Friday, August 15, 2014

Ethernet redundancy device sets speed record!

Ruggedcom RS950G demonstrates 1 Gbps wirespeed throughput in IEC 62439-3 interoperability test

Siemens Ruggedcom RS950G has set a speed record: the utility grade IEC 62439-3 compatible product demonstrated a transmission rate of 1 Gbps on HSR (high-availability seamless redundancy) and PRP (Parallel Redundancy Protocol) links. This was achieved during interoperability tests conducted in July 2014 in Bilbao (Spain) in preparation for an interoperability demonstration by the UCA International Users Group (UCAlug), a non-profit organization that includes utilities, suppliers, universities and other institutions from several countries that is dedicated to enhancing interoperability for the utility enterprise using open international standards.
The RS950G is designed to operate reliably in harsh industrial environments such as power generation and distribution, and for rail transport. The results of this recent interoperability test demonstrated that Ruggedcom RS950G meets the demands of the high-speed communications networks of the future by achieving a transmission rate of 1 Gbps on HSR and PRP whilst supporting future-oriented standards such as IEC 61850-3 and IEEE 1588.

See it here!
• Siemens will be showcasing Ruggedcom RS950G alongside other network components at CIGRE Session 2014 in Paris (F), on its stand #277. Visitors can also see live IEC 61850 interoperability demonstration of products from various manufacturers, including Ruggedcom RS950G, at the UCAIug Stand #370.

Read 1D and 2D codes in to PCs, smartphones and tablets!

For part detection and goods allocation, handheld scanners for 1D and 2D codes are an indispensable tool in day-to-day industrial operations. Crucial in terms of their efficiency are a high reading performance, ease of use, and additional functions that make the user's job easier. These include flexible options for adapting the handheld scanner to the respective application and connection to smartphones and tablet PCs.

The new OHV100 and OHV200 handheld scanners from Pepperl+Fuchs are characterised by excellent scanning features and numerous functional features. Whether it is the secure reading of codes on reflective surfaces such as metals and plastics and under foil packaging, or the optical sighting mechanism with which the codes are sighted quickly and with pinpoint accuracy, the handhelds can perform almost anything asked of them by the user.

With their high resolution of 1.2 megapixels and the wide operating range of 50 - 310 mm, they not only afford staff greater freedom at work, they also allow the capture of small and large codes with the same device. This comes courtesy of a patented dual lens with separate near and long ranges. With the facilities provided by the Vision Configurator parameterisation software, the user is able to realise perfect integration of devices into the application. For example, all available parameters can be adapted, sets of parameters managed, output strings formatted, and application-specific control codes created. The handheld scanners in the OHV series contain a Java Script license via which even intelligent user-specific functions can be implemented. Housed in a robust housing with the high degree of protection IP 65 or IP 54, the handheld scanners are optimally equipped for harsh industrial conditions.

To transfer the data to the computer system, either a USB or an RS232 interface is used with the OHV100, while the OHV200 features wireless connection via Bluetooth to a detection range of 30 m. Working outside the radio range is possible thanks to the large integrated data memory. The captured data can be transferred later via the charging tray. Bluetooth further enables the data to be sent conveniently to IOS-based smartphones as well as tablets, and transferred directly to open applications; this requires no additional hardware or software whatsoever. Conversely, the handheld scanners also support readings from the smartphone displays. Other special features include code capture during movement and user feedback via either an optical, acoustic, or vibration signal. Frequently used functions can simply be set on one of the freely programmable keys. The OHV200 is available in two versions—with and without a handle; the latter is ideally suited to being carried in a pocket, and for mobile use.

Hall-effect current sensors cover range from 100 A to 800 A.

Harting has introduced a range of Hall-effect current sensors with a current range from 100 A to 800 A. The new HCSE (Hall-effect current sensors Eco) family consists of four models, and are based on the open-loop measurement principle which provides a direct representation of the primary current with an accuracy of up to ±1%.

The HCSE sensors can measure direct or alternating currents, including signals with complex waveforms, over a frequency range from 0 to 50 kHz. Because the devices use proven Hall-effect technology to sense the magnetic field created by the current flowing in a conductor, they provide non-contact, galvanically isolated measurements with high immunity to interference from the magnetic fields of external current-carrying conductors.

The wide temperature range of -25° to +85°C allows use in thermally critical applications. The sensors come in standard sizes and their compact, unified shape across the whole product range offers a high degree of freedom for integration into individual applications.

