Monday 31 August 2015

Robust pattern recognition and pose estimation.

Stemmer Imaging is extending its machine vision software library Common Vision Blox (CVB) with the new CVB Polimago tool, which enables robust recognition rates at high speed. During the teaching phase, CVB Polimago automatically generates thousands of training images thus significantly reducing the effort for the user.

Pattern recognition is one of the major tasks in machine vision and is used in a variety of applications. The proper and robust functioning of pattern recognition largely depends on the variability of the teaching model. If geometrical transformations such as rotation, size changes and tilting as well as changes in illumination have not been taught during the teaching phase the recognition rate decreases in a later stage of the process. So far, the effort for the user has been significantly high in teaching variable training images as all kinds of geometrical transformations are supposed to be integrated in order to obtain a complete training set.

Stemmer’s CVB Polimago tool for pattern recognition saves its users a lot of time during the teaching phase: the algorithm generates artificial views of the model to simulate various positions of a component in real life. In this way the algorithm is able to learn the variability of the corresponding pattern which enables a reliable identification of the training image at a higher recognition rate even in different views. That is what makes CVB Polimago especially suitable for pattern recognition, pose estimation and object tracking.

The new CVB tool is offered as a module of the existing Common Vision Blox library and in addition to the improved teaching phase, allows a very high speed of execution enabling its use in real time applications. The seamless integration into the existing Common Vision Blox software portfolio makes it simple for those users who are already familiar with using CVB tools for pattern recognition. New users will also be able to quickly use CVB Polimago thanks to numerous application and programme examples.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Cellebrating and continuing 100 years of innovation!

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has created a corporate brand slogan to encourage the joint pursuit of activities with its customers that will create value and foster growth. The global launch of this new slogan, Co-innovating tomorrow, is September 1, the 100th anniversary of Yokogawa’s founding.

About the corporate brand slogan
The decision to create this new slogan has its origins in dramatic shifts in the company’s business environment that are the result of globalisation, the transition to a multipolar world order, and the industry changes that are accompanying the increasing integration of things and information. In response, Yokogawa has drawn up a long-term business framework and formulated a vision statement that reads, Through “Process co-innovation”, Yokogawa creates new value with its clients for a brighter future. Yokogawa is now accelerating its efforts to bring about a transformation that will allow the company to sustain growth for another 100 years. To share the essence of this vision statement with stakeholders and encourage all employees to join forces in the pursuit of this initiative, Yokogawa has established the corporate brand slogan of Co-innovating tomorrow.

About Co-innovating
The term Co-innovating conveys Yokogawa’s determination to engage in the co-creation of value through the development of solutions in long-term partnerships with clients. tomorrow expresses the company’s resolve to move steadily into the future one step at a time.
Under this new slogan, Yokogawa seeks to establish even stronger bonds of trust with its customers by working with them to create value and stimulate growth.

About Process Co-Innovation
Process Co-Innovation is a concept for an automation business that will utilise all of Yokogawa’s measurement, control, and information technologies. According to this concept, Yokogawa will seek not only to optimise production processes but also the flow of material and information within and between companies, including their value and supply chains. This concept will encompass the entire range of Yokogawa solutions and will entail a commitment to working with clients to create new value on their behalf.

Saturday 29 August 2015

TFT panels!

Varitronix has announced a new addition to their range of High-Resolution Colour TFT Panels. The new panel is 10.1” HD720 layout in 16 :9 format with overall dimensions of 224mm x 126mm (250mm approximate diagonal) and a pixel resolution of 1280 x720 RGB pixels.

Using Normally Black TFT technology and High Brightness backlight (800cd/m2) the panel is particularly suited to the Automotive and Marine markets, where high resolution enhances the readability of the image, particularly for mapping applications.

The new panel also offers an all-round wide viewing angle U/D/L/R 85° with minimum colour inversion, and a typical contrast ratio of 1000 : 1 while maintaining an Operating Temperature range of -30° C to +85° C.

The displays are manufactured in accordance with international certifications including ISO 9001 for general quality management and ISO/TS 16949 for quality management of automotive products.

The displays will have a wide variety of applications, including automotive, marine, industrial, commercial and medical markets.

Friday 28 August 2015

Petrochemical industry’s testing and monitoring event programme announced!

The organisers of PEFTEC 2015, the petrochemical industry’s testing and monitoring event, have unveiled details of the event’s Conference and Seminar Programme, featuring speakers from the oil and chemicals industries, technology manufacturers, standards organisations, research and academia. Speaker and abstract details are available for all of the Conference and Seminar presentations.
Taking place at the Antwerp Expo from 18th-19th November, PEFTEC 2015 was created to provide the petrochemical industry with an opportunity to discover the latest information on testing and monitoring, in the laboratory, in the field and on-site. Visitors will be able to choose from a wide variety of presentations covering key topics such as Analytical Standards, Quality Assurance, Regulation, Analytical Techniques, Process and Environmental Monitoring.

On Wednesday 18th November, the Conference will focus on Environmental Monitoring, Process Monitoring and Regulation in and around petroleum and petrochemical plants. Then on the following day, the conference will have an analytical theme, addressing issues such as the latest developments in Mass Spectrometry and Gas Chromatography, and in hybrid or hyphenated techniques, and novel detection technologies.

Visitors to PEFTEC 2015 may register now.  Registered visitors will be provided with free access to the event’s exhibition, featuring over 120 international laboratory and process monitoring equipment suppliers and analytical service providers.

The PEFTEC Seminars are also free to attend for registered visitors, and these will take place in the 8 seminar rooms that will be located in the Exhibition Hall. Over 80 Seminars will be available offering the latest help and advice on almost every issue relating to detection, monitoring and analysis in the petrochemical sector. “With so many different subjects to choose from, the Conference will address Environmental and Safety themes on the Wednesday whilst the Seminars address Analytical themes; and vice versa on the Thursday,” reports PEFTEC organiser Marcus Pattison. “By attending on both days, delegates will therefore be able to benefit from the presentations of most relevance to them.”

• See also our story: Petroleum, Refining & Environmental Monitoring Technologies - Exhibition/Conf for Belgium!

