Cavity pressure monitoring ensures zero defect injection moulding!

16/06/2014

At German injection moulding specialist, neo-plastic Dr. Doetsch Diespeck GmbH, monitoring the quality of large-scale production of injection moulded parts is not a matter of chance. Using cavity pressure to determine the switchover to holding pressure for process optimization and cavity pressure-based monitoring from Kistler Instruments for quality assurance using both direct or indirect cavity pressure measuring, ensures minimum rejects. The medium-size German company focuses on producing high quality technical components mostly for manufacturers of ball bearings, linear guides and the automotive industry.

vontwickelInjection moulding of hinge covers is a typical example of seamless in-line quality assurance. These flat, palm-size SEBS parts protect the sensitive electric seat adjustment systems during the production of foamed car seat systems. The seat manufacturer inserts the injection moulded covers into a mould, where they form a very tight bond with the seat during foaming. Although these inserts are installed in a concealed place, they need to be precisely moulded to ensure that they are fully functional.

The injection moulding machine for this project, acquired in 2008, was equipped with a machine control system that provided outputs for pressure signals and integrated cavity pressure monitoring. Each cavity of the 2+2-cavity hot-runner family mould for the production of right-side and left-side hinge covers is equipped with Kistler 2.5 mm pressure sensors.

For other projects, the company also deploys Kistler’s CoMo Injection system. “CoMo is fully configured for analysing and monitoring injection moulding processes. When it comes to direct comparison, machine control systems provide rather limited analysis options,”  managing director, Patrick Freiherr von Twinkle reports.

With new, medium-term projects with six or seven-digit annual output rates, neo-plastic operates with cavity pressure technology right from the start. This applies to the production of a small technical PA46 breaker plate with a shot weight of only 3.5 grams. The brand new 8-cavity mould, made by the company’s in-house mould engineering department, is equipped with eight direct 1 mm pressure sensors. Again, the CoMo Injection process monitoring system will control the process by means of cavity pressure-dependent switchover and guarantees the quality of the moulded parts by monitoring the pressure curves. “Without sensors, this project would generate massive problems due to underfed parts. Automatic switchover makes the process significantly more stable.”

Faster setup changes and restarts
How long does it take before the investment in a cavity pressure monitoring system pays off? Von Twickel: “This is hard to pin down. There are many positive influences. Just think of the cost of complaints and the subsequent sorting effort. With the new system, we have removed that risk completely. Cavity pressure dependent switchover also facilitates and speeds up any setup changes: after ten shots with the new mould, the quality is perfect again. During the active production process, lot variations or changes of flow are registered immediately and can be remedied directly. Assuming an out-put rate of 200,000 parts per year, I would expect the system to have paid off after 18 months.”

At neo-plastic, the CoMo Injection monitoring system is not operated in fixed connection with one single machine, but, like the moulds, is flexibly used on several machines of similar size. Everywhere the system is applied, the process achieves stable conditions, no matter whether the machines are electric or hydraulic, and independent of their age.

After several years of experience, von Twickel is able to sum up the benefits of cavity pressure measuring and the integration of Kistler sensors and systems: “I can look into the cavity. That constitutes an unbeatable advantage. I have not encountered any other method that would deliver similar information”, he sums up. “Today, we are working in the mould, not in the machine.”


Continuous Mercury monitoring benefits cement plants.

15/05/2014
Antti Heikkilä from Gasmet Technologies highlights the challenges faced by mercury monitoring in cement kilns, and explains how a new continuous mercury monitoring system addresses these issues and provides process operators with an opportunity to improve environmental performance and demonstrate compliance with forthcoming legislation.

Background
The production of cement klinker and lime in rotary kilns is responsible for 10.7% of mercury emissions to air (3,337 kg) according to a recent study. Most of the mercury and mercury compounds pass through the kiln and preheater; they are only partly adsorbed by the raw gas dust, depending on the temperature of the waste gas. For these reasons, monitoring and controlling emissions of mercury to air is important and steps are being taken in several countries to impose emission limits. In the European Union BREF guidance for Cement kilns (CLM BREF), mercury has a BAT-associated emission level of 0.05 mg/Nm3 (50 µg/Nm3) for the half-hour average.

New monitoring technology

Figure 1

Figure 1

Gasmet Technologies has launched a new continuous mercury emission monitoring system (CMM) based on the cold vapour atomic fluorescence (CVAF) measurement principle. The analyser is integrated in an air conditioned cabinet together with a vacuum pump, an automatic calibrator and a nitrogen gas generator. The sample gas is extracted from the process duct with a dilution probe and heated sample line specially designed for sampling mercury from harsh process conditions (see figure 1 right). The analyser has a detection limit of 0.02 µg/Nm3 and the lowest measuring range for total mercury concentration is 0 – 10 µg/Nm3 when a dilution rate of 1:50 is used in the sample extraction probe.

Since the CMM analyser employs a CVAF spectrometer, the sensitivity of the instrument is excellent and the main source of measurement uncertainty that needs to be addressed by the analyser and the system design is the quenching effect; where other gases present in the sample, such as O2 and H2O, lower the fluorescence signal due to mercury atoms. In order to avoid these adverse effects, a dilution sampling approach is used and the dilution gas is synthetic nitrogen formed in a nitrogen generator inside the analyser cabinet. As the detection limit of the analyser is much lower than would be needed to monitor mercury in low µg/Nm3 ranges, dilution does not compromise the sensitivity of the instrument. On the other hand, dilution lowers the quenching effect by lowering the concentration of interfering gases by a factor of 50. Measuring mercury in a gas consisting of 98% nitrogen guarantees consistent measurement regardless of the fuel or emission abatement techniques used in the plant.

The CVAF spectrometer measures atomic mercury vapour (Hg0) and in order to measure total mercury including oxidized forms, a thermal catalytic converter is used to convert all forms of mercury such as Mercury Chloride into atomic mercury. The converter is close-coupled with the fluorescence cell to minimise the risk of recombination reactions where the atomic mercury converts back to oxidised forms between the converter and spectrometer.

