Friday 29 August 2014

Ethernet switches use PoE+ standard to provide more power for system devices!

Harting is exploiting the Power over Ethernet (PoE) standard in its latest range of Ethernet switches to provide more power to connected system devices.

PoE and its higher-power variant PoE+ are standards for the parallel transfer of power and data over twisted-pair cable. The Harting switches use the PoE+ standard (based on IEEE 802.3at) to offer power levels of up to 34.2 W, thereby significantly increasing the variety of potential applications.

Up to four Ethernet Switch ports can be simultaneously deployed for the supply of power with Harting's Ha-VIS eCon models. The portfolio includes switches with a 54 V supply voltage and variants with integrated voltage converters. These allow the use of standard 24 V power supplies.

These higher power levels mean that users benefit from greater flexibility in the connection of end devices and the extension of the network by saving on additional components such as power supplies - in addition to time, money and space savings with the cabling.

Developed and optimised for applications in harsh industrial environments, the unmanaged Ha-VIS eCon Ethernet Switches enable the cost-effective extension of existing network infrastructures as well as the construction of new industrial networks.

Thanks to their compact dimensions, the switches in the Ha-VIS eCon family are easy to fit into industrial installations. Users can select exactly the combination of power characteristics and port combinations that fits the application.

Industry awards finalists announced!

The judging for the PPMA Group Industry Awards has now been completed and the finalists announced.

To attend the awards ceremony
Tom Fisher on +44 (0)20 8773 8111 
Mr Dave Atkinson, UK Head of Manufacturing from Lloyds SME Banking and headline sponsor said “The bank has made a serious commitment to supporting UK manufacturing in recent years and our partnership with the PPMA further demonstrates our support and understanding of manufacturing business.”

The gala dinner event will take place on the first night of the PPMA show on Tuesday September 30th at the National Motorcycle Museum adjacent to the NEC in Birmingham. Everyone is welcome whether a member of the PPMA or not, from suppliers to end users. The event will be hosted by TV comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner and ITV presenter Helen Fospero.

Gary Wyles from Festo also commented “we are also very pleased to be associated with the awards and promoting the value of apprenticeships within our industry with the current skills shortage”

Sponsors of the event include; Lloyds Bank, Festo, Linx Printing Technologies, Omron, PPMA Group Insurance, Stemmer Imaging, Tekpak and tna.

The awards will take place alongside the PPMA Show. The show will be opened by Michael Portillo and includes high profile speakers such as Tesco, M&S, Coca Cola and the Groceries Code Adjudicator – explaining how she is policing the food sector manufacturing supply chain and outlawing some of the current practices. The exhibition is being attended by over 8,000 visitors and hosts 320 exhibitors.

LED drivers launched!

Stadium Power has launched an unrivalled range of competitively priced LED drivers for a wide range of indoor and outdoor use in LED based lighting and signage applications.

The new range includes the LDP series, offering 24, 36 and 48V constant current outputs over the range 25, 40 and 60 watts, with an optional dimming function via a signal from a dimming controller with PWM/1-10Vdc control signal and a 3 year warranty. Typical applications include industrial LED lighting and moving sign applications

Designated LDP25, LDP40 and LDP60 standard features include; wide universal AC input range from 90-305Vac, active power factor correction (PFC) >0.9, low inrush current >5A, low profile, narrow footprint for ease of installation, low flicker for stable lighting output, continuous short circuit and over voltage protection, fully isolated plastic case and optional IP67 water proofing for outdoor or harsh environmental conditions. The LDP60 model may be specified as dual 30W outputs or a single 60W output.

Stadium Power now offers customers the ability to buy its LED Drivers and a wide range of other standard products direct from the website Buy Online. The “buy online” range also includes AC-DC power supplies, DIN Rail PSUs, EN54 power supplies, battery chargers and EMC Filters.

Radio logger range launched!

Gemini Data Loggers has announced the launch of new radio loggers – Ultra Radio. Building upon the capabilities of Gemini’s existing Radio System, the new Ultra Radio units have a low profile, compact design, making them ideal for discreet indoor environmental monitoring in a variety of premises. Loggers in the Ultra range monitor voltage, current and count as well as temperature and humidity and are powered by readily available alkaline batteries, with mains powered versions also available.

Tinytag radio data loggers are ideal for use in premises with a medium to large number of monitoring points, gathering environmental data automatically using wireless communications. Data is sent via a receiver for direct viewing on a PC, across a Local Area Network, or remotely across the internet. The system self-configures to form a mesh network and is flexible, allowing loggers to be moved or added as requirements change. Data will re-route in the event of a temporary obstruction and the loggers also record the data locally, enabling robust recovery if communications problems occur. Alarm warnings can be sent via email, which in turn can be used to generate text messages, enabling corrective action to be initiated.

The unobtrusive design of the Ultra Radio range means the loggers are ideal for indoor monitoring in public buildings, offices, workplaces, retail premises and schools. A wall mounting bracket is included so that they can be positioned securely. The Ultra Radio units include two dual channel temperature and relative humidity loggers: one unit with internal sensors, and one for use with external probes. There are four single channel temperature loggers: a unit incorporating an internal sensor; and the others for use respectively with a thermistor probe; or a PT100 or a PT1000 probe – both of which are new to the Tinytag radio range.

New to the Ultra Radio System are loggers each monitoring count inputs, and low voltage and current, making them ideal for use with third party sensors to record properties such as pressure, flow rates and footfall. Loggers monitoring different parameters may be combined in each system to meet many varied applications. This versatility makes it an effective solution for example, in monitoring not only temperature/RH conditions, but also footfall, in public buildings such as museums, exhibitions areas and art galleries.

The receiver and loggers in the Ultra Radio range are compatible with existing Tinytag Radio products, and can be mixed and matched within a single system. This Tinytag Radio System is therefore a very versatile solution for meeting the varied demands of the application, the type of premises and the monitoring parameters and ranges required.

• Gemini TinyTag products are marketed by Manotherm in Ireland

Vice-president of sales for Asia Pacific appointed & office opens in Shanghai!

PAC recently welcomed Samuel Wong as the Vice-President of Sales for Asia Pacific. Mr. Wong has over 25 years of sales experience in the oil and gas, marine, power generation, and transport industries.

He joins PAC from AMOT where he was the Director of Sales for Asia Pacific since 2006. In this role, he had consistent revenue growth and also built out a commercial organization in China that supports its Asia Pacific customer base. Prior to joining AMOT, he worked for United Development Hong Kong, Daewoo Hong Kong and MAN Diesel & Turbo Hong Kong in various executive sales positions with increasing responsibility.

“I am excited to join PAC and help support the growth in Asia Pacific. I plan to focus on improving overall customer experiences and help our customers identify and solve the challenges in this dynamic Asia Pacific market, " said Mr. Wong.

In addition, PAC will be opening a new technical facility in the pilot free trade zone of Shanghai, China in October of this year. This first class facility will be our center for our regional customer training and also serve as a manufacturing and distribution center for our instruments and spare parts to better support our Asia Pacific customers. This new facility is in addition to our sales office at United Plaza in Shanghai.

