Friday, March 27, 2015

Temperature calibration source!

Eurolec Instrumentation Ltd has extended their range of temperature calibration sources with the introduction of the CS174-IN & CS175-IN.
Recognising the need to accommodate custom built or non-standard sized probes, these two new instruments extend user options and provide increased flexibility by providing two removable inserts for probes.

One insert is predrilled with 7 holes of various dimensions and the other insert is a solid non-drilled “blank” block to be configured by the user as required.

Both inserts can be quickly and easily removed with the assistance of a simple tool which is provided with the instrument.

Both the CS174-IN & CS175-IN also feature a “black body” for infrared thermometers and feature a range of 40C below ambient to +85C. The CS175-IN features increased accuracy and 0.01C resolution. Both units are supplied complete with calibration certificate.

The CS174/175-IN provide a simple to use, cost effective system for the on site/laboratory calibration of both contact and infrared thermometers, to adhere to quality standards such as ISO9000 and HACCP.

Are drive users breaking the law?

New legislation covering the export of high frequency (HF) drives could result in hefty penalties, including potential prison sentences, for machine builders and system integrators. EU Regulation No. 428/2009 and subsequent amendments covers the export of goods, software and technology normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications, or may contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With this in mind, the EU controls the export, transit and brokering of these items as a key instrument contributing to international peace and security.

The amended legislation came into force in the EU in December last year and, among other things, concerns the supply of HF capable drives, e.g. drives capable of producing an output frequency of greater than 600 Hz.  Regulations controlling the export of high frequency drives are already in force in the United States, and similar regulations were introduced to China earlier this year.

In order to comply with the new legislation, businesses which export goods or machines that incorporate goods that are controlled under the terms of the EU regulation to locations outside the EU must apply for the relevant export licences from their respective governments. The changes also have an effect on the documentation required in any transaction, as well as the measures which are taken to securely store the controlled goods.

Potential sanctions for failing to comply with the legislation range from financial penalties through to trade restrictions and even prison sentences for individuals.  Exporting controlled goods without suitable authorisation is a customs offence.

High frequency drives are used in a number of applications, including automotive testing, turbine test benches, grinding, where speeds in excess of those which can be achieved by a ´standard´ variable speed drive are required. However, as well as civilian applications, drives operating at higher output frequencies can also be used in the process of refining nuclear materials, hence the stricter export controls brought in with the amended legislation.

Emerson Industrial Automation is keen to advise OEMs and machine builders which incorporate HF drives in their designs that it is they, not the drives manufacturer, who are responsible for checking and evaluating whether or not their machines comply with, or contravene, the relevant legislation. It is also important for businesses to identify whether any existing machines and systems are affected by the directive, as it could affect their ability to export their machines.

Emerson is keen to help and will inform its customers if the drives they purchase appear on the controlled list, but is still advising people to educate themselves on the changes to the export regulations and the ways in which their businesses may be impacted.

The business took the step of limiting the frequency of the majority of its drives in anticipation of the new legislation. The Control Techniques Unidrive M range was limited to 550 Hz since its introduction in 2012, and older drive models were revised to be limited to 550 Hz. Servo and DC drives are not affected.

In anticipation of the new legislation, Control Techniques has specifically developed a range of HF drives to meet the requirements of the civilian applications that are an important part of its business.

Enrique Minarro Viseras, president of Control Techniques, added: "It is crucial businesses are aware of the amendments to the dual use legislation. We pride ourselves on our ability to make things as easy and trouble-free as possible for our customers, and have worked hard to ensure our products and processes comply with the new legislation.

"We would urge other businesses to investigate the extent to which they are liable and take the appropriate steps to ensure full compliance."

Move to larger facility!

Interpro have relocated to a larger facility to accommodate increased sales in Europe and additional power test product ranges.

"Welcome to our new premises!"
The new 222m² facility is some 2½ times the size of their original one and will provide increased support to sales with a fully kitted-out demonstration suite for both customer presentations and training. Additional space is another benefit as the Sandhurst (GB) facility is the worldwide hub for customer support, service and calibration of Interpro power test and ATE products.

The move has been in part prompted by their appointment as distributor for Europe and the USA by Preen, specialist manufacturers of test and measurement power sources. These new product lines complement and widen Interpro’s existing portfolio and will deliver new business with established customers as well as taking them into the new, fast-growing, Green Energy industries.

Preen are a major manufacturer of Power Sources and Frequency Converters and is one of only three manufactures of “Regenerative” AC Power Sources. Preen is considered to be the world leading manufacturer of large capacity power sources as used by Green Energy equipment suppliers.

Simon Tanner, Sales Manager of INTEPRO SYSTEMS comments, “We have an aggressive new product introduction plan running from last year which has seen the introduction of a number of new electronic load products. We have also just launched a completely new 64 Bit version of our market leading PowerStar automated power test software and our new training suite will be an excellent new resource for us to support this. The addition of Preen to our portfolio is a very exciting development for 2015, their products can be very large which a major contributing factor to our move was.”

Handheld photoionisation instruments for investigation & remediation of hydrocarbon contamination!

An increase in demand for its oil spill consultancy and remediation services has prompted SpillAssist Limited to recently order a second handheld Tiger volatile organic compound (VOC) detector instrument from Ion Science British distributor, Shawcity. The high performance photoionisation (PID) instrument is being used for the investigation and remediation of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination.

SpillAssist specialises in the consultancy and remediation services associated with petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated sites such as residential properties, commercial facilities or rivers and lakes. After it has identified the extent of the damage, the company will design, implement and manage the remedial works programme and conduct the final validation surveys to confirm that the site has been fully restored.

Trevor Duffy, Operations Director at SpillAssist comments: “We needed to boost our stock of PID instruments due to an increase in project numbers. We originally approached Ion Science as we had seen how well the Tiger performed for another company.