Thanks to their high reliability and accuracy, the new sensors are ideal for application such as power supplies for welding equipment, rectifiers for direct current drives or uninterruptible power supplies.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rotary actuators for internal valves in LP-gas services!

Fisher® P700 series rotary actuators for Fisher C series valves help to deliver full valve capacity and reduce maintenance in LP-gas applications

Emerson has released the Fisher P700 rotary style actuator for use with Fisher C series internal valves in LP-Gas services. These actuators offer a reliable method to remotely operate internal valves on storage tanks, delivery trucks, and bulk transports.

The P700 series actuators assure efficient performance of both the actuator and the Fisher C series internal valve to deliver full valve capacity. It is designed to precisely actuate Fisher internal valves and eliminate side-load wear. The P700 series minimises actuator air consumption, while maximising service life. The rotary actuators provide easy installation, durable construction, and reliable performance.

The P700 series actuators are compatible with air, nitrogen, or propane vapour. They include a ¼” (6.35mm) UL® approved thermal fuse plug to provide shut-off in the event of an emergency situation and feature a maximum allowable inlet pressure of 8.6 bar (125 PSIG)

Telemetry lift link load cell offers flexibility in lifting load monitoring!

The new ET24 telemetry lift link load cell’s contemporary power management means transmission distances in excess of 200 metres are achievable in open-field situations, avoiding the expense and problematic use of cabling.  The telemetry lift link’s batteries will last for more than 600 hours with the batteries in the handheld display lasting up to 40.  There’s no need to worry about finding special batteries either as both the load cell and display use any standard AA alkaline type.  The antenna is internal so there’s no risk of damage during handling or operation, giving the ET24 telemetry an IP65 environmental protection rating.

Wireless Monitoring from Multiple Locations

This telemetry system allows for easy wireless monitoring from multiple locations and by many personnel simultaneously, thanks to its radio station like broadcast that allows as many receivers as you want to pick up that data. The ET24′s superb adaptability also allows the use of multiple load cells in a single application, such as a multi-point lift or multi-crane lifts, enabling instant simultaneous high accuracy readings. By using the T24-HA handheld indicator you can display the sum of the outputs from up to 12 telemetry lift link load cells and scroll through the readings from each individual lift link if required.

More Channels of Measurement

Here’s an example of a multi-point monitoring system:

  • T24-HA Handheld Display – Provides a local, portable readout of live load (possible users: Site Foreman, Project Engineers, Lead Engineers).
  • T24-SO Module & SERIALDIS Display – Provides a large LED display of the live reading to provide in-cab monitoring for a crane operator.
  • T24-RM1 Relay Module – Has 2x 240V/5A relays which can be used to trigger a safety cut-out in case an overload situation occurs.
  • T24-BSue Base Station and T24Log24 Software – Provides live monitoring and logging capability, allowing load data to be collected throughout the entire lifting procedure for future review and analysis.
The T24-SO serial output moduleT24-RM1 relay moduleand T24-PR1 printer can work with up to 8 telemetry lift link load cells simultaneously, adding their outputs.  If you need more channels of measurement, then it’s time to move over to the T24Log24 software, a purely PC-based monitoring system.  The T24Log24 software will display and log data from up to 24 measuring channels simultaneously, giving you a complete system overview with the ability to zero individual channels with a single click if required.
Superb Accuracy
The ET24 telemetry lift link’s superb accuracy of ±0.3% of the reading is unbeaten in its price range, making the ET24 not only a high accuracy telemetry lift link load cell, but a fantastically affordable one too.

Certificate for design!

Magnetrol® International NV, in Zele (B), has received a BREEAM® Interim Certificate for the Design Stage of its production and office facilities expansion, achieving a score of Very Good.

BREEAM is the world's foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, with over 250,000 building certifications and over a million buildings registered for assessment since its inception in 1990.

MAGNETROL regional headquarters for the EMEAI markets has been located in Zele for more than 40 years. A result of the company’s strong growth, the expansion project increases the facility footprint by more than 5,000 square meters. With ground-breaking on December 12, 2012, production facilities completed in October 2013 and office space completed in June 2014, the Zele manufacturing complex will be one of the first industrial buildings in Belgium with BREEAM certification.

“BREEAM is the world standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and is a widely recognized measure of a building’s environmental performance,” said Jeff Swallow, CEO of MAGNETROL. “We are proud that the Zele facilities have been designed to optimize energy and water use, and minimize impacts of pollution, transport, materials and waste on the environment.”

Magnetrol Products are marketed in Ireland through Ntron!

High peak power amplifier!