The system has been field tested on various types of industrial plants (coal fired power plant, hazardous waste incinerator, sulphuric acid plant and a cement plant) to characterise the suitability and long-term stability of the sample probe and dilution system in various processes. Given the reactive nature of mercury, special care has been taken to ensure that mercury in the flue gas is not absorbed into dust accumulating in the sample probe filters. Mercury reacts readily with limestone dust, resulting in analyte loss and increased response time of the analyser. The Gasmet CMM solution includes a smaller filter element, which minimises the amount of dust deposition on the filter, and a two-stage blowback mechanism which first removes dust from the filter element and then in the second stage expels the dust from the probe tube back into the process.

Field test at Finnish Cement Plant

Figure 2

Figure 2

The CMM was installed on the emission stack of a rotary kiln cement plant with an Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP) for particulate emission control (see figure 2 above). The test period lasted 30 days. The fuels used during the test included coal, petroleum coke and recovered fuels. The flue gas composition at the measurement point is summarised in table 1. During the field trial, the raw mill was periodically stopped and the variation in mercury levels was monitored together with changes in other process parameters. Average mercury concentration when the raw mill was running was 6 to 8 µg/Nm3 and when the raw mill was stopped, the concentrations could increase to 20 – 40 µg/Nm3. The plant had an emission limit value of 50 µg/Nm3 for total mercury.

Figure 3

Figure 3

Figure 3 (above) shows a typical 24-hour period of emissions including raw mill on and raw mill off conditions. In addition to Hg0 concentration, the dust loading and raw mill state are shown because these are the main parameters expected to have an impact on the mercury analyser.

Results
The main goal of the test was to ensure the stability and repeatability of mercury measurement in demanding process conditions and to determine whether cement dust causes analyte loss and increased response time in the sample extraction probe.

The only process variable which clearly correlates with mercury concentration is the raw mill on/off state. When the raw mill is on, the variation in dust loading or other gas concentrations (O2, H2O, acid gases such as SO2 and HCl) does not correlate with variation observed in mercury concentration. When the raw mill is switched off, all gases including mercury undergo a change in concentration but this is clearly brought about by the raw mill state.

In order to estimate the repeatability of the Hg measurement at zero and span levels, the CMM analyser was configured to perform zero tests with synthetic nitrogen and span tests with Hg0 test gas generated by the mercury calibrator in the CMM system at 4 hour intervals. The normal test interval required by the analyser is 24 hours, but in the interest of creating more test data, the interval was shortened in this test. All test gases are injected into the probe upstream of particle filters so that the test gas has to pass through the potentially contaminated filters.

Figure 4

Figure 4

The results from six repeated span/zero test cycles are shown in figure 4 (above). The target level for the span check was 6.5 µg/Nm3 and the average span level was 6.60±0.036 µg/Nm3. The average result for the zero check was -0.006 ± 0.036964 µg/Nm3. If the dust accumulating in the sample extraction probe were to cause analyte loss during span tests, the later tests would show a decrease from the span check target value, but this was not observed. If the dust in the probe were to make the response time longer (memory effect), the later tests would show a slower response than the first tests. Again, there was no systematic change in the test results and the tests 1-6 exhibited very consistent results.

The span and zero checks also provided an opportunity to characterise the response time of the analyser when the span test at a known concentration is followed by a zero check with a zero concentration. The data from all six tests in figure 3 were combined together into one dataset in figure 4 by synchronising the moment when the span/zero check cycle was started. A Boltzmann sigmoidal curve (eqn 1) was fitted to the experimental data using GRG nonlinear fitting routine in the Microsoft Excel Solver package. The parameters of the response curve are summarised in table 2. The response time was evaluated as T90-10, the time interval between a reading representing 90% of the span check value and a reading representing 10% of the span check value.  The response time from this calculation was 10.15 minutes or just over two measurement cycles (measurement data is obtained as 5 minute rolling averages of the mercury concentration). The live data from the emissions shows peaks of comparable sharpness, but these were not subjected to the same analysis as the span/zero check data.

Summary
The requirements of a Continuous Mercury Monitoring system in a Cement plant are as follows:

  • capable of measuring a low baseline level with high sensitivity when the raw mill is on and the fuel feed contains low levels of metals
  • capable of measuring excursions to higher concentrations when the raw mill is off
  • low cross-interference from gases e.g. SO2
  • no analyte loss or other sampling issues in high dust loading
  • stable calibration and simplified calibration check routine with built-in calibration gas generator.

Since the main application areas for continuous Mercury monitoring systems have been in hazardous and municipal waste incineration, and coal fired power stations with conditions that are different to Cement plants; care must be taken to ensure that the monitoring system, and especially its sample extraction probe, is suitable for the process conditions. This study demonstrates that a CVAF spectrometer and dilution sampling approach can be successfully used in this application.


Insider manages to come out on time!

12/04/2013
Battles with hardware and virtual software overcome as leading independent automation and process control publication meets deadline even with a new format.

One of the publications we look forward to, and we know we are not alone in this, is the arrival of Industrial Automation & Process Control Insider.  Indeed we have been receiving this since it was first published under the editorship of Andrew Bond. For some years now it has been edited by by his worthy successor Nick Denbow.

A few days ago something happened.  Nick wrote, “This month the INSIDER comes with a new format and style, basically because of a PC failure that meant the aging software did not run properly any more…” Our heart went out to Nick as one of the great fears in using computors is the dreaded “update.” Invariably one finds that not all the programs which  have jollied along together smoothly suddenly up and complain.

