Monday, November 30, 2009

Revolvo is helping wind-turbine-maintenance companies to meet deadlines with its flexible service for large bearings. Flexible production allows the company to supply standard or bespoke solid and split bearings to order in sizes up to 1.5m outside diameter in a matter of weeks.

Revolvo also manufactures large, OE-standard solid bearings - cylindrical, taper-roller, thrust and deep-groove ball bearings - and can deliver them in a matter of weeks. This means that refurbishment projects can be delivered on-time and within budget by sourcing the bearings required for wind-turbine transmissions directly from Revolvo.

Revolvo manufactures solid bearings in sizes from 25mm bore to 1,500mm external diameter and SRB split roller bearings in sizes from 35mm bore to over 1,000mm internal diameter, plus imperial equivalents.

In addition, the company also manufactures inch, custom-designed and obsolete sizes of solid ball and roller bearings, which are used to keep older machinery in operation. All Revolvo bearings are produced to DIN PO/ABEC 1 standards, with up to P5 available on request.

Parker Hannifin has launched the Compax3F electrohydraulic controller, designed to help engineers increase productivity and machine performance. The control features optimised force/pressure control, controller pre-setting for closed-loop position control, an updated valve library with the latest Parker valves, and a multi-axis tool supported by a comprehensive database of multi-axis applications. Compax3F is particularly suitable for applications such as die casting, metal forming, blow moulding and tube bending.

Up to 31 motion profiles can be selected including absolute/relative position, force/pressure control, positioning or electronic gearing, with the controller providing synchronous running for up to two hydraulic axes, including replacement for NC 100 axis in new projects. With absolute/relative positioning, for example, a motion set defines a complete group of motions by target position, travel speed, maximum acceleration, maximum deceleration and maximum jerk.

In the case of dynamic positioning, a new profile can be selected during a positioning sequence. All motion parameters will be set valid, with a smooth transition taking place from one profile to the next. Electronic gearing allows synchronous operation of a second hydraulic axis with a transmission ratio 1:1 from a single Compax3F, or synchronous operation of a master axis with any transmission ratio from multiple Compax3F units. Each Compax3F also offers reg-related positioning where two motions are defined: Regsearch, which involves the search of an external signal such as a registration mark on a product; and Regmove, where the external signal interrupts the search movement.

No programming skills are required as the controller uses a simplified configuration setup menu, enabling engineers to select program sequences from profile tables that are easy to parameterise. Common closed-loop controls, such as position, force/pressure or velocity, can be chosen as well as synchronous run or electronic gearing. An extensive tool box containing numerous functions also help to reduce commissioning times to a minimum. Compax3F offers higher product quality due to optimised processes, simplified commissioning by means of menu-driven software and quick installation.

A new force/pressure controller allows force control with control valves or variable displacement pump, and speed feedback for moving systems such as cylinders. Additional Ethernet fieldbus functionality is provided with an Ethercat interface for technology functions T30 and T40. Technology function T30 provides programmable motion control complying with IEC 61131-3, while function T40 adds electronic cam functions including a cam switching mechanism, cam profiles, cam memory and Camdesigner.

The Clustajet ventilator range from Beckair has no moving parts and no electricity is required, leaving it maintenance free and safe to use in damp and wet locations. Clustajet ventilators are motorless and bladeless fans operated by compressed air utilising Beckair's Ringjet technology to create a robust, high-performance ventilator. A Clustajet uses numerous Ringjets (bladeless and motorless fans) situated within a resilient steel casing.

They are designed to generate a high velocity jet effect. The Beckair Clustajet is lighter in weight while its size is smaller than an equivalent electric fan. Applications for Beckair Clustajets include extraction, ventilating and cooling. Clustajets extract welding fumes, solvent vapours and dust. They are able to ventilate confined spaces, tanks, sewers and tunnels. Clustajets also have the ability to provide a cool, high volume stream of air suitable for cooling components, pipe work, and processes and drying.

They are suitable for use in hazardous areas as they are certified as Atex exempt. Long distances can be covered by positioning many Clustajet units in series along the ductwork or by using a flexible hose. Clustajets can be joined in series by rigid or flexible hosing connected to either end of the main body.

The ventilators can be used in industries such as welding, shipbuilding, construction and utilities. Beckair recommends Clustajets to be used as a form of ventilation for confined spaces by extracting dangerous contaminated air in the working area and allowing fresh air to flow from a Clustajet by natural means via standard-size flexible hoses. For direct venting or tanks, flanged versions are available.

C-Cubed has launched Pocket Vibra Lite, its entry-level, hand-held predictive-maintenance tool. Based around an ultra-rugged and waterproof unit with a high-quality colour touch-screen display, Pocket Vibra Lite takes signals from an accelerometer, positioned using a magnet mount, giving instant diagnosis of machine faults such as bearing wear, instability, out of balance, misalignment and looseness.

The instrument allows stylus-free data collection and the display shows full frequency spectrum and time waveform for acceleration (G) and ISO velocity (mm/s), plus crest factor and bearing noise (BDU), and readings can be saved as Excel files for later recall on a PC. The system can be upgraded to Pocket Vibra Pro.

The Realization Group is using a combination of Z Corporation's ZP150 build material and the multicolour 3D ZPrinter450 to meet demand for models with richer colours and improved mechanical strength. 'Purer whites are especially important for architects, who traditionally prefer white models early in the design process so they can consider design, massing and space without the distraction of colour,' explains Rafael Tapanes, founder of the multidimensional architectural visualisation firm. 'Although earlier generation bone-white models are acceptable, customers have long been asking for pure white,' he added.

Architecture is a key sector for Realization Group, which helps clients breathe life into abstract concepts. Finely detailed physical massing models are created rapidly and cost effectively using the recently installed ZPrinter450 multicolour twin-head 3D printer. 'Speed is the key,' said Tapanes. 'I can take an order for a model today and deliver it to the customer tomorrow. 'We can accept formats for printing that include STL, VRML, PLY, 3DS and ZPR files.

'I can also make models for one-quarter the cost of stereolithography or laser cutting,' he added. Models as large as 203 x 254 x 203mm can be built at a speed of 23mm per hour, while automation features include: automated set-up and self-monitoring; automated powder loading; automated powder recycling and removal; snap-in binder cartridges and an intuitive control panel. The combined effect is that Realization Group can now offer customers two or three printed models for what used to be the price of one. Demand from architects is escalating.

In contrast to the pure whites sought by architects, developers prefer multicolour models so they can fully grasp the concept behind a proposal and begin selling it while it's still in development. Tapanes said the improved colour saturation in ZP150 build material is giving developers brighter colours across the spectrum. With 604 jets operating from two print heads, the ZPrinter450 maximises the colour potential of ZP150 build material on this printer platform, offering printed resolution of 300 x 450dpi.

Model strength has been noted as another improvement. 'I no longer have to advise clients how to handle their models,' said Tapanes. 'If I cure a ZP150 model with ZBond, it's virtually indestructible and has an ultra-smooth finish,' he added. ZP150 is available through Z Corporation's worldwide reseller network. It is compatible with the ZPrinter450 and ZPrinter650 colour 3D printers.

ITT Interconnect Solutions has announced a high-temperature electric power feedthrough system for submersible pumps specifically designed for operation with conductor temperatures up to 450F (230C). Such a severe operating environment places significant demands on the individual components and stresses sealing elements of the system. ITT Interconnect addressed these issues by re-engineering the power feedthrough, incorporating a keying system and a new sealing system.

The engagement system between the BIW high-temperature feedthrough and the mating surface connector includes the Metal-Lok keying system, which prevents rotation of the surface connector should it be inadvertently turned or mishandled. In addition, seals between individual parts of the BIW high-temperature feedthrough are protected by a new sealing system, which can withstand extremely high temperatures, preventing the ingress of downhole fluids.

Exterior seals to the hanger and top flange have been fitted with high-temperature O-rings and back-up rings. ITT Interconnect Solutions modified the exterior surface of the connector for improved heat transfer and better cooling properties. Internal insulators are manufactured from high-temperature PEEK. The BIW system has received CSA approval for use in Class I, Division 1 hazardous locations. Electrical ratings are 5,000V AC for up to 140A and pressure rating is 3,000psig.

An Air Control Industries (ACI) Jetblack personnel de-duster has replaced a dangerous compressed air cleaning process at a Steetley Dolomite works. The Whitwell Works of Steetley Dolomite quarries and produces magnesium limestone products for the steel, refractory and agricultural industries. After the limestone is quarried, it is crushed, sized and processed to produce various products for applications such as steel furnace manufacture and repair, steel production, refractory products and agricultural soil improvement.

