#WiFi for La Serenissima! ABB connects Venice!

21/10/2013
High-performance wireless broadband solution provides free Internet access in one of the world’s most iconic cities

The high-performance wireless broadband network for the city of Venice (I) has been commissioned by ABB . The network provides free Internet access for residents and businesses and (for a small fee) the 22 million tourists who visit the city every year. The contract was awarded by the Municipality of Venice.

Canalside scene in Venice

Canalside scene in Venice

The Wi-Fi solution comprises a network of fixed and mobile nodes that can handle more than 200 gigabytes of data and 40,000 subscribers a day. It is equipped with 200 wireless mesh routers, that have been supplied by Tropos Networks, a company acquired by ABB in 2011, which now forms a part of ABB’s comprehensive communications offering. The routers are deployed in discrete enclosures that blend aesthetically with the city’s historical architecture.

Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its majestic buildings and narrow winding streets. Built on a group of 118 small islands, the city is separated by canals and linked together by bridges. Venice enjoys an unrivalled reputation as a romantic and beautiful city, which also makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

“Our solution provides reliable high-capacity Wi-Fi access and seamless Internet roaming in the challenging topography of this historic and beautiful city,” said Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division . “The technology offers fast and easy deployment and blends well with the environment.”

Among the features that differentiate the solution is its ability to switch automatically between two frequencies (2.4 and 5 gigahertz). This ensures maximum signal strength and continuous connectivity, even in narrow and winding alleys where there is no line of sight. The onboard routers that provide reliable and seamless roaming for users on water buses that traffic the Grand Canal and other waterways of the city are another distinguishing feature. As Venice residents typically travel 30 minutes a day by boat, the ability to access the network is a welcome convenience. Scalability and ease of installation are other benefits offered by the solution.

The Venice Wi-Fi project is part of the ‘Free ItaliaWifi’ initiative, started by Rome, Venice and the island of Sardinia. Its objective is to create a national network of free wireless broadband networks. The initiative currently embraces 41 networks, 2,130 Wi-Fi hotspots and 427,000 members in Italy.


Testing of electric motors for automotive applications

28/03/2011
For its test benches used in both laboratory and in production, Unus International chose the turnkey MEROBEL solution.
UNUS International manufactures DC motors 12 – 24 – 48 V mainly used as servomechanism equipments for the automotive and the industrial automation industries.
Founded in the 70s in Padova (I), UNUS  moved in 1995 to Rival di Pianiga (Venice), employs currently about 60 people, with a production of more than 2,000,000 pieces per year.
Including the main following automotive appliance motors and gear motors
– Windows, sunroofs, sunshades, mechanisms
– Seats movement and adjustment
– Steering column;
– Implemented automatic gearbox
The global product range includes also additional motor based equipment for other industries, such as, control of sliding doors, overhead, gates and automation in general.

Technical skills and flexibility are the company main values, allowing lower time to be spent in designing, prototyping and manufacturing the initial samplings of new products. This organisation ensures a fast response to a wide range of market needs, with full management of the time-to-market issues.

“Our mission is to offer a product tailored to the needs of the customer, for which the technical level and quality are a crucial issue” said engineer Massimo Melato, Unus International’s General Manager. “At the starting point are our policies on quality and continuously renewed R & D, but also design, production and business organization in general, with the constant target of improving customer satisfaction.”

“Our excellent results, achieved in the domestic and foreign markets with high-tech content products, confirm that we are working in the good direction, while we are continuously improving both our competitiveness and our quality. By the way, UNUS’ motors and gear motors are used as first equipment by major German car manufacturers as well as by the most important automation systems manufacturers”

The strategic importance of testing
Among the reasons for its success, and in addition to the company technological skills, are the high reliability and quality of its production.

The company is among the 100 successful Italian companies mentioned in the 3rd Eurispes report. To ensure such level of excellence, products testing (during production, but also in the laboratory during the design period), gets an absolute strategic importance.

Specialized test benches have been especially set-up for testing 100% of the motors dedicated to automotive industry. “This is primarily for motorized windows, seat moving, canopy opening, adjustable steering column and tendon movement,” says Eng. Melato. “We are currently developing a motor designed to operate the compressor for the pneumatic suspension of the car. The related test benches were not designed for a particular customer’s application. UNUS has collected all directives from many car manufacturers and has developed versatile test benches able to meet all those specifications.
“Usual solutions found on the market are generally intended to satisfy the widest possible range of applications,” says Eng. Melato, “but in the other hand they are not fully matching the specific needs and tasks we need them to play. Having built the test benches in our own company and having developed its control software by ourselves means they are targeted to our requirements or,  rather, the real needs of our customers. “

In the manufacturing process, each motor is tested, both regarding the main working parameters and the noise level. “To proceed with these tests, we have currently 4 testing cabins equipped with MEROBEL brakes,” he says. “The test cycle is 5 and 10 seconds duration, depending on the type of motor, with a daily production of about 8,000 pieces. “

The other test benches are located in the laboratory –where 5 systems are equipped with MEROBEL brakes- in order to check the reliability of the motors and gear motors, through lifetime and fatigue tests.
For such processes, the testing cycle duration is much longer. Some endurance tests, with long cycles and aging simulation through heat cycles in climatic chamber, may take up to 60 days.

