Friday, July 09, 2010

The Flexpower system from Banner Engineering combines low-power sensors, long-lasting batteries, solar panels and wireless I/O devices to allow wireless operation of remote applications. The no-wire solution is designed for applications where wired power is either not available or impractical. Power is generated by lithium D cell batteries or a solar connector and rechargeable battery combination that require an average of two hours of sunlight per day to power a 4-20mA loop.

Flexpower is said to provide reliable, autonomous power sufficient to operate a range of sensors and the remote node of Banner's DX80 industrial wireless network. Applications for wireless sensing and control include: agriculture - irrigation control; monitor steam power plant valve temperatures; pump and flow control; perimeter guarding; tank level monitoring; rotating machinery for auto and other industries; landfill leachate pump counting; material handling; automated guided vehicle control; and vehicle detection.

By powering both sensing and communication functions the modules eliminate the need for any wiring to the installation. Banner Engineering offers a range of photoelectric, ultrasonic and temperature/humidity sensors specially adapted for low power consumption. To limit power use, the sensors are powered only when needed. The DX80 wireless network includes up to 56 remote nodes connecting to a central gateway. The gateway provides Modbus connectivity to PLC or other control units.

Frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) technology and time division multiple access (TDMA) control architecture combine to ensure reliable data delivery within the unlicensed industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) band. Additional data radio units can be installed as repeaters to extend transmission range up to 3km per radio hop using 2.4GHz DX80 devices.
Ilix Launches Cutting Tools Catalogue For 2010

Cutting tool brand Ilix Precision has launched its 2010 catalogue, which features products for drilling, threading and reaming that are now available to UK engineers. Ilix describes itself as a true solid round precision-cutting tool brand with a product range of more than 50,000 items in HSS, HSSE, HSSE-PM, solid carbide and cermet. All products are offered with the latest surface-coating technologies.

The 2010 catalogue has a 20 per cent increased programme range of the latest technology for drilling, threading and reaming. The catalogue is also available in 3D format on Ilix's website. The web catalogue is easy to work with and gives instant access to all the Ilix program and technical data.
Ilix Cermet Reamers Are Ideal For Dry Machining

Engineers Cutting Tools, the UK agent for Ilix, has introduced Ilix solid-carbide and cermet reamers for the machining of hard metals. The machine reamers 6372C and 6323 allow the production of high-precision holes with good surface finish. Compared with HSS, the solid-carbide qualities enable the increase of cutting parameters and tool life. The quality of the reamers is said to guarantee high performance, even for hard metals with a resistance more than 1200N/mm2.

The Ilix carbide 6372C range of hundredth reamers is from 0.98mm through to 12.05mm in increments of 0.01mm. The reamers are manufactured to a tolerance of +0.000 - +0.004mm. The cermet reamers 6323 have new cutting geometry developed by Ilix. These reamers are said to be ideal for steel machining, having high chemical stability during the cutting process. They offer good wear resistance due to the high hardness and have low material adhesion.

The Ilix cermet reamer is said to be ideal for dry machining. The results are long tool life, good surface quality and accurate hole size. The Ilix cermet reamer range 6323 starts at 3.0mm through to 20.0mm in full and half sizes.
RFID Transponder Ideal For Medical Applications

Smartrac has expanded its S-Tag product portfolio with an RFID transponder that withstands gamma radiation of up to 45kilogray (kGy) for medical applications where aseptic conditions are compulsory. Sanitising medical equipment with gamma rays is said to offer several benefits. As the irradiation destroys the DNA of any micro-organisms, medical equipment is sanitised reliably. In addition, radiation sterilisation is the only process in which products can be sanitised - including their packaging - as the gamma rays permeate materials and casings such as metal containers easily and without any appreciable increase in temperature.

Compared with heat and chemical sterilisation, irradiation is a fast, easy, effective and environmentally friendly process that leaves no residues on the sanitised objects. The transponder has been developed based on the company's S-Tag product family. Smartrac said its S-Tags are characterised by robustness, high mechanical durability, extended chemical and temperature resistance and compliance with the ISO/IEV 15693 standard.

The new S-Tag has a size of 16mm in diameter and comes with a Fujitsu FRAM chip, which offers low power consumption, good scalability, high-speed writing, long rewriting endurance, long data retention and high-quality communication performance. Due to the ferroelectric characteristics of the chip, the data is in no way affected by the radiation sterilisation process. Optional customer-specific engraving of identification numbers on the tag surface makes the use of additional stickers and barcodes obsolete. Besides medical applications, the S-Tag is also suited for use in aerospace, plant breeding, food irradiation and laundry applications.
Software Module Provides Clear Production Schedule

Gemba Solutions has released the latest expansion to its real-time production efficiency software suite with the launch of a job sequencing module. This module allows a production machine's workload to be sequenced and its performance against that workload to be monitored. Unlike traditional scheduling or planning software, this module calculates realistic job start and end times based on data relating to the demonstrated performance of the user's assets.

This gives a more accurate picture of the user's actual production schedule rather than one based on theoretical/nominal production rates. The user can pre-load the system with jobs and the software will calculate start times and dates based on actual shift availability, planned downtime and demonstrated OEE levels.

The end times that the system calculates will be compared with the due dates/times that the user has entered into the system. Any jobs that will not meet their due date will be highlighted immediately. This means users will get advanced warning of any potential to miss a deadline and will have the opportunity to re-order the jobs, contact the customer and so on, before the problem occurs.
Turn-Mill Cell Increases Machining Productivity

Miyano has revealed that IMI Components has installed a 13-axis turn-milling cell with fully integrated gantry loader to reduce machining times on small components for the energy sector. IMI adopted single-cycle turn-milling to replace four separate CNC turning and milling operations on a range of small components destined for the energy and power generation industry. The 13-axis Miyano ABX-64TH3 turn-milling cell with fully integrated gantry loader is on final commissioning trials and has already reduced total machining times on four critical valves.

Such is the level of increased productivity that for one particular component, three parts can now be produced complete in the previous floor-to-floor time total for one part. As an example of the level of complexity involved, one of the parts has some 100 dimensions that have to be maintained. Here, the Miyano has the advantage of being able to apply the 17 driven tools to carry out the cycle in just one operation - well within the tool-carrying capacity of the ABX's 36 driven positions. 'The Miyano machinery can run for up to 19 hours in an unmanned single-cycle operation against our previous methods, which were operator-dependent with the added lead-time restrictions of part buffering between the different machines,' said Adrian Floyd, engineering manager at IMI.

The Miyano has also saved most of the manual deburring required by combining the process in cycle, setting times have also been reduced from half-a-day to around 30mins for a complete changeover as programs and 95 per cent of tools required for all the components are held permanently on the machine's three turrets. Materials processed at IMI Components vary from magnesium alloys through a range of stainless steels and other exotic alloys to aluminium. With market demand escalating for high-precision, high-integrity products this level of production is set to rise further. The selection of the Miyano ABX-64TH3 was made against three other supplies of multi-axis, turn-mill centres.

The inclusion of Stealth technology, enabling the machine to be thermally efficient and high on accuracy and repeatability due to its ability to be tailored or tuned to the working environment and operational demands, was an important factor in the decision. Also high on the agenda was the level of flexibility available from the two spindles and three, 12-position driven tool turrets to provide overlapped cutting operations and reduce cycle times. Indeed, this is qualified by one component that took 19min to produce using the original four operation method that was reduced to six minutes on the Miyano. 'During quotation stages the volume of parts was constantly shifting upwards and we were becoming concerned that with our existing methods the amount of handling involved through the four machining operations and manual deburring, that even with the greatest care and attention we were susceptible to marking or damaging the components,' Floyd said.

By incorporating a programmable gantry into the cell, IMI can now control part handling as well as dipping the component after machining to prevent any staining. The Miyano is fed from its Iemca gantry system that incorporates a buffer magazine able to store up to 190 billets giving up to 19 hours of unattended running. Both machine and gantry have independent control systems with the software interface created once the cell was installed at the plant. However, all machining programs and job set-up sheets were written by Miyano application engineers in Birmingham along with the supply of a full complement of mostly standard tooling.

Prior to shipment, the machine package was proven to achieve production targets and CPK target values at the Miyano showroom. General tolerances on the aluminium components are within 0.02mm with certain specific dimensions maintained within 0.01mm. As sealing faces and 'O'-ring grooves are required, surface finish below 0.8 micron Ra is high on the requirement list and these are generally maintained by the machine and tooling set-up within 0.5 micron Ra. Operations carried out on the four component types include turning and extensive milling and drilling. Boring cycles, the creation of numerous 'O' ring grooves and sealing faces, drilling of deep holes and reaming are required on all the parts.

Thread milling is also performed to produce M4, M6, M8 and M12 threads and there are several off-centre line hole features, ideal for the Y-axis combination movements of the two upper turrets to allow the holes to accurately break into each other from opposed ends of the part. Important in the application development of the components by Miyano engineers was the focus on maintaining a constant chipping pattern of material rather than creating stringy swarf to ensure unmanned security of operation. With the tool load monitoring set to 50 per cent, this also provides an insurance against tool failure.