The processing of the limestone to produce these products results in the creation of a lot of dust around the plant, which gets deposited on the overalls of workers on site. To de-dust themselves, although advised frequently not to because of the very real danger that it poses, many of the staff would clean their overalls down with compressed air. Posters about the risks and verbal warnings from the safety leader for compressed air, John Collins, seemed to do little to deter them from the practice. That situation has now changed since Collins had a blower powered Jetblack personnel cleaning unit from Air Control Industries (ACI) of Chard installed on trial after an on-site demonstration.

The trial, which started in February, proved successful and because of the appreciation throughout the plant for its safety and ease of use, Collins has had second unit installed. 'Everyone is pleased with the ACI Jetblack,' said John Collins, Steetley Dolomite's senior electro technician. 'It cleans down effectively and is safe. It eliminates all the health hazard risks present when using compressed air. By providing the Jetblack as an alternative we have broken the bad practice of using compressed air for cleaning down,' he added.

The blower-powered Jetblack delivers high volumes of air at low pressure that can even be applied directly onto exposed skin. There are none of the risks of associated with compressed air, while still achieving effective personnel cleaning. In addition, the ACI Jetblack is quiet (78dBA) and cost effective to run, only using energy on demand with no drain on compressor power. The Jetblack is available as either a wall-mounted or portable unit. Operation is by a hand-held gun on a flexible hose.

Schaeffler and ABB Turbo Systems AG have signed a cooperation agreement with regard to the Schaeffler valve-control system, Uniair. The collaboration agreement will see ABB contribute its knowledge of efficient, single- and two-stage turbocharger technology, as well as marketing and sales of large, high-performance engines. The cooperation applies to units with a performance of 400kW (544 PS) per cylinder or higher.

The applications of these large engines are typically in marine, machinery and stationary operation. The advantages of the VVT system in conjunction with high-pressure turbocharging are in the fields of emission- and fuel-consumption reduction and in the improvement of the start, part load and acceleration behaviour. The Uniair fully variable, hydraulic valve-control system is behind the VVT system and enables the variation of valve timing and lift.

The Alfa Mito 1.4 Multiair is the first vehicle to utilise this technology, which is branded 'Multiair' by Fiat. The fully variable valve-control system reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions - in conjunction with downsizing - by up to 25 per cent. Uniair also improves the performance and driving characteristics of these optimised engines by increasing performance, torque and optimising the response of the engine.

Fuji Techno Industries has appointed Motor Technology of Stockport as its sole European agents to provide sales and servicing of its specialist triplex plunger metering (TPM) pumps. TPM pumps are used in metering applications where a predetermined volume of liquid is pumped into a process or system with a very high degree of accuracy - better than 0.1 per cent in the case of water - even under variable pumping conditions like discharge pressure, temperature or viscosity of fluid.

The pumps have three cams that discharge the required volume of fluid from three cylinders at a continually constant rate. The design of each plunger incorporates six phases of movement at increments of 60deg within one revolution of its respective cam. The flow rate at the suction side is kept constant to minimise the possibility of cavitations and pulsation. The pump's cams are designed to enable the plungers to deliver a constant volume of fluid from the three cylinders.

Fuji Techno's TPM pumps can handle all fluid viscosities from 0.01 to 1,000-p and from 0 to 30,000psi. They cover a range of pumping requirements from 0.002 to 1,300gph. The pumps can be specified with solvent- and corrosion-resistant pump heads and cooling or heating jackets can be supplied to enable liquids of low and high temperature to be processed (-30 to 200C). Typical applications include chemical, pharmaceutical, polymer, aerospace, water-treatment and paper industries.

DEK has launched its Over Top Snuggers (OTS) substrate clamping technology. Securing printed circuit boards firmly in place ready for processing, the flexible technology is designed to ensure high-quality printing for enhanced end-of-line yield. OTS clamps the board flat before enabling finite snugging and clamp control for precise board location.

The board is pulled down flat to enable a strong vacuum tooling contact and the clamps are then pulled away from the board top face surface to allow close-edge printing. By optimising edge-printed paste deposits, this process enhances yield potential.

The OTS system automatically adjusts for variations in board thickness, eliminating setup requirements between production batches and runs and removing the need for manual intervention. The clamps will also automatically adjust for out-of-parallel boards. The technology uses the Instinctiv V9 user interface software to adjust and store clamp and snug pressure via a touch-screen interface. OTS is compatible with all tooling variants, including DEK's HD Grid-Lok system.

Prysmian's Afumex LSX low fire-hazard range has been developed to address the specific needs of modern building services. It is designed for power and lighting circuits where a screened low-smoke halogen-free cable is required. BASEC approved to BS8436, it meets all the requirements of the 17th edition wiring regulations for installation in thin walls and partitions, among other applications. Afumex LSX is a robust yet lightweight cable that is compact and inexpensive.

Infineon Technologies AG is extending its portfolio of energy-efficient lighting ICs with a range of low-cost linear LED drivers. The BCR320 and BCR420 product ranges address the market for energy-saving and environmentally friendly light-emitting diode (LED) lighting solutions. Designed for driving 0.5W LEDs with a typical current of 150 to 200mA, these LED drivers feature a negative thermal coefficient, contributing to a long lifetime of LEDs and a digital interface for a pulse-width modulation (PWM) signal for dimming.

The BCR320 and BCR420 LED drivers are tailored to address deficiencies for 0.5W LED applications, providing a low-cost solution with a small form factor. With both devices, the use of inductors, capacitors and free-wheeling diode can be avoided. The elimination of electrolytic capacitors can also contribute to the extended lifetime of the LED system. The BCR320 products are designed for a peak output current of up to 300mA. For continuous operation, a maximum nominal current of 250mA is recommended.

While this device has an internal breakdown voltage of typically 20V, it can be operated at supply voltages of 24V or higher, since the driver is operated in series with the LEDs. The BCR320 is targeted at general lighting, architectural and mood-lighting applications. BCR320 devices have a negative thermal coefficient, which means that in case of temperature increase the current is lowered with a slope of 0.2 per cent/K. The BCR320U and BCR321U versions are available in a SC-74 package (2.9 x 2.5 x 1.1mm) with 1W power dissipation. The BCR320P and BCR321P types will be offered in a SOT-223 package (6.5 x 7.0 x 1.6mm), providing a higher power dissipation of 2W.

These versions both offer a logic-level input for dimming. The BCR420 products have a higher internal breakdown voltage and a lower output current than the BCR320 devices. The internal breakdown voltage is typically 50V and the nominal output current is 150mA. The BCR420 LED drivers are intended for use in similar applications for a maximum drive current of 150mA. Qualification for use in automotive applications, based on AECQ 101 certification, is ongoing. BCR420 and BCR421 products are available in SC-74 package - BCR421 is the dimmable version with a microcontroller interface.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The BIW field-attachable packer feedthrough system launched by ITT Interconnect Solutions is designed to provide a faster method of passing power cables through packers. Consisting of a field-attachable feedthrough connector, a mating attachable cable connector, a cross-over adapter and related hardware, this system allows the connector to be installed on the top side of a packer using a cross-over adapter, eliminating the need for splicing of down-hole cables.

Potential stress on the cable is eliminated as the packer feedthrough includes a completely variable threaded adjustment system, allowing vertical adjustment of up to 3in (76mm). When appropriate, it is possible to install the termination contacts on the cable conductors before the cable is passed through the packer. This may reduce the amount of work an installer is required to carry out in a vertical position over an open well.

Electrical specifications include voltage ratings of 5,000V AC, 140A current, pressure up to 5,000psig and maximum conductor temperature of 350F (175C). The field attachable packer feedthrough system has a maximum diameter of 2.6in (66.04mm); length above the packer with round cable is 26.4in to 29.5in (672mm to 748mm), and with flat cable 30.4in to 33.4in (772mm to 848mm).

Jena Tec can repair ballscrews of any make, type or configuration, with whichever type of ballscrew transfer system. Its specialised repair and ballscrew testing facilities means it repair ballscrews up to 15m in length and 200mm in diameter. The company can offer express ballscrew repair out of hours while the customer waits. It can collect failed ballscrews needing repair or be available to accept delivery 24/7.

Upon receipt of the ballscrew, it is logged onto the repair system and given a free assessment report - measuring critical parameters and conducting a 32-point ballscrew repair check. Jena Tec's ballscrew repair service technicians can assist with removal and refitting of the ballscrew on request. The company also provides rapid reverse engineering and emergency replacement of failed ballscrews if repair is not possible.