“We are pleased that Samuel joined PAC. His experience in building local organizations in Asia Pacific is going to be important for our growth in that region. As a first step in building out an organization, we are opening a new technical facility in Shanghai. From our two Shanghai locations, we will be able to fully support our customers and channel partners for all their needs, including sales, customer service, service, and operations, which will enable us to provide better service and quickly respond to our customer base in the region,” says Eric Schellenberger, PAC President.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Wireless instrumentation range now available in Japan!

Mantracourt Electronics has announced that it has appointed Tokyo Sokki as a technical partner for Japan. Tokyo Sokki will assist in the sales and technical support for Mantracourt’s broad range of load cell amplifier technology and wireless instrumentation systems.

"We are delighted with this appointment,” said Louise Stubbs, Marketing Co-ordinator at Mantracourt. "Much of Mantracourt’s success has been built on working closely with Technical Partners, helping us to understand their requirements and to assist them in selling our products. Tokyo Sokki is a very good match for this approach, they have a high level of technical expertise and experience in this field, and provide excellent customer service."

Tokyo Sokki have been experts in the field of strain measurement for over 50 years, through the development and manufacture of strain gauges, measuring instruments and transducers.

In co-operation with Mantracourt, Tokyo Sokki has achieved certification for Mantracourt’s T24 wireless telemetry product range. The T24 range now complies with the strict Japanese technical regulations for radio equipment (TELEC Certification). This was gained from the Telecommunications Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The Mantracourt T24 wireless telemetry range is a flexible low power radio system designed to enable the transmission of high accuracy measurement data including voltage, current, pulse, temperature, displacement and also data from pressure sensors and load cells.
With a combination of transmitter and receiver technologies, users are able to remotely monitor instrumentation readings.

A T24 module can transmit to a range of receivers including handheld indicators, digital displays, analogue and serial outputs, PC display and wireless printer and has various powering options. Data is provided in real time at variable speeds with a direct line of sight range of up to 200 meters, which can be extended with the use of high gain antenna’s and repeaters.

“The T24 wireless instrumentation products have helped introduce instrumentation to many new and innovative applications,” said Louise Stubbs. ”Whether it is moving parts on a machine or difficult to access equipment, wireless technology is enabling a new generation of measurement. In this respect, we are very pleased to have located such a talented and knowledgeable technical partner in Tokyo Sokki to help us spread the word on the T24 product range”

CPD claimable at water & waste event.

WWEM 2014 visitors will be able to claim Continuing Professional Development (CPD) time for the event’s Conferences, Forums and Workshops. WWEM organiser Marcus Pattison says: “This is great news for the event because it provides formal recognition of the value of the many learning experiences at WWEM 2014 and provides delegates with reassurance that their visit will be worthwhile.”

This international Water, Wastewater and Environmental Monitoring conference and exhibition will take place at the Telford International Centre (GB) 5-6th November. CPD Certification will be applicable to the following components of the event:

1. Conference: ‘Regulation Updates for Process Operators’
2. Conference: ‘Laboratory Techniques and Quality Procedures’
3. Seminar: ‘The application of chromatography-mass spectrometry to environmental water analysis’
4. The Flow Forum
5. The SMART Water Forum
6. Over 80 Workshops on specialist environmental monitoring themes

WWEM 2014 ( will provide delegates with the latest information on the techniques, technologies, methods, standards and regulatory requirements that relate to monitoring both on-site and in the laboratory, covering sampling, field analysis, gas detection and continuous water and wastewater applications.

Pre-registered visitors will have free access to the Workshops, a Flow Demonstration area, the SMART Water Forum, the Flow Forum and the WWEM exhibition, featuring over 130 stands. Parking and refreshments are also free.

Injection control panel!

Lowers installation costs, improves control and offers superior visibility to configuration, status and history

Emerson Process Management has introduced a new Injection Control Application designed for the FloBoss™107 flow computer and ROC800-Series remote operations controller to accurately measure and control water or steam delivered to injection wells.

The Injection Controller Application replaces PLC programming with a simple, configurable interface, helping to reduce commissioning effort and cost.

When flow is measured and controlled at an injection manifold, the ROC800 can support multiple injection streams. An integral wireless gateway allows remote wellhead pressure measurements to be easily incorporated in the control scheme. Alternatively, the FloBoss 107 measures and controls flow at the wellhead.

The application’s configurable dual objective control feature fulfils common injection control requirements such as flow rate target with wellhead pressure override, while also facilitating complex control strategies. Water or steam plant ‘start-up’ sequences are simplified by the application’s ‘no flow’ valve pre-positioning feature.

The injection control application is SCADA-ready and supports multiple streams. The FloBoss 107 supports up to four streams while the ROC800 supports up to 25 streams. The application accumulates hourly, daily, and monthly values for all parameters on each flow stream and the values of the flow stream can be retained in the controllers for up to 35 days. These features give superior visibility to injection configuration, status and history.

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Rotary step attenuator for high-end audio applications

Now available from a new dedicated rotary switch web shop, is the Elma A47 audio attenuator, the first device to be announced in a new series of PCB-based audio switches being introduced by Elma Electronics.

Set up by Foremost Electronics,  Rotary Switches Online is set to become a one-stop online source for both electronics OEMs, Audiophiles and DIY HiFi enthusiasts around the world. In addition to a wide range of rotary switches and potentiometers they will also stock contemporary and vintage control knobs and accessories.

The A47 Rotary Step Attenuator incorporates a PCB based switch contact system and has been designed specifically to provide volume control for high-end audiophile equipment and offers outstanding sonic performance and precise tactile “feel” when operated. These low-profile switches provide 47 positions that offer much improved accuracy with selectable end-stops from one to eight channels.

Built with uncompromising quality the A47 features Elma’s hallmark indexing feel for superior tactile feedback and a low-bounce contact system with 3 micron gold plating. The product series offers switching torques of 4 and 8 Ncm as standard and are populated with low-noise, high precision SMT resistors offering standard input impedances of 10k, 25k, 50k, 100k or 600kΩ.

Two, non-populated THT versions are available that can be custom populated by the user. The standard version is for 0.125-0.5W resistors, and the “jumbo” PCB version is for those audiophiles that prefer the sound quality of larger wattage resistors. A free Excel-based resistor calculator tool is downloadable from the Elma website.

For convenient remote operation, an optional motorised, remote control kit with a motor drive for the A47 is available as an accessory. A selector switch variant will be added to the series later this year. These audio switches are perfect for mixing desks and outboard studio equipment as well as for high-end home audio and theatre configurations.

Alan Cook, Managing Director of Foremost Electronics, commented, “The new A47 Rotary Step Attenuator is a very high quality product for a very niche market and as such is a very good fit into our product portfolio and business model. We are able to offer a fast response, local service to high-quality audio, broadcast and audiophile equipment manufacturers.”

In addition to the A47 audio attenuator now available from Foremost, this new distribution agreement brings pushbutton switches for audio/broadcast and industrial control where high-resolution full motion video capability is required.

Industrial automation software leader establishes subsidiary in India!

As a result of the ongoing achievements of the zenon distributor Maestro Technologies in India, COPA-DATA has established a subsidiary in the growing Indian market. From August 1, 2014, the newly established branch took over the sales and support of the zenon product family in India.