I’ll let Nick himself explain his problem:

VMware comes to the aid of the INSIDER, as cybersecurity uses virtual machines to replace hardware


Topics in this issue!New management
appointed at
Endress+Hauser

Closures and future
plans in the UK power
industry

Natural gas offshore
for Cyprus and Japan?
Plus developments in
Australia

RuggedCom for the
power industry

Honeywell responds
over ISA100

Siemens targets
improved margins

New high-efficiency
motor designs

Major PAS conference
on human reliability

Blame the cold weather, or even the run down state of British industry, but actually a couple of computer failures brought forward a change of format and operating system for the INSIDER this month.

The new two column rolling format on a smaller page width should hopefully make this newsletter easier to read on a hand-held device, while for those who wish to read a printed version, the text is still legible after printing a group of four pages on one standard sheet.

VMware used to run the INSIDER More interesting was the procedure needed to make possible a simple transfer of the original Pagemaker publishing programme onto the currently available Windows 7 software, a problem possibly faced on various plant operating systems when updating servers. This has currently been solved by creating a virtual workstation on the new PC, using the free of charge personal use VMware Player, a component of the VMware Fusion Professional system. More often used perhaps to create new operating systems on old machines, to test out the operation of current software on the next generation system, this time the need was to go backwards to either XP or Vista to run the Adobe Pagemaker adequately, because despite what the screens might suggest, Windows 7
does not want to run this older generation software.

The result was interesting, in that it gave an on-screen instant demo of how operating systems have progressed, and become smoother and faster. For the moment it is just reassuring to have the INSIDER editing process up and running again.

Talking to him later he recounted his adventures including frustrating PC failures, and incompatabilty issues. He eventually stuck at it making his deadlines.

The full page version

The full page version

So why did he do it? With the proliferation of mobile appliances, intelligent phones and tablets, he sensed a certain demand for a format which satisfied this cohort of his readers. He thought a 50:50 ration would be there. 50% for full page size and 50% for the smaller “mobile” version. “At first it was US people and editors who wanted the mobile version, and Europeans who wanted full page or paper format. These latter were maybe office based people. But then the whole response pattern reversed, and quite a few Americans went for the paper version!” The new format lacks pictures a he feels the quarter page format can’t display pictures well but this may change.

In short as he says himself “VMware came to his aid of the INSIDER, as cybersecurity uses virtual machines to replace hardware!”

He has learned a lot in developing this new format, and no doubt earned a few more grey hairs. Mercifully the quality of the articles in this issue are up to the usual high standard as can be seen in the list of contents in the box on the right.

He ends his item on the traumatic experience in getting this issue out with the request, “As ever, write in and say what you think! And whether you can read it – at all!”

 


Mexico an industrial leader – “Land of opportunities!”

28/02/2013
The stereotype is “The Lazy Mexican”, but in reality, Mexicans are among the hardest working people in the world, according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)!

mexicoARCMexico is a significant market for manufacturing and automation products. Mexicans are the hardest workers in the industrialized world, China included. The OECD—the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, of which the United States is a member—studied working trends in three dozen countries, including paid and unpaid work. Mexicans topped the list, and exceeded the United States in both categories.

In 2011, Mexico received almost 20 billion dollars of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), consolidating Mexico as one of the top recipients of FDI among emerging economies in the world. Mexico’s manufacturing industry and the financial services sector are top among the most preferred investment targets. Among the manufacturing sectors, the main recipients are automotive, iron & steel, beverages, and chemicals.

“Mexico has signed 11 Free Trade Agreements with 43 countries, including the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Japan, some of the largest and most lucrative markets in the world. Mexico actively participates in world trade. It is the 10th largest exporter and importer worldwide, accounting for 2.5% and 2.6% of the world’s total exports and imports, respectively. Mexico is a land of manufacturing opportunities,” according to Steve Clouther, the principal author of ARC’s “Automation Systems Market Outlook for Mexico” .

Economic Stability
In contrast to the widening crisis in the euro zone, Mexico can point to 17 years of macroeconomic stability, low inflation, manageable debt, an open economy, and increasing competitiveness. The gross domestic product expanded 3.9 percent in 2011, and there are forecasts suggesting that by 2050 it could be larger than that of France. Mexican factories are exporting record quantities of televisions, cars, computers, and appliances, replacing some Chinese imports in the United States and fueling a modest expansion.

Process Industries
In 2010, Mexico was the seventh-largest oil producer in the world, and the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere. State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) is one of the largest oil companies in the world. Mexico is consistently one of the top three exporters of oil to the US, along with Canada and Saudi Arabia.

• The Distributed Control System (DCS) sector is by far the largest automation technology for the process industries, especially oil & gas. All of the major DCS suppliers have a strong presence in Mexico.

• The DCS and SCADA sector accounts for more than a third of the revenues, and PLCs, IPCs, and Panels account for another fifth

Discrete Industries
The automotive industry is a very strategic industry for Mexico. In 2011, the automotive sector accounted for approximately 4 percent of the Mexican GDP and 20 percent of Mexico’s manufacturing GDP. According to the ranking of 40 countries by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), based on car production, Mexico ranked eighth globally. The aerospace industry is another very strategic industry for Mexico. From an automation perspective, GMC and drives account for the largest investment, followed closely by PLCs, IPCs, and panels.


Anaheim prepares for automation event!

07/10/2012
Emerson Global Users Exchange 2012 October 8-12, 2012 – Hilton Anaheim, Anaheim, California, USA.

Anaheim Convention Centre waiting for Emerson Exchange 2012 (Pic tweeted by Mike Boudreaux)

This week sees the American Emerson Exchange being held in Anaheim, California USA, which is where Walt Disney opened his first Disneyland Recreantinal Park. I suppose it is a strange coincidence that ISA’s Automation Week (see Not a Mickey Mouse Event) was also held at a Disney desitnation on the other side of United States in Orlando.

Susan Colwell will be on the Book Stand!