These are therefore two very different applications from each other.
“In the laboratory, the tests are mainly dedicated to simulate the working cycle of the motors with different load cycles (ie, with different torque levels) and different environmental conditions (including thermal shocks, temperature range from -40 ° C to 90 ° C and different values of relative humidity) for a certain number of cycles or until the motor’s end of life,” according to Melato. “Then, we use a well-defined duty cycle, according to the specifications of customers”. During the motors test duration, each single parameter is constantly monitored and recorded (Current consumption, speed, torque and temperature).
When the motor does not meet the qualifications or does meet a default (eg an overheating, a premature wear of the brushes or the collapse of some component), it is removed for an analysis of the trouble reasons and for applying the needed improvements. After modification, the test is fully repeated for a second time, which leads to get the requested motor quality.

The unique goal is for the motor to meet all customer’s specifications and once it has entered into production to get zero waste.

The same procedure is also used once a year for products tests, in order to check that nothing has changed over the time.

Robust and reliable EMP Brakes – User’s friendly closed loop controllers
To simulate on the test benches the variable load that the motor is supposed to meet during his life, Unus chose a complete solution based on MEROBEL components, with the help of the company’s local subsidiary ANDANTEX SpA.

The chosen components were EMP brakes (type FAT120), torque sensor (type TRS50), and a closed loop controller (type DGT300).

“ANDANTEX advised us about the MEROBEL brakes to be used in this application as well as about the control unit and the various parameters to be set according to our specifications, A true partnership was established with ANDANTEX about the supply of the brakes all along the application development. In particular, sharing expertise with our customized software designers, was crucial to get the final test systems fully matching our needs. “

The wide range of solutions offered by MEROBEL includes high-tech actuators such as EMP brakes and clutches, digital controllers, sensors and transducers. The specific know-how acquired by the company allows to offer optimal solutions for almost any kind of variable torque application system, according to its specific requirements.

MEROBEL EMP (ElectroMagnetic Particles) Brakes and Clutches range are made of two concentric rotors, the outside and the inside ones, separated by a gap where are located the magnetic particles.

Variation of the magnetic field in the gap (created by a variable DC current coil fed) leads to a variable “fluidity” of the magnetic particle, and leads to a smooth and variable mechanical coupling between the two rotors (variable torque).
This specific technology guarantees a stable torque, reproducible and independent of the speed of rotation, as well as easily adjustable with a low DC current level.
Among the main features of MEROBEL EMP brakes and clutches, are the proportionality between to the applied current and the provided torque, the independence between torque and speed, the bidirectional operation, very low wear and noiseless operation.
In addition, MEROBEL EMP brakes and clutches are offering low maintenance, fast response time (10 to 50 ms), low electric power consumption, linear response, very easy remote control features, and easy integration in any type of test systems.

“We have been very pleased with the MEROBEL products and the support from ANDANTEX” concluded Eng. Melato. “We had first the MEROBEL Brakes installed at the production test benches.  And even if the requests were quite higher, we have now extended the use of these brakes to the laboratory test benches with great success”.


European automation award

28/01/2010

Emerging Company Award in the Automation and Control System Services in the EMEA market.

The 2009 Frost and Sullivan Emerging Company Award has been presented to Adroit Technologies for its distinct competence in catering to exact customer requirements in the EMEA (European, Middle East Africa) automation and control system services (ACSS) market. Having created a unique identity in the Southern African market, the company is now emerging as a strong participant in the European ACSS market. Adroit develops SCADA and HMI software for major process and discrete industries and has a diverse product offering specific to end-user requirements. The company’s aim to focus varied market segments and expand its customer base globally has forced it to take a leap, which has started yielding profitable results.

Joint Venture a Way to New Market Penetration

Being a small participant in the EMEA market has given Adroit the advantage and
opportunity of working closely with its customers. Started as a software producer for the SCADA/HMI and Reporting products the company is now focused on offering its VIZNET Information Portal product. Recognised by Microsoft, VIZNET is a software platform that answers the age old challenge of collaboration and content delivery of data, information and knowledge through a single Smart Client User Interface. The real-time mine operations management portal built by partner Polysphere was also based on the VIZNET product.

Product Features and Benefits

Distinctive advantage of VIZNET Information Portal introduced by Adroit in 2008 helps in retrieving the real-time data and combines it with the MIS, MES and ERP information. It presents these data in the reporting structure through a single-user interface. The wizard driven and visual configuration makes development and maintenance of any application quite simple. The security model, built on Microsoft’s active directory offers clients peace of mind when using the smart client connectivity over the internet.

