Greenhouse reduces Carbon Dioxide emissions.

The Dutch horticultural sector aims to be climate-neutral by 2040. Scientists at Wageningen University & Research have therefore recently built a new demonstration greenhouse ‘Greenhouse 2030’ in an effort to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions as well eliminating the need for crop protection chemicals and optimizing the use of water and nutrients.

Greenhouses helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Scientists at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands have employed Vaisala carbon dioxide sensors in their research greenhouses for over a decade. Carbon dioxide is an extremely important measurement parameter in plant science, not just because plants need carbon dioxide to grow, but also because environmental emissions contribute to climate change, so enormous threats and opportunities surround this gas. As a world renowned research organisation, the value of the institute’s work is partly dependent on the accuracy and reliability of sensors, so it is important that its researchers do not compromise on sensor quality.

Wageningen has been one of the driving forces in research and technology development for greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands. The institute’s expertise in the greenhouse cultivation of ornamental, fruit and vegetable crops is unique, and together with growers and technology partners, it has developed new cultivation systems, climate control systems, revolutionary greenhouse cover materials and other innovations. The application of these new technologies has made greenhouse horticulture in the Netherlands a world leader.

The Plant Research Institute operates over 100 greenhouse compartments at its Bleiswijk site, which means that researchers are able to generate a wide variety of environmental conditions. Typical environmental variables include light, water, growing medium, nutrients, (biological) pest/disease control, temperature, humidity and of course carbon dioxide (CO2); all of which have significant effects on crop yields.

The Dutch horticultural sector aims to be climate-neutral by 2040. The Wageningen researchers have therefore recently built a new demonstration greenhouse ‘Greenhouse 2030’ for the cultivation of vegetables, fruit and flowers in an effort to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions as well eliminating the need for crop protection chemicals and optimizing the use of water and nutrients. Pests and diseases are preferably tackled biologically, and the energy-efficient greenhouse reuses water and nutrients as much as possible; leading to cleaner cultivation and improved yields.

Carbon Dioxide in Greenhouses
Carbon dioxide is a by-product of many processes in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, but it is also required by plants to grow through photosynthesis, so Dutch greenhouse operators have collaborated with the country’s industrial sector to utilise this byproduct and thereby contribute in the fight against climate change by lowering the country’s net CO2 emissions. Globally, many greenhouse operators burn natural gas to generate CO2, but this also generates heat that may not be needed in the summer months, so the utilisation of an industrial byproduct is significantly preferable.

Carbon dioxide was first delivered to Dutch greenhouses in 2005 via a pipe network established by the company Organic Carbon Dioxide for Assimilation of Plants (OCAP). Commercial greenhouse operators pay for this CO2 supply, which is largely derived from a bio ethanol plant. A key feature of the Institute’s research is work to optimise the utilisation of CO2, along with other plant growth variables. For example, the Institute has developed a simulation tool for CO2 dosing: the “CO2-viewer.” This programme monitors and displays the effects of a grower’s dosing strategy. For instance, it enables the evaluation of CO2 dosing around midday compared with dosing in the morning. The computational results of such an evaluation take all relevant greenhouse building characteristics and climate control settings into account.

Monitoring Carbon Dioxide

CO2 Probe

After around 10 years of operation, the institute is replacing around 150 of the older model probes with a newer model. The calibration of all probes is checked prior to the commencement of every project, utilizing certified reference gases. It is important that calibration data is traceable, so each probe’s calibration certificate is retained and subsequent calibration checks are documented. A portable CO2 monitor (a Vaisala GM70) with a GMP252 CO2 probe are also used as a validation tool to check installed probes, even though further calibration is not necessary.

Currently, the Institute’s installed probes provide 4-20 mA signals which feed into ‘climate computers’ that are programmed to manage the greenhouses automatically. This system also raises alarms if CO2 levels approach dangerous levels for any reason.

CO2 Sensor Technology
Carbon dioxide absorbs light in the infrared (IR) region at a wavelength of 4.26 μm. This means that when IR radiation is passed through a gas containing CO2, part of the radiation is absorbed, and this absorbance can be measured. The Vaisala CARBOCAP® carbon dioxide sensor features an innovative micro-machined, electrically tunable Fabry-Perot Interferometer (FPI) filter. In addition to measuring CO2 absorption, the FPI filter enables a reference measurement at a wavelength where no absorption occurs. When taking the reference measurement, the FPI filter is electrically adjusted to switch the bypass band from the absorption wavelength to a non-absorption wavelength. This reference measurement compensates for any potential changes in the light source intensity, as well as for contamination or dirt accumulation in the optical path. Consequently, the CARBOCAP® sensor is highly stable over time, and by incorporating both measurements in one sensor, this compact technology can be incorporated into small probes, modules, and transmitters.

The CARBOCAP® technology means that the researchers don’t have to worry about calibration drift or sensor failure.

Carbon Dioxide Plant Science Research
Two projects are currently underway evaluating the effects of different CO2 levels on plant production. One is studying soft fruit and the other tomatoes; however with CO2 playing such an important role in both plant growth and climate change, the value of accurate measurements of this gas continues to grow. Most of the greenhouses are now connected to the institute’s Ethernet and a wide variety of new sensors are continually being added to the monitoring network; providing an opportunity to utilise new ‘smart’ sensors.

The accuracy, stability and reliability of the CO2 sensors at Bleiswijk are clearly vitally important to the success of the Institute’s research, particularly because data from one greenhouse are often compared with data from others.

The CO2 supply has a cost; it is therefore important that this resource is monitored and supplied effectively so that plant production can be optimized.

Clearly, moves to lower the use of fossil fuels and develop more efficient energy management systems will help to reduce CO2 emissions from the greenhouse sector. However, the importance of CO2 utilization is set to grow, given the 2040 climate-neutral target and the world’s need to find new and better ways to capture CO2 emissions in ways that are both sustainable and economically viable.

#Hortoculture #Environment @VaisalaGroup @_Enviro_News

Directing traffic smartly.


In the 17th century, Captain Frans Banninck Cocq, the central figure in Rembrandt’s masterpiece `The Night Watch’ (housed at the Rijksmuseum, pictured above) provided safety and security in Amsterdam. Today, the city relies on the Verkeer en Openbare Ruimte to ensure safe navigation through the busy streets. (See reproduction of the famous picture at bottom of this article)

Amsterdam is the largest city in the Netherlands, with a population of 2.4 million. The city is also one of Europe’s leading tourist destinations, attracting around 6 million people a year. Amsterdam’s oldest quarter, the medieval centre, is very small and has an incredibly complex infrastructure, with roads, tunnels, trams, metro, canals and thousands of bicycles. This creates one of the world’s most challenging traffic management environments, which the office for Traffic and Public Space (Verkeer en Openbare Ruimte) meets through vision, action and modern technology. This is typified by the new intelligent data communications network being installed to support the city’s traffic control system, for which they have selected advanced Ethernet switching and routing technology from Westermo.

