Friday, April 10, 2015

Research into stem cells!

Yokogawa Solution Service Corporation announces that it will join the Smart Cell Processing project, a joint undertaking of industrial, administrative, and academic organisations in Japan and Britain that is being led by Tokyo Electron Limited, and will work with Tokyo Electron to develop a total quality management system for the automated production of stem cells that will be used in regenerative medicine.

Tokyo Electron has established the Stem Cell Technology Centre (STC) in Britain and is working with 15 technology partners to establish and standardise smart cell processing technologies for cultivating and inspecting stem cells of clinical quality. For this purpose, a manufacturing control system is needed that can control cell quality during the automatic cultivation process. Leveraging its solid track record and experience with manufacturing control applications in the pharmaceutical industry, Yokogawa will develop a complete stem cell production quality management solution that will also control logistics and function as a manufacturing execution system (MES) and plant information management system (PIMS).

Based on CIMVisionPharms, a pharmaceutical manufacturing control package, and CellBrain(TM), an online semiconductor manufacturing controller, this system will satisfy the specific requirements of stem cell production. To develop this management system, Yokogawa will make use of a fully-automatic cell culture and inspection apparatus that Tokyo Electron plans to install at the STC. Yokogawa will share information on its activities with the STC technology partners.

In line with the dramatic progress that is being achieved in iPS and ES cell research, expectations are rising that regenerative medicine is going to be a true game changer in the medical field. For the benefits of regenerative medicine to become widely available, progress must be achieved in the development of smart cell processing technologies and the establishment of stem cell production facilities. Yokogawa control and measurement technologies are used in a wide range of industries, and are helping achieve advances in biotechnology, regenerative medicine, and biomedicine. Yokogawa plans to capitalise on this joint development opportunity with Tokyo Electron to expand its business in these fields.

Monitor, evaluate and document the XY characteristics of joining and press-fit processes!

The new Type 5847 maXYmos NC represents a significant improvement to the capabilities of the Kistler NC servo press modules. The maXYmos NC will monitor, evaluate and document the XY characteristics of joining and press-fit processes using the force and displacement data from the servo press module.

The new version extends the capability of the NC Servo Press system to monitor and control the shape of the measurement curves against a defined profile in real-time. A significantly greater degree of control in terms of position, velocity and force, is possible compared with equivalent hydraulic systems. As a result, optimum cycle times can be achieved with the highest degree of process repeatability.

The integrated sequence control module (Sequencer Mode) enables versatile mapping of even the most complex joining processes easily and effectively without the need for expensive, external PLC programming. Programs are set up using the intuitive user interface on the colour touch screen. . In total, up to 128 programs can be stored, with the option of defining each one with an independent sequence of up to 255 elements. As a result, even highly complex processes can be defined simply and effectively. Such processes are evaluated by means of the curve patterns of  force and displacement, in relation to one another, which are then rated as good (OK) or bad (NOK). Each program can contain up to ten Evaluation Objects, each with a range of evaluation options, ensuring that process deviations are reliably detected.

The flexible design concept of the maXYmos NC system allows easy integration into existing or new systems. The maXYmos NC comprises two components, the measuring and evaluation module (MEM) and the display module (DIM). These two components can be installed separately or as a single compact unit. Up to eight joining processes can be visualized on the same display module guaranteeing maximum operational flexibility, whilst saving space and contributing towards an optimum cost-benefit ratio.

The (MEM) can operate entirely autonomously and may be operated without the DIM with setup and process visualization being carried out via the graphical user interface (GUI), which can be transferred onto a PC accessible by Virtual Network Computing (VNC) via the Ethernet interface or USB.

The MEM incorporates the most common fieldbus interfaces such as PROFIBUS, PROFINET. EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT which can be selected via a menu on the touch screen display enabling users to respond to changing requirements in relation to sensor or fieldbus types. In addition, the standardization of MEM development keeps costs for spare part handling to a minimum.

The maXYmos NC monitoring and control capability ensures that faulty parts are detected and removed early in the production process optimizing productivity, enhancing quality assurance and reducing production costs.

Gas detection representation in Bangla Desh!

Ion Science is targeting further growth in South Asia with the appointment of two Bangladeshi-based distributors.
Following a successful road trip through the country by KS Chari, Ion Science South Asia representative based in India, the company has appointed Seasafe (Tristar Group) located in Chittagong and Dhaka-based Labcom Technology. The companies will primarily target the refining and fertiliser industries and also help increase awareness of Ion Science products amongst government institutions.