'Due to the nature of the material and by including some diamond tools in the set-up, we can take advantage of the rigidity of the machine and are expecting two years or more of cutting life before they will need changing,' Floyd said. The inclusion of a Sheffield Discovery CMM in the cell provides a 3D measuring overview of the levels of positional tolerances. Here, the machine gantry loader has been programmed to place aside a regular selection of parts in order to verify if any drift in tolerance or out-of-position is detected. Later, the plan is to integrate automatic offset shift from the control system on the Miyano using direct feedback from the CMM. One important element in the Miyano is confirmed by Floyd in that the inclusion of Stealth technology will enable the machine to compensate to any thermal changes.

Using Stealth, the machine has been tailored within the control software to suit the working environment, accommodate the heat from the motors, swarf and coolant temperature, which will help maintain production consistency and predictability - vital when running in unmanned situations on critical workpieces. The ABX-64TH3 is powered by a 15kW, 4000rev/min motor in the main spindle and 7.5kW, 5000rev/min in the second spindle. Each of the two upper turrets have +/-40mm of travel as cross-feed in the Y-axis while the lower turret is able to position to either spindle and create an overlap situation.

The 36 powered tool positions have 2.2kW, 6000rev/min available for use on both front and back position of the component in its single-cycle capability. The maximum bar size capacity of the ABX machine is 64mm or in the case of IMI, 6in chucks are employed on each spindle with the gantry initially feeding an aluminium billet to spindle one. The part is then machined and the component automatically exchanged into spindle two for the cycle to continue after the gantry has removed the part for dipping in the cleaning tank prior to returning the finished part to the magazine.
Burkert Discusses Benefits Of Integrated Valves

Decentralised automation systems have become a suitable alternative to control cabinet systems in many process sectors, according to Burkert Fluid Control Systems. This comes as more and more practical solutions are developed that integrate automation functions into the pneumatic actuators of process valves. Food and beverage producers and companies in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors are now in a position to reconcile the commercial necessity of a high degree of automation in their production with the requirements of hygiene and safety.

Thanks to their modular structure, systems based on process valves can be adapted to suit many situations and applications, whereby such optimised solutions are always based on high-quality, tried-and-tested components with a long service life. In the production of food, beverages, medicines and cosmetics, the statutory requirements of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for food processing and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for Food and Drug Administration-compliant processes in the pharmaceutical industry set the most stringent standards as regards cleanliness, safety and product quality. In addition, all processes must be constantly monitored and documented.

At the same time, in an increasingly competitive global environment, companies need to make their production processes as efficient and cost effective as possible. Consequently, there is an ever-increasing demand for automation at the process level. In the field of process valves, conventional automation solutions - including control cabinets with valve terminals, input/output (I/O) systems and fieldbus connections - require extensive and costly tube connections and wiring. With this technology, the valves at field level are connected to the control unit in the control cabinet through a large number of extended pneumatic control lines and discrete feedback connections.

In many cases, long control air lines increase the air consumption and have a negative effect on the switching times of the valves. In addition, apart from the high costs for the planning and installation of such solutions, there are also concerns with regard to hygiene. According to HACCP, every additional control air and feedback line within the production plant is a potential source of contamination and risk and must, therefore, be monitored, serviced and cleaned regularly, which is a costly undertaking. The use of intelligent process valves eliminates these problems, as automation functions - pilot valves, electrical and optical position feedback and fieldbus interfaces - are integrated directly into the actuators of the process valves.

This approach, based on the principle of decentralised automation, minimises the number of cables and compressed-air lines. In addition, the concept is flexible and provides a number of further advantages. With integrated intelligent valve systems, the process control system is only in charge of centralised control and status monitoring. At field level, pneumatically operated process valves are used, which can be equipped with all the required automation components: pilot valves with manual actuation, electrical feedback and optical status indication units, fieldbus interfaces and even positioners and process controllers. Plants based on such decentralised automation systems are, therefore, working with complete intelligent valve systems.

By integrating an AS interface as a fieldbus interface, the entire range of advantages of the intelligent valve approach can be fully utilised. All that is required for power supply, feedback and communications is a two-wire connection, interfacing the PLC with up to 62 valves. Each process valve is connected directly to the main compressed-air supply line in the field, reducing the number and length of tube and cable connections, as well as the number of required control cabinets to a minimum. The valve systems are designed according to the EHEDG guidelines for hygienic design and easy cleaning; they feature the high IP protection required by the actual application and are made of detergent-proof materials.

As a result, they are not affected by prolonged use in environments with high levels of humidity or by frequent cleaning cycles with aggressive chemicals. In comparison with conventional automation solutions, the intelligent valve design delivers real progress in terms of improved hygiene. In addition, there are other advantages in respect of reduced electrical wiring and fewer control air lines. Even prior to commissioning, users benefit from the decentralised concept, as it simplifies project planning and enables more flexible solutions, thanks to the easier integration of the process and automation levels. This also applies to the subsequent installation, commissioning and maintenance.

A clearly visible status indicator integrated into the fitting allows the operator to monitor processes and the operating status of valves, not only at a central point at control level but also directly at the fitting itself. With conventional automation by means of control cabinet solutions, the drivers used in the plant must already be equipped with a device for electrical feedback. Valve systems cater for the integration of pilot valves with manual actuation, optical position indicators and other automation functions inside compact, hygienic and easy-to-clean stainless-steel housings. Depending on the application, users can choose between different equipment and configuration options.

The range of available options includes mechanical limit switches, inductive proximity switches and NAMUR initiators as well as mechanical position indicators and self-teaching limit position feedback modules with inductive linear displacement transducers. At the lower end, decentralised automation based on intelligent valve systems starts with a process valve with integrated electrical feedback, simple optical feedback and an integrated pilot valve. Such systems already eliminate valve terminals in control cabinets. Moving up one step in the modular valve programme, users can benefit from the advantages of decentralised automation.

In addition to the electrical feedback and the pilot valve, these solutions include large-size high-performance colour light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for improved optical feedback, facilitating process monitoring at field level, and an optional AS interface serving as a fieldbus interface, whereby all these features are integrated into the valve system. These systems also integrate an analogue displacement transducer, replacing two conventional initiators or micro switches. The limit position is adjusted automatically, rather than manually, through a teach function. Process valves integrating an intelligent valve design require only minimum space and can, therefore, be installed in the pipeline systems of any plant.

As they are made in resistant materials, they are simple to clean and they provide maximum availability thanks to excellent functional safety. This high level of functional safety is mainly a result of the integrated control air supply to the operator chambers, which ensures that the spring chamber of the pneumatic driver is also supplied exclusively with clean control air. Moisture, dust and contaminants in the ambient air cannot enter the drive units. This, in turn, effectively prevents the contamination of the piston seals and the corrosion of the drive springs caused by cleaning solutions entering the housing.

There is also no risk of moisture entering the feedback module or the control head along the spindle extension. While this prolongs the service life of the driver, this design also has a positive effect on the hygiene of the process. As product cannot enter the driver, both the spreading of germs and contamination of the driver by mould are prevented. There is also no risk of fungal spores produced in the spring chamber being ejected into the ambient air at each switching process, which is a common problem with conventional valves. The actuator housing is flushed with control air at each switching process, as some control air is fed through at the pilot valve.

This process takes less than 10ms and ensures that a slight overpressure is built up in the housing, further improving its IP protection and preventing the penetration of humid air, such as in the event of changes in temperature or when rinsing with cold water. An integrated pressure-relief valve ensures that the pressure in the housing is automatically reduced, if, after several switching processes, it reaches a value of approximately 0.5bar.

Through this combination of control air inlet and release, a constant overpressure is maintained inside the housing, while a certain volume of air is regularly replaced. This ensures that no condensate can build up inside the housing. Systems of the above design can be extended to complete control valve systems by combining them with digital electro-pneumatic positioners and process controllers. The control valves, therefore, meet the same stringent hygiene standards as the process valves. Provision for the ventilation of the spring chamber and the flushing of the control housing are, again, included as standard.
Super-Thermometers Calibrate Thermistors And SPRTs

Electronic test and measurement specialist Fluke has introduced the 1594A/1595A super-thermometers from Hart Scientific for the calibration of SPRTs, PRTs and thermistors. The Fluke 1594A and 1595A super-thermometers are accurate enough for the primary lab, providing accuracy to 0.06ppm (0.000015C), and economical enough for the secondary lab. Fluke said metrologists can feel confident that every measurement made with the super-thermometer falls within expected limits, easy verifiable at any time.

The 1594A and 1595A feature patent-pending ratio self-calibration that enables users to test the accuracy or calibrate the resistance ratio linearity of the super-thermometer's measurement circuit without requiring any external devices or special training. Metrologists can verify accuracy and performance automatically in about 30mins at the touch of a button. Although unlikely, measurement circuit defects would be detected and reported automatically. Users can also calibrate the super-thermometer's internal reference resistors using the resistance calibration function and an external standard resistor.

The super-thermometer assists with the calibration through an easy-to-use setup utility. Once the calibration is complete, the super-thermometer reports the results to the display and provides the option to write the results to a USB memory device. Users can also choose whether or not to adjust the calibration parameters of the internal reference resistor by pressing the password-protected adjust resistor function key. Measurement noise is caused by electrical noise and other random errors that can negatively influence measurement accuracy. Patent-pending designs incorporated into the super-thermometer reduce measurement noise and interference to levels that Fluke claimed are unprecedented for a digital thermometry bridge.

