Friday, July 31, 2015

Ethernet switches with compact 16-port versions.

Harting has extended its Ha-VIS eCon range of "plug & play" industrial Ethernet switches with the introduction of new versions incorporating 16 RJ45 ports.

Designed to meet the growing demand for Ethernet-capable end devices in the field and the corresponding increase in the number of ports in Ethernet switches, the new variants allow the installation of additional communication infrastructure within production facilities to be achieved quickly, cost efficiently and flexibly. Thanks to the compact design of the Ha-VIS eCon devices, users require only a minimum of space in the electrical cabinet.

Developed and optimised for deployment in tough industrial environments, these unmanaged Ethernet switches are ideally suited to the low-cost expansion of existing network infrastructures as well as the creation of new industrial networks. With approvals for industry, the maritime market and transportation, the switches can be optimally selected for every application.

The Ha-VIS eCon switches are available in over 200 different versions, allowing users to select the exact combination of performance characteristics and port combinations to suit their particular application. Two different compact and space-saving housing designs guarantee the best possible utilisation of the available space in switching cabinets.

Computer in your pocket!

Mouser Electronics is now shipping the Intel® Compute Stick with Ubuntu Linux, a new generation of computer from Intel Corp. The Compute Stick is a revolutionary new device that enables any screen with an HDMI interface to become a fully functional personal computer. The Compute Stick comes pre-installed with the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS operating system. The Intel Compute Stick is a fully-functional computer in a package similar to a large USB stick.

The new Intel Compute Stick with Ubuntu Linux, available from Mouser Electronics, is powered by a 64-bit 1.33GHz Intel® Atom™ Z3735F Quad-Core processor with 2Mbytes cache, integrated Intel HD graphics, and multi-channel digital audio. The Compute Stick plugs into any display that has an HDMI 1.4a interface. Networking is achieved with onboard IEEE 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and peripheral connectivity is available through the Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 2.0 interfaces. Once plugged into a display’s HDMI port, the user powers the Compute Stick with a wall adapter. A status LED indicates the device is powered while both graphics and audio is provided through the HDMI port. The device can be controlled through a wireless keyboard and mouse.

The Intel Compute Stick with Linux is available from Mouser Electronics running a custom build of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS operating system direct from Canonical, with all the latest updates. The stick has 8GBytes of eMMC Flash for user file storage and 1GByte of RAM. An Intel Compute Stick running Microsoft Windows 8.1 is also available from Mouser Electronics. Flash user storage is expandable for both versions through a microSDXC slot on the side of the device.
Once configured, the Intel Compute Stick has all the performance and functionality of a full-sized computer and can browse the web, view online video, edit photos and files, and play music.

Safety lifecycle management suite.

The aeShield® V4.0 with aeFacilitator®, the latest version of their Safety Lifecycle Management platform has been announced by AESolutions. aeShield paired with aeFacilitator provides maximum value to customers by enabling different personnel/groups throughout organisations to seamlessly transfer data to support the entire process safety lifecycle from hazard analysis all the way through to Management of Change (MOC) and back through the process again to effectively drive continuous risk reduction in the oil & gas, chemical, petrochemical, and specialty chemical industries.

NEW Functionality Includes:
• Editor to override SIF targets when not generating target from traditional LOPA methodology
• Configurable severity types and reporting options by severity
• Additional health meters to further analyze bypass, demand, and spurious trips
• Enhanced SRS datasheets editor including templates for faster development and reusability
• Upgraded SRS datasheet including color coding and mapping to IEC 61511 sub-clauses
• Improved aeFacilitator interface and advanced reporting
aeShield with aeFacilitator enterprise software application is making safety simple by centralising critical process safety information, consolidating the number of tools used throughout the lifecycle, and optimizing data accessibility across an organization. Key new features prove to make IEC 61511 compliance even simpler for end users.

“aeShield V4.0 with aeFacilitator is the only comprehensive tool to truly make compliance with the safety lifecycle simple,” states Mike Scott, Executive Vice President of Global Process Safety Technology for aeSolutions.  “Companies were challenged with conforming to ISA84/IEC 61511 standards due to the immense amount of data to collect and the disparate tools they were using. aeShield with aeFacilitator is a single tool to provide a single source of the truth. Our customers are realizing significant cost savings and more importantly are improving the process safety performance at their facilities.  This translates directly to reducing risk, saving lives, and protecting the environment.”

To support the V4.0 release, aeSolutions is offering a free webinar series titled, “Making Safety Simple.” This series covers topics such as feature demonstrations, real-world implementation examples, capital project execution, and key metrics and reporting. For those responsible for or participating in PHA/LOPA, SIS Design, or Operating and Maintaining a PSM facility, these must-see sessions will serve as an informative introduction to aeFacilitator and aeShield as well as demonstrate how these applications can be your key for making safety simple.

• Check the aeSolutions website here at  for updated webinar offerings

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Low cost, semi-rigid SMA RF connector.