A new, turnkey high peak power amplifier which provides pulse fidelity and repeatability with high reliability is being introduced by Diversified Technologies.

DTI PowerMod™ Solid-State Klystron Transmitters include a PLC-based controller, pulse transformer, high voltage solid-state switch, and the required protection circuitry to run a Klystron. Featuring > 0.1% pulse fidelity and repeatability, with 100,000 hours MTBF, this Klystron modulator is an ideal building block for high availability applications such as particle accelerators and mission-critical radars.

Minimising the stress on the system in the event of a tube arc or fault, Diversified Technologies’ PowerMod™ high voltage solid-state opening switch technology contributes to long tube life and high availability, with rapid fault recovery. Peak RF power is available to 100 MW, pulse widths from 1 µs to 5 mS repetition rate to 1 KHz, voltage flatness is < 1%, reproducibility is 0.1%, and pulse-to-pulse jitter is < 5 nanoseconds.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Interactive timeline celebrates 40 years of innovation!

Michell Instruments is celebrating 40 years of business this year. Michell is very much part of the ‘Cambridge phenomenon’ of scientific and engineering companies that started life in the city. From humble beginnings in a small building with just a handful of employees, Michell has grown to become one of the largest high-tech manufacturers in the region, with over 90% of its output exported to Europe, Asia and the Americas

To mark the key points in its history and to track its growth over the last 40 years, Michell has created an interactive timeline on its website.

Follow the link to discover some interesting facts about Michell’s pioneering work in the field of moisture measurement. For example, back in 1980, Michell worked with the NPL to create the Britain's first humidity transfer standard, and Michell’s calibration laboratory was the first in the world to have accreditation for humidity calibrations. They were also the first to introduce a 2-wire dew-point transmitter: an innovation that transformed moisture sensing by allowing online measurements in the field with simple transmission of data back to a control room.

Another first for Michell was the development of the ‘dark spot’ technique to measure hydrocarbon dew point in natural gas, which is a key parameter in ensuring the quality of natural gas, especially at points of custody transfer. The resulting instrument, the Condumax, became the most reliable automatic method of measuring hydrocarbon dew point, and was only superseded by the Condumax II which was introduced in 2006. Currently the majority of the online hydrocarbon dew-point analyzers installed around the world today are Condumax or Condumax II.

The timeline covers all these innovations, and more – such as Michell’s global growth.

• Michell's products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Industry-leading measurement distance and temperature resolution for maintenance of plants and other infrastructure!

The DTSX®3000 distributed temperature sensor has been announced by Yokogawa. With a one-metre spatial resolution, this distributed temperature sensor can measure the temperature along fibre-optic cables up to 50 km in length, eight times the distance possible with the company’s previous model. In terms of measurement distance and temperature resolution, this is one of the industry’s top-performing distributed temperature sensors.

The DTSX®3000 is well suited for plant and infrastructure maintenance applications that necessitate the monitoring of temperature over long distances or across wide areas. Specific applications include the detection of gas and liquid leaks in tanks and other large production facilities, and the detection of abnormal heat levels in power lines.

Development background
Yokogawa currently sells the DTSX®200 distributed temperature sensor for use in applications that include the monitoring of temperatures in unconventional oil and gas wells, the detection of leaks of high- or low-temperature liquids and gases from pipelines or tanks, and the detection of abnormal heat buildup in coal and wood chip conveyors. In contrast to conventional techniques that rely on the use of multiple surveillance cameras or thermocouples and resistance temperature detectors, distributed temperature sensors can be easily routed along the course of any object that requires management. Their temperature readings can be displayed on a computer monitor, allowing maintenance personnel to quickly spot and respond to any problems.

With its long measurement distance and high temperature resolution, the DTSX3000 meets the need for a single device that is capable of detecting minute temperature changes and monitoring the temperature distribution over a long distance or across a wide area.

Product features
1. Industry-leading measurement distance
The DTSX3000 can measure the temperature distribution along a fibre-optic cable that is up to 50 km in length, more than eight times the distance possible with conventional products (6 km). The DTSX3000 is ideal for measuring the temperature distribution in power lines, high- or low-temperature liquid and gas pipelines and tanks, and other large facilities.

2. Top-level temperature resolution
The development of shale gas fields requires sensors that are capable of detecting even minute changes in the temperature distribution in a bedrock formation during the hydraulic fracturing process. In just ten minutes, the DTSX3000 is capable of measuring the distributed temperature along a 6-km fibre-optic cable, and it does this with a top-level temperature resolution of 0.03ºC, 20 times the precision possible with conventional products. Thus, the DTSX3000 can be used in a wide range of applications, from the hydraulic fracturing of bedrock formations to the monitoring of temperature levels inside wells during the gas recovery process.