Books for sale!
One thing both have in common is the ISA Book Store manned, as in Orlando, by Susan Colwell. Make sure to drop by the store and tell her that the Read-out Signpost sent you. Many of the books such as the newly published Advanced Control Foundation by Emerson’s own Terrence Blevins, Willy K. Wojsznis and Mark Nixon, and for those who don’t quite know how to use this new tool called Social Media then Jon DiPietro’s Social Media for Engineers and Scientists is a real Godsend.

Twitter
We attended our first Emerson Exchange in person last May but we have been reporting on Emerson Exchange, getting the presentations over the internet, and the flavour of the events since 2009 via twitter. You too can follow this event by following  the #EMRex hashtag where one can capture the excitement of the event as it happens.

Our reports on past Emerson Global User Exchanges & other user events
Automation returns to Duesseldorf Emerson Exchange comes to Europe (June 2012)

Country tweets from #EMrex in Opryland Emerson Exchange from Nashville (November 2011)

So much information, so much going on, too little time! San Antonio (October 2010)

#EMrex tweets rule! Houston (October 2009)

A precursor of Emerson Exchange was their Manufacturing Automation Conferences in Britain (3) and Ireland (1) in the years 2002 to 2004.


#EMrex: Automation returns to Düsseldorf!

04/06/2012
Emerson’s first Global Users Exchange (#EMRex) in Europe was a three-day event for existing and potential users of Emerson Process Management products and services. The event was held from 29-31 May 2012 in Düsseldorf (D).

Automation on the Rhine!

Düsseldorf was for many years the Mecca for Automation professionals and afficianados. The memories of those of a certain age will recall with pleasure the visits to the incomparable Interkama and the perhaps even more memorable visits to the Altstadt in the evenings. Its takeover and subsequent submersion in the huge Hannover Meße ended this relationship with the city on the Rhine.

Over 1000 delegates from over 40 countries attended the European Exchange and the format was similar to the Emerson Global Users Exchange  held in Nashville, USA last October (2011). The event included General Sessions, Presentations, Industry Forums, Product and Services Roadmaps, Meet the Experts Sessions and a Solutions Exhibition.

The content was tailored to meet the needs of users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and delegates could learn about best practices and see how colleagues are meeting new regulatory requirements, increasing yields, improving efficiency and reducing costs with enhanced automation. All of the content was in English, but with some presentations simultaneously translated into German and/or Russian.

Shaped by users, for users – the Emerson Global Users Exchange is managed by a Board of Directors, comprising users from a range of industries, who shape the conference content and guide the direction of the users group at large.

For tweeters!

Jim Cahill, Emerson Blogger & Eoin Ó Riain, Read-out Signpost

Those following Emerson tweets (#EMrex) or on facebook had the opportunity to meet Emerson’s blogger extraordanaire, Jim Cahill. He was inviting delegates to “come join the Emerson Exchange 365 Community.” It is an interesting fact that people who contact through the Social Web even if they have never met face to face are immediatly friends without needing to go through the ackward introductory phase. We were delighted to meet Jim and there was a picture take because as Jim said “Unless there is a picture nothing has happened!” (Read what Jim has to say: Recap from Emerson Exchange Düsseldorf!)

General Sessions
The opening general session on Tuesday includes a welcome from Ali H. Alawadhi, Emerson Exchange Board of Directors, Kuwait National Petroleum Company and Member of the ISA Kuwait Section. He emphasised that this was “by users, for users.”  Emerson’s European President Bob Sharp and Steve Sonnenberg, Executive Vice President, Emerson and Business Leader, Emerson Process Management also spoke. Sonnenberg included users as “shareholders” in the company and the importance of their communicating with these shareholders. They continued to invest in people, local support and technology for customers in spite of the Global recession.

Ali Alawadhi welcomes delegates!

The guest speaker for this session was Euan Semple,  a leading authority on the impact of the social web on the world of work. He presented a very stimulating discussion based partly on his experience in the BBC. Participation in the Social Web (He eshews the term “Social Media”) benefits those who participate. His statement that “We need more rubbish on the internet to improve the signal to noise level” excited much comment. Take a look at his website. Somebody tweeted during his talk declaring he was “one of the good guys!”

Because of the press conference we missed the keynote by David Beckman on the Wednesday however he had a wonderful session later with standing room only when he presented “Nail a speech – Launch a Career!” This 90 minute (twice the length of the usual presentations) was peppered with examples of excellent speeches for analysis including that of the late Steve Jobs to Stanford. Beckman’s presentation struck many chords  especially for those hoping to “stop death by power point.” He stressed the importance of being able to present: “As soon as you move one step up from the bottom your progress depends of how you make a speech!”

 Press Releases

• Strategic account management award!
• Gas distallation plant saves €1.2m per annum!
• Smart wireless improves power plant availability & efficiency
• Addressing process manufacturing safety
• Digital overspeed protection for rotating machinery
• Minimising safety loop vulnerabilities in valve controllers
• Reducing complexity in safety instrumented system installation & operation
• Automation technology & services for North Sea oil production
• Users’ share knowledge!

Other publications and/or participnts

Emerson adds CHARMS to DeltaV SIS (Nick Denbow IAI 5/6/2012)

Thinking of change at Emerson Exchange – Duesseldorf (Mynah 6/6/2012)

1000 delegates experience “by users, for users” event! (Emerson Process Management 6/7/2012)

Emerson’s hails first European users exchange a success (Brian Tinham, Plant Engineer, 9/7/2012)

Press Conferences
The Emerson press conferences were launches of new products making the business case for safety. Introduced by Jim Nyquist, President, Systems & Solutions. The theme was improving safety through the lifecycle.

The product presentations were:
First reducing complexity in safety instrumented system installation & operation where Peter Zornio, (Chief Strategic Officer) launched the DeltaV™ SIS logic which uses Emerson’s CHARM I/O technology.

Treve Tagg, Manager Final Control Elements spoke on minimising safety loop vulnerabilities with the Fisher® FIELDVUE™ SIS Digital Valve Controller.