“We record hydrocarbon VOCs as they enable us to plot the extent of the contamination. The readings from the Ion Science Tiger VOC detectors allow us to determine which samples are independently analysed and also enable us to monitor the hydrocarbon degradation rates whilst we are remediating a contaminated site.”

SpillAssist is using the Tiger instruments to record kerosene, diesel and petrol VOCs from soil and from the indoor air of contaminated properties. Readings are taken on a daily basis due to the number of sites the company is currently investigating, monitoring and remediating. The information is collected from each sample point and then recorded onto a VOC record data sheet.

The robust, handheld Ion Science Tiger VOC detector offers market-leading humidity and contamination resistant PID technology. It was the best performing when tested against competing instruments in humid and contaminated environments where it provided the most stable, repeatable readings.

Trevor adds: “We had no hesitation in purchasing additional Tiger PIDs. We find this particular instrument to be sensitive, robust, reliable, accurate and easy to operate and maintain. As a result, we would highly recommend Ion Science, which also services and calibrates the units, and its products to other businesses.”

Providing a dynamic detection range of 1 parts per billion (ppb) to 20,000 parts per million (ppm), the Tiger offers the widest measurement range of any other VOC instrument on the market.
Ready to use, straight out of the box, the instrument requires no complex set up procedures via a PC to perform basic functions and provides the best available VOC detection and software features available.

Ion Science’s Tiger also has the fastest response time on the market of just two seconds and can be connected directly to a PC via the USB offering extremely fast data download capabilities.
It has been designed for the safe replacement of batteries in hazardous environments and is intrinsically safe (IS) - meeting ATEX, IECEx, UL and CSA standards.

Monitoring and control of multiple applications on single display!

Red Lion Controls has announced the integration of FlexBus™ technology to its PAX®2C proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller portfolio. By inserting field installable FlexCard™ modules, users can now populate PAX2C PID controllers in more than 150 configurations to monitor and control multiple application processes on a single display.

Red Lion’s advanced PAX2C modular platform provides an easy upgrade path that enables integrators and panel builders to reduce inventory requirements while increasing application support. The solution is ideal for temperature, flow and pressure control in industries such as packaging, plastic welding, extrusion and food and beverage.

“Our PAX2C controllers are designed for end users who want to address a wide range of PID control requirements,” said Jeff Thornton, director of product management at Red Lion Controls. “By using option cards with the PAX2C, organizations no longer have to maintain an inventory of application-specific controllers. This reduces inventory costs while also allowing organizations to more quickly meet any PID application requirements.”

The new FlexCard modules include:

  • Process Input/Remote Setpoint Cards: support input of 0/4 to 20 mA to enable cascade control loops where tighter control is required
  • Heater Current Monitor Cards: provide heater current input and can signal when the heater or heater control devices have failed before damage occurs

Red Lion’s Crimson® programmed PAX2C PID controllers are dual-line displays that change color based on process status, alerting when a value is out of a specified range. With universal process inputs and AC/DC power input, PAX2C controllers accept DC current, DC voltages, process signals, thermocouples and RTD inputs to provide an all-in-one platform that eases integration. Additional features include a large LCD display with easy-to-read bar graphs, programmable annunciators, up to 16 alarms and a built-in USB programming port.

• Red Lion products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Control systems for floating LNG facility!

Yokogawa in Malaysia, has received an order from a consortium comprising JGC Corporation (J) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SK) that will supply control systems and safety instrumented systems for PETRONAS’s second floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, PFLNG2.

Under the terms of the contract, Yokogawa Kontrol (Malaysia) will deliver an integrated control & safety system (ICSS) for the monitoring and control of the liquefaction facilities and storage tanks on PFLNG2. The ICSS will consist of a Yokogawa CENTUM® VP integrated production control system, a ProSafe®-RS safety instrumented system, a Plant Resource Manager (PRM®) package, a plant information management system, and other components. Yokogawa Kontrol will also be responsible for engineering, and the support of installation, commissioning, and training.

The PFLNG2 facility will be moored offshore off Sabah, Malaysia, and is designed to produce 1.5 million tons of LNG a year, with production scheduled to start in early 2018.

An FLNG facility is a new type of LNG plant that performs all operations at sea, starting with the routing of natural gas from offshore gas fields and including the refining, liquefaction, storage, and transfer of this resource onto LNG carriers. FLNG is attractive because the technology does not require the acquisition of land or laying of pipelines, making it suitable for small to medium-sized offshore gas fields that are deemed economically unfeasible to develop.

Since its establishment in Malaysia in 1989, Yokogawa Kontrol (Malaysia) has developed a solid global track record and extensive know-how of LNG processing plants, LNG carriers, FPSO vessels, and other types of offshore facilities. It has delivered numerous control systems to PETRONAS production facilities.  

In 2013, Yokogawa set up an organisation dedicated to the growing marine resource business as part of its efforts to expand its control business in this sector and offer the latest technology solutions to its customers.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Appointment adds strength and experience!

Electroustic has added a new technical manager to its growing team of experienced specialists. The appointment of Steve Brown comes during a period of growth that saw the company become a technical distributor of the renowned component manufacturers Bulgin and Amphenol Industrial, as well as expand its portfolio to include Hirschmann's industrial Ethernet range. 

Steve Brown
Electroustic has over 50 years experience supplying top brand industrial connectors, leads and electromechanical components to a variety of sectors.

To add to this, Steve's appointment brings 30 years worth of experience with both analogue and digital electronics. Electroustic's new technical manager previously worked as principal test engineer for a leader in road safety systems and traffic data collection. Here, he developed a strong working knowledge of local area network (LAN) and wireless local area network (WLAN) systems.

Steve also worked as an engineer manager at Holden Manufacturing, an electrical and electronics manufacturer.

His background in both engineering and manufacturing places him in great stead to use his technical expertise to help Electroustic's customers fulfill their requirements.

The appointment is set to improve the company's technical prowess and boost its industrial Ethernet knowledge.