A new range of SMA Male connectors for 0.141 and 0.085mm diameter cables is now available from Intelliconnect. The new RF connectors are available from Stock and ideally suited for use in microwave as well as low frequency applications where size, performance and cost are critical considerations.
The high precision RF connector provides low VSWR with repeatable performance up to 26.5GHz, meets all the performance requirements for MIL-PRF-39012 and the interface conforms to MIL-STD-348 FIG. 310. The new connector has a stainless Steel body available with either passivated or gold finish. Termination type is soldered body with soldered separate centre contact and the connectors are intermateable with 3.5mm and 2.92mm designs.

Roy Phillips, Managing Director of Intelliconnect Europe, comments, “We manufacture a very wide range of RF and waterproof connectors and cable assemblies in our own factories using UK sourced components which enables us to offer very attractive pricing and reliable lead times. Our design engineers have a vast amount of experience and we are known for our exceptional customer service and competitive pricing for high volume requirements. Our new SMA connector further extends our standard product range keeping us ahead of our competitors.”

• The company manufactures one of the widest ranges of standard Coaxial, Triaxial and Waterproof connectors available worldwide, including the market leading Pisces waterproof series, which provide platforms available to be modified to create custom products. Full custom designs are welcomed with turnaround times typically 7 weeks. They also manufacture a large range of coaxial adaptors, to facilitate inter-series connection and gender change etc. and connector and cable assemblies employing conventional cable and semi-rigid types including cryogenic semi rigid cables for applications requiring operation at very low temperatures

Wireless pressure transmitters utilise energy harvesting.

Emerson Process Management is making energy harvesting a reality for its Smart Wireless transmitters through the use of Perpetuum’s Vibration Energy Harvester and Intelligent Power Module solutions. Energy harvesting converts un-used energy, such as vibration from pumps and motors, into electric energy. Perpetuum vibration energy harvesters provide external power to Emerson’s transmitters, decreasing maintenance by extending the life of the power module.

The Rosemount® 3051S Wireless Pressure Transmitter is the first Emerson wireless transmitter capable of utilising this energy harvesting technology. Additional wireless Emerson transmitters will use this technology in the future.

“Energy harvesting delivers significant economic benefits, not just from avoiding power module replacement costs, but also by eliminating unnecessary maintenance logistics and relieving skilled labour to concentrate on more essential plant operations,” said Bob Karschnia, vice president of Smart Wireless Solutions for Emerson Process Management.

Perpetuum’s Intelligent Power Module holds the same form, fit and operational capability as Emerson’s current Smart Power Module, with the operational enhancement of enabling Emerson’s wireless transmitters to accept multiple forms of external power.

“We are pleased to offer Perpetuum’s energy harvesting solutions to Emerson,” said Steve Turley, CEO of Perpetuum. “We see this as an important step in the development of a truly ‘set and forget’ solution that will allow wireless networks to develop to their full potential.”

This energy harvesting solution is fully certified to FM (Class1 Div1, Groups A, B, C, D), as well as ATEX and IECEx (Zone 0). It is Intrinsically Safe and classified for use in hazardous areas, thereby reducing potential safety risks to plant personnel.

Calibrate up to ten sensors at the same time.

An enhanced version of Knicks sensor management software for Memosens technology is now available.  MemoSuite Advanced allows for the calibration of up to ten sensors at once. The intuitive-to-operate PC software enables users to easily pre-calibrate sensors for pH, ORP, oxygen, conductivity and temperature measurement under optimal conditions in the lab, i.e. completely dispenses with complicated on-site calibrations in adverse environmental conditions. Sensors can be connected to a PC via USB using the interface converter MemoLink included in supply.
Up to ten sensors can be calibrated at the same time with the PC-based sensor management software MemoSuite Advanced
In addition to the calibration function, MemoSuite Advanced completely records all calibration data and logs operational times (across all or under extreme process conditions) allowing for documentation according to legal requirements such as FDA 21 CFR Part 11.

The software also displays current measuring values, sensor data and the latest adjustments and supports a multitude of established calibration methods. For pH sensors, a comprehensive buffer catalog with various buffer sets for individual compilation is available as well. If needed, customers can implement their own buffer sets. Calibration reports – the software includes several templates – or MS Excel data records can be generated. The MemoSuite database enables users to implement a predictive maintenance strategy. Lifetime sensor data records also facilitate long-term planning of replacement cycles and optimized maintenance strategies. Sensor data tables can be freely configured and database entries can be sorted, filtered or grouped and compared. In addition, the software supports visualizations of statistical findings and sensor histories, and provides an export function for detailed reports.

Absolute feedback systems for efficient drives.

The BML series from Balluff offers rugged, precise and quick absolute position and angle measurement systems, which are ideal for installation or direct integration into drive and positioning systems.