Chart 1.1

Chart 1.1 provides EMEA Automation and Control System Services Market: Key Factors Contributing to Adroit’s Growth (EMEA), 2009

Diversified Focus

Award Description

The Frost & Sullivan Award for Emerging Company is presented each year to the company that has emerged as a significant participant within its industry. This company is perceived to have exhibited outstanding management, superior market growth, exceptional customer service and the ability to combine technology and successful strategic initiatives. This company has the exceptional know-how to take advantage of market changes through the execution of innovative strategies within the existing competitive landscape.

Research Methodology

In order to select the Award recipient, analysts quantify several market factors for each market participant according to predetermined criteria, paying close attention to their combined operations efforts. This process includes interviews with market
participants, customers, and suppliers, along with extensive secondary and technology research. The companies’ efforts are then analyzed based on the number of new customers, new segments, and commitment to business expansion coupled with market growth.

Measurement Criteria

In addition to the methodology described above, there are specific criteria used to determine final competitor rankings in this industry. The recipient of this Award has excelled based on one or more of the following criteria:

• Proof of success executing a restructuring strategy
• New market penetration (geographic, product, etc.)
• Marketing, promotion, and visibility of the company
• Degree of strategy innovation
• Technological innovation and leadership
• Increased name recognition
• Revenue and market share growth

The company is introducing the advanced alarm management product and a version 3 of VIZNET in May 2009. Knowing the fact that innovation is the key factor to compete in the dynamic market, Adroit invests close to 30 percent of its revenues in the research and development (R&D) activity annually. This has helped the company to survive even in the toughest period of economic slow down to have 30 percent growth in 2008 compared to the previous year. Adroit achieved this with a strategic approach where it focused on end users who were working on single-vendor approach. Adroit catered to these companies with its maximum benefits and at reduced cost.

Utilities and Energy Management – Need of the Hour
Adroit is a clear market leader in Southern African delivery in the latter half of 2008, Adroit added additional features to its maximum demand agent product which assists large companies in energy management. This product calculates the predicted maximum demand in any one metered period allowing demand side management to be carried out. This has helped the customers to limit the usage of power and electricity which had been the need of the hour. As reduced energy and fuel consumption can bring significant cost saving in the industry environment, Adroit is taking relentless efforts towards achieving this.

Their major end-user segments   are the water and the mining industries, some of the energy efficiency projects in which they participated in recent years were DBS Mines, PPC cements and Johannesburg Water plants.

Customer Testimony: “Girlock currently has an international SCADA product running at our other plants, but we are so impressed with the Adroit system, that we are considering switching all our SCADA software to Adroit,” says Andre Ziemski, Senior Project and Development Manager for Girlock

Wider Market Reach
With global expansion plans and clear focus on the target customers Adroit emanates its products with utmost efficacy. Participation in various industrial tradeshows, conferences and road shows has provided more visibility to the company. Some of the recent trade shows in which Adroit participated are CEBIT in March 2009, The Durban Control Road Show in March 2009 and SCADA & INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION CONFERENCE in March 2009. In the process of educating its customers, they  frequent training programmes to the new, existing and advanced users of Adroit’s products. These courses last for 4-5 days on regular basis and customers can gain maximum knowledge out of these programmes, which would equip them to have a thorough understanding of Adroit’s products.

Adroit’s Corporate Social Responsibility
Having understood the need for expertise in the automation field, the company has started training the engineering students for a competitive future. Adroit’s corporate governance policy equips the students to gain expertise in the automation field and also provides qualified workforce to the company. Various other activities such as providing sponsorship for sports persons are also a part of the activity, which Adroit carries out for the public welfare.

Market Expansion
Adroit has installed close to 13,000 SCADA/HMI systems within EMEA and in the international market across different end-user segments such mining and water and wastewater after having understood the customer requirement completely. Adroit is concentrating more towards intelligent devices which aims at distributed process control and multifunctional communication protocols, providing customer friendly environment in the plants.

Geographic Penetration
The company works with reliable distributors who are also value-added resellers and systems integrators. This has provided Adroit more scope to clearly penetrate geographies such as Great Britain, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Canada, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, South Korea and Malaysia with its capable partners in these geographies respectively. Adroit’s wider customer base extends to the following end users such as pulp and paper, food and beverages, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, cement and many others. Its serves more than 5000 clients and holds a strong presence in the South African market and is emerging as an efficient participant in the European automation market, handling most of the state-owned water and utilities projects. Apart from the process industries, the company is increasing its customer base in the telecommunication and the building management segments. It is also planning for global expansion by 2010 by partnering with the major automation companies.

Conclusion:
Adroit’s key strength lies in understanding the exact customer demand and catering to it without any deviation. Being an emerging participant in the EMEA market, the company has created clear visibility for its products. In the dynamic automation market, Adroit is witnessing a stable growth as a result of multiple partnerships and value-enhanced offering. The strategic focus towards market expansion and diversified end-user segments is making Adroit an emerging participant in the automation and control system services market. These factors make Adroit Technologies the deserving recipient for the 2009 Frost & Sullivan Emerging Company Award in the Automation and Control System Services in the EMEA market.