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Distance Measurement Tool for Offshore Workers

Cordex Instruments has launched the Lasermeter3000XP, a custom-designed distance measurement tool that is said to be well suited for offshore workers. The anti-hazard handheld measuring device complies with stringent offshore health and safety regulations. The handheld tool with its robust IP65 flameproof design is Atex and IECEx Zone 1 IIC T4 hazardous (explosive) area certified.

This makes it a suitable device for offshore personnel working on high-risk rigs and installations who currently have to obtain 'hot work permits' to use standard electronic measuring devices. The laser meter has been built to last, with a rugged industrial-grade construction. Encased in tough aluminium, it can withstand harsh environments, accidental falls or knocks.

The Lasermeter3000XP is also easy to use, according to Cordex, with simple operating functions to cater for workers in hazardous locations wearing protective kit and gloves - offering speedy and accurate distance, volume and area measu…

Expanda-Seal Reduces Emissions and Odours

Shand and Jurs has launched Expanda-Seal, a seal on pressure-relief devices that is said to reduce emissions and odours in every process environment. The Expanda-Seal pallets are tested to 0.5scfh or less at 95 per cent of the set point, equating to 100 per cent less vapour release. Industry standards have a tested leakage rate of 1scfh at 90 per cent of set point.

The Expanda-Seal uses internal vessel pressure to inflate the pallet gasket, which creates a tighter seal the closer the pressure gets to the set point. The seal can be applied to virtually any Shand and Jurs pressure devices, including conservation vents, pressure-relief vents, emergency vents, and the combination conservation vent and flame arresters.

Slurry Pump/Mixing System Enhances Dairy Processes

A chronograph-controlled slurry pump and mixing system from Landia that can also handle sand has eliminated arduous manual labour at Soerensen's dairy farm in Aars, Denmark. In five minutes, the fully automated system sees Landia's mixer generate a homogeneous and therefore easier to back-flush end product by mixing the sand with the slurry and then pumping it away from the reception tank. The mixer also provides a more powerful vortex than a pump so that the sand in the reception pit cannot accumulate.

With 300 dairy cows producing a milk quota of 2.25m kg in a 3,500m3 cowshed, Landia designed the system so that the pump only has to pump slurry into the first of the two 3,900m3 storage tanks. The pump is not used for mixing in the reception pit, hence the decision to save energy by installing a smaller motor size than usual for drainage. The use of sand at Soerensen's dairy farm has increased milk production by 20 per cent and led to a much healthier herd.

The owners were…

Boras Plant Saves Energy with Landia Mixers

Landia has revealed that its slow-speed mixers have enabled the Boras treatment plant in Sweden to make significant energy savings. The reduction in energy costs has also been achieved by installing three Landia mixers per aeration basin, compared with 11 per basin installed previously. As well as using less power, the introduction of Landia's POP-I 3kW-180rev/min mixers has also saved on electrical installation contract costs due to less cabling, reduced costs to electrical boards and reduced mounting costs.

The Boras treatment plant is also benefitting from reduced costs for parts, reduced stock of spares and a reduction in man-hours for maintenance. To meet nitrogen discharge levels set out by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Boras municipality's four-phase upgrade of its treatment plant included a major rebuilding of the existing activated sludge treatment works.

Hima Safety System Controls Turbo Machinery

The Himax safety system from Hima Paul Hildebrandt enables the grouping of all turbomachine functions into an advanced TMC (turbo machinery control) system. This turbomachinery control system is said to require less space and fewer parts. Its multitasking capability ensures the absence of reaction by separating safety functions from standard functions. With current turbomachine systems, operators may face a turbine control cabinet that includes numerous automation devices from various manufacturers.

These components require a great deal of space and can result in confusing structures. The integrated TMC solution from Hima combines all of the functions required for controlling, regulating, monitoring and safeguarding turbines in a single system. All function modules are grouped together on the Himax system's backplane and can communicate with one another via a backplane bus. All signals from the field are sent directly to the system and are processed with equal priority.

As with al…

Burkert Valves Enhance Food and Beverage Plant

An upgraded production plant for fruit juice concentrate and other ingredients for beverages and food products now includes intelligent process valves from Burkert. These valves are used by the drink manufacturer across the entire production area in a decentralised control solution with communications via an AS-interface (AS-i). As part of this solution, all hygienic seat valves controlling the product flow, on-off valves for the auxiliary circuits for water, steam, sterile air and cleaning are automated in a decentralised mode by means of intelligent valves.

With this decentralised system, the only tasks remaining with the central process control system are control and status monitoring, resulting in savings in overall system project costs and improved transparency in system operation. The integration via the AS-i fieldbus means that the advantages of decentralised automation can be utilised to the full. All that is required for power supply, feedback and communication is a two-wire …

Davall Invests in Machinery for Gear Production

Davall has taken delivery of a P400 ES CNC shaping machine tool with additional electronic controls to help produce both spur and helical gearing without the need for expensive guide systems. This investment also enables Davall to routinely achieve AGMA 9/10 (ISO 7/8) grade manufacture without the need for gear grinding. The machine is also fitted with an additional two-axis control allowing the manufacture of tapered internal and external spur and helical gears.

Davall is also able to offer Spiradrive, this is the name given to a specific type of skew-axis gearing - gearing in which the axis of the gear and pinion are at right angles but do not intersect. Spiradrive gears are sometimes referred to as screw-type gearing, this being a general description of the meshing action of the gear and pinion (the equivalent description for spur and bevel gears would be rolling-type gears). Spiradrive gearsets comprise two members: a gear and a pinion.

By definition the pinion has fewer teeth (or…

Gas Leak Monitor Features 20m Detection Radius

Net Safety Monitoring has introduced an ultrasonic gas leak detector to provide wide-area coverage in any hazardous-area application where pressurised gas is present. The Banshee343 gas leak detector is designed to offer reliable gas detection, whether toxic and/or combustible. Ultrasonic gas leak detection is commonly used together with traditional fixed detection technologies as a first line of defence against dangerous gas leak situations in oil and gas installations.

