Monday, December 27, 2010

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

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

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

The Lasermeter3000XP distance meter can be used within a Zone 1 IIC T4 hazardous (explosive) area. The IP65 design incorporates shock-resistant, antistatic over-mould with interchangeable battery pack and backlit LCD display. It is capable of measuring distances of up to 30m with an accuracy of 3mm. It comes with features such as Pythagoras and area and volume calculations.

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

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

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

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

The owners were reluctant to return to straw bedding but knew from other dairy farmers that sand proves extremely corrosive for most pumps and mixers. Boerge Soerensen from the dairy said: 'Since the Landia pumps and mixers have been installed we not only have a highly efficient, automated system, but we also have not had any problems with the sand in the slurry either.

'Our cows are happy with sand and they reward us with a greatly increased amount of milk - and we have become far more productive without all the daily time-consuming preparatory work on slurry handling,' added Soerensen. Every day, a time-controlled starter activates the mixer in the reception pit and ensures that it is drained to a designated level.

Soerensen said: 'The automatic slurry handling required an additional GBP3,000, but compared to our old manually operated facilities, I actually consider the investment cost-neutral because of the work reduction. 'And this does not include the savings on equipment and maintenance we will make by investing in Landia's pumps and mixers that can cope with sand for far longer than most,' Soerensen added.

In total, the Soerensen dairy farm now includes: one 0.75kW submersible pump, which pumps wastewater from the pump-well in the milking centre into the slurry channel by the reception facilities; one 15.0 submersible pump that is installed in the reception pit at the end of the milking centre's slurry channel - this pumps slurry and wastewater from the milking centre into the cross-channel of the cowshed.

The cross-channel is placed at one of the end walls in the cowshed and crosses the scraping channel outlets. The farm also includes: one 15.0kW submersible pump and one 7.5kW mixer installed in the reception pit at the end of the cowshed and one 18.5kW submersible pump in a new storage tank. This pump is removable and used between the two storage tanks for either mixing or filling of a slurry truck prior to distribution.

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

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

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

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

As with all Hima systems, the TMC system benefits from open, manufacturer-independent standards that enable easy integration into any automation environment. The Hima solution features all essential TMC functions, including: counter modules for regulating the rotation speed; analogue output modules for all control functions; multitasking fixed cycle times for specific applications; and the ability to modify the hardware and software during operation.

Another feature is the non-reactive separation of safety and standard functions. This allows both time-critical applications (for example, turbine machinery control systems) with non-time-critical plant areas (for example, burner management systems) on a single, centralised Himax system.

In contrast to conventional TMC systems, the diagnostic and protective functions run in parallel on Himax. Thanks to the system's high diagnostic capability, a maintenance technician can quickly assess potential problems. With its modular structure and scalability with respect to coverage, redundancy and SIL classification, the TMC system can be tailored to individual requirements.

This is said to result in a high degree of future compatibility and investment security, which can lead to reduced Capex/Opex. Through co-operation with Elliott Turbomachinery, Hima can help satisfy customer mechanical reconstruction requirements during the retrofit of turbo machines. Hima is responsible for remodelling the controllers and electrical systems, while Elliot oversees mechanical systems reconstruction.

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

With this decentralised system, the only tasks remaining with the central process control system are control and status monitoring, resulting in savings in overall system project costs and improved transparency in system operation. The integration via the AS-i fieldbus means that the advantages of decentralised automation can be utilised to the full. All that is required for power supply, feedback and communication is a two-wire cable connecting the PLC with up to 62 valves.

Each process valve is individually connected to the main compressed air supply line installed in the field, whereby these connections are kept as short as possible. This reduces the number and length of tube and cable connections, as well as the number of required control cabinets to a minimum. An additional benefit is that the colour status indicators of the valves can be clearly seen from anywhere in the plant, further improving the transparency of the process. The status of each individual valve can thus be checked onsite, even from a distance.

Moreover, as the process valves can be manually operated through the pilot valves at the control head, the operation of the machine is made even simpler. The reliability and efficiency of the of the decentralised automation system for production and auxiliary functions at the beverage plant, has resulted in the decentralised control model being applied to new sections installed to further expand production facilities for additives.

Today, the raw product intake unit, the homogenisation and pasteurisation station and the raw product distribution system are equipped with intelligent process valves from Burkert. Angle seat and diaphragm valves control the flow of cleaning media, including acid, alkaline and water, as well as the steam and sterile air supply. All the valves are equipped with an Element clean-line control head with integrated automation functions and AS-interfaces for communication via fieldbus.

