Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dairy producer reduces refrigeration energy use by 18-21% with Dyneo Permanent Magnet Motors

Emerson Industrial Automation (Belgium) - A Belgium-based producer of dairy products is achieving minimum energy savings of at least 18% from its refrigeration process as a result of switching to Dyneo permanent magnet motor technology from Control Techniques & Leroy-Somer. The solution, which also features a Leroy-Somer Powerdrive high-power modular drive, is being used in an industrial refrigeration system that cools milk after pasteurisation or sterilisation.

Based near Ghent, Inex specialises in products including milk, chocolate milk, buttermilk, fermented milk, yoghurt, cream and butter. The company, founded in 1898, manufactures and packages both fresh and long-life produce for large European retail chains and multinationals. It has around 440 employees and annual sales of circa €150 million.

Since refrigeration is a key element in the manufacturing process, optimum operation and reliability is paramount. As part of a recent investment package, Inex acquired four new industrial refrigerator systems based on Sabroe SMC 106E reciprocating ammonia compressors. At the time, the company had heard good reports of permanent magnet motors and wanted to install one as a trial. As a result, three of the compressors were supplied with standard Leroy-Somer IE2 (90kW) asynchronous AC motors, and one with a Leroy-Somer IE4 (105kW) synchronous permanent magnet motor from the Dyneo range.

The refrigeration systems are used to cool water to 1°C, which in turns cools milk to around 4°C. The installation operates almost continuously, but at variable load. Here, the benefits of permanent magnet motors come to the fore as their performance retains almost constant partial load, unlike standard asynchronous motors, generally leading to a reduction in energy consumption.

To put the theory to the test, Control Techniques and Leroy-Somer’s experts visited Inex after the installation was complete. They discovered that the refrigerator operating with the Dyneo permanent magnet motor was delivering significant energy savings.

Using a digital energy analyzer, the drive and motor experts made a series of power measurements comparing two refrigeration units working at the same conditions. One featured the LSRPM280SC-T synchronous magnet motor (105kW) running at 1500 rpm and Leroy-Somer Powerdrive, while the other housed the standard LSES280MK-T (90kW) asynchronous motor running at 1487 rpm and a competitor drive.

It was found that energy savings were being achieved using the permanent magnet motor across a range of different load profiles. Depending on the type of measure – involving number of pistons, speed, evaporation temperature and condensation temperature – the calculated energy savings were between 18-21%, taking into account any losses from the drive and the motor.

For more information about the Dyneo Permanent Magnet Motors from Emerson Industrial Automation click here.

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ProSoft Connect™ demonstrates the benefits of a Container and Microservices Cloud Architecture

ProSoft Technology, Inc. (USA) - By Keith Blodorn Director of Wireless Program, ProSoft Technology.

ProSoft Technology has delivered valuable products and services helping industrial customers connect automation equipment across different networks for nearly thirty years. Today, as its customers are looking to benefit from the Industrial Internet of Things, ProSoft introduces a new secure, cloud-native platform called ProSoft Connect to help customers do more.

ProSoft Connect provides some unique advantages because of the Container and Microservices cloud architecture that it’s built on. This paper describes the Container and Microservices architecture and illustrates how ProSoft customers benefit from it.

What are Containers and Microservices?
“Containers” and “Microservices” are terms used to describe an approach to developing applications for use in a cloud environment. The term Container brings to mind a shipping container – a standardized box used in shipping to make it easier to move products overseas, through ports and across railways. In cloud application development, a Container is a standardized set of services that support the application running inside the container and provide connection to the cloud host environment.

Microservices are the applications that run inside the Containers. As opposed to writing a single, monolithic program to deliver all user functions, developers build Microservices that perform a very specific task.

Various Microservices come together to form what appears to the user as a complete cloud-based service. Yet, since each Microservice and the Container it resides in is fully self-sufficient, these functions are not dependent on each other.

This concept is a departure from the predominant software development approach of the recent past. For many years, software developers built full programs that would install on a computer and run in a specific computer operating system. All of the functions of the program exist within the code, and the entire program is installed together. The program then depends on the operating system to provide the required connections to the world (input devices like the keyboard, output devices like the monitor, network connections, etc.). In addition, all of the functions within the program depend on each other. This approach to programming worked well as long as there would always be a fairly complex host to run the program – the computer operating system.

As more computing functions are moved to cloud hosted systems, this paradigm is no longer the ideal way to develop computer programs. Many applications have been ported to the cloud simply by running a virtual machine with a specific operating system, and installing an existing PC- or server-based program to that virtual machine. This is a very inefficient approach since many aspects of the operating system are not needed by the program. Further, since all of the functions of the program are interdependent, a failure in any part of the program can crash the entire service. Booting up a new VM with the service can take minutes. Reliability is improved by adding “failover” servers, which are entire copies of the virtual machine running side by side.

Containers and Microservices provide a better way to build software for cloud deployment. This approach begins with the compartmentalization of program functions into Microservices. A Microservice is just a specific function of the program. Think of the payment service on an online retail site. The overall service may have many such Microservices providing different functions. The other key element of this approach is the Container. The Container is a standardized interface between the Microservice and the rest of the world, similar to how the operating system provided the interface for the monolithic program in the old paradigm.

Containers offer quite a few advantages in the cloud hosted environment.

They are much less resource-intensive compared to virtual machines and full operating systems, so it’s easy to deploy multiple instances of a particular Microservice to handle traffic and provide better reliability.

Containers “spin up” in less than a second, so failure recovery is extremely fast. Making functions fully independent from one another also allows the development team to use the best programming language for each function, rather than choosing one language for all functions. If one function is most easily deployed in python, and another function in C++, each function can be developed in the optimal language for that function and deployed in its own Container.