Both businesses will sell and support the Ion Science Tiger, Tiger Select, Cub, TVOC, TITAN, GasCheck and Mercury Vapour Indicator. Tristar will also promote the Hydrosteel hydrogen flux monitor as they have extensive refinery experience.

During the Bangladesh trip, Seasafe took KS Chari to prospective customers where he gave presentations and demonstrations of the Tiger.

Labcom Technology organised a seminar and demonstration at the Training Institute for Chemical Industries (TICI) near Dhaka. The event was attended by scientists and chemists from the Institute and fertiliser industries. TICI is the Central Training Institute of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC).

Talking about the new distributors, KS Chari says: “We welcome Seasafe and Labcom Technology to the Ion Science family and wish them every success in helping grow our business in Bangladesh. With their presence and experience in this key market, we are confident they will quickly identify new customers and ensure a high level of support and guidance.”

HMI platform expands communication options.

Red Lion Controls has expanded its Graphite™ Human Machine Interface (HMI) operator panels with two new communication modules, offering support for some of today’s most popular industrial protocols. Designed for use with the Graphite HMI platform, the PROFIBUS® (GMPBDP) and DeviceNet™ (GMDN) plug-in modules provide the connectivity customers need to add powerful monitoring and control functionality to their existing operations.

Red Lion’s new plug-and-play modules support the rising demand for device interoperability, allowing customers to leverage Red Lion’s rugged Graphite HMIs – with built-in protocol converter and 300+ communications drivers – to support virtually any automation equipment. The GMPBDP module adds PROFIBUS DP slave support while the GMDN module allows the HMI to perform as a DeviceNet Group 2 server.

“With the addition of new communication modules, our powerful HMI products continue to provide even more ways for our customers to easily connect, monitor and control processes across a broad range of industries,” explained Jeff Thornton, director of product management at Red Lion Controls. “The PROFIBUS and DeviceNet modules give customers more choices as they seek integrated communication solutions to address varying requirements in industrial and remote environments.”

Recently named a “2014 First Team Supplier” in HMI hardware by the readers of Automation World, Red Lion’s Graphite HMIs offer a built-in web server that enables users to monitor and control applications via PCs, tablets or smartphones. SMS text-messaging and email alerts provide early warning of process issues, which helps avoid costly downtime. In addition, protocol conversion lets customers select from more than 300 industrial protocols to seamlessly integrate disparate devices such as PLCs, drives, cameras, barcode readers and panel meters.

Pioneering innovations in sensor development.

Honeywell company, City Technologyare exhibiting at Sensor + Test 2015 on 19-21 May in Nurnberg, Germany, and presenting a speaker session on new technologies driving the next generation of intelligent and connectable gas sensors.

The keynote presentation delivered by Dr. Stefan Degen, City Technology’s Research and Development Manager - will take place on 20th May from 12:00pm – 12:30pm in Hall 12. It will draw on 25 years of Sensoric specialist gas sensing in Bonn, Germany, and discuss pioneering innovations in development.

Sensor + Test brings together over 500 manufacturers and suppliers of sensing, measuring and testing solutions. The three day event at the Nurnberg Exhibition Centre also includes a programme of conferences on a range of key technology topics.

City Technology will be part of a wider Honeywell stand (12-607) showcasing its leading-edge gas sensing range with a key focus on specialist Sensoric gas sensors and the new long life oxygen (4OxLL and 5OxLL) and emissions sensors, which are experiencing a high level of take-up in the market. The Sensoric range provides the most comprehensive specialist sensing portfolio in the market with over 20 toxic and exotic gas sensors, including ammonia, hydrides, fluorine and ozone. These sensors use highly specialised technologies to solve difficult operational challenges.

John Warburton, Strategic Marketing Manager for City Technology comments: “Sensor + Test provides a great opportunity for visitors to learn more about advanced gas sensing solutions and specialist technologies, which can fulfil very specific needs. A key highlight will be some of the latest innovations in the Sensoric range as these sensors have been manufactured for 25 years in Germany.

Dr. Degen’s session will highlight future trends, the latest sensing technologies in development and how tomorrow’s gas sensors will evolve to be smaller, more intelligent, connectable and wearable through greater PPE integration and the application of new advanced technologies. It will also demonstrate how end users will be able to leverage greater value, ease of use and enhanced safety from these developments in the future.”

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bloodhound camera testing program accelerates!

With new camera locations added to the Bloodhound vehicle, video transmission successfully tested at speeds up to 650 mph and the camera selection for rocket monitoring finalised, Stemmer Imaging's contribution to the Bloodhound-SSC project is right on track.
The three compact Adlink EOS embedded vision systems on the Bloodhound SSC jet and rocket powered car can each accept and record 4 independent HD feeds from cameras in any of the 25 camera locations around the car, meaning that data from 12 cameras can be acquired on any one run.  Each recorder also provides a single H.264 video stream from any of its 4 inputs for live transmission to the control centre. 