Bjoern Salomon, General Manager, Machinery Health talked on digital overspeed protection  for rotating machinery on improving operational integrity of safety systems., introducing the CSI 6300 SIS Digital Overspeed Protection System.

The press conference concluded with an update on where the company is going with Wireless including an presentation on the use of wireless acoustic monitoring technology in a power station.

These and other releases are listed in the box on the left.

Presentations
Over 100 presentations covered a wide spectrum of industry and technology-specific topics. Significantly, over 80% of these were from customers, keen to share their experiences. Delegates could attend a presentation track dedicated to a single subject, select presentations by customers’ in their own industry, or choose individual presentations to build a personalised conference curriculum.
The presentations were divided into tracks covering:
• Business Management & Cyber Security
• Control System Applications & Migrations
• Energy Management
• Instrumentation & Valve Applications
• Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation
• Operate Safely & Legally
• Process Optimisation
• Project Excellence
• Wireless Applications

Excellent calibration
One of these presentations was a fascinating exposé on calibartion in the Cork (IRL) facility of GlaxoSmithKline. Alan Gray of GSK described the project for an innovative, integrated PlantWeb asset and calibration management which went live in 2010. It was described as an Intelligent Application of Smart Technology which improves business results. It was the result of co-operation between Emerson, Beamex and GSK in an award winning project. There was a demonstration of the interaction between the various components in this calibration excellence programme which achieved significent improvements in the opearion of the business and the management of regulatory complience. More details on this application in our story  Co-operation gives advanced calibration and asset management package (22/6/2012).

Industry Forums
Six industry forums took place on the second morning allowed open discussion between conference delegates and a panel of experienced professionals. The industries covered being: Oil & Gas, Refining & Petrochemical, Chemical, Power, Life Sciences and Engineering.

Peter Zornio, EPM, Peter Iles-Smith GSK, Leif Poulsen NNE Pharamaplan, Ian Allen Novartus at Life Sciences Forum.

Each forum compromised short presentations followed by questions from the audience. For instance the Life Sciences Industry Forum helped us to learn and exchange information related to industry issues and trends, and the impact of these on the manufacturing environment . The forum discussed the future of automation within the Life Sciences industry with an emphasis on Skills and people development, Integration of IT and Automation/MES, Simplification of project implementation, and security. There was much discussion on attracting new blood as the industry becomes more complex and the experience of operatives diminishes as the older members of staff retire.

Roadmaps – Watch this space!
Eight roadmap sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday provided detailed information on products, services and enhancements that Emerson hoped to release in the coming months, along with insights into the strategy and technology guiding future solutions.

Meet the Experts
Concluding the conference on the final afternoon were two practical working sessions focused on the issues that process operations face and solutions that can be applied. Delegates could learn from and consult with the “experts behind the technologies” who led two separate in-depth sessions about Emerson’s DeltaV™ automation system and Ovation™ Expert Control System.

Solutions Exhibition
The Solutions Exhibition provided a unique opportunity to see Emerson’s newest and most innovative technologies – all in one airy hall. Delegates met with the experts behind the technologies and experience live, hands-on demonstrations of Emerson’s PlantWeb™ architecture and their products and solutions, as well as solutions from complementary companies and strategic partners.

The exhibition area was split into two with the main Emerson area covering the Solutions areas and Industry Applications while the overlooking balcony was reserved for complementary companies and strategic partners.

Packed floor at the Solutions Expo at Emerson Global Users Exchange

All in all it was a very well organised and thought out event with lots of information and ample opportunity for interactive networking.

• The Emerson Exchange Düsseldorf team has done a great job of gathering and posting pictures from the Event.  There are over 170 pictures in the library. This is a link to the slideshow.

• And the good news is that they intend to do it all again, this time for the Americans in Anaheim  – 8/12 October 2012 EMrex for the Americas. And they are accepting registrations already!

Optimising performance for power plant boilers.

14/05/2012

Steam plant operators are looking for control solutions that will help them to optimize boiler efficiency by reducing fuel consumption while reducing emissions. GE Intelligent Platforms can meet these needs for plants under 300MW with high performance, productized control solutions based on decades of domain expertise in steam cycle generation management that can reduce fuel usage while allowing boilers to run safely and efficiently.

GE’s Steam Cycle control solution is based on a flexible and scalable DCS, Proficy® Process Systems, along with productized pre-packaged advanced combustion control algorithms and strategies for fossil and biomass fuels based on more than 30 years of GE Services experience to achieve significant operational benefits and mitigate risk.

These advanced combustion control algorithms and strategies optimise the combustion process to reduce customers’ fuel usage 3% to 5% which allows them to better meet stringent emissions regulations. In addition, they keep equipment safe and protected by maintaining the water level in the boiler to prevent damage. Because these control algorithms and strategies are pre-engineered, they are capable of reducing system implementation time by 50% to 80%.

“Power plants are running longer with shorter maintenance outages,” said Bill Pezalla, Global Energy Industry Manager for GE Intelligent Platforms. “The advantage of GE Intelligent Platforms’ DCS is that it is an open system that works with any type of boiler and can be implemented during a short maintenance outage leading to the realization of rapid fuel and water savings. These efficiencies need to be factored into the total cost of ownership when purchasing control systems.”

“We’ve extended our Steam Cycle Control solution approach beyond the boiler control by adding boiler and turbine auxiliary equipment control strategies providing an even more comprehensive solution for power plants,” said Craig Thorsland, Steam Cycle Solutions Leader for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Optimally, the overall control solution reduces the need for operator intervention. This stabilizes steam production and frees operators to focus on important plant operations. With stable and consistent operations, we reduce thermal stresses on the boiler and turbine extending their life cycles.”

Safety is a concern for any power producing facility and the Steam Cycle solution addresses that concern with unique drum level control strategies that allow water levels to be properly maintained to avoid boiler failure. “It is critical to keep the water level in the boiler at the proper level,” explained Thorsland. “If it falls too low, the boiler can be damaged, or worse yet, fail with problematic consequences. GE’s unique controls strategies help compensate for varying loads and the resulting increases or decreases in water level.”