Acoustic (ultrasonic) gas leak detectors can be found in a variety of applications. Ultrasonic gas leak detection technology offers several performance considerations: it does not have to wait until a gas concentration has accumulated to potentially dangerous concentrations; it offers a wide area of coverage; it does not require a gas cloud to eventually make physical contact with a sensor; and the response is instantaneous for all gas types.

The Banshee343 ultrasonic gas leak detector only triggers an alarm when ina…

Winters Unveils Industrial Pressure Transmitters

Winters Instruments has announced the release of a line of industrial pressure transmitters that are complete with CSA, CE, RoHS and ATEX certifications. This complete line of transmitters feature all-stainless-steel construction and ceramic sensors, ensuring a robust level of performance for industrial and process applications. The LE3 series was developed as a versatile and economical transmitter for general industry and OEM applications.

The LIM series is ideally suited for aggressive media. The LIS series is approved for use in intrinsically safe and hazardous areas, particularly for the oil and gas and petrochemical markets. The LTF series is equipped with a flush diaphragm and suitable for viscous fluids and media that would clog a standard process connection.

Additional models also available in the line include submersible versions for level measurement and a Tri-Clamp version for food processing, among others. Winters' pressure transmitters are available in vacuum to 10,0…

Solidworks Helps Adlens Design Adaptive Eyewear

Using Solidworks software, Adlens has created a layered lens that enables wearers to dial up custom prescription eyeglasses with no help from an optician, optometrist or ophthalmologist. Under guidance of a trained person (for instance, a community health worker) Adlens' adaptive eyeglasses adjust with the turn of a knob to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and presbyopia (loss of focus). Adlens used Solidworks to design a four-layer polycarbonate eyeglass lens.

Two rigid lenses enclose a cavity housing, a flexible third lens that contains a volume of oil. Knobs on the eyeglass frames pump the transparent oil in or out of the lens, where the middle layer flexes to provide the optical power the wearer needs. Then the wearer simply removes the levers and the adjustment knobs to lock in the prescription. 'Creating a mechanism delicate enough for fine adjustments yet durable enough to survive heat, dust and transportation over long distances was challenging,' said Adlens…

Linux Support for Camera Link Frame Grabber

At Vision 2010, Matrox Imaging is announcing Linux support for Matrox Radient eCL, a camera link frame grabber with an Altera Stratix III/IV processing FPGA. 'The introduction of Matrox Imaging Library (MIL) support for the Matrox Radient eCL on Linux gives system developers who use the open-source operating system access to this high-performance camera link frame grabber,' said Michael Chee, product manager, Matrox Imaging.

'Linux system developers can now take advantage of the Matrox Radient eCL's high-bandwidth image capture - up to four base or two full mode camera link cameras on a single board - and high-throughput FPGA-based processing capabilities,' he said. Matrox Radient eCL is the single-board solution for applications that require high-performing Camera Link cameras. The PCIe x8 card ensures that the data from the highest-throughput 10-tap, 85MHz cameras is transferred to the host CPUs. Its half-length form factor ensures a good fit in compact systems. …

Software Simplifies Instrument Management

Newport has introduced Nstruct, an enhanced instrument management software platform created to simplify installation and to provide quicker, simpler instrument and experiment setup and use. Flexible and scalable, the instrument manager is designed with a set of features that create an effective single-point control for all the users' instrument needs. The Nstruct advanced communication layer provides a stable operating environment, even when using a multitude of instruments in both Windows 7 and XP.

The Nstruct framework permits easy access to all relevant instrument parameters in one central location. For added convenience, remote operation is possible over LAN. Nstruct instrument manager was designed with customer needs in mind and is compatible with National Instruments' Labview, Microsoft C#.NET and Python, making it a highly customisable instrument management environment. Newport has also introduced a suite of instrument and experiment-oriented software utilities, called …

Solidworks CAD Enables Tidal Turbine Design

Solidworks CAD and Flow Simulation are being used to enable Green-Tide Turbine founder Michael Evans to visualise ideas for his company's tidal turbines. The turbines use duct with a stator/rotor arrangement to convert the action of water flowing through the duct to generate electricity, generating electricity cost effectively in weaker currents.

When Evans has ideas for modifying the design, he works them out using CAD and Flow Simulation before showing them to his engineering team for possible development. Evans modifies his designs with Solidworks CAD and simulates their behaviour with Solidworks Flow Simulation to improve the turbines' survivability. Once he and his engineers have finalised a modification, they send a Solidworks 3D model to a rapid prototyping partner that produces a part for live testing.

Wago Devices Receive 100kA SCCR Rating

Select Wago Through-Panel and Chassis-Mount Terminal blocks, as well as Interconnect devices have earned a 100kA SCCR rating with appropriate fuses. The newest Wago products with 100kA SCCR are 862 and 264 Series Chassis-Mount Blocks, 826 and 828 Series Through-Panel Blocks, 831 Series Multi Connector System Pluggable Connector and X-Coms Pluggable Connector System.

Stemming from changes enacted by the National Electric Code, SCCR (Short Circuit Current Rating) is represented by UL508A. SCCR ensures proper documentation of the maximum short-circuit current a component, assembly or equipment can safely withstand when protected by a specific overcurrent protective device.

For instance, a control cabinet's SCCR is the same as that of a component in the cabinet's electrical distribution path with the lowest SCCR. Other Wago terminal blocks carrying 100kA SCCR include: 280 Series to 285 Series Power Cage Clamp models, Topjobs terminal blocks, X-Com and 870 Series Cage Clamp Compac…

Air Pressure Regulators Target Rail Applications

Parker Hannifin has launched the EPP3 series, which has been designed to enhance system performance and reliability, as well as meeting the latest European railway standards.

The electro-pneumatic air pressure regulator series, which includes EN 50155, governs electronic equipment used on rolling stock and is designed to provide flexibility, precision and energy savings in rail-industry applications, including the control of adaptive suspensions.

