Friday, January 17, 2014

Invensys acquisition completed by Schneider!

Schneider Electric has just announced that it has completed its acquisition of Invensys.

With this acquisition, Schneider Electric is significantly enhancing its position as a provider of efficiency solutions integrating power and automation. The transaction will allow the combined entity to have a unique position in industrial and infrastructure end-markets.

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and CEO of Schneider Electric, commented: “We are delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of Invensys and warmly welcome the teams joining us. With Invensys, Schneider Electric will reinforce its industrial automation capabilities, boost its positions in key energy-intensive segments and strengthen its software offering. Together, we will create substantial value for our customers, shareholders and employees.” 

The official release (17/1/2014)

Schneider Electric's Integration of Invensys
"With this acquisition, Schneider Electric significantly enhanced its position to serve the process industries and now has a complete portfolio of products to serve the entire industrial and process automation industry. This article highlights a few key aspects of the integration of the two companies."
(Bill Lydon,, 28/1/2014)

Tektronix acquires Picosecond Pulse Labs #TandM

Tektronix has acquired Picosecond Pulse Labs. The move is intended to strengthen the Tektronix portfolio in the growing market for test equipment to support 100G/400G optical data communications research and development. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Privately-held Picosecond Pulse Labs, based in Colorado (USA), offers products that include ultra-high-speed pattern generators, the world's fastest pulse generators and highest bandwidth sampler modules. The company recently introduced the PatternPro line that includes multi-channel 32 Gb/s data generators and analysers for 100G/400G applications.

"Picosecond Pulse Labs has a long history of designing and manufacturing cutting-edge instrumentation and brings a particular focus on the high-speed optical test market with its new 32 Gb/s error detectors and pattern generators," said Amir Aghdaei, president of Tektronix. "When combined with our high-speed oscilloscopes and other product offerings, Picosecond will further strengthen our portfolio of solutions in the critical 100G/400G data communications segment."

Magnetrol production facility in United Arab Emirates!

Magnetrol® International Incorporated, a leading manufacturer of level and flow process control instrumentation, has completed construction of a new Magnetrol International United Arab Emirates (MIUAE) production facility in Jebel Ali, UAE.

The new production facility will operate under the ISO 9001 umbrella of MagnetrolInternational NV. The facility features a 550m_ production floor, which will enable the company to increase its production of external chamber devices to meet the needs of customers in the Middle East.

This facility adds to the company’s existing production capacity in the USA, Belgium, Brazil and China.

MAGNETROL President and CEO Jeffrey K. Swallow presided over the grand opening of the new MIUAE facility, which took place on November 10, 2013. “This new facility, combined with the recent expansions of our U.S. headquarters and European regional headquarters, positions MAGNETROL to provide our customers with extensive, efficient process control solutions worldwide,” he said

The investment in this new production facility is another example of the company's mission to be the customer’s preferred partner in the global supply of level and flow control instrumentation.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Robust alternative to electromechanical switchgear!

Inductive sensors are a suitable alternative to electromechanical position switches, as well as to magnet switches. The .steute business division Extreme provides machine and plant engineers with a range of inductive sensors which are very robust and suitable for use in adverse environments.
The sensor housings, in sizes M8, M12, M18 and M30, are available in a choice of stainless steel or nickel-plated brass. Customers can choose between versions with connectors or cables, and between protection classes IP 67 or IP 68.

The sensors are available in variants which have been especially adapted for use in extreme environments – for example particularly low (down to -40°C) or high (up to +120°C) temperatures. We also have 2-wire NAMUR versions approved for Ex-zones 0 and 20. To facilitate integration of the sensors into the control system of the machine or plant, intrinsically safe switch amplifiers with ATEX and IECEx approvals are, for example, available.

Our 3-wire DC sensors, have a PNP semi-conductor output (NO contact). They switch very reliably, almost independently of the ambient conditions. Their high switching interval permits universal use. Switching status is shown by an LED.

Where power meets precision!

The world’s first Precision Power Scope

Yokogawa has combined its expertise in power measurement and its long heritage in oscilloscope design to create the world’s first Precision Power Scope: the PX8000.

The PX8000 brings oscilloscope-style time-based measurement to the world of power measurement. It can capture voltage and current waveforms precisely, opening up applications and solutions for a huge variety of emerging power measurement problems.

“As more and more innovation focuses on energy efficiency and the integration of electronics into power-based systems, more and more engineers are demanding accuracy and precision from their power measurement”, comments Terry Marrinan, Yokogawa’s Vice President, Test & Measurement, for Europe & Africa: “With the launch of the PX8000, R&D professionals need no longer compromise on their need for high-accuracy time-based power measurement: a need that conventional power analysers and oscilloscopes were never designed to meet.”

Its power measurement capabilities are supported by Yokogawa’s reputation for measurement accuracy, stability and repeatability. The instrument also offers ease of use and a short learning curve thanks to features familiar to users of Yokogawa’s existing families of power analysers and oscilloscopes.