The new, magnetically encoded absolute position and angle measurement systems with Permagnet® nonius technology close a gap in the segment of compact, integrative, absolute measurement systems with IP 67 housing for external installation. As an open kit for full integration, they now have the option of being used in rotary applications as well. Using these systems, the formats, strokes and end positions of axes can be adjusted automatically, quickly and reliably.

The new absolute encoder disk can be integrated easily into motors and actuators as a highly precise, absolute feedback solution. Because of this, it is an efficient alternative to conventional magnetic or optical solutions for accurate control of motors and drives. The low space requirement for the solution for rotary applications provides another eye-catching quality; it is just 12 - 20 mm in length and 30 mm in diameter depending on the design.

A fully integrated, single–chip solution is the core of the magnetic scanning and signal generation process. The position data is generated in real time and made available in absolute form using interfaces typical in drive engineering, SSI or bidirectional BiSS C. Incremental SIN/COS analog signals and ABZ signals are also on hand for use.

The evaluation kit from Balluff is also brand new to the portfolio. It includes a perpendicularly magnetised Permagnet® absolute angle measurement system with high system accuracy. Just like the encoder kit, it offers a variety of serial (absolute) and incremental interfaces for connection to many different closed-loop systems. It is easy to use. Once adapted to the drive, the user can run required system tests to derive a customized, optimized solution using the BiSS-USB adapter and provided evaluation software.

Protecting IoT &embedded devices against cyber-attack.

Floodgate Security Manager (FSM ), a security management software suite specifically designed to protect IoT and embedded devices against cyber-attack has been launched by Icon Labs. FSM can be operated as either an on premise or a cloud-based security manager.

The Floodgate Security Manager provides device status monitoring, security policy management, command audit logging, and security event logging and reporting for devices running Icon Labs’ Floodgate Agent or other lightweight IoT management protocols such as COAP and MQTT. Floodgate Security Manager provides comprehensive reporting and auditing capabilities to help achieve EDSA Certification, ISA/IEC 62443 Compliance, and/or compliance with the NIST Cybersecurity framework.

“The current approach to security management for IoT devices is to repurpose legacy security management systems. While this solution works for some IoT gateways and other large IoT devices, it does not scale to the smallest IoT devices, especially small battery powered edge devices and sensor solutions,” says Alan Grau, President and Cofounder of Icon Labs. “Floodgate Security Manager is designed to provide the management services required by all IOT devices, including small, battery powered and mobile devices without the overhead and complexity of traditional enterprise security management systems.”

“With the IoT growing dramatically, it’s only a matter of time before hackers turn more attention toward embedded systems with limited onboard security resources,” said Steve Hoffenberg, a Director at industry analyst firm VDC Research. “New security technologies are needed not only to protect IoT device functionality and data, but also to protect conventional IT and the cloud assets to which the embedded systems are connected.”

Icon Labs products provide embedded security for IoT and Machine to Machine (M2M) solutions such as aerospace, military and space probes, industrial and medical control devices, medical systems, and consumer electronics products. The Floodgate Security Framework provides a “defense in depth” solution that protects control units and endpoint devices from cyber threats, aids in compliance with regulatory mandates and guidelines, and gathers and reports command, event and device status information for audit requirements.

Testing access barriers.

Yokogawa’s PX8000 Precision Power Scope is playing a key part in production tests being carried out by Magnetic Autocontrol Group of Schopfheim, (D): a major global supplier of vehicle and pedestrian access barriers for installations as diverse as access barriers at Frankfurt Airport, the Paris Metro ticket control systems and the Kuala Lumpur Petronas Twin Towers.
Each year, Magnetic Autocontrol produces more than 15,000 barriers for the world market. The products are based on a modular system using a range of standard components which can easily be customised according to user requirements. For orders from outside Germany, often only subassemblies or components are shipped from the factory at Schopfheim. These are then further processed and assembled by the company’s global branches to produce the finished end products. This process significantly reduces the transport and storage costs resulting in increased efficiency in the overseas sales activities.

In principle, the operation of these barriers is similar to the direct drive of a 3-phase control system. The heart of the system consists of one or more motors along with a control unit. Depending on the application and customer requirements, different interfaces are selected including USB, RS485 or Ethernet Ports as well as inputs from card readers, key switches or loop detectors. The number of drives can vary, from one for a standard barrier, up to four for a pedestrian gate.

The latest products use a direct drive with 3-phase control using pulse width modulation of an internal supply voltage of 24 V DC. The power supply has a wide input range from 85 to 264 V at 50 to 60 Hz, allowing it to be used worldwide. The direct drive used and its integrated control electronics are characterised by high torque at low speed and ensure very short opening and closing times, sometimes even less than a second.

During this short period, high current normally flows. However, in standby mode the power consumption should be as low as possible in order to minimise operational costs. This means that, for a typical pedestrian gate, the power consumption can change within seconds from a few milliwatts to around 10 watts: about a factor of 1000.

There are three different operating modes: standby, holding and rotating, and the performance in all three modes needs to be measured accurately. In order to achieve high-accuracy measurement, Magnetic Autocontrol places great emphasis on choosing the right technology and the right product.