Major Target Markets
Oil and natural gas, pulp and paper, iron and steel, electric power, non-ferrous metal, and chemical industries


  • Monitoring of underground temperatures for unconventional oil and natural gas exploration and production
  • Monitoring of the temperature distribution in multiple wells
  • Fire detection in conveyors
  • Monitoring of the temperature distribution in long-distance power lines
  • Detection of liquid and gas leaks in pipelines and tanks
  • Monitoring of the temperature of the outer walls of high-temperature furnaces used in the iron and steel, chemical, and other industries

Enhanced SCADA system to streamline oil and gas operations!

The OpenEnterprise™ v3 SCADA system delivers operational efficiency and helps reduce lifecycle maintenance and operating expense

The OpenEnterprise v3 SCADA platform has been released by Emerson for the upstream production and distribution market. The new OpenEnterprise release offers ease-of-use and expanded device connectivity for communication protocols. User-friendly tools in OpenEnterprise v3 alleviate the pain of operating and managing large installations of RTUs and flow computers.

The latest OpenEnterprise v3 release introduces a new paradigm to the SCADA automation market with its ‘Action Engine’ technology. OpenEnterprise v3 offers an intelligent automation engine that does not require programming or scripting to manage complex sequential control. This enables users to gain competitive advantage and increases operator productivity.

The Action Engine’s rapid application development and change management tools enable users to get their new system commissioned quickly and empowers them to make automation changes required to meet changing business needs. OpenEnterprise v3 is a source for real-time data for both operational and business users and as such is an integral part of business processes, providing a unified platform for better decision-making across the enterprise.

The template-based design of the software simplifies the process of building the SCADA database, enabling faster well replication and easier management of field installations with a mixture of RTU types.

“The latest OpenEnterprise v3 offers the SCADA market a step change in value when it comes to ease-of-use by offering an open SCADA platform that is designed to be protocol and RTU agnostic,” says Craig Llewellyn, president, Emerson Process Management, Remote Automation Solutions. “OpenEnterprise v3 users realise increased operator productivity as new employees save on training time and are able to operate the SCADA system faster.”

OpenEnterprise v3 ease-of-use also applies to the deployment of flexible system architectures needed for geographically remote locations. It supports a distributed communication middleware that allows clustering of remote radio towers into a single consolidated centralised server. OpenEnterprise v3 also offers significant lifecycle cost savings by leveraging an integrated wireless SCADA architecture. By integrating the WirelessHART® instrumentation network along with the Distributed RTU™ Network, remote oil and gas operations are easier, safer, and more secure.

Unlike traditional SCADA software, OpenEnterprise v3 is not licensed by tag count and consists of scalable software tiers that are fit for applications from local metering to mega intelligent oilfield automation projects that require automation of thousands of wells. A simplified unlimited licensing model lowers initial software licensing costs, while generating major cost savings as the system grows over the project lifecycle.

Code readers with innovative polarisation filter!

Reads on reflective surfaces!

reliable reading on reflective surfaces
Vision Sensors today can be highly sophisticated systems, as illustrated by the new OPC 120 Series code reader for 1-D and 2-D codes. In addition to its functionality, compact design, and high speed, the special features of this device include a polarization filter for reading high-gloss materials and a PROFINET connection

With the OPC120 Series code readers, Pepperl+Fuchs offers stationary readers for detecting and decoding 1-D and 2-D codes, such as barcodes and Data Matrix codes. The housing may be only 70 mm wide, 70 mm high, and 54 mm deep, but contains a CMOS imager, an LED flash, and a control interface. The code reader is capable of reading the majority of code symbologies that are currently in use and is available in two versions. The OPC120W design comes at an attractive price and can be used in many standard tasks that have normal reading speed requirements. By contrast, the OPC120P is the "high-end" design, reaching high reading speeds of 100 readings/s or tape speeds of up to 10 m/s.

Innovative Polarization Filter Technology Eliminates Reflections
A typical weakness of optical sensors is the fact that they are affected by unfavorable reflections that may be caused by external light or the camera's own light. Under normal circumstances, it is rarely possible to completely prevent reflections as they are dependent on multiple factors, including the reading angle of the code reader, the angle of the light source, and the orientation and structure of the surface on which the code to be detected is located. Codes on rounded, curved, or cylindrical objects made from reflective materials—such as ball bearings or metal tubing—are particularly difficult to assess, as various reading angles can occur during a single reading.

