Friday, October 24, 2008

Rotork has announced how it has supplied more than 80 ATEX-approved IQPro intelligent electric actuators with factory fitted Profibus cards for the Vopak Skarvik 1 project in Gothenburg. Skarvik 1 is a fully automated petroleum tank storage project 10 new tanks are being constructed and a PLC-controlled SCADA system installed to enable Class 1 hazardous products including petroleum to be pumped to and from any location on the site. Rotork's actuators will take on flow control duties throughout the site, operating gate valves on the tanks and on a new main manifold and pipe rack that will distribute the products around the plant.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Integrated Engineering Software has announced that the latest version of its Singula product for antenna analysis now handles highly lossy materials. Singula simulates the power loss that occurs as a result of the heat generation produced when lossy materials are exposed to electromagnetic waves The loss calculations can then be used by thermal analysis software to calculate the thermal distribution. Integrated's simulation software tools have been developed for engineers and scientists who design and model prototypes and need fast and reliable solutions.

Utilising computer simulation during the design process helps reduce the cost and risks associated with physical prototyping. Singula analyses all antennas including wire, surface and dielectric. RFID devices and bird cage coils for MRI applications are also modelled using this simulation tool. Other applications for Singula include scattering calculations, microwave circuits and shielding for Electromagnetic Compatibility and Interference (EMC-EMI).

Singula is a generalised hybrid method that combines the Method of Moments (MOM) with Physical Optics, and the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) method to give engineers the option to choose the solver that best suits their needs. Engineers can select the MOM technique for midsize antennas, FFT for antennas requiring many wavelengths or, in special cases, such as reflector antennas, the combination of Physical Optics with MOM maybe preferable. Bruce Klimpke, technical director at Integrated, said: 'There are many applications that will benefit from the accurate handling of highly lossy materials, including stealth technology.

'In the military this technique is used with aircraft, ships and missiles to make them less visible to radar and other detection methods. 'In the biomedical field, an example would be an antenna radiating in the presence of highly lossy materials like biological matter, such as the antenna in a mobile phone.' Integrated's team of engineers and software professionals designed Singula to help solve a wide variety of high frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) problems.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SMAC has launched its redesigned corporate website. The site, divided into seven major sections, has been designed to provide current and prospective customers access to the information they're looking for quickly and easily. The navigation scheme has been standardised across the site so visitors can get to almost any page on the site directly from any other page.

Particular attention was devoted to making sure most content could be accessed with a minimum number of clicks. Content on the site has been expanded, with more in-depth information about potential applications for SMAC's products, as well as case studies where moving coil actuators have helped solve engineering challenges. Streaming Flash video shows SMAC products in action and a new search function allows visitors to jump directly to any information they're looking for.

Technical drawings for SMAC's actuators, controllers and other products can be readily downloaded. Distributors of SMAC's products will benefit from a streamlined distributor listing tool, as well as the ability to access password-protected order status reports. In addition to the company's main English language site, existing SMAC websites in Japanese and Chinese will be converted to the new design. Versions in German, French, Dutch and Korean will also be deployed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms has released Proficy Process Systems in a 250 I/O size, single-computer offering targeted at smaller applications and OEMs. Proficy Process Systems is a fully-integrated process control system that can provide customers with improved quality and reliability, increased throughput, performance and efficiency and reduced total cost of ownership.

The foundation of Proficy Process Systems is a contemporary hardware and software infrastructure that offers the benefits of traditional DCS and PLC/HMI systems, without many of the historic limitations of those approaches. Proficy Systems is also packed with control features including a comprehensive set of function blocks for advanced regulatory control.

In addition, user-defined function blocks can be created for the freedom and flexibility to define control algorithms as necessary, which system integrators can lock to protect their intellectual property. Proficy Process Systems supports Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus DP and PA, Hart and Ethernet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sound Dead Steel (SDS) was contacted by the Industrial Noise and Vibration Centre (INVC) to assist with a noise reduction programme for Scottish Power. The power station's main gas pipe work is 400mm diameter, with a reduction to 150mm at the metering section Close microphone measurements indicated noise levels as high as 100 to 110dB(A) with the dominant energy at frequencies >500Hz. SDS clad the pipeline with Sonphonon sound dead steel, fabricated and fitted split boxes to encase the valves.

After the final snagging was completed, the attached noise survey was carried out to determine the overall noise reduction for this project. The average noise reduction achieved within the GRF compound was approximately 8dB(A). The maximum reduction achieved was 16dB(A); this was adjacent the metering flow meter area. INVC noted that noise from adjacent cooling fans masked the full noise reduction benefits.

Noise reductions on plain pipeline measured 19dB(A), which clearly shows the effectiveness of the SDS cladding on standard pipe sections. Reductions of 7 to 8dB(A) were measured mid, up and downstream of the metering section using close microphone measurements. The reductions would have been greater, but pipe joint flanges have to be left open in case leakage occurs resulting in explosive conditions.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Emerson Process Management has a range of high-quality chambers that allows external mounting of level measurement and control instrumentation on process vessels. The 9901 chamber range, which has been adapted and extended from the existing range of Mobrey chambers, offers a standardised fully PED (Piping Equipment Directive) compliant design in accordance with ASME B31.3, allowing customers to buy an integrated bolt-on instrument solution from Emerson, or simply a chamber for use with existing instrumentation.