In 2015, the municipality of Amsterdam created its own team that was responsible for the development and operation of the data communication network that supports the Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) in the city. Previously, this was managed by an external partner, but due to rising costs, and increasing performance and cybersecurity requirements, it was decided the best way forward was to take back full responsibility for the network.

Eric Bish, Senior Systems and Management Engineer and Project Manager and Albert Scholten, System and Management Engineer, were two key members of this team responsible for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems for traffic control in Amsterdam.

Albert Scholten

“The existing communications network supporting the traffic control system had served us well for many years, but it had become outdated and the daily costs to maintain the leased line copper network was very high. With the challenges the city faced going forward, we needed to modernise our systems,” said Scholten.

“The old network was mostly based on analogue modems, multi-drop-modems, xDSL extenders and 3G routers from Westermo,” explained Bish. “These devices have proved to be very reliable, so when we started to look at the requirements for the new system, Westermo technology was given serious consideration.”

Project planning
“We worked closely with Axians, our supplier of network services, and Modelec Data Industrie, the distributor of Westermo products in the Netherlands. The collaboration between the three parties was essential to the success of the project. Modelec Data Industrie are very knowledgeable about industrial data communications and during constructive discussions regarding the system requirements they suggested that Westermo technologies would be a good choice for building a robust and reliable network for the future.

“From our meetings a roadmap was established. Our long-term plan is largely based on having a fibre optic infrastructure managed by Westermo Lynx and RedFox Ethernet switches. However, installing new cables is a costly and time-consuming process, so where existing fibre optic cabling is not already available, we have found the Westermo Wolverine Ethernet Extender to be extremely useful. This device allows us to create reliable, high speed, fully managed network solutions using the existing copper cables linking the traffic light systems. For remote connections, between the edge networks and the control centre, we have used Westermo MRD 4G cellular routers, which offer a redundant SIM option and simplifies the process of setting up IPSEC VPN’s.”

Equipment testing

Eric Bish

Before a large-scale implementation of the new system could begin, the Lynx switches and Wolverine Ethernet Extenders were tested at some of the less critical road junctions. To assess the Westermo MRD 4G cellular routers, a mobile test system was constructed and taken to popular parts of Amsterdam during King’s day, the annual Dutch national holiday and busiest day of the year. Despite the huge crowds swamping the mobile masts, the routers delivered excellent performance.

“Having met our required standards during testing, the Westermo devices were deployed extensively throughout the city and are now providing the data communications for several major traffic control systems. Over 1300 pieces of equipment are currently connected via the new network and with the traffic control systems being constantly upgraded this figure continues to grow.”

Westermo offers a broad range of products suitable for traffic control applications, which has helped us to meet all of our needs for this project. We have found the technology to be robust and reliable. The devices consume very low power, which means they generate little heat. This is important, as the switches are often installed in cramped, unventilated cabinets with other electronics that can be damaged if they get too hot.

“The Westermo Lynx switch is very versatile, offering an array of smart features and network connections. For example, the SFP option gave us the ability to easily switch between copper and fiber wiring, while the serial port enabled connection to legacy traffic light systems. The option to perform text-based configuration from a console port has supported our need for fine granular control and rapid mass deployment of devices. Every device received a consistent configuration, but we had the flexibility to adjust the configuration of specific devices, where required. This functionality has enabled us to install all the devices in a little over 12 months. This helped us to make significant savings because the costly leased lines to the datacenter could be terminated sooner.

Network capability
“While we were installing the new network, we needed to retain the old system and move the functionality across gradually. However, with the cost of maintaining the old leased line copper network was so high, we wanted the new network to be very simple and fast to implement. We started with a classic layer-2 approach, consisting of an MRD router and up to six Lynx switches or Line Extenders connected to it. Every Traffic Light Controller was then connected to a Line Extender or switch, depending on the existing cabling in place.

However, because it is difficult, time consuming and costly to install and maintain a data network of this size within a city such as Amsterdam, we knew the new network would eventually have to be able to support more than just the traffic light systems. In fact, it must support camera surveillance, traffic information systems, automatic number plate recognition camera and even public lighting systems. Critically, these other applications must be isolated from each other for security purposes, while changes or additions to the network must also be simple to achieve.

“Efficient use of the cable infrastructure is therefore critical, which is why we selected switches with layer 3 functionality at the start of the project. This enabled us to create a layer-3 network design. A clever combination of OSPF routing, local firewalling and layer-2 and layer-3 features has yielded a very flexible, secure and redundant gateway network design. The network is now sufficiently resilient to withstand common issues, such as cable damage and power outages.

“Using the Westermo Redfox switches, we will soon couple our updated network to the fiber optic rings used to control the city’s metro lines. This will provide fully redundant gigabit connections to our datacenter for many of our surveillance cameras and traffic systems.

“Using Westermo technology we have built a robust and reliable networking solution that will last for a long time. The technology offers the functionality we need to modernise the network and enable us to make quick system upgrades over the lifecycle of the system,” Bish added. “As far as we are aware, this is the most advanced network infrastructure in place in The Netherlands and to date the solution has performed flawlessly. We expect that within five years the industrial network will cover the whole of Amsterdam and its surrounding areas and this will almost completely rely on gigabit fiber links, with only a handful 4G connections still required.”


Use case 1: Traffic light control
There are several hundred traffic light systems throughout Amsterdam. These work autonomously, but can also be controlled centrally, which is one of the most critical tasks for the city’s department for traffic and public space. In the event of traffic congestion, traffic control centre operators can manage the flow of traffic and if necessary, reroute traffic to less crowded roads.

The traffic light control systems interconnect several traffic lights. The infrastructure connecting the traffic lights is a mix of existing copper cables and new fibre cables. However, in order to connect a string of traffic lights back to the control room, the city has been relying on leased lines. This solution is not only expensive, costing around EUR 2 million per year, but also does not provide the reliability required for a system of this magnitude. The savings made as a result of replacing the leased lines with the Westermo cellular routers is estimated to cover the cost of the network upgrade project within just three years.

Use case 2: Environmental Zone Enforcement
An environmental zone has been established in the central part of Amsterdam with the aim of decreasing pollution from motor vehicles. Vehicles that are not environmentally friendly are prohibited to enter the `green zone’ and automatic number plate recognition cameras have been installed to ensure that the restriction is followed by motorists. Approximately 80 control points have been established at the entrances to the city to monitor about three million cars every day. Between one and five ANPR cameras automatically read the vehicle registration numbers as they pass the control points. The photos are processed inside the camera, converted into simple text information and sent to the control centre through a secure encrypted IPSec VPN tunnel using the MRD 4G cellular router. The City of Amsterdam plan to participate in the European C-ITS smart traffic project, which will allow real-time traffic optimisation. This will mean that there will be a requirement for more bandwidth and lower latency so in time, the mobile connections will be replaced with a fibre optic network, using for example the Lynx and RedFox switches.

