Friday, February 26, 2010

Prima Finn-Power's range of sheet metal cutting and processing solutions to be demonstrated at the forthcoming Mach 2010 exhibition will be showcased at a series of open house events. These events will take place at the company's technical centre in Italy on 26-27 March. Products on display will include the company's FB (Fastbend) manually loaded high-speed bender, the E5x servo electric turret punch press and the Zaphiro 2D laser cutter.

The Fastbend applies Prima Finn-Power's experience in servo electric technology to provide accuracy and productivity for manual bending operations. Developed as a replacement for traditional press brakes, the Fastbend allows more bends on each side of the component as part of an automated sequence, without the need for manual intervention or adjustment. It offers both rolling or circular bending modes, along with automatic tool change and barcode reader options.

Automatic setup and a self-learn capability are included alongside Fastbend's controls to ensure simple operation and minimum machine downtime. Fastbend is said to offer a low environmental impact with its efficient energy use, reduced tooling costs, minimal noise and vibration levels all contributing to the machine's low overall installation, running and maintenance costs. Similar attributes are also offered by Prima Finn-Power's latest servo electric punch press, the E5x. The E5x has been designed to provide manufacturing versatility and simple programming.

Capable of producing components from 2.5m sheets without repositioning, the machine can punch 700 holes per minute with a maximum force of 23 tonnes. The E5x also features Prima Finn-Power's Tulus Lite user interface, USB and Ethernet data transfer, and open architecture logic and motion control for precision punching performance. The Zaphiro is Prima Finn-Power's latest high-capability 2D laser machine. Incorporating linear motors, an advanced CNC controller and the company's Perfect Cut system, the Zaphiro provides cutting speeds of up to 240m/min.

The Perfect Cut system allows real-time monitoring of cutting quality and automatic correction of machine parameters. The Zaphiro stores a sample cutting piece for each material and thickness in its CNC controller. In operation, the machine detects differences to the 'perfect cut', and automatically applies adjustments to bring the quality back to the required standard. The sensitivity of the system can be adjusted by the operator - safeguarding the production of acceptable quality parts, while also eliminating expensive scrap and rework costs.

The Zaphiro's latest evolution laser head also incorporates a new F axis with higher dynamics and longer stroke, to ensure cycle-time reductions and cutting quality. Other metal cutting developments on show at the open house events include Prima Finn-Power's latest advances in fibre-laser technology. Offering high output power and efficiency, coupled with compact size and reliability, fibre lasers provide major manufacturing productivity and operating benefits, particularly on lighter gauge materials.

The use of flexible optical fibres on these next-generation machines enables the light beam to be delivered to a moveable focusing element, further improving performance and minimising maintenance downtime. Fibre-laser technology is already available as an option on the company's Syncrono 2D laser cutters and will be demonstrated at the open house events on a Platino 2D sheet metal machine.

Prima Finn-Power's combination laser cutting and punch press machinery will also be showcased at the technical centre. Examples of the company's automated work handling, storage and flexible manufacturing solutions will be on display, including the Night Train concept. This FMS system not only provides optimised 'lights-out' running capabilities, but also underlines the company's end-to-end solutions and consultancy services.

Matrox Imaging has announced that the Matrox Iris GT smart camera also comes pre-installed with the Microsoft Windows XP Embedded operating system. Matrox Imaging smart cameras offer a dust-proof, immersion-resistant, rugged construction. A choice of image sensors, combined with an Intel Atom embedded processor, allow the cameras to tackle a wide variety of machine vision applications.

Designed for systems integrators, machine builders and OEMs that must deploy fully custom applications, Matrox Iris GT runs Windows XP Embedded to offer a PC-like development environment. Windows XP Embedded is a pared-down version of Windows XP Professional that provides extended availability and support.

Application development is cross-platform - PC linked to smart camera - and is done using the Microsoft Visual Studio integrated development environment in conjunction with the Matrox Imaging Library (MIL).

SGS Industrial Services has introduced remote ultrasonic testing as a service, offering inspection for corrosion on difficult-to-access tank walls and roofs. Storage tank walls and roofs must be inspected regularly for corrosion. General corrosion, corrosion around liquid levels or welds and other mechanisms can attack the integrity of a tank.

However, the inspection work can be difficult and expensive due to the enormous surface area, difficult access and obstacles. SGS Industrial Services can provide remote ultrasonic inspection for tank walls and roofs. With a motorised tank wall scanner with magnetic wheels, carbon steel tanks can be tested for corrosion and weld defects. This method enables remote line scans, remote spot measurements, remote time of flight diffraction (TOFD) inspection and remote visual inspection with a camera that can be steered.

SGS remote ultrasonic inspection does not require scaffolding or cranes and can be implemented on tank walls, even those with obstacles, such as wind girders and overlapping plates. This inspection technique provides detailed data on tank wall thickness with echo-to-echo measurements as required for any tank integrity assessment.

The Metrohm 797 VA Computrace is able to detect trace levels of iron in power station boiler waters. Iron in power station boiler waters can be a common problem when dark-coloured deposits are formed. Iron deposits in large amounts can inhibit the heat transfer - making the process less efficient - as well as causing corrosion problems. In the presence of dissolved oxygen any corrosion on the boiler tubing is intensified, which may necessitate the system coming offline for essential maintenance.

The iron (and its deposits) can easily and reliably be measured in boiler waters using the voltammetry technique. The 797 VA Computrace from Metrohm is a modern voltammetric measuring instrument that connects to a PC directly via a USB connection. The Windows XP-based PC software controls the measurement, records the measuring data and allows full evaluation of the recorded information. The boiler water sample and auxiliary solutions were added to the reaction vessel and the iron determined using adsorptive stripping voltammetry with the Metrohm Multi Mode Electrode (MME).

A typical sample from a UK-based power station was analysed and found to contain 3.6ug l-1 of iron, demonstrating the sensitivity of voltammetry for a fraction of the purchase and the running costs of spectroscopic techniques. Calibration is performed on each and every sample using standard addition, which takes into account any background matrix effects. To enhance the accuracy and improve the sample throughput, the technique can be automated using Metrohm Dosinos (for the addition of the standard solutions) and a choice of auto samplers.

Emerson Process Management has added the DVC6200 Series digital valve controller to its Fieldvue product range. The DVC6200 Series digital valve controller features linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology. The Fieldvue DVC6200 instrument was designed for applications that experience high levels of vibration, corrosion or material entrapment. The linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology improves reliability by eliminating linkage wear.

The Fieldvue DVC6200 instrument has undergone electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) testing to meet IEC standards and will ship with the CE mark. It is available with either the Hart or Foundation Fieldbus communication protocols. Orica Mining Services put the new device to work in its Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate factory in New South Wales, Australia. Orica supplies commercial explosives and blasting systems for the mining and construction industries.

The Kooragang site has standardised on Fisher valves with Fieldvue instruments. The plant also uses the Emerson 375 Field Communicator and AMS Device Manager with Valvelink Snap-On application software as part of its calibration, valve-monitoring and predictive maintenance system. Orica personnel worked with the local Emerson office to improve the performance of a Fisher valve in liquid ammonia service. The valve's high-cycle service conditions and the ammonia atmosphere in which it operates represent one of the most severe environments in any process plant.

Emerson engineers recommended the new Fieldvue DVC6200 instrument with linkage-less, non-contact feedback technology for this harsh application. Using basic hand tools, Orica's instrument technician Richard Fielding installed the new Fieldvue DVC6200 instrument on an ammonia-service valve. He said: 'This device was easy to install, program and set up. 'It has been operating trouble-free and has enabled this critical valve to provide accurate and repeatable response throughout its range of travel.

'The reliability of the Fieldvue DVC6200 instrument, plus its on-line monitoring capabilities, enables our operators to avoid manual checks and valve repairs in areas filled with ammonia vapours,' he added. Since installing the device, Orica has not experienced any production losses due to valve failures. 'This single instrument application has saved us thousands of dollars,' finished Fielding. Orica plans to order 30 Fisher valves with Fieldvue DVC6200 instruments for an upgrade at its Kooragang ammonia plant.

Objet Geometries offers ultra-thin layer (0.016mm), high-resolution 3D printing systems. The company's range includes the Eden line of professional 3D printers and the Alaris range of desktop 3D printing systems, both of which are based on Objet's Polyjet technology. Top of the range is the Connex - a multi-material 3D printing system. Connex is based on Polyjet Matrix technology, which jets multiple model materials simultaneously to create composite digital materials on the fly.

