Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Newson Gale has announced that the Earth-Rite RTR tank truck static grounding system has been approved for the US and Canadian hazardous process industries. Certified by CSA, the Earth-Rite RTR is said to offer high security for tank truck product transfers at risk of static ignitions inflammable and combustible atmospheres. With the Tri-Mode technology platform, personnel cannot initiate product transfers unless the RTR has confirmed that the conditions necessary for a safe transfer are in place and monitored for the duration of the process.

The Earth-Rite RTR provides operators with an automatic and failsafe Static Ground Verification and Tanker Truck Recognition check, ensuring product transfers cannot take place unless both of these parameters are tested and verified. In addition, the grounding system includes a pair of voltage-free contacts that engage only when the resistance to the system's verified ground connection is measured to be 10ohms or less. This feature enables customers and specifiers to demonstrate compliance with the recommendations of globally recognised standards for static control, including NFPA 77, API RP 2003 and Cenelec CLC/TR: 50404.

The system features a cluster of bright pulsing green LEDs, which provide attention-grabbing indication to personnel that a positive ground condition is established for the duration of the transfer process. The Earth-Rite RTR is CSA-approved for installation and use in all common hazardous areas, including the highest gas group approvals: Class I, Div 1, Groups A, B, C, D; Class II, Div 1, Groups E, F, G; Class III. The system is, under IECEx and Atex guidelines, certified for Zone 1 and Zone 2 hazardous atmospheres.

Power supply units may be selected from 220/240VAC or 110/120VAC, and 12V or 24VDC options. Earth-Rite RTR has been assessed for functional safety and received a SIL 2 rating according to IEC 61508. The system electronics, which are housed in a corrosion-resistant XP enclosure as standard, have a certified operating temperature range of -40C to +55C (-13F to + 131F) so that the system can be installed in harsh operating environmental conditions without any additional protection or modification.

At 4.5kg (9.9lb) the Earth-Rite RTR is said to be compact, easy to install and maintain, and is shipped complete with a detailed installation manual together with on-board diagnostic 'self-checking' electronics making initial set-up and commissioning straightforward. The Intrinsically Safe Ground Connection Junction Box, together with Quick Connect feature on the cable and clamp enhances safety and simplifies ongoing maintenance in hazardous areas.

AKO Armaturen and Separations manufactures different valves designed for industrial use, including pinch valves, and specialises in manufacturing individually customised valves. The company said almost any media can be shut off, dosed or regulated with AKO pinch valves. Due to their versatility, pinch valves can be used in many industrial areas, such as the silo/cement sector, pigment and granulate handling, ceramic industry, glass industry, water and wastewater treatment, the pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs industry and more.

Pinch valves are suitable for handling many products, particularly corrosive and fibrous media. For simple shut-off or metering, they are very well suited and with the dependent operating pressures of 3-40 bar due to nominal sizes, they offer a universal use, according to AKO. By default, mechanical pinch valves can be operated manually with a hand wheel. Alternatively, the mechanical pinch valves can also be controlled automatically.

The actuator causes the pinch bar(s) to pinch the sleeve horizontally (centrally, depending on the nominal size). This provides an effective seal on the flow of product. In addition, a direct connection between the sleeve and the pinch bar(s) ensures an optimum opening of the sleeve to provide the full passage. AKO said its mechanical pinch valves are available in the nominal diameters of DN015 to DN600.

Advantages include: 100 per cent free flow of product ensuring no blockages or damage; minimum frictional resistance; and low maintenance and operating costs. The sleeve is the only component in contact with the product flow, and therefore is the only wearable part of the pinch valve that needs replacing. Pinch valve sleeves close in the same way every time, making the sleeve last longer.

Sherborne Sensors has launched a range of high-precision, gravity-referenced dual-axis inclinometers for measurements in space-constrained areas such as borehole or well logging and seismic studies. The T820 series cylindrical inclinometers, available for ranges from +/-14.5deg to +/-60deg, measure just 23mm in diameter and 161mm in length. The range includes the T823 with an environmentally sealed connector and cable system or the T825 with solder pin terminations.

They can operate from a bipolar input voltage range of +/-12VDC to +/-18VDC or a single-ended voltage range of 9VDC to 18VDC. A high-level output of +/-5VDC is achieved for the bipolar supplied unit and 0.5VDC to 4.5VDC output is achieved for the single-ended version. The T820 series is made from stainless steel to prevent corrosion and to reduce angular errors that can be caused by the mechanical flexibility found in alternative aluminium alloy-constructed sensors.

They also have a precision angular alignment capability for increased installed resolution. The inclinometers continue to deliver precision accuracy in temperatures ranging from -18C to +70C and will survive temperatures down to -40C. Mike Baker, managing director of Sherborne Sensors, said: 'Borehole logging for the drilling of oil, gas, water or minerals or as part of environmental or geotechnical studies requires high levels of precision and accuracy.

'The T820 series has been designed to operate in the smallest of areas and can withstand high levels of mechanical shock without any degradation in performance,' he added. Sherborne can customise all of its inclinometer designs and can manufacture to conform to specific customer requirements. All Sherborne products are tested and calibrated to international standards at the factory prior to shipment and are accompanied by a two-year warranty and the Guaranteed On Time Delivery programme.

ZWCAD Software, a provider of computer-aided design (CAD) products, has licensed Siemens PLM Software's D-Cubed software for use in its Professional application. The ZWCAD Professional software suite is based on the IntelliCAD software for integration with the D-Cubed 2D Dimensional Constraint Manager (DCM). It is said to offer comprehensive design and drafting capabilities, drawing (dwg) file import/export and extensive application programming interfaces that support a growing portfolio of partner applications.

ZWCAD Software is a member of the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium and the Open Design Alliance. The 2D DCM is offered to members of these organisations with the 2D DCM Teigha software wrapper - an interface that can help them to quickly integrate the 2D DCM into their applications. The D-Cubed 2D DCM solves driving dimensions and geometric constraints to provide a parametric sketching capability in CAD systems. The 2D DCM enables CAD users to build and revise their mechanical designs and architectural plans more efficiently.

It enables CAD developers to give their users a parametric sketching capability that is consistent with the behaviour of other 2D DCM-based CAD products. This facilitates collaboration and interoperability when exchanging parametric sketches between different CAD systems.

SICK will show safety switches, light curtains, safety scanners and cameras, relays and controllers at Health and Safety 2010, which is due to be held at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton on 13-14 October. The company will also demonstrate the capabilities of the new software upgrade for its Flexi Soft safety controller. The Flexi Soft modular safety controller incorporates a range of function modules to meet the needs of a range of machinery safety applications.

The Designer software, in its enhanced v1.3 suite, ensures that it continually meets the demands of modern production safety. Designer v1.3 enables the more extensive and flexible control of safety applications for small and medium-sized machines. Available as a free download, Designer v1.3 enables the connection of four Flexi Soft controllers measuring up to 100m, in series, with an online view of the setup. As well as controlling an extended range of sensor function inputs and outputs, Flexi Soft Designer makes updating and reconfiguring new safety tasks simple and quick, according to the company.

Flexi Soft Designer allows the user to document the software with full functional descriptions, which are stored locally on the Flexi controller. Reports from the software also allow the user to document the project according to the requirements of BS EN 13849-1.

Power transmission specialist Ondrives has launched a standard commercial range of worms and wheels, including both bored and shaft worms as well as plain and bossed wheels. Steel and case-hardened steel worms are standard with phosphor bronze PB2 wheels; delrin versions are also in stock. All are made to Quality Grade 9 DIN 3974. The products will be supplied as standard with one start; customers should specify if they require two, three or four.

Standard sizes start at 0.5 Mod going up to 3.0 Mod, with others available on request. Various quantities of teeth, bore sizes and other materials are also available. Right-hand leads are standard, but left-hand versions are also offered. These are all made in house at the Ondrives manufacturing facility.

MacDermid's multi-functional top coats and lubricants are designed to protect automotive finishes and to predict the coefficient-of-friction characteristics. Often interchangeable depending on the application, both can increase overall corrosion performance. The company's top coats, including Hydroklad and TNT, are designed to improve the performance of any metallic coating, offering an ingredient for the next generation of hex-free finishes and capable of preventing premature cosmetic corrosion, according to the company.

They offer abrasion resistance, torque tension lubrication, ultraviolet identifiers, heat resistance, coating deformation protection, colour coding, fluid resistance and thread patch adhesion promoters. These top coats are suitable for ensuring that dissimilar metals remain insulated and isolated. MacDermid torque-control lubricants are specified by automotive manufacturers for their ability to perform over long periods of time and to handle a wide range of friction coefficients, including for alloy plating systems. The company said that these lubricants provide engineers with consistent results and most feature the latest high-performance top coats.

Lindauer Dornier, a manufacturer of polymer film production lines, is to use leaf disc filters from Porvair Filtration Group to filter polyester melt prior to making packaging film. The leaf disc filters are claimed to provide excellent filtration performance that ensures high-quality film products.

They are designed to operate at high flow rates and offer a long on-stream life with reduced polymer degradation. Featuring a strong construction, Porvair leaf disc filters can be cleaned and reused many times without a loss of performance or efficiency.