The EPP3 series is manufactured by Parker Lucifer, Fluid Control Division.

MBS Introduces Item Rack and Pinion Drive System

The Item Rack and Pinion drive system is said to offer several advantages over conventional bolt-on designs, according to Machine Building Systems (MBS). The rack is designed to sit unobtrusively entirely within the T-slot groove of any line 8 aluminium extrusion, which allows compact linear slides to be constructed without an unsightly bolt-on driving mechanism. No part of the rack projects above the surface of the profile.

Additionally, the groove ensures that the rack is aligned parallel to the guide mechanism without the unwanted snaking that is often experienced with alternative racks. Racks of varying length can be built up using any number of individual rack segments. Manufacturing in 80mm pieces allows higher degrees of accuracy to be achieved than longer lengths, where pitch errors can be significant, and reduces wastage where much longer racks would have to be cut down to suit the application.

During assembly, an end section is secured in place with a single dowel screw and …

Foster-Wheeler Wins Blending Plant Contract

A subsidiary of Foster-Wheeler's global engineering and construction group has been awarded a contract by Kuwait Petroleum International Lubricants for the provision of detailed engineering services. The detailed engineering activities are for a brownfield lube oil blending plant to be built at Kuwait Petroleum's facility at Antwerp, Belgium. The lube oil blending plant will be designed to enhance the ability of the Antwerp facility to operate at European scale by increasing production capacity from 125 million to 250 million litres per year.

The detailed engineering activities will be completed by mid 2011. Kuwait Petroleum International Lubricants is increasing the plant's capacity to keep pace with the growth of its Q8Oils and Roloil branded business and to give it the option of toll blending for other companies.

ABB Automation Study Reveals Barriers to Take-up

ABB's robotics business has joined several leading companies in industrial automation in a bid to further understand the buying behaviours and barriers to investment in automation in the UK. The study, entitled 'Application of Automation in UK Manufacturing', compares the case for automation in four European countries, and identifies the main barriers to take-up as a lack of knowledge and skills, along with the general attitude towards risk.

Commissioned by members of the Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA), with support from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) members, the study confirms UK manufacturers have invested significantly less in modern manufacturing technologies than their counterparts in mainland Europe. As a result, many UK companies are not as competitive as they could be. Despite the fact that manufacturing continues to be an important contributor to the UK economy and provides a sign…

Aker Awarded Goliat Tie-in and Connector Contract

Aker Solutions has been awarded the tie-in and connector scope associated with the Goliat flowlines and risers contract by Technip Norway. The scope of work includes the outboard remote tie-in system termination heads and associated equipment. The equipment will be used to tie in the flowlines, pipelines and flexible jumpers to the manifolds, flowline t-junctions (ILTs) and riser bases on the Goliat field in the Barents Sea, northwest of Hammerfest, Norway.

The contract comes in addition to Aker Solutions having been awarded the Goliat subsea production system last year by ENI. The company was also awarded the direct electrical heating contract for the Goliat project earlier this year, under Technip's flowlines and risers contract. The project will be executed and manufactured mainly in Norway, with the delivery of the final equipment expected during Q2 2013. The contract party is Aker Subsea.

Insteng Distributes Flir Systems Infrared Cameras

Flir has announced the appointment of Insteng Process Automation as a multi-range thermal imaging camera distributor. Insteng is responsible for seven ranges of infrared cameras, extending from the troubleshooting compact models, through the mid-range professional series, to the top-of-the-range expert cameras for advanced predictive maintenance. The Insteng product programme also includes Flir cameras dedicated for building inspection and also fixed-mounted models for process automation and control.

Aiden Farrelly from Insteng, said: 'The great thing about the Flir infrared cameras is that they save users money. 'Flir has made thermal imaging much more accessible now so smaller businesses, such as plumbers and electricians, can benefit from the technology. 'They can massively cut costs through infrared predictive maintenance and building inspections. 'Minor problems are easily diagnosed and corrected before they develop into costly failures.

'Swift return on inves…

Flir Systems Hosts Building Thermal-Imaging Events

Flir Systems recently held a series of regional events featuring presentations on the growing importance of thermal imaging in building science and energy management. The company said it is very happy with the outcome of the roadshow, which attracted in the region of 350 delegates. Flir said that of all the application sectors for its thermal imaging, building is one of the most dynamic, and its range of building thermal-imaging cameras and application-specific software have become the industry standard for many individuals and companies in this sector.

The choice extends from the compact point-and-shoot thermal imaging cameras through to expert models with analysis and reporting functions. The majority are also Meterlink-enabled, a wireless communication facility that allows the Flir thermal imaging camera to capture readings from a remote clamp meter or moisture meter. Andy Baker, UK and Ireland sales manager at Flir, said that the company will be holding similar events in 2011 afte…

Transducers Suited to Shock and Vibration Tests

Linear variable displacement transducers (LVDTs) from RDP Electronics are inherently robust and durable enough to meet the rigours of testing in situations generating vibration or shock. Such test situations are numerous, but typical applications include vehicle testing, recoil testing, switchgear testing and use on rolling mills and steel-production machines, which often involve high levels of shock and vibration.

Due to the rugged LVDT technology they have a high cycle life, high accuracy and repeatability with the added advantage of being an absolute device with infinite resolution. Because the sliding core of an LVDT does not touch the inside of the tube in which it is housed, it can move without friction, making it highly reliable device, while the absence of any sliding or rotating contacts allows the device to be totally sealed.

Typically the housing is of stainless steel, providing high levels of protection against the operational environment. RDP offers ranges of LVDTs for ma…

Hart Announces Workshops for 2011

Hart has announced details of two workshops arranged for 2011 - 'Hart Fundamentals and QA Testing' and 'Writing Enhanced Device Descriptions'. The 'Hart Fundamentals and QA Testing' workshop is designed for product developers and systems integrators. Day one and day two of this workshop are designed to provide an overview of the Hart market and technology, while day three and day four are designed specifically for product developers and system integrators.