All of the company's systems use Objet's Fullcure materials to produce accurate, clean, smooth and detailed 3D models. Resins within the Fullcure range includes transparent, coloured, opaque, flexible and rigid properties. Fully cured models can be handled immediately after being built, whereas other RP technologies and materials require lengthy post-processing. Objet's Polyjet technology works by jetting state-of-the-art photopolymer materials in ultra-thin layers on to a build tray layer by layer until the part is complete.

The entire process is managed by the Objet studio software. Each photopolymer layer is cured by UV light immediately after it is jetted. The gel-like support material, which is specially designed to support complicated geometries is removed by hand and water jetting, making it compatible with office environments. Model production is fast due to high-speed raster build up at full width, while simultaneous building of multiple items can be accommodated.

Objet systems are said to produce a resolution of 0.016mm to ensure smooth, accurate and detailed parts and models. Objet's Polyjet Matrix technology enables simultaneous jetting of different types of model materials. Available on Objet's Connex range of 3D printing systems, Polyjet Matrix is claimed to open up several opportunities for closely emulating the look, feel and function of final products. It provides the technology foundation for 3D printing systems that can, in a single build process, print parts and assemblies made of several materials with different mechanical and physical properties.

Polyjet Matrix also allows on-demand fabrication of composite materials, called Digital Materials. This technology works by jetting two distinct Objet Fullcure photopolymer model materials in preset combinations. The dual-jet process can combine materials in several ways, enabling the simultaneous use of two different rigid materials, two flexible materials, one of each type, any combination with transparent material, or two jets of the same material.

Each material is fed into a dedicated liquid system connected to the Polyjet Matrix block, which contains eight printing heads. Two synchronised printing heads are designated for each material, including the support material, while Polyjet Matrix technology controls all of the 96 nozzles in every print head. Preset composites of model materials are jetted from designated nozzles according to location and model type, providing full control of the structure of the jetted material and its mechanical properties.

This enables each Digital Material to provide specific values for tensile strength, elongation to break, HDT and even Shore A values. The first commercial implementation of Digital Materials consisted of 21 materials. Objet then released nine additional Digital Materials, which together formed Digital Materials Pack 1. The latest Digital Materials Pack 2 includes an additional 18 materials, 12 rubber like and six rigid.

With Digital Material Pack 2, a Connex part can be printed with up to 11 materials in a single build. As well as emulating the mechanical properties of the target design, Polyjet Matrix allows the combination of black and white rigid materials, creating a range of greyscales suitable for consumer electronics and other applications. It also reduces the risk of error when creating complex moulds for double injection by enabling the majority of testing to be performed on early stage prototypes instead of requiring silicon moulds. Companies interested in 3D printing can contact Objet Printing Solutions for a no-obligation demonstration, or request a free sample 3D model from CAD data.

National Instruments has released two Compact RIO programmable automation controllers (PACs). These are said to offer engineers and machine builders an ideal solution for high-performance measurement and control applications operating at extended temperatures. The NI cRIO-9023 and NI cRIO-9025 real-time controllers are also available with conformal coating for additional protection of components and circuitry within harsh conditions.

The Compact RIO controllers provide even more processing for advanced measurement and control applications ranging in temperatures between -40 and 70C. The NI cRIO-9023 controller has a 533MHz Power PC processor and the NI cRIO-9025 controller has an 800MHz Power PC processor, as well as dual Ethernet ports for network programming, communication and expansion I/O.

Both controllers work with the existing Compact RIO reconfigurable chassis, which include field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) that are programmed using the NI Labview 2009 graphical system design platform.

Using Labview and Compact RIO, engineers can quickly implement custom analogue and digital control loops, along with high-speed signal-processing algorithms to meet their advanced measurement application needs. In addition to an extended operating temperature, the Compact RIO controllers are available with conformal coating.

This coating is a specially formulated thin film material applied directly to circuit boards or circuit card assemblies and provides an impermeable seal to protect circuitry from humidity, moisture, mould, mildew, fungus, dust and corrosion caused by exposure to extreme environments. Application areas in which conformal coating can provide protection include marine, railway, automotive, factory monitoring, fuel-cell testing and oil and gas refining.

The Evolution range of vanishing fluids can be used in fin forming or drawing and magnetic sheet pressing as it removes the need for cleaning prior to the next operation of brazing or welding. The vanishing fluid dissociates without smokes, flames and residue. During the brazing phase, it does not form aldehydes. Other features include increased die and punch life, seizing up elimination, less down time, clean fin or worked sheets, eliminating washing operations.

Vanishing lubricants disappear after the forming/pressing operation. These compounds leave a light coating of lubricant on the part during pressing and then evaporate shortly afterwards. In most cases, the vanishing lubricants can completely eliminate the need for cleaning operations. Lubriserv claims its vanishing oils do not turn tacky, have mild or no odour and are designed to always remain as fluid.

Vanishing lubricants can be used both on ferrous and nonferrous metals. Low viscosity vanishing lubricants are suitable for light-duty stamping, pressing and blanking on ferrous and nonferrous metals. Products are non staining and formulated to leave minimal film on components so that any post assembly operations such as welding or brazing can be carried out without inter-operational washing or excessive smoke and fumes.

Latest synthetic vanishing technology is designed for thermal degreasing at low temperature leaving no residue on components after processing. Products are also completely odourless for operator acceptance.

Walter GB is offering the Twin Force combination of Titex drilling and Prototyp tapping as a tooling package for thread generation at a specially reduced price. The Walter Titex X-Treme Plus drill provides machining of up to five times diameter on steel, cast iron, stainless and non-ferrous materials, with an internal coolant supply coupled with Walter Titex's Double Performance Line (DPL) double coating.

Comprising a basic coating to protect the tool and to optimise the adhesion of the special tip coating, the DPL technology enables the tool to operate at greater cutting speeds than usual while offering extended tool life at conventional cutting parameters. This is complemented by any one of three Walter Prototyp taps. The Prototyp Eco-HT tap is a universal HSS-E-PM tap with THL coating and surface treatment, capable of operation at three times diameter for use in both short and long chipping materials.

It offers process reliability without bird nesting and long tool life even at maximum cutting speeds. Prototex Eco-HT has a spiral point form for through-hole thread generation. Paradur Eco-HT has an R45 helix angle, chamfer form C, bevelled thread run-out and long flutes for blind hole threading. Walter GB is providing the off-the-shelf kits for blind and through holes - each equipped with a Titex X-Treme Plus drill and two Prototyp taps - in a range of sizes to suit varying applications.

As the sole UK agent for Forkardt, Brown and Holmes has extended its website to include more detailed information on Forkardt chucks, plus installation and support offered by the company. Visitors to the website can now find in-depth information on the full selection of Forkardt standard and special rotary power chucks, expanding mandrels and steady rest packages available.

The website now includes information on the technical support and installation services on offer to help with incorporation or retrofitting of any of the components. Kevin Ward, joint managing director of Brown and Holmes (Tamworth), said: 'The changes to our website reflect the fact that we don't just supply Forkardt chucks, we specialise in delivering the right Forkardt workholding solution for end-user requirements.

'So, as well as providing more in-depth product information, we also wanted to show how we can work with customers to design, machine, deliver and install to their exact specifications and budget,' he added.

Guyson International is now offering a broad range of Kerry-branded bench-top ultrasonic cleaning baths, all manufactured at its facility in Skipton in the north of England. Typical usage for these ultrasonic baths include providing an affordable way to deliver precision cleaning in optical, electronics, jewellery, horological, medical and dental cleaning applications.

The Pulsatron MKC baths can thoroughly clean laboratory glassware and syringes, as well as those specimens requiring cleaning prior to microscopic examination. They will also remove residue from the sampling components of analytical equipment. Kerry MKC ultrasonic baths are available in capacities of six, 14 and 22 litres to suit different workloads, and can be supplied with a Pyrex beaker and beaker holder, allowing the bath to be used with all solvents.

The beaker containing solvent is suspended in the bath, which should be filled with water and a small amount of wetting agent. Operating temperatures from 20 to 80C can be set in 1deg increments, allowing the optimum temperature to be selected for a particular combination of component material, cleaning solution and contaminant. The Kerry Pulsatron MKC ultrasonic baths are able to be programmed to maximise the quality and repeatability of results, allowing the user to pre-set exact cleaning times and temperatures, ensuring consistent levels of cleanliness from batch to batch. All functions are controlled by a four-button membrane keypad.

