Friday, March 7, 2014

Analogue input Ethernet modules

16 Channels into an inch-wide unit saves space and costs

Acromag has released two of their newest models in the BusWorks® XT Series of Ethernet I/O modules. The XT1230 and XT1240 models provide a 16-channel interface for single-ended analogue current or voltage input signals with Ethernet/IP, Modbus/TCP, Profinet, or i2o® peer-to-peer communication. The space-saving inch-wide design features dual Ethernet ports, removable front-facing terminal blocks, and DIN rail power bus support. Its convenient USB-to-PC connection and free Windows software makes configuration quick and uncomplicated. Suitable for use in harsh environments, all modules operate from -40 to 70°C with noise immunity, surge protection, and CE compliance. UL/cUL Class 1 Division 2 Zone 2 hazardous location approval is pending.

“We are continually expanding the BusWorks XT Series in order to provide more modules with even greater versatility,” explained Acromag sales manager Rob Frewald. “Beyond our digital offerings, we now support up to 16 channels of analog input for our customers to squeeze in more channels at a lower cost, even when space is scarce.”

The XT1230 accepts current inputs of 0-11mA, 0-20mA, 4-20mA, ±20mA, or 0-20 amps AC with optional toroid sensor. The XT1240 accommodates ±5V, ±10V, 0-5V, or 0-10V input ranges. All units run off a 12-32V DC power source (2.8W) at the terminals or through an integrated power connector bussed along the DIN rail that can provide primary or redundant power. Each model offers a choice of Ethernet/IP, Profinet, or Modbus TCP/IP protocols with peer-to-peer i2o communication support. Dual 10/100 Ethernet ports allow daisy-chaining units together to simplify cabling and minimize the network switches required, reducing overall system costs.

For even more dependable communication, BusWorks XT units employ Innovasic PriorityChannel technology which makes certain that critical data is received on time regardless of traffic on the network. PriorityChannel provides determinism at the device for consistent transmission of time-sensitive data with any of the Ethernet protocols.

Many other features add greater flexibility and performance. High input impedance reduces loading on voltage loops with XT1240 models, with the XT1230 models’ low input impedance reduces loading on current loops. The configuration software enables use of sample averaging on a per-channel basis. For reliability, operation and diagnostic LEDs offer visual status updates and aid in trouble-shooting.

Acromag has designed and manufactured measurement and control products for more than 50 years. With a headquarters near Detroit, Michigan and a global network of sales representatives and distributors, Acromag products are sold worldwide. They offer a complete line of industrial I/O products including process instruments, signal conditioning equipment, data acquisition boards, distributed I/O modules, and network communication devices. Industries served include manufacturing, water services, power generation, mining, defense, and transportation.

Ten thermocouple channel model for glass tempering!

Datapaq is extending its Furnace Tracker product range with the addition of a new ten thermocouple channel model, designed specifically for use in low height furnaces. The data logger stores up to 18,000 readings per channel at intervals from 0.05 seconds to 10 minutes. Ceramic coated and laser welded, the 29mm (1.14in) high thermal barrier ensures long operational life.

The ten and four channel Furnace Tracker systems for glass tempering furnaces accurately measure temperatures from all types of glass, including hard and soft-coated low-E glass. Thus, users can optimize cycle times and reduce energy costs. The accompanying user-friendly software features comprehensive analysis and archiving functions and enables users to see quickly and easily what is really happening inside the furnace.

Economist to shed positive light on future to system integrators!

Economist Alan Beaulieu’s message for the industrial automation community is one of optimism and action. Beaulieu, a recognised economist and the president of ITR Economics, will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 Executive Conference of the Control System Integrators Association, (23-26/4/2014 San Diego, CA USA).

Alan Beaulieu
“This year will be an off year, but this may work to the advantage of firms that are poised to act in the economic expansion anticipated for 2015 and beyond,” says Beaulieu. “We will discuss the good and the bad, and determine the best course of action for control system integrators based on an objective, verifiable reality.”

More than 500 control system integrators and vendor partners – both members and non-members – from the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Australia and more are expected to attend the conference.

