteed. Also, as many of LCM Systems’ load cells are used in safety critical applications, all calibrations are traceable to national standards and accurate to 0.1% of rated load.

Prior to its arrival, all load cells measuring loads over 200 tonnes had to be shipped to The National Physical Laboratory in the British mainland for calibration, adding to the production time and also incurring additional costs. Having seen a large increase in the requirement for larger capacity load cells over the last few years, it became increasingly evident that investing in a bespoke calibration machine would not only dramatically speed up the production process, but would also pay for itself in just two years.

Having the ability to carry out calibrations up to 1500 tonnes is also rather unique, as apart from The National Physical Laboratory, there is only one other calibration machine in Britain capable of testing load cells with such high capacities.

Steve Sargeant, Managing Director said “We are delighted at the arrival of our new calibration test machine, which comes after 18 months of designing and planning, and is a really positive addition to our facilities. The company is growing rapidly, and as we are committed to maintaining this growth. This enhancement to our capabilities will be key to helping us achieve this. Crucially, we can now offer our customers of large capacity load cells improved delivery times as well as cost reductions, making us even more competitive.”

The test machine represents a significant investment for the company, which has been possible due to an increased demand for the company’s products, with growth over the last few years consistently around 30%.

Friday 21 February 2014

Electric linear actuators!

Thomson Industries has introduced a new PC Series, a new generation of precision, electric linear actuators for continuous duty applications. They offer the highest power density of any actuator in its class. The compact, efficient design enables machine builders clear advantages over traditional pneumatic linear actuators including simpler machine designs, lower maintenance, higher overall performance and substantially lower energy costs.

Traditional pneumatic actuator systems operate continuously, typically at 10-15% efficiency and also carry the high maintenance costs of compressors and air leaks. High efficiency ball screws employed in the new Thomson PC Series electric linear actuators have efficiencies of over 80% and use energy only on demand. Converting from pneumatic to electric actuation, for many applications, can generate in one year energy savings per axis which exceed the cost of the new actuator.

These electric linear actuators offer new flexibility to machine designers who frequently need to change set-ups to run different products or processes. Changing end stops or velocity profiles can be done on the fly with electric actuators, maximizing productivity and reducing scrap. The PC Series is similarly well-suited for food processing and packaging, material handling and factory automation applications where high accuracy and reliability and 100% duty cycle operation is required. They feature an IP65 rating, and smooth exterior profile which makes them ideal for wash down applications.

This new generation of electric linear actuators offers a lot of power in a small package size which allows machine designers to reduce their machine footprint. PC Series actuators in sizes 25, 32 and 40 have square sizes of only 34 mm, 45 mm and 55 mm, respectively; yet deliver as high as 6,000 N of thrust force. Stroke lengths of up to 1200 mm are available, twice as long as most competitive electric actuators in comparable frame sizes. The Thomson PC Series also conforms to ISO 15552 for mechanical interfaces and adapters, making machine upgrades quick and easy.

The PC-Series actuators allow users to easily mount their own motor using the Thomson RediMount™ system for quick and reliable installation with guaranteed alignment. Motor mounting for both in line and parallel axis units can be accomplished in < 5 minutes, ensuring trouble free installation for over 600 pre-engineered motor configurations. Thomson provides expert support along with online sizing, selection and design tools to simplify the selection process and optimize your design solution.

Technology provides space-saving interface with field assembly!

Harting has combined its Ha-VIS PreLink® data network cabling technology with the M12 mating face to produce an extremely compact field-assembly connector solution for Fast Ethernet or PROFINET communications in industrial environments.

M12 is widely used in industrial environments, particularly for connecting machinery and plant components with data-collection terminals and industrial PCs. In such settings, preLink® technology provides the opportunity to work with pre-wired runs or to easily and quickly expand existing cabling infrastructure or convert it from an IP20 degree of protection to IP65/67.

To expand the application area of the preLink® M12 assembly, they have reduced the size of the connector. The new solution means that a product is now available that enables preLink® technology to be used in conjunction with the M12 connector face in applications where space is limited. At the same time, the number of individual parts has been reduced, so that the installer can also perform assembly quickly and easily on site.