COPA-DATA India will serve all existing and new zenon clients. The company will target the energy and infrastructure industries, as well as the automotive and pharmaceutical sectors.

Thanks to the close collaboration of COPA-DATA and Maestro Technologies, existing zenon clients based in India can look forward to a very smooth transition facilitated by familiar faces. COPA-DATA India has been set up by the Maestro Technologies Directors.

“Soon after we started our collaboration with COPA-DATA, we realised that zenon should be the key product in our strategy," explained Satish Patil, Managing Director of COPA-DATA India. "zenon’s high-end features and characteristics, such as extensive functionality, rich built-in drivers, ergonomics, and industry-specific product editions help us position the software to targeted industry segments in India. Our success wouldn’t have been possible without a close business partnership with COPA-DATA.”

Maestro Technologies has been a trusted and reliable zenon distributor since 2006. This fruitful cooperation is now set for further growth, with COPA-DATA India providing the best service and support for all zenon users.

“The collaboration between Maestro Technologies and COPA-DATA so far has formed strategic associations with many large engineering companies in India and we see great further potential in the market," beamed a delighted COPA-DATA CEO Thomas Punzenberger. “The team of COPA-DATA India knows our products very well and is ideally equipped to begin work on new projects immediately. I’m pleased to welcome our new colleagues and I’m looking forward to common successes in India.”

The inauguration of the India branch reinforces COPA-DATA’s strategic course for internationalisation and continuous growth. The move comes as the next step after opening the Poland, Korea and Ludwigshafen (Germany) offices.

Miniature air flow transmitter for HVAC

The new transmitter EE671 from E+E Elektronik measures air velocity up to 20 m/s. Thanks to its compact design it is ideal for mass applications in HVAC. The flow sensing element sets new standards in terms of accuracy and resistance to pollutants.

The built-in VTQ flow sensing element based on thin-film technology works on the hot-film anemometer principle. Thanks to its innovative design - made possible by the use of the latest transfer molding technology - the sensor is particularly resistant to contamination. A high reproducibility of the sensor characteristics, fast response time, low angle dependence and excellent long-term stability are further advantages of the high-quality sensing element.

The EE671 is available with cable or plug connection. An alignment strip on the probe and matching mounting flange simplifies installation and ensures proper alignment of the sensor. The flange enables the immersion depth to be infinetly variable.

The measured air velocity is available as linear voltage output (optional 0-1V, 0-5V or 0-10V). The digital interface in combination with a configuration kit allows the customer to set the measurement range, to configure the output signal and to adjust the transmitter.

The EE671 is suitable for use in heating and ventilation systems, for flow monitoring and control or for inlet air monitoring in ovens.

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

New VP of Sales appointed!

Precision Digital Corporation has appointed Alan Williams to the position of Vice President of Sales.

Alan Williams
Williams has over 20 years of experience working in the process industries and over 15 years experience in sales management. He started his career as a process controls engineer with Invensys and has held positions with Emerson, Mitsubishi Electric Europe, and ARC Advisory Group. Williams holds a masters degree in engineering and an MBA from Boston University.

"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Alan Williams as Vice President of Sales," said Jeffrey Peters, President of Precision Digital Corporation. "Alan will be focused on increasing sales of our Premier Products: ProVu, Trident, ProtEX, and Loop Leader, as well as introducing our new wireless and Modbus products over the next year or so."

"I am excited to be joining Precision Digital as we look to expand our business to meet global demand," said Alan Williams, VP Sales of Precision Digital. "Precision Digital has a unique knowledge of digital and analog electronics design and understands what it takes to deploy these technologies in the regulated process industries. Working closely with our channel partners, we are looking forward to introducing innovative solutions that extend our role as the preferred supplier of local control and display solutions. This includes new panel meter and controller products using modern protocols, wireless solutions, as well as traditional analog signals in advanced display and control devices."

• Precision Digital products are marketed in Ireland by PJ Boner & Co.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Continuing professional development in datacentres switchgear assy!

Rittal Ltd has launched three new accredited seminars to support customers in their Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The seminars have been reviewed and assessed by the Chartered Institute of Building Engineers (CIBSE), to ensure the technical content is of a high standard and offers valuable CPD to delegates. All attendees will receive a certificate as evidence of their participation.

The seminars, which are free of charge, take the form of short informative presentations, a workshop and are as follows:

Building a Data Centre in the Perfect Storm:
Covering aspects of complete relocation of a Data Centre, including refurbishment and regeneration, this CPD seminar takes the form of a real life case study of Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC). Connecting 130,000 users across 700 buildings and 60,000 computers the case study looks at how NCC delivered a new state of the art data centre and coping with the perfect brain storm of migration and updating whilst maintaining essential IT services.

Aimed at all levels of mechanical engineers, facilities managers, estate managers, electrical engineers and IT managers, this course can be presented at consultant and contractors offices or at Rittal’s specialist Data Centre location in Enfield (GB).
An Introduction to the Application of IEC 61439:
Designed to give a brief introduction to the IEC 61439 (the new switchgear and controlgear assembly producti-on standard), this seminar looks at how it should be applied to the design and manufacture of low voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies.

Incorporating four key parts: enclosures, climate control, busbar and the devices, the standard looks at assem-blies as a total system and not as individual components and how they react together and perform under test conditions.

Aimed at all levels of expertise within engineering departments, courses can be either presented at consultant or contractors offices or at Rittal’s Head Office showroom and demonstration centre in South Yorkshire, Rittal’s offices in Livingston or, alternatively, at Rittal’s production factory in Plymouth (GB).

Data Centre Energy Efficiency:
Looking at different strategies that can be implemented and the potential gains and compromises that could occur, this seminar covers a broad spectrum of techno-logies and processes including Data Networks, Data Centres, Computer Rooms, Heating and Ventilation as well as IT infrastructure and Building Management.

Aimed at all levels of mechanical engineers, facilities managers, estates managers, electrical engineers and IT managers, this CPD course can either be presented at consultants and contractors offices or at Rittal’s specialist Data Centre location in Enfield.

Pioneering progress in high pressure humidity calibration.

Significant progress in Michell Instruments' project with Britain's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to improve the current high-pressure dew-point generator technology has been reported.
LtoR: Andy Benton (Technical Consultant with Michell Instruments), Andy Sellars (from the Technical Strategy Board) and Kevin Downes (SMART project monitoring officer, appointed by the TSB).
Michell scientists are co-operating on the project with the NPL, which provides scientific consultancy and assessment services. The project is funded by the British Technology Strategy Board. The aim of the work is to enable calibrations of water and hydrocarbon dew point to be made at line pressure, outside of national metrology institutes.

The research efforts have particular implications for the natural gas industry, especially for pipeline operators, as the ability to perform at-pressure calibrations for both water and hydrocarbon dew point will improve confidence in the measurement of these two gas quality parameters at custody transfer of transmissions pipelines. The system offers flexibility to operate at pressures up to 100bar with a choice of carrier gases such as methane to simulate process application conditions.

The project also has significant potential for national metrology institutes themselves, as Dr Stephanie Bell from the NPL explained: ‘Hydrocarbon dew point is a critical measurement for oil and gas industries, but not yet underpinned by practical measurement traceability to national standards. The present project will give NPL access for the first time to detailed results of a hydrocarbon dew-point realisation, and this will greatly inform our judgement of whether similar provision can be made at national standard level.’