The new instrument has 12-bit resolution with 100 MS/s sampling and 20 MHz bandwidth. This means that the PX8000 can be used for accurate measurement of inverter pulse shapes, which can then be used to fine-tune inverter efficiency. A choice of input modules covers voltage, current and sensor measurements at voltages up to 1000 V RMS and currents up to 5 A RMS (higher values are possible with external current sensors), with basic accuracy down to ±0.1%.

To evaluate three-phase electrical systems, at least three power measurement inputs are required. The PX8000 not only has four inputs but also enables the simultaneous capture and display of voltage and current across all three phases.

In addition to delivering precision power measurement to give true insight into energy consumption and performance, the PX8000 incorporates a number of innovative features that support the crucial measurement and analysis of transient power profiles. It provides simultaneous voltage and current multiplication to give real-time power sampling, supporting both transient measurement (as standard) and numerical values averaged across the sample period. Up to 16 different waveforms – including voltage, current and power – can be displayed side-by-side, giving engineers instant “snapshots” of performance.

The PX8000 is powered by Yokogawa’s isoPRO™ technology, which offers industry-leading isolation performance at the highest speeds. isoPRO core technology, designed with energy-saving applications in mind, delivers the performance needed to evaluate high-efficiency inverters that operate at high voltages, large currents and high frequency.

The PX8000 has built-in functions for the direct calculation of derived parameters, such as root mean square (RMS) and mean power values, to enable the identification of cycle-by-cycle trends.

The PX8000 provides graphical displays of voltage, current and power readings which can be inspected for specific numerical values at any point or for calculating of average values over a specific period.

The instrument also supports the capture of power waveforms over specific periods of time through the definition of start and stop “cursors”. This is particularly useful for examining transient phenomena and in the design of periodically controlled equipment. To ensure that such equipment complies with energy standards, it is vital to measure power consumption across a range of different modes from “sleep” to full activity – and all the transient states in between.

The PX8000 offers X/Y display capabilities which can be used, for example, to show the speed/torque characteristics of motors. It can also display Lissajous waveforms of input and output for phase analysis.

Like their digital oscilloscope family, the PX8000 incorporates a history memory function that automatically records up to 1000 historical waveforms which can be recalled and redisplayed at any time. Recorded waveforms can also used to redefine trigger conditions. Historical waveforms are explored via condition-based searches to locate specific hard-to-isolate abnormal phenomena during repeated high-frequency measurements.

A variety of functions including arithmetical calculations, time shifting and Fast Fourier Transforms enable users to display waveforms with offsets and skew corrections. An automatic de-skewing function eliminates offsets between current and voltage signals that may be caused by sensor or input characteristics. Users can also define their own computations via equations that combine differentials, integrals, digital filters and a wealth of other functions.

The PX8000 makes it possible to simultaneously measure the harmonic components of voltage and current waveforms as well as the harmonic distortion factor. Harmonic measurements take place in parallel with conventional voltage and current measurements. Harmonics up to the 500th order of the fundamental can be measured.

The instrument comes with an accompanying PC software application called PowerViewerPlus that can be used to capture waveform data for further analysis. This dramatically extends the number of data points it is possible to analyse, making the PX8000 ideal for capturing and analysing longer-term performance. PC connection is via standard Ethernet/USB/GP-IB connections. The user-friendly software displays waveforms in a simple and clear graphical style that will be familiar to users of Yokogawa’s popular Xviewer software. Researchers who want to use their own analysis software will be able to establish a connection to the PX8000 via the LabVIEW driver.

Applications for the PX8000 cover everything from sustainable power to advanced robotics. Any situation where power consumption is at a premium – which means almost anywhere power is consumed – can benefit from the introduction of the PX8000’s precision measurement and analysis capabilities. Typical application sectors include inverter and motor testing, reactor loss measurement of inverter boost circuits, transient responses of industrial robots, wireless charger efficiency measurement, and voltage and power measurements in electricity distribution systems.

Power conversion market in mining in Europe & Russia

The need to modernize automation in the mining industry has lent momentum to the power conversion market in Europe and Russia. Market growth is bolstered by the fierce competition among mining companies, rising energy costs, and increasing awareness on the benefits of electric drives and motors.
Power Conversion Market in the European and Russian Mining Industries is part of the Power Transmission Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related research services include: European Market for Integrated Motor and Drives, Opportunity Analysis of European Motor Services Market, Electric Drives Market in European HVAC Industry, and Analysis of the Russian Electric Motors Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

New analysis from Frost & SullivanPower Conversion Market in the European and Russian Mining Industries, finds that the market earned revenues of US$221.3 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach US$272.6 million in 2017. The research covers electric motors and electric drives. Electric motors have a greater market share because they are a key component of electric drives and find use in a wide range of applications. Electric drives also hold tremendous promise due to their high-tech, energy-efficient functions.

“Power conversion products help optimize plant performance, improve functionality, lower production costs, and boost profit margins,” said Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Research Analyst Maryna Osipova. “As such, alternative current (AC) electric drives and motors are gaining popularity in European and Russian mining companies as a means to decrease energy consumption and improve productivity.”