Newport has introduced the XPS-DRVP1, an XPS-compatible driver card for the piezoelectric stack-based Nanopositioning line of sub-nanometre-resolution stages. The XPS-DRVP1 complements the other XPS driver cards that are designed to drive the traditional DC- or stepper-motor micro-positioning products, enabling the control of almost all Newport motion products with the XPS controller. Said to be straightforward to install, the XPS-DRVP1 eliminates the need for either an XPS pass-through card or an independent piezo-stack driver.

The company claims that the XPS-DRVP1 permits a wider variety of precision motion control positioning applications than was previously possible. Beda Espinoza, product manager for Newport Motion, said: 'Now customers have the ability to perform precise, fast positioning over long travel and finish their motion processes with ultra-precise sub-nanometre positioning resolution. 'The XPS-compatible controller works with all "-D" versions of Newport's Nanopositioners.

'An erasable programmable read-only memory [EPROM] stores the stage parameters in the connector, which also has embedded ESP plug-and-play technology that auto-uploads the stage ID and all necessary stage settings to the XPS. 'This facilitates setups to ensure that our customers are up and running in no time,' added Espinoza. The single-axis XPS-DRVP1 driver features 60mA peak current (operating from -10V to +130V) and has an internal loop rate of 4kHz. For added flexibility, it can drive both open-loop and closed-loop Nanopositioning stages equipped with strain-gauge position sensors that offer dynamic performance similar to Newport's NPC3 controller.

RDP Electronics is offering space-saving dual-bridge load cells that are suitable for critical structural testing and monitoring in the aeronautics and automotive industries, for example. According to the company, a load cell with two separate and independent sets of strain gauges delivers sensor redundancy within a single unit.

This allows two sets of signal conditioning electronics to be deployed so that in the event of a failure of one, the second signal conditioning set maintains system integrity until the fault can be rectified. In addition, under normal operating conditions, the two outputs can be compared to provide greater certainty of data integrity, enabling the rapid diagnosis of any faults. RDP's dual-bridge load cells are said to be cost effective thanks to the dual outputs.

Matrox Imaging is offering two training courses on the Matrox Imaging Library (MIL) processing tools and the MIL/MIL-Lite environment. These courses will coincide with the Vision 2010 event in Stuttgart, Germany. An intensive three-day course, focused on MIL processing, will explain how to select the best image processing tools for an application and will demonstrate how to use them to their full potential.

Created especially for the first-time user, a two-day course - which provides an introduction to the MIL/MIL-Lite environment - includes a general overview of MIL/MIL-Lite, shows how to set up a development environment and covers the basics of managing image buffers, capture and display. All students will have the opportunity to meet the instructors and discuss their specific application requirements. Students who register for MIL training courses before 15 October 2010 will save 20 per cent on the cost of tuition. Students must register for the training courses in advance.

Pathway Medical Technologies, a developer of endovascular treatments for peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is using Omnify's product lifecycle management (PLM) software to engineer more products. The company received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance in 2009 to market its Jetstream G3 peripheral atherectomy catheter for use in the treatment of PAD in the lower limbs (below the knee). The Jetstream system is capable of treating a variety of diseases found in PAD patients, including hard and soft plaque, calcium, thrombus and fibrotic lesions.

Jetstream G3 SF allows physicians to treat a broader range of PVD patients, including the greater number of patients with critical limb ischemia and diabetes in the BTK population. According to Ken Perino, Pathway's senior director of quality assurance and regulatory compliance, the company was previously using a paper-based system for managing all of its documentation and part drawings. Perino was interested in implementing a PLM system to streamline the whole engineering change process and to achieve a parallel process rather than a serial process.

The company also needed better security and some vaulting, basically putting it online. It required better bill-of-materials (BOM) management tools and company-wide availability to the documentation online. According to Periso, automating this process would enable the company to achieve certain efficiencies just by being able to access documents online. By having all the drawings, blueprints and supporting materials available online allowed everyone to access Pathway's data and it also provided better security in terms of access to valuable assets and product knowledge.

Certain levels of the company would only have access to certain revisions of drawings such as work construction for the production floor. There would also be previous revisions of the documentation available to access. Currently, Pathway has three active BOMs and plans to go to six BOMS by the end of the year. There will be three different Jetstream products and various reiterations of those products. It will be coming into three sizes that allow the device to go into different arteries in the legs.

The company will now be able to completely automate its BOMs, saving time and costs. Pathway is implementing Omnify's Quality module that will document all non-conformances. There are some 15-30 non-conformances reported a week depending on the company's product volume. These non-conformances normally occur on the production floor and during the inspection process. Often, non-conformances occur when a part fails a test or when parts do not match up correctly. When parts come in, they are inspected and if a part fails the inspection it needs to be written up, documented and entered into the non-conformance database.

Pathway also provides customer support, tracking and addressing any customer complaints, which can range from two to six a week. Currently, the company's internal product/process non-conformances reside in a separate database than the customer-complaints database. These two databases do not currently 'talk' to each other. In terms of reporting requirements for the regulations, Pathway has to query the two databases for the information needed and then put that data into an Excel spreadsheet to bring to the meeting it holds in order to review all the data. It is a manual method and very cumbersome.

The near-future plan is to have one database that contains both the non-conformances and complaints integrated into the reporting system so that Pathway will be able identify problems more quickly. The company was scheduled to have an ISO audit in September 2010 and anticipates that it will have the Quality module up and running later in the year. All document control, change management and regulation conformance will occur via the PLM system. ISO auditors will check to see how Pathway manages it document controls and changes orders, change management and engineering processes such as ensuring it has the right signatures (electronic signature validations).

Prior to automating with the Omnify PLM software, Pathway had to show and explain its manual process and walk them through the vault that houses all of its documentation. Now, the company will show the ISO auditors how it is accessed and tracked online and how reports can now be generated. In terms of regulations and compliance regarding quality, Pathway will be putting the quality part of its processes into post-market surveillance and tracking any customer complaints regarding quality. Production operators would not have the same level of access to the Omnify system.

There are multi-layers of security to get into the Omnify system; it is based on the latest work construction. Users need an ID and a password to access the system. Pathway has electronic signature requirements. The views are configured specific to the department so that the user can only view what he or she is authorised to see. An engineering change would have a different password. Pathway deployed Omnify a few months ago and has already experienced advantages and cost savings. Now, when a user submits an engineering change for review, the system sends it out to everyone who is a signer or an observer in parallel and, as such, the engineering team can view any engineering changes in real time.

The whole company is now using the Omnify system, including departments such as design engineering, quality, regulatory, manufacturing engineering and purchasing operations - basically every department except sales, accounting and finance. All departments that have governing procedures are using Omnify. Any changes made to procedures are done in Omnify. Even facilities management has governing procedures within the system. BOMs and all parts are brought into Omnify and automated. Pathway now has the capability to engineer more products because the Omnify system has freed up resources and has more bandwidth to do more.

ISO auditors request to review the software validation and the FDA requires it. The company went through the proper channels and procedures to validate its software. Pathway had to prove that it applied unique users and had to show the audit trial of activity for documentation. The company is currently evaluating using web services and determining how it might be able to give some of its suppliers limited access to the Omnify system to enable them see engineering changes that Pathway is planning. Pathway is using the Training and Monitoring module, which manages all internal and external training events.

The module assists in the tracking and documenting of all internal and external training records, identifying affected users. It alerts trainees for training/re-training and assigns comprehension checkpoints to gauge understanding. Periso said he likes the automating training setup on policy, product and document changes and the fact that it easily identifies recurring training events. If training is needed, it is configured in the Omnify system as a task. Training is being tracked and Pathway has implemented an escalation process that provides reminders to staff members requiring training.

Training is put in as an alert and the process is fully automated. Custom reports are configured and already available within the Omnify system. The Omnify system is integrated with the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, called Max, via an API. Max is ideal for medical device manufacturers because of its emphasis on part management, production planning and the ability to fulfil the needs of contract service providers. ECOs documented within Omnify automatically populate within the ERP. Omnify, combined with Max, is suitable for regulated environments and supports Pathway in addressing the reality of medical device regulatory requirements.

With full lot and serial control, the company is able to maintain the level of traceability required by the FDA. It also provides customers with the assurance that its processes are sound and effective. In the future, Pathway plans to use the Omnify system on the production floor and get monitors on the floor. The company's design engineers use Solidworks and the drawings are entered into the Omnify system.

Galil Motion Control has introduced the latest addition to its Econo series of controllers, which features enhancements such as Ethernet 10/100Base-T, a USB 2.0 port and higher-speed performance. The DMC-41x3 controller also features a larger program memory, analogue inputs and optically isolated input/output (I/O). The controller operates as a standalone unit or interfaces to a PC with Ethernet 10/100Base-T or USB. An auxiliary RS232 port is also provided.

The product is available in one- to eight-axis formats and each axis is user configurable for stepper-motor or servomotor operation. The controller can be connected with external drives of any power range or with the company's multi-axis (500W per axis) servo drives or 60V, 3A micro-stepping drives. Galil drives install directly onto the DMC-41x3 controller. Standard I/O for the DMC-41x3 controller includes 16 optically isolated inputs and outputs for the one- to four-axis models and 32 I/O for the five- to eight-axis models.