Other speakers include Robert Tucker, president of the Innovation Resource Consulting Group, who will speak about driving growth through innovation. Nick Setchell, CEO, Practice Strategies, a highly rated speaker at the 2013 conference and a top-rated international Vistage speaker, returns this year with a presentation on the keys to capturing ideas that contribute to financial success. How the best companies select people and build winning cultures will be presented by Ken Edmundson, CEO, Ken Edmundson LLC. He also is a top-rated international Vistage speaker.

CSIA will be debuting its new online community, the Industrial Automation Exchange, during the conference. The Exchange will replace the association’s popular Find an Integrator directory with a feature-rich, online community that connects system integrators, industry suppliers and end-user clients.

The conference also features 20 breakout sessions on various topics related to the business of system integration, networking opportunities and an industry trade show.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Redefining the SMU with industry-leading speed, density and flexibility!

National Instruments has announced the NI PXIe-4139 system source measure unit (SMU), a high-performance addition to the company’s SMU portfolio. This SMU can reduce overall cost of test and accelerate time to market for test engineers in a broad range of industries, from semiconductor to automotive and consumer electronics.

Key Features:
• 100 fA current measurement sensitivity: Precisely characterise high-performance semiconductor devices.

• 1.8 MS/s sampling rate: Capture transient device characteristics without an external scope.

• Up to 17 SMU channels in 4U 19 in. rack space: Minimise test system footprint for high-channel-count systems.

• SourceAdapt technology: Reduce transient times to improve overall test times and protect the device under test from overshoots and oscillations even on highly inductive or capacitive loads.
“With the NI PXIe-4139, engineers and scientists get broad IV boundaries, including extended range pulsing capability up to 500 W and sensitivity down to 100 fA, to test a wide range of devices with a single instrument,” said Luke Schreier, Senior Group Manager of Test Systems for National Instruments. “The compact size of the NI PXIe-4139 is also critical. It can reduce system footprint significantly compared with legacy box instrument SMUs.”
The NI PXIe-4139 features NI SourceAdapt technology to help engineers produce optimal SMU response to any load by customising the SMU control loop. This protects devices under test and improves system stability. Additionally, the NI PXIe-4139 system SMU can take measurements at 1.8 MS/s, which is 100X faster than traditional SMUs. This helps reduce test time and offers engineers the ability to capture transient device behaviour without an external scope.

“A redefined approach to instrumentation is necessary if you want to keep pace with the increasing complexity of modern electronics,” said Schreier. “SourceAdapt technology, coupled with the inherent benefits of PXI modular instrumentation and NI LabVIEW system design software, gives engineers a competitive edge in reducing test times and protecting their devices under test.” 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Industrial display!

KOE has announced the introduction of a new 9.0-inch Rugged+ TFT display. The TX23D201VM0BAA display features IPS-Pro (in-plane switching), WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) resolution and a 15:9 wide aspect ratio. KOE's IPS Pro display technology delivers exceptional colour saturation and stability, high contrast and deep black levels with 170° wide viewing angles (vertical and horizontal).

The 9.0-inch display features a contrast ratio of 800:1 and a white LED backlight with a brightness of 1000cd/m² and a specified 70K hour half-brightness lifetime. Display images are bright, colourful and concise.

Mark Stephenson, Technical Marketing Manager, KOE Europe, commented, "Strong optical performance with wide viewing angles and consistent colour reproduction are key features of the new 9.0-inch TX23D201VM0BAA which implements the most recent version of IPS-Pro technology. Additionally, Rugged+ displays are designed to have robust mechanical characteristics that are highly resistant to shock, vibration and ESD (electro static discharge)."

A 20-pin LVDS interface supports 6-bit RGB and FRC (frame rate control) which enables a colour palette of up to 16.7M colours. The 9.0-inch display module has mechanical outline dimensions of 218mm (w) x 135.0mm (h) x 11.15mm (d). Support for harsh environments is enhanced with an operating temperature range of -30°C to +80°C and a storage temperature range of -40°C to +90°C.

KOE's Rugged+ TFT display modules are targeted for use in high reliability industrial, medical, marine, automotive and aerospace applications where consistent and guaranteed operation under extreme temperature, mechanical shock and vibration is a necessity. For dedicated HMI (human machine interface) applications the TX23D201VM0BPA is available with an integrated 4-wire analogue resistive touch-panel.