Demand for advanced AC power conversion products is also growing with the rising prices – 30 percent since 2010 – of electricity in Russia and Europe. This has fuelled the uptake of electric drives that are perceived to be one of the top energy-saving applications, capable of cutting down energy consumption by 25-50 percent.

However, limited financial resources due to escalating capital and operating costs is prompting mining companies in Russia and Europe to postpone or even cancel new automation projects. Consequently, the sale volumes of electric drives and motors have been moderate. High capital construction costs and a shortage of skilled personnel also discourage companies from initiating the modernization of their industrial automation equipment.

Further, the nationalization of the mining industry in Russia has resulted in higher tax obligations for market participants, affecting their revenues and delaying the implementation of scheduled as well as future automation projects.

“To address these challenges, power conversion product vendors should build strong relationships with end users to understand their requirements and create customized solutions,” observed Osipova. “Providing discount systems for loyal clients and offering flexible purchase options will aid market development.”

Power Conversion Market in the European and Russian Mining Industries is part of the Power Transmission Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related research services include: European Market for Integrated Motor and Drives, Opportunity Analysis of European Motor Services Market, Electric Drives Market in European HVAC Industry, and Analysis of the Russian Electric Motors Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

Lower prices for IR Thermometers!

Following the successful 2013 launch of its innovative Fluke VT02 and VT04 Visual Infrared (IR) Thermometers, Fluke is making this product range affordable to a wider group of end-users and applications by offering significant price reductions on the recommended sales price of both units.

Impressed by the compactness, the analytical and reporting software, and features such as High and Low temperature markers and the blended thermal and digital imagery, customers have purchased the tools to fill the gap for when a single-spot temperature reading is not enough and a high-resolution thermal image is more than is needed. The one compact and intuitive tool combines the visual insight of a thermal imager, the visual images of a digital camera, and the point-and-shoot convenience of an IR thermometer, all with focus-free simplicity. Electrical, HVAC and Preventive Maintenance Kits containing the VT04 are also subject to significant price reductions.

Conducting inspections for electrical, industrial, HVAC/R and automotive applications is far faster with the Fluke VT02 than an infrared thermometer, which requires multiple readings and manually recorded results. The VT02 instantly detects problems using blended thermal and digital imagery. It will display and save images as full visual, full infrared, or in three blended modes (25%, 50%, and 75%). Markers pinpoint hot and cold spots indicating the hottest temperature with a red box and the coldest with a blue box. A temperature reading is provided at the centre point.

Compared to the VT02, the Fluke VT04 offers a wider 28°x28° field of view for improved scanning and up-close evaluation and four times sharper images. It also features a Hi/Lo temperature alarm which enables hot spots to be found in seconds, and time-lapse functionality which automatically monitors equipment over time or automatically captures images after an alarm has been triggered.
Images are saved to a micro-SD card, eliminating the need to write down single or multiple measurements: analysis and reporting software is included. Images can be imported into SmartView® analysis and reporting software, included with the VT04 and VT02, to produce professional reports that document problems detected, or repairs made, for management and customer review.

Application flexibility with guided wave radar

The Sitrans LG series from Siemens offers a flexible portfolio of guided wave radar transmitters suitable for virtually any type of industrial application. The modular design of the four basic versions Sitrans LG240, Sitrans LG250, Sitrans LG260 and Sitrans LG270, with numerous configuration options, allows for level measurement in the oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical as well as food and beverage industries. The modular radar transmitter covers a broad application spectrum for the measurement of liquids and interfaces, from aggressive materials to hygienic conditions and complies with SIL2 safety standard.

Sitrans LG240 was specifically designed for hygienic applications in the pharmaceutical or food and beverage industries and has the required EHEDG, FDA and 3A certificates. The Sitrans LG250 is ideal for the wide range of liquid level measurement such as those in water treatment applications. The Sitrans LG260 version accurately measures levels of solids, granulates and powders even with extreme dust. In particularly harsh environments with high temperatures up to 450 degrees Celsius (842 °F) or high pressures up to 400 bar (5800 psig), such as those in the chemical or petrochemical industry, the Sitrans LG270 is the best choice.

Sitrans LG's high frequency microwave pulses are transmitted down a rod or cable, offering reliable measurement with up to two millimeter (0.08 inch) accuracy in applications with corrosive vapors, steam, foam, surface agitation and/or liquids with high viscosity, low level, and varying dielectric or density.

Installation is simple with the device's range of pre-configured options, such as customized enclosure materials, process connections, approvals and communication options. Users will be operational in minutes with four-button programming directly at the instrument or through remote configuration with Siemens Simatic PDM (Process Device Manager) via HART communications protocol.

Gigabit cabling components for Profinet applications!

Harting has introduced a range of Gigabit cabling components designed to extend the scope of industrial PROFINET applications into the Gigabit Ethernet range.

Until now, PROFINET solutions have been based on Fast Ethernet operating at 100 Mbit/s, but these new  products, which include all the familiar Fast Ethernet RJ45 PROFINET cabling components, will allow future PROFINET applications to work in conjunction with a Gigabit Ethernet platform.

PROFINET systems based on these products will offer more variety and performance as well as being faster. They will also give users the option of incorporating standard Gigabit devices into PROFINET solutions, with the cabling containing eight wires instead of four.