The ballscrew upgrade service diagnoses failure modes and provides a drop-in replacement from the XLF series precision ballscrews. Jena Tec offers European, UK and US ballscrew repairs. It can also repair belt-driven linear actuators, gearboxes and lifting jacks.

The company's repair capabilities include hard chrome, re-grinding, reverse engineering and replacement engineering of spare parts within the ballscrew, actuator or gearbox range. Ballscrews and actuators makes and manufacturers that can be repaired include: THK, NSK, Steinmeyer, Mannesmann, Hiwin, PMI, ABBA, Comtop, 20th Century TCM, Blis, Berger, Bosch Rexroth, SKF, PSI, Saginaw, Nook, Rockford, Nachi, Thompson IBL, Star, Shuton, Iperanga, Korta, LSI, Barnes, American Ballscrew and Warner Electric.

ABB drives have helped a UK holiday park operator save GBP77,000 a year on energy bills for its swimming pools. Bourne Leisure, which owns brands such as Haven, Butlins and Warner Leisure hotels, has swimming pools at a number of its properties. ABB Drives Alliance partner APDS was asked to investigate the energy-saving potential for the swimming pools and a trial was conducted on two of the three filtration pumps at Bourne Leisure's Devon Cliffs site.

The pump was monitored for a period before a variable speed drive (VSD) was installed. Monitoring with a temporary VSD fitted demonstrated that considerable energy savings could be made. The direct-on-line pumps were working at 50Hz drawing an average of 30A. When the drive was introduced, this figure was reduced to 23A during the day and 15A at night, with no effect on water quality. APDS and ABB recommended fitting VSDs to the pumps feeding the pool filters.

The pump filters operate by trapping dirt and debris in the sand filter and returning clean water back to the swimming pool. Pumping the water at a reduced flow rate improves the filtration process and removes more contaminants. The traditional method achieved this by increasing the diameter of the feed pipes and introducing a control valve to limit the flow. This was obviously wasteful as the pump was still running at maximum speed.

Doug Pitt of APDS said: 'The trial showed the predicted savings for each 18.5kW pump at Devon Cliffs was GBP4,899 per annum, giving a payback period of less than six months. 'The actual savings exceeded those predicted in the energy report as the motor speed could be accurately mapped to pool utilisation,' he added. ABB drives ranging from 3.3kW to 30kW were eventually installed in 36 Bourne Leisure owned pools around the country, including two Butlins parks, making savings of up to GBP11,000 depending on size of pool and number of drives. In total, the company is saving nearly GBP77,000 per annum on running its pools, with a total payback time for the entire project of just over a year.

'The conversion only takes a day, with most of the rewiring done at night, so there has been very little disruption for our guests,' said Craig Valentine, health and safety manager for Bourne Leisure. Other features of the ABB drives include the real-time clock that allows the pumps to be started and stopped according to a schedule of use. The drives also have a boost button that can immediately take the pumps up to full speed for the backwash cycle.

Reduced bearing wear of the pumps has also been another benefit of the drives, due to extended ramp times. ABB is working with a specialist pool company on phase two of the project, which will see the drives receiving signals from a dosing machine. This will ensure the drives run at a speed more accurately matched to how the pool is used to ensure the correct dosing of additives such as bromine to maintain the optimum conditions in the pool.

Q-Sys offers a complete design-and-build service for all types of precision motion and positioning systems. Q-Sys aims to fill the gap between standard catalogue motion products and real-world applications. Instead of trying to create a solution for a complex motion task from components designed for mass production, Q-Sys enables engineers to obtain exactly what best suits their needs - bespoke, high-accuracy motion equipment.

By exploring the real requirements of the application, Q-Sys said its engineers can offer high-performance but cost-effective solutions to today's demanding motion systems needs. This may result in a custom design to directly meet the customer's specification. However, more often than not, the solution will use one or more elements from previous designs. These are carefully selected to ensure the most cost-effective solution.

The company said that this technique has proved successful, not only for one-off special-purpose systems, but also in producing the motion platforms for series production machines. This means large savings can be made by incorporating the motion hardware into the machine support frame.

Specialising in the application of linear motor technology, Q-Sys engineers have more than 40 years of collective experience in laser machining and cutting, digital holography, large-format inkjet printing, semiconductor wafer metrology and flat-panel display production, among other areas. The company has also worked with several synchrotron facilities to deliver a variety of custom motion and positioning solutions.

Peterson Packaging, a Danish printing company, has selected the Verderflex Dura peristaltic pump to gently handle water-based ink. Transferring ink from storage containers to the rollers on printing machines was proving problematic for Peterson. Air diaphragm pumps were originally responsible for the job, but had proved unable to handle the water-based ink gently enough.

As a result, bubbles formed in the ink, ruining the packaging, creating excess waste and adding expense. To resolve the problem, the company decided to look for a gentle-action pump to ensure bubble-free ink. The chosen design also needed to be both cost effective and sufficiently compact to fit into the limited space available. With the Verderflex Dura peristaltic pump, ink is completely contained within the pump's hose, which is compressed by a rotating roller.

On restitution of the hose, the resulting vacuum draws in more liquid, creating a gentle and accurate pumping process. The design eliminates any danger of cross contamination or spillage. The Verderflex Dura is claimed to provide a 70 per cent smaller footprint than similar pumps. This was an important attribute for Peterson, which required five pumps to fit in a tight space at the end of each print line. As well as overcoming space constraints, the Verderflex Dura pumps are now said to be delivering performance benefits for Peterson.

In addition to transferring bubble-free ink, the pumps are simple to clean and maintain. They can run dry without fear of damage and downtime is reduced as the only wearing part is the hose. Colour change is also quick and simple, according to the company. Peterson has now installed a total of 15 units into its printing process, according to the company's engineering manager.

Stratophase has collaborated with the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) to develop an insertion probe variant of its Spectrosens system. Enabling real-time monitoring of the bioproduction fermentation process, the multi-output Spectrosens insertion probes track compositional changes and monitor temperature in the liquid.

Multiple discrete readings can be taken simultaneously at numerous locations, providing more reliable measurements and a reduced chance of false positives. As a result, the entire fermentation process can be precisely monitored to ensure reproducibility and clear determination of the desired end-point. The Spectrosens system sensors can be placed throughout the production process and networked via the control and analysis unit.

Using only light at the point of measurement, the sensors are intrinsically safe and spark free, removing any chances of ignition. The insertion probe fits standard ports for dissolved oxygen (DO) and pH probes, enabling ultra-high resolution, optical microchip technology to be applied to existing benchtop and large-scale bioreactor equipment. Other tried and tested applications of the Spectrosens insertion probe include biofuel production and sustainable polymer development. The probe system is currently being trialled at the UK's National Industrial Biotechnology Facility (NIBF).

Italian car manufacturer Ferrari is using software from Ansys to optimise automobile design and performance. Ferrari is using software from Ansys to predict thermal comfort in a vehicle's interior. In order to assess comfort qualitatively and quantitatively, the car manufacturer worked with Pisa University in Italy to define thermal comfort indices and to evaluate the general aspects of thermal comfort.

Since an experimental approach was not practical, the investigating engineering team used fluid dynamics software from Ansys to perform the calculations. According to Giovanni Lombardi, professor of aeroplane aerodynamics and vehicle aerodynamics at Pisa University, the Ansys engineering simulation software rendered accurate and reliable results.

The research team based its resulting 'global thermal comfort index' on several local indices: the thermal equilibrium of the human body, discomfort caused by drafts and horizontal and vertical temperature gradients. Various factors were studied, including the car's velocity and materials (leather, glass and aluminium) as well as sensitivity to warming or cooling on various body sites (leg, arm and face, covered with clothing or not), solar irradiance, vehicle interior size and air flow.

'The advantage of simulation-driven product development is that no complex physical models or testing configurations are required and the design can be tested, optimised and, if necessary, modified virtually at an early stage in the development process,' said Jim Cashman, president and chief executive of Ansys.

Blue Chip Technology (BCT) has followed up the launch of its Resolution HMI single-board computer kit with the release of a supporting Linux BSP and the addition of a 7in LCD module. Released in June 2009, Resolution has generated interest from the instrumentation, multimedia and mobile markets.

Comprising the RE1 single-board computer, mounting, interfacing and range of display options - Resolution offers the design engineer the basic building blocks needed for a versatile embedded HMI module. The usual cabling, signalling and power issues of integrating a display and embedded board are all managed within the design, which guarantees long-term availability and problem-free fit, form and function upgrades.