The preLink® M12 D-coded connector is suitable for data transmission up to 100 Mbit/s (Fast Ethernet), and meets the requirements for cabling components under the PROFINET guidelines. It is 100% compatible with the M12 standard specified in IEC 61076-2-109, which also describes the eight-pin M12 version suitable for Gigabit and 10 Gbit/s data transfer rates (M12 X-coded).

A preLink® version of the M12 X-coded is under development.

Process safety workshop!

Free workshop teaches the essential elements of Safety Instrumented Systems including how to comply with myriad safety requirements.

ACM Facility Safety presents a free two-day process safety workshop with hands-on instruction on how to deal with safety requirements such as SIL, HAZOP,  LOPA, SIF Loop Verification, SRS and Reporting. The workshop is available in a two-day classroom in Calgary, or as a three-day webinar.

This workshop is designed for engineers and technologists who want to follow best engineering practices with regard to the application of Safety Instrumented Systems in the process industry. The course is free for qualified students and includes a copy of SafeGuard Profiler software, an IEC compliant Safety Integrity Level (SIL) Life Cycle tool, which students will use to compile data, perform analyses and generate reports during the class.

The workshop covers:
    2-day hands-on workshops:
    March 4-5, 2014
    April 1-2, 2014
    May 6-7, 2014

    3-day interactive Webinars:
    March 18-20, 2014
    April 15-17, 2014
    May 13-15, 2014

  • Safety Integrity Level (SIL)
  • Safety Life Cycle (SLC)
  • Safety Instrumented Function (SIF)
  • Hazard and Operability Analysis (HAZOP)
  • Layers of Protection Analysis (LOPA)
  • SIL Determination and Validation
  • Safety Requirements Specifications (SRS)
  • LOPA “Loop” Creation
  • SIL Determination using LOPA Scenario Analysis
  • Risk Graph Analysis
  • SIF Loop Verification
  • Loop Linking (SIF to LOPA, SIF to SIF)
  • Contingency Planning and Risk Exposure
  • Reports
  • Other related topics
The workshop is appropriate for High Integrity and Critical Control System specialists, I & C Team Leaders, engineers and technologists, SIL and LOPA team leaders and scribes, and engineers involved in any aspect of the safety Lifecycle.

All workshops are held at the Institute of Hazard Prevention, founded by ACM Facility Safety in Calgary, Alberta, (CDN).

Universal sensor for all applications

The new BVS-E Universal vision sensor from Balluff with integral processing electronics, lighting and two digital outputs is a genuine all-rounder because it combines the functions of the proven BVS-E Advanced and BVS-E Ident vision sensors in a single device. For the first time, a single model is suitable for almost all inspection tasks and simplifies stock management considerably.

Not only can the BVS Universal inspect a large number of characteristics in one pass, it can also simultaneously perform various tasks such as checking brightness, comparing contrasts, counting edges, checking positions, detecting patterns and reading codes at speed. New additional tools such as a 360° contour, barcode and data matrix check as well as the option of counting and checking contours offer virtually unlimited application possibilities.

The result of the check is issued either as an OK or error signal via the digital outputs or the RS 232/Ethernet interface. The position of the detected part can be transmitted to a PLC or robot control, for example, so that the part can be aligned for subsequent process steps.

The universal device is extremely fast. Up to 40 barcodes and data matrix codes are located per second, and then read and verified independently of their position. The code data is available for further processing via an interface.

In addition, an optical character verification (OCV) function can verify printed sequences of characters and numbers such as batch numbers or minimum shelf life dates.

The BVS-E Universal vision sensor is available with different lens versions. Powerful integral red light or infrared LED lights illuminate the image area perfectly. The power supply and peripherals are connected via two industry proven M 12 connections.

The robust, high-end sensor the size of a credit card is easy to use via the supplied ConVIS® software with its intuitive user interface. The user only has to connect the sensor to a PC to configure parameters and operate the sensor using free configuration software. It runs on Windows XP and Windows 7 and also offers the option of storing up to 10,000 inspection images on the computer for troubleshooting purposes, for example.