"In my nine years at Golden River traffic management systems, I was fortunate enough to get hands on experience using cutting edge equipment," explained Steve. "Electronic engineering is something that's always fascinated me and I've sought out roles whereby I can use the technical knowledge and know-how I've amassed over the years on a daily basis.

"Because Electrousic is a franchised distributor for big industry names like Amphenol, Hirschmann, Lumberg Automation and Bulgin, I'm able to give our customers insightful technical advice when it comes to things like putting together the best quality loom for the job."

Put a handle on it!

The selection of a suitable handle is often left to the very end of the product design cycle, but Multitron aims to change that by offering a very wide range of MENTOR handles which will enhance and transform a run-of-the-mill-looking end product into something stylish and even funky, but never forgetting everyday practicality and functionality.

Multitron, the exclusive British & Irish agent for MENTOR, has announced the availability of their extended handle range which now includes aluminium; steel; stainless-steel; plastic and mixed-material options. In terms of design and shape, MENTOR aims to add style with many different designs: D-shape; bow; square; recessed; folding; finger-tip, hand-moulded; strap-style and many more.

Many different finishes and colours are available as standard, including black; grey (or custom-coloured) plastic; natural-anodised or black-anodised aluminium; brushed aluminium; chromium-plated; shiny-matt stainless steel; silver powder-coat; black powder-coat; silver-enamel; ground and polished; plastic-coated; etc. Each handle style is designed to be ergonomic and comfortable to hold, and many different dimensions are offered in every range.

A range of heat-resistant plastic handles is also available, manufactured from highly-durable Duroplastic Type FS31, rated for use up to 100⁰C. Rack systems are also supported with handles designed for standard 19" rack systems - these handles are suitable for handling higher loads using a variety of pulling, pushing and lifting actions.

MENTOR has also developed a Modular Handle System so that a custom handle can be configured to meet any dimension required by the application. The handle components are supplied un-assembled, ready for customisation

IS personal noise dosimeter!

Svantek has launched the new ATEX and IECEx Intrinsically Safe (IS) SV104 personal noise dosimeter for use in potentially explosive work environments. To support this high performance instrument, the company is offering free octave band and audio record until the end of the year.
Svantek’s IS SV104 is a cable-free personal noise dosimeter and can be easily attached to the user’s shoulder, close to the ear using assorted mounting clips. It sets a new benchmark in personal noise measurement by offering a wide range of unrivalled features including octave band analysis for helping to select hearing protection and audio recording.

The full colour OLED screen displays information in both text and graphical form plus offers excellent visibility even in full daylight. Svantek’s SV104 also incorporates a virtually indestructible MEMS microphone enabling easy calibration using most commonly available acoustic calibrators and inbuilt tri-axial accelerometer for vibration shock detection.

Measurement data is safely stored in the large eight GB memory and the instrument works with Svantek’s specialist Supervisor health and safety software package. It is powered using built-in rechargeable batteries or through the USB interface which also enables easy connection between the SV104 and a PC.

John Shelton, Managing Director at Svantek commented: “The original SV104 was a revolutionary new approach to occupational health and safety noise monitoring offering voice comments and audio events recording functions which were a new concept in an instrument of this size. It has been a tremendous success with customers quick to recognise its superior functionality, value for money and accurate and reliable measurement capability.

“Getting ATEX and IECEx approval for the SV104 was the obvious next step and will help open up previously untapped business in global markets such as petrochemical, oil and gas and mining.”

Wireless gas detection!

After introducing the wireless BM 25 work site system, Oldham is expanding its product range and has introduced the new MX 40 gas detection controller.

The MX 40 controller was designed to centralise the information transmitted by the BM 25 over a wireless network and can display up to 32 measurements in real time. When a BM 25 signals an alarm, the MX 40 also goes into alarm mode and can, for example, control internal relays and order other monitors to transmit the alarm as well.

The MX 40 can connect to up to 16 BM 25 units on the same wireless network and up to 16 different networks can be used independently.

The wireless technology used allows for fast, easy and safe deployment, in addition to easy upgrades for coverage and high fault tolerance, significantly reducing network installation and operation costs.

Using the Sitewatch option, the MX 40 can be accessed remotely via Ethernet or GSM. A web page displays measurements and channel statuses in real time, and is accessible from any computer or wireless phone connected to the internet. This option also allows you to have SMS or email messages sent in the case of an alarm.

Innovative features for monitoring and controlling distributed assets and IP networks.

PcVue 11.1 is the latest release of PcVue SCADA solution created by ARC Informatique. It now features the monitoring of geographically distributed assets and IP network devices. The innovative design improves operator effectiveness with powerful data analysis tools and developer productivity with advanced automation of configuration.

GEO Map Control, a built-in component for GIS decision making, provides live interactive maps from popular mapping services such as Google and Microsoft. Maps are interactive and dynamic; supporting both off-line and on-line maps access. PcVue graphical objects (Symbols) may be used as markers including animations and display of real-time asset status and alarms. No scripting or programming is required to configure the Map Control.
PcVue’s communication driver pack, CIMWay, has been expanded to support SNMP for monitoring and controlling devices on IP networks. This native capability not only allows PcVue applications to monitor the health of the network, but provides access to an ever increasing number of IED’s and other equipment with IP interfaces. Designed for optimization of large IP networks in mind, the PcVue SNMP solution capability supports the growing Internet of Industrial Things (IoIT).

Data Analysis for operator decision-making support is an increasing requirement in a modern SCADA application. PcVue 11.1 provides powerful analysis, with a few clicks operators may move from real-time to analysis mode and back. The resulting visualization may be with dashboard KPI displays or the powerful new X-Y charting control for correlation and statistical analysis.

Enhancements to BACnet® Scheduling and new SMART Generators for BACnet® and TwinCAT® - Beckhoff for automated configuration are some of the many additional new features and improvements to PcVue Solutions with PcVue 11.1.