In a typical temperature calibration application, uncertainty due to measurement noise is as low as 0.00002C. Super-thermometers offer speeds as fast as one second per measurement (full accuracy with a two-second sample rate). This means users can complete tests in less time, track temperature changes more accurately and evaluate thermal response in sensors. When measuring fixed-point temperatures that require the highest levels of accuracy and lowest levels of noise, users have complete control to change the measurement speed to meet their requirements.
Robot Offers Compact Solution For Machine Builders

Fanuc Robotics has launched a robot that can be mounted in a variety of orientations without modification and with an unobtrusive exterior for machine load, assembly and inspection applications. The M-10iA/10S is a six-axes, 10kg-payload robot with a hollow arm to completely remove tooling cabling from the work area. The company said the robot provides a compact solution for machine builders and system integrators needing to reduce space requirements. The arm can be mounted in floor, ceiling and angle orientation - for instance, overhead or an inclined plane - to reduce space required for other operations or peripheral equipment.

The robot's hollow arm has integrated fluidics, signal and electrical cabling throughout, reducing the risk of cable snagging and breakages. By routing cables through to the wrist flange, joint six, full tool rotation is maximised without risk, speeding up programming and ensuring longer cable life. Fanuc Robotics said the high speed and inertia of the M-10iA/10S together with its 1,098mm reach make multi-task applications, such as machine load, assembly and inspection, straightforward. The ability of joint three to flip is particularly useful for inverted mount installations to maximise the work envelope.

The wrist is sealed to IP67, making it suitable for more aggressive environments such as waterjet cutting and casting applications. The M-10iA/10S runs with Fanuc Robotics' R-30iA series intelligent controller, an open-architecture system with integrated intelligent functions including vision and force sensing. Where vision is required the R-30iA controller helps reduce integration time and cost with its integrated iRVision system. No additional hardware, other than a camera, is required to integrate vision with the controller. Control of up to 40 multiple axes is available with the R-30iA controller and when used in multi-arm mode one controller can control four arms and four auxiliary axes groups.

Further reducing the additional control hardware common to any installation, the controller has its own Programmable Machine Controller (PMC). The PMC has an integrated monitor that allows the user to monitor the PMC ladder in a graphic display for all levels and sub-programs that reside in the controller.
Tool Offers 3D Injection Moulding Flow Simulation

Cimatron CAD/CAM provider Foregone Solutions has announced a partnership with Coretech System that will offer 3D injection moulding flow simulation for medical device manufacturers and more. As a result of this partnership, mould designers can now simulate and analyse the injection moulding process from within CimatronE. This will enable users to ensure optimal placement of injection points, increasing the quality of the manufactured part. Coretech's Moldex3D Explorer analyses tool displays a full 3D visualisation of the moulding process, providing the inner temperature and pressure of the cavity.

CimatronE users will be able to evaluate the welding line, air traps, flow balance, cooling time, the number of gates needed, and the location of the gates. The Moldex3D Explorer add-on is activated with only a few clicks in CimatronE and requires no additional training or CAD conversion. A report generator enables users to provide relevant feedback to their customers. Foregone Solutions also provide the full product Moldex Edesigner and associated modules for the mould designer/manufacturer needing the extra functionality.

Medical applications, where time-to-market is critical, need to get the tool right, and users can see exactly what the plastic will do on the screen. The software can assist in reducing time-to-market through analysing the part before the metal is cut, reducing the distortion and warpage through better understanding of heating and cooling. With this software combination, moulding times can be optimised and material wastage through over-packing can be eliminated. Conformal cooling circuits can be designed and tested before committing to sintering.
Rocker Switches For Consumer Applications And More

CandK Components has developed two series of rocker switches for household appliances, instrument panels, industrial controls and computers/peripherals. Designated the CG and CL series, the UL- and CSA-approved single-pole power rocker switches feature two-tone and multi-coloured illuminated actuators. The durable rockers are said to be easy to install and offer a casing that can retain markings. The CG series single-pole power rocker switches are available with a two-tone actuator (offered in five colour combinations) or with red, amber or green illuminated actuators.

Additionally, the actuators can be marked. VDE-approved, the bevelled, framed CG series rockers offer easy panel-mount installation. The switch has contact ratings of 16A at 125VAC or 10A at 250VAC and an electrical life of 10,000 make-and-break cycles at full load. The operating temperature for the CG series is -20C to +85C. The CL series single-pole power rocker switch features a positive detent with several models available with illuminated actuators in red, amber and green colour options. The contact ratings for the rocker switches are 16A at 125V, 1/3HP or 10A at 250VAC, 1/2HP. Operating temperature is -20C to +80C. Both series are designed for easy snap-in installation and both have quick-connect terminations.
QAM Modem IC For Narrowband Applications

CML Microcircuits has launched the CMX7163 wireless data QAM modem IC designed to deliver high spectral efficiency QAM for narrowband applications including Scada and M2M systems. The CMX7163 provides 4/16/64-QAM baseboard modem functions in a single chip, replacing the current need for user-programmed DSP plus codec ICs. This development includes high dynamic range analogue signal capturing, digital baseband filters, auxiliary codecs, clock generator, and I/O functions, all designed to lower total bill-of-materials cost and chip count.

The high level of total integration reduces technical risk and time to market, according to CML Microcircuits. The device is a complete baseband modem system delivering high performance and high spectral efficiency QAM for narrowband applications. These include M2M systems over dedicated channels, digital software defined radio (SDR), high-speed wireless data and Scada systems.

The half-duplex device, which is suitable for 6.25kHz, 12.5kHz and 25kHz bandwidths, operates up to 96kbps in 25kHz bandwidths, featuring channel estimation and equalisation. The device is suitable for interfacing to superheterodyne receivers (for example, CMX992) or direct conversion designs (for example, CMX994) providing performance compatible with regulatory standards such as EN 301 166, EN 300 113 and EN 302 561. The transmitter interface is compatible with the CML Cartesian loop technology (CMX998). The device utilises CML's Firmasic component technology.

On-chip sub-systems are configured by a Function Image data file that is uploaded during device initialisation and defines the device's function and features set. The device's functions and features can be enhanced by subsequent Function Image releases, facilitating in-the-field upgrades. The CMX7163 logical interface provides addressable configuration parameters that ease host driver development. Selectable modulation, symbol rate and FEC suit a range of application requirements without hardware reconfiguration.

Features include: direct I/Q analogue inputs and outputs; automatic DC offset compensation; pulse shape filtering; a Ramdac capability for PA ramping control; and a C-Bus (SPI compatible) serial interface to host the microcontroller. Four auxiliary ADCs and DACs, two programmable system clock outputs, four GPIO and a separate C-Bus (SPI) interface to allow automated control of the radio section. Other features optimised for high-performance modems include carrier sensing, transmit burst timing and automated control of receiver AGC (when using CMX992 or CMX994).
Immunity Generator For Industrial Applications

Advanced Test Equipment Rentals has announced the availability of the Teseq NSG 3060 6kV conducted immunity generator for residential, commercial and industrial applications. The Teseq NSG 3060 6kV conducted immunity generator meets IEC standards 61000-4-4, 5, 11 and 12, as well as various IEC 61000-4-4. It is said to establish a common and reproducible reference for evaluating the immunity of electrical and electronic equipment when subjected to electrical fast transient/bursts on supply, signal, control and earth ports.

The test method documented in this part of IEC 61000 describes a consistent method to assess the immunity of an equipment or system against a defined phenomenon. IEC 61000-4-5 relates to the immunity requirements, test methods, and range of recommended test levels for equipment to unidirectional surges caused by over-voltages from switching and lightning transients. Several test levels are defined which relate to different environment and installation conditions.

These requirements are developed for and are applicable to electrical and electronic equipment. The object of this standard is to establish a common reference for evaluating the immunity of electrical and electronic equipment when subjected to surges. IEC 61000-4-11 defines the immunity test methods and range of preferred test levels for electrical and electronic equipment connected to low-voltage power supply networks for voltage dips, short interruptions, and voltage variations. This standard applies to electrical and electronic equipment having a rated input current not exceeding 16A per phase, for connection to 50Hz or 60Hz AC networks.

It does not apply to electrical and electronics equipment for connection to 400Hz AC networks. IEC 61000-4-12 relates to the immunity requirements and test methods for electrical and electronic equipment, under operational conditions, to non-repetitive damped oscillatory transients (ring waves) occurring in low-voltage power, control and signal lines supplied by public and non-public networks. The object of this basic standard is to establish the immunity requirements and a common reference for evaluating in a laboratory the performance of electrical and electronic equipment intended for residential, commercial and industrial applications, as well as of equipment intended for power stations and substations, as applicable.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Press Ensures Safe Operation For Assembly Company

Tox Pressotechnik has provided a press system designed to meet a series of ergonomic and safety needs, for an assembly company with handicapped employees. Vebo Werkstatt Olten eventually installed a Tox Press type CEB, consisting of a press frame of C-shape, a pneumo-hydraulic drive system, a Tox Powerpackage EKSD and a base frame. The press is equipped with a safety control, a swivelling control panel and a pedal switch, protective sheathing and a safety light grid. For universal use with most tools, the throat of the C-frame press is 200mm and the tool aperture is 200mm.

The pneumo-hydraulic Powerpackage cylinder Tox EKSD generates a maximum press force of 130kN at 6bar compressed air. The 100mm total stroke of the cylinder and the real powerstroke of 10mm ensure that the punching, forming or pressing-in/pressing position are attained at a very high speed and the press-force stroke is realised in a sensitive way. In order to limit the strokes and reduce mechanical loads, the drive cylinder is provided with total stroke setting and damping of the cutting impact.

