Friday, December 4, 2015

High temperature thermocouples!

Model TC80 series thermocouples from WIKA, were developed to measure extremely high temperatures. These high-temperature thermocouples comply with DIN EN 50 446 for temperature ranges up to 1,600 degree C.

A thermowell made from high-temperature alloy metal or high temperature ceramic, with or without an additional inner tube, protects the thermocouple from the process medium as well as mechanical and chemical damage. A wide selection of process connections, e.g. stop flanges, threaded collars and solid welded flanges, permit direct mounting to the process. For particularly critical applications there are designs with inert gas or compressed air purging or with pressure tight sealing.

For the more demanding applications, WIKA offer a ceramic material called Hexoloy that offers a high temperature strength, excellent thermal shock resistance, universal corrosion resistance with a high thermal conductivity equal to that of stainless steel and 5 times alumina and with exceptional wear resistance, 50% harder than tungsten carbide.

• WIKA products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Electronic component market to remain "flat" in Ireland & Britain in 2016.

According to the manufacturers’ authorised distributor (afdec) group within the Electronic Components Supply Network (ecsn) the Britain & Ireland electronic component market is likely to remain ‘flat’ in 2016. The forecast released by the association recently indicates that the market will at best achieve only slight growth and may even contract in 2016. Predicted figures in the range (2%)-to-2% with a 0% mid-point (i.e. ‘flat’) confirm members' concerns that any recovery in the manufacturing sector of the economy will be extremely gradual and is only likely to continue in-line with improvements in the macroeconomic environment.

Analysis of the consolidated returns from the association’s membership indicate that the overall UK / Ireland Distributor Total Available Market (DTAM) in the current year (2015) and will show a decline of approximately (1%) when compared to 2014. The association's 'flat' forecast for 2016 points towards a DTAM value of around £1.1bn within a Total Available Market (TAM) value of circa £2.9bn (€4bn)

Presenting the forecast, Aubrey Dunford, ecsn Market Analyst confirmed it’s now likely that the UK / Ireland electronic components markets results for 2015 will end just beyond the lower end of the range of guidance provided in the association’s forecast delivered in December last year. According to Dunford, the first half of the year saw a recovery in growth in-line with the association's guidance but this growth trend stalled in the second half of the year, principally due to sluggish growth in the global markets, especially in the key European markets. "Whilst Automotive, Aerospace and Defence markets have recovered well the critical Industrial components market on which much of Europe relies on to drive growth has continued to falter.

"Higher growth in some sectors of the market such as Automotive where Distribution lacks a firm foothold suggests that the TAM should increase by more than the DTAM but many of these electronic systems are designed in the UK but manufactured in Eastern Europe so in real terms, the TAM has declined by (5%) to £2.74Bn,” Dunford continued. “The information provided by our members indicates that the UK / Eire electronic component market is likely to have a modest first half of 2016, recovering in the second half of the year as macroeconomic conditions improve and inventory across the global electronic components supply network is rebalanced to meet the actual demand. We’re likely to see a corresponding recovery in the TAM, meaning the distributor share will only increase slightly in 2016.”

According to Dunford, the continued slow-down in particularly the Asia Pacific market has meant that the whole supply network remains overstocked and it will take some time for manufacturers to adjust their production levels in-line: The ‘Book to Bill' ratio, which turned negative in May ’15, has stubbornly remained below unity and looks unlikely to recover until Q1 ‘16: “Until the B2B ratio recovers beyond 1.1:1 for a sustained period there's no way growth can return to the market,” said Dunford. "We believe that it will take some months for the supply network to come back into balance. In the meantime with good inventory availability and short lead-times, the electronic components market is well positioned to support its customers' requirements,”

Adam Fletcher
ecsn / afdec chairman Adam Fletcher, believes that the problem for the electronic components market is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ and ‘how strong’ the recovery will be: “We have seen a much wider than normal range of opinions from our members, other industry associations and industry analysts, who are all seeing positive signals in terms of opportunity," but he remains concerned that this optimism is not yet feeding though to the real numbers. Fletcher councils continuing caution: "The frenetic pace of merger and acquisition activity in the electronic components markets is likely to slow in 2016 but the outcome of this consolidation will take another 18 months to work through. I suspect that in 2016 we will continue to bump along at the bottom of the recovery cycle with much stronger consistent growth likely into 2017/8."

ecsn Member’s Comment…
Steve Rawlins, CEO of Anglia Components says the market has increased by as much as 10% in volume terms, but the pressure on Average Selling Prices (ASPs) means it has remained flat in terms of value. He believes that the only way to grow faster than the market is to be smarter than the market and this means building up your knowledge and understanding: “Sometimes there are two, three or even four intermediaries before the end user and each one will have an impact on the design,” Rawlins said. “An effective demand creation distributor needs to understand not only what the direct customer is looking for but also what drives their customer.”

Chris O'Neill, Senior Sales Manager - North Europe at Omron Electronic Components says, “Although the ecsn is forecasting a flat market, Omron views 2016 positively. We believe that innovative new products, and market trends such as the reshoring of production, will help boost demand during the year.”

Commenting on the ECSN forecast John MacMichael – Managing Director emphasised that Solid State continues to see strong design activity in the UK and consequently focuses its efforts on supporting the design community: "The reliance of focused distributors like Solid State on their ability to design product in and support end customers in the design process necessarily dictates that the company takes a longer term view of the market." Solid State will continue to invest in educating and training customers in the latest technologies as it attempts to keep its customer base ahead of their competition. Macmichael believes that this is particularly true where customers choose to partner with Solid State to ensure that innovative products make it to market ahead of low cost Far Eastern versions. However in the near term a softening in the market is making forecasting more unpredictable than usual with short term ordering replacing the more usual long term schedules. Solid State expects to out-perform the market through the extension of its technical franchise base and the consolidation and cross selling opportunities that its recent acquisitions have presented.