Eight analogue inputs are provided in addition to optically isolated forward and reverse limits and a home input for each axis. Other controller features include PID compensation with velocity and acceleration feed-forward, memory for user programs, multi-tasking for simultaneously running up to eight programs and I/O processing for synchronising motion with external events. Modes of motion include point-to-point positioning, position tracking, jogging, linear and circular interpolation, contouring, electronic gearing, ECAM and PVT.

The DMC-41x3 controller and drive package measures 8.1 x 7.25 x 1.5in for the one- to four-axis models and 11.5 x 7.25 x 1.5in for the five- to eight-axis models. It accepts power from a single 20-60VDC source. The DMC-41x3 is available as a card-level product or packaged in a metal enclosure. As with all Galil controllers, the DMC-41x3 is programmed with a two-letter command language.

Electro Mechanical Systems (EMS) is offering a compact drive with an integrated motion controller from Faulhaber for applications such as robotics, automation, medical devices and aerospace. Faulhaber has extended its BX4 range of four-pole brushless DC servomotors with the introduction of the 2232/2250...BX4 CSD/CCD series of drives. This new series is claimed to combine all the advantages of the BX4 four-pole brushless technology with a single-axis motion controller.

Features include high reliability, high torque, a compact slot-less design with no cogging torque and a robust construction without the use of adhesives, according to EMS. The drives are based on the flexible Faulhaber motion control platform. The compact motion controller, which fits within the diameter of the motor, combined with the motor and a range of gearhead combinations, provides a versatile modular platform for a variety of applications. The drives are available with an RS-232 serial or CAN interface.

Configuring the drives is said to be simple using the free Faulhaber Motion Manager 4.4 software. The drives have a wide operational temperature range from -25C to +85C and provide a continuous current up to 0,69A with a peak of up to 3A. The speed can be precisely controlled from down to 5rev/min and up to 8,000rev/min. Custom firmware and software are available on request.

All of the drives have factory preset current limits to protect the motor and electronics during normal operation, and upon request the drives can be supplied with separate motor and electronics voltage supply connections. The new series is available in two different motor lengths of 32mm and 50mm with a supply voltage of 24VDC. The drives feature a very flat linear slope of the torque/speed curve and a high torque-to-volume-ratio continuous-duty torque.

Lucifer Furnaces has installed a dual-chamber space-saving furnace unit at Vincennes University, Indiana, for use in its precision manufacturing technology programme. The space-saving model is a combined hardening furnace above a drawing oven in one compact unit, making it a good choice for heat treaters with limited space. This model provides both upper and lower heating chamber dimensions of 12 x 12 x 24in.

Insulating fire brick and mineral wool block ensure energy efficiency and a low outside shell temperature. Easy-to-replace heating elements are designed with heavy gauge coiled wire of low watt density. The upper chamber vertical lift counterweighted door is operated by a hand crank, which makes it easier for students to remove parts without having to work around the door.

The lower draw chamber has a stainless steel alloy liner to form the work chamber and protect the heating elements. A heavy duty belt-driven re-circulating stainless-steel fan directs air circulation in a horizontal pattern for uniform heating. Vincennes University will be using the Lucifer Furnaces model to instruct students in the tool and die field.

Antistat has developed the Clip Chip package, a solution that protects individual electronics components in transit and storage. The Clip Chip package is aimed at high-cost, low-volume device transportation and has been designed to reduce chip damage and alleviate the expense of using sealing equipment for devices.

With four of the most popular chip-sized inserts available to hold the device into the carrier, the design is flexible enough to suit most standard devices preventing pin and general product damage in transit while providing an ESD-safe packaging solution. It can also be made from recycled materials helping to reduce the impact on the environment with additional benefits of waste reduction over the existing non-recyclable foam-and-card solution.

Hepcomotion has added a corrosion-resistant model to its LBG range of ball guides, opening up the market for this product in clean rooms where previously stainless steel was the only suitable option. The hard chrome alternative is available for all rails and bearing blocks in this linear ball guide product programme. It provides a good degree of corrosion-resistance for application where moisture or contaminants could cause surface pitting.

The company said the LBG range offers high quality, good rigidity and accuracy. Its basis is a four-row angular contact ball track that is said to have numerous benefits. These include low friction and reduced differential slip, high load-carrying capacity in four directions and installation compliance. It also compensates for minor errors on the mounting surface without compromising performance, Hepcomotion added. A felt wiper within the bearing block aids lubrication, maintaining a positive oil film on the bearing contact surfaces.

Extended life and increased maintenance intervals are achieved by having the correct amount of lubrication at the contact faces. LBG corrosion-resistant rails are supplied up to 4m in length and in matched sets to ensure that even with the addition of the hard chrome coating, the pre-load of the block onto the rail is consistent. A stock range is available to cover the majority of automation requirements. However, a wider combination of pre-loads and grades can be supplied to suit the specific needs of individual applications.

Bent wire forms supplier William Hughes has revealed how it assisted a major European automotive OEM in developing a last-minute modification on a vehicle scheduled for imminent launch. Bent wire components are used commonly in automotive seat frame assemblies. Shortly before launch, a review by the automotive OEM's executives had highlighted a shortage of knee-room in the rear of the vehicle, which was hindered by the positioning of a map pocket in the rear of the front seat.

William Hughes was asked to redesign the framework required for the map pocket so it could be positioned in such a way to provide an extra 2-3in of legroom when sitting in the rear. One of the principal bent wire parts created to solve the problem started life as a 6.5mm-diameter piece of straight mild steel bar. A short series of bends is created to negotiate a path around the existing wire frame of the seat - the need to alter other existing parts must be avoided so that extra cost is not incurred.

At either end of the bent part, the wire is planished (flattened) to a thickness of just 2mm. Here, a 5mm-diameter hole is punched - again, one at either end. The relationship between the planes of the planished sections and the positioning of the holes is vital to ensure ease of assembly. For this reason, precision press tools have been designed and manufactured. In fact, two types of the bent wire part have now been developed by William Hughes for supply to the customer. Due to the impending launch date of the vehicle and the late discovery of the need for a modification, the automotive OEM decided to adopt the William Hughes solution on a temporary basis until a 'volume' solution could be sourced.

Initially, a quantity of 6,000 parts was requested. However, such was the success of the William Hughes proposal that the same bent wire parts have now been adopted for production runs. A total of 7,500 parts a week are currently being supplied (3,750 of each variant). William Hughes said part of the reason that it can be competitive for the high-volume supply of parts is the presence of a company factory in Bulgaria.

While the development process and initial quantities for this project were produced at the company's headquarters in Dorset, once the process and component had been proven, it was transferred to the company's 3,000m2 factory in Plovdiv. Here, current manufacturing facilities include 15 CNC wire-bending machines capable of bending wire from 0.4-12mm in diameter. Bent wire parts and welded wire assemblies are not just supplied to the automotive sector. Components range from cooker parts and furniture frames through to steel baskets.

Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools has revealed that gears can now be manufactured on Hermle five-axis machining centres following a tie-up between the machine tool builder and software firm HPG. Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools, Hermle's sole UK agent, has described the process, which is ideal for producing small batches of gears and even one-offs in the size range 500-1,200mm diameter.

The five-axis milling technology allows precision roughing and super-finish machining of gear teeth and other complex 3D contours on a Hermle machining centre, either a C 40 U or C 50 U fitted with a Heidenhain iTNC 530 or Siemens 840D control. The set-up time required for multiple machines used in conventional gear production is avoided, allowing economic production of small quantities of gears and enabling the generation of special tooth profiles that could not otherwise be produced.

Using HPG's software, a gear can be completely machined used standard milling cutters on a Hermle. Via an online connection to an HPG-licensed service provider, gear geometry data such as module, diameter, tooth width and height, contact area ratio and crowning is transmitted. On the basis of this data, the software performs the mathematical calculation for the exact tooth shape, which is developed as a point cloud and translated into an NC program for milling the gear. After the roughing cycle, the component is sent for hardening, after which it is returned to the machining centre for finish milling.

It is then measured in situ, the data is compared with the CAD model and, if necessary, a few ultra-fine finishing passes are completed to bring the gear into its designated quality class (one to 12). This will depend on its intended use, for example, in the transport, power generation, mining or construction equipment sectors. High-resolution mathematical calculation as described is the best route for high-quality gears, say classes two or three, whereas quality classes five to seven are best obtained by producing the gear machining cycle conventionally from the CAD model. HPG performs mathematical tooth-shape modelling, allowing its customers to achieve much higher resolution than is possible based on CAD data alone.

Almost any tooth shape can be machined to a high degree of precision, resulting in good efficiency of the gear sets and leading to quiet operation and long service life. The gear production method, using standard five-axis machining centres and tooling, coupled with HPG's program generation software, can even produce gears with cosine ('S'-shaped) or other complex tooth profiles. Therefore customised gear teeth can be manufactured without the need for expensive special equipment.