For RJ45 wiring, they have defined the so-called modularity principle in a company standard which guarantees the mechanical compatibility of the RJ45 connector with the various IP65/67 housings such as the Han(R) 3A or PushPull V.14 (AIDA interface).

For PROFINET users, this means that all the well-known 4-wire RJ45 PROFINET cabling components are now available in an 8-core version. In this combination  the PROFINET standard guarantees users ease of handling and a reliable network over the entire life of a system.

In addition to the established PROFINET cabling components such as type A, B or C cables and connection technology based on RJ45 or M12, 8-wire cabling has also added a new element: the control cabinet cord. This RJ45 system cord, newly defined by the PNO (PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V.), is designed for use in control cabinets and IP20/30 environments. It features an 8-core design and is based on an AWG26 cable. This gives it significant flexibility, making it ideal for space-saving installation for short links or for connections that can only be achieved through tight bending radii in the cabinet.

Harting offers a wide range of factory-tested control cabinet cords. They are fully assembled with the RJ45 connectors over-moulded with DualBoot® technology, and are designed to be extremely robust. The company is at the same time expanding its range of 4-wire PROFINET system cords, offering robust design and reliable transmission quality.

Partial doors for power systems panels!

Suitable for 400, 600 and 800 mm wide TS enclosures Rittal’s new modular partial door can be used instead of a door or rear panel.

Flexible for use with Rittal’s TS 8 and Ri4Power systems, the new partial door enables a  wider choice of handles plus for Rittal’s Ri4Power, a new optional viewing window as standard.

Optionally hinged on the left or right, the partial door is attached to the TS enclosure without drilling. To finish off the modular design in each case, a trim panel is required at the top and bottom. The cross member required for mounting is included with the partial door. The front trim panels may be removed from the outside by unscrewing.

Accessories, such as monitor frame, lock inserts (standard double-bit lock insert may be exchanged for lock inserts), comfort handles and perforated mounting strips for retrospective external mounting are available. Perforated mounting strips with a 25 mm pitch pattern of holes may be used for individual mounting of cable ducts, hose holders etc. on the rear side of the door.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Final spec for wireless integration!

Technology incorporates leading network protocols in FOUNDATION for ROM infrastructure

The Fieldbus Foundation has released the final specification for integration of ISA100.11a wireless field devices into its FOUNDATION™ for Remote Operations Management (ROM) technology. Unlike solutions limited to a single network standard, this development allows automation end users to employ multiple wired and wireless protocols for greater flexibility and expandability.

FOUNDATION for ROM will extend the capabilities of FOUNDATION fieldbus to countless wired and wireless devices installed in some of the world?s harshest and most remote locations. This includes the implementation of a true predictive and proactive maintenance strategy for remote assets that could not previously support one. FOUNDATION for ROM provides a unified digital infrastructure for asset management in applications ranging from tank farms and terminals to pipelines, offshore platforms, and even OEM skids.

With this release, the Fieldbus Foundation has finalized the remote I/O, wired HART® and WirelessHART®, and ISA100.11a portions of the FOUNDATION for ROM specification. The technology integrates these protocols, along with H1 fieldbus, into the FOUNDATION fieldbus managed infrastructure. Specifications for Modbus communications are in development that will enable Modbus devices such as wellhead flow meters and submersible pump controllers to be integrated in a similar way.

The new FOUNDATION specification means that end users will be able to manage their ISA100.11a wireless devices just like FOUNDATION fieldbus devices within the FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure. The new specification includes parameters for ISA100.11a transducer blocks, providing the block application objects into which ISA100.11a variables may be mapped for access by other fieldbus devices. The transducer blocks also provide a mechanism to pass data to and from ISA100.11a devices directly from configuration or asset management hosts.

The Fieldbus Foundation's director of technology development, Dave Glanzer, commented, "Our new specification will benefit end users who need to be able to interface ISA100.11a wireless devices to improve their integration with a control system and field devices. It also provides a networked method for an asset-managing host to access a large set of ISA100.11a devices for configuration and maintenance purposes.

"Experienced automation professionals in the process industries have taught us a lot about the implementation of fieldbus and how to make it better. We are driving the feedback from our dedicated end user customers, suppliers and engineering partners into a continuous improvement process to make the technology easier to use and implement in a wide range of applications."

The Fieldbus Foundation's ROM infrastructure provides a single source for data management, diagnostics, alarms and alerts, data quality control, control-in-the-field capability, and object-oriented block structure. Its High Speed Ethernet (HSE) TCP/IP protocol enables remote operations information to be communicated to the control system over any wired or wireless backhaul network utilizing the architecture model developed in a joint collaboration between the Fieldbus Foundation and the International Society for Automation (ISA) under the ISA100.15 Wireless Backhaul Networks Working Group.

To ensure interoperability, FOUNDATION for ROM devices from multiple suppliers utilize Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) and interoperability testing. This is essential to improve integration of critical functional areas, including machinery health monitoring, safety interlocks, fire & gas detection systems, and video surveillance.