How to Produce a Sustainability Report.

A Step by Step Guide to the Practices and Processes.

This book, 'How to Produce a Sustainability Report' provides a step-by-step guide to the constituent practices and processes needed to produce a sustainability report. Author Kye Gbangbola says: “It’s like having a CSR* and sustainability reporting expert in your pocket, helping you to produce/improve your reporting.”

The book shows business and sustainability leaders how to produce disciplined, concise, quality, sustainability and CSR Reports.  It makes reporting accessible to all, guiding you through the process from business case to disseminating the completed report and feedback. 

The authors also provide invaluable tips on how to write a report.  It provides templates which enable reporting practices to be quickly embedded to engage stakeholders and identify 'what is material and where', and guidance on how to secure leadership over process and people. These are important for those organisations seeking to evidence and create value whilst saving time and money in the delivery of quality corporate reporting.

Tony Juniper wrote the Foreword, he describes the business environment needed to make the world function, and needed to manage risks.  This Fellow of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and President of the Society for the Environment says: 'I hope a great many people read it'.

This book is a masterclass in precisely the things that busy professionals, academics, investors and stakeholders need to know, it points out tactics and strategies that work for maximum beneficial impact.    

* CSR=corporate social responsibility

Accuracy in cryogenic air separation.

The Michell Instruments' XZ400TS series oxygen analyzer has proved itself to be a valuable instrument for quality control in cryogenic air separation. A leading European industrial gas company carried out tests with the instrument and it reliably operated at an accuracy of 0.1ppmV using a 10.5ppmV test gas, with the unit displaying exactly 10.5ppmV.

Cyrogenic air separation is used to produce high-purity oxygen, nitrogen, Argon and carbon dioxide. Highly accurate oxygen measurements are a crucial part of the quality assurance process. The XZR400 uses Michell’s MSRS zirconium oxide oxygen sensor, which contains a metallic sealed reference and ensures long-term repeatability of measurements as no reference air is required. Unlike electro-chemical sensors, which require regular replacement, the MSRS sensor of the XZR400 should last in excess of 7 years. Calibration is not needed as frequently either (every 3 – 6 months) and can be carried out with just one calibration gas saving time and money.

The XZR400 range features three configurations: rack, wall and bench mount. All models include an intuitive touch-screen interface for quick and easy operation, barometric pressure, digital flow meters and a 4-20mA output as standard.  Options include additional outputs such as Modbus RTU over RS485 protocol, RS232 and process pressure correction.

• Michell are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

MCERTS key to emissions monitors’ rental popularity.

Quantitech has reported a surge in demand for its rentable emissions analysers. The company’s Dominic Duggan says: “This is undoubtedly for two reasons; first and foremost, the two main analysers are MCERTS approved and secondly, they are both transportable and simple to carry from one site to the next.”

The two most popular instruments are a portable MCERTS approved FTIR multigas analyser; the Gasmet DX4000, and an MCERTS approved heated FID. The FTIR technology enables users to measure almost any compound and provides the facility to monitor up to 50 gases simultaneously. The DX4000’s corrosion resistant sample cell is heated to 180°C, which ensures that the sample gas stays in the gaseous phase even with high concentrations of moisture and corrosive gases.

While the DX4000 FTIR is able to measure almost any gaseous compound, the MCERTS certificate relates to the monitoring of CO, NO, H2O, SO2, HCl, NH3, NO2, N2O, CO2, O2 and HF. This instrument is also capable of monitoring speciated organic compounds but an MCERTS approved FID is currently required for the measurement of total organic compounds (TOC).

“As portable MCERTS approved instruments, these analysers monitor emissions using the same technology as fixed instruments, so they are used by test houses to check the performance of online monitors and by process managers to provide semi-continuous monitoring for multiple stacks and process applications,” adds Dominic. “Some of our customers rent this equipment in order to try it out before buying, but others rent it for short-term applications, or to provide emergency cover.”

RFID detection speeds in motor racing!

Harting has joined forces with the University of Osnabrück in Lower Saxony, Germany, in an experiment to verify the ability of the company’s RFID (radio-frequency identification) systems to detect objects moving at high speeds.
The object of the exercise is to determine how fast a vehicle can go and still be detected with maximum reliability using RFID. This question is highly relevant in real-world practice, as demonstrated by areas of application such as warehousing and rail transport.

Modern warehouse systems can involve objects moving at speeds exceeding 50 km/h and today‘s freight trains can reach up to 160 km/h. Reliable detection and error-free identification of goods and vehicles are essential for process safety at these high speeds – and high process reliability is the only way to ensure time and cost savings. Data must be collected quickly and safely in order, for example, to specifically direct goods onto a different conveyor belt or activate signals in railway environments.

The RFID team at Harting Technology Group investigated the question of “how fast is fast” in a joint effort with the Ignition Racing Team (IRT) of the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. As part of the Formula Student project, the IRT develops and builds its own racing cars. The performance metrics are spectacular: up to 1400 Nm of torque accelerate the race cars from zero to 120 km/h on a 75 m track – a normal car requires several times this value.

The experimental setup for the Harting RFID test was very simple: each racing car was equipped with an RFID transponder, and an RFID reader and antenna were situated alongside the track. The results were evaluated in real time in Harting’s Ha-VIS Middleware and written to a file – in exactly the same process as would be implemented in an actual customer application.

As a warm-up exercise, an electric racing car drove past the RFID antennas at 80 km/h. All systems functioned successfully and the car was reliably detected. The second race, involving an electric racing car at 120 km/h, also resulted in the vehicle being reliably detected. However, the electric cars only have a maximum speed of 120 km/h since the Formula Student project only uses a narrow track or involves a 75 m sprint. Consequently, in the third round a racing car with a combustion engine was used, reaching a top speed of 160 km/h (which is extremely fast for the Formula Student racing cars).

Even this failed to push the RFID technology to its limits, and so a roadster from a famous German manufacturer was driven in one last run. The result was startling: even at 200 km/h, the vehicle was quickly and reliably detected.

This final test involved a unique electronic product code with a length of 96 bits being successfully read nine times, proving the functionality of RFID technology at top speeds.