Training system for BP's Quad 204 North Sea FPSO

A €5.11 million (US$7 million) contract to provide its DeltaV™ Operator Training Solution (OTS) for BP’s Quad 204 North Sea FPSO replacement project has been awarded to Emerson. Training provided through the OTS will help BP personnel achieve safe, efficient operations and take full advantage of the integrated control and safety system (ICSS) that Emerson is providing under a separate contract.

“The OTS will provide a high fidelity dynamic simulation of the Quad 204 facilities,” said Carl Slatter, Quad 204 Project OMS Manager at BP. “It offers a safe environment for operators and others to learn the best ways to deal with situations they may face in actual operations.”

Emerson will install a fully operational training replica of the Quad 204 Project in Aberdeen, BP’s regional production centre, with the longer term aim of relocating it to the BP Upstream Learning Centre at Sunbury (GB). The OTS will include a virtualised DeltaV digital automation system for process control and DeltaV SIS™ for process and emergency shutdown and for fire and gas detection. High fidelity modelling of the topsides process and of an Olga subsea process will be provided by engineering contractor KBR and integrated into the virtual ICSS using SEEDS (Standard Entities for the Engineering of Dynamic Simulators) to ensure consistent implementation.

By providing an engineered, hands-on, process-specific learning environment, the DeltaV OTS will expose operators to what they will experience in their actual control room so they can gain experience in an off-line, non-intrusive environment. Personnel will learn both DeltaV operating concepts and the actual process, preparing operators to effectively handle abnormal situations and process upsets, as well as providing decision support.

“Operator training is an important part of any large project, especially offshore installations where onsite training is difficult to schedule and could delay the start of production,” said Larry Irving, vice president for oil and gas at Emerson Process Management. “The dynamic simulation provided by Emerson’s OTS makes training more realistic – ultimately helping BP to achieve safer and more efficient operation of the Quad 204 facilities.”
Pic: BP
The North Sea Quad 204 project will access the remaining hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Schiehallion and Loyal fields, which are located approximately 175 kilometres west of Shetland.  As part of this project Emerson Process Management has been awarded a $21 million USD contract to provide integrated control and safety systems for the new BP FPSO. The new vessel, which will replace the existing Schiehallion FPSO, will be 270 metres long by 52 metres wide and able to process and export up to 130,000 barrels a day of oil, and store in excess of 1 million barrels. Investment in this new facility will enable production to be extended out to 2035 and possibly beyond.

Thursday 20 February 2014

Powerful test systems for test benches and vehicles!

With the FRC-EP series, which consists of the FRC-EP170 and the FRC-EP190, IXXAT offers universally usable hardware platforms for applications on the test bench or in the vehicle, attractive for their high performance, favorable prices, broad range of applications, and support for a wide variety of software solutions.

These devices have FlexRay, CAN, CAN FD, LIN, K-Line, USB, Ethernet, EtherCAT, Bluetooth, and RS232 interfaces, along with analog and digital I/O. Expansion slots make it simple to add other interfaces, including WLAN, GSM, or GPS. This makes the devices scalable, adaptable to specific applications, and ready for the future.

With the new FRC-EP170, IXXAT has now introduced a very compact, cost-effective variant of the familiar FRC-EP190. Both devices have the same processor and the same operating system, making the new variant completely software-compatible and just as powerful.

Thanks to the large number of identical interfaces and its galvanic isolation, extended scalability, and especially its optional EtherCAT slave functionality, the primary target application of the FRC-EP190 is integration with test benches in the automotive communications world.

The handy FRC-EP170 was developed for use in vehicles. Its main application areas are gateway solutions for connection to different ECU integration levels, prototype controllers, expansion of data loggers with additional interfaces, and wireless signal display using off-the-shelf mobile phones or tablet PCs.