Weldwide is offering the Argo-Naught 2010 weld gas analyser, which is ideal for use in sandy and moist conditions and for tasks where minimal electronic emissions from the instrument are required. The analyser combines electronics and sensor technology to achieve fast and accurate oxygen readings when purging in preparation for welding. This eliminates any guesswork and will tell the operator when it is safe to begin welding.

During welding, the monitoring of the oxygen levels is crucial in order to produce clean, oxidation-free welds as unnoticed oxygen penetration can lead to weld failure. Due to its hermetically sealed, hard-wearing casing, the Argo-Naught 2010 weld gas analyser is ideal for use in sandy and moist conditions.

It is also ideal for applications where minimal electronic emissions from the instrument are required. The electronics are sealed within a separate compartment, which makes sensor change easy and quick without risking damage to wires, connections and display. The instrument offers reliability and accuracy as well as robustness, and is ideal for routine oxygen measurements during weld purging of stainless steel and other exotics.

Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools has revealed that gears can now be manufactured on Hermle five-axis machining centres following a tie-up between the machine tool builder and software firm HPG. Geo Kingsbury Machine Tools, Hermle's sole UK agent, has described the process, which is ideal for producing small batches of gears and even one-offs in the size range 500-1,200mm diameter. The five-axis milling technology allows precision roughing and super-finish machining of gear teeth and other complex 3D contours on a Hermle machining centre, either a C 40 U or C 50 U fitted with a Heidenhain iTNC 530 or Siemens 840D control.

The set-up time required for multiple machines used in conventional gear production is avoided, allowing economic production of small quantities of gears and enabling the generation of special tooth profiles that could not otherwise be produced. Using HPG's software, a gear can be completely machined used standard milling cutters on a Hermle. Via an online connection to an HPG-licensed service provider, gear geometry data such as module, diameter, tooth width and height, contact area ratio and crowning is transmitted.

On the basis of this data, the software performs the mathematical calculation for the exact tooth shape, which is developed as a point cloud and translated into an NC program for milling the gear. After the roughing cycle, the component is sent for hardening, after which it is returned to the machining centre for finish milling. It is then measured in situ, the data is compared with the CAD model and, if necessary, a few ultra-fine finishing passes are completed to bring the gear into its designated quality class (one to 12).

This will depend on its intended use, for example, in the transport, power generation, mining or construction equipment sectors. High-resolution mathematical calculation as described is the best route for high-quality gears, say classes two or three, whereas quality classes five to seven are best obtained by producing the gear machining cycle conventionally from the CAD model. HPG performs mathematical tooth-shape modelling, allowing its customers to achieve much higher resolution than is possible based on CAD data alone.

Almost any tooth shape can be machined to a high degree of precision, resulting in good efficiency of the gear sets and leading to quiet operation and long service life. The gear production method, using standard five-axis machining centres and tooling, coupled with HPG's program generation software, can even produce gears with cosine ('S'-shaped) or other complex tooth profiles. Therefore customised gear teeth can be manufactured without the need for expensive special equipment.

Weldwide is offering the Argo-Naught 2010 weld gas analyser, which is ideal for use in sandy and moist conditions and for tasks where minimal electronic emissions from the instrument are required. The analyser combines electronics and sensor technology to achieve fast and accurate oxygen readings when purging in preparation for welding. This eliminates any guesswork and will tell the operator when it is safe to begin welding.

During welding, the monitoring of the oxygen levels is crucial in order to produce clean, oxidation-free welds as unnoticed oxygen penetration can lead to weld failure. Due to its hermetically sealed, hard-wearing casing, the Argo-Naught 2010 weld gas analyser is ideal for use in sandy and moist conditions. It is also ideal for applications where minimal electronic emissions from the instrument are required.

The electronics are sealed within a separate compartment, which makes sensor change easy and quick without risking damage to wires, connections and display. The instrument offers reliability and accuracy as well as robustness, and is ideal for routine oxygen measurements during weld purging of stainless steel and other exotics.

Walls and Forms has launched the Lights Alive modular menu board system designed to provide a cost-effective and versatile solution for the food service industry. Electrical snap-on connectors link units on site and the system features low-profile aluminium framing. Outer edges can be illuminated with logos or corporate colours and users can create their own theme.

Single- or double-sided units are available. The modular menu board system offers easy-access graphics, electronic ballasts, a choice of T8 lamps or LED lighting, and is available in multiple sizes.

Murex has launched the Saffire Supacet 5 welding and cutting outfit, a package that provides full heavy-duty welding and cutting capability for the scrap metal industry and metal reclamation work. The Supacet 5 can weld up to 5mm steel and has a plate cutting ability of 75mm. It is fully portable and supplied in a robust tool case. The outfit includes a Saffire oxygen/acetylene regulator, Saffire 5 cutting torch, cutting and welding nozzles, flashback arrestors, hose assemblies, welding goggles and other essentials.

The Saffire blowpipe features the 'tip mix' principle for operational simplicity while the shank and processing mixture ensures full operational safety. Supacet 5 forms part of a range of Saffire welding and cutting outfits, designed to suit all types of welding and cutting applications. Each outfit is tailored to the needs of a particular market sector ranging from heavy-duty industrial applications to micro welding.

Coding and marking specialist Linx Printing Technologies is to showcase its printing solutions to brewers at the International Brewery Convention. The technologies are said to give brewers peace of mind in their coding operations thanks to low maintenance, cost-efficiency, speed and high-quality coding. Models on display include Linx's latest offerings in large character marking (LCM), laser coding, and continuous inkjet (CIJ) technology.

For LCM applications, the company's range includes the Linx IJ200 thermal inkjet (TIJ) cartridge printer and the Linx IJ350 and IJ370 case coders. The LCM printers offer brewers a cost-effective alternative to the labelling of secondary packaging. They are also claimed to offer a low overall cost of ownership thanks to reduced maintenance and downtime, good reliability and ease of operation. The Linx IJ200 uses disposable TIJ printer cartridges, which are easy to install and change, as well as minimising printer maintenance and removing the need to purchase expensive ribbons or labels.

For companies with higher throughputs, the Linx IJ350 (or its sister model, the IJ370) offers an ideal solution, featuring a self-cleaning printhead with a re-circulating system that avoids wasting ink and saves time ordinarily spend on ink-purging procedures. The Linx SL501 50W laser is said to be a cost-effective and versatile coding solution that is ideal for the bottling industry. The coder offers reducing running costs, reliability and flexibility in installation due to its standalone construction that does not require air or water for efficient operation.

The model is built to fit the production line. Its range of lenses and beam delivery options means it can be manoeuvred into tight, hard-to-reach spaces. An intuitive interface in the form of a handheld control unit allows users to create, change and set up codes at the touch of a button. The Linx 7300 advanced CIJ printer will also be on display. The Linx 7300 is designed to avoid the hidden costs of coding through low running costs, minimised production downtime, error-free coding and future proofing.

Among its features are dynamically adjusted service intervals to ensure customers' maintenance requirements are based on the demands of their specific usage and factory environment, the Fullflush automatic printhead cleaning system, mistake-proof refills with the Surefill system, and error-free code changes with Quickswitch software.

Ocean Optics has launched the SteadiQ, an accessory that neutralises temperature conditions for accurate spectrometer measurement in field applications such as solar irradiance and cold food storage. The company said the SteadiQ broadens the application range for its field-portable spectrometers. It provides a temperature-controlled atmosphere, helping to stabilise temperature effects and eliminate temperature drift in inclement conditions or extreme temperatures from -20C to +50C.

The rugged and portable device is said to ensure more accurate, reliable results in field applications including solar irradiance, volcanic observation, greenhouse monitoring, and industrial environments such as cold food storage. Available in both UV (200-1,100nm) and Vis-NIR (400-2,500nm) versions, the SteadiQ interfaces directly with Ocean Optics' USB2000+, USB4000, HR2000+, HR4000, Maya2000, Maya2000 Pro, QE65000, and NIRQuest spectrometers.

In extreme hot or extreme cold conditions, the unit operates independently from outside temperatures. It connects easily to the spectrometer with preconfigured plug-ins and communicates via the spectrometer's USB port.

Foremost Electronics has introduced M16 connectors from Binder that are ideal for equipment located in remote locations, such as gas meters, and industrial instrumentation such as sensors and gauges. The availability of screw-clamp-terminated versions of the Binder M16 range enables simple mounting or service replacement in the field without the need for a soldering iron, according to the company.

These new connectors will complement, and are fully interchangeable with, the existing solder versions and are available across the complete M16 range encompassing both the IP40 581 series and IP67 423 series connectors. Each connector is supplied with an Allen key for terminating connecting cables.

Available for cable sizes from 4mm to 8mm, the Binder M16 range is manufactured in nickel-plated brass, has screw-clamp termination contacts for wires up to 0.75mm, AWG 20, is supplied in three-, four- and five-pole formats and has a current rating of 6-7A. Gold-plated contacts ensure more than 500 mating cycles.