Minimising the energy consumption of industrial robots.

The Yokogawa PX8000 Precision Power Scope is playing a key part in tests being carried out by KUKA Systems as part of a programme designed to minimise the energy consumption of the latest generation of industrial robots.

As a subsidiary of robotics and plant engineering company KUKA AG, KUKA Systems plans and implements automated production and assembly lines. A key focus of the company is the provision of complete solutions for joining, assembly and handling operations in the automotive and other industries. Robots are ideal for such tasks they offer the flexibility to produce different products via simple program changes.

Energy consumption is becoming a key aspect in robotics, and KUKA is participating with around 50 other companies in a project supported by the German Ministry of Education & Research with the aim of achieving a 50% reduction of energy usage in the production of car bodies. KUKA Systems has also launched its own project on energy efficiency, including the development of a tool to predict the energy consumption of a complete production line at the planning stage.

In order to assess the effectiveness of these measures, detailed information on the energy consumption of the components used in the production line and different robot activities are required. KUKA Systems has built a database for this purpose which contains the respective energy requirements of different robot activities. Some of these data are provided by the manufacturers of the system components while others are determined by appropriate measurements.

“These measurements allow us to capture the actual energy consumption and try out various optimisation options”, says Tobias Zimmermann, development engineer at KUKA Systems: “We mostly consider complete tasks rather than just individual movements, and we also include measurements at individual customers’ premises.” These tests include handling processes and spot welding, both of which involve very different movements. For handling tasks, for example, the robot uses all axes to move the components as quickly as possible from one point to another. When setting welding points, however, it makes many small movements in between generating short high-current bursts for the welding process."

“We also measure the energy consumption of the various tools, which offers further opportunities for savings”, adds Matthias Paukner, project development manager at KUKA Systems: “In spot welding, for example, both the power consumption and wear can be reduced.” In addition, KUKA takes into account the times when the robot is inactive, such as at night-time, by switching everything to “hibernate mode”, a state similar to the standby mode of consumer PCs, which can reduce consumption by 90%.

The robots usually have a motor for each of the six axes, each controlled by a three-phase inverter. In the resting position a robot consumes about 700 W, which after 20 seconds at a standstill is automatically reduced to only 200 W. In the “hibernate” mode, the power consumption of the overall system of control, inverter and robots is about 18 W, and in full operation it rises to peaks of about 60 kW. Added to this is the power consumption of the tools.

For measurements on the robots and other equipment KUKA Systems uses Yokogawa’s PX8000 Precision Power Scope with current clamps on all three phases on the power input of the controller. In addition to measuring power directly from the current and voltage waveforms, the instrument is also used to measure other signals.

“We deliberately chose this instrument because we wanted to capture very short pulses and spikes which typically occur in spot welding and during braking or acceleration processes”, says Matthias Paukner: “We also need to cover an enormous range, from a few thousand amperes during welding to quiescent currents of a few milliamps in hibernate mode. When searching for a suitable solution, we first used simple handheld power meters, then tried an oscilloscope and experimented with a modular system, but none of these solutions offered the combination of accuracy and versatility that we required.”

The PX8000 has proved particularly useful in demonstrating the effectiveness of certain measures that KUKA Systems has developed including special control programs that perform predetermined movements. In particular, the PX8000 has the ability to both record data and carry out subsequent analysis. This allows the measured values to be transmitted to a database containing data for a variety of movement profiles from many different components of a production line. Currently about 300 different values are stored for each robot type. The measured power values then form the basis for the simulation of the energy consumption of an entire production hall.

“Our goal for energy savings is in the double-digit percentage range. The investment for the measures required for this purpose should be amortised within two to three years”, says project manager Matthias Paukner.

Magnetic flowmeter for utility, water and wastewater applications.

Emerson has released the Rosemount® 8750W magnetic flowmeter system for utility, water and wastewater applications. This system offers reliability and advanced process insight in an intuitive, easy to use solution specifically designed for utility flow measurement.

The Rosemount 8750W is ideal for water distribution in any process plant, cooling and heating water, water management, influent and effluent flows, wastewater, and desalination, making it an economical solution for nearly any water or utility related application.

From ordinary water applications to more challenging environments such as submergence, reliability is critical to flow measurement. It ensures reliability through welded coil housing for protection against moisture ingress, a dual compartment transmitter housing to keep electronics fully isolated from moisture, and a replaceable terminal block which enables easy repair in the field without the need to replace the entire meter.

Intelligent diagnostics help users take advantage of improved installation, maintenance, and process management practices. SMART Meter Verification, grounding and wiring fault detection, and electrode coating detection are available with the Rosemount 8750W. The SMART Meter Verification diagnostic enables calibration in the field without shutting down the process or requiring complicated external equipment.

To simplify use, all meter information can be quickly accessed through the easy-to-use Local Operator Interface (LOI), ProLink III, 475 Field Communicator, or AMS Suite predictive maintenance software.

Vision Forum envisioned for 2016!

Stemmer's Vision Technology Forum will take place on 3rd March 2016. This is part of a series of Europe-wide Vision Technology Forums organised by Stemmer Imaging and the European Imaging Academy and will once again be held at the Silverstone Wing Exhibition and Conference Centre in Towcester, Northamptonshire (GB).

3rd March 2016 - Towcester GB
Mark Williamson, Director, Corporate Market Development at Stemmer, said: “Our first UK Technology Forum, which took place in 2014 proved to be extremely popular, attracting around 350 participants. It featured over 40 technical presentations held in five parallel sessions covering a comprehensive range of vision technologies, as well as hands-on workshops for 2D and 3D vision systems and a mini trade show with over 30 exhibitors.”

“It is a format that works really well, with visitors being able to choose to attend just the talks that are of most interest to them as well as being able to stroll round the exhibition during the lunchtime period or if they have a gap between their chosen seminars. We are already busy planning the technical sessions for the 2016 event.”

Health and environment commitment leads to restructures.

Further underlining its commitment to the long term protection of employee health and the environment, Svantek has announced a major restructure to facilitate future growth and provide the platform for a series of exciting product launches in 2015, including Gilian personal air sampling pumps from US-based Sensidyne and Heat Shield Meter from Italian company, LSI Lastem.