Demanding Restbus simulation and gateway solutions can be implemented quickly and easily based on either device, using the corresponding software packages from IXXAT. There are also extensive development packages available for the development of specific solutions. Custom functions and applications can be implemented quickly and easily by customers in-house thanks to the use of the Linux operating system and the availability of a free Software Development Kit.

Switches win award!

Red Lion Controls has announced that its N-Tron series NT24k managed Gigabit Ethernet switches were awarded the Golden Mousetrap for Industrial Networking Technologies in the Automation and Control category.
The awards, presented by Design News, celebrate the companies, products and people who are energizing North American design, engineering and manufacturing.
This award further validates Red Lion’s long history of commitment to superior innovation and engineering,” said Mike Granby, president of Red Lion Controls. “Industrial Ethernet switches are a key component in the move to the connected world, and industrially fluent and modular products like our NT24k series continue to be at the forefront of this transformation.”
Available in rackmount and DIN rail models, Red Lion’s NT24k switches provide modular versatility to customers through hot-swappable copper and fiber Fast Ethernet and Gigabit connectivity options. With all-Gigabit capability and a diverse array of connectivity options, the NT24k switches deliver configuration flexibility that meets industrial networking requirements across industries such as factory automation, utilities, video surveillance, security, transportation and alternative energy. Previously, the NT24k won the Automation World “First Team Supplier” Award and the Control Engineering China “Best Product of the Year” award in the Networking Communications category.
“The NT24k has been an extremely successful product in our industrial networking portfolio,” said Diane Davis, director of Ethernet networking at Red Lion Controls. “The NT24k’s modular versatility and plug and play port configuration features are key benefits, which allow customers in different industries to easily customize a solution to fit specific environment requirements, while taking advantage of Gigabit speeds, high port densities and a full range of management features.”
The editorial staff at Design News judged the many Golden Mousetrap entries across four categories to determine the products most deserving to be finalists. The editorial team then shared the finalist entries with the publication’s distinguished Advisory Board to choose the winners, who were named in a ceremony earlier this month in Anaheim, Calif. Red Lion’s Graphite® HMI series of advanced operator panels was also selected a finalist in the Automation and Control category. 

• Red Lion products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology

Passively-cooled cabinets protect instrumentation on world’s largest vessel!

High performance environmental protection cabinets for Shell’s ‘Prelude’ floating liquefied natural gas project are being supplied by Intertec. Designed specifically for extended service life in hazardous areas, the shelters incorporate innovative semi-passive cooling technology and are some of the most stringently specified instrumentation protection solutions that Intertec has ever produced.

Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) project is setting new engineering records. Designed to liquefy natural gas extracted from subsea wells by chilling it to -162 degrees Celsius, and to then store the liquid until it is offloaded to large LNG carriers, the vessel will be the largest in the world, with a length of 488 metres and a width of 74 metres. The hull of the vessel was constructed in South Korea and launched in December 2013. Due to enter service in 2017, the vessel will be towed to the Prelude and Concerto gas fields in the Browse Basin near Timor, about 200 km off the northwest coast of Australia, where it will be permanently anchored for about 25 years. After this time it will be inspected, overhauled and possibly moved to a new location, where it will be expected to provide a further 25 years of service.

Much of the on-line process analysis instrumentation on the Prelude FLNG vessel will be housed in purpose-built environmental protection cabinets supplied by Intertec. In total, the company is supplying 90 cabinets for sample conditioning systems and 30 cabinets for process analyzers, each designed to match the instrumentation content and layout precisely in order to optimise thermal performance.

As Intertec’s Commercial Director, Hans Geiger, points out, “Only three of the 120 cabinets that Intertec is supplying for this project are the same size. Our specialised design and automated manufacturing capabilities enable us to produce custom environmental protection products very easily, to optimise performance and match the space available on demanding applications like this.”

The cabinets are required to be capable of withstanding severe Category 5 tropical cyclones with wind speeds in excess of 252 km/h (157 mph) and to have a minimum service life of 25 years - with 50 years as a design aim. Additional requirements include a high degree of resistance to corrosion being caused by the saline environment and the presence of sour or acid gas, and the ability to cool electronics equipment without using explosion-proof air conditioning systems, which incur high capital and operating costs.