Harry Forbes, Senior Analyst at ARC Advisory Group comments: “Economic operation of power plants requires automation systems that respond intelligently to plant disturbances and also drive the plant towards steady operation at the most cost-effective operating points. Recognizing this, GE has integrated strategies for handling various disturbances to the process into its Steam Cycle Solution for industrial boilers and power plants.”

The control system is able to handle conventional fossil fuels as well as the more difficult to control biomass and waste fuels. For biomass fuel plants, the natural variations in the quality and moisture content of the feedstock can results in steam production fluctuations. The system’s BTU combustion compensation control strategies ensure smooth and consistent steam production regardless of these variations. The system facilitates balancing combustion load when grates need to be offline for cleaning and when they are returned to service.

Steam Cycle solutions also give customers the ongoing benefits of reduced fuel use and emissions, lessening the impact of their energy production on the environment. In fact, to comply with emissions regulations and reduce the environmental footprint, combustion factors and emissions levels can easily be captured and analyzed in real-time. The system’s features meet the stringent guidelines of GE’s ecomagination program and therefore it was named an ecomagination product earlier this year.

“Proficy Process Systems with Steam Cycle control is a great solution for fuel savings and operational efficiency,” Thorsland continued. “The combination of decreased installation time with reduced fuel consumption makes this solution a win-win situation for boilers at new facilities and existing plants. The boilers run better, so the turbines run better, so the plants run better.”


Plant asset management driven by need to reduce costs & improve performance

24/04/2012

The compelling case that Plant Asset Management (PAM) Systems provides for reducing operational costs while simultaneously improving performance is the primary factor driving growth of PAM. The worldwide market for Plant Asset Management Systems will experience growth this year and throughout the forecast period according to a new ARC Advisory Group study.

PAM growth is being fueled in part by the increased amount and complexity of automation equipment in manufacturing plants that requires a higher order approach to maintenance provided by PAM systems. “As aging workers leave the workforce, maintenance specialists are vanishing and are being replaced with generalists. These generalists will need user-friendly tools and more simplified work procedures to maintain plant equipment,” according to Sr. Analyst Paula Hollywood, the principal author of ARC’s “Plant Asset Management Systems Worldwide Outlook” 

Plant Operators Are Getting Involved
The process industries and utilities as a whole recognize the need to minimize downtime and maximize asset availability. Certainly, asset intensive industries provide the greatest opportunities for PAM suppliers. In these industries, responsibility for asset availability is no longer the domain of maintenance alone as operators take a more active role in data collection and machine inspection.

Industry and Application Specific Solutions
Industry and application specific solutions are emerging. Several suppliers have introduced solutions for wind turbines. With turbines located high in the air, servicing one can be both dangerous and expensive.  The mechanical nature of turbines and the fact that they are generally located in remote areas makes them prime candidates for continuous on-line monitoring. PAM solutions can make owner/operators aware of individual turbine performance degradation, enabling maintenance to be scheduled and performed well in advance of actual failure.

Economic Expansion in Emerging Markets Drives Growth
Primary growth drivers are economic expansion in Asia, Eastern Europe, Brazil, and the Middle East. However, the lingering effects of the 2007-2009 recession are still being felt as global economic imbalance remains. Unemployment in the US remains high and uncertainty in Europe persists. Asia and Latin America have been less affected. These imbalances will impact growth of PAM solutions from a regional perspective. ARC expects growth in the global PAM market to continue to expand at above average automation industry growth rates as the benefits of PAM are too impactful to ignore.


Valves to meet food and beverage challenges

06/02/2012
Burkert meets challenges of food and beverage industries head on with new stainless steel element control valve

Rust, corrosion, dirt, flaking paint, water ingress and external integrity impaired by aggressive products, would all be high up on any process engineer’s list of typical application problems for valves in the food and beverage industries. Many would say that these industries have, for too long, been plagued by these problems, to the extent that companies have learned to live with them.

Now, however, the limitations of conventional control valve solutions in the control of steam, fluids, gases and aggressive media that play a central role in the processing of food and beverages, have been thoroughly and systematically analysed by Bürkert. The result of this evaluation is the ELEMENT series of control valves. The innovative features of these attractive, clean line, stainless steel valves meet the challenges of process industries – including hygienic processing sectors – and offer solutions to problems that many users have hitherto accepted as system-intrinsic. In addition, as an added benefit, the valves also satisfy the pressing industry need to reduce energy use. Thanks to intelligent internal design, the air consumption to actuate ELEMENT valves is up to 40% lower in comparison with conventional process valve systems.

The bodies of the ELEMENT control valves are manufactured exclusively from high-quality stainless steel, a material that not only saves on weight, but also considerably enhances the aesthetics of the valves. In comparison with other materials, stainless steel is a convincing choice, as its cast integrity is high. This means that the walls of the ELEMENT valves can be optimised, reducing their overall weight and size envelope. Moreover, the impact resistance of stainless steel can be up to 25 times higher than other materials. What all this means for the ELEMENT valve user is more lightweight, compact and robust valve bodies.

The use of stainless steel offers longer term advantages, too. When the finish on most conventional valves has been damaged by exposure to harsh process environments, the ELEMENT valves still retain their original attractive appearance.

Designed to IP 65/67 protection class, the ELEMENT control valves, with their heat and chemical resistant design, easily withstand the rinsing and cleaning processes required in food and beverage plants. The clean, sleek external lines ensure the valves are easy to clean and also stay cleaner for longer.

The interior of ELEMENT control valves proves that outer appearance and inner values are not mutually exclusive. There are a number of innovative key operating areas.

Firstly, high-gloss polished valve stems minimise friction and maximise the service life of the automatic self-adjusting seals.