Working with the Linux community, Blue Chip has released a RE1 BSP that includes all the tools and guidance to kick-start a Linux-based embedded project - a Linux kernel, root file system, Yamon bootloader and sample configurations. Additionally, Blue Chip has added a 7in 800 x 480 resolution widescreen LCD to its range of display options, further increasing the versatility of the whole Resolution HMI package.

Ircon has introduced the Modline 6 Series of infrared thermometers with advanced signal processing and background-reflected energy compensation capabilities. This line of sensors also includes one and two-colour fibre-optic IR devices designed for harsh operating environments. The Modline 6 Series thermometers are used in a variety of demanding industrial applications, including metal heat treating, steel production, foundries and primary and secondary glass.

The Modline 6 firmware now provides engineers with enhanced signal processing options, including averaging, 'peak hold' and 'valley hold'. The thermometers also incorporate an electro-optic design offering built-in compensation for background-reflected energy. These features are accessed via Modline 6 Multidrop support software, which is intended for remote sensor configuration and data acquisition, display and archiving.

The software includes demonstration tutorials that pictorially guide users step by step through the setup of signal processing and programmable relay functions. The thermometer's electronics support other advanced features, such as two-way serial communications, remote sensor setup and configuration, real-time display of target temperature and field calibration software.

The Modline 6 sensor includes a fibre-optic re-imaging lens interfacing to an electronics box, which has a bright LED display for access to key sensor functions and live temperature output. With the Modline 6, there is no need to open the electronics box when adjustments to sensor settings are required.

Modline 6 Series thermometers use high-speed digital signal processors with an RS-485 serial data communications networking capability supporting up to 32 sensors. System requirements for the Modline 6 Multidrop support software include a personal computer with a minimum of 4MB of RAM operating under Microsoft Windows NT4/Windows 2000/XP. The software is included at no additional cost with all new Modline 6 Series thermometers.

Electro Mechanical Systems has supplied Precistep micro-stepper motors to Life Optics to allow it to develop a compact, reliable and light-weight head-mounted microscope. The result was high-precision technology in the smallest possible space. Each system has two motors, one 8mm diameter and one 10mm, which provide dynamic zoom and focus controls, delivering the high precision and accuracy required for this demanding application.

In the basic microscope version, available as Varioscope AF3, users can move freely in a working distance of 300 to 600mm. The foot-operated zoom function allows infinitely variable magnification from 3.6 to 7.2. The field of vision is 30 to 144mm and the pupillary distance can be individually adjusted to each user. The Varioscope M5 provides an extendible modular optical system; changeable oculars extend the magnification range and integrated lighting addresses shadows. With an optional video camera, procedures carried out by the user can be precisely recorded.

Unlike DC motors, stepper motors move on per pulse at a step angle dependent on their specific design so the number of digital pulses output always corresponds to a defined rotation. As a result, additional linear or angular position sensors are not required. The Varioscope requires two motors for each eye: the AM 1020 at a diameter of 10mm for the focus setting and the AM 0820 at a diameter of 8mm for the zoom.

The focus drive operates continuously as it has to compensate for every movement of the head. Inaccuracies due to 'play' in the mechanics were corrected using a spindle with microtoothing. With a pitch of 0.2mm and in conjunction with the built-in motors, it allows a resolution of 10um. Focus and zoom are set absolutely backlash-free and without jolts at high resolution, and the spindle shafts are given an additional fine polish.

In conjunction with a lubricant, the level of friction is reduced, as well as the initial breakaway torque. An additional pre-tensioning on the precision ball bearings by disk springs facilitates zero-backlash movement at torques of up to 1N. The miniature units can accelerate up to 1200rpm in one step and without overshooting. The use of high-quality NdFeB magnets with superior temperature resistance is the key to their performance.

The motors are able to provide continuous problem-free operation at 70C housing temperature for a period of several days without interruption. In this case, the coil may actually reach a temperature of 120C and the magnet up to 100C without any limitation on service life or effectiveness. A special lubricant that is particularly stable against temperature and aging supports these properties. The micromotor has a 3V operating voltage and the miniatures can be supplied for operating voltages up to 12V.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aaeon has announced the launch of the AEC-6811 low power consuming and fanless vehicle computer. For enhanced performance, Aaeon has included features such as the AMD Geode LX 800 processor in a compact embedded controller to cultivate the vertical market of transportation.

The AEC-6811 features the AMD Geode LX 800 500MHz processor and accompanies it with DDR400 RAM SODIMM (up to 512MB) system memory. This mini embedded controller also provides one Mini-PCI expansion, which makes it suitable for Industrial PC applications.

The AEC-6811 includes one SATA/IDE hard disk and one Type II Compactflash slot for storage (Compactflash slot is only for AEC-6811 Rev.B). It accommodates four COM ports and four USB 2.0 ports for flexible expansions. The AEC-6811 equips two 10/100Base-TX Ethernet ports for network connection. The user-friendly network function makes the AEC-6811 suitable for mobile and network applications.

Mean Well has introduced the HRP-75 series, a 75W miniature high-reliability AC/DC enclosed power supply that is now available from Ecopac Power. The HRP-75 series, along with the existing range of products HRPG-150, HRPG-300 and HRPG-600, allows Mean Well to offer various wattage options from 75W to 600W all with PFC function and energy-saving functions.

Featuring low no-load power consumption and an operating efficiency of 89 per cent, the Mean Well HRP-75 series reduces the size and increases the working efficiency in comparison to the existing range of 75W power supplies. With a five-year warranty, the HRP-75 series complies with Energy Star and operates at -30C to +70C. In addition, as the units comply with the 'no load power consumption of less than 0.5W', it allows designers to conform with the requirements of Energy Star and EuP for end-user systems and applications.

The HRP-75 series has a profile of less than 1U (41mm) with overall dimensions of 129mm x 98mm x 38mm. With a universal input of 85-264V AC and built-in active PFC function, the units are designed to withstand 300V AC surge for five seconds and include short-circuit, overload, over-voltage and over-temperature protections. The Mean Well SPV series is supplied with worldwide safety certificates, UL, CUL, TUV, CE and CB.

Atmel Corporation has announced the Atmel AVR microcontroller designed for the smart card reader market. The AT90SCR050 includes an Atmel AVR microcontroller, 16KB of ROM, USB FS 2.0 and smart card interface with an integrated DC/DC to support cards compliant with the EMV L1 requirement and ISO7816. These features offer designers a complete system solution to help bring their high-volume products to market at cost-effective price points.

The AT90SCR050 is a member of the AT90SCR range. With an Atmel AVR secure microcontroller embedded in these devices, customers can use the free AVR Studio and AVR JTAGICE Mkii that support all AVR-based microcontrollers. An evaluation kit, AT90SCR100MEB-01, is available for this device. AT90SCR050 samples are available now in QFN28 packages and QFN24 packages by special specific request only.

Light-Based Technologies has announced the release of its first LB4 LED Controller application - triac dimming for LED fixtures. This application utilises the capabilities of LBT's linear mixing system and the biggest need in the general solid-state lighting (SSL) market, standard wall dimming control.

In order to meet strict Energy Star requirements, LED fixtures must have dimming capabilities. LED fixtures can be designed with the LB4 LED Controller inside, fixtures can be screwed into standard housings and brightness can be controlled using an existing dimmer. Users can have control characterised to mimic traditional incandescent bulbs or customise to a linear or logarithmic function if desired.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Alrad Imaging has announced the introduction of the E2V Diviina-LM1 GigE Vision line scan camera, which incorporates the 1,024, 2,048 and 4,096-pixel line scan sensors. The Gigabit Ethernet interface provides cost reductions at the machine vision system level, as well as multi-cast capabilities and enhanced ease of use, according to Alrad.

Typical applications for the Diviina-LM1 are web inspection - for example, in wood, paper or metallurgy applications, parts inspection and sorting - for example, in textile or food industries, plus general machine inspection applications.

A manufacturer of personal care products has saved money by switching to a low-cost computerised numerical control (CNC) router that can produce point of purchase displays internally. The manufacturer employed contractors to produce displays but there were delays in getting new designs to retailers and the cost of producing them was continually rising. The company made the decision to create its own displays and searched for an inexpensive, yet easy-to-use router that had the capability to produce plastic and wood components to high levels of accuracy.