Developers at Pepperl+Fuchs have equipped the OPC120P with unique polarization filter technology that prevents faulty readings in these and similar scenarios. This technology eliminates harmful reflections and enables more reliable readings to be taken, even if codes are located on highly reflective surfaces such as metals, plastics, and printed circuit boards, or on film.
Reliable reading on printed circuit boards
No More Refocusing or Parameter Changes Required
The exceptionally large reading distance range of 70 to 180 mm makes a significant contribution to the efficiency and flexibility of the Vision Sensor. The OPC120P is capable of reading codes on reflective surfaces and at different distances without mechanical refocusing or parameter changes being required. There is no need for auxiliary side lighting or adjustable lenses, as are commonly required when using other readers in challenging situations.

As well as detecting 1-D and 2-D codes, the code readers are able to check for the presence of variable textures and static graphics. The presence detection function ensures that variable structures—such as use-by dates and dates of manufacture—really are located at a pre-defined point, e.g. on food packaging. Logo detection allows non-variable features—such as company logos—to be detected and checked. The reader is able to read long codes by means of multiple image capture if it is confronted with codes that do not fit in one image. The device automatically combines up to six consecutive images so that it can easily decode extremely long codes or those on round objects.

It is often the case that multiple codes need to be read in one application. The OPC120 allows up to four codes to be read in a single image capture. The device can not only read codes but also process up to four tasks, such as presence and logo detection, in a single image capture.
Read up to four codes in a single image capture
PROFINET Connection with Integrated Switch
The OPC120 is available with all major interface variants, making it easy to integrate into systems and machinery. These interfaces include RS232, digital inputs/outputs, a connectivity option for a rotary encoder or trigger sensor, Ethernet TCP/IP, and the latest addition: "PROFINET." Industrial Ethernet supports a transfer rate of 100 Mbit/s and meets the real-time requirements of PROFINET IO Real-Time Conformance Class A. The developers have simultaneously integrated a two-port switch as an ideal solution enabling a direct connection to the next PROFINET device. This enables networks to be implemented in a linear topology without the need for additional coupling or switches. All configuration settings for the Vision Sensor can be accessed via PROFINET, while the Vision Configurator Windows software serves as a front end for parameterization purposes. Additional options offered by the code reader include access to the fault pattern memory, output of the code quality, and manipulation and formatting of the result strings.

MES for complex biopharmaceutical production implemented in only four months!

World's largest biotech plant for contract manufacturing of recombinant influenza vaccines set up / PAS-X standard software product, fast-track implementation and MBR modeling accelerate MES deployment

The Japanese biotech company UNIGEN Inc. has taken Werum's PAS-X Manufacturing Execution System (MES) into operation within a record time of only four months. The short implementation time was possible because the company relied on a standard solution. PAS-X is operational with all functionalities out of the box.

CST & Werum project managers
at project acceptance
UNIGEN implemented PAS-X using Werum's four-phased fast-track implementation methodology: Ready, Fit, Build and Run. Part of the project and a big success element was the flexible and easy-to-handle PAS-X content and library based MBR modeling.

At the greenfield site in Gifu, Japan, the joint venture of the Japanese pharmaceutical company UMN Pharma and the heavy equipment manufacturer IHI Corporation set up one of the largest plants for production of recombinant influenza vaccines and contract manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products. The plant comprises five floors, covering an area of two soccer fields, and accommodates several bioreactors, each with a capacity of 21,000 liters.

At the new plant, UNIGEN uses an innovative and complex biopharmaceutical manufacturing process called Baculovirus Expression Vector System (BEVS). For this process, UNIGEN required a standardized production management software, which is able to meet the high quality and compliance standards in accordance with the Japanese zero-error tolerance. Werum's PAS-X won over several competitor solutions in a multi-stage selection procedure.

PAS-X was delivered with the entire user interface in Japanese. Werum carried out this project in close cooperation with their Japanese integration partner CST Chiyoda System Technologies Corporation. PAS-X considerably reduces the documentation effort for the entire manufacturing process. In addition, the PAS-X functions support warehouse management and automatic workflows based on the underlying SCADA system.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Electromagnetic design pioneers celebrate 30 years of success!