These environmental protection cabinets are constructed from a proprietary composite material comprising sandwich walls of long-fibre glass reinforced polyester (GRP) sheets, enclosing a core of polyurethane foam. The material has a similar strength to that of stainless steel but is about four times lighter, making it ideal for use on offshore platforms and floating structures, where every effort is made to minimise weight.

Other advantages include a very low thermal conductivity which facilitates the construction of efficient, condensation-free cooling cabinets, and an inherently high resistance to corrosion caused by salt or aggressive chemicals such as sulphur or chlorine. For this project, the external surfaces of the cabinets are further protected by a thick layer of UV-resistant gel coat. In order to meet the application’s high wind speed requirements, each cabinet is equipped with special built-in mountings – which are external to the thermally insulated parts of the enclosure – to secure the top and base to Prelude’s deck structure. All external metal components are fabricated from 316 stainless steel with a corrosion-resistant protective coating that is specified for ship use.

Each of the 120 Intertec cabinets incorporates a unique form of semi-passive cooling technology. The internal face of the cabinets' rear walls are fitted with a high efficiency heat exchanger, comprising one or more aluminium cooling plates and stainless steel coolant pipes connected to Prelude’s cold water supply system, which obtains ‘cold’ water from the deep sea by a 150 m long pipe below the vessel. Heat dissipated by the equipment in the cabinets is absorbed by the water and transferred to the vessel’s main water cooling system, where it is dissipated to the environment. The size of each cabinet depends on the power dissipation of the contained sample conditioning or process analyzer system, which ranges from 140 W to 900 W.

This form of distributed cooling has enormous technical and economic advantages, especially in hazardous areas or where space and weight is at a premium. It provides a very efficient means of removing heat from the cabinets without requiring local air conditioning systems, which would necessarily need to be explosion proof – and therefore expensive. Furthermore, transferring heat from individual air conditioners of below-deck cabinet installations to the ambient environment would be a major challenge and involve significant amounts of space-consuming air ducting. The semi-passive cooling system is inherently safe for use in a hazardous environment; at the cabinet level it requires little or no electrical power of its own and is virtually maintenance-free, making it ideal for long life-cycle applications.

The intended operating environment for Shell’s Prelude FLNG vessel poses significant instrumentation protection challenges. The Browse Basin is very close to the Equator, which means that it has a tropical climate with an average temperature of about 32 degrees Celsius. This moist and hot environment, combined with a salt-laden atmosphere, is highly conducive to rust formation, making non-metallic protection cabinets a sensible design choice. In some of Prelude’s more confined spaces, the ambient temperature could reach more than 50 degrees Celsius. Even under these extreme conditions, all of the passively-cooled cabinets that Intertec is producing for the project are designed to keep their internal air temperature below 35 degrees Celsius

Investment boosts air quality instrument rental fleet!

In line with its strategy of continual investment in the latest instrumentation, Ashtead Technology has added TSI’s leading portable air quality monitors to its rental fleet.
The new models include the lightweight, portable Q-TRAK indoor air quality monitor which is available with a probe for simultaneous measurements of CO2, CO, temperature and humidity or an alternative probe for air velocity, temperature and humidity. Both portable and desktop versions of the DUSTTRAK DRX dust/aerosol monitor have also been added to the fleet – these instruments simultaneously measure size-segregated mass fraction concentrations corresponding to PM1, PM2.5, PM10, respirable and total PM size fractions. The portable P-TRAK completes the range providing the ability to detect ultrafine particles (<.1 micrometer) that arise from leaks combustion processes or chemical reactions.

“In combination with a wide range of other air quality monitors, these instruments ensure that Ashtead Technology’s customers are provided with quick and simple access to the most appropriate technology for their needs,” says Key Account Manager Jay Neermul, adding: “We invest heavily in technology, so that our customers don’t have to.”

Leaders in wireless technology solutions!