Dates and locations for the 'Hart Fundamentals and QA Testing' workshop include: 7-10 March 2011, Austin, Texas; 16-19 May 2011, Dusseldorf, Germany; 19-22 September 2011, Austin, Texas; and 24-27 October 2011, Dusseldorf, Germany.The 'Writing Enhanced Device Descriptions' workshop is a comprehensive course covering the basic and advanced aspects of DD development.

It is to be held on the following dates and locations: 21-24 March 2011, Dusseldorf, Germany; 2-5 May 2011, Austin, Texas; 26-29 S…

OPC Data Logger Targets Automation Industry

Industrial automation software supplier Software Toolbox has released a new version of OPC Data Logger, which includes support for OPC UA connectivity. The addition of the most recent OPC specification - OPC UA - expands the options for OPC Data Logger connectivity, enabling it to connect securely to OPC data sources with the latest standards. OPC Data Logger, which passed the OPC Foundation's independent lab certification test, is said to provide a high-quality value option for the data-logging needs of the automation industry.

Win Worrall, brand manager for OPC Data Logger at Software Toolbox, said: 'With the release of this new version of OPC Data Logger, customers can securely log data from any OPC UA server that supports the DA profile as well as from a customer's current OPC DA servers. 'This combination of support ensures the long-term usability of OPC Data Logger for users,' Worrall added. OPC Data Logger is designed by Software Toolbox for users, integrato…

Wafer-Cone Flowmeter Suits Natural Gas Wellheads

McCrometer has launched the Wafer-Cone flowmeter for control system design and process/plant engineers looking for a fuel gas measurement solution for natural gas compressor skids. The company said the flowmeter is economical and low maintenance, and provides accuracy and reliability for small line sizes. The Wafer-Cone flowmeter is said to be suitable for gas or liquid service in line sizes from 1-6in, such as those required for natural gas compressors.

Compressors are used to pressurise natural gas as it travels through pipelines in order to allow it to move as quickly as possible. The accurate metering of compressor fuel gas consumption is necessary for a variety of reasons, including emissions reporting, compressor efficiency, and individual well site gas allocation. The Wafer-Cone flowmeter can be installed virtually anywhere in a piping system or be retrofit into an existing piping layout, resulting in installation flexibility and initial cost savings, according to McCrometer.

Colormax Sensors Suited for Plastics Market

EMX offers Colormax and Colormax View sensors, which are suited for applications in the plastic, automotive, wood, paper, pharmaceutical, coating and film industries. To facilitate easy integration of the Colormax sensors into manufacturing lines, EMX provides the sensors in an industry-standard M30 housing without any internal or external switches. The Colormax set-up functions are driven by software that can run on any Windows program.

The operator has control over parameters of the sensor such as target illumination and up to 0.5 per cent resolution on each of the RGB channels. Colormax has up to 15 discrete, RGB analogue and RS232/USB outputs that can be integrated with PLC, HMI or a PC. Colormax sensors are used for opaque materials and Colormax View sensors are appropriate for translucent materials. The sensor offers high-resolution, high-speed operation characteristics.

Brochure Details Biovyon Sintered Porous Plastics

Porvair Filtration Group has announced the publication of a brochure that details the specialist capabilities of its range of Biovyon sintered porous plastics. The brochure provides an introduction to the enhanced properties, technical specifications and applications of Porvair's proprietary hydrophilic, hydrophobic, functionalised, composite and laminated Biovyon materials.

The Biovyon range of sintered porous polypropylene and polyethylene materials are manufactured in ISO-accredited clean rooms. The materials exhibit very low particle shedding, low extractables and low bio burden.

Martek Introduces 12V DC Output Power Supplies

Martek Power announces the release of the 12V DC output version of the AHF series of 650W AC front-end power supplies designed for datacom and network applications. The AHF series is a standard product line of high-density 12V DC or 48V DC output AC front ends with active power factor correction and 3.3V DC auxiliary standby power. Measuring 3.07in x 1.57in x 12.38in, the units deliver up to 53.3A across the full AC input range of 90-264V AC.

With a compact 1U x 2U format, up to five power supply modules can be mounted in a standard 19in rack in a 1U high profile. Advanced design approach has maximised the power densities of the AHF models to more than 20W/in3, with efficiencies of more than 92 per cent.

The AHF models come standard with N+1 redundancy, which is ensured by hot plug and active current sharing scheme, as well as I2C management bus logic for system integration and communication features. Protection features include input over voltage, output over voltage, over temperatu…

William Hughes Produces Bent Wire Components

William Hughes is able to design and manufacture complex bent wire parts for a wide range of applications that meet the customer's specifications for dimensional accuracy and strength. For example, a typical bent wire pedal bar may require as many as eight bends in three dimensions to achieve the required shape. Each bend has to be precisely applied to the component with consistency and accuracy.

Some manufacturers require additional individual variations, for example, a tapered boss welded to one end of the wire. To achieve this with high accuracy, William Hughes designed a special assembly jig that provides a method of feeding the parts into an automatic welding machine. Variations for other two- or three-dimensional wire forms include twists, turns, spirals, protrusions, indentations and 'pips' that enable plastic components to be used to rigidly link assemblies together. When the components have completed their bending and forming, they are finished using an e-coating …

Spectrometer Performs Low Light Level Measurements

Lambda Photometrics has announced the Glacier X from B and W Tek, a TE-cooled spectrometer for applications requiring low light level detection and long-term monitoring applications. It is equipped with a 2,048 element linear CCD array, built-in 16-bit digitiser and high-speed USB 2.0 interface. Compared with non-cooled CCD spectrometers, the Glacier X is said to offer higher dynamic range, reduced dark counts and baseline stability.

Wavelength configurations are available from as low as 200nm to as high as 1,050nm with resolutions between 0.6nm and 4nm. Flexible custom configurations and application support are also available for OEM customers. TE cooling makes it possible for weak signals, such as fluorescence and Raman, to be integrated for sufficient time to accumulate measurable signals for detection.