Three of the earliest Vector Fields employees still work for Cobham Technical Services
(LtoR) Chris Biddlecombe, John Simkin and Chris Riley.
Coinciding with Cobham’s 80th anniversary celebrations, the developers of the renowned Opera electromagnetic simulation software are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Vector Fields Software business unit. Initially focused on making the design of particle accelerator magnets practical, their software tools remain at the leading edge of electromagnetic design today. This success is in large part due to continuing development of the founders' pioneering ideas for numerical software - which made possible the first practical commercial solution for solving complex and three-dimensional electromagnetic simulations.

The first major users for Opera software were almost all at the major physics labs around the world. At these sites, Opera was used to prototype advanced superconducting and resistive magnets for high energy and particle physics research - equipment which was too large and costly to prototype and refine in the normal 'cut and try' way. This user base at the very forefront of global scientific knowledge still remains a major strand of the company's business. However, the functionality of Opera and the user-friendliness of the design tools, has evolved almost beyond recognition to offer solutions for a much broader range of design requirements.

Opera has a distinguished track record of technological firsts and pioneering advances in electromagnetic design. Although progress in computing and graphics technology have been of enormous importance and often appear to underpin advances in the field, the background work of Opera developers on fundamental mathematical techniques, on accurately modelling material properties, speeding design entry and analysis, and optimising designs, has resulted in orders of magnitude improvements in the speed and fidelity of the virtual prototyping process. Today, much of the company's research revolves around allowing the software to perform ever more complex multi-physics simulation of electromagnetic design problems - taking into account factors such as mechanical stress and temperature – and improving performance using parallel computing.

"When we started in business, speed of simulation was the most fundamental challenge we faced," says Chris Riley, who was the fifth employee to join the early start-up Vector Fields business. "Even though we now have orders of magnitude more computing power, execution speed is still a critical challenge - because the scale and complexity of design problems also continually expands. It doesn't matter if you're designing a multi-million dollar magnet system for steering particle beams, or a $20 electromechanical actuator - today's users want to squeeze the last fraction of a percent of perfection out of any idea. And that demands capabilities such as 3D modelling, finer resolution of finite element meshing, consideration of multi-physics effects and intelligent optimisation. The challenges keep on coming, and overcoming them to deliver software that can be used to perform optimal electromagnetic design is the driving force behind Opera today."

The technology behind Opera began life at Britain's Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL) who cooperated with CERN in the 1970s to help break down a barrier as particle physics research moved towards higher energy accelerators - the need to reliably design superconducting magnets. After initial work on volume integral formulation software the team looked at solving Maxwell's equations using the more versatile finite element analysis technique. Chris Biddlecombe, now Opera Development Manager, created a program called PE2D (Poisson's Equation in Two Dimensions) using magnetic vector potential, which met with considerable success. However, making a direct transition to three-dimensional analysis would not have been viable with the computer resources available in the late 1970s. This led RAL scientists Bill Trowbridge and John Simkin - who went on to found Vector Fields in 1984 – to develop a new computational technique based on the use of scalar potentials. The commercial electromagnetic finite element 'solver' - named TOSCA for TOtal SCAlar - was a breakthrough and won its developers the Maxwell Premium Award from the UK's IEE. Its ideas still form the basis of much of the Opera suite of tools today.

The core electromagnetic simulation technology was in place. The focus of much of the early work for the fledgling Vector Fields business was the development of a graphical modelling and post-processing environment, and analysis functionality - to create a comprehensive suite of user-friendly tools for the virtual prototyping design process. This all came together by the late 1980s, and it was dubbed Opera. Vector Fields continued successfully developing more application specific tools and advanced analysis capabilities, often in collaboration with prestigious partners, from leading-edge industrials to educational leaders. Vector Fields now trades under the Cobham brand after joining the Cobham group in 2005, where it has continued to grow and maintain its place as one of the world leaders.

Today, thousands of users employ Opera for design and simulation tasks for applications such as electrical machines, transformers, X-ray tubes, ion beam sources, ship signature calculations and non-destructive test equipment. The company's recent annual European User Group Meeting saw presentations on applications as diverse as HEV traction motors to particle accelerators, magnetic gearing to aerospace components.

Recent advances include parallel-processing capability to match modern hardware, the first multi-language versions and enhancements to deliver true easy-to-use multi-physics models.

“In the ever-advancing world of virtual prototyping there is no such thing as resting on your laurels” says Kevin Ward, director of the Vector Fields Software business. “We have an exciting five-year plan ahead of us for Opera, launching into new applications, putting it in the hands of a new wave of engineers, and establishing the technology in emerging markets.”

Medical packaging inspection!