ISMOSYS Managing Director Nigel Watts agrees. He attributes his company's continuing success to the implementation of true demand creation initiatives combined with the effective use of a sales team that focus on those customers judged to have already 'met the grade.' He sees further significant growth both in terms of designs and production revenues in 2016 and beyond but he believes that sales, marketing and design support teams in the UK electronics industry need to do more to identify, drive and secure the next tranche of high growth emerging customers and do everything in their power to ensure the eventual revenue remains 'local' by introducing them to partners with the ability to serve their interests in Europe rather than scour the globe for 'low cost' options that often ultimately prove to be anything but low cost.

Forecasting customer demand is proving problematic for 2016 says Peter Hannon – Managing Director – Harting Ltd: "We see some growth opportunities in project business, in particular infrastructure projects. However the gestation period can be long with design and funding changes. We have to take a longer term view to the business whilst continuing to develop innovative products and solutions for our customers. As we continue to evolve into a inter connections solutions company the demands and complexities of our customers will increase. We need to ensure we have the right skills and resources to satisfy the needs of our customer going forward."

CamdenBoss also enjoyed steady growth both nationally and internationally in 2015 but is finding that the longer term forward order book is still struggling to build at levels previously seen. Long term projects are materialising at a much slower pace than the project was often targeted at and roll-out dates to full production are frequently moving out: "The complexities of projects for enclosures and inter-connections are increasing and our customers are definitely demanding total solutions to help minimise their overall costs," said the company's MD, Nicki Kay: "This is coupled with a clear nervousness amongst the global distributors to risk investing in stock and affecting cash-flow so making forecasting difficult for the first half of 2016." Kay believes that the slowdown in China is benefiting the UK to a certain extent as companies are becoming nervous about placing new products and production out there whilst the Chinese economy is suffering. "The potential risks about how the China government and workforce are going to react in the medium term is unknown."

ecsn / afdec chairman Adam Fletcher concluded by stating his belief that all organisations right across the electronic components supply network must continue to improve their collaboration and forecasting to mitigate supply problems: "Well managed open, honest, communication throughout the supply network costs virtually nothing but provide great value for everyone, not least by increasing confidence in our own capabilities.”

Director of technical marketing appointed.

Matt Newton has been named as Director of Technical Marketing with Opto 22 .

In his new role within the company’s Marketing group, Newton will lead creation of useful and engaging customer content, discover and highlight Opto 22 customer applications, and work closely with industrial automation media outlets.

“This new position is a great fit for my background and skillset,” says Newton. “It really builds on the customer-facing work I’ve done, and gives me an opportunity to present Opto's unique approach to solving IT and OT convergence challenges."

Newton comes to the new Marketing role after serving as Opto 22 Regional Sales Manager, where he focused on Internet of Things (IoT) and M2M-based automation applications. In this role Newton worked closely with Opto 22 customers to plan, develop, and implement diverse control and automation applications ranging from semiconductor tooling to oil and gas process automation. Newton also helped to establish Opto 22’s groov mobile operator interface in renewable energy markets.

Prior to joining Opto 22, Newton gained extensive experience in wired and wireless networking with several device networking companies, including device server pioneer Lantronix.

Proper use of strain measurement techniques.

Micro-Measurements®, has  announced its  training session schedule in Britain for 2016. Held at VPG's Micro-Measurements facility in Basingstoke (GB), these practical courses are designed to train customers in the proper use of strain measurement techniques.

The Micro-Measurements courses provide excellent hands-on training for those who use, plan, supervise, or instruct others in stress analysis techniques. Courses being conducted in 2016 include sessions focusing on strain gauges, instrumentation, and transducers.

2016 UK Training Schedule

In the Instrumentation workshop, basic systems and the Wheatstone bridge are reviewed. Participants learn about multiple-channel systems, signal-to-noise ratios, A/D converters, dynamic data acquisition, aliasing and filters, constant voltage and current, leadwire effects, and instrument calibration and linearity. 

The two-day Strain Gauge workshop serves as an introduction to strain gauges and their terminology. The Wheatstone bridge and its uses are discussed, in addition to surface preparation techniques, adhesive systems, leadwire attachment techniques, and the testing of gauge installations.

The Transducer workshop explores the basic Wheatstone bridge, in addition to bending, tension/compression, and shear and torsion measurements. Topics covered include choosing materials, gauges, and adhesives, and the workshop also includes a practical session on bonding and wiring. Simple compensation techniques are reviewed, as well as testing, protection, and calibration.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

10,000,000 drives rolled out!

The ten millionth ABB low voltage drive rolled off the production line at ABB’s Beijing factory in November. The ten millionth drive is going to Wuhan Guide Electric Co., Ltd. in China, a system integrator manufacturing electric control systems for port cranes.

“The outstanding direct torque control (DTC) motor control technology and built-in crane control software of ABB’s industrial drives help us to maximize crane performance. For our customers – the ports – ABB industrial drives mean improved safety, high availability, and high total efficiency, resulting in lower energy costs,” says Mr. Li Xiang, CTO of Wuhan Guide Electric Group Co., Ltd (Pictured right).

Drive number 10 million is an ACS880 industrial drive, part of ABB’s all-compatible drives portfolio. Compatible with virtually all types of processes, motors, automation systems and users, they are designed to tackle any motor-driven application in any industry, whatever the power range. The innovation behind all-compatibility is the new drive architecture, which simplifies operation, optimizes energy efficiency and helps maximize process output. The ACS880 series consists of single drives, multidrives and drive modules.

“We place high demands on our suppliers, especially concerning product quality, reliability and service. ABB drives live up to our requirements, and for ten years now we’ve had a strategic partnership with ABB,” says Mr. Li Xiang.

ABB developed its first AC drive in the 1970s, and today they offer the most advanced range of variable speed drives in the world. ABB drives cover a wide power and voltage range, including voltages up to 13.8 kilovolts and power up to 100 megawatts.

Using variable speed drives to intelligently control motors increases energy efficiency. Over the 40 years that ABB has been delivering millions of drives to all industries, a huge amount of energy has been saved. The installed base of ABB drives saved 445 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2014 alone, equivalent to the consumption per year of more than 110 million households in the EU. If that 445 TWh would have been generated by fossil fuel-powered electricity plants, ABB drives reduced CO2 emissions in 2014 by about 370 million metric tons, corresponding to the yearly emissions of more than 90 million cars.

