Monday, April 28, 2008

On-line viscometers from Hydramotion are helping to ensure that the chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand Chocolate consists of fine cocoa powder and sugar particle dispersed in a continuous fat phase (usually cocoa butter or equivalent). During production, molten chocolate must be cooled in a controlled way in order to promote the formation of small, stable fat crystals, a process known as "tempering".

Stable cocoa butter crystals provide the right qualities of texture, surface gloss and melting behaviour in the finished product. If the crystals are small enough the chocolate will taste smooth and melt in the mouth (at a temperature of about 35C) but not in the hand (at about 20C). The viscosity of melted chocolate depends directly on its fat content and the degree of tempering, so monitoring viscosity gives an immediate window into the production process.

With this in mind, a UK manufacturer of chocolate products recently installed Hydramotion XL7 on-line viscometers on pipelines to its mixing tanks as part of a global automation project. By continuously monitoring the viscosity of the liquid chocolate its fat content could be adjusted automatically in real-time, maintaining product quality and reducing wastage.

The XL7 offers high sensitivity and excellent repeatability, as well as high immunity to plant noise and vibration, providing continuous, reliable and accurate viscosity measurement regardless of variations in fluid condition. Suitable for pipe or tank mounting in any orientation, the instrument can be supplied with any size or type of sanitary fitting, including RJT, IDF or DIN quick-release tri-clamp mountings.

The sensor has a clean-in-place all-welded 316 stainless steel construction with a crevice-free design, minimising the risk of fouling or material entrapment while withstanding hostile conditions. Measurements are unaffected by stirrers, agitators, changes in flow rate or the presence of bubbles or solid particles.

Capable of being located up to 1000m from the sensor, the dedicated readout unit provides a 4-20mA analogue viscosity signal and a more comprehensive RS232 serial data link for remote monitoring or viscosity control. Factory-calibrated using certified viscosity standards traceable to NIST, the XL7 viscometer requires no field calibration and with no moving parts, seals or bearings it is virtually maintenance-free, giving a very low total lifecycle cost.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eltel Networks has been awarded a contract by the Danish utility EnergiMidt to deploy Echelon's Networked Energy Services (NES) system to all of its 170,000 residential customers. Gorlitz is providing its EDW3000 software, a meter data management system (MDMS) and integration platform which runs on top of the NES system software to provide a rich set of utility applications.

Revenue to Echelon for the project, including meters, data concentrators and software, is expected to total approximately US $18 million. Volume shipments should begin in the fourth quarter of 2008 and to continue into 2010. The NES advanced metering infrastructure from Echelon consists of a family of highly integrated, advanced electronic electricity meters accessed via a web services based network operating system over an IP networking infrastructure.

Unlike systems with a dedicated radio per metering point, multiple NES meters can share a single IP connection through the use of Echelon's proven standards-based power line networking technology. This drives down the per-point connection cost and enables the system to easily and cost-effectively incorporate new wide area networking technologies over the life of the system.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Lenze’s new 8400 series inverter drives offer impressive, consistent scaling. The clear functional grading of the BaseLine, StateLine and HighLine versions makes selecting the right inverter for the drive axis a very simple process – and the value for money is spot on too. Lenze will presentthe 8400 Inverter Drives as the
newest member of the L-force drive and automation platform at the Hanover Fair from 21 to 25 April in Hall 14, booth H36.

All versions share the same kind of handling, operation, programming, logistics and service options. This makes working with the inverters incredibly simple. The cost savings available in all life cycle phases of a machine increase the value-added in the long term. In conjunction with matching geared motors, Lenze also suplies complete drive axes from one source.
Lenze, the specialist in drive and automation technology, is initially launching the 8400 inverter drives as BaseLine, StateLine and HighLine.

The BaseLine is available with power ratings of between 0.25 and 2.2 kW (230V single phase) and 0.37 to 3 kW (400/500V three phase). The StateLine and HighLine versions cover the single-phase power ratings of 0.25 to 2.2 kW, also five different power ratings are initially available for three phase between 0.37 and 11 kW. The 8400 BaseLine can be used as a voltage-controlled variable speed drive or in sensorless vector operation where it is suitable for continuous applications such as simple conveyor systems, pumps and fans. In terms of functionality and drive behaviour, it is the entry-level model.

In addition to the scope of the 8400 BaseLine, the 8400 StateLine offers functions such as S-ramps for gentle, low wear acceleration, a unique flying restart circuit to smoothly pick up freewheeling loads and integrated brake handling to control service brakes. In addition to this, an HTL encoder can be connected to the 8400 StateLine, thereby extending its potential range of use. Typical applications include extruders, line and travelling drives, high-speed roller doors and simple lift tables or dynamic variable speed drives.

The 8400 StateLine and HighLine have a CANopen interface fitted as standard for communication or diagnostics purposes. It also features another plug-in interface for extending to common fieldbus systems such as PROFIBUS, POWERLINK, EtherCat or PROFINET. At the third level of this series, in addition to the functional range of the StateLine, the HighLine 8400 inverter drives are equipped with full-value integrated positioning control. These inverters are therefore recommended as efficient drives for applications like rotary feeders, filling systems, rolling and sliding doors or for positioning tasks in warehouse systems.

The common features shared by all inverters include the integrated interface for connecting up to a PC, the same operating conditions at 45°C without derating, the high overload behaviour of up to 200 percent of the rated current and the ‘memory module’, an interchangeable module that greatly simplifies commissioning and service. The devices are either programmed using the keypad or ‘L-force Engineer’ project planning software,that is provided free of-charge in the ‘StateLevel’ version. All inverters comply with RoHS and satisfy CE and UL requirements.