An LCD panel displays the temperature and time set by the user, the time elapsed since the start of the cleaning process and the status of the power supply, heater and ultrasonics. Guyson also offers smaller KC baths, with two- and three-litre capacity. Kerry Pulsatron KC baths are said to be easy to use, with an on/off switch for the ultrasonics and operating instructions printed on the bath's front panel. Cleaning of lightly soiled items may take only seconds, while removal of medium soil may take two or more minutes.

Anderson Power Products (APP) has launched the Saf-D-Grid connector system for use in the direct connection of DC electronic devices to a DC micro grid. The connector system is suitable for use in DC servers or any device connecting directly to renewable-energy sources such as solar or wind power. The Saf-D-Grid connector system meets international safety requirements for low-voltage applications to 400VDC, including UL950 and IEC60950.

The low-profile panel receptacle is designed to fit the standard panel cut-out for IEC320 C14 outlets, while providing touch-safe connections up to 20A at 600VDC. The connectors are hot-plug rated up to 700A in-rush current at 400V and shield the user from arc flash during unmating. Additional safety features include a first-mate, last-break contact to provide ground and an integral latch to prevent connectors from accidental unmating.

The polycarbonate housings are UL94 V-0 rated and plug power cords; they are over-moulded to provide strain relief during mating and unmating. They are available in 2m, 3m and 5m lengths in both single- and double-ended styles.

Powerpax has launched a mini red-green-blue (RGB) remote controller to drive low-voltage RGB light-emitting-diode (LED) products. The PRGB4138 controller stores 12 different pre-programmed colour patterns. It adopts pulse-width-modulation (PWM) technology at 315KHz and enables the user to manage the colour pattern or speed remotely.

The unit measures 115 x 58 x 35mm and weighs 80g, making it simple to install, according to the company. It operates from an input voltage of 12VDC or 24VDC, with an output load current of 2A per line for three lines. The output power of the PRGB4138 is 60W (12VDC) and 120W (24VDC).

Advanced Micro Peripherals (AMP) has unveiled a multi-format video encoder that combines graphics overlay, motion detection and enhanced watermark authentication on a PC/104-Plus module. The MPEG4000WA captures and compresses up to four concurrent live analogue video inputs to full D1 resolution using either MPEG-4, MPEG-2 or M-JPEG encoding standards.

The board can also encode audio for each video channel. It can decompress and play back recordings from storage to display and offers an additional incoming live video path for a simultaneous preview on the host screen. Digital watermark authentication technology assures users that the recorded data is protected from unauthorised tampering, modification or editing. It uses a patented digital watermarking algorithm, which is classed as sensitive, making any attempted interference with the data immediately evident during playback.

The algorithm is sensitive to most image manipulation operations, including scaling, cropping, frame removal and insertion and macroblock swapping. The detection of spatial and temporal tampering is also possible. For digital-video-recorder (DVR) and video-streaming applications, the MPEG4000WA enables full bit-mapped graphics overlay with several levels of alpha blending to be combined with the live video for both preview and compression.

The board also supports motion detection (based on a defined region of interest) along with a 'babysitting' mode, which can be used to control the recording process based on detected activity. With the supplied SDK, user-defined data such as camera identification, date, time and location can be added to the video image. The MPEG4000WA is supported by a suite of drivers for embedded PC-based Windows XP/XP Embedded and Linux systems.

The standard video-recording SDK and sample applications are supplied free with the board. AMP also offers a video-streaming SDK, enabling compressed video to be streamed in real time over an IP network. The MPEG4000WA is available as both commercial and extended-temperature-range (-40C to +85C) variants and may also be supplied with a conformal coating for defence and industrial applications.

Power Integrations has launched the EuP Standards Finder, an online tool for power-supply designers. Providing access to the specific requirements of the European Commission's EuP Ecodesign Directive, this tool eliminates the need for designers to search through volumes of data to figure out what is relevant to them, according to the company.

Hosted on Power Integrations' website, the EuP Standards Finder allows users to select an application from an A-to-Z listing and then immediately view the tier-one and tier-two limits for standby, active-mode and no-load power consumption. Links to relevant Power Integrations reference designs are also displayed in the search results. Commentary from energy-efficiency standards specialist Mr Green provides an additional insight into how the Ecodesign Directive applies to the specified product.

AVX has expanded its TPM series of multi-anode mirror-design tantalum capacitors, offering improved robustness and featuring very low ESR. The D-sized TPM 47uF/25V part offers an ESR of 55mohm. In comparison, a single-anode part in the same package has an ESR of 100mohm. For the E-case device (which has the same footprint but a bigger case size), the minimum ESR is 80mohm.

By reducing ESR by 30 per cent, the new capacitors offer an improvement in filtering capabilities, even to the extent that one part can sometimes replace two standard single-anode devices. Also new in the TPM range, the company has released mirror-design multi-anode parts rated at 35V. The TPM D 22uF/35V is suitable for use in circuits with high currents and voltage spikes where the profiles are limited to 3mm.

It is particularly suitable for automotive battery applications running on 12/14V with very low impedance, where it also offers greater robustness and a lower ESR than single-anode capacitors. Since D- and E-case sizes use an identical footprint, the pad design does not need to be changed if the D-case part can be used to replace the larger capacitor. For higher operating voltages, the TPM D 10uF/50V with an ESR of 140mohm is also available. All parts meet the requirements of AEC-Q200, which is said to be a key requirement for automotive designs in Europe.

Quadrant has teamed up with IMS Connector Systems to develop a radio-frequency (RF) connector that uses a deep-drawn manufacturing process to conform to strict technical and price specifications. Sold under the IMS Part No 3951.11.1412.231, the new connector is a 75ohm SMZ (BT43) bulkhead cable-mount connector designed for TZC75024 coaxial cable.

The connector was developed to meet the specific demands of a European telecommunications company for use on digital distribution frames. The new design uses the deep-drawn process, a method in which a sheet-metal blank is radially drawn into a forming die by the mechanical action of a punch to reduce the process time and component count. Rather than having three parts - the body, the spigot and the ferrule - the deep-drawn process reduces this to just two.

The result is a connector that has been designed to comply with the IEC 169-28 (Type SMB 75), that has been tested to IEC 60068-2 environmental influences and that meets the tight cost target and demanding technical specification set by the customer. It is capable of 500 mating cycles and is suitable for use in analogue or digital telecommunications systems.

Tyco Electronics has added the CU series to its collection of Corcom power-entry modules. The new series includes smaller versions of switched filtered and unfiltered power inlets, which are suitable for applications with panel space constraints, particularly systems designed for the 1U (1 3/4in) height equipment racks.

The CU series offers 15 filtered and eight unfiltered versions to cover a variety of applications. Shrouded quick-connect terminals eliminate the need for soldered connections, which helps reduce installation time. The series allows higher system efficiency by contributing less heat, making it suitable for applications with power or cooling limitations. The modules offer three different mounting styles: flush-mount, flange and snap-in.

Current ratings range from 1-15A and the product is UL recognised, CSA certified and VDE approved. The 15A versions tested by Underwriters Laboratories to US and Canadian standards are VDE approved for a 10A rating. The CU series power entry modules are suitable for consumer and computer electronics, telecommunications, data communications and compact industrial applications.

ITT Interconnect Solutions has launched the PHD 38999 range of fibre-optic connectors. According to the company, this interconnect system is suitable for harsh environments that could group multiple fibre-optic terminations in a rugged circular connector profile with precision alignment and optical performance features. Initially developed for high-speed backplane systems for telecommunications switching, the PHD termination and connector system delivers a high-density package with good optical signal transmission performance, according to the company.

Providing a common solution for all fibre sizes, ITT-ICS also designed the PHD system for packaging flexibility, making it suitable for many Mil Spec and standard connector envelopes - both circular and rectangular. The PHD product range is available as complete, custom, fibre-optic cable assemblies. Suitable for demanding harsh-environment applications, including defence, avionics and tactical communications, PHD metal connectors are compatible with M38999 outside dimensions and feature an all-metallic back shell with a sealing grommet and a removable alignment insert assembly. Sizes 20, 24, 28 and 36 are available and a shielding kit is included.

Avalue has released the EPS-AT270-2PCI rugged box PC. The EPS-AT270-2PCI has two extra PCI card slots, satisfies all demands in industrial fields and is suitable for use in extreme environments. The fanless structure is based on air-flow theory; cold air entering the computer pushes the hot air generated by the system through an outlet. The top part of the chassis contains passive aluminium heat-dissipation fins, reducing material wastage and prolonging product lifetime.