PID control for wide range of temperature & process signals!

Red Lion Controls has launched its new PXU series of proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers. The PXU series, which is the latest addition to their portfolio of industrial automation solutions, is designed for machine builders, systems integrators and commercial equipment manufacturers. The PXU series enables tighter, more reliable control over a wide range of processes, including temperature, flow and pressure, from a single model.

Capable of being deployed in precision process applications within the food and beverage, plastics, packaging, energy, gas, heat-treating, commercial and medical industries, the PXU series offers 1/16, 1/8 and 1/4 DIN size models to provide a range of space-saving options. Features and benefits include:

  •  Enhanced bezel design with larger, easy-to-read displays for better visibility from long distances
  •  Optional RS-485 communications allows integration with PCs, PLCs and HMIs
  •  One inch shorter in depth to save panel space
  •  Programmable via front panel push buttons and/or Red Lion’s Crimson® configuration software
  •  On demand auto-tuning for easy set up
  •  Universal inputs support thermocouple, RTD, 0 - 10 VDC and 4 - 20 mA (0 - 50)
  •  UL listed, 61010-1, process control equipment meets industry standards

“The PXU series of PID controllers gives customers compact PID controllers with large, easy to read displays,” said Jeff Thornton, director of product management at Red Lion Controls. “The range of sizes and universal input coupled with our award-winning Crimson software make these controllers a must-have for OEM machine builders and commercial equipment manufacturers.”

• Red Lion products are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology!

Leader in steam system solutions joins family of ISA100 suppliers!

The ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute announced today that Spirax Sarco, a leader in products and services for steam system solutions, has recently joined the ISA100 Wireless™ Compliance Institute.

Spirax Sarco provides expertise, service, products and turnkey solutions for the control and efficient use of steam, air, and other industrial fluids for industrial and commercial users worldwide. With an unparalleled understanding of the application of steam across a wide range of industries, Spirax Sarco will enable ISA100 Wireless users to:
  • Design, install and commission new facilities
  • Optimize existing steam systems
  • Upgrade steam plants
  • Maintain performance with scheduled maintenance

Simon Sprackling, Group Research and Development Manager at Spirax Sarco said, “We seek to leverage the robust, secure ISA100 Wireless protocol to complement our existing communication tools and provide our customers improved access to our products’ diagnostic capabilities.”
“Spirax Sarco is joining an industry-leading team of suppliers who are collaborating to promote a robust, reliable, and secure communication standard,” said Andre Ristaino, Managing Director, ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute. “We look forward to their unique perspective, and the positive impact Spirax Sarco will have on ISA100 Wireless’ list of features and capabilities.”

Position controller!

“Economical and reliable” is how the experts are describing the Festo position controller, CMSX, designed for double-acting quarter turn actuators. A unique feature of the controller is the ability to provide a pre-definable safety position for the process valve.

In addition to energy-efficient operation, further key features of the CMSX position controller include its attractive price/performance ratio and the high-level of process safety it offers. This is ensured through its analogue and digital feedback signals and definable positions. The end positions can be defined flexibly via freely configurable analogue signals. In the standard variant of the position controller, its microcontroller continuously displays these feedback signals.

In closed-loop mode, the CMSX continuously compares the set point signal with the actual position of the quarter turn actuator. Any deviations automatically trigger an error message and an emergency stop. If there should be a power-supply failure, the process valve can be brought to a previously specified safety position, therefore minimising process risks.

"Give yourself an edge!" - Developer tour announced!

The National Instruments LabVIEW Developer Tour offers engineers and scientists the opportunity to learn programming skills from a range of technical sessions, product demonstrations and hands-on sessions, aimed at both the new and experienced user.

With the choice of two tracks, delegates can tailor the day to suit their individual needs and experience; with an introductory track for engineers who are new to LabVIEW, and a developer track for those who wish to further their knowledge of the award-winning software.

Delegates will learn best practices to save time and money when recording and analysing data, whilst also discovering the benefits that graphical programming offers through real-world application examples. NI's own engineers will unearth tips and tricks for locating and fixing programming issues for those adept in LabVIEW. In addition, delegates have the opportunity to register for the Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer Exam aiding their first steps to gain industry qualification.