Rittal has introduced a rapid-assembly subrack, which is suitable for standard Euroboards in 3U and 6U formats. The Ripac Easy subrack, which can save valuable time in production, is pre-fitted with assembly screws and simply drops into slots in the side plates prior to being tightened up, according to the company. The horizontal rail is available in five depths and two heights, all using the same technique, which eliminates the usual struggle with multiple parts when there are only two hands to support and assemble.

The subrack caters for 160mm, 220mm and 280mm board depths. Two configurations allow the use of backplanes or connectors directly mounted to the rear rails of the subrack. To complete the package, sets of either plain or perforated covers can be slotted into the rail extrusions at the front and the rear to provide mechanical protection for the installed printed circuit boards.

Mindtree has unveiled its Bluetooth intellectual property offering, designed to provide sensitivity and interference tolerance performance at 1.2V for medical, automotive and digital TV applications. The RF IP is said to complement the company's Bluetooth suite of intellectual property (IP) consisting of baseband controller, digital PHY (physical layer), stack and profiles. With this IP offering, Mindtree now provides customers a single component supplier to address their Bluetooth needs.

The RF IP offers high performance with key advantages of small die size and ultra-low power consumption, making it ideal for integration onto system-on-chip (SoC). As market segments such as medical, healthcare and automotive ramp up Bluetooth adoption and set-top boxes and digital televisions emerge as new Bluetooth segments, the increased volume of Bluetooth shipments will bring down costs. This will in turn necessitate the integration of Bluetooth onto the main SoC of a product or a combination SoC for connectivity along with WLAN, FM and GPS.

Dr Rajesh Zele, vice-president - research and development services at Mindtree, said: 'With the introduction of our RF IP, we are geared to address all the Bluetooth needs of our customers - from antenna to software. 'Our Bluetooth RF IP enables our customers to "Just Add Bluetooth" to any SoC without having to go through expensive multiple spins to get the sensitive RF IPs working in the digital noise dominated substrate,' Zele added. The Bluetooth RF IP is targeted at the 65nm CMOS process. It is compliant with Bluetooth specification v2.1+EDR and is easily adaptable to the Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth love energy) specification.

Mindtree has been an active Bluetooth SIG member since 2000, participating in the Bluetooth standardisation process and several working groups. Several of Mindtree's Bluetooth IPs have been qualified for 2.1+EDR specifications and have been proven in multiple products for interoperability and robustness. Mindtree also offers product realisation services along with its IP to enable faster time-to-market for its customers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wieland Electric has introduced the Monoflop switching device, which prevents the full fault tripping of safety relays, negating the need for full system resets. If restart cannot be achieved via the normal reset button, the Monoflop will ensure that the fault is triggered as a machine shutdown and the machine will then start with a simple reset rather than going into a fault position. This is to ensure that downtime is avoided. Monoflop is the latest addition to Wieland's range of switching devices.

Products include the 4000 Series of universal safety relays, which have been designed for use in all routine industrial applications, and Samos Pro, a compact modular safety controller for machine and automation applications, with multi-functional base modules that extend its safety functions. Other products in the range include SMA sensors, which protect operators of mechanical equipment and systems, and the SNH Series of emergency-stop pushbuttons, which give a safe signal to the machine control to stop any dangerous action.

A concrete-pipe manufacturer has achieved an annual cost saving of EUR38,400 by utilising Molded Oil bearings from NSK. This has been achieved by reducing failures on the blade support roller of a concrete pipe-slotting machine, replacing the original bearings, which were lasting two to three months on average, with the Molded Oil bearings. To date, NSK said these bearings have operated for 12 months with no failures.

The problem on the original bearings, according to an NSK applications engineer, was the ingress of concrete dust. This is said to be a common problem in the industry; the dust combines with bearing lubricant to produce an abrasive mixture that causes premature bearing failure. In this instance, the dust-contaminated lubricant was causing failures four times per year, with each failure resulting in eight hours of downtime, at a cost of EUR1,200/hr.

As a means of overcoming the problem, the NSK engineer recommended using bearings equipped with Molded Oil, a solid lubricant technology developed by NSK for bearings used in remote locations, and/or where oil- and grease-absorbing dust is produced. Molded Oil, according to NSK, has been proven to transform the performance of bearings used in machinery and equipment - in terms of reliability, maintenance-free intervals and operation - in environments exposed to contamination. It also enables plant operators to make cost savings by replacing existing, and often costly, methods of lubricating machine parts.

An effective lubrication method, Molded Oil differs from other oil-impregnated plastics - where the oil content is a mere few percent by weight - by offering a lubricating oil content of more than 50 per cent by weight. This enables the material to always maintain a good lubrication regime, helped by the mechanism of oil discharge from the matrix, which is temperature dependent - therefore the higher the heat generation, the higher the oil discharge rate. Operating temperatures are normally limited to 60C.

National Instruments UK and Ireland has announced that Prof Brian Cox will deliver the keynote address at NIDays 2010, a graphical system design conference and exhibition. At the event, which will be held on 9 November at the London home of the Institution of Engineering and Technology in Savoy Place, Cox will explain how curiosity-driven science pays for itself, inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Engineers, scientists and educators involved in test, control and design are invited to attend NIDays 2010 and watch Cox's keynote speech, entitled 'Why We Need Explorers'. NIDays is a multi-track conference and exhibition exploring the latest developments, tools and technologies from National Instruments and its partners, offering more than 50 hours of in-depth technical sessions, including 30 hours of hands-on training.

IFM Electronic, a supplier of sensors and control systems for use in food and beverage, water treatment, automotive and pharmaceutical applications, has launched an IP67-sealed temperature plug. The company claims that the TP temperature plug requires less space, performs better and costs less than cumbersome, leaky, outmoded boxes. IFM Electronic already supplies Type TT or TS Pt 100 and Pt1000 temperature pickups with an integral M12 connector, not only to facilitate connection but also to provide a seal of at least IP67 and a robust mechanical link.

This probe can now be plugged directly into the TP, which will send the resulting measurement as a 4-20mA signal back to the panel, via another M12 sealed connector. Using M12 connectors all round means that the transmitter can be mounted anywhere between the probe and the panel, as space or other factors require. The TP is a fraction of the size of a head transmitter, more robust and itself sealed to IP67, according to IFM Electronic. It can be scaled from a PC using a USB interface, as the built-in communication protocol is the latest IO-Link; this is also means that, in the future, scaling instructions can be sent via other non-proprietary systems.

Impress Sensors and Systems has released a range of battery-powered digital pressure gauges for applications such as hydraulics, pneumatics, process engineering and mobile pressure monitoring. The DM 10 range of low-cost gauges is intended to offer customers a direct, cost-effective replacement for their existing mechanical gauges. The new gauges incorporate a ceramic diaphragm and are therefore suitable for environments in which aggressive chemicals are present.

'The DM 10 has a 63mm-diameter display - the same as common mechanical gauges - but the DM 10 offers higher accuracy, repeatability and reliability,' said Sam Drury, sales and marketing director at Impress Sensors and Systems. The DM 10 is designed to be mounted easily and quickly in situ. The 4.5-digit, seven-segment LC display can be rotated independently of the housing, providing the engineer with a clear sight of the display at all times, regardless of the mounting configuration.

The housing itself rotates 270deg about the horizontal axis. The device is operated through a menu-driven display via pushbuttons on a touchpad. As well as showing information about the nominal pressure range, the unit can display via the menu the maximum and minimum pressures of a process. 'For example, an engineer may have a fault in the system and therefore needs to check what the maximum pressure reading on the gauge was. 'An increase in the system pressure from say 6bar up to 10.5bar may indicate an over-pressure problem within the process and this would be displayed on the gauge,' said Drury.

Users can also choose which units of measurement they prefer, including bar, mbar, psi, mH2O and MPa. Additional functions include auto-zero and an automatic switch-off, where the user can define between one and five minutes or select continuous operation. The nominal pressure ranges for the DM 10 are from 1.6bar up to 250bar. The minimum operational life of the battery is 1,500 hours.

Sensotech has introduced the Liquisonic Plato 30 system, which precisely measures the concentration of the original gravity levels in beer. According to the company, the system can help to improve the quality and to save costs when separating the forerunning and last running of filtrated beer as well as when dosing the forerunning and last running beer in the unfiltrate. If the original gravity is measured when starting the operation, for example, the required minimum original gravity can be detected exactly so that several hectolitres can be saved.

The Liquisonic Plato 30 consists of a maximum of four sensors and one controller. Generally, breweries install one sensor respectively in the unfiltrate and after filtration or carbonation. These sensors are made of stainless steel, work maintenance free and meet the requirements of hygienic and bypass-free installation conditions. The controller analyses and visualises the measuring data. After the installation of the measuring system, the controller displays the determined concentration of the original gravity. The available trend chart enables the user to follow start-up and shutdown processes.

With the integrated logbook, it is possible to store more than 15,000 datasets and further processes can be analysed afterwards. All data can be exchanged with a higher-level system via analogue and digital outputs. The controller can be integrated via Profibus DP, for example, in automation processes. In addition to the transfer of process values, Profibus allows the user to switch over product datasets for all sensors.