Use case 3: Traffic observation and situation assessment
The Amsterdam traffic is continuously monitored from the control centre to help operators maintain the flow of traffic, reduce congestion and minimise the risk of accidents. Operators make decisions based on the information provided by hundreds of cameras installed across the city. Many of the regular surveillance cameras are connected to the network via Westermo switches. The real-time video feed from the ANPR cameras can also be viewed for traffic controlling purposes. These are connected to the control room using Westermo MRD 4G cellular routers, which provide secure IPSec encrypted VPN tunnels. When traffic congestion occurs, the traffic control managers are permitted to disable the environmental monitoring system and activate predefined scenarios that reroutes the traffic to dissolve the congestion.

De Nachtwacht (The Night Watch)

@westermo @hhc_lewis #Netherlands

#EMREx Connecting, communicating and creating in Netherlands.


The country of the Netherlands is where the Rhine enters the sea. It is a country which has physically built itself out of the inhospitable North Sea. Often called Holland – which is the name of one (actually two) of its provinces – it even more confusingly for the English speaking world inhabited by the Dutch speaking Dutch. If you really want to know more about Holl.. er sorry, The Netherlands watch the video at the bottom of this piece.

Although not officially the capital of The Netherlands, Amsterdam is, The Hague is the seat of Government and official residence of the King. It was selected by the Emerson User Group as the venue for their European, Middle East & African assembly, refereed to as #EMrex on twitter. These assemblies – can we say celebrations? – occur every two years. The last was held in Brussels, the capital of the neighbouring Kingdom of the Belgians and of the European Union. An sccount of happenings there are in our postin “All change at Brussel Centraal.” (18/4/2016)

Lots of pictures from the event!

The size of this event was in marked contrast to the Brussels meet which was overshadowed by the terrible terrorist attacks in that city only three weeks earlier which presented transport difficulties. This time there were over one thousand six hundred delegates filling the huge hall of the Hague Convention Centre.

Another difference referred to in many of the discussions both formal and informal were the two great uncertainties effecting all businesses and industries – the possibility of a trade war with the USA under its current administration and nearer home the aftermath of the BREXIT decision – the exit of the British from the largest economic bloc on the planet. Many developments have been put on the long finger pending clarification on these issues.

Mary Peterson welcomes delegates

Why are we here?
This event continued in the vein of previous meetings. The emphasis continuing to move to perhaps a more philosophical and certainly a more holistic view of how the automation sector can help industry. This was made clear in the introductory welcome by Novartis’s Mary Peterson, Chair of the User Group, when she posed the question, “Why are we here?”

“This is a conference for users by users.” she said. It is a place to discuss users’ practical experiences; continuing our profissional development; learning best practice and proven solutions and technology roadmaps. But above all it presented an opportunity to connect with industry leaders, users and of course Emerson experts.

For other or more detailed information on happenings and/or offerings revealed at this event.
News Releases

and on Twitter #EmrEx

The emphasis is on the totality of services and packages not on individual boxes. Emerson’s European President Roel Van Doren was next to address the assembly. We should know our plant but be unafraid to use expertese and knowledge to keep it fit for purpose. Monitor the plant constantly, analyse what is required and then act. This means seeing how the latest advances might improve production. This means harnessing the “new technologies.” In passing he drew our attention that Emerson had been recognised earlier this year as ‘Industrial IoT Company of the Year’ by IoT Breakthrough.

The path is digital
A very striking presentation was given by Dirk Reineld, Senior VP Indirect Procurement with BASF. He brought us to the top of Rome’s Via de Conciliazione on 19th April 2005. We saw the huge crowd looking towards the centre balcony as the election of a new pope was announced. He then moved forward to the 13th March in 2013, the same place but what a difference in such a short time. This time it seemed that everybody had a mobile phone held to take photographs of the announcement of the election of Francis. All we could see was a sea of little screens. He used this to emphasize a point “We are underestimating what is happening & its speed.” This is not helped by a natural conservatism among plant engineers. Change is happening and we either embrace it or get left behind. It is becoming more and more clear that in front of us “the path is digital!” He presented some useful examples of digitalisation and collaboration at BASF.


Registered delegates have access to slides from the main presentation programme. These slides are available for download via the Emerson Exchange 365 community (EE365).

Emerson Exchange 365 is separate from the Emerson Exchange website that presenters & delegates used before Exchange in The Hague. So, to verify your attendance at this year’s conference, you must provide the email you used to register for Exchange in The Hague. If you are not already a member of EE365 you will be required to join.

To access the presentations, visit The Hague 2018 and follow the prompts. The first prompt will ask you to join or sign in.

Something in this particular EmrEx emphasised how things are moving and those unprepared for the change. Among some of the press people and others there was disappointment expressed that there was not a printed programme as in previous years. This correspondent is used to going away into a corner and combing through the printed agenda and selecting the most relevant sessions to attend. This was all available on line through the “Emerson Exchange Web App.” This was heralded as a “a great preshow planning tool.” All we had to do was enter a link into our our web-browser on our phones and away you went. Yes this is the way to go certainly and although I am inclined to be adventurous in using social media etc I and some (if not many) others found this a step too far to early. It was not clear that a printed version of the programme would not be available and the first hour of a conference is not the best time to make oneself au fait with a new app.

Having said that while many of the journos took notes using pencil and paper they were not adverse to taking photos of the presentation slades so they could not be said to qualify as complete luddites!

Terrific progress but…

Rewards of efficiency
This event was being held at the same time as CERAWeek 2018 in which Emerson was an important participant. Some Emerson executives thus made the trans Atlantic journey to make presentations. One of those was Mike Train, Emerson’s Executive President who delivered his talk with no apparent ill effects. In effect he was asking a question. “Just how effective is progress?” Yes, we HAVE made phenomenal progress in the last 30 years. “Modern automation has made plants more efficient, reliable and safer, but, the ‘Efficiency Era’ is reaching diminishing returns….Productivity seems to be stagnation while the workforce is stretched.”

He postulated five essential competancies for digital transformation.

  1. Automated workflows: Eliminate repetitive tasks and streamline standard operations.
  2. Decision support: Leverage analytics and embedded exportise.
  3. Mobility: Secure on-demand access to information and expertese.
  4. Change management: Accelerate the adoption of operational best practices.
  5. Workforce upskilling: Enable workers to acquire knowledge and experience faster.

Making the future!