Other additions are worth to be noted: the implement of a new license utility, a unique tool for license management, and improved client drivers for Energy management such as DNP3, our DNV Kema certified IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104, etc.

To preserve the SCADA investment and ensure its longevity, PcVue has been maintaining backward compatibility for 20 years. This new version is compatible with the latest technologies (Windows 8.1, Microsoft SQL Server 2014, etc.) including virtual environments.

Manufacturing operations solutions software for show!

Aegis Software will demonstrate their FactoryLogix manufacturing operations solution at booth 7A-219 during the SMT show in Nürnberg (D, 5th-7th. May 2015). Visitors to the stand will see how the platform enables manufacturers to accelerate the delivery of complex, configured-to-order electronic assemblies and box-builds, while ensuring high quality standards, and providing total product and process traceability.

FactoryLogix is an integrated suite of modules and devices designed to improve every aspect of manufacturing operations. System functionality spans new product introductions, factory-wide material management, paperless shop floor, real-time operational dashboards, and historical reporting.

Aegis’ flagship software seamlessly connects with existing ERP and other third-party systems, and the solution’s deep integration with product design data, provides process engineers, line operators, and quality managers with a CAD-driven visualization of each part or component used in production and testing.

This rich, granular manufacturing detail allows FactoryLogix to deliver a level of end-to-end traceability not possible in other enterprise MES systems – helping electronics assemblers meet burdensome regulatory requirements commonly seen in the medical, military, automotive and aerospace industries.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Report on virtualisation in IACS.

The Automation Federation has released a public report—commissioned on behalf of the Linking Oil and Gas Industry to Improve Cybersecurity (LOGIIC)—that examines the use of virtualization technology in industrial automation and control system (IACS) environments.

Virtualization allows for the implementation of environments via a software-based solution rather than with the introduction of additional hardware. Like other industries, interest is high on any opportunities that can reduce the hardware footprint, address challenges of finding hardware for unsupported operating systems, and provide flexibility in creating training and testing environments.

The LOGIIC virtualization report—accessible on the LOGIIC website—outlines the critical factors that should be weighed when considering virtualization in an IACS environment; and evaluates and tests current automation system vendor practices to generate guidelines and reference architectures for securing virtual environments spanning multiple process control network layers.
The report also is designed to prompt and support an ongoing dialogue between critical infrastructure asset owners and operators and automation system vendors.

The LOGIIC Consortium, now celebrating its 10-year anniversary, was established by members of the oil and gas industry in partnership with the Cybersecurity Research and Development Center (CSRDC) of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate to study cybersecurity issues in IACS that impact safety and business performance as they pertain to the oil and gas sector.

LOGIIC’s objective is to promote the interests of the sector while maintaining impartiality, the independence of the participants, and vendor neutrality. Current members of LOGIIC include BP, Chevron, Shell, Total, and other large oil and gas companies that operate significant global energy infrastructure.

The Automation Federation serves as the LOGIIC host organization and has entered into agreements with the LOGIIC member companies and all other LOGIIC project participants.

LOGIIC regularly sponsors research initiatives that involve the interests of oil and gas sector stakeholders. Member companies contribute financially and technically, provide personnel who meet regularly to define projects of common interest, and provide staff to serve on the LOGIIC Executive Committee.

The US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate has contracted with the scientific research organization SRI International to provide scientific and technical guidance for LOGIIC.

Industrial control, automation, package, security and other related vendors have made LOGIIC projects possible by volunteering their time, knowledge, equipment and test environments. Subject-matter experts work with SRI International to refine the evaluation strategy, perform the system evaluations and develop project reports.

Half a million industrial cameras!

Almost exactly ten years after releasing its first industrial camera, IDS Imaging Development Systems has shipped its 500,000th camera. The milestone camera was from the completely re-designed second generation series of the USB 3 uEye CP cameras, featuring the latest 2.3 MP Sony IMX174 CMOS sensor. This camera sets a new standard in terms of light sensitivity, dynamic range and colour reproduction and provides excellent image quality with extraordinarily low-noise performance.

IDS was founded as a two-man business In 1997 and since 2004 the company has been developing and producing digital cameras for industrial use. Today IDS is the global market leader in USB industrial cameras and offers a wide range of models with USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet interface. The unique IDS Software Suite supplied with every camera provides an extremely easy integration is one of the company’s key success factors.

IDS now has more than 170 employees worldwide in subsidiaries in USA and Japan, offices in France and United Kingdom as well as distribution partners almost everywhere in the world.

"In the next months, IDS will expand its production capacities. There is a new building on the company site being built, which will double our production area. So we will see the millionth camera soon", says Torsten Wiesinger, CEO of IDS. His short video statement regarding the 500,000th camera’s shipment can be found here on their website.

Survey response shows customer satisfaction improvement

A new customer survey published early in 2015 by Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) specialist, Autoscribe, has shown an across-the-board increase in customer satisfaction levels compared to a similar survey carried out in 2013. In addition response levels to the survey, which was conducted in both the USA and Britain, was up nearly fourfold.

The survey contains a number of questions which allow customers to rate some aspect of the Matrix LIMS products or the service provided by Autoscribe on a scale of 1-10. Every survey question with this metric showed an improvement.

Autoscribe Managing Director, John Boother, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the results. The purchase of a LIMS and ongoing customer support requires a good deal of interaction between customers and our staff, and we are constantly striving to ensure that our personnel are knowledgeable, helpful and personable to make this experience as positive as possible. It is therefore a great compliment to our sales and support staff in both countries that the biggest increases in the score ratings came in the ‘assistance given by the sales team’ and ‘assistance given by the support team’ categories.”

“It is also encouraging that these improvements have all been achieved against a respectably high baseline (generally over 7/10) achieved in 2013”, he continued. “We are also pleased to report that even more people would be prepared to recommend Autoscribe to another potential user. However, we must not rest on our laurels. There is still room for further improvement and that must always be our objective.”