Tetra Pak, a provider of hygienic process equipment and turnkey systems, has supplied additional hygienic mixing and cleaning equipment to McBride, a personal-care product specialist. Installed at the McBride processing facility in Bradford, the new equipment enables the mixing of oils and transfers them to a filler. The equipment also includes a compact, mobile clean-in-place (CIP) unit for cleaning various pieces of customer equipment. The CIP unit comprises a 200-litre holding vessel with delivery and scavenge pumps. Heating of the media is by inline electrical immersion heaters and the controls provide simple pushbutton operation with automatic temperature control to a preset level.

Tetra Pak prefabricated all of the equipment at its manufacturing facility in Sherborne, Dorset, before transferring to the site. This ensured minimal disruption, which was particularly important as McBride was carrying out other works at the same time to facilitate the installed plant. The installation has enabled McBride to upgrade its processing facility and reduce the level of operator input required.

The Offshore Europe 2011 conference in Aberdeen, Scotland, will enable participants to learn, debate and challenge the ideas needed for the sector to establish a sustainable supply for the future. According to Samir Brikho, chief executive of Amec and chairman of the SPE Offshore Europe 2011 conference, recent events have covered the importance of health, safety, security and environmental issues in addressing the challenges of operations in ever-increasing water depths.

Brikho, launching the event's formal call for papers, added that the upstream industry is also faced with the challenge of overcoming technical and logistical pressures, as well as the new science and knowledge required. He said: 'Running through all our activities, onshore and offshore, are human factor issues that must be taken into account, in terms of facility design, staffing and operations.

'If the industry is to provide a safe, smart and sustainable supply, as well as to succeed in exploring and developing new territories and frontiers, it must challenge convention and discuss these issues,' added Brikho. The main theme for the Offshore Europe 2011 conference is 'Securing Safe, Smart, Sustainable Supply'.

Technical programme categories include: Facilities and Infrastructure; New Well Technology; Reservoir Management; Health, Safety and Environment; Exploration; and Carbon Reduction - the Upstream Contribution. The deadline for the submittal of papers is 10 January 2011. Alongside this technical programme will be a series of topical lunches and business breakfasts. The upstream oil and gas event - organised by the Offshore Europe Partnership, a joint venture between Reed Exhibitions and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) - will be held on 6-8 September.

The Salvatore Robuschi range of process pumps, available from The Pump Company, is ideal for handling clean, two-phase gaseous liquids, abrasive liquids or liquids containing particulates. The end-suction pumps are available with a full range of precision investment cast impellers, including closed high-efficiency, semi-open and vortex flow. Available sealing types include soft-packing, single, double-tandem or back-to-back mechanical seals.

The pump is manufactured in AISI 316 (CF8M) and other materials such as Monel and Hastelloy; other alloys are available on request. The range is also fully compliant with the Atex directives. The Salvatore Robuschi range comprises low-NPSH pumps that save on energy costs and deliver a fast payback on the investment. The pump configuration is either long or close-coupled end suction as well as vertical cantilever - a design that is not affected by temperature. It can handle abrasive or solid material, requires minimal maintenance and can run dry. The end-suction process pumps have an average delivery time of 15 days.

Aveva, a provider of engineering design solutions for the plant, power and marine industries, has released the first 64-bit versions of its visualisation and design communication technologies. Designers can now take advantage of the increased processing power of the latest 64-bit computers to create highly detailed and navigable 3D design visualisations of even bigger and more complex capital projects in the plant and shipbuilding industries.

Aveva Review 12.1 is an established application for 3D design communication; it creates high-quality, photo-realistic renderings of 3D models that can be used by all stakeholders in a project to carry out design review and analysis for various purposes. It features animation capabilities for model fly-throughs and object manipulation so that operations such as equipment replacement may be simulated, can handle a variety of third-party CAD model formats, including as-built laser scans, and can stream its output across normal internet communications for effective multi-site collaboration.

Review 12.1 is now available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. It provides a number of functional enhancements; for example, 64-bit technology increases the size and detail of model that can be handled and facilitates navigation. The application also features enhanced model streaming; streaming enables large model files to be viewed over internet connections. New features in both versions add useful capabilities such as dimensioning, view clipping and part picking in views combining both streamed and non-streamed models.

Review 12.1 also provides a display of the master co-ordinate grid used in ship design. This enables a user to determine the absolute positions of features in the 3D view. Another feature is increased customisation; extensions to the API provide users with access to Review's lighting and animation controls and the ability to create custom add-ons to tailor the application to particular working methods. Wavefront (.obj file) export is now included as standard.

This enables Review models to be passed to third-party visualisation applications for purposes such as creating complex video sequences. Aveva Reviewshare 1.3 is a complementary product to Aveva Review. It extends the power of 3D visualisation to meet the need for an informal design communication tool for resolving day-to-day design issues. Reviewshare consists of a server application for streaming 3D model content to emailable documents viewable in a freely available reader/editor application.

Reviewshare documents contain embedded links to navigable 3D model views, which can be marked up and commented on by recipients to create an auditable record of design communication. Reviewshare 1.3 is now also available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. According to the company, 64-bit technology provides similar benefits to those of Aveva Review 12.1. In addition, both versions include a number of functional enhancements; for example, a function providing export to Microsoft Excel enables Microsoft Office tools to be used to manage and report on Reviewshare message threads.

There is now an increased level of control over the access of Reviewshare documents. This allows this relatively informal design communication tool to be used effectively in more formal, controlled workflow environments. Reviewshare 1.3 is delivered free with Aveva Review.

Flowserve has launched a heavy-duty scotch-yoke pneumatic actuator into the European market, which has been designed for use in chemical, refining, oil and gas and general industrial applications. Designed to optimise plant and personnel safety through compliance with IEC 61508 (Functional Safety Related Systems), Safety Integrity Level 3, the the Automax RG Series offers an extended life cycle and reduced maintenance requirements.

'The actuator's IP67M [temporary submersion] rating and marine-grade epoxy surface treatment provide maximum integrity in harsh corrosive atmospheres such as offshore installations,' said Ian Barber, technical sales manager, Flowserve Flow Control Division. To reduce product modification and installation costs it features a modular design with independent modules for the body, pneumatic and spring segments. The RG's pneumatic and spring modules can be changed on location to modify the actuator torque output and fail rotation direction, eliminating the need for a new actuator if these changes are required.

With the pull-to-compress spring module, manual overrides can be added for spring-return or double-acting operation. The pressure-module piston incorporates dual-wear bands providing a forward wiping action to extend the life of dynamic squad seals. Inside the pressure and torque module, critical sealing and load bearing surfaces are honed and hard-chrome plated to reduce surface wear and increase corrosion resistance. A hard-chrome plated steel guide bar provides optimal support of the transverse loads.

Coupling the yoke are aluminum bronze slider blocks to minimise contact stress and ensure high cycle life. According to Flowserve, combining these key technologies results in extended automation life cycle to increase production uptime and reduce maintenance costs. The new design of the Automax RG Series represents a 20 per cent weight reduction and a 20 per cent end-to-end length reduction compared to previous models. The actuator features an expanded torque output range of 2.2 million inch/pounds (248,566Nm) while the availability of more than 100 output torque profiles enhances valve automation selection and reduces the weight, size and cost of the actuator.

The Automax RG Series has been designed for use in quarter-turn automation duties for ball, plug and butterfly valves and rotary dampers in chemical, refining, oil and gas and general industrial applications. The actuator conforms to global mounting and accessory mounting standards including International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 5211 valve interface with MSS option and NAMUR VDI/VDE 3845 compliance.

Applied Market Information (AMI) has announced that its PVC Formulation 2011 conference will take place at the Maritim Hotel in Dusseldorf, Germany, on 15-17 February 2011. AMI consultant Jon Nash will start proceedings with a review of the market recovery for the PVC sector. PVC compounder Ineos Compounds has studied the future alternatives after the move away from dibutyl tin stabilisers. The removal of heavy metal stabilisers is still a key driver of research.

Catena Additives has looked at the selection of impact modifiers alongside the shift from tin to calcium/zinc stabilisers, while Chemson Polymer Additive has examined the phase behaviour of the metallic stearate stabilisers. The trends are similar worldwide, with companies such as Kalpataru Organics developing heavy metal-free stabilisers in India. Minerals feature extensively in PVC; Kisuma Chemicals is examining the effects of hydrotalcite on heat stabilisation in Ca/Zn formulations.

Kuraray has found that polyvinyl alcohol can act as a co-stabiliser. PVC is widely used in construction, including cable. Burgess Pigment has looked at low-voltage insulation formulation using calcined kaolin clay. At the same time, Lanxess Deutschland has tested flame retardants such as phosphate esters for flexible vinyls. In terms of waxes, Clariant Produkte (Deutschland) has reviewed the use of different types, including metallocene PE. Processing technology is said to be essential for good production.

Coperion supplies equipment ranging from raw materials to the pellet stage, while K-Tron develops conveying solutions. The search for alternatives to phthalate plasticisers continues with a trend towards environmentally friendly chemicals. Danisco has developed bio-based plasticisers while Eastman Company has looked at non-phthalate plasticiser formulations for speciality plastisols. Lanxess Deutschland is testing triacetin as a component of P-PVC recipes. Adkeniz Kimya has looked at the sustainability issues of zinc stabiliser compounds in PVC.