Glacier X therefore gives customers the ability to make low light level spectroscopic measurements without the need for larger, more expensive spectrometer systems. The combinatio…

Compact Metal Hoods for Contact Inserts

A new range of hoods for Harting's Han-Compact industrial connectors offers a choice of straight or angled cable entry and variants with surfaces for standard and EMC applications. For convenient handling, the hoods have a two-piece structure that allows users to slip the hood element including the cable gland onto the cable during assembly. The outer threads are moulded onto the hood.

The range also includes cost-effective half-cable glands for a range of cable diameters and an IRIS spring for shield termination, which facilitates quick installation and rapid wiring of the contacts. The operation is completed by closing the hood element and fastening it with the screws.

A separate earth-conductor terminal on the hood enables the use of connectors with higher-rated voltages and currents. Connectors suited to use with the new hoods include the Han Q 4/2 with crimp and axial screw termination, the Han Q 8/0 with crimp and Han-Quick Lock termination, the Han Q 17/0 with crimp termin…

Ocean Blue SoCs Suited for Connected TV Products

Ocean Blue Software has ported its Sunrise HD DVB stack and Voyager HD MHEG-5 stack onto set-top box (STB) chipsets from Renesas and Trident. The Trident PNX847x series of system-on-chips (SoC) has an ARM Cortex A9 processor, multi-format HD STB decoders, with support for 3D graphics and advanced power management. The EMMA3SL/P SoC is suitable for low-cost HD and hybrid zappers and has integrated Ethernet and USB2.0 ports.

Its capability for multi-format video enables users to play back standard video formats such as MPEG-2 and H.264 HD as well as China's AVS, DivX, WMV and VC-1. The SoC is available either as free-to-air (EMMA3SL) or with advanced security features (EMMA3SL/P) for pay-TV operators. The EMMA3SL(/P) device is available and in mass production from Renesas.

Ocean Blue said porting its software range to this next generation of media processor SoCs will result in a solution well suited for connected TV products. Voyager MHEG is compliant with DTG Freeview software stan…

Ocean Blue Offers USB Video Recorder Software

Ocean Blue Software has launched its Sunrise USB video recorder software, developed to enable manufacturers to offer an affordable digital replacement for the VCR/PVR. The software gives consumers a low-cost solution to recording television programmes, enabling them to record onto USB-connected media. A benefit of the technology, according to Ocean Blue, is its ease of use, with recordings selected directly from the electronic programme guide and the ability to display the list of recordings for easy selection without having to leave the TV environment.

Standard features also include series link and the ability to pause live TV. Using this software enables manufacturers to keep down the cost of the STB or TV while still offering the user the ability to record and store TV programmes with the simplicity of the PVR and the flexibility of the VCR. There is no limit to the choice of storage size using a USB HDD, but the solution works just as well with USB memory stick, or even SD Memory…

Active Contact Flange for Gentle Material Handling

The Active Contact Flange represents a combination of highly sensitive sensor and actor elements, which can be employed between tools and handling systems, and in processing machinery. As a result of the Active Contact Flange, automatic, touch-sensitive surface processing is possible in combination with fast and targeted force regulation. The precision and reaction speeds of standard load cells are exceeded several times over.

Pneumatic elements provide immediate and independent compensation for fluctuations in contact pressure of up to a maximum of 500N, without the need to wait for a reaction from the superordinated control. The mechanical design of the Active Contact Flange minimises the risk of workpiece damage due to tool collisions. Even in the case of sudden disruptive influences, the system reacts at high speed and gives way. In combination, these capabilities allow the safe automation of activities.

One typical application is the automation of surface-treatment procedures suc…

Balluff Power Supplies Suit Industrial Automation

Balluff power supplies are easily integrated into control packages and offer the safety of power-surge protection for demanding industrial automation applications. The PS series is available in a range of 24V models with single- or three-phase input. Output current ranges from 0.75A (18W) to 40A (960W) - a size for most applications. Or, if users need even more power, they can simply connect multiple power supplies together in parallel.

Other features include built-in advanced overload and overvoltage protection, load regulation to +/-1 per cent, ripple/noise of less than 50mV on most models and adjustable outputs to compensate for differences in specific control needs. The mean time between failure is specified over 210,000 hours (24 years) while operating at published specifications.

All power supplies hold worldwide approvals for use anywhere. All models are din-rail mountable and simple to install. Recessed input and output screw terminals give protection from accidental contact.…

Seals Help Food Manufacturers Detect Contamination

Eriks Sealing Technology has developed a range of metal-detectable seals for use in sensitive applications where the ability to detect and contain contamination is vital. The elastomers are detectable on production lines by conventional metal-detection equipment, so help to decrease the risk of polymers finding their way into the finished product and supply chain, reduce product wastage, eliminate costly product recalls and reduce equipment-maintenance costs.

The materials are FDA and 3A (class 1) compliant to meet the needs of the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and dairy industries. The compounds are easily detected by most of the conventional metal-detection techniques that are already being employed on production lines. Should a piece of elastomer be detected, the production line can be stopped immediately, contaminated products can be easily removed before they reach the supply chain and the problem on the production line can be quickly rectified.

The seals are manufactured from N…

Axstream 3.0 Software for Turbomachinery Design

Softinway has launched version 3.0 of Axstream, the software suite for design, optimisation and retrofitting of axial, radial, mixed flow and counter-rotating turbomachinery. Axstream 3.0 was developed to smooth the engineering process and enables users to design efficient and high-performance machines. The software suite offers increased flexibility due to an extensive base of elements that allows for modelling of complicated flow paths using ducts, heat exchangers (enabling simulation of interstage cooling and reheating for multistage industrial turbomachinery) and pressure valves.