Embedded servo drive boosts speed of smart friction feeders for packaging lines!

An embedded servo drive from Metronix is providing an economic upgrade path for Pfankuch Machinery - one of the world's leading manufacturers of friction feeder systems for inserting leaflets and products into sales packaging. Metronix's smart drive has allowed Pfankuch to increase the speed of its latest friction feeder - the SmartFeeder - by 50% while also doubling the positioning accuracy. This offers a massive gain in productivity for the many users of this type of packaging equipment in markets including pharmaceutical, food and beverage processing, along with extended application versatility.

Pfankuch upgraded the control hardware as part of an exercise to improve the performance of one of its most popular friction feeders in the mid-range sector of this packaging equipment market. The upgrade project targeted the motion control element of the packaging machine, as the basic mechanical structure of the SmartFeeder friction feeder is extremely well proven and reliable.
Pic right Metronix's smart embedded drive mounted inside Pfankuch's advanced new friction feeder

Before the upgrade, the general-purpose friction feeder offered an insertion capability that performs real-time registration and inserts items up to a maximum speed of approximately 100 items/minute, to a position accuracy of nearly 2 mm. The motion control hardware used to achieve this was a brushed DC motor, and a relatively simple drive that was designed and manufactured in-house at Pfankuch.

Pfankuch wanted to improve speed and precision as much as possible, while also changing the motor type to a brushless AC servo - to eliminate maintenance and help speed acceleration times. Crucially, the electronics upgrade had to be achieved without increasing manufacturing costs by more than a small margin, in order to keep the machine price-competitive in its market segment.

The key factor in the upgrade was finding a suitable servo drive. Most servo drives tend to be offered as complete packaged products, and these are far too expensive. However, when the packaging OEM approached Metronix about a drive from its smart DIS-2 range for decentralised applications - which offered an ideal control platform for the single axis in this feeder - Metronix was more than willing to adapt the drive for embedded use to reduce costs and simplify integration. This made the upgrade project feasible. Moreover, Metronix was also willing to provide engineering support to help Pfankuch to implement the changes to the motion control subsystem.

The optimisation exercise involved stripping out all non-essential components from the DIS-2 drive. This included eliminating the casing and expensive system-level connectors. Metronix then added application-specific connection and mounting, and made some modifications to the drive's firmware to optimise performance. Metronix's resulting brushless AC servo drive solution increases Pfankuch's friction feeder insertion speed from 100 to 150 items/minute, while simultaneously doubling positioning resolution to 1 mm. The embedded drive also provides Pfankuch with a modern network expansion interface to provide a platform for future enhancements of the feeder - a CANopen port. The packaging machinery OEM also has the option of adding daughter boards later, which could provide additional fieldbus interface options such as EtherCAT or Profibus.

One of the key ways in which the Metronix drive improves the speed of friction-fed insertion cycle is through local control intelligence embedded in the DIS-2 drive, which both performs the control calculations more rapidly, and employs a more sophisticated positioning algorithm that adjusts drive speed much more often to enhance registration resolution.

Joerg Lastig of Pfankuch comments: "Developing our own state-of-the-art drive was viewed as a complex and costly project for own engineering team, so the major barrier for us was finding a commercial drives specialist that was willing to partner with us and adapt its product for our SmartFeeder machine. Metronix is one of a very small number of suppliers that was willing to help, and provided in-depth engineering support that has helped us to bring the upgraded machine to market on time and budget - which we are confident will set a new price/performance benchmark in its market segment."

"We managed to strip around 20% of the hardware cost from the DIS-2 module to make the drive viable for this embedded application," adds Metronix's Frank Essmann. "The project is a great example of what customised drives can do for OEMs - which in this case we believe increases performance by such a large margin that it will help this packaging machine supplier to increase its market share."

The feeding speed and precision positioning performance of Pfankuch's new SmartFeeder system has now been improved by such a large margin that it even competes with high-speed feeder systems in applications that do not require multi-axis control. This higher performance product category typically includes a powerful dedicated motion controller or PLC and tends to cost at least twice as much as standalone friction feeders. In addition to improving performance, Pfankuch has also made a number of improvements to the feeder to simplify operation and use; one of the most important is a very easy means of changing the friction belt to suit different insertion applications.
At the same time, the new embedded drive minimises the hardware costs of the upgrade for Pfankuch, because Metronix adapted it for the application, providing a stripped-down product suitable for OEM integration that eliminates numerous expensive components.

Prestigious European Research Council grant to help survival of cancer patients! #Medicine #Research

Imec has announced that Prof. Dr. Liesbet Lagae, R&D Manager Life Science Technologies at imec and professor in Nanobio Physics at KU Leuven (B), has been awarded a Consolidator Grant for her research project SCALPEL* by the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC grant is the most prestigious grant for top researchers in the European Union. The grant funding, with a budget of 2 MEuro and for the duration of 5 years, will lead to the development of a high-content, high-throughput cell imaging and sorting device, that is more compact and easier to use than any existing single cell analyzer. The new device should support the work of pathologists, surgeons, and nurses and aims to improve the individualized follow-up and survival rate of cancer patients.