For more than 10 years, Magnetic Autocontrol has used Yokogawa’s PZ4000 power analyser for verification of the drives’ performance: specifically to measure the current and power to help in understanding the performance of the barriers. The evaluation includes measuring the actual power consumption in standby mode and during operation and comparing it with the values in the product specification and the operating instructions. These data are required in order to determine the overall operating cost as well as to analyse the effectiveness of the electrical connections.

“Although the theoretical values ​​for the specifications and manuals can be calculated, we still have to verify the results in the form of a type test”, says Andreas Scherer, Manager of Testing at Magnetic Autocontrol: “With our latest generation of barriers, we estimate that one employee was tied up in these measurements for around two months.”

Measurements are typically taken on various barrier configurations with mains voltages between 120 V and 230 V and with boom lengths from 3 to 10 m in increments of 50 cm.

Last year, the PZ4000 power analyser was replaced by Yokogawa’s latest PX8000 Precision Power Scope. This is an ideal instrument for capturing short current spikes, especially in today’s direct drives. The PX8000 has three current/voltage inputs and a module which can be connected to an external sensor. This means that other related operations such as the opening angle of the barrier can be recorded in parallel. It is also possible to directly measure the power usage on the three phases on the motor or the primary side to accurately obtain the total power consumption.

“The Yokogawa PX8000 is a big help to us in our problem analysis”, says Andreas Scherer: “In order to examine specific details, we had previously always used an additional oscilloscope with current clamps to get all the measurements we needed. With the new PX8000, we can now accurately measure everything with a single device.”

Other benefits of the Precision Power Scope include its much higher (12-bit) resolution and the history memory function for evaluating tests retrospectively. “We can now re-visit past test results without the need to build the whole experimental set-up again. For us this is a quantum leap.”

USB enabled motor controller.

Ealing Catalog has introduced a new USB enabled motor controller for use with Ealing brand motor driver and encoder driver actuators.

The new controller can control up to two open or closed loop DC servo motors. The controller is enabled through a USB interface and comes complete with a windows based general user interface (GUI). While designed to work with Ealing motor driver and encoder driver actuators the USB Motor controller can be used with a range of DC servo motors that operate from three volts to twelve volts. The USB Motor controller is easy to operate and can be connected directly to the USB port of a PC with no additional power required. The USB Motor controller, motor actuators and linear stages form Ealing can be combined to enable a complete one, two or three axis precision positioning system.

The USB enabled controller can be ordered online.

Providng building owners with real-time data from their buildings!

Processcomponent in Sweden has found a way to quickly connect M-Bus sensors to the OptoEMU Energy Monitoring System. By using the Anybus M-Bus to Modbus-TCP gateway from HMS, they can provide building owners with real-time data from their buildings so they can do monitoring, logging and invoicing.

A modern building is not only built of concrete, wood or steel, it is also an intricate digital network linking together systems for cooling, heat, water, electricity etc. A common problem for building owners and system integrators is that not all systems and machinery can communicate with each other.

One example is sensors for heat, water, temperature, energy etc. Sensors and meters often use the M-Bus protocol which cannot be understood by central system controllers on networks such as Modbus-TCP.

This exact problem is what faced Swedish system integrator Processcomponent AB as they were installing a monitoring system in an apartment building in Gothenburg. The system gathers data from 72 apartments, a grocery store, and the central HVAC system. All around the building, there are sensors for temperature, energy and water. The problem was that the sensors communicate via M-Bus and the energy monitoring system — the OptoEMU from Opto22— uses Modbus-TCP.

To solve this communication issue, Processcomponent found the Anybus M-Bus to Modbus gateway from HMS Industrial Networks. The gateway decodes M-Bus telegrams and maps them directly to Modbus registers. This way, the sensors can be understood by the OptoEMU and their values show up directly.

Quick and easy access to M-Bus data
Jonas Karlsson
“What I really like about the Anybus M-Bus gateway is that it is very easy to use and quick to install,” says Jonas Karlsson, Sales Manager at Processcomponent. “All M-Bus sensors are automatically detected by the gateway without you having to do any configuration. This saves a lot of time since you don’t have to configure each meter individually — they all show up automatically, complete with serial number, name, and all current values. Indeed, you don’t even have to be on site as long as you have someone connecting the wiring from the sensor to the gateway. Before, it could take several hours to configure a single meter running M-Bus. With the Anybus gateway we can set things up in 10 minutes!”

How it works
“The actual process is quite easy,” continues Jonas Karlsson. “You do a search for available M-Bus sensors connected to the gateway, and you get back Modbus registers from the sensors. These can be interpreted by the OptoEMU and provide the customer with real-time data from the sensors.”

The configuration is handled in a web-based configuration tool which allows users to set up the gateway in a web interface. No programming is necessary – the values from the meters automatically show up in the OptoEMU as Modbus registers which it can understand and process.