Sensors & Embedded Systems in the Era of the IoT!

The Top 7 Challenges and What Engineers Need to Do Today to Succeed

From the need to cope with small memories, power constraints, and system complexity to wrestling with the interfaces, evolving standards and understanding enough analog in order to extract meaningful information out of sensors, engineers are being forced to move out of their comfort zones and acquire new skill sets. In fact, two-thirds of respondents in a recent survey by Sensors Magazine said that they want more information on connected devices and the IoT.

Click image for your copy!
In this special eBook,  "Sensors and Embedded Systems in the Era of the IoT," the key issues and challenges impacting engineers designing for the IoT are examined and the steps they can take to develop reliable and resilient products including:
  • Complexity
  • Interdisciplinary skills required
  • Need to understand datasheets
  • Security issues
  • Managing the interfaces
  • Need for analog
  • The cloud

Pilot valves for harsh environments.

The VOFD is a new robust pilot valve for process automation applications from Festo.

 The valve is exceptionally tough and provides excellent performance even in harsh environments found in the pharmaceutical, chemical, petrochemical and oil and gas industries, enabling operations managers to improve uptime and productivity.

“Festo is committed to the expansion of our Process Automation portfolio and helps customers in this sector to maximise their productivity,” says Steve Sands, product manager at Festo. “Following the introduction earlier in the year of our VSNC low cost NAMUR solenoid valve for standard applications, we are now expanding the range to address the more demanding applications. The VOFD sets the highest standards of performance and reliability. We are very excited that our significant investment in new products for this sector is really starting to come through to the market. I am confident that for the next few years there will be a continuous flow of new product developments in this area, putting Festo at the forefront of innovation in core and specialist area, continuous flow processes.”

The valve is perfect for actuation of butterfly valves, cylinders, diaphragm drives and rotary drives. It is also ideal for emergency shut-down functions and for safety-orientated systems up to Safety Integrity Level 4 (SIL 4) as per IEC 61508.

The VOFDs have a titanium dioxide plated surface which guarantees a high abrasion resistance and makes it extremely resilient within highly aggressive and chemical atmospheres. Furthermore, it is available with several Ex-protection methods to best serve the needs of each application and it provides ATEX protection for zone 1/21 (gas and dust).

Reliability of the 3/2-way valves is exceptional as an exhaust protector ensures that no atmosphere or environmental contaminants such as dust, ice or snow can enter the valve and degrade it. This ensures it provides a long service life even in demanding applications.

With the VOFD, internal and external pilot air functions have been integrated in a single valve and it can be converted simply by turning a screw depending on the function required. As a result, machine builders and engineers only need to stock one part and can simplify their stock management and make associated cost savings. The valve has two connection options: a NAMUR-port for direct installation on an actuator as well as G and NPT threads for in line connection. The NAMUR interface valves are exceptionally quick and easy to install. No tubing is required and as the valves are installed directly on a drive, engineers can save further set-up time and costs.

Control system for huge US methanol plant!

Yokogawa Corporation of America has received an order from Orascom E&C USA to deliver control and safety systems for the Natgasoline LLC methanol plant. Currently under construction in Beaumont, (TX USA), this facility will have a capacity of approximately 1.75 million metric tons per year when it starts production in 2017, making it one of the world’s largest methanol plants. Based on nameplate capacity, it will be the largest methanol plant in the U.S.

For the process control and safety of the Lurgi MegaMethanol® process technology and auxiliary facilities throughout this plant, Yokogawa will deliver the CENTUM® VP integrated production control system, ProSafe®-RS safety instrumented system, Exaquantum™ plant information management system, and Plant Resource Manager (PRM®) software package. Yokogawa Corporation of America will be responsible for the engineering and delivery of these systems, and will provide support with installation and commissioning. The delivery of all systems will be completed by August 2016.

Yokogawa won this order because of its excellent track record in completing projects and demonstrated ability to deliver comprehensive, integrated solutions that help optimize operations.

“Yokogawa entered the U.S. market in 1957 and we have grown our business across diverse markets, but have had particular success in oil & gas refining and offshore production, LNG liquefaction and chemical manufacturing. We are proud to win the first order for a new U.S. grass roots methanol plant that exceeds a million metric tons per year. This project allows us to build on our already extensive track record in executing and maintaining methanol production in North America,” says Daniel Duncan, President and CEO of Yokogawa Corporation of America.

Though the chemical industry in the U.S. has long relied on imported methanol, the amount of methanol produced in the U.S. is steadily increasing due to the ready availability of methane produced from domestically sourced shale gas. Leveraging its project experience, Yokogawa will capitalize on this opportunity to expand its control business in North America and other key markets.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Best practitioner in test & measurement.

Microlease has been named Company of the Year for Best Practices in Global Test and Measurement Rental and Leasing Services by Frost & Sullivan for 2015. Microlease received the same accolade in 2013 and 2014.

Jessy Cavazos, industry director at Frost & Sullivan, said, “Winning a Company of the Year award three times in succession is a very rare distinction, but because of its strong overall performance, Microlease fully earned the Frost & Sullivan 2015 Global Company of the Year Award. Striving to become the one-stop shop customers were looking for, the company has continued to broaden its offering from rental and leasing services to include new test equipment, used test equipment, and asset management services. Microlease has adopted a dramatically different strategy than its key competitors which has enabled it to grow its business at a much higher rate than its peers.”

Nigel Brown, CEO Microlease.
“Customers are becoming more aware about the cost of test, they are exploring ways to better manage costs related to test and measurement tasks. Microlease is seeking to partner with them and help them identify and adopt test strategies that are more aligned with their needs. We are delighted that Frost & Sullivan has identified Microlease as the industry leader based on customer service, vision, financial performance and brand position for the third year in succession,” said Nigel Brown, Microlease CEO.

In its report Frost and Sullivan highlighted that Microlease’s success is driven by offering customers value and delivering high-quality services, creating strong customer loyalty. They were particularly impressed with the company’s strong technical expertise that supports customers. Moreover, Frost & Sullivan's research shows that its growing global footprint has also proved to be essential for providing local support in Asia for American and European customers with developing operations in the region.