The live video transmission has to be capable of reliable operation at speeds up to Bloodhound's target of 1000 mph. Recent tests in the desert at Hakskeen Pan, South Africa where video from the camera system installed on a Jaguar F-type vehicle was transmitted to a jet aircraft, have shown successful video and audio communication transmissions at closing speeds of up 650 mph, in readiness for the next phase which is integration of the video system into Bloodhound itself.

The video data stream output will be connected to Bloodhound's cockpit instrument panel computer and the vehicle's radio modems via a router. The independent channels from each recorder can be simultaneously transmitted in real time and the cockpit instrument panel computer can also display one of these channels on one of the cockpit instrument displays.

The number of camera locations on Bloodhound has now increased to 25. There are five safety-critical locations and camera feeds from these will be used on all runs. These cover the instruments and controls, forward facing and rear facing fin tops, the rocket fuel connection hose and the rocket plume. Further developments in the wing camera mounting and optics are also under way to minimise distortion and the viewing angles and mountings for the cameras that will be monitoring the wheel/ground interface have been designed.

Small scale rocket plume imaging tests carried out last year showed that the UV range of the spectrum provides useful information in addition to traditional colour imaging of the rocket output.  A JAI CB-140 GE-RA colour camera and a JAI CM-140 GE-UV camera have now been selected to monitor the rocket on the car. The next stage of testing will be on the actual rocket to be used on Bloodhound. The rocket plume will be recorded in Finland using an Optronis high speed camera and the UV camera in the near future.

Mark Williamson, Director - Corporate Market Development at STEMMER IMAGING said: "This really exciting project has thrown up numerous technical challenges, as was to be expected in an undertaking of this complexity.  We continue to work closely with the Bloodhound engineering team to address each issue as it arises, and we are delighted that we are keeping up to pace with the overall development program."

Modules added to HMI platform.

An HSPA+ (GMHSPA) cellular module has been announced by Red Lion Controls for its Graphite™ Human Machine Interface (HMI) platform. The new module uses an HSPA+ cellular network to provide reliable high-speed data communication to remotely-located assets across oil and gas, water and wastewater, power, utility and alternative energy applications.
Programmed using Red Lion’s award-winning Crimson® software, the GMHSPA+ module easily plugs into Graphite HMIs to provide a space-saving solution that simplifies installation. The combined solution supports over 300 different industrial protocols, enabling users to monitor and control a large variety of disparate equipment and processes, such as temperatures, pressures, flows and levels.

“Combining an HSPA+ cellular module with Graphite HMIs provides customers with a powerful solution to cost-effectively monitor and control remote equipment,” said Jeff Thornton, director of product management at Red Lion Controls. “Using high-speed cellular networks eliminates expensive site visits. This allows users to receive critical device and performance data in real time, thereby saving time and money while staying informed.”

Launched in 2013, Red Lion’s Graphite HMIs offer a built-in web server that enables users to monitor and control applications via PCs, tablets or smartphones. SMS text-messaging and email alerts provide early warning of process issues, which helps avoid costly downtime. In addition, protocol conversion lets programmers select 13 or more simultaneous protocols from a list of over 300 to seamlessly integrate disparate devices such as PLCs, drives, barcode readers and panel meters.

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

Wireless safety foot switches.

To avoid failures during routine work due to hot metal splashes that damage the power or signal cables, a wireless safety foot switch using Steute “sWave 2.4 GHZ-safe” technology has been chosen. It greatly increases reliability while being easy to install and flexible.

The foundry profits from a longer lifespan
of the foot switches because there are no
longer cables which can be damaged
by hot metal splashes.
Foot switches are standard control elements in many metalworking enterprises. Operators have both hands free to start or stop a machine or drive. Because foot switches can be placed anywhere on the floor, they also offer a high degree of ergonomic comfort.

Foot switch advantages
It is precisely these advantages which a light metal foundry in Switzerland is currently exploiting. It manufactures high-quality cast aluminium parts, amongst other things for electrotechnology, railroad engineering and machine building. Machinery at the foundry includes tiltable gravity casting machines which were previously operated via cabled safety foot switches. These machines perform dangerous (tilting) movements during casting.

The search for an alternative
The switches repeatedly failed during routine work because hot metal splashes damaged the power or signal cables. In their search for an alternative, the technical management at the foundry came across a wireless safety foot switch which had just come onto the market and which communicated with the evaluating unit in the control cabinet via a safe wireless protocol.