Andy Carling
The leading manufacturer of occupational health and environmental noise and vibration monitoring instrumentation has split the business into two divisions. Long term employee, Claire Fawlk, will be Sales Manager for instruments aimed at environmental monitoring and protection. Andy Carling joins the company as Sales Manager for Health & Safety products.

A fully qualified occupational hygienist and highly experienced sales professional, Andy was previously employed at Mapal Green Energy as UK Sales Manager. Earlier roles include Field Sales Engineer at Tempcon Instrumentation Ltd and Air Quality Product Manager at H20 Chemicals Ltd.

John Shelton, Managing Director at Svantek comments: “The Svantek restructure is a critical next step as we implement our refreshed strategy and reinvigorate our growth momentum. It will help sharpen our focus on distinct markets and enable us to deliver increased productivity and further improvements in the quality of service and products we offer our customers.

“Andy brings significant instrumentation and capital equipment sales experience which will prove invaluable for both existing products and the new ranges planned for 2015. We wish both him and Claire every success in their respective roles.”

Thursday 27 August 2015

Two hundred water & waste experts confer!

The 2015 International Society of Automation (ISA) Water/Wastewater and Automatic Controls (WWAC) Symposium drew 187 attendees, 35 expert speakers and 35 exhibitors to Orlando, Florida, USA in early August to examine and confront the varied challenges associated with automation and instrumentation in the municipal water and wastewater sectors.

Daniel White  (Groov) "ready to roll at WWAC"
(Pic from twitter!)
The three-day, highly targeted event—focusing entirely on the needs of automation professionals—included an extensive program of technical presentations; an interactive panel discussion; poster presentations; a tour of a local wastewater treatment plant; a vendor exposition; networking events; and two training courses—one on alarm management and the other on asset management and enterprise integration. The symposium was held 4-6 August at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort.

“We had a very positive experience at the 2015 ISA WWAC Symposium,” remarked Tim Deschaines, Ph.D., a product manager at Process Analytics. “As an exhibitor, we had the opportunity to talk and meet with automation professionals from all over North America. Our conversations and interactions with key decision-makers in the water and wastewater sectors were highly educational, keeping us better informed of what’s going on in the industry and how to address evolving changes. We look forward to continuing our involvement in and support of ISA and ISA symposia.”

The event provided the ideal opportunity to gain the latest news and trends in automation and control systems, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), instrumentation, systems integration, optimization, cybersecurity, alarm management, and emerging technologies across the water/wastewater industry.

The exhibit showcase featured the latest product and service information, and daily networking luncheons and an evening reception set the stage for mingling, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends.

Watch for details about the 2016 ISA WWAC Symposium, which will be held 2-4 August, also in Orlando. Stay updated by regularly visiting the website.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Innovation tour extols totally integrated automation.

The latest TIA Portal Innovation Tour in Ireland will enable visitors to discover how to optimise their engineering and production processes and make their plant considerably more profitable.

​08:45 Coffee and Registration
09:15 Conference Commences
10:45 Break
11:15 TIA Portal Build
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Workshops
15:15 Close and Q&A

At this year’s tour Siemens are looking at the latest features and benefits on offer with TIA Portal, including project migration, integrated maintenance and increased functionality in SIMATIC Safety Advanced and Basic. They will also introduce the 2nd Generation Mobile Panel, new ET200SP controllers 1510 and 1512 and the ET2100SP open controller 1515SP plus the latest innovations from Control Products and lots more.

Visitors experience live demonstrations, where Siemens experts will show how the TIA Portal may solve even the most challenging automation tasks easily.

  • 22nd September: Hilton Templepatrick Hotel & Country Club, Belfast
  • 23rd September: City West Conference & Golf Resort, Dublin 
  • 24th September: Carrigaline Court Hotel & Leisure Centre, Cork 

Douglas Control & Automation are Siemens System Integrators in Ireland.

Signal testing solutions prioritise Vehicle safety!

Anritsu Corporation has released new functionality for the MD8475A, its world class network simulator, to provide the first laboratory hardware in the loop system level test for the European eCall system and Russian ERA/GLONASS system.
With vehicle safety at the forefront of automotive testing and development, ensuring the quickest response from emergency services in the event of a traffic accident could save millions of lives. Anritsu offers the first eCall tester based on a complete network simulator with a flexible software tool simulating Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP), which greatly simplifies application development and evaluation.

The newly developed eCall Tester option (MX703330E) and MSD ERA/GLONASS option (MX703330E-031) used in combination with the MD8475A now supports in-house testing and evaluation of communications modules (in-vehicle systems, IVS) with built-in eCall and ERA/GLONASS functions, as well as general evaluation following installation of these modules in automobiles. As it is difficult to test emergency call systems using a live network, the eCall and ERA/GLONASS applications support laboratory testing, which not only cuts development time, but also reduces costs because evaluations can be performed in-house using network simulator, and reduces the amount of field testing needed to verify and de-bug eCall systems. These solutions offer the industry’s first system level test environment using a flexible control GUI and user configurable settings, to provide a test environment where different modes and configurations of network and eCall environments can be configured and tested with ease.

The MD8475A operates as an all-in-one network simulator for testing multi-standard cellular wireless modules. Composed of hardware and multiple measurement software options, the MD8475A supports all standard cellular communications technologies, enabling chipset and module developers to verify the performance and functions of communications devices. With its easy-to-use dedicated SmartStudio GUI, the MD8475A is ideal for evaluating in-vehicle systems, making V2X and M2M testing easy, quick and reliable.

Simplifying power quality and maximising versatility!

The PowerLogic PM8000 series meter has been launched by Schneider Electric. It’s a highly accurate, extremely reliable power and energy meter combining accurate three phase energy and power measurements with data logging, power quality analysis and alarms.

Survey data suggests that power quality related financial losses add up to more than 150 billion annually across the EU. To combat this energy waste, the PM8000 series meters have been manufactured on the company’s patented ION technology platform, providing a compact and cost-effective solution for your energy infrastructure.