The Powerpackage is equipped with a power bypass. The C-frame press, with its drive cylinder, is mounted on a base frame that also supports the circuitry and the control technique, as well as the protective sheathing with the safety light grille. Tox has mounted the C-frame press off-centre on the base frame so that longer piece parts (up to 500mm) can also be machined within the fully protected press area. The press control is coupled with the safety elements so that no bridging or other manipulations are possible. Usually the press is started by two-hand actuation, where both keys of the two-hand control are pressed simultaneously.

Due to the protective sheathing and the above-mentioned safety light grid, the press area is fully protected against the intervention of third parties. Tox has succeeded in realising the C-frame press system mainly from standard components taken from the Tox construction kit. Armin Bieri, department head of mechanics at Vebo Werkstatt Olten, said: 'We use the press in a flexible way for punching or separating and produce 33 different types on it of C-profiles for our customer. 'We then mount slides in the profiles and the C-profile with slide completes sun protection units and revolving shutters. 'The length of the C-profiles is from 75 to 500mm and they all can be machined within the protected press area,' he added.
Factory Master Used For Pipe-Assembly Manufacture

B and D is using the Factory Master system in the manufacture of fabricated pipe kits and assemblies, which are used on RR commercial, military, marine and power-generation jet engines. The integrated system can handle complex BOMs, purchase ordering and production procedures, enabling it to keep track of the entire process.

The Material Requirements Planning Report (MRP) allows customers to ascertain what is currently available and what is going to be available against sales orders. Factory Master enables: bulk purchasing of common components; greater proactivity; reduced 'fire-fighting'; time saved identifying and ordering requirements; and forecast of results in shorter lead times.
Hepcomotion Develops Actuators For X-Y-Z Systems

Hepcomotion has developed a range of actuators, enabling it to supply X-Y-Z systems for industrial and scientific tasks such as pick and place, automated assembly, inspection and product labelling. According to the company, X-Y-Z linear motion systems are widely used throughout industry. For many applications, using the same type of linear actuator in each of the axes is an adequate solution. However, with manufacturing economics focusing on greater productivity, X-Y-Z systems are increasingly being specified to automate vital processes.

Their speed of operation is often greater and their duty cycle much longer. The new actuators have been developed to address these different needs so that each axis operates optimally and contributes to the overall efficiency and longevity of the system. This concept still allows X-Y-Z systems to be constructed using standard, off-the-shelf components but accommodates the specific characteristics of the application. The Hepcomotion method is to recommend the most appropriate actuator to meet the criteria of a given application.

However, to illustrate the point, a typical configuration for a low-weight payload system would start with the company's PDU2 linear actuator as the foundation of the X axis. The Hepcomotion PDU2 is a cost-effective and compact actuator. It comprises a slotted profile into which fits a toothed belt drive and a carriage - an arrangement that effectively seals the unit. The actuator's Herculane wheels run virtually friction free on the inside surface of the profile, providing stable support for the carriage plate; felt wipers sweep debris from their path.

This also means that the wheels operate well without the need for lubrication. The Y axis of a typical X-Y-Z system is often required to have a particularly high load capacity and stiffness against twisting loads. The new Hepcomotion PDU2M is said to address this need. It shares the same technology and format as the PDU2 but with moment load capacity improved by 200 per cent and stiffness by 1,000 per cent. The direct load capacity is also 50 per cent greater. In practice, this means, for example, that designers can use a single PDU2M unit as a horizontal axis in an X-Z system, where previously two PDU2 units working in parallel would have been required to provide the necessary rigidity and strength.

The needs of the Z axis are different again, with enhanced linear force and higher gearing often required. The new PSD80 linear actuator is suitable for this duty, with drive from a smooth stainless-steel lead screw operating with a bearing polymer nut. Again, it uses the same Herculane wheel technology in a unit that is matched to the other axes in terms of performance, size and cost. A choice of motors and gearboxes is provided with all Hepcomotion driven actuators, for which flanges are provided to facilitate connection. A Smart Drive Taranis stepper motor drive and control package is also available.

Left, right or double drive shafts can be supplied as well as other options such as different carriage designs, holding brakes, positioning encoders, limit switches and cable carriers. The development of the company's Heavy Duty HDS2 product has introduced larger bearings, slides and racks, additional mounting elements and automatic lubrication systems. For instance, the largest vee bearing now measures 150mm in diameter and has a radial capacity of 100,000N (10 tonnes); these developments have opened up application possibilities in the heavy handling markets.

The largest aluminium beam now offered is a 300 x 200mm section and is strong enough to be used as a standalone X axis. With slides complete with rack drive fitted, the solution is often more cost effective than machining a steel beam with slides attached, according to Hepcomotion. The necessary rack lubrication facility is provided in the X-axis carriage, which typically forms the mounting structure for the Z axis. All Hepcomotion actuators fit together using standard components to create multi-axis systems that are guaranteed to perform better than similar units where 'general-purpose' actuators are used for all axes.

Lightweight aluminium T-slotted profiles allow the axes to be incorporated into frames, such as the Hepcomotion MCS Aluminium Frame and Machine Construction System or more complex machines. The company supplies its X-Y-Z systems as individual parts, in kit form or fully assembled multi-axis units. Its approach to X-Y-Z system design can be applied to configurations with a working envelope of just a few centimetres right up to those with dimensions of several metres.
Small-Scale Machine For Micro Injection Moulding

Engel has developed a small-scale electric injection unit with a 15mm screw diameter, suitable for micro injection moulding. Using an E-max 50/50 or an E-victory 50/28, it is now possible to achieve shot weights of less than 1g and part weights down to 0.1g with a high level of reproduction accuracy, according to the company. Two new drive variants with injection speeds of 330mm/sec (standard) and 550mm/sec (high) are available for the screw diameters (15/18/20mm).

The optimised screw geometry, in combination with a specially designed feed opening throat, enable the trouble-free processing of standard pellets with improved plasticising and reproducibility, even with this small diameter.
Beko Oil-Vapour Monitor Gains TUV Certification

Beko's Metpoint OCV oil-vapour monitoring system for chemical and pharmaceutical production processes has been certified by TUV Nord in accordance with the requirements of ISO 8573-1, Classes 1 to 4. According to the company, even 'oil-free' components give no guarantee for 'oil-free' compressed air, owing to the contamination of the ambient air/intake air. In most cases, a certain residual oil content cannot be entirely avoided in standard applications.

The precise monitoring of the oil-vapour content, which is possible at any time, is important. In particular, in critical production processes in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, in food production and surface coating, the analysis and control of compressed-air quality is a crucial factor, according to Beko. The network-compatible Metpoint OCV offers constant monitoring down to the range of a thousandth mg/m3 and features a touch-screen display and 24/7 process reliability through online measurement.
IMTS 2010 To Feature CNC Control Developments

Fanuc CNC America will showcase advanced CNC control developments at IMTS 2010, along with industry solutions to meet strict automotive, aerospace, medical, heavy industry and job-shop requirements. The company, which will be found in Booth S-8919, will present the new model 30i-B Series CNC Control, the 0i-D/0i-DMate Control with newly enhanced functionality, the new 35i-B CNC Control for transfer-line machines, new five-axis volumetric error compensation and various industry solutions. The new Fanuc CNC 30i-B Series Control is an upgrade from the 30i-A Series.

The 30i-B Series offers enhanced features and functions, with advancements in operability and maintainability including a USB memory port, enhancements in the dual safety check, a new punch press and laser functionality. For advanced machining with high accuracy, the 30i-B provides advancements in high-speed five-axis capabilities, with architecture and software algorithms to reduce cycle times while improving part accuracy and quality. The machine is said to combine reliability and high-speed five-axis features for complex processes.

The 30i-B also features High Speed Smooth TCP, high-speed multi-path PMC, an enhanced tilted working plane and high-speed smoothing functions, enhanced DSPs for advanced servo control such as multi-axis control and high-speed current control and arbitrary speed threading. In addition, the 30i-B has enhanced FSSB and network performance, improved diagnostic functions for MTTR reduction and enhanced DSP for advanced servo control, according to the company. The 0i-D/0i-D Mate Control offers improved features and functionality that are claimed to be cost effective.

These include nano interpolation, Al contour II control, jerk control, a tool management function and grinding functions. The new 35i-B Control, based on the 30i-B series, is intended for transfer-line machines. Suitable for simple high-speed drilling and transfer machining, the 35i-B is equipped with a touch-screen machine operator panel and embedded Ethernet. Fanuc CNC's new five-axis volumetric error compensation increases machining accuracy by evaluating the tool location and orientation error throughout the machining volume. This is said to offer improvements over axis-only error compensation.
Unison Launches All-Electric Tube Benders At Mach

Unison launched a range of all-electric tube bending machines, ideal for most small- to medium-diameter applications involving high-precision small batch sizes and expensive materials, at Mach 2010. Incorporating a real-time Ethernet control system architecture and a new release of programming and control software, the machines are said to enhance the shape-forming capability and flexibility of servomotor-controlled bending. The new UK-built Breeze machines bend faster, exploit advanced multi-axis synchronisation capabilities to support sophisticated roll forming, improve the tool adjustments that can be employed during the bending cycle to generate ultra-precise part shapes and offer a visual collision-checking programming feature as standard.