New: wireless protocol for safety applications
This series of switchgear is the first to work with the safe wireless protocol “sWave® 2.4 GHz-safe” developed by steute. This wireless system uses the physical layer of standard IEEE 802.15.1. Due to a high level of reliability which is guaranteed, amongst other things, by the FHSS (“Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum”) procedure on 79 channels and by the adaptive frequency hopping procedure, as well as to a very good coexistence with other wireless systems, it is especially suited to use in rough industrial environments. The transmitter/receiver system – as is to be expected from safety applications – is fundamentally designed as a two-channel system.

Several safe foot switches can work in parallel within one radio range. The power supply is battery-based, creating the conditions necessary for a highly accessible bidirectional radio connection. The system, consisting of the wireless foot switch and the receiver unit, is EC type examination tested and in Performance Level (PL) d according to ISO EN 13849-1, as well as Safety Integrated Level (SIL) 2 according to IEC 62061.

“Misappropriation” for new technology
The wireless safety foot switches were originally developed for special operations, such as the “setting mode” or “process monitoring mode”. Here the machines can still be operated in compliance with the standards, with opened guard doors and reduced speed, as long as the user actuates the pedal and keeps it depressed in the middle position.

A test at the foundry quickly showed, however, that the safety foot switch could just as effectively be used in this application. By doing away with the cable connection, the lifespan of the foot switch in this environment increases significantly. Ergonomic comfort is also improved because there is no cable to get in the way.

All steute foot switches are renowned for their ergonomic design. They are also extremely stable once positioned, which for this type of switch is an important criterion for ergonomic and intuitive operation. The metal housing can withstand a high degree of mechanical wear and tear and, like the high-quality switching inserts, makes for a long lifespan, even in rough ambient conditions – in foundries and elsewhere.

Automation society reaches out to unemployed members.

The International Society of Automation (ISA) today announces the reinstatement of an ISA member benefit that enables ISA members who are unemployed at their membership renewal date to extend their full membership status by nine months.

ISA President Rick Roop
“This action by ISA’s Executive Board is to great degree in response to the financial pressures and job losses mounting in the oil and gas industry throughout the world,” declared Rick Roop, 2015 ISA President. “The significant drop in the price of oil—while a boon to consumers and many manufacturers and businesses—has severely curtailed energy exploration and negatively affected many companies that operate in the field. We want our members who experience job loss to know that we understand the difficulties they’re experiencing. We want to help them maintain their full membership in and connection to ISA during their transition to new positions.”

The “Unemployed Membership Benefit,” which will be enforced retroactively from 1 January 2015, was initially approved as an ISA member benefit in 2009 in response to the global economic crisis. The benefit was not renewed after two years as the world economy recovered.  

“At that time, the energy industry was rapidly growing,” Roop explains. “In fact, it was a key job generator helping to lead US and other countries out of recession. The oil price crash that began in 2014 has reversed things considerably.”

Because ISA’s “Unemployed Membership Benefit” extends ISA membership status nine months onto the Society’s existing three-month grace period, some affected ISA members may be able to lengthen their membership status by a full 12 months.

An ISA member who has become unemployed should contact ISA to request a one-time, nine-month extension of his or her current membership term. Affected members are eligible for the extension only if they contact ISA during their standard three-month active grace period.

Other important details and provisions of the “Unemployed Membership Benefit” are as follows:
  • All ISA members will be notified of the membership extension option in renewal notices sent one month after their current membership term has expired.
  • All ISA members taking advantage of the “Unemployed Membership Benefit” will enjoy full member benefits, including existing technical division memberships, during the extended membership term (as long as they remain unemployed during the period), with the following exceptions:
    • ISA’s bi-monthly magazine, InTech, will be delivered digitally starting at the time each member notifies ISA of the desire to extend his or her membership.
    • The printed version of ISA’s Directory of Automation will not be mailed.
    • Any printed ISA division newsletters will be sent in electronic versions via email.
    • ISA members receiving the extended membership benefit are expected to contact ISA and renew their paid membership upon re-employment.
ISA encourages all of its members who become unemployed to take advantage of this benefit reinstatement. By maintaining your ISA membership, you’ll continue to receive valuable technical knowledge and career and skills development, and maintain your engagement in an active association and among an assembly of colleagues and friends that support you professionally and personally.

• To view the many outstanding ISA member benefits and personal privileges, visit the member benefit page on the ISA website. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

From the Very First Click.

The new FieldConnex fieldbus diagnostic handheld device (FDH-1) from Pepperl+Fuchs makes commissioning and troubleshooting a fieldbus installation easier than ever. The mobile device can check any fieldbus segment quickly and easily with the simple press of a button.