Native support for StruxureWare Power Monitoring Expert and PowerSCADA Expert software applications lets you realise the full potential of the PowerLogic PM8000 series through enhanced reporting and data visualisation tools. The PM8000 is ideal for low to high voltage applications and particularly in industrial and critical power facilities.
Key features of the PM8000 include:
  • ION technology – uses building block approach for extensive customisation to address advanced monitoring and control applications
  • Disturbance direction detection – enabled by default to determine the location of a power system disturbance, which would appear on the meter’s event log
  • Setpoint Learning - Detect disturbances or values that are outside of a defined acceptable range.
  • Revenue grade metering with power quality features - The high level of accuracy, plus PQ functionality, makes this meter ideal as the main meter for smaller power monitoring systems, and widely used for critical circuits in larger systems 

“The PM8000 is the latest addition of game-changing energy management products to the PowerLogic range and typifies Schneider Electric’s focus on building innovative solutions to customer energy challenges. The PM8000 is the new power monitoring workhorse, making power quality easier to understand, unifying metering and logging of all utilities, and making data both fast to access and more actionable for organisations looking to maximise the value from their energy expenditure,” said Pat O’Neill, Business Development Power Monitoring Manager, Schneider Electric.

Integration creates new process automation entity!

Fluke Corporation is integrating its Raytek, Ircon, and Datapaq product lines into a new brand: Fluke Process Instruments. All three companies have been part of the Fluke Corporation portfolio for some time.

"Fluke Process Instruments combines more than 125 years of experience in pioneering new technologies into one integrated company," said Fluke Process Instruments General Manager Ankush Malhotra. "By joining the three companies under a single brand, we can improve our communications and accelerate our product innovation. We are proud of the legacy these brands bring and will continue to grow them as Fluke Process Instruments."

Raytek, Ircon, and Datapaq branded products include a complete line of rugged and dependable infrared sensors, line scanners, thermal imagers, and temperature profiling systems for use in harsh, high-temperature industrial manufacturing environments. The company has launched a new website, and will operate all related global activities under the new corporate name.

A lesson in communication!

European Automation publishes industry report on OPC UA

European Automation has published a special industry report about the importance of the machine to machine (M2M) communication protocol OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) in achieving Industry 4.0 goals. A comprehensive look at the benefits, achievements and future prospects of the industrial communication protocol, the report is available for download on European Automation’s website in the special reports section.

Developed by the Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control (OPC) Foundation, OPC UA is a set of industrial standards for the exchange of data between automation products from different vendors.

In the midst of Industry 4.0 - a revolution based on the rapid and automated communication between physical systems and virtual networks - the OPC standard is helping facilitate interoperability. This stems from the factory floor up to the office network.

European Automation's report looks at the benefits to end users, including reduced implementation costs, better security, scalability, platform independence and interoperability.

"OPC UA has been around for a while now, but it’s far from falling by the wayside of the rapidly advancing juggernaut that is the industrial automation industry,” explained Jonathan Wilkins, director at European Automation. "OPC UA is helping support industry trends, such as Industry 4.0, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) by offering end users plug-and-play communications solutions.

"As we look at the ways in which industrial automation is rapidly advancing manufacturing systems, there is still a lot that the standard has to offer. Not to give too much away from the report, but we see OPC UA playing an essential role in the development of how products make their way through a production line and the ordering of replacement parts."      

Monday 24 August 2015

Are you a legend?

Fluke is looking for legends. Fluke announces its “Legend of Fluke” promotion, a way for Fluke digital multimeter (DMM) customers to share their stories for the possibility of winning one of ten state-of-the-art Fluke tool bundles and the glory of becoming a legend.

There are two ways for people to enter: share the story in writing (300 words maximum) or create a three minutes or less video. Each entry should describe how a Fluke DMM improved productivity, solved a problem, or improved efficiency. Written and video descriptions must be submitted via the entry form on the Fluke Legends website.

A panel of qualified Fluke employees will review each submission and choose winners based on the explanation of the business benefit provided and demonstration of the creative use of the product.
Winners will win the latest in Fluke tools: either a Fluke Connect General Maintenance Kit or a Fluke Connect Industrial Maintenance Kit.

Power conversion specialists accredited ISO9001.

Ideal Power Ltd have passed their final assessment and received accreditation to ISO 9001:2008. Being recognised as having a quality management system which consistently provides products that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements is an essential part of Ideal Power’s ethos.

Jon Vallis, Sales and Marketing Manager of Ideal Power, comments, “Our commercial and quality management team put a lot of hard work into ensuring our processes meet the stringent requirements of ISO 9001:2008 and we will ensure our customer’s get maximum benefit from this award by maintaining a process of continual improvement.”

The accreditation includes both the distribution and logistics services provided from Ideal Power’s long established base in Barnstaple, Devon (GB) and their recently purchased 2200 square foot Sales, Marketing and Technical Support Centre located in Peterborough (GB).

Ideal Power provides external power supplies and adapters, open frame, encapsulated and DIN Rail power conversion products and battery chargers to markets including industrial, computing, medical, communications, LED Lighting, security, consumer and leisure. Products are sourced from market leading suppliers including EOS and Glary,

Ideal Power’s IP Support Engineering Team are available to work with customer’s design engineers to create modified-standard and full custom designs for quantities from 100 pieces upwards. The Ideal Power IP Support team has over 40 years of experience in the power supply industry and provides local assistance throughout the whole design process from concept, design, quotations, samples and testing to approvals and standards compliance, shipping, stock-holding and after-sales service.

Geek at heart joins wireless device leader!

LPRS (Low Power Radio Solutions), has appointed Andy Cross as their new Business Manager.

Andy Cross
Andy joins LPRS having come from a background in banking and 14 years of working in the housing industry. He brings with him experience in a range of areas including team leadership and procurement. His greatest skill is his ability to build relationships with customers and clients and use any feedback to improve the service the business provides.

Andy comments, “I am looking forward to establishing myself in this new role and will ensure that we continue to provide the same great customer service that our friends and customers expect when dealing with LPRS. I already feel like part of the furniture after only three weeks and the team here, or should I say family, have made me feel extremely welcome.”