It opted for the Isel router, which has allowed the company to design and create new display designs in a single day. Isel's router has features readily found in more expensive machines such as ball screws and servo motors. This manufacturer is saving money on its outgoings and can now turn on immediately to meet the ever-changing design demands of the retail market. Ball screws have a few key advantages over racks: they don't have the 'play' or the requirement for adjustments that racks require, do not wear as easily and are far less likely to leave debris in the mechanism, a cause of skipping and errant motion.

Servo motors, unlike stepper motors, do not lose position, cannot skip steps and are also better for 3D applications as they can change speed 'on the fly' without losing position. The company's products are shipped to retailers with displays made of acrylic sheets that contain the product. The displays range from approximately 220mm high by 200mm wide and 200mm deep, to as much as 600mm high by 300mm wide and 200mm deep, with either two or three tiers of shelves. The product is placed loose in the shelves, which are tilted backwards slightly to keep them secure.

The shelves are held to the walls with acrylic solvents. The company frequently develops different styles of displays in order to accommodate a new product or promotion; subcontractors built a substantial portion of these in the past. The disadvantage with this strategy was that a considerable amount of back-and-forth effort was necessary in order to communicate the company's specific concept for the display.

With the rising cost of production, the process of going from prototype to finished product was proving inefficient as well as expensive. The company set out to look for CNC routers; however, the ones that it saw were either too expensive, very complicated machines, or on the other hand, inexpensive routers. The Isel machine possesses a number of features that are said to deliver accuracy to a level that has previously only been attainable at a much higher price.

Ball screws are provided on all three axes, providing smooth motion, a high level of accuracy and repeatability, plus minimal maintenance. A closed-loop servo control system provides constant position feedback, higher power and smooth continuous motion, which eliminates the possibility of losing position in the middle section. The machine includes a heavy steel ground stress-relieved base and an aluminium T-slot table that can be converted to a vacuum table by installing a vacuum table accessory kit.

The machine comes fully assembled and includes a CNC G-code interface. It is available in three sizes with work envelopes of 750mm by 600mm, 1,250 by 1,200mm and 1,250 by 2,400mm. Each of these models provides a repeatability of 0.025mm, a resolution of 0.005mm and a maximum speed of 6,350mm per minute. A wide range of optional equipment is offered including a laser scanning module, CNC lathe attachment, vacuum blower and a fourth-axis rotary table.

The resultant situation is that the company's designer creates a CAD drawing of a new display then graphically nests the individual pieces required to make the display onto a foot acrylic sheet and saves the resulting drawing onto a CD. The CNC operator generates toolpaths, makes adjustments to compensate for the thickness of the sheet and creates a CNC program for producing the parts. The operator loads a new sheet onto the router, secures it with a vacuum clamp to the table, uploads the program into the machine control and, with a click of the mouse, starts the machine.

The machine establishes the zero point for the z-axis and then runs by itself for 30 to 120 minutes, producing enough parts for as many displays as is possible to nest onto an acrylic sheet. When the machining operation is finished, the pieces are removed and they apply a torch to flame the cut edges to produce a glossy finish. These are delivered to the assembly department where operators put them together by applying acrylic solvent with a syringe.

The accuracy of cutting enabled them to develop a tab and slot construction in some of the displays, which overcame some of the difficulties that assemblers were having in alignment of walls and partitions, providing improved positioning for high-precision line bending. The time required to respond to market trends by creating new displays has been cut to a fraction of its original duration. On several occasions, an idea for a new display has been built and assembled by the end of the day. Building displays in-house also makes it much easier for companies to respond to special requests from customers.

Qinetiq has been awarded a contract to supply almost 100 Dragon Runner robots, associated spares and technical services to support of current military operations in Afghanistan. Dragon Runner is a small, rugged robot that weighs between 10-20kg depending on the chosen configuration. It can be carried by a soldier in a backpack and is robust enough to operate in rough terrain to help protect troops.

The variant selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is equipped with a manipulator arm to assist with the disarming of improvised explosive devices, but the Dragon Runner platform can also be configured for a variety of other reconnaissance and surveillance operations. The robot is also able to operate in sewers, drainpipes, caves and courtyards. Already being deployed, the Dragon Runner has the ability to send video footage back to the operator at a safe distance, thereby enabling troops to assess a situation prior to moving forward or entering a structure, potentially safeguarding lives.

The robot is particularly suited to operational environments similar to those experienced in Afghanistan, where the road system has been ravaged by almost continuous fighting since the late 1970s and where many troop movements are conducted either on foot or by helicopter. The use of robots also has significant benefits in Afghanistan, where the United Nations estimates that 200,000 people have been disabled by landmines and other explosive remnants.

Qinetiq's initial contract with the UK MoD includes the supply of replacement parts and the provision of support throughout the operational life of the systems. This is an essential part of a UK-based maintenance and support plan that has been carefully designed to enable the UK MoD to return battle-damaged robots to active duty as quickly as possible. Dragon Runner was originally developed by Automatika, a US company acquired by Qinetiq North America.

The robot has since has been further developed as a result of UK and US military user input and it can travel at speeds of around 5mph, travel over rough terrain, as well as climb stairs and open doors. The basic chassis is 20cm wide, 7.5cm tall and 23cm in length and can be easily adapted in the field with various accessories and a manipulator arm to be mission specific. In addition to IED identification and defeat, other functions include perimeter security, checkpoint security and the inspection of suspect vehicles.

Merlin Control Systems has developed a version of the PWC8 range of weld control units that is suitable for multiple transformer machines, or more complex DC machines. The PWCx3 controller features three independent control circuits in one printed circuit board with the facility to individually control three transformers, which can be on the same phase or on different phases of the mains supply.

This offers a more compact, easier to use and less-expensive means of controlling multiple transformer welding machines. Different configuration options are standard for this controller, so the same unit can also control a three-phase or polyphase DC machine at a much lower cost than is usual for this type of machine, according to Merlin.

As with all Merlin weld controllers, versions are available for simple manual operation and setup, or for communication with a higher-lever PLC-based control system. Different program sequences are available to suit spot, projection, seam and butt welding machines, with other options on request.


Lios has supplied its DTS system to a renewable energy company for monitoring the temperature of two medium-voltage power cables coming from a wind turbine towards the substation. All asset condition-monitoring data from the controller is linked in real time by means of the Modbus communication protocol to the operator's Scada system.

The company said that by using DTS it has a better control over the thermal cable conditions, thus over the load of the power cables, meaning it can utilise its assets more economically.

Technology Education Concepts (TEC) will be demonstrating a 3D printer and a tabletop prototyping factory at the 2009 Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Convention. The RapmanUSA is a rapid-prototyping/rapid-manufacturing machine that allows access to manufacturing technologies that were previously limited to expensive machines. A budget-friendly kit contributes towards the teaching and learning of engineering and mechatronics as students can build the machine themselves.

The Rapmanpro, the expanded commercial version of the RapmanUSA, allows businesses to manufacture test products in-house. With the option of multiple heads and up to two colour plus support material printing, the Rapmanpro allows schools and universities to plug in the machine, load inexpensive ABS material and start manufacturing. RapmanUSA is designed to allow assembly by students - granting full understanding of mechanical assembly, electronics, manufacturing processes and more - who can then immediately print their own 3D-prototype designs on it.

Pre-assembled models are also available. Manufactured using high-impact acrylic, it can print the majority of its own replacement parts at first-generation quality levels. It can print from a variety of affordable materials - such as ABS and HDPE plastics - and operates on a 12V power source. TEC offers comprehensive support and instruction for both machines. The company will be at booths 529 and 636 during the ACTE Convention, which takes place in Nashville on 19-21 November 2009.

Imatek has successfully installed a DWT40-100 drop weight tear tester (DWTT) at Hyundai Steel in South Korea. This follows the installation of a similar high-capacity machine at Posco Steel in Korea in 2004. Both machines provide impact energies of up to 100,000 joules. Although the DWTT test is typically used to measure the fracture characteristics of steel used in the construction of steel pipe for the gas-and-oil industry, Hyundai will also use the new machine for performing tests on steel used in ship-building applications.

Hyundai's steel products are used globally in applications such as railway lines, bridge-support mechanisms and power-transmission towers. Hyundai Steel operates three production facilities in South Korea and one in China, from which it produces about 10 million tons a year. The use of higher-grade steels in the oil, gas and manufacturing industries is creating the need for a new generation of specialist impact testers. Imatek offers a range of DWTT systems for measuring the fracture characteristics of steel specimens according to API-recommended practice 5L3, EN 10274 and ASTM-E 436.