Cavazos added, “Microlease’s geographic footprint is larger than that of any of its competitors and spans North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The acquisition of Livingston boosted the organic growth of its rental business in Europe, and added locations in India and Singapore to strengthen its position in Asia.”

To win the Frost & Sullivan Company of the Year award requires a company to demonstrate excellence in growth, innovation, and leadership. Analysts look at how a company performs in terms of driving demand, brand strength, and competitive differentiation. In addition, they seek rigorous focus on visionary innovation to enhance customer value and impact. Frost & Sullivan's independent analysis clearly showed that the company’s differentiated offering combined with a strong grasp of factors such as equipment availability and logistics that determine success in a rental market, allowed Microlease to grow its business at a much higher rate than its peers.

At the same time, Microlease announced that it has been named in the 2015 edition of London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain, a landmark report identifying the Britain’s most exciting and dynamic small and medium-sized businesses.

Operator interface device for use in indoor, outdoor and in washdown areas.

New HMI adds features and functionality including support for up to four communication protocols simultaneously, a wide range of operating temperatures, and a long-life LED backlight.

The 5.7” Enhanced HMI, HG2G-5T series is a significant upgrade from IDEC Corporation's previous Basic 5.7 inch model.

The Enhanced HG2G-5T Series color version TFT LCD HMI has a resolution of 65,536 colors and a brightness of 500 cd/m2. The monochrome TFT LCD model has a resolution of 16 shades and a brightness of 1100 cd/m2. This level of resolution produces a much improved viewing experience, and the increased brightness allows screens to be easily seen even in direct sunlight. Viewing can be configured for either portrait or landscape.

End users and OEMs often need an HMI that can communicate with a variety of different PLCs and controllers, and the Enhanced HMI HG2G-5T series delivers this functionality by supporting up to three different communication protocols simultaneously. The serial port can support both RS-232 and RS-422/485 simultaneously, and the Ethernet port can support up to four Hosts and three User communication protocols at the same time. The serial port and the Ethernet port combined can thus support up to nine communication protocols simultaneously, two serial and seven Ethernet.

The Enhanced 5.7” HMI has a wide range of operating temperatures from -20 to 60 degrees C, and it is rated IP66/IP66F and NEMA 4X to allow for installation outdoors, or indoors in washdown areas. The unit is suitable for installation in Class 1, Division 2 hazardous location.

A common problem with HMIs in this class is limited backlight life, particularly since the backlight is typically not field-replaceable. The Enhanced HG2G-5T HMI LED backlight addresses this issue with a best-in-class life of 100,000 hours, which will provide many years of operation as the backlight can be automatically switched off when the HMI is not in use.

The new 5.7” Enhanced HMI Series has a built-in web server, which allows full remote monitoring and control via any web browser running on a PC, smartphone or tablet. Remote users can monitor current values or processes—and also control operation, print information, switch screens, or even change program values—just as if they were in front of the touchscreen. Users can also remotely perform troubleshooting, run tests and perform maintenance. No additional software tools or modules are needed to use the Remote Monitor & Control function.

The new 5.7” HG2G-5T Series HMI is programmed using IDEC’s WindO/I NV4 software. This new programming software provides advanced programming features similar to those found in IDEC’s High Performance HMI including WebServer functionality, and a USB Auto Run function for easy data transfer.

The Enhanced HG2G mounts in the same panel cutout as the current HG2G-5ST Basic model, allowing for easy field replacement while delivering a host of upgraded features and functionality. Available bezel colors include light gray, black and silver.

Turbine flow meters!

The Blancett® B1500 Series Turbine Flow Meter has bee launched by Badger. It is designed to perform in harsh environments found in the oil and gas, and petrochemical industries. A cost-effective option for highly accurate and reliable flow measurement, B1500 flow meters are an ideal solution for standard clean, filtered liquid flow applications in precision industrial processes, such as batching, blending, filling, or general flow measurement.

These turbine flow meters feature exceptional mechanical linearity, which increases useable flow range and helps mitigate output variance caused by viscosity fluctuations due to changes in fluid temperature. Using a helical rotor design with high-performance ceramic ball bearings, B1500 meters are able to achieve exceptional speed-of-response and minimal pressure drop. Ceramic bearings are also lighter, more tolerant to extreme temperatures and produce less friction than stainless steel ball bearings, which are commonly found in other turbine meters.

As an added benefit, B1500 flow meters are easily coupled with B3000 flow monitors to provide an economical, robust flow metering solution, with multiple local read and system integration options. Flow rates and totals are presented simultaneously via a crisp dot-matrix LCD display and/or transmitted to a user interface via Modbus RTU, a 4...20 mA analog output or totalizing pulse output. Basic, advanced and solar-powered configurations provide users with flexibility to meet the needs of unique applications.

The meters are available in nominal line sizes from ¼…2 inches with an accuracy rating of ±0.25% of reading, when linearized with a B3000, and repeatability of ±0.02% of reading. Ideal flow ranges vary between ¼...250 gallons per minute depending on line size. The B1500 Series meter is constructed of 316 stainless steel and is available with either ANSI flange or NPT end fittings.

B1500 Series turbine flow meters come calibrated and traceable to NIST standards, are in stock and ready to ship. With quick product availability and advanced electronic integration options, backed by experienced application support personnel, the Badger Meter Blancett B1500 Series is an ideal solution for your critical flow measurement needs.

TOC analysers for Britain & Ireland.

Quantitech has been appointed exclusive distributor in Britain and Ireland for ErsaTec  gas analysers for the measurement of organic gases such as solvents and fuels.

Designed and developed by former employees of Bernath Atomic (manufacturer of the well-known Bernath 3006 FID), the ErsaTec analysers employ Flame Ionisation Detectors (FIDs) to measure total organic carbon. The product range includes both continuous and semi-continuous analysers for use in a wide variety of industrial applications.

The ErsaTec SmartFID instruments have internal dataloggers and are very easy to set up and run with an intuitive touchscreen. The instruments have both a low range to 10ppm and a high range to 100,000ppm, and with very low fuel consumption they offer low capital and operational costs.

New benchmarks in temperature sensing.