The single cell analyzer that Prof. Dr. Lagae and her team will develop for the SCALPEL project is based on lens free digital imaging to analyze the physical morphology of single cells flowing at high speeds through a microfluidic network with gentle cell sorting switches to route the cells towards different outlets. It thus combines the virtues of microscopic 'high content' imaging with the virtues of automated 'high throughput' single cell analysis and sorting at a fraction of the cost. Because all optomechanical components, such as lenses, detectors, and nozzles, are replaced by nanoelectronics and advanced signal processing technology, the devices will be cheap and compact.

Currently, single cell analysis remains tedious with many different instruments and protocols, typically taking a few days of intense, hands-on work. The process not only slows down research, but also hinders the translation to application in clinical practice. Billions of dollars have been spent trying to cure primary tumors, but very little was spent in trying to detect or kill circulating tumor cells causing metastasis. Metastasis is responsible for more than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths, and originates from single circulating tumor cells, spreading via the blood stream to seed new tumors. Detection of those highly aggressive circulating tumor cells at an early stage would greatly improve the chance of survival. This is an example of an application that could greatly benefit from the 'SCALPEL' cell sorter. Prof. Lagae will collaborate with Prof. Deniz Wirtz from John's Hopkins INBT and Prof. Johan Swinnen from KU Leuven's dept. of oncology for showing the potential of the device in metastasis detection.

ERC is a flagship component of the 'Ideas Programme' of the European Union's Seventh Research Framework Program (FP7). Through open competition it awards grants to projects led by top researchers in Europe. With scientific excellence being the sole criterion for selection, the ERC's aim is to recognize the best ideas, and retain and confer status and visibility to the best brains in Europe, while also attracting talent from abroad. By challenging Europe's brightest minds, the ERC expects that its grants will help to bring about new and unpredictable scientific and technological discoveries'the kind that can form the basis of new industries, markets, and broader social innovations of the future.

*SCALPEL: Single Cell AnaLysis and Sorting Platform based on Lensfree digital imaging applied to Rapid Cancer Detection

Hall-Effect sensor white papers

Everything a DC Motor Developer Needs To Know About Hall-Effect Sensors

Honeywell has announced the availability of two new white papers to help developers and designers better understand various hall-effect sensor technology options for brushless DC (BLDC) motors  used in medical devices, industrial equipment, and HVAC applications. 

Brushless DC motors need to operate more efficiently as energy and cost savings becomes a bigger concern. How To Select Hall Effect Sensors for Brushless DC Motors (pdf) helps guide developers in selecting  the correct bipolar latching Hall-effect sensor IC for electronic commutation in BLDC motors. These tiny ICs play a big role in motor efficiency, which can significantly affect the reliability and performance of many critical applications, including robotics, portable medical equipment and HVAC fans. Honeywell has developed a high sensitivity and fast response, latching sensor by using a quad Hall element and proprietary programming, without chopper stabilization. This new design offers several benefits including high sensitivity, repeatability, and fast response time, all of which contribute to a more efficient BLDC motor design.

Comparison Between Non-Chopper Stabilized And Chopper Stabilized Latching Hall-Effect Sensors (pdf)  compares the results of a low-gauss latch competitive evaluation between Honeywell’s non-chopper-stabilized SS460S latching Hall-effect sensor and five other chopper-stabilized competitor products. Tests include response time, repeatability, and sensitivity to air gap. The results indicate that Honeywell’s SS460S Hall-effect sensor delivers better performance, offering a 10- to 20-microsecond (µs) faster response time, compared to the chopper-stabilized sensor samples..

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Micro Motion raises the standard in online density metering #PAuto

Compact density meter delivers real-world performance in an array of aggressive applications

The Micro Motion Compact Density Meter, a multi-variable density meter designed for the custody transfer metering of crude oil, refined hydrocarbons, alcohols and many aggressive process liquids has been introduced by Emerson.  This meter is the ideal choice for users who confront measurement challenges on a daily basis such as minimising product give-away and reducing gain/loss errors.

Micro Motion Compact Density Meter
This meter raises the standard in online density metering by combining Multivariable Digital technology, a high speed signal processing technology, with an optimised meter design that ensures outstanding performance under varying process and external environments. This is achieved through innovative compensation techniques where the Compact Density Meter measures both the fluid temperature and its own meter case temperature. This information is then used to minimise any measurement errors due to changes in environmental conditions. It is the first online density meter to offer this unique functionality and address this known effect, which allows it to deliver improved measurement performance in the harshest of environments.

Multivariable digital technology further enhances the design of the Compact Density Meter by incorporating the unique feature of fluid flow rate indication. Fluid flow rate indication allows users to have confidence in their density measurement and diagnose installation problems such as product build up or tube blockages prior to significant errors occurring.

The Compact Density Meter provides unparalleled quality assurance that is complemented by two new state-of-the-art global calibration facilities which makes it compact, rugged and reliable. Micro Motion Compact Density Meters are calibrated over a wide range of combined temperatures and pressures to provide a verification of performance under conditions where the meter will actually be used. Every meter calibration is traceable and accredited to ISO17025 and covers both density and temperature measurements, which minimises the need for external field devices. The Compact Density Meter conforms to fiscal and custody transfer industry best practice standards with direct communication to either flow computers or distributed control systems (DCS) supported.