Steel grades of X120 and specimens of up to 50mm can be accommodated. A major feature of the Imatek range is the optional high-quality instrumentation and analysis software that provides detailed information, both graphical and tabular, for the specimen failure. Whereas historically the DWTT test method has not required instrumentation, more recent research indicates that it is of significant benefit when testing the tougher x-steels.

Instrumentation enables crack initiation and most importantly crack propagation energies for the specimen to be determined, which is considered a better measure of 'in-use' performance for these steels than visual assessment of the fracture surface. The Imatek DWT40-100 is housed in an integrated steel mill Hyundai is building in Dangjin-gun. The blast furnace is scheduled to open in January 2010 and to start commercial production in April.

Rittal has extended its Power System Module (PSM) range to allow the power consumption of individual servers and peripheral hardware to be measured per socket. New plug-in modules for PSM rails record the individual currents for each socket and show the power consumption of the devices connected, via three coloured LEDs on the right-hand side. A second LED on the left-hand side of the outgoing slots provides an overview of the overall power of the module.

The presentation logic is automatically adjusted to the mounting position to rule out any misinterpretation. Colour coding follows the traffic-light principle: green LEDs indicate that other equipment may now be connected safely; amber indicates increased current on the module and that before any other equipment is connected its installed load needs to be examined; red indicates that another consuming device would trigger the overloading of the power supply. Values can also be viewed on a digital display, enabling administrators to immediately monitor the power consumption of every piece of equipment.

In conjunction with the Rittal CMC-TC (Computer Multi Control Top Concept) sensor network, threshold values can be set and individual values, such as consumption data, can be centrally collected. The new modules are available with six or eight slots, which can be switched individually via the network. On one PSM rail, up to three modules can be installed in 2,000mm high racks or two in 1,200mm enclosures. Mixed assembly with different modules is also possible.

OEMDynamics, a division of Animatics, has announced enhanced features on the HLD 60-H3 actuator. Due to its harmonic principle, the H3 belt achieves a gear reduction equivalent of up to 40:1 without the need for a gearhead, which means it takes up less space and weighs less.

The HLD60-H3 can achieve lengths greater than 3m without attributable losses in performance and can therefore be used in a wide range of applications. The actuator features a sturdy and seamless magnetically retained seal strip and meets European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Aaxeon has announced the release of the latest models in its Optolinx line of media converters. The FCN Series converters are stand-alone managed media converters that allow users to connect an Ethernet twisted-pair network to an optical-fibre network. The FCN Series is fully compliant with IEEE 802.3, 802.3u, 802.3ab and 802.3z standards. Users can manage and monitor real-time operation status via SNMP or a web management interface. The installation and operation procedures of the FCN Series of media converters are said to be simple and straightforward.

Key features include: compliance with IEEE 802.3 10BaseT; compliance with IEEE 802.3u 100BaseTX; compliance with IEEE 802.3ab 1000BaseT; compliance with IEEE 802.3z 1000BaseX; store and forward switching mechanism; auto-negotiation in TP port; auto cross over for MDI/MDIX in TP port; supports flow control; supports jumbo frame 9K bytes; supports link alarm; supports loop-back test; supports selectable ISP Ethernet tag type; supports Q-in-Q double-tag configuration; supports bandwidth control; supports DHCP client; supports SNMP/web managed interface; supports SNMP v1 and v2c; supports HTTP firmware upgrade; and supports power down trap management.

A series of silicone insert couplings from Sterling Instrument features electrical isolation and no backlash. These metric couplings, identified as the S54HSAM (clamp type) and S5PSAM (set screw type) Series, are stocked in five different bore sizes ranging from 6mm to 16mm. These couplings have aluminum hubs with either set screws or clamps for fastening to shafts.

The insert is silicone 40 ShA. Operating temperature ranges from -50C to +150C. They range in length from 26.5mm to 57mm and their maximum speed is 5,000rpm. The couplings can be used in various applications and are able to accommodate tight or skewed connections. Quotes, online orders, available stock and 3D CAD model downloads are available from the company's website.

Quality Transmission Components (QTC) has announced the availability of its free Q470 catalogue. This 352-page catalogue contains more than 16,000 off-the-shelf standardised components for use in MRO, RandD and production applications. The catalogue has six chapters and provides specifications of the complete product offering of timing pulleys, timing belts, bushings, belt clamping kits, roller chain sprockets, roller chains, diametral pitch gears, belt and chain tensioners, sonic tension testers and planetary gearheads.

Chapter one details the company's offering of metric and inch bored timing pulleys made from carbon steel, nylon and aluminum in AT5, AT10, T2.5, T5, T10, HTD3, HTD5, HTD8, MXL, XL and L profiles. Chapter two contains details of fibreglass-reinforced neoprene timing belts in AT5, AT10, T2.5, T5, T10, HTD3, HTD5, HTD8, MXL, XL and L profiles, as well as belt clamping kits for GT2, GT3, GT5 and GT8 profiles and sonic tension testers. Chapter three shows more than 100 styles of timing belt, v-belt and roller chain tensioners.

Chapter four details an offering of metric and inch bored roller chain sprockets made from carbon steel to the ISO 04B ISO 05B, ISO 06B, ISO 08B and ISO 10B standard and the AISI standards 25, 35, 40, 41 and 50. This chapter also details corresponding roller chains and connecting links. Chapter five provides details on the company's diametral pitch spur gears, miter gears, bevel gears, gear racks and worm and worm wheels. Chapter six contains inline planetary gearheads in speed ratios of 3:1 through 81:1 in three different frame sizes and three different levels of backlash.

Sullair Corporation has announced the redesign of its 200hp compressors, which feature the company's single-stage rotary screw air end. These compressors are offered with a choice of constant-speed-drive models (LS-200S) or constant-speed drive with variable capacity control (VCC-200S and VCC-250S). These 200hp compressors have capacities ranging from 457acfm to 980acfm and pressure ranges from 100psig to 175psig.

The variable-speed-drive (VSD) model, V-200S, with capacities of 576acfm to 967acfm, completes the compressor offering. These compressors have flange-mounted motors and air ends to provide positive alignment and to extend bearing life in both. Variable capacity control is achieved with Sullair's spiral valve technology. Part-load capacity and efficiency can produce energy savings up to 17-30 per cent.

The V-200S compressor with a VSD achieves further part-load and full-load energy savings. These Sullair compressors are available with or without sound-attenuating enclosures and with a choice of water-cooled or air-cooled models. All models feature the company's multi-stage air-fluid separation with a dual nested optimiser separator element to minimise fluid carryover.

The Optimalair heavy-duty air intake filter reduces pressure drop for additional energy savings throughout its operating life. The Sullair compressors also feature an advanced upgrade of the company's Supervisor Controller. This computer-compatible microprocessor control unit provides critical operating information using graphics of monitored functions and stop/start, sequencing and activation controls.

Designed to facilitate the connection of traditional input and output signals onto a bus network, Pepperl+Fuchs has introduced the LB/FB remote I/O systems. LB/FB systems support general-purpose or intrinsically safe applications with modules that can be mixed and matched on the same backplane. These systems facilitate connection to Profibus DP, Modbus and Foundation fieldbus for all traditional signal types, including discrete, analogue, frequency and temperature.

Redundancy for the communication interface and power supply ensures high reliability. 'Anyone using a traditional intrinsic safety barrier can benefit from LB/FB remote I/O systems, as they allow barriers to be pushed into Division 2 and Zone 1 hazardous areas,' said Brian Traczyk, Pepperl+Fuchs product manager. 'These remote I/O systems are also suitable for upgrades and expansions and can be beneficial when devices such as thermocouples or RTDs do not have a fieldbus interface,' he added.

LB/FB remote I/O system users are said to benefit from: reduced wiring; fewer DCS control cards; fewer terminations for reduced installation costs; and reduced control cabinet space requirements. Faster commissioning LB systems are rated for Division 2 mounting with inputs and/or outputs mounted in a Division 1/Zone 0 area. FB systems are designed for intrinsically safe or increased safety applications and rated for Zone 1 mounting with inputs and/or outputs mounted in a Zone 0 area.

With LB systems, IS and general-purpose modules can be mixed and matched on the same backplane. LB systems include a backplane, communication interface, power supply and I/O modules. They can be DIN Rail mounted or Pepperl+Fuchs' Systems and Solutions Group can pre-mount the system in an enclosure specified by the user.

With FB systems, IS and increased safety modules can be mixed and matched on the same backplane. FB systems include a backplane/enclosure, communication interface, power supply and I/O modules. The system comes installed in the user's choice of enclosure with GRP, fibreglass and stainless steel as standard options. FB systems are available with a number of optional accessories that can be mounted within the enclosure to extend its functionality, including terminal blocks, fuses and disconnect switches.