Michell Instruments has been at the forefront of research work on humidity measurement technologies for decades, cooperating with the best research groups from renowned universities in UK and the world. More than 30 years ago Michell pioneered the EEC-funded development of the first European humidity transfer standard to create a humidity calibration service which would increase confidence and reliability throughout industry and research. Following this work and, with the gained expertise, Michell’s own calibration laboratory became the world’s first to have recognised accreditation for humidity calibrations.

Michell is also a pioneer in the field of hydrocarbon dew-point measurement, having worked with Shell Research to create the world’s first commercially viable, fully automatic hydrocarbon dew-point analyzer in 1986. The result of this collaboration – the Condumax (currently Condumax II) – is still the most widely used hydrocarbon dew-point analyzer in the world.

• Michell Instruments Products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

High-performance, pre-integrated and tested VPX systems!

Pentek has announced the launch of the newest member of the SPARK™ development systems, the Model 8267. The Model 8267 is pre-configured 3U VPX system to speed application development for the expansive family of Pentek Flexor® FMC, Cobalt® Virtex-6 and Onyx® Virtex-7 FPGA 3U VPX software radio and data acquisition I/O boards. The Model 8267 is delivered with the selected Pentek hardware configured for either Windows 7 Professional or Linux operating systems along with ReadyFlow® BSP drivers and software examples, fully installed and tested. This pre-integrated system not only targets research and development in a lab environment, but also serves as a platform for deployed applications.

“The Model 8267 SPARK development platform enables engineering development teams at prime contractors or small companies to immediately run example applications out-of-the-box. We tackle the complexity of VPX and work with customers to resolve the profile, topology and module interaction dependencies inherent with VPX system architectures,” stated Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. He added, “All hardware is installed in the appropriate slots, fully configured with proper cabling, power and cooling strategies. The CPU board is configured with optimized BIOS and operating system settings. The customer simply needs to unpack the system, power up and start developing. This proven strategy significantly reduces initial integration efforts.”

Pentek collaborates with customers to select from the extensive family of 526xx & 536xx Cobalt, 527xx & 537xx Onyx and 5973 Flexor FMC-based 3U VPX modules and then evaluates system requirements to define the Model 8267 configuration that is most appropriate for the final application. Various VPX topologies and profile configurations are evaluated to determine best fit alternatives for a given application. Engineering teams big and small alike can take advantage of Pentek expertise to SPARK their design on a tight development schedule.

ReadyFlow Software
Pentek ReadyFlow drivers and board support libraries are preinstalled and tested. ReadyFlow includes example applications with full source code, a command line interface for immediate control over hardware without the need for compiling any code, and Pentek’s Signal Analyzer, a full-featured analysis tool that continuously displays live signals in both time and frequency domains.

System Implementation
Built on a professional 4U 9-slot, rackmount workstation, the Model 8267 is populated with a high-performance VPX single board computer with an Intel Core i7® processor and DDR3 SDRAM. All necessary analog and timing cables are installed and tested, providing SMA connectivity for all analog I/O lines. The Model 8267 can be configured with 64-bit Windows Professional or Linux operating systems. These features accelerate application code development and provide unhindered access to the high-bandwidth links connecting the Cobalt, Onyx and Flexor analog and digital I/O modules.

All new event highlights safety in process industry!

Program places emphasis on improving safety and security in chemical, petrochemical, and oil and gas processing

Click for Advance Programme (pdf)
The International Society of Automation (ISA) has released the advance program for its 2014 Process Control & Safety Symposium, featuring world-class presentations, paper sessions, panel discussions, tutorials, training courses, vendor exhibitions, and other value-packed activities—all designed to help process measurement and control professionals in chemical and energy processing and other process industry sectors operate more safely and securely.

Leveraging the global expertise of six ISA technical divisions, the symposium is expected to draw more than 200 registrants 7-9 October 2014 in Houston, Texas USA. Attendees will learn how everyday decisions can have significant downstream results—both positively and negatively—on plant safety and security as well as on key quality and efficiency metrics. Download the complete conference programme of the 2014 ISA Process Control & Safety Symposium (PCS) on the website!

An all-new event, the symposium brings ISA’s world-class technical content, training and exhibiting opportunities back to Houston in response to strong demand among the area’s automation professionals. Highlights include:
  • Four targeted ISA courses, led by ISA’s globally recognized subject matter experts.
  • Three keynote and invited speakers: Peter Martin, Ph.D., Vice President, Business Value Solutions, Invensys; Maurice Wilkins, Vice President, Yokogawa Global Strategic Technology Marketing Center; and Peggie Koon, Ph.D., 2014 ISA President and Vice President, Audience, Chronicle Media.
  • An extensive, content-rich technical program. 
  • An outstanding vendor exhibit demonstrating the latest technologies and solutions from 25 industry leaders.  
  • A special feature is Vendor Night, to be held on the evening of Tuesday, 7 October, when the exhibit hall will be open to all automation professionals in the Houston area at no charge, and a reception, with cash bar, will be offered.
Attendees can choose from four industry-proven ISA courses (and earn valuable CEUs) encompassing the critical components of safety, security and wireless communications. Which will be held on the Monday (6th October).

Monday 25 August 2014

New Chief Operating Officer for leading supplier of industrial computer modules!

Matthias Klein has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and member of the Executive Board of cognotec AG.

Matthias Klein
Matthias Klein, who has worked as VP of Operations at congatec since May 2013, joins CEO Gerhard Edi on the Board with immediate effect. While Gerhard Edi focusses on matters of technology and finance, Matthias Klein concentrates on operations and sales.

Prior to joining congatec, Matthias Klein worked for over 16 years at Zollner Elektronik AG, Europe's largest EMS provider with its headquarters in Germany, where he gained experience in the production of advanced electronics. In his most recent position at Zollner as VP of Operations, he had technical and commercial responsibility for four production sites in Germany, Eastern Europe and Asia. Besides customer satisfaction, his focal points included global procurement and supply chain management.

In his new role as a member of the Executive Board, Matthias Klein will drive the continued expansion of congatec's international business. "By establishing additional international EMS services and optimizing production in our target regions, we will soon be in a position to offer our customers even more flexibility. In this newly created position, I can use my experience and ideas better and I look forward to helping congatec speed its success," he says.

"The appointment of Matthias Klein to the Board reflects our continued growth. Together, we will drive the strategic expansion of our product portfolio forward, embracing new technologies such as the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. With the help of our 170 employees, we will continue to perpetuate the congatec success story into the future," commented congatec CEO Gerhard Edi.

A first for Faroes!

Europe has a number of places, islands and small territories with varying degrees of independance and/or interdependance, places like Andorra, Liechenstein, Aland, San Marino, the Isle of Man and the Islands the Channel between England & France, places that have their origin sometimes lost in the mists of history. Among these is that misty but not too cold place in the North Atlantic, Føroyar or the Faroes.

The Environment Agency of the Faroe Islands together with the municipality of Tórshavn, the capital, has installed two ambient air quality monitoring stations as part of its commitment to monitor the environment and provide air quality data to the public and other interested parties. The stations, which were supplied by Air Monitors, provide continuous meteorological measurements and air quality data for NO2, NOx and a range of different particulate factions.