With TER8 temperature sensors, Baumer adds yet another high-end product to their portfolio. The compact sensor based on RTD technology is especially designed for applications with demanding requirements on measuring accuracy and stringent hygienic standards. It is available both for front flush installation and in two variants with an immersion sleeve. With all wetted parts fully made of PEEK, TER8 stands out from products currently available on the market.

Based on the TE2 series, TER8 adopts the proven mechanical and electromechanical properties of this product family. The compact TER8 sensor housing fits even into tight spots difficult to access.
The sophisticated installation concept forgoing any elastomers but yet 3A and EHED compliant ensures optimum hygienic capabilities free from maintenance while also cutting down on maintenance and downtime.

The sensor in its front flush variant allows for direct process integration, regardless of agitators or any other inside tank assemblies. This mounting versatility allows for reliable temperature detection even from previously infeasible mounting positions. It will speed up the process, enhance process control and save manufacturing resources while improving product quality.

The front flush variant also plays to its strengths when installed in pipelines. Very low-impact in media flow, it permits the use of pigs. Contrary to similar sensors with metal sensor inserts, there are no sealing points in the process. Hermetical sealing towards the process in particular prevents the ingress of steam.

This ensures absolute reliability and long-life capabilities, especially in SIP processes. The specialized insulation between sensing element and housing isolates the media temperature to be measured from ambient impacts and ensures reliable measured results.

First customer testimonials have confirmed that the innovative TER8 design has closed another gap in process control.

Integrated production control system.

CENTUM VP® R6.02, a new version of Yokogawa's integrated production control system with enhanced functionality.

Ever since launching the CENTUM series 40 years ago, Yokogawa has continued to improve its flagship product. In keeping with Yokogawa's VigilantPlant® vision for the control business, the company has developed a number of new operation and monitoring functions for CENTUM VP, the latest generation in the CENTUM series, that will make it easier for operators to keep track of what is happening in a plant.

Development background
Oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and other downstream facilities have numerous suppliers to choose from and must deal with considerable variability in the composition of the raw materials that they receive, necessitating a number of changes to their processes. Further changes are necessitated by aging facilities and the need to vary production volumes to meet fluctuating demand. To respond to these challenges and ensure the safe and efficient operation of plant facilities, operators must be able to quickly and thoroughly check many different kinds of data.

CENTUM VP R6.02 comes with a more powerful real-time trend function for the visualisation of plant operating status. The alarm function has also been improved to make sure that alarm information is handed over to the operators on the next shift. This CENTUM VP release also features tight integration with ProSafe(R)-RS R4.01, which was released on November 27.

1. Real-time trend function for a clearer understanding of plant conditions
- Enabling operators to perform data checking quickly and thereby keep up with an increasing number of changes in process requirements

The number of pens that can be checked in a single trend graph has been doubled to 16. The maximum number of data points that can be displayed for trend graphs has also been doubled, to approximately 13,000. This ensures that operators have all the information needed to stay on top of what is happening in their plants. In addition to conventional keyboard input, drag-and-drop functionality for the assignment of data to individual pens is supported from operation graphics, alarm lists, and the like. With these new functions, operators can enjoy quicker and more convenient access to data.

- Long-term observation of controlled objects
A new function has been added that displays real-time trend data and past long-term trend data in one continuous line, in the same window, enabling operators to easily track changes that take place over a longer period of time.

2. Preventing alarms from being misplaced or overlooked during handovers
CENTUM VP has a function that temporarily sets aside (shelves) less urgent alarm notifications to ensure that operators can respond appropriately to high-priority alarms. While it is possible to check shelved alarms, the procedure involves several steps and there is a risk that it will not be performed. With CENTUM VP R6.02, there is a new list viewer that displays all shelved alarms. When operators use this together with a suppressed alarm list viewer that was previously released with CENTUM VP R6.01, there is less risk of such alarms being misplaced or overlooked following a handover.

3. Tight integration with ProSafe(R)-RS R4.01
CENTUM VP R6.02 offers improved integration with the ProSafe-RS R4.01 safety instrumented system, allowing monitoring of the N-IO (Network I/O), a new I/O device that is now available for use with ProSafe-RS R4.01, using the human machine interface (HMI) provided for both systems. Also, the Automation Design Suite (AD Suite) engineering tool now can save engineering data, manage the engineering history, and support I/O design for both the process control instrumentation and the safety instrumentation. This improved integration results in enhanced engineering efficiency throughout the entire plant lifecycle.

Major target markets include: process industries such as oil and natural gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, electric power, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, foods, iron and steel, and water and wastewater.

Applications include: operation, monitoring, and automatic control of plants.

Ongoing development
Yokogawa has continually striven to improve its core CENTUM platform while maintaining backwards compatibility with previous system versions. In the development of CENTUM VP, the following four innovations have been emphasised:

1. Advanced operation
Empowers operators to make smarter decisions

2. Smart engineering
A new engineering ecosystem that delivers certainty and confidence

3. System agility
Flexibility, adaptability, and extensibility for plant upgrade and expansion, changes in plant operations, and business exigencies

4. Sustainable plant
Optimum system performance throughout the entire lifecycle of the plant

In keeping with its VigilantPlant initiative, Yokogawa intends to continue to develop and bring to market new products and other types of solutions that will help its customers realise the ideal plant.

Thermowell design prevents vibration.

For applications in processes with high flow rates, WIKA is now offering thermowells in the new ScrutonWell design. This variant damps the excitation that leads to vibrations, which in turn can cause failures.

The ScrutonWell design is applicable to all solid-machined, barstock thermowells from WIKA. The helical form of the stem is available in two versions: manufactured in a single piece or with helices welded onto it. Installation and removal are just as easy as with a standard thermowell.

ScrutonWell thermowells are recommended when a thermowell fails the strength calculation, according to ASME PTC 19.3 TW-2010, and where other optimisations (shorter or stronger stem or support collar) are not desirable. In comparison with the conventional stem form, the new design reduces the excitations causing vibration by more than 90%.

• WIKA products are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Proportional valve for the Analytical and Medical industry.

The small and highly accurate proportional valve offers users an easy-to-integrate solution on a broad range of pressure and flow control applications.