Acquisition consoladates leadership towards 5G commercialisation.

National Instruments (NI) has announced its acquisition of BEEcube, a technology innovator and leading supplier of high-performance FPGA prototyping and deployment products for advanced wireless research, wireless infrastructure and military/defence applications. 

“As the Internet of Things (IoT) drives greater demand for data and an increasing number of connected devices, NI is excited to be at the forefront of research and prototyping tools for next-generation 5G wireless technology,” said Charles Schroeder, NI Director of RF Communications. “NI and BEEcube share a common philosophy and vision of platform-based design, and we believe the combination of the two companies will strengthen our leadership position as 5G progresses toward commercialisation.” 

Chen Chang, BEEcube’s Founder and CEO, added, “For many years, BEEcube has been at the forefront of technology innovation in telecommunications applications. By joining NI, we will have the resources to continue to drive 5G research and provide our customers solutions which enable infrastructure deployment on a global scale.” 

BEEcube will operate as a wholly-owned NI subsidiary under the leadership of Chang and continue to sell and support its products under the BEEcube brand through its direct and distributor channels. 

8-channel Arbitrary Waveform Generator.

Teseq has an eight-channel arbitrary waveform generator designed for automotive testing.  The ARB 5500 fits inside the transient generator and features memory for over 64,000 standard waveform segments as well as 1 GB of Clone memory for user-defined shapes.  This is enough memory for several thousand hours of simulations.

Now available  for both new systems, or as an upgrade for existing NSG 5500 units, the ARB 5500 provides the necessary control for all battery simulation tests and advanced functions including power magnetics and continuous wave (ripple) simulations. 

According to Teseq, the ARB 5500 supports waveforms that may be difficult to describe and real-world events that need to be simulated. All vital waveforms can be created from the built-in wave shapes or by loading a Clone™, a memory map of user-identified or prerecorded wave shapes, from an external application.

In addition to individual trigger outputs and programmable current limits, each of the ARB 5500’s eight channels supports 16-bit output with a 10 MS/s playback for true stepless operation.  The channels can be perfectly synchronized with an advanced parameter-ramping function when paired with Teseq’s redesigned AutoStar 7 software.  This intuitive software offers drag and drop programming for a “what you see is what you get” operation.  All channels are individually calibrated with values stored right on the ARB 5500.

Every segment in the new arbitrary waveform generator features its own trigger, advanced rectification, phase angle and duty cycle programming to effortlessly meet even the most complex standards’ requirements.

The ARB 5500 has an output voltage range of -10V to +10V, a frequency range up to 500kHz with isolated output.  With the addition of transient modules and a new dropout switch, nearly all automotive tests can be performed using a single 19in generator.

New sales manager appointed.

Gresham Power Electronics has appointed Dave Wellman as their new Sales Manager. Dave will be responsible for sales of Gresham’s wide range of commercial power supply products and will run their European distribution network.

Dave Wellman
Having been in the power industry for 14 years, working for both manufacturing and distribution companies Dave has extensive experience of customer requirements in both  standard and custom designed products covering a wide range of markets including industrial, defence, medical and rail.

In addition to his electronic and mechanical engineering background Dave also holds an MBA Degree in Business Strategy and Change Management.

Jake Moir, Managing Director of Gresham Power, comments, “We are very pleased to welcome Dave to Gresham Power. He joins us at a time when our Defence order book is in very good shape and he will be leading our efforts to increase our sales of commercial products. He will not only be developing our OEM sales of standard and custom designed products but growing our distribution business and looking to introduce a range of appropriate complimentary products.”

Students! Consider the process control industry as a future career.

MCAA’s annual Industry Forum is scheduled for April 19-21, 2015 in Scottsdale (AZ USA). Over 200 attendees are expected experience an educational event featuring expert speakers, breakout sessions, roundtables, and peer networking opportunities.

As the trade association for providers of instrumentation used in industrial process control and factory automation, MCAA’s members are particularly affected by a “brain drain” as older, knowledgeable workers begin to retire. Therefore, Workforce Development is a critical issue that MCAA’s members are addressing in a variety of ways. Area college and university students have been invited to attend this meeting free of charge. Students will take part in topical discussions and meet with corporate leaders to discover more about the varied and exciting career opportunities within the automation industry. MCAA is planning an even bigger outreach to students at the 2016 Industry Forum in Nashville.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “Work”. The keynote address will be delivered by Brian Hayes, Global Business Development Manager for ABB, Inc. With over three decades in the instrumentation industry, he will discuss the changing nature of customer requirements and examine ideas for opening future markets.

Inventor, author, and entrepreneur Doug Hall, founder of the Eureka! Ranch, will inspire and educate participants with his original strategies for increasing innovation and creativity.

Respected economist Jeffrey Dietrich from ITR Economics will bring an intelligent and insightful perspective to his market forecast that goes beyond the “lead and bleed” headlines.

Technological trends and their impact on management is the focus of a presentation by venture investor and technology expert, Dave Berkus.

Breakout and roundtable sessions led by industry experts will focus on specific industry sectors and highlight issues critical to success in the 21st-century workplace. Attendees will have an opportunity to delve into the oil & gas markets, social media, negotiating techniques, digital communications, sales and marketing, manufacturing, and workforce development.

MCAA exists to help the management teams of process and factory automation product and solution providers run and grow successful businesses by offering timely, unique and highly specialized resources acquired from shared management benchmarks where proprietary company information is secure—with opportunities for industry peers to learn and network at events such as the Industry Forum.

Control system integrator industry’s digital marketing performance.

Authentia has published an important and comprehensive study of the control system integrator industry’s digital marketing performance. Many industrial/manufacturing industries lag behind in their adoption of modern digital marketing practices, largely due to target demographics that have been slow to embrace social media and mobile computing. This has especially been the case in the control system integrator industry. However, with digital trends accelerating and workforce demographics rapidly changing, businesses are being forced to adapt quickly.
Click image to download report
Authentia randomly selected 100 North American control system integrators and assessed their digital marketing effectiveness against 32 separate criteria. The results indicate areas of opportunity for control system integrators to take advantage of industry-wide latencies. Owners, business developers, and marketing professionals will find this information valuable in assessing their own efforts and opportunities against their peers and competitors.