Making the future
The next speaker was Roberta Pacciani, C&P Manager Integrated Gas and Upstream Technology with Shell. She is also President of the Women’s Network at Shell Netherlands. She spoke on leveraging the best available talent to solve future challenges. I suppose that we would have classified this as a feminist talk but of course it isn’t. As the presenter said it is not so much a feminist issue as a people issue. “Closing the gender gap in engineering and technology makes the future.”  This was a useful presentation (and in this correspondent’s experience unusual) and hopefully will be helpful in changing perceptions and preconceptions in STEM and our own particular sector.

As partof EmrEX there is an exhibition, demonstration area. Delegates may see innovative technologies applied to their plant environment. They meet with experts about topics such as getting their assets IIoT ready or how to use a Digital Twin to increase performance and explore options to prepare their plant for the future. As a guide – printed as well as on-line – the produced a Metro-like guide.
Using this we could embark on a journey through products, services and solutions where Emerson together with their partners could help solve operational and project challenges.

One of the most popular exhibits was the digital workforce experience. Here we visited a plant and were transported magically to former times to see just how different plant management is now and particularly with the help of wireless and digitisation.

It happened!

One of the good things about this sort of event is the opportunity to meet friends for the first time though social media. Sometimes one does not know they are attending unless the tweet something. Thus I realised that an Emerson engineer was present and so I went looking for him in the expos area. This it was that Aaron Crews from Austin (TX US) and I met for the first time after knowing each other through twitter & facebook for a frightening ten years. Another of these virtual friends, Jim Cahill, says, “It hasn’t happened without a picture!” So here is that picture.

The following morning there were a series of automation forum dedicated to various sectors. The Life-Sciences Forum was one which was very well attended.  Ireland is of course a leader in this sector and we hope to have a specific item on this in the near future. Emerson have invested heavily in the national support services as we reported recently.

Each evening there were social events which provided further opportunities for networking. One of these was a visit to the iconic Louwman Transport Museum where reside possibly the largest collections of road vehicles from sedan chairs through the earliest motor cars up to the sleekest modern examples. These are all contained in a beautiful building. The display was very effectively presented and one didn’t have to be a petrol-head – and believe me there were some among the attendance – to appreciate it.

It is impossible to fully report an event like this in detail. One can follow it on twitter as it happens of course. And there will be copies of many of the presentations and videos of some of the sessions on the website.

The Emerson User Group Exchange – Americas will continue “spurring innovation” in San Antonio (TX USA) from 1st to 5th October 2018. It looks exciting too.

We promised at the top of this blog an exposé of the country often called Holland in English –

So now you know!

@EMR_Automation #Emrex #Pauto

Playing football will never be the same! Armac plays the field!

Measuring precisely leads to knowing exactly

In the Netherlands, we are told, people live by the thought that measuring is the key to knowing. This grew from the wish to keep everything under control. Numbers don’t lie, so they measure everything. Even in the most popular sport in the Netherlands (and the world): soccer (sorry America!), voices are rising to take all variables in hand and rule out the factor of luck as far as possible.

Thus standardisation of circumstances is the solution! One of these standards is being achieved by making the field with artificial grass instead of the unreliable natural grass. When this grass then is measured in quality and other parameters, a “standard” field is on it’s way. This now is made possible by Deltec, in close corporation with Armac!

The number of football fields with artificial grass is steadily growing, but it is still an expensive commodity for most clubs as well as community or public sport providers. Natural grass needs a lot of attention but artificial grass is only optimised when it is installed correctly and adequately maintained. This is important in creating a perfect artificial field, that increases the pleasure of playing, lowers the chances of injuries and prolongs lifespan considerably.

But how is the quality of an artificial field determined? This light weight, handy, user friendly unit helps out sport clubs, sport sections of city and county councils as well as installation companies, which want to know the quality of the playing field. The Club Set gives values on:

The brain of Deltec’s Club Tester, made by Armac, is capable of registering and processing over 10.000 variables per second!

• ball rolling
• vertical bounce of the ball
• infill level (thickness)
• shock absorption
• vertical deformation
• energy restitution and
• surface evenness.

Armac plays the ball
One of the devices within the Club Set is the Club Tester, which Armac has designed with extreme precision to measure the exact values of a simulated descent of a foot on the field and the particular behaviour of the artificial grass as it happenst. Due to high demands on the precision of measuring, the company used its creativity to its full potential in hardware and software engineering.

As a result, results that are accurately filtered from 10.000 variables in one second, in which the sensitivity of the acceleration sensor on 10 millivolt per G (falling force) must fall within a range between -200 and +200 G. “It took us quite some patience and accurate working to “catch” the highest and lowest values from such enormous range of data”, says software engineer Marcel van de Kamp of Armac all who as about the project.

The close cooperation between Deltec Metaal and Armac in the Netherlands has resulted in a way to compare easily the artificial grass field variables with the official FIFA guide lines, which are the international standard.

With the Club Tester a field is monitored and so injuries are minimized and the club enjoys longer a perfectly kept artificial grass field.

Maybe eventually we can predict exactly how the ball will role … or when a goal is not a goal or when a hand ball really ocurs

Ancient principle combined with state-of-the-art technology


As wind power stations continue to increase in size, the demands for more sophisticated technology is also increased in order to ensure a high degree of efficiency and thus maximise profitability for operators. This primarily affects the automatic adjustment of blade angles, for which some particularly interesting solutions have been developed.

For centuries now we have been utilising wind power to perform vital tasks, such as the grounding of grains or the irrigation of fields. While the windmills that we now admire in the Dutch countryside or when approaching Mallorca by air still have a distinct charm, today’s industrial wind turbines (from 1 MW upwards) are highly complex systems, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, which will provide hundreds of households with electricity for many years to come. In the meantime, wind power stations have become a major business and, alongside solar, biogas and water power stations, are amongst our most important alternative energy sources.

Technological development
As the current boom in wind power emerged, a great deal of effort was made to utilise existing generator technology to the greatest possible extent in order to ensure that systems were ready for the market in the shortest possible time. This often resulted in substandard systems, however, in spite of their enormous potential to reap the benefits from one of our most important renewable energy sources. Further developments in wind power technology have not only significantly increased system capacity, but have also improved reliability. These key factors alone made systems of this kind a worthwhile, profitable investment for operators.

Blade adjustment
In all types of wind turbines, adjustment to the respective prevailing weather conditions plays a crucial role. While millers had to shorten the coverings on their sails if the wind became too strong, this adjustment is now performed on older wind turbines by stalling them, which is determined by the shape of the rotor blades and occurs automatically according to wind strength. However, this passive technology is far too inefficient for modern systems, as this method leaves a large proportion of the potential energy available unused. The solution is to actively adjust the angle or pitch of the rotor blades, a central function for modern wind turbines from a particular size. The pitch control of these gigantic rotors serves two functions: to optimise the electric power yield for the respective prevailing wind strength and to safely stop the systems during strong winds or in the case of an emergency. Modern systems for adjusting blade angles either take the form of a simple, collective design in which all blades are adjusted using a common linkage, or they take the form of more complex solutions with individual blade adjustment, where each rotor blade can be adjusted on an individual basis.