'For the extension of the plant, we were able to pursue the decentralised automation concept across the entire system, using our intelligent valve systems,' said Sebastian Kundel, segment manager hygienic processing at Burkert. 'As the operating and maintenance staff were already familiar with the fieldbus system and the connecting and wiring concept, the new plant sections could be commissioned without any difficulties. 'The practical integration at field level of automation functions in the pneumatic drivers of the process valves allows for a high degree of automation at minimum costs and ensures excellent transparency.

'Thanks to the modular design of the valve systems, customised automation solutions can be devised easily and quickly. 'This is due to the fact that Burkert offers not only process valves, but also digital electro-pneumatic positioners and process controllers that can be combined in the same manner to provide complete control valve systems,' he added. The intelligent valves units used at the drinks plant comprise a valve actuator and control head. They are manufactured according to the EHEDG guidelines for hygienic design and easy cleaning.

The valve units feature the high IP protection required for the actual application and are manufactured exclusively from detergent-proof materials. The IP protection is therefore not affected by long-term use under conditions of high air humidity, or by frequent cleaning with aggressive chemicals. This is especially beneficial to valve nodes, as there is often a problem of detergent solution or water escaping through valve leakage, resulting in frequent cleaning of the immediate area to ensure consistent plant hygiene. A further key feature of the Burkert intelligent valves, which ensures reliable, trouble-free operation, is the provision of an integrated control air inlet to the actuator chambers.

This ensures that the spring chamber of the pneumatic driver is supplied only with clean control air. Moisture, dust and contaminants in the ambient air cannot enter the actuator units and this, in turn, effectively prevents contamination of the piston seals and corrosion of the drive springs by cleaning solutions. This design means that there is also no risk of moisture from the spring chamber entering the feedback module or the control head along the spindle extension.

It also prolongs the service life of the driver and enhances the hygiene of the process. As product cannot enter the driver, both the spreading of germs and contamination of the driver by mould are effectively prevented. The risk of spores produced in the spring chamber being ejected into the ambient air at each switching process, which is a common problem with conventional valves, is thus eliminated.

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

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

By definition the pinion has fewer teeth (or threads) and is normally the driving member, and the driven member is a face-type gear resembling a spiral bevel or hypoid gear. Spiradrive gears are unusual in that, unlike other forms of gearing such as spur, helical and bevel gears, their design does not involve the use of standard involute tooth shapes and conventional tooth pitch sizes such as diametral pitch (DP) and metric modular pitch (Mod).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

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

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

The Banshee343 ultrasonic gas leak detector only triggers an alarm when inaudible ultrasound is detected (between 25-100kHz), which is only produced with the release of highly pressurised gas. This makes for reliable and efficient performance by the detection system as there is no poisoning of sensors, it never requires field calibration and all background noise is effectively filtered. The analogue, relay or Modbus outputs can communicate directly with any existing plant control system (DCS, PL/PLC, FireandGas panel or SCADA).

The Banshee343 also offers features such as: factory tuned sensors that are calibrated for life; four piezoelectric sensor heads sealed in a tough ceramic housing; no moving parts; a wider and more reliable coverage area - 20m radius, about 1,600m2 from centre; wide operational temperature; and the Soniccal diagnostic system, which automatically cleans the sensor head and gives a 'true' ultrasonic broadband self-test every 15 minutes to confirm continuous operation.

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

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

Additional models also available in the line include submersible versions for level measurement and a Tri-Clamp version for food processing, among others. Winters' pressure transmitters are available in vacuum to 10,000psi pressure ranges and come with 0.25 per cent and 0.5 per cent accuracy ratings. They are available in two- and three-wire electrical output configurations and a wide range of mechanical and electrical connections.

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

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

'Solidworks enabled the Adlens engineering team to experiment with designs that would balance precision and ruggedness. 'Structural integrity and durability are significant considerations for us. 'Rwanda, where we are working with the Ministry of Health to provide our spectacles, has a wide range of environmental conditions.
'The lenses and adjuster mechanisms are designed and tested to cope with the harsh conditions they will be subjected to.

'Solidworks enabled us to evaluate new designs quickly and easily. 'We used the 3D data to visualise concepts, create rapid prototypes and produce finished components, and Solidworks was particularly helpful in understanding the interaction of each component in the product. 'We're putting much more functionality than usual into a pair of spectacles with the adjustable lenses, seals and mechanisms, which are assemblies of complex, precision components. 'Fitting them together optimally was critical,' he added.