OptoEMU — a solution for energy monitoring
Processcomponent has been very successful in installing the OptoEMU – an Energy Monitoring System (EMU) which collects energy data from buildings, electrical subpanels, and individual equipment like chillers and compressors. The OptoEMU delivers the data so users can view it online and use it in a business application and do invoicing for example. Users can also get alarms whenever certain levels are reached.

The results
The building in Gothenburg is now equipped with Anybus gateways connected to two OptoEMU-DR2 one for the 72 apartments and one for the grocery store. The measured values can be logged to an Excel file which can be downloaded via FTP. The readings can also be sent directly to an SQL database or to HMI/SCADA systems via an OPC server.

Since the building owners now have access to real-time values from the different apartments in the building, they can be on top of consumption and get alarms when certain thresholds are reached. Access to meter values also enable rapid and automated invoicing to apartment owners.

“The Anybus gateways have certainly made life easier for us and our customers” finishes Jonas Karlsson at Processcomponent. “By getting M-Bus values into the OptoEMU quickly and easily, we can get our monitoring system up and running faster which is beneficial for both us and our customers.”

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Multi-parameter analysers with fieldbus interfaces!

Knick's Stratos series analyzers for pH level, conductivity and dissolved oxygen measurements are widely used in the chemical industry, in process engineering, power plant technology, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector due to their exceptional versatility, high reliability and full-fledged compatibility with conventional sensor types (analog, digital, Memosens). Knick now introduces Stratos series analyzers with integrated bus interfaces for PROFIBUS DP, PROFIBUS PA or FF (Foundation Fieldbus).

Stratos Evo DP, Stratos Pro PA and Stratos Pro FF are easily integrated into new and existing host systems (PROFIBUS PA profile 3.02; FOUNDATION Fieldbus ITK 6.1.1). Smooth integration with all common automation systems has been ensured by comprehensive compatibility and interoperability tests. Stratos Pro devices for PROFIBUS PA or Foundation technology are available in versions for both hazardous areas and non-hazardous areas, while Stratos Evo DP for PROFIBUS DP is only suitable for use outside of hazardous areas. All settings can be configured directly on the device or with standardized Engineering Tools via Enhanced EDD or DTM. All process and diagnostic data as well as information regarding sensor wear or predictive maintenance (CIP/SIP) is reliably communicated via bus system to the control station.

The devices comply with NAMUR NE 107 and support pro-active diagnostics. All bus devices feature intuitive handling with color-assisted user guidance. The high-contrast widescreen display signals operational status in six different colors: the standard measuring status is backlit in white, the information mode is green.

The diagnostics menu, need for maintenance and hold status are each assigned a color as well. Bright red signals alarm status, while a display flashing in red indicates invalid inputs or faulty passcodes. Looping menus and self-explanatory pictograms further contribute to easy operation. Stratos devices are suitable for wall mounting, pole mounting or panel mounting. Pre-assembly of the rear unit is also possible; all parts are easily accessible due to the large terminal compartment.

Wide-area plant network deployment simplified!

The Smart Wireless Gateway 1552WU, a Wi-Fi access point that connects WirelessHART® sensors to the control network has been introduced by Emerson.

Jointly developed as an integral part of Cisco’s IoT Systems, the 1552WU Gateway is a fully- featured mesh access point that simplifies Wi-Fi and WirelessHART installations, lowers costs and reduces deployment time. Users no longer have to run fibre optic cables for ethernet communication to every WirelessHART Gateway. The 1552WU seamlessly connects to neighboring access points allowing complete wireless coverage, with only local power wired to the 1552WU.

“Customers get the combined industry and technical expertise of Emerson and Cisco in a high-performing, secure, scalable gateway that safeguards data integrity,” said Alexandre Peixoto, industrial wireless manager, Emerson Process Management.

With this product, Cisco and Emerson have provided a solution that meets both the Operations Technology department and the Information Technology standards.

“We are pleased to continue our collaboration with Emerson,” stated Tony Shakib, vice president, IoE Vertical Solutions Engineering for Cisco. “By integrating Emerson's WirelessHART Gateway with Cisco's outdoor, hazardous-location-qualified access points, the 1552WU provides customers with the efficiency, scalability, and security of a single wireless network solution that can be utilised for multiple use-cases, including plant control, worker mobility, and safety. This solution extends to meet the demands from both Operational Technology and Information Technology, in industrial environments to realise the Internet of Things vision.”

The 1552WU is another example of how simplifying the installation with wireless technology enables customers to apply Pervasive Sensing™ strategies to improve plant performance and reliability. As obtaining data from hard to access locations becomes easier and more cost effective, process manufacturers are better able to address concerns such as corrosion, energy consumption, health and safety, and the environment.

Control training course for Scotland.

Registration is now open for the Advanced Control Systems Training Course being held on the 22nd - 25th September 2015 in Glasgow City Centre (GB).