A preliminary design solution generator generates a set of solutions within specified ranges and finds correlation between design parameters and performance. In addition, a design space explorer module visualises results and helps make the optimal design selection. Axstream 3.0 also enables faster design time, resulting in engineering time savings. An upgraded preliminary design module allows users to sea…

3D Geometric Search for Aras Innovator PLM Suite

Spaceshape and Aessis have developed a 3D Geometric Search connector for the Aras Innovator PLM suite that enables engineers to locate and identify parts based on shape, size or other attributes. According to Aras, 3D geometric search improves part reuse, reduces part number counts and optimises external part purchasing and part inventories, resulting in cost savings for the business.

The 3D Geometric Search connector combines Shapespace's adaptive browser, and geometric indexing and retrieval algorithms with Aessis's knowledge of the Aras PLM suite to enable users to locate, navigate and filter product shapes and manage part libraries from within the Aras PLM environment. 3D geometric search enables engineers to quickly and easily locate and use previously designed parts and build future products based on common standard parts.

'3D geometric search goes beyond traditional metadata and keyword searching, creating a unique geometric signature for every CAD model, comparing …

Megger Offers Earth-Resistance Clamp Testers

Megger's DET14C and DET24C earth-resistance clamp testers feature clamps with elliptical tapes up to 50mm wide, making them suitable for applications where access to conductors is restricted. In addition, these instruments have a Cativ 600V safety rating in line with EN61010, with 8kV of transient isolation, and operator safety is enhanced by a hazardous current warning that is operative on all test ranges.

To help ensure long-term accuracy and reliability, the instruments use clamps that have smooth mating jaw faces. These are easy to clean and eliminate the easily bent interlocking teeth found on most other earth-resistance clamp testers. Designed to allow accurate measurement of earth resistance in multiple loop systems without the inconvenience of having to break earth connections, the instruments can measure ground resistance over the range 50mohm to 1,500ohm, and true RMS ground leakage current from 0.2mA to 35A.

As an aid to use in hard-to-reach locations, they incorporate…

Heavy-duty metalworking oil is aerospace compliant

Master Chemical has launched Trim OG223, a heavy-duty metalworking oil that is aerospace compliant and suitable for grinding hardened steel alloys, stainless steels and inconels as well as titanium. The company said that an advantage of the oil is that it grinds titanium as well as, or even better than, heavily chlorinated grinding oils. This is particularly relevant to manufacturers of aerospace fixings, where the use of chlorinated oil with active sulphur additives is not an option as it can compromise the life of the part.

Formulated as a medium-to-heavy duty grinding oil, Trim OG223 can also be used to machine all materials, including yellow metals, in high-pressure applications. This low-odour product contains a good extreme-pressure additive package for efficient metal removal. Its hydrocracked base oil is responsible for a very high flash-point and low-misting characteristics. Trim OG223 is low foaming, exhibits good oxidation stability and is fully compatible with copper-conta…

Tetris Probes for Testing High-Speed Circuits

Pico Technology has launched two Tetris probes that offer high bandwidth in a compact and lightweight housing and are suitable for testing densely-packed high-speed circuits. With their active circuitry, the company claimed the probes deliver an improvement in performance over passive probes. While the input capacitance of a passive probe loads the signal source even at frequencies below 1MHz, causing distortion, the Tetris probes maintain high input impedance into the GHz range.

This enables the accurate display of pulses with sub-nanosecond rise times, according to Pico Technology. The Tetris probes are compatible with all standard high-bandwidth oscilloscopes with 50ohm BNC inputs, such as the Picoscope 6000 series. The Tetris probes are compatible with all standard high-bandwidth oscilloscopes with 50ohm BNC inputs, such as the Picoscope 6000 series. The Tetris 1000 has a probe bandwidth of 1GHz, while the Tetris 1500 is rated at 1.5GHz.

Other specifications include: input impedan…

Spirax Publishes Steam System Training Prospectus

Spirax Sarco's training prospectus enables customers to plan for steam system training and learn new skills to cut costs and improve the efficiency of steam plant operations. A new addition for 2011 is the Boiler Plant Regulations and Guidelines course (D8). This provides an overview of legislation, guidance and best practice for boiler operators, and helps users, or potential users, to understand their legal obligations.

With Spirax Sarco's Energy Savings course (E1), delegates learn about energy-saving opportunities in steam systems, how to estimate the energy requirements of a steam plant and how to calculate the payback period. Also included in the 2011 schedule is the Boiler Operation Accreditation Scheme (BOAS) Refresher course (D6AR).

A prerequisite for all BOAS-accredited personnel is to complete this refresher course every five years. The course will include the re-assessment examination and an oral interview. The 2011 training brochure details the full range of cours…

PDF3D Version 2 Compatible with Adobe Reader X

VTS' PDF3D is confirmed to be compatible with Adobe Reader X (version 10), including the highly compressed 3D PDF document platform offering more secure viewing and comment markup. PDF3D Version 2 is compatible with the latest Adobe Reader X (version 10) including high-performance PRC (Product Representation Compact) encoding for 3D models. The latest Adobe Reader X can open and display any 3D PDF document using the Protected Mode for improved security, and enable markup commenting tools that can be saved and shared with others.

Employing PDF3D geometric tolerance based PRC encoding, Acrobat and Adobe Reader X-compatible 3D generation is available with immediate effect. Coupled with the latest viewing platform, PDF3D documents may now be protected for more secure environments, while allowing full 3D interactive menus, animation and annotations following ISO-24517-1:2008 PDF/Engineering draft standard. The security of 'Protected Mode' helps safeguard software and data from…

Custom Lenses for Machine-Vision Camera Suppliers

Resolve Optics' optical designers and engineers have produced custom lenses optimised for large-format sensors that offer high resolution. The company has also developed large aperture lenses that make maximum use of available light. Other customers have been provided with custom machine-vision lenses that provide wide fields of view with little or no distortion, optical designs and coatings that are balanced to give good performance at a desired wavelength or waveband and compact lens designs as space is often at a premium.