"Easier than using a multimeter!"
To make it even easier to install and use the fieldbus infrastructure, Pepperl+Fuchs has developed the new FieldConnex fieldbus diagnostic handheld device (FDH-1). Is the desired signal quality achieved? Is the bus termination correct? The FDH-1 uses a quick and simple method to display the quality of the fieldbus installation. The handheld has been specifically designed to be easy to operate without the need for expert fieldbus knowledge. Just connect the handheld to any fieldbus segment; no PC required! This connection enables the handheld to show whether or not there are any errors in the physical layer installation prior to commissioning a segment. If there are errors, it will pinpoint what they are, where they are, and how they can be corrected. This saves time and money during installation. The FDH-1 can also be used to check existing cables in to determine whether they are suitable for a fieldbus installation. Taking this approach can lead to considerable savings in terms of cabling costs and the amount of maintenance work required, ensuing reliable operation of the fieldbus. In existing installations, the FDH-1 can check the short-circuit protection at the spur connections. This is especially advisable for fieldbus installations that are many years old and may be beginning to experience problems.

The Mobile Expert
The new FDH-1 handheld device makes the commissioning process easy and ensures that quality assurance of the fieldbus installation is extremely straightforward. The mobile device is incredibly simple to handle and requires no previous technical knowledge, providing a crucial advantage. The device is just as user-friendly as the trusted multimeter, but can do a great deal more. For example, it features an integrated expert system that interprets the measured values, enabling it to detect errors and determine exactly where they are located. Once the errors are detected, it will also provide a simple corrective action statement. In addition to this expert system, a commissioning wizard with guided dialogs ensures the handheld device is easy to use. The wizard compares the installation to values set from fieldbus standards and specifications, enabling a target/actual comparison. If required, the wizard can create documentation in a storage format that can be downloaded via USB. The test report can also simply be downloaded again at a later date and used for comparison measurements.

The new FieldConnex fieldbus diagnostic handheld device from Pepperl+Fuchs makes the fieldbus installation as easy and straightforward as possible, providing the ideal basis for trouble-free operation and maximum availability of processing equipment. The FDH-1 is approved for use in all hazardous areas and for all types of explosion protection.

Event based notifications and other options on interface system.

Industrial automation manufacturer Opto 22 has announced groov 3.0, a significant update that adds event-based email notifications to groov, a mobile operator interface system that connects machines, equipment, and control systems with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Now, industrial automation end-users, system integrators, machine OEMs, or any authorized person can receive immediate email messages when a connected machine or system needs attention. 

Event Notifications
A major new feature of groov 3.0 is event-based email notifications that can alert selected personnel based on multiple parameters. Email messages can be customized and sent to groups or individuals, and messages can include equipment data, time/date stamps, other key information, and even links back to the groov operator interface for one-click access to real-time, visual data for further investigation. For example, if a machine overheats, stops working, or otherwise meets or exceeds one or more predefined criteria that trigger a notification, a maintenance technician can be notified via email or text message, and can click right to the groov screen with more data. With email available at almost any time or location thanks to mobile devices like smartphones, email notifications get critical data into the right hands right away.

Additional new features in groov 3.0 include an improved groov Build interface development environment, where it’s easier to position, align, and group on-screen objects. Also new is a Data Simulator feature that provides simulated dynamic values for onscreen gadgets; for instance, a Graph gadget can use a simulator tag that provides changing values for a sine wave, or a gauge can use a simulator tag with an integer moving between high and low values. This feature can help test onscreen gadgets or simulate tags and variables during screen development. For groov Free Trial users, evaluating groov no longer requires a connection to live machines or systems.

Cost-effective Options
groov 3.0 also introduces a new, cost-effective way to select the right groov platform for an application. Platform choice depends on how many Modbus/TCP-ready devices or SNAP PAC controllers will be connected to groov, and if an OPC UA server will be used. New groov platforms are:
  • groov Solo—connects to one Modbus/TCP device or one SNAP PAC controller. groov Solo is ideal for machine builders and OEMs—who need only one controller or system connection —and offers a new lower price for entry-level customers.
  • groov Plus—connects to multiple Modbus/TCP devices and SNAP PAC controllers and is ideal for multi-machine or system applications, or for monitoring and controlling widely dispersed assets.
  • groov Enterprise—connects to machines, PLCs, and other equipment and systems that support OPC UA, in addition to multiple Modbus/TCP devices and SNAP PAC controllers.

Applications change, and if more Modbus/TCP devices or SNAP PAC controllers are connected to groov, or if an OPC UA server is added to the application, it’s easy to quickly upgrade from one groov platform to the next.