Whilst his previous roles have been in non-technical sectors, Andy is in fact a ‘geek’ at heart and used to dream of building his own robot to compete on Robot Wars.

Friday 21 August 2015

Scholorships in automation!

The International Society of Automation (ISA) is accepting applications for its wide range of 2016 educational scholarships, which will be awarded to college and university students who demonstrate outstanding potential for long-range contributions in the fields of automation, instrumentation and control.

ISA educational scholarships, which fund tuition, related expenses and research initiatives, are distributed annually to undergraduate students in two-year and four-year colleges and universities, and to graduate students.

More than $65,000 in scholarships funds are expected to be distributed in 2016. The two top undergraduate winners will receive $5,000 each. Other award amounts will vary. For answers to frequently asked questions regarding ISA educational scholarships, click here.

Interested students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible by submitting a completed application form or by calling ISA at +1 919-549-8411. The application deadline is 15 February 2016.

ISA awards scholarships from the ISA Educational Foundation Scholarship fund; through the ISA Executive Board; through ISA technical divisions, sections and districts; and through endowments of generous gifts from supporters. More details on these various scholarships are included below.
Educational Foundation Scholarship

Recipients of awards are full-time college or university students in either a graduate, undergraduate, or two-year degree program with at least an overall GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Students should be enrolled in a program in automation and control or a closely related field.

ISA Executive Board Scholarship
These funds are provided by past and present members of ISA's Executive Board. Preference is given to applicants with demonstrated leadership capabilities. Award amount varies.

Funds are provided by families or groups in honor of specific people.

Funds are provided by specific ISA divisions. Scholarships are given to outstanding students pursuing careers in the area pertinent to the division’s activity. Certain divisions, such as the Chemical and Petroleum Industry Division, the Food and Pharmaceutical Industries Division, The Power Industry Division and the Water and Wastewater Industry Division, request that completed applications be sent to the specific contact person identified on each respective division’s scholarships page.

Funds are provided by specific ISA sections and districts.

UL-Listed control panels for Alaska.

aeSolutions has obtained NNNY and NRBX UL listings certifying industrial control panels for use in hazardous locations and shipped their first NNNY listed Burner Management System (BMS) panels to an oil and gas customer in Prudhoe Bay, (AK, USA).

UL certifies that equipment meets certain safety standards. aeSolutions pursued the extensive testing and documentation required to obtain the following additional UL listings:

  • NNNY - UL listing for industrial control panels and assemblies for use in hazardous (classified) locations - Explosion proof (UL1203), Purged and Pressurized Enclosures (NFPA 496), and Nonincendive (ANSI/ISA 12.12.01).
  • NRBX (698a) - UL listing for industrial control panels relating to hazardous (classified) locations - Intrinsically safe barriers for circuits located in classified areas (will not cause an ignition source)

All aeSolutions industrial control panels are built to UL 508a standards. With the recently acquired NNNY and NRBX listings, aeSolutions’ equipment is now also certified for use in hazardous locations.

When panels are designed and installed for classified locations, safety requirements go beyond the normal standards for industrial control panels. Additional listings are required by applicable codes and per the authority having jurisdiction. With these additional listings in place, aeSolutions will be able to efficiently design and install industrial control systems that meet these classified location requirements, and provide safety controls customers need to protect their people; their facilities and processes; and the environment.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Tool update from FieldComms.

Automation suppliers can download the latest version 1.1 of the FDI Tools and Components to take advantage of feature enhancements and general bug fixes

The FieldComm Group has announced the release of the first update to its newest tool deliverables, the FDI Package IDE and the FDI Common Host Components. Version 1.1 of the development tools introduce exciting new capabilities for FDI product developers including an automated device package test tool, support for PROFINET based device packages, and support for developing device packages capable of offline configuration, including upload and download features.

Since the dissolution of the FDI Cooperation July 28, 2015, both PROFIBUS and PROFINET International and FieldComm Group, as co-owners of the tools and components, have partnered together to support, maintain and enhance FDI products. Development of a single software product across all protocols will be performed at FieldComm Group in collaboration with PROFIBUS and PROFINET International through the Group’s working group model. FDI tools and host components are currently available for purchase from FieldComm Group across FOUNDATION Fieldbus, HART and PROFIBUS/PROFINET protocols. (see also our story last month: Enabling innovation for Industrie 4.0).

FDI makes it easier for automation suppliers to develop and integrate intelligent devices because suppliers only need to create a single, unified package for each intelligent device that can work with all host systems and tools. This reduces overall development costs, while preserving and expanding existing functionality. Users will also find it easier to manage information from intelligent devices with a single device package, instead of managing multiple file types for disparate solutions and investing significant capital in custom integration efforts to connect multiple technology platforms.

FDI Package IDE 1.1 has been feature enhanced with the following improvements;
• Device Package Test Tool
o Enables automated testing of device packages
• Support for PROFINET
o Tool now supports HART, FOUNDATION Fieldbus, PROFIBUS and PROFINET
• Offline Configuration Capability of Devices
o Enables configuration of devices prior to connection to the system
• Upload/download Features
o Enables offline configuration to be downloaded/uploaded on the system
• Bug Fixes

The FDI Device Package IDE is a tool for device developers to create FDI Packages and includes everything a host system needs to integrate the intelligent device into their system. With FDI, a single FDI Device Package makes it easier for device suppliers to develop and integrate their device across a wide range of host systems and protocols.

FDI Common Host Components 1.1 have been feature enhanced with the following improvements;
• Offline Configuration Capability of Devices
o Enables configuration of devices prior to connection to the system
• Upload/download Features
o Enables offline configuration to be downloaded/uploaded on the system
• Bug Fixes

The FDI Common Host Components are software components for host system manufacturers that allows for rapid development and support of FDI device packages into their host systems. The components help system suppliers ensure they properly comply with the standard and consume device packages correctly. The FDI Common Host Components fully support both the new unified EDD file format as well as legacy EDD formats to protect end user investments.

Choosing the right pot!

Hoffmann + Krippner  has posted a new white paper on their whitepaper page on-lineHow to Choose the Right Potentiometer for Reliable Position Sensing. 