The EPS-AT270-2PCI can withstand industrial operation environments of -15C and +60C temperatures. It can also withstand extreme environment conditions and drastic temperature variations depending on the location or region it is placed or used in. The EPS-AT270-2PCI features USB, COM, Express Card, GPIO and especially added PCI slots. These features meet an array of multi-equipment industrial-control connectivity usages.

The sufficient expansions can cope with the versatile connections demanded in industrial fields and meet the customer's needs. Product reliability and stability are certified by industrial product-quality tests, including anti-vibration of up to 5Grms and anti-shock of up to 50Grms tests.

The EPS-AT270 uses the industry-grade Phoenix Type or lockable power-connector plug, and supports a stable nine to 32V input. It is suitable for use in computers in industrial equipment and machines such as lifting gantry and forklift. The computer can also withstand tremors when it is being used on land transportations such as trains, extending and diversifying its applications.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Telegan, part of Crowcon, has launched a range comprising a flue-gas analyser, a differential thermometer, a differential manometer, a gas escape detector and a carbon-monoxide room-safety monitor. The Sprint V range, which consists of the five instruments in one small, handheld unit, is designed to assist heating engineers in the safe installation, commissioning and servicing of boilers and combustion systems.

The instruments are manufactured and distributed by Telegan Gas Monitoring and are distributed in the UK through the company's exclusive industry partner, Anton Industrial Services. The package includes the basic Sprint V2 unit with the features already mentioned; the Sprint V3, which has all the functions of the V2 but is also Bluetooth enabled for rapid data transfer; the Sprint V4, which is similar to the V2 but has additional nitric-oxide (NO and NOx) capabilities; and the Sprint V5, which has all the functions of the V4 while also being Bluetooth enabled.

The entire Sprint V range features Smart Purge technology, which clears potentially acidic gases from the unit. This helps save battery, pump and filter life, enables intelligent purging for switch-on and switch-off and allows the purging of gas while other tests are being carried out.

Emerson's AMS Suite: Intelligent Device Manager Version 10.5 features usability enhancements and further extends the predictive intelligence capabilities of the Plantweb digital plant architecture. AMS Device Manager broadens the support for the Wirelesshart standard by adding connectivity to the new Smart Wireless Thum Adaptor, allowing users to extend their wireless networks to access stranded diagnostics in existing Hart devices.

Developed from Human Centered Design practices and in conjunction with Emerson's Human Centered Design Institute, intuitive device dashboards in AMS Device Manager v10.5 are claimed to provide a simple-to-navigate interface with a clear indication of device health and process-variable status to simplify maintenance tasks. AMS Device Manager v10.5 delivers a complete wireless diagnostics solution - from planning to maintaining networks - to ensure that users receive tangible benefits from their wireless solution.

The Smart Wireless Thum Adapter allows users to add a wireless signal to any Hart device, whether it is a new device that does not offer a native wireless option or an existing device where the Hart signal is not being used for predictive diagnostics. AMS Device Manager communicates with native wireless devices and Hart devices connected to the Thum Adapter and collects diagnostics and alerts in a single application. The AMS Wireless Snap-On provides planning and wireless network diagnostics for Thum Adapters and their connected devices.

The AMS Valvelink Snap-On application works with the Thum Adapter when connected to Fisher Fieldvue digital valve controllers, enabling advanced performance diagnostics on valves in the field. Using enhanced EDDL functionality, device dashboards deliver critical information about devices to users, including device health status and process variables. The visual indication of health and detailed troubleshooting suggestions allow users to spend more time fixing issues and less time deciphering diagnostic information to determine the problem.

According to Emerson, benchmarking comparisons of common maintenance procedures such as device configuration and troubleshooting show an 80 per cent reduction in time spent on those tasks when using device dashboards in AMS Device Manager. Expanded architecture options in AMS Device Manager v10.5 give users more flexibility and connectivity opportunities to streamline their asset management processes. With v10.5, AMS Device Manager can be installed on DeltaV v10.3 or v9.3 automation systems to allow users to upgrade to the newest AMS Device Manager functionality without having to migrate their control systems. AMS Device Manager can now also span multiple DeltaV networks for a more consolidated maintenance approach.

Stellar Technology's Model PT36XX subsea wellbore pressure and temperature transducer delivers long-term performance in harsh subsea oil-and-gas exploration environments. It has a total error band of +/-1 per cent of full-scale output and is designed for working pressures to 15,000psi and seawater depths to 17,000ft (5,200m). Both temperature and pressure sensors are located at the flush end of the wellbore probe - a design feature that improves dynamic response and alleviates clogging, according to the company.

This wellbore sensor includes dual-pressure containment to increase reliability. The PT36XX is constructed with no external load-bearing welds, thus increasing service life and improving field serviceability. The transducer is made of Inconel and 316 stainless steel. It can be configured as a pressure-only or temperature-only unit. The standard unit incorporates a 3 1/16in API flange, although customers can specify their flange of choice. Probe lengths are available in lengths of 3in (7.6cm) to 24in.

Both probe lengths and electrical terminations are customer specified. The PT36XX is also available with dual redundant pressure sensors for demanding applications. Customers can select from a variety of electrical outputs (4-20mA, 0-5VDC and 0-10VDC), as well as digital outputs including RS232, RS485 and Canbus. Each wellbore transducer is shipped with a multi-point calibration record, traceable to NIST as standard. Material traceability is also available on request.

Geotechnical Engineering and Marine Surveys (GEMS) has purchased an OSIL Minibat system to carry out sound-velocity (SV) measurements at a 50km2 site in Asia. The towed system provided continuous measurement without the need to stop the vessel.

The Minibat system was fitted with the AML Minos SVP, which directly measures the time of flight of an acoustic ping. Its compact size is suitable for the portable Minibat frame. The OSIL Minibat FC60 is a lightweight, remotely controlled instrument platform designed for use with a range of sensors.

Birchwood Casey is offering a seven-tank process line with full black-oxide capabilities. According to the company, manufacturers can now benefit from an in-house black-oxide process line for about half the cost of earlier systems. Priced at less than USD8,900 (GBP5,800), the new BC-40E Tru Temp system is pre-engineered for a quick setup and safe operation. It utilises seven individual tanks, each measuring 16 x 24 x 24in (21 x 61 x 61cm) in depth, and occupies a footprint of 3 x 12ft (1 x 3.7m).

Birchwood Casey claims that the tanks are rugged and unbreakable. They are rotomolded of heavyweight, high-density polyethylene or polypropylene and are supplied with all the necessary components: heaters, plumbing connections, tank lids and chemical products. Mark Ruhland, vice-president of the company, said: 'Manufacturers and fabricators now have another low-cost method available for reducing black-oxide production costs.

'Setting up an in-house blackening line is now more economical than ever. 'Easy to learn and safe to operate, these lines produce high-quality black-oxide finishes and can often be operated by workers in adjoining CNC, screw-machine or parts-washer cells, without adding new employees,' he added.

Using the patented Birchwood Casey Tru Temp black-oxide process, the new BC-40E tank line provides the owner with all of the advantages of an in-house system - a Mil-Spec-compliant black-oxide capability with a 25-minute turnaround time. It controls quality, scheduling and the cost of finishing operations. The Tru Temp process does not contain any EPA-regulated chemicals, so there is no need for waste treatment. The rinse waters are sewerable as non-hazardous discharge.

Comark has released a 17in (43cm) version of its Induview NEMA 12 industrial computer line. The Induview is a rugged, lightweight, all-in-one computer that can withstand circulating dust, falling dirt and dripping non-corrosive liquids. Improved features include an operating temperature range of 0-50C, Pentium M, Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad processing options, 160Gb or more hard drives and up to 32Gb of compact flash.

This 17in workstation can be configured with an infrared touch screen, a resistive touch screen or standard safety glass and can also be mounted in a variety of ways, with or without a keyboard and tray. The enclosure's front bezel hinges down, simplifying access to the internal computer components if needed. According to Tom Burke, industrial automation sales manager, the NEMA 12 design is suitable for any application needing a ruggedised solution where dust, dirt and moisture are a problem.

Autotech is investing more than GBP150,000 to launch a robot simulation service for its clients. The company has purchased Tecnomatix Robcad software to provide a service that will prove robot solutions fully before delivery to site. Autotech is already a solution partner with Siemens, which supplies the Technomatix Robcad software. Andrew Robinson, Autotech's managing director, said: 'We have been providing Automod and Robot Studio simulation for some time, allowing us to test PLC code and develop robot paths prior to onsite work.