• A fully functional version of groov Server for Windows is available to download and try so you can see your own system’s data on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device. The groov Free Trial operates for two hours without a license and can be restarted as needed. You can also see groov in action immediately and try it yourself with a live online demo.

Ultra-compact PSU.

Stadium Power has announced the availability of the CBM100S baseplate cooled ultra-compact 100W output power supply series. The industry standard full-brick sized power module measures just 17mm high and will deliver a full output without fan cooling. Typical applications include military COTS power solutions, rugged industrial and instrumentation systems.

The CMB100S series from Stadium Power has a universal input range from 90~264Vac, active power factor correction (PFC) meeting EN61000-3-2, high efficiency up to 91%, high power density up to 14.8W per cubic inch and low standby power consumption of <0 -20="" .5w.="" an="" cmb100s="" from="" has="" mtbf="" operating="" range="" temperature="" the="" to="">100,000 h @ 25°C (MIL-HDBK-217F), meets EN55022 Class B, features over temperature, over voltage protection and over current protection and has CE, UL, cUL and TUV safety agency approvals.

Standard output voltages available for the CBMS100S power supply series are 12, 24, 28, 36 and 48Vdc.

Stadium Power has over 30 years of expertise in the manufacture of custom, standard and medical switch mode power supplies, programmable power supplies and converters, LED drivers and EMC Filters to international standards including EN, IEC, CSA and UL.

The company can offer a complete design and build custom power supply service including in-house Design, Engineering, NPI, PCB assembly and box build services. Offshore manufacturing for high volume products can be provided the wholly owned facility in Asia.

New director at education Board!

The SME Education Foundation recently announced that Michael Marlowe, Managing Director and Director of Government Relations at the Automation Federation, has been elected to its Board of Directors.

Michael Marlowe
The SME Education Foundation’s mission is to prepare youth for advanced manufacturing careers through outreach programs encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), most notably technology and engineering.

As the “Voice of Automation,” the Automation Federation also plays an important role in encouraging young people to pursue STEM learning and in expanding awareness about the virtues and value of STEM-related career fields, particularly automation and engineering.

By helping to cultivate the next generation of automation professionals, the Automation Federation seeks to enable America to better compete in global manufacturing and develop innovative products and services to improve the quality of life throughout the world.

According to a press release distributed by the foundation, Marlowe brings to the SME Education Foundation board “a vast amount of knowledge and a devoted passion for educating younger generations about manufacturing” and the many careers opportunities that exist within the industry.

“Mike bring years of industry experience to the table and will help generate increased awareness, dedicated funding and educational development of the next-generation manufacturing workforce,” remarked Brian Ruestow, president of the SME Education Foundation.

With more than 28 years of experience in association management and government relations, Marlowe joined the Automation Federation in 2007. A previous Assistant to former West Virginia governor and US Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV), Marlowe has worked closely with officials at the White House, Congress and federal agencies as a resource and consultant on all issues relating to automation in manufacturing, particularly cybersecurity and workforce development.

He played a major role in the development of the US Department of Labor’s Automation Competency Model, which outlines the knowledge and skills needed to succeed today as an automation professional. He also contributed to the development of the department’s Cybersecurity Competency Model.

• The need to expand interest in STEM-based education is critical to the American economy. The manufacturing-sector employs nearly 12 million people (the equivalent of 1 in 6 private sector jobs) and supports almost 5 million more jobs. However, five percent of manufacturing jobs remain unfilled due to a lack of skilled candidates.

Company opens 15th office!

Maverick Technologies opened a new office in Pittsburgh (PA USA), in March 2015. This new location is the company’s 15th office, in addition to five other satellite locations. Maverick is headquartered in Columbia (IL USA)

The Pittsburgh office joins the list of other Maverick offices including Albuquerque, NM; Baton Rouge, LA; Benton Harbor, MI; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Exton, PA; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis, MN; Mobile, AL; Pensacola, FL; and Phoenix, AZ. Corporate headquarters is in Columbia, IL.
This expansion is being driven by continued growth in energy production, along with support for local chemical processing, plus the regional operations of our more than 200 national and global customers in the northeast. Manufacturers understand their long-term viability depends on maintaining the most modern and efficient facilities, and they are increasingly looking to outside support for the technical know-how and support to improve production.

“The economic drivers that cause process manufacturers to look for help from automation system providers like Maverick are only getting stronger,” says Cliff Morgan, technology leader for western Pennsylvania. “Those companies want to concentrate on their core competencies, and they’re looking to us to deliver design and build capabilities for plant expansions, along with lifecycle support to sustain and improve existing facilities. They also realize the importance of full enterprise integration to ensure visibility into manufacturing operations.” 