Secondly, the valve stroke position feedback transducer is not only integrated within the valve, but is also contact-less. Consequently, it never blocks or wears out, and always remains accurate because it measures the linear stroke motion directly without conversion.

Thirdly, because the feedback transducer is fully protected inside the valve, the requirement for external linkages, nuts, bolts and connections is eliminated. This innovation dramatically reduces the areas where product can accumulate and cause contamination.

Fourthly, the control air is also routed internally, without the need for awkward external hoses.

A further innovation on the ELEMENT units is valve actuator control, which is achieved by means of the integrated pilot valves that can also be actuated manually for easy local operation. For each operation, clean and dry control air is deliberately flushed into all areas of the actuator. This ensures that, unlike traditional solutions, ambient air is never drawn into the spring chambers and surrounding voids, extending the valve’s reliability and life, at the same time maximising process availability for the valve user. In addition, as no impurities or moisture are drawn into the actuator, there can be no corrosion of the springs inside the actuator. The same feature also prevents the risk of biological growth, which could result in contamination of the process environment as a whole.

Burkert has also deployed new design thinking to provide protection against moisture ingress into the electronics of the control heads on the ELEMENT valves. Protection is required because small but naturally occurring changes in the control head pressure can lead to the penetration of moisture, particularly after a wash down cleaning process.
Defence against this ingress is provided by diverting a small amount of clean control air into the control head, maintaining a slight positive pressure, thus achieving a simple, innovative and class-leading solution.

In addition to their many operational benefits, the ELEMENT valves offer optimised interactiveness with the user. The valves integrate a modern operator concept that is intuitive and user-friendly, despite the extensive range of relevant functions provided. To prevent data overload, additional functions are displayed only as required, and the configuration of positioners and process controllers is seamless and automatic. Local communication is achieved at a glance via a high-performance and highly visible, multicoloured LED display that illuminates the surrounding area, passing on immediate user information regarding the valve status. Finally, all important data logging information is displayed on a backlit graphic display.

The integrated intelligence in the ELEMENT units also means that communication outside of the local sphere is easy to achieve. With the ELEMENT control valves series, Bürkert offers a complete automation concept for integration into most commonly used control systems. Employing options, such as Profibus DPV1, ASI and Device NET, possible applications range from monitoring simple control tasks and the integration into complex field bus solutions, through to the complete decentralisation of a plant-wide automation system.

About Burkert’s ELEMENT System
The new ELEMENT control valves are part of Burkert’s ELEMENT system, which has set a higher benchmark in process measurement and control. ELEMENT provides a complete systems approach, linking clean line valves, sensors, positioners and valve actuators in a simple architecture to solve total control loop processes. With unlimited modularity, ELEMENT saves processing time by offering total control solutions for media from slurries to steam, and from de-ionised water to hydrochloric acid.

In Ireland contact Petrochem Pipeline Supplies.


#SPS 2012: Successful if not quite hitting secure note!

01/12/2011

“Arriving at #SPS/IPC/DRIVES. Looking forward to a great show”

Busy entrance area! (IE Book)

This was one of the first tweets we saw on this, possibly the biggest automation exhibition in the world this year. The SPS/IPC/Drives show is held annually in the Northern Bavarian city of Nuremberg. This year the dates were the 27 to 29th of November, As last year we were unable to make it this time, however there were some excellent reports which we have used (and linked to) in compiling this brief impression.

As might be expected the automation industry presented its capabilities in full force at the exhibition. There was a record number of 1.429 exhibitors which attracted more visitors than in the past, as 56.321 trade visitors filled the 12 halls to gather information about the latest products and solutions in electric automation. Well may it be said that SPS IPC Drives 2011 set a clearly positive sign for the future despite the gale-force winds blowing in financial circles for the last three years.

The conference which took place in parallel to the exhibition also recorded an increase this year with an attendance of 349 delegates. For three days the conference provided a platform for intensive discussions between product developers, suppliers and users. The opportunities for users to exchange information and knowledge were at the heart of the newly introduced user sessions.

Attendance: 2011 (2010)
Exhibitors: 1,429 (1,323)
Visitors: 56,321 (52.028)
Conference delegates: 349 (302))

Like a lot of European events there was not a small number of tweets from various sources and in various languages, but those that did tweet helped form an impression of how things were. One of the most prolific of these was Leo Ploner of the IE Book who gave us a sort of running commentary on his day interspersed with twitpics of stands and products which impressed him. This comprehensive collection of pictures have been added to the IE Book Facebook Page and we recommend that you pay a visit and see who you know and what products impressed him. “#SPS/IPC/Drives very busy on the first day of the show. Big crowds at all the stand” he reported after day one.

Put on those cans!
Also present on the first day was Control’s Walt Boyes, who gave up his Thanksgiving to be in Europe for the show. This is an interesting account in that it gives an American take on how things are done in Europe, simultaneous translations and the non-English keyboards (Now he knows how Europeans might feel in the U.S!)

Gary Mintchel of Automation World also found himself in Nuremberg during this week. His blog, Feed Forward,  provides us with “a roundup of various announcements that I gathered during my sprint around the halls and press conferences.” He managed to squeeze in a visit to the Siemens plant in Amberg on the day before the show opened!

The Control Engineering Europe team attended the show in force, collecting a great deal of feature ideas, as well as details about some of the most innovative launches at the show. They promise that further details of the most exciting product launches from the event will be presented in the February issue of the magazine.

ARC Reports
ARC Advisory also discuss day one in an article by Florian Gueldnerwhich looks at the Automation Outlook for 2012.  He bases this report on that of the ZVEI, as well as companies interviewed at the event. Their David Humphrey reports on The big trends in a further report on day two.

A busy corner at the show!

Come hither!
Of course exhibitors tweeted on their own stands and new products. Heading the posse was Siemens, who were on their home ground and virtually occupied one complete hall (There were twelve halls in all!). They mounted an impressive press conference on the first day. Their “big” announcement was the naming of their full motor range, now called “Simotics”. They also introduced some extensions to their TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) portal. Jochun Koch’s blog features some video presentations with English voice-over – Automation and IT (their Scalance range) – take a look and remember to click for the English translation if needed!