Resolve Optics offers machine-vision camera suppliers and systems integrators the opportunity, through a custom lens design, to benefit from the full performance of the camera/sensor system and ensure security of supply over a critical system component.

TFT Touch-Panel PC for POS/Kiosk Applications

Avalue Technology has introduced the FPC-08W05, an 8.9in WSVGA TFT touch-panel PC that can be wall mounted or integrated as an HMI, food service panel PC or POS/kiosk display system. The FPC-08W05 is powered by the Intel Atom Dual-core processor, which is said to feature high performance, good reliability, low power consumption, durability and longevity.

It brings both memory controllers and graphics cores on a CPU, facilitating a low-profile computer design. The FPC-08W05 is equipped with a 8.9in-wide panel, supporting 1,024 x 600 resolution. The touch-panel PC features a five-wire resistive touch screen to suit versatile applications and is upgradable to an interactive service terminal. In addition, the FPC-08W05 can be integrated with a low-refraction bounding panel for sunlight readability, facilitating indoor and outdoor usage.

The FPC-08W05 has a thickness of 42mm and weighs 1.27kg. It is easy to customise colours, modules and specifications. Using Vesa-standard 75 x 75 hook wa…

YDS Jacks Target Gigabit Ethernet Applications

MSC Vertriebs has announced the availability of the 10/100/1000 Base-T jacks of the 56F series from YDS for applications in industrial computers, network equipment and industrial controls. Implemented in 12-pin design, there are several different configurations of the internal magnetic modules for conventional and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) applications. The pin configuration in through-the-hole design conforms to the industry standard.

All 56F series models meet the IEEE 802.3 standards including >=350uH OCL at 8mA and 1,500Vrms isolation. Furthermore, they feature low insertion loss, low cross-talk and high return loss. The 56F series connectors offered in Tab-UP versions are optionally available with or without yellow and green LEDs. The standard operating temperature range is specified from 0C to 70C. For industrial applications, versions operating from -40C to +85C can be manufactured upon request.

Offline Switcher IC Eliminates No-Load Waste

Power Integrations has introduced the Linkzero-LP, a highly integrated offline switcher IC targeting chargers and adapters up to 3.2W for portable devices such as mobile phones and toothbrushes. Linkzero-LP automatically enters a zero-input-power mode when the load is disconnected, cutting no-load power consumption to 0.00W. No-load power - the energy consumed by chargers left plugged into an outlet while disconnected from the end product - has been estimated to account for two-thirds of all energy consumed by mobile devices.

Short of unplugging the charger, the only means of eliminating this waste until now has been with a mechanical switch - a feature rarely found on mobile device chargers. Linkzero-LP eliminates no-load waste without a mechanical switch, using Power Integrations' Ecosmart energy efficiency technology, in combination with a proprietary power-down mode that senses when no load is present and then disables switching of the IC's internal high-voltage Mosfet.

Th…

Shelving Units Provide Extra Storage Space

Machine Building Systems has announced the Item Shelf 8 for customers wanting to add storage space to work benches or production areas. The shelf is available as either 200mm or 320mm deep and can be provided as a 600mm long unit complete with ends caps, or can be cut to any desired length up to 6m long from the raw extrusions and finished with end caps as required. It is therefore no longer necessary to construct shelves from an unnecessarily complicated and expensive combination of several different extrusions and panels, saving time and money in the process.

The shelf profile is designed using the rebate profile type of connection, whereby the shelf is simply tilted in to place and secured with a pair of grub screws to prevent removal. The extrusion itself is hollow, making it lightweight and inexpensive, while anodised aluminium is used for the surface finish.

The addition of line five T-slots facilitates the addition of partitions and other attachments. If there is no horizontal…

Flir Shows Predictive-Maintenance Infrared Cameras

At Maintec 2011 on 29-31 March at the NEC, Flir Systems will be showing its latest generation of predictive-maintenance infrared cameras. Flir's P640 and P660 models for expert thermographers are now able to detect temperature differences as small as 0.03C, which equates to a thermal sensitivity of 30mk - a rating that is more common among infrared cameras used for research and development.
The benefit is that the thermographer can see the smallest thermal anomaly in electrical or mechanical installations.

This improvement also allows the infrared camera to be used effectively over a greater distance - ideal for those involved in high-voltage applications. Flir's latest cameras also incorporate features such as IR window correction, which automatically adjusts the camera's sensitivity when inspecting high-voltage installation through safety IR windows. Contrast optimisation is another enhancement.

Previously only found in advanced military image-processing technology, it …

Thorworld Dock Leveller Speeds Recycling Loading

A recycling company has increased its efficiency during the loading of deliveries though the use of a bespoke dock leveller from Thorworld Industries. Metal and Waste Recycling purchased the 10,000kg capacity, purpose-designed, dock leveller for its site in London, where it processes the ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Thorworld's standard dock levellers are 2m wide x 2.5m long and have a load-bearing capacity of 6,000kg, but the company's design engineers knew that this wouldn't withstand the potential high capacity of between 8.5 and nine tonnes for a fully loaded forklift truck required by Metal and Waste Recycling.

As a result, the engineers designed a heavy-duty 10,000kg capacity model. This has been installed within a pit at the front of the building, allowing loading to take place quickly and efficiently without affecting traffic into and out of the yard. The dock leveller itself is manufactured from high tensile steel and features an anti-slip finish to allow it to…

NI Announces Launch of Measurement Studio 2010

National Instruments has announced Measurement Studio 2010, featuring support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 .NET, for data acquisition, signal processing, analysis, and visualisation applications. The new version fully integrates into Visual Studio 2010/2008/2005. Microsoft Visual Studio developers using Measurement Studio 2010 can create Windows Forms and Web Forms applications in a shorter amount of time with increased productivity tools such as code-generation assistants and managed .NET APIs.