Urban station in Tórshavn
Rakul Mortensen, an Environmental Chemist for the Agency, is responsible for air quality monitoring. She says: “Air quality measurements have been made in the past, but only on a short-term basis by researchers and consultants, so we are absolutely delighted to be able to conduct our own continuous monitoring, so that we can establish a database of background air quality data.

“The creation of two sites, one urban and one rural, will enable us to determine whether any pollution incidents have arisen from local sources or externally. For example, we received a significant quantity of dust following the volcanic eruptions that took place in Iceland in 2010 and this equipment will enable us to measure any future instances with greater accuracy, so that we can provide the public with informed advice and reassurance."

One of the stations was installed in a remote rural location and the other was installed in Tórshavn in the main urban area near the harbour, which is the area most likely to be affected by local sources of pollution.

Jim Mills  (Air Monitors) with Environmental
Agencies' Rakul Mortensen at the rural 
backgrounder station
The Faroe Islands is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark but are not part of the European Union so it does not have to comply with EU Air Quality Directives. However, the Environment Agency is keen to be able to provide the Islands’ 50,000 population with information on air quality. Rakul says: “The main factors affecting air quality are likely to be road traffic and emissions from the large number of ships that travel to and from the Islands’ ports. However, the monitoring stations have already demonstrated that air quality in the Faroes is generally good, and well within the requirements of the EU air quality standards."

Each of the two monitoring stations included a Thermo Gas analyser Model 42i measuring NO, NO2 and NOx in addition to a Lufft WS600 smart weather sensor for measuring wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, pressure and precipitation. Particulate monitoring is being undertaken with the most advanced technology available; each station has been equipped with a FIDAS, (Fine Dust Analysis System) which provides continuous real-time simultaneous mass concentration measurements of TSP, PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 and TSP providing additional information on particle size distribution from 0.18 to 18 microns and particle number in each size range. All of the monitoring equipment is connected to web loggers manufactured by Envirologger, Air Monitors' sister company.

Jim Mills, Air Monitors' MD, travelled to the Faroe Islands in March 2014 to assist with the installation of the monitoring stations. He said: "The monitors are similar to many of the stations that we have installed in the UK; they are fitted with web loggers that utilise 'cloud' storage for the data and our software engineers are working with the Environment Agency of the Faroe Islands to develop a website so that the public will have quick and easy access to air quality data."

Sample tracking!

Container Manager is a barcode ready module for the Matrix Gemini Sample Tracker software from Autoscribe Informatics, which allows full traceability and tracking of re-usable sample containers and samples through the production/laboratory/sampling process. All actions are audited providing improved traceability and accountability for enhanced compliance. Container Manager tracks the current location of all containers, the sample in each container and the user responsible.

The use of Container Manager prevents the wrong container being used for the wrong sample, as well as positively identifying the current sample content of a given container. This not only eliminates the potential dangers of the wrong testing being carried out on a sample, but also allows the positive identification of container contents if labels become damaged or lost.

Container Manager is fully configurable using Matrix Gemini’s powerful ‘One Time Configuration’ tools, with the option to include information such as maintenance dates and other customer specific fields. This flexibility of configuration makes it easy to extend the workflow(s) to, for example, manage the washing/cleaning and subsequent use of the container.

The module benefits from Matrix Gemini’s dual desktop and browser interface allowing users access to the system by their preferred method. Easy upgrade to full LIMS functionality with full protection of entered data is possible. Container Manager is delivered with a suite of reports including an audit report.

Friday 22 August 2014

Energy recovery units!

Atlas Copco has announced a complete re-design of the stand-alone, retrofit energy recovery units for its GA compressors. The new ER range now offers improved performance and a smaller footprint.

As much as 94% of the electrical energy used by industrial compressors is converted into heat and lost through radiation in the compression process. The remaining 6% is converted into compressed air heat losses. The new ER units recover up to 94% of this thermal energy to heat water up to 90°C for a number of process and domestic applications such as showers or central heating.

The ability for application industries to generate pre-heated water via Atlas Copco’s ER energy recovery systems helps reduce the costs of traditional energy sources and minimise the environmental impact of their CO2 emissions.

Development of the new ER concept was driven by market needs. The more compact design recognises the space limitations of point-of-use sites and compressor rooms. There is also a broader selection of models, including twin cooler versions, and optional provision for an energy savings counter. The units are designed to deliver the best possible performance at a competitive price and, depending on system conditions, a full return on investment is often achievable within 12 months.

The fully pre-assembled, plug-and-play range comprises three single cooler models: ER S1, S2 and S3 and two twin-cooler versions, ER S4 and S5, specifically designed for optimum oil pressure and flow through the unit. All of the Atlas Copco ER units’ mechanical parts are pre-mounted within the canopy to reduce commissioning time, simplify maintenance and to minimise the risk of incorrect connections.

The ER heat exchangers are now vertically configured to reduce unit footprints; compared with previous models, the single cooler version’s floor space dimensions are now reduced by 66% and those of the twin-cooler model by 33%. The units are offered with the option of complete, corrosion-free stainless steel construction, for applications where water purity is critical, or as a lower-priced stainless steel plate, copper brazed alternative, which provides a lower price alternative for non-critical water applications.

All ER units are provided with temperature sensors for ER water inlet and outlet temperature levels, these conditions can be displayed on the compressor Elektronikon controller or the ER unit energy saving counter, if fitted. Additionally, the SMARTLINK remote monitoring system allows users to continuously monitor and analyse these and other compressor conditions via an online portal. This feature allows easy creation of energy saving reports for ISO50001, ISO14001 and ESOS accreditation.

A 3m connection kit is supplied as standard while extension kits of up to 6m are available as an option. In addition, there is an energy counter module – factory-fitted or available as field sales kit – that monitors energy saving data.

Roadshow series on device management!

The FDT Group and PACTware are working closely together to host a series of user seminars focusing on device operation management to educate plant engineers on easier solutions to commission, diagnose and maintain HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus and PROFIBUS devices over the device life cycle with a single tool.

The no charge seminars will be given by PACTware experts who will be making four European stops:
• Frankfurt, Germany; Oct. 21,
• Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Oct. 22,
• Antwerpen, Belgium; Oct.23,
• Ludwigshafen, Belgium; Oct. 24,
to broaden the scope and awareness of PACTware.

PACTware is a manufacturer and fieldbus-independent software organization for operating field instruments. The PACTware organization uses the FDT standardized interface that supports device integration between their Frame Application, PACTware and the individual device via a DTM (Device Tool Manager). Users no longer need to use several different manufacturer-specific configuration applications to access device information from different field instruments.

The half day events will kick off with an overview of the technology, followed by user-oriented, vendor neutral workshops focusing on operation and maintenance benefits. Attendees will have the chance to learn how configuration of a device is made easier and how advanced diagnostics enhances predictive maintenance and troubleshooting – while at the same time- increasing productivity and making life of a plant engineer a little easier. In addition to the tutorial, the event will allow attendees to network with their peers and PACTware experts at table tops showcasing the latest equipment available from leading manufacturers.