Yokogawa receives Frost & Sullivan 2014 Global Enabling Technology Leadership Award in wireless solutions category

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has received the Frost & Sullivan 2014 Global Enabling Technology Leadership Award in the wireless solutions category. The Enabling Technology Leadership Award is presented to companies around the world that are best-in-class in a specific category.

Field wireless systems enable a plant’s field devices and host-level monitoring and control systems to communicate wirelessly with each other. This has numerous advantages such as allowing the placement of field instruments or analytical sensors in difficult-to-wire locations, which eliminates the need for cables to connect devices and reduces installation costs.

Yokogawa released the world’s first ISA100.11a compliant wireless system devices and wireless pressure and temperature transmitters in July 2010, and the company continues to enhance its lineup of wireless solutions. In accordance with the “Wireless Anywhere” concept, which was announced in April 2013, Yokogawa is seeking to promote the plant-wide use of field wireless systems by developing new ISA100 Wireless™ devices. In December 2013, the company started providing a wireless communications module with a built-in antenna that can help field device manufacturers significantly shorten the time needed for developing wireless solutions. Later this year, the company also plans to release a multi-protocol wireless adaptor that will enable wired field instruments or analytical sensors to be used as ISA100 Wireless devices.

Frost & Sullivan selected Yokogawa for this award because of the company's efforts to develop ISA100 Wireless solutions that enable high-reliability, openness, and interoperability. In selecting the award recipient, Frost & Sullivan evaluated companies based on whether they enabled the creation of new products, enhanced current products, enabled new applications, had potential for market acceptance, and had a breadth of access to technology. Yokogawa was recognised for making a superior contribution in developing innovative field wireless solutions.

In line with the “Wireless Anywhere” concept, Yokogawa will continue to expand its lineup of ISA100 Wireless solutions and promote the use of field wireless technologies. The company is working on the application of wireless technologies that can be suitable for both monitoring and control purposes throughout plants.

Enclosure for extreme conditions!

Rittal’s SE 8 enclosure range is now fit for extreme conditions with a new NEMA 4/4x protection category. The SE 8 enclosure type has UL, cUL and NEMA 12 (IP55 equivalent) approvals as standard features, with protection class NEMA 12 as the default, sufficient for the majority of applications.

With the optional NEMA 4 (for steel enclosures) and NEMA 4x classifications (for stainless steel ones), which roughly correspond to IP 66, the enclosures offer increased defence against wind-driven dust, rain, splashed water and water jets, as well as from damage caused by external ice formation. Electrical and electro-nic equipment within the NEMA 4/4x enclosure is protected and can now also be used in extreme applica-tions, thanks to the improved dust and water protection.

In order to achieve NEMA 4/4x classification, modificati-ons to Rittal’s SE 8 range of enclosures has been made. The door and rear panel have been reinforced with a tubular door frame, integrated through a one-piece floor plate with an all-round seal in the base area of the enclosure.
Unlike baying suites with frames and removable side panels, the body of the SE 8 free-standing enclosure consists of two side panels and a roof which is made from one piece of sheet steel. The rear panel can be unscrewed for easy access to the enclosure.

White paper on sensing in shale gas processing!

Advances in optical sensing technologies provide way forward for processing shale gas!

Michell Instruments has issued a white paper, Advances in Optical Techniques for Moisture and Hydrocarbon Detection, which discusses how new optical sensing techniques for processing natural gas will help the industry face current challenges.

Newly emerging gas sources – such as shale gas and biogas – are helping to meeting the world wide demand for natural gas, but bring new challenges to the processing industry. All raw natural gas varies in composition when it is extracted but these new sources vary much more rapidly and over more extreme ranges. Although methane is the main component, the wellhead gas also contains amounts of other hydrocarbons such as propane, butane and some heavy hydrocarbons. There are also varying quantities of other contaminants such as water, nitrogen, hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide. Shale gas in particular can have far greater dynamic variation in its constituent hydrocarbon composition, and also often contains far higher levels of contaminants such as CO2 and water than is typical from natural gas originating from other sources.