'The Technomatix software products will allow us to prove entire integrated systems and generate fully optimised robot paths and PLC code,' he added. The scalable Robcad workcell simulation tool will allow Autotech to develop, simulate, optimise, validate and offline-programme multi-device robotic and automated manufacturing processes. These include spot welding, arc welding, laserjet and waterjet cutting, drilling, riveting and painting.

Mark Demers, simulations manager at Autotech, said: 'The benefits of comprehensive simulation are clear. 'Development time will be shorter, quality will be improved, manufacturing costs lower and costly design errors will be eradicated,' he added. Autotech has already secured its first order for the simulation service. FFT EDAG Produktionssysteme and Co, a plant supplier to the car industry headquartered in Fulda, Germany, has awarded Autotech the contract to provide Robcad simulation, robot programming and PLC development for the complete body-sides production lines for the small Land Rover - based on the LRX concept vehicle - which will be manufactured at the Halewood plant.

The project will ensure that all robot programmes are fully simulated and optimised prior to implementation at Halewood, providing a link between computer-aided design and the production environment. This contract follows Autotech's implementation of the complete body shop for the new Jaguar XJ at Castle Bromwich last year, which features more than 200 robots and 100 PLC systems.

The Open Design Alliance (ODA) has opened public registration for the ODA World Conference in Orlando, Florida, on 4-5 May 2010. The agenda of the conference focuses on the new ODA Technology Exchange, which provides workshop-like offerings from the ODA development team, ODA members and others, and is designed for collaboration, education and cooperation to address the specific requirements of conference attendees.

The agenda also includes presentations on the latest developments in the technical graphics industry, such as SaaS and advancements in the ODA platform technology. Arnold van der Weide, president of the ODA, said: 'This year's addition of the ODA Technology Exchange is designed to stimulate interaction between the attendees, allow further education on the ODA platform by the ODA development team and exhibit the growing number of third-party components.

'This will benefit ODA members as well as people interested in building technical graphic applications with a one-stop platform designed for innovation and further development,' he added. The conference will also introduce a special interest group (SIG) initiative within the ODA. 'Our new SIG initiative will provide an organised framework for small groups of like-minded member companies to meet and discuss new projects and to work with the ODA to bring these projects to fruition,' said van der Weide.

Libelium has announced it will exhibit at the Cebit 2010, Sensor and Test 2010 and Sensors Expo and Conference 2010 wireless technology industry events. Cebit 2010 will take place in Hannover, Germany from 2-6 March; Sensor and Test 2010 will take place in Nuremberg, Germany from 18-20 May; and Sensors Expo and Conference 2010 will take place in Rosemont, Illinois from 7-9 June.

At these events, Libelium will demonstrate the Waspmote wireless sensor platform and the Meshlium wireless, Linux-based, multiprotocol mesh router. The Waspmote wireless sensing platform is used for environmental monitoring, fire and flood detection and logistics. The platform includes a range of radio Zigbee modules with a choice of protocol versions, radio frequency and range (up to 40km) as well as a module for GPRS that can connect a sensor network to the outside world.

The Waspmote main board contains an in-built accelerometer and when combined with the GPS module, the device can be used to measure speed, direction and location of vehicles or containers. The platform has outstanding power management, allowing it to be deployed in remote locations and adverse conditions; an optional solar panel allows almost indefinite operation. Complementing Waspmote, the Meshlium multi-protocol Linux-based outdoor router enables mesh networks to be deployed in buildings, arenas, transport hubs (such as railway stations and airports), open spaces and by emergency services.

The router is extremely modular with a wide choice of radio modules and a choice of disk capacity. Meshlium supports five wireless standards - Wi-Fi, Zigbee, GPRS, Bluetooth and GPS - as well as wireline Ethernet. The wide choice of modules and disks enables the router to be configured into 177 possible variants, allowing it to be tailored to meet the needs of a specific network. With its sturdy IP65 briefcase and optional solar panel, car battery and car lighter adaptors, it can be deployed almost anywhere.

Vistagy has entered an agreement to license Fibersim composites-engineering software to Kaman Helicopters. The software will be used to streamline the design-to-manufacturing process for large composite helicopter blades by providing early visibility into production challenges and facilitating smooth communication of composite manufacturing data to the shop floor.

Based upon an extensive evaluation, Kaman estimates that Fibersim will enable the firm to reduce ply development time from 180 to 40 hours, a saving of 78 per cent, and average part layup time from 32 to 20 hours, a saving of 38 per cent. Kaman Helicopters will leverage Vistagy's composites expertise by employing its professional-services organisation to help develop and implement best practices for standardising composites-development processes.

Kaman Helicopters is using Fibersim within its Siemens NX computer-aided-design (CAD) system. Fibersim is completely integrated into major 3D commercial CAD systems to provide powerful functionality specifically for developing products made of advanced composite materials.

Kaman Helicopters selected Fibersim because defining ply flat patterns for each ply in a composite design was taking too much time. By implementing Fibersim, the firm expects to significantly reduce the hours required for ply development and layup, streamline its manufacturing process and eventually eliminate the use of Mylar patterns. Kaman Helicopters is using the software to define flat patterns as well as generate data to drive its laser-projection system.

Digital Surf, the provider of the Mountainsmap surface analysis software, has announced that visitors to its website can request a free surface analysis report based on their own measurement data. The report will give users of 2D and 3D profilometers, optical microscopes and scanning probe microscopes who are not familiar with Mountainsmap the opportunity to get acquainted with its features for visualising measurement data, analysing this data and generating a detailed visual analysis report.

Francois Blateyron, chief operations officer of Digital Surf, said: 'We understand that some of these users do not have the time, at least initially, to evaluate the software directly. 'This is why we are offering to prepare a surface analysis report that is not only based upon their measurement data but also customised to contain a set of requested analytical studies that illustrate the potential of Mountainsmap,' he added.

Mountainsmap supports numerous surface metrology instrument data formats. It will be possible to request a free Mountainsmap analysis report from Digital Surf until the end of June 2010.

Verdermag Global's Norwegian distributor, Turoteknikk, benefited from the company's customer service when resupplying a long-standing customer, Shell, on the Draugen field development. Anthony Beckwith, product manager at Verdermag Global, said: 'Shell had been using one of our centrifugal pumps previously and had been pleased with its performance for the past 16 years.

'We re-quoted for the system and as a result of our competitive quote and quick lead times we won the order once more. 'Verdermag Global is the perfect solution for Shell because it consists of metallic centrifugal, synchronous magnet-driven seal-less pumps. 'Magnetic-driven pumps are ideally suited to modern and heavy-duty requirements that multinational companies such as Shell require,' he added.

Available from SP Scientific, the Virtis Benchmark Series Lyophilizer has been engineered to reproducibly process a range of pharmaceutical and biotech products. Benchmark Series freeze dryers comprise numerous options that allow customers to configure them to fit into any facility and address any pharmaceutical application.

SP Scientific also provides after-sale support. SP's technical staff and field service engineers will provide installation assistance, validation, IQ/OQ and support documentation, designed to make the validation process faster, easier and less harrowing. Control-system-qualification packages are available on the Allen Bradley PLC-based control systems. Steam-in-place sterilisation and clean-in-place cleaning options are also available.

PC-controlled automatic dosing devices from Metrohm can automate preparation of surrogate mixtures for determining octane and cetane numbers. Commercially available fuels are complex mixtures of hundreds of different hydrocarbons. For the calibration of the test engines or advanced experimental and computational research they are modelled by means of multi-component surrogate mixtures that adequately represent the desired physical and chemical characteristics.

By definition, every octane and cetane number corresponds to a specific mixing ratio of primary reference fuels (PRFs). Based on this information, the tiamo-controlled automatic dosing device prepares the surrogate mixtures. The setup drastically minimises time-consuming and error-prone manual-preparation steps and contact with hazardous solvents. Additionally, precise and accurate results are displayed on customisable reports that fully comply with all current GLP and GMP requirements. The octane rating of gasoline is a parameter that indicates how much a fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites.

This spontaneous ignition is also known as engine knocking and adversely affects engine performance. The higher the octane rating of gasoline, the higher the resistance to knocking. By definition, the octane rating of isooctane, a highly branched alkane that burns smoothly, is set to 100. The rating of n-heptane, an unbranched alkane with a tendency for premature ignition, is set to zero. An octane rating of 85 means the fuel has the same knocking properties as a mixture of 85 per cent isooctane and 15 per cent n-heptane. There are different octane ratings such as the research octane number (RON) or the motor octane number (MON).