BASF has developed 'hot' PVC, which has a higher softening point. Tony Gaukroger of Colour Masterbatch has patents in colouring uPVC with concentrates. PVC Formulation 2011 is intended to provide excellent international networking opportunities for the PVC industry, from end users to compounders and their suppliers. Research will be presented on the latest trends and technical issues affecting business development.

Sugar producers worldwide are missing out on USD300m (GBP190m) in potential energy savings by opting for the wrong kind of heat-transfer technology, according to heat-transfer specialist Alfa Laval. The company said that this is the level of heat energy that could be recovered from various stages of the sugar-refining process. Ian Forrester of Alfa Laval in the UK said: 'Sugar refining involves the continual transfer of heat to and from different juice flows throughout the process.

'If refiners employed plate heat exchangers instead of tubular exchangers, the difference in efficiency levels [thermal efficiency is 200-300 per cent greater in sugar applications] means that they could employ lower-grade heat sources such as condensate or low-pressure vapour in place of expensive steam for many parts of the process,' he added. Alfa Laval estimates that refiners could reduce steam requirements by as much as five per cent.

The steam saved could be used to generate electricity to power the process and any excess could be sold off to other users or to the national grid. Annual sugar production across the globe is around 160 million tons. Allowing a figure of approximately USD14 for each ton of steam raised and with 0.4 tons required to process each ton of sugar crop, the estimated potential for savings is USD300m.

Products4Automation (P4A) has launched a low-cost power monitoring system that can be programmed to collect data from external devices, centrally monitoring all types of energy-intensive operations. The power monitoring system helps to determine areas where savings can be achieved. It can be programmed to identify 15-20 per cent annual energy savings, which, according to energy industry estimates, are available by reducing the costs of lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and the operation of plant and machinery.

The power monitoring system is based upon P4A's low-cost Monitouch range of flat-panel, programmable human-machine interfaces (HMIs). Offering Scada-like performance at HMI prices, the Monitouch range is capable of interfacing to a range of external devices. It can also provide multiple screens, depicting all aspects of power monitoring. Finally, it delivers data logging in CSV format. With the Monitouch-based system, it is possible to monitor values from up to 31 distributed nodes (power monitors), such as power, voltage, current and power factor.

These values can then be logged at user-defined intervals and saved in the CSV format. This data can be saved to an Excel spreadsheet on a PC by saving it on a CF card or a USB memory stick. The Monitouch provides three levels of screen imaging, starting with Simplified Power monitoring graphs, which plot simulated demand expectancy, based on current power values, and which display accumulated power values. The second level is Batch Monitor; this shows measured values from multiple power monitors at a glance.

The third and final level, Accumulated Power Monitor, shows accumulated power data for each month, displayed as a bar graph. Paul Hurst, managing director of P4A, said: 'If you can measure your energy usage, then you can effectively manage it and reduce costs. 'Usually, though, the investment that has to be made in energy management systems to obtain this data is really quite high. 'In contrast, the initial investment with our system need not be expensive.

'That's because the modular nature of our power monitoring system means that users can start with a single centralised Monitouch and just a few nodes. 'This pilot package will be enough to enable users to prove the value of the system by obtaining a picture of their energy usage. 'Once this is achieved, the ability of our system to expand seamlessly means that new nodes can be added as required, bringing all energy-consuming activities under the umbrella of one centralised, easy-to-use system,' he added.

Around 1,750 mechanical traps at KNPC's Shauiba Refinery in Kuwait have been converted to Thermal Energy International's GEM Venturi orifice design. This enables KNPC to keep on top of the constant challenge of repairing and replacing thousands of mechanical steam traps. In addition, the company - a subsidiary of the Kuwait Petroleum Association - has seen the HP hot condensate header pressure drop from highs of 175psig to 90psig. The Shuaiba Refinery, located some 50km south of Kuwait City, produces approximately 30 types of light, medium and heavy petroleum products.

These consist of gas, ordinary naphtha, various kinds of fuels such as high-octane gasoline, kerosene and ATK as well as automotive diesel, marine diesel, fuel oil and sulphur, which is a by-product of the industrial process. Steam is the primary means of transporting energy from the numerous boilers and steam generators to the point of use and is used throughout the oil refinery for applications ranging from trace heating systems designed to keep the product at the correct viscosity to large re-boilers consuming many tonnes of steam per hour.

As the steam gives up its useful heat, it condenses to water. The steam trap's function is to remove this water and air from the steam pipework. At the Shuaiba Refinery, the mechanical steam traps were failing at a rate of more than 10 per cent per annum. Steam traps can fail in either the open position, resulting in the trap passing live steam, or the closed position, which prevents the discharge of condensate from the system. When Thermal Energy International was first approached by KNPC, failed mechanical traps had caused the condensate return pressure to rise to 175psig, preventing the 150psig steam stem from being able to discharge.

During a recent unplanned boiler outage, the refinery was able to run on just two boilers, which, prior to the installation of the GEM Venturi orifice steam traps, would have resulted in a loss of steam pressure to the refinery's extremities and affected production. Habib M Atesh, engineering and maintenance manager at the Shuaiba Refinery, said: 'The use of GEM traps has resulted in an 85psig reduction in the HP hot condensate header pressure as well as steam savings from the reduction in steam loss.

'In addition, GEM traps are superior as only the strainers require maintenance,' added Atesh. Instead of utilising a valve mechanism to close off steam for maximum energy and water conservation, the GEM steam traps use the Venturi orifice design to effectively drain condensate from the steam system. As the GEM steam traps have no moving parts to wedge open or fail, they provides excellent reliability, necessitating only minimal maintenance and requiring no spares, testing or monitoring equipment, according to Thermal Energy.

Available in a range of sizes for a variety of applications, the hardwearing GEM steam traps are manufactured from corrosion-resistant stainless steel and are guaranteed for 10 years, obviating the need for repair or replacement. The GEM steam traps can provide a fast payback from reduced energy costs and increased equipment reliability owing to a reduction in damaging condensate in steam systems. In addition, they are claimed to improve product processing by enhancing the quality of steam and also by reducing equipment repairs, downtime and replacement costs.

Applied Market Information has announced the Commercialising Nanotubes conference, which will be held at the Maritim hotel in Dusseldorf, Germany, on 8-11 March 2011. The event is said to coincide with an expansion in carbon nanotube (CNT) capacity. The focus of the event is firmly on the commercialisation of CNT technologies and taking them from the laboratory into real-world applications. Four suppliers at the forefront of this expansion will give presentations at the event: Arkema, Bayer Materialscience, CNano Technology, and Nanocyl.

The first commercial CNTs are already being used in the automotive, electrical and electronic, sporting goods, mass transport and marine industries, with many more applications under development in areas such as the renewable energy, medical and cable markets. One target market is enhancing the properties of polymers, for example, by increasing electrical and thermal conductivity as well as by boosting physical properties and flame retardancy. Plastics compounders including Polyone, RTP and Shinil will discuss how they are incorporating CNTs into thermoplastic compounds and masterbatches.

Other presentations will examine applications in thermosets for marine and windpower applications. The processors' perspective will be supplied by Kabelwerk Eupen and Promolding. The former will focus on using CNTs to improve the fire performance of cables, while the latter has studied how injection moulding parameters impact on the electrostatic discharge and electromagnetic shielding performance of CNT-based compounds.

In addition, companies from the US and Europe will discuss their work on using CNTs in electronics applications, including inks and transparent films for touch panels, LCD displays and e-paper. They include Unidym, Southwest Nanotechnologies and Thomas Swan. The investment and funding issues surrounding nanotechnology will be addressed by IP and business lawyers from Foley and Lardner. Key enabling technologies for the growth of the market include the synthesis and functionalisation of CNTs, and these topics will be covered by Cambridge Nanomaterials and Futurecarbon.

Halma Water Management has developed a touch-screen water leak correlator that incorporates a sensor and integrated noise filtering, analysis and management software for the detection of pipe leaks. The Microcorr Touch is operated by touch screen, making it easier to input data and maximising the visible screen area to display results more clearly. Leak correlation is used to find the exact location of a leak on a pipe.

Highly sensitive acoustic sensors are placed at intervals on the pipe, and listen to the sound made by the leak. The data is transmitted wirelessly to a handheld base unit, which processes the information to identify the leak sound, and then applies mathematical algorithms to pinpoint the leak position. The Touch features a newly developed sensor that is designed to be ultra sensitive, enabling it to perform well even in traditionally difficult conditions, such as on plastic and large-diameter pipes.

It also features a high-visibility, full-colour VGA touch screen to improve data entry and the quality of data presentation. The user interface is said to simplify leak finding without compromising on functionality or precision, and enables the unit to be operated with the minimum number of key presses. The large screen, with Tuffscreen anti-glare screen protection, clearly displays correlation results and supportive information even in bright sunshine. The system is equipped with a tri-filter correlation option that can simultaneously perform three correlations at different filter settings.