They also feature an open architecture that can be adapted to integrate an application-specific capability or to build work cells. An all-electric architecture provides tube benders with performance benefits in terms of setup speed, repeatability, lower energy consumption and noise reduction when compared with traditional hydraulically powered machinery, according to the company. At the heart of Unison's new Breeze machine range is a real-time machine and motion system based on the deterministic Ethernet-compatible Powerlink protocol. A 100Mbit/sec network links all of the servomotor drives required to control bending operations.

The speed of the network makes it possible to co-ordinate the movement of the various servomotor axes used during bending - such as the carriage, the plane of bend and the clamp roller - more rapidly, allowing the company to improve the speed of bending for many common tasks by around 10 per cent. The quality of bend shapes and wall thicknesses can also be improved thanks to finer real-time control over the motion profiles used by key bending axes, which move as the rotary draw bending process takes place, such as the carriage and the follower die. The real-time interpolation of multiple axes is also supported by the machine's new motion control architecture.

In particular, this allows Unison to equip machines with flexible roll-forming tools that are able to vary the radius of bending with precision during the bending cycle. Other benefits include improved diagnostics and data collection, which can assist with both programming and maintenance, and connection to factory networks for changing programs and reporting production metrics, for example. The company is also releasing programming and operating software for the tube benders. Among the new and improved features in Version 10 of its Unibend package is a collision-checking capability that helps users to program the machine for new parts. Bending operations are visualised using a 3D model of the machine.

If users see any potential collision problems, bend sequences can be reversed and intervening carriage and rotation movements can be employed to ensure the part can be manufactured easily. Programming itself can be achieved in about a couple of minutes by entering new ISO, XYZ or YBC values (distance tube is pushed out, rotation and degree of bend), linking from computer-aided-design (CAD) or measuring machines, adapting an existing template or interactively teaching the machine. Unison's software-controlled tube bending machinery incorporates a new networked control architecture. Almost all tube bending machines are configured around a base design to suit the user's intended applications, including or excluding facilities as required.

Unison is currently seeing an increase in demand for work cells that integrate tube bending with other processes. The new Ethernet architecture provides flexibility for configuring and building integrated machines and cells; the control network can be very long, allowing physically large processes to be accommodated, and one network controller can handle hundreds of motion axes and other control system resources such as sensors. The networked nature of the control system architecture makes it easier to upgrade systems later in their lifecycle to integrate processes such as loading, end forming and unloading, for example. The company can supply the new architecture on any all-electric tube bending machines capable of handling tubing with diameters up to 180mm (7in). Machines can be fitted with single- or multi-stack tooling and with two or more bending heads.
Hydrocarbon Fluorimeters Monitor Oil-Spill Extent

Chelsea's range of hydrocarbon fluorimeters is being deployed in the Gulf of Mexico to monitor the extent of the oil spill. Originally designed for military use, these reliable, robust, high-sensitivity fluorimeters have previously been used to detect crude and refined oils in a range of environments. The UV Aquatracka and the Uvilux submersible fluorimeters monitor the concentration of refined (360nm) or crude hydrocarbons (440nm) in a range of coastal, oceanographic and freshwater applications.

They have been designed to be deployed independently, as well as from submersible vehicles, diver held, moored, profiled or as part of a flow-through system. These robust, compact, lightweight instruments are suitable for shallow and full ocean depth. They are also suitable for long-term deployment and will be used to monitor the extent of the pollution caused after the oil slick has dispersed. The UV Aquatracka displays real-time, live data via the Chelsea supplied GUI. Similarly, real-time data from the Uvilux can be transmitted via a Bluetooth wireless link to either a PDA or a PC.
Veolia Filters Aid Effluent Wastewater Treatment

Glen Water has selected Hydrotech Discfilter technology from Veolia for a project that is providing final effluent wastewater treatment and a sludge disposal solution in compliance with EU Directives. The Hydrotech Discfilter is considered to be a flexible technology that uses a series of segmented discs to support a woven media (polyester or stainless steel). The Hydrotech Discfilter was selected for use on the Omega scheme due to its modular design and compact layout. Under normal operating conditions the Hydrotech Discfilter will remain stationary.

The influent enters the inside of the unit via a central drum, which houses a series of paired filter elements that remove particulate solids from the influent. As the water passes through the woven filter, solids are captured on the inner face of the element. Accumulation of these captured solids reduces the hydraulic throughput, which results in an increase in head loss over unit. At a predetermined influent level, the unit automatically initiates a backwash, which flushes away the captured solids from the inner face of the filter, resulting in clean elements media being presented to the influent.

The Hydrotech Discfilter uses the filtered water produced by the process for backwashing. The benefit of this system is that power consumption is reduced by only backwashing to meet on-site demands. The dirty backwash water produced by the Hydrotech Discfilter process is collected by a trough located within the unit. Backwash water is discharged under gravity for onsite disposal or blending to the head of the works. The backwash water volume produced by the Hydrotech Discfilter is typically between one per cent and three per cent of the maximum design flow. Filtration is continuous throughout the backwash cycle and once the cycle is completed, the Discfilter stops rotating.

For the Northern Ireland Water Omega project, the Hydrotech Discfilter has been applied in both its tank and frame using both the 1700 and 2200 versions. The tanked version has been designed to be a stand-alone model that can be adapted to any site where a suitable base is available. This Hydrotech Discfilter is housed inside a stainless-steel tank for direct installation at site. The frame version has been designed for installation inside a concrete chamber and has the flexibility to be adapted for use inside an existing sand filter structure. The Hydrotech Discfilters are providing tertiary treatment at four sewage treatment works in Northern Ireland: Armagh, Richhill, Ballyrickard and North Down Ards.

Armagh has been designed to serve a population equivalent of 21,000. The scheme uses two HSF 2212-2F filters, capable of meeting the projected 2030 design horizon of 50,000PE. Richhill, which currently receives about 1,300m3/day of mainly domestic wastewater, has been designed for a 2030 loading of 5,000PE; this duty is met by two HSF 1706/5-2F filters. Ballyrickard receives wastewater from a 50,000PE catchment and discharges treated effluent into Strangford Lough via Newtown Burn; consequently the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has imposed a more stringent consent on this discharge. Here, the duty is met by three HSF 2214-2F filters, each rated for 50 per cent of the flow.

The North Down Ards works is a new facility that will rationalise the existing wastewater treatment systems in the surrounding catchments. It treats combined domestic and industrial wastewater from a 110,000PE to meet the requirements of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. After sequence batch reactors, tertiary treatment uses four tank-mounted HSF 2220-IF filters prior to UV treatment. The Hydrotech Discfilter has proved a cost-effective and reliable solution for tertiary treatment applications. The compact design means a small footprint compared with other technologies such as sand filters and the low wash-water consumption gives it a clear hydraulic advantage.

Standard modular designs in four ranges can individually treat up to 400 litres/s (any flow rate can be treated by applying further Hydrotech Discfilter units to suit on site conditions). The units are available in a choice of materials: ABS plastic or stainless steel for the discs and 304, 316 or Duplex stainless steel for frames and tanks. The woven media can be supplied to suit any application with a range between 10 and 500 micron. The Hydrotech Discfilter is considered to have a low head loss, low power consumption and minimal maintenance requirements.

TURCK has announced Cat 5e Ethernet cables that are Gigabit capable and are particularly suitable for harsh environments. The cables incorporate incorporate flexlife cable jackets, which are resistant to abrasion, crushing forces and chemicals.

The Ethernet cables are available with four or eight conductors (two and four pair counts). The cables may be specified with straight or right-angle RJ45 or M12 connectors, accommodating diverse application requirements.
Aker Delivers Floating Platform To Statoil
Aker Solutions has designed, engineered and assembled a semi-submersible platform for the Gjoa oil and gas field offshore Norway that is expected to help significantly reduce carbon emissions. With a topside weight of 22,000 tonnes and hull dry weight of 15,000 tonnes, the Gjoa deck measures 110m long and 85m wide. The platform's highest point is the flare tower at 143m.

More than 500 Aker Solutions engineers have been mobilised to design the platform, from Oslo, Norway, and Mumbai, India. During the final assembly at Stord, peak manning reached 3,000 skilled operators. Installation of the mooring system, transportation and installation of the Gjoa platform is carried out by Aker Solutions' subsidiary Aker Marine Contractors.
PFC And FV Technology For Research And Development

GYS, a welding gear and battery charger manufacturer, has invested in Power Factor Correction (PFC) and Flexible Voltage (FV) technology across a range of MMA for its research-and-development centre. PFC technology offers the user a range of benefits, including a reduction in power consumption. The requirement for less power also allows the user to weld at higher levels on a lower power supply. Using GYS's PFC-equipped MMA machines will allow high-duty-cycle welding at 160A (sufficient for 4mm rods) on a regular 13A power supply.

Normally, a 160A machine without PFC is capable of welding only 3.2mm electrodes at 125A using a 13A fused plug. Inside electrical cables, energy travels at various frequencies. In the UK, we use energy at 50Hz, but up to 25 per cent of that energy travels at either higher or lower frequencies called diffractions. Mathematical models show that all of these diffractions add to each other for certain frequencies (also called harmonics) and a significant amount of energy travels at these frequencies.

Welding equipment without PFC technology can only draw the energy at 50Hz, which is not very efficient, while equipment with PFC technology is able to draw all the energy that is available from all the frequency levels. GYS is also equipping machines with FV technology. FV machines can operate at any voltage from 85V to 265V. Suitable for 110V applications and whenever there is a likelihood of variations in voltage, for example, on site with a generator and maybe with long extension leads, the combined technology of PFC and FV welding performance can be enhanced where there is only a suboptimal power source available.