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

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

The board also features an on-board real-time processing FPGA device that can be configured to offload and accelerate the most compute-intensive part of typical image-processing applications without generating additional data traffic for the host computer. Matrox Radient eCL supports 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows XP/Vista and Linux, and is programmed with the field-proven, hardware-independent Matrox Imaging Library (MIL) or MIL-Lite development toolkits.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During assembly, an end section is secured in place with a single dowel screw and a patented spring clip reliably secures consecutive pieces without the requirement for further machining. Finally, a second end section is fitted and secured in place with a further dowel screw. The matching 18-tooth pinion is mounted via double ball-bearings in a housing that is neatly secured to the underside of the moving carriage plate. A coupling module is attached to the pinion housing and the pinion's keyed shaft engages with the coupling set contained within.

The housing is adjusted to eliminate backlash before being fixed securely in position. It is machined according to requirements for the purpose of attaching the drive motor. The only maintenance required is the application of a few drops of light oil to the pinion housing, which contains a pair of felt discs for transferring the lubricant to the pinion. The rack and pinion drive system is designed for applications with a driving force of up to 1,000N, maximum motor torque of 23Nm and for speeds of up to 3m/s.

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

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

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

Commissioned by members of the Engineering and Machinery Alliance (EAMA), with support from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) members, the study confirms UK manufacturers have invested significantly less in modern manufacturing technologies than their counterparts in mainland Europe. As a result, many UK companies are not as competitive as they could be. Despite the fact that manufacturing continues to be an important contributor to the UK economy and provides a significant level of the country's exports, the report shows that UK manufacturing has fallen a long way behind its European competitors.

For example, Germany has an installed base of 144,800 industrial robots and Spain 28,600, whereas the UK records only 15,100. The growth required, based on sustainable businesses investing in automation, could help rebalance the economy and generate future prosperity within the UK. Automating manufacturing processes not only drives costs down, it improves quality, reduces waste and optimises energy use. Nigel Platt, sales and marketing manager for ABB Robotics in the UK and Ireland, said: 'Comparing UK companies with similar businesses in Europe has highlighted our comparative weakness in automation.

'Our survey has identified several main barriers to adoption in the UK, including a lack of awareness, reluctance to risk investment and a general shortage of engineering skills at apprentice, technician and engineer level. 'Taking these as a starting point, our report provides some key recommendations for moving forward, with a suggested programme to raise awareness, initiatives to encourage uptake by reducing risk and measures to strengthen the UK's skills base,' he added.

To help assist in promoting the benefits of automation to UK companies, the UK government has also provided GBP600,000 to help fund a two-year automation and robotic programme being developed and run by EAMA and BARA. The programme will better prepare companies to introduce new automated/robotic systems and help them increase productivity, reduce waste and increase precision in their manufacturing process.

In addition to supporting the automation and robotics programme, BARA with the assistance of members including ABB Robotics, and other trade bodies such as the Food and Drink Federation, the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association and other EAMA members, is also implementing a regional events programme to help SMEs to understand the benefits of automation. ABB's involvement in the study is the latest in its drive to promote greater awareness of the benefits that robots can deliver in industrial manufacturing processes.

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

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

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

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

'Swift return on investment is assured, making Flir infrared cameras highly cost-effective,' Farrelly added. Insteng, with its focus on process control and automation, is said to be well placed to maximise the potential of the Flir fixing infrared cameras. Farrelly said: 'These cameras provide a means of constantly assessing and reviewing the more sensitive areas of industry.

'Customers recognise how beneficial thermal imaging can be in this regard and the demand for this technology is now substantial,' he added. Insteng is also able to add value to the supply of Flir thermal imaging cameras. For many years, its certified thermographers have provided an on-site infrared inspection service, experience that now enables Insteng to offer training and comprehensive post-sale support to its infrared customers.

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

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

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

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

Typically the housing is of stainless steel, providing high levels of protection against the operational environment. RDP offers ranges of LVDTs for many types of accurate displacement measurement.

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

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

It is to be held on the following dates and locations: 21-24 March 2011, Dusseldorf, Germany; 2-5 May 2011, Austin, Texas; 26-29 September 2011, Dusseldorf, Germany; and 17-20 October, Austin, Texas. Enhanced device descriptions improve user experience and usability of field devices with DD-enabled host applications. Attendees will receive the knowledge needed to improve their device's asset-management system integration by using a device description based on the EDDL, IEC61804-3, through use of the detailed HCF DDL specification HCF Spec-500.

The instructor will provide developers with a step-by-step process for building a device description that can be used across all DD-enabled host platforms. This one-on-one instructional environment will help developers understand EDDL and the true capabilities. All registrants learn to develop a device description using the latest HCF development tools - Device Description-Integrated Development Environment (DD-IDE). DD-IDE is included in the workshop fee.