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has announced the release of Centum VP R4.02, an enhanced version of the company's integrated production control system. This version of Centum VP has been enhanced to help Yokogawa's customers improve productivity. It includes a more intuitive human machine interface (HMI) and strengthened consolidated alarm management. For increased reliability, a Foundation fieldbus engineering function is provided to improve reliability and allows full use of the intelligent capabilities of field devices.

Centum VP R4.02 features closer linkage with Yokogawa's latest safety instrumented system - version R2.03.00 of the Yokogawa Prosafe-RS SIS. It is now possible to operate and monitor this system and the Centum VP production control system through the same HMI. This linkage between the two systems is said to improve safety and efficiency. Enhanced consolidated alarm management functions incorporated in version R4.02 include the ability of alarm engineering to define operations such as monitoring and notification in the same engineering environment used to configure operations such as control and monitoring.

This linkage of the engineering for the alarm, control and monitoring functions is designed to improve efficiency. Version R4.02 of Centum VP incorporates a function that can automatically check data after configuration changes are made to Foundation fieldbus-compatible sensors and final control elements such as valves. Main target markets and applications include the monitoring and automatic control of plants and manufacturing equipment in industries such as oil and natural gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, iron and steel, pulp and paper, electric power and water treatment.

Huntsman Advanced Materials has announced it will be exhibiting at Productronica 2009, from 10 to 13 November at the Munich Exhibition Centre, in hall A4, booth 469. Huntsman will exhibit the latest materials developments for electrical applications in the automotive, telecommunications, lighting and general industry sectors. Visitors to Huntsman's booth can find out more about the latest additions of Probimer 77 White to the extensive Probimer 77 'solder resist' range.

It has a white gloss surface and can be used as a reflective background for LED applications. Other brands such as Araldite systems and Probimer solder masks, which provide protective solutions for the build, structure and assembly of printed circuit boards and for the encapsulation, insulation and bonding of electrical and electronic products, will also be on display.

Cobham Technical Services has announced that its Opera electromagnetic design software has been used in an aircraft lightning strike simulation project. Lightning strike tests of a helicopter at Eurocopter's Donauworth facility have verified the accuracy of finite element analysis techniques for characterising the electromagnetic behaviour of complete and custom-cabled modern aircraft structures constructed using advanced composite materials.

The exercise was performed using the Opera software as a final element of the company's work for the ILDAS (In-flight Lightning Strike Damage Assessment System) project. Simulation of the ILDAS tests highlighted how finite element techniques can generate accurate models of complex assembled airframes and simulate the effects of lightning strikes rapidly - in around a day on a standard office PC - to help developers evaluate and optimise lightning protection measures during the design cycle. The industry's current certification against lightning is based on threat levels derived from measurements of cloud-to-ground strikes.

While this approach has served well for traditional airframes with good metallic conduction, modern aircraft are incorporating increasing amounts of lightweight composite materials. This makes them more susceptible to direct damage at lightning entry and exit points, and potentially to indirect energy coupling effects into the electrical systems as current flows through the aircraft. As a result, it becomes increasingly important to understand the exact nature of the threat by accruing data on actual in-flight strikes. Modelling the current flow patterns within complete assembled airframes with validated software can also reduce costly testing procedures.

The ILDAS project was conceived to develop an in-flight embedded system for measuring actual lightning strikes. This will help to better understand the threat, aid the design of lightning protection measures and streamline post-strike inspections and maintenance by capturing and communicating actual data on occurrences, intensity and strike points. Opera software was employed to predict lightning strike current flow patterns on structures with carbon-fibre composite materials. This knowledge helped ILDAS partners to select the best locations for sensors and then to compare current flow predictions against actual measurements.

To achieve this goal, Cobham Technical Services generated an electromagnetic design model of a specific airframe configuration for an EC135 helicopter using CAD files from Eurocopter. This part of the exercise mainly involved simplifying non-critical parts of the original design data in order to minimise simulation times, while maintaining good representations of critical elements such as metal space frames and surface panels, carbon composite panels, electrical bonding and cable harnesses - including those for client-specific equipment.

The modelling work took around two weeks, but this depended on experience gained from detailed modelling and analysis of typical composite structures, together with comparison with measurements and simulations performed by other partners in the project. With this supporting work in place, subsequent models of variations on the basic helicopter airframe would be much quicker to create - providing a simple means of evaluating aircraft construction programs. Once the model was ready, the simulation itself took a little more than a day to run on an office PC.

Real-life tests at Eurocopter's Munich facility then showed that the theoretical predictions of energy diffusion effects agreed very well with simulation predictions. 'Airframe structures making extensive use of composite materials have less natural protection against lightning,' said John Hardwick of Cobham Technical Services (Lightning Testing and Consultancy). 'As lightning protection measures such as conductive coatings or strips add weight it's important to optimise the design, and simulation provides an effective means of achieving this,' he added.

'These real-life tests of ILDAS's embedded monitoring system concept illustrate how airframe-specific lightning protection can now be accurately evaluated and optimised during the design cycle,' said John Simkin of Cobham Technical Services (Vector Fields Software). 'Finite element techniques make it easy to model complex airframe surfaces and important electrical details. 'The functionality of the Opera geometric modeller made it simple to accept CAD files and reduce the complexity of non-critical elements to ensure rapid simulation,' he added.

ITT Interconnect is offering modified versions of its Field Attachable Power Connectors that can be used in place of splices for joining down-hole power cables for electric, submersible pumps. According to the company, BIW Power Cable Connectors (PCCs) can save significant rig time, increasing efficiency and lowering costs.

The field-attachable ITT PCCs can be used to join round and flat downhole cables up to AWG 1. Installation of the PCCs is similar to that of existing ITT BIW field attachable connectors. The use of PCCs in place of splicing can save up to three hours of rig time. The BIW Power Cable Connector has been engineered to perform reliably in harsh hydrocarbon environments, with robust internal components housed in heavy-duty steel for long run life.

Outer connector bodies have been designed with the smallest possible size profiles, yet retain their mechanical strength. Mid-joint protectors for 4.5, 3.5, 2.875 and 2.375in tubing sizes provide mechanical protection for installed Power Cable Connectors and are available separately. Connectors are rated at 5,000V AC for up to 140A, depending on cable size. Pressure and temperature rating is 5,000psig at 149C (300F).

Waldmann Lighting has introduced the Slim LED, designed to provide powerful, directional lighting for areas where there is no space for traditional luminaires. It is suitable for integration into a range of machinery and equipment, and eliminates the need for separate task lighting. Typical applications include sheet-metal sawing/drilling, packaging, automation, textile and image processing plants.

Impact and vibration resistant, the rugged IP67-rated Slim LED can be connected directly to a 24V source and is available in lengths from 196 to 1176mm, with the ability to adjust the direction of each LED light source, providing customised floodlighting to suit each application. With its highly efficient LED light sources, Slim LED also offers energy savings with a lamp life of 60,000 hours - equivalent to six years at maximum light output when running 24 hours per day.

The lamps are available in a choice of wattages from 3.6 to 28.8W and can be supplied in an optional wide-beam version with adjustability through +/-45deg. Slim LED can be supplied in a choice of clear or satin covering using a fixed mounting as standard or with an optional adjustable bracket. The cast-aluminium casing is coated in Waldmann's special coating to protect against dust and moisture ingress to IP67.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

WEG motors, inverters and soft starters are allowing the safe operation of equipment at the Beto Carrero World theme park, located in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Most of the equipment at the BCW uses WEG motors, inverters and soft starters for its motive power. For example, electric motors provide the drive functions for the rides and attractions. WEG products are also used on water pumps, compressors and other ancillary equipment.

Hugo Loth Neto, the operations director of Beto Carrero World, said one of the main problems was the development and assembly of the drive centre of the big wheel. He explained: 'It has four motors, each one of 7.5HP. 'Another challenge was the development of the Water Empire project, with six motors of 150HP in the water pumps, a wet transformer of 1,000kVA and a dry one of 1,500kVA.

'In addition, the latest attraction of the park, the rollercoaster Firewhip, also relies upon WEG equipment: it has a static AC/DC converter of 130kW 380V, with a DC motor of 130kW.' Edilson Doubrawa, financial administrative director of the BCW, said: 'One of the major advantages for our enterprise is a supplier of high technology products right next door.