This four day training course will introduce control systems design techniques for applications that are severely nonlinear, requiring control that is more advanced than classical PID. Computer-based exercises are used throughout so that attendees get hands-on experience with the methods. Please note that individual days can be selected, should you not need every topic covered.

The course will start by covering Kalman Filter algorithms and their implementation as an observer and parameter estimation, as advanced control often relies on plant models and state estimates. The Extended Kalman Filter is specifically useful for nonlinear systems and their control.

This will be followed by an overview of popular industrial techniques for nonlinear control systems design, and will introduce a new family of nonlinear industrial controllers referred to as Nonlinear Generalised Minimum Variance (NGMV). These new NGMV controllers are simple to derive theoretically and easy to implement, and can extend to include optimal and predictive features.

The third day will cover model predictive control (MPC) which the most popular advanced control technique adopted by the industry. Its popularity stems from the capability to handle constraints and an optimal control framework. The extension to nonlinear MPC will then be presented, including some new methods with simpler implementation than other approaches such as on-line linearisation or adaption. Application examples will be used to illustrate the various methods. A brief overview on the current trends in Nonlinear Predictive Control will conclude the course.

• They are offering an Early Bird Discount if registration is completed 2 weeks before the scheduled start date of the training course. Agenda, registration and prices can be found here.

Enabling innovation for Industrie 4.0.

In the Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, and Big Data environment, industrial communication is of central importance. The close networking of automation components, machines, systems, and IT systems needed for this, including across locations or even between different companies, is only possible with standardised and integrated communication.

In recent years, PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI) has brought about numerous developments that meet these requirements. An important boundary condition in this regard is the openness of the technologies. That is, specifications and guidelines are available to any interested party for implementation in products or use in systems and applications. This has been a foundation pillar for the success of PI technologies since the beginning.

Industry 4.0 calls for easy-to-handle solutions that are characterised by high performance capability for real-time, availability, flexible topologies, and integration – even over great distances – and that also make use of the many possibilities of the digital world. Solutions in conjunction with the Internet of Things require transmission of large data quantities in real time. The developments concerning all aspects of PROFINET are particularly noteworthy in this regard. PROFINET is currently the only standard that supports the complete real-time bandwidth, from hard real-time requirements in high-performance machines with the necessary openness for IP communication all the way to transmission of large data quantities in real-time within automation systems and with higher-level IT systems.

The PROFINET developments for the process industry are being approached under the perspective of Industry 4.0. The purpose of the integrated information flow is to improve networking of processes, for instance, to enable more effective maintenance activities. Today's intelligent field devices already supply not only measured quantities and manipulated variables but also information regarding, for example, the amount of wear still available and process-related conditions. The meaning of this status and diagnostic information must be clear in order for relevant, sound decisions to be made from it. Here, the technologies of PROFIBUS and PROFINET offer practical solutions such as transmission of device status according to NAMUR recommendation 107.

The finalisation of the FDI Specification, in which PI was significantly involved, at the end of last year was crucial for the process industry. This marked an important step towards easier, cross-vendor device integration – a primary requirement for integrated communication between devices and systems. The vendor-neutral OPC-UA interface has already been specified proactively in FDI. This satisfies another precondition for straightforward read out of information – the basis for innovative ideas in the context of Industry 4.0. In the Industry 4.0 Implementation Strategy, FDI is also indicated as the single approach for realisation of functional and information layers.

Sales manager for sound and vibration specialists!

AcSoft has announced the appointment of Justin Barker as its new Sales Manager.

Justin Barker
In this pivotal role, Justin will be responsible for developing and implementing a sales strategy in line with AcSoft’s ambitious long-term growth plan.

Justin brings a strong 15-year sales track record and wide acoustics industry experience to AcSoft. Prior to joining the company, he was Sales / Business Development Manager at Cirrus. Earlier roles include Acoustics Consultant at Eckel Group and UK Sales Manager at Campbell Associates.

John Shelton, AcSoft’s Managing Director comments: “Justin is a highly motivated and experienced sales manager with an excellent strategic understanding of the acoustics industry and occupational and environmental noise monitoring in particular. This is a key appointment for us at an important time as we are seeing a surge in demand right across our wide product portfolio.

“We are confident his practical approach and technical understanding will give customers even more confidence in AcSoft’s ever-growing portfolio of products. In fact, his enthusiasm, knowledge, expertise and can-do attitude are already proving a massive asset to the business.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Protecting fragile portable instruments!

In Wild Water Racing, Great Britain has a long established history of competing with distinction at an international level. 

GB Wild Water Racing (WWR) have chosen to transport their timing equipment, to and from races throughout Britain & Europe, in the safety of a Nanuk portable waterproof protective case from Leafield.

The kit, which incorporates costly and somewhat fragile components, such as photocells and timing displays, is valuable and the team were keen to provide it with optimum protection.

It was imperative that all the kit, including tripods and cables, be kept and transported as a single unit because it was not unknown for items to be lost in transit when shipped individually. Total weight of contents was some 30 kilos so a case with integral wheels and pull handle was preferred.