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

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

This data can then be managed by open data storage applications such as Oracle, SQL, MySQL, Test Files/CSV and Excel. OPC Data Logger is designed for a range of applications where a full-featured historian is not required or practical for the application. Wizard-driven configuration dialogs make set-up and customisation quick and easy, according to Software Toolbox. The use of native drivers for connections to Oracle, MySQL and SQL Server ensures reliable performance when logging to these open, industry-standard databases.

Additional features include triggered start or stop of logging functions based on timers, events or other user-defined conditions. OPC Data Logger runs as a service for unattended operation and supports all current and previous Windows operating systems ranging from Windows 2000 to Server 2008 R2 (x86 and x64 versions).

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

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

It is also suitable for other applications, including natural gas wellheads, burners or ovens, cooling systems, HVAC and more. McCrometer said Wafer-Cone technology requires virtually no maintenance, offering cost-of-ownership advantages over traditional DP technologies such as the orifice plate. The beta edge of an orifice plate wears down over time, which requires maintenance to maintain accuracy. For maintenance, orifice plate meters require either a bypass line around the meter or shutting down the gas compressor when pulling the orifice plate out of the line to perform maintenance.

The Wafer-Cone flowmeter relies on differential pressure sensing technology that is designed with built-in flow conditioning. It achieves an accuracy of +1.0 per cent with a repeatability of +0.1 per cent, and operates over a flow range of 10:1. The Wafer-Cone is said to reduce the required amount of meter straight-run pipe for installation as compared with technologies such as orifice plates and turbine meters. McCrometer said it is highly accurate with only 0-3 straight upstream pipe diameters and 0-1 straight downstream pipe diameters.

Its ability to self-condition flow makes it a space-saver, allowing for a reduction of the overall footprint and weight of compressor skids to lower installation costs. With flow conditioning built into the basic flow sensor design, the Wafer-Cone flowmeter is also said to be more accurate within a shortened pipe run than traditional DP instruments. It conditions fluid flow to provide a stable flow profile that increases accuracy. The Wafer-Cone's design features a centrally-located cone inside a tube, which interacts with the fluid flow and reshapes the velocity profile to create a lower-pressure region immediately downstream.

The pressure difference exhibited between the static line pressure and the low pressure created downstream of the cone can be measured via two pressure-sensing taps. One tap is placed slightly upstream of the cone and the other is located downstream of the cone. The pressure difference can then be incorporated into a derivation of the Bernoulli equation to determine the fluid flow rate. The cone's central position in the line optimises the velocity of the liquid flow at the point of measurement and forms very short vortices as the flow passes the cone. These short vortices create a low-amplitude, high-frequency signal for good signal stability, resulting in a highly stable flow profile that is repeatable for continuous accurate measurement.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

There are many other examples of projects where William Hughes has worked with its customers to manufacture to a high quality and at a low cost using its high-capacity production plant. The William Hughes product range includes compression springs, tension springs, wire forms, PCB test points and spring wire. The company performs stringent quality checks to ISO 9001:2008 and TS 16949.

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

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

Glacier X therefore gives customers the ability to make low light level spectroscopic measurements without the need for larger, more expensive spectrometer systems. The combination of temperature cooling and regulation, together with a compact form factor also make Glacier X a suitable for OEM system integrators.

Monday, December 20, 2010

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

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

A separate earth-conductor terminal on the hood enables the use of connectors with higher-rated voltages and currents. Connectors suited to use with the new hoods include the Han Q 4/2 with crimp and axial screw termination, the Han Q 8/0 with crimp and Han-Quick Lock termination, the Han Q 17/0 with crimp termination and the Han Q Data RJ 45.

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

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

Ocean Blue said porting its software range to this next generation of media processor SoCs will result in a solution well suited for connected TV products. Voyager MHEG is compliant with DTG Freeview software standards and Ocean Blue also offers MHEG profiles for Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

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

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

Additional features for this product include an intuitive user interface and one-step recording from the EPG, as well as a content manager to display full listings of recorded content irrespective of the media chosen.

Friday, December 17, 2010

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

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

One typical application is the automation of surface-treatment procedures such as sanding, polishing, smoothing, stripping, cleaning and deburring. The sensitive handling of the workpiece is of decisive importance in this regard, as the danger of damage to the processed material as a result of uncontrolled contact pressure is especially great. The gentle application of force by the Active Contact Flange also enables the bonding, joining, examination and testing of surfaces, and guarantees quality results.

This also applies to complex assembly applications, for example within moving vehicle passenger compartments on automotive industry production lines, as well as automatic machine handling and the accurate pick and place of sensitive objects. Available as a turnkey product and an individual system solution, the Active Contact Flange is on offer as a turnkey product solution, which comes with a modern KEBA control unit and can be employed immediately for universal applications.