Think of the old approach of monolithic programs running on virtual machines as a warehouse. The warehouse, like the virtual machine, is designed to house any manner of contents. It is quite large and time-consuming to build, and the contents inside are all dependent on the integrity of the warehouse – and can even be affected by problems with other contents. In addition, each warehouse is built with different configurations – aisles, shelving, doorways – so moving contents from one warehouse to another will require changing how the contents are stored. When things are busy, the warehouse may be full, while at other times, it will be nearly empty. Yet it takes up the same amount of space either way.

By contrast, shipping containers are really very small, modular warehouses.

Each one has standard dimensions, handling provisions, and configuration.

Containers hold all kinds of different contents, yet it is very easy to manage many containers by stacking them on ships or in shipyards. Individual containers take up much less space than a warehouse, and it’s relatively easy to add containers when more contents need to be stored. In busy times, the shipyard may be full of containers stacked in rows. When it’s not busy, far fewer containers are needed. If anything happens to a container, only the contents inside that container are affected, and a replacement can be ready quickly.

Just as the advantages of shipping containers make logistics operations more efficient, cloud-native container technologies make cloud-based programs easier to develop, deploy, and operate.

How the Container and Microservice Architecture Benefits ProSoft Customers
ProSoft Connect allows customers to securely access industrial automation devices – such as PLCs and HMIs – remotely from anywhere in the world.

Secure remote access allows system integrators, machine builders, and large end users to troubleshoot problems with their systems more quickly, to gather data from machines or plants around the world, and plant operators to manage process equipment spread globally. The unique advantages of the Container and Microservice architecture includes enhanced service reliability, improved security, and superior ease of use.

For manufacturing customers, reliability is always a critical attribute.

Secure remote access services are no different. When a machine is down, engineers need to access the machine control system and begin troubleshooting immediately. ProSoft Connect users enjoy highly reliable service in part because the Container/Microservice approach allows the service to run multiple simultaneous sessions with minimal consumption of cloud computing resources. In fact, there are always at least three of every service running! There is no need for the “fail-over” servers that old VM-based systems used for reliability. Even if all of the current instances of a service were to suddenly stop, a new instance can be started up in under a second. This means that when an engineer needs to access a remote machine, ProSoft Connect will be ready to make the connection.

As more industrial processes connect to the Internet, cybersecurity is an important aspect of connectivity solutions. The Container and Microservice architecture helps ProSoft Connect deliver a higher level of security for users. First, ProSoft Connect is a fully cloud-native solution that requires virtually no user-installed software. This eliminates a significant attack surface that past cloud connectivity solutions opened up. User-installed software is vulnerable to tactics like “watering hole attacks,” where hackers embed sniffer code inside the software download and use that to gain access to equipment. Also, software must be kept up-to-date as vulnerabilities in the underlying software services are discovered and patched. ProSoft Connect requires only a browser and an OS-native VPN client to work, so these threats are greatly reduced.

Second, the Container and Microservice architecture enables ProSoft Connect developers to build a very robust and secure service using the latest state-of-the-art cloud development tools. Containerized functions prevent potentially cascading issues, since each function operates autonomously in its own Container. Finally, Containers provide the basic supporting services that a piece of code needs to run. This means there are fewer components that might be vulnerable to attack, compared with a full VM and operating system.

The most noticeable advantage of ProSoft’s choice to use Containers and Microservices is in the ease of use. ProSoft Connect functions were built using the best programming language and supporting services for each function, which contributes to the simple user experience of the service.

For creating VPN connections to remote equipment, ProSoft Connect offers EasyBridge™ technology, which forms a Layer 2 connection between the user’s PC and the remote PLC network. Containerized services running in the ProSoft Connect service handle the complexity of network routing, so the user can connect to the remote network just as if they plugged an Ethernet cable into the remote Ethernet switch.

A Platform for the Industrial Internet of Things:
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of ProSoft Connect and its modular architecture is the promise of things to come. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. As new technologies develop to help manufacturers cut costs, improve productivity, and deliver products faster, ProSoft Connect users will have a powerful secure platform to connect industrial data to high-value cloud services.

ProSoft already helps customers around the world get data from machines speaking one protocol to machines that speak a different protocol. We’ve now built the foundation to help customers take those machines and deliver the value the IIoT is promising.


Keith Blodorn is the director of ProSoft Technology’s Wireless Program. He has worked in the Industrial Automation industry for more than 20 years.

For more information about ProSoft Connect from ProSoft Technology click here.

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Quantifying Touch: changing how the Automotive Industry defines feel

SynTouch, LLC (USA) - The world authority on quantifying touch and the provider of a tactile measurement system that mimics and exceeds human perception – is changing the way the automotive industry designs cars and trucks.

No automobile would enter production without precise measurements defining its look and color, but for how it feels? The haptics of automotive interiors were previously defined using subjective adjectives, physical samples of interiors sent for approval (or rejection) and quality control measurements that didn’t capture the essence of what humans feel.

SynTouch improved that process.

The SynTouch Standard® consists of an instrument to measure the fifteen dimensions of human touch including aspects of texture, friction, thermal, compliance and adhesion.

Designers using our measurements rest assured that their preferred feel for a material is specified for production engineers. Then suppliers and buyers use these measurements to provide materials that meet the designers’ needs.

Increasingly, car interiors are where automakers establish their unique brand, define the driver experience and create sensations of luxury, dependability, exoticism or power. Interior Motives‘ summer focus feature on color and materials highlights this new emphasis. Touch is perhaps the most human of our senses. When you sit in a car and touch the steering wheel, seat, or infotainment center, each interaction alters your perception of quality. The automakers using our services can now deliver precisely the perception that they intend.


SynTouch provides services and test instruments to the automotive industry and companies making consumer electronics, personal care products, garments and many other items that you touch on a daily basis.