Both are determined using the fuel on a test engine (such as the CFR ASTM Test Engine) and comparing the obtained results with those for mixtures of isooctane and n-heptane. The different ratings result in different working conditions of the test engine. As the preparation of the solvent mixtures significantly affects the accuracy of the determination of the octane rating, strictly accurate solvent mixtures are of paramount importance. PC-controlled automatic dosing devices allow a straightforward, reproducible and accurate preparation of solvent mixtures. Additionally, the manual handling with hazardous solvents is minimised, which translates into increased operator safety.

The instruments required for this are: the 846 Dosing Interface, Dosino 800, dosing unit and 840 Touch Control Surrogate mixtures. The wide range of hydrocarbon species in commercial gasoline complicates the understanding of fundamental physical and chemical processes in the test engine. A substantial number of surrogate mixtures, mainly consisting of the primary reference fuels (PRFs) n-heptane, iso-octane and toluene, have been developed to mimic concrete fuel properties. The calibration of internal combustion engines used for measuring the motor octane numbers (MONs) of gasoline, for example, requires the accurate preparation of a high number of surrogate mixtures with known MON.

An automated dosing system that is fully controlled by tiamo replaces the tedious, time-consuming and error-prone manual preparation of surrogate mixtures. Whereas for gasoline the desirable property is the ability to resist ignition when injected into the engine, the desired property of diesel fuel is to auto-ignite. The relevant parameter is the cetane number. A compound that has a high octane number tends to have a low cetane number. Binary surrogate mixtures, consisting of the PRFs cetane and a-methylnaphthalene, are needed to adequately describe the chemical complexity of conventional diesel fuels.

Advantages include: upgradable custom-designed setup - surrogate mixtures of numerous primary reference fuels can be prepared; preparation of variable sample volumes between 0.1 and one litre; fully automated dosing minimises manual handling with hazardous solvents; accurate and precise dosing provides highly reproducible surrogate mixtures; detailed and customisable reports are in accordance with GLP and GMP; and the parallel dosing of the primary reference fuels saves time - the preparation of a 200ml surrogate mixture takes less than 5min.

Severn Trent Water (STW) has initiated a de-sludging trial to reduce costs and energy consumption by producing thicker sludge in the Primary Settlement Tank (PST). Advanced monitoring instrumentation from Hach Lange played a key role in the trial. STW's Mark Bryan summarised the objective of the trial: 'We believed that if we could monitor and control the settlement process through a real-time control mechanism, we would be able to produce thicker sludge, reduce operational intervention and save the energy and costs involved with further sludge thickening prior to the sludge-digestion process.

The trial took place at STW's Stoke Bardolph Sewage Treatment Works. Monitoring and control instrumentation was provided by Hach Lange and a hydraulically operated ram pump with an adaptive control system was provided by EMS Industries. A Sonatax SC probe was deployed for the measurement of sludge blanket level and a Solitax SC probe provided suspended solids and turbidity values. All data was handled by an SC 1000 plug-and-play controller, which interfaced with the EMS adaptive-control system to manage the pump operation.

Hach Lange's Jon Shepherd explained the role of instrumentation in achieving the objectives: 'It was the aim of this trial to establish if thicker sludge could be created in the PST and pumped. 'The benefit of pumping thicker sludge is that more solid material can be transported per litre of water pumped, which provides energy savings and improved process efficiency. He added: 'Our instrumentation reliably monitored the sludge levels under a number of different de-sludging scenarios, including pumping with various sludge densities and using different PST settlement times.

Paul Hawthorne, technical director at EMS said: 'The Hach Lange instrumentation enabled us to refine our adaptive pumping system, allowing the full capability of our pump to reliably pump thick sludge to be achieved. The trial demonstrated that sludge in excess of 5.5 per cent solids has been automatically controlled and regularly drawn from the PST. Sludge blanket-level stability has been maintained by the EMS pump's adaptive-control system, which varied the speed of the pump stroking action to suit changing sludge conditions.

Hach Lange's SC1000 control unit enabled the pump to be run only when a minimum sludge blanket level had been achieved and for pumping to cease when sludge density reached the preset low level (5.5 per cent for the trial). The EMS system is now pumping sludge with solids of over twice the concentration of the traditional system (progressing cavity pump).

Mark Bryan said: 'The trial has shown that the original objectives have been met; the new pump runs for approximately 3hrs each day, as opposed to 8-16hrs with the previous system, resulting in considerable energy savings and increased process efficiency. 'This project has proved that the EMS ram pump can operate comfortably at 5.5 per cent solids and that the accuracy and reliability of the Hach Lange instrumentation has been key to the success of the system.

Alpeco is offering Dreamtec's I-meter V2, a tracking device that tracks tankers, and monitors and reports all meter and delivery information back to HQ in real time. The device can be mounted onto any Alpeco Lectrocount or TE550 meter system quickly and easily.

A web-based, password-protected 'Dashboard Viewer' allows the fleet controller to view the position and route for each tanker, as well as receive PDF copies of the meter ticket immediately after each delivery.

The system also provides statistical reports, such as volumes delivered by grade, truck or depot, over a given period, which can all be used to evaluate and optimise fleet efficiency.

Chemical imaging specialists at Malvern Instruments have published an application note. The note demonstrates that, by reverse engineering pharmaceutical tablets using data from the Synirgi near-infrared chemical-imaging (NIR-CI) system, they could determine extensive and detailed information about the formulations and processing techniques used to create each dosage.

This is said to have valuable applications in troubleshooting product failures. The application note, entitled 'NIR chemical imaging for tablet deconstruction: A case study for solid dosage forms', can be downloaded from the Malvern knowledge database on the website. While high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) can provide basic information about a product makeup, the application of NIR-CI adds novel information relating to its manufacture.

Using Malvern Isys chemical-imaging analysis software to evaluate the size, shape and proximity of chemical components, the Synirgi global imaging approach provides a visual representation of a product composition and engineered structure. Synirgi delivers robust automated sampling capabilities that deliver rapid data acquisition, as well as advanced data analysis via an easy-to-use interface. The NIR-CI technique demonstrated in the Malvern application note takes advantage of Synirgi hardware and Isys software advanced features.

This type of reverse engineering has demonstrated the ability to help understand product failures and can primarily be used for troubleshooting. The wealth of chemical and physical information in a chemical image provides a fingerprint of the tablet production properties and, ultimately, its performance. It is suitable for pharmaceutical dosage analysis and enables refined quality control.

Invensys Operations Management has announced the availability of its Simsci-Esscor medium-fidelity simulation solution, Dynsim Checkout. Available as part of the Dynsim 4.5 software release, the solution provides the industry with a way to quickly identify, validate and resolve control- and safety-application design errors throughout the project life cycle, while addressing plant-operator process-familiarisation needs and clearing obstacles such as late-arriving design information.

Medium-fidelity simulation provides a library of unit-operation models (valves, pumps, conveyers, reactors) similar to high-fidelity models, but requires far fewer engineering hours and less specialised expertise to configure and tune. The models can be auto-generated using plant life-cycle management software that features intelligent piping and instrumentation diagrams (PandID), shortening the time it takes to construct the model.

The Simsci-Esscor medium-fidelity simulation solution also requires less design data to complete the model, with PandID and process flow diagrams being the key required information. By providing this simulation facility the early stages of the project, potential control and safety-application design errors, omissions and changes can be captured before construction, resulting in higher quality for the automation system, as well as significantly reduced client risk at the plant startup and commissioning phases.

Medium-fidelity models, while less complicated than high-fidelity, are also suitable for operator familiarisation training, allowing operators to learn procedures 'live' on the new control platform and to attain a level of knowledge that was previously impossible at such an early stage in the project. These models can be efficiently rebuilt many times throughout the life of the project and can therefore remain current with the latest control and safety designs.

Cogent Sector Skills Council has called on employers in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, oil and gas, petroleum and polymer industries to shape the future of vocational qualifications. Cogent urged employers to visit a website launched to raise awareness of a large-scale overhaul of sector-based qualifications. The site is part of a joint project with Business Link and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, designed to ensure that businesses are at the heart of the changes.

Joanna Woolf, Cogent chief executive officer, said: 'Cogent has already been involved in the development of over 50 qualifications for the new qualifications framework; the new system offers more freedom, choice and flexibility. 'It also enables employers to get in-house training recognised which is ideal for our sector. She added: 'This new framework presents qualifications in a way that's much easier to understand and to measure.

The design of the qualifications will enable providers to deliver more flexible programmes and will be able to improve retention rates by recognising smaller steps in learning. The changes come amid a wider reform of vocational qualifications across all sectors. The Vocational Qualification Reform programme will see qualifications across every industry streamlined so that they are easier to understand and access. The set of bite-size qualifications will have simpler titles and clear indicators of size, level of difficulty and content.