Measurement Studio 2010 also provides support for test and measurement application development using Visual Basic .NET or Visual C#. It includes a Windows Forms .NET Intensity Graph, which uses colour to display 3D data on a 2D plot area. With this control, user interface developers can more easily display pattern data such as RF, power spectrum, weather or terrain patterns, and customise the appearance using colour-mapping tools.

Measurement Studio 2010 is said to deliver improved develop…

CNC Bridge Mill Enables Drilling of Optical Tables

The manufacturing specialisation at Thorlabs' Ely bridge lies behind the installation of a large-capacity 24 hp/200-8,000rev/min XYZ BRM 60-200 CNC bridge mill supplied by XYZ Machine Tools. This fixed bridge/moving table machine tool is equipped with a 1,600 x 5,080mm table and has a positional accuracy over 300mm travel (5,080mm - X axis/1,559mm - Y axis) of +/-0.025mm and a repeatability of 0.01mm. The XYZ BRM 60-200 CNC bridge mill features a high-torque-vector driven spindle that can be serviced by an optional 24-station carousel-type toolchanger.

However, the requirement at Thorlabs mainly involves drilling and tapping hundreds of locating holes in large-scale optical tables/optical breadboards. This is why the new machine is equipped with what Harry Southan, quality and process improvement manager, describes as a 'wine rack' holding imperial and metric multi-tool drilling and tapping heads, each weighing 15kg. This tool cradle is located on one end of the machine ta…

Delcam Launches 2011 Inspection Software

Delcam has launched the 2011 version of its Powerinspect inspection software, which is said to make the analysis of results even easier with the introduction of a Quick Report option. It also incorporates improvements to the handling of point-cloud data and easier reuse of measured data to inspect additional features, plus enhancements to the GD and T functionality. It combines the ability to work with all types of inspection device with a comprehensive range of inspection routines for taking simple measurements, for inspection of geometric features and for analysing complex 3D surfaces.

The resulting reports present detailed information in an easy-to-read format that can be understood by all engineers, not just inspection specialists. Reporting in Powerinspect is now even more flexible with the Quick Report option. This allows users to add headers and footers to any image taken from the full report in order to create a single-page graphical representation of the inspection. Faster in…

Software Enables Transfer Data Between Collectors

Transend II utility software is suited for manufacturers seeking an integrated, simplified way to transfer data between data collectors, SPC applications, analytical software and common spreadsheets. It includes routines that automatically generate reports in both standard ASI Datamyte and web-based formats. It provides automatic data harvesting, automatic spec limit and configuration updates to data collectors - leaving no opportunity for operator error.

A feature called Express Refresh allows a data-collector operator to automatically upload data from all setups and update all setup parameters by simply connecting a cable to the data collector and clicking on a start button. Another new feature provides a powerful cross-referencing capability. When any of the names or labels used to identify a characteristic are called up, the advanced manufacturing data structure provides a reference to all the other names or labels associated with that characteristic.

In June, ASI announced the M…

High-speed vibratory feeder for plastic spouts

Elscint Automation, a vibratory parts feeder manufacturer, has developed a special bowl for feeding of plastic spouts that are required for the packing of pouches. Feeding of spouts at a high speed is a challenge because, in most cases, the weight on the top and bottom of the spouts is almost the same.

However, Elscint has developed a special bowl that can orient the spouts in the required manner, either cap up or cap forward, and feed them at speeds of up to 150 spouts a minute. The Model 250, 250 EV or 400 can be used for this task, depending upon the size of the spout, the speed required and the loading quantity required in the bowl. Elscint can also offer a linear track for further feeding of the spouts up to the machine of the manufacturer.

Descender/Lift Device Operates in Harsh Conditions

The Safescape Elite descender and lifting device operates in the harshest conditions, including wet weather and low temperatures, and complies fully with the EN 341:2008 standard for rescue devices. Safescape Elite provides a safe and dependable solution to the problems of rescuing persons who have had an accident while working at height and of evacuating people in an emergency from high working places. The EN 341:2008 standard sets out demanding tests such as 8,000m descent (16 x 500m) for 100kg load, maximum descent height of 500m and suitability for use in an emergency by two people weighing up to 250kg.

In addition, the standard provides optional test requirements - all of which have been met by Safescape Elite - for use in wet conditions. Like all descender and lifting devices, Safescape Elite is intended for use only by appropriately trained persons. The position and design of the hand wheel reduces swaying during lifting, while an integral centrifugal brake ensures that descen…

Variable-Speed Control Drives for Building Cooling

Baldor has increased the power ratings of its direct-drive technology for controlling cooling-tower fans, which are able to handle large applications in power-plants and heavy-processing industries. Direct-drive technology eliminates the gearbox and right-angled coupling of conventional drives and as a result, saves energy, improves reliability and runs much quieter. The elimination of gearbox losses is aided through use of a permanent magnet-based motor that increases energy efficiency dramatically.

This construction reduces the motor's size, allowing it to sit underneath the fan in the space currently required for the gearbox element of a conventional power-transmission system. Latest product additions extend the power rating of the motors to delivers maximum torques of up to 13,500Nm. In total there are now 26 choices of ratings available, spanning a drive-power range from 7.5kW at 500rpm base speed to 187kW at 130rpm base speed, allowing optimum choices to be made for a very …

Flir to Showcase Infrared Technology at Maintec

Flir Systems is to showcase its infrared camera hardware and application-specific analysis and reporting software, including the Flir P640 and P660 models, at Maintec 2011 on 29-31 March. The thermal sensitivity of the Flir P640 and P660 has been increased to meet the needs of expert thermographers. These cameras can now detect temperature differences as small as 0.03C, which equates to a thermal sensitivity of 30mK - a rating that is more common among infrared cameras used for research and development, according to Flir.

The benefit is that the thermographer can see the smallest thermal anomaly in electrical or mechanical installations. This enhancement also allows the infrared camera to be used effectively over a greater distance - useful for those involved in high-voltage applications. Flir's latest cameras also incorporate features such as IR window correction, which automatically adjusts the camera's sensitivity when inspecting high-voltage installation through safety IR …