Phoenix Contact have a video tour of their stand – as it was being set-up – which they entitle “Solutions for the future – Phoenix Contact.” There are in fact a number of other videos from Phoenix Contact on theie YouTube site. Their final tweet from the show as they rolled up the tent was, “What innovation! More than 3,000 visitors @ Phoenix Contact.”

The Pilz Stand!

Also using video to press their message is Beckhoff who have produced reports for each day. This is Day One.  They exhibited their complete range of PC- and EtherCAT-based control technology and a large number of new products in all technological areas (IPC, I/O, Automation and Motion). The focus was on their new generation of controllers from the CX2000 series, the new proprietary-developed AM8000 servomotors and the release of the TwinCAT 3 software.

News of PROFINET and PROFIBUS at SPS/IPC/Drives is trickling out  said Carl Henning of his ProfiBlog reports.

Suzanne Gill of Control Engineering Europe reports here on some of the latest innovations that were introduced, which evidenced consumer technology moving into the industrial space and multi product combinations continuing to gain momentum.

We give some more releases from exhibitors on our Conf/Exhibitors pages.

Eric & Joann Byres at the show!

No security!
Another American braving the Bavarian winter was Eric Byres of Byres Technology, recently acquired by Belden (see our article Major acquisition strengthens war on Stuxnet and other malware Sept20’11). It is I suppose unusual that a supplier reports on an exhibition so his viewpoint is welcome. Obviously he has a certain slant on things viewing the exhibits from the security standpoint. He advises that SCADA Security Solutions were scarce at show. “What concerned me was the lack of booth space dedicated to security of any type. Of the 1,429 exhibitors, only 16 reported supplying ‘Industrial security’ technologies or services according to the show guide. This is a hopelessly small number.” He was proud to report however that their “Tofino Security technology accounted for nearly 25% of that total!” More alarmingly he reports that many vendors stated that security wasn’t a concern for them, while users were very concerned and indeed did not quite know what to do about it! Not a pretty picture! He concludes “If the automation world is going to adopt industrial Ethernet with such enthusiasm (which I support), it might want to consider securing it too!”

We referred to the excellent tweeting by Leo Ploner of the IE Book earlier and his very comprehensive report Industrial networking still looking good  tells in great detail what he saw as he moved through the halls. We’ve referred to their pictures above and here is a video which he took of an exhibit at the Sercos Stand.

Re-inventing the electric guitar

Equipped with an MLP industrial control from Bosch Rexroth, the robot guitar can read and play MIDI files. Bus terminals from Phoenix Contact are used to actuate lifting solenoids. Six to pluck the strings and 24 to operate the finger board. The automation bus from Sercos ensures the optimum operation of all components.

One final tweet from KUHNKE Automation sums up one impression “SPS/IPC/DRIVES was a complete success for us! Thank you for coming and the great constructive high-level talks!”

Next year’s automation filled show is scheduled for  Nov. 27. – 29 2012. Will you be there?


 Releases received at the Read-out Offices!

#SPS11: Cybersecurity, certification, safety & other highlights from Wind River – Wind River made several exciting announcements at this year’s faire. On day one of the event, they announced a strategic partnership with ISaGRAF, headquartered in Canada and part of the Rockwell Automation Company, a global leading automation software partner. Together, Wind … Continue reading →

#SPS11 Test drive industry’s first virtual target for software development on SoC FPGAs – Altera Corporation demonstrated its latest industrial embedded solutions for energy-efficient and safety-integrated drive systems. They highlighted how its Cyclone® series of FPGAs enables integrated, high-performance industrial systems such as drive systems with a high-performance control loop in floating point. Visitors … Continue reading →

#SPS11: Industrial Networking and Motor Control Systems from Xilinx – New capabilities for boosting design productivity and using Spartan-6 FPGAs for better system performance and lower bill-of-materials Xilinx announced new Ethernet protocol support and motor control building blocks for its Industrial Targeted Design Platforms, including new EtherCAT, Ethernet POWERLINK, PROFINET … Continue reading →

#SPS11: Hydrostatic actuation desifn concept from Moog – Reliable hybrid technology used in a new energy-saving solution for a variety of industrial applications Moog Industrial Group featured a prototype for a new Electro Hydrostatic Actuator (EHA). Combining hydraulic and electric technology in a self-contained system, Moog’s innovative EHA … Continue reading →

#SPS11: Minicarrier board! – congatec AG presented the conga-QMCB, a new mini carrier baseboard for space-critical applications based on the Qseven standard. The baseboard is ideal for fast prototype design and compact, mobile applications. Measuring just 145×95 mm, the easy-to-integrate mini carrier board is … Continue reading →

#SPS11: TE Connectivity solutions – TE Connectivity showcases its Hybrid Connectivity Solutions Both the Power4Net and the Motorman hybrid connectors integrate several functions into a single compactly designed connector. The flexible Power4Net hybrid connector has space for up to eight power and four Ethernet contacts … Continue reading →

#SPS11: Siemens extends TIA and unveils Simotics as full motor range – Siemens showcased the latest extension to its TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal and unveiled the new name of its full motor range which will be called “Simotics” from now on. In advancing its automation and drives portfolio, Siemens is placing … Continue reading →

#SPS11 Dynamic reporting in process or energy management – COPA-DATA is to present their zenon Analyzer to the public for the first time COPA-DATA will present its new product for dynamic reporting, the zenon Analyzer, for the first time at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2011 trade fair. The software is designed … Continue reading →

#SPS11 Green automation initiative

Industrial communication technology facilitates plant-wide energy management within automation systems. HMS Industrial Networks presented a number of solutions targeting energy management in automation systems. Recent research from the AIDA group of German automobile manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, VW) and … Continue reading →


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