Numerous possibilities for individual supplements are available. The program logic can be quickly and simply extended in the IEC program language. As a result of common communications interfaces and the standardised flange connection, quick and straightforward integration into existing control systems is guaranteed. Data concerning the actual force, position and contact situation is provided on a permanent basis. Therefore, a comprehensive process parameter logging is secured.

Separate process and quality controls are superfluous, as all working phases are entirely reproducible. Systems solutions that can be customised to match the respective application are also on offer and are fitted with proven KEBA control systems. Scalable hardware, an individually adjustable HMI, including visualisation and comprehensive robotic features, facilitate simple integration into existing control systems and standalone operation without superordinated controls. A set of automation components permits the rapid and easy design of manifold automation solutions.

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

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

All power supplies hold worldwide approvals for use anywhere. All models are din-rail mountable and simple to install. Recessed input and output screw terminals give protection from accidental contact. The range also includes 12 and 48V models.

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

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

The seals are manufactured from NBR, EPDM, FKM and Silicone compounds to form metal-detectable O-rings, sanitary gaskets and other moulded seals. Particle sizes as small as 2mm can be readily detected. As well as offering FDA compliance for the food and pharmaceutical industries, and 3A Class 1 (sanitary standard 18-03) compliance for the dairy, food and other hygiene-sensitive industries, these seals can be used as part of a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) programme.

These procedures identify potential hazards so that key actions can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of hazards being realised. The seals are available in blue or black for easy product identification and offer extended lifetime performance. The seals operate over a temperature range of -60 to 220C and can be used in a variety of applications.

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

A preliminary design solution generator generates a set of solutions within specified ranges and finds correlation between design parameters and performance. In addition, a design space explorer module visualises results and helps make the optimal design selection. Axstream 3.0 also enables faster design time, resulting in engineering time savings. An upgraded preliminary design module allows users to search for multiple optimal solutions and take into account various geometrical constraints, including the overall flow path length. Multi-window viewing ensures control of different stages of the design process.

Axflow, an integrated 3D CFD solver, allows time savings on pre- and post-processing and overcomes inter-format data conversion challenges. Axstream 3.0 allows visualisation of data using the integrated profiling and 3D blade design modules that enable real-time blade surface control. To familiarise engineers with the latest Axstream updates and accelerate speed of learning, Softinway offers classroom-based and online training.

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

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

'3D geometric search goes beyond traditional metadata and keyword searching, creating a unique geometric signature for every CAD model, comparing that signature across 10s of thousands of models and delivering instant results displayed in an intuitive and visual manner,' said Andy Sherlock, chief executive officer at Shapespace. James Byrne, chief technical officer at Aessis, added: 'Until now, only the human eye has been able to determine if two part designs were the same.

'As new products are designed, the problem continues to build, resulting in the creation of massive part inventories for what is often the very same part. '3D geometric search embedded in the PLM system changes all that by automatically classifying part items and integrating duplicate analysis into the change and release workflows so every part is analysed for reuse before it is released.

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

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

As an aid to use in hard-to-reach locations, they incorporate a convenient pre-hold function that automatically initiates a test when clamped round an electrode and then holds the reading for easy review when the test is complete. DET14C and DET24C earth-resistance clamp testers are powered by standard AA batteries. Battery life is said to be exceptional - with a 25ohm load, for example, up to 24 hours of continuous testing can easily be obtained from a single set of batteries.

Both models offer auto ranging, high and low alarms, automatic self-calibration and internal memory, which allows results to be recorded and reviewed. Results stored in memory are automatically date and time stamped. In addition, a display backlight along with hold key that produces an audible tone when pressed, make it easy to use the instruments even in areas where lighting is poor or access is restricted. The DET24C adds an optically isolated USB interface that allows it to be connected to a PC and it can calculate the maximum, minimum and average values of periodic measurements.

It is compatible with Megger's data capture and analysis software packages PowerDB and PowerDB Lite, which provide a consistent platform for handling, archiving and reporting on data from power test instruments of all types. Megger's DET14C and DET24C earth-resistance clamp testers are supplied complete with carrying case, calibration loop, batteries and a user guide. Additionally supplied with the DET24C models are a USB interface and copy of the PowerDB Lite software package.

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

Formulated as a medium-to-heavy duty grinding oil, Trim OG223 can also be used to machine all materials, including yellow metals, in high-pressure applications. This low-odour product contains a good extreme-pressure additive package for efficient metal removal. Its hydrocracked base oil is responsible for a very high flash-point and low-misting characteristics. Trim OG223 is low foaming, exhibits good oxidation stability and is fully compatible with copper-containing alloys. Designed to be used neat, Trim OG223 is available in 204-litre drums, 1,000-litre IBCs or in bulk quantities.