The meter’s transmitter module can output sensor data in four formats simultaneously including: Sensor frequency (time period), 4-20mA, HART® and RS485 Modbus. This allows users to view meter health and performance indicators while using a frequency signal output when it’s connected to a flow computer. Previously unavailable in on-line density meter devices, this new technology provides diagnostic information in critical density measurement applications which can result in significant reductions in maintenance costs and cycle times.

In addition to improvements in availability of meter information, the Compact Density Meter design offers a new diagnostics capability called Known Density Verification. Known Density Verification checks the meter for measurement alarm conditions, sensor integrity and the presence of coating, erosion or corrosion. This functionality allows users to make quality decisions about their meter health and maintenance schedules at the touch of a button, minimising total meter cost of ownership and maximising process measurement up-times.

WEG moves to larger premises to provide faster delivery #PAuto #Britain

WEG has moved to larger premises as it continues to grow in Britain. As a result, the company will be able to provide customers with improved lead times of motors, drive and control equipment and faster order processing.

Their new 11,895 m2 site in Lakeside, Redditch (Worcs GB), includes a 10,595 m2 warehouse, which is much larger than its previous one. As such, WEG can now hold more stock, enabling it to supply OEMs and engineers more quickly to meet their demands.

“Like many of our customers, we give high priority to efficiency,” says Richard Crook, operations manager at WEG. “With our new facility we can provide better and faster service from order receipt to delivery and assist our customers more quickly with custom modifications or technical problems.”

For example, WEG can now stock products that would previously have been shipped from Brazil, reducing delivery time by up to 8 to 10 weeks. This means it can better serve its customers in Britain while continuing to providing excellent levels of customer service.

“This investment also shows our commitment to growth in the UK and Redditch,” continues Richard. “We value the skilled work force we have here in Worcestershire, so staying in the area was a natural decision for us. WEG UK first opened an office in Redditch in 1997 and now employs 54 people.”

The new facilities also come complete with a refurbishment workshop, training rooms and conference facilities. To learn more about WEG’s energy efficient solutions, email, visit or contact 01527 513800.

NEMA 4X field-mounted meters from Precision Digital #PAuto

Precision Digital has announced the Vantageview Series of NEMA 4X Field-Mounted Meters. The Vantageview Series offers the functionality and features of the company's ProtEX Series of Explosion-Proof Meters in an injection-molded plastic, NEMA 4X (IP65) enclosure. Vantageview meters are designed for use in demanding applications in wet or dirty environments that do not require agency approvals. They can be used for virtually any industrial process that involves level, flow, pressure, or temperature. Unique SafeTouch® through-window buttons allow operation without removing the cover. They are available in 4-20 mA loop-powered and pulse input models powered by the output loop, DC, or battery.

PD6700 Loop-Powered Process Meter
The Vantageview Series includes large, dual-line displays for viewing critical process variables clearly at a distance, even in direct sunlight. Models are available for single process variables, rate and total, feet and inches displays for level applications, and a larger one-inch display for long-range visibility. Each meter features a sleek, modern, polycarbonate enclosure with built-in mounting flanges and a rear groove for sturdy wall or pipe mounting; the integrated tamper seal loop tab allows for an additional layer of security. The meters also provide three 3/4 inch NPT threaded conduit holes for easy wiring in any direction and include two plastic conduit plugs. Operating and storage temperatures range from -40 to 75 degrees Celsius.

Programming and operation of the meters can be done without opening the housing, using the built-in SafeTouch® through-window buttons. Each meter is equipped with up to four sensors that operate as through-window buttons so the unit can be programmed and operated without removing the cover (and exposing the electronics) in harsh environments. These buttons can be disabled for security with a switch located inside the enclosure. When the cover is removed, the mechanical buttons located on the faceplate are used for programming. The clear, impact-resistant polycarbonate window makes the Vantageview meters ideal for applications where restrictions on glass exist, such as food production.

• Precision Digital products are marketed in Ireland by P J Boner & Son.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Stand-alone generator for slow damped oscillatory wave #testing from Teseq #Power #EMC

Teseq, the developer and provider of instrumentation and systems for EMC emission and immunity testing, has introduced an easy-to-use, stand-alone generator for slow damped oscillatory wave testing in single phase equipment up to 270 V and 16 A. The new NSG 3040-SOW is in compliance with current testing standards IEC/EN 61000-4-18 and ANSI C37.90.1.

Ideal for use by power stations, substations, electric meter manufacturers, relays and switch manufacturers as well as EMC testing labs that already use Teseq equipment, the NSG 3040-SOW enables users to perform over-testing at test levels up to 4.4 kV.

The NSG 3040-SOW features unique capabilities including selectable reduced source impedance as well as higher pulse rates which enable users to test under conditions that are closer to reality, ensuring their product will perform as intended in the real world.