The website provides links for employers to find out more about the reforms process and gives them an opportunity to influence skills strategies for their sector. It includes links to help employers map in-house training to nationally recognised qualifications, work with training providers to develop relevant units that can be taken as part of a nationally recognised qualification and to join forces with other employers in the sector to create high-quality skills and training opportunities.

Weighing technology and software from Avery Weightronix has reduced product giveaway and improved the yield from a batch of chemicals for Schlotter by five per cent. Schlotter blends chemicals for a variety of industries, including automative, microelectronics, metal finishing and medical devices. The cost of blended chemicals varies but can be up to EUR50/kg, so process efficiency was a key driver in the company's lean manufacturing programme.

Schlotter would normally fill 25kg to 1,000kg containers but would also offer product in 1kg to 10kg bottles of the blended chemical, depending upon customer requirements. Previously the operator would place the drum or other container on to a floor scale and then fill it manually to the required level. In order never to short ship, the operator would overfill these containers so, for example, a 25kg drum could receive 1kg extra and sometimes as much as 2kg.

Giveaway was even more extreme on the smaller 4l bottles - often up to 10 per cent extra. Another problem was that if there was any spillage or product left in the filling tank, then the company has to pay for its proper disposal as a hazardous waste, in line with its IPC licence. Avery Weightronix installed and programmed its Evolution E1110 indicator to control the pump and filling head from the filling tanks in response to the weight readings from the existing floor scales.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A commercial and precision gear range is the latest addition to Ondrives' product portfolio, enhancing the company's transmission series. The range of products offered consists of bevel gears, worms and wheels, anti-backlash wormwheels, internal gears, anti-backlash gears, parallel and crossed helical gears, spur gears, pinion shafts, timing pulleys and belts, and sprockets and chains.

These are all contained within a separate gears and gearboxes catalogue, released for the first time at Total Processing and Packaging. A choice of MOD sizes is available, ranging from 0.5 to 8 MOD, along with various material types to suit different applications and environments. 214M15/045M10 steel is said to be the most popular, with Delrin also available to order. Standards are mainly stocked on the shelf for gears and gearboxes. There is a range of sizes, ratios, torques and materials available.

Solartron Metrology's high-speed Orbit3 networking system is a fast and simple way to network industrial sensors of all types, including dimensional and position-measuring transducers. It builds on the Orbit2 system, offering substantial improvements and enhancements. Among the new enhancements are greater accuracy, which has been halved to 0.05 per cent of reading, and improved diagnostics, with local LED diagnosis displayed for each unit.

The sensors are now hot-swappable - an advantage where a large number of sensors are employed, such as in the manufacture of automotive windscreens. Up to 200 probes can be connected in a single network. Orbit3 is a means of building large, flexible sensors and gauging systems with a single common interface, regardless of sensor technology. Its high data-transfer rates provide dynamic and synchronisation capabilities for the measurement of moving parts.

In addition to Solartron digital transducers, the network allows a range of third-party sensors to be connected, including pressure, temperature and force transducers. At the heart of the network is Solartron's digital probe technology coupled with a robust RS485 multi-drop communications link. A system of nine-pin lockable connectors called T-Cons is used to channel the output of each input/output device on the network to the receiver electronics for analysis and display.

Each module has a unique identifier that simplifies data acquisition, especially in large multichannel networks. The new T-Cons are more robust, with a double latching mechanism and reduced weight, making them suitable for high vibration applications. They can be used individually, daisy-chained using computer cable or banked together in blocks to form a multichannel nest. DIN rail mounting is an option, as is IP65 environmental protection. Connection to PCs and PLCs is possible via an RS232 interface, with Ethernet communication models available shortly. Orbit3 is suitable for use in a range of industries, including automotive, aerospace and consumer electronics as well as test and instrument laboratories.

Renishaw will display its latest range of optical incremental encoders at MTEC, which will take place at the NEC, Birmingham from 27-28 April. Demonstrations will include a 1nm resolution version of Renishaw's Tonic incremental encoder, a magnetic chip encoder and an absolute optical encoder capable of 10 atoms resolution at 220mph and suitable for rotary and linear applications. Renishaw's Resolute absolute optical encoder system gives a 1nm resolution at 100 metres per second for both linear encoder and angle-encoder applications, yet still offers excellent dirt immunity.

Absolute position is acquired immediately at system switch-on, so the exact orientation of axis and motor commutation angle are known without the need for a reference (datum) return. Large set-up tolerances also enable easy installation and high reliability, while low jitter and SDE (sub-divisional error) meet the demands of high-precision stages. The Tonic range of incremental optical linear and rotary encoders now offers 1 and 2nm resolutions, a dual-output encoder interface and is also available with Renishaw's Dual Signal Interface (DSI).

The higher-resolution options comprise a standard Tonic readhead and new interfaces that apply high interpolation rates to achieve fine resolution and low jitter levels of just 0.51nm RMS. For applications requiring one or more operations to be synchronised with a motion axis, the new dual-output interface simultaneously provides analogue and digital signals. For high-accuracy angle encoding, the new Tonic DSI allows two readheads to be used to improve the accuracy and repeatability of a motion system by eliminating eccentricity, bearing wander and all 'odd' error harmonics.

Renishaw's AM4096 magnetic encoder IC offers 12-bit resolution (4096 steps per turn) and is capable of high-speed operation to 30,000rpm. It provides UVW outputs with 16 poles (eight-pole pairs), incremental, absolute, linear (potentiometer), tacho generator and sinusoidal outputs. Typical applications include commutation and high-speed motor control, position and velocity control, potentiometer replacement and optical-encoder replacement.

Paine Electronics has announced that its Digital True Pressure Series is now rated to +350F (+176C). The Digital True Pressure Series is compact and can perform in corrosive environments. It is designed for pressure ranges of 0-5,000 to 0-30,000 PSIA and now temperature measurement from -40F to +350F (-40C to +176C).

It features memory-based user access: (instantaneous temperature values, manufacturer, serial number, model number, full-scale pressure, calibrated units, original calibration date and last calibration date); programmable temperature output in Kelvin, Fahrenheit or Celsius; digital pressure and temperature output with end-user requests or programmed timing; RS-232, RS-485, I2C (inter-IC) or SPI (serial peripheral interface); the ability to request digital formats in text, Ascii or Hex; and all-welded Inconel construction.

Misumi's new range of stand posts and strut clamps speed up and simplify the mounting of photoelectric sensors and CCD cameras. The GSSTN stand posts are made of 304 stainless steel. Laser metric-scale markings enable precise positioning of mounted devices, which, with the help of a Misumi strut clamp, can be adjusted or repositioned for quick and easy changeover. Diameters range from 10 to 25mm, while overall length ranges from 100 to 300mm.

The KSYK, KSYM and KSYS strut clamps are suitable for mounting photoelectric sensors. They are directly mountable to commonly specified photoelectric sensors, with pitches corresponding to sensors supplied by Omron (E3Z), Keyence (PZ) and Sunx (CX). Material choices include 304 stainless steel or 1018 carbon steel with either black oxide or electroless nickel plating. The turning-prevention vertical tapped post clamps are suitable for camera mounting.

They have a turning-prevention feature that allows adjustments in the Z direction with a simple turn of the knob, while preventing movement in a rotary direction. They are available in three different types: set (KBYKS, KBYMS and KBYSS); single strut clamp (KBYK, KBYM and KBYS); and single post with a flat designed for this purpose (KDYM). Material choices include 304 stainless steel or 1018 carbon steel with either black oxide or electroless nickel plating. Accompanying posts (unscaled) are available in 304 stainless steel and in 1018 carbon steel with electroless nickel plating.

The Proton Concept car, to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, features an advanced hybrid drivetrain designed and developed by Lotus Engineering. The hybrid drivetrain includes the Lotus Range Extender engine, designed specifically for series hybrid vehicles. The Proton Concept, a plug-in series hybrid city car, has been styled by Italdesign and will be unveiled on the Italdesign stand at the Geneva Motor Show.

Lotus Engineering has designed and integrated the complete drivetrain, including the electrical drive system with single-speed transmission, which delivers low emissions, optimised performance and acceptable electric-only operating range for city use. For longer journeys, when the battery charge-level falls, the three-cylinder, 1.2-litre Lotus Range Extender engine is used to replenish the charge in the battery and provide electrical power for the drive motors. The battery can also be recharged via an AC mains domestic outlet to achieve initial electric-only operation.