Stemmer will be showing the Contact Image Sensor (CIS) from Mitsubishi Electric at this years MEDTECH Ireland (Galway, 1-2 Oct 2014). This is the latest in document reading technology and can be used to scan labels, instruction leaflets and medical packaging in full colour to check for print defects, colour defects or logo defects.

Image formation in the CIS is achieved via a double-row lens array, using gradient index rod-lenses, matched to a colour tri-linear CMOS sensor. Each individual lens captures an image of a very small region of the target. Thanks to some overlap in the individual images, a clear, sharp, combined image with virtually no distortion is produced along the narrow line of the sensor with a resolution of 600 dpi.

CIS combines high data rates, high sensitivity, excellent colour rendition and resolution without any additional effort in set-up, camera alignment or calibration. Image data output is provided via standard industrial CameraLink interfaces. Built-in timing control includes encoder inputs and light control. Two sets of integral white LED lighting can be varied in intensity and controlled independently. CIS products are available in three different lengths, offering scan widths of 309, 617 and 926 mm.

Japanese company Company recognised for significant research quantifying reliability wireless technology!

LtoR: Toshi Hasegawa, Yokogawa (ISA100 WCI), 
K. Minamizato, NSENGI and Hisashi Sasajima, Azbil (ISA100 WCI)
NIPPON STEEL & SUMIKIN ENGINEERING (NSENGI) has been awarded the “ISA100 Wireless Excellence in Automation Award” for a recently completed research project that quantified the reliability of ISA100 Wireless technology in a multi-vendor device configuration at an operational site.

The consortium was recognised for documenting findings and analysis based upon research conducted at an operational manufacturing site. The objective of the research was to quantify the reliability of communication in wireless networks, specifically ISA100 Wireless. The award is sponsored by the ISA 100 Wireless Compliance Institute.

Included below are some key details of the completed research project.
  • Type of manufacturing facility: Waste recycling plant
  • Number of devices included in the research project: 22 devices
  • Number of different suppliers included in the configuration: Three companies
  • Companies represented: Azbil, Fuji Electric and Yokogawa
  • Duration of the research trials: July 2013 – January 2014
The team identified engineering techniques to optimise performance of the wireless network in response to various adverse conditions present at the plant site. It set out to confirm that:
  1. The wireless network successfully supports a multi-vendor device configuration
  2. Field test results are confirmed independently of supplier claims
The team also set out to increase subject matter knowledge through first-hand experience with wireless instruments and confirming:
  1. Interoperability among diverse suppliers of wireless devices
  2. Characteristics for wireless propagation in a multi-vendor device configuration
In general, the team sought first-hand data about the reliability and stability of wireless technology. As part of its study objective, the team recognized that it would be useful to evaluate performance characteristics at an operating plant site to document and quantify factors such as distance, density of obstructions, types of obstructions, and other factors. The team experimented with system and site engineering alternatives to identify methods to ensure reliability and interoperability.

“For example, the team implemented variations on the installation design, publication period of wireless transmissions (configurable in ISA100 Wireless), number of publication retries and other adjustments,” explained K. Minamizato, Manager, Technology Headquarters, NSENGI.

While detailed results of the study have not yet been made publicly available, the team concluded that ISA100 Wireless network reliability was practical for actual industrial applications.

Looking forward, the team expects that the capability of any ISA100 Wireless certified device to interoperate in the same wireless network will:
  1. Expand the portfolio of wireless devices from a variety of suppliers
  2. Drive down costs/prices of wireless instruments
The team also predicts that with greater availability of wireless instruments and costs trending downward, selecting wireless instrument technology will become easier to justify, and the industry will witness more widespread adoption of wireless technology.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Routers for wired remote access to automation networks & components!

Siemens has extended its industrial remote communication portfolio with three new industrial routers from the Scalance M series of products. The Scalance M812-1 and Scalance M816-1 enable users to access automation networks and components remotely from anywhere in the world over the public digital subscriber lines (DSL) of different providers.

The third new router – the Scalance M826-2 – is designed for communication over private (leased) lines. The new routers are particularly suitable for applications in which wireless communication is either restricted or impossible, for example in the field of water treatment plants or medical technology.

As ADSL routers, the Scalance M812-1 and M816-1 ensure the reliable, low-cost connection of Ethernet-based subnets and programmable controllers to wired DSL networks that support the ASDL2+ (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) protocol. Transmission rates of up to 25 Mbit/s from network to end device (downlink) and 3.5 Mbit/s from device to network (uplink) can be achieved with the new Siemens routers. The Scalance M826-2 SHDSL router (single-pair high-speed digital subscriber line) is connected to the Ethernet by means of private two-wire or stranded cables. For two-wire cables the router ensures fast transmission rates of up to15.3 Mbit/s, which can be boosted accordingly in case of installations with four or more wires.