The Preciflow 12.7mm miniature proportional valve by ASCO Numatics has just been introduced by Emerson. The new proportional valve features one of the smallest footprints on the market combined with highly accurate flow control – making it ideal for a broad range of applications, particularly those in the analytical and medical industries.

“Complete with RoHS compliance and a pressure range of -0.9 (vacuum) to 10 bar, our compact Preciflow 12.7mm valve provides medical equipment manufacturers with a versatile product suitable for a range of applications.” said Alain Crampon, Analytical and Medical Business Development Manager for ASCO Numatics. “In addition, thanks to its small size and light weight, the valve is easy to integrate into existing systems, and operation can be customised according to customer requirements.”

The new proportional valve integrates key features that result in reduced wear and tear, considerably increasing its life-span and ensuring its accuracy over time. This includes two internal flat springs that allow the core to float freely, minimising friction during operation.

With typical hysteresis rated at 5%, Preciflow 12.7mm provides accurate and repeatable control. Its suitability for oxygen service use makes it an ideal solution for gas chromatography and mass spectrometry applications, and its low power consumption offers added value to end users

CiA 402 update and extension.

The edition 2.0 of the IEC 61800-7 series has been published by CiA. It contains also the CiA 402 profile for electrical drives and motion control. In IEC 61800-7-201, there are specified the modes (e.g. Interpolated position mode, homing mode, etc.) and the related parameters.

CiA Documents may be downloaded
from their website!
The updated standard includes the new cycle synchronous torque mode with commutation angle. Besides some editorial improvements, this standard introduces new factor group parameters and supports additional sensor interfaces. Also the touch probe functionality has been updated.

Besides some minor editorial corrections, the IEC 61800-7-301 standard provides additional mappings of the CiA 402 profile to CC-Link IE and EPA, two Ethernet-based protocols. The CANopen, Ethercat, and Powerlink mappings are the same as in edition 1.0.

CiA has not updated its CiA 402-1, 402-2, and 402-3 specifications, for copyright reasons and to avoid inconsistencies with the IEC standards. “The CiA 402 profile is the most implemented standardized drive profile,” said Holger Zeltwanger, CiA Managing Director. “Most of the providers of servo and stepper controllers as well as frequency inverters are using it. You will find it also in many linear drives.”  

During the last SPS IPC Drives tradeshow, several companies introduced products supporting CiA 402.

CiA has released the CiA 402-4 specification defining functional safety parameters and the mapping to SRDOs (safety-related data objects). This specification derives from the ETG6100-2 specification. However, the SRDO mapping is CANopen-specific. “Safety torque-off (STO) is just the first step to introducing functional safety into motion control,” explained Zeltwanger. “In CiA 402-4 we have already specified more sophisticated safety functions.”

PCB assembly taken in-house!

In an investment worth some £250,000 (€356.00), Ion Science is now manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCBs) at its facility in Cambridgeshire (GB). Used across its range of advanced gas detection instrumentation for occupational health and environmental monitoring, this latest initiative is set to strengthen quality, increase production efficiencies and shorten lead times.

Comprising cutting-edge equipment, including the latest automated optical inspection (AOI) system, Ion Science’s new department is capable of producing and assembling high quality PCBs from start to finish, allowing a flexible response to fluctuations in demand between product ranges.

Ion Science’s PCB department was established by Production Planning Manager, Shaun Hunt who comments: “Until now, Ion Science has outsourced the assembly of PCBs for its gas detection instrumentation. Bringing it in-house has meant a significant investment for the company but it is a reflection of our on-going commitment to quality and service delivery.

“The combination of a dedicated team and top-of-the-range processing equipment facilitates seamless throughput and efficient response to different batch requirements according to customer demand.”

Duncan Johns, Managing Director at Ion Science adds: “Being in control of PCB assembly means being in control of quality and best on-time shipping, both of which are key to the on-going success of the business, especially as it grows. The resulting increase in efficiencies will ensure we continue to be the unparalleled choice for customers looking for superior gas detection instrumentation.”

Smallest US Sensor!

The UMB800 from Pepperl+Fuchs is the world's smallest ultrasonic sensor in solid stainless steel. It is made entirely from FDA-compliant materials. With its large detection range and highly compact design, it opens up new automation possibilities in hygienic applications.

The new sensors in the UMB800 series feature hygienic housing that is made entirely from V4A stainless steel. The surface roughness of the housing is less than 0.8µm, minimizing the risk of microbial contamination. The outer skin is hermetically sealed and free from gaps. The sensor can withstand steam jet treatment and aggressive cleaning agents. It features IP68/IP69K degrees of protection and ECOLAB certification. No cleaning processes need to be changed when the sensor is installed in existing systems.

At 18mm in diameter and 55mm in length, the UMB800 is the world's smallest ultrasonic sensor in solid stainless steel. The compact design does not reduce its performance: It provides an exceptionally wide measuring range from a dead band of only 70mm and a detection range of 800mm.

The sensor complies with the guidelines of the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG). All materials are FDA-compliant. The certification covers its specially developed hygienic mounting bracket. No tools are required for assembly. The sensor is resistant to significant temperature fluctuations and remains functional at a continuous operating temperature of up to 85°C.

The UMB800 series is primarily designed for use in hygiene applications (food and pharmaceuticals). It demonstrates its strengths when used in applications in aggressive environments, such as in the chemical or vulcanization industry. The same is true for systems in which robust cleaning methods are used. Typical applications include packaging food in thermoformed trays and measuring the fill level in receiving tanks, as well as applications in car tyre production or processes in electroplating and painting systems, e.g., to detect parts moving into and out of an acid bath.

• Pepperl+Fuchs products are marketed in Ireland through Insteco.

For the reliable provision of cybersecurity management services!

Yokogawa has received a Type 1 report on the internal controls that it employs in the provision of production control system secured remote solution services at its customers' plants. This report complies with the ISAE3402 international standard and the SSAE16 U.S. standard, both of which address the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal controls at service organisations.