'This means that we do not have to import all of our drive and control equipment, along with all of our rides and attractions, from Europe. 'Another key advantage is service: with WEG right on our doorstep, its engineers are quick at providing the necessary solutions and service required for our equipment.'.

Simrit has developed a radial-shaft seal system featuring a leakage sensor that allows for telediagnosis of the shaft seal and automatically sends a signal when the seal's wear limit is reached. With the help of these intelligent shaft seals, Wittenstein alpha has maximised the service life and service intervals of its pitch gears for rotor adjustment. Pitch gears are key components in wind turbines around the world.

They are used to adjust the pitch of the rotor blades, which in turn changes the aerodynamic efficiency of the turbine. Thanks to pitch gears, wind turbines can be operated at the optimum pitch until the rated power of the generator is reached. If the maximum generator torque is exceeded, the speed is adjusted by changing the pitch of the rotor blades. If performance remains constant, pitch gears allow wind turbines to operate continually at the optimum operating point.

One pitch gear per rotor blade is attached directly to the hub by screws. Wittenstein alpha has optimised the pitch gear for 1.5MW wind turbines and designed it to cope with approximately 50,000 operating hours over a 20-year period. To achieve optimum service intervals and maximum service life for these pitch gears, the specialists at Wittenstein alpha opted for a Simrit radial shaft seal with condition-monitoring function.

The outstanding advantage of this shaft seal, which is subjected to extreme stress during operation, is that it keeps the turbine operator informed of its serviceability. This means that the rotary shaft seal - which, for physical, tribological or chemical reasons, is always a part subject to wear - is only replaced when absolutely necessary.

If the sealing function of the radial shaft-seal begins to deteriorate at the end of its service life, the leakage is instantly absorbed by a leakage collector. An integral sensor in the sealing system identifies the leakage and generates a signal that is then evaluated by a programmable electronic unit. Once the first leakage has been registered and the progression of the leakage has been automatically evaluated, a message is sent to the operator or the service expert at the end of a freely programmable interval.

The system can be individually adjusted to suit the required leakage tolerances of the component manufacturer or the turbine operator. The programmable electronic unit can easily be integrated into existing monitoring systems. From there, the digital status signals can be sent by SMS, internet or telephone to the defined recipient. This means that wind-turbine operators and service companies can check the operating status of the sealing system at any time by means of remote data retrieval.

It also means that the replacement of the sealing system can be planned on the basis of the size of the leakage or can be done during regular servicing without the need for any additional turbine downtime. This means it is no longer necessary to replace seals 'just in case'. This in turn makes it easier to plan the servicing of wind turbines and allows operators to minimise downtime and costs.

Wilcoxon Research has announced an additional intrinsically safe certification in accordance with IECEx requirements for six general-purpose accelerometers. The six accelerometers were approved for use in Class I Zone 0 hazardous areas. Tom Smith, vice-president of sales and marketing, said: 'These vibration sensors were previously approved as intrinsically safe by certifying agencies recognised in the US, Canada and Europe.

'Condition monitoring is growing in popularity across the world and the IECEx certification will help us better serve customers in other regions,' he added. Six general-purpose accelerometers, with a sensitivity of 100mV/g and a +5 per cent sensitivity tolerance, were certified as intrinsically safe in accordance with the requirements of the IECEx standards. The standard top-exit model is the 786A-IS.

The standard side-exit model is the 787A-IS, which is also available with a metric M8 mounting stud (model 787A-M8-IS). The 780A-IS is a compact sensor. The integral cable model is the 786F-IS. The 786T-IS is a dual-output model that senses both vibration and temperature. The six general-purpose accelerometers are suitable for the industrial machinery health monitoring of rotating equipment such as motors, pumps, fans, compressors, vibrating conveyors, chillers, gearboxes, reciprocating compressors, blowers, cooling towers, mixers, turbines and centrifuges.

These types of machinery are typically found in hazardous-area locations common to industries such as petrochemical, oil and gas, chemical processing, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, pulp and paper, wastewater treatment, nuclear power and power generation. The IECEx standards are recognised by most industrialised countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the Republic of Serbia, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the US.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) publishes the IECEx scheme, a set of standards that specifies requirements for both hazardous-area electrical equipment and requirements for the quality system of manufacturers of hazardous-area electrical equipment.

Certification organisations perform the testing and qualifications required by the IECEx scheme. Wilcoxon sensors were tested to the IEC requirements by Kema and have been certified by Sira to meet the quality system requirements of the IECEx scheme. The company also offers other accelerometers and 4-20mA sensors certified to be intrinsically safe, explosion proof and approved for use in Class I Division 2 (Zone 2) environments.

Renault has used ESI's Pam-Comfort system for the preliminary design of a new seat. ESI's Pam-Comfort software offers a scalable and customised solution dedicated to virtual manufacturing and virtual testing (static and dynamic) of the soft parts of a seat. Virtual seat prototyping consists of several chained simulated steps ranging from seat manufacturing and occupant static seating, to occupied seat NVH (noise and vibration), where the stresses resulting from each step are needed for the next one.

The chaining is necessary to accurately predict the behaviour of the seats under numerous loading conditions (trimming, dummy loading, various human anthropometries and vibrations) and for various design changes (materials and shape). At Renault, where the full virtual seat prototyping methodology is being deployed, an important step after the preliminary design of a new seat is the virtual testing of the dynamic comfort performance using Pam-Comfort.

To accurately predict seat comfort, Renault runs a dynamic test of seat transmissibility with a static weight. The test helps evaluate the seat frequency response and thus informs Renault about how the seat contributes to the vertical acceleration filtering of the car, which is important for dynamic seat comfort. This test is used to improve and validate the seat design. Renault simulated this test procedure with a finite element calculation using Pam-Comfort. After completing the seat-manufacturing simulations, a dummy is imported in the model to launch the computation.

This calculation is divided in two phases: first, a static phase in which the dummy is seated and where the equilibrium is computed to precisely know the stress and strain states of the various parts of the seat; second is a dynamic phase in which a vertical acceleration signal is applied to the seat rail to obtain the seat dynamic transmissibility at the interface with the dummy. Computed results showed a good level of correlation with physical tests, therefore confirming the validity and predictability of both Renault's simulation modelling and the methodology applied.

Boge has brought out a range of energy-saving refrigerant dryers. The DS series features components used in compressed-air drying. Optimally dimensioned components assure reliability and efficiency, even in the most demanding conditions. The DS series dryers also constantly adapt to changes in ambient and volume flow to ensure dry compressed air is always delivered.

At the same time the intelligent heat-exchanger system creates a lower pressure drop when compared with conventional systems. This low-pressure drop means that the compressor generation pressure can be reduced, with each 1 bar pressure reduction translating into a six per cent energy saving. By ensuring the lowest possible pressure loss, a high level of energy efficiency can be achieved.

As the energy consumption of the compressor is greater than the dryer, these savings have a much larger impact and so increase the efficiency of the compressor. It is estimated that over a five-year operating period the purchase price of a compressed-air dryer accounts for only about a third of the total cost. A third of all costs are spent on the electricity required to run the dryer for five years. A further third is consumed over a five-year period by the compressor in order to overcome the dryer's pressure drop.

With the Boge DS series, lowest possible pressure losses reduce energy consumption year on year, impacting on the associated electricity used year on year. The DS dryer control continuously adapts the dryer operation to the real operating conditions.

This ensures continual energy saving. The new DS series dryers are compact and have been designed for ease of maintenance. The DS series has a standard 3C pressure dew point and a flow capacity from 7.5 to 180m3/min. The range is environmentally friendly, emits zero ODP and low GWP and is Montreal Protocol compliant.

Kistler's piezoelectric torque sensors have a wide measuring range and are adaptable to match most configurations, making them suited to manufacturing-process monitoring. The sensors are available with measuring ranges of 1, 10, 25, 200 and 1,000Nm and all are suitable for torques from approximately 0.001Nm.

The torque sensors are supplied calibrated for 100 and 10 per cent of the measuring range with additional calibration ranges available as an option. Installation is flexible as each sensor has an end flange with four or six threaded mounting holes and a centring seat for precise coaxial installation. A central hole allows a shaft to pass through the sensor.

The high sensitivity, rigid construction and compact dimensions of the sensors make them particularly suited to monitoring applications in assembly processes and product testing where rotary movements are involved: typically screw, bolt or nut tightening to specific torque; rotary potentiometer and switch testing; and screw-cap fitting.

As piezoelectric sensors are immune from fatigue and wear when properly used, their service life is virtually unlimited, making them suitable for use as calibration sensors and for general torque measurement in manufacturing and research-and-development applications.