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

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

Other specifications include: input impedance 1megaohm in parallel with 0.9pF; measuring range +/-8V; attenuation 10:1 +/-5 per cent; cable length 1.3m; weight (probe only) 96g. The probe heads have a T-shaped cross-section that allows them to be stacked side by side, closely enough to probe adjacent pins of a 0.1in IC package.

The probes are supplied with an accessory pack consisting of: low-inductance ground blade; assorted ground leads; L-In adapter; Z-Ground, two adhesive copper pads, two pico hooks, replacement solid and sprung tips, 0.8mm socket adapter and coloured cable markers. A universal mains power supply is also included. The Tetris 1GHz and 1.5GHz probes are covered by Pico Technology's free two-year parts and labour warranty against manufacturing faults.

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

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

A prerequisite for all BOAS-accredited personnel is to complete this refresher course every five years. The course will include the re-assessment examination and an oral interview. The 2011 training brochure details the full range of courses covering the latest legislation and aspects of the design, operation and maintenance of steam systems.

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

Employing PDF3D geometric tolerance based PRC encoding, Acrobat and Adobe Reader X-compatible 3D generation is available with immediate effect. Coupled with the latest viewing platform, PDF3D documents may now be protected for more secure environments, while allowing full 3D interactive menus, animation and annotations following ISO-24517-1:2008 PDF/Engineering draft standard. The security of 'Protected Mode' helps safeguard software and data from potentially malicious attacks. Comments, notes and review feedback can be saved to file as highlighted bubbles, sticky notes or highlighted text on any PDF page and distributed to remote members of a review team.

PDF3D generates 3D PDFs using the PDF3D Reportgen desktop application or with PDF3D-SDK (Software Development Kit) on Windows and Linux 64-bit platforms serving the needs of technical, scientific, aerospace, general machinery, automotive and manufacturing communities, as rich 3D PDF documents with Adobe Reader X-compatible compression enable expanded workflows, make new applications possible and extend the reach to remote enterprise teams and clients.

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

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

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

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

The FPC-08W05 has a thickness of 42mm and weighs 1.27kg. It is easy to customise colours, modules and specifications. Using Vesa-standard 75 x 75 hook wall accessories, the compact FPC-08W05 can be easily mounted on walls or integrated as an HMI, food service panel PC or POS/kiosk display system. It can also withstand industrial operating environments, with temperatures between -10C to +60C. It has +12V~28V wide voltage input supporting over-current and surge protection and the front panel is compliant with IP65.

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

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

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

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

The Linkzero-LP device automatically restarts when a load is detected. Linkzero-LP is based on the Linkswitch-LP family of ICs, which is used in mobile phone chargers and other low-power charger/adapter applications. Linkzero-LP enables power supplies with fewer than 20 external components. The device is backward-compatible with existing Linkswitch-LP designs, enabling quick, easy conversion to zero-no-load with no increase in component count.

Suitable for low-cost clamp-less designs, Linkzero-LP exhibits tight IC parameter tolerances, which improves system manufacturing yield. An extended creepage distance in the SO-8C package, plus an integrated 700V Mosfet with hysteretic thermal shutdown protection, further improves system field reliability. Moreover, the 100kHz operating frequency minimises charger size, and frequency jittering reduces the cost of EMI filtering.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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

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

The addition of line five T-slots facilitates the addition of partitions and other attachments. If there is no horizontal profile to attach the shelf to, then a Shelf Adapter Set is available so the shelf can be used even on constructions that are not made from Item aluminium profiles. The shelves are capable of supporting loads of up to 500N and are available direct from Machine Building Systems's stock.


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

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

Previously only found in advanced military image-processing technology, it automatically optimises the brightness and contrast of an image, making it easier to analyse detailed objects. Applications for a general-purpose infrared camera can now also include research and development tasks.

This is possible as features that were once solely the preserve of the most expensive cameras are starting to be incorporated into less sophisticated models. For example, image streaming is now available in mid-range cameras. This means, for example, the user can watch a process at start-up and acquire radiometric data at a reasonable speed. Periodic storage allows snapshots to be taken at pre-determined intervals, allowing the camera to act as a watchman for a variety of applications.

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

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

Furthermore, a hydraulic pump and motor ensure it is easy to use. Ben Varley, operations manager of Metal and Waste Recycling, said: 'We chose Thorworld because it was able to offer the complete package from initial design right through to installation. 'Thorworld's team guided us through the whole process ensuring that every element met our exact requirements. 'The dock leveller has made the process of loading the lorries by forklift much easier,' he added.

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

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

Measurement Studio 2010 is said to deliver improved development productivity for user-interface development with the introduction of integrated code snippets for user-interface control classes. Developers using Visual C# and Visual Basic .NET can use supplied code snippets to speed development time and more easily customise Measurement Studio user interface controls.