The Nanuk 960 meets the requirements exactly with an internal dimension of L559mm x W432mm x H328mm. The case was supplied with several layers of “pick and pluck” foam so that each individual contents item could be cushioned effectively.

Waterproof and dust proof to IP 67 and manufactured from impact resistant, NK-7 resin, NANUK durable, hard sided cases are built to absorb the shocks without damaging the case or more importantly its contents.

The patented PowerClaw latching system used on all Nanuk cases is engineered to keep the case closed during the toughest of missions, yet open easily with one hand.

“"In the waterside environment in which we operate, its reassuring to have a completely waterproof case,"” said Jon Finch of Wild Water Canoeing. "“It keeps the kit ‘all together’ and makes set-up quicker and easier. I'’m sure we couldn’t have chosen better protection.”"

Multiphysics software speeds the optimisation of electrical machines.

A powerful new version of the Opera electromagnetic and multiphysics design software has been launched by Cobham Technical Services. The new version 18 release of this renowned finite element analysis and simulation software incorporates numerous enhancements to boost functionality, speed and accuracy, while further improving ease of use.

Key new features in Opera v18 include a powerful analytic tool to help users quickly assess different winding configurations in rotating electrical machines. A new graphical analysis setup tool brings drag-and-drop editing simplicity to complex evaluation sequences involving multiphysics simulation. The modelling of materials with very small skin depths is also made much simpler by a new surface impedance boundary condition for transient electromagnetic analysis; the code for this software is also specifically structured to allow parallel processing to accelerate analysis.

The new tool for electrical machine design can shorten development times significantly, by allowing highly detailed investigation of possible winding options prior to finite element analysis and simulation of the most promising designs. Called the Winding Tool, it enables designers to assess the feasibility and efficiency of different coil winding configurations – and their impact on machine performance – very easily and quickly. The software includes a winding wizard which creates a report of all feasible windings for a user-specified range of slots and poles, backed by detailed winding characteristics for each slot-pole combination. It is available for both the two-dimensional and three-dimensional Opera design software packages.

In the case of an electric motor design for example, designers could initially use the Winding Tool to define parameters such as the number of phases, slots and poles. A feasibility indicator instantly shows whether the specified configuration can be realised with single layer windings, while ‘calculate’ and ‘load’ buttons enable individual sets of current or previously stored parameters to be analysed. As standard, the tool provides six different types of graphical output, each accessed easily by a tabbed selector. These comprise circular and linear representations of the optimal winding layout and a ‘star of slots’ representation of harmonic amplitude, together with graphs of winding factor and winding magnetomotive force (MMF) harmonics and a voltage phasor (Görges) diagram.

After verifying winding feasibility, designers would typically use the Winding Tool’s parameter input and graphical output facilities interactively, to investigate how potentially viable winding configurations could be improved or adapted to meet specific motor design objectives. For example, the effect of various winding skew angles on harmonics can be examined in detail as part of the design process - to minimise cogging torque, noise and vibration. The full set of results from each Winding Tool calculation is made available to other Opera facilities in the form of an Opera Object in the Python programming language.

The Opera-3d Modeller now has a graphical tool to simplify the preparation of data for analysis. It provides users with a very convenient means of controlling the sequence of analyses, using drag-and-drop editing to add or remove specific analysis stages to a list. Context sensitivity allows the tool to give instant visual feedback on the validity of requested changes, while the properties and parameters of analysis stages can be adjusted within the tool’s environment. Individual analysis stages can be saved out and used in other sequences to further speed the design process.

The new Analysis Setup tool simplifies advanced multiphysics simulation significantly, including transient cases. Users can now set up a complete chain of electromagnetic, thermal and stress analysis simulations for example, with no limit on complexity or sequence. Loops are allowed and the results from one simulation are passed automatically to the next. Shape deformation caused by forces acting on a model can be employed across different types of simulation; the deformed mesh from stress analysis can be nominated for use in subsequent electromagnetic or thermal analyses. In the case of coils, the software automatically accommodates any changes in current density values due to shape deformation, facilitating very accurate electromagnetic field analysis.

Another major feature in the latest release of Opera-3d is that the scope of the surface impedance boundary condition (SIBC) has been widened and is now available for use in transient electromagnetic analysis – including Demagnetization and Motional Analysis. This simplifies the modelling of materials with a very thin skin depth (compared to the size of the model) by replacing the volume elements in a conducting region with surface elements. The variation of fields and currents below the material’s surface is represented by a decaying waveform which models the skin depth.

One of the major applications for the new transient SIBC feature is electrical machines. For example, it could be used to improve the accuracy of eddy current and skin effect analysis in conducting parts – to help designers minimise hard-to-combat sources of losses in large rotating electrical machines such as multi-megawatt AC generators. Eddy currents induced in the surface of conductive components such as lamination clamps, securing bolts and metal cable ties can account for kilowatts of dissipative energy in such machines. Minimising eddy current losses demands accurate modelling of the rate at which these currents decay due to skin effect, and is a task that traditionally can take many weeks of work.