Rubber Industries' Protofast service can mould parts from printed designs in just 10 working days. This Protofast service utilises production-grade tooling and dedicated moulding equipment. It allows faster and more accurate evaluations of the component design. All of this takes place at production speed and with specified colour.

Bruce Nelson, sales manager of Rubber Industries, said: 'Using our Protofast service, designers can evaluate and test various rubber formulations simultaneously. 'We provide complete in-house elastomer testing facilities and formulation monitoring systems to assure materials meet customer quality requirements.

'These include specific industry performance requirements, including contamination, UV and chemical resistance, plus other features such as insulation, bonding and sealing,' he added. Rubber Industries has the staff and ISO 9001:2000-certified facilities to handle most rubber-moulding challenges, from product development and tooling design through manufacture, assembly and packaging.

Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (Tacom) has contracted Sturman Industries to execute the objective of SBIR A09-199 'Ultra High Pressure Jet Propellant-8 (JP-8) Fuel Injection'. This objective is: 'To examine, develop and demonstrate a hydraulically intensified, ultra-high pressure fuel-injection system that will be durable, increase power density relative to volume and or weight, increase fuel economy and reduce specific heat rejection of high-output military diesel engines that are required to operate on heavy-hydrocarbon fuels, including Jet-A1, Jet-A, JP-5, JP-8 and DF-2.

Eddie Sturman, co-founder and chief technology officer of Sturman Industries, is well versed on the current and future fuel-system requirements of the US military. 'Fuel-injection technology from Sturman Industries is currently utilised on MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles in the battlefield. 'Tardec has provided us the opportunity to build upon the success of the hydraulic intensification platform to further demonstrate the ability of the Sturman Digital Injector with regards to ultra-high pressure, rate-shaping, multiple events and multi-fuel capability,' he said.

The Sturman hydraulically intensified fuel injector with intelligent electronic controls and ultra-high pressure capabilities has the potential to improve the performance of engines from military and commercial diesel engines to off-road trucks, passenger cars or ships. In general, higher injection pressures allow for better fuel atomisation and more complete combustion of the fuel, which increases the engine efficiency and reduces the unburned hydrocarbons in the engine exhaust.

At higher injection pressures, it is also possible to inject larger fuel quantities at the same time through the same nozzle holes. This produces more torque and power from the engine while maintaining good atomisation necessary for efficient combustion. Sturman Industries is targeting injection pressures as high as 3000 bar with the latest injector models. The aim of generating injection pressure is to intensify the fuel locally at the injector.

A hydraulically intensified fuel injector has several advantages over a non-intensified fuel injector, especially regarding the capability of running with different fuel types at high pressures. The first benefit is that the fuel is pressurised locally inside the injector rather than in an external pump.

Therefore, the system does not require a pump capable of working with multiple fuel types at ultra-high pressures. This eliminates a significant challenge because the lower lubricity of fuels such as JP-8 used by the military creates wear and durability issues for many of the pump components at these high pressures. In the Sturman injector, only a limited number of sliding parts come into contact with high-pressure fuel, reducing the wear issues caused by low lubricity.

Boge has added the Boge-TV feature to its website, showing footage of Boge experts discussing and demonstrating key products and their features. As Boge-TV is developed over the next few months, visitors will be able to select videos from the Boge-TV library on a number of key product ranges.

Barden has helped Ultra Electronics Precision Air Systems to reduce bearing costs and assembly times on its high-pressure pure air generator by 40-50 per cent. Ultra produces a range of mini-compressors known as Hippag (High Pressure Pure Air Generators). These are compact, lightweight, electrically powered air compressors that are carried on-board various military platforms. The Hippag airborne compressor provides a continuous source of high-pressure pure air to cool the infrared seekers of an aircraft's defensive missiles, keeping them ready for action.

Hippag also provides a controllable energy source for the pneumatic ejection of aircraft munitions, while meeting the emerging requirement for launching increased quantities of smaller, smart munitions. More than 5,600 Hippags have been delivered for defence applications around the world. Hippag has been developed for the F-35 JSF aircraft and is being supplied for Boeing's Small Diameter Bomb programme, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier, AH-1W Supercobra, F/A-18 C/D Hornet and the US Navy F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft.

At the heart of the Hippag system is a bearing assembly based on a swash plate configuration. Supplied by Barden, this super-precision bearing is a customer-designed assembly that comprises a pair of bearings mounted on a cranked shaft with a 15-degree offset between axes. The bearing's main function is to transfer rotary motion into linear motion, enabling the axial motion of the Hippag compressor pistons. The bearing assembly will typically comprise a pair of solid, pre-loaded angular-contact bearings on the swash axis and a second pair of angular-contact bearings for the shaft axis, which are spring preloaded and share a double row inner ring.

The bearings are made from carbon chrome and use standard steel balls, as the Hippag application speeds are relatively low (less than 700rpm). These two bearing sub-assemblies are then mounted onto the offset shaft. Ultra subsequently receives this completed sub-assembly from Barden, which it simply drops into its Hippag housing to mate with the brushless DC motor, which sits on one side of the bearings, with the compressor on the other side. Martin Carpenter, engineering director at Ultra, said Barden's original design was selected because it utilised lower-cost manufacturing methods that used existing tooling and (at the time) a cellular-manufacturing approach that also contributed to a lower-cost bearing solution.

The new bearing assembly integrates directly with the Hippag unit and is smaller and lighter than the original. The original flange-mounted assembly has been replaced with a threaded outside diameter that enables through-grinding. 'The latest design incorporates precision-milled "pots" in the outer ring for the piston rod ends, which reduces the component count. 'Over the years, we've made lots of design iterations, including a low-duty unit in SAE52100 and a special high-duty unit that uses our "Cronidur 30" corrosion-resistant steel with its increased fatigue strength,' said Gary Hughes, application engineering manager for aerospace at Barden.

According to Hughes, there were several engineering challenges to be overcome. For Barden, Hippag is a low-speed high-load application with a short life of less than 500 hours and so the design had to reflect this. Hughes added: 'Through a 360-degree revolution of the Hippag, there's a constantly varying load cycle on the bearings and so we had to develop new methods of modelling this. 'This led to a bearing devolved from the original Ultra design to two bearing pairs and a cranked shaft. 'Investment in new machinery at Barden also enabled us to reintegrate the bearings into the Hippag shaft. 'We were able to eliminate the use of external clamping by incorporating threaded outside diameters on the bearings,' finished Hughes.

The new Allen-Bradley Kinetix 300 Ethernet/IP indexing servo drive from Rockwell Automation enables machine builders and end users to standardise on a single communication network. This is intended to facilitate commissioning, configuration and start-up. With the new drive, the entire control solution - including the human-machine interface, programmable automation controllers, input/output and motion - can be connected over a standard Ethernet/IP network.

According to James Grosskreuz, product manager at Rockwell Automation, the Kinetix 300 servo drive can eliminate the need for a dedicated motion network while maintaining high-speed connectivity with excellent reliability. With the ability to support up to five indexing types and 32 indices, the Kinetix 300 servo drive is suitable for indexing tables, intermittent horizontal and vertical form/fill/seal machines and simple sleevers, case packers and erectors.

By combining the Kinetix 300 servo drive with the Allen-Bradley MP-Series or Allen-Bradley TL-Series motors, along with the Allen-Bradley Compactlogix L23 or Compactlogix L32 controller, the company now delivers an option for machines that demand the power of the Rockwell Automation Integrated Architecture system in a cost-effective package for low-axis-count motion solutions. The drive can work with an Allen-Bradley Micrologix processor to help deliver a cost-effective component machine-level solution. The Kinetix 300 drive features seamless integration with Rockwell Software's RSLogix 5000 through a Kinetix 300 add-on profile.

It also has drive-based web configuration tools. As a result, machine builders do not need to learn, load or maintain dedicated motion software. To help protect personnel and increase productivity, the Kinetix 300 servo drive also comes equipped with safe torque-off functionality. With the safe-off capability, tasks such as machine setup, cleaning, the removal of jams and other typical maintenance work that previously required power-down conditions can now be accomplished without removing power from the entire machine.

Instead, drive output can be safely disabled, enabling faster machine restart and shorter machine downtime, according to Rockwell. Components such as input contactors are not required, simplifying machine design and helping reduce both panel space requirements and overall system costs. The Kinetix 300 servo drive features a compact size and has the available voltage and power ranges to meet a range of global machine requirements, including applications in the packaging, alternative energy and manufacturing and assembly industries.