The search for a drive system
Engineers therefore had to set out to find drive solutions for the blade adjustment. Older systems were predominantly equipped with hydraulic drive systems, which have subsequently proven to be too large, heavy and inaccurate as well as requiring a high level of maintenance. This is why modern systems work with electromotive blade adjusting drives. With suitable electronics these solutions can be controlled to a significantly higher degree of accuracy, reduce maintenance costs and, furthermore, do not involve the risk of hydraulic oil leaking into the sea or onto agricultural land, which could result in fatal consequences at typical locations of systems of this kind.

Motor technology
Until recently, even state-of-the-art pitch control systems have used relatively traditional technologies such as AC induction motors or brushed DC motors with accompanying electronic components for speed or position control. But in the same way that turbine technology shifted from dual-fed induction generators (DFIGs) driven by large, complex gearheads, over to directly driven permanent magnet synchronous machines, the use of higher-performance, brushless, permanent magnet motors in pitch control is also on the rise. The arguments supporting this technology range from its compact design and high level of dynamic accuracy in comparison with AC induction motors, to its low maintenance costs when compared with brushed DC motors.

Power transmission
Just as important as selecting a suitable motor is the matter of optimising power transmission. Dynamics, reliability and service requirements are again the main point of focus when it comes to selecting the gearheads. On the one hand, the gearheads must work to a high level of precision, as rotor blades are only adjusted by a few degrees for an optimum wind yield. On the other hand, incredibly fast motions are required if the rotor has to be stopped during a storm or other emergencies. In these cases, the rotor blades are brought into the so-called feather position and taken out of the wind within a matter of seconds. In addition to this, the gearheads must also work to a reliable standard in adverse environmental conditions: whether located in the humid climate of Texas, the coldness of Siberia or the salty air of the North Sea. Systems should also be maintenance-free to the greatest possible extent, as each standstill is costly and there is a great deal of expense involved in terms of both time and money in accessing systems in elevated positions.

Further components of a wind turbine, in which robust, weather-resistant drive systems are required, can be found, for example, on the maintenance door. The door is often so heavy that it is difficult to open it manually – especially if it is frozen over with snow and ice. For this purpose, supporting drive spindles or linear actuators are used here. The same technology is applied at the rotor brake, which reliably holds the rotor in its parked position if wind conditions do not permit operation or when maintenance or inspection work is performed. If a drive does not function as it should, this can result in catastrophic consequences, both for the entire system and the technicians or for the area directly surrounding a wind turbine.

A tailor-made solution
Thomson, one of the world’s leading providers of drive systems, is now offering special products and solutions, which are tailor-made for usage in wind turbines. For the pitch control of wind turbines, UltraTrue planetary gearheads from Micron come highly recommended. Micron, the planetary gearhead specialist, is part of Thomson, which manufactures a wide range of innovative, linear drive technology products. In the case of Micron UltraTrue gearheads, development focuses upon two central requirements: maximum possible performance and moderate costs. These essential features are facilitated by helical planet pinions, housing and shafts made from stainless steel as well as tapered roller bearings and spherical roller bearings. This results in considerable savings for wind turbine operators, both in terms of purchase and failure-proof operation, while significantly lowering maintenance costs in comparison with many other systems.

What’s so special about the Micron planetary gearheads is the ingenious pinion arrangement, in which three so-called ‘planet gears’ are rotated by a drive pinion or ‘sun wheel’. The planet gears rotate within a gear ring, which is normally milled directly into the inside of the housing. A particularly rigid design emerges from this, ensuring a high degree of torsional stiffness for the entire gearhead unit. As the load applied to the output shaft is distributed onto planet pinions in equal measure, a planetary gearhead has a higher loading rate than a helical gearhead of the same size. In addition to this, several gearheads can be accommodated in a limited space, meaning that extremely high transmissions are possible. While standard systems provide maximum transmissions of 100:1, with its rectangular- shaped gearheads Micron offers transmissions of up to 500:1 as standard.

Kollmorgen, a Thomson sister company, provides tailored solutions for pitch control based on robust, tried and tested products such as brushless EC motors (electronically commutated motors). These motors are resistant to even the harshest of environmental conditions. They have been specially developed and tested to fulfil the highest standards with regard to resistance to temperature, impacts and vibrations, meaning that they can even be used in military applications. The EC motor is the result of decades of development work by Kollmorgen in the field of brushless motors in the highest performance range. Depending on customer requirements, these motors can be combined with various tried and tested control electronics platforms. Kollmorgen offers pitch control solutions in both the high-voltage (230-460 V AC) and the low-voltage range (24-80 V DC). Kollmorgen motors can also be combined with various gearhead versions in line with specific customer requirements.

Thomson also provides linear actuators and drive spindles for use in wind power stations. Its extensive product range offers extremely robust precision solutions that can cope with loads of up to 50,000 N. They work effortlessly in the salty air of sand storms, in places where there are extreme temperature fluctuations, in crisp cold conditions or under high loads resulting from vibrations and impacts. The E150 actuator from the Electrak Pro product range, for example, is frequently used as the drive for the rotor brake. These modules are designed for axial loads of up to 9,000 N, provide maximum dynamic load speeds of 38 mm/s and have a robust load holding brake. Thanks to their resistant and corrosion-proof aluminium housing (IP66 protection), they can be used virtually anywhere where there is a high ingress level of dust, pollution or water and continuous, reliable and maintenance-free operation is an absolute must.

Positive future prospects
Equipped with these high-performance drive components, the next development phase in the field of pitch control has already been scheduled and has to a certain extent already begun.  This, for example, includes the implementation of highly developed control strategies for blade adjustment in the form of a multivariable control system. Technology of this kind opens up additional opportunities for further increasing the yield of wind turbines. It may also be possible to integrate load data from the status monitoring system of the rotor blades and the turbine tower into a continuous control cycle for adjusting the blades. A system would therefore be able to work closer to its upper operating point without the risk of damages. Thanks to this kind of optimisation, the pitch system is able to maximise the torque supplied to the generator and thereby increase its output power without exceeding the permitted loads on the rotor blades or the tower. As a next step, a computer model of the occurring vibrations and unbalances could be incorporated into the control algorithm to continually adjust the individual pitch of each rotor blade regardless of its actual position.

The field of renewable energy resources is currently experiencing an extremely interesting phase. Continual developments in both the fields of wind power technology and other renewable energy resources will in the long term enable us to provide future generations with power generation procedures, allowing us to effectively protect valuable resources.

#EMReu Conquest of complexity advances!


Our journey to Berlin was somewhat disrupted by the vicissitudes of the Irish weather.