Measurement Studio also supports the latest data acquisition and instrument control devices and technologies, including Ethernet-based NI CompactDAQ and X Series for USB, helping engineers shorten application development time with built-in hardware libraries and configuration assistants. Combined with Measurement Studio, NI data acquisition devices are designed for performance, offering advanced I/O capabilities, measurement accuracy and software flexibility on USB, PCI, PXI, Ethernet and wireless buses.

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

However, the requirement at Thorlabs mainly involves drilling and tapping hundreds of locating holes in large-scale optical tables/optical breadboards. This is why the new machine is equipped with what Harry Southan, quality and process improvement manager, describes as a 'wine rack' holding imperial and metric multi-tool drilling and tapping heads, each weighing 15kg. This tool cradle is located on one end of the machine table, with a change of multi-tool head taking around 30sec under full CNC control.

Optical tables/optical breadboards must provide a rigid and vibration-free base for experiments that could be adversely affected by small vibrations, while also allowing optical equipment to be mounted and positioned with a high degree of accuracy. According to Thorlabs, the best overall performance of an optical table is achieved by a sandwich of clad metal honeycomb, which can be up 310mm in thickness, with the 6mm thick top plate (or breadboard) drilled and tapped in an imperial or metric grid pattern.

'The new bridge mill has since given us the performance that we were looking for when machining mainly stainless steel and some aluminium and, less frequently, non-magnetic steel, which is a lot tougher to machine,' said Southan, 'We have also achieved optimum drilling speeds, although tapping is currently a limiting factor,' he said. 'However, we are switching from 4- to 8-bit tapping heads, which weigh 22kg, to virtually half the time currently taken to tap the drilled holes,' he added.

XYZ BRM CNC bridge mills are designed for light to medium milling applications and, having a substantial fabricated rather than cast structure, weigh and cost considerably less than traditional designs of heavy-duty bridge mill. Their design also eliminates the need for special foundations, minimising installation time, requiring less floor space and providing a high-performance alternative to a router.

XYZ contributed applications assistance throughout the project, which included extending the X-axis travel specification of a standard BRM machine, implementing the multi-tool head-change system and installing wall-mounted, pneumatically operated pusher systems that ensure the plates/boards are positioned flat to the machine table prior to final clamping and machining.

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

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

Improvements to the handling and alignment of point clouds make it easier to deal with the large data sets generated when using laser-line probes. Emphasis on critical areas of the part alignment can now be carried out by selecting the desired region of the point cloud and associating it to the CAD. This allows priority to be given to the selected regions of the point cloud rather than treating every point equally, thus giving more control over the alignment.

Points from geometric measurements can now be converted into surface-inspection points, allowing them to be used in the inspection of the size and location. This enhancement also allows the existing geometric strategies to be used for surface inspections, so reducing the amount of time spent measuring and allowing for more detailed, consistent and cost-effective inspection routines.

Increased capabilities in CAD formats mean that more and more data is becoming available to the inspector in these files. GD and T is the most common model-based definition format and Powerinspect now supports GD and T in Unigraphics, as well as the previous support for GD and T in CATIA. This lets the user create GD and T items directly from CAD. Improved handling of the tree structure in Catia files has also been implemented, allowing for easier navigation of the CAD data within assemblies.

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

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

In June, ASI announced the Model 600 Handheld Data Collector with the new, larger high-resolution screen, robust image-import capabilities that incorporate detailed on-screen instructions and clarify complex auditing routines, USB interface and enhanced features for torque auditing and management. The 600 can be equipped with additional digital interfaces that support direct connectivity to hundreds of standard gauges, calipers and other precision measurement devices.

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

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

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

In addition, the standard provides optional test requirements - all of which have been met by Safescape Elite - for use in wet conditions. Like all descender and lifting devices, Safescape Elite is intended for use only by appropriately trained persons. The position and design of the hand wheel reduces swaying during lifting, while an integral centrifugal brake ensures that descent is smooth, vibration free and, at 1m/s, rapid. The device also has an operating temperature range of -30 to 60C, allowing it to be used in all climatic conditions.

The Safescape Elite features robust construction and is manufactured throughout from materials that are highly resistant to corrosion and degradation. As a result, re-certification is required only after seven years, reducing out-of-service time and total cost of ownership. In addition, where Safescape Elite is used for training purposes, re-certification is only needed after descents totalling 3,000m have been accumulated. Ideal for use in rescue situations on wind turbines, antennas, high-voltage transmission towers and cranes, Safescape Elite from Miller by Sperian is offered in three versions: without hand wheel, with hand wheel and with both hand wheel and ladder bracket.