SynTouch provides no-cost initial consultation to OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.

For more information about the SynTouch Standard® from SynTouch, LLC click here.

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Systems Modeling and Verification Software Added to the Altair Partner Alliance

Altair Engineering, Inc. (USA) – XLDyn is now available for download by HyperWorks users.

The Altair Partner Alliance (APA) added systems engineering software from XLDyn, LLC to its lineup of software partnerships. The software is made up of two modules, XLSE and XL1D, which work together to automate the creation of system models and perform one dimensional (1D) multi-physics simulations.

"Our partnership with XLDyn is one we’ve been looking forward to,” said Carlo Damiani, Vice President System Modeling at Altair. “One of the most exciting aspects is that it offers a great interface with solidThinking Activate, which will provide our joint users with not only top-notch system modeling capabilities, but also an easy to use environment for requirements and verification.”

XLSE is a model and math based systems engineering tool to automate the creation of system models whose requirements can be verified by tightly integrated simulation and tests. The software synchronizes the Object Management Group Systems Modeling Language (OMG SysML) diagram, Table and Word document views of the design requirements to support parametric, block definition, requirement, package and internal block diagrams. XL1D provides 1D multi-physics simulation for controls, mechanical, electrical, and thermal elements with multiple solution types. These modules together create an excellent tool for balancing requirements and design parameters at the system, subsystem and component levels.

"We are thrilled to be joining forces with the Altair community,” said Thomas Tecco, Chief Operating Officer at XLDyn. “Our systems modeling software brings new and innovative capabilities to complement those already a part of the Altair offering, so we are confident this partnership holds many good things to come for systems engineers across our global user base.”

The XLDyn software is widely applicable across industries, and is best suited for those with interdependent and complex requirements. It provides systems and product development engineers with the ability to develop and track product requirements and graphically document the requirement verification methods to appropriately balance and optimize the designs to be sure targets are met.

About the Altair Partner Alliance:
Altair’s HyperWorks platform applies a revolutionary subscription-based licensing model in which customers use floating licenses to access a broad suite of Altair-developed, as well as third-party, software applications on demand. The Altair Partner Alliance effectively extends the HyperWorks Platform from more than 20 internally developed solutions to upwards of 60 applications with the addition of new partner applications. Customers can invoke these third-party applications at no incremental cost using their existing HyperWorks licenses. Customers benefit from unmatched flexibility and access, resulting in maximum software utilization, productivity and ROI.

About XLDyn, LLC:
The XLDyn mission is to develop system engineering tools that are fully integrated with an intuitive and easy to use graphical interface. We have two modules developed in Microsoft .NET 4.5 Framework. XLSE for authoring OMG SysML compliant system models and XL1D for authoring and simulating detailed 1D multi-physics systems models. The XLDyn technology is covered by three approved U.S. Patents, plus one pending.

Product success requires meeting or exceeding the customer expectations. Engineers need to define requirements, trace relationships, verify status against targets in one easy to use software tool. The solution to this is XLDyn as it provides the most integrated and easy to use Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) software for requirements and verification tracking. It has a wide range of functionality needed by Systems and Simulation Engineers and at the same time provides a “project view” capability that is ideal for managers and teams to keep abreast of project status. XLDyn is the perfect tool for balancing designs at the system, subsystem and component level.

About Altair:
Founded in 1985, Altair is focused on the development and application of simulation technology to synthesize and optimize designs, processes and decisions for improved business performance. Privately held with more than 2,600 employees, Altair is headquartered in Troy, Michigan, USA with more than 45 offices throughout 20 countries, and serves more than 5,000 corporate clients across broad industry segments.

For more information about the Solutions from Altair click here.

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NuTec completes $2.5 Million Medical Assembly Automation Project

NuTec Tooling Systems, Inc. (USA) – NuTec’s latest medical assembly automation project is the eleventh iteration built in cooperation with a large medical device supplier. The project, consisting of six separate automation stations, including two of NuTec’s proprietary TrayTender products, was built for the assembly and testing of a sophisticated medical device. A device is produced every 9 seconds and the line can run many variations of the product. The multi-million dollar project took just under a year to complete.


About NuTec:
NuTec Tooling Systems, Inc. is a solutions oriented provider and designer of factory automation solutions and industrial robotics for contract manufacturers and manufacturers of complex components. NuTec specializes in factory automation solutions for industries such as: medical, small electronics/devices, electro-mechanical automation, energy storage, consumer products, and more.

For more information about the Automation Solutions from NuTec Tooling Systems click here.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Eurotunnel Selects ARBOR Technology to Maximize Check-in Efficiency of Toll Booths

ARBOR Technology Corp. (UK, France) – ARBOR’s rugged FPC-7701 industrial fanless Box PC has been chosen for its reliability and configuration flexibility.

ARBOR Technology, a leading provider of embedded computing solutions, is pleased to announce that Eurotunnel has selected ARBOR’s FPC-7701 fanless Box PC for both its manned and fully automated toll booths which require reliable ruggedized embedded computing systems to maximize check-in efficiency. Processes such as number plate recognition, barrier control and ticket printing are controlled through this PC interface.

Built in 1994, the Channel Tunnel between United Kingdom and France is a key connection for the European high-speed transport and plays an important role for regional economic development. The Channel Tunnel is used by 2.5 million cars, 1.5 million trucks and 21 million people every year. High-speed passenger trains and rail freight trains also run through the tunnel.

Originally the Industrial Box PC was specified as a fan cooled system, ARBOR Technology UK proposed a more reliable fanless solution. Selecting the FPC-7701 from ARBOR’s extensive range of ruggedized Industrial Box PC products, gave the ideal base platform, additional I/O was then added using the PCI and PCIe expansion ports. This coupled with the Intel® Core™ i5 CPU and an extended operating temperature range of -20 ~ 55°C, meant that the ARBOR fanless Box PC FPC-7701 exceeded the required specifications.