John Mills, vice president of operations, agrees that the time has come to seize the opportunity. “Maverick has made great strides with its PlantFloor24 remote monitoring capabilities, but that often needs to be supplemented with our engineers and technicians at the customer’s plant, facilities and sites,” he says. “Since downtime is so expensive, we need people that can be on site in minutes to get gas flowing again in case of an interruption in production. This requires stationing people close to our critical customers.”

The new office will offer local automation engineering capabilities supported by a world-class design, field services and enterprise integration staff.

“It’s exciting to see this kind of growth in U.S. manufacturing and production, and Maverick is right there in the middle supporting these activities on behalf of our clients,” says Paul Galeski, founder and CEO. “Domestic production, particularly in the energy industry and associated chemical facilities, depends on the highest possible levels of efficiency supported by world-class automation. Maverick helps our customers achieve those objectives while working safely and sustaining growth.”

Transparency in mold handling.

Molds from injection molding machines are subject to wear and tear and must be regularly maintained as a result. The regularity of inspection often depends on the experience values of individual employees or handwritten notes. However, these are not always accessible. Therefore, in many cases, maintenance and inspections are frequently carried out only if the produced components no longer meet the required standards or if the mold malfunctions. This results in unscheduled stoppages that waste plenty of time and money.

This is where Mold ID from Balluff comes in. It supports condition-based maintenance and provides more transparency in mold handling.

By means of industrial RFID, Mold ID makes the use of injection molds traceable and ensures their optimal utilisation. The best part: Mold ID is backed by an autonomous system that can be retrofitted anywhere and at any time on all machines, without the need for the manufacturer or intervention in the controller.

In addition to the mold identity, a rugged RFID data carrier at each mold stores the current shot count and various mold-specific process parameters in non-volatile memory without making contact. This data can be called up via a smartphone or a mobile RFID reader at any time (for an audit, for example). An externally attached inductive or optical sensor, which is mounted at a suitable place on the machine, serves as the shot counter. Both not only ensure that assignment of the molds is unmistakable, but they also return the objective database for condition-based maintenance. This extends the service lives and improves reliability during operation, while also increasing the productivity of the systems and improving their efficiency.

The SmartLight provides direct feedback regarding the current status of the mold to the operators at the machine. The limit values for "Warning" or "Maintenance required" can be individually defined for each mold. The SmartLight displays the status so that it is visible from a great distance and, most importantly, unmistakable.

The best part: All Mold ID systems can be connected to the control level, an ERP system or an MES system via web services by means of LAN, Wi-Fi or Powerline. The result is access to the data and the processes from everywhere. As a result, Mold ID is a clear and practical example for how Industry 4.0 easily finds its way into production.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Customer satisfaction measured!

A critical element of the mission of the Measurement, Control & Automation Association (MCAA) is to provide meaningful and useful benchmarks and business tools to its member companies. MCAA launched this program for measuring Customer Satisfaction in 2003 with a survey instrument developed by the Board of Directors and members working with experts in this area. The Customer Satisfaction Survey program helps companies obtain necessary customer feedback while at the same time allowing them to benchmark their own performance (in the eyes of customers) against their peers in the industry—other providers of process controls, measurement and analysis instrumentation, and plant automation systems and software.

MCAA Customer Satisfaction Index 
Nearly 18,000 customers (including buyers, users, resellers and channel partners) were surveyed in 2015. In all, 2,733 surveys were completed by customers or channel partners resulting in a 15.2% absolute overall response rate and an average response rate of 19.5%. Because the MCAA survey statistics include surveys fielded by 27 different companies in 74 individual survey instruments, the more appropriate response rate is the AVERAGE rate since all participants may have not vetted their lists to level of confidence that they were reaching out to individuals who had knowledge of their company and their products or services. Typical response rates for similar surveys fall in the 10-15% range. The highest response rates occur where manufacturers surveyed their channel partners with whom they have important business relationships and with whom they achieved up to a 50% response rate.

Measured by the two main metrics (overall satisfaction and loyalty), 2015 Customer Satisfaction results for manufacturers indicate overall customer satisfaction at its second highest level in 12 years and customer loyalty in third place in the time period. For manufacturers relative to their channel partners (where historical data is available for seven years), the 2015 satisfaction index is in a virtual tie for second with 2014. The loyalty index is not calculated for manufacturers-to-channel because of the nature of the business relationship. Finally, for channel firms surveying their customers (where there is a six-year history) the past three years have seen the highest marks. In 2015 this group has both a satisfaction index and a loyalty index that is above the 6-year average.
To view the results of the 2015 Customer Satisfaction Survey in its entirety, please go to the website and select “Customer Satisfaction Surveys” from the “Services” tab. 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.