Click image to download paper!
Created to help design engineers understand how membrane potentiometer sensors work and how to pick the right type of membrane potentiometer for their project, this new Hoffmann+Krippner white paper covers the various types of potentiometers, potentiometer development history, their various components and materials, and an overview looking at the technical issues of printed potentiometers and foil (membrane). The paper also covers the various tech specifications of accuracy and linearity when specifying potentiometers.

“Specifying or designing a potentiometer sensors is a complex challenge for many developers, especially those now looking to create Internet connected devices and solutions,” says Jens Kautzor, CEO of Hoffman + Krippner, Inc. “This new guide provides an easy to understand high level look at these technologies as well as a detailed explanation of the most important technical specifications and how to understand them.”

Raising the alarm in extreme conditions!

The new ‘Yodalex Super Series,’  from Stahl, comprises a suite of signalling devices designed for use in hazardous areas and harsh environments. The units are equipped with a lightweight GRP “Ex d” flameproof enclosure which provides a strong, robust, and safe housing designed to withstand the environmental demands of extreme temperatures and sealed against water and dust ingress according to IP66 and IP67. The series is ATEX and IECEx-approved for use in zones 1, 21 and 2, 22 for gas and dust atmospheres. Additional global onshore and maritime approvals (GL, CUTR, INMETRO, PESO) will follow shortly, enabling operation across many industries throughout the world.

The omnidirectional horn featured on the YL6S and YA6S units has a maximum sound output of 110 dB at one meter. Its patented product design, unique to the Yodalex range, disperses sound radially outwards, providing excellent sound coverage, which ensures maximum safety within the designated area. A further feature of the sounder is that the user can control the release of a sound tone over three individual stages, allowing a system for managing test and real time emergency procedures. The user can individually select the tone for each alarm stage from 32 internationally recognised frequencies. The FL6S beacon is fitted with a 5 Joule Xenon strobe. When used in conjunction with the new lens designed specifically for the Super Series, it produces a 49 effective candela flash at a rate of 1 Hz. Whether used individually or as part of the combination unit, the beacon is available with a choice of seven different lens colours including magenta.

The YL6S combines all of the features present in both the YA6S and FL6S, housed within a single enclosure. This unique, light-weight and cost-effective design reduces the amount of field cables and installation time compared to individual devices. The units are suitable for an extremely wide operational temperature range of -55 °C to +70 °C. With voltage options starting at 24 V DC, R. STAHL also provides variants suitable for 48 V DC and 115 or 230 V AC power supplies. All mechanical fixings including the lens guard are manufactured from 316/V4A stainless steel, ensuring optimal resistance to salt water in coastal, offshore or marine applications.

The release of the Super Series completes the new line of GRP signalling equipment offered by R. STAHL that also includes the YA90 directional sounder, the MCP manual interface, and the FX15 beacon. Together, these robust products provide customers with the complete range of audible and visual signalling as well as manual interface equipment for ATEX and IECEx hazardous zones 1, 21, 2, 22 in extreme conditions and aggressive environments.

• Stahl products are marketed in Ireland by Douglas Controls & Automation.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Power product provider acquired!

The Stadium Group  has acquired Stontronics Ltd, a leading global provider of power supplies, AC-DC adapters, LED drivers, DC-DC convertors, transformers and other specialist power products, based in Reading (GB). The deal follows a sequence of technology acquisitions by the company as it pursues a growth strategy in the electronics arena.

Charlie Peppiatt, CEO of Stadium Group Plc commented: “This exciting acquisition supports our Group strategy to build a leading design-led electronic technology solutions group with a portfolio of value-adding complementary products, design and integration capabilities. Supported by a global footprint, we aim to simplify the supply chain and reduce time to market for our customers.”

Stontronics will join Stadium’s Technology Products division and work closely alongside their existing Power Products business, Stadium Power. Stadium Power has over 30 years’ experience designing and manufacturing custom power solutions for niche vertical markets, fully supported by a dedicated R&D Centre in Norwich leading Stadium’s technology developments in power management, wireless connectivity, green products and miniaturisation.

Paul Branston, Managing Director of Stontronics added: “Stontronics’ extensive range of power products, strong supplier network and established distribution partnerships complements Stadium Power, offering synergies, economies of scale and a much stronger proposition to our mutual OEM customers. We are delighted with the benefits this acquisition will bring to Stontronics through product and sector synergies, cross-selling opportunities and improved economies of scale.”

Prototyping a Batch Process Control System!

Cormac Garvey
The Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation will host a technical presentation in September entitled: Prototyping a Batch Process Control System using ISA-S88 and ISA-S95. This is the start of this very active section's programme for the 2015-2016 season. Later in the season they are hosting the international ISA Food and Pharmaceutical Industries Division (FPID) Symposium.

Cormac Garvey
Cormac graduated from University College Dublin, Ireland, in 1992 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Since then, he has worked in both Engineering and IT software fields for the last 23 years. He is a qualified project manager (PMP®), Security specialist (CISSP®) , and published author on websites. As well as architecting and programming control systems, Cormac has managed the design , implementation, commissioning and validation of Control and MES systems in the pharmaceutical, Oil&Gas, and Semiconductor industries. His speciality is: Simplifying the industrial Automation and information system landscape through the use of open standard data modelling and implementation of design patterns.
In this presentation Cormac Garvey, Chief Technology Officer, Hal Software,* will discuss the concept of using prototyping for a batch control system. Prototyping is a relatively new concept in control systems, but is standard in many other industries.

He will cover what exactly prototyping can be used for in process control, what are the benefits of prototyping, and, how one would go about using prototyping.

Cormac will then give a practical demonstration of how one would build a prototype of a simple batch process control system using the ISA-S88 design pattern.

*Hal Software
Hal Software is a 100% owned Irish company that provides software to assist in the design, programming and test of Industrial Control and MES systems. The company was founded in 2012, and launched its first product, Spike Prototype, earlier this year at the Hannover Fair. They also exhibited at Achema in Frankfurt/Main (d). They plan to participate in next years Hannover Fair as well.