For instance, the GYSMI 196 FV is capable of welding 3.2mm electrodes on 110V on very long extension leads. These technologies are currently incorporated into the GYS range of inverter MMA. TIG and plasma machines include the GYSMI195, a 230V 160A MMA machine; the GYSMI 196FV, a MMA machine and Master 200FV, a 200A PFC and FV MMA/TIG inverter; the TIG200DC HF FV; TIG 207AC/DC HF FV TIG machines; and the 31FV plasma cutter.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ISC Implements CDS Modelserver

Catalog Data Solutions (CDS) has announced that ISC Engineering now incorporates CDS Modelserver and CDS Catalog to present and aid online selection of products and CAD model downloads. ISC Engineering provides over-moulding technology for OEM and cable assemblies companies. 'We want our customers to be able to find and download CAD models of our products to simplify the design process,' said Steve Burk, president, ISC Engineering. 'To do this, we now use CDS software for its functionality and low cost.

'The conversion process results in a satisfactory user experience for our customers,' he added. 'Online 3D models are an important sales and marketing tool for all industrial suppliers and distributors and this implementation exploits the Adobe 3D CAD capability to add another user convenience - all the ISC Engineering product CAD models are viewable with the Adobe 3D PDF viewer already installed on most PCs,' said John Major, chief executive, Catalog Data Solutions.
Presspart To Exhibit Deep-Drawn Metal Components

Presspart will be showcasing its latest deep-drawn metal components on stand D3 at the International Subcontract Manufacturing Show, Subcon 2010, to be held in Birmingham, UK, from 8-10 June. Presspart is a specialist supplier of metal precision parts for a wide variety of industries and applications - from electronics to utilities, heating and ventilation.

Presspart's production processes include extremely long draws, ironed walls, multiple piercings and complex forms. Its capabilities extend to products from many different materials, including aluminium, stainless steel, carbon steel, brass, nickel, inconel and galfan.
Touch Point Products For Off-Highway Vehicles
Southco's products cover access points and user touch points for all interior, chassis and entry applications associated with off-highway vehicles and equipment. Alex Wakeley, industry manager for transportation at Southco said: 'We have a product for everything, from interior latches and fasteners to the cab's entry-door system, and virtually every single access point on the chassis. Southco has addressed everything from precise control of the cab environment, including the angle of the armrest and the position of LCD touch screens, to a range of access hardware options that enable everything to be securely stored yet easily accessible.

The company's platform of intuitive Touch Point products for interior applications include ergonomic latches to secure access panels, doors and storage enclosures, position-control devices that consistently hold display screens, armrests and headrests, and electronic access systems that provide convenience and security for storage, access doors and ignition. Southco has developed a range of off-highway chassis solutions, comprising a portfolio of robust, compact and reliable vibration-resistant latches that provide complete protection from unauthorised access.

They last the lifetime of vehicles, help keep them running and lower the overall cost of ownership by reducing the need for maintenance contracts. Chassis application areas include tool storage, safety guards, engine cowling, access panels, engine hoods and cooling systems. Wakeley added: 'Over the past few years we have created a series of chassis solutions through further developing our existing medium-duty vise-action compression latches, such as the N4 with a large handle and special cup, and introduced new products for applications requiring even more rugged latches.

'These include the heavy-duty N2 folding handle range of compression latches. Southco offers a range of push-to-close R4 rotary latches, actuators and cables for the entry-door system itself. Southco has worked with OEMs to introduce a comprehensive package of electronic-access-control systems (EAS) that the market demands. This EAS range has been designed to combine robust rotary latch security and electronic access convenience in a single integrated solution.

The focus is to address the issue of preventing theft - of both vehicles and in-cab equipment - by incorporating sophisticated access systems into the vehicle design, from key code flexibility to electronic access systems, providing a range of solutions for differing levels of security. Southco has detailed its global full service solution for the off-highway industry with the launch of a brochure pack, which can be customised to meet individual requirements. A complete pack comprises three leaflets, each demonstrating Southco's product and service offer for a specific area of application, namely interior, chassis and exterior. A fourth leaflet gives an overview of the total global service.
Shell Supplies Lubricants For Ferrari Production

Shell provides Ferrari with more than 250,000l of fuel and over 40,000 tonnes of lubricants to enable its automotive production each year. This includes a range of metalworking fluids that offer protection and efficiency during machining and finishing. Ferrari currently uses three Shell fluids in its new machining area, which finishes various engine parts. All of the Shell fluids are water-miscible cutting fluids and include Shell Adrana D 208 and Shell Sitala CE 3602, which are both semi-synthetic, mineral-based fluids.

The third fluid is a mineral-free, fully ester-based fluid, Shell Sitala AF 800 and has been specifically developed to machine a range of aluminium alloys. Shell uses a development process to identify operational requirements known as 4D and develop high-performance lubricants that offer optimum performance during machining. This approach is designed to ensure that fluids are developed to machine a range of metals - hard and soft - and to perform in extreme temperatures. Shell Sitala AF 800 is an amine- and boron-free fluid and was introduced as an improvement on previous mineral-based products.

It consistently delivers higher tool performance through longer tool life and better piece surface finish. Shell Adrana D 208, with high cleanliness properties, is used for shaft grinding and Shell Sitala CE 3602 is employed in severe steel-cutting/drilling/threading operations. All products are designed to deliver maximum machinery performance. In addition to providing metalworking fluids, Shell provides Ferrari with onsite expertise to help maximise fluid performance and operational efficiency.

Sinol, a Torino-based subsidiary of Shell Lubricants that specialises in metalworking fluids, provides a Product Plus Service arrangement. This covers fluid-stock management and application management, including filling and topping up of equipment, as well as analysing, cleaning and, if required, treating of lubricants and equipment. Concentration, pH, alkalinity, microbiological contamination and bacteria levels are checked to ensure fluids continue to deliver superior protection during machining and finishing.
Bete's Hydrowhirl Performs Tank-Cleaning Duties

The Hydrowhirl Orbitor from Bete is designed for high-performance clean-in-place (CIP) tank cleaning in industries such as food, brewing, beverage, dairy and pharmaceuticals. The Hydrowhirl device has a minimum number of moving parts and can be completely stripped and rebuilt onsite in less than 15 minutes. This optimum serviceability eliminates the time-consuming maintenance overhauls associated with other types of rotary tank-cleaning devices.

Hydrowhirl is also self-cleaning and self-lubricating so the possibility of process contamination is eliminated. Its compact design allows it to be fitted through small, restricted access flanges. It is suitable for large tanks (up to 130ft in diameter) often found in the food, dairy, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, where high-performance cleaning with reduced cycle times and low water, energy and chemical consumption are important considerations.

The range includes 10 standard models and options include two or four nozzles, variable cycle times, male and female connections, 360deg wash pattern, 180deg down and up wash patterns. Typical applications include food and dairy for raw milk storage, spray driers, process and storage vessels, beverage and brewing, for process vessels, bright beer tanks, coppers and maltings and in chemicals, coatings and paints manufacture, for process and storage silos and mixers.
ESAB Demobus Displays Latest Welding Equipment

ESAB, a producer of welding and cutting equipment and consumables, is bringing its Demobus to the UK in June 2010. The mobile showroom is packed with the latest developments in welding and cutting equipment, automation, consumables and welding accessories, including PPE (personal protective equipment). ESAB has used a Demobus to tour Europe for several years, stopping at distributors to present to customers an overview of the company's welding and cutting products.

As well as static displays and videos, the Demobus features live welding demonstrations of a range of equipment and consumables. The ESAB Demobus is also being used as part of the launch for the 'go anywhere welders', the Caddymig C160i and C200i. These two compact lightweight inverter-powered machines will be demonstrated throughout the tour. They can be used for a broad range of applications and can run off a 230V electric supply or operated by a generator. The Caddymig's are also configured for using gas-less cored wire, eliminating the need to carry around heavy and expensive gas cylinders when out on a job.

The ESAB Demobus will start its tour at the Farnborough College of Technology Aerospace and Automotive Academy supported by local ESAB distributor Britannia Welding Supplies. The Demobus will then visit a selection of ESAB distributor premises including Elmdale Welding and Engineering Supplies in Hadleigh, Suffolk; Truflame Welding Equipment in Sheffield; Complete Welding Services in Oldham; Thomas Proctor and Son in Gateshead and Weldsafe in Glasgow. From 24-27 June, the Demobus will be at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh in conjunction with local distributor Ask for Service, moving on to Highland Supplies in Inverness on 28 June.
Torque Control Technology Offers Improved Safety

Prodrive has developed a torque control system that is designed to improve the productivity, safety and running costs of large off-highway vehicles working on low-grip surfaces. The system adds electronic control to the vehicle's existing differentials to deliver a substantial improvement in performance at a cost-effective price, according to Prodrive. A large, heavily laden off-highway vehicle descending a slippery slope can present a substantial challenge for the driver: locking the differentials will improve braking performance but the ability to steer is greatly reduced; unlocking them restores steering authority but compromises braking.