Is Industrial Automation and Manufacturing Behind the Digital Marketing Curve?
rticle on International Society of Automation's Interchange blog where Joel Don talks about this report. (8th June 2015)
“With my background in industrial controls and leadership positions in the International Society of Automation (ISA), control system integrators are near and dear to my heart,” said Authentia Strategic Marketing Consultant Jon DiPietro. “I have many friends and colleagues who work in that industry. Over the past few years, I’ve conducted dozens of digital marketing assessments for control system integrators and other automation companies. I thought it would be interesting to conduct an industry-wide assessment and see how the industry as a whole is adapting to digital marketing trends.”

Key findings from the report include:
  • Websites are outdated in terms of messaging and technology:
  • 79% of CSI websites we analyzed make site visits from a mobile device difficult or impossible, alienating nearly half of their web visitors.
  • 48% of the website cannot easily change site content or even enable blogging, as they do not use a Content Management System (CMS).
  • 45% of all sites studied make no attempt to establish trust with site visitors through the use of social proof, such as testimonials, awards, certifications, memberships, etc.
Search engine marketing is nearly non-existent in the industry:
  • 3% of websites surveyed were determined to be paying for advertisements on search engines.
  • 85% of CSI websites had a Domain Authority below 40, which is a measure of how much clout a website carries with search engines.
  • 42% of websites did not have any analytics operating which track their performance.
The industry has not yet adopted content marketing as a strategy:
  • 67% of those studied do not list or promote social media accounts, such as Facebook or LinkedIn
  • 65% of websites have no blog or news feed.
  • 12% had a blog and published industry-focused content (as opposed to company news).
  • 88% of websites surveyed did not incorporate social sharing buttons, making their content difficult to find and share.
There are very few mechanisms in place to interact with prospects:
  • 2% of websites were connected to a marketing automation tool.
  • 84% of websites surveyed did not utilize visible call-to-action buttons.
  • 95% of websites failed to use landing pages, which contain an offer designed to collect information from prospects.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

High Mating Cycle (HMC) connectors!

Harting Han-Modular® hinged frame allows integration with High Mating Cycle connectors

Harting has added a new hinged frame to the Han-Modular® range of industrial connectors. The new frame allows Han-Modular® components to be integrated with the company's family of High Mating Cycle (HMC) connectors, which are designed to handle more than 10,000 mating cycles.

The new Han-Modular® Hinged Frame HMC incorporates a specially plated PE (Protective Earth) contact with enhanced mechanical stability. These modifications enable the frame to be used in scenarios where the number of mating cycles exceeds 10,000, with no loss in performance.

The new frame now permits the integration of the Han-Modular® system into applications involving modular structured production facilities. These connectors are subject to ever-increasing demands because of more frequent intervals between retooling and machinery changeovers, with users demanding identical performance and reliability despite a higher number of mating cycles. Mobile equipment and medical technology present similar application challenges.

Variable speed drives improves the quality of glass ovens.

A leading manufacturer of glass tempering ovens has turned to the Unidrive M family of variable speed drives from Emerson Industrial Automation to greatly improve the quality of its products. Glaston America, (NJ USA), has established a strong reputation for excellence serving both the commercial and residential glass markets. The company´s biggest customer is Cardinal IG, a market leader in the manufacture of residential glass. To ensure its glass tempering ovens meet the demanding requirements of high profile customers, every effort is made by Glaston to maximize quality.

A recent case in point saw the company address the issue of tiny scratches that can occur as a result of the glass being tempered without precise speed control on the oven´s drives. To overcome the challenge, Glaston researched the market for an alternative to its existing drives supplier.

"The solution arrived initially in the shape of Control Techniques' Unidrive SP drive because of the flexibility of programming and option cards for feedback and communications," explains Cliff Matukonis of Glaston America. "However, we soon migrated to the Unidrive M701 as its new features and functionality better suited our needs. The integration of PROFIBUS communications and application modules for increasing the drives' flexibility was also crucial in our decision."

Led by the results of extensive customer-driven market research, and designed specifically for manufacturing automation applications (Emerson Industrial Automation's traditional area of expertise), each Unidrive M model suits specific application needs. For instance, the Unidrive M701 series drives now preferred by Glaston offer benefits specific to sectors such as ovens and heat treatment equipment.

A total of 14 Unidrive M701 drives with SI-PROFIBUS are now deployed in the company´s glass tempering ovens, one for each roll section. Rollers pass glass through various oven sections to be treated and then through a cooling section prior to packaging. Glaston also uses 14 Unimotor HD - highly dynamic brushless servo motors from Control Techniques, one for each drive.

"The main benefit of the Unidrive M701 is the precise speed control we can now exert on the oven rolls which greatly reduces scratches and imperfections on the glass," states Mr. Matukonis. "Furthermore, we now have more capability and flexibility, and found integration to the control system extremely straightforward. The system´s design and interfaces, along with its extensive diagnostics capability, also ensure ease-of-use for the machine´s operator."

The Unidrive M family of drives offer class-leading induction and permanent magnet servo motor performance with real-time Ethernet. Each drive delivers maximum machine throughput through greater control with single and multi-axis network synchronization. On-board real-time Ethernet (IEEE 1588 V2), advanced motion control and high speed I/O for position capture has made it easier than ever for machine builders to create more sophisticated and flexible machines.

"The new line-up of Unidrive M701 with SI-PROFIBUS is now integral to all our new and upgraded installations," said Mr. Matukonis. "The option cards give these drives incredible flexibility. For example, we are able to bring two encoder signals from other motors into a single drive. With minimal programming, we have been able to have the drives follow either of these encoders with smooth ramps between the two different encoder speeds. I could only find this option in significantly more expensive servo solutions.