Follow the event on twitter using hashtag  #devtouruk

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

European pump conference!

WEG is to sponsor the Europump Conference which is to be held at St. Andrews in Scotland in May 2014.

As part of its involvement in the event Mr Siegfried Kreutzfeld, Managing Director- Motors Division for WEG is to deliver a paper to the delegates that will address the market trends for alternating current, permanent magnet and synchronous reluctance motors. WEG is of course well-placed to deliver a research paper on these subjects as a global leader in energy efficient motors.

This conference is hosted this year by the British Pump Manufacturers Association (BPMA) conducts vital work for the pump industry on legislation and standards and is a combination of presentations, working groups and committees and networking meetings.

Commenting on the decision to invite WEG to sponsor the conference for 2014, Steve Schofield, Director of the BPMA said, “The work that takes place during the conference is vital to the well-being of the pump industry in Europe and of enormous value. We were pleased to align ourselves with WEG as the sponsor, as the company has an outstanding reputation for pushing the boundaries in motor and automation technology.”

Commenting on the sponsorship Marek Lukaszczyk, Marketing Director for Europe for WEG said, “Obviously the pump industry is closely aligned with WEG as a manufacturer of electric drives and motors commonly used within the fluid movement industry. The opportunity to help facilitate the Europump conference and to help make the event a success, is something we are proud to be able to do.”

Direct insertion density & concentration meter!

Fork Density meter helps users achieve fast-response density and concentration monitoring in challenging conditions

The next generation of Emerson's market-leading Micro Motion 7826 and 7828 direct insertion density meters has been released. Incorporating the same rugged and reliable tuning fork design as its predecessors, the Fork Density Meter is built to tackle the most demanding process applications such as pipeline interface detection, mineral slurry solids monitoring and corrosive acid concentration control.

The direct insertion Fork Density Meter is the ideal choice for solving problems that customers face on a daily basis, such as reducing product give-away, minimising cross-contamination on multi-product pipelines and ensuring operator safety when sampling hazardous liquids. It is designed for applications where fast-response density and concentration monitoring is required, even when the installation footprint is limited.

The Fork Density Meter incorporates a hazardous area head-mounted transmitter that has the flexibility to digitally connect to distributed control systems (DCS) as well as output raw sensor signals to signal converters and flow computers. With 4-20mA, HART®, WirelessHART®, Sensor Time Period, FOUNDATION fieldbus and RS485 Modbus communications all supported, the system integration and start-up/commissioning costs are significantly reduced.

With the implementation of HART and RS485 Modbus digital I/O communications, the Micro Motion Fork Density Meter has the capability to accept external signals from other field instrumentation such as temperature, pressure and volumetric flow devices. The input of these external measurements enables the Fork Density Meter to calculate and output enhanced process measurements such as mass flow and net solids flow, while still minimising installation and cabling costs.

The Fork Density Meter also incorporates a new diagnostic capability called Known Density Verification that checks the meter for measurement alarm conditions, sensor integrity and the presence of coating, erosion or corrosion. This new technology expands the availability of diagnostics information in critical density measurement applications, resulting in significant reductions in maintenance costs and cycle times.

Best company to work for!

For the sixth consecutive year SolutionsPT is celebrating being named in the prestigious British newspaper, Sunday Times as on of the 100 Best Small Companies to Work For.
SolutionsPT, which provides software, hardware and consultancy services to more than 2,000 industrial and manufacturing organisations across Ireland and Britain, employs 80 people at its site in Cheadle (GB).

The 100 Best Small Companies to Work For list is compiled following an in-depth questionnaire answered by employees across the business, covering areas including leadership, personal growth, giving something back, wellbeing, protecting the environment and work life balance.

SolutionsPT ranked 44th in this year’s awards, which attracted entries from 897 businesses and organisations.

SolutionsPT enters the awards each year as part of its commitment to highlighting the career opportunities available in the IT and engineering sector.

General Manager of SolutionsPT, Phil Gillard, said: "For us, entering these awards is about ensuring we’ve created a dynamic, challenging and exciting place for our existing employees, but it’s also about ensuring we attract the best talent in the industry and demonstrate the opportunities that exist within this sector.”