This is particularly useful when the pipe material is uncertain, Halma said. When the best filter is seen, the correlation switches to focus on this. The outstation is compact with high-quality long-range radio transmission; it also features a magnet to secure onto metallic street furniture. The purpose-designed robust case carries and protects all components and charges them via mains or vehicle supply. The charge level for all items can be shown at the touch of a button.

Air motors from Huco Dynatork are said to combine precise positioning and efficient operation with the ability to withstand the rigours of 100 per cent caustic washdown environments. As standard, the motors are able to operate totally immersed in water, so high-pressure washdowns are not a problem. With acetal housings also available, the motors are able to withstand most caustic acids and chlorinated sanitisers used in the food industry. The air motors are ideal for use in hygienically sensitive applications.

The free-floating piston design of the Huco Dynatork air motor results in a product that consumes up to 80 per cent less air than a conventional vane motor, and provides start/stop performance characteristics similar to those of a stepper motor. This enables the product to excel in constant start/stop applications under load. In operation, air up to 100lb/in2 is supplied to each of three pistons in turn via an integral rotary valve.

The free-floating pistons transmit torque on start-up that can be adjusted via a pressure regulator. The result is high torque at variable low speed, combined with very low noise. Huco Dynatork offers a range of air motors in different sizes, with maximum torques of up to 16Nm or up to 550Nm with a gearbox.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Split roller bearings (SRBs) from Revolvo can prevent unplanned layovers resulting from bearing failures in marine shaft propulsion systems. Totally split to the shaft, SRB units enable simpler and quicker installation - up to eight times faster than with solid bearings. Are the bearings can be easily replaced on the propeller shafts, they are targeted at operators of ferries, work boats, offshore support craft and other commercial marine vessels. The Revolvo SRBs can be used in all arduous operating sectors, including water treatment, oil and gas, mineral extraction, power generation, steel manufacture and marine.

Typically, fitting an SRB takes about an eighth of time that it takes to fit an equivalent solid bearing. In addition, the bearing can be inspected in situ without any major disassembly. The SRBs are claimed to feature effective sealing arrangements. The design of Revolvo SRBs allows the shaft to be supported by the lower section of the bearing, while the upper sections of housing and outer raceway can be removed without any necessity to dismantle drives or remove the shaft itself.

This intrinsic feature is said to be especially useful for large-diameter bearings, where sheer weight and size can be a barrier to fast and effective servicing. It also allows for faster bearing replacement, which can save continuous-type applications such as marine propulsion systems a lot of money in costly downtime. SRB units are designed to be statically self-aligning; this means that there is no need to accurately realign the bearing housing to the shaft or any other inline equipment that might be involved in the installation. In addition, they are designed to accept up to 3deg of shaft misalignment.

In order to aid alignment during installation in marine propulsion applications, SRBs come with support pedestals that incorporate base jacking screws. Complementing this facility, SRBs use optimised profiled rolling elements to minimise damaging edge stresses that can occur under conditions of dynamic misalignment. These are able to displace slightly and thus prevent potential damage to the bearing raceway and rolling elements. For the user, this ability can mean the difference between premature failure and reliable long-term operation, according to Revolvo.

In addition to the optimised roller profile, another feature designed to extend the potential life of SRBs is their precision-machined brass cage. The cage has CNC-bored pockets that are optimised to deliver accurate roller guidance, thus preventing roller skewing - a condition that also leads to roller edge loading and reduced bearing life. In addition to providing excellent roller guidance, the SRB brass cage also allows operation at higher temperatures - all standard SRB units will operate at up to 140C and high-temperature S3 versions will operate at up to 300C.

Increased reliability at high operating speeds is another benefit of the SRB brass cage, compared with other manufacturers' designs that utilise steel or aluminium cage materials. Overall, brass is one of the best cage materials for rolling element split bearings as it absorbs lubricant and performs well in aggressive environments where lubrication is marginal. For marine industry propulsion shaft applications, where high levels of vibration are often a problem, SRB units feature a specialised vibration-resistant cage design to further enhance bearing life. The ability of SRBs to perform reliably in aggressive environments is enhanced by the performance of the sealing systems that protect the bearing units.

In this area, the SRB product has inherent advantages over traditional solid bearing seal designs. With SRB split bearings, the spherical location between the housing and the pedestal support ensures that, irrespective of shaft misalignment and whatever type of seal is used, seals always remain concentric to the shaft. As a result, SRBs perform well in harsh conditions, even under conditions of shaft misalignment, whereas solid mounted roller bearings can suffer from non-concentric ineffective seals that will lead to expensive premature bearing failure.

The second advantage provided by SRBs in the area of sealing systems is the number of options available: eight standard designs are stocked and offered, including Viton high-temperature seals, aluminium triple labyrinth seals for high speeds with high contamination and high-performance Kevlar packing seals for the aggressive environments encountered in quarries, mines and cement plants. The company can engineer and manufacture bespoke seal designs in short manufacturing lead times if a standard catalogue solution is unsuitable.

Revolvo manufactures its SRB housings and pedestal supports in tough 250-grade grey cast iron to ensure strength and durability. In addition, as part of its specialised service for the SRB range, the company also offers housings and pedestal supports in ductile iron, cast steel and corrosion-resistant stainless steel that is suitable for long-term operation submerged under water when fitted with Revolvo's specialised sealing arrangements, which are ideal for underwater applications including water treatment plants and amusement park rides.

Parker-Origa has launched a series of electrical linear actuators developed for use in applications including ball-screw, trapezoidal, belt and linear motor drive applications. The electrical linear actuators have been developed for use in applications requiring highly dynamic movements and long transverse paths. The ODS-B has a toothed-belt design and is said to combine good performance characteristics and smooth operation with energy efficiency, while offering a particularly long service life for maximum productivity and profitability.

Developed to provide ease of mounting and assembly, the linear actuator ensures safe and ultra-precise positioning of large loads and forces, at optimum speeds and acceleration. The motor can be mounted in virtually any orientation, offering high flexibility when designing a complete drive package. Indeed, the actuator can be mounted directly onto, for example, a machine bed, be free-standing using standard mounting holes, or can be adapted to customer-specific requirements, using an alternative fixing system such as T-slots in the body profile.

As a result, the ODS-B series provides a wide range of assembly options. Furthermore, the modular design of the linear actuator allows them to be operated either with or without retrofittable covers, which complies with either protection class IP20 IP54, depending on the demands of the operating environment. Other accessories are also available, including high-resolution sensors for the precise measurement of end position, reference and displacements, braking systems and impact protection.

The linear actuators also feature externally accessible nipples for convenient central lubrication, cutting the time needed for maintenance tasks and reducing downtime. For a flexible and bespoke construction, external limit switches can be fitted in a variety of positions, either inside or outside of covers, and are easily removable without assembly aids. The limit switches, in either a reed contact or an electronic version, ensure maximum safety and convenience by promptly and effectively preventing heavy impacts at the actuator end positions, eliminating wear or damage.

In applications with particularly high operating speeds, the limit switches can also be combined with additional end position impact protection. A further feature is a high-performance holding brake, which stops and holds the actuator under load, even during vertical movement. This allows users to safely lock the actuator carriage or the work pieces being carried on it, which may be at a critical point in a transfer or machining process, in an exact position. All additional fittings can be located beneath the covers of the linear actuator to prevent contamination or damage. As a result, the ODS-B system is suitable for use in harsh and damp conditions, such as those typical of machining production and the food and beverage sectors.

Spelsberg UK has launched a range of enclosures designed specifically for use with the LED lighting control electronics found in the latest generation of exterior and street-lighting systems. The simple, modular enclosures are designed to enable installers to protect the lighting control printed circuit board (PCB), simplifying cable entry, mounting and termination options in a semi-transparent polycarbonate enclosure that enables inspection during and after installation.

Scotopic and photopic light calculations (used to assess the visibility of light sources) have shown older street-lighting systems employing high-intensity discharge lamps, often HPS high-pressure sodium lamps, to perform poorly when compared with white light sources, particularly at night. White light sources have been shown to double driver peripheral vision and increase driver brake reaction time by at least 25 per cent.

New street-lighting technologies, such as LEDs, emit a white light that provides high levels of scotopic lumens, allowing street lights with lower wattages and lower photopic lumens to replace existing street lights. As well as the type of light emitted, LEDs have a number of other advantages: they require very little voltage, they have a long operational life and they are cheap to replace, which means that they are cost efficient as well as providing excellent lighting.

However, LEDs require a larger range of control electronics, which means that a far larger PCB is needed to run an LED-powered street lamp than would be found on a traditional lamp. This can make installation awkward as a larger enclosure can be bulky and hard to specify to the correct dimensions. Spelsberg's solution allows for simple installation and quick inspection for PCBs used in LED lighting applications. The company's modular lighting enclosures can accommodate PCBs of varying length. There are three possible module lengths: 220mm, 420mm and 620mm.

Each module has a 67mm diameter, meaning they are interchangeable and can be stored within most common street lamps. The enclosures are constructed using a semi-transparent polycarbonate material, which is halogen free; ventilation sockets have been designed to allow heat dissipation by air circulation while still maintaining IP32 ingress protection when installed vertically. Various accessories are available, including ventilation plugs and external fastening screws.