"As well as this, we are impressed at how the system deals with any issues. If a drive fails, all the parameters are kept on a magnetic card that can easily be used to program the new drive. It was much easier for the maintenance department to simply put in the card and program the new drive.

"Between the Unidrive SP and Unidrive M series, we have to date installed over 100 servo drives at our production facility and we couldn´t be happier with the results we´re seeing."

Switching system test tools!

Pickering Interfaces is lowering the cost of ownership of switching systems with the introduction of their latest diagnostic test tools—eBIRST Switching System Test Tools.

The eBIRST tools, designed specifically for Pickering Interfaces PXI, PCI or LXI (Ethernet) products, simplify switching system fault finding by quickly testing the system and identifying the faulty relays. Once identified, the tools then display a graphical representation of the switching system’s PCB assembly, highlighting the relays that need to be replaced. The eBIRST tools achieve this task by measuring the path resistance between different pins on the switching system connector and controlling the path through the system to allow it to test any of the relays in the system. Systems that use separate input and output connections can be tested by use of two eBIRST tools in a master/slave configuration.

“In 2009 we introduced an embedded test tool, BIRST™ (Built-In Relay Self-Test). This tool gave our customers the ability to find defective relays in matrix products and was very well received,” states David Owen, Business Development Manager for Pickering Interfaces. “The new eBIRST tools build on that experience by introducing external tools that can support any switching system architecture, not just matrices, with 100% relay coverage. These tools can be applied to low or medium power Pickering Interfaces switching systems using any of our primary control interfaces – PXI, PCI or LXI. For a modest investment, the tools offer our customers a quick and efficient method of identifying faults and a simple means of determining what needs to be repaired and what does not. Once a user has tools covering their primary connector use, they have an investment that can save its cost many times over in reduced repair times and lower system down times. No other switching system vendor offers this level of support for its designs.”

The eBIRST tools consist of three different tools that support 200-way LFH, 78-way D and 50-way D connectors and a set of adaptors that allow connection to other connector types. A supplied application program controls the eBIRST tools via a USB2 connection that also provides the tool power and controls the switching system using a Test Definition File to define the test sequence. The tool dimensions allow eBIRST to be used to test PXI, PCI or LXI (Ethernet) controlled switching systems.

The application program, which is free to download from the Pickering Interfaces website, is regularly updated to include support for a growing range of Pickering Interfaces switching products.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New ultrasonic flowmeter for superheated steam.

A dedicated ultrasonic flowmeter, OPTISONIC 8300,  for the measurement of superheated steam is presented by Krohne. The 2-beam flowmeter stands out with a measuring accuracy of 1 %, high repeatability, and a large dynamic measuring range. Typical applications include boiler and plant efficiency monitoring in (power) plants, energy balancing or inter-company steam billing.

As downtime of steam pipes is very costly and must be avoided, the unit was build for long term use: it features a full bore flow sensor without moving parts or obstructions, and an overall sturdy and robust construction with no cables or sensitive parts exposed. Therefore, it can uphold its measuring accuracy without maintenance or subsequent calibration for up to 20 years, while keeping operating costs at a minimum. If verification of the measuring accuracy should become necessary, it can be provided by using the flowmeter diagnostics, without removing the flowmeter.

With nominal sizes ranging from DN 100...1000 / 4…40", OPTISONIC 8300 is particularly suited to high flow rates. Pressure rating up to 200 bar / 3625 psi and temperature rating up to 540 °C / 1004 °F are available, higher requirements on request. With temperature and pressure sensors connected to the device, the integrated flow computer can calculate steam mass flow.

OThis instrument adds to Krohne's portfolio of ultrasonic process and custody transfer meters for liquids and gases, ranging from compressed air to liquid natural gas (LNG).

• Krohne products are marketed by DWN Instrumentation in Ireland. 

Industrial communication with PROFINET - new edition!

A new edition of the book Industrial communication with PROFINET is now available from PI, the leading global industrial communications organisation. Written by Dipl.-Ing. Manfred Popp, the work gives field device manufacturers, plant manufacturers, and commissioning engineers a comprehensive and practical introduction to the functionality and use of PROFINET.

Dipl.-Ing Manfred Popp
The new edition takes into account the latest version of the PROFINET Standard V 2.3. In just under 250 pages, the book provides the reader with explanations of basic principles, helpful references, examples, and the mode of operation of PROFINET. In addition to learning about data exchange in RT and IRT communication, the reader will find out everything he needs to know about the diagnostics concept, engineering, conformance classes, and performance optimizations, as well as the user profiles of PROFINET. Other topics include the integration of existing fieldbus systems, the redundancy concept integrated in PROFINET, and device certification.. An overview of the essential frames and data formats rounds out the book and serves as a reference to assist developers and commissioning engineers in their daily activities.

The author Dipl.-Ing. Manfred Popp has served as Director of the PROFIBUS/PROFINET Competence Center and Test Lab in Fürth, Germany, since 1991. He is also the leader of the PNO Working Groups for PROFINET and PROFIsafe certification.

The book may be ordered directly from the PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e.V. (PNO) using the order form available here.

Analysers provide double safety assurance in subsea compression!

Two of Michell’s gas analyzers have been selected to ensure safety as part of a Subsea Process Intervention System (SPIS).
The analysers will be installed as part of a reclaim tank system, used to collect hydrocarbon liquid residues and Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) for treatment as well as disposing of waste gases to the atmosphere. To avoid the risk of explosion, the tank is blanketed with nitrogen. Michell’s analyzers will be used to monitor the N2 blanket for signs of Oxygen and Methane and to provide a warning to operators if these are detected.

The customer aims to have a 100% atmosphere of Nitrogen in the tank, so accuracy and the ability to detect low levels of the two gases is essential. The XTP601 Oxygen analyzer has an accuracy of 0.02% O2 and is sensitive enough to detect oxygen from parts per million levels.