Like all Scalance M products in the portfolio, the new DSL routers are robust and reliable in operation. A variety of security functions, such as an integral firewall and end-to-end encryption by setting up IPsec tunnels, protect user access and provide secure communication.

Harmonics mitigation!

CP Automation has a new whitepaper that addresses a lack of industry awareness of different methods of harmonic mitigation. It is designed to educate engineers on the most appropriate solutions to mitigate the damage caused by harmonic currents and utility level voltage distortion.

Authored by Jonas Persson, product manager at Comsys AB, Comparing harmonics mitigation techniques (pdf) highlights the challenges facing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in tackling the growing problem of harmonic currents. For many years this has held the industry back; the fact that engineers struggle to identify the best solutions for their needs due to a lack of information. The overall context is to reduce harmonic loading in a drive system.

The whitepaper details the four main mitigation techniques and their associated technologies. Covering series passive, series active, shunt passive and shunt active solutions, it presents in-depth case studies of real life implementations of each as well as theoretical worked examples explaining the benefits and drawbacks.

Knowing the different types of mitigation technique to employ is essential. There are three variations of the series-passive solution alone, line reactors, series harmonic filters and multi-phase, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing one over another is a decision that must be made from an informed perspective.

“Without both breadth and depth of knowledge, it is possible that the most efficient method of harmonic mitigation is being overlooked,” says John Mitchell, business development manager at CP Automation. “On top of that, there are numerous other challenges faced by engineers caused by the rise of non-linear loads, such as extra stresses on outdated equipment.”

“We hope this whitepaper will go some way to addressing the lack of information issue, which in turn will go some way to reducing the amount of harmonics related problems the wider engineering community encounters in electrical industry applications.”

Learning interfacing between enterprise and control systems.

The Ireland ISA Section in conjunction with ISA Europe have organised a training course in the ISA-95 standard. The course will be held in Cork 25th - 26th September 2014.

ISA-95 is an international standard for developing an automated interface between enterprise and control systems. This standard has been developed for global manufacturers. It was developed to be applied in all industries, and in all sorts of processes, like batch processes, continuous and repetitive processes.

The objectives of ISA-95 are to provide consistent terminology that is a foundation for supplier and manufacturer communications, provide consistent information models, and to provide consistent operations models which is a foundation for clarifying application functionality and how information is to be used.

The course will cover:
  • Standards and Models: ISA95 Standard | MESA International Model
  • Business Processes - The business logistics processes that interface to manufacturing control: procurement - product cost accounting - product inventory control – maintenance - production planning and scheduling
  • Production Processes: production – reporting – monitoring - operations planning - process support engineering
  • Information Model: Product definition information | Product capability information | Production information, segments, requests, rules, and responses | How to use the models to document integration requirements
Course fee is €1195,00 and the number of attendees is limited (First come, First served basis)! Participants will receive all training materials, the printed ISA-95 standards for every participant (value of €650,00) and ISA certificate for every participant. All amounts are in Euro and exclusive of VAT and inclusive travel and staying costs of the trainer.

One-stop solution for human-machine interfaces!

Human-machine interfaces play a key role when choosing manufacturing equipment. Potential purchasers not only consider the quality of the machine and the products it manufactures, but user-friendliness and a robust, well-designed operator control system, often influence decision-making just as much.

Engineering specialist Laempe & Mössner produce several lines of core shooters and equips its’ core shooting machines with Rittal’s support arm and housing systems.

A programmable logic controller manages all processes within the system and the human-machine interface comprises a panel PC with a touch screen. This enables the user to operate the equipment and to monitor current status. In addition to the panel PC, a number of other elements, such as an emergency off switch, signal pillars, valves and a pressure indicator, are required. All these components are contained in compact housings from Rittal’s Comfort Panel range.

Each housing is divided into three sections with the panel PC mounted in the centre, whilst the lower third accom-modates the switches, signal pillars and other control and display elements. The top part contains pressure and vacuum indicators, plus valves to control the pneumatic and vacuum systems. This logical arrange-ment, coupled with a spacious housing layout, enables a significant degree of standardisation.

To mount the housing securely on the machine, a solution is based on Rittal’s CP 120 support arm system. The strength of the support arm system, a very robust and reliable product, was pivotal in choosing Rittal’s solution as this has been an area where problems have occurred with previous vendors’ products in the past.