A demo system was delivered within 1 week of request, allowing Eurotunnel to evaluate the proposed hardware, check compatibility with their custom software and conduct the extensive testing required to ensure the long term reliability would be achieved.

Custom metalwork was designed by ARBOR Technology UK to enable the Fanless Box PC to fit onto the existing mounting points. By using in-house CAD modeling the design concepts could be evaluated without the need for prototyping.

Industrial PC manufacturing by ARBOR Technology in Taiwan with configuration and testing at the ARBOR UK facility allows ARBOR to achieve cost effective pricing whilst offering customers the local UK sales, technical and aftersales support that they require.

Eurotunnel’s UK Support Manager, Nigel Hales said: “ARBOR Technology UK offered the local technical and manufacturing support we wanted, meaning the fanless Box PCs could be configured to our specification and meet our exact expectations.”


About Groupe Eurotunnel SE:
Groupe Eurotunnel SE (Euronext Paris: GET and London Stock Exchange: GETS) manages the infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel and operates accompanied truck shuttle and passenger shuttle (car and coach) services between Folkestone, UK and Calais, France. Eurotunnel holds the concession until 2086 to operate the Channel Tunnel, the fastest, most reliable, easiest and most environmentally friendly way to cross the Channel. In 21 years, over 366 million people have used the Channel Tunnel. This unique land crossing has become a vital link between the continent and the United Kingdom. Eurotunnel also runs a rail freight business through its subsidiary Europorte, which offers a wide range of integrated rail freight services.

About ARBOR:
ARBOR Technology Corp., founded in 1993, is a leading provider of Smart City and IoT solutions. With more than 20 years of experience in providing customer-driven, high performance, and industrial strength computing solutions in various industries. ARBOR strives to provide a complete solution from board to system, computing to communication in healthcare, transportation, industrial automation, mobile computing, digital signage, retail, intelligent building and home. ARBOR is ISO-9001, ISO-13485 and ISO-14001-certifiied and commits to deliver high quality products with international standards and well-defined production process.

ARBOR Technology (UK) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of ARBOR Technology Corp., a leading supplier offering clients solutions, sales service, technical support, warehousing and RMA facilities. ARBOR UK has provided industrial hardware solutions to some of the UK's largest Defense, Aerospace, Medical & Automation companies with totally customized, cost-effective and bespoke solutions.

For more information about the Rugged FPC-7701 Industrial Fanless Box PC from ARBOR Technology Corp. click here.

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EtherCAT-Enabled Panel PC Raises Production Speed by 40% with Simplified System Architecture

NEXCOM International Co., Ltd. (Taiwan) - NEXCOM's EtherCAT-enabled panel PCs have taken the place of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and human-machine interface (HMI) to boost the production speed by 40% for a manufacturer of corrugated metal sheets and rolling forming lines. By empowering roll forming lines to hit a line speed of 70 meters per minute (m/min), NEXCOM APPC 1530T enables the manufacturer and its clients to produce more corrugated metal sheets, serve more customers, and generate more revenue.

Having a spate of applications, corrugated metal sheets is a construction material widely used for roofing, siding, and wall cladding. Facing overwhelming market demand as well as heavy competition, the manufacturer was under the mounting pressure to build new roll forming lines which can deliver a higher volume of corrugated metal sheets in a shorter time span than previously anticipated. Challenged to speed up roll forming lines, the manufacturers has embraced NEXCOM' APPC 1530T, an EtherCAT-enabled 15" panel PC, over PLCs.

NEXCOM's Solution:
Installed in roll forming lines, the APPC 1530T is used to control and display operation information of a series of manufacturing processes. The APPC 1530T begins with unrolling a galvanized steel coil into a flat sheet which is then transferred and guided to roll forming units to shape a beautiful trapezoidal or sinusoidal profile. Next, the APPC 1530T sets fly shears into action to cut the corrugated metal sheet into pieces of a desired length, and then weighs and stacks the finished products, which are produced at a line speed of 70 m/min.

It is a seemingly simple work yet requiring roll forming lines to show mastery of high-speed, multi-axis, multi-point control that was lacking in existing roll forming lines which took two Modbus RTU PLCs and a 7" HMI to do the same work and maxed out at about 50 m/min.

Solution Benefits:
Building roll forming lines with the APPC 1530T gives the manufacturer unprecedented speed, control, and simplicity over PLCs. The EtherCAT-enabled APPC 1530T outruns Modbus RTU PLCs in terms of the communication speed and is powerful enough to serve as both a PC-based controller and HMI. Compared to their predecessors, new roll forming lines orchestrated by a single unit of powerful APPC 1530T have a much simpler architecture that not only is easier to maintain but also demonstrates great simplicity in system integration.

With the support for IEC 61131-3 and PLCopen standards, the APPC 1530T enables the manufacturer to reuse already-written motion control functions by copying ladder diagrams, function block diagrams, and motion control libraries from existing roll forming lines to new lines. As a result, the manufacturer is allowed to accelerate time to market of innovations with reduced programming efforts.

For more information about the Panel PCs from NEXCOM International Co., Ltd. click here.

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Industrial Cloud Routers Unveiled by Delta Electronics

Delta Electronics, Inc. (Taiwan) – Delta Electronics has recently launched its innovative 3G Cloud Router DX-2100 series and Industrial Ethernet Cloud Router DX-2300 series, both to be displayed at the major industrial show SPS Italia 2016, in Parma from May 24 to 26. These state-of-the-art routers enable a built-in secure tunnel between the DIACloud cloud service and a set of industrial devices such as PLCs, HMIs, AC motor drives, AC servo systems, sensors and more. Users can connect to DIACloud through Apps, web browsers or PC Windows platforms. The new DIACloud service offers simple and efficient control of automated facilities.