The XTC601 binary gas analyzer uses thermal conductivity to measure one gas in the background of another – in this instance methane in a background of nitrogen. Accurate to 2% of span, the analyzer’s highly stable sensor means that it will perform reliably for long periods.

Both analyzers use non-depleting technologies which have no moving parts. This not only keeps routine maintenance to a minimum but also increases reliability in the tough sub-sea conditions. They also carry world-wide hazardous area certifications including, ATEX, IECEx, TC TR Ex and CSA.

• Michell products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Connectors protect cables from moisture Ingress - even when disconnected!

There are no shortage of waterproof connectors available to design engineers. A great number however have to be mated to actually be waterproof as the casing acts as the seal. In many applications this is not adequate as connectors may have to be disconnected while in service for calibration, repair, module exchange and connection of different ancillary equipment. In these circumstances it is of critical importance that both the plug and jack remain waterproof while disconnected to prevent ingress of moisture into the connecting cable or equipment preventing loss of performance or damage.

Intelliconnect (Europe) Ltd offers designers their market leading Pisces range of waterproof connectors which meet IP68 even when unmated.

The recently extended Pisces series now includes additional connector and cable termination options suitable for most Coaxial/Triaxial/Twinaxial waterproof connector groups. Pisces connectors are now available in SMA, TNC and N Type cable plug options which may be connected to a wide variety of cables including many LMR, RG, Semi-Rigid and Semi-Flexible cable types. All plug types have matching, waterproof when disconnected, jacks to prevent moisture ingress damaging the electronics inside the equipment housing.

The product enhancements to the Pisces connector series extend the range of potential applications to include 75 ohm variants for video camera security applications, environmental monitoring ocean buoys, traffic cameras (ANPR), coastguard/HM customs patrol boats, personal locator beacons, military radios/communication systems, environmental monitoring and water management and vehicle tracking. Other potential applications are high quality antennas, personal locator beacons, cochlear Implant devices, petrochemical monitoring equipment, traffic indication systems, environmental monitoring, SCADA (data-loggers etc.),

In addition to Intelliconnect’s renowned fast turnaround custom designed connector service their extensive standard range includes IP67 and IP68 rated interconnect solutions for harsh environments including N Type, SMC, SMA, TNC, Push-Pull and ABMS (harsh environment MCX). The SSMA is a smaller version of SMA which provides higher frequency performance. The male contact is designed to be the same size as the cable conductor so that it can be used as the mating pin for optimised VSWR (Voltage Standing Wave Ratio - a measure of how efficiently radio-frequency power is transmitted from a power source, through a transmission line, into a load).

New eLearning on Functional Safety (SIL) published

TÜV NORD, Krohne, Samson and Phoenix Contact publish a jointly created eLearning on Functional Safety (SIL). Designed for system planners and operators of industrial process plants, the new eLearning offers ten learning modules for the use of IEC 61508/61511 in safety-related systems. The eLearning is easily accessable

The learning contents are product-neutral and commercial-free and are based on the SIL seminar series that has been conducted as a collaboration between the companies since 2009 as part of the Krohne Academy. The partners have decided to publish the content as eLearning due to the high demand for further education on the topic of SIL.

The ten learning modules of the SIL eLearning build upon one another and provide an overview of the basic concepts and methods of functional safety. Following an introduction to the topic of "Safety in the Process Industry" other modules follow on hazard and risk assessment, safety requirements specification, aspects of engineering and design, generic data, requirements for sensor technology and final elements, the verification of SIL, and these are complemented by calculation examples and a module for start-up and modifications. At the end of each module the participant has the opportunity to check the knowledge gained by completing a short questionnaire.

Per successful completion of a module, a certificate is issued to each participant which can be downloaded as well as printed. If the participant has passed all ten modules, the participant gets a global course certificate.

• Krohne producta are marketed in Ireland by DWN Instrumentation.

Google certified for health and safety and facilities management solutions!

Seton UK, a leading manufacturer and distributor of health and safety and facilities management solutions, was recently selected to join the Google Certified Shops program.

To help shoppers identify online merchants that offer a great shopping experience, the Google Certified Shops badge is awarded to e¬commerce sites that demonstrate a track record of on-¬time shipping and excellent customer service. When visiting the Seton website, shoppers will see a Google Certified Shops badge and can click on it for more information.

Chris Humphrey, Director of British Sales and Customer Service at Seton said: “Excellent customer service has always been the corner stone of the Seton business and we have worked hard to ensure this extends to our online customers by giving them the positive buying experience they expect and deserve. We are extremely pleased that this has been recognised by the inclusion of Seton within the Google Trusted Store program and this is a fantastic endorsement. Seton continues to adapt to current digital media and technology to enable us to best serve our customers”.

As an added benefit, when a shopper makes a purchase at a Google Certified Shops, they have the option to select free purchase protection from Google. Then in the unlikely event of an issue with their purchase, they can request Google’s help, and Google will work with Seton and the customer to address the issue. As part of this, Google offers up to £1,000 lifetime purchase protection for eligible purchases. Google Certified Shops is entirely free, both for shoppers and for online stores. The program helps online stores like Seton attract new customers, increase sales, and differentiate themselves by demonstrating excellent service via the badge on their website.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Automation & process archive now available!

Spitzer & Boyes have established an archive for the Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER. This archive covers all of 2014, and all but the most current two months in 2015.

One does not need to be a subscriber to access the INSIDER Archive, just visit  and select the issue required.

To obtain current issues as they appear subscriptions may be made here to the only magazine that covers both factory automation and process automation that does not take advertising. This means that they can cover events and issues without fear or favour, and their commentary is not flavoured by the size of any advertising budget. 

As David Spitzer says, "At the INSIDER you get the straight stuff. If knowing what's really going on in automation is important to you, you can't be without the INSIDER every month."