The transient SIBC software code is structured to allow users to take advantage of parallel processing to speed analysis and simulation; the Opera Manager enables users to specify the maximum number of threads per job. While finite element analysis might seem an obvious candidate for code parallelisation – to gain a speed advantage from the shared memory architecture of computers with multi-core processors – some areas benefit far more than others. Cobham therefore employs a progressive development policy, initially targeting software pinch points that will provide users with the largest performance gains. The transient SIBC is a prime candidate – parallel processing can help to shorten analysis times for complex models significantly, often from weeks to days.

Version 18 of Opera also consolidates or extends a number of features that were introduced in the previous version of this software. These include the ‘solve as 2d slice’ feature, which is now standard in the Opera-3d Machines Environment. It enables users to evaluate machine performance using a one element thick slice obtained from the full 3d model, with the appropriate boundary conditions applied automatically. Depending on model complexity this can dramatically reduce the number of elements that need to be solved – often by several orders of magnitude – resulting in much faster solution times. There is almost perfect correlation between results obtained from the 2d slice and the full 3d model, and the 2d slice can be converted to 3d to analyse end-effects.

The graphical user interfaces of Opera-2d and Opera-3d continue to make increasing use of tabbed menus to simplify operation and many are now backed by keyboard shortcuts. Enhanced context sensitivity means that drop-down menus are much shorter and mainly replaced by menu bar icons, allowing fast, single-click navigation and control. All high-level user interface functions can be displayed in English, French, Chinese and Japanese.

Cobham has also taken the opportunity to further extend Opera’s interoperability. Version 18 extends the optional links previously available to a wider variety of third-party computer-aided design packages. These now provide the ability to work with CATIA, NX, Pro-Engineer Creo and SolidWorks files. IGES, Parasolid, SAT and STEP files offer CAD-neutral geometry access.

CEO for imaging company!

The executive board of IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH has appointed Daniel Seiler as CEO, effective July 1st 2015. Together with Torsten Wiesinger, the graduate engineer will take operational responsibilities for the manufacturer of industrial cameras in Obersulm (D). Company founder and managing partner, Jürgen Hartmann, concentrates on facilitating the infrastructure necessary for the growth and the substantial development of the company.

Daniel Seiler
Seiler joined IDS in 2005. “With Daniel Seiler´s extensive experience in this industry IDS gets a CEO who has been involved in IDS’ development for 10 years and has already significantly influenced the company by setting up our US business,” says Hartmann. “In Obersulm he will primarily take care of the production, purchase and logistics departments and infrastructure.” 

According to Jürgen Hartmann, Seiler is the perfect complement to the current CEO and colleague Torsten Wiesinger. After five successful years in this role, Wiesinger will now focus on the development of new products as well as on the expansion of international sales structures. “Preparing for further growth and building on our strengths are our tasks to continue playing a pioneering role in the market,” declares Wiesinger.

Industrial camera manufacturer, IDS has developed at a rapid pace. In 2014, the company achieved a sales increase of approx. 20 % compared with the previous year, far exceeding the market average. This year the company expects another record-breaking set of results.

Jürgen Hartmann
The corporate culture, shaped by Jürgen Hartmann, plays a key role for this sustainable business success. Daniel Seiler knows this culture well. “IDS remains true to itself, through all the changes. I will contribute to keeping our work enjoyable while doing what we do best: building good cameras and providing the best user experience in the vision market”, he said.

“With this extended managing board we are well prepared for the targeted growth,” Hartmann is convinced. Currently, IDS employs nearly 200 staff members and has own subsidiaries in USA and Japan as well as offices in France and Britain. The product range covers digital industrial cameras with USB or GigE interfaces.

• See also: Collaboration ends - but still good friends! (23/7/2015)

Larger facility for high level of service!

Power conversion specialists Ideal Power Ltd have moved to a larger facility to ensure continued high levels of customer support as the company’s sales grow and to accommodate their expanding telesales team.

Jon Vallis, Sales and Marketing Manager of Ideal Power, comments, “Our very wide, high quality product range and bespoke engineering support provides our customers with unparalleled levels of service which underpins our continued sales growth. Our new premises will not only ensure we continue to provide very high levels of service but also enables us to grow our sales operation for both distribution and custom power solutions.”

Located in Peterborough (GB), Ideal Power’s Sales and Marketing Centre now occupies its own 2200 square foot facility while continuing to provide distribution and logistics services from their long established base down in Devon.

With a growing range of market leading power supplies from principles including EOS and Glary, Ideal Power offers open frame, encapsulated, DIN Rail and LED lighting power supplies, external power supplies and adaptors and DC:DC converters. Ideal Power also distributes a market leading range of battery chargers for industrial and leisure markets.

Typical applications for Ideal Power products include consumer, industrial, computing, medical, communications and security.

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