Coming out in obvious sympathy to the woes of what will hopefully bring an end to Ireland’s banking debacle, the weather decided to inflict the coldest cold spell for November on record with the resultant delays in flights.

But enough of our travel travails!

Why were we going to Berlin? And what happened when we eventually arrived?

Emerson Process Management organise a press event most years to discuss with members of the Europen press from the steppes of Russia to the rocky west coast of Ireland and the deep fjords of Norway to the level plains of Spain. Last year from the Netherlands we were introduced to their concept and activities under the heading Conquering Complexity.  This time with the German capital Berlin as venue, this theme was utilised again, Conquering Complexity 2010. In effect what it presented was an insight into the way Emerson Process Management is engaging this complexity challenge and how the conquest is progressing.

Press Releases & Background Papers


Times are tough. Automation shouldn’t be. (Introduction)

Projects Part 1 (Fluor)

Projects Part 2 (Solvay)

Operations & Maintenance

Plant Management

Human Centred Design

Emerson’s Asset management Time Line

Wireless network helps Northstar Bluescope Steel

Enhanced AMS Suite tackles the complexities of plant management

Automation system upgrade at Swedish pentaerythritol plant

Dust and Emerson  partner to deliver FIPS-197

Independent benchmark provides assurance of robust network communication


During this event we tweeted comments and pictures from the #EMReu in Berlin for the benefit of those unable to attend. The reason we were able to tweet so effectively was because the facilities in the venue were easy to use and available free of charge.  We just had to turn on our MAC and away we went…pictures, comments etc. as the event progressed. Kudos to organisers, HHC Lewis and to progressive hotel – the unique Radisson Blu, Berlin.

Thanks also to those who retweeted and acknowledged what we were doing?

Other Publications

Emerson brings a small roadshow to the EU press (IAI December’10)

Report on Emerson User Group (Sept’10 USA)

Welcome and Introduction
Update Emerson Europe
The Complexity Challenge

We were welcomed by Bob Sharp, last year’s “new boy” as Emerson’s President in Europe and now well into position. He presented us with a run down of the company and how it is endevouring to be local while harnessing the benefits of global experience. The Emerson presence in Europe was emphasised and indeed was further strengthened by the international character of the presenters and presentations.

He discussed the problems confronting industry the imminent retirement of those with much process experience and the growth in complexity of systems being managed by less experienced and indeed fewer operatives. Last year we saw some of the products being developed with a more human face. The philosophy could be stated:“To drive a car you don’t necessarily need to know what goes on under the bonnet!” Having pioneered the concept in automation they have been investing in this philosophical approach over the last six or seven years and today “human centred design is embedded in our culture.”

One point he emphasised (or maybe we thought he emphasised it!) was that there is only one international industrial wireless standard – the IEC standard which is WirelessHART. We were to hear it again!

#EMReu Background Conquering Complexity 2010

The Project Challenge 1
Proving the economics
First presentations examined the project challenge with practical examples proving the economics and technology of using their Delta V I/O on demand. Here Vince Grindley, of Fluor Supply Chain Solutions,  who made a study of the impact of electronic marshalling on the project execution process. The point was that “like the golf swing, projects are all about complexity.” Indeed one could say that complexity as a subject was invented for projects! This particular evaluation was undertaken to capture documentation and present the benefits offered by Delta V electronic marshalling and the impact on the project execution by comparison with a traditional DeltaV v10 engineering approach.

#EMReu Background Projects Part 1 Fluor

The Project Challange 2
Proving the Technology
Frank Jouault is manager of the System Department at the Tavaux (F) plant of Solvay. His presentation was in French, with Emerson’s Wireless Sales Director, Ann Robin, as an able translator who refreshingly knew about the subject and so gave an intelligent and meaningful transmission to the presentation for those whose French was not up to standard. He talked about the company’s experience with CHARMS (CHARacterization ModuleS). His conclusions: They confirmed that the CHARMS to be compatible with all the field devices typically used by Solvay in Tavaux which included many devices from non-Emerson suppliers. He reckoned the “should make some profits” and more convincingly he anticipates they will use CHARM I/O on future projects, And, more tantalisingly maybe use wireless and CHARM I/O in the junction box in the field.

#EMReu Backgrounder Projects Part 2 Solvay

The Operations Challenge
Taking control with wireless
The operations and maintenance side of a plant was the next area under scrutiny. Bob Karischnia, VP of Wireless at Rosemount, discussed the introduction of smart wireless for control applications. We have been familiar with the use of wireless for gathering information but control examples had been somewhat lacking. Wireless has now become the mainstream for monitoring applications in a plethora of installations. Here again the point was emphasised that there is only one internationally recognised standard and that is IEC 62591 (WirelessHART) . They believe that the progression in wireless control will broadly follow the same growth curve as its use in the gathering information. These applications started with the more difficult such as rotating applications and remote sites before advancing into more conventional applications where wireless replaces wired systems. We were told that there were over 1400 sites using this standard technology to gain new insights into processes and assets, with over 200 million hours of operation. He cited the North Star BlueScope Steel as a control application and there are others coming on-line. Emerson offers 14 Smart Wireless products today, with seven more available in 2011

#EMReu Backgrounder Operations & Maintenance

Coffee Break

During the coffee break there was the opportunity to see the advances being made in the business of human centred design, especially in the area of plant management ably presented by David Holmes (@texasdave if you use twitter) and Kim Polk (Marketing Comms Manager) both from the great US State of Texas. Through this we were able to assess just how far they have embedded this in the Emerson culture. “We work to understand our customers jobs and their interactions with others in the facility!”

Operative Hesketh prior to his promotion

The Plant Management Challenge
Introducing AMS Suite Asset Performance Management
The next session consolidated this with a presentation from Stuart Harris, Emerson’s Vice President and General Manager Asset Optimisation. He was ably abetted by the irrepressible Travis Hesketh, VP Wireless & PlantWeb Europe, who started the session as a plant operative and finished as plant manager, possibly one of the fastest promotions in automation history.

This included a video presentation where a manager and his team have a morning meeting, looking at the plant but unable to really assess things as a co-ordinated whole. This presentation was to expose the conventional reactive decision making process (they called it Darkness)and how that is transformed using their AMS suite to what the call the Predictive which replaces Darkness with Insight. Then, with the help of their partnership with Meridium, on to the Proactive (Clarity Focus).Meridium on to the Proactive (Clarity Focus). Thus from the virtual unknowingness of the “Darkness” the process plant now manager gains first insight which increases reliability and allows the building of a maintenance programme and then through to the proactive which enable sensible and realistic business strategies to be developed. This new enhancement, which they call Asset Performance Management, thus enables management to integrate predictive intelligence with asset reliability information; view real-time analyses and reports of asset health and availability; and create management strategies for reaching new levels of performance.