Meeting new immunity testing requirements.

Teseq now offers a testing system that meets the new requirements for immunity testing to low frequency disturbances in the frequency range of 15 Hz to 150 kHz.  The NSG 4060 complies with current testing standards including EN 61326-3-1, IEC 61850-3, IEC 60255-22-7, IEC 60533/IEC 60945, IEC 61000-4-16 and IEC 61000-4-19.

Ideal for use by manufacturers of smart electrical meters, industrial circuit breakers, industrial Ethernet and shipboard equipment, the NSG 4060 is a robust system with extensive features and a best in class user interface with an intuitive front panel that enables the unit to run fully compliant tests without a PC. It accurately tests low frequency immunity in common and differential mode.

The new test system features a full range of verification accessories and ensures compatibility of components at a competitive price.  These accessories allow in-house confidence checking of differential CDN (CDND). 

Disturbances are coupled onto cables in common mode (IEC/EN 61000-4-16) with continuous levels up to 33 V or differential mode (IEC/EN 61000-4-19) with  levels  up to 22 V / 4.5 A. The NSG 4060 features an extension unit that expands the test range to DC and the amplitude to 330 V for short term tests.

This new unit, which combines a signal generator and integrated power amplifier, features a user port for four TTL inputs and four TTL outputs as well as supply voltages for individual monitoring and control applications.  There are also ports for generator output, system and coupling network control as well as phase synchronization input.

A remote control option is available through an optical RS232, RS232, LAN or USB.  Two USB, analog, digital and optical EUT monitoring inputs and external modulation input come standard on each unit.

The NSG 4060 shares the same chassis and user interface as the popular NSG 4070 RF conducted immunity system, featuring the same user-friendly 5.7” color display, superb graphics to enable quick and user-friendly set-up of test procedures, as well as hard keys for important functions.

A user manual with extensive set-up diagrams and instructions is included with each unit.

Technical Specifications

  • Immunity testing to low frequency disturbances in the frequency range of 15 Hz to 150 kHz
  • In compliance with current testing standards including EN 61326-3-1, IEC 61850-3, IEC 60255-22-7, IEC 60533/IEC 60945, IEC 61000-4-16 and IEC 61000-4-19
  • Continuous levels up to 33 V and for IEC 61000-4-19 testing up to 22 V or 4.5 A
  • Optional NSG 4060 extension unit for IEC 61000-4-16 short term tests with DC and amplitudes up to 330 V

Condition monitoring and vibration analysis!

GE Bently Nevada and GE Commtest asset condition monitoring and vibration analysing products have been added to the World leading test instrumentation ranges available from Classic Technology – one of Ireland's leading independent test instrument distributors.

The SCOUT and vbSeries ranges of portable data collection and vibration analysis diagnostic instruments are the first choice for leading companies around the world, providing all-in-one tools suitable for every level of vibration analysis - from novice to expert. These instruments offer the power and convenience of dual-channel measurement and dual-plane balancing, to help improve the reliability and performance of production assets like turbines, compressors, motors, generators, and everything in between.

Classic Technology represents some of the world leader’s in their field and operates Ireland’s only UKAS accredited calibration laboratory for Mass, Pressure, Temperature and Electrical Calibration. Customers know they can rely on an unbiased opinion of the best test equipment available; covering parameters such as Pressure, Temperature, Mass, Flow, Level, pH, Conductivity and Condition Monitoring. Classic Technology is also Ireland’s only GE Druck Approved Service Centre.

Mass flow meter with Foundation!

The Thermatel® TA2 thermal mass flow meter with Foundation fieldbus™ digital output communications has been released by Magnetrol®. This addition signifies the growth of the TA2 and the company's commitment to continued success in flow. The TA2 with Foundation fieldbus™ offers all of the advantages of the standard TA2, such as:

  • Dual gas calibration with two unique curves (EX: propane and natural gas)
  • Field adjustability to install in different gas types or adjust for different gas mixes
  • Calibration verification procedure provides cost savings due to decreased process downtime and unnecessary recalibrations
  • Internal resettable and non-resettable totalizers
  • Strong signal at low flows and low pressures with high turndown
  • ISO 17025 and NIST traceable calibrations

THERMATEL TA2, in conjunction with the Eclipse® Model 706 guided wave radar, E3 Modulevel® and Orion® Enhanced Jupiter® magnetostrictive level transmitters, form the MAGNETROL fieldbus™ family.