The challenge to the processing industry is being able to treat these different compositions of raw gas to meet the same international standards before it is injected into the transmission pipeline. 
The developments in new optical sensing techniques discussed in the white paper show how increased sensitivity in detection limits in optical sensing methods – including both chilled mirror for hydrocarbon dew point and laser spectroscopy for moisture measurements, will help processors to meet the guidelines.

• Michell Instruments are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Three pressure switch families from Honeywell #PAuto @HONSensorSwitch

Honeywell has added three new series to its pressure switch portfolio: the HP Series, HE Series and LE Series. The new Pressure Switches provide high burst pressure ranges, a long life cycle rating and IP67 sealing, enhancing durability and reliability.

Pressure switches are often installed into challenging applications with wide operating ranges and specific switching requirements. High burst pressure and up to 2 million life cycle ratings allow the switch to operate and survive in demanding applications and ensure long life and reliable switching. These features can help to protect critical systems, reduce OEM warranty costs and end-user downtime. Pressure switches are also often exposed to harsh environmental conditions and washing applications which can result in damaging water ingress. Honeywell’s pressure switches include IP67 sealing to improve durability and prevent water ingress from causing the switch to fail.

“Honeywell’s platform design allows us to quickly adapt to our customers’ unique needs,” said Wade Wessels, global product marketing manager. “This results in customers receiving product samples within two weeks of ordering, and within four weeks for production units. Additionally, this expanded modular portfolio reduces total cost of ownership and helps to protect operators and critical equipment subsystems.”

A comprehensive selection of ports, electrical terminations and compatibility with a variety of media allow for use in most customer applications, simplifying the design-in process, eliminating tooling costs and reducing manufacturing and labor costs. The pressure switches provide a wide temperature range of -40 °C to 120 °C [-40 °F to 248 °F], and accuracy of up to ±2%. The electromechanical gauge pressure on/off switches are available with either single pole single throw normally open or normally closed circuitry, or single pole double throw circuitry. They are available for use in a wide variety of applications in the industrial and transportation industries.

Remote continuous equipment monitoring on new fixed platform!

Statoil has awarded Emerson Process Management a  €1.96 million (US$2.7m) contract to supply an integrated condition and performance monitoring system for the Gina Krog oil and gas platform in the Norwegian North Sea. The system will enable Statoil personnel onshore to continuously monitor the new fixed platform’s critical and essential pumps, compressors and other mechanical equipment, in order to maximise efficiency and identify any potential problems before they affect production.

Emerson’s integrated Condition Based Maintenance solution provides machinery protection, prediction and performance monitoring of all critical and essential assets. The solution will include Emerson’s CSI 6500 Machinery Health Monitor and AMS Suite predictive maintenance software. This solution will deliver predictive diagnostics as well as equipment health alerts to allow personnel to take timely corrective maintenance actions to avoid unplanned shutdowns and maintain production while reducing maintenance costs.

Central to this solution is AMS Suite: Asset Performance Management, which is built on Meridium’s APM software. The software will aggregate all asset data to present a clear picture of overall asset health and performance so work notifications can be created and fed back to the SAP Enterprise Asset Management system for immediate attention.

The solution also includes a wireless communication infrastructure based on IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) technology, which will support future enhancements to capture additional equipment data on the platform at a lower cost than traditional wired communications.

“As a preferred supplier under our long-term framework agreement with Statoil, we are delighted that our reliability and asset management technologies will be used to support Statoil’s vision for implementing Condition Based Maintenance across its critical assets,” said Larry Irving, vice president, oil and gas industry, Emerson Process Management. “When this is combined with the systems that enable remote monitoring, there are real benefits in terms of maximised production, reduced costs and increased efficiencies.”

This award extends the scope of a previous contract for Emerson to provide an integrated process control, safety and asset management system for the new upstream operations. Located just north of the Sleipner West field in the central part of the North Sea, the Gina Krog field (previously called Dagny) is expected to produce some 60,000 barrels of oil and 9 million Sm3 of rich gas per day.

Gina Grog (1847-1916), was a Norwegian feminist pioneer, teacher, liberal politician and editor.