External mounting of level instrumentation is often preferred by users as it allows easy isolation of the instrument for routine maintenance or calibration, plus offers the additional benefit of acting as a stilling chamber for liquid surfaces prone to turbulence or fitting of instrumentation to vessels with internal structures such as tube bundles

Using only certified and traceable materials, the 9901 series is manufactured using full penetration welds, with welders and welding procedures qualified to both ASME and European standards. All chambers are hydro tested on completion, with a full range of NDT or customer inspection options available to order.

While the standard range is extensive and offers a cost-effective solution, a custom design and build service is available for instances where the chamber must fit existing vessels or replace old products. Standard chambers are available in carbon steel or stainless steel in sizes of 80mm or 100mm diameters with centres of up to 6m. A wide choice of process, drain and vent connections is offered to minimise fitting costs. Other materials, including exotic alloys, are available on request.

Monday, October 13, 2008

TURCK has developed the BL20 motor starter economy module, which uses Swire technology to provide a daisy-chain connection from a single I/O slice to each motor starter via a ribbon cable. 'Swire technology provides plug-and-play connection, eliminating the labour required to hardwire motor starters to digital output points and auxiliary contacts back to digital inputs. 'By using this connection technology, it is now possible to control up to 48 motor starters on a single fieldbus node,' said Nick Clute, product specialist with TURCK's network and interface division.

TURCK BL20 Motor Starter Module allows three-phase motor control to be connected to the same rack as standard I/O. In addition, with the Swire connection, motor starters can be mounted on separate DIN-rails within the same panel - pairing the flexibility of standard motor starters with the advantages of fieldbus control. 'When motor starters are on a fieldbus, the benefit is that they can be located close to the motor they are controlling,' Clute added.

The BL20 motor starter module is available in sizes ranging from .08 to 20hp, direct and reversing, for use on Devicenet, Profibus, CANopen, Ethernet/IP and Modbus TCP/IP networks with both standard and programmable gateways. Trip indication may also be added to any motor starter. The BL20 motor starter module complies with industrial switchgears standards IEC/EN 60947-4-1 and carries an IP20 environmental protection rating. It consists of a gateway, base modules and electronic modules.

I/O modules are configured independently from the Fieldbus protocol, and up to 72 I/O modules may be connected to a gateway, allowing systems including up to 1,152 digital I/O points or 288 analogue channels. All BL20 gateways are compatible with Turck's I/Oassistant software package, developed to perform initial configuration, parameter setup, documentation, commissioning and diagnostic functions for on/offline usage. I/Oassistant verifies that all power and size restrictions are met.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Syed Tauseef Ahmad, research analyst for industrial automation and process control, Frost & Sullivan, describes why lack of interoperability in wireless is a concern.
While there is potential for wireless deployment in factory automation, concerns about lack of operability plague this technology. People used to build their own systems or buy them from a single supplier. More plant automation has spurred the demand for wireless devices and systems for applications such as monitoring, alarm and telemetry.

They are often customised on proprietary protocols but not based on a common standard or architecture. As a result, these devices offered from multiple suppliers are often not compatible with one another. End users are wary of becoming locked into a proprietary system that may hinder their future advancement. They are also cautious of investing in wireless when they are not confident of the benefits. Given that the end users will not be keen to replace the existing fieldbus installation, suppliers should look to integrate wireless devices to existing wired fieldbus.

Currently, plant IT network assumes significance over automation network. The existence of several open and proprietary communication protocols results in confusion among the wireless devices end users, many of who would rather wait until a uniform standard is established. Around 83 per cent of the end users across process and factory automation rated interoperability as a medium to high concern. The refining and pharmaceutical industries expressed a greater concern over interoperability among end users.

They believe integration with the existing network is important and the presence of numerous controls, fieldbus and automation devices implies that the wireless devices need to integrate seamlessly into the existing network. In the oil and gas and the water and waste water industry, where one of the preferred application areas for wireless devices is telemetry, end users were convinced that the wireless devices must be compatible with each other to ensure a smooth data flow. True interoperability requires an open architecture such as software-based systems, in which various standards can be applied.

Software such as National Instrument Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Engineering Workbench (NILabview is capable of communicating with both standards-based and proprietary wireless networks. End users also said the lack of universal standard is a concern. There is a need for a uniform standard and open architecture to enable the integration of wireless devices with existing plant infrastructure such as fieldbus or other control systems. End users must also be convinced about interoperability through product trials or demos, which should be offered by suppliers.

Although the end-user concern is expected to hamper the adoption of wireless in the near future, upcoming standards such as SP100.11a and wireless HART will address this issue. Numerous suppliers are supporting the initiatives that aim to establish a common standard. Success stories about smooth wireless integration and functioning are likely to reduce end-user conservatism and raise the level of adoption of wireless devices.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Verlinde has introduced a hollow profile for its range of handling rails in Eurosystem Alu aluminium. Intended for car manufacturing markets, this fourth profile, AL08, is intended for loads up to 500kg Eurosystem Alu is intended for setting up tailor-made handling systems for loads up to 2000kg. The AL08 profile will be the meeting point between the AL06 and the AL10 (which goes up to 2000kg).

The lightness of the hollow aluminium profiles makes them easy to assemble. They can all be moved and positioned manually without hoisting equipment. The elements are bolted to each other, as are the system and the load-bearing structures, and do not require special tools. This makes the external groves on the profiles compatible with the Item standardised attachment system. The profiles are then manufactured by extrusion which gives them substantial geometric homogeneity.

The profiles can be assembled without mechanical adjustment. The full handling system in hollow aluminium profiles is 50 per cent lighter than a traditional steel structure. In the case of new buildings, renovations or extensions, substantial savings can be achieved on the load-bearing structure, the dimensions of which could be calculated to the minimum according to this equipment.