Climbing a slippery slope is equally difficult as the driver has to juggle the differential controls to switch between traction and steering. Even with the most highly trained personnel, wear on the driveline and tyres is increased and the potential safety issues associated with guiding a substantial vehicle with compromised steering, braking and driver concentration are significant. Prodrive's ATD (Active Torque Dynamics) is based on an algorithm that controls the differentials, optimising the traction at each wheel. ATD is compatible with most lockable differentials, so as well as being suitable for new vehicle programmes, it can also be retro fitted to existing vehicle types and even to vehicle fleets in service.

In normal conditions, differentials allow wheels on the same axle to rotate at different speeds, enabling a vehicle to turn. However, if one wheel meets an area of low friction, this wheel can lose traction and spin taking drive away from the wheel that still has grip. As a result there is little or no driving force from this axle. By locking the differential, both wheels are forced to rotate at the same speed enabling the wheel with grip to produce drive. However, locking a differential severely restricts the vehicle's ability to turn and forces the tyres to scrub.

Prodrive's ATD system automatically controls the differentials on the vehicle to optimise the traction, while maintaining the vehicle's ability to turn. Optimisation of the traction improves stability and braking, manoeuvrability and reliability. 'Most large off-highway vehicles have multi-plate differentials that are capable of being closed progressively, even if they are configured by the vehicle manufacturer to only provide locked or unlocked functionality,' explains Prodrive's Matt Taylor, head of vehicle dynamics. 'ATD builds on the capability of this existing hardware to provide individual control of the traction torque at each wheel and the braking torque distribution across each axle.

'Real-time proportional control allows very fine adjustments, making full use of the available grip and braking power without compromising steering authority,' he added. The system requires input signals for wheel speed, steering wheel angle and yaw rate, which are usually available on the vehicle's existing electronic databus. This data is used to construct a mathematical model that compares the vehicle's actual dynamic behaviour with the behaviour requested by the driver. When there is a disparity, the system adjusts each differential to apportion engine torque or braking torque optimally between the individual wheels.

The system can be further refined by the addition of accelerometers to directly measure understeer or oversteer instead of estimating by calculation. The system could also offer savings in operating costs through reduced tyre wear and driveline shock. 'Turning corners with the differentials locked or attempting differential locking while moving causes tyre damage and, at several thousand pounds each, that's quite an overhead,' said Taylor. 'Driving with locked differentials also puts tremendous stress on the drivetrain. 'ATD is smooth and progressive, so helps eliminate these expensive problems,' he added.

ATD is also said to improve the vehicle's turning circle on slippery roads and roster flexibility by reducing driver skill requirements. 'ATD increases driving safety by reducing the skill burden on the driver, who then only needs to concentrate on the speed and direction of the vehicle,' said Taylor. 'With a lower training requirement, more people can drive the vehicle safely, so operators have a much wider pool of suitable drivers,' he added. Prodrive has already demonstrated the potential of ATD in many projects across a wide variety of vehicles, including heavy off-highway vehicles. 'In the off-highway trials, the system improved stopping ability where there were different grip levels on each side of an axle,' said David Hemming, Prodrive's head of engineering.

'The combined tractive and turning performance was also improved. 'For example, when cornering on a hill, the vehicle responded closely to driver steering input. 'It's important to stay focussed on the task of managing the interaction between the tyre and the ground. 'There have been numerous attempts to control torque through the vehicle driveline with variable levels of success and often with substantial hardware changes. 'Our focus is on the delivery of solutions with a degree of independence from hardware choice,' he added.
Catalog Covers Test Tools For Harsh Environments

Fluke's 124-page full-colour 2010/2011 Test Tools Catalogue includes handheld electronic test and measurement equipment for operating in harsh environments. An introductory section of the catalogue covers all recently introduced tools, such as the 810 Vibration Tester, the 233 Remote Display Multimeter, Ti32/Ti9 Industrial Thermal Imagers and TiR32/TiRx Thermal Imagers for Buildings, the 27 II/28 II Rugged Industrial Multimeters for operating in harsh conditions and the 1750 Power Recorder.

The catalogue contains classified sections on all its handheld test tools under categories including digital multimeters, clamp meters and electrical testers, insulation testers and earth ground testers, installation testers and PAT testers, digital thermometers, thermal imagers, laser distance meters, indoor air-quality tools, scopemeters, power-quality tools, field calibrators, vibration testers, Atex-certified test tools and general accessories.

There are also pages covering money-saving combo kits, Fluke after-sales service, web portals that help with troubleshooting and the correct tool selection in industrial maintenance, electrical and process applications, and on safety issues and other application/background articles.
Aptiv Film Enhances Mobile Phone Speaker Diaphragm

Zhejiang New Jialian, a manufacturer of miniature acoustic components, has selected Victrex Polymer Solutions' Aptiv film for its new mobile phone speaker diaphragm. The company, headquartered in Jiashan, China, researches, develops, manufactures and distributes communication electronic acoustic devices, such as communications speakers, receivers, buzzers and Bluetooth headsets. Zhejiang New Jialian selected Aptiv film to meet the increasing demands of the mobile phone speaker diaphragm application and to overcome various challenges in product design.

The deployment of Aptiv film is intended to improve the acoustic performance, durability and lifespan of the speakers. Compared with similar products, Victrex claims that its Aptiv film provides an improvement in processability, acoustic performance (especially in low-end response), durability, high-temperature performance at temperatures exceeding 220C (428F), chemical resistance, tear resistance and fatigue resistance.

'Using Aptiv film allows us to produce new mobile phone speakers with compact size and high power-output performance,' said Jin Yidong, vice general manager of Zhejiang New Jialian. Edmond Chu, Aptiv films manager at Victrex Asia Pacific, said: 'Aptiv films offer a broad range of thicknesses from six microns to 750 microns along with outstanding film thickness tolerances to provide consistent acoustic properties and, through standard processing techniques, it can be formed into complex shapes and unique designs. 'This critical advantage makes Aptiv film a good fit for parts and components in miniature speakers,' he added.

Aptiv film can satisfy a range of speaker diaphragm designs, including single-layer designs, multilayer designs, speciality acoustics-coated diaphragms, filled acoustic grades and diaphragms with ceramic stiffeners. The acoustic properties and the high-temperature, mechanical, fatigue and processing attributes of Aptiv films, produced from Victrex Peek polymer, are suitable for use in acoustic film applications for original equipment manufacturers, designers and processors in the manufacture of speaker systems and acoustics-related components.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Axion And Projen Look To Biofuels Opportunities

Axion has joined forces with Projen in a strategic partnership to develop business opportunities in biofuels, advanced thermal waste processing, specialty chemicals and mineral processing sectors. Through this alliance, clients can access a broader portfolio of expertise that is said to combine Axion's process design and development capabilities with Projen's project management capabilities.

The two companies forged links several years ago when Axion helped Greenergy Biofuels to select Projen as its preferred supplier of project management services for its fuel storage facilities and large- scale biodiesel production plant.
Control Valves Help Meet Environmental Regulations

Metso Automation launches the Metso intelligent control valves (ICV) suitable for both general and demanding applications in hydrocarbon processing plants. The company's ICV helps process plants to meet environmental regulations by using control valve constructions that are said to provide high performance, reliability and control accuracy. This control valve offering consists of eccentric rotary plug valves, V-port segment valves, Neles Rotaryglobe valves, high-performance eccentric disc valves and top-entry rotary control valves.

Metso's ICV rotary control valves can reduce fugitive emissions by eliminating the gland-packing leakages often associated with rising stem globe valves. Metso's non-leakage, live-loaded valve packing prevents the loss of raw material and also eliminates the need for gland-packing maintenance and its associated maintenance costs. The control performance of Metso's ICV results from the frictionless, backlash-free valve and actuator construction and valve-position control built into the Neles ND9000 intelligent valve controller.

The ND9000 valve controller provides 'best in class' performance that minimises process variability and enables true predictive-maintenance capabilities thanks to its embedded online diagnostics. Metso's valve offering includes the Neles, Jamesbury and Mapag brands, which are suitable for flow-control, ESD and automated on-off applications. Metso valves meet the specific needs of individual applications as well as of process requirements and international standards.
GE Holds Launch Event At Sensor And Test 2010

GE Sensing and Inspection Technologies has announced an event to launch the DPI620 communicator/calibrator and the Pace6000 pneumatic pressure controller/indicator. The DPI620 communicator/calibrator now incorporates full Hart capability and carries both Atex and IECEx certification.

The Pace6000 pneumatic pressure controller/indicator with dual range configuration provides two instruments within a single casing. The company will also be introducing its Terps pressure sensor technology. This launch event will take place in the Madrid Room of the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre at 1pm on 19 May at the Sensor and Test 2010 exhibition.
Intelatrac System Monitors Plant Workflow

Invensys Operations Management has released its updated Wonderware Intelatrac mobile workforce management and decision-support system to drive consistent best practice in plant operations. The Intelatrac 4.0 system's dynamic procedures, coupled with the open Wonderware system platform, can help companies adapt their workflow based on actual plant conditions. The updated system features new tools that extend and integrate it with important plant systems, allowing users to share data with the mobile workforce, providing better visibility into real-time plant operations and helping achieve asset and productivity excellence.

The Intelatrac 4.0 system has a new oil and gas module that provides specialty calculations for tank volumes and pressure chart conversions. It can also deliver mobile data collection and calculation capabilities to hydrocarbon accounting systems, such as Tieto Energy Components, enhancing the ability to reliably operate remote production facilities. 'Our Intelatrac 4.0 system changes the impact a mobile workforce can have on the operations of an industrial plant or facility to drive operational, asset and productivity excellence in real time,' said Jim Frider, mobile solutions product marketing manager, Invensys Operations Management.