Louise Potts, SolutionsPT's People and Culture Manager, added: “Entering Best Companies gives us a great internal framework for monitoring the happiness of our team and the contribution we make to our community. Looking after our people is a vital part of ensuring we retain the talented individuals that make up the SolutionsPT team and continue to deliver a great service to our customers.”

Automation induction!

Dave Emerson of Yokogawa Corporation of America has been selected by CONTROL magazine, to be inducted into the Process Automation Hall of Fame, Class of 2014. Mr. Emerson is director of Yokogawa’s U.S. Development Center.

Dave Emerson
The Process Automation Hall of Fame was created in 2001 to recognize the contributions made by outstanding process automation professionals working in the process automation and control industry. Members include Yutaka Wakasa, a former Yokogawa director and the first Japanese inductee, and Dr. Maurice J. Wilkins, Vice President of the Yokogawa IA Global Strategic Technology Marketing Center in Dallas.

The nomination of Mr. Emerson reflects the following significant contributions that he has made to the control industry:

He is the creator and co-developer of the Batch Markup Language (BatchML) and the Business to Manufacturing Markup Language (B2MML). Based on XML, these have become the de facto standards in the process automation industry for the exchange of ISA-95 and ISA-88  data between ERP and MES/control systems. B2MML has saved companies millions of dollars by reducing costs for their manufacturing operations.

He also served as Vice Chairman of the ISA-95 committee, played a primary role in the creation of a technical report on the integration of ISA-95 and ISA-88, and led the creation of the procedure function charts defined in ISA-88 Part 2. These two standards have been globally adopted by industrial automation system suppliers and have helped owners/operators lower their system integration costs and attain operational excellence by making more effective use of their manufacturing systems.

He has been instrumental in proposing and developing the ISA-106 standard and is currently serving as its editor. As a leading contributor to the ISA-106 committee, he is working to standardize the automation of continuous processes and thereby assure safer operations, less variability within processes, and improved profits.

Encouraged by this award, Yokogawa will continue working to contribute to society and achieve progress in the control industry by developing and introducing advanced control solutions based on excellent control technologies.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Power usage effectiveness efficiency!

Rittal now offer customers an optional efficiency package to determine and display the energy consumption in a RiMatrix S standardized data centre via the power usage effectiveness (PUE) value.

Installed in the sub-distribution or enclosure suites, the PUE efficiency package for the RiMatrix S is hardware and software that gives IT administrators information on efficiency values in the data centre quickly and simply. Presentation of the results and their preparation is performed in the Rittal RiZone data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) software.

Consisting of intelligent socket systems (Power Distribution Units), instruments for measuring power consumption and the RiZone DCIM software, this optional package allows administrators to easily optimise the efficiency and energy consumption in the RiMatrix S.

RiMatrix is a complete data centre portfolio comprising of standardised components: a defined number of TS IT server and network racks, climate control, power supply and backup systems, as well as monitoring systems. Together, these form a complete server module. By concentrating on standardised data centre modules and ideally coordinated components, the RiMatrix S achieves an extremely low value up to 1.15.

Supervising fermentation in champagne tanks!

Veuve Clicquot is a French champagne house known the world over. Founded in 1772, this prestigious house is now a subsidiary of LVMH. Its reputation is no accident. The house does not compromise on quality and its motto is 'Only one quality – the finest'. In order to ensure that it always makes the finest champagne, it also needs to be able to closely supervise its production systems.
Champagne producer Veuve Clicquot chooses PcVue to supervise its tanks

That is why, in late 2012, Veuve Clicquot revamped its fermentation cellar supervision system. The fermentation cellars are where the house makes its wine from harvested and pressed grapes. Supervising the tanks in which alcoholic and malolactic fermentation take place is crucial. However, the software being used by Veuve Clicquot was at the end of its life and the producer was no longer supporting it. It was therefore necessary that the house replace its 10-year-old supervision system by a more recent and better performing solution.

"We needed to replace it by a lasting solution that would be supported for many years to come," says Franck Berruyer, sales engineer at Arc Informatique, the company behind the PcVue supervision system installed at Veuve Clicquot.