With the growing threat of cyber-attacks, there is an urgent need to strengthen the security of plant production control systems. In addition to control systems, Yokogawa provides comprehensive solution services that address its customers' security needs. Yokogawa designs, constructs, and manages various control system security solutions that make use of information systems infrastructure. To help it improve the reliability and value of these services, and thereby ensure the stable operation of its systems, Yokogawa has obtained an ISAE3402/SSAE16 internal controls report on the service delivery and service support processes supporting the secured remote solution services that it offers in markets outside Japan.

Based on an objective evaluation, this report attests to the adequacy and effectiveness of Yokogawa's internal controls for its secured remote solution services providing customers with the assurance they need to commission these services without conducting their own audits. In addition, customers can submit such reports for evaluations of service organisation internal controls that are required under regulations such as the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), thus reducing their auditing workload.

As a result of the rising use of information technology and advances that are being achieved through the introduction of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology in plant operations, it is expected that operation technology (OT) and information technology (IT) will become more closely integrated. With its solid track record in helping companies make optimum use of their control systems, Yokogawa is well positioned to provide services that incorporate cyber-security management and other types of information technology solutions in control systems. Yokogawa will use such evaluations from independent organisations to provide its customers with optimum, highly reliable services.

In compliance with a practical guideline, this report is issued by the auditor of a service organisation to the auditors who are responsible for the auditing of the service organisation's clients' financial statements in order to provide assurances as to the design and implementation of the service organisation's internal controls. As a practical guideline, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) issued the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3402 in December 2009. In April 2010, the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 16, which is similar to ISAE3402. There are Type 1 and Type 2 reports: Type 1 evaluates the adequacy of a service organisation's internal controls, while Type 2 evaluates the effectiveness of the implementation of the internal controls over a certain period of time, as well as their adequacy.

Drives designed for high speeds.

Emerson has expanded its Control Techniques variable speed drive range with two new models designed specifically for applications which demand high speeds.

The Unidrive HS30 and HS70 variable speed drives, capable of output frequencies of 3,000Hz, are perfectly suited to high speed applications frequently required for automotive & aeronautical engine and transmission line test equipment, machine tool manufacture and centrifuges for the food & beverage and oil industries.

They are essentially designed with the same specifications as the standard Control Techniques Unidrive M700 and Unidrive M300 variable speed drives, however, unlike the Unidrive M models, HS30 and HS70 have been engineered specifically for high speed applications.

The new drives are controlled products under new laws in the EU and USA covering the export of ‘dual use’ goods, software and technology. This refers to items normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications, or may contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

OEMS and machine builders which incorporate high speed drives in their designs are responsible for checking and evaluating whether or not their machines comply with, or contravene, the relevant legislation. In order to assist its customers, Control Techniques has introduced the Unidrive HS range of high frequency variable speed drives.

Unidrive HS70 offers class-leading induction, permanent magnet and servo motor performance, with on-board real time Ethernet. It provides maximum control of high speed motors and incorporates an on-board Advanced Motion Controller and PLC. Different variations of Unidrive HS70 are available, including models with on-board Ethernet, RS485 and Dual Safe Torque Off (Dual STO).

Unidrive HS30 is designed for applications that require cost effective integration into safety systems and incorporates Dual STO and advanced Rotor Flux Control of open loop induction motors.

The existing Unidrive M models, which are restricted to a frequency of 550Hz, are uncontrolled products in the eyes of the new laws in the EU and USA restricting the sale of variable speed drives with an output frequency of higher than 600Hz. This means no export restrictions reply.

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

Explosion protection worldwide!

In an industrial plant such as a refinery or chemical process plant, handling of large quantities of flammable liquids and gases creates a risk of leaks.

In some cases the gas, ignitable vapour or dust is present all the time or for long periods. Other areas would have a dangerous concentration of flammable substances only during process upsets, equipment deterioration between maintenance periods, or during an incident. Refineries and chemical plants are then divided into areas of risk of release of gas, vapor or dust known as divisions or zones.

This process of determining the type and size of these hazardous areas is called area classification.

Wika have produced a poster to present the latest explosion protection standards globally. It is available to print as a PDF file in high resolution. It may be downloaded here!

• WIKA products are marketed in Ireland through Instrument Technology.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Partnership in chocolate!

Working in close cooperation with Siemens, machine builder BSA Schneider has successfully engineered machines for confectionery production which are both efficient and compact. Thanks to integrated control and drive technology from Siemens, these can also be simply adapted in line with customer requirements.

The Chocfiner five-roll mill is delivered
completely pre-commissioned and is
fully up and running within just days.
Machine building specialist BSA Schneider has specialized in machines and plants for the chocolate, cocoa and confectionery industry. Fully aware of just how much complex technology is involved in the manufacture of confectionery, BSA works in cooperation with Siemens to stay at the forefront of innovation with ever new plant concepts. Its popular Chocfiner model is one example: Its innovative drive concept comprises a combination of motor modules with DC-link which processes the crystalline content of the sugar in the raw chocolate mass – eliminating the need for a complete machine. Another benefit of the Chocfiner is its size. The converter and water-cooled motors are so compact in design that they can be integrated in the rollers and supports, allowing the ready-assembled Chocfiner to be fitted into a standard container for shipping. This cuts the time required for set-up and start of production on the customer’s premises down to just a few days instead of several weeks. It also saves transport costs, as it does away with the need for costly outsized packaging.

IDS helps create perfect chocolate
Without what is known in the trade as conching the raw mass, chocolate would be inedible. Typical conches take one to twelve tons of raw chocolate mass and require sensitive process controls and drive systems. To ensure long-term stability of these systems BSA has opted for fitting these conches with Integrated Drives Systems (IDS) from Siemens, comprising a water-cooled 1PH8 motor, Sinamics-G 120 converter and a large Flender gear box. All the components of the drive system are supplied by Siemens and are ideally coordinated to work together. This saves energy as well as reducing machine noise. The use of IDS allows the machine builder to also adjust the output of the plant to individual customer requirements or to respond to changes in the recipe within a single component unit. The components to match the IDS are automatically selected using the TIA Portal.

Worldwide service
Another benefit of using integrated drive technology is brought to bear when it comes to plant maintenance: Service technicians are able to access data on the drive level – also using remote maintenance. The close cooperation between BSA and Siemens testifies to the improvements possible in engineering and product safety when expertise and competence are shared between users, machine builders and automation partners.