'It enables our clients and ecosystem partners to integrate a number of systems throughout the plant with an Intelatrac mobile device, delivering tasks directly to mobile operators and making them more effective and efficient. 'These capabilities help close the information gap that many mobile systems have and deliver useful information directly to the people that need it the most,' he added. The Intelatrac system enables clients to execute predefined procedures and strategic responses under changing environmental or business conditions, resulting in a highly responsive, collaborative plant environment.

This can facilitate operational best practices by mobile workers, connecting them to enterprise asset management systems, equipment reliability systems and process historians to deliver integration and visibility into the performance of non-instrumented or stranded equipment and assets. Additionally, the Intelatrac system helps streamline health, safety and environmental compliance and is claimed to deliver rapid ROI, typically within four to six months. The Intelatrac 4.0 system also offers capabilities for operator-driven reliability, cost-effective regulatory compliance, energy management and asset responsiveness. It can also mitigate workforce turnover using its mobile on-the-job learning capabilities, all without the need for custom programming.
SIS-Tech Safety System Protects From Overpressure

SIS-Tech's Diamond-SIS high-integrity protective system (Hips) is used to provide overpressure protection where the opening of the pressure-relief valve poses unacceptable process safety risks. Diamond-SIS Hips is a low-cost standalone logic solver is certified for use in applications up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3. API 521 and Code Case 2211 of ASME Section VIII, Division 1 and 2 allow the use of a high-integrity protective system, such as the Diamond-SIS Hips, in lieu of a pressure-relief device as long as the instrumented system meets or exceeds the protection provided by the pressure-relief device.

To achieve this performance, the Hips design and management must also follow IEC 61511 and the logic solver should be compliant with IEC 61508 SIL 3. The Diamond-SIS Hips complies with these requirements. Diamond-SIS is an SIL 3 logic solver with 2oo3 voting, which provides the end user with a fault-tolerant logic solver that it is physically and functionally independent from the process control and unit safety instrumented system. With the Diamond-SIS Hips, each vessel or pipeline is independently protected against overpressure so that no single Hips failure results in simultaneous overpressure of multiple vessels or pipelines.

By using an independent logic solver for each Hips, the potential for common cause failure impacting multiple process units is reduced. In a typical installation, the Diamond-SIS Hips takes inputs from multiple sensors that can detect abnormal process operating conditions. The logic solver processes the inputs and sends the necessary outputs to final elements such as block valves or pumps. The Diamond-SIS Hips is rated for -30C to +75C and suitable for installation in Class I Div II environments, allowing it to be installed in the field near the process equipment.

This reduces the implementation costs typically associated with systems using cabinet-mounted safety PLCs. The Diamond-SIS Hips is used in many overpressure protection system applications, such as wellhead piping protection, where electric submersible pumps (ESP) are installed for enhanced oil recovery. In these applications, the unintended block-in of the ESP initiates a scenario where the maximum discharge pressure from the pump exceeds the maximum allowable working pressure of the downstream piping, potentially rupturing the pipeline.

Traditional overpressure protection with a pressure-relief valve results in a discharge that cannot be effectively managed. Instead, the Diamond-SIS Hips is used to detect high pressure and to shutdown the ESP, preventing pipeline overpressure. Hips are now accepted for vessel protection with the latest release of API 521 and with the recent update to the ASME pressure vessel code. The Minerals Management Service has approved Hips as a new technology application for offshore installations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Rockwell Presents Oil And Gas Control Systems

Rockwell Automation will be highlighting its digital field and integrated control, power and safety solutions and services for platform and subsea control at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC). The Rockwell Automation OTC 2010 booth will outline the company's solutions and global support capabilities for the oil and gas industry. A process control centre featuring the Rockwell Automation Plantpax process automation system will be on display, featuring a critical control and safety system that enables the user to specify the level of reliability and availability needed for operational excellence.

The booth also will feature an IEC-compliant motor control centre that offers protection for personnel and equipment. According to Rockwell, digital field solutions help oil and gas companies obtain high performance and value from their assets, including asset performance management (APM) solutions. Rockwell Automation APM solutions utilise the company's Factorytalk Vantagepoint EMI (Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence) software to provide role-based visualisation, analytics and reporting that can help improve production and asset surveillance.

In addition, Rockwell Automation will highlight its Software CEM system, a continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) and real-time environmental management technology. These are said to provide accuracy and reliability at a lower total cost and are designed to help ease compliance to state and federal environmental protection agency requirements. The company will also offer additional information and hands-on demonstrations of the technology and solutions described above.
Step Offshore To Sell Derrick Control Equipment

Step Offshore, a subsidiary of Aker Solutions, has announced that it is to offer an extended range of drilling fluid management solutions for oil and gas projects. The company is now selling Derrick Equipment's premium solids control equipment and related products in Europe, which includes capital equipment, such as shale shakers, mud cleaners, centrifuges, degassers, flow dividers, as well as operational equipment such as shale shaker screens and spare parts.

Derrick's screen technology, also available for competitors' shale shakers, includes the Pyramid and Pyramid Plus design. These three-dimensional screens offer the features of traditional flat, multi-layered screens while adding to the usable screen area. The result is a screen that allows for an increase in fluid handling capacity. Pyramid screens allow rigs to screen finer earlier in the drilling process, reducing total drilling fluid and disposal costs.
Air Gun Delivers 10kg Of Blowing Force

Exair's single air nozzle Super Blast Safety Air Gun, available from Good Hand, is suitable for long-distance, wide-area blow-off, drying and cooling applications. The air gun is claimed to deliver 10kg of blowing force, which is equivalent to the force of 30 ordinary air guns. The Super Blast Safety Air Gun incorporates a large Super Air Nozzle that has been engineered to maximise entrained airflow and force while reducing compressed air use and noise.

At full pressure of 5.5 bar, it has an air consumption of 13,000slpm. Seven other sizes with single or multiple Super Air Nozzle configurations are available that provide forces of 1.5kg to 6.8kg and air consumption ranging from 1,500slpm to 9,000slpm. The large Super Air Nozzle of the Super Blast Safety Air Gun has a zinc-aluminium alloy construction that is suitable for rugged industrial applications.

The air gun incorporates a soft-grip handle and spring-loaded manual valve that automatically shuts off if it is dropped. The airflow that exits the gun cannot be blocked and meets recognised safety standards. Applications include floor and machinery cleaning, chip removal, liquid blow-off, parts cleaning and cooling hot parts.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

McGill University Uses Simio 3D Modelling Software

The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University has joined Simio's academic programme, which offers the company's 3D modelling software to schools at no charge. Simio awarded a USD29,700 (GBP19,310) grant to the Desautels Faculty of Management. The NSERC Create Program, which will benefit from the grant, is set improve the collective capacity of the six partner universities in Canada for training doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows who could become significant contributors to healthcare research, practice and policy making.

McGill University is now one of more than 120 universities worldwide to join Simio's academic programme. The Simio Academic Edition software has no model size limits and includes discrete and continuous modelling, object library development and 3D animation. Trainees at the university will be able to model systems using intelligent objects and the software's direct connection to Google's 3D Warehouse. The intelligent objects are built by modellers and may be reused in multiple modelling projects.

These objects can be stored in libraries and shared. Simio's connection to Google's 3D Warehouse gives access to a free online library of thousands of graphic objects, providing students with the ability to solve real-world problems in visually rich environments.
Datron MV-1500 Machines Awkward-Shaped Workpieces

The new MV-1500 CNC machining centre from Datron Technology is suitable for machining non-standard-shaped workpieces. With a vertical clamping surface, it enables the machining of components measuring up to 1m in height. This 'drop-down' area is at right angles to the horizontal table, which measures 1,500 x 500mm. This latest addition to the range of Datron large-format CNC machining centres is suitable for the milling of both standard- and awkward-shaped components - especially the latter - where robust clamping is available on both tables.

Exceptionally tall parts or housings can be clamped onto the vertical T-slotted clamping face, with other parts for machining at the back of the machine on the horizontal table. Alternatively, parts with an overhang can be positively clamped so that, for example, end faces can be machined. Built with the trademark granite table - offering high precision, accuracy and stability, particularly against vibration - the Datron MV-1500 can be equipped with a range of spindles capable of operating at speeds of up to 60,000rev/min.

The same Datron design principles have also been applied to the MV-1500 to ensure a small footprint (2.25 x 2.4m). Optional extras include a surface-mapping/position-finding optional probe (either Datron or Renishaw), Datron vacuum clamping plates and a 30-position tool changer. Indexers are also available to increase the machine's capability for up to five-axis operation with fast 3D CNC control.

A full tooling package is available from Datron, but the MV-1500 is also compatible with other tooling. The MV-1500, priced from GBP60,000, is said to be simple to install. Datron provides full commissioning and training. The company also offers a full service and applications support to assist the customer in all aspects of programming and machining; turnkey packages are available on request.
Cedrat To Provide Training Sessions On Actuators

Cedrat Technologies has announced that places are still available for its training sessions, which are due to take place on 17 June, following Actuator 2010. Two parallel sessions - one about piezoelectric actuators and the other about linear magnetic actuators - will be held in the Congress Center Bremen. The courses are open to engineers and PhD students who want to know more about these actuator technologies.