#EMReu backgrounder Plant Management

Finally there was a question and answer session where the assembled journalists were able to put questions to the speakers and receive answers.

The event concluded with a question and answer session

All in all it was a useful meeting and showed the importance of companies not only in explaining what they are doing, their plans for the future but also in showing their philosophy in deciding these plans and concrete examples of where this philosopht or approach is helping the end user.

The event ended with the various press people dispersing to their various home bases with decidedly mixed success depending on the effect of the unusual weather especially in the western islands of Britain and Ireland. Some even had the pleasure of extra overnight stays at the expense of the air line because of airport closures.

More on wireless


Yokogawa snubs WirelessHART users at the launch of the “World’s first” ISA100.11a wireless transmitters.

van Loon snubs WirelessHart!

by Andrew Bond, Industrial Automation Insider

“ISA100 is the standard that has been developed by the user community, and expresses the wishes of the users, rather than the approach imposed by vendors, as exemplified by WirelessHART,” said Joost van Loon, Yokogawa Europe director of industrial automation. “Additionally ISA100 is technologically superior to other approaches, in that it can cover all the wireless solutions that might be required. Users have also requested just one standard, so in the Yokogawa view this should be ISA100.”

Van Loon was speaking at the launch of a range of ISA100.11a pressure and temperature transmitters and associated system interfaces at the 5th Yokogawa User Conference, held in The Netherlands from 24-25th June. He was supported by Penny Chen of Yokogawa global marketing, who is also vice chair of the Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI). In response to a query about possible changes to ISA100.11a when the ISA100.12 committee on convergence presents its findings later this year, she asserted that “It is very unlikely that any changes would be allowed to ISA100”. The Yokogawa Q+A sheet issued alongside the releases commented on convergence issues further: “In fact, end users are not choosing WirelessHART. The ISA100.12 committee has been advised by user input that there is “no need for backward compatibility with WirelessHART as there is no significant installed base”. Quite a snub for the existing users of WirelessHART systems!

Yokogawa excludes WirelessHART

In listening to the user community, Yokogawa is aware that there has been a request for one global wireless standard, and therefore stresses that their offering includes “openness and interoperability” as prime objectives at the heart of ISA100. However “the ideal scenario is unlikely to occur, with two wireless standards in use” and the Yokogawa interoperability does not extend to including WirelessHART in their plans.

The other major player in the ISA100 camp is, of course, Honeywell, and news releases came thick and fast around the Honeywell User Group meeting held in Phoenix (AZ US), from 13-17th June: several of these related to improvements to digital video monitoring and field instrument wireless networks, that are designed to be compliant with the ISA100.11a standard. Most of the questions at the interviews, and the HUG discussions reported, related to the topic of ISA100, and whether this standard will be modified in the near future to include IEC62591, now the WirelessHART standard.

ISA100 panel: user discussions continue
From a panel discussion on the convergence of ISA100 and WirelessHART, Pat Schweitzer of ExxonMobil, also co-chair of the ISA100 committee, had been trying to establish what users would want a combined standard to offer, and said NAMUR would issue a report on this topic in late June (NE133). Meanwhile Schweitzer reported that the ISA100.11a- 2009 standard is being corrected, and will be re-issued by December. Schweitzer also commented that the convergence discussions headed by the ISA100.12 committee also hoped to report by December.

The Honeywell corporate view of wireless monitoring and control is not restricted to Honeywell Process Systems: their wireless business is cross divisional – it is a corporate initiative to drive wireless across the whole business, whether this is aerospace, health and safety, life safety or process solutions. In an interview (podcast) with Walt Boyes of CONTROL Global, Ray Rogowski, business leader for their wireless initiative, stressed that they see a far larger potential for the OneWireless applications in addition to monitoring field sensors. Add to this that the Honeywell OneWireless system is really a combination of up to five wireless systems: the Honeywell approach is to create a wireless infrastructure that will support multiple wireless networks, multiple applications, with specific sensor developments to feed in, possibly on different types of wireless system – an example of this is the support for Wi-Fi devices in addition to the field sensor network.

The inevitable conclusion is that Honeywell would have no problem with running two wireless systems into their networks, WirelessHART and ISA100, if that is needed. The Matrikon acquisition reported last month will enable the integration of third party systems into the Honeywell system via an OPC link, again possibly over OneWireless. In the theme of following the Emerson THUM and the ABB FieldKey, Honeywell showed a new OneWireless Adaptor that connects to wired HART devices, and transmits the full diagnostic info to host systems via an ISA100.11a compliant wireless network, without any significant modification to the conventional 4- 20mA loop field wiring. Yokogawa also suggested that they would be supplying such an adaptor, sourced from a suitable third party supplier.

Support for ISA100 and WCI
With the new Yokogawa products compliant with ISA100.11a and GE and Yamatake joining the Wireless Compliance Institute board, alongside Yokogawa and Fuji, Honeywell and ISA100 have gained valuable support recently. However, their spokesmen continue to stress that any ISA100 standard must be based on the total customer requirement, and that these customers are requesting a single wireless standard.

But is that what they’re really asking for? Maybe Nivis has the answer. They have now launched a new wireless gateway capable of simultaneously working on both ISA100.11a and WirelessHART protocols. Confusingly, it’s just called the “Nivis WirelessHART Gateway”, presumably because there were only really WirelessHART sensors available when they named it! Nivis were one of the major suppliers of equipment for the original Arkema ISA100 trials (YouTube Video).  Trae Harrison, vp of sales and marketing, explained: “The addition of the WirelessHART Gateway to the Nivis product line enables customers to utilize either ISA100.11a or WirelessHART using the same platform: it is exactly what the marketplace is asking for.”

You can’t halp feeling that ISA, WCI and Yokogawa have been talking to a different lot of customers, unless, of course, they’ve only been asking the questions that give the answers they want to hear! Maybe we’re fast approaching the point where users will simply adopt WirelessHART and ISA100.11a as appropriate to their particular applications.

This article first appeared in the July 2010 issue of Industrial Automation Insider

Are you paying attention?


This blog has been on-line for twelve months now and we have been looking at the stats over that period.

"You pays your money...."

We have two blog presences one on the Blogger platform and this one on the WordPress system. We use the blogger presence for recording press releases as we get them with little editing other then some tidying up. This WordPress blog is used however, for material we write ourselves, or those written by guest authors. Reports on technologies, events, applications, company news and what we think are interesting topics to do with the automation field all find their way here.

Because it is a fairly new venture for us we were not sure what to expect. What sort of reaction we would get. Who, or how many would visit.

The Read-out Instrumentation Signpost is the principal and oldest presence of Read-out, Ireland’s journal of instrumentation, control and automation, on the world wide web. It is visited by between 4000 to 6000 unique visitors during each week. (When we started gathering statistics around ten years ago this figure was around 500!).