"In addition to various technical factors, we chose the PcVue 10 software suite because of the relationship of trust we have maintained with Arc Informatique and because the cost of the licences is economically suited to Veuve Clicquot's needs," says Stéphane Fournier, manager of SF2I, the company that developed and integrated the supervision software. Another advantage of PcVue is that it has the same HMI as the previous software, meaning that the operators were able to use PcVue immediately. Furthermore, Guy Jendryka, manager of the electricity, automation and industrial computing department at Veuve Clicquot, stresses that one of PcVue's strengths is that it is easy to adjust and program. "With the previous system, you really had to be an IT specialist to be able to upgrade the software. PcVue is much easier to modify as needed."

The development architecture is based on PcVue objects and greatly facilitated the supervision software's design. Because Veuve Clicquot's fermentation cellars contain 400 tanks of various types and volumes (50 hl to 725 hl), the developers had to be able to use models so as to reduce programming, and hence maintenance times. Depending on their type, the tanks are fitted with up to three temperature-control sensors and manual or automatic valves. The application manages some 40 variables per tank for a total of 16,000! "The object development architecture saves time and simplifies operations. Once the model was made for the dozen existing tank models, it was simply a matter of instantiating the objects and automatically generating the communication variables," says Mr Fournier.

With its virtual architecture, PcVue runs on a server that is installed in a secure, air-conditioned and filtered room protected from the damp. The application's maintainability and portability on new physical machines is thus simplified. The fact that, in such a virtualised environment, the software is decoupled from the hardware means that reinstallation and commissioning times in the event of failure are considerably reduced.

The operators control the PcVue supervision
software via a 42" touch screen installed at the
entrance to the fermentation cellars.
Five web-based clients allow the cellar managers to view the supervision system and select its setpoints via their PC. Operators can also monitor and control the software via a 42" touch screen that is installed in the lobby and within view of all visitors. The software communicates with the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) over a Modbus TCP/IP network while a VPN (virtual private network) link is used to collect information from the tanks in the house's other fermentation cellars. Fourteen fermentation modules are housed in the main cellar in Reims and four others are located in various towns across the Champagne vineyard at distances of 30 to 200 km from the main cellar! The VPN saves a tremendous amount of time. "Being able to supervise all our fermentation cellars from one place eliminates the need to drive to each cellar. The supervision system issues an alert if a serious temperature control issue crops up," says Stéphane Fournier.

Mr Jendryka can now monitor all his tanks from his desktop PC. "PcVue supervisor has made our fermentation cellars smart. We can monitor every aspect of temperature control from just one place."

Encouraged by this positive experience, Veuve Clicquot's technical teams quickly realised how PcVue could be used elsewhere. Not only does it supervise the fermentation of wine in the tanks, it also monitors the production of cold during cold stabilisation after final blending.

PcVue does not control these operations; it is used simply to view their settings and archive, log and track temperatures, faults and other data. It is also used for effluent monitoring purposes at the two treatment plants – it manages acid and sodium-hydroxide levels, tracks pH and flow-rate values (weekly dashboard report for Dreal, the regional directorate for the environment, land-use planning and housing) – and to e-mail resupply alerts to the managers when levels become low.

And that's not all! PcVue is being deployed to other areas of Veuve Clicquot's operations. By the end of the year it will be running on the wrapping line (placement of foil capsules and labels on bottles prior to shipment). "We are going to use it in particular to retrieve production orders from SAP and provide the laser ID to be affixed onto the glass and back-label," says Mr Jendryka.

Compact and low cost single output switching power supplies

The JSF series of single output enclosed switched mode power supplies from Stadium Power now offer a compact and low cost power supply with a high operating temperature up to 70°C for industrial, instrumentation, telecoms and IT systems.

The JSF series is available with output power ratings of 25W, 50W, 75W and 100W with a 3 year warranty.

Output voltage is specified as 3.3, 5, 9, 12, 15, 24 and 48VDC and all models offer a wide input voltage range (universal input voltage or user selectable voltage depending on model). Other key specifications include inrush current limit, over voltage protection and over current protection. All models meet international safety standards including UL, C-UL, CE, CB and comply with EMC standards EN55011/EN55022-B, FCC-B. Operating temperature range is -10 to +70°C and the power supplies will operate over the humidity range 20 to 90% RH (non-condensing).

Online orders are available for next day delivery from stocks held in Britain.