Designed to support fast and reliable two-way data collection, DX-2100 is a rugged wireless router that establishes a secure ‘tunnel’ between the user and the remote networked devices or PC (via the cloud server) without the need for VPN servers. This makes it possible to perform remote configuration, remote firmware upgrades, scheduled tasks and remote management operations. The device is targeted at a host of remote connectivity applications that include industrial automation, smart homes, smart buildings, smart grids, surveillance and transportation monitoring.

Superior performance based on quick, strong and secure connectivity is viable with these advanced new devices. Able to support Modbus TCP and RTU protocols, the DX-2100 is downward compatible with GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2G networks. Both the DX-2100 and the DX-2300 offer HSPA+ data transmission rates of up to 21.6 Mbps (downlink) and 5.76 Mbps (uplink). Before purchasing any router, users are advised to determine how fast it transmits data.

For the Industrial 3G Cloud Router, further benefits include automatic APN parameter matching and connection redial, therefore minimising offline time in the event of internet drop-out. In addition, there are various peripheral interfaces that include RS-485, RS-232 and Ethernet ports to meet all user device connectivity requirements, while an integral RTC (Real-Time Clock) also features along with support for NTP (Network Time Protocol) synchronisation over a network.

From a security perspective, the firewall offers many advanced functions, including SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) and the prevention of DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. What’s more, the firewall also provides NAT (Network Address Translation), port triggering and port mapping functionality, along with IP address, MAC address and URL filtering. All of this helps to make Delta’s DX-2100 and DX-2300 some of the market’s most secure industrial cloud routers.

Additional user advantages include networking failure diagnostics, device and PLC interlocking, and custom alarm conditions with email alerts.

For more information about the New Industrial Cloud Routers from Delta Electronics click here.

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HMS Industrial Networks AB acquires Intesis Software, S.L., Spain

HMS Industrial Networks (Spain) - HMS Industrial Networks AB has acquired all shares of the Spain-based company Intesis Software, S.L. – a leading provider of gateway solutions for HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system integration within building automation.

Intesis was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Igualada, Spain, close to Barcelona. Intesis offers advanced communication gateway solutions and interfaces within the building automation field. The major part of Intesis’ sales comes from the successful “IntesisBox” building automation communication solution. Intesis works closely with many major manufacturers of air conditioning and building automation systems globally. At present, the company has 30 employees.

“We see great potential in lifting the Intesis business and technology platform to the next level by becoming part of HMS, one of the global market leaders in industrial communication. I am very pleased to have found the right, industrial new home in HMS for our team,” says Pedro Lumbreras, founder of Intesis. “We are excited to be joining HMS, whose knowledge in industrial communication along with a worldwide presence will add new dimensions and even more strategic drive to our successful journey in the area of building automation,” says José Cerón, CEO of Intesis.

“Intesis’ protocol and application know-how, packaged in market-proven solutions are important additions for HMS. It is an excellent fit to our growth strategy,” says Staffan Dahlström, CEO of HMS Networks AB. “Intesis’ strong position within communication solutions for building automation system integration will complement HMS’ existing gateway offering perfectly. Intesis will give HMS a strong footprint and position in the market niche of building automation systems. Intesis is a well-established and highly regarded industrial company that, like our recent acquisition of eWON, further strengthens HMS’ unique value proposition to our customers – manufacturers of devices and machines, system integrators and installers worldwide.”

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Baumer invests in a new development and logistics center on Lake Constance

Baumer Holding AG (Germany) - The sensor specialist Baumer is investing in its future with a new building in Stockach on Lake Constance (near to Constance) in Southern Germany. At the Stockach – Bodman-Ludwigshafen site, in addition to a central logistics center for Europe, a new high-tech center for Research & Development and Production is being built. The investment volume is approximately EUR 30 million. In doing so, the international family-owned company is intensifying its sustainable and long-term development of the Baumer Group. The aim of the new logistics center for Europe is that it can react more quickly and flexibly to the rapidly growing demands of the market.

In the new high-tech center, importance is placed on sustainability and the latest infrastructure with a high level of networking between humans and machines (Industry 4.0). The project is being realized in several construction phases. In the course of the year, three buildings should be built on the 48,000 square meter site: a three-storey production building, a logistics building, and an administration building.

In the initial expansion phase, the new site offers space for between 300 and 400 workplaces. The opening of the new high-tech center is planned for Fall 2017.

About Baumer Group:
The Baumer Group is an international leading manufacturer and developer of sensors, encoders, measuring instruments and components for automated image-processing. Baumer combines innovative technology and customer-oriented service into intelligent solutions for factory and process automation and offers a uniquely wide range of related products and technologies. With around 2,300 employees and 37 subsidiaries and in 19 countries, the family-owned company is always close to the customer. Industrial clients in many sectors gain vital advantages and measurable added value from the worldwide consistency of Baumer’s high quality standards and its considerable innovative potential.

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NSK’s AIP helps confectionary plant save €80,000 a year

NSK Europe (UK) - Using the wrong bearings or fitting them incorrectly can reduce a machine’s output or even cause an entire plant to grind to a halt. With this in mind, NSK’s AIP (Added Value Programme) has become an established industry problem-solving tool for machines or systems that use bearing and/or other motion-related elements. Designed to make operations and maintenance processes more efficient and profitable, AIP is able to introduce benefits and savings with each value-added step. Among the latest to experience the advantages that AIP can deliver is a large UK confectionary and chewing gum manufacturer, which as a result of working with NSK experts is now achieving annual savings in excess of €80,000.