So what has happened in the last twelve months on this blog site?

The stats show that almost 4500 visitors visited the blog during the period, the bulk of which occured in the final six months. The first two months showed less that 70 visitors per month but then showed a steady rise up to the current average of 400 per month. Whether that is good or bad is difficult to say and it is also difficult to analyse these figures to decide why certain topics are more popular than others. One thing that is interesting is that visits occur to different pages through the period and not just at the time they go on-line.

There are also those people who are “followers” who visit each time there is a new posting (roughly once or twice a fortnight) and that is reflected in the large percentage (ca 20%) recorded as visiting the “home page.”

Perhaps surprisingly the most visited post visited was a piece about a presentation on Industrial Security which featured at the ISAExpo’09 with about 6%. The report on the actual show itself was way down in the ratings in 16th place. The next most frequented page was the report on a press event hosed by Emerson in the Netherlands in December. This report was narrowly pipped at the post by 4 visits by the Security feature. Other Emerson events also feature in the top ten, the User Group Meeting in October at fifth and Andrew Bond’s article on their CHARM launch also in October at seventh. This probably reflects the open attitude to social networking displayed by Emerson and their customers, when compared with some other automation entities.

A very close number three on our top-ten is the report on the splitting of GE Industrial Platforms and Fanuc (August’09). This was followed by a report on what Walt Boyes has identified as the “coming together” of Invensys in July’09, a report on the re-organisation of this giant in the automation world after a traumatic decade.

At number six is an item on Longwatch’s progress towards the “HMI revolution” with their integrated video into HMI systems (November 2009). We had reported the launch of this one our other blog in September’09.

Our personal favourite!

Number eight is our own particular favourite and was a critique on a book that we came across and which was recommended by Jon DiPietro of Bridge-Soft at ISAExpo’09. The book was called Meatball Sundae by a guy called Seth Godin. This easy to read book made an impression and this posting outlined some of his ideas.

Number nine was a surprise to us as it was the one item that last year attracted the most consistent viewings. Why? Because it talked about AN1H1 or “Swine flu”. It talked about an IR measuring system which could measure body temperature at a distance and thus be used in airports and other ports of entry and identify possible sufferers before they contaminated others. We suspect that this is so high because people googling for AN1H3 or Swine Flu would find this in their search.

Number ten is one that is fast moving up the list. This is John Saysell’sTop Ten Tips for the Industrial Trainer” which was posted in January of this year.

Most referrals not surprisingly came from our own website – – but not a few came from Longwatch, MCP Europe and Emerson as well as various twitter and other social-networking referral sites.

Obviously many of our visitor clicked on the various links from the site. These do not we feel have great significence since there are too many variables like how many times they are mentioned in various blogs etc. But top of the list is ControlGlobal’s story of the split-up of GE & Fanuc, followed by Jim Pinto’s pages, Industrial Automation Insider and Jim Cahill’s Emerson Proicess Experts.

Top searches during the period were “GE Fanuc Split”, “AN1H3”, “INVENSYS”, and various Emerson personalities it would be too invidious to mention!

We posted 107 articles and we received 17,337 messages of which 75 were legitimate and 17262 were Spam Messages (protected by Akismet, the stop comment spam used by WordPress – phew!).

A graphical representation of twelve months viewing!

ProfiBus seminar


In what is hoped to be a biennial affair the first ProfiBus Ireland seminar was hosted by Limerick University’s Automation Research Centre (ARC) on January20th 2010. Hassan Kaghazchi of ProfiBus Ireland and the Limerick University was responsible for the organisation of this very successful event.

Speakers and Organisers: From left: Joost Van der Nat, Hassan Kaghazchi, Conal O'Reilly, Steve Dickinson, David Maher, Joachim Lauer, Nigel DeHaas, Eric Gory, Jorg Freitag.

Conal O'Reilly

It was very well attended and over 50 people attended. The progamme comprised of a morning with eight short presentations from a truly international group of speakers including Profibus International (PI) Chairman Jörg Freitag. There were many opportunities for hands-on demonstrations. The demonstartions panels constructed by ProfiBus Ireland members under David Maher of Elmar Engineering, The afternoon was an optional tour of the Bulmers, state of the art cider making facility in Clonmel where many of the ProfiBus techniques, discussed in the morning were seen in an actual plant. This part of the day was organised by Matt Wilhite of molex with the cooperation of the Bulmers plant engineers.

The seminar programme

Introduction, HassanKaghazchi (IR), ARC Limerick University
Present and Future, Jörg Freitag (D), PI Germany
HART over PROFIBUS, Nigel DeHaas (ZA), DH Controls
Wireless HART, Joachim Lauer (CH), Endress+Hauser
Diagnosing PROFIBUS, Joost Van derNat (NL), Procentric
Industrial Wireless , Conal O’Reilly (IRL), Phoenix Contact
PROFINET, Eric Gory (F), molex
Redundant PA, Steve Dickinson (GB), Pepperl & Fuchs

A pdf version of each presentation is available to download from the Profibus Ireland site.

The tour of the Bulmers Clonmel plant took place in the afternoon. This plant manufactures the traditional Bulmers range for Ireland and Magners Irish Cider for the export market. As part of the C&C Group it also produces Carolan’s Irish Cream, Tullamore Dew and other products at the site. The tour was fascinating as it concentrated on the technical aspects of control especially in the very impressive bottling plant and then in the manufacturing of the cider itself from the simple apple to the finished refreshing brew. The tour also emphasised the complete use of the raw materials and its minimum impact on the environment. For instance the pulp left after the extraction of the apple juice is used for anamal feed – primarily for deer.

Part of the attendance at the seminar

Group for plant tour at Bulmers Clonmel

PROFIBUS: A Pocket Guide by Ron Mitchell is a pocket guide provides a basic overview of PROFIBUS operations, installation and configuration, wiring schemes, troubleshooting, and tips and tricks. Also useful for engineering management seeking a summary understanding of PROFIBUS. Illustrative figures and technical tips are provided for quick reference. It is published by the International Society of Automation.

ISA Europe


European entity for international society

Pieter van der Klooster

Pieter van der Klooster

ISA, the International Society of Automation, has established a European entity, to be known as ISA Europe, to handle business activities including training, exhibitions and conferences. Located in The Netherlands, ISA Europe will start to lead ISA’s European business activities and will take on an expanded role in managing ISA’s strategic relationships throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. ISA is committed to bringing the services and products of the society to the Automation Profession in the key geographic area covered by District 12. Pieter van der Klooster, former managing director for TWP, a key ISA training partner in the ISA 88, 95 and 99 standards arena has been appointed as director of the ISA Europe office.

ISA Europe will focus on ISA business activities. Member and section interaction with the society will continue as before, as District 12, directly with ISA headquarters in North Carolina, USA, or through the District Vice President.