A range of accessories is available, including rescue rope grabs, telescopic reach poles, work-positioning lanyards and edge protectors. Sperian also offers complete rescue kits that include a Safescape Elite with hand wheel and ladder adaptor, an 80m rope, anchorage slings, karabiners, a pulley, an edge protector and a T-bar. All of the items that make up this kit are contained in a waterproof rescue bag.

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

This construction reduces the motor's size, allowing it to sit underneath the fan in the space currently required for the gearbox element of a conventional power-transmission system. Latest product additions extend the power rating of the motors to delivers maximum torques of up to 13,500Nm. In total there are now 26 choices of ratings available, spanning a drive-power range from 7.5kW at 500rpm base speed to 187kW at 130rpm base speed, allowing optimum choices to be made for a very wide range of cooling applications from building heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to the large sizes of cooling tower fans used in many heavy-duty processing plants and power generating stations.

Air cooling towers are commonly used as part of HVAC systems, in which large fans pull air over a water-soaked media to cool the water before it is returned to the chiller unit. The most common technique for driving such fans has been a standard AC-induction motor, connected to the fan via a drive shaft and disc-coupling arrangement into a right-angle gearbox, which reduces the motor's speed to the range required for fan circulation. Such arrangements are prone to a number of drawbacks: the gearbox runs at high speed and requires regular inspection and maintenance of the lubrication and seals; misalignments in the power transmission system can cause vibration, wear and noise; and the complex power transmission system introduces significant energy losses.

Baldor's VS1 Cooling Tower Drive provides a direct slow-speed drive for the fans combined with variable speed control that is optimised for the building-cooling application. By eliminating the drive shaft and gearbox, the system minimises moving parts, greatly improving reliability and power efficiency, as well as reducing system bill-of-materials. The interior permanent magnet-synchronous motor design uses energy-efficient technology that, in combination with the elimination of the gearbox and drive-train transmission losses, results in a more efficient system compared to conventional fixed-speed designs.

Additional significant energy savings can be gained by being able to operate the fan at reduced speeds during non-peak load conditions. The direct drive also greatly reduces noise and eliminates the issue of cooling tower water becoming contaminated from leaky gearboxes. It is controlled by a Baldor VS1 drive with a specially developed speed-control algorithm. Variable speed control of fans can save an enormous amount of energy compared with older fixed-speed systems. Baldor's algorithm provides sensorless control of the permanent magnet motor that is optimised to manage the large inertia of the fan, with a low starting current requirement.

The motor is a synchronous type from Baldor's RPM family, based on permanent magnets. Thanks to dramatic improvements in the magnetic and thermal properties of permanent magnet materials in recent years this technology now represents a viable alternative to conventional AC induction motors and delivers a significant energy efficiency advantages - even compared with the latest premium-efficiency types of motor. Laminated frame technology is used in the design, eliminating the conventional cast iron outer frame of large AC motors and allowing more room for active (torque-producing) magnetic material.

This produces a highly torque-dense motor, allowing Baldor to also offer the technology to the cooling tower retrofit market, for installation in the same space currently used for the gearbox. The motor will provide continuous constant torque over its entire range from zero up to base speed, and employs optimum pole construction to maximise both efficiency and power factor. A high degree of protection is an important factor for this application, as the operating environment is extremely humid.

An epoxy compound insulation applied via vacuum pressure impregnation - a technique derived from a system originally developed for Navy applications - is used for the stator windings. The drive end of the motor is also protected by a metallic, non-contacting, no-wearing, Inpro labyrinth shaft seal in combination with a slinger cover to prevent the ingress of moisture and contamination into the motor.

The drive system is now available in nominal power ratings from 7.5 to 187kW, 500 to 130rpm base speed, to drive cooling fans from typically 2.1 to 8 metres in diameter. The motor flange footprint is designed to interchange with gear reducers that are widely used in today's global cooling-tower market. Adding a foot mounting adapter plate is a simple means of fitting the motor in other gearbox footprints.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

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

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

Another feature is contrast optimisation, which automatically optimises the brightness and contrast of an image, making it easier to analyse detailed objects. Applications for a general-purpose infrared camera can now also include research and development tasks. This is possible as features that were previously only available on the most expensive cameras are beginning to be incorporated into less sophisticated models. For example, image streaming is now available in mid-range cameras.

This means, for example, the user can watch a process at start-up and acquire radiometric data at a reasonable speed. In other words, a predictive maintenance camera can also be used for some research tasks. Periodic storage is another example, Flir said. This allows snapshots to be taken at predetermined intervals, allowing the camera to act as a watchman for a variety of applications.