Each event will conclude with a multi-vendor demonstration showing attendees first-hand how PACTware, a Frame Application, enhances device operation through the entire life cycle of a device. The demo features numerous application examples, showing how device access can be facilitated and accelerated by using a single tool for all networks and field devices communicating via HART, PROFIBUS and FOUNDATION Fieldbus protocols.

The events are sponsored by the leading manufacturers in the industry including; Bopp & Reuther, ICS, Foxboro by Schneider, KROHNE, Pepperl+Fuchs and VEGA exhibiting their FDT enabled equipment on table tops.

Vision system ‘unwraps’ bottle labels for 100% inspection!

Olmec has designed and manufactured a line scan-based vision system for 100% inspection of labels on OTC healthcare product bottles. By rotating the bottle in front of the camera, the label is effectively ‘unwrapped’ to produce an image equivalent to imaging before it was stuck to the bottle. The vision system checks that the information on the label is correct as well as identifying missing or partial print.

The system handles a variety of bottles at a variety of speeds. The bottles are randomly fed into a servo-controlled starwheel which rotates each bottle in turn to the camera position. The ‘unwrap’ process is achieved by using rollers to then rotate the bottle within the pocket of the starwheel in front of a line scan camera which builds up the image of the label line by line. A distortion-free image is produced so there are no false rejects and no possibility of any rogue products getting through. Since the bottles do not need to be oriented before entering the system, speeds up to 120 a minute can be achieved.

The entire inspection cycle from moving the bottle into position, rotating it through 360˚, acquiring an image and making decisions takes just 500 milliseconds. The rotation of the bottle is synchronised with the scanning speed of the camera to eliminate deformations in the image. If the bottle rotates too fast the image is compressed and the pharmacode cannot be read and optical character recognition is also difficult. Similarly, if the bottle rotates too slowly, the image is stretched. In addition, if the bottle is leaning or moving up and down in the starwheel, the image can be skewed or show a ‘corkscrew’ effect. By precisely matching the mechanics of the starwheel with the image acquisition, the system offers a stability that minimises both false rejects and further software processing steps.

Robert Pounder, Technical Director at Olmec, said: “Using line scan technology greatly simplifies the inspection process. The Label Unwrap system design ensures the product is held captive and cannot be released unless it is acceptable; this eliminates the possibility of a product reaching a customer incorrectly coded or without any code at all.”

Symposium maintains tradition of high attendance!

Large gathering at the 2014 ISA WWAC Symposium to address automation challenges in the water and wastewater industries
An exuberant Daniel White of Opto 22 welcomes all comers at the Water/Wastewater Seminar
The 2014 International Society of Automation (ISA) Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls (WWAC) Symposium drew more than 170 attendees, 30 expert speakers and 27 exhibitors to Orlando, Florida, USA in early August to explore and confront the varied challenges associated with automation and instrumentation in the municipal water and wastewater sectors.

The three-day, highly targeted event—focusing entirely on the needs of automation professionals—included an extensive program of technical presentations; an interactive panel discussion; poster presentations; a tour of a local wastewater treatment plant; a vendor exposition; and two sold-out training classes—one on industrial cybersecurity and the other on troubleshooting instrumentation and control systems.

The 2014 ISA WWAC Symposium was organized by the ISA Water/Wastewater Industries Division in collaboration with the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FSAWWA), the Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF) Automation and Info Tech Committee and the Instrumentation Testing Association.  In addition, 15 corporate sponsors supported the event.

“This year’s symposium delivered an excellent platform to examine in detail the key topics and challenges relating to automation in the water and wastewater industries, and to stay informed on the trends and dynamics shaping the future of these industries,” reports Kevin Patel, the general chair of the event. “The symposium featured some of the world’s most knowledgeable and experienced subject matter experts.”

Among the diverse topics addressed during the technical sessions were:
Read-out was a media sponser for this event!
  • SCADA standardization
  • SCADA integration
  • Latest instrumentation
  • Wireless communications
  • DNP 3.0 protocol
  • Cloud-based SCADA
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data management
  • Smart Water
  • Human factors
  • Alarm management
  • Optimizing process controls
  • ISA Certified Control System Technician® (CCST®) exam information
A strong emphasis was placed on identifying opportunities and challenges faced by clean water agencies and pinpointing forward-looking solutions, some of which are being implemented today.
The keynote address, titled "A Vision for the Water Resources Utility of the Future," was delivered by Thomas W. Sigmund, P.E., Chair of the NACWA Utility and Resource Management Committee & Executive Director of NEW Water. Other notable speakers at the event included:
  • Don Lovell, of ISA, who discussed the importance of troubleshooting in daily plant operations.
  • Michael Sweeney, deputy executive director of the Toho Water Authority and long-time member of the American Water Works Association, who reviewed the current news and trends in the municipal drinking water sector.
  • Tom DeLaura, vice president of Eramosa International and chair of the Water Environment Federation's Automation and Info Tech Committee, who highlighted the current news and trends in the wastewater sector.
  • Bryan Singer, principal investigator for Kenexis Security, who outlined the most effective ways to conduct industrial security vulnerability assessments, and separated out what cyberattackers can and can't do.
Given the increasing risks posed by cyberhackers, cybersecurity was a hot topic. In his presentation, Singer helped attendees better understand the real threats posed by cyberattack and showed how owners and operators of critical infrastructure can better defend and protect industrial control systems (ICS). He pinpointed the most common techniques hackers use to exploit vulnerabilities and gain system and network access.

Utilizing modern ICS cybersecurity standards and engineering skills, Singer emphasized, can contain and limit the risk of significant network and system damage as a result of cyberwarfare.
In addition, a forum session on the Role of Automation within the Utility of the Future was held. Moderated by Tom DeLaura, the session examined how the evolving operating challenges of utilities will influence the need for automation. Panel members discussed that water utilities, for instance, are increasingly regarded as producers of a highly valued commodity, and that they will require significant operational improvements in order to be cost efficient

Forum session panel members included: 
Tom Sigmund, P.E., Chair, NACWA Utility and Resource Management Committee & Executive Director, NEW Water; 
Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, Ph.D., Dean, University of South Florida, Patel College of Global Sustainability; 
Barry Liner, P.E., Director, Water Science & Engineering Center at WEF; 
Zdenko Vitasovic, Ph.D., Senior Engineer, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; and 
Mike Sweeney, Ph.D., P.E., Florida Section of the AWWA & Deputy Executive-Director, Toho Water Authority.

Adding to the value of the symposium were the two training courses, the networking and professional development opportunities, and the continuing education credits (CEUs and PDHs). The credits, provided by ISA and the Florida Section of the AWWA, can be used toward continuing education requirements for various state-issued water operator, wastewater operator and engineering licenses.
“It’s great to know that the symposium is getting better and better and larger and larger,” emphasized attendee Charles Aycock of the city of Roseville, California, USA.

Revised method for kinematic viscosity!

The ISL Houillon Viscometers, the VH1 and VH2, from PAC, comply with the recently released revised version of ASTM D7279-14 Standard, “Standard Test Method for Kinematic Viscosity of Transparent and Opaque Liquids by Automated Houillon Viscometer”.

The new revision of the standard extends the scope from lubricating oils to include distillates (e.g., base oils, formulated oils, fuels, and biodiesel) and also adds a new precision at 40°C and 100°C, established through an interlaboratory study.