This confectionary plant was experiencing repeated failures on its dip tank conveyor nose roller. After inviting NSK to assess this increasingly costly issue, a thorough investigation was commenced. The AIP team concluded that a combination of NSK’s DDU seal arrangement on its deep groove ball bearings and a redesign of the bearing configuration would help reduce production downtime significantly, while also reducing labour costs as well as bearing costs.

The dip tank conveyor nose roller at the confectionary plant.

NSK’s AIP programme is supported by experts who use tried and tested methodology to develop the ideal solution for the customer’s specific application, working closely with client engineering and maintenance teams to take every detail into account.

Indicating the extent of the problem at the confectionary plant, maintenance engineers were changing bearings approximately every seven weeks, a process that involved extended unplanned machine downtime. The cost of manpower and lost production time, along with the cost of the replacement bearing sets, was proving to be very costly and unsustainable.

In the first instance, NSK suggested changing to its own series of deep groove ball bearings. These bearings are ‘sealed for life’ (a closure is positioned on each side of the bearing) and feature a high-performance contact seal design. To enhance operating life by protecting against the ingress of dust and moisture contamination, the NSK DDU seal offers three sealing lips; one forms a contact with the side face of the inner ring groove, while the other two form tight, non-contact constrictions at either side of the contact sealing lip. Importantly, the axial sealing lip also means that grease leakage is reduced in comparison with standard seals, particularly in outer ring rotating applications.

Bearing lifetime is a critical factor in materials handling equipment because it is directly related to production uptime, a factor noted immediately by the NSK team. Part of the AIP promise is greater efficiency through recognising potential gains in profitability, optimising operations and maintenance, minimising unplanned machine and plant downtime, and reducing the costs associated with continuous production processes.

DDU Contact seal.

On the confectionary gum manufacturer’s conveyor nose roller, a further issue recognised by NSK was that the bearing configuration comprised three bearing units assembled together flush, one set either side of the roller. However, the bearings were not designed to operate in this type of arrangement as they did not share the load equally and were also affected by axial preload.

As a consequence, NSK proposed placing a spacer shim between each bearing, an established industry practice which permits two or more bearings to be flush-mounted that were not originally intended for this type of use. The solution provides the separation required and avoids axial preloading. In addition, it facilitates improved load-sharing duties during operation.

Based on NSK’s proposal of new bearing sets and spacer shims, a trial was conducted that resulted in an immediate improvement in conveyor uptime. Furthermore, roller service intervals could be extended to one year, thus reducing maintenance requirements. Based on reduced downtime and labour costs, as well as fewer replacement bearings, the total annual savings amount to €80,493.

For more information about the Added Value Programme from NSK Europe click here.

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Networked Data Management - The key to predictive maintenance in Automated Production

AUVESY GmbH & Co KG (Germany) – In the field of automated production, changes and improvements are made to production processes on a regular basis in order to maximise productivity, efficiency and product quality. However, making changes to control programs is far from risk-free, and errors that may affect the reliability and quality of the production process can occur at any time. To solve this problem, intelligent data management systems are used to manage and safeguard key project data. By organising data with 100% clarity at a centralised data storage location and enabling users to carry out predictive maintenance, the data management system helps to keep a plant fully operational.

It is in this key area that the data management system versiondog has established itself as market leader. With versiondog, users in production and maintenance can benefit from a truly all-in-one solution that offers version control, automated backup and the ability to document data from a wide range of controllers and automation devices in a single, manufacturer-independent system. With constant access to a plant's most recent software version at a centralised location, improvements and modifications can be carried out quickly and efficiently.

All changes are documented in the change history along with a comment explaining why each change was made. versiondog not only records changes made by the plant's own personnel, but also documents changes made by external service providers or plant manufacturers. Unwanted program changes are also recorded, whether they occurred by accident, through ignorance or on purpose (e.g. cyber attacks). The system therefore ensures complete documentation and even helps the user prepare for audits by providing the required documents.

The recently released versiondog 4.0 introduces many enhancements and new features with a particular emphasis on Industry 4.0.

Greater flexibility through web server integration:
The versiondog system now features an integrated web server for the very first time. This is part of the standard setup and can be activated in the server settings with a simple click. Users can then view reports compiled by the versiondog ReportClient via their browser from any location and using any device.

The most common web browsers are supported (IE, Chrome, Safari, Firefox). With new report formats, more filtering and sorting options and touch screen support, versiondog is more user-friendly than ever before. If further evaluation is required (e.g. in Excel), all reports can now be downloaded as a CSV file via the browser.

Improved integration of automation devices:
Manufacturer independence is one of the key features of versiondog. The device integration is continually being improved to offer the widest range of support for automation systems on the market. With this in mind, the latest editors for devices that are already supported by versiondog, such as PCS7 V8.2, RS Logix5000 V28, CitectSCADA V7.50 and InTouch V11.1, will also be integrated into the software.

The range of supported automation devices has also been expanded to include SEW frequency converters, GE Proficy ME, Siemens SCALANCE switches, Mitsubishi robots and Kistler process monitors.

Predictive maintenance with versiondog Factory Floor Status:
One completely new feature of versiondog 4.0 is versiondog Factory Floor Status. This add-on helps the user create a comprehensive data management strategy to facilitate predictive maintenance and ensure sustainable production quality. With web server integration, device information that is spread out across an entire production facility can be quickly accessed from anywhere in the network. Furthermore, Factory Floor Status shows the current status of automatic backup and compare jobs and the results of comparisons with the latest version of the program on the versiondog system. Device-specific monitors also ensure complete clarity by displaying production-related information for every device. With the colour coding system (red/yellow/green), it is easy to evaluate the situation and take the necessary action. The system dashboard also provides key information such as control panel numbers (e.g. MLFB numbers), RAM usage, battery status, cycle time overruns and forced values. One particularly useful feature is the ability to quickly check the firmware version currently installed on an automation device. With versiondog 4.0, Factory Floor Status will initially provide support for SIMATIC S7 (Siemens) in particular.