• Meeting Details: Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 @ 19.30hrs. Tea and Coffee @ 19.15hrs.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

PROFINET conformity declaration for connectivity products!

Harting has issued a conformity declaration which certifies that its new connectivity products conform with the current Cabling and Interconnection Guidelines for the PROFINET Industrial Ethernet system.

With a market share of around one third of all Industrial Ethernet applications and over 10 million PROFINET nodes installed worldwide, PROFINET is one of the most successful Industrial Ethernet systems.

The new conformity declaration certifies that all existing and new products for Ethernet applications from Harting conform with the requirements for the use of PROFINET. The new products which extend the PROFINET Portfolio include the entire preLink® cabling system, the M12 “Press and Go” connector and the new X-coded M12 plug.

preLink® creates a modular Ethernet cabling system in which cable and connector are conveniently divided into two independent and continually reusable components. M12 “Press and Go” is a ready-assembled connection of cable and connector without overmoulding. It makes the PROFINET capable M12 connector suitable for quick and easy assembly and delivery in all desired lengths. The new X-coded M12, with a transfer rate of Category 6A and transfer class EA, is the ideal solution for high-speed Ethernet systems including PROFINET installations.

With PROFINET conformity, Harting enables its Industrial Ethernet customers to take a major step on the way to the smart factory and then to Industry 4.0:

Smart energy saving in the home!

An entirely new range of easy-to-use energy saving products that could help to reduce energy bills in households by as much as 20%1 in a simple yet effective way has been launched by Energenie.

The Mi|Home range of adapters and monitors, allows greater control over heating, lighting and electrical appliances that is truly accessible to everyone.

Working remotely through either an iOS and Android app or a PC, users can simply scan the Gateway with their phone and immediately begin using the central hub of the system to control the full range of easy-to-use retrofit actuators.

The modularity of the system means that users can add products as and when they want, in the knowledge it will be compatible with existing products in the home, and provide a strategic and cost-effective way to gauge energy use and expenditure.

The Mi|Home range can monitor the energy usage of individual sockets, groups or scenes in real-time or over time to see which devices consume the most power and should be turned off.

Its Smart features mean users can easily set timers and programmes to fit Mi|Home into their schedule, while geofencing enables control of the products from a remote location and IFTTT means triggers can be anything from the weather to Facebook.

Oliver Tadd, commercial director at Energenie: said: "Mi|Home gives consumers back control over their energy consumption. Once the devices have been installed, it allows households to change their energy usage as well as shifting their behaviour towards consuming less energy.

“Through the Internet of Things, the devices can be linked to other devices in the home and applications within them talk to each other.

“With low installation costs and the best value entry model considered cost-effective given it’s a modular system, households can choose elements from a range of devices depending on the need.

“For example, zoned-controlled heating when it’s cool in the morning, or lighting in rooms that are only occupied at night. The devices could even be used to turn your washing machine on, or your oven off, straight from an iphone or PC when you are out of the house.”

Energise to break reed relay.

Pickering Electronics have announced the addition of Form B (energise to break) reed relays to their new Series 119 high voltage micro-SIL relay range. This is the industry’s smallest high voltage Single-In-Line Reed Relay now available. The relay is intended for voltages considerably higher than standard small SIL relays, ideal for Cable and Backplane Testers, Mixed signal ATE or other applications where High Voltage capability is required.

The vacuumed sputtered ruthenium reed switches have a superb low level performance also, making them an ideal choice where a wide range of signals are involved. The range is based on the long established Series 109P style of plastic package with an internal mu-metal magnetic screen, allowing for high packing density. All Pickering Reed Relays have full magnetic screening which permits side by side operations. The Series 119 is also made using Pickering’s unique SoftCenter® construction.

The new Form B reed relays increase the scope of the range which already includes four versions, all with either 3, 5 or 12 volt operating coils. The 1 Form A, 1kV version has a package and pin configuration compatible with the Pickering’s standard 109P Reed Relay, i.e. 4 pins on 0.15 inches (3.8mm) pitch. These can be stacked side-by-side for maximum packing density. The other types have package lengths and pin configurations appropriate for their voltage ratings.

Pickering Electronics are worldwide manufacturers and distributors of instrumentation grade Reed Relays for ATE, Low thermal EMF, RF switching and other specialist applications. The relays available in Surface Mount, Single-in-Line (SIL), Dual-in-Line (DIL) and many other popular package styles.

The company has seen a large boost in sales in the first two quarters of 2015, which can only be due to their high quality, innovative product offerings, along with impressive technical support services, and custom designed products. Research suggests this growth is set to continue for the balance of 2015.
To find out more about Pickering and the new 119 Series High Voltage Micro-SIL Reed Relay visit:

CANopen profile for weighing devices. @CANopen #PAuto

The device profile family for weighing devices specifies the CANopen interface including the PDO mapping and the necessary configuration parameter. Part 1 and part 2 have been released CiA internal as Draft Standard Proposal (DSP) in August 2015. Part 3 not yet developed will deal with scale devices, and part 4 is intended for special human machine (HMI) interface and indicator devices related to weighing applications.

• Part 1 of this series provides some general definitions including several legal for trade (LFT) modes. It describes also the data encryption and data exchange procedure. Additionally, the sealing and the password changing procedure are described briefly. Of course, this part specifies some common communication parameter of the CANopen interfaces for weighing devices. Legal for trade (LFT) weighing devices are intended for use in commercial applications, in which products are sold by weight. Often, LFT devices comply with Handbook 44 by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). In the USA, they may be certified under the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). CiA 461-1 specifies several LFT modes with and without protection, for example, with CRC signature or Trivium encryption.

• Part 2 specifies the CANopen interface for load cells. Load cells are transducers that generate an electrical signal with a magnitude proportional to the measured force. There are described eight devices classes. The profile specifies several compensation techniques for gravity, inclination, temperature, and movement acceleration. In case of external compensation, the compensation values are mapped into the four default RPDOs. The two specified default TPDOs provide the load cell weight output value plus weight status and alarm information respectively the weight status and the process data random number as well as the process data signature. The configuration parameters include data sample rate and filter settings, for example, for Bessel, Butterworth, or Notch characteristics.