Our customers can now run their distillate oil samples on the VH1 and VH2 while complying with ASTM D7279. Requiring less than 1 ml of sample, the Houillon approach is applicable to both transparent and opaque samples, while needing less manpower to run. Since the kinematic viscosity results are produced within 60 seconds, the ASTM D7279 method has proven to be ideal for rapid testing of in-service engine oil conditions.

In addition to small sample size and fast analysis, the ISL Houillon Viscometers are easy to operate, flexible due to the capability to accommodate one or two solvents for cleaning, and robust in construction. Finally, the single-bath design, including 4 Houillon tubes, combined together with advanced automatic features, enable the simultaneous run of up to 16 tests.

Family of high performance PCIe/104 OneBankTM serial I/O modules!

Diamond Systems has introduced Emerald-MM-8EL-XT (EMM-8EL-XT), a family of high performance PCIe/104 OneBankTM serial I/O modules offering 4 or 8 serial ports with software-controlled configuration and optional opto-isolation.

The serial ports are based on a high speed PCIe octal UART with 256-byte TX/RX FIFOs and auto RS-485 transmit control. Each serial port can be independently configured for RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485 protocols, along with programmable 120-ohm line termination. Each port is independently isolated with an isolated power + signal chip, plus additional isolators for control signals. The board features intelligent power management that limits inrush current on power-up and also enables power-down of unused serial ports for power savings.

Opto-isolated models feature independent 2500V isolation circuits for enhanced reliability in vehicle or long cable applications. All ports also feature +/-15KV ESD protection. Each serial port is available on an independent latching connector for increased isolation and ruggedness. With its wide operating temperature range and high resistance to shock and vibration, the EMM-8EL-XT fits a wide variety of rugged and on-vehicle embedded serial I/O application needs.

EMM-8EL-XT also offers 8 digital/analog I/O lines which are programmable from the on-board microcontroller. Each I/O line can be configured for digital input or output. Seven of the I/O lines can also be configured for 12-bit A/D input with selectable 0-2.048V or 0-3.3V input ranges.

EMM-8EL-XT contains no configuration jumpers; all configuration and control is done with an onboard microcontroller. All configuration settings are stored in the microcontroller's flash memory and are automatically loaded on power-up. The microcontroller is managed with a comprehensive software suite that makes configuring the EMM-8EL-XT fast and simple. A graphical control panel, a console application, and drivers for Windows and Linux are provided to enable convenient configuration of the board and control of the I/O features in a laboratory or system assembly environment, or embedded in the customer’s application software.
EMM-8EL-XT is compatible with Windows 7/Vista/2000/XP and Linux and is qualified for operation over the full industrial temperature range of -40oC to +85oC.

EMM-8EL-XT’s key features and functions are tabulated below.
8 serial ports with up to 10Mbps data rates
16550 compatible octal UART with 256-byte TX/RX FIFOs
Models available with or without opto-isolation
8 programmable digital I/O or analog input lines
On-board microcontroller manages and stores configuration settings
All configuration done via software; no jumpers
Comprehensive software suite enables easy configuration and control
Latching connectors for increased ruggedness
PCIe x1 host interface using PCIe/104 “OneBankTM” connector
Rugged design: -40oC to +85oC operating temperature
Support for Windows Embedded Standard 7, XP, Vista, 2000 and Linux 2.6.xx
PCIe/104 form-factor: 3.55" x 3.775" (90mm x 96mm)

Thursday 21 August 2014

Shale and sensors!

Commercial viability of shale gas exploration and energy policies to influence opportunities for sensor manufacturers

What are Shale Gas, Tight Gas
& Coal Seam Gas? (NTG, Australia)
The shale gas industry holds great promise for sensors, but it is heavily dependent on government acceptance due to the numerous environmental concerns (earthquakes, pollution) associated with fracking. With governments still being undecided on whether hydraulic fracturing can be conducted, and oil and gas companies not being certain about the feasibility of commercial shale gas production, the sensors and instrumentation market in the shale gas industry has remained small.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Sensors Market in Shale Gas Industry, finds that the market earned revenues of €79 million ($63.0m) in 2013 and estimates this to reach €132 million ($106.8m) in 2020. Currently, wellhead, fracking and separation are some of the key applications for flow, level, pressure and temperature sensors in shale gas production.

“Companies have continuously invested in the broad automation sector and have adopted sensor solutions to improve efficiency and process variable monitoring, as well as reduce maintenance costs and the total cost of ownership,” said Frost & Sullivan Measurement & Instrumentation Senior Industry Analyst V Sankara Narayanan. “This is expected to drive the demand for sensors and instrumentation in the overall oil and gas industry and ultimately, in the shale gas industry as well.”

Sensors’ role in the shale gas industry is critical. For instance, sensors and instrumentation can be used to address several complexities in hydraulic fracturing such as fracture orientation, its distance and geometry, and lateral and vertical extent. Microseismic fracture-mapping sensors can enhance the accuracy of fracturing by providing details on seismic imaging, while sensors installed in the well provide data on fracture characterization during drilling. As more fractures open during the process, the sensors installed on the drilling device help to identify new drilling directions.

As shale gas activity is mainly witnessed in the United States and Canada, the market for sensors in shale gas is concentrated in North America. Therefore, the expertise of sensor manufacturers from the US shale gas industry can be leveraged to penetrate other regions. Sensor manufacturers could also position themselves as solution vendors rather than sensor component vendors to gain greater shares of the global market.

“Overall, the market for sensors in shale gas will get a boost when the current uncertainty regarding legislation, policy and commercial readiness is resolved,” noted Narayanan. “This will allow the oil and gas companies to establish the commercial feasibility of shale gas exploration across the world and thereby, engage in business with sensor manufacturers.”

Emission sensors, Q&A session!

City Technology discusses emissions gas monitoring applications and how the right sensor can improve accuracy and reduce service costs

Honeywell company, City Technology - a World leader in gas sensors for industrial safety and emissions applications - has over 25 years’ experience pioneering flue gas analyser sensing solutions.
City Technology’s Tom Gurd, Product Marketing Manager, highlights emissions analysis application needs, trends in the global marketplace and how analyser manufacturers can benefit from the latest sensing technologies and add real-world value by enhancing measurement reliability, accuracy and reducing operational costs.

Gas sensors!
What are the gases flue gas analysers detect and why is detection important?
The main products of incomplete combustion are usually CO2, CO, H2 & NO; to ensure safe combustion we measure CO and the remaining O2 after combustion to calculate a CO:CO2 ratio – the accepted benchmark of performance. Of course there is much more to understand regarding efficiency or environmental emissions. CO sensors are also sensitive to H2 so in our more demanding markets, we measure the H2 to compensate the CO reading.

The combustion process is complex, requiring the right mix ratio, turbulence, temperature and time for reactants to combine. Poor fuel mixing or too little air produces carbon monoxide (CO) and soot. If the flame temperature is too high, nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are produced. A fuel containing sulphur will produce sulphur dioxide (SO2) - all these gases are toxic and indicate inefficient combustion, which is both dangerous and costly in terms of fuel consumption. Oxygen (O2) is essential for combustion so the gases detected by a typical flue gas analyser are O2, CO, H2, CO2, NO, NO2, SO2 & H2S.