Vision seminars now available to download.

The UKIVA has expressed its satisfaction with the outcomes of two recent exhibitions: Photonex and the PPMA Show. At Photonex, overall attendance at the UKIVA “Vision in Action” conference was more than double that of previous years, while 19 UKIVA members who exhibited at the PPMA Show reaped the benefit of a steady stream of high quality visitors.

At this year’s Photonex exhibition, the association ran its most ambitious seminar programme to date and was rewarded with significantly increased attendance figures. Copies of all of the presentations are available for download here at the UKIVA website. Highly popular were the Keynote speech delivered by Dr. Will Maddern a senior researcher from the mobile robotics group at the University of Oxford, a talk on 3D vision techniques & applications and a discussion on the rise of the CMOS sensor.

Atacama Desert - Mars on Earth!
Dr. Maddern’s talk focused on the challenges and opportunities of using vision in autonomous driving applications. This provided an overview of methods developed at the Oxford Mobile Robotics Group to perform calibration, localisation, mapping, navigation and obstacle detection in road scenes using cameras towards the goal of low-cost autonomy for road vehicles. The technology even has potential beyond its use for autonomous driving here on earth since the research team has also trialled the system on a prototype Mars Rover in tests in the Atacama Desert in South America!

UKIVA Chairman, Ian Alderton, said: “We have received very positive feedback both from those who attended the talks and from the speakers themselves, many of whom were engaged in further discussions following their presentations."

The PPMA Show also proved to be a great success for UKIVA members exhibiting there. Over 17% of visitors to the show registered vision as being at least one of their interests. Many UKIVA members were delighted with the depth of technical discussions they were able to have with their visitors about their practical application needs.

Chemical and Petrochemical industries brochure.

The chemical and petrochemical industries make extremely high demands on all instruments used within the process. The valued precision and quality of WIKA's products ensure their customers right around the world maximum plant availability.

Particularly in applications with aggressive media, in combination with high media temperatures, individual solutions with diaphragm seal assemblies or thermowells are essential. There is an equally large variety with the requirements of level monitoring in tank farms. For all application examples mentioned, WIKA offers a programme of pressure, temperature and level measuring instruments, as well as calibration instruments and services.

Their new segment brochure provides an overview of our broad range of products and services for the chemical and petrochemical industry. In addition, users receive information on the topics of instrument requirements (approvals, materials, functional safety) as well as process adaptations of measuring instruments by use of diaphragm seals and thermowells as well as the most important welding procedure tests employed in this context.

• WIKA products are marketed in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

Connector Manufacturing & Cable Assembly on one campus!

Intelliconnect (Europe) has combined all of its manufacturing operations in a larger facility in Corby (GB). Connector manufacturing has been moved from its Chelmsford base where it will be joined by the Cable Harness Division.

The new facility occupies 3,000sq ft. and has an air-conditioned test room accommodating electrical and environmental cycling, mechanical inspection equipment and product test facilities. The connector and cable assembly manufacturing area measures 1500sq. ft. and includes a tool room with lathes, drills and hand turning tools. 

Roy Philips, Managing Director of Intelliconnect Europe, comments, “Our cable harness and connector businesses are growing rapidly and both needed more space. Combining all of our manufacturing in one facility, improves our logistics and efficiency and allows us to share resources. Our office in Chelmsford will continue to be our headquarters and sales office.”

Intelliconnect is the largest British manufacturer of RF and waterproof connectors suitable for applications including wearable technology, medical, telecoms, satcoms, military, aerospace, space, general microwave communications, rail traction, oil and gas and marine. Intelliconnect also manufacture the market leading Pisces range of waterproof RF connectors, coaxial adaptors to facilitate inter-series connection and gender change etc. dust-caps and offer value added services.

Intelliconnect’s cable division are specialist manufacturers of affordable, high quality, high frequency microwave cables including triaxial assemblies, semi-rigid, semi-flexible and cryogenic cables as well as standard RG/LMR type products.  Cables can be waterproofed to IP68 and include special features including phase matching and ruggedised assemblies for use in harsh environments and

Powerful development environment for machine vision applications.

Common Vision Blox 2016 (CVP 2016), the new release of Stemmer Imaging’s powerful development environment for machine vision applications, is now available. The new version features Windows 10 support with a GigE Vision filter driver, support for additional platforms and operating systems as well as the new CVB Polimago search tool.

The extensive range of new functions provides users with significant benefits in terms of time saved both during the development process as well as by using the software tools. CVB 2016 features extended hardware support for ARM platforms as well as for the Odroid system on chip variants (SoC) such as Samsung Exynos5422. These cost-effective systems are based on processors including Cortex A7 and A15 with up to 2 GHz and Octa Core CPUs, allowing high-performance image processing on extremely compact and flexible platforms.

Regarding operating systems, the new version is available for Windows and Linux (Ubuntu, Mint, Kubuntu) both in 32 bit and 64 bit. CVB 2016 also supports the OpenEmbedded Linux-Yocto operating system which allows users an individual configuration of OS components and thus the optimisation of the system’s footprint.

The GigE Vision filter driver for Windows 10 is an unique feature of CVB 2016 and is currently only available from Stemmer Imaging. Drivers for all current interfaces like USB3 Vision, GigE Vision, CameraLink, CoaXPress etc. are also included. Thanks to the support of all major machine vision interfaces on ARM and Intel-based hardware platforms CVB is an independent and flexible SDK for industrial imaging. CVB users have the freedom to use their own algorithms without having to deal with the driver level.

The latest CVB release also includes the new CVB Polimago search tool. It provides easy implementation and robust detection rates of solid or deformed patterns as well as pose estimation of objects at high processing speeds. The newly developed teach program for Windows both in 32 bit and 64 bit reduces the users’ effort during the teaching phase: CVB Polimago automatically generates thousands of training images thus significantly improving the teaching process and increasing the recognition rates.

Another helpful new feature is the code grading possibility in the Barcode reading tool CVB Barcode. This functionality supplies code quality information for 1D, datamatrix and QR codes which improves the security of code reading.