Designed to complement Teseq’s line of NSG 3040 and NSG 3060 series of EMC test generators, the NSG 3040-SOW features the same user-friendly 7" high contrast, color touch-screen interface featuring superb graphics to enable quick and user-friendly set-up of test procedures.

The generator can obtain quick, reliable results of standardized tests with a few clicks using the integrated Test Assistance (TA) function. The NSG 3040-SOW offers inputs supported by an integrated keyboard or thumbwheel with additional keys for sensitivity adjustment.

The new generator features Windows-based control software that simplifies test programming and compilation of complex test sequences composed of multiple waveform types.

Test & Measuremnt seminars #PAuto #TandM #HVAC

Fluke has announced its programme of seminars for 2014 throughout Britain and Ireland.

The seminar covering Energy is designed to help facilities reduce their energy costs. It is aimed at plant maintenance engineers, OEM field service and energy consultants, facility managers, electrical and facility contractors and energy inspectors. Topics covered include:
    • strategies to lower energy bills, 
     • tools to identify and quantify waste, 
     • how to measure and log power consumption, 
     • how to identify and measure common production process system wastages, 
     • how to detect energy waste with vibration detection and analysis, 
     • how to calculate the cost of compressed air, 
    • how to measure voltage unbalance to calculate waste, 
    • how to quantify electrical cost of ventilation, and 
     • how to reduce HVAC costs.
Other seminars cover power quality improvement, improved maintenance practices using thermography, troubleshooting motors and drives to minimise plant downtime, and calibrating and troubleshooting process instrumentation.

The web page also provides access to webinars and webcasts that provide online training to obtain the maximum benefit in the application of thermal imagers, power quality meters and portable oscilloscopes, as well as highlighting training courses with partner institutions.

Smart testing for smart card production!

Gemalto has improved productivity by using Keyence's CV-5000 vision system to inspect protective transparent resin overlays on its smart-card micromodules and quickly halt production if a defect is detected.
Smart-card manufacturer Gemalto is the leader in a fast-growing sector with a host of applications that range from microprocessor-based banking cards and SIM or UICC cards for mobile phones, to ePassports, smart identification cards, products for online authentication and contactless payment systems. To implement these solutions, remotely manage the applications, and store confidential personal information on these secure devices, Gemalto also provides server software, consultancy, training, and a wide range of outsourced management services. In 2010 Gemalto posted revenue of €1.9 billion and employed more than 10,000 people.

"At our Gemenos site in France we check that the protective resin overlay is correctly applied to our micromodules. More specifically, we check the dimensions, centering, cleanliness, and whether the resin has been evenly applied without any overflow," explains Thierry Padovani, Coating and Assembly Engineer at Gemalto.

"Because the resin is reinforced with fibers, dispensing defects can be a regular occurrence. As a result, regular maintenance is a necessity. We wanted to be able to detect problems as quickly as possible in order to reduce the number of reject micromodules."

The Gemenos site produces 12,000 modules per hour. As the smart-cards are placed in 12 different positions, 12 modules are inspected at the same time. The inspection position is only 50 cm away from the resin dispensing station, a large improvement of 3-4 meters in the past. This allows early detection of defects and quick resolution of the issue, leading to a large reduction in waste. Their warning alarm to turn off the machine would go on at over 500 defects in the past.

"We were looking for a stable solution that could quickly perform this fine detection despite the high production rate and have the alarm set to go off below 500 defects. The vision system is connected to the machine's control system and it does its job perfectly. It has enabled us to achieve significant productivity gains. Keyence's cameras are installed on six lines and there are plans to add a seventh one soon. The cameras have been operating 24/7 for three years now and we're completely satisfied with their detection stability," says Padovani.

The detection process is made more complicated by the fact that the resin used is transparent. "We quickly solved that problem by adding special lighting to reveal differences in opacity," explains Padovani. "The images captured are processed in black and white with a resolution of 1.2 megapixels. It was very quick to set up and use. Keyence developed a validation module that worked immediately and has been running fine since."

The CV-5000 vision system handles all color, B/W, single-camera and multi-camera applications in record time, all for the benefit of increased detection stability. Its applications are dimensional measurement, positioning confirmation and visual inspection. It claims to be the most powerful self-contained vision system on the market. For example, it allows 1 million pixels to be processed in 20.5 ms. This processing power also makes it possible to perform multiple inspections and further enhance the reliability of in-process inspections thanks to its unparalleled repeatability (seven times higher than that of current standards) and many image processing tasks that optimize inspection accuracy.

CV-5000 Series models are controlled by a high-speed color processing engine and a high-speed RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) CPU. Both are supplemented by two DSPs (Digital Signal Processors) designed specifically for image processing.

All this Series models use these four processors to achieve task specific processing and attain the fastest processing speeds possible - twice that of the leading models available on the market. The system is also equipped with a double-buffer memory that allows it to capture the next image while an image is being processed. This enables an inspection time of about 16 ms (about 3,700 parts per minute) even in non-interlaced reading mode. The CV-5000 Series offers maximum connectivity through discrete I/O, Ethernet, Ethernet I/P, USB and RS232 ports and can easily be integrated with PLCs or PCs.