Why is the gas sensor used so important?
There is a lot of focus on the analyser specification itself, but it’s also important to remember that an analyser is only as effective as the sensors it uses. Because of the risks associated with combustion emissions, safety and reliability are critical. Due to the nature of the typical toxic gas sensor used in a flue gas analyser, emissions gases and products of combustion can produce cross-sensitivity issues.

Field failures can be dangerous and costly and lives depend on a good sensing technology. What is less widely recognised are the other economic benefits a gas sensor can bring, by reducing an analyser’s servicing needs and operational costs. Our long life oxygen sensors for example are designed to work as long and hard as a typical analyser, compared with a standard O2 sensor with a two year life expectancy that must be changed 2-3 times in the life of an instrument.

In a real-world context, a combustion check can take up to 15 minutes and is typically carried out up to 8 times in each working day. With improved response times our new sensors can allow the same combustion check to be carried out in half the time or less. This means much less time waiting for the reading to stabilize – and ultimately a valuable opportunity to carry our more services in the field. Faster response Is what engineers really value as they have to wait less time for the reading to stabilize which can lead to more accurate readings as they are less likely to take the reading too quickly.

You mention adverse conditions that can affect sensor performance – what are these and how do benchmark sensors overcome such problems?
Flue gas analysis in domestic and light commercial boilers can present a challenge for sensors; they are subjected to high humidity, temperature and pressure changes, corrosive and acidic gases, and cross-sensitivity from emissions gases. This can cause field failures, compromise sensor integrity and create considerable servicing needs.

Every component in a sensor should be built to a high specification using ultra resistant materials, so they can work effectively in these adverse conditions without affecting accuracy and reliability and deliver the fast response times. Sensor design is essential in achieving this. Our long life oxygen sensors are built using “electrochemical pump” technology which is proven in the field for 4 years and provides a viable lead fee replacement.

A high range CO monitoring application, which traditionally requires a second sensor under EN50379-2, benefits from the use of a robust, high sensitivity solution like our new A5F+ CO sensor, which can monitor up to 20,000ppm. The combination of high capacity filtration to remove SOx and NOx and auxiliary electrodes to compensate for hydrogen, provides the highest reliability.

What should an analyser manufacturer or engineer look for when selecting a sensor manufacturer? What is it about City sensors that set them apart?
It’s important to work with a manufacturer who is a recognised expert in the field of emissions monitoring. City Technology is a World leader in gas sensing with 25 years’ experience meeting the specific needs of emissions monitoring applications. Our 5 Series range (designed for use in high-end analytical flue gas analysers), was recently extended with the addition of the 5OxLL long life O2 and the A5F+ CO sensors, and is used prolifically in the World’s most stringently regulated regions, like Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where only the best performing sensors can be used. Our products are also widely used in the Americas and Asia Pacific.

The ability for a manufacturer to achieve dependable repeatability should also be a key consideration. At City we use Six Sigma driven design, state-of-the-art automated manufacture and pioneering cell design innovations. Not to mention compliance with the latest standards. Our new 4 Series range is designed to meet the needs of EN50379-3 compliant analysers and features a long life solutions.

How does the right manufacturer back up such claims?
Marketing claims must be substantiated. Ask to see comparisons that back up “best in class” claims; data speaks for itself - a good manufacturer will be keen to show you how their products shape up to contemporaries.

When it comes to reliable performance stability, testing – both life cycle and field tests – provides the peace of mind that a sensor really is up to the job of emissions monitoring. Always ask to see test data that can prove that what a sensor claims it can do is accurate. At City, extensive testing is an integral part of the design process, highlighting performance and sensor robustness.

Improve interface development & expand mobile device support for mobile operators!

Web-based mobile operator interface software groov 2.2 improves screen design tools and options, expands real-time trending, and adds custom views for mobile devices.

A significant update to the company’s groov web-based mobile operator interface software, groov version 2.2, has been announced by Opto 22. groov makes it simple to build and use effective, scalable operator interfaces on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices so that authorized users can monitor or control almost any automation system. It adds and improves dynamic screen objects (gadgets), expands real-time trending gadgets with multiple pens and data buffering, and makes several time-saving tool improvements to the screen-building and editing environment. The software also improves the ability to customise separate screens for PCs and mobile devices in the same groov project, so the best interface is used for each size platform. It lets industrial automation end-users, system integrators, machine OEMs, or any authorized person quickly and securely manage automation, building, and other control systems from a mobile device.

groov 2.2 screen gadgets include a new Momentary Button gadget that works like a normally-open/normally-closed mechanical button, writing a value once when it is pressed and once when it is released. The Momentary Button gadget is useful in applications where a push-hold-release button is well suited for a task such as jogging a drive feed or panning an IP camera.

The groov Trend gadget has been significantly expanded to extend real-time trend durations to seven days and to use up to four pens per chart. Longer update rates allow users to build trends to meet their specific needs, and trended data is now buffered. This buffered data can survive a reset or power outage, ensuring no trend data is lost, which can be critical in applications or environments where viewing long data trends is vital.

groov Build, groov’s interface development tool, adds multiple new color backgrounds for screen design, including several dark backgrounds up to black. Darker backgrounds generally produce less glare when an interface is used in environments with dim lighting. Along with these new background choices, on-screen gadgets, text, and other objects now automatically change color for best visibility on the current background. This greatly speeds up interface development because the screen developer/designer can quickly test many different background colors without needing to change any on-screen objects.

Also in groov Build are improvements for editing objects and gadgets, including new sizing handles, easier selection of z-order (depth) for on-screen objects, and a new Edit menu that puts related commands in one place. Together, these improvements can reduce the time to build interfaces by up to 50%.

Custom Views for Mobile Devices
groov interfaces are used on many different devices, from compact, handheld smartphones to large wall-mounted TVs. When an operator interface is built in groov Build, two screens are created simultaneously: a larger screen intended for a PC or tablet, and a smaller screen for a smartphone or similar mobile device. Both large and small screens include the same objects and gadgets by default, and gadgets can be individually positioned and sized for best use on the large or small screen.

New in groov 2.2, objects and gadgets can be included in one size screen but omitted in the other. For example, a real-time trend can be included on the large PC/tablet screen but not on the smaller smartphone screen, customizing the operator interface for either size device. In another example, a large, horizontally-oriented graphic can appear on the large PC/tablet screen, while a smaller, vertically-oriented version of the same graphic appears on the smaller screen. This new feature provides a level of screen-building customization and utilization never before offered in an operator interface product.

Additional Improvements in groov 2.2

  • groov 2.2 includes other improvements and new features:
  • groov software automatically checks for new software updates from Opto 22. (Internet connection required.)
  • The Video gadget can be resized while keeping the proportions (aspect ratio) of the original video source. The Video gadget can also be reduced to a very small “thumbnail” size, with or without keeping the same proportions.
  • “On” and “Off” values displayed in a Value gadget can be customized with labels like “Open” and “Closed” that may be more meaningful in specific applications.
  • When a new gadget is created, its label automatically uses the name of the tag to which it’s connected. This feature saves time when building screens.
See also our report: "Operator interface that just works, Mate!" (Aug 2013)