Firmware and more - automated data management instead of manual searches:
Factory Floor Status was born out of customer requests and the desire to clearly see which firmware versions are running on which devices. The initial requirement was to minimise the workload associated with SIMATIC S7 firmware updates and make the update process more efficient in general. Updates that eliminate bugs, for example, are rolled out on a regular basis, and each time the same questions are asked: "Which firmware and hardware is installed on which PLCs? Which devices will be affected by the update?" Up to now, this information had to be recorded manually using Excel tables. This meant, of course, that the data had to be updated by hand every time a new update was announced. Depending on the number of PLCs and CPUs installed in the facility, this could be a long and arduous process. With Factory Floor Status, these recurring costs can now be easily avoided in networked production facilities. The system lists all controllers together with their associated MLFB numbers and their current firmware and hardware status. Users can also search for specific MLFB or control panel numbers, which saves time and prevents errors that may occur when outdated firmware goes unnoticed. The automated display of information also prevents errors caused by manual transcription or by information being read incorrectly.

Screenshot of versiondog Factory Floor Status with monitor view

Besides that, the Factory Floor Status add-on provides even more production-related information that further increases efficiency and saves both time and money. The ability to check the battery status of devices, for example, helps to prevent data loss if a power outage occurs. The constant warnings whenever forced values have been set act as an automatic reminder until these settings are reset as planned.

Information on RAM usage and cycle times also helps to proactively optimise processes and facilitates plant monitoring. These values can be used when the plant is being constructed and during plant expansion to identify unnoticed errors or exceeded limit values. Using this information, the plant engineer can then decide where to install alternative controllers/CPUs and where adjustments and performance improvements need to be made.

The fact that the system shows the current status of backups alongside this new device information is another huge user benefit. At the start of a shift, the plant personnel can therefore see if any changes were made during the previous shift. If there are any errors or uncertainties, changes can be tracked, localised and checked immediately. Complete clarity and maximum data availability saves time and frees up resources for improvements and new maintenance tasks.

For more information about versiondog from AUVESY click here.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Camouflaged development mule for the New bus-compatible SIKO AP05 Position Indicators sighted

SIKO GmbH (Germany) - The new AP05 - seen here still as a camouflaged development mule - is the most compact of all bus-compatible position indicators from SIKO. As the successor to the AP04 (the best-selling bus-compatible position indicator worldwide), the AP05 offers the same space-saving attachment dimensions, as well as being attachment-compatible. The user now experiences maximal ergonomics in order to quickly and intuitively reaching the target position. A significant new element of the AP05 - an inverted, backlit LCD display - has been integrated for this reason. The lighting ensures that the values for the target and actual position are ideally legible, even in low light conditions.

Intuitive operation:
Along with the LCD directional arrow, the AP05 position indicator also offers intuitive user guidance via the right and left status LEDs, both integrated into the case and in two colors. These not only signal positional status (InPos or OutPos) but also simultaneously indicate the required rotational direction. Operation is as easy as child’s play!

Increased robustness in comparison with predecessor:
The AP05’s mechanical robustness has also been significantly improved with the help of a carbon-fiber-reinforced case and protective cover for the display. Thus the indicator is also usable in areas where mechanical strain on the connector plug and case or impacts to the display can’t be ruled out. Because the connector plug is also available with an optional cable outlet, the position indicator can be flexibly deployed in very constrained spaces.

Flexible network integration:
The bus-compatible AP05 position indicator can be equipped with either an RS485 or a CAN interface. The network integration is also fully compatible with the AP04 predecessor, as well as with further bus-compatible SIKO position indicators in the current generation – AP10, AP10S, and AP10T. With the use of additional interface converters, the AP05 can be integrated into a wide range of fieldbus and Ethernet networks. A few of these particularly worth mentioning are Profibus-DP, Profinet IO, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, and Powerlink.

As with all SIKO position indicators, the AP05 also features a hollow shaft, guaranteeing the easiest assembly possible for standard adjustable axles. Despite its ultra-compact design, it can accommodate spindle shafts up to 20mm in diameter. With regard to the size and clearance of the torque reaction support, it also features attachment compatibility with not only the AP04 but also with the DA04 mechanical position indicator. Thus the machine’s frame can be switched from manual adjustment with mechanical position indicator to monitored format adjustment with the AP05 - no changes necessary. Due to the high degree of protection afforded by IP65 and the use of stainless steel, the AP05 is also suited to applications in the fields of food production, drinks manufacturing, or pharmaceuticals.

Premiere at FachPack 2016:
SIKO will introduce its new AP05 position indicator to the public for the first time - without camouflage - at FachPack 2016, Hall 1, Stand 401.

  • Position indicator with fieldbus interface
  • Optimized two-line LCD with backlighting
  • Target and actual value display with integrated comparison
  • Positioning status and rotational direction display by means of 2 red/green LEDs
  • Hollow shaft with 20 mm diameter and stainless steel clamp ring
  • Increased impact resistance thanks to protective glass for the display
  • Highly robust thanks to carbon-fiber-reinforced case
  • Protection rating up to IP65
  • Connector plug with optional cable outlet
  • Integrated magnetic absolute value transmitter

For more information about the New AP05 Position Indicators from SIKO GmbH click here.

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How to Monitor CO / CO2 / Temperature / Humidity / Dew Point with DL-300 Data Loggers

ICP DAS USA (USA) – The DL-300 series are ICP DAS USA’s brand new product line that accurately measures and log concentration data of carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), temperature, humidity, and dew points in the air. It is designed for both industrial and consumer use for factory automation, greenhouse automation, home automation, and building automation. Data can be monitored via wire or wirelessly. With the free Android and iOS app developed by ICP DAS USA, users can also monitor the real time air quality on their smart phones. The module can be powered by Ethernet, so that it does not need power supplies.

Temperature/CO/CO2 monitoring and control is very important in different areas such as warehouse, laboratories, food and beverage industries, as well as commercial and residential buildings. DL-300 has many functions that enable users to access data easily. It supports both Modbus RTU/TCP and DCON protocol, which makes it easy to integrate with other I/O and SCADA software. A simple SCADA station can collect data from each DL module and analyze data in the host PC in real time.

For DL-302 and DL-303, NDIR sensor (Non-Dispersion Infrared) is built-in to ensure the most accurate measurement of carbon dioxide level. The CO2 molecules absorb light at 4.26um wavelength which is the range of Infrared.

NDIR sensors can accurately detect the range of CO2 concentration. In addition, DL-300 modules are maintenance-free because of the built-in automatic baseline correction algorithm. Baseline correction algorithm can correct the CO2 level when it drops below the minimum concentration level.

Users have the option to disable baseline correction if background CO2 concentration is high all the times such as at greenhouses, hospitals, and other 24-hour operation locations.

DL-300 data loggers provide wide range of options to export data and monitor real-time data. It supports M2M and Internet of Things (IoT) MQTT protocol so that data can be viewed in multiple devices at the same time. DL-300 has Android and iOS apps that can be downloaded from Apple App Store and Google Play for free. The app can search for the DL-300 modules in the same network and connect to it. After that all real-time data will be displayed on the phone. Real-time data can also be seen on the build-in module screen. It contains graphic to show the exact concentration of CO/CO2 and the risk for human body. Temperature, humidity and dew point will also be displayed on the same screen. In addition, all configurations can be done through the touch screen without connecting to PC. The configuration includes Ethernet address setting, alarm, messages, date and time, and other data log setting.

ICP DAS USA provides free DL-300 utility software for PC to easily configure the module, monitor real time data, and log and export data for analysis.

DL-300 modules also have built-in alarm relay output that can trigger alarms when the concentration of CO/CO2/ Temperature/Humidity/Dew Point is too high or too low. User can enable/disable the alarm functions and set the specific level from utility or build-in touchscreen. When the alarm is activated, the alarm LED indicator on the front of the module will flash, build-in buzzer will sound. The relay output can be used to connect to external alarm light/sound and external devices. The alarm setting can also be configurated from utility. Utility can display the alarm log, data log. Data can be exported to excel spread sheet CSV file for analysis.

For more information about the New DL-300 Data Loggers from ICP DAS USA click here.

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Iwis Group’s New Chain Condition Monitoring system for smart chain monitoring

Iwis Group (Germany) - iwis presents the new Chain Condition Monitoring system for measuring chain elongation. The CCM system for continuous chain monitoring measures the wear elongation of chains in operation and warns the maintenance staff in time if the chain needs to be replaced. During this year’s Hannover Fair, the new CCM system received the "Best of 2016” award for the category of “Production, technology and engineering”.

The CCM system is compact and can be easily integrated into most chain applications with a simple retrofit procedure. Commissioning takes place according to the plug-and-play principle without calibration and contactless measurement that does not affect the chain drive performance. The wear status can be read on the LED display in graduations of 0.5 percent increments and also presented onto a laptop interface via USB cable and simple software.

Variable speeds and changeable directions are no problem for the CCM system which consists of corrosion-resistant materials and wear-resistant chain guide material. It is IP67 compliant and can be used at temperatures from 0 °C to 70 °C with special designs possible for abrasive applications. The CCM system can be used for most chain sizes including Simplex, Duplex and Triplex chains, since only one strand of the chain is detected by each device. Applications for chains with attachments on both sides or extended pins require special inspection by iwis.

"With the new CCM system, we have implemented Predictive Maintenance, a key subject of Industry 4.0: The system enables predictive action by the service staff in chain applications with smart data analyses," explains Florian Madlener. The engineer is working in the Engineering and Design department at iwis’ headquarters in Munich and is a key developer of the system. "The most valuable customer benefit is that the maintenance staff can react in time. This prevents long downtimes of plants and machines, danger to promised delivery times and interruptions of the logistics chain – all of this helps to avoid financial loss from production failure. Additionally, the system also serves permanent monitoring of highly precise chain applications."

iwis provides a full product range for all drive and conveying applications, which also includes precision and high-performance roller chains, conveyor chains, maintenance-free and corrosion-resistant chains, power and free conveyor chains, special-purpose conveyor chains, flyer chains, flat-top chains and modular belts for industrial applications, chains and accessories for agricultural machinery, and timing drives for the automotive industry.


About iwis Group:
With headquarters in Munich, Germany, the iwis Group is a leading supplier of precision chain systems for power transmission and conveying applications. The iwis Group comprises three divisions:
  • iwis motorsysteme GmbH & Co KG, providing engine timing systems for the automotive industry.
  • iwis antriebssysteme GmbH & Co KG, supplying a wide range of precision roller and conveyor chains for industrial applications, including machine engineering, material handling systems, and the packaging, printing and food industries.
  • iwis antriebssysteme GmbH, formerly known as Flexon GmbH, specialising in roller, conveyor, special-purpose and flat top chains, modular belts, chains for agricultural machinery, sprockets and accessories.
Established in 1916, iwis is a family-run business which today employs more than 1000 people. In addition to production sites in Germany (Munich, Landsberg, Wilnsdorf and Sontra) and in the Czech Republic, in China and in the USA, iwis has subsidiaries in various countries in Europe and overseas, including Canada, England, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, South Africa and Switzerland. Altogether, the iwis Group has 45 business locations throughout the world.

For more information about the New Chain